||1883 Tioga County History
History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, with Illustrations, Portraits, & Sketches of Prominent Families and Individuals (1883), (NY : W.W. Munsell & Co., Press of George MacNamara), pp. 166-169.
BY JOHN L. SEXTON JR.
Elk township is situated in the extreme southwestern portion of Tioga county, west of Pine Creek. The Indian name for this creek is variously spelled. In a letter dated November 15th 1784, written at Sunbury, Pa., by Samuel J. Atlee, William Maclay and Fra. Johnston, commissioners on the part of Pennsylvania to treat with the Indians at Fort Stanwix, N.Y., it is spelled Tiadaughton, also Teadaghton. Governor John Penn at a much earlier date, viz. January 16th 1768, spells it Tiadaghton, and recites the boundaries of the purchase as reaching the outlet of Tiadaghton Creek. In some old manuscripts it is spelled Tyadaghton. The townships bordering one Pine Creek are similar in their history. For ages previous to the treaties of 1768 and 1784 this stream and its tributaries had been the hunting grounds of the Monseys (a band of the Delaware Indians) and the Shawanese, but belonged to the Six Nations. Settlers had located on the banks of its tributaries as early as 1799 within the present limits of Tioga County.
The township of Elk is bounded on the north by the townships of Gaines and Shippen, on the east by Delmar and Morris, on the south by Lycoming county and one the west by Potter county. Pine Creek enters the northeastern portion of the township, on warrant No. 4,429, and running south through warrants 4,428 and 4,427 passes out of the township into Delmar at the northeast corner of warrant No. 4,426. A creek of considerable importance, named Cedar Run, rises near the center of the township, flows southeastward and discharges into waters into Pine Creek in Brown township, Lycoming county. Several small streams rise in the western and southern portions of the township and flow southward, eventually reaching Pine Creek, while in the northwestern portion are tributaries of Kettle Creek which flow southward, and also tributaries of Elk Run, which flow northward and eastward into Pine Creek in the township of Gaines.
The township is covered with an immense growth of hemlock, pine and hard wood timber. Much, however, of the pine timber has been removed. The greater portion of the township is a series of mountains and ravines, and the soil, with only rare exceptions, is not well adapted to agricultural purposes. There are, however, beds of iron ore, semi-bituminous coal, and mineral paint, which for want hitherto of suitable means of transportation have remained undeveloped. The completion of the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railroad, which is now in course of rapid construction will remove all these impediments and have a tendency to bring these undeveloped mineral deposits into market.
JOHN MAYNARD AND OTHER PIONEERS.
Although Silas Billings while a resident of Elmira, N, Y,, erected a steam saw-mill and built dwellings on Cedar Run as early 1847, John Maynard has always been regarded as the first permanent settler of the township of Elk. He was born in Adderbury, England, December 5th 1811; was educated in his native country; learned the trade of a cooper, and also worked in a cotton factory. He came to America in 1829 and located in Stamford, Vt, He was married January 1st 1833 to Miss Abigail Whitney, of Stamford, by Rev. John Wilmarth. Their children were: Mary Ann, wife of Wheeler Bratton, of Vermont; John, who died in infancy; John C., who resides on the homestead in Elk; Martha, wife of G. R. Winkler, a civil engineer of Williamsport, Pa.; Marshall M., who was a member of Company I 45th regiment Pennsylvania volunteers and died in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Eda; Elizabeth, who died when about two years of age; Edward Everett, who also died young; Edwin Edmond, who resides in Gaines; E. Elizabeth, wife of C. G. Forman, of Elk; Edward Everett 2nd, deceased; Reuben G., who resides in Elk; Carrie E., widow of the late John C. Trowbridge, and Mary Ann, wife of Herman Perry, of Elk; Mr. Marynard came into Tioga county in 1847, located at Westfield, and remained there three years. In 1850 he removed to Shippen township and became the agent of the late Judge R. G. White. In 1853 he purchased 500 acres of wild land on what is now the northwestern portion of the township of Elk, and subsequently purchased 1,100 acres more. He had to cut two miles and a half of his road to his new home, and draw his household goods on a sled with a yoke of oxen. He immediately commenced clearing the ground and erecting a house, and so well did he prosper that the third year he raised 20 acres of wheat. He cleared about 140 acres of land and set out four orchards, which contained in all about 1,000 apple trees and 100 pear trees, besides other fruits. He was a man of untiring energy and perseverance, and was largely instrumental in the formation of the township of Elk in the year 1856. He was elected justice of the peace at the first township election, and held the office 22 years, or up to the time of his death. He was also one of the commissioners to locate the county poor-house. He read medical works, and in that sparsely settled section in many instances prescribed successfully for the sick. He was an honest, upright and respected citizen. He died December 9th 1878, aged 67 years, and was buried in a graveyard on his homestead.
