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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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By John L. Sexton, Jr.
Most of the early settlers at Covington were from New England and possessed the intelligence and vigor which have so uniformly distinguished her sons and daughters. They commenced in earnest to reclaim the wilderness and bring under cultivation the virgin soil. The Williamson road was cut out north and south through the Tioga Valley in 1792, and the east and west State road from Towanda, Bradford County, west to Wellsboro via Covington in 1808. These highways afforded the early settlers a mode of ingress and egress, and it was near or at their intersection that the earliest settlers located, where the present borough of Covington is situated, 35 miles south of Corning, 12 miles east of Wellsboro, five miles south of Mansfield and five miles north of Blossburg, on the line of the Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad.
For the very earliest settlers at Covington the nearest trading points were Athens, at the junction of the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers (then known as "Tioga Point"); Painted Post, at the junction of the Conhocton River with the Chemung; and Williamsport, on the west branch of the Susquehanna River at the mouth of Lycoming Creek. It was not long, however, that the settlers of Covington were dependent upon the towns mentioned (or their supplies or trading posts. At "Covington Four Corners" a little village grew up, supplied with stores, shops, mills, hotels, and all the necessary institutions of a thriving and prosperous community. The citizens were generally public spirited, and for a quarter of a century Covington was the most favored and prosperous village in the county of Tioga; and as early as 1831 the borough of Covington was organized, being preceded only one year by the county seat, Wellsboro.
It will be borne in mind that the township of Bloss was not organized until the year 1841, Blossburg only being a small hamlet until that time, and Covington the center of trade and population from which radiated the enterprises which ultimately resulted in the development of the mines at Blossburg. Covington can therefore be justly called the mother of Blossburg, or the hive from which to a marked degree emanated the prosperity of the latter town. Probably no borough in the county has had so many stages of prosperity and depression as Covington. From 1820 to 1840 great improvements were made. During that period streets were opened upon both sides of the river, running north and south, and a general impetus was given to business b the erection of mills, factories, stores, hotels, churches, school-houses, and all the requisites of a flourishing country town. Great projects were conceived and carried into execution. Blossburg was then in Covington township, and many of the leading men who were prominent in the building of the Corning and Blossburg railroad, which was completed in 1840, made Covington their temporary or permanent home.
Covington remained a borough a number of years, when its charter lapsed. In 1851 it was made a borough again, with the following officers; George Knox, burgess; John Lang (now treasurer of the Fall Brook Coal Company), clerk; Martin Gerould street commissioner on the east side of the river, and Elijah Gaylord on the west side; O.F. Taylor, treasurer; Ira Patchen, collector; A.L. Johnson, poormaster.
The chief burgess of the borough since have been George Knox W.C. Webb, T. Putnam (twice), J.C. Bennett (twice) Edwin Dyer, H.M. Gerould, Ira Patchen, Leonard Palmer (twice) Perley P. Putnam, O.G. Gerould (twice), A.M. Bennett (3 terms), Jacob Hartman, E.B. Decker, Charles Howland, T.B Putnam, William Lamkin, Edwin Klock, J.M. Hoagland.
The present borough officers are: Burgess, J. M. Hoagland; clerk, S.A. Gaskill; councilmen, Harry Kendrick, Michael Dailey, William Holman, John W. Horton, F.P. Copp, S.A. Gaskill; assessor, Charles Howland; assistant assessors, T.P. Putnam, George Keltz; judge of election, Henry Levalley; inspectors of election, Samuel Putnam, E. Howland; auditors, W.S. Farrer, W.H. Lamkin, G.A. Spring; high constable, Frank Ferguson; constable, Thomas W. Patchen; justices of the peace, O.G. Gerould, L.B. Smith.
Covington borough now contains four churches (Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and "Christian"), a graded school, two general stores, two drug stores, a hardware and tin store, a hotel, two blacksmith shops, a glass factory, a saw-mill, a grist-mill, a shingle-mill, a wagon shop, two shoe shops, three groceries, a furniture store, a soda and mineral water bottling establishment, a clothespin manufactory, two gun shops, two watchmakers' shops, a barber shop, a news room, a harness shop, a fruit drying establishment, a tannery, a driving park, three physicians, three resident ministers and about 800 inhabitants. There has been a marked improvement in the business of the borough within the last two years. The glass manufactory of Messrs. Hirsch & Ely has been within that time steadily running, giving employment directly and indirectly to about one hundred men; a number of new dwellings and business places have been erected, and nearly four hundred inhabitants added to the population since 1880, which has given new life to every department of business. Located in the center of a good agricultural country, its continued prosperity is now assured, with the aid which local manufactories are giving it.
