450 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
of lots on the turnpikes is rated at "six dollars, and for those off of them, five dollars per acre." The terms were, "the interest commencing at the time of the contract, to be paid at the end of three years, and one-fifth part of the principal annually afterwards, making in all eight years."
Notwithstanding the easiness of these terms, the settlers fell behind in payment; this had been the case especially in previous years, when, between April, 1813, and September, 1815, more than one hundred suits were entered by Dr. Rose against debtors, though his leniency is still remembered. "It reflects no little honor on his memory," writes one, "that notwithstanding the large amount owing to him from a thousand different bands, yet from first to last he was never known to sell by process of law the personal property of any for the purpose of enforcing the collection of a debt."
The handbill stated further :—
"The great improvements making in Susquehanna County offer strong inducements to mechanics of various kinds, especially to those who wish to add to their trade the advantages of a farm in a country where convenience of situation is united to a healthy climate and fertile soil.
" The emigration from the Eastern States to Susquehanna County for the last two or three years has been very considerable; and the industrious farmers from that quarter of the Union find a great advantage in the climate because of its southern situation. A certificate as to the quality and advantages of Susquehanna County might have been published, signed by all the settlers on the tract, but it has not been thought necessary to occupy the paper with more than the following." [Here were given fifty-five of the names included in the previous list.]
Certainly, nothing is stated here, but what has been abundantly confirmed by the experience and observation of all after-comers; but it is no less true, that the imagination either of the old world emigrants or of correspondents on this side of the water, gave to this portion of the new world a roseate hue which the dull reality did not justify. Dense forests were relieved but by blackened stumps and log-cabins, except the rare occurrence of an occasional frame-house, and perhaps the only instance of one painted, was that of the doctor's own. Not only in beauty of exterior, but in size and all its appointments, it was then unsurpassed in the county. An engraving of it appeared a few years later (June, 1816), in the `Port Folio' (a copy of which we give), accompanied by the following remarks:—
" The mansion of which we give a view, is the residence of one of the earliest and the most brilliant of the supporters of this journal. When we view our poetical friend retiring from the bustle, the tricks, and the heartlessness of the world, to the tranquillity of sylvan shades, devoting the rich resources of his mind to the cultivation of the earth, we can scarcely conceive the exultation with which he may survey the wilderness of yesterday transformed into sloping lawns and smiling vales, covered with verdure and blossoming with the rose."
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The " sloping lawns" must have been confined to this locality of the township ; and the " smiling vales" were so narrow, it was but a strip of blue that overarched the whole.
Previous to the organization of Susquehanna County (1810) only one road had been regularly cut out within the present township of Silver Lake. This was a State road from the twenty-ninth mile-stone to what is now Montrose. It was but two rods wide.
In 1813 a road from Silver to Choconut Creek near Edward Cox's is reported; and in August of the same year, upon the petition of Dr. Rose, the court appointed viewers to lay out a road from his house to Joseph Ross' on the North Branch of the Wyalusing. November 15th and 16th following, Leman Turrell, Philo Bostwick, Bela Moore, Joseph Ross, and Isaac Stone viewed the route the second time. It passed through the improvements of Zenas Bliss and Bela Moore, beginning near Silver Lake and running west to the line between that township and Rush (now Choconut), thence to Choconut Creek road and down it 80 rods, then N. W. and afterwards S. W. to the Milford and Owego turnpike (past Nathan Nelson's), then on the turnpike southeast 48 rods, then southwest to the road leading to Ross', half a mile east of his saw-mill bridge. This was " confirmed finally," January, 1814. Still the facilities for travel were limited until Dr. Rose cut a road through to Snake Creek at his own expense it is said. This connected with " the old Brunson road" in Lawsville, which reached Wiley Creek just within the limits of Great Bend, and followed it to its mouth. This was the first mail route to Great Bend from Montrose via Silver Lake.
John L. Minkler, Isaac and John Howard, and Oliver C. Smith were here prior to 1813. The last-named was a carpenter and. joiner of superior skill for the times, and was the architect of the old court-house in Montrose. He built a grist-mill at the outlet of Quaker Lake. Many years later Joseph Gage, Sen., built another on the same site.
In 1813, Dr. Rose also had a grist-mill in addition to his sawmill. Both were a little above the present saw-mill of his son, E. W. Rose. The following year he paid no taxes in Bridgewater; forty-two taxables had been taken from the latter by the erection of Silver Lake.
Alpheus Finch and Zenas Bliss were the first supervisors.
Peleg Butts was the first constable. He located near Mud Lake, but afterwards removed to Liberty, very near the State line, where he died.
Once he and his son Isaac, at work in the woods, in a time of scarcity of provisions, were obliged to relieve their hunger by scraping and eating the inside of birch-bark.
In 1814, Eli Meeker came, with his family, from Columbia
452 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
County, N. Y., and settled near Quaker Lake, where his son William (then twelve years old) is now located. His name is on the tax-list of 1813. He was a blacksmith, and had a shop near the lake shore. His sons were : William, Samuel, Nelson, Eli, Joshua, and Andrew, from whom have sprung numerous descendants. The sons of William were nine, of whom four reside north of the State line, as also, the six sons of Samuel. The descendants of Nelson and Joshua are in Michigan. Eli, Jr., resides in New York State, but three of his sons are in Silver Lake.
Aaron Meeker, a brother of Eli (Sen.), settled by the shore of the most northern lake in the township, and it has ever since been called by his name. He died July, 1850, leaving but one son, Reuben.
Indian relics, in the shape of sinkers, arrow-heads, hatchets, and pestles, were found by the early settlers in the vicinity of all the lakes, whilst ploughing.
The townships of Silver Lake and Choconut united, in 1814, to form a military company.
In 1815, the first school was taught in a log-house built by David Briggs, a cousin of Philo, on the farm now occupied by John Murphy. Nathaniel Matthews, from Connecticut, was the first teacher, and he was succeeded by Philip Griffith. The first school-house built by the township stood on the southwest corner at the cross-roads in the southern part of Brackney, and it was, for years, also a house of worship.
About 1815, Ephraim Strong built the' house on Richmond Hill, which was popularly styled "Richmond Castle." The bill was named by the English settlers, after a locality in England. He kept here a store in a small way.
He was an active Presbyterian, to whose influence the first church of that denomination can trace its origin.
He removed in 1819 to the vicinity of Athens, Pa., where he purchased a large farm.
" Here he, with his numerous sons, made an opening in the pines, planted corn and potatoes, sowed buckwheat, built a snug frame-house, dug a well, and set out an orchard. Here this godly, intelligent, and well-educated household, the father a graduate of Yale College, and the mother a superior woman, lived several years. They removed to Hudson, Ohio."¹
Ansel Hill and Zina Bushnell came from Middlesex County, Conn., in 1815. For the last twenty-five years Martin Hogan has occupied the house built by the latter. Just after Mr. B. left it, an Englishman by the name of Walley lived there.
Esquire Hill built near Mr. B., but removed after two years
¹ Mrs. Perkin' ‘Early times on the Susquehanna.'
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to the corners, where, opposite the present residence of his son, Ansel B., he kept a tavern for ten years. He died in 1866.
Joseph Macomber had occupied the same place just previous. Coggshall and P. Griffith afterwards kept the house. Still later, when the Binghamton mail was established on the Chenango turnpike, a Mr. Parker provided accommodations for passengers and horses at this point. Three of the four corners have been occupied by dwelling-houses.
In 1816, Thomas Watters, a brush maker, and native of Ireland, lived in a log-house here. An old well is still seen near the spot.
Jesse Coon, Almerin Turner, and Roderick Richards came about 1816. Mr. Richards, in 1817, erected the first distillery in the township, just back of the present residence of Joseph S. Gage's. A blessing in the form of a spring of pure water now marks the spot where formerly the " Worm of the Still" was a curse.
A stone still was afterwards built by Rogers, Brown & Clarke. Both were closed in 1821. Previous to this Henry Denison and family, from Westbrook, Conn., had come in and left.
Charles McCarty, an Irishman, was here in 1816.
The first Roman Catholic did not come until three or four years later.
During 1817-18 there was an accession to the township of at least twenty-five taxables. In 1819 there were nearly forty. These were principally members of
THE BRITISH SETTLEMENT.
In 1818 a meeting was held in Philadelphia by a number of Englishmen, whose object was the selection of an eligible spot for a settlement, which would combine advantages for both farmers and mechanics.
Many had crossed the water with the view of settling on the western prairies, but unfavorable reports of the climate, water, etc., had determined them to seek a situation for the contemplated establishment "on the eastern side of the mountains, and within a reasonable distance from some of the seaports, in which all the surplus produce of the mechanic's labor might be vended, where the toil of the farmer would be rewarded by a good price for his produce, and where, in consequence of the country not being filled with settlers, land might yet be had at a low price."¹
All these advantages appeared to be combined in the lands offered for sale by Dr. Rose, and it was resolved, unanimously, to write to him, to ascertain the terms on which he would sell to a society of British emigrants.
¹ 'Letters from the British Settlement,' by C. B. Johnson, M.D.
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On the receipt of a reply from the Doctor, a meeting of the emigrants was convened, and it was determined that a committee of five should proceed to Susquehanna County to examine the
lands carefully, and to make a report of their situation, soil water, etc. The result was a unanimous opinion in favor of the place ; and a contract was made November 15, 1818.
Dr. Charles B. Johnson, from Shropshire, England, one of the committee, was among the first company. He located at the northeast corner of Quaker Lake, and occupied the house previously mentioned as built by Charles Wooster, on what has since been known as the Main place. It was removed some years later, and is now an out-house on William Meeker's farm.
Dr. Johnson appears as the author of a book, whose statements led many other Englishmen into this section, and who remained no longer than he—three or four years. He removed to Binghamton, where he died, in 1835, aged forty-seven years. He is said to have been a skilful surgeon ; his family possessed considerable talent in the use of the brush and pencil.
From a leader in the 'Montrose Gazette,' April 24, 1819, we glean the following:—
" The tide of emigration is fast setting into this country. The British settlement bids fair to advance the agricultural interest in this part of the State. Large purchases are making by the hardy cultivators of the soil from England. We trust those who purchase here in preference to traveling to the western wilds will enhance their own interests and those of our county generally. Indeed, we know of no part of the country better calculated for the English farmer than this ; our lands are cheap, our soil is good, our waters pure, our markets quick, and our climate healthy. Nothing is wanting but industry to make Susquehanna County rich and flourishing."
A gentleman who visited Silver Lake in 1821 published in the ‘Village Record,' of Chester County, Pa., the following item :—
" From four and a half acres of land that I was on in the neighborhood of Silver Lake, which was farmed with potatoes on shares, were raised 1600 bushels. The owner gave the laborer $300 as his part of said crop. It (Susquehanna County) is famous for all kinds of roots and garden stuff."
Anthony North, John Deakin, William Lawson, John Caslake, Thomas Rodgers, Charles Innes, James Ressegnie, Thomas Rich, and Samuel Hill were among the English settlers of this period. They were generally located in the vicinity of Quaker and Mud Lakes, which they called Derwent and Tenbury Lakes—reflecting credit upon their taste. Here they began a city, which they named Brittania. It was laid out in lots, which were quite narrow on the road, but were one mile in extent. Nearly all the common trades were represented by the skill of the settlers of 1819, and for a few years following.
The British Emigrant Society, established here, offered to give
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a half-acre lot on the turnpike, cleared, to each of the first fifty mechanics who should build a house on the same, and commence his trade. The society required that the fronts of all the houses and shops erected in the town should be built according to the designs furnished by their architect, and should be painted. The sides, back, and interior might be finished or not, as the parties concerned might choose, and every house might be on such a plan and of such a size as best suited the convenience or purse of the builder. Ground was given for the site of public buildings, and a fund is mentioned as having been appropriated for them. It was the wish of the society to introduce a number of good farmers, and to settle industrious mechanics in towns in numbers sufficient to consume the farmer's produce. Factors, they promised, should be established in Philadelphia and New York, to whom wagons should be regularly sent with such of the manufactured articles as it might be desirable to sell there; and to bring back such imported articles as should be necessary for their consumption.
Every plan contemplated by the society seems to have been feasible; but it is probably true that the English mechanic, or farmer even, was unfitted by his previous experience to be a pioneer in a country whose forests and hills were sufficiently appalling to New Englanders. The improvements of the latter were purchased by Dr. Rose and sold to the society, or to its individual members, but, as in all cases the farms were but partially cleared, and the two or three turnpikes of the county hardly counterbalanced the discomforts of the common roads, the high hopes of the incomers were gradually dissipated, if not suddenly crushed, and there were few who remained, or whose descendants are still in the township.
Anthony North remained, though his discouragements were equal to any.
He built a framed-house, but soon after he moved into it a whirlwind lifted the roof and carried it off so suddenly that his family were not aware of their loss until they retired for the night, when they found the bricks or stones of the chimney had fallen on a bed where a sleeping infant was lying; but, strange to say, although they were all around it, not one had struck it. The roof being painted, the shingles were recognized when picked up in the vicinity of New Milford. A pair of Mr. North's "short breeches" were found on the limb of a tree in Liberty.
Mrs. N. is still living; her husband died within a few years. Their residence was at the head of Mud Lake.
John Caslake, a man of considerable information, and a bachelor well advanced in life, built the house near the bridge at Mud Lake, in which Thomas Rodgers, 1st, lived and died; and which
456 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Thomas Rogers, 3d (grand-nephew of the latter), now owns and occupies. Here Mr. C. died prior to 1830.
Adjoining his place on the north was the earliest location of James Spratt ; and above the latter was that of Thomas Rodgers, 1st; both built later near the top of the hill east of the lake. The farm of Thomas Rodgers, 2d (a nephew of the latter), partly covers the estate formerly owned by James Resseguie, as also one of two lots owned then by John Craik and Walter Scott. The last named died here. He was the father-in-law of A. Waldie.
John Craik was an intelligent Scotchman, whose disappointment in the supposed attractions of the township did not drive him from it. He also died here; and some of his family are still in the vicinity.
North of these settlers was Dr. Charles W. Bankson, who came from Philadelphia. The house built by his widow was afterwards occupied as a dwelling and afore by William Hewson, who had previously lived in "Richmond Castle;" and after he left it was occupied as a store by Joseph Stanley. Dr. B. practiced in Silver Lake a number of years.
