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Bradford County PA
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Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1883 Tioga County PA History

Source: History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, with Illustrations, Portraits, & Sketches of Prominent Families and Individuals (1883), (New York: W. W. Munsell & Co., Press of George MacNamara)

1883 Tioga County History 
 
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WARD TOWNSHIP.

By John L. Sexton, Jr.

The township of Ward, named in honor of C.L. Ward, of Towanda, Pa., is situated in the southeastern highlands of Tioga County, where arise the springs, rivulets and creeks which first form the Tioga River. It is bounded on the north by the township of Sullivan; on the east by Bradford County; south by Union, and west by Hamilton and Covington Townships. It has a population of 327, according to the census of 1880. The township produces excellent grass, oats, corn and potatoes, and the new land, wheat. Tobacco has been raised to a limited extent. The township is well adapted to grazing, and the butter made on these highlands is of the choicest kind and sweetest flavor.

The only post-office in the township is Chase's Mills. The inhabitants of the southern portion are either accommodated with post-office facilities at Gleason, in Union Township, or Canton, Bradford County; while those on the east get their mail at Canton or Alba, and those in the north and extreme west receive mail at Armenia, Mainsburg, Fall Brook or Morris Run.

The market for the sale of farm products is good, every thing that is raised upon the farm finding a ready sale at the mines at Fall Brook, or at Canton, Alba and Troy.

THE EARLY SETTLERS.

It is not known who was the first settler in the township of Ward. There are many traditions in relation to it. It is certain, however, that a settlement was made many years ago on what is now known as the "Old Possessions," in the northern portion of the township; this was afterward abandoned, and Dr. Fellows had tenants upon the property, which caused the name of Fellows Creek to be given to the stream, which heads in the vicinity and flows eastward into the Tioga River.

The McIntoshes, William, Simon and Matthias, and Harry Coovert settled in what is now known as McIntosh Hollow, about the year 1837. After them came James Lyon, Andrew Kniffin, Erastus Kiff, William R. Lyon, Daniel Hagar, Waterman Gates, - Joiners, John Purvis and Simon Conglin. The lands were very heavily timbered with beech, maple, cherry, hemlock and a few scattering pines. The settlers were principally from the State of New York, and a number from Delaware County of that State. They suffered great privations and hardships in establishing their homes, and the tales which each could relate would fill a book.

There are now a number of very fine farms in the township. The estate of C.L. Ward includes several thousand acres of coal and timbered lands in the township, which are not for sale in small quantities; hence the limited population. There has been a marked improvement made within the last few years by those who do occupy lands here.

William R. Lyon was born in Kortright, Delaware County, New York, June 7th 1813, and was married November 8th 1836, to Miss Rachel Stouten, by whom he had children - Mellissa Adelaide, wife of David Beardsley; William Stanley, Festus Watson, Victoria Emogene, Ruloff E. and Isabella. He located in McIntosh Holow in 1847. There were then only five or six families in the township. Mr. Lyon afterward located lower down the stream, and in 1863 build a sawmill and in 1865 a good framed house where he now resides. He has served three terms (15 years) as justice of the peace, and for a long time was special agent for C.L. Ward. Mr. Lyon has always been an active and public spirited gentleman.

Erastus Kiff, one of the pioneers of Ward, was a native of Delaware County, N.Y., as also was his wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Palmer. His children are: John; Harriet, wife of Israel Moore of Canton; Ann Eliza, wife of Ambrose Murray, Troy, Pa.; Lucy, wife of Daniel Cosper, Alba, Pa.; Charles, Horace H., and Helen, wife of Warren Whitman of Michigan. Mr. Kiff settled in McIntosh Hollow in 1839; he subsequently removed to Rathbone Creek, built a saw-mill and shingle-mill, cleared up a farm and raised a highly respectable family. He was many years supervisor, justice of the peace, school director, etc. A few years ago, his wife dying, he sold out and removed to Michigan.

