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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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By John L. Sexton Jr.
The borough of Blossburg was organized in August 1871, being taken from Bloss township. it is situated at what might be termed the head of the Tioga Valley, at an elevation of 1,348 feet above tide, in the center of the Blossburg coal basin. It is in a valley and from it diverge several small valleys--Johnson Creek Valley, Morris Run and the continuation of the Tioga Valley in a very restricted form. Three railroads also diverge from it, viz. the Fall Brook Railroad and the Morris Run and Arnot branches of the Tioga Railroad. These branches are each four miles long, and the Fall Brook Railroad seven miles. The distance from Blossburg to Covington is 5 miles, to Wellsboro, 17 miles, to Corning 40 miles, to Elmira 38 miles by wagon road and 46 by railroad, Williamsport 40 miles, Harrisburg 135 miles, Philadelphia 240 miles and it is almost exactly north of Washington, D.C.
At the taking of the census of 1880 it had a population of 2,140, but this has increased several hundred since that time. Among its business institutions are a tannery with a capacity of one hundred thousand sides of sole leather annually, a glass manufactory which produces about 40,000 boxes of window and double-thick glass, a saw-mill cutting 5,000,000 feet annually, a steam planing-mill and sash factory, a feed mill, a wagon shop, a foundry and machine shop, two blacksmith shops, besides the large machine shop of the Tioga Railroad Company, and a car shop of that company. There are three hotels, a bank, three drug stores, two jewelry stores, a tobacco store, two wholesale liquor stores and bottling establishments, one rectifying establishment, a brewery, two merchant tailoring establishments, two bakeries, a confectionery, a book store, a printing office, several dry goods stores, a number of grocery and provision stores three ready-made clothing stores, two boot and shoe stores, one with harness shop attached; four shoe shops, four millinery, dress making and fancy goods concerns, a china palace and Yankee notion store, etc.
In 1801 Aaron Bloss settled at Covington, and five years later he purchased "Peter's Camp," where the German and English immigrants had encamped when they were being conducted into western New York by Benjamin and Robert Paterson in 1792. This camp was near the bridge across the Tioga in the southern portion of the present borough of Blossburg.
Aaron Bloss was a hardy, courageous and athletic man, composed of the material needed in making a successful pioneer. He erected a dwelling, which was afterward used as a hotel; being located midway on the Williamson road between Williamsport and Painted Post, his tavern soon became famous among travelers between the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River. In 1820 he built a larger hotel. In the mean time he had opened the coal mines of which an account will be found in the general history of the county. He remained at Peter's Camp many years, and changed the name to Blossburg about the year 1821. Upon his land were found not only bituminous coal but iron ore, fire clay and glass sandrock. He returned to the township of Covington, and died there March 24th 1843, aged 64. In many respects Mr. Bloss was a remarkable man. Possessing a fund of humor and a treasury of hunting anecdotes, he would captivate his listeners by telling stories. He was a shrewd business man, and alive to the flattering prospects of his wilderness home.
Absalom Kingsbury was also an early settler, and kept the Bloss hotel after it was vacated by Mr. Bloss. Asahel Walker, Isaac Walker and Royal Walker were also early settlers, as were Eli Dartt, Dr. Lewis Saynisch, John H. Knapp, Evan Harris, Gayheart Boehm and Samuel Weeks.
In 1826 Judge John H. Knapp, of Elmira, opened the first store, in a building near the Bloss hotel; the year before he had erected a furnace for the conversion of ore into pig iron. This furnace stood on the site of the present foundry and machine shop of T. J. Mooers. The first saw-mill was built by Curtis P. Stratton and Peter Keltz, for judge Knapp, in 1825. It stood on the bank of the Tioga River a few rods north of the present cemetery. At this time Blossburg contained in all about fifteen dwellings.
In 1827 D. P. Freeman, under the patronage of judge Knapp, commenced the erection of a large hotel on the southwest side of the river, opposite the hotel of Aaron Bloss, on the Williamson road, and near where stands the saw-mill of the Blossburg Coal Company. On the first day of January 1828 Mr. Freeman invited his friends at home and at Williamsport (a distance of forty miles, Trout Run, Liberty, Covington, Mansfield, Willardsburg (now Tioga), Lawrenceville and Painted Post to a house warming, to which they generally responded, and a most enjoyable time was had.
No man deserves more credit and honor for the prosperity of Blossburg than judge Knapp. He built a furnace, a saw-mill, hotels and dwellings, opened mines of coal, iron and fire clay, and otherwise planted the seed of success which was ultimately reaped by other parties. A committee of New York gentlemen, consisting in part of Hiram Gray and Levi J. Cooley, as early as 1825 visited him with a view of ascertaining the mineral wealth at Blossburg, intending to use their information to induce the Legislature of New York to pass the bill for the construction of the Chemung Canal. The citizens of Chemung county, who were so much benefited by the Chemung Canal, in later years have been equally fortunate in reaping large profits from the construction of the Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad, leading to the spot where judge Knapp, one of Elmira's former citizens, failed for want of promised assistance from that very community fifty four years ago. Baffled on every hand by not meeting with the promised aid and support, and feeble in health, he placed the work so nobly commenced in the hands of Samuel Weeks, and removed to Fort Madison, Iowa, still sanguine that the mining of coal here would prove a success. President James R. Wilson of the Arbon Coal Company said before his death, realizing the immense sacrifice the judge had made in the valley, that he had hoped to live long enough to be the means of starting some public acknowledgment of the great services of John H. Knapp.
The first physician who located permanently in Blossburg was Dr. Lewis Saynisch, a German. He came in 1831, and subsequently became one of the most public spirited and enterprising citizens. He was president of the Arbon Coal Company for several years, and entertained Sir Charles Lyell, the celebrated English geologist, when he visited Blossburg in 1841, He died about the year 1856 and is buried in the Blossburg cemetery, in the southern portion of the borough. No stone marks his grave, to inform the present generation of the resting place of an eminent physician, a ripe scholar and a distinguished citizen.
The Arbon Coal Company was organized in 1834, and was composed chiefly of gentlemen from Philadelphia and vicinity. Dr. Lewis Saynisch, of Blossburg, was one of the stockholders, and subsequently became its president. The company began mining on the Clemmons openings, on the Bloss vein of coal, on the hills east of the Seymour House. Settlements in Blossburg had hith erto been confined to what is now the southern portion of the borough, around the Bloss Hotel; but this company was instrumental in bringing about settlements in the northern and what is now the central portion. It operated the mines until 1844, when they passed into the hands of William M. Mallory & Co., of Corning, N.Y.
In 1837 Hon. Horatio Seymour, Hon. Amos P. Granger, Hon. Thomas Davis of new York, Hon. James Ford, and C. Parkhurst of Lawrenceville purchased 240 acres of land in Blossburg, and commenced selling lots and making improvements. Clarendon Rathbone was also interested in lands in the place. The agitation of the building of a railroad from Blossburg to Corning incited settlements at Blossburg. About this time came Col. Joseph Yonkin, Francis Welch, A.H. Gaylord, James H. Gulick, John L. Evans, John James, William Butler, Martin Stratton, David Chatfield, Thomas Randall, Thomas Turner, J.P. Morris, J. Jones Smith, Franklin Wright, James A. VanNess, Clement H. Smith, John W. Johnson, Jacob G. Scudder, Samuel Lord, John G. Boyd, Phineas B. Cleaver, Joseph Wilson, Elisha Narsh, Beloris Spencer, Thomas Morgan, Clarendon Rathbone, Elijah Gaylord, William Griffiths, ----- Gearhart and others, and for ten years Blossburg was a prosperous and growing place.
Colonel Joseph Yonkin, of Lycoming county, who came to Blossburg in 1836, had a contract with the Tioga Improvement Company. In 1840 he built the house where he now resides, and for many years kept it open as a hotel. He was born in Fairfield, Lycoming county, in 1818. He was commissioned as captain of militia in 1837 by Governor Joseph Ritner; appointed and commissioned by Governor David R. Porter as lieutenantcolonel of the 156th regiment December 15th 1842, and again by Governor Francis R. Shunk, December 27th 1845; has been supervisor of the town, and in 1879 was elected burgess of Blossburg borough, which position he filled very acceptably. In his younger days he was a man of fine physique and commanding presence, He is one of the old landmarks of Blossburg, having resided in the township and borough forty-six consecutive years.
Alexander H. Gaylord is another of the old settlers. He came to Blossburg, in 1837 and has remained ever since. His vocations have been varied; he has been merchant, surveyor, superintendent of glass works, manufacturer of fire brick, coal operator, land agent, lumberman, etc. He has frequently been supervisor, justice of the peace, assessor and school director, and has served one term as, burgess of the borough. He is an old gentleman of sterling character and inflexible integrity. He has been a life-long Democrat.
