Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
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1892-  Wellsboro Agitator - Obituaries

Mr. William Wells Spencer
Last Tuesday night Mr. William Wells Spencer, better known as “Bill Elias,” a colored man whose bent figure was a familiar sight upon our streets for a generation, died at the county poor-house, of dropsy.  He had been at the institution only about a week.  William Spencer was born about the year 1808.  His parents, Elias and Maria Spencer, were freed from slavery and brought to this county, then a part of Lycoming, about the beginning of the present century by William Wells, Esq., of Delaware, from whom this borough was named.  At the same time Eben and Hetty Murray, the parents of Miss Betty Murray, our well-known, jovial caterer, who is so necessary upon all festal occasions, were brought here as trusty servants.  “Bill Elias,” as he was familiarly known, worked at the blacksmith trade until he began to grow infirm, and then he became a man of all work for several of our older families until he became too feeble to be self-supporting.  He was the oldest citizen born in Wellsboro.  About four years ago, Mr. William Bache, who is the next oldest native of the borough, built a small house for “Bill” on Walnut street and provided for his comfort until he became perfectly helpless, and as his end seemed to be near he was taken to the county poorhouse, where he could have closer attention.  Spencer had no education and he lost his hearing early in life, but not until after he had learned to talk.  His annunciation was so peculiar, however, that only those who were well used to his jargon could understand him.  He could interpret the language of others very accurately by the motion of their lips.  He always maintained that he was of Indian extraction, and there was probably some foundation for his claim, “Bill Elias” was a quaint village character, linking the past generation with the present.  (Wednesday, December 14, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. Andrew Bartle
A friend’s estimate of his life and character.  To the editor of the Agitator.  Stony Fork, December 12.---By the death of Andrew Bartle, Delmar loses one of her oldest and most honored citizens.  In 1837 he came with his young wife from Oxford, Chenango county, NY, and settled upon 100 acres of heavily-timbered land, living for a few years in a log-house covered with hemlock bark.  By hard and untiring labor, good management and strict economy, which was the rule in the house as well at outside, he was able to retire in his declining years from his farm and lived the rest of his life in peace and comfort in the village of Stony Fork.  It is not until our friends are taken from us that we properly estimate their lives and characters.  Of Mr. Bartle I may say, having known him since boyhood, that he was noted for strict integrity and honorable dealing with his neighbors.  The fact that he lived to see his farm converted from a dense forest to one of the finest in Delmar is an object-lesson to the youth of our land, telling them what can be accomplished by perseverance and well-directed effort.  I do not remember of ever hearing Mr. Bartle speak a profane word.  He was sociable and kind in his family, of whom he was justly proud.  They have lost a devoted and indulgent father.  He never turned the worthy poor away from his door, but the hypocrite could find no place in his affections.  Temperate in all things, of conservative but very practical views, he was a safe friend and a trusty adviser.  No one knows this better than the writer.  Bereft of a father at the age of 17, he became to us---my mother had five children--a true friend and wise counselor.  In him we saw a life and character that we may all well honor by trying to live up to the standard of excellence that he set before us.  J. H. Buckley.  Mr. Andrew Bartle, a prominent farmer in Delmar, died last Thursday.  He was 81 years of age, and he had resided in Delmar for more than half a century.  Mr. Bartle was a progressive farmer and a man of philosophical temperament, steadfast and of persevering industry.  He was a native of Chenango county, NY.  The funeral was held last Saturday, Rev. James A. Boyce conducting the service.  (Wednesday, December 14, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. George Hildreth
Mr. George Hildreth died at his home in Stony Fork early Sunday morning.  He had been steadily declining for several years and his death was due to the breaking-down of the physical machinery rather than to any pronounced disease.  On Saturday he was up and able to walk about the house.  The funeral was held at the Stony Fork Baptist church yesterday, and it was well attended.  Rev. James A. Boyce conducted the service.  George Hildreth was born in Delmar December 3, 1818, within 40 rods of the home where he long lived and where he ended his days.  When he was nine years of age, in 1827, he became an apprentice in the office of the Phoenix, a newspaper then just established in this borough by the late Benjamin B. Smith.  The Phoenix office was located in the chambers of Mr. Smith’s dwelling-house, which stood on the site of the present residence of Mrs. S. M. Billings, on Main street.  The late John F. Donaldson, Prothonotary of this county for many years, was then a printer in the same office, and he afterward published the paper for two years or more.  