The Reverend Mr. David Craft
Wysox was cut off from Tioga in 1795, but then it was eighty miles in length from east to west by about six in width from north to south; but the old town has been cut down from time to time to form other townships, until now its area is not more than fifteen square miles. On the broad plains at the mouth of the creek, and sweeping around nearly opposite to Towanda, are some of the finest farms in the county, and susceptible of very high cultivation, while the hill lands, though better adapted to grazing, yet produce very fine crops.
The township affords some magnificent landscape views. The outlook from the "Red Rocks" is one of the finest in this county, which is noted for its tine scenery, and is equaled by another, though of different character, yet equally interesting,--the view on "Pond hill," a representation of which forms the frontispiece to this work.
Back of the mountain and nearly opposite the railroad bridge is the echo canyon of which Wilson speaks in his "Foresters," quoted in Chapter V.
The town is bounded by Sheshequin, Rome, and Standing Stone and the river. The Wysox creek flows through the town, receiving the principal affluent at Myersburg, which is the outlet of the lake on Pond hill, and in the several hundred feet fall which it makes in reaching the plains affords almost unlimited water-power for manufhctur-ing purposes, whenever there is sufficient capital and enterprise found to utilize it.
Farther to the north is what is called the Little Wysox, or Laning's creek. In old papers it is called Mill creek, and sometimes Franklin's mill creek, from the improvements built upon it early in the history of the township. These two creeks, with their affluents, are the principal streams of the township.
Wysox includes the most of certified Claverack, which it will be remembered was one of the seventeen townships. The grantees of this township residing on the Hudson River doubtless gave the name to the locality from Claverack on that river.
Note: (By the old people the name was usually spoken and sometimes written Cloverick. Claverack is derived from the Dutch Klauverarch, meaning Clover reach.)
4~GRANT OF CLOVERICK TOWNSIIIP.
"Pursuant to the votes of the Susquehanna company of proprietors to locate and lay out townships to a number of proprietors, applying to take up a township, as will appear by said vote, I have, by the approbation of the committee appointed to direct the laying out of townships, surveyed and laid out a township on the east branch of the Susquehanna river in said purchase, beginning at a place called and known by the name of Wysock creek, about five hundred yards below where said creek empties into the east branch of the Susquehanna river, at a white-oak tree; thence south 59° west, five miles and sixty rods; thence north 31° west, five miles; thence north 59° east, five miles; thence south 30° east, five miles, to the first mentioned bound, containing twenty-five square miles, exclusive of the river, lying partly upon each side of the said river, which I have surveyed at the request of Col. John H. Lydius, Capt. Abraham Lansing, Baltiaser Lydius, Peter Hogaboom, and others their associates, proprietors in said purch'ase, a list of whom is herewith delivered to the committee aforesaid.
" Obadiah Gore,
The township was called Strong and Hogaboom's town, because they had by far a greater number of rights in the town than any other proprietor, being eighteen and one-half fifty-third parts of it. Besides these, Jehiel Franklin held three, the Scovilles two, Moses Coolbaugh one, Ichabod Blackman one, and Joshua Wyeth one, making a total of eight fifty-third parts beside.
In 1802 the following persons were claimants:* Orr Scoville (4), James Scoville and Joshua Wythe (6), Joshua Wyeth (7), Abel Newell (10), Richard Horton (11), Theophilus Moger (17), Sebastian Stope (18), Henry Stope, Henry Tuttle, and Nancy Mann (19), John Shepard and Moses Coolbaugh (20), Job Irish and Nancy Strickland (22), Nancy Strickland, William Means, and Job Irish (23, 24), Abial Foster (36), Ezra Rutty (41, 42, 43, 46, 47), John Smith and Abial Foster (69, 70, 71), William Means (79, 80), John Shepard vs. William Jones (8000 acres), James Davidson, Gibert Horton, Elijah Horton, Zachariah Price, Joseph Salisbury, Josiah Tuttle.
The following notes, also from the records of the Susquehanna company, have a value as denoting the movements of the men who were early in the township.
A certificate was granted to Jehiel Franklin March 3, 1795, stating he was a proprietor in Muncy, and has permission to enter his right in Claverack.
The right of Daniel Franklin, deceased, entered in Claverack March 9, 1795 (Jehiel Franklin was appointed administrator of Daniel Franklin's estate, Feb. 9, 1793).
Whereas, Roswell Franklin, deceased, late of Wyoming, conveyed his right to Jehiel Franklin; it is approved to be laid in Clavcrack. March 3, 1795.
