Emanuel Swedenborg.

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

. (page 5 of 163)
Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 5 of 163)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

farmer, 25; Calvin Chambers, farmer, 2T; William Campbell, farmer, 23; Benjamin
Chambers, 40; David Chambers, farmer, 24; Reuben Cook, farmer, 51; Charles
Ologer, farmer, 44; Lemuel Gaylord, farmer, 35; Aaron Gillet, innkeeper, 34; Joiin
Goodlinp, 21; Jonathan Guisel, farmer, 30; John C.ri^:,L's. farmer. 50; Stephen
Gardner, farmer, 30; John Gardner, farmer, 35; George Goodhue, tailor, 57; Josiah
Hovey, innkeeper, 52; Simeon Hovey, carpenter, 24; Gurdon Hovey, carpenter, 22;


William Holden, farmer, 28; Stephen Harrison, farmer, 43; Gideon Haines, joiner,
38; John Hulings, shoemaker, 27; Daniel Holiday, farmer, 31; Titus Ives, innkeeper,
33; John Ives, Jr., farmer, 36; John Ives, Sr., farmer, 55; Benajah Ives, farmer, 29;
Benjamin Ives, farmer, 45; Timothy Ives, farmer, 33; Ambrose Ives, farmer, 63;
Obadiah Inscho, farmer, 36; Daniel Ingersole, farmer, 60; Barret M. Ingersole,
farmer, 22; James Jennings, farmer, 27; Philip Job, farmer, 24; Subil Johnston,
joiner, 30; Daniel Jordan, farmer, 35; John Jervis, farmer, 21; Joseph Kelley, farmer,
38; David Kennedy, farmer, 50; William Kennedy, farmer, 35; William Knox,
farmer, 30; Mr. Kingsley, carpenter, 40; James Kinyon, farmer, 72; Benjamin
Kinyon, farmer, 26; John Kinyon, farmer, 28; Jacob Kiphart, farmer, 53; Gad
Lamb, farmer, 55; Jesse Losey, farmer, 35; Stephen Losey, farmer, 30; Stephen
Lane, farmer, 54; Joseph Lane, farmer, 33; Garret Miller, farmer, 42; Samuel Miller,
farmer, 22; Elisha Marvin, farmer, 28; Eichard Mitchell, farmer, 30; Thomas
Mitchell, blacksmith, 39; Eobert Mitchell, farmer, 24; Samuel Needham, farmer, 28;
Nathan Niles, farmer, 44; John Newell, farmer, 35; William Penrose, farmer, 35;
Job Phillips, farmer, 59; Daniel Phillips, farmer, 31; Samuel Palmer, 53; Lyman
Pritchard, farmer, 26; Eeuben Pribble, farmer, 27; George Pike, farmer, 37; Stephen
Eandle, farmer, 30; Jacob Eeed, farmer, 38; Jacob Eadley, farmer, 40; William
Eathbun, farmer, 24; Eoyal Southworth, joiner, 24; Uriah Spencer, farmer, 30;
Ebenezer Seelye, farmer, 45; Jacob Stiles, farmer, 40; Titus Sesse, farmer, 40;
Stephen Smith, farmer, 23; Daniel Strait, farmer, 39; Christopher Schoonover,
farmer, 43; Jacob Server, farmer, 48; Stephen Socket, farmer, 28; Daniel Thompson,
farmer, 49; Christopher Thompson, farmer, 36; James VanCamp, farmer, 60; John
VanCamp, farmer, 34; Samuel Wilcox, farmer, 33; Ezekiel Webster, farmer, 34; John
Wilson, farmer, 35; Thomas Wilson, farmer, 36; Elisha White, farmer, 53.
Total, 133.

Accompanying the report is a table showing the number of colored people in the
county, slave and free, at that time. Liberty Jordan, a freeman, aged 35, is the only
one credited to Tioga township.

From an old minute book of the commissioners, under date of September 3,
1800, it appears that John Carothers was paid $16 for "taking Tioga enimieration."
He was a resident of Lycoming township, and had a tract of land lying on the river,
a short distance above Newberry. Prom October 37, 1801, to October 36, 1804, he
served as coroner of Lycoming county. In the same minute book he is charged with
being paid $9.30, under date of September 7, 1803, for holding an inquest on the
dead body of Peter Grove. The latter was a famous Indian killer, and reference has
been made to him as being concerned with his brother Michael in the slaughter of a
number of savages on the Sinnemahoning. He settled near Dunnstown, and was
drowned in the river late in the fall of 1803, by the upsetting of his canoe,'as he was
crossing from the south side, whither he had gone to attend a shooting match.

