The Reverend Mr. David Craft
South Creek Township
1907 Postcard contributed by Creig Crippen
THE township now known as Springfield was originally called Murraysfield, after an early settler of that name who occupied a prominent position among the few who were then inhabitants of the wilderness. He was a member of the Universalist denomination, and among the first whose deaths saddened the hearts of the people of the now settlement. There was quite a strife in deciding the name of the new township, but a majority of the inhabitants having been residents of Springfield in Massachusetts, cast their votes accordingly, and decided the matter.
"The original boundaries of the township were the same as at present, except the southwest corner. Commencing at the southeastern corner, the line followed in a westerly direction and passed through the small grist mill, then owned by Major Ezra Long, upon the site of which the mill now owned by H. F. Long now stands. From thence it followed the line of the road to the site of the present village of Troy, and its corner was found west of the Presbyterian church; thence north, including that part of the present township of Troy lying along the road leading to Columbia cross-roads. But the inhabitants living east of the hills which now divide the two townships, disliked coming over the hills to transact township business and the concentration of roads at the point now occupied by the village of Troy seeming to indicate it as a future central point. The wise heads of Troy made an effort to obtain a share from Columbia and another from Springfield, so as to bring their township business to that point. They were successful, after a hard fight. This leaves the southern line of Springfield shaped like a wedge."
THE FIRST SETTLER
In Springfield was Capt. John Harkness, who moved in March 1, 1804, and settled on the farm now occupied by O. P. Harkness, Esq., and brothers. Ezekiel and Austin Leonard came a few months later, June, 1804.
THE LEONARDS In June, 1803, Ezekiel and Austin Leonard, two citizens of West Springfield, Mass., came to explore this country with the view of locating here. The had been visited by Michael Tharp, a land agent, in the interests of some of the holders of Connecticut title, by whom they were induced to come and "view" the country. On their arrival, and when near where Troy now stands, they met a Mr. Beecher, a hunter and surveyor, who directed them to the valley of Leonard's creek. They made arrangements to purchase 1600 acres of land. They then set out to bring in their families. Stopping at Esquire Nathaniel Allen's, at East Troy, they left with him the sum of seventy dollars, for which he agreed to put up for them two log houses, and complete them by the first of the following November. At the time agreed upon the two families reached Mr. Allen's, having, come by way of Ulster, up Su-ar creek to East Troy, and found that the contract had not been fulfilled. Mr. Allen, however, had a vacant log house, which the families occupied while the men went up to their plantation and built a cabin beside a big log; they abode there all winter, going to their families on Saturdays and returning to their work on Monday mornings. Here, during the winter of 1803-4, they made a chopping,, built two log houses, and made arrangements for the removal of their families in the spring. In April, 1804, William and Abel Eaton, young men, also from Springfield, Mass., and acquaintances of the Leonards, followed in their tracks; on arriving at the Leonards' location, at Leona, they took hold and worked with them until June 3 of the same year, when the Leonards moved their families thence. William Eaton married Asenath, daughter of Wright Loomis, of Queen Esther flats. Abel Eaton lived on the Elder Bennett farm. Bennett was a Baptist minister; he came from Springfield, Mass., settled at Leona in 1806, and lived there until be was an old man. The Eaton farm is where Mr. Westbrook now lives. Although the Leonards made the first selection, John Harkness was the first actual settler. "These two families had no knowledge of each other until the spring of 1805, and the circumstances which gave them an introduction were as follows: the cattle belonging to Mr. Harkness wandered away, being under the necessity of picking their living in the woods. They were followed by their tracks, and were found about the " opening" made by the Leonards. Their cabins were about four miles apart. From their small beginnings the township gradually filled up with enterprising settlers from the Yankee land."
OTIIER PIONEERS William Harkness came in the fall of 1804, and took up the land now owned by S. D. Harkness. Ichabod Smith came the same year, and Josephus Wing in 1805. In 1806 there was quite an accession to the settlement: James Mattocks, Luke Pitts, Joshua Spear, Stephen Bliss, Oliver Gates, Henry Stever, Amaziah Thayer, and Joseph and Gurdon Grover. The two last named located land around what is now Springfield Centre.
James Harkness, with a large family, settled in the cast part of the township in 1806. Joseph Grace settled near what is now Leona the following year, and Nehemiah Wilson and Abel Fuller, with their families, settled north of the centre the same year.
In 1808, Isaac Cooley and Gains Adams took up land, now owned by Rodney Cooley and Joel Adams. About the same time Samuel Kingsbury and Thomas Pemberton came in, the latter settling a little cast of the centre.