Dr. Emerson, also from Philadelphia, was probably the first physician here. He was located on the west side of the road.
William Armstrong settled just below T. Rogers, 1st.
On the site of the present residence of A. B. Hill one Rumley, a tailor, lived ; the house was afterwards burned.
Samuel Hill lived near the corners, and had a fine flower garden a little further north, which gained a notoriety from its being a rare instance in which a busy farmer gave attention to anything but essentials.
For many years the people worked hard at clearing their farms, or at their various trades, involving constant manual labor; and, though many of them were men of intelligence, they paid little attention to, and thought less of the exterior graces either in their manners or surroundings. It must be conceded, however, that they possessed elements of character well adapted to cope with the difficulties inseparable from their position. Greater sensitiveness on their part would have induced them to return to their former homes, leaving to stronger nerves and resolution the conquest of a land now enjoyed by their posterity. Still, the early exodus of some of the British settlers was doubtless a positive loss to the social, if not the material interests of the country.
Patrick Griffin and family were here as early as 1821, on the place afterwards owned by Mr. Main. Captain Gerald Griffin, his son, was a retired British officer, in England, on half pay, from whom the principal support of the family was at that time derived. They are remembered as possessing true gentility, and
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great loveliness of character. Patrick G., Jr., died in California in the fall of 1872.
Edward White, a model Irish gentleman of the old-school, came in a little later than Mr. Griffin. " He had married the eldest sister of Gerald Griffin, on which occasion the joy-bells
of Limerick were rung to honor the young bride and groom. This eminently worthy couple were the first apostles of the Catholic church in Susquehanna County, and the adjacent parts
of New York State."
James W. White, eldest son of Edward, was a lawyer, and afterwards Judge of the Superior Court of the City of New York. He has been styled " one of the noblest Irish-Americans of our times."
The daughters of Edward W. were highly educated; and, a few years later, they established in Binghamton a boarding-school for young ladies, which was very successful. The institution was
maintained until the death of Mrs. White, in 1851.
The family was then broken up; two of the daughters entering nunneries. Edward W. died December, 1863.
Henry and Sackville Cox, Irish gentlemen, married two daughters of Thomas Peironnet (English), of Friendsville. In 1822 Sackville was in Silver Lake.
The first Roman Catholic priest in the county was Father Francis O'Flynn, of the order La Trappe, and of "noble descent." His sister, Mrs. Fitzgerald, a true lady, was with himself the center of a large circle of the cultivated and refined. Indeed, at no later period has a larger number of such persons resided in Silver Lake and vicinity.
An agricultural society was formed in 1820. From the diary of Philip Griffith, now in the possession of his daughter, Mrs. J. S. Gage, we have a few items relative to affairs in the township at this early day, and among them mention of the introduction, by Dr. Rose, of large numbers of sheep into the township. On the 4th of July, 1832, Edward White and Philip Griffith brought to him one thousand three hundred and fifty-two sheep; in August of that year he had nearly two thousand—eleven of the number having that month been killed by wolves. At a later period he had five thousand sheep and numerous cattle.
In 1834, Philip Griffith removed to the vicinity of Dr. Rose's residence, and kept the post-office accounts, and also those of the estate. A farm hand was then paid but fifty cents a day. In 1836, oak plank was worth one cent per foot ; shingles, three dollars per one and a half thousand.
The English had come and gone, when an experiment was made, about the year 1836, by Dr. Rose, to form a colony of colored farmers, but it failed.
458 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Upon the completion of the Chenango Canal, and after suspension of labor upon the North Branch, the Irish who had been employed in their construction were easily induced to purchase land and settle down as farmers ; and in general they have been very successful, many having arrived at competency, if not wealth. Were the roads of the township at all their earnest care, and kept like those of Jackson or Gibson, the farms of Silver Lake would not only appear to far greater advantage, but their value would be doubled. As it is, the difficulty of access gives to this section an appearance of dreariness, and the jaded traveler's aching bones make him wish himself well out of the township.
One of the later colonists was Michael Ward, formerly of Longford County, Ireland. Joseph, his son, is the present justice of the peace in Silver Lake.
James McCormick, from Tipperary County, settled about forty years ago in the northwestern part of the township, near where J. McCormick, Jr., now lives. J. D. Murphy, James Foster, and Timothy Sweeney came soon afterwards.
By degrees the descendants of the New England settlers left, and those of the Irish rapidly filled their places, until the latter are now a large majority of the population. In one school-district there is but one man of American parentage.
The streams of the township are all small, the largest being only the outlets of the principal lakes. The latter were found bordered with the native laurel. Dr. Rose brought pickerel from Lathrop's to stock Silver Lake, and a few were put into Quaker or Derwent Lake. They ate the other fish—trout, bullheads, etc. Two trout weighing together sixteen pounds, were once caught just at the outlet. Speckled trout are sometimes now found in Ranney Creek.
The source of Silver Creek is in the lake of the same name, though it has a feeder in Cranberry Lake, in the same vicinity. In 1829, Dr. Rose constructed a stone-dam on this creek, not far from T. Holley's, remains of which can yet be seen. For some years a woolen factory was established there. "Snow Hollow" lies just east of it, through which the road continues to the salt spring in Franklin. Two or three families of the name of Snow resided there.
In 1834, this section was the scene of a wolf hunt. At a later date even than this, the forests were not entirely deserted by deer which, in earlier times, had been abundant. From a newspaper of 1839, we learn that E. W. Rose, then a mere lad, shot a deer near the lake, which weighed 206 pounds.
Beech, maple, and chestnut were on the ridges ; hemlock along the valleys ; the last is still abundant, though heavy drafts are made upon it.
Thirty years ago a party of pedestrians, who started from
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Philadelphia. for Niagara, Williamsport, and Genesee Falls, gave to the Philadelphia Inquirer' a description of their tour, which was published by the editor, with some remarks of his own, descriptive of their return, from which we take the following:—
" On entering again the wilds of Pennsylvania, they were startled and delighted with the appearance of Silver Lake—a scene which they describe to have been as beautiful, at that time, as the fabled island of Calypso. They reclined, for the purpose of taking their noon-day meal, under a grove of beech trees, and observed on the border of the lake a number of handsome buildings. While they were looking at them a gentleman (Dr. Rose), whose residence was in the midst, came forward, and in the most courteous manner invited our travelers to his hospitality. The invitation was accepted, and while they tarried there (three days), they were highly gratified not only with the scenery—the lake looking like a tranquil mirror bordered with a variety of verdure and foliage, alternated with rock and mountain—but with the curiosities and elegancies within ; such as urns from Thebes, platters from Herculaneum and Pompeii, statues and pictures, and a library of 4000 volumes of the choicest literature."
The enthusiasm exhibited in this fragment is not greater than that felt by the compiler on seeing Silver Lake for the first time, a few years later. The view was obtained from the east, and seemed like a glimpse of fairy-land. No less than nine marble statues ornamented the exterior of Dr. Rose's residence, which, in the engraving given in this work, are but indistinctly seen.
These, with the turrets, and the delightful little summerhouses by the lake, which was environed by a path behind a screen of laurels, were novelties that needed not a lively imagination to render them pleasing in the extreme. But its palmy days were over. The genius that had planned, and the hand of taste that had executed so much that combined to charm the eye and attract the soul, were then no more ; and desolate hearts took little note of neglected grounds, except to feel more keenly the loss they had suffered.
NOTE. —The first engraving (a few pages preceding), shows the front of the house as originally built, or as it appeared in 1816. In the second engraving we see the rear of the same house with the extensive additions made to it of a later date.
Dr. Rose died February 24th,1842, in the 66th year of his age, leaving a widow, three sons, and four daughters. One of the latter married Mr. William Main, of New York. Thirty-five years ago he was residing at the northeast corner of Derwent Lake ; the road, since vacated, then passed his house, which is now occupied by Thomas Patton. At the time of the morus multicaulis mania he gave some attention to the cultivation of these trees and rearing of silkworms. Several attempts were made, but soon given up, by other parties.
Another daughter became the wife of Rev. Francis D. Ladd, pastor at a later period of a church in Philadelphia. Mrs. L. and her husband died some years ago. Mrs. Rose died at Phila-
460 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
delphia, in 1866. The oldest son, Edward W., resides upon the estate, his house commanding a fine view of the lake ; but neither this nor that of the late Andrew Rose, his brother, near it, are modeled in any respect after the paternal residence, which, to the great loss of the community as well as the family, then absent, was consumed by fire, together with its contents, April 30th, 1849.
In the early agitation of the subjects of temperance and antislavery, Silver Lake was alive and interested. A petition, signed by I. Gage and about twenty others of the township, was read by ex-president Adams in the United States House of Representatives. The correspondent of the 'New York Express' describes the scene : " Ears, eyes, and mouths were opened in astonishment, and the little monster was laid on the table without debate. Mr. Davis (Jeff. ?), attempted to revive his resolution, proposing that all anti-slavery petitions be laid upon the table without reading, without reference, and without debate. But it was no go."
There are ten school-districts in the township. Joseph Gage, Sr., sold land to Gilbert Tompkins, of New York, which the latter sold, in 1848, to J. W. Brackney, from Prattsville, New York, who erected there an extensive tannery and a fine residence. He drew about him a community of laborers whose dwellings formed a small village, called Brackney. A post-office is established here. The first grist-mill at this point was built for Mr. B. August, 1850. The business he pursued has since passed into other hands.
But two of the first settlers of the township are living—Abagail, widow of Mortimer Gage, and Peter Soule. The last named is in Duanesburg, New York. Betsey, widow of Jacob Hoag, and Betsey, widow of John L. Minkler, both died recently.
The "Church of Christ in Silver Lake and Choconut" was organized February 16th, 1816, by Rev. E. Kingsbury, Rev. Oliver Hill, and John Thacher, council. The first communion service was held on the Sabbath following, at Dr. Rose's office. There were but seven constituent members; four others were present who had not yet received letters of dismission from other churches. Persons proposed for admission to this church had to stand propounded four weeks, a rule applying to professors as well as others. This was pronounced " anti-presbyterial'? years later, by the Rev. Daniel Deruelle.
Prior to 1823 the Presbyterian (or Congregational) ministers who had preached here were, the Revs. E. Kingsbury, 0. Hill, M. M. York, G. N. Judd, — King, and Enoch Conger. Only the last named appears to have been a stated supply ; the others
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came but semi-occasionally, to administer the Lord's Supper. During Mr. Conger's labors, on June 22d, 1822, twenty-one persons were received into the church on profession of faith; but with this addition the whole number of communicants, in 1823, was but thirty-one, and but twenty-nine the following year. A majority of these resided in Choconut ; and to accommodate them the first church edifice was built on Choconut Creek.
In 1833, Rev. Mr. Smith was with them. Rev. Levi Griswold had preceded him ; and during the previous few years Rev. Burr Baldwin and Rev. Daniel Deruelle had preached here occasionally. Later, Rev. John Sherer supplied the pulpit frequently. Ephraim Strong, Daniel Chamberlin, Gordon Bliss, and Eben Griswold were deacons of this church.
The last record concerning the old church was made March 20th, 1837. Seventy-one members in all had been connected with it.
The first Presbyterian church within the bounds of' Silver Lake township was built in 1846, on a knoll sloping to the western shore of Mud Lake.¹
Many of the community contributed liberally to swell the amount advanced for this purpose by Mrs. Rose and family.
John Simpson, an upright man and earnest Christian (in whose hands Dr. Rose at his death had left the management of his estate), had exerted himself to bring together the scattered members of the former church, and what Ephraim Strong bad been to that, Mr. Simpson became to the new church—its pillar. He died November 8th, 1848, in the fifty-fourth year of his age.
The church was re-organized March 21st, 1847, with the following members : Mrs. Jane Rose and four daughters, John Simpson and wife, Henrietta Craik, W. Coon and wife, Eliza North, and one other whose name is unascertained.
Rev. Francis D. Ladd was then the pastor of the church, and for several years afterward. Rev. Thomas Thomas was his successor. Rev. Mr. Palmer, of Broome County, N. Y., supplies the pulpit at present. Nathaniel H. Wakeley and Thomas Patton are the elders of the church.
The Methodist society was organized as early as 1818, by Elder Griffin, but it soon declined, and was not revived until 1831, at which time Elder Solon Stocking occasionally labored here.
Rev. Charles Perkins and Rev. J. R. Boswell were here at " the time of the great reformation," in 1840 ; previous to which there were but seven members. The Griffith family were among the early members.
¹ Such a misnomer should no longer be allowed. Above the bridge a prettier sheet of water is not to be found : why not revive the old name—Tenbury Lake ?
462 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Elder Morgan Ruger, stationed at Brackney, died 1851.
The church edifice was begun April, 1846, and was dedicated February, 1847. It is now some rods north of its first location, which was at the corners below Brackney.
The first Roman Catholic chapel was built at the head of Ranney Creek, on land of Mr. Fitzgerald (a nephew of Father O'Flynn). It was the first of that denomination in the county.
R. C. CHAPEL OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
It was destroyed by fire April 3d, 1870 ; but a new structure already takes its place, of which we give an illustration. The first service was held in the new church on Christmas day of 1871.
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IN 1814, on petition of John Hilborn and others, for a division of the original township of Harmony into two equal parts—six miles north and south, by nine miles east and west—the court appointed Asa Dimock, Philip J. Stewart, and John Kent, viewers ; and their report, setting off the lower half as a new township to be called Jackson, was accepted, and finally confirmed, December, 1815. A petition in May previous, asking to have it named Greenfield, was not granted, as the viewers failed to report.
The hero of New Orleans might have been immortalized without the help of this new township; however, its few inhabitants chose to call it by his name, and not without some show of consistency, as his political principles were largely predominant for many years, within its bounds, though they are not inherited to any great extent by its present voters.
During the war of the rebellion, Jackson contributed 114 volunteers for the Union army, a number of whom sacrificed their lives in the service.
The area of Jackson was diminished exactly one-half by the erection of the eastern part into the township of Thomson. This, in turn, has been divided, the southern portion now being the northern part of Ararat; thus the farms of Hezekiah Bushnell and Nathaniel West, which are now in the latter township, were once in Thomson, and previous to that, in Jackson ; still earlier, when first occupied, the same farms were in Harmony.
