History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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TIOGA TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGH.
By Henry H. Goodrich.
The task of writing a history of Tioga Township and Borough was accepted by the author as a duty which he, or some other person similarly situated, owed to his native place, and to that community with which he had identified as boy or man for many years, having even seen and known a good share of the earliest settlers of the township, who were still living in his boyhood. He has in the pursuit of his task, by careful and diligent inquiry of all the oldest remaining members of the families of early settlers, endeavored to collect as faithful a record of the early settlement of the township as the lapse of scores of years has permitted their memories to retain, either from personal experience or observation, or as tradition handed down from father to son. Conceiving that everything connected with the early settlement of the township would be a matter of the greatest interest to the present generation of its citizens, either young or old, as well as to the general reader and public at large--on account chiefly of that charm which age and antiquity always give to things associated with the past--he has taken the opportunity of visiting all the oldest persons living in the township, and going many miles for an interview with the gentleman reputed the oldest person living in the county. This aged man was for many years a resident of Tioga Township, and he and his sister are the only persons living whose settlement within its present limits dates back beyond the commencement of the present century; from him were obtained all the facts that he could recall to fix as definitely as possible the time of arrival and the location of the earliest settlers of the valley. He alludes to Jacob Kiphart, and his sister Betsey, widow of John Ives. Jacob was 102 years old the 20th of November 1881, and his sister Betsey was 97 years of age the 25th day of April 1882.
THE TREES OF TIOGA AND THE ORIGINAL FAUNA.
The forest flora of the township was originally so largely composed of pine and hemlock timber that the general features of the hills bore a distinctively alpine appearance, while they gave in summer a cool land in winter a warm aspect, and afforded to the valley protection from rough and strong winds. These two kinds of timber originally comprised at least one-half of the whole, the rest being white and black oak, soft and hard maple, ash, birch, beech, elm, chestnut, cherry, basswood, whitewood, dogwood, ironwood, and along the watercourses sycamore, willow, butternut, and some few English walnuts--the latter tree only found, so far as the writer knows, on a small area of the flat and hill of the De Pui farm. On the ridge extending from the point of Prutsman Hill toward Huckleberry Ridge the flowering locust tree also grows in considerable abundance, and it was once the favorite shade tree planted in the village. There they were mostly set by the hand of poor Solomon Daniels, and many of them remain to adorn the streets and are his only monument, his grave in the old cemetery lot being unmarked and indistinguishable.
Of the fine old orchards of forty and fifty years ago, such as those of Dr. William Willard, Ambrose Millard, John Prutsman, Rachel Berry, Jacob Prutsman, Elijah De Pui, Thomas and Richard Mitchell, Benjamin Bentley, Peter Adams and Stephen Losey, some portions still remain, though they have generally been replaced by others, and some of them entirely uprooted to give place to tobacco culture. Of the new orchards, that planted by Jabin S. Bush some fifteen or twenty years ago contains no less than 2,000 apple trees and 500 pear trees, and covers an area of some 30 acres. In extent, variety of fruit, and care and attention devoted to pruning and protection from injury, probably no orchard in the county excels it. The farm of the late Thomas J. Berry Jr. and that of Eleazer Seagers (once the farm of William Willard Jr.) have new and quite extensive orchards of choice varieties of fruit. Of old apple trees still remaining and bearing, a number standing in a group on the Elliott farm are said to have been planted by the Indians. A group of some fifteen trees, standing in a group on the Elliott farm are said to have been planted by the Indians. A group of some fifteen trees, standing on the old De Pui farm, near the race, and a short distance below its bulkhead, were planted by Nicholas Prutsman. Three trees on the Berry farm, below the mouth of Crook Creek, not far from the bank of the river, were planted, Jacob Kiphart says, by his father Jacob, not far from the year 1795 or 1796.
