History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches
By H. C. Bradsby, 1891
WI NDHAM TOWNSHIP.
ONE of the first settlers in Windham was Philo Brainerd. He came in 1801, bringing- his family, consisting of wife, four sons, and one daughter, being induced to locate here from reports of the cheapness of the land, fertility of the, soil, and advantages of water-power for the construction of mills. He first purchased a tract of land of Col. Hale, a Connecticut claimant, but the title proving worthless he lost the whole. after having built upon it the mills which were afterward known as the Shoemaker's mills. afterward owned by some of the J udson family. He next purchased a section of State's land, 640 acres, which he divided among his sons, retaining the central portion rot, himself. he then made all opening on the right bank of the Wappasening, and built a log house near the hickory tree which is yet standing. he built a framed house in 1809 on the Four Corners, but the first framed house in the township was erected by Darius Brainerd, in 1808, on a little eminence some rods south of the creek. This house was burned in January, 1829.
Jephtha Brainerd was born it Chatham, Conn., in 1754. Although ailor for a few a farmer by occupation, his younger days he served ass, years, and seven years in the struggle of the American Revolution, ending with being captured by the British and confined in a prisonship. In 1779 he married Abigail Mack, who was born in East Haddam, Conn., in 1758. Their children were Darius, born October, 1780; Levi, born November 29, 17SI Drusilla, born August, 1783
Jephtha, Jr., born July 23, 1787 ; and Henry, born October 11, 1799. Jephtha -Brainerd was not only a kindly and social neighbor, a capital storyteller over his mug of cider, but a prominent man In the, pioneer settlement, being often chosen to adjudicate disputes, Mid having served as a member of the Legislature. Darius Brainerd was drafted near the close of the last war with England, and went as far as Wilkes-Barre. He married Tamar Williamson, of Owego; his location was east of the forks at Windham Centre. He had quite a family, many of whom are still living in the county. PhiI o, his son, resides at Towanda. He died April 12, 1824, leaving a widow, one daughter and five sons. Jephtha Brainerd, J I-.. married Betsey Smith, in 1810. He was an inveterate Joker, and yet was appointed a justice of the peace, and licensed as a Methodist preacher. He removed to Illinois in 1831. Drusilla Brainerd was married to John Dunham, in 1808. They had two daughters and one son, John L., who inherited a portion of the Brainerd estate. the son receiving the old homestead which he occupied until 1848, when he sold to 1'. Kuykendall, and moved to Sullivan county, Pa. The daughters are living still, in pros-perous circumstances. Drusilla died a widow, August 12. 1825. Levi
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 557
Brainerd died September 25, 1817, and Henry Brainerd in April, 1824,. Abigail (Mack) Brainerd died in 1837; her husband, Jephtha, lived to a good old age, and died Jul 3, 1825.
Daniel Doan moved into Windham in the fall of 1800. He lived in Windham Centre. His son, Seth, narrates that Thomas and John Fox were the only men there when his father came, they having come the preceding spring. The children of Daniel were Seth, Daniel, Jr., Joseph, Nathan, Reuben, Charles, Sally and Phoebe. Daniel Doan, Jr., married Sylvia, daughter of James Bostwick, of New York. Joseph Doan lived about three-fourths of a mile from the Centre, on the place now occupied by his youngest son, Joseph. He lived and died there.
Among the earliest settlers was Stephen Smith, who came about 1805, and settled where the widow Doan lives; he remained until 1817, when he sold to Joseph Webster. he was an old man, bad been a captain in the Revolutionary War, and was the flrst settler on the place.
Gerard Smith, brother of Rensselaer and grandson of Capt. Stephen Smith, came in 1805 and settled on the Webster place, put-chasing of Rensselaer Moon. He built two sawmills on the Wappasening, at Madden's, the first in the township. There was also a gristmill at the same location, contemporaneous with the mills above mentioned. Gerard Smith sold to Joseph Webster. Rensselaer Smith, born in 1801, came in 1812. The Foxes, from Connecticut, had preceded him, and were among the first settlers. Jonah Fox lived at the Johnsons' location, and his son, Thomas, Lived where Jacob Reed formerly kept tavern. Russell, another son, lived nearly opposite his father's place. The sons of Thomas Fox were Harry, Silas and George. They lived near the State line. David Shore, a preacher, with his father and brothers, Reuben and Abel, came about IS07, and located where the widow Doan resided.
