ORGANIZATION—REDUCTION OF AREA—PHYSICAL FEATURES—STREAMS—POPULATION—EARLY SETTLERS—EARLY AND LATER ENTERPRISES—SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES—CHURCHES—CEMETERIES—SOCIETIES—VILLAGES
Middlebury township was created in September, 1822, and was taken from Delmar and Elkland townships. In May, 1831, a strip two miles wide from east to west was taken from it on the west and added to Chatham township. It is situated north of the center of the county, is bounded on the north by Farmington township; on the east by Tioga and Richmond townships; on the south by Charleston and Delmar townships, and on the west by Chatham township and contains about forty-eight square miles. The township is rugged and mountainous. The principle stream is Crooked Creek, which enters the township near the center of the western boundary line; flows southeast to Middlebury Center, and there takes a northeast course, leaving the township near the northeast corner. Its branches are Cumberland Creek, formed by Norris Brook and Catlin Hollow Run; Hill’s Creek, Stephen House Run, Losey Creek, White Creek and Shingle School House Run. The altitude in the Crooked Creek valley ranges from about 1,100 feet at Hammond to 1,192 feet at Niles Valley, railroad grade. The mountains rise to an altitude of 1,800 to 2,000 feet above sea level. Owing to the numerous creek branches and to a gradual widening of the Crooked Creek valley as it approaches the Tioga township line, a fair proportion of the area of the township is tillable. Its alluvium valley soils are very fertile and are especially adapted to the raising of tobacco, large quantities of which have been produced during recent years. Cereal grains, grasses and orchard fruits are also produced. The farmers of the township are, as a rule, prosperous. The township has had a steady and progressive growth. In 1840 there were 725 inhabitants; in 1870, 1,500; in 1880, 1,737, and in 1890, 1,658.
It is a difficult matter to determine who was the first white person to settle within the present boundaries of Middlebury township. The honor appears to belong to Elisha White, whose name is found on the census roll of 1800, and who came during that or the preceding year. He was a native of New England, and settled on the site of Holidaytown, where his son, Daniel White, born in 1815,the oldest living person born in the township, still resides. Some of the immediate descendants of the old pioneers claim that Abner Kelsey settled before White, but the absence of his name from the census roll, would indicate that he did not come until later. Kelsey settled just below Middlebury Center, on Crooked Creek, about where A. B. A. Briggs now resides. Roswell Ives settled on the 200 acres adjoining Elisha White on the north. John Ives, second, between Holidaytown and Middlebury Center, and Jesse Losey on Hill’s Creek. The Loseys and the Ives’ were pioneers in Tioga township and borough, and are mentioned in the chapters devoted to them. The years of their coming into Middlebury cannot be definitely ascertained, but they were among the very earliest settlers. Their names appear on the assessment list of Delmar township, which then included Middlebury for 1812.
Richard Goodwin, a native of New Hampshire, settled two miles below Middlebury Center in 1807, on land a portion of which is now owned by his grandson, George H. Goodwin. Thomas Keeney, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, settled in the autumn of 1815 just above Holidaytown. Elijah Wedge came into the county in 1815 and located at Stokesdale, but a few years later removed to and settled at Niles Valley. John Roe, a native of Vermont, also came in 1815, and settled on Crooked Creek. Edsell Mitchell, a native of Tioga township, and reputed to be the first white child born in the county, came in 1816, and settled on the farm below Holidaytown, now occupied by his sons, Thomas E. and William A. Jacob Hymes, another early settler on Crooked Creek, was in the township in 1816. John Losinger came about 1817 and is said to have been the first settler on the site of the village of Niles Valley, where he was operating a distillery two years later. Elpheus Button and James Bryant settled about 1820, in which year Aaron and Erastus Niles removed from Wellsboro and settled at Niles Valley. Aaron purchased the Losinger land, the latter removing to the next place south, where he continued the manufacture of whiskey. In 1820, also, Solomon Westbrook settled near the mouth of Hill’s Creek. In 1823 George Abbott was living on