History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania
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TIOGA TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGH.
By Henry H. Goodrich.
SKETCHES OF THE SETTLERS.
JESSE LOSEY.--In giving brief biographical sketches of the early settlers, Jesse Losey is the first one to whom the attention of the writer is due. At the present day very little seems to be known of his ancestry and place of birth. He was born in New Jersey, or at least came from that State, and his name would seem to indicate German extraction. He enlisted in the continental service and claimed to have been at the battle of Bunker Hill (June 17th 1775); also to have been present at the execution of Major John Andre, at Tappan (October 2nd 1780). Hence he must have seen considerable and varied service in the war of that period. He came to Tioga, accompanied by his wife, in a canoe propelled up the river, either in 191 or 1792, and settled on the west bank of the stream, on what is now the H.E. Smith and son farm, formerly John Prutsman's. His first dwelling was of a temporary character, made of poles and covered with bark. Once a violent storm came up and blew it entirely down. After the construction of the Williamson road he built a better dwelling on the line of that road and moved into it. His wife subsequently died, and she was buried on a knoll a little to the north of the gate of the present grounds of P.S. Tuttle, and which is now occupied by the sidewalk. Jesse Losey subsequently sold his "claim" to Benajah Ives, and he and his brother Stephen Losey in 1802 located two warrants in the western part of the township; but that to Stephen never being fully paid up, a patent was issued for the same, June 27th 1873, to William A. and H.H. Goodrich, E.M. Smith and Edward Bayer. These properties were subsequently acquired by William Willard, and the brother moved into Middlebury Township. Jesse died March 12th 1844, aged 85 years, 5 months and 7 days, and is buried in the graveyard near the residence of Daniel Holiday, in that township. He left some descendants who are living there. The time and place of the death of Stephen are not known to the writer. Jesse was of rather small stature, uncouth in manner and in speech, and considerably inclined to the "ardent" habit, which at the period in which he lived was not an uncommon one, and did not much interfere with religious profession or church membership. It is believed he was a Baptist Church member, and was a Revolutionary pensioner. His original occupations were shoemaking and distilling, but he died a farmer.
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.--The next pioneers in order of settlement here were Peter Roberts and his sons John, Benjamin, Peter and Silas, and his daughters Polly, Rhoda, Sally and Betsey. Jacob Kiphart and his sister Betsey thought "him and his family the oldest settlers, but possibly Jesse Losey was--could not say positively." Hence between the claim of Jesse Losey and the doubt expressed by these two living witnesses his settlement is placed in 1792, and preceding that of the Mitchells by some months, and perhaps a year. It is supposed he came from the same State as did Jesse Losey, and had probably a Connecticut title; but, finding the valley lands in possession of Pennsylvanians by purchase, contended himself with a claim by occupancy. He settled on the stream, below Jesse Losey and at the foot of our present New Street, and built himself a comfortable log-house. He was a millwright and blacksmith; and his son Benjamin taught in his father's log house the first school of which Tioga has any record. A few years thereafter a school-house was built very near the spot where A.C. Bush's barn now stands, in which Benjamin also taught. The family was here as late as 1815--long enough for the father or his son Peter to build a saw-mill on Crooked Creek, at the foot of Bayer Hill, and where the third railroad bridge now crosses said stream. The family subsequently moved to some point unknown, but it is supposed to Genesee, and finally to Grand Rapids, Mich. Peter and John, the sons, returned. Peter married Lydia Power, and the two brothers for some time carried on blacksmithing in a shop that stood in the rear of the present William Garretson house. They subsequently moved to Grand Rapids, where Peter at least died, and also his wife, leaving four children, who are now residents there.
THE MITCHELL FAMILY.--The next settlers were Thomas and Richard Mitchell, who came either in 1792 or 1793. Thomas B. Mitchell, brother to Senator John I. Mitchell, thinks his grandfather came in 1792 and before the construction of the Williamson road. At all events he was married August 15th 1792, and his eldest child, Edsall Mitchell, was born at Mitchell's Creek, Tioga Township, August 27th 1793, and was reputed to be the first white child born within the limits of Tioga County. The brothers came from Orange, N.J., and stopped one year in the present limits of Southport, Chemung County, removing the following year to Tioga as previously stated, by aid of a canoe up the channel of the Tioga River.
Richard was born July 5th 1769, and his wife, Ruby, October 4th 1771, and their marriage occurred when he was a little over 23 years of age; and as Thomas was the elder brother it is supposed they either came together or that Thomas came first. Jacob Kiphart says that Thomas came first. It has been said the brothers were for a while on the west branch of the Susquehanna, near Williamsport, before coming to the Chemung; if so it is supposed they had in some way an interest under the Connecticut title, as nearly all the settlers from the east or the New England States who had settled on that river came under that title, and many of them were there as early as 1773 and 1775. They both settled on the Crozier tract, entered by warrant May 17th 1785; and, as this land subsequently passed into the hands of General Cadwallader, of Philadelphia, thence into possession of the old Pennsylvania Bank of that city (for which proprietors Michael R. Tharp was first an agent, but subsequently John Norris, of Wellsboro), their titles it is supposed were secured to them through the channel named.
The three brothers, Thomas, Richard and Robert--the latter moving to Tioga about the year 1800--all occupied "claims" or "possessions" along the east bank of the Tioga, building log dwellings near to the stream. Thomas occupying the upper or southern side, Richard the middle, and Robert the lower or northern side. Thomas was a blacksmith by trade, and in a few years sold his place to either Rufus Adams or Samuel Westbrook, and removed to Dansville, N.Y. John Inscho, grandson of Richard, says there were two other brothers, who resided for a while at Mitchell's Creek, one James and the other John; the former settling subsequently at Chemung, and the latter at Johnstown, N.Y.
Richard and Robert were both farmers, and they very industriously improved their lands, and had good farms and homes at their death. Richard was born July 5th 1769, and died March 11th 1847; Ruby Keeney, his wife, was born October 4th 1771, and died August 14, 1843. Robert Mitchell was born on or about July 18th 1779, and died March 18th 1860; and his wife, Abigail Ives died September 25th 1856, aged 78 years.
The brothers were of rather more than ordinary stature, and strong, athletic, vigorous men. Robert was particularly noted for his ability as a wrestler, or in a rough-and-tumble combat, qualities that are common in pioneer life and give distinction to their possessor. At one time--as Buel Baldwin relates--one of the Sly boys of Southport, who had the reputation among his friends of being the best man in the way indicated, having heard of Robert's ability and becoming jealous of it, came up with a party to Mrs. Rachel Berry's Inn, and sent a challenge down to Robert. But Robert, like a sensible man, remained at home and paid no attention to it. After repeating the challenge and still receiving no reply, the second morning of their stay the Sly party went down early to Robert's house and found him at breakfast. Sending in word they requested him to come out after breakfast and see who was the "best man." "No," said Robert; "I'll come out now and settle that question, and eat my breakfast afterward." The question was settled in a few minutes, and Mr. Sly and his friends withdrew, a set of sadder but wiser men. At another time a similar incident occurred with one of the Joneses of Addison.
Richard Mitchell had children born as follows: Edsall, August 26th 1793; Lovina, wife of John Inscho, August 26th 1795; Nancy, October 2nd 1797, died young; Thomas, August 5th 1799; Richard Jr., July 7th 1801; William K., December 4th 1810.
Robert Mitchell had children--Thaddeus, born March 19th 1818, died March 18th 1874 (his wife was Amelia Towner); Parmenia, who is said to be still living, older probably than Thaddeus; and Abby, wife of William Butler.
Of Richard's children Edsall settled in Middlebury at an early day, and has several sons there living. Thomas K., who died August 28th 1861, had children Maryette, "Myra," Solon, Thomas B., John I., Jefferson and Rowena, all of whom are living except Solon, and the daughters are married respectively to William Sheardown, E.T. Bentley, Micajah La Bar and David Cameron. Thomas K.'s wife, who was Elizabeth Roe, is still living.