John L. Evans came to Blossburg in 1837, from Lycoming county. He built a fine residence on Main or Williamson street, and erected a store near the site of the J. S. Mitchell block. For a number of years he was an active and enterprising merchant, and was conducting a successful business when he was taken ill and died suddenly, March 2ist 1859, aged 52 years. He served several years as justice of the peace, and was otherwise prominent in the affairs of the township. He left a wife and eight children--William, who died in the army during the Rebellion; Ann Jane, wife of Henry Husted; Matthew, who went to California about the year 185 1 and has not been heard from since; Adelia, deceased, wife of Thomas Llewellyn, of Arnot; Mary, wife of Sheriff H. J, Landrus; John Charles, who resides at Pleasant Streain, Lycoming county; Ellen R., wife of A. J. Nash, and Miss Dora Evans.
Francis Welch came to Blossburg in 1837, and has since resided here. He was justice of the peace about twenty-five years. He is still a hale and hearty old gentleman.
James H. Gulick located in Blossburg in 1837, and for thirty-eight years was a resident of the place. He had charge of the construction of the Pennsylvania portion of the Blossburg and Corning Railroad; was interested from time to time in coal operations at Blossburg, glass manufacturing and real estate; and was one of the charter members of the Fall Brook Coal Company, incorporated in April 1859. About eiglit years ago he removed to Williamsport, Still retaining a large real estate interest in Blossburg, and engaged in business there. He died during the year 1881.
William Butler, long and favorably known as a prominent free mason and a genial gentleman, came to Blossburg in 1841, and resided here until about the year 1875, when he removed to Sunbury, Northumberland county. His father was one of the pioneers of the county, having removed from Vermont to the Tioga at Mitchell's Creek in 1812.
Benjamin R. Hall, son of Roland Hallo of Lycoming county, was born in that county in the year 1803. He removed with his father to Lawrenceville in 1819, and in a few years thereafter, with the Magees, was connected with the stage route between Painted Post, N.Y., and Williamsport, Pa. He kept a hotel near the "BlockHouse," for a time, and in 1842 came to Blossburg and opened a hotel, in which business he continued over twenty years. He was a public spirited gentleman and a warm friend. His hotel was frequented and patronized by the best citizens and travelers. He was a member of the masonic fraternity and true to its precepts and teachings. His son, Joseph Hall was for many years the owner and talented editor of the Catskill Recorder. Mr. Hall died March 9th 1872, of hemorrhage of the lungs, aged 69 years.
John James was born in Pontypool, Wales, March 9th 1809. He came to America in 1832 and landed in Quebeck, and from there went to Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne county, Pa. After a short time he removed to Schuylkill county, where he had contacts with Heilman & Co. After completing these he went to Dansville, and from there came to Blossburg in 1840. Here he was first employed by John G. Boyd, and subsequently by the Arbon Coal Company and its successors--William M. Mallory & Co., Duncan S. Magee and the Fall Brook Coal Company. Mr. James was a practical miner, and had charge of the mines at Blossburg for sixteen years. He also engaged in the mercantile business, which in 1862, when he was appointed mail agent on the Corning and Blossburg Railroad, he gave over to his son Alfred T. James. He remained in the position of mail agent to the time of his death which occurred March 4th 1873. His widow survived him only six years, dying in 1879 at Arnot, at the house of her daughter, Mrs. John J. Davis. His children are: Mary V., wife of John J. Davis; Alfred T.; Jane, wife of E. Laas of Syracuse. N.Y.; Mattie A., wife of A.W. Smith of Corning; John and Alice, wife of Clark Evans, of Elmira, N.Y. Mr. James had served the township of Bloss in the capacity of treasurer and justice of the peace, and the county one term as commissioner. He was a gentlemen of rare social qualities, and an esteemed citizen. He was a member of the masonic fraternity, and the last solemn rites of the order were performed at his funeral.
Patrick Bannon, a native of Ireland, came to Blossburg from Schuylkill county in 1841. He early learned the trade of a moulder, but soon took up mining. Previous to his settlement in Blossburg he had been engaged in putting down slopes,and superintending the work about collieries in Schuylkill county. He was married to Miss Joanna Lonergan of Pottsville in 1839. While in Blossburg he has been engaged in exploring for coal, mining, and work connected with the mines. He was one of the school directors when the union school-house was erected in Blossburg, and also assisted in preparing the foundation for the Catholic church in 1850, Mr. Bannon is a public spirited gentleman. He built the place where he now resides, known as Bannon's block.
Bernard Murray was a native of Ireland and came to America in 1827, landing in Quebec. He immediately went into Schuylkill county, and came to Blossburg in 1839. He purchased about that time fifty acres of land in the township of Union, in the Irish settlement, now owned by James A. Decoursey. He worked in and about the mines at Blossburg, and was familiarly known as " Uncle Barney." The hill on the east of Blossburg, now known as " Barney's Hill," was named in honor of him. He was a shrewd, witty and warm hearted man. He died December 26th 1868, aged 72 years, and is buried in the Catholic cemetery at Blossburg. His children are: Mary, widow of James Hurley, of Ward; Joseph, of Antrim; Colonel Bernard A., of Blossburg; Thomas, of Illinois; and John, of McIntyre. His widow resides with her son Colonel B. A. Murray, of Blossburg. She is highly respected for her many kind deeds in days gone by.
Thomas Morgan was born in the town of Brecker, Breconshire, South Wales, December 25th, 1805, educated in the English schools, and at the age of twenty-one went to work in the iron ore and coal mines. In 1830 he joined the Odd Fellows' lodge near Pontypool, Monmouthshire, Wales. In 1836 he came to America. In July or August 1836 he walked most of the way from Farrandsville, Clinton county, Pa., to Pottsville, Schuylkill county, learning that there was a lodge of Odd Fellows there. He was for several years a member of that lodge. He then lived at Danville until he came to Tioga county, where he joined the lodge of Odd Fellows at Covington, there being none then at Blossburg. He became a member of the old Arbon Lodge and was a charter member of the present Arbon Lodge. He has filled all the chairs in the subordinate lodge but one, and the principal offices in the encampment. October 28th, 1878 he was presented with an elegant gold headed ebony cane by Arbon Lodge, as being the oldest member in good standing in Tioga county. He is also a member of Bloss lodge, No. 350, Ancient York Masons. Mr. Morgan has been a very active and intelligent miner and explorer for coal, and is well known throughout the mining region as being well versed in the geological formation of coal and iron. He is now in his 77th year, and is as enthusiastic a friend of the order of Odd Fellows and its principles as when he first entered the lodge, fifty-two years ago.
Reese W. Thomas was one of the early settlers of Blossburg. He was a carpenter and force-pump maker, the pumps being chiefly used in the coal mines. He was a member of the Baptiqt church more than 40 years, having joined it in South Wales, his native land; a man of sterling worth and pure morals. He married the youngest sister of the late John James. For ten years previous to his death he was an invalid, unable to pursue his avocation. During all those years he bore his afflictions meekly and with Christian resignation. He died July 17th 1879, in the 62nd year of his age. His funeral was largely attended on Saturday July 19th, services being performed by Rev. F. K. Fowler, assisted by Rev. F. Tilo Evans.
John Cook has been a resident of Blossburg thirty-four years, and is one of the reliable and honored citizens of the place. He is a consistent member of the M. E, church. He is a plain and ornamental plasterer by trade, and has pursued that business ever since he resided in Blossburg, often going into other localities in the county to do the work.
Doctor Henry Kilbourne sen., a physician widely known in northern Pennsylvania, was born in Shrewsbury, Rutland county, Vermont, in 1802; studied medicine, and received his diploma in 1828; married Miss Fanny Briggs in December of that year, and soon after removed to Covington, Tioga county. fie has alternately lived at Covington and Blossburg, but for the last fifteen years in Blossburg. For fifty-four yearshe has practiced his profession. His practice began when the country was new and a physician's duties were difficult to perform, and thousands today thank him for his skill and fidelity. He is a descendant of one of the oldest families in New England, and has a musket used by one of his ancestors in 1755 in a desperate fight with the Indians at Walpole, Connecticut. It measures from muzzle to shoulder guard five feet and eleven inches, and carries an ounce ball. The old flint lock which was used a hundred and twenty-seven years ago is in a good state of preservation. Dr. Kilbourne is now eighty years oid, about six feet tall and straight as an arrow, and still continues to heal the sick. He resides in a neat cottage on North Main street.
