History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches
By H. C. Bradsby, 1891
TROY TOWNSHIP-TROY BOROUGH.
NOAH WILSON the father of the venerable Col. Irad Wilson, of Alba, came on with his family to that place in the spring of 1803. The colonel speaks of the following individuals as being then the occupants of this vicinity : Elihu Smead, in a little log cabin near the present residence of Mrs. Thomas Maxwell, with a chopping of about an acre; John Barber, with a similar cabin, and chopping near the site of Viele's steam-mill; toward the south was a little clearing, of Caleb Williams, and that of Reuben Case ; next was Samuel Case, on the Wood farm, now belonging to the estate of Edwin C. Williams; farther on was Aaron Case, where is the farm of 'Shepard Spalding ; and Dr. Rowley on that now owned by Alonzo Thomas, his grandson. These sons of the forest mustered in force to cut a road through to Alba, for the passage of Noah Wilson and his family to their new home.
Uel Porter, with his father and elder brother, John, came to the Porter farm in 1813. Hon. Reuben Wilbur settled here in 1S07. He spent about six months with Esquire Nathaniel Allen, of whom he purchased about three hundred acres.
Elihu Smead and Aaron Case seem to have been at that time the only inhabitants of the village proper, the latter living in a cabin near the present residence of Mrs. George Hull. Thomas Barber lived near the site of the old 11 Taylor House," now owned by G. F. Viele, and Joseph Barber, near the present residence of John A. Parsons.
Upon an eminence overlooking Sugar creek, something over a mile eastward from Troy village. there stand the ruins of a building. probably one of the first framed houses built in this region. The stone wall which has long supported the ancient structure is tottering to its fall. Within, you may see the chimney of stone, with its ample fireplace. Near by are some aged Lombardy poplars, which Dr. Almerin Herrick, in his journal, now unfortunately lost, states that he assisted in setting out in the year 1818. This building was formerly the residence and tavern of Maj. Ezra Long, who came hither from Vermont, about the year 1810.
Samuel Rockwell, the father of Luther and Rufus Rockwell, occupied in those days a house near where 14. F. Long resides. Like his son Luther, he lift. nine sons grown to maturity. He afterward built and occupied a two-story house at the summit of the hill, south of the road to Troy, which was standing not many years since.
The first flouring-mill was originally erected by an individual named Ward, and afterward owned by Maj. Long. Were we able it would be a matter of curiosity to compare its machinery and dimensions the dam being then only six feet in height) with those of what is now known as Long's mills, standing upon the original site and rebuilt by
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 533
H. F. Long in 1858. Another mill on a small scale was afterward built by Thos. Barber, in the glen above, near the bend in the Rock road ; some of the spars of the dam were to be seen but a few years since still projecting above the water. The carding and cloth-dressing works below Long's mills were put in operation by Samuel Conant about the year 1808. The main building, which, with the older one in its rear, was destroyed by fire in November, 1875, was built by Luther Rockwell for Clement Paine in 1840.
Elder Adriel Hebard is said to have come into this section from Vermont, about the year 1800, and occupied a house on the present site of J. G. Loveland's. The large butternut tree shading the road near the house below, is said to have been planted by him.
West of the Burlington road, about halfway between Maj. Long's and Esquire Allen's, stood the old Shad schoolhouse, probably the earliest institution of learning, and there are those living who may remember taking their first lessons from Webster or Cobb within its humble walls. It took its name front the weather-vane, in the form of a fish, which surmounted the building.
The first board-roofed house in the township was erected by Gen. Eliliu Case in 1798. The first house in the borough was built by Timothy Nichols, father-in-law of E. Case, in 1800. Nichols sold to Elihu Smead, who previously had resided at the foot of the mountain, on Smead creek. Elder Rich, a Baptist preacher, was the first adult interred in Glenwood Cemetery, in 1812.
One of the earliest documents connected with the progress of the place at an early period, is the following, dated November 5, 1823
At a meeting of a number of the inhabitants of the vicinity of Lansingburgh, at the schoolhouse, to devise or fix some plan for finishing the said schoolhouse, thereby making it the more comfortable for our children, and we, the proprietors, the more applauded by foriners. Voted. unanimous, that we finish off the school house. Pro-ceeded to sine for the purpose above-mentioned. and then voted that after the subscrip-tion is expended, to proceed in finishing off the same, and we are bound to pay in proportion to what we have already sined. To be superintended by Almerin Herrick. (Signed) LABAN LANDEN Chairman.
ELIHU CASE, Secretary.
