he people of Overton have always taken a commendable interest in their schools, and have fitted a number of excellent teachers for their important work. The Overton boys have no mean record as students, and several have earned names, of which the town of their nativity may well feel product. Eight-five years ago, the first school had not been taught in the township, nor a school house erected. At present, the tow supports six schools, including a graded school, making a school to every 80 inhabitants, or proportionately the greatest number of schools of any township in the county.
The First School House in the township was built in 1826. It was a small hut 15x16 feet, covered with clapboards. The seats were made of slabs with round-side up. This building stood east of the public road a few rods north-east of the residence of Mrs. Jacob Heverly. The first teacher in the old log house was Anna Kellogg of Monroe. She received 50 cents per week for teaching reading, writing, spelling and "some ciphering." She taught for a couple of months only during the winter of 1826-’27, as the people’s means were limited. Amasa Heverly, who was one of her pupils, says: "Sam, Barney and Jacob Hunsinger, then young men, came in from Sullivan county and boarded in the neighborhood to take their fist lessons in reading. Other pupils were John and Jacob Streevy, James and William Heverly." After Anna Kellogg, Olivia Ladd and Hannah Hoagland taught in the log school house.
Mrs. Jacob Heverly taught in the winter of 1828-’30 in her own house, which was a log dwelling, and stood near where the residence of Fred Heverly now is. Catharine Dunmore taught school in Jacob Heverly’s new barn, now the old barn on the place of Fred Heverly, in the summer of 1835. One of the pupils says: "While we were busy about our lessons, a load of hay was brought in."
Elizabeth Lord (Mrs. Joseph Rogers) taught in Henry Sherman’s log house, which stood in the vale below Overton village, in the winter of 1835-’36. Of her experience as teacher in Overton, Mrs. Rogers says: "The house had two rooms, one was used as a cooper shop by Mr. Sherman and the other, the one in which the school was kept, was the kitchen, bedroom, etc. We kept warm with some difficulty, and went on with our work amid the confusion arising from the cooper shop. Mr. Sherman’s children were without shoes, but they did not seem to mind the cold much. The branches that we gave attention to were spelling, reading, writing and some arithmetic. A goose quill was used for a pen, and the children made their own ink by boiling up soft maple bar, and added a little alum or cooperas. The sums were general worked out upon a shingle. I boarded’ round, and it was some time before I could get accustomed to the German habits and their sauer-kraut un spheck, etc. Alma Heverly spoke English and most generously bestowed her hospitality, and otherwise did her best to make it pleasant for me. I shall never forget her kindness."
Jacob Hottenstein taught a German school at Daniel Kaufman’s in the winter of 1835-’35. Mrs. Kaufman was one of his pupils. The log house had but one room and stood in the field about 50 rods north of the late residence of Martin O’Brien. In the winter of 1836-’37, Mary Bowman taught a school in Christian Heverly’s new house.
The First Public School was taught by Mrs. Charles Dieffenbaugh in the fall of 1837, in her own house. A portion f this building is yet standing, and occupied by J. L. Shaffer on the McCann place. Mr. Dieffenbaugh was director for this part of Albany township. In 1838 a plan house was erected on a corner of Isaac Streevy’s lot, about 40 rods north of the site of the log school house. Maggie Molyneux taught the first school in this building. In 1860 the plant building was moved off and a framed house erected on the same site. Ruth Ingham (Mrs. Ornal Kellogg) taught the first school in the new sch0ool house. The last named building stood until after the formation of the Independent School District, when upon erection of the graded school building in 1878, it was torn down. The graded school was opened in the winter of 1878, with Isaaac R. Fleming principal and Miss Anna Higgins, assistant. The first school building erected on Sugar ridge was in about 1855. It was a log structure, one story high, and stood midway between Callahan’s bridge and the present site of school house No. 3.
In his report to the department in 1856, Superintendent Guyer says: "Overton township is new and poor in physical wealth, but rich in good will and abundant in generous acts to the common school cause. Education needs no better friends than those sustaining this enterprise in Overton. They paid 13 mills school tax, and declare a willingness to pay 26 if the 13 will not keep up their schools. Who wants better school men? The moral, social and political relations which mean bear to each other, and those agencies which bring the most good to individuals and communities, are better understood and more earnestly contended for in little Overton, than in many places that make more pretensions. In a small log school house, 16 feet square, I found a living, working teacher, furnishing the intellection, making ornaments for society and genius for the state where the rags of poverty are more abundant than the trinketry of the rich. It is in such places that the best and greatest of the land are found, and what a source of wealth it would open to the state, if she would pace ample schooling within the reach of all such in her broad domain. There is but one other school house in Overton. It is in the Heverly settlement and is a small poor frame. Have seen two fair schools in it. One other school is kept in the dwelling house of Johnathan Camp. The directors are making arrangements and will build school houses so soon as the unseated land tax is paid." Overton has the credit of being the first township in the county to abolish the system of boarding around.