For fifteen years James P. Taylor was prominent in the business affairs of Blossburg, He came to reside in the borough in 1860, and was engaged with his brother Judge 0.F. TayIor in mercantile pursuits. He was soon after appointed postmaster, which office he held until the day of his death, with the exception of a few weeks; he was removed by Andrew Johnson for political reasons, but the citizens, irrespective of party, joined in a Petition to the president and he was reinstated. He was the worshipful master of Bloss Lodge, No. 350, A.V.M., and a member of the Wellsboro chapter and commandery and the consistory at Corning, having attained the 32nd degree. In his younger days he visited Australia and California, and returned in 1855. He was a geneial and companiablegentleman, all his instincts being kindly and fraternal, his hand always ready to give in a quiet and unostentatious manner; and at his death, which occurred May ioth 1874, the whole community mourned his loss, as well as those in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York, with whom in a long life of social and business connection he had been associated. He was buried with masonic honors, Tuesday May 12th, at Covington, and was followed to the grave by a large concourse of mourners and friends. He was a bachelor, and aged about sixty-five years.
Thomas Turner, a brother-in-law of the late Erastus Corning, resided.several years in Blossburg and carried on the mercantile business, Thomas M. McCay, now of the cashier's office at Arnot, was one of his clerks.
Martin Stratton was born December 22nd 1807, and was an early settler at Blossburg. He was married in 1832 to Miss Eliza Holden, by whom he has three children, Daniel H., Myron L. and Lucy, wife of Rev. Marcellus Karcher, of White Haven, Luzerne county, Pa. Mr. Stratton has been a carpenter about fortyseven years. He was many years, in the shops of the Arbon Coal Company, then with D.S. Magee at Blossburg, and master of tenements about fifteen years at Fall Brook, returning to Blossburg about six years ago, where he has for many years owned a snug home. He was employed in the car shops of the Tioga Railroad Company. He refitted his homestead, and it is now one of the pleasantest dwelling places in Blossburg. He has filled many official stations in the township, and at Fall Brook was postmaster. He however has never been an aspirant for official stations, preferring rather the pursuit of his chosen calling. Several years ago he related to the writer the following story, which we insert as a typical scene that transpired a hundred times in other sections of the county in its pioneer history.
Spelling School.-Panther Hunt.
There were a number of settlers in 1814 near the mouth of Canoe Camp Creek. Among them were the Millers, Spencers, Strattons, Gilletts, Williamses, Higleys, Rowleys and Negleys. Canoe Camp Creek is on the line of the Williamson road, between Covington and Mansfield, and derives its name from the fact that in 1792 Robert and Benjamin Patterson, who were conducting the German and English immigrants to found Bath, N.Y., stopped there, and at the junction of the creek and river built canoes wherewith to descend the river. A school house had been erected where these rude boats were made, and in 1814 the school was taught by Daniel Rose. It was customary in those days as often as twice a month to hold an evening session called a "spelling school." During his term he had appointed one of these schools, and many had assembled to compete for the honors accruing to the best speller. The seats were full. An extra amount of fuel had been provided and the fire blazed cheerfully in the old chimney.
In the early part of the evening the younger portion of the school had tested their abilities, and they were sent home at recess, the better or first and second class spellers remaining to have their "spell." Among the children sent home were the Stratton, Seymour, Curtis and Martin boys and Thomas and Jehial Williams. Their homes were not more than half a mile distant, and it was deemed perfectly safe, the oldest boys being nearly fifteen years of age. They had not proceeded far on the Williamson road in the direction of Mansfield when they were startled by a scream of a woman in distress. They paused, listened and consulted. Again that fearful cry rang through the forest, nearer to them than before. The awful truth broke in upon them that it was a panther! What should they do? The distances from their homes and the school-house were about equal. They could hear Stratton's dog "Trump" barking in the door yard at home; and in a moment more they heard the frozen brush crack and break under the tread of the panther, but a few rods from them. Without delay they clasped hands and ran, screaming with terror, the older accelerating the speed of the younger. In a short time the dog "Trump" met them, and they heard from one scream more. Arriving at home, in breathless accents they related to their parents the cause of their alarm. Parents are sometimes too incredulous in relation to the stories of their children. Mr. Stratton thought their alarm was caused by screams of an owl and sent the boys to bed. The youngest boy, Martin, says that whenever he attempted to close his eyes in slumber the recollecton of those scrams awakened him, and that all night long he was haunted by those startling screams.
In the morning his father arose before daylight and went to the barnyard to feed the cattle. He found a two-year-old heifer unable to walk, and on obtaining a lantern he ascertained that she had been terribly bitten and mangled by some wild beast, whose tracks were plainly seen in the snow. He immediately gave the alarm to his neighbor Daniel Williams, a clothier, who lived but a short distance from him. Mr. Williams found that he had been robbed of an ox-hide, which had hung in the woodshed, and that it had been carried across the road and buried in the snow but a few rods from his house. Messrs. Stratton and Williams then went to the house of David and Richard Miller, who lived where Bixby's paint mill afterward stood, and informed them of the circumstances. Erastus and Augustus Niles were in the neighborhood, with a full complement of guns, and they were made acquainted with the facts. They pronounced it the work of a panther and immediately struck upon its track, other neighbors joining in the pursuit. In less than an hour the music of the dogs commenced. Around the swamp they ran; then, leading off, would be heard on the hill east of the Tioga River, and again in the valley among the willows and alders. Thus for three hours was the chase continued, until they had gone south and crossed the State road near Covington and were upon the mountains east of the David Clemmons farm, near the present borough line of Blossburg. Every rifle or musket in the settlement was in the hands of a pursuer, and every dog--cur, spaniel, mastiff or hound--was on the trail. At 11 o'clock the sharp report of two rifles in quick succession, and the silence of the dogs, conveyed the announcement that the panther was killed and the chase ended. An hour later it was confirmed. The carcass of the paner was dragged down the hill to Clemmons's, placed on a sled and drawn to Canoe Camp, much to the gratification of the neighborhood and especially the Stratton and Williams boys.
We are on the cars today, and they make a brief pause at Canoe Camp. We step upon the platform of the car and see yonder a large number of apparently happy children, playing in the old school-yard, and our mind is irresistibly drawn back to the year 1814, sixty-eight years ago, when our old friend Martin Stratton was a youth, and when the events we have just narrated transpired. In imagination we can see the old log school-house, with Daniel Rose as teacher, the cheerful fire, the anxious competitor for orthographical honors, the forest covering the hillsides and valley, the cabins of the pioneers with an acre or two of cleared land surrounding them, and the terror-stricken boys as they flee from the approach of the king of our American forests. Surely, there has been much accomplished since those days. If cities have not been built, a forest has been prostrated and the wilderness converted into rich and productive farms; thriving villages have sprung up, and the scream of the panther, the howl of the lank gray wolf, and the growl of the bear no longer affright the schoolboy.
Ups and Downs in Business.
Blossburg's history embraces four distinct eras. From 1837 to 1858 it gradually increased in wealth, population and commercial importance, and from 1858 to 1863 very materially declined. In 1855 it had a population of about 1,500 and in 1860 but 880. This decrease in population can be accounted for by the fact that it was in 1859 that Duncan S. Magee withdrew his coal operations from the place and founded Fall Brook, the inhabitants going to the latter place to engage in mining and work connected therewith. The store was transferred to Fall Brook which he had established at Blossburg in 1852, in company with James H. Gulick, and which was conducted by John Lang, now treasurer of the Fall Brook Coal Company, with Alfred T. James, Conrad Gansevoort and others as clerks.
A directory of the business in Blossburg in 1862 would read about like this: Merchants--E.J. Bosworth (in the Chadwick store), John James & Son, the state of John L. Evans; firebrick, A.H. Gaylord; butcher, P.L. Clark; hotels--B.R. Hall, Joseph Yonkin, A.L. Bodine; groceries and saloons, Stephen bowen, Joseph Monell; postmaster, James P. Taylor; shoemakers--William Butler, Patrick Costello, James Tuckey; glass factory (built by William Dezang in 1847, conducted by James H. Gulick and O.W. Taylor; physician, Dr. William Hartman; minister, Rev. Father S. Somers, of St. Andrew's Catholic church. At this time there were fifty vacant dwellings in Blossburg. Before the termination of the year the aspect of affairs was materially changed.
