The Old Township of Elkland--Its Organization and Boundaries--Reduction of Area--Organized as a Borough--Enlargement of Borough Limits--Pioneer Settlers--Village Growth--Later Enterprises--Schools--Hotels--Borough Organization and Officials--Postmasters--Physicians and Lawyers--Newspapers--Churches--Cemeteries—Societies.
In 1814 the township of Elkland—now no longer in existence—was organized. Its territory, taken from Delmar township, extended along the New York state line from the ninety-third to the one hundred and fourth mile-stone—a distance of eleven miles. It extended north and south a distance of ten miles, and embraced within its boundaries the present boroughs of Nelson, Elkland and Osceola, all of Farmington, and parts of Lawrence, Deerfield and Middlebury townships. In December, 1816, a part of the township of Lawrence was taken from it, and in September, 1822, another portion of its territory went to Middlebury township. In February, 1830, the territory of the township of Farmington was taken from it. Those several reductions confined it to a narrow strip, about eight miles long, from east to west, by two and three-fourths miles wide, from north to south. By an act of the legislature, approved April 10, 1849, its territory was still further reduced by the creation of the borough of Elkland, to which, from time to time, additions have been made. In January, 1857, all that part of the township not embraced in Elkland borough limits, lying west of a line extending through the center of that borough, from north to south, was erected into the township of Osceola, and in December, 1857, all lying east of the same line became the township of Nelson, and Elkland township passed out of existence. By the subsequent extension of the Elkland borough limits south of the Cowanesque river, the townships of Osceola and Nelson both suffered material reductions of area. There is still left, however, a narrow strip between the southern boundary of Elkland and the northern boundary Farmington township, the western half of which belongs to the borough of Osceola, and the eastern half to the borough of Nelson. Some years ago a movement was afoot to annex this strip to Elkland borough and thus give it and Osceola and Nelson boroughs more symmetrical boundaries, but for some reason the annexation was not made.
A man named Baker Pierce, who died in 1815, and whose remains were buried in the old pioneer graveyard at Osceola, appears to have been the first settler within the boundaries of Elkland borough. Just when he settled or how long he remained cannot now be ascertained, but it must have been during the earlier years of the first decade of the present century. The next to settle was the Taylor family, who located at Barney Hill. The family consisted of Mrs. Permelia Taylor and her three sons, Ebenezer, Philip and Mitchell, who emigrated from the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey, to the Wyoming valley, thence to Pipe Creek, below Owego, from which place, in 1806, they came to the Cowanesque valley. Ebenezer and Philip soon afterward removed to Osceola. The latter, his mother and his brother, Mitchell, all died before 1815, and were buried at Barney Hill. In 1882, their resting place being disturbed by the building of the Addison and Pennsylvania railroad, Capt. Charles R. Taylor and Charles Tubbs—descendants in the fourth generation of Mrs. Permelia Taylor—removed their remains to the cemetery at Osceola.
It appears that William Courtright acquired title to the land first bought and settled on by Philip Taylor, which, in 1814, he conveyed to Lintsford Coates. The Coates family came early, as early, so it has been stated, as 1806. In 1808, however, Timothy Coates, Sr., acquired the title to 170 acres of land, situated between the lands of Cyprian Wright and those of Amasa Culver, and covered by warrant No. 233, within the limits of what is now Nelson borough, and later he and his son, Lintsford, bought land and became residents of Elkland. The exact year, is, however, difficult to ascertain. Daniel Holiday was here previous to 1810, in which year his son, Daniel, now a resident of Holidaytown, Middlebury township, was born.
