Chapter 55 - Ward Township.
Organization-Reduction of Area-Drainage-Population-Justices of the
Peace- Early Settlers-Manufacturing Enterprises-Schools-Churches,
Cemeteries and Societies.
Ward township, named in honor of C. L. Ward, of Towanda, Pennsylvania, was organized in February, 1852, and was taken from Sullivan and Union townships. In August, 1864, its area was diminished by the creation of Fall Brook borough. It is bounded on the north by Sullivan township; on the east by Bradford county; on the south by Union township, and on the west by Hamilton and Covington townships. Its is an upland township, lying for the most part along the summit and in the valleys of the Armenia mountain, through which flow the Tioga river and its headwater branches. These are Fellows’ creek, High bank creek, Brandy run and Little Falls creek, which flows from the north; and Rathbone creek, which flows from the east, and South creek, from the south. Joiner’s creek, which flows through the southeastern part of the township, is a branch of South creek. The river itself passes through the township from northeast to southwest. A large portion of the surface of Ward is under laid with semi-bituminous coal, similar in kind and quality to that mined in Fall Brook and Morris Run, and known as Blossburg coal. These deposits have not yet been developed. When the township was first settled its area was nearly all covered by a heavy growth of timber. The greater part of this has been manufactured into lumber.
Though containing a larger portion of unimproved land than most of the other townships of the county, Ward has many well-improved and well-cultivated farms It has grown slowly but steadily. In 1870 there were 285 inhabitants; in 1880, 327, and in 1890, 442.
The following named persons have served as justices of the peace since the formation of the township: Erastus Kiff, 1853; re-elected, 1858 and 1865; Zalmon Gregory, 1853; James D. Hill, 1858; James Heron, 1863; L. C. Shepard, 1864;William R. Lyon, 1865; re-elected 1870; Tracy O. Hollis, 1870; re-elected, 1876 and 1881;George N. Beardsley, 1875; Wallace Chase, 1881;re-elected, 1886 and 1891; A. A. Griswold, 1884, and C. H. Smith, 1897.
The first settlement in the township was made on Armenia Mountain near the head of Fellows’ creek, along the Sullivan township line. Here Russell Rose, a native of Connecticut, and an officer on Washington’s staff during the Revolutionary War, located in 1807. It is said that a number of others from the New England states settled in the same neighbor hood, but discovering soon afterwards that better land lay in the valleys, abandoned their location, Russell Rose removing to Sullivan township. This portion of Ward township now bear the name of the “Old Possessions.” No further attempts at settlement appear to have been made until after 1830. Among the earliest settlers were William and Matthias McIntosh, who settled in McIntosh Hollow, in the northeastern part of the township, about 1835. In this year also , Andrew Kniffin settled on Rathbone creek, in the eastern part of the township. Among other early settlers were Walter Dewey, Samuel Beach, John Purvis, William R. Lyon, J. W. Fletcher, Daniel Hagar, Phineas B. Fields, W. B. Gates and Roswell Joiner, all of whom came between 1840 and 1850. When the first assessment of the township was made in 1853, there were forty-two resident taxables.
A saw-mill was erected about 1853, on the Tioga river, in McIntosh Hollow, By William McIntosh, and was operated by himself and M. E. McIntosh for nearly fifteen years. It was afterwards operated by McIntosh & Kinch and McIntosh & Thomas. The next mill was erected , about 1855, by John M. and Erastus Kiff, on Rathbone creek. The mill, within a few years, became the property of Wallace Chase and was run by him and those associated with him up to 1890. A number of other mills were established in different parts of the township and operated as long as the timber supply lasted. The present enterprises consist of the steam saw-mill of G. M. Coons, near the head of Joiner’s creek, and the acid factory of Beardsley Brothers & Rhoads near Chase’s Mills.
The pioneer school house of the township, a log structure, was erected, between 1845 and 1850, in McIntosh Hollow. One of the earliest teachers was Mary Welch. Susannah Bascom, now the widow of John M. Kiff, taught about 1854. Other early teachers in the township were Electa Lyon, Elizabeth Covert, Eliza Ann Taber, Adelia Denmark, and Amoretta Kniff, now Mrs. John E. Rolloson. A number of the early schools were taught in private houses. There are now four schools in the township, in which school is maintained six months in the year.
Churches, Cemeteries and Societies.
During the earlier years of the township’s history religious services were held in private dwellings and school houses. The first services were held by Rev. John Spaulding. He was followed by other itinerant ministers, who visited the township from time to time. A Baptist church was organized in the winter of 1879-80, and for several years held regular services. Death and removals, however, depleted its numbers, and those who are left now attend the churches in Canton and Alba.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ward Township was chartered May 31, 1881. It was the outgrowth of a class started several years before and organized with twelve members. In 1882 a house of worship, costing $ 1,200, was erected in the eastern part of the township. This church now numbers thirty-five members, is in the Canton charge and has been served by pastors of the church in Canton, Bradford county, It maintains a Sunday-school of forty-five pupils, with Wilson Hill as superintendent.
The Cemeteries of this township are incorporated. They are all early burial places. One located in McIntosh Hollow, another in the Kniffin neighborhood and a third near the Red school house. Many of the residents of the township bury their dead in the cemetery in Canton.
Ward Grange, No.900,P. of H., was first organized October 2, 1875, and
reorganized March 2, 1883. It owns and meets in a hall building, erected
in 1883, near the Segar school. in the eastern part of the township. It
has now forty-five members, embracing the leading farmers of that section,
and it is one of the strong and prosperous granges of the county.