Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Burlington Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania
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BRADFORD REPORTER Towanda, PA, July 10, 1884

Burlington Township

In giving the history of the two Burlingtons, it will be necessary for us to digress somewhat from our former plan, as the early history of the two is so intimately linked as to be almost inseparable. The present history of each township will be given separately.

Early History

In May, 1790, Isaac DeWitt, Abraham DeWitt, and James McKean, the latter a young man of twenty years, came to the wilderness of Sugar Creek, from Johnny-cake Hollow, Chemung County, N.Y., on an exploring expedition. They made the passage down the river on a raft, spending the first night at "Tioga Point." Reaching the mouth of Sugar Creek, in the Indian tongue called the Oscaluwa, they made their way up that stream to the lodge of Tomjack, a noted Indian of that day, situated on the south side of the creek, near what is now known as Burlington borough. The creek that runs through the borough takes its name from this worthy of the early days. Making the wigwam of the Indian their headquarters, the explorers proceeded on their quest, going as far up the creek as where East Troy now is. They retraced their steps, and selected future homesteads. Isaac DeWitt chose a tract known as the O. P. Ballard place, near West Burlington, Abraham DeWitt selected lands known as the "Pratt place, " and the farm now owned by Thomas Blackwell, and James McKean made his claim to that which was known for years as the "McKean farm.

The pioneers erected a hut on McKean's lot, near the place where at present stands a large green oak, but then a mere sapling. Here the first blows for civilization were made on Sugar Creek, aside from the rude efforts of the Indians for gardening. A small crop of corn was secured that season, ears of which, bunches of wild grapes, and wild plums, were taken back to "Johnny-Cake" as trophies of the "land of promise." During the winter of 1790-91, the settlers of old and new Sheshequin (now Ulster) rallied to cut out and construct a road from some point on the Susquehanna, to the contemplated new settlement on the Sugar Creek. Mr. Simonds, Mr. Clark, Mr. Gore, Mr. Kinney, Colonel Lockwood, and others, with forces from Chemung, formed a heavy pioneer corps. The time selected for the work proved to be favorable, there being now snow, and game being plentiful. The road took nearly the direction as now traveled, except it went farther north in coming up the mountain near Ulster village, and it was for the time and place a good road.

On April 1, 1791, five families from the Chemung, including the pioneers of the summer previous, left the Hollow for the Sugar Creek. The women and children were put on horseback and under proper escort, while the remaining men of the colony, with the goods and provisions, were embarked on a log raft for the descent of the river. The cavalcade arrived first, and leaving its freight the women and children returned to the river to meet the flotilla, but which owing to unexpected difficulties met with, did not arrive until a full week had passed from the embarkation. In the meantime, those already in the wilderness suffered for want of the things on the raft, besides being in great fear of the wolves and panthers with which the woods abounded.

About May 1st, all arrived at their destination in safety; the men of the party being James McKean, Abraham DeWitt, Isaac DeWitt, William Dobbins, and Yoras, a half-breed Indian.

Privations were in store for these pioneers, upon which they had not fully reckoned; they had corn, but no mill to grind it with; but that was soon overcome by the manufacture of the Indian mill, a mortar and a pestle, supplemented by a Yankee device, a spring-pole. The mortar was a hollowed stump, burned with fire to make it hard, and the pestle was a piece of hard wood. The pounded corn was afterwards sifted through a hair-sieve and shortened with bear's fat made a tolerably palatable bread. Venison and fish for their meats with leeks and wild onions for sauce, seasoned with salt, made by Tomjack, made a bill of fare that many now-a-days travel the Adirondacks and Rockies for weeks together to procure. Thus the summer of 1791 was passed.

During the summer the settlement on the creek was largely increased by the arrival of emigrants from Connecticut, among them James Ward, the Campbell's, Derrick Miller, and Dunbar.

The trouble of the Connecticut title had its demoralizing effect in the Sugar Creek settlement, the same as elsewhere, yet it did not stop the emigration coming in from Connecticut. In 1792 a large number of families came in, among them Swain, Nichols, Soper, Braffit, and Jaqua, all violent Connecticut title men. In 1803 the claims of the Connecticut company were silenced, but the roots of bitterness engendered by the strife were not heeded for many years. During these troubles the settlers raised but little bread-stuffs, and had not the game been abundant, many must have suffered intensely if they had not starved.

In 1794, the season proved favorable for both wheat and corn, and a good crop was secured, but there was no way to grind the wheat except to take it to Milltown, three miles above Athens. The settlers led by Mr. Ward, worked hard to get a mill on the creek, near the residence of the late General McKean, but the dam proved a failure, and the mill would not grind.

In 1796, Ezra Goddard and his sons, Luther and Ezra, came in from Connecticut, bringing a large sum of money for those times, in hard cash, and such goods as were needed for a new country. They cleared off a heavy forest acreage, and erected a grist and saw mill, the site being near the present location of Rockwell's mills in West Burlington. It was but a partial success, but it added much to the comfort of the settlement.

