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of the township, they greatly limit its tillable area, and compel its farmers to cultivate
the steep hillsides as well as the restricted valleys, in an effort to utilize as much of
their land as possible.

When first settled the township was heavily timbered, pine and hemlock predom-
inating. This has about all disappeared, having been either sawed into lumber within
the township or rafted in the form of logs down Pine creek to Williamsport and be-
yond. Its many cleax streams and its rugged mountains made this township a
veritable paradise for the himter and the fisherman, and during a week's tour among
its oldest citizens enough material could be collected to make a good-sized book of
hunting and fishing anecdotes, incidents and adventures. There are men alive to-day


who tell of catching trout by the bucketfull, of killing hundreds of hears and thous-
ands of deer and wolves, and of passing through innumerable thrilling adventures
and hair-breadth escapes from death. Like the pine and the hemlock, the bear, the
■wolf and the deer have disappeared, and the trout are only to be found in a few se-
cluded spots.

The township has grown slowly but steadily, the most marked increase in popu-
lation being between 1880 and 1890. In 1840 it had 215 inhabitants; in 1880, 508,
and in 1890, 1187.


About 1804 a party of hunters found their way up the Piae Creek valley above
the mouth of Marsh creek. .One of these was William Furman, of Sunbury, ITorthum-
berland county, Pennsylvania. So pleased was he with the country and the abundance
of game, that upon returning to his home he induced two of his brothers to join him
in making a settlement, which they did in the spring of 1805, all bringing their fami-
lies. Josiah, one of the brothers, settled at the mouth of Marsh creek, in Shippen
township. "William and the other brother, Aaron, settled on Pine creek, in the
eastern part of Gaines township, the place taking the name of Furmantown, which it
still retains. Benjamin another brother came in 1823. Aaron K. Furman, bom in
1819, a son of Aaron, and Martin W. Furman, born in 1839, a son of William, still
reside on the farms settled by their parents. Mrs. Hannah Ogden, a daughter of
Aaron Furman, is the oldest living person born in the township. She was bom in
1812. In 1811 John Phoenix, better known as Captain Phoenix, settled near the
Potter county line at the mouth of the creek that bears his name. About the same
time a man named John Smith settled at the mouth of Long run. A number of
Indians were still to be found here and there along the stream. They were friendly
and mingled freely with the settlers until the breaking out of the War of 1812, when
they disappeared. Thinking they had gone to join the British and were likely at any
time to return with other than friendly intentions, the settlers felt considerable
alarm. A few did return after the war, but finding they had lost the confidence and
friendship of the settlers, soon disappeared. John Persing, a native of Northumber-
land county, and a soldier in the War of 1812, came in 1814 in a canoe from Williams-
port, with his wife and one child — ^lea\dng the eldest, a son, with his grandparents—
and settled on the flat at Gaines village. In 1840 he removed to Hector township,
Potter county, returning later to pass his last years in Gaines township, dying October
12, 1886, aged 99 years and 14 days. A man named Fisher settled on the bottom
north of the road at the Long run bridge. The water waahed his cabin away, and
he removed to the mouth of Elk run, where he made a clearing and built a log house.
After living here two years he sold out to a carpenter named Frederick Tanner, who,
being a single man, soon sold to another newcomer, Conrad Bernauer, a native of
Germany. With Mr. Bernauer came his father-in-law, a Mr. Zubers, with his daugh-
ter, a Mrs. Miller and her baby. Mr. Zubers and his wife and Mrs. Miller's baby were
shortly afterwards killed by a falling tree, which crushed in the cabin during a
storm. John Benn who came into the county as early as 1817, built a saw-mill in
1835, above the mouth of Long run, on Pine creek, operating it until 1831. John
Blue, a native of Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, settled in 1829 on Long run, two


miles south of Lansing. In 1837 Stephen B. Barnes came and settled on Pine creek.
In 1838 Hajris Matteson settled at Gaines, and in 1863 removed to a farm on Lick
run. Amos H. Ogden came in 1840 and huilt a saw-mill near Manhattan. David
Eexford came iato the township about the same time and became prominent as a
lumberman and raftsman. Daniel K. Bamhart, a cabinet-maker, came in 1841 and
located at Gaines. Elihu H. Faulkner came in 1845, and Alexander Matteson the fol-
lowing year. "William "Watrous settled on Elk run in the spring of 1847. Danforth
K. Marsh settled at Marshfield in 1847, and Ethan Strait in the same neighborhood
in 1850. These were the principal settlers during the first half of the present century.
There was also a transient population consisting of lumbermen, raftsmen, hunters,
etc., who, as a rule, made but a temporary stay. A few, however, cleared and im-
proved farms and in other ways assisted in the development of the township.


