The surface of Springfield is very much diversified. There are many narrow, yet beautiful valleys, surrounded by hills ranging from a slight elevation to a height of 2,500 feet above tidewater. The highest point to which we refer is.
a detached spur of the Appalachian system, situated in the southern part of the township. Pisgah, however, is not only the highest point in the township but in the county. This commanding point has been taken advantage of in the erection of an observatory, where "the lover of the beautiful" may stand and gaze for hours with content at the charming prospect before him. Old Bradford, with her hills and vales, dotted with many excellent farms and small belts of timber land, presents a view most picturesque from Pisgah’s summit. The grandeur of the scene only becomes the more interesting and varied as the eye passes toward the horizon, until the expanse dies away in the dim distance. Pisgah, moreover, has other charms than her magnificent scenery; her pure air not only makes it a most desirable home for the invalid, but for those who wish rest and retirement during the warm summer days. Moses Gustin, of Troy, the proprietor of Pisgah, has erected buildings which are now being enlarged, for the accommodation of boarders during the summer season. Guy Ballard and his estimable wife, who both are possessed of charms and agreeableness, will have charge of the buildings and grounds during the coming season, and any one bothered with hay fever, that wants a sure cure, or any one that would look down upon "Old Bradford," in all her beauty should make them and Pisgah a visit.
Springfield is a finely watered township. North of the central part rise two branches of Sugar Creek (Leonard and Mill) which flow south. The northern part is watered by branches of Bently Creek which flow north. The soil of Springfield is highly productive and the several crops of our clime are grown abundantly. Much attention is given to young stock and sheep, and butter is made in large quantities. In the mineral production Springfield has some, and evidences of iron ore are found in the vicinity of Pisgah.
Springfield comprises a population of something over fifteen hundred persons, nearly all of whom are descendants of that thrifty New England stock that stuck the first blows for civilization in a now highly progressive township.
The inhabitants of Springfield are industrious and enterprising, giving their whole time to the improvement of their farms and dairies. And in this respect we must say they rank very high, as will be seen in subsequent letters. And much to the credit of Sprinfield, it supports a large number of public schools.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The township now known as Springfield was originally called Murraysfield, after an early settler of that name, who occupied a prominent position among the few who were then inhabitants of the wilderness. He was a Universalist minister and among the first whose deaths saddened the hearts of the people of the new settlement. His body lies in the Harknessburg burying grounds where a monument has been erected to his memory by the Universalists of this and adjacent townships.
There was quite a strife in deciding the name of the new township, but a majority of the inhabitants having been residents of Springfield, in Massachusetts, cast their votes accordingly and decided the matter.
In June, 1803, Ezekiel and Austin Leonard, two citizens of West Springfield, Massachusetts, came to explore this country with the view of locating here. They had been visited by Michael Thorp, a land-agent in the interests of some of the holders of Connecticut title, by whom they were induced to come and "view the country." On their arrival, and when near where Troy now stands, they met a Mr. Beecher, a hunter and surveyor who directed them to the "valley of Leonard’s Creek," says the county history; but private information says they were told of the prosperous, uninhabited valley by a Mr. Barber, a notable hunter, who was living in the vicinity of Long’s mills, and accompanied them to the valley with which they were very much pleased, thinking it a great plain; and accordingly made arrangements to purchase 1,600 acres of land, (private information says 1,000). They set out to bring in their families. Stopping at Esquire Nathaniel Allen’s, at East Troy, they left with him the sum of seventy dollars for which he agreed to chop five acres for them and put up a log cabin, and have the work completed by the following November. At the time agreed upon the two families reached Mr. Allen’s, having come by the way of Ulster, up Sugar Creek, to East Troy, and found the contract had not been fulfilled. Mr. Allen, however, had a vacant log house, which the families occupied while the men went up to their plantation and built a cabin beside a big log; they abode there all winter, going to their families on Saturdays and returning to their work on Monday mornings. Here during the winter of 1803-4, they made a chopping, built two log houses, and made arrangements for the removal of their families in the spring. They cut a road in from East Troy, following the creek which they were compelled to cross thirteen times when they moved in, in June, 1804. the cabins which they occupied were only a few rods apart on the banks of Leonard’s creek, their remains yet being visible. For several years the Leonards worked in partnership, though they lost their lands under the Connecticut title, and were again required to purchase of the Bingham estate. After a number of years they divided their tract, Austin taking the southern half, and Ezekiel the northern.
Towanda, Pa., April 10, 1884
In 1805 the Leonards planted a fallow of forty acres of corn which gave a remarkable yield. The news of the "great corn crop" was carried to New England and created a great excitement and did much to induce settlers to "the country of rich soil."
The family of Austin Leonard consisted of four sons and one daughter. These were Theodore, Austin, Abel, Asaph and Deborah. Austin, however, never moved to the county. He was a physician, and when a young man went to Canada where he practiced and died. Theodore was a young man, married, when his father moved to the township, and did not come in until a few years later. he was a printer by trade, and is said to have set up the type for the first Bible ever printed in the United States. He had edited a paper in Boston, and when Burr Ridgeway established the Bradford Gazette at Towanda in 1814, his services were sought to do work upon it. He had charge of the paper for a short time, but did not remain associated with it for many months. In general literature Mr. Leonard was one of the best read men of his time. He was a man of fine judgment, and was elected County Commissioner in 1827. Lafayette Leonard, a son, is yet living, a gentleman of ripened years and rare intelligence for one of his age. Abel and Asaph both lived and died in the township. Asaph was a great hunter and took much delight in trapping bruin. At the entrance of a large hollow basswood tree, furnishing a most excellent retreat for bears, he set his bear-trap baited in the most skillful manner. And before bruin could take the hint that the place was "death on bears," fourteen had been caught. Deborah married Joseph Grace, an inhabitant of the township. All of Ezekiel Leonard’s family accompanied him from Massachusetts. It consisted of Ezekiel, Lyman, Eben, Nathaniel, Frederick, Albert, Alfred, Abbie and Laura. Ezekiel and Austin Leonard were distant relatives, and the marriage of Abel Leonard to Miss Abbie Leonard is said to have been the first nuptial knot tied in the township. The first saw-mill the township afforded was built by the Leonards in 1808 on Leonard Creek. They went to Albany, New York, for their iron gearings, and brought them in on sleds. Both the Leonards were faithful soldiers in the Revolutionary war.
Captain John Harkness, a native of Massachusetts, concluded he would move his family to the "rich country of the West" and take his chances with the other bold pioneers. He accordingly left the State of his nativity with his family, stopping for a time at Salem, N.Y., while he went out to explore the country to the West. From the glowing accounts he had heard of the Genessee country he was lured hither. But finding the people sick with fever and ague he became discouraged, and took another course which brought him to what is now the township of Springfield. He was well pleased with the country and concluded to make it his home. He accordingly, in the fall of 1803, in company with Ebenezer Harkness, Ichabod Smith, and Alexander Harkness, three single young men came to the township and began improvements of the farm now occupied by O.P. Harkness, Esq., and brothers. A cabin was built and clearings begun. Late in the fall Mr. Harkness returned to move in his family, the three young men remaining during the winter and making improvements. On the 1st of March, 1804, Mr. Harkness reached his home in the wilderness with his family, the snow being two feet deep and he being required to cut his road in from Smithfield. He moved in on sleighs drawn by two ox-teams and a span of horses. He brought some stock with him.
As is now seen, the Leonards made the first selections, although John Harkness was the first to move in his family.
"These two families had no knowledge of each other until the spring of 1805, and the circumstances which gave them an introduction were as follows: The cattle belonging to Mr. Harkness wandered away, being under the necessity of picking their living in the woods. They were followed by their tracks and were found about the "opening" made by the Leonards. Their cabins were about four miles apart. From their small beginnings the township gradually filled up with enterprising settlers from the Yankee land."
The family of John Harkness was a numerous one, consisting of eight sons and three daughters. These were Alexander, Nathaniel, Jacob, Silas, James, Rachael, John, Margaret, Oliver, Ezra, Hiram and Chester. Hiram born April 20, 1805, was the first white child born in the township of Springfield. Margaret "Stacy" and Chester are the only members of this family yet living. Chester, born in July, 1806, is the oldest living native inhabitant of the township. He is a wit and an encyclopedia on the early history of the township. We must give some of his recollections and wolf stories.
Mr. Harkness kept some stock at a clearing known as the "Camp Lot," a mile and a half distant from his cabin. Every evening it was necessary to bring in the stock, as the wolves would play havoc with the calves. The duty of bringing in the stock generally fell upon Chester. On one occasion, as his father was leaving home he gave Chester special orders to get the calves up in time. When the father returned at nightfall he found that Chester had not obeyed his commands. In chastisement he says: "Chester, if I were to serve you right, I would send you yet to-night," and accordingly sent him off undoubtedly first limbering his joints with a proper administering of beech oil. When poor Chester neared the "lot" the howls of the furious wolves burst upon his ears. How he could save himself and calves from the fate of these voracious beasts was the great problem of his youthful mind, which he must not be long in working out. He at last has it--he will push on to the lot, mount one of the colts, set down the bars, and push for home. His familiar call brings the stock to the bars, the colt is mounted, the bars dropped, and away they go, horses, and calves, pursued by the wolves. On the way Chester is met by his brothers, who have armed themselves with a gun and axe, and carry a lantern. Chester is very much frightened, and on seeing his brothers, exclaims: "I have got the whole business, calves, wolves, and all!" The timely rescue of the boys, saved Chester and the calves, and this narrow escape taught a careless boy a lesson of promptness which he will never forget.