As Tioga had been taken from Lycoming, that was the reason, probably, why
one of the residents of the parent township was selected to make the enumeration.
When the wilderness condition of the new township is considered, the job was cer-
tainly not a pleasant one. The only way to reach the district was by the Indian path
up Pine and Babb's creeks, over the State road from Newberry, which had just been
opened, or by the Williamson road from Trout Eun and the Block House. The set-


tiers were widely scattered along the valleys of the Tioga and Cowanesque rivers, and
in "out-of-the-way" nooks where it was hard to find them. That the enumerator,
if he traveled through the new township in search of settlers, richly earned his sixteen
dollars will he the verdict of all familiar with the extent of the forest region.


Further evidence of the early efforts that were made to improve this new town-
ship are furnished by the fragmentary minute hooks of the commissioners of Lycom-
ing county, which are still in existence. An entry under date of October 21, 1803,
shows that Joseph Ross and Josiah AMiite were supervisors of roads in Tioga town-
ship, and that they were paid $420.78 for making an assessment of unseated lands.
December 6, 1803, Henry Donnel was paid $."J1.04 "in full for running the Tioga
township line;" but the most diligent search has failed to develop his report. In
March, 1804, Uriah Spencer received $10.56 "in full for assessing the towbship;"
and on the 12th of May, same year, Mordecai Sweeny was paid $3.60 "for carrying
duplicate to the collector of Tioga township."

Under date of June 6, 1804, William Rathbun and Moses Wilson, "supervisors
of roads," are paid "on account for unseated land tax for Tioga township for 1803,
$219.45." And order No. 163, December 5, 1804, shows us that Titus Ives was paid
$7.62 for attendance as a witness at Williamsport in the case of "Repub. vs. Ciillet,
at September and December terms" of court.

An act passed by the legislature April 3, 1804 (Smith's Laws, vol. IV., p. 107),
made Tioga township a separate election district, and directed that elections
should be held at the house of Thomas Ben-y. On October 16, following, the v<>m-
missioners paid Alexander Stone fifty cents "for making an election box for the
Tioga district." As there were few voles to poll a small box evidently sufficed to
contain the ballots. William Rathbun appears to have served as inspector and he
was paid $:!. Moses Wilson presided as judge and lie received the same pay. Nathan
Niles performed the duties of clerk and received $3, also. Uriah Spencer served as
judge at one election and his pay was the same.


In those days wild animals were plenty in the wilderness of Tioga, and
considerable money was paid out of the treasury as bounties for scalps. In the
commissioners' minute book for ISOS many entries of this kind are found, a few of
which are culled at random, to show who received bounties. On the 15th of March,
1808, Wilson Freeman received $16 "I'or two full grown panthers' heads:"" and on
the 5th of JIny. same year, Timothy Coats, Isaac Gaylord and James Whitney were
paid .$3a "for three wolf and une imnther heads,"" certified by Nathan Xiles, Esq.,
On June 3d, Aaron Freeman was paid $8 "for a full grown wolf head" upon the
certificate of Justice Xiles; Joshua Reynolds also received $8, and Nathan Brown a
similar sum for wolf scalps. In the latter case Nathaniel Allen, Esq., made the
certificate. On the 1st of July, Joshua lievnolds pocketed i?8 "for a full grown
wolf head" upon certificate of 'Squire Niles, and on the 12th of August, Timothy
Culver had his exchequer replenished by a like amount on the same squire's cer-


tificate. Eufus Adams was paid $8 on the 39th of August, and Titus lyes was en-
riched $16 on the 30th of the same month for the scalps of two wolves which he had
trapped and slain.

During the first decade of the Nineteenth century hundreds of dollars were
paid in bounties for the destruction of wolves and panthers in Tioga township;
and the work of killing was continued well along in the second and third decades.
These animals abounded in those early days, and while they did not often attack
persons, the wolves particularly were a source of constant trouble to the farmers
on account of killing their sheep if they were not securely housed at night. Fre-
quently whole flocks were decimated in a night by these rapacious and prowling
pests of the wilderness settlements. For this reason the legislature authorized
the payment of a botmty for their destruction.



The Landed Interests— Their Influence on Legislation— Tioga County Ceeated
—Form and Area— Derivation of Name— The Teem Tioga— Boundary Line
Dispute— Origin of the Trouble— Various Efforts to Establish Lines—
A Tangle of Perplexing Questions— The Latest Commission.