Lumbering early became the leading enterprise of the township. Pine creek,
during high water stages, was made use of to raft logs to Williamsport and other points
on the Susquehanna river, while the early mills supplied the demands of an increas-
ing population. Large tracts of timber land were bought up and millions of feet of
logs cut annually, until the mountains were stripped of pine. The hemlock followed
next, the bark going to the tanneries and the logs to the saw-mills. There is yet left
a good supply of hard wood, but it is estimated thu,t the next twenty years will wit-
ness its disappearance, leaving the township bare of timber, except a rather scant
second growth. The present owners of the land are, however, making the most of its
tillable area, and the township contains a laxge number of intelligent and well-to-do

The first saw-mill was built in 1815 by John Smith, on Long run, just south of
the highway bridge, near Gaines. Capt. John Phoenix built a saw-mill in 1817 neai
the mouth of Phoenix run. He afterward erected a saw-mill and a grist-mill at
Gaines. The assessment list of 1818 shows that George Huyler owned a one-third
interest in a saw-mill. The name of the owner of the remaining interest does not
appear. Sometime previous to 1830 Aaron Furman set up a hand grist-mill on his
place. Its predecessor was a hominy block, consisting of a log set endwise in the
ground, the upper part being hollowed out. Later Mr. Furman erected a water-power
mill and also a saw-mill, on a small stream below his dwelling, since known as Mill
run. The saw-mill was sold to Col. Dudley Hewitt in 1830, who with his three
sons carried on extensive lumbering operations for many years. In later years this
mill was owned by David Eexford, who operated it until 1890. John Benn, who
came into the county in 1817, operated a saw-mill just below Gaines, from 1825 to
1831, when he became involved in debt and his property passed into the hands of
Silas Billings, of Knoxville. Sylvester Davy appears to have been a partner with
John Benn in 1836. Stephen and Simeon Babcock same into the township about
1830 and soon afterwards purchased the mills of Col. Dudley Hewitt. In 1831
John L. Phoenix, a son of Capt. John Phoenix, built a saw-mill near the Potter
county line. This mill was afterwards owned by Perry Smith. Mr. Phoenix later
built a saw-mill on Elk run, known as the C. B. Watrous mill and now dismantled.
Two saw-mills were also erected on Long run, above Gaines, the first by Wheaton


Hewitt and the second by a Mr. Tuttle. Amos H. Ogden came into the township
in 1840, and he and his brother, Benjamin, erected a mill near Manhattan, which
they operated for many years.

Silas Billings, who began lumbering operations in the township in 1831 — ^when
he purchased the John Benn mill property — soon became the leading lumberman
and real estate owner of the township. He erected numerous mills in Gaines, and
later in Elk township, and earned a lasting reputation as a man of enterprise and
untiring energy. He remained a resident of Knoxville until 1840, when he removed
to Elmira, 'New York, where he died in 1853. During the later years of his life
Mr. Billings was ably assisted in the management of his business by his son, Silas
X. Billings, who made himself familiar with every department of it. He not only
developed the interests left by his father, but added to them other large and important
enterprises, and became the most extensive and successful lumber operator in the
county. After his father's death he took up his permanent resident at Gaines, and
did more than any other man to forward the growth and prosperity of the village
and the township. He assisted in securing and keeping alive the charter for the
Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo railroad, and in other ways advanced the
material interests of the people among whom he lived and worked. He died at his
home in Gaines, October 13, 1879.

The first store in the township was established by Silas Billings, in connection
with his saw-mill; the second by Stephen Babcock, who came from Connecticut and
opened a store near the Purman grist-mill. He carried on business for a number
of years. The enterprises of more recent years will be described in that portion of
this chapter devoted to the various vUlages of the township.


