50 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
and Miantinomah.¹ It is regretted that the signification of these names cannot be given here, or that of the smooth flowing Canawacta, or more bubbling-voiced Starrucca—fitting streams to run among such hills as face Ouaquaga Mountain.
In one of the sketches of this vicinity recently published by Joseph Du Bois, Esq., of Great Bend, and kindly contributed to this compilation, he says :—
"Most of our hills were named after those first-settlers, who made improvements near their bases, as Trowbridge Hill, Wylie Hill, Strong Hill, Fish Hill, etc.
" The Indians once had beautiful names for them all ; their foot-trail alone crossed these summits in search of the haunts of game ; then the moose, the elk, the deer, grazed upon these hills, and were to the Indian hunter his main subsistence. Many a time did their tops blaze with the signal fires of the Indians as the enemy approached ; and now how changed ! The stately pines that once adorned their summits have fallen before the ax of the lumberman, and those larger animals that once roved in comparative security have either been exterminated, or have fled before the advance of civilization to more secure hiding places. Ascend our hills now, peep into those dark caves in those frowning ledges of rock—these were once the dens of the savage panther, the crafty and ravenous wolf, and the fierce and surly bear; these have all gone, and only the survivors of civilization remain. These caves are now the home of the wild cat, the fox, the raccoon, and the rabbit, and they will remain with us until our improvements reach these mountain tops."
To the hills mentioned above, may be added Du Bois's Hill (from which the vicinity of Binghamton can be seen), Baker's Hill, between that and Strong Hill, and Rattlesnake Hill, across the Susquehanna. The latter is divided from Locust Hill by Newman's Creek, and from Trowbridge Hill by Trowbridge Creek. Denton Brook skirts the eastern base of Locust Hill, emptying into the Susquehanna at Taylortown. Between this place and Red Rock, Mitchell's Creek joins the river on the south side,and divides the unbroken wilderness of " Egypt" from another elevated forest, which terminates in Turkey Hill in Oakland. The creek received its name from a settler near its mouth prior to 1795.
The valley of the Salt Lick is rich in beauty and culture, and appears to be the only settled portion of the township south of the river, except in its immediate vicinity, and along Wylie Creek, near the western boundary. Wylie Hill is separated by the latter creek from Strong Hill, and on the north by Ives's (formerly Bates's) Creek, from Baptist Hill.
Following Wylie Creek from Liberty to Great Bend, the traveler on approaching the village is met by a landscape of
Whoever painted that finger-board must have been familiar with the Indian pronunciation, and spelled it as nearly as he could to represent it."
¹ The name of a war-chief, and of an iron-clad steamer of our navy that was the flag-ship of the late Admiral Farragut on his recent visit to the East.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 51
exquisite beauty, and hardly inferior to it is the view obtained in descending the Salt Lick.
A western gentleman, while recently passing over the Erie Railroad in the vicinity of Great Bend, exclaimed, " This equals the Sierra Nevada !"
There are no lakes in the township. There were formerly many willows on the banks of the Susquehanna, but the basket-makers have cut them down. Sarsaparilla, the white snakeroot, and black cohosh, and a number of medicinal herbs, are common. This locality appears to have first attracted the notice of the white man during the Revolutionary War.
From a sketch prepared by Mr. Du Bois, we retain the following :—
"A part of General Sullivan's army, under command of General James Clinton, encamped on the banks of the Susquehanna at Great Bend in the summer of 1779. The Six Nations (with the exception of the Oneidas), incited by British Agents and British gold, joined the British and tories of the Revolution, in their murderous assaults upon the border settlements. In order to check their attacks, General Sullivan, with a portion of his army, was sent up the Susquehanna by the way of Wyoming to the mouth of the Chemung River, where he awaited the arrival of General Clinton, who proceeded from Mohawk to the headwaters of the Susquehanna, and from thence down the river."
[Mr. DuBois had the pleasure of reading many years ago, the MS. diary of one of General Clinton's officers, and relies on his memory of its contents, in relating what follows.]
" When General Clinton arrived at the head of the river, Otsego Lake, he found the water very low, and the navigation of the Susquehanna, on rafts, as intended, impracticable. In order to raise the water, it was decided to build a dam at the foot of the lake, which some of the soldiers under the directions of the officers proceeded to do, while others were detailed to construct timber rafts below, upon which the army was to descend the river. When the dam was completed, the rafts being ready, and a sufficient quantity of water having accumulated in the lake, the flood-gates were opened, away sped the fleet of rafts, with their noble burden, amid the loud cheers of the soldiers.
" Very soon new troubles arose, for not one of these 1600 men knew anything about navigating the Susquehanna. The Indian canoe only had heretofore broken the stillness of its waters, consequently some of the many rafts were at almost every turn brought to a stand-still by the bars and shallows of the river. These " shipwrecks," as the soldiers called them, produced shouts of mirth and laughter from those who were more fortunate in drifting clear of the shoals; but, as the water was rapidly rising from the great supply in the lake above, these stranded rafts were soon afloat again, and very soon were passing some of those rafts which had first passed them, and from whose crews came shouts of derisive laughter, and now were stranded in like manner. Both officers and men enjoyed this novel campaign on rafts down the beautiful Susquehanna (to use the officer's word) " highly." he said that, notwithstanding they had to keep a sharp lookout for the " Red Skins," it did not in the least mar the great enjoyment of the sports of this rafting expedition; fishing, frolic, and fun were the order of the day. Nothing worthy of mention happened to the expedition on their way to this place, and here,
52 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
on a bright summer day, in 1779, they landed to pass the night, and to allow some of the dilatory rafts to come up, and here at Great Bend, on the Flats near the " Three Indian Apple Trees," General James Clinton's army encamped, and here for one night, at least, brightly burned the camp fires of 1,600 of the soldiers of the Revolution. The officer in his diary says of the three Indian Apple Trees which they found here, that they then bore the marks of great age. There were no Indians seen here by them, although there was every indication of their having only recently left. The next day they went on board of their rafts and proceeded down the river.
Of the venerable trees mentioned above, only one is now standing, the second having fallen within a short time after the compiler visited the spot in the summer of 1869. The trunk was then entirely hollow, and a person might stand in it; but its decay had been gracefully concealed, in part, by a circle of trained morning-glories exhibiting a thoughtful care and touching reverence for a relic of the past, which is linked with " a race that has had no faithful historian."
THE PAINTED ROCKS.—About two miles above the village of Great Bend, the Susquehanna River is quite narrow, with high rocks on each side of the stream. It seems as if by some great convulsion of nature, a passage had been opened through the mountain of rock for the passage of the river, forming high precipices on each side of the stream. The Erie Railroad, by their improvement, have cut away the rock on the north side, thus destroying the original beauty of this once interesting spot. The top of the cliffs were once covered with trees and a thick undergrowth, and many a deer while fleeing before the hounds has unwittingly taken the fatal leap from the top of this precipice. And the wary fox, too, fleeing before the pursuing loud-mouthed beagles, has from these cliffs taken his last leap, being dashed upon the frozen river below.
This romantic locality was known to the early settlers as the Painted Rocks, from the fact, that, high upon the face of one of these cliffs, and far above the reach of man, was the painted figure of an Indian Chief. The outlines of this figure were plainly visible to the earliest white visitors of this valley ; but long after the outlines had faded, the red, which predominated in this figure, still remained ; this in after years caused the inhabitants not familiar with the early history to call the place " Red Rock," and by that name it is known to this day. As to how and when this once beautiful painting was made on these rocks, at a place, too, apparently inaccessible to man, has been the subject of much mystery and many conjectures, for this full-length portrait was evidently done by a skilful artist's hand, long before the whites had settled in these parts.¹
Before the settlement of Susquehanna County, according to a statement in Wilkinson's Annals of Binghamton,' "a purchase was made of the Susquehanna valley from the Great Bend to Tioga Point, by five gentlemen of Philadelphia, viz., Messrs. Thomas, Bingham, Hooper, Wilson, and Coxe. Thomas's patent embraced the Bend, and extended six miles down the river; then Bingham's patent, extending from Thomas's western line to two or three miles beyond the village of Bingham-
¹ By J. Du Bois, Esq.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 53
ton, two miles wide, lying equally on both sides of the river." No account of the Thomas patent can be found at Harrisburg.
Mr. Wilkinson adds, that when Joshua and William Whitney came, in 1787, to the valley of the Chenango, near its junction with the Susquehanna River, they found two or three families living at Great Bend.¹ These were doubtless the Strongs at the west bend, the Comstocks at the east bend (now Harmony), and the Bucks between them at Red Rock. At least these families might have been found there, in the fall of 1787. It is known that the first two families preceded the last named, though it is not positively stated which one of the two was first in the vicinity; but Ozias Strong, formerly of Lee, Mass., was the first settler, so far as can now be ascertained, within the limits of the present town of Great Bend, and the first resident purchaser of land under Pennsylvania title.
Besides the above, the only settlers now known to have been here, in 1788, were Enoch Merryman and wife, and their son Bishop and his wife; Nathaniel Gates and wife with five children, and three sons-in-law—Jedediah Adams, David Lilly, and William Coggswell, with their wives ; Jonathan Bennett (in Oakland first) with his sons Jonathan and James, and his sons-in-law, Asa Adams and Stephen Murch, with Thomas Bates and Simeon Wylie, sons-in-law of Rev. Daniel Buck. All had families.
In 1789, John Baker, a native of Hatfield, Massachusetts, came to Great Bend, at the age of twenty-four, and soon after married Susanna, a daughter of Ozias Strong.
The public records of Luzerne County show, that Ozias Strong, June 9, 1790, bought of Tench Francis, for one hundred and thirty pounds sterling, four hundred and fifty-three acres of land north of the river, in the vicinity of the present Great Bend bridge. Two days later, Benajah Strong (possibly a brother of Ozias) bought, of the same landholder, six hundred and one acres, south of the river, on both sides of the mouth of the Salt Lick. This tract was sold by B. Strong, September 21, 1791, to Minna Du Bois and Seth Putnam, for seven hundred pounds sterling. Minna Du Bois was made attorney for his brother Abraham, of Philadelphia, June 23, 1.791.
On the same day of Ozias Strong's purchase, Tench Francis gave deeds to other parties. Ichabod, Enoch, and Benjamin Buck bought of him one hundred acres for one hundred and
¹The village which soon clustered around the Whitneys was supplanted after a few years by the settlement at Chenango Point, now Binghamton. This was laid out into village lots in 1800. A saw-mill was erected in 1788, on Castle Creek, and a grist-mill, in 1790, on Pitch's Creek, in the town of Conklin. These were the first mills in all the region. See ' Annals of Binghamton.'
54 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Elisha Leonard¹ had lands adjoining Ozias Strong's (which adjoined S. Murch's), and Edward Davis's also adjoined lands of E. Leonard's.
But few items have been preserved of the families who came to Great Bend before 1790. The Merrymans were here when Nathaniel Gates came. The latter had lived, previous to 1778, at Wyoming, though he was from home, engaged in his country's service, when the massacre took place. Mrs. Gates fled with others to the mountains, and finally reached Connecticut, with her seven children, where she was afterwards joined by her husband. One child being sick, during her flight, was carried by a neighbor; while Mrs. Gates carried another in her arms and one on her back—the rest were able to walk.
The family had lived in Wayne County before coming to Great Bend. Three children of N. Gates were drowned in the Susquehanna, but their bodies were recovered and buried at Great Bend, February 16, 1791.
Polly, daughter of Asa Adams, and two young men of the Strong family, and Samuel Murch, and his sister Polly, had been drowned, previously, in the same stream. [No name occurs more frequently among the early wives and sisters than Polly—always a synonym for Mary.]
Not far from this time, a son of Mr. Gates, who had been taken prisoner by the Indians while the family lived on the Delaware, escaped and reached Philadelphia where he learned the whereabouts of his parents. He came on via Mt. Pleasant, from which there were only marked trees to guide him, the snow being twelve inches deep. When within a hundred rods of a hunter's shanty, where Phinney's hotel now stands, in New Milford, his strength gave out. He was about to lie down in despair, when he saw the sparks from the shanty, which so revived him he was able to get there ; but he could not speak, so badly was he frozen. He was able, at length, to tell where his friends were—about six miles distant; and the hunter, after two or three days, managed to notify them, when they took him home ; but, for days, his life was despaired of.
James Parmeter may have been here as early as some of those previously mentioned, but was not here when the Bucks came.
" He built his log cabin' on the south side of the Susquehanna, near the south end of the present bridge across the river. For some time he sub-
¹ " Not many rods from the farm house of the late Abraham Du Bois, on the place formerly owned by Seelye and Daniel Trowbridge, there is a fine spring of fresh water, clear as a crystal, always flowing, never freezing in winter, but cold as ice-water. This spring, since my earliest recollections, has been called, and is well known to this day, as Leonard's spring. My father (A. Du Bois) told me it was named after an early settler ; and I think the one named above." J. D. B.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 55
sisted by hunting and fishing. One of the first Connecticut settlers, who came into this county, and was on his way to a settlement not far south of Montrose, and who staid over night at his cabin, told me that his cabin was then completely covered with the skins of wild beasts, among which he saw those of the panther, bear, wolf, deer, and wildcats. As other settlers came into this valley and commenced to settle further west, he, from the necessity arising from his location, was transformed from a simple hunter into a hotel keeper and ferryman (1793) ; for these early pioneers would stop at his house, as it was the only one near, and he assisted them to cross the river. As it could not be forded, except at very low water, he was compelled to build a ferry boat, as his house could not hold these blockaded travelers, the travel having now greatly increased by settlements further west, even as far as the lake country."
John Baker bought a piece of wild land, went to work, and after he had nearly paid for it, found there was a mortgage on it for more than it was worth ; he gave it up and bought another, and built a log cabin. He was prospered for a time, but one day as he and his wife were returning from work in the field they found their house and all its contents had been burned up ; nothing was left except the clothes they had on. He sold his land and moved to Homer, New Jersey, in 1794. He had then three children. He came back to Great Bend to spend the following winter, and here, March 1795, his son, David J. Baker, was born. From him (now living at Dryden, N. Y., in his seventy-seventh year) we learn that his parents returned to Homer, in a canoe, as soon as the ice was out of the river, the same spring. His was the ninth family in the
township (Homer) of ten miles square.
The 'Bellevue (O.) Gazette' of a recent date contained a biographical sketch of Mr. Baker, from which the following items are taken :—
" His parents died when he was quite young. He never went to school a day. At the age of eighteen he served six months in the Revolutionary army.
" At Great Bend he and his wife joined the Presbyterian Church, and remained consistent professors of religion all their lives. His wife taught him to read and write, and by his own efforts he acquired an education. He was a man of good natural ability, and fond of argument. Of the four sons and three daughters born to them here, three sons are still living ; two at the west, and David in Dryden, N. Y. He was the first deacon of the church in
Mr. D. J. Baker adds : " The Strongs all left Great Bend after my father did. My grandfather, Ozias Strong, had a family of six sons and six daughters, namely : Major Joseph, Horatio, Francis, Zadock, Peltiah and Abner. His daughters with their husbands' names were, Beulah Treet, Roxy Benedict, Hannah Gates, Susanna Baker, Polly Jones, and Lovina Todd. Peltiah was drowned in the Susquehanna River while his father lived at Great Bend; the rest of this large family lived to a good old age, and all but one of them had large families. When Horatio left the Bend, he settled in the valley of the Scioto River in Ohio, and had a family nearly as large as his father. When my grandfather, Ozias Strong, left the Bend, he, together with three of his sons (Francis, Zadock, and Abner, who were then unmarried) settled at South Cortland, which was then called Homer, on 350 acres of land. When Major Joseph Strong left the Bend, he settled in Manlius, Onondaga County, New
56 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
York, in 1812 ; he moved to Huron County, Ohio, in 1814 ; Zadock followed him in 1815 ; Francis Strong and my father, John Baker, who married Susanna Strong, followed them in 1816, and in 1825 or 1826 Abner and Aunt Todd, she being then a widow, followed ; and all settled near each other in Ohio, on a ridge of land which is to this day called Strong's Ridge. Zadock Strong's marriage was the first marriage of the settlers of Homer, N. Y. He and his bride rode on horseback through the woods from Homer to Ludlowville, in Tompkins County, N. Y., a distance of thirty miles, to find the nearest person who was qualified to perform the marriage ceremony. Uncle David Jones, from Boston, who married Aunt Polly Strong, bought my grandfather's farm at South Cortland. and took care of the old people the last years of their lives. Capt. Benajah Strong moved to Lansingville, N.Y.