In August 1862 the Tioga Railroad Company made preparations for removing its repair shops from corning to Blossburg. L.H. Shattuck came to Blossburg and superintended the work in person. This event was the commencement of Blossburg's second progressive era. The fifty vacant dwellings were son occupied by an honest and industrious class of laborers and business men. Stores and dwellings were repaired and new ones erected, and the town presented a more cheerful look. The demand was increasing for the coal which passed over the Tioga Railroad from Morris Run and Fall Brook, and in three years from the time the shops were located at blossburg the railroad company, in order to keep pace with the work demanded of them, increased its capital stock to $1,000,000. A few years later a company from Buffalo erected a large tannery, giving employment to a great number of men in its construction and operations. The glass manufactory was started up again by a co-operative company, which gave employment to fifty or sixty men. The railroad was extended to Arnot in the summer of 1866, which also increased the demand for labor. New business men came and invested their capital in various pursuits. Churches were erected, a newspaper founded, a bank started, an elegant school house built and everything was going on prosperously, when the great fire of March 6, 1873 in one night swept away almost the entire business portion of the town. From Carpenter street south on both sides of Main or Williamson street to Hannibal, a distance of nearly fifty rods, every business place was destroyed with the exception of one, standing on the southwest corner of Williamson and Hannibal streets. The buildings were constructed of wood and fell an easy prey to the consuming element. It was thought by some that Blossburg would never recover from this disastrous blow. In this they were mistaken. Scarcely had the flames been subdued ere temporary places of business were erected. Happily no lives were lost, that night of terror will always be remembered by those who witnessed the scene. During the spring and summer of 1873 several fine brick blocks were erected, and some were incomplete when the panic in September of that year paralyzed trade and business almost as much as the fire had. The people of Blossburg fought manfully against adverse circumstances for several years. During this time Philbrick & Evans's brick block and hall was destroyed by fire. Within six weeks after the fire the Graves Bros., who had lost their printing office, issued the Blossburg Register with new type and an eight-column sheet.
The business of Blossburg and vicinity was depressed until the summer of 1879, when it gradually commenced reviving, and Blossburg now seems on the high road to continued wealth and properity. It possesses admirable facilities for trade and manufactories, and there is no reason why it should not become a great manufacturing center. The late purchase of the Tioga nd Elmira State Line Railroad and the coal lands and mines of the Blossburg Coal Company at Arnot, by the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company, and the building of the Arnot and Pine Creek Railroad, with a prospect of its continuation to Williamsport, impress the citizens of Blossburg with the belief that it has seen its gloomiest days, and that hereafter its course of prosperity will be uninterrupted.
Incorporation and Officers.
The following is a part of the decree of court incorporating the borough of Blossburg:
"And now, August 29th 1871, the court confirms the judgment of the grand jury, and decrees that the village of Blossburg be incorporated into a borough, in conformity with the prayer of the petitioners; that the corporate style and title thereof shall be the borough of Blossburg; that the boundaries thereof shall be as follows, viz.: Beginning at a birch in the south line of warrant No. 5,982, thence north one and five-eighths degrees (1 5/8) east, seven hundred and seventy-five perches to the south line of Covington township; thence south eighty-eight and three-fourths (88 3/4) degrees east, six hundred and twelve and five-tenths (612 5/10) perches to a post or tree; thence south two (2) degrees west seven hundred and seventy-five (775) perches to an old hemlock; thence north eighty-eight (88) degrees west, six hundred and seventeen (617) perches to a birch, the place of beginning."
Then follows the order of the court, setting forth the time and place of the first election and naming the persons to hold the same. The first election was to be held on the 12th of September 1871; J.L. Belden to give notice thereof, Henry Hollands to be the judge of election, and A.T. James and John Evans jr. to be the inspectors. The vote was as follows:
For burgess--L.H. Shattuck 231, A.T. James 52.
For councilmen--E.S. Scofield 275, D.H. Stratton 274, A.H. Gaylord 273, William Butler sen. 265, O.F. Taylor 259, William McCarron 211, James Conlon 72, scattering 2. The first six were declared elected.
For justices of the peace--H.P. Erwin 201, Frank Welch 195, W.H. Beeles 88, scattering 3. The first two were elected.
For constable--David Hutchinson 168, William Larkin, 106.
For overseer of poor--Thomas Morgan 279.
For judge of election--J.H. Putnam 265; J.B. Wilcox 16.
For two inspectors of election--William Wallace 265, B.A. Murray 38, J.B. Wilcox 36.
For assessor--H. Hollands 216, E. Gavigan 65.
For auditors--G.C. Fuller, 3 years, 281; R.D. Horton, 2 years, 278; J.L. Belden, 1 year, 273.
For school directors (six to be elected)--John Weaver, 3 years, 268; Michael Ely, 3 years, 278; Henry Holands, 2 years, 232; Jacob Jones, 2 years, 144; A.T. James, 1 year, 227; J. Phillips, 1 year, 222; scattering, 1.
The first meeting of the burgess and council was held September 18th 1871. J.C. Horton, who had acted as attorney in securing the incorporation of the borough, was elected its first clerk. Thomas Martin at a subsequent meeting was appointed police constable. The municipal machinery of the borough was thus put in motion.
The office of the burgess has been filled by L.H. Shattuck, A.H. Gaylord, Henry Hollands, Charles H. Goldsmith, T.J. Mooers, O.F. Taylor, Joseph Yonkin, and Stephen Bowen. The clerks of the council have been J.C. Horton (three terms, R.B. Freeman (twice), J.H. Shaw and H.W. Roland.
The officers in 1881-2 were: Burgess, Stephen Bowen; councilman, N. Ingram, Alexander Hutchinson, W.S. Scott, A..D. Husted, S. F. Landon, E. J. Evans; clerk, John C. Horton; school directors--Edward Garigan, William Hyde, Robert Davie, I.M. Horton, J. L. Davis, George A. Lewis; president of the board, Edward Gavigan; secretary, William Hyde; treasurer, Robert Davie; justices of the peace, R. B. Freeman and H. P. Erwin; constable, S.P. White; high constable, Samuel Vaughan; assessor, Isaac Bosworth; judge of election, George W. Morgan; inspectors of election--David Clement, D. J. Kniffin; auditors--Mark Hirsch, A..E. Botchford, D.H. McIntyre.
The vote for the present board was as follows:
Burgess--H.T. Shattuck, 225; George W. Morgan, 148.
Councilmen--A. F. Gaylord, 230; Robert Hutchinson, 229; N. Ingram, 217; W. S. Scott, 171; John Evans jr., 141; S.H. Hollands, 156: S.A. Wing, 146; Charles Knight, 147; James Mold, 117; Alexander Hutchinson, 200; Asa Busted, 212; James Highland, 196.
School directors--F.A. Higgins, 341; George A. Lewis, 249; Edward Gavigan, 188; S.F. Landon, 167; B.N. McCoy, 140.
Justice of the peace--John Coak, 155; R.B. Freeman, 218.
Constables--S.P. White, 252; I. Bosworth, 121.
High constable--James Ryan, 375.
Assessor--H. W. Roland, 241; Isaac Bosworth, 99.
Assistant assessors--H.W. Roland, 238; L.S. Clemmons, 156; Thomas Morgan, 204; Henry Gilbert, 208.
Judge of election--David Clement, 218; S. Bowen, 155.
Inspectors of election--D.J. Kniffin, 161 ; John McManus, 207.
Auditor--Samuel Trull, 135; D.H. McIntyre, 152; Frank Stratton, 172; W.H. McCarty, 185.
The township records to a great extent were destroyed in the great fire of March 6, 1873, and in writing up the history of the schools in the early settlement at Blossburg we have to depend to a great extent on the memory of the old settlers.
Prior to the erection of the union school-house which stands on the premises of Jacob Jones, and which was vacated when the new brick and stone building was erected in 1874, there were three school-houses in Blossburg in the present limits of the borough. One stood in the rear of Crowell's Hall, near the bank of the river; another on the north bank of Bear Creek, near where afterward was the inclined plane; and one was on the west side of the river, near the present residence of Martin Stratton. The one near Mr. Stratton's was erected in 1843, and among the early teachers were Maria Harkness, Mary Lawrence, Charlotte Harkness, Mar. Salone, John Jacobs, Jerusha Lownsberry and Maria Knowlton. The time of the erection of the one on the bank of Bear Creek is fixed at about the year 1839, and among the teachers there are remembered David Lewis, Margaret Young and Maria Rathbone. The date of the erection of the up-town school house is put down by old settlers as much earlier than the two preceding. Old residents are confident that there was a school-house in that part of the town as early as 1835.
Among the teachers recollected are William Allsworth, who was afterward a civil engineer; John Jaquish, Miss Margaret Young and Miss Henrietta Gray, Miss Hensler, afterward the wife of C. Jacquemin, gave private lessons in French.
The union school-house was erected in 1850. The site was given by Hon. Horatio Seymour, of Utica, N.Y., and the edifice was built on contract by Perry Nittrauer. The school board consisted then of Martin Stratton (president), Patrick Bannon, Lewis Loshe, John Ferguson, John Williams and James H. Gulick. Among the teachers were R.E. Cross, Clarendon Rathbone, Miss Martha Yeomans, Myra Horton, William Humphrey, William Gaskill and H.M. Beeles. The house was a good one for that time. It had two stories and would accommodate about three hundred children. It was used twenty-four years, serving at times as a place for public meetings, an Odd Fellows' lodge, a town hall, and even for dancing parties. It cost about $1,400.