The Fauna of Tioga Township has consisted of the American elk, or wapiti, the Virginian or American deer, the black bear, the panther, the lynx, the wild cat, the gray or timber wolf, the gray and the red fox, the raccoon, beaver and many lesser animals. The elk long since disappeared from the county, but remained in the adjoining county of Potter until a comparatively recent period. Deer still remain, but are very few and extremely shy, only now and then one being killed, usually in violation of the statute made for their protection. A black bear made his appearance some years ago on the Elkhorn, Crooked Creek and Mill Creek, and remained some time before he was killed. Waldo Willard, about the year 1834 killed one near the marsh at the foot of Bayer(1) or Huckleberry Ridge. Wolves were plenty and very destructive to sheep up to the time of the establishment of the railroad, in 1840. The noise of the puffing locomotives, and the long belt of iron rail up the valley seemed to warn them that their accustomed haunts were no longer safe. Twenty-five sheep belonging to a flock owned by the writer's father, and ranging on the knolls now occupied by and adjacent to Evergreen cemetery, were killed in a single night by wolves about the year 1833. Three years later the writer heard a pack howl with fierce clamor on Indian hill; and still later saw one which had been caught in a trap, muzzled and tied, brought in on the shoulders of Harris and Norris Hotchkiss.
At the time of the first settlement in the valley, and even up to 1815 and 1820, the black bass frequented the Tioga and its chief tributaries, and shad were quite commonly seen in the spring. The introduction of dams at various points along the Tioga, and subsequently on the main branch of the Susquehanna, has impeded the ascent of these migratory fish into the upper waters of these two streams. The pickerel, perch, whitefish, chub, mullet, sucker and catfish are the common and permanent inhabitants of them, and until the recent introduction of large tanneries they afforded a never failing source of comparative success and sport to the angler. All the small streams of the township were supplied with an abundance of speckled trout, until by constant angling their numbers have become few. Game and fish, like the famous old hunters and fisherman, such as "Bear" Ames, Norris Hotchkiss, William K. Mitchell, Jesse Bentley and William Lowell have passed away, or at least dwindled into comparative insignificance.
EARLY LAND TRANSACTIONS.
The land within the present township of Tioga, with but few exceptions, was entered previous to the first settlement of it, or contemporaneous therewith, by capitalists in the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore. The first warrants were located May 17th 1785 along the valley of the Tioga, from below Mitchell's Creek to and above the mouth of Mill Creek. They were the Robert Crozier tract on the north, and the three Bartholomew and Patton tracts on the south, containing in all, according to the survey returns, 2,071/78 acres. These tracts were entered immediately after the purchase from the Six Nations, at Fort Stanwix, October 23rd 1784, of all the lands owned by the Indians from the Towanda and Tunkhannock Mountains, or "Smoky Hills" north, and west to the boundary of the State. The warrants subsequently passed into the hands of General Cadwallader, and from him to the Pennsylvania Bank, and the property was commonly called the "bank lands." John Norris, surveyor, of Wellsboro, became the agent for their sale to subsequent purchasers.
In April and December 1792 there were eight warrants laid in the eastern part of the township--four to Robert Gilmour, one to Richard Gilmour, one to George Harrison and two to William Lloyd, each containing about 1,100 acres, excepting one of 550 to Lloyd.
In the following year there were laid in the southern, western and northern parts of the township ten warrants--five to Thomas Willing, three to James Wilson and two to Robert Morris--the two latter being the most important, lying directly west of the central Bartholomew and Patton tracts, and within the limits of the valley. These two, through Judge Charles Huston of the supreme bench of the State, passed into the hands of William Willard Jr., and subsequently to Mrs. Parmentier, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
In 1794 there were laid four important warrants on the hills east of the valley, two to William Ellis and two to S.M. Fox; one to the south in the course of the river, including "the gap" and hills adjacent; and one on Huckleberry Ridge. These last two belonged to George Meade, and the latter of them passed also to Willard and Mrs. Parmentier.
