Emanuel Swedenborg.

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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every kind, and in every place, dip away from the middle lines of the valleys towards,
into and under the mountains. The strata lie flat along the center lines of the
valleys, and also lie flat in the middle of each mountain range. But on the north
facu of a mountain they dip south, and on the south face they dip north, in all cases.
There is even a very slight, almost imperceptible, dip at the end of each mountain
into the mountain. The rule is absolutely universal." *♦•••*

"In the valley of the Cowanesque, the rocks seen along the river dip south
towards Tioga and go under the mountain at Crooked creek; and they dip nortli
towards Lawrenceville and go under the mountain at Osceola and Elkland. So
again around Canton, the rocks may be seen dipping gently northwest into and under
tlie Blossburg mountain, and also southeast into and under the Towanda mountain.

"The rule is, then, that the valleys are arches or nnticlinals, and the mountains
are all troughs, basins or synclinals."



20 HISTOBY OF TIOGA COUNTY.



THE BLOSSBUEG MOUNTAIN BASIN.

"The Blossburg mountain basin lies between the Towanda anticlinal valley on
the south, and the Mansfield and Wellsboro anticlinal valley on the north. The
mountain mass is called by people in Bradford county the Armenia mountains. In
Liberty township, Tioga county, it has received the more unpretentious name of
Brier Hill.

"The north flank of this range enters Tioga county at its southwest corner;
crosses Cedar creek one or two miles below the old lumber camps of S. X. Billings,
in Elk township; Pine creek, towards the northwest corner of Morris township;
Stony Fork, about two miles south of Stony Fork postoffice; Wilson creek, about half
a mile below its forks, in Delmar township; the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim
railroad, near the north line of Duncan township, and enters Covington township
about a mile south of Cherry Flats. It crosses the Tioga river about two miles above
Covington borough, entei-ing Sullivan township at its southwest corner. It enters
Bradford county at the southwest corner of Columbia township, keeping very nearly
on the line between Armenia and Columbia. It then turns south, and keeps along
the line between Armenia and Troy, and so follows round the Armenia township
line back into Tioga county, as the south flank of the mountain, through Union,
Liberty and Morris, west of the village of Nauvoo and north of Zimmerman's creek.
This line passes about a mile north of Ogden's Corners, in Union township.

"The mountainous region thus enclosed embraces the south side of Elk, nearly
all of Morris and Duncan, the north side of Liberty and Union,'and the south side of
Covington and Sullivan, all of Bloss, Hamilton and Ward townships, Tioga county;
and in Bradford county all of Armenia, making a precipitous wall at the eastern line
of this township.

"The center line, or synclinal axis, comes up from the southwest out of Potter
and Clinton counties, south of Kettle creek, and enters Tioga county near the south-
east corner of Elk, from whence it passes through the heart of Morris, crossing Pine
creek near the mouth of Babb's creek, and rimning across the southeast comer of
Duncan and through the central part of Bloss and Hamilton to the Tioga river at
Blossburg, from whence it passes through the center of Ward to the county line."
****************

"The great curve, to the south of its true course, thus described by the Bloss-
burg synclinal axis, as it approaches the Susquehanna, is very remarkable, but cor-
responds with a similar curve made by the Towanda synclinal axis as it approaches
the river. Both of these lines resume their normal east northeast direction after
crossing the river. There must be some deep-seated and far-acting, cause for this
deflection. It is made more striking by the comparative straightness of the inter-
mediate Towanda creek anticlinal axis. Yet this latter also shows that it sympa-
thizes with the movement by a slight but decided similar curve south of Towanda.
In Tioga county the axis of the Blossburg synclinal runs through the mountain much
nearer to its north than to its south side." ********



TOPOGEAPHtCAL AND GEOLOGICAL FEATTTBE3. 21

DIP OF THE BOCKS.

"Catskill red rocks occupy the lower half of the mountain side in Tioga county,
and Vespertine gray rocks, with occasional red beds, reach nearly to the top of the
mountain.

"The dip is always southward in towards the heart of the mountain, or center
of the basin, and is strongest in inclination just at the foot of the mountain. The
south dip in the north wall of the basin being steeper than the north dip in the
south wall. But the south dip along the north side of the Blossburg basin is much
less steep than the corresponding south dip along the north side of the Towanda
basin. The north dip was observed at many places in the vicinity of Ogden's Comers
and Union Center; northwest of Canton; near Alba; near East Troy; and in the
banks of the Susquehanna, opposite and a little above Towanda.

