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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania

History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, (W. W. Munsell & Co., New York : 1883), 
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By John L. Sexton Jr.

Sullivan Township is bounded on the north by the township of Rutland, on the east by the county of Bradford, on the south by the township of Ward, and on the west by the townships of Covington and Richmond. Its mean elevation above tide is about 1,400 feet. The soil is well adapted to the growth of corn, wheat, oats, buckwheat and the grasses. Tobacco has been raised to some extent. The orchard products are great. Iron ore is found within its limits, but has not been mind to any great extent. The township is distinguished for its fine quarries of building and flagging stone. The principal business of the people is farming, and some of the finest farms in the county are to be found within its limits. As a rule the farmers are prosperous, with good buildings, ample agricultural machinery, fine horses and carriages, and all the surroundings needed to make life agreeable. Their ancestors and themselves have known the vicissitudes and hardships of pioneer life, and the present generation is enjoying the fruits of hard work and rigid economy.

The value of the taxable property in Sullivan in the year 1880 was $349,389, and in Mainesburg borough $325,500, making in the township and borough an aggregate of $381,889. The number of taxables in the township in 1881 was 363, and there were 91 in the borough, making a total of 454. The valuation of property in this township, as in all the rest of the county, is not half its real value. The property in Sullivan Township and Mainesburg will closely approximate one million dollars.


More than one hundred years ago General John Sullivan led an expedition against the Indians in the Wyoming, Chemung and Genesee Country, who had committed such atrocious cruelties in the earlier years of the Revolutionary War. A number of the early settlers here were soldiers of the Revolution, and had seen service under Sullivan or other distinguished officers of the continental army. They came for the granite hills of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the rich valleys of the Connecticut, and pitched their tents or established their rude cabins in the highlands of Tioga County, in the territory now known as Sullivan and Rutland Townships. They were brave, intelligent and hardy pioneers, and brought with them the frugal habits and persevering energy of their New England ancestry, and soon made the wilderness resound with the echoes of their well directed blows. As the territory of Tioga County was then divided, they located in Tioga and Covington Townships.

The earliest settlements in Sullivan and Rutland Townships were made as early as 1806. The years 1807-10 increased the number of families, and by 1817 they petitioned the court and were organized as the township of Sullivan, naming the township in honor of the brave General John Sullivan. The township then embraced what is now Sullivan, Ward, Union and Rutland townships. It was a territory situated in the highlands east of the Tioga Valley and west of Troy, Alba and Canton, in Bradford County. It abounded with wild game--deer, elk and bears. The same reciprocal favors of which we have spoken in other portions of this work characterized the intercourse between the early settlers of Sullivan. The logging bees, spinning bees, raisings, huskings, and all the gatherings which were in vogue in other portions of the county were well patronized among the pioneers of that day; and we occasionally meet one of them, who points back to those days with exceeding gratification and pleasure, and recalls to mind the happy days "when this our land was new."

Below is a list of taxables in the township of Sullivan for the year 1817. John Knox, Asa Mann, and Elijah Dupuy were commissioners, James Gray Jr., assessor, David Lindsay, clerk for the commissioners. The tax was two-thirds of a cent on a dollar. The appeal was to be held at the house of James Gray.

John Andrews, Isaac Baker, Ananias Baker, Simeon Briggs, Simeon Briggs, Jr., Griffin Bailey, Constant Bailey, Thomas R. Corey, Paul Cudworth, James Cudworth, David Crippen, Jacob Collins, Peleg Doud, Josiah Dewey, Joseph Dewey, John Ellis, David Fellows, James Gray, John Gray, Silas Gray, Aaron Gitchell, David Jones, Timothy Knowlton, John King, Uriah Loper, Allen Lane Jr., Lemuel Lane, Allen Lane, John Luddington, William Luddington, Benjamin Lawrence, Henry Lawrence, Asa Mann, Reuben Merritt, Ira Mudge, Eli McNett, John Newell, Jesse Orvis, Joseph Orvis, Timothy Orvis, David Palmer, John Packart, Jonathan Patridge, Stephen Palmer, H. Pitts, Clement Paine, Samuel Reynolds, Enos Smith Rumsey, Thomas Raxford, Elisha Rush, John Simpkins, Gardner Seaman, Jesse Smith, Jonathan L. Spencer, Lyman Spencer, Benjamin Trout, Nathaniel Welch, Elijah Welch, Nathan Welch Jr., Roswell Webster, Abial Webster, Zebedee Woodward, Noah Weast, John Watson, Ephraim S. Marsh, Eli Gitchell, Joseph Ford, Lyman Rumsey, Abijah Hawley, Samuel Hardin, Robert Potter, Apollos Cudworth, John Benson Jr., Daniel James, Levi Fox, Isaac Benson, Thomas Bennet, Benjamin Harrison.