Richard Mitchell Jr., died February 23rd 1878; and his wife, Harriet M. Dartt, born October 30th 1810, died February 24th 1881. They had daughters Ency, Julia, Helen, Brittania, Anna, Jerusha and Sarah, and a son, Captain B.B. Mitchell, all married, respectively to F.J. Calkins, Joseph Guernsey, Captain Newton Calkins, Albert Westbrook, John Demerest, C.E. Corbin, Charles Boyden, and a Miss Pomeroy, of Troy, Pa. William K. Mitchell died September 13th 1870, and his wife, Jane E. Sheardown, September 17th 1880, aged 63 years. They had thirteen children, nine of whom are still living.
William K., the youngest of Richard Mitchell's sons, was noted for his fondness of the chase--deer shooting, and hunting with hounds. He always had a pack about him, and it was no uncommon thing to see and hear them on the East Hill and even see at times the deer before the hounds running through the streets of the village, up to about the time of the completion of the railroad in 1840. There used to stand on the land then of James Goodrich, very near the west end of the present bridge spanning the river at the Tioga railroad depot, a butternut tree, with a limb of convenient height for hanging and dressing deer; and so many of them were killed and dressed at this spot that the tree went by the designation of the "hanging tree." It has been gone many years, but a portion of the stump still remains. There were certain places along the river designated as "runways," where the deer before the hounds would seek the river, either to ford or follow the course of the stream some distance before leaving it, to mislead or throw the dogs off the scent. When deer became scarce in our township Mr. Mitchell was accustomed to go every fall, in the season allowed by law, either in the neighborhood of the Strawbridge Marsh, Marsh Creek, or Pine Creek, for a season of hunting, and was usually very successful. At his death he had an estate of wild and cultivated land of some 1,300 acres.
Of the sons of Thomas K. Mitchell there was one not previously mentioned--Sergeant Edsall D. Mitchell, who fell mortally wounded before Petersburg, April 2nd, and died April 3rd 1865, aged 30 years. He was married to a daughter of Deacon Calvin Reynolds. A daughter of Thomas K.--Ruby K.--died December 28th 1854, aged 21 years. Of the two sons of Thomas K. now living, one is Thomas B., living on Mitchell's Creek, about a mile east of the old homestead farm. He cultivates a farm of 100 acres. He married a daughter of John Boyd, and is at present one of the assistant assessors of the township.
His younger brother, John I. Mitchell, is a member of the bar, and one of the United States senators from Pennsylvania. He was born July 28th 1838, in the old, plain-fashioned brick mansion on his father's farm, erected in 1826, on a portion of the land settled by his grandfather Richard, and close to the original home. This brick house stood alone for over forty years, the only one of its kind in the township; and perhaps its singularity in this respect, as well as some rumor never well defined in the public mind, made it for many years a subject of curiosity and comment to those who passed by it. Senator Mitchell grew up at this old homestead, worked on the farm and attended the winter session of the public school. He was early noted for his studious habits and rapid advancement in his studies, and his father at length sent him to the Lewisburg University, Union County, this State, where he remained perhaps a couple of terms. He made here the acquaintance of Charles S. Wolfe, a fellow student, whose prominence in the politics of the State for several years past is well know. To this acquaintance, formed at school, and their association with each other in the Legislature of the State, is due the independent support that gave Mr. Mitchell his position of United States Senator. As Senator Mitchell's biography is more specially detailed in that part of this work devoted to members of the bar, it is only necessary to say here, in a general way, that he has represented this and Potter counties twice in the lower house of the Legislature of the State; and the sixteenth Congressional district twice in Congress, being elected before the close of the second term to his present position. The studious habits of his youth he has carried with him into middle life, and has a mind well stored with solid information, in the use of which he is regarded by the public as just anc correct. In the community where born he is esteemed and respected by all, and bears an integrity of character as an official that lifts him above reproach; for, though not extravagant in his expenditures, he has the reputation of being poor rather than brilliant. His first wife was Jeannette Baldwin, daughter of Captain Buel Baldwin, to whom he was married October 3rd 1860, and who died November 4th 1870. His second wife was a Miss Archer, of Wellsboro. He has children by his first wife, Herbert B., George D., and Clara A. The eldest son is now in Dakota Territory.
THE IVES FAMILY.--Next in order of settlement were the Iveses, who were here, according to Jacob Kiphart, before the arrival of his father and family, who came either in 1794 or 1795. Hence the Iveses were certainly here in the former year. They consisted of "Uncle John," as he was termed, and Benajah, Timothy, Titus and John, four brothers. They came from Bristol, Connecticut, and brought with them a Connecticut title, but the dangers accompanying the location of such a title at that time, either on the lower waters of the Tioga, or on the east branch of the Susquehanna, were too great to tempt them in that direction; hence they went to Southport, and stopped there one or two years before entering into Pennsylvania. Having heard through the Kenney and Mitchell families of the settlement on the upper Tioga, they moved into Pennsylvania, and settled further up the valley than the Mitchells, both above and below the claims of Peter Roberts and Jesse Losey, and (as had these two) upon the Bartholomew and Patton tracts--Timothy at the mouth of Mill Creek, John on the "Lyman Adams place," now the Miller farm; Benajah on the old Berry homestead, Titus probably with one of the brothers above, and "Uncle John" on the present Thomas J. Berry Jr. estate. They all subsequently, in one way and another, changed their locations. Timothy moved to the H.W. Caulking place, and John to the Henry Stevens place on Crooked Creek. Benajah, the first or second year of settlement, sold his interest in the upper half of his claim to Thomas Berry, reserving the lower half or John Prutsman place till 1819, when he traded it to Dr. Simeon Power for the northern half of the John Gordon farm, now that of Julius Tremain; and finally in 1829 or 1830 he moved on to the farm previously held by his brother John, or the Henry Stevens place, John having died and been buried in the graveyard close by the residence now occupied by Mrs. Dean Dutton and Jacob Westbrook. Uncle John's place, consisting of the present Berry estate, extending from Berry Street to the Crooked Creek ford, he lost by litigation with Uriah Spencer; in what way the writer does not know, unless his claim was purchased from "under him" by Spencer from the agent of the Pennsylvania Bank. Timothy also lost his property, a farm of 233 acres, through Uriah Spencer in a similar way, sold at sheriff's sale, February 13th 1826; this was the occasion of unsettling his mind and incapacitating him for business. He often wandered away from home, and the writer remembers seeing him once, dressed very much in the style or fashion of Barnaby Rudge, in the days of the Gorton riots, as described by Charles Dickens, very carefully pacing out and surveying, with a long staff in his hand, the land his uncle formerly owned, and placing here and there corner stones. Coming at length to the old frame school-house, at the bend of the road leading to the river, he put the entire school into sudden disorder and commotion by attempting with his staff to push off loose papers that had been pasted over some of the broken window panes. David Betts was then the teacher, and to calm the school he was obliged to step out and divert the poor many away. The family subsequently moved to Coudersport, Potter County, where Timothy finally became sane, and lived to quite an advanced age. Judge Timothy Ives Jr. of that county--and also treasurer of it in 1825 and 1826--a man highly esteemed and respected, was his son. A similar calamity in the end befell Uriah Spencer, occasioned by the loss of property, to that which was suffered by his victim Timothy. A small run in the southwest part of the township, emptying into Crooked Creek within the limits of Middlebury, is known as the "Tim Ives Run," in honor of Timothy above spoken of.
