350 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
his other sons, Geo. T. is dead, and Peter has removed to the West.
Isaac Benjamin and Selah Dart came to the township about 1818. Isaac Deuel was then on the Blair place, but five years later removed to Rush.(?)
In 1819, the township included at least a third of what is now the borough of Friendsville; and to this section, within the next year or two, were added a number of new-corners. Among these were Thomas Christian, William Salter, Samuel Savage, John Buxton, and Henry M. Pierce. The majority of them belonged to the Society of Friends. A son of the last named, Henry M. Pierce, LL.D., held for many years the Presidency of Rutgers College, N. Y. Another son is reported, in Brace's California (1869), as returning the largest income in that State.
Dr. Levi Roberts located on the turnpike, about 1822. He died about three years later, and was buried in Friends' burying-ground.
In 1823, Eliab and John Buxton, Jr., were in Jackson Valley. They came from New Hampshire.
Caleb C. True settled in the same vicinity, near the county line, but afterwards removed to Bradford County. His sons are Lauren, now in Iowa; William W., in Michigan; and Hiram R., who resides on the North Branch, about a mile below Middletown Center. A rare relic—a Bible bearing date 1613—is in Mr. H. R. True's possession.
About 1829, two brothers, Jacob and Michael Andree. Dutchmen, who had previously come from Pittsburg to Franklin, where they were engaged with one Michael Dowell in boring the salt well, were employed by Dr. Rose and S. Milligan, Esq., on the salt well at Middletown Center. [See Mineral Resources.] Michael married and settled in the township, residing about two miles west of the Center until his death.
The same year Caleb Carmalt was taxed for 1000 acres in Middletown. Possibly these were not within the present limits of the township; but he afterwards purchased lands here, including the Pierce farm near Friendsville, where his eldest daughter, Mrs. John C. Morris and her family resided ten years, previous to their removal to Scranton.
While here, in 1862, Mr. Morris recruited from this and neighboring townships, nearly the whole of his company of volunteers for the national army, of which he was captain. He has contributed largely to advance the agricultural interests of this section, and for the last two years has been President of the State Agricultural Society.
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THE WELSH SETTLEMENT.
June, 1825, marks the arrival of David Thomas, the first Welshman and family in Middletown, as also the first in the county. He was smitten down by a sunstroke six weeks after he arrived, and before he had completed his house. His was the third family in " the Welsh settlement," which has always been mostly over the line in Bradford County; so the widow and her six children had sympathy and care from those of their own tongue. David Thomas, Jr., now on the old place, was then but seventeen ; and his brother, the present Rev. Thomas Thomas, was but twelve years of age.
Joseph (or David) Jenkins, the first Welshman of the settlement, came May, 1824, to the Bradford side; but, several years later, he came into Middletown, and remained some years; then returned to Leraysville, where he died.
Edward Jones, Sen., the second person in the order of settlement, came in the fall of 1824, and located just over the line. He had a brother, Thomas Jones, 1st. Thomas Jones, 2d, is a son of Edward, and is on the Susquehanna County side, as is also his brother James.
Messrs. Jenkins and Jones were induced to look at land in this vicinity, by a Welshman in Philadelphia (Simmons), who was a friend of Thomas Mitchell, the landholder. The tract was then a wilderness, lying principally upon the hills. David Thomas landed at New York, went to Philadelphia, where he also fell in with Simmons, who recommended this locality. It is but three miles from Leraysville. At that time, Esquire Seymour had a small store at the latter point, and accommodated the incomers by selling them axes, and a few common articles of daily use. To examine a more extended assortment, though sufficiently limited, the daughter of the pioneer would walk seven miles by a path through the woods to Friendsville, after the morning's work; would do her shopping and visit, then walk back, and finish the evening's work.
Samuel Davis joined the settlement in 1831, and is now living with his son, John S., on a high hill this side of the county line. This year, the first Welsh church and school-house were erected on the opposite side of the line, on the hill facing the creek. Daniel D. Jones was the founder of the church, and its pastor nineteen years. He died in 1849, the year after the present edifice was built.
Rev. Thomas Thomas, pastor of the Rushville and Stevensville churches, formerly preached in the Welsh settlement. His brother, Griffith, after making an improvement on the farm now occupied by J. D. Thomas, removed into Bradford County.
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The Welsh families were mostly from Cardiganshire and Glanmorganshire—the latter in the southern part, and the former about the center of Wales. They had little sympathy with monarchical institutions, and one motive which induced them to leave the mother country, was to rid themselves of the obnoxious tax for the support of the established church of England. This amounted to one-tenth of their income ; and, in addition, as all are Presbyterian or Congregational in sentiment, they bad to support their own churches. There was never a Roman Catholic among them. A majority of all the community are members of the Protestant church. A oneness of interest and feeling pervades the entire settlement. In all, it contains from forty-five to fifty families; only fifteen of which are in Susquehanna County ; these are Evan Evans, and David Jones (son of John), in Apolacon ; Thomas Williams, Thomas Owens, John D., and David Thomas, and Samuel Davis, with his son John S., on farms adjoining Bradford County ; next east of these are Thomas J. Jones, Samuel F. Williams, James Jones (son of Edwin), Thomas Thomas, Henry, and David E. Davis, brothers and sons of Evan Davis (brother of Samuel), who died on the passage from Wales; and near the north branch of Wyalusing, are Thomas Jones, 2d, Jenkin Jones (with his son John), John M. Davis (son of David, now dead), and Roger Philips.
They are principally farmers, though a few are mechanics, and all are readers. A large number are school-teachers--several being college graduates. First among the latter is Evan W. Evans, at present Professor of Mathematics in Cornell University. He is a son of Wm. Evans, whose residence is across the line of Bradford County ; while his daughter, the wife of Rev. Thomas Thomas, is near him on this side.
We are told, that when Professor Evans was a lad, his thirst for knowledge was so great that his father determined to send him to Yale College. Whilst there, he was said to be the most retiring, diffident, and industrious young man in the college.
He was chief of the editors of the `Yale Literary Magazine,' and graduated with special distinction in literature. His knowledge of geology was such, that in a sojourn in Western Virginia a few years ago, he was induced to enter into some speculations in petroleum, and acquired a large fortune.
He is the highest authority among the scholars of our country on the Celtic language and literature ; and has contributed articles to the journal of the American Philological Society on this subject. He was Professor of Mathematics in Marietta College, Ohio, but when the Faculty of Cornell University was organized, he was offered the distinguished position he now fills.
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A characteristic of Welsh names is that the omission of the final s changes a surname into a given name ; thus, Evan Evans, Jenkin Jenkins, Griffith Griffiths, etc., are common instances of alliteration among them.
Politically, the Welsh are Republican.
On this side of the church and creek, which here crosses the county line, the settlement has recently been accommodated by the establishment of Neath Post-office, Bradford County.
Many are the evidences of thrift and prosperity. Wheat on the hills; good houses on well-cleared farms, having still enough forest to make the landscape picturesque; the little church and the white monuments gleaming near it; the bridge over the winding creek below—all combine to make the locality inviting.
The musical taste of the people, as well as the character and profession of the one it commemorates (a musician), has found expression in an inscription upon one of the monuments.
Upon the marble lines of the G clef are engraved the notes of a tune; to which, just below, are set the words:—
" How blest the righteous when he dies !"
The first interment in the burying-ground was that of a child of David Thomas ; its grandfather, John Howell, was the first adult buried here in 1834. The grave of one union soldier is found even in this small inclosure—that of Theron H. Jones, who died in the service. Alas, that the graves of others of Middletown, whose lives were thus sacrificed, should be remote and unknown.
THE IRISH SETTLEMENT.
It was probably through the influence of Edward White, an Irish gentleman, who acted as agent for Dr. Rose, that the lands of the latter attracted the notice of Irishmen, as early as 1829. They were, for the most part, laborers drawn to this country by the demands of the public works; from which it was not difficult to withdraw them when they perceived their opportunity to become landowners—a privilege which the regulations of their own country made impossible.
James Ferris and Philip Finnelly were the first Trish settlers in Middletown. The following year, 1830, Patrick Magee (since gone West), Walter O'Flanlin, and John Murphy came. The latter settled on a farm partly cleared by an American. Thomas Colford and Bernard Keen'an were here about the same time.
Dennis McMahan, — Dougherty, William Fennel, Edward Grimes, Michael Cunningham, Jos. Tierney, Michael Whalen
- 23 -
354 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
(now in Friendsville), James Melhuish, and Michael Madden were among those who were here before 1840 ; the last named settled where Esq. Keeler is now. Edward Grimes' last location is near the Bradford County line, where he has cleared and cultivated a fine farm. He cleared two farms previously.
Mr. Cunningham and Joseph Tierney bought adjoining farms (formerly Holeman's), on the Wolf road, of — Spafford (American). Both occupy a ridge commanding a fine prospect. Mr. C. is still living, over eighty years old. A Mr. Carroll cleared a large farm, and then left for the West.
The Wolf road, which is on the ridge of land between the present west line of Forest Lake and the North Branch, was so named from the fact, that after it had been marked out, at an early day, and before it was available for teams, it was a path frequented by packs of wolves.
In 1840, there was a very large accession to the Irish settlement. James Cooney cleared a large
farm, and still remains upon it. Michael Connaughton (now dead) was on the farm at present occupied by his son John.
Hugh McDonald has cleared good farms; each of the following has cleared one, at least ; Daniel Farrell (on a cross-road), and John Fitzgerald on W olf road ; Dennis Lane and Holland on the road connecting the Middle Branch with the former, where they have good farms and buildings. Indeed, many of the farms cleared by the settlers, both before and after 1840, have neat white houses, with flower gardens in front and barns in the rear—a striking contrast to their primitive rude cabins, from the doors of which pigs and poultry were not excludect • for once the question of obtaining food and drink was so difficult of solution as to leave no thought or time for the cultivation of taste in their surroundings.
The roads, in general, are better than those of Silver Lake township, and aid materially in giving one a pleasant impression of adjoining farms. Charles Heary cleared, on the Wolf road, what is called " the best farm in the township." It was recently sold to Patrick Hickey.
William Monnihan (now dead) was located on the North Branch. Edward Reilly, James Quigley, and others came about the same time as those just mentioned.
We are indebted to our foreign population for the rescue from the wilderness of a large portion of the lands of Middletown. Even where the immigration was subsequent to 1840, many of the hardships of pioneer life had to be endured ; though mills, roads, and a ready market had been supplied by the early American settlers. The latter were principally located in the vicinity of the North Branch of the Wyalusing.
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[It will be understood that those sections not now a part of Middletown, are excluded from this statement.]
Of the Irish families which have settled in the township for the last thirty years, and added to its thrift and controlled its interests, a few more are mentioned as data for a proper estimate of this section by those who, from birth and denominational prejudice, have not been able to judge fairly of its worth.
All have paid for their farms. The people are generally temperate, as there is not a licensed hotel in the township.
James Curley (now dead) had five sons, whose five farms adjoin along the road leading from the Wolf road to the North Branch. This region was a dense forest when he came in 1841. Lawrence, one of his sons, whose education had received attention in Ireland, kept the first school, near the present residence of Edward Gillan.
John Conboy came to the farm begun by J. Quigley; John Flynn to that begun by Mr. Dougherty, and now occupied by his son James ; John Horrigan and Patrick Smith, to the North Branch ; Patrick McDonough settled opposite Hugh McDonald ; and Thomas Luby began on the farm now occupied by the widow of Farrell Millmore. F. M. was one of several who came from Sligo and Roscommon Counties, Ireland, in 1833, to assist in the construction of the Chenango canal, and afterwards, of the North Branch canal (in Luzerne County) ; and who, when the work was suspended, were scattered throughout the country. Dr. Rose offered them inducements to settle here, boarding them while they examined his land. In more than one instance he furnished them a cow, upon their settlement. He also supplied them with teams, sheep, beef, and clothing; and, according to their own statement, " never pushed any man for pay."
Unlike many of the early English settlers on his lands, the Irish appeared to have been abundantly satisfied. The reason is doubtless due, in part, to a difference of national tempera ment; but, in a greater measure, to an absence of the high expectations which the English entertained, and to the contrast in their transatlantic life.
Politically, with few exceptions, the Irish are democratic, in the party sense of that term ; and denominationally, Roman Catholic. Their chapel, just over the line in Rush, accommodates both townships. Wm. Golden's farm is near it.
Thomas Moran, — Degnan, — Brennan, — Leary, Mark and Michael Keogh, — McCormick, and Edw. Gillan, were all here before 1850. A son of the last named was educated at St. Joseph's College, Choconut, and is a teacher of some note in the county. There is some ambition among the
356 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
people to give their children educational advantages, still their schools have had but few good teachers.
Francis Keenan is the present justice of the peace in Middletown.
THIS township, named in honor of Judge Jessup, was erected from parts of Bridgewater and Rush, with a small portion of Middletown, in April, 1846. It is nearly four and a half miles square. A slight variation in the line between Jessup and Bridgewater has since been made to accommodate families in the northeast corner of the former, and has resulted in the erection of the Chapman Independent School District, comprising portions of three townships. An.addition to Jessup on the west has been made by taking about eighty rods from Rush, from the Wyalusing road to the north line of the township.
Jessup is traversed by the Wyalusing Creek, its course being nearly due west two miles, from the east line of the township, then southwest about two miles, whence it runs west with little variation beyond the line of Rush.
The Wyalusing in Jessup has three or four tributaries on the north on the south, one, South Creek, the source of which is near Milton Hunter's residence in Bridgewater. The outlet of Forest Lake has its junction with the main stream at Fairdale ; Birchard Creek, at " Bolles' Flat ;" and the mouth of a third Creek running between Porter Ridge and Stuart Street (set off to Jessup in January, 1854), is nearly at the west line of the township.
Fire Hill—so named because of a succession of destructive fires along its summit—is the long, high ridge south of the Wyalusing and west of the ridge bordering South Creek, on the southwest. It nearly covers the Roberts District.
Dutch Hill—settled by persons of Dutch descent, but born in New York—comprises the section north of the Wyalu-sing and east of Forest Lake Creek. Between these hills is another, which, with equal propriety, might be called "Jersey " Hill.
Jessup, at the time of its first settlement, was in the remaining portion of old Tioga, Luzerne County but, soon after, was included in Rush, as originally bounded. To the settlers from Connecticut it was known as MANOR in the eastern, and USHER
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in the western part, of the " Delaware First Purchase," as distinguished from the lands claimed by Connecticut along the Susquehanna. The first settlers of Jessup located with their families on and near Bolles' Flat, March 10th, 1799. The men may have been on the ground during the previous summer. They were Ebenezer Whipple, his step-son Ezra Lathrop, and Abner Griffis. They came from Otsego County, N. Y. In the same company there were Wm. Lathrop, brother of Ezra, and Nathan Tupper, both of whom located below the present limits of Jessup.
