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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History of Monroe - Table of Contents
Pioneer & Patriots Table of Contents
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migrated to Monroe at about the same time as did the Carter family. Edsall had married “Jane Miller,” sister of Mrs. Samuel Cranmer. He located on the place now owned and occupied by Mrs. Wm. Parks. He subsequently deserted his family and went to Canada.
Mrs. Edsall, who was born Nov. 25, 1770, died in the township Jan 1, 1839. A son, John Edsall, born Sept 20, 1803, located upon the place at South Branch, now occupied by his son’s heirs.
Mary married Lebbeus Marcy, of Monroe, and a second daughter, Jane, married Jeremiah Blackman, also a resident of the township.
Upon the settlement of Albany the Millers went hither, Daniel being one of the pioneers, and one of the very best citizens the township ever had.
The Wilcox’s came into Monroe in 1798, and with the Ladds were the pioneers into Albany, in connection with which township their history is fully given.
The Pladnor Family, ---About 1774, a man from New England, named Elisha Wilcox, settled on Thorn Bottom, about twenty miles from the Pittston settlement, who, in June, 1778, was captured by a band of Indians, detained prisoner, and compelled to be in the Wyoming battle, soon after which event he died. He had two children, Stephen and Nancy. Mrs. Wilcox afterwards married Henry Pladnor (written Pladnore and Platner), who was without doubt the first permanent settler in Monroe, migrating hither at a very early day. When Samuel Cranmer first visited the West, “the Pladnor place appeared settled for some years ---a field


was green with growing rye, crops had been previously grown, and the year before a piece of buckwheat.”
After a few years Mr. Pladnor died, and in about 1820 his widow moved into Franklin where she died, it is said, aged 109 years.
Nancy Wilcox married Stephen Strickland, a native of New England, who as already stated, lived upon the Cole place. His log house, with it cob chimney and huge fireplace, that occupied nearly a whole side of the building, stood on the west side of the public road leading to Towanda, then rods south of the watering trough, and five rods north-east of Mr. Cole’s residence.
When Strickland came here is not known. The first child, “Hannah” was born July 22, 1789, and was buried at Cole’s, in 1791. We would venture, however, that he married Nancy Wilcox in about 1788 and made Monroe his home, until he moved to Wysox in about 1798.
Stephen Wilcox settled in Franklin township and afterwards moved West.
Another daughter of Mrs. Pladnor married an Ogden, who for a time lived at Canton.
John Neely, of Milton, Northumberland county, Pa., purchased the tract of land now occupied by Mrs. Brown and others at Greenwood. It is stated, “that as early as 1787 he came on and had his land surveyed and made arrangements preparatory to settlement. Undertaking to swim a horse across the river at the mouth of Towanda creek, he was drowned in ‘Bowman’s Eddy.’” His widow, who afterwards married Reese Stevens, camp up and occupied the


farm. A daughter, Rebecca Neeley, married Harmon Schrader, who for a time occupied the Neeley estate. It finally passed out of the hands of Schrader to the Meanses. Mrs. Neeley came to the township perhaps not far from the year 1800, when the Northumberland people settled at Greenwood.
It should be remembered that Rev. Mr. Craft’s statement, in relation to Mr. Neeley’s being here at the time of the Revolutionary troubles, is “mere probability.”
The Fowlers.---Some of the early settlers of Monroe came to the township under the Connecticut title. Fifty acres were offered as a gratuity to the first settlers. Gordon (“Gurdon”) Fowler and his sons Jonathan and Rogers bought eleven hundred acres, at a dollar an acre, under this title of Reed Brockaway, and accordingly came in and occupied their purchase.
In September, 1800, Mr. Fowler started from his home in Tolland, Conn., with two yoke of oxen and a horse in one team, and two horses in another. He crossed the Hudson at Catskill, taking the wagons and horses at several trips. His son, Austin Fowler, Sr., then a boy of thirteen years, was left in charge of the wagon first ferried over, and while the scow was gone for the rest of the train the tide rose about the wagon-wheels, frightening the lad, who then knew nothing of that phenomenon, but supposed a freshet was raising the water in the river and they would all be swept away. From Catskill the party came by the way of Unadilla, finding no bridges over the streams and in places very bad roads. Reaching Milltown, Mr. Fowler left his family