"The home of Captain John Harkness furnished hospitality to the new comers until they could prepare homes for themselves."
"The hardships of the pioneers were severe indeed. Food was very scarce and they had to depend largely upon wild game which though abundant could not always be had, as every man was not a hunter." Many of the hardships almost unparalleled in their severity, we shall recite farther along.
In the spring of 1804, two young men William and Abel Eaton, left their home in Springfield, Massachusetts, on foot, with their knapsacks strapped upon their backs, hoping to find their former neighbors, the Leonards. They reached the Susquehanna at Oneonta, where they purchased a canoe and paddled down the river to Ulster. The river was very high during their voyage, and they were compelled to lay over for a couple of days. Arriving at Ulster they sold their canoe and resumed their journey on foot, coming in by the way of Sugar Creek. This part of the journey became very discouraging, as the prospects were not glowing, yet they pushed on and succeeded in finding their old neighbors. On arriving at the Leonards’ location at Leona, in April, they took hold and worked with them until June of the same year, when the Leonards moved their families thence. William Eaton married Asenath, daughter of Whuytie Loomis, of Queen Esther Flats, and located on lands of now William Westbrook.
Abel Eaton lived on the Elder Bennett farm. Mr. Bennett was a Baptist minister, who came from Springfield, Massachusetts, and settled at Leona in 1806, and lived there until he was an old man. The place is now owned by Mr. Ealy.
William Harkness came in the fall of 1804, and took up the land now owned by S. D. Harkness. Ichabod Smith came in the same year, and Josephus Wing in 1805.
In 1806 there was quite an accession to the settlement: James Mattocks, Luke Pitts, Joshua Spear, Stephen Bliss, Oliver Gates, Henry Stevens, ...aziah Thayer, Benjamin Bringham, Joseph and Gurdon Grover.
James Mattocks moved in from Washington County, N.Y., where he had a property which he exchanged for a thousand acres under the Connecticut title. He located at Springfield Corners, building the first log house in that locality. Mr. Mattocks losing his title re-purchased one hundred and fifty acres of the Bingham estate. Mr. Mattocks had a family of five sons and two daughters. Of these only two are now living. Mrs. Asel Parmenter, and James Mattocks, Jr. The last named was born in 1796, and is the oldest inhabitant of Springfield township. He is a most remarkable man in every respect. He is very strong physically, and clear intellectually, giving with accuracy the day and date of many of the interesting facts of Early Springfield. He devotes very much of his time to his papers, and frequently walks several miles to visit his friends. He moves with the agility of many men of half his age, and thinks as much of taking his daily walks when the weather is fair as he does of taking his meals. Nothing gives him more delight than to converse with him on "early times," in which he can interest you for hours. As we sketch this interesting old gentleman, we can but think of the remarkable age in which he has lived. The period of his live embraces all the administrations from Washington down; all the great inventions and scientific discoveries as produced by Americans. Fulton’s famous steamboat made its first appearance in 1807; the first railroad in the United States was opened in 1831; the magnetic telegraph invented in 1844; Bell’s telephone in 1876; Edison’s talking phonograph and electric light in 1877-78 and hundreds of other useful inventions which we will not stop to enumerate. He has not only lived during this progressive age, but he can remember the havoc and devastation of three cruel wars--the war of 1812, the Mexican war, and the civil war, the last of which was one of the saddest the world ever knew. He can remember nearly all of our Presidents, and the great statesmen that have long since laid in the tomb. He can point with pride to the time when the great men of to-day were being rocked in their cradles, when our glorious Union comprised but sixteen stars in her galaxy, and the two great political parties from which all others have had their birth were battling with the great questions of the day; but I see I am digressing and must again confine myself to township history. Jas. Mattocks, Sr., was the first Justice of the Peace in the township of Sprinfield. He was appointed by Governor Simon Snyder, his commission bearing the date of February 9, 1810; jurisdiction of cases for Ulster, Tioga and Athens, then connected with Lycoming County, Bradford not being formed until February 29, 1810, from parts of Luzerne and Lycoming Counties. This new county however was called "Ontario" until 1812, when the name was changed to "Bradford" in honor of William Bradford, of Pennsylvania, an Attorney General under president Washington. Mr. Mattocks remained Justice of the Peace until that office was made elective by the State Constitution of 1838. His son, Samuel P. Mattocks, then succeeded him in that capacity.
James Harkness, with a large family, settled in the eastern part of the township in 1806.
Joseph Grace settled near what is now Leona in 1807, and Nehemiah Wilson and Abel Fuller, with their families settled north of the center the same year.
When Joseph Grace moved in his family from Springfield, Massachusetts, he came with an ox-team, also bringing a cow whose milk provided food for the children on the way. When in the vicinity of Springfield Center, the train got stuck in the mud and the assistance of the neighbors had to be called for its relief.
Mr. Grace located on what is now the property of Widow Fanning and Byron Guthrie. Like the other settlers he was required to build the primitive log house and battle with the wild woods for his sustenance. The family consisted of three boys and three girls, only two of whom are living. These are ladies of ripened years, both of whom married Brookses.
Towanda, Pa., April 17, 1884
As has already been stated, Oliver Gates came in the township in the spring of 1806. He located on the place now occupied by Judson Phillips, and began improvements which were necessarily slow, as Mr. Gates was a poor man and had to depend upon his day’s work in providing the wants of his family. Some of the hardships incident to pioneer life will bear repeating at this point.
On one occasion, while Mr. Gates was over at Tioga Point earning bread for his family, the provisions gave out and all that Mrs. Gates and the children had to live upon for a period of two weeks, was blackberries and milk. The former, Mrs. Gates went a mile for, every morning, before the little ones had waked up.
At another time, while Mr. Gates was over at the "Point," the provisions again became exhausted. Mrs. Gates was again up in the morning and off to the neighbors to borrow flour, and though the hardy pioneers were a more generous people, Mrs. Gates met with exceptions this morning until she reached the hospitable home of Mrs. Gaines Adams, who heard her pitiful story with the greatest feelings of sympathy. Mrs. Adams had just mixed up the last of her own flour in two small batches for bread. But her noble spirit could not turn Mrs. Gates away without urging her to accept one of the unbaked loaves for her starving children two miles away.
When Denison Gates was a mere lad, his father frequently sent him to Barber’s "tub mill," near where Long’s now is, with small grists. On one occasion he was required to remain with the Barbers over night, and all that the festive board furnished for supper and breakfast was panther meat, which seemed to be a favorite food of the Barbers. Panther meat is not ordinarily a very palatable food, as most people would no sooner think of eating it than they would cat flesh.
The family of Oliver Gates consisted of seven children. These were William, Denison, Oliver, Marcy, Samuel, Almira, and Betsy, all of whom are now dead.
Oliver Gates was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, serving as a marine for two years, and the balance of the time with the militia. He had two nephews who served during the war, and were captured by the British and confined in the notable "Sugar House" at New York, a hell pit equal to Andersonville of modern notoriety. Their clothing fairly rotted off of them. Everything was alive with vermin which preyed upon the bodies of the poor unfortunates. The flesh was eaten to the very back bone of the two young men to which we refer. They however lived to see America enjoy her freedom. Mr. Gates was on his grandmother’s side a lineal descendant of William Brewster, of the Mayflower.
In 1807 Major Isaac Cooley came in from Springfield, Massachusetts, and picked out a location. He returned for his family and moved in, in the following year, accompanied by Gaines Adams. They took up lands now occupied by R. H. Cooley and Joel Adams. For two or three years these two families lived together, and shared the hardships of a new country that was almost "famine" to them. We will recite some interesting facts: Maple sugar was the only source by which the wants of the family could be supported in the spring. The Messrs. Cooley and Adams would take back to Tioga Point and exchange for provisions and articles of comfort. It was in the spring, the men were busily employed in chopping a fallow, while Cooley and Adams were making sugar. Dinner time was nearing, but what could be got? Mrs. Adams remarks: "I can find something," and started for "the home in want." A diligent search found a couple of small bags of beans laid away for seed, and a bone of a porker that had been stripped of its eating qualities. The beans are very precious and must be used sparingly. She accordingly takes a small handful out of each bag and breaks the bone which she boils with the beans to give them their flavoring qualities.
The bran is next sifted to get material for a cake. In due time the dinner is spread before the half starved beings, and is partaken of with an appetite of appreciation, a fact which was verified by Mrs. Cooley’s remarks-- "How did you get up such a good dinner?" More than once Mr. Adams was required to roast pumpkins in the log heaps while engaged in clearing his land, to satisfy the demands of an empty stomach.
Not only Mr. Adams and Cooley, but all the early settlers of Springfield were required to go to Tioga Point for their mail, and were required to pay twenty-five cents postage before they could receive a letter from a friend.
