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when he sold it to Artemus Losey. Mr. Losey, who was a skilled mechanic, added
to his lumber business the manufacture of household furniture. He also built
several carding machines and a number of melodeons, and was known as a man of
energy and enterprise. Since his death, in 1869, the mill property has been owned
and operated by his son, J. T. Losey. This mill, one of the oldest in the county,
has been rebuilt and improved.

The Nelson Flouring Mill, water power, was originally built by John Campbell
about 1818, and owned and operated by him until his death, in 1855, when it became
the property of his stepson, Enoch Blackwell. He operated it until his death, in
1884. About 1830 Mr. Campbell established an upper leather tannery in connec-
tion with his mill property. For several years during his lifetime, and that of Mr.


Blackwell, this tannery was carried on by lessees. After Mr. Blackwell's death the
mill property passed into the possession of his son, E. C. Blackwell, who is the
present owner. A store established by Mr. Blackwell's father was carried on in con-
nection with the mill for many years. It burned in 1885. Mr. Blackwell also
operates a power cider mill with a capacity of 100 barrels a day.

Among the early saw-miE owners and lumbermen within the present borough
Hmits was Hon. James Ford, of Lawrenceville, the first congressman from Tioga
county. He operated a saw-mill on the Cowanesque on the Samuel Eathbun place,
in which he had a two-third interest, Samuel Eathbun having the remaining one-
third. They conducted it until 1828, when Mr. Ford's interest was bought by
Samuel and Alfred Eathbun. Samuel Eathbun in time became the sole owner of
the mill, which he operated until his death, in 1847. Walter C. Bottum and Gilbert
Phelps & Company erected a mill on Thorn Bottom creek, near its mouth. Mr.
Bottum became an extensive operator and erected no less than three saw-mills
during the next thirty years. Among those who operated mills, usually as part
owners, between 1830 and 1850 were Eichard Ellison, John Vroman, John Young,
Charles Bottum, Hubbard Clark, Thomas Eathbun, Leander Culver, John Flint,
John Brownell and others. At the present time the mill owned and operated by
J. T. Losey is the only one within the borough limits.

Luke B. Maynard, whose name appears on the assessment list of 1833, was the
pioneer merchant of Kelson. He remained but a few years. Hunt Pomeroy, father
of the late "Brick" Pomeroy, the noted editor of the La Crosse (Wisconsin)
Democrat, opened a store in Nelson in 1840, and had for a partner Hiram Beebe,
the first merchant of Lawrenceville. Anson Buck and John Brownell were also
early merchants. The old store building, first occupied by Luke B. Maynard, was on
the site of the present Newcomb Hotel. It is now owned by John M. Hammond, and
stands near his residence. In 1849 G. H. Baxter and G. W. Phelps engaged in
mercantile business. The partnership lasted a year, when Mr. Baxter continued as
a dealer in groceries and provisions. In March, 1866, A. J. Howell opened a store
in Kelson. In the same month of the same year M. B. Seely came to Kelson. Mr.
Howell now keeps a grocery store and Mr. Seely a general store. They are the two
oldest merchants in the place.

A wayside inn kept by Cyprian Wright was the first vdthin the present borough
limits. The "Old Log Hotel," as it is familiarly called by those of the present
generation, was the first hotel at Beecher's Island. It was built on the corner north
of the present Kewcomb House about 1830, by Samuel Snow. In 1835 Amariah
Hammond purchased the property, and his son, John M. Hammond, kept the house
until 1841. In 1865 it was torn down and a store building erected on its site.

The Newcomb House was erected in 1836 for a store building by Artemus Losey,
and was occupied for a number of years by Pomeroy & Beebe. It was afterwards
changed into a hotel. Among the early landlords were Hunt Pomeroy and Samuel
Edgcomb. Since 18?8 this house has been kept by W. A. Kewcomb.

The Nelson Separator and Butter Company was organized in 1893, with Byron
Shaw, president; C. S. Baxter, secretary; M. B. Seely, treasurer; E. V. Turpening,
butter maker, and J. E. Leteer, assistant. The creamery, which was equipped with


modern appliances, was changed to a cheese factory in 1895. It has a capacity of
about 100,000 pounds per annum.


The township of Nelson was formally organized as a borough May 8, 1886, in
anticipation of which the court had on April 20, the date of incorporation, ap-
poiated the following as burgess and councilmen to serve until the next regular
election: Henry Baxter, burgess; Philip Tubbs, C. F. Culver, C. F. MargrafE, J. D.
Campbell, G. H. Baxter and Samuel S. Heysham. The names of the burgesses since
elected are as foUows: W. A. Newcomb, 1887; C. F. Margrafi, 1888-89; M. F.
Cass, 1890; C. F. Margraff, 1891-92; J. D. Campbell, 1893-96, and M. B. Seeley,
elected in 1897.