The Jesse and Stephen Losey and James Kelso tracts, lying up the valley of the creek to the west, were entered in October and November 1802. In 1831 Elijah De Pui entered a tract adjoining his farm of 147¾ acres; J.W. Guernsey, for himself, James Goodrich and A.C. Bush, in the same year took a tract of 342½ acres, at the head of the Tim Ives run, and subsequently sold it to William E. Dodge, of New York. Later a tract of 65 acres was located by John Elliott; 73 acres by Samuel Westbrook; 27 by Thomas Baldwin; 89 by Calvin Hammond, and a tract by A. Crandall. Two tracts which have been passed over were entered by James Martin, one in May 1785, adjacent to Mitchell's Creek, and one in September 1794, lying to the east of the village of Tioga. A.C. Bush entered 81¾ acres in October 1836 to the west of and opposite John Daily's farm, which now includes it.
The Mitchells, the Iveses, Uriah Spencer, John Elliott, Benjamin Bentley, Nathan Niles, Dr. William Willard, and possibly John Gordon, all came here with Connecticut titles, and were obliged to surrender them by reason of previous sale of the lands of the township to purchasers chiefly of the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore. Uriah Spencer was a native of Guilford, Conn. He was the first postmaster in the county (being appointed for the office at Tioga in 1805) was one of the earliest commissioners of our county; was the second prothonotary appointed in it, and held the office for nine years; and was also register and recorder seven years. He had bought a township of land, six miles square, of the Hon. James Hillhouse, of New Haven, Conn.--subsequently a member of Congress--and in defense of his claim was arrested under the "intrusion act" of Pennsylvania and committed to jail at Williamsport.
On the south side of the State line, in addition to the early patents of land already mentioned as within the present bounds of Tioga township, and lying along and including both sides of the river, there were those of William Dewess, John Wall, Isaac Frank, Charles Marshall and John Patton, running from north to south, all entered May 17th 1785 and surveyed August 31st of the same year, except that of Dewess, surveyed May 10th 1792. These patents, with those previously named of the same date, made a continuous line of patents, extending south to and including the mouth of Mill Creek, and forestalled the purchase of the land by the actual settler from the State. His occupancy gave him only a recognized "claim" or "possessionary right" to purchase of the proprietor at the price fixed. These lands were undoubtedly recorded at Sunbury, the county seat of Northumberland, which continued to be the place of record for this district even for some time after the erection of Lycoming County, in 1795. Who may have surveyed these ten patents at the early date named seems to be a question of some doubt, even to such old surveyors as William Bache, David Heise, Henry S. Archer and E.P. Deane; but it is supposed to have been a Mr. Tucker. General James Potter was appointed deputy surveyor of "district No. 6 in the new purchase" (that is, the Indian purchase of 1784, preceding the date of the surveys only seven months) by Surveyor General John Lukens; and after his death, at the close of the year 1789, he was succeeded by his son James Potter, January 20th 1790.
It has been supposed by some that John Adlum, who surveyed the Bingham lands by contract, was never a surveyor; but it appears he was appointed by Surveyor General John Lukens, April 14th 1789, a deputy surveyor "to survey four reserved tracts of land, lying at Presque Isle, Fort Le Beauf, Fort Venango, etc.
