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History of Sheshequin 1777---1902

C. F. Heverly

pub.1902, Towanda, Pa. 
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PAGE 295

CHAPTER VIII.

PIONEER ENTERPRISE.

MILLS.

Mills to grind the grain and to cut the timber into lumber were among the first necessities of the pioneers. The first grist-mill, as described on page 165, was built in 1807 by Wm. Presher and Judge Gore. The first saw-mill was put up in 1808-9 by Judge Gore. It was in the cove, north of the present residence of S.G. Marshall, on a small creek about 20 rods from its junction with the river. Power was had from this and Deerlick creek. A dam was built on the latter stream and the water turned into a channel which had been cut across to the smaller creek containing the mill. This mill was operated only a few years. About 1813 Wm. Presher with the assistance of Judge Gore added a saw-mill to his grist-mill, both of which, for many years, gave acceptable service. The power for these mills was had from the river, where a dam was built and the water conducted through a race to the machinery. From Judge Gore's Day Book we learn that different persons were engaged, working on the mill-race and river dam in June, 1808.

The second grist-mill was erected by General Spalding and his son, John, soon after the construction of the Presher mill. It stood up the hollow some distance east of the main road on property of now O.D. Kinney. It was what is known as an overshot mill, its water supply being carried in troughs from the creek, nearly a half-mile distant. This mill was provided with "two run of stones" and ground all kinds of grain. It was operated many years. Farther up the hollow on the same creek from which the grist-mill was supplied, Joseph Kingsbury had a saw-mill, erected prior to 1819.

In the lower part of the town a dam was built across Hornbrook creek on the J.H. Chaffee place in the early part of the last century. It is said a saw-mill was built here by Isaac Horton, a fact we are unable to substantiate. A portion of this old dam still remains. It is probable this was the enterprise commenced by Eliphalet Gustin (see page 140) but never completed. In 1836-37 Parley Ayer and Edward Sickler built a "double saw-mill" on the river near the present Quarry Glen Club house. A dam was constructed across the river and motive power supplied through a race. The property soon passed into the hands of David Horton, who continued to operate the mill for a number of years. He twice rebuilt it, after destruction by flood and fire.

Saw-mills in the eastern part of the town and at Black pond by Jesse Drake, were put up at a considerable later date than those above mentioned. In 1840 extensive lumbering operations were begun at East Ghent. Three Englishmen---Smart, Fowler and Marshall, doing business under the name of T.C. Smart & Co., purchased a large tract of valuable timber, put up (on the place of Eugene Bailey) a steam saw-mill with four up-and-down saws and constructed a railroad, for conveying their product by horse-cars, to the river. Operations were continued three or four years, when the three foxy Englishmen suddenly disappeared (it is said with a handsome sum) leaving many bad debts and notes, amounting to $15,000, for their endorsers, Colonel Kingsbury, Wm. Snyder and Avery Gore, to pay.

A wind-mill, used in chopping rye for making whisky, was constructed by Judge Gore prior to 1808. It was attached to an octagon frame on a building, which stood near the Gore residence, north of the creek and west of the Orwell road. The mill was ultimately taken down and the frame used many years for storing hay.

___________

STORES.

For necessary articles of food and clothing the first settlers were required to go to Wilkes-Barre. In 1791 Judge Gore brought in a stock of goods which he offered for sale at his house. He did an extensive business for the times. He and his son, Avery, continued merchandizing till 1821. In 1803 Zebulon Butler came from Wilkes-Barre with a stock of goods and began business with Harry Spalding in a small framed house, near the present residence of William Snyder. In 1809 Butler sold out, and soon after, Spalding moved his goods to Towanda and became a prominent merchant. In 1833 R.J. Jenks opened a store at Hornbrook, and Nathaniel Moody another at Snyder's. Other early merchants were: 1835, William Snyder; 1836-37, Snyder & Moody; 1839, Nathaniel Moody; 1840, Moody & Gore, Allen & Light, James Brink; 1844-45, Horace Kinney & Co., Allen & Storrs; 1846, Storrs & Jones, Horace Kinney & Co., Wells, Nichols & Co. About this time Daniel Brink commenced doing business at Hornbrook on a large scale, having the most important store in the town.

