Bradford County PA
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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
History of Monroe Township & Borough 1779-1885
Clement F. Heverly 
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Continued From

Oh, those delicious pies, the cakes would almost melt in your mouth ; why cannot our wives and daughters make such pies and cakes ? Is it because we have lost our boyish taste and avidity ? I guess that it must be so. The old men told their best stories ; another song was sung, all were pleased and all went home feeling fine."

M I S C E L L A N E O U S.

When back I look on forty years
With scenes all spread before me,
" ' Tis there I find, brought to my mind,
Undaunted scenes of glory ;
With settlements new, and settlers few
E'en settlements were scanty,
With here and there a huge log hut,
Much like the Irish shanty.

Who ! peddy-pe-dow,
Who ! how-de-how, gee up,
Adap, Aloop.

Those huts of logs, and rude fenced fields,
Contained our earthly all, sirs
We were content, and onward bent

* The above song refers to the story as told on page 81, which modifies it slightly from the way it was first given to us. The poetry is undoubtedly accurate, and was composed by Eliphalet Mason. The chorus has reference to the words Mr. French used to repeat when driving his oxen, and was added by Hiram Cranmer. The song is sung to the tune of " Billy O'Rourke." French found the young panthers back of Greenwood, on the farm now occupied by Harry Dorsey. He was living where Greenwood now is at the time. After returning from the East Mr. French purchased a farm on the hills back of Monroe, and lived there until the time of his death. Log chains were very scarce, and as stated in the song, he brought one in upon his back with the traps. He became quite a noted trapper, and as told in the second story on page 81, after his mishap, instead of returning home, he took across the mountains to Wilkes-Barre to get his gun repaired. His family became alarmed and the neighbors turned out to search for him before he returned. Mrs. French is yet living, at an advanced age.


Although our means were small ;
The older hands cut down the trees
The younger trimmed the boughs
And when the sun sank in the West
We hunted up the cows.

A chubby boy just in his teens,
The hero of my story,
A daring feat did thus transact
Which ended in his glory ;
While at his task a hunting cows
And through the thicket peeping
There he espied on a mossy bed,
Two pretty kits a sleeping.

What do ye there, ye little elves,
I think you worth a grabbing,
So he took them both into his arms
To bear them to his cabin ;
Those little kits both scratched and bit
And kept a constant howling
And soon a dismal noise was heard,
The older one was growling.

Without delay, soon found her way
And bounded in before him,
Spit in his face, cat-like disgrace
With a look not much imploring ;
And now so vexed and sorely scratched,
One kit he threw its mother
Take that yourself you growling elf
And I will keep the other.

And now content each party grew,
Our hero home did scamper
The panther grew, our hero, too,
From chubby boy to yeoman,
Witha panther's pack upon his back
He turned a panther showman.


Now many a day, far, far away
His money grew in measure,
He thought of home no more to roam
And sold the little treasure ;
Thus sixty more, adds to his store,
Likewise a hunter's trap,
And a log chain, too, both good and new
He laid upon his back.

His home he sought, his land he bought.
And paid for with his treasure
Industrious wages crowned all his days,
He lived in peace and pleasure :
If you would know, how wealth can grow
Our hero has an answer
All he has got fell to his lot,---
By catching the panther.

The first assessment of Monroe was made in the winter of 1821-22 by John B. Hinman. The following are extracts : The whole number of taxables residing in the town ( then including parts of Towanda and Asylum ), 114 ; the whole amount of tax, on real and personal property, $175.53, the rate of taxation being five mills ; the whole number of acres improved, 683, or one thirty-fifth of the township ; the greatest number of acres improved by any one tax-payer, A. C. Rockwell, 75. The greatest tax was that of Austin and Russell Fowler, who were assessed upon property as follows:

30 acres improved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 350
270 acres unimproved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
4 houses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
1 grist mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
1 saw mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200


1/2 distillery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Tavern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Fulling mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
2 horses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
2 oxen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
6 cows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2358

