Bradford Reporter, Towanda, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1884.
DESCRIPTION. The surface of Wells in greatly undulating, but somewhat hilly in the northern and northeastern parts. The township is one of the most elevated in the county, and has its greatest altitudes in the southern and east-central sections. The township is well watered, and Seeley Creek, the main stream rises in the southern part of the town, and flows nearly north through a pleasant and fertile valley receiving the waters of many tributary streams in its course. The streams of the eastern part of the township take and easterly course and reach South Creek in South Creek township.
Wells was originally covered with a heavy primeval forest of beech, maple, hemlock, pine and other timber, but the township is now largely cleared up and improved, and ranks as one of the foremost farming and dairying towns in the county. The soil is very fruitful, and it would be difficult to find an acre so uneven, rocky or marshy, as to be untillable.
Wells is the northwest corner townshio of the county, and is a little more than seven miles from north to south, and four and a half miles from east to west. It is bounded on the north by New York, on the east by South Creek, on the south by Columbia, and on the west by the county of Tioga. The township is so named in honor of General Henry Wells, a Revolutionary soldier mentioned in connection with the history of Ulster. Wells (with Springfield and Columbia) was taken from the township of Smithfield in 1813. In 1818 a strip was taken off of Wells, upon the formation of Ridgebury; and upon the organization of South Creek in 1835 another piece was taken off.
THE PEOPLE are of an excellent class, intelligent, careful in management, and enterprising and industrious. Their main business is dairying and farming. Great pains have been taken in stumping and clearing the fields of stone and coverting them into fence and walls. The farmers have supplied themselves with the improved farm machinery, and rank as second to none in the county. The two cheese factories in the town are liberally patronized by the farmers, and are labor saving institutions. The people take a great interest in the welfare of their town, and support in a generous manner three churches and eleven schools, which are open seven months in a year. The population in 1880 numbered 1,148.
The only persons ever honored with office from Wells were Lorenzo Grinnell, State Legislature, 1865 to 1868; Morris Shephard, County Commissioner, 1871 to 1875; W. S. Bowman, County Auditor, 1869 to 1872.
There are three post-offices in the township - Wells, Aspinwall and Edsalville.
The officers of the township for 1884 are: Justices of the Peace, G. W. Noble, S. H. Ingersoll; Constable, B. D. Fuller; Commissioners, G. H. Knapp, W. Jennings, Sherman Tanner; Auditors, Asa Wilcox, Adelbert Garrison, Edson West; Town Clerk, John Moore; Assessor, Joseph O. Gordon; Treasurer, G. B. Wilson; School Directors, Clinton Killgore, Emmett Miller, Eleazer Eaton, Lyman Brewer, Alfred Faranger, Martin Warner; Judge of Election, John Ballett, Inspectors, Allen Swayze, Jr., Levy Brewer.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, May 14, 1885.
Samuel Edsall emigrated from Sussex County, N. J., in 1805, and located in the southern part of the town, on the place now owned by F. A. Brown. Adam Seeley had come in from the same place, and made a little beginning for him. Mr. Edsall cleared up a large farm, and was a man of prominence and influence in the township. The Edsallville post office was first established at Mrs. Edsall’s house, and so called after him. The house in which Mr. Edsall lived is at the present time occupied by C. H. Brown. Mr. Edsall died upon the place, after which it was occupied and owned by one of his sons who lived upon the place until his death, when it fell to his son John. Mr. Edsall’s children were Permelia, Jesse, Richard, Charles, Burton, Lemira, James, Lewis, Seeley and Jackson. Mr. Edsall’s advent into the town was the beginning of the remarkable immigration from New Jersey, which continued to such an extent that in 1850 one-half the inhabitants of the town were from that State, or from the adjoining county of Orange.
Shubel Rowlee arrived from New Jersey in 1807. His children were Shubel, who was a Justice of the Peace for twenty years, James, Peter, George, Jonathan, Ananias, Patty and Elizabeth.
About this time “Squire” Hyde located at Aspinwall Corners on what is now the place of David Carey. Here he lived for a number of years, and after having made considerable improvements, he sold to Ruloff Bovier.
Zephaniah Knapp came from Orange County, N. Y., about 1810, and located on Bird Creek, on what is now known as the “Tanner place.” After having lived here for about three years, he moved to the property now occupied by his grandson, G. H. Knapp, and Hiram Swayze, cutting his road in from Bird Creek. He had his cabin where the orchard of H. Swayze now is, and there lived for about five years, when he erected a second and more spacious log house, on the same grounds as now occupied by G. H. Knapp’s residence. On this ground he lived the remainder of his days. Mr. Knapp was a very hard-working man and indeed at first found it difficult to supply the wants of a family in an almost unbroken wilderness. During the summer season he would work on the flats near Elmira to procure bread for his family. Game was then in abundance, and a supply of venison or bear meat could be procured at any time. After Mr. Knapp had got a little start, his nearest mill was Southport, where he would take a small grist on horseback, not returning until nightfall, when the wolves would add to the horror of the gloom their wild and furious howls.
Zephaniah Knapp spent his life in years of unremitting toil, was honest to a fault, and a member of the Baptist Church. He raised a large family, and lived to a good old age. He was born December 6, 1781, and died March 4, 1859. His wife, Amy, was born September 6, 1781, and died April 15, 1857. Both died on the old homestead, and in the house now occupied by their grandson. Charles, living in Michigan; Peter, who lived and died on the homestead; David G., living in South Creek township; Ananias, living in Wells; Sheldon Z., living in Chemung, N. Y.; Clarissy W., Mrs. M. M. Clark, living at Gilletts; Abner, killed by the cars at Elmira; James W., killed by the fall of a tree at a chopping bee at Wells.
David Griswold was also an early settler in this vicinity. He located on the place now owned and occupied by David McLane. He was known as “Squire” Griswold,” and died in the township near Mosierville.
Israel Seeley came to Aspinwall Corners in 1822 or 1823, from Southport, and located on what is known as the “Benjamin Seeley place.” He erected a house and made the first improvements. The property subsequently fell to his son, Benjamin, who occupied it for a number of years. Israel Seeley’s children were Benjamin, James, Lettie, Eunice, Strong, and Lewis.
Mr. Seeley died in the township in February, 1831, while living with his son, Strong. Mrs. Seeley had died previously. Benjamin Seeley moved to Southport, N. Y., where he died; James died at Athens, Pa.; Lettie died at Southport, a maiden lady; Eunice married Aaron Hatfield, and died in Indiana; Strong died in Elmira; Lewis went West and is supposed to be dead.
In about 1817 or 1818, Samuel and William S. Ingals, sons of James Ingals, came in from Elmira and took up farms adjoining each other, now included in the David Fries property. In 1822 or 1823, James Ingals came with the rest of the family and lived with his son, Samuel, until the time of his death, in 1829. Mrs. Ingals died in the township with her daughter, Mrs. Sabra Seeley. Mr. and Mrs. Seeley were both church members of the Methodist denomination, and highly respected citizens. Mr. Ingals was a man of prominence in his day. Their children were Abigail, Rosannah, Leander, William S., Samuel, Sabra, Jeremiah, Adelia, and Olive. Abigail married Thomas Osgood; Rosannah married John Miller, moved to Michigan, and died there at almost ninety years of age; William S., lived on the place which he took up several years, then occupied different places, carrying on lumbering and farming up to 1855, when he moved to Mosierville where he spent the remainder of his days. He had a mill on the Dalrymple place, and manufactured lumber there for several years. By indomitable energy he accumulated a competency for old age, and his closing days were spent in peace and plenty. He was a man of much intelligence, sterling integrity, and of prominence in the township. He was highly respected by his neighbors, and was honored with many local offices. He died in February, 1868, at the age of seventy-seven years. His widow survived him several years, living to be almost ninety-one years of age. Samuel moved to Illinois where he died; Adelia m. Helm Budd and died in Columbia township; Olive married William Tubbs and died in Michigan; Sabra (the only one living) married Strong Seeley, and is yet living in the township a highly respected intelligent lady, eighty-eight years old. A sketch will be given of her farther along.