"The south dip was seen on Cedar creek, below Billinjis' lumber camp; on Pine
creek, in Morris township; at the forks of Stony Fork; on AVilson creek, at the flag-
ston quarries; along the Tioga railroad, midway between Blossburg and Covington,
and at many other points in Tioga county." ••♦**♦*♦

''Red Catskill outcrops are frequent, especially alunfr Odar creek. Pine eieek
and Babb's creek, with their tributaries, where Formation IX. is often .seen at the
surface. But perhaps the best exposures of these beds is along the Ti(ij,'a railroad,
between Blossburg and Covington, in Tioga county. Other locations are along Sugar
creek and a few points below Troy." ••♦•♦***•♦

"The Vespertine may be seen along l')iil>b's creek; in the narniws below Bloss-
b\irg, where the lower beds are exposed, at their junction with IX.; in the side of Big
mountain, between Blossburg and Covington ; in the narrows two or three mUes above
Blossburg, in Tioga county; and at "Prospect Rock," on ilnunt Pisgah, in I'.radford
county.

"The Umbral red shale, from its soft nature, is not often seen at the surface,
except in small ledges on the mountain tops. The Serai Conglomerate is exposed
along the mountain tops west of Cedar creek, in Klk township; along the railroad a
little north of Antrim; and at many points in the vicinity of Blossburg." * • ♦
"The Catskill rocks are thinner in the Blossluirg basin than in the 'I^jwiimla basin by
200 or 300 feet." * • * "Qn the southern side the Catskill red rocks
spread out over the hills for one or two miles from the south foot of the mountain."
* * * "The Catskill red rocks sweep round the east end of the Armenia
mountain," ♦ ♦ ♦ "supporting three elevated patches of the Vespertine,
one of which is Jlount Pisgah." Here "it seems the true non-fossiliferous red Cats-
kill beds of the Blossburg mountain region cease." * « * "Catskill rocks
may be seen on Cedar creek. Pine creek and other streams. At the forks of Stony
Fork red shale is exposed, dipping rapidly to the south. Under the red shale lie fifty
feet or more of gray shale and sandstone."

WELLSBOBO ANTICLINAL.

Continuing his interesting description, Mr. Sherwood says:
"The Mansfield and Wellsboro anticlinal axis and valley lies betwein the Bloss-
burg mountain lia.-;iii mi the south, and the Crooked creek (Mill creek) mountain



22 ' HISTORY OE TIOGA COUNTT.



basin on the north. The axial line of the anticlinal crosses the west line of Tioga
county about two miles and a half north from the southwest county corner — ^runs
through Elk township, crossing Cedar creek at its fork;" * * * "crosses
Pine creek somewhere above Eound Island; passes two miles south of Wellsboro;
leaves Charleston township near East Charleston; crosses Tioga river a mile and a
half above Mansfield, near Canoe Camp," and finally enters Bradford county.

"When traced in an opposite direction, or towards the southwest, this anticlinal
sends off a branch across Pine creek, through the northern portion of Elk township,
into Potter county." * * * "The same conditions as belonging to the
Blossburg basin are repeated here." * * * "The two diverging anticlinals
are much diminished in force as they radiate from the point of separation.

"The anticlinal valley divides (with the axis) west of Pine creek, one arm extend-
ing to the southwest, between the Blossburg and the Kettle creek mountain basins;
the other extending to the west, along the south line of Gaines township, between
the Kettle creek and the Mill creek mountain basins." ******

"Through that portion of Tioga county lying east of Pine creek, the anticlinal
valley spreads southward to the Blossburg mountain basin, or to the outcrop of the
Vespertine rocks, which may be traced from the northwest corner of Morris township,
through the southwest corner of Sullivan township to the Bradford county line, at
the southwest corner of Columbia township.

"It spreads northward to the Mill creek mountain basin, or to the outcrop of the
Vespertine rocks." * * * "jt will be observed that the belt of country
through which it passes is much more densely populated than the mountain basins
on either side, which shows that the arable lands are mostly confined to the anti-
clinal.

"The Mansfield and "Wellsboro valley may be said to terminate at the Bradford
county line, not by closing up, but by opening out into the rolling county lying to
the northeast, over which anticlinal and synclinal areas have alike been so leveled
down that the existing elevations vary but little in height — say 200 or 300 feet above
the Tioga river bed.

"The surface of the "Wellsboro valley proper is rolling, consisting of a succession
of hills and valleys, varying but little in general appearance. The soil is moderately
good; as good, perhaps, as can be found in the northern tier of counties; and the
region may be considered rich in agricultural resources. It is drained by the waters
of Pine creek and the Tioga river."