There are no hills of any very great elevation. The two highest points are in the northern part of the township ; their summits being not more than half a mile apart, and the Lenox and Harmony turnpike skirting their common base. That on the west side is called Mount Hope; that on the east is known by the name of Hog-back.
No stream courses the entire length of the township in any direction, though there are several of some note which " head" in the vicinity of these hills. First, the Canawacta, which first runs east, then northeast, then north, and finally northwest, and empties into the Susquehanna at Lanesboro. It is said a party of Indians, of the Conewaga tribe, were accustomed to hunt and fish in this vicinity, and that the creek took its name from this
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circumstance. Second, Drinker Creek, which runs north, then northwest, and empties into the river at Susquehanna Depot. Third, Meadow-brook, which runs westerly, and empties into the Salt Lick near H. Burritt's store in New Milford. Fourth, the West Branch of the Tunkhannock, which runs through Burrows Hollow and thence through the east part of Harford. Fifth, the Middle Branch, which runs south, and after leaving Jackson runs through Gibson, etc., emptying into the Susquehanna at Tunkhannock. It is thought a point might be found near the summit of Mount Hope from which a circle with a radius of one mile would include the heads of all these streams. Mitchell's Creek, and a smaller stream known to surveyors as " Third Run," have their sources in the northwest corner of Jackson, and reach the river in Great Bend and Oakland. Butler Lake is the largest sheet of water in the township ; being half a mile wide, and more than a mile long. Its outlet joins Van Winkle's Creek near the western border of Gibson, and eventually enters the Tunkhannock. There was once a beaver-meadow which is now covered by a mill-pond east of Butler Lake.
Beech, maple, and chestnut constitute the principal timber, as the pine and hemlock have been, in a great measure, transported to market. There were formerly noted yields of maple sugar. In early times, when farmers were clearing their farms, wheat was a pretty sure crop. Jairus Lamb then sowed two bushels of seed wheat which yielded, in one season, one hundred and five\ bushels—probably the largest crop ever raised from the same quantity of seed, in the county. Now, wheat does not do so well, and comparatively little is raised ; the attention of farmers being given principally to the making of butter, the good quality of which usually commands as good a price as that of any other township. With a dairy of seven cows, Oliver Ginton made and sold for the New York market in 1868, 1418 pounds of butter, netting $635. Besides the butter sold, 50 pounds were made for winter use, and a family of seven persons was also supplied with butter and milk during the season.
Large crops of vegetables are annually grown. In 1869, Charles T. Belcher raised seven and one-half bushels of Early Rose potatoes from seven seed potatoes, and from half a bushel of Harrison white potatoes he raised forty-five bushels. J. H. Lamb gathered, from less than two acres of ground, seventeen large wagon loads of pumpkins, nearly all of them being yellow
The township presents to the eye of the traveler a series of beautiful landscapes, which the smoothness of the roads permits him to enjoy undisturbed. Perhaps in all the county there are no better roads than those of this township; the cross-roads even
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 465
average better than the great thoroughfare—almost the only turnpike of the county that is kept in good repair.
The old "Harmony Road" was laid out in 1812, from the Susquehanna River at Lanesboro, to Dimock's Corners in Herrick, where it intersected the Great Bend and Coshecton turnpike. The Jackson turnpike, or as it is known by its charter, the Lenox and Harmony turnpike, was laid out in 1836, from the Tunkhannock Creek in Lenox, to the Susquehanna River at Lanesboro; and must intersect the old Harmony Road near the northern Methodist Episcopal church in Jackson. It was on this road, at a point about three miles north of this church, that Oliver Harper was shot.
It is said there is not an acre of unseated land in the township.
The first clearing was made near the line of Gibson, as early as 1809, by two sons of George Gelatt, who had purchased just below the line himself ; but all soon after sold out to Elkanah Tingley, and moved to what is now called Gelatt Hollow, on the Tunkhannock Creek in Gibson. Mr. Tingley afterwards gave these lots to his sons Daniel and Milton, who lived here much respected by all, and here they died. Another clearing of ten acres was made very early by a man named Booth, who left for Connecticut after paying $20 on his contract, and never returned. For many years it was called "the Yankee lot." It adjoined that of Obed Nye. George Gelatt, Jr., probably built the first house (of logs) in Jackson, but he had moved away prior to the arrival of the first actual settlers—David and Jonathan Bryant, Jairus Lamb and Uriah Thayer. They came together from Vermont in the spring of 1812, and in the fall returned to spend the winter. Early in 1813 they again came prepared to make a permanent home in Jackson (then Harmony).
In addition to the above-mentioned settlers, Hosea Benson from New Hampshire, and Daniel Tingley, were in Jackson previous to the arrival, on December 20th, 1814, of Stephen Tucker and Joseph Bryant. Mr. Tucker was then in his twenty-first and Mr. Bryant in his eighteenth year, and both had walked from Vermont to seek their fortunes in a new country. Major Joel Lamb (father of Jairus), Martin Hall, Captain Levi Page, and Moses B. Wheaton came from Vermont, February, 1815. Major Lamb took up a large tract of land. The first season, he-cleared and put into wheat twenty-five acres. His family remained for some time at the old "Skyrin House," in Gibson Hollow. Daniel Chase, a Free-will Baptist elder, and his son John, with their families, came in 1816. In September of that year, Joseph and Ichabod Powers, sons of Hazard P. of Gibson,
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each selected a lot, cleared some land, and built a log-cabin. Ichabod soon after sold his improvement to his brother, and left the township. Joseph then occupied it, and sold his first clearing to I. Hill.
Joseph P. married, in June 1816, Eunice, daughter of Jonathan Moxley, of New Milford. She died August, 1863, in her seventy-third year, and Mr. P. in April, 1864, aged nearly seventy-five years. About two-thirds of his life were spent in Jackson.
Ichabod and Ephraim Hill, Calvin Gorse, Nathaniel Norris, and Obed Nye were here in 1816 ; in 1817. Asa Hall, Russel and Torrey Whitney ; in 1818, Pelatiah Gunnison ; in 1820, Henry Perry; in 1822, Judah and John S. Savory; in 1826, Reuben Harris; and in 1828, Win. H. Bartlett.
About forty families followed Mr. Bartlett from Vermont, and, indeed, the most of the settlers who preceded him were from the same State. They liked the country because it resembled the one they had left. The locality was, for a long time, known as "The Vermont Settlement," and as early as 1817 it was thus designated on the court records, when a road was laid out to it from Ararat, which, too, was then only a settlement.
Ephraim Hill, ¹ Stephen Tucker, David Bryant, Captain Levi Page, Martin Hall, Obed Nye, and Job Benson are the oldest men of the earlier settlers now living in Jackson. The only survivors among the women are Mrs. David Bryant and the widow of Moses B. Wheaton. Mrs. Wheaton has been the mother of fourteen children, twelve of whom are still living. Mrs. Stephen Tucker died April 5, 1871, aged nearly seventy-eight years. She was married February, 1816, in Vermont, and the summer following settled on the farm in Jackson, where she died. "As one of the early pioneers, she bore an honorable and useful part, rearing nine children to maturity, eight of them being still alive. She united with the Gibson and Jackson Baptist church at an early day, and was a quiet but stable member."
Daniel Tingley was the first man married while a resident of the township. Jairus Lamb married in Vermont before returning to Pennsylvania in 1813, and commenced housekeeping at Captain Potter's in Gibson, and lived there until a house was made ready for him in Jackson.
Mr. Lamb built the first framed-house early in 1814; in what is now Jackson ; having previously lived a short time in a log-house with David Bryant. He has probably built and occupied
more houses than any other man in the county; in Jackson he has built seven; in Thomson, two; in Alleghany County, N. Y., two; and in New Milford, one; all occupied by himself and family. He has also built, for his own use, nine barns, two pot-
¹ Since deceased, at the age of ninety-one years.
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asheries, and one blacksmith shop; and in company with Russel Whitney, he built the first saw-mill in Jackson; drawing the plank for the floors four miles through the woods, from Burrows' Hollow. He made the shingles for all the houses himself.
Major Joel Lamb, his father, who came in later, was uncom molly large in stature and breadth, measuring two feet across the shoulders; and "made large tracks." On one occasion he walked to Philadelphia (carrying his shoes in his hands) to see the land-agent, with whom he contracted for four hundred acres of land. A person following him was attracted by the large footprints, and expressed his astonishment to a bar-room crowd, asking if any one had seen a giant. No one being prepared to answer the question, the major, who was in the room, rose in his dignity and thus gave him the desired information. But, if rude in exterior, at heart he was a gentleman. Enterprising and intel ligent, he possessed the ability to command. His physical strength made him "worth half-a-dozen common men at a log-raising," and as assistants were few, his aid was always in demand; and his voice and example would nerve others to bring up the heaviest log to its place.
Moses B. Wheaton came into Jackson with $400 in silver—a "big thing" at that time—bnt did not go into business for a year or two, and bad finally to begin empty-handed like the rest. For many years after not one had secured money enough to pay for his land, and consequently all entered into contracts for future payments. At the expiration of four or five years the landowners added principal and interest together, and secured themselves by a judgment bond and mortgage on each farm. This was_a great shock to the settlers, but it served as a spur to their ambition; for though some felt at times as if they never could pay the amount required—so little market had they for their produce—they have paid it; and, in every instance, except one, have paid three or four times the original price of their farms, so long a time had elapsed before the final payment. Most of the early settlers were short of provisions, and gave their labor for supplies. In this way the farms were rapidly cleared. One of them says "we had no privations as a general thing. By the sweat of the brow we had enough to eat and to wear; but the most trouble we had was to sell our surplus for a reasonable compensation. Sometimes, when the lumbermen on the Delaware were successful, they would take whatever we had to spare." The Delaware and Hudson Canal revived the market considerably, and now Jackson is within two days of New York.
There are no very wealthy men in the township, but there are few who are not " well off" or independent. The inhabitants are, mostly, agriculturists, temperate and industrious.
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Raising less wheat than formerly, they make good crops of corn, rye, oats, and buckwheat; but the year after Jairus Lamb came in be sowed a peck of buckwheat and reaped only a peck. The raising of stock receives considerable attention.
In the early years of the settlement wolves made havoc among the young cattle and sheep, unless they were closely yarded at night. As late as 1827 sheep were killed by them on the present site of the Methodist church at Jackson Center. Bears were few, but deer were plenty. David Bryant killed one thousand deer during twelve years. The writer heard him say that he has killed three before breakfast; one time he shot at five, and killed three with the one shot. This was no empty boast, but can be testified to by reliable parties. He was the " mighty hunter" of Jackson.
On the fourth of July, 1812, with three other men (every man then in the township) he went to Butler Lake to hunt deer. The day was warm, and the deer were cooling themselves in the water. "The shore was red with them." The hunters agreed to station themselves at different points around the lake, and the man who had the greatest distance to go should be the first to shoot, lest the deer should be disturbed before they were all ready. So well was this plan carried out that they found and dressed eleven of those they killed. Crops were often injured by the deer; they ate the wheat-heads, beans, and buckwheat.
A sister of David Bryant, Mrs. Jairus Lamb (mother of Russel B. Lamb), was the first woman buried in Jackson. The first child born in the town was Sophia, daughter of Hosea Benson.
The first school-house was built at the Center (Moses B. Wheaton, teacher), but not until 1820, as previous to this there were no children of a suitable age to attend school. The school-houses
of Jackson are now referred to as models to be imitated by other townships.
In 1868, descendants of Martin and Asa Hall, and Jairus Lamb (who had married a sister of the Halls), to the number of eighty were present at a picnic in the town; and there were at least seventy-five more of them in other parts of the country.
William H. Bartlett, formerly a justice of the peace in Jackson, now living in Susquehanna Depot, in his seventy-second year, is able to say what cannot probably be said by any other man of his age, that he has never been confined to the house by sickness a day in his life. This is an evidence not only of the strength of his constitution, but also of the healthiness of the township.
It is written in the Psalms, "A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees ;" and in this respect it may be said of Mr. Bartlett that he " was famous," having
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cleared of his own one hundred and thirty acres of timber, and in addition numerous smaller patches for others.
The houses of the early time were poorly lighted. In R. Harris' cabin, a chink in the wall was its only window, the panes being irregular bits of glass fitted in as well as they could be, and in dark weather it was necessary to light a candle to do the washing.
Mrs. Harris was the first milliner in Jackson. Previous to her coming, it was in style for the women to tie a pockethandkerchief over their heads in going " to meeting ;" but the airy "calash" soon supplanted that simple " tiring of the head," to which perforce they had been accustomed ; and soon after that the large " Leghorn flat," with its wreaths and ribbons, found its way into the neighborhood.
Until Dr. Wheaton settled here, about sixteen years ago, there was no physician established in the township, though there were "comers and goers." Dr. Streeter, of Harford, or Mrs. Mercy Tyler, of Ararat, being depended upon in cases of emergency, all ordinary sicknesses were made to yield to careful nursing, and the use of simples. The medicinal plant of ginseng is found in abundance.
The first sermons heard in Jackson were those of Elder Nathaniel Lewis, a Methodist. It is said that he did not appear to be a man like Paul, "brought up at the feet of Gamaliel," though, doubtless, he was a good man. Whatever his text might be, after a short introduction, to fight fatalism, was always the subject and object of his discourse.
Elder Elijah Peck, from Mt. Pleasant; Rev. E. Kingsbury, " a fatherly Presbyterian ;" George Peck, D.D., Asa Dodge, and Elder Agard were among the early preachers, and all left a fragrant memory. A " Free-will" Baptist society was organized in 1822, under the influence of Elder Daniel Chase; Martin Hall, and Nathaniel Norris being chosen deacons. The strict Baptist society of Jackson and Gibson was organized in 1825, and a Congregational society in 1837. The latter is now very feeble. The strict Baptist is the strongest church. The Congregationalists united with the Free-will Baptists in building a church, in 1838, two miles north of Jackson Center (as it is called, though near the south line of the township). The Methodists have a church a little further north, as well as one at the Center, where also the strict Baptists erecte done in 1842. Stephen Tucker built the latter, after procuring subscriptions amounting to more than $1000 in cash. Elders G. W. Leonard, J. Parker, D. D. Gray, J. B. Worden, Lamb, and Slaysman, have all been successful preachers in this church ; and, as its minutes testify, it has as much religious vitality and enterprise, according to its numbers
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as any church in the association. It was dismissed in 1828 from the Abington to unite with the Bridgewater association. About 1830, a Bible society was formed, and also a temperance society. Indeed, temperance and a good degree of religious sentiment have a strong hold among the people of Jackson. The churches are all supplied with pastors.