John Reed came from Orange County, N. Y., about 1810, and located on
the Peter Beardsley place, where he lived for about twenty-five years,
then went to Minnesota where he died.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1885.
Joel Osgood made a clearing where Nathan Shepard afterwards located.
James Gordon came to the township in 1823 from Warwick, Orange County, N. Y., and located upon the farm now owned by Dunning Killgore. Nathaniel Reed had chopped a fallow of about four acres and erected a log house into which Mr. Gordon moved his family. Mr. Gordon was a carpenter by trade, and worked at that business the most of the time, having his land cleared. Mr. Gordon was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and died in the township in 1862, at the age of seventy-four years. His children were Samuel, Joseph, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary and Rachael. Samuel is dead; Joseph is living in the township; Sarah married Robert Queail, and lives in Rutland, Tioga County; Elizabeth married Hiram Baker, and lives in Chemung, N. Y.; Mary married Peter Knapp, and lives with her son on the homestead; Rachael married Ananias Knapp, and is living in the township.
At about the same time that Gordon and others came, Thomas Warner and sons, Truman B., Hiram and James also came from Hector, Schuyler County, N. Y. Thomas Warner located on the place now owned by Bradley and Ammand Warner. His house stood about forty rods south of where Ammand Warner's residence now is. Truman located on the place now owned by his son, Martin; Hiram located on the Alden Swayze place; and James where the creamery now is. With the Warners came a brother of Mrs. T. B. Warner, C. H. Leonard, who located about forty rods, south of A. Warner's residence on the east side of the road. Thomas Warner died in the township when past his three score and ten; Hiram moved to Columbia township where he died; James and Truman both died in the township. T. B. Warner died in 1878, at the age of seventy-six years. His children were Ammond, Bradley, Adelia, Lucretia, Martin and Ann. The sons are all living in the township, and are prosperous farmers. Adelia died in Minnesota; Lucretia is living at Millerton, Tioga County, Pa.; Ann lives in Minnesota. James children were Emeline (dead), Francis living at Millerton, Pa., and Ella, who lives at Corning. The Warners had hard scrubbing, indeed. They worked on the Chemung Flats, and were frequently required to back in the little grists resulting from their day's labor. But by industry and frugality they became well-to-do. Thomas Warner was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, he was all through the service, and was in several battles with Washington. He held a commission and afterwards was a pensioner.
On the 4th of July, 1824, Peter P. French arrived from Hampton, Washington County, N. Y., and located at Mosierville, where the Odd Fellows' Hall now is. He found in this vicinity Ithamar Judson on the Roy place, Theopolis Moore where L. French now is; James Seeley on the place now occupied by G. A. Goff; Joshua Hall on the place now owned by John Pedrick; William R. Knapp on the Widow Simons' place; Silas Waldron on the place of Widow Judson; David Holridge where Lyman Brewer now lives. The first season (1824) of Mr. French's residence in the township, he put up a saw-mill, the first erected in the township. It stood near where the steam mill now stands, at Mosierville, on Seeley Creek. It was a water mill and did good service. Mr. French carried on lumbering and farming at the same time; in 1838 he disposed of his mill and gave his whole attention to the latter business. At this time the nearest post office was Elmira. Mr. French and son, James A. French, petitioned for the establishment of a mail line from Elmira to Mansfield. The line was granted, and a post office established at "French Mills" (from French's mills) in 1825, with James S. French, postmaster, but was changed to Wells in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. P. P. French were both persons of culture and refinement. Mr. French at one time was a gentlemen of affluence, but through accident lost his property, and hence demonstrated true manly courage by beginning life anew in the wilderness. He spent his last days with his son, Lyman, upon the "Moore place." He died on the 26th of December, 1841, aged over seventy-nine year, and Mrs. French on the 14th of March, 1847, at the age of seventy. Mr. French was thrice married, a daughter of his second wife married Lemuel Streeter, a man of prominence in the county at one time. The children of his third wife were James S., who died at Elmira; Seabury G., who died in Wells; George W., living at Geneva, N. Y.; Mary A., died in Iowa; William H., living at Geneva, N. Y.; Charlotte, living at Boone, Iowa; Lyman occupies the homestead.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, May 28, 1885.
About 1825 James A. Osgood and his father, Thomas Osgood came into this township and settled on Judson Hill on what is known as the "Wood or Brasted farm." They built a house and cleared up a considerable part of the farm. James Osgood was born at Tully, Courtland county, N. Y., in 1803, when he was five years old his parents moved to South Creek township, near the State line where they remained for about three years, then went to Elmira, where they remained until the time of their advent into Wells. In 1826 Mr. Osgood was united in marriage to Miss Jane Judson. About 1833 he disposed of his property on Judson Hill and moved to Mosierville, where he engaged in farming and lumbering, until within two years of his death. Mr. Osgood was a man of good practical common sense. In whatever he undertook he was bound to succeed and did if it might be won by hard work and careful management. He was an ardent church member and had a charity for all men. He did much to cause a church edifice to be erected in Mosierville. On the 29th of May 1882, he passed peacefully away, respected by all who knew him. Mrs. Jane Osgood, was a daughter of Solomon Judson and was born at Greenville, Green county, N. Y., May 26, 1800. She came to Wells when but three years old with her father's family. She was an excellent lady and was commonly known as "Aunt Sally." She died at Mosierville, March 13, 1880.
James Seely came to this township in 1823, and lived on the place now owned by G. Goff, and occupied by G. B. Goodwin. Mr. Seely traded his improvements in Columbia township, with his cousin Bartlett Seely, for those he had made in Wells. James Seely was born in Orange county, N. Y. When he was six years old his father James Seely, Sr. Moved to the Chemung flats, and purchased a large farm within three miles of Elmira. After remaining there for a few years he moved to Jackson, Tioga Co., Pa., where he died. James then went back to Orange county, then came back and took up a farm in Columbia township, married and resided there until the time as above mentioned. Mr. Seely died with his son Albert in 1878, at the age of 94 years. He had a family of five children. Sally married Ruben Lafever, and died in New York state. Zervia died a maiden lady. Harriet M. married Rev. John Seely (no relation) and resided near Rochester, N. Y. Ellen married Enoch Copley and resided at Louisville, Tenn. Albert resides in Wells near the State line. James Seely was a cousin of Benjamin Seely.
Wm. Brewer a native of Dutchess Co., N. Y., settled in Jackson township, Tioga Co., Pa. in 1826, three years later he came to Wells, and located on the farm now owned by Jefferson Prutsman, and occupied by Thos. Vanskiver. Mr. Brewer died in Wells in 1881, at the age of 86 years. He had a family of the following children: Ephraim, Eliza, William, Aaron, Lyman, Huldah, Johnson, Justice, Caroline, Phoebe Ann, Hendrick, Elsie and Lauvina, one child died in infancy. Four of the sons and one of the daughters reside in this township.
Alexander Roy came from Orange Co., N. Y., in 1829 and purchased the Judson property now owned by his son John A. Mr. Roy was a well-read man and a prominent citizen. He was of Scotch extraction. He died upon the place at the age of 75 years. His children were: Charlotte, dead; Jane, dead; Sarah, living in Ill.; Lydia, living in Cal.; John A., occupying the homestead; William H., dead; Robert, dead; Joseph, dead; Monroe, dead.
M. M. Carr came to this township in 1831 from Schuyler Co., N. Y., and located in the southeastern part of the township, the place where he now rents.
Joseph Capron was an early settler and came to this township about sixty years since, locating upon the place now owned and occupied by his son, Myron. Before he came upon the place some one had squatted there, and cleared about three-fourths of an acre. Mr. Capron made considerable improvements, and died upon the place in 1840. His widow survives him at the age of 88 years. Three children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Capron: Charlotte, dead; Jane and Myron.
