In 1792, when the party of immigrants engaged in cutting the Williamson road from Loyalsock, in Lycoming county, to Painted Post, New York, under the guidance of Robert and Benjamin Patterson, reached the Tioga river, after coming down the Bellman run valley, they established upon its bank a supply camp. Here the women and children were left and cared for until another section of the road had been cut and another camp established. The camp established at the point where the road crosses the Tioga river, was named Peter’s Camp, Peter being the Christian name of the man who had charge of the bake oven. It is related that Peter was not an over-neat individual, and that in order to reform him in this regard, the members of the party, upon one occasion , treated him to a compulsory bath in the Tioga river.
The site of this camp is now within the limits of Blossburg borough, the surveyed area of which is nearly two miles from east to west, by two and a half from north to south. Owing to the restricted character of the valley-- the average width at the bottom being scarcely more than a quarter of a mile-- and the almost precipitous mountain incline on either side-- the actual, built-upon area--save a somewhat less restricted space up Bellman run valley, in the southern part of the borough-- is confined to a narrow strip, nearly three miles long. Which follows the windings of the Tioga river from below the mouth of Morris run to the mouth of East creek. Midway of this narrow strip id the business center of the borough, the main street of which is the old Williamson road.
Within the borough limit’s the Tioga river receives the waters of Coal run, Bear run and East creek from the east, and Bellman run from the west. A small run having its source in Bloss township, flows down a ravine, back of the Horton place, and unites with Bellman run a short distance above its mouth. The mountains which line the river valley, rise to a height of over 1,800 feet above the level of the sea. The altitude of the borough--railroad level-- is 1,348 feet above tidewater. Blossburg is the second largest borough in the county. In 1880 it had 2,140 inhabitants, and in 1890, 2,568.
In the year 1801 Aaron Bloss, born at Killingby, Connecticut, May 29,1775, came to Tioga county, from Chenango county, New York, and settled near Covington. In 1802-- the year given by his living descendants-- he removed to Peter’s Camp. Here, across the road from the east end of the bridge over the Tioga river, in the southern part of the present borough , he erected a house, the site of which is now occupied by a private residence. In this house he kept hotel until 1820, when he built a larger one, in which he continued in the hotel business until 1835, when he moved back to Covington, where he died March 24, 1843. To him therefore, belongs the honor of being the first settler in Blossburg. It may be said, in passing that this pioneer -- a thorough woodsman and a noted hunter -- was a man of strong rugged build, with the courage to dare, the patience to endure, and the shrewd common sense to plan and execute, so frequently found in the men who formed the advance guard of civilization a century ago.
How long Aaron Bloss remained without neighbors cannot be definitely ascertained. The first to join him appears to have been Absalom Kingsbury. He came to Tioga county about 1813, made a clearing on Elk run, in Covington township, and afterwards , not earlier , probably , than 1818 or 1820, removed to Peter’s Camp. The first attempt to found a town was made in the latter year, when Aaron Bloss changed the name of Peter’s Camp to Blossburg. During the next five years the place grew slowly. Royal, Isaac and Asahel Walker, nephews of Aaron Bloss, and the sons of Isaac Walker, a pioneer of Covington, were among the earliest settlers. They were followed by Eli Dartt, Judge John H. Knapp, Gearhart Boehm, Evan Harris, a man named Roberts and another named Dowers, some of whom made only a temporary stay. D.P. Freeman came in 1827; Dr. Lewis Saynisch, the first physician, in 1831; John L. Evans, in 1837; Francis Welch, in 1839; Col. Joseph Yonkin, Alexander H. Gaylord, James H. Gulick, Charles Finney, John James and George Richter in 1840.
Washington Landrus, father of the late Henry J. Landrus, of Wellsboro, and the oldest resident of Blossburg, came in 1839.He gives the names of twelve other persons who were here in that year. They were William Cleese, Clarendon Rathbone, Eli Dartt, Everett Winter Bloss, a son of Aaron Bloss, David Chatfield, Thomas Farr, Evan Harris, Gearhart Boehm, Dr. Lewis Saynisch, Dr. Joseph P. Morris, John L. Evans, and Isaac Thomas. Joseph Hughes, also, came about this time and settled in the northern part of the borough. Bernard Murray, a native of Ireland, came about 1841. William Butler came in 1841, and remained until 1875, when he removed to Sunbury, Northumberland county. Patrick Bannon, a native of Ireland, and father of Senator Bannon, came in 1841. Benjamin R. Hall came from Lycoming county in 1842. Thomas Morgan and Reese W. Thomas came about the same time. Martin Stratton, born December 22,1807, the oldest person in the borough, also came in 1842; John Cook and Simon Golden in 1848, and Jacob Jones in 1850. All these early settlers have passed away, except Washington Landrus, Martin Stratton, George Richter, John Cook, Simon Golden and Jacob Jones.
EARLY INDUSTRIES AND ENTERPRISES
In 1792, during the construction of the Williamson road, coal was discovered within the present limits of Blossburg, by Robert and Benjamin Patterson. The first effort to mine and market it, however, was made by David Clemons, a pioneer, who settled in Covington township in 1806. He opened a mine on Bear run, not much earlier, probably, than 1812 or 1815, and hauled an occasional load overland to Painted Post, New York. Aaron Bloss also opened up a mine Bear run--only to supply local demands. These first efforts, owing to lack of shipping facilities were on a very small and very limited scale. They led Aaron Bloss and others, however, to ask the legislature, in 1817, for an appropriation of $10,000---which was refused--to improve the Williamson road over the mountain between Blossburg and Williamsport, and to attempts, on the part of individual enterprise, to widen and deepen the channel of the Tioga river, and finally to the organization of the Tioga River Navigation Company.