Gaines Adams was an excellent gentleman, and married a most estimable lady, Miss Cynthia Kent for his wife. They had a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters, all of whom are yet living except two. Mrs. Adams was a most remarkable lady, living to the advanced age of ninety years. When she was eighty-five years old she walked from Troy to her home, a distance of five miles, and went on horseback to visit some of her friends several miles. In her old age she thought as much of strolling over the hills as the school girl does in taking her rambles. She retained her mental faculties clearly until the time of her death. Mrs. Adams’ father served during the entire existence of the Revolutionary war, holding a minor office. Mr. Adams’ father was also a Revolutionary soldier.
Isaac Cooley was one of the most prominent men of the township. He was a militia major, was elected county auditor in 1829, county commissioner in 1832, and twice represented the district in the State Legislature in 1836 and 1837.
Samuel Kingsbury and Thomas Pemberton came in about the same time, as did Messrs. Cooley and Adams. Mr. Pemberton settling a little east of the Centre.
Samuel Campbell also took up land now occupied by E. F. Parkhurst, Alfred Brace and the Bently estate. All these were residents in the beginning of the year 1810. The population of the township at that date was about 160.
William Brace, a young man, settled in the Brace neighborhood in 1804. To speak of the hardships he endured would be but a recital of discouragement’s of pioneer life. Mr. Brace, was, however, an enterprising hard-working man, and accumulated a fine property which his heirs now occupy.
Between 1810 and 1820 there was a large accession to the population. Prominent among the new comers were Major John Parkhurst, David Brown and sons, Charles Phillips, the Parmeters, Lemuel White, William Evins, Elam Bennett, the Graces, Quartus Ely, Amos and John Sargeant, Elisha Fanning, Alex Kennedy, Charles Burgess, Joseph and William Brooks, and William Faulkner. We shall again advert to these families farther along.
An event worthy our notice, and which will be of interest to the younger people, was-- "The Land Excitement of 1842." Nearly all the early settlers had "squatted," or taken up claims, which they thought they could hold by "possession right." Finally, when the land agents of the Binghams were sent on to announce their right in the soil, and to article with such as were willing to hold their farms at a reasonable figure, the settlers became very indignant, and held "land meetings," to discuss their rights, and the rights of the Binghams. These meetings were attended by representatives from Smithfield, Springfield, Wells, etc. It was at last decided that they would pay no more for their titles, and that they would make war upon the agents. At this time William Clymer was agent for the Binghams lands, and had established his headquarters at the house of W. M. Cooper, a point most favorable for the accommodation of the settlers, in looking after their land interests. Clymer’s sub-agent, Jones, was stopping with him at the time of the occurrence we are about to relate.
A large number of dissatisfied parties at last concluded they would seize the papers Clymer held, destroy them, and thus avoid further payment. A spy was accordingly sent out to find where Clymer kept these documents. A report was made and about forty men from the surrounding townships on an evening set apart for "the grand raid," dressed themselves in a most grotesque manner, and set out on horseback for Cooper’s. An entrance to the house was easily gained, the leaders then springing upon the beds of Clymer and Jones, drawing the coverings over their heads, bade them not to stir as their lives were in jeopardy. In the meantime Clymer’s trunks had been seized and carried away. Something like a third of a mile southeast of Cooper’s the trunks were broken open, and the papers taken out and burned. The band then scattered in all directions thinking they had settled the "land troubles." But as they afterwards found, had only made a bad matter worse, as the proprietors were now more exacting with the settlers, in fact severe with those whom they mistrusted as being connected with "the coalition."
The facts contained in the above were recited to us by one that witnessed the doings of the fore-mentioned party at Cooper’s.
A few more general facts and we must conclude this letter.
The first school teacher in the township was William Nevins, who taught in the log weaver shop of Mrs. Oliver Gates, at Springfield Center, in the winter of 1808-9. Mr. Nevins was again hired in the following year, taught until Christmas--when being present at a shooting match, he took a severe cold and died suddenly. The balance of the term was finished by Theodore Leonard.
The second school was taught in the attic of an ushery, near where the Baptist Church now stands at Springfield Center. The first school house was built of hewn logs in Leonard’s Hollow, now Leona, in 1813. There was a framed school building erected at Grover Hill about the same time; another, also of logs, located on what was then known as Harkness Hill, was opened about the same date. These served the township for many years.
The first militia captain was James Mattocks, whose commission was signed by Governor John McKean, and dated august 3, 1807.
The first grist mill was erected by Luke Pitts, commenced in 1813, where Dr. William Corry’s mill now stands.
Springfield, like many of the other townships, had distilleries. The first was erected by Samuel Campbell about 1810.
Some incidents connected with the raising of Gurdon Grover’s barn in 1808, on the place now occupied by H. W. Gates, may be of interest. It required two days to raise it with all the men that could be obtained in Springfield, besides some others from Troy and Smithfield. During the framing and raising of the barn more than one barrel of whisky was used, and while raising, a young man by the name of Leonard, who had imbibed rather freely walked off the end of the purline plate falling twenty feet, lodged in a hollow stump, from which he was taken without receiving serious injury.
Several years later, the Grover property was purchased by Denison Gates, who wished to move the barn some forty rods up a considerable raise of ground. To accomplish this feat fifty-two ox-teams were required. It must have been interesting to have listened to the "gee-haws" that day.
Towanda, Pa., April 24, 1884
In one of the most delightful valleys watered by any part of Sugar Creek is situated the pleasant little village of Leona (contracted from its former name, "Leonard Hollow,") with a population of one hundred and twenty-five persons.
The point of our interest there is the Daly Steam Flouring Mills. We will give its history: W.T. Daly, the proprietor, began the trade of milling at a very early age, and followed the occupation in his native State, New Jersey, until he was twenty-two years of age. In 1839 he came to Elmira and worked until 1848, when he purchased of Enos Hubbard at Leona, his small water mill for a consideration of $600. On taking charge of the mill, Mr. Daly at once began increasing his facilities, and soon had an established trade and reputation, which he has since fully sustained. In 1868 the mill was remodeled and enlarged. In 1879 steam power was added, and in 1882 the new process was put in. As the mill stands to-day it is a structure with a front of 120 feet, and 60 feet deep, being six stories high. The mill affords a run of five stones, and two sets of rolls, the motive power being a combination of water and steam. The mill is in charge of M. L. Daly, a gentleman of skill in the art of milling, who employs the new process in making wheat flour, and the roller process of buckwheat. Messrs. Daly carry an extensive business, dealing also in grain and roller flour.
W.T. Daly is also engaged in the mercantile business, carrying a line of goods adapted to the country trade, which includes everything from a fish hook up. Mr. Daly began business in 1853, for three years associating with W. E. Hart, of Elmira. Buying out the interest of Mr. Hart, he has since continued the business alone.
Enos Hubbard had kept a small grocery store before Mr. Daly opened in the mercantile line. He was also the first postmaster at Leona. Mr. Daly succeeding him about thirty years ago, and continuing in that capacity.
H.N. Brooks is engaged in wagon making, and is the old reliable, having established himself at Leona many years since. He performs his work in the most skillful manner, and makes anything in the line of fancy light wagons, or desirable in the line of heavy wagons. He has gained an enviable reputation among his fellow mechanics.
M. Pettingell is the accommodating blacksmith, and is a master mechanic in his occupation. Mr. Pettingell does general work, and can set a shoe in the most skillful manner, and finish a wagon artistic and complete in its trimmings. From the many patrons found at his shop, it is evident that he is doing a fine business. Mr. Pettingell is a lineal descendant of General Greene, of Revolutionary renown, famous for his retreats. He thinks that Mrs. Greene is yet living at the advanced age of one hundred and thirteen years.
A.W. Owens is also engaged in the blacksmithing business.
An industry of rare interest is the "chicken incubator," near Leona, where chickens are hatched and grown by the hundreds. About a year ago this enterprise was started by W. J. Greenleaf & Co., and is a pronounced success. The incubator hatches 728 chickens every twenty-five days. The process of hatching is as follows: In trays with a sieve-like bottom, ninety-six eggs are laid in each, in rows; the trays being slid in the incubator one over another. Between the trays are hollow pipes containing water which is warmed on the outside by a kerosene lamp, to give the incubator the proper degree of temperature to germinate the "chick" within the shell. This temperature, which must be kept constant, is regulated by electricity. However, as the "chick" develops, the animal heat increases, and the temperature is slightly lowered. The eggs in the trays are turned twice every day, so that the chick will not form to the shell and be more hearty. At the end of the twenty-second day, the chicks are all out, and very soon after are placed in the "brooder" where they are furnished with food and a covering which keeps them warm as if they were under the wings of an old hen. The "Brooder" is also given its temperature by pipes passing through it filled with water which is warmed by kerosene lamps. Over these pipes a board is placed under which the little chickens sit. The "brooder" is partitioned off so that not too many of the young fowls are together. When the fowls have attained the proper size and age they are shipped to the city where they are used for broiling purposes. By means of the incubator the markets can be supplied at all seasons of the year with young fowls.
OUR VISITS CONTINUED
We found A. B. Fanning domiciled in a fine mansion, and one of the most extensive and successful farmers of the county. An examination of his commodious barn proved it a structure perfect in arrangement, and the finest in the township. Mr. Fanning carries on farming extensively, but gives especial attention to his large dairy, in which we noticed some fine blooded stock. He is assisted in conducting the interests of the farm by his son-in-law, Mr. Griffith, an affable gentleman, well skilled in his chosen avocation, and who is a joint owner in a part of the stock. Mr. Fanning has all the improved machinery, and surrounded by all of the conveniences that would add to one’s comfort and happiness. He occupies the homestead of his father, Elisha Fanning, of whom notice will be given at another point.