The glass manufactory was erected about thirty years ago by David Hurlbut, and has had many owners and lessees. About two years ago Hirsch, Ely & Co. of Blossburg purchased it and placed it in repair, and this firm has since been running it with profit . John B. Hirsch is the manager, Michael Ely the store agent, and the concern is under the general superintendence of B.N. McCoy of Blossburg, who also looks after the general interests of the glass manufactory owned by the same firm at the latter place. The factory has been the means of stimulating business to a large extent in Covington, giving employment for ten months in the year to a large number of men, and adding materially to population and business.
Among the industries at Covington which bid fair to result in an extensive business is the evaporator or fruit drying establishment of Messrs. A.M. Bennett and G.A. Spring. In 1881, when it was established, it gave employment to ten persons, and handled many thousand pounds of fruit, which met a ready cash sale in the market. Bright hopes are entained by its projectors and the community for the development of a very extensive trade.
EARLY AND PROMINENT RESIDENTS.
Elijah Putnam was an early settler. He came from Langdon, Chesire County, N.H., and located within what is now the borough of Covington in the year 1809. He was born in Worcester, Mass., June 1st 1761. His father was a cousin of the celebrated General Israel Putnam of Revolutionary fame. Elijah Putnam went into New Hampshire soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, and remained there till 1809, when he took his family in a sleigh and came to Covington by the way of White Hall, Saratoga, Utica, Ithaca, Horse Heads and Painted Post. His family consisted of a wife and four children--three daughters and one son, Lucy, Christiana, Sally and Thomas. Mr. Putnam was a man of great energy, enterprise and industry, and did much toward the developing of the new home in the wilderness of Tioga. He died August 11th 1825, aged 64 years, 2 months and 11 days. His wife, Lucy, survived him nearly nine years. She died May 23rd 1834, aged 76 years, 3 months and 12 days. They were pioneers both in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and were distinguished and notable persons of those early days. Their daughter Christiana married Ephraim B. Gerould. Sally married Peter Keltz, and has continuously resided in Covington 74 years. Lucy remained unmarried. Thomas became a distinguished citizen of the county. He was born in Massachusetts, June 14th 1790, and was about 18 years of age when he came with his parents to Covington. For many years he was an active business man, highly respected by his fellow citizens; was county treasurer in 1874, and subsequently largely engaged in farming He died July 12th 1870, aged 80 years and 28 days.
Isaac Walker came from New Hampshire and located at Covington, on the west side of the Tioga River, within the present limits of the borough, July 4th 1813. His family consisted of a wife, and seven sons and three daughters--Royal, Isaac, Asahel, Samuel, Roswell, Lewis, James, Polly, Lydia and Cynthia. At that early day Mr. Walker and family were quite an addition to the little hamlet. He died in July 25th 1839, and 72 years, 4 months and 5 days. Many of the descendants of this worthy pioneer are in Covington, Blossburg and vicinity. His eldest son, Royal, was for many years one of the leading carpenter in this section of the county, and the remainder of the family became highly respected members of society.
Peter Keltz preceded Isaac Walker in his residence in Covington by about five years, having located there as early as 1808. He was also a carpenter. He came from the valley of the Mohawk, and was of German descent. On the first of January 1818 he was married to Miss Sally Putnam, daughter of Major Elijah Putnam, and for nearly sixty years they lived happily together.
Major Thomas Dyer in the year 1820 came from Amherst, Hampshire County, Mass., to Covington. He had formerly resided in Rhode Island and had been a manufacturer of cotton goods. He came prepared to open a store, and by the aid of two yoke of oxen and a horse, attached to a ponderous. New England wagon, he made the journey with his goods and family from Massachusetts. They crossed the Hudson at Catskill, ascended the mountains, and passed through the counties of Greene, Delaware, Broome and Tioga to Newtown (now Elmira), and thence via Troy and Columbia Flats to Covington. When near Columbia Flats, Bradford County, Major Dyer stopped at a settler's by the name of Mudge, but the latter could not entertain him and his family over night, and the major pressed on through the darkness and had the misfortune to drive off from a pole bridge into a stream, and nearly wrecked his cargo. He finally staid all night with a settler named Briggs, and in the morning "righted up" his load and that day arrived at his destination. Among the wares which the major had purchased for the trade at Covington were axes, scythes (bush and grass), cow bells and straw and cotton goods. For these he found a ready sale, and his fame as a merchant was established. Major Dyer became one of the most prominent citizens of the county and held a number of important trusts, among them being county treasurer in 1834-5. It was during the year 1834 that as county treasurer he went to Philadelphia and negotiated a loan for the county commissioners from the Mechanics and Manufacturers' Bank, to erect the present Tioga County court-house at Wellsboro. He was a good financier and was vice-president of the bank of Towanda. Major Dyer has done service in the war of 1812 as a marine. He died June 30th 1850, aged 68 years and 19 days. He left a good record and did much toward developing the business interests in the community in which he lived.