Samuel Campbell also took up land, now occupied by E. F. Parkhurst, Alfred Brace, and the Bentley estate. All these were residents in the beginning, of the year 1810. The population of the township at that date was about 160.
William Brace, then a young man, settled in 1804 or 1805, on the farm where be is now located, being the oldest living settler in the township. Between 1810 and 1820 there were large accessions to the population. Prominent amon- the newcomers were Major John Parkhurst, David Brown and his sons, Charles Phillips, the Parmeters, Lemuel White, Wm. Evans, Elam Bennett, the Graces, Quartus Ely, Amos and John Sargent, Elisha Fanning, Alex Kennedy, Charles Burgess, Joseph and Wakeman Brooks, and William Faulkner.
The first birth was that of Hiram Harkness, April 20, 1805 ; and the first death that of an old lady named Morey, in 1809. The first wedding was that of Abel Leonard, son of Austin, and Abigail, daughter of Ezekiel Leonard; Saltmarsh, of Athens, performing the ceremony.
The first school teacher, Wm. Nevins, taught in the winter of 1808-9 in a weaver's shop, built by Oliver Gates. The first framed building was a dwellings erected by John Harkness, in 1805.
The first saw mill was put up by Austin Leonard, in 1808.
The first grist mill was built by Luke Pitts, commenced in 1813, where Dr. William Cory's mill now stands.
The first school house was built of hewn logs, in Leonard's Hollow, now Leona, in 1813. There was a frame school building erected on Grover hill about the same time, another, also of logs, located on what was then known as Harkness hill, was opened about the same date. These served the township for many years.
The first distillery, about 1810 or 1811, was built by Samuel Campbell. The first militia captain was James Mattocks, whose commission was signed by Gov. Thomas M'Kean, and dated Aug. 3, 1807.
The first justice of the peace was James Mattocks, his commission bearing date February 9, 1810, and signed by Simon Snyder, governor; jurisdiction of justice for Ulster, Tioga, and Athens, then connected with Lycoming.
The first religious organization was that of the Methodist denomination, a class being organized about 1813. The Baptists followed in 1819. The first named have two meeting houses, one at Leona and the other at Pleasant Valley, with a very considerable membership. The Baptists are the controlling religious influence in the central portion of the town, and number between eighty and ninety members, with a good edifice at the centre. The Universalists have a church edifice at the centre, and the Wesleyan Methodists a small church in the north part of the township.
There is a little mound of earth in this township, called by the same name as that from the top of which Moses anciently viewed the promised land. Mount Pisgah is supposed to be the highest ground in the county, and some claim in the State.
Some incidents connected with the raising of Gurdon Grover's barn, in 1808, now occupied by Dennison Gates, are worthy of mention. It required two days to raise it with all the men that could be obtained in Springfield, beside some others from Troy and Smithfield. During the framing and raising more than one barrel of whisky was used; and, while raising, a young man who had imbibed rather freely walked off the end of the purline plate, falling twenty feet, lodged in a hollow stump, from which he was taken without receiving serious injury.
We desire to place on the historic page some facts pertaining to the early settlers of this section, derived from MS. in the hands of Elder C. Newell, of West Franklin, and from other sources: (Note from JMT - This account includes names of male settlers only. If you know the names of the wives of these men, the female settlers of the area - please email JoyceTice@aol.com so they can be added to this page. They deserve exactly the smae amount of credit and recognition as their better publicized male counterparts)
Ezekiel Leonard, born July 30, 1757, at Springfield, Mass.
Capt. John Harkness, born June 15, 1760, at Pelham, Mass.; settled in Springfield, March 1, 1804.
William Harkness, born April 17, 1862, at Pelham, Mass.; settled in Springfield, March 1, 1804.
Ichabod Smith, born July 19, 1782, at Springfield, Mass.; settled in Springfield, March 1, 1804.
Capt. James Mattocks, born July 27, 1770, at Litchfield, Conn.; settled in Springfield, February 5, 1806.
Luke Pitts, born November 21, 1776, at Westfield, Mass.; settled in Springfield, February 5, 1806.
Joshua Spear, born June 13, 17C)4, at Suffield, Conn.; settled in Springfield, July 23, 1806.
Oliver Gates, born September 18, 1758, at Preston, Conn., settled in Springfield, March 1, 1806.
Henry Stever, born December 25, 1779, at Concord, N. II.; settled in Springfield, July 21, 1806.
Isaac Cooly, born November 4, 1784, at Springfield, Mass.; came to Springfield, March 15, 1808.
Gains Adams, born January 18, 1781, at West Springfield, Mass.; settled in Springfield, October 22, 1808.
Elihu Spear, born November 8, 1783, at Springfield, Mass. settled in Springfield, April 29, 1808.