In March, 1811, came a colony from Elmira and Southport, New York, consisting of Samuel Tubbs, Sr., his sons, Samuel, James and Benjamin, and his sons-in-law, John Ryon, Jr., David Hammond and Martin Stevens. The members of this colony became the owners and occupants of all the land from Barney Hill on the east to the Stull farm on the west, including the Davenport Island and farm on the south side of the river. John Ryon, Jr., and his brother James, settled in the center of Elkland, which became known as Ryonsville. John Ryon, Sr., who joined the settlement later, was the first postmaster of the village, and resided there until his death in 1832. John Ryon, Jr., early became a prominent and leading spirit. He was elected a justice of the peace in 1816, a member of the legislature in 1822 and 1823, and a member of the state senate in 1824. He was the first merchant of the village and its most prominent citizen. In 1848 he removed to Lawrenceville, where he died July 22, 1859. Samuel Tubbs settled on what is now known as the Dorrance farm, and soon became identified with the material growth of the village. David Hammond settled on the old Hammond homestead, now owned by Mrs. C. L. Pattison.
The names given are those of the pioneers who settled within the borough limits, so far as it has been possible to ascertain them. In time the village took the name of Elkland, growing steadily year by year. it is now one of the most prosperous and progressive boroughs in the county.
As early as 1815 Col. Samuel Tubbs and his sons excavated a mill race around the south side of what afterward became known as Davenport Island, and erected a saw-mill and a grist-mill. Col. Lemuel Davenport, who came about 1820, or soon after, acquired this property and owned and operated the mills. In 1870 they were purchased by Hon. John W. Ryon, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. In 1885 the grist-mill was changed to a roller-mill. In 1890 the machinery, etc., was removed to a site north of the Fall Brook railroad, at the head of Parkhurst street, and the present mill erected. In 1894 a grain elevator with a capacity of 14,000 bushels of grain was built. During the latter part of 1895 the mill was completely remodeled and the latest improved machinery added. It is now a 500-barrel mill, and is one of the best equipped in the State. John W. Ryon, Jr., is in charge. William Martindell is the superintendent and head miller. About 1840 D. B. Schoff erected a water-power saw-mill on the river in the southern part of the village, and operated it for a number of years. It was torn down in 1869 by George Dorrance.
The first store in the village was opened about 1824 or 1825 by John Ryon, Jr., and Robert Tubbs. In 1828 Joel Parkhurst, who had previously been in business with his brother in Lawrenceville, came to Elkland, joined with and later bought them out. He became within a few years, not only a leading business man, but the wealthiest citizen of the Cowanesque valley, maintaining at the same time a well-deserved reputation for liberality, enterprise and public spirit. In 1832 George L. and Samuel Ryon opened a store and continued in business until 1843. About 1833 Timothy S. and David Coates engaged in merchandising and lumbering, continuing until 1854, when Clark Kimball, of Osceola, succeeded David. Other changes occurred previous to Mr. Coates’ retirement in 1859 or 1860.
As the country became more settled, the village grew slowly, new stores being started, a school house built, a church organized, and such other trade and industrial enterprises set on foot as the condition and necessities of the people demanded. In the winter of 1839-40 James Tubbs, father of Hon. Charles Tubbs, of Osceola, and who is still living, taught a school in the village. Recently, in a reminiscent article published in the Elkland Journal, he described this school and the pupils who attended, and closed with the following description of the village:
"At the time of my school Elkland was a mere hamlet, not even a four corners, as there was no street from Skinner’s store to the river. On what is now Buffalo street two families lived—Anson Blackman’s and Alvinzi Foote’s. Stanley, the tailor, had just occupied the house in which Dr. Rockwell now lives. Martin Stevens, carpenter, and Asaph Johnson lived on the farm where the Postal Telegraph Company’s office is, and Benjamin Tubbs on the lower part of the Dorrance farm. The leading citizen was John Ryon. He had been representative and senator, and at the time of my school had a seat upon the bench as associate judge. He gave the land where the school house was built; the land for the cemetery, and the site for the Presbyterian church, which had then been built about one year. his son, John W., has become my most distinguished scholar, having been a member of Congress. Elisha B. Benedict was the physician of the place, and Rev. Octavius Fitch, the Presbyterian minister. Joel Parkhurst, who settled in Elkland eleven years previously, kept a store on the site of the Journal office, and was the postmaster. The mail arrived twice a week at the postoffice. There was no bridge across the river.
