|The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mansfield PA and Richmond Township in Tioga County PA|
Source: History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania(W.W. Munsell & Co., NY : 1883), pp. 285-313..
RICHMOND TOWNSHIP AND MANSFIELD.
By Andrew Sherwood.
Part One (See also Part Two & Part Three & Biographies)
The history of Richmond and Mansfield largely resolves itself into biographical sketches of those who in one way or another have been identified with their early settlement and subsequent advancement. These the author has endeavored to present as fairly, fully and impartially as the facts at his command and the space allotted him in this work would permit; and he will indeed be sorry if there are any who have not been give the prominence they deserved, or who in any way have received injustice at his hands. It has been said that the study of geography should begin at home. We think the same may be said of history. But woe to the man who writes a history of his own neighborhood! He is sure to say too much or too little. He will assuredly reap a harvest of curses. But, once having assumed the role of historian, let him be fearless of censure, striving above all to be impartial. If he is inclined to favor some more than others, let it be those brave, heroic men who came into the wilderness and chopped down the woods. It is of them that posterity will inquire; they are the ones whose names will be sought out five hundred years hence, it is fitting that their names should be rescued from oblivion. For, while they may have lacked the intellectual refinement of their sons and daughters who live in the afternoon of this nineteenth century, they more than made up for quality of brain in quality of heart. Every one of them was warm-hearted, generous and kind; every one of them in his way was a true hero. Bravely they fought the battle of life; how bravely, let our waving fields and thriving village answer. Of all the hardships and privations endured by them none but God can know; they are part of the unwritten history. One thing we do know-they made the wilderness to blossom as the rose, so that where, as it were but yesterday, waved the giant trees of a giant forest, luxuriant orchards have yielded their ruddy flush, and rich harvests their golden gleam. Upon the labors of their hands we have reared our homes. But of that noble race who made us the possessors of this goodly heritage only a few linger above the horizon, in life's west. All the others have gone-let us hope to the better land, the summer land, the land of rest. Soon it can be said of each and all of them: "At last they sleep soundly and well-peace be to their ashes."
Concerning the strange race that formerly held undisturbed possession of this valley but little has come down to us. The last of their number had disappeared before the advent of the whites. They had ceded their land to the successors of William Penn as far back as 1768, in a treaty at Fort Stanwix, N.Y. They may have continued to reside here up to the year 1779, when Sullivan's victorious army came up the Chemung; but they seem to have had no permanent habitation here after that date, though small parties occasionally passed through, even after the coming of the white man. Clearings made and once occupied by them were found here by the first settlers; while numerous implements of stone and fragments of pottery remain after the lapse of more than a century. These are plowed up in several localities, where their abundance doubtles discloses the place of their makers' habitations.
We not only know where they dwelt, in a few instances at least, but we know where some of them left their bones. When the first white man penetrated these wilds there was in existence an Indian burial ground, which remained visible until after the year 1830, or until the construction of the Tioga railroad, and the location of which can still be pointed out by several of the older inhabitants, who remember seeing it. It was situated in a most romantic spot, just where the river enters the gorge below Lamb's Creek. Its exact location is indicated by an elm tree about twenty rods east of the bridge across the river, and nearly half way between the bridge and the old Israel Mann house. Both the wagon road and the railroad now pass through it, so that it is entirely obliterated. It was originally marked by the Indians with a large stone slab set in the ground, some six feet in height, but containing on mark or inscription of any kind. The dead were buried in a sitting posture, and the mounds were round. Many pieces of pottery, as of kettles, etc., were found here when the railroad was built. About forty rods above the cemetery was an oak tree which was covered with hieroglyphics, and it was noticed by the early settlers that bands of Indians in passing up and down the valley always halted under this tree. It so happened many years afterward, when John Magee was running a line of stages from Williamsport to Lawrenceville, that six Indians were aboard, who requested the driver to halt just as they were passing the graves of their ancestors, and, laying their guns across the mounds, set up a most mournful wail for the dead. Their largest clearing was here, which contained wild plum trees, bearing fruit in abundance after the place was known to the white man. At the lower end of this field, opposite the bridge, were two trees of remarkable size, one an oak and the other a pine. The latter was known as "the branching pine," and was remarkable for the ingrafting of limbs from one branch to another-the work of the Indians? All together it was an enchanting spot in which to lie down in the long, long sleep. Like the tomb of Moses, the great chieftain of Israel, it was amidst the solitude of the mountains. We never pass that way without thinking of the sleepers just under the surface. Ah! could those sleepers come forth, how much of history they might relate, how many hair-breadth escapes, how many heartaches, and all life's bitter cost.
About one hundred rods below this locality, at a place known as "pole-bridge," and not far from the water tank, an Indian was found buried in the river bank, in a sitting posture, by the venerable William C. Ripley, some fifty years ago. Three guns had been placed over the body crosswise, which were badly rusted. He thought the thigh bone was of unusual length.
The Indians once had quite a clearing on what was afterward the Lamb farm, now owned by Philip Williams, whose barn is not far from the spot. The Lambs have formerly found a good many stone axes and other relics there. The aged Lorain Lamb describes the ground as grown up to choke-cherry and other bushes when he first saw it. Corn hills were still visible, while here and there were standing large elm trees.
On the opposite side of the river, a little above, the Indians had a sugar-bush, where they made maple sugar. Perhaps some of the trees are still standing, as there is yet a small sugar-bush occupying the same ground.
There was another field just a little northwest from the station of Lamb's Creek. This was known as the "windfall field," but it is doubtful if the Indians ever occupied it.
A very high flood in the year 1870 removed about a foot of soil, for a distance of several rods, from the surface of the main road at Lamb's Creek, where it is intersected by the road from the depot. This revealed a number of ancient fireplaces, where were found charred wood, fragments of bones, pieces of pottery, arrow-heads, pestles, stone wedges, and various flint implements. The pottery was unique, having been baked from clay mixed with very small pebbles, and having the exterior rudely ornamented, all after one design, with rarely an exception, in which case the ware seems to have been made of clay mixed with fine sand and made smooth inside and out. The place must have been a camping ground, and the sand removed by the flood was doubtless placed there long before by the same agency.
At some period in the past, probably representing a greater antiquity than any of the above, the Indians had a village on the point of land southwest from the cemetery at Mansfield, now owned by the writer. The place commands a fine view of the valley up and down for many miles, and was covered with a pine forest when first seen by the white man. It is rich in Indian relics, the soil, which is a gravelly loam, having been originally filled with them. They were manufactured here, from material obtained somewhere to the north, and one can readily detect the location of their wigwams by the number of flint chips, etc., found in certain places. Implements, both finished and in a partially finished state, have been plowed up during many years, and although the writer has collected many hundreds of them the place is not yet exhausted, but continues to furnish specimens whenever the ground is newly plowed. These were made in a number of places over an area of three or four acres, but more particularly in two places, at all of which there doubtless might once have been seen habitations. We have picked up over two hundred arrow points, a number of pestles, a number of polished implements used in the dressing of hides, some stone axes, a number of stones used as sinkers on fish-nets, several bushels of small flattened sandstone cobbles with holes cut in the sides one-fourth to one-half inch in depth, besides various other things. The arrow points are mostly of dark colored flint, and are as a rule very small, though not always so, and were perhaps used and lost by boys in practicing upon a mark. But one white one has been found, a beautiful specimen of fair size, which may have a history of its own, and a few of a yellowish color. There are three or four different styles represented; one made to fasten to the arrow in the ordinary manner, one made to give the arrow a revolving motion while passing through the air, and another-the poisoned point-made to insert into the end of the arrow without fastening, in such a manner that it could not be withdrawn from any enemy without leaving the point embedded in the flesh. It was a most ingenious contrivance, and it is said the mode of using it was to have a piece of rotten liver bitten by rattlesnakes in confinement until it was filled with poison, when the arrows were thrust into it. The flattened cobbles referred to, with a hole picked in each side, are a riddle hard to solve. It is difficult to determine what they were used for, or how they were made. It would test the best of steel to make them, as they are composed of hard quartzose sand. It is very singular that one of them have been found elsewhere in this vicinity, not even among all the specimens found at Lamb's Creek. It is a matter of equal interest to the antiquarian that not a single fragment, large or small, of the curious pottery found on the river flats, and mentioned as occurring at Lamb's Creek, as ever been found at this place. The flint chips, arrow points, etc., we have found in some instances under large pine stumps. Those who made them-where did they live? How long ago? The oldest settlers does not know. No man living can tell. The hands that fashioned them are in the dust; they live in the forgotten past.