A century ago, trade was carried on almost exclusively by barter. A few illustrations from Judge Gore's old ledger will be found interesting. It should be remembered that he had the first distillery in this section of the state. His customers were scattered throughout the wilderness and even beyond the limits of Bradford county. The following are some of the names and abstracts of accounts, contained in the original Gore ledger:

Gen. Simon Spalding---Account from March 12, 1792, to Dec. 22, 1800. Charges: Much whisky: 1/4 lb. indigo. 3s: 6 lb. tea, 1 L, 2s, 6d; 26 yds. linen, 3 L, 5s; 1 quire paper, 2s; 1 lb. pepper, 5s: 4 skeins thread, 8d; tea, paper pins and sugar, 9s. 8 1/2 d; the credits are by cash, wheat, buckwheat, rye and cargo of salt.

Capt. Stephen Fuller--Account from July 19, 1792, to April 9, 1801. Largely whisky: pair shoes, 11s, 3d: 12lb sugar, 10s, 9d; flatirons and 2 qts whiskey, 11s, 8d; 1 lb. tea, 4s, 6d; paper pins, 1s, 10 1/2 d; velvet, silk and thread, 12s, 5d; 3 lb. tobacco, 3s; comb broom, and repairing other, 9d. Credit by work, rye, cash, cabbages and flax.

Benjamin Cole---Account from April 7, 1792, to Dec. 2, 1795. Charges: Principally whiskey, spelling book, grass scythe, iron shovel, tea, calico, red baize, tea, chocolate, lead, knife and broom. Credit by rye, peas, corn, oats and cash.

Capt. Jeremiah Shaw---Account from May 16, 1792, to Dec. 21, 1795. Charges: Whiskey, calico, apron check, silk, tassle and fan, snuff, iron shovel, cotton bonnet, ginger and allspice, snuff box, paper pins, quire paper, sundries. Credit by flax, potatoes, steer and killing hog.

Elijah Horton---Account from Dec. 20, 1793, to Jan. 3, 1797. Charges: Whiskey, calico, needles, indigo, powder, quire paper, snuff and almanac, check linen, tea, apron check, thimble, lead, coating, thread, sundries. Credit by cash and note.

Joseph Kinney---Account from March 28, 1792, to Nov. 5, 1795. Charges: Much whiskey, pair snuffers, 2 pounds tea and sundries. Credit by cash and rye.

Col. John Franklin---Account from Nov. 6, 1792, to July 25, 1797. Charges: All "whiskey." Under date of June 30, 1794, the following order appears: "Obadh Gore, Esq.; Sir--Please to fill the vessels sent by James Bidlack with whisky. I can not tell what they will contain. You will send me the account. I shall call upon you as soon as I can leave home and pay you the money. I am yours, etc., John Franklin."

Arnold Franklin---Account from June 21, 1792, to July 29, 1795. Charges: Whiskey, 25 nails 6d, coffee, powder, fan, quire paper, tea, chocolate, almanac, knife, salt, needles, writing two bonds 2s, 5d, and sundries. Credit by sugar, rye, tobacco, pair woman's shoes and cash.

Reuben Fuller---Account from May 31, 1792, to April 11, 1804. Charges: Whisky, sugar, shot, salt, cash, grass scythe, buttons, 1/2 quire paper, almanac, pair cords, paper pins, several yards cloth, indigo, copperas, silk thread, hair ribbon, shoe binding, 510 lb. chop rye. Credit by wheat, rye, cabbages, straw, oats, cider and note.

Samuel Gore---Account from March 3, 1792, to June 24, 1795. Charges: Liberal amount of whisky, buckskin 10s, sauce pan, 11 lb. tallow, bowl egg punch, bowl milk punch, pair women's shoes, 4 1/2 yds. cloth, 1 yard linen, salt, insoles, 21 lb. pork, tea, peruvian bark, coffee, almanac, silk thread and pins, chocolate, indigo, quire paper, knife, pocket handkerchief, 2 pounds wool, 12 pounds cheese, several yards cloth, 3 files, spelling book, primer, 2 horse collars and sundries. Credit by cash, sugar and discount with several persons.