John C. Maynard, son of John and Abigail Maynard, was born in North Adams, Mass., March 15th 1837. When only ten years of age he came with his parents into Tioga county, and for the past thirty-five years has been familiar with pioneer life. He assisted his father in clearing away the forest and making a home in the wilderness west of Pine Creek. He has had the double experience of a farmer and a lumberman, and knows the hardships of the former occupation, especially in a new country remote from markets and the conveniences of old settlements. He was married in 1864 to Miss Phebe N. Marsh, by whom he had one child, Walter E. Maynard. She died in December 1873, and he was married December 27th 1876 to Miss Della H. Campbell. Their children are Guy and Della P. Mr. Maynard now occupies the homestead with his mother. He has filled the office of supervisor and served four terms as assessor, and is one of the representative men of the township.
Silas Billings, father of the late Silas X. Billings, determined to erect a steam saw-mill on the head waters of Cedar Run, now in the township of Elk; and for that purpose, in March 1847, with a gang of wood choppers, he started with an ox team drawing a sled, on which were a stove and a tent, up Elk Run from Pine Creek, The country then was an unbroken wilderness for miles to the southwest. The snow was about three feet deep on the level. It was a great undertaking, but after many days they reached a point on Cedar Run where Mr. Billings selected a site for the contemplated mill. He once told the writer that it took just forty days to cut the road, which he thought was typical of the forty days' fast and the forty years in the wilderness. He persevered, erected the steam mill, and built a plank road for eight or nine miles down the run to Pine Creek. One of the buildings he erected then, known as the "White House," is still standing, and is occupied by men engaged in lumbering. Soon after he got the mill and road in successful operation he made sale of a large quantity of standing timber to parties in Williamsport, who were connected with the Boom Company of that city. This lumbering establishment and the buildings surrounding it were named "Lungerville," which name is still retained. Mr. Billings died at Elmira, August 28th 1853, and the place he had founded was suffered to go into decay.
Twelve or fifteen years thereafter his son Silas X. Billings commenced lumbering operations about two and a half miles farther down on Cedar Run, built a steam mill, erected a store and several dwellings and carried on business until 1878.
It appears from the first list of resident taxables that the township was very thinly populated at its formation, in 1856. The list was made out November 7th 1856; signed by D.G. Stevens and O.B. Wells, county commissioners; attested by A.J. Sofield, clerk, and is as follows:
Jehial Beach, George Bendle, William Bendle, John F. Bristol, John Crainer, S.S. Dingman, James Farley, Benjamin Freyer, Edward Fridley, Charles and Henry Fisher, D.K. Fitch, G.W. Howd, George Maynard, Sarah Maynard, John Maynard, P. S. McNiel, Daniel Minsker, William Minsker, Amos P. Roberts, Charles F. Roberts, D.W. Ruggles, Homer Ruggles, Jason Smith, John E. Smith, Lyman Thompson, Joseph Thompson, Columbus Wells, James F. Wescott, Loren Wetmore and John Wetherell.
Of this number fourteen were laborers, There were, however, immense tracts of unseated lands which could be assessed for roads and school purposes, and which at that time had quite a high valuation, The township was a wilderness. We are informed by the early settlers that deer, elk, bears and wolves were plenty, the two latter many times disputing with the settler the occupation of this region. The deer, elk and bear furnished an inexhaustible supply of meat for the table, and cost nothing but a little trouble to hunt them out and slaughter them.