The original entries of land in the valley of Tioga, at the earliest date previously mentioned, were subject to an act passed December 21st 1784, which fixed the price of all vacant lands at $30 per 100 acres , entered as near as possible in a square or oblong block, the length of which should not exceed thrice the breadth, in a tract of nor over 1,000 acres, with an allowance of 6 per cent, for roads, and a possible excess in addition not to exceed 10 per cent., to be paid for in gross amount. This act further recited that "the lines of purchase made from the Indians November 5th 1768, striking the west branch of the river Susquehanna at the mouth of Lycomick or Lycoming Creek, shall be the boundaries of the same purchase until the General Assembly shall regulate and declare the same; and every person or persons, or their legal representatives, who has or have heretofore settled on the north side of the west branch of the river Susquehanna, upon the Indian territory between Lycomick or Lycoming Creek on the east and Tyagaghton or Pine Creek on the west, before the year 1780, shall be allowed the right to pre-emption to their respective possessions at the price of $30 per 100 acres, the quantity of land not to exceed 300 acres, and the usual allowance of 6 per cent for roads; pre-emption to be made by the 1st of November 1785." By subsequent acts the time of pre-emption was extended to the 10th of April 1793. By act of April 3rd 1792 the price of all vacant lands within the limits of the purchase from the Indians made in the year 1768, and all preceding purchases, was fixed at 50 shillings for every 100 acres; of those parts of the purchase of 1784 lying east of the Allegheny River and Conawago Creek, at $5 per 100 acres; and of all other vacant lands within the State lying north and west of the rivers Ohio and Allegheny and Conawago Creek, at the rate of 7 10 shillings per 100 acres. By this same act it was provided that no direct taxes should be assessed or collected upon or from any of the lands or tenements lying north and west of the purchase made of the Indians in the year 1768, or the personal estate found thereon, for the space of ten years after the passage of the act.
A large emigration was attracted toward western New York from the southeastern counties of Pennsylvania, toward the close of the last century and at the commencement of the present one, by the opening of the Genesee Valley and neighboring regions to purchase and settlement; and this was instrumental in securing acts of the Legislature of Pennsylvania for the establishment of roads leading from the central settled portions of the State to the northern boundary line, and also for the improvement of the navigable highways of the upper waters and tributaries of the Susquehanna. By act of April 10th 1792 the governor was empowered to appoint commissioners for viewing and laying out a road from opposite Wilkes-Barre, on the west side of the Susquehanna, to Wyalusing or Meshoppen Creek; thence, crossing the river, to run northwesterly to intersect Ellicott's road at or near Tioga Point; and to appropriate for its construction 100. "Also for laying out a road from Loyalsock Creek, on the west branch of the Susquehanna, to the Tawanisco [Cowanesque] branch of Tioga, and to extend up to the 109th mile stone;" 100 was appropriated for this enterprise. This last provision, it will be seen is the foundation of the construction of the "Williamson road," commenced in the month of September of the same year, completed to Canoe Camp on the Tioga River by the following spring, and shortly thereafter to the State line at Lawrencevile, near the mouth of the Cowanesque branch of the Tioga. As $700 was appropriated by the governor for the construction of the Wilkes-Barre and Tioga Point road, and a subsequent grant of $600 was made to complete it, it is possible a larger sum was paid for the Loyalsock and "Tawanisco" road than that expressed in the act. Captain Charles Williamson, subsequently commissioned a general, agent for the Phelps and Gorham lands in western New York, was the contractor for the road, and the work was done under the supervision of Robert and Benjamin Patterson, two energetic and experienced pioneers. Robert married Rachel Boone, cousin to the celebrated Daniel Boone, of Kentucky fame. The beautiful tribute paid by Lord Byron, in the 60th to 67th stanzas of the eighth canto of "Don Juan," to Daniel Boone and his descendants, as exemplifying the health, vigor, longevity, freedom of spirit and simplicity of life that accompany the pioneer backwoodsman, would seem in a measure to be due to the Pattersons, not only on account of the relationship they might claim to that celebrated character, but from a similarity of vocation.
