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History & Geography of Bradford County by Heverly
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History & Geography of Bradford County

By Clement F. Heverly

1923
History & Geography - Table of Contents
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HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY OF BRADFORD COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

By Clement F. Heverly

Chapter XLIX

Typed by Pat Newell Smith

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Armenia Township

Armenia signifies, "heavenly mountain." The mountain from which the township derived its name was first so called by Noah Wilson who settles in what is now Alba borough in 1803.

Geographical - Armenia, the smallest of the western townships, comprising 1/68 of the area of Bradford county, is bounded north by Columbia, east by Troy, south by Canton and west by Tioga county. It is situated on the top of a high ridge [Blossburg mountain] which extends farthest towards the northeast and is about 2000 feet above tide water. Its eastern boundary is very irregular, following the brow of the mountain in a southwesterly direction from the northeast corner to the Tioga county line. The eastern portion of the township is a high table land, sloping to the west. Here the Tioga river has its source from the Tamarack creek and other tributary streams; the head, Tamarack swamp, covering an area of 100 acres, was originally a lake but is now nearly carpeted by a growth of whortleberry, cranberry and wild vegetation. When first known, Armenia was clad in a beautiful forest of ash, beech, birch, basswood, cherry, chestnut, cucumber, tamarack, and noted for its profusion of sugar maples. It was a favorite habitat of deer and wild turkeys with wolves and bears lurking in the swamps and ledges. The streams were alive with brook trout. The township has an area of 17 square miles and was formed from Canton and Troy in 1843; population 256 in 1920.

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History: Settlement - Armenia was settled mostly by people from the states of New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The first improvements in the township were made by a Mr. Wilson in 1808, although there was no permanent settler until Newton Harvey came in 1822 and located in the northwestern part of the township. Those following him were George Hawkins and Samuel Avery in 1828. From 1830 to ‘32 the arrivals were Heman Morgan, Nathan Wood and Newell Phinney. In 1833, Samuel Moore, Joseph Biddle, Alexander Cease, John Lyon, Alba Burnham, John S. Becker, Daniel Crandall and Robert Mason, the last being the thirteenth settler in the town. The next were Andrew Monroe, Wrightman Pierce, William Covert and Daniel Story and Eber Story. In 1836, Abiezer Field and about the same time John J. Reynolds and Timothy Randall. In 1838, Gosper Webler and son, Choral H. Webler, and in 1839, John Y. Dumond and Rev. John P. Smith and sons.

Rev. Silas E. Shepard, the eminent Disciples minister, writer and lecturer, made Armenia his home in the early ‘30’s. Col. Lyman Hinman of Auburn, NY, who did much for the good and uplift of the community, was also an early resident for a few years. The first of the settlers to meet a violent death was Nathan Wood who was accidentally killed in a sawmill, May 22, 1835. Gosper Webler, who was the son of a Hessian soldier, captured at Trenton, died in 1872, aged ninety-four years. Abiezer Field was a nephew of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln of Revolutionary fame. But few of the Armenians gave much attention to hunting. They found the manufacture of maple sugar was more profitable, if not quite as gratifying, and every settler consequently had his sugar bush. Wood brothers one season produced 12,000 pounds of sugar.

First Events - The first school house in the township was a log one, built in 1832. Susan Smith was the first teacher. The building was used for both school and church purposes about ten years. The first religious class, Methodist Episcopal, was formed about 1835 by Rev. Samuel Salisbury.

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About 1840 a road was opened through the town from Canton village to Columbia flats. Armenia’s first constable was Norman Randall, 1843; the first Justices of the peace, John Lyon and Robert Mason, 1844. The first vote for President, 1844, was Polk twenty-eight votes and Clay twenty-two. The only persons of the town chosen to county office: Robert Mason, Oliver D. Field and Geo. A. Douglass, all county auditors. The first post office, "Covert", established 1886, with Geo. L. Cover postmaster. Armenia has the distinction of being the only township in Bradford county never having a hotel or licensed place to sell intoxicating liquors.

Patriotism - The Armenians are noted for their patriotism. During the Civil War, Armenia furnished the greatest percentage of soldiers to population of any township in the county. She sent seventy-five of her sons, one of whom was killed in battle and nine of disease and in rebel prisons. Eight of the Armenians took part in the World War, and one, Sergeant Pilot Dean Ivan Lamb, earned renown as a military flyer. During his service he brought down eight Boche aircrafts. In his final encounter he had the toes stripped from his right foot and his machine wrecked, yet he escaped.

Reminiscence - The following is related of Samuel Avery: "Avery had been engaged by Reuben Nash of Columbia flats to assist in butchering hogs and received for pay a liberal piece of pork with several ‘plucks thrown in.’ After securing a good supply of rations from Mrs. Nash’s generous table, Avery started in the darkness through an almost unbroken wilderness for his home four miles distant. His road lay through a glen, called Panther Lick, and he soon hears wolves on his track. Return he could not and his only avenue of escape was towards his home, for which he pushed his steps as fast as possible. The snapping of the jaws of the ugly brutes smote ominously on his ear. Nearer and nearer the gaunt, hungry pack advance, and something must be done to check the close pursuit. Avery was for once, at least, equal to the emergency force upon him. Cutting off with his knife a small piece of the liver, he cast it down in the path where it

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was seized by the voracious beasts and quarreled over for a time, and then the pursuit was again taken up. Again the liver was sacrificed upon the altar of necessity and again the advance of danger was stayed. Thus by husbanding and using judiciously his ‘pluck’ Avery saved his ‘bacon,’ and lived to recount his adventure on Armenia mountain to admiring crowds of small boys as well as to children of a larger growth."