Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1885 Seven Counties History - Bradford County PA
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HISTORY OF SEVEN COUNTIES presented by the Elmira Weekly Gazette". It is an “Outline History of Tioga and Bradford Counties in Pennsylvania, Chemung, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler in New York by TOWNSHIPS, VILLAGES, BORO’S AND CITIES.” Written expressly for the Gazette Company, Elmira, N. Y. Copyright 1885.From AN OUTLINE HISTORY of Tioga and Bradford Counties in Pennsylvania, Chemung, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler in New York by TOWNSHIPS, VILLAGES, BORO'S AND CITIES"


Towanda was one of the original townships.  Towanda village was laid out in the year 1812.  North Towanda township was organized in the year 1857.
Towanda borough was incorporated in the year 1828, and additions have since been made to it.  It is the county seat of Bradford county, and one of the most flourishing and populous boroughs in Northern Pennsylvania.  The Lehigh Valley railroad, the Towanda and Barclay railroad and the Sullivan and State Line railroads have stations in the borough.  There are several large manufacturing establishments, giving employment to a large number of men.  The borough is finely located upon the west bank of the Susquehanna, and contains a population of about four thousand inhabitants.  Towanda is connected with Wysox township and village, which lie upon the east side of the river, by a free bridge.  It is thus situated in the center of a rich and productive agricultural country with good railroad facilities.  It is destined to become a large and populous borough or city.  The history of Towanda borough, Towanda township and North Towanda township is so inseparably connected that they will be treated under one head.

Early settlers were:  Ezra Rutty, Rudolph Fox, Elisha Forsythe, Jacob Bowman, John Singer, Casper Singer, Jacob Grantier, Silas Scoville, Orr Scoville, John Smith, Joshua Wyeth, Daniel Gilbert, Reuben Hale, Henry Head, Samuel Strickland, William Goff, William Wyeth, Ezra Heacock, Usual Carter, George Alger, Job Irish, Henry Salsbury, John Brown, Horatio Ladd, Ephraim Ladd, William Myers, William Means, Adam Conley, Ebenezer B. Gregory, Harry Spalding, Gurdon Hewett, Nathaniel Betts, Burr Ridgeway, Lemuel Streator, Edward Benjamin, Andrew Irvine, Andrew Trout, David S. Barstow, Dr. John N. Weston, Hon. George Scott, Dr. Charles Whitehead, Henry Mercur, Jesse Woodruff, Ethan Baldwin, Hiram Mix, Dr. Caleb W. Miles, Miller Fox, Hon Joseph C. Powell, Capt. Nicholas R. Hentz, David F. Barstow, William H. Foster, Jonas Smith, Nathan Smith, Daniel Guthrie, Isaac Foster, Rufus Foster, Abiel Foster, Osias Bingham, Frank Watts, Nehemiah Mills, Nathan Coon, Martin Stratton, Samuel F. Means, Edward Overton.