In the meantime, Blossburg coal had not only found its way to Painted Post, Corning and Elmira, but to Albany, where it played an important part in railroad, canal and navigation legislation, and also, tp Philadelphia, where men of capital and enterprise soon became interested in in its development. The first man of means, however, to become interested in Blossburg was Judge John H. Knapp, of Elmira, New York. He came about 1825, in which year Curtis P. Stratton and Peter Kelts built a saw-mill for him, on the river, in the southern part of the borough, near the Fall Brook railroad bridge. In this mill-- the first one here--Dr. Lewis Saynisch was afterwards interested. In 1826 Judge Knapp started the first store in the place. He also erected iron works for the smelting of iron ore and its manufacture into foundry and blacksmith’s iron. He opened ore beds on “Barney” hill, and a coal mine on Coal run, where both coal and iron ore were mined. Failing to secure financial assistance promised by men of capital, and being in feeble health, he turned over his Blossburg enterprises to Samuel Weeks, and removed to Fort Madison, Iowa. During the next thirty years, the iron works had many owners---most of whom lost money. Among the more prominent were John G. Boyd, P.P. Cleaver, James H. Gulick and A.J. Gaylord, who devoted himself to the manufacture of fire brick. In December, 1864, the plant was purchased by T.J. Mooers, who then established the foundry and machine shop still carried by him.
In 1827 a large hotel building, known as the Knapp House, was erected west of the river, almost opposite the hotel of Aaron Bloss, by D.P. Freeman. Although erected under the patronage of Judge Knapp, and auspiciously opened January 1,1828, with house-warming festivities, to which friends from far and near had been invited, this hotel does not appear to have prospered. After being occupied as a tenement for a number of years, it was destroyed by fire.
The first systematic attempt to determine the character and extent of the Blossburg coal and iron ore beds was made in 1832, and will be found set forth in detail in the chapter devoted to the mineral resources of the county, which deals particularly with the early mines and mining.
In 1835 Aaron Bloss moved back to Covington, Absolom Kingsley succeeding him as landlord of the hotel, which was afterwards kept by John L. Evans -- also an early merchants-- Francis Welch, John Cochran and others. It was destroyed by fire about 1853.
It was in 1835, also, that James R. Wilson-- who became its first president--Dr. Joseph P. Morris and others, of Philadelphia, with Dr. Lewis Saynisch, Blossburg, organized the Arbon Coal Company, and appointed James H. Gulick, of New Jersey, selling agent. Land was purchased of Aaron Bloss, including the Bear Run Mines, and preparations made to mine coal and iron ore on an extensive scale, as soon as the railroad , then projected , could be completed. John James, a native of Pontypool,Wales-- prominent in later years in the development of the Fall Brook coal beds-- was placed in charge of the mines, and held the position under the various owners for sixteen years.
In 1837, in anticipation of the building of the railroad from Corning to Blossburg, Hon. Horatio Seymour, Hon. Amos P. Granger and Hon. Thomas Davis, of New York, and Hon. James Ford and C. Parkhurst, of Lawrenceville, became interested in the development of Blossburg. They purchased 240 acres of land, embracing the present business center of the borough, and divided it into building lots. They also became identified with various enterprises, calculated to make the place an important manufacturing center. Clarendon Rathbone, the first lawyer in the village, became interested in coal and timber lands here about this time.
About 1838 a post office was established, the first postmaster, Dr. Joseph P. Morris, holding the office until 1842, when he removed to Mansfield. Among the more prominent of his successors were James P. Taylor, who held the office from 1860 until his death in 1874. Frank H. Stratton, the present incumbent, has held the office since March 29,1894.
In 1840 Charles Finney started a store in a little building-- thought to have been the old Knapp store building-- just north of Washington Landrus’ dwelling. He sold out to Captain Moss, who in turn sold out to John Cochran, who afterwards sold to A.H. Gaylord and Washington Gray. In this year, also, Col. Joseph Yonkin, who previously had a contract with the Tioga River Navigation Company, built the old Washington Hotel. Some years later Colonel Yonkin built the well-known Yonkin House, in which he kept hotel during the remainder of his life. This house is now kept by John Boothe. About this time James Jenkinson kept hotel in the northern part of the borough, on the site of the Hughes residence. James Husted, also kept hotel in this house for a time.
July 4,1840,was marked by the completion of the Corning and Blossburg railroad to Covington. Early in the following September it was completed to Blossburg. A real estate and business boom followed. The Arbon Coal Company began shipping coal by rail. It established a store with Dr. Joseph P. Morris in charge, in the building now occupied by Mrs. Kelly’s grocery store. It also built a saw-mill near the mouth of East creek in the northern part of borough, and made an excavation with the intention of building a large hotel, and drawing the business of the town in that direction. The hotel was never built.