the site of Keeneyville; Isaac Losey on Losey Creek, in the western part of the township, having settled there about 1818-1820; Jacob Kiphart near Keeneyville; Israel P. Keeney near Holidaytown; James Martin, William I. Millard, Jedediah Millard and James Mazwell below Holidaytown; Thomas Boyes near the Chatham township line; Jesse Streeter, David Sloat and Cornelius Sazbury near Keeneyville; Amasa Thompson below Holidaytown, and Smith and Harry Cornell on Crooked Creek below Holidaytown. In 1824 Sala Cole, a native of Windham, Connecticut, settled on the old Cole homestead near Hammond, and Simon Snyder Chamberlain on Crooked Creek. About 1824 Archibald Hazelett settled on the site of Middlebury Center, and between 1825 and 1830 Thomas Leete settled on Crooked Creek near Hammond. In 1829 John West, a native of Massachusetts, settled on the farm owned and occupied by the late Nathan T. West near Middlebury Center. Sylvester and David Beckwith, who had previously located in Tioga, settled near the Tioga township line on crooked Creek. Here Sylvester erected, and for a number of years operated, a sawmill. These were the principal settlers up to 1830. The farms they located upon were confined mainly to the Crooked Creek valley. Tioga village was the nearest trading point for a number of years. Lumbering was the pricipal industry until the farms began to be cleared. The pioneers passed through the usual experiences and endured all the hardships of frontier life, except having to deal with a savage foe. By patient industry they laid the foundations of the prosperity now enjoyed by their descendants, besides establishing schools and churches, and doing their duty toward the upbuilding of the county.
EARLY AND LATER ENTERPRISES
In 1820, when Aaron Niles came into the township, John Losinger had a small distillery on the site of the "Old Red Store," at Niles Valley. After selling his land to Niles, he removed tot he adjoining place on the south and there resumed distilling. This appears to have been the pioneer enterprise in the township. John and Fred Losinger afterwards erected a sawmill on Norris Brook. It was run by an over shot water wheel. In 1854 it gave place to a steam sawmill erected by Solomon Bennett and John M. Randall. A store was run in connection with this mill. The firm afterwards became S. Bennett & Son, and later Bennett, Diamond & Randall. A gristmill was erected in 1868. It was destroyed by fire in 1880. The sawmill was operated until 1888. Another early sawmill was erected on Crooked Creek, near the Tioga township line, by Sylvester Beckwith, and operated by him for a number of years. The first gristmill in the township was built on Crooked Creek, above Middlebury Center by Amasa Thompson, about 1830, or, perhaps earlier. About 1835 he built another mill above the mouth of Hill’s Creek, below Holidaytown. It was run by himself and his son, Nathaniel Thompson, for a number of years. Nathaniel Thompson sold it to T. E. Mitchell. In 1885 William T. Compton secured the property and operated the mill until his death in 1890, when he was succeeded by his son, Jesse C. Compton, the present owner. It is devoted to custom work, and is known as the "Central Mills."
Elisha White built a sawmill at Holidaytown over sixty years ago. It was afterwards operated by Benjamin Holiday, until about 1852. Charles and George Herrington built a gristmill on Crooked Creek, above Middlebury Center, about 1846. It was burned in 1848. About this time Joseph Lyons had a small feedmill on his place near Niles Valley. About 1850 Arvine Clarke built the first steam sawmill in the township, on Crooked Creek, just above Hammond. From 1852-1860 Judge Levi I. Nichols and his son, W. A. Nichols, ran a steam sawmill just above Middlebury Center. In 1866 Henry J. Shaff and Newberry Cloos, Jr., built a sawmill on the Losey Creek, which they operated until 1894.
The Niles Valley Tannery, the leading manufacturing enterprise in the township, was established in the summer of 1871 by O. B. Lowell & Company. In 1884 they were succeeded by L. H. Lappell & Company. May 1, 1893, the property was acquired by the Union Tanning Company, and is one of the series of tanneries now operated by them in the county. This tannery manufactures what is known as Union Crop sole leather, and uses about 4,000 tons of hemlock and oak bark annually. About forty men are employed. James H. Orford is the superintendent, and S. H. Orford, foreman. The store, formerly run in connection with the tannery, is now carried on by Thomas Clarendon.
