Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice 
Pike Township, Bradford County, PA
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Diaries & Letters of the Tri-Counties
Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs

Inside cover of Frank's 1882 Diary

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Left is the inside cover from Frank's 1882 Diary
Book Formatted for Tri-Counties Site by Bill Benson
and Joyce M. Tice
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Frank and Eva ~ Diary Excerpts, Epilogue, Appendix & Sources

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(continuing the story)
Table of Contents

    Frank’s leather bound 1882 diary (frontispiece above) shows that he returned to Stevensville and worked at the mill with James. His daily entries relate how he worked hard and frequently saw Eva. They visited Clara and other friends and relatives, went to church, attended “sings,” and enjoyed each other’s company very much.

    Following are a few excerpts.

March 17, 1882  (Friday)

“...I finished my school and I was a happy boy.  In the evening I prepared my trunk to come home.”

March 18, 1882  (Saturday)

“I got up very early in the morning to get ready for going home.  I took the St[reet] car at eight o’clock.  Arrived at Rummerfield about eleven.  I had to walk home.  It was a long walk, but I was glad to get home.  At evening I went up to see Eva.  I was contented once again.  I stayed all night.”

March 19, 1882  (Sunday)

“I stayed to Mr. Brigges until about twelve o’c [o’clock], then we went to S[tevensville].  We went to church.  After church we went over to James’.  I did not stay but a little while.  We went to Prayer meeting in the evening.  Then I took her home.  It was late when I got home.”

March 20, 1882 (Monday)

“In the morning [I] went down to Clara’s and stayed until after dinner.  Then went on to see James’es children.  Then went from there to the mill and stayed until night.  In the evening went to the store and stayed a little while.”

March 21, 1882  (Tuesday)

“In the fournoon I did earrands for Ma.  After dinner I changed my clothes and started for Mr. Brigges [Eva’s].  I went a foot up through the woods.  I took them with surprise!  But it was a happy surprise to Eva.  I stayed all night and [had] a lovely time.”

March 22, 1882  (Wednesday)

“I stayed at Eva’s house until after dinner, then went home.  It snowed real hard most of the time.  I  came back the same way that I went up.  I stoped at the mill on my way back.  In the evening [I] went to Band meeting.  It seemed good to be there again.”

Editor’s Note

    In late March Frank began to board with the Lewis family, and life was fine and full, with Frank writing in his diary every day.  Then on April 5th the diary entries stop.  Most likely Eva’s health started to fade.  There are a few short entries in June about Frank’s work, and then nothing, until this last entry:

November 3, 1882  (Friday)

    “In the morning Mr. Avis came for me.  I was on Clapper Hill.  Eva was still liveing when I got there.  I went home for Cora, and while away, she died.”

    In the Memoranda in the back of the diary is the following entry:

“Nov 3, 1882.  Eva’s choice of music for [the] funereal – In Pure Gold.  Twill all be over soon.  In Gospel Hymns No. 308 and 259.” 

Stevensville, Bradford Co., PA
Stevensville, Bradford Co., PA about 1914.
Stevensville Presbyterian Church - center, Cemetery - right.
From a postcard in Carol Brotzman's collection.
(used with permission) ~ Illustrations

EPILOGUE ~ Table of Contents

    Frank finished college at Warner‘s, and after Eva’s death stayed in Stevensville.  He worked for his friend James Grant at the Stevensville Lumber Mill, and then in 1883 he and Elmore F. Stevens (his future brother-in-law) bought the mill and lumbering business from James.  They went on to create a successful business that lasted many years.  
It is interesting to note that the lumber mill was originally built in 1815 by Alba Bosworth, Eva’s grand uncle.

    It is likely that as Eva lay on her deathbed (see cause below), she made Frank promise to go on with his life.  Frank once again became an active member of the Stevensville Presbyterian Church, and was appointed as Sunday school secretary, a position his brother Mart had filled the year before.  There he became better acquainted with Ella May Stevens, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah (Rockwell) Stevens.  On January 19, 1885, Frank married Ella, and a few years later they had two children, Mildred Clara and Victor S. Estabrook.