Four brothers, Samuel, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, and Meacham Maine came from the East about the same time with those just mentioned. Samuel Maine is mentioned in Mr. Miner's list of early Wyalusing settlers, as here, with a family of seven, in 1798 ; but from other sources of information it seems evident they did not precede Mr. Whipple. Samuel and Meacham Maine were in Usher, and the other brothers in Manor. Ezekiel Maine, Jr., was born on " the Shay farm" where his father began his clearing, and where David Turrell afterwards lived. It was once known as Maine Hill. His farm was east of that of his brother Samuel, who was located on the flat at the junction of South Creek with the Wyalusing. Two or three old apple trees now designate the spot. He sold the farm (or whatever title he may have had to it—one derived from Connecticut) to Samuel Lewis, his brother-in-law, who came a year later ; and he then moved to what is now called the Hunter farm—once Butterfield's.¹ Meacham Maine was on the water-shed between the two principal creeks emptying into the Wyalusing from the south. He and his brother Samuel removed to Indiana prior to 1813. Nehemiah Maine's location was first in what is now Bridgewater, but very soon after, where Urbane Smith lives in Dimock.
Other settlers of 1799 were Holden Sweet, Zebdial Lathrop, and Eben Ingram. Jeremiah Meacham, John Reynolds, and Daniel Foster were here to select their lands, and the first two rolled up cabins. The same year, Holden Sweet began the first grist-mill (now Depue's) in a portion of which he and his family lived. In less than two years—after spending all his property in trying in vain to bring the water in troughs for a quarter of a mile—he became discouraged; changed situations with Abnei Griffis, and cultivated his improvements, while Mr. G., in a few
¹ The location given to Samuel Maine on the map of Manor is the place ho sold to Joseph Butterfield, about 1812. There is a discrepancy in the statement respecting his location, as, in 1801, the court record places his name when Meacham M.'s appears on the map. Another authority confirms the reoord suiting that the latter was on " the water-shed " between two creeks runnini north into the Wyalusiug.
358 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
months, succeeded in starting the mill. For more than a year it was without a bolt; and he sold a cow to procure one. Previous to this the settlers found the nearest mills at the mouth of the Wyalusing, and at Frenchtown, 20 miles distant.
Zebdial Lathrop was located north of E. Whipple, on the place now occupied by H. Whitney; he died more than thirty years ago. Zebdial, Jr., removed to Rush, afterwards to Iowa, where he died. Ruby, sister of the latter, and now Mrs. Roswell Morse, resides in Rush; another sister, Mrs. John Hancock, is dead.
Jeremiah Meacham selected the farm adjoining Ezekiel Maine's on the east. He then returned to Connecticut for his family, and arrived here—nine in all—on the 1st of March, 1800. They came via Great Bend to H. Tiffany's in " Nine Partners," and from thence to Stephen Wilson's, and found but one house between—that of Jos. Chapman in what is now Brooklyn. Upon reaching Ezekiel Maine's, and finding no path beyond, the family halted until a road was cut. There was not a nail in Mr. Meacham's house, the shingles being held on with poles.
The east line of Jessup passes through the house occupied by his son Sheldon, until his recent decease, on the farm cleared by Mr. M., and where he died. A part of the estate passed to the late Jeremiah Meacham, Jr., who resided on it until a few years since. In early life he united with the Baptist church, in which he was deacon for many years. As an upright, honest, Christian man, his name and character are without blemish. He died in Montrose, February 24, 1871, aged seventy-eight years. [The compiler received from him the original map of the survey of " Manor," and several items of much interest.]
John Reynolds and Daniel Foster came, the second time, from Long Island, in company with Bartlet Hinds, of Bridgewater, in May, 1800. They lived in the cabin that Mr. Reynolds had built the previous year; and to this, in the next fall, Mr. Foster and his family came. His son Walter was then in his eighth year. He says :—
"The cabin had no floor, except that mother had a short board to keep her feet warm. When Mr. Reynolds brought his family in the spring of 1801, father moved into his own house across the creek, Mr. Reynolds being on the left bank, on a knoll still marked by the remains of the old chimney and foundation of the house. 'He had the first fulling-mill in Jessup. Its site is marked by the stone chimney left standing when the building was burned. For some years, his family occupied a part of it. My father built, in 1812, a framed house, also on the right bank, but a few rods further west. He paid for his land twice,—first to his friend Mr. Reynolds, who held a Connecticut title only, and afterwards to the Wallace estate, or rather to Peter Graham, to whom the obligation was transferred. After giving to
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the latter one hundred and thirty acres and the saw-mill, he had two hundred and fifty acres left."
Mr. Foster died in 1829, and the place, until within a few years, was occupied by Walter Foster, since a resident of Montrose, but who deceased in September, 1872, at the residence of his son, near Scranton. The death of Mrs. Walter F. occurred at the same place the preceding February.
Ichabod Halsey came with Messrs. Reynolds and Foster, in 1800, and began on the farm now occupied by the Roy brothers.
Samuel Lewis, with five in his family, and James Carroll, also with five, were included in Mr. Miner's list of fifty persons, old and young, who were, in 1800, on the Wyalusing between Fairdale and the present east line of Rush.
Charles Miner was on the Wyalusing in 1799 and 1800, and took up two lots, one on the farm now occupied by Buckingham Stuart, where he cleared four acres and sowed it with wheat. This he harvested in the fall, and while it was in the stack, it was destroyed by bears. The place is still known as Miner Hill. The other lot was located where Benajah Chatfield afterwards lived, and is now occupied by Lyman Picket. Here Mr. M. built a bark cabin, and, with the assistance of a man who came with him, commenced chopping ; but, being unaccustomed to the business, he made slow progress. He soon cut his foot, and was taken to Mr. Whipple's, where he was cared for for several weeks. "When he got well, his taste for farming subsided," says a son of Mr. Whipple, "and he began to think he had mistook his calling." Mr. Miner's own account of his experiences about that time, was given in a letter read at the Pioneer Festival, Montrose, June 2, 1858, in which, after mentioning that he and a Mr. Chase went from Mr. Parke's to the Forks of the Wyalusing, he says:—
" Mr. Bronson piloted us to lot 39 in Usher. The vocabulary of us intruding Yankees spoke of Usher, Ruby, Locke, Manor, Dandolo, and Bidwell, as our recognized localities. A. hill, descending gently to the south for half a mile ; a spring gushing from its side, running through groves of sugar maple, beech, cherry, whitewood, and here and there a monster of a hemlock, through swales now green with springing grass; we made a bark cabin, open in front to a huge log against which our fire was kindled; a bed of hemlock-boughs ; each a blanket ; a six-quart camp-kettle to boil our chocolate; plates and dishes made from the soft whitewood or maple. Here we took up our quarters for the summer (1799). Chopped awkwardly, slept soundly, except being awaked too early from our town habits by the stamping deer, for we had taken possession of a favorite runway. This, if my memory is correct, was about two¹ miles west from where Montrose was afterwards located. That summer and the next, population poured in rapidly under
¹ In his history of Wyoming, he gives it three miles west, which is nearer correct. He probably supposed Montrose located on the old road to Great Bend, which ran farther west than the present one.
360 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
the auspices of Col. Ezekiel Hyde, our Yankee leader. His headquarters were at Rindaw.
" From Wilson's, down the east branch of the Wyalusing to the Forks, were Maine, Lathrop, Whipple, Sweet, Griffis, Tupper, Picket (the famous painter' killer), and Beaumont ; on the middle branch, .at the large salt spring, the Birchards, I think the first and only inhabitants of Ruby on the north branch, in Locke, the Canfields and Brister, the renowned wolf slayer. The Parkes were the only settlers in Bidwell, as Wilson was in the Manor. [The map shows his location just outside of Manor.] .
" Was it a time of suffering ? No ! no ! of pleasurable excitement [Mr. M. was then but nineteen years of age], of hope, health, and mutual kindness. Novelty gilded the scene. There was just enough of danger, toil, and privation to give life a relish.
"My Sunday home wasi at Mr. Whipple's, whose residence was on the Wya-lusing, a mile south of us. He was a capital hunter. An anecdote will give you his character. Just at dusk, he returned from the woods in high spirits. I have him—a large bear—we will go out in the morning and fetch him in !' Behold ! as he had shot in the twilight, he had killed Nathan Tupper's only
cow. Mr. Whipple, the most fore-handed settler, had three. Neighbor Tupper,' said he, I am sorry—it was an accident. Now choose of mine which you please.' 'I won't take your best; let me have old Brindle; she is worth more than mine,' said Mr. Tupper; and the matter was settled by that higher law, `Do as you would be done by.' Not an instance of dishonesty, or even of unkindness, do I remember. Grain was scarce, mills distant; a maple stump was burned hollow for a mortar, early corn pounded ; the good Mrs. Whipple stewed pumpkins, and of the mixture made capital bread.
The rifle of Mr. Whipple furnished abundance of venison. Deer were plenty—a few elk remained—on the river hills that encircled us, there were the pilot and rattlesnake, where annual fires prevailed. In the deep shade of the dense forest they had not yet penetrated."
J. W. Chapman, Esq., relates the following :—
"Mr. Whipple happened along one day with his rifle, where my father and Mr. Jeremiah Gere were chopping trees, and stopped to talk a few minutes of his exploits in shooting partridges. ‘What !’ inquired one of them, you don't shoot them with a rifle-ball, do you ?" Of course,' replied he. I always take their heads off with a ball, rather than mangle their bodies with shot,' continued he. They looked at each other with a somewhat incredulous glance, as if suspecting it to be rather a tough yarn ; when one of them happened to espy a couple of those birds a few rods off, hopping up at each other, in play or fight. 'There's a chance for you, Mr. Whipple,' said he ; if you can shoot off a pheasant's head with a ball, let's see it.' The old man deliberately drew up his rifle, and quietly said, Wait till they get in range;' and the next moment pop went the rifle, and sure enough both their heads were taken off by the ball ! Their incredulity vanished, while the old hunter walked off with his game in triumph."
In these early times he killed, besides other game, as many as one hundred deer in a year.
Cyrus Whipple, a son of Ebenezer, now living in Iowa, writes :—
" I was five years old when my father emigrated from Otsego County, New York, to the banks of the Wyalusing. Soon after there came a freshet, the creek overflowed its banks, and a portion of its current swept through our cabin, running near our fireplace a foot deep or more. I remember my mother's washing and dipping' up the water by the side of her kettle. This was our introduction to pioneer life."
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He also states, that Mr. Miner after he went to Wilkes-Barre, and after his marriage, came several times to see his father.
" On one of these visits Mr. Miner said, I tell my wife, sometimes, I never enjoyed life so well as I did when I lived away up in the woods with Uncle Whipple ; and she'll box my ears for it.' On another occasion my father related to him a wolf story, which Mr. Miner published fifteen or twenty years after my father's decease, adding: The noble old hunter now sleeps in the bosom of that soil of which he was one of the pioneers, after having filled up and rounded off an amiable, useful, and blameless life.'"
Ebenezer Whipple occupied the centre of the Flat seven years. He sold his possession to Peter Stevens. He afterwards lived on the Carrier place, where he died in 1826, aged seventy-two. There were then heroines as well as heroes. A sister of Cyrus Whipple's, then a young girl, saw a deer in the creek as she was passing by, and called at a house for a man to shoot it. As it happened, only the lady of the house was in ; she took the gun and accompanied the girl within shooting distance, but then her courage failed. The girl herself now rose to the occasion. Seizing the gun, she fired, and instantly a famous buck lay splashing in the water.
One day in the absence of her husband, Mrs. Cyrus W. saw a ferocious wild-cat within a few rods of the house. It caught a goose and began to eat it. The thought, that it might at another time make a meal of one of her children, nerved her, though naturally a very timid woman, to sally forth with a rifle to shoot it. When she came near, it placed its paws upon a log, and gave a growl of defiance; then she brought the rifle to bear upon it, and the next moment it lay lifeless.
A road was petitioned for in 1801, " to run by Abner Griffis' grist-mill." Another, "to begin between the houses of Ezra Lathrop and Abner Griffis on the Wyalusing Creek road, to intersect the Nicholson road near the house of Joseph Chapman, Jr." (on the Hopbottom). Of this, John Robinson, S. Wilson, Jabez A. Birchard, and Myron Kasson were viewers. Another, to begin "between the houses of Ebenezer Whipple and Ezra Lathrop, and run north past Zebdial Lathrop's to Ellicott's road, near the 34th mile-tree." Another, petitioned for by Ichabod Halsey and others, " to cross the Wyalusing at Foster's sawmill," etc.
David Doud was on the Wyalusing as early as 1801, and occupied the first clearing of Mr. Miner.
David Olmstead was in as early as 1802. He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut ; was a soldier of the Revolution, in the northern campaign under Gen. Gates, also with Washington in his retreat from New York, and at Ticonderoga. One of the marked features of his character was a devoted attachment to the faith of the Protestant Episcopal church. He died in Jessup (then Bridgewater) November 29th, 1829.
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Samuel Lewis was located near him. In an advertisement, in 1802, the latter gives his address as Usher, Headwaters of the Wyalusing, Luzerne County.
About half a mile above the location of Mr, Griffis' mill, Jacob Cooley built a still (distillery) in the year 1803. This undertaking failed in less than seven years. During this time he lost two children ; one being drowned in the creek, the other scalded in the still.
He bought the mill of Griffis, about 1804, and built the first dam near the mill, of poles. He lived in the mill until 1811, when he rented the place to D. Lampson for two years, and left ; when he returned, he built a house just above, on the same side of the road, opposite the present residence of E. Bolles.
From Cooley, the mill passed into the hands of Jesse Ross ; from him, to his son Isaac H.; from him, to his brother Perrin ; then to Asa and Adolphus Olmstead; next, to Mason Denison; and successively to Samuel Bertholf, Benjamin Depue, Timothy Depue, and to his son T. J. Depue, the present owner.
Abner Griffis had five sons: Solomon, Ezekiel, John, Elisha, and Robert. The last named went to his present location in 1814, and his father made his home with him the year following, but
afterwards spent some time with Solomon in Otsego County, New York; then returned to Jessup, but finally died at Solomon's. Of the latter, Mr. Miner says : " He was the beau of the Wyalusing; he had a fine form, a ruddy cheek, bright eye, pleasant smile, manly expression, and—with the rifle—no superior."
If Mr. Miner's recollections of the pioneers of Jessup were all pleasant, their remembrance of him was equally so, and blended with pride in his after-course—the success he achieved —and the eminent service he was able to render to others. After he went to Wilkes-Barre, he was a teacher, then editor of the Luzerne Federalist.'
January, 1804, he married Miss Letitia Wright, of the same place.