OWING to landed interests the inhabitants of what became Lycoming county April
13, 1795, had to petition and importune the Assembly for nine years before their
prayers were granted. The opposition came principally from such men as Kobert
Morris and others who seemed imbued with a consuming desire to own all the lands
acquired by the purchase of 1784; and as these lands were annexed to Northumber-
land county they feared that its dismemberment would operate against their in-
terests. But after Morris disposed of his immense possessions in the State of New
York and was overtaken by business troubles, he no longer interposed objections to
the creation of new counties.

Lycoming county covered an immense area — about 12,000 square miles — and it
soon became clear to the owners of the great bodies of land that settlements could
be facilitated by making more counties. These landed proprietors were mostly resi-
dents of Philadelphia, and as the assembly sat there, they had, on account of their
wealth and standing, great influence with the members. Legislation then, as now
was often controlled by rings or syndicates; but it was more especially in the interest
of land owners and projectors of new towns. Bath had been founded by a great
English syndicate, whose manager, Charles Williamson, was one of the most saga-


cious, enterprising and daring men of his time, and his bold operations in the wilder-
ness began to attract the attention of the whole countrj-. This aroused the owners
of the land lying south of Bath. They saw that the tide of emigration was setting in
for the "Genesee country,'' as it w as then called, over the great road which William-
son had built from Lycoming creek across the mountains and down the Tioga river,
and they perceived that if something was not soon done to arrest this flow of travel
a fine settlement would be founded north of them and their lands would remain in a
wilderness condition.


The Pine Creek Land Company had been organized and Benjamin Wistar Morris
installed as their agent on the ground. He was from Philadelphia, had been trained
to business, and was a shrewd, far-seeing man. His backers resided in Philadelphia
and wielded great influence. Their intiMusts, combined witii the interests of other
land owners in the great territory embraced by Lycomiiij: county, induced them to
enter into a movement for the organization of more counties. The letrislature was
then sitting at Lancaster, and tlie movement culminated in the introiluetion cif a
bill — known as the "omnibus bill" — for tliu formation of a whole block of counties.
It was approved March 2(i, isot, and created the following counties: ChaiiiclJ,
Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tio^ii. Tliose counties witc contiguous or adjoined
each other, and the territory out of which some of them were formed was practically
an unknown wilderness.

Centre county wiis organized l-'ebruary 13, 1800, out of parts of Mifflin, Xor-
thumberiand, Lycoming and Huntingdon; Clearfield out of parts of Lycoming and
Northumberland. But Jefferson, JUKean, Potter and Tioga were formed ..ut of
territory taken from Lycoming county alone. Lycoming, therefore, is the mother
of Tioga, and stately old Northumberland, erected :March '21, Vm, is her grand-

Section five of the "Omnibus Bill," of ^hnvh 2r,. ls(i4, thus defines the bound-
aries of Tioga:

That so much of the county of Lycoming, included in the following boundaries, to
wit: Itotrinning Ave miles north of the southeast corner of number four, in Brodhead's
district line on the eastern boundary of said number four; thence due east until it
strikes the main branch of Lycoming creek; thence up the said creek to the head thereof,
near the Towandv beaver dams; thence to the head of said beaver dams, or until it m-
tersects the boundary line between Luzerne and Lycoming counties; thence a straight
line to the eightieth mile stone on the State line; thence west along the State line to the
northeast corner of Vultcr county; thence south alonsr the line of the same to the place
of beginning, be, and the same is hereby erected into a separate county, to be henceforth
colled Tioga county, and the place of holding courts of justice in and for .said county
shall be fixed by the legislature at any place at a distance not greater than seven miles
from the .enter of the county, which may be most beneficial and convenient for said

Tioga is the fourth county of I'cnnsyhania in the northern tier "f countii-s, on
the New York State line, counting from the northeast corner of the State and Dela-
ware river; the first being Wayne; the second, Snsiiuehanna; the third. liradford, and


the fourth, Tioga. It is bounded on the north by Steuben county, New York; on
the east by Bradford and Lycoming counties; on the south by Lycoming county, and
on the west by Potter county.


