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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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By John L. Sexton Jr.
Liberty township was formed from Covington and Delmar townships, in February 1823. It is situated in the highlands on the southern line of Tioga county, adjoining the township of Jackson in Lycoming county. It is bounded on the north by the townships of Charleston, Bloss and Hamilton, on the east by Union, on the south by Lycoming county and on the west by the township of Morris.
There are four post-offices in the townshipCLiberty, Nauvoo, East Point and Barfelden. Nauvoo is on the line between the townships of Liberty and Morris, Barfelden about three miles east of Nauvoo, Liberty about three miles east of Barfelden, and East Point about three miles east of Liberty, all on a stage line leading from Canton, Bradford county, to Antrim.
The lands were originally heavily timbered with maple, beech, cherry, hemlock and a few scattering tracts of white pine. The soil is well adapted to the production of grass, oats, corn, wheat, buckwheat and fruit. Coal and iron exist to a limited extent, but no valuable veins of either have been developed. Salt springs are found, and many years ago were worked, but not to any great extent, and no attempt has recently been made to develop them. The principal streams of the township discharge their waters either into the Lycoming or Pine Creek. Two small streams rising in the northern portion of the township flow northward into the Tioga River.
The township officers in 1881-2 were: Supervisors, R. A. DeCoursey, John Heiler; justices of the peace, J. J. Werline, Isaac F. Wheel and; constable, William Beck; school directors, B. F. Werline; president of the board, G. A. Smith (secretary), Lewis Kriss (treasurer), Alfred Fulkerson, Daniel Brion and Daniel Sink; assessor Isaac Merrell; town clerk, Samuel Bastian; auditors, Gideon T. Werline and Charles Mase.
The township vote in 1882 was given in the Wellsboro Agitator as follows:
SupervisorsCFred Roupp, 124; G. H. Entermarks, 80; Thomas Focht, 68; J. J. Sheffer, 54. Justice of the peaceCJ. J. Werline, 171; D. S. Miller, I. Constable--William Beck, 82; J. E. Keagle, 49; A. W. Cochran, 47. School directorsCWilliam Kimball, 145; G. A. Smith, 145; Joseph Childs, 82; Daniel Landis, 37; Levi Kissinger, 78. AssessorCCharles Mase, 76; Samuel Thomas, 73; John Childs, 29. Assistant assessorsCCharles Linck, 141; John Hartsock, 136; J. B. Werline, 22; Alonzo Miller, 15. TreasurerCS. H. Levegood, 173. Town clerkCG. H. Felter, 95; C. W. Wheel and, 66. Judge of electionCDaniel Brion, 104; Alonzo Miller, 42; W. L. Keagle, 16. Inspectors of electionCLewis Kraise, 83; Ellis Sheffer, 47; Edward Ostrom, 47. Auditor, William Foulkrod, 167.
Liberty, the principal village of the township, is situated centrally on the south line, about a mile from the county line. It is a place of considerable trade, and several industrial establishments are located there. Its recent name is Liberty, but it was known among old settlers by the name of ABlock House.@ The village contains two hotels, two churches, a graded school, a steam saw-mill, a tannery, a foundry, a harness shop, two wagon and carriage shops, a meat market, a jeweler=s shop, two millinery shops, two cabinet and undertaking shops, a saloon, three large dry goods and general stores, a drug store, a boot and shoe store, a large hardware establishment, several grocery stores, a cooper shop, etc. There are three resident physicians. An Odd Fellows= lodge has been maintained for the past thirty years. There is a private hall, 50 by 85 feet, which has been recently erected, and is one of the finest in the county. There is a grist-mill about three-quarters of a mile from the center of the village.
Nauvoo is a small village in the extreme western portion of the township. It was so named about 1844 from the Mormon Nauvoo, on acgount of a Mormon elder residing there by the name of D. W. Canfield. The place contains two stores, a post-office, a saloon, a hotel, a church, a grist-mill and saw-mill, a school-house, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and about 25 dwellings.
Barfelden is a small collection of houses situated in a splendid farming region three miles west of Liberty. In the vicinity are two stores, a wagon shop, a shoe shop, a cooper shop, a cabinet shop and one or two other small establishments. There is one large general store in that locality.
Veiltown, Henslertown and East Point are only local geographical names; the same as Brier Hill, which covers a large district, settled by farmers and not constituting a village.
A Business Directory
of the township at present would read about as follows: Tanneries, M. B. Mott, Veile & Krise; cooper shops, G. R. Wheel and, Clinton W. Wheel and, Gurdon H. Felter; saw-mills, Sheffer & Bastian, Solomon Roup, John Messner, George Harrer, Joseph Brion, L. G. Kohler; planing mills, Sheffer & Bastian; general merchants, C. A. Miller & Co., Narber & Moore, R. H. Hartsock. F. G. Thomas and Mrs. Seelaman (at Barfelden), J. S. Childs (at Nauvoo); groceries, William Beck, G. R. Sheffer; hardware, B. F. Werline & Co.; boots and shoes, D. R. Werline; harness, Isaac B. Werline, Moses Sheik; jeweler, Isaac F. Wheel and; saloons, John Blank, Robert Sebring; hotels, R. C. Sebring, Charles H. Foulkrod, J. S. Childs; physicians, W. F. Weseman, L. W. Johnson, G. A. Smith; millinery, Mrs. G. W. Merithew, Mrs. John F. Lovegood; cabinetmakers and undertakers, J. Kreger, S. H. Levegood; meet market, Heiler & Bastian; carriage shops, M. Sheffer & Son, Robert Reed; blacksmiths, Alpheus Sheffer, Kimball & Werline, P. W. Sheik, C.E. Ordway, John Hart; foundry, J. Green & Son; gristmills, X. Houser, Christopher Denmark; pottery, Joseph Reed.
The early merchants of Liberty were Felix Coterison, Charles A. Hensler, Rudolph Brownmiller, Elias Benner, Jacob Benner, John Sebring, Robert C. Sebring, James Merrell, Jacob Kehler, Samuel Kehler, C. F. Veile.