In 1841 John G. Boyd, cashier of the bank at Towanda, and a member of the lumber firm of Boyd & Cleaver, of Covington, built the Seymour House, in connection with Samuel Cleaver. It was named in honor of Hon. Horatio Seymour, of New York. The first landlord was Philemon Doud, who was succeeded by P.P. Cleaver. During the more than fifty years of its existence it has had many landlords, being vacant , at times for year The present landlord, M.S. Murray, took charge in the fall of 1894. The building is owned by the “Erie” Railroad Company, and a portion of the first story is occupied by its local ticket agent and the office of the division supervisor.
John G. Boyd also became interested in the iron works and other enterprises. His various speculations, however, seriously entangled him, and on the morning of February 17, 1842, he committed suicide, in Philadelphia, by firing a loaded pistol into his mouth. His death had a serious effect upon various enterprises, and upon individuals, in Blossburg and in Covington.
In 1841 Sir Charles Lyell, the eminent English geologist, visited Blossburg and made a very thorough examination of the coal deposits, especially of the Bear Run mine, then being operated by the Arbon Coal Company, of which Dr. Lewis Saynisch was the president. After returning to England, the distinguished scientist published a full description of the Blossburg coal deposits, noting the similarity between them and the coal measures of South Wales.
In 1842 Benjamin R. Hall came to Blossburg from “Block House,” and for over twenty years kept the United States Hotel, on the corner north of the present opera house. In 1844 the Arbon Coal Company was succeeded by William M. Mallory & Company, who operated the mines until 1857, mining and shipping 405,116 tons of coal. In the latter year Duncan S. Magee, as a representative of his father, John Magee, leased the mines, and operated them until 1859, when the mines at Fall Brook were opened. Since then coal had been mined within the Blossburg borough limits for local supply only, shipment by rail ceasing with the opening of the Fall Brook mines. In 1866 the Bear Run mines, now known as the Jones mines, were purchased from James H. Gulick, by J.M. Evans, J.M. Evans, Jr., John Bouncer and Jacob Jones, and operated by them under the name of Evans & Jones. They are now owned by Mr. Jones, and operated by his son< Benjamin F. Jones. The Coal Run mines are operated by A.F. Gaylord. The Golden Brothers and Loyd & Crooks, have opened up mines west of the river, in the southern part of the borough. Hutchinson Brothers operate a mine west of the river, in the northern part of the borough.
A window glass manufactory was established in 1847, in the northern part of the borough, by William Dezang, of Geneva, New York, and glass manufactured from rock sand. Several years later Mr. Dezang was succeeded by Webb, Fellows & Co., who operate the factory until 1860, when they were succeeded by O.F. Taylor and James H. Gulick. In 1867 a co-operative company, known as Hirsch, Ely & Co., leased the factory , operated it, and carried on a store in connection therewith, until 1888, when it passed into the hands of the United Glass Company, otherwise known as the “Glass Trust,” who soon afterwards shut it down.
In October 1853, the railroad from Blossburg to Morris Run was completed, and in 1859 the railroad from Blossburg to Fall Brook built. In 1862 the repair shops of the Tioga Railroad Company were removed from Corning to Blossburg, and a new impetus given to the growth and business activity of the place. In 1866 the railroad to Arnot was built and the mines opened up there. In 1866 Drake & Taylor erected a saw-mill west of the river, near the site of the old Knapp Hotel. This mill was destroyed by fire March 3,1876, and was rebuilt by the Blossburg Coal Company , and run until the summer of 1895, when it was dismantled. In 1869 A. Ramsey & Company, of Philadelphia, built a tannery, with an annual capacity of 75,000 to 100,000 sides of sole leather, on the west side of the river, in the southern part of the borough. In 1875 they sold it to Hoyt Brothers, of New York, who carried it on until May, 1893, when it passed into the control of the Union Tanning Company. It gives employment to seventy-five men, and is in charge of A.E. Botchford, superintendent.
BOROUGH ORGANIZATION AND OFFICIALS
Blossburg was incorporated as a borough August 29,1871, and the first election held September 12,1871, resulting in the choice of the following officers: L.H. Shattuck, burgess; E.S. Scofield, A.H. Gaylord, D.H. Stratton, William M. Butler, O.F. Taylor and William McCarron, councilmen; Francis Welch and H.P. Erwin, justices of the peace; Thomas Morgan, overseer of the poor; J. H. Putnam , judge of election; William Wallace and B.A. Murray, inspectors of election; G.C. Fuller, R.D. Horton and J.L. Belden, auditors, and John Weaver, Michael Ely, Henry Hollands and Jacob Jones, A.T. James and J. Phillips, school directors. The first meeting of the council was held September 8, 1871, when J.C. Horton was elected borough clerk. The names of the burgesses since elected are as follows: A.H. Gaylord, 1873; H. Hollands, 1874;C.H. Goldsmith, 1875-76; O.F. Taylor, 1877-78; J. Yonkin, 1879; S. Bowen, 1880-81; H.J. Shattuck, 1882; G.W. Morgan, 1883-84-85; A.F. Gaylord, 1886; J. Aylesworth, 1887-88; W.H. McCarty, 1889; C.T. Knight, 1890; Frank D. Andrews, elected in 1897.
The following named persons have been elected and commissioned justices of the peace: H.P. Erwin,1871; re-elected ,1879, 1884; Francis Welch, 1871; R.B. Freeman, 1876; re-elected, 1881-1882; J.B. Denmark, 1876; Adam Schoop, 1888; John Cook, 1888; re-elected 1893; D.R. Doud, 1891; Thomas H. Williams, 1892; re-elected, 1893.