Horace H. Kiff, son of Erastus and Sarah Kiff, was born in Bloomville, Delaware County, N.Y., February 17th 1837, and removed with his parents to Ward township when he was about two years old. He was educated in the schools of Ward township, and has been a resident of the township forty-three years. July 15th 1863 he was married to Olive Blakeman, daughter of A. Blakeman, of Alba, Bradford County, by whom he has had one child, Adell, who died in infancy. He early became acquainted with the practical workings of a saw-mill, and for several years was in the employ of the Fall Brook Coal Company in the manufacture of lumber. He was also employed two years in Morris Run as foreman in a mill. He now has sixty acres of land in Ward Township near the scenes of his early childhood, with a good dwelling, a barn, a fine orchard, etc.

John M. Kiff was born in Kortright, Delaware County, N.Y., October 17th 1823, and came into Ward with his father in 1839. He was married October 25th 1854 to Miss Susannah Bascomb, by whom he has seven children - Mettie; Jennie, wife of Charles Green, of Armenia; Willie, Harrison, Frank, George, and Delos. He now resides on Rathbone Creek and owns ninety-six acres of land. For over forty years he has been a resident of the township, and he was largely instrumental in its formation, circulating a petition for the same. For about twenty years he was engaged in lumbering. He was one of the first supervisors of the township. When he located in Ward there were no roads. Everything had to be brought on horseback from Troy or Canton, and the first lumber market was reached by going over a mountain and down its steep descent to Alba or Canton. Many settlers could not stand the hardships ad moved away; but Mr. Kiff has remained and is very comfortably situated.

A.J. Teeter was born in Lansing, Tompkins County, N.Y., December 31st 1828, ad was brought up as a farmer. December 31st 1854 he was married to Miss Jane A. Brooks, of Springfield, Pa., by whom he has three children, Marion L., wife of Henry Harkness, of Salamanca, N.Y., and two sons, C. Wellington, ad Chauncey L. He settled in Ward twenty-seven years ago and purchased a wild lot from C. Rathbone, containing about seventy acres, forty-five of which are improved, with a good frame dwelling ad barn, an orchard, and a shingle-mill.

Tracy O. Hillis was born in Chenango County, N.Y., in 1827, and was educated in the common schools of that State. At a suitable age he learned the cabinet maker's trade, and for several years after completing his apprenticeship he followed the business. He was married in Jackson, Susquehanna Township, Pa., in 1849, to Miss Christine Hill, daughter of Deacon James D. Hill. In 1858 he bought eighty-seven acres of land, situated near the highest point in the county, in the township of Ward. At the time of his purchase there was upon the lot a small log house, and a few acres of timber had been chopped down but not cleared away. Mr. Hollis has since cleared up the farm and brought it under a high state of cultivation. He has a good house and barn, and orchard, and at this very high altitude has a very productive farm; he has utilized a spring for the raising of trout, German carp and other fish. Early in 1862 he enlisted as a private in the 12th Pennsylvania calvary, and was soon promoted sergeant major. He was subsequently further promoted. On account of poor health he resigned; but, recovering, enlisted in the 2nd Pennsylvania heavy artillery and served until the close of the war. He was retained in the secret service until February 1866, in the department of the Nottaway in Virginia. He has served a term as county commissioner very acceptably, and is now serving his third term as justice of the peace.

FORMATION.--OFFICERS.

The township was formed in February 1852, and taken from the townships of Sullivan and Union. The borough of Fall Brook was taken from Ward in August 1864, and has about one thousand inhabitants; so that within the original limits of the township there are now about fourteen hundred inhabitants.

The first election was held at the house of William R. Lyon. They are now held at the house of W.L. Thomas.

The township officers for the year 1881 (the term ending with February 1882) were: Supervisors, Stephen Seagur, Ferris P. Comfort; justices of the peace, Wallace Chase, T.O. Hollis; judge of election, Myron Gregory; inspectors of election, R.E. Lyon, Henry Hill; town clerk, Wallace Chase; assessor, Darius Kniffin; auditors, Charles Smith, Erastus Chapman and Alfred Furman; school directors. A.A. Griswold, Erastus Chapman, A. P. Coon, Wallace Chase, Hugh Crawford, George Conley; township treasurer, Hezekiah Wilcox; constable, Anson Furman.

