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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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mistake, probably "Barney's." The road, however, was never opened. In 1793-93
Capt. Charles Williamson, agent for the Pultney estate, in the State of New York,
was engaged in opening a wagon road from Williamsport, on the West Branch, to
Williamsburg, on the Canaseraga creek, a distance of 150 miles. The survey of this

* Captain Buel Baldwin said that Colonel Eleazer Lindsley's settlement on his tract north of the State line
preceded by some little time the construction of the Williamson road, as also did the settlement of William
Holden on the south side.



road followed tlie east bank of the Tioga the entire width of the township*, hut when
the road was huilt, on account of expense in constraetion, it crossed the Tioga a
mile above the State line, and became the present main street of the borough of
Lawrenceville. In May, 1793, the Williamson party of road makers was at
Lawrenceville. In Williamson's account book, under date of May 3, 1793, is the
entry, "To cash paid Samuel Baker for Mr. Bennitt on account of his charge to the
Germans, $14.30.'' This road made the Tioga valley accessible to the people about
Sunbury and Northumberland, and brought a large emigration to this township
from that paxt of the country, mostly of the class known as "Pennsylvania Dutch,"
a hardy, thrifty race.

April 11, 1795, was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature the "Intrusion Law,"
inflicting heavy fines and imprisonment upon any one convicted of taking pos-
session of, entering, intruding or settling "on any lands in the counties of North-
ampton, Northumberland or Luzerne by virtue or under color of any conveyance
of half-share-right, or any other pretended title not derived from the author-
ity of this commonwealth," except in the seventeen townships of Luzerne county.
Under the vigorous operation of this law a number of people from this township
were arrested and, having been indicted by the grand jury, were taken to Williams-
port for trial, but, much to the credit of the court, were acquitted. During the
decade under consideration all of the original settlers moved away from the town-
ship, but others came to take their places.

Uriah Spencer was among the pioneers of this period. He was born in Salis-
bury, Connecticut, and married Miss Deborali Elliott, of Guilford, Connecticut, first
cousin of John Elliott, of Kent, both of whom were lineal descendants in the fourth
degree of the celebrated John Eliot, missionary among the New England Indians.
Mr. Spencer had purchased of Hon. James Hillhouse, of New Haven, Connecticut,
a near relative by marriage and a considerable dealer in Pennsylvania lands, the
Connecticut title for the township of Hamilton, which included a large part of the
present Lawrence township. Mr. Spencer came to Lawrenceville first about 1794,
without his family. At this time Baker and his friends, except Holden, had
removed to Pleasant valley, and Holden sold his possession to Mr. Spencer, it is said,
for a barrel of whiskey. William Dewees, of Philadelphia, and Josiah Lockhart,
of Lancaster, had entered warrants of survey for a great part of Mr. Spencer's town-
ship. He was active in selling Connecticut rights untU, with quite a number of
others, he was arrested for violating the intrusion law and taken to Williamsport,
where he was duly indicted by the gi-and jury at the May sessions, 1797, and finally
tried and acquitted at the September term, 1798. Soon after his acquittal he re-
moved up the Tioga to what was later known as the John Elliott place, and subse-
quently to Tioga, where he became one of the most prominent men of the county.

John Elliott, a cousin of the wife of Uriah Spencer, was born in Kent, Litch-
field county, Connecticut, November 3, 1760, and died in Lawrence, December 13,
1845; his wife, Penina Walter, bom March 11, 1777, died August 29, 1870. Hav-
ing bought the Connecticut title to a farm in Uriah Spencer's township, he started
with his family the first of March for his new purchase, with two sleighs and two

* So it is laid down on a Williamson map in the possession of Judge Spencer of Corning, New York.


teams of horses. Crossing the Hudson river at Catskill, he came to Unadilla, where,
loading his effects on a raft, he floated down to Tioga Point. Here he left his family-
while he went up to Tioga, procured a canoe and secured the services of Robert
Mitchell and returned to Tioga Point for his goods and family. Eeturning, he
stopped at Erwin Center, where he learned of the arrest of Mr. Spencer*, and deter-
mined to keep out of Pennsylvania until the trouble was settled. In 1811 he re-
moved to Lawrenceville, occupying land formerly improved by William Holden. In
1816 he sold his farm to James Ford, and going up the river to Risings, bought of
John Shepard, July 8, 1816, 193 acres, with the improvements made by Uriah
Spencer. In his native town Mr. Elliott had been a justice of the peace and a mem-
ber of the legislature. He is spoken of as an honest, conscientious man. His
old residence, with its porch and four tall, round columns, is still standing, a con-
spicuous and interesting landmark of other days.

