The History Center on Main Street

61 North Main Street, Mansfield, Pennsylvania 16933

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History

Source: History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, with Illustrations, Portraits, & Sketches of Prominent Families and Individuals (1883), (New York: W. W. Munsell & Co., Press of George MacNamara)

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, (W. W. Munsell & Co., New York : 1883), 
If You Have Photos of People Mentioned on the Page, Send Them In For Inclusion

Return to 1883 Table of Contents

Fall Brook Borough History


History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania.(W.W. Munsell & Co., N.Y. : 1883, pp. 219-225.


In the general history of Tioga County we have alluded to the leasing and operating of the coal mines at Blossburg by Hon. John Magee, of Bath, N.Y., in 1851, that being the initial step in the subsequent development of the coal trade in the Blossburg coal field of the county. We now proceed to give the reader an idea of the manner in which this was accomplished.


The mines at Blossburg were only leased by Mr. Magee. His eldest son, who in the main had conducted the operations, was not satisfied with paying a rental or royalty, and therefore in the year 1856 obtained a contract from Hon. C.L. Ward, of Towanda, Bradford County, which conferred the right to explore for coal on the lands of Mr. Ward, situated on the waters of Fall Creek (or Fall Brook, as it has subsequently been called), and the Tioga River, six miles east of Blossburg. Duncan S. Magee organized a corps of explorers, consisting of himself as superintendent, and a dozen or more assistants. The land where they contemplated exploring was rocky uneven, and covered with a heavy growth of timber, tangled thickets of laurel, swamps and wind falls. Coal was found to a considerable extent during the year 1856, but not in sufficient quantities to warrant Mr. Magee in the purchase of the land from Mr. Ward. He was still operating the mines at Blossburg, giving employment to a large number of men for those days. During the winter of 1856-7 plans were devised for continuing the explorations. New arrangements were made with Mr. Ward, and in the spring of 1857 the same corps, with additional force, commenced their search again. Drifts were opened at various points along the side of the mountain on the west side of the Tioga River. Coal was found of a superior quality, and in quantities which would make the enterprise a success if railroad connections were made. A survey was made and levels taken, and it was ascertained that the coal field was about six hundred feet higher than the railroad track at Blossburg. This was discouraging. Another obstacle prevented the consummation of the purchase. The coal could not be worked from the east side of the mountain, for the reason that it declined toward the southwest, and the water would follow the course of excavations and prevent mining. Quite a sum of money had already been expended, and the panic of 1857 was not favorable to the prosecution of the work. John Magee, who had been furnishing the funds to carry on the explorations, hesitated to advance any more money, but he was finally prevailed upon to do so. The explorers changed their position over on to the Fall Brook side of the mountain, and in less than three months it was demonstrated that there was an immense body of coal in the mountain, and that it could be worked. Without going further into detail we will state that during the year 1858, under the direction of Duncan S. Magee, drift No. 1 was put in on the Fall Brook side of the mountain, by William Griffiths, Robert Pryde, John Dunsmore, Alexander Pollock sen. and Thomas Morgan. During this year a survey was commenced for a railroad from Blossburg to the new mines on Fall Brook by H. Brewer, under the direction of D.S. Magee. Before, however, a survey for a railroad had been completed John Magee had purchased 6,000 acres of land of C.L. Ward, embracing these mines or coal openings. The location of the road was a difficult task. Drift No. 1 was about 550 feet above the railroad track at Blossburg. Mr. Brewer, however, proved equal to the task and located the line. John Magee, James H. Gulick and Duncan S. Magee, during the winter of 1859, made an application to the Legislature for a charter under the name of the Fall Brook Coal Company. This application met with considerable opposition. The bill granting it passed the Legislature March 9th 1859; but a strong pressure was exerted upon Governor William F. Packer and he vetoed the bill. The bill, however, on the 7th of April 1859 passed both branches of the Legislature by the necessary two-thirds vote and became a law. The opposition came chiefly from another mining company. The first officers of the company were: John Magee, president; John Lang, secretary and treasurer; D.S. Magee, superintendent; H.Brewer, civil engineer. During the year 1859 the business of the company was prosecuted vigorously. The Fall Brook Railroad was completed; a saw-mill was erected for the company by George Richter at the "Falls," coal schutes were built at the mouth of drift No. 1; thirty or forty dwellings were hastily constructed; a supply store, which stood upon the site of the present fine hotel was completed and placed in charge of James Heron, assisted by O.W. Pattison and Thomas J. Hall; boarding houses, black-smith shops and carpenter shops were built, and everything assumed an air of business and activity in that wild mountainous forest int he township of Ward, where before for centuries the denizens of the woods were the only inhabitants save the dusky warriors of the Six Nations, who perchance had erected their hunting huts at the "Falls" and roamed over the craggy and rocky hills adjoining.

