Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 62 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 62 of 192)
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Commissioner for the sale of lands in Water-
ford, in place of D. McXair, resigned. Feb-

ruary 16, 1805, John Vincent succeeded Nay-
lor, who had died. Charles Martin was ap-
pointed in the place of Mr. Vincent, on the
29th of March, 1809, and James Boyd followed
Mr. Martin in 1811.


On the conclusion of peace with the In-
dians, a full account of the incidents leading
to which will be found in the General History,
some of the State soldiers who had come on to
protect the frontier decided to settle in or near
Waterford, and emigration began to flow in
from Eastern counties and New England.
Lieut. Martin, commander of the post, was
among those who became permanent residents,
as well as James Naylor, one of the Commis-
sioners for the sale of lands. The former
opened the first tavern, and the latter the first
store. Capt. Martin Strong came on from
Hartford county, Connecticut, in the spring
of 1795, and eventually located on the crest of
the ridge north of Waterford. Amos Judson
migrated from New England in the same year
and started a store. He and Col. Seth Reed
came up Lake Erie together in a small coast-
ing boat.

The arrival of other settlers was as follows :
In 1796, John Lytle, from Northumberland
county; Robert Brotherton, from Franklin
county ; John Lennox and Thomas Skinner ;
in 1797, John Vincent, from Northumberland
county, and Wilson Smith, from Union county;
in 1798, Aaron Himrod and the Lattimores ;
in 1801-02, Capt. John Tracy, William Boyd,
sr., and son David, John and James Boyd,
with their three sisters and James Anderson ;
in 1804 or 1805, James and William Benson ;
in 1809, Eliachim Cook, who had previously
settled in McKean township ; in 1799 or ear-
lier, Geo. W. Reed ; in 1812, John Henry and
Levi Strong; in 1818, the McKays; in 1814,
Simeon Hunt ; in 1816, William Smith, Will-
iam Vincent and Judge Hutchins ; in 1822, I.
M. White ; in 1824, Seth and Timothy Judson ;
in 1826, Daniel Vincent. The Boyds and Mr.
Anderson were from Northumberland county ;
Mr. Hunt was from Orange county, Vermont ;
William Smith and wife came over from
Wayne township ; Mr. White was a native of
Windham county, Vermont, and the Judsons
were from Connecticut. Most of those whose
places of nativity are not given, hailed either
from the Susquehanna valley or the New Eng-



land States. In 1815, Rev. J. Matthews, Dr.
William Bacon, Henry Woodworth, Henry
Colt, John Way and Archibald Watson were
residents of the village, but the precise date of
their arrival cannot be given. Dr. Ira Barton
did not settle in Waterford until 1840.

John Vincent settled first on a small stream
which flows into French creek in the eastern
portion of the township, where he remained
two years before becoming a resident of the
village. On the completion of the turnpike,
he took charge of the toll gate about a mile
above Waterford, and afterward went into the
salt trade, which made him wealthy.


The first death was that of a boy named
Rutledge, who died of wounds received in the
Indian troubles of 1795, and was buried just
outside the fort. The first white child was
John R., son of William Black, who was born
in Fort LeBoeuf, August 8, 1795. The second
birth was that of Katharine, daughter of
Aaron Himrod and wife, in 1799. Robert
Brotherton built the first sawmill in 1797, and
the first grist mill in 1802, near Waterford
Station. He also kept a tavern from 1815 to
1817, on the lot occupied by his son's residence.
The second sawmill was set in operation by
James Boyd on Boyd's run, west of the bor-
ough. Mr. Lattimore started a mill soon after
Boyd's, the date of both having been very
early. George W. Reed opened a tavern in
1810, on Union street, in the rear of the Jud-
son's block, which burned down. Thomas
King, who had kept a public house corner of
First and Walnut streets, commenced building
the stone hotel in 1820, and opened it in the
winter of 1827.

Mrs. Smith, wife of William, is notable as
one of the women in the county who lived to
an unusual age. She died in Wayne town-
ship in 1875, in her one hundredth year. Mrs.
Phelps, another venerable lady, died in Au-
gust, 1879, aged 95 years.