The present officers were elected February 21st 1882, the vote being as follows, according to the Wellsboro Agitator:

Supervisors--A.P. Coon, 36; E. Larcum, 26; John Kiff, 12; Mayhue Horton, 5; John L. Thomas, 3. Constable--Anson Furman, 38. School directors--A.S. Gray, 39; Hugh Crawford, 28. Assessor--William R. Lyon, 8; H. Kiff, 16; Stephen Seagur, 19. Assistant assessors--William R. Lyon, 24; Stephen Seagur, 17; H. Kiff, 18; L.S. Kniffin, 8. Treasurer--H.R. Wilcox, 37. Town clerk--Henry Wilcox, 38. Judge of election--James Kniffin, 21; M.E. Gregory, 21; A.J. Teeter, 1. Inspectors--L.S. Kniffin, 10; A.P. Gray, 23; R.P. Kiff, 9. Auditor, D.M. Evans, 30.

SCHOOLS.

The first school-house was erected in what is known as McIntosh Hollow, and was made of logs. Among the first teachers in the township were Mary Welsh, Susan Bascomb, Electa Lyon, Elizabeth Coovert, Eliza Ann Taber, Mary Denmark, Adelia Denmark and Mettie Kiff. Miss Mettie Kiff taught ten terms, and is now engaged in Fall Brook. The present teachers are Daniel Preston Jr., Miss Hattie Conley and Miss Laura Breese. The first schools were taught in private houses. Miss Susannah Bascomb taught the first school in a framed house built for school purposes. There are four sub school districts in the township, viz., McIntosh, No. 1; Seagur District, No. 2; Lyons District, No. 3; and Horton District, No. 4.

RELIGIOUS EFFORTS.

Rev. John Spaulding was the first clergyman who preached in the township; then came Rev. Messsrs. Sweet, Hyatt and Lester, and others have from time to time ministered here. There being no churches, services were held at private houses or in school-houses.

Application has been made to the court of common pleas of Tioga County for a charter for the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ward. Rev. D.W. Smith of Canton now officiates at the Red school-house. W.R. Lyon is class leader, and P.C. Brooks steward. A Sunday-school is also held in the school-house, with Charles Smith superintendent. There are about twenty scholars in attendance.

A Baptist church was organized in the winter of 1879-80, composed chiefly of members who formerly belonged to the Baptist Church at Canton. Since its organization quite an addition has been made to its membership. No church edifice has as yet been erected. Services are held ever alternate Sunday by Rev. Mr. Crowell, of Alba. There are between forty and fifty members. The deacons are James D. Hill and Tracy O. Hollis; clerk, V.A. Manville.

MISCELLANEOUS.

There are three unincorporated graveyards in the township--one in McIntosh Hollow, one at Kniffin's and one at the Red school-house.

A lodge of grangers was instituted about four years ago, which for a time was quite prosperous. Among the prominent members were George Beardsley, William R. Lyon, R.E. Lyon and Wallace Chase.

The first and only hotel in the township was erected in 1864, by a Mr. Peet; it was afterward kept by Myron Nichols and later by W.L. Thomas.

The first saw-mill in the township was erected by Mr. Wood, about the year 1845; the next by William McIntosh. Erastus Kiff built the next, and in 1863 W.R. Lyon built one, which for several years has been owned by Wallace Chase, and is now known as Chase's Mill. There are now three in the township, owned by Hugh Crawford, Charles Rathbone and Wallace Chase, with two shingle-mills; Andrew J. Teeter owns one of the latter.

During the Rebellion Fall Brook and the township of Ward, with 148 votes, furnished either by commutation, as volunteers, or as substitutes 366 men for the Union armies.
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