The following have been the teachers in District No. 1, or what is now the Overton Independent District, from the first school to the present time:
|Mary Ann Bowman||1836-‘37|
|Mary Ann Wilson||1840’-41|
|Mary Ann Wilson||
|Robert W. Henley||1841-‘42|
|Mary Ann Tillison||
|Solomon B. Tomlinson||1846-‘47|
|George P. Tracy||1854-‘55|
|Mary Ann Conenmy||1865-‘66|
|John F. Sullivan||1869-‘70|
|J. Andrew Wilt||
|Mary D. Scanlin||1874-‘75|
|Hannah C. Musselman||
|Mary D. Scanlin||1875-‘76|
|Clarence M. Williams||1876-‘77|
|Isaac R. Fleming||1877-‘78|
|Augusta M. Park||
|Isaac R. Fleming||1878-‘79|
|George L. Black||1879-‘80|
|Augusta M. Park||1879-‘80|
|Albert T. Bronson||
|Augusta M. Park||1880-‘81|
|Clayton M. Osborn||
|Clayton M. Osborn||1881-‘82|
|Clarence M. Williams||1881-‘82|
|Libbie M. Bushnell||1882-‘83|
|Charles H. Crawford||1883-‘84|
|Charles H. Crawford||1884-‘85|
|Augusta M. Park||
|Edward H. Brown||1885-‘86|
|Edgar R. Park||
|Joseph B. Bowman||1886-‘87|
|Orra E. Musselman||1886-‘87|
|William B. Beaumont||1887-‘88|
|Eva J. Squires||
|Clement F. Heverly||1888-‘89|
|Eunice M. Horton||1888-‘89|
|Clement F. Heverly||1889-‘90|
|Charles E. Molyneux
James P. Murray
|John C. Lee||1891-‘92|
|Arthur B. Monroe||1892-‘93|
|Irvine D. Haverly||1893-‘94|
|Charles R. Montgomery||1894-‘95|
|Charles R. Montgomery||1895-‘96|
|John A. Regan||1896-‘97|
|Samuel M. Huston||1897-‘98|
|Charles M. Bender||1898-‘99|
|Charles R. Montgomery||1899-‘00|
|Jewel M. O’Brien||1899-‘00|
|Charles R. Montgomery||1900-‘01|
|Jewel M. O’Brien||1900-‘01|
|Frank P. Layman||1901-‘02|
|Jewel M. O’Brien||1901-‘02|
|Paul D. Heverly||1902-‘03|
|Paul D. Heverly||1903-‘04|
|William L. Stuthers||1904-‘05|
|Leona R. Bahl||1904-‘05|
|Cora E. Warburton||1907-‘08|
|F. Boyd Miller||1908-‘09|
|Elizabeth R. Jennings||1908-‘09|
|F. Boyd Millier||1909-‘10|
|Elizabeth R. Jennings||1909-‘10|
Overton has been noted for her many ardent Christian mothers, and it can, indeed, be said that all at one time in the new settlement were church members.
A Methodist Class was organized in about 1823 by Philetus Parkhurst at the house of Daniel Heverly, 2nd. The members were Christian Heverly and wife, Henry Heverly and wife, and John Heverly and wife. Amasa and James Heverly, then children, were baptized. As others came in the little class grew gradually. Among the early members, Mary Heverly is spoken of as a lady very gifted in prayer, generally leading in the singing, and was frequently called upon to close the meeting in prayer. Perhaps the first Methodist to preach in the township was Daniel Wilcox of Franklin, followed by Parkhust of Canton.
Parkhurst, Stocking and Preston were on the circuit together. It required six weeks to make the circuit, which extended through Overton, thence to Elllis’ or the Forks and Hillsgrove, down Muncy creek to Williamsport, up Lycoming creek through a portion of Tioga county, then to Canton, down Towanda creek to Monroeton, thence to Albany and Overton. Meetings were held at private dwellings until after the erection of the log school house and the more modern ones. Avery Depew and Nathan Fellows were among the early Methodist itinerants.
In 1873 a neat and commodious Methodist Episcopal church was erected nar Overton village. Since then there has been preaching every Sunday, and a prosperous Sabbath school maintained. Overton and New Albany constitute the charge.