One of the most intelligent and interesting gentlemen we have had the pleasure of interviewing is I. P. Doane, Esq., who came to the township from Middletown, Connecticut, in 1837, with his father, Roswell Doane, who had been to the township previously, and examined lands. The Doanes purchased the original Leonard farms, a part of which Isaac P. still owns. The lineage of the Doane family is very interesting as may be seen by the following: John Doane, the original Doane in America, came from England to Plymouth in 1621, in the second vessel after the Mayflower. He lived in Plymouth until 1644, when the colony at Cape Cod was formed. Then in company with six other families he moved thence, which was in 1707. He being born in 1597, would make him 110 years old at the time of his death, and the hero of three centuries.
The family of Governor Prince was one of the seven that located at Cape Cod. The Governor there planted an apple tree, brought from England, which bore fruit for over two hundred years.
Roswell Doane, who was borne in Haddam, Connecticut, in 1774, died at Leona, at the age of eighty years.
Mrs. Doane was a Chapman, and was born at East Haddam in 1773. Her ancestors were among the first that settled on the Connecticut river, and helped to drive off the Dutch in 1635, who had laid claim to the territory. Mrs. Doane, although young at the time, remembered many incidents of the Revolution. At the time of her death she was ninety-three years of age.
Phineas Doane, grandfather of I. P., was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, Mr. Doane yet having in his possession the gun which he carried. Mr. Doane has a family of nine children, seven of whom are teachers.
We found Charles C. Hooker a prosperous farmer and genial gentleman on the homestead, where his father, Clark Hooker, began battling with the wild woods in 1824, having moved thence from West Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Hooker, through his unremitting efforts made fine improvements, which have been continued by his son until he has one of the handsomest farms in the township.
Clark Hooker was an own cousin of General Joseph E. Hooker, familiarly known as "Fighting Joe."
Two of his sons are well known to Bradford County people, Dr. C. C. Hooker, of Alba, and Editor A. S. Hooker, of the Northern Tier Gazette--a well known literary character. He graduated at Genessee Seminary and College, now Syracuse University.
Campbell brothers have very pleasant locations, and are successful, enterprising farmers. The "latch" always hangs on the outside to the weary tourist, even if he be the inquisitive newspaper man. Knowing this fact we took advantage of our host, and enjoyed George’s kind hospitality and witticisms to our heart’s content.
On the prosperous farms of J. S. and G. W. Campbell, their father Carlton Campbell, Esq. began about 1825. Mr. Campbell was a native of Burlington, Vermont, whence his father moved to Tioga County, Pa. At the age of seventeen Carlton set out to seek his fortune. He worked upon the Pennsylvania Canal, where he met Clark Hooker, who became very much attached to him and offered him hospitality and advantages at home, if he would go home with him Young Campbell accepted, and lived with Mr. Hooker for a few years, then took up the lands which his sons now occupy. He was a hard working man, and a gentleman of high standing in the township. He was Justice of the Peace for many years, and held various township offices.
The Campbell brothers have a most interesting collection of aged documents, some of which are over two hundred years old. They were handed down on their mother’s side.
We found I. C. Reel and interesting gentleman and enterprising farmer. Though not a native of this country, he is a gentleman skilled in the art of farming, and does not fall behind his neighbors in carrying on this industry. He carries a choice dairy in connection with his farm.
Among the many pleasant, intelligent faces we have met, none added more to our edification and happiness than Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Guild, whom we found as happy as king and queen in their pleasant home. Mr. Guild’s many interesting stories and sketches of amusing incidents, connected with his long experience in teaching and "boarding around," made us feel as if we had never had the happy experiences of a pedagogue, and that our "wolf stories" were nowhere. Mrs. Guild is his counterpart in relating her daring experience in the Far West, and the pleasures connected with a blizzard.
J. R. Guild is a son of Joel Guild, who came in from Massachusetts in 1823 with the Kennedys, of whom he was a relative. Mr. Guild’s grandfather, Jessie Guild, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and when an old man recited many things of interest connected with the battles in which he participated. He was at Monmouth on that hot Sunday in June, when the burning rays of "Old Sol" seemed to be angry alike with friend and foe, as they met in a terrible combat. Near the battlefield was a creek where the parched lips of both the Americans and Red Coats received their nectar. It was here that "Major Mollie" was carrying water to the faithful gunners when her own husband was shot down. Dropping her pail, she took his place at the gun.
We spent a pleasant visit with N. E. Bailey, one of the prosperous farmers of the township. Mr. Bailey’s history is one of diligence and economy through which he has accumulated a fine property. Mr. Bailey gives attention to general farming and stock raising and especial attention to sheep. He has a flock of four hundred Merinoes. Mr. Bailey was one of our boys who gallantly donned the blue, a notice of which together with his family history will be found in another letter.
Elisha Landon is a skillful mechanic with but few superiors, and a farmer of enterprise. He carries a choice little dairy, and keeps some fine young horses of the Hambletonian and Bertrand stock. Mr. Landon, however, gives attention more especially to his trade, and can make anything from the most elegant show case to the most stylish buggy. He is a grandson of Benjamin Landon, an early settler of Canton township.
We spent a most interesting visit with Frank Burgess at his pleasant home, and listened with much pride to his wolf and bear stories which he told in a capital manner. He is responsible for the following: "It was in township A. when it contained but a sparse population. There were two neighboring families living at a considerable distance from each other, each of which had a cow. These cows were kept in a clearing about three-quarters of a mile from either settler. Two young women nearly grown, would generally bring them up in the evening, and in the meantime on meeting spend a short season in visiting. One evening more time than as intended was consumed in relating their "girl dreams" until the evening began to close upon them. In short it was getting dark, and the howls of the dreaded wolves were heard in the distance. It was evident that these voracious beasts were coming their way, as their howls were becoming more distinct every moment. Their situation was fast becoming a hazardous one. They at last bid each other good-bye, never again expecting to meet, as they would undoubtedly be overtaken and torn to atoms. On starting, however, each girl takes her cow by the tail and urges her forward with the very best speed a cow could make. On came the ferocious canines, some following one girl and some the other. The girls are finally overtaken but yet they cling to their cows’ tails with a will. The wolves hardly dare attack the cows, yet they swarm around them in numbers, impeding their progress, and hoping to secure the prey at their tails’ end. The cows become excited and charge upon their dog-like enemies, scattering them for a moment, and at the same time are pressed on by the anxious girls. By a persistent holding on, the girls are brought safely through, and afterwards recited their wolf story to admiring crowds."
TOWANDA, PA, MAY 1, 1884
Near the central part of the township, on a pleasant rise of ground, is situated the village of Springfield, with a population of some 200 persons, and comprising the following points of interest:
Bailey & Co. are general merchants, and carry a superior line of goods adapted to the country trade. In their store may be found a choice supply of general dry goods, a full and superior line of groceries, tobacco, cigars, boots and shoes, anything choice in the line of notions and miscellaneous articles. The firm deal largely in produce, butter, eggs, hides and pelts, paying the highest market prices; and if you want a bargain, and would you deal with the jolliest fellows in town, remember where you should buy and sell.
A second store is kept by F. H. Mattocks, who carries a choice line of general goods; and his years of experience and pleasant face must bring him many customers.
The hotel of the place is neatly kept by Joseph Causer, a most accommodating gentleman and popular in his business.
Blacksmithing is skillfully carried on by W. B. Roberts, and wagon-making by N. H. Mattocks.
The place affords a public school, two churches, a Baptist and Universalist, and a town hall.
The I.O. of O. F. have a flourishing Lodge, and a cosy new hall.
Mrs. A. G. Bailey is the efficient postmaster, and Dr. John Carey the physician.
James Mattocks, Sr., cut the first trees, and built the first log house where Springfield Centre now is. This was in February, 1806. Early in the same year Joseph and Gurdon Grover located near Mr. Mattocks.
The first store in the township was kept by Samuel P. Mattocks at Springfield Centre, opposite where Dr. John Carey now resides.
OUR VISITS AMONG THE FARMERS
We found Joel Adams an open-hearted gentleman, and one of the most wide-awake and progressive farmers of the township. His farm is a most excellent one, and is most pleasantly located. Mr. Adams has a pride in fine stock, and keeps a superior lot of Durhams and fine blooded sheep. A cosy new home which Mr. Adams is building will be an ornament to the place. He occupies the ancestral estate of his father, Gains Adams.
At the home of W. A. Brown we found pleasant, intelligent faces, and kind hospitality. Mr. Brown is an enterprising farmer, and is handsomely domiciled in a pleasant location. He has a fine dairy consisting of thoroughbred and grade Durhams; he also keeps a fine flock of sheep, consisting of Southdowns and Merinos. In connection with our visit at this point Mrs. Avery Brown added to our enjoyment by reciting many interesting facts of early times. She is a daughter of Gaines Adams. Mr. Brown occupies the homestead of his father, Avery Brown, a son of David Brown, both of whom came in from Connecticut at an early day. David Brown was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
John Patterson has a fine location and lives in a cosy home, and is surrounded by all of the comforts of life.