The work was immediately divided into departments, with Duncan S. Magee superintendent, H. Brewer and G.A. Beckus civil and mining engineers, Captain Robert Merritt overseer of the lumber department, Martin Stratton master mechanic and supervisor of tenements. Thomas Reese weighmaster of mining wagons and coal, John Morse overseer of railroad track, and afterward first weighmaster and shipper of coal, succeeded by Peter Cameron Jr., J.L. Sexton Jr. and W.D. Lynahan.

Before the coal schutes were finished, the company, feeling anxious to have the quality of the coal tested, hauled some in wagons to where drift No. 3 is now located, loaded it into dumps, and shipped it to various sections of the country for trial. The trials and test proved highly satisfactory, certificates being received by D.S. Magee from the most celebrated railroad men, machinists etc. in the land. This was a proud day for Mr. Magee. IN the face of obstacles which at times seemed insurmountable he and his friend Brewer and associates had explored for and found inexhaustible quantities of coal, superior for the generation of steam, for blacksmithing and furnace use, for glass-making and domestic use. They had constructed a railroad to it, connecting with the Tioga railroad and the outer world; had founded a town in the wilds of northern Pennsylvania, away up in the mountain peaks at the head of the Tioga; and Mr. Magee might well reflect upon his achievements with delight and satisfaction. On the 1st of April 1860 he issued a circular, announcing the opening of the new mines of the Blossburg coal at Fall brook, setting forth the facilities for mining and shipping and the character of the coal, and furnishing certificates of trials and tests; thus he laid the foundation of the great business subsequently done by the Fall brook Coal Company.

The mining of coal was abandoned at Blossburg, and all the energy of the late John Magee and his son Duncan was concentrated upon developing the coal trade at Fall Brook. Andrew Beers was agent for the company at Corning, and John Lang at Watkins, where the company a few years later acquired valuable franchises for the erection of docks, trestles with schutes, etc. Fall Brook was being fast populated. A corps of carpenters was constantly employed in erecting dwelling sand necessary shops, stores and offices, so that at the close of the year 1862 there were one hundred and eighty dwellings, one school-house, three boarding houses, one store, a saw-mill, two carpenter shops, two blacksmith shops, three weighing offices, and a population of about fourteen hundred inhabitants.

During the years 1861 and 1862 George J. Magee, now the enterprising president of the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railroad, the Fall Brook Coal Company and the Syracuse, Geneva and Corning Railroad, and the successful executive trustee of the estate of Hon. John Magee, spent considerable time at Fall Brook, making himself acquainted with the working of the mines and their management; and his knowledge of the business of the management; and his knowledge of the business of the Fall Brook Coal Company while living at Watkins, during the lifetime of his father and brother, added to his good common sense, enabled him, when called upon, to discharge the responsible duties which of late years he has performed.

In 1862 the office of manager was instituted by the Fall Brook Coal Company, and Humphries Brewer, of Fall Brook, was selected to fill it. He assumed the management of the affairs at the mines at Fall Brook, the mining and shipping of coal, explorations, constructing tenements, and everything pertaining to the business of the company at that place. That very responsible position he acceptably filled until his death. He died December 25th 1867, aged 50 years. D.S. Magee immediately notified the employees of the Fall Brook Coal Company of the event, and ordered a general suspension of business, requesting those in authority to cause the several shops, offices, stores, engines, etc., to be draped in mourning in token of respect to the memory of the deceased. The funeral took place December 28th. The whole population of Fall Brook, and many from all sections of the county and from Corning, Elmira and Watkins attended, together with the principal officers of the Fall Brook Coal Company. Mr. Brewer was buried in the cemetery for which the Fall Brook Coal Company about fifteen years ago selected a location on the east side of what is known as the "Fallow." The company put the grounds in good condition, and fenced them, and made the lots free.