John Newell---Account from March 5, 1792, to April 14, 1795. Charges: Whisky, powder, flatiron, salt, 12 flints, calico, cotton, nutmeg, indigo, tea, knife and sundries. Credit by 6 bushels corn, 1 mink and 2 martin skins, sugar, 5 muskrat skins, 14 bushels rye and cash.

Capt. John Spalding---Account from March 13, 1792 to Feb. 9, 1796. Charges: Considerable whisky, cutting knife, nail-rod, buckshot, conk-shell, sugar, indigo, rice, metheglin, 209 pounds beef, meat barrel, tin tunnel, kettle, indigo, tea and sundries. Credit by 1200 shingles, 24 1/2 bushels rye, hops, horse, work and discount with different persons.

Jebediah Shaw---Account from March 25, 1792, to Sept. 15, 1795. Charges: Whisky, potatoes, rice, powder, venison, brass cock, sugar, several yards of cloth, lawn handkerchief, needles, 3 knives and forks, pair stockings, silk bandanna, coffee, silk thread, chocolate, quire paper, pasteboard, indigo and sundries. Credit by rye, flax, wheat, corn, work, voyage to Wyoming in boat, cash and discount with different persons.

William Ferguson---Account from March 28, 1792, to Sept. 26, 1807. Charges: Whisky, kettle, shot, 6 flints, powder, tea, calico, salt, knife, pair sleeve buttons, tea, pepper, allspice, cream jug, cambric, thread and sundries. Credit by cow and note.

Isaac Horton---Account from April 24, 1794, to Jan. 25, 1796. Charges: Tea, pepper, indigo, pocket-knife, whisky, thread, buttons, 1/2 paper pins, cotton and sundries. Credit by rye, 170 pounds pork, cash and note.

Abel Newell---Account from March 1, 1792, to Sept. 29, 1797. Charges: Considerable whisky, pair smoothing irons, salt, pair shoe buckles, check linen, tape, silk thread, needles, indigo and sundries. Credit by cooper work, 14 hogsheads, kegs and fat tub, black pig, rye, cash and exchange of cattle.

Eliphalet Gustin---Account from March 2, 1792, to June 12, 1805. Charges: Whisky, wheat, potatoes, conk-shell, salt, grindstone, razor, 3 knives and forks, thread, snuff, needles, chocolate, saddle and sole leather. Credit by making shoes for Rachel, Jane, Betsy Durkee, Sally, Avery, George, Polly, William Avery and Culbertson, large corn basket, 2 cheese baskets, 2 corn baskets, flax, buckwheat, hops, rye, shoes for Jennie Frazier and possession of island.

Peter Snyder---Account from March 12, 1792, to June 25, 1795. Charges: Whisky, surveying and arbitration with Brown, cash, flannel cloth, lead, cotton bandanna, indigo, silk thread and sundries. Credit by rye, bee skips and cash.

Ichabod Blackman---Account from April 23, 1792, to March 20, 1797. Charges: Whiskey, iron kettle, calico and paper, shawl, pepper, indigo, chocolate, salt, tea, skein of silk, tape, tobacco, 1/2 set teacups, check linen, velvet, cloth, nutmeg, cloves and sundries. Credit by rye, hops, wheat, corn, sugar, pair boots, 6 pair shoes, earthen crock and cash.

Moses Park---Account from June 6, 1792, to March 3, 1796. Charges: Seven different times for powder, shot and buckshot; whisky, 37 yards linen, silk thread and sundries. Credit by discount with B. Green and John Spalding.

Benjamin Brink----Account from Sept. 15, 1792, to Jan. 17, 1797. Charges: Writing deed 9d, grass scythe, calico, thimble, testament, pepper, almanac, whisky, copperas, linen cloth and thread, powder, blue cloth, knife, paper pins, scissors, indigo, black gauze, skein of silk and sundries. Credit by rye, wheat, sugar and cash.

