Local Hunters in the Black Forest, Lycoming Co. Pa. around 1927 when
there were few deer to be found in South Creek. Standing between the deer
– Bert Congdon, standing in the back right – Earl Rynearson, Left to right
– Albert Ameigh, Lee Richmond, Alwyn Howard, Charles French, Ralph Welch,
William Pettingill, Walter Eaton, J. Sydney Kane, Phil Inman, Lynn Congdon,
cook – Edgar Congdon.
A DEER STORY
At the time when the Gillette’s and other lumbering operators had completed their work in the South Creek and surrounding area, the bear and deer, which were here in great abundance, had moved into the mountains and virgin timberland of Bradford County. It was not until the early 1920’s that deer were again seen in this vicinity. Robert Tillinghast, Sr. relates the following story.
“I was a boy of 10 years and attended Roaring Run one room school located on the corner lot where Rev Kane built his home. This was in 1924 and Mary Sweeney was our teacher. One of the scholars came in while classes were in session and told the teacher that a deer was standing about 50 yards west of the school-house door. When she saw the deer she declared a recess and permitted the children to walk out quietly and see the animal. None of the children, including myself, had ever seen a deer before – the excitement was so great that the big doe bounded away into the bush.”
J. Sydney Kane, Sr.
I remember one story concerning the ice pond which was used by the milk plant, next to the railroad tracks. They used to cut the ice out by hand saws but later they used powered motor saws. It was always cold weather when they cut the ice. It seems one of the fellow had a little too much spirits to keep him warm and said “Jesus walked on the water, why can’t I?” He proceeded very gingerly to do so and fell ker-plunk!
The first time I was in Gillett to see a minstrel show
at the Grange Hall. I never forgot what the discussion between the endmen
“You know Matt Holcomb has been ailing.”
“So I hear.”
“Matt said he had cramps in his stomach so he went to the doctors for an examination.”
“What did he find?”
“After asking many questions, he found out that Matt had swallowed a peach pit and it was growing in his stomach!”
I remember coming down to the Dunning Mill to get buckwheat flour made. We came down the old road which was by Lyman Harkness’s place. Marty Deery’s father always had his shotgun with him and he would be sitting along the road waiting for grouse. The mill was at the former Palmer place and was run by water power originally, then steam, and finally by a gas engine. Jesse Carmon also had a feed mill at Dunnings for several years. There was also a shingle mill back of Strong and French’s store and there was a mill race in back that carried the water to the mill from the creek.
Ralph Harkness would bring his milk down to the milk plant. One day, Ralph, it seems, had his license plates in the truck seat instead of on the back. When he came down across the railroad tracks, he saw a cop so he really gunned it and turned into the barn in back of Strong and French’s store and shut the door. That buffaloed the cop. The cop was asking Charlie if he’d seen where the truck had gone, when Ralph, feeling a little guilty, came in and gave himself up!
Many of us older folks have seen many changes in the last fifty years from the horse and buggy and the dirt and mud roads to the Model T Ford and the side curtains. I remember the first car I ever saw was when my mother and I were going to the barn to do chores. She heard an unfamiliar noise when a run-about car came down the road. Mother said “Good Lord!, that’s an automobile. You’ll never get me in one of those things!” Well, she has ridden in them many times since.
The wife and I have lived here in the town a rather short time but we like it and the neighbors very much. One of the greater benefits us older folks appreciate is the electric power which many of us didn’t have when we started housekeeping!
We moved to Gillett when I was fourteen. We rented Dr. Kingsley’s house by the church for a year. That summer, I didn’t think I had anything to do so I read a lot of books. On the farm, I had fed the hens and the calves, brought the cows to the barn from the pasture, etc.
Rev. Whitehead was pastor of the Baptist Church. I was soon in the Baptist Youth People’s Movement (B.Y.P.U.) teaching a Sunday School class and Bible School in the summer. We had it for three weeks then.
We moved to the house by the pond and railroad tracks. Every summer the kids played in the pond. In the winter we slid or skated on the ice. I tried to ride a bicycle but couldn’t balance it. I got my first driver’s license and then didn’t want a bicycle.