Edwin Dyer, subsequently known as Judge Dyer, was born near Providence, R.I., in 1807, and accompanied his father, Major Thomas Dyer, to Covington in 1820. He became one of the most prominent citizens of the place. He was largely interested in coal and other lands in Covington and Blossburg, and directly and indirectly aided much in the building of the first railroad in the county, the Corning and Blossburg, now the Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad. During the early history of the railroad he accompanied Hon. Samuel W. Morris of Wellsboro to New York and Philadelphia and assisted him in selling the stock, in order to raise money for the construction of the road. He was largely engaged in mercantile pursuits, and from 1839 to 1842 his sales were from sixty to eighty thousand dollars per annum. He spent large sums in improving the borough of Covington, erecting dwellings, stores, hotels, mills, shops, churches, foundries, depots, etc. He erected the building now occupied as a depot and post-office, and for 32 years from 1840 held the position of station agent, a greater portion of the time giving his personal attention to the business connected therewith. In 1851 he was elected associate judge of Tioga County, and served with honor and credit five years. In 1867 his fine residence was burned, which proved a great loss to him. Most of his valuable household goods and keepsakes and his fine library were destroyed. He served several terms as chief burgess of Covington; was presiding officer in the Odd Fellows' lodge and an elder in the Presbyterian church. As a father he was kind and affectionate, as a neighbor accommodating, as a business man energetic and public spirited, as a citizen a polished and affable gentleman. He died at his residence in Covington, Saturday, August 3rd 1879, aged 72 years. His funeral was largely attended on Tuesday, August 26th, Rev. G.D. Meigs officiating. Business places were closed during the services, and every mark of respect was shown his memory. The union Sunday-school and Odd Fellows' lodge attended in a body, and at the grave the services were conducted by the latter. He left five daughters--Mrs. Esther A. McGrath, Miss Fannie A., Miss Belle, Mrs. Katharine D. Keene, and Mrs. Ellen D. King--to mourn his loss.
Dr. Henry Kilbourne, a physician widely known in northern Pennsylvania, was born in Shrewsbury, Rutland County, Vt., in 1802; studied medicine, and received his diploma in 1828; married Fanny Briggs, of his native town, the same year, and removed to Covington. He was one of the first regular physicians in this section of the county. He is now in his 80th year.
Elijah Gaylord, a native of Orange County, Vt., settled in Sullivan Township in 1818, and in Covington in 1820, locating near the sash factory. At that time there was no highway on the east side of the river, from where Charles F. King's mill ins now located down to the State road at the "Corners." Mr. Gaylord was a house carpenter, bridge builder and general mechanic. He was a man of sterling integrity. He died in Blossburg at an advanced age.
Otis G. Gerould was born in Covington, December 17th 1830, and is a son of Ephraim B. and Christiana Gerould, the last named of whom was the daughter of Elijah Putnam and sister of General Thomas Putnam. He was educated principally at a private school under the instruction of Miss Lucy Putnam. January 13th 1855 he was married to Mary Seaman, Of Ithaca, Tompkins County, N.Y. When the war of the Rebellion broke out he enlisted as a private in Company L 7th Pennsylvania cavalry, and served under Colonel C.C. McCormick and Colonel George E. Wynkoop nearly four years, having re-enlisted as a veteran. The regiment in which he served belonged to the army of the Cumberland. While leading a cavalry charge near Rome, Georgia, October 13th 1864, he was wounded in the hip and arm, which permanently crippled him. In September 1865 he was mustered out of the service. He was a brave soldier, and his social record is good. He served eight years as D. D. G. M. of Odd Fellows for this district, and has filled places of trust and honor in his native borough. He is now secretary of the I. O. O. F. lodge and acting justice of the peace.
Victor Gray, one of the oldest living locomotive engineers in this section of the country, resides at Covington. He was first employed in the construction of the Corning and Blossburg Railroad, in the year 1838, and in 1839, when it was partially completed, was employed as a brakeman, then as fireman and next as engineer. His readiness to acquire a knowledge of steam and mechanism had much to do with his rapid advancement. Usually the steps are slow from the brakeman's position to the engineer. Mr. Gray says the first engine on the Corning and Blossburg Railroad was the "Chemung." This engine commenced working on the Corning portion of the road in 1839, and came up with a U.S. mail car as far as President James R. Wilson's residence, a short distance below the village of Covington. Then followed, as soon as the road was completed, in 1840, engines "Tioga" and "Conhocton." The latter made its first trip June 12th 1841. The "Tuscarora" made an excursion trip July 4th 1841. In 1841 Mr. Gray managed a stationary engine, and in 1842 ran the "Canisteo," a Baldwin engine, and afterward the "Tioga" and other locomotives up to 1847. Samuel Moor, an old mariner, came with the engine from Paterson, N.J., in 1841, and while at Blossburg determined the latitude and longitude of that place. The same year George Peterman came with the "Conhocton." The first locomotive engineer on the Corning and Blossburg Railroad was John Graham. He ran in 1839. Mr. Gray thinks he was among the first engineers, if not the first, to determine that the Blossburg coal would keep up steam in a locomotive. In the early history of the road wood was used exclusively for fuel, and it was a great saving when the fact was developed that coal could be used in its place.
