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History of Monroe Township & Borough 1779-1885
Clement F. Heverly 
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HISTORY Of

MONROE

TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGH

1779 - -1885

WITH

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE PIONEERS

HER SOLDIERS

AND

STATISTICS AND MATTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST CONNECTED WITH THE TOWNSHIP

BY

C. F. HEVERLY

TOWANDA, PA:

REPORTER-JOURNAL PRINTING COMPANY

1885

PREFACE

This volume has been written as a souvenir to posterity - - that the deeds and virtues of the heroic pioneers may ever be kept bright - - and that we may learn to cherish the names of "the Fathers and Mothers", more and more as they grow old, for the many valuable lessons their lives have taught us, and for the hardships and privations, which they so nobly bore that we might enjoy the fruits and blessing of their labors. Accordingly this volume is most affectionately  dedicated to the pioneers, our benefactors, the men and women who founded the settlements, made the country what it is, and the men and boys who offered their lives to save our country from disunion. In conclusion, the author tenders his greatest obligations to the following, who have most generously assisted in furnishing data:

A. L Cranmer, Esq., J. R. Irvine, Nathan Northrup, Wm. Northrup, John Northrup, Henry Northrup, W. A. Kellogg, Lovina Kellogg, P. E. Alden, J. W. Irvine, Mrs. Geo. Tracy, Mrs. T. T. Smiley, Mrs. E. F. Young, Samuel Lyon, Lyman Marcy, Samuel Cole, Mrs. J. L. Rockwell, Freeman Sweet, J. H. Lewis, J. F. Woodruff, Mrs. J. F. Woodruff, Emily Robbins, J. H. Summers,

S. S. Merithew, Mrs. David Ridgeway, Wm. Irvine, W. W. Fowler, Benjamin North, G. L. Bull,

O. H. Rockwell, H. W. Rockwell, Jos. Bull, Chas. Hollon, Mrs. Chas. Brown, J. W. Lewis, Martin Cranmer, Joab Summers, Mrs. Joab Summers, T. T. Smiley, E. W. Stevens, O. M. Brock, H. H. Ingham, E. E. Mingos, Monroe.; Mrs. Robert Bull, Robert Bull, Asylum; O. N. Salisbury. Beech Creek, Pa.; Capt. G. V. Myer, Dr. D. N. Newton, Capt. J. A. Wilt, Mrs. Wm. B. Dodge, D. J. Sweet, Benj. Northrup, Mrs. G. H. Watkins, Prothonotary, W. J. Young, John J. Spalding, John G. Culver, clerks, Towanda; Rev. David Craft, Wyalusing, Pa.; Mrs. Dr. J. E. Ingham, Corning, N. Y.; Mrs. Jos. Lippincott, Joliet, Ill.; Miss Jane D. Irvine, Warren, Pa.; Mrs. Nelson Parker, Bradford, Pa.; B. S. Dartt, Canton, Pa.

C. F. Heverly

Overton, Pa., Oct. 5, 1885

ERRATA

Page 14, 24th line, "1858" should read 1838

" 15, 8th " , insert "or" before the word at.

" 15, 19th " , "Kemt" should read Kent.

" 17, 27th " , "Hadens" should read Havens.

" 49, 26th " , "slowly" should read closely.

" 55, 5th " , "brandy" should read board.

" 67, 4th " , "Eldrad" should read Eldad

" 74, 7th " , "1834" should read Feb., 1836

" 78, 9th " , "Simon" should read Harry.

" 130, 3rd " , "continued" should read continue

" 152, in chorus, "how" should read body.

" 153, last stanza after the line ending in scamper,

add, "His bosom burned when there he

learned that he had caught a panther."

" "169" should be 165.

" 174, 22nd line, "Cramner" should read Cranmer.

" 176, 9th " , " Burman’s" should read Bowman’s

" 180, 11th " , Wm T. Telford should read Wm. H. Telford.

" 186, 1st " , "entered" should read enlisted

" 186, 10th " , "July 2" should read July 22.

" 197, 11th " , "Corporal" should read Co. D.

MONROE

POSITION AND EXTENT.