My Dad was a bricklayer but he also cut trees and sawed them into lumber. He used a steam engine for that. He had the lumber cured and built a house in the North Side of Gillett. Dad bought out first radio after we moved to Gillett. At the time, we were thrilled to hear voices and never dreamed of colored T.V. We usually took a ride on Sunday afternoon. Gas was fifteen to eighteen cents a gallon. When we could go to Bulkhead and eat at the Dixie Barbeque we thought we were eating like kings.
We went to high school on the train. It left Gillett about 7:30 a.m. and got back about 5:00 p.m. When we got to Troy we had a long walk from the station to the school. In my last year the morning train was discontinued. My folks bought a Pontiac and I drove to school.
There were many activities to keep us busy. Rev. Kane came to be our pastor and the church added the annex. It was used for recreation, serving dinners, and Sunday School classes. I played the piano for B.P.Y.U. and the young people would try to select a number I couldn’t play. It kept me practicing a lot. Our B.P.Y.U. was very active. Sometimes we practiced a drama and performed places. There was also an orchestra where John played his saxophone. In the winter, one of the young people would get a team of horses and a bob sled and we would go for a sleigh ride; then stop for cocoa. In the summer, the church had ice cream socials; also box socials.
We belonged to the Grange, a farmer’s organization, and had lots of entertainment such as dramas. A “Chautauqua” came and set up a big tent one summer. A Chautuaqua refers to a musical and drama group which toured throughout the county and came from Chautauqua, N.Y. We also had hot dog and corn roasts. On Memorial Day, there was a parade, a program and the Ladies Aid prepared a dinner.
Before 1924, when we lived on Thompson Hill, we came to Dewey’s store. We used to visit my grandparents, Dan and Nancy Chase. They lived across from the old Odd Fellows hall. That was where Oldroyd’s Truck Stop was. We also visited my mother’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Lewis. We used to drive the horses down the Dunning road which crossed the railroad tracks. That road hasn’t been there for years.
There have been many improvements since then. In 1925 or 1926, while we were still going to high school, the concrete road was built from Saunders Hill to Troy. The traffic was detoured over Thompson Hill. Electricity was put through in 1927 or 1928. Then everyone wanted irons, washers and electric pumps so we could have running water and bathrooms. We could trade our icebox in for an electric refrigerator.
Lucy Chase Updike
In the morning when we would go out to do our chores, we could hear the mules bray and the mule skinners (drivers) singing as they were starting their day.
Lester Coope says “I was born in 1909 on the farm where I now live. I remember vividly delivering milk to the Empire State Dairy, located just north of the railroad station in 1917. The Justice Run school was closed that year due to the lack of a teacher. My brother Erwin, who is seven years older than I, was assigned to the Gillett School as were all of the rest of the students who would normally attend Justice Run. We delivered our milk each morning before school to the Empire Dairy with a horse and wagon. We would then put the horse in the barn adjacent to George Oldroyd’s house for the day. After school we would harness the horse and return home.”
Justice Run School #6 was located on the southeast corner of the Monkey Run Road as the Hi-Run Road intersects it. I started school there in 1914. There were 11 pupils that year with Miss Cornelia Halstead the teacher; according to a school souvenir I still have. I also have a souvenir of the next year, 1915-1916 and 14 pupils are listed. The school board members listed for 1914-1915 are: J.H. Harkness, C.D. Vandermark, J.C. Marcellus, J.H. Chase and Nelson Kerrick.
I came to Gillett when I was twelve years old in 1916. My father came to run the Dairymen’s League milk plant. We lived in the company house next to the railroad tracks and Dad (Matt Holcomb) built the ice pond next to the railroad tracks. The milk plant and ice station were built across and to the left of the railroad tracks. Four hundred and fifty cans of milk would be shipped from there each day. The milk train would unload the empty cans early in the morning; then the farmers would start bringing their milk. Joe Welch was always the first one to the plant. I was fifteen years old at the time I started working there. We all got $80 a month. The empty milk cans would be washed by hand and then steamed to make them sanitary. They were then taken to the milk tank to be filled. The tank had to be surrounded by ice blocks to keep the milk cool. After the cans were filled, they were loaded onto the box cars in layers. Ice was packed around them for the trip to New York City.