Anson L. Johnson, a master mechanic of acknowledged skill, settled in Covington about the year 1837, and first engaged in the manufacture of sash and blinds and general carpentry work. Subsequently he kept the Putnam Hotel, and then again resumed his trade. He was one of the leading builders in the country, erecting stores, dwellings, hotels, schutes etc. He was captain of a military company at Covington, and held many offices in the borough. He died a few years since at Covington.
John Calvin Bennett was born in Sherman, Conn., in 1812, and removed with his parents into the Canisteo Valley, near Hornellsville, N.Y., about the year 1824. For several years he was connected with a stage line from Centerville, near Painted Post, to Covington, which was owned by the late Hon. John Magee and T. Jefferson Magee. During this time he became acquainted with Miss Olive Wilson, daughter of the late Summer Wilson, one of the early pioneers, and they were married in 1830. Mr. Bennett thereafter lived at Covington, engaged in mercantile pursuits, for nearly forty years, a portion of the time having as his partner his son A. M. Bennett. Mr. Bennett has been for many years a worthy member of the Presbyterian church; has frequently been burgess of the borough, and enjoys the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens. By his industry, economy and business habits he has accumulated a competency, and now in the evening of his life he and his good wife are enjoying the fruits of their labors. Kind, generous, hospitable and cheerful, their home is bright, and its surroundings bespeak comfort and serenity. Mr. Bennett has witnessed many changes in the social, industrial and agricultural development of Covington and its vicinity, having located there before the Corning and Blossburg Railroad was completed, or the mines at Blossburg opened for anything more than a local trade.
Stephen S. Packard came to Covington in 1839 from Bainbridge, Chenango County, N.Y., and engaged in lumbering and mercantile pursuits. He was for twenty successive years a justice of the peace. His wife was a daughter of Summer Wilson and sister to Mrs. J. C. Bennett.
In 1837 O. F. Taylor came from Troy, Pa., and located at Covington, and engaged as a clerk in a store established by his brother B. H. Taylor. He was subsequently a clerk for Judge Dyer and later a partner. In 1847 he commenced business for himself. In 1859 he was elected county treasurer. Subsequently he removed to Blossburg and engaged in the manufacture of glass and in mercantile pursuits.
In the year 1837 Ira Patchen, who had learned the trade of a gunsmith with E. S. Dykens and Lewis B. Biles of Bath, N.Y., located at Covington and opened a gun shop. The hills surrounding Covington then were covered with a dense forest abounding with game, and the demand for first-class rifles was good. He was an expert workman, and his rifles gained a great reputation and became one of the necessities of the early settler in that region. For many years he combined the business of farming with his gunsmithing. Mr. Patchen was a prominent Odd Fellow; for fourteen years he was secretary of the Covington Lodge, No. 274, and on his retirement from that office was presented with a handsome and valuable testimonial by the lodge, in the shape of an ebony cane elegantly mounted and inscribed. His wife was a daughter or General Thomas Putnam.
John S. Hoagland was born in Ovid, Seneca County, N.Y., October 2nd 1800. He learned the carpenter's trade in the State of New Jersey, and came to Covington in 1836. He was a master workman; among other work built the addition to the Bloss House at Blossburg; remodeled the Dyer Hotel at Covington; built the old machine shop at Blossburg, a store for Franklin Smith, the rolling mill, and a number of dwellings in Blossburg, and erected the drum house at the head of the plane. Mr. Hoagland is now 82 years of age, but sound physically and mentally. Mr. and Mrs. Hoagland have been married 60 years; they have had nine children.
John G. Boyd was a very enterprising and public spirited gentleman, who did much from 1839 to 1842 to develop the mineral and other resources of this section of the county. He was largely interested in mining and lumbering; built the large and commodious house now known as the Seymour House at Blossburg, and was associated with P.P. Cleaver in a large lumber establishment at Covington. He also had charge of the blast furnace at Blossburg. The financial crisis in 1842 ruined him, but the results of his enterprise and skill yet remain.
One of the earliest tanneries in Covington was erected by Isaac Berry.
Christopher Huntington was the first blacksmith in Covington. His shop stood on the Williamson road, opposite the residence of S.S. Packard.
J. Coonrod Youngman kept the first hotel in Covington. Subsequently, in 1819, another was built, which was called "the Salt Box," on account of its peculiar shape. It was kept many years by J. O. Pine.