Monroe* is situated in the south-central part of the county, the township of Towanda forming its boundary on the north, Asylum on the east, Albany on the south- east, Overton on the south – west, and Barclay and Franklin on the west. It’s general shape is triangular, the southern half of the township gradually narrowing to a point between Overton and Albany. The township comprises an area of about thirty-five square miles, and is centrally distant from the county seat six miles, with which place it is connected with the Barclay, and State Line & Sullivan railroads, which effect their junction in the village of Monroeton.

SURFACE AND DRAINAGE

The surface is broken, and mountainous in the southern and south-western part, which is traversed by a spur of the Alleghany system. The general slope of the township is from south-west to north-east. The greatest altitude in 1900 feet, which Monroeton depot is only 756 feet above tide water. The township is well watered by the Towanda creek, the Schrader, the South Branch, and numerous minor streams.

*We conjecture, as the township was set off in the height of President Monroe’s popularity that it is so called in his honor.

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The main stream enters the north-west corner of the township, then heads to the north-east, and again to the south-east, and finally above Monroe village, makes a third graceful curve and take a north-easterly course, passing out of the township, midway between the extremes of its northern bound. The South Branch enters the township from the south, and flows almost due north-west, until it mingles its waters with the more noble stream at Monroeton. The Schrader strikes the township a mile south of the Towanda creek, and taking an easterly course after a mile, turns to the north and falls into the main stream at Greenwood. On either side of the South Branch the mountains are steep, but gradually lower toward its mouth, and the valley widens into broad fertile flats.

SOIL AND PRODUCTS

The soil is highly productive, even on the highlands and is well adapted for growing the cereals. The southern and eastern portion of the township consists of the Catkskill red soil and the north and western portion of the Chemung, both of which contain about the same producing qualities. Iron ore and coal are found in the mountains but not in paying quantities.

Agriculture is the principal business of the people. Especial attention is given to the growing of the cereals. Dairying and stock-raising are carried on successfully, but not extensively. Manu-

facturing is an important industry, and lumbering, which was the main business of the people for nearly half a century, is now almost a thing of the past.

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The north-eastern part of the township contains the most fine farms and Liberty Corners district ranks as one of the foremost farming localities in the county

THE PEOPLE

Are largely scions of the hardy and intelligent pioneers, who settled the township nearly a century ago, and are a hospitable, industrious, patriotic and progressive class of citizens. The

husbandmen have a commendable pride in their neat farms which are well equipped with labor-saving machinery of modern invention. Their stock is good, and many herds contain the Jerseys and Durhams. The farms are not too large, but are well conducted; and nearly two-thirds of the whole township is under a state of cultivation. Monroe township and borough have a population of about 2000 persons. In 1880 their population was 1769; in 1870, 1514; and in 1820, about 200 or one-tenth of their population now.

ORGANIZATION

"At a Court of General Quarter Session of the Peace held at Meansville, in and for said county, on Monday the sixth day of December, A. D. 1819, before the Honorable Edward Herrick, President, and John McKean and Jonathan Stevens, Esquires, judges of the same County, upon the petition of sundry inhabitants of Towanda township, setting forth, that they labor under great inconveniences, on account of the dividing lines of Towanda and Burlington townships, of the vast territory of Towanda township, and praying the Court to appoint proper persons

4.

to view and lay a new township out of the townships of Towanda and Burlington; the Court, upon due consideration had of the premises, do order and appoint Samuel McKean, Harry Spalding, and Abner C. Rockwell to enquire into the propriety of granting the prayer of the petitioners. And it shall be the duty of the Commissioners or any two of them to make a plot or draft of the sections which are prayed for to be set off, and erected into a new township, the consequent alteration of lines together with the present lines of the said new township, all of which they or any two of them shall report to the Court of Quarter Sessions, together with their opinion of the same. May sessions, 1820, the viewers report, to wit: "We, the subscribers, Commissioners appointed agreeably to the above rule for the purpose therein mentioned, having met on the subject and investigated the premises, do report as follows: That in our opinion, it would be for the convenience of the public to set off a new township from the townships of Towanda and Burlington, beginning at the south-west corner of Ulster, thence south to the north-east of Franklin; then east to Towanda creek; thence down said creek, according to the various courses thereof to the Susquehanna river; thence up said river to the courses thereof to the south line of Ulster township; thence south 59º west on said line of Ulster township to the place of beginning.