Groceries came up on the local freight train. It would go from Elmira to Williamsport and back in one day and would stop at all the stations to deliver goods. One day, I couldn’t find my pet shepherd dog “Collie.” Three or four days went by. I finally called Grampa Thomas in Alba and found out that Collie was at his home. My dog had gone from Gillett to Alba on the train all by himself!
The favorite hangouts in Gillett were the grocery stores run by C.P. Dewey, John Passmore, and Earl Harkness. Every evening, the men would sit on the old barrels and swap stories while munching on cheese and crackers.
When I first remember the Gillett Church, it had a planked front porch and steps and plain windows. The doors were 8 to 9 feet tall. The cloak room ran the whole length of the church where the adult Sunday school room and library are now and the bell rope hung to the right of the door. To the right, was a wood pile and to the left, was the wood stove. The pipe went from the stove to the center of the church and up through the roof. I remember Charles Dewey would light the carbide gas lights for the morning church services. In 1917, the Alba Disciple of Christ minister, who was a brick mason, came and boarded with my folks and built the brick chimney. Dad and others would build the scaffolding for him. It took three weeks to complete.
In 1931, I started a garage next to the Grange Hall in Fassett. I ran it for ten years and then in 1941, we moved back to Gillett, bought the Odd Fellows Hall on the corner where the hotel had been and made it into a garage and apartment. We added the new part on the 1947. I did 350 car inspections twice a year. They cost 75¢ each which included road testing when I started doing them. I retired from the garage in 1968. I also ran the school bus for a number of years until 1956.
by Don Holcomb as told to Colette Roberts.
by Maude French as told to June Mickley
by John Strong as told to June Mickley
How many remember that used to be where the parking lot of the Gillett Truck Stop is now? (Maybe some of you don’t even know what a milk block is!) Anyway, there used to be this big milk block and farmers in the area brought their milk (in cans in those days) to the block and left it there early in the morning. Later the milk truck came along and picked up the full cans of milk. Empty cans were left there in place of the full ones. It was hard work to lift the cans onto the truck (each full can weighed about 100 pounds). They were sometimes “double-decked” for a few rows near the front of the truck. That meant there were two tiers of cans, one on top of another. This usually occurred in the spring and/or summer months. There was also a smaller milk block just below where Bill and Nancy Swatsworth’s trailer now sits. If I remember correctly that one was removed when the bigger one was built downtown. Of course the milk was then taken on to the city and delivered to the milk plants there. Many are the tricks played on the milk truck driver through history. Some just funny and some not really so funny. Many farms in those days still had their cans of milk picked up at the farm. When you are the driver and you see a row of cans neatly lined up for you it might cause you to be grateful. However, if, when you started to pick up the first car, you got a sudden jolt of electricity your gratefulness would no doubt disappear quickly!! Some smart cookie had hooked the cans to the electric fencer and made sure each can was just touching the one next to it. Next time you as the driver saw a neat row of cans you went into the milk house and disconnected the fencer before touching a can! And some have been known to be late pulling their cans from the cooler so the driver had to remove them in addition to hoisting them onto the truck. But one treatment of having your empty cans filled with water and placed back in the cooler (causing you to hotfoot to Elmira to see why your milk hadn’t been delivered) usually corrected that oversight as well. As the old saying goes, “Them days are gone forever.” Oh, well, things sure have changed in the past years.
Where Stanley Swatsworth’s garage is was the old Dunning School. My mother went to school there with some of my aunts and many others from South Creek Township in years gone by. She used to tell of going on recesses and noon hours up across the road into the woods and picking mayflowers, etc. in season. School was a bit more leisurely in those days but we learned more in a one room schoolhouse than most do in the modern buildings we have today.
I grew up on my father’s farm. I was friends with all the animals both on the farm and in the surrounding area. I loved to walk in the woods and find a quiet place to read or just daydream and think. Horses were part of my childhood too. I rode horseback (bareback of course) before I was five years old. One summer we had a Shetland pony named Black Beauty (what else?). We were forbidden to ride him far without permission and strictly forbidden to ride him as far as the highway which was about two miles or so from the farm. One hot day I decided (I was probably seven or so maybe) I would ride to Gillett to Strong and French’s Store (now Dave’s Sporting Goods). I told no one I was going but just went. You know how kids are sometimes. I did go to the store and as I recall I got something like a colorbook and then rode back home. This consumed several hours of time and my parents were worried of course by the time I returned. I dutifully put the pony away and went up to the house. My father was there and he merely said “Come with me.” Back to the barn we went. He took the small pony whip from its place and whipped my bare legs. I learned that day that disobedience always brings punishment. That’s the only time I ever remember my father whipping me and I’ve never forgotten it.