    Frank was a steadfast Republican, and was elected as tax collector in 1891.  In 1914 he helped organize the People’s State Bank of Wyalusing and eventually became its President.  In 1930, at age 70, he retired from the lumbering business.  He was an active member of the Stevensville Church for over fifty years, loved by all who knew him, and for many years was the Sunday school superintendent.

    Frank and Ella were happily married, raised their two children and gave of themselves to their family and community.  Frank died on August 11th, 1943 at age 83.  His obituary states that he was “a highly regarded citizen,” and that the funeral was well attended.  Frank and Ella are buried in the Camptown Cemetery, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. 

    Eva is buried a few miles away in the Stevensville Cemetery near her parents.  Her memorial reads, “Our beloved Eva; dau. of N.B. & A.B. Briggs; died Nov. 3, 1882, aged 20 years; ‘Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep; from which none ever wakes to weep.’”

    Frank kept all of the letters he and Eva had written, as well as her well-worn picture and the engagement ring he had given her.  And though he was a faithful and loving husband for 48 years, his granddaughters state that on his deathbed, his last word was..... “Eva.”

Eva’s tombstone
Eva’s tombstone, Stevensville Cemetery

    *Eva died of Consumption, later called tuberculosis, but then also known as the “white plague” because its victims usually had very pale skin.  In the early nineteenth century consumption was responsible for about one-third of all deaths.  Its victims gradually “wasted away.”  They felt very tired and ran a high fever.  Other symptoms were sleeplessness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and a nagging cough, sometimes producing blood.  For a long time, some people thought the disease was caused by vampires!  Ironically, Robert Koch discovered the bacterium that caused the disease, in the same year that Eva died.


    Mart did go West to Denver, as evidenced by a note in Ella Steven's autograph book.  Then he moved  to Philadelphia, probably with his father, and worked as a clerk.  He did not marry any of his childhood sweethearts, but after a long engagement, married Nellie Quinby of Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1893.  They appear to have moved to her home state.  Sadly he died a few years after his marriage, at age 32.

    Edward and Emeline Eastabrook, Frank’s parents, also moved to Philadelphia and settled in nearby Hammonton, New Jersey.  After Emeline died, Edward married Anna Belle Gifford and they raised another daughter, Frieda Bell.  
For their long and loving service, Edward and Emeline were honored by the placement of two beautiful stained glass windows at the entrance of the Stevensville Presbyterian Church.  They are both buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Hammonton, Atlantic Co., NJ.

Edward's window

Emeline's window

Windows in memory of Edward & Emeline Eastabrook
Stevensville Presbyterian Church, Bradford Co., PA
Click on a window for a larger image! ~ Illustrations

    Fred Tyler and Sara Estabrook had a very successful music business.  Fred lived to the age of 77.  Among the pieces of music he wrote, “Welcome Spring Waltz, for the Pianoforte” was published in Boston by O. Ditson & Company in 1885.  Copies of this sheet music are available on the Internet as part of the Library of Congress’s American Memory website at

    James Grant, who was Frank’s friend and boss, ran the Stevensville Lumber Mill.  He was married to Eva’s sister, Cora.  After 13 years in the lumber business, they took their children Raymond, Mary and Winifred and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, engaging "in the manufacture of sash and blinds" as Grant & Son.  In 1886 James and Ray formed the Johnson City Furniture Company with the goal of “becoming one of the nation’s largest furniture manufacturers.”
“By a rousing majority” James was elected as City Clerk “but owing to the pressure of outside duties, did not accept the office.”
In 1889 Cora was blessed with another baby and named her Eva Josephine, no doubt in honor of her dear departed sister.

    Fenton Stevens was a mischievous but delightful seventeen year old in 1881, as is often noted by his teacher-Eva.  He was Sarah (Stevens) Eastabrook’s brother, and a friend of Frank’s, as well as a member of the Stevensville band.  He lived next door to Sarah and Fred in 1880, and then moved to Elmira in 1881 with his parents H. H. (Hartley) & Mary Stevens.  In Elmira he worked as a clerk, file cutter, and then for several years as a carpenter, probably with his father.

