1810 – 1910
Including sketches of all the pioneer families, thrilling incidents of early times, habits and customs of the people, HER SOLDIERS, CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, STATISTICS AND MATTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST CONNECTED WITH THE TOWNSHIP.
CLEMENT F. HEVERLY,
EDITOR OF THE BRADFORD STAR, AUTHOR OF "OUR BOYS IN BLUE," HISTORY OF THE TOWANDAS, SHESHEQUIN AND VARIOUS HISTORICAL WORKS.
THE BRADFORD STAR PRINT
|Introductory||Chapter One - p 4||Chapter Two - p 10 - 66|
|Chapter Three pp 67-78||Chapter Four pp 79-92||Chapter Five pp 93-108|
|Chapter Six pp 109-121||Chapter Seven pp 122-141||Chapter Eight pp 142-150|
Twenty-five years ago, when many of the Overton pioneers were yet living, a fondness for the tales of early times which had been created in our youth, led us to have the stories retold that they might be accurately noted and put in permanent form. As a boyish experiment we had the collection published in a booklet, styled "The History of Overton Township." The limited edition was soon exhausted. Since then much additional information has been gathered. To fulfill a promise made our friends, that we would publish an enlarged and complete history of Overton, the year 1910 is chosen for the issuance of such work, it being the centenary of the settling of the town.
It is a duty of pleasure for us to chronicle the deeds of the brave men and women who carved out homes in the wilderness, tell how they lived, struggled and overcome obstacles. The good they did is worthy our remembrance, and we should cherish their memory and keep it bright. We love to recall the scenes of early life and be young again. Eugene J. Hall has put in verse some of these pictures:
From the weather-worn house on the brow of the hill
We are dwelling afar in our manhood today;
But we see the old gables and holly-hocks still,
As they looked long ago, ere we wandered away;
We can see the tall well-sweep that stands by the door,
And the sunshine that gleams on the old oaken floor.
We can hear the low hum of the hard working bees
At their toil in our father’s old orchard, once more,
In the broad, trembling tops of the bright-blooming trees,
As they busily gather their sweet winter store;
And the murmuring brook, the delightful old horn,
And the cawing black crows that are pulling the corn.
We can hear the sharp creak of the farm gate again,
And the loud, cackling hens in the gray barn near by
With its broad sagging floor and its scaffolds of grain,
And its rafters that once seemed to reach to the sky;
We behold the great beams and the bottomless bay
Where the farm-boys once joyfully jumped on the hay.
We can see the low hog-pen, just over the way,
And the long-ruined shed by the side of the road,
Where the sleds in the summer were hidden away
And the wagons and plows in the winter were stowed;
And the cider mill, down in the hollow below,
With a long, creaking sweep, the old horse used to draw.
Where we learned by the homely old tub long ago,
What a world of sweet rapture there was in a straw;
From the cider-casks there, loosely lying around,
More leaked from the bung-holes than dripped on the ground.
We beheld the bleak hillsides still bristling with rocks,
Where the mountain streams murmured with musical sound,
Where we hunted and fished, where we chased the red fox,
With lazy old house-dog or loud-baying hound;
And the cold, cheerless woods we delighted to tramp
For the shy, whirring partridge, in snow to our knees,
Where, with neck-yoke and pails, in the old sugar camp,
We gathered the sap from the tall maple trees.
And the fields where our plows danced a furious jig,
While we wearily followed the furrow all day,
Where we stumbled and bounded o’er boulders so big
That it took twenty oxen to draw them away;
Where we sowed, where we hoed, where we cradled and mowed
Where we scattered the swaths that were heavy with dew,
Where we tumbled and pitched, and behind the tall load
The broken old bull-rake reluctantly drew.
How we grasped the old "sheepskin" with feelings of scorn
As we straddled the back of the old sorrel mare,
And road up and down through the green rows of corn,
Like a pin on a clothes-line that sways in the air;
We can hear our stern fathers reproving us still,
As the careless old creature "comes down on a hill."
We are far from the home of our boyhood today,
In the battle of life we are struggling alone;
The weather-worn farmhouse has gone to decay,
The chimney has fallen, the swallows have flown,
But fancy yet brings on her bright golden wings,
Her beautiful pictures again from the past,
And memory fondly and tenderly clings
To pleasures and pastimes too lovely to last.
We wander again by the river today;
We sit in the school room o’erflowing with fun,
We whisper, we play, and we scamper away
When our lessons are learned and the spelling is done.
We see the old cellar where apples were kept,
The garret where all the old rubbish was thrown,
The little back chamber where snugly we slept,
The homely old kitchen, the broad hearth of stone,
Where apples were roasted in many a row,
Where our grandmothers nodded and knit long ago.
Our grandmothers long have reposed in the tomb;
With a strong, healthy race they have peopled the land;
They worked with the spindle, they toiled at the loom,
Nor lazily brought up their babies by hand.
The old flint-locked musket, whose awful recoil
Made many a Nimrod with agony cry,
Once hung on a chimney, a part of the spoil
Our gallant old grandfathers captured at "Ti."
Brave men were our grandfathers, sturdy and strong,
The kings of the forest they plucked from their lands;
They were stern in their virtues, they hated all wrong,
And they fought for the right with their hearts and their hands.
From the weather-worn house on the brow of the hill
We are dwelling afar, in our manhood today;
But we see the old gables and hollyhocks still,
As they looked when we left them to wander away;
But the dear ones we loved in the sweet long ago
In the old village church-yard sleep under the snow.
Farewell to the friends of our bright boyhood days,
To the beautiful vales once delightful to roam,
To the fathers, the mothers, now gone from our gaze,
From the weather-worn house to their heavenly home,
Where they wait, where they watch, and will welcome us still,
As they waited and watched in the house on the hill."
C.F. Heverly, Towanda, Pa., March 10, 1910.