Emanuel Swedenborg.

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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and Tioga two-fifths, on the east. In February, 1815, Covington township was
taken from Tioga. It embraced the present township of Eichmond, and all the
southeastern part of the county. In September, 1815, the township of Jackson,
also taken from Tioga, was created. It comprised a portion of the present town-
ship of Eutland, and of the northeastern part of the county. In 1816 Lawrence
township, taken from the northern portion of Tioga, and eastern part of Elkland,
was created. By these several reductions of its original area, Tioga township was
established within its present limits.

It is bounded on the north by Lawrence township, on the east by Jackson and
Rutland, on the south by Eichmond, and on the west by Middlebury and Farm-
ington. It is nearly square, being about six and three-quarters miles from east to
west and six miles from north to south, and contains about forty square miles.
It is one of the hilly townships of the county. The hills, especially in the southern
part, are bold and rugged, and the valleys, except those of Crooked creek and the
Tioga river, below Tioga borough, narrow and restricted. The cultivable area is
somewhat Hmited by reason of this rugged conformation, but Tioga is, nevertheless,
a good agricultural township. Its upland and valley soils are fertile and fruitful,
the latter being especially adapted to the cultivation of tobacco, the production
of which has greatly increased within the past few years. The township is well
watered, its principal stream being the Tioga river, which flows centrally through
it from south to north. Mill creek, which enters the township near the south-
eastern comer, flows northwest and unites with the Tioga two miles above Tioga
borough. Crooked creek pursues a winding course through the western part of the


township, and empties into the Tioga at the northern end of Tioga borough. A
half mile lower down it receives the waters of Bear creek, while Mitchell's creek,
which drains the northeastern quarter of the township, unites with the Tioga half
a mile south of the Lawrence township line. Each of these streams receive smaller
runs or branches, which add to the picturesqueness and diversity of the scenery
and contribute to the productiveness and fertility of the soil.

In population and wealth the township has grown steadily, and among its
citizenship are many well-to-do farmers who owe their prosperity to intelligent and
well-directed industry. Not a few are direct descendants of the first settlers, and
live on the land taken up and cleared by their grandparents or great-grandparents
a century ago. It has taken the industry of three generations to subdue forests,
clear fields of stones and stumps and rear the comfortable homes and needful farm
buildings that greet the eye on every hand. The transformation has been gradual,
but the results achieved have made the township the abiding place of a people
known to be earnest, industrious, progressive and prosperous. In 1840 the town-
ship contained 791 inhabitants; in 1870, 1,074; 1880, 1,258; 1890, 1,434.


The first settlers within the township boundaries were Jesse Losey and the
Eoberts family — mention of whom is made in the chaptej" devoted to Tioga borough.
Following them came Thomas and Eiehard Mitchell, who settled at Mitchell's Creek
as early as 1793. Edsell Mitchell, oldest son of Kichard, was born here August 37,
1793, and was reputed to be the first white child born in Tioga county.* Robert,
another brother, came a few years later. The Mitchells were from Orange county,
New Jersey. Benajah Ives — ^mention of whom is made in the Tioga borough chapter
— came into the county about 1794. A year later he was followed by his three
brothers, Timothy, Titus and John, and by his uncle, also named John. Timothy
settled at the mouth of Mill creek, John, the nephew, on what was afterwards
known as the Lyman Adams place, while "Uncle John" located within the borough
limits. Titus does not appear to have made a location. A few years later he
removed to the Cowanesque valley and became a pioneer settler in Brookfield town-
ship, where his descendants still reside. Eufus Adams, who settled on the Tioga
river, above Mitchell's Creek, came as early as 1794. Jacob Kiphart and his family
came from Lycoming county, over the Williamson road, in 1794 or 1795. His
son, Jacob, born, according to his reckoning, November 39, 1779, at Pine Grove,
Berks county, Pennsylvania, lived to the remarkable age of 104 years, and his sister,
Betsey, to be nearly 100 years old. Among those who also came here in 1794 or
1795, but whose residence was of a temporary character, were a Mr. Carter and his
son, William, and Job Squires, Asa Stiles and a Mr. Heed. George Prekay, "a very
singular and eccentric man," and supposed to have been a native of Holland, came
in 1796, and settled on the west bank of the Tioga river, below Jacob Kiphart.
He built a rude hut on the east bank of Bear creek, and had a cave in a knoll near
by, in which he slept. He was well educated, and read the English and German
languages, but would never disclose his parentage or the place of his birth. He

