The Reverend Mr. David Craft
WYALUSlNG, as it is now hemmed in, is only a very small portion of the old town it was at first constituted in 1790, and is the only one which has retained its original name. It extends to Wyoming County on the south, to Tuscarora and Pike on the east, Herrick on the north, and Standing Stone on the northwest.
The Susquehanna forms an irregular boundary on the west and south. The Wyalusing creek drains the whole township except one or two insignificant creeks; it enters the township at its northeast corner, and empties into the river at the village of Wyalusing. It divides the township in two unequal parts, the one cast of the creek containing about half the area of the other. At Wyalusing, in the southern part of the township, are the broad plains on which the old Indian town and its adjacent clearings were situated. At Fairbanks, the old Indian Miciscum, the plains are not as broad, but the slopes of the hills are more gentle, and the meadows of more than a century ago are yet fertile fields. The soil of the township is good, there being scarcely any untillable land within its lines. The valley of' the Wyalusing embraces some of the finest land in the county, and was not only eagerly sought after by the early settlers, but their descendants remain on the old plantations.
About one-half of certified Springfield was embraced in Wyalusing, the remaining part of it being located in Wilmot and Terry townships. The grant and boundaries of Springfield are as follows:
"April 20, 1802, Samuel Gordon, examined on his solemn declaration (after the custom of the Independents), handed a paper to the commission, says that he assisted to locate the five-mile township of Springfield, previous to the grant in 1777, with Anderson Dana, deceased, and Phineas Pierce. This was the location on which the grant was founded. Witness made a plot of it and gave it to Mr. Dana. The survey began at a cherry-tree on the west or southwest side of the river, hence up the river north 15° west; that to run tho township strictly according to the original grant there would have been left a bow upon the river, but the then committee of proprietors directed him to run the lines down to the river and to corner upon the river; says it was his original intention to have run out the township in a diamond-like form, so as to take in part of Frenchtown fiats, but under the direction of the committee he ran it out square from north 15° west and south 75° west. The lines were never closed, but at the direction of the committee he ran out the width of the lots; can remember no more of these boundaries, nor has he now in his possession any field-notes or memoranda respecting them; what he had he lent, a considerable time ago, to a person who came to him accompanied by some of his friends up the river, whose names he does not now nor can he recollect; he expects to receive them again. Mr. Hurlbut, the surveyor under the commissioners appointed to put in execution the confirming law, borrowed them, and they were some time in possession of the commissioners. He was employed to survey the township of Springfield under that commission, and did so. lie was paid for making out a draft, but never did make it, because the township committee were to furnish parchment for that purpose, which they never did; he has not now the field-notes or any minutes of that survey; he was assisted therein by Capt. Nathaniel Landon, and he then ran out the lots agreeable to the old courses and bounds, which survey of the lots corresponds to their present situation; the then commissioners made him declare on his solemn affirmation, that he would confine his survey to old corners and known boundaries. The only member of the committee of the Susquehanna company who signed the grant was Col. Nathan Denison; regularly there would have been three of the committee. (N. B.--Thomas Wigton explains this by the others being absent at that time in the army, wherein they held commissions.) This is the substance of Gordon's statement, taken accurately by Thomas Cooper.
"After the town of Springfield was located, in the year 1777, application was made for a grant, to which one of the committee put his name and no more. This grant was never put on the records of the Susquehanna company. The number of lots ordered to be laid in a five-mile township were laid out under the direction of the committee of the proprietors, though the outlines of the town were not run. There were no corners made to any lots supposed to be in the town only those butting on the river; division lines were run some distance from these corners from the river, but no lines closed. I cannot certify how many settlers were in the town before the time expired for putting in twenty.
Note; Figures in parenthesis the number of the lot on the draft.
Jonathan Avery (1), Jonathan Weeks (2, 48), Philip Weeks (3), Thomas Weeks (4), Thomas Wigton (5, 6), William Church (7), Benjamin Eaton (8, 9), William McKarrichan, Esq. (10, 11), Ministerial lot (12, 46), Captain Landon (13), Benjamin Budd (14, 15, 16), Col. Denison (17, 24), Dana Hatch (18, Dodge), Elias Church (19, Dodge), Perrin Ross (20, 21, Gaylord), Elisha Blackman (22, 30), Ebenezer Andrews (23, 26), William Dunn (25, Dalton), Ephraim Tyler (27, Lewis), Amos Draper (28), Samuel Gordon (29), Elijah Shoemaker (31), Amos York (32, 33), Nathan Kingsley (34, 35), Gideon Baldwin (36), Anderson Dana (37), Lieut. Wells (38, 39), Elihu Williams (40, 47), Benjamin Pawling (41, 42, 43, 44), School lot (45), Jonathan Weeks, Jr. (49), Bartholomew Weeks (50), Capt. Carr (51, 52, Bennett), James Forsyth (53, Bennett).
In 1802, the claimants were Thomas Keeney (1), David Richards (2), James Quick (3), Stiles Goodsell (4), Joshua Keeney (5), Jonas Ingham (8, 9), Matthias Hollenback (10, 11, 13, 37, 38, 39, 40), Public land (12, 36, 46), Jonathan Terry (14, 15), John Horton (16), Abigail Dodge (17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25), Abigail Dodge and William Dalton (26), Elijah Shoemaker and David Lake (29), John and Daniel Porter (30), Benjamin Ackley and Joseph C. Town (31, 32), Miner York (33), M. Hollen-back and N. Kingsley (34, 35), Pawling heirs (41, 42, 43, 44), Gideon Baldwin and John Taylor (48, 50), Jus-tus Gaylord (51, 52, 53).
The present township of Wyalusing was nearly covered with proprietary grants. Beginning on the south, was one to Reuben Hains, next was that of Job Chillaway. Above the Chillaway lot were two warrants in the name of Benjamin Bear and William Smith of April 3, 1769, surveyed for William Smith, of Lancaster, while the mission was in existence. The lots were sold as John Nicholson's land by the United States marshal, Sept. 26, 1801, to Sarah Campbell and Rebecca Robbins, for two cents per acre, and released in favor of the State. A tract of land containing 3520 acres and allowance, called" Dundee," was surveyed on a warrant of the honorable Proprietors of Pennsylvania, dated Sept. 27, 1773, for 10,000 acres, "situated on the easterly side of the northeast branch of the Susquehanna and on a large stream called Wyaloosing," surveyed Oct. 4, 5, and 6, 1773, by Charles Stewart, deputy surveyor. This "manor of Dundee" was a narrow strip of land covering the creek flats and following the windings of the stream above Camptown. This is also on the list of releases for Springfield. Above the manor a line of proprietary warrants extended to the county line, of which an account is given in Pike township. In the upper part of the township five warrants were granted, which together contained 1525 acres, viz., in the names of Christopher Gassehnan, Philip Suber, and Valentine Taylor, April 3, 1769, John Kinney and John King, July 17, 1769, and were surveyed Sept. 30 and October 1, 1773, and patented March 16, 1775. Ill the order of John Penn directing the surveys to be accepted, on the Suber lot the order reads," adjoining Christopher Goetzelman, or some of Wichware's people above Wyaloosing." On the Gasselman order, "below the Rush meadows and above Wyaloosing." All of these lots except the John King warrant were sold to John Gibson, of Philadelphia, who released so much of them as was included in Springfield, and sold the remainder to John Bunnell, Feb. 11, 1839. John King conveyed "Walnut Grove" to Peter De Haven and Adam Hubley, to whom it was patented April 30, 1785. They made partition of their lands Nov. 25, 1785. The later warrants were mostly owned by Samuel Mercdith, for whom Dr. Robert H. Rose was the agent.
As soon as the war had closed, and it was safe for the old settlers to return to their homes, they began one by one to find their way up the river to their old settlements. There were also quite a number who, wishing to escape the troubles then being experienced in Wyoming, determined to get away from there as soon as possible.
Among the very earliest of the settlers in Wyalusing, after the war, was Thomas Brown and his family. Mr. Brown was from Stonington, Conn., and in his younger days a seafaring man. His first wife was Deborah Holdich, with whom he lived twelve years, and had no children. His second wife was Hannah Spooner, by whom he had two children, one, Thomas, was slain in the battle of Wyoming; and one daughter, who married a Hicks. He married for a third wife Patience Brockaway, who was the mother of the large family now living in the county. Mr. Brown moved from Stonington to Quaker Hill, Dutchess Co., N. Y.; from thence to Wilkes-Barre, in 1776, and resided about eighty rods below where the bridge now is. Henry Elliott and his family came from the same place, and lived in the house next to the Brown. Here both families met at the time of the battle, whose fearful horrors were fresh in the minds of those who witnessed them till the day of their death. Joseph Elliott, a son of Henry, was wounded in the battle, but escaped, and a brother of his took the two families to Catawissa, while Thomas Brown rode a horse. From there they went to Goshen, where both families remained until November, when they returned to the valley. They remained in Wilkes-Barre until 1783, when they moved to Wyalusing. For two years they worked the flats (now owned by G. H. Welles), and then purchased the farm in Browntown, where they bought part of No. 48. Here Mr. Brown died, June 25, 1791, aged seventy-four years.