As I said many things have changed. Airplanes are very common today. I can remember how everyone rushed out of the house to see one going over and it wasn’t really that many years ago. Tractors are very common on farms now. I remember spending many hours behind a team of horses raking hay among other things. My father had one of the first tractors and the first one to have rubber tires. It seems that new and different things are often regarded as crazy or useless when they first appear. My father was always trying to do the best he could for his family and his farm. Another time he was considered off in the head was when he had one big field contoured. It was a field that always washed and had two deep ditches through it have to be worked more like three smaller fields rather than one larger one. But after contouring it could be worked as one field and still is today.
Progress is fine as long a sit doesn’t take away our values and basic ideas of life. Many things we accept as common today were unknown even 20years ago and unheard of 50 years ago. Many memories of childhood are pleasant, some are sad, most bear remembering with fondness. I only hope the children of today have good memories to look back on when they are in mid-life. It’s up to us as parents and grandparents to try and make sure they do have pleasant memories. These are just a very few of the things I recall from childhood relating to this area. Many places are barely distinguishable now in comparison to what they used to be. Thank God we have minds that retain the memories we treasure so much – memories of people and places and events which will never occur again.
Barbara Roy Spotts
Remembering school days, Thelma says the first year she went to school, she talked all the while and got her hand slapped with a ruler. Leda Lewis was her favorite teacher at Gillett school where there were four rooms up and four rooms down. Walt's favorite teacher was Mary Ayers, Tom Ayers' mother, who taught at the Knapp Hill school. "She was a mother to all of us, " he says. Thelma went to Troy High School on the train when fare was around $9.00 a month. Fortunately, her father worked with the railroad and got passes. Those who couldn't afford the fare or lived too far away, had to stay in eighth grade until they were 16 years old.
Box socials and ice cream socials were put on by the church and held in the Odd Fellows Hall before the [church] annex was built. Baseball was popular and scrub teams would play in Fassett, Gillett, and Mosherville. Thelma's mother was president of the Friendly Class and the Ladies Aid. On Memorial Day, Thelma and the other children would help them plant flowers on the graves and a church service would follow with a dinner at the Odd Felows Hall afterwards. Local Granges would sponsor dances and many local people would provide the music. Ethel Holcomb, John Blackwell, and Thelma would play the piano; Bill Beechey, violin; Jake VanNoy, horn; and Byron VanNoy, trumpet. The Foxtrot, Two-Step, and Waltzes were popular then.
Thelma's father was a track foreman, maintaining the tracks from Hugh Berry's to the state line. During World War I, Walt worked for him and would walk the tracks, about a 14 mile round trip, with a sledgehammer to see if there were any obstructions because troop trains went through day and night and their safety was very important.
By Walt and Thelma Oldroyd as told to Collette Roberts
One memory of going to Roaring Run School was our carrying water from various neighbors regardless of the weather conditions. Needless to say, we had no traffic worries, but on time Mildred Conklin and I had to go to a further neighbor where we couldn’t raise anyone, but a dog inside howled to raise the rafters. Mildred knew the old superstitions of dogs howling at deaths; we sure made tracks out of there and needless to say, there was no water in that pail!!
Bernice CONGDON Smith
I AIN’T DEAD YET
My hair is white and I’m almost blind,
The days of my youth are far behind,
My neck is so stiff – can’t turn my head,
Can’t half hear what’s being said.
My legs are wobbly – can hardly walk,
But glory be – I can surely talk!
And this to the message I want you to get,
I’m still kicking and I ain’t dead yet.
My joints are so stiff – won’t move in their sockets,
And nary a dime I have left in my pockets.
So maybe you think I’m a total wreck,
To tell you the truth, I look like heck.
