Troy’s History includes many special events
When it was discovered late last year that Troy would soon be 135 years old, the date of incorporation as a Borough was checked in the county histories. A discrepancy was found. Rev. David Craft gave it as May 14, 1845 in his 1878 history; H.C. Bradsby in his 1891 history put down April 11. Clement Heverly ducked the issue in his 1924 book, just giving the year.
Troy Borough Manager Arthur Barrett got in touch with Representative Roger Madigan, who checked the State Archives and found that the correct date is April 11, 1845. Rep. Madigan also obtained a copy of the complete Charter, sent it to Barrett, who turned it over to Councilman Bette Stowell. Mrs. Stowell had it framed and it now hangs in Troy Borough Hall.
"An Act to Incorporate the Village of Troy in Bradford County into a Borough" was signed by Governor Francis Rawn Shunk, a former school teacher. Finley Patterson, Speaker of the House of Representatives and William P. Wilcox, Speaker of the Senate, also signed the Act, which gave the boundaries of the new Borough and delineated its rights to hold elections and pay taxes.
Edwin C. Oliver was elected the first Burgess. The first Common Council was composed of G.F. Redington, V.M. Long, Frederick Orwan, and Layton Runyan, with Allen E. Thomas as clerk. Thomas B. Baldwin was high constable and Laban Bowen served as street commissioner.
The first assessment of the taxable property of Troy Boro amounted to $58, 925, according to Craft, which brought in a tax of $180.69. Troy’s population did not reach 480 persons until five years later. One of the earliest ordinances forbade "horse racing and bathing in Sugar Creek" within the borough limits.
Troy grew and generally prospered throughout its history. Here are a few highlights from its past.
The new borough got off to a bad start with a disastrous fire in 1848, which is said to have destroyed every business house except that of G.F. Redington. It was the first of three major fires which virtually wiped out the downtown area but each time Troy rebuilt. After the last, in 1870, there was so much agitation that more modern fire equipment was purchased and a firehouse built at the foot of Redington Ave. on Canton St. That was the birth of the Oscaluwa Engine and Hose Company which has been ably staffed by volunteers ever since, with a new building replacing the old in the 1950’s.
[A.L. Rolison & Son photograph]
A.L. Rolison & Son was a popular center for groceries and crockery and offered delivery from its Main Street store, where the First Bank of Troy parking lot is today.
When the Northern Central Railroad came through Troy in 1854, the first in the county, it opened up markets and spurred growth. There was a local touch, too. Jareb Case, Farmer, helped to build the railroad north from Canton Corners. The son of Reuben Case, first settler at the edge of the future Troy Boro in 1797, he became the father of Frank Pierce Case who started F.P. Case & Sons in 1895, oldest business in Troy still operated by the same family.
[Bicentennial Parade photograph]
Here is part of the Bicentennial Parade on Wagon Train Day 1976 passing the Troy Borough Hall.
The railroad also was a major factor in the growth of Troy’s butter industry. Staple articles of trade and produce around 1810 were cattle, wheat and lumber, then the making of potash was introduced. Tanneries flourished, as did grist and wool carding mills. In the early days, butter was not of much account, hardly worth six pence a pound. The price more than doubled in 1840, but the big boost came with the trains, especially during the Civil War.
By 1878 close to $500,000 worth of butter was shipped from Troy, a considerable sum in those days. Farmers would bring their tubs and firkins of butter to either Redington, Maxell & Leonard or Newbury & Peck, the two largest shippers, the first mostly to New York, the second to Philadelphia. The merchants would weigh, test and brand the butter with the producer’s name. In 1909, Troy butter makers provided, on contract, all the butter used by the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Because it was on the railroad, Troy became a mustering point for several counties during the 1860’s war. The Provost Marshall would stand on the balcony on Main St. across from the hotel and read out the names of the draftees. Troy ladies spent much of their time at the depot giving flowers and food to the thousands of soldiers passing through on "the cars" on their way to battle. Later, the same ladies helped care for wounded in a camp where Taylor St. now is at the foot of the high school grounds.
In 1867 the Troy Graded School opened, a marvel for its day. Troy’s first center of learning, the Shad Schooldhouse, had been built in 1823 by volunteer labor not far from what is now Rout 6 near its junction with Route 14. The next school was on Canton St. on the site of Wagenheim’s Clothes Shop today and the Troy Academy on Paine’s Hill opened in 1842.
In 1870 Troy was made a Half Shire Court town by Act of the State Legislature and Court sessions were held twice a year, first in the old Methodist Church on Canton St. which later became the Opera House. The Court House was opened in 1894 on the site of the old Adams House.