The Eagle Engine Company was organized in 1869. The officers were: A.T. James, foreman; \Joseph Maxwell, assistant foreman; Sumner P. White, treasurer, and W.A. Shields, secretary . The Mist Hose Company was organized at the same time, with the following officers: J.E. Belden, foreman; G.C. Miller, assistant foreman; and J.C. Horton, secretary. The company was incorporated January 31, 1887. In 1873 a reorganization of the department took place, the Eagle Engine Company being succeeded by the Drake Engine Company. The department, as now constituted is composed of the Mist Hose company, each having a good equipment of fire-fighting apparatus.
THE FIRE OF 1873
On the night of March 6,1873, Blossburg was visited by a destructive fire, which swept away nearly the entire business portion of the town, involving owners and occupants in a heavy financial loss. The district burned over extended from Carpenter to Hannibal streets, on both sides of Main street. The buildings, being of wood, burned quickly, and the flames spread rapidly. The loss was happily confined to property. Though severely felt, it did not deter the owners of the real estate from rebuilding. Substantial and sightly buildings of brick soon arose to replace the wooden ones destroyed , greatly improving the appearance if the business portion of the borough. From time to time, since then, additional brick business buildings have been erected, each in keeping with the prevailing ideas in architecture. The township records and many other valuable papers were either entirely or partially destroyed in this fire, and much valuable information concerning the earlier history of Blossburg obliterated, save, in so far a it has been preserved, in the memories of the living.
PHYSICIANS AND LAWYERS
Dr. Lewis Saynisch, a native of Germany, was the first physician to locate permanently in Blossburg. He settled there in 1831, and soon after identified himself with the development of the coal deposits, and with the early mercantile and manufacturing interest of the place, serving for several years as president of the Arbon Coal Company. He continued to practice his profession until his death, in 1858. Dr. Henry Kilbourn, who located in Covington in 1828, included Blossburg in the wide territory over which he practiced, residing at different times. In each place, during the more than half a century of his active professional career. Among the later physicians were Drs. J.P. Davison, M.L. Bacon, William Caldwell, Nelson Ingham, Patrick Culnane, H.G. Smythe, and I.N. Ingham. The late Dr. L.W. Johnson began practice in the borough in 1883, having previously practiced at Liberty.. Dr. Charles Clarence Winsor practiced in the borough from 1885 to his death, December 3,1889. Dr. Francis A. Birrilo came in 1895, but subsequently removed to Trenton New Jersey, where he died January 21, 1897. The present resident physicians are Dr. G.D. Crandall, who located in 1872, and Dr. E.M. Haley, who came in 1890.
Clarendon Rathbone was the pioneer lawyer of Blossburg, where he located in 1840, continuing in the active practice of his profession up to within a few years of his death, which occurred August 26,1882, at the age of eighty-seven years. He was, at the time, the oldest member of the bar of Tioga county. Mr. Rathbone appears to have had the field pretty much to himself for a long time. Among the attorneys of more recent years were John C. Horton, who located in Blossburg about 1870; Henry W. Roland, who located in October, 1876, and Harvey B. Leach, who came to Blossburg in September, 1886, and practiced here until March, 1897 when he removed to Wellsboro. The bar is at present represented by Walter T. Merrick, who began practice in 1886; Charles L. Fellows who came from Canton, Bradford county, in November, 1896, and entered into partnership with Mr. Merrick, and Frank Hughes, who was admitted to practice in November, 1896, and became a partner of his preceptor, Mr. Leach.
A school building was erected about 1835, or possibly a few years later, near the river bank, in the upper part of the borough. Among those who are said to have taught here, were William Allsworth, John Jaquish, Margaret Young, Henrietta Gray and Miss Hensler, who afterwards married C. Jacquemin, and who gave private lessons in French. About the year 1839 a school building was erected on the north side of Bear run, near the site of the inclined plane. Here David Lewis, Margaret Young and Maria Rathbone taught. A third school building was erected in 1843 in the northern part of the borough, near the present residence of Martin Stratton. Among the early teachers in this school were Maria Harkness, Mary Lawrence, Charlotte Harkness, Mr. Salone, John Jacobs, Jerusha Lownsbery and Maria Knowlton. In 1850 a Union school house was erected on ground given by Hon,. Horatio Seymour, which was used for public school purposed until 1874, when the present building was erected. R.C. Cross, Claredon Rathbone, Margaret Yeomans, Myra Horton, William Humphrey and William A. Gaskill taught in this school. The present graded school building is centrally located on the hillside west of the river, and commands a fine view of the borough and the valley. It is a handsome brick edifice, and cost, with the building site, $13,000. A third school building, erected about twenty years ago, is situated on the west side of the river, on the site of “Peter’s Camp.” The schools of the borough have been well conducted, and able and experienced teachers have been employed from year to year.