By act of April 8th 1799, "to open a more direct and better route to the Genesee Valley Country, the old road being in bad condition," the governor was "authorized to receive proposals for laying out and opening a road, not less than twenty feet wide, from the town of Newberry, in the county of Lycoming, to Morris's Mills; thence by the best and most direct route to the northeast corner of Strawbridge's Marsh, at or near thereto as may be; and thence by the nearest and best route to the 109th mile stone. The 80th mile stone is the northeast corner and the 115th the northwest corner of Tioga County. The 109th mile stone is at or near the crossing of the north branch of Troup's Creek, a tributary of the Cowanesque, and a short distance above Austinville, Brookfield township, in this county. John W. Guernsey informs the writer that this road when built was surveyed under the supervision and direction of Uriah Spencer, from the Strawbridge Marsh along the west and north bank of Crooked Creek, crossing the creek a mile west of the village of Tioga, and made to form a junction on the Tioga River with the Williamson road, by which it reached the 109th mile stone.
An account has already been given of the State boundary line survey. The 90th mile stone on the line stands in the village of Lawrenceville, between the Tioga and Cowanesque Rivers, near the east side of Main Street, and about ten rods north of Mill Street. On the map of the ninetieth mile survey, as returned by the commissioners, the course of the Tioga River is very definitely laid down, and conforms to that as mapped at the present day. On it the present Newtown Creek is designated as "Cayuga Creek." John Melish, on his map of Pennsylvania, published by authority of the State in 1825, designates the river as Tioga. The name Chemung, as at present applied to the Tioga River from the mouth of the Conhocton to its junction with the Susquehanna, has chiefly grown into use since about 1825 or 1830. The Indian signification of the word is said to be "Big Horn," and the name is used in commemoration of finding, at quite an early period, either in the stream of the Tioga or on its bank, eleven miles above Tioga Point, a large incurvated horn, six feet nine inches long, 21 inches in circumference at its base and 15 inches at its tip, with probably two or three feet lost at each end by decay. The existence of this horn was certainly known in 1795, and probably as early as 1778. The township of Chemung was one of the divisions of Tioga County, N.Y., at the former date, and had in 1796, by the State census; 81 electors; and in 1778 Colonel Adam Hubley, in two letters, one to the supreme council of Pennsylvania and one to Congress, dated at Sunbury October 8th, speaks of the "Chemung," but rather as a district or locality than as applied to the river. As evidence of this there is a letter of his of the following year, addressed to President Reed, dated at "Fort Sullivan, on Tioga Branch, August 24th 1779," only five days previous to the battle of Newtown Creek, and as one of the officers accompanying General Sullivan's expedition to the Genesee Country. He says: "Since the forming the junction [with General Clinton] the army has received orders to hold themselves in readiness to march on to-morrow morning. Since our arrival here we have erected a fort [Fort Sullivan]. A garrison of 250 men will be left during our excursion through the Seneca Country. My officers and men who were wounded in the action of the 13th, at Chemung, are all likely to do well."
THE WORD "TIOGA"--RELATIONS WITH THE INDIANS.
The term Tioga, as applied to the once very large district of old Tioga County, New York, also to the township of the whole northern part of the old county of Luzerne (extending from the boundary line south as far as Wyalusing), to the county of Tioga in Pennsylvania, and to the principal stream which flows through a large district of the country named, had its origin as early at least as 1749, and was frequently mentioned during the old French war of 1754-60, and that of the Revolution. Like most Indians names it went through quite a variety of spellings, as the judgment of the writer might best interpret its pronunciation to the ear; until at length, during the Revolution, it settled down to its present uniform orthography. The earliest written forms of the word are Diahoga, Diahoga, Diaoga, Tiaoga, Tayego, and Teogo; and once, in a letter of David Jameson to Edward Shippen, as early as October 13th 1756, it has its present spelling. As to the signification of the word various interpretations have been given. Laidlaw's dictionary gives it "How swift the current," and Webster's, following probably the same authority, "Swift current." An old tradition of our own township, forty years ago, made it mean "Sweet water;" and Josiah Emery, in one of a series of historical articles written for the Wellsboro Agitator in 1881, says it means "Head-water."