Irvine Burgess is "king" of many broad acres, and a very large stock; he is also quite extensively engaged in the milling business. He is a son of Charles Burgess who came to the township in 1816 and settled near Leona, where he lived for a few years, then moved to the place which is now occupied by Frank Burgess. Mr. Burgess had a family of twelve children.
J. K. Phillips is an extensive farmer, and carries a large dairy consisting of grade Jerseys and Durhams. He also gives some attention to the raising of young stock and sheep. Mr. Phillips occupies the place of his grandfather, Charles Phillips, who came in the township from West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1812.
E. M. Merrill is an enterprising farmer, who through the dint of unremitting toil, and economy, has made himself a pleasant live, in which he can enjoy himself with the comforts of a king. Mr. Merrill has a fine little dairy, and is working into the fine bloods. Mr. Merrill is a native of New York; Mrs. Merrill is a daughter of Woodward Berry, the first settler in the Berry settlement.
L. L. Cooper has a very cosy new home, and has a very productive little farm. He carries a small dairy, and gives considerable attention to sheep.
In 1823 or 1825, the first settler, Woodard Berry, came to the "Berry Settlement," from Danby, N.Y. and began improvements on the place now held by his son Woodard, having contracted with Clement Paine for his lands. Mr. Berry was well pleased with the locality on which he had settled, and induced his brothers, Almon and Leman, hither, who came in a few months later, and purchased lands adjoining. They being unmarried gentlemen, boarded with their brother until they had made some improvements and erected for themselves the usual log houses. Almon, however, upon burning his first fallow, burned his house nearly completed with it, and was accordingly required to build another.
Ephraim Berry, father of the gentlemen already mentioned, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. A few years after his sons had moved to Springfield, he came in and lived with Woodard until the time of his death. Woodard and Almon had each a family of two sons and five daughters. The sons occupy the ancestral estates, which have been greatly enlarged.
M. C. Berry is a son of Woodard , and has a very pleasant location with a neat home and outbuildings. He has a fine farm well improved. He carries a good dairy.
Woodard Berry is also a son of Woodard, and occupies the homestead. He is quite an extensive farmer, and is one of the most successful in the township. In the stock line Mr. Berry has a pride in the Durhams, which he thinks superior to any others as milkers and for beef qualities. In his line we noticed a very fine registered male, one year old, and a female five years old. He carries a good sized dairy, consisting largely of high grades.
A. L. Berry is a son of Almon Berry, and is one of the most extensive and prosperous farmers in the township. Mr. Berry gives especial attention to his fine dairy, which consists of thoroughbred and high grade Jerseys. Among Mr. Berry’s find stock we noticed a fine young male--Conley 3rd, 10,899 sired by Conley, dam, Nettie Noble. Mr. Berry is a gentleman well read on fine stock, and we would give our brother scribes due notice not to enter into an argument with him "on the merits of the best dairy stock," if they do not want to be convinced that they are the Jerseys.
A. W. Berry is also a son of Almon Berry. He is an excellent farmer, and is pleasantly domiciled. We found him a most entertaining gentleman and greatly enjoyed his interesting stories and kind hospitality, partaking of one of Mrs. Berry’s excellent dinners. Mr. Berry gives especial attention to his farm, though he carries on a choice little dairy. Edgar Berry is engaged in the milling business and runs a steam thresher.
We found H. L. Adams a pleasant old gentleman, and spent an interesting visit with him. He is a son of Gaius Adams, and was the first child born unto Mr. and Mrs. Adams after they came into the township. Mrs. Adams is a daughter of John Sherman, a native of Rhode Island, who came to the township about 1840. Mr. Adams gives attention to farming and dairying.
A visit with D. S. Sherman proved a most pleasant one. He has charge of the large farm of his father, Seth Sherman, who struck the first blow toward improvements there over forty years ago. Through his diligent efforts, however, many an acre of timber fell under the strokes of his fatal axe, and was cleared and improved.
Seth Sherman is a son of John Sherman, who came from New England and settled near Springfield Centre where he lived for a short time, then moved to a part of the place now held by his son, Seth. The Sherman family consisted of ten children, five of whom are yet living.
The Shermans keep a fine dairy on their farm, and give considerable attention to young stock and sheep.
We found L. B. Parmenter a genial gentleman, occupying the place of his father, Ansel Parmenter, who came to the township in 1830 from Massachusetts. Mr. Parmenter gives attention to farming and dairying.
In visiting the Newberry brothers and Mr. Woodward, all within a radius of half a mile, we found a rare occurrence. These three gentlemen, whose heads indicate the frosts of many years, have lived as neighbors for a half of a century. Their fine farms show that many years of diligent effort have been spent in making them what they are; the first acre hardly being cleared when they occupied them.
The Newberrys came in from New York, and Mr. Woodward from Columbia township, having been born there. Mr. L. Newberry is handsomely domiciled, and has fine outbuildings. He carries a choice dairy and is one of the most enterprising farmers of Springfield. He is assisted in conducting the farm by his son, C. Newberry.
Mr. Woodward also has a pleasant location, and is a prosperous farmer. He is assisted by his son P. B., who is a skillful mechanic, and gives a considerable of his time to his trade.
F. Newberry has a prosperous farm, and a very pleasant home. He has coupled farming with dairying, until recently, quitting the latter on account of declining health. Mr. Newberry’s son-in-law, Mr. Adams, has charge of the farm.
J. H. Gates is one of the most extensive and prosperous farmers of the township. He is very pleasantly located in an elegant home, surrounded with all the comforts of life. He, together with his son, Dorence, has a very large dairy of the Durham strain. They give considerable attention to young stock, and carry fine blooded sheep in large numbers.
We found S. C. and O. D. Gates extensive farmers, and gentlemen having a pride in fine young horses. In their line of horses we noticed three very fine breeding mares of a superior stock. Also a very fine Durock and Messenger colt one year old, and another of the same blood two years old. One of the finest stallions we have seen in many a day is owned by Mr. O. D. Gates. He is from a strain of Durock and Messenger on the side of his sire, and from the Arabian and Fox-Hambletonian on the part of his dam. He gives a superior stock and stands at ten dollars. Messrs. Gustin have other good horses. They also give considerable attention to dairying and young stock, and raise sheep in large numbers.
James Kennedy is one of the fore-handed farmers of Springfield, and lives as happy as a prince in his pleasant home with all of the conveniences that would make one’s happiness complete. Mr. Kennedy carries a large dairy in the Durham line and gives attention to young stock. Mr. Kennedy occupies the place taken up by Elisha Fanning in 1812, and afterwards occupied by his grandfather, Alexander Kennedy, who moved from Sheshequin in 1822, having moved there from Vermont in 1820. Mr. Kennedy is a son of the late Hosea Kennedy.
At Harknessburg live the descendants of those bold pioneers from whom the locality is named. They are prosperous farmers, gentlemen of pleasing manners, and men of influence. They are worthy scions of their race. Prominent among this family we would mention Esquire Harkness and Judge Harkness. The last named having filled the offices of County Treasurer, Associate Judge, and Representative.
In connection with the enterprising and prosperous farmers of this locality, we must also mention Ed Strong, George Corey, and James Yerkes, all of whom have elegant places and homes.
We will close this letter by giving a brief notice of Springfield’s first and eminent physician, Dr. Theodore Wilder, a practitioner for over fifty years. Dr. Wilder was born in Chesterfield, N.Y., in 1805. He studied medicine with his father, Dr. William Wilder, and after having completed his studies, married and practiced for a short time in New York, then came to Springfield and took up his quarters with Esquire Mattocks. When the young doctor came in his worldly possessions consisting of a horse which he rode and his saddle-bags filled with medicines; and here in a wilderness among strangers who lived miles apart, he is going to build up a practice. He waited many weeks, but yet no patients came. Finally, when most discouraged, he was called upon to visit a gentleman who had been ill for some time, and whose disease baffled the skill of the several physicians who had been called, who at last gave him up to die. The young doctor, however, understood the case and soon had him on the road to health. This soon gave him a great name and his services were sought far and near. He rode on horseback in many cases, being guided only by marked trees, in visiting his patients. His practice, indeed, became very great, which he continued until within a few days prior to his death, which occurred at Springfield in 1882. He was twice married. For his second wife he married Miss Eliza L. Bailey, who yet survives him.
Towanda, Pa., May 8, 1884
As we gaze from Pisgah’s summit, a prosperous valley in the southeastern part of the township lies pleasantly before us. This beautiful prospect contains many excellent farms, and is known as Wetona, through years agone it had the very appropriate name of "Pleasant Valley." This term was used by the "Pisgahmites," as they were called, in distinction from the opposite valley then known as "Leonard Hollow."
The name Wetona, however, is due to the school-boy ingenuity of Editor A. S. Hooker and Professor J. C. Doane, who in a composition of a fictitious nature adverted to this locality as Wetona. Mrs. Daniel Cleveland’s "Pleasant Valley" was accordingly dropped, and Wetona subsequently established. In the more densely inhabited part of Wetona, is a store, church, blacksmith shop, and several dwellings. The store is a general one, and is kept by McKee brothers, two affable and enterprising young men. In their store may be found a choice line of goods adapted to the country trade. Anything choice in the line of dry goods or notions, may be bad for a song; and groceries of a superior quality are sold at prices competing with our larger towns. The people of Wetona therefore enjoy advantages not frequently offered to a country people, and avail themselves of this rare opportunity in patronizing home trade. The post office is kept in connection with the store, R. E. McKee being the accommodating postmaster.