EARLY AND PROMINENT RESIDENTS.
We have no certain knowledge that foot of white man ever trod these wilds previous to the year 1790. In 1791 the Williamson road was begun by German redemptioners under the direction of Colonel Williamson in the interest of Sir William Pulteney of England, who owned large tracts of land in the State of New York, where now stands the village of Bath. The road was completed as far as Canoe Camp in 1791. Here, at the approach of winter, canoes were built and the whole party floated down the river to Painted Post, and thence up the Conhocton to Bath. Hence the name of Canoe Camp. The road was completed in 1792. Above Mansfield it ran in nearly the same place it now does. In the village its place is now occupied by the railroad. It crossed Corey Creek just above the railroad bridge, going up on higher ground to the north, where it kept until nearly opposite the old Asa Donaldson house, half a mile below, when it went down and crossed the river, keeping on the west side as far as the old Asa Mann house, where it returned to the east side. At the time of the building of the road, or soon thereafter, a man by the name of Carter first came and settled at what is now known as Lamb's Creek. He built two log houses in close proximity to each other, and cleared off some eight or ten acres, which he had planted to corn and potatoes. In the fall of 1796, or spring of 1797, he sold his place to a man by the name of White, who never occupied it however, but who sold it to Gad Lamb early in the summer of 1797.
The first settler in Richmond township, then, was this man Carter. Of his history little is known. It does not even appear where he came from. He went from here to Canaseraga Creek, in western New York. Lorain Lamb, who saw him there in 1811, describes him as being then a man sixty years of age, short and thick-set.
BENJAMIN COREY.--The second settler was Benjamin Corey. Of his antecedents nothing is known. He was found living in a bark cabin on the east bank of the Tioga River, above Albert Sherwood's. Lorain Lamb and his mother took supper with him in this cabin July 4th 1797, while on their way to the Carter place, two or three miles below. In the fall of 1797 he put up a log house on the side of his bark cabin. Daniel and Harry Lamb came up to the raising, and when just below the railroad bridge, at a point in the road then known as "the narrows," their dog treed a bear. Daniel and the dog stayed to watch the tree, while Harry went back after his gun and shot the animal. Corey lived in this house three or four years, when he removed to Angelica, Allegany county, N.Y. He was a large, strong man, upwards of thirty years of age, of dark complexion, and had a wife and one or two children. He was considered a good singer. While here his wife died with the smallpox, and he took her down to the mouth of the Cowanesque in a canoe and buried her there. Corey has left his name in that creek which runs through Mansfield.
GAD LAMB.--The third settler was Gad Lamb, from the town of Wilbraham, ten miles from Springfield, Mass., where he was born November 20th 1744. He was married January 7th 1779 to Jerusha Ripley, of Windham, Conn., daughter of Ebenezer and Mehitable Ripley. Their children were Daniel, Harry, Sally, Patty, Jerusha, Lorain, Nancy, Clarissa, Maria, and Ebenezer Ripley, of whom all but Lorain are dead. Mr. Lamb died at Lamb's Creek, April 5th 1824, aged 80 years; and wife May 9th 1838, aged 82. They are buried by the road side half a mile below Lamb's Creek, and a few rods north from the spot where they lived.
Fortunately, of this old and well known family there remains a living representative in the person of Lorain Lamb, besides numerous descendants. Unlike the settlers already named, who were transient, this family came to stay, remaining as prominent actors in the history of the township. Undoubtedly to Gad Lamb must be given the credit of being the first permanent settler, and it gives us pleasure to record him as such, with the suggestion that when, it a few years, we shall celebrate the first centennial in the history of the settlement of our town, a stone be placed over this grave perpetuating his title to this honorable distinction.
Mr. Lamb was a man five feet ten inches in height, and weighing 240 pounds. He was broad-shouldered and very strong. He had heavy eyebrows, dark hair and dark complexion. On the way here he made a stop at Towanda, where his son Ebenezer Ripley Lamb was born, May 21st 1797. Leaving his family there, he, in company with his oldest son, Daniel, came on to the Tioga River at Canoe Camp, where they looked at some land with the view of purchasing. They did not purchase however, but planted the old Williamson encampment to corn and potatoes. This was but a mere nook in the forest, cleared off by Williamson's men for a camp. They then went on down the river four or five miles and purchased the Carter place of a Mr. White, as already stated. Mr. Lamb then went back after his family, leaving Daniel alone in one of the log houses built by Carter, where he stayed for a period of two weeks, or until his father's return, listening at night to the howling of wolves, with no human beings nearer than the family of Nathan Niles, at the mouth of Mill Creek. Quite a feat for a boy of barely seventeen summers. On his return, Mr. Lamb's daughter by his first wife, a Mrs. Bartlett, was delivered of a boy when about four miles above "Peter's Camp," now Blossburg. This child of the wilderness was name Judah. Mr. Lamb with his family reached their destination on the evening of July 4th 1797. They resided for about three years thereafter in one of the log houses built by Mr. Carter. They then erected a large double log house on nearly the same ground, which stood on the spot where John Lanigan's house now stands, nearly half a mile below the Lamb's Creek bridge. South from this house Gad and his sons, Daniel, Harry, and Lorain, planted the first apple orchard ever planted by white men within the limits of Richmond. When Gad and his sons went to mill they put their grain in a canoe and went down the river to Elmira, then Newtown, a distance of fifty miles or more, and on their return poled the canoe back. When they could not do this they had a large stump hollowed out, and a spring pole pounded out their own grain. Gad's wife, Jerusha, organized the first Sunday-school in Richmond, at her own house, fifty-six years ago.
Of Mr. Lamb's children Daniel Lamb was born in Massachusetts, January 15th 1780, and died at Lamb's Creek, December 18th 1866, aged nearly 87 years. He married Mrs. Clarissa Marvin, widow of Elihu Marvin and sister of Judge Kilbourn, by whom he had a daughter, Angelina, afterward Mrs. Michael Fralic. His wife died in 1814, and in 1815 he married Clarissa Chamberlain, by whom he had eight children, viz. Darwin, Maria, Minerva, Gad, Brad, Ann, Cornelia, and Fred. Esquire Lamb was appointed justice of the peace in 1812 by Governor Simon Snyder, and was elected county treasurer 1817-19. He built the Silas Allis house, opposite the residence of D. L. Fralic. He with his father and brothers built a saw-mill in 1812, the third in the township, which stood just below the east end of the Lamb's Creek river bridge, opposite Fralic Brothers' mill.