Titus Ives also moved to Potter County. Benajah was the father of Deborah, John, Michael, Lucinda, Barnabas, Benajah Jr., Sally, Caroline and Thomas; and his wife was Lucy Cady, of Bristol, Conn. Benajah died July 3rd 1841, at Keeneyville, aged 72 years, and was there buried beside his wife. Barnabas, the son, died in 1861, and was buried in Mill Creek cemetery. John, the husband of Betsey Kiphart (who is still living, aged over 97 years), died in April 1866, over 70 years of age. Caroline, the widow of John Farr, is the only descendant of the Iveses now living in the township, and she is the mother of Mrs. Lydia Ann Dimick, and of sons Lafayette and Albert. There was a son of Uncle John, called "John Ding"' the nephew was styled "Winking John," and the son of Benajah "Pork John." They were known so commonly by these appellations that they are here given. It may be mentioned, also, that Benajah Ives Sr. is said to have come to Tioga a year earlier than his brother, and stopped one year on the Elliott Flats before moving on to the Berry place. In 1826 and 1827 he was partner with Levi Vail in trade, and he was a justice of peace in Lawrenceville Township. Timothy Ives was county commissioner from 1812 to 1815, at a very important time in the early organization of the county. Titus Ives about 1826 or 1827 lived in a plank house below Crooked Creek ford.
THE CARTERS AND STILESES.--The exact time of the settlement of Mr. Carter and his son William, Jon Squires, Asa Stiles and a Mr. Reed is not known, but they were here in 1794 or 1795. Carter and his son lived on the narrow flat above Big Hill, Job Squires below the Adams place, Asa Stiles on the Van Camp place, and Mr. Reed on the Elliott place. All these persons except Asa Stiles seem to have had but a temporary residence, for they are soon lost sight of, and their places not long after were occupied by others. Asa Stiles is thought to have been the father of Elijah Stiles. The latter was elected sheriff in 1821, and county commissioner in 1826; was a merchant in 1825 and 1826, at Tioga, in partnership with Chris. Charles, son-in-law of Asa Mann; and occupied the "old red store" built by William Willard Jr. On the election of Elijah as county commissioner the firm of Stiles & Charles seems to have been discontinued, and they were succeeded by Vail, Ives & Co. in February or March 1827. Stiles was a bachelor, and after his three years' service as commissioner he soon disappeared from Tioga.
THE ADAMS FAMILY.--Rufus Adams, who was the father of Isaac and Peter Adams, sold a portion of his claim to Benjamin Bentley, reserving part on the north which was occupied by Isaac and Peter up to at least 1830, when Isaac sold to Samuel Westbrook. Peter married a Keeney, and Isaac, it is believed, married a Stevens or a Miss Porter, sister of John Porter, who combined the anomalous trades of blacksmithing and dentistry, and was in business in the former, in copartnership with James Daniels, in a shop on the ground of the H.E. Smith dwelling, about 1827. Isaac Adams, it is believed, manufactured the first brick in the township, and he was also a tanner. In 1825 he was administrator for the estate of Michael Smith. Rufus, the father, died here, and was buried in the "Bentley cemetery." Peter Jr. removed about 1830 to Michigan.
JACOB KIPHART the elder and his family moved from Lycoming Creek, a mile and a half above Williamsport, or "Jimmy Thompson's Tavery," by way of the Williamson Road, either the first or second year after its construction, placing the time at 1794 or 1795, and settled on what has ever since been known as the "Kiphart place," lying below the mouth of Crooked Creek, and along the west bank of the river. Jacob the younger, now in his 103rd year, says he was born at Pine Grove, Berks County, Pa., and when he was five years old his father and family removed to Buffalo Valley, Northumberland County, thence, after three or four years, to Lycoming Creek, and finally to Tioga. His birthday, according to his reckoning, was the 20th of November 1779; and his sister Betsey, who claims that her age was 97 years the 25th day of April last, says there was six years' difference in their ages, and that the family had moved from Pine Creek to Buffalo Creek before her birth. There is a correspondence of statement here that makes it seem probable they are correct in their statements as to age. The father built a log house, about two rods from the river bank, at the place above mentioned. Three apple trees, which the father and son planted a little west of the house, are still standing, and appear to be vigorous, and likely to remain a long time to come.
Jacob, the son, built a very good frame and clipboard house a little after the commencement of the present century, on the west side of the main road, due west from the log house of his father, and in front of it he planted two Lombardy poplars, one of which is still standing. The house has been gone twenty years or more. Jacob Kiphart the elder, as the son says, "was a raw Dutchman of Pennsylvania stock;" and the mother, as the daughter Betsey informs us, was Anna Maria Grove. She was an accoucheuse, and at that early period, with no local physicians at Tioga, her services were very useful and often required. Captain Baldwin says she served in that capacity in his father's family, though their residence was near Lawrenceville. The father of Jacob died about 1813 and the mother 1815, and both are buried in the "Berry burying ground." Mrs. Kiphart was present at Nathan Daily's birth, March 19th 1815.
Jacob Kiphart Jr. married Huldah Bryant, who is still living, though at the age of 82 years, the 14th of September last. Of the sisters of Jacob, Betsey married John Ives--"Pork John"--who was her third husband, her first one being a Blanchard. Polly married a Crippin, who was drowned in the river below the village, and she subsequently married an Abbott. Jacob continued to live at Tioga up to about 1838 or 1840, when he removed to Middlebury Township. He had children Mary, Richard, Maria, Jacob, Elizabeth, Sarah, Andrew and Clara. On the 22nd of April 1882 the writer made a special journey to find somewhere in Covington Township the father and mother's place of residence with the last named daughter, Mrs. Clara Frost. He found them living in a new and very comfortable dwelling, built on a bench of land some twenty feet above the road and to the west of it, near to the ruins of the burned brewery, a mile north of Blossburg village. He found the aged couple sitting by a comfortable parlor stove, in a carpeted, tidy, pleasant room, and though he had not seen Jacob for at least 35 years he readily recognized him both by figure and voice. Though much bowed and bent over, yet there was a roundness and fullness of body and a glow of countenance that seemed to indicate considerable vitality of system and the possibility of his living yet quite a number of years. His hearing was excellent, but his eyesight dim; his memory was quite clear for so aged a man. He talked about the old inhabitants of Tioga with much apparent distinctness and vividness of recollection, as though it was but a few years ago that he was there. His wife, Huldah, though twenty years his junior, Mrs. Frost said, is much feebler in health than he.
As we have the definite time of settlement, or approximately so, of persons who preceded and followed the coming of Jacob Kiphart and family; and the present Jacob's and his sister Betsey's statements as to the time of their own coming, and as to who were here and who not here when they came, agreeing with fixed facts derived from other sources, confirm not only the date of their own settlement, but fix that of others with less doubt. These two persons are the only ones living who were settled in Tioga Township prior to the commencement of the present century. Mrs. Ambrose Millard, of Elmira, John Daily and Mrs. Augustus Niles, born before this century, and still living in the township, came after the year 1800. Lorain Lamb, still living, aged nearly 97 years, was settled in our valley in 1797, when it was both Lycoming Township and County; but he has been a citizen of Covington and Richmond Townships since 1813. Mrs. Betty Ives, or "Aunt Betsey," as she is usually called, is at present living three miles from Wellsboro, in the kind and hospitable charge of Orrin Bly.