The following named persons have been elected justices of the peace for the
township, and, since its incorporation, for the borough of Nelson: Anthony W.
Lugg, 1858; re-elected, 1864, 1880; Marcus H. Brooks, 1859; re-elected, 1864; C.
P. Wright, 1865; re-elected, 1870, 1875; J. D. Campbell, 1868; re-elected, 1873;
D. H. Hughy, 1878; C. B. Goodrich, 1882, and William H. Baxter, 1883. Nelson
borough: C. K. Copp, 1886; re-elected, 1891; C. B. Goodrich, 1887; re-elected,
1891; A. C. CampbeU, 1887; W. H. Baxter, 1889; J. T. Losey, 1894; Byron Shaw,


A postoffice was established at Beecher's Island about 1832, to which the name
of Nelson was given. For what or for whom it was thus named no one now living,
of whom inquiry has been made, can tell. The first postmaster was Joseph M.
White, who held the office for about twenty years. His successors have been: G. H.
Baxter, 1853-56; Dr. A. M. Loop, 1856-61; G. H. Baxter, 1861-79; H. Baxter,
1879-80; M. B. Seely, 1880-85; Dr. A. M. Loop, 1885-89; G. H. Baxter, 1889—
died May 5, 1892; Miss Nora Baxter, May, 1892, to May, 1896, and W. H. Baxter,
appointed in May, 1896.


Dr. A. M. Loop, one of the oldest physicians in years and practice in the county,
began practice at Beecher's Island in 1840. He is the oldest practicing physician
in the county. Among those who have since resided there and practiced medicine
are: Dr. Aaron Niles, who located in 1875, and remained until 1878; Dr. S. W.
Linwer, who came in 1879, and remained eight years, and Dr. W. Eumsey, who came
in 1887, and remained two years. The present resident physicians are Dr. A. M.
Loop, Dr. Calvin S. Baxter, who came in 1887, and Dr. William B. Stevens, who
came in 1891.


In 1821 Amariah Hammond taught a school, below Beecher's Island, near
the William Merritt place. Among his pupils was his son, John M. Hammond, bom
in 1816, who came to Beecher's Island in 1817 with his parents and is one of the
oldest living residents of the borough. Samuel Snow was an early teacher here.
The earliest school within the village of Nelson or Beecher's Island, is still stand-
ing just east of the Presbyterian church. It was built in the later thirties, and is


now occupied as a dwelling. Before the erection of the Presbyterian church, meet-
ings were held in this school house. The Eathbun school house, north of the
river in the western part of the present borough, was also one of the earliest school
houses, and like the school houses of those days was used as a house of worship.
It was built about 1834. Owing to the extensive area covered by the borough,
there are four school districts within its limits. The principal school is the graded
school of Nelson village. A handsome two-story frame school building erected here
in 1876, at a cost of about $3,000, provides ample accommodations for the pupils of
District No. 1.


The Second Congregational Church of ETkland was organized in August, 1834,
its membership being gathered at or about Beecher's Island. They were fifteen in
number, consisting of Hubbard and Eunice Clark, James and Mary Campbell,
Samuel Snow, Nahum Kelley, Sabra Daily, Dolly and Sarah Bottom, Hannah
Culver, Jane Ellison, William and Caroline Clark, Milla Cummings and Eliza
Phelps. Samuel Snow was chosen deacon of this church. The first meeting was at
the Rathbun fajm. September 26, 1830, this church and the First Congregational
church, organized in 1832, at Elkland, met in the Eyon school house at Elkland,
and united in one church, under the name of the First Congregational Church of
Elkland. There were thirty-two members. On Friday, July 23, 1835, this society
was changed to a Presbyterian church, under the name of the First Presbyterian
Church of Elkland. It became the parent of the Presbyterian churches at Beecher's
Island and East Farmington.