He had children: Ezekiel, married Polly Hancock, and lived in Pike township, about a mile and a half above Stevensville; Humphrey, married Hannah, daughter of Oliver Dodge, and lived in Wyalusing; Danlcl, married Polly, daughter of Thomas Wigton; Allen, married Polly Clear; Charles, married Fanny Gilbert, and lived in Mon-roeton; Jabez, married Lydia, daughter of Wareham Kingsley, was a carpenter, and lived in Oswego; and Benjamin, married Polly, daughter of William Huyck, and lived in Standing Stone. Henry Elliott and his family soon followed the Browns to Wyalusing. Joseph Elliott married, for a first wife, one of Thomas Brown's daughters. Henry Elliott, whose wife was Mary Kegwin, died Dec. 21, 1809, aged ninety-seven years; and Mary, his wife, died Dec. 1, 1806, aged ninety-one years. Of the other three sons of Henry Elliott, Jabez was shot by the Indians while on the Sullivan expedition, at Tioga Point; Henry died before the Revolutionary war, in Orange county; John went to Detroit, and was an officer in the army in the war of 1812; Joseph Elliott married a daughter of' Thomas Lewis, raised a family, of whom Hon. John (whose picture and biography are found on another page) was the oldest son. Joseph Elliott died March 31, 1849, aged ninety-three years.
Isaac Hancock, who was one of the earliest settlers in Wyalusing before the Revolutionary war, returned immediately after its close. He had a log house at the point of the ridge, just west of the Sugar Run Ferry road, which he kept as a place of entertainment. He was commissioned a justice of the peace Sept. 1, 1791. About 1802 he moved up the creek, near the Susquehanna county line, where he died in 1820.
Mr. Kingsley returned to his old home in 1785, where he owned lots 34 and 35. He built a distillery near where Mr. Welles' stone-quarry now is. He was a justice of the peace and judge of the court in 1787, and in his old age was taken west, where he died.
Mr. Kingsley's wife, Roccelana, died in Wyalusing, but the exact date has not been ascertained. Nathan Kingsley had one son, Wareham, who survived the battle. He married Urania Turrell, and had three sons and three daughters, viz., Lydia, Roswell, Nathan, Chester B., Abigail, and Roccelana. Lydia married Jabez Brown; Nathan returned to Connecticut; Chester went south; Wareham died at the house of his son, Nathan. Mr. William Kingsley, of Standing Stone, is a grandson of Wareham. The old house in which Mr. Kingsley lived is still standing, and is the oldest house ia the county,--a representation of which is here given.
About the same time the York family returned to their old home. Their house, though standing, was considerably dilapidated, their fences were decayed, and their clearings covered with bushes. During their eight years' absence, things had remained very nearly as they left them, except what had resulted from the want of care and labor; even the stick of wood which Mrs. York's son was chopping when he saw the Indians coming with his father lay upon the ground just as he left it. A less spirited and earnest woman, under such circumstances and surrounded by such painful associations, would have given up all hope and sat down in despair. But her son, who had now become a young man, meeting his responsibilities with manly courage, and aided by his mother's counsel, with great energy set about repairing the injury their farm had sustained during their absence, and his labors were attended with so much success that he was able in a short time to place the family beyond the reach of want. Mrs. York was a prominent woman in the little community where she lived. She died in Wysox, Oct. 30, 1818, and was buried in Wyalusing. She was the mother of twelve children. The oldest, Wealthy
Ann, died at the age of six years; Esther married William Smith, of Brooklyn, Conn.; Lucretia married Capt. Aholiab Buck, who was killed in the battle of Wyoming. She married for her second husband Major Gaylord. Wealthy Ann (2) was married to Benjamin Smith, of Kingston, Pa.; Keziah to Job Turrell, of' New Milford, Conn.; Sarah to Robert Carr, of Yates Co., N. Y.; Temperance to Daniel Turrell; Manasseh Miner married Betsey Arnold, became a minister of the gospel, who was well known and greatly respected and beloved. Abundant in labor, fervent in his zeal for the truth, a consistent Christian, he died at Wysox, and is buried in the old burying-ground in the rear of' the brick church. Berintha, another daughter of. Mrs. York, was married to Sherman Buck, and Hannah to Stephen Beckwith. Two other sons, the youngest of the family, both died in infancy. Robert Carr was from Jamestown, R. I., and came to Wyalusing about the time of' Mrs. York, and about 1802 moved into the State of New York. Stephen Beckwith and Sherman Buck also remained a few years in Wyalusing, and then went to Yates Co., N. Y.
Very nearly the same time Amos Bennett came to Wyalusing, and settled on one of the lots afterwards purchased by Maj. Gaylord. He built a little tub-mill on the small stream above Bascom Taylor's place, near which he lived; and his two sons-in-law, Richard Benjamin and Belljamin Akla, lived on the same property, but nearer the village. They were from Florida, Orange Co., N.Y. In 1793 they moved into Asylum Township.
Gideon Baldwin was an early settler in the lower part of the town, on the farm now owned by David Brown. Mr. Baldwin was an early settler in Hanover, Luzerne Co., Pa., and was entrusted with several important offices while a resident of that town. He bought a part of No. 48 of Springfield, where he lived until 1794, when he sold to Humphrey Brown and moved to Wysox, where he died. He had one son, Gideon, Jr., who lived in Browntown, and his widow spent her last days with this son. Mr. Justus Lewis tells the following anecdote of her: The mother of. Gideon Baldwin was a pious old lady, a Methodist, and her home the house of the minister. She had the habit of falling asleep as soon as meeting began. When she roused up at the close of the exercise, the question would generally be asked by some wag, "Well, Mother Baldwin, how did you like the sermon ?" Her invariable answer would be, "I never heard such an awakening sermon in my life." The old Mr. Baldwin's house was the home of the early Methodist itinerant and the place of Methodist preaching, while that of Mrs. York was the home of' the first Presbyterian preachers.
In 1787, Thomas Lewis and the family of. Lieut. James Wells came to Wyalusing. Mr. Justus Lewis says they came up the river in the same boat. In the biographical sketch of. Mr. Lewis the history of that family is given.
In the Wells family was the widow, Hannah (nee Loomis, born March 28, 1754), and her children, Hannah, Betsey, Olive, Reuben, Amasa, Guy, Cyrus, Theodosia, Alice, and Mary. James, the oldest son, lived at Honeoye Falls. Cyrus, after remaining a year or two at Wyalusing, also went into the State of' New York. Reuben moved up the Wyalusing next below Mr. Lewis, whence he removed to Bridgewater, Susquehanna county, where he died at a very: advanced age. Amasa moved on the place afterwards owned by Elijah Camp, where he lived until 1817, when he removed near Le Raysville, where he died in 1836, at the age of seventy-one years. He was a man held in high esteem for his many virtues and Christian character. Under the old militia law he was made a major, and performed his duties acceptably.
Guy Wells was born in New London, Conn., the old home of the Wells family, in 1766, and in 1790 was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Perrin Ross, who was killed in the battle of Wyoming. Mr. Wells moved up the Wyalusing, and built the house afterwards occupied by Elisha Lewis, where he died in 1828. About the year 1800, the townships of Braintrim and Wyalusing were united in one election district, and Guy Wells was chosen justice of the peace. He continued to hold the office until 1825, so that he well earned the title esquire, by which ho was designated, and left an honorable testimony to his character for judgment and integrity, as well as to the respect in which he was held by the people of his neighborhood.
Among the early settlers in the lower part of the town was the family of Mr. Stalford, whose history is given in the biographical sketch of Hon. L. P. Stalford. Other early settlers in the town below the creek were Peter Stevens, who lived where G. H. Welles now does, had a little store, went up to the mouth of Cold creek in 1801 or 1802, where his wife died, and then moved to the west. Daniel Sterling, who lived between the canal and the creek, had a store and kept a house of entertainment, and was the first postmaster, being appointed in 1801. In 1802 he moved to Black-Walnut.