The school-house of the Blossburg graded school stands on the western hillside, commanding a fine view of the town and the valley. It was built in 1874. The architect was A.N. Dabb, of Elizabeth City, N.J.; contractors and builders, Samuel H. Gaylord and J. B. Denmark, of Blossburg. The school board consisted of Michael Ely (president), A.T. James (secretary), Henry Hollands (treasurer), J. Weaver, J.J. Blair and E. Watterson.
The building, completed and furnished, cost $12,000, and the site $1,000.
Few boroughs of the size of Blossburg have so fine an edifice or one more substantially constructed. The number of pupils in attendance is greater than at any other graded school in the county. In addition to this, and considered in the matter of grading, is another school buildin,g in the southern portion of the borough, Linder the charge for the past six years of Professor Theodore F. Williams, where 75 or So Primary scholars are in attendance.
The teachers at the large graded school are: Professor F.M. Smith, principal; Lucy Hollands, Mary E. Horton, Lizzie A. Gavigan, Fany Curran and Joanna Hyde. The principal is a gentleman of experience in educational affairs, and is ably assisted by his corps of competent teachers. Through his exertions an organ and quite an extensive library have been furnished for the school. Blossburg is justly proud of its school facilities.
St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church.--St. Andrew's congregation was organized in 1841, and then consisted of twenty members. They held their first services in one of the public halls. Rev. John O'Reilly, of St. Joseph's, Susquehanna county, Pa., was appointed by Bishop Kendrick of Philadelphia to attend Blossburg and other missions. A circuit of sixty miles was his ordinary field of duty, and this zealous priest frequently encountered opposition and ill treatment. This state of things was son changed by his pious works, winning eloquence and exalted virtues. Liberal donations were made toward building a church by Mr. Calket, of Philadelphia, and Hon. Horatio Seymour, of Utica, N.Y. The foundation trenches were dug by Patrick Bannon, James Mooney, Thomas Dissing and Simon Golden, on the 9th of October 1850. In January 1851 the corner stone was laid by Bishop Kendrick. Rev. F. Ahern at that time has pastoral charge of the mission. The contract for building the church was awarded to John L. Evans, of Blossburg. It was a plain wooden edifice, 50 by 30.
The first resident pastor was Rev. Francis Maguire, who also attended at Troy, Union, and other missions. Many of these missions have become separate parishes, with churches and pastors of their own. Father Maguire was succeeded in 1862 by the Rev. Francis McCarty, and the Rev. John Laughlin was appointed pastor in October 1864. In June 1866 Rev. Michael Murphy took charge of the parish. In 1869 Bishop O'Hara, of Scranton, appointed Rev. Gerald McMurray rector of Blossburg and missions. The church edifice proving too small, he undertok the erection of an addition of fifty feet, in which he was successful. Afterward he built the present pastoral residence, at a cost of $2,000.
In July 1872 Rev. John Wynn was appointed pastor and Rev. J.C. McDermott assistant. During his administration St. John's of Fall Brook was built, a structure 50 by 32 feet. Father Wynn died in Blossburg in March 1879, esteemed not only by his own congregation but by all with whom he was acquainted.
The present pastor, Rev. P.J. Murphy, of blossburg, in addition to St. Andrew's also has charge of St. John's at Fall Brook, and St. Patrick's of Arnot. The church at Arnot was erected in 1880, under the charge of Father Murphy. It is 45 by 28 feet and cost about $1,500. The three churches are free from debt and are valued at $7,000. They are attended by 1,000 communicants and 300 Sunday-school pupils. The church in Union was erected in March 1880, and Father Murphy attends service there.
In connection with these churches there is a valuable cemetery in Blossburg, regularly laid out and neatly cared for.
Christ Church.--On the 18th of January 1842 Miller Fox, Thomas Turner, Clarendon Rathbone, James H. Gulick, J. Jones Smith, James Jenkinson, Franklin Wright, James A. Van Ness, J.G. Taylor, Jacob G. Scudder, Samuel W. Lord, Clement H. Smith, John W. Johnson and Charles E. Smith made an application to the court of common pleas to be incorporated under the title of "The Rector, Church Wardens, and Vestrymen of Christ Church Blossburg." On the 2nd of May 1842 the church obtained its charter. This was the first church chartered in Blossburg.
Presbyterian Church.--A Presbyterian church was built in Blossburg in 1853, in the gothic style of architecture. James H. Gulick was prominently connected with its erection, advancing a considerable portion of the money and securing contributions from ex-Governor Seymour and others for its completion. The congregation was small.
In 1862 the church was burned, and it was rebuilt in 1863. A controversey arising between the congregation and Mr. Gulick, it was sold by him to the Baptists, and has since been owned and occupied by them.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church was duly chartered in 1867, with the following officers: Philip Dykins, senior warden; Isaac E. Ross, junior warden; vestrymen, James H. Gulick, O.F. Taylor, Samuel H. Thompson, J.C. Evans and John Adams. The present church edifice was erected in 1867-8 and consecrated by Bishop Stevens in September 1868. The first minister was Rev. M.L. Kern, who built up a flourishing congregation and Sunday-school. He remained only a short time after the church edifice was completed, and was succeeded by Rev. Messrs. Hartley, Rockwell and Fugette. The church is paid for, but of late-there have been no stated ministrations. It is situated on the west bank of the Tioga River, on North Main street, in one of the pleasantest localities in town.
Baptist Church.--As we have stated in the history of the Presbyterian church, in 1862 its building was consumed by fire, and rebuilt in 1863 by the late J.H. Gulick. He offered it to the several church denominations in Blossburg. In May 1865 Judge L.B. Smith and Henry Hollands invited Rev. Messrs. Watrous and N.L. Reynolds to consult with them in relation to the purchase of the church for use of the Baptist denomination. Eight persons were found who were willing to unite in the measure. Rev. N.L. Reynolds became the pastor, H. Hollands was chosen clerk and deacon, and L.B. Smith and H. Hollands trustees in behalf of the church and A.H. Gaylord for the congregation. The church was recognized in May 1867 by a council of the Baptist churches of the Tioga Association. Mr. Reynolds remained as pastor till 1871. The membership increased during the pastorate of Mr. Reynolds to 67, 35 of whom were baptized by him. He removed to Wellsboro and was succeeded by Rev. J.A. Baskwell, who occupied the pulpit from June to September 1872. Rev. E.S. Millis accepted the pastorate in December 1872 and remained in charge until he was succeeded by Rev. F.K. Fowler, the present pastor, in 1878. The trustees are now Dr. Henry Kilbourne, B.J. Guernsey and A.T. James; deacons, H. Hollands and D.H. Stratton; clerk, Henry Hollands; superintendent of Sunday-school, Alfred J. Shattuck.
M. E. Church.--There was existing in 1867 a Wesleyan Methodist church, with Rev. J.G. Crane as pastor. In the winter of that year Rev. H. Lamkin, of Mansfield, was called to form and organize a Methodist church. Mr. Crane and nearly all the members of his congregation joined with Mr. Lamkin in the church organization, Rev. M.F. Kymer becoming pastor. In 1868 Mr. Kymer was reappointed. In 1869 the church was without a regular pastor, but in 1870 Rev. H. Lamkin was appointed, and reappointed in 1871. In 1871 the present church edifice was erected by Samuel H. Gaylor for the society, at a cost of $5,590. The board of trustees at that time consisted of George R. Roney, B.N. McCoy, R.M. Seeley, E.S. Schofield, S.H. Gaylord, Francis Welch and J.L. Davis. The church is finely situated on North Main street, on the west bank of the Tioga river. A large Sunday-school meets in the basement. The present pastor is Rev. R.N. Leake; trustees--B.N. McCoy, John Cook, S.H. Gaylord, T.C. Peck, William Dodd jr., J.L. Davis (secretary), Henry Boyles.
Since Mr. Lamkin's pastorate Rev. C.G. Lovell has ministered here three years and Rev. Charles H. Wright three years.
The Sunday-school has a fine library. The superintendent is H.H. Clayson.
Mount Zion Welsh Congregational Church.--There was a church organization of this denomination as early as 1840, but no edifice except a small chapel until 1870. During the year 1870 a nice little church was erected, which was dedicated on the 4th of December. The cost was $3,400. The following clergymen took part in the dedicatory services: Rev. Mr. Evans, of Hyde Park; Rev. N.L. Reynolds (Baptist), of Blossburg, and Rev. H. Lamkin (Methodist), of Blossburg. Since the organization of the church, in 1840, there have been in charge the following named pastors: Revs. Daniel Lewis, R. Parry, John Davis, Evan Davis, Philip Peregrine and F. Tilo Evans, the present pastor. Mr. Evans is an earnest and zealous worker, and his church and the Sunday-school connected with it are in a very prosperous condition. The church has recently been repainted and furnished. The trustees are Jacob Jones, Evan Jenkins, and T.J. Evans; deacons--Jacob Jones, William J. Richard, T.J. Evans; secretary, W.J. Richards; treasurer, T.J. Evans; superintendent of Sunday-school, Jacob Jones. There are nine teachers and the average attendance is 64.