Thomas Wilson and his family, consisting of his wife, three sons, Thomas,
Joseph and Alexander, and one daughter. Amy, who later married Daniel Walker,
came from Maryland and settled on the Smith farm in 1795-96. Thomas, Jr., and
Alexander moved to Batavia, New York. Joseph went to Angelica, New York,
but after his father died he returned to Lawrence and occupied the farm until his
death, September 11, 1857, at the age of eighty-seven years. His wife, Linda Shum-
way, died August 31, 1827. Thomas Wilson, his son, Thomas, and their neighbor,
Daniel Ingersole, who came to Lawrence about the same time, were arrested and taken
to Williamsport for violating the intrusion law, ha-\dng bought and settled upon
their farms under a Connecticut title, in 1797. Mr. Ingersole settled on the farm
owned by the late George L. Ryon. He bought the Pennsylvania title of Samuel Pleas-
ants, "with buildings and appurtenances," by deed bearing date October 14, 1806,
aaid sold it to Jacob Eeep, May 11, 1812. Leonard Cole and Benjamin Cole were
also among the "intruders," and probably lived where Norman Allen now lives, as
early as 1795-96. They owned no land, but occupied several places for a short
time and died in the vicinity of Lawrenceville. George Buchanan settled on the
place now owned by ex-Sheriff John Irvin, probably before 1800. He sold to
Eleazer Baldwin, deed bearing date October 15, 1808, and left this vicinity.

Jacob Eeep came from near Danville, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1795, to
Athens, Pennsylvania, where he spent the winter. His wife. Amy Walker, had four
brothers and one sister living there. The next spring, loading his goods and family
in a canoe, he pushed up the river as far as Elmira, when his wife and one child,
with a horse and cow, took the bridle path over the hill to Lawrenceville, while he
pushed his canoe up the stream. He first settled on the George L. Ryon farm, where
he remained several years. Doubting the validity of his title, he afterwards removed
farther up the river to the "old Reep homestead," now owned by the heirs of Peter
Eeep, where Jacob died in 1829. The deed from Charles Spurrell, Surry, England,
for 169 acres of land, "whereon said Reep now lives, with the buildings, improve-
ments and appurtenances," bears date August, 1820. The following incidents illus-
trate pioneer life. One morning a good tracking snow had fallen and Mr. Reep

* This fixes 1797, as the year of Mr. RUiott's trip. Had Spencer been arrested when Klliott first came to
Tiogfa, he certainly would have known it. That event must have occurred while Klliott was at Tioga Point. The
arrest'was in April or May, 1797,



went out to hunt deer. He followed one until the deer crossed his track, when he
found an Indian was following the same deer. Mr. Keep left the chase to his red
competitor and came home. One night the pigs, which were shut in a pen, were
making a great noise. When going out to see what was the matter he found a bear
trying to get out of the pen with a pig. He ran for his ax, intending to break bruin's
back, but struck him on the side; the ax stuck fast, the bear escaped and he never
saw his ax again. Jacob had two sons, Jacob, Jr., who married Betsey, daughter
of Adam Hart, and had two children, a son, Peter, who died young, and a daughter.
Amy, who married Abram AValker; and Peter, who married Catharine Eidgely, to
whom were bom fourteen children.

Obadiah Inscho located on the east side of the Tioga, a mile above Lawrence-
ville, upon the Horton farm, in 1798. Here he resided until his death in 1820.
Many of his descendaxits are living in this county.

Adam Hart joined Mr. Eeep on the south, his farm including what is now
called Somer's Lane. He was of German parentage, served seven years in the
American army during the Revolutionary War, and with his brother George was
an early emigrant from Eeading, Pennsylvania, to Lawrence. The Harts were enter-
prising and thrifty farmers. Adam built a distillery on the little stream which still
bears his name, said to have been the first erected in the county, and also a saw-
mill. He had two sons, John and Daniel, and one daughter, who was married to
Jacob Keep. He and his wife moved to Mansfield about 1823, where they died.
George Hart served seven years in the Revohitionary War. He had one son, John,
whose family now lives in Liberty, and two daughters, one of whom was married to
Joseph Middaugh, and the other to Joseph Rowley, who moved to Big Flats, New

Joseph Middaugh, son of Samuel, who lived on the Chemung, came from
the east a young man, married a daughter of George Hart and settled adjacent to
him. He had a saw-mill and did quite an extensive lumber business. Mid-
daugh and the Harts bought the Connecticut title to their land, but finding it
worthless bought of the Pennsylvania owners, giving mortgage for the payment
of the purchase money. It is likely that Elias Westbrook, who came from the
Wyoming valley and settled near Tioga Junction, came before 1800, but the pre-
cise date has not been ascertained.