The first settler in the township is believed to have been a man by the name of Anthony, who took possession of the old block house erected by Williamson's party in 1792, and who with his sons for quite a long time resided there and kept a hotel or stopping place of not a very good character, judging from the stories related of him by the old settlers. About the year 1813 Jonathan Sebring came into possession of the place, and kept a respectable and honest house.
About that time a number of settlers came into the township and each received a donation of fifty acres of land, as an inducement to settle, from parties in Philadelphia who owned large tracts in Liberty and adjoining townships. Among these were George Miller, CCC Keagle, Peter Secrist, Frederick Bower, Jacob Beck, Peter Moyer and Jonathan Sebring. Some of these lived over the line in Lycoming county, the line running within less than a mile of the block house. Peter Secrist built a gristmill on Block House Creek, just over the line in Lycoming county. Jonathan Sebring kept the hotel; this road leading from Williamsport to Painted Post had become a great thoroughfare.
The honor therefore of first settlement is shared by several families who came into the township and vicinity about the same time.
Among those who came in the next 25 years were the following:
Joseph Opdegraff, Samuel Keagle, Isaiah Thompson, Frederick Harrer, Leonard Harrer, John Harrer, Peter Sheik, George Shambacker, Fred Shambacker, Leonard Shambacker, Joseph Rochenbrode, John Keltz, Philip Kohler, R. C. Cox. William Cox, C. F. Veile, George Wheeland, Horace Fellows, Leonard Miller (a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte, who received a medal for his zeal and patriotism), James Merrell, Jacob Welty, Henry Costerison, Jacob Reith, Frederick Bower, Daniel Gaup, Henry Schaumeder, John Levegood, Noah Rank, John McCurdie, Matthias Yowdis, Joseph McCemson, Michael Bastian, John Weaver, Henry Reith, Rudolph Crist, Jacob Manaval, Jacob Shreiner, George Bastian, John Welty, John Scheffer, Joseph Reppard, John Cochran John Moyer, Isaac Herman, Jacob Love, Oliver Pierson, Jacob Miller, Harvey Root, Samuel Landon, Samuel Springer, Philip Betts, Jacob Raker, William Gilday, John Lenhart, Michael Linck, George Levegood, John Focht, Charles J. Minnich, William J. Frederick, Christian Corson, Isaac Werline, Jonas Taylor, George Miller, George Keagle (who lived just over the line), John Aumiller, John Ridge, Henry Springer, Daniel Hartsock, Felix Costerison, Michael Sendlinger, John Haberly, Samuel Hartman, Jacob Beck (over the line), Conrad Weist, Christian Beiser, James Brady, John Herman, Henry Erdley, Peter Snook, Solomon Roup, Samuel Kichner, James Alexander, Henry Zimmerman, John Marquart, Abram Kohler, Michael Rochenbrodt, Rudolph Brownmiller, Claudius Costerison, George Wheeland, D. M. Bauvier, James Merrell, Thomas Black, Jeremiah Black, Elias Benner, Jacob Benner, Gustavus Leib, Daniel Spangler (a great hunter), Daniel Rush. Moses Rush, Andrew Leisering, Caspar Moyer (who cleared a large amount of land), and William Dieffenbacher, who started the first woolen-mill in Liberty and was succeeded by Horace Fellows, Charles A. Hensler, Jacob Kehler and Samuel Kehler.
A very large proportion of the foregoing located in Liberty and vicinity before 1832, but some as late as 1840. As will be inferred, the majority of them were either Germans or of German descent, and they possessed the untiring energy and frugal habits necessary in felling the forests and reclaiming the soil. While other portions of the county at times have enjoyed only a spasmodic prosperity, the citizens of Liberty, in a quiet and unostentatious manner, have gone on year by year adding surely to their gains, increased their breadth of cultivated land, erected strong and durable dwellings and outbuildings, and planted orchards, until Liberty is one of the richest agricultural towns in the county, with all the necessaries of life and a large proportion of its luxuries.
There are now about 520 taxable inhabitants, with an aggregate of $291,768 taxable real estate, which makes this the 5th in point of taxable property of the several townships of the county. The value of all property in the township liable to a county tax is $315,923. It has 12 good framed school-houses, where 13 teachers are employed and 444 scholars receive instruction. According to the census of 1880 the population of the township was then 1,629.
Isaac Foulkrod was born in Philadelphia county, in 1796, and was educated in schools of that county. He was the son of Mary and Jacob Foulkrod. Jacob Foulkrod was born April 20th 1760, in Philadelphia county, and was a soldier in the continental army under Washington. He served five years and nine months. A fife which was presented to him by Washington is still in the possession of Isaac Foulkrod. Jacob Foulkrod and Mary Boudeman were married March 24th 1791. Jacob died September 29th 1852, aged 92 years, and Mary October 21st 1861, aged 93 years. They are both buried in Cedar Hill cemetery, Philadelphia. The father of Jacob Foulkrod was born in Strasburg, Germany.
In 1819 Isaac Foulkrod was married to Miss Verena Lenhart, by whom he had seven children, as follows: Mary, wife of George Gregory; John, Jacob, Henry, George, Isaac and William. He came to Liberty in the year 1821 and purchased fifty acres of the Franklin College donation lands. Le taught the first school in the township. Mr. Foulkrod is a natural mechanic, and in his new home circumstances compelled him, as he says, to be a carpenter, millwright, blacksmith, silversmith, cabinetmaker and optician. Specimens of his work in each of these trades were shown us, and they were good. Mr. Foulkrod is a good German, French, Greek and Latin scholar. He is in possession of rare works printed in German and French; a large work on botany published in 1731, in several languages, with thousands of illustrations; a book printed in 1647, and one printed in 1699--the latter upon geometry, mechanigs architecture, engineering, etc. These sciences Mr. Foulkrod has mastered. He has also found time to acquire a thorough knowledge of music, vocal and instrumental. He has a superb violin, made in 1771, and until very recently was able to play it with rare skill and sweetness. A loss of the control of his left arm and hand has incapacitated him for playing. He is now in the 87th year of his age, and one of the most remarkable men in the county. His mind is clear, and were it not for the misfortune we have alluded to he would be as strong and sound as most men of sixty. He is a man of learning, and a skilled artisan and mechanic. He came into Liberty sixty-one years ago, cleared up a farm, built a suitable dwelling and outbuildings and planted orchards. Now that he has retired from the active pursuits of life he takes great pleasure in his books, his mechanical appliances, and the keepsakes of the past generations of the Foulkrods. He is the embodiment of politeness, kindness and good nature. His wife Verena died October 29th 1867, aged 70 years 10 months and 14 days. Since that sad event he has lived with his son upon the old homestead.