Harry Lamb was born in Massachusetts, March 24th 1781, and died at Lamb's Creek in August 1852, aged 71. He never married.
Lorain Lamb was born in Massachusetts, January 14th 1789, and was therefore between eight and nine years of age when his father came here, eighty-five years ago. Mr. Lamb has come to a green old age, and is now living at Mansfield, hale and hearty, amid the snows of ninety-three winters. He is the oldest man living in this vicinity, and retains a most wonderful memory, so much so that almost the greatest pleasure derived by the author in connection with this work has been while seated close beside this old pioneer, listening to the story of other days; and we wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to him for much of interest in the early annals of our town, much that would forever have perished with the only living witness to many of the incidents herein recorded. It is indeed wonderful that we have yet living in our midst, in the person of this venerable patriarch, an eye witness to all that has here transpired from the time this valley was a howling wilderness, almost unbroken by the hand of man, down to the present. The subject of this sketch was a babe of three months and seventeen days when Washington first took his seat as president of the United States, and a lad of ten years when Washington died, an event which he distinctly remembers, having then been in this valley between two and three years. When Mr. Lamb and his father took up their abode here the illustrious Washington had must delivered his farewell address and was retiring to private life.
The recollections of a long lifetime such as this would doubtless fill a volume, while space will prevent us from mentioning more than an incident or two. When Mr. Lamb was hardly yet in his teens he was sent to Tioga, then Willardsburg, on horseback. Going round a large tree, he suddenly came upon a panther, crouched and waiting his approach. Stopping short, and remembering how it is said that untamable beasts can be looked out of countenance, he fixed his eye upon that of the savage monster, gazing steadily at him for some time, when to his great relief the panther turned, and with amazing bounds disappeared. Later in life, when he had reached his majority, he "went west," that is to say, he went as far as the Allegheny River, in northwestern Pennsylvania. On his return he stopped over night at a farm house, south from Mount Morris, N.Y., on the Canaseraga Creek. During conversation in the evening he found to his surprise that the family was that of Carter, whom his father had bought out at Lamb's Creek many years before. He staid two or three days, and among other things gotten up for entertainment was a sleighing party, in which he was accompanied by Mr. Carter's two daughters. Speaking of this event he added in a merry undertone: "Yes, and the girls did just as they used to-they hugged up good." Mr. Lamb was married Jan. 8th 1818 to Susanna Adams (born June 27th 1800), of Tioga township, by whom he has had seven children, of whom Horatio and Sophia are two.
Ebenezer Ripley Lamb was born at Towanda, Pa., May 21st 1797, and died at Lamb's Creek, August 3rd 1872, aged 75 years. By his first wife he had eleven children.
JOSIAH HOVEY settled on the farm where Sumner Wilson now lives, just before the beginning of the present century. He was the first man on that place. His son, Simeon Hovey, started on the Henry Searle farm (now owned by Joseph Schusler), at a later date. He married Jerusha Lamb, while another son, Josiah jr., married Sally Lamb, daughters of Gad Lamb. They left for Geneseo, N.Y., in or before 1802.
The preceding sketches probably embrace all the settlers within the present limits of Richmond township prior to the year 1800. At that date there curled the smoke from but three long huts-one belonging to Gad Lamb, near the northern boundary of the township; one to Benjamin Corey, near the center; and one to Josiah Hovey, near the south line-all about three miles apart and embosomed in the depths of a heavy forest of white pine. The flats and many of the hillsides were densely occupied with immense trees of this species, which have long since disappeared before the woodman's axe.
THE SECOND DECADE witnessed a considerable accession of settlers. Peres Bardwell settled about the beginning of the century where Asa Mann and James R. Wilson afterward lived; his descendants are still found in our midst. An Englishman by the name of Burton settled about the same time on what was subsequently the Joshua Shaw place; while Amasa Culver settled at Canoe Camp. A few years later David Miller and Cheney Ames settled a mile south of Mansfield; a Mr. Negley and a Mr. Rowley at Canoe Camp, and Nathan Hill and Peter Button half a mile above.
EDWARD GOBIN.--About the year 1802 Edward Gobin lived at the Corey house, which, as already stated, stood above and across the river from Albert Sherwood's, and a little south of west from the Corey Creek railroad bridge. Mr. Gobin was not a surveyor, as has been said by some, but one Henry Daniels, who boarded at his house, was a surveyor under the Pennsylvania title. There was a great deal of trouble about this time between the claimants under the Pennsylvania and Connecticut titles. On going to his door one morning, Gobin evidently mistaken for Daniels, was shot through the back and hips by a man supposed to be one Barber, who was concealed behind a large pine tree on the opposite side of the river, the stump of which was standing not long since, and is still in existence in a stump fence by the roadside near by. Harry Lamb went for the nearest surgeon, who lived at Elmira, then Newtown, and who dressed the wound. Mr. Gobin recovered, lived to a good old age, and died not long ago in Northumberland county, Pa.
ELIHU MARVIN built the first saw-mill, in 1803, on the site since occupied by the paint mill, one mile south of Mansfield. One of the first grist-mills in the county was built by Dorman Bloss, at Nelson, to turn by hand, in 1805. This was purchased by Marvin, who hauled it from there on an ox sled and put it up under his saw-mill, where it would grind five or six bushels per day. Marvin afterward got out the timber for a grist-mill, which he never put up, however. His widow afterward sold the frame to the Spencers, and out of it was erected the first Spencer mill at Canoe Camp.
ASA MANN.--As the founder of Mansfield the subject of this sketch will rank among the most important personages of whom we shall be called upon to treat. As an historical figure Asa Mann stands out conspicuously. We find no other name so intimately blended with all the early traditions of the town. He seems to have occupied the place of chief, and to have been pre-eminent in civil affairs. He was born in Rhode Island, in the year 1782, and came here in 1804, locating on the place since occupied by James R. Wilson, about one mile north of Mansfield. While there he kept a hotel and a small stock of merchandise, being the first regular hotel and store kept within the limits of the territory under consideration. These were kept in a log house until the year 1818, when he built the house which is still standing, and which in its day, and even as late at the year 1830, was considered the finest house in the Tioga Valley. In front of this house, and near the river, the first graveyard was located. Mrs. Jones, Mr. Mann's mother-in-law, who was nearly 100 years old at the time of her death, was buried here; also, old Mr. Burley, Philena Clark (daughter of Seth and Eleanor Clark), and Mrs. Clarissa Lamb (wife of Daniel Lamb, and mother of Mrs. Michael Fralic), and doubtless several others. Every trace of this cemetery has now disappeared. The saw-mill a little below and on the opposite side of the river (afterward known as the Wilson mill, and more recently as the Phelps mill) was built by Mr. Mann in the year 1831. Much valuable lumber has been manufactured at this place. About the year 1824 he purchased 200 acres of John and Peter Kelts, which included nearly all the territory now occupied by the business part of Mansfield. Upon this ground, and where the village stands to-day. Mr. Mann the same year cleared a field of some twenty or thirty acres in extent. This field, which had no house, was known far and wide as Mann's field, and the reader will be quick to discover the origin of the name of our village if he will for the sake of convenience bring these two words together and eliminate one n. At a later date Mr. Mann laid out his lands in town lots, but it was not until 1835 that he left his farm and moved into the village, where he kept hotel one year, in a house erected by Oliver Whittaker, which stood where the Allen block now stands, and which, having been removed to the east of that block, is now used in connection with the orphan school. Mr. Mann left Mansfield in 1839, and went to Peru, Ill., where he died on the 8th of July 1843, aged 61 years. His wife, Phebe, died while here, May 31st 1838, aged 64 years. Mr. Mann was married in the year 1800 to Miss Phebe Jones, of Rutland, Vermont, by whom he had eleven children, viz. William B., Juliette, Jasper, Laura Maria, Roxanna, Mary Ann, Phebe, Christiana, Phebe Adaline, and two who died in infancy. Jasper Mann died in Mansfield, August 2nd 1838, aged 30 years. William B. died in Peru, Ill., October 19th 1838, aged 34 years. Laura Maria died at Homer, Ill., July 8th 1841, aged 31 years. Christiana died at Peru in 1848, aged 23 years. Phebe Adaline died at Peru in 1849, aged 25 years. Roxanna died in 1878, aged 64 years, and Juliette in 1879, aged 71 years. Mrs. Mary Ann Hoffman (born July 27th 1815), wife of John Hoffman, of Mendota, Ill., is the only survivor. Mr. Mann had a distillery a little south from Spencer's photograph gallery, 1820 or 1825. Together with a man by the name of Hewland he built a saw-mill at the lower end of Smythe Park, prior to 1834. He was the first postmaster at Mansfield, and held the office many years.
