Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1897 Tioga County History
Chapter 09 - Industrial Development
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri Counties Home Page
Warnings & Disclaimer
Online Research Library
How to Use This Site
No Commercial Use
Say Hello to Joyce 
1897 Tioga County History Table of Contents
Retyped for Tri-Counties by Ann FARR Beardslee
Joyce's Search Tip - December 2007 -
Do You Know that you can search just this 1897 book by using the 1897 button in the Partitioned search engine at the bottom of the Current What's New Page



PRIMATIVE SAW MILLS AND GRIST MILLS - THE MORRIS MILLS – FIRST MILLS AT WELLSBORO – BABB’S MILL – IN THE TIOGA VALLEY – EARLY LUMBERING OPERATIONS – A RAFTING REMINISCENCE – ALONG THE COWANESQUE RIVER – PIONEER MILLS ON PINE CREEK – AN ERA OF RAPID DEVELOPMENT – RISKS AND CHARMS OF THE BUSINESS – THE TANNING INDUSTRY – IRON FOUNDRIES AND SMELTING WORKS – THE MANUFACTURE OF GLASS – PROGRESS OF AGRICULTURE – AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES. The pioneer settlers within the borders of what is now Tioga county found its surface covered by an unbroken forest, made up, for the most part, of pine and hemlock. The former grew in the valleys and low lands – though not confined exclusively to them, while the latter crowned the mountainsides and summits and occupied the uplands. Here and there were areas of the hard wood varieties, such as "sugar" maple, beech, oak, ash, etc. Before he could rear a home for himself and the members of his family, the settler had to clear a space, first for his cabin and afterwards for the little garden plot, that as the years went by, was enlarged, until the forest wilderness gave place to cultivated fields, producing abundant crops of everything needful to sustain life.

Although there was timber in abundance, there was no lumber, and the rude cabins that were erected, if they were floored at all, were floored with puncheons and round logs. Saw-mills were, therefore, a necessity, to provide lumber for the flooring and roofing of these frontier homes, and it was not long until they began to be erected in various parts of the county, upon such streams as had a flow of water sufficient to furnish power for the primitive machinery then in use. These primitive mills, with their flutter wheels and upright saws, led the way in the march of industrial development, and about the opening of the century began the work of forest destruction that has stripped the hills and valleys of the county of the great growth of pine and hemlock amid the somber gloom of which savage beasts had roamed for ages.

The grist-mill was no less a necessity than the saw-mill, but before grain could be ground grain must be raised, and this involved the preliminary and tiresome labor of clearing fields for cultivation. For several years the settlers were compelled to go to Jersey Shore and Williamsport, on the south and to Painted Post, Elmira and Tioga Point, now Athens, on the north and east, for their flour or for the purpose of having their scant crops of wheat, corn and other grains ground, and many stories are still told of the perils and hardships endured during journeys to and from these trading and milling points.

The first mills resorted to for lumber and the grinding of their grain by the early settlers in the western and southern parts of the county, were those built by John Norris, on the headwaters of Little Pine creek, near what is now the hamlet of Texas, across the line in Lycoming county, as agent of Benjamin Wistar Morris. These mills, known as "Morris’ Mills," were erected as early as 1799, and were on the line of the north and south State road opened up in that year.

In an advertisement of Benjamin Wistar Morris, published in the Lycoming Gazette, under date of November 13, 1806, inviting investments in lots in the new county-seat town of Wellsboro, attention is called to the fact that "a grist-mill, a saw-mill, and a store are situated with one mile of the town." These were the mills erected by Samuel W. Fisher on Marsh creek, below the borough limits of Wellsboro, a fuller reference to which will be found in the chapter devoted to Delmar township. They were undoubtedly the first mills in this section of the county.

The first saw-mill on Babb’s creek was erected in 1806, on the site of the present village of Morris, by Samson Babb, the pioneer settler on that stream.


In the absence of authentic records it is impossible, at this late day, to give the name of the builder of the first saw-mill in the Tioga river valley, which soon after its settlement became the scene of active lumbering operations. Previous to 1812 mills were erected along that stream and near the mouths of its branches as far south as Canoe Camp, and much lumber was manufactured for shipment down the river as well as for supplying an increasing local demand. It is said that the first grist-mill in the county was erected on this stream, at the mouth of Mill creek, by Aaron Gillet, about 1797 or 1798, and that he also erected a small distillery about the same time. Both were soon carried away by high water and Gillet removed to Cherry Flats. Adam Hart, one of the early settlers of Lawrence township, built a saw-mill and a distillery soon after locating. Joseph Middaugh, who settled near Hart, also erected a saw-mill. The first saw-mill at Tioga was built by Dr. William Willard, about 1800, or soon after. The first grist-mill here was built in 1805 by Nicholas Prutsman and his sons. As early as 1803 Elihu Marvin built a saw-mill at Mansfield, and in 1805 added a hand grist-mill, which he had purchased of Dorman Bloss, a millwright, then living at Beecher’s Island. In 1812 Amos Spencer erected a saw-mill and a grist-mill at Canoe Camp. In 1809 this first grist mill at Mainesburg was erected by Noah Rumsey, Sr., and two years later sold by him to Jonathan L. Spencer. It was about 1810 that the De Pui grist-mill was erected on the Tioga river below Tioga borough. It was resorted to by the settlers of the neighboring townships for many years.

All these early mills were primitive in their character and construction. The grist-mill and the distillery were operated to meet the demands of the settlers in their immediate vicinity. The saw-mills soon became of more importance, and the lumber manufactured in excess of local demand was floated down the river to the markets on the lower Susquehanna. It was the only thing for which cash could be quickly obtained, and