The accompanying subscription is signed by A. Herrick, Churchill Barnes and John -Dobbins, well known in the earl y y history of the place, both acting for some time as justices of the peace; Elihu New-bery, Zoroaster Porter, Benjamin Oviatt, Isaac N. Pomeroy, Vine Baldwin, Elihu Case. Ansell Williams. Abraham Case, James Lucas, Daniel Gregory and several others. It is noticeable that there are three Columns opposite the signatures: one being for number of days' work subscribed, another for number of bushels of wheat, and the third for number of feet of lumber. There is also a column for sub-scriptions in money ; but all the contributions are in the other columns. Dr. Almerin Herrick's subscription takes the lead, being eight days' work, two bushels of wheat and ten pounds of iron ; Elihu Case's subscription, one day work, two hundred feet or boards, and tell pounds of iron, towards andirons; Vine Baldwin's, twenty pounds of four- penny and eightpenny nails, and twenty pounds of iron.
Vine Baldwin was the father of Thos. H. Baldwin. He then had a
534 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
store at this place, and for some time kept tavern in a building standing where the "Troy House " now stands. Elihu Newbery came here with a horse, saddle and bridle ; for which he purchased of Elihu Smead a lot of land, about two and a half acres, including that on which his son, George N. Newbery lives, the consideration mentioned in the deed being twenty dollars per acre. Col. Isaac N. Pomeroy and Ebenezer Pomeroy came in about 1818. They were natives of Connecticut, and for some years carried on the carding and cloth's mills. Like Dr. Herrick , they had for dressing works below Long some time no intention of making this a permanent home. Col. Pomeroy ero in a few years, bought Conant's tavern on the corner, which was replaced by him, in 1837-38, by the 11 Eagle "tavern a wooden building with lofty columns, which was destroyed by fire in 1852. A little house standing on the summit of the hill, above Samuel Pomeroy's large mansion, was for a time the residence of Col. Pomeroy after his arrival.
Troy was incorporated as a borough April 11, 1845, with boundaries as follows : Beginning at a stake in the Elmira road, near the northeast corner of the bridge across Sugar creek, near D. Dobbins' house thence west 138 rods to an elm tree on 0. P. Ballard's west line, then south 460 west ninety-one perches to a stake on the north side of the Wellsborough road ; then south 121 degrees west 100 rods to a stake on Jerry Adams' land; thence south S20 east 105 1/2 perches to a dry mape tree on the land of Seeley Mann; thence north 40 0 east 140 1/2 perches to a stake on land of S. W Paine on south side of road; then north 710 east 85 rods to place of beginning. The first burgess was Edwin C. Oliver; council G. T. Redington, V. M. Long, Frederick Onwan, Layton Runyan clerk, A. E. Thomas ; high constable, Thomas B. Baldwin ; street commissioner, Laban Bowen. In 1848 occurred a most disastrous fire, destroying every business house in the borough, except that of G. F. Redington. in 1871 the present fireengine house was built.
In the early borough days we find an ordinance on the records forbidding 11 horse racing, and bathing in Sugar creek," within the borough limits. A bird's-eve view of Troy, just previous to the Civil War, would present something as follows: On the corner across from the " Troy House " were two stores, one kept by Col. 1. N. Pomeroy and the other by 1. F. Redington. Col. Pomeroy at that time kept the "Troy House." Immediately west on that street was a small yellow house owned by James Lamb, afterward occupied by his daughter. This constituted Main street. There was a small blacksmith shop on Canton street near Redington avenue by Elihu Newbery, and a wagon shop by Hickok near the railroad station.
Going east from the Troy House," the first you came to was Dr. Herrick's residence, where now reside his son's family ; the next was Mr. Welles' house, still standing a little south of Van Dyne's present residence. The old frame school-house stood on the west bank of the stream, near the property of the Fitch heirs. The Baptist church,
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 5 3 5
where it now stands, was built in 18,34. The Episcopal church was built in 1841, afterward sold to the Catholics, and the new Episcopal church where it now stands was built by the Disciples in 1850, and sold to the Episcopals in 1860. The Catholic church was built mostly by 0. P. Ballard, in 1841. The Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1854, and is now the Opera House and postoffice building. It was sold to R. F. Redington, and is also used as a court-room. After this sale the Methodists built their present church on Redington avenue. The new and very large Presbyterian (Trinity) church was built in 1875-76, the largest and finest church in the borough. Their first building, put, up in 1832, stood on West Main street, and is now a part of Mrs. Oliver's barn ; their second building was erected in 1847-48, now owned by N. M. Pomeroy.
The present borough officers are : Burgess, A. 13. McKean; clerk, H. K. Mitchel ; treasurer, S. B. Aspinwall ; council, R. H. Cooley, S. W. Pomeroy, H. S. Leonard, Brainard Bowen, L. 11. Oliver and Geo. Holcomb.
