Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
History & Geography of Bradford County by Heverly
Bradford County PA
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Tioga County PA
Chapter 18 - Ulster

History & Geography of Bradford County

By Clement F. Heverly

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Ulster Township (pp. 207-215)

By Clement F. Heverly 
(Typed by Robert Towner,

Ulster derives its name from the Susquehanna Company's township of Ulster, being a part of the original township, which was first granted to Asahel Buck and others in 1775; but no survey or allotment being made, it was superseded by another grant in 1785, and this by a third grant in 1786 and surveyed and allotted in the fall of the same year.

Geographical. -Ulster, comprising 1-64 of the area of Bradford county, is bounded north by Athens, east by Sheshequin, from which it is separated by the Susquehanna river, south by Burlington and North Towanda and west by Burlington and Smithfield. Its surface ranges from high hills in the west and south to broad flats along the river, which are traversed by a highland belt, north of the center. The trend is southeast, the northern section being drained by Buck creek, the central by Cash creek and the southern by Hemlock run. Ulster was origin ally heavily timbered with white and yellow pine, hemlock, oak, maple, beech and chestnut, intermingled with ash, birch, elm, hickory, cucumber, basswood, button-wood, cherry, poplar, butternut, walnut, willow and a dozen other varieties. The region back from the river was infested with bears, panthers and wolves ; deer were numerous. There were trout in the creeks and the river swarmed with schools of shad. The township has an area of 18 square miles and was formed from Tioga in 1797 ; population 929 in 1920.

History: Indian Occupancy. -For centuries Ulster was the Sheshequannunk of succeeding tribes and nations of American Indians. The Great War-Path on the east side of the river, crossed it at Ulster village, where it connected with paths he established his seat on the broad plains on the west side of the Susquehanna below Tioga Point. In 1763, after falling upon the first white settlement in the Wyoming Valley and murdering 20 of its inhabitants, the Indians drove off the cattle and with their plunder retired to Sheshequannunk

A Trading Post, the first in the county, was established at Sheshequannunk in 1765 by John Anderson and the Ogdens, who bought peltry of the Indians, or exchanged for rifles, ammunition trinkets and rum.

Moravian Missionaries began preaching to the Indians at Sheshequannunk in 1766. A mission was established here in February, 1769, and existed till May, 1772. In 1770 a chapel was erected, surmounted by a cupola containing a bell. This building stood near the site of the present Ulster Presbyterian church. At its close the mission numbered 60 souls. On August 4, 1771, a child was born to Missionary and Mrs. John Roth, being the first white child born in Ulster and the second in the county.

The Indian village of Sheshequannunk in 1768 consisted of twelve huts, seven on the north side of the creek and five on the south. The Indians at the north had acquired some knowledge of the arts and customs of civilized life. Their chief business was in raising cattle of which they had large herds with meadows and pasture fields extending up to Tioga The Indians on the south were wild ones who indulged in heathenish practices. The Indian settlement at Ulster was broken up by Colonel Hartley in 1778, and the expedition of General Sullivan, the next year, put an end to any further attempt of Indian occupancy. There was an Indian burying ground below Ulster village on the line of the state road.

The Pioneers.-At the close of the Revolution, men who had fought for Independence and were interested in Connecticut lands, came with their families and formed the first settlement in the wilderness. These New England Yankees, ready and willing to face the privations and hardships in a new country , were soon followed by other dauntless spirits, among whom was a sprinkling of the German, Welsh and a considerable acquisition from Scotland.

Benjamin Clark, a native of Tolland, Connecticut, removed to the Wyoming Valley and was among the first to build a house on the town-plot of Wilkes-Barre. He was a corporal in the first Independent Company of Wyoming under Capt. Robert Durkee and served seven years in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the detachment sent for the relief of Wyoming after the fatal battle and was in the army of General Sullivan against the Indians. In 1784 he removed from Wyoming to Asylum , and the next year, settled in Ulster on what is known as the Ross farm. His house was the place of entertainment for travelers and the home of Methodist itinerants who held religious meetings there. He was an ardent Federalist, captain of militia and popularly known as Captain Clark. By his first wife, Nabbe, he had children John T., Polly (Mrs. Blanchard) and Abigail (Mrs. George Culver). He married, second, Keziah Yarrington, widow of Silas Gore, who was slain at the battle of Wyoming, and had children: Lucinda (Mrs. Nathaniel Hovey) , Ursula (Mrs. Samuel Treadway) , William and Julia Ann (1st. Mrs. John Overton, 2nd, Mrs. Joseph Passmore). Captain Clark died, 1834, aged 87 years.