The saw mills in operation in Monroe in 1821 were Fowler Bros,' James Lewis', Eliphalet Mason's and William Means' ( on the Vangorder place ) ; the grist mills were---Fowler Bros.' and William Means' ; distillery---Fowler Bros. & Bristol's.
From the assessment taken of Towanda township in 1813, ( then including Monroe ), we extract the following :
Russell Fowler, 1 grist mill, 1 saw mill, 1/2 distillery ; Daniel Gilbert, 1 saw mill ; Gurdon Hewitt, 1 saw mill ; John D. Sanders, 1 saw mill.
In 1835, the number of mills in operation in the township was 14.
In the Bradford Gazette of Sept 5, 1813, A. V. Mathews advertises for a "laborer on a farm and to occasionally assist in the blacksmith shop."
In the Gazette of Sept 13, 1813, "a reward of $30 is offered for the return of J_____ S____, who broke jail on the evening of the 13th inst."
In the Gazette of March 5, 1814, John D. Sanders "offers his valuable farm of 440 acres for sale" ; and in the issue of Nov 27, 1815, advertises for "one or two good sawyers."
In the Gazette of June 15, 1815, A. C. Rockwell offers a number of grass scythes for sale.



"Once upon a time Abner Hinman and Adonijah Alden were coming down the South Branch from Albany, one of them riding a horse, and the other walking, by turns, and when they were passing the Saunders farm ( now Ridgeway's ) they were somewhat alarmed by the notes of distress which came from one of the herd of cattle that was pasturing in a field that they were passing. The commotion among the cattle, accompanied by the well-known wails of distress, induced the two young men to turn with hurried steps in the direction of the well evinced trouble. They soon discovered a panther with a yearling heifer by the throat, and prostrate bawling for help. The rest of the herd were snorting and blowing, and doing all that they could to frighten the monter away, while he with his prostrate prey, was leisurely drinking the blood as it exuded from the wounded throat. These young men were for once without weapons, but not without the usual frontierman's pluck. They formed the line of attack after this fashion : One on the horse, the other with a stake out of the fence, and "forward all" and "steady on the left," to know who was master of the field. The panther with many growls and grimaces finally quit his meal in great reluctance, while his helpless victim was released and the cattle driven to a place of safety, and the owners duly informed, and the dogs put on the trail of the imp of the woods. The heifer recovered from the ghastly wound, grew to be a cow, and was afterwards owned by Capt. R. Fowler, for some years being denominated "The old panther-bit cow,"
-----"Sheffield Wilcox, residing in New Albany, had been


to Monroe to mill, and was returning in those primitive days with his grist on the horse, himself on foot, his coat on his arm and his dog, as a usual accompaniment ; even when they went to meeting he was about. When about a mile south of what is now the Ridgeway farm the dog treed a panther by the road-side, up a tall tree, well out of harm's way---as the panther supposed. But be it remembered that this was that self-same "Uncle Sheff," the Nimrod, the old hunter, then just in his prime, and we have the key to general results.
The grist was deposited at the foot of the tree, his coat laid on the grist, the horse hitched near by, and the dog "Old Carlo," was told to keep a guard, while Uncle Sheff ran three miles to his house in Albany for his rifle, and returned, finding all just about as he had left it. After he had time to breathe a little the panther got the worst of the matter, and was added to the grist as the fruit of a faithful dog, a trusty rifle, and unerring shot."


It was in the early part of the present century, when getting out mill stones was quite a lucrative business. Some of the Goffs wishing to share the benefits of this industry, with others went to Mill Stone Run and built a cabin. One evening after they had finished their supper, which among other things included fresh pork, they heard a noise upon the roof of their shanty. Going out to enquire the cause of the sudden move without, they were not a little suprised in seeing a bear with their long-handled frying pan in his mouth and scampering off to the thicket. They made pursuit, but Bruin was the winner in the race, and


carried off the trophy of the contest. He had scented the fresh pork, and thought perhaps that the frying pan contained a choice meal.


