|A goodly representation of the pioneers themselves had battled for these principles in the defence of homes and firesides, and had distinguished themselves for bravery and sacrifice in the common cause. Then there was no recognized South, East, North or West, but all dwelt together in one common brotherhood, every one alive to the importance of sustaining the infancy of their institutions as the germs of a great nation, firm in the belief that it was marked out to extend over an entire Continent. In a period marvelously short in historical annals, their most ardent expectations have been more than realized. The value or possible destruction of the Union, no one in those days dared calmly to sit down to cast or estimate. It was considered unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians--a fixed fact--and there never entered a doubt of its perpetuity. It was formed in a spirit of compromise, with a single eye to the general interests of the whole Confederacy, and not of one particular part. Founded with one thought and purpose, they were justified in believing in its perpetuity, and were not too ardent in their future vision of a Continent covered with teeming and contented millions, within 60 years. The capacity of man for a self-government had been tested by the forefathers. They had learned well to govern themselves, after having been severed from the old country. In no portion of the world were human rights more discussed or better understood. Had any one ventured no doubt, as we have said before, as to the stability of the Government or the honesty or patriotism of the founders, he would have received speedy "notice to quit" by the hardy pioneers. The instances were cited frequently, where early settlers had refused to redeem their plighted faith or been guilty of acts of glaring dishonesty in transactions with their fellow men, received such a notice, coupled with a pledge that teams should be ready at the appointed day, to aid in the removal. Go they must, and go they did. The man who did refuse to do right by his neighbor, was compelled to take refuge elsewhere. "Be just and fear not," was their motto. They lived up to it themselves, and forced its observance by others. How much more, then, would such an offence against the common weal as they deemed the doubting of the wisdom and justice of the common Union, have required the notice and compelled the observance of its terms. Only one instance, it is said, ever occurred, and the individual endured for years the frowns of his fellows, and nothing was ever permitted to atone for the offence.|
It is gratifying to look upon such a primitive community and dwell upon their simple but rigid virtues. Their wants were few, and were readily supplied in the abundance of the country. No one need want, if supplied with a modicum of industry. In their transactions they were guided by the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you;" and this, too, without the intervention of lawyers, magistrates or Courts, which as yet had found no place among them. Their dependence on each other induced and perpetuated kindly feelings, and in such a community but a few controversies arose. Neighborhood difficulties, if not irreconcilable by the parties, were submitted at once to the arbitrament or discreet persons, in whom the whole community had confidence; and there were hosts of such men among them whose decision was final and without appeal. In a community where so much common sense prevailed, dissatisfaction not often ensued, and the awards were quietly submitted to. Asking nothing but what was right, and submitting to nothing which was wrong, the protest against wrong was made on the threshold; without waiting for a repetition of the offence, the community soon settled every controversy in that strong vein of common sense which remarkably characterized those early settlers. Ideas of justice and equity prevailed everywhere; a violation of them in one instance was made the business of all, as they felt the same interest in having them carried out and sustained, lest they might themselves be the next victims.
The English Common Law was as well understood here as in any part of the Continent, and there were plenty of intelligent and strong minded and determined men to advise and direct in every emergency. Tedious litigation was then unknown, and not permitted. Occasional resorts to fisticuffs took place. Fair play governed in every instance, and there were plenty to enforce and require it. The universal manliness compelled the vanquished to acknowledge the prowess of the victor, and, the battle over, they drank in friendship, and it was rare, indeed, that the controversy was renewed. Once settled, in either way, it was settled forever. The Bible, the Declaration of Independence, and Poor Richard’s Almanac, and later, Washington’s Farewell, composed the family library. These lights, and their desire to do justice, coupled with their generous and friendly dispositions, enabled them to exhibit the spectacle of a contented and happy family. Looking through all the past record of an age now faded away, actual sin and immorality only prevailed with the advance of civilization. One weakness we have detected, and that alone, which sapped, in some instances, the strongest intelllects and consigned to early graves the lives of most hopeful promise. But even then there was no maudlin drunkenness or insane revels; no utter silly wrecks as seen in these times. The purity of their beverages sapped life by the excess of artificial excitement alone, and not by the effects of poisons and drugged liquors. No habits incurred detracted from the high-toned manners, the general courtesies and kindly acts everywhere practiced. Taken all in all, for noble patriotism, truth, generosity, natural gentility and good deeds, one toward another, when shall we see their like again?