Adrial Simons, who held one right in the Susquehanna Company 's township of Ulster, came on from Connecticut in 1785 and occupied his claim. He had served in the Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1780 and was taken prisoner. For a long time he was confined in one of the prison ships on Long Island Sound, where he suffered untold hardships from confinement, hunger, cold and filth. He married Sarah, sister of Chester and Ozias Bingham. She and three children died of fever in the summer of 1803. Of the large family, "Septer" who died November 20, 1798, aged 15 years, has the oldest marked grave in the Ulster cemetery. Other children remembered were Adrial, Elijah, Anson , Bingham, George and Jeduthan. Mr. Simons died, 1829, aged 73 years.

Chester Bingham, who was an extensive speculator in Connecticut lands, came to Ulster, 1786, locating on the G. H. Vandyke farm. He was reputed wealthy but by failure of the Connecticut claim, lost everything. In 1790 his family consisted of himself, wife, four sons and three daughters. In 1803 during an epidemic of fever his wife and sons, Joseph and Chester, died. Other children were Augustus, Jerusha (Mrs. Josiah Tuttle) , Sarah (Mrs. Josephus Campbell) and Millie (Mrs. Morris Wilcox). Soon after the death of his wife Mr. Bingham returned to Connecticut.

Lockwood Smith removed from Connecticut to Wyoming. Upon the breaking out of hostilities he took his family back East where his wife died. He served through the war and afterwards married Deborah Buck. In 1786 he came to Ulster, where he held one proprietary right, Connecticut title, covering the Havens and Snell farms. Having become permanently settled, he improved his 400-acre farm and died thereon in 1832, aged 89 years. He was one of the original Baptists in the county and took a deep interest in helping organize the first church of that denomination in the wilderness. By his wife, Deborah, he had children : Enos, Nancy, William, Asahel , Deborah, Phoebe, Lockwood and Silas. He married, third, Mrs. Rachel Platt and had Platt, Rachel, Mary, Abigail and Zeruah.

William Buck held two proprietary rights in Ulster by the allotments of 1786 and was one of the first to locate there. In 1789 he was an overseer of the poor for Ulster and still on the assessment rolls in 1806. On March 20, 1798, he was married by Judge Gore to Miss Urana Mitchell of Smithfield. Mr. Buck removed West.

Solomon Tracy, a native of Preston, Conn., who served three years in the Revolutionary War, came to Ulster, 1789, having purchased 500 acres under Connecticut title. He settled on the Mather farm, where he continued to make improvements, which he sold, 1809 and removed to Angelica, N. Y He had married Wells, their children being Mary, Mehitable, Charlotte, Catherine, Hila, Ira, George, Leicester, Isaac, Guy and Henry W.

Daniel Minier was a son of Christian Minier, a persecuted Huguenot, who came from Germany and settled in this country. The former in or before the year 1789, left Northampton County, Pa., bringing his family up the river to Milan, where he located, being the first settler at that place. His lands included a purchase of 400 acres , which he made from the State of Pennsylvania , 1813. Here Mr. Minier lived until his death, 1822 which occurred while visiting friends in Northampton county. H is family were ardent Methodists and organized the first class of that denomination in the neighborhood about 1794. By his wife , Polly, he h ad children: John , Abraham, Elias, George, Daniel, Anna, Catherine , Elizabeth, Hannah, Mary, Sally and Susan.

Samuel Clark came to Ulster soon after his brother, Benjamin In the census of 1790 his family consisted of five males and three females. He met a tragic death on Christmas, 1808, being shot by a neighbor in mistake for a deer. William Lochry (Loughry) settled above the Ulster narrows before 1790. In 1798 he sold a portion of his land to Joseph Lochry. The Lochrys sold to Stephen Powell 1801, and soon after removed from the place. John Hutchinson came to Ulster prior to 1790. H e manufactured brick and supplied the surrounding country.