In 1811 he, with Mr. Butler, established the ‘Gleaner,' which became very popular. He was afterwards editor of the True American,' and of the 'Political and Commercial Register' of Philadelphia; and was twice a colleague of Buchanan in the State Legislature. His History of Wyoming' is completely exhaustive of the subject of Connecticut claims in this region,
and is a standard work. He died when more than eighty years of age.
Levi Leonard, of Rush, is said to have been the first teacher in Jessup. Another authority gives Hosea Tiffany, of Harford, as the first.
In the spring of 1807, on the last day of March or the first
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of April, there was four feet of snow on the ground. Mr. J. Meacham's wife and three daughters were then all confined to their beds with sickness. Dr. Fraser came from Great Bend to attend them. Their fire-wood being exhausted they were obliged to burn the fence, as the woods, though only eight or ten rods off, were inaccessible by the ox team. There were no drifts on account of the woods. For seven days it was cold, blowing weather; then the sun shone out; and in the little clearings the snow melted so rapidly, that with the large amount in the woods, it caused what is known as " the great flood."
Matthias Smith was a settler of 1808. His first wife, who died early, was a daughter of Ebenezer Whipple.
William C. Turrell's farm adjoined that of M. Smith on one side, and of Asa Olmstead on the other. He was here some time prior to 1810.
Col. Turrell's log-house was on that part of his farm now owned by Dr. N. P. Cornwell, on the same side of the road as the house of the latter, but west of it, on the fiat. The place was known by the name of " Turrell's Flat."
In 1811 he was chosen Lt.-Col. of the 129th Regiment Pennsylvania militia, and was always an active and influential man in the township. About thirty years ago he went West, and died there some time afterwards. His brother David's farm adjoined that of Lyman Cook, which was next to William C. Turrell's on the east, near Fairdale. He also went West, and died in Michigan, in 1849, aged 66. Another brother, with the christian name of Doctor, made an improvement early, where William Robertson now lives, on Dutch Hill.
Robinson Bolles came from Groton, New London County, Connecticut, in the autumn of 1810, with his wife and nine children. They were twenty days on their journey—their wagon drawn by horses—two days being required from New Milford to the former location of Ebenezer Whipple. This had been sold to Peter Stevens, from whom Mr. Bolles purchased. The house stood in the center of the flat, but the latter afterwards built, on the north side of the road, the large house now owned by his grandson, Amos, a son of Simeon A. Bolles.
The sons of Robinson Bolles were Simeon A., Abel, Nelson, Elkanah, John, James, and Lyman. He also had five daughters. The most of his descendants settled within the county, and several in Jessup. He was highly respected for his strict integrity and love of justice. He died in 1842, aged seyenty-six; his widow died ten years later, aged eighty-four.
In 1812 Zephaniah Cornell settled in that part of Bridgewater, now in the extreme northeast corner of Jessup, the farm of two hundred acres extending into Forest Lake.
In 1828 he sold the lower part of it to Maryin Hall, and
364 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
moved to the north part—now known as Cornell Hill; he after- t' wards bought out Mr. Hall, returned to the old homestead, leaves ing the Forest Lake part of the farm to his son, S. D. Cornell, who still occupies it. He died in Jessup December 8, 1871, aged nearly eighty-nine.
The first settler on Dutch Hill was a native of Conn., Lemuel Wallbridge, who was located, as early as 1812, near its top. That year Christian Shelp, originally from New York, and of Dutch descent, came from Milford, and bought of Dr. Rose four hundred acres, just below Mr. Wallbridge. Henry Pruyne, father-in-law of Mr. Shelp, accompanied the latter from Great
Bend, where he had settled two years previous. He was a soldier of the Revolution and a pensioner. His death occurred in 1843, and that of his widow, Rachel, Ltbe following year, at , the age of eighty-one.
Charles Davis, a son-in-law of Mr. Shelp, came in about the same time with the latter, and settled near him. The sons of Christian Shelp were John, Nathaniel, Henry, Christian, Jr., and Stephen. The Shelps were the first of the Dutch families in Jessup. Henry S. now lives on the same place where his father lived forty years ago. [The Shays were the first family from New Jersey, and came twenty-five years later.]
Dutch Hill is noted for its famous yields of maple sugar.
The improvement of Doctor Turrell (before mentioned) was just below Mr. Shelp's. It was purchased by the Wallbridges (Lemuel and son Henry), and sold by them to John Robertson ; the lot being the southern ]imit of the lands of Dr. R. H. Rose.
In the spring of 1812 Buckingham Stuart and Isaac Hart left the town of Hinesburg, Vermont, and arrived, the second day of April, at Col. Turrell's, now Fairdale, journeying on foot.
Mr. S. was a carpenter and joiner, and a millwright; and he worked at his trade a number of years, principally along the Wyalusing Creek.
In 1813 Nathaniel Stuart, father of the above, came in and took up three hundred acres just below Reynolds and Foster. His son, Nathan, who came the same year, returned to Vermont, and there lost his wife and four daughters by drowning in a freshet.
Mrs. Cyrus Whipple was a daughter of Nathaniel Stuart; she died in Dimock.
Abraham, son of Nathaniel S., died in Auburn; Isaac in Iowa; his daughter, Mrs. Luman Ferry, is dead; Mrs. Lawrence Meacham is in Auburn; two other daughters have left the county.
Buckingham Stuart married Cynthia H. Agard, a sister of Levi S. Agard, and, in J 819, removed to the farm where he now resides. This is the same farm where Mr. Miner began, in 1799,
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which D. Doud bought in 1801, and which, in 1809, was occupied by Ichabod Terry ; afterwards by Levi S. Agard, who died there, and was succeeded by Mr. Stuart. The latter is now (1872) eighty-two years old ; has had three sons and one daughter.
Fire Hill was settled in 1812 by Hart Roberts, who afterwards went West and died. Henry Bertholf now owns his place.
Prior to 1813 there were other " new-comers" mentioned on the tax-list, among whom were: William A. Burnham, where James Carroll first settled, and now the Walker farm ; John Blaisdell, from Massachusetts, on Porter Ridge ; Israel Birchard, from Forest Lake, where he located in 1801; Jacob and John Bump, on the hill north of Dr. Cornwell's ; James Cook, where Cyrus Sheets now lives. The sons of Israel Birchard were Pliny, Harry A., Jesse, Upson, Horace, Ralph, Lyman, and Lucius; and several of his descendants are now residents of the township. His life is said to have been an undeviating example of integrity. He died in Jessup Deternber, 1818, aged fifty-three.
Jonas Fuller, a millwright, came from Vermont in 1813 ; the next year he looked for land, and bought one hundred acres, then in Bridgewater, but now on the line between Jessup and Dimock. He is now a resident of Auburn, and is nearly or quite eighty years old. He narrates many incidents of the early tunes. At one time when passing between Elk Lake and Cooley's Mill he met a wolf. Neither saw the other until they were a few feet apart, when Mr. F. raised his arms, and, giving a loud yell, so frightened it that it turned and ran away.
Champlin Harris, then boarding with Mr. Fuller, with a trap caught at least a dozen bears and wolves. He was noted for prowess in hunting. He settled in Jessup on the present location of Samuel Warner.
Lory Stone, a native of Litchfield County, Conn., came in 1814 to the farm where he died October 31, 1871, in his eighty-third year. Mrs. S. survived him only one week, and died at the age of seventy-nine. They were the parents of the present postmaster at Montrose. Another son resides upon the homestead.
The same year Benajah Chatfield came from Vermont, and occupied one of the clearings made by Charles Miner; Salmon Bradshaw came from Connecticut, and settled where Matthew McKeeby now is ; and Christopher Sherman, where Jasper Run-dall lives. Christopher Sherman's sons were Jonathan C., Jesse, and Abel. Their father had been a soldier of the Revolution. He died in 1835. Benajah Chatfield died the same year, aged seventy-three; his widow, December, 1843, aged seventy-eight.
366 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Before the close of 1815 David Sherer, with his son-in-law, John Robertson, and their families, came from New Hampshire. The former bought of Henry Wallbridge the farm now owned by E. J. Jagger, who purchased it of D. Sherer in 1837. 4ohn Robertson lived twenty years on what is known now as the Steiger farm, and then purchased the place where he now lives with his son William. He had five sons. The sons of David Sherer were John, who became a Presbyterian minister; William, who was a physician in Virginia and Kentucky, and died in the latter State James and Samuel, at present residents of Dimock. Their father died on the farm they now occupy, in 1846, aged eighty-seven. He left Ireland when five years old ; was a Revolutionary soldier when aged eighteen, and was at the battle of Stillwater, the surrender of Burgoyne, and with Washington in the encampment at Valley Forge. He became a Presbyterian, and was a consistent church member for the last fifty-five years of his life.
His daughter Mary (Mrs. Baldwin of New York) was one of the early teachers' of the township. David Robertson, son of John, was also a teacher about forty years ago.
In 1816 John A. Patch came to what is called " the Abel Sherman farm," when that was in Bridgewater, and remained on it until 1831. He died in the township March, 1840. His
widow, Polly, is still living. The family consisted of seven sons and four daughters. Three of the latter now live in the county ; one son, Joseph H., is in Forest Lake, the others are either dead or out of the county. Benjamin L., the youngest, has been, for several years, a president judge in Carroll County, Illinois.
In the same year Reynolds and Frost were in partnership as clothiers.
In 1817 Thomas H. Doyle was a cloth dresser, six miles from Montrose on the Wyalusing road, and in 1818 Isaac II. Ross and Jonathan C. Sherman took the same stand—the house is now a part of Depue's mills.
In 1819 James Young, Sen., a native of Scotland, came from the vicinity of Philadelphia, and settled in that part of Jessup once Bridgewater. He had started for Silver Lake, having heard flattering accounts of the lands of Dr. Rose, but upon reaching the place of J. W. Robinson, in what is now Dimock, he was induced to purchase land belonging to the Wallace estate (now in Jessup), about three-fourths of a mile west of B. McKenzie. Here his family occupied a log-house, without a door, as many had done before them. Such hardships, however,
seem not to have shortened the lives of the pioneers ; Mr. Y. lived to be seventy-three, and his wife, who died in 1862, nineteen years later, was over ninety years of age. The farm is now
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 367
owned and occupied by their son James. Mr. Y. left this place two years after he came to it, and lived, perhaps, a dozen years on the Mallery farm before returning to the old homestead.
George Clagget made the first improvement on the corner where Dr. N. P. Cornwell has been located since 1837. It was a part of Col. Turrell's farm ; Curtis Bliss owned it in 1820. The latter and John Shelp went through western New York on a tour of exploration about this time, and, in a letter soon after published in Waldie's Messenger' (at Montrose), he says :—
" As to the soil we are satisfied from what we saw, and from the information we received of the amount of crops raised where we have been, that if we and our neighbors will cultivate our soil as it ought to be cultivated, there are few places which we have seen on our route that will be able to claim a superiority over us as to quantity of produce, and certainly none as to value."
Two of his neighbors took nearly the same route, soon after, to jtidge for themselves of the correctness of Mr. Bliss' statements, and add :—
Though our soil generally is not equal to some that may be found westward, yet, independent of the sickness interrupting the labors of a farmer on the flats, our crops, acre for acre, are worth much more here than there. There is one thing well known to all the settlers in our county—that the soil here is very lasting—for the oldest farms, when ploughed and properly cultivated, produce the best crops, better than new lands."
Mr. Bliss states :—
" I have been in thirteen States of the Union, and in comparison with all the parts that I have seen (taking into view the price of land and the uncommon healthiness of this county), I can truly say I think there is every reason for the inhabitants of Susquehanna County to be satisfied with it."
The first post-office was established in 1829 at Fairdale, Asa Olmstead, postmaster. It is spoken of as re-established in 1842, Daniel Hoff, postmaster.
About twenty years ago another post-office was opened on Porter Ridge, Pliny Birchard, postmaster. On his resignation Robert Griffis, Esq., was appointed postmaster, just at the expiration (under the new Constitution) of his term as justice of the peace. He held the latter office, by appointment and election, about thirty years, and the post-office ten years; but the mail is now discontinued at that point.
Elder William Brand was located in Jessup in 1832, having then but recently arrived from Portsmouth, England, where he was settled many years as a Baptist minister. One of his daughters was a successful teacher in Montrose. She married Rev. Justin A. Smith, D.D., now of Chicago, in which city she died in September, 1871. Eld. B. removed some years ago.
Dr. William Bissel came into the county in 1827. He was then a medical student with Dr. Samuel Bissel of Brooklyn. In Nov. 1831 he read with Dr. Fraser, and was for two years in
368 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
business with Dr. Leet at Friendsville ; then came to Jessup, not far from his present location, on one of the early clearings of John Blaisdell. Elder Brand also occupied one of these clearings.
In 1837, the Rush Baptist church was organized at the Bolles school-house, and, twenty-five years later, also the Jessup Soldiers' Aid Society. The old building stood on the corner opposite the present neat structure, near the grave-yard.
The first officers appointed by the court after the erection of Jessup were: L. W. Birchard, constable; John Bedell, Orrin S. Beebe, Waller Olmstead, supervisors.
The first officers elected by the people : L. W. Birchard, constable; John Bedell, James Waldie, and Walter Foster, supervisors; Elkanah Bolles, clerk; Asa Olmstead, treasurer; Lory Stone, assessor; Erastus V. Cook, Joseph W. Smith, and David S. Robertson, auditors; J. C. Sherman, Henry Shelp, Simeon A. Bolles, John Hancock, Waller Olmstead, and HOrace Smith, school directors ; John Hancock, judge of elections; James Bolles, Asa Olmstead, and Jeremiah Baldwin, inspectors; Joseph W. Smith, justice of the peace.
There is now in the possession of Edgar W. Bolles the trunk of a hemlock two and a half feet in diameter, bearing unmistakable internal marks of a sharp tool in several places. The tree fell in 1851, and opened in such a way as to show the marks, which, from the subsequent layers of wood, are supposed to have been made more than two hundred years ago.
IN 1835 viewers were appointed to mark the bounds of a new township to be taken from parts of Middletown, Bridgewater, and Silver Lake. Their report was accepted by the court May, 1836; and the twenty-second township was named Forest Lake from a small sheet of water near its former center. The west line of Bridgewater previously passed through it.
The new township was about four miles east and west by five miles north and south ; but it has since been twice enlarged by the reduction of Middletown. The middle branch of the Wyalusing rising in the northwest, and the outlet of the lake, flowing into the east branch, principally drain the township ; though Choconut and Silver creeks have their sources in the northern and eastern pasts.