Stephen Jennings was also a pioneer and came to his township before 1825, from Vermont. He located on the place now held by his son Lorenzo's heirs. After coming to Wells Mr. Jennings married a Mrs. Bird, whose maiden name was Mason. Their children were: Lorenzo, Nelson and Edwin. Nelson the only one living, resides in Texas. Mr. Jennings came to an untimely death, being killed at a raising. The place then fell to Lorenzo who occupied it until the time of his death.
Curtis H. Leonard came to this township about sixty years ago from Tompkins Co., N. Y., and located near where Daniel Colridge's widow now resides, lived there but a short time, then moved to the place near Ammon Warner, where he resided for a space of thirty-six years. He went back to the lake country, but died in this township, having returned with his family. His children were Dollie A., Newell, Lorenzo M., Valorius C., John K., and Electa L.
A. C. Noble came to this township in 1833 from Chenango Co., N. Y. Up to 1851 he was a resident of Wells only a part of the time. However, he purchased the fine property which he and his son, George W., now own and occupy in 1838. Their property is known as the "Benjamin Seely" place. We will again speak of Mr. Noble.
Humphrey Mosier came to Wells in 1833 from Stanford, Dutchess Co., N. Y. He purchased the hotel property of I. Judson, and kept public house for several years. He also owned lands, and did farming to some extent. Mr. Mosier was a very good man, and "Mosierville" is so called in his memory. He died at his daughter's, Mrs. Wm. R. Wilson's in 1879, at the age of 82 years. The following were Mr. Mosier's children: Eliza, Mrs. James Adams, Troy; Mary, Mrs. L. Wing, Elmira; Catherine, Mrs. L. French, Mosierville; Sarah, Mrs. F. Jones, Seely Creek; Abigail, Mrs. W. R. Wilson, Mosierville; Lydia, Mrs. A. Beardslee, Southport; Susan, residing at Elmira; Humphrey J., a resident of Elmira and a prominent citizen.
James A. Wilson came to this township a half century ago from Dutchess Co., N. Y. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born in the north of Ireland. He came to America about ten years before settling in Wells. He had served three or four years in the British army. By occupation he was a weaver. He had been married in Ireland, but lost his wife. Their union had been blessed by a son, whom he left, but sent for after he had resided in New York State for three or four years. At Stanford, Dutchess Co., N. Y., Mr. W. worked in a woolen factory, and while there became acquainted with the widow Griffin, whom he subsequently married. Mrs. Griffin, was a sister of Humphrey Mosier. Upon coming to Wells Mr. Wilson settled on the farm now occupied by his son, Humphrey. By his second wife he had three children. He died in 1878, at the age of 87 years.
Wm. R. Wilson, Jas. Wilson's eldest son, was a hero of three wars. He was a Sergeant in the Florida war, and served during the entire period of the same. He was wounded in a skirmish with the Indians. He served through the Mexican war under Gen. Taylor, and was present at the taking of Mexico. In the fall of 1861 he raised a company (F. 1st N. Y. artillery), and served as Captain until the close of the war. Mr. Wilson died suddenly in 1871 of heart disease. He was 53 years old. He occupied the place upon which Dr. Alvord began. Dr. Alvord was a prominent man in his day. He was one of the first teachers in the county.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, June 4, 1885.
Nathan Shepard came from Sussex County, N. J., in 1836, and bought the improvements which had been made by Harlan Baker. There was at that time a log hut upon the place, and a few acres cleared. Mr. Shepard was an enterprising and public spirited man. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, and was elected to various offices in a Democratic town. Politically he had been a strong Whig, and upon the formation of the Republican party, he became an ardent adherent. His father, Nathan Shephard, was a soldier in the war of 1812. Mr. Shepard died in 1861, at the age of 57 years, and Mrs. Shepard in 1860, at 29 years. Their children were, Levi D., resident of South Creek; George K., died when a young man; Morris occupying the homestead; Christopher C., died in New York state; Charles L., residing at Mosierville; Tampa J., Mrs. John Hines, residing at Watkins. Others coming at a later date will be mentioned further along.
We will give some of Mrs. Sabra Seeley's recollections. Mrs. Seeley (Miss Sabra Ingalls) was born at Cooperstown, Otsego county, N. Y., Sept. 19th, 1796. At the age of six years she moved with her father's family (James Ingalls) to Homer, N. Y., and there resided until she was twelve years old, when the familymoved to South Creek township, and lived at or near Fassetts for something over a year. Then moved to Elmira, and lived there until about 1822 or '23, when her father moved to Wells. She married Strong Seely, a resident of the township, who died in August 1872, at the age of eighty-six years. Mrs. Seely is yet living, a bright interesting old lady. She says: "About 1818, I took my brother William's wife and children to Wells from Elmira. I had a horse and light lumber wagon, the first single conveyance ever passing through the township. We came the Judson Hill road, the same as now traveled, but then almost impassable, and doing our very best we upset once. My brothers came on the Bird Creek road, the first one by which settlers reached the southern part of the town. In the same summer in which father moved into Wells, (1822 or '23) I taught a school at Aspinwall's Corners, in a log building which had been erected for a dwelling, and stood near where David Corey's barn is. Our benches were basswood steps, flat side up, on legs. I taught reading, spelling and writing. The goose quill was used for a pen, and our ink made of soft maple bark, with some copperas added. For my services I had a dollar a week and boarded myself. I had about twenty pupils, asome of whom came nearly three miles. This was the first school taught in Wells township. Two of the pupils attending this school are yet living. Mrs. M. M. Carr (Claracy Knapp) of Gilletts, and Mrs. Jones Webster (Susan Beers) of Pine City, N. Y. I taught the school for two successive summers. A common punishment in those days was the dunce block. When a pupil got into mischief, I would place him on the dunce block; then put a paper cap upon his head, decked with feathers. Sometimes I would set the boys with the girls and the reverse. The first frame house, to my recollection, was put up by Samuel Edsall, and is yet standing upon the Edsall place." Mrs. Seely makes the following interesting comments on the Seely family: "Nathaniel Seely came from Orange county, N. Y., and purchased several hundred acres of land on Seely Creek, - so named from him - laying between South Port Corners and the Beckwith Farm. When Mr. Seely came in he paid the cash for his land, and the same pocketbook, in which this money was carried, is held by his great great grandson, William Wilson, as an heir-loom. Mr. Seely erected the first framed house in Elmira, and when a little girl I remember attending school in one part of it." Israel and James Seely already mentioned in the history of the township, were his sons. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sabra Seely were born: William H., who died in Wisconsin; Hiram H., residing at Southport, N. Y.; Millie, the wife of H. Wilson, residing in the township; Rosalie, living in Wayne county, Pa.
Joseph Gordon, who came to the township in 1823, gives the following among his recollections: - "When we settled in the township there was no house on the road between father's and Aspinwall Corners. Jessie Edsall laid off the road where on the place now occupied by McLane brothers. Joel Osgood came and cut a fallow on the place where Nathan Shepard located. John Reed lived where Peter Beardsley now owns. He had married a sister of my mother's and moved in from Orange County, N. Y., about 1819. Squire Hyde was living where David Corey now is, and had made considerable improvements. Squire Griswold lived on the McLane place, and Zepheniah Knapp the next place below. John Osgood was living on what is now the property of James Griswold, and kept a public house. The elections were held there for some years. Prior to their being held here, when South Creek was yet a part of Wells and Ridgebury, the people went down to Philo Fassett's house to vote. There were no churches here then, meetings were held in private dwellings and log school houses. I think that Henry Case Wells and John Roberts had the first store in the township at Mosierville. The people were generally very rugged, and death seldom occurred. When Peter Adel was buried his remains were carried on an ox-sled from his place (now Peter Beardsley's) to Aspinwall Corners."