" ‘Witness our hands the 30th day of May, 1820,

" ‘ HARRY SPALDING,

" ‘ A. C. ROCKWELL’

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"The report was read and confirmed nisi at September sessions; and now to wit: September sessions, 1821, was read and finally confirmed and ordered to be entered of record."

The territory included within the bounds above named was to be Towanda, and the remainder of what was Towanda township to constitute Monroe. The original township was much larger than now, several strips having been taken off and added to other townships. However, in 1873 a narrow piece was taken from Overton and Barclay and given to Monroe.

ORIGINAL TERRITORY

The town includes, in part, the Susquehanna Company’s grant of "Bachelor’s Adventure," "Bortles’s Pitch," "Blooming Dale," and other townships. On the records of the Company are the following entries: "Pursuant to a vote of the Susquehanna Company to lay out townships to the proprietors of the said Susquehanna purchase, Elisha Tracy and Joseph Kingsbury appearing as agents for the number of twenty-five whole share proprietors, with the taxes paid agreeably to the votes of said Company, therefore said Elisha Tracy and Joseph Kingsbury having surveyed a township of land on said purchase on the waters of Towanda, beginning at the south-west corner of Claverack; thence north 31º west, 280 chains; then south 80º west 480 chains; thence south 31º east; thence south 83º west, to the south-west corner of Bortle’s grant, it being 380 chains; thence north 10º east 166 ½ chains to north-west corner of said Bortle’s grant; then north 70º east

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25 chains to the first mentioned bound, and to contain 17, 800 acres, including six or seven pitches of 300 acres each.

"The above survey of a township known by the name of "Bachelor’s Adventure," is accepted and approved of, to belong to the said Elisha Tracy and Joseph Kingsbury and their associates, to be divided into fifty-three equal shares and six half-share pitches.

" Given under our hands and seals, at Tioga, the 6th day of December, 1794

{ John Franklin

Commissioners { Simon Spalding

{ Peter Loop, Jn.

Under date of Jan. 3, 1800, Joseph Kingsbury sells to Levi Thayer, Elias Saterlee, and Comfort A. Carpenter certain half-lots of land in Bachelor’s Adventure adjoining west on Claverack and east on Fullersville, on Towanda creek (the part included in Monroe) which have two roads running through them, one north and south and the other east and west, with a good grist-mill and saw-mill on the same, and six or seven settlers.

The survey of Capt. John Hortle’s pitch began "near a sugar house on the northerly side of Towanda creek," and bounded on the north by the south-west line of Claverack, and contained 1500 acres.

The Pennsylvania owners were the Asylum Company and Joseph Priestly, of Northumberland. A part of the Holland Company’s purchase extended into this township. This company, which was composed of the same individuals that formed the company which figured so largely in the settle-

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ment of western New York, owned thirty tracts of land in Bradford county, which is in Albany, Monroe, and Asylum townships. William Ward, Esq., was the agent for the company in Pennsylvania, and afterwards bought the residue of their lands in Bradford county.

The lands lying on the Towanda creek were originally surveyed in 1785-6 by Jos. J. Wallace, Deputy Surveyor for the State.

THE ABORIGINES

But few evidences of the Red Man’s footprints and skill remained when the first settlers came to this locality. He had paths traversing the township, but did not stop more than to engage in the hunt and fish. In a cavern in the rocks, on the mountain back of Mr. Kellogg’s, were found by the Northrups a quantity of clam shells, earthen pottery ware and black lead crucibles, supposed to have been carried there by the Indians. It was quite certain that the pots had been used, but for what kind of ore could not be ascertained. Similar remains were found up the Schrader, and not far from them, near a deer lick, an earthen pot with a bulge in the middle and having a capacity of a gallon. Numerous fires beds, arrow and spear heads were discovered on the flats near Mr. Kellogg’s. The old hunters found blazed trees along the South Branch and the Schrader. Following the Schrader from Weston to the "Big Eddy," a mile above the Foot-of-Plane, the path crossed to Elk creek, thence to the Loyal Sock. The path up the South Branch also led to the Loyal Sock.