The First Presbyterian Church of Beecher's Island was organized March 2,
1844. It consisted of the following members to whom letters were granted, — ^in
order that they might form this church — from the First Presbyterian Church of
Elkland: Joel and Mary Jewel, Joseph and Anna Campbell, John and Mahala
Hazlett, Charles and Mary Ann Lugg, Charles and Lovina Blanchard, Harris T.
Eyon, Samuel Hazlett, Edward Mapes, Sarah Campbell, Mary Ann Campbell,
Oliver Blanchard, Eobert and Susan Casbeer and Enoch Blackwell. James and
Joseph Campbell and Joel Jewell were the first ruling elders. Soon after the church
was organized Joel Jewell was licensed to preach and became the first pastor. Dur-
ing his pastorate, which continued until May, 1846, the house of worship, still stand-
ing, was erected by his brother, Edward Jewell. He assisted in the work of build-
ing. This building which stands on land acquired from John Hazlett, represents
with the improvements and repairs an expenditure of about $2,000. The names
of the pastors who have served this church are as follows: Eevs. Joel Jewell, 1845-
46; E. D. Wells, 1846-48; S. J. McCullough, 1848; Rev. John Sailer, 1851; pulpit
supplied by various pastors till 1855 when A. C. Woodcock came; J. Gordon
Carnahan, still living, December 14, 1856, to September 2, 1858; supplied, 1858-60
Francis Eand, 1860-64; Frederick Graves, 1865-67; S. A. Eawson, 1867.-72
Benjamin Eussell, 1874-80; C. B. Gillette, 1881-85; R. G. Williams, 1885-88
S. P. Gates, 1889-90, and Hallock Armstrong, who came in July, 1891. Mr. Arm-
strong was ordained in 1851 and during the fifty-five years of his ministry has
missed but two Sundays on account of sickness, and has moved but twice ia the


last thirty-four years. The church now numbers thirty-six members. The average
attendance of the Sunday-school is fifty. Charles Merritt is the superintendent.
There is a Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor connected with this

The Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church of Nelson, incorporated December 5,
1867, was organized about forty-five years ago. There are no records of its early
history accessible. It has been in the Knoxville, Parmington and Lawrenceville
charges and was set off from the latter in 1881. Among its early pastors was Kev.
William Potter, who entered the ministry in 1847. The pastors of th.e various
charges named served this church up to 1881, since which time the following
named ministers have officiated: Eevs. F. C. Thompson, 1881-83; James Seovil,
1883-85; C. J. Bradbury, January to October, 1885; M. D. Jackson, 1885-86;
William S. CrandaU, 1886-88; D. L. Pitts, 1888-90; J. Melvin Smith, 1890-91;
John Miller, 1891-94; A. G. Cole, 1894-96, and W. J. Wilson, the present pastor,
who came in October, 1896. The present church building was erected in 18ff8;
and dedicated in September, 1869. It cost $1,600. In 1890 the residence of James
Paul was purchased for a parsonage. It cost with repairs $1,000. The church now
numbers about sixty-five members. There are forty pupils in the Sunday-school,
of which Eev. Charles Weeks, a retired minister, is the superintendent.

The Cemetery adjoining the Presbyterian church is on ground acquired from
John Hazlett at the same time as the lot on which the church now stands. The
first funeral service held in the church and one of the first bodies to be buried here
was that of Mrs. Charlotte (Baxter) Hoyt, wife of David Hoyt. She died March 1,
1845. Below the village, near the Merritt place, is the old Hazlett family burying
ground. With the exception of an occasional family graveyard these comprise the
burial places within the borough.


The secret, social and benevolent orders are well represented in Kelson.
Nelson Lodge, No. 434, I. 0. 0. F., which was instituted February 14, 1874, with
fourteen charter members, is growing and prosperous. Wallace Bogart Post, No.
363, G. A. E., was organized September 1, 1883, with seventeen members. Not-
withstantoig deaths and removals it maintains its organization and meets regularly.
Nelson Lodge, No. 67, 1. 0. G. T., was organized March 37, 1893, and embraces in
its membership a large number of the young people of the borough. Alert Grange,
No. 905, P. of H., was organized January 18, 1890. It now numbers over sixty
members and contemplates erecting a hall building in the near future. Nelson
Tent, No. 180, K. 0. T. M., was organized June 5, 1893. It has now about fifty
members and is growing rapidly.



Organization— Changes of Aeea— Streams, Soil and Forest Growth -Popula-
tion— Early Settlers— The Strawbeidge Lands— Business and Manufac-
turing Enterprises— schools— Early fhysicians and Justices— Churches
AND Cemeteries— Villages.