Capt. John Lytle, father of John Lytle,
jr., who rose to be prominent among the early
settlers, was commander of Fort Freeland, on
the West branch of the Susquehanna, in 1779.
It was attacked by a body of British and
Indians, and capitulated on the 80th of June
of that year, among the prisoners taken being
Capt. Lytle, William Miles and four of the
Vincents. They were marched through the

wilderness to Fort Niagara, in Canada, where
they were detained until the acknowledgment
of our National Independence. During the
long absence of Captain Lytle his wife re-
mained on the farm with her children, employ-
ing an unmarried man to do the work. In
course of time this person made proposals of
marriage to Mrs. Lytle, which she rejected.
Determined to effect his object, the young
man put letters in circulation, stating that the
Captain was dead, and the unhappy woman
became so well convinced of the truth of the
report that she married the assiduous lover.
On the Captain's return, he was so shocked
and mortified to learn of what had happened
that for awhile he refused to see his wife, but
mutual friends having acquainted him with
the facts, he was reconciled to her, took her
again to his bosom and the miserable deluder
was compelled to fly beyond the reach of the
law. His son, John, was the originator of
the Erie and Waterford Turnpike Company,
and one of the leading men of the county.

Lafayette's visit in 1825 was one of the
most memorable incidents in the history of
Waterford. He was accompanied by his son, a
companion and a servant, on their way from
Pittsburg to Erie. The nation's distinguished
guest arrived on the 2d of June, and remained
over night at the hotel of George W. Reed,
which stood just east of the Judson block, on
First street. A barn still stands on the Mead-
ville road which bore an inscription until re-
cently signifying that it was built the year of
Lafayette's visit.


Below is a list of taxpayers in 1813, em-
bracing both borough and township : James
Anderson, Nancy Alexander, Reuben Alex-
ander, E. and D. Alvord, Benjamin Avery,
Benjamin Blythe, William Boyd, John Boyd,
John M. Baird, James Boyd, George Buehler,
Richard Braden, Robert Brotherton, Holbert
Barnett, William Benson, Ichabod Brackett,
Mathew Blair, James Benson, William T.
Codd, Isaac Craig, George Cochran, Judah
Colt, James Campbell, D. Collison, Henry
Colt, John Clemmens, Jeremiah Curtis, Will-
iam Culbertson, Ebenezer Dwinnell, John
Eagleson, Peter Ford, Philip Gregory, Samuel
Grimes, Carson Graham, John Greenwood,
Walter How, Aaron Himrod, Moses Himrod,
Anor Hull, Isaac Hawley, Samuel Hewlings,



John Henry, Francis B. Holmes, Hugh Ham-
ilton, Thomas Humphreys, William Hood,
James Hamilton, William Himrod, Samuel
Jewet, Amos Judson, Thomas R. Kennedy,
Daniel King, Thomas King, William Knox,
Thomas Layland, John Lattimore. James Latti-
more, John Lenox, John Lytle, Alex. McElroy,
David Middleton, Francis Morrison, John Mc-
Nair, David McNair, John Mullen, Israel Mul-
len, John Mace, Charles Martin, James Mc-
Donald, Charles Martin, jr., James McKay,
Naylor& Wilson, Joseph Osborn, James Oliver,
Isaac Pherron, Adam Pollock, David Phillips,
Thomas Prentiss, Jabez Parker, Joseph Rey-
nolds, Rufus S. Reed, George W. Reed,
Thomas Rees, James Ross, Jonathan Stratton,
William Simpson, Lemuel Stancliff, Martin
Strong, Andrew Simpson, Elizabeth Skinner,
Wilson Smith, Russell Stancliff, Solomon
Snell, Levi Strong, Rufus Trask, sr., Rufus
Trask, jr., James Thomas, Samuel Trask,
Turnpike Companj', Robert Townlev, jr.,
Joshua Tilden, John Tracy, William Vankirk,
John Vincent, Eli Webster, Ellis William,
Jacob Watkins, Archibald Watson, Henry

The total tax assessed in 1813 vk'as $410.25,
and the militia fines, |384. Farm land was
assessed at from $1.50 to two dollars per
acre, inlots at twenty dollars to thirty dol-
lars each and outlets at thirty dollars to fifty
dollars each.