William Curry, soldier of the Revolution, in 1790 removed from Duchess county, N.Y., and settled on Queen Esther's flats. Here he lived for a few years, then purchased from the State of Pennsylvania 240 acres of land in Ulster Township, known as the Welles farm. During the War of 1812, Mr. Curry and his eldest son, William, enlisted and both served with credit to themselves and country. His son, Lockwood, met a tragic death, 1801, when, while hunting, he was shot in mistake for a deer. Mr. Curry married Charity Lockwood by whom he had six sons and three daughters. He died, 1844, aged 96 years.

Abraham Parmeter, a native of Boston, who had served in the Revolutionary War, came to Ulster, 1791. Here in 1791 or '92 he married Patience Mills. In 1813 he removed with his family to Ohio. Joseph Smith, a brother of Lockwood, located in Ulster, 1791. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary War and one of the original Baptists in the county. At his house was formed the present Smithfield Baptist church in 1810. He died, 1834, aged 87 years. But little is known of his family. One of his sons, Horace, was accidentally shot while watching a deer lick.

Isaac Cash, a native of Orange county, N.Y., who had removed from the Wyoming Valley to Tioga Point, where he was one of the first settlers, in 1791 purchased and located in Ulster. He was an energetic man and dealt largely in lumber and real estate. He married Sally, (daughter of Judge Gore and had children: Mary Ann, David, Eliza, Clarissa , George W., Lord Gore, John Spalding, Daniel Shepard, Isaac, Sarah and William K. George and John went West, fought for Texan independence and were killed by the Mexicans.

William Tuttle and sons, Arad, Joel and Josiah, came from Connecticut to Ulster about 1792. Joel married Rebecca Pierce and with his father removed to Standing Stone ; Josiah married Jerusha Bingham and settled in Sheshequin. Morris Wilcox, a rider of race horses, located in Ulster about 1792. He married Millie Bingham and died about 1806 while out of the county attending races. Eli Holcomb, a native of Granby, Connecticut, emigrated with his family to Ulster, 1793, settling on Cash creek. In or before 1795 lie erected a corn-mill and saw-mill, the latter supplying the lumber for the first plank houses in a large section of country. His wife was Hannah Crofut and their children : Selah, Hannah, Alpheus, Truman , Hugh, Sterling, Jared and Cynthia.

Cherick Westbrook and Leonard Westbrook, brothers, were settlers under the Susquehanna Company in or before 1790, first in Standing Stone, and 1796 in Ulster. During the Revolutionary War both served in Capt. John Franklin 's Wyoming Company. They were noted for their size and strength. Leonard after some years removed to other parts. Cherick lived in the lower part of the town next to the narrows. In 1813 he sold to Thomas Overton and removed to Standing Stone. The following is related of him : "Once as lie was strolling over his plantation, he was suddenly confronted by a large black bear in his path. Bruin arose and advanced on his hind legs for battle. Man and bear clinched and although Bruin seemed to have the advantage Westbrook landed on top in the fall. The giant ended the struggle by seizing a large pine knot and beating the bear's brains out. Except for badly shattered clothing Westbrook came out of the encounter without injury.

Samuel Lenox, a native of Canada , came to Ulster, 1799. Not long after, his wife died and the family was broken up. He went to the Mohawk Valley, his son, Daniel, remaining in Ulster. Stephen Powell was a son of Joseph Powell, a Moravian missionary. The former served and lost a leg in the Revolutionary War. In 1801, he removed from Dutchess county, N. Y., settling the first farm above the narrows , where he died, 1806, and 59 years. His wife was Mary Burdge, and their children : Margaret, Elizabeth, Joseph C., Hannah, Lewis, John, James Stephen and Richard.

Nathaniel Hovey came to Ulster in 1802 and married Lydia Clark. After a few years lie moved to Batavia, enlisted in the War of 1812 and died in the service. He left children: Simmons C., William M. and Hannah. Wanton Rice located at Ulster, 1802 and opened a hostelry. In 1815 lie sold to Charles Chapman and removed to Athens. Elijah Granger arrived from Connecticut, 1804, remained a few years then removed to Athens.