The Elkland Tannery was established about 1851 by James Hancock on the south bank of the Cowanesque river. He was soon succeeded by S. G. Tabor & Son. In 1853 Joel Parkhurst acquired the property, which he continued to own until 1873, when he sold it to Joseph Cornelius. He owned and operated it in connection with his sons until 1893, when it passed into the hands of Proctor, Hunt & Co., of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. Cornelius retaining an interest in the business. In January, 1893, the tannery was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt on the present site, north of the Fall Brook railroad, beginning operations November 11, 1893. The new tannery has a capacity of 600 hides per day and is one of the largest in the county. F. M. Cornelius is the superintendent. The company also owns and carries on a large general store.
Decker & Metcalf’s Sash, Door and Blind Factory was established about 1857. They ran it nearly twenty years. The property had various owners afterwards, finally falling into the hands of C. L. Pattison, who removed the plant north of the railroads and incorporated it with the furniture factory.
The Pattison National Bank is the successor of a private bank established in 1867 by Joel and John Parkhurst, under the firm name of J. & J. Parkhurst. In October, 1869, C. L. Pattison was admitted and the name changed to J. Parkhurst & Company. On August 1, 889, John Parkhurst retired and his son, L. K. Parkhurst, was admitted. The name was changed to C. L. Pattison & Company. In June, 1890, Mr. Pattison and his wife became sole owners. C. L. Pattison died April 10, 1896. Soon after his death steps were taken to re-organize the institution as a national bank, and on June 2, 1896, a charter was secured for the Pattison National Bank, so named in honor of the deceased financier, which was formally organized by the election of the following officers: Orville Pattison, president; Jerome Button, vice-president; W. Burton Foote, cashier; S. A. Weeks, teller, and Orville Pattison, W. Burton Foote, and S. A. Weeks, of Elkland; Jerome Bottom and J. D. Campbell, of Nelson; J. T. Gear and I. M. Edgcomb, of Knoxville, and John W. Hammond, of Osceola, directors. This bank is ably conducted, occupies a handsome building, erected expressly for its use, at a cost of $15,000, and is one of the strongest financial institutions in the county.
The Cowanesque Valley Oil Company was incorporated in July, 1877, the incorporators being Garrett W. Benson, Olean, New York, and John Parkhurst, Charles L. Pattison, Benjamin Dorrance and J. C. Edwards, of Elkland. An oil well was sunk on the Hammond place southwest of the borough. Oil and gas were both found, but in limited quantities.
The Tioga Telephone Company was incorporated November 28, 1881, the incorporators being James Horton, Westfield; J. W. Hammond, Osceola; J. D. Campbell, Nelson; Charles L. Pattison, Elkland, and Austin Lathrop, Jr., and G. R. Brown, Corning, New York. The capital stock is $2,500. This company operates a line of telephone in Tioga and Potter counties. In Tioga county it includes the boroughs of Nelson, Elkland, Osceola, Knoxville and Westfield.
The Elkland Furniture Association (Limited) was incorporated March 25, 1882, by Charles L. Pattison, William L. Simmons and Abram Coon, with a capital stock of $6,287.34. Its object was the manufacture and vending of furniture of every description. The plant was installed in ample buildings north of the railroad, and a large business soon built up. In 1890 one hundred hands were employed. The factory was destroyed by fire January 7, 1893. A movement to rebuild was immediately set on foot, but was not successful.
The Favorite Folding Chair Company, with a capital of $26,300, was incorporated May 5, 1883, for the purpose of manufacturing chairs of every description. The incorporators were B. H. Parkhurst, John Parkhurst, L. K. Parkhurst, Richard K. Skinner, J. C. Edwards, C. L. Pattison, of Elkland; E. B. Campbell, of Nelson, and H. F. Evans, of New York. The company continued in operation for several years.
The Elkland Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of toys and novelties, was established in Elkland in January, 1887. F. W. Crandall, the superintendent, is the son of Asa Crandall, known as the maker of Crandall’s building blocks and who ran a furniture factory in Covington in 1840. Mr. Crandall was in the same business in Montrose, Pennsylvania, where his large factory burned August 27, 1886, involving a loss of $46,000. His present plant is located in the old chair factory building. From sixty to seventy-five men are constantly employed, the annual output amounting to $40,000. Toys and novelties are shipped to all parts of the world.