Butler Smith was for many years a prominent citizen. He was a native of the State of New York. He died December 10th 1870, aged 73 years, 11 months and 7 days.
Samuel Barber, father of Lorenzo and Alonzo Barber, was an early settler at Covington. He had three children - Lorenzo, Alonzo, and Minerva, wife of George Baker.
William Farrer, father of Thomas and William Farrer, two well known citizens, is a native of Westmoreland County, England; is in his 94th year, but is able to walk ten miles a day with ease. He came to this county in 1837 and located at Blossburg. He has alternately lived in Blossburg, Liberty and Covington. He was a stone mason and a miner.
CHURCHES AND SUNDAY-SCHOOL.
Meetings were held in Covington as early as 1809, by a Methodist minister named Caleb Boyer, and soon after ward Rev. Hiram G. Warner held periodical services. He was succeeded by Rev. Caleb Kendall. Covington was in the old Tioga circuit, which embraced all the present territory of the Troy district and something more. Various denominations had their missionaries, who ministered in Covington and vicinity. It was not however until about the year 1840 that churches were organized and buildings erected for public worship.
The M. E. Church.--Services were held by Methodist clergymen in Covington as early as 1809, but the records of the church are very meager and incomplete. From Mrs. Joseph Hubbell, a devoted member of the society, we learn that the present church edifice was erected about the year 1848. About that time Rev. Mr. Cramer and Rev. Ira Smith officiated, with Mr. Compton as class leader, succeeded by Joseph Hubbell, who was steward and class leader for many years, and was succeeded by Alonzo Barber. In 1848 there were about 15 members of the church. A revival that year added many more, and for a number of years the church was in a very prosperous state; but by removals from the borough great loss of membership took place. Among the ministers officiating here have been Rev. Messrs. Cramer, Ira Smith, Ira Stillwell, Beach, Samuel Nichols, Parkhurst, Taylor, Moyer, Charles Wright, R.N. Leake and Harvey Lamkin. The children have attended the union Sunday-School.
Church of Christ.--This church was at first known as the "Christian" church, but since 1840 its title in law has been "Church of Christ." It was organized by Elder Whitehead, and the later ministers have been James Welton, Hiram Pratt, ----- Buzzle, Theobald Miller, B. R. Hurd, C. D. Kinney, A. G. Hammon, J. G. Encell, J. W. R. Stewart, I. R. Spencer, G. W. Headley and J. O. Cutts. The present membership is about 100. The members partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday, support regular preaching and maintain a weekly prayer meeting. The elders of the church are Joseph Hagenbaugh and Abel W. Rockwell; deacons, Tilley Marvin and Philander Rockwell. The congregation owns a comfortable house of worship, located on the west side of Tioga River, and, with the ground, worth about $2,000. A Sunday-school is conducted by members of the church. The first superintendent was A.G. Hammond. The present superintendent is Mrs. Albert Marvin.
There are six other "Christian" churches in the county, viz.: One at Canoe Camp, with about 75 members, owning a new house of worship, and maintaining regular preaching and a Sunday-school; one at Mainsburg, maintaining regular service and Sunday-school, and possessed of a neat and commodious church edifice, Rev. A. D. Finch pastor; an organization at Hollidaysburg, Middlebury Township; one at Charleston, owning a good house; one at Arnot, with a church edifice; and one in North Union, where a church is being constructed. Rev. J. B. Daisley preaches at the last named place. The whole number of "Christians" or Disciples in Tioga County is between five and six hundred. The entire brotherhood of which these form a part has no creed but the Bible, and believes profoundly in the divinity and atonement of Christ and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of Christians. They are congregational in church government, but unite generally involuntary co-operation for carrying on missionary work.
First Baptist Church - The First Baptist Church of Covington is located in the borough of Covington, the "meeting-house" being pleasantly situated on Main Street, near the center of the village. This church originated from what was known as "The Particular Baptist Church of Covington," which society after many vicissitudes and trials as a church organization finally adopted the rules of faith and practice of the regular Baptist denomination, and commenced its career about the year 1861. The original society known as the Covington Particular Baptist Church derived its origin from the Particular Baptist Church of Sullivan, a society which, without any regular house of worship, was maintained a long period in Sullivan Township by meeting for worship and business in the dwellings of its members.