" I left Great Bend with my parents when an infant, but I remember of their speaking of Stephen Murch so frequently that it is to me like a household word."
The following sketch by.J. Du Bois, Esq., is copied by permission from the Northern Pennsylvanian.'
" LATHROP ISLAND.-About one-third of a mile above the Great Bend Bridge, in the middle of the Susquehanna River, there was formerly a beautiful island, known as Lathrop Island, thus named from the fact that one Ralph Lathrop,¹ a very early settler, cleared it up and cultivated it. When the whites first came into this valley, this was quite a large island, some acres in extent, the surface being very level, and as high above water as the shore opposite. The early settlers said that a part of this island had been cleared by the Indians. Upon being questioned about it, the Indian Doctor told me that this island was a great resort for Indian fishing and hunting parties ; in fact, the Indian picnic grounds. Here all the canoes for miles around, filled with the dusky sons of the forest, and their wives and little ones, came at stated periods to hunt, to fish, to feast, and to celebrate some of their games. One of their games was a boat race ; this always took place soon after landing. Many strove for the honors ; for he who paddled his canoe around the island and came to the starting-point first was immediately invested with all the honor and power of a chief, to last during the festivities or stay upon the island. The victor's word for the time being was law, and the entire proceedings of the party during the festivities were directed by him. Long after this valley was settled by the whites, this beautiful island was the favorite resort of the settlers and their children. Here they came in boats, with their wives and little ones, not forgetting cooking utensils, for our mothers and grandmothers were not content with cold victuals,' as the custom now is at picnics, hut here, upon this almost enchanted spot, they cooked the tender venison and fresh fish provided by their husbands and sons, not forgetting to bring cakes and other good things.
" This island, except a fine cluster of large trees left at its head for its protection, and a fringe of beautiful shade trees around its border, was cleared. No such charming and inviting spot could be found in this vicinity, and it was the favorite for picnic parties for many years ; now nothing remains of it but unsightly gravel bars. This once beautiful place of resort was destroyed by mischievous boys. The timber standing at the head of the island. and which had for ages protected it from destruction, was the receptacle of vast quantities of driftwood. These boys went upon the island one summer's day, in a dry time, and set this driftwood on fire, which destroyed the trees ; and as soon as their roots decayed, this once beautiful place became an easy prey to the destructive ice floods of the Susquehanna; and this once charming spot, for pleasure parties and recreation, is lost to the citizens of this neighborhood for all time to come.
¹ Mr. Lathrop was a son-in-law of Priest Buck. He afterwards became insane.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 57
" If any one wishes to satisfy himself as to this island being once the resort of the Indian fishermen, let him take a walk along the north shore of the river opposite, and he can, even now, find any number of the sinkers used by the red men. They fished with a hand line ; a round or oval stone from two to three inches in length, and from one-half to three-quarters of an inch in thickness was selected, a notch was cut in each edge, around this the end of the main line was fastened, short lines and hooks were attached to the main line, after the hooks were baited, the sinker was thrown far out into deep water, and the line, to use a sailor's expression, hauled taut,' and the least motion on the short lines was conveyed to the hand of the fisherman with almost electric speed."
Incidents in the early history of the Susquehanna Valley are related by J. B. Buck, a son of Capt. Ichabod Buck, whose father was the Rev. Daniel Buck referred to below. (Most of these were contributed to the Susquehanna Journal,' published at Susquehanna Depot.)
" My great-grandfather, Eben Buck, was an Englishman ; his son Daniel, my grandfather, was a Presbyterian minister, ordained in Connecticut, his native State. In early life he was engaged in the old French war, in which he distinguished himself, and rose to rank and high position. He was a self-made man, and a doctor as well as minister. In 1786, he left the valley of the Mohawk, near Albany, where he had resided some years, and brought his family with teams to Otsego Lake, crossed it and came down the river in canoes, seventy miles, to near where Windsor village now stands. Here he remained nearly two years, and then moved down to Red Rock. My father (the oldest son) and Uncle Benjamin were then married and had families. Father built his house just north of where the Erie Railroad passes through the tunnel, Uncle Benjamin just south of this place, and grandfather between them, on the line of the track over the tunnel. The old cellars are now to be seen.
" When my father came to Red Rock, it was all wild. But on examination some marks were found that could not be accounted for. The high rocks on the river were painted red, and on the island was found the foundation of a house. This was found quite plain when the land was cleared up and plowed, but it had been so long ago that it was grown up with trees. '['here for five years he had to pound the grain in a mortar to make flour and bread. There I was born, when but few whites were there, but hundreds of Indians often passed up and down. There were no roads—nothing but a path in the woods.
" After this time a mill was built at Tioga Point (now Athens), and we went With a canoe to mill-62 miles. About this time father subscribed for a paper published by Mr. Miner at Wilkes-Barre. It was about ten by twelve inches to the page. We took it two years, and then it was doubled, and it was enlarged again from time to time.
" My father was of steady habits, and possessed a strong, observing mind. After one year grandfather and Uncle Benjamin removed down the river a mile or two; the latter on the farm since known as Newman's, and the former on that one long owned and occupied by the Dimons, near the Bend bridge. Uncle Denton (Enoch) did not come in quite as soon as father; he located at Taylortown.
“Father and uncle had begun to farm, and families would often get in a strife ; by agreement, when haying and harvesting were over, we would have a holiday. One day uncle took his oxen and cart and brought his family to father's, and all went on the hill for huckleberries. We filled all the pails, and then went to killing rattlesnakes. That afternoon we killed 411. It will be understood that in August the females go back to their dens to have their young. We killed 33 old ones, and the rest of the 411 were young ones.
58 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
"Here was found great abundance of wild animals of different kinds, and birds also. When out late at evening we were often followed by panthers, but never molested. At one time the wolves drove a deer upon the ice on the Susquehanna, not far from our house, and caught it. After devouring it, they had, a frolic. We had a horn made of a sea-shell. We ran out with the horn, and, after watching them at their play, sounded the horn. They stopped at once ; then, catching the echo rather than the first sound, they ran directly towards us till about half way, when they stopped a moment, discovered their mistake, and then ran up the river for a mile for dear life. There were fifteen of them.
" I well remember the first wagon brought here. It was drawn by four oxen. Father bought the fore wheels, and uncle the hind ones. The tires were in six pieces for each wheel—spiked on. Brought from Boston by a Mr. Dorset."
" Fire was obtained either by flashing powder, or with the flint and steel. Friction matches were not invented for fifty years afterward. It was always expected that fire would be kept on every hearth. If by neglect the fire went out, it was common for families to send half a mile to a neighbor's for fire.
" The first house, and the one in which I was born, was built in an exceedingly primitive style. One huge log nearly made one side of the house, of which material the dwelling was built, for the mill-going saw these valleys and rocks had never heard.' The floor was made of strips, split, or halves of logs, flattened ; the roof was covered with shakes,' four feet long ; the beams overhead extended beyond the body of the house some five or six feet, making a stoop or piazza, from the roof of which, in autumn, used to hang the seed-corn for the ensuing year. The house was situated near a fine spring of water. Its furniture was not of the present-day style; the bed- steads, chairs, tables, and cooking utensils belonged to another age. We had no stoves, no carpets; we needed none. We had an immense fireplace, and the forest all around us. The day found us busy; the night gathered us around the broad stone hearth, glowing with a well-piled fire, where we recounted the hopes, adventures, and news of the day, in much the same manner as is done to-day, in well-regulated families.
" For years we had no other evening light than that from the blazing hearth-fire, pine-knots, or a candle. The only way we had for lighting a candle was by means of a sliver from the wood-pile, or by taking a live coal from the fire and blowing it with the breath until it glowed, and then placing the wick of the candle against it. This was not always immediately successful, and frequently caused the young housekeeper to blow until her cheeks were as red as roses. Especially was this frequently the case of Sunday evenings, when young gents were present. It was many years after the country was settled before whale-oil lamps were introduced, and until then our only resource for light was the fire, blazing, or the consumption of fat in some manner.
"Our food was mainly meat, from the forest; bread, vegetables, short-cakes, Johnny-cakes, and buckwheat pancakes. We used to eat our venison cooked in various ways. A venison steak is epicurean, and reckoned among the best of backwoods dishes. Our bread was baked in a flat, shallow cast-iron kettle, set upon coals, with coals heaped upon the cover. Our biscuits were baked in a tin oven, shaped like a letter V, so arranged as to heat both the top and bottom of the biscuits. Our short-cakes were baked in a long-handled frying-pan, heated at the bottom with coals, and by the glowing fire at the top—and good cakes it makes, too—better than any of the new-fangled ovens of the present day. If the fireplace was well supplied with necessaries, it had an iron crane, from which cooking utensils could be suspended at a greater or less height above the fire. The crane wanting, its place was supplied by some other device for suspending the pots—generally trammels —an exceedingly clumsy and inconvenient arrangement, by which vessels
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 59
used in cooking must be suspended from a pole, crossing the chimney high enough above the fire not to burn.
" Did the good housewife desire to get breakfast, she first filled the tea-kettle and hung it over the fire, or set it on fresh coals, drawn from the wood fire, on the hearth to boil ; she then put her meat to frying in a spider, having legs about three inches long, by setting it on fresh coals ; her potatoes, if boiled, were put in a pot and hung over the fire ; if she desired pancakes, they were baked on a round griddle, suspended over the fire—when the griddle was hot enough, she swung out the crane and put on the batter; one side baked, the crane was swung out, the cakes turned, and again swung in ; when done, again swung out, cakes removed, and another batch spread on."
" In those days, stores were few and distant. Powder and lead were among our most necessary articles, and these cost long journeys. For some years no store was nearer than Bainbridge, N. Y., then Windsor, and finally Great Bend—supplied by teams from Catskill. A man named Whittemore first began trading at Windsor; Bowes at the Bend. He built, about sixty-five years ago, the square house near the Presbyterian Church."
Shad were so numerous in early times, that they were sold for one cent each.
"A FISH STORY.—After planting, one year, the men thought they would have a play day. They agreed upon a fishing party, and were to drive the river. We first began at the island, by building a willow and brush fence, or net across the north side of the river, so as to stop the fish. The other side we had three horses mounted by boys, who rode back and forth, scaring the fish into our pen or net, between the island and opposite shore. A large party then proceeded up the river some three miles, and drove the fish down —floating before them a rude sort of brush net, in the water, so that it was really easier for the fish to run down stream than pass it. They came down the stream driving, splashing, swimming, and wading, and having a gay time, until they reached our pen or brush net ; when we piled in brush and made a fence which it was difficult for the fish to pass. We then began throwing out the fish, and the great creatures would splash against our legs, and dash about in vain efforts to escape. We captured by this frolic eighteen hundred shad. Each boy and girl had five—each woman thirty, and the balance were divided equally among the men—of course they secured the lion's share. The whole ended with a real feast and frolic, with shad for meat instead of quails. The evening was joyous, and the entertainment bountiful, and the whole passed off with a zest and appetite which cannot be surpassed by our present efforts."
Another reminiscence of Mr. Buck's runs thus :—
" Wolves were exceedingly troublesome to the early settlers. They would enter the fold at night and kill sheep and lambs, and, sucking the blood and eating a portion of the flesh, would leave the flock ruined for the farmer's coming. In those days each family made its own cloth for all the various purposes. The clothing of the father, the mother, the sons, and the daughters, was the handiwork of the busy mother. The flesh was also a reliance for food ; hence the loss of the sheep was a dire calamity for a farmer. The sheep had for many years to be yarded close by the house. The ducks, geese, and chickens also had to be protected at night."
Three or four brothers of Rev. Daniel Buck figured in the early history of Wyoming. Elijah (and possibly Asahel) was one of the first forty settlers of Kingston; William is mentioned in the old records of Westmoreland as a fence-viewer and grand juror, in 1774, and Capt. Aholiab Buck was one of nine cap-
60 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
tains slain the fatal afternoon of July 3, 1778. William, a son of Asahel Buck, was massacred the same day. An older brother of the four, Eben, had two sons, Elijah and William, the former of whom settled near Athens, Pa., as early probably as 1788.
" Priest" Buck, as the minister was generally styled, had seventeen children, ten of whom were those of his second wife; sixteen lived to have families. In addition to the sons already mentioned, who were of his first wife, there were Daniel, Israel, Silas, and Hiram. The majority of the family settled and died in the State of New York. Silas died in 1832, at Great Bend, where his widow still resides. Two of his, sisters Polly and Rachel, also died here: Enoch Denton died in Ohio; Israel, in Wyalusing, where some of his descendants reside. He had fifteen children.
Rev. Daniel Buck died at Great Bend, April 13, 1814. He had buried his first wife in Connecticut; his second wife died at Great Bend, September 6, 1828, and rests beside her husband in the cemetery near the Episcopal church.
Capt. Ichabod Buck was born in New Canaan, Connecticut. He died in Franklin, Susquehanna County, March 19, 1849. A recent writer says of him : " He was a Christian, and to him perhaps more than to any other man were the early settlers of Great Bend indebted for religious teaching, influence, and example." He had five sons : William died at Great Bend; John B., the author of several sketches given in these annals, is still living (February, 1872) at Susquehanna Depot; Benjamin died young; Elijah, living in Illinois, and Benjamin, in Michigan. His daughter Lucy, now dead, was born at Red Rock, April, 1791; and Deborah (Mrs. Lyman Smith, of Binghamton), March, 1793. The latter is the only survivor of the six daughters. Mrs. I. Buck died at Great Bend.
William Buck married a daughter of Oliver Trowbridge 1st; she was eight years old when her father came to Great Bend in. 1796, and is still living in the same town.
Elijah and William, sons of Ichabod Buck, form the third set of brothers of these names in the Buck family : the first being the brothers of Rev. D. Buck, the next his nephews, and the third his grandchildren.
David Buck, who lived in 1807 on the north side of the Susquehanna River opposite Wright Chamberlin's, was not a near relation of this family.
Thomas Bates lived about a mile below the bridge on the south side of the river. He died here before 1820, much esteemed.
We insert here brief sketches of three of the early settlers of this section.
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SIMEON WYLIE served his country through the war of the Revolution, having entered the service in the spring of 1776, at the age of eighteen years. He was early detached from the ranks as waiter to General Arnold, and served as such until the time of Arnold's defection, and was the principal witness to prove the identity of Major Andre, his visits to Arnold at his quarters at the Robinson house, and the manner of Arnold's escape. From that time, he served as a sergeant to the close of the war. He was in the battle of Long Island, and White Plains, in 1776, in the northern campaign, at the battle of Bennington, and at the capture of General Burgoyne in 1777. He was also in a preceding battle in which Arnold was wounded, and was in the battle of Monmouth in 1778.
In the confusion of the retreat from Long Island, on the evening after the battle, Sergeant Wylie was one of a party of seventeen (including a lieutenant), left in a piece of woods near the enemy. Not knowing in the dark what course to take, they agreed to wait until daylight, and then attempt to cross the East River or Sound. As soon as it was light they sent two of the party to search for a boat and give a signal to the detachment remaining in the woods. Upon hearing the signal the latter hurried to the shore, where they found a boat which had been drawn upon the beach, and, while pushing it with some difficulty into the water, they saw a party of " red coats" passing. They however succeeded in launching the boat and took to the oars. The enemy being near discovered them, ordered them to " halt" and surrender, or they would fire upon them. Disregarding the threat they pushed on, and the enemy fired and continued to fire until the boat reached the New York shore, and so well was their aim taken that every man except the lieutenant and Sergeant Wylie was either killed or wounded. The killed were buried with the honors of war, and the wounded taken to the hospital in New York. Some forty years after, a crippled pensioner traveling through this part of the country stopped for the night with Mr. Wylie. In the course of the evening he spoke of the Revolution and the cause of his lameness. He proved to be one of the seventeen. He remained with Mr. Wylie through the winter and taught school. Sergeant Wylie was a brave man and a good soldier. This bloody transaction, with many other revolutionary reminiscences, he was accustomed to narrate with thrilling effect.
In the spring of 1835, he buried his wife (a daughter of Rev. D. Buck), with whom he had lived forty-nine years. She had resided forty-three years on the farm where she died, and had been a member of the Presbyterian Church eighteen years. He died suddenly while on a journey into the State of New York to visit one of his sons, September 14, 1836, aged seventy-eight years.