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The Milford and Owego turnpike (completed December, 1821) crosses the township, diagonally, from southeast to northwest, overtopping the high hills, and coursing down them to leap, but never to follow, the narrow streams. In extenuation of its route, it is said, the road was built to accommodate the early settlers, who were fond of locating on the tops of hills; not only because the soil was better than in the valleys, but also because of the wider prospect. A writer in 1832 says of this turnpike—
Any one who has toiled over its endless hills will recollect them, and for those who have not, a description is useless. Like the Falls of Niagara they must be seen to be wondered at. Few teams from Montrose proceed further than the Apolacon road ; for though the distance is greater by three or four miles, the latter route is preferred, and can be traveled in a shorter time. Still, before you get here, fifteen long miles over fifteen dreary hills have to be traversed."
Written as this was, at a time when it was sought to bring everything to bear favorably upon the interests of the western part of the county, and when a railroad from the Lackawanna coal field to Owego was in contemplation, one might have been tempted to exaggerate existing inconveniences; but impartial criticism will sustain the writer. A gentleman traveling over the road for the first time, on arriving at the hotel, in Montrose, remarked before several gentlemen (one of whom located it), "There's just one mistake they made when they laid out that road." " Ah ! what's that ?" was asked. " Back here there's a piece of level land, whereas, if they had turned a little to the right, they might have made another hill." Many a joke is told at the expense of the surveyor of the road. A foreigner who settled in the township said, " If I believed in the transmigration of souls, I should hope the soul of the surveyor of the Owego turnpike might be given to an old horse, and doomed to go before the stage between Montrose and Owego."
In 1799, Jesse and Jabez A. Birchard came from Connecticut to what is now called Birchardville, on the Middle Branch of the Wyalusing, worked on land under a Connecticut title, and built themselves log houses. The locality is now within the present area of Forest Lake, though it belonged in Middletown, from the organization of that township. When the Birchards came, "Ruby" was their recognized locality; probably, they then knew nothing, and cared less, for the metes and bounds of Pennsylvania. Hon. Charles Miner, in 1799, mentions them as the first and only inhabitants of Ruby. He was then in "Usher," (now Jessup); and in a letter to the pioneer festival, held at Montrose, June, 1858, he says: " I used to run over by the lot lines, to the settlement of my good friends, the Birchards, and spend a day of pleasure with them. It was at the deer lick at their door, that I shot my first buck."
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370 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
In March, 1800, Jabez A. brought his wife, the first woman in the place; and until May or June following, she did not see a woman, when two girls—Betsey Brownson and Betsey Hyde—walked through the woods from the Forks of the Wyalusing, to make her a visit, and stayed two nights; the distance, going and returning, being about fifteen miles.
Mr. and Mrs. B. had six children : Mary M., wife of Lewis Chamberlin, formerly of Silver Lake, and Fanny H., wife of Amos Bixby, are dead ; Charles D., Backus, and George, now live in Iowa. Jabez A., Jr., also resided there from 1836 until his death, October 20, 1871, aged sixty-seven. He as a member of the first legislature of Iowa, and held many offices in Scott County.
In 1846, the father also removed to Iowa, where he died, December 18, 1848, aged seventy-three.
His farm in Forest Lake is now occupied by Edward Slawson.
Jesse Birchard brought his family in the spring of 1801, to the farm vacated early in 1870 by his son, the late John S. B. They had but partly unloaded their goods, when upon leaving them to go to Jabez 's to dinner, sparks from a fire which Mr. B. had kindled fell upon them, and communicated to the house, which, together with their goods, was totally consumed. An earthen platter, an heirloom in the family from the time it was brought from England. in the " Mayflower," was broken to pieces in saving their effects.
Mr. B. died May 20, 1840, in his seventieth year.
In the fall or 1801, Israel Birchard (cousin of Jesse and Jabez) with wife and six children ; Jehiel Warner and wife ; Eli Warner, and Joseph Butterfield, then a young man; came together from Granby, Mass., and settled in the neighborhood. There was not a cabin between Mr. Warner and the New York State line. The late Wm. Gordon occupied the first location of Israel Birchard, who afterwards lived in Jessup, where he died December 11, 1818.
The Birchards are descended from one of the old families of Hartford, Conn., whose English ancestor settled at Martha's Vineyard, in Puritan times. The New York branch of the family spell their name Burchard.
Mrs. Jesse B. is said to have been a granddaughter of Winslow Tracy (born 1690), whose wife was a descendant of Wm. Bradford, second Governor of Plymouth Colony and one of the company who made the first landing at Plymouth Rock. Mrs. B.'s Norman ancestry is traced back to A. D. 956; the settlement of the De Tracy family in England dates from King Stephen's time. This surname is taken, it is said, from the castle of Tracy, on the Orne.
Jehiel Warner built a log-house in 1800, on the site of Sewell
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Warner's present residence, and returned to the East for his family.
Jonathan West and family came from Conn. the same year. Chester Wright is now on his farm, where the Milford and Owego turnpike crosses Pond Creek, or the outlet of Forest Lake. Here Mr. W. brought up a large family ; all now scattered. Two houses built by him are still standing near " the corners." He was an upright man, and " efficient in the promotion of good." He died May, 1832, aged seventy-one. One of his sons, Joshua, lived on the farm, at the head of the lake, and built the house which is still standing.
In 1801, Benjamin Babcock came, and was the original settler of what has since been known as the Brock farm. In the spring of 1832, while attending to his cattle, he was injured in the head by one of them, and died from the effects. He had been a Revolutionary soldier, and was eighty-two years old.
During this year the township of Rush was erected. It included all the present township of Forest Lake, until the erection of Bridgewater.
In 1802, Samuel Newcomb settled at the outlet of Forest Lake, and for many years it was known as "Newcomb's Pond." He bought the house built by Eli Warner and added to it, making it a double log-house. This he sold in 1819 to Wm. Turner, an Englishman, and removed to " Fire Hill" (Jessup), where he lived twenty-five years or more, and then left the county to reside in central New York. His wife was a daughter of Jonathan West.
In 1803, Luther Kallam came from Stonington, Conn. (where he was born in 1760), and settled on Pond Creek, a little more than two miles south of the " Pond," where he resided until his death, June 5th, 1846, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He enlisted, when but sixteen years old in the Revolutionary army ; served, at different times, three years; and was in three engagements, one of which was at White Plains, N. Y. He is spoken of as a man of spotless integrity. He raised a large family, and his funeral was attended by about thirty of his grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Until recently one of his sons occupied his place, and it is still called the Kallam farm.
In the winter of 1809-10, Ezekiel and Elisha Griffis (brothers) moved into this section from the banks of the Wyalusing, where they had lived since 1799.
Ezekiel built on the site of the present residence of his nephew, Abner Griffis. Only a part of his house remains, and that is used as an out-building. It was once occupied by Adam Waldie, who purchased the farm about 1820, when Ezekiel removed to Bradford County.
Elisha built across the road from his brother, and resided there
372 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
until 1832, when he moved into the house Mr. Waldie bad left several years earlier. In 1837 he built the large house now occupied by his son Abner, and lived in it until a short time before his death, when he again crossed the road to his old home. Here he died, May 17, 1870, aged eighty-one years. He had seven sons: Abner, Calvin B., Milton, Austin B., Elisha, John, and Jefferson ; and one daughter, Mrs. E. B. Cobb of Rush. All but one of the family reside in the county.
Mrs. G. was a daughter of John Blaisdell. She died in 1864.
In his last years Mr. G. related several incidents that occurred prior to his removal from the Wyalusing. He had cracked many bushels of corn in a mortar before a mill was started. He learned to write by lying before a fire of pine-knots, his face shaded by a board. As late as 1810 he was often in the woods a whole week without seeing a human face. While clearing his farm in Forest Lake he was seven years without a team ; it was cheaper to hire than keep one. The farm now supports the largest dairy in the county—about one hundred cows.
Stephen and Thaddeus Griffis, former residents of the county, belonged to another branch of the family.
In the spring of 1810 Loami Mott came from Stockbridge, Mass., to the place cleared by Joseph Butterfield, who then left for Bridgewater. Mr. B. had married ; and had two children while in Rush (now Forest Lake). Isaac and Simon E. Fessenden now occupy the farm. Loami Mott was a deacon in the Baptist church. He died in 1857, aged eighty-two years. His sons are Merrit. Willard, and Elijah.
Samuel Clark, father-in-law of Loami M., came at the same time with the latter, and died twelve years later in the house built by Joseph Butterfield. His age was seventy-six. He had been an armorer in the Revolution. Orange Mott was a brother of Loami. He settled on the lower end of Stone Street, where Luke Jagger now lives. His sons are Orange, Rev. Wm. H. (of Hyde Park), Linus, Chester, and Amos. He died January 23, 1871, aged ninety-eight years, three months, and six days. The compiler had the pleasure of seeing him the previous fall. He was the oldest man then living in the county. He had been a member of the Baptist church over fifty years.
Leman Turrel was born in New Milford, Litchfield County, Conn., July 5, 1776 (the day after the declaration of Independence of the United States was signed in Congress). In 1793 he first came to Pennsylvania, in company with his mother, to visit his sister (Mt-s. Kingsley), who then lived at the mouth of the Wyalusing Creek. His mother rode on horseback, and he walked; the distance being about two hundred and fifty miles.
In the spring of 1794, at the age of eighteen, he again came
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to survey land, under the Connecticut title, for his uncle, Job Tur-rell, and returned in the fall.
In the summer of 1809 he came once more, and bought a tract of woodland upon the head waters of the middle branch of the Wyalusing Creek (now Forest Lake, two miles east of Friendsville, on the Milford and Owego turnpike road). Here he built a log-house in the wilderness, three miles from any other ; and cut a road, at his own expense, the same distance, through the forest, to reach it.
In April, 1810, he removed with his family, consisting of his wife Lucy and four children, to his new woodland home. By untiring industry and perseverance he cleared a large farm, built a commodious residence, and acquired a handsome competence.
As occasion required he practised as a surveyor of land and roads; and when the Milford and Owego turnpike road was located through his land, he, with his two older sons, Stanley and Joel, built more than one mile of it themselves.
He had seven children, all now living excepting the eldest. They were Brittania, Stanley, Joel, Leman Miner, Abel, Lucy Ann, and James. [Joel has since deceased.]
As no district schools could be sustained during this early settlement Mr. T. taught his children himself in the evenings after the labors of the day were over, by which, with their own co-operation and efforts, they obtained a better education than many persons do with all their present advantages.
The original farm, to which have been made large additions, is now owned and occupied by the three older sons.
Leman T. died December 28, 1848, in the seventy-third year of his age, and his wife died December, 1864, in her eighty-ninth year.
Perry Ball came from Stockbridge, Mass., about 1810 or 1811, and settled on the farm where his grandson, E. G. Ball, now resides, half a mile east of where Loami Mott lived.
Seth Taylor, a native of Litchfield County, Conn., located first, in 1810, on the farm next below Garrad Stone. He settled afterwards on the road leading from the middle branch to the Choconut, where he remained until 1864; when, in company with his son Edwin, he removed to California, and while there made his home with his son Job T. Taylor, Esq., one of the earliest settlers of Plumas County. There he died, June 26, 1869, aged nearly eighty-eight years. He was a justice of the peace for Forest Lake at the time of its erection.
In 1810, Darius Bixby and Philo Morehouse, from Vermont, settled one mile east of what is now Friendsville. The former afterwards moved to the shore of the pond, in Middletown, which bears his name.
Philo Bostwick came in about the same time, and, for nearly a
374 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
quarter of a century, was a leading man in the community. The elections were held at his house, at the foot of the hill on Stone Street. He was a justice of the peace for Middletown ; his death occurring in 1834, two years before the erection of Forest Lake, and long before Stone Street became a part of it. He was killed, while chopping, by the fall of a tree; his age was fifty-one years.
Garrad Stone and wife came from Litchfield County, Conn., in 1810, and settled on. the farm of three hundred acres, lately occupied by his younger brother Judson. It was then in Rush, but
from 1813 in Middletown. He died September 21, 1855, at the age of sixty-seven. His first wife died November 6, 1848, aged sixty-two. Three married daughters survive.
Judson Stone came August, 1813, the day after be was twenty-one years old, and bought two hundred and eighty acres of land in Middletown, and began to clear up.
In the fall of 1814 he returned to Connecticut, and married, the following January, Polly Turrell.
He set out with his young bride for Susquehanna County, making the journey with an ox team, the usual mode in those days of emigrating westward. They were sixteen days upon the road. He lived upon the place first selected as his home until the death of his wife, July 17, 1855, when he purchased his brother's farm adjoining, where he lived until his death. His wife had a cheerful temperament. A log-cabin in the wildnerness, with only a chest for a table, could not check her vivacity, Privations gave but a keener zest to pleasures.
Mr. Stone built the large house now occupied by his son-in-law, Geo. B. Johnson.
From boyhood until his death he was by principle opposed to war. His convictions on this and other matters pertaining to Church and State were similar to the religious teachings and tenets of the Society of Friends, for whom he expressed the greatest consideration.
He was strenuously opposed to the use of tobacco and intoxicating beverages.
Between 1840 and 1845 he was largely interested in the tannery business. He subsequently formed a mercantile partnership in Friendsville with Amos Mott, and afterwards with Ahira Wickham, which continued for several years. In all these enterprises he was successful.
In 1855 he was married to Catharine Stone, widow and second wife of his brother Garrad, who now survives him.
He died June 22, 1871, aged seventy-eight years and ten months. Six daughters survive, all the children of his first wife.
The widow of Walker Stone (a brother of Garrad) came from
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Connecticut, in 1829, with five children, of whom Judson Stone, 2d, is the only one now living in the county.
Canfield S., another brother, came in 1821 to the farm just north of Judson's first location ; it was afterwards occupied by his son James, who died in 1860.
The three farms constituted a tract given them by their father, Canfield, who purchased it prior to their arrival. He lived and died in Connecticut. One of Canfield's daughters is Mrs. Calvin Leet of Friendsville.
The road from Birchardville to Friendsville, from its occupation by the three brothers, received the name of Stone Street. It is parallel with a creek which empties into the middle branch at the former place, and has been recently taken from Middletown. The line now runs fifty rods west of the road, near the late residence of Mr. Stone, but is, perhaps, half a mile from it at the turn near Birchardville.
Philip Blair was on the Middle Branch, below Birchardville, in 1813.
A year or two later, Abiathar, William, and Samuel Thatcher were settled near Leman Turrell.
In 1815, Stephen Bentley, originally from Rhode Island, came with his family, from Greene County, N. Y. He bought a farm on the Owego turnpike about five miles from Montrose, where he kept a public house a number of years. His children were Stephen, Marshall, Benjamin S., and George V.; and two daughters. He died in 1831, and his wife seventeen years later, aged about seventy-five years. With the exception of the youngest son, none of their family remain in the county.