Justus Gaylord, Jr., and his father's (Justus Gaylord*) family lived on a lot which forms the lower part of the Welles farm, coming there previous to 1787. Oct. 7, 1790, Stephen Beckwith, administrator of the estate of Abraham Bowman, sold lots numbered 51, 52, 53 to Robert Latti-more, whose wife was a sister of Beckwith's, and who lived for a few years at Wyalusing, in a house near where Mr. Bixby now lives, and then moved to Wayne Co., N. Y., having sold the Bowman lots to Justus Gaylord, Jr., Oct. 7, 1796. A son of Justus Gaylord, Sr., Ambrose, married a Carney, and settled at Black-Walnut, Wyoming county. As early as the spring of 1776 he and his brother Justus moved to Miciscum, the Indian meadows, on the farm now owned by Seth Homet and others, where their father owned twelve hundred acres of land, three hundred of which were on the west side of the river, where Richard Gilbert now lives. Numbers 20 and 21 of Springfield had been purchased by Perrin Ross, of Plymouth, and sold to Justus Gaylord, May 28, 1777, on which it is likely the boys lived previous to the battle of Wyoming, as their names are on the Springfield list, the accuracy of which was testified to by Justus, Jr. At the time of the battle of Wyoming, Mrs. Gaylord, the mother, was sick. After the capitulation the Indians came into the house to look for the boys, who were known to be in the patriot army. On seeing the sick woman, they inquired what was the matter, and were told she had the smallpox; whereupon the Indians rushed out of the house pell-mell, more afraid of that loathsome disease than of the Yankee bullets. That night Mr. Gaylord, Sr., took his family down the river to Berwick, and thence to Connecticut. Afterwards he returned to Wyoming, where his house and effects were swept away in the great ice-flood; but the family, after great peril, escaped,--the daughter Dama, who afterwards married David Shoemaker and lived on the old Miciscum place, having been taken in a canoe from the forks of a tree, where she had been carried by the flood. Soon alter this disaster they moved up to Wyalusing. Eleazer took the farm on the Frenchtown side of the river, sold the possession to Mr. Gilbert, and moved to Black-Walnut. Elizabeth married Thomas Wigton, an Irishman, who emigrated probably with Samuel Gordon, and an early settler at Meshoppen. His family lived on the cast side of the river, near the depot, and a few rods from the Shoemakers. Other sons were Ludd, who perished in the war, Timothy, who died in Candor, N. Y., in 1852, at the age of eighty, and Chauncy, the youngest, who went to Geneva, N. Y., where lie was accidentally thrown from a building; his back was broken by the fall, and he died soon after receiving the injury.
About the year 1801 the old gentleman divided a large part of his estate among his children, and went to Black-Walnut, where he lived until about 1814, when he removed to Delaware Co., Ohio, where he died in 1820, at the age of eighty-eight. Of Justus an account is given in the biography of Henry Gaylord.
The Susquehanna company, ever anxious for the welfare of the settlers, offered a township of land to the one who should build the first mill in Springfield township. This offer was accepted by Sanmel Gordon, who, in 1793, * built his mill near the site of the present Lewis mill, on the Wyalusing: about three miles from the river.
Mr. Gordon was born near Ballibay, in the county of Monaghan, Ireland, in 1740. He was of Scotch descent, of good family, education, and property. He left his native country, accompanied by two brothers--one of whom, James Gordon, subsequently settled near Standing Stone--and a young man named Gillespie, during some difficulties in that country, at which time their property was confiscated. For a time Mr. Gordon followed the sea, after which he settled in Elizabeth, N. J., where he married Mrs. Jane Gillespie, widow of his late fellow-passenger across the Atlantic. Afterwards he moved to Wyoming, and during the years of 1776 and 1777 spent some time in the neighborhood of Wyalusing making surveys, under direction of the Susquehanna company, having been appointed State surveyor by a special act of the legislature of Connecticut, December, 1776. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, Mr. Gordon retired to New Jersey, where he remained until 1792, when he again entered into the employment of the Susquehanna company as a surveyor, and at the same time operated quite extensively as a land-dealer. His mill, which was commenced soon after, consisted of one run of home-made stone, without bolts, was built under great difficulties arising from the scarcity of money in the settlement and the want of experienced workmen, while all of the iron used in its construction was transported from Wilkes-Barre at much trouble and expense. The mill being completed, on the 1st of May 1795, the township of Walsingham was surveyed to Mr. Gordon, according to previous stipulation. He was also one of the proprietors of Stephensburg; but, owing to the invalidity of Connecticut titles in these townships, he tidied to receive any advantage from these possessions. Under date of April 28, 1805, the proprietors of Springfield grant to Samuel Gordon one of the un-appropriated lots, called the Bayonet lot, in consideration of extraordinary expenses in rebuilding his mill destroyed by fire and afterwards greatly injured by an uncommon freshet. Even the mill, which had cost him so much, was lost through some defect in the title. Two persons by the name of Porter purchased the Pennsylvania title for the land on which it was built, and Mr. Gordon, becoming alarmed for the validity of his claim, as additional security was induced to take a lease of the lands under the Porters; and this acknowledgment of their claim lost him the property, which the commissioners, in 1804, assigned to the Porters. Mr. Gordon was therefore compelled to vacate the land and leave his improvements made at so much sacrifice. This is but a single instance out of many where this complication of title led to like disastrous results, by which families, once in comfortable circumstances, were suddenly reduced to poverty. On the organization of the township, Mr. Gordon was appointed clerk, and for many years the records, which are beautifully written, were kept by him. He died in Wyalusing in 1810, where his only surviving daughter, who has furnished most of the facts in this sketch, erected a stone to his memory.
* In Mr. Gordon's day book, now in possession of Harrison Lambt his grandson, there is this note: "June 25, 1793. This day I raised my mill." It did not get in operation until the next year.
Soon after the completion of Mr. Gordon's grist-mill, Joseph C. Town, a carpenter by trade, came to Wyalusing and put up a saw-mill on the creek, near where Mrs. Hiram Buck now lives. This contributed largely to the welfare of the settlement. Previous to this boards were split out of pine logs from four to six feet long. The process was slow and expensive, although suitable pine-trees were abundant. In 1798, Mr. Town erected a grist-mill at the same place, of superior construction to that of' Mr. Gordon's, and containing a bolt for making flour. This, however, was swept away by a freshet in the creek in the spring of 1800 or 1801. Mr. Town was from Connecticut, and married a sister of Frances Slocum. Mrs. Town went west with her brother in search of their lost sister, and the frequent visits of the Slocum fitmily at Mr. Town's made all of the older people here familiar with the story of the capture and discovery of Frances, which has been so thrillingly told by Mr. Miner in his history of Wyoming.
About 1791, Benjamin Ackley first came into the township, remaining here a part of the time until November, 1793, when he moved his family here and lived in a log house where Elisha Lewis' house now stands. His native place was New Milford, Conn. He was the first regular blacksmith in the township, and until he arrived there was none nearer than Black-Walnut. Mr. Ackley was born in Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1769. His first wife was Nancy Maxfield, to whom he was married in 1780. She having died, he married Amy, daughter of Thomas Lewis, in 1812. In 1813 he was commissioned justice of the peace, and held the office for ten years. He died in Wyalusing in 1855. Mr. Ackley reared a large family of children, many of whom still reside in the township. It is worthy of note that somewhat later than the period now under consideration, there were four families living upon one square mile, who collectively numbered upwards of sixty children, viz.: John Hollenback, Major Taylor, Mr. Buck, and Mr. Ackley.
Among other early settlers in this part of the township who were here previous to 1800 was James Hines, who came from Ballibay, Ireland, soon after the close of the Revolutionary war. Soon afterwards, probably owing to a previous knowledge of Samuel Gordon and James Anderson, who were from the same place, he came to Wyalusing and worked for the Stalfords. While here he became acquainted with the family of Isaac Hancock, and married his daughter Sarah. He built a distillery on the little stream near Warren Brown's. Among others who may be mentioned are Judah Benjamin, a shoemaker, and Catharine Bartges, from Lancaster county, a German woman of considerable wealth, intelligence, and prominence. One of her daughters married James Ellsworth, and another was the second wife of John Ogden. His first wife was a daughter of Thomas Wigton. Ogden was a blacksmith. Thomas Brink lived for some time on the Stalford place, and then worked the lower part of the present Welles farm for Judge Hollenback, and then moved into Pike township.
Justus Lewis, late of Wyalusing, gave the following account of the origin of the name of this locality: "In the early settlement of Connccticut a tbw hardy pioneers began a settlement in the township of New Milford, in what was afterwards the parish of New Preston, and having got a little rum while regaling themselves by a fine cold spring, christened it with the name of Merryall. From this place came Thomas Lewis and the wives of Reuben Wells and several others of the first settlers, hence the name of the place." Mr. Lewis wrote a history of the settlement of Merryall, which is now unfortunately lost, except a single page, from which we quote the following items:
"On the 13th day of July, 1788, Thomas Lewis and family moved from the river on to a place now called Merryall. The year before they came from Connecticut and made a temporary residence at the mouth of the creek and on that day they settled in a log cabin in a wild, dreary wilderness, four miles from a neighbor on one side and forty on the other. The prospect was dreary enough, but they persevered, and helped others to come in and settle around them.
" In 1790, Daniel Turrell and Sherman Buck settled near them, Mr. Turrell on the place occupied by (the late) Elijah Camp, Mr. Buck adjoining Thomas Lewis. About the same time Reuben Wells settled below him, and Zachariah Price adjoining. The next year (1791) James and David Lake and Benjamin Ackley settled adjoining them, on the place now occupied by Elisha Lewis. In 1792, Job Camp settled where (the late) William Camp lived. Other settlers occasionally came in, and some settled higher up the creek.
