Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
History of Overton 1810-1910
Clement F. Heverly 
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Chapter 1


Overton is so called in honor of Edward Overton, Sr., a native of England and distinguished member of the Bradford County Bar, who gave valuable assistance to the people in their effort to secure the erection of a new township, and held large tracts of land within its bounds.

Overton is triangular in shape, and is situated geographically between the township of Barclay on the north and northwest, from which it is separated by the Schrader branch of the Towanda Creek; Monroe and Albany on the east; LeRoy on the west; and the townships of Elkland and Forks in Sullivan county on the south. The township is one of the largest in the county and contains an area of about forty-five square miles. It is well watered by the west branch of Towanda Creek, the Schrader and its branches in the north, and by Black Creek, Level Branch, Lick Creek and other streams, which flow southward out of the county. The northern and western portion of the township is generally mountainous and unsettled. It was originally covered with forests of hemlock, cherry, pine and hard wood, which during the past thirty years have been manufactured into lumber, with the exception of timber unmolested on several tracks in the southwest corner. The central and southeastern part of the township is hilly and contains many excellent farms. Agriculture, dairying and stock-raising is here the principal business of the people, and is conducted successfully. The soil is well adapted to grass, and corn, oats, potatoes and buckwheat are grown profusely. No mineral deposits of value have yet been discovered, although it is believed that coal and copper will be found in paying quantities.

The people are mostly of German and Irish descent, and are noted for their industry and honesty. Their great pride is in their farms, which, once covered with stumps and stones, are now so free therefrom, that all kinds of machinery is used on them. Good blooded stock has been introduced, and neat and spacious buildings erected. Due attention is given to the schools and churches, and Overton can boast of a greater number in proportion to population, than any other township in the county. By the census of 1860, Overton contained 407 inhabitants; in 1870, 550; in 1880, 503; in 1890, 775; in 1900, 655. The marked increase in 1890 was owing to the large number of persons employed in the several lumber mills, no longer in operation. Overton village, pleasantly situated within one-half mile of the Sullivan county line, is the only village in the township.


At the February Court of Quarter Sessions, Bradford county, 1852, the petition of Edward McGovern, Daniel Heverly, William Waltman, B.F. Bedford, Daniel O’Neill, Owen McCann, Isaac Streevy, Thomas Grimes, John Flynn, Jacob Musselman, John Meade, Maurice Sullivan, John Morressy, Jacob Haverly, William Luce, William Annis, Reuben Rinebold, Henry Heverly, Timothy Fleming, Curtis R. Haverly, Reuben Musselman, Eli Heverly, Lewis Swanger, Jacob Hottenstein, James Molyneux, John Molyneux, Daniel Heverly, Jr., Edward Rinebold, Michael Ronan, James Frawley, Patrick Frawley, John Frawley, James Sheahan, William Flynn, Patrick Britton and Cornelius Guervin—was presented, asking for the formation of a new township out of parts of Albany, Franklin and Monroe and to be called Danville. Whereupon, the court appointed E.G. Nichols, Thomas Elliott and N.N. Betts, commissioners, to enquire into the expediency of erecting or setting off such new township. The commission reported favorably, but there was opposition to the new township and exceptions were filed.

The work had to be done over again. Another petition signed by Edward McGovern, James Sheedy, Cornelius Guervin, Patrick Callehan, Owen McCann, Andrew Wilt, Jacob Hottenstein, James Heverly, John Heverly, Jacob Haverly, Lewis Swanger, Daniel O’Neill, William Waltman and Francis Bedford—was presented, asking for the said new township to be called Overton. Nichols, Elliott and Betts were continued as commissioners. They made report December 9, 1852, as follows:

"The undersigned Commissioners appointed at September term (1852) to examine and report in regard to the propriety of setting off a new township from parts of Albany, Monroe and Franklin, said new township to be called Overton, report that being sworn according to law and having made the necessary surveys, they conclude that the said township is necessary, and to set it off in accordance with the petition would be right; and the following is the description according with the petition and with their survey, viz: Beginning at the S.E. corner of LeRoy at the county line of Bradford and Sullivan; thence by said line South 78 degrees East 11 miles and 115 rods to stone corner on lands of James and Morris Sullivan, 25 rods S. 78 degrees from the crossing of their W. line; thence N. 12 ¾ degrees West 8 miles and 276 rods to stone corner in the Schrader Branch at the intersection of the Monroe and Franklin line near William Northrup’s; thence up the middle of the Schrader Branch, 11 miles and 80 rods to the East line of LeRoy township; thence by said line South 27 ½ degrees West 1 mile and 180 rods to the beginning. And the undersigned refer to the map accompanying the report, on which map they have set down the courses and distances of the new township as they have in this report recommended it to be set off, all of which they report.

E.G. Nichols, Thomas Elliott, N.N. Betts"

The report was finally confirmed by the Court, February 12, 1853, establishing the township of Overton.

But one change has been made in Overton territorially. In 1874, a triangular strip was taken from the northeast side and given to Monroe. The line, in making this alteration, began at an oak corner (on the line between Overton and Monroe) 100 rods north of the south corner of Monroe, running in a straight line northwest five miles and 1,600 feet to the Schrader. The distance from the old to the new line at the Schrader was about three-fourths of a mile. By this change the area of Overton was reduced about two square miles.

Overton, as Pennsylvania territory, has been included in the following counties: Northampton, from 1752 to 1772; Northumberland, from 1772 to 1786; Luzerne, from 1786 to 1812; since 1812, Bradford. Under township jurisdiction, Overton has been a part of Wyalusing, Wysox, Burlington, Canton, Towanda, Asylum, Franklin, Monroe and Albany.

While never surveyed, but as platted by the Susquehanna Company (Connecticut claimants), Overton included the township of Mexham and parts of Bath and Jay. The last two were granted to John Spalding of Sheshequin in 1795.

The Red Man.

When white man first visited this country he found the American Indian. How long he and his progenitors had been here is not known. Centuries have elapsed, possibly thousands of years, since this country was first peopled. Race had succeeded race, and villages gone to decay and ruin, hundreds of years before the advent of white man. Overton was once the home of the Red Man. Not that he had any villages here, but it was his favorite hunting and camping ground. By many springs have been found pestles, skinning knives, arrow heads, spear heads, stone hammers and other implements, things of the Indian’s handiwork, and proof of his presence. The richest find of various implements has been around Indian spring at the head of what was once a great swamp, on the farm of Daniel Heverly. Here, evidently, the Indian camped for many days at a time, and lay in wait for deer and bear, which he killed with his spear or bow and arrow.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 2004
By Joyce M. Tice
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