CEOOKED OEEEK BASIN.

"The Crooked, or Mill creek, mountain basin lies between the Mansfield and

"Wellsboro anticlinal valley on the south, and the Sabinsville — or Cowanesque river

anticlinal valley on the north. Its south wall enters Tioga from Potter county, on
the south side of Pine creek, which it crosses about three-fourths of a mile below' the
mouth of Marsh creek; runs thence to the northeast corner of Delmar- thence
through the northern part of Charleston and Eichmond; crossing the Tioga' river at
Lamb's creek; and Mill creek at the mouth of Elk run; then sweeping around to meet



TOPOGRAPHICAL AXI) GEOLOGICAL FEATTJEES. 23

the north flank at a point on the Rutland-Jackson line, a mile short of the county
line.

"Its northern wall enters Tioga from Potter county in the southwest part of
Clymer township; crosses Long run at its forks; passes along the southern edge of
Chatham to the northeast corner of Middlebury township; crosses Crooked creek at
Keeneyville, and again near Hammond; the Tioga river about a mile south of Tioga
borough; keeping through the center of Tioga and the south edge of Jackson town-
ship to meet the south wall of the mountain, as before described.

"It is a much broken mountainous belt of country, covering the northern half
of Gaines, the northern two-thirds of Shippen, the south edge of Clj-mer and Chat-
ham, the north part of Delmar, the northern edge of Charleston and Richmond, the
northwest part of Rutland, the southern half of Middlebury, the southeastern half of
Tioga and the southern edge of Jackson townships.

"Its central synclinal axis leaves Potter county and enters Tioga in the north
part of Gaines township. Crossing Long run between ]>lue run and Benn Gully run,
it makes a nearly east course through the north part of Sliippen, across the head of
Asaph and Canada runs, to j\Iiddlcbury Centre and Ilolidaytown. Ilonding a little
to the north it crosses the Tioga river at the mouth of Mill creek and enters Bradford
county in the southeast corner of Jackson townshi])." ♦****•

"The general level of the mountain top — or to]is, for tlioy nro numerous — is
pretty uniformly at the same height above tide. In the western part of Tioga county
its surface drainage is into Pine and ^larsh creeks, with their numerous arms —
Phoenix creek. Long run, with its branches — Illue run. Gal run, Benn (iully run, etc.
— Shim Hollow run, Aspah run, Canada run, etc., and also into the upper branches
of the ('(jwanescjue, Mill creek and the Jemison.

"Pine and Marsh creeks have exenvated their channels just within the edge of
the basin; and it will lie noticed tliat the point where the two streams unite and leave
the basin is opposite its deepest part. The principal drainage is, therefore, out from
the south side of tlio middle portion of an oblong oval basin. Of course it is here
that a considerable area of coal measures has been preserved.

"The mountain mass, which in Gaines township, is cut completely through
crosswise, and to its base, by Long run flowing south into Pine creek, is cut up into
three separate isolated knobs, further to the east, by Crooked creek and its branches.
These streams cut the mountain through to its base.

"Crooked creek has a curious course, entering the mountain Ijasin at Keeney-
ville, and leaving it again at Hammond, six or seven miles below, on the same side
of the basin; but its course is through a somewhat shallower ]iart of the basin.
Crooked creek is here joined by some of its principal tributaries, as Xorris brook,
Catlin Hollow run, Hill's creek, Steven House run, etc. Mill creek joins the Tioga
river exactly wjiere the center line of the synclinal axis crosses the river. Its prin-
cipal feeders having their sources in the mountain are Cabin run, Painter run and
Bailey creek.

"It will be observed that the Tiopa river cuts straight through the mountain,
entering it at Lamli's creek and leaving it near Tioga. And the line of the river
rejireBente the transverse axis of another oblong oval basin similar to, but smaller
than, the one mentioned before, in connection with Pine and Marsh creeks. This



24 HISTORY OF TIOGA COUNTY.



basin is only deep enough to retain the coal conglomerate on the mountain top ahoTO
Painter run, a short distance east of the river. The course of the Tioga river was
evidently determined by, first, the oval basin of Tioga; and its direction from one to
the other, north twenty-five degrees west, or at right angles to the course of the
svnclinal." **************

VALLEY OF THE COWANESQtTE.