The Elkland Carriage Works was established in the old rink building in 1889, by B. H. Parkhurst, and operated until his suspension in 1893. Over sixty hands were employed, the annual output exceeding $100,000. A factory building north of the railroad was erected in 1890. This property is now owned by the National Advertising Company, who purpose engaging in the manufacture of snow shovels and other articles of utility.
The Elkland Planing Mill was established in 1890 by E. B. Campbell and J. C. Edwards. Since August, 1895, it has been run by I. H. Fields, who employs eight hands. In addition to his planning mill business Mr. Fields engages in the manufacture of hardwood bedsteads.
The Elkland Foundry was established in 1891 by C. B. Bailey. It was destroyed in the fire of January 7, 1893, and rebuilt in the following spring. It is now operated as a foundry and machine shop by William Wilhelm.
The Elkland Basket Works was established in 1893 by C. B. Bailey and F. G. Bemis for the manufacture of fruit and farm baskets. About seventy-five hands were employed, the output amounting to about $60,000 annually. The plant was removed to Coudersport, Pennsylvania, March 1, 1896.
The Elkland Pure Oil and Gas Company was organized in February, 1896, for the purpose of making a thorough test for oil and gas on lands leased for that purpose. The officers are F. W. Crandall, president; M. G. Fitzpatrick, secretary; A. W. Campbell, treasurer; George C. Signor, R. P. McCann, F. T. Smith, J. W. Ryon, Jr., Jay Beard, J. C. Dulse, G. S. Walker, Charles Cornelius, W. G. Humphrey, C. B. and C. E. Bailey, directors. A well was sunk about half a mile southwest of the village, and gas and oil both struck, but not in paying quantities.
The Elkland Bicycle Club was organized in July, 1894, as a stock company, with B. H. Parkhurst, president; Dr. W. H. Humphrey, vice-president; George C. Signor, corresponding secretary; Fred W. Crandall, treasurer, and Fred T. Smith, secretary. This club owns twelve acres of enclosed ground northwest of the business part of the borough, containing a half-mile track, grand stand, judges’ stand, etc. Race meetings are held here each season, and state records have been made on this track.
The early schools in Elkland, as in other places throughout the county, were supported by subscription, and until the building of the first school house in 1827, were taught in any house that could be secured for the purpose. The year when the first school was opened has not been ascertained, but it was probably as early as 1814 or 1816. Among the first teachers were Henry Womer, Miss Mary Ryon and Harriet B. Wright. Miss Wright, who afterwards became the wife of Ira Bulkley, taught a term of thirteen weeks beginning June 14, 1824, in an old log dwelling house "located where C. L. Pattison now resides." She had eighteen pupils—eight boys and ten girls. They were John, Amariah and Hannah (wife of George L. Byon) Hammond; Esther Wright (second wife of Ira Bulkley); Elizabeth Cook (wife of Orsemus Rathbone); Willis and Nancy (wife of Brockhurst L. Baker) Hammond; George L. and Harris T. Ryon; Benson, Elizabeth and Charles Tubbs; Maria Coates (wife of Lorenzo Cook); Edward, Charlotte and Hester Buck; Phebe Mascho, who died young, and her brother Charles; and a girl named Rifle, who lived in the family of John Ryon, Sr. Miss Wright’s pay for teaching was "calculated at one dollar per week, or one bushel of good merchantable wheat." In 1892 her sister Esther, one of her pupils, who became the second wife of Ira Bulkley, dictated for publication an article which appeared in the Elkland Journal, in which she said:
Elkland at that time, did not show signs of becoming a village. It had no tavern, nor store, nor shop of any kind—not even a distillery. There was no church in the Cowanesque valley, and the itinerant Methodist ministers who passed this way once in six weeks, held preaching services in some barn in the summer season. John Ryon, Sr. was postmaster and kept the office at his dwelling house, at which the mail arrived by carrier on horseback, once a week (Tuesdays). "John Ryon, Esq.," as my father wrote his name among the patrons of my sister’s school, was at that time a member of the state senate, deservedly popular, a most generous and obliging gentleman.