Troy was in 1832, as remembered by Israel A. Pierce, Esq., as follows: Commencing on Elmira street was a small house owned by a man named Case; then there was nothing until you came to where Wagner now lives, at one time occupied by Dr. Fitch. The next buildin-, where now stands the "Troy House," was an old frame tavern, the " Jackson House," and when President Jackson removed the deposits" his name was obliterated and it became the "Troy House," kept by Benj. Seeley, and burned in 1848. The next house was the noted Ballard building, dwelling, store, printing office, hall and some times hotel, an immense wooden structure ; this was destroyed by tire in 1848. Except a small grocery store, this was all on the north side of Elmira street. On the south side of the street, there was nothing until you reached Spalding's plaster mills; this was then Hickok's gristmill. The old house still stands.
The next was a house occupied by Mr. Bliss, rebuilt in 1832, by D. F. Pomeroy; then there was nothing until you reached Judge Adams' brick residence. On Main street there was no building till you reached Paine's bridge, where were Paine's house and a small gristmill run by water. There was a small tannery west of the gristmill, operated by Judge Adams, an old wagon shop and then E. C. Oliver's house. The next was a store where is now the hotel. The next was where is now Kendall's residence; then Barnes' old residence, and then a small grocery store kept by John Cummings, and then Morrison Paine's store opposite the hotel.
Dr. Almerin Herrick came to Troy in 1817; died March 17, 1843, married, May 2, 1819, Eleanor Hurlbut, who died January 18, 1887, aged eighty-eight years.
0. P. Ballard is believed to have established himself in trade here in the fall of 1822, having been, for a few years, a clerk in the store of Clement Paine, at Athens. He commenced with a few yoods taken on commission of Charles L. Hopkins, of that place, and succeeded so well as to buy out his partner at the close of the first year. The people from this section had previously been under the necessity of'
536 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
going to Athens to trade, for the most part, and, as he was accustomed to relate, dealt very freely according to their means, when they found an opportunity, at length, of buying goods near home if they could not find just the article the came for they were pretty sure to invest in something else.
The staple articles of trade and produce in the country, as Clement Paine writes, in the year 1810, were cattle, wheat and lumber. He adds: " Lately the manufacture of potash has been introduced into the adjacent towns. I have endeavored to promote this branch of business by furnishing the necessary implements and materials, and we shall, the present year, receive about one hundred barrels of the article, whereas three years a go there was none manufactured." This manufacture, carried on amid the forests of western Bradford, must have involved a destruction of timber that would now, even in this wooden country, be looked upon as deplorable, great quantities of the finest trees being cut, piled and burned, merely to gather up the ashes for boiling down into potash. It was worth, in those days, about twenty or twenty-five dollars per barrel, and being an article easy of transportation, it soon afforded an important item of industry and income.
The difficulties of trade in those early days must have been very great ; it was mostly barter, owing to the scarcity of money, and the transportation of produce to market, or of goods from the city, was attended with great expense, delay, and risk. A trip to Philadelphia with wagons, as was customary, for goods, occupied about three weeks; but in those days a few wagon-loads of goods made up what was considered a large assortment; if the assortment was in fact small, the prices of course had to be large in an inverse ratio. When John Cummins, many years ago, opened a, little store here, the advertisement lie published was headed, " Small boats must keep near shore ; larger ones may venture more In connection with which idea, Nelson Adams made the remark, after noticing the limited extent of his stock, 11 1 guess you must have come over in a canoe.
George Kress was one of the early merchants of Troy, buying out the stock of Vine Baldwin. Gen. Kress built the house now owned b y Robert Kendall, in its day probably the most aristocratic style of residence in the place.
0. P. Ballard for some time controlled to a considerable extent the trade of the place. Gillett & Cone commenced business here about 1836 or 1837. G. F. Redington was here first as their clerk, until lie and D. F. Pomeroy bought them out, and established their store on the corner, which was subsequently, and for quite a long period, the scene of business operations of the Pomeroy Brother.
Troy in 1827. Dr. Silas E. Shepard came here, and in his lifetime lie said: Caleb Williams then lived near the present site of Delos Rockwel I and Warren Williams, in the old Spalding house; Ansel Williams in the old Seely Mann house, where E. 13. Parson's house stands. Next was Joseph Wills, who married the widow of Moses Case, in the old two-story house still standing in the rear of S. H. Fitch's house. Along the present Canton street, at that time, the forest came for the most
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 53"
part within twenty-five rods of the road, and covered the hill west of the creek. Mr. Wells' sawmill stood near where Bowen's tannery is at this time. A small foundry was afterward erected there by Capt. Joseph Morse, and subsequently carried on by him and Thos. E. Paine. Jas. A. Paine after took the business, and after him Seth W. Paine, who removed it finally to the place where, through a long term of years, lie continued and extended it. It was in 1838 that the first brick store was erected by Long, Taylor, and Thomas. It stood on the present site of 11. F. Long's block.