James Heron had for some time discharged the double duty of mercantile agent and cashier, but the increased duties in the office of company rendered it necessary that he should devote his whole attention to the business devolving upon the cashier, for it was in the cashier's office that all the various accounts of the company and employees centered; and in 1861 Frank Lewis, of Allegheny County, N.Y., assumed control of the mercantile department. He remained until February 1864, when he was transferred to Bath, N.Y., to take charge of a woolen mill for Mr. Magee, and Charles E. Halsey, of Hammondsport, N.Y., became his successor. He remained at Fall Brook until 1875, when, his health failing, he resigned the position. Mr. Heron died September 21st 1872. There was a general suspension of work, and the funeral was largely attended. He was buried in the Fall Brook cemetery. The first burial in this ground was that of G.A. Beckus, brother of Mrs. Humphries Brewer and one of the civil engineers on the first exploration for coal at Fall Brook, who died in February 1864.

Lewis Clark, superintendent of outside and lumber department, died December 24th 1872. A general suspension of work was ordered. Masonic ceremonies were conducted at the grave. He was buried in Blossburg.

Of the early employees of the company there were a considerable number who were first employed in building the railroad and opening the mines, who soon left and their places were filled by others. Still a great number have remained many years consecutively in the employ of the company, either at Fall Brook, Antrim, Corning, Watkins or Clermont. Among the early employees of the company at Fall Brook were David J. Davis, Alexander Pollock Sr., Alexander Pollock Jr., James Quinlish, James Tracey, Thomas Morgan, William Allen, Anson Wells, L.C. Shepard, John L. Sexton Jr., O.W. Pattison, Frederick Wells, C.L. Pattison, C.L. Ford, C.E. Halsey, Frank Lewis, A.W. Taylor, John Murse, Robert Logan, John Smith (Irish), John Smith (English) and many others whose names appear in the history of the various lodges, societies and churches. Patrick Dwyer has served the company consecutively over twenty-five years, having commenced at Blossburg, before the railroad was completed to Fall rook, worked upon it, and, since its completion in 1859 and the commencement of shipping coal, attended to the loading of the cars at the schutes. John McCann has been employed consecutively eighteen years, and John Junk about the same length of time. James Peters and Thomas Bannon are old employees, but for the past few years have been unable to work; also John Lewis, a very worthy old miner.

George Cook was one of Duncan S. Magee's explorers in the year 1856, and continued in active work up to about 1866 or 1867, when he was stricken with rheumatism and suffered severely a number of years. Duncan S. Magee was at Fall Brook just before his departure for Europe in the fall of 1868, and learning of the illness of his old explorer gave orders that he should be given $100. We recollect well that visit of Mr. Magee to Fall Brook. Which he was shaking hands with his old employees and wishing them success and prosperity, although we cheerfully wished him a safe return with health restored, we felt a premonition - which proved too true - that this was the last hand-shaking for us with Duncan S. Magee; that he was going away to die among strangers in a strange land. As he stood on the balcony of the hotel and cast his eyes over busy, thriving and prosperous Fall Brook, and reflected on his former struggles to create this prosperity, the tears stole silently down his cheek. His emotions were too deep for utterance.

William Griffiths, recently of Clermont, McKean County, was employed consecutively from 1855 to 1880. He was on the first exploring expedition, in 1856, and worked at Fall Brook until 1874, when he was transferred to Clermont. During his residence in Fall Brook he was for many years foreman of drifts Nos. 3 and 2A, and was assisted by David J. Davis, now of Antrim. He was one of the most valuable men in the company's employ.

Fred S. Bragg for nearly fourteen years had charge of a locomotive, drawing the entire product of the mines--over two millions of tons--to Somerville and Blossburg, besides drawing the mail train over six years from Somerville to Fall Brook. In sunshine and in storm, in frost and snow, he was ever at his post, meeting with no serious accident and causing but little damage to the rolling stock of the company. His work was chiefly upon what may be justly termed inclines, having a grade of over 100 feet to the mile. About six years ago he was transferred to Corning, where he is still employed. His service for the company began April 12th 1861. For eleven years James Baty was conductor on the same train with Bragg, ad he has continuously been in the employ of the company since 1863. He also resides at Corning. John Keating was employed by the company many years, and his father, Michael Keating Sr., has been employed since 1862. He is now at Antrim.