"In 1794, Joseph Elliott, Amasa Wells, and Guy Wells moved into the neighborhood. Joseph Elliott where the family now live, Amasa Wells where Elijah Camp (lately) resided. In 1795 the mother of Amasa and Guy Wells (Hannah Loomis, widow of Lieut. James Wells) died, and, while she lay a corpse, the neighbors cleared off a place for the grave, where the present Merryall burying-ground is. She was the first corpse buried there. In the mean time the settlers began locating along up the creek. Jonas Ingham and family came on in 1795. William Dalton settled on the west side of the creek, opposite the meeting house. In 1799 the first bridge was built across the Wyalusing creek, where Camptown now is. It was not finished when the high flood of 1800 carried it away.
"Three years after, in June, 1803, John Dalton murdered Amos Hurlbut on the low ground where Hiram Buck (Manfred Stevens) now lives. He was tried for his life in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne county, as we then belonged to that county, and, through the obstinacy of one man, was brought in guilty of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to eighteen years' confinement in the penitentiary in Philadelphia. Dalton was, however, pardoned in 1808, while Thomas McKean was governor of Pennsylvania, but he never returned home. He died soon after in hospital, in Philadelphia."
As this was the first capital offense, which occurred in the county, we may complete the story by giving the official account of the trial as it appears on the records of the court:
"Res publica vs. John Dalton. Indictment for the murder of Amos Hulburd, with count for voluntary manslaughter. True Bill.
"Aug. 16, 1803. The defendant, being charged at the Bar, pleads not guilty, and thereof puts himself on the country for trial; Attorney-General likewise.
"And now, August 17, 1803, a jury being called came, to wit: James Atherton, Noah Taylor, Solomon Johnson, Oliver Pettibone, Zebulon Marcy, Daniel Ayres, Caleb Wright, Joseph Sweatland, Joseph Reynolds, Abraham Shurtz, Roger Searle, and Case Cortlandt, who, being duly sworn and affirmed to try the issue aforesaid, on their oaths and affirmations, respectively, do say that they find the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree.
"Whereupon, the Court, to wit, on the 19th day of August, 1803, sentence the defendant to undergo an imprisonment at hard labor for the period of eighteen years; and that he be fed and clothed, and in all respects treated, according to the directions of the Act to reform the penal laws of the State ; and that he be placed and kept three years out of the eighteen in the solitary cells in the Penitentiary house in the city of Philadelphia, and fed on low and coarse diet; and that he pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed until this whole sentence be complied with."
In 1792, Job Camp came to Wyalusing, planted a piece of corn, and, after it was harvested, returned to Connecticut for his family, moved in the next year, and settled at Camp-town, which was then a dense, unbroken wilderness. At this time, there were, besides Jones Ingham, two or three families above him on the creek. As illustrating the difficulties, which the early settlers experienced in their emigration to the country, the case of Mr. Camp is in point. He started from Connecticut with a yoke of oxen, which were used to transport his family and goods. Taking the usual course of the emigrants,--across the country from the Hudson to Stroudsburg, and through the great swamp,--they reached the Susquehanna at Pittston. The route was a slow and toilsome one, but thus Par there was a road along which they could drive a team, but up the river there was nothing but the narrow Indian path. They were therefore compelled to unyoke their oxen and drive them along singly. The cart, younger members of the family, and household goods were then placed on a keel-boat, and two men were hired to push it up the river to Wyalusing. The progress was slow and the labor severe, and several days were necessary for the trip. It took all of Mr. Camp's crop of corn raised the preceding year to pay the boatmen, and the family were obliged to get along as best they could until another crop was harvested. Mr. Camp was by trade a carpenter, and, the year he moved in, built a large barn for Mr. Lewis, the first erected on the Wyalusing. In 1795 he built a barn for himself, which is still standing. This barn is covered with boards split out of pine logs, which are fastened on with wrought nails, made by Salmon Bos-worth, who had moved up the Wyalusing.
Mr. Camp had a large family of children, and the name is one of frequent occurrence. The village of Camptown, five miles up the Wyalusing, is named in honor of him. His wife was Anna Oviatt, and her brother Thomas came about the same time with him, and lived on the farm now owned by Benjamin Ackley.
Jonas Ingham was settled above him, an account of whom is given in the biography of John Ingham.
William Dalton, an Irishman by birth, and an impressed seaman in the British service, deserted, and came to Wyoming before the Revolutionary war. The day before the battle (July 2, 1778), he went up the river on a scout, when, seeing a small party of Indians, they watched their opportunity and Dalton shot one and wounded him mortally, but the wounded Indian returned the fire and wounded Dalton in the knee, and he carried the ball to his grave. The Indian killed was reported to have been a son of Queen Esther, and this has been given as the reason for her fiendish cruelty to the American prisoners taken at the battle. He married a girl brought up by Adonijah Stansbery, and settled in Merryall, on the Wyalusing, back of where the church stands. The old gentleman was a man of great strength and a skillful boxer, but in the wrestling matches, so common in former days, he seldom took part unless he thought some boasting fellow was trying to impose upon a weaker man, when a few well-dealt blows would put an end to the imposition. He and his wife died in Merryall. They had four children,--two sons and two daughters. One of the sons, John, was the one who killed Hurlbut. The other, Josiah, went to Alleghany Co., N. Y. The daughters married, and went to Susquehanna county.
Zachariah Price lived about midway between where Clinton and Elisha Lewis now live, in Merryall. He built a log house and lived in it previous to 1793. He exchanged properties with Guy Wells,--the deeds are dated December, 1793,--and lived on the old Wells place for a year or two. He sold it to Mr. Hollenback, Feb. 17, 1796, and then moved to Wysox, and about 1818 moved into Susquehanna County. He had two sons, Elizurand Demmon, and four daughters, one of whom married Chester Wells.
Asa Flint came from Exeter and settled in Merryall in 1790. He was brother-in-law to Jeremiah Lewis, both having married sisters of Thomas Gardner, who settled in the same neighborhood, as did his brother Francis. Flint lived near where there are some old apple-trees standing, just below Mr. Cleaveland's, the Gardners a little above. Flint sold to Elijah Camp, and moved into central New York, in 1807 or 1808. Francis Gardner moved first into Pike, and then followed his brother Thomas into New York State.
Benjamin Crawford lived on the farm now owned by Jabez Chamberlain. He came from Darby to Wyoming, in 1785, moved to Wyalusing in 1789, and lived in a log house near the railroad cut. They had raised a good crop of corn and potatoes on the island opposite. They had harvested their corn and stored it in the house, and dug all but about five bushels of their potatoes, and had gone over after them, when they discovered their house to be on fire, which was burned with all it contained. In 1793 he moved on the Jabez Chamberlain place, and built a log house. In the next spring, while chopping, the limb of a tree fell on him and broke his leg, and his family was compelled to go a mile to obtain help to carry him into the house. Mr. Crawford died here July 27, 1804, and was buried in the old burying-ground at Terrytown. His son thus describes the funeral service: "On the day of the funeral they took the corpse over the river, in a canoe, to the flat below Maj. Dodge's house, where a couple of large maple-trees were standing near together. Here they arranged for the funeral service. Uriah Terry read a sermon and Parshall Terry made a prayer, and then they buried him. Salt was our greatest necessity. It was brought from New York State, and sold for $10 per barrel. I remember that once my mother bought a barrel of salt for twenty yards of cloth. I never felt so independent in my life as I did when they rolled that barrel of salt on shore." The older Crawfords were eager to go west; they therefore sold the farm after their father's death, and started for the Genesee.
The next farm above Mr. Crawford was owned by Nathan Winton, who, June 6, 1793, sold to Humphrey Brown. It is described as land lying between Justus Gaylord and Benjamin Crawford. There was a log house and a small improvement in 1798. Mr. Brown thought the place was favorable for a settlement, and surveyed several acres into town lots, with streets and alleys. It looked well on paper, but the scheme had to be given up. Next above were the Gaylord lands, on which were his children and their families, viz.: Mrs. Wigton, Mrs. Shoemaker, Timothy and Chauncy Gaylord, the latter unmarried. Charles Hornet bought out most of these, and they scattered to various places.
Dr. Jabez Chamberlain came from Dutchess Co., N. Y., to Wyoming valley. He had married Jane Wilson, whose only son, William, for many years lived on the Crawford farm, and recently died. The wife of Dr. Chamberlain died soon after, and he went over into the Wyoming valley. While there he became acquainted with the Gilbert family, followed them up the river, and married Irene Gilbert June 9, 1795. Oliver D. and Hon. John F. Chamberlain are among the children by this marriage. Soon after his marriage he went up into the State of New York, and remained there a few years, and returned to Frenchtown, where he died Sept. 30, 1848, at the age of eighty-one years.*
Among the later comers in this neighborhood were the Merritts, the Biles, and Strunks. Of the former were the three brothers, Gilbert, Daniel, and Hezekiah; and the latter two families were connected by marriage. The mother of Alexander P. Biles was a sister of Alexander Patterson, of Wyoming notoriety. They were from Northampton county, and came to Wyalusing in 1825.