Troy -Fire Company. -Oscaluwa engine house was built in 1871. They have a steam engine and hose company; officers: G. S. McGlema, foreman ; Kent Mitchell, secretary ; Albert Morgan, president. The company was organized in 1870; engine bought the same year. J. 11. Grant was chief for five years; E. Porter, foreman.
Tanneries. -As early as 1827, Calvin Dodge built a small tannery with four or five vats. This was Laban Bowen's, and is now the property of Brainerd Bowen, his son, which has been extensively enlarged, and is now one of the important industries of the county.
E. Van Dyne's Tannery.-Mr. Van Dyne was with Bowen for some time, when he purchased an interest in his present tannery with B. 11. Hobart and N. C. Porter, who had established the business, and in time Mr. Van Dyne became sole owner. Large additions were added in 1890, making this tannery one of the most prominent ones of the county.
Foundry and Machine Shop on East Main street, by Austin Mitchell, was built in 1882, water power, on the site of the old Paine foundry.
Troy has the following business concerns: Four drug stores, one clothing store; five dry-goods stores; three hardware stores; two furniture stores; six grocery stores ; three jewelry stores; gristmill owned by Geo. Dillion & Son, situated on Elmira street -(roller process; the old mill was built by George Viele, and was once used -is a brewery. One mile east of Troy was originally Long's gristmill, now operated by W. R. McCleary); furniture factory, by L. 11. Oliver, on Railroad and Canton streets (was built by Oliver, Sr., twenty years ago; output, all kinds of household furniture); planing mill by J. J. Boliger, southwest of town, one and a half miles (was built in 1880); saw and planing mill, one mile north of Troy borough by Snedeker
Mitchel (they have three portable mills in the county) ; engine company (incorporated; was started in 1890; employs twenty men, makes drill engines of all kinds).
Troy Schools. -The old red schoolhouse was built in 1845; the first teacher was Henry Card. A significant fact is that three families sent twenty-five children to the school. The Troy schools became graded schools in 1867. The school building was completed in 1866. DeLos Rockwell at that period served two years as secretary of school board, and then for twenty-three years was president of the board. The building has six rooms, a teacher in each, and an enrollment of three hundred. The old Academy was incorporated in 1842, and for sometime the State aided it. Prof. J. T. McCollom was prin
538 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
cipal from 1873 to 1884, and chiefly organized the graded schools. His predecessor was IT. H. Hutton, four years. The present principal is Daniel Fleisher.
Troy Farmers Club was organized in 1874. The first officers were James C. McKean, president; Edward Rockwell, vice-president; Geo' M. Card, secretary; A. M. Cornell, treasurer; A. S. I-looker, reporting secretary. On October 8 and 9, 1875, a free fair was held. January 8, 1876, A. H. Thomas was elected president, F. P. Cornell, vicepresident; and G. M. Card, secretary. T he club was incorporated in 1876, and a fair was held September 27-28-29. In 1882 new grounds were secured, known as "Alperon Park," on the farm of John A. Parsons, one mile northeast of the village, and a fine track was made The present officers are: Geo. 0. Holcomb, president; J. R. VanAmoy, secretary. Mr. Holcomb has a fine stock farm where he breeds the finest line of trotting horses in the county; he also makes a specialty in keeping improved swine, and registered cattle. He owns a "Membrino King," "Almond 33," and other noted horses.
Miscellaneous. -Isaac W. Pomeroy came to Troy in 1817, and soon after engaged in operating the old Paine woolen mill, water-power built by Clement D. Paine, in 1812. Mr. Pomeroy operated it about fifteen years, when he purchased and ran the " Troy Hotel " property, and with this a farm; then built the 11 Eagle Hotel" about 1830, and retired from active life about the time of the completion of the railroad. He was one of the active, energetic, strong men of the place, and was an important factor in building it up.
Judge Jerre Adams, of Troy, died in January, 1867; he was a native of Springfield, Mass., born in 1794, and came to the county and settled in Athens in 1816. where he set tip a small tannery, and afterward had Joel Adams in partnership in his tannery. Mr. Adams married Cynthia Decker, and in 1828 removed to Troy, established a tannery arid built his residence, afterward the 11 Farmers' Hotel." In 1840 he commenced merchandising, and had his son-in-law, Col. Frederick Orwan, as a partner; in 1837 he was superintendent of the North Branch Canal, and so remained until the crash of 1842; in 1848 he became associate judge, serving three years, in 1862 be sold out in Troy and went to Elmira, but after a year returned to Troy, and finaIly removed to Waverly where he died.
The old Baptist church stood in the center of the cemetery. The more modern cemetery contains about twenty acres-the old one has only about two acres.