For years after the countr}' began to settle,
most of the supplies of iron, glass, flour, bacon,
whisky, etc., came from Pittsburg, and nearly
all of the freight was carried on boats poled
up and down the Allegheny, French creek
and LeBoeuf creek. The flat boats were
roughly built, and averaged about fifteen feet
in width by seventy-five in length. They
were sold at Pittsburg, loaded with coal,
floated down to Southern ports, and broken
up for fire wood after reaching their destina-
tion. It required about three weeks to make
the trip from Waterford to Pittsburg and re-
turn. The keel-boats were of better construc-
tion, and were used for bringing freight up as
well as carrying them down the streams, their
propelling power being poles pushed by the

The most important trade in the early days
was the shipping of salt for the Southern

markets. This article was brought to Erie
from Onondaga, N. Y., hauled by teams to
Waterford, deposited in warehouses there, and
floated down the streams whenever they were
in suitable condition. The trade began about
1812, and the last load was taken to Pittsburg
in 1819. The village being without a church
edifice, all religious services in those days
were held in one of the warehouses.

During the second war with Great Britain,
Waterford was a busy place, most of the sup-
plies for the army and navy being brought
there by boats, and hauled across the country
to Erie. A brigade of Pennsylvania troops
was organized in 1812, on land at or near the
Philadelphia and Erie R R. depot.


The borough charter dates from April 8,
1883. The town was laid out on the same
plan as Erie, with broad streets running at
right angles, and a park or Diamond of some
five acres near the center. The borough
covers about 500 acres, and contained a
population of 403 in 1840, 498 in 1850, 900 in
1860, 790 in 1870, 781 in 1880, and 838 in
1890. Measuring from the Diamond, half of
which has been set out with trees, forming a
beautiful park, the distance is fourteen miles
south of Erie by the plank road, ninete.n and
and a half by railroad, and one mile from the
Philadelphia and Erie R. R. depot.

The town started along the creek, and, for
a considerable period, in consequence of the
boating business, Water street was its princi-
pal avenue. From there it worked back to
First street, which contained all the stores and
two or three taverns. At that date High
street, now the business thoroughfare, was
nothing more than a common road. In laying
out the streets, all were made sixty feet wide
except High, Third and Water, which have a
width of 100 feet. There was no church edi-
fice until 1834, although several denomina-
tions had been organized, and worship was
held either in the schoolhouse, one of the
warehouses or in the academy. The earliest
school building was a log structure on Walnut
street, between Sixth and Seventh, and the
second stood on High street about the center
of the Diamond. The first structure for free
school purposes was on a cornerof the academy
lot and was removed in 1840. Among the
earlv stores were those of Holmes & Harriott,



Samuel Hutchins and Hart & Thompson. The
original log houses of the town have mostly
passed away.


At the sale of reserved lands in 1800, 500
acres were set apart by the State near Water-
ford, Erie, Franklin and Warren for the benefit
of schools and academies in the several places.
The Waterford Academy was incorporated in
1811, and, besides the above named 500 acres,
embracing the ilats at the mouth of LeBoeuf
creek, was endowed with fifteen inlots, to
which eight others were added in 1821. On
the 24th of February, 1820, an act passed em-
powering the trustees to sell the 500 acres of
the reserved tract at not less than ten dollars
an acre, and to invest the proceeds in some
productive fund for the compensation of teach-
ers. They were disposed of about 1840. The
old stone building was completed in 1822,
the same year as the academy in Erie, and
the first school was opened in 1826. A biick
addition was added about 1859. and a board-
ing-house some ten years later. The time was
when Waterford Academy was the most fa-
mous and prosperous institution of learning in
the county.