The pioneers made their first attempt for a church building in the latter part of the 30’s. A site was selected near the McCann burying ground and timber for the frame-work of the building gotten out. The property on which the church was to stand changed hands and depression in money matters following, the enterprise was abandoned.
A German Reformed Class was organized in 1830, "Aunt Betsy" Streevy says: "The Sunday following my marriage—which was Easter Sunday—John Miller preached at Daniel Heverly’s (2nd) and took those into church that had been taught their catechism by Jacob Hottenstein. Several belonged to that denomination before coming to Overton. Miller preached every four weeks." The members of this class were Jacob Hottenstein and wife, Daniel Heverly and wife, Daniel Heverly, Jr. and wife, Isaac Streevy and wife, Christian Ruth and others not residing in the town. Miller resided in Sullivan county and made his trips on foot. He was a Lutheran, but preached for both denominations. The Shermans, Wilts, Rinebolds and others were Lutherans.
Rev. Schmeckenbecker was the next who preached to these denominations here. While on the charge he was drowned in crossing Mehoopany creek, about 1839. Carl L. Erie was a regular Lutheran minister and began preaching in the school house in 1843. He lived in Colley, Sullivan county, sixteen miles distant, and made the journey back and forth on foot for several years.
In 1855 members of the Reformed and Lutheran denomination erected a small church building, in which they worshiped until the construction of their modern and commodious edifice on the same site in 1885-’86. The congregation finally organized as the Overton St. Paul Reformed church. Their new building was commenced in 1885 and finally completed in 1888. The first exercises held in the new church were those of Children’s Day, Sunday, August 15, 1886—before the building had windows or the walls plastered. These were the first Children’s Day exercises held by this denomination in Overton. Rev. Mr. Mutchler made a short address on the occasion. The bell for the church was largely the contribution of Miss Mary A. Hottenstein, and was rung for the first time January 1, 1887. Services have been held regularly every Sunday for many years. Great interest has always been taken in the Sabbath school. Overton and Dushore are served from the same charge.
The Roman Catholics built a church edifice (St. Patrick’s) in 1847, on the place of Edward McGovern, where they worshiped until 1888. This building stood between the public road and cemetery and since has been taken down. In 1854 a second church (St. Philip’s and James’) was erected on Sugar Ridge. This building was torn down in 1883, and a neat and more spacious edifice erected nearly on the same site. Work on the large and handsome church in Overton village was begun in 1886 and the building completed in 1887. The church was dedicated as St. Francis Xavier, October 23, 1888 by Bishop O’Hara, assisted by Fathers Kaier, Martin and Enright. The bell for the church was presented by Miss Anna McGovern, and was rung for the first time February 13, 1889.
For many years Overton and Dushore constituted the parish, which was in charge of Father Kaier. Since the establishment of the church of St. Francis Xavier, Overton has been a separate parish with a resident priest, serving the congregations at Sugar Ridge and Overton. The local priests have been: James A. martin, from October, 1888, to October, 1894; Thomas M. Hanley, From October 1894, to June, 1896; John J. Loughran, from June, 1896, to October, 1896; Henry P. Burk, from October, 1896, to February, 1898; Daniel H. Green, from February, 1898, until his death, July 9, 1903; George J. Dixon, from July, 1903, to January, 1910; J. F. Morrison, from January 4, 1910, in charge. St. Francis Xavier has been the largest congregation of any church in Overton. Faithful attention is given the prosperous Sabbath schools of both churches.
Other Denominations have conducted services in the town from time to time, but never succeeded in gaining a permanent foothold. Back in the 30’s Mormom preachers came in from Canton and exhorted to the people. They, however, found no followers, and some of the young men of the neighborhood made it so embarrassing for them that they soon ceased their visits.
The first attempt made for a grist-mill was that of Daniel Heverly (lst), near the site of afterwards Sherman’s saw-mill. The depression of money matters, caused by the War of 1812, compelled Mr. Heverly to abandon the enterprise before its completion. The first saw-mill was built on Black Creek by Daniel Heverly (2nd) in 1830. Daniel Lyon of Monroe was the millwright. This mill stood about 20 rods from the public road on land now owned by J. L. Shaffer. Christian Heverly purchased this property of his brother and sold it to Charles Dieffenbaugh. Dieffenbaugh traded with McCann and James Heverly purchased an interest with him. About 1844 the mill was torn down and rebuilt. It was destroyed by fire in 1847.