In 1882 John L. Sexton, of Blossburg, was employed to examine the coal deposits
in the northern part of the township on lands belonging to the Silas X. Billings
estate and to report upon the number, thickness and extent of the veins. The favor-
able character of Mr. Sexton's report led to the incorporation, September 20, 1882,
of the Gaines Coal and Coke Company, for the purpose of mining coal and other
minerals in the counties of Tioga and Potter. The priaeipal office of the company
was in Gaines, with a branch office in the city of New York. The incorporators
were Thomas C. Piatt, William C. Sheldon and George E. Blanchard, of New York
City; James E.- Jones, of Addison, Few York; Eichard G .Taylor, of Buffalo, New
York; Charles L. Pattison, of Elkland; Eufus H. Wombaugh, of Blossburg, and
James Horton, of "Westfield. The capital stock of the company was $600,000.
Mines were opened in the northeastern part of the township, in what is known as the
"Barrens," at an elevation of about 2,100 feet above tidewater, and a railroad, four
miles and a half long, built to connect with the Addison and Pennsylvania. A
company store was started and in 1883 a postoffice named Gumee established, with
E. H. Wombaugh as postmaster. For a few years nearly one hundred miners were
employed, but the coal deposits failed to prove as extensive as expected, and the force
was gradually decreased, until at present but fourteen men are employed.



The first school house in the township was a log building erected about 1813,
a short distance west of the present residence of Aaron K. Furman, at Furmantown.
Among the early teachers here were Asa Dodge, Edwin McMasters, William Drew,
Maria Merrick, Caroline Austin, Mary Ann Fuller, Harriet Swan, a Miss "Wilcox,
Betsy Eexford, Mrs. Phoebe Beecher and Julia A. Amsbry, now the wife of Aaron
K. Furman. About 1854 a school building was erected at Gaines, irf which Cynthia
Post, Mert Johnson, Miss Albina Vermilyea and Miss Mather taught. In 1854,
also, a school house was erected at Marshfield on the site of the present building.
Danforth K. Marsh was the first teacher here. As the township became settled
schools increased and children were given the benefit of the free school system.


Aaron Furman was the first person to practice medicine in the township, and
was for many years the only physician in the Pine Creek valley west of Marsh creek.
His daughter-in-law, Mrs. Aaron K. Furman, has practiced medicine since 1871 and
is regularly enrolled under the registration laws. The first physician to locate at
Gaines was Dr. Cobum, who came in 1848, and practiced for several years. D. H.
Boyer came in 1869; J. M. DufE in 1873; Dr. Post in 1873, remaining till 1874, in
which year Dr. F. D. Ritter, a graduate of the University of Buffalo, located in the
village. He has continued practice in Gaines ever since. Dr. Luce came in 1883,
remaining a few years. Dr. Herbert P. Haskin came in 1893 and remained until
the fall of 1896. Dr. Eitter and Dr. J. Irving Bentley are the present resident

The following named persons have served as justices of the peace since the
organization of the township: John B. Benn, 1840; re-elected, 1845, 1860, 1865;
Stephen B. Barnes, 1840; re-elected, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860; Benjamin V. Ogden,
1850; re-elected, 1855; Henry Crofut, 1864; George Barker, 1868; E. M. Smith,
1869; re-elected, 1879, 1884, 1889, 1890, 1895; D. A. Paddock, 1873; re-elected,
1886; C. D. Bamhart, 1878; George Langan, 1879; A. M. Dunham, 1884; J. D.
Everett, 1889; re-elected, 1894, and N. W. Atwell, 1896.


The First Methodist Church of Gaines originated in a Methodist class organized
about 1838, the early members of which were Mrs. Aaron Furman, Benjamin and
Eliza Furman, John and Mrs. Benn, Benjamin and Nancy Ogden, Mrs. Hannah Ogden,
Mrs. Jared Davis and Mrs. Sallie Billings. Mrs. Aaron Furman was the first Methodi.st
in the township, and a memorial window in the church at Gaines bears an inscription
to that effect. Meetings were held at Furmantown, the parsonage being on the Fur-
man place. Among the early ministers who preached here were Eevs. Conant, Park-
hurst, Burnett, Vaughan and others. In 1868 a house of worship was erected, and
in 1883 a parsonage, both at Gaines, at a cost of $6,000. The society was incor-
porated in 1869. Since 1867, when Eev. G. N. Pack had charge, the following
ministers have served this church: Revs. T. Lesley Weaver, 1867-70; A. Compton,
1870-73; M. V. Briggs, 1873-74; A. B. Brame, 1874-75; P. M. Joralman, 1875-76;
Whiting Beach, 1876-79; Woodruff Post, 1879-80; J. W. Miller, 1880-83; A. G.