But still, I have loads of fun,
And my heart with joy is over run.
I’ve lots of friends so kind and sweet,
And many more I never meet.
Oh, this is a wonderful world of ours,
Shade and sunshine and beautiful flowers.
So just take it from me, you bet,
I’m glad I’m living and I ain’t dead yet!
I’ve got corns on my feet and ingrowing nails,
And do they hurts – here, language fails.
To tell you my troubles would take too long,
If I tried you surely would give me the gong.
I go to church and Sunday school too,
For I love the story that is ever new,
And when I reach the end of my row,
I hope to my Heavenly home I’ll go.
Then when I leave my home of clay,
If you listen closely, I’m apt to say,
“Well folks, I’ve left you but don’t ever forget,
I’ve just passed on, but I AIN’T DEAD YET!!”
By Flossie M. Ayers (1899-1980)
I worked at the Kingsley’s Poultry Farm for eighteen years. There are many interesting things going on there all the while. The real busy days were hatch days when we would start at 6:00 a.m. to take off a hatch of 20,000 to 30,000 baby chicks. The egg washing, candling, grading, and packing was an interesting process. Kingsley Poultry Farm is a retired business now.
Marion G. Roberts
FARMING IN SOUTH CREEK THEN AND NOW
My parents had a small farm on Roaring Run Road, where I was born. My grandfather, Edgar Congdon, had a much larger farm nearby and as he was my hero, I spent much time there with him. He always had time to teach me and to help me do things in the right way. In those days, they did not have the large dairies as they do today. Butter was churned for home use and any extra was sold, but mostly cattle was raised to sell. These would be driven to cattle cars on the railroad sidings, loaded and by train taken to their new owners. The farmers got their feed and fertilizer also by railroad cars. Most of this came from Buffalo and the cars would be placed on the railroad siding at Fassett. Each farmer then came and took his share home by horse and wagon.
One of the biggest thrills of my life came when Grandfather bought a flock of ninety sheep at Watkins Glen and I helped him drive them from there to his farm at Roaring Run. It took three days along dusty, dirt roads. Each night we corralled them and in the morning started out again.
When I was ten years old, my parents bought a farm at Fassett. As it was spring, my father set me to plowing with a team of horses. Neighbors felt that I was too young for this and they did not hesitate to say so. We had the old-fashioned dump rake to use then. The hay was bunched and pitched onto the wagons and at the barn put into the mow with a hay fork driven by horses. Later, we used the side delivery rake and the hay baler, making it much easier to put up hay. Today they have larger and more modern machinery and the job can be done much quicker. So we too went from horse power to tractor power.
Later as we increased the size of the dairy, our milk was taken to Elmira, in cans by truck where it was bottled. Today the large tank trucks come to the farm and take the milk from large vats in the milkhouse.
I’m glad we raised our four children on the farm. They have never been afraid to admit to being farm sons and daughters.
Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t enjoy life and our work more in time gone by than we do now.
Belle Oldroyd Congdon
I have a warm spot in my heart for Thompson Hill as that is where I lived the first 18 years of my life. It was a farming area. Most of the people were hard working, honest people. We never had to worry about crime, dope or any other bad things. The school was the hub of the community. Besides school being held for all eight grades in this one room school house, it was also used for a church on Sunday, a place to hold home school league parties, they also held programs for the parents at Christmas time, Halloween and last day of school. My folks were farmers and we lived about two miles from the school. My sister, and four brothers walked to school. I think it was good for us as we were seldom sick. We all graduated from Thompson Hill and went to Troy High School.
In 1907-08 my mother, one of her brothers and four of her sisters went to Thompson Hill School. The teacher was Mary Brosnan. The other teachers were Kathryn Doughty (1915-1916), Hazel Sours, Eunice Cogswell, Norma Elliot, Marie O’Leary, Leda Lewis, Julia Smith, Mary Sweeney, Myrtle Rumsey, Ruth Isaacs, and Grant Robler. I may have left some of the teachers out but this is all I know of.
Our school was very patriotic. We always sang America first thing in the morning when we opened classes. The teacher read a chapter from the Bible and we pledged allegiance to the flag. The teacher boarded at one of the homes near the school and got to school first thing in the morning and built her own fire so it was nice and warm when we got there in the winter time.