JOHN, PETER, and JACOB KELTS came here with their father in 1804 or 1805, from some place on the Mohawk, and lived for a number of years in the old Corey house. Jacob was kicked by a horse and killed. John, upon getting married, built a log house on the knoll by the Williamson road, southwest from the cemetery, the cellar of which was still visible some ten years since. He had two or three acres cleared there, on the site of the old Indian village already described. His barn, also of logs, stood on the flat a little to the south and near the creek; while his pig pen, of the same material, stood nearly on the ground occupied by the author's residence. One night a large black bear came and carried off his only hog, taking it up the creek about twenty rods, where he ate a good share of it up. At that time the ground now occupied by Mansfield, as well as above, on both sides of Corey Creek, was a heavy forest, with a dense undergrowth of laurel, so much so that in places it was a veritable laurel swamp, making an excellent harbor for the wild animals frequenting these parts. Peter Kelts, upon getting married, built together with his father a plank house near where King's factory now stands, and where the Williamson road then ran. This was probably the first framed dwelling, and was built not far from 1810 or 1812. John soon after built a house on the opposite side of the road, into which he moved. Some of the apple trees which surrounded his house are still standing on the east side of the railroad. John and Peter Kelts also built a saw-mill about half a mile up Corey Creek, where Kingsley's dam now is. Elijah Clark owned a share in this mill, which was the second saw-mill built, that of Elihu Marvin being first. John and Peter afterward sold their lands to Asa Mann. John died not long since at Knoxville, Pa., aged 85. His son, Sobrine Kelts, born in the house just mentioned, in 1814, is still living, about one mile below Mansfield.
ELIJAH CLARK, a son of Seth and Eleanor Clark, was born in the town of Wilbraham, Mass., ten miles from Springfield, in the year 1873, and died at his home below Mansfield, January 5th 1864, aged 81 years, having been here 58 years. He was married to Miss Lydia Mixter in 1803, by whom he had six children, viz. Phineas M. (deceased), Elijah Pinchen, William E., Edwin (died in the civil war), Lydia (Mrs. Martin Kelley, deceased), and Harriet (Mrs. Daniel Elliott). His wife died in 1833, and in 1835 he was married to Mrs. Hannah Jackson, by whom he also had six children, viz. Van Buren; Seth, Oscar, James, Philena and Fidelia-all deceased excepting James. Mr. Clark came here in 1806, and purchased 200 acres of land, a portion of which is now owned by Albert Sherwood, whose barn, in part, was built by him in 1810, it being the first frame barn in Mansfield or Richmond; it was removed some twenty years ago from its original to its present site, where it bids fair to last a hundred years to come. He was undoubtedly one of the most valued of our early pioneers, and left behind him a large number of descendants, including some of our foremost citizens.
Of his children Phineas M. Clark was born in Massachusetts, in 1805, and died at Mansfield in 1881. He was an active and useful man, especially in connection with erecting the normal school building and the Methodist church. Of the latter society he was a leading member. In 1826 he married Polly Budd, by whom he had eleven children. She died in 1857, and in 1858 he married Mrs. Adaline Kniffin, by whom he had one child. He was the father of postmaster M. L. Clark and Phineas Volney (proprietor of Clark's Hotel), of Mansfield.
Elijah Pinchen Clark was born on the Joshua Shaw farm, at Lamb's Creek, in the year 1807. He now lives on Corey Creek, near Mansfield, at the age of 75, and without doubt is the oldest man living in this vicinity who was born here. He married Fanny Fitzgerald, a most estimable woman, who died in 1873, and in 1879 he married Mrs. Randall. His children were Daniel F. (deceased), Warren, Frank W. (who is now an attorney at law in Mansfield, having been admitted to the bar in 1866), J. Miller (now a merchant in Mansfield), and Myron (deceased).
William E. Clark, now living between Mansfield and Lamb's Creek at the age of 70, was born in a log house near the site of the Asa Donaldson house, in 1812. The house he now occupies is the oldest one standing in this valley, and was erected at an early date, probably before 1815, by one Bickford. His wife (now deceased) was Mary Baker, by whom he had eight children.
Van Buren Clark was born in 1834, and died in 1869. He married Lydia Gile, by whom he had three children. Seth Clark was born in 1836, and died in 1881. He married Electa Ketcham, by whom he had three children. Oscar Clark was born in 1835, and died in 1867. He married Mary A. Sherwood, nee McCarty, and had one child (deceased). James Clark was born in 1846, and married Viola Marvin, by whom he has had four children.
AMOS SPENCER, a native of Unadilla, N.Y., settled at Canoe Camp in 1806, and soon after erected a grist-mill, which, with the exception of the one put up under Elihu Marvin's saw-mill, was the first one built, and the frame of which he purchased of Clarissa Marvin, widow of Elihu Marvin, as already stated. It was afterward replaced by another and better mill, and in 1857 the large new mill was built. This last one, which was destroyed by fire May 20th 1879, was the best grist-mill in the county, and was built by his son and grandson, L. K. and A. M. Spencer. By the aid of an excellent water power a large and profitable business had long been done at this mill, and its loss was a misfortune to the community. The first pair of buhr-stones ever brought into Tioga county were in the mill at the time of its destruction. The Spencers have been known from earliest times as the most prominent men connected with the milling business in the county, as well as one of the leading and most influential families. The subject of this sketch was married to Sophia Keys, by whom he had two children, Leander K. and Valorus O. He died in 1851. Leander K. Spencer was born in 1796, and died in 1866, aged 70 years. He married Lovina Rowley, by whom he had eight children, including Alonzo M. Spencer, of Canoe Camp and Rev. Ichabod Spencer, of Kansas. Valorus O. Spencer was born in 1812, and married Jane Kelts, by whom he has had seven children, including F. M. Spencer, the celebrated photographer.
EBENEZER BURLEY came about the year 1808, and brought his father with him. His sons were David, Robert and Ebenezer jr.--the last the father of Wells Burley, who yet lives in this vicinity. Mr. B. lived about half a mile north of Mansfield, on the east side of the Williamson road, while his brother Elijah lived on the opposite side of the river, on the place now owned by L. H. Shattuck. David Burley, who married Rhoda Shaw, first lived on the place now owned by Thomas Jerald, up Corey Creek, and made the first clearing there. Ebenezer Burley sen. was a Revolutionary soldier, and died in 1837, aged 74.