JONATHAN DIMON was a native of Fairfield County, Conn. In his minority he served several years as a soldier in the army of the Revolution. A few years after the war he moved with his family to Willingborough, in the spring of 1791. He purchased a farm of Ozias Strong, and followed farming for the remainder of his days. His success was such, he was able, to a considerable extent, to supply provisions to the Wyoming settlers.
He was the third postmaster at Great Bend, for several years from 1813. He was a man possessing intelligence, energy, integrity, and influence, and who exercised hospitality almost to a fault. He was an opponent to immorality, intemperance, and Sabbath desecration ; a supporter of educational and religious institutions. He died suddenly June 8, 1821, aged sixty years, greatly lamented, and was followed to the grave by a larger number of persons than had ever before been seen at the Bend on such an occasion. His widow, Mrs. Abigail D., and the mother of his ten children, was a member of the Baptist Church many years. Her children were all living at the time of her death in November, 1834.
CHARLES DIMON, son of Jonathan, was six years old when his father settled at Willingborough. He was educated at the common schools, which were then taught by competent teachers. At a suitable age he commenced work-
62 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
ing on the farm with his father, and pursued the same occupation through life.
January, 1810, on the resignation of Dr. E. Parker, he was appointed the second postmaster at Great Bend, which office he held until March 2, 1813, when he was appointed justice of the peace, by the Governor of Pennsylvania. April 23, 1823, he voluntarily resigned his commission for the purpose of pursuing his favorite occupation of agriculture.
About nine years afterwards the people, without his knowledge, sent a petition to the governor to have him reappointed, which was done ; his second commission being dated December 3, 1832, and which he reluctantly accepted. He was twice elected under the amended constitution, and commissioned, viz., March 17, 1840, and March 18, 1845. His fourth commission terminated March, 1850, when he absolutely refused another election. He discharged the duties of a magistrate with ability and with general satisfaction, having acquired a good knowledge of the laws relating to his office.
He had the reputation of being as reliable a justice as any in the county, and his decisions were respected. He was a man of strict morality, inflexible in his opposition to vice in every form, both by precept and example—a true son of his father—always aiming at right, and opposing wrong and deception. He had a controlling influence in the community, and bore the reputation of an honest, Christian man, to tomb. He was friendly and courteous; always extending the hand of friendship to all deserving persons ; hospitable, and ready to assist the unfortunate, using his influence for religion which he professed to have experienced, and always endeavored to sustain the best interests of the country in her civil, literary, religious, and political institutions. He was never married. To relatives, friends, and society the loss of such a man was a calamity. He died at the Bend, August, 22, 1864, aged seventy-nine years.
Dr. Fobes, the first regular physician of the place, was here in 1791. Robert Corbett, though then where New Milford village is, was a taxable of Willingborough. A Mr. Worden, early in the nineties, was near the present line of Oakland.
"As early as 1791, the settlers of Mt. Pleasant began opening a road to Great Bend. It left the north and south road nearly opposite Mr. Stanton's house (in Mt. P.), and proceeded westward, varying from half a mile to a mile south of the Great Bend and Coahecton turnpike, which has taken its place." (Rev. S. Whaley.)
Before November, 1792, the settlement must have largely increased, as a road which had been laid out on petition of Lewis Maffet and others—William Forsyth among the viewers—was opposed by a remonstrance sent to the court and signed by " Orasha" Strong and fifteen others. The first report made the road " begin at a stake about three rods above a place called the Three Apple Trees, and run northwesterly to the State line." The court granted a review of the road by different men, among whom Asaph Corbett, then in New Milford, and Asahel Gregory, in what is now Herrick, must have been disinterested parties. They made the road begin opposite James Parmeter's, at a stake in the north bank of the river.
Messrs. Bennett, Parmeter, Strong, Leonard, Asa Adams, and Isaac Hale (the last in what is now Oakland), viewed and laid
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 63
out two other roads that season ; the first, " beginning at a hemlock stump, opposite Seth Putnam's saw-mill, northerly (W. E. W.) to the south bank of the Susquehanna River, then N. E. to the north bank of said river, then up said river intersecting the road first laid out;" the other appears to have connected these with the house of Benjamin Buck, one mile
above Ozias Strong's.
In 1793, the court appointed Ichabod Buck, constable Horatio Strong and Jonathan Bennet, supervisors ; and Elisha Leonard and Ichabod Buck, overseers of the poor. From this time the town rapidly increased in prosperity and influence.
November, 1795, Jonathan Newman, formerly of Pittston (was there in 1789), bought of Minna Du Bois land lying north of the river, above the ferry. Nathaniel Holdridge, the first settler of Herrick, must have been here then, as he was constable the following year.
In 1796, Oliver Trowbridge, called Major Trowbridge, came in. The same year Horatio Strong received a license to keep a tavern. He had only a log-house. This, it appears, was purchased by Oliver Trowbridge, who built, in 1797, a framed part to the house, an upper room of which was used by a Masonic Lodge ; the walls of it were papered—the first instance of a papered room in the county. He was licensed in 1801. He had four sons—Noble, Lyman, Augustus, and Harry (the latter two died at the West)—and four daughters, of whom Mrs. Wm. Buck is the only one now living at Great Bend.
Noble Trowbridge (J. P.) in 1810 built the wing of the present large house occupied by his son Oliver, about one and a quarter miles from the State line. The old bar-room, kitchen, and dining-room of this once noted tavern are well preserved ; also, the old sign of the Indian and his arrows, though it no longer invites the traveller to rest. Here were seen the old " tester" bedsteads, with blue and white linen hangings, such as some of us now cherish as the handiwork of our grandmothers.
From the porch, views of river, hills, and meadows of great beauty are obtained, and pleasure-seekers much frequent this locality. Trowbridge's Creek reaches the river just below.
Noble T. had six daughters and three sons—Oliver, Grant, and Henry (dead).
Lyman Trowbridge settled in the south part of the township near Salt Lick Creek. He bad four daughters, and four sons—Amasa, Augustus (dead), Charles, and Lafayette.
Daniel and Seelye Trowbridge, who lived on the south or west side of the river, were sons of David, a brother of O. Trowbridge, 1st.
Henry Lord, originally from Maine, came from Dutchess
64 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
County, N. Y., in 1797, and settled about half a mile south of Great Bend. The place was afterwards occupied by Asahel Avery and Jonas Brush. He had eleven children, only two of whom—Mrs. Dr. Charles Fraser and Mrs. Charles Avery, of Montrose—remained in the county, when their father removed to Yates County, N. Y., after residing here about twelve years.
The same year, Jonathan Newman was constable, and Oliver Trowbridge and Samuel Hayden, supervisors. The year following, Sylvanus Hatch was constable, Samuel Blair and Henry Lord, poor-masters; Samuel Blair, assessor. (All these offices, it will be remembered, included then a supervision of all the territory now included in Great Bend, Oakland, Harmony, and New Milford, and Jackson, Thompson, and part of Ararat; but in the last three there was then no settler.)
Asa Eddy, afterwards first justice of the peace of the township, offered for sale, in 1798, " six valuable farms at and near Great Bend—indisputable titles given."
Facilities for travel increased. The road from Mt. Pleasant, projected in 1791, appears not to have been satisfactorily located; for, January, 1798, Messrs. Parrneter and Hatch, Dudley Holdridge (son of Nathaniel), David Summers, Joseph Potter, and Asahel Gregory, were appointed to view and lay out the road, which, after reaching the house of Daniel Leach, ran nearly north to the Salt Lick, then to R Corbett's, then north six miles to the ferry at Great Bend. The report of the viewers was not presented and approved until the next year.
In November, 1798, J. Dimon petitioned for a road " beginning two miles from the ferry, and running up the river to a place called Harmony, arid thence to the State line ;" also, for "a road leading from the aforesaid road across to the line above mentioned, toward a place called Ouaquaga, in the State of New York." John Hilborn, Ichabod Buck, S. Blair, J. Dimon, Isaac Hale, and J. Newman, were appointed to lay out these roads.
During this year, a " post" was engaged to ride from Wilkes-Barre to Great Bend once a fortnight, for the delivery of papers. A road had been laid out to " the road on the waters of the Tunkhannock," in January previous. It will be remembered that, at this time, Harmony and Great Bend as townships had no existence.
In 1799, Sylvanus Hatch was a licensed " taverner at Hatch's ferry," as the location was then frequently called. A part of the old log building is still standing across the road from where the three apple trees stood, on the farm of Ozias Strong. Mr. H. did not own the log tavern, but he afterwards purchased one of the fan-shaped farms (see diagram), and kept a promi-
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 65
nent hotel on it, below the present Methodist church. This building has recently been divided.
David Brownson was constable in 1799 ; Isaac Hoyt one of the supervisors, and Thomas Bates, freeholder.
Benjamin Gould was an early settler, on a part of N. Trowbridge's farm. Jonathan Dimon was one of six settlers whose farms converged at a point near the nineteenth mile-stone. Each farm had a river front, and all extended about two miles on the river, somewhat as shown by the diagram.
Fig. 10. THE "FAN" AT GREAT BEND.
The original Strong farm, on which Great Bend borough is located, may have extended over Nos. 1, 2, and 3 ; but No. 1, once occupied by Rev. D. Buck, became the farm of Jonathan and Charles Dimon ; No. 2, once that of Horatio Strong, belonged successively to Josiah Stewart, William Thomson, Lowry Green, and W. S. Wolcottt; No. 3, of Sylvanus Hatch, since owned by Truman Baldwin ; No. 4, the Trowbridge farm, after 0. Trowbridge left the tavern-stand of H. Strong ; No. 5, the present Gillespie farm ; No. 6, now owned by A. and D. Thomas, was once Samuel Blair's.
The first three, of course, have been much divided ; but a daughter of Jonathan Dimon is still a resident of part of No. 1.
Sections of those owned by Hatch and Trowbridge once comprised the farm of Mrs. Andrew Johnston, the " first bride of the valley." She was the daughter of Garret Snedaker, who settled in Broome County, in 1794, and married Mr. Johnston, in September, 1796. Ile died in 1815, leaving her with six sons and one daughter. Mrs. Jr. related to the compiler, in 1869, her
66 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
surprise on coming here from New Jersey, when a girl, at the dress of people at meetings on the Sabbath. " One young woman wore a waistcoat (without sleeves) and a petticoat; the men wore leather coats and pantaloons." She lived in Great Bend, with her son, John B. Johnston, until her death, in January, 1870, in her ninety-third year.
In response to inquiries respecting Minna Du Bois, his grandson, J. B. D., says:—
" As near as I can learn, my ancestors of the name Du Bois left France at the time of the persecution of the Huguenots. They first fled to Germany, and afterwards came with the Germans to this country, and settled at or near Esopus, on the Hudson River.
" My great-grandfather, Abraham Du Bois, received his portion on the death of his father, and moved to New Jersey. He bad three sons : Abraham, Nicholas, and Minna. My grandfather, Minna Du Bois, was the youngest of that family. He was a wild youth, ran away, shipped and went to France. This was just before the Revolution. In the war that was then going on between France and England, my grandfather Du Bois joined the French navy. The vessel to which he belonged was captured by the English, and he and the other prisoners were taken to England and kept as prisoners in the mountains of Wales, until the war was over. He then came home. His brother Abraham, a wealthy jeweller in Philadelphia, and a large land-owner, made him an agent and sent him to Great Bend, to take care of his landed estate in this section. Several tracts here bore the warrantee name of his son, Nicholas Du Bois.
" Minna Du Bois was twice married ; Abraham was the son of his first wife ; and Jane (Mrs. Lusk), an only daughter of his last wife. The house in which the latter was born now forms a part of the Lusk House,¹ at the south end of the bridge, where Minna Du Bois kept a public house for years, and here Benajah Strong had one before him; and Abraham Du Bois, his- son, after him (1812). Mr. Du Bois died March 14, 1824, aged seventy years. His wife afterwards resided with her daughter in Montrose, where she died December 30, 1848, aged eighty years.
"Abraham Du Bois, Esq., married, in 1811, a daughter of Joseph Bowes (Julia), who was educated at the Moravian school in Bethlehem, Pa. Their sons were : Joseph (contributor to these Annals'), Nicholas, James C., and William, who died in Panama. Their daughters : Mrs. Rev. J. B. McCreary, dead, Mrs. Dr. Brooks, of Binghamton, Mrs. F. P. Catlin, of Wisconsin, Mrs. Hon. S. B. Chase, and Mrs. — Curtis, of Great Bend.
"Abraham D. died August 1, 1867, aged.eighty-one years ; and his wife died May 15, 1855, aged sixty-one."
" A TALK WITH AN INDIAN DOCTOR. By J. Du Bois.— Many years ago when I was a boy, a playmate of mine informed me that an Indian family had arrived at Great Bend, and bad taken lodgings at the Log Tavern. Up to this time I had never seen an Indian, and my curiosity was greatly excited. I soon obtained leave of my parents to go and see the natives. I filled my pockets with knick-knacks for the young Indians, hoping thereby to gain the good-will of the older ones.
" In company with another boy (for I was afraid to go alone) we proceeded to that then far-famed hotel known as the Log Tavern, and there we found
¹ This place is one of the ancient landmarks. After Mr. Du Bois's death, Benjamin Taylor, — Langley, Ebenezer Brown, Sen., Benjamin Miller, and — Caldwell, were its proprietors. Mr. Chaffee was first proprietor of the Lusk House. James Parmeter's well is still to be seen, in front of the hotel, across the river-road.
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an old Indian with a young squaw for a wife, and three children. The old Indian claimed to be a doctor. True, he did not bring with him innumerable manikins just imported from Paris,' neither did he come preceded by flaming posters, announcing free lectures, nor pay lectures. The Indian doctor came unheralded, driving his own horse and wagon containing his family. He was an intelligent-looking man, over six feet in height, weight over two hundred pounds. His hair, notwithstanding his age, was shining black, neatly braided, and hung down to the middle of his back in the form of a cue. His costume, in style, was not purely Indian, but he retained the leggings and moccasins of the red man. The only insignia of his profession, which he carried, was the medicine bag, which was an otter skin, with the fur on. The doctor had already announced his intention of remaining with us two or three months, had tendered the landlord the coin for his board in advance, saying that his principal object in coming here 'was once more to visit the scenes of his early youth. Although he plainly announced the object of his visit, it was not long before many speculations and guesses were made by the curious among our citizens as to the real object of this Indian visit. Some of those observing ones had noticed that the medicine bag' was the receptacle of many articles not to be found in the materia medica of the white or red men, and from this fact, came to the conclusion that the title of doctor was merely assumed to hide his real object, which some said was to dig up and remove hidden treasures.' Others said, he had come to re-mark the localities of covered salt springs, or valuable mineral deposits. On being questioned as to his knowledge of these things, the doctor was very reticent ; this only increased the curiosity of these speculators, and they even went so far as to offer to pay the Indian well if he would disclose to them this hidden wealth, which they plainly told him they were sure he could do if he would. At last the doctor yielded to the pressure, so far as to tell them that if they would count him out seven hundred dollars in coin, he would disclose to them something worth—to use the Indian's own language—much money. Now these speculators were more anxious than ever to know what it was, whether hidden treasures, salt springs, or mineral deposits, but to these questions the Indian was silent. Then they told him he had set his figures too high, and offered him one hundred, two hundred, and finally four hundred dollars; but all of these offers did not move the Indian. The doctor's movements were closely watched while he was here, some of these speculators thinking that they might gain by stealth what they failed to obtain by negotiation ; but the Indian was too much for them in this. Almost daily he took his rifle and went out upon our hills, but never twice in the same direction, and although the woods at that time literally swarmed with game, the doctor seldom came home laden with the fruits of the chase. The doctor had his patients, too, and it is but just to say, that those that did apply to him were well satisfied that the Indian doctor was no humbug.