with his son, Rogers, who had preceded him into the county, and came on and built a log house in the orchard south of the present residence of W. W. Decker. However, before moving his family from the East, Mr. Fowler and his son, Daniel, had been in “viewing lands,” and made a purchase. Upon settling in Monroe, the Fowlers were required to cut their own road up the creek, from where the covered bridge now is. They found a family by the name of Wheeler in a little log house about forty rods farther up the creek. The Fowlers had paid for their lands, and after having erected a grist-mill and saw-mill and made other improvements, their titles proved worthless. However, not being daunted by such adverse fortune they repurchased, on long credit, of the “Holland Purchase Company,” and this time were more fortunate; but it required the most stubborn energy and perseverance to bring forth the fruits of husbandry from a wild and densely wooded region, like that of Monroe. After nine years of struggle and privation, incident to the settlement of a new country, the father, Gurdon Fowler, was called to his eternal rest, ---freed from hardship and toil. He was born April 16, 1739; died Nov. 11, 1809.
Mr. Fowler descended from an interesting and distinguished family. His great-great-grandfather, William Fowler, arrived at Boston, from London, England, June 26, 1637, in company with Rev. John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton, Peter Pruden, and “others of good character and fortunes.” In 1638, in company with Mr. Davenport, he sailed from Quinnipiac, or New Haven, where he resided a year or more. He was present at the famous meeting in Mr. Newman’s


barn, June 4th, 1639, when the peculiar constitution and policy of Mr. Davenport, which afterwards characterized the New Haven Colony, was agreed upon, and subscribed to that agreement. In the spring of 1639 the settlement of Milford had been arranged, and Mr. Fowler was the first named of the trustees. At the first meeting at the Milford Company, he was chosen one of the “Judges.” The church was organized in 1639, and he was elected one of the “Seven Pillars.” He held various offices in church and state, and was deeply engaged in public improvements, until his death in 1660. His eldest son, Capt. Wm. Fowler, remained at New Haven, married, took the oath of Fidelity and was admitted to the “General Court.” His second son, Jonathan, removed from New Haven to Norwich, and thence to Windham, where he died. Jonathan’s youngest son, Jonathan, “the Sergeant,” was celebrated for his great size and strength, of which wonderful stories are told. He is reported to have been seven feet in height and to have weighed over 400 pounds. His muscular powers were enormous. He could lift a barrel of cider by the chimes and drink from the bung-hole. He once attacked and killed a bear with a club, having no other weapon at hand, by which feat his fame spread abroad, so that George III, then King of England, had a painting made, the margin bearing the inscription, “Jonathan Fowler, the giant of America, in the act of killing a bear.” He had ten children of whom “Gordon” was the eighth.
Gordon was united in marriage with Sarah Rogers, Feb. 15th, 1758, unto whom were born:
Jonathan, March 2, 1759


Daniel, September 9, 1761
Elijah, July 20, 1763
Rogers, July 8, 1766
Asa, May 15, 1769
Gurdon, April 21, 1772
Sarah, December 15, 1774
Dec. 28, 1775, Mr. Fowler married Mary Chapman who bore him ----
Polly, March 31, 1777
Hannah, April 7, 1780
Russell, Sept. 15, 1782
Roxey, July 16, 1786
Austin, May 31, 1787
Betsey, April 14, 1792
Jonathan came to Bradford county with his father in September, 1800. He was a soldier of the Revolution and one of the unfortunates imprisoned in the “Sugar House” at New York. He settled on the place now occupied by Hiram Sweet and soon thereafter built a one and a-half story framed house---one of the very first in Monroe. “Mr. Fowler being sick his wife, Sally, went out of the house one night to procure some leaves or herbs for his use, having a pine torch in her hand. Hearing a noise being her, she turned and saw a bear standing up on his hind legs, as tall as herself. She ran into the house, and the bear made his supper on fresh pork, killing it himself. Bruin, however was killed in turn the next day.” On another occasion, “as ‘Aunt Sally’ was taking her clothes from the line (the bushes), in the dusk of evening, an immense black bear protruded his ugly