In the spring of 1839 Elder George Spratt, a native of England and an educated and talented minister, removed from the Shamokin church, Northumberland County, Pa., of which society he was a member, united with the Sullivan church and became its pastor, finally settling with his family in Covington as a permanent place of residence, preaching there in the morning and meeting with the Sullivan brethren in the afternoon of the same day. When Elder Spratt commenced his ministry in Covington there were but three members of the Sullivan Baptist church residing in Covington, viz.: Ephraim B. Gerould, Mrs. Sarah P. Keltz and Margaret Williams, who were also the only Baptists in the township of Covington. In the course of a few years, by conversions and by arrivals from Philadelphia, Shamokin and other places, there were added to the branch church in Covington about a dozen members, when steps were taken to form an independent organization in Covington by separation from the parent society of Sullivan. In pursuance of this resolve letters of dismission from the Sullivan church were granted to Elder Spratt and others, and a church was formed at Covington September 19th 1840. The first regular business meeting of the new church took place on the same day, at the district school-house in Covington, at which time a committee was appointed to draft an expression of church doctrine and a covenant, which were accepted as the basis of a church polity on the 24th of October 1840.
The membership on this formal organization consisted of Rev. George Spratt, Ephraim B. Gerould, David S. Ireland, Samuel Morgan, Elizabeth Spratt, Mary Binley, Chastina Macomber, Eliza Marvin, Sarah P. Keltz, Maria Marvin, Margaret Ireland, Ann Morgan and Margaret Harris. Of these original members only three remain, viz: David S. Ireland and wife, of Raleigh, N.C., and Mrs. Sarah P. Keltz, of Covington. Mrs. Keltz, beloved and respected by a large circle of friends, at the advanced age of nearly 90 years retains general good health and all her faculties except her hearing.
The church met in the school-house until about the year 1855. Although a committee was appointed February 15th 1847 (consisting of D. S. Ireland, George W. Booth, George McLeod, Samuel Morgan and James Husted), to raise funds to erect a church edifice, the object was not attained until 1855.
In 1860 there were 63 members. The history of the society since then can be briefly written, a history of steady progress and influence for good in the community. With pastors of acknowledged ability, education and culture it has held its own, and done its own specific work, and at present it has a membership of go and a large and flourishing Sunday-school, and an active and assiduous missionary board.
In the past year the society has bought a lot on Main Street near the church, and is erecting a parsonage.
It might be remarked here that the Covington church is the parent of nearly all the prominent Baptist churches in the county; the Blossburg, Mansfield, Charleston, Dartt Settlement, Middlebury and other churches were organized by it and set aside as individual Baptist societies; and, though perhaps the oldest church in the county but one, it is still one of the youngest in progressive spirit, service and zeal for the Master's cause.
The following are the names of the pastors of the church, and their terms of service: George Spratt, 1839-1845; Abijah Sherwood, 1845-50; George W. Stone, 1850-52; D.P. Maryatt, 1852-60; N. L. Reynolds, 1860-65; G. P. Watrous, 1865-73. From 1873 to 1875 the church had no settled pastor, being supplied from Mansfield and Blossburg. Elder E.S. Miller was pastor from 1875 to 1878; Elder Ross Ward, 1878-81; since then Elder S. F. Matthews.
The Baptist Sunday-school was instituted January 1st 1881. Uriah Ferguson became superintendent, assisted by Mrs. Al. L. Meeker, Miss Lelia Hoagland, Mrs. L. A. Holden, Miss Lina Ferguson, Fred M. Patchen, Mrs. Emma Barber, Mrs. Uriah Ferguson, and M. C. Adams as teachers. The number of scholars in attendance is 120. The Bible class is taught by the superintendent. The school is held every Sabbath, in the church, commencing at 12 o'clock, and is supplied with papers and a fine library of books. It is also furnished with maps, charts and a large blackboard. The sessions are very interesting and instructive, and a means of much good to the community and church. The officers are: Uriah Ferguson, superintendent; Mrs. Mate Harding, secretary; E. E. Phelps, librarian; Fred M. Patchen, treasurer.
Fifth Presbyterian Church.--At a regular meeting of the congregation
at Covington enjoying the ministerial services of Rev. Julius Doane, July
27th 1841, Rev. Samuel M. Hopkins of Conring, N.Y., delivered a discourse
on the "Ministration of the Spirit" from II Corinthians 3 x. Rev. Samuel
Storrs Howe of Painted Post, N.Y., led in devotional exercises, after which,
due notice having been given of the intended organization of a church,
all persons interested were requested to remain for that purpose. Rev.
S. M. Hopkins acted as moderator, and Rev. S. S. Howe as clerk. The business
being laid before the meeting it was resolved that a church be formed under
the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Covington. The following persons
therefore presented letters of dismission and recommendation: Joel Harkness,
Hubbard Clarke, Mrs. Eunice Clarke, William Clarke, Mrs. Sarah Clarke,
and Silas C. Perry, from the Richmond Presbyterian church; Miss Lucy Putnam,
Williamsburgh; Mrs. Eliza Kress, of Wilkes-Barre; Isaac Baker and Mrs.