In 1817, Wm. Gaylord Handrick settled near the east line of Middletown (as originally located); but, after a year or two, he built the large red house near the tannery on Stone Street. He was a tanner and shoemaker. He served as a justice of the peace for many years, and a term as county commissioner. His death occurred in 1866. He was thrice married and had thirteen children, all by his first wife, of whom six are living in the county ; William B., Wakeman C., Henry F., and David C.; Mrs. I. P. Baker, and Mrs. William Miles of Dimock.
In 1819, William Turner and wife arrived from England; having heard of Dr. Rose's lands being occupied by a British settlement. Mr. T. purchased the log-house and farm vacated by Samuel Newcomb, at the foot of " Newcomb's Pond." This was named by Mrs. T., " Forest Lake"—then a most appropriate name ; as, in the immediate vicinity of the lake there was but one clearing, and it was all forest to St. Joseph's.
Under the transforming hand of taste, the log-cabin became a charming home. The rustic gate of laurel boughs, and the trellised porch, lent an outward grace to the rude fence and
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rough walls; while the spirit and intelligence of the occupants made the spot " the retreat of the social, the gay, and refined." The place still bears marks of the care sbe bestowed upon it. What the locality was on the arrival of Mrs. T. can be best understood from a letter written by herself. It was published in the 'New York American' and Phila. Union,' and copied into the 'Susquehanna County Herald,' edited by Adam Waldie.
Extracts of a letter from an English lady to her friend in New York.
" COUNTY OF SUSQUEHANNA, Sept. 3, 1821.
" To Mrs. —:—The kind interest you expressed for us on our arrival at New York as strangers, and the generous solicitude you evinced lest our trial of farming in this country should end in disappointment, induces me now, after a period of nearly two years, to give you the following brief statement; and your kind heart shall judge of our present prospects. On our arrival at Montrose, we were directed to Silver Lake; where we were received with a courtesy which, I confess, I had not expected to meet with in the backwoods ; for we had been told they were only inhabited by wolves, and bears of two kinds, biped and quadruped. It was therefore no small satisfaction to us (after a journey of one hundred and fifty miles from New York), through forests whose gloom and vastness are appalling to an European's eye, accustomed to the groves and rosegirt meadows of England, to find that we bad escaped being devoured by the wild beasts of the wilderness ; and instead of meeting with a complete land-jobber, ready to take every advantage of foreigners, we had to deal with a gentleman, whose manners bore a pleasing promise of what we have since proved—a liberal and unbiased conduct. After viewing several farms we fixed upon the one we have now purchased, consisting of 294 acres, with a lake in which is plenty of fish. The person from whom we purchased the improvement, had held the farm seventeen years, and had built on it a double log-house and a good barn ; himself and family were living here till the day we entered. Accustomed, as we had been, to a home possessing all the comforts, and some of the elegancies of life, our rustic log-hut, surrounded by black-looking stumps, which seemed to stand like memento moris, gave a cheerless and disheartening aspect to our Susquehanna home; but a very few days of active industry turned our log-house into a clean cottage. A little white-wash and paint have a talismanic effect on dirty walls; a comfortable carpet bides a rough floor; and the good polish of housewifery will soon make dull things bright. Out-door improvements require more time and labor; and, where neglect has suffered the bramble to overrun the land, the English settler has much to do ere he can bring his farm to look tolerable to his eye. But a good flock of sheep are better exterminators than the scythe or reaping-hook ; they are fond of the young shoots, and these being frequently bitten down, the root is soon destroyed . . . . . . . We have now a pretty flower-garden in which my favorite roses grow luxuriantly, with lilacs, rhododendrons, etc., with many annuals and perennials, some of which are from dear old England. Our porch is covered with the calabash, the morning-glory, and scarlet runners, which the humming-birds delight in, and perch on their blossoms as tame as our pet robins. I love to see the native plants mingling their beautiful dyes with my own country's flowers. It seems like what ournations should be, united, blending their glories without rivalry . . . . . . . We are delighted with the excellence of the water. We have a spring that has not failed us one day, winter or summer. Your kind apprehensions for our health have proved fruitless ; not one of us has had a cold even—which, I confess, surprises me, as our winters are more severe than those of England ;
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but the air is salubrious, and we have enjoyed excellent health through all the seasons. It is a great pleasure to us to read how the world goes, and we get "rile Observer' regularly once a month, so that we have all the news about a month after it is published in London—an advantage few emigrants can boast, I believe, four thousand miles' from home. You know I laughingly told you we should rival your concerts in New York ; we sing Mozart's beautiful operas in our forest ; and last winter we had some quadrilles very gracefully danced in our parlor—the first that ever were danced in a log-house perhaps. In short, come and witness my content and happiness in my new home ; my harp sounds as sweetly in our log house as it did in a loftier dome. I believe it is the first that has breathed its tones in "Susquehanna.
The publication of the foregoing in Mr. Waldie's paper, called out the following, addressed to him by a gentleman who signed himself "Bridgewater." (This part of Forest Lake was then Bridgewater. The '" Eudoxia" referred to was Miss Waldie ; and " Musidora" was Miss Maria Bentley, afterwards, Mrs.
" A letter in one of your late numbers, for its purity of language and harmony of style, is not exceeded by anything I have read. . . . “Eudoxia” has likewise favored us with a specimen of her talents, and I hope she will not be offended at my reminding her, that her masculine understanding, and correct style, are highly appreciated by all who have the honor to know her.
. . . . Musidora too—the timid, the retiring Musidora, need not fear to write—her uncommon understanding, refined taste, and richly stored mind, need only to be known to be admired and respected . . . . . . I beg therefore, sir, that you will use your influence, to prevail on this accomplished and fascinating trio, to comply with our respectful request, that they will condescend to employ a few of their leisure moments to amuse, delight, and instruct us, with their pens."
In 1822 Mrs. Turner issued a volume of her poems entitled the Harp of the Beech-woods.'
Five years later her harp was mute in forest halls; her husband finding himself unequal to the task of subduing the wilderness, and making a living, abandoned his enterprise in Susquehanna County, and went to New York city, where Mrs. T. engaged in teaching music.
Later she wrote from Manchester, England, respecting their residence in Forest Lake.
"I believe the locality was all the insurmountable difficulty. Had we fixed near a navigable river, or within easy distance of a good market, the capital we sank in the purchase of Forest Lake, would, in its interest, have rented a small and profitable farm."
In 1833 she wrote—
" I am pleased to hear such good accounts of Forest Lake [there was then no township of this name, and she intended only to designate the vicinity of the lake], and that it is not abandoned to the raccoons, the squirrels, the deer, and the wolves, but sociably inhabited, and elegantly improved by the good taste of Mr. and Mrs. Brown."
In 1819 John B. Brown, also an Englishman, located near the lake. He was an intellectual acquisition to the neighborhood,
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but he remained only a few years. The house he occupied has since been burned. It stood just north of the present residence of Chauncey Wright. It was built by William Wynn, who soon left it to reside in Montrose. On Mr. Brown's return to England he traveled northward; and contributed to the 'Register,' published at Montrose, a series of articles entitled Things in Scotland.'
Not far from this time Frederick Brock, a German, located at "Brockville," five miles from Montrose, on the farm cleared by Benjamin Babcock. Mrs. B. was from Philadelphia, and in that city their son Frederick died April, 1841, in his thirty-third year. He was known in this vicinity as a young man of excellent talents and acquirements. He left a widow (who died a year later) and two children, since dead. Fred. Brock, Sen., died November 5, 1843, and his widow has since deceased.
Michael Flynn, one of the first Irishmen in Forest Lake, occupies the Brock farm.
Adam Waldie came with his wife and sisters, from Scotland, to the present town of Dimock in 1819 ; two years later he removed to the farm formerly occupied by Ezekiel Griffis, for which he paid $2100. He grew weary of his situation ; and as this was but part payment the land reverted to Dr. Rose.
In December, 1822, he went to Philadelphia, and published Waldie's Circulating Library,' a valuable literary paper.
"Mr. Waldie was highly esteemed, not only for his literary attainments, but for his amiable manners and gentlemanly bearing." The publication of the 'Messenger' and the 'Herald,' devoted to the dissemination of useful intelligence, and neutral in politics as they were, at a time of very great political excitement (over two years from June, 1820), could not have had other than a salutary influence.
The condition of things here, as described by Mr. Waldie a short time before he left, show that it was owing to no defect in our soil that he was induced to leave. He says in the Susquehanna County 'Herald,' June 29, 1822 :—
"A very few years since, this country was the sole possession of Indians and wild animals. The earliest settlers, trudging along for the distance of twenty or thirty miles to mill with a bushel of grain on their backs, were considered fair game for the ridicule of the inhabitants of the surrounding country. They considered those people insane who could ever think of settling among these hills. Mark the consequence. This season there have been teams from the neighboring counties to purchase grain in Montrose, and were supplied. We do not mention this boastingly. We feel grateful that we have a supply for those in want, and mention it simply to show how rapidly a change has been effected in this county, as well as in other parts of the Union. Though the settlement here does not show such a rapid, mushroom growth, as many places have exhibited, we hope that it will show a stamina equal to any."
C. F. A. Volz, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, built the
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house on the top of the hill, east of the lake, about 1824. He made application to the court, September, 1823, for naturalization, which was not granted in full until May, 1828. He is spoken of as a highly accomplished gentleman. His farming was like that of many amateurs—better in theory than in practice. The raising of sheep received considerable attention from him, and with some success. He named his place " Hope." It was near the sixth mile-stone on the Milford and Owego turnpike. The house is described as " rambling and disjointed," and is still odd enough, after some alterations have been made for the sake of convenience. Mr. V. was sometimes styled " Baron," but this may have been only a matter of compliment. He was a single man, and his domestic affairs were managed by Tom Brown and wife. His death occurred in 1839.
The farm was secured before his death to B. T. Case, Esq., and is now in the hands of his heirs.
John S. Towne, a blacksmith, was here as early as 1824. His house is the present place for holding elections. He married a daughter of Jehiel Warner.
The forests of the township, besides beech, include hemlock, maple, birch, and ash ; not much pine is found. The soil is considered rather better than that of Silver Lake.
No flax was raised for some time before the war, but considerable attention has since been given to its culture. Little wheat is grown, but excellent crops of corn, buckwheat, oats, rye, and potatoes are raised. The country in this section was quite thickly settled as early as 1830. Those persons who located themselves early in that part of Middletown since set off to Forest Lake, were, in many instances, never residents of the latter ; their death or removal occurring previous to its erection into a township—and their names and efforts are all associated with the former.
The Birchardville post-office, established in 1826 in Middletown, is retained in Forest Lake.
In 1831, the second post-office within the limits of Forest Lake was established under the name of " West Bridgewater," Zura S. Doty, postmaster. Its name was afterwards changed to Forest Lake post-office, and Elisha Griffis was appointed postmaster. The office has since been changed to Seth Wright. Within fifteen years Chase post-office was established in the western part of the township (as it was then); but the name and office are now discontinued, and that of Forest Lake Center takes its place.
About 1830, Robert W. Huddlestone built a grist-mill at the outlet of the lake. Every stick of timber used was cut and drawn by Alexander Smith, now of Montrose.
The first pickerel ever put in Forest Lake were obtained by
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Messrs. Volz and Brock, from Lathrop's Lakes (Elk Lake); and for five years no fishing was allowed there. The pickerel have always been abundant since that time. Mr. Smith himself " cut a hole in the ice and dumped the strangers in"—half a barrelful. Some years later when three lads were out in a frail canoe fishing, one Josephus Kenyon, aged fifteen years, was drowned.
Huddlestone's mill was rebuilt, in 1845, by Chauncey Wright, Esq., who came to Forest Lake, from Choconut, three years previous, and established the clothing works where the factory now stands, and where the business has been continued ever since by his son, Chester Wright; who added, in 1847, a carding-machine. The woolen factory was built twenty years later by Wright Brothers & Southwell.
As early as 1815 a grist-mill and distillery, erected by Jabez A. Birchard, were in active operation ; as also a wool-carding establishment and saw-mill, by Loami Mott, in the Middletown portion of the township. A few years later Wm. G. Handrick started a tannery on Stone Street, now owned by Mr. Guylfoyle. There are now five or six saw-mills in the township.
At the time of the " morus multicaulis" fever, in 1839, Horace Birchard, a resident of Forest Lake, manufactured a superior quality of silk; he had several species of the mulberry.
The schoolhouses of the township are all new.
The library formed forty years ago at Jehiel Warner's (then Middletown) is now kept at the same place, in Forest Lake, by his grandson, Sewell Warner. An annual contribution from each member enables the association to make occasional purchases of new books. The whole number of volumes is between three and four hundred.
Joseph Backus, of Bridgewater, now over eighty years of age, taught a common school thirty winters in different localities, closing his services thirty years ago in what is known as the Griffis District in Forest Lake. Recently he visited that district, and says :—
"Now, after so long an absence, what do I find on my return ? Not a single family remaining that was there at that time ; some removed, others snatched away by death's relentless hand; their places being occupied by strangers, and by those who were my former pupils; and the son of one of those I found to be the teacher of the school."
The Baptist church of Rush, since Middletown, and now Forest Lake, was the first church organized within this section. It was the result of the labors of Elder Davis Dimock, who had frequently threaded the forests to gather up the scattered members of Christ's fold, holding meetings in the " Washington school-house,"¹ and in another near Jesse Birchard's. From the narra-
¹ This school-house was in the northwest corner of Jessup. It has been gone many years.
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tive of the great revival in Bridgewater in 1810, given by Elder Dimock some years later, we learn that "people came from a great distance, and he was invited to preach in other towns, and some in each place believed and were baptized." All joined the Bridgewater church, as there was no other in this region of the country.
In 1811 those who lived in Rush (then eighteen miles north and south by eight miles east and west) agreed to meet on the Lord's Day for prayer and reading of' the word of God ; and also to invite their neighbors. Elder Dimock sometimes visited them, and February 29, 1812, they were constituted a church with twelve members, not one of whom is now living. The last one of the twelve, Mrs. Naomi Birchard, died in 1870, aged seventy-two. But their descendants and others, to the number of eighty, maintain the organization then effected, and worship in a neat church-edifice erected at Birchardville. After Elder Dimock, Elders Parker, Brand, Frink, H. H. Gray, and Tilden have occupied its pulpit.
The Baptist church of Forest Lake was organized in 1842 with sixteen members. A house in the vicinity of the lake was purchased and fitted up for a meeting-house ; though refitting is necessary to make it comfortable.
The first Presbyterian church of Rush, now Forest Lake, was organized December, 1811, at the house of Jehiel Warner. Its constituent members were Jesse and Israel Birchard, Jonathan West, Zenas Bliss, Harriet and Lydia Birchard, Polly Bliss, Maria Fishback, Phinis Warner, Anna and Laura Stone, and Minerva Taylor.