Stephen Ballard came to the settlement on Sugar Creek in 1796. He took up a farm, built a house, and returned for his family. John and Nathaniel Ballard, twin-brothers, and cousins of Stephen, who were then eighteen years old, came back to Sugar Creek with their cousin, and their father, Joseph Ballard, came on with the rest of the family the next year. They were all from Farmingham, Massachusetts. Nathaniel took up a farm next to Stephen's above the centre of Burlington, where the old church now is, and Joseph, the father, located half a mile above with John.


Towanda, PA, July 17, 1884

Burlington Township

Joseph Ballard had a family of ten children, these were Nathaniel, John, Nathan, Lyman, Joseph, Josiah, Anna, Mehitabel, Betsey and Polly. John occupied the homestead and lived thereon until the time of his death. Nathaniel moved to Columbia township in 1832 and died there. Nathan, Joseph, Josiah and Lyman moved to Ohio. Mr. Ballard died in 1806, and his wife Betsey in 1804. Stephen Ballard had a large family also.

There were three John Ballards,--one a brother of Joseph Ballard, and the one before named the twin brother of Nathaniel, and another the brother of Thomas, the father of O.P. Ballard.

William Dobbins was in Irishman by birth, and in his early life lived on the Juniata, in the Kishocaquillas valley. He came to Burlington from the Chenango below Buchville, following the route through Ulster over the Overton hill, the road being but a bridle path. He settled on the Stanton place. He married Mary McClain, and their children were Robert, Eleanor, Daniel, Susanna, John, Jane, Betsey, Polly, William G., and Sally.

Mr. Dobbins moved to Troy township and died there. Robert became a Methodist minister and settled in Ohio. Daniel were to Erie, and for many years was in command of an American revenue cutter. He commanded a vessel on the lake at the time of Perry's great victory in 1813. John was the father of ex-Sheriff Dobbins, of Troy, a highly respected gentleman yet living.

Deacon Moses Calkins came with his family, of whom Joel Calkins was one, to Sugar Creek from Duanesburg, Schenectady County, N.Y. in April 1795. He settled in West Burlington on the place subsequently owned by Calvin Rockwell. He was a blacksmith by trade, and supplied the wants of the settlers for mile around in his art. His son Joel also worked in the same business. He settled on the place now occupied by Mrs. Frederick Whitehead, and married Laura Leonard, a daughter of Ezekiel Leonard, on of the original settlers of "Leonard Hollow."

John F. Clark came to Burlington in 1798, and located where Dr. Tracy now resides. When a child, Mr. Clark lived with his parents in the Wyoming valley, and was there at the time of the "massacre." His father being in the service, he was placed in the fort for protection and made his escape with a lady in a canoe down the river. For more than a year Mr. Clark did not know the whereabouts of his son. At the close of the war Mr. Clark, whose name was Benjamin, moved to the "Sheshequin Flats," in what is now know as Ulster and located on the place of Benjamin Ross, where he lived until the time of his death.

John T. was a young man when he came to Burlington, and share din a commendable manner the hardships of a new country. He remained a citizen of Burlington until the close of his life. After a short residence at Burlington Centre, he moved to the place now occupied by Z. Morgan, where he spent the remainder of his days. Mr. Clark had a family of twelve children, three of whom are yet living. These are Mrs. E. Gustin, Mrs. E. Nichols and Mrs. Z. Lane. Of the Clark name only B. M. Clark, a grandson, is yet living in the township.

In 1799 and 1800 another lot of emigrants from Connecticut arrived, among them Jeremiah Taylor, Moffitt and Benjamin Saxton.

Alexander Lane moved to the township of Burlington in 1801 from Ulster where he had lived for a short time, having originally moved from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. While living in Ulster in 1800, he and a gentleman by the name of Rundall marked trees in from that township to Columbia, picked out a location, the same as now owned by the Besley brothers, and erected a log cabin each, and would have gone there to live had not Mrs. Lane emphatically refused going so far in the wilderness to live. Mr. Lane then purchased the possession right of Abiel Foster, and moved thereon in 1801. He occupied this place until the time of his death, which occurred in 1844. Since then it has been occupied by his son, Rev. Alexander Lane. Mr. Lane had a family of thirteen children, these were William, Zephaniah, Alexander, Daniel, Sally, Hannah, Betsey, Ruth, Charlotte, Maria, Alvira, Anna and Emily. Of these Alexander, Daniel and Charlotte are yet living.

In 1803, Eliphalet Gustin came to Sugar Creek and located on the place no occupied by his son, E. Gustin. Mr. Gustin was a native of Vermont, and was born in 1766. When a young man he left home as a "journeying shoemaker," traveling through the Eastern States. He married in New Jersey, and lived there for a short time. Thence, removing his family to Pennsylvania, near Wilkes-Barre, where he in 1792 embarked his wife, two children and a few effects (all that he had) in a canoe, and paddled up the Susquehanna, landing at the mouth of Horn Brook, which took its name from the fact of his finding a remarkably large horn in that stream. Mr. Gustin took up land, a part of which is now included in the Isaac Horton place, also the lands occupied by the Horn Brook church, and began clearing up until about 1800 when he sold his improvements, and moved across the river to the mouth of Hemlock Run where he lived for about three years. Again desiring a change he placed his household goods and family in a canoe and paddled up Sugar Creek. Finding a recess in the bank near the creek, across which a tree had fallen, he covered it with bark and transferred his family hither where they lived the greater part of the summer. He built a log cabin on the "Rundall flats" and lived there for six or eight years, then crossed the creek and built on the place now owned by his son. Mr. Gustin occupied the place which he took up, making valuable improvements until the time of his death, which occurred in 1860 at the age of ninety-four years.