In 1827 the first school building was erected. It is still standing just west of the Presbyterian church and is occupied as a dwelling by James Brocksley. It was built by Rodney Shaw, afterwards a well known citizen of Mansfield. At the raising there was used one and one-half gallons of whiskey, bought of H. Freeborn, of Shaver’s Point—now Lawrenceville—for fifty cents. This school house was also used as a church until 1835. It was built by subscription. One of the early teachers here after the adoption of the public school system was James Tubbs, who taught in the winter of 1839-40. in the article already quoted from, he says: "I had no blackboard. My only classes were in spelling and reading. Grammar was not a branch of study in my school. In arithmetic I had no class. Each student began and ciphered as far as he or she could in the science of numbers with my assistance. In teaching geography the same method was pursued. Considerable attention was given to penmanship."
The second school house was built in 1855, and was a two-story frame, with rooms for two departments. In 1876 Joel Parkhurst proposed to give the district a new brick school house, costing $4,000, provided the people would raise a fund of $1,500, to be placed at interest and the interest used to keep the house in order and purchase apparatus. The offer was accepted and the building erected. It ranks as third among the school houses of the county. Prof. M. F. Cass has been principal of this school since 1891, and has proven himself an able, efficient and popular educator.
For some time previous to 1836, a man named Smith kept a wayside inn on the site of the old Case Hotel—now the Sandbach House. In the year named Leander Culver bought it, and became the first regular hotel keeper in the village. In 1851 he built the present building, which has since had numerous landlords, among whom were Charles Ryon, Life Blackman, David Dunbar, John E. Westlake, A. J. Fillman, Peter Duvall, Fred Bunnell, "Sandy" Simpson, A. D. Graves, W. R. Coles and T. D. Case. In September, 1894, after Mr. Case’s death, the property was purchased by Mrs. Mary Sandbach, of Wellsboro, who placed her son, Richard E. Sandbach, in charge as manager. The name was changed to the Sandbach House. It is well conducted and popular.
In 1841 D. B. and J. W. Schoff built a hotel near the Dorrance farm. It burned in 1867. In the same year another hotel was built on its site by Enos D. and Leander Culver. About 1871 it was converted into a dwelling, and since 1880 was owned by C. L. Pattison.
The Signor House was built about 1880, Robert Traver being the first landlord. In the spring of 1886 George C. Signor bought the property, and in the summer of 1894 rebuilt the hotel, expending $2,000. The building was thoroughly remodeled inside and out, and is now one of the best hotels in the county. Mr. Signor is a popular landlord and commands a large share of the traveling patronage.
The Arlington Hotel was opened in July, 1891, near the Fall Brook railroad depot, by Robert Traver, as landlord. It was destroyed by fire December 17, 1893, being owned and occupied at the time by J. G. Parks.
BOROUGH ORGANIZATION AND OFFICIALS.
The borough of Elkland was incorporated by a special act of the legislature, approved April 10, 1849, and in May following the first election was held at the house of J. L. Davenport, resulting in the election of John Parkhurst, burgess, and Leander Culver, J. L. Davenport, J. C. Whitaker, D. B. Schoff and Joel Parkhurst, councilmen. The following are the names of the burgesses since elected: John Parkhurst, 1850; W. T. Humphrey, 1851; E. I. Kelsey, 1852; Edward Kennedy, 1853; S. E. Hunt, 1854; Truman Sanford, 1855; Joel Parkhurst, 1856-60; F. G. Loveland, 1861; Kasson Parkhurst, 1862; John Parkhurst, 1863; John Chase, 1864; Joel Parkhurst, 1865; J. C. Whitaker, 1866; Joel Parkhurst, 1867; T. S. Coates, 1868; Joel Parkhurst, 1869-74; C. P. Evans, 1875; R. K. Skinner, 1876; T. D. Chase, 1877; W. W. Wright, 1878; Henry Miner, 1879; G. T. Harrower, 1880; T. Coates, 1881; R. P. McCann, 1882; John Parkhurst, 1883; W. H. Redfield, 1884; E. G. Webb, 1885; John Parkhurst, 1886; J. E. Wilcox, 1887; John Brown, 1888-89; G. G. Dorrance, 1890; John Brown, 1891; Joseph Smith, 1892; G. S. Walker, 1893; Charles L. Pattison, 1894; served until his death, April 10, 1896; E. B. Campbell, 1896, and J. C. Edwards, 1897.