William Spalding---Account from March 7, 1792, to Feb. 2, 1796. Charges: Considerable whisky, sugar, tea, raisins, chintz and corduroy, paper pins, 1 1/2 quires paper, blue cloth, changeable handkerchief, brown linen, baize, thread, 2 yards ferret and sundries. Credit by rye, oats and schooling.

Elijah Horton Jr.---Account from Sept. 15, 1792, to Oct. 4, 1796. Charges: Writing deed, whisky, tea, powder, indigo, pepper, cotton, bandanna, chocolate, lard, copperas, calico, thread, buttons, tobacco, Feb. 4, 1796, 2 qts. whisky by Gilbert for wedding, jacket pattern and sundries. Credit by making shoes for Lucy, rye, 2 pairs men shoes, pair woman's shoes and 3000 shingles.

Josiah Marshall---Account from Sept. 10, 1792, to March 10, 1796. Charges: Tallow, barrel, 8 flints, shot, pepper box, grass scythe, pepper, cloth, quire paper, shovel, tea, whisky, cutting knife, green shag and lawn. Credit by rye, flax, oats, cash and powder.

Ebenezer Shaw---Account from Aug. 14, 1794, to Jan. 30, 1796. Charges: Nail of cambrick, silk twist, whisky and sundries. Credit by flax and discount with different parties.

Capt. Daniel Gore---Account from Dec. 11, 1792, to July 4, 1803. Charges: Pair of oxen, knee-buckle, oats, whisky and cash. Credit by wheat, corn, steer, pork, shoes, pair bellows and notes from different parties.

Capt. John Fuller---Account from Dec. 17, 1792, to Feb. 2, 1796. Charges: Auger, 4 flints, considerable whisky, iron shovel, pair cords, tea, indigo, scythe, flannel, needles, cloth, salt, tape, binding and silk twist. Credit by mending cart wheel, bringing salt, making 5 yokes, plow, rye, oats, 6 geese, 4 lb. 7 ozs. butter and cash.

John Newell Jr.---Account from July 4, 1793, to July 30, 1796. Charges: Smoothing iron, whisky, 18 flints, 2 lbs. lead, razor, knife, brown linen, skein silk and cloth. Credit by 3 otter skins, 2 marten skins, 2 muskrat skins and cash.

Josiah Tuttle---Account from Aug. 21, 1794, to Feb. 1, 1796. Charges: Powder, pair spurs, pair shoes, blue cloth, allspice, coating, yellow flannel, silk twist, cords, tea, pepper, sugar, penknife, whisky, raisins and sash ribbon. Credit by getting wood and cash.

Timothy Culver---Account from April 29, 1795, to Dec. 16, 1795. Charges: Set of knives and forks, sleeve buttons, knife, whisky and sundries. Credit by cash.

Joseph Salisbury---Account from June 22, 1794, to July 26, 1795. Charges: Pair shoe buckles, whisky, velvet, shoe binding, tea, indigo, quire paper, cloth, silk twist and sundries. Credit by rye, making shoes, hides and cash.

James Brink---Account from Sept. 19, 1795, to March 27, 1800. Charges: Tobacco, tea, salt, pair spectacles, whisky and cash. Credit by cash and taking up a boat.

Hugh Rippeth---Account from Sept. 5, 1794, to Aug. 4, 1798. Charges: Chocolate, knife, tea, tobacco, muslin, thread, whisky, blank deed and sundries. Credit by cash.

Josiah Newell---Account from June 27, 1793, to June 16, 1799. Charges: Whisky, calico, ginger, salt, cords, 1 1/4 yards corduroy. Credit by sugar, rye, cash and young cow.

HOTELS.