--Towanda is 741 feet above tide.
--Great fire in Towanda, March 12, 1847.
--Near Towanda was located an Indian burial ground.
--John Singer built a mill, in Towanda, in the year 1800.
--Ezra Rutty was the first permanent settler in North Towanda.
--Towanda has been known as Overton, Meansville and Canewood.
--The Naiad Engine Company, No. 2, was organized, April 24, 1855.
--Andrew Irvine built the first brick house in Towanda village, in 1828.
--Henry Mercur father of Hon Ulysses Mercur, came to Towanda, in 1810.
--The Franklin Steam Engine Fire Company, was organized, April 8, 1854.
--Mantua Hook and Ladder Company, No. 4, was organized in March 1871.
--Jacob Bowman, settled in Towanda, previous to the revolutionary war.
--The first school house in North Towanda, was erected in the year 1813.
--Christopher L. Ward, became a resident of Towanda borough in 1838.
--The new court or second house at Towanda, was built, in the year 1850.
--Towanda Lodge, Knights of St. Crispin, No. 370, was instituted in 1871.
--Dr. Charles Whitehead was the first resident physician in Towanda, in the year 1824.
--Rev. Miner York, was the first Presbyterian minister, who settled in Towanda township.
--Towanda Postoffice was established in the year 1810.  Reuben Hale was the first postmaster.
--Burr Ridgeway established a newspaper in Towanda, in the year 1813 Democratic in politics.
--William Means was the first settler within the present limits of Towanda borough in the    year 1784.
--James Catlin, an early resident of Towanda, became a distinguished landscape and  portrait painter.
--Towanda Gas and Water company, was incorporated in 1859.  Gas was first furnished in Towanda, in 1870.
--Linta Steam Engine Fire Company, No. 3, was organized, Sept. 28, 1857, was incorporated  in May, 1871.
--Washington Camp, Towanda, No. 190, Patriotic Order of Sons of America, was established  in the year 1873.
--Capt. Nicholas R. Hentz, came to Towanda, in the year 1830.  Was captain in the French army, under Napoleon, from 1806 to 1815.
--Hon. James T. Hale, who was born in Towanda township, October 14, 1810, became a distinguished lawyer, jurist and member of congress.
--The first Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, in Bradford county, was established at Towanda, June 17, 1867, with H. A. Frink, commander.
--Towanda Lodge, No. 290, K. Of P., was chartered April 6, 1871.  H. S. Clark, V. P.;  H. J. Madill, C. C.; G. H. Horton, V. C., A. D. Harding, K. of R. S.
--Rudolph Fox was the first permanent settler in Towanda township, and it is believed in Bradford county, having made a settlement before the revolutionary war, in May, 1770.
--Bradford Lodge, No. 167, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 1st, 1846, William Elwell, N. G.;  Stephen Pierce, V. G.; Charles Reed, Sec.; O. R. Taylor, Treas.
--Hon. Joseph Powell, of Towanda, was elected member of Congress in the year 1874, as a  democrat.  The first democratic member in the district for many years previous.
--The Indian name Towanda, signifies: “Where we bury the dead.”  Conrad Webster, the Indian  interpreter however, claimed that it meant, “fretful or tedious” and was an Iroquois word.
--The Towanda Union Lodge, No. 108, A. Y. Masons, was chartered April 3, 1807.  Horatio Grant, W. M.; Amos Mix, S. W.; Ebenezer Smith, J. W.; Josiah Grant, Treasurer; George Scott,  Secretary.
--Bradford Encampment, No. 41, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Towanda, August 27, 1846.  William Strickland, C. P.; D. C. Salsbury, H. P.; E. W. Morgan, S. W.; G. F. Mason, J. W.;  S. H. Stevens, Scribe.
--Elizabeth Fox, the daughter of Rudolph Fox, afterwards wife of William Means, when a girl of thirteen years of age, remained alone in a bark cabin in Towanda township, six weeks, with no  nearer neighbors than Wilkes Barre, nearly eighty miles distant.
--Hon. Christopher L. Ward, of Towanda, had the finest private library in the State.  It consisted of over sixteen thousand volumes, upon every conceivable topic.  After his death, his daughter Mrs. Ellen Ward Miller, purchased it of the estate and presented it to Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.  A noble and generous act.
--Hon. Joseph C. Powell was an early settler in Bradford county; was county commissioner in 1818-19-20, sheriff in 1821-22-23, Prothonotary in 1836-37-38-39, and member of the state house of representatives in the year 1849.  He died in the year 1854, aged 68 years.
--The Susquehanna Collegiate Institute, of Towanda, was incorporated, May 13, 1850.  The first  faculty was: Rev. Samuel F. Colt, A. M. Principal;  Rev. James McWilliam, A. M., Ancient  Languages; Charles R. Coburn, Mathematics and Normal School; Miss Margaret Kennedy,  Preceptress; Miss Fanny Biles, Assistant and Teacher of Music.
--Hon. Christopher L. Ward, late of Towanda, was one of the most prominent public men in Northern Pennsylvania, an eminent lawyer, a gentleman of rare literacy acquirements, a large  Owner of coal lands, and a prominent democrat.  He died in 1870.  The township of Ward, in Tioga county, Pennsylvania, is named in his honor.
--Hon. William T. Davies, was born in Wales, in the year 1831, came to Bradford county, in the year 1833, taught school in the years 1856-60, admitted to the bar in 1861 and was commissioned captain that year, and served two years in the Union army, returned, was elected district attorney of Bradford county, in 1863, and is now serving his second term as State senator.
--Miller Fox, who died recently, at an advanced age, at Towanda, was a son of Deacon John Fox, an early pioneer, was a civil engineer, and laid out the Corning and Blossburg railroad.  He was much ridiculed when he asserted that the time would come when one hundred thousand tons of Blossburg coal would annually pass over the railroad.  He lived to witness his prediction Verified ten-fold.  A million tons now annually is mined and shipped over the route.
--General William Patton became a resident of Towanda, in the year 1823.  He was a justice of the peace, district attorney, clerk of the State and United States Senate.  The latter position he held for twenty-five years.  He was captain and major-general of militia, president of the Bradford county historical society, and a conspicuous and influential democrat.  He died in Towanda, in the year 1878, aged 79 years.
--Hon John LaPorte, son of Bartholomew LaPorte, one of the French Refugees, was county auditor, member of the State Legislature and speaker of the Pennsylvania House of  Representatives, served two terms in Congress, judge of the county and surveyor-general of the State of Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1851.  He was one of the old vanguards of democracy.  LaPorte, the county seat of Sullivan county, is named in his honor.
--Hon. David Wilmot, late of Towanda, was born in the year 1814, studied law and came to  Towanda about the year 1838.  In 1844 was elected to Congress, serving three terms, president  judge of Bradford district nine years, United States senator two years, was chairman of the  national convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln, and was appointed United States judge of the court of claims in the year 1863.  He was the author of the “Wilmot Proviso.”  He died,  March 16, 1868, aged 54 years.  Upon his tombstone are these words:  “Neither slavery nor Involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof The party shall first be duly convicted.

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