JOSHUA SHAW, another of the early pioneers, was born in Plainfield, Mass., in 1764, and died at Lamb's Creek May 24th 1842, aged 78 years. He came here in 1809, having previously married Sarah Hawes (deceased May 13th 1850, aged 82), by whom he had six children, viz. Vardis, Rodney C., Merrill, Rhoda (Mrs. David Burley), Sally (Mrs. Nehemiah Ripley), and Polly (Mrs. Elisha Cleveland)-all dead except Merrill. It is related of Mr. Shaw that when he come to this county he brought a cow tied to the wagon, and her milk was put in a churn made into butter simply by the jolting of the wagon over the rough road, saving all trouble of churning. Part of the house he occupied is still standing at Lamb's Creek, and was built by him in 1817. Part of the orchard also remains, and was raised from seed brought from Massachusetts. The trees are now among the oldest planted by white men.
Vardis Shaw was born in Massachusetts, in 1799, and died at the old homestead at Lamb's Creek, March 24th 1863, aged 64 years. He married Eleanor Clark (deceased April 22nd 1859 aged 56, daughter of Seth and Eleanor Clark), by whom he had eight children, viz. Andrew (deceased), Porter (deceased), William, Daniel, Julia (deceased), Cynthia (deceased), Christina and Maria.
Colonel Rodney Shaw was also born in Massachusetts, in 1804, and was six years old when his father came to Pennsylvania. He died at Mansfield in 1866, aged 62. He was married to Mary Ann Seelye (born in 1809), and by whom he had ten children. He was a colonel of militia, as well as a prominent and influential citizen and member of the Methodist church. He took an active part in founding the classical seminary. The old home, about one mile north of Mansfield, is still occupied by his aged widow. His children were Frank M., James, Horry, Orrin, Thomas (deceased-green be thy memory, old playmate!), Matilda (Mrs. Daniel Bly), Harriet (Mrs. H. Dorsett), Helen (deceased), Eliza (Mrs. J. M. Bates), and Ella.
JUSTUS BURR CLARK. (The subjoined sketch is an extract from an article prepared and read by the writer on the occasion of Mr. Clark's 80th birthday, two years ago, at which a large number of his descendants gave him a pleasant surprise. The author has felt some delicacy, however, in publishing this sketch of his grandfather, lest he might be charged with favoritism, owing to its somewhat greater length and scope. But if he has written more it is because he had greater knowledge of events. Similar incidents and adventures doubtless occurred in the lives of many of the early settlers, which would now be read with interest, but which are gone with their heroes, or live but vaguely in the minds of their descendants.) The date of his birth was February 24th 1800, and the place Wilbraham, Mass., ten miles from Springfield, on the Boston turnpike. He was the ninth in a family of eleven, and is the only survivor. His father's name was Seth and his mother's Eleanor. Her maiden name was Eleanor Burr. They died here many years ago, each aged about 80, and are buried in a small cemetery about two miles from Mansfield, on the Mainsburg road. Seth was a soldier, and carried a musket under Washington.
At six years of age Justus, with his parents, moved to Vermont, where they remained until 1814, when they removed to Pennsylvania, whither he had been preceded by three brothers and one sister, viz. Elijah, John, Loren and Philena. During this journey Justus, then a lad of fourteen, drove, fed and cared for a three-horse team. After living below Mansfield two or three years they went up Corey Creek, where he lived with his parents until he got married, in 1821. His wife's name was Catherine Hart. Her father was opposed to the marriage, having been told that Justus was a lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, spending his time hunting and fishing. So he stole her away, and brought her home in a cutter, where they were married. We cannot omit in this connection a brief notice of this bride of the wilderness. When we say that she was born in 1805, and that she died in 1872, we have not said all that ought to be said. For whatever of moral stamina, mental endowment or physical vigor, we as her descendants may possess, we owe something-I should say much-to this noble-hearted woman; and, although the grave has closed over her, and we can no longer thank her for what she has bequeathed to us, we would still pay an affectionate tribute to her memory.
Upon getting married Mr. Clark went on the farm where he still lives. There was no road there then. Only about an acre had been "slashed down" and burned over, with most of the logs and stumps still on the ground. A log cabin had been erected, and into this they moved, taking all their worldly goods in a corn basket. There were three of them-his wife, himself and his dog. The furniture consisted of two stools to sit upon. The tools were an axe, a saw, an auger and a shaving knife. With these he went to work and made a table of cherry, which had one wooden leg, and two wooden hinges by which it was fastened to the logs in the side of the house, so that when not in use it could be tilted up against the wall. He then made a bedstead by cutting four pieces for sides and ends, and two for legs--all from saplings growing at his door. The bedcord was of elm bark twisted. His mother had given him a straw bed and two or three blankets and sheets, with bear skins in reserve for cold weather, and a wolf skin stuffed with straw for a pillow. He next made a stand to match the above named articles. His wife then took a job of weaving and bought three old chairs at one dollar apiece, when she went to the woods, obtained some bark, and bottomed them herself. He next put up an old fashioned Dutch chimney, with wooden crane instead of an iron one, and an old fashioned fireplace, the back logs for which he used to draw right in with a horse. Their first ironware was a teakettle, bought with three bushels of wheat. At the same time he bought a hand saw for $3 and shingle nails for thirty cents per pound, of William Willard, of Tioga. His first barn was built in 1830, fifty-two years ago, and the old orchard (ah! what delicious apples grew there) was planted fifty-seven years ago. The old log house stood on the site of the present dwelling, and the days passed there were days of toil, privation and hardship. Often when the husband was away, perhaps down the river with a raft of lumber, the wife had to carry on farming operations. On one such occasion the late Prof. F. A. Allen, then a small boy, dropped the corn for her to plant. The children born to them were as follows: John, Julia (Mrs. Albert Sherwood), Lucinda (Mrs. Lyman Beach), Justus jr., Nancy (Mrs. Hiram Middaugh), Daniel, Amanda (deceased), and Morris.
As a renowned hunter the subject of this sketch rivaled Richard Copp and Aaron Bloss. He was the Nimrod of fifty years ago, when the forest abounded with fallow deer, the wolf and the bear. A few of his many adventures we will let him tell in his own way:
"I set a trap for a bear, went to it and it was gone; followed the trail down to a little creek, where stood a leaning hemlock, and there on a limb sat the bear. I thought I would have some fun with him, so I got a pole and pried the trap off, when the bear fell to the ground; but, instead of running off as I expected, he took after me, snapping and growling at every jump. I didn't like the look of his big sharp teeth, so I ran the fastest I every did, and all the time I could hear the trap rattling at my heels. But after a while I couldn't hear it any longer, and I stopped and looked back over a log and I could see the bear. The trap had got tangled in the brush and stopped him, but I made up my mind I had had all the fun with the bear that I wanted, so I got my gun and shot him."
"Deer were plenty in those days; used to kill sometimes two and sometimes five in a day. One time I saw a big buck and cracked away at his head, but hit his ear, when my little dog put after him. The old buck did not run, but pitched at the dog. I ran up to see if he was like to kill the dog, when he left the dog and pitched at me. I had no other way but to grab him by the horns. We took it rough and tumble; sometimes he was down and sometimes I was down. Finally he made a terrible spring at me. I thrust his head down to the ground and he came with such force as to end completely over, when I clapped my foot on his horns, grabbed my hunting knife and cut his throat-but not until I had lost my pants and one shoe, and was covered with blood. The horns of this deer are now on my barn."