About 1795, John Gamage a young man from Massachusetts, arrived at Burlington, a poor boy, but full of manly pluck and courage, as he must battle for himself in a new country for a livelihood. He bargained with one Bascum for a possession on the present place of his grandson, W. D. Gamage, and set diligently to improving it and continued so to do until his death, which took place in 1847. Mr. Gamage was a prominent member of the M. E. Church, a quiet and highly esteemed gentleman. He had a family of three children, these were Wilson (yet living), Horatio and Martha. Horatio occupied the homestead after his father's death until the time of his own, which occurred in 1855. It then fell to his son, W. D. who had since occupied it. W. D. and his uncle Wilson, who lives with him, are the only two Gamages in this part of the country. Martha married William Hosmer, for many years editor of the Northern Christian Advocate. She died in Susquehanna County.

Among others who came into the county at an early day was one Otho, a colored man, who came into the settlement with Ezra Goddard, he having been formerly Goddard's slave in Connecticut. This ex-slave proved to be a valuable acquisition to the colony, being a turner by trade. He provided the settlers with dishes, including platters, trenches, (plates), bowls, mortars, etc., which he made from butternut wood, which grew in abundance in the vicinity. Clamshells with a turkey-bone handle served for spoons, knives and forks were hardest to provide a substitute for. Blocks of wood, carved more or less artistically, according to the skill or desire of the possessor, constituted chairs, until the arrival of Jessie Marvin, a sash and chairmaker. He turned his work by a foot lathe, and it was slow work, but those chairs to a cabin were a luxury.

Jehiel Ferris, from Delaware County, N.Y., was a shoe-maker, who settled on the farm afterward owned by Mrs. Lydia Patrick and Jessie Beach. Timothy and Jessie Beach were sons of Mrs. Ferris by a former marriage. They were skillful choppers from boyhood, and expert mathematicians, acquiring the latter proficiency by the study of their books by the light of a pine-know by night.

Among early settlers who came to the township prior to 1804, we may add the following; James and David Campbell, brothers, came in from the East and located in Burlington borough. James took up the place now occupied by the Campbell brothers, and lived there until the time of his death, when his son Cephas occupied it. Mr. Campbell was by request buried upon the place in a little mound, which he supposed had been erected by the Indians. His wife and son Cephas are also buried beside him. Mrs. Campbell died in 1840 at the age of ninety-seven years. James Campbell was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. James Campbell had a large family, all of whom are now dead. Numerous descendants are living in the township.

George Head lived in Burlington Corners. He had a large family.

William Nichols also lived within the present limits of Burlington borough. He had a large family. One of his grandchildren is Hon. C. F. Nichols, a gentleman well known to Bradford County people.

Roswell Luther settled below Burlington Corners. He was grandfather of Roswell Luther, the founder of Luther's flouring mills.

Pioneer Trade

As before mention, Ezra Goddard, in 1796, brought in a small stock of goods for the more pressing and immediate wants of the settlers, but until 1814 there was no general stock of merchandise opened for sale in Burlington.

During that year, Samuel McKean, afterward prominently known throughout the State, brought in a stock of goods from Philadelphia, which was a large one for those days. For these goods people paid in exchange such things as they had, such as deer skins, furs, maple-sugar, rags, flax-see, and whisky. These articles were sent to Philadelphia via the Susquehanna, Chesapeake and Delaware bays. The port of entry was Meansville (now Towanda); the vessels were Durham boats, carrying forty tons down, and from a half to two-thirds as much back. They were wholly managed by setting poles and a small rudder. This enterprise of Mr. McKean's was hailed with great rejoicing and a liberal patronage ensued, the store being crowded from morning till night. Those who had the barter in hand made the exchange at once; others traded on the prospects of the next sugar or fur crop, which, sometimes failing, the debt was charge against the next ensuing harvest, and in time these long credits swallowed the entire possession of the debtor. Another evil grew out of this system. Rye would not be accepted in exchange for goods, because of inconvenience in handling or want of transportation, but whisky was legal tender for anything; hence distilleries flourished and blackened the fair face of a smiling Heaven with their foul flames. This brought much gain to the merchant, but it proved a sore burden to the people financially and socially. The public sentiment began to grow, and out of this sorrowful experience a happier condition was developed; the distilleries have all disappeared by their places are filled with school houses and churches, and peach, plenty, joy and happiness crown the scene in the present.