David Shoemaker, of Northampton Co., Pa., a certificate of a right in the Susquehanna purchase, sold at Wyoming, Feb. 23, 1786, and entered in Claverack on the lot Moscs Coolbaugh now lives on. March 3, 1795.
Joshua Wythe, of Choconut, N. Y., a half-share certificate. This certifies the within right is entered in the town of Claverack, on a lot of land, the possession of which was purchased by the said Wythe of John Hath (Heath ?), provided it docs not interfere with any other regular grant under the Susquehanna company. Dec. 4, 1792.
* The numbers of the lots claimed are in parentheses.
Josiah Bullard, of South Brimfield, Hampshire Co., Mass., to Oliver Parks, a half right, formerly belonging to John Bozworth, late of Windsor, Conn., but now resident at said Susquehanna. Feb. 13, 1779.
Jacob Myer and Ebenezer B. Gregory, of Tyringham, Mass., to Isaac Northrup, of Hudson, N. Y., a part of the township of Hancock. July 16, 1796.
Amos Draper, of Union, N. Y., to James McMaster, of the same place, April 4, 1795, a lot in Claverack, on the northwesterly side of Wysocks creek, and known by the name of the Wysocks great marsh, containing a bed of iron ore, being the same I obtained a lease of from Henry Tuttle and Isaac Strope.
Henry Platner, of Claverack, N. Y., to Pelatiah Fitch, a tract of land in Salem. Dec. 27, 1796.
There were granted to Benjamin Chew and to Joseph Shippen each a warrant for three thousand acres on "Wy-socking creek," dated Aug. 20, 1774, and sold as Nicholson lands by United States marshal, Sept. 26, 1801.
Other warrants for large tracts were granted, but the locations were so indefinite that no description can be obtained from the records. The releases of Pennsylvania claimants of land in Claverack, were Chickneyance VanCleve, for two hundred and ninety-one acres on warrant of April 3, 1769, released by the heirs of Charles Stewart; John Hall, Robert Davidson, Joseph Davidson, and William Davidson, containing one thousand two hundred and eighty-two acres, on warrants dated Sept. 16, 1774, released by the heirs of Charles Stewart; Philip Johnston, three hundred and seventy acres, of warrant April 3, 1769, by Scudder and wife; Benjamin Eishleman, by John Wharton; John Vanderen, by the executors of Robert Lettis Hooper. These various warrants covered the best lands of the valley.
The first settlement on the territory included in the present township of Wysox was made in 1776, by Isaac and Hermanas Van Valkenburg, and the sons-in-law of Isaac Van Valkenburg, Sebastian and Isaac Strope, who came from near Claverack, on the Hudson river, in the present county of Columbia (then Albany), New York, to the Indian meadows, or Miscuscim, near the present Frcnchtown railroad depot, in May, 1773.
On April 7, 1787, Isaac Van Valkenburg and Bastian Strope quitclaimed to William Ross, by deed, "a lot improved in May, 1773, lying on Miscuscim flat, two miles below the Standing Stone, and six miles above Wya-lusing."
Early in 1776, having bought a right in the Susquehanna company, they located it in Wysox, and moved upon the lower part of the flats, their house standing on the west side of the Wysox creek and near its mouth, a short distance southeast of the present residence of Dr. Madill. Under date of Feb. 17, 1776, Capt. Solomon Strong sells to Isaac and "Harmanos" Van Valkenburg and to "Bostian" Strope each one-half share in the Susquehanna company's purchase, which the grantor bought of Samuel Hogskiss and Daniel Lawrence, they being original proprietors. The settlement was made some time before the survey and according to the rules of the company the family had the land due them on their right surveyed to them where they located.
The family consisted of Isaac Van Valkenburg and his wife; Herman Van Valkenburg, a brother of Isaac, who was a bachelor and died unmarried; Sebastian Strope, whose wife, Lydia, was a daughter of Isaac Van Valkenburg, and John Strope, who married another daughter of Isaac; and another daughter who was unmarried, and probably a son, John Van Valkenburg. It is probable that Herman died before the captivity of the family by the Indians.* Isaac Van Valkenburg and his wife died in Wysox, after their return to the township, after the war closed, which was about 1785.
The wife of Sebastian Strope was unfortunately killed about the year 1814, by a fall from a wagon. Sebastian died in Wysox, June 4, 1805, aged seventy years. His neighbors bore testimony to his worth and integrity as a man and citizen. He was in the Colonial army, and engaged at the battle of Wyoming, and escaped from the fearful massacre by hiding in a patch of thistles which had grown up in an old stack-yard. He was a fearful and silent spectator of the butchery of Lieut. Shoemaker by the tory Windecker, after he had promised his unfortunate victim quarter.