Jonathan Sebring was one the pioneers of the township. He was a native of Berks county, Pa., and located at Liberty about the year 1813, on the spot where the present Liberty Hotel stands. He was a shoemaker and carpenter, and pursued any trade which the exigencies incident to the settlement of a new country required. His family consisted of a wife and 13 children, 12 of whom lived to adult years. He cleared a large farm from the primitive forest and erected a hotel, which he kept for many years. In 1857 he sold his property in Liberty and went west, locating at Humboldt, Sauk county, Wis., and engaged in farming and surveying. In February 1879 he died, at the advanced age of 96 years. He was a true type of the pioneer, warm and generous in his impulses, a firm friend and an upright citizen. The Liberty Hotel is now kept by his son Robert C. Sebring.
Horace Fellows was born in Canaan, Litchfield county, Conn., August 31st 1808. His father was a farmer and innkeeper. In the year 1825 he went to Wellsboro with his father, and soon afterward to Cambridge, Washington county, N. Y., where he learned the trade of a woolen manufacturer. In 1840 he located in Liberty village, then a very small hamlet, and engaged in manufacturing woolen goods and fulling cloth, which pursuit he followed for thirty years. About ten years ago he sold the machinery of the establishment and it was removed to Nauvoo. He now occupies a small farm near the village of Liberty, happy in his social and domestic relations, and with a mind well stored with valuable information and with memories of the scenes which transpired forty years ago and more.
John Neal, an old pioneer of the township of Liberty, was born near Philadelphia, and learned the trade of a shoemaker. He was a soldier during the war of 1812. About the year 1819 he married Miss Elizabeth Hartman, by whom he had nine children: Daniel, Eliza (wife of David Stenninger), William, Mary (wife of C. Rouse), Susan (wife of James Newell), Margaret (wife of HarrisondRutty), Samuel, Charlotte (wife of John Harrer), and Matilda (wife of C. Jacquemin). About the year 1822 he came to Liberty and settled near the Jackson line, purchasing 115 acres of wild land. He cleared it, and erected a good dwelling, barns, etc. He died in 1871, aged about 72 years, and was buried in the graveyard on the hill near the village of Liberty.
Leonard Miller, an early settler of Liberty, was a native of Wurtemburg, Germany. He was a soldier under Napoleon indhis campaign in Russia, and was in six of the most severe battles, and at his discharge received a silver medal from Napoleon as a testimonial of his bravery and fidelity. The medal was about the wize of a silver dollar, and on one side, under a crown, were the letters AF. R.@ in a monogram. On the reverse side, in German, was an inscription, which being translated into English reads, AFor Zeal and Bravery.@ This medal was for a long time in the possession of his son John H. Miller, of Blossburg, but unfortunately has been lost. Leonard Miller was married in Germany to Miss Meck, by whom he had children: Mary (wife of William Sheik), Kate (wife of Charles Manaval), Christine (wife of Lew Sindlinger), Harriet (wife of John Secrist), Elizabeth (wife of Washington Hebe), and John H. Miller. He settled in Liberty between the years 1825 and 1828, locating in the northwestern portion of the township; purchased 104 acres of land from William Bache, of Wellsboro, and lived to clear over fifty acres of forest. He died about thirty years ago.
John Sebring was born in Bucks county, Pa., July 25th 1793. Rachel Corson, his wife, was born November 17th 1794. They were married in Lycoming county, June 6th 1815, and had four sons: Benjamin, John W., James W. and Thomas. He came into Liberty about the year 1820, and remained some years; purchased lands, erected a hotel, and then returned to Lycoming county. He again came to Liberty in 1840, and has remained in the township ever since, and for many years kept a hotel where he now resides, three miles north of the village of Liberty on the Williamson road. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, and possesses to this day a great fondness for military life. He has been commissioned captain, major, colonel and (June 22nd 1854) brigadier general. The general is now in his 89th year, but is full of spirit and energy--a little deaf, but otherwise his faculties are unimpaired, as are those of his good wife Rachel, who is in her 88th year. It is a pleasure to meet with these old people and talk over the scenes of the days Awhen this our land was new.@
John Sheffer was born in Lancaster county, Pa,, April 30th 1779, and learned the trade of a tailor. He was married about the year 1800, and had one child by his first wife, named Julia Ann. June 8th 1802 he married Miss Susannah Rennels, by whom he had fourteen children: John, William, Samuel, Elizabeth (wife of William Harmon), Catharine (wife of Peter Lutz), Jacob, Polly (deceased). Susannah (wife of Daniel Miller), Joseph, Mary (deceased), Michael, Julia Ann (wife of Nicholas Elter), Sarah (deceased) and George. The Sheffers were originally from Holland. John Sheffer came to Liberty in 1814, and purchased 150 acres of academy lands of John Norris, agent. He located on the farm where his son Jacob Sheffer now resides. When he moved into the township there were only eleven families in Liberty and the adjoining vicinity of Jackson, in Lycoming county. About this time a man by the name of Dartt located in the northern portion of the township, within about a mile of the present township line. The father of Mr. Sheffer was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and is buried in Lancaster county. The subject of our sketch was commissioned a justice of the peace October 5th 1829, by Governor J. Andrew Schultze, for the townships of Covington, Sullivan, Richmond and Liberty. He was an impartial magistrate and held in high respect by his fellow citizens. He was a good woodsman, and assisted Lorentus Jackson, the surveyor, in running lines in various sections of the townships of Liberty, Union, Bloss, Charleston, Covington, Morris and Delmar. He died August 5th 1841, in the 63d year of his age.