EARLY COUNTY AND TOWN ORGANIZATIONS.
The County of Tioga was organized by the Legislature of 1791. It was taken out of territory previously embraced within the limits of Montgomery, which bore the name previous to and during the war of the Revolution, and until the year 1784, of Tryon County--in honor of one of the English Colonial Governors, who unfortunately, proved himself during our National struggle, the uncompromising enemy of the American cause. The name had become so odious to the people of the State that by Legislature enactment in that year, (1784), it was changed to Montgomery, in honor of the Irish soldier and patriot who fell at an early period of the war of Independence, in the gallant attack on Quebec, while leading his troops on that occasion--the 31st of December, 1775.
At the date of the organization, it embraced its present limits, and the Counties of Chemung, Broome and Chenango. It was bounded by Otsego on the East, the Military Tract and Herkimer on the North, Ontario on the West, (from which Steuben was taken in 1796), and by Pennsylvania on the South.
Its Towns, commencing at its westerly limits, were: Newtown, Chemung, Owego, (none of whose territory was where it is now, all of it lying west of the Owego Creek, and then embraced what is now Tioga), Spencer, (except that part of it lying west of Cayuta Creek), Barton and Nichols, in Tioga County, and Caroline, Danby and Newfield, in Tompkins.
The town next easterly of Owego Creek was Union, which then included within its limits what is now known as Owego, Newark, Berkshire and Richford in Tioga, and the territory now known as Union, Vestal, Lisle, &c., in Broome, and the westerly portion of what is now Chenango County. The town next east of Owego was Chenango; the next, easterly and northerly, was Jericho, which covered territory then lying in the easterly part of Chenango County as now located.
Thus it is seen that the six old towns of Chemung, Owego, Union, Chenango and Jericho, then included territory which the 52 towns of Chemung, Tioga, Broome and Chenango Counties, and the three towns of Caroline, Danby and Newfield in Tompkins, now cover, numbering in all 55.
The first loss of territory which old Tioga sustained in the organization of other Counties, was in 1798, when the northeasterly corner of her ancient domain, and a strip from the westerly part of Herkimer, were taken to form the County of Chenango then erected; which in its turn was found large enough in 1806 to admit Madison to be taken from its northern half. Next in order of time, 1806, was the organization of Broome County taken from Tioga, and so named in honor of their Lieut. Governor, John Broome. It embraced when first organized, the old towns of Chenango, &c., and territory now called Newark, Owego, Berkshire and Richford, in Tioga.
The next change in the boundaries of Tioga County took place in 1823, the year subsequent to the burning of the Court House at Spencer Village; at which time the territory now included within the four towns of Owego, Newark, Berkshire and Richford, was taken from Broome and restored to Tioga, and the then towns of Danby, Caroline and Newfield before that date comprised within Tioga, were annexed to Tompkins. At the same time Tioga was divided into two jury districts, Owego and Elmira becoming the half shires, in each of which a new Court House was erected. This was the preliminary step to the establishment of Chemung, which was doubtless then contemplated, and resulted in 1834, in a complete severance of the connection and mutuality of interests which since 1791 had bound the territory comprised within the present limits by that flourishing County to the ancient name and honors of Tioga. After a union of 45 years the final separation took place, and a new geographical line since then has been interposed between them, an imaginary barrier, however, as it has since 1798 been between Tioga, the mother, and Chenango, Broome, and the three towns in Tompkins, the daughters. The old settlers in Chemung, as now organized, struggled manfully for the cherished name of Tioga, endeared to them by a thousand fond recollections, and the still stronger one as they claimed, that the River Tioga from which the ancient name of the County arose, still remained in the boundaries of Chemung, and none of it in the newly formed County of Tioga. They thought and claimed that they should retain the old name, while the other should have more appropriately been named Susquehanna, as that majestic River passes through the entire territory. It is true that the River after its junction with the Cohocton at Painted Post, is now called Chemung, but anciently it was called Tioga its whole length, and to its junction with the Susquehanna at Tioga Point, now Athens, in Pennsylvania.