The Keeneyville Cheese Factory was built in 1885 by A. J. Smith, who ran it two years. It is now operated by A. C. Close. This factory has a capacity of from 75,000 to 100,000 pounds of cheese annually.
SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES
The first school in the township was taught in a log building, which stood just south of Daniel Holiday’s barn. One of the early teachers here was Calvin Cowley, known as "Black Hawk". About 1827 Amanda Hill, a daughter of Ebenezer Hill, taught a school in Edsell Mitchell’s barn. A school house was afterwards built across the road from Thomas E. Mitchell’s residence, in which the Baptist church was organized in 1832. This building was used for about twenty-five years. Among the teachers here were Charles Churchill, Henry Warner, Mary Ann Bentley, Nancy Otterson, Rowena Porter, John Stevens and Chester Dolph. Schools were established at an early day also at Niles Valley and Keeneyville. In June, 1889, the old school house at Keeneyville was washed away by the great flood and a new one, costing $1,000, erected on higher ground to replace it. Good school buildings have also been erected at Hammond, Holidaytown, Middlebury Center, Niles Valley and other places in the township, in all of which competent teachers are employed, and the latest and best methods of instruction followed.
The office of justice of the peace of the township has been filled since its organization by the following named persons: Jacob Babb, 1826; Reuben Cloos, 1827; Lucius Barto, 1827; Chauncey Alford, 1827; Martin Bowne, 1831; Samuel Snow, 1832; Jesse R. Ray, 1833; John F. Donaldson, 1834; A. M. Compton, 1834; Daniel Holiday, 1835; re-elected, 1845;, 1850, 1855, 1880, 1881; Simeon Houghton, 1836; Levi I. Nichols, 1836; Stephen Babcock, 1836; John C. Whitaker, 1836; Richard Ellison, 1839; Sylvester Beckwith, 1840; Oliver Briggs, 1840; David Beckwith, 1845; Benjamin King, 1850; Willis B. Daily, 1855; George D. Keeney, 1859; re-elected 1864, 1869,1881, 1886, 1891; Oliver P. McClure, 1860; A. J. Smith, 1870; Thomas Keeney, 1871; William C. Stevens, 1874; C. J. Smith, 1876; S. I. Hayes, 1886; re-elected, 1891, 1896; and Lemuel F. Smart, 1896.
The First Baptist Church of Middlebury is one of the oldest Baptist churches in Tioga county. The first steps toward organizing it were taken at a meeting held September 4, 1820, of which Rev. Samuel Grinnell was moderator and Edsell Mitchell clerk. July 2, 1831, a meeting was held , of which Elder Grinell was moderator, at which it was voted to invite a council to meet on the third Wednesday of August, 1831. This council met August 17, 1831, and formally organized the First Baptist Church of Middlebury. The following was the order of exercises: Prayer of recognition, by Elder Elisha Booth; charge to the church, by Elder Thomas S. Sheardown; hand of fellowship, given by Elder Platt. September 10, 1831, Edsell Mitchell was appointed clerk, and Thomas Keeney, deacon. The names of the original members, as nearly as they can be ascertained, were Elder Samuel Grinnell, and Rosanna, his wife; Thomas Keeney, Edsell Mitchell, Nancy Mitchell, Chauncey Mann, Jeremiah Churchill, Nathan Abbott, Simeon Babcock, Charles Orchard, Michael Cady, Annette Flood, Katherine Matson, Martin Flood, Matthew Hymes, Rachel Stout, Mary Keeney, Elizabeth Churchill, Sally Cady, Zilpha Losey and Patience Churchill. The meetings of the church were held in the old school house on the Mitchell place. It was not, however, until 1890, in which year the church was incorporated, during the pastorate of Rev. Fisher Wilson, that the society succeeded in erecting its own house of worship. It now has a neat frame church building, representing an outlay of $1,700. A Sunday school was organized May 13, 1891, with a membership of fifty, of which V. W. Lewis is the superintendent. The church now has about sixty members. The following named ministers have served as pastors since its organization: Revs. Samuel Grinnell, 1831-35; W. S. Smith, 1835-36; J. T. Coffin, 1842-44; Samuel Bullock, 1845; Elder Burman, 1847-48; C. Beebe, 1851-52; Elder Smith, 1855-57; Levi Stone, 1857; Elder Marriott, 1858-59; G. P. Watrous, 1863-65; C. A. Stone, 1867-69; C. Beebe, 1870; C. K. Bunnell, 1871-71; G. P. Watrous, 1873; H. E. Ford, 1874-76; D. T. VanDoren, 1877-79; George Crocker, 1882; R. K. Hammond, 1883-84; H. M. Wolf, Jr,. 1886; S. Z. Batten, 1887; Fisher Wilson, 1890-91; W. H. Porter, 1892-94; S. P. Brundage, 1895-96; A. C. Bennett, 1896-97. The first prayer meeting in the township was held at the house of Edsell Mitchell. He was also superintendent of the Sunday school for forty years.