Houses of public entertainment were early established in what is now Bradford county, and though log buildings as they were, with limited accommodations, to the weary traveler on his long journeys, they were a haven of comfort and refreshment. These old time inns were the gathering points of the settlers---for social, political and other purposes. The occasional traveler was always received with great interest. He brought the news from the outside world, yet was looked upon with more or less suspicion until his business might be learned, for in those days the settlers were at war with the land agents. Many pleasant memories and incidents are associated with these old hostelries. As shown by the records of Luzerne county Obadiah Gore was licensed a "taverner" for Sheshequin in 1789, Avery Gore in 1798, John Spalding in 1799 and Richard Horton in 1808. After the organization of Bradford county tavern licenses were granted as follows: Richard Horton, 1814 to 1820; Wm. Snyder, 1815 to 1828; Ebenezer Shaw, 1817 to 1832; Daniel Brink, 1833 to 1845; Nathaniel Moody, 1837 to 1846; Wm. Snyder Jr., 1846; Daniel Brink Jr., 1846 to 1850; Geo. Vincent, 1848; Wm. J. Lent, 1849 to 1855.

DISTILLERIES.

Soon after coming to Sheshequin, about 1786 to ' 87, Judge Gore put up the first distillery in the county. His whisky became famous and had a very extensive sale. The plant, which was kept in constant operation for nearly 40 years, stood back of the Gore residence at the foot of the hill on the north side of the creek. Other distilleries that were in operation in 1812 were those of Peter Snyder, Matthew Rogers and Calvin Carner. At a later date Benjamin Newell had a distillery on the H.H. Johnson place and Stephen Newell one on the Fox farm at Hornbrook. John Randall also had a distillery on the run above Ayer's grist-mill and Capt. James Smith another in the hollow below his residence.

TANNERIES.

Peter Snyder established a tannery on the Elisha Forbes place about the year 1800. He did a thrifty business. All the hides were taken to Snyder's and tanned, then each farmer took his side of leather and had it made up into boots and shoes for the family. Mr. Snyder also manufactured harnesses and saddles. He was succeeded by his son, William, who moved the business to the farm now owned and occupied by William Snyder, 2nd. In 1845-46 George Jeffers built a small tannery at Hornbrook where Moses Vancise now lives. Before the plant was completed Jeffers died and the building was used for other purposes.

MAIL MATTERS.

In 1800 a mail route was established between Wilkes-Barre and Painted Post, with offices at Wyalusing and Athens in this county. "In 1803 Charles Mowery and Cyril Peck carried the mail from Wilkes-Barre to Tioga on foot once in two weeks." In 1804 postoffices were established at Wysox and Sheshequin, with Burr Ridgway postmaster at the former place and Avery Gore at the latter. "In 1810 Conrad Teetor contracted with the Government to carry the mail once a week in stages from Sunbury to Painted Post by the way of Wilkes-Barre, Wyalusing, Sheshequin and Athens." However, he did not always drive his "coach and four," and he was accustomed to call his team, going on horseback or with a one-horse wagon when the mail was small or the passengers few. In those days the postage was paid by the one receiving the letter or parcel. By Act of Congress, Feb. 1, 1816, the following rates of postage were established: Single letters, (single letters were those that contained one piece of paper; double letters, two pieces; triple letters, three pieces, etc.) any distance not exceeding 40 miles, 8 cents; over 40 miles not exceeding 90, 10 cents; over 90 not exceeding 150, 12 1/2 cents; over 150 not exceeding 300, 17 cents; over 300 not exceeding 500, 20 cents; over 500, 25 cents. The same can now be carried to any part of the United States for 2 cents. Double and triple letters were double and triple the above rates. Avery Gore continued postmaster at Sheshequin for many years. In the early ' 30's the Hornbrook postoffice was established with Dr. William S. Way postmaster. The Ghent postoffice was established in 1848, with R.N. Horton first postmaster. Jeremiah Kilmer served as postmaster at Black, during the existence of this office--from April 25, 1878, to May 1, 1901. The offices at Black, Ghent and Hornbrook were discontinued May 1, 1901, upon the inauguratin of the rural free delivery service, which provides a daily mail from Towanda as a distributing point. Offices remaining are Sheshequin, Glosser and Trinket.