The actual settlers at the time of the formation of the township were John Maynard, George Maynard, Loren Wetmore, John E. Smith, Jehial Beach, Homer Ruggles, D.W. Ruggles, Benjamin Freyer, James F. Wescott, Jason Smith and G.W. Howd. Loren Wetmore, Jason Smith and John E. Smith were from Charleston, in this county, Jehial Beach moved in from Bradford county, Pa. Homer Ruggles and Benjamin Freyer were from Buckville, Chemung county, N.Y., James F. Wescott and G.W. Howd were from Hazleton, Luzerne county, Pa. All these settlers located in the northwestern portion of the township, in the neighborhood of the Schambacher and Maynard school-houses, near the Potter and Tioga county line. The settlers immediately after locating set out apple orchards, which are now very productive and a source of pleasure and profit. It is claimed and we believe with truthfulness that the schoolhouses in the township of Elk are as well provided with school apparatus, such as maps and charts, as those of any other township in the county.
In 1878 Silas X. Billings sold the hemlock bark on twenty thousand acres to Lee & Co., of Nos. 20 and 22 Ferry street, New York city, now known as
THE CEDAR RUN TANNING COMPANY.
They immediately commenced the erection of a boarding house, and in the spring of 1879 began building a large tannery. John Bright was master mechanic, James Gilbert overseer of all outside work, and James Thompson of the tannery. H.H. Tenbrook was bookkeeper from April 1879 to September 1879, when he was succeeded by James F. Palen, who still retains the position. The heavy machinery had to be drawn from Stokesdale and Wellsboro, on the line of the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railroad, with teams, and it was a most dangerous and difficult work; but so well were all the plans executed that between the 7th of April 1879, when the first blow was struck toward the erection of the tannery, and the first of September of the same year everything was made ready for tanning leather. The motive power consists of two eighty horse power engines, which are contained in a fireproof stone and brick edifice, with iron roof. The proprietors also have a stone pump house for their fire engine, conveniently located between their buildings as a protection from fire. The capacity of the tannery is one hundred thousand sides of sole leather annually, and it employs between fifty and sixty men directly. The various departments are now assigned as follows: Augustus B. Snyder, superintendent; James Thompson, foreman in tannery; James F. Palen, merchant, assisted by Edward B. Palen, H. D. Cole and John Flannigan.
Soon after the commencement of operations by Lee & Co. the name of the place and post-office was changed to Leetonia. and James F. Palen was appointed postmaster, which position he continues to occupy.
Leetonia is a village containing about fifty dwellings (forty-seven of which belong to the Cedar Run Tanning Company, and the remainder to the estate of the late Silas X. Billings), two blacksmith shops, two boarding houses, a school-house, the Cedar Run Tanning Company's store, a grocery, a drug store, a steam saw-mill belonging to the estate of Mr. Billings, and the Cedar Run tannery; making a lively business place, where the chief occupations of the inhabitants are tanning and lumbering.
It was estimated that between nine and ten million feet of lumber in the log would be floated out of Cedar Run to Pine Creek and thence to Williamsport in the spring of 1882. The supplies for Leetonia are shipped by rail to Antrim, and thence drawn on wagons or sleighs to Babb's Creek, and down the creek to Blackwell's, there crossing Pine Creek; thence down Pine Creek to the mouth of Cedar Run, and up Cedar Run to Leetonia, a distance of nearly 24 miles. The scenery along the route is grand. At one point in Brown township, Lycoming county, the highway is cut through a ledge of rocks, and is nearly two hundred feet perpendicularly above Pine Creek, with a mountain looking nearly a thousand feet above the road. The highway is narrow, with only a few passing places, for nearly a mile. Nowhere in Pennsylvania can those who take delight in wild mountain scenery be more completely gratified than in the Pine Creek and Cedar Run region.
The buildings at Leetonia are neat and comfortable. A very fine residence was erected here by William Lee jr., which he and his family occupied for some time; but the romance of a home in the wilderness lost its charms, and he returned to the city. The house is now occupied by Mr. Snyder, the superintendent of the work. The school-house at Leetonia is sufficiently large to accommodate the scholars of the place and for church purposes. The Methodists have a church organization, and services are held in the school-house by Rev. William Beach. There are about forty pupils attending school, under the instruction of Miss Mary Harrington.