"There was a man by the name of Copp, and he and I started to go to a 'deer lick' back of Pickel Hill. On the way we came to a piece of ground trodden very smooth, as though a good many wild beasts came in there. Near by I saw a big hollow basswood tree that had fallen down, and I went and looked in, when I could see a great many eyes glistening, but I could not tell what kind of heads they belonged to. So I fired both Copp's rifle and mine into the log, and then tried to have my hunting dog go in, but he would go no farther than I pushed him. I thought I ought to have more courage than the dog, so I got a club and started into the den and commenced driving them back. They kept retreating and I kept crawling in. At the other end of the tree there was a hole just big enough for them to back out of, so I would drive them up and Copp would shoot them. The first I knew what they were I came to a dead wolf. When we got the log clear we had seven wolves."
REV. NEHEMIAH HOBART RIPLEY was born May 5th 1771, and died September 16th 1847. He married Lucy Ball, by whom he had eleven children, of whom Philip is one. He afterward married Sally, daughter of Joshua Shaw. He came from Albany, N.Y., in 1815, and built a saw-mill in 1836, where the Pinchen Clark mill afterward stood, which was burned down and rebuilt. Elder Ripley was ordained an old school Baptist minister, and preached for that denomination ten or fifteen years, after which he was known as a Universalist preacher. This is recorded of a man who is credited with being the first minister of the gospel who resided here.
Philip S. Ripley was born in 1812, and was married in 1837 to Lorena Webster, a most estimable woman, by whom he has had ten children, of whom Homer Ripley is one. The family cemetery, delightfully situated on a pleasant knoll, was opened in 1844.
MAJOR EBENEZER RIPLEY was born March 26th 1766, and died at Lamb's Creek, April 30th 1849. He was a brother of Jerusha, wife of Gad Lamb. He married Sally Flower, by whom he had ten children, including William C., Lucy (Mrs. Spear), Samuel and Dwight; and by a second wife, Charles and Sally. Major Ripley came from Cooperstown, N.Y. in February 1817, and was afterward appointed a justice of the peace. He was a major in the war of the Revolution, and one of six Revolutionary soldiers who have lived in this township. His children have been persons of marked individuality and more than ordinary intelligence.
WILLIAM C. RIPLEY was born in Cooperstown, N.Y., October 13th 1797, and is now living at Lamb's Creek, hale and hearty, at the advanced age of 85 years. He came here in a sleigh with his father, when he was in his twentieth year. Rather a large boy to cry, and yet he says he cried while passing his first night in the loft of Gad Lamb's log house, through the cracks of which blew the wintry winds, sifting the snow upon William as he lay shivering in that garret. His first wife (whom he married in 1828) was Anna Goddard, of Troy, Pa., by whom he had two children; she died in 1838. His second wife was Eleanor Flower, of Springfield, Mass., by whom he also had two children. It hardly seems possible that this man could have helped to clear the ground now occupied by the Mansfield cemetery and already crowded with its hundreds of graves, yet such is the fact.
In 1827 and 1828 Mr. Ripley taught school in Mansfield, in a plank school-house which stood just south of the bridge over the railroad on Wellsboro street, where the railroad now runs. This building was erected in 1826, and was used at times for religious purposes. He had 76 pupils, and his wages were $10 per month the first year and $11 the second. Among his pupils were Fordyce A. Allen, Clark W. and Robert Bailey, and Phineas and Pinchen Clark. At a public gathering in connection with the normal school some years ago since, Mr. Ripley, as one of the board of trustees, was called upon to make some remarks, in the course of which he alluded to this school and its pupils in his own happy manner by saying:
"Among them was a little sunburnt boy, who has grown and developed, and aimed higher and higher, until he stands among the foremost educators of this and other States. We know him as Professor F. A. Allen, principal of the State Normal and Soldiers' Orphan School." He fitly closed by holding up this remarkable man as an example worthy the imitation of every young, aspiring mind. Mr. Ripley has always been prominent in educational matters, especially in connection with the normal school, where he has been a leading spirit ever since its organization, holding important offices in the board of trustees. It is said that on the night of the 22nd of April 1857 he marked out in the snow the plan of a new building while the old one was still burning. Such facts speak well for any man, and it is with pleasure that we make honorable mention of Mr. Ripley's name in connection with the cause of education, and as one of our foremost citizens. He has been justice of the peace 25 years, and received many other tokens of confidence and esteem from his neighbors. We are under many obligations to him for much valuable information concerning the early days.
JOHN AND ABNER COCHRAN came in 1816 from Cambridge, Vt. John was born in Bennington, Vt., and died at Lamb's Creek in 1877, aged 98 years, 7 months and 14 days-lacking but little more than a year and a quarter of being 100 years old. He was probably the oldest man ever residing here. He is buried in the family cemetery back of the old home, where was formerly a delightful grove, to which he often resorted for meditation and reading of the Scriptures. He married Betsey Otis, by whom he had ten children.
Abner, John's brother, came with him, and lived in the house now occupied by William E. Clark. He was born in 1789, and died in 1877. He married Olive Bickford, by whom he had three children, of whom Stephen B. is one.
John was a great hunter. One moonlight night he killed a bear in the road in front of his barn; he also killed a wolf, but he hunted for deer principally, and is said to have killed eighteen deer out of nineteen, wounding the nineteenth.
DEACON ISAAC LOUNSBERRY, son of John Lounsberry, was born December 21st 1757, and came to Canoe Camp in 1818. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and died April 4th 1851, aged 94 years. He married Susanna Wright, by whom he had fourteen children, of whom Letson, Ira and Isaac now live at Canoe Camp.
Letson Lounsberry was born September 4th 1804; married Cynthia Huntington, daughter of Christopher Huntington, and has four children living.
Ira Lounsberry was born August 8th 1808; married Sophia Prentice, and has four children living, of whom Isaac, one of our leading citizens, is one.
Isaac Lounsberry was born February 9th 1811; married Laura Ann Gillett, and has three children living.
PETER WHITTAKER came here with his father-in-law, Isaac Lounsberry, from Schoharie county, N.Y., in the year 1818. He was born in Canada, in 1797, and died on his farm east of Canoe Camp in 1877. Silas Lampheer and a man by the name of Burke had preceded him into that neighborhood, which otherwise was an unbroken forest. Mr. Whittaker was one of our most substantial citizens, and left a large family of the same character. He married Ruth Lounsberry, by whom he had fourteen children, eleven of whom are living, including Seth, Pliny, and Barney, who still reside on or near the old homestead.
Seth Whittaker was born in 1818, and married Rubamah Robinson, by whom he has had ten children.
Pliny Whittaker was born in 1820, and married Hattie Robinson.
Barney Whittaker was born in 1827, and married Juliette Phelps, by whom he has had eight children.
THE HOLDEN FAMILY. - Daniel Holden was born in Barre, Massachusetts, September 1st 1784, and came to Canoe Camp from Albany, N.Y., in 1819, with two yoke of oxen and two horse teams. In 1820 he located on what has since been known as the Clint. Holden place, and in 1826 he built a store across the road from his house, in which he carried on the mercantile business until his death. He died on the 4th of September 1830, at the age of 46 years. His store stood about a quarter of a mile above what is now the business center of the village. He was the first merchant within the corporate limits of Mansfield, having begun in a small way as early as 1822. He was the pioneer merchant in Mansfield, a man of wonderful energy, and has left a large and influential family, several of whom have likewise been given to mercantile pursuits. As an active business man perhaps few if any have excelled him; at the time of his death he owned a store at Sylvania, and an interest in one at Mitchell's Creek. In 1809 he married Lydia Lounsberry, daughter of Deacon Isaac Lounsberry (who died November 10th 1874, aged 81 years). By her he had nine children, viz. Eiiza (Mrs. Martin Stratton), Lucy (Mrs. Robert Bailey, deceased), Daniel L., Isaac, DeWitt Clinton (deceased), John A., George R., Horace W., and Reuben N.