Towanda, PA, July 31, 1884

Burlington Township

Early History - Roads

The first highway cut through the forest to the Sugar Creek settlement from the outside world was the one already mentioned, which was cut through from the Susquehanna in the winter of 1790-91. In the winter of 1800-1, Jeremiah Taylor, Mr. Moffitt and Benjamin Saxton, with a few of the settlers from Sugar Creek, cut a road from that point to the North Branch as it was then called, as it is in fact the north branch of the Towanda Creek at its junction with the main creek. This was for a long time called the "Moffitt and Taylor" road, to distinguish it from one cut a little below, from Beriah Pratt's (then) to Bailey's. This last road was cut out by Oliver Nelson and Lawson Hemenway. These men were squatters, but their title was as good as those who held under the title of Connecticut, who came near being forced to resort to the "rifle title" before their just rights were secured for them.

In 1811, there was a mail route established from "Meansville" through Burlington to some point farther west. Samuel McKean was appointed postmaster at Burlington, and a man named Needham carried the mail on horseback, with two mail bags, one for letters and one for newspapers, distributing the latter to subscribers along the route, giving notice of his advance by blasts upon a tin horn which he carried by his side.

Educational and Religious.

The first school house built in Burlington was in the first settlement on Sugar Creek, and very soon after the first pioneer families came in, in 1791. Mr. McKean gave an acre of ground for a cemetery and church site, the building to be erected for the double purpose of a church and school house. It was on the same ground as now occupied by the "old church," erected in 1822-the oldest church edifice in the county, and the burying ground near it. When the settlers began to locate farther down the creek, a second school house was built in that locality. An idea of how these early schools were supported may be had from the following original contract:

"This article witnesseth that I, Nancy Wilcox, do agree that I will teach a regular reading and spelling school for the Lower District of Sugar Creek for the term of four months, beginning on the first day of May and continue till the first of September next. Witness my hand, April 24, 1815.

"And for the faithful performance of the above article, we the undersigned do agree to pay the said Nancy one dollar per week in good merchantable grain or store goods, at or before the expiration of the above stated time, and board her during said time. And we do agree to pay the above sum according to what we sign, and if we send more than we sign, we do agree to pay accordingly. David Ross, 1

Amos Abbott, 1,

William Nichols, 1,

Bethuel Swain, 1 1/2,

Elisha Bloom, 1 3/4

William Campbell, 2,

Cephas Campbell, 3,

David Soper, 2."

The mothers in Israel of the pioneer settlement of Burlington were Mrs. James McKean, Mrs. William Dobbins, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Joseph Ballard, Mrs. Stephen Ballard, and Mrs. Ferris. These were mothers, indeed, and from them sprang a host who have graced the church in later days. They, too, were the first to erect an altar for the worship of the Almighty Ruler of the universe in the wilds of Sugar Creek.

On the very evening of the arrival of the men of the first pioneer parts, in 1791, Mrs. McKean and Mrs. Dobbins proposed and held a prayer meeting and these two then and there covenanted together to erect the family altar at their own firesides, and at it worship daily, and they faithfully kept the covenant through life. It was, however, some years before a joint effort was made and preaching secured, and a most singular circumstance heralded the first preacher. Some time previous to 1796, or about that time, a party of the young people met at the house of one of the settlers for an evening's entertainment. They played and danced, and sang until tiring of the exercises, and desiring some "new thing," jocularly proposed a prayer meeting, and accepted it in the same spirit. One of their number, being a good singer, was appointed leader. He at once, with dignity and solemnity well assumed, began the exercises by giving out Wesley's favorite hymn, "Children of the Heavenly King, as we journey let us sing." The hymn was sung with decorum, and then they all knelt while the leader prayed. He was followed by a second and third, when another hymn was sung of a different nature, not so joyous and in a minor key, --

"Why should we start and fear to die. What timorous worms we mortals are!"

This seemed to break p the current of mockery, for no sooner had the song ceased than they fell on their knees again and then commenced praying at once, then a third broke in, and finally all supplicated Heaven earnestly for themselves. They felt at once that they needed help, and dispatched a messenger for Mother McKean, who came immediately to the prayer meeting, begun in mockery and ending seriously. She was a woman of strong and abiding faith, and her soul was at once drawn out in prayer and exhortation for the salvation of the penitents, and the result was that eight of the party became consistent Christians from that time; one of the number, Andrew McKean, being afterwards a Methodist itinerant, preaching forty years, and died at ninety years of age. Another was a local preacher for forty years, and was the first Justice of the Peace of Burlington after its organization as a township. The news of this singular occurrence spread far and wide, and a Methodist minister being on the very same evening at the house of Mr. Campbell, on his way to hold a meeting in the settlement somewhere, he held it the next day at the house of Mr. McKean, preaching from the words, "This day is salvation come to this house."

Soon after, through the assistance of a Mr. Scott, who was on a visit to his sister, Mrs. McKean, a preacher named Newman, came to the settlement as a missionary from the Baltimore Conference, and spent a year in the county, dividing his time between Sheshequin, Sugar Creek, and Muncy.

In 1798, an organization was formed called the Loyal Sock circuit, Northumberland district of Baltimore Conference, and Jacob Gruber was sent as an associate of Mr. Newman. Among the early Baptists were the Swains, Calkins, Allens, Stevens, and Elders Smiley, Janes and Rich--all of whom helped to clear the forests of moral darkness, and lead the young forward to better things.