The second saw-mill was erected on Black Creek by Edard McGovern in 1842. In 1851-’52 Daniel Heverly (2nd) built a saw-mill below the falss on the run back of G. L. Rinebold’s residence. An iron wheel was put in and the mill supplied with water from a double dam. The water supply proved inadequate, and the mill could only be operated for short intervals. Mr. Heverly sold to his son, Daniel, and William Waltman, who took the water-wheel and gearing, which were used in the construction (1853) of another mill on Black Creek. Henry Sherman entered the partnership and subsequently became the sole owner of this mill.
The first to carry on lumbering operations extensively were John F. means and M. C. Mercur, who had large mills in the northern part of the town. Then followed Kipp and Kizer, who had purchased 2,000 acres of timberland in Deep Hollow. They put up a large mill and began operations in April, 1882. Subsequently a second mill was erected, and both kept in operation several years before the tract was cleared. A settlement and the improvement of lands followed the closing up of the lumbering business here. Scott & Miner, beginning in 1881, also for some years carried on an extensive lumbering business at the Foot-of-Plane. Other more important lumbermen have been Thayer & Barden, and E. E. Quinlan.
"Before goods were brought to the settlement, trading was done, generally, at Towanda or Monroeton; sometimes, hoever, the settlers would go to Sam Jackson’s at Dushore. Money was very scarce and the people had but few products to exchange for goods. Maple sugar and pine shingles were their main dependence, but an occasional roll of butter or cake of bees-wax helped very much in procuring immediate necessities."
The First Store in the township was opened in the winter of 1855 by Daniel Heverly (3rd), who brought in a small stock of groceries and dry goods from Elmira on a sleigh and offered them for sale at this house (the same which he now occupies). He subsequently enlarged his stock and continued in the mercantile business about six years.
William Waltman opened the second store in 1856, a couple of rods south of the present residence of Mrs. Jacob Heverly. The store and contents were destroyed by fire in April, 1858. Orlando Heverly erected a building in Overton village, and put in a stock of goods in 1858. Henry Heichemer bought out the concern in the spring of 859, and continued business in the same building until 1865, when he sold out ot his sons Frederick and Martin, and son-in-law, Joseph Mosbacher. Frederick finally became the sole owner of the business and erected a neat and commodious building on the site of the old store in 1878. He sold to E. Francke & Son in 1898. The store and contents were destroyed by fire in April, 1`900; store was rebuilt and occupied in October of the same yar. F. Osthaus & Co. put up a building and began mercantiling at Overton in 1867. The firm was changed to F. Osthaus & Son, and again to F. Osthaus & Co. In 1901 a building suitable for their large trade was erected on the site of the old store.
The first millinery goods were brought to the township in the spring of 1865 by Miss Henry Hottenstein and offered for sale at her own house. She continued in business 27 years.
"One person was generally another’s doctor;" but in extreme cases a physician was necessary. When Jacob Heverly, who died in 1826, was sick, his brother Daniel Heverly, who died in 1826, was sick, his brother Daniel was required to go to Muncy, a distance of 35 miles, for a physician, and ruined a young horse in making the trip by overheating him. He left the settlement after noon and reached Muncy before sundown. The physician came on the next morning, but could be of no avail, as death soon after claimed its victim.
Doctors Huston and Weston were frequently called from Towanda, and later Dr. Ingham from Monroeton. The first regular physician was Dr. Galliger, who lived in Cherry, Sullivan county. He was something of the quack style of doctor, but used drugs for medicines. The first physician to locate in the town was George Ripking in 1854. He was a scholarly man and a regular graduate in medicine. He was a native of Germany. In 1859 he left the township, but came back again after the Civil War, in which he served as a surgeon. He remained some years, then because of the infirmities of age went to the Soldiers’ Home, where he died. Dr. Ira R. Park became the next resident physician in 1870 and occupied the field for 26 years.
It was nearly half a century after the settlement of the town before there was a licensed hotel in Overton. However, the weary traveler was always welcomed and given the best entertainment the pioneer home afforded. The late Lewis Zaner related that when he was a boy, at the close of the War of 1812, he accompanied General Wadsworth on horseback from Berwick to Newtown (Elmira). They came over the old turnpike by the way of the Heverly settlement, and tarried one night at the home of Daniel Heverly.
The First Hotel was kept by Daniel Heverly (3rd). He was licensed to keep a tavern in May, 1857, and continued so to do for about three years. He kept the tavern in connection with his store. The first hotel building was erected in Overton village in 1868 by Peter Sherman, who took out a license in May of the following year. He continued to run the "Overton House" about four years, when it passed into other hands. In the spring of 1874 the building was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. The second hotel was erected in 1877 by James J. Hannon, who was licensed to keep a public house in May, 1878, and has ever since kept his doors open for the entertainment of the public.