The only cemetery or graveyard was at the
southwest corner of Second and West streets
until 1840, when the first part of the present
cemetery was laid out by William Benson, sr.,
under the auspices of the borough, containing
one and a quarter acres. The first burial in
the latter was that of a cliild of Dr. Banning,
in December, 1840. This section became
filled up, and the borough in 1865 deeded the
property to the Waterford Cemetery Com-
pany, which increased the cemetery to eleven
acres. Within the cemetery, in a lot appro-
priated for the purpose, lie the bones of
Michael Hare, the oldest man who ever lived
in Erie county, and perhaps in Pennsylvania.
He was born in Ireland on the lOth of June,
1727, and died in Waterford, after a long resi-
dence there, on May 3, 1843, at the almost in-
credible age of 115 years, 8 months and 22 days.
Mr. Hare served in the French wars, was
present at Braddock's defeat, fought all
through the Revolution, and wound up his
military career by taking part in St. Clair's
expedition against the Western Indians. At

St. Clair's defeat, he was left on the field for
dead and lost his scalp, which did not seem to
cause him much inconvenience in after years.
Mr. Hare was one of the original settlers of
Wayne township, from which he moved to
Waterford. Besides Mr. Hare, two other
Revolutionary soldiers are buried at Water-
ford — Capt. John Lytle and Neil McKay —
and five soldiers of tlie last war with Great
Britain — M. Himrod, H. Colt, James McKay,
J. Benson and J. Lenox.

The enlistments from Waterford in the war
for the Union were probabl}' not exceeded in
number by any community of equal size, and
there are few of its families who did not
mourn the loss of one or more near relatives
in that bloody struggle.


The First Presbyterian society was organ-
ized in 1809. The church building was
erected in 1834, at a cost of $5,000 — a large
sum for the time.

The United Presbyterian congregation
dates from October, 1812, and their house of
worship was started in 1835, but not com-
pleted until 1838. It was enlarged and im-
proved in 1859 and 1868, and a chapel was
added at a later period. Rev. P. W. Free
became pastor of the congregation in 1870.
Himself and wife celebrated the 25th anni-
versary of their marriage, and also of the be-
ginning of his pastorate, on the 2d of July,

St. Peter's Episcopal congregation was
started in Februarv, 1827. The corner-stone
of the church was laid in the fall of 1831.
Bishop Onderdonk consecrated the building in
November, 1832. The edifice was renovated
in the fall of 1871-2. The congregation is
supplied at present by the rector of the Union
City parish.

The Methodist Episcopal congregation was
not regularly organized until 1885, though
occasional services had been held from as long
back as 1814. The meeting place for some
years was in an old building removed from
near the Eagle Hotel to the corner of High
and Sixth streets. The present structure was
built in 1854.

Up to forty years ago, Waterford borough
and township shared equally with Erie in