James McVoy sen. Was born in county Down, Ireland, about the year 1781, and emigrated to America in 1811, locating at Newburgh on the Hudson River. He was married in Ireland to Miss Sarah Larvin, by whom he had eight childrenCRichard, Mary (wife of Matthew Decoursey), William, Daniel, James, Ann, Jane (wife of Daniel Landon) and Sarah (wife of John Alase). He came to Liberty in 1830 and purchased of Elijah Stiles 100 acres of wild land, and in 1832 erected a log house and commenced clearing a farm. He afterward built a framed house and barns, set out an orchard, and at the time of his death, January 9th 1853, had 75 acres under cultivation. He endured manfully all the hardships incident to pioneer life, and left a good name among his neighbors.
James McVoy jr. Was born in Newburgh, Orange county, N. Y., January 15th 1820; came with his parents to the eastern portion of Liberty township when he was 12 years of age, and assisted in clearing up a large farm for his father and himself. He was married November 19th 1849 to Miss Christine Hartsock, with whom he has children: Sarah (wife of George Raker), Ralph F., Mary Ann (wife of Daniel Manaval), Henry, Ellen (wife of Levan Miller), Laura (wife of William Kreger), Hattie, James and George.
He now owns the homestead and some 300 acres besides, principally under a good state of cultivation, with a number of dwellings, barns and orchards, and a large amount of livestock. Mr. McVoy has spent fifty years of his life in the township and has grown up with the country, witnessing much of its development, and taking an active part in its progress.
John Levegood sen., one of the pioneer settlers of Liberty, was born in the southern portion of Pennsylvania. His father was killed by the Indians. John Levegood sen. was one of the twelve men who each received a donation of fifty acres of land from the Academy of Philadelphia to induce them to settle on its lands in Liberty in 1814-16. He was a brickmaker and shoemaker. His wife was Elizabeth Harpster, of Bethlehem, Northampton county, Pa, They had six children: Jacob, George, John, Martin, Fannie (wife of Michael Kehler) and Mary (wife of Rev. Henry Keagle). Mr. Levegood added largely to the original fifty acres, and cleared a large farm. He died in 1867 at an advanced age.
John Levegood jr. was born in April 1800, and at a suitable age learned the trade of a carpenter with Samuel Hartman, of Williamsport. He was married in 1821 or 1822 to Miss Anna Keyport, of Williamsport, by whom he had four children: Mary Ann, who died in 1838; Samuel H., who was born in March 1825; William G., born in 1832, and John Henry, born in 1836. He purchased the homestead and resided there until his death in 1872. He was a member of the Lutheran church.
Samuel H. Levegood was born in Liberty, in 1825. He was educated in Liberty and Williamsport, and learned the carpenter's trade. In 1847 he married Miss Eva Brion, by whom he had eight children: Clara (wife of James Thomas, of Williamsport), John, Anna (wife of James W. Bill), William, George, Laura, Warren and Mary. He is a member of the Lutheran church. He has lived 57 years in the township. He resides in the village of Liberty and is engaged in farming, and also carries on the business of an undertaker.
Joseph Sheffer, son of John Sheffer, was born November 23d 1815, and it is claimed that he was the first male child born in the township. He pursued the tailoring business 40 years. He was married August 16th$1838 to Miss Julia Ann Hagenbach, by whom he had seven children: Lucella Jane (wife of William Wheeland, who was killed during the late Rebellion, and subsequently the wife of William Artley), Harriet (wife of Adoniram Bacon), Charles (deceased), Margaret M. (wife of David Irwin, of Ogdensburg, Pa.), William, Clara Ellen (wife of David R. Werline, of Liberty), and Laura (wife of James McIntyre). He was a consistent member of the Methodist church and was highly respected as a citizen and neighbor. He died November 16th 1881, aged 65 years, 11 months and 23 days.
George Wheeland, an old settler of Liberty, was born in Blooming Grove, Lycoming county, in 1825. He became a carpenter, millwright and cooper, and when 18 years of age he walked the entire distance from Blooming Grove to Gauley, western Virginia, and assisted Colonel Moore in building a bridge across the Gauley River, By a singular coincidence his son Isaac F. Wheeland, of the Union army under command of General Milroy, helped to burn this bridge down 40 years afterward. Mr. Wheeland was married about the year 1824 to Miss Mary K. Palmer, of Blooming Grove, a Quakeress, by whom he had nine children:CGeorge R., Lydia A. (wife of General R. C. Cox), William P., killed at Petersburg April 11th 1865), Mary C. (wife of Aaron Brown), Charles D., Isaac F., and three who died in infancy. Mr. Wheeland was a very ingenious and expert mechanic. He made the first butter firkins in the township. He died February 15th 1880, aged 74 years. He was a consistent member of the Reformed church.
John Sheffer jr. was born in Lycoming county, Pa., February 8th 1803, and when a boy of 12 and 13 carried the United States mail from Williamsport to Painted Post, N. Y., on horsebackBa distance of over 89 miles. It required nerve to do this. The William road was cut out, but it traversed a wilderness, with but few settlers along the line; the forests were full of panthers, wolves and bears, and some portions of the route must necessarily be traveled in the night, when these animals were particularly obnoxious and troublesome. After he had carried the mail two years he learned the trade of blacksmithing with George Deuitche, of Williamsport. He was married May 12th 1825, to Sarah Shaffer, who was born in White Deer Valley. Their children were George, Henry, Susannah (wife of Charles Hagenbauch), Martin, Philip, Sarah Elizabeth (wife of Jonas Artley), Washington, Alpheus, Ellen and Ada (wife of Jabea Hancher). Mr. Sheffer came to Liberty in 1814 and remained in the township, with the exception of the time he was learning his trade, until his death, in December 1876. He carried on blacksmithing in Liberty from 1825 to 1866, in connection with farming, having cleared a farm of 75 acres. He was a man of courage and industrious habits, and one of the respected pioneers of the township. At one time in his life he knew every settler from Williamsport to Painted Post on the line of the Williamson road.