* It is now known that two daughters and a son were bom to Samuel Baker at his cabin home on the site
of Lawrenceville prior to 1794.


died in 1813, at the house of Jacob Prutsman. It has been surmised, from certain
relies found among his effects, that he was a member of a noble, if not a royal,

Nathan ISTiles came from Connecticut in September, 1796, and settled on the
spot where his grandson, Van Buren Daily, now lives, a short distance below the
mouth of Mill creek. His grandson, Augustus E. ISTiles, lives on a portion of the
old homestead. Colin Van Camp, who came about the same time or soon after,
settled on a part of the Crozier tract, and erected a house on the spot where the
residence of D. L. Aiken now stands. Elijah Burley, a preacher, was here prior
to 1800, and lived in a log house at the head of the "Cove." Aaron Gillet came with
his parents from Towanda, Pennsylvania, in 1797, when nine years old. They set-
tled at the mouth of Mill creek, where they built a small distillery and a grist-mill,
the latter being the first in the county. It was shortly afterwards carried away
by a flood. The family then moved to Cherry Plats. Their descendants now live
in Eiehmond and Covington townships. Mcholas Prutsman, the ancestor of the
Prutsman family in this county, came here in 1802 from South Smithfield town-
ship, Iforthampton county, Pennsylvania, and settled on what was afterwards known
as the DePui farm, on the Tioga river. He was followed in 1804: by his sons, Jacob,
Nicholas and Adam. Peggy Boher, a widow, and her daughter, Eleanor, came
before Nicholas Prutsman. The mother's name appears upon the assessment list
for 1800. John Gordon came into Lawrence township previous to 1803, and
purchased quite a large body of land. He subsequently removed to Tioga town-
ship and for several years kept a wayside inn on the west side of the "Cove." Maj.
William Eathbone, a brother-in-law of John Gordon, came about the same time.
Maj. William Bentley came here from Chemung county. New York, in April, 1806,
and settled on the Crozier tract, north of Colin Van Camp, near Mitchell's Creek.
Elijah DePui was here previous to April 14, 1806, on which date his son, Thomas,
was born. He settled on the Tioga river, just below Nicholas Prutsman, a portion
of whose claim he bought. Capt. Lyman Adams arrived in Tioga from Tinmouth,
Eutland county, Vermont, July 4, 1804, lived for awhile in a house of Dr. Wil-
lard's, and then moved to what afterwards became known as the Lyman Adams
farm. John Daily came into the county in 1811, locating first at Beecher's Island.
On Christmas eve, 1813, he married Violetta, a daughter of Nathan Niles, Sr., and
the following spring settled on the old Nathan Niles homestead, where his son.
Van Buren Daily, now lives. Col. Ambrose Millard came from Saratoga county.
New York, to Beecher's Island, in 1810, and in 1812 moved into Tioga township,
and bought the Eathbone place. He was prominent in the early business and
political history of the county. Ira McAllister came into the township with Am-
brose Millard. The other settlers, previous to 1830, were Eoland Hall, who came
about 1815; Ebenezer Perry and his sons, Charles and Chauncey, and Samuel Tharp
and John S. Allen, who were here before 1819.

When these pioneers settled here the township was an unbroken wilderness.
The deer, wolf, bear, panther and other wild animals roamed at will through the
forest, which had to be cleared away before homes could be built or fields culti-
vated. Eor this work hardy, courageous and resolute men were needed, and such
were, as a rule, these first settlers. They lived simple, frugal and industrious lives.


and with patience and fortitude pushed forward the work of establishing homes
for themselves and their descendants, who hold their memories in enduring


The first grist-mill in the county was built between 1797 and 1800, by the
father of Aaron Gillet, near the mouth of Mill creek. Gillet also built a small dis-
tillery about the same time. They were soon carried away by a flood and the family
moved to Cherry Plats. About 1805 Nicholas Prutsman and his sons built a grist-
mill on the Tioga river, below Tioga borough. A little later Jacob Prutsman, the
oldest son, built a saw-mill on Bear creek, on land bought from George Prekay.
This was said to have been the second one erected ia the township. Dr. Willard's
being the first. In 1827 he constructed a dam across the river, a short distance
below the island on which the borough is situated, and built a new mill on the west
bank of the stream. This, at the time, was regarded as an important and costly
enterprise. Eaits of lumber, and also arks of grain and farm produce were shipped
from here to the lower Susquehanna. About 1800 Dr. William "Willard built a
saw-mill west of the "Cove," on the site of the village of Tioga, or Brooklyn, as it
is more frequently called. This was the first saw-mill in the township. He after-
wards built two other mills, one east of the first one, and one on Crooked creek.
The last named was subsequently owned by William B. Kyes, now a resident of
Tioga. About 1833 Samuel Westbrook erected a distillery, the second in the town-
ship, one mile and a half below the borough, on the east side of the river. Among
his assistants was Jesse Losey.