The first ministers whose services were occasionally enjoyed here were Revs. Joseph Wood, 0. Hill, E. Kingsbury, and Solomon King.
In 1822, if not earlier, preaching and church-meetings were held at the house of Jesse Birchard ; in 1827 at the school-house near J. A. Birchard's. The records of the church were kept just twenty-six years, during which twenty-three members only were added, and the same number taken from it by death or otherwise, and after 1837 neighboring churches absorbed the remnant.
The Methodist church at Forest Lake Center was built in 1847. It was repaired and rededicated in 1871.
There are five cemeteries—the oldest at Birchardville, donated by Jesse Birchard; one near J. Stone's; one on the farm of L. M. 'Curren, land donated to the public by his father; one near the lake, and another near S. D. Cornell's.
Jabez A. Birchard's oldest child, Mary, was born in 1801—the first birth in the township. Hubbard Warner was the next, and
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there was not a death in the neighborhood " until those children were old enough to sit up with the corpse." This death was that of Miss Betsey Rice, who died at Loami Mott's, and was the first person buried near the Baptist church at Birchardville. Now thirty of the name of Birchard are buried there.
IN April, 1805, Asahel Gregory, and other residents of Nicholson (which then covered territory now including eight townships of Susquehanna County), petitioned the court at Wilkes-Barre for a division of the township. At April sessions, 1806, the report of viewers was finally confirmed, and CliffOrd was erected with boundaries " beginning at the northeast corner of Nicholson, on the Wayne County line" (or where Long Lake nearly touches it in Ararat), "and running nine miles due west, thence due south to south line of said township," thirteen miles, to a point now included in Luzerne County. Upon the organization of Susquehanna County, in 1810, the size of Clifford was nine miles east and west by twelve miles north and south.
In November, 1813, by the erection of Gibson, it parted with a little more than half its area; and in May, 1825, by the erection of Herrick, with a strip of five or six square miles on its northern border. Thus it lost Uniondale and lands westward to nearly the foot of the western slope of Elk Mountain. But there is still left to Clifford the principal outlook from the mountain—the Rock.
From this point a prospect is obtained unparalleled in extent, if not in beauty, to that obtained from any point in Susquehanna County, and probably in eastern Pennsylvania.
Some persons claim that the mountain is " the highest point of land between the lakes and the ocean." However this may be, it is certain that few mountains in our State are more than two or three hundred feet higher; if it is correct, as given in Bur-rowes' State Book,' that the highest is but twenty-five hundred feet above the Atlantic, for, by the survey of the table-land in Ararat township, the railroad summit is 2040 feet above tidewater, and, from the northeast side of Prospect Rock, one looks down upon that eminence. Some assert that the north peak hides the view of " the summit" from the rock, but it was pointed out to the writer during her recent visit there.
On a bright November day the five lakes in the immediate
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vicinity glistened in the sunlight; though they were not then " gems set in emerald wreaths," for the hills were brown and the forests faded to somberness. Yet, the scene was full of grandeur, impressing one principally with its vastness. " The sea ! the sea !" was the idea presented by the view along the wide horizon, for the hills were as billows on billows ; white sails were imaged in painted houses far away, and, in some places these crested the hills as foam crests the ocean.
Except on the north the view is uninterrupted to an extent which included all that has been described by others as distinguishable from the summit of the north peak, which is said to be the higher, and from this point the landscape is pronounced
" One of surpassing loveliness and grandeur. Overlooking the Lackawanna and Moosic, which are in its immediate vicinity, the view is terminated, southwardly, by the Blue (or Kittatinny) Mountains, in which the Wind Gap and Delaware Water Gap are both distinctly visible. Eastwardly can be distinguished the extension of the Blue Ridge into New Jersey and New York, stretching upward along the Delaware, and still beyond, the Shawney Creek range, until it is lost in the greater elevation and bolder outline of the far-famed Catskill. On the north and west, the eye takes in the whole of that immense tract comprehended in the bold sweep in the Susquehanna River. It enters Pennsylvania at the northeast extremity ; and then, as if deterred by a succession of mountain fastnesses through which it must break, or repentant at leaving its parent State, it turns again across the line, and does not re-enter Pennsylvania for many miles. Here is presented a combined view of all the beauties of mountain and rural scenery. Bold bluffs indent the extreme distance, along the wide and graceful sweep of the river; on the intervening hillsides, which rise apparently one above another, like an amphitheatre, until the horizon is reached, numerous tracts of cultivated ground appear, as if cleft out of the deeper green of the forests ; while, here and there, gleaming in the sunlight, many a crystal lake is seen, adding life and brilliancy to the picture."
Another writer says :—
“Necessarily, a clear day, good eyes, and a spy-glass of some power, are needed to enjoy all that may be seen from any of these sublime altitudes. From all points but the southeast, the elevations seem to be covered with the native forests. Approaching it from Dundaff or Clifford, however, it is cultivated to its summit. We left the horses at a point where Mr. Finn¹ has erected a three-story house for the entertainment of travellers and sight seers. A path through small trees and brush, brings you to a perpendicular ledge of rocks, skirting which on the east you find some stone steps,² upon which you ascend to Pulpit or Table Rock--quite a level plat of sodded sur face, just in the edge of Clifford township."
This ledge is so large, however, that from " Kentuck," in Gibson, its outline can be distinctly traced. It is another " Lookout Mountain," without its bloody associations. To the southeast can be traced, by the steam of their locomotives, the line of
¹ Mr. Clark Finn owns the land including the rock, out the western slope belongs to David Thomas.
² For these accommodating steps the public are indebted to Mr. Charles Wells, of Clifford.
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the railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale; to the west, that of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western ; and, near at hand, that of the Jefferson Railroad.
The steam from the stationary engine of the first named, sixteen miles distant, rises in a straight column—a prominent object in that direction. Twenty-five miles northwest from the Rock, a cleared field above the Fair Ground at Montrose, is seen ; and, on and beyond this, lie against the sky the blue hills bordering the Susquehanna River in Bradford County. Withdrawing the eye from remote objects, the whole of Clifford lies before it like a map. At the left gleams Cotteral Pond, from near which one traces the East Br. of the Tunkhannock, until it is hidden at " the City ;" but it appears again on Decker Flat, and below. Directly south, four or five miles away, far above the Tunkhannock, rests Crystal Lake, flooded with light, and near it Newton's Pond, both being just beyond Dundaff, whose spires and public houses can be readily distinguished. Above Clifford Corners, Alder Marsh lies low near the Cemetery, whose white stones, like those on the hill beyond " the City," are plainly seen. The latter glimmer between the dark evergreens that ornament the ground sacred to the dead. Near by is the Baptist church. Another can be seen on the left, and the Welsh church on the right. Round Hill¹ is the southwestern spur of Elk Mountain. Seen from any point, it appears symmetrically round, and wooded enough to give it beauty. Apparently just back of it, but really some miles away, towers Thorn Hill, which figures in the early history of the township. In all directions stretch roads which cross each other, and pleasant farms lie between. At the right, the sheen of Long Pond beyond the "Collar road,"² and even that of Mud Pond, seems almost just beneath one's feet. The Milford and Owego turnpike can be traced from Dundaff over the tops of the hills, and away into Lenox (near the Baptist church), and into Harford and Brooklyn. Kentuck and Kennedy Hills rise at the right, in Gibson. Looking again to the left, Millstone Hill rises this side (west) of the Lackawanna, in Clifford, and as its name imports, furnishes a valuable stone for milling purposes. It hides a view of "Stillwater." The spire of Uniondale church, in Herrick, seems very near, though really five miles off; and farm-houses equally distant, appear, in the clear atmosphere, also but little removed.
It is difficult to prevent the eye from straying to distant objects, so wide is the range of vision, and so impressive the scene.
Most reluctantly, and after hours of pure enjoyment, do we
¹ Once owned by Walter Forrester, a Scotchman ; at present, by Win. T. Davies.
² John Collar and family lived in the vicinity. It connects the M. & 0. and Newburgh turnpikes.
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turn from the Rock, lingering the while, and even returning in the wrench of parting from a view such as we may never behold again.
At the foot of the stone steps, a short and steep declivity, at a right angle with our path, brings us to a spring of delicious water, whose flow is constant and ever the same ; no less during the severest drouths, nor greater after driving storms or melting snows. Refreshed by a draught, we retrace our steps with some difficulty to the path, and resume the descent, finding our improvised staves of almost equal service as in the ascent. The timber of the mountain is principally oak, chestnut, hickory, and birch, with some beech.
The geography of no other township of Susquehanna County can be studied at one view, though much of Gibson, and the more prominent features of a dozen townships may be seen from the old Harmony road in Ararat, and from the summit east of it.
Bits of landscape of surpassing beauty often greet the vision, especially in the vicinity of the Susquehanna River and smaller streams ; but the bird's-eye view of Clifford outvies them all.
Still, it appears this section was not settled as early, by several years, as the less inviting parts of the county. A few hardy pioneers found their way hither, and it was long known as the "Elkwoods Settlement"—the township as well as the mountain being the home of the elk in great numbers.
The forests of Clifford appear to have been broken in three places at nearly the same time.
From what can now be learned, it is probable the first stroke of the settler's ax resounded here, in 1799, on the east branch of the Tunkhannock, about a mile below. the deep valley, now styled the "City,"¹ and was wielded by Amos Morse or his son, William A., on the farm now occupied by Ezra S. Lewis. They left in 1818. Miss Sally Morse was the first teacher in Clifford.
Benjamin Bucklin began clearing on the site of Dundaff probably in 1799, but did not locate there until three or four years later.
In the spring of 1800 Adam Miller and family settled on the flat, within fifty rods of what is now known as Clifford Corners.
He had been, in 1787, one of the first company of settlers on the Hopbottom, and possibly of the first in Susquehanna County. He emigrated to Ohio, in 1799, with his wife and four children. All were on horseback—four horses transporting the family and
¹ A newspaper correspondent says : "On inquiry as to the origin of so large a name for so diminutive and yet pleasant a place, it was stated, as tradition, that it arose from a preacher, passing through, discoursing from the text, 'Up, get ye out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city.'" It is also known as McAlla's Mills, from the business conducted here for many years succeeding 1831, by John McAlla.
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386 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
baggage—two of the children being carried in baskets placed over one of the horses. These children were the late Elder Charles Miller and Mrs. John Wells, of Clifford, from whose lips the narrative is given. The baskets were made in the shape of cradles, so the children could sit or lie down, as suited them. A journey of six weeks through a wilderness, such as the country exhibited in 1799, was far from agreeable to any of the party. Before they reached their destination Mrs. M. fell and broke her collar-bone, and they were detained three weeks at the wigwam of a hospitable Indian family. When they gained the promised land, Mr. M. could not suit himself in regard to location, and after a few days he broached the subject of a return to Pennsylvania. His wife, who had secretly longed for this, was soon ready to resume journeying, and the same season found them in the vicinity of Tunkhannock, and in the following spring they followed up the east branch of the creek to the flat at Clifford Corners. Here they lived twelve years, when they removed to Thorn Hill, where Elder William Miller, their grandson, now resides. While clearing at the latter place, Mr. M. had the use of the flat two years.
He belonged to the free-communion Baptist church, which was organized by Epaphras Thompson about 1802, but, in 1804, he left it to unite with the strict Baptists of the Abington Association.
Mrs. M. died at Thorn Hill, March, 1816, aged sixty-one years; her husband died April, 1831, aged about sixty six years.
Amos Harding, in the summer of 1800, built, within sight of Adam Miller, on the same flat. His sons were Tryon and Zal-mon. One daughter became the wife of James Stearns; another,
the wife of Joseph Baker. He, with all his family, went to Ohio about fifty years ago.
David Burns came from Otsego County, N. Y., about 1800, and settled about two miles east of where Dundaff now stands, on the road leading to Belmont. He was a little west of a small
stream, now known as Tinker Brook, and his farm on the large county map is marked by H. Hasbrook's name.
Opposite where the name of J. Westgate stands, Mr. Burns lost his only son about five or six years after he came into the wilderness, an account of which was written by Mrs. Thos. Burdick (one of his daughters), and published, August 1869, in the Montrose 'Republican ;' she was the youngest of four girls, when her parents came in. She says :—
"I was not old enough to remember anything about coming here. The first of my recollection, we lived in a little log-cabin, hemlock bark for the roof, and the floor basswood logs. Our neighbors (who were very few) built in about the same style, for we were all poor. There were no saw-mills, so we could not get boards to build with. When we had been here about two
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 387
years we had a little brother (Eber). He was the idol of my parents, being the only son. About this time father went back to New York State, and got some sheep and a pair of oxen. Before he got his team he would take a grist on his back and carry it to Mt. Pleasant, a distance of about seven miles, that being the nearest grist-mill. 'Fhb woods were our pasture. We found the cattle by the tinkle of the bell. Wild beasts were very plenty ; and oh ! the fear I have undergone while looking for the cattle and going to the neighbors. The wolves would come near our cabin and make the night hideous with howling. On one occasion one of father's oxen was missing. Three weeks after, father was hunting and found the head of the missing ox, and presently heard his cattle not far off. He went to them. A large wolf had the remaining ox by the flank, and the other cattle were running around them bellowing. Be tried to shoot and not 11it the cattle. In the excitement his gun went off by a branch catching in the lock, and the wolf ran away. These were hard times, but my parents did not get discouraged, they kept on toiling, clearing land, and raising grain. Mother spun flax and wool to make our clothes, until we had plenty, and to spare. We had fish, deer, and bear-meat. Our pigs lived on the nuts of the forest. Then father built a new log-house. I will not give a description of it. It was a palace compared to our little cabin. I was then six years of age, and my brother was in his fourth year. We had lived in our new house but a short time when our enjoyment was turned to sorrow. One pleasant morning in October, father said to Eber, Do you want to go with me?' He was much pleased, and started off in high glee, forgetting his hat and shoes. My sisters and myself went with them to a chestnut grove, but the burrs pricked my brother's bare-feet, so he wanted to go home. One of my sisters went with him to where the road was plain, and then returned. It will be remembered that the roads at that time were mere paths ; we followed by marked trees. We did not get home until near night; the sun was about one hour high. Oh ! what horror and confusion. My brother had not been home. He was lost. Have the wild beasts killed him ? were our first thoughts. He bad been gone all day. What could we do? My father ran as fast as he could to the woods. I can see him in imagination as plain as I then did, and I shall never forget that day until I forget all. My sisters went to a few of our neighbors for them to come and help look for him. They fired guns and blew horns all night to frighten, if possible, the beasts. But to add to our grief, in the night came on a terrible thunder-storm. The streams rose very high. Before morning the weather changed from warm to very cold. The men who had been out all night were so chilled they could scarcely speak, their clothes being wet. 'They thought my little brother could scarcely live through such a night—he being thinly clad—even if the wild beasts had not devoured him. In the morning the storm had past, and one of our neighbors went to Mt. Pleasant and Great Bend, and called on all the people on his way to turn out and look for a lost child. Men came from all parts as far as the news reached, and searched four days, and then gave up looking. Oh ! what grief my parents endured. My father sought far and long, but all to no purpose. No trace of him could be found. Two years from this event my mother died. Father married again, and lived here until I was eighteen years of age ; then he moved to the State of Ohio, from thence to Indiana, where he died of old age. I am the only one of the family living in this section of the country. I have lived near seventy years within one mile of where my father first built his log-cabin."