DEEKFIELD township, so named from the abundance of deer within its bounda-
ries at the time of its first settlement, was organized in 1814, and was taken
Irom Delmar township, its original area of about 150 square miles, embraced the
territory within the boundaries of IJrookfield, VVestfield and Chatham townships,
nearly all of CJlymer, and the greater part of the borough of Osceola. The territory
embraced in Westfield, Brooklield and the larger part of Clymer was taken from it
in 1821, and that of Chatham, as first created, in 1828. In 1850 the area embraced
within the hmits of Knoxville borough was separated irom it. In 1878 it recovered
from the northern part of Chatham a strip two miles north and south., by six miles
east and west. The same year an L-shaped, strip was taken from its northeastern
quarter and added to Osceola. As now constituted, it contains, exclusive of Knox-
ville, an area of 20,725 acres. It is bounded on the north by the State of New York
and Osceola; east by Osceola and Earmington; south by Chatham, and west by
Westfield and Brookfield.

The Cowanesque river enters the township from the southwest, and flows
through it in a northeasterly direction. Near the Brookfield township line it
receives Inseho run and, at Knoxville, Troup's creek, both, of which flow from the
northwest, out of Brookfield township. At Academy Comers it receives Yamall
brook, which flows north out of Chatham township. Other small, unnamed streams
find their way down the ravines on eitlier side of the river valley, whicl^ is wider
here than in Westfield township, the hills that line it being less bold and precipi-
tous. The valley land is noted for its richness and productiveness, and is cultivate!
like a garden. The hillsides and uplands are also fertile, and Deerfield, as a
whole, ranks among the leading agricultural townships of the county. The alti-
tude above tide water in the river valley will average 1,200 feet; the summits of the
hills rise from 400 to 600 feet higher. When the township was first settled its
entire surface was covered with a heavy forest growth of white oak, maple, walnut,
butternut, buttonwood, pine and hemlock. This has nearly all disappeared before
the woodsman's ax, and the land whereon it stood now produces annual crops of
grains, grasses, fruits and vegetables.

In 1814, when it was created, it contained sixty-three taxable inhabitants. The
census returns of 1820 showed a population of 678; 1830, 568; 1840, not separately
mentioned; 1850, 721; 1860, 677; 1870, 665; 1880, 908, and 1890, 883.



James Strawbridge, the first white man to settle in the township, is supposed
to have located on the site of the village of Academy Comers during the Eevolu-
tionary War. Here the settlers who came in 1798 found a log house and a partly
cleared field, enclosed with a log fence, on the north bank of the Cowanesque river,
and on the south side, near the mouth of Yarnall brook, a nearly completed, mill
race. One tradition asserts that he was compelled to abandon his home here on
account of the hostility of the Indians, at the time of Sullivan's Expedition up the
Susquehanna and Chemung rivers, while another fixes the date of his settlement
six years later, and asserts that he "was driven away by white squatters, who killed
his oxen, purloined his plow, and destroyed his crops, on the belief that his claim
to title in the lands was antagonistic to their interests." Be that as it may, the
fact remains that on May 17, 1785, Strawbridge obtained land warrant, ISTo. 451,
which he located June 35, of the same year, on land along the Cowanesque river,
and on a portion of which stands the village of Academy Corners. Strawbridge
subsequently located other warrants, and also acquired the lands located upon by
warrants issued in 1785 and 1786 to Thomas Proctor, and in 1790 to James Stewart.
This gave him the ownership of all the land in the Cowanesque valley north of the
river within the township. To each tract, according to an English custom, he gave
a distinguishing name. The one where he made his first settlement, he called
"James' Choice." That on which the borough of Knoxville stands was named
"Delight," while the others received such names as "Mount Pleasant," "Blooming
Grove," "Fertility," "Eichland" and "Spring Field." These lands, as a whole, be-
came known as the "Strawbridge Tract."

It appears that Jajnes Strawbridge, the patentee, during his lifetime, exe-
cuted a mortgage to Jonathan Smith and others, of Philadelphia, as trustees, for
the widow and heirs of John Strawbridge, deceased, which mortgage was foreclosed
and these lauds sold by the sheriff at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, November 30,
1807, when George Strawbridge, a brother of James Strawbridge, became the pur-
chaser, and from him the settlers derived title. January 24, 1823, he conveyed the
unsold lands to Jonathan D. Ledyard, his brother-in-law, who on March 6, of the
same year, sold to Silas Billings the same lands, amounting to "about 7,000 acres,"-
from whom and his heirs they afterwards passed into the hands of actual settlers.
In 1792 and 1793 the lands south of the river were surveyed upon patents issued to
Thomas M. Willing, Eobert Blackwell and William Lloyd. They were subsequently
acquired by William Bingham, the elder, and became a part of the "Bingham