As the entire township was covered with a heavy growth of pine and hemlock,
lumbering early became an important industry, and saw-mills were erected wherever
a good water power could be obtained. These mills were to be found along the
banks of the Tioga river, of Mill creek. Crooked creek. Bear creek and Mitchell's
creek, and were operated, sometimes with profit, sometimes with serious loss to their
owners, until the scarcity of pine and hemlock timber made their discontinuance


About the year 1816 a school house was erected on the Major Bentley place, near
Mitchell's Creek. Like the other early schools in the township, it was supported
by subscription. Andrew Pickard, Dennis Hawes and other pioneer teachers
taught in this school. Among the early teachers after the adoption of the public
school system were Julia Ann Amsbry, now Mrs. A. K. Purman, of Gaines township;
Lydia Ann Humphrey and S. M. Broakman. Mrs. Mary D. Miller, wife of C. P.
Miller, whose farm is a part of the original Bentley place, taught here in 1846.
A short time after the close of the Civil War a school buUding was erected at
Mitchell's Creek, and the school on the Bentley place discontinued. Early schools
were also established on Crooked creek and near the month of Mill creek. There
are now ten public school buildings in the township, in which winter and summer
terms of school are taught and competent teachers employed.

Owing to the fact that the original area of the township was co-extensive with
the county, and that it was not until 1816 that it was reduced to its present area.


the early justices exercised authority over a wide jurisdiction. Even after most
of the townships were established within their present boundaries, justices of the
peace, as a rule, exercised jurisdiction over two or more townships. After the
Constitution of 1838, which made the office of justice of the peace an elective one
and limited the term to five years, each borough and each township became a sep-
arate justice of the peace district, so to speak, the change necessitating a marked
increase in the number of justices. Before the office became an elective one justices
of the peace were appointed by the governor, and held during good behavior. The
first justice of the peace appointed for Tioga township was Nathan Niles, Sr., who
was commissioned January 7, 1808. Elijah Putnam, the next appointed, was com-
missioned by Gov. Simon Snyder, March 9, 1813. Daniel Lamb and William
Rose, the one a pioneer of Eichmond and the other of Rutland township, were
appointed and commissioned March 15, of the same year, for Tioga township, giving
the township, as then constituted, three justices of the peace. The succeeding
justices were commissioned as follows: Ambrose Millard, 1816; Elijah DePui, 1819;
Levi Vail, 1825; William Willard, Jr., 1827; Jonah Brewster, March, 1830; William
Garretson, 1831; elected in 1855 and 1860; Horace Frizelle, 1833; Horace E.
Spencer, 1833; Joseph Clark, 1835; Calvin Cowley, 1835; Erastus W. Derow,
1836; Clark Stilwell, 1836; Charles Spencer, 1836; Lewis Meade, 1836; Curtis
Parkhurst, 1838; Carpenter H. Place, 1838; re-elected in 1840, 1850, 1855 and
1860; Joseph Aiken, 1841; re-elected in 1846; Henry E. Smith, 1845; J. G. Put-
nam, 1851; C. J. Humphrey, 1861; Charles P. Swan, 1864; William T. Urell, 1865;
re-elected, 1873, 1878, 1883 and 1890; John W. Guernsey, 1867; Charles H. Sey-
mour, 1868; William J. Mann, 1870; Horace S. Johnston, 1875; John Stevens,
1881; D. C. Kimball, 1886; W. C. Phelps, 1887; R. P. H. McAllister, 1889; W.
0. Russell, 1894; D. C. Kimball, 1895; V. D. McAllister, 1897.


The Free Methodist Church, at Painter Run, is the only religious organization
in the township. It was organized in 1885, and among the original members were
Lewis Wilson, George Jones, Mary Brace and D. Jones. The following are the
names of the pastors who have served this church: Revs. W. J. Riker, 1886 and
1887; W. J. Sitzer, 1888; L. Kelly, 1889; Mr. Salsburg, 1890; J. A. Tholens, 1891
and 1892; 0. S. Baker, 1893 and 1894, and W. J. Sitzer, the present pastor. The
present membership is thirty-six. A Sunday-school with thirty-five members is
maintained, of which John Brace is the superintendent. A neat frame church
building, costing $1,000, was dedicated October 27, 1895.