Daniel L. Holden was born February 10th 1814, and married Betsey Mudge, by whom he has had nine children.
Isaac Holden was born August 13th 1816, and married Lydia Phelps, by whom he has had six children.
DeWitt Clinton Holden was born October 14th 1818, and married Sarah Fuller, by whom he had six children. He commenced keeping store in 1855, and continued to sell goods almost without interruption up to 1871, when he died. He was undoubtedly one of the most successful merchants Mansfield ever had, and as such deserves more than a passing notice.
John A. Holden was born December 20th 1821, and married Betsey Davis, by whom he has had four children.
George R. was born June 26th 1824; Horace W. April 25th 1827 and Reuben N. August 16th 1829. The last two are merchants.
LIEUTENANT JACOB ALLEN was born in 1763, and died in Mansfield December 11, 1836, aged 73 years. He came from Massachusetts in 1818, and located on the place previously owned by Elijah Clark, and since by Rev. Asa Donaldson and Albert Sherwood. He built the house there-the writer's birthplace-in which he and his wife afterward died, and which was torn down a few years since; and he planted the old apple orchard, whose great trees and luscious fruit were dear alike to more than one we might name. Before settling here Lieutenant Allen had been through these parts as a peddler of woolen goods, axes, etc. He was the father of Jacob jr., Almon, Alden, Philena, Susannah, Miranda and Mollie Allen, and grandfather of Professor F. A. Allen. He was a lieutenant in the war of the Revolution, and an aide-de-camp to his father, who was killed in the early part of the war, while the son remained in the service to its close.
ALMON ALLEN was born in Massachusetts, and died at Mansfield in 1871, aged 73 years. He was a son of Lieutenant Jacob Allen. He married Polly Bates, by whom he had seven children, viz. Prof. Fordyce Almon, Darwin D., Philena, Charles, Almon, Loren Fenton, and George R. He came to Mansfield in 1822, from Cummington, Mass., and went to live with his father. In 1824 he with his brother-in-law, Solon Richards, erected a woolen factory near the northwest corner of Smythe Park, which he sold to John and Peter Drake. The factory was a bold enterprise for those days. It was burned and rebuilt by the Drakes, and this last building, having been removed a few years since, is now occupied by Edward Doane & Co., as a sash and blind factory. Mr. Allen left Mansfield for Ohio, returned to Massachusetts, and afterward lived in Chautauqua county, N.Y., but came here to end his days, as already stated. He was a man of considerable physical and intellectual vigor, and was at one time a captain of militia.
PROFESSOR FORDYCE ALMON ALLEN.--The writer keenly feels his inability to write the biography of this distinguished man. 'Tis true he knew him intimately, and was long under his tutorship; and, though he has had many teachers since, he has had none for whom he felt the love that he had for him, and none whose departure could have touched his heart with a deeper sorrow. But for all this there is something in the life of this man which claims the master hand of a master historian. Doubtless he had his faults; but, now that nearly three years have elapsed since his death, people are beginning to make up his estimate, and what is the verdict? That there is a residuum of greatness--a remainder, if you please, more durable than the granite shaft which marks his resting place. Truly good and truly great, if is not enough to say that he was Mansfield's most distinguished citizen; for his reputation was wide as the State, and is seen to have rested on nothing less than the good he had done. There may be those-base, ignoble souls!-who will find fault and criticise because they can do nothing else; but over and above all who have ever come and gone in Mansfield towers Professor Allen. Purer man, grander man than he never walked our streets. Think not that this is excessive praise; it is but the just commendation due to great excellence and worth; a valuation which time will show to have been the true one. For his loss becomes apparent day by day. When he was alive the bats and owls of our community were content to say in their dens. But now that he is dead they have the courage to venture forth. The men who put the bottle to their neighbors' lips are emboldened to carry on their vile, nefarious traffic in open defiance of the law. It was up-hill business when he was alive, but it is easy enough now, even though the parties may be well known. In a public assembly recently, while speaking of this clandestine liquor trade, a gentleman said he wished he had the power of that man they called Allen. And should you ask why this iniquity runs riot, the reply would be: Professor Allen is dead. It was an unfortunate day for Mansfield the day he died. It marked a perceptible lapse, as his coming had marked an advance.
There are three events in our history, of which this is one, his coming another, and the building of the seminary. The seminary had dragged out a miserable existence until after it was constituted a State normal school, when he did more than any other man to place it upon a solid basis, and it was he who inaugurated and made possible the era of prosperity which has since attended it. He did more than any other man to build up the school. He did more than any other man to build up the town. And finally, of the many good and excellent men who have resided at one time or another in Mansfield, be this his tribute-he was the greatest and best of all. He is going down in history as such, as the writer would not take one star from his crown.
Professor Allen was born in Cummington, Mass., July 10th 1820, and died at Mansfield, February 11th 1880. When he was two years old his father removed to this place, bringing little Fordyce all the way in a wagon. They went to live in a house built by his grandfather, Jacob Allen-dear to the writer as the place where he was born. When a lad of some nine or ten summers he went to school in the old plank school-house near the railroad bridge on Wellsboro street. It was there he spoke his first piece, taken from the "Columbian Orator," and there are those who well remember his appearance on the stage while repeating the following lines, which contained a prophecy:
"You'd scarce expect one my age
To speak in public on the stage,
And if I chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero--
Don't view me with a critic's eye,
But pass my imperfections by.
A few years later Fordyce, with his father, went to Ohio, and from there they returned to Massachusetts, whence, after remaining for a time, they went to Chautauqua county, N.Y. He then launched out for himself, at nineteen years of age, beginning in the world as a clerk at Coudersport, Pa., in 1839; though prior to this he had served in the same capacity for a short time at Hudson, N.Y. We soon hear of him, however, as a pupil at school in Coudersport, and then as teacher; and there-sometimes teacher and sometimes pupil-he remained until 1844, when he attended a school at Alexandria, N.Y., for one year, which he often spoke of as his "high school." Returning to Coudersport at the age of 25 he married Sarah Colwell, by whom he had one child. Upon getting married he went to Jamestown, N.Y., where he taught in the public school three years, or until 1848, when his wife died, on the third anniversary of their marriage. Leaving Jamestown he became principal of the high school at Fredonia, N.Y., where he remained about two years and a half, when his health obliged him to resign. Regaining his health he accepted the principalship of the academy at Smethport, Pa., and in December 1852 was married to Miss Jane Martin, a most amiable and intelligent lady, who survives him. Their four children are all living; except a little boy buried at West Chester, Pa. In 1853 he became editor of the McKean Citizen, and in 1854 was elected county superintendent of McKean county, which position he occupied up to the spring of 1857, when he established a normal school at West Chester, Pa., of which he was principal for six years. During his stay in West Chester he wrote and published a text-book on geography. At the time of the invasion of Pennsylvania by Robert E. Lee he marched at the head of his school and a body of citizens to resist the invaders. In July 1864 he came to Mansfield as principal of the State normal school, which position he held for five years, when he resigned. In the fall of 1867 he started the soldiers' orphan school, which he managed with peculiar success up to the time of his death. In the fall of 1877 he again became principal of the normal school for a term of five years, and was serving his third year when he died."Large streams from little fountains flow,
Tall oaks from little acorns grow,
All though I now am small and young,
With judgment weak and feeble tongue,
Yet all great learned men, like me
Once learned to read their A.B.C."