Frederick Wells, mining boss, has been employed in various capacities, with an interval of only a few months, since 1859. A.J. Owen, cashier, with the exception of an interval of a year or two, has worked for the company since 1862, first as clerk in the office at Corning, and after 1864 as general agent at that place; at Fall Brook since 1873, where he is now cashier and superintendent of the company's store. John Hinman was many years in the employ of the company, both at Fall Brook and Antrim, at the latter place as cashier. John Forrest Jr. was for a number of years in the office at Fall Brook and cashier at Clermont. John Forrest Sr. has worked for the company since 1866. He is now at Antrim. James Pollock also has been employed with only a short interval since 1859. William Saxe has been many years an employee, and Malachi Kane since 1863. Robert F. Cummings was employed by the company from 1863 to 1881, a number of years outside superintendent of lumber, teams, etc., and some years clerk in the cashier's office. He served one or two terms as burgess of the borough. Edward Mitchell has been continuously employed by the company since 1859. Fernando C. Owen was an employee of the company in the store for some years, then at Corning and is now at Himrods, on the line of the Syracuse, Geneva and Corning Railroad, which is operated by the Fall Brook Coal Company. Robert Russell, one of the mining bosses, has been for many years in the service of the company, and has been prominent in the establishment of churches, lodges and societies, and a trusty and honest citizen.

Among the old settlers should also be enrolled the physicians. Doctor Davidson, now of Canton, Pa., was the first resident physician. He was succeeded by Dr. William Hartman, he by the venerable and trusty Henry Kilbourn, and be by Dr. Cleveland. Dr. John B. Christie came in 1865, remained about two years, and was succeeded by his cousin Robert Christie. The latter remained a year, and was followed by Dr. A.R. Barton, of Watkins, Schuyler, County, N.Y., who remained about five years. Dr. Barton was an accomplished gentleman, a good physician, and did much toward the establishment of the Odd Fellows' lodge, the Library Association and other institutions having for their aim the elevation of the human race. His health failed and he removed to Jamestown, New York, and finally went south for the benefit of his health. When he found there was no hope of recovery, he, accompanied by his friend john Hinman, who had known him in Fall Brook, returned to Jamestown, to die a few hours after his arrival. Dr. E.G. Drake succeeded him; then came Dr. Griffin, and the resident physician is now Dr. C.K. Thompson. The citizens of Fall Brook have thus far been fortunate in their selection of physicians.

It is a delicate and difficult task, with our limited space, to name the numerous men who have acted a conspicuous part in the history of Fall Brook and its coal trade for the past twenty-three years, but we have endeavored to do justice to all.

The managers at Fall Brook for the Fall Brook Coal Company were: H. Brewer, from 1862 to the time of his death, December 25th 1867; James Heron, from December 26th 1867 till his death, September 21st 1872; D.W. Knight, from September 22nd 1872 to 1875. In 1875 the position of manager was abolished, and its duties were divided, A.J. Owen taking charge of the financial affairs and management of the store, tenements, etc., and affairs and management of the store, tenements, etc., and James Pollock assuming the position of mining superintendent. In 1880 Mr. Pollock was transferred to Clermont, taking the management of the mines there, and Frederick Wells succeeded him in the position at Fall Brook, all the works at Fall Brook being under the general supervision of Anton Hardt of Wellsboro, general superintendent and engineer for the company.

The leading employees of Fall Brook Coal Company at present are as follows:
Cashier and store superintendent, A.J. Owen; clerks in cashier's office, A.N. Williams and R.W. Davis; clerks in store, R.B. Webb, James R. Mills; mining boss, Fred H. Wells, assisted by Robert Russell; car loader, Patrick Dwyer; weighmaster in drift No. 2, John G. Jones; weighmaster drift No. 3, Charles Cook; shipping clerk, John F. Dwyer; dock boss at drift No. 2, James Chambers; at drift No. 3, John Bran; foreman blacksmith, Sanford Dewey; foreman of outside work (embracing the lumber department), J.W. Taylor, resident physician, Dr. C.K. Thompson.

Until the year 1874 Fall Brook was one of the most tidy and well appearing mining towns in northern Pennsylvania. A large number of the dwellings were painted and well repaired, occupying lots, and not in blocks as in many towns. Many of the miners and laborers were during 1874 and for a year or two later transferred to Antrim, or to Clermont, McKean County, leaving many dwellings unoccupied, which gave the town a cheerless look. Within the last two years the company has refitted and repainted many of the dwellings, the store and the hotel, repaired the sidewalks, and otherwise brushed up the central portion of the borough, and made it more cheerful and inviting. The demand for coal recently has given the miners steadier work and the place appears more active. About 16,000 tons are now (December 1881) mined monthly. Under the management of H. Brewer, James Heron and D.W. Knight the lace continually improved; but after the panic of 1873 and the dull times following Fall Brook did not present so favorable an appearance. For four or five years the business would not warrant any outlay beyond what was absolutely necessary to carry on the work. Now it begins to assume more of the aspect it wore in the brisk times from 1860 to 1873. For many years the social relations of the people of Fall Brook were most pleasant, but the former leaders in society are now scattered.