Polish Catholic Church.--The church edifice, costing about $3,000, was erected in the year 1873_ The first minister was Rev. A. Claveter, succeeded by Rev. B. Gramlenricz and Rev. I. Sprysziki. The attendance is quite large and there is a Sunday-school of about 50. The church is in the bishopric of Scranton, Pa., and under bishop O'Hara. He visited the parish in the summer of 1879.
There has been erected a small school-house, where the children were instructed both in the Polish and English languages. There are communicants of the church who reside at Morris Run and Arnot.
Lodges and Associations.
Arbon Lodge, No. 489, I. O. O. F. was organized in Blossburg, May 20th 1853, with the following officers: John James, N.G.; J.B. Husted, V.G.; John Lang, secretary; Thomas Hanson, P.S.; Evan Bowen, treasurer.
The lodge was in a very flourishing condition for several years; but, many of its members withdrawing and moving away, it suspended work in 1859, and was reorganized March ioth j865. This lodge has been the parent of lodges at Morris Run and Fall Brook. As those towns developed, members of the Arbon Lodge were instrumental in establishing lodges in their midst. The lodge is strong in numbers, and owns the block in which it assembles, and a cemetery. The value of the property is from seven to ten thousand dollars.
The past grands are Matthew Waddell, William Wallace, Thomas Trimble, J. W. Evans, John Hughes, Celestin Jacquemin, John Hill, George H. Brown, S. P. White, W. A. Shields, Martin Van Houten, James H. Mold, 1. W. Aldrich, Edmond Doane, J. N. Patterson, Charles E. Husted, H. W. Roland, Robert Pendleton, Henry Boyle, Isaac Keagle and E. W. Aldrich.
The representatives to the grand lodge have been Matthew Waddel, Sumner P. White and James N. Patterson. The present representative is Robert Pendleton.
The present officers are: Noble grand, Robert Baird; V. G_, John J. Evans; S., Robert Jones; A. S., T. J.
Evans; treasurer, Celestin Jacquemin; R. S. N. G., Thomas Morgan; warden, John Jennie; C., Adam
Richter; 0. G., Fred Neubert; I. G., W. H. Williams; R. S. V. G., James B. Husted; L. S. V. G., Isaac Harris.
I. O. O. F. Encampment No. 193 was instituted April 13th 1867, with the following officers: C, P., T. B. Anderson; H. P., Matthew Waddell; S. W., John Dunsmore; J. AV., David Harris; scribe, John Evans; G., James Wighton; G., William Lenhart.
The past chief patriarchs have been T. B, Anderson, Matthew Waddell, John Nelson, William Stewart, E.W. Aldrich, I.W. Aldrich, Robert Pendleton, John Rennie, James N. Patterson, Robert Lees, Adam Heist, William Orr, Thomas Morgan, W.H. Williams, William Patterson.
The present officers are: C. P., Robert Jeffrey; H. P., William Patterson; S. W., John Auld; J. W. John Baird; scribe, E. W. Aldrich; assistant scribe, William Crichton; treasurer, I. W. Aldrich; guide, Thomas Williamson; 1st W., John Rennie; 2nd W., Robert Pendleton; 3d W., Thomas H. Williams; 4th W., Joseph H. Martin; 1st G. T., H. W. Roland; 2nd G. T., John Berg.
This encampment has upon its rolls some of the oldest members of the order in the COLinty. It has ever been distinguished for its good works and the character of its members.
Faith Degree Lodge, No. 96, Daughters of Rebekah was instituted, with 38 charter members, October 20th 1874, by District Deputy Grand Master O.S. Gerould, of Covington, Pa. The past grands have been Thomas Trimble, C. Jacquemin, M. Van Houten, H.J. Marvin, James Mold, F. Evans, S. Cowen, Matilda Jacquemin and Julia M. Jones. During the years 1874-76, the membership was quite lage, numbering from 70 to 80. The present membership is 32.
At the session of the grand lodge of the I.O.O.F. of the United States Hon. Schuyler Colfax was appointed chairman of a committee to prepare a degree to be conferred on the wives of Odd Fellows, and was instructed to report at the next meeting, in 1851. This Mr. Colfax did, writing the lectures of the degrees in July and August 1851, just as they now appear, in the charge bok, without consultation with any one, or suggestion from any quarter. In regard to the working of the degree he received suggestions from a past grand in Maryland, and a few of these suggestions he adopted in a modified form. The honor, therefore, of the working and ritual`of the degree of Rebekah belongs to him.
In blossburg the Rebekah Lodge No. 96 has been the source of much good, alleviating the sufferings of the sick and in various charitable and friendly acts contributin to the relief of the poor and needy.
Its present officers are: Noble grand, Thomas Trimble; vice grand, Mrs. Marion Sturdevant; secretary, Mary M. Marvin; treasurer, Eliza Evans.
Bloss Lodge Ancient York Masons, No. 350.--This lodge was organized March 9th 1865. The charter members were: James P. Taylr, W.M.; Alfred T. Names, S.W.; A.L. Bodine, J.W.; T.B. Anderson, treasurer; Israel G. Wood, secretary; Daniel H. Stratton, S.D.; Rufus Farr, T.D.; William M. Butler, S.M. of C; L. Auerback, tiler.
The following have been past masters: James P. Taylor, Rufus Farr, Nathan$Clegg, G.V. Putnam, William P. Parker, George c. Fuller, A.T. James, Rufus Farr, Stephen H. Hollands, Nelson Ingram.
The present officers are: Nelson Ingram, W.M.; David F. Evans, S.W.; Frank Stratton, J.W.; A.T. James, treasurer; Robert Davie, secretary; Augustus E. botchford, S.D.; David H. mcIntyre, J.D.; Robert Hutchinson, S.M. of C.; Evan T. Evans, J.M. of C.; Rev. F.T. Evans, chaplain; Charles Boehm, tiler.
Twelfth Regiment Band.--This organization was originally known as the Blossburg Cornet Band. It completed its organization in August 1873. The members then were Harry T. Graves (leader), Frederick L. Graves (secretary), I.W. Aldrich (treasurer), John C. Horton, E. W. Aldrich, H.P. Erwin, T.V. Keefe, I.M. Horton, John Keefe and Charles Ely. In the spring of 1876 it was sworn in as the 12th regiment band of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, and it has since been known by that name, not having as yet been discharged, although the Repasse band is acting at present as the 12th regiment band. Harry Graves remained leader of the band until the fall of 1876; John C. Horton was then chosen leader, and occupied the position until the fall of 1877. Since that time Dr. Nelson Ingram has been leader. George W. Morgan has been the major since the fall of 1876, and is a gentleman of fine physique and soldierly manner. The present officers and members are: Dr. Nelson Ingram (leader), James Flynn (secretary), I.W. Aldrich (treasurer), Charles Ely, J.C. Horton, James Evans, H.P. Erwin, J. Saks, David Bradshaw, Charles Bennett, Carodog Jones, William Daniels, S.H. Hollands, John Keefe, E.W. Metherell, John Nieupert, George W. Morgan (major).
This band has ever been distinguished for the quality of its music and the gentlemanly conduct of its members. A few years since the citizens of Blossburg erected a band stand on Main street, and when the evenings are fine the band returns to the citizens for their good works strains of melody and harmony. The men are finely uniformed, and when upon duty present as fine an appearance and render as good music as any band in northern Pennsylvania. They occupy good rooms on Main street for practice.
Temperance Organizations.--An organization of the Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Association was effected August 16th 1874, and in November 1875 a petition to the Court of common pleas of Tioga County for a charter was granted, and the society was duly incorporated. The petitioners were Michael Ely, James Kelley, William Clohessy, James Kernan, Henry Gilbert, James Conlon, Thomas Brennin, James Maher, Patrick Finnell, Matt Downs, John Cox, William Ward, Daniel Ahern, Edward Bambury, Thomas Ahern, Edmond Ahern, Thomas Tuckey, Stephen Clisham, John Brannigan, Stephen Hiland, E. F. Shelley and Pat Tahany. The directors for the first year were Patrick McGuire, Charles Condon and Joseph Murray, of Antrim; William O'Neil, James Junk and John Dwyer, of Fall Brook; James Cleary, Michael Fauls and John Donahue, of Arnot; John Miller, James Conlon and James Kelley, of Blossburg; David Hayes, Morris Supples and Timothy Donavan, of Morris Run.
Michael Ely was president of the association for seven years in succession, and has every time been one of the representatives to national or State conventions. The other representatives have been John J. McCarty and Patrick Woods.