CHURCHES AND CEMETERIES
Mount Zion Welch Congregational Church was organized as early as 1840. Among the original members were Thomas Davis, Jenkins Evans, John Bowen, John Hughes and others. A small chapel served as a house of worship until 1870, when a church building, costing $3,400, was erected. It was dedicated December 4, of that year, the services being participated in by Rev. Mr. Evans, of Hyde Park; Rev. N.L. Reynolds, pastor of the Baptist church, and Rev. Harvey Lamkin, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church. This building was burned in December, 1886, and was uninsured. In 1887 the present house of worship on Ruah street was erected, costing $3,000. The following are the names of the pastors who have served this church: Revs. Daniel Lewis, R. Parry, John Davis, Evan Davis, Philip Peregrine, F. Tilo Evans, Abraham Jones, Morgan Daniels and Caradock Jones, the present pastor. The church was incorporated November 27, 1871, William J. Richards, John M. Evans and Jacob Jones being named as trustees. The present membership is fifty, with forty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which David R. Evans is superintendent.
Christ Protestant Episcopal Church was the name of a church chartered May 2, 1842, a petition for a charter having been filed in the court of common pleas January 18, 1842. This petition was signed by Miller Fox, Thomas Turner, Clarendon Rathbone, James H. Gulick, J. Jones Smith, James Jenkinson, Franklin Wright, James A. Van Ness, J.G. Taylor, Jacob G. Scudder, Samuel W. Lord, Clement H. Smith, John W. Johnson and Charles E. Smith. This church seems to have had but a brief existence, there being no records showing who were its pastors or members.
St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Church was chartered December 5,1867, with the following officers: Philip Dykins, senior warden; Isaac E. Ross, junior warden; James H. Gulick, O. F. Taylor, Samuel H. Thompson , J.C. Evans and John Adams, vestrymen. The present church edifice erected in 1867-68, was consecrated by Bishop Stevens in September of the latter year. The first rector was Rev. M.L. Kern. His successors have been, Revs. Benjamin Hartley, J.D. Rockwell, J.T. Fugette, J. U. Graf, A.R. DeWitt, and Rev. Marcellus Karcher, the present rector, who came in November, 1894. There are thirty members in the church and seventy-five pupils in the Sunday-school, of which W.A. Shields is the superintendent.
St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church was organized in 1841, with twenty members. The first services were held in a public hall, by Rev. John O’Reilly, of St. Joseph’s , Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania whose field embraced a circuit of sixty miles, and who had been appointed by Bishop Kendrick, to attend Blossburg and other missions. A site for a church was given by Hon. Horatio Seymour, who, as well Mr. Calket, of Philadelphia, made other liberal donations. On October 9,1851, the foundation trenches were dug by Patrick Bannon, Simon Golden, James Mooney and Thomas Dissing. In January, 1851, the corner stone was laid by Bishop Kendrick, Rev. F. Ahern being in charge at the time. /the contract for the building--- a plain, wooden edifice, 30x 50 feet, was awarded to John L. Evans of Blossburg. Rev. Francis Maguire, who also attended at Troy Union , and other missions, was the first resident pastor. His successors have been, Rev. Francis McCarty, 1862 to 1864; Rev. John Laughlin, October, 1864, to June 1866; Rev. Michael Murphy, 1866 to 1869; Rev. Gerald McMurray, 1869 to 1872; Rev. John A. Wynne, pastor and Rev. J.C. McDermott, assistant, appointed in 1872. Father Wynne died in Blossburg in March =, 1879, and was succeeded by Rev. P.J. Murphy, who served until 1889, when the late pastor, Rev. James A. Connolly, took charge. He died in July, 1896, and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Lucas, the present pastor.
During the pastorate of Rev. Gerald McMurray, an addition of fifty feet was built to the church and the pastoral residence erected, at a cost of $2,000. The membership of the church embraces seventy-two families, with seventy-five children in the Sunday- school.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church (Polish) was established in 1872, and a church edifice, costing $3,000, erected in 1873.This church, the parochial school and the parish residence connected therewith, is situated in the southern part of the borough. On the hillside, east of the river. The first rector was Rev. A. Claveter, succeeded by Revs. B. Gramlewitch, L. Spryszynski, T. Klonowski, and the present pastor, S. Siedlecki. The membership of this church consists of sixty families, with about sixty children in the Sunday-school. The parochial school, the teacher of which is L. Olszewski, was established in 1876. There is an average attendance of eighty pupils. A new two-story frame school building, costing $2,000, has recently been erected. Adjoining the church on the south is the parish residence. Within the past three years over $6,000 has been expended in repairs to the church and the parish residence, and in the erection of the new parochial school. Father Siedlecki has charge, also of St. Joseph’s church, Morris Run. The Polish Catholics of Arnot attend the church in Blossburg.
The First Presbyterian Church of Blossburg was incorporated October 4,1849, soon after its organization. A house of worship was built in 1853, and destroyed by fire in 1862. James H. Gulick , Hon. Horatio Seymour and others, had contributed towards its erection , the congregation being small and the means of its members limited. In 1863 the church was rebuilt , but dispute arising between the congregation and Mr. Gulick, it was sold to the Baptists, and the society son after ceased to exist.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Blossburg may be said to be the successor of the First Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal church of Blossburg, incorporated June 2,1864, with Samuel Kendrick, Elisha L. Nash and Joel Saxon as trustees. In the year 1867, during the pastorate over the latter church of Rev. J.G. Crane, Rev. Harvey Lamkin, of Mansfield, was called to organize a Methodist Episcopal church. This he did, Mr. Crane and nearly all members of his congregation joining. The society was duly incorporated December 5,1867. The following are the names of the pastors: Revs. M.S. Kymer, 1867-68; Harvey Lamkin, 1870-74; C.G. Lovell, 1874-76; Charles H. Wright, 1876-79; R.N. Leake, 1879-82; J.B. Shearer, 1882-84; Robert Brewster, 1884---died June 24, 1887; C.S. Carr, 1887-88; B.J. Tracy, 1888-93; E.S. Annable, 1893-96; JB. Beadle, the present pastor, who took charge in October 1896. A church edifice, costing $5,590, was erected in 1871 by Samuel Gaylord. In the spring and summer of 1895 this building was repaired, within and without, at a cost of $4,400. A handsome parsonage was erected in 1888, and costing $2,000, occupies the lot just west of the church. The church and parsonage which are situated on the west bank of the Tioga river, just north of the Main street bridge, are valued at $10,000. There are now 175 members with 170 pupils in the Sunday-school, of which Mrs. M.J. Brewster is superintendent. There are also ninety-six members in the Epworth League, made up of the younger members of the church.