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The main trail passing through the township, followed up the Lycoming creek to the Beaver Dam, at the south-western angle of the county, thence down the Meadows, crossing to the north side of the Towanda creek near East Canton; then down the creek to near Monroeton, where it branched, one trail leading to Tawandaemunk at the mouth of the Towanda creek, and the other to Oscului at the mouth of Sugar Creek.

EARLY HISTORY

When Monroe was first visited by white man can never be ascertained. Who he was, or whence he came will be unknown forever. However, bold adventurers were here more than a century ago. Tradition says, that the first family was here before the massacre of Wyoming. John Neely and the Pladnor family are thought to have been here before 1780. Others are mentioned before the pioneers proper came, but it must be remembered that it is to those that came with their families, cleared up the forests and made them to blossom as the rose and established churches and schools, that shall be attributed all that is noble and heroic in the history of a new country.
Craft says in his general history of Bradford county; “Prior to the Wyoming battle, on the Towanda flats Jacob Bowman had moved near Mr. Fox, which Capt. John Bartles had settled, or at least made a pitch, above them towards Monroeton, and probably John Neely at Greenwood.”
Again, in speaking of the flight of the Fox family at about the time of the battle, he says : “Danger from the Indians daily increased, and Mr. Fox determined to take his family

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to a place of greater safety. John Neely, an Irishman from Northumberland, had taken possession of the tract of land above Mr. Fox, at Greenwood, and was probably there at this time, and aided Mr. Fox in his emigration.”
“ Elder Alden “ in his writings says : “A family by the name of Pladnor removed from Wyoming to within what is now Monroe borough, in 1779, and occupied the flats east of the present village for years. The Pladnors are well remembered by the writer, and it is said of them that they were truly loyal to the Penemites, and opposed to the encroachments of the Connecticut people. But be that as it may, they are said to have brought quantities of beds and other goods with them, that were necessarily abandoned by the hasty flight of the people from the East in their return to their former homes. Mrs. Pladnor associated with the Indians, shot their rifles at a mark, ran foot-races with them, and witnessed their rude life and times, and then in after years was accustomed to relate the stirring incidents to the writer and his young associates, to beguile the indoor hours of a long winter evening. Mrs. Pladnor died in Franklin township in about the year 1835, at the age of 109 years.” The Pladnors will again be mentioned.
The Strickland family settled on the Cole place at an early day. The first grave at Cole’s, as shown by the inscription on the headstone, was that of “Hannah Strickland, “ whose death occurred January 24th, 1791, at the age of 18 months and 2 days.

THE PIONEERS

Samuel Cranmer, born in New Jersey, July 14, 1766, started from his native State on horseback,

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unaccompanied, in the spring of 1789, “to seek a home in the rich and unsettled country of the West.” This was before “the day of roads,” and he was required to follow the foot-paths across the mountains, reaching the county by the way of Wilkes-Barre. Drifting into what is now Monroe, he found a family by the name of Pladnor on the place now owned by Mrs. Daniel Blackman. Their little log house, with its puncheon floor, stood within the present limits of Monroe borough, on the right bank of the creek but what would now be the left bank, the stream having changed its course here. Proceeding up the creek Mr. Cranmer examined the broad and fruitful flats between Masontown and Monroe village, and concluded to settle thereon. Accordingly he returned to Pladnor’s, made arrangements for his board, and at once began clearing away the thorn trees and other timbers that grew along the creek. This first clearing was about a quarter of a mile below Salisbury’s mills, on property of now Mr. Cranmer’s great-grandson, M. A. Cranmer, and about a hundred rods south-east of his residence. Mr. Cranmer put his fallow of some two or three acres out to corn, when provisions with the Pladnors becoming scarce, he returned to New Jersey.
Soon after arriving in the new country Mr. Cranmer met with an accident that caused him much pain and privation. Every morning in going to his work he was required to cross the creek in a dug-out. He had taken off his shoes and placed them in the bottom of his craft, and was making his crossing as usual, when through some mishap the canoe turned over and his shoes were lost. Another pair could not