In August 1864 application was made by the citizens of Fall Brook to the court of common pleas of Tioga County, to be incorporated as a borough. The petition was numerously signed. At the same time the citizens of the township outside the village of Fall Brook petitioned the court to set them off in a separate election district. The petition of the citizens of Fall Brook was placed in the hands of L.C. Shepard, with instructions to present it to the court and to employ counsel. Opposition was made to the granting of the prayers of the petitioners, for the reason that the citizens of Fall Brook were inclined to be disloyal; that to create a borough where one manor company owned all the property was a dangerous thing, that freedom of speech and freedom to exercise the right of the elective franchise were not permitted, etc.

It was shown by the petitioners--first, that in Fall Brook and the township of Ward, on a basis of 148 voters over 300 persons had either volunteered, commuted or furnished substitutes to the Union army--an instance unparalleled in the history of the country; second, in relation to freedom of speech and an exercise of the elective franchise, that while the manger, H.Brewer, was a Democrat, two of the drift masters, two of the boss mule drivers, the chief explorer, the doctor, the master mechanic, two of the weighmasters and others in the employ of the Fall Brook Coal Company were Republicans and exercised their rights freely, and that if there was any intimidation on the part of those residing there, it was by the Republicans, and not by the Democrats or by the company; that the company selected men on account of their business capacity and fitness for their work, their politics never entering into the matter at all.

The petition was finally granted, and an election was ordered for the 16th of September 1864. At that election L.C. Shepard was elected burgess, and he was annually re-elected up to January 1873, when he refused longer to accept the duties of that office. At the first election of councilmen James Heron, H.Brewer, James Tracy, William D. Lynahan and Charles N. Cranmer were chosen. Charles L. Pattison was the first treasurer, Burr Noble the first clerk of the borough, and Michael Peters, Thomas Murray, David O'Heron, L.B. Johnson, Walter Mason, A.W. Taylor, Patrick Donley, William Buckley, James Quinlish, Frederick Wells, James Baty, F.S. Bragg, William Farr and Thomas Buck constituted the original borough police force. At the spring election following other officers were elected.

The borough officers for the year 1881 were: Burgess, Robert Russell; councilmen, Patrick Dwyer, Robert Ray, Noble Breese, Patrick Ryan, Walter Allen, James Junk; justice of the peach, C.K. Thompson; judge of election, Michael Lyon; school directors, F.W. Lyon, Walter Allen, John McCann, John Junk, William Saxe, James Chambers; president of school board, John Junk; secretary, James Chambers; inspectors of election, William Saxe, David Nicol; constable, F.W. Lyon; assessor, John F. Dwyer; auditors, Henry McGrath and John G. Jones; borough clerk, Edward P. Dwyer.

We give the following statement of the vote for borough offices in 1882 on the authority of the Wellsboro Agitator:

Burgess - J.W. Taylor, 76. Councilmen - A.N. Williams, 37; Noble Breese, 75; Frank Smith, 73; John Wilber, 26; James Mills, 76; William Saxe, 76; Walter Allen, 30; John Kennedy, 45. School directors - F.H. Wells, 76; Robert Russell, 76; Thomas Ford, 76; William O'Donnell, 51; John Walker, 25. Justice of the peace - Robert Russell, 76. Constable - John Booth, 75; Patrick Higgins, 1. Assessor - N.A. Wells, 50; John Jones, 26. Assistant assessors - E.W. Jaquish, 1; John F. Dwyer, 1. Judge of election - Michael Lyon, 74. Inspectors of election - David Nicol, 76; D.S. Dewey, 75. Auditor - E.W. Jaquish, 76; D.S. Dewey, 75. Auditor - E.W. Jaquish, 76; John Rogers, 73, Poormaster - John Walker, 3; Robert Reay, 3.

Fall Brook now has about one thousand inhabitants. Since 1873 the population has varied considerably, owing to strikes, dull times and transfers to Antrim and Clermont. The population as returned by the census marshall in 1870 was evidently erroneous. He reported 1,390, when there were at least 2,000 inhabitants, every dwelling being occupied and the boarding houses full to their utmost capacity. IN 1872 the population was at its greatest number, reaching nearly 2,300. There are now many vacant dwellings.