Sebastian Strope had three sons, Henry, John, and Isaac, and four daughters, Mary, Jane, Elizabeth, and Hannah. Henry married Catherine, daughter of Rudolph Fox, and remained in Wysox; had one son, Harry, and six daughters, Mrs. George Scott, Mrs. William Hart, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Hewitt, and two others, whose names we have not learned. Isaac married Lucy White. She was drowned with her sister-in-law, Hannah, in the Susquehanna, while going down to Frenchtown in a canoe. Isaac sold his farm in 1808 and removed to Cayuga Co., N. Y, and from thence went to Portage Co., Wis., where he died at the residence of his son, Miner Strope, in 1861, aged seventy years. John married Eleanor, daughter of Rudolph Fox (1801), and went to Ohio. He had a son, Isaac, and a daughter, Mary (Polly). Mary, daughter of Sebastian, married a Talliday, and removed to the west. Jane married (first) a Mr. White, and (second) a Mr. Whitaker, and lived in Owego, N.Y. Elizabeth married William (?) Denninger, and removed west. Hannah was drowned as stated above.
We give a few incidents concerning the captivity of the Strope family, which are not contained in the general narrative in Chapter III.
When the family were captured, they took away with them the old Dutch family Bible. The Indians threw the Bible into the fire, but Mrs. Strope plucked it out after it had been somewhat damaged. Henry Tuttle, of Wysox, the husband of Mary Strope, granddaughter of the lady who rescued the book, has the same now in his possession. Mrs. Sebastian Strope was subjected to many trials during her captivity, none of which were more distressing than the following: she was made the victim of her tormentors in their horrid sport, who, taking advantage of her anxiety to learn the fate of her husband, told her, as they brought in the reeking scalps of the settlers they had slain, that "Boss Johns" (as they called Sebastian, a corruption of Bostian) scalp was among them. She made frequent examinations of the bloody trophies to see if, indeed, their fiendish stories were true.
Besides the family of Sebastian, his brother, called "Big John" Strope, his wife and children, were also taken prisoners, and, when the exchange was effected, he was not included in the cartel. When he returned, his person showed scars and ca!losities made by the tortures he had endured. He was a man of large frame and indomitable will, and suffered the persecutions of his tormentors like a martyr.
Roswell Franklin was probably originally from Litchfield Co., Conn., and was among the earliest immigrants to Wyoming. On Sept. 24, 1770, he was admitted a settler in Wilkes-Barre, but sold his right to Benjamin Clarke before April 30, 1772. At the first town-meeting in Westmoreland, March 1, 1774, the town was divided into districts, one of which comprised "ye town of Hanover and all the land south of Wilkes-Barre and west on Susquehanna river and east on the Lehigh," of which district Roswell Franklin was chosen selectman. At a town-meeting, Dec. 6, 1774, he was chosen one of the school committee.
In the battle of Wyoming he served as an ensign, and afterwards, when Col. Franklin organized the refugees who returned to Wyoming into a military company, Roswell was his lieutenant. Having killed an Indian while on a scout in June 1780, he was marked as a victim for savage vengeance. How that vengeance was consummated will be found detailed in Chapter III.
In 1784 or 1785, Roswell Franklin removed from Hanover to Wysox flats, opposite the lower part of Towanda, where he settled, owning lots Nos. 22, 23, and 24 of Claverack. He and his brother Jehiel, who came into the town at the same time, owned the entire fiats, and lived in a double log house below Edward Coolbaugh's present place.
Roswell Franklin removed to central New York in 1789, in which year he built the first house in Cayuga county. In raising it every white man within a distance of fifty miles was present, and yet they numbered but a baker's dozen. The Indians, however, lent a helping hand, several of them being present. It was situated in the present village of Aurora, and was fourteen feet square. Franklin committed suicide.
His sons were John, William, Samuel, Daniel, and Cornelius, and his daughters were Betsey, Alice, Eleanor, and Julia.
Jehiel Franklin lived on the present Lanning place. He sold to Solomon Franklin, his son, who sold to Job Irish. Jehiel and his son removed to Canada in 1804.
Jesse Allen was one of the earliest of the settlers of Wysox before 1787. He was a Revolutionary soldier. He cleared up the old York farm, which he afterwards sold to Theophilus Moger, and moved to Pond hill and cleared up another large farm. He raised the trees for the greater part of the old orchards of Wysox, bringing in the apple-seeds from Catskill, N. Y.