A Mr. Ellis came in the early days and preached what some looked upon as "another gospel," it being the universal salvation by the blood of Christ. His doctrines remained longer with the people than his person.

A queer specimen came to the settlement, in June, 1806, dressed in Quaker drab and broad-brimmed hat, and took up his abode at Mrs. James McKean's. He announced preaching in the church that evening, and a general notice was sent through the settlement, accompanied with a faithful if not an description of the preacher. A large congregation for those days assembled to hear and see the unknown oddity. He had not given his name, nor the locality whence he came, and until he ascended the pulpit every one was ignorant of all things concerning him. He then announce: "My name is Lorenzo Dow; my business here is to save souls from hell; and for this purpose I have brought my credentials, which are these; ' Go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be save, but he that believeth not shall be damned." A strong and lasting impression was made by his sermon, and the eccentric went from house to house exhorting the people, and in the evening preached from the text, "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothier, " intimating rather strongly that they had better inquire into his antecedents and ascertain if it was not a wolf who had robbed a Quaker sheep of his garb, who was warning them from the wrath to come.

The visits of the circuit preachers were infrequent, it being a six weeks' circuit, but with two men to fill it; but this lack was supplemented by local preachers, namely; Phillips, Packard, Daniel Wilcox, Elisha Cole and others from Towanda Creek, and Lewis from Sullivan.

The main burden of the M. E. Church, however; fell on John McKean, who for 40 years bore it bravely. Aside from him, Elisha Cole was the main help of the Burlington M. E Church.


Towanda, PA, August 7, 1884

Burlington Township

The White Man's Friend

Tomjack, to whom allusion has been made in the early part of our historical sketch of Burlington, was by nationality a Mingo, but never gave his Indian name. He was born at Logan's Gap, near the Juniata, and when the whites came into the valley of that river to settle, he emigrated to the Susquehanna, just above Forty-Fort. There he married Betty Montour, a three-quarter blood squaw. He was emphatically a "peace-man." When it was proposed by the Indians and Tories to massacre the white settlers in the Wyoming valley, Tomjack refused to join in the war, and moved up the river to Wysauking (now Wysox) where there was a Moravian mission, at which place he professed religion and lived till the approach of General Sullivan's expedition. Supposing himself unsafe, notwithstanding the assurance of the missionary to the contrary, he again removed, going to the wilderness of Sugar Creek, where he lived when the white settlers appeared there. He remained three years after their advent into his hunting-grounds, and then removed to the Allegheny river where he died in 18009. There is no record extant of his children except of White Fawn, a girl, and Sun Down, a boy, whose tragic death is a matter of history.

White Fawn was educated and became a teacher and missionary, and was instrumental in doing much good to her race in the Alleghany region, and in bringing about a reciprocity of good feeling between the Indians of that section and the whites. She never married, giving as a reason that the Great Spirit made her a mother of a nation rather than a mother of a family. She died in 1825, much lamented, and in 1836 a monument was erected to her memory by the Moravian missionary society, of which church she was a member as were her parents.


During the years of privation and land troubles, when food was scarce and quarrels and vexation between "Pennamites" and "Connecticutisters" were abundant, it is no wonder that women and children in thinking of the comforts of their 'father's home," where they had "enough and to spare," while they were reduced to "husks" almost literally, should long for the old fireside and the rosy-cheeked apples, and the smoking brown loaf from the old brown oven, and the generous boiled beef and pork, flanked by garden "sass" in profusion. And as they longed for it, no wonder that that intense desire to return to the old scenes which every homesick boy or girl, or strong man or tender woman has felt that brings that indescribable "lump" into the throat and turns the stomach against every tempting morsel that can be set before the miserable victim of nostalgia.

One poor lad of sixteen, sorely afflicted, hit upon not a very brilliant scheme, it must be confessed, to force a return of his family to the old home. One morning, while the men of the settlement were all at the river for supplies, he took his gun into the woods and taking off his hat shot a hole through it, and did the same thing to his coat, being careful to shoot it where, if on him, the ball would not have hit him, but, unfortunately for his pretty little scheme, he forgot to take that precaution with his hat. Having thus unloaded his gun, he appeared in the hamlet in an apparently hasty condition, and proclaimed his escape from a body of Indians who commanded him to halt, but not doing so they fired on him, exhibiting the bullet-holes in his hat and coat as evidence of his statement and his empty gun as proof of his alleged stout defence. The alarm spread like wild-fire through the settlement, messengers were dispatched to the river to hasten the return of the men, the houses were prepared for defence, bullets were cast, guns cleaned, in momentary anticipation of hearing the dread war-whoop of the savage and seeing the gleaming of his knife.

The men returned quickly, and equipping themselves with their rifles they took the boy who gave the alarm and proceeded cautiously to the point where he alleged he saw the Indians. Arriving there they examined the ground carefully, but failed to find any signs of a body of Indians, the only tracks seen being all of one size and going towards the houses. Pressing the lad closely with questions, he at last confessed it was a sham, conceived and executed by himself to scare the women, and to induce them to force a removal back to Connecticut. The men laughed heartily at the ruse, and especially when an examination of the boy's hat revealed the fact that if it had been hit while on his hear, it would certainly have been death to him. The women were not so easily pacified, especially some who had passed through the horrors of Wyoming, but having a fellow-feeling for the home-sick boy they at last forgave him.