When Mr. Donaldson sold out, in 1836, young Hildreth went to Philadelphia, where he obtained a situation as compositor on the United States Gazette which paper was afterwards merged into the North American.  He worked there for 1 ½ years and was known as the most rapid typesetter in the office.  We have frequently heard him comment upon his record of a daily average of 10,000 ems(?) in composition while he was engaged in that city.  This is considered a remarkable record among printers for a single day’s work under pressure; but such an average, covering a long period, attests the faithfulness and untiring industry of the man.  In 1847 Mr. Hildreth published the Herald in this borough, the paper being Whig in politics and owned by a stock company.  About 1850 the establishment was sold to Mr. William D. Bailey, who changed the name of the paper to the Advertiser.  That journal was continued until July, 1854, when Mr. M. H. Cobb came here from Honesdale, and purchased the paper and changed its name to the Agitator.  So, in a sense, Mr. Hildreth was a Nestor of the Agitator, the business establishment in which he learned his trade being the progenitor of this paper and the line being continued unbroken to this day.  After retiring from the Herald, Mr. Hildreth was engaged in farming at Stony Fork for many years; but during that time if an extra hand was wanted in the Agitator office he was frequently employed until the rush was over.  In January, 1870, he was regularly employed in the office and he continued here until January, 1890(?).  For the whole period of 22 years we believe he did not lose so much as a month’s time by reason of sickness, and he hardly ever thought of taking a vacation.  Mr. Hildreth was forced to give up his work here by reason of failing health and declining mental vigor.  For many months before he relinquished his place at the “case” it was noticeable to those around him by: “The types decreasing click, click, As they fell within his “stick,” That of his life’s clock the tick, Was running down.”  He was an accurate compositor, untiring and faithful in the discharge of his duty, and his great fund of general information made him a most valuable helper in the department for which he had been specially trained.  Mr. Hildreth was a printer of the old school.  He knew comparatively nothing of the art of job-printing, and he used to say that when he was young that department of the printing business was a mere cipher, a few posters or an occasional sign-card or legal form being the extent of the demand made on a country printer, and even of such work the jobs were few in a year.  When we come to think of the experiences of Mr. Hildreth in early life, we are forcibly reminded that in no business or practical art has there been greater improvement during the last half-century than in the appliances and machinery for printing.  When young Hildreth worked in the Phoenix office, that paper was printed on a Ramage hand-press, and it is probable that all the type and tools of the office were worth less than $300, and if that paper had a circulation of 300 copies it was considered good in those days.  The forms were made up and proofs taken and corrections made on the press.  The type-forms were inked with two balls made of leather and stuffed with cotton; and when the composition-rollers came into use, by which the speed of printing the papers on those old hand lever presses, “the levers of the world,” could be increased to 250 or 300 an hour, those old-time newspaper proprietors felt more pride over the matter than a proprietor does today in fitting out his office with stereotyping machinery and a perfecting press capable of turning out in an hour 15,000 completely printed and folded newspapers.  Mr. Hildreth’s paper-cutter was a shoe knife and a straight edge.  Besides his crude press, 50 years ago a dozen fonts of type, all told, comprised the outfit, besides a wood stove, a mallet, shooting stick, composing stick and perhaps a wooden galley or two.  This reminds us that in the Agitator office today is an old wooden galley made of pine, the only connecting link left to remind us of the Phoenix of 65 years ago, when typesetting at night was done by the light of tallow “dips,” and when to be an editor meant also to be business manager, typesetter, pressman, and choreboy,--and it was precarious living at best.  Mr. Hildreth was a man of the strictest integrity.  His experience in life had made him something of a pessimist.  He was naturally retiring and almost unapproachable by strangers, who were unable to understand the character of a man of such habitual silence and reserve.  But those who knew him best had the utmost respect for him because of his many excellent qualities of mind and heart.  We doubt if there is another printer in the State who has spent so many years at the “case” as had Mr. Hildreth.  (Wednesday, December 14, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. Edward Baker
In Delmar, Pa., December 17(?), 1892, of pneumonia, Mr. Edward Baker, aged 42(?) years.  (Wednesday, December 14, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. Joseph Monell
At Blossburg, Pa., December 7, 1892, Mr. Joseph Monell, aged about 70(?) years.  (Wednesday, December 14, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Capt. Buel Baldwin