The First Baptist Church of Blossburg was formally recognized by a council of the Baptist churches of the Tioga Association in May,1867. Its previous history is as follows: After the rebuilding of the Presbyterian church in 1863, by James H. Gulick, and his controversy with the Presbyterian congregation, he offered the building to several denominations in Blossburg. In May, 1863, Revs. G.P. Watrous and N.L. Reynolds were invited by Judge L.B. Smith and Henry Hollands to confer with them in relation to purchasing it for the use of the Baptist denomination. This was done, and Rev. N.L. Reynolds became the pastor. Henry Hollands was chosen clerk and deacon, L.B. Smith and Henry Hollands trustees in behalf of the church, and A.H. Gaylord for the congregation. Mr. Reynolds continued as pastor until 1871, during which time the membership increased to sixty-seven. His successors have been as follows: Revs. J.A. Baskwell, June, 1871, to September, 1872; E. S. Mills, December , 1872 to 1878; F. K. Fowler, 1878 to June 20, 1886; Eugene Riehl, December 5, 1886 to 1891; W.C.D. Bond, 1891 to July, 1896. Rev. Joseph Klucker, the present pastor took charge in September, 1896. In 1889 the present handsome church building, occupying the old building site, was erected at a cost of $5,000, and was dedicated February 5, 1890, the building committee being Henry Hollands, D.H. Stratton, Rev. Eugene Riehl and S.S.F. Landon. This church has a large membership, and is prosperous. The Sunday-school has 125 teachers and pupils and is in charge if I.M. Horton, superintendent.
The Second Congregational Church of Blossburg was organized in 1886, and incorporated February 21, 1887. The first pastor, Rev. James Evans, served from the organization until the end of the year 1887, when he resigned. April 1, 1888, Rev. James T. Matthews , the present pastor took charge. This church has a membership of about 100, a Sunday-school of 150 pupils and a Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society, of which Charles Parker is president, of forty-five active members. Isaac Hewitt is the superintendent of the Sunday-school. In the fall of 1886 a church building was erected at a cost of $3,000. It is situated on the west side of Williamson street, above Lynd street.
The Cemeteries of Blossburg, four in number, are situated
in the southern part of the borough. They are known as Union, Odd Fellows,
the English Catholic and the Polish Catholic cemeteries, and are used as
burial places by the people of Blossburg, Arnot, Antrim, Fall Brook, Morris
Run and Union. Within their inclosures lie the remains of many of the earlier settlers in each of those places. The grounds of each are fenced and well-cared for, and many of the graves are marked by handsome granite and marble monuments.
Arbon Lodge, No.489, I.O.O.F., was organized May20, 1853. The first officers were: John James, N.G.; J.B. Husted, V.G.; John Lang, S.; Thomas Hanson, P.S.; Evan Bowen, T. It flourished and met regularly until 1859, when, owing to decrease of membership, caused by withdrawals and removals, it suspended work. It was reorganized March 10,1865. This is the parent of the lodges at Morris Run and Fall Brook. It now numbers 241 members.
Enterprise Encampment, No.153, I.O.O.F., was organized April 20,1867. The first officers were: T.B. Anderson , C.P.; David Harrison, J.W.;
Matthew Waddell, H.P.; John Dunsmore, S.W.; John Evans, S.; David Brown, T.; James Wighton, F.G.; William Smart, S.G. The encampment now numbers 175 members.
Faith Degree Lodge, No. 96, Daughters of Rebekah, was instituted October 20, 1874, with thirty-eight charter members. The first officers were: Thomas Trimble, N.G.; Mrs. Harriet Mayo, V.G.; Mrs. E.M. Doane, S.; Mrs. Lucy Mold, T.; This lodge now numbers forty-nine members.
Bloss Lodge, No. 350, A.Y.M., was organized March 9,1865, with the following officers: James P. Taylor, W.M.; Alfred T. James, S.W.; A.L. Bodine, J.W.; T.B. Anderson, T.; Israel G. Wood, S.; Daniel H. Stratton, S.D.; Rufus Farr, J.D.; William M. Butler, S.M. of C.; L. Auerback, T. The names of the past masters of this lodge are as follows: James P. Taylor, Rufus Farr, Nathan Clegg, G.V. Putnam, William P. Parker, George C. Fuller, Alfred T. James, Rufus Farr, Stephen H. Hollands, Nelson Ingram, Hugh Reynolds, Samuel McDougall, Frank H. Stratton, Augustus E. Botchford, George D. Clark, W.P. Parker and Howard H. Roberts. The lodge now numbers ninety-six members.