A Speck of War

was discovered on the horizon of the Sugar Creek settlement in 1812, which continued into a portentous clod until 1815, but which fortunately did not burst at this point; and passed away in 1815, with the end it is to be hoped of our last was with our British cousins. Military companies were formed and drilled monthly, sometimes oftener. The little boys caught the military ardor of the big brothers, and formed a company and drilled and drummed to their heart's content. A fencing-master named Chesbro, was sent to Burlington by the Governor and Audjutant-General to drill the officers and raise volunteers for the regular army. His headquarters were at Kendall's tavern. He offered to the soldier "no flowery beds of ease," or promotion for daring deeds at the cannon's mouth, or in the "imminent deadly breach," but put the case upon the high place of patriotism, duty to fatherland, and that a volunteer was ever more respected than a conscript. A draft was made at major Kennel's in 1815, but before the detail was ordered away peace was declared and published, and celebrated according to the several inclinations of the people--at church in thanksgiving by those who loved to pray; by a dance by those who felt too joyous to neglect so happy an opportunity to trip "the light fantastic toe," and by the never-failing resort in times of joy or grief, the whisky-bottle, at which a most immoderate pull was had in honor of the American eagle.


Towanda, PA Aug 14, 1884



The summer of 1816 was noted as the cold and wet summer--"the year without a summer--" there being a frost in every month of that year. Wheat was mostly killed by the first frost in June, and the corn in August, and consequently great suffering was experienced for bread-stuffs. Game was plentiful in the woods, and the snow being deep the following winter the deer were easily taken, but having browsed on laurel for a long time the venison was unwholesome and caused a distressing bloody flux. None of the settlers however died, and in the spring getting access to the ground-nuts, leeks and artichokes, with the wild beef (bear's meat) cured, they managed to exist till the harvest of 1817 brought a greater abundance.

The great destruction caused among the deer that winter by man, and the carnivore nearly extinguished that variety of wild game, and they never recovered from the disastrous effects in this region, and have long since disappeared from the waters of Sugar Creek.

The trying time with the settlers really came in the spring of 1817, and before the harvest of that year, corn was four dollars per bushel, and wheat any price that was asked for it. The sufferings would have been more severe, indeed, had it not been for the kindness of David Ross, then living at Burlington Corners. Early in the fall of 1816, he sowed a fallow of ten acres of rye, which would necessarily bring forth an early crop in 1817. He told his neighbors to come and take his rye and pay back when they could. The whole field was harvested by them, much of it long before it was ripe.

The summer of 1822 was a remarkably dry and warm one. No rain of moment fell from the middle of May until the first of October, but little of any kind of crops was raised, and cattle were greatly reduced in condition. However, the disastrous effects did not extend far beyond the limits of the valley of Sugar Creek, and no particular hardship was experienced except by a few. The rains of October were frequently warm ones, and the grass grew, cattle recovered their condition, and no feeding was required until the 15th of January following.


In 1806, as Ezra Goddard, Jr., was burning over a fallow, and watching his mill to prevent its taking fire, a tree in the rear of his position fell unawares, and crushed him so severely that he died the same day.

In 1808, as Ephraim Blakesley was engaged in getting the first log on the carriage of his new saw mill, he slipped and fell, his head was caught between the log and the timber below, and he was killed instantly.

In 1813, as Ezra Goddard, Sr., attempted to ascend a ladder from the basement of his grist-mill to the room above, when his foot slipped and he fell to the floor of the basement and was so seriously injured that he died in a few days thereafter.

In 1814, Luther Goddard, brother and joint owner with Ezra Goddard, Jr., was crushed to death by the falling of the chimney to the grist mill, the bank on which it stood giving away. Thus these three pioneers-father and two sons--met violent deaths almost on the same spot, and within a comparatively short period of each other's death.

In 1822, as James McKean and a number of other men were engaged in chopping a slash fence, a limb sprang back and struck him on the head with such force as to dash his brains out and cause his death in a few hours. He was one of the first pioneers who came in 1790 to seek a home for his father's family.

John Ballard, Sr., was bitten by a small dog, supposed to be rabid, the wound being inflicted on his under lip, and from which it was supposed the virus had been removed; but in his old age this old wound assumed the appearance of a rose cancer from which he died.


In 1822, while digging a cellar on the farm of General McKean, excavations came to what was supposed to be "an impenetrable rock, but striking it with a crow bar it gave forth a hollow sound." They re-doubled their efforts, and at last the stone broke and fell into a vault. And now, with visions of long-buried treasure flitting through their minds, they carefully removed the earth from the arch, speculating the wile as to the probable extent of the "treasure-trove," and the amount of salvage the General would be likely to claim. On removing the cap they found "not what they sought," but a sepulchre. A careful examination of the sarcophagus reveled it flagged at the bottom, the sides artistically built up, and a flat stone laid on the top. The sarcophagus measured nine feet in length, two and a half feet in width, and ten feet deep. In it was found a skeleton measuring as it lay, eight feet and two inches in length. The teeth were sound, but the bones were soft and easily broken. There were ten of these sepulchres within the space of the cellar, one of which had a pine growing over it three feet in diameter.