snout from the bushes, within a few feet of her, alarming her terribly. She screamed and the bear merely grunted. And although Mrs. Fowler lived thirty years thereafter, she never recovered from that fright---palpitation and tremulousness following her to her dying day.” She died July 14, 1832, age 69 years and 9 months.
Mr. Fowler’s children were---
Jonathan, who grew to manhood and died single
Ira, who grew to manhood and died single
Nancy, who married Abram Fox, of Monroe
Electa, who married Josiah Cranmer of Monroe
Sally, who married Solomon Cole, of Asylum
Mr. Fowler died December 4, 1834.
Daniel, when a boy, enlisted in the Revolutionary army, and was taken prisoner and kept for some months in the “Sugar House.” From which he came out scarcely alive. He rose to the rank of Major, before the close of the war, at twenty years of age. He settled at Hudson, N. Y., where he inaugurated the first school of note, the “City Academy of Hudson.” Among his pupils was Martin Van Buren, place under his care when quite young by Aaron Burr.
Elijah studied medicine and settled in Tyringham, Mass.
Rogers participated in the settlement of Monroe with his father. He located on the place now owned and occupied by Elias Parks. He built a small framed house near a tall hickory tree, on about the same ground as now occupied by Mr. Parks’ residence. One evening a wind storm blew the tree upon the roof, crushing it over a bed in the upper story, in which Sophia Lawrence was sleeping. The bed-posts


kept the debris from falling upon her, and thus saved her life. Mr. Fowler was a carpenter and millwright by occupation, and soon after he came built the grist-mill and saw-mill at Fowlertown. He was a noted Freemason, and a man of prominence in the county. He was elected Colonel of a regiment at the breaking out of the War of 1812, but did not enter the army, as he died soon after, May 12, 1812. He left no family.
Polly married John Fox, of Towanda, and was the mother of John, Miller, and Marvin Fox.
Hannah married Daniel Miller, and moved with her husband to the wilds of Albany, reared a large family and born her part nobly and well in the struggles incident to pioneer life.
Russell married Sophia Lawrence. For many years he kept a house of entertainment on the place of now Mr. Parks. However, he had first built a little house, near the watering trough, on the same side of the road. After the death of his brother, Rogers, he and Austin secured the mill property, and for years carried on lumbering extensively. One day while the men were busily engaged about the mill yard skidding logs, a panther came, took “Aunt Sopha’s” calf out of the pen and carried it to the shade of a large oak tree standing in the yard, where after a hearty dinner of fresh veal, he left the carcass and returned to the mountains undetected. The pen from which the calf was taken, stood not more than five rods from where the men were working.
Fowler brother owned a distillery and built the mills at Masontown, which they sold to Eliphalet Mason. They


took a great interest in public improvements, and church and school matters. They were true pioneers and public benefactors.
“Aunt Sophia,” as she was commonly called, was brave, and on several occasions demonstrated rare pluck.
One day, to her great amazement, her door was suddenly bursted open, and a hunter appeared, exhausted and terribly frightened. Inquiring as to “the trouble,” he made known in his excited way, that a mammoth bear was close on his heel. Losing no time to look up cowardly hunters, Bruin made for the pig pen, and was soon embracing a young shoat. Hearing the pig squeal, Aunt Sophia grabbed a fire brand put to the rescue. But despite her burns, Bruin killed the pig and carried it off, the hunter in the meantime remaining in the house. “Nimrod” was hunting on the hillside, where Mr. Parks’ orchard now is, when he encountered the bear.
The children of Russell Fowler and Sally Lawrence were:
Sevellon L., who married Mary DuBois, and moved to Missouri, where he died.
Rogers, who married Almeda Morgan, of Wysox, moved West and died at Chicago. He was born on the same day, and in the same house, from which his uncle, Rogers, was buried, which coincidence gave him his name. He went West and engaged extensively in lumbering for some years. He became an enterprising citizen of Chicago, and at the breaking out of the civil war was appointed by Governor Yates, Commissary General of the State of Illinois. He