The Hammond Regular Baptist Church was organized at Hammond, July 31, 1894, with thirty-four members, as follows; G. L. Cole and Frank Pease, deacons; A. G. Hammond, clerk; Emmer H. Steele, treasurer; S. P. Spaulding, H. L. Stevens, Frank Hammond, C. H. Stevens, and Frank McKinney, trustees; and Martha, Amy, Keith and Callie Hammond, Daisy Hymes, Mr. And Mrs. A. E. Farr, Jenny Farr, Lulu Nichols, C. G. Bailey, Mrs. Elizabeth and Mrs. C. Cutter, Arthur Cutter, Mr. And Mrs. C. H. Stevens, Paul and Jenny Stevens, Mrs. Frank Pease, Morgan Pease, Mr. And Mrs. J. DeGrote, and Caroline, Emma and Louisa Root. The first pastor was Rev. W. H. Porter, who remained one year, when he was succeeded by S. J. Brundage. A. C. Bennett, the present pastor, who also has charge of the churches at Tioga and Holidaytown, came in the autumn of 2896. A neat house of worship was dedicated February 21, 1895. The church now numbers forty-seven members. There are fifty pupils in the Sunday school, of which Arthur G. Hammond is the superintendent. A Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society, with fifty members, was organized February 25, 1895. It is composed of the young people of the church.
The Keeneyville Free Baptist Church was organized in 1840 as the "Chatham and Middlebury Free Will Baptist Church," and was composed of the societies then existing in Chatham and Middlebury townships. In 1846 each society took a separate name, the one under consideration, being known as "Middlebury Free Will Baptist Church," until June 3, 1895, when it was incorporated as the "Keeneyville Free Baptist Church." The church was organized in Keeneyville by Elder Jesse Bennett, and among the original members were George Abbott, the first deacon, and Linda, his wife; Mrs. Reuben Stevens, Rachel Slote, Sarah Carpenter, Mrs. Hodskiss, Peter Huntsinger and Solomon and Sophronia Huntsinger. Nathan West, who joined in 1844, was a deacon for many years. About 1848 or 1849 the place of worship was removed to the Losey Creek school house, where the society held services for about thirty years, and then returned to Keeneyville, where a neat church building, costing $1,200 was erected in 1895. Elder Jesse Bennett was the first pastor; Rev. Selden Butler was pastor for about twenty-five years. A. G. Downey served from 1882 to 1885; O. C. Hills and Wesley Ingerick each one year; William Smith and wife came in 1890, and J. C. Warren, the present pastor, in 1894. The church now numbers twenty-four members.