THOMAS BERRY AND FAMILY, who settled at the well known Berry farm, on the west side of the river, near the old ford, which is now spanned by the "red bridge," came in 1796, on his way to the Genesee Country; but stopping over night with Benjamin Ives, who kept the place as a wayside inn, Mr. Ives moving on to a part of the land formerly occupied by Jesse Losey. He came from the State of Maryland, near the Delaware line, in the spring. The year is definitely fixed by the birth of his daughter Rachel, who was born in June 1797, one year after his settlement, and was accompanied by James Jennings, a brother of Mrs. Berry. He moved his family, consisting of Mrs. Berry and four children--Mary, John, Margaret and Hester--in and old lumber wagon drawn by four horses, driving along at the same time four cows, eight sheep and two hogs, and came by the way of Williamsport. With his household effects he brought a large corner clock and a chest of drawers, both of cherry wood, and a large walnut chest, said to have been brought from Scotland by the grandmother on the Jennings' side, all three of which are in possession of John D. Berry, at the old homestead. Thomas Berry's father was a Revolutionary soldier, and of Irish descent. The mother's family name was Coe; and Mrs. John D. Berry has the interesting relic of a china cup brought from Ireland by this great-grandmother; also coverlets and quilts brought from Maryland by grandmother Rachel Berry. Thomas Berry's original purchase of land was 80 acres of flat land and 140 of hill.
At the Thomas Berry house was established the first election precinct in the county, by act of Legislature of the 3rd of March 1804, the township of Tioga then included the whole county. He died April 17th 1807, in his 45th year; but his widow continued to manage the estate with ability, and kept the house as an inn up to about 1835 or 1838. The present mansion house was built by her in 1824. Thomas J. Berry, the son, built about 1840 the fine mansion below the village, which was then considered one of the finest dwellings in the county, and is still a very substantial and imposing structure.
Rachel, the widow, died March 8th 1850, in her 83rd year; Mary, wife of Samuel Westbrook, died April 22nd 1847, in her 58th year; Rachael, wife of John Sly, died September 14 1855, in her 59th year; John a bachelor, died July 20th 1860, in his 67th year; Thomas J. Berry (whose wife was a Miller) died March 6 1863, in his 58th year; Judith died unmarried, May 21st 1873, in her 75th year; Hester, Margaret, and Thomas 1st died in 1803-7, the girls aged 15 and 19 years, and the boy not two months old.
Thomas J. Berry's son of the same name died some three years since, leaving a widow and two sons, who live on the estate left by the grandfather; the names of the sons being James and Frank, and their ages respectively about 15 and 17 years. The mother is the daughter of James G. Messereau, formerly of Lindley, N.Y.
JAMES AND ISAIAH JENNINGS.--James Jennings, who came to Tioga with the Berry family, went on to the Genesee Country. Isaiah Jennings, who came at a later period, was shot and killed by John Wilson, a short distance from the front door of the latter's house, which stood about intermediate between the present residence of Obadiah Inscho and the little run south of it, in Lawrence Township. Wilson had been engaged in a stabbing affair, and a warrant had been procured of Esquire Allen, some four or five miles distant from Troy, a magistrate for the county of Lycoming, and Jennings was deputized to make the arrest. For shooting Jennings, Wilson was arrested and conveyed to the Williamsport jail, where he was in due time tried and acquitted; mainly, it was said, on suborned testimony (chiefly that of Dennis Hawes, who received the gift of a horse), and the fact that defendant was not seen to fire the shot.
SAMUEL YOUNGMAN, born April 4th 1811, and his sister Emeline, born March 23rd 1813, both in the house where lived the mother, standing on the Berry farm above the river ford, were adopted by Mrs. Rachael Berry into her family. The mother of these children married an Ives, and moved to Coudersport, Potter County. Samuel, the son, married Mercy Bentley, and moved to Royal Oak, Michigan, and there had two children; the sister, Emeline, went with her mother to Coudersport, and there died of consumption.
GEORGE PREKAY, a German, or more probably a Flemish Hollander, a very singular and eccentric man, was here possibly about the same time with the Berry family, and settled on the west side of the river below the claim of Jacob Kiphart, and on the southern end of the Crozier tract. He lived in a rude hut of the simplest construction, built on the east bank of Bear Creek, and opposite the maple grove on O.B. Lowell's land; and apart from it on a dry knoll he had a cave, in which he slept and kept his most valuable effects. He had table silverware, and wore silver knee-buckles. He both spoke and read the English and German tongues, was intelligent, and had much the air of an educated and refined man. To Jacob Prutsman, who subsequently became his nearest neighbor on the north, and also spoke and read the English and German languages, he became an interesting associate, but would never tell to him his parentage or place of birth, or the secret of his life if he had any. He seems to have been an industrious man, for at the time of his death, which occurred about 1812, he had cleared a considerable breadth of land, and had quite a number of horses. He died at the house of Jacob Prutsman, who appears to have been his chief earthly friend, and in this last extremity his good Samaritan, for which he was rewarded by the gift of all of his possessions. The initials on his teaspoons were "P.S.;" but this would not indicate that his name was assumed, for they may have been once those of the maiden name of his mother, a married sister, or even a wife. Among other relics left by him is a singular spectacle case of large size, six inches long by two broad and one and three eighths deep, which the writer some ten years since obtained from one of the members of the Prutsman family. The top and bottom of it are of brass and the sides copper, the latter engraved in imitation of fern leaves. The top, or lid, bears the half figure of a man, with a coat of arms underneath quartered in nine parts, as is common to German heraldry, with the following inscription below: "William Carel Hendrik fries a Prins Van. . . . . . en Nassau ers Stathouder Van De 7 Provencie 1847." The bottom is engraved with the half figure of a woman, beneath which is a coat of arms of the royal house of Great Britain, with the inscription below: "Anna Van Bronswit Kluenburg Kroon Priensces Van Groot Bretanie."
URIAH SPENCER, it is probable, was here in 1797, though perhaps not until the following year. He was born in Salisbury, Conn., and married a Miss Deborah Elliott, of Guilford, Conn., who was first cousin to John Elliott of Kent; both of them were lineal descendants in the fourth degree from John Elliott of Indian missionary fame. Mr. Spencer bought a township of land of the Hon. James Hillhouse, of New Haven, Conn., under the Connecticut title, and came to Lawrenceville first without his family. Finding the lands already entered by Pennsylvania purchasers, he took no steps to enforce his title, at least at that time., but returned to Connecticut, and brought on his wife and probably three children then born. He was settled for a while in Lawrenceville; subsequently on the Elliott farm, on the old road at the foot of the hill, and finally on a part of the present Berry estate, building a house on the west side of the road, a short distance below the present driving park. He was a blacksmith by trade, and at one time occupied a log shop, probably the first one of the kind in Tioga, where now is the front yard of the A.C. Bush mansion. He very early erected a saw-mill on a race running from below the Cowanesque road bridge, in the rear of the driving park, and emptying into the river above the mouth of Crooked Creek. In 1812 Elijah Welsh was his sawyer. His first wife died in November 1802, aged 33 years and seven months, and was buried in the Lawrenceville Cemetery. In 1804 he was living on the John Elliott place, and was then married to Eleanor Boher, whose mother occupied the De Pui place, further up the river. His first wife's children were Fanny, Nancy, Horace and Charles--the first three born in Connecticut, and Charles here. His second wife's children were George, Polly and Harriet. Fanny married Levi Vail; Nancy, John Main; Horace, an Alford; Charles, Charlotte Bliss; George, a lady of Georgetown, D.C.; and Polly, Elijah Welsh. Horace in 1833 was a justice of the peace, but moved about 1838 to Erie County, Pa. Charles died about 1840, aged 40 years, and left a widow, who is still living (now the wife of Heber Cole), and children Wilbur, James, Mary, Isabel, Eleanor, George, Thomas and Benjamin.