A Tribute To His Memory By One Who Knew Him Well.  To the editor of the Agitator.---Wellsboro, December 17.---On December 10, 1892, died at Tioga, Captain Buel Baldwin.  Mr. Baldwin was born on Sugar creek, Bradford county, Pa., February 11, 1805.  He was the oldest of four sons of Eleazer Baldwin, who was a native of Connecticut and descended from the Baldwin family of that State, one of whom became a distinguished Senator of the United States soon after the Revolution, from the State of Georgia.  The father of Captain Baldwin came from Bradford county and settled in Lawrence township in this county in 1805 and there lived the remainder of his life.  The late Thomas L. Baldwin, formerly member of the Assembly and Associate Judge of this county, who died at Tioga in April, 1890, was a brother of Captain Baldwin, and a man beloved by many of our people.  So also was the late Moses Baldwin, of Lawrence township and he too was widely known and highly respected throughout the county.  Another brother Eleazer died in early life and a sister intermarried with Dyer Inscho, of Lawrence died there before the late war.  Captain Baldwin moved with his family from Lawrence to Tioga township in 1846 and there lived upon the old Samuel Westbrook farm near Mitchell Creek, then owned by his brother Thomas for many years.  He spent the best part of his mature life upon that farm and so managed and improved it that it became one of the best farms in the county.  He was a studious man all his life and his wide reading on agricultural subjects enabled him to apply the most advanced ideas in agriculture in the conduct of his farming.  During all those years he was looked to very generally by his neighbors not only as a skilled and for the times, scientific farmer but as a man of unusual wisdom and good judgment generally in the conduct of private and neighborhood affairs.  Whenever there was a local assembly to take counsel upon any subject of interest to the township or the neighborhood Captain Baldwin was generally and by common consent appealed to for advice and in most instances his counsel was followed.  He was a strong advocate of sheep-husbandry as a wise and profitable investment and he urged upon his neighbors there using of sheep not only for the profit from their fleeces but for use as mutton in the families of farmers to take the place of salt pork and salt fish quite largely as more conducive to their health and enjoyment.  Very often when as was his habit he killed a sheep he sent a fresh to his neighbors, and most often to those of them who could make no return.  Nor did he forget less often to minister to the spiritual and moral distress or needs of neighbors when death or heart-trouble came into their homes.  How many a time did he go to the village undertaker in those days and furnish unasked the coffin that death had made necessary in some poor family and never ask for remuneration.  And although he was not then a member of any Church he did it in His name who reminds us that the poor are always with us and who blesses all with the benediction.  Inasmuch as ye shall do good unto the least of my brother men ye shall do it unto me.  But Captain Baldwin had conspicuous contempt for unmanliness or meanness of any kind and could show it by the strong heart and hand as well as by the gentle force of love and sympathy.  He always cultivated in those days a large pitch of melons.  Every neighbor’s boy who asked for them had them free.  But he despised an interloper who stole them or rudely plugged them to test their ripeness.  One night with his old long barreled flint lock gun that would kill at long range with unerring aim in his hands he watched for one of these neighborhood vandals and caught them stealing melons.  He took the culprit by the collar to his house half a mile away and introduced him to the large old fashioned kitchen from which so many neighbors and strangers passing by have been furnished with the goodly cheer for which this home was so deservedly renowned.  There he prepared melons without stint and bade his captive cat.  The prisoner at first refused but set to with energy when persuaded by the sight of a hickory whip that had been prepared for his special benefit.  Sufficient for the pleasure of the eating was not enough and he was compelled to eat until he could eat no more.  Then the withe(?) was toughened in the fire and the culprit taken out and whipped so industriously that he could never forget that evenings entertainment.  No mortal persuasion could regenerate that rascal but another who was punished by the Captain in another way said to the old gentlemen afterwards.  ‘That licking you gave me saved me from the penitentiary.’  He was a patriotic man.  He was appointed ‘Captain of the 7th Co composed of the militia of township of Lawrence, First Battallion, 3d Regiment (formerly 129th) 2d Brigade, 9th Division of Pennsylvania Militia.  In 1845 as appears by a certificate now before the writer signed by A K Bosard Colonel of that regiment.  He took great pride in his office and many of us who were then boys remember him as a prominent officer at the general trainings of the olden time.  The writer recalls him now as he appeared on command of a squad firing the old cannon at Lawrenceville in 1854 when David Wilmot addressed the people there assembled upon the slavery question.  He conducted the salute with the regular precision of artillery practice.  Captain Baldwin who was an old fashioned Democrat, followed David Wilmot’s leadership in that beginning of anti slavery sentiment that led him and a large majority of the Democrats of this county into the Republican party and he adhered to that party steadfastly while he lived.  