Cole, 1883-86; G-. H. AUett, 1886-90; S. A. Peterson, 1890-91; Cornelius Dillen-
beck, 1891-94; Uri Mulford, 1895; G. B. Hill, 1896, and E. D. Compton, who
took charge in October, 1896. There are now twenty-eight members in this
church, with sixty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which Prank Stevens is the super-

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Marshfield, the second society in Gaines
township, was organized about 1850, and incorporated December 5, 1873. Among
the early members were David and Amanda Smith, James H. and Betsey Watrous,
and Ethan and Juliana Strait. The first minister was Eev. Samuel Mchols, who
held services once in every two weeks. This church has been in the Gaines charge
and has had the same pastors. A church building costing $3,300 was erected in
1874. The church now has thirty-five members. There is a Union Sunday-school,
with an average attendance of about fifty pupils. Charles Watrous is the super-

The First Free Baptist Church of Gaines was organized March 6, 1860, at the
Eed school house on Elk run. Among the early members wea^e Joseph Sauter, John
Waldon, Piatt H. Crofut, Joshua Bemauer, I. Champney, V. E. Champney, PoUy
Crofut, Maliada Knowlton, C. M. Champney, Malinda Barnes, Mary E. Bemauer
and Delphina Carsaw. The names of the pastors are as follows: Eevs. D. Stiles,
1861; P. G. Stevens, 1870; Selden Butler, 1878; E. Dormacker, 1885; A. E. Cox,
1885; J. W. Kjelgaard, 1886; H. "WTiitcher, 1889; W.. S. Smith, 1890; J. W.
Kjelgaard, 1895; J. N". Lyon, 1896. A church edifice, costing $1,600, was erected
at Marshfield in 1870, and the society incorporated. The church now numbers
seventy-five members. The young people attend the Union Sunday-school.


The old Phoenix graveyard, near the mouth of Phoenix creek, has been
used as a burying ground for a great many years. A short distance above the mouth
of Elk run is the old Watrous family burying ground. The Larrison family burial
ground near Davis Station, ia the northern part of the tovraship, has been used as
a public burial place for some years.

The BrooJcside Cemetery Association was incorporated June 9, 1893, by David
Eexf ord, George P. Ogden, Eeuben H. Housberger, H. E. Whittaker and Aaron K.
Eurman. This cemetery is situated near the David Eexford place, in the eastern
part of the township, and is the old Purmantown burying ground.

The Elk Run Cemetery Association of Gaines was incorporated July 8, 1887,
the incorporators being J. D. Strait, E. M. Smith, D. K. Marsh, J. H. Wood and J.
Hubers. The cemetery owned and managed by this association is situated at


The first secret society organized in Gaines township was Tyadaghton Lodge,
No. 981, I. 0. 0. P., November 18, 1881. In 1890 it purchased the building at
Gaines now used as a lodge room, which cost, with repairs, about $1,600. This lodge
has a membership of thirty, and has $3,000 in its treasury. Gaines Encampment,
No. 314, was organized August 4, 1893, with forty-three members, which has since
been increased to sixty. It uses the same hall as Tyadaghton Lodge. Marshfield Grange,



No. 1113, p. of H., comes next in the order of time, having been organized August
14, 1894. In 1895 it erected a grange hall at Marshfield, 23x48 feet, and two stories
high. This grange contains about eighty members and is in a flourishing condition.
Marshfield Lodge, No. 130, I. 0. Q. T., meets in the grange hall at Marshfield.
It was organized May 15, 1895, and now numbers about sixty members. Gaines
Tent, No. 224, K. 0. T. M., meets at Gaines village, where it was organized December
23, 1895, with twenty members, but has since grown rapidly. Gaines Hive, No.
96, L. 0. T. M., organized January 16, 1896, at Gaines, has a membership of about
twenty. These several societies assist in the social development of the township
and furnish an opportunity for its people to help one another.


The village of Gaines is situated north of Pine creek, a short distance above the
mouth of Long run, on a bench or plateau overlooking the valley. It is near the
center of the township and is in the midst of picturesque surroundings. In 1848
Benjamin Barse built a hotel here, which he conducted until 1855, when he leased it
to Horace C. Vermilyea. In 1860 Mr.'Vermilyea built the Izaak Walton House on the
site of the present Vermilyea Hotel. It became a noted resort for himters and
fisherman. He kept it until his death in 1878, when he was succeeded by his son,
William H. Vermilyea. In 1889 the hotel was destroyed by fire, and Mr. Vermilyea
proceeded at once to rebuild, erecting on the same site one of the finest and most
complete hotels in the county. On July 7, 1894, Mr. Vermilyea was accidentally
killed. His widow has recently leased the property to W. L. Herron.