I think this country would be a lot better off if they had never given up the one room school houses. All this bus traveling and consolidation is not good for the children.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SPOT IN THE FASSETT AREA!
Years ago (I mean about 1922 or 1923) the concrete highway was finished on Rt. 14 through Fassett. Before this it had been a dirt road which was a real muddy road in wet weather. The section between New York State line and Earl Saunder’s farm was finished at this time.
The people were so happy to have a concrete road between Troy and Elmira they had a big celebration. I can remember throwing pennies in the wet concrete where the two intersections of road came together. This was just about where Blue Hill Road joins Rt. 14.
When the road was being built Fassett was the headquarters for the men, horses and mules. A big tent was pitched to house the men and a small tent with mosquito netting to keep out the flies was used for their meals. A corral was built to contain the horses and mules. Headquarters was where the South Creek Fire dept. is now located. Many of the men were called mule skinners. These were men that followed this line of work from place to place. There were two or three men cooks and men to take care of the animals. Work on the road was done with the horses and mules and dump wagons were used.
Another building where the South Creek Fire dept now stands was the excelsior factory. Machines in this factory turned soft wood into excelsior, which was baled and sold. Wood was brought in by people living in the area. This gave them a way to make extra money. The factory was owned by Harry and Gurnsey Myers and Allie Yeomans. I can remember being in the factory and hearing the machines running. This was awesome to me! Especially, the humming of the numerous belts.
I believe the building was torn down when the Fire Dept Bldg. was built. Now, the Fire Dept. is also a very important part of the Gillett and Fassett area.
Robert Tillinghast, Sr.
I remember when the Fassett Church Baseball team played Thompson Hill. The rivalry couldn’t have been stronger. We played baseball somewhere on Hi-Run Road. Long on in the last innings we were ahead by one run. I was pitching. Syd Kane was the umpire and manager. They had one or two men on base. Oscar Rothwell was in centerfield; he wasn’t too fast. There were one or two outs. The winning run was on base, I think. They wanted to substitute one of the Inmans, Phil or Ben. They wanted him to pinch hit. He was a big guy about 230 or 240. I wouldn’t pitch to him. I asked Syd Kane what to do. He said to pitch to him. The first or second pitch he hit way out into the cornfield…we lost the game…
I remember that soon after I came to Gillett in 1936, like Asa and John Gillette, I became involved in politics and local government of the township. I was first appointed to fill out a term on the Gillett school board and ran and was elected to fill out a full four year term.
The building consisted of the wooden portion only, less one room on the northwest end. The school was often crowded and we found it necessary to rent space for two rooms in the Baptist Church’s former annex, while we the board consisting of Leda Lewis, Sam Kerrick, Harold Pautz, Bernice Teribury, and Edward Ballard attempted to find ways to build the addition of one room on the northwest corner. We were finally successful with a plan of contributed labor at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
Also in our term of office, the Troy school system was attempting to form the jointure. South Creek was the only district to stay out of the jointure because we were of the opinion that we could respond to the needs of the local school district better than a jointure which since then has proven true.
Following this experience I have held the offices of Assessor, local member of the Republican Committee and presently am a member of the Republican State Committee and a Township Supervisor.
WHEN I WAS A KID IN GILLETT
When I was a kid in Gillett, I was happy and very busy. I had two best girl friends, Bertha Kingsley Harvey and Dorothy Vernier Harkness. Since I was an only child, I enjoyed being with them. Bertha’s father was the town doctor and they lived in the house next to the church where Johnson’s live now. Dorothy’s uncle and aunt, Wallace and Nora Bennett, ran the Red and White store across from dad’s garage. Her grandparents lived across the road from our house. They were Dave and Helena Bryan and he ran the blacksmith’s shop which is the green apartment next to the trailer court now.
We first moved to Gillett when I was five and we lived in the Updike house where Harold Holton lives now. Later dad built the house where Ralph and Anna Mae Welch now live, and he ran a garage with Lynn Douglas next door which presently is the laundromat.
