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Organization-Physical Features-Streams-Forest Growth-Mineral Deposits-Limited Agriculture-Justices of the Peace-Changes in Area and Population- The Blossburg Coal Company-Arnot- Churches-Societies-Landrus
Bloss township, taken from Covington township, and named in honor of Aaron Bloss, the founder of Blossburg, was organized in June,1841. As originally created it embraced the area included in the Blossburg borough limits, and a large portion of that of Hamilton township, the one organized in August, 1871, and the other in December, 1871. The area included in the present boundaries embraces about twenty square miles, being four and three-fourths miles from east to west and four and one-fourth miles from north to south. The township is rough and rugged, the altitude varying from 1,400 feet in the Johnson creek valley to 2,000 feet on the mountain summits. The streams of the township are small, the principal ones being Johnson creek and Bellman run in the east and southeast; Babb’s creek in the southwest; Sand run in the northwest, and a small unnamed run or branch in the northeast. The original forest growth of the township consisted principally of pine, hemlock, beech, birch and maple. The pine has been all cut down and manufactured into lumber, and the hemlock nearly so. Large quantities of hemlock and beech are used in the mines for props, etc. Nearly the whole of the area of this township is under laid by three workable veins of semi-bituminous coal, known as the Seymour, Bloss and Bear Run veins. The Bloss vein is the one that is being mined both at Arnot and Landrus. There is also an extensive deposit of fire clay of the finest quality, as well as of potter’s clay and a clay from which a good mineral paint can be manufactured. In all of these resources the township is exceptional rich. With the exception of a limited area in the northwest corner, occupied by the farms of H.D. Wood, J.E. and C.M. Henry, Daniel Davis, Selah Phillips, William Reese and a few others, the township is composed of wild land, the property of Blossburg Coal Company, whose business is confined to the mining of coal, the manufacture of lumber, and the shipping of tan bark.
Although containing a mining town, which at one time had a larger population than any other place in the county, no effort to secure a borough charter has ever been made, and the entire township, including the villages of Arnot and Landrus, is under township government. The office of justice of the peace has been filled as follows: Evan Harris, 1842; re-elected, 1845; Francis Welch, 1842; re-elected, 1845,1862; Martin Stratton, 1844; John Evans, 1849;re-elected 1854;George Jacquemin, 1850; John James, 1854; re-elected, 1959; Isaac M. Bodine,1859; E.J. Bosworth, 1861; Lewis B. Smith,1866; re-elected, 1871; J.P. Monell, 1867; Richard Williams, 1869; Peter Cameron, Jr.,1872; James Heffron, 1872; Matthew Waddell, 1874; Reuben E. Howland, 1874; David T. Evans, 1879; D.C. Waters, M.D., 1879; re-elected 1887, 1892; Samuel Heron, 1884; Jonathan E. Hutchinson, 1884; John McKay, 1886; W.R. Logan, 1889; James Bonnell, 1894, and D.C. Waters, 1897.
In 1871 Blossburg was made a borough, and in 1872 a part of Bloss township went to make up the new township of Hamilton. This gave a reduced territory and population in 1880, the number of inhabitants being 2,814, all but 31 being residents of Arnot. in February, 1883, the township area was enlarged by the addition to the part Charleston lying between it and Duncan. In 1890 it contained 2,550 inhabitants, of which 644 resided on farms and in the village of Landrus.
The Blossburg Coal Company
The successful operation of the coal mines at Morris Run and Fall Brook, and the increasing demand for Blossburg coal- the name given to the product of these mines- drew the attention of capitalists to Tioga county, led to extended explorations in Bloss township, and to the discovery of a large deposit of coal on Johnson creek, four miles southwest of Blossburg. In order to develop this new coal field, the Blossburg Coal Mining and Railroad Company was formed, and was duly incorporated April 11, 1866. The incorporators were Constance Cook, John Arnot, Charles Cook, Henry Sherwood, Franklin N. Drake, Ferral C. Dininy, Henry H. Cook and Lorenzo Webber. Financially, this company was a strong one, and was composed of men noted for their energy, enterprise and public spirit.
A tract of several thousands acres of land , embracing nearly the entire area of Bloss township, having been purchased , preparations were made for developing the new coal fields and marketing the coal. An office was opened in Blossburg, and a wagon road, from the coal openings, cut through the forest to the Williamson road, a distance of two miles, for the transportation of materials and supplies to the site of the new village, which was named Draketown, in honor of Franklin N. Drake, the first president of the company and a leading spirit in the enterprise. F.C. Dininy was the general superintendent of the outside and lumber department.