"The valley of the Cowanesque river lies between the Mill creek mountain basin
on the south, and the Cowanesque mountain basin on the north, and extends for
about twenty-five miles from the Potter county line to the Tioga river. Its breadth
varies from six miles at its western to ten miles at its eastern end. The anticlinal axis
wiiich runs through it lengthwise crosses the west county line of Clymer township
two or three miles south of the southwest corner; passes under Sabinsville, and a little
to the north of Little Marsh postoiSce, to the northwest corner of Tioga township;
the Tioga river at or near Somer's Lane; thence to the northeast corner of the
county. It continues its course in the same direction through Chemung county,
New York. The south edge of the actual valley is very nearly the line which separ-
ates the Catskill red from the Vespertine or Catskill gray rocks, and may be said to
run from the forks of Long run in Clymer, past Keeneyville and Tioga, to the south-
east corner of Jackson township.

"The northern edge of the valley is the south foot of the Cowanesque mountain,
rising directly from the north bank of the Cowanesque river as far as Elkland. The
valley includes more than the half of Clymer, a small part of Westfield, nearly all
of Chatham, the whole of Parmington and a part of Middlebury townships. The
surface is made up of low rounded hills; the soil is good, and adapted to grain and
stock raising. The drainage of the valley is complicated. The south branches of
Cowanesque river — Potter brook along the county line. Mill creek through Sabins-
ville, the Jemison, etc., drain its west end, northward; while the heads of Long run
and "Waddle's branch drain the south dipping country, southward into Pine creek. In
the middle region, while other small streams flow northward iuto the Cowanesque,
the head branches of Crooked creek drain from the axis at Little Marsh and Shorts-
ville, southward, into the mountain. The eastern end of the valley is drained by the
Elkhorn east southeastward into the Tioga at Tioga borough, by Mutton Lane and
Somer's Lane creeks also into the Tioga; while Cowanesque river crosses diagonally
the valley from Elkland to Lawrenceville to empty its abundant waters into the
Tioga."

STREAMS OE THE COUNTY.

The principal streams of Tioga county are the Tioga river, the Cowanesque river.
Crooked creek and Pine creek. These with their branches, aided by other smaller
streams, which flow into Bradford, Lycoming and Potter counties, have been leading
agencies in transforming the surface of the county, a work they are still, though less
effectively, engaged in.

The Tioga River, the most important of these, rises in a tamarack swamp on the
eastern crest of the Armenia mountains, and is first known as Tamarack creek until



TOPOGEAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL FEATURES. 25

joined by Morgan creek and other small streams at the county line, after which it is
known as the Tioga river. Its general course for the fixst twelve or fifteen miles is
to the southwest, keeping along the synclinal axis at the bottom of the basin. At the
mouth of Carpenter's run, about two miles above Blossburg, it turns north, and after
running about five miles escapes from the mountains into the Mansfield and "WeUs-
boro anticlinal valley, about a mile and a half above Covington. The point where it
turns to the north is the deepest part of the oblong oval basin of the Blossburg coal
field.

Inside the basin the Tioga river is joined by the South creek. Fall brook. Carpen-
ter's run, Taylor's run, Harris run, Coal run, Johnson creek and East creek, all rapid
streams, descending with the dip from the oval rim of the mountain, cutting deep
furrow-like vales, and removing thousands of acres of coal lands which once existed,
and a pile of coal measures of perhaps 2,000 feet in thickness.

Tioga river leaves the county and enters New York State at an elevation of
nearly 1,000 feet, for the railroad grade at Lawrenceville on the State line is 1,006
feet; at Mitchell's creek mouth, 1,0:^2 feet; at Tio^:;! borough, 1,042 feet; at Mill
creek mouth, 1,077 feet; at Lamb's creek, 1,111 IVet; at Mansfield, 1,140 feet; at
Canoe Camp, 1,163 feet; at Covington, 1,208 feet; and at Blossburg, 1,348 feet.
Tioga river descends, therefore, about 350 feet from lilossburg to La\vreaceville, a
distance of twenty-two miles, in a nearly straight line — or twenty-five miles by its
bends — at the rate of about twenty-two feet per mile for the first nine miles, and
eleven feet per mile for the last fourteen miles. It falls o(if) feet in six miles above
Blossburg, from the Fall Brook coal mines, which are 1,842 feet above tide; and the
mountain summit, back of the mines, rises several hundred feet hiijlier.