Branches of the association have been organized in Fall Brook, Morris Run, Arnot and Antrim. Its members are chiefly Irish, and the influence exerted over this class of our fellow citizens has been salutary. There is nothing prescriptive in its management,$but tile association rather seeks to win men and women to sobriety by moral suasion.
The association in Blossburg has five rooms, well furnished, and meets every Sunday afternoon. Its membership is now 50. Its present officers are: President, James Kerwin; vice-president, E. F. Skelley; recording secretary, William Amey; financial secretary, James Hart; corresponding secretary, John Ely.
The Murphy movement, as it was called from Francis Murphy, the great apostle of temperance, in the year 1877 spread over the mining regions and elsewhere in the county. At Blossburg, Morris Run, Fall Brook and Arnot thousands signed the pledge, and as a result many liquor establishments were closed. The principles taught by Mr. Murphy were good will, kind treatment, Christian and moral suasion, and while these principles were adhered to the Murphy movement was exceedingly popular and was the means of leading thousands into the paths of sobriety. Societies were fornied, and the blue ribbon, which was the badge, was to be seen upon almost every man, woman and child, the high, the low, the rich and the poor. Soon, however, the " old line" temperance people got control of the organizations and adopted aggressive measures against liquor-sellers. This injured the popularity of the movement here and is assigned as the cause of its failure.
Blossburg Lodge, No. 167, Knights of Honor was organized July 12th 1876, by C. M. Hardenburg, deputy grand dictator, with the following officers: A. J. Owen, past dictator; A. T. James, dictator; E. G. Drake, vice-dictator; L. A. Wing, assistant dictator; Daniel H. Stratton, chaplain; J. A. hadley, Guide; A. J. Pollock, reporter; J. L. Davis, financial reporter; George A. Lewis, treasurer; Robert Davie, guardian; James Vaughan, sentinel; trustees--A. J. owen, L. A. Wing, A. M. Ingham Representative to grand lodge, A. J. Owen; medical examiner, Dr. E. G. Drake.
The dictators or presiding officers have been A. T. James, George N. Clute, E. G. Drake, J. L. Davis, Robert Davie, A. M. Ingham, William Doolittle, James H. Mold, S. P. White, J. C. Horton, D. J. Kniffin, H. G. Irelan.
There have been 72 members, two of whom are dead, six suspended, and eleven withdrawn by card. The present membership is 51. The value of lodge fixtures and regalia and cash on hand is about two hundred and fifty dollars, Four thousand dollars have been paid to the widows of deceased member--$2,000 to the widow of James Vaughan, who was killed by the cars October 22nd 1878, and $2,000 to the widow of W. H. Gorton, who died September 23d 1880.
The lodge has given several excursions, notably the excursion to Hiawatha Grove, near Owego, Tioga county, N.Y., during the summer of 1880.
Its present officers are: Dictator, George A. Lewis; vice-dictator, James Lee; assistant dictator, Robert Davie; reporter, J. C. Horton; financial reporter, A. T. James; treasurer; L. W. Kiff; chaplain, J. L. Davis; guide, James H. Mold; guardian, G. C. Fuller; sentinel, S. P. White; trustees, A. M. Ingham, H. P. Erwin, F. A. Higgins; representative to grand lodge, S.P. White; alternate, A.T. James; medical examiner, Dr. N. Ingram; past representatives to grand lodge, A. J. Owen, Dr. E. G. Drake, Dr. A. M. Ingham, A. T. James, S. P. White.
The Young Men's Christian Association of Blossburg was organized November 3d 1878, under the name of "The Railway Young Men's Christian Association." It organized with about 15 charter members, principally railroad men.
Its first officers were: President, William Wgallace; vice-president, Edward L. Russell; secretary, Lewis B. Manning; treasurer, Walter V. Calkins; collector, George A. Lewis. For the year beginning with November 1879, the constitution of the association having been amended to provide for an additional officer, the executive secretary, the following named gentlemen were chosen officers. President, E. L. Russell; vice-president, ira Lozier; secretary, E. S. Guernsey; treasurer, Thomas Evans; collector, T. L. Hill. At the annual meeting in November 1880 the name was changed by omitting the word "Railway." The officers elected at that time were: President, E.L. Russell; vice-president, Dr. E.N. Leake; executive secretary, Walter V. Calkins; corresponding secretary, E.S. Guernsey; treasurer, Thomas Evans; collector, T.L. Hill.
The officers elected in November 1881, and now in office, are: President, John Cook; vice president, E. I. Russell; executive secretary, T.L. Hill; corresponding secretary, E.S. Guernsey; treasurer, T.J. Evans; collector, Walter V. Calkins.
The association now has 62 active and 21 associate members, and is in better working order than at any other time since its organization. It occupies very pleasant and neatly furnished rooms on Main street; has recently bought a fine organ, and hopes soon to be able to open a reading room and library, having already money set aside for that purpose. The association has always given liberally for the relief of the poor and sick, when it had funds. It is out of debt, believing in the "pay-as-you-go" principle, and is actively engaged in religious work for young men and others. A gospel meeting is held every Sunday afternoon, and a meeting for Bible study Wednesday evening of each week.
Blossburg Fire Department.
The Eagle Engine Company was organized in 1869, with A. T. James as foreman, Joseph Maxwell assistant foreman, Sumner P. White treasurer, and William Shields secretary.
Mist Hose Company was organized at the same time, with J.L. Belden foreman, G.C. Fuller assistant foreman, and J.C. Horton secretary.
The companies held their organizations until 1873, when a reorizanization took place, one company assuming the name of Drake Engine Company, the Mist Hose still retaining its namee P. Bonney became chief engineer.
The Drake company chose H. F. Shattuck foreman, B. A. Murray assistant foreman, and E. H. Mosher secretary and treasurer; and the Mist Hose chose G. C. Fuller foreman, John L. Lewis assistant, and William A. Shields president.
The officers of the Drake company, elected in subsequent years were as follows:
1874--F. A. Higgins, foreman; M. G. Lewis, assistant; Walter v. Calkins, secretary. 1875--M. G. Lewis, foreman; W. H. Doolittle, assistant; W. V. Calkins, secretary and treasurer. 1876--The same as in 1875, excepting Carl Spencer as secretary and J. L. Davis treasurer. 1877 and 1878--M. G. Lewis, foreman; George Heath, assistant; Henry Welch, secretary; J. L. Davis, treasurer. 1879--S. P. White, foreman; Henry Welch, assistant; William codney Jr., secretary; J. L. Davis, treasurer. 1880--S. P. White, foreman; Harry Pitts, assistant; William codney jr., secretary; Michael Gorman, treasurer.
Officers of the Mist Hose Company have been elected as follows:
1874--The first board reelected. 1875--J. L. Lewis, foreman; Stephen H. Hollands, assistant; W. A. Shields, president. 1876--S. H. Hollands, foreman; Matthew Mitchell, secretary. 1878--Same as the preceding year excepting John Nolen, secretary, and Matthew Mitchell, treasurer. 1879--Henry Irelan, foreman; D. J. Kniffin, assistant; M. Mitchell, treasurer; John Nolen, secretary. 1880--D. J. Kniffin, foreman; John Ely, assistant; same treasurer and secretary.
H. F. Shattuck was chief engineer till 1878; since then M. G. Lewis has held the position. Philip goldmeyer is his assistant, and Charles D. Utley is secretary of the department.
The department is composed of some of the best young men in the place, who have maintained their organizations under many trying and embarrassing circumstances, the chief of which was the neglect of the council and burgess to furnish them with suitable apparatus.
Blossburg is the home of many whose occupations are connected with railroading. Six or seven hundred thousand tons of coal and coke pass through the town from Arnot, Morris Run and Fall Brook annually, and this being the point where the shops, round-houses, etc., of the Tioga Railroad Company are located, the number of railroad men is necessarily large. It includes the following: Conductors-F. A. Higgins, C. L. Shattuck, John Delaney, A. F. Gaylord, William Kerwan, I. M. Horton, P. Collins, K. Boehm, J. B. McCarty, William Codney, James W. Maher, William M. Butler, G. C. Fuller and George Richter; baggage masters--Michael Clohessy, J. Hadley and M. J. Delaney; engineers--William and James Green, L. Lownsbery, F. Hebe, J. Putnam, William Wallace, John Evans jr., George A. Lewis, T. Trimble, D. Hovey, Sant Gaylord, R. Hughes, James Bonney, D. L. McCarty and H. Ernest; firemen--L. S. Higgins, B. Trimble, W. Delaney, Ed. Green, Ira Lozier, M. Van Houten, T. Jones, H. Kench, J. D, Gillette, L. A. Kinney, R. E. Hathaway, C. H. Keagle, W. A. Hughes and W. Neolt; station agent, B. J. Guernsey, assisted by Edward Guernsey and John Gavigan; superintendent of track, E. Gavigan; foreman of construction on Arnot branch, Philip Cowley; section foreman on Morris Run branch, Philip Goldineyer; at Blossburg, Henry Gilbert; Arnot branch, Michael Gorman; train dispatcher, Walter V. Calkins; telegraph operator, Charles D. Utley; assistant superintendent, Henry F. Shattuck; superintendent, L. H. Shattuck.