The names of the persons serving as justices of the peace during the existence of Elkland township are as follows: John Ryon, Jr., 1816; Cyprian Wright, 1819; Nathaniel Seely, second, 1819; Amariah Hammond, 1825; Reuben Cloos, 1827; Martin Bowen, 1831; Samuel Snow, 1832; A. M. Compton, 1834; John C. Whitaker, 1836; re-elected, 1840; Richard Ellison, 1838; re-elected, 1840; Luke B. Maynard, 1841; re-elected, 1853; William Barker, 1844; G. C. Blake, 1847; Daniel Shumway, 1847; Albert M. Loop, 1849; Andrew K. Bosard, 1850; re-elected, 1855; Allen Seely, 1855, and G. H. Baxter, 1857.
The following named persons have served as justices of Elkland borough: Charles Ryon, 1850; re-elected, 1855; Joel Parkhurst, 1850; John Parkhurst, 1855; re-elected 1860, 1865; Enos L. Culver, 1860; F. G. Loveland, 1864; re-elected, 1869, 1874, 1882, 1889; T. C. Coates, 1870; E. B. Benedict, 1872; A. A. Amsbury, 1874; W. B. Meade, 1876; J. C. Whitaker, Sr., 1880; John S. Ryon, 1880; William Potter, 1883; C. C. Ward, 1884; re-elected 1885; Windsor Gleason, 1888; re-elected, 1893; Robert P. McCann, 1890; John S. Ellis, 1894; re-elected, 1895; Alonzo Porter, 1895.
A postoffice called "Ryonsville" was established in the village in December, 1822, John Ryon, Sr., being the first postmaster. In 1830 he was succeeded by Joel Parkhurst, who was succeeded in June, 1834, by Samuel Ryon. In 1838 George L. Ryon was appointed. About this time the name of the office was changed to Elkland. He was succeeded in 1839 by Joel Parkhurst, whose immediate successors were John and J. G. Parkhurst. The next incumbent was Frank G. Loveland, who was succeeded in 1886 by John S. Ryon. In 1889 E. G. Webb was appointed. He was succeeded May 28, 1894, by Robert P. McCann, the present incumbent. In 1890 Elkland was made a presidential office and brought within the civil service rules.
PHYSICIANS AND LAWYERS.
In 1830 Seth John Porter came to Elkland and began the practice of medicine. He was also a minister of the gospel and, as stated elsewhere in this chapter, organized the first church in the village. He remained until September, 1833, when he removed to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and soon afterwards died. Dr. Elisha B. Benedict, also a minister of the gospel, came about 1831, and practiced until his death in 1872. In January, 1849, Dr. William T. Humphrey, a native of Bainbridge, New York, and a graduate of the Albany Medical College, came to Elkland from Addison, New York, and engaged in the practice of his profession. He remained until 1857, when he removed to Osceola, where he has continued in practice to the present time, with the exception of three years and seven months spent in the service during the Civil War. Dr. W. W. Wright, a native of Greene county, New York, came with his parents to Tioga county in 1844, graduated from the Geneva Medical College in 1848 and began the practice of his profession in Elkland in 1850, and is still engaged in active practice. W. E. Hatheway, a homeopathic physician, located about 1876 and practiced several years. Dr. Thomas N. Rockwell located in Elkland in 1887 and continued to practice until his death, January 30, 1896. Dr. W. G. Humphrey, a son of Dr. W. T. Humphrey, began practice in Elkland in 1890 and has continued to the present time.