Other early settlers were Lyman Winchester, who lived a little above Brainerd's, and was a great hunter; Nathan Spalding, from Rhode Island, who sold his possession to Daniel Doan, Sr., and moved into Warren ; Augustus Hulon, who lived where the creek crosses the road below Windham Centre. and who was connected with- and always followed Capt. Smith in his migrations; and Jonathan Pease, who took out a patent for a large tract of land, in behalf of the, settlers, and then deeded OLT their respective lots to them. He died August 2, 1836, aged sixty-nine years. His wife died March 16, 1845, in her eightieth year.
Joseph Webster, in 1813, came from Connecticut and Settled on the place occupied by George Smith, purchasing of Capt. Smith, Gerard Smith and Augustus Hulon. he died in 1830. At the time of his coming Edmund Russell was justice of the peace ; Mr. Webster succeeded him, and continued in office until his death. Edmund Russell and Parley Johnson (brothers-in-law of Mr. Webster), settled in Windham a year or two before him. and gave such a flattering description of the county as to induce Mr. Webster to locate there. "His business was largely lumbering. Nathan Doan married his widow, who still survives.
558 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
John Bussell, with his family, came from Litchfield county, Conn., to Orwell, in 1800; after various changes he settled in Windham, in 1817, where he bought a tract of land, upon which he lived until his death, in 1820, aged sixty-four years. Edmund Russell, son of the above, lived in Windham. He died February 21, 1840, aged sixty-one. Of the other sons, Henry died in 1871, aged eighty-three years; John, Jr., moved to Wisconsin in 1819, and died there William lived next below Esquire William Russell, and died in 1858, aged sixty-four years; Samuel, born in 1784, died in 1832; Julius, born 1796, died in 1868; George W. lived in Windham until 1842, and subsequently went to Wisconsin, Of the daughters, Brazilla lived at or near Hartford, Pa.; Sarah was married to Col. Theron Darling, and lived in Orwell; Polly (Mary) was the wife successively of Mr. Anthony and James Bush, and resided in Windham. James Bush died February 17, 1861, aged eighty-two. Edmund Russell was the first of the family to move into Windham. He built the stone tavern commonly called the 11 Stone Jug."
Parley Johnson, a blacksmith, came in 1809, and settled near Shoemaker's mill, on the Wappasening. Amos Verbeck, an old pioneer, who lived on the State line, came, in 1804. from, the Hudson river. He sold to Stephen Morey, and went to Wisconsin, with his children, in 1844. Benjamin Shoemaker, a son of Daniel, and half-brother of Elijah, of W y yoming Valley, came from Northampton county and settled in Bradford as early as 1800. He purchased the gristmill since known as Shoemaker's, built b Jephtha Brainerd in 1790. It was a small log building, containing one run of stone, and was burnt in 1815. Another one was erected on its site.
Caleb Wright built the first sawmill and gristmill on the Wappasening For a, number of years logs were hauled to the mills near the river, where they were saw wed, and the lumber run down the river in rafts. Wright's mill was built ,is earIy as 1812. The Dunhams owned the site. Seth Doan built a sawmill on the. head-waters of' the Wysox is early as 1848, on a lot bought of Col. Kingsbury.
Benjamin Shoemaker kept a public-house from the time of his settlement until his death, and his wife kept it after his demise. It Was a general stopping-place for the people down the river when ?going to Ithaca. Mr. Shoemaker married Eunice Shaw, of Cherr creek, Northampton county. She died in 1858, aged seventy-seven.
John S. Madden, a native of Ireland, on the Wappasening, is an enterprising citizen. At his place in Windham, about two miles below the center. are sawmill, grist mill, plaster-mill, a carding-mill and a tannery. James Mapes sold his place to Benjamin Shoemaker,
Hesselgesser was an old hunter and squatter. He lived (--)n the hill, on the farm of Samuel Shoemaker, purchased in 1815 by Mrs. Benjamin Shoemaker.
Tyle Sherman carried two bushels of wheat a distance of seven miles to Shoemaker's mills, and laid his load down. but once. In 1802 the late HenrV Russell, then seventeen years of age, was sent to mill, with Josiah Grant, to get two bushels of wheat ground. They traveled two hundred and sixty-two miles, over paths only indicated by
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
blazed trees, to obtain the flour needed. At another time be took a small grist in a canoe from Nichols to Lackawanna (now Pittston), poling the canoe down and back, over two hundred miles. Such were the discouragements experienced by the early settlers.
In 1815 there were but two horses in the town. Lumbering was largely engaged in in the early days. At one time there were twelve sawmills.
Windham has one store. Windham Centre has two stores, a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop. Windham Summit has one church.