An Indian Burying Ground was discovered at the northern end of the island
on which the borough of Tioga is situated, at the time of the building of the bridge
over Crooked creek. Some ten or twelve skeletons of large size were unearthed.
In 1838, when the railroad was graded, Indian remains were also found near the
foot of Daily hill, below the mouth of Mill creek.

Family Burying Grounds, in which rest the remains of many of the old pioneers,
are to be found in various parts of the township. The oldest of these is the Berry
graveyard situated some twenty rods east of the lower river bridge. Here were


buried the remains of a child of Thomas Berry, that died January 17, 1803, and
of Thomas Berry himself, who died April 17, 1807, as well as other members of the
family. The Van Camp burying ground on the D. L. Aiken place contains the
remains of members of the Van Gamp, Allen and Kiphart families. In the Bentley
burying round, on the old Major Bentley place, are the graves of several members
of the Bentley family. Here also were buried John Gordon, his daughter, Mareia,
who died November 8, 1810, aged twenty years; the mother of Col. Ambrose Mil-
lard, and Obadiah Inscho, a pioneer of Lawrence township. The Mitchell grave-
yard lies on a knoll east of the old "William Mitchell farm house. Here were buried
Robert Mitchell and his wife, Abigail (Ives) Mitchell, and also John Inscho and his
wife. In the Timothy Ives graveyard, near the residence of Jacob Westbrook, on
the Wellsboro road, were buried the remains of John Ives and other members of the
Ives family. Over one hundred interments were made in this burying ground. The
Mill creek or Guernsey cemetery, situated on the point of a hill, below the mouth
of Mill creek, is the resting place of members of the Mies, Guernsey, Adams, Daily,
Keeney and other families. The old Tioga village cemetery, on the Wellsboro road,
half a mile west of the borough, was opened in the fall of 1839. It contains over
one hundred graves.

Evergreen Cemetery, incorporated December 9, 1863, is situated a little over
half a mile west of the borough, on a series of alluvial knolls. It contains twenty
acres of ground, is well laid out and well cared for. Transfers to this cemetery have
been made, from time to time, of remains buried in the various family graveyards
throughout the township. It is enclosed by a fence and contains a number of
handsome monuments.


Mitchell's Creek, in the northern part of the township, on the Tioga railroad,
about half a mile south of the Lawrence township line, takes its name from the
Mitchell family, who settled a short distance west of the present village, near the
Tioga river, in 1793. Here, in 1836, Thomas K. Mitchell manufactured the brick
and erected the first brick house in the county, which for over forty years was the
only one of the kind in the township. A few years later he opened a store near this
house. Daniel Holden, a pioneer of Eichmond township, was a partner in this
store at the time of his (Holden's) death, in 1830. After the completion of the
railroad Mr. Mitchell moved the store to the station established on the Aiken place,
and later to Mitchell's Creek. After the railroad was built the village of Mitchell's
Creek began to grow. WilUam K. Mitchell, a brother of Thomas K., opened a store
and became the first postmaster. His successors in the ofi&ce have been Simeon
Mitchell, John Mitchell, Edward Brace, Lewis J. Kimball and Thomas Graves.
Lewis J. Kimball, the predecessor of Graves, was appointed a second time in October,
1894, and now holds the office. The village contains about 150 inhabitants, and
has two stores, kept by W. E. Hughes and Lewis J. Kimball.

Tioga Tillage, or Brooldyn, though not included in the corporate limits, is prac-
tically a part of Tioga borough, the line of separation being the "Cove." Its site
formed a part of the large body of land once owned by Dr. "William "Willard, and
which afterwards passed into the hands of Mrs. Sylvia Parmentier. Here, on the


spot now occupied by the residence of Eliza Seagers, stood tlie Willard farm house.
Two of the saw-mills built by Dr. Willard were within the present village limits.
A water grist-mill was afterwards built near the site of one of these mills. It is
n,ow operated by Charles Schoner. After the property passed into the hands of
Mrs. Parmentier, a steam saw-mill was also erected and an upper leather tannery
built. These several enterprises were managed for a number of years by Col. H.
S. Johnston, as agent for Mrs. Parmentier.

