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his energies to the mines at Blossburg, the superintendence of which he entrusted
to his son, Duncan S. Magee. The latter soon became dissatisfied with working the
mines under a lease. He desired ownership, and with that end in view, obtained
permission, in the spring of 1856, from Hon. C. L. "Ward, of Towanda, Pennsylvania,
to explore for coal on his land, at that time embracing nearly the entire area of
Ward township, which was named after him. A written agi-eement was also entered


into that, if coal was found in paying quantities, Mr. Magee would have the right
to purchase so much of the land as he might desire, at a stipulated price per acre.

Duncan S. Magee then organized a band of explorers, with himself as super-
intendent; Humphries Brewer and G. A. Backus, civil engineers and geologists;
Thomas Earrar and John Smith, woodsmen and assistants to engineers; John James,
William Griffith, Thomas Morgan, George Cook, John Evans, Stephen Bowen and
others, miners and explorers. An area embracing over 6,000 acres of land was
explored in a thorough and scientific manner, and a number of pits and shafts simk
to the underlying coal. During the year 1856 considerable coal was found, but not
in quantities sufficient to warrant a purchase of the land. In the spring of 1857
work was resumed. Drifts were opened along the mountain on the west side of
the Tioga river, in the northwest corner of Union township, and a superior quality
of coal found in paying quantities. Two discouraging obstacles were, however,
met with. A survey showed that the coal field was nearly 600 feet higher than the
railroad track at Blossburg, distant less than six miles northwest. It was also
ascertained that the coal vein declined toward the southwest and could not, there-
fore, be mined from that side of the mountain, for the reason that the water would
follow the course of the excavation and drown out the miners.

Up to this time Hon. John Magee had furnished the money to push forward
the explorations. The panic of 1857, however, made it hard to get money for the
needs of business, and Mr. Magee was loath, after Mr. Brewer's acknowledgment that
the coal could not be mined, on account of the water, to push the explorations any
further. Mr. Brewer, however, convinced him of the feasibility of his plan for
working the coal, and the explorations were resumed. Within three months the
correctness of Mr. Brewer's theories was verified, by the finding, on the Fall Brook
side of the mountain, of an immense body of coal that could be easily and profitably
worked, thus bringing to a successful issue the tedious and persevering work of the

During the year 1858 Drift ISTo. 1 was put in near the falls on Fall brook, under
the direction of Duncan S. Magee, by William Griffith, Robert Pryde, John Duns-
more, Alexander Pollock, Sr., and Thomas Morgan. A survey was also begun for a
railroad from Blossburg up the Tioga river to the mouth of Fall brook, and up the
latter stream to the drift. In the meantime, however, Hon. John Magee had pur-
chased from Mr. Ward about 6,000 acres of land in Ward and Union townships in
accordance with the agreement heretofore mentioned.

The railroad survey showed that Drift No. 1 wa^ 550 feet above the railroad
track at Blossburg, distant about six miles. Nevertheless, it was resolved to build
the road, and on June 13, 1859, Mr. Brewer issued the following:

The Fall Brook Coal Company will be prepared to contract for the gradinff and
masonry of their road in short sections July 5. Plans and specifications can be seen at
their office m Blossburg-. „ t^

° H. Bbeweb,

Engineer Fall Brook Coal Company.
An application for a charter was made to the state legislature by Hon John
Magee James H Gulick and Duncan S. Magee, and a bill granting it passed March
9, 1859. It had been opposed principally by another mining company, and after its


passage sufBcient pressure was brought to bear upon Gov. William F. Packer to cause
him to veto it. April 7, 1859, however, it was passed over his veto and became a law,
and the company was duly incorporated under the name of the Fall Brook Coal
' Company. The first officers were Hon. John Magee, president; John Lang, secretary
and treasurer; Duncan S. Magee, superintendent, and H. Brewer, civil engineer. The
following working force was also organized: Duncan S. Magee, superintendent; H.
Brewer and G. A. Backus, civil engineers; James Heron, cashier and mercantile
agent; Capt. Eobert Merritt, overseer in lumber department; Martin Stratton, master
mechanic and supervisor of tenements; Thomas Eeese, weighmaster of mining
wagons; John Morse, overseer of railroad track, and afterwards first weighmaster and
shipper of coal — succeeded by Peter Cameron and John L. Sexton; William Griffith,
Alexander Pollock, Sr., and Thomas Morgan, drift masters.