A village site was selected and cleared, a saw-mill built, and Nicholas Schultz-now the outside foreman of the company, placed in charge as head sawyer. A number of dwellings and a store building were also erected. This gave employment to a large number of woodsmen ,carpenters and other mechanics, and created a scene of activity , evidencing the earnestness and energy of the company. A railroad was also completed from Blossburg during the summer of 1866. In the meantime, Drift No.1 was put in by James R. Cameron, John Dunsmore and others. Drifts Nos. 2,3,4, and 5 were afterwards opened under Mr. Cameron’s direction. Drift No. 6, three miles southwest, was opened by J.J. Davis, under the direction of S.B. Elliot, and a narrow gauge railroad built to it in 1880. A weighing office was established in Blossburg , with M.G. Lewis as weigh-master and shipping clerk. The encouraging results following the opening of the mines and of the explorations carried on during 1867 and 1868, led the company, in the latter year, to purchase the Tioga railroad, extending from Lawrenceville to Blossburg and Morris Run. This gave the company thirty-four miles from Blossburg to Draketown, and connection with the “Erie” at Corning, New York.
In 1868 the office of the company was removed from Blossburg . In March, of that year , H.J. Landrus was appointed cashier and in 1874 was made manager. He resigned May 1,1876, and was succeeded by S.B. Elliott, who resigned September1, 1881, having been promoted to chief engineer. From 1876 to 1880, when he resigned , John J. Davis was superintendent of mines, during which period he re-opened the lower drift, experimented with the coal and demonstrated its cooking qualities. In 1881 Mr. Landrus again became manager, and held the position until 1886, when he was succeeded by Frank J. Lyons. In 1890 Mr. Lyons was succeeded by the late Richard T. Dodson, who died in December, 1896. The present manager is Edward E. Loomis.
After the purchase of the Tioga railroad, the output of the mines was largely increased, and there was a corresponding increase in the number of employs until 1882,when there were 1,400 names on the company’s pay roll. In the summer of 1881, the Arnot and Pine Creek Railroad Company, composed mainly of stockholders of the Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad Company, was formed. The officers of the company were: L.H. Shattuck, president; D.S. Drake secretary and treasurer; S.B. Elliott, William Hull, A.S. Spicer, J.B. Niles and M.F. Elliott, directors, and Ransom Dupuy, Chief engineer. This company built a standard gauge railroad from Arnot--the new name for Draketown--to Hoytville, a distance of twelve miles. It was completed in 1882, in which year the Blossburg Coal Mining and Railroad Company established a saw-mill on Babb’s creek, five miles southwest of Arnot, around which soon grew up a village to which the name of Landrus was given, in honor of H.J. Landrus, manager of the company. In 1888 the company opened up mines a short distance above Landrus, on Babb’s creek. These are known as the Bear Run mines. As a result of the strikes, the financial depression of the last few years, and the opening up of mines in other parts of Tioga and Clearfield counties, the working force of the company has decreased somewhat and the annual output of the mines fallen off. When running full force the mines at Arnot have a production of 1,400 tons of coal a day, and those at Landrus 625 tons a day. In 1894 the mines at Arnot produced 190,035 tons, and those at Landrus 86,871 tons. The manufacture of lumber and the shipping of tan bark form an important part of the company’s business. It has a saw-mill at Arnot, with the capacity of 35,000 to 40,000 feet of lumber per day; one at Landrus with 60,000 feet per day, and one at Morris --including seven miles of narrow gauge railroad-- with 50,000 feet per day. The mills at Landrus and Morris produce 15,000 feet of lathe per day. A mill at Blossburg, producing 20,000 feet of lumber per day, was dismantled in the summer of 1895.
The officers and foremen at Arnot and Landrus are as follows: Edward E. Loomis, successor to the late Richard T. Dodson, superintendent; Frank H. Dartt, assistant superintendent; A.P. Fowler, chief clerk; H.W. Meyers, mining engineer; Richard Simpson, mining foreman, at Arnot; and Joseph Maxwell, at Landrus; Nicholas Schultz, outside foreman, at Arnot, and George Watson at Landrus. In 1885 the control of the roads owned by the Blossburg Coal Mining and Railroad Company passed into the hands of the “Erie,” and were embraced under the title of “ The Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad.” At the time, also , the name of the company was changed to the Blossburg Coal Company, the words “Mining and Railroad” being dropped.