At the establishment of the post-office at Tioga, January 1st 1805, Uriah Spencer was appointed its postmaster, and he continued so until July 1st 1809, when he was succeeded by Dr. William Willard. He was again appointed in 1834. The Tioga office was the first established in the county, that of Wellsboro not being opened until July 1st 1808. Spencer was one of the commissioners of the county at its organization; was prothonotary from 1818 to 1821, and again from 1824 to 1830, in all nine years; and from 1824 to 1830 was also register and recorder. His influence probably secured the appointment of his son-in-law, Levi Vail, as county treasurer for the years 1826 and 1827. On Saturday the 1st day of July 1826, at a convention held at the house of James Goodrich, "Willardsburg," Uriah Spencer received the endorsement of the county delegates for representative in Congress for the 9th district, and John Ryon Jr. and Asa Mann were chosen his conferrees. At the conference held at Pennsborough, Lycoming County, September 19th following, he failed to secure the nomination. He was one of the committee chosen in 1826 to draft an address to the governor of New York in furtherance of a canal from the head of Seneca lake to the Pennsylvania line, to be continued then by Pennsylvania authority to the coal mines at Blossburg. He and Samuel W. Morris were chosen a committee to present a petition to the Legislature of New York State, and Mr. Spencer visited Albany for that purpose in the month of February 1827. He was also one of the original corporators of the Tioga Navigation Company. He seems to have been one of the most influential citizens of the county up to 1833 or 1835. He subsequently lost his property and his influence. His son George held a clerkship in the general post-office at Washington, D.C., and somewhere between 1835 and 1840 the father and mother visited and remained with him for some time; but when they returned to Tioga it was seen that Mr. Spencer's mind was unsettled, especially whenever any of his original properties were spoken of. Ordinarily his conversation was calm, clear and intelligent and of an interesting character; for he possessed a large fund of information, obtained by long experience and general reading, and had a happy faculty of imparting it to others. It was said he could also speak well; and in a law suit between him and Jacob Prutsman, about the year 1833, in regard to the rights of a mill privilege, he pleaded his own case with great ability. Though not a church member he was a very regular attendant at church, and usually went with cane in hand and cushion under his arm, really filling one's idea of an old school gentleman. He would sometimes remark in a jocular way, "They say I look very much like General Jackson," It is probable he did; he certainly admired him very much, and had a personal acquaintance with him. He was tall, sparely built, of graceful movements, and with features rather thin. Mr. Spencer was arrested, some time near the year 1800 in a matter growing out of his Connecticut title, and conveyed to Williamsport or Pennsborough, and there confined in jail in company with a Mr. Spalding. Mr. Cummings was then sheriff, and the two were only locked up nights, having the freedom of the building during the day. One evening they had sat up late, and when time for bed had come the sheriff said to them: "Go down and lock yourselves in; I am not going down stairs to-night, and if you want to run away, run away!" They went down to their cell, and took no pains to lock themselves in, nor did they run away.
From about 1840 to 1845 he and his wife occupied their old village homestead, on Wellsboro Street, in which Jacob Schiefflein Jr. resided up to its burning down, in 1880. Spencer subsequently went to his son George's at Georgetown, D.C., where he died about 1852, probably aged 75 years. Mrs. Boher, the mother of Eleanor Spencer, died somewhere subsequent to the year 1825, and was buried in the Berry burying ground.
NATHAN NILES settlement is placed here in 1797, from the fact that his fourth son, Augustus Niles, born the 18th of January 1792, was but five years of age when his father came; and he came from Hartford, Connecticut, bringing with him a Connecticut title, as all who came from the east at that early period had done previously, and did for several years subsequently. The location selected for his house is the very place where his son-in-law, John Daily, resides to-day. It was a log house like all the others at that period, as no saw-mills were yet erected, and lumber could only be obtained from a distance. His settlement was made on the most southern of the Bartholomew and Patton tracts, including the mouth of Mill Creek, and his title, like that of many others, came through the Pennsylvania Bank. At Hartford he had been a merchant, but, his business proving unsuccessful, he sought that of the pioneer and farmer. His father was a physician, and also at times performed the duties of a local preacher of the Presbyterian persuasion. His wife was Irena Russell, and his children were Nathan, Aaron, Erastus, Augustus, Rodney, Irena, Clarissa, Violetta and Temperance. The first three sons moved into Delmar and Middlebury, and Rodney into Rutland. Augustus, born February 6th 1792, married Anna Adams, and remained in this township until his death. He died October 27th 1841, in his fiftieth year, leaving two sons, Augustus Edwin and Byron, and a daughter Julia, widow of Charles Miller. Of the daughters of Nathan Niles Sr. Irena married Major William Rathbone; Clarissa, Orrin Beecher; Violetta, John Daily; Temperance, Timothy Brace.
Nathan Niles was commissioned justice of the peace for the whole county January 7th 1808, and in the fall of the same year was elected one of the first commissioners of the county, by whom the initial steps were taken for the official administration of it; he was also collector of taxes for the year 1804 under the Lycoming County control of Tioga Township. The Bible record of his birth and death, as also that of his wife, was lost in the destruction by fire of A.E. Niles's house, in October 1878, and hence definite dates of these events cannot be given here. He died about 1837, in his 83rd or 84th year.
COBIN VAN CAMP, who came here at about the same time with Spencer and Niles, settled on a part of the south end of the Crozier tract, and his house was erected on the spot now occupied by David L. Aiken's. It is not known whence the family came, or whether of New Jersey or Pennsylvania stock. Van Camp sold a portion of his claim on the north to Benjamin Bentley, that on the south after his death probably passing into the hands of John S. Allen. Four members of the Van Camp family died very nearly together--the son Benjamin and a daughter of "Polly's" first, and about 1815 the father and mother, dying within a few days of each other, the mother last, and all of them were buried in the Van Camp burying ground, on their own land. There were six children in all, William, Benjamin, Isaac, Solomon, Ella and Mary. The surviving members of the family early moved away.
THE WILLARD FAMILY.--Dr. William Willard, a native of Lenox, Mass., born February 5th 1762, married Mary Rathbone at Troy, N.Y., October 13th 1791; moved from thence to Middleton, Rutland County, Vt., in the winter of 1793, and finally to Tioga February 1798. He settled on land occupied by the Roberts family, probably purchasing a portion of the Peter Roberts claim, and finally the whole of it, occupying all that space which lay between the claim of Benajah Ives on the south and that of John Ives on the north. He build a square log house on the ground now occupied by Philo Tuller's drug store and the post-office, consisting of two rooms on the first floor and a sleeping loft or chamber above. Here he commenced the business of inn keeping, opening his house to public accommodation, and it soon became the nucleus around which gathered the business and subsequent growth of Tioga village, or rather "Willardsburg," for it was chiefly so called by the old residents, not only of the place itself but generally of the county, up to 1837-8. At this time A.C. Bush was postmaster, and, the name of the post-office as well as of the township being Tioga, he sent a large number of circulars to post-offices throughout the country, stating the name of the office and township, and that its proper designation was not "Willardsburg." Dr. Willard was then dead. The fortunes of William Willard Jr. were then on the wane, and he soon after removed to Williamsport, when the old term of designation gradually grew out of use, with the disappearance of the family itself.
Dr. William Willard was an intelligent and enterprising man, and now whose influence largely commanded respect. He followed his profession of medicine, and was the postmaster of Tioga from July 1st 1809 to April 1st 1815, when he was succeeded by his son William. About the year 1809 to April 1st 1815, when he was succeeded by his son William. About the year 1809 or 1810 he rebuilt his house, constructing a two-story frame clapboard one on the site of the old, but extending much further south along the Williamson road, our present Main Street; the entire length, including a shed on the south end, being about 120 feet and the breadth 36, with an L part on the north extending back some 60 feet. It had a center hall on the first floor, and a dancing hall above. Subsequently the son William closed up the shed part, constructing four rooms more on the first floor, and enlarging the dancing hall above. The doctor built at about the same time with the house, or perhaps previously, a saw-mill on the present race of the Bayer saw-mill, further east than the present one and within the west line of the Bartholomew and Patton tract; also the story-and-a-half "red-house," which stood on the site of P.S. Tuttle's dwelling, and in which Jabin S. Bush and wife commenced housekeeping. At one time a store was kept in one of the rooms of this dwelling and the upper room or chamber was used as a masonic hall. The son William built the "red store," on the southeast corner of Main and New Streets; the old "Willard mansion," on the site of F.E. Smith's residence, subsequently removed by Hiram Adams; the "Willard saw-mill," on the site of the present Bayer mill; the "Willard farm house," on the site of Eleazer Seager's new dwelling, the frame of which the latter removed and it is now the dwelling of his son-in-law, Mr. Lloyd; and the third "Willard saw-mill," on Crooked Creek, subsequently that of William B. Kyes. The last three structures named were built after the acquisition by William Willard Jr. of the two Robert Morris tracts and the George Meade tract, lying west of the Bartholomew and Patton lands. These tracts he bought about 1821 or 1822, of Judge Charles Huston, consisting in all of over 3,000 acres of very fine pine and hemlock timbered land. In 1838 or 1839 he mortgaged this land to Judge Ellis Lewis, of Williamsport, for $4,000 and to Mrs. Sylvia Parmentier, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for $10,000 by this means Mrs. Parmentier subsequently acquired possession, and since her death the part remaining unsold is the property of her daughters, Mrs. Edward Bayer and Miss R.M. Parmentier. This property includes both the Indian and Bayer Hills.