Ralph Martin and wife came up the river also very early, before 1789, and settled on the Conklin farm, near Myersburg, where they raised a large family, and where also they both died. He and Moses Coolbaugh were brothers-in-law.
Moses Coolbaugh came to Wysox about 1790, from Northampton Co., Pa., near the Delaware river. When he came the low land below his house was covered with willows, in which were several Indian huts of some of the Delaware tribe, probably; they used to make willow baskets. He bought of Asahel Roberts, who had preceded him and made the original location. Roberts cultivated a part of the flats, which had been cleared by the Indians. Coolbaugh bought eighty acres, and Roberts removed to Breakneck, near Sheshequin, where he died. The farm is now owned by Darius Williams, and the house built by Roberts stood on the land now occupied by Mr. Williams' orchard. Mr. Coolbaugh brought his family up from Kingston on a Durham boat, and first occupied a house of Roswell Franklin, opposite Towanda. He afterwards cleared up the Roberts farm and settled thereon, and died there Feb. 22, 1814, aged sixty-two years. His wife Hannah died Nov. 13, 1828, aged seventy-three years. Mr. Coolbaugh was the first justice of the peace under Governor M'Kean. He was elected to the legislature, and had to resign his office as justice, and was succeeded by William Myer, but when Mr. Coolbaugh returned from the capital he brought his commission back with him, and there were then two justices in Wysox. Mr. Coolbaugh, in excavating a hole in his garden to bury potatoes in, exhumed the body of an Indian in a sitting posture. William Coolbaugh, a brother of Moses, lived on the present farm of Myer, which he afterwards sold to Amos Mix.
The children of Moses and Hannah (Shoemaker) Coolbaugh were William, Daniel, Samuel, Cornelius, Elsie (married Burr Ridgway), Sarah (married Pierce), and Lana (married William Allen).
William Coolbaugh's children were John, Harry, Betsey, Sally, Polly, Moses, and Ellen.
Ralph Martin, who married Ann Shoemaker, came to Wysox with his brother-in-law, moved first on the present fi~rm of Joseph Conklin, cleared up the same, reared his thmily, and died there.
John Ilinman came from Woodbury, Conn., to Wysox in 1791.~ itc was born Feb. 5, 1748. He and his thmily, consisting of his wife and two sons, came with a yoke of oxen, which the little boys rode. lie left the remainder of his family in Connecticut. IIe took up a large tract of land, and lost a portion of it through a defective title. He and James Lewis were in partnership for a time, Mr. Hin-nian succeeding to the entire interest, and Mr. Lewis removing upon Towanda creek, where he died. Mr. Hinman sold a large portion of his property, including the mill, to Judge Itarry Morgan, and moved to the Gencsee country, where he died, May 27, 1833. Mrs. Hinman (Hannah Mallory) died December, 1805, aged fifty-four years. Their children were John B., Abner C., James, Walker, Jemima, Sarah, Eunice, and Harriet.
Jemima married a Moger; Sarah, a Curtis; Eunice, a Talmage; Harriet married Amos York, of Wysox; and Charlotte married Shefield Wilcox, and lived in Albany Township. Abner C. lived and died in Wysox, and John B. in Albany and Monroe.
A deed to John Hinman from Aaron Dean, for one-half of a possession called Nelson's possession, is dated May 1, 1791. The deed of Jesse Allen to Dean and James Lewis is dated Dec. 11, 1790, conveys "a lot in Wisox, bounded by Jehiel Franklin, on which is also a saw-mill," and excepts "mill-stones and irons." Lewis sold his interest to Hinman Dec. 13, 1793. The grist-mill was built by Hinman and Lewis.
Nancy Mann, a maiden lady, in 1799, lived where Joseph Piollet now does. Her father's name was Adam, who died on the farm. She sold to Nathaniel Moger, and went to Arkport, N. Y., in 1802.
Mathias Fencelor, alias Von Sler, was a Hollander, and came from Philadelphia to Cold Creek before 1789, and removed to Wysox about 1790. He was known as "the hermit," and subsisted chiefly by hunting and trapping. Hc made no clearing, but had a good hewed log house on a portion of the farm of Samuel Bowman, of Wilkes-Barre. He had no family, and lived alone. He used to make flax hetchels and peddle them through the settlement, packing them on his back.