St. Andrew’s C.T.A. & B. Association is made up of the members of the Catholic faith, and is the result of repeated efforts to permanently establish a total abstinence society in Blossburg. The first society, non-sectarian, was organized January 1, 1868. Its officers were William D. Hyde, P,; J.W. Burgen, S.; Daniel McCarty , T.; and Dennis McCarty, Timothy Donovan and Hugh Kerwan directors. A temperance brass band was also organized. The membership of this society soon dwindled. December 26,1869, the faithful few met and organized a Catholic temperance society, the first officers of which were Rev. Gerald McMurray, P.; Edward Gavigan, V.P..; Dr. Patrick Culnane, T.; Thomas V. Keefe, L., and M.Clohessy, Thomas Bradley and Dennis McCarty, Jr., directors. This organization also went out of existence within a year or two. Still persevering, however , a number of friends of temperance met August 16, 1874, in the tailor shop of James Conlon and organized St. Andrew’s Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Association. Similar societies have since been organized in Arnot, Fall Brook, Morris Run, Antrim and Morris. The first officers were Michael Ely, P.; James Conlon, T.; Hugh Kerwan, R. & F. S., and Charles H. Bennet, M. This society now numbers about fifty-five members and is in a flourishing condition.
St. Andrew’s Society, No. 30, C. K. of A., was chartered January 3, 1879, with the following officers: Edward Gavigan. P.; J.J. McCarty, V.P.; Philip Goldmeyer, S.; Henry Gilbert, T., and James Leahy and John Haily, members. The society now numbers twenty-five members.
Division No.4, A.O.H., was organized in September, 1890, by M.S. Murray, county president, with the following officers: John Lyons, P.; P.J. Donahue, V.P.; James Cowley, R.S.; W.F. O’Donnell, F.S., and T.J. Golden, T. It has now forty members. The officers of the county organization are as follows; M.S. Murray, Blossburg, president; John F. Lynch, Antrim, secretary; Edward P. Ryan, Arnot, treasurer.
Bloss Lodge, NO. 167, K. of H., was organized July 12,1876. The first officers were A.J. Owens, P.D.; A.T. James., D.; Dr. E.G. Drake, V.D..; L.A. Wing, A.D..; D.H. Stratton, C.; J.A. Hadley, G.; A.J. .Pollock, R.; J.L. Davis, F.R.; G.A. Lewis, T.; Robert Davie, G.; James Vaughn, S.; A.J. Owens, L.A. Wing and A.M. Ingham, trustees; A.J. Owens, representative to the Grand Lodge, and Dr. E.G. Drake, medical director. This lodge now numbers ninety-four members.
Lieut. Henry J. Brown Post, No. 171, G.A.R., was organized March 22, 1882, and was named in honor of Lieut. Henry J. Brown, a second lieutenant in the Seventh Ohio Zouaves, who was killed at the battle of Slaughter Mountain. The first officers were George H. Brown, C.; George Wilson, S.V.C.; N.H. Robbins, O.D.; A.J. Brown, Q.M.; S.W. Patterson, O. G.; G.W. Sheffer, R.D.E.; F.M. Smith, Adj’t; George Rickter, C.B.; Rev. E.S. Schenck, C. and Thomas W. Brown, H. J. Marvin, Edward W. Maynard, A.J. Brown, Miles G. Lee, D.S. Ireland, N.H. Robbins, F.M. Smith, D.J. Williams, Samuel Trull, Frank Towner and I.N. Ingram, M.D.., members. Lieutenant Brown, for whom the post was named, was a native of Covington. The post now numbers forty-seven members.
Lieut. Henry J. Brown, W.R.C., No. 127, was organized January 16,1889. The first officers were as follows: Mrs. Emily Evans, P.; Mrs. Phoebe Botchford. S.V.P.; Mrs. Hattie Marvin, J.V.P.; Mrs. Ina Cook, S.; Mrs. Annie S. Evans, T.; Mrs. Maggie Tracy, Ch.; Mrs. May Marvin, C.; Mrs. Ruth Trull, G.; Mrs. Helen Trull, A.C.; Mrs. Katie Brown and Mrs. Genie Tracy, A.G. Since its organization this corps has expended for relief purposes, in money, $150; other than money, between $900 and $1,000. It now numbers forty-one members.
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Blossburg was organized April21,1887. The first officers were Mrs. Mary Jennings, P.; Mrs. I.M. Horton, R.S.; Mrs. D. Botchford, C.S., and Mrs. Henry Sendlinger, T. This union maintains a free reading room.
Washington Camp, No 644, P.O.S. of A., was chartered May 12, 1892, with fifteen members. It meets in the Odd Fellows’ building, and has eighty-three members.
LATER BUSINESS CORPORATIONS.
The Blossburg Petroleum Company was chartered June 11,1877, the incorporators being A.T. James, T.J. Mooers, William Larkin, N. Ingram, Albert Ward and J.C. Horton. The company was organized for the purpose of boring for petroleum oil, and a well was sunk in the southern part of the borough. Although the oil sand was reached, the well proved to be a dry one. No attempt has since been made to sink another well.