J. N. Reeser is the enterprising gentleman who enjoys the enviable reputation
of being a first-class blacksmith, dispatching his work with a promptness
that pleases his many patrons. His business includes general blacksmithing
and wagon ironing. Especial attention is given to horse-shoeing in the
most approved manner.
OUR VISITS CONTINUED
It was our pleasure to spend a very interesting visiting season with our venerable host, David Fanning, at his pleasant home, and on the farm which he has cleared and made beautiful through his diligent, manly efforts. In 1832 the first tree had not been felled on his now prosperous farm, when on the morning of his twenty-first birthday he shouldered his axe and took to the forest to begin life for himself. He soon made great gaps in the forest, and erected himself the usual log house, in which he for a time kept "bachelor’s hall," until he concluded "it was not well for man to be alone." He paid for his farm through "honest toil," and reared a family of which any father might well be proud.
Mr. Fanning having retired from the farm, it is in charge of his son M. D. Fanning, who conducts it in the most skillful manner. he gives attention to general farming, making dairying a specialty. In this line he has a pride in the Durhams. In his stables we noticed a very fine young horse four years old. David Fanning is father of A. C. Fanning, Esq., the late efficient District Attorney of Bradford county, and son of Elisha Fanning, who came in from Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1812, locating on what is now the farm of James Kennedy. Mr. Fanning, moved his family in with ox-teams, being seventeen days on the road. After a few years Mr. Fanning sold his place and bought the farm now occupied by his son Amos, where he lived until the time of his death.
We found F. N. Hubbard and wife among the most hospitable and affable inhabitants of Springfield. Mr. Hubbard is a son of Wateman B. Hubbard who came to the township in 1846, erected a saw mill and engaged in the lumbering business extensively for several years. He had formerly been a prominent lumberman in New York State. Mr. Hubbard was a man well known for his benevolent qualities, and strict religious principles. Mrs. Hubbard, a lady of ripened years, who yet survives her husband, is a daughter of Calvin Merrett, one of the first settlers of Columbia township. The tribute of respect paid Mr. Merrett by his biographer, must make us conclude that "he was one of the salt of the earth." Mrs. Hubbard indulged our curiosity by showing us a piece of quilt work nearly a hundred years old, by her mother. An interesting feature of it is that it was quilted with home-made thread.
Mr. Hubbard occupies the place taken up by his father, and is one of the most progressive farmers in the township. He carries a very fine dairy and one of the largest in the township. It consists of thoroughbred and grade Durhams. He has a fine thoroughbred bull, two years old, also an excellent young team and pair of farm horses.
We enjoyed the pleasant faces and kind hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Woodworth at their pleasant home. Mr. Woodworth is one of the most enterprising farmers of Springfield, and has quite the choicest lot of cattle in the township. His excellent dairy consists of thoroughbred and grade Durhams. The "Roan Duke," sired by the 13th Duke of Aidrie-dam, Roan Dutchess 2nd, is said to be one of the finest bulls ever brought to this part of the country. Mr. Woodworth also has two other very fine young bulls, one eleven months old, and one four months old, the latter weighing 400 pounds. Much of Mr. Woodworth’s stock has taken the first premium at various fairs. In the horse line Mr. Woodworth has two very fine breeding mares of the Kilpatrick stock. For the many improvements made Mr. Woodworth is entitled to much credit, and he may now enjoy the remainder of his days in peace and plenty.
I. S. Fanning has one of the handsomest homes in the township, and is one of the most industrious and progressive farmers of Springfield. He gives especial attention to his choice dairy, which consists of grade Jerseys and Ayrshires. During the past year they averaged him 200 pounds each.
We found L. S. Dickinson an interesting, intelligent gentleman, at his pleasant home. He is a son of Daniel C. Dickinson, who came in from Connecticut in 1840 and located on what is now the farm of L. L. Beach. Mr. Dickinson had a family of eight children, and lived to the advanced age of ninety-three years.
Mr. L. S. Dickinson is an experienced farmer and prosperous dairyman, also keeping sheep. He gives considerable attention to literature, and has a fine library. A description of his visit to Florida was highly instructive and entertaining. He has a fine collection of curiosities which he brought from that locality. A fac-simile of the Boston News Letter, published at Boston in 1704, was of interest to us. The Boston News Letter was the first paper published in the United States, of which John Campbell was editor--the first in America.
For a digression we will mention some of the soldiery we have met in this vicinity. One of the first that deserves our notice is James Sargeant, who enlisted in the 7th P. V. C. in February, 1864. He served under General Wilson in Tennessee, doing guard duty along railroads, bridges, etc. He was taken prisoner at Carter’s Creek Station by General Forest, and was confined in Cahawba prison, Alabama. His sufferings were intense and will bear repeating. The usual day’s rations were a pint of corn-meal, (corn ground with the cob) with sometimes a small piece of poor beef added. The meal was usually mixed with cold water, frequently eaten unbaked. On one occasion a boat load of pumpkins was brought in for the half-famished beings, and thrown among them as if they were so many cattle. The prisoners were required to lie upon the damp ground, many of them without any other covering than the clothing upon their person, which in many cases was very poor. In the spring of 1865 a raise in the river flooded the prison to the depth of two feet. Many of the soldiers were required to stand in this water for a period of two weeks, others would perch themselves on the small piles of wood within the prison. This was by no means the extent of the sufferings of the poor unfortunates, many evenings it would freeze very hard. To pass through this terrible ordeal and live was almost a miracle. Such as did, however, only escape to become great sufferers later in years, as the germs of disease had been firmly planted. Mr. Sargeant contracted rheumatism, and has been greatly afflicted with this painful disease. But like a true soldier he bears his suffering manfully, and is proud of having served his country. James Sargeant is a son of Samuel Sargeant, who came in from Massachusetts about 1830, and located on the place of now Lyman Sargeant. No improvements had been made and Mr. Sargeant was required to chop away a small patch and erect the usual log house, in beginning the battle of discouragement’s in a new country.
Mr. Sargeant had a family of four sons and three daughters, three of whom are yet living. Mr. and Mrs. Sargeant died in 1843, there being but a space of five days between their deaths.
Another of our gallant boys who related many interesting facts in "deeds of noble daring" and filled us with a spirit of patriotism was A. W. Bailey, who enlisted in the 132d Pennsylvania Infantry, in August, 1862. He was connected with the Army of the Potomac and served under General Sumner. After some months’ service he was taken sick and compelled to return home. In March, 1864, he re-enlisted in the 16th P.V.C., and served under Generals Gregg and Sheridan. He was at the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, etc., and remained in active service until the close of the war. At St. Mary’s Church he had his horse shot from under him, and four balls pass through his clothing. Three men on his right and two on his left were shot down. Every horse of the battery which they were guarding was killed, and to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy had to draw it off by hand. Mr. Bailey has been a great sufferer from rheumatism which he contracted in the army.
Mr. A. W. Bailey came to the township in 1840, from Middlesex County, Connecticut, with a knapsack strapped upon his back, walking the entire distance. He reached Towanda the evening before the day on which General Harrison was elected president. He says his journey was a most interesting one. Political excitement ran high, and "hard cider and log cabins" were found all along the way.
On reaching Springfield Mr. Bailey took up lands which he now occupies. In the following year Mr. Bailey’s father, Alvin Bailey, and brother Daniel, came in and made a purchase which is now owned by Aaron Bailey. The family was subsequently moved from Connecticut, requiring a period of twenty-one days to perform the journey.
We found W. J. Young a pleasant and enterprising gentleman on his productive farm. He carries a dairy of the Durham line, and gives attention to general farming. He is a son of R. B. Young, one of the early settlers of that locality.
We were received with kind hospitality by Major Enos Califf and family, and spent a very interesting visit with them. Mr. Calif is son of Stephen Califf, an early settler of Smithfield, notice of whom will be given in connection with that township. Mr. Califf and son J. E. occupy the John Harkness place on which is the site of the old saw mill, built originally by Josephus Clark. This mill changed hands several times, and was finally converted into a feed mill by Mr. Califf, and so remains. In connection with their milling business Messrs. Califf run a large farm, giving especial attention to young stock which they carry in large numbers. A fine new barn has recently been erected on the place. Mr. Califf learned the trade of mill-right, and in his day stood at the head of his profession. For some years he was Major of the Independent Volunteers. Mr. Califf married a daughter of John Bird, son of Michael Bird, one of the early settlers of Smithfield. Mr. and Mrs. Califf are yet living, highly esteemed old people.
Miss Cornelia Califf, a lady well known to Bradford County people, is a daughter. She was instructor in physical training at Vassar in 1871-2. She subsequently taught several private classes in calisthenics at Towanda, and afterwards practiced medicine at Canton.
Among interesting curiosities we had the pleasure of examining, was a fac-simile of the Revolutionary flag of 1774. Other facts pertinent to the Califf family will be given in connection with the history of Smithfield.
A. M. Grace is happily domiciled in his pleasant home, and is an enterprising gentleman and successful farmer. He carries a dairy, and gives attention to general farming. He has a fine lot of Merino sheep. Mr. Grace has in his possession an old-fashioned calendar clock nearly two hundred years old, brought from Massachusetts by his grandfather, Joseph Grace. It now keeps as perfect time as it ever did.