The non-resident owners of land were the General Lutheran Congregation, Messrs. Fisher, Thomas M. Willing, Robert Gilman, John Vaughan, George Mead, Robert Coleman, Nicklin & Griffith, etc.

The residences of the men above named, as near as can be learned at this late date, were as follows: Isaac Baker and Ananias Baker lived in Gray's Valley; Simeon Briggs and Simeon Briggs Jr. on the State road - went west; Griffin Bailey and Constant Bailey in what is now known as Chandlerburg, on the farm now occupied by Samuel Longwell; Thomas R. Corey on the State Road; Paul Cudworth on Rumsey Hill, and James Cudworth near him; David Crippen in the northeastern portion of Sullivan; Jacob Collins and Peleg Doud near the present borough of Mainesburg; Josiah Dewey on the State road; John Ellis in Mainesburg; David Fellows a mile from Mainesburg, where Jasper Smith now resides; Captain James Gray, a soldier of the Revolution, in Gray's Valley, giving the name to that locality; John and Silas Gray in Gray's Valley; Eli Gitchell on Rumsey Hill; Timothy Knowlton in the southeastern portion of the township; Uriah Loper in what is now Union Township; Allen Lane Jr., Allen Lane and Lemuel Lane in the eastern portion of the county, where Nathan Palmer now resides; John Luddington where Isaac Squires now resides; Benjamin Lawrence, a hatter by trade, in the neighborhood of the Lanes; Henry Lawrence in the same vicinity; Asa Mann at Mansfield, owning property, however, in Sullivan Township; Ira Mudge on the State road near Joseph, Timothy and Jesse Orvis; Eli McNett in what is now the township of Union; John Newell near McNett's; David Palmer on the State road; John Packart in Mainesburg; Jonathan Patridge below Chandlerburg; Stephen Palmer beside his brother David; H. Pitts on the County road, where John Phillips now resides; Samuel Reynolds on the State road, on the farm now owned by his son Thomas; Daniel Rose and Enos Rose north of Mainesburg; Jeremiah Rumsey in Mainesburg; Noah and Smith Rumsey on Rumsey Hill, near Mainesburg; Thomas Raxford in the eastern portion of the township, near the county line; Gardner Seaman in the eastern portion of the township; Jesse Smith near the present township line between Sullivan and Rutland townships; Jonathan L. Spencer in the present township of Union; Nathaniel Welch on the State road; Elijah Welch near Nathaniel; Nathaniel Welch Jr. where Lyman Reynolds now resides; Roswell Webster near the State road; Abial Webster where Lyman Smith now resides; Zebedee Woodward lived in the eastern portion of Sullivan; Noah Weast on the State road; John Watson north of Mainesburg; Ephraim S. Marsh in the east part of Mainesburg. Eli Gitchell was a Baptist minister; Aaron Gitchell, who was a dancing master and had taught deportment and dancing in Washington D. C., taught also in Sullivan, and died there at an advanced age. Joseph Ford lived in Mainesburg, where Warren Doud now lives, and had an ashery; Lyman Rumsey, a son of Jeremiah Rumsey, lived with his father; Abijah Hawley lived in the northeastern portion of the township; Samuel Harden near where Orrin Smith now resides; Apollos Cudworth removed to the Holland Purchase, in New York, many years ago; John Benson Jr. lived in the northeastern portion of the township of Sullivan; Daniel James in Mainesburg; Isaac Benson in what is now the township of Rutland. Peleg Doud came to Sullivan from Vermont in the year 1808 and settled near Mainesburg. His family consisted of a wife and twelve children; the children now living are; Philemon, aged 82; Munson, aged 79; Peleg W., aged 72, and R. H., aged 69 years; they are all farmers excepting R. H. Doud, who is now engaged in mercantile pursuits.


The affairs of the township did not get into due form until about the close of the year 1819. In the year 1820, March 17th, an election was held and the following named persons were chosen to the several offices: Supervisors, Ira Mudge, William Luddington, auditors, Benjamin Lawrence, Isaac Baker, Stephen Palmer, John King; constables, Isaac Dewey, Noah Rumsey; overseers of the poor, Samuel Harding, Peleg Doud. Ira Mudge had 28 votes, William Luddington 32, Benjamin Lawrence 30, Isaac Baker 28, Stephen Palmer 32, John King 30, Isaac Dewey 29, Noah Rumsey 22, Samuel Harding 18 and Peleg Doud 18. The record was certified March 17th 1820, by Samuel Harding and Isaac Halsey, judges, and by David Palmer Jr. and Isaac S. Dewey.