Mrs. M. M. Carr, who was a daughter of Zepheniah, says: - Meetings were first held in the school house on Baptist Hill (Columbia township). Elder Ovitt was preacher, and father and mother attended regularly, going on horseback or with the ox-team and sled. Meetings were also held on Judson Hill, and in the old log school house at an early day. Father was a good singer, and led the singing at church. Log and quilting bees were common, and either generally wound up in the evening with a dance. The only musical instruments were the Jews harp and fiddle, and some times the young people indulged in a dance without music. In such case, one or more of the best singers would repeat 'teedle-toddle," etc. Frequently after a spelling school we would also trip the fantastic."
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, June 11, 1885.
Schools. Schools were established as soon as settlements were formed, the first being near where Albert Seeley lives, the second where Albert Judson resides, then at Aspinwall Corners, Judson Hill, Rowlee's and other localities.
Churches. Religious meetings were held from the first in the northwest part of the town, as we have seen. Rev. Benjamin Oviatt came into the vicinity of the line between Wells and Columbia in 1819, and labored with great success. The first converts, consisting of twelve males and twelve females, were added to the Baptist Church which had been organized at Sylvania in 1812 or 1813. In 1821, however, the Baptist Church of Columbia and Wells was constituted at the house of James Seeley, with forty-seven members. The entire addition during Elder Oviatt's services of three years was ninety. The flourishing society was ground to powder between the old-school and the Anti-Mission division and the Disciples. The present regular Baptist Church of Columbia and Wells had its origin at the Haven school house April 3, 1846. Their house of worship was erected in 1853.
The Methodists held meetings at the house of Samuel Ingalls, where David Fries resides, and afterwards formed a class at Judson Hill, where they built a church in 1865. They also have classes at other points.
A Presbyterian Church was organized at Wells by Rev. M. M. York, and Rev. Simeon A. Jones, March 3, 1821, which became extinct in a few years.
The North Church of Wells was constituted at the State Line, November 22, 1836, and their house of worship has been moved to the village so as to accommodate all societies. The present Presbyterian Church of Wells and Columbia was organized at the school house in Aspinwall February 22, 1832, and their meeting house was built in 1839. Rev. Joel Jewell has labored in the ministry of the gospel in the towns of Wells and Columbia for a period of twenty-five years, which is longer than any other minister has served in this portion of the county.
Wells is noted for its patriotic characters. REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOTS. Shubel Rowlee, died July 1, 1829; Solomon Judson, died December 12, 1836, aged 86; Thomas Warner died March, 1840, aged 84. VETERANS OF 1812-14. Nathan Shepard, Sr., William S. Ingalls, Shubel Rowlee, Jr., John Fitzsimmons, Strong Seeley, Amos Baker, William Osgood, Theophilus Moore, Israel Moore, Partial Mapes, Sarlls Barrett, Jesse Edsall, Richard Edsall, Joseph Capron, and Thomas Ferguson.
In the Florida and Mexican Wars William R. Wilson served through both. He was also a Captain in the late rebellion. He was in regular and volunteer service for over fourteen years.
CIVIL WAR. The muster of soldiers from Wells number 113, of whom twenty died or were killed in battles. Especial mention is due one family. Gersham A. Davis went into the Seventh New York for three months, to guard rebels at Elmira, and his eight sons went into different regiments. Lewis, Edson, Charles and Thomas returned; but John, George, William and Samuel never came back.
ASPINWALL. Aspinwall is situated in the midst of a beautiful farming locality on the main road between Elmira and Troy, in the southern part of the town. The village comprises eight or ten dwellings, a store, blacksmith shop, church, school-building and Odd Fellows' Hall. There has been a post office established at the place since 1838. Alfred Ferguson being the first postmaster. It was changed to Wells in 1862, then back to Old Hickory in 1868, and to Aspinwall in 1869. At present A. Fuller is postmaster, and keeps the office in connection with his general store, where the wants of his customers are met in a prompt and most genteel manner.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1885.
J. H. Brink is domiciled in a cozy new home, and is the owner of a large domain. His farm is supplied with all of the improved machinery for carrying on this industry, and is conducted in a careful manner. A dairy of thirty cows is kept, and attention given to young stock. Lumbering is also carried on to some extent. The farm is in charge of Mr. Brink's sons, F. H. and Stephen Brink.
F. P. Bowman is also located upon a large and prosperous farm, 200 acres of which are improved. A dairy of thirty-five cows is kept and general farming successfully conducted. Mr. Bowman occupies the homestead, which his father, A. P. Bowman, purchased in 1848 of William Shuart, who occupied it for many years previously. Andrew Bowman came to the township in 1838 from Sussex County, N. J., and died in the township in 1880, at the age of 79 years. His children were Sarah E., Frank P., Mary J., Margaret H., Edward W., Walter S., and Catherine. All are living save Mary.
A visit was spent very pleasantly with Mr. A. W. Knapp, an elderly gentleman, who has spent his whole life in Wells. He gave us many interesting items, and recited the following in speaking of his father, Zephaniah Knapp: "On one occasion when he was hunting he shot a savage buck, which fell, and he supposed was quite dead, until he made the attempt to cut his throat with his hunting knife. He then began to kick, and the more he kicked the more life came back, father in the meantime, holding on, not daring to let go, as he would be gored to death with his sharp horns. In the tussel the animal had knocked the knife out of father's hands, and he must now resort to other means to save himself. He hung on with a will, and finally had come within reach of a knot which he seized, and so pounded the animal's head as to stun him, until he could reach his knife and cut the animal's throat." Mr. Knapp has a fruitful farm and reports some very fine yields. He says that he never had but one corn failure, and that was in 1883. He has a choice dairy of grade Alderneys and his butter record for last year can not be excelled. Some attention is given to young stock. Mr. K. now being a man who has seen his best days, has retired from the care of the farm, and placed it in charge of his son, Charles E.
John Watson is an esteemed gentleman, past his three-score and ten, and occupies a fruitful little farm, keeping a small but choice dairy. Mr. Watson is a native of Tioga county, Pa. He came to Columbia township in 1827, at the age of sixteen years, remained there for nine years, then went to South Creek where he married, and remained until 1865, when he came to Wells, and has ever since been a resident.
William Relyea has made "the forest to blossom as the rose." His beautiful farm once covered with huge pines and other timber, is now really all cleared and rid of stones and stumps, it being the result of his diligent toil. Mr. R.'s farm is a large and fruitful one, and is nicely located in the eastern part of the township. A fine dairy of Holsteins is kept, and the raising of young stock made an important business. Attention is given to the breeding of blooded horses. The grains most raised upon the place are oats, buckwheat and wheat. William Relyea is a gentleman whose integrity is never doubted, and has the esteem of all. He is a son of Daniel Relyea who moved from Tompkins county, N. Y., to South Creek in 1835, and is yet a resident of that township, now being a gentleman 81 years of age. Of his family of nine children only two are living in the county - William, and Mrs. A. B. Moore, of Columbia. A son, Lewis Relyea, was a member of the 16th P. V. C., was fatally wounded at the battle of White Oak Swamp. He died soon after the battle, but was brought home for interment.
J. H. Bristol is entitled to notice for the diligence he has displayed in making improvements upon the farm which was covered with timbers when he came upon it. Fruitful fields now take the place of the forest, and farming is carefully carried on. His stock is of the Jersey line. Mr. B. is a native of New York and has been a resident of Wells for twenty years.
J. A. Sturdevant is engaged in farming and was a good soldier. In September, '62, he enlisted in the 16th P. V. C., and participated in many engagements. He was taken prisoner at "Hartwood Church" in February, '63, and was confined at Libby for about two months. He was pardoned, and after a short time again returned to his regiment and remained until February, '64, when he was discharged.