Dr. Willard died in one of the rooms of the old public house, October 28th 1836, and was buried on his son William's land, close to the line fence between it and the "old cemetery," west side, which land, by an agreement of some seven years previous between him and James Goodrich, was to be appropriated for cemetery purposes, and to the same extent as the part granted by the latter. A very fine large marble slab was placed horizontally over the grave of the doctor by the son William; and beneath the same stone the son, dying in 1842, was buried; and the mother in 1864, in Evergreen cemetery. The remains of the father and son were some three or four years since removed to the Evergreen cemetery, through the instrumentality of Mr. Snyder, of Williamsport, a son-in-law, and a suitable monument was erected to their memory.
Of the family of Dr. Willard there were the wife, Mary Rathbone, who was born at Providence, R.I., April 4th 1770, and died at the house of her grandson, H.W. Caulking, February 29th 1864; William Jr., born at Troy, N.Y., July 6th 1792, died at Tioga, October 16th 1842; Mary Ann, born at Troy, September 19th 1793, died at Elmira, July 19th 1874; and Henry, born at Middleton, Vt., April 3rd 1796, who died in West Tennessee, December 17th 1858. Mrs. Dr. Willard was a cousin of Major William Rathbone.
William Willard Jr. was postmaster at Tioga from April 1st 1815 to 1819, when he was succeeded by John Berry; was county treasurer by appointment of the county commissioners for the year 1825 and 1826, and was one of the incorporators of the Tioga Navigation Company, the first meeting of which, to receive subscriptions to stock, was held at the house of A.D. Caulking, Wellsboro, Monday May 1st 1826. After the change of this company to a railroad company by various acts of the Legislature he was one of the directors of it, and it is believed he was for a short period its president. About 1826 he had the survey of a railroad route from Tioga to Jersey Shore, via Pine Creek, made by Civil Engineer Hovey, of Williamsport. He was the contractor for building the first "Burr bridge" in the county, generally known as the "Berry" or "red bridge," spanning the river above Tioga by a single arch, 165 feet long, constructed during Job Geer's commissionership, 1831-34, and which still stands, after fifty years of service, one of the best public bridges in the county. Robert Mathews and Clinton and Jerome Brady were the mechanics, and the material for the arches, bents, braces, etc., was sawed by Joseph Fish sen. From the best quality of pine timber, such as would be very valuable to-day. In 1836 Mr. Willard received the Whig nomination of the district for Congress, in opposition to Samuel W. Morris, the Democratic nominee. He made a strong and vigorous campaign and one of much excitement, but was defeated. In 1825 and 1826 he was in trade at Tioga, and again in 1837 and 1838 he purchased property at Williamsport, and removed his family there; but often returned himself to look after his property interests at Tioga.
Notwithstanding his peculiar character and habits he was kind and indulgent to his family, and endeavored to give them good opportunities for education, and this was said to be his chief motive for moving to Williamsport. He sent Waldo, his eldest son, to Yale College, and the young man was there at the time of his father's death, which resulted in a discontinuance of his studies. While the family were yet at the old farm house at Tioga he engaged an Italian by the name of Gaetano Meucci, who spoke both the French and English tongues as well as how own, to teach his family the French. Mary Ann, the eldest daughter, was probably much benefitted by his instruction, as he remained in the family for some length of time.
This tutor was a very singular man, and is worthy of some description here. He was tall and slim, with a full round chest, dark hair and eyes, aquiline nose, and a countenance rather stern and morose, though at times, in his more cheerful moods, it seemed pleasant and agreeable enough to his friends and acquaintances. It was understood that he was a political refugee, who had left Italy for his participation in the revolutionary insurrection in Modena and Bologna in 1831 against the papal authority, which was suppressed by Austrian intervention; and he was supposed to have been a member of the carbonari, as were also the sons of Louis Bonaparte, who were obliged to flee Italy for the same offense. He sailed from that country in a merchant vessel bound for the United States, and Mr. Willard found him in Philadelphia and brought him to Tioga. Generally he was cheerful and social enough, but at times extremely despondent, and then much inclined to excessive use of the cup. The writer has reason to remember the man wit gratitude, for his friendship brought him the first knowledge of a book--a universal history. On leaving Mr. Willard's service the tutor went to Williamsport, where he was for a time lodged in prison for debt; but through the generous intervention of the young men of that place it was paid, and he was liberated. He subsequently went to Virginia, and became a professor in the William and Mary College, Williamsburg.
The original town plot of Tioga was laid out by William Willard Jr.; that is, Cowanesque, Center and Walnut Streets, and Meeting House Alley, and at a later date the fine avenue, 100 feet wide, known as Broad Street. The two streets farther north styled Berry and Willard are of a recent origin, opened about ten years since; Summit Street about the same date; and New Street, an extension of Wellsboro Street, about twenty-five years ago. Mr. Willard sold in August 1836 the ground now occupied by the Catholic Church for the construction of a school-house thereon, which was built by Hobart B. Graves. It was a very good and substantial building for the time, and was used for the village school from about 1836 up to the construction of the present one, on Broad Street, in 1859. He also gave the ground for the Methodist Episcopal Church, by deed executed March 11th 1834, through the solicitation of Munsell, Burlingame, Fish and others, and in order to obtain as a result of it a promised subscription of $100 from A.C. Bush, when title was so acquired. He had verbally donated the ground as early as 1826 for the construction of a union church, and as the deed was requested for the Methodist association it was finally reluctantly acceded to.
Mr. Willard died while on a visit to his property at Tioga, at the house of one of his tenants--the "old Mansfield house," on Crooked Creek, and at the point of the hill a short distance above the third railroad bridge. His death resulted chiefly from inflammation and exhaustion ensuing from obstinate hemorrhoids of long standing; a disease which was also mainly instrumental in the death of his son Waldo.
Of Mr. Willard's family there were Waldo, Mary Ann, "Tinker" (who finally christened himself Willard Willard), Julia, Jerusha, Josephine, Levanche' and Eugene, and two children who died early and were buried on the south line of the present Willard Street. Mrs. Willard, who was Clarissa Lamb, daughter of Gad Lamb and sister of Lorain, died in March 1881, at Williamsport, aged about 87 years.
Waldo Willard married Ann De Pui for his first wife; his second was Sarah Maynard, and his third Emily Wickham; at his death he left two children at Williamsport, and a son of the last wife, named Waldo, is a present in Tioga; Julia, who taught school for some time at Tioga, married a physician named Smith, at Washara, Wis.; Jerusha married Dr. Hall; Josephine, Mr. Mitchell; and Levanche', Henry Snyder, grandson of Governor Snyder.