Deacon Daniel Tingley, of the Baptist church, " was truly a man of God, ever ready to take an active part in meetings, and ever kind to those in need of help. He lived and died at his post, respected by saint and sinner."
TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, ETC. ETC.
Jackson was not fully organized with township officers until 1816, when it appears the first officers were : constable, Moses B. Wheaton ; supervisors, Hezekiah Bushnell and Martin Hall ; and overseers of the poor, Jairus Lamb and Nathaniel West. There is no record of a town clerk, until 1820, when Joel Hall (a brother of Martin, and who came in later) served in that capacity. Pelatiah Gunnison was first justice of the peace. In 1838, a post-office, named Barryville, was established ; this name was changed in 1836 to Jackson, upon the erection of the township of Thomson ; though previously there bad been a post-office of that name at what is now Thomson Center.
In military matters, Captains David Bryant and Nelson French, of the rifle company, were prominent. Major Lamb's title was acquired before coming to this section.
A bedstead manufactory was among the enterprises of the past, and which, for several years, sent off extensive supplies.
At present there is a pail factory at the sources of the Tunkhannock and Canawacta Creeks, and a grist-mill and a saw-mill (S. Tucker's) just below. There are five saw-mills—two of which are on Drinker Creek, one at the outlet of Butler Lake, and another at Beaver Dam, or "Little Butler," and two grist-mills in the township. Two stores, one grocery, and one hotel accommodate the public.
At Savory's Corners, there is a store kept by Norris & French, a blacksmith's shop by J. Aldrich, two wagon shops near at hand, and a saw-mill owned by C. D. Hill.
On the morning of July 4, 1870, the citizens assembled at Savory's Corners, bringing ropes, tackle, etc., for the purpose of raising a flag. At 12 o'clock it floated on the breeze nearly one hundred feet above the ground. It was hoisted by Billings Burdick, Nathaniel Norris, Calvin Corse, and Martin Hall, soldiers of 1812.
This locality took its name from Mr. John S. Savory, who died in Jackson, Sept. 25, 1867, aged 80 years.
Jackson Center, or "Jackson Corners," is situated on the
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Lenox and Harmony turnpike, eight miles south of Susquehanna Depot, and contains something less than fifty dwellings, wagon, blacksmith, and harness shops, two tailor shops, a school-house, two churches, a dry goods and general finding store, a drug and variety store, an M.D.'s office, a large hall, a boot and shoe shop, a hotel, two slaughter houses, and a grist and saw-mill, running on full time.
A stave machine (horse-power), invented by Hosea Benson, is worthy of mention. It can be used with water or steam. The " Dresser and Joiner" has been added by his son, L. C. Benson, and is patented. An indicating attachment to weighing scales has been patented by Wm. F. Sweet.
SKETCH OF ELDER J. B. WORDEN.
BY HIS SON.
Jesse Babcock Worden was the youngest of nine children of Deacon John and Elizabeth [Babcock] Worden. He was born 18th July, 1787, in Richmond, Washington County, Rhode Island. Surviving companions of his youth describe him as noted for his robust health, strength, athletic exercises, and innocent social jovialty. But there was no neighborhood school, and he did not master the alphabet until twelve years of age. At that period, however, he took hold of books, became a proficient in all the elements of useful knowledge, and taught several schools when in his teens, in Rhode Island, and Southeastern Connecticut.
While living in Plainfield, Otsego County, New York, he was drafted, and in September, 1812, entered the United States service as sergeant major in Col. F. Stranahan's regiment under Gen. S. Van Rensselaer. The day after the battle of Queenstown, he was deputed to act as quartermaster, and soon received a brevet commission from Gov. Tompkins. At the disbanding of the militia, he enlisted, and served as lieutenant under Col. H. W. Dobbin, Gen. D. Miller, until that force was discharged.
Entering into mercantile business at Sangerfield, Oneida County, he there married (26th December, 1813) Hannah Norton, daughter of Deacon Oliver and Martha [Beach] Norton. He was prospered in his vocation until the disasters at the close of the war, which involved him and many others in financial ruin. In after life, with aid from the small salary of a pastor, he was enabled to discharge his liabilities.
His parents were eminently pious people, whose good examples were never lost upon his mind. And yet, when upon the early death of his father, he sought employment elsewhere, and fell into the friendly company of subtle, but respectable infidels, he too became a sceptic, though never a scoffer.
During a gracious revival in New Woodstock, Madison County, he was converted, and with his wife, was baptized by Elder John Peck in October, 1816. Not long after he was licensed to preach; and in 1818, was invited to supply the First Baptist Church, South Marcellus, Onondago County, and in March, 1819, in his 32d year, was ordained. There. for upwards of sixteen years, he thoroughly performed the duties of pastor and missionary—bishop and itinerant. His baptisms averaged twenty per year, in an agricultural community, and the church had increased to 270 members. He was also commissioned by the Baptist State Convention to take preaching tours in Western New York, in Ohio, and in the newer settled counties of Northern Pennsylvania.
His first visit here commenced in July, and ended in September, 1825, covering eight weeks of time, during which he preached often, at various
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points in Susquehanna County and west of the river in Luzerne. He also missionated here in 1826.
Early in 1835 he bade adieu to his deeply-attached people in New York, in obedience to what he concluded was duty, and accepted a call to be joint pastor with the venerable Davis Dimock, of the Bridgewater church, at Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. This relation continued three years, when Eld. Dimock accepted a call from Braintrim church. From 1838 to 1844, Eld. Worden was sole pastor at Montrose. During those six years be had the privilege of baptizing, on an average, over forty per year. He also had some trials resulting from his public opposition to slavery and Millerism.
In 1844, he left a church of 449 members, and labored, as his waning strength enabled him, with the smaller body at Jackson, Susquehanna County, and in neighboring fields. In his last year's connection with this people, at his request, Nathan Callender was his co-pastor, and has paid his memory a friendly tribute in the Baptist volume of Sprague's 'Annals of the American Pulpit.' In 1853, Roswell G. Lamb became sole pastor of the church.
Thus closed nearly twenty years of official care of churches in this county. Eld. Worden, however, continued preaching, when able, in destitute places, and on special occasions. His last sermon was delivered in Jackson, in the absence of the pastor, 2d Sabbath in July, 1855. On the 6th of August, 1855, he entered into rest, in the 69th year of his age.
His aged friend and brother in the ministry, Henry Curtis, preached the funeral sermon from 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8: "I have fought a good fight," etc. The sermon was published, and to it, and to the memorial of Eld. Callender, before named, the reader is referred for their estimates of his character, attainments, and labors. I may be permitted to add that I never knew a man of more sterling integrity, of more frankness or true friendliness, or who bore with greater equanimity the many hardships, vexations, and misapprehensions common to all, but especially the portion of the faithful pro-claimer of the Word of the Almighty God. But he endured as seeing Him who is invisible, and, though dead, he yet speaks to many who heard his earnest exhortations while living.
THE township of Ararat was erected from parts of Herrick, Thomson, and Gibson, by decree of court, in August, 1852. Eleven years later a change was made in the boundary line between it and Jackson, about the same angle being added to the latter township in the north part of the line, that is given to Ararat in the south part. This now follows nearly the direction of the Tunkhannock Creek in that section. [The county map accompanying this book shows the true line as corrected since the late atlas was published.] The township, in its greatest width and length, is about five miles on the west and through the center, by four on the north, south, and east.
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There are residents of the township who have always occupied the same farms, and yet have lived in four townships—Harmony, Jackson, Thomson, and Ararat ; or, Gifford, Gibson, Herrick, and Ararat; as at the time of its first settlement, it was included in Harmony, and Clifford, Luzerne County. The line between these two townships was afterwards that between Thomson and Herrick, which for some distance is the road running east and. west, and crossing the Jefferson Railroad at the Summit.
Although the Summit is said to be 2040 feet above the level of tide-water, arid the township has been happily styled the observatory of the county, yet it is considered, by those most familiar with it, as the most level of all our townships; being in fact a broad table-land with an abrupt descent only on the west. The ascent from Gelatt Hollow on the Tunkhannock Creek, may well confirm the general impression that this is the veritable Mt. Ararat which first gave name to the settlement, then to the church, and years afterwards to, the township itself; but, in fact, that mountain is east of Lackawanna Creek, near its source, and just within the border of Wayne County. Still, as is seen by the map of old Luzerne accompanying this work, it is evident that " Mountain Ararat" was once the name applied to the whole Moosic range from below the line of Susquehanna County upward.
Jacob S. Davis, Esq., who constructed the township maps of Wayne County in 1825, then said :—
" Beyond the Moosic Mountain (which subsides in Mt. Pleasant township), rises Mount Ararat, which reaches a short distance into Preston township, and is about of the same height as the Moosic."
A gentleman residing in the vicinity, in reference to this, says :—
" It is apparent that Mt. Ararat is much higher than the railroad summit in the township of Ararat, from the fact that the mountain is seen from Montrose and many other places that are below the said summit. Even when people think they are ‘level,' they overlook this table-land and see Mount Ararat and Sugar Loaf.'" [The latter peak slopes to the shore of Mud Pond in Wayne County.]
The boundary line between the township and Wayne County is the base of the Moosic (or perhaps more properly, Ararat) Mountain on the west side, along which flows the Lackawanna. One of its sources—Long Pond (Dunn's)—empties into Mud Pond near the county line, and affords at the outlet of the latter a water power among the best in Northern Pennsylvania. The other beautiful lakes of the township—Fiddle Lake (so called from its fancied resemblance to a violin), and Ball's Pond—fur-nishing tributaries to the main stream, and need, too, only capital and enterprise to make them of great value to the surrounding country.
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Although there is still a large amount of untilled land in Ararat, yet there are probably not 100 acres untillable, or that cannot be made remunerative to the possessor. The Jefferson Railroad¹ (for which ground was broken May, 1869), passes through the township near its center, and opens up its wildest parts to the admiring criticism of those who have heard it berated as the region of perpetual snows on towering hills, and where furious blasts make winter hideous. True, spring usually opens late; but summer lingers; the frosts not appearing until at least a fortnight after they have settled in the valley below ; and "the towering hills"—where are they, but as united to form the eastern bound of the same? From their battlements one beholds a prospect that amply repays the toilsome ascent. Parts of no less than twelve townships are readily recognized. By the aid of a glass, two churches in Gibson, the orphans' school buildings in Harford, and even " Woodbourne" appear in distinct outline. From " the Summit," about a mile east of the brow of this table-land, the eye sweeps a circuit of nearly one hundred and fifty miles on the horizon, beginning at a patch of blue hills beyond the Susquehanna River at Lanesboro, and reaching to Bald Mountain on this side the river at Pittston. A glance takes in nearly the whole extent of the most northern township of Luzerne County, as it was in 1790, from Sugar Loaf on the right to Mt. Pisgah in Bradford County on the left. The smoke of a locomotive on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad remains in sight au hour, under certain conditions of
the atmosphere. In 1830, Mrs. Tyler saw distinctly forty fallows burning; the air then being clear, the smoke from each one rose up straight, though soon after all blended together in one haze. This occurred twenty years after the smoke of the first lone clearing issued from these forests.
John Tyler, of Harford, had used the peak in Wayne County as a guide when be left that town to take up his abode in the forest " towards Ararat." This expression, by a not unusual process, became in the minds of others "to Ararat ;" and certainly, the locality he selected did not belie in natural features its namesake of Noah's time.
A grandson of his describes it as "a lofty table-land, which from its commanding elevation was called by him and has ever since borne the name of ' Ararat.'"
Mr. Tyler (more commonly called Deacon T.), as agent for Henry Drinker, had received from him a farm here of his own choosing; with the understanding that he should settle on it and
¹ Extensive slides have occurred on this road near the Summit, where there is a deep and extensive "cut." A bog or marsh, over which the rails were first laid, has also given much trouble to the company, and occasioned the construction of a long tressle-bridge at this point, not far from Summit Station.
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induce others to purchase Mr. D.'s lands in the vicinity. These were advertised by handbills¹ and otherwise, as being "an extensive tract situate in Luzerne County, near the line of Wayne County, on the headwaters of Tunkhannock and Lackawannock Creeks, Pennsylvania ;" it had been " carefully re-surveyed, and divided into lots of 100 acres each, and with little exception, found to be of superior quality ; producing a growth of beech, sugar tree, hemlock, birch, white and black ash, cherry, chestnut, and white pine; abounding with nettles, ginseng, and other herbage, sure indications of a luxuriant soil, well watered with springs and numerous lively streams."
In the spring of 1810, John T. with his son Jabez and a hired man, had arrived at his place and were erecting a framed-house; but before it was occupied by his family, Truman Ginton and Hezekiah Bushnell came with their families, and the cabin of the former, on the farm now owned by D. Avery, was erected and occupied.
A granddaughter of Deacon Tyler, Miss Lucinda Carpenter (afterwards Mrs. David Avery), was the first female who passed a night in the township—she came to cook for her grandfather while he raised his house. Later, when he brought in his family, she came with them and remained. She was the first schoolteacher in Ararat, and taught in a log school-house nearly opposite the Congregational church.
The previous fall, Mr. Bushnell and Joshua Clark, of Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, came to Ararat—then Harmony, Luzerne County, and each having purchased a lot of land, returned to Connecticut. Early in 1810, Mr. Bushnell, with his wife, two children, and a hired man, left his native town, with all its comforts and endearments, for the trials of pioneer life. The privations and hardships endured by the men and women of that time cannot be fully realized by those who reap the benefits of their sacrifices and toils. The party, after a tedious journey in a heavy double wagon, arrived at Asahel Gregory's (in what is now Herrick—then Gifford) the 10th day of March. From that point a road had been surveyed to the Susquehanna River at Lanesboro, but as it was not opened, Mr. B. secured an upper room for his family, and then proceeded with his assistant to the place selected, and rolled up a log house. He had expected the road would be open by the time he returned, but, disappointed in that, he took his family to Gibson, and thence by a road cut by Deacon T., and they reached his house the last of
¹ One of these, yellowed by sixty years, lies before the writer. Though printed in Philadelphia, the quality of paper as well as type compare but poorly with the issues of the present country press. The " tract" must have reached to Harford, as " a house of worship and several grist and saw-mills" were even then on the lands.