We found Mrs. Lucy Barrett a most remarkable old lady. She was born at Ladisfield, Berkshire county, Mass., Jan. 11th 1797. She is a daughter of Seth Ward, a native of England, who emigrated to Massachusetts. In 1811 Mr. Ward left Massachusetts and came to Smithfield, Bradford county, arriving December 10th. He purchased a place of Samuel Kellogg about one and one-half miles south of Smithfield Centre. Here he lived for eight years, then sold back his farm to Mr. Kellogg and moved to "Cornfut Hill," Ridgebury township, where he remained a few years, then moved to Tioga county, Pa. Mrs. Barrett has been twice married, the second time in 1832 to Saulls Barrett, a veteran of the war of 1812, who died in 1864, age the age of almost 83 years. She has been the mother of nine children and is at present keeping house for a bachelor son. Mrs. B. has a very clear memory and gives the following among her recollections. "On Christmas after we arrived in Smithfield, Polly Phelps was buried. The words of the test were, 'The maid is not yet dead, but sleeping.' Deacon Zephaniah Ames read the sermon, it was the same that had been preached at a funeral in Becket, Mass. When I was a young woman, residing in Smithfield, I worked at William Smith's for three and one-third weeks to pay for a bushel of red wheat for father. Deer were very plentiful, and in the winter after timbers had been hauled near the house for wood, they would steal up in the morning and browse off the tender shoots and moss. It was not uncommon to see them in droves, etc." Mrs. Barrett is a very active old lady and does the work for herself and son. She not only washes, but makes their own garmets, doing a part of the needlework without the aid of spectacles. She has been sick but a little, and will undoubtedly live many years longer.
W. A. Updyke is situated upon a large and fruitful farm in the western part of the township and is a wide-awake progressive young man. The place shows marked improvements, which have been made since Mr. U. came upon the place. Young stock and dairying is made the principal business, and some very fine cattle are upon the farm. Attention are given to the breeding of blooded horses. Mr. Updyke occupies the place upon which Israel Moore began a half century ago, and which was subsequently owned by L. Parmenter, who cleared the greater part of it.
H. F. Swayze is one of Wells' best young men, and a stirring, careful farmer. He occupies the "Widow Lewis" place in the western part of the town, and gives especial attention to dairying and promiscuous farming. Sheep and young stock of the best line are also kept. Mr. S. has proven his merits by his skill upon the farm, having had charge for several successive years.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1885.
F. H. DeWitt has been a resident of the township for a quarter of a century, and is a gentleman full of general historical knowledge. He was a soldier for a short time, and had a son who lost his life in the service. He is father of G. H. DeWitt, the well-known proprietor of the Troy House.
S. E. Ayres is a gentleman of progressive ideas, and is an extensive farmer near the Tioga line. Through persistent effort and careful management, the small beginning has swelled to a fine possession. Farming and dairying is made the main business, superior stock being kept; due attention is also given to fine-blooded horses. Mr. Ayres is a native of New Jersey and occupies the place upon which John Searles began. In his younger days Mr. Ayres taught school; in 1848 he taught at Warren, Ohio, in the very same school in which Garfield taught three years subsequently. For several years Mr. A. was a director in Wells and did much to raise the standard of education there, and was the means of abolishing the barbarous system of boarding around in that township. His father, Enoch A. Ayres, was a side judge in Sussex county, N. J., for fifteen years.
C. M. Wylie is pleasantly located, and is a genial gentleman and enterprising farmer. Promiscuous farming and dairying is the leading business. The Jerseys are kept. Some attention is given to young stock, sheep and fine-blooded horses. Mr. W. occupies the place upon which Isaac Searles began, which was subsequently purchased by M. D. Wylie, father of C. M.
F. A. Brown and son occupy the Edsall place, and are large and progressive farmers and dairymen. They carry from 35 to 40 cows, and 25 head of young stock. Mr. Brown is a native of Springfield township, and a son of Alden Brown, who was one of the early settlers of that township. He lived on the place now occupied by John Patterson.
W. S. Bowman was a faithful soldier, and enlisted in the 16th P. V. C. in August, 1862, remaining until the close of the war. He was a corporal, and did service under Averill Gregg. He was in several engagements, but was spared without being wounded.
G. M. Osgood is a very clear-headed old man, and a son of John Osgood, one of the earliest settlers in the township. "Uncle Mervill," as everybody calls him, is nearly four-score, and his wife has already reached that age. Both are very active, and do considerable labor. They occupy a fruitful little place, which is in charge of their son, Ed. A very fine matched pair of young iron-greys are kept upon the place.
F. H. Brink is a wide-awake, careful young farmer, who assists in running his father's farm. In August, 1864, Mr. Brink enlisted in the 207th P. V., and did service until the close of the war. He was at Fort Steadman, and in and about Petersburg. At the latter place he was wounded on the 2nd of April, '65. He is a member of the National Guards of the State of New York. He has taken part in several rifle matches, and has won medals. He was one of the participants in the match between the American and Irish teams.
E. W. UpDike has a most desirable and sightly place, and is a very prosperous farmer. His farm is well equipped, and is abundantly stocked. A fine dairy of Jerseys is kept, and especial attention given to young stock. Mr. U. is a native of Tioga county, Pa., and occupies the farm upon with L. Lawrence began and resided for many years.
A. C. and G. W. Noble are noted stockmen, making a specialty in the breeding of thorough-bred and grade Jerseys. A fine herd of 36 cows is kept, and dairying carried on in the most skillful manner. The place is supplied with commodious barns, well arranged to meet the wants of their business. Farming is also largely and successfully carried on. The fields have been cleaned of stones, and converted into hundreds of rods of wall. A. C., or "Deacon" Noble, began life a poor man, but as another example of industry and economy, he is thoroughly and "independent man." His son, Esquire G. W. Noble, has charge of the business.
Bradley Warner has a very pleasant home, and is located upon a large and productive farm. A fine dairy is kept, and some attention given to young stock. Mr. Warner occupies the place first improved by the Bearses. He is a son of T. B. Warner.
J. M. Berry has a pleasant location, and is owner of a fruitful little farm which is carefully conducted. For many years the place was occupied by his father-in-law, John J. Barnes, who came to the township in 1833 from Knoxville, Pa., and settled at Judson Hill, on what is now the place of Byron Roberts. Mr. Barnes was a wagon-maker by trade, but gave the most of his time to improving lands. He was a very hard working man, and worked in his shop evenings in order to gain a foot-hold in the new country. He was a man of strict integrity, and was a member of the M. E. Church. He died in the township in 1863, at the age of 56 years. He had a family of the following children: Mary E., James H., Celestia, Miller W., Millie A., Sarah L., John J., Whitney R., Wm. Henry. J. M. Berry is a son of John Berry, one of the earliest settlers in "Berry settlement." He had five brothers in the civil war.
Thomas Baker and son are very pleasantly located upon an excellent farm, which they have improved and put in a nice state of cultivation. They are thoroughly practical farmer, and one of their theories is at least worth trying: "As soon as it is time to begin feeding in the fall we begin cutting straw and using chop feed as follows: To 18 pounds of straw we add 2 pounds of oats and barley, chopped; or oats, corn and buckwheat in the same proportion. We feed this alone until the cows begin to drop their calves in the spring, when we begin feeding hay, etc. We are sure by this plan the wintering of our stock has cost us one-half less." Their farm is well equipped. A fine dairy is kept upon the place, some attention given to young stock, and good horses not wanting. Mr. Baker occupies the place upon which W. Potter began. Thomas Baker is a son of Amos Baker, who came to the township forty years since from Tioga county, Pa., and located upon the place of now Jefferson Warner. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and married a daugther of T. B. Warner. He lived to be nearly 90 years of age. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Baker was blessed with the following children: Melinda, Hiram, Thomas, Harriet, Sarah, Amos, Amanda, Metilda, Horace, Johanna, Elizabeth, Arminda, Didana. Of the thirteen, nine are living and but one, Thomas, is in the township.