Elizabeth Baker, of Southport, N.Y. On balloting for ruling elders Joel
Harnkess and Hubbard Clarke were declared elected. It was resolved that
the Presbytery of Chemung, formerly a part of the Presbytery of Bath, be
requested to take this church under its care, and that the Rev. Julius
Doane present this request at the next meeting of the presbytery. In the
evening, after a sermon by Rev. S. S. Howe and the explanation of the duties
of the eldership by Rev. S. M. Hopkins, the elders elect were duly set
apart by ordination. The church was duly taken under the care of the Presbytery
of Chemung at the session of that body on February 2nd 1842.
|The ministers who have preached here have been Revs. Julius Doane,
O. Fitch, E. B. Benedict, J. A. Racial, G. D. Meigs and Rev. Mr. Carter.
Since the organization of the church there have been 135 members and 67
Among the early elders of the church were Joel Harkness, Hubbard Clarke, Aaron Harrison, David Caldwell, B. J. Guernsey and Hiram Zimmer.
The first meetings of the church were held in a building known as the "The Seminary," situated on the west side of the Tioga River, but the congregation soon erected the church edifice in which it now worships.
Photo at left of Hiram Zimmer submitted by Ann Hogan
April 7th 1878, the roll of the church being purged, there was found to be a membership of 10 persons, after a discontinuance of nearly seven years. The present pastor is the Rev. Mr. Carter. The church has been much affected in its membership by removals from the borough. The prospects of the church are brighter than they have been for years.
Union Sunday-School.--One of the greatest auxiliaries to the several churches of Covington for a long period was the union Sunday-school, which the children of the various denominations attended. For many years Miss Lucy Putnam, a sister of the late General Putnam, was superintendent, devoting her energies, talent and money to its maintenance. Hundreds of the youth were guided by her pious and watchful care in the way of Christian duty. She has gone to her reward, but the precepts she implanted in the minds of the children, now men and women, will bear fruit for years to come. Although she loved the church of which she was an honored and cherished member, still her school was free from sectarianism. The sessions were held alternatively for a year at each of the several churches.
The residents of Covington early took an interest in public schools. As early as 1815 teachers were employed by the public to instruct the children, and previous to that time the mother or eldest daughter of the family gave instruction to the children of one, two and sometimes three or four households. In 1815 a public school was organized, and in 1816 a school-house was built on the east side of the Tioga River. It was about 20 by 24 feet, one story high, and stood on or near the site of the borough graded school.
In 1841 Professor Julius Doane (who was born in 1800, in Vermont, and received a classical education at Castleton in that State) established a high school or seminary at Covington on the west side of the river, with Miss Lucy Putnam as preceptress. Instruction was given in the languages, higher mathematics, music, etc. There were about seventy students in attendance. The school was maintained three years, when Professor Doane left and taught in a similar institution at Wysox, Bradford County, where he remained two years. He now resides in Covington, in the 82nd year of his age, his mind strong and vigorous; and for the past twenty years has been postmaster at that place.
The graded school has been conducted during the past year by Professor W. S. Farrer and Miss Lelia E. Hoagland, with marked success. It is well supplied with blackboards, maps, charts, and other aids to the teachers. The average attendance is about one hundred.
The officers of the borough school board are: J. W. Horton, president; O. G. Gerould, secretary; Frederick M. Patchen, treasurer; V. M. Levalley, Solomon Blanchard and Michael Dailey, directors.
LODGES AND ASSOCIATIONS
Covington Lodge, No. 274, I.O.O.F. was instituted August 10th 1848. The officers were: N.G., Theobald Miller; V.G. Ellis Gamble; secretary, George W. Boothe; assistant secretary, Ira Day; treasurer, O.F. Taylor. The lodge was instituted and officers installed by D.D.G.M. Garretson of Tioga. Among the members initiated at the time of organization were Henry Hall, I.D. Taylor, Hugh McCabe, N.A. Elliott, Philemon Doud and Alonzo A. Noble. There have been over 400 members. This lodge has probably furnished more charter members for other lodges than any other lodge in the county, including those going to Liberty, Bloss, Mansfield, Daggett's Mills and Sullivan. Among the names of the members will be found those of some of the most prominent citizens of this section of the county. Among the past grands are the following:
Theobold Miller, George W. Boothe, Benjamin Kress, Ira Day, O.F. Taylor, L.D. Taylor, Hugh McCabe, Jacob Whitman, Matthew Skelley, Charles S. Videan, H. Whitman, John L. Lee, John Lang, D. W. Gitchell, Charles Jacques, John Calvin Bennett, J.B. Husted, A.M. Spencer, Ira Patchen, Thomas Videan, I.P. Keltz, Edwin Dyer, S.L. Barber, L.K. Spencer, S.B. Cochran, T.B. Goodenough, David Caldwell, H.M. Gerould, F.J. Caldwell, William Butler, G.M. Butler, G. Fuller, L.R. Walker, O.G. Gerould, D.S. Ireland Sr., D.S. Ireland, Jr., S.F. Richards, G.W. Keltz, V.O. Spencer, F.M. Spencer, A.B. Bryan, H.R. Bryan, Jacob Hartman, H.J. Marvin, Joseph H. Harmon, J.M. Evarts, Miles G. Lee, H. Levalley, George W. Johnson, Milton R. Walker, A.M. Bennett, C.F. King, G.S. Harding, Nelson Clemmons, V.N. Levalley, George H. Coe, A.F. Packard, Uriah Ferguson, Henry Brown, L.S. Townshend, G.A. Spring, B.W. Harrison, Sol Blanchard, S.D. Forest, D.S. Lafrance, E.R. Meeker.