In shape Tioga is almost square, excepting the southeast corner, which is irregu-
lar or jagged. Its north line, which is also the line between New York and Pennsyl-
vania, was run upon the parallel of north latitude forty-two degrees. Its south line
was intended to follow the parallel of forty-one degrees thirty-five minutes. Its
west line was laid along the meridian of forty-seven minutes west from Washington.
Its east line runs a little east of south, from a point on the State line about two and
one-half minutes east of the "Washington meridian to the marsh at the head of Ly-
coming creek, near Canton; whence the county line descends Lycoming creek five
miles and then ascends Eoaring Branch about three miles, thus cutting off the theo-
retical square southeast corner and producing a jagged or irregular edge.

The dimensions of the county, according to the geological report, are as follows:
North line, 34| miles; south line (if straight to Lycoming creek), 33| miles; east
line, S8J miles; west line, 31J miles; southeast line (on Lycoming creek), 5 miles.
Its area is, therefore, about 1,124 square miles, or 719,360 acres. This, according to
the figures of the land ofiice, is only eighty-nine square miles less than the area of
Lycoming county.


The county derived its name from the Tioga river, which flows north and unites
with the Conhocton near Corning; after the confluence it is called the Chemung,
which sweeps around in a semi-circle and finally unites with the North Branch of the
Susquehanna at what was formally known as Tioga Point, but is now called Athens,
in Bradford county. Tioga Point was originally the gateway to the country of the
Six Indian nations, through which visitors had to pass. Early explorers and pioneers
found their way up the Tioga, as it was then called, into the neighborhood of what is
now Corning, and thence up the valley of the present Tioga river. Indeed, in early
times no other way of reaching this section of the country was known. But if Tioga
Point, whose early history is so thrilling and deeply interesting, has lost its identity,
the name of Tioga has been perpetuated in two counties — one in Pennsylvania and
one in New York — a river, a township and a borough in the former. From its source
to its mouth the river forms a figure like the letter C, and is nearly eighty miles in
length, while the source and the mouth are only about thirty-seven miles apart. It
bore its name all the way around in Indian times, and it never should have been
changed to Chemung in New York.


This term, once applied to one of the most important points in Northern Penn-
sylvania, is of Indian origin. It was first heard of as early as 1749, and was often
mentioned during the French and Indian War of 1754-60, and in the time of the


Revolution. Like most Indian names it has been spelled in various ways or to suit
the idea of sound as expressed by German, French and English. During the Revolu-
tion it settled down to its present uniform orthography. The earliest written forms
of the word, as found in old documents and letters, are: "Diahoga," "Diahogo,"'
"Diaga," "Tayego," and "Teogo." And once in a letter of David Jameson t'> Ed-
ward Shippen, written under date of October 13, 1756, it was spelled as it is to-day.
As to the meaning of the word various interpretations have been given by scholars and
writers. Laidlaw's dictionarj' gives it "How swift the current;" and others follow in
the same \ein. ilany years ago there was a tradition among the old settlers in the
townships that it meant "Swcot water," but it is doubtful if this was the true meaning
of the word. Josiah J'^inery, Esq., long a resident of Wellsboro, and a careful pains-
taking investigator and writer, interpreted it to mean "Head water," which is more
likely to be correct than Laidlaw's definition.

A better explanation of the meaning of the word was furnished by Lloyd P.
Smith, for many years librarian of the old "Library Company of Philadelphia,"
founded in 1731. Ho says that acconlinK to ilatthew S. Henry s manuscript dic-
tionary, Tioga is an Iroquois word, and means "Gate." Tills is confirmed by otlier
high authorities. N. T. True, Esq., of IJetliel, ilaine, says it is derived from
Teyaogen — an interval, or anything in the middle or between two thinjrs. Hence
tei-ohoho-gen — "the forks of a stream," or "the place where two rivers meet," that is,
the point between them.

Rev. John Heckeweldcr, the famous Jloravian missionary, who spent much
of his life among the Indians, and wrote a history of them, says that the word is de-
river from tiagoa, an Iroquois word, siunifying "a f^ate way," or "a plaee to enter
in at." This seems to be the most reasonable definition when tlie location and sur-
rounding emulitions are considered.

Here the Tioga united with tlie Siisciuehanna, and the Point or wedjxe of land
lying within (he forks of the two rivers lieeame historically important in early times,
because the traveler after crossing; either of these two streams entered the territory
of the Six Nations, as through a gate. The country south of the forks or Point
belonged to the Delaware Indians. Rev. David Zeisberger, another zealous Mora-
vian, who traveled this way as early as 17.")(i on a mission to Onondaga, the capital of
the Six Nations, said that "at Tiaoijiu or the gate, a guard of Indians were stationeil
for the purpose of ascertaining the character of all persons who crossed over into their
country, and that whoever entered their territory by another way than through the
gate, or iiy way of the Mohawk, was suspected by them of evil purposes, and treated
as a sjiy or enemy."