Allen Shephard has a large and fruitful farm, nicely located on Judson Hill. A large dairy is carried, and the grains grown abundantly. Some attention is given to young stock and sheep, and the necessary supply of horses kept. Mr. S. occupies the "Jacob Hill" place. He is a son of Jesse Shephard, who came to the township in 1838 from Sussex county, N. J. He was a deacon in the Presbyterian church, and died in 1886 at the age of 76 years. His widow survives him at the age of 79. The following were their children: Allen, Simeon, Julia Ann, Dayton, Martha, Emma. Allen was a member of the 16th P. V. C., under Capt. Jas. Robinson.
John B. Corson, a native of Sussex county, N. J., occupies the handsome farm upon which Johnathan Miller began. The place is well located and improved, and is supplied with neat and well-arranged buildings. A good dairy is kept, and the general grains grown successfully. Mr. Corson is postmaster at Edsallville, and the office is kept at his house.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1885.
J. H. Ayres is quite an extensive stock dealer and retail owner. He, however, in the main rents his farm. He is the son of John A. Ayres, who settled in the township from Sussex, N. J. Allen Ayres the extensive marble man in Elmira, is a brother.
H. C. French is one of the very best farmers and stockmen in Wells or Western Bradford. He is an extensive farmer, and has a most desirable location and pleasant home. His fine dairy of Durhams includes some of the best cows we have ever seen. He gives attention to the breeding of thorough-bred Berkshire hogs and Southdown sheep. Fine young horses are kept upon the farm. H. C. French is a son of Seabury French, who came to the township in 1824.
H. Shepard is one of those jolly bachelors who believes in Pope, and offers the following as his excuse: "If I am right, thy grace impart: Still in the right to stay; If I am wrong, I wish my heart To find that better way." While "Simeon" is of the opinion that "he is right," we are inclined to think that he will ere yet find "that better way." We take pleasure at least in recommending him to the superfluous 10,000 females in Pennsylvania. "Simeon" is engaged in farming, his mansion being presided over by his aged mother (79).
Elijah Ferguson is a very active old gentleman of four score. He puts in almost every day in diligent toil. Mr. Ferguson had six sons in the civil war, one of whom died in Saulsbury prison.
E. A. Blair is earnest, open-hearted gentleman. He is a successful farmer, and is located upon the Dalrymple place. A dairy of 35 cows is carried and considerable attention given to the raising of hogs. The native cereals are grown in large quantities and some attention give to young stock. Mr. Blair is a gentleman who can be relied upon, and whatever place he may have in charge, will be conducted carefully and well.
Harrison Carr occupies the ancestral estate, settled in 1839. He is making a venture in blooded stock and sheep. In Sept. '64 Mr. Carr enlisted in the 77th N. Y. Veterans, and did guard duty at Elmira. He had two brothers in the service one of whom died there. He is a son of Moses J. Carr, who came to the township as above stated from Sussex, N. J. He improved the greater part of the place, upon which he died in 1884, at the age almost 83 years. His widow survives him at the age of 75 years. They had a family of ten children, six of whom are living.
E. F. Wilson is a progressive young farmer, and has charge of the fruitful farm of his father, Wm. R. Wilson (deceased). A good dairy is kept, and the grains grown successfully. Fine improvements are being made. The farm was first settled and improved by Dr. Alvord. With Mr W. lives his widowed mother, a lady of refinement and intelligence. She was a daughter of Humphrey Mosier. A sketch of Wm. R. Wilson has been given.
Harrison Grennell is a much respected citizen and is located upon a neat little farm near Mosierville, his aged mother residing with him. He is a son of Hon. Lorenzo Grennell, who came to the township in 1836 from Bainbridge, Chenango county, N. Y. He located upon the place now owned by A. B. Garrison, where he lived until the time of his death, in 1837 (misprint and should read 1867), at the age of 61 years. For several years Mr. Grennell was quite extensively engaged in the lumbering business. He erected a mill on his place. He finally discontinued and gave his whole attention to farming. He was a very useful man, and held many offices of trust in a radical Democratic town. For fifteen years he was Justice of the Peace. He was elected a member of the State Legislature in 1865 and served two years. Though Mr. Grennell was a strong Republican he had the respect of both parties. Mrs. Grennell was a daughter of the widow Griffin, who married Jas. A. Wilson. She is a very intelligent and interesting lady, 74 years of age. In speaking of the prosperity of the town she says: "Lumbering was made the leading business for several years, farming being neglected. The lands were largely Bingham lands'. Many came in and squatted, and remained but a short time, when they would move elsewhere. A few stuck to the lands, upon which they settled and became good farmers. In 1837 there was a great failure of crops, and the settlers were hard pressed. The neighbors put together their mites and sent to Williamsport for a load of corn."
Willard Jennings is one of Wells most reliable young men, and a wide-awake young farmer, and politician. He occupies the ancestral estate, settled more than half a century ago. An excellent dairy is kept, and attention is given to young stock. The several grains are growing successfully, and in great quantities. He is a son of Lorenzo Jennings.
Mosierville, is situated in a pleasant vale at the junction of Seely and Daggetts creeks ten miles distant from Elmira. The village, which comprises a population of about 100 persons, hemmed by hills on the north, east and west, those on the west being the more elevated and picturesque. The place is so named in honor of Humphrey Mosier, at the time a prominent character there.
The following are the points of interest: A general store is kept by Beeman and Mosier, who are very enterprising merchants, and have a neat store filled with the choicest articles of all kinds adapted to a country trade. Undertaking is carried in connection and a full line of coffins and caskets is constantly kept on hand, and a good hearse furnished. At the place of Beeman & Mosier the wants of the people are met pleasantly and promptly. Country produce is bought and received in exchange for goods. Wells post-office is here kept.
S. H. Ingersoll runs a large steam-mill, combined with a tub and firkin factory.
Harr & Beckwith are engaged in blacksmithing, and are skillfull and experienced workmen.
Samuel Osman is also engaged in the same business.
W. W. Converse is the stylish boot and shoe maker of the place.
A. B. Hathaway is the good natured cooper who executes his work in a masterly manner.
Accomodations for the traveling public are found at W. J. Brewer's hotel.
The place also affords a church (Union), I. O. O. F. hall and school building. There is an E. A. U. here.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, July 16, 1885.
Henry C. Wells and John Roberts undoubtedly had the first store here.
G. W. French, Esq., speaks thus of schools in the vicinity: Deacon Waldron's house, which stood where Mrs. Judson's now is, was used for school purposes. My brother, Jas. French, taught in this log building. The first framed school building was erected near where the Mosierville bridge now is, and was finally moved on the site of the present building. Some of the earlier settlers not mentioned living in the vicinity of Mosierville, were: Geo. Pettingill, who resided where H. Carr now is; Asa Pierce on the Winfield Little place, which was occupied in 1825 by Seabury French.
L. French has his home in the pleasant valley at Mosierville, and occupies the ancestral estate. Mr. F. is a gentleman of intelligence and liberal hospitality. His farm is a fruitful one and is well conducted. A choice dairy is carried, and the proper supply of horses kept. L. French is a son of Peter P. French, a farmer already mentioned. Miss Alida French, a well-known teacher, is a daughter.
We found John A. Roy a very interesting and successful business man, at his elegant home near Mosierville. His well-improved farm is nicely located on the main road between Mosierville and Elmira, and is perfectly equipped. A large dairy of the Durham line is kept, and especial attention given to young stock and sheep. Mr. Roy has a pride in good horses, no less than eight being kept, some of which are very fine. Though the "Roy place" was one of the very first settled in the township, Mr. Roy is entitled to almost the entire credit for the many improvements made thereon. The first framed building in the township was erected upon the place about 1809 by the Judsons. It was a barn, and some of the same timbers are used in the buildings as now standing upon the place. Mr. Roy, though a gentleman considerably past the meridian of life, still possesses the habits he learned early in life. He is a believer in Franklin's teachings, and is proverbially up with the sun, always driving his business. His habits are aided by a good stock of "horse sense," which together have made Mr. Roy the possessor of a handsome fortune. Mr. Roy is only another example of the result of "honest toil and careful attention to business." Mr. Roy laments the death of his beloved and excellent wife, whose kindness and goodness were appreciated by all. Lewis Roy, a most excellent and promising young man, who died at Elmira last fall, was a son and was wedded to a daughter of the late A. B. Austin. Another son is an extensive farmer in Michigan, and the third prominently engaged in the lumbering business at Grover, Pa. John A. Roy is a son of Alexander Roy, already mentioned in our letters.