" The writer, anxious to learn something about the Indians that once lived in this valley, concluded to question the doctor. I again visited the Log Tavern. I found the doctor reclining on the grassy slope of the bank of the Susquehanna, near the Indian Apple Trees. Armed with a pipe and tobacco, I approached him and presented them, retreated to a respectable distance and sat down, and watched him as he drew forth the steel, the flint, and striking fire, proceeded to test the quality of the Indian weed. Boy like, I at once commenced to question him, and as he remained silent, I piled question upon question, without even waiting for an answer, not knowing at that time that an Indian never answered a question immediately, but first smokes, then thinks, and then answers. After almost exhausting my list of inquiries, I remained silent. The Indian, after puffing away at the pipe for some time, said, Boy want to know much, Indian tell him some. W hen a boy, I lived here, many Indians lived along this valley of the Susquehanna, we belonged to the Confederate Five Nations, afterwards called the Six Nations.' He then
68 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
proceeded to state in his own language that this valley was for a long time the frontier of the Confederacy. At that time the Delaware Indians claimed all the lands up to the Susquehanna River. at the same time the Confederacy claimed to the Delaware River, the land lying between these two rivers was disputed ground, and many were the conflicts between the hunters on this disputed territory. After a while, the Six Nations conquered the Delawares, and extended their authority as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. During the war of the Revolution, the Indians quietly withdrew from this valley, and all of them, except, the Oneidas, joined the British and were nearly all exterminated in the battles which followed. Before the Revolution the Indians raised great crops of corn along these river flats.
"'All over yonder,' said he, pointing to the hills on the soath side of the river, 'elk, elk, deer, too, plenty, very plenty, fish in this river very plenty, Indian lived well.' I asked the doctor where the Indians buried their dead he pointed toward Dimon's flats, saying, there we bury our dead.' I then told the doctor, that when the workmen were excavating the ground for northern abutment of the first Great Bend Bridge, they discovered the skeleton of what they supposed to be a large Indian (as it was found in the sitting posture), I asked him how this Indian came to be buried there. After puffing away at the pipe as if in deep thought, he replied, 'The Delaware Indian, he die in his canoe, we bury him there.' I asked him by what death did he die, but received no answer. Not being willing to give it up so, I told the doctor that this Delaware Indian, as he called him, had a large hole in his skull, to which he replied, Delaware bad Indian.' Pursuing my inquiry in another direction, I asked him if a hostile Indian was detected as a spy, if by their laws it was death; he answered yes. And upon inquiring he said that they never bury those belonging to another tribe with their own dead. He further said that the Three Apple Trees was the rallying point and headquarters for all the Indians in the neighborhood. Here councils were held, marriages celebrated, feasts observed, war-dances performed, and the fate of prisoners decided.
" At another visit the doctor said that he had greatly enjoyed his visit here in looking upon the hills and valleys where his youthful days were spent, and would soon return to his people in Canada, who were anxiously awaiting his return. When the doctor had ended his visit, many of his friends here met at the Long Tavern to bid him good-bye. The Indian doctor during hie stay here made many friends, performed some remarkable cures, excited a good deal of curiosity, imparted much information about the former inhabitants of this valley, and with his family departed for his home in the Northwest, with the best wishes of his new-made acquaintances."
" AN INDIAN CLAIM.—Jonathan Dimon was one of the early white settlers of this valley. He settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Mr. Carl. When Jonathan Dimon left the valley of the Hudson River, and removed to this, then called wilderness, West, his son, Charles Dimon, had not completed his education, and did not come on to his father here, until some years later. A few days after his arrival, his father told him to go upon the flats and plow up an old' Indian burying ground.' (This burying ground was located about the centre of the lately talked-of Fair Ground, and proposed Race Track, and on each side of what now remains of an old hedge.) More than thirty years ago, the writer had this narrative from our late and much esteemed fellow-townsman, Charles Dimon. He said that he felt many misgivings about thus disturbing the burial place of the dead, and asked his father what he should do with those curious stones that marked the last resting-place of the Indians. His father told him that when he plowed up near enough to these stones to loosen them, to carefully take them up and pile them up by the fence. He said that with a heavy heart he proceeded to do as his father bade him, but would much rather have plowed elsewhere. After working awhile, his oxen needed rest ; at this time he was very near
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the bank of the river, and was sitting on his plowbeam with his back towards the river. He said that, in spite of himself, his thoughts would run on about the red men who once inhabited this valley. True, his father had told him that no Indians had been here for a long time, they had long since removed to other hunting grounds,' or had fallen in battle before the superior arms of the white man. He thought, and could not help thinking, what would be his fate if the Indians should happen to come along and find him plowing up the graves, and removing the stones that they had set up to mark the last resting-places of their fathers ?' While these thoughts were troubling him, he heard a low guttural, yet musical sound, or combination of sounds, which came from the river behind him. It was different from anything that he had ever heard. He turned his face toward the river, a screen of willows partly hid from his view objects on the river nearest to him, and as these strange sounds came nearer, he peered through the bushes and—said he to the writer—' imagine, if you can, my feelings and surprise, when I tell you that I saw close to me a large canoe full of Indians, and this had barely passed the opening before another canoe full of Indians came in sight. I immediately unhitched the oxen and hurried out of that field, and away to the house. Being somewhat excited at what I had seen, I said to father, that I thought it very unsafe to plow in the Indian burying field while the Indians were about. Father told me to explain; I did, by telling him what I had seen. He told me to go down to the ferry, and see if the Indians landed. I went to the ferry, which then occupied the present site of the Great Bend Bridge across the Susquehanna River. And there, at the Log Tavern, which then stood on the site of the two-story house opposite to and near the toll house, I found the Indians, about twenty in number.' A crowd of the curious soon collected, and an 'inquisitive ' Yankee soon learned from the Indian interpreter, that they had come to claim all that strip of land lying north of the Susquehanna River, and south of the forty-second parallel of latitude, declaring that they had never sold it, and that they wanted to meet the settlers and have a talk. This declaration of the interpreter caused the crowd to disperse in every direction to notify the settlers, and when these messengers told the settlers that a large party of Indians were at the Log Tavern, and claimed their lands, they too left their plows and wended their way to the Log Tavern, and as they came together on the way thither, they saluted each other after this manner, what now, what next?' here we have been trembling about our titles, Pennsylvania claims us, Connecticut claims us, and now, after all, here come the aborigines themselves, to claim our lands, and, if we should refuse, perhaps will take our scalps.
" By evening a number of settlers had collected, and, as they had no speaker among them, they chose one for the occasion; he was a kind of backwoods lawyer of those days (his name, as well as many other interesting incidents of this meeting, have, I am sorry to say, gone from the memory of the writer). Among those early settlers that were named as having attended this meeting, and were interested therein, I can only remember the following: Captain Ichabod Buck, Captain Jonathan Newman, Jonathan Dimon, Sylvanus Hatch, Josiah Stewart, David Buck, Noble Trowbridge, and James Newman. After all were seated in the old Log Tavern, the speaker for the settlers arose, and told the Indian interpreter that all were now ready to hear the talk of their chief.
"Many eyes were now turned toward the central figure of a group of noble looking Indians. But at this time some of the whites present were whispering to each other, and at the same time, wondering why the chief rose not. After a while the interpreter arose, and gave these inattentive whispering whites, ajust and well-merited rebuke. 'Friends,' said he, I perceive that you do not understand the character of the red men, when assembled in council. No Indian will rise to speak, until there is perfect silence and attention, and there is nothing he more dislikes than a whispering, inattentive audience.'
70 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
After this rebuke from the interpreter, silence reigned. The chief, a man of great stature and noble bearing, soon arose, and spoke in the Indian dialect, which was well interpreted, sentence by sentence, in good English, and was, as near as the writer can remember, as follows : Friends and brothers, once our fathers had their wigwams on these beautiful banks of the Susquehanna ; once they chased the elk, the deer, the bear, over the beautiful hills that surround us ; once we had full possession of this valley, and no one disputed our right. Moon after moon rolled on, and our fathers left the valley for better hunting grounds, north and west, but before they left, good Father Onas, (William Penn) made a treaty with our fathers, by which they sold him a large piece of land, which is called after William Penn—Pennsylvania—he gave our fathers a copy of the treaty—large paper—which, I am sorry to say, is lost. Now our learned young men tell us, that in this treaty with good father Onas, the northern line of his purchase here was the Susquehanna River, and not the forty-second parallel of north latitude, as laid down on the paper pictures '—maps—of the whites. Now, brothers, we come to you as the representatives of our nation to claim this land. We believe we have never sold it. We come not to take it from you, but to sell it. Our good father Onas—William Penn—always dealt fair with the red man. We would never claim anything that was wrong of the children or friends of Onas if we knew it. When famine came upon the early friends of Onas, did not our fathers supply the wants of the starving friends of Onas, by hunting and fishing for them, and when bad hostile Indians troubled them, did not our fathers place the white feather of protection over the doors of their log wigwams. And while we acknowledge that bad Indians, many bad Indians, did take the king's money and fight with the king's men, our brothers will witness, and your history of the war will witness, that the nation, or that part of the nation that we represent—the Oneidas—never raised the war cry against our brothers. And now, if we have a good right to this land, we have great confidence in our friends, the children of our great and good father, William Penn, that they will do right and just by us. We wait your answer.'
"'The speaker for the settlers, after a few words in an undertone with them, made a low bow to the chief, and to the other members of the delegation who sat on each side of their chief, in the form of a semicircle, said: Friends and brothers, we are pleased with the words of the noble chief who has so eloquently spoken. The settlers, who now surround me, have chosen me to answer the chief. They desire me to thank him, and the other braves who sit before us, for the kind and pacific manner in which their great chief has set forth their claim to this part of the land we occupy, and upon which we have built our wigwams. They also desire me to say, that they are not ignorant that those that you represent were always the friends of our good father, William Penn, and have always proved true to his friends, and shall always cherish in remembrance those kind offices of our red brethren in times past. And here, almost under the shade of the three Old Indian Apple Trees,' planted by your fathers, we pledge ourselves anew to our red brothers, that nothing arising out of your present claim shall mar the peace or lessen the friendship that has so long existed between us. We are very sorry, however, to inform you that our head man,' Judge William Thomson, is away on a long journey, and as to your rights to this land, we must confess that we are ignorant. We settled here holding the titles to our lands under the charter of William Penn, never doubting his knowledge as to the extent of his purchase of your fathers. When our ' head man' returns, and it should prove that our good father, and your good father, Onas, was mistaken, and that your fathers never parted with this land, we pledge ourselves, as the honest descendants of the good William Penn, to buy of you these lands, on which we have settled and built our wigwams. If our brothers will tarry with us until our ' head man' returns, which will be in eight or ten days, the hospitalities of this Log Tavern shall be yours, without cost to you, and in the mean time you can amuse
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yourselves, perhaps, in hunting the deer on these beautiful hills, where once your fathers trod. And if our brothers desire it, we will join you in the chase. But if you cannot gratify us in this, but must sooner return to your own people, then we pledge ourselves again, that you shall hear from us when our head man returns.'
" The interpreter of the Indians, after consulting with the delegates, said, that, in behalf of his companions. he returned many thanks for the very kind answer, and for their pressing invitation to remain and enjoy the hospitalities of their friends ; but,' said he, we are compelled to deny ourselves this great enjoyment. Business at the Council House of the Six Nations demands our return, where among our own people they would await a letter from our head man, and there would invoke their Great Spirit—your Great God—to shower blessings upon the head of the friends of William Penn.'
"The next day these Indians left for their homes in Northern New York. When Judge Thomson returned, the settlers soon acquainted him with this new claim to their lands. Judge Thomson sent to the capital of the State, for a certified copy of William Penn's treaty with the Indians. In due time the Judge received a facsimile copy of said treaty, and many of our citizens of that day had the pleasure of seeing and examining this copy of Penn's treaty with the Indians, before the Judge forwarded the same to the Council House of the Six Nations. This copy was described to the writer, as a great curiosity. The names of all the chiefs were plainly written out, and at the termination of each name was the sign manual or mark of the chief; at the end of one name was a bow, another an arrow, another a bow and arrow crossed, another deers' horns, another a deer's head and horns, another the form of a new moon, etc. etc., each name having a different mark representing their implements of war, hunting, game, trophies, etc.
" This treaty plainly fixed the northern boundary of our State on the forty-second parallel of north latitude, thus dissipating the fears of the settlers. This copy of Penn's treaty, Judge Thomson forwarded to the address left by the Indians, since which time, neither our fathers, nor we of the second or third generation, have heard anything more about the Indians' claim to these lands."
Almon Munson, a carpenter, came May, 1800. The next year he brought food for his family from Tioga Point, in a canoe.
In 1800 Major Trowbridge was Collector of State Revenue for Wheelingboro' and "Nine Partners."
About this time Oliver Trowbridge and others petitioned for " a road from the plantation of Ichabod Buck (at Red Rock), extending up the river to the north line of the State," and also, one "from the north line, on the east side of the Susquehanna, down the same to Abner Comstock's to a fording, thence across the river, to intersect the first mentioned road, near the plantation of William Smith." Simeon Wylie and David Brownson were the viewers.
In 1801, still another road, or marked path at least, was gained, " from the north line of the State near the seventeenth mile-stone, down to the road that leads from Great Bend to Harmony."
The taxables of " Wheelingboro" this year were ninety, and the amount of tax, $810.59 ; David Brownson, Assessor ; S. Blair and S. Hatch, assistants. (The compiler cannot explain the fact that the tax, in 1803, was but $70.)
72 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
There were then three slaves in the town : one was owned by Jonathan Dimon, another by David Barnum, and a third by Anna Newman.
There were two " Phesitions"—Noah Kincaid and Asa Cornwell.
The innkeepers were : David Summers, Robert Corbett, James Parmeter, and Sylvanus Hatch. Each of the latter two owned half a ferry.
Jonathan Cunningham had a ferry opposite the present Trowbridge farm. It was called "the lower ferry." Mr. Du Bois says of this :—
" James Parmeter's ferry having become very profitable, another pioneer built a house on the opposite side of the river; and he too built a ferry boat, and opened an opposition ferry. As the road through here was fast becoming a great thoroughfare, both of these ferrymen made money. In the winter season, they found it difficult to cross with boats, owing to the floating ice in the middle of the river. As the country along the Susquehanna was mostly a wilderness, our river did not freeze entirely over as readily as now. Strong ice would form along each shore for four or five rods in width, the middle of the stream remaining for a long time open. These ferrymen would then proceed to build an ice bridge after this manner : After measuring the distance from the solid ice on each side of the river, they would commence immediately above, and laying out the width and length they would saw out of the solid shore ice a bridge, and, holding fast one end, would swing the other end across the open chasm till it rested against the solid ice on the other side ; then by dipping water from the river in freezing weather they soon formed a strong and safe bridge for teams to pass, the travellers freely paying toll for crossing this ice bridge. This ferry was kept up until the fall of 1814, when the first Great Bend Bridge was completed."
The " merchants" on the tax list for 1801 were D. Barnum (not here three years later) and S. Hatch; the blacksmiths, Philo Clemons and Jonathan Newman; cordwainer, Abner Eddy. William Campbell, Joel Hull, and Eli Nichols appear as new taxables.
Tench Francis, landholder, was taxed for 13,158 acres. Unimproved land was valued at fifty cents per acre.
The sum of one hundred and fifty dollars was drawn from the county treasury for the erection of bridges over the large creeks of this town.
Asa Eddy was justice of the peace when all Luzerne County, then including Susquehanna, Bradford, and Wyoming, besides the most of its present territory, had but ten justices. His jurisdiction extended over more than half or what is now Susquehanna County, as it was composed of Nicholson, Willing-borough, and Lawsville, in their original extent. The whole number of taxables in his district was two hundred and eighty-six.
Rush, as a justice's district, containing one hundred and three taxables, occupied the remaining part of our territory
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(Isaac Hancock, J. P.), with the exception of a fraction of Braintrim.
In 1802, a road was viewed from the settlement near the mouth of the Snake Creek to Great Bend, four miles. Timothy Pickering, Jr., was one of the viewers of another road in Willingborough about the same time. No portion of the county, at this period, was so well provided with roads, such as they were, and still the river was the great highway.
Ichabod Buck, Rufus Lines, and Hezekiah Leach, were appointed supervisors of this district in 1803.
Jason Wilson, early, in the century, was located near the east line of Liberty. Jotham French was here in 1804. At the same time, Marmaduke Salsbury lived on the south side of the Susquehanna River, at the mouth of Mitchell's Creek. He afterwards moved to Harmony, now Susquehanna Depot. C. Longstreet had come from New Milford to the ferry-house. Elections were held here. The total vote for Congressman, in 1804, was one hundred and thirty-nine. In 1805, orders drawn on the treasurer of Luzerne, by the supervisors of Willingboro', amounted to one hundred and seventy-nine dollars.
In 1806, Nicholson was made a separate district; Willing-borough and Lawsville were still in one. Hitherto, great indefiniteness appears to have existed in Wilkes-Barre, as to the locality of persons in either of these sections, persons in Great Bend being placed in Nicholson, and vice versa. Wilkes-Barre post-office received letters for persons at Great Bend.