Robert C. Sebring, one of the oldest living natives of the township of Liberty and a son of Jonathan Sebring, a pioneer, was born April 5th 1819, and was educated in the township. In 1835 he was engaged as a clerk in the store of his brother John at Liberty; in 1840 his brother went to Jersey Shore and engaged in business, and Robert continued the store at Liberty, which stood on Williamson street, near where the dwelling of General Robert C. Cox now stands. He continued in the mercantile business most of the time up to 1873, when he sold out to C. A. Miller, of the present firm of C. A. Miller & Co., and took charge of the Eagle Hotel. He remained there two years; then removed to his private residence and engaged in farming for two or three years more; then purchased the old homestead of his father, the Liberty Hotel, which stands near the site of the block house erected in 1792. He is still engaged in farming in connection with his hotel. Mr. Sebring has lived 63 years in the township, ever bearing an honorable character. His knowledge of the township goes back to a very early date in its history.
James Merrell, a native of New Jersey, came to Liberty about 57 years ago, and erected the first tannery in the township. He was a man of energy and enterprise. Besides building the tannery he erected saw-mills and a grist-mill, did a business in general merchandising, and was foremost in every enterprise calculated to benefit the townshipBa man of generous and noble impulses. His children were William, Christopher C., Isaac, Elliott, Harriet (wife of W. L. Keagle), Mary Jane (wife of W. H. Freer), Ellis, Emily (wife of John Kohler), James M. and Charlotte, deceased wife of William Foulkrod. He died March 30th 1862, aged 62.
Frederick Harrer was born in Germany, in 1797, and educated in his native land. In 1822 he married Miss Eve Deutchle, by whom he had nine children: Rosanna (wife of George Keifer), George, Frederick (deceased), Henry (deceased), Magdalena ('deceased), Samuel (deceased), John Frederick, Daniel, and Helen (wife of Paul Kriss). About the year 1830 he went to Liberty and with John C. Beiser purchased 500 acres of land in the eastern portion of the township from the German Lutheran Congregational Society of Philadelphia. He built a house of round logs, which was burned and afterward erected a hewed-log house. The 500 acres of land were equally divided with Mr. Beiser, and Mr. Harrer sold to his son 100 acres. Mr. Harrer cleared about 125 acres, planted a large orchard and erected suitable and comfortable buildings. He died December 21st 1871, aged 74 years.
John C. Beiser, one of the pioneers of Liberty, was born in Germany, in 1805, and educated in his native country. He came to America and with Frederick Harrer purchased 500 acres of land, which they divided equally. He was married about the year 1832 to Miss Elizabeth Page. Their children were Jacob, Mary (wife of Jacob Snyder), Elizabeth (wife of Jacob Moyer), John (who died in the civil war), Frederick, and Samuel. Mrs. Beiser died about the year 1843, and about two years afterward Mr. Beiser married Mary Loudenslager. Of their seven children five are dead; and those surviving are Sarah, wife of John Frederick Harrer, of Blossburg, and Anna, wife of Albert Krise. Mr. Beiser cleared up a large farm and surrounded himself with the comforts of life. He is now residing with his son-in-law, Albert Krise, his wife, Mary, having died about ten years ago.
George R. Sheffer, son of John Sheffer, was born in Liberty, Jane 24th 1825, and educated in his native town. He was married in May 1851 to Miss Zeruah Wilson, daughter of Burdette Wilson, and their children were Valentine W. and Quintilius. His wife died in October 1855, and in 1856 he married Miss Christiana Artley. Of their six children the only one surviving is Charles Wesley. Mr. Sheffer has been engaged in the drug and grocery business for the past 34 years. In the early history of Liberty goods were drawn with teams from the heads of the Seneca and Cayuga Lakes (Watkins and Ithaca). Mr. Sheffer has been school director, town clerk, etc., and was a member of the Odd Fellows= lodge from 1849 to 1871. He has been a resident of Liberty 56 years.
George Hebe was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, in 1809, and in 1819 came to America with his step-father, Simon Sindlinger, who settled in the eastern portion of Liberty. In 1833 he married Miss Elizabeth Myrtle, of Schuylkill county, Pa., by whom he had fifteen childrenBnine of these are living, viz.: George W., who was a member of the 8th Pennsylvania regiment; Catharine, wife of Elliott Merrell; Sophia, wife of John Thomberger; Elizabeth, wife of Alonzo Miller; B. Franklin; John Henry; Ella, wife of James Fiester; Miriam, wife of J. 0. Miller; and Mary Ann wife of Peter Lauer. Mr. Hebe was a soldier in the Mexican war, enlisting as a private in the 1st Pennsylvania regiment, under Colonel Wynkoop. He served during the war, and was promoted to a staff office. During the years 1842-44 he was colonel of the Schuylkill county volunteers. He has been a captain of artillery and a militia captain. He is now engaged in farming; has 60 acres of land under improvement, a good house, a barn 50 by 50, two orchards, horses, cattle, etc. He has been supervisor and school director.
Joseph Reed was born at Sunbury, Northumberland county, in 1818, and came with his father, John Reed, into Liberty in 1821. He was educated in the schools of Liberty, and learned the trade of a mason; also the pottery business. In 1839 he married Miss Sarah A. Bastian, by whom he had twelve children. He established the pottery business in the western portion of Liberty about the year 1860, for the manufacture of brown stone ware from clay found in the immediate vicinity. He has been 61 years a resident of Liberty; is now engaged in lumbering and farming.