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be procured, and he must go bare-footed until he returned to the East. His feet became sore and filled with thorns, and though he extracted what he could, upon reaching home his wife took out fourteen more. In the fall, Mr. Cranmer returned and harvested his corn, and in the following spring moved in his family. He built a log house, pioneer style, with a puncheon floor and cob roof, on the second bank of the creek, and about thirty rods from it. His clearing laid between his house and the creek. “Here, alone in the wilds, lived Mr. Cranmer and his family, with only the Pladnors for their neighbors.” At the mouth of the creek were the Meanses, Foxes, and Bowmans, who made up the entire circle of acquaintances in the wilderness. The country was a wild and dreary prospect, inhabited by the panther and bear. Gray wolves were without number and broke the midnight stillness by music that was horrifying to the ear. Deer and elk were plentiful, and the creeks swarmed with trout and other fishes. Mills had not yet been established in the county, and there were too few settlers and too little grain to go with boats to Wilkes-Barre, the nearest milling point. Accordingly the Indian’s invention, the mortar and pestle, was resorted to. This rude mill, if indeed we might call it such, consisted of a dressed stone to be used in the hand as a pounder, and the end of a stump, or piece of log hollowed by burning, to contain the grain.
It was unsafe to venture far into the wilderness without a gun, and sheep, hogs and calves had to be confined in log pens at night to be kept from destruction by panthers, bears and wolves. And though Mr. Cranmer’s surroundings were

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most gloomy and his hardships and inconveniences many, he was equal to the test of pioneer times. After making the wilds of Monroe his home, he gave his time, diligently, in clearing up the farm which he occupied until the time of his death – the same lying partly in and partly out of the borough of Monroe, and yet held by his descendants.
Mr. Cranmer was a devoted and consistent member of the Presbyterian church for many years. Long before the church was established at Monroeton, he was a member at Wysox, and would cross the river on horseback. He hated contention and was naturally a pacificator of men, doing all in his power to satisfy the differences of his neighbors. He was endowed with a big heart, and would never say no to his friends, when asked for aid in the battle of life. He was a man of great industry, and was always up before the sun. He never gained the displeasure of his neighbors in word of deed, but on the contrary, “all were his friends.”

Samuel Cranmer united in marriage with Miss Hannah Miller in about 1787. The fruits of this union were:
Josiah, born April 2, 1788
Elizabeth, born Aug. 3, 1790
Jedidiah, born Sept. 9, 1795
John, born Jan. 21, 1798
Mary, born April 4, 1800
Noadiah, born Aug. 22, 1802
Samuel, born Oct. 5, 1804

“Hannah Miller,” who was born June 6, 1768, died March 26, 1807. Mr. Cranmer again married Miss Sarah Hubbel, who bore him ---

13.
Ashbel L., born Jan. 6, 1809
Enoch H., born Jan. 22, 1813
Mr. Cranmer died May 17, 1845, and his wife, “Sarah,” who was born Feb. 15, 1769, died Aug 22, 1854.
Josiah married Electa Fowler, daughter of Jonathan Fowler; gave his life to farming and died upon the place now occupied by Wilson Decker (Asylum).
Elizabeth married John Brown and moved to Cortland Co., N. Y. where she died.
Jedidiah learned the trade of blacksmith, worked at it and subsequently moved to Franklin, where he spent the residue of his days.
John married Sally Steel. He had a farm in Towanda township and occupied it until the time of his demise.
Mary never married. She lived with her brother Ashbel L., with whom she died.
Noadiah married Claracy Gould. He was a farmer and lived on Hollon Hill, upon the place now occupied by the widow Stevens, where he died.
Samuel married Nancy Northrup, followed farming and died upon the place now occupied by his son, Edward, J.
Ashbel L., married Miss Mary Griggs, daughter of Joseph and Mary Mason Griggs. The early part of his life was spent in farming and lumbering. Upon reaching his majority he was elected to the office of Constable, and continued to hold the same office for three and one-half years. The duties connected with this office, Mr. Cranmer says: “Took my whole time, but taught me many practical lessons
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which proved invaluable in after life.” For a number of years he then gave his attention to lumbering and farming. In 1840 he was elected Justice of the Peace, and continued to serve for ten years. In 1845 he was elected County Commissioner and filled the office with credit for a term of three years. During his term of office the present Court House was built-– 1847 – ’48. In 1851 Mr. Cranmer and Joseph Smith built the present covered bridge spanning the creek at Monroeton. In 1852 he built the canal aqueduct at the mouth of Sugar Creek. In December, 1853, he engaged in the mercantile business at Monroeton, and continued in the same up to 1873. However, through all these vicissitudes in business, he conducted farming in a successful manner. Through industry, careful management, and good judgment, Mr. Cranmer has earned a fine fortune and now enjoys himself in retirement at his pleasant home in Monroeton, only giving his attention to his own private business. Mr. Cranmer has always been recognized as a man of fine judgment and is yet in possession of a clear intellect, and accurate memory. His two sons, Albert G. and Bernard A., have followed him as successful business men.
Enoch H. married Miss Permelia Griggs, sister of Mrs. A. L. Cranmer, and in the first years of his married life engaged in farming. In 1858 he and S. W. Alden entered the ministry at about the same time. He was a man of ability, and was a member of the M. E. Conference for many years, four of which were spent as Presiding Elder of the Troy district. During the last three of four years of his life he had a superannuated relation with the church. He was universally