In 1874 a group of men decided to further the progress of farming in the area. They met in the Grange Hall in the Pierce Building to form the Troy Farmer’s Club. The following year the first free Troy Fair was held and has been held ever since with the exception of several summers during World War II. Several of the earliest club meetings were concerned with improving the production of butter.
A few years later in 1889, Troy’s three big flour mills were grinding buckwheat night and day. Troy had come to be known as "the home of butter buckwheat and boys". However, other important crops were potatoes, tobacco, sheep and poultry.
By 1900 both the Troy Engine & Machine Co. and the Troy Shoe Factory were also working overtime. Troy engines had been prominently displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Most of Troy shoes were made with sole leather locally processed at Bowen’s or VanDyne’s Tanneries.
In 1916 E.E. VanDyne purchased the Troy Court House from the county and turned it into a civic center which he gave to his community. Ever since it opened in 1917, it has been a center of town life, housing the library and post office, sports, plays and various community events. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Last March 1 it opened as the Troy office of Citizens & Northern Bank after a year of restoration and remodeling.
In early 1922 the Grade School burned down and students had classes on the VanDyne Civic Building. The Troy fathers evolved a unique plan to raise money to build a new school. The Troy Plan was approved by the State and later copied by other school districts.
Many other events of major interest have occurred in Troy this century. Such splendid cattle go on the blocks at the Troy Sale Barns that buyers come from great distances for stock to improve their herds. The introduction of short-horn milkers was largely due to the efforts of area farmers.
Over 50 years ago the Martha Lloyd School began operating in Troy. In other communities there has often been conflict between townspeople and those in a home for the mentally handicapped. Not in Troy. Martha Lloyd girls are welcomed throughout the community in stores, churches and public events.
One of the first agricultural departments in the State was started in the Troy High School and led for many years by Prof. L.R. Guillaume, and our ag boys have become leading members of the dairy industry, still Troy’s main economic base.
Troy Township occupies important position in area’s industrial, farming economy.
(Editor’s Note – This is the first of three special articles on Troy Township: its early history, its current activities.)
Western Bradford county became one of the earliest land areas to be
developed by pioneer settlers pushing out from New England’s Connecticut.
The rivers and streams in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were the super highways and road nets of that day. And over them, by canoe, barge, raft and boat travelers moved.
Seekers of new lands, buyers of land sold to them by the Susquehanna Land Company of Connecticut traveled over the waterways, particularly, the Susquehanna river and it tributaries. Sugar creek was one of the latter and over it came early Bradford county settlers.
According to historians, the first settler in the town (as a similar area was called in New England) of Augusta was Nathaniel Allen. He settled along the creek at a point now known as East Troy village. That was in 1793. He built a saw mill and a grist mill there, those being the most needed manufacturing units in those early days.
Other early settlers included Elihu Smead and Aaron Case, Moses Case and Samuel Rockwell. Smead and Aaron Case were the only ones to settle on land that was to later become the incorporated unit of Troy borough, 1820.
The settlers decided on the name of Lansingburg for the village that was later to become Troy, a name that was given to it later. The town (township) then took on the name of Troy, dropping its earlier name of Augusta.
Other settlers in Troy township were Reuben Case who came from Granville township in 1798, a former resident of Washington, N. Y. Maj. Ezra Long settled along the stream where he built the famed Long’s Pond, just east of the Troy borough limits.
The Hon. Reuben Wilbur, in 1810, paid 50 cents an acre for land from the Susquehanna Land Company, but he had to pay $400 an acre later to the Pennsylvania land title holders.
This was the result of the early dispute on the boundaries of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The colony of Connecticut had been granted a charter by the King of England, which gave its western border as the Pacific Ocean. (Not much was known about the lands much beyond the Ohio valley, and practically nothing about it in England).
William Penn also received a colony charter from the same king, but the northern boundary of “Penn’s Land” overlapped the southern boundary of Connecticut’s. This overlapping was roughly the depth, north and south, of Bradford county.
Early dispute over titles of land occurred and Congress finally appointed a commission in 1782 to settle the matter. It did, in favor of Pennsylvania.
A commission was set up to determine ownership rights of claimants under the two titles, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. However, “civil war” broke out as families and contestants became heated over the ownership of these lands.
The General Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1795 passed an “intrusion law” aimed at those property owners seeking Pennsylvania lands under the Connecticut title. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the commission.
So, it became, eventually, a case of paying Pennsylvania for the lands, or getting out. Some did the former, and some, the latter. Evidently, the Hon. Wilbur was of the former.