In the minds of the surviving pioneers and their descendants, however, no modern lines of demarkation can separate their pioneer fame, nor obliterate cherished memorials or ancient landmarks upon the page of truthful history; their wondrous story will ever be found united and indivisible, as certainly and as naturally as the waters which sweep the valleys of the Chemung and Susquehanna unite in one volume. Tioga Point--the name Tioga, or Ta-ga-o-gah, as the Indians pronounced it, means the forks, or a point formed by the junction of streams, or perhaps more poetically, "the meeting of the waters." Its very name indicates a point, so that the addition of "Point" made by the early settlers was tautology, and probably originated in their ignorance of the English language. It was a favorite addition to many localities, and like the Indian names, was descriptive of the locality--as Chenango Point, Tioga Point, Olean Point, &c.
From the date of the first infant effort at internal improvement, commencing with the issue of the first commission in 1797, to PHINEAS CATLIN and MATTHEW CARPENTER, (the latter of whom was succeeded by JOHN HENDY,) "to lay out the road leading from Catskill Landing, upon the Hudson, to Catherinestown, in the County of Tioga," to the projection and completion of the New York and Erie Railroad, through "the Southern Tier," that crowning triumph of this triumphal era--the pioneer struggles and patriotic efforts of their inhabitants have been encouraged and strengthened by a sympathetic and heartfelt mutuality. Their hopes and fears have been in unison; their defeats and victories shared in the kindest brotherhood--co-equals in public spirit, and in its substantial and enduring rewards.
Chemung County was taken from Tioga by Act of 29th March, 1836, dividing the old County by a line beginning on the east bank of the Chemung River, on the Pennsylvania line; thence up the River by its banks at low water mark, to a Sulphur Spring near the center of the lower Narrows; thence in a direct line north-east to the south-east corner of Lot No. 153; thence north along the south line of Lots 153, 201, 202 and 203, to the south line of the town of Erin; thence by such line to the Cayuta Creek; thence up the center of said creek to the South line of the town of Cayuta; thence east by that line to the east line of Cayuta; thence north by such line to the line of the County of Tompkins.
All that part lying west of this line now forms the County of Chemung. The Act erecting the County of Schuyler took from the boundaries of Chemung two of her towns, Catharine and Dix, and part of Cayuta, leaving the remainder, to which the name of Van Etten was applied, still in Chemung.
Big Flats was taken from Elmira April 16th, 1822.
Catlin taken from Catharine April 16th, 1823.
Cayuta taken from Spencer March 30th, 1824, part now in Schuyler, remained in Chemung by the name of Van Etten.
Chemung organized Feb. 16th, 1791.
Elmira taken from Chemung by name of Newtown, April 10th, 1772, changed to Elmira in 1811.
Erin taken from Chemung, March, 1822.
Southport taken from Elmira April 16th, 1822.
Veteran taken from Catharine April 16th, 1823.
Horseheads taken from Elmira, Act of 1854.
Elmira City taken from Elmira and Southport, April 7, 1865.
Ashland taken from Elmira and Chemung, April 25, 1867.
The names of the earlier settlers who have held important positions in the Counties of Tioga and Chemung, may be interesting to their descendants. We have completed the list by adding the names of those up to the present time, in our own County, many of whom are still living. It is difficult to separate the two Counties and do justice to all.
The Members of Assembly from Tioga and Chemung, from the organization of each, are as follows:
|1798||Emanuel Coryell, Benjamin Hovey.|
|1802 1803||Caleb Hyde.|
|1805 1806 1807||John Miller.|
|1808 1809 1810||Emanuel Coryell.|
|1814 1815||Caleb Baker.|
|1816 1817 1818||Gamaliel H. Barstow.|
|1823||Matthew Carpenter, Benjamin Jennings.|
|1824||Grant B. Baldwin, G. H. Barstow.|
|1825||Charles Pumpelly, Samuel Winton.|
|1826||Isaac Baldwin, Anson Camp.|
|1827||David Williams, G. H. Barstow.|
|1828||William Maxwell, Jacob Swartwood.|
|1829||Caleb Baker, Samuel Baragar.|
|1830||J. G. McDowell, Wright Dunham.|
|1831||J. G. McDowell, David Williams.|
|1832||Nathaniel Smith, Joel Tallmadge, Jr.|
|1833||Jacob Westlake, Thomas Farrington.|
|1834||John R. Drake, George Gardner.|
|1835||George Fisher, Green Bennett.|
H. Goodwin, W. H. Sutton.
[Division in 1836.]