The Free Baptist Church of Holidaytown was organized in 1888 by Rev. O. J. Moon, and the society incorporated September 2, 1889, by A. J. Dickinson, A. D. West, C. F. Sweet, George H. Rozell and Jacob Doan. It now numbers ninety members. The names of the pastors are as follows; O. J. Moon, 1888-89; H. M. Abbey, 1889; R. M. Cloud, 1893-94; J. C. Warren, 1895-96. The old house of worship, erected as a union church about 1858, and occupied for many years by the Regular Baptist society, was purchased at sheriff’s sale in 1889 and is now the property of the society.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Middlebury, otherwise known as the "Shingle School House Church," was organized about fifty years ago. It has been in the Little Marsh and Farmington charges, except since 1893, when it was placed in the Keeneyville charge. Among the pastors who have served the society are Revs. Purvis, Ford, Charles Weeks, J. W. Miller, 1881-84; J. C. Stevens, 1884-86; W. M. DuBois, 1886-87; A. G. Cole, 1887-92; C. R. Morrow, 1892-93; W. R. Kenyon, 1893-94; A. Scrimshaw, 1894-95; A. T. Percy, 1895-96, and Uri Mulford, 1896-97. The society was incorporated July 7, 1884, in which year a house of worship, costing $1,400, was erected.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Keeneyville, incorporated May 9, 1892, was organized as the Keeneyville charge in 1893. Previous to that time it had been in the Little Marsh and Charleston charges, and was served by the pastors appointed to those charges. The present society is the outgrowth of a class organized a number of years ago. Since it was organized as a separate charge the pastors—who have also served the churches at the Shingle school and at Niles Valley—have been as follows; Revs. W. R. Kenyon, 1893-94; A. Scrimshaw, 1894-95; A. T. Percy, 1895-96, and Uri Mulford, 1896-97. A church building costing $2,200 was erected in 1892, in conjunction with Middlebury Lodge, No. 844, I.O.O.F. This church has a growing membership.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Niles Valley, incorporated October1, 1888, is the outgrowth of a Methodist class organized in 1862 or 1863. Among original members were Joseph E. Lyon—the first Methodist in the valley—Abram Lyon, Mary Lyon (wife of DeLong Cutter), Sarah Lyon (wife of Lorenzo Cutter), Augustus Lyon, Lydia Lyon (wife of Orlando Jones, Mrs. T. Carpenter, James H. Niles and Emily, his wife, and John Diamond. The meetings were held in the school house. In 1886-87 a church building, costing $1,200, was erected. The pastors since the erection of the building have been Revs. H. J. Owen, 1887-90; A. W. Decker, 1890-92; F. A. Peterson, 1892-93; W. R. Kenyon, 1893-94; A. Scrimshaw, 1894-95; A. T. Percy, 1895-96, and Uri Mulford, 1896-97. Previous to 1893 this church was in the East Charleston charge. It is now in the Keeneyville charge. There are nearly fifty members in the church and forty pupils in the Sunday school, of which William Manning is the superintendent. There is also an Epworth League of thirty-four members.
The Holidaytown Cemetery Association, incorporated February 5, 1875, by Daniel Holiday, V. B. Holiday, Daniel White, Samuel H. Hays and W. W. White, own and control the old burying ground south of the village of Holidaytown. Here lies buried Jesse Losey, the first settler on the site of the borough of Tioga. He died March 12, 1844, aged 85 years. Here rest also the remains of the members of the Ives, West, Wedge, Archer, Dickinson, Holiday, Keeney and other early families. Three is another burying ground on the side hill northwest of the village, in which a number of interments have been made. It is now on private property, and interments have ceased.
The Middlebury Cemetery Association, incorporated August 3, 1865, own a burial ground of one and a half acres at Hammond. The incorporators were; Daniel G., Henry A., Ezra I., George O., Martin and James M. Stevens, A. C. and Heber Cole, J. H. Westbrook, John Starkey, Chauncey LaForce, Cephas Bailey, A. A. M. Lane, Calvin Hammond, George Potter and William Chase.
The Niles Valley Cemetery Association was incorporated April 28, 1881by Philander Niles, E. M. Niles, J. A. Fletcher, Abram Lyon and Henry Wedge. The burial ground owned by this association is situated on the hillside southeast of the village of Niles Valley. The remains of many of the early settlers of Niles Valley and Middlebury Center are buried here.
The Keeneyville Cemetery is situated west of the village of Keeneyville. It is neatly fenced and well kept, and is the resting place of many of the early settlers of Keeneyville and in the western part of the township. There is also an old neighboring burial ground on Losey Creek, in the northwestern part of the township.
The Shingle School House Cemetery, near the Shingle school house, north of Keeneyville, is also an old burying ground. It is not incorporated.