Jonathan Burns, known as Captain Burns, an elder brothet of David, was located at first near the site of Dundaff; but in.1.802 he removed to the east branch of the Tunkhannock, near the mouth of the creek that bears his name. From. him sprung. the
388 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
present Burns family, David having left no sons. His sons were Henry, Orrey, Alexander, Ziba, Jonathan, Thomas, and Ellery. Alexander was a justice of the peace, and died in the township. He is said to have been a man of fine manners and considerable culture for the times. Orrey died in Burlington, Bradford County; the rest are living. The father of Jonathan and David Burns came from the north of Ireland, and was Scotch-Irish.
" Captain Burns was a strong', athletic man. He was fond of all active sports, and hunted a great deal for profit as well as pleasure. It was easier to lay in a store of bear-meat or venison than to procure and fatten hogs.
" At one time, late in the fall of the year, he went out hunting on the Lackawanna mountains, south of where Carbondale now stands. While busily engaged in securing game to supply the family larder, the Lackawanna had become so swollen with rain as to be impassable. The weather had changed from the mildness of Indian summer to piercing cold. His tow-frock was almost literally frozen to his body. His companion had become so discouraged that he sat down and declared he could go no further. Burns cut a whip and applied it with such vigor to his back, that he was stimulated to renewed exertions.
"They built a fire on the bank of the river, and the next morning the water had so far subsided that they felled trees across the river and went over safely. Burns then carried eighty pounds of bear-meat and a rifle weighing twenty pounds a distance of twelve miles without laying them off his shoulder.
"At another time he carried two bushels of wheat to the mill at Belmont, a distance of ten miles, and the flour, in returning, and stopped but once each way to rest."
James Norton, the father-in-law of David Burns, came from Saratoga, N.Y., about 1802. He was then an old man, and accompanied his sons Reuben and Samuel. They settled near Mr. Burns' on
what is called the Burch road. Another son, ishi, settled where the Crystal Lake hotel now stands.
Reuben was near the present Burch school-house ; Samuel a little west of him.
About the same time that James Norton and family came, a widow Norton also came to the township, with three daughters and six sons. The latter were Abner, Daniel, Asahel, Luther,
Lemuel, and Silas. Daniel and Asahel had families when they came.
Asahel was the first settler at the "City ;" Luther was about half-way between this place and Dundaff, at the foot of Arnot Hill; Abner, Daniel, and Lemuel settled on a road northwest from the Burch road, near where Tinker Brook crosses it. One of the daughters was married to William Upton, who afterwards settled here. Silas was on "the Lyon road," or the road leading to Herrick.
The Nortons are now all dead, or have left this section, with the exception of Mrs. Horace Dart, a daughter of Abner. He had the first grindstone in the township. Previously they had to go from six to nine miles to get their axes sharpened.
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William Finn, the youngest of five brothers who eventually came to Clifford, was the son of James, a Baptist preacher, who was in the Wyoming valley in 1778, and one of the party who were left to defend the women and children gathered together in the block-house or fort at the time of the massacre. He was forced to retire to Orange County, N. Y., whence he had emi-
grated ; but in a few years he returned to Wyoming, and subsequently moved to Tunkhannock where he died. His widow came with William Finn soon after, or in 1802, to the present
township of Clifford, and afterwards married Daniel Gore. William F. cleared and cultivated a large farm lying one mile west of Dundaff, where he reared his family of eight children. He built three dwelling-houses, one of stone, which was then considered a fine affair. His first framed-house was the second of the kind in Dundaff. His saw-mill was the first in successful
operation there. He married the youngest daughter of James Norton, and both, now over eighty years old, are living with a daughter in Fleetville, Luzerne County.
Solomon, John, James, and Daniel, brothers of William Finn, also came in, and some of their descendants are still in the township. John was a blacksmith; James was a justice of the peace in 1821, and had twelve children, ten of whom lived to adult age. Of eight sons Clark, living on Elk Mountain, is the only one in Clifford.
Benjamin Bucklin and family, including Albigence (or Alba) and Warren, his sons, came about 1804 and remained several years. His farm covered the site of Dundaff, and his house was
the first built there.
A saw-mill was built by Mr. Bucklin on the stream which runs through Dundaff, and which was the first in the township ; but William Finn's mill, on the same stream, was the first in successful operation.
He went back to the valley of the Mohawk before 1813, and his sons afterwards went to Ohio.
Near the present woolen factory at Dundaff, there was early a family by the name of Hulse.
In 1806, James Wells had a farm of 100 acres at the City. He was a native of Minnisink, on the Delaware, where he had a grist-mill, and furnished the Revolutionary army with flour. He had a black boy in his service, and sent him one day with an ox-team with flour for the soldiers, when he was waylaid by the Indians and shot at. They cut out the tongues of the oxen and left them to perish, but the boy escaped and fled home.
After the war, he was settled for some time near the mouth of the Tunkhannock, whence he came to Clifford. In 1807, he owned the half of a grist-mill near the present site of McAlla's.
His first mill had been destroyed by a freshet; Asahel Norton
390 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
was his partner in putting up the second, which was also carried off in a similar manner, before 1813. He built a house with a sloping roof and well-guarded porch, and was then living in it; it is now occupied by Mrs. McAlla.
He sold his farm to Lemuel Norton and Horace Phelps, and moved to the flat where James Decker now lives, about a mile above Clifford Corners, and where Mrs. Wells died February, 1831, aged sixty-nine years. They had thirteen children—five sons and eight daughters. Three of the sons, John, William, and Eliphalet settled in Clifford.
James W. died June, 1839, aged eighty-nine, at the residence of his son Eliphalet, on the Collar road, where D. J. Jones now lives. His oldest son, John, was married November, 1813, to Anna Maria, daughter of Adam Miller, and moved to the place where Charles Stevens now is, west of the City; and, fifteen years later, to the farm where his widow still resides, near the base of Elk Mountain. He died December, 1843, in his fifty-fifth year. Of their eleven children, ten lived to adult age.
Adam Wells died six years ago, aged fifty-four, of black fever; and Jesse, another son, with six of his family, died of the same disease in the course of a few weeks. Eliphalet, another son, is in California; Charles and James are in Clifford. A son of Adam Wells is a merchant at the City. To the annalist it is interesting to find the descendants of a worthy pioneer remaining in the vicinity where he labored for their benefit.
Matthew Newton came from Connecticut in 1806 with his wife, daughter, and five sons—Henry, Matthew, Benjamin, Isaac, and Thomas. He bought the first improvements of Jonathan Burns. Newton Pond commemorates the name of this family.
Matthew Newton, Jr., manufactured all the wheels used by the first settlers in spinning wool or flax. Erastus West succeeded him in the business, but moved into New York State over fifty years ago.
From 1806 to 1811, we have no certain data, except that Epaphras Thompson, a Baptist minister, became a resident. The year 1812 is spoken of as "a religious time."
Ransford Smith settled near the forks of the Lackawanna, just above Stillwater Pond. His sons were Ladon, Ransford, Benjamin, Samuel, and Philander.
A large number of new-comers appear upon the tax-list of 1813 ; among them were the Deckers, Buchanans, Collars, Halsteads, B. Millard from Lenox, Richard Meredith, James Reeves,
Leonard Rolight, Joel and Jacob Stevens, Urbane Shepherd, the Taylors, etc.
The Clifford and Wilkes-Barre turnpike was begun this year. A road was granted from James Reeves' to Joseph Sweet's.
The heaviest tax-payers within the present limits of Clifford
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 391
were Amos Harding, Adam Miller, Lemuel Norton, Wm. A. Morse, and Joel Stevens. The last named was a clothier.
In 1814, L. Norton had a grist-mill at the City; and a road was granted from the mill to I. Rynearson's in Lenox. J. Doud bad also a mill on the east branch of the Tunkhannock, four
miles west of Dundaff.
Richard Meredith was the first person who applied for naturalization in Susquehanna County. He was born in the parish of Bubourn, County of Kent, England, July, 1773 ; sailed from Liverpool, June, 1808, and landed in New York, the September following. His application to the court was made January, 1814 ; but it does not appear that he received his papers until February,1822.
James Coyle, farmer and drover, first appears on the tax-list for 1814, also James Coyle, Jr., and George Coyle (or Coil, as the family write the name); Calvin and Luther Daly, and William Upton. James C. bought out Albigence Bucklin, whose log-house, the first dwelling in Dundaff, was opposite the late residence of Dr. Terbell. A burying-ground was in the rear. In August, 1816, James Coil, Jr., bought of J. B. Wallace lands which the latter had bought one month earlier of the Marshal of the State, and which had been patented October, 1800, to David H. Conyngham, and surveyed on warrants of 1774, in the name of Samuel Meredith. J. B. Wallace sold at the same time lots numbered 20-22, 33, and 34, to C. and L. Dailey, A. Buck-lin, J. Hancock, and Daniel Taylor; also to Redmond Conyng-ham, who sold to Wm. A. Morse 100 acres adjoining C. Dailey's, and which was transferred (with 100 acres from Dailey) December, 1817, to A. Dimock, Jr., and afterwards to N. Callender.
Elnathan and Ebenezer Baker were located at the City in 1814.
Ellery Crandall came from Hopkinton, R. L, in 1815, and still lives where he first located. Elias Burdick and his nephews, Thomas, and Billings B., also came from R. L; Simeon, their brother, came the next year, and remained in Clifford until his death, December, 1870, in the eighty-second year of his age. The sons of Elias are Luther Stephen, Elisha, and Caleb.
In 1816 Ezra Lewis came to the old farm of Amos Morse. John Westgate, who came from Rhode Island to Mt. Pleasant, this year, reached Clifford in 1817, and is now living, over eighty years of age, about three miles northeast of Dundaff. In 1817, the elections were held at the house of James Wells.
In 1818, Asher Peck, with his wife and one child, came from New London County, Comm. He is still living on the farm where he first settled.
Early in 1818, John Alworth purchased the grist-mill of L. Norton ; Nathan Callender had an interest in a saw-mill transferred from Millard and Buchanan; John Doud had a mill
392 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
transferred from Calvin Daly. James Green, Reuben Arnold, Lawton Gardner, Peter Rynearson, George Brownwell, Nathaniel Cotteral, Asa Dimock and sons Asa and Warren, and Philip J. Stewart from the Corners, in Herrick, and other new names, appear on the tax-list for the first time. Benjamin Brownwell and Joseph Berry were also here.
Asa Dimock had a store at what is now Dundaff, and Warren D. kept a tavern opposite. The latter was opened by James Coil, and is the back part of the hotel which was years afterwards finished by G. Phinney. Horace G. and Austin Phelps had a carding-mill at the City.
A road was then being cut out past Crystal Lake.
Nathaniel Cotteral married a daughter of Jonathan Burns, and was located near the lake that bears his name. He removed to Providence, Luzerne County, where he died three or four years since.
Peter Graham's purchase of over 500 acres was made in 1819. He was a merchant in Philadelphia, and spent only his summers in Dundaff. The place is now occupied by his son George. Peter Campbell, a Scotchman, had charge of the farm, and was a permanent resident.
Redmond Conyngham made additional purchases in 1819 ; and in 1820, laid out the village named by him Dundaff, in honor of Lord Dundaff of Scotland.
On the 4th of July of that year, the national anniversary was celebrated here by the new-comers, and Geo. Haines, Esq., gave this toast: "May the pleasant hills of Dundaff become the seat of justice." In the fall of 1820, a newspaper styled 'The Pennsylvanian' was ostensibly published at Dundaff; but in reality at Montrose, during the excitement of a political campaign.
Redmond C. was an elder brother of the late Hon. John N. Conyngham of Wilkes-Barre, and represented Luzerne and Susquehanna in the State Senate about fifty years ago.
From the fact that the Milford and Owego turnpike passed through Dundaff; and from the inducements offered by Mr. Conyngham, the place began to attract settlers rapidly.
He dug a cellar and a well on a knoll overlooking the lake and present borough, but it does not appear he ever built a house and resided here. He owned a grist-mill here in 1820.
John and Peter Rivenburg were also here at that time.
In 1821, the first physician, Henry Burnham, came and remained a year or two. Previously, Dr. Giddings practiced, coming from another county.
Jacob Bedford was the first hatter in the place.
Samuel Davis, a blacksmith ; Stephen Lampson, a carpenter ; William Tinker, Samuel Woodruff; and Elias Bell were new arrivals.
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In 1822, Col. Gould Phinney bought several farms in the township. R. Conyngham bought the Lake farm. James Coil sold land to both these parties, at a later date.
Isaac Truesdell (Truesdale ?) was on the western slope of Elk Mountain—the first settler there. Martin Decker was on the flat now occupied by J. C. Decker.
James Rolles came the same year. He had twenty-two children, of whom the eldest, James, now resides on the eastern slope of Elk Mountain.
In 1823, Phelps and Phinney owned enterprises at the City, which had not then a thought of being outdone by the new settlement at Dundaff, and was styled Phinneyton.
Kendall Burdick, a brother of Elias, came in 1824; and died in Cliffbrd, March, 1871, aged ninety-three.
March, 1824, Col. Gould Phinney came with fourteen others from Wyoming Valley, and settled in Dundaff. Charles Wells arrived the following April, and at first kept store for Col. P., but afterwards independently many years. Before this time there were but three dwellings, with a school-house and hat-shop, in the place. Nathan H. Lyons had a distillery. Geo. W. Healy, merchant ; C. B. Merrick, physician ; John Wells, Robert Arnet, Ebenezer Brown, miller; Benjamin Ayres, stage proprietor ; and Archippus Parrish, were among the new-comers. Mr. Parrish took charge of the Dundaff Hotel. Col. Phinney at this time had a grist and a saw-mill, a blacksmith and wagon shop, and a store in Dundaff; also an interest in a line of stages, and a farm, and gave employment to many. In 1825, he started a bank, and transferred his store to Joseph Arnold. A public toast, July 4th, 1825, at Dundaff, in reference to this and to the failure of the old Silver Lake Bank, was : "Fifty per cent discount—Experience has taught us that silver is too heavy a metal to swim on Silver Lake—May the NORTHERN BANK be established on more permanent foundation."