It was not until after the completion of the Pall Brook railroad, in 1871, that
the real growth of the village began. Under the stimulus of this enterprise, it built
up rapidly during the next few years. A station was established by the railroad
company in September, 1871, and E. P. H. McAlHster appointed station agent, a
position he held until July, 1894, when he resigned, owing to ill health, and was
succeeded by the present agent, James T. Davis. Mr. McAllister took an active part
in building up the place, erecting no less than twenty-six houses, the greater number
of which he soon sold. A hotel, now Icnown as the Brooklyn Hotel, and which is
conducted by E. D. Urell, was erected in 1873, as was also a store building. The
latter burned and was rebuilt. It is now occupied by Burton Schrader, who, with
T. D. Marsh, whose store is located on the Wellsboro road, are the only merchants
in the place.

In 1883 the Tioga Coke Works were ericted, by the Pall Brook Coal Company,
on land adjoining the village on the south, purchased from B. C. Wiekham, Jabin
S. Bush, Eleazer Seagers and H. E. Smith & Son. This important enterprise stimu-
lated the growth of both the borough and the village. Nearly 300 ovens were
operated and over 100 men employed. John J. Davis was superintendent until
January, 1890, when he resigned and was succeeded by his son, James T. Davis,
who held the position until July 1, 1894, when, owing to the ruinous competition
of western coke works, the enterprise was abandoned. The works have since been

The Tioga Eoller Mill, just west of the Pall Brook railroad and south of the
Wellsboro road, was erected in 1890, at a cost of $10,000, by W. 0. Eussell. It is a
full roller mill, run by steam, with a capacity of forty ban-els of flour every twenty-
four hours, and is devoted to merchant milling.

The saw and planing-mill of T. A. Wiekham is situated just west of the "Cove."
It is run by steam and is devoted to the manufacture of lumber, lath, etc., for home
trade and shipment.

Painter Run is the name of a postoffice in the southeast comer of the town-
ship. The office was established in 1873. David Bartlett was the first postmaster.
In 1883 he was succeeded by D. C. Kingsley, who died in April, 1895, and was
succeeded by his son, J. P. Kingsley, who also owns and operates a steam saw-mill
and a feed-mill here.



Description— Physical Chabacteristics— Early Settlers— Population— Vil-
lage Industries and Enterprises— Early Physicians and Lawyers— Early
AND Later Hotels— Borough Organization and Officials— Village and
Borough Newspapers— Schools— Churches— Secret Societies —Later Busi-
ness AND Manufacturing Enterprises— Tioga Water Works— Hose Com-
panies — Fire and Flood.

THE borough of Tioga is situated west of the center of Tioga township, at the
confluence of Crooked creek and the Tioga river, on an oblong strip of land
known as the "Island," which is bounded on the east and south by the Tioga river,
and on the west and north by the "Cove" — a name given to an overflow channel of
the same stream — and by Crooked creek. The elevation, railroad grade, is 1,043
feet above sea level; that of the surrounding hills from 400 to 600 feet higher. The
widening of the valley at this point, caused by the junction of Crooked creek and
the Tioga river, forms a basin affording ample room for a good-sized city, and is in
pleasing contrast with the bold and rugged hills that hem the borough in on the
east and south.

The land comprised within the borough limits formed a part of original surveys
61 and 67, entered May 17, 1785, by Edward Bartholomew and John Patton. They
and a number of succeeding owners were non-residents. These surveys, as their
nimibers indicate, were among the earliest entered after this section of Pennsylvania
was opened up for settlement by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, October 33, 1784.

In 1791 or 1793 Jesse Losey, accompanied by his wife, came to Tioga county
from "New Jersey. They ascended the river in a canoe as far as the "Island," and
located on the west bank near the foot of what is now Church street. Jesse was
soon joiaed by his brother, Stephen, who does not appear to have made a location.
The deeds forming the chain of title to this land fail to show that Jesse Losey ever
became the owner of it. Like many other pioneers, he had only a squatter's right.
He was, nevertheless, the first settler, not only on the site of Tioga borough, but
within the present limits of Tioga township, and the sixth in the Tioga river valley,
south of the N"ew York state line.

Losey's first home was a rude hut of poles and bark, which was blown down
during a violent storm. He next built a log house farther up the river, between
the west bank and the Williamson road, the site of which is still discernible on the
land now owned by H. E. Smith & Son. Here his wife died. Her grave, it is said,
lies under the sidewalk, near the northeast comer of Main and Church streets.

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 66 of 163)