The last named has been in the employ of the company thirty years, and has devoted his whole energies, time and talent to building up and sustaining the usefulness and character of the road. Nothing that could insure safety and regularity in the running of trains has been neglected or overlooked on his part. He has watched with a fatherly care the interest of each stockholder, whether he was owner of one or a hundred shares. For the past ten years he has been ably assisted in his work by his son Henry F. Shattuck, who for twenty years has been familiar with the road and its business.
Many of the employes have served the company from ten to twenty years, and for attention to duty cannot be excelled on any road in the State. The car shop is under the supervision of Daniel H. Stratton; a large number of men are employed in building coal dumps, cabooses, house cars, gondolas, lumber, bark and coke cars, and reparing the same. Mr. Stratton has a lifelong experience in the business. The machine shop is in charge of P. Bonney, who has worked at the business about forty years. He looks after the entire motive power of the road, and builds and repairs locomotives. A large number of machinists, boiler makers, and others are employed under the direction of Mr. Bonney. The company owns two round-houses, one of wood, the other of brick, capable of housing from 15 to 20 locomotives. The company has 22 locomotives of various sizes and power.
Foundry and Machine Shop of T. J. Mooers.--Mr. Mooers came to Blossburg in 1864 and purchased what was known as the old furnace property, built by judge John H. Knapp in 1825. It had undergone many changes since 1825. There had been a furnace, a rolling-mill and a fire brick kiln; but Mr. Mooers turned his attention to founding, both iron and brass. He had from time to time increased his business as the times would warrant, and since his purchase in 188o of the machine shop of 0. F. Taylor he has upon his premises a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, a foundry and machine shop, a store-house for patterns and work, and an office. He carries on a general business of foundry and machine work, manufacturing plows, stoves, car wheels, mining appliances and railroad castings both iron and brass. He employs quite a number of men, and his establishment is a benefit to the town.
Blossburg Saw-Mill.--In 1868 Drake & Taylor erected a very valuable saw-mill in the southern portion of the borough, on the line of the Arnot branch of the Tioga Railroad. 0. F. Taylor had the immediate supervision of the business, and his boss sawyer was W.H. Cotten. March 3d 1876 the mill was destroyed by fire, causing a great loss to the proprietors. It was rebuilt in 1877 by, the Blossburg Coal Company, and its capacity is now about 5,000,000 feet per annum. James H. Mold has been foreman for the past nine years. This establishment directly and indirectly gives employment to a large number of lumbermen, bark peelers, teamsters, and sawyers.
Glass Manufactory.--In 1847 a factory was established in the northern portion of the village of Blossburg by William Dezangg of Geneva, N.Y., for the manufacture of window glass from the glass sandrock which abounds in such quantities in the Blussburg coal regions. He operated it for a term of years, when it passed into the hands of Webb, Fellows & Co. This firm built a number of dwellings to accommodate their workmen; ten of the houses were double ones, and have since been known as the " ten buildings." 0.F. Taylor and James H. Gulick operated the factory from 1860 to 1865, and it is now owned by the heirs of James H. Gulick. In 1867 a co-operative company known as Hirsch, Ely & Co., consisting of ten members, ]eased the works, and they made the manufacture of glass in Blossburg a very successful business. Their combined capital was less than $10,000, yet year by year the firm continued to prosper, until now they manufacture at this point about forty thousand boxes of glass, besides some thirty thousand boxes at the Covington factory, three miles north, which they have recently purchased. At their works in Blossburg they occupy about five acres of land, on which are located the melting-room, flattening-room, pot-house, cuttingroom, soda-warehouse, grinding-room, warehouse, coal and wood yard, blacksmith shop, box-making room, and a neat new office for the transaction of their business. E.H. Mosher, long connected with the firm, is their bookkeeper, Mark Hirsch shipping clerk and B. N. McCoy superintendent. Their glass has a sale as far west as Detroit and Milwaukee, and south to Galveston, Texas.
The company also conducts a store, which is located in the central business portion of Blossburg and is in charge of D.H. McIntyre, assisted by Ed. Philbrick, James Kirkwood, John Ely and John Richards. The company also owns the fine brick block in wbich it is located. E. S. Scofield, who from the beginning was the very efficient superintendent for the company, and John B. Philbrick, who was connected with the store but was one of the original ten members of the firm of Hirsch, Ely & Co., have died within the last eighteen months.
The company employs at Blossburg about sixty men, and the factory is one of the most valuable industries of the place. Michael Ely was for many years in charge of the store at Blossburg; but has recently gone to Covington to take charge of one of a similar kind there owned by the company. The present members are J.B. Hirsch, Michael Ely, Charles Robinson, Andrew Ely, William Dodds jr.o the heirs of E.S. Scofield, the heirs of J.B. Philbrick and B.N. McCoy.
Blossburg Steam Planing and Feed Mill.--This establishment was founded about eight years ago by L. A. Wing, its present owner. It is on the east bank of the Tioga River, near the central portion of the borough. Mr. Witig grinds, corn and oats into feed, and manufactures doors, window sash and blinds, and plants and grooves lumber and flooring. A considerable number of men find employment at the establishment.
The Tannery of Hoyt Bros.--In 1869 A. Rumsey & Co. built here what was at that time one of the most extensive tanneries in the United States. Its capacity was from 75,000 to 100,000 sides of sole leather per annum. After being conducted very successfully for several years it was sold, and finally purchased by Hoyt Bros., of No. 72 Gold street, New York, who have from time to time made improvements and added to its capacity. It gives employment to seventy-five or eighty men directly, and a large number indirectly. It is the most important industrial establishment in Blossburg. Its present superintendent, T.C. Peck, is a practical tanner and an excellent business man. He has an able assistant in A.E. Botchford, who has charge of the books in the office.
Other Local Institutions.
Banking.--A private banking institution was established in Blossburg May 1st 1871,by Horace and Samuel IV. Pomeroy of Troy, Pa., who associated with them W. H. Smith. The firm was known as Pomeroy Bros. & Smith. Their first banking room was in the Eagle Hotel block. The destructive fire in March 1873 destroyed their place of business. In June 1873 the present elegant building was constructed. The firm continued in business together until June i88o, when Mr. Smith sold his interest to Frederick E. Smith of Tioga. The firm is now Pomeroy Bros. & F. E. Smith. The business is conducted by A. Lee Smith, son of F. E., assisted by J. L. Davis. This is deemed a very reliable institution.
Blossburg Mineral Spring.--About two years ago the writer sent
a quantity of the water from the Blossburg chalybeate spring to Professor
Genth, State chemist for the second geological survey of Pennsylvania,
and desired him to make an analysis of it and communicate the result. This
he did and found it to contain in one gallon of 231 cubic inches as follows:
|Silicic Acid||2.15386 grains|
|Sulphuric Acid||5.64348 grains|
|Ferri Phosphate||0.32738 grains|
|Ferri Sulphate||31.31905 grains|
|Aluminum Sulphate||6.58489 grains|
|Nickel Sulphate||0.35819 grains|
|Cobalt Sulphate||0.03019 grains|
|Manganese Sulphate||1.83367 grains|
|Magnesium Sulphate||13.10151 grains|
|Calcium Sulphate||23.12789 grains|
|Lithium Sulphate||0.11652 grains|
|Sodium Sulphate||0.26646 grains|
|Potassium Sulphate||0.24442 grains|
|Sodium Chloride||0.10128 grains|
|Specific gravity, 1.0033.||85.20879 grains|
This is one of the most remarkable mineral springs in existence. It is resorted to for the cure of cutaneous diseases and dyspepsia and the general toning up of the system. It is growing fast into public favor, and it now seems that the day is not far distant when suitable buildings will be erected to accommodate the invalids who desire its waters.
Cemeteries.--There are three cemeteries in Blossburg, located in the southern portion of the borough--the Union cemetery, the Catholic cemetery and the Odd Fellows' cemetery. Large numbers are annually buried in these cemeteries from Morris Run, Fall Brook, Union. Antrim and Arnot. The grounds, although not elaborately laid out and embellished, are kept in good order.
The post-office is located in the central portion of the borough, in a brick block belonging to the estate of the late John Martin. Alfred T. James is postmaster, assisted by Walter Leake. This is a money order office, and is quite a central distributing point for mails going north on the Tioga road and south and east to Morris Run, Fall Brook and Arnot by rail, and to Roaring Branch and Liberty by stage.
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