C. L. Shepard is pleasantly domiciled in the village of Mosierville, and is a careful and enterprising farmer. He has a choice dairy of thoroughbred and grade Jerseys, keeping young stock on a second farm. A specialty is made of Jersey-red pigs, & c. For a number of years Mr. S. was engaged as a merchant in Mosierville and held the office of P. M.
Simon Harr has his abode in the quiet hamlet of Mosierville, and is engaged in farming and blacksmithing. Mr. Harr is a native of Montgomery county, Pa.; learned the trade of blacksmith at Philadelphia; moved with his mother and brother, Jacob Harr, about 1842 to Tioga county, Pa.; then in 1844 to Mosierville, where he has since resided. He kept his mother and worked at his trade. Having obtained a little start, after twenty years he purchased a farm near the village, where all his time that can be spared from the shop is diligently employed. With Mr. Harr is associated his son-in-law, David Beckwith, a most stirring and enterprising gentleman. They have cleared their place, extricated the stumps, picked the stones and converted them into walls. They make the Southdown sheep a specialty. In their shop all kinds of work is executed in a prompt and skillful manner, horseshoeing being their leading custom.
J. B. Lewis, a former pedagogue and farmer, resides in the village of Mosierville. He is a son of Corson Lewis, deceased, a native of Sussex county, N. J. Mr. L. has a fruitful farm in the western part of the townshhip.
A. B. Hathaway is a pleasant, intelligent gentleman, and the reliable cooper of the town, a business which he has engaged in for several years. He was a clerk for Capt. Judson, of the 171st P. V., for a year during the service.
G. W. Judson is a gentleman whose pleasant face is a burst of sunshine upon all whom he may meet. His festive board always contains "the extra plate," and it is your own fault if you pass his dwelling in hunger. He is a diligent farmer and occupies the place of his father, Albert Judson, deceased. A good dairy is kept, with some attention to young stock.
Albert Judson, who was a son of Samuel Judson, having lost his mother when he was a child was brought up in the family of James Osgood. He married Miss Betsy Fairbanks, a daughter of Samuel Fairbanks, an early settler in Columbia. Mr. Judson was Captain of Co. G, 171st P. V., and served for sixteen months. He was elected Captain upon the formation of the company. He was an intelligent and highly-respected citizen, and died in the township in 1881 at the age of 58 years. His widow and an only child, G. W., survive him.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, June 18, 1885.
VISITS AMONG THE PEOPLE.
David Corey has a pleasant residence at Aspinwall, and owns one of the largest and most equipped farms in the township. It is perhaps the most level in Wells, and does not contain a foot but what machinery can be used upon. Mr. Corey, is a practical, level-headed man, and keeps a pace with the times. He keeps a large, and carefully selected dairy, gives attention to young stock and sheep and has a pride in fine horses. Dairying and promiscuous farming is his principal business. Mr. C.’s fine fortune is the result of diligence and economy, he having begun life without any assistance whatever. He has lived in the township twenty years, having moved hither from Columbia township, where his father, William M. Corey, settled in 1838 from New Jersey. Mr. C. is a prominent man in the town and has held the office of Justice of the Peace, etc., in each case having been called by the voluntary suffrage of his neighbors.
D. C. McLane has a handsome and fruitful farm, and is a skilled husbandman. He carries a choice dairy of Aldernays and Durhams, and gives considerable attention to Southdown sheep. Mr. McLane is a native of the Emerald Isle, and came to this country with his father’s family when a child. His grandfather sickened and died while on the voyage, and was cast overboard. James McLane settled in Columbia county, and after some year’s residence there came to Wells and purchased the property which his son, now occupies.
Dunning Killgore has a most desirable location, and is the owner of the finest residence in Wells. It is completely planned, the work executed in a masterly manner, and is painted in the most stylish and tasteful colors. Mr. K. works his farm in a skillful manner, and keeps a good dairy, and gives some attention to young stock. He has a pride in fine horses and keeps a fully supply. Mr. Killgore came to the township when a child with his father, William C. Killgore, from New Jersey. William Killgore is yet a resident of the township and is living at the advance age of 82 years.
F. M. Smith is a successful husbandman, and occupies the large and fruitful farm of Peter Beardsley. A good dairy is kept and mixed farming properly conducted. Attention is also given to young stock. Mr. Smith is a native of Tioga county, Pa., and is a grandson of Jesse Smith, one of very earliest settlers of Rutland township.
Morris Shepard is one of Wells most popular townsman, and one of the best natured, best hearted souls we have seen in “our tramps.” He would share the last crumb with a friend, and prove true to the last. “Morris” as every body calls him, lives at home, and has the proper sufficiency in store for “the rainy day.” He is nicely located upon a large and fruitful farm, which is well equipped. He ranks as one of the most enterprising and successful farmers of the township, and does not allow the grass to grow under his heels. A good mixed dairy is kept, and considerable attention given to young stock. Mr. Shepard only believes in keeping the best, and drives a very gay young team. He occupies the ancestral estate of Nathan Shepard. “Morris” is one of the most astute Republicans in the county, and has never missed a town caucus or election since twenty-one years of age, and but one county meeting. He was elected County Commissioner in 1871, and upon the expiration of his term was renominated by acclamation for another. Though a young man then he served the county faithfully and well. Mr. Shepard married an only daughter of Rev. Joel Jewell, a remarkable gentleman of eighty-two years, who yet preaches regularly.
G. H. Knapp is located upon the most pleasant street in Wells, and occupies the ancestral estate, which is improved and highly productive. Mr. Knapp is a genial gentleman and bestows his hospitality in a liberal manner. He gives especial attention to his fine diary and general farming. An excellent matched young team is kept. The place was settled by Zephaniah Knapp, and is one of the oldest in the township. Peter R. Knapp, father of G. H. was born and died upon the place. In September, 1864, Mr. Knapp enlisted in the 207th P. V., and served his country faithfully until the close of the conflict. He did service in and about Petersburg, and was among the first to climb the works at Fort Steadman.
Hiram Swayze and son are situated on the same pleasant street with Mr. Knapp, and are highly respected citizens. They have a neat farm and are enterprising gentlemen. A good dairy is kept and the grains grown successfully. Mr. Swayze is a native of Sussex county, N. J., and came to this county about forty years since.
Allen Swayze is a careful tiller of the soil, and an esteemed citizen of Wells. He is prince of a fruitful “hundred acre” farm, and a pleasant home. Unlike many farmers, he is wise in not attempting too much, but in doing well. In consequence his crops are a success, and his stock the best. A choice dairy, is kept and attention given to sheep - the Cotswolds. Mr. Swayze is assisted upon the place by his son Allen, who is a young man of stirring habits and fine business qualifications. Mr. S. came to the township forty years ago from Sussex county, N. Y. For some years he followed coopering in connection with farming, but has now discontinued that business.
We were kindly recevied by W. E. Compton and his estimable wife, and enjoyed with them one of their excellent farm dinners, in which chicken-pie and other toothsome dishes were not wanting. Mrs. C. surely has but few equals in the culinary art, and from Mr. C.’s overflowing hospitality, if you do not want to eat yourself to death, keep your distance. Mr. Compton is a very ambitious, painstaking young farmer, and occupies the “Ferguson place.” Dairying is carried on extensively, and farming successfully conducted. Some attention is also given to young stock. Mr. C. has a very fine young horse, for which he was offered $100 when four months old. “The Ferguson place is a very fine property and was settled sixty years ago by Thomas Ferguson, whose grandsons C. E. and W. H. Ferguson, now own it.