One of these relics is now in the possession of Mrs. J. D. Ridgway. His dress was as peculiar as were his manners, and consisted of buckskin breeches coming half-way between his knees and ankles, buckskin jacket, coarse shirt, frock, cap, and moccasins. He died in the winter or spring of 1806, which tract was discovered by two young men, John Parks and Moses Moody, who were returning from Myer's mill with a load of grists. They went into his house, where they found the old man (he was then about seventy years) lifeless and cold on his bunk of hemlock-boughs and skins. The boys hastened to give the alarm. In the mean time, Esquire Coolbaugh prepared to hold an inquest; and, while the jury was being summoned, Willard Green volunteered to stay and guard the dead man. It was late in the evening when the justice, constable, William Allen, and the jury arrived, and proceeded to enter the house. The constable, with a lantern, led the way, and opening the door, a voice called out, sepulchrally, "Voicclle lc vous, monsieur !" to the consternation and affright of the constable, who beat a precipitate retreat from the door. However, he was reassured as he beheld Green raise up from the corner and laugh instead of, as he supposed, the defunct. Said some one to Green, "Why, were you not afraid to lie there ?" "Afraid ! Why should I be afraid of a man dead whom I did not fear while living !"
Adrian Manville came into possession of the place shortly after Fencelor's death, and afterwards sold it to Dr. Barstow, who built a house upon the knoll, and, after a few years, erected a very large and elegant mansion for those days, and named it "Fcncelor Castle," in reference to the old hermit. It is now owned by J. W. Pool
Wilbur and Robert Bennett came into Wysox about 1800, and exchanged land at Wilkes-Barre with Capt. Samuel Bowman for his tract. Wilbur raised a large family, and lived and died on his farm. He was a justice of the peace at one time. Robert's farm joined Wilbur's.
Joshua Shores came from Newark, N. J., to Wysox in 1795, and settled near Piollet's, where he lived two years, and then removed to the hill since known as Shores' hill. It was then covered with white-pine timber, and water-power was abundant. His Connecticut title failing, he bought his land of Dorrance and Shepard. He died on the hill about 1825, aged about seventy years. His wife, also a native of New Jersey, died in 1835, at the age of seventy-eight years. Their children were William, Sally, Betsey, Samuel, Caleb, Nathaniel, Anthony King, and Polly.
Stephen Strickland came to Wysox about 1799, with his family, having previously been in the town, and had the farm surveyed that he bought of Jehiel Franklin. His grandson, Stephen, now occupies a part of it. In 1800 he received an injury on his head, on a visit to his native town, and taking cold, inflammation of the brain supervened, and he died before reaching home. His brother Jacob came to the farm and settled on it, the widow and her children going up on Towanda creek near her sister's,--she was Nancy Wilcox. When Stephen, her son, attained his majority he purchased the interest of the other heirs, and instituted suit for the recovery of the property, in which he was finally successful. The heirs selling to Stephen were Israel Atherton and Johanna Strickland, Sylvester and Rhoda Streeter, Thomas B. and Nancy Mills, Nancy Strickland, and Amos and Nancy Strickland. Stephen Strickland, Jr., born Jan. 1, 1790, died April 12, 1874; Mary Dewitt, his wife, born Dee. 16, 1793, died Feb. 27, 1860. Jacob Strickland's sons were Jacob, Peter, Amos, and Stephen.
Theophilus Moger came from Massachusetts to Wysox some time previously to 1800, and bought of Jesse Allen the farm above York's narrows, including all the lands east of Wysox creek, in the valley and up the creek, as far as Ralph Martin's (now Conklin's) farm. He built a large frame one story-and-a-half house soon after he came, which is yet in use. His son Joshua built a hewed log house, and also a distillery near the river, and occupied the farm after his father's death; finally sold his interest to John Hollenback, who in turn sold to Rev. M. M. York. Mr. York sold it to Ferdinand Allen, a grandson of Jesse Allen, who made the first improvement on it. Mr. Allen built a large house and other commodious improvements, and sold to Mr. Wattles, who now owns it. Mr. Moger moved to the west, and none of the name remain in Wysox. He received his patent for lot No. 17 of Claverack, containing 112 acres, April 28, 1808. His children were Betsey, Brink, Joshua Moger, Sally Johnson, Samuel Moger, Polly Grant, and William Moger.
Zechariah Price came to Wysox previous to 1799, and lived on the Owen place until 1815 or 1816, when he removed to Montrose, where he died. He had a distillery on his farm, and his sons succeeded to the Wysox farm, and for some years occupied it.
Jacob Myer came to Wysox in 1801. He was born in Germany, near the Rhine, in 1755, and emigrated therefrom to America in 1767. His father, Jacob Myer, was engaged as a professor of German for a literary institution in New York City, but fell ill on the voyage, and died before reaching the port. He possessed considerable property on leaving Germany, but after his death the captain of the vessel, taking advantage of the laws then in vogue, and the ignorance of the family concerning the laws and language of the country, stole the property, and sold the family to pay their passage money. The widow died soon after they landed, of grief, and a young child also died. Mrs. Myer was a daughter of the celebrated Dr. Delamarter, and was married to Mr. Myer in 1754. They had four children besides the little one before named,--two sons and two daughters. One of the daughters married a Cline, of the other nothing is known by the rest of the family, and John went into the western part of New York.