Thus, at the beginning of the present century, nearly every farm along the
Tioga valley from the State line to the present Tioga township was occupied by
hardy pioneers, whose thrift, push and enterprise were beginning to let the sun-
shine into the woods, and commencing to hew out of the wilderness the beautiful
farms, and introduce the appliances of civilization, which for nearly a century
have distinguished this portion of the county.

In the meanwhile settlements began to be pushed with equal enterprise up
the Cowanesque. Among the first of these was that of John Cady. He was bom
at Saratoga, Few York, July 4, 1771:, and was married to Permelia Frick in 1795,
at Southport, 'New York. He came immediately to Lawrenceville and settled
upon the farm, recently the home of his daughter, Mrs. Robert Stewart, on which
William Barney had formerly lived. Barney had built a rough log house with
bark-covered roof, a few stones laid up at one side for a fire place and a hole in


the roof for the escape of the smoke and had cleared a few acres of land for a
corn patch. A hollow maple stump at the door, over which swung a stone pestle
suspended from a spring-pole, was the mill. Here young Cady brought his
eighteen-year old wife for her wedding trip. And here they lived, industriously
clearing and improving their farm, reared a family of children, and spent their old
age in peace and comfort until their death, which occurred to Mr. Cady August
23, 1850, and to his wife February 3, 1863. Mr. Cady^s father, Zebdee Cady, came
about the same time, made a settlement on the south side of the Cowanesque near
the "old red house," remained a few years and then went to Ohio, where he died.

Lyman and Calvin Pritchard, two brothers, came about the time or a little
after Mr. Cady* and settled the farm next above him, Calvin on the farm afterwards
owned by his son, the late William Pritchard, and Lyman the next above. The family
is of Welsh origin, but were at Wyoming, where their father was taken captive
by the Indians and never heard of after. The sons, with their aged mother,
came to Athens, then went to Owego, and later to Lawrenceville. Lyman mar-
ried a daughter of William Allington, a blacksmith, who came about the same
time as the Pritchards, and lived in a little house east of Abram Walker's. He
was physically a powerful man, and held a prominent place in the little com-
munity. He went west where he died. Calvin married a daughter of Hosea
Kennedy, who was also an early settler on the Cowanesque. Mr. Pritchard for
many years carried the mail on horseback from Painted Post to Williamsport over
the Williamson road. One night while riding along rather slowly, a panther
dropped from a tree upon his horse, but got ofE without doing injury to either
horse or postman, except a big scare. The brothers were joint owners of a saw-
mill, where mucji of the superb pine, which once covered their farms, was manu-
factured into lumber. They were both men of good education for the times, raised
large families, and died upon the farms they first settled.

It has been asserted that in 1800 Tioga county contained only ten families,
sixty white persons and seven negroes. There were, however, that many families
within the boimds of Lawrence township. The population of the township at
the time of its organization, 1816, has not been ascertained. In 1818 the as-
sessment enumerated forty-six taxables, with 5,530 acres of improved land, 693
unimproved, one grist-mill, six saw-mills, one tannery, and a valuation of
$13,631. Among the persons here at that time the following deserve mention:

Ira Kilbum, son of Elijah Kilburn, was bom in Colchester, Connecticut, Oc-
tober 39, 1773; at twenty was prepared for college; pursued his collegiate studies
at Williams and Yale, and graduated in 1796. After teaching a year in Westerly,
Ehode Island, in company with Drs. Lee and Ceilings, he engaged in mercantile
business for a couple of years, when he began the study of law with Hon. Cod-
dington Billings, of his native town, whence after three years he entered the ofSce
of Judge Gilbert, of Hebron, intending to present himself for admission to the
bar at the next term of court, when unforseen circumstances called him to Tioga
county in the latter part of 1803. Here he purchased an extensive tract of land,