He ardently sympathized with the Free State party in the struggle for freedom in Kansas and although he had long been an admirer and follower of James Buchanan he despised him for his conduct of affairs in Kansas, and for his  failure to take the Jacksonian stand against secession in 1861.  In the spring of that year, Mr. Baldwin’s leg was broken while working with a team in the woods and the writer of this notice had an account of this from his own lips.  At the conclusion he said I am too old to go to war and my life wasn’t of much more account to me, but as I sat there on a log with my broken leg dangling on the ground, I wished that Jim Buchanan Floyd and Strongfellow were there in reach, and that I had had my old gun there.  By the Eternal!  I would have shot every bugger of them, if I had to hang for it.  On one occasion he was making oak pins with a sharp axe, quite a distance from his house, and cut off one of his thumbs.  He picked up the piece, carried it to the house, joined it in place with a bandage, and it grew on so it was fairly useful as long as he had any use for it.  His house was near the old schoolhouse and the pupils of that school in those days still entertain for him, those of them who are left, the fondest recollections for his kindly attention to their comfort.  Often when the wood was poor he came with his men and supplied what was needed, often at his own expense.  He was a kind-hearted, loving man in every relation of life, and very few men indeed have so many credit-marks recorded in the hearts of their fellows as this man fixed so indelibly in the recollections of those who were associated with him while he lived.  He was one of the County Commissioners of this county about 50 years ago, and was a devoted and efficient public official.  He was often intrusted with official charge in local affairs, and in all, that pertained to them he was more mindful of the public interest than of his private advantage.  His wife, a remarkably intelligent lady, endeared to all who knew her by many kindly offices, died at Tioga, March 16, 1890.  Both of them he buried in the cemetery at Lawrenceville, near which so many years of their lives were spent.  Captain Baldwin was a man of fine intellectual parts and was endowed with a remarkably retentive and active memory.  But a few months before his death he was heard to repeat several pages from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, that he had borne in his mind from boyhood.  In common conversation he frequently quoted accurately from books, and he could give the dates of many important events in history and the names of the principal actors in them very readily.  Few of the early settlers of this county knew so much of its history and no one could be more accurate in detailing it.  This remarkable faculty remained unimpaired to the hour of his death.  But he is now gone and so has passed to his eternal reward the oldest and the last of a family distinguished in the annals of Tioga county.  The last time the writer saw him lying feeble in body upon the bed that he was forced to keep by the weakness of old age for a year before his death, he said he had been trying to recall to mind any case of wrong or injury that he had done to a fellow man, with the purpose of making reparation if he could recall such an instance, and if he could not make it good by pecuniary compensation, to ask pardon for it, but he said he was not sensible of having done such a wrong to any one.  In this he was profoundly sincere, and the writer and, as he believes, all who knew Buel Baldwin believe he was truthful and just. (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. Alden Starkweather
Mr. Alden Starkweather, an account of whose injury by logs rolling over him at the Summit on the Tuesday, the 9th instant was given in these columns last week, was found to be more seriously hurt than was at first supposed.  It seems that three of his ribs were broken, his breast-bone was crushed in and his skull was fractured.  His physician reports that he cannot live.  Up to yesterday the unfortunate man has remained unconscious but was still breathing, showing wonderful vitality considering the nature of his injuries.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892 and Tuesday, December 28, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Rev. W. D. Taylor
Rev. W. D. Taylor, formerly a resident of Mansfield, died in Richmond township of consumption last Friday.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. George Davis
Mr. George Davis of Morris Run, died last Saturday evening of blood poisoning which was caused by a carbuncle on the back of his neck.  Mr. Davis had been South on a hunting expedition, and when he returned home he was troubled with what he thought was nothing worse than a small boil, but it rapidly developed and on Friday night he became unconscious and remained so until he died.  Mr. Davis was about 52 years of age.  He had resided in Morris Run for about 25 years.  He was the senior member of the firm of Davis & Co, proprietors of the village market and the wholesale liquor store.  He leaves a widow and seven children, two of his sons being proprietors of the Seymour House in Blossburg.  The funeral was held yesterday.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. John Hartsock
Mr. John Hartsock, a prominent farmer in Liberty township, died on the 9th instant of asthma.  He was 56 years of age.  Mr. Hartsock was an excellent citizen.  He was an industrious and frugal man and had accumulated a large property.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mrs. Sarah M. Signor