William Eaton, born October, 1787, at Springfield, Mass. settled in Springfield, 1804.
Abel Eaton, born February 28, 1787, at Springfield, Mass.
Joseph Grace, born November 26, 1782, at Springfield, Mass.; settled in Springfield, March 25, 1807.
Charles Satterlee, born October 22, 1801.
Ebenezer Harkness, born November 11, 1784, at Pelham, Mass.
Joseph Grover, born October 16, 1748, at Norwich, Conn.; settled in Springfield, April 11, 1806. [Added: Elizabeth Reynolds, b. 8 Sep 1750 in Norwich CT. Date of death unknown]
William Brace, born January 25, 1785, at Cambridge, N. Y.
Thomas Pemberton, born April 5, 1750, at London, England.
James Harkness, born June 15, 1759, at Pelham, Mass.; settled in Springfield, June 22, 1806.
Nehemiah Wilson, born May 30,
1760, at Newtown, Mass.
[Added: Polly Grover (daughter of the above Joseph) She was born 18 Nov 1775, Mansfield, CT, died in Springfield, Bradford, PA 1839]
Abel Fuller, born July 7, 1773, at Rehoboth, Mass.
The Parkhurst family was quite a prominent one. Maj. John Parkhurst had seven sons and two daughters. Four of the sons were physicians, one of whom (Daniel) died in Springfield about 1825. Eben lives on the old homestead. William Evans, son-in-law of Maj. Parkhurst, settled on an adjoining farm, where he lived till past the meridian of life, when be removed to Cowanesque. Maj. Parkhurst and William Brace each owned distilleries. Eben Parkhurst married a daughter of Aden Brown.
Joseph Brooks, father of Wakeman, was a tanner, and worked at that and harness-making on a small scale. A son-in-law, Elisha Landon, now owns the property.
Maj. Isaac Cooley was born at Springfield, Mass., Nov. 4, 1784; came to Bradford County in 1808 died in 1867, aged eighty-four years; he was a militia major, and represented the district two terms in the legislature as late as 1830. He was for many years a deacon in the Baptist church. He was one of the most prominent men in the township, and acquired quite a property.
Springfield is about the size of Leona. It contains a hotel, two stores, a blacksmith-shop, shoe-shop, cooper-shop, and two churches; Baptist and Universalist. Leona contains one grist mill, two wagon shops, one store, one church (Methodist Episcopal), and One schoolhouse. The place was named in honor of the Leonards, who were its original settlers. It was long known by the name of Leonard's Hollow, but more recently the abbreviated and more euphonious name has taken its place. It is beautifully situated in the valley of the Leonard branch of Sugar creek.
was born in Windham Co., Vt., June 25, 1805. He was the ninth child in the family of nineteen children of Alexander and Catherine, consisting of ten boys and nine girls, of whom six are now living. His father, a native of Vermont, moved to the town of Sheshequin, Bradford County, in 1820, and resided there till the spring of 1822, when he removed to the town of Springfield, where he engaged in farming. Hosea worked on his father's farm until he was twenty years of age. His earlier youth was spent in the common schools of Windham and Bradford counties.
On Sept. 8, 1825, be was married to Miss Martha Wolf, of Columbia township. By this union six children were born to them, namely, Maria, born June 9, 1827 (married William Harris, of Tioga county); James W., born June 30, 1829; Milo, born May 4, 1831; Philo, born June 5, 1833 - and Abigail, born March 22, 1835 (married John Luckey, of Tioga). His estimable wife died March 12, 1837, and on Aug. 8, 1837, he was again united in marriage with Miss L. Wilson, of the town of Columbia. The result of this marriage was eight children, as follows; Nancy J., born June 7, 1838 (married M. Craig); Martha, born June 23, 1840 (married J. C. Robinson, of Ridgeberry); Orr W., born in February, 1842, and died in October, 1842; Orr, born Oct. 15, 1843; Alexander, born Feb. 9, 1845; Emma, born Aug. 30, 1846 (married Lorenzo Wolf); Mary, born April 15, 1848 (married V. Baldwin); and William W., born Sept. 28, 1849. After twenty-one years of married life his second wife also died, on Nov. 7, 1858.
His third wife was Maria Knowlton, of Tioga county, whom he married in March, 1859. There were no children by this union. She departed this life March 31, 1862.
He married his present wife, Ruth Ann Brown, of Ridgeberry, on Oct. 30, 1862.
Mr. Kennedy commenced life with two cows and a yoke of oxen. In 1825 he purchased 70 acres of wild timbered land, which he cleared up with his own hands. At various times he has purchased adjoining tracts amounting to 359 acres, making with the original a total of 429 acres in the homestead farm. A view of his residence, accompanied by the portraits of himself and excellent wife, elsewhere grace the pages of this work. In addition to the home farm be also owns farms in other parts of this county and in Tioga County amounting, to 342 acres, all good improved land.