New Milford township was erected, August, 1807, and then the taxables of Willingborough were reduced to thirty-one, though still including those of Harmony and Oakland.
It is just possible Wm. Preston, a taxable of 1801, was on the Strong farm, after Sylvanus Hatch, and, before Josiah Stewart, but it is certain the latter had occupied it prior to 1807. An advertisement appeared in the Luzerne 'Federalist,' in April of the same year, which runs thus:—
“To be sold, a valuable plantation at the Great Bend of the Susquehanna, by Josiah Stewart. The public ferry appertains to the farm, which has also an orchard of two hundred bearing trees. The turnpike from Newburgh crosses to the State line."
From the Bend, Mr. Stewart moved to where McKinney's Mills are; then to Snake Creek, within half a mile of the State line, where he built and run a saw-mill, then returned to Great Bend, and afterwards to Windsor. Elections were held at his house after the organization of Susquehanna County.
In connection with a sketch of Josiah Stewart, given by Mr. Du Bois, his remarks respecting the ancestors of Mr. S., at Wyoming, though a digression here, may be allowed as a part
74 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
of the history of the county with which our settlers were still connected in 1807.
"Among those that left Forty Fort, on the morning of the great battle and massacre, were Captain Lazarus Stewart and his son Lieut. Lazarus Stewart, Jr, Captain Stewart had often before led the settlers against their Pennamite foes, in their murderous raids against the Connecticut settlers, and was fitly chosen to command a company, in this their day of trial. His son Lieut. Lazarus Stewart, Jr., also, as lieutenant, commanded a company; both were slain fighting bravely at the head of their men, and terrible indeed was that fearful struggle. That noble band of heroes, numbering three hundred, fought not only for their own lives, but for the lives and safety of their wives and dear ones who had fled to the forts for safety, and were now trembling with fear lest the tide of battle should turn against their only protectors. But these brave men were doomed ; they were greatly out-numbered, out-flanked, and surrounded, and an indiscriminate massacre followed. The Indians were stimulated by promises of gold and plunder to deeds of terrible cruelty. Few families in the valley suffered more than the Stewarts on that bloody day. Josiah Stewart, a son of Lieut. Lazarus Stewart, Jr., and a grandson of Captain Lazarus Stewart, too young to engage in the terrible strife of that fearful day, escaped the slaughter that followed, and afterwards settled on the Susquehanna River, at Great Bend, and at one time owned and occupied what was afterwards known as the " Thomson Farm," upon which Great Bend Borough is now located. Josiah Stewart came here at an early day, and although not wealthy, was an enterprising citizen, had something to do in building, and at one time owned our first grist-mill, and built one of the first saw-mills in the neighborhood. His family consisted of his wife, and three sons—Lazarus, the eldest (named after his grandfather, Captain Lazarus Stewart, who fell in the Wyoming massacre), Charles, and Espy. His daughters were Hannah, Pattie, Betsey, and Frances. Mr. Stewart believed in the education of the youth of our country, especially females. On them (he used to say), as teachers and mothers, the future welfare of our country depended ; and, acting upon this belief, he gave his daughters as good an education as his means would warrant, and some of your readers will remember the days of log school-houses and slab-benches, and with what fidelity and perseverance, as school-teachers, Hannah, Pattie, Betsey, and Frances Stewart labored to educate the children of the early settlers. As to his sons, Mr. Stewart used to say that they must get along through the world with less education, as they, in all probability, as pioneers, would have to rough it, as he and his father had done. This saying, as to his sons, proved prophetic. Lazarus, the eldest, not finding a place on this continent that suited him to settle upon, took to the sea. Charles, after living in the neighborhood several years, moved to the West as a pioneer. Espy, the youngest son, following the tide of emigration westward, never rested until from the western slope of the Rocky Mountains he saw before him that great barrier to further western progress, the Pacific Ocean. He settled in California.
"Josiah Stewart had one peculiarity which the writer never noticed in any other person, that of sleeping in a standing position. If he could touch one shoulder to a tree, or to the wall of a room, he would sleep as soundly in an upright position, as if reclining upon a bed of down. Perhaps he acquired this habit from standing sentinel in Wyoming Valley, in those troublous times, and watching the Pennamites on the one hand, and the Indians on the other, while the older and more able-bodied members were laboring in the fields; for it is a well-known fact that in those days, those that were not old enough to labor were thus posted as sentinels, to give warning of the approach of their enemies. Young Stewart thus stood and watched hour
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after hour, until exhausted nature sought repose in balmy sleep ; and yet he kept his position of apparent watchfulness.
" Mr. Stewart lived to a good old age. His life was a life of usefulness as a citizen, and as a pioneer he labored hard to smooth the way for those who should come after him. He died in the adjoining town of Windsor, N. Y., at the residence of his son, Charles Stewart."
In 1807, William Thomson, afterwards an associate judge of Susquehanna County for many years, came to Great Bend and purchased the farm advertised by Josiah Stewart, the oldest cultivated farm in the township. He was a native of Scotland. He filled several important offices, the duties,of which he performed with ability and fidelity. He had a large estate which he had accumulated by industry and economy, and which he bequeathed to needy friends. He died January 30, 1842, in his seventy-eighth year. His house formed a wing of the National Hotel, which was burned December 13, 1869.
Samuel Blair, Alexander McDonald, Daniel and Harvey Curtis, Thomas Newell, James Clark (one mile south of the village), Moses Foster (three miles ditto), James Gould, Morris Jackson, David Buck, and Charles Fraser were all here before November, 1807.
Dr. Charles Fraser, a native of Connecticut, came to Great Bend from Sangerfield, Oneida County, N. Y. With but temporary absence, he resided at Great Bend, as a practicing physician, until the fall of 1812. Being then elected to fill the offices of prothonotary, register and recorder, he removed to Montrose.
Previous to 1807 Joseph Bowes, an Englishman, came to Great Bend, and erected a large house (dwelling and store) on the south bank of the Susquehanna River, the present residence of Dr. E. Patrick. It has been used as a church and a seminary, and is rich in local historical associations.¹
Dr. Eleazar Parker came to Great Bend August, 1807. He was commissioned, February, 1808, the first postmaster in Susquehanna County. (See Physicians.)
J. J. Way was a taxable of 1807.
Asahel Avery, Sr., and family came from their farm (now Woodbourne) and located one-half mile south of the ferry.
¹ The residence of Dr. E. Patrick was burned on the night of the 9th December, 1869. It had not been occupied for some time, and the origin of the fire could not have been accidental. This time-honored building, erected in 1805, was so substantially built that it still retained its "youthful appearance"—and together with the beautiful grounds and shrubbery by which it was surrounded, made it an ornament to the village. Many persons will remember it as the residence of Mrs. Jane A. Lusk, formerly of Montrose, whose noble life and, character are still as fresh and green as the evergreens that cover her tomb, in sight of the smouldering ashes of her hospitable home—made beautiful and attractive by her own hands. After this house had ceased to be used for school purposes, it stood empty a long time until the Erie Railroad was constructing,
when Nicholas Du Bois occupied it.
76 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
November, 1808, Dr. R. H. Rose petitioned for a road from Silver Lake to Great Bend, which was granted June, 1809. In the mean time he had purchased of the Francis estate lands extending from the river to the State line, and also west and south of the river, in the vicinity of Great Bend. He laid out the latter in village lots, and in accordance with his wish, the road following the river for a short distance from the Bowes mansion was vacated.
Captain Benjamin Case removed from Newburgh, N. Y., with his family, in 1808, to Great Bend. After a few years he removed to Warren, Pa., where, " as one of the pioneers of this then remote section, he pitched his tent, and aided in the work of civilization and progress, and where, after a life of honor and usefulness, he was gathered to his fathers." His son, Benjamin T., married in Warren, and, in 1816, removed to Montrose.
Mr. Joseph Backus, now of Bridgewater, says of himself in 1809 :—
"Being then a lad of seventeen, I was wending my way from the land of steady habits, in company with Captain Gifford, who was on his way hither to visit his friends, who bad previously emigrated to this then uncultivated wilderness. Having reached Great Bend, crossed the river, and stopped to feed at Du Bois's Hotel, while we were waiting for the team to feed, a company from Bridgewater came out there for the purpose of trading with Mr. Bowes, the merchant—quite a common occurrence in those days, there being then only one small mercantile establishment where Montrose now stands, kept by Isaac Post, on the very spot where Koon now keeps. I believe he also kept public house, and I think that that and one other house were the only tenements where Montrose now stands. This company proved to be some of the very friends the captain was coming to visit, so you can imagine the pleasure of meeting; and they manifested it by postponing their return, crossed the river to Hatch's, took dinner, spent the afternoon right merrily, and were ready to start home about sundown ; a bitter cold night, snow about three feet deep. Of course we had to occasionally warm, first at Bar-num's, then at Dr. Cornell's grandfather's, on the farm now owned by C. D. Lathrop, in Bridgewater; no inconvenience in those days, for every family kept large fires all night, and the latch-string always out.
"Asahel Avery, father of Squire Avery, of Montrose, Captain John Bard, Edward Fuller, afterwards sheriff of the county, and Benjamin Lathrop, then a young man, having lately entered the matrimonial state with the daughter of said A. Avery, and afterwards major in the militia and judge of the county court, constituted the company. About midnight we reached the house of Mr. Fuller, the terminus of our ride, on the farm where James Knapp now lives, and I believe the southern limit of Bridgewater township, but then the central point, for town-meetings and elections were held there for some time after."
In 1810, Harmony was set off from Willingborough, and the latter was then reduced to six miles square, the present size of Great Bend.
Joseph Stewart's fulling mill was advertised for business as early as 1811.
Colonel Jeremiah Baker came to Great Bend in 1812. He
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was a tanner, and tanned in the swamp on the land now owned by Isaac Van Nosdale. He afterwards kept a store in the house long occupied by Rev. J. B. McCreary, and in Samuel Dayton's farm-house. He died at McKinney's Mills. A published reminiscence of the early times says:—
" Mr. Bowes, father of Joseph (Bowes) and grandfather of Ira Corbett's wife, was the sole merchant at the Bend. Soon afterwards Colonel Jeremiah Baker owned a small tannery and store. Several houses had by this time been put up and families moved in. A young stranger (Harrison, a watchmaker) came into the place and put up a grocery where the National Hotel now stands; he boarded with Squire Lyman T. Trowbridge's father, then living at that place. An incident occurred connected with this young man which created considerable excitement. Some ducks were in the river, and he sent Augustus Trowbridge, then a boy, for his gun ; upon receiving it, he bloomed in the barrel, and supposing it was not loaded pointed it at the boy, and was about to snap it, but the boy, being afraid, ran away. The young man then went to the house, and Trowbridge's two daughters, young ladies, wished to learn how to shoot a gun ; he raised the hammer, placed the muzzle to his head, and told one of the young ladies to pull the trigger, which she did ; the gun proved to be loaded and blew his brains out. He fell with his head between the andirons in the fireplace."
Asahel Avery was appointed justice of the peace of Willingborough, in 1812, by Governor Synder.
— Reckhow, father of the late; Isaac Reckhow, came in 1814. The latter occupied a seat in the State Legislature, and was for fifteen years an efficient justice.
Taylortown was settled by William Taylor (father of the late Jonathan Taylor of Lanesborough). He died February, 1851, aged seventy-one; his widow, in 1864, aged seventy-five.
" ORGANIZATION OF THE FIRST GREAT BEND BRIDGE COMPANY.—In the year 1812, the citizens of Great Bend petitioned our Legislature for a charter to build a bridge. An act was passed in February. 1812, and approved by Simon Snyder, then governor of our State. Under this act, Samuel Hodgdon and John B. Wallace, of Philadelphia, and Wm. Thomson, Sylvanus Hatch, Robert H. Rose, Minna Du Bois, and Richard Barnum, of the county of Susquehanna, were appointed commissioners to open books of subscription for the stock of said company, in pursuance of the act to authorize the governor to incorporate a company for erecting a bridge over the Susquehanna River at Great Bend, where the ferry was then kept. opposite the houses of Abraham Du Bois and Sylvanus Hatch, in the district of Willingboro,' and county and district of Susquehanna.
" These commissioners did not get sufficient stock taken and paid in, to warrant building until the spring of 1814. The first meeting of stockholders was held February 10, 1814. William Thomson was chosen chairman, and James Newman, secretary, and Samuel Blair, Joseph Bowes, and David Summers, were chosen as judges of the election of managers. The following were elected : Samuel Blair, James Newman, Noble Trowbridge, John Maynard, Minna Du Bois, and Daniel Lyon. Joseph Bowes was chosen treasurer, James Newman, secretary. At this meeting proposals were received for building the first Great Bend bridge. The contract was awarded to Peter Burgot, of Oxford, N. Y.
" September 14, 1814, the following persons were appointed to inspect the new bridge, to see if it was completed according to contract : Joseph Bowes, David Buck, and Haynes Johnson—bridge accepted.
78 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
"At the same meeting, Christopher Longstreet was appointed to and accepted the office of toll gatherer and gate-keeper. On the third day of March, 1822, this first bridge was destroyed by an ice freshet, was rebuilt the same summer, by the brothers, Charles and Zedic Chamberlin. On the 19th of January, 1832, this second bridge was destroyed by an ice freshet, and was rebuilt the following summer by Abraham Du Bois. In the spring of 1846, this third bridge was destroyed by an ice freshet, and in the summer following, the present covered bridge, was completed by Reuben C. Brock and Joseph Du Bois, to whom this contract was awarded."
The projectors and patrons of an enterprise of such lasting benefit to the people of Great Bend, and scarcely less to those living at great distances from it, should not be forgotten.
SUBSCRIBERS TO THE STOCK OF THE GREAT BEND BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 7, 1812.—
Amount subscribed by the above, $6000. All of the above named have passed away.
Ebenezer Brown, a carpenter, came from Orange County, N. Y., and assisted in building the bridge three times.
He was an associate of the hunter, Joe Fish, on his successful excursions after the wild animals that were the vexation of the farmers. At one time they caught three young wolves, and carried them home in a bag, and, the following day, they killed the old wolf.
Rattlesnakes were another pest. Mrs. Brown (now living) was once picking berries on Strong Hill, and sat down to rest on a ledge, from which she was warned to flee, and it was well she heeded, as twenty-one rattlesnakes were found under the same rocks that day.
Ebenezer B. died in 1871.
Mrs. B. says : " In the spring of 1821, John McKinney's, where is now McIntosh's, was the only house on Main Street south of Minna Du Bois's hotel. He afterwards built what is now a part of the Mansion House. This store was separate, nearer the bridge.
" Colonel Baker owned the McCreary place, and immediately west of it, Putnam Catlin, Esq., lived. Mr. Bowes had then left the house next below.
" Sylvanus Hatch then kept the block (or log) tavern near the bridge, and Judge Thomson's house was the only house between that and Noble Trow-bridge's."
On the 4th of July, 1822, there was a grand dinner in the orchard by the log tavern. The oration was in the schoolhouse, on the south side of the river, and the orator was so drunk, there was considerable excitement in the audience.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 79
They went back to Hatch's, to dance. The ball-room was reached by stairs so narrow the company passed in single file, and dancing was confined to the centre of the room, as the roof sloped so on the sides that a person could not there stand upright. There was room only for "French fours." Blind Joe (white), the fiddler, was always along.
Isaac Stoddard and wife, from Litchfield County, Connecticut, in 1816, were among the very earliest settlers of Locust Hill. He died in 1853, aged eighty-two; she died in 1856, aged eighty. They had a large family.
CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS.
Sixteen members of the families who came to the vicinity of Great Bend in 1788 were church members. These were, Rev. Daniel Buck and wife, Ichabod Buck and wife, Stephen Murch and wife, Thomas Bates and wife, Deacon (before he came) Strong and wife, Deacon Merryman and wife, Deacon Jonathan Bennett and wife, Jonathan Bennett, Jr., and Bishop Merryman. There occurred a religious revival among them in 1789. Deacon Asa Adams was an early and a very exemplary member. All were very strict in the observance of the Sabbath. They would not carry a gun in hunting for the cows on the Sabbath, though wild animals were then frequently encountered.
Tradition speaks of " the famous Buck controversy" in 1790, as causing a division in the heretofore pleasant unity of the settlement, and a long-continued soreness of feeling between individuals which is said to have manifested itself at " raisings," and those siding with the minister were called the church party, and the other the Murch party, the latter being the accusers.