476 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
April. It was only just boarded, and there was no fireplace—the cooking for the deacon and his hired man being done by a log-heap outside. Here the emigrants were sheltered until the remaining mile of their road could be improved, as well as Mr. Bushnell's cabin. Within ten days of their arrival, their oldest child, a daughter of four years, died ; and her funeral, attended only by laymen, was the first religious service in the new settlement. Several weeks elapsed before the bereaved parents took up their abode in their own house, and then it had but one board on it—a part of their wagon-box—the bark roof was incomplete, and a blanket served the place of a door, while the floor was of split logs, and the fireplace was only large stones set against the log wall. Thus they lived until October, when a few boards were procured from a saw-mill in Harford, the gable-ends of the house were boarded up, and a door was made. About this time their second daughter was born—the first birth in the settlement. There were then but three women in the township, viz., Mrs. Tyler, Mrs. Clinton, and Mrs. Bushnell. Directly east to the Delaware River it was fifteen miles, and to the Susquehanna at Lanesboro ten miles; and in either direction there was not a single cabin between. Five miles south of the settlement was the house of Esq. Gregory.
Mrs. Bushnell and Mrs. Tyler had frequently to go to Lanesboro on horseback with babes in their arms for the grists, while their husbands were busy in the field.
Mr. B. died Nov. 4, 1851, in his 70th year; his wife died eighteen months later. They bad four sons and one daughter.
As Deacon John Tyler and wife have had previous mention as being among the first settlers of Harford, we will only add here the following:—
Mrs. Mercy Tyler was "a remarkable woman in many respects. Combining mental as well as physical force, she was the right kind of woman to be a pioneer; ready for any emergency, she could, if necessary, roll logs, drive team, spin-, weave, cook, or do anything which would promote the interests of her own family or of others. As a Christian she was equally efficient, and those mothers in Israel who adopt St. Paul's views on the woman question, admit that she was an exception—one that could talk in meeting to the edification and profit of both sexes. So often did she ride to and from Harford with heavy luggage, such as a dye-tub, a big brass kettle, etc., that it was said of her, "she brought her loom on horseback, in her lap, with her granddaughter in it weaving!"
No inclemency of the weather ever prevented her prompt attention to the calls of the sick. Often, after the labors of the day, would she spend hours of the night on horseback and alone, tracing the rough and winding paths which led through the
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 477
forests, to render the medical assistance so extensively sought. At the time of her death, in 1835, when she was 83 years old, she had six children, forty grandchildren, and seventy-four great-grandchildren. Her youngest son, Jabez, found his home in, and was identified with the interests of Ararat from 1810 to his death in 1864. He was born in Mass., and was but seven years old when his parents came, in 1794, to Harford. He had eight children. of whom four lived to manhood, and two reside on the farm he formerly occupied. His widow, a daughter of Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury, survives him.
Nathaniel West came from Dutchess Co., N. Y., early in April, 1810, with his ax upon his shoulder his only stock and capital in trade, and located fifty acres of land, a part of the farm on which he resides, which consisted, before parcelling out to his sons and otherwise, of 220 acres of valuable land brought under cultivation by his own diligence and hard labor.
His homestead has been located in two different counties and four different towns since he has lived on it. [The act of legislature separating Susquehanna from Luzerne was in reality passed before Mr. West came here; but, to all practical purposes he was in Luzerne until the fall of 1812.] " He is the only one now living of the first adult settlers of Ararat. At the age of 82, he is able to jump up and `crack' his feet twice before touching the floor. He has the health and vivacity of youth, enhanced by a long life of regular and temperate habits and untiring industry."
He was justice of the peace for Thomson for five years, and county commissioner for three years.
Whipple Tarbox came in with Mr. West and commenced chopping, but neither brought his wife until 1812.
Joshua Clark, with his son Jacob, and John Snow, a hired man, came in the same year, and made some improvement—a requirement of the contract with the Drinkers. The elder Gark did not settle, but the son came not long after, and remained on their purchase. John Snow brought his wife in 1814.
Shubael Williams, with his wife and one child, came from Lebanon, Connecticut, Sept. 1812, and settled on a part of Joshua Clark's purchase. He and his wife were of the number who first
united to sustain the Gospel here, and for over fifty years nearly every Sabbath found him in his seat at church. He lived for fifty-five years on the same place where he died May 14, 1867, in the 85th year of his age. He gave his first presidential vote for Thomas Jefferson, his last for Abraham Lincoln. His widow died in Ararat Oct. 10, 1871.
James Cook, a native of Rhode Island, came in 1812, and attended the first court held in Montrose.
David Avery, born in Laurens, Otsego Co., N. Y., came in 1814. He soon after married, and settled on the place where be
478 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
died Jan. 6, 1872, in the 77th year of his age. For upwards of fifty years he was connected with the Congregational church at Ararat. He left a widow and eight children.
Wareham B. Walker, a soldier of 1812, came from Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut, Dec. 1814, in company with Elias Scarborough, and purchased the land he now lives on. Mr. S. took up the lot south of it, which is now occupied by Chauncey Barnes. They returned to Connecticut in the fall of 1815, and came back accompanied by Ezra, brother of W. B. Walker. The latter taught in Burrows Hollow that winter. He remained and cleared three acres of land, which he sowed with rye.
In the spring of 1816, Chester Scarborough came from Connecticut, and bought of Truman Ginton the farm lately occupied by David Avery, and remained until July, when he and Mr. Walker returned to Connecticut. Mr. Walker then married Miss Hannah Scarborough of Ashford. Chester S. had a wife (Anna) and two daughters. In Sept. following, the party came back to Pennsylvania with an ox team, occupying eleven days on the journey.
Mr. Walker has always lived on the same farm, and, like Mr. West, in several townships. Of the time when he brought his wife here, his daughter says:—
" When mother was alone, and there was no noise in the house, the deer would come and feed under the window. A white deer was seen about here the first winter. One night the wolves came within a few rods of the house, and killed fifteen or twenty sheep. Bears and panthers were here."
Shubael A. Baldwin and Martha his wife came in 1816, from Mansfield, Windham County, Connecticut. The former died here Feb. 1871, aged 79 years and 4 months ; the latter Oct. 1871, aged 79 years.
Philip T. and Silas S. Baldwin came from Lebanon, Windham County, Connecticut, in 1816.
Freeman Peck commenced on a lot south of John Tyler's; but the exact date of his coming in is not given ; so also of the following who came early : Daniel and David Burgess, John Doyle, Merrit, David, and Eneas Hine.
In 1817, Timothy J. Simonds and Zaccheus Toby moved from Mt. Pleasant, Wayne County, into the southeast part of the township, and commenced what has since been called "Simonds settlement."
James Dunn, a Scotchman, came from Delaware County, N. Y., in the fall of 1821, with two sons, Robert and John. They wintered in a rude cabin. The following spring his wife and nine more children came, and they moved into a log house at the head of Dunn's Pond, three miles from the "Ararat settle-
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 479
ment." Here, remote from neighbors, without either friends or money, they applied to the forest for support, some times being for thirty days without bread. They bore upon their shoulders to the nearest settlements venison, fish, furs, window-sash made from rived pine bolts, and exchanged them for family necessaries. Two of the sons, James and Andrew, killed seven deer in one day, and Andrew killed fifty-three in one season. Their perseverance and frugality secured to them a competency.
The first Sabbath after the three families of New Englanders occupied their cabins, they met at Deacon John Tyler's and had a religious service, consisting of prayer, reading of the Scriptures, singing, etc., and this was continued uninterruptedly until a house of worship was erected. Many Sabbaths every man, woman, and child within a distance of three miles was present. This was the case when Rev. E. Kingsbury preached the first sermon in the place. Those who attended meeting then, either walked, or rode on horseback ; for such was the state of the roads that no vehicles but ox-sleds in winter were available. A dense forest, with here and there a small clearing, was not a place for pleasure-riding, and those who resorted to the place of prayer had in view a higher object.
In 1813, the Congregational Church of Ararat was organized by the Revs. Ebenezer Kingsbury and Samuel Sergeant, missionaries of the Connecticut Missionary Society ; and the former continued to act as moderator of the church until near the close of his useful life. Many were the visits he made to this little band of pilgrims, who greeted his coming with a hearty welcome, one phase of which, in these days, would be omitted—the decanter and tiny wine-glass, which were never seen at other times, were always set on the table for "Father Kingsbury," who followed, then, Paul's advice to Timothy, but he was afterwards one of the first to engage in the temperance reform. The following twelve were the original members of the church : John and Mercy Tyler, Hezekiah and Lucy Bushnell, Truman and Rhoda Clinton, Shubael and Ruth Williams, Jabez and Harriet Tyler, Lucinda Carpenter, and William West. Of these, not one is now living.
The church had no settled pastor until November, 1847, when the Rev. George N. Todd came, and remained about six years. A neat parsonage was completed in the fall of 1848. The five acres of land attached to it were the gift of Deacon Jabez Tyler. The church was dedicated February 6, 1850. The Revs. 0. W. Norton, Lyman Richardson, J. B. Wilson, and Edw. Allen have officiated successively in its pulpit, either as pastors or stated supplies. There are now but about thirty communicants, though a
480 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
few more than one hundred have been connected with the church since its organization. A Sabbath-school has been long sustained, the first having been formed by Hezekiah Bushnell and Jabez Tyler; and its library is the only public one in the town. A Methodist society was formed some years since, but they have no church edifice, though one is in contemplation (1872).
A temperance society was formed in 1830, by Rev. Mr. Adams. A barn of H. Bushnell's was the first building raised without liquor.
Ararat post-office, with the exception of one in Virginia, is the only one of the name in the United States.
On the slope towards the Tunkhannock Creek, grain can be raised to better advantage than on the summit and east of it, which is better adapted to grass, especially "timothy."
The sheep and cows are mostly of the native breeds. There is still a considerable number of sheep, but the high prices of butter, until recently, have turned the attention of farmers to the keeping of dairies as a principal source of profit.
Good crops of buckwheat, oats, and potatoes are raised, but wheat does not do very well, though exceptional cases are mentioned. On land of Nathaniel West wheat has been "sixty-fold;"
oats raised there produced one head of 22 inches, and several of 18 inches. In 1869, John Beaumont raised from one seed of oats 36 stalks, from another 32, and from another 26. In early times when wolves, panthers, wild cats, and deer were near neighbors, the only safety for sheep was close proximity to the house at night, and even then, unless very carefully fenced in, they would be missing in the morning. Now and then an elk, or a bear, was seen. One Sabbath morning as Mr. and Mrs. B. were leading their only child (Leonard Augustus),¹ along the path towards the place where their religious service was held, they saw, a few yards distant, a large white-faced bear watching their progress with apparent indifference. The white face being an uncommon feature of bruin's, they did not readily detect him, but supposed him to be a neighbor's cow. But when he threw himself upon his haunches and extended his monstrous paws, Mr. B. swung his hat, and hurrahed at the top of his voice, in mass-meeting style, which had the effect which similar demonstrations are always supposed to have—the old fellow "run well ;" and they passed on to the house of prayer.
The cry of "stop thief!" or "arrest the murderer!" was occasionally heard in the Beechwoods fifty years ago, and as a belief
¹ L. A. Bushnell and Almond Clinton, the only living representatives of the juvenile "first settlers," have left the township.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 481
in retributive justice was inherent with the New Englanders, they promptly responded. On one occasion a stranger appeared to the people who had gathered for worship, and stated that he had been robbed in the woods by a ruffian who had fled by the Harmony road towards the State line. As a man answering to the description had passed that way early in the morning, it was thought possible he might be overtaken before reaching it. Mr. B. mounted his horse and gave chase, overtaking him just this side of the New York line ; and without aid or assistant, arrested and pinioned him, marched him back through a ten mile forest, and delivered him to the authorities.
Upon that same road, at a later period, the murder of Oliver Harper was perpetrated, for which Jason Treadwell suffered the severest penalty of the law. The last house the victim entered was Hezekiah Bushnell's; he asked of Mrs. B. and received a piece of mutton-tallow with which to rub his chafed and weary limbs.
When Harper's body was found, the news spread like wildfire. " A man murdered and the murderer at large !" Every muscle was strained to procure his arrest. Roads and bridges were guarded, men on horseback and on foot scoured the woods for several days, and great was the relief when the supposed criminal was lodged in Montrose jail.
A similar excitement was occasioned a few years afterwards by the cry, "a man murdered this side of Belmont, and the murderer in the woods coming towards this settlement!" Again
nearly every man was engaged in the search ; and while the husbands and fathers were thus absent, the mothers pressed closer their little ones in fearful suspense, lest the villain should
pounce upon them in their helplessness. Finally he emerged from the woods, and under false pretences found shelter with James Dunn, a hospitable Scotchman, who lived in a secluded
part of what is now Ararat township. His wants being supplied he went to bed ; but soon after a posse of men effected a sudden entrance, and surrounding the bed captured the wretched creature without resistance. He was taken to Bethany, tried, sentenced, and hung. This was Matthews, murderer of Col. Brooks.
Among the inventions by the residents of this township, has been a felloe-dowel-pin (of metal and ,tubular), by E. Denison Tyler, and for which a patent has been issued.
[Most of the material for this chapter was kindly furnished by J. C. Bushnell, Esq.]
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482 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
AT the date of its settlement, this township formed a part of Jackson; but, in the spring of 1833, the latter was divided into two equal parts, and the eastern half received the name of Thomson, in honor of the Hon. Wm. Thomson, who was one of the Associate Judges of the Court of Susquehanna County at the time of its organization, and for many years afterwards.
The area of the township has since been diminished by the erection of AI arat from parts of Thomson and Herrick ; the present eastern line being one mile, and the western about two miles, less than their original extent, which was six miles ; the north and south lines being four and a half miles.