In the Vaughan hill neighborhood Simeon Marsh made the first improvement. He began on what was known as the Indian spring, which is at the head of the run that comes down by the railroad tank, near where Mr. Fitzgerald lives. He made a small clearing on the old Vaughan place, and Stephen Charlott, from Trenton, N. J., bought him out, and about 1814 or 1815 exchanged property with Elias Vaughan and went to Rummerfield, and after six or seven years went to the State of Ohio with his family. The account of the Vaughan family will be found in the biography of Elias Vaughan.
Among other and well-known settlers were John Taylor, who has a special biography in this work, and Mr. Buck, who was a neighbor to him.
In 1801, John Hollenback came to Wyalusing, and bringing with him 2400 pounds of goods, engaged in the mercantile business. Previous to this Mr. Gaylord had kept a few goods for the use of the settlers, and afterwards Peter Stevens, who occupied a house nearly opposite the Presbyterian church, had a small store, but neither of them had near the quantity brought up by Mr. Hollenback. His goods were brought in wagons to Middletown, where they were loaded on boats and taken up the river.** Mr. HolIenback had been engaged since 1796 in traffic for his uncle, Matthias Hollenback, who at that time was carrying on an extensive business along the river. In the spring of 1797 the former assisted in opening a shad-fishery on the river, a little below Wyalusing village, the first opened in this part of the country. In 1801, he rafted the first platform of boards at Town's mill that ever went out of the Wyalusing creek. After his settlement here, he was for many years prominent in the business of the place, Which, so far as he was concerned, was conducted with great energy. In the year of Mr. Hollenback's removal here (1801), there was a grand Fourth of July celebration at Wyalusing. Several things contributed to give it interest. First, there was the conflict about land-titles. And then. it was the year of Mr. Jefferson's accession to the presidency. From the adoption of the Federal constitution there had been two great political parties in the country, and in 1800 the party which elected Mr. Jefferson had, for the first time, been successful.
*Joseph Chamberlain came from Tolland, Conn., in 1755, and settled on the farm owned by the Nye family. He died in 1765. His sons were Calbe, James, John, and William. John was a physician of acknowledged skill, and lived a while in Poughkeepsie. Dr. Jabez was a son of John, and studied with Dr. Fowler, of Poughkeepsie.
**Mr. Jordan, of Philadelphia, says that he well remembers seeing wagons loaded with goods at his father’s store for Wyalusing.
The following anniversary of American Independence was seized upon by that party, which was largely in the ascendant here, for a general jubilation. Gen. Washington had died a short time before, and it seemed to be a great consolation to the Democrats to have Mr. Jefferson for his successor in the presidency. All of these things combined to give this first general celebration of American Independence at Wyalusing great interest. People assembled from all parts of the country. Such a gathering had never been witnessed here before. Mr. Hollenback presided at the meeting. Jonas Ingham delivered a spirited address on the subject of "Disputed land-titles," in which he defended the claims of the Connecticut settlers, and with great severity characterized the adverse legislation of Pennsylvania as opposed to the liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. Uriah Terry prepared an ode on the "Death of Washington," which was sung by Polly Sill. The whole celebration ended with a barbecue. A huge bear, killed that morning, and roasted whole, afforded the entertainment.
Mr. Hollenback was prominent in many of the enterprises of the neighborhood. He died in Wyalusing, in 1867, at the age of ninety-one,years.
In 1821, under the direction of John Hollenback, the grist-mill at the mouth of the creek was built, which, from its superior construction and favorable location, was of great advantage to the surrounding country.
Among other of the prominent settlers in the township, who can hardly be classed among its pioneer settlers, the best known was Charles F. Welles, Esq., who at the organization of the county, received from the governor authority to administer the oaths of office to the newly-chosen officers, and himself was appointed prothonatory, clerk of the courts, register, and recorder, and the first records of the county are in his own neat and peculiar penmanship.
Mr. Welles was a son of George Welles, of Athens, and was born in Glastenbury, Conn., Nov. 5, 1789, and the family were among the early settlers of Athens. In 1816, he married Miss Ellen J., daughter of Judge Hollenback, and removed to Wyalusing in 1822, where he died Sept. 23, 1866. Mr. Welles was a man of varied and extensive reading, and probably knew more of the history of the county, of its resources and men, than any other man of his day. He wielded a busy pen, and contributed for the press some of the best poetic articles which were published.* Though never a politician, in the sense of aspiring for office, he took a deep interest in political questions. In early life he espoused the principles advocated by Jefferson; later, he became an admirer of Henry Clay and a defender of his policy. During his ten years' residence in Towanda he exerted a well-nigh controlling influence in the politics of the county. His articles on political questions, written at this time, were marked by a breadth of view and urged by a cogency of reasoning that carried conviction to the mind of the reader, while the corrupt politician received scathing rebukes from his trenchant, pen.
*A gentleman engaged for many years as an editor of a literary paper, who only knew Mr. Welles through his published articles, once observed, "That Charles F. Welles had written some of the finest pieces of fugitive poetry that had ever been produced in this country, in his day."
Judge Hollcnback, with characteristic forethought, had invested largely in hinds in the county, and oil the removal of Mr. Welles to Wyalusing he found abundant employment in superintending their management, in addition to the business growing out of his own affairs. As a man of business he was punctual, ready, accurate, of unquestioned integrity, possessing a generous heart, and a kindly feeling for the distressed. The tenants upon his farm, or the people in his employ, ever found him liberal in his demands, and unexacting in his requirements. Though engaged in extended and frequently harassing business, his interest in public matters continued unabated; and it is believed that, until within the last year of his life, he never missed attendance upon a single term of court held at Towanda.
On the breaking out of the late rebellion his whole heart was enlisted on the side of the government, which he aided in every way in his power, and the hearty Godspeed with which he bade the company raised in his vicinity go fight the battles of their country will ever be remembered by those who witnessed it.
In the latter years of his life he spent much time in reading on subjects of natural history, especially geology, in which he kept fairly abreast, and was thoroughly conversant with the theories of the leading writers in this favorite department of his study.
He was deeply interested in the public enterprises of the place. On the completion of the North Branch canal, a basin was excavated and a commodious warehouse and coal-bins were constructed, which, through the facilities for business thus afforded, have been the means of doing more than any other one thing to develop the resources of the surrounding country, and make Wyalusing the centre of a large and rapidly-increasing trade.
His name is yet familiarly mentioned all over the county. Mrs. Welles died March, 1876, at an advanced age. The old mansion, which Mr. Welles used, playfully, to call the "old castle," is now occupied by his son, George II. Welles.
"Aug. 6, 1802.--At Wyalusing, Mr. Nehemiah Main, accompanied by Mr. Miles Bunnel, went into the wheat-field of the latter, where he espied a huge bear. With his trusty rifle he drew upon the monster and shot him through the thigh, and then advanced to close combat. As soon as within reach the bear raised himself up, and grasping our hero in his paws, threw him upon the ground, bit him through the thigh in three places, and wounded him severely in the arm. After a considerable struggle, with the assistance of Mr. Bunnel, he extricated himself from his adversary, when they returned to the attack with more success, and succeeded in dispatching the bear. Mr. Main, with the assistance of Mr. Bunnel returned home. He was confined ten days with his wounds."-- Wilkes-Barre Gazette.
"July 9, 1804.--Mr. Nathaniel Parks, of this place (Wyalusing), was passing through his field after a severe thunder-gust, and as he was approaching a large pine-tree the lightning struck it, which shivered it from the top to the bottom; the whole came to the ground. The end of a large limb, near sixty feet in height, struck Mr. Parks on the head, which, in an instant, put a period to his existence. A man and a boy plowing at a distance of about ten rods from the spot were stunned by the explosion."*
In 1854 the Methodists erected their brick house of worship at Wyalusing, and in the same year the Presbyterians built an edifice on the site of' the old school-house, where the first church was organized; a view of it is herewith given.
WYALUSING PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
In 1818, Elizur Price, son of' Zachariah Price, one of' the first members of the old church, organized a Sabbath-school in Wyalusing. It had been customary for the minister to gather the members of' the congregation on the Sabbath, between the services, for the study of' the Scriptures and for the discussion of difficult questions in theology; but the enterprise of. Mr. Price was the first attempt to organize a Sabbath-school on a plan analogous to the present method which has become so prevalent in all religious societies. The school then commenced has continued, with but few interruptions, until the present time, when there are at least five such schools in the township.