Henry Willard, second son of Dr. Willard, married Nancy Hall. In 1826 he kept a public house at Southport, McKean County, and finally moved to west Tennessee, where he died in 1858, and where his descendants are at present living.
An old cherry desk, standing on table, three feet long by two wide, with a sloping lid or cover, and containing within it ten drawers and ten pigeon holes, once the property of Dr. Willard, and transferred by him to James Goodrich when the latter became postmaster, is now in the possession of the writer, by special gift; and he regards it as a valuable memento of one of the early settlers prior to the present century.
THE INSCHO FAMILY.--Obadiah Inscho, the grandfather and great-grandfather of the present Inschos of Tioga Village and Township, came from Delaware in 1798, and settled on the river a little above Lawrenceville; and his son John, who married Lovina Mitchell, subsequently moved into the limits of Tioga Township, a little north of Robert Mitchell's. It is supposed from the orthography of the name, and the State from which the father came, that he was of Danish or Swedish extraction, and a descendant fro one of the earliest families of Delaware. He was about 40 years of age when he came, and had sons Isaiah, Thomas, Moses, John, Obadiah, Robert and Solomon, and daughters Ruby K., Judith J. and Lovina M. He died May 9th 1820, aged 62 years, and is buried in the Bentley graveyard. John Inscho was born November 1st 1789, and died April 20th 1865. His wife, Lovina, daughter of Richard Mitchell Sr., was born August 26th 1795, and died November 11th 1861; and they are both interred in the Mitchell burying ground. They had children Richard I., who died January 20th 1875, aged nearly 59 years, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery; Ruby K., wife of Alpheus Keeney; Obadiah; Judith J., wife of Samuel Broakman; John J., William M. and Lovina M. Mrs. R.P. Inscho, widow of Richard J., and their two sons, James L. and Jesse P., are residents of Tioga Village.
THE ELLIOTT FAMILY .--John Elliott was a resident of Lawrence Township up to the date of his death, but the remains of himself, wife, son and daughter are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Tioga, and his business relations were much with Tioga during his residence on the old farm. He was born in Kent, Litchfield County, Conn., and was a lineal descendant in the fourth degree from John Elliott of missionary fame. He was first cousin to the first wife of Uriah Spencer, and related to the Hon. James Hillhouse, of New Haven, Conn., whose mother was an Elliott. He came early in the spring of 1800 with a Connecticut title, having bought an interest in Uriah Spencer's purchase from the Hon. James Hillhouse. He crossed the Hudson River at Catskill March 2nd of that year, on the ice, it having frozen very hard the night previous, with two sleighs and two teams of horses. The sleighs were run over by hand, and the horses led singly with a long rope noosed around the neck of each. He succeeded in getting to Unadilla with his sleighs; there put his effects on a raft, floated down to Tioga Point, and stopped at the house of Judge Herrick. Thence he came to Tioga and procured the services of Robert Mitchell, with a canoe, and returned to Tioga Point for his goods. On their return from that place he stopped at Erwin Centre, and there learned of the arrest of Uriah Spencer and his conveyance to the Lycoming County Jail. He thought it best to remain out of Pennsylvania, and did so until 1811, when he removed to the village of Lawrenceville, occupying land that was subsequently acquired by James Ford, and for which he paid Michael R. Tharp--brother in law of James Ford--as agent for the same, $400 down as part payment. In some manner this payment was lost, and he was forced to sell his interest at Lawrenceville to James Ford in 1816; and, going farther up the stream, he bought what is now known as the "Elliott farm," of John Shepard at $4 per acre, with the improvements of Uriah Spencer, who formerly occupied it. He subsequently entered by warrant, at 26 cents per acre, a vacant tract of land adjoining him on the south. It contained 65 acres, in a triangular shape, and lying along the west bank of the Tioga. Mr. Elliott was a justice of the peace in his native State, and had also been a member of its Legislature. In 1878, shortly after the death of Julia Elliott, the writer had occasion to make some inquiries of his father in regard to John Elliott, and the reply was: "He was a good man; an honest, conscientious, upright one; and as long as I knew him I never heard his neighbors question his integrity of character." His wife was Penina Walter, nearly 17 years younger than he. It is said that when she was a mere child he took her on his knee, and said to her he was going to wait for her to grow up to be his wife.
John Elliott was born November 3rd 1760, and died December 13th 1845; his wife, Penina, born March 11th 1777, died August 29th 1870; Augustus, their son, born January 18th 1809, died March 1st 1849; Julia Elliott, spinster, born June 27th 1810, died July 27th 1878. The eldest son, William, died, it is believed, in Allegany county, N.Y., leaving his property to Julia; and Julia, after her father's death, became owner of the old homestead, and managed it until her death, in 1878. She willed the same, after certain bequests, to her brother John, living in the west, who generously divided his interest with his brother Homer S., residing in Lycoming County. The old homestead house, with its porch and four tall, round columns, with a sign post from which depended three black balls, overlooking from its prominent position the valley to the east, and kept as it was for many years as a house of entertainment, has in its day been an object of much curiosity and tradition, and though the sign of the three black balls is gone, and the house no longer occupied by any members of the Elliott family, it remains to-day an interesting landmark of former times.
ELIJAH BURLEY.--But little is known of this pioneer except that he was a preacher, and lived in a log house at the head of the Cove, the remains of which were visible for a good many years and occasioned much speculation as to its original purpose and occupant, some supposing it to have been a sort of frontier fort at a very early day. He was here in 1800, and how much earlier than this period it is difficult to say; Jacob Kiphart does not enumerate him among the settlers when he came, while Jacob's sister Betsey remembers such a man, that he lived somewhere up the river, and that he was a preacher. It is not known that he had a family, or whether he built the house in which he lived, or whence he came, or when he went away. However, he must have remained here several years, for Harris Hotchkiss, who came in 1804, had a knowledge and recollection of the man, which is a fact remembered by tradition through his son Dennis.
THE PRUTSMAN FAMILY .--Nicholas Prutsman, the grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather of the Prutsman family of Tioga, was here also in 1800, as were widow Boher and her daughter Eleanor, who came from the same section of country and at the same time. The father of Nicholas Prutsman, whose name was also Nicholas, was of German or Dutch descent, and came from the Rhineland, accompanied by two brothers, about the year 1762. One of the brothers settled near Philadelphia, the other near Pittsburgh, and Nicholas in South Smithfield Township, north of Easton, in Northampton County, this State. The son Nicholas Jr. sold his farm at the place above mentioned, came in the year 1800 to Tioga, and settled on what has subsequently been known as the De Pui farm. He was a mill-wright by occupation, as well as a farmer. He built himself a log dwelling, close by the group of some fifteen apple trees which he planted and which are still standing , seen on the right bank of the race as you cross the bridge below the Abram Prutsman homestead. He was here four years before his sons came, and in the meantime worked industriously clearing land. In 1804 his sons Jacob, Nicholas and Adam also came from South Smithfield, now Monroe County, coming by the same route the father did, over Pocono Mountain to Wilkes-Barre, thence by the State road via Wyalusing to Tioga Point, and thence to Newtown and Painted Post, where Jacob's family remained one week, until he and his brothers had time to visit the father at Tioga, pick out a location for settlement, and return to bring them to it. He brought with him a wagon, a span of horses, and some cows, which were milked on the road and butter made in the churn by the jolting of the wagon. His family accompanying him consisted of his wife and four eldest children, John, Polly, Abram and Betsey, of whom the two daughters are still living, one the widow of Elias and the other of Abram Westbrook. He erected a log house--a very rude one--on the spot where now stands his son Abram's homestead, and occupied for his claim a tract lying between that of his father, Nicholas, on the north, and that of George Prekay on the south, including lands both in the Thomas Willing and Robert Crozier warrants. Soon after the arrival of the sons the father commenced the construction of a grist-mill about forty rods above the De Pui mill, subsequently built. It had one run of stones, and is said to have been the first erected in the county.