The surface of the township is more hilly than that of Jackson, except in the valleys of its principal streams, the Starucca and Canawacta. The former rises in Ararat and crosses Thomson diagonally from the southern to the eastern border; then, after meandering a little in Wayne County, it re-enters the township in the northeast corner, and crosses into Harmony, which it traverses until it falls into the Susquehanna River at Lanesboro. The Canawacta rises near the center of Thomson, not far from the source of one of the tributaries of the Starrucca, and, running north wardly, reaches the Susquehanna between Lanesboro and Susquehanna Depot, nearly a mile below the former stream. A tributary to the Tunkhannock rises in the southwest corner of the township. One of the hills of the township, called Dutch Hill, is reported as subject to tremblings and explosions, occasioned, it is thought, by internal gaseous combinations.
Thomson shares its two finest sheets of water with other townships; the Wayne County line passing through Wrighter's Pond¹ in the extreme southeast, and the line of Harmony through Comfort's Pond in the north. Church Pond, near the latter, is wholly in Thomson. Messenger's Pond is about one mile from Thomson Center.
The forests comprise a variety of timber, such as beech, birch, maple, ash, pine, hemlock (there are a few instances of grafted hemlock), cherry, chestnut, and bass-wood. Formerly the beech-
¹ Early known as "Breeches' Pond, from its fancied resemblance to the short nether garment of the olden time. Even fancy cannot trice it on the Susquehanna County side.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 483
woods stretched from this vicinity fifty or sixty miles eastward to "the Barrens" of New York ; but the dense wilderness is now relieved by sunlight on many a clearing and thrifty hamlet.
As early as 1788-89, Samuel Preston and John Hilborn were engaged in constructing what is known as the old North and South Road, from Pocono Point, near Stroudsburg, on the Delaware, north to the State line. It was built mostly by private enterprise, the gentlemen mentioned being in the employ of Tench Coxe and Henry Drinker, landholders, of Philadelphia, and the State appropriated $1000 towards it. The act of legislature also provided for another road, to leave the North and South Road at or near Mt. Ararat, and to be constructed westward to the mouth of the Tioga River. But, as the Susquehanna River, with which the former was connected, furnished so good a substitute for this road, it was never constructed.'
We are told there was, in 1820, no road in what is now Thomson township, except "an old log road from Simond's settlement (in Ararat) to Starucca."
The first settlement within the present limits of Thomson was made by John Wrighter, in the spring of 1820. He came from Mt. Pleasant, but was originally from Dutchess County, N. Y. His father was a native of Bavaria; his wife was born and brought up in London. Having lost his property through the dishonesty of a supposed friend, he was very poor when he came, and, consequently, he and his family endured many hardships and privations, in addition to those of conquering a dense wilderness. They made their first home by the side of a log, on which they laid boards from their wagon; the boards having been left by some lumberman. Here they found shelter until they built a log-house. For three weeks, they were near starvation, having to subsist on frozen potatoes and what meat Mr. W. could procure with his rifle.
He was a blacksmith, and sometimes worked through the week at Harmony, eleven miles distant. Saturday nights lie would take a bushel of meal, with other necessaries on his back, and walk home. Once, being belated on account of the darkness, he could not keep his course, and he waited for the moon to rise. He laid his bag on the ground, making of it a pillow, and fell asleep. Twice he was aroused by wild animals walking around and smelling him; but, fortunately, this was the extent of the danger, and soon the moon arose, allowing him to pursue
He has seen from thirty to forty elk at one time near his home,
¹ This statement is made in the 'History of Mt. Pleasant,' by Rev. S. Whaley; but, on the map accompanying Proud's`History of Pennsylvania,' the only road laid down in the section which now comprises Susquehanna County, is the one from Belmont to Tioga Point.
484 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
with horns so large they appeared like immense chairs on their heads. The woods abounded, at that time, in elk, deer, bears, wolves, wild-cats, and panthers.
Though Mr. W. has been classed among hunters, he cultivated a farm, and devoted but part of his time to hunting. "His sue. cess was owing more to his calm and fearless manner of meeting wild animals, than to any dexterity. He had a tall, heavy-built frame, and his movements were slow, but firm and forcible. His mind, partaking of his bodily characteristics, was well balanced." (Rev. S. Whaley.)
Joseph Porter, the next settler, came in 1823, and commenced clearing a farm on the Starucca Creek, about two and a half miles from John Wrighter's, at what is now Thomson Center. At first he boarded with Mr. Wrighter, while chopping daily on his own place. One time when at work later than usual, it became so dark before he could reach Wrighter's that he lost his path ; the wolves came upon him, and forced him to climb a tree, where he remained until daylight.
In 1824, and prior to the arrival of the third settler, the Belmont and Oquago turnpike was finished to Harmony. It passes entirely through Thomson, from the point now marked as its southeast corner, via the Center and the Canawacta Creek, to Comfort's Pond, near which it enters Harmony township. It was incorporated Feb. 1817.
Frederick Bingham moved into Thomson in the spring of 1826, and began a clearing about half a mile from the Center.
Capt. Jonas Blandin came in the fall of the same year, and settled at the Center. In the spring of 1828 he opened an inn which he kept for about fifteen years. He had received a captain's commission, in 1818, while in Vermont.
Collins Gelatt, Joel Lamb, Jr., and Ebenezer Messenger, came in about this time, and Enoch Tarbox a little later, all settling not far from Porter and Blandin.
The first child born in the township was John M., son of John Wrighter, January, 1821.
The first day-school was kept by Miss Leafy Blandin, who had about a dozen scholars, in a log-house built by Joseph Porter, at Thomson Center.
Elder Nathaniel Lewis, 'a local preacher from Harmony, was the first who preached in Thomson, and who also formed the first Methodist class there. It consisted of five members: Frederick and Rachel Bingham, John and Ann Wrighter, and Betsey Gelatt.
The eccentricities of Elder Lewis have been previously noticed.. At one time whilst he was preaching, some unruly boys
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 485
disturbed the meeting to such an extent that the elder's patience gave way, and he upbraided them as the most hogmatical set of scoundrels he ever saw. On being told that there was no such word in common usage, the elder said, I don't care, it was applicable.
The first traveling preachers were Elders Warner, Barnes, and Herrick. The North Bainbridge Circuit then extended to this section, and embraced one hundred and twenty miles of travel, requiring two weeks for the trip. Elders George Evans, Peter Bridgman, and Benjamin Shipman succeeded the former three on this circuit. The first Sabbath-school was formed by elder John Deming, a local preacher. It was held in a school-house about a mile north of the Center.
There was no church edifice in the township until the Methodists built the fine one, at the Center, in 1851, and which was dedicated Jan. 1852. The society has a large membership.
The Free-will Baptists have a society, recently formed, and have regular preaching, in a school-house one and a half miles west of the Center.
At the first township election in the spring of 1834, there were only thirty-five votes polled ; but, in the fall of the same year, at the general election, fifty-one voters appeared, being within five of every taxable in the township. To account for this number, it must be remembered that, at that time, Thomson included the north part of what is now Ararat, which was then comparatively well settled. Thus among the first township officers of Thomson we find Nathaniel West, Hezekiah Bushnell, and Obadiah L. Carpenter, all afterwards included in Ararat. Charles Wrighter and Jacob Gark were the first constables, the latter being also the first town clerk. Nathaniel West and Joel Lamb were the first supervisors. Benjamin Ball and Hezekiah Bushnell, first overseers of the poor, and John Wrighter, Christopher Toby, and 0. L. Carpenter, first auditors. Charles Wrighter and Joel Lamb were the first justices of the peace. There was a post-office at Wrighter's as early as 1825.
Prior to the division of Jackson township, a post-office by that name had been established at what is now Thomson Center, but in 1836, the name was transferred to what had been Barryville, in the western part of that township. Jonas Blandin received his appointment in 1830, and, with a short interval, retained the office in Thomson nearly thirty years.
Until the Fremont campaign, the township was strongly Democratic, and since then has been as strongly Republican.
The first temperance society was formed in 1834 ; Martin J. Mumford, President.
486 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
There is now a flourishing lodge of Good Templars, who hold their meetings weekly. Organized Sept. 30, 1867.
C. P. Tallman, the first merchant, established a store in 1841. The spring of 1842 was a remarkably early one, and favorable for the making of maple sugar, so much so that within an area of two miles square, 14,694 lbs. of it were made that season.
The site of J. Blandin's inn is now occupied by a more commodious public house.
Jesse Stoddard, 80 years old in April of 1869, chopped forty cords of stove-wood in the months of December and January following.
The Jefferson Railroad winds in and out of the township much as the Starucca Creek does, and has already wrought great changes all along its course, whilst Thomson Center, from being spoken of only as a by-word, has attained to no small importance. It is a railroad station, has two saw-mills (one steam power), a church, a store, and post-office, a blacksmith shop, etc.
Starucca depot is within the township, though the village of that name is just over the line in Wayne County. There is a large amount of unseated land in the township.
[The only residents of Thomson who contributed to its annals, were Jonas Blandin and his son G. P. B., Esq.]
THE NICHOLSON LANDS.
NEXT in importance to the long disquiet occasioned by disputed titles, when Connecticut denied to Pennsylvania the right of soil within the bounds of old Westmoreland, was that to which settlers on the Nicholson lands were subjected for a period of nearly twenty years : firstly, by an alleged lien of a Philadelphia corporation ; and afterwards by one of the State on the Hopbottom tract, as well as on that called "Drinker's Meshoppen tract." John Nicholson was comptroller of Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1794, and during that period was owner of about 3,700,000 acres of land in the State. In 1785, he, with Dr. Barnabas Binney, purchased from the State sixty tracts, including a considerable portion of the township of Brooklyn; and paid to the State the full amount of the purchase-money. In 1789, he commenced a settlement upon the lands which, by the partition between him and Dr. Binney, bad been allotted to him. In 1795, he borrowed from the Widow's Fund Corporation of Philadelphia, $37,166, and secured the payment by a mortgage
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 487
upon thirty-five tracts in Brooklyn. The mortgage fell due in 1799. No part of the money was paid to the corporation, and
Nicholson died insolvent.
In 1805, the corporation agreed to sell to John B. Wallace and thus closed the mortgage of Nicholson, the lands being bought in for the corporation ; who, on Wallace's paying the
purchase-money, were to convey the same to him. The purchase-money was payable in fifteen years from March, 1806, and the interest payable annually. Mr. Wallace paid the interest for several years, and continued to sell the lands until 1828 or '24, when he had sold about 2250 acres—the best part of the land—and for which he had received payment.
In 1823, the state of the title and the interest which the corporation held in the land, becoming known to the settlers, excited much anxiety among those who had paid Wallace, but who, as was then ascertained, had received no title.
Some went to Philadelphia, and requested that the business might be closed. A correspondence was continued between them until 1826 or '27, when a committee for the corporation came and met the settlers at Mr. Breed's, in Brooklyn ; but nothing was or could be effected with those who had not paid, until the question of the corporation's title was settled.
Wm. Jessup, Esq., had seen the officers of the corporation in Philadelphia, and obtained the assurance that no settler who had paid Mr. Wallace, should be again called upon to pay for his land. He wrote to some of the settlers, and had a meeting at his office, when it was agreed that he should bring a suit upon the lot on which Jedutha Nickerson lived in order to settle the question in Brooklyn. Those present assured him that counsel should be employed, the cause fairly tried, and thus the title might be settled. But counsel was not employed. Afterwards, another suit was brought against some settlers in Bridgewater, who doubted the corporation's title. Messrs. Case and Read examined the papers, and pronounced the title good. Obadiah Green employed Mr. Wurts, who pronounced the title bad. Those settlers who were satisfied with the decision of Messrs. Case and Read, agreed to contract for their lands, having ten years in which to pay for them ; but Mr. Wurts entered a plea for Green. The issue was duly tried, and a verdict was rendered for the corporation.
Another cause was also tried, and the right by law of the corporation to call upon those who had paid to Wallace, to pay again, was fnlly established. But Mr. Jessup urged that the title of the settlers, as made by Wallace, should be confirmed, and that thus the fears and anxieties of those who had honestly paid their money should be quieted. In the fall of 1832, he succeeded in getting instructions which authorized him to make releases in all cases in which the settlers had paid Mr. Wallace.
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The foregoing refers to that part of the corporation's lands not interfered with by what are called the Allen surveys.
In 1775, Benjamin Chew, Andrew Allen, and others, took up a large quantity of land, a portion of which lay upon the Hop-bottom Creek. By the attainder of Andrew Allen, in 1778, his part of those lands was confiscated to the State; and by a decision made subsequently by the supreme executive council, the share belonging to the State was located in Brooklyn, on what
was called the Chew and Allen warrants. When the surveyor located the Nicholson warrants, he laid them upon part of the lands confiscated to the State.
The State having received pay from Nicholson, it was supposed that the titles of those who held under him, were good as against the State, and that the State never would claim the land from those who had paid their full price ; until the decision was rendered in the case of Wallace vs. Tiffany (Amos ?), by which it was decided by the Supreme Court, that the title passed by the officers of the land office to Nicholson was irregular, saying also, that legislative action would be necessary to regulate the title.
Mr. Joseph Chapman was partly on the Allen lands, and through the procurement of Mr. Jessup, and with the assistance of Messrs. Read and Jones, an act from the legislature was passed confirming the title of any settler who held under the Nicholson title—on application to the legislature. But with the great body of the Allen lands, Mr. J. had nothing to do, as they were covered by the Mary M. Wallace warrants.
THE NICHOLSON COURT.
Thus far all that has been said refers to events prior to Nov. 1834. We pass on now to the panic of 1841. By an act of legislature a year previous, commissioners had been appointed
to hunt up and settle the claims of the estate of John Nicholson to lands formerly purchased by him in various parts of the State. These commissioners had given notice through the papers that they would be in Montrose on a given day, to adjust the respective interests of the State, the heirs and creditors, and also of the settlers of any such lands in this county.