In 1837, Dr. D. C. Scovill settled in Wyalusing, and was the first permanently located physician. As early as 1795, Dr. Jabez Chamberlin settled at Fairbanks, where he remained for a short time, then went to New York for a while, and afterwards returned to Wyalusing, where he died. Several physicians were here for a short time, among whom may be mentioned Dr. Sharts, Daniel Scofield, and Dr. Tewksbury. Dr. Hayden, who rode through all this section of the country, had his share of patients in Wyalusing. After him for several years the people were dependent mainly on Dr. Crandall and Dr. Horton, the former having lived in Wyalusing several years and then removed to Stevensville, and the latter having settled at Tcrrytown.
The construction of the canal through the county for the time created high hopes of the advantages which the people of the county would derive from it, and during its con-structiou the large force employed in excavating it stimulated business and production all along the line, but the failure of the canal to answer the purpose for which it was intended soon caused the people to abandon their cherished hopes, and quietly acquiesce in the law permitting its appropriation by the railroad company. A few families in the township were drawn here by their interest in the public works, as the McCrossins and Dunovans. The Dunovan Brothers, in the lower end of the town, are young, enterprising, thriving young men.
At the close of 1795, there were about forty-five or fifty families within the present limits of' the township. These were scattered along the river from Browntown to Fairbanks, a distance of about six miles, and about the same distance up the creek. To these were assessed about eight thousand acres of land, of which, excepting the misson lands, but little if any more than one-fifth were cultivated.
The population in 1850 was 1275; in 1860, 1477; in 1870, 1577 native and 130 foreign born, a total of 1707. There are twelve school districts and one half-district. Wyalusing is the principal village, at the mouth of the creek. It contains two churches,--one Presbyterian and one Methodist,--six stores of various kinds, a hotel, academy, planing-mill, cabinet manufactory, and some very pleasant residences. The Presbyterian church at Merryall is about one mile below Camptown, on the creek, while at Oamptown there is one church (Baptist), three stores, hotel, cabinet-shop, and twenty dwellings. There is also an Old-School Baptist church at Vaughan hill.
Justus Gaylord, Jr., or, as he was commonly called, "Major Gaylord," the grandfather of the subject of this brief notice, was one of the earliest settlers and most prominent citizens of Wyalusing. In company with his brother, Ambrose, in 1776, he moved his family to this county, and settled on his father's farm, at Miciscum, the Indian meadows, now Fairbanks. There he remained until the troubles of the Revolutionary war began to reach the frontier settlements, when he returned to Wyoming, enlisted in Captain Ransom's company, and served with distinction during the war.
After the return of peace, in 1785, he again removed to Wyalusing, living for seven years near the line dividing the farms of G. II. Welles and J. B. Stalford. In 1792 he purchased 900 acres of land on the north side of Wyalusing creek, to which he removed, and where he remained until his death. Here he was among the foremost in every public enterprise, extensively engaged in business, and often called to fill responsible places of trust.
Henry Gaylord went to live with his grandfather when but a child, and at first a helper, soon came to have largely the management of the business. In 1828, Henry married Martha, daughter of Major John Taylor. Mrs. Taylor was the only daughter of Capt. Aholiab Buck, and was about four months old when her father was slain ill the ill-starred battle of Wyoming, and granddaughter of Amos York, who was captured near his old home in Wyalusing by a band of Tories and Indians, Feb. 14, 1778.
In politics Henry Gaylord was an old-line Whig, until the formation of the Republican party, whose principles he heartily indorsed and supported. In 1840 he was elected justice of the peace when the township was largely Democratic. He was a wise counselor, yet quiet and unobtrusive in his manners. Like his grandfather, he identified himself with every enterprise which tended to advance the welfare of the community in which he lived. At the time the first temperance society was organized in Wyalusing, in 1829, Major Gaylord had a distillery, and young Henry was running it; but he counted the cost, the manufacture of whisky at the Gaylords stopped, and the distillery went to ruin. He was a stockholder in the academy, and for many years president of the board of trustees for the Educational Union at Wyalusing. In 1831 he made a profession of religion, and united with the Presbyterian Church, then worshiping at Merryall. Upon the organization of the second church, in the village of Wyalusing, in 1854, he became one of its members, and was ruling elder until his death.
In June, 1872, he was stricken with paralysis, and though maintaining his mental faculties to the last, the loss of physical strength compelled him to keep closely to his room most of the time. He departed this life, at Wyalusing, Jan. 1, 1875, aged sixty-eight years, eight months, and sixteen days.
The central and western parts of Pennsylvania were settled largely by a Scotch-Irish emigration, a race noted for their love of freedom, their energy, intelligence, integrity, and patriotism. Of this race, and possessing its distinguishing characteristics, was John Taylor, or, as he had been a militia major, he was familiarly known as Major Taylor, who came from Dauphin county to Wyalusing in 1792, bought a farm of Major Gaylord, and began making preparations for a settlement. This farm included a clearing and the mill-seat of Amos Bennett's mill. May 16, 1794: he married Deborah Buck. She was a granddaughter of Amos York, and daughter of Capt. Aholiab Buck, who was slain in the battle and massacre of Wyoming, on that fatal July 3. At this time Mrs. Taylor was a nursing infant in the arms of her mother. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor early became members of the Presbyterian church in Wyalusing, Mr. Taylor being church clerk for more than thirty years, and a ruling elder until the day of his death, and a stanch supporter of religion, morality, and education, as well as a man of thrift and energy. To Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were born seventeen children, several of whom died in infancy or early youth. Bascom, born Aug. 3, 1814, was the youngest, who survived, and became the successor of his father to the paternal estate, and to his father's place in the church.
In 1843, Bascom Taylor married Lydia Fries, of Troy, Pa., and daughter of James and Margaret (Cool). Mrs. Taylor was born in 1818, in Knowlton, Sussex Co., N. J. In his former home, Mr. Fries had bccn ruling elder in the Presbyterian church, and on his removal to Bradford County, in 1835, he was chosen to the same office in the church of Wells and Columbia, with which he had connected himself. He died in 1854.
To Bascom and Lydia Taylor have been born five sons: Samuel F., who is engaged in business in the west; Justus V., who is manager of the homestead; John B., now in the Theological Seminary in New York city; Francis and Alton, who are remaining at home.
Mr. Taylor was a man of great energy and a most thorough businessman, who commanded the respect and esteem of the community in which lie lived. At the time of his death, which occurred in Pittston, whither he had gone on business in 1874, he was a ruling elder in the Second Presbyterian Church in Wyalusing. A view of' his beautiful home is given on another page of this work.
The tradition in the family as to the cause of their ancestor's emigration to America has so romantic a coloring that we can hardly forbear to allude to it. The story runs that John Vaughan was a gardener to an English nobleman, with whose daughter he fell in love. The affection being returned, they were secretly married, when, to escape the anger of the young lady's aristocratic parents, on account of the daughter marrying out of the alleged social level of the family, the young couple fled to America. This John Vaughan, who settled in Litchficld Co., Conn., had three sons--John, Richard, and Edward--and one daughter. John, the younger, settled near Providence; :Edward, who was a professional man, settled in the State of New York. Coming to Athens, in this county, on business, he was taken suddenly sick, and died there. Richard was in the war of the Revolution, a quartermaster in the army, and served in that capacity for six years, when, on account of sickness in his thmily, just at the close of the war, he obtained a furlough, came home, and before he could return to the field the war was over. He bought a Connecticut title to a farm on the Susquehanna, to which he moved with his family, being the first or among the first settlers on what is now called Lacey street, above the village of Laceyville, in Wyoming Co., Pa. Living on the river was one Jonathan Woodcock, who was suspected of being a Pennamite and of holding opinions a little too favorable towards the British government, and Richard Vaughan with some others was bound to drive him from the country. At the first term of the court of quarter sessions for Luzerne county is a bill of indictment against John Franklin, Elisha Satterlee, Elisha Mathewson, Gideon Church, and Richard Vaughan, for assault and battery, in which it is charged that, July 10, 1787, they "did with force and arms take about five tons of hay, three or four acres of wheat, off the premises occupied by Jonathan Woodcock, and then tried to tear down his house, and did abuse him, so that he was afraid of his life, and that he suffered the loss of £25 of the goods and chattels of the said Jonathan Woodcock;" but nothing further was done about it. Mr. Vaughan was commissioned by Governor Mifflin, May 1, 1789, lieutenant of the 5th company of the 2nd battalion of militia of Luzerne county. He died Aug. 26, 1691, at the age of thirty-six years and ten days. Owing to some informality in the title, soon after her husband's death, Mrs. Vaughan was threatened with a writ of ejectment. Her sons, rather than contest the title, went up to the mouth of Rummcrfield creek, where they bought a piece of land, probably under the Connecticut title, and began an improvement. To this place they moved their mother, and here she died. Her oldest son, John, also died here of spotted fever. Of the rest of the family, William went to Sackett's Harbor, and was a captain in the war of 1812. Robert and Richard went first to New York, and then to Canada; Phoebe married a man by the name of Wilson, and lived near Watertown, N. Y.; Anna married Daniel Coolbaugh, of Wysox; Justus moved near Seneca lake; Polly married Walter Seaman, and moved into the State of New York; Elias remained in the county. He married Sarah Abbott, whose father was a sea-captain, lived in Baltimore, Md., owned a schooner, and was lost at sea. The family still lives in Baltimore.