It is true that at one time there was a controversy between Mr. Buck and another minister before a ministerial association, respecting a similar charge, that is, false statements; but Mr. B. is said in this instance to have exculpated himself.
Rev. Seth Williston, a missionary from Connecticut, preached occasionally at Great Bend early in the "nineties," and was probably one of the " twowministers from Connecticut" who formed, about 1792, a Congregational Church—the first church in the county. We are told that in 1798 it numbered forty members, including the " Lower Settlement," now Conklin, N. Y.
A reorganization took place in 1802. In common with other Congregational churches of the county, it afterwards became Presbyterian in government.
The following statement of John B. Buck was published in 1869 :—
80 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
" EARLY PUBLIC WORSHIP.—Seventy-five years ago, there was a log dwelling-house north of where the Erie Depot now stands, at Great Bend, used as a place of worship. The congregation was scattered up and down the river, in cabins. The only means of getting from here was by canoes. They went as far as the rift or rapids, where they left their canoes, and walked past the rapids, then took passage in a large canoe around by my father's. For dinner, they carried milk in bottles, and mush. They listened to one sermon in the forenoon, and then came back to canoe and ate dinner, then went back to second service; Daniel Buck was minister. In summer this was their means of travel.
" With increase of families the means of communication increased. In winter, there was no other way save by foot-paths. For many years there were no denominations save Presbyterians. About seventy years ago, the Methodists began an influence about two miles from here. Everybody espoused Methodism, men, women, and children. They frequently walked from five to six miles to be present at prayer meetings.
" My sisters were at one of the prayer meetings, and, as an evidence of the change in the spirit, understanding, and manners of the people, I give language used in two of the prayers on that occasion. The reader will bear in mind that this was seventy years ago, and that the people were poor, and had little of the means or knowledge of the present day. I do not conceive that either of the individuals mentioned cherished a wrong spirit toward their fellows, but their language gives an illustration of the strength of party spirit at that time.
" Elder Lewis said, Send the mind of the people up the river down to me, and the people down the river (the Presbyterians) may go to hell, and I care not.'
" Mrs. Stid. at the same meeting, said : 0 Lord, take Capt. Buck by the nape of the neck and shake him over hell until his teeth chatter like a raccoon.' "¹
Mr. Buck elsewhere states :—
"The school-houses of those early days were exceedingly primitive. They were built of logs ; the seats made of slabs, with legs inserted in two-inch augur-holes for supports, and without backs. The desks for writing were along the wall, and when the lads and lasses practised at writing, they sat with their backs to the school. The rooms were warmed by a fireplace, and in these rude shelters the religious meetings were held and the early churches established. A school-house was afterwards built upon the ground now occupied by Mr. McKinney's store. It was used for a long time for a meetinghouse. Previously, we had used Mr. Strong's dwelling-house, which stood a few rods north of the water-tank."
The first district school was taught in 1800, by Alba Dimon. Abijah Barnes taught in 1801, in a room of a log dwelling vacated for the purpose. The first singing school was taught by Almon Munson in the chamber of Judge Thomson's house, or what was afterwards his.
Religious meetings were sometimes held in Esq. Dimon's barn.
¹ This prayer is said to have been used by another in reference to one then present, who took it all in good part, since to the offending portion was added, " But don't drop him in, Lord l don't drop him in, for lie's precious."
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 81
The following is J. Du Bois's account of
" THE FIRST SCHOOL-HOUSE.—The early settlers of this valley, to their honor, let it ever be remembered, felt it their duty at a very early day of its settlement to build a respectable edifice, in which they could educate the rising generation, and in which they could meet to worship God. They not only felt it their duty, but they at once acted in the matter by calling a meeting, at which a committee was appointed to circulate subscriptions to raise funds for the purpose of building a house, not only large enough to hold all the children in the township, but large enough to accommodate all the people of the valley who wanted to meet for worship. A subscription was drawn up, signed and circulated, and another meeting was held to hear the report of the subscription committee. The amount of subscriptions was reported. Many of the subscribers were then living in log houses, with roofs made by slabs split out of logs by hand, and others with roofs made of the boughs of the hemlock. Yet, at this meeting, it was resolved that this first house which they were about to build and dedicate to these noble purposes, should be a frame building sided with sawed pine siding, and shingled with good pine shingles, to be fourteen feet between joists, and twenty by forty feet on the ground, and to be finished in a workmanlike manner. One of the settlers proposed that a belfry and steeple should adorn the building. This proposition was objected to on the ground that the amount subscribed would not warrant this additional expense. The individual proposing this then arose and said that, as he was desirous of seeing at least one thing in this valley pointing heavenward, if they would build a spire he would add ten dollars to his subscription ; a lady present then arose and said that she would add ten dollars ; others followed suit, and the matter was soon decided in favor of a steeple. The windows were to be large, and Gothic in style, and a pulpit was to be built in the north end of the building; a porch was to cover the entrance, and as the house was to face the street, the spire was to be on the centre of the building. Large swinging partitions divided the interior of the house in the middle, when used for school purposes, but were hoisted and kept in position by supports, when used for church purposes. This house was to be free to all denominations of worshippers. After the above plan this house was built. The steeple on this first house of worship, built at Great Bend, displayed good architectural design, and ornamental finish, and was painted white ; but I am sorry to have to record the fact that neither the fathers nor their degenerate sons ever painted the body of this otherwise fine building. But in it many youth were educated, and many a sinner, convicted of his great ingratitude to a kind and ever-merciful God, was pointed heavenward for relief, by the faithful teacher and preacher. As the roads were very rough in those days, most of the worshippers came to meeting on horseback, often two riding on one horse. As we had no settled ministers of that time, Captain I chabod Buck, a soldier of the Revolution, of the Presbyterian faith, when there was no preacher present, always opened the meeting by reading a portion of God's Word, and by prayer. Williiam Buck, his son, led the choir in singing, after which Captain Buck read a selected sermon, and invariably closed the meeting by calling on Deacon Asa Adams, another soldier of the Revolution, for the closing prayer."
In this school-house the first Sabbath school was started, June 1st, 1817 or '18, at the suggestion of Elijah, son of Captain I. Buck. The first teachers were Miss Jane Du Bois (Mrs. Lusk) and a Miss Stewart.
Harford had set the example, after Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury and Captain Buck had attended the Presbytery, where they
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82 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
listened to an account of what Robert Raikes had done in England.
A very sad state of things appears to have existed prior to 1815. Infidelity was then very prevalent and outspoken.
" Some prominent infidels had secured such an interest in our house of worship," says one narrator, " that they could control the house ; they then turned the church out, and for some time after they met there on the Sabbath and read infidel works. One of the most active men in this was then a justice of the peace ; in some way he offended one of his infidel friends, who, to retaliate, sent a formal complaint against the " Esq." to the governor of the State, accusing him of turning a Christian congregation out of their house of worship, and of publicly reading infidel works on the Sabbath.
“The governor took away his commission, and this put a stop to these public meetings." But the feeling towards Christians was exhibited still in words such as : " In a little while there will not be ropes enough to hang Christians in America."
It is glory enough for one Sabbath school, that quite a number of children from some of these infidel families attended, and, prior to 1821, had become hopefully pious. After Mr. Buck, there was no regular minister until about this time, Rev. 0. Hill supplied the pulpit, then Rev. Moses Jewell and Rev. J. B. McCreary. Deacon John McKinney and Abraham Du Bois, Esq., built the present Presbyterian church.
Elder Dimock organized the Baptist church, October 27, 1825.
Deacon Daniel Lyons alone built the meeting-house. Elder Frederick was the first minister. The services, for some time prior to this date of their suspension, were conducted by Deacon Lyons, who had a prejudice against singing, which he maintained with a spirit equal to that exhibited by his father, David Lyons, —one of the " Boston Tea Party" in 1773—but his success only contributed to the scattering of the flock. Very recently (summer of 1872) the Baptist organization has been revived here.
The Episcopalians held service in the old Bowes mansion before they built a church on the borough side of the river.
The ministers of this denomination have been: Revs. Messrs. Long, Skinner, Reese, Bowers, Scott, Hickman, Day, Loup, and Jerome.
The dedication of St. Lawrence Catholic chapel took place July 1869. The laying of the corner-stone of the M. E. church in August, 1869, was conducted with Masonic ceremonies. The building was finished at an expense of $10,500, and was a model house of worship. But—fire has laid it low. The people, however, with commendable spirit, are already rearing another upon its site.
Mr. Joseph Backus contributed the following, in 1870, to the Montrose Republican.' It refers to 1811, when the schoolhouse mentioned above may have been burned down. It stood at the present railroad crossing on Church Street. A second school-house was also burned on the same spot.
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" At the age of nineteen I had an invitation to teach school at Great Bend, accepted ; went there and found no school-house, but a vacant dwelling on the farm of Jonathan Dimon was obtained, and, having passed a formal examination before said Dimon and Adam Burwell, I was duly installed in my new domicile, a written agreement drawn up by which each was to pay for what he signed or sent, specified terms, three months, four weeks each, five end a half days each week, at the exorbitant price of eight dollars per month. Settlers being scarce, scholars came quite a distance, from as far up the river as Captain Ichabod Buck's. I recollect boarding there, but the names of the children have escaped my memory. Silas and Hiram Buck, of another family, I well remember. They were somewhat my senior, and were very agreeable companions, especially Silas, whose mild and genial temperament would win friends at all times and in all places. I was much pleased when I saw the notice of a surprise party at his widow's for her benefit.¹ My services being appreciated, the proprietors agreed to build a school-house if I would serve the ensuing winter--wages raised to ten dollars. I did so, and the house being located farther down the river, brought a new set of scholars from both sides of the river, enlarging the circle of my acquaintances and friends. "
Early in 1831, the Bowes Mansion was converted into a female seminary and boarding school, the first Principal of which disgraced the " Rev." prefixed to his name. In the fall of 1832, James Catlin and Miss Lucretia Loomis had charge of the institution. When the latter left for Montrose, it was changed to an academy, and only male students were invited, J. Corwin, Principal.
A good normal school is now sustained in Great Bend Borough.
"In Great Bend there are five public burial places. The oldest, called the Potter's Field,' on the south side of the river, was so named because many strangers have been buried there. It was given as a free ground by Robert H. Rose, one of the first land-holders of the township, then known as Willingboro. It contained ten acres, and was given to Charles Dimon and Wm. Thomson as trustees. Next, the ground known as the Newman burying ground, one mile southeast of the Erie Depot. This is a beautiful spot, well laid out. Jason Treadwell, the murderer of Oliver Harper, the only person ever executed in Susquehanna County, lies in this ground, with nothing but the senseless turf to mark the spot. There are churchyards adjoining the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, where many of the oldest inhabitants are buried. The ground near the Presbyterian church was given by Dominicus (Minna) Du Bois, and that near the Episcopal church by Wm. Thomson. The only really attractive place is Woodlawn Cemetery, one mile east of the town."
¹ Mr. Backus refers to the following newspaper item :—
"A party of eight old ladies, all widows, made Mrs. Silas Buck an old-fashioned visit on Tuesday of this week. Their united ages were six hundred and forty-one years, the eldest being ninety-two years of age, and the youngest seventy-seven. They were all of Great Bend."
84 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
The following newspaper item from Great Bend appeared in 1871 :—
"' Only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown,
Only waiting till the glimmer of the day's last beam is flown.'
"There are seven of them, in our little borough, good old mothers, whose united ages amount in the aggregate to 579 years. Here are their names in rotation, from youngest to oldest; Mrs. Silas Buck, Howe, Denison, Leavens-worth, Stephens, Wm. Buck, Lydia Thurston."—One year later, and the second and fifth on the list were done with " waiting" forever.
GREAT BEND BOROUGH
Is about three-fourths of a mile in length, and between one-quarter and one-half of a mile in width. It has four streets parallel with the river and east of it, with five streets running east and west. It was incorporated November, 1861. It had then within its limits " two railroad depots, one large tannery, three hotels, and a large number of stores, shops, and dwelling-houses, and about seven hundred inhabitants.
The ground for the Erie Railroad was broken at Great Bend in 1847, and late in December, 1848, it was finished to Binghamton. The State of New York had agreed to appropriate $100,000 to the road on condition it should be finished to Binghamton by January 1st, 1849. The company run their first train through in time to secure the appropriation. John McKinney built his storehouse just previous, and it was at his platform the first trains stopped. The first superintendent of the road was Kirkwood : Mr. E. J. Loder succeeded him, and the station at Great Bend was first named after him—Lodersville—the name also of the post-office, while the village on the south side of the river retained its old name—Great Bend. The post-office mark of the latter is now Great Bend Village, to distinguish it from the borough.
The Erie Railroad station is on that part of the old Strong farm which Judge Thomson occupied. Lowry Green bought this farm, and sold it to William Wolcott, who sold it reasonably as village lots; and by his enterprise conduced greatly to the prosperity of the town. The adjoining farm, forming the north end of the borough, was purchased by Truman Baldwin.
The Erie Railroad pays to Pennsylvania $10,000 yearly for the right of way through Susquehanna County, or rather for freedom from taxation, and the company finds in the arrangement a pecuniary gain.
The State of New York, ten years previous to the construction of the road, had desired to procure from Pennsylvania that small tract of territory lying north of the Susquehanna River, in the township of Great Bend, and also a small gore of land lying on the east side of said river, from the State line down to
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 85
Lanesboro, in Harmony Township, thereby enabling the State of New York to locate and construct the New York and Erie Railroad down the valley of the Susquehanna River from the point where it first enters the State of Pennsylvania to Binghamton, without leaving their own territory.
At a meeting held at Great Bend, September 14th, 1839, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of petitioning the Legislature of Pennsylvania to adopt measures for ceding the above land to New York, it was
" Resolved, that we are sincerely attached to the laws and Constitution of Pennsylvania, and that we cannot better show our attachment than by promoting her interest and convenience.
" Resolved, that in our opinion, both the great States of New York and Pennsylvania would be sharers in the benefit arising from the construction of the New York and Erie Railroad, and that the citizens of both States ought to pursue a liberal policy to secure and facilitate the construction of this great public improvement on the best possible route.
" Resolved, that with these views, those of us living within the bounds of the above strip of land, have signed our names to the petition in question, wishing at the same time to retain the friendly feelings of those we leave in case of our separation from them.
"Resolved, That not being influenced by any political party or party measure, we invite all persons friendly to the best interests of all concerned, to aid in devising the best possible means to effect the object herein contemplated."
The President of the meeting was Putman Catlin, Esq., and the Vice-Presidents Abraham Du Bois and Charles Dimon.
A fire, Jan. 1870, consumed the National Hotel. In the same year the junction of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad was removed to Binghamton. The portion of this road extending from Great Bend to Binghamton, a distance of fourteen miles, is called " The Valley Railroad."
There was a company formed for the manufacture of scales; the foundry established by Emmet Curtis, and whose scales took the first premium at our State Fair, over those of Fairbanks and others, but it is now closed. A patent was issued recently to Edward R. Playle, of Great Bend, for a furnace for smelting steel, iron, etc.
In the immediate vicinity of Great Bend there are five steam saw-mills, cutting on an average five thousand feet of lumber a day, besides numerous water-power mills, cutting all together probably half a million feet per year.
On the village side of the river there is a machine-shop for the repair of locomotives of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad.
Rev. Daniel Buck may have been the first to practice the healing art at Great Bend, but Dr. Fobes, who was there in
86 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
1791, or before, was probably the first regular physician in Susquehanna County. An amusing story is told at the doctor's expense. There was a young, pious widow living at Chenango Point (now Binghamton), and Dr. F., then a widower, living at Great Bend, paid his addresses to her. He was very pious, praying night and morning, also asking a blessing at the table. They were married and moved to the Bend. The doctor continued praying and saying grace at meals a few days, but suddenly stopping, his wife asked him, " Why do you leave off praying ?" " Oh, my dear, I've got what I prayed for !"
The physicians who had lived at the Bend, and had removed 'previous to August, 1807, were Drs. Fobes, Noah Kincaid, and Charles Fraser. Dr. Jonathan Gray remained and advertised his services at " twenty-five cents for every mile and under ; one dollar for every six hours' continuance with a patient sick of a fever ;" and added, " all shall be done gratis for any person who is less capable to pay than the practitioner is to do without it."