In 1861 the Fall Brook Coal Company erected for the township of Ward a school-house in Fall Brook, with two departments, located on the west side of the street in the "Fallow," nearly opposite where the present school-house is situated, it being the front part of the present school-house. In the fall and winter of 1864-5 another was built, in the southern portion of Fall Brook, on Catawissa Street. Both of these buildings, being too small to accommodate the increasing number of scholars, in the summer of 1873 were enlarged and remodeled, and since have been of ample size. Among the early teachers in the Fallow School were David Cameron, Oscar Beardsley, Miss Belle Dyer, Miss Lue Pitts, Miss Simpson and J.L. Sexton Jr., Mr. Sexton being employed there about seven successive years. The present teacher is Miss Mettie Kiff.

Among the early teachers in the school-house on Catawissa Street were Miss Bessie Brewer, Mrs. Lucy Cranmer, S.A. Gaskell and others. The present teacher is Miss Lucy Junk.


Presbyterian.--A church organization was effected by the Presbyterians in 1860, a petition having been made tot he Presbytery of Susquehanna. The petitioners were Alexander Pollock Sr., James Heron, Alexander Pollock, Jr., James Pollock, Peter Cameron Jr., Robert Logan, James Logan, John Dunsmore, George Snedden, William Watchman, E.J. Evans, David Pryde, and H. Brewer. The first officers were: Trustees of funds, Hon. John Magee, Duncan S. Magee, and Alexander Pollock Sr., treasurer, H. Brewer; secretary, James Heron; committee of management, Alexander Pollock, Sr., Robert Logan, David Pryde, Samuel Heron, William Watchman, and Reese Thomas.

In conjunction with Morris Run this church secured the services of Rev. George Blair, September 1st 1861. Rev. William McCormick was selected as pastor in the fall of 1863 and remained one year. He was succeeded by Rev. J. Caldwell, who also remained one year. Rev. E. Kennedy commenced his pastorate in the summer of 1866, and remained until October 1st 1870. Then Rev. G.R.H. Shumway, of Lawrenceville, supplied the pulpit, and he was succeeded in October 1871 by Rev. Philander Camp, who remained until 1875. Rev. William Young at intervals after this supplied the pulpit. For many years there was connected with the church a large and interesting Sunday-school, with Alexander Pollock Sr. as superintendent. During the pastorate of Rev. E. E+Kennedy a neat little church edifice costing $2,200 was erected; the Fall Brook Coal Company donating $1,000 of the amount. There is now no regular or stated minister, and the Sunday-school is under the management of James R. Mills.

St. Thomas' Church.--In the summer of 1864 Rev. E.D. Loveridge, of Hammondsport, N.Y., made a visit to his friend C.E. Halsey, at Fall Brook. During his visit he held the first Episcopal Church service in Fall Brook, July 31st 1864. In August 1866 Fall brook was visited by Bishop Lee, of Delaware, and on the 24th of that month he confirmed Miss Mary Frazer and Miss Mary Brewer. About that time C.E. Halsey and John Hinman organized a Sunday-school and gathered in over a hundred scholars. The school was held in the Fallow school-house. It was deficient in the necessary books and catechisms. Through the energy and liberality of Messrs. Halsey and Hinman the want was supplied. St. John's Church, Catherine, Schuyler County, N.Y., also made the school generous donations of books. On Christmas Eve 1866 nearly a hundred scholars were present at a Christmas tree offering. Rev. N.L. Kern, then a missionary in the mining district, located at Blossburg, was present and addressed the assemblage. The interest in the Sunday-school continued for years and was the means of bringing about a church organization.

July 30th 1867 application was made by Charles E. Halsey, John Hinman, John L. Sexton Jr., Lewis Clark, John B. Christie, J.W. Personeus, John Alderson and Thomas Gaffney of Fall Brook to the court of common pleas of Tioga County to be incorporated under the title of the Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of St. Thomas's Church, Fall Brook. The application was granted December 5th 1867 and ordered on file in the office of the prothonotary. The first officers were: Charles E. Halsey, senior warden; John Hinman, junior warden; vestrymen, Lewis Clark, John B. Christie, Joel W. Personeus, John L. Sexton Jr. and John Alderson.