The Fall Brook railroad was completed to the new village of Fall Brook in the
autumn of 1859. During the year work had been vigorously prosecuted. A saw-mill
was built for the company at the falls by George Kichter; coal chutes were erected at
the mouth of Drift 'No. 1, by Mr. Brockway; thirty or forty dwellings were hastily
constructed, and a supply store erected on the site of the present hotel building. This
was placed in charge of James Heron, assisted by 0. W. and C. L. Pattison and
Thomas J. Hall. Boarding houses, blacksmith shops, and carpenter shops were also
built, and a great enterprise successfully established in what, but a few months before,
was an unbroken mountain wilderness.

Samples of this coal were shipped by Mr. Magee to a number of leading manu-
facturing concerns throughout the country, including the repairing departments of
several railroads, from all of whom came reports and testimonials, certifying to its
superior quality, and assuring for it an immediate and profitable demand. The min-
ing of coal at Blossburg, under lease, was abandoned and the fixtures removed to Fall
Brook. Shipping depots were established at Coming, with Andrew Beers as agent,
and at Watkins, with John Lang as agent. Valuable franchises were obtained at
both places, and trestles and chutes erected to facilitate the handling of coal. A
circular was issued April 1, 1860, by Duncan S. Magee, superintendent, announcing
the formal opening of the mines, and that "the Fall Brook Coal Company have ample
facilities for shipping this coal at Coming by canal and railroad, and have also ar-
rangements for delivery directly from the mines by rail at Watkins, at the head of
Seneca Lake, and there transferring it to the enlarged Erie canal boats."

The store building proving too small to accommodate an increasing custom, a
larger and more commodious building was erected, which was soon afterwards en-
larged. So rapid was the growth of the village that at the close of 1863 it contained
180 dwellings, and 1,400 inhabitants.

In 1861, because of increased business, James Heron was relieved as mercantile
agent, in order to devote himself to his duties as cashier. Frank Lewis, of Allegany
county, New York, was made mercantile agent, continuing until Febmary, 1864,
when he was succeeded by C. E. Halsey, of Hammondsport, New York, who remained
until 1875, when he resigned on account of ill health. His successor was A. J. Owen,
who discharged the duties of mercantile agent and cashier until 1886, when he was
succeeded by Samuel Heron, the present incumbent.


In 1862 the ofSee of manager was created, and Humphries Brewer appointed
to fill it. He held it until his death, December 25, 1867. His successors were James
Heron, from December 27, 1867, until his death, September 21, 1872; and D. W.
Knight, who served from September 22, 1872, to 1875, when the of&ee was abolished..
The company, in the meantime, having acquired important properties in other parts
of the county, the mines, mill and store at Fall Brook were placed in three separate
departments and have so continued. The mines are in charge of Eobert Eussell,
mining superintendent, with David Nicol, assistant; the saw-mill and lumber depart-
ment in charge of E. A. McEntee, outside foreman, and the office and store in charge
of Samuel Heron, who fills the position of cashier. The postoffice, established soon
after the opening of the mines, has always been in the company's store, the post-
master usually being the mercantile agent or cashier of the company. Anton Hardt,
general manager for the company, whose office is in Wellsboro, has the general super-
intendence of these various departments, as well as of the mines, stores, etc., at

A telegraph line from Coming, New York, to Fall Brook, was completed in the
fall of 1864. Since 1878 the office has been in charge of John G. Jones, who is also
the weighmaster and shipper of the Fall Brook Coal Company.

The Fall Brook hotel, erected by the Fall Brook Coal Company, was opened in
the spring of 1865, Warren Goff, of Steuben county, New York, being the first


In August, 1864, a petition was presented to the court of common pleas, at
Wellsboro, asking for the incorporation of Fall Brook as a borough. There was
some opposition to granting the petition, because the property within the proposed
borough limits was all owned by the Fall Brook Coal Company, and there was
danger of the company using its power to restrict freedom of speech, and interfere
with the exercise of the right of elective franchise. The loyalty of the inhabitants,
notwithstanding, in proportion to population, they had sent a larger number into the
Union army than any other place in the county, was also called in question. These
objections were, however, fully met, and the petition granted. The first election
took place September 16, 1864, when the following officers were chosen: L. C.
Shepaxd, burgess; James Heron, H. Brewer, James Tracy, William D. Linahan and
Charles N. Cranmer, councilmen. At the first meeting of the council, October 3,
1864, C. L. Pattison was chosen treasurer, and Burr Noble, clerk.