This condition of affairs was very likely brouirht about by French influence in
Canada, for the iiur])0se of retarding the encroachments of the whites from the Dela-
ware region. The French were anxious to occupy all that portion of the Province
now embraced in what is termed northwestern Penn.sylvania, and were jealous of the
advance of tlie English towards that territory. French influence over the Indians
was great during tlie time they occu]>ied the northern country, and it was only broken
1)V the fall of Qiu-bee.



Almost from the date of the organization of Tioga county a dispute has existed
with Lycoming regarding the boundary line. Commission after commission has
made surveys and attempted to settle the dispute, but at this writing it seems no
Jiearer solution than it was ninety years ago. There is some interesting history con-
Jieeted with this matter, which is worthy of being put on record. From the report
of the late Hon. C. D. Eldred, of Muncy, who served as a member of the last
•commission, we have obtained the following history of the dispute.

The act of March 36, 1804, creating six new counties, iive of which were formed
out of territory taken from Lycoming, is unusually explicit and mandatory. It not
only defines the boundaries of each, but gives no discretion to the commisssioners
authorized by section seventh to be appointed by the governor, to run and mark the
lines of each, to vary in the least, but directs that they shall do their appointed work
"according to the true intent and meaning of this act." Commissioners were accord-
ingly appointed by the governor, consisting of James Criswell, a resident of Hunting-
don, or Union county, who peremptorily declined to serve; William Ellis, of Lycom-
ing county, and George Eoss, of Lancaster.

The section authorizing the appointment also provided that any two of the
■commissioners should have power to run the lines aforesaid, and as the act fixed the
boundaries of each county by meter and bounds, the work to be done contemplated
no ground for a difference of opinion or need of an umpire. Consequently the task
'devolved upon William Ellis and George Eoss, by the resignation of Criswell, of run-
ning and marking the boundary lines between McKean, Potter and Tioga, and the
mother county, Lycoming, as three other commissioners were appointed to perform
«, like duty for Jefferson, Clearfield and Cambria counties.


As this review of the boundary line question relates mainly to the dispute now
'existing between Lycoming and Tioga counties, it need only be said that it is pre-
.Bumed from the reading of the law, which seems to contemplate such action, that the
commissioners appointed to run the lines of the three western counties, did so in
.accordance with the true intent and meaning of the act of Assembly, and that also
before Messrs. Ellis and Eoss 'did or could begin to locate those of McKean, Potter
;and Tioga. Of the latter commission, so far as it can be traced or known, the pur-
pose of this chapter is to speak.

■ The provincial habit of dividing lands pi^rchased from the Indians into districts
for convenience in surveying and selling, continued to prevail under the State govern-
ment, and Joseph J. Wallis, who had charge of the northwestern territory — as it was
previous to the last purchase — which comprised a very large district, died in August,
1795, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Daniel Smith, a lawyer of Sunbury. He
only held the office for two or three years, when he was succeeded by Henry Donnel,
•also of Sunbury.

After the last purchase from the Indians and the division of the territory into
•districts, William Ellis was assigned to the first district and Daniel Brodhead to the
.second, which included nearly, or perhaps, all of the territory afterwards embraced

a*^ - r»«-««'->-» icO*''



in the three eastern counties formed in ISU-l. Soon after his assignment, however,
Mr. Brodhead was appointed surveyor general, and he transferred to Ellis the vacant
deputyship thus created. This occurred in Xovember, 1789. During the next suc-
ceeding five years Mr. Ellis had most of the lands l}'ing in the first and second dis-
tricts surveyed, and thus acquired more information respecting the topography of
the new purchase than any other man within the bounds of the State. The informa-
tion which fixed the limits of each county must have been derived from his office, and
he was, therefore, a proper person to be commissioned to run and mark the lines of
the new counties.

But, unfortunately, Mr. Ellis was at this time in poor health. Much business
had affected his mind. He executed his will January 14, 1805, and after adding
/several codicils died. The will was subsequently .set aside on the <:round of unsound
mind when executed. It being generally understood that he was not a practical
surveyor, it is hardly to be presumed under the circumstances that he perscinally
went upon the ground and ran any part of the required lines. Theru are a number
of other circumstances which may be f,nven to show that he was never personally on
any part of these boundary lines. Some of them are as follows:

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 5 of 163)