Jacob was sold to a miller, and learned the trade and settled in Dutchcss Co., N. Y., from whence he removed to the "Oblong," in Connecticut, and from there to Berkshire Co., Mass. In Berkshire he exchanged a mill for Connecticut lands in Pennsylvania, and came to Shepard's, in Athens, where, learning his title was worthless, he took charge of Shepard's mill for two years, from 1798 to 1800. He then went to the mouth of Sugar creek and occupied and improved Foster's mill for two years, and then went on the Bowman farm on Towanda creek, where he died.
William Myer, his son, went to Myersburg in 1802, bought the property now owned by his son, Hon. E. Reed Myer, and built a small framed mill with two run of stones. It also had a bolt, and made good flour. The father, Jacob, was interested in the property. They built a sawmill also, and brought the water from Pond hill. William married a daughter of Nathaniel Heacock, who lived in Orwell, where he had built a hewed log house.
When the Franklins, Jehiel and his son Solomon, moved to Canada, they stopped at Heacock's to warm themselves. There was no one at home, but, in the familiar ways of the times, they built a fire, warmed themselves, and went on. When Mr. Heacock returned home he found his house and all it contained burned to the ground. Heacock was a Revolutionary soldier.
Hon. E. Reed Myer, the son of William Myer, is at present the speaker of the Pennsylvania house of representatives. He was in the State senate, 1857-59; and representative, 1873-74, and 1877-78. He was surveyor of customs of the port of Philadelphia, 1861-64.
Amos Mix came from the Hudson river near the city of Hudson, previous to 1800, and settled on the place subsequently owned by Shepard Pierce, in 1810. He was a Revolutionary veteran, and crossed the Delaware with Washington. Mr. Mix's family consisted of four sons and four daughters. He resided on the Pierce place four years, and then bought the place now owned by E. Reed Myer of Wm. Coolbaugh, who then removed to New York.
Burr Ridgway came to Wysox on Christmas, 1803. His father, David Ridgway, lived in Springfield, Burlington Co., N. J., where Burr was born, and owned a farm of 1000 acres. He was a member of the New Jersey legislature two years, and was proposed for governor of the State, but the Friends (Quakers, of which he was a member) persuaded him to forego further political life, and remove to Philadelphia, which he did in 1791. He engaged in the extensive brick making business of his brother, Allen Ridgway, for three years. In March, 1794, he was killed in the following manner: In the time of the war between France and England, many French maimed invalids were kept in a hospital on Race street, next to the Schuylkill, and a cart was kept to supply them with food, etc. On March 5 the horse became frightened, and ran down Race street, and when near Fifth, which Mr. Ridgway and his brother were crossing, before they could avoid it, the shafts of the cart struck them, breaking a leg of each, and prostrating them senseless on the ground. Mr. Ridgway lingered three days without consciousness, and then died; his brother recovering. David and Richard, sons of David Ridgway, continued the business successfully for two or three year's.
After his father's death, Burr Ridgway entered the service of B. & I. Johnson, wholesale dry-goods merchants, where he remained two years, and then for two or more years was with Arnott and Archer, the latter on Front street; then engaged a year with his brother Richard in the lumber trade, in Columbia county, and back again to Philadelphia. there he fell in with Judge Hollenback, and engaged with him as clerk at Wilkes-Barre, where he remained until December, when the judge sent him to Wysox to take charge of a stock of goods he had sent up the river to that place. The store was located in an old log house built by Franklin, one of the earliest in Wysox. He arrived in December 1803, and remained two years. Was married in 1804. In 1805 he bought the farm where Joseph Piollet now lives, and moved on to it the same year. he sold the place to James Le Ray and bought a place in Rome (then Orwell), where Barnes now lives, and built a grist- and saw-mill, his brother Richard being associated with him. In 1811 he sold out his Rome property and moved back to Wysox, and in the fall of 1812 moved to Towanda, and engaged with William Means in his store, and remained so engaged till the spring of 1813, when he was appointed a justice of the peace by Gov. Snyder, and soon after was appointed deputy prothonotary by Charles F. Welles. In 1813 he was elected county commissioner for three years. In 1814 he bought the Bradford Gazette of Thomas Simpson, and published that paper four years and more, and sold it to Stratton and Benjamin. He then (1819) moved to Wysox again, his family living oil the farm. He was appointed prothonotary by Gov. Heister, and held the position while living in Wysox. In 1823 he moved to Monroe, to the Sanders place, which he bought. From thence to Towanda, and afterwards to Franklin, where he died August 19, 1876, aged ninety-seven years. His wife, Alice, died June 8, 1858, aged seventy-nine years. They lie side by side in the Franklindale cemetery, his monument bearing the trustful inscription, "I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness."