The Blossburg Water Company was organized in July, 1891, and incorporated September 14, 1891, with $60,000 capital stock, divided into 600 shares of $100 each. The incorporators, stockholders and directors were Hon. Lemuel Ammerman, president; Hon. Louis A. Watres, vice-president; Robert C. Adams, secretary and treasurer; John M. Corbett and John F. Murphy. This company was organized for the purpose of supplying Blossburg with water. Work on the plant was begun September 1,1891, and the water turned on January 1,1892. The gravity system is used, the water being brought a distance of two and three-fourths miles, the source of supply being Taylor run and its tributaries, which drain an area of nine square miles. The storage basin on Taylor run has a capacity of 4,000.000 gallons. It is 230 feet above the borough level. Frank H. Stratton is the superintendent of the company in Blossburg.
The Blossburg Beef Company, organized April 4,1893, is a branch of G.F. & E.C. Swift, Chicago. A cold storage building for the reception of fresh meats, shipped from Chicago in carload lots, was erected and placed in charge of H.E. DePui. A large business is transacted with dealers in Blossburg, Fall Brook, Morris Run, Arnot, Covington and other places.
The Blossburg Building, Real Estate and Improvement Company was chartered October 3,1893, the incorporators being R.J. Stillwell, G.M. Hunt, James H. Mold, A.L. Smith, F.B. Smith, and John L. Davis, treasurer. The capital stock is $ 10,000, divided into 200 shares of $50 each. The object of the company is expressed by its name.
The Miners National Bank is the successor of a private banking house established May1,1871, by Horace and Samuel W. Pomeroy, of Troy, Pennsylvania, and W.H. Smith, under the firm name of Pomeroy Brothers & Smith. The first location was in the Eagle Hotel block, which was destroyed by the fire of March, 1873. The present building was erected in June of that year. In June, 1880, Mr. Smith sold his interest to Frederick E. Smith, of Tioga, and the firm became Pomeroy Brothers & F.E. Smith. Mr. Smith died October 8,1889. His son, A.L. Smith, who had entered the bank in 1879, and had filled the position of cashier, became the representative of his father’s interest. The practical management of the bank, which had been intrusted to him, was continued, his assistant being J.L. Davis. Under his management the institution prospered, weathering, for twenty-five years, periods of panic and financial depression, and fully meriting the confidence in its stability reposed in it by the public. July 1,1895, the capital stock of $50,000 having been previously subscribed, and laws relating to national banks complied with, it opened as the Miners National Bank of Blossburg, with the following officers and board of directors: Samuel W. Pomeroy, president; L.W. Eighmey, vice-president; A.L. Smith, Cashier; J.L. Davis, assistant cashier, and S.W. Pomeroy, L.W. Eighmey, A.L. Smith, F.B. Smith and Charles E. Bullock, directors. Since the organization as a national bank, the bank building has been remodeled and repaired throughout. On January 12, 1897, A.L. Smith was elected president, to succeed S.W. Pomeroy, deceased; L.W. Eighmey, vice-president, and J.L. Davis, cashier.
THE COTTAGE STATE HOSPITAL
A hospital for injured persons of the bituminous and semi-bituminous coal regions of Pennsylvania, was erected in Blossburg during the year 1890, under an act of the legislature, providing for such institutions, framed and introduced by the Hon. Horace B. Packer, of Wellsboro. The building is located on the hillside, east of the river, in the northern part of the borough, the site and grounds embracing five acres, being elevated, picturesque and healthful. There are two wards, 25 x 46 feet each, built of wood, forming north and south wings of a brick administration building located between them. In the latter is the office, the operating room and a hall connecting the two wards, the dining room, and the kitchen. In the second story are the pharmacy, the linen room and the sleeping rooms of the matron and nurses. There is also an annex building or ward separate from the main building for the purpose of isolating patients who may develop contagious diseases. In the main building are thirty-nine beds and in the annex twelve. There is also an ice house, a barn, and open carriage sheds. The building was delivered to the State October 30,1890, by David Cameron, and the first patient received in February, 1891. The first physician was Dr. H.E. Caldwell. His successors have been Dr. E.M. Haley and Dr. G.D. Crandall, the present physician. Mrs. A.E. Strait, the matron, is assisted by two nurses, one for the males and one fot the female ward.
This hospital is intended principally for the treatment, free of charge, of persons injured in the bituminous coal region, but pay patients, except those suffering from contagious diseases, are also received and treated. The institution is managed by a board of trustees, constituted as follows: W.S. Nearing, Morris Run, president; Hon. Charles Tubbs, Osceola, vice-president; Henry J. Landrus*, Wellsboro, secretary; Hugh Cunningham, Arnot, treasurer, and Richard Dobson*, Arnot: Jacob Jones, Blossburg; Daniel Innes, Canton; Hamilton B. Humes, Jersey Shore, and John Van Dyke*,Canton. The governor of the State, judges of the several courts of record of the Commonwealth, inspectors of the mines and members of the legislature are ex-officio visitors. The institution is maintained and supported by legislative appropriations.
* Since this article was compiled, Henry J. Landrus, Richard T. Dobson and Jon Van Dyke have died. The vacancies thus created in the board have been filled by the appointment of A. Lee Smith, of Blossburg; Frank H. Dartt, of Arnot, and Aaron R. Niles, of Wellsboro. Mr. Innes, of Canton, succeeded Mr. Landrus as secretary of the board.