DILTON YARRINGTON came to Dundaff in 1825. He was born at Wilkes-Barre, in 1803. His father, Peter Y., was a blacksmith, but, in early life, had been an agent for Matthias Bollenback in trading with the Indians in the vicinity of Tioga Point, at which time he was taken captive by them. He was retained about four years, between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, before he could make his escape. Abel Yarrington, grandfather of Dilton Y., came to Wyoming from Stonington, Connecticut, in 1772, with his wife and three children ; Lucinda, afterwards Mrs. Arnold Colt. John, and Peter, then two years old. Abel Y. had the first regular public house, and the first ferry at Wilkes-Barre. On the day of the massacre, July 3, 1778, the leading men, in anticipation of an engagement with hostile forces, agreed that Mr. Y. should remain at the ferry, to facilitate a retreat if necessary. In the disaster that followed, he ferried many persons over, who fled eastward, and remained at his post until the Indians were in sight, and their shots skimming the water by the side of the scow or flat ; he then was obliged to turn a deaf ear to the entreaties of those on shore, and, taking in his family, escaped down the river. He was in Wyoming again in 1780, if not sooner; was a strong
394 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
believer in the rights of Connecticut claimants to Wyoming ; and one of the volunteers who went from Wilkes-Barre to suppress the " Whisky Rebellion."
The experiences of both his father and grandfather left their influence upon Dilton. In 1816, he began learning his trade with his father, and for thirty years he worked in a blacksmith shop, On the last day of February, 1825, he walked from his father's (one mile below the court-house in Wilkes-Barre) to Dundaff—thirty-seven miles—arriving before dark. Where Carbondale now is, there was then a thick laurel swamp. The next year he was employed by Gould Phinney at blacksmithing, but in 1826 set up business for himself. In 1827, he was married ; and in 1828 built the house he occupied until 1842 (lately vacated by Thomas Arnold), and then built on the lot next above. He says :—
" Christmas, 1825, I ran a race on skates, on Crystal Lake, with Benajah P. Bailey, for $10 a side. I took the stakes ; distance one mile from north to south corners—I ran it in 2 minutes and 33 seconds. I then ran one-fourth of a mile with Gould Phinney for $20 a side. Judges decided that he was half way when I was out. At the end of the last race, I jumped fifteen feet, six inches, on skates. The ice was smooth and the day pleasant; and, as word had been sent out to neighboring towns, there were more than 500 people there to see the race."
In 1835, D. Yarrington was appointed justice of the peace by Gov. Wolf, and held the office until he was elected, under the new constitution, for five years following 1842.
He assisted in forming the first temperance society in Dundaff, and also the anti-slavery society, when both organizations excited the strong aversion of a majority of the community.
He removed to Carbondale in 1847, where, with two sons, he still resides.
Dr. William Terbell came to Dundaff in 1825 or '6, and built just below Gould Phinney, on the hill near the Presbyterian church. He removed to Corning in 1837.
The following persons, it is said, were then residents : Woodbury S. Wilbur, Stephen Lampson, Wm. Wells, carpenters; Benajah P. Bailey, tanner and currier; Samuel Davis and David Pease, blacksmiths ; Alex. C. Shafer and Hugh Fell, wagon-makers; Ezra Stuart, shoemaker; Oliver Daniels, cooper; Lyman C. Hines ; Earl Wheeler, Lawyer ; Charles Thompson, Presbyterian minister; Joseph B. Slocum, tinner ; in 1827, Matthias Button, physician ; Isaiah Mapes, merchant ; Thomas Wells, justice of the peace ; and Nathan Daniels. This year the "Northern Bank of Pennsylvania," suspended operations.
Sylvester Johnson and Sanford Robertson, merchants ; Jonathan Stage, John Bennet, and Thomas Burch, farmers, were here in 1828.
Pickerel were then brought from Tunkhannock to stock the lakes.
Several who had been in business at the City removed to Dundaft; and among them the Phelps family, of whom there were eventually seven brothers here, originally from Connecticut. Horace G., a merchant, went to Corning in 1836, and died but recently. Alexander C. is a physician in Abington ; Jaman H. was a tanner and currier at Dundaff in 1828, now of Scranton ;
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 395
Edward died at D. in 1836; Norman, now a farmer in Abington ; John Jay, recently a banker in New York, but now deceased ; and Sherman D., who removed in 1830, and has since resided in
Binghamton, N. Y.
On the 5th of March, 1828, Dundaff was incorporated a borough, one mile square.
A few days previous, Sloane Hamilton, formerly a teacher at Montrose, established the Dundaff Republican'—a " political, literary, moral, and religious mirror," the subscription list of Elder D. Dimock's Mirror' being transferred in part to this. Controversy was excluded, but the strong religious sentiment then prevailing demanded religious intelligence. Mr. H. was joined by Earl Wheeler, April, 1831, but in March, 1832, the paper passed into the hands of Amzi Wilson, who changed the name to Northern Pennsylvanian ;' and in December, removed the establishment to Carbondale, which place was then thought about to become a great city.
In 1829, if not earlier, another physician, Joseph Falkner, arrived. He died in 1843 or '4.
Nathan Callender died in 1830, and at this time Benjamin Ayres kept the tavern of which Mr. C. had been proprietor at an early day. When Mr. C. left it, he built opposite the banking house—which since 1832 has been the residence of Thomas P. Phinney, Esq.
James Chambers came in this year, and Wm. H. Slocum, wagon-maker.
B. Ayres afterwards kept the hotel near Crystal Lake; the present house was built by Peter Campbell.
Dr. Wm. S. Gritman came in 1830, and left in 1836. Dr. Thomas Halsey was also one of the temporary residents. Dr. Merrick died in the place. Dr. Johnson Olmstead has been a resident and practicing physician for more than twenty years.
There were at least three taverns in Clifford in 1830, and four more applicants for licenses which were probably obtained; these were all or principally located on the line of the Milford and Owego turnpike. This great thoroughfare, which contributed so much to the business activity of Dundaff and Clifford, has ceased to be a wonder, but it shows the enterprise and endurance our
A convention was held at Dundaff, February 22, 1830, in favor of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. The delegates were among the most prominent men of the county.
The company had been complained of as obstructing navigation by placing dams in the Delaware and Lackawaxen, and as being unwilling to open the canal to the public. The subject was one of intense interest to all classes of our citizens. There had been resolutions, in various quarters, in favor of memorializ-
396 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
ing the legislature against the company ; but at a meeting held in Montrose on the 1st of February, 1830, other resolutions were unanimously adopted against memorializing, and in favor of the canal, which, it was believed, would be a great benefit to Wayne, Pike, Susquehanna, Bradford, and Dizerne Counties.
The meeting on the 23d February, 1830, also passed resolutions in agreement with this. The final report of the committee before the legislature exonerated the company from blame, without a dissenting voice.
In 1831, Phelps, Phinney & Co. established a glass factory at Dundaff. The glass blown here was said to be of an excellent quality.
The Dundaff Academy was established in 1833. Six years later, Hon. A. H. Read procured $2000 from the State in aid of the institution. The building, still standing, never had any architectural beauty, but it had a praiseworthy influence in another and a better way, and associations cling around it which are recalled by many with pleasure. Revs. E. 0. Ward and E. Allen, and Miss Farrar, were among the first teachers.
In 1837 a military convention was held here, which attracted considerable attention. At an early day, there had been two companies, commanded by Captains James Wells and James Coil.
Dundaff had high aspirations, as appears by the toast given July 4th, 1820 ; but in 1836 they began to yield to the claims of Carbondale, which was the proposed seat of justice of a county to be carved out of Luzerne, and the townships of Clifford, Herrick, and Lenox of Susquehanna County.
In 1838-9 there were renewed petitions for a division of the county, indicating the tendency of the people to unite with Lu-zerne; and it cannot be denied but that the natural features of the section justified them. Had their wish prevailed over that of the central and western portions of the county, the result could not have been more depressing to the enterprise of Dundaff than it has been by their remaining.
To the tourist and summer visitor, Dundaff and vicinity have great attraction. A steamboat costing $3000 has been placed upon Crystal Lake,.and a commodious hotel has been erected.
There are other points of interest within easy access, the chief of which is Prospect Rock. If one does not care to climb so high an elevation, a short ride to the school-house in Marsh District will furnish a delightful view about eighty miles in extent.
As late as 1867, a deer was killed at Stillwater Pond, by Wm. Hartley, Esq., the head of which, an unusually fine one, he stuffed, and with its branching antlers, it now ornaments the hall of his residence in Lenox.
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The Presbyterian church received its charter from the Supreme Court in 1830. The edifice had been occupied about two years. Rev. Wm. Adams was then the pastor. The church was self-supporting from 1834 to 1844, bad able ministers, and over sixty members, of whom but very few remain in the place.
The Baptist society is the oldest in the township, dating from about 1802, when the Rev. E. Thompson officiated as a missionary, near Clifford Corners. Elder Charles Miller was pastor of this church, and died here in 1865, aged seventy-two. He was succeeded by his son, Elder Wm. Miller. A Baptist church was built at the City in 1855. The " Seventh Day" Baptists have a church in the Burdick settlement.
" St. John's Chapel" (Episcopal) in 1835, was the former billiard-room of Col. Phinney. The edifice in which they now worship was not erected until within the last ten or twelve years.
The Methodists have a church at Dundaff, and another (Union ?) at Clifford Corners. Including the Welsh church, there are eight houses of worship in the township.
In the cemetery at Clifford Corners are the graves of the following residents for a long period of time in the vicinity : Rev. Wm. Wells, born in 1790, died in 1857 ; John Alworth, aged 83 ; Roger Orvis, 81, and his widow, 87; Artemas Baker, 73; James Greene, 72 ; David Smith, 76, and his widow, 93 ; Peter Riven-burgh, 66 ; Stephen Hodgdon, 63 ; and Geo. Brownell, who died in 1869.
THE WELSH SETTLEMENT.
The slopes of Elk Mountain were not, in general, cultivated before the accession of the Welsh to the population of Clifford.
The pioneer among them was Thomas Watkins, a native of Carmaerthenshire, South Wales. He left that country about 1830, and in 1832 came from Carbondale and bought a piece of wild land at the base of South Peak, but still well up on the mountain from the City on the Tunkhannock—its real southern base. All around him wets a dense forest, mostly of hemlock. Here Mr. and Mrs W. resided, without the society of their countrymen, two years.
In 1834, Zacharias Jenkins, Daniel Moses, David Anthony, David Rees, William P. Davis, Rev. Thomas Edwards, David Edwards, and Robert Ellis, with their families, settled around him.
Mr. Ellis, a native of North Wales, had been in America several years, and came from New York, with the others, to Clifford. He located on the Collar road, which connects the Newburgh with the Milford and Owego turnpike;—along which several small openings had been made. His widow and son, Robert E., Jr., still occupy the old place, near the head of Long Pond.
398 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
With the exception of Mr. E., the party of immigrants were from South Wales. They left their native country May 21st, 1834, from Swansea, in a brig bound for Quebec. The vessel was only of 200 tons burden, not much larger than a canal-boat. There were on board, the captain and five sailors, with thirty-four passengers. Most of the latter were religious people—Dissenters —now " coming to a country where they could be freed from paying tithes and supporting a church they did not believe in." They held religious meetings on board the ship, and as they had cross-winds the greater part of their voyage, they were seven weeks on the water before landing at Quebec. Three families among the passengers remained in Canada ; the others came to Clifford.
Zacharias Jenkins settled east of Long Pond, where Samuel Owens now lives. He was accompanied by his son Evan, who married a daughter of W m. P. Davis, and has since removed to a farm near the line of Gibson. Ann, a daughter of Z. J., was the first person buried in the Welsh settlement.
For many years the families endured all the hardships of pioneers, often carrying heavy burdens to mills, and from Carbondale, twelve miles distant. The few cows they owned browsed in the woods during the summer season, and as they often failed to come home at night, their owners were obliged to hunt them up, and they were often lost in the woods.
Mr. Jenkins, when sixty-seven years of age, was lost in a swamp near Mud Pond. Night overtook him, and, as wolves in great numbers, and an occasional bear or panther, roved through the woods, he climed a tall pine for safety. Here he remained through the night, the wolves howling around him. In the morning, he followed the outlet of the pond through water and thickets, until he came to the Milford and Owego turnpike within one mile of where Lonsdale now is. When asked how he spent the night, he replied, " Happy, praying and singing most of the time." He is remembered as "an excellent singer and a good christian."
Thomas Watkins cleared a large farm and remained in Clifford until his death, May, 1870, at the age of sixty-seven. He was a worthy and much esteemed citizen. His widow resides with their son Watkin, on the old homestead ; another son, John, is near by.
Most of those who were heads of families among the first party are dead.
The second party of immigrants came soon after, but they had been located at Carbondale two or three years previously. Among them were David J. and David E. Thomas, Evan Jones (from North Wales), Job Nicholas, John Michael, and others.
Like the New England Pilgrims, the first care of this people
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was provision for their spiritual and educational needs. The church was organized the same year, 1834. Thomas Edwards, their first pastor, remained among them until the close of 1835, when he accepted a call to Pittsburg.
In 1836, Rev. Jenkin Jenkins, son of Zacharias, who preceded his father in coming to America, finished his studies at Auburn Theological Seminary, N. Y., and took charge of the Presbyte rian church at Dundaff, and also of the Welsh church at the settlement. He preached to both churches nearly seven years, and then moved to Illinois. He is now in Minnesota.
Henry Davis, a native of Glanmorganshire, South Wales, left the old country about the same time as Mr. Watkins, but did not follow him from Carbondale, until 1836 ; when he came to the farm adjoining his, on the western slope of Elk Mountain.
In 1839, the first church edifice was built. After several years it was found inadequate to the accommodation of the increasing settlement, and about 1856, the present neat structure, with a spire, was erected.
Rev. Samuel Williams succeeded Mr. Jenkins in the pastorate, remaining about two years. He is now in the Middletown settlement.
They often held meetings with Americans who were religious, though neither could understand the language of the other. Some prayed in Welsh, others in English, and both sang the same tune together, each using their own language in hymns of the same meter, while the Holy Spirit communicated its influence from soul to soul, until sometimes all present would be in tears.
In 1850, Rev. Daniel Daniels became pastor of the church, and is still retained in its service. His charge includes also the Welsh families of Gibson and Herrick.
In Clifford there are forty-two Welsh families, though there are in all but twenty-two family names ; and what is still more remarkable, there are but six additional names in the entire settlement, which extends in the townships mentioned above, and includes seventy-five families.
An emotional and poetical people, the Welsh are still eminently practical, and are possessed of much stability. Their character reflects the features of their native land, whose rugged fastnesses are linked with heroism and song. Temperate, industrious, and honest, they constitute a most desirable class in a community.