Col. R. T. Wood, who is still a resident of the borough, began the practice of law in Elkland in 1853. S. D. Brooks came in 1855 and remained until 1867. Kasson Parkhurst practiced but a short time, during and after the Civil War. John S. Ryon was admitted to the bar in 1877 and has practiced in Elkland to the present time. Colonel Wood and himself are the resident attorneys.
The Elkland Journal was established by Edward M. Bixby, April 4, 1876, and was edited and published by him until February 19, 1878, when he was succeeded by Messrs. Ryon & Ward, who were succeeded by Wood & Buckbee. In May, 1878, Fred L. Graves assumed control. On January 1, 1882, he was succeeded by J. J. Van Horne & Brother, who continued as editors and publishers until July 10, 1891, when the property was purchased by Will C. Griffiths. Mr. Griffiths greatly improved the paper both in typographical appearance and as a medium for local and general news. Lack of paying support, however, compelled him to suspend publication in the fall of 1896.
The First Congregational Church of Elkland was the name of a church organized in 1832 at Elkland by Rev. Seth John Porter. The gospel had been preached in the valley before 1800 by itinerant ministers and lay preachers of local repute, belonging to the Methodist and Baptist denominations. In 1830 Seth John Porter came into the valley to practice medicine. It soon became known that he was also a minister of the gospel and a graduate of Auburn Theological Seminary. He began to preach in the old school house where James Brocksley now resides, and in 1832 organized a Congregational church, composed of the following members: Elihu and Henrietta Hill, William and Anna Barker, Hubbard and Euncie Clark, Anna Bacon, Clara Tubbs, Jane Christian, Almina Christian, Lydia Clark, Margaret Blend, Jane Blend, Polly Johnson, Nancy Rathbone, Hannah Hammond and Sylvina Bacon. Elihu Hill was chosen deacon. The membership of this church was scattered from Beecher’s Island along the valley almost to Knoxville, a few residing across the State line on the north, while others came from Brookfield and Farmington townships. The church increased in membership, and in August, 1834, a second Congregational was organized at Beecher’s Island by Rev. David Slie. September 26, 1834, these two churches met at the Ryon school house and united into a church to be called First Congregational Church of Elkland. January 23, 1835, at the house of Amasa Culver, in what is now Nelson, this church adopted the Presbyterian form of government, and became a church of that denomination. During the years 1830-33 the churches mentioned were ministered by Rev. Seth John Porter. Octavious Fitch came in 1833 and remained one year; Oren Johnson came in 1834 and remained two years.
The Presbyterian Church of Elkland and Osceola is the successor of the First Congregational church already mentioned. It was organized, as already stated, January 23, 1835. For a time meetings were held in the school house at Elkland, in the Bulkley school house in Osceola, in Deacon Elihu Hill’s barn and in private dwellings. In the fall of 1837 and winter of 1838 a rough board structure, 32x48 feet, was erected, where the Presbyterian church now stands, on land given by John Ryon. It was roofed with boards, "looked like a political wigwam," and was called the "Tabernacle." There were forty-six slips or pews in this church, each pew having a door. The pew holders were stockholders, and held their pews or slips in perpetuity. One of the certificates of stock still in existence reads as follows:
This certifies that Hannah Stevens has become a stockholder in the association known as the First Presbyterian Church and Congregation, of Elkland, to the amount of twenty-five dollars, in consideration of which sum, the payment of which is acknowledged, Slip No. 15, valued at twenty-five dollars, in the house of worship owned by the association aforesaid, is hereby conveyed to said Hannah Stevens, her heirs and assigns, forever.