Isaac Werline was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, May 3d 1799. He came into Liberty township about the year 1829. He was a tanner and currier by trade, and erected one of the first tanneries in the township. His children were: Mary A. (wife of Samuel Hartman), J. J. Werline, William G., Henry (deceased), Charles A., Isaac B., David R., B. F. and Catharine A., deceased (wife of Henry Cox, of Wellsboro). Mr. Werline came to his death by the falling of a tree while he was opening up a road leading to Trout Run by the way of Steam Valley. He was in the 53d year of his age.
John F. Hart was born in Reading, Berks county, Pa., in 1786. He was educated at Harrisburg, and learned the trade of a distiller. His wife was Hannah Keltz, sister of Peter Keltz of Covington, and adopted daughter of Mr. Reep of Lawrenceville. Their children were: Mary Ann (wife of Ira Willson), Lany (wife of John Lloyd), George W., Henry, Charles C., John, Chester, Ira, Alfred, Susan (wife of Elijah Callihan) and Jane Elizabeth (wife of Henry S. Archer, of Wellsboro). Mr. Hart purchased in 1824 50 acres of land in the western portion of Liberty upon which Henry Hart now resides, and commenced clearing it up. He had to cut the road in from the block house to his place. None but his contemporaries know the hardships and privations he and other pioneers endured in those early days in the history of Liberty. He, however, persisted, and cleared up his farm, and lived to see it productive. He died January 20th 1870, in his 84th year, and his wife October 2nd 1871, at the age of 74. They raised a large and respectable family, and were worthy pioneers.
Oliver Pearson was an old pioneer in the vicinity of Mr, Hart; but we were unable to obtain any data in relation to him.
Caleb A. Comstock was also an early settler in that vicinity, as well as a German by the name of Zimmerman, who gave the name to the creek which passes through Nauvoo.
John Foulkrod, son of Isaac Foulkrod, was born in Liberty (then Covington township), November 22nd 1821, and educated in the schools of Liberty. He was married in 1846 to Miss Elizabeth Ostrom. Their children are: Pamelia, wife of Christian Anderson; Charles H., who married Carrie Smeltzle; Verena, wife of Charles Wilson, of Alba; and John Edmond. Mr. Foulkrod resides upon the homestead where his father first settled, and is engaged in the hotel business and farming. He has been a resident of Liberty 61 years.
Schools and Churches.
The first school-house in the township stood near the present$residence of Charles N. Moore. The first teacher was Isaac Foulkrod Among the old teachers were William Gilday, D. M. Beauvier, George Roberts, CCC Scofield, Simeon Gilbert, Eliza Greeno, Lydia Locke, Mary Slott, James Wallace, Hiram Landon and Thomas Harkness. Among the present teachers are James G. Watts, Lina G. English, John Mathews, Messrs. Lent and Webb, Phida Beardsley, Anna Thomas, Ida Ely and Mrs. Van Order.
As we have before stated, there are twelve good framed school buildings in the township, where there are employed thirteen teachers, a number of them graduates of the State normal school at Mansfield.
The first church, called the Liberty Church, stood on the hill west of the school-house of the graded school. This was a union church, and was used by both Germans and English.
There is a union church in the northern portion of the township, near General John Sebring's, which was erected about eighteen or twenty years ago. Variouw denominations use it. There is a graveyard near it.
There is a German Lutheran church which accommodates many of the citizens of Liberty, just over the line in Lycoming county. It is constructed of brick. Among the ministers have been Revs. William Schultz, Pike Sotto, Messrs. Daniels, Studebaker, Shade, Sowers, and the present pastor, A. B. Miller.
The German Lutheran church in the wester portion of the township was erected about the year 1840. Among the early ministers there were Rev. Messrs. Schultz, Pike Sutto, Frye and Grenninger. The present pastor is Rev. A. B. Miller, and the council consists of John Fick, John Brion and Charles Hart. Near the church is a cemetery which has been used since 1837. There are now about 50 members of the church, with a Sunday-school of 35 scholars. Mrs. John Hart is superintendent, and the teachers are Huling Fick, Warren Phelps, Frank Hartley, Maggie Ritter, Nettie Bradt and Mrs. Ettermark.
The Methodist Episcopal church has an edifice, and a large membership, with a very interesting Sunday-school.
Blogk House Lodge, No. 398, I. O. O. F. was instituted February 25th 1850. The charter was destroyed, and August 28th 1856 a new charger was issued to George Hebe, N. G.; G. W. Secrist, V. G.; L. W. Jonson, secretary; J. G. Albeck, assistant secretary; and Daniel Dony, treasurer.M The present past grands are L. W. Johnson, W. L. Keagle, John Kohler, J. E. Ault, C. H. Nailer, G. W. Nailer, William Parker, H. F. Barrow, David Ostrom, Ira M. Warriner, J. C. Neuman, Charles D. Camp.
The present officers are: I. F. Wheeland, N. G.; B. F. Werline, V. G.; Ira M. Warriner, secretary; H. F. Barrow, assistant secretary; John Kohler, treasurer; Marion Steward, R. S.; H. L. Decker, L. S.; M. B. Mott, S. W.; J. E. Ostrom, O. G. The present membership is 46.
The furniture and lodge regalia are in good order. According to the report September 30th 1881 the assets of the lodge were: Cash, $591.69; regalia and furniture, $500; available accounts, $205.40; total, $1,297.09. December 5th 1879 the lodge lost by fire all the regalia and lodge furniture except the desk and books, and it has since purchased new furniture and regalia. It is in a healthy and prosperous condition.
Post Routes and Offices.
A post route was established between Williamsport and Painted Post in 1816. The mail was carried on horseback. A few years later a stage route was established, which yearly increased in importance until the completion of the Blossburg and Corning Railroad in 1840. Previous, however, to that time Benjamin R. Hall was connected with the mail route, and was succeeded by Cooley Maxwell, Magee and others. The latter was a strong firm and the route was well supplied with the best of coaches. There is at present in the township a line passing through from east to west and one from north to south.