John Wagner and Absalom Carr ( others state Edsall Carr ) when hunting on Barclay mountain, discovered a black substance in Coal Creek, which they went up some distance, and found coal cropping out. A party went up to see their discovery, among them Jared Leavenworth, who was the first to use the coal for his work. It was first brought down the mountain on sleds, and then reloaded in wagons.
It is said that John Fox hauled the first load to Towanda, and afterward took five tons to Ithaca and sold it for a cutter.
The coal beds at Long Valley were subsequently discovered by John and Nathan Northrup.
The last elk in this part of the country was killed at Long Valley Junction, more than fifty years since by Nathan Northrup.


A gang of counterfeiters had a retreat under an overhanging rock up the Millstone run, about a mile above Weston's, where they kept their "spelter"---counterfeit coin. After the organization of the county, the gang was broken up, and the resort abandoned.
We quote the following from Elder Alden's papers, which will show how the people were "duped" with "spelter" : "For a number of years prior to 1814, it was 75 miles to


the seat of justice, and rogues felt comparatively safe, in what was the western wilds of Pennsylvania : consequently Bradford was not peculiarly exempt from those features of annoyance that are so common in frontier enterprise. A surveyor's Jacob's-staff was shot off, and his compass down while he was attempting to locate lands and define their boundaries. A practicing physician was advised to sell his horse and invest his proceeds in the "two for one" business, and they would "set him on his feet." "Yes," says Dr. W., "they did set me on my feet by taking my horse from between my legs." A smooth tongued sharper approaches an inhabitant, exhibiting to him a full hand of genuine silver dollars and half dollars, and with great assurance informs the Puritan where such new and shining coins can be obtained for half price. The unsuspecting man invests five-dollars in the hands of the sharper, and at the stipulated time receives the ten dollars, all bright with apparent new coinage, which makes his pockets laugh out almost at the prosperous increase. Unsuspicious now invests all that he has, and all that he can find, with all that he can borrow from his neighbors, and induces those that will not lend to him, to deposit in this unseen bank for themselves, exhibiting the gains that he has made so easily. In this way the unsuspecting are induced to contribute largely to this new money-making institution, and nearly all the availabe funds of the whole population are gathered into the hands of the sharpers in a private way, so that they are now making their "big haul." If curiosity induces any one to inquire how this money can be made so easily, or where it can be


obtained, they are given to understand by hints and winks and blinks, that there is a place called the cave or den not far distant and they are easily persuaded, that expert work-men are there at work day and night, making from two to three dollars, all good, out of every dollar there they receive. This shows a dollar gain to the company or work-man, and a dollar to the invester, with his original amount returned. It is said to have worked well. The sharpers made a pile in the final strike, and their dupes made empty pockets, and some of them empty homes. Of course, ere the final refunding of the large amount the sharpers were off for Ohio, having divided with their accomplices who were residents, but practically unknown. There could not well be a legal process against the swindlers, for the dupes were ashamed to tell how green they had been, besides having shown downright dishonesty, and in some cases, criminality, in their complicity in the matter. I think that there were never any prosecutions for the "two for one business," but there were some very eminent scares, that lasted the subjects of them for a life-time. One man fled to Canada, and other operatives in the dishonest matter to the State of New York, while others took refuge in Ohio, and some in the grave. The great scare took place in about 1813, after the organization of the county, and the appointment of all the officers of the law appertaining thereunto. The arrests and prosecutions were chiefly for meddling with counterfeit paper money, which was made in the cities, peddled by agents, and passed by those of questionable honesty. There never was, probably, a set of tools in the county for the successful execution of


either hard or paper money. The counterfeiters' cave was used to conceal their spurious coin and bills, as also themselves in times of danger. While the gross amount of their trash was stored in the cave, they were busy in circulating it in smaller quantities throughout the country. Sheriff Rockwell broke up the combination and scattered the counterfeiters to the four winds."
Others state positively that the gang had crucibles and manufactured "spelter." Their tools are said to be somewhere in the town.