    Warner Commercial College, also called the Elmira Business and Shorthand College, was started in 1858 by Augustus J. Warner, a business teacher.  It is now called the Elmira Business Institute.  It had several locations, but in 1882 its address was the Arnot building at the corner of Lake and Water Streets (see sketch).  The present college is a few blocks away at 180 Clemens Center Parkway.  Its purpose still remains the training of young men and women in business and office skills.  It appears to have the distinction of being the first business college in the U.S. to offer evening classes.
In those days, the school arranged room and board “in respectable family homes” for the students, and had “a representative meet students at the railroad station and accompany them to the college or boarding place, and look after their baggage.”
From Frank’s letters, it appears that Mr. Warner conducted many of the classes and was very involved in his student’s educations.
    “At the completion of courses, an examination was given and an 85% correction was necessary to receive a final diploma.”

    Stevensville is still a small, peaceful town.  The church that the people in these letters attended, and where Eva taught Sunday school, is still there, and looks out on the river and town cemetery.  The Stevensville mills are quiet now, but it is still a nice place to live and to raise a family.  See picture above.

APPENDIX ~ Table of Contents

Originally there was a letter number #1, but it was later found that it actually fit behind letter #14.   By the time this was discovered it was too late to change the numbering of the other letter’s because they had all been referenced in the indexes.


    It was the style at the time to write one’s thoughts without much regard to ending a sentence or starting a new paragraph, and commas and periods were little used.  To improve readability, I have added punctuation, sentence division, capitalized the first word in a sentence, and created and indented paragraphs.

    Spelling and capitalization is usually as found in the original letters because it is of historical interest and often amusing to the 21st century reader, but instead of cluttering the paper with unnecessary corrections in brackets, I corrected some short words such as “there” versus “ther.”  I have shown many common words as 1 word, instead of the slightly confusing 2, for example: “a bout,” “to gether,” “any way,” “to day,” and “my self.”  Double “ss” sounds were still commonly spelled with the now outdated “fs,” as in “Mifs” (Miss), but I have tried not to alter these.

    Several clarifications are given in brackets [ ], as are notes about uncertain spelling or words.  Items in parentheses (in italics) are the writer’s own parenthetical notes.  Single quotes are used when a letter writer uses quotes, to differentiate from the double quotes I used around the body of a letter or other quoted material.  Underlines are those used by the writers.  Note that the writers placement of apostrophes is usually different than where we now place them, for example, do’nt versus don’t.  Some dates were figured from postmarks on their envelopes or other clues, and these are placed in brackets.

    The first time someone is mentioned, they are further identified in brackets whenever possible.  If you, the reader, have more information about anyone in these letters, I would be happy to hear from you at .

    Be sure to see the detailed indexes of all people, towns, streets, and subjects of significance, with the number assigned to each letter.

~ Table of Contents

    The man mentioned in Letter #22 was Joseph Abbott.  In 1990, Sheriff Charles Houper wrote about the hanging in the Chemung Historical Journal: 

    “Now we move to the most controversial hanging, of Joseph Abbott, on a cold Jan. 6, 1882.

     At the time, Abbott was an inmate of Elmira Reformatory.  During a fight with another inmate, George Reed, who struck him first, allegedly, Abbott took an iron pipe and beat Reed to death.  Because it wasn't premeditated he should have been found guilty of second-degree murder.  However he was ultimately found guilty of first-degree murder.
It became a very stormy issue because there were many editorials in local newspapers discussing not only this particular case, but the whole concept of execution by hanging.
There was a lot of sympathy from the community, especially the ladies.

    The reporting in those days was fantastic; it was like reading a novel.

    Mr. Abbott had a lengthy trial.  He gave a vivid account of what happened during his fight with Reed.  But he was unsuccessful in convincing the jury that he acted in self-defense.
Reporters from as far away as Chicago came to cover Abbott's trial.  On his last day, he had an elaborate breakfast and smoked all kinds of cigars.  The death warrant was read in his cell.  Abbott was given an opportunity to say good-bye to the people, and he did so.  He gave his brother a kiss and he kissed a deputy sheriff who had been friendly.
A black silken cap was placed over Abbott's face.  The sheriff took a chisel, cut the rope that was holding the weight, and it dropped.  Abbott was jerked into the air.  It was sixteen minutes before he was pronounced dead of strangulation.  He was placed in a casket [that] was taken to the railroad and shipped to Connecticut.

    That was the last hanging in this community.”