The French Hill Cemetery Association was incorporated September 24, 1894, by A. D. Shaff, S. J. Roe, N. T. French, P. D. Shaff, John Brown and James Shaff. This cemetery is situated in the northwestern part of the township at what is known as French hill.
Middlebury Lodge, No. 844, I. O. O. F., was organized June 27, 1873, with nine members. It now has 160 members and is one of the most prosperous lodges in the county. In 1892, in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Keeneyville, it erected a building costing $2,200, and at the present time has $5,000 in the treasury. Middlebury Grange, No. 705, was organized May 14, 1874, with a large membership, and was incorporated August 24, 1891. It now has a membership of 135, owns a fine hall, with spacious carriage sheds and extensive grounds, and is prosperous. Niles Valley Grange, P. of H., was organized in 1889. It meets at Holidaytown and has a membership of seventy-five. Keeneyville Tent, No. 167, K. O. T. M., was organized May 3, 1893. For the past two years it has been the banner tent of the county and now numbers eighty-five members. Keeneyville Hive, No. 77, L. O. T. M., was organized April 18, 1895, and contains thirty-five members.
Holidaytown, or Crooked Creek Postoffice, is situated about a mile and a half south and east of the geographical center of the township, on Crooked Creek. It was named Holidaytown for Daniel Holiday, who has resided in the village since 1832. The first settler here was Elisha White, who came in 1799 or 1800, and whose son, Daniel White, born here in 1815, is still living, his present residence being but a few rods distant from the site of the old cabin in which he was born. The first store was kept here from 1830 to 1835 by Daniel Holiday, who built a tavern in 1832, which he kept until 1857. It was burned in1861. Another building was erected about 1870. I. P. Keeney was landlord here for three years, and was succeeded by H. P. Holiday, who closed the house as a hotel in 1892. The post office was established in 1829. Thomas Keeney was the first postmaster. He kept the office where his son Thomas now resides. His successors have been Benjamin Holiday, Edsell Mitchell, Ezra Potter, S. I. Holiday, John r. Redington, M. P. Kelsey, I. A. Newhall, E. C. Westbrook, A. J. Smith, M. G. White, T. M. Archer, W. J. Brown and H. L Hays, the present incumbent. Previous to S. I. Holiday’s appointment the office was kept at the home of the postmaster. Since then it has been either in the hotel or one of the stores. There are two church buildings—the Baptist and the Free Baptist churches—and a public school building in the village. A planing-mill, shingle mill and wagon shop is operated by George Baker. The station of the Fall Brook Railroad Company is in charge of VanBuren B. Holiday, who has filled the position since the opening of the road in 1873. Dr. James L. Beers, the resident physician, located here in 1889, and has built up a lucrative practice.
Niles Valley is situated near the southern boundary line of the township. It is at this point that Norris Creek, after flowing almost due east out of Chatham township, where it has its source, turns north. At the tannery it unites with Catlin Hollow Run to form Cumberland Creek, which, after flowing a short mile, unites with Crooked Creek at Middlebury Center. Just south of Niles Valley is the Big Marsh—the watershed of the valley. In times of high water, it is said, the water flows from this marsh north toward Norris Brook and south toward Marsh Creek. There is evidence going to show that this stream formerly flowed into Crooked Creek and thence to the Tioga River. This matter is, however, more fully dealt with in previous chapters. It is said that Norris Brook takes its name from a Mr. Norris, who was the first settler on the site of Niles Valley. It is more than probable, however, that it was named for John Norris, an early settler on the Big Marsh, who, in 1813, was appointed prothonotary and recorder, and afterward became one of the leading men of Wellsboro. John Losinger is usually spoken of as the first actual settler on the site of the village. In 1820 when Aaron Niles came and bought his land he had a small distillery on the site of the "Old Red Store." After selling his land to Niles he moved south to the adjoining place and resumed distilling. In 1820, Erastus Niles, a brother of Aaron, and David Greenleaf settled on the village site. In 1852 there were living in and around the village, Aaron Niles, Erastus Niles, Philander Niles, Joseph E. Lyon, Samuel Wedge and John Losinger. A post office was established in 1859, with Jerome B. Niles as postmaster. The office has since been held by John Diamond, John Fletcher, T. D. Rouse, John Fletcher and Stephen McInroy, who as appointed in July, 1893. The first store in the village was opened in 1868 by John T. Purvis, and conducted by him until 1885, when he retired from business. The store at the tannery was opened in 1871, and is now carried on by Thomas Clarendon. Fletcher & Wedge conducted a general store for several years. George R. Adams, who has been in business six years, and C. A. Stratton, who began business in March, 1894, are the present merchants. The Niles Valley tannery and the Methodist Episcopal church are dealt with elsewhere in this chapter. John T. Purvis, who was appointed when the road was opened in 1873, is the Fall Brook Railroad Company’s station agent. The Niles Valley Hotel was opened in 1860 by G. W. Lloyd, and kept by him until his death in 1870, since which time the house has been carried on by his widow.