Nicholas Prutsman, Jr., who had married previous to his coming, settled in a log house on the site of the old Elliott mansion. Adam returned to Northampton County, married there, and came back to Tioga, when shortly afterward he and Nicholas Jr. moved to the town of Jasper, Steuban County, N.Y.
Jacob bought or acquired through George Prekay a large addition to his farm, and subsequently built a sawmill on Bar Creek, now on the rear part of Hiram Adams's farm, said to have been the second one erected in the township, either Dr. Willard's or Uriah Spencer's having preceded it. The mill, though of rude construction, supplied a large quantity of lumber for the local wants of the community, as well as for transportation down the river. In 1827 he built a new mill on the west bank of the river. In 1827 he built a new mill on the west bank of the river, not far from the present residence of A.M. Prutsman, and constructed a dam across the river, both of which, for that time were works of considerable magnitude and cost. From this mill he spent quantities of lumber, in rafts and arks, to market on the lower Susquehanna. He also shipped in the arks grain and farm produce.
Jacob's trade previous to leaving Northampton county was that of a cabinet-maker, and for a number of years after his settlement at Tioga his services were much in demand for supplying coffins to various sections of the county. A very large bureau, or high chest of drawers, made by him, is now in the possession of his daughter Margaret--Mrs. Edwin Goodrich--and is not a very bad relic in these times of antiquarian rage for old furniture. He built a second log house, of more ample size and completeness, on the site of the present old "Prutsman mansion," and about the year 1831 the mansion itself, at which place he lived until he sold the farm to his son, George, himself and daughter Rachel removing to the Vaillant or J.W. Guernsey house, in the village, about the year 1851.
Nicholas, the father, died in 1824 or 1825, and was buried in ground adjacent to that of the Willard family, which is now occupied by the south line of Willard Street, near the west H.B. Smith lot, as noted on Beers's map. His age was probably near 78 years. Jacob was his administrator, and he published in the Tioga Pioneer, under date of March 20th 1826, a notice to debtors and creditors.
Jacob Prutsman's farm consisted in all of 365 acres, including that of his son Abram on the north, and Andrew's on the south, and was purchased chiefly of General Cadwallader, of Philadelphia. The homestead place at the time of his death comprised about 233 acres, and it is now included in the "model farm" of O.B. Lowell, who by additional purchases has enlarged it to 500 acres.
Jacob Prutsman's wife was Mary Miller, of Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pa., a member of quite a numerous family, one of her brothers occupying a farm in the Wyoming Valley, on which was the famous rock where it was said Queen Esther with her own hand tomahawked fourteen of the defenseless citizens of the valley, who were fleeing to Forty Fort for protection at the time of the Wyoming massacre.
Both Jacob and his wife were persons much esteemed and respected by their neighbors. They had excellent qualities of mind, and habits of thrift and industry that were displayed in numerous ways. Jacob himself was noted for his good humor and native wit, which were often subject of remark and merriment to his neighbors. Jacob Prutsman's children were in all fifteen, of whom nine lived to be over 60 years of age.
Jacob himself was born March 21st 1773, and died April 12th 1862; Mary, his wife, was born June 8th 1778, and died August 24th 1846; John, their son, born in 1798, died in 1878; Mary, born March 28th 1800, widow of Elias Westbrook, is still living; Abram, born December 17th 1801, died June 7th 1882; Elizabeth, born May 7th 1803, widow of Solomon Westbrook, is still living; Andrew Miller, born December 18th 1807, married Marianue Bentley, and had six children, five of whom are still living; Adam, born in 1809, married Zylphia Isenhower, moved to Princeton, Ill., in 1838, and is still living, with one child; Sarah, born February 14th 1811, married David Smith, and died April 14th 1840; Eunice died January 18th 183, aged 14 years; Catharine, born in 1812, married Thomas Westbrook, and died at Princeton, Ill., in 1874, leaving six children; Rachel, unmarried, born October 4th 1814, is living at the village homestead; Margaret, born June 10th 1816, married E.C. Goodrich, and resides in Tioga, having one child, a daughter; Susan, born in 1817, died early; George Miller, born October 28th 1822, married Caroline Power, and died on the homestead farm in 1861, leaving three children, who died in December 1862.
John Prutsman owned the valuable farm of 90 acres, in the borough and across the Cove, sold to O. B. Lowell in 1864, subsequently to A. S. Turner, and to Henry N. Smith in 1868, which was the original claims of Benajah Ives and Jesse Losey. He married Phebe Middaugh, of Chemung, and had eight children. "Polly" had five sons, all now dead, and has three daughters living; Elizabeth has six children, living, and has lost one. Abram married Maria Cole, and had seven children, five of whom are still living.
JOHN GORDON, who came to Tioga between the years 1800 and 1803, was a native of Scotland, either of Edinburgh or its near vicinity, born in the month of March 1761. While attending school he was seized by a British press gang, with three of his mates, forced into the English service, and brought to this country at an early age. At the age of 17 (as appears by a discharge paper still existing, and in possession of his daughter, Mrs. Ambrose Millard), he was a private in Captain Robert Scott's company of His Majesty's 53rd regiment of foot, and in consequence "of being of a consumptive and weakly constitution, that rendered him unfit for service, and, at his own request, having provided another man in his room," was discharged from the service December 24th 1779, probably at Whitehall, N.Y. It appears that he attended school for a while in this country, and by association with Indians acquired such a knowledge of the Indian tongue as enabled him to act as an interpreter for a Mr. McKenzie, who was employed by the government to explore some portion of the Indian territory, and was in his service some two years. He married Sarah Rathbone, sister of Major William Rathbone and first cousin of Mrs. Dr. Willard, at Sheffield, Mass.; subsequently removed to Berkshire County, Mass.; thence to Chenango County, N.Y., where he occupied a farm near the present city of Binghamton, given to his wife Sarah by her father Daniel Rathbone. He came to Tioga at the period named, and purchased subsequently of the proprietor of the Charles Marshall tract quite a body of land, which was subsequently sold by him and divided into three farms; the north part he sold to Dr. Simeon Power, the south part to his step-son John Main, and at a later period, either 1816 or 1817, the center and remaining part to Roland Hall. At the same date he purchased of William Willard Jr. 24 acres on the west side of the Cove, including what is now known as the Colonel Johnston place, with some portion of the Gordon purchase sold off. The house in which he lived on the farm was a double log house, and kept as a tavern or wayside inn. On his new purchase he built a story-and-a-half frame and clapboard dwelling, with large chimney and fireplace and cellar underneath, the characteristic style of that time as previously described. In connection with the improvement and cultivation of this little farm he carried on a small tannery, probably the same one subsequently purchased and carried on by Levi and Joseph W. Guernsey, on the site of Bartholomew Kelly's house. Mr. Gordon died the 18th day of April 1821, and was buried in the Bentley burying ground. His widow died at Mainsburg, this county, in 1854.
The children of John Gordon were: Edwin, who married Lucy Power, and moved to a place near Michigan City, Indiana, about 1840, but is now dead, the widow still living; Marcia, who died November 8th 1810, aged 20 years, and was buried in the Bentley graveyard; Groves, who married a Miss Lincoln, and had children Byron and Mary; Mary, widow of Ambrose Millard, now living at Elmira, probably not far from 88 years of age; Brittania, wife of Dr. Pliny Power, who died at Detroit, November 15th 1881, and is buried there in Elmwood cemetery; and three other children dying early in life. Captain Groves Gordon had charge of the third company 129th regiment 9th division of Pennsylvania militia, and officiated in that capacity in the years 1826 and 1827. He remained at the old homestead up to 1840, when he moved to Cuba, Allegany County, N.Y., where he died.
Tioga Township & Borough Part One
-- Part Two -- Part Three
-- Part Four