political influence, and there is hardly a posi-
tion within the gift of the people of the
county that has not been filled by one or more
of their citizens, as the following list shows :
Quartermaster General, Wilson Smith, 1812.
Presidential Electors, John Boyd, 1824; Wil-
son Smith, 1832 ; Charles C. Boyd, 1872. State
Senate, Wilson Smith, 1809 to 1812. Assem-
bly, John Lytle, 1802 to 1805; Wilson Smith,
1806 to 1808 and 1819-20; Samuel Hutchins,
1838 and 1839; David Himrod, 1857; O. S.
Woodward, 1865 and 1866. Associate Judges,
John Vincent, December 23, 1805, to March
26, 1840; Samuel Hutchins, November 12,
1856, to November 23, 1861; William Ben-
son, November 8, 1866, to November 8,
1872. Sheriffs, Wilson Smith, 1803 to
1805; Thomas B. Vincent, November 2,
1852, to October 28, 1855; John L. Hyner,
October 24, 1873, to January 1, 1877; H. C.
Stafford, January 1, 1880, to January 1, 1883.
Prothonotary, E. L. Whittclsey, November
22, 1869, to December 28, 1875. Register
and Recorder, Reuben J. Sibley, November
25, 1848, to November 22, 1851. Treasurer,
Judson Walker, elected in 1889. Coroner,
M. S. Vincent, elected in 1872. County
Commissioners, John Vincent, 1803 to 1804;
John Bovd, 1807 to 1810 ; Henry Colt. 1822 to
1825; William Benson, sr., 1826 to 1828;
Flavel Boyd, 1854 to 1857; Charles C. Boyd,
1863 to 1866. Directors of the Poor. James
Benson, 1840 to 1841 ; James Anderson, 1843
to 1846; George Fritts,'l849 to 1852. County
Surveyors, Wilson Smith, 1800 to 1801; Wil-
son King, 1827 to 1833; William Benson, jr.,
1854 to 1863. County Auditors, Charles
Martin, 1810; John Lytle, 1813 to 1816;
Amos Judson, 1814 to 1817; James M. Mc-
Kay, 1825 to 1828; Martin Strong, 1826 to
1829; William Benson, 1835 to 1888; Simeon
Hunt, 1845 to 1846; Flavel Boyd, 1850 to
1853; Frank Shaw, elected in 1887; George
Taylor, elected in 1890 and '98. Mercantile
Appraisers, S. B. Benson, 1852 and 1861 ; J.
P. Vincent, 1857; C. W. S. Anderson, 1868;
H. R. Whittelsev, 1866; James R. Taylor,

Thomas Wilson, Congressman from 1813
to 1818, had been a resident of Waterford,
but removed to Erie in 1805, and was liv-
ing there when elected. Other citizens of
Erie chosen to public positions, wlio were
natives of Waterford borough or township,

are: John P. Vincent, Additional Law Judge
from December, 1866, to April 17, 1874, and
President Judge from the latter date to Janu-
ary, 1877 ; James Skinner, State Senator from
1852 to 1855, and Prothonotary from Novem-
ber, 1857, to November, 1863; Alfred King,
Prothonotary from November, 1854, to the
same month in 1857 ; and John A. Tracy,
County Treasurer from 1835 to 1838. Among
professional and business men, her contribu-
tion to Erie includes William Benson, John
Clemens, A. H. Gray, F. F. Adams, David
Himrod, F. F. Farrar, Dr. P. Hall, Irvin
Camp, B. B. Vincent, William Himrod, T.
B. Vincent, Dr. L. Strong, O. S. Woodward,
and others whose names cannot now be re-
called. She has given the city two Mayors
— F. F. Farrar and Alfred King. Mr. Tracy's
career in Erie began as a clerk for Reed &
banford in 1816. He was the father of John
F. Tracy, the famous railroad m;ui (deceased),
and father-in-law of the late Wm. L. Scott.


The following is a list of the Postmasters
of the borough, with the years of their commis-
sions : Charles Martin, 1801; Samuel Hutch-
ins, 1819; Joseph Derrickson, 1829: John
Marvin, 1881; Henrv Colt, 1840: Joseph L.
Cook, 1841; Timothy Judson, 1844; John
Curtis, 1847; Thomas B. Vincent, 1849;
Hugh H. Whitney, 1852; Henry Colt, 1858;
John Lytle, 1861 ; William Vincent, 1861 ;
Andrew W. Tracy, 1865; William O. Colt,
1868; James P. Vincent, 1869; Sarah H. Vin-
cent, 1875; I. Lloyd Benson, February 6,
1890; T. M. Judson, May 1, 1894.