In August, 1807, Dr. Eleazar Parker, a native of Connecticut, came to Great Bend (then called Willingboro, Susquehanna County), and practiced medicine and surgery two and a half years successfully. In the fall of that year he was appointed Surgeon's Mate to the 129th Regiment, which had been formed the spring previous. He was commissioned the first postmaster in the county, February 1, 1808; Isaac Post, of Bridgewater, being commissioned one month later. The same year, March 6, Dr. P. performed the operation of bronchotomy on a little girl two years old, and extracted a watermelon seed from her windpipe. She recovered and is now living at Harford, and has the seed in her possession. (She died January, 1873.)
He introduced vaccination into the county and vaccinated a large number. His practice extended into almost every settlement in what is now Susquehanna County—a circuit of fifty miles of bad roads, on horseback when practicable, but in many places there were only foot-paths far miles through the woods —and, laborious as it was, it proved very unremunerative, for the people were really unable to pay much.
Dr. Parker married a daughter of Jonathan Dimon, and in 1810 moved to Kingston, Luzerne County. He was Examining Surgeon of the 35th Pennsylvania Regiment during the war of 1812 ; has been a teetotaller over forty years, and never prescribed alcohol to a patient in his practice of sixty years ; and now, 1872, at the age of ninety years, is hale and active. On petition of Dr. Parker, the north end of the Newburgh Turnpike, finished by D. Summers, was made a post-road. In 1813 or 1814, Dr. McFall, an Irishman, educated and highly re-spected, came to the Bend and died there about 1835.
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 87
THE east bend of the Susquehanna River within our county may have been settled as early, or even a few months earlier than the western, but respecting this nothing further has been ascertained than that, " about the time the State line was run," Moses Comstock came with his family from Rhode Island, and located on the fiat between the Starucca and Canawacta, where these streams enter the Susquehanna River. The commissioners appointed by the governors of New York and Pennsylvania to determine the line between these States, had marked by milestones ninety miles of it, from the Delaware westward, prior to October 12, 1786 ; and in November, 1787, they reported the completion of their task. At the latter period, it is asserted, the first white settler, mentioned above, was here; but he had no title to the land which he was not obliged eventually to relinquish upon the demand of the Pennsylvania claimant, Colonel Timothy Pickering. Still, for a dozen years at least, he and his sons Asa and Abner continued their improvements, and in this vicinity he died.
In 1789, the mouth of Cascade Creek became the terminus of a road which was projected by Samuel Preston, of Wayne County (then Northampton), from the north and south road, constructed, with some aid from the State, by Tench Coxe and Henry Drinker, Jr., of Philadelphia. (The last named was for a long period cashier of the Bank of North America, Philadelphia, and was the father of Henry W. and, Richard Drinker, to whom he gave a tract of 30,000 acres in Luzerne County, which was known as " Drinker's Beech," from the timber abundant there. He was also a nephew of the Henry Drinker, sometimes styled " the Elder," who was founder of the " Drinker estate" of 500,000 acres in Susquehanna and other counties.)
Samuel Preston and John Hilborn had conducted the enterprise of Messrs. Coxe and Drinker, together with Samuel Stanton, the first settler of Mount Pleasant. Mr. Preston's own road, as given above, was constructed under the impression that the settlement he projected on the Susquehanna would eventually be a place of much business.
Rev. S. Whaley, in his History of Mount Pleasant,' gives the following in reference to this section and Mr. Stanton :—" During the summer of 1789 he cleared several acres of land
88 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
in this fertile valley, erected several dwelling-houses, built a store, a blacksmith shop, and a saw-mill. He named the place Harmony."
Messrs. Drinker, Hilborn, and Stanton were associated with him in this enterprise also. Mr. Stanton grew enthusiastic and muse-inspired over it, of which he left tangible evidence in a dozen stanzas of six lines each, which were styled by him, " A few lines of poetry, attempted on seeing and assisting in building the town of Harmony, on the Susquehanna River, August 2, 1789 :"—
" Sweet, happy place, called Harmony.
Strangers must say, when they pass by,
The Founder they approve ;
Who from a forest wild did raise
A seat where men may spend their days
In friendship, peace, and love.
* * * * * * * *
"How curiously the streets are planned,
How thick the stores and houses stand,
How full of goods they are
From north and south the merchants meet,
Have what they wish for most complete,
And to their homes repair."
As we read the transcript of his glowing fancies and contrast them with the solitary relic that covers the ground he saw "so thick with houses," our amusement is tinged with sadness. Two
descendants of very early settlers in this vicinity, themselves over eighty years of age, never heard of a mill at this point, and say " there was no mill in Harmony before 1810." With its supe-
rior mill-sites this seems strange.
The following sketch appeared in the 'Philadelphia
Casket,' November, 1828, accompanied by an engraving:
a reproduction of which we give :—
" Cascade Creek unites itself to the Susquehanna about a mile to the south of that part of the northern boundary line of Pennsylvania through which the river passes on its entrance into this State. The creek is in general rapid, and derives its name from a fine cascade of about sixty feet in height. This is about half a mile above the mouth of the creek, the banks or cliffs of which
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 89
are so abrupt on both sides that the visitant is obliged to wade a considerable part of the way before he can reach the cascade, the beauty of which will amply reward his toil. At this place the rock is composed of horizontal strata of great regularity, over which the water, catching in its descent, falls in a broken sheet of foam. The banks of the creek, above the cascade, are skirted with the hemlock spruce (Pinus-abies Americana), which, though a tree of little value for its timber, adds greatly in the painter's eye to the picturesque beauty of the scene."
A traveler who visited the spot many years ago, in midwinter, said :—
"The intense cold of the two preceding days had completely congealed the water of the brook, and chilled the murmur and the roar into silence. It seemed indeed as if some magician, while the stream was dashing from rock to rock in its joyous uproar, had suddenly arrested it in its course, and turned torrent and foam and bubble instantly to stone; and the cataract, in lone and icy beauty, now slumbers on its throne."
The most that was then expected, was a good turnpike road.
Mr. Preston afterwards connected his road with Stockport (his residence) on the Delaware, by a road which he supposed would be a great thoroughfare between the two rivers, while the north and south road would bring travel from the south, and both concentrate at Harmony.
This place was then a part of old Tioga, which in 1791 was set off to Willingborough; and it was not until 1809 that the township was organized which bears the name given the settlement in 1789.
The north line of the State from the east line of the county to the fifteenth mile-stone—nine miles—was the north line of the township, and its east and west boundaries extended south twelve miles, to the present line between Jackson and Gibson, which, continued to Wayne County, formed the southern boundary. Thus the area of Harmony, as ordered in 1809, included the limits of the present township, together with Oakland, and the borough of Susquehanna Depot, Jackson, Thomson, and the northern part of Ararat.
More than half the western boundary of the present township is the Susquehanna River, which enters the State between the twelfth and thirteenth mile-stones, its course being a little east of south ; but, from the point where it turns abruptly southwest, it enters Oakland, and the western line then follows the Lenox and Harmony Turnpike, which lies east of Drinker's Creek.
Besides the three principal streams of the township which have had mention, three branches of the Starucca, Hemlock Creek, Roaring Brook, and Pig-pen Brook, as well as the stream itself, afford fine mill sites, and traverse a great part of
90 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
the township. The source of the Starucca,¹ as also that of the Canawacta, is in Thomson, but one branch of the latter " heads" in Jackson. This stream is said to commemorate the remnant of an Indian tribe that once lingered in the vicinity. The old orthography of the word was Conewagta.
Comfort's Pond, with its islets crossed by the southern line of Harmony, is the only lake of the township.
The broad ridges forming the larger portion of the area of Harmony, are still covered with the original forests of beech and pine, and contain thousands of acres of unseated land.
Comstock's Rifts are the rapids in the Susquehanna, two mikes long, just below the place where Moses Comstock settled. This was occupied after he left it by Timothy Pickering, Jr., until 1807; and was afterward owned by John Comfort, Martin Lane and his heirs, by Jonathan Taylor, and is at present in the possession of Egbert Thomas.
Abner, son of Moses Comstock, was on his father's first location as late as 1800, when a road was viewed from the north line of the State, on the east side of the river down to his house, "at a fording," whence it crossed the river to join a road on the other side near the plantation of William Smith. J. B. Buck says of the years just preceding :—
" There were then no roads or wagons to ride for pleasure, or business.
"The river was used as the great highway, and the boats were canoes dug from a large tree. These, when properly constructed with the ends turned up, and properly rounded, supplied an easily propelled, but frail and unsteady craft. (Until 1819 there was not even a bridle-path on the south side of the river from Harmony to Great Bend.)"
He also adds the following incidents :—
"At the early date of which we have been speaking, the settlers were obliged to depend upon the forests very much for their supply of meat. It was a daily sight in those days; a man, dog, and gun equipped for the forest. The chase was successful enough to answer for a dependence.
" One day Asa Comstock, with his dog, drove a large buck into the river opposite where the Presbyterian church, at Susquehanna Depot, now stands. It was not all frozen over, and the current carried the dog and deer down the stream, until they came to firm ice in the bend of the river. He laid down his gun, and, knife in hand, took the buck by the horns, thinking to cut his throat across the edge of the ice. But the animal was yet fresh, and so quick with his feet, as with a jerk to draw him into the river; and man, dog, and deer were hurried by the rushing current under the ice. There was no possibility of returning, and his only hope was in going down stream until he found an air hole or opening in the ice. If he rose to the surface the ice would stick him fast—he therefore hurried downward as deep in the water as possible until he saw light near where the bridge now stands where he escaped.
" He was a large strong man. There was no means of earning money in
¹ This orthography is given, somewhat reluctantly, after consulting the best gazetteers.
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this valley except by hunting or making shingles. Money was far from being plenty—not as abundant as meat. Owing to these causes, he decided upon going into the northern portion of the State of New York to chop cord-wood for a furnace near Lake George. While there a severe snow storm kept him within doors. He, in company with many Dutch teamsters and several Indians, sat around a bar-room fire. Whiskey in those days was drank freely. The Dutch were great smokers, and upon this occasion they had nothing to do but to drink and smoke. A stout Indian present amused himself by passing around, and knocking the pipes from the mouths of the Dutch smokers. Comstock was not a habitual smoker, but witnessing the impudence of the Indian, he procured a pipe and tobacco and joined the circle of smoking Dutchmen. Soon the Indian struck his pipe, knocking it to the floor, when he at once arose and knocked the Indian where the pipe lay. The Indian rose full of fight, and, the landlord forbidding fighting in the house, dared C. to follow him. He followed at once, and in passing through the hall, picked up a large bear-trap and struck the Indians with it between the shoulders, killing him instantly. The other Indians ran as if for dear life.
" This was a critical time for poor Comstock. The Indians would soon be back with recruited force. He was advised to flee for his life, for no help could save him from the wrath of the Indians. One smoke had been his ruin, and would cost him his life.
" He refused to run. He resolved to stay and meet his fate like a man, for, said he, if I run, they will surely kill me.'
"Not long had he to wait. Soon the old Sachem, followed by fourteen warriors, was seen approaching. Where is the man that killed Indian?' inquired the Sachem. All had fled but Asa Comstock—' I am the man,' he boldly replied, what do you want of me ?" You good fellow—Indian no business to break your pipe—you do right. You good fellow—come have a drink.' "
Abner Comstock afterwards removed to the vicinity of Windsor, N. Y. Asa, his brother, resided with their mother on a part of William Smith's " plantation," which has since been owned by Levi Westfall, and is now in Oakland. Mrs. C. lived many years, "a comfort to her children, and a welcome guest to many of her old neighbors."
In November, 1791, John Hilborn, an agent for Henry Drinker, came from Philadelphia with his wife, who rode on horseback from Stroudsburg with a child in her arms. Their settlement was permanent, at the mouth of Cascade Creek. Their daughter Mary, now Mrs. Robert• McKune, was born here August, 1792, and still resides upon the same farm, with her son George, opposite the now empty house which her father built and occupied many years, and where he died, the 15th of fourth month, 1826, aged nearly eighty-five.
This building marks the site of the one which, in 1789, was so multiplied by the imagination of Mr. Stanton. A portion of the old Stockport road is still traveled along Hemlock Creek as far as Jenning's ; but, from that point it struck off directly over the hills, crossing the " head" of Pig-pen Creek, where it was within half a mile of the State line, and thence down to Hilborn's. It is now covered with timber. For many years,
92 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
after his intellect became clouded, the unremitting labor of Jesse, the youngest son of John Hilborn, Sen., kept the road open. He had a wolf pit by the side of the road, near Pig-pen Creek.
Mr. and Mrs. Dilling, parents of Mrs. John Hilborn, were here very early, and both are buried in Harmony.
It is said the first religious meetings in Harmony were those of the Friends, at the house of John Hilborn.
If there were Presbyterians here, their services were held at the west bend of the river.
The following sketch of John Hilborn was first published in the ‘Bucks County Patriot,' June, 1826, arid, a little later, in the 'Register' of Montrose. Though a double 1 is here given to his name, it is generally omitted.
"John Hillborn was a native of Bucks County. He was brought up by his grandfather, Stephen Twining, who had a grist-mill. J. Hillborn afterwards conducted, for a number of years, a merchant mill on the Neshamony, and later,. run a saw-mill at Coryell's ferry. During the war of the Revolution, he was a non-combatant. being a Quaker, and was then living with his elder brother Joseph. on Brodhead's Creek, seven miles above Stroudsburg. Early in June. 1778, they apprehended danger from the Indians. being set on by the British forces at Niagara. An agreement had been made by the Hillborns with John Price, who lived seven miles above, on the north branch of the creek, that if either of them heard of any Indian disturbance, he should immediately inform the other. One morning, an old woman, living two miles above, came running to Hillborn's house, and she told them her son's family were all killed or taken, and she only was suffered to escape on account of her age. Joseph Hillborn fled with his wife across Brodhead's Creek. John, however, remembered his promise to Price, and thought, as a hunter, well knowing the woods, he could carry the information with safety. About one mile from the house was a high conical hill, which Hillborn determined to ascend for the purpose, if possible, of observing the motions of the Indians. In so doing, however, he did but accelerate his fate, for the Indians had taken possession before him, and upon his advance, presented their guns at him and demanded his surrender. There was no alternative. He submitted, and they extorted from him a promise never to attempt an escape. Then they bound a burden on his back and ordered him to march. He soon discovered they had with them all the family mentioned above, except one little boy, who made so much noise, they killed and scalped him near the house.
" According to Indian customs, they traveled on the highest ground in order to keep a look-out. As they came in 'sight of John Price's house, the Indians closely examined Hillborn as to who lived there? what sort of a man was he ? did he keep a gun ? was he rich ? etc. It severely exercised his mind—he was all anxiety to save Price—and he well knew if the Indians found anything misrepresented, it would be worse for all. He told them the plain truth, that Price was a poor, inoffensive man, had nothing to do with the war, but did keep a gun to support his family in meat. They held a council in Indian, and his heart was almost overcome, when he heard the Indian captain pronounce in English, Let them live.'
"The Indians hurried the march for fear of being pursued, and great hardships were encountered, especially by the women and children, in wading the many deep streams of water. Hillborn discovered that their sufferings excited sympathy, but there was a great diversity in the characters or disposition of the Indians. The most conspicuous and amiable among them was a
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 93
private, a little, smart, active Mohawk. The worst of the company were white men, one of whom, Thomas Hill, conducted himself in such a manner towards the women prisoners, that the Indian captain endeavored to shame him. A pretty little girl among the prisoners used to cry for milk and more victuals, and the little Mohawk would carry her, and try to soothe her by promising her plenty of milk and good victuals when they should reach Chemung, which he afterwards fulfilled, but Thomas Hill would try to thwart the child, and show her her little brother's scalp, and almost set her distracted. This was not approved by the Indians.
" At Tioga Point they rested. Here all the loads that had been carried on their backs were put into canoes and consigned to J. Hillborn to conduct to Chemung. When they reached the latter place, according to the Indian custom, all the prisoners must run the gauntlet, that is, all the Indians, young and old stand in two rows with switches, and the prisoner must run between
them—the Indians paying on according to their discretion. When J. Hillborn's turn came to run, he had suffered so much by assisting the others on the journey, his feet were so sore (as he had no shoes) he could not run. The Mohawk, seeing this, told him to sit down, and he would run for him.
“The Indians paid it on him more severely than on any of the others, but he prided himself on bearing it all with heroic bravery, without flinching. After the gauntlet, the Indians treated all the prisoners, as to provisions, as well as they lived themselves, and their business was to hoe corn.