* In an interview with the late Hiram Pritchard of Corning, New York, he with great positiveness put the
date of the coming in 1792, yet both he and others say the Cadys came first, but Cady was here not earlier than


embracing a large portion of Lawreneeville, and 1,100 acres on the east side of
the Tioga, devised by Josiah Loekhaxt to the First Presbyterian church of Lan-
caster, and by it sold to Mr. Kilburn. Here, on almost the exact site of the rail-
road station, he erected a saw and grist-mill, which he operated for many years.
In 1808 he was elected a commissioner of Tioga county, and September 18th, of
the same year, commissioned justice of the peace. August 3, 1811, he was com-
missioned a colon.el by Governor Snyder, and commanded a regiment of militia.
February 6, 1812, he was made postmaster of Lawrenceville, and at the same time
was United States mail contractor. July 13, 1813, he was commissioned an as-
sociate judge of Tioga county and held this important office neajly twenty-eight
years. On retiring from the bench in 1840, he was again elected justice of the
peace, "and in the next four years disposed of over 800 cases brought before him."
He also held nearly every office in the town and borough. He died in Lawrence-
ville in 1854, aged eighty-one years. He married Sally Eoss, June 20, 1803, and
their children were Wells, Harriett, Ealph Lee, Eliza Ann, Adaline and Charles
Lawrence. Judge Kilburn was an honest, upright man, a large contributor to
every benevolent enterprise, and is still remembered as one of the foremost men
of his day in this community.

John Gordon settled on the farm now owned by Mr. Patchin, near Tioga
Junction, prior to 1803. He was born in Scotland, in March, 1761. While at
school he was impressed into the British military service, was put into the Fifty-
third regiment, sent to this country during the Eevolutionary War, and dis-
charged in December, 1779. He chose to remain in the United States, attended
school for a time, married Sarah Eathbone, and settled in Berkshire county, Mas-
sachusetts. He was second cousin to Lord Byron, (whose untitled name was
George Noel Gordon), and his wife was first cousin to Commodore Perry, of Lake
Erie fame. He secured the Pennsylvania title to 240 acres of land, which he sub-
sequently sold, and moved within the present limits of Tioga township. His
family are dead or left the county. John Maine, connected by marriage with the
Gordons, settled about the same time on a farm of 286 acres between Gordon and
Benjamin Westbrook. Here he built a saw-mill, and sold his property to Jesse
Smith and William Babcock, of Ontario county, ISTew York, September 2, 1816,
and later moved to Sullivan township.

Capt. Eleazer Baldwin settled near the village of Lawrenceville in March, 1806.
His grandfather, John Baldwin, a prosperous farmer and merchant, lived in Nor-
wich, Connecticut, and had two sons, one, Jabez, served through the entire Eevo-
lutionary War, and Eufus, the father of Eleazer, who assisted in the erection of
Dartmouth College, Eleazer as a lad assisting to haul the logs of which the first
buildings were constructed. Leaving Dartmouth school, Eleazer came to Geneva,
New York, where he was for some time in the employ of Colonel Williamson.
About 1800 he came up Sugar creek to Troy, Pennsylvania, where he married
Betsy Stevens, and in March, 1806, came to Lawrence township, where he died
in 1831. In 1813 he was collector of taxes, and an active man of affairs until the
day of his death. His sons Buel, Moses and Thomas L., were farmers and
lumbermen. Buel and Thomas subsequently moved to Tioga, while Moses re-
mained in Lawrence, and died on the farm where his widow now lives.


Dr. Simeon Powers came to Lawrenceville in 1805, but remained here only a
brief period. Removing to Knoxville, he Hved at that place until 1808, and
then located in Tioga. In 1831 he returned to Lawrenceville, which remained his
home until his death. His practice extended over a vast territory; westward up
the Cowanesque into Potter county, south as far as Williamsport and north to
Addison, Painted Post ajid Bath. In 1815 he was elected the second sheriff of
Tioga county, holding the ofHce for three years. The doctor built the "red
house," on Cowanesque street, liawrenceville, where he died in December, 1863,
in the eightieth year of his age. He came to Tioga county a single man, but mar-
ried Polly, a daughter of Obadiah Inscho.