The post-offices are: East Point, Peter W. Sheik postmaster; Liberty, William Narber postmaster; Nauvoo, J. S. Childs postmaster; and Barfelden.
Patriotism in 1861.
The citizens of Liberty township have ever been distinguished for their patriotism. A number of its early settlers had seen service in the Revolutionary war and the war of 1812, and the Aspirit of >76" prevailed among the inhabitants. As an evidence of how quickly they responded to the call of their country in the last war, we will relate a circumstance which happened during the first call to arms:
On the 20th of April 1861, being Sunday, Major R. C. Cox, who resided in the village of Liberty, was quietly taking his breakfast when he was interrupted by a call from Julius Sherwood, of Wellsboro, and Nelson Whitney of Charleston, who informed him of the firing upon the troops at Baltimore. They then drove on to the hotel. Major Cox immediately repaired thither, and soon the news spread through that quiet little hamlet away up in the mountains of Tioga county. A band was soon called out, and with martial music aroused the whole neighborhood. The people going to church stopped to inquire the reason of the unusual demonstration. and services were entirely interrupted and abandoned. Soldiers of the war of 1812 came forth, together with militia captains, in full regimentals. A number of men volunteered, and in the afternoon Major Cox started for Wellsboro, a distance of 27 miles, where he arrived late in the night. The town was astir. A large bonfire burned in the public square, and the people were thoroughly aroused and hurrying to and fro, with bands playing.
Major Cox took a few hours= rest, and immediately commenced organizing men into companies. Two companies were formed on Monday, of one hundred men each; Julius Sherwood, a young lawyer, being elected captain of one company and A. E. Niles of the other.
The next day (Tuesday) Major Cox went to Tioga and organized a company there, with Hugh McDonough captain; and the same day organized a company at Lawrenceville, with Philip Holland captain. On Wednesday he formed a company at Covington, with A. L. Johnson captain, and one at Mainsburg, under Captain Henry B. Card. Each of these companies numbered one hundred men.
On Thursday of the same week Major Cox had at Troy 600 men, awaiting transportation to Harrisburg. After arriving at Harrisburg three companies were accepted and three returned home, the quota of Pennsylvania being more than full. The companies retained were commanded respectively by Captains Julius Sherwood, Hugh McDonough and A. F. Niles. Although Captain Holland's company was sent home he joined another and went into service. The soldiers from Liberty were as follows:
George M. Bastian, adjutant; W. F. Weseman, quartermaster, J. H. Schambacher, second lieutenant Company B; John H. Miller, John Burd, William Burd, Andrew Dennison, D. L. Horning, Thomas Horning, Philip Kohler, Joseph S. Childs, J. F. Smith, George Miller,
John Blanehard, Henry C. Cox. J. Alexander, John Anderson, Jonathan Black, Charles Bryan, George W. Bower, A. F. Comstock, D. W. Canfield, O. Cortwright, Jacob Emick, Nicholas Fesler, Alfred Fulkerson, Cornelius Kimble, William King, Lewis Kraise, Jacob Link, H. F. Mackey, Charles Morris, W. S. Mackey, John Manaval, Jacob Ribble, Frank Sheffer, Benjamin Weist, William P. Wheeland, Charles D. Wheeland, William D. Lutz, M. S. Love, Eli Love, Samuel S. Miller, Isaac Miller, Harmon Ridge, George Reed, Ephraim Smith, Daniel Secrist, Henry Secrist, William J. Werline, John Weaver, Solomon Blanchard, Henry Veile, Samuel Keagle. The foregoing were under Colonel R. C. Cox in the 207th regiment, and in the 171st regiment, Major R. C. Cox, were Charles Beiter, W. L. Keagle, N. M. Levegood, William E. Clark, Nelson Fulkerson, Ellis Merrell, Joseph Brion, J. F. Bedell, Henry Brion, Daniel Brion, Ferdinand Tracey, Henry Frock, George Horning, Charles D. Hart, George W. Hart. Casper Houser, Jacob Horning, Gottlieb Kraise, Jacob Kissinger, Samuel A. Kelts, William Landis. John J. Lutz, John Mathews, John Neufer, John E. Ostrom, Walter Phelps, David Plank, Wash. Sheffer, Charles Wilson and Charles Zink.
The soldiers did honorable and distinguished service, reflecting credit upon the township, county and State from which they came.
[By Henry H. Goodrich.]
Between the years 1825 and 1840 two ladies of Tioga county attained such celebrity in the field of literature, especially that of poetry, through their many contributions to the local press, as well as to the leading periodicals of the country, as to make their names familiar, and even endeared, at least within the limits of their own county, as household words.
The elder of these two ladies, Mrs. Lydia Jane Peirson, whose maiden name was Lydia Jane Wheeler, was born in the town of Middletown, Middlesex county, Connecticut, in the year 1802. When she was 16 years of age her parents removed with her to Madison county, N. Y., where she employed herself a portion of the time in teaching school until the year 1821, when she married Oliver Peirson, a widower of Cazenovia, 24 years her senior, and the father of five children. About the time of their marriage Mr. Peirson traded a farm near Cazenovia for a tract of 1,000 acres of wild land in the western part of Liberty and the eastern part of Morris township, Tioga county, Pa., and in the following year he removed with his young wife, accompanied by two of his married daughters and their husbands, to occupy this property. The country was then so much of a wilderness that he was obliged to cut a road nearly the whole distance from the Block House settlement, five miles, to his land, and make an old log hut, previously constructed thereon, his temporary abode, until lumber could be drawn from Sullivan township to build a more comfortable and substantial dwelling.