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known as “Elder Cranmer.” His demise occurred Oct. 7, 1880, and that of his wife, Oct. 7, 1881.
Samuel Cranmer returned to the East with most glowing accounts of “the West,” which was the means of soon inducing his father, brothers and others hither.

John and Stephen Cranmer came to the township in 1790 or ’91, from Sussex county, N. J., and their father, Noadiah Cranmer, came with them, at about the same time.
John located on land adjoining his brother Samuel’s on the east, and began clearing up a farm which lies mainly within the borough limits. Here he died May 10, 1810, at the age of 51 years, and his remains were sepulchered at Cole’s. His wife, “Ketura,” survived him many years, living to be a very old lady. She died March 23, 1853, aged 93 years, and her body lies beside that of her husband at Cole’s.
John Cranmer was a brigade wagonmaster in the Revolutionary war. His children were:
Sally, who married John E. Kemt and lived in Smithfield
Daniel,
Calvin located in Smithfield and married Miss Almira J. Hartman, a daughter of Coonrod Hartman, a Hessian, who was pressed into the service of the British, but upon the capture of Burgoyne espoused the American cause.
Luther migrated to the West and died there.
Beckie married a Mr. Dalton, of Wysox.
Catharine married Harvey Hadens, of Springfield;
Neoma, married Mark Lyon, and subsequently Frederick Schrader, of western Bradford.

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Stephen Cranmer located near the railroad crossing, on the west side of the public road, on property now owned by George Overton. He was a weaver by occupation, and a cripple with hip disease. On a plain gray-stone which marks his resting-place at Cole’s, is the following inscription: “Here lies Stephen Cranmer, who died Jan. 29, 1792, and his wife, Nancy, who died Jan. 24, 1792.”
Mr. Cranmer was born Oct. 6, 1756, and his wife in 1763. They had two sons, Stephen and Dyer. The former settled in Rome, Bradford county, and the latter in the “Empire State.”
Noadiah Cranmer, was born in New Jersey, Aug. 26, 1736, located on lands east of those of his son John’s, now including in the “Hinman property.” But soon after his arrival in the “Keystone State,” his wife, Catharine, died – Nov. 2, 1793, and not long thereafter he went to live with his son, Samuel, with whom he died Feb. 14, 1829.
Usual Carter, a warm friend of Samuel Cranmer, came to the wilds of Monroe soon after (before 1796), and from the same place as the latter. He located on lands now included within the borough limits, and built his house near where the residence of H. C. Tracy now is. He dug a well near his house, from which water is yet drawn. For seven years he and Mr. Cranmer labored together, neither keeping an account. After about twenty-five years’ residence in the township Carter sold out, and went West with the most of the family. A son, Moses Carter, remained and died in the township. He was the father of “Chet” and Ezra Carter, the last named being at present a resident of Monroe.