Notwithstanding the various interpretations of the word Tioga, the writer thinks he has obtained one from the most authentic and reliable source to be found in the State, that is much more probable and definite. It is furnished him through the courtesy of Lloyd P. Smith, librarian of the old "Library Company of Philadelphia," founded in 1731, to which was bequeathed by President James Logan his valuable and rare collection of old books and manuscripts, the most valuable probably in the United States. As provision was made in this bequest for the office of librarian of the Library Company to be held in perpetuity by some one of his descendants, it is supposed that Mr. Smith is one by a female branch. He has been librarian twenty years or more; is an author, a linguist, and a gentleman of extensive knowledge of books and literature, and a few years ago combined with the duties of librarian those of editor of Lippincott's Magazine. Mr. Smith says:
"According to Matthew S. Henry's manuscript dictionary, Tioga is an Irogquois word, and means 'Gate.' This is confirmed by the enclosed passage from Richel's Names of the Lenni-Lenape: 'Tioga (one of the tributaries of the Susquehanna, draining Tioga County), corrupted from Tioga, an Iroquois word, signifying a gate--a place of entrance. (Note.) This name was given by the Six Nations to the wedge of land lying within the forks of the Tioga and north branch of Susquehanna, in passing which streams the traveler entered their territory, as through a gate. The country south of the forks was Delaware Country. David Zeisberger, who traveled that way to Onondaga in 1750, tole me that at Tioga, or the Gate, Six Nation Indians were stationed for the purpose of ascertaining the character of all persons who crossed over into their country, and that whoever entered their territory by another way than through the gate, or by way of the Mohawk, was suspected by them of evil purposes, and treated as a spy or enemy."
Mr. Smith further says: "I have not [Governor] Seymour's lecture on New York names, but I think he mentions Tioga as one of the seven gates to the country of the Iroquois."
David Zeisberger, as appears by a letter written by him, under date of May 28th 1774, was a Moravian missionary at a place called Schoenbrunn.
The fact of the Indians of the Six Nations turning back other Indians and also white men from their Tioga gateway is confirmed by various authorities.
The Senecas occupied the whole western portion of the State of New York, and also western Pennsylvania, included in the treaty and purchase of 1784. In this sale, and those to Phelps and Gorham and Robert Morris, they reserved the right of hunting game within the limits of said districts; hence it was no unusual thing for the early settlers of our county to see within its limits, up even to the year 1830--though diminishing in number, and less frequently as the years advanced--small squads of these Indians, either on hunting expeditions, or passing through to visit friends and acquaintances in some other locality.
A party of Senecas, hunting on Pine Creek, had two of their number killed on the 27th of June 1790, by a Walker family of three sons, whose father had been killed by Indians; and they were aided in the murder by one Samuel Doyle. The Walkers were named respectively Benjamin, Henry and Joseph, and were aged 28, 25 and 23, and Doyle 27 years. Joseph Walker, the youngest of the brothers, had been chain bearer for the commissioners in running the New York and Pennsylvania boundary line. Robert Fleming, Colonel John Chatham, and twenty-five other inhabitants living on the west branch below the mouth of Pine Creek, apprehensive of an attack by the Indians in retaliation, wrote Lieutenant Hubley, in command of a military force at Northumberland, under date of the 10th of July 1790, saying that all the inhabitants for seventeen miles from the mouth of Pine Creek had fled their habitations for safety, and requesting that a force of thirty or forty men, properly armed and equipped, be sent to their defense and to aid them in securing their crops. This was not done; but a proclamation issued by President Mifflin, offering a reward for the arrest and bringing no justice of the murderers, was sent in place. The reason assigned by the Walkers for killing the two Indians was that one of them boasted of having taken twenty-three scalps, and that a woman was still living who was ready to testify that he had scalped her at the same time that John Walker, the father, was killed and scalped. Samuel Doyle was subsequently arrested and confined in the Lancaster Jail; was tried at Sunbury and acquitted, November 12th 1790, but held to bail in the sum of $200 for good behavior. Robert Fleming was one of the grand jury, and Benjamin Patterson of the petit jury, sitting on his trial. Robert Fleming, son of the one here spoken of, was a distinguished lawyer at the Lycoming bar up to about 1850 or 1855.