|1843||Simeon R. Griffin.|
|1844||Nathaniel W. Davis.|
|1845 1846||Gideon O. Chase.|
|1847||Charles R. Barstow.|
|1849||E. S. Sweet.|
|1853||T. J. Chatfield.|
|1855||Lewis P. Legg.|
|1856||Abram H. Miller.|
CHEMUNG COUNTY--MEMBERS OF ASSEMBLY.
|1839||J. P. Couch.|
|1841||Jefferson B. Clark.|
|1842 1843||S. G. Hathaway, Jr.|
|1848||G. W. Buck.|
|1852||James B. VanEtten.|
|1853||H. W. Jackson.|
|1856||J. Burr Clark.|
|1857||William T. Hastings.|
|1859 1860||Lucius Robinson.|
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS--TIOGA COUNTY.
1818 to June 1822, John L. Tillinghast.
1822 to 1823, William Maxwell.
1823 to 1826, Eleazer Dana.
1826 to 1835, A. Konkle.
1835 to July, 1836, A. K. Gregg.
FIRST JUDGES--TIOGA COUNTY.
Abraham Miller, 1791 to 1798.
John Patterson, 1798 to 1807.
John Miller, 1807 to 1810.
Emanuel Coryell, 1810 to 1818.
G. H. Barstow, 1818 to 1828.
Grant B. Baldwin, 1828 to 1833.
John R. Drake, 1833 to 1838.
CHEMUNG COUNTY--FIRST JUDGES.
Jos. L. Darling, 1836 to 1844.
James Dunn, 1844 to 1846.
Jos. L. Darling, 1846 to 1847.
J. W. Wisner, 1847 to November 1850.
A. Konkle, November 1850 to January 1851.
A. S. Thurston, 1851 to 1855.
Theodore North, 1856.
H. Boardman Smith, 1860.
E. P. Brooks, 1860 to 1864.
G. L. Smith, present incumbent.
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS--CHEMUNG COUNTY.
A. K. Gregg, 1836 to 1841.
H. Gray, 1861, April to July.
D. C. Woodcock, 1841 to 1844.
W. North, 1844 to 1845.
E. P. Brooks, 1845 to 1847.
E. P. Hart, 1847 to 1850.
E. Quin, 1850 to 1855.
A. Robertson, 1855 to 1856.
S. B. Tomlinson, 1856 to 1859.
John Murdoch, 1860 to 1862.
E. F. Babcock, present incumbent.
COUNTY CLERKS--TIOGA COUNTY.
Thos. Nicholson, Feb. 1791 to Jan. 13, 1792.
Matthew Carpenter, Jan. 1792 to 27th March, 1819.
Thos. Maxwell, March 1819 to Jan. 1, 1829.
Green M. Tuthill, Jan. 29 to Jan. 1835.
D. Wallis, Jan. 1835 to Jan. 1843.
M. Stevens, Nov. 1843 to Jan. 1853.
L. W. Kingman Jan. 1, 1853.
COUNTY CLERKS--CHEMUNG COUNTY.
Isaac Baldwin, Nov. 1837 to Nov. 1840.
S. L. Rood, Nov. 1840 to Nov. 1846.
G. M. Tuthill, Nov. 1846 to Nov. 1849.
A. F. Babcock, Nov. 1849 to Nov. 1855.
Richard Baker, Nov. 1855 to Nov. 1858.
U. S. Lowe, Nov. 1858 to Nov. 1861.
S. B. Tomlinson, Jan. 1862.
George Bennitt, 1864.
R. F. Stewart, present incumbent.
Jas. McMasters, Feb. 17, 1791, to Feb. 18, 1795.
Jos. Hinchman, Feb. 18, 1795 to 1799.