Middlebury Center, known for many years as "Potters," is situated south of the center of the township, at the junction of Cumberland Crooked Creeks. The first settler here was Archibald Hazelett, who located about 1824. The place took the name of "Potters" from Henry H. Potter, who came in 1843, and who, for over thirty years, kept hotel on the west side of the toll road. His sons, A. W. Benjamin and G. W., also kept this hotel. It was closed in 1892, and has since been used as a family residence. Before Potter’s coming, Taft Aldrich and William T. Compton kept a log tavern near the same site. In 1884 the present Starkey House was built by H. M. Lowell. Its landlords have been H. M. Lowell, W. W. Finch, William Brown, A. M. Hazelett and Henry J. Shaff, each of whom kept it one year. In 1889 John Starkey bought the property. The buildings burned May 0, 1891. The present house was built on the same site and opened in the fall by Mr. Starkey, who still owns it. The post office was established in 1845, the first postmaster being Henry H. Potter, who kept it continuously till 1877, except between 1857 and 1861, when Henry New, the tollgate keeper held it. Archibald Hazelett held it from 1877 to 1881; H. M. Lowell, 1881-85; Frank Starkey, 1885-93, and George F. Davis, who was appointed September, 1893.
Keeneyville is situated on Crooked Creek, in the western part of the township. It was named in honor of Elias Keeney, a blacksmith, who settled on the village site previous to 1835. The village is now regarded as the largest and most important one in the township, notwithstanding the disadvantage of being distant several miles from the railroad. A post office was established here about 1856, R. F. Wilson being the first postmaster. The following named persons have since held the office; Jesse Keeney, M. W. Staples, A. J. Smith, J. C. Roe, Levi Beck, R. G. Close and Jared Davis, who was appointed in July 1894. The first store was started before the Civil War by Charles O. Etz. The succeeding merchants were Chase & Hymes, Silas Staples, Hugh W. Wellington, Card, Staples & Son, Richard Keeney, and M. C. Potter, 1864-1889. In February, 1896, there were two general stores—Close Brothers, and A. J. & M. J. Smith, and one furniture store, kept by J. W. Roe. The first hotel in the village was opened in 1860 by R. L. Wilson. His successors were W. Stevens, M. C. Potter, John Carl, W. H. Wood and Gilbert B. Owlett. Dr. J. L. Blatchley also kept hotel for a number of years. The names of the physicians who have practiced here are: Dr. Leonard, Dr. Wiley, Dr. J. L. Blatchley, who remained over twenty years; Dr. Augustus Niles, who removed to Wellsboro, in 1893, after having practiced fifteen years, and Dr. Luther N. Cloos, who read medicine under Dr. Niles, and who bought his residence and practice in 1893. The village is in the midst of a rich agricultural section and has grown to be an important trading point. Its churches and the public school are well attended, and the different secret and beneficiary societies, which meet in the village, have a large membership and are prosperous.
Hammond is the name of a station and post office on Crooked
Creek, in the eastern part of the township. The post office was established
here in 1873, since which time the office of postmaster has been filled
by Alexander McLean, Frank Hammond, D. Carlton and W. H. Carlton, the present
incumbent, who was appointed in March, 1892. Mr. Carlton also carries on
a general store, the only one in the place. The railroad station agent
is J. E. DeGrote.