"The Indians soon after held a council upon another war expedition. The Mohawk informed Hillborn that it was to be on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and that John Montour was to be their captain. Hillborn was alarmed, as he feared that a defeat would make worse times for the prisoners, at this time treated well ; and as he felt himself somewhat recruited, he formed a plan for his escape.
" A division of the American army was then at Wyoming ; this he knew, for he had heard the morning and evening gun on their journey. The Indians had several good running canoes, and Hillborn resolved to take the best, while the Indians were asleep, and go down to Wyoming. As he was a good waterman, he had no doubt of getting far enough in advance before the discovery of the flight, to elude all pursuit. One consideration restrained him —would such conduct be right? He concluded to continue a few days longer, and consider its propriety. In the first place, he had solemnly engaged, to save his life, that he would never run away, and the Indians had placed full confidence in his promise ; but then, it was extorted by fear. Secondly, should he, professing to be a Christian, set a bad example—what would be the sad consequence of such a deviation to his fellow-prisoners, or others hereafter, under similar circumstances ? This seriously claimed his reflection, and he found the most real peace and inward comfort of mind—come life or death—to strictly adhere to the solemn promise he had made ; and found sweeter sleep by a full resignation to his fate, than in any flattering prospect of success in an attempt to escape. When Col. Brandt was sent to Chemung, in anticipation of Sullivan's expedition and attack, of which the British had warning, the little Mohawk advised Hillborn to plead his cause before him. This he did as well as he could, saying he was a Quaker, and that it was against his principles to fight. Brandt pretended to believe him, but replied, You are a prisoner to the Delaware tribe, I am a Mohawk, I have not the authority.' The next morning he was ordered to be prepared to march to the fortress at Niagara. He had no shoes nor clothing, except such as he was captured in. His greatest suffering was while marching barefooted forty-five miles on the beach of Seneca Lake, from which one of his feet never recovered.
" At Niagara, the Indians were paid their bounty on him as a prisoner ; he was then ordered to Quebec, which he reached by sloop and batteau, just two months after his capture. As he was a prisoner, he was to be sold to
94 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
the highest bidder, to refund the bounty paid the Indians. His almost naked and reduced situation, when exposed to.sale, was truly deplorable ; to use his own words, My appearance was not merchantable.' Fortunately, he fell into the hands of a veteran colonel, who had been aid to General Wolfe. This gentleman, pitying his forlorn situation, advanced money to clothe him comfortably, and, upon learning he was acquainted with the management of a gristmill, employed him in a very handsome one of his own. There Hill-born behaved so well, that in a short time, he was entrusted with the exclusive management of the mill, and his situation was made very comfortable. However, he became very impatient to return home, and the second winter of his residence with the worthy colonel, he asked permission to return, when the spring should open, to his country, to meet once more his relatives. The eolonel appeared to hear his request with deep concern, and offered him high wages, if he would consent to remain and attend to the mill. But nothing could induce him to stay. As soon as the navigation opened, he settled for the redemption or purchase-money, and all that had been advanced him for clothing and necessaries, and his master allowed him such wages as he pleased, for as a bought servant, Hillborn made no charge. His master made out that there were nine pounds sterling due to him, for which he paid him ten guineas and his passage to New York, and they parted in the best friendship. He had paid for his freedom by honest labor, and for the first time since his capture, had money in his pocket. After putting to sea, all went well until the captain, speaking a vessel, was informed that a French fleet was on the coast, capturing every British sail ; and then he gave over his voyage to New York, and put into-Halifax. Here J. Hillborn suffered many hardships, in consequence of the scarcity of provisions, and his money soon went, and he was again reduced to extreme distress. At length the commander of the garrison, in order to get rid of some hungry mouths, permitted Hillborn and some Yankees to take an old sloop, and endeavor to find their way to New York. After meeting with much rough weather and great hardships, they at length arrived at Sandy Hook, where Hillborn reminded the master of the vessel of a promise to put him on shore in Jersey.
" The war was not yet ended, and as he traveled through New Jersey, his very distressed appearance rendered him an object of pity and attention from those hospitable people. As he had been starved, he ate sparingly, and found he gained strength. As he approached the Delaware, he learned that all the ferries were guarded, so that none could cross. It was midsummer, and the water was low, and he well knew the best fords, so that by wading and swimming, he was able to reach the Pennsylvania shore, and a house in Upper Makefield, where he found his venerable father, a brother and a sister. From his very emaciated condition and distressed appearance, none knew him, and he was necessitated to tell them who he was. Such a scene as followed is easier conceived than expressed. It was then two years and some days since he was captured, in all which time they had never heard whether he was dead or alive.
"The writer of the above narrative adds, that J. Hillborn communicated the facts to him 16th June, 1787, in sight of the scene of his capture, and states, that J. Hillborn was the first prisoner that returned from Canada, and perhaps the only one that paid for his freedom. After the peace, they were discharged, and all his fellow-prisoners returned, except one, who died at Niagara.
" Since John Hillborn lived in Harmony, that noted Thomas Hill stopped there to stay all night. Hillborn knew him and treated him well, but he did not know Hillborn. In the morning, he asked, What is to pay ?' John Hillborn replied, 'It is not my practice to charge an old acquaintance,' upon which Hill started, and asked, What acquaintance ?' J. Hillborn said, `Thomas Hill, has thee forgot our journey from Brodhead's Creek to Chemung ?'—and said no more."
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 95
The sons of John Hilborn were, John, William, and Jesse. His daughters—Hannah (Mrs. Warren Bird, now dead), and Polly (Mary) now Mrs. Robert McKune of Harmony.
Joseph, brother of John Hilborn, came in 1791, and (his wife being dead) resided with him.
James Westfall came from Sussex County, New Jersey, in 1794 or 1795, and settled about one and a half miles above the mouth of the Canawacta, on the east side of the Susquehanna, on the upper end of what was afterwards known as the Pickering farm. His son Levi was born here in 1797. About 1800, he removed to the farm of William Smith on the west side, where Levi Westfall ¹ now lives.
In 1800, Col. Timothy Pickering, once Secretary of State under Washington, came to Susquehanna County to look after lands he had purchased. He found located upon them the families of Comstock, Smith, and Westfall, whose titles not being obtained from him caused their removal. Timothy Pickering, Jr., an only son, at his father's request, reluctantly consented to locate on the flat vacated by Abner Comstock, and came on from Boston, and built the first framed house in Harmony ; but he was sadly homesick, and being deprived of the society to which he was accustomed, he married a respectable young woman of the backwoods—a sister of the wife of Elder Nathaniel Lewis, the pioneer Methodist, of what is now Oakland. This step is said to have been a great disappointment to Col. P., whose ambition would have chosen for his son a bride from courtly circles. He died in 1807 in his twenty-eighth year, and his remains now rest in the cemetery near the railroad, opposite his own house. His father afterwards so far overcame his prejudices as to come to Harmony and take the widow and his two grandchildren to his own home, then near Boston, Mass.
John Comfort came in 1808, and bought the house and farm of T. Pickering, Jr., and returned to the East. In 1809 he came to settle, only removing after about ten years, half a mile above he present viaduct. He built a saw-mill prior to 1812, near the site of the present mill of Charles Lyons ; the first one it is averred in the township. He was a justice of the peace for some years, and so honest a man, that one to whom he had given a promissory note returned it to him for safe keeping.
His sons were James, Silas, and George. The last-named is now a missionary to the Omahas in Montana. Silas was a presiding elder of the Methodist church in Missouri nearly forty years ago; but was dismissed because he received "nigger testimony." He died April 5, 1850, in his seventy-fourth year.
¹ Since deceased.
96 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
Adam Swagart, a brother-in-law of John Comfort, came to the settlement two or three years after the latter.
Joseph McKune, Sr., came to Harmony about 1810, locating on the east side of the river, but in 1832 removed to Oakland. His son Robert married Mary HiThorn in 1817, and then went to Orange County, New York, where he resided several years before returning to Harmony. Upon the death of John Hilborn, Mr. McKune and family occupied his house, and continued to reside in it for thirty-five years. Robert McK. was killed while walking on the railroad track, March 4th, 1861.
The perils of travel on former roads is illustrated by an incident told by David Lyons, now of Lanesboro ; but who, in 1815, resided with his father at Great Bend. Mr. William Drinker had come on, at that time, to look at lands for which he was agent, and young Lyons undertook to get him and his trunk through to Harmony, from Great Bend. After traveling about six miles in the wagon, they were obliged to remove the, fore wheels, and strap the trunk to the hind ones; then jumping the horse over the logs plentifully scattered in the path, and lifting the wheels, the journey was made to a point opposite Mr. Hilborn's. Here they put two canoes together, covering them with plank, and on this frail conveyance, horse, trunk, the boy, and Mr. Drinker, passed over the river in safety.
In 1818, Martin Lane came to Harmony, and bought of John Comfort the Pickering homestead. In early times, there were seven Indian apple trees on this farm. Within a few years arrow-heads have been found here, and clay pipes have been washed out of the banks by freshets in the river.
Martin L. died in 1825, aged forty-seven. His son Jesse was appointed justice of the peace for Harmony the same year. He now resides in Wilmington, Delaware, and all the Lane family are gone.
For a long time after Mr. Lane located here, the place was known as Lanesville ; but in 1829 it was changed to Lanesboro. It is three miles from the north line of the State, and was the central point of old Harmony..
As early as 1820, James Newman and Josiah Benedict lived a few miles up the Starucca.
Joel Salsbury then lived near the State line above the falls of Pig-pen Creek. These falls are fifteen feet high, and a more classic name would befit their beauty.
The number of taxables in Harmony (including Oakland) in 1820, when David Hale was tax-collector, was twenty-eight; the year previous but twenty-five; and the amount of his duplicate, as per receipt but $51.89, at five mills on the dollar of valuation. For several years in succession, previous to this time, Jesse, oldest son of Isaac Hale, was collector. In 1819,
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 97
one man's tax was but six cents, another's seven, and another's eight cents. The heaviest tax-payers were John Hilborn and Martin Lane, but even they paid less than nine dollars. Still, meager as such sums seem beside those now demanded of property-holders, there was not wanting, at least a few years later, plenty of grumbling, as is witnessed by a political document forwarded by Mr. Hale, which was circulated for campaign effect, and in which is the following : " Year after year THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS are wrung from the pockets of our citizens in the shape of TAXES, and what have we obtained in return ? Nothing; comparatively speaking, NOTHING !" But all this was expected to be rectified, if' the candidates then offered, viz., Horace Williston, Esq., for Congress, and William Jessup for Representative, could be elected. Alas! they were defeated.
On the old Harmony road about one and a half or two miles from Lane's, Oliver Harper was murdered by Jason Treadwell, May 11, 1824. Travelers are still shown the poplar tree near the fatal spot, on which the initials " O. II," are rudely carved; also, " Pot-rock," etc.
John Rogers located Sept. 1825, on an elevated spot just south of the river road, near where it turns abruptly north, and west of the Canawacta ; and still occupies the same farm, a part of the old Wharton tract.
In 1825, David Lyons occupied a house four miles up the Canawacta, which was the only one between the mouth of the creek and Collins Gelatt's, seven miles south.
Joseph Austin soon after located near Mr. Lyons. The latter is now on a part of the old Lane farm.
Lane's Mills, rebuilt in part, are now run by Elias Youngs and H. Perrine.
The first public movement towards the erection of a bridge across the Susquehanna at Lanesboro was made in the summer of 1836. It was built in 1837, and was destroyed by a freshet.
As late as 1846, the town consisted of but one hotel, the mills, one store, and a cluster of houses; but during the construction of the great works of the Erie Railroad at this point, it became quite a business place. From the time of the completion of that road, which passes over the Canawacta bridge above the houses of Lanesboro, its business has been in part transferred to the depot one mile south of Twenty-five years ago, the vicinity of Lanesboro, and especially that of Cascade Creek, was a favorite resort for parties of pleasure. Its trout were unsurpassed, and its falls a charming feature of otherwise picturesque scenery.
The traveler does not now find the locality as attractive as formerly. The practical demands of the age have invaded its seclusion, cut down the tangled wildwood, thrown an embank-
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98 - HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY.
ment across the stream near the foot of the falls, and in a great measure filled the basin into which the creek pours in a double stream, so parted as to fall at nearly a right angle. The cascade seems to have lost in height and in volume. Through the rocks and stones underlying the embankment, the creek still finds its way, except in seasons of high water, when its current is turned aside through a tunnel excavated 16½ feet wide through solid rock. Prior to the construction of the embankment, the New York and Erie Railroad company spanned the stream with a single wooden arch, 276 feet in length and 184 feet in height. Fears of its reliability induced the company to sacrifice the beautiful structure, the original cost of which was about $160,000, and fill up the entire space beneath, at an expense of about $275,000, taking ten years to accomplish it. A view of the old bridge is here given. Near the mouth of the Starucca, the same company constructed a work of vaster proportions, and more massive magnificence. The railroad track is laid upon 18 arches supported upon 19 piers of solid masonry, 110 feet in height, and extending across the stream and valley a distance of 1200 feet.
The " false-work" of each of the arches cost $1600, and to remove it cost $100 more. The entire cost of the viaduct was about $325,000. It was built in two and a half years.
The cranberry marsh of Messrs. Miller, Morton, Emory, and Rowley, is a recent enterprise near the cascade.
The manufactory of turbine water-wheels, mill and tannery gearing, etc., of Messrs. A. & S. H. Barnes & Company is at Lanesboro. Also, the manu-
HISTORY OF SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - 99
factory of an excellent wagon-jack, on an extensive scale, by C. S. Bennet & Co.
There is a German settlement in what was once called East Harmony, where, October, 1869, a post-office was established, called Harmony Center, H. W. Brandt, P. M. (In 1872, a depot of the Jefferson Railroad.) Something of its enterprise in March, 1871, may be seen from the following article from the Montrose Republican :'—
" UP THE STARUCCA CREEK.—Those who have never had the privilege or embraced the opportunity of visiting this section of the county, to look upon the wild scenery, the rough, rugged, sharp-pointed rocks, the alpine mountains, the deep gorges, and the general uneven surface, may be interested in a brief description of the observations of a newspaper correspondent on the occasion of a carriage ride of five miles up that remarkable creek. Half a mile above the village of Lanesboro we came to the small wooden bridge across the river leading up the river to Windsor. Turning a short angle at this point, we passed up the creek under the broad high arch of the Starucca viaduct of the Erie Railway.
"As we move along and enter the valley, with vast mountains on either side of us, we come to Brandt & Schlager's tannery,¹ forty feet above the viaduct ; and if we were to judge of the amount of business done by the abundance of hemlock bark banked up in such perfect order, it must be enormous. There are several dwelling-houses for the accommodation of employes, and one store, connected with which is a beautiful residence, partly in the rear of the store, at some little distance from the road. At our right, far above us on the hillside, is the Jefferson Railroad, recently built for the purpose of transporting coal from Carbondale. A little further on, we come to the line of the new railroad to Nineveh, connecting the Jefferson and Albany roads. The grading across the valley has already commenced—indicated by high gravel banks.
" We are now crossing the Starucca nearly a mile above, on a good substantial bridge 150 feet in length, and our attention being drawn to the opposite side of the creek, we see a few laborers at work on the new road as it runs along the mountain fifty feet directly beneath the Jefferson. One mile above this point is the junction; a short distance below, the extensive chair factory of Messrs. Fromer & Schlager. Here we find a short turn in the road, and soon come to the old tannery of Messrs. Brandt & Schlager. This firm have been doing a heavy business in this line of trade for the last fifteen years ; in fact they are the pioneers in what is now known as Harmony Center, and one of the most romantic and wonder-loving spots imaginable; and certainly the artist who has never visited this wild wilderness place, with its high forest-covered mountains, sharp-pointed hills, deep gorges, mossy rocks, bright sparkling water, waterfalls, and the ten-acre valley, must assuredly have never heard there was such a place. Quite a little village has grown up in the vicinity of the tannery, several elegant dwellings, and a model schoolhouse, with its bell and appropriate adornments. Half a mile farther up the creek, near the old stone quarry which furnished stone for the viaduct, is the acid factory of Curtis, Miller & Co. This has been in operation several years, and has the appearance of doing a paying business. Several hands find employment. Hard wood only is used in the manufacture of this acid or coloring material, large quantities of which are made use of in the manufacture of calicoes. The acid is a hard, dry, brittle, dark-colored substance, and is sent to market in large coarse sacks—Messrs. Gauts & Co., New York
¹ Since destroyed by fire.