James D. Ridgway, a son of Burr Ridgway, occupies the same farm on which the latter died.
Naphtali Woodburn came to Wysox from New England about 1805, and bought the farm on Wysox creek above Barstow's and moved into a building that had been put up for a Baptist meeting-house. He brought a small stock of goods with him, and afterwards, in company with his brother Moses, built a sawmill on the premises.
Elijah Tracy lived on the Wysox creek, near the Peter Johnson farm, where he owned a farm. He married a daughter of Elder Thomas Smiley. He was a brother of Mrs. Reuben Hale. Capt. Isaac Tracy died December, 1803.
Dr. Gillette lived near the Traeys.
A good story is told at the doctor's expense, which is too good to be lost. He had a bill against one of his neighbors, a lady, which he was desirous to collect, and which the lady proposed to liquidate by giving him three geese which she owned. The doctor accepted the proposal, and on the next morning came for the fowls. The lady had kindly caught them, and put them in a bag for more convenient transportation, cutting holes through the bag to give proper ventilation, which the geese fully secured by thrusting their heads through the holes. When the doctor arrived at his house he opened the bag, when the geese scrambled out minus their feathers, the lady having filled her pillow-cases with the same, the bodies of the geese being plucked bare.
Elisha Whitney came to Wysox with his family in 1816. He was born in Spencer, Mass., in 1747. He married Esther Clark, of the same State, in 1782. Her father's name was Asa Clark, a schoolteacher by profession. She was present with Gen. Warrcn's wife when she learned the sad fate of that gallant officer and patriotic gentleman. She was born in Spencer, Worcester Co., Mass., in 1763.
Soon after their marriage they removed to Stockbridge, Mass., and were among the first settlers of that place. They had ten children born to them at that place, between the years 1783 and 1801. With their family, they moved to the Wyoming valley in 1810, and in 1816 came to Wysox. Mr. Whitney was a Revolutionary soldier. He died July 4, 1832, aged eighty-five years, and Mrs. Whitney died Feb. 1, 1851, aged eighty-eight years, and both are buried in Wysox. Their children were as follows: (2) Rebecca, died at Wysox, unmarried; (2) Asa Clark, married for his first wife, a daughter of Col. Benjamin Dorrance, of Wilkes-Barre. He was a physician of great ability, and practiced throughout the Wyoming valley and vicinity. By his first wife he had three children, (3) Benjamin, a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, in an Illinois regiment; (3) Mary and (3) Nancy, all residing in Byron, Ogle Co., Ill. Dr. Whitney's second wife was Susan Inman, of Plymouth, Pa., by whom he had two daughters, (3) Elizabeth and (3) Jerusha. (2) Asa C. Whitney died Dec. 10, 1824; (2) Elizabeth Whitney, born Dec. 10, 1786, died Sept. 29, 1840. She was married at Towanda, in 1810, to J. W. Piollet, who came to America from his native France, about the beginning of the present century, he was a captain of a troop of horse at the battle of Marengo, and by his bravery won the favor of Napoleon, who promoted him to the position of postmaster in the Army of the Alps. He was a well-educated gentleman, and settled in Wysox, where his wife bore him five children: (3) Victor E. Piollet, born June 24, 1812, married Jane, daughter of Hon. Jesse Miller, of Harrisburg, Pa. He has been for many years prominent in the politics of Bradford County, and has filled many positions of public trust in the State. Was superintendent of North Branch canal, 1839-42; representative in Pennsylvania legislature, 1845--46; paymaster of United States Volunteers in the Mexican war; superintendent of construction of Pennsylvania and New York railroad, 1867-72, and is a heavy stockholder in the same. He, with his brother, Joseph M., occupies the farm formerly owned by their father, to which they have added several thousand acres of the finest lands in the county, and are looked upon as leading agriculturists of the county.
(3) Joseph E. Piollet married Esther Cox, of Harrisburg, Pa., Nov. 29, 1849; she was the daughter of John B. Cox, who married Matilda McAllister.
(3) Theresa Piollet married Alexander Dewing, of Warren, Bradford Co.