Thomas Overton, a native of England, came from Philadelphia to Ulster as land agent and dealer in real estate, 1807. The same year he was licensed to keep a house of public entertainment. He was a man of decided enterprise. He made many individual purchases of real estate and in addition to keeping a public house , soon brought in goods and opened a store. his place became a center of interest and trade, amid he next built a combination grist- and saw-mill on the river. During the days of the old militia Overton's was a favorite meeting place for holding trainings. When Bradford county was formed Mr. Overton took a deep interest in the establishment of the county-seat. He laid out the village of Towanda, was one of its original proprietors and gave the public square upon which the court house is erected. He died suddenly, 1835, aged 70 years.

Other Settlers : 1811 .-Edmund Lockwood, Dr. Joseph Westcoat ; 1812-Ebenezer Brague, Alexander and Henry Hibbard, Dr. Robert Russell ; 1813 John Minier , inn keeper, Daniel Minier , saw-mill ; 1816 -David Couch, dish-turner, Alfred Granger , merchant, Ichabod Gray, shoemaker, Ebenezer Tuttle, inn keeper ; 1817-Mathias Corliss and George Minier , merchants ; 1820 Oliver Arnold, Sidney S. Bailey, tanner, Aaron Bartholomew, John Bownian, Ralph R. Cadwell, William Gibson, John Gilmour, Benjamin Jacobs, Oliver Joslin, Edward Kemp, tailor, Wm. Walker, millwright ; 1821 Ebenezer Lambert, John Lewis, Robert Moore ; 1823 -Collins Brooks, James Mauger , Joseph and Peter Vanfleet ; 1824 Patrick Higgins , Henry and Cornelius Plowman; 1825-Joseph Brooks, Abraham Goodwin, John and William Vandyke.

The Beginning. -School and church matters are thins de-scribed by Duke Lianeourt, the celebrated French traveler, who passed through Ulster in June , 1795: ''There are two schools in the neighborhood, which are both kept by women who teach needlework and reading. To learn to read is, therefore, the only instruction boys can obtain here. These schools are maintained solely by a fee of five shillings a quarter, paid by each scholar. No place has hitherto been set apart for religious services. The services are held in private houses and engage a preacher at a very small salary. Families of Methodists constitute the principal part of the in-habit ants. , , The first regular school in Ulster is said to have been taught by Phineas Kingsbury about 1801.

The first marriage was that of Abraham Parmeter and Patience Mills in 1791, or '92. The first licensed inn or hotel in Ulster was opened in 1797 by Joseph Hitchcock, who was succeeded by Isaac Cash in 1799. In 1801 John Pierce was a merchant and Arad Tuttle was a distiller in Ulster. There was a shad fishery at the upper end of Fish island; 500 shad were taken there at one haul in 1810. Transportation across the river at Ulster was by ferry boats until 1889 when a county bridge was built. This was torn away by an ice jam in Jan-nary ' 1904, and replaced in 1905 by a state bridge at a cost of $150,000.

Patriotism Record: Revolutionary War. -Benjamin Clark, William Curry, Daniel Minier, Abraham Parmeter, John Pierce, Stephen Powell , Adrial Simons, Christopher Simonson, Joseph Smith , Lockwood Smith, Solomon Tracy, John Vandyke, Cherick Westbrook, Leonard Westbrook, Joseph Westcoat ; War of 1812.-William Curry, William Curry, Jr., Patrick Higgins Dr. Robert Russell, Jonathan Thompson ; Civil War.-Furnished eighty-five soldiers, of whom five were killed in battle, one died in rebel prison and six of disease ; Spanish-American War.-Two soldiers ; World War.-Forty-one soldiers. Public Officials.-State senator Robert S. Edmiston ; Representatives Lockwood Smith , Jr Robert S. Edmiston, John C. Mather ; Sheriff Lockwood Smith, J r. ; Register and Recorder -Horatio Black, County Commissioner George H. Vandyke ; County Auditors Abraham Goodwin, E B. Simaylor ; Coroners John Minier, Daniel B. Walker, Guy C. Holcomb, A B. Lyon ; Jury Commissioner C. Edson Ferguson.

Ulster, the principal village, has been the center of interests since the time of the red man or the establishment of a trading-post.