The honor of being the first pioneer settler in the valley of the Tioga south of the State line apparently lies between William Holden and Jesse Losey. Captain Buel Baldwin says that Colonel Eleazer Lindsey's settlement on his tract north of the State line preceded by some little time the construction of the Williamson road, as also did the settlement of William Holden on the south side. He remembers to have heard it stated that Colonel Lindsey purchased of the Phelps and Gorham tract a township (six miles square) south of the Erwin tract and north of the State line, and that he sold one-half of the same in New York City to John P. Ryers for the original price he paid for the whole; and that the settlement of himself and his son, the major, was on the 8th day of June, but the year he does not positively remember. As it appears by a letter of Tench Coxe which was written January 26th 1789, immediately after an interview with Mr. Gorham, than no lands of the Phelps and Gorham tract had been sold at that date bordering on the Pennsylvania line, Colonel Lindsey's settlement must necessarily have been between this period and the construction of the Williamson road, preceding the latter event "some little time." It may have been as early even as the spring of 1789, and it may not have been until 1791. William Holden's settlement is placed after Colonel Lindsey's, and may not have been until 1792. At this period Jesse Losey was certainly here, as he preceded the Robertses, and they had preceded the Mitchells who, there is very likely in 1792. The writer remembers very well the current report during the life of Jesse Losey (whom he had the opportunity of seeing often) that he was the first settler in the township of Tioga; but whether it was intended by this statement to include that of Lawrence he cannot say.
After Jesse Losey, in the order of settlement, came Peter Roberts and family, preceding the Mitchells, who came either in 1792 or 1793; next John Ives, and the four nephews Benajah, Timothy, John and Titus. A Mr. Carter and son, Job Squires, Asa Stiles, Stephen Losey, Rufus Adams and sons, and a Mr. Reed were all here in 1794; Jacob Kiphart and family the same year, or in 1795; Thomas Berry and family and probably George Prekay in 1796; Uriah Spencer, Nathan Niles and family and Cobin Van Camp and family in 1797; Dr. William Willard and family in February 1798, and Obadiah Inscho and family in the same year; Rev. Elijah Burley some time before the year 1800; John Elliott and family, Nicholas Prutsman, widow Boher and her daughter Eleanor in the same year, and John Gordon and family in 1800, 1802 or 1803; Major William Rathbone probably about the same period; Jacob Prutsman and family, and his brothers Nicholas and Adam, and Harris Hotchkiss in 1804; Benjamin Bentley and family in April 1806, Elijah De Pui and family about the same time, and Eleazer Baldwin and family the same year; Jams Matteson and James Dickinson before the year 1808, and Captain Lyman Adams on the 4th of July of that year; Ambrose Millard at Beecher's Island in 1810 and at Tioga the following year, and Ira McAllister at the same time; Gershom Wynkoop, Levi Vail, and a Mr. Youngman and wife before 1812; Allen Daniel Caulking, either at the close of 1812 or the beginning of 1813; Elijah Welsh, Timothy Brace, John Nichols and wife, and Aaron Gillette, here at the same period; John Daily at Beecher's Island in 1811, and at Tioga in 1813; Roland Hall about 1815; Ebenezer Ferry and his sons Charles and Chauncey, Samuel Tharp and John S. Allen before 1819; Captain James Goodrich and family in the spring of 1819; and Doctors Simeon and Pliny Power the same year.