It should have been said that in the fall of 1854 he began his institutes, which were ever after a prominent feature of his work. He was almost constantly engaged in this direction, and his labors were not confined to this State. He spent a winter on institutes in Wisconsin, and in the autumns of 1869 and 1870 he held institutes in Maine, sixteen weeks each year, one week for each county in the State. The spring of 1871 was given to Vermont, New Orleans and Mississippi, and a few weeks in 1876 were devoted to institutes in Virginia. Toward the close of the summer of 1879 he made his memorable trip to California, and on his return held institutes in Kansas. So successful was he in this work, and in all matters pertaining to education, that he became one of the most prominent educational workers in the country.
Professor Allen died as he had lived, with unshaken confidence in God. A little while before his decease he requested his friends to sing Charles Wesley's masterpiece, "Jesus, lover of my soul"-the finest heart-hymn in the English tongue. He joined in this lay of holy love. Shortly afterward he passed away, at 8 o'clock on Wednesday evening, after an illness of only one week. The funeral was attended on Friday afternoon, February 13th, at 2 o'clock. Business was entirely suspended throughout the day; and although in the midst of a continuous rain, which deterred hundreds in the country from coming, the whole town turned out. During the services his favorite hymns, "Asleep in Jesus," and "Jesus, lover of my soul," were sung. Despite the inclemency of the weather the procession of people on foot was the largest ever seen here, reaching all the way from the village to the cemetery on the hill, nearly half a mile away. Such an outpouring in the midst of a storm plainly attested the hold of the deceased upon the hearts and affections of the people.
It is impossible in so short space to give proper estimate of life and character of Professor Allen. And indeed it is not necessary that we should enlarge upon his zeal in the causes of education, religion, agriculture, and temperance, for all of which he had an abiding love; nor upon the improvements which have added so much to the growth and prosperity of our town. These are things which are known and read of all men, and which will cause his memory to be cherished long after our eulogies are forgotten.
He was not a bookish man, nor was he college bred; but he had what is far better-a wide general information. Man rather than books, and God rather than man, had been his study, which conspired to make his life intensely individual and one which constantly increased in good works. He was in easy circumstances, but he valued money only as a means to an end; while his liberality to the suffering poor was proverbial, giving as he did employment to a large number of this class.
As to personal appearance he was tall and well developed in his physical frame, with a fair coronet of hair like sifted snow, pleasant eyes under arching eyebrows, and a handsome face; possessing easy and polished manners and a very joyous temperament, together with a wealth of sympathy. Perhaps the most notable traits in his character were his untiring energy, his cheerful self-sacrifice and his "rock-firm God-trust." It may safely be said that he was the most active man in the county, perhaps in the State, and he exemplified in his daily life the motto which he urged on the minds of his pupils--"It is better to wear out than to rust out." He was eminently unselfish; he lived for others and the world is the better for his words and deeds.
His faith in his fellow man was only surpassed by his unbounded faith in God. He knew in whom he had trusted; and his beaming face was a silent psalm assuring the beholders, "Happy is the man that hath the God of Jacob for his help." In the triumph of this faith he fell asleep-put off this earthly tabernacle-broke loose from the bonds of the flesh, as one loosens a vessel from detaining shores to be wafted away from peaceful waters toward a safe and pleasant haven. The peerless man has gone to "that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns;" but the whole town is filled with the fragrance of his life.
AARON GILLETT was born in Connecticut, in 1788, and died at Canoe Camp in 1860, aged 72 years. He came with his parents from Towanda, Pa., to the mouth of Mill Creek, above Tioga, in 1797, when he was nine years old. All the family except him came around and up the river in a canoe, while he with his father's hired man came across through the woods with an ox team and sled, with which they conveyed the household goods. They also brought some cattle and hogs, but getting out of provisions while on the way they were obliged to kill one of the hogs. They were nine days on the way, feeding their cattle on tree-tops and their hogs on beech-nuts. At the mouth of Mill Creek they built a log house, which one week later was burned down and a little girl six years old burnt up in it. They also built a small distillery and grist-mill at this place, which is in Tioga township. The grist-mill was the first in the county, and was destroyed by a flood shortly afterward, when they moved to Cherry Flats. In 1810 Aaron married Ziba Rowley, by whom he had eleven children, including Russel, Dwight, Samuel and Morris. In 1811 he moved on to what is now the Vedder place, above Canoe Camp, and during the war of 1812 he carried the mail between Tioga and Williamsport, on horseback, going at full speed. At each station a fresh horse, saddled and bridled, was always in waiting. In 1816 Mr. Gillett's house was burned, with all its contents, and he shortly afterward bought the place now owned by Isaac Lounsberry. In 1832 he built a saw-mill where the paint mill now stands.
HEZEKIAH GAYLORD was born in Connecticut, in 1770, and married Parmelia Hyde, by whom he had thirteen children. He came to Mansfield from Vermont in 1822. He was 21 days making the journey, bringing his household effects, and his wife and ten children, with a team of horses, and locating at Kelleytown, about half way between Mansfield and Lamb's Creek. In 1824 he moved up to Mansfield, where he died in 1851, aged 81, and his wife in 1854, also aged 81.
Alvin Gaylord, one of his children, was born in 1799 and died in 1876, aged 76. He had a large family, was active in village affairs, and a zealous member of the Methodist church, being one of the original eight who signed the petition for a charter.
Porter Gaylord of Mansfield (born in 1813) is the only survivor of Hezekiah Gaylord's family. He married Deborah Lindsay, by whom he has had four children.
CHANDLER MANN was born in 1798 and died in 1844, aged 46 years. He came here in 1824, from Otsego county, N.Y., and built a tannery on the west side of Main street, near Corey Creek, where Abram Shuart's barn now stands. This was probably the first tannery built in the county-the beginning of a great industry. He sold it to Shoemaker Broadhead, and about the year 1832 he moved up Corey Creek, to the Homer Ripley farm, where he built another tannery. He was the father of Benjamin, Asa, and Delos Mann, who still reside here.
JOHN, MARTIN AND MARCUS KELLEY.--John and Martin came here in 1827,
and Marcus two years later, and located at the place since known as Kelleytown,
a short distance below Mansfield. They were sons of Roger Kelley, and belonged
to a family of thirteen brothers and sisters, all of whom grew up and were
spared to a good old age-the most remarkable family in this respect of
which we have any knowledge. John was born in 1797, and died in 1870, aged
73. He married Anna Baker, by whom he had six children, including Jourdan
and Ira W. Martin was born in 1805, and married Nancy Clark, daughter of
Elijah Clark, by whom he had four children, including Oliver M. Marcus
was born in 1807, and married Alzina Gaylord, daughter of Hezekiah Gaylord,
by whom he had a number of children.
1. I desire that the credit shall be given to my friend Mr. Elliott for the greater and more valuable part of this history (nearly all of it in fact), which is taken from an important address delivered by him on the 7th of January 1868, and to which I have simply added enough to give a complete outline history down to the present time.--A.S.]
2. These sketches were not written by Mr. Sherwood, the author of the foregoing history of Richmond and Mansfield.
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