Many of the older people remember "Molly Cole," a wit and demented character that lived at Cole's watering-trough for a time.
She could quote the bible from one cover to the other, almost, and took great pride in attending meetings and correcting the ministers when they misquoted passages. Her habit was to stop the minister, though it might be in the midst of a sermon, and to his great mortification. Her favorite color was white, and she generally wore a white flannel dress, short, with sleeves coming only to her elbows. After ladies' "straw flats," as they were called, had been introduced, wishing to ridicule the new style, she constructed one for herself out of paper, and wore it to church. The words "look at this" had been printed upon the paper, and she took particular pains that the notice stood out conspicuously on the fore part of her bonnet. One day she was met by an acquaintance mounted on a horse, who accosted her rather lugubriously, thus : "Good morning, Molly. How do your sins appear this


morning ?" "On horse back, sir," was the quick, incisive reply. She had a garden in which there were two paths, a narrow and a broad one. On both sides of the broad path she had peach trees and at the end she dumped her ashes. The narrow path she said led to Heaven, and the broader one with its temptations ( the fruit ) to hell. " Mr. __________," she said, "she always found in the broad path ;" implying that he was stealing her fruit, his reward being pictured out before him. Having been mortally offended by 'Squire Gore, she never wore thereafter any "gore" in her dress. She sought revenge and is said to have killed the ' Squire's dog with a wooden sword.


The Methodists---- It has been almost ninety years since the first Methodist sermon was preached in Monroe, and Elisha Cole was without doubt the first preacher in the township. While yet living in Asylum he came in before his marriage and preached at the house of Henry Salisbury, which became the great centre of Methodism for miles around. It is said that Bishop, Asbury and Lorenzo Dow both preached here, when passing through the county. Among the more prominent of the early Methodist preachers were Loring Grant, Palmer Roberts, Henry B. Bascum, ( afterwards Bishop ), John Wilson, Samuel Thompson, Marmaduke Pearce, Abram Dawson, James Gilmore, Daniel Wilcox, John McKean, Selah Stocking, Sophronus Stocking, H. G. Warner, Joseph Towner, Father Rogers, Asa Orcutt, George Evans and Dr. George Peck.
As already stated, Rev. Elisha Cole must be recognized as


the father of Methodism in Bradford county. He began his Christian work almost as soon as the first circuit rider appeared in the county, and for two years he appears to have been the only preacher on the Tioga circuit. He had formerly been an itinerant preacher in the States of Maryland and Virginia, but had now settled in Monroe, at what is known as "the watering trough." Here was the nucleus of Methodism in all of this part of the county. There early rallied around this nucleus a band of preachers and laity all of "alike previous faith," who organized an association which has always been known as the Methodist church. Here was the preaching place for years, as also the place for the quarterly meetings. Regular services were held at Mr. Cole's house, he generally preaching himself, but the quarterly meetings in his capacious log barn, on which occasions the Methodists would convene from the Loyal Sock, Athens, Orwell, Wysox, Burlington, Wyalusing, Albany, and from this part of the county, generally. Father Cole's house was superceded by a school house more than fifty years ago. The school house gave place to a tasteful and commodious church edifice, erected at Monroe village in 1839. In addition to the class at Monroeton, a second class was organized at Liberty Corners a half century ago. The first meetings on the hill were held soon after 1816, at the house of Selah Arnout, then for a time at William Wilson's, and once in a while at Abram Fox's. The circuit riders came every four weeks. Among the first were the two Stockings, Bush, Parkhurst, Warner, Wilcox and Evans. After Mr. Summers, Hollon and others came to the hill there were enough to form a class, which