Elias Vaughan remained at Rummerfield until June, 1814, when he exchanged places with Stephen Charlott and moved on the farm now owned by his son, E. R. Vaughan. June 8, 1812, he was appointed postmaster for Asylum, Luzerne county, by Gideon Granger, postmaster-general of the United States. Aug. 3, 1807, he was commissioned lieutenant of the 5th company of the 144th Reg’t. of militia, which was attached to the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Division. He was afterwards promoted to the captaincy of the same company, and was ever afterwards known in his neighborhood as Captain Vaughan. On the purchase of his farm he gave his attention mainly to its cultivation and improvement, became one of the leading farmers of the township, and was in possession of a large and valuable farm.
He had children: Eleanor (was married to Samuel Lake, and after his death to Joshua Corbin, and lives on Spring hill), John, Elias, Harriet (died young), James, Edward, Evander R., Alonzo (died young), George (died, unmarried, at the age of twenty-four), Rhoda Jane (died at the age of fourteen), Mary (is married to John G. Kaler, and lives in Wyalusing), and Orilla (is married to Rev. George B. Day, and lives in Paterson, N.J.). The sons are all settled on adjoining farms, where they have families grown up about them. It. is seldom in this country of frequent removals that so large a family of children and grandchildren are found settled on contiguous farms.
Evander R. is on the old homestead. He married Augusta, daughter of Abner Hinman, who is great-grand-daughter of Amos York, who, it will be remembered, was an early settler in Wyalusing, and the family were great sufferers from Indian depredations. They have one son, who is the only child in the household.
CHAS HOMET, JR
Mr. Homet was the oldest of four children of Charles and Mariah Theresa Homet. Charles, the father, was among the French refugees who came to this country during the revolution of 1793. In Paris he had been a steward in the household of Louis XVI., and fled from that city with others about the time the king made that unfortunate attempt to escape from France. They came in a French war-ship, and were chased three days in their voyage by an English vessel, but made their escape. Mrs. Hornet, whose family name was Scheilinger, was born in Strasburg, and was one of the waiting-maids of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. Both took passage for America on the same vessel, and, becoming acquainted while on the voyage, were married soon after their arrival in this country, and for a year or more lived at a place called Bottle Hill, in New Jersey, now called Madison. Here Charles, the subject of this sketch, was born, May 7, 1794. Mr. Hornet, Sr., then removed to Asylum, and soon after to the settlement in the western part of Terry township, where, it will be remembered, arrangements had been made for the reception of the king and queen of France. After a year or two Mr. Hornet, Sr., again returned to Asylum, where he bought several lots of the Asylum company. When the French people left Asylum, he and Mr. La Porte purchased the greater part of the lands there. Mrs. Homet died at Asylum, in 1823, at the age of sixty-three years. Mr. Hornet, Sr., married a second time, in 1827. By this marriage he had one daughter, who is the wife of E. T. Fox, of Towanda. He turned his attention to farming. He pursued that business very successfully, accumulated a valuable property, and cleared up quite a large farm. He was a member of the Methodist church in his later years. After marrying his second wife he removed to Wysox, where he died in December, 1838, at the allotted age of threescore years and ten.
By the first marriage there were born to him four children. Besides Charles, these were Francis, Harriet, and Joseph. Francis was born at Asylum, married Lucy Dodge, and settled upon a part of the old home farm, where he still resides. He has no children, is a farmer by occupation, and an active member of the Methodist church. Harriet married Simon Stevens, of Standing Stone, and was the mother of five children,--Charles, George, Ellen, Harriet, and Mary. Joseph married Oris Brown, and lived at and owned the Homet's mills. About A.D. 1840 he sold out and moved to Monroeton, the former home of his wife. He was also a farmer and a member of the Baptist church; was the father of three children, who lived to attain maturity,--Jewett G., Marion, and Lydia,--and now lives at Williamsport, Pa.
Charles married Lucy Stevens, by whom he had nine children,--Francis, Theresa, Jonathan, Edward, Milton, Charles S., Volney, Seth, and Joseph A. Francis married Mary Gilbert, who died, and after her death he married Ada Chamberlain, by whom he had three children,--Mary, Geo. S., and Rachel,--and was accidentally killed by the fall of a derrick at the erection of an abutment of the Lehigh Valley railroad bridge across the Wyalusing creek in the year 1867. Theresa married U. P. Stone, by whom she has four children,--Chas. R. T., Benton, Ulysses, and Lucy. Jonathan married Harriet Donley, and has two daughters,--Lucy and Ada. Edward married Maria Minnis, M.D., and has one daughter,--Lucy J. Milton married Mary Ann Irvine, and has two children,--Irvine and Theresa. Charles S. married Julia Horton, and has three children,--William, Eliza, and Francis. Dr. Volney married Emma Ingham, and has one daughter,--Jesse. Seth married Elizabeth Eilenberger, and has three children, --Ella, Charlie, and Cora. Joseph A. married Adelia Gordon, and has five children,--Augusta, Fanny, Edward, Minor, Eleazer.
Mr. Hornet was a resident of Wyalusing, living on the farm now occupied by his son Seth. He was a man of great energy and good practical sense. In whatever he undertook he was bound to succeed, if hard work and careful management could win. His farm was cleared and well cultivated. Nothing was done by halves. His belief was what was worth doing at all was worth doing well. He was ambitious to acquire property, but never coveted that which belonged to another,--never took advantage of the unfortunate. Those in want often came to him for aid. With a firm trust in God and charity for all men, and believing that the true road to success was through minding one's own business and following it, he had but few lawsuits, was counted a successful business man, a good neighbor, and respected citizen. He lived to see his children all grown up and provided each with a farm of his own purchase, within a short distance from his own home; and when he lay down to take his last rest, they were there to minister to his wants; and when the lamp went out they laid him away in a sunny nook, in the year 1865, at the age of seventy, on the farm, by the side of his companion, who had preceded him some thirteen years.
HON. L. P. STALFORD
Levi P. Stalford, son of Benjamin and Urania Stalford, was born April 11, 1811, in Wyalusing Township, Bradford County, near the old Moravian mission village. It will be remembered that Governor Penn granted to Job Chillaway, an Indian interpreter, and who was connected with the mission, a patent for 625 acres of land, extending from Wyalusing creek southward, and covering the site of the Indian town and the principal clearings connected with it. By indenture bearing date May 4, 1775, Henry Pawling, a wealthy gentleman of Montgomery county, purchased the tract of Chillaway, and by his will, in 1792, bequeathed to his daughter Catherine, wife of Joseph Stalford* (spelled Stalmford in the will), the lower part of the land, which included the site of the mission. In May, Mr. Stalford and his family, consisting of his wife and four children, moved from near Valley Forge, Montgomery county, to the Wya]using land, where all but one of his family lived during life. In 1796, Joseph Stalford had the highest, valuation of any man in the township. He died in Wyalusing, in 1801, in the forty-seventh year of his age.
Benjamin, who married Urania Turrell, inherited the central part of the farm, which covers a large part of the mission village. Benjamin died in 1841, and his farm descended to his son, Levi P., who resides on the premises at the present time. Besides his farming operations, Mr. Stalford has been largely engaged in lumbering, until the depressed condition of the markets, and the gradual diminution of his forests, have warned him to spare the trees. The good judgment, pleasing manners, and generous disposition of the judge have won for him the esteem and confidence of his townsmen, who frequently call on him to fill the several township offices in which, usually, there is much work and little pay. Besides these he was elected justice of the peace, in 1847, and held the office for five years, and in 1863 he was elected associate judge for Bradford County, and held this office for five years.
In 1842 he married Mary Rebecca
O'Callaghan, of Aurora, N. Y., born Oct. 16, 1818. In her home, Mrs. Stalford
has dispensed a generous hospitality to their numerous friends, pervading
her household with her energy, and filling it with the sunshine of a kind
and genial spirit. To Mr. and Mrs. Stalford have been born eight children,
four sons and four daughters, all of whom are still living. The homestead
house, a view of which is given in another place, looks down upon the site
of the deserted Indian town, and the waving grain and luxuriant grass which
fill his barns grows upon the land once planted by the red man.