In 1851 or '52, Joseph S. M. Young
started the Waterford Dispatch, which at-
tained to a wide circulation by its sympathy
with the "Rippers" in the railroad war. He
removed it to Erie in 1856, and it became the
basis of the present Dispatch establishment.
B. F. H. Lynn, who rose to distinction as an
Erie publisher, was employed by Mr. Young
in Waterford, and came over with the ofHce.
Not long after the change, Mr. Lewis, who
was running the Edinboro Museum, went to
Waterford with his office, and printed a paper
for a short time. In 1857, it fell into the
hands of Amos Judson, who changed the
name to the Ji/igiiircr. That paper suspended



for a few months in 1858, but was re-estab-
lished by Judson & Lynn, who were suc-
ceeded by C. R. H. Lynn, under whose ad-
ministration it went out of existence. The
borough was without a paper till May 7, 1874,
when L. B. Thompson started the Water-
ford Enterprise. Not proving as successful
as he anticipated, the office was moved to
Union City in February, 1875. Dr. D. P.
Robbins started the Waterford Astonisher on
the 26th of January, 1878, and continued his
connection with the same until December 16
of that year, when A. F. Moses took charge,
changed the name to the Waterford Leader,
and continued its publication until April 1,
1883, when it was purchased by W. G. Le-
fevre. Since then it has been owned and
edited by H. L. Moore, Gillett & Van Al-
stine and the Bolard Bros., the latter of whom
are printing it at present with more than
usual success.


The manufacturing concerns of the bor-
ough are a cheese factory (opened May 10,
1870) ; a tannery ; a gristmill (built in 1894) ;
two carriage and wagon factories; a marble
works ; a carpenter and joiner shop ; a cooper
shop; two sawmills; a shingle-mill; and four
blacksmith shops.

The borough has an unusual number of
good stores. It also boasts quite an extensive
cold storage building.

The secret societies in 1894 included lodges
or organizations of the F. & A. M., I. O. O
F., A. O. U. W., I. O. G. T., K. O. T. M.
K. of S., F. & I., P. H. C, W. R. C, G. A
R., E. A. U., and P. of H. The Odd Fel
lows lodge, the first secret society in tlie bor
ough, was established in ]84fi, and that of the
Masonic order in 1868.


Waterford, for a place of its size, has had
more than its due proportion of destructive
fires. One of the largest occurred on the 5th
of March, 1865, sweeping away the whole of
the west side of High street, from .Second

alley to Judson's store, and running north
from Second alley about one half the block.
Another on the last day of December, 1873,
destroyed the Union hotel, a large three story
building, and two other structures. The
Bryant & Hayes tannery has been burned
down twice. Quite extensive fires took place
on the nights of February 4, 1881, and Feb-
ruary 22, 1883. The first destroyed buildings
belonging to A. M. Carson, the heirs of David
Boyd, T. W. Whitney, J. W. Willard and the
heirs of A. Oliver; the second, A. M. Car-
son's store, P. C. Sedgwick's meat market,
and Hiram Howland's grocery. A fire in the
winter of 1883-84 burned down Wheeler &
Dewey's grist, saw and lath mill and planing
factory. The latest and perhaps the most
damaging of all, broke out about five o'clock
Sunday morning, March 8, 1895, and swept
the entire square on the west side of High
street, between First and Second streets, with
the exception of one brick building, causing a
loss of some $45,000. With an energy that is
deserving of much commendation, the people
went to work almost immediately to rebuild
the burnt district, and by August, 1895, it was
covered with brick store and office structures
of a much better style than before.

The Erie and Waterford plank road was
completed in 1851, and .the Waterford and
Meadville about 1852. In 1856, grading for
the Philadelphia and Erie R. R. commenced,
and it was opened to Warren in 1859. The
first postal facilities would seem to have been
granted to the town about 1801. From then
to 1823, a mail was carried between Pittsburg
and Erie once a week each direction, in the
beginning on horseback and after the war by
hack. In 1826, stages ran through the place
three times a week, each way, carrying the
mails. The number was increased to a daily
stage and mail from both ends of the line,
which lasted until the completion of the rail-

The centennial of the founding of Water-
ford was celebrated on Tuesday, September
17, 1895, with interesting exercises, and at-
tended by a large number of people from all
points of the compass.

/ ^^Y^r-^^2^^fAi^




THE section of Erie county now em-
braced in Wayne and Concord town-
ships wasoriginally known as Broken-
straw, a name given to it in the act of
organization. In 1821 tlie title was
changed to Concord, through the influence of

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 62 of 192)