The first election for the township was held in Gray's Valley; subsequent ones at the house of William Luddington, and still later they were held at Mainesburg. William Luddington, at whose house the elections were so long held, kept one of the best houses of entertainment in northern Pennsylvania. He was one of those cheerful, large-hearted men whom the traveler delights to find for his host. He was one of the wealthiest men of the township in his day; was virtually the people's banker, and cheerfully loaned to his neighbors without interest.

The vote for township officers at the last election was reported at the time as follows:

Supervisors--O. F. Robbins, 95; L. R. Smith, 125. Justice of the peace--C. Strange, 103. Constable--L. Squires, 125. School directors--H. B. Card, 102; O. O. Dodge, 94; G. M. Smith, 84. Assessor--I. N. Tears, 118. Assistant assessors--A. T. Smith, 107; J. B. Rumsey, 95. Treasurer--James Lay, 111. Town clerk--C. W. Palmer, 90. Judge of election--C. F. Parkhurst, 94. Inspectors of election--B. F. Connelly, 50; Nelt Reynolds, 51; B. C. Smith, 8. Auditor--B. F. Ashley, 98; B. Connelly, 6.


The first road through the township was the State road, constructed in 1807-8. This road ran nearly east and west. The next was the County road, cut out in 1808-9. Since that time roads have been opened running in all directions through the townships of Sullivan and Rutland, connecting with those in Jackson, Armenia and Ward on the north, east and south, and with the roads to Covington, Canoe Camp, Mansfield, Lamb's Creek, Mill Creek and Tioga on the west. The roads of the township are convenient and in excellent condition. The surface of the township is hilly, but the roads are laid out with such rare good judgment that heavy loads can be transported over them with ease.


The first preacher in the township of Sullivan was Rev. Joseph Mitchell, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who preached at the log school-house near Allen Lane's known as the Dewey school-house. This was about the year 1808.

The M. E. society now has at Mainesburg one of the finest structures int he county, built in 1875, at a cost of $13,000. It is of brick, with stained glass windows, slated roof, and a fine tower and spire. In the tower is a very fine bell. John D. Rumsey in a communication to the Wellsboro Agitator says:

Rev. Joseph Mitchell (M. E. clergyman) preached a sermon about the year 1808. He was at the time on a visit to his brother Ensign Mitchell, and preached at his house. About two years later Captain Thomas Lewis, an exhorter of the same church, commenced to hold meetings at the Diven school-house, which he kept up for several years. He is spoken of a s a devoted follower of Christ, and his efforts were productive of much good in assisting the spread of the Christian religion among the people. Several years after Captain Lewis commenced his labors Rev. Mr. Warner organized a Methodist Episcopal class at the same point, which is said to have been the first religious organization within the township.

Rev. Mr. Power was the first Old School Baptist clergyman to enter the field. Soon afterward Rev. Mr. Ripley entered it and they both occupied it together, and about the year 1814 they organized a society at the residence of Deacon Peleg Doud, near Mainesburg.

About the year 1828 Rev. Mr. Whitehead, of the "Christian" denomination, preached several times at the residence of Oliver Rumsey, who at the time resided on the County road, near Rumsey Hill. Not long after this Rev. Norman Lamphere, of the same church, began to preach at the residence of James B. Dewey, on the State road. A short time thereafter Rev. Messrs. Pentecost, Sweetland and John Ellis began to labor in the township, and soon a society was organized at Mr. Dewey's.

In the autumn of 1830 Rev. James H. Lamphere, of the Free-Will Baptist Church, commenced to preach at Rumsey Hill school-house, and the following winter a revival occurred under his labors. In the following spring he organized a church at that point.

The first church edifice erected in the township was built by the Baptists at Gray's Valley, and known as the East Sullivan Church; and the next one was that of the Methodist Episcopal society at Mainesburg.

The first school-house in the township was a log structure, and stood near Allen Lane's. There are now in the township fifteen schools, and one in the borough of Mainesburg, with 204 male and 172 female scholars, a total of 376. The school-houses are generally new and well cared for, furnished with the necessary school apparatus.


According to the statement of John D. Rumsey the first frame building erected in the township was a barn, built in 1808.

In 1816 John Gray started a store in Gray's Valley, hauling his goods by wagon from Philadelphia. This was the first store in Sullivan. Some time after this Timothy and Joseph Orvis started a store on King's Hill, some distance south of the State road, and after that Alvin Ames opened one on Ames Hill. Mrs. Gray's store was a framed structure; the others were built of logs. In 1832 John Fox opened a store at Mainesburg, the first one at that point. He sold goods at that place about forty years.

The first post-office in the township was established in 1814; Henry Rew postmaster. It was called "Sullivan" post-office. The one at Mainesburg was not established until some years later, John Maine being the first postmaster. He was succeeded in the office by John Fox, who retained it several years.