Edward Edwards, 1799 to 1800.
Guy Maxwell, Feb. 1800 to Jan. 1804.
John Cantine, Jan. 1804 to Jan. 1805.
Wm. Woodruff, Jan. 1805 to April 5, 1806.
Wm. Jenkins, April 1806 to Feb. 1810.
Jona. Platt, Feb. 1810 to Feb. 1811.
Miles Forman, Feb. 1811 to March 1813.
Jona. Platt, March 1813 to April 1815.
Miles Forman, April 1815 to March 1819.
E. S. Hinman, March 1819 to July 1819.
Henry Wells, July 1819 to Feb. 1821.
Miles Forman, Feb. 1821 to Nov. 1822.
Wm. Jenkins, Nov. 1822 to Nov. 1825.
E. Shoemaker, Nov. 1825 to Nov. 1828.
H. McCormick, Nov. 1828 to Nov. 1831.
Lyman Covell, Nov. 1831 to Nov. 1834.
John Jackson, Nov. 1834 to Nov. 1837.
A. A. Beckwith, Nov. 1837 to Nov. 1840.
Samuel Minier, Nov. 1840 to Nov. 1843.
William R. Judson, Nov. 1843 to Nov. 1846.
William Skellinger, Nov. 1846 to Nov. 1849.
William T. Reeder, Nov. 1849 to Nov. 1852.
Daniel F. Pickering, Nov. 1852 to Nov. 1855.
William M. Gregg, Nov. 1858 to Nov. 1861.
William Halliday, Nov. 1861 to Nov. 1864.
E. W. Howell, Nov. 1864 to Nov. 1867.
Jud Smith, present incumbent.
The first Senator from the Southern Tier in the Western District, was Vincent Mathews--20th Session 1796-7. 22d Session 1798-9 and 1800. 24th Session 1801-2.
Caleb Hyde, 1804-5-6-7-8.
Henry A. Townsend, 1811 to ‘14.
Farrand Stranahan, 1815 to ‘16.
G. H. Barstow, 1819 to ‘22.
S. G. Hathaway, F. Stranahan, 1823.
L. A. Burrows, 1824 to ‘27.
G. H. Wheeler, 1828 to ‘31.
J. G. McDowell, 1832 to ‘35.
Eben Mack, 1836 to ‘38.
D. S. Dickinson, 1837 to ‘40.
A. B. Dickinson, 1840 to ‘44.
Nehemiah Platt, 1841 to ‘44.
Wm. M. Hawley, 1848.
F. R. Cornell, 1852.
G. B. Guinnup, 1850.
W. J. Gilbert, 1851.
A. B. Dickinson, 1854.
Of the Members of Congress, none appear from this section until the 11th Congress, 1809 to ‘11.
Uri Tracy, 1812 to ‘13.
O. C. Comstock, 1813 to ‘15.
Daniel Avery, 1813 to ‘15.
E. T. Throop, 1815 to ‘17.
Daniel Avery, 1815 to ‘17.
John R. Drake, 1817 to ‘19.
O. C. Comstock, 1817 to ‘19.
Caleb Baker, 1819 to ‘21.
D. Woodcock, 1821 to ‘23.
Samuel Lawrence, 1823 to ‘25.
Charles Humphrey, 1825 to ‘27.
D. Woodcock, 1827 to ‘29.
Thomas Maxwell, 1829 to ‘31.
G. H. Barstow, 1831 to ‘33.
S. G. Hathaway, 1833 to ‘35.
N. Halsey, 1833 to ‘35.
S. B. Leonard, 1835 to ‘37.
A. D. W. Bruyn, 1837 to ‘39.
Hiram Gray, 1837 to ‘39.
S. B. Leonard, 1839 to ‘41.
Samuel Partridge, 1841 to ‘43.
Smith M. Purdy, 1843 to ‘45.
Stephen Strong, 1845 to ‘47.
S. S. Ellsworth, 1845 to ‘47.
William T. Lawrence, 1847 to ‘49.
William T. Jackson, 1849 to ‘51.
H. S. Walbridge, 1851 to ‘53.
Andrew Oliver, 1853 to ‘55.
Andrew Oliver, 1855 to ‘57.