was organized in about 1837 by John Wilson, the original members being---Jeremiah Hollon ( class leader ) and wife, Wm. Wilson and wife, Mrs. Reed Irvine and Francis Bull and wife. Some of the first preachers from 1834, inclusive, were---Joseph Towner, John Wilson, Elisha Bibbins, Benjamin Ellis, Father Mansfield, Rev. Chace and Edward Hodgekiss. Meetings were frequently held at Mr. Summer's and Mr. Hollon's, then in the school house, and finally in the neat and spacious church edifice which was erected and dedicated to God in 1859. The Liberty Corners M. E. church is one of the strongest in the county.
The Presbyterians---The first to preach Presbyterianism in Monroe, was Rev. M. M. York, of Wysox, who began his visits thereto in about 1809. He, like father Cole, must be placed in the fore-ground of the pioneer preachers of his denomination. "He was a man of fair education for the times, of more than ordinary talent, untiring in his industries, faithful to his convictions, outspoken in his sentiments, and greatly beloved by his people." Services were generally held at private houses and subsequently school houses, before the erection of the church edifice at Monroeton. Before a church was organized at Towanda or Monroe, the professors of this faith not unfrequently attended meetings at Wysox. The Presbyterian church at Monroeton was organized Nov 25, 1851, and consisted of twenty-five members, all of whom had been members of the Presbyterian church at Towanda. J. B. Hinman, William North and G. E. Arnout were the first Elders. The church enjoyed the ministrations of Rev. L. W. Chapman, for the first four years, and he was



followed by Rev. James McWilliams, after four years he was succeeded by Rev. Darius Williams who also remained four years. In 1862 Rev. Hallock Armstrong assumed charge of the congregation, he being succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. P. S. Kohler. Among the first members may be named, the Fowlers, Mr. and Mrs. Jared Woodruff, Mrs. A. C. Rockwell, Samuel Cranmer, Father Rockwell ( the father of Abner C. ), Mrs. George Irvine, Mrs. Robert Bull, Selah Arnout, Mrs. Geo. Arnout, "Sally Foster," and Amy Sweet.
The Baptists.--- This denomination dates back, nearly as far as Presbyterian in Monroe. Among the first preachers is remembered Levi Baldwin. In 1837, Isaac D. Jones, gathered the scattered Baptists on and near the lower end of Towanda Creek, formerly " Franklin and Monroe Church." The Monroe members became a branch in 1838. In 1840 they divided, and Monroe joined the Bradford Association with 37 members. In 1841, the church took the name "Monroe and Towanda." In 1846, Towanda became a separate church. September 18, 1869, the deacons and most of the members having removed from Monroeton, the remaining members voted to disband. Under Elder's Spratt's pastorate, they built a parsonage, ( 1840 ), now the residence of Henry Myer, which was sold on his removal, and in 1855, they bought the former Universalist meeting house in Monroeton. Upon disbanding they sold the meeting house ( now occupied by Mrs. Philo Mingos ) and paid the proceeds on the meeting house repairs in Towanda. After some of the revivals, having no meeting house or resident pastor some of the converts united with other denominations. The


following preachers served Monroeton and vicinity as pastors and supplies : Isaac D. Jones, George M. Pratt, Jesse B. Saxton, George W. Stone, William H. King, Jacob Kennedy, Joseph R. Morris, William Lyon, Nathan Calender, Increase Child, S. G. Kim, Robert Dunlap, Charles R. Levering and Benjamin Jones.
The Universalists--- This denomination was established in Monroe in 1837, through the influence of Eliphalet Mason. A church edifice was erected in 1841, and Mr. Mason and his son, G. F. Mason, subscribed nearly two-thirds of the building price of the same. The preachers were George Rogers, Ames and Ashton. In 1843, Silas A. Gibson was the preacher, and continued three years. The society became very much weakened because of removals, in consequence the church was sold to the Baptists, and the church went down. The Masons, Kelloggs, Blackmans, etc., were the leading spirits of this denomination.