About the year 1809 Noah Rumsey located where Mainesburg now is and erected a flouring-mill near the site of the present steam and water flouring-mill. The structure was of logs, with one run of stones taken from the Armenia Mountain. The mill was run by water, and was the first one in the township or vicinity. At that time where Mainesburg now stands was a dense wilderness; by the overflowing of the water timber was killed, and where the business portion of Mainesburg now is there was a mill pond thickly interspersed with dead trees, which, lifting their leafless arms heavenward, presented a scene somewhat resembling the shipping in a harbor. Mr. Rumsey after a few years sold the property to Jonathan F. Spencer, and he a few years later sold it to John Maine, who afterward erected a distillery.

About the year 1831 Sylvester Bailey built a water power flouring-mill at a point now known as Chandlerburg. After he had used it many years it fell into the hands of C. Palmer, who repaired it and did quite a business.

The first saw-mill in the township was built by John Gray, about the year 1811.

After Noah Rumsey sold his mill property to Mr. Spencer he moved on to the hill south of Mainsburg, giving to the place the name of Rumsey Hill. There were three brothers, Jeremiah, Noah and Smith Rumsey, who were natives of Rutland County, Vt. There are a great number of the descendants of these brothers now in the township of Sullivan.


Mainesburg is situated on Corey Creek, about five miles southeast from Mansfield, and contains a hotel, five dry goods and general stores, two drug stores, two churches, a school-house, an Odd Fellows' hall, two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, a grist-mill and about 40 dwellings. It was organized as a borough from the township of Sullivan in March 1859, and named after one of its prominent citizens, John Maine.

The first officers were: Burgess, John Fox; councilmen, A. C. Witter, E. R. Maine, G. W. Carman, A. B. Austin, P. D. Parkhurst; treasurer, Alpheus Peters; street commissioners, D. S. Peters, G. W. Carman; collector, James Packard; secretary of clerk of council, A. C. Witter.

The present officers are: Burgess, J. B. Cudworth; councilmen, I. S. Woodburn, O. T. Haight, L. R. Austin, E. R. Maine, C. C. Whiting, L. M. Doud; assessor, L. M. Doud; assistant assessors, J. H. Dewitt, P. W. Doud; school board, W. B. Hall (president), I. S. Woodburn (secretary), A. M. Haight (treasurer), G. E. Staugger, Floyd Ashley, E. G. Lovell; borough treasurer, J. B. Strong; constable, N. E. Calkins; justices of the peace, A. M. Haight, I. S. Woodburn; auditors, E. R> Maine, E. M. Rumsey; judge of election, O. T. Haight; inspectors of election, J. B. Strong, H. E. Dewey; pound master, C. C. Whiting.

Mainesburg Lodge, No. 754, I. O. O. F. was organized March 15th 1871, by District Deputy Grand Master O. G. Gerould, of Covington. The first officers were: Peleg Doud, N. G.; R. F. Ashley, V. G.; A. M. Haight, secretary; O. T. Haight, treasurer. The lodge was organized with 19 charter members. The history of this lodge is one of many severe trials and difficulties, of which it is best not to speak. It has had its bright and its gloomy days. Since its organization there have been 114 withdrawals and suspensions. The active membership is now 45 and the lodge is in a sound condition. The lodge room is nearly furnished, and there is in the treasury about $150.

The Patrons of Temperance use the hall in conjunction with the Odd Fellows.


is the only surviving of the seven children of Joshua Shaw. He was born in Massachusetts, in 1808, and came to Tioga county with his parents in 1810. In 1835 he married Miss Jane Seaman, daughter of James and Mercy Seaman, of Bradford County, and the same year started out in life for himself by buying a farm of 90 acres in Sullivan, on which he still resides, now owning 235 acres. Mr. Shaw has had eleven children, of whom only fiver are now living. His son Byron enlisted in 1861 in Company B 101st Pa. (calvary) regiment, and died in 1864 in the rebel military prison at Florence, S.C. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw are members of the Universalist Church of Mansfield.

Joshua Shaw, the father of our subject, was born in 1764, in the town of Abington, Mass., and married Miss Sarah Hawes, of that State. In 1809 he came from his eastern home to Tioga County on foot, in company with Noah Nast, to look for a home. He selected and bought of Elijah Clark 106 acres of land in the Tioga Valley, between Lamb's Creek and Mansfield; then returned to his native State, and in the spring of 1810 brought his family to their new home. He was by trade a carpenter, and followed that business through life. He and his wife were among the original members of the old school Baptist Church, and among the first to organize a society of their denomination in the eastern part of the county. Their place of worship was the residence of Peleg Doud, in Sullivan Township, to which they frequently rode horseback--a distance of eight miles. 

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