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The Carter family were especially noted for their mirthful qualities and in playing practical jokes upon themselves and others. The following is a specimen. “Mr. Usual Carter, a thick-set, heavy man, a regular pioneer, hardy and healthy, had a large family of sons and daughters that were all full of frontier enterprise and fun. They had their ‘bough house,’ as it was called, and the pigeon bed with all of the fixtures for gun, net, or other modes of trapping and obtaining the game. All of these fixtures being situated near their residence, the boys were not unfrequently annoyed when about to make a good shot, by the sudden appearance of the old ‘Squire right in the midst of them, claiming by right of seniority, or of out-ranking the gun and the shot and fun, and all, after the long painstaking of the boys to induce the game to come down upon the desired locality. This not only annoyed but actually exasperated the young Carters, so as to induce them to adopt at once measures of redress as well as of relief. At evening the old Queen’s-arms musket, carrying one and a-half ounce ball, was duly charged, loaded, filled, and stuffed with all of the powder and shot, that any of them dare stand within four rods of when discharged, and everything made ready for the morning sports. At early dawn the pigeons were flying more abundantly than usual, stopping a moment in this dry tree and then on that one, all the time approaching nearer in their flights to that baiting bed, where so often they had heard the fatal reports and barely escaped with their lives. Finally, after many circuitous gyrations they concluded that the boys were not in the brush-house, and that they might venture to take

18.

their morning meal. When once a few of them had alighted on the fatal bed the other came in more boldly, until it seemed as if the four quarters of the earth were showering pigeons upon that desirable spot, just because there was such an abundance of them that morning that there was nowhere else for them to breakfast. The old gent looking from the window (a board window) of his house, soon determined to claim his privilege of seniority, and stepping out the back way, with his old broad-brimmed hat in hand, so as to be careful, his boots outside of his town and linen pants and up to his knees, his heavy body, short legs, and aldermanic rotundity, with his hurried breathing and red face, as he approached the ambush, all gave him quite an interesting appearance at the very desirable moment. Arguments were short, he claimed the gun, reaching his hand for the piece in a way that indicated business on the first floor, and to order, and now. The boys retired on their hands and knees to a safe distance in the rear of the old man and the gun, so as to be out of harm’s way, scolding and repining as they went, that ‘father is always here when there is a chance to make a good shot; he never lets us do anything,’ and all that, while they were anxiously awaiting results some rods distant from the old man’s boots and brawny hands, both which had often been used in debts of admonition due the young scamps. Finally, after a good, cool, deliberate aim, and all was right and ready, the old musket ‘took on,’ ‘broke loose,’ ‘kindled fire,’ ‘earthquaked and bellowed.’ If the heavens and earth did not pass away the musket did, and so did old Mr. Carter, almost. A huge heap of body

19.

and breeches came tumbling end over end back at the boys, sometimes the big hat under him, and sometimes it was on top, but everything was after the boys now in a heterogeneous pile. The boys were frightened, and the old man dead—at least, so he said. After a dozen or twenty oh! oh! oh’s, and ‘I am killed!’ ‘I am dying!’ ‘blast that gun!’ the old man told his eldest son to call mother, for ‘I am dying!’. ‘Ude’ the young imp. Took a look at the dead pigeons and then at his prostrate father, in some little concern, for the first time in his life, probably. After some little time the father regained his powers so as to be able to vehemently exclaim, ‘I am killed!’ ‘I am dying!’ ‘Well,’ exclaimed ‘Ude,’ the mischievous imp of the whole Carter family, ‘you are dying like Samson, for you have killed more in your death than in your whole life,’ at the same time taking another look at the piles of feathers, wings, legs, feet, heads, and slaughtered pigeons in the direction where the gun had been pointed. The gun was found in due time, all sound; nothing seemingly could burst or break it. The old man was helped to the house by his wife, where he soon recovered, being about as invulnerable as his gun. The pigeons and pieces of pigeons were picked up, but could not be counted in that mutilated condition. The father was a member of the church and abstained from swearing on this trying occasion. He said grace at the table, while ‘Ude” would run off with the meat plate during the short service. He never interfered with their shots after that.”
Peter Edsall and the Millers, Daniel, Shadrach, Jacob, William, and Moses, all natives of “The Land of the Pancakes,”

Continued
 

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On  26 SEP 2004
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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