The circumstances connected with the moving of Mr. Grace from Massachusetts have already been recited. Ambrose was the oldest son of Joseph Grace, and married Miss Adeline Griswold, who survives her husband. In 1840 Mr. Grace moved to the place which is now occupied by his son A. M. Grace.
W. W. Grace is quite an extensive farmer, and carries a large dairy consisting largely of grade Durhams.
Russell B. Young is one of the most prosperous farmers of the township, and is a most estimable old gentleman. He came to the township in 1837 from Middletown, Connecticut, and located on the farm which he now occupies. It was then, however, a wild tract of timberland and required many years of unremitting toil to make it what it is. Mr. Young has accumulated a very fine property, and is surrounded by all the luxuries that would add to his comforts in his closing years. His son, E. J. Young, has charge of the farm.
A visit with Euphrastus Tracy proved him a gentleman, well skilled in the art of farming, and one of the prosperous farmers of the township. He carries on general farming and quite an extensive dairy consisting of grade and thoroughbred Durhams. Mr. Tracy also carries young stock, and has some very good horses. His farm is an excellent one, and has cost many years of toil to make it what it is. Mr. Tracy is a son of Olmstead Tracy, one of the pioneers of Western Smithfield.
John N. Rice is one of those jolly fellows, who believes in making others happy if it can be done with a smiling face and kind words. He is located on a prosperous little farm, which he tills in the most skillful manner. He also gives attention to a choice little dairy. Mr. Rice is a grandson of Daniel Rice who came from Vermont to Smithfield when the township was yet new. He had two sons, John N. and Henry. Henry is yet living in the West. John is dead. He lived on the place which is now occupied by his son John.
We found George Crowell and son, W. E., pleasant gentlemen and industrious farmers. They have a large farm and grow all the cereals of our latitude very successfully and in large quantities. They also carry a dairy in connection with their general farming, and are owners of a steam mill in which lumber and shingles are manufactured quite extensively. This mill occupies the site of the old water mill erected by Hezekiah Crowell fully sixty years ago.
Hezekiah Crowell, of whom George is a son, came to the township of Smithfield from Connecticut in 1817. He located on what is now the place of George Tracy, and lived there until the time of his death, which was at a ripe old age. Mr. Crowell had a family of three sons and three daughters, four of whom are yet living. His father, Samuel Crowell, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
We will conclude this letter by relating another "wolf story" from our "champion story teller." "The township was yet new and sparsely settled. It was in the butchering season, and a neighbor had gone some miles to assist another in this work. After supper the hero of our sketch took his "pluck," the usual fee for such a day’s work, and started for home, his road being only a path through the wild woods. Night soon overtook him, and the dreaded wolves were upon his track. Near and nearer they came, and our hero was at last glad to take refuge by climbing a tree. He had barely made this retreat when the voracious canines swarmed below him in numbers, and made it intensely interesting for him with their medleys. Thinking his first position not perfectly secure, he was in the act of changing, when the limb broke and let him among the hungry beasts below. To say that his hair stood on ends would be but to picture the degree of his excitement in the most moderate manner, as he only expected to be torn into a thousand pieces. His fall stunned him for a moment. On regaining his senses, not a wolf was to be seen. His sudden transit gave them a scare quite as great as his own, and thus relieved him from the "torment" of a night with grey wolves.
Towanda, Pa., May 15, 1884
The village of Big Pond, with a population of one hundred persons, is situated in the northeastern part of the township, on a branch of Bentley Creek. The place is so named from the big pond near it. It is also known as "Slab City" and "Mill City."
The following are the points of interest there: A general store is kept by N. S. Watson, who established himself at Big Pond twenty years since. In his tore may be found a choice line of groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes, drugs and medicines, and other first-class goods adapted to a country trade. He also deals in country produce, hides and pelts, paying the highest market prices. "Nat’s" pleasant face and long experience in the mercantile business bring him many customers.
A second general store is kept by Timothy Leonard, a gentleman whose excellent taste in selecting goods may be seen by an examination of the superior line of goods found at his store, which he is now selling at prices so low that all must be pleased.
A. J. Dickerson is also engaged in the mercantile business. His stock includes everything choice adapted to the country trade, and everything from a pin to a crow-bar. If you would be made happy by a great bargain, and would you trade with the happiest man in town, go to Dickerson’s. Mr. Dickerson carries on farming and dairying in connection with his store business.
Blacksmithing is carried on in the most skillful manner by William Passage.
W. L. Peet is the physician of the place, who performs magic cures alike upon man and beast.
Mrs. Edith Bullock is the accommodating postmistress.
In addition to the points of interest already named, the place contains three saw mills, a shoe shop, grange hall, a school house, and an elegant church edifice recently finished. This structure is undoubtedly the handsomest country church in the county. It was designed and built by G. B. Saunders, one of the most skillful mechanics of these parts. His residence at Big Pond displays fine workmanship, and is the most cosy in town.
The first persons to locate at what is now Big Pond, were Benjamin Niffin and Alfred Moore. Niffin lived in a little log cabin near where the residence of Emerson Bullock now is: Moore lived opposite where W. L. Peet now resides.
The first permanent settler in the vicinity of Big Pond was Hiram Potter who came to his present location from Bennington County, Vermont, in 1822.
The first person to engage in the mercantile business at Big Pond was Lucius French.
OUR VISITS CONTINUED
We found E. M. Reeser one of those jolly good fellows, who knows how to crack his jokes off on "the boys" and came out ahead every time. He is engaged in the farming business and has a very desirable location. He carries a choice little dairy, his stock consisting of Ayrshires and Durhams. Mr. Reeser donned the blue, entering in the 141st Regiment, P. V., in March 1864, and remained with his regiment until the close of the war. The hardships of Grant’s overland campaign, and the battles fought in connection with it will soon be recited in the REPORTER, in giving the history of the 141st, hence we will not enumerate at this time the engagements in which Mr. Reeser participated, but will simply say that he was one of the noble Blues that served his country faithfully and well in this closing campaign.
William Sturges is an enterprising farmer, and has a pleasant location. He was also a faithful soldier.
We found William Tracy full of pleasing stories, and one of the most thrifty farmers of Springfield. His large farm is a very productive one, and yields our cereals in great abundance. For many years Mr. Tracy has engaged largely in the dairying business but is now quitting it, going into young stock. In his stables may be found some very fine horses. He also has a horse living, strong and hearty, now twenty-five years old. Mr. Tracy is assisted in conducting his farm by his son Edward. We must recite some of Mr. Tracy’s stories. "When I was a boy it was common for everybody to drink whisky. Not only men, boys and women, but even ministers thought as much of taking their "bitters," as they did their meals. On one occasion, when Brother J. was making his pastoral calls, he stopped at our house just before noon with the announcement that he would stay with us during the night. Of course we boys were glad to see him, as the table always furnished the best the house could afford, together with an extra supply of whisky when he was visiting us. On this occasion we were nearly out of liquor, so mother hastened one of the boys to the field where father was, informing him that Brother J. had come and that there was but a pint of whisky in the house. ‘That will do for dinner,’ ‘Yes, but Brother J. is going to stay all night.’ ‘Take the horse and bag, and go to ---- and borrow a gallon of whisky, but be sure and keep the snout of the jug up so that the cob will not come out.’ The bag was thrown across the animal’s back with the stone in the one end and the jug in the other. The whisky was obtained and the evening was pleasantly spent in ‘the way of years ago.’"
Mr. Tracy remembers distinctly the first funeral he attended. "The corpse was carried for a distance of three miles on a bier. At funerals the corpses were either carried on biers or drawn on ox-sleds. Pine shingles were the main dependence in providing the wants of the settlers. These they would haul in sleds to the river, and receive their money for them."
Mr. Tracy is a son of Olmstead Tracy, a sketch of whose family will be given in connection with Smithfield.
We enjoyed the kind hospitality of A. H. Cranmer and family, and found them an industrious, enterprising people. Mr. Cranmer is prince of an excellent farm, which he has improved and made beautiful through his own efforts. He carries a choice dairy consisting of Jerseys, Ayrshires, and Durhams. He also gives some attention to young stock and sheep, the Cotswolds. In his stalls may be found a most excellent young team from the best line of stock. Mr. Cranmer is a son of Calvin Cranmer, who settled in Smithfield. He married Almira J. Hartman, a daughter of Coonrod Hartman, who came from Germany at the time of the Revolutionary war. He was a Hessian soldier, and was pressed into the service of the British. He was captured at the surrender of Burgoyne in 1777, and wishing to join the American cause, was received in the army and served faithfully until the close of the war. After the war Mr. Hartman married and settled in New England. Upon the death of his wife, the family became somewhat scattered. Almira lived with her aunt, Mrs. Samuel Morse, and when the Morse family moved to Smithfield she came with them. She lived to be an aged lady. At the age of eighty-two years, she spun and wove a piece of toweling and table cloths. The work is well executed and is kept in the family.
We found S. S. Webster a pleasant gentleman and enterprising farmer and dairyman. he has a prosperous farm and makes a specialty in the growing of oats and corn. He has a good sized dairy which consists of grade Durhams. He also gives attention to young stock and sheep, the Cotswolds. He has a fine young team.