The "Tabernacle" burned in the spring of 1853, and was not rebuilt until 1868. in 1851, while the township of Elkland still existed, and before there was any territory known as Osceola, this same church built a second church edifice in what is now Osceola, in which, after the burning of the church in Elkland, services were held, as well as occasionally in Elkland. In 1868 a building used as a union church of the Presbyterians and Methodists was erected. It may be well to say here that the church in Elkland, and the one in Osceola form one society, incorporated December 26, 1844, as "The Presbyterian Church and Congregation of Elkland," the corporate name being changed December 2, 1874, to "The Presbyterian Church of Elkland and Osceola." The same ministers and same officers have served both congregations. Ground was broken for the present church building, known as the "Parkhurst Memorial Church," July 9, 1889. It is located on the original church lot, is 87x73 feet, and is one of the handsomest and costliest church buildings in northern Pennsylvania. The foundation is of native blue stone, the masonry being broken-range, rock-face ashler. The edifice proper is of brick, with brown-stone trimmings. The architecture is an adaption of the Romanesque. It was built as a memorial to the late Joel Parkhurst, by the members of the Parkhurst family, consisting of B. H. Parkhurst, Mrs. C. L. Pattison and Mrs. J. B. Grier. It cost, including furnaces, organ, etc., $17,000. It was furnished by the congregation at a cost of $1,500. A pulpit set, costing $130, was given by Mrs. Rebecca Parkhurst and L. K. Parkhurst as a memorial to John Parkhurst. The names of the pastors who have served this church, as well as the church in Osceola, are as follows: Revs. E. D. Wells, 1835-36; Oren Johnson, 1837-38; Octavius Fitch, 1839-40; Darius Williams, 1841; Lewis R. Lockwood, 1842-44; E. Bronson, 1845; D. Harrower and John Saylor, 1848; B. F. Pratt, 1849; H. E. Woodcock, 1851; Lewis R. Lockwood, 1852; David M. Smith, 1855; Joel Campbell, 1856; Joshua Lane and Thomas S. Dewing, 1857; Edward Kennedy, 1858; Elisha Bly Benedict, 1866, and John Cairns, 1870. Rev. Solomon H. Moore, D. D., the present pastor, took charge in 1879. Besides the congregation at Osceola, he has charge of the church in Knoxville. There are in the church in Elkland 125 members, and in the Sunday-school 100 pupils. A parsonage costing $1,500 was purchased in 1886.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Elkland was incorporated April 23, 1879. It originated in a class organized over fifty years ago, its members being drawn from the church at Osceola, at that time in the Knoxville charge. The first meetings were held in the school house. In 1856 a house of worship—used as a union church—was erected. On September 25, 1891, the present building was dedicated. It is a handsome frame edifice and cost $5,800. The old building was moved back of the new one and is used as a Sunday-school room. Since its organization this church has been served by the same pastors as the one in Osceola, the history of which is given in the chapter devoted to that borough. The church now numbers about 125 members, with about sixty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which W. E. Cornelius is superintendent.
The pioneer cemetery was on Barney Hill. Here Mrs. Permelia Taylor and her sons, Philip and Mitchell Taylor, and other early settlers were buried. In 1882 the bodies of Mrs. Taylor and her sons were removed to Osceola and re-interred in the cemetery at that place.
The Presbyterian Graveyard near the Presbyterian church is another early burial place. Interments were made here up to about twelve years ago. A large number of those who died in Elkland during the earlier years of its history were buried in the cemetery at Osceola.
The Highland Cemetery Association of Elkland was incorporated January 26, 1885, by L. K. Parkhurst, B. H. Parkhurst, G. G. Dorrance, C. L. Pattison and J. S. Ryon. The capital stock of this association is $2,000, and the cemetery owned and controlled by it is situated on the hillside in the northern part of the borough.
Within the past twenty-five years a number of secret, social and benevolent
societies have been organized in Elkland, some of which had but a brief
existence. The pioneer society, Elkland Lodge, No. 1360, K. of H., was
organized January 16, 1879, with twelve charter members, and is now in
a prosperous condition. Cowanesque Union, No. 534, E. A. U., was organized
January 26, 1887, and has a good membership. J. Edgar Parkhurst Post, No.
581, G. A. R., was organized April 5, 1889. It now numbers among its membership
twenty veterans of the Civil War. Elkland Tent, No. 213, O. T. M., was
organized April 9, 1894, with twelve members. It is growing and prosperous.