The office of burgess has been filled as follows: L. C. Shepard, 1864 to 1874,
inclusive; John L. Sexton, 1875; L. C. Shepard, 1876 to 1879, inclusive- E f'
Cummings, 1880 and 1881; J. W. Taylor, 1882; A. N. Williams, 1883; 'Eobert
Eussell, 1884; L. C. Shepard, 1885; William Sa^e, 1886 to 1888; William McEntee,
1889 to 1892; E. A. McEntee, 1893 to 1896, and Eobert Eussell, 1897.

The foUowing named persons have been elected and commissioned Justices of
the peace since the incorporation of the borough: John Hinman, elected in 1868;
L. C. Shepard, 1869; John L. Sexton, 1869; J. W. Personeus, 1873; Alexander
Pollock, 1874; Michael Lyon, 1876; William Young, 1878; C. K. Thompson 1880-
Eobert Eussell, 1883; F. G. Elliott, 1883; L. C. Shepard, 1887; re-elected, 1892
and 1897.



For a number of years there were two school buildings in i'all Brook. The first
was erected in 1861 in the "Fallow," and the second on Catawissa street, in the
winter of 1864-65. In 1888 a graded school system was adopted and the present
building, centrally located, was erected. There are three teachers employed, the
average attendance of pupils being about one hundred and fifty. Among the early
teachers who taught in the "Fallow" school house, were David Cameron, Oscar
Beardsley, Belle Dyer, Lue Pitts, Miss Simpson and John L. Sexton. Mr. Sexton
taught seven years in succession. Among those who taught in the building on
Catawissa street, were Bessie Brewer, Lucy Cranmer and S. A. Gaskill.


Presbyterian Church. — In 1860 a petition was presented to the Presbytery of
Susquehanna, asking that a Presbyterian church be organized at Fall Brook. The
petitioners were Alexander Pollock, Sr., James Heron, Alexander Pollock, Jr., James
Pollock, Peter Cameron, Jr., Eobert Logan, James Logan, John Dims-
more, George Snedden, William Watchman, E. J. Evans, David Pryde,
and H. Brewer. The petition was granted and the church duly organized.
September 1, 1861, Rev. George Blair became pastor, having also under his charge
the church at Morris Run. In the fall of 1863 he was succeeded by Rev. William
McCormiek, who remained one year; Rev. J. Caldwell, one year; Rev. E. Kennedy,
1866 to 1870; Rev. G. R. H. Shumway, of Lawrenceville, supply till October, 1871;
Rev. Philander Camp, who remained till 1875. A Sunday-school was organized, of
which Alexander Pollock, Sr., was superintendent for a number of years. His
successor was James R. Mills. During Mr. Kennedy's pastorate a church building,
costing $2,000, was erected, the Fall Brook Coal Company contributing $1,000. Ow-
ing to the decrease in the working force in the mines and the removal of a large
number of families elsewhere, the church became too weak to maintain a pastor, and
in 1886 its .membership was merged with that of St. Thomas' Protestant Episcopal

St. Thomas' Protestant Episcopal Church traces the beginning of its history to
a visit made in the summer of 1864, to Fall Brook, by Rev. E. D. Loveridge, of Ham-
mondsport, ISTew York. While stopping with his friend, C. E. Halsey, he held the
first service of his church on July 31, 1864. In August, 1866, Bishop Lee, of
Delaware, visited Fall Brook, and on the 24th of that month confirmed Miss Mary
Frazee and Miss Mary Brewer. About the same time C. E. Halsey and John
Hinman organized a Sunday-school and soon had over one hundred pupils. The
school was held in the "Fallow" school house. A deficiency in books and catechisms
was made up by the energy and liberality of Mr. Halsey and Mr. Hinman. A
generous donation of books was also made by St. John's church, Catherine, Schuyler
county, New York. A formal application for a charter was made to the court of
common pleas of Tioga county July 30, 1867, by C. E. Halsey, John Hinman, John
L. Sexton, Lewis Clark, J. B. Christie, J. W. Personeus, John Alderson and Thomas
GafEney. The application was granted December 5, 1867, and the church duly
organized, with C. E. Halsey, senior warden; Lewis Clark, John B. Christie, J. W.
Personeus, John L. Sexton and John Alderson, vestrymen. Services were held every