In 1867, when Nicholas Schultz came to Draketown as head sawyer, there were but three houses in the place. In the following year a post office was established and the name changed from Draketown to Arnot, in honor of John Arnot, a well-known banker and financier of Elmira, New York, and one of the incorporators of the company. The first postmaster was James R. Cameron, and his successors have been Delos Bodine, J.L. Higgins, H.J. Landrus, F.J. Lyons and F.H. Dartt. Dr. Charles S. Logan is the assistant post master.
Arnot increased rapidly in population and soon became the largest place in the county. In 1882 it contained between 3,500 and 4,000 inhabitants. School houses and churches had been erected, lodges and societies organized, and an industrious, thrifty and prosperous community established. Notwithstanding strikes, business depression, etc., it still remains the leading mining town in the county, its churches schools , lodges and other societies being well maintained.
Shortly after the opening of the mines a company store was established. In 1873 a second building was erected by the company and leased to H.S. Drake, who stocked drugs, groceries, clothing, etc. He died in December, !873, and was succeeded by J.K. Tillotson, of Elmira, New York, who, a few years later, was succeeded by L.H. Drake. In 1886 W.W. Bradbury became manager of the company’s store, and in 1891 became proprietor, a recently enacted law making it necessary for the company to discontinue that branch of its business. In 1893 the W.W. Bradbury Company succeeded to the ownership of both stores. Mr. Bradbury retaining half interest. He died June 1, 1893, his widow succeeding to his interest. The name of the company remain unchanged. The stores are now in charge of Mark Scudder and Matthew A. Blair, managers. Mr. Scudder took charge June 19,1893. Mr. Blair entered the company’s employ in 1869; worked in the mines until September 1884; had charge of the store at Landrus from 1887 until August, 1893 when he was promoted to his present position. W.R. Logan was head clerk in the store devoted to dry goods, groceries and notions, from 1871 to 1897.The drug and clothing store is in a separate building. The Arnot Hotel has been in charge of Frank H. Welch since 1889. Mr. Welch is also engaged in the livery and undertaking business. These enterprises, with a feed-mill and a meat market, constitute the leading business interests of the village.
In 1870 Dr. John Caldwell located in the village. Among the physicians who have succeeded him were Dr. Byron Smith ,Dr. Hunter, Dr. H.L. Davis, Dr. William Caldwell and Dr. Winsor. The profession is represented at present by Dr. D.C. Waters and Dr. Charles S. Logan.
As Arnot grew, schools were established, until there were four public school buildings in the village. In 1890 these were replaced by a handsome graded school building, two stories high, containing eight rooms, and costing $ 4,000,in which the different schools, aggregating 600 pupils, were consolidated, and placed under charge of a principal, that position being filled at present by Charles Frick. Among the earlier teachers were a Mr. Rockwell, of Troy, Pennsylvania, who first taught in a dwelling; R.E. Howland and wife; Mrs. David McIntyre, Frederick L. Gray and S.A. Gaskill, now a physician of Covington, Pennsylvania.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized October 22, 1868, with the following members; James Ellison and wife, Peter and Christina Cameron, James and Roxanna Cameron, John and Janet Dunsmore, Robert and Jane Baird, James and Elizabeth Nelson, Joseph and Ursula McNeish, William and Jane McNeish, Henry and Jesse Smedden, David and Ellen Brown, William and Catherine Watchman, and Mrs. Agnes Waddle. The first pastor was Rev. Mr. Graves, who was succeeded, September 5, 1869, by Rev. David Aiken, who served until September, 1870.His successors have been: Revs. George Morton, September,1870, to November,1871; J.Ludlow Kendall, November, 1871, to April, 1874; S.A. Rawson, July, 1874, to August, 1875; Robert Christian, December, 1876 to April, 1878; E.S. Schenck, March, 1880, to 1885; D.D. Lindley, March, 1887, to June 1888; E.D. Rawson, March, 1889, to April, 1893; A.S. Elliott, May, 1893, to March, 1895; W.A. Brown, May to October, 1895, and J.C.M. Johnson, whom took charge November 10, 1895. The first ruling elders of the church were James Ellison and Peter Cameron, Sr.In 1872 a slightly and commodious church building , costing $3,500, was erected. The Sunday-school which is in a flourishing condition, numbers 180 pupils and teachers. It is in charge of Richard Simpson, superintendent.