The streets of Montrose on the day specified (in August) were thronged, but the commissioners failed to appear ; and they did not make their appearance until about the middle of November following, when for two or three weeks they exhibited at McCol-lum's Hotel their papers and maps, and drew the attention of crowds. Even those who had no personal interest in the Nicholson lands, began to feel insecure against unexpected claimants to their lands, which they had long owned and occupied with a confidence not less than their more unfortunate neighbors. Several townships were in a panic.
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The editor of the Susquehanna Register,' under date of September of that year, remarks :—
" Such has been the excitement prevailing, that all sorts of ridiculous and improbable stories have been set afloat, and circulated, with various additions, improvements, and embellishments, among the credulous, the marvellous, and uninformed ; until many know not what to believe, or how much to be alarmed. While many who have never paid anything for their lands, eagerly embrace the offer of the commissioners to compromise, by contracting to pay fifty cents or a dollar per acre, in the hope of getting a title from the State at that cheap rate, even some who had long ago paid for their farms, under a title supposed to be settled, also came forward and paid their five dollars each, as an earnest to bind the contract, and secured what they supposed to be their last chance of saving their farms ! Some, however, concluded to hold on awhile to their titles already obtained, before paying out their money for a mere quitclaim deed from the State to all right, title, and interest of John Nicholson ; to wait for some legal decision to see if that title was good for anything."
In order to allay the excitement, Benjamin T. Case, Esq., contributed to the same journal three pertinent articles, giving the result of his own investigations for many years, as counsel for persons interested in those lands. He was induced to this step by the fact, that the uncertainty in respect to titles was having a tendency adverse not only to his own interests, but to those of the county ; as new-comers declined to purchase and settle where there was so little appearance that they could remain in quiet possession. Mr. Case stated that the Nicholson claims presented themselves in three points of view :--
1. The claims of the heirs—which were barred by the statute of limitations.
2. The claims of the creditors; but there was no mortgage upon the records of the county ; and if there were, it is presumed to be paid, in law, after twenty years; and a judgment is lost after five years.
3. Commonwealth liens, and of these there were three ; those of December, 1795 and '96, and of June, 1800. The statute of limitations does not extend to a debt due the State; but Mr. C. was not aware of any lands in this county so situated as to raise the question about their being barred by the lapse of time. "To us citizens of Susquehanna County it is a mere matter of speculation. To Binney's share of the sixty warrants issued Co him and Nicholson, neither Nicholson's heirs, creditors, nor the State can have claim. As to the residue (thirty-five tracts, called the Hop-
bottom lands), John Nicholson mortgaged them, January 22d, 1795—eleven months before the State obtained her first lien—to the Widows' Fund Corporation, to secure the payment of $37,166;¹ which settles the question ; for in the event of the
¹ On the 1st of January, 1799, with interest annually. The money not being paid, the mortgage was duly foreclosed in Luzerne County, the land sold at sheriff's sale, and the present owners now hold under that title. (B. T. Case.)
490 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
State lien being prior to the mortgage. only the money arising from the sale could be claimed, not the ]and; even if a judgment be reversed for error after a sale on it, the purchaser's title on it is not disturbed."
In March, 1842, the "Nicholson Court" decided that "the Nicholson claim to the corporation lauds in Brooklyn and Bridgewater is good—FOR NOTHING !"
It was estimated that two hundred persons in Susquehanna County paid $5.00 each to the commissioners; but in Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties they failed to raise such an excitement as they did here. In Wilkes-Barre, the indignation of the people, when the commissioners offered for sale lands that had been owned and occupied since 1774, was manifested in such a way as to cut short their work there. Here, the people had not so long battled with " the powers that be;" and were weary of the demands of the holders of warrants, which warrants were in some cases as many as three and four for the same tract, showing that some one at the land office could give an "irregular" title.
DRINKER'S MESHOPPEN TRACT.
A part of this was in Auburn and Springville. John Nicholson took out 168 warrants of 400 acres each, of land included in what was then Luzerne County; seventy-eight of which interfered with prior surveys of Samuel Wallis, from whom Henry Drinker purchased ; and were on the south end of the Meshoppen tract. Both Wallis and Nicholson paid the State for the land, but as Wallis's surveys were of an earlier date, the Board of Property decided in his favor. Nicholson appealed to the Supreme Court, and the decision was again in favor of Wallis. In view of these facts, B. T. Case, Esq., stated, " Patents regularly issued to Drinker, who bought of Wallis, and the purchasers under him on those lands, hold under this title, and what is to disturb them ?"
Henry Drinker, Geo. Gymer, and Samuel Meredith held 168 warrants, of dates 1790-'91-'92 and '93, paid for and patented. It was to these John Nicholson laid claim by virtue of other warrants, dated August 17, 1793 ; a date subsequent to all the warrants issued to the above, and for more than forty years the matter had been supposed to be settled by the Supreme Court; and in a report made by Mr. Kidder of the Senate of Pennsylvania, March, 1842, after a second investigation of the subject, it was stated that "the Judiciary Committee cannot discern even the shadow of a claim, either in law or equity, that the Nicholson estate has upon the Drinker lands in Susquehanna and Luzerne Counties."
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SAMUEL EWING'S LANDS.
Ten of these tracts lay on the Lackawanna Creek, in the eastern part of the county, and were purchased from Ewing by Nicholson; but Ewing continued to hold the title in his own name, as a trustee for Nicholson. Those who purchased of Ewing without notice of a trust, took the land discharged of the trust. A mortgage, August, 1795, by Nicholson to Ewing, was duly foreclosed, and sold at sheriff's sale, by Ewing. Thus, in the opinion of one of Susquehanna's ablest lawyers, "There is no land in the county covered by the State's liens, or to which the heirs or creditors of John Nicholson have any valid claim; and if those who compromised with the commissioners persist in claiming to hold exclusively under those contracts, law-suits are sure to follow." Happily, the Nicholson claim to the widow and orphans' fund, and the Drinker tracts, was, as stated previously, decided against them by higher authority, and from that time Susquehanna County land-owners have had " peace."
Henry Drinker was the owner of what are called the West-town school lands,¹ in Lenox, and Fields and Collins were also holders of lands in the same township. Wm. Hartley bought the Fields title; C. L. Ward, the Collins lands; and these were all settled and sold to the settlers at fifty cents per acre, which quieted the titles in this portion of the county. The titles of one-half the lands in the township were in dispute for twenty-
GEOLOGICAL FORMATION AND MINERAL RESOURCES.
THE following items are gleaned principally from the State Geological Reports of Prof. Henry Darwin Rogers.
In the State of New York, local geographical names are given to whole series of strata, as is also the case in Europe; but, in the geographical surveys of Pennsylvania and Virginia, Prof. Rogers has preferred to use the successive periods of the day, from dawn to nightfall, as technical terms applied to fifteen divisions of the Palaaozoic rocks, including the Silurian, Devonian,
¹ These lands were a donation by Henry Drinker, the elder, to the Friends' Boarding School at West-town, Chester Co., Penna., au institution in which he took much interest.
492 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
and Carboniferous formations of English geologists. Only three of the fifteen are found exposed in the district of which Susquehanna County forms a part: "Vergent, or Descending Day," "Ponent, or Sunset," and "Vespertine, or Evening." These correspond to the Upper Devonian and Lowest Carboniferous formations of other geologists. " Vespertine," the highest in our county, is still a lower formation than "Umbral, or Dusk," of Prof. Rogers's series, and thus many hundred feet beneath " Seral or Night-fall"—his nomenclature for the true coal measures.
Pennsylvania, orographically, or in the relief of its surface, is divided into five districts—the fourth, or northeast, comprising the counties of Susquehanna, Bradford, and part of Tioga; and is watered by tributaries of the north branch of the Susquehanna.
Hydrographically, the State has three divisions—Atlantic, Ohio, and Erie. But though the fourth district is drained by an Atlantic river, it belongs, orographically, to the valley of the St. Lawrence ; being the first or highest of the succession of plains or terraces by which the surface descends to Lake Ontario.
The northeast division of the district consists of three geological formations, or, perhaps, more properly, three series of the great Palaeozoic forma-tion—the Vespertine Gray Sandstone, Ponent Red Sandstone, and Vergent Shales—distributed in obedience to four wide, anticlinal waves, and three intervening synclinal troughs.
The Vergent strata (the lowest of the three) consist of a body of bluish shales, and imbedded gray, argillaceous sandstones. Its characteristic fossils are Fucoids, or ancient sea-weeds.
The Ponent strata consist of a thick mass of red shales and a few pebbly beds of white quartz. There are in them all but few organic remains ; but these contain one or two remarkable fishes. No remains or footprints of reptiles have ever been discovered in the Ponent strata. They correspond to the old Red Sandstone of Great Britain.
The Vespertine is the lowest of the carboniferous strata ;¹ and in this is remarked the suddenness of the change from marine to terrestrial forms, exhibiting amazing vegetation. The organic remains are fragments of coal plants, for the most part specifically different from those of the upper or true coal measures.
In the subdivisions also of the Palozoic region, Susquehanna County comes in the fourth, or northeast district, comprising the country between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers, north of the coal-basin, and is of simple structure. The surface is that of a roughly undulated plain. The eastern half is more broken and hilly than the parts west of the Susquehanna —a circumstance partly attributable to their geological composition, the country east of the river consisting largely of hard, micaceous, flaggy sand stones ; that west of it, of a larger relative proportion of argillaceous sandstones and clay shales. Proceeding northwestward from Belmont, we see in the hill, on the east of the stream, the Ponent red shales and Vespertine gray sandstones on the summit, without much inclination or dip.
¹ In the 'New American Cyclopedia,' both the Ponent and Vespertine are made to correspond to the Catskill group—the former to the red, and the latter to the gray sandstone. In the vicinity of Montrose, both varieties are obtained. The red crumbles after exposure, as is seen in stone walls and house foundations ; the gray is excellent materiel for buildings and flagstones. One of the largest specimens of the latter—twenty-four feet long by five or six feet wide—can be seen in front of the grocery of I. N. Bullard.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 493
The silicious seral conglomerate is not seen. This rock terminates at the point of the coal-basin, four or five miles to the south.' On the hill west of the valley, little or no red shale is visible. Almost level strata of Vespertine flaggy gray sandstone occupy the hills nearly the whole way to Montrose. Belts of the underlying red sandstone do, it is true, sometimes appear; for though, in the deep valley of the Susquehanna, the denudation has exposed the upper Vergent strata, in the high country the Ponent rocks unite across the arch, and the Vergent are no longer visible. In the vicinity of Belmont, the Ponent rocks are held up along the anticlinal to the level of all the lower plains and valleys. To the northwest of this belt is the synclinal range of mountain knobs and broken hills, along which flows the Tunkhannock Creek. This belt is but a continuation of the southeast tableland or basin of the bituminous coal region, and is composed of the Vespertine strata, gradually diminishing in breadth and thickness.
In the tract next northwest of the Tunkhannock hills, the Ponent rocks occupy the higher grounds ; but the whole series is thin, and the valleys disclose the upper members of the Vergent series.
To this zone of country succeeds a more elevated synclinal belt, drained by the Wyalusing. It extends northeastward past Montrose, and is the prolongation of the second great trough or table-land of the bituminous coal region, and embraces, especially in the portion adjacent to the river, the lower strata of the Vespertine gray sandstones in a horizontal position. These rocks cap the more elevated tracts even in the vicinity of Montrose, the red Ponent rocks appearing in the beds of many of the deeper valleys.
Beyond the Wyalusing the Towanda anticlinal lifts the Vergent rocks to the general surface of the country, except in the very highest levels where we find detached outlying patches of the thin Ponent series. This anticlinal passes four or five miles north of Montrose, and is discernible in the great bend of the Susquehanna. Silver Lake is on its very gentle northern dip. This zone of country constitutes nearly the northern limit of the Ponent and Vespertine formations.
Few of the Appalachian rivers can boast a greater amount of attractive scenery than the north branch presents throughout its whole course, from the great bend near the State line through New York, and thence through Pennsylvania to the Wyoming Valley. It owes this eminence in part to the beautiful manner in which its terraces of northern drift or gravel have been strewed or shaped at the last retreat or rush of waters across the continent. The broad high table-land in which .the Appalachian coal-field terminates, has evidently stopped the southward course of the nearly spent sheets of water which transported the drift, and turned southeastward and southwestward over the two northern corners of Pennsylvania.
Rev. H. A. Riley, of Montrose, says
"There are but few parts of the county abundant in fossil remains. At Montrose have been found in the green sandstone of the old red formation parts of vegetable branches. Some finely marked and some partially carbonized ; as also fine specimens of Cyclopteris, some scales of Holoptychius, and fragments of other scales. Some specimens found in this locality are of special interest. Among these are a head and several caudal extremities of the Cephalaspis Lyellii. The head, although perfect in outline, does not present any organic structure. The caudal parts have distinctly preserved
¹ The limit of anthracite coal on the north is in the Tunkhannock Mountain, on the sources of the Lackawanna River, and on• the confines of Susquehanna, Wayne, and Luzerne Counties. It extends along the valleys of that stream to Wyoming Valley, thence through to the hills near Berwick, on the Susquehanna, making, together, a distance of eighty miles. Other coal-fields lie below.—Gordon's Gazette.
494 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
the characteristic markings of the fish. These are claimed to be the first and perhaps the only specimens of this fossil discovered in the old red sandstone of this country. They were found perhaps fifteen years since, in the old quarry in the village of Montrose. Another specimen of interest from the same locality is the fossil plant Noeggerathia obtusa—a portion of the frond of which is figured in Dana's Geology,' p. 291, and of which Prof. Leo Lesquereux ('American Journal of Science and Art,' vol. 23) says :—" It shows the upper part of a frond with three oblique pinnae somewhat reflexed from their base, and the pinnules or leaves, broadly oval or reniform, the upper one flabellate, all narrowed to the base and pinnately attached on both sides of the rachis by a narrow decurring base. The point of attachment of the leaves is just as I have figured it in my report. This splendid specimen has evidently the general outline and the appearance of a fern, and at once puts aside Brongniart's surmise that the simply pinnate form of the leaf, etc., shows it to be analogous to the Zemke."
The frond measures 12 by 7 inches. These specimens were found by Mr. Riley, and are in his cabinet at Montrose.
In a mineralogical point of view, the three formations which overspread this northeast district of the State are remarkably destitnte of interest, however instructive as respects their organic remains.