proved a valuable officer, and afterwards commissioned Colonel and sent West. At the close of the war he engaged in railroading in Texas.
Samantha, who married James D. Ridgeway, of Franklin, now resides with sons at Minneapolis.
Ellen M., who married Judge Edward Elwell, resides in Wisconsin.
Hiram, who married Catherine Fields, and subsequently Maria Young, moved West, and died at Green Bay, Wis.
Russell, who resides in Illinois, with his family.
Adeline, who married Lewis G. Kellogg, of Monroe, now residing with her husband at Chicago.
Mr. Fowler died Aug. 22, 1851.
Roxy married Eliphalet Mason, of whose family further mention will be made.
Austin married Betsy Lawrence, Oct. 10, 1813, and as previously stated, was associated with his brother, Russell, in the milling and lumbering business for years. He located on the place now occupied by his son, Austin, Jr. In his younger days he worked with his brother, Rogers, at his trade, and after his death in 1812, he finished Capt. Harry Spalding’s house---the third framed dwelling in Towanda. In his last days Mr. Fowler loved to recite “old-time events,” for the entertainment of his friends. He was a well-read man, and took an interest in the education of his children, six of the seven, being teachers. Mr. Fowler united with the Presbyterian church in 1837, and upon the erection of the Presbyterian church edifice at Monroeton, the first in the township, he and his brother, Russell, furnished material for the


frame of the same, put it up, and helped to meet the additional expenses in the finishing and furnishing of the church. His biographer says: “He was a faithful and intelligent citizen, a kind neighbor, a loving husband and father, and an exemplary Christian, adorning his profession by a faith that works love and purifies the heart.”
Unto Austin Fowler and Betsy Lawrence were born:
Franklin D., Dec 20, 1814, who married Miss Maria Day, and resides at “Fowlertown” so named after the Fowlers;
Eliza E., Nov 25, 1816, never married, and lives with her stepmother upon the homestead;
Adelia E., Feb 1 1819, who married Sanford Plummer, and died Aug 12, 1877;
Gordon M., Aug 14, 1821, who married Miss Mary Varney, is a surveyor and millwright and resides in the West;
William W., June 13, 1824, who married Miss Eliza A. Miller, and is now a prosperous farmer at Liberty Corners. His three sons, Edward F., Jewett C., and Russell R., have proven painstaking, reliable young men, possessed of fine natural abilities, and with an aptness in business.
The first named is a successful merchant at Monroeton.
Jewett C., is located at Towanda and is chief clerk to the general manager of the State Line and Sullivan Railroad. He learned telegraphy and in 1876 was stationed at New Albany, performing faithfully and carefully all the duties pertaining to the office. By his punctuality in business, and having proven himself a neat and accurate accountant, he was chosen to the responsible place, which he now holds, in June, 1882. In addition to his duties as chief clerk, in April,


1883, he was made train dispatcher and served in that capacity until the road changed hands in May, 1884.
Russell R., was a young man of promise and endearing qualities, but was cut down by the sword of Fate as he was entering a field of usefulness.
Cyrus E., Oct. 10, 1828, never married, died May 17, 1850;
Amanda M. April 6, 1831, who married Samuel McKittrick, and resides in Canada.

“Betsy Lawrence” died May 19, 1846 (born May 31, 1789) and Mr. Fowler afterwards married Mrs. Eliza Wenck, who bore him a son, Clarence Austin, born July 22, 1847, who now occupies the homestead.
Mr. Fowler died May 3, 1875, his widow yet surviving him.
Betsy married Abner C. Rockwell, the first Sheriff of Bradford county. A further notice of the family will be given.
“Mary Chapman,” second wife of Gurdon Fowler, was born July 21, 1750, and died July 26, 1832. While yet residing in Connecticut, when visiting her friends, Mrs. Fowler would save the seeds of the choicest fruit, and brought them with her to the “new country.” She planted them, and the trees, now bearing abundantly in the orchard of W. W. Decker, are the growth of this planting.

The Alden Family---Timothy Alden came from Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Mass., to Monroe in 1800. The year before he had been in to view the country, and being well pleased with it, sold his property in the East and bought 800