alternate Sunday in the 'Tallow" school house, Eev. M. L. Kerr officiating, until
November 38, 1869, from which time until 1874 the church was without a rector.
In that year Marcellus Karcher, a deacon in orders, located in I'all Brook, amd offi-
ciated until 1876, after which time, for a number of years, occasional services were
held by the rectors in charge of the churches at Tioga, Mansfield, Blossburg and
Antrim. Although without a rector at present, services are held regularly by Eev.
Marcellus Karcher, rector of St. Luke's church, Blossburg. The number of com-
municants is thirty-two. In the Sunday-school, which has been regularly main-
tained, there are 130 pupils and fifteen teachers. Samuel Heron is the superinten-
dent. The old Presbjrterian house of worship is now used by this congregation.

St. John's Catholic Church owes its existence to the efforts of Eev. John A.
Wynne, who, in July, 1873, while stationed at Blossburg, succeeded in securing a
pledge of $1,000 from the Catholic people and other friends in Fall Brook, to which
the Fall Brook Coal Company generously added $1,000 more. A contract for a
building was entered into with Joseph Hyland, of Blossburg, the corner stone of
which was laid August 31, 1873, by Bishop O'Hara, of Scranton, assisted by Eevs.
Gerald McMurray, John A. Wynne and John C. McDermott. The building was
opened for service Sundaj', April 36, 1874, the opening sermon being preached by
Eev. E. A. Garvey, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This church, which numbers
about twenty-five families, is served by the pastor of the church at Blossburg. It
maintains a Sunday-school with an average attendance of thirty pupils. A branch
of the Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Association, numbering twenty
members, is connected with this church.


The Pall Brook Friendly Society, a beneficial organization; the Fall Brook
Library Association, the purpose of which was to maintain a library and reading
room, and the Catholic Temperance Society, for the promotion of temperance among
members of the Catholic faith, all flourished during the earlier years of the borough's
history. With the removal of many of the miners and their families to other
places, their membership decreased and they disbanded. Fall Brook Lodge, No. 765,
I. 0. 0. P., was chartered May 8, 1871, and now has seventy members. Fall Brook
Lodge, No. 2506, K. of H., was organized July 20, 1881. After flourishing for
several years, it began to go backward, and finally surrendered its charter and was
merged with the lodge at Blossburg.



Organization— Physical, Characteristics— Soil and Products -Coal and Iron
— Timbee—Streams—Population— Pioneer Settlement— First White Men
—The District Line— Williamson Road— The Block House— Anthony, the
First Landlord— Other Early Settlers— Mills and Other Enterprises —
Physicians and Justices— Schools— Churches and Cemeteries— Societies-
Liberty Borough— Villages and Postopfices.

LIBERTY township was organized in February, 1823, and was taken from Coving-
ton and Delmar townships. It lies west of Union township; east of Morris;
south of Bloss and Hamilton, and has the Lycoming county line for its southern
boundary. Its northern boundary line passes along or near the crest of the Briar
Hill range. The northern third of the township is, therefore, broken and rugged.
The remainder, which may be described as an upland plateau, slopes away more
gently toward the south, with as large a percentage of comparatively level area
as is to be found in any other township in the county. The soil is fertile and fruitful,
producing abundant crops of cereal grains, meadow grasses, garden vegetables and
orchard fruits. The farmers are thrifty, frugal and prosperous, a large percentage
of them being of German descent. Coal and iron ore exist in the Briar Hill range,
but have not been found in quantities sufficient to invite development. The town-
ship, when first settled, was heavily timbered, hemlock, maple, cherry, chestnut,
beech and oak predominating. White pine was found only in limited tracts.

The drainage of the township is toward the south and southwest. Zimmer-
man creek, which rises in the Briar Hill range, flows southwest into Morris township,
receiving Fall creek, which flows from the north, near the township line. It drains
the western and northwestern parts of the township. Black's creek rises north of the
center of the township, pursues a slightly southwest course to the Lycoming county
line, soon after crossing which it unites with Block House run. This latter stream
rises north and east of the center of the township, and pursues a winding course
toward the southwest, through Liberty borough, about a mile southwest of which
it passes into Lycoming county. It has several small branches. The eastern part
of the township is drained by Mase run and Sadler run, two small streams fed by

The township was one of the earliest settled in the county. With the exception
of the mountainous area along the northern boundary line, it is thickly populated,
and notwithstanding the fact that there is not a line of railroad within its borders,
its people are fairly prosperous. Its growth from the first has been healthful, each
decade showing a fair average increase of population. In 1840 there were 1,138
inhabitants; in 1870, 1,379; in 1880, 1,629, and in 1890, 1,755. In 1895 the tax-
able value of property — ^including Liberty borough — was $519,455.