Although James Strawbridge, either through fear of the Indians, or by reason
of the depredations of white squatters, was compelled to leave his improvements on
the Cowanesque, he did not abandon the title to either them or the land. In 1797
he approached Ebenezer Seelye, a native of Connecticut, and a Revolutionary-
soldier, then residing temporarily near Painted Post, New York, and offered him
the land, including the improvements, for $2.50 an acre. Seelye accepted this offer,
but not caring to venture into the wilderness alone, he offered to William Knox, Sr.,
the improvements if he would join him. The offer was accepted by Knox, and in


1798 he and his son, William, camped on and enlarged the Strawbridge clearing.
In the spring of 1799 the two families joiimeyed from Painted Post to Nelson, first
known as Beecher's Island, and from there traveled up the Cowanesque river on the
ice to their new home in the wilderness. The Knox family located on the old
Strawbridge clearing and the Seelye family half a mile further east, building a
cabin of bark, which was replaced a yeai and a half later by a log house. These two
families thus became the first settlers in the township.

On March 28, 1800, the first male white child bom in the Cowanesque valley
was added to the household of William Knox. This was James Knox, who died
September 20, 1881, having spent his entire life in the township. On May 4th of
the same year a daughter, Sally, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Seelye, who afterwards
became the wife of Prince King, of Westfield township. She was the first female
white child born in the township.

Among the first to settle in the township after the Knox and Seelye families,
was Bethlehem Thompson, who located on the Emmer Bowen place, but soon sold
out to Eeuben Cook. In 1803 John Howland and his son. Dr. Eddy Howland,
whose Puritan ancestors came from England in the Mayflower in 1620, settled on
what was long known as the Eddy Howland place. They came from Ehode Island.
Emmer Bowen, a native of Ehode Island, came in 1804 and bought out Jesse
Eowley, who appears to have been here at that time. James Costley, an early grist-
mill owner, came before 1805 and settled south of the river opposite Knoxville.
Eev. David Short settled in 1806 upon the farm afterward owned by A. H. Bacon,
and lived there until 1813. Newbury Cloos settled in 1807, in which year also
Joshua Colvin settled near Academy Corners. About this time, also, John and
Eeuben Short, Jonathan M. Eogers, Curtis Cady, David Short and James Yarnall
settled. Mr. Yarnall located on the brook south of Academy Comers that bears
his name. In 1808 James, John and William Falkner settled in the eastern part of
the township. In 1811 Jonathan, Solomon and Alexander Matteson and their
parents came from Salisbury, Herkimer county, New York. Jonathan, with whom
the old folks lived, settled on the site of Knoxville, his land embracing the greater
part of the present borough area. Solomon and Alexander settled east of him. In
1811 Levi Cook, a blacksmith, the year of whose coming cannot be ascertained, sold
his place east of Knoxville to Zadoc Bowen, a carpenter, and a brother of Emmer
Bowen, Sr. Joseph Ealkner, Sr., a native of the State of New York, was an early
settler, and cleared the farm now occupied by the widow of his son, Joseph
Ealkner. Eleazer Clark, a native of Ehode Island, came on horseback from his
native state in 1814, and settled on the farm now owned by his son, E. H. Clark.
James King, a native of Ehode Island, settled in the western part of the township
sometime between 1815 and 1820. About 1821 the family removed to Westfield
township. John Wakeley was also an early settler. He removed to Brookfield
township in 1827. George Champlin, a native of Ehode Island, came in 1821,
worked a farm on shares for a year, and then removed to Potter county. Fifteen
years later he settled in Westfield township. Hiram Gilberj;, a carpenter, and a
native of New England, settled in the township in 1824, worked at his trade for
several years, and then embarked in the boot and shoe business in Knoxville.
Moses Inscho, well known as a lumberman, came in from Lawrence township m


1835. Nathan Baker, a native of Otsego county, New York, settled in 1838 on the
farm now owned by his grandson, Allen Baker. Others came whose names and the
year of their coming have not been ascertained, but the names given are, with a few
exceptions, those of men who cleared the lands upon which they located, and be-
came permanent residents of the township. In this, as in other townships, there
were those who made but a temporary stay, and who alwaj's found it more in
harmony with a moving and adventurous spirit to be with the advance guard of
the westward marching army of civilization.


Lumberiag became an important industry in the township soon after its set-
tlement began. The predominance of white pine of a fine quality led to the early
establishment of saw-mills, first to supply a growing local demand, and later for
shipment. The Cowanesque river was the only highway connecting the settlers of
the valley with the outside world. Down this stream, whenever the stage of water
permitted, logs and lumber were rafted. All the early mills were run by water
power, an under-shot flutter wheel being the one generally used. The usual ca-
pacity of a saw-mill was 1,000 feet of pine lumber every twelve hours,. an infinites-

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 54 of 163)