The settlements here detailed, from that of Joseph Losey in 1791 or 1792 down to 1820, may properly be called those of the pioneer and primitive period; in which the greater portion of the valley lands extending through the township were purchased by the actual settlers, and were cleared up quite nearly as we see them to-day, and orchards planted, grist mills and saw-mills erected, two tanneries and one distillery, three public houses, two stores, schools and school-houses established, one church organized--the Baptist--roads very generally cut through, where since they have been enlarged and improved by county authority; and a very general transition from the old original log dwellings to those of the frame and clapboard style, usually a story and a half high, with a large chimney and fire place in the center, a medium sized cellar beneath, and either a porch attached or an alcove. Paint seemed to be too costly a material or the outside decoration of them, and its use was generally confined to the interior, and in many cases this even could not well be afforded. Enterprise had not been wanting, for most of the settlers were men of intelligence, and some of superior mind; full of health, vigor, spirit and energy for the prosecution of industries and the advancement of both public and private interests. They were men of true faith and courage too, confident of their ability to establish for themselves a competence, and leave to their children lasting and substantial benefits. He who can step into the depths of a primitive forest, look up at the dense and majestic woods around him, lay off his coat, seize his axe and ply it with a vigorous arm at the root of the giant trees, clear them away, and let in sunlight and civilization where once was only a wilderness, is indeed a hero, not only in heart and true manhood, but in the permanent benefaction that he gives to mankind.
An act of April 3rd 1804--only seven days after the erection of the county itself--provided that the township of Tioga should be a separate election district, "and the electors thereof shall hold their elections at the house now occupied by Thomas Berry in said township." From this act it would appear that Tioga Township had been previously established by the court of quarter sessions of Lycoming County, and comprised the whole area of the newly created county, or was contemporaneously made so by that court to suit the purpose of a new election district.
By act of April 11th 1807 another election district was formed in Tioga County, it being enacted that the township of Delmar should be a separate election district, "and the electors thereof shall hold their general elections at the house of Joshua Emlin." Like the township of Tioga, Delmar was probably formed contemporaneously with the act, to suit the convenience of a new election district. By the division made Delmar comprised about three-fifths of the county territory on the west, and Tioga two-fifths on the east, the division line between the two being the extension of one drawn from near the mouth of Pine Run, on the west branch, to the 93rd mile stone of the boundary line. No further division of these townships took place until after a full organization of the county, and the establishment of the regular county court in 1813. In February and September 1815 Covington and Jackson townships were formed from Tioga, the former including the present township of Richmond, and all the southeaster part of the county, while Jackson (named probably after the famous hero of the then recent battle of New Orleans) comprised a good share of the present area of Rutland and the northeastern part of the county. Lawrence was formed in December 1816, by another subdivision of Tioga on the north, added to a small part of Elkland. Thus Tioga, from being the original township of the county, was soon subdivided and reduced to its present limits; but, like the little republic of San Marino, it still remains, and preserves at least the integrity of its name!
By act of February 3rd 1806 the register and recorder of Lycoming County was required to procure and keep a separate registration of deeds for Tioga and Potter Counties; and by act of March 21st 1808 provision was made for the election of three county commissioners, on the second Tuesday of October following, after which the duties of said officers for Lycoming should cease. In accordance with this provision Tioga began to assume control of its own county affairs at the close of 1808 and beginning of 1809. All other county officers were then appointed under the constitution of the State by the governor or county commissioners, except that the sheriff was elective. Nathan Niles was commissioned by Governor Thomas McKean, January 7th 1808, a justice of the peace for the county; this office was then regarded as one of much distinction, and many people came to see him take the requisite oath and be duly installed--a ceremony that was performed at his residence, on the spot where is now the home of John Daily.
(1) The term Bayer is sometimes applied to Huckleberry Ridge. Mr. Bayer is a son-in-law of Mrs. Parmentier, the owner of this ridge. He resides with her on Bridge Street, Brooklyn, and is one of the officers of the German Emigrants Savings Bank on Chambers street, New York. He long resided at Tioga as agent for the property.
Tioga Township & Borough Part One
-- Part Two -- Part Three
-- Part Four