The first school is said to have been taught in the town in 1801, by Polly Fowler in a log school house in the midst of the hickory orchard, below Widow Rockwell's, on the south side of the creek.
In the summer of 1804, Eliphalet Mason taught in "Reed Brockaway's district"---which is now Monroeton, and again in the winter 1806-7, also the winter of 1813-14.
In the summer of 1814, "Sally Rockwell," subsequently Mrs. Jacob Bowman, Jr., kept a school in Abner Rockwell's corn house. Mrs. Bull says : "There were no writing benches, and attention was given principally to the spelling


book." This was Mrs. Bull's first term at school, and she remembers that among her playmates were---Roxy and Zilpha Mason, Isabella Cole, Sally Fowler, Jane Edsall, Sevellon Fowler and Miller Edsall. School was then taught for a couple of winters in a log dwelling upon the Decker place, Sally Rockwell also being the teacher here.
Mary Williams, a Connecticut lady, taught the next school, a summer term, in one part of the log house at Fowlertown, occupied by Sebra Phillips and Simeon Bristol.
Samuel Haskell, a drummer in the war of 1812, taught in a little log house on the creek, between Mr. Alden's and Mr. Rockwell's, some two or three years after Miss Williams. He was most proficient with the use of drum sticks, and is said to have been able to use three of them at a time.
Dr. Goodrich taught a couple of terms on Fowler street, before the log school house was built ( about 1821 ) near the foot of Marcy Hill. This structure was subsequently succeeded by a framed building.
Among the first teachers who taught in the old log school house at Monroeton was "James Crooks, whose old shoes many a boy remembers until this day. He made lasting impressions. The old plank school house which succeeded the log one, is yet standing and is occupied as a residence.
The present school building at Monroeton was built by order of the school board of Monroe township in 1837, and the addition made in 1863. S. W. Alden taught the first school in this building. The first school at Liberty Corners was taught by Celinda Sutton in the summer of 1832 or ' 33. The school was begun in George Arnout's log barn, and finished in this


shingle shop, ( now on the place of I. Robbins', both of which are yet standing.' ) Besides the benches the only other furniture, was a cross-legged table for the teacher and pupils to write on. J. W. Irvine who was a pupil here, remembers the following who were among his playmates : George and Emily Arnout, John, Mary and Eliza Conley, Clark Cummings, Sylvester Benjamin, and John Heeman. The summer following Caroline Cranmer taught in a log house on the "Watson place," then two terms more in the "Sage House," a log building which stood in a field of now Joseph Bull, several rods below the present school building. The original school house at Liberty Corners was erected on the same ground as now occupied for school purposes in 1837, George Fox being the first teacher. The first school at South Branch was taught by Mary Bowman in 1838.
Eugenia Lyon taught one summer in one apartment of Robert Lewis' wagon-shop. The first school house here was built on the site of the present one not far from 1840.
The branches generally taught were reading, writing and spelling. Then next introduced were arithmetic and geography. Goose-quills were used for pens and making and mending them was a part of the teacher's work. Ink was made from the bark of a soft maple tree with a little copperas and sugar added. The sugar was used to give it a gloss. Problems were not unfrequently worked out upon shingles ; and the teacher or pupils ruled the paper used for copy books. In those days school funds were raised by a rate bill, and the teacher not unfrequently required to take a part of


his pay in grain, etc. A lady taught some times for six shillings per week.


Prior to the establishment of mills in Monroe, two or three of the neighbors would put together, and go with boats to Wilkes-Barre to get their grain ground. The first grist mill in the township after the "Indian's mill," was the "tub mill," already referred to, built by King Pool, not far from 1797. Then in about 1803 Rogers Fowler's grist mill succeeded on the same site. Then came those of the more modern improvements at Masontown, Monroeton, and Campbell's Mill on the Blackman place at South Branch.
We conjecture that the first saw-mill was that known as "Needham's Mill," which stood on the South Branch, directly back of the Widow Rice's residence. Here the Wilcoxes worked as early as 1802-3 at lumbering, before moving into Albany. Only the ruins of the mill remained when the Kellogg's came in, 1813. It was built not far from the year 1800, aud is undoubtedly the saw-mill referred to on page 6.
Not long after the construction of this mill a second one was erected at Greenwood, and a third at Fowlertown. Then came the mills at Vangorder's, Masontown, and John D. Sanders' in about 1811-12. Others sprung up in rapid succession till 1835 when there were no less than fourteen mills in operation in the township. The hills and valleys of Monroe were covered with a primeval forest of the choicest pines, and lumbering was made the great industry for nearly fifty years.