The first white maa to enter the confines of the township, except, perhaps, an
occasional hunter, trapper or Indian scout, were the early surveyors. The District
Line was established in 1781, and the Academy and other lands surveyed as early
as 1786-87. The District Line referred to is the line between Survey districts Nos.
17 and 18. It runs from the southern to the northern boundary line of the county,
and passes over the Main street bridge, in Liberty borough. The history of the town-
ship, however, begins with the construction of the celebrated Williamson road, from
Loyalsock, in Lycoming county, to Painted Post, New York. This road, which was
begun in May or June, 1793, enters the county and the township east of the District
Line. About 300 rods north of the county line it turns northwest to Block House
run, crossing it at a point now the center of Liberty borough, of which it forms the
main street. It then turns north, which direction it follows to the township line,
over the Briar Hill range, and on to Blossburg, thence down the valley of the Tioga
river to Painted Post, l^Tew York.

In the construction of this road it became necessary to establish depots for sup-
plies, at convenient points, and also to erect log houses for the protection of the
women and children. One of these was established at the point where the road
crosses Block House run, in Liberty borough, on the site of the present Liberty
Hotel. It became known as the "Block House," and gave its name to the stream,
beside which it stood, and to the village that afterwards grew up around it.

In 1793 one Anthony, or Anthonyson, and his sons — the former probably being
the correct name — took possession of this block house — which was built of round logs
and was 30x40 feet in size — and converted it into a tavern stand. The following ac-
count of this tavern and its keeper is found in the "Historical Collections" of Penn-
sylvania, by Sherman Day, published in 1843. He says:

This house was kept in primitive times by one Anthonyson, a sort of hall French
and half Dutchman. Anthony, according- to his own story, had spent most of his life
as a soldier, during- the stormy times of the French Revolution; and he thereby neither
improved his morals nor his fortune. He had no scruple, by way of amusing his gnaests,
of boasting of his bare-faced villainy. There was no one of the ten commandments which
he had not specifically broken time and again. With the habits of the old soldier, he had
little disposition to get his living by tilling the ground; and found the military mode of
pillage much more to his taste. He raised no oats, but always charged travelers for the
use of his troughs, and for sleeping before his fire. Whiskey was the staple commodity
at his house, serving as meat and drink. Many of the early immigrants to the Genesee
country drove their young cattle along. There was a wide track of some fearful tornado
not far from Anthony's house, in which he contrived to cut an open space, with a
narrow passage into it, making a kind of unseen pen. To this spot the cattle of his
guests were apt to stray in the night. In the morning the poor immigrants were hunt-
ing far and near for their cattle, with Anthony for their guide; but on such occasions
he never happened to think of the windfall.

The unsuspecting guests, after two or three days of fruitless search, would leave,
paying roundly for their detention, and instructing the scoundrel to hunt the cattle,
and when found to write to a certain address, with a promise of reward for his trouble.
Anthony never had occasion to write; but it was always remarked that he kept his
smoke house well supplied with what he called elk meat. MTien or where he caught the
elks was never known. Some lone travelers, who stopped at his house, it is strongly
suspected, never reached their intended destination.

^;^^^^^^ ">^^-e^


Anthony left Block House in 1813 for Williamsport, and was killed by the
falling of a tree. He lies buried near Trout Eun.

Soon after 1800 a man named SuUard — the names of James and Stephen Sul-
lard appear on the assessment list of 1812 — came into the township and settled near
the present residence of Isaac Miller, in Liberty borough. A son was added to the
family soon after their arrival, being the first white child born in the township.
Nauglesmith Bauer came before 1808, and settled where Scott Cowlick now lives
in the borough. In 1813 Jonathan Sebring, a native of Berks county, Pennsylvania,
became the successor of Anthony as landlord of the Block House tavern. He was
an honorable and upright man, and kept a reputable and respectable house. He
removed to Humboldt, Saulc county, Wisconsin, in 1857, where he died in February,

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 84 of 163)