J. F. Kuhnle is an enterprising farmer and dairyman. He also carries sheep. Mr. Kuhnle was born in Germany, and has lived in this country nineteen years.
We found L. E. Harkness a pleasant gentleman and thrifty farmer. He has formerly given his attention to dairying, but is now quitting that industry and is raising young cattle and sheep instead. In the sheep line he carries the Cotswolds and Southdowns. Mr. Harkness has a fine lot of lumber, consisting of chestnut, hemlock and bass-wood, which he offers for sale, as well as a fine lot of oats. L. E. Harkness is a son of William Harkness, Jr., and grandson of William Harkness, Sr., one of the original settlers of Springfield. Mr. Harkness occupies the place taken up by his uncle, Ebenezer Harkness. Mrs. William Harkness, Jr., is yet living, an intelligent old lady. We found Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Smith very hospitable people, with an aptness for entertaining in a most pleasant manner even the loquacious newspaper man. Mr. Smith is an enterprising farmer and dairyman. He is a son of H. B. Smith, and grandson of Stephen Smith, who came to the township from Vermont about 1818, and located on the Covil place. He lived there only a short time, then moved to the place now owned by Henry Varney, where he began improvements and lived until the time of his death. When Mr. Smith came in the country was yet new, and he was compelled to suffer the hardships incident to pioneer life. Mr. D. G. Smith occupies the place taken up by his father, H. B. Smith, who married Miss Almira Gates, an early settler at Springfield Centre. Oliver Gates was a lineal descendant of General Horatio Gates, of Saratoga fame. Stephen Smith was a near relative of Colonel Barton, of Revolutionary fame, who made a most daring dash, capturing General Prescott while in his bed then hurried him off to the American camp in his night clothes. It was from this distinguished hero that H. B. Smith was named, H. B. meaning "Harry Barton." Mr. Smith has an ancient chair which his grandparents brought in from New England, which is said to have been made for General Gates. He also has an interesting collection in mineralogy and miscellaneous things.
Alvin Smith is a son of David Smith. He is an excellent citizen and enterprising farmer. He was one of the most noble that donned the blue, and suffered hardships that only an iron constitution and true pluck could endure.
We found F. M. Huggins a pleasant and enterprising gentleman. He carries on farming and dairying, and makes sheep raising a specialty, keeps the Merinos and Shropshiredowns. Mr. Huggins is a son of J. W. Huggins. Ira Huggins and two sons, S. S. and J. W. came in from Livingston County, N.Y., about thirty years ago. Ira is yet living at the advanced age of eighty-two years. J. W. Huggins was in the service.
W. A. Bullock’s pleasant face and kind words contributed to our happiness as we bored him with our newspaper interrogations. He is engaged in staging, and runs a daily stage from Big Pond to Wellsburg, N.Y, together with the carrying of the mail between these points. Mr. Bullock is a son of Isaac F. Bullock, the first postmaster at Big Pond. The Bullock family having held the office ever since it was established--May 31, 1870. (This date could be wrong as it is faded and blurred) Isaac F. Bullock moved from Columbia township to Big Pond about 1827, and lived there until the time of his death. He was a brother of Judge Bullock, a sketch of whose life will appear in the history of Smithfield.
Among those who recited deeds of noble daring, and gave us a rare entertainment in the way of recounting war reminiscences, none touched our patriotic pride more than S. Crandall, who was in active service for a period of nearly four years. His enlistment dates from 1862. During his first year’s service he did coast duty and scouting under Foster to North Carolina. He then enlisted in the Second United States Sharpshooters. He was connected with the army of the Potomac, and did good execution in all the battles connected with the overland campaign until the surrender of Lee. Mr. Carndall was wounded at the Weldon railroad, but returned home after having served his country faithfully and well.
W. J. Montanye is an enterprising farmer and has a pleasant location. He gives attention to general farming, making buckwheat and oats a specialty. In the stock line he gives attention to sheep keeping the Cotswolds. Mr. Montanye is a son of Isaiah Montanye, who married Hannah Watkins, a daughter of David Watkins, one of the earliest settlers of Columbia.
Alonzo Dunbar is a successful farmer and dairyman, though not extensive. He carries on general farming, and gives attention to young stock and sheep, the Merinos and Lestershires. In his stables we noticed a very fine young horse three years old.
We spent a most pleasant visit with M. C. Brown and family, whom we found snugly domiciled in their pleasant home. Mr. Brown is engaged largely in farming, and carries on this industry very successfully. He has a fine dairy consisting of grade Jerseys and Durhams. He also carries sheep quite extensively, keeping the fine bloods. In Mr. Brown’s stables we noticed some very fine young horses. We would first mention a fine young team from noted Star stock; a third young horse from Highlander and French stock; a fourth from Messenger and Dorock. Mr. Brown is assisted in running his farm by his son-in-law, Mr. B. Smith, who is a joint owner in a part of the stock. Mr. Smith also has a prosperous farm of his own.
William Leonard has a pleasant location and is a prosperous farmer. He carries a fine dairy consisting of grade Jerseys, Holsteins and Durhams. He also gives attention to young stock and sheep. He gives considerable attention to tobacco, and has a superior quality on hand which he offers for sale.
We found F. P. Wolcott at his old home, which by the way is one of the most sightly places in Springfield, and were highly entertained by his war stories. Mr. Wolcott enlisted in August, 1862, in the First New York Sharpshooters and was connected with the Army of the Potomac. He was at the twenty-six day siege at Suffolk, Virginia, and passed through the Peninsular campaign. Among interesting relics we were shown the following: An Indian pipe of stone, finely polished. It was found on the place of now Thomas Wolcott, near Springfield Centre, where the Indians had a burial. This was the only cleared plot in the township when the early settlers came in. An interesting relic was a Revolutionary badge, found a few years since upon his premises. It was undoubtedly lost at the time of Sullivan’s expedition. It bore the date of 1776, and the motto of E Pluribus Unum. We are sorry that space will not allow a farther enumeration. Mr. Wolcott takes great pride in the Grand Army movement and is Post Commander of Phelps Post.
Albert Covel is an enterprising farmer and dairyman. He makes dairying a specialty, carrying the Hollensteins.
B. and D. L. Bailey are enterprising, successful farmers. They carry good stock of the Hollenstein line.
The Gates boys are also prosperous farmers. Their father, Seth Gates, settled in Springfield in 1813 on the place of Horatio Gates. He raised a family of thirteen children, and died at the age of eighty-two years. Mrs. Gates lived to the advanced age of ninety-seven years. Mrs. Gates’ mother also lived to be ninety-seven years old. Her grandfather lived to the advanced age of one hundred and fifteen years. He taught school at the age of ninety. Seth Gates was an own cousin to General Horatio Gates.
We enjoyed the kind hospitality of Theodore Watson and family, and spent a most interesting visit with them. Mr. Watson is a son of J. K. Watson, who came in the township in 1839, and located on the place now occupied by his son Theodore. Mr. Watson occupied the place until the time of his death. He raised a family of seven children. A part of the original Watson place is now used by Greely Voorhes, a stirring young farmer. Mr. Watson has an ancient writing desk made of curly maple. It was brought from Rhode Island by his grandfather, John Watson.
We found O. G. Dunbar an excellent citizen and enterprising farmer. His stock is small though choice.
The pleasant face of L. H. Gleason and the many interesting stories of his aged mother, contributed much to our edification and happiness. Mrs. Gleason is a daughter of Norman Hosley, who settled at Smithfield at quite an early day, thence moved to Springfield in 1830.
Mr. Gleason is a prosperous farmer and carries a good dairy together with young stock. He has a fine pair of horses for general purposes.
E. Hibler twice responded to his country’s call, but each time was injured after a few months’ service. And though his service was not so continuous as some others, he proved himself a true soldier and should have a pension which is justly his due.
We found Benjamin Brown a very interesting old gentleman, and gleaned many valuable facts from him. He came to the township about fifty years ago from Chemung County, N.Y., and followed the occupation of a farmer for many years, but of late has followed that of a cooper. His father, Ebenezer Brown, was a cooper before him and worked for many years at Brooklyn, Massachusetts, taking his work to Boston with his ox-team.
Joseph Brown, a son of Benjamin, was a gallant soldier during the late rebellion. He entered the service as a private, but came out with the rank of Captain.
We found H. W. Gates a very pleasant gentleman, and one that took pride in assisting us in our work. Many of the valuable facts gathered from him have already been recited. He is a son of Denison Gates, and grandson of Oliver Gates. Mr. Gates has in his possession an interesting relic in the way of an English warrant, given in the time of George the Second. Mr. Gates gives attention to general farming and dairying.
A brief visit with n. H. Mattocks was spent very pleasantly and profitably. Mr. Mattocks is the only surviving member of the family of James Mattocks, except the old gentleman, a sketch of whom has already been given. Mr. Mattocks gallantly donned the blue for a period of three years. He served as a musician.
The father of Joseph Causer, the popular hotel man in Springfield, smelted the iron for the first iron rails ever manufactured in Pennsylvania. he was a skillful English heater, and was sent for when the works were opened at Danville, in 1846.
Among those who nobly wore the blue we must mention L.L. Burbank, J.T. Adams, N.E. Bailey and T. Leonard.
One of the finest teams found in Springfield, is owned by McKee brothers. it is of the Hambletonian stock.