The present officers are: G.M. Butler, N.G.; J.C. Bennett, V.G.; O.G. Gerould, secretary; J. Hartman, treasurer; E.L. Howland, R.S. to N.G.; G.H. Coe, L.S. to N.G.; G.W. Keltz, warden; Charles Short, conductor; D.S. Lafrance, R.S.S.; V.M. Levalley, O.G.; O. Watterson, I.G.; H. Kendrick, R.S. to V.G.; M.L. Dunmore, L.S. to V.G.
The lodge owns a large and convenient building, two stories high, the lower story being used for a public hall and place of holding elections and the upper story being used for a public hall and place of holding elections and the upper story for lodge purposes, being neatly furnished and equipped. Recently an addition has been built, 20 by 38, two stories, the lower portion of which is used for a hall and dining room and the upper portion for lodge purposes by other organizations, Daughters of Rebekah, Knights of Labor, etc.
The lodge is out of debt and has a surplus fund on hand. Its membership is 60, and the total assets of the lodge are about $3,500. It has furnished district deputy grand masters to this district for about 17 years - H.M. Gerould serving five years. G.M. Butler four years, and O.G. Gerould eight years. As near as can be ascertained the lodge has expended for sick benefits, funerals and donations since its organization $3,537.73, divided as follows: Sick benefits, $2,289.04; funerals, $615.78; donations, $632.91. The lodge has once been burned out, and when this fact is taken into account, as well as the continued loss of membership by removal, the old mother lodge, No. 274, presents a fair showing.
Emma Colfax Rebekah Lodge, No. 15, I.O.O.F., was organized by District Deputy Grand Master, G.M. Butler, September 22nd 1869. The charter members were:
G.M. Bulter, O.G. Gerould, J.C. Bennett, D.S. Ireland Sr., A.M. Bennett, C.F. King, Joseph Hyland, Lyman W. Kiff, Henry G. Levalley, Andrew McIntosh, Edward D. Roberts, David S. Ireland, Jr., Richard Ashley, Miles G. Lee, James M. Everetts, George W. Keltz, Simon Green, L.R. Walker, Stephen F. Richards, L.W. Woodruff, H.A. Fisher, George A. Kinney, Jacob Hartman, Nelson Clemmons, W.S. Holman, George W. Johnson, Lucy Butler, Olive Bennett, Julia Keltz, Susan Green, Mrs. S.F. Richards, Susan Roberts, S.C. King, Ella B. Levalley, Mrs. W. Woodruff, Melvina L. Kiff, Ida O. McIntosh, Mrs. Richard Ashley, Martha Lee, Aurilla Walker and Hester A. Fisher.
This was the first chartered Rebekah lodge in Tioga County. The meetings are held in the subordinate lodge room of the I.O.O.F. The room has been furnished, mostly by the sisters of the order, in a luxurious manner. After they had furnished the lodge room to their taste they continued in their good work and erected and addition to the Odd Fellows' building two thirds its original size, adding greatly to the convenience of the lower story, which is used for a public hall.
The lodge meets every second and fourth Thursday evening of the month. It is one of the most prosperous lodges in Tioga County, and the sisters are distinguished for their enterprise and good works.
Knights of Labor.--Coving Preceptory, Assembly No. 300, was organized in September 1881, with Lewis Niepling chief preceptor, and Michael Sullivan secretary. The object of the assembly is mutual protection, and it embraces operatives in the glass manufactory, such as flatteners, blowers, gatherers and cutters. The membership is 22. The present officers are: Lewis Niepling, chief preceptor; assistant preceptors, Mark Hirsch, Bruno Bannkratz and James Landgraff; secretary, James Landgraff. Reports are made to Pittsburgh Branch, No. 300. The preceptory meets weekly in the new hall adjoining the Odd Fellows' lodge room.
Local Assembly No. 1,604 was established about eighteen months ago, and now has a membership of about 28. The present officers are: J.W. Horton, master workman, Solomon Blanchard, foreman; F.P. Copp, F.S.; B. Whipple, treasurer; E.L. Howland, R.S.; O.G. Gerould, V.S. The assembly meets each Wednesday evening in the new hall adjoining the Odd Fellows' lodge room.
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