History of Granville
(in Bradford County PA)
By Ruth Kinney
Retyped by Linda Selub & Christine Keel
The Blacksmith Shop
The Old-time blacksmith shop was a fascinating place, with a peculiar smell all its own - a mixture of the smoke from the burning in the forge of the hot iron and the burning of the horses’ hooves. Memories of watching the hardworking blacksmith blow his little fire in the forge bringing the metal to almost a white heat. It was amusing to see the smithy pick the hot shoe from the forge with his long forceps and pound it on the anvil until he got it the right shape. Hear that anvil ring! Then he would try the shoe from time to time to make sure it fit the horses’ hoof before he nailed it fast. Before the fitting of the shoe, the smithy would trim each foot of the horse. Many of these horses were very unruly and very difficult to work with but the smith knew just how to master those horses.
In its day, blacksmithing was a highly skilled trade but now it has gone with the passing of time like so many trades of yesterday.
Granville had its share of faithful blacksmiths. The first one in the Centre was Benjamin Saxton who opened his shop soon after 1807 and continued to work there until his death in 1842. Abraham Mott operated a blacksmith shop in Bailey Corners in the middle 1800s.
The tenure of Henry C. Arnold as blacksmith in the Centre has a very unusual story originating through a bond of friendship with Loron Leonard. It was during the Civil War that Loron Leonard occupied an unusual niche as the Sergeant of the Guard over President Jefferson Davis at Fort Monroe, Virginia. With the defeat of the South in 1865, the Confederate President Davis was incarcerated in the Point Comfort Fortress. Three months after Sergeant Leonard received his orders to report for the guard duty detail and after Davis’ imprisonment, the President was shackled. Forging the chains which restrained the President was Henry Arnold of Point Comfort, the blacksmith who was hired by the Army to do the various metal tasks.
Sergeant Leonard of the Pennsylvania Heavy 3rd Artillery served in the Army throughout the Civil War. After his transfer in 1863 to Fort Monroe, Mrs. Leonard joined her husband and remained with for two years. It was during this time that the Arnold and Leonard families became very good friends. Mrs. Leonard baked and sold pies to other soldiers for 50c to supplement their income.
At the War’s end Mr. Arnold questioned the now Lieutenant L. Leonard as to a likely spot to settle down and pursue his trade as a blacksmith. Lieutenant Leonard advised Mr. Arnold to consider Granville Center whose only blacksmith was elderly, feeble and unable to carry on the large trade of the area.
The offer was accepted and the Arnold family became an integral part of the little community. Their home constructed by piece-meal by the blacksmith himself still stands in the heart of the hamlet. This home is directly behind the old I. O. O. F. building.
Henry Arnold was born in New London County, Connecticut on July 4, 1840, the son of William and Mary Arnold. He was reared in his native county where he learned the blacksmith trade. He served in the Army under Captain Clark for the Bartlett Naval Brigade from the time of his enlistment in May of 1861. His wife, Sarah Knowles Scully was a native of Germantown, Pa. They were parents of seven children, Lee, harry, Willard, Lucy (Mrs. Joe McDonald), Lena (Hewitt), Rose (Johnson) and Judson. The Arnolds remained to be very valuable assets to the community for many years with Mr. Arnold dying in 1918 and Mrs. Arnold in 1927.
In later years George Kennedy and Clyde Smith each operated the blacksmithshop for a time.
The shop remained closed for many years until the early 1930s when it was taken over by Loren Johnston. Mr. Johnston was the last smithy to operate the shop. A former blacksmith in Laquin, Masten and the Foot of the Plains, he came to Granville from East Troy.
Mr. Johnston, a highly skilled blacksmith despite his small stature, could handle all horses including the real mean ones. He conducted a large volume of business as long as his health permitted. When he retired the shop’s door were closed, never to hear the sound of the anvil again. Mr. Johnston died in March of 1944 and is buried in the Powell Cemetery.
The shop remained closed for many years until the building was purchased by William R. Stanton who remodeled the old shop into a beautiful home. The home is now owned by Harry Morrison.
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 10/30/99
By Joyce M. Tice