Daniel "Walker was bom at Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, in 1778. At ten yeaxs
of age came with his father, George Walker, to Nichols, New York, and thence
to Lawrenceville in 1810, and settled upon the farm now owned by his son,
Abram Walker. The deed beais date December 2, 1815. Some one, whose name
is unknown, had made a settlement here before Walker came. In 1811 he mar-
ried Margaret, daughter of Thomas Wilson. She died in 1836 and he in 1854.
His son, Abram, an octogenarian, whose wife was Amy Eeep, is still living on the
old homestead, while his daughter, Amy, married Austin Lathrop, and died in

Hon. James Ford was bom in Morristown, New Jersey, March 4, 1783. At the
early age of thirteen he went to New York to learn the mercantile business, where
he remained six years. In 1814 he had a store at Watson's, a mile north of the
Pennsylvania state line; in 1816 he is spoken of as a merchant in Painted Post,
and in that year he removed to Lawrenceville and built the mansion now occupied
by his grandson, George Shumway. When the frame of the building was erected,
the people for twenty miles around had been invited to the raising. At its christen-
ing, as was then the custom, the various names by which the place had been known,
such as "Bachelorsville," "Shaver's Point," "Rogue's Harbor," etc., were discarded,
and that of Lawrence adopted, in honor of Captain Lawrence, of "Don't give up the
ship" fame. Mr. Ford became the most extensive business man in Tioga county,
especially as merchant, lumberman ajid dealer in real estate. To him and Judge
Kilbum Lawrenceville is largely indebted for its broad streets, deeds for lots specify-
ing that Main street, a part of the Williamson road, should be eighty feet wide. As
a business man Mr. Ford was intelligent and energetic. At his mills large quantities
of lumber were cut and iloated down the river, and grain was purchased which was
manufactured into flour for southern markets. He served acceptably two terms
in the state legislature, 1834 and 1835, and two in Congress, elected in 1838 and
1830. He died in 1859 and was laid to rest in the Lindsley family burying ground,
where sleep many of the pioneers of this valley.

Dr. Curtis Parkhtirst, a native of Marlborough, where he was bom in 1794,
came to Lawrenceville in 1818 and built up a large professional practice. He was
elected to the legislature in 1827, sheriff in 1840, and appointed an associate Judge
in 1847, and was a man of prominence and influence.

Hiram Beebe, who came in 1815, was the first merchant. In 1840 he removed
his business to Nelson, but retained his home in Lawrenceville until his death. He
was a prominent business man and a leading politician. His brother, Anson Beebe,


with his brother-in-law, Asa Lincoln, both of whom came in 1817, were engaged
with Hiram in the manufacture of gloves and mittens for years.

Among the other early settlers of prominence were Joseph McCormick, Samuel
McDougall, who came from "Washington county, New York, was county surveyor
from 1837 to 1836, and died in 1859, aged seventy-six; Job Geer, a leading con-
tractor and builder, who erected the court house at Wellsboro; Daniel Cook and
others who became identified with the development and upbuilding of the township.

Such were the leading men among the settlers up to 1831, in which year the
settlements were practically confined to the river flats, the hillsides remaining, for
the most part, a wilderness. Year by year, however, the timber was stripped from
these and the adjacent uplands, and the land placed under cultivation, tmtil, in
time, the entire township was transformed into well-tilled and productive fields.
In 1890 the population of the township was 1,017, and of Lawrenceville borough
441, making a total for both of 1,458.


Prom the first, the natural advantages of its situation made the junction of
the two rivers the business center for a large outlying territory, which, with the
rapid development of the lumber manufacturing, so enhanced its importance as
to render a municipal organization desirable. Accordingly, by an act of legis-
lature, approved March 31, 1831, that part of the township of Lawrence, bounded
on the north by the State line; on the east by the Tioga river; on the south by Ira
Kilburn's south line, and on the west by James Ford's west line, was erected into
the "Borough of Lawrenceville," and in a few weeks the borough government went
into operation.

The completion of the Chemung canal to Corning, in 1834, and of the Tioga
railroad a few years, later gave a great impulse to business. From 1840 to 1855
the lumber trade was at its zenith. A perfect lumber fever prevailed. In the
spring season and on every freshet, the Tioga and Cowanesque rivers were literally
crowded with rafts of logs, lumber and timber, and ark loads of shingles. Two
hundred million feet annually passed through Lawrenceville, exclusive of the large
amount manufactured at or near the town. Merchants did a heavy business.
Stores, shops, hotels, churches and private residences were erected during this fever,
which began to subside in 1856. The forests, which had yielded such large revenue
and given employment to so much capital and labor, had been swept away, and
the soil, though good, was covered with stumps,' brush and undergrowth, or had
been swept by devastating fires. In a few years the borough, which had been the

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 70 of 163)