(3) Emily Piollet married Thomas T. Wareham, who is a civil engineer, and has held many positions in the State, and is now chief engineer of the Pennsylvania canal company; office at Harrisburg.
(3) Elizabeth Piollet married D. Alanson Saulsbury, and is now deceased.
(2) Alvin Whitney, born Dec. 31, 1793, married Mary Woodburn, of Rome, Pa., Feb. 11, 1819; and to Nancy Woodburn, of Rome. By first with had eight children; died Nov. 5, 1872.
(2) Ebenezer Whitney, born Dec. 15, 1795, married Betsey Woodburn, Nov. 25, 1818, had 9 children, died April 16, 1838.
(2) Esther Whitney, born Dee. 23, 1799, married Moses Woodburn, in 1818. He died Feb. 11, 1843. Site lives with her children at Yatton, Iowa.
(2) Elisha Whitney, born July 26, 1798, graduate of Hamilton college, N. Y., practiced medicine in Wyalusing, married Sally Brown in 1818, had 7 children. He is now deceased.
(2) Alanson, born July 1, 1801, living at Monroeton, married Laura Towner, has 4 children.
Dr. Seth T. Barstow came to Wysox about 1810 or 1811, and practiced his profession for many years. His residence was known as the "Fencelor Castle." He was, in his earlier history, a prominent citizen of the county. He married Clarissa Woodruff, daughter of Samuel Woodruff, who bore him several children ;--Mrs. Marguerite St. Leon Loud, the poetess, is a daughter, now living in the west. The doctor died April 13, 1852, aged seventy-three years. His wife died March 14, 1853, aged sixty-seven years.
They are buried in the Wysox cemetery, and the following expressive couplet is inscribed upon their monument:
Dr. Adonijah Warner came from Granby, Mass. He graduated from his studies, and immediately came to Wysox in his pursuit for a location. At the time there was no physician for many miles around, and he at once determined to locate here. He was about twenty-one years of age when he came. His practice at once became extended, his ride being throughout the neighboring towns, requiring constant attention. He lived a little west of the present residence of Mr. Lanning. He was a successful practitioner. He married Nancy, the sister of Wm. Means, Esq. One of his daughters is the present wife of N. N. Betts, Esq., cashier of the First National bank of Towanda. He died April 14, 1845, aged seventy years.
Shepherd Pierce came to Wysox about 1810, and married a twin sister of Samuel Coolbaugh, and bought the John Shepard farm.
John Hinman had a little gristmill and sawmill on the Little Wysox, just in the rear of the Lanning place. This was the first in the town. The Myers mill was built in 1802 or 1803, and was the best one that had been built up to that time in the township. The Woodburns had a sawmill on the Wysox, also.
The first school-house was built near where Alonzo Bishop now lives, but a school was taught earlier in the house of Isaac Strope.
A convention of the churches of Smithfield, Wysox, Orwell, Wyalusing, and Braintrim was held at Wysox, February 16, 1804, at which a resolution was passed against Sabbath-breaking, profanity, and gambling, and offenders were threatened with the rigors of the law if they did not desist.
"The Fourth of July was celebrated at Wysox by a very numerous and respectable company," so the Luzerne Federalist of July 1801, says. "Wm. Means provided an entertainment, the style and elegance of which reflected great credit on his taste and industry. An oration was
delivered by Reed Brockaway. After dinner a number of appropriate toasts were drank."
Wysox contains seven school districts and one joint district. At Wysox there has frequently been, in addition, a private school of high grade. The people of this township have ever given considerable attention to the matter of education, and the schools of the township are generally of good grade. The census returns report the population in 1850 as 1167; in 1860, 1358; 1870, 1283 white and 7 colored, 1213 native, and 77 foreign born, a total of 1290.
The principal business centre is at the Wysox centre. Here is the railroad depot, the stores, two hotels, and, near by, two Presbyterian churches. Here are the residences of Col. V. E. and J. M. Piollett, whose farm is one of the largest and best located in the county. Myersburg, the residence of the Hon. E. R. Myer, contains a Methodist Episcopal Church, flouring-mill and planing-mill, and is about two miles above the depot.
Opposite Towanda a pleasant village has grown up, called East Towanda, in which a number of families wishing to enjoy the quiet of a country residence, and at the same time have the conveniences of near access to the town, have built pleasant residences.
On the Franklin fiats have been erected a large hotel, which is designed for a summer resort, an axe-factory, and other buildings. On these flats the Agricultural Society have leased ample grounds for their exhibitions, which have been tastefully fitted up so as to afford every convenience for exhibitors.
End of Chapter