Crooked Creek, the principal tributary of the Tioga ri\er, has its head watrrs in
Chatham township, and pursues a southeast course until it reaches Jliddlebury Cen-
tre, when it turns northeast and flows through Middleburj' and Tioga townships,
uniting with the river at Tioga borough. The Crooked creek canon, which splits
the second mountain range, and issues at Tioga borough, is traversed as far as Mid-
dlebury Centre by the Fall Brook railroad, running from Lawreneeville to the An-
trim mines, of the first or Blossburg range by way of Wellsboro. At Holidaytown
its grade is 1,151 feet above tide water; at Middlebury Centre, 1,179 feet; at Wells-
boro, the county seat, in the center of the valley, and on the crown of the anticlinal
and divide between the waters which flow four ways, 1,317 feet. At the railroad
summit, in a low gap in the first range, it is 1,862 feet, and at the Antrim coal mines.
1,672 feet. Antrim terminus and Arnot terminus are therefore nearly on a level
with each other and with the Morris run terminus, l.tJTS feet.

Li/coiiiing ( 'reck, another important stream, which skirts the southern comer of
the eounty. Hows at the same level as the Tioga river at Covington; the grade of the
Williamsport and Elmira railroad at Carpenter being 1,200 and the Tioga railroad
grade at Covington 1,208 feet.

Pine Creek — "River of the Pines" — is a stream of considerable volume, and
drains an exteii.sive water shed. It has its souree in Potter county. From the
mouth of Marsh creek, at Ansonia, all the way southward to Lycoming county, it
flows in a deep and narrow valley or s^orfie, with high hills and walk of rock on either
side. The portion called "The Narrows" only affords room enough for the tracks



26 HISTOEY OF TIOGA COUNTT.

of the Fall Brook railroad for a distance of about sixteen miles by the side of the
stream, which at times becomes a wild, dashing mountain torrent. There are no
flats of much consequence at the widest points, but the hills usually rise from near
the water's edge. After entering Tioga county, within the edge of the Mill creek
mountain basin, until it is joined by Marsh creek, when it takes a sharp turn to the
south, it cuts across the Mansfield and Wellsboro anticlinal at the point where the
axis divides. Its course is one of zigzags, across anticlinals and synclinals, from its
course to its confluence with the West Branch of the Susquehanna, two miles west
of Jersey Shore. Whilst it is a rapid flowing stream throughout, its principal tribu-
tary, is the sluggish Marsh creek.

The lowest point in the county is in the Pine creek canon, where it passes south
into Lycoming county a short distance below Blackwells, at the mouth of Babb's
creek, which is 833 feet above tide. Marsh creek mouth is 1,106 feet; Mill creek
mouth at Gaines is 1,219 feet; and where Pine creek enters from Potter county its
bed is nearly 1,300 feet above tide; the summits of the coal-covered mountain tops to
the north being over 3,000 feet. Pine creek, from the great water shed it drains,
should be called a river. It has a fall of twenty feet per mile for fourteen miles, and
is, therefore, a swift current.

Marsh Creek, which unites with Pine creek at Ansonia, is a remarkable stream,
with a motion so slow as to be hardly perceptible. It flows through a broad valley
known as "The Marsh," the ground being swampy for many miles. Its direction is
exactly the reverse of that pursued by Upper Pine creek — as if the waters of Pine
creek once flowed up Marsh creek, straight on toward the Tioga river. In fact "The
Jl^arsh" extends the whole distance from. Pine creek to Nile's Valley, near the north-
east corner of Delmar township, where the water from Norris creek flows both ways,
part down Crooked creek and part down Marsh creek. It is a remarkable summit,
if summit it can be called, which divides the waters flowing down Marsh creek to
Pine creek, and those flowing down Crooked creek to the Tioga river. The idea is
therefore quite popular, says Mr. Sherwood, among the inhabitants that Pine creek,
instead of flowing south through the gorge first described, flowed formerly through
the valleys of Marsh creek and Crooked creek, into the Tioga river. And any one
who will view the ground will be forced to conclude that' such was probably the case,
but when or how this great change was brought about is one of the questions that
never can be explained or answered. If Pine creek once flowed northward from
Ansonia, what a mighty convulsion of nature must it have been that rent the mount-
ain asunder and diverted its waters southward through one of the most weird chasms
to be found in the chain of the AUeghenies?

Another theory is that a small stream once had its source south of the supposed
wall, and, on account of a "fault" in the rocks, as the geologists say, worked a small
passage down the mountain. When the breast of the dam was broken, bv the tre-
mendous pressure behind it, there was such a mighty rush of water down the rivulet
that in time the great chasm was cut and the course of Pine creek ehano'ed to the
south.

There are evidences on the mountain sides, in the form of marine shells, of the
existence of water at one time. Enoch Blackwell, a gentleman of keen observation
and who is familiar with this mountain region from boyhood, has no doubt in his



Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 2 of 163)