SOURCES ~ Table of Contents

   “Abaelard's Krankheiten,”  (about diseases)

    The American Railroad Network 1861-1890, George Rogers Taylor, Irene D. Neu, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1956.

   “Business Schools,” Chemung Historical Journal, March 1995, pp. 4413-18.

    1880 Census, Pike Township, Bradford County, PA.  Also on the web at:

    Ella Steven's autograph book, 1880-86  (in the Editor’s possession)

    Elmira Fire Department History on the Web:

    Frank Eastabrook’s 1878 and 1882 Diaries (in the Editor’s possession)

    Historical Record of the Stevens Township Cemeteries, Linda Culver English, 1988, 1994.

    History and Geography of Bradford County, PA, 1615-1924, Clement F. Heverley, 1976 edition.

    History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, H. C. Bradsby, 1891, p. 784.

    History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania 1891-1995, Henry G. Farley & Doris W. Hugo, Co-Project Directors, p. 23, 193-94.

   Library of Congress' American Memory web site.

    Lipincott Gazetteer of the World, Angelo & Louis Heilprin, copyright 1905, 1911, & 1922.  Also titled A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer or Geographical Dictionary of the World.

    “Medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” by Shalin Shah,

    News clipping on “F. E. Eastabrook Elected President of People’s State Bank” (clipped by his daughter Mildred).

    The Nineteenth Century, Michael Pollard, 1993.

    Obituary of F. E. Eastabrook in the Wyalusing Rocket, PA newspaper, Aug. 19, 1943.

    Peddling Snake Oil, by Joe Nickell, on the web at

    Pennsylvania County Maps, County Maps, Puetz Place, Lyndon Stations, WI 53944, copyright about 1985-1990.

    The People’s Chronology, James Trager, 1992, 1994.

    “Railroading,” The Settler, published by the Bradford County Historical Society, Bradford Co., PA, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, Nov. 1985, p. 18-29.

    Southern Tier , Vol. 2., Arch Merrill, [circa 1954], p. 74-76.

    Stevensville Sunday School Register and Ledger (one volume), 23 June 1867-29 April 1888, (in the Editor’s possession)

   “The Symptoms Of Tuberculosis” at:

    “Three Local Hangings,” Chemung Historical Journal, June 1990, pp. 3953-57.

    Twigs from Family Trees, Edward C. Hoagland, 1968, “Easterbrook” section, p. 642.


   Material on the Elmira business schools was provided by Kathleen M. Hamilton, present Director of the Elmira Business Institute.  For more information see the school’s Web site at:

    Information on Edward and Emeline Estabrook (long lost to this researcher) was supplied by Theressa M. Graham.  Thanks Randy and Theressa!

    Assistance from Linda Culver English, author of Historical Record of the Stevens Township Cemeteries is gratefully acknowledged.  She also gratefully granted permission for use of her sketch of the Stevensville Presbyterian Church that I used.  Thanks go to Barbara Conrad, Tim Rodabaugh, Carol Brotzman and George Farr for research assistance, and again to Carol B. for some of the Stevensville photographs.   
Thanks also to Marge Templeton, Barbara Coy and Sue Brown for some geographical assistance, and Dave Kester and Wayne Howard for the “Woodbine” answer.  Thanks also to Joyce Tice, creator and editor of the wonderful Tri-Counties Genealogy & History Site covering the Bradford and Tioga, PA and Chemung, NY counties, at for her help and for allowing this book to be placed on her web site.

Final Note from the Editor ~ Table of Contents

    Although Eva is not a true member of our family, but for a twist in fate she would have been my great grandmother.  As I read these “soft” letters I could not help but feel close to her because of the love she held for Frank during those wonderful and fascinating years.  I hope you too have enjoyed reading them.

Letters Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members:
2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6
~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13 ~ 14 ~ 14b ~ 15
16 ~ 17 ~ 18 ~ 19 ~ 20 ~ 21 ~ 22 ~ 23 ~ 24 ~ 25 ~ 25b ~ 26 ~ 27
28 ~ 29 ~ 30 ~ 31 ~ 32 ~
33 ~ 34 ~ 35 ~ 36 ~ 37 ~ 38 ~ 39 ~ 40 ~ 41

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