The resident physician is E.P. Luce, M.D., a native of Tompkins county, N.Y., and a graduate (1862) of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Cincinnati, Ohio.
James Gilbert, the outside foreman for two years and a half for the Cedar Run Tanning Company, is now associated with Nathan Steele in stocking and delivering at Williamsport for Wolverton & Tinsman ten or twelve million feet of lumber in the log. Mr. Gilbert is an energetic man, and well skilled in the business he is engaged in. He resides in the dwelling erected by the late Silas X. Billings.
Every department of the Cedar Run Tanning Company is properly officered and managed, and the founders of Leetonia, who went into the wilds of Elk township and built up this bright and thriving hamlet, giving employment to so large a number of men directly and indirectly, deserve well of the citizens of Tioga county. We are pleased to, know that in a few months the locomotive an the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railroad will halt at the mouth of Cedar Run, and furnish them with better shipping facilities and release them from their isolation.
The first elections in the township of Elk were held at the house of Homer Ruggles, later ones at the Schambacher and Maynard school-houses, and from them the voting place was removed to Leetonia.
Township officers: Supervisors-George Maynard, G.D. Lewis; justices of the peace-Oscar Brown, J.H. Hubers; treasurer-Edward Gerould; assessor, John G. Maynard; auditors-James F. Palen, C.G. Furman; collector, H.L. Colgrove, school-board-George Maynard (president), J.H. Hubers (secretary), Charles Wolpers (treasurer), Alexander Curley, James Gilbert, Nathan Steele, James Thompson.
The last vote for township officers (February 21st 1882) was as follows:
Supervisors-A.B. Snyder, 33; George Maynard, 24. Constable-S.H. Kissel, 23; George E. Maynard, 12. School directors-George Maynard, 34; J.J. Ruff, 25. Assessor-John C. Maynard, 35. Assistant assessors-A. Reinwahld, 24; C. M. Beiling, 23; J.H. Hubers, 7. Treasurer-Ed. Jaro, 35. Clerk-J.H. Hubers, 35. Judge of election-F.B. Maynard, 35. Inspectors of election-Daniel Draper, 21; J.J. Ruff, 17; E.T. Callahan, 13. Auditors-J.F. Palen, 35; James Gilbert, 33.
The first school in the township was in what is now known as the Maynard district, No. 1. The first teacher was Miss Marion A. Watrous. Among the other early teachers in the township were Martha Dennison, Mary Kelley, Selana Hart, Carrie Wilcox, Albina Vermilye, Nora Dartt, Emily Merrick, Amri Strait, Phebe Wetmore and Florence Noyes.
There are now four school-houses in the township. The present teachers are: District No. 1, Jennie Danks; No. 2, Gertrude Furman; No. 3, Annis Schram; No. 4, Mary Harrington.
There are no church edifices in the township. There are two Methodist congregations, one worshiping in the Schambacher school-house, and the other in the Leetonia school-house.
The first public road in the township was the one leading from Gaines to Germania in Potter county. This was constructed in 1856, and John Maynard made four and a half miles out of the twelve.
The first post-office in the township was called Malone, and Loren Wetmore was the postmaster. It was finally abandoned. The next was Leetonia. The people of the northern and northwestern portions of the township are accommodated with mail facilities at Marshfield, in the township of Gaines, and those in the southern portion at Leetonia.
There are two carriage mail routes running through the township-one from Gaines to Leetonia and thence to Gamble, on Pine Creek, in Lycoming county, and the other from Gaines to Germania.
The business prospects of the township are indeed flattering. Those living in the northern portion of the township, on the waters of Elk Run, will soon be accommodated with railroad facilities at Marsh Creek, and those in the central part at the mouth of Cedar Run, and every product of the farm or the forest will find a ready market. Railroad communication will have a tendency to cause the erection of saw-mills within the township to manufacture the lumber which would otherwise be run in the log to Williamsport, and will also lead to the development of the coal and iron deposits, and the establishment of collieries and blast furnaces.
The township contained in 1880 462 inhabitants. It is estimated that there are now nearly 700.