The first postoffice in the township was established in 1855, the postmaster being
William GriflBn, who resided at Purmantown. In 1857 the office was moved to
Gaines and John H. Bolt appointed postmaster. He was succeeded in 1861 by
Horace C. Vermilyea, who held the office until his death in 1878. His widow,
Mrs. IT. A. Vermilyea, was then appointed, and contiaued to hold the office until
1882, when Dr. P. D. Ritter succeeded her, holding it until 1887, when Mrs.
Vermilyea was again appointed. She was succeeded by R. T. Martin, the present

The first store was erected in 1854 by A. P. Cone, of Wellsboro. The second
soon afterward by Silas X. Billings. A school house was built in 1854 and the
Methodist Episcopal church in 1868. About 1865 Daniel K. Barnhart established
a wood-working shop in the village, which he sold some years later to Henry Book-
miller. Mr. Bookmiller came to Gaines in 1883, and established a planing-mill and
also engaged in the furniture and undertaking business. To these enterprises he
later added a grist-mill. He also manufactured cabinet ware and builders' supplies.
In 1882 the Addison and Pennsylvania railroad was completed to Galeton and in
1894 the BufEalb and Susquehanna extended its line to Ansonia in Shippen town-
ship. This gives the village the benefit of two lines of railway. Within the past
ten years it has grown steadily and is a wide-awake and enterprising place.

Marshfield, named in honor of Danforth K. Marsh, who settled on its site in
1847, is situated on Elk run, about two miles and a half above its mouth. A post-
office was established here in 1860, and Mr. Marsh appointed postmaster. He has
held the office without interruption for over thirty-six years and is one of the oldest


postmasters in years of eontinuous service in the United States. In 1867 Mr. Marsh
opened the first store in the place. In 1885 DeWitt Smith started another store,
which was afterwards run by George and Charles Frick, and later by W. H. Brownell.
In 1895 it closed, leaving Mr. Marsh the only merchant in the place. The village
now contains two churches, a school house, a grange hall and a blacksmith shop,
the latter carried on by N. L. Hanscom.

Watrous is an enterprising little place at the mouth of Elk run. It was laid
out in January, 1895, and already contains a school house costing $1,100, two stores
and a hotel, and besides a large steam saw-mill, and a hardwood flooring, saw and
finishing mill. The saw-mill is owned by W. & C. B. Watrous, but is operated by
Harvey & Sullivan, who are sawing hemlock lumber under contract for P. H. & C.
W. Goodyear. They employ forty hands and the mill is run day and night. The
Maple, Birch and Beech Flooring Company operate a plant employing thirty men,
consisting of a steam saw-mill, planing-mill and dry kiln. The annual production
is 4,500,000 feet of lumber, 3,000,000 of which is dressed as flooring. The main
office of the company is in Eochester, ISTew York. The mills are in charge of C.
T. Cooke. There are two general stores in the village, both of which do a fair
trade. Water is piped from a spring on the hillside west of Elk run, giving the
village the benefit of pure water. There are now about forty houses in the place,
and an effort to secure a postoffice is being made.

Manhattan is situated two miles east of Gaines, on Pine creek. This little
village has grown up around the tannery, and its residents are principally tannery
employes and their families. The tannery was established here in 1870 by Prank
Cook. In 1876 it became the property of Silas X. Billings. In 1881 E. McCol-
lough & Company assumed control. In May, 1893, it fell into the hands of the
Union Tanning Company. It has a capacity of 350 sides of sole leather a day.
Fifty men are employed and nearly 8,000 tons of bark used annually. A post-
office was established here in 1891. It is located in the store of Shaut & Company.
The present postmaster is J. C. Gilbert.

Ournee is the name of a postoffice at the mines of the Gaines Coal and Coke
Company in the northern part of the township. The office, which is in the com-
pan/s store, was established in 1883. The present postmaster, Patrick Smith, was
appointed in April, 1893. He has also charge of the mines and store. The mines
were opened in March, 1883, and for a time a large force of miners were employed.
At present there are but fourteen men at work. It is expected the mines will be
worked out within a year. A line of railroad four and a half miles long connects
these mines with the Addison and Pennsylvania.



Okganization— Boundaries and Aeba— Mountains and Steeams— Timber— Popu-
lation— Early Settlers— Industrial Enterprises— Schools and Churches
— Justices of the Peace— Villages.

ELK township -was organized in February, 1856, and was taken from Delmar
and Morris townships. It is the southwestern township of the county, and
is bounded on the north by Gaines and Shippen; on the east by Delmar and Morris;
on the south by Lycoming county, and on the west by Potter county. It is seven and
one-half miles from east to west by ten and one-half miles from north to south, and
contains nearly eighty square miles. The greater portion of its surface is a series

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 63 of 163)