In the winter time, the kids from uptown and downtown used to ride down hill. We’d go past Woody Oldroyd’s turn and ride down over the bridge, going so fast that we would usually go clear to the main road. Summers, we went swimming two or three time as day. I would stop by the garage and dad would give me an innertube to swim with. We swam in back of the parsonage or Ora Kerrick’s house. When the Kingsley girls and I weren’t swimming, we were roller skating on the old crooked sidewalks.
Dorothy Harkness lived in Florida Winters and would come north for the Summer. She and I would pick flowers in Stephen Lewis’s meadow – blood root, adder’s tongue and violets and also ride horses there. Her aunt and uncle, John and Allie Harkness, lived there at the time. When Stephen and Harriet Lewis got married, I can remember him kiddingly singing, “When I was single, my pockets would jingle, Oh how I wish I were single again!”
The church played a big part in all our lives. Rev. J. Sydney Kane came around 1928 and baptized me when I was twelve.
In 1929, I started at Troy High School. That was the first year that Harold Wells’ bus route started from Elmira to Canton and back. That was the year of the “Great Depression.” I think my dad earned only twelve hundred dollars a year but we always had enough to eat and wear.
I used to go to Strong and French’s store for groceries for my mother when I was so young that I couldn’t count out the money. I would hand them the pocketbook and they would take out the correct change. Charles Dewey ran the store then. His two son-in-laws, Jesse Strong, who married Mabel, and Charles French, who married Maude helped him.
Edith Congdon Kane
My first impressions of Gillett were received nearly forty years ago when I moved here to become pastor of the Gillett and Fassett Baptist Churches. While it was still a predominantly agricultural area the transition to suburbia had begun being brought on by World War II when many went to work in the city factories. Then the dairy farmers helped each other at harvest-time filling silos and threshing grain, transporting milk in cans to a central milk block or plant, distributing lime, fertilizer and feed from railroad cars left on the siding at Dunning, Fassett and Gillett.
Gillett was a community where everyone knew each other. Private phones were unavailable and I soon found it was more practical and sometimes quicker to go see a person than try to compete with others to get through to someone on another party line. However, a good long crank of the ringer served, as the 911 does today, to bring help from neighbors in an emergency.
The church, grange and schools were the centers of activities and they worked closely together to inculcate a love for God, our community and our country. There was also a greater respect for country, people and God than is manifested today.
With the introduction of modern technology, the past fifty years has seen a transition from the smaller and simpler way of life, to the larger and more complex way of life in farming, in school, in government and in the multitude of things which compete for our time and endeavors. Many things have been to the betterment of mankind but there is still the need to fulfill the words “Our Father, Which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.”
Charles R. Root
Gillett in 1907.
Gillett School 1930-1983.
Our closing picture aptly symbolizes the passage of life in South Creek. Time rolls along. The one room school had to move over for the centralized system. Gillett School’s closing marks the end of another era. A “lot of water under the bridge” and the creek still keeps flowing. But memories linger on; some very pleasant, others very painful. And things will keep changing as all things come to pass. This book has been a salute to the best of what was; an opportunity to share the better things in life. Perhaps some day in the distant future our descendants will want to know how we lived. For this reason we tried wherever possible to let the members of our community relate life in their own words; as they lived it.
Bradford County History – H.C. Bradsby – 1891.
Bradford County History – Rev. David Craft 1770-1878.
History and Geography of Bradford County – Clement F. Heverly 1615-1924.
Boys in Blue – Clement F. Heverly.
History of Seven Counties – Publ. By Star Gazette – 1885.
Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County – C.F. Heverly 1770-1825.
Census Records of South Creek Township 1850-1900.
Bradford County Directory: South Creek Township – 1900.
Bradford County Directory: South Creek Township – 1907.
Troy Gazette Register – 100th Anniversary Edition – April 25, 1963.
Fassett Baptist Church Bicentennial Booklet – 1976.
Cemetery Inscriptions of Upper and Lower Cemeteries in Gillett, Pa.
Cemetery Inscriptions of Coryland Cemetery.
Cemetery Inscriptions of Thompson Hill Cemetery.
Cemetery Inscriptions of Doty Hill Cemetery.
Cemetery Inscriptions of Saunder’s Field Cemetery.
Numerous feature articles from Elmira Star-Gazette newspaper.
Atlas – Bradford County – South Creek Township – 1869.