Rev. M.L. Kern officiated every alternate Sabbath in the Fall School-house until November 28th 1869, and for several years the church was without a minister, lay reading being kept up by John Hinman and Isaac S. Marshal. In 1874 Marcellus Karcher, a deacon in orders, came and located in Fall Brook, and officiated very acceptably (being ordained in the meantime as minister) until the year 1876, since which time there has been no regular service. The total number of communicants since the organization is about 200.

Catholic Church.--In July 1873 Rev. John Wynne, stationed at Blossburg, made an effort to erect a church at Fall rook, and succeeded in getting pledged among the Catholic brethren and other friends the sum of $1,000. The Fall Brook Coal Company then generously gave him $1,000 more, and this enabled him to enter into a contract with Joseph Hyland, of Blossburg, for the erection of the edifice. On the 31st of August 1873 Bishop O'Hara, of Scranton, assisted by Revs. Gerald McMurray, John A. Wynne and John McDermott, laid the corner stone with the imposing ceremonies of the Catholic Church. The new building was so far completed by Sunday April 26th 1874 that it was then opened for service, Rev. Father Garvey, of Williamsport, delivering the opening sermon.

A large and prosperous Sunday-school was sustained for some time, but during the slack times in Fall Brook many families removed, and it was allowed to dwindle away. It is at present kept up. Miss Honora Dwyer, Miss Lucy Junk and Mary Dwyer are now teachers. Rev. P.J. Murphy, of Blossburg, officiates in the church.


The Fall Brook Friendly Society was organized May 15th 1869. It is a beneficial society. Its first officers were: James Pollock, president; George Forsythe, vice-president, Robert Russell, treasurer; Robert Brownlee, secretary; managers - John L. Sexton, Jr., Thomas Martin, Joseph, James and William Wardrop; auditors - Thomas Gaffney and Titus Drainsfield.

At its fourth anniversary a parade and dinner was given, and addresses were made by Dr. A.R. Barton, J.L. Sexton Jr., James Pollock, Rev. Philander Camp and Rev. William Young. The committee of arrangements consisted of James Chambers, Andrew Couser, William Wardrop, George Snedden and John Walker. Samuel Chambers was marshal, with James Chambers and Andrew Nelson as assistants. At the Fallow School-house yard members of the Friendly Society, with citizens and the teachers and scholars of the public schools, formed a procession, which marched to the music of the Arnot brass band through several streets, stopping at the residence of D.W. Knight, manager for the Fall rook Coal Company. Mr. Knight received them kindly, and welcomed them in a neat little speech. Thence the company marched to the school-yard, where refreshments were served and speeches made. It was announced that the society had received $1,866.95 and expended $1,580.13 in funeral expenses and weekly allowances to the sick. During the slack times from 1873 to 1880 many of its members moved away from Fall Brook; but it has been the means of doing a very great amount of good.

It's present officers are: Sanford Dewey, president' Walter Allen, vice-president; James Chambers, treasurer; William F. O'Donnell, secretary; Alexander Hunter, John Shearer, John Kirkpatrick and Andrew McCann, managers; Robert Muir and D.S. Dewey, auditors.

Catholic Temperance Society.--For a number of years the Catholic Temperance Society was in existence, and was the means of doing much good. It has at present nor organization. John McCann, James Junk and Michael Lyon were among its early and most steadfast members.

Fall Brook Lodge, No. 765, I.O.O.F. was chartered May 8th and constituted May 15th 1871. The first officers were: A.R. Barton, N.G.; Robert Dick, V.G.; Robert Brownlee, secretary; Joseph McNish, assistant secretary; Alexander M. Allen, treasurer.

This has been one of the chief benevolent associations of the borough. The lodge now occupies elegant quarters in the new hall, which is furnished neatly and tastefully. It is a strong institution. The Knights of Honor and the Rebekah lodge occupy the same hall. Fall Brook Lodge has among its members some of the best men in the mining region.

Its present officers are: James Sampson, N.G.; John G. Jones, V.G.; Alexander Jarvie and Lawson Renwick, secretaries; W.L.Thomas, treasurer.

Saturday June 15th 1872 the lodge celebrated its first anniversary with a picnic. The Arnot brass band furnished the music. At 11 o'clock a.m. a procession was formed in front of the lodge room and marched to a grove near the big spring in the northern part of the borough, where the dinner was spread. After dinner addresses were delivered by Dr. A.R. Barton, S.L. Barber, of Covington, J.B. Anderson, of Morris Run, Rev. Mr. Jones and William Young.