John Ingham was born in Bucks Co., Pa., Nov. 13, 1784. His father, Jonas Ingham, was born in the same county, of Quaker parentage, in 1746, and was by trade a clothier. In 1777 and 1778 ho was in active service as a militia-man: first as lieutenant, then as captain. In this campaign, during the months of November, December, and January, he suffered much with cold, lying out of doors on the ground with no other covering than a single blanket. At the battle of Gulph Mills he was among the last to leave the grounds, and came near being taken prisoner. He married Miss Elizabeth Beaumont of Bucks county. In 1789 he came up the river to Wyalusing and bought the Connecticut title to what had been known as "Staple's pitch," and where the Skiffs had lived prior to the battle of Wyoming. Here he found the log cabin the Skiffs had built, but their clearings had grown up to brush. On this place he settled, nearly three miles from any inhabitant. In his journal, Mr. Ingham says,--
"After the repeal of the confirming law the settling of land under Pennsylvania title was little thought of, and the inhabitants had frequent meetings. At Tioga Point, at one of them, I expressed myself with so much spirit on the subject of the repeal of the confirming law that they saw fit to choose me one of their directors. After this I was requested to deliver a discourse, on the Fourth of July (1801), to include this subject. The discourse I delivered pleased the people very much, who were now settling under Connecticut title, and the legislature of Pennsylvania was passing very severe laws against them, as the Intrusion laws and Territorial act, and the people were very much harassed by them."
In 1804 he was chosen, as he says, very unexpectedly to himself, to represent Luzerne county in the State legislature, and through his efforts the obnoxious laws above referred to were repealed. The next year the whole settlement was thrown into a ferment by an ejectment suit being brought against Mr. Ingham, which was finally terminated by purchasing the Pennsylvania title. The next year after (1806), as Mr. Robinson, a well-known surveyor, was tracing the Dundee Manor line, some of the people near Camptown, fearing that this was being done to dispossess them of their lands, determined to stop the survey. Here we will let Mr. Ingham tell the story: "The inhabitants in the settlement were all of them very averse to any surveys being made, for fear of ejectments, and thereby furnishing the means for landowners to prove their rights. Some of them queried with me what kind of opposition to make. I told them to make any kind of opposition they pleased, only to kill and hurt nobody, nor let anybody appear in arms. When this surveyor came a great many of the inhabitants collected, some in the woods shooting, others around the surveyor threatening him. I was afraid some worse mischief would happen, so I ordered some one to break the compass or I would. Upon this one of the company broke the compass, and the surveyor went away. And not a great while afterwards a United States officer was sent to arrest those who stopped the surveyor and broke his compass, and four of them were taken and had to go to Philadelphia. I went with them to excuse them, and take their part and defend them as well as I could. Accordingly, when they appeared before the court, in the representation which I made to the lawyer who spoke for me, I took all the blame upon myself. I stated the case as it really was. I said the people were ignorant and only did what I bid them, which I thought was better than might have happened otherwise. This the lawyer stated to the court in a few words, then expatiated largely on the commendable part I had acted. Before he was done another lawyer got up and addressed the court, and said he was perfectly well acquainted with me and that I was a very good man. Thus, contrary to my expectations, I received great honor and applause, when I apprehended I should receive severe censure and reprimand as the encourager and ringleader of outlaws. They were all dismissed to go home about their business with only paying the cost."
Subsequently, Mr. Ingham entered into an extensive correspondence with the Pennsylvania claimants of the land, for the purpose of obtaining from them some adjustment of the title which the Connecticut people would accept. But in this his efforts were unavailing.
Mr. Ingham died suddenly in Bloomsburg, N. J., Oct. 28, 1820. Mr. Miner says of him that he possessed a mind highly cultivated by scientific research, was a model of temperance, and a promoter of the peace and harmony of society.
John Ingham came to Wyalusing about 1795. He married, July 9, 1809, Marinda, daughter of Edmund Stone and Susan Hotchkiss, born April 11, 1789, in New Milford, Conn. Her parents soon after moved to Delhi, N. Y., thence to Wyalusing, in 1802, afterwards to Bridgewater, Susquehanna county, where both died the same day of the month, though in different years. The family consisted of eight sons and four daughters; three sons and three daughters still survive.
To John and Marinda Ingham were born Rebecca, Charles K., Emily M., Sarah A., Harriet S., Mary P., and Susan E.
John Ingham brought the first set of carding-machines to Wyalusing from Cooperstown, N. Y., about 1807.
He established without doubt the first manufactory of window-sash in the northern part of the State, if not the first in the State itself. Carried on blacksmithing and edge-tools when the iron had to be conveyed up the river from Marietta on Durham boats, often occupying three or four weeks to a trip.
While riding his horse by the school-house, accompanied by his dog,--where the Merryall burying-ground now is,--a panther sprang upon his dog, when Joseph Elliott, residing close by, came out with his gun and shot--the dog. Reloading his gun, the second shot brought down the panther. It was just after school was out. The panther no doubt had been attracted thither by the children's cast-off dinners, or, perhaps, to make his supper from some truant scholar lingering behind the rest.
*Deacon William Gaylord, of Dorchester, was ancestor of the family, whose third son was Walter, whose first son was Joseph, whose first son was Joseph, whose second son was Lieut. Samuel, whose second son was Justus of Wyalusing.
Mr. Lewis was born in Wyalusing, Aug. 24, 1787, and was the fifth son and eighth child of Thomas and Mary (Turrell) Lewis. His father was a soldier of the Revolution, and, at the battle of Danbury, caught Gen. Wooster as he was falling, shot, from his horse. Justus obtained a good education, principally by study at home, and taught school very acceptably for several years. He married Polly, daughter of Elisha Keeler, of Pike Township, Dec. 3, 1812, and at once entered upon the occupation of farming and lumbering, which he followed successfully for many years. In April, 1844, he united, with his wife, two sons, and one daughter, with the Presbyterian church of Wyalusing, but for some years before he made a public confession of Christianity, he was one of the most cordial and efficient coadjutors in the work of the church, contributing as much towards the support of' the pastor and the benevolent societies as any other member of the congregation. From 1837 to 1860, scarcely a month passed in which he was not actively engaged in the temperance and anti-slavery reforms, and especially during the years 1840/41, in the discussions in the lyceum meetings in the school-house at the mouth of the Wyalusing creek. He was always outspoken, and no matter how unpopular his views might be, he never failed to communicate them openly and ably.
Imbibing from his father the political principles of 1776, he never swerved from them. In 1808 he was a Federalist, in 1824 a National Republican, in 1840/44/48 an antislavery Whig, and a strong Republican from the organization of that party till the close of his life.
He possessed excellent social qualities and winning manners, and had many warm friends.
As an energetic businessman, Mr. Lewis was proverbial. If a public work was to be performed, a road to be laid out, a school or meeting house to be built, he was always foremost. He died May 10, 1874, leaving five sons and two daughters, to each of whom he bequeathed the rich legacy of an unblemished character, and a long life replete with lessons of wisdom.
The subject of this sketch was born in Sugar Run, Bradford Co., Pa., May 20, 1791, and belonged to one of the old families of the North Branch valley, and of this county. His father, Joseph, was one of the most active and daring spirits of the Revolution. The son, John, inherited something of his father's martial spirit, and when but just passed his twentieth birthday, received from Gov. Snyder an ensign's commission, which bears date Aug. 3, 1811; in three years was promoted to the captaincy of the Seventh company of the Fifteenth Regiment of Pennsylvania militia, and Aug. 3, 1828, was commissioned division quartermaster. At this time the militia was considered a very important part of the public service, its trainings and musters were the grand holidays, and to bc elevated to an official position in it was a high token of confidence and esteem. Under a commission dated April 13, 1829, Mr. Elliott was appointed by Gov. Shulze justice of the peace for the eighth, district, composed of the townships of Wyalusing, Asylum, and Albany, as those towns were then constituted, and held the officc until the late constitution went in force, by which the officc was made elective, and then was elected to the same position by the people of his township, a sufficient guarantee that he had performed its duties to their satisfaction.
In the Pall of 1843 he was elected to represent his district in the State legislature, and re-elected the following year. In addition to these, he was at various times called to fill different offices in the township and county, in all which he displayed such good sense, strict uprightness, and honesty as to challenge the esteem and confidence of his friends and constituents.
In private life, Mr. Elliott was affectionate in his domestic relations, a generous friend, hospitable in his entertainment, frugal in his habits, industrious in his business, cheerful in disposition, and possessed of an unusually retentive memory, that never allowed the minutest thing, a name or a date, to escape its grasp. These qualities made him an interesting and instructive companion, whose vivid story of the men and events of the olden time were the centre of interest in the social circle.
Politically, Mr. Elliott was a life-long Democrat. While never, at least in his later years, obtruding his opinions upon others, he held with an unswerving grasp the tenets of his own political faith, which was endeared to him by so many early associations.
Above the ordinary size, he possessed great physical vigor and endurance. Until within a few days of his death his form was as erect, and his step as elastic as a boy's, while his exuberant flow of spirits, his exhaustless fund of humor and pleasantry gave one the impression that his fourscore years sat lightly on him. His sickness was short, and he retained his faculties to the last. He died in his home at Merryall, aged eighty-four years and nine months, leaving a large and respectable family to mourn his death.
End of Chapter