Alfred, a son of Thomas Ferguson, came in soon after and settled between his father’s and Mr. Warner’s. he erected a farmed dwelling, which was said to have been the only one of the main road between Elmira and Troy. None of the Fergusons named are residents of the township.
Gregg & Warner are proprietors of the “Elm Grove Creamery,” established
in 1872. Their institution is a profitable and labor saving industry to
farmers. All that is required is to take in their milk to the creamery
every night and morning, which is measured and accredited to them. When
the packages are made up, each patron receives in proportion to the milk
furnished, it being a required number of quarts for a pound of butter.
The creamery is furnished with clear, cool spring water, and everything
about the institution is kept tidy. Only persons fully acquainted with
the cost of butter making are employed, and the most improved machinery
used. Hence the butter provided is of the very best quality, and will bring
the highest market price. After the cream has been taken for butter, the
“skimmed milk” is converted into what is known as “skimmed milk cheese.”
During the past year Gregg & Warner have handled themilk of three hundred
cows, and shall hope to enlarge upon this number another year. The creamery
is in charge of Silas Stannard, a very reliable young man, who has been
raised in the business.
Reporter Journal, Towanda, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1885.
Myron Capron is a much respected citizen of the township, and is a neat and successful farmer. He resides in a very fine new house, and has recently erected a neat and commodious barn upon his place. His farm is well equipped, and a fine dairy of Durhams and Jerseys kept. He occupies the place settled by his father, Joseph Capron.
J. A. Gifford and A. W. Little are pleasantly located upon large and fruitful farms, and are enterprising farmers. Grain growing, and dairying is the leading business. Good stock is kept upon the place.
G. K. Newman is a very careful and stirring farmer, and occupies the large and fruitful place known as the "Strong Farm." The place is improved, and finely equipped, nothing being wanting that would facilitate farming. Mr. N. is one of those "Jerseymen," that know just how to turn the sod to make it yield abundantly. The following is an aggregate of the grains raised this year: Oats, 1100 bu.; Barley, 150; Wheat 325, Corn 1600. A dairy of 30 cows and a good line of stock is kept. Some attention is given to Southdown sheep. In Sept. 1861 Mr. Newman entered the 7th N. J. Vet., and did service under "Fighting Joe Hooker" for eighteen months, when he was discharged for disabilities.
Joseph Hill is prince of an excellent farm and is cozily domiciled in a fine new mansion. Joe is a very enterprising gentleman and one of the most genial and openhearted beings we have met in our wanderings. Our only surprise was in finding that Joe did not verify the language of the poet in his domestic relations: "Oh! Woman, whose form and whose soul, Are the spell and the light of each path we pursue; Whether sunn'd in the tropics, or chilled at the pole, If woman be there, there is happiness too." We are inclined to believe that Joe does not contradict the above but as has been said, "Many an honest man stands in need of help that has not the courage to ask it." Mr. Hill's farm is well supplied with the modern improvements and machinery, and is skillfully conducted. A fine dairy of grade Alderneys is kept and some attention is given to young stock and sheep, the Cotswolds. Two fine young teams are kept upon the place. The farm was cleared by Thepholis Moore, and occupied by Mathew Hill in 1868. He was a native of Ireland and came to America nearly a half century ago. He first settled in Ridgebury township. He died upon the place now occupied by his son, in 1870.
Peter P. French has a pleasant place, and fruitful little farm. A choice dairy of Alderneys and Durhams is kept, and attention given to general farming. A fine team for general purposes is kept and a fine Black Hawk stallion.
Mr. French occupies the place improved by Levi Adams. He is a son of Seabury G. French, and the grandson and namesake of Peter P. French, an early settler. In Sept. 1862 Mr. French enlisted in the 16th P. V. C., and did service in Va. He was at Fredericksburg, through the overland campaign, at Gettysburg, Malvern Hill, etc., being wounded in the neck at the lastly named place. He was a corporal and served faithfully until the close of the conflict.
Bump & Wickham are the two enterprising characters, who have gained a reputation for their humor and "butter and cheese," or in short they are the proprietors of the institution known as the "Gilt Edge Creamery." Their factory is one-half mile south of the State line on the Elmira road. Farmers bring in their milk every night and morning, and receive two cents a quart for it during the summer or whatever price may be agreed upon. The creamery season continues for eight months. A cow overgoing ten quarts per day would yield in that time an income of $48. The cream is converted into butter and the skimmed milk into cheese and we can safely say that no better is manufactured that at this factory. Everything about the establishment is as neat as a New England kitchen and is very appropriately called "Gilt Edge," if indeed the term is not applied to the proprietors themselves. A rotary churn is used and in fact the factory has all the modern improvements.
Albert Seeley is located in a pleasant valley near the State line, and is a prosperous farmer. He occupies the place upon which Rev. Egbert Roosa began. A good dairy is kept and general farming successfully carried on. W. H. Seeley has charge of the farm. The Seeley family is elsewhere spoken of.
We greatly enjoyed the hospitality of H. Wilson and family and were entertained in a most enjoyable manner. Mr. W. is an enterprising farmer and occupies the place settled by his father, Jas. Wilson, who purchased of one Jas. Hall, who made the first improvements. A choice dairy is kept, and attention given to young stock. Mr. Wilson is assisted upon the farm by his son William, a young man of energy and business qualities.
H. G. Grennell is located upon a large and prosperous farm, and is a successful husbandman. The place is supplied with commodious outbuildings, a large dairy and a fine herd of young cattle. Considerable attention is also given to Southdown sheep, and good teams are kept. Mr. Grennell was a member of the First N. Y., Light Artillery and served for sixteen months under Gen. Anger.
Nathaniel Ellison is one of the most substantial farmers in the northern part of the township. He is located upon the place which he has improved and put in a proper state of cultivation by his own diligence. Fields that were once hardly tillable are now smooth and stumpless, so that all kinds of machinery may be used upon them. A choice dairy of the Jersey line is kept upon the place and farming carefully and skillfully done. Mr. Ellison is a native of Sullivan Co., N. Y., and occupies the place upon which Merrick Barnheart began.
D. E. Bristol is a most enterprising gentleman and is handsomely located in the northern part of the township. He came upon the place eight years since, when it contained only a log house, a small barn and about twenty acres cleared and none improved. Diligence has wrought a most remarkable change, the old log home has been supplied by a neat and cozy mansion, fine outbuildings perfectly arranged, erected, and a wild tract of timberland changed into beautiful and stumpless fields. Surely Mr. Bristol has done remarkably since he came upon the place and too owing to such a complete reversion of business. He moved to Wells from Albany, N. Y., where for twenty-four years he was employed by Wheeler, Mellick & Co., as foreman in the blacksmith department of their establishment. For eleven years, during Seminole and Mexican wars, Mr. B. worked in the arsenal at Troy, N. Y., on gun-carriages for field pieces and for about eighteen months was in the ordinance department during the Seminole war. Mr. Bristol has the reputation of a very fine workman, and was required to leave the city on account of his health. He has a son, Herbert, who is a mechanical prodigy and it was with much interest we examined work upon which he has displayed his skill. Mr. B. has a very choice dairy of grade Durhams, and gives attention to young stock. Everything about his premises indicated thoroughness and progressiveness. Mr. Bristol is moreover an excellent christian gentleman and a neighbor of whom his friends may well feel proud.
Among other prominent farmers whom it was not our pleasure to visit we would mention the following: S. S. French, Lyman Brewer, David B. Fries, Emmitt Metler, Clinton Killgore, J. J. and Proctor Ayers, Calvin Powell, P. S. Beardsley, Jas. Slocum, Ammon Warner.
J. Kelsey Jones