Mrs. Sarah M. Signor, wife of Capt. D. A. Signor, formerly a resident of Elkland, died in Hornellsville, NY, last Wednesday at the age of 59 years.  Mrs. Signor had suffered for two weeks from a carbuncle on the back of her neck, and it affected her brain, causing a hemorrhage.  The remains were taken to her former home at Ithaca, NY, for burial.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Dr. Joseph P. Morris
Dr. Joseph P. Morris died of old age at his home in Mansfield last Saturday.  He had been steadily failing in strength and mental vigor for a number of years.  He was long identified with the business interests of that part of the county.  Dr. Joseph P. Morris was born in Philadelphia in 1809.  In 1834 he went to Blossburg when there were but three families residing there, and he helped to open the mines and build the railroad, in both of which enterprises he was largely interested.  In 1842 he went to Mansfield and remained four years, when he moved to this borough.  He resided here eight years and then returned to Mansfield where he spent the remainder of his life.  Dr. Morris purchased, about the first time he went to Mansfield, the Asa Mann property, which included about all the land now occupied by the borough.  He was always active and enterprising in the work of building up the place.  He gave six acres of land as the site for the Mansfield Classical Seminary, now the State Normal School.  He also gave the lot for the Episcopal church.  He was very liberal in his gifts to the Normal school and all other public enterprises.  He was a trustee of the school for many years.  In 1836 Dr. Morris married Sarah E., daughter of Samuel W. Morris, of this borough, who survives him.  This aged and respected couple have enjoyed a serene old age in their beautiful home called “The Wren’s Nest,” on an elevation overlooking the borough of Mansfield.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mr. Samuel Willis Christnot
Last Thursday Mr. Samuel Willis Christnot died at the home of his brother, Mr. George W. Christnot, on Water street, of consumption.  Mr. Christnot was a native of this borough and he was born May 4, 1852.  He learned the printing trade in this office and held the position of foreman in the establishment for a number of years.  In 1877 he went to San Francisco, Cal., where he remained for 13 years, working most of the time at his trade until his health failed.  About two years ago he returned to this place, and his health continued to steadily decline.  Mr. Christnot was a good printer and a genial and free-hearted man.  The funeral was held at the residence of Mr. George Christnot last Saturday afternoon.  Rev. A. W. Snyder read the service.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

J. E. Baker
In Memoriam.  At a regular meeting of the Stony Fork Lodge, No, 564(?).  I O O F December 17, 1892, the following resolutions were adopted.  Whereas.  Our Creator in His all wise and ever mysterious way has seen fit to ‘sever the silver tie and call to the Grand Lodge above our beloved brother, J E Baker therefore be it.  Resolved. That in mourning for him we grieve for one who by his frank and genial ways has proved himself indeed a brother.  Resolved.  That we as members of the Order cherish in memory his many good qualities and do outward honor to his name by draping for 30 days our hall in mourning and wearing the ordinary badge of the Order.  Resolved.  That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the bereaved friends that they be recorded upon our minutes and also published in the Wellsboro papers.  Charles Abin, W. W. Moyer, W. S. Boatman, Committee.  (Wednesday, December 21, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Child Plank
On the 16th instant Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Plank, of Westfield, went to Knoxville to visit Mrs. Plank’s parents, taking with them their three months old child.  When they arrived, the wraps were removed and the little one was laid upon a bed.  In a few minutes the mother noticed that the child was breathing unnaturally and she became alarmed and called the other members of the household.  The child died a few moments afterward.  (Wednesday, December 28, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Mrs. Catherine E. Cook
Mrs. Catherine E. Cook, died at the home of her son, Charles C. Cook, in East Buffalo, NY, last Friday of paralysis.  Her remains were brought to this place on Monday, and the funeral was held at the house of her brother-in-law, Mr. H. P. Erwin.  Rev. A. C. Shaw, D. D., conducted the service.  Mrs. Cook was nearly 66 years of age.  She was born in New York city.  Her husband, Mr. Horace S. Cook, died about 16 years ago in this borough, where the family resided for many years.  Mrs. Cook afterward moved to Elmira, where she remained several years, when her health began to fail and she went to live with her children.  She was a most estimable woman.  (Wednesday, December 28, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)

Charles VanZile
At Elkland, Pa., December 4, 1892, of typhoid fever, Charles VanZile, aged 80(?) years.  (Wednesday, December 28, 1892, The Wellsboro Agitator, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, Pa.)
 
 

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 31 DEC 2012
By Joyce M. Tice
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Deb JUDGE Spencer typed these for us.