The first orchard was planted out before 1800, by a man from Connecticut named Kendall, who came on foot and alone from that "land of steady habits" with his worldly possessions in his knapsack. Among the contents of his precious, though not invaluable burden, were some apple-seeds and scions, some of the latter being of the celebrated Westfield "seek-no-further," which he engrafted and which are still growing on the farm of Thomas Blackwell.


Towanda, PA Aug 21, 1884


Connecticut Surveys

The present township of Burlington covers the Susquehanna Company's township of Juddsburg, by which name the whole Sugar Creek valley was frequently called by the old people. This township, whose lower line began at the narrows o Sugar Creek, about three miles west of the westerly bounds of Franklin, was granted July 10, 1786, to Major William Judd (in whose honor it was named.). Timothy Hosmer, John Franklin, John Jenkins, and their associates to the number of twenty-two, as appears by said grant on file; that twenty-eight one-half share proprietors were to be admitted to fill said turn, agreeably to the notes of the Susquehanna Company:

"Now know ye that James Campbell, Stephen Ballard, and Samuel Wallace, may, if they think proper, take into the number of twenty-eight to fill up said town, etc., which is to contain twenty-five square miles.

Signed, John Franklin, John Jenkins, Commissioners

"Tioga, August 13, 1792."

James Campbell, of Tioga township, is certified as being entitled to one whole share in the Susquehanna purchase, which is entered in Juddsburg June 12, 1793; survey made and approved November 23, 1799.

Also, a certificate that John Clark, of Juddsburg, has a right entered in said town, June 26, 1793, and conveyed to Champion Scoville, in second division, containing seven hundred acres.

Also a certificate to William Dobbins, of Tioga township, entered in the town of Juddsburg, May 26, 1793, assigns the right reserving six hundred to John Spalding.

The Pennsylvania land-holder was Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, whose agent, Dr. Robert H. Rose, was compelled to use all of his skill of persuasion, and occasionally threaten severe measures, before the Sugar Creek settlers, who clung with great tenacity to their Connecticut rights, would abandon and purchase the legal title. This was, however, finally accomplished, and the Sugar Creek settlements have become the most prosperous in the county.

Civil History

When the settlers first arrived at Sugar Creek, it was proposed to govern the colony by the principles of reciprocal fair dealing and honesty, and honesty with one another, and all differences to be settled by arbitration. This plan worked well for a short time only, and a s

petition was sent to the Governor, and an organization of the town was effected, and Nathaniel Allen commissioned a Justice of the Peace for that district. He then lived on the farm now occupied by Phileman Pratt.

At that time the county was Lycoming, which had been taken from Luzerne. The township was named Burlington, because at the time of its organization a number of the settlers were originally from Burlington, Vermont, Juddsburg, Sugar Creek, Penn, and Danbury, were also proposed as names, but Burlington was adopted. This was an occasion of rejoicing too, a wedding was ready to be celebrated, and good cheer was provided.

When first organized Burlington composed the territory now included in Burlington, West Burlington, Troy, and the greater part of Granville and Canton. The election was held at the house of Ezra Goddard. The first election board were Noah Wilson, Nathaniel Allen, Mr. Campbell, James McKean, and Mr. Case. After the polls were closed a barbecue and a dance closed the day.

In 1831 Burlington was reduced in extent of territory, to what is now included in East and West Burlington, the latter being made a separate township in 1855.


Geographically Burlington is situated between the townships of Smithfield on the north, Ulster, North Towanda, and Towanda on the east, Franklin on the south, and West Burlington in the West and has an area of about twenty-four square miles. The surface of the township is elevated, and much broken by the streams flowing through it, making several valleys, the broadest and most productive of which is that of the Sugar Creek. The township is well watered by Sugar Creek, which takes its course through the north central part in a north-easterly direction, and the tributaries of that stream, the principals ones being Tomjack and Brown Creeks, and Pond and Alley runs. Preacher brook rises in the southwestern part of the town, and runs southwardly into the Towanda Creek at Franklin.

The soil is very fruitful, and was well covered with a dense growth of huge pines, which have now almost entirely disappeared. For many years lumbering was made the main business of the township, in consequence of which farming and dairying, which have now become the great source of gain to the people, were neglected.

All the cereals of the latitude, together with the grasses are grown in profusion, especially in the Sugar Creek valley, which contains undoubted the strongest soil in any part of the county. The farmers of Burlington are progressive, and are making valuable improvements upon their farms, and introducing fine blooded stock into their dairies. Some of the best farmers in the county, living in the township, we can bespeak her future, by saying that she is destined to become one of the banner towns in agriculture.