Some very unimportant indications of copper have been observed in the Ponent red shales, but there is no evidence of veins or beds of copper ore of any magnitude or value. It is said the ferruginous sulphuret of copper has been found near the village of Brooklyn, seven miles southeast of Montrose.¹ This discovery produced, in 1837, considerable local excitement, and the Hop-bottom valley acquired some newspaper notoriety. This was prior to the thorough geological survey of Professor Rogers, which failed to corroborate some of the floating rumors of the mineral wealth of the county. It had been said that iron, copper, paint, anthracite, and bituminous coal had been discovered—a bed of the latter being on the Susquehanna River near Great Bend. As early as 1823, it was asserted that " near the eastern line of our county there are extensive mines of stone-coal, lying on each side and near the Milford and Owego turnpike." At that time a company was engaged in "sledding coal from these mines to Milford, on the Delaware, to be conveyed from thence to the Philadelphia market by the spring-tide." But the mines must have been some miles below the turnpike, and outside of the county, since the Moosic Mountain, our eastern border in that region, consists of the Vespertine strata at a low angle northwestward, and between the southern slope and Bethany the chief formation exposed is the Ponent red sandstone. And if we pass northward, we shall
¹ There are traditions of lead and silver having been found near the Susquehanna River, and at present there are hopes of coal being found there, and near Uniondale.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 495
find the Ponent red shales and sandstones predominating, though covered with the Vespertine green and gray rocks, in many places as far as the headwaters of Starucca Creek ; where the horizontal position of the strata seems to change to a slight southern inclination, and the red shale ceases to be observed, the underlying Vergent shales coming to the surface. Beginning to descend towards the Susquehanna River at Harmony, we find by the fossils in the strata, that we are in this formation. [Rogers.]
As already shown, not one of these three formations contains the true coal measures.
Whatever doubt there may be respecting the presence of other minerals within our county, that of salt will not be denied, since both the Ponent and Vespertine sandstones contain feeble springs of it in this section as elsewhere. It has not been found, however, in quantities large enough to repay the expense of working it, unless very recently.
The earliest intimations of the existence of salt here appear to have been derived from the Indians by families living in the vicinity of Great Bend. J. B. Buck, of Susquehanna Depot, states as follows:—
" My great uncle was put with the Onondagas when they had their center two miles above where Windsor village now is, to learn their language, by his father Dean, at eleven years old. He staid ten years, and while he was there a few of the Indians went to get salt. They always went on one side of the river, and returned on the opposite side. He was considered one of them, but not in all things. One day he concluded to follow them, and did so. He got down a little below what is called Waller's Brook, where he was caught by one of the Indians who was lying in wait. It was with much difficulty that his life was spared, and he never dared to venture again. When his time was up with them, he made a bargain by which they were to show him the spring on his bringing them five large kettles. With great difficulty he got the kettles as far as Unadilla, and then, bearing that the war had commenced with England, he buried them. When the war was closed, he found that the kettles had been stolen, and things had so changed that he left the matter. In talking with my father, he said he was sure from appearances that he was near the salt spring when captured. One of the Indians told my father that he covered the spring and carried it so low into fresh water that no white man could find it. There has been much speculation for fifty years about this spring ; but if it is ever found, it will be probably above the Lanes-boro' Dam on the river bank."
Joseph Du Bois, Esq., of Great Bend, contributed the following to the 'Northern Pennsylvanian' :—
" When my grandfather, Minna Du Bois, first came to Great Bend (1791) there were a few Indians in the neighborhood. Grandmother said that the squaws used to come to her house in the morning and borrow her kettle, and the same day before dark, they would return it with two or three quarts of dirty looking salt in the kettle. If these squaws were followed, as they sometimes were, they wandered about in different directions, well knowing that they were watched, and would return with an empty kettle. When they were not interfered with, they invariably returned with the usual quantity of salt. The time of their absence, and the amount of salt made, rendered it certain
496 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
that the spring was not far distant, yet the white settlers never succeeded in finding its locality. When I was a boy, I happened to be at the Log Tavern, then kept by Sylvanus Hatch, when a traveler—a stranger—stopped there, and, while there, he inquired of the landlord, Mr. Hatch, if he knew of three large Indian apple-trees, in this vicinity, standing on the bank of the
Susquehanna River. Mr Hatch told him that they were just across the street. The stranger then said that an Indian, to whom he had shown some favors, told him that on the Susquehanna River stood three large apple-trees, planted by the Indians long, long ago; that if he would go there and find the trees, by sighting the two trees lowest down the river, the line would strike the base of a big hill, and that if would dig where the line struck the foot of the big hill, he would find a good salt spring. At this time there were quite a number of persons at the L 'g Tavern. The stranger went out to sight the trees, the crowd, including the writer, followed, and all sighted the two trees named. These two trees stood in relation to each other north and south ; the line south struck the base of a big hill, known to old hunters as Middle Hill, opposite the residence of the late James Clark, and the line north struck the base of a big hill on the east side thereof, known as Trowbridge Hill. Here was a dilemma, for the stranger said that the Indian did not tell him whether it was the big hill north or south of the apple-trees. He said he would not dig on such uncertainties, and he proceeded on his journey."
In reference to the same spring the following is clipped from a statement of Rev. H. C. Hazard, whose father came from Otsego County to Susquehanna County in 1812 :—
" In Otsego County my father lived near neighbor to Johnam Vroman, who was said to be three-fourths Dutch and one-fourth Indian, and who was taken prisoner by the Indians and kept all summer at the Three Apple-trees.' His captors broke his hands off backwards to prevent his doing them any injury in case he escaped. He used to tell father of the Indians' salt spring within one mile or so of `the Three Apple-trees.' He said that when the sun was at 'midaugh' (mid-day) he must go directly towards, or from it; but father, not supposing he should ever see this country, forgot which. He afterwards made search, but in vain."
The various statements respecting the salt spring in Franklin cannot easily be reconciled. The earliest date given for its discovery occurs in the statement of Mrs. Garner Isbell, of Montrose, now (1871), seventy-seven years old. She says :—
"Judge De Haert and brother were working at the spring in Franklin, all of seventy years ago, procuring their provisions from my father, Rufus Bowman, then a storekeeper at Windsor, N. Y., taking enough each Monday morning for a week, and returning every Saturday night to Windsor."
She remembers that they talked of means for separating the salt from the fresh water, and that a dry goods box was proposed, and brought out as having something to do with this purpose. She believes this was in 1799, when she was little more than five years old. If this is correct, it was prior to Judge De Haert's residence in Binghamton, and only a prelude to his more persistent efforts after he left there.
Another statement is, that Abinoam Hinds and Isaac Perkins, who came to Bridgewater in 1802, were the discoverers of the
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 497
spring. It is situated on the south side of Silver Creek, near its junction with Fall Brook, and about a mile west of Franklin Forks. The stream had been turned from its course and made to run over the spring, the basin of which was hollowed out of the rock with a tomahawk. They found it covered with a large spoon, and a stone laid over it. They could dip but a little at a time, but succeeded in boiling salt.
A newspaper correspondent, in 1871, says:—
" There was a tradition from the time of the first settlement of the county that there was a salt spring there, which had been destroyed by the Indians byturning the creek over it.
"It is certain that previous to the operations of De Haert, Fall Creek as it left the gorge followed the base of the bluff on the south side of the flat, passing over the spring, and was changed by De Haert to its present channel."
The following is taken from the ' Susquehanna Register,' under date of Nov. 28, 1828 :—
" Some fifteen years ago, a salt spring was discovered about six miles in a northeast direction from Montrose. It had been covered over, probably by Indians; and, en removing the cover, we are told, a wooden ladle was found lying in the spring.
"The water is strongly impregnated with sulphur and iron, with a saline taste at first disagreeable ; and the gas, which is developed in large quantities, is highly inflammable.
" As there was not enough water in the spring to render the making of salt from it an object of importance, Balthaser De Haert built a cabin and took up his abode in the wilderness ; and, assisted by his brother, sunk a well about twenty feet, when they came to a rock. 'Then they commenced sinking a shaft into the rock ; but his brother died (in 1813), and Judge De Haert was left without much assistance, and with limited means. He continued with a perseverance worthy of better success, progressing but slowly until he induced a number of capitalists to engage in the work with him. About five years ago—or in Jan. 1824—after sinking a shaft to the depth of 300 feet, it was supposed they had struck a fissure that would yield an abundance of salt water, but it proved a delusion. Judge De Haert soon after left the country, and the project was wholly abandoned."
The correspondent previously mentioned, in reference to this adds:—
" I had supposed that De Haert's operations were at an earlier date than would appear by the article from the ' Register,' and that he left the country before Mr. Biddle commenced. Mr. Biddle's operations closed in the winter
About forty years later a writer in the `Montrose Republican' made the following statement in regard to the operations at the same spring :—
" The first boring was done under direction of Judge De Haert, and about three hundred feet was accomplished, when the enterprise was given up for several years, and the lands passed into the hands of Colonel Biddle, who had the work renewed ; and about two hundred feet more was drilled, which made the total depth of the well, according to the best data which can now be had, about five hundred feet. The enterprise was given up about the
- 32 -
498 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
year 1825, and the land on which the spring is located was taken up by settlers, and improved and cultivated. The tools used by Judge De Haert and Col. Biddle for boring, were such, that several years were spent by both parties in getting down the distance which they bored. They used a spring pole worked by hand. The water from the drill-hole was always more sulphury than salty, and often bubbles would rise to the surface which, if touched with fire, would flash like powder.
"In January last (1865), the well and fifteen acres surrounding, were bought by a company from New York city, for the purpose of boring for petroleum.
"This company, unlike Messrs. De Haert and Biddle, work with more power than a `spring pole.' Their motive power is a fifteen horse-power engine, and their drills are of the most improved patterns. The old drill hole, which was three and a quarter inches in diameter, they are reaming to four and a half inches."
Either this writer was misinformed as to the object of the company, or it appears now to be given up. The editor of the 'Montrose Democrat,' having in his possession the "Prospectus of the Susquehanna Salt and Mining Co.," a copy of which was handed him by the president of the company, F. J. Wall, N.Y., states, Jan. 1871:—
" In 1865, the 'Susquehanna Salt Works Co.' purchased the property, and sunk a well to the depth of 650 feet, with a 4½ inch bore, at an expense of $28,000, erecting buildings, tanks, and salt block, etc. Several veins of fresh and salt water were passed through at the depth of 380 feet; but from that time on until the present depth of 650 feet no more fresh water, but some excellent veins of brine were found ; the last, within a few feet of the bottom. was the strongest of any yet found. The company started their block, and manufactured about twenty tons of fine dairy salt. Feeling that the amount made was not sufficient to make it pay well for the investment, and being New Yorkers who had the matter on speculation, instead of parties locally interested, they refused to pay any more assessments toward further developing the resources of the well, causing the project to be abandoned until purchased by the present. company. The salt made was of the very best quality, and was so pronounced by competent judges in New York.
" The new company have purchased the entire title and interest to the property, and have secured a charter from the State of New York. The stock is fully paid up, and they have all the fixtures necessary for operation. " They have determined to sink the well at least 200 feet below its present depth, which will make it 850 feet; which is the depth of the best wells both at Syracuse and Saganaw. The company being in the bands of parties in this vicinity, such as Alanson Chalker, of Corbettsville, gen. supt. ; John S. Tarbell, of Montrose, vice-prest. ; and others, our knowledge of the enterprise of the men leads us to believe that whatever resources the well contains will soon be developed."
The same month, the company bored to a depth of nearly 800 feet, and found a vein of brine richer than any previously reached.
Dr. D. A. Lathrop, in order to test the strength of brine in the well, evaporated seventy-two pounds of brine, which produced ten pounds and nine ounces of salt.
The Gleaner,' published at Wilkes-Barre, by C. Miner, in 1815, stated, that—
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 499
" Three persons had come to Middletown from the State of New York, and told Mr. Brister they had reason to believe there was a salt spring on his farm, and if he would let them come in on equal shares with him they would endeavor to find it. He agreed, and they dug in the place directed (by the Indians, who formerly lived there, it is supposed), and were so fortunate as to hit upon the right spot. On digging through three feet, they came to a well five or six feet deep, laid up with logs and covered by a large flat stone. It had evidently been worked by the aborigines."
Nothing further is known of this spring, unless, as one has stated, it was near where Andrew Canfield began his clearing; or, as another makes it, on his farm (the one now owned by Egbert Stedwell) and near the line of Ira Brister's. It was certainly on the Stedwell farm that a chartered company began operations about fifteen years later.
January, 1831, the Hon. A. II. Read, then member of assembly from this district, reported a bill to incorporate the Wyalusing Salt Manufacturing Company. In March following, it passed the House, and, a little later, probably the Senate ; as, in October, of the same year, the commissioners who had been ap-pointed—Salmon Bosworth, Ira Brister, Jabez Hyde, Jr., Daniel Ross, Dimon Boswick—gave notice of a meeting of the stockholders for the election of proper officers. Ira Brister was made president of the company; Otis Ross, now living in Middletown, was one of the stockholders ; and his son Norman, now in Michigan, superintended the sinking of the shaft in this spring to the depth of four or five hundred feet, "but did not find salt water, and the bits were left in the shaft."
But this was not the first enterprise of the kind in Middletown. In 1825 R. H. Rose and Samuel Milligan had a well dug in the edge of the marsh, at the foot of the mountain, about half a mile above Middletown Center, on the farm formerly occupied by Silas Beardslee, and now owned by John Cahill ; and where several previous attempts to sink wells had been made, by different parties, though these had been in the marsh, and were unsuccessful, on account of quicksands.
The drilling made by the employes of Messrs. Rose & Milligan extended between four hundred and five hundred feet. In 1828, the shaft was sunk fifty feet lower. Nine bushels and thirty-five pounds of salt were obtained here at one time ; and, at another time, nine bushels and six pounds—at the rate of one bushel from fifty gallons of water. The rock had been reached. about twenty-six feet below the surface.
The 'Susquehanna County Republican' of 1825 stated that the well had been examined by a gentleman well versed in the manufacture of salt, and " from his estimate of it," it was added,. "hopes are entertained that we shall be able to keep pace with, our neighboring counties (blest with water privileges and canal