"Agnes" (Rebekah) Lodge I.O.O.F., No. 126, was chartered November 19th 1880, the charter members being Mary Jane Chambers, N.G.; Jane Sampson, V.G.; Eliza Nicol, secretary; Florence Shepard, assistant secretary; and Janette Reeves, treasurer. The lodge was named in memory of Mrs. Agnes Muir. It meets in Odd Fellows' Hall, and at present is very prosperous.

Knights of Honor.--Fall Brook Lodge, No. 2,506, was instituted July 20th 1881, by A.J. Owen, D.G.D., with 28 charter members. The present officers are: P.D., Robert Russell; dictator, A.J. Owen; V.D., J.W. Taylor; A.D., Frank Church; reporter, William Tipton; F.R., A.N. Williams; treasurer, Dr. C.K. Thompson; chaplain, Rev. J.H. Acornley; guide, William Saxe; guardian, Noble H. Breese; sentinel, Charles B. Thompson. This lodge bids fair to increase in numbers and prove of great benefit to its members.

Fall Brook Library Association.--During the winter of 1872-3 the Odd Fellows of Fall Brook, through the efforts of Robert Russell, Robert Brownlee, Robert Dick, Samuel Chambers and others, inaugurated a series of lectures in their lodge room. Rev. N.L. Reynolds, of Wellsboro, Rev. Charles Jones, of Morris Run, Dr. A. R. Barton and John L. Sexton Jr. of Fall Brook, delivered lectures. The object was two-fold, to impart instruction and to establish a library association in Fall Brook. The latter object was accomplished April 15th 1873, and a choice selection of standard and valuable books was purchased. The association also received as donations a number of good books from gentlemen residing at Corning and Elmira, and from Mrs. Conrad Gansevoort, then temporarily residing at Fall rook. General George J. Magee present the association with Macfarlane's "Coal Regions of America" and $25 in cash. The first officers of the association were: Dr. A.R. Barton, president; Robert Russell, treasurer; John L. Sexton, Jr., secretary; librarian, Dr. Barton; directors - A.R. Barton, John Forrest, Jr., Dennis O'Connell and A.J. Owen. The library has at times been quite neglected, but upon the whole has been the source of much enjoyment and information. L.C. Shepard is now the librarian.


In 1864 work was begun on the Fall Brook Hotel by the Fall Brook Coal Company, and the hotel was opened to the public by Warren Goff, of Steuben County, N.Y., in the spring of 1865. Lebbeus Phillips took charge of it in 1866 and remained until 1872. C.B. Whitehead was the manager from 1872 to 1875. John Van Order and J.G. Scudder succeeded him, and the hotel is now conducted by John F. and Edward Dwyer, under the firm name of Dwyer Bros. It has recently been repainted and repaired. It is a well conducted house.

The railroad depot was finished in December 1865. The first agent was the late John Walker. He was succeeded by L.E. Christie, Conrad Gansevoort, H.D. Wey, L.J. Stothoff and others. It has recently been remodeled and converted into a town hall, meat market and lodge hall.

The telegraph line from Corning to Fall brook was completed in the fall of 1864. Miss Kilbourn, daughter of Dr. Henry Kilbourn, was the first operator, and was succeeded by William E. Butts, W.W. Halsey, Henry H. Blair and others. For several years past the office has been operated by the clerks in the cashier's office at the store.

In July 1869 the Alba and Fall Brook stage line was established.

The smallpox raged in Fall Brook during the winter of 1871-2, and several deaths resulted.

On Saturday and Sunday May 11th and 12th 1872 fire raged in the woods surrounding Fall brook, and threatened the destruction of the town. The whole population fought the fire and succeeded in arresting its progress.

In April 1881 occurred the burning of the large sawmill of the Fall Brook Coal Company. Fall Brook has been remarkably free from fires, the only ones occurring in twenty years being that just mentioned and the destruction of two barns and a water tank.

Hon. John Magee died at Watkins, N.Y., April 5th 1868. The business of the Fall Brook Coal Company was suspended and a special train carried from Fall Brook and along the line more than a thousand of the employees of the company to his funeral. In May 1869 was held the funeral of D.S. Magee, at Watkins, which was largely attended by citizens of Tioga County as well as of southern and central New York.

site created and maintained by Joyce M. Tice

Home | About | News | Calendar | Photo Gallery | Links | FAQ | Contact