In politics Mr. Kennedy was originally a Whig, but has been a stanch Republican since the formation of that party. All his life has been spent in the quiet occupation of a farmer, with no other ambition than to be a good citizen and an industrious, honorable man. He is now in his seventy-third year, in the full enjoyment of the health, wealth, and happiness to which long years of industry so justly entitle him.
was born in Phelps, Ontario Co., N. Y., Dec. 27, 1809. He was the seventh child, in a family of fifteen children, of John Salisbury, a native of Massachusetts, and of English descent, six of whom are now living. His ancestors, in lineal descent, were: Humphrey S., born in England in 1685; came to this country in 1703; settled in Massachusetts, and died in 1708. William, born in 1707; William, born in 1731 ; and John, the father of the subject of our sketch, born in Braintree, Mass., in 1769. In 1796, John, Sr., moved to the town of Phelps, Ontario Co., N. Y., and purchased a farm of two hundred acres, which he cleared up, cultivated, and resided upon until his death, which occurred March 14, 1857, aged eighty-eight years.
John, Jr., spent his youth on his father's farm, and in the common schools of Phelps, until he was sixteen years of age. He then attended the academy at Geneva, N. Y., two terms, and prepared himself for teaching. He commenced teaching when he was seventeen, and taught in the common schools four winters, and during the summers worked on his father's farm. In the spring of 1832 be moved to the town Of Springfield, Bradford Co., where, assisted in part by his father, be purchased a tract of two hundred and thirty acres of wild timbered land, and commenced in the woods to clear himself a farm.
On May 31 of the same year (1832) he married Miss Hannah Grace, of Springfield Township. She was born in Springfield, Mass., Aug. 15, 1812, and came to Bradford County when she was four years of age. The result of this marriage was: Mary L., born March 10, 1833 (married Moses Gustin, of Troy, Pa.); John J., born Sept. 13, 1834; Olive G., born July 2. 1840 (married James R. Sawyer, of Springfield); Elon G., born Dec. 9, 1842; William V., born June 19, 1849; Samuel W., born Nov. 5, 1854. Before his marriage be cleared a spot and built upon it a log house. Here they commenced to enjoy the comforts as well as some of the privations of pioneer life. All but about twenty-five acres of the original forest is cleared up and improved. A view of his residence and surroundings may be seen elsewhere in this work, under the portraits of himself and wife and father.
Of town office, he has been auditor for six years, the first, inspector of schools for the same time and school director for three years. In politics he is a Democrat. Early in life both he and his estimable wife joined the Baptist church, and have ever since lived a consistent Christian life.* He is now in his sixty-ninth year, and still in the active duties of life, honored and respected by all who know him.
RUSSELL B. YOUNG
was born in Middletown, Conn., Jan. 13, 1807, the third in the family of five boys and three girls of William and Betsey (Bailey) Young, four of whom are now living. The elder Young, a native of Connecticut, was born in 1781, and died in 1838, aged fifty-seven years. The subject of this sketch was reared a farmer, and his education was limited to the common schools of Middletown.
On Dec. 8, 1831, he married Miss Jemima Bailey, of Haddam, Conn. Of this marriage were born eleven children: Elisha J. was born March 30, 1833; Charlotte S., Oct. 15, 1834 (married Horace Brigham, of Smithfield); Louisa M., Aug. 29, 1836 (married J. L. Spencer, of Middletown, Conn.); Wm. R., Aug. 6, 1838; John W., July 14, 1840; Asel B., Feb. 18, 1843 ; Elsie, March 5, 1845, died March. 11, 1845; Ezra B., Oct. 24, 1846; Ralph B., March 8, 1849; Augusta E., Dec. 28, 1851; and D. M. Young, Nov. 27, 1855. After attaining his majority, he worked for his father on the farm five years for five hundred dollars, and in 1837 he, his wife, and three children came and settled in the town of Springfield, buying one hundred acres of wild timber land, which he cleared up, and at different times he has purchased adjoining tracts, in all amounting to five hundred acres, with fine residence and out buildings, a view of which, together with the portraits of himself and wife, may be seen elsewhere in this work. Mr. Young has always affiliated with th6 Democratic Party. In religious sentiment he is a Congregationalist, while his wife is a Presbyterian.
He is a thorough farmer and a good citizen, and enjoys the esteem of all who know him.
*John Salisbury, in 1837, received
from Governor Porter a commission as lieutenant, and was afterwards promoted