It was here, under these adverse and trying circumstances, so unlike those her youthful years had experienced, contending with stern fate, yet holding Asweet converse with nature and with nature's charms,@ that Mrs. Peirson began to write poetry, simply from that natural impulse of her mind which sought to fix in an enduring shape those thoughts and feelings that were ever welling up from out her soul and heart, that spirit and motive actuating her which she herself has best expressed in her poem entitled ASing On,@ in reply to a friendly correspondent. To a spirit like hers, in the new home in which she had come, surrounded by so many sore trials, both domestic and pecuniary, life indeed would have been a great burden had she not been inspired by an intense religious zeal and piety, which not only found expression in her daily walk and life, but were also the chief themes of all her songs and poetry, pervading them with a general spirit that bears a strong resemblance to the poems of Mrs. Hemans and Mrs. Sigourney.
Her first compositions appeared in the columns of The Pioneer, soon after its establishment at Wellsboro, in November 1820. They were: ATo My Friend,@ AThe Old Maid,@ AA Sigh,@ ATo Spring,@ AThe Critic,@ AThe Envious Lily,@ AA Dirge,@ AHail Columbia,@ AAugust 31st,@ and many other poems, which have not found a place in her two volumes entitled EForest Leaves@ and AForest Minstrel,@ published in Philadelphia in 1845 and 1846. She also contributed some prose pieces to the same paper, one entitled AThree Apple Dumplings, a Connecticut Tale,@ as early as March 11th 1826; one, AA Connecticut Tale,@ April 21st, and several others the same year.
At the time that Thaddeus Stevens, was a member of the Legislature of
our State, ""as advocating the free school system, she wrote a short poem
complimentary of both him and the system, in acknowledgment of which he
sent her a $50 note, subsequently made her acquaintance, became the trustee
of the property of herself and children, and educated one of her sons.
Through his aid, and that of some kind friends in Philadeiphia, she had
her first volume of poemsCthe AForest Leaves@Cpublished in 1845, by Lindsay
& Blakiston, Philadelphia. The following year her second volumeCthe
AForest Minstrel@Cthe avails of which were devoted by the authoress to
religious benevolence, was edited by the Rev. B. S. Schneck, of Chambersburg,
and published by J. W. Moore, Philadelphia, and W. O. Hickok, Harrisburg.
Each of these volumes comprises 264 pages, and they include from seventy-five
to eighty compositions each. Of the longest and best sustained poems, of
a high order of merit, may be mentioned AThe Wandering Spirit,@ AChanges,@
AA Moonlight Dream,@ ASunrise in the Forest,@ AOcean Melodies,@ AThe White
Thorn and Lennorah,@ and AElijah on Mount Horeb,@ all contained in the
AForest Leaves;@ and in the AForest Minstrel@ such ones as AThe Three Marys,@
AOld Letters,@ AThe Shipwreck,@ AThe Battle Field,@ AQueen Mary=s Musings,@
There is high authority for saying that some of the compositions here
mentioned, and many others of less extent contained in these two volumes,
Awill bear comparison with the productions of the most popular and gifted
of American poets,@ and that they have not been so recognized in general
favor is probably owing to the fact of the secluded and humble circumstances
of the author=s life, and the want of the opportunities through which literary
merit generally wins distinction and fame. N. P. Willis, once a high and
recognized authority in American literature and art, said of Mrs. Peirson
that in sacred and Christian themes she bore away from him the palm.
In 1849 and 1850 Mrs. Peirson edited the Lancaster Intelligencer some
eighteen months. In 1853 she and her husband, with two daughters and five
sons of the second marriage, went to Adrian, Mich., leaving one daughter,
Mrs. Emmick, on the old homestead. In this latter place she died in 1862,
and she is buried at Adrian. Mr. Peirson returned to Liberty, and died
at Mrs. Emmick=s house in 1865, aged 87 years. Mrs. Emmick and two of the
sons are the only members of the family living.
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At the time that Thaddeus Stevens, was a member of the Legislature of our State, ""as advocating the free school system, she wrote a short poem complimentary of both him and the system, in acknowledgment of which he sent her a $50 note, subsequently made her acquaintance, became the trustee of the property of herself and children, and educated one of her sons. Through his aid, and that of some kind friends in Philadeiphia, she had her first volume of poemsCthe AForest Leaves@Cpublished in 1845, by Lindsay & Blakiston, Philadelphia. The following year her second volumeCthe AForest Minstrel@Cthe avails of which were devoted by the authoress to religious benevolence, was edited by the Rev. B. S. Schneck, of Chambersburg, and published by J. W. Moore, Philadelphia, and W. O. Hickok, Harrisburg. Each of these volumes comprises 264 pages, and they include from seventy-five to eighty compositions each. Of the longest and best sustained poems, of a high order of merit, may be mentioned AThe Wandering Spirit,@ AChanges,@ AA Moonlight Dream,@ ASunrise in the Forest,@ AOcean Melodies,@ AThe White Thorn and Lennorah,@ and AElijah on Mount Horeb,@ all contained in the AForest Leaves;@ and in the AForest Minstrel@ such ones as AThe Three Marys,@ AOld Letters,@ AThe Shipwreck,@ AThe Battle Field,@ AQueen Mary=s Musings,@ etc.
There is high authority for saying that some of the compositions here mentioned, and many others of less extent contained in these two volumes, Awill bear comparison with the productions of the most popular and gifted of American poets,@ and that they have not been so recognized in general favor is probably owing to the fact of the secluded and humble circumstances of the author=s life, and the want of the opportunities through which literary merit generally wins distinction and fame. N. P. Willis, once a high and recognized authority in American literature and art, said of Mrs. Peirson that in sacred and Christian themes she bore away from him the palm.
In 1849 and 1850 Mrs. Peirson edited the Lancaster Intelligencer some eighteen months. In 1853 she and her husband, with two daughters and five sons of the second marriage, went to Adrian, Mich., leaving one daughter, Mrs. Emmick, on the old homestead. In this latter place she died in 1862, and she is buried at Adrian. Mr. Peirson returned to Liberty, and died at Mrs. Emmick=s house in 1865, aged 87 years. Mrs. Emmick and two of the sons are the only members of the family living.