Towanda, PA Aug 28, 1884


Geological-Burlington Limestone

About a mile east of Burlington, on the farms of J. Morley, C. E. Campbell, and ___ ___ there is a bed of rock of a most remarkable character. It is a calcarceous stratum forty feet in thickness--the same throughout. It is a nearly solid mass of sea shells which may be reckoned at millions. It must have required a very long period of time for their accumulation. In the whole forty feet exposed-and this does not seem to be its whole thickness-there is no parting of shoals or other rock. The percentage of lime, which is considerable, appears to be about the same in all parts of the bed. A kiln has recently been erected for the purpose of burning the limestone. It makes a gray but very strong lime, well adapted to agricultural purposes. This is undoubtedly the thickest stratum of limestone in the Chemung group, and must prove of value.

Mountain Lake,

one of the most attractive points of Northern Pennsylvania, is situated something over a mile southeast of Burlington borough. Here is a beautiful sheet of water, hemmed in by a delightful prospect, and skirted on one side by a pleasant grove. The lake has been provided with boats, and the grounds arranged to meet the wants of the gay pleasure seeker. Suitable buildings for the accommodations of guests, and dancing pavilions have been erected. This resort is visited daily during the summer season by pleasure parties, and those who wish to spend a day of rest in a most gratifying manner. Mountain Lake is fast growing into popularity, and is managed by D. G. Lenox and F. W. Hull, two gentlemen well adapted to the place.

The People

of Burlington are open-hearted and industrious, and are largely descendants of New England stock. The township has a population of about 1,100 persons, and supports nine public schools. During the late rebellion "the Burlington boys" nobly responded the "Father Abraham's call," and at once pushed to the scene of action, many never to return to their homes they had left so dear, and others to return only with the impress of the "battle's mark," or the "death-stroke" of Southern climate."

"All hail, ye men of high renown!

I render now the homage due

To glorious deeds; and, bending down,

Before thy name of strength and might,

So valiant in the cause of right,

Salute thee all as warriors true."

Township Officers

Commissioners, W. P. Lane, D. G. Lenox, Benjamin Haythorn; Town Clerk, A. Melville; Auditors, B. K. Gustin, R. Horan, Wilber Kendall; Justice of the Peace, C. D. Campbell; constable, John Lewis; Treasurer, Z. L. Morgan; Assessor, Owen Kendall; Judge of Election, J. F. Morley; School Directors, W. P. Lane, P. P. Burns, H. O. Burns, D. P. Haight, W. S. Gustin, I. Hainsworth.

Visits Among The People

It was our pleasure to spend our initial visit with our kind and hospitable friend, Hon. George Moscrip, at his pleasant home. George's stories, of which he has a choice and full supply at all times, were greatly enjoyed, as were the delicious viands that were placed before us prepared by Mrs. Moscrip's skillful hand. But to indulge in "story and feast" was not the whole of our entertainment, as a visit could not be spent with Mr. Moscrip without gleaning much useful knowledge from his richly stored mind. He can give you the practical side of farming, or unfold to you the beautiful things in literature as easily and ably as he can discuss the great political questions of the day or the past. Mr. Moscrip is one of the most able and reliable men of the county, and is a noble example-a self made man.

By occupation he is a farmer, and ranks very high as such. His farm at Burlington is a most fruitful one, and was giving yield to some excellent crops at the time of our visit. For some years Mr. Moscrip has been identified with the book interest of Ivison, Blakeman & Co., and at the present is a stockholder in a roller skating rink at Harrisburg. He was a member of the State Legislature in 1875, succeeding the Hon. E. R. Myer. Mr. Moscrip is a native of the son of Robert Burns.

G. P. Davis is a skillful young farmer, and highly esteemed citizen. He occupies a part of the Justin Morley place and grows some very fine crops. An excellent crop of wheat was noticeable at the time of our passage through the place. In connection with general farming, Mr. Davis carries a choice little dairy and young stock. He is owner of a very fine Hambletonian colt, and has a superior breeding mare.

H. C. and D. V. Campbell are prosperous young farmers, having a very pleasant location in the Sugar Creek valley, about a mile and a half from Burlington borough. They occupy the ancestral estate of their great-grandfather, James Campbell. They give attention to general farming, and have the improved appliances for carrying on this industry. Having discontinued the dairying business they carry young stock quite extensively. They keep good horses upon the place. The Campbell brothers are industrious young men, and of excellent habits. They are sons of Josephus Campbell, who was a son of Cephas Campbell, who was a brother to William Campbell, to whom their father, James Campbell, willed the original farm in 1803. Cephas Campbell bought the interests of William Campbell, and he mooed to Smithfield where he died. The place has been occupied by the Campbells in direct line ever since it was settled. Mrs. James Campbell lived to be ninety-seven years old. She died in 1840. Josephas Campbell died in 1874, his widow, an estimable lady, yet surviving him and living with her sons.

J. L. Morgan is a neat farmer and affable gentleman, employed in farming and occupying the place originally taken up by John t. Clark, and which he occupied until the time of his death. Mr. Morgan is engaged in general farming, and carries a choice dairy of Holsteins and Durhams.

In August, 186..., Mr. Morgan enlisted in the 132d P.V. He did service in and about Arlington Heights, and after about five months he took the fever and was discharged for disability.

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