Christ Protestant Episcopal Church, formerly the Church of the Mediator, dates the beginning of its history to a meeting held in the old school house on the afternoon of August 15,1874, by Rev. John D. Rockwell, at that time rector of St. Luke’s Church, Blossburg. The mission was called the Church of the Mediator, after the church of that name in New York City. These services were continued until October 3,1875, when they lapsed, but were resumed May 30,1877, and continued with out interruption until February 15,1879, when Mr. Rockwell left Blossburg. No further regular services were held until December, 1893, when Rev. A.R. DeWitt was sent by the bishop to this section and given charge of the churches in Antrim, Arnot and Fall Brook. Services were held in the Disciples’ church, the building being rented for that purpose. In September, 1894, Mr. DeWitt was succeeded by Rev. Marcellus Karcher, who also has charge of the churches in Blossburg, and Fall Brook. On the afternoon of May 15,1895, the corner stone of a new church was laid, and the name changed from the Church of the Mediator to Christ Church. The first services were held in this building Sunday, November 3,1895. The church has not yet been chartered, nor has the building been consecrated. This handsome house of worship, erected under the supervision of R.T. Dodson, F.H. Dartt and Mark Scudder building committee, is of cut stone, has a seating capacity of 200, and cost $5,000.
Gethsemane Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1879, with about forty members. The first pastor was Rev. P.A .Bergquist, who served part of the year 1881. Rev. A. Kinett served during 1882 and 1883. Between 1884 and 1887 the congregation was served by C.G. Norman, C.J. Bengston, C.J. Youngberg and S.J. Youngert, theological students from Augustana College and Theological Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois. Rev. J.A. Rinell was pastor from 1888 to 1890, and Rev. S.G. Olsson from 1890 to 1894. Rev. C.J. Youngberg, the present pastor, took charge June 24, 1984. The church at present numbers 200 communicants and 188 children. There are sixty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which Jacob Anderson is the superintendent. The church owns a neat house of worship, which was erected in 1883 at a cost of $ 2,000.
St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church was organized in 1880, and a church building, 28x45 feet, erected, at a cost of $ 1,500. This church is under the charge of the pastor of Blossburg. St. James’ Lyceum Hall, erected in 1895, is under the auspices of this church. It is used for Sunday-school, lectures, etc., and as a meeting place for Catholic societies. This church has a large adult and Sunday-school membership. It is a mission church and is served by the pastors of the church in Blossburg. A branch of the Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Association, numbering over sixty members, is connected with St. Andrew’s.
The Swedish Free Mission was organized in 1885, with ten members, and now has a membership of twenty persons. The pastor is Rev. C.J. Wideberg. There are twenty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which Charles Larsen is the superintendent.
The Puritan Congregational Church was organized in 1887. Rev. J.T. Mathews, the first pastor, served from 1887 until 1983, when Rev. R.J. Reese, the present pastor took charge. Mr. Reese also holds regular services in Landrus. Charles Stickler is the superintendent of the Sunday-school, of which numbers 150 pupils. A neat church building was erected in 1891 at a cost of $ 2,000, and a parsonage in 1893 at a cost of $800. The church now numbers seventy-five members.
Arnot is the meeting place of a number of secret and benevolent societies. The earliest organized was Arnot Lodge, No.947, I.O.G.T. It was instituted February 23,1871, and is now in flourishing condition. Arnot Lodge, No. 465, K. of P., was organized June 24, 1880, and now numbers nearly 200 members. Division No.1, A.O.H., which was organized April 7,1887, now numbers fifty members of either Irish nationality or parentage. Winterview Castle, No. 220, K.G.E., was instituted March 14,1893.It has a large membership, composed mostly of young people.
In 1882, after the completion of the Arnot and Pine Creek railroad from Arnot to Hoytville, the Blossburg Coal Company erected a saw-mill on Babb’s creek, five miles southwest of Arnot. Around this mill, which has a capacity of 60,000 feet of lumber and 15,000 feet of lath a day, there soon grew up a village which was named Landrus, in honor of Henry J. Landrus, manager of the Blossburg Coal Company. A company store was started in June, 1887. This store, in which the post office is also located, is now carried on for the W.W. Bradburg Company, by Frank L. Beauge. The saw-mill is in charge of George Watson, outside foreman, and the railroad station in charge of D.F. Wilcox. The public school is in charge of James Muir, and religious services are held regularly in the school building by Rev. R.J. Reese, pastor of the Puritan Congregational church of Arnot. The village has a population of about three hundred.
The Bear Run Coal Mines were opened, a short distance above the village,
by the Blossburg Coal Company in 1888. The machinery of these mines is
driven by electricity, the cars from the drifts to the chutes being hauled
by thirty-horse power motors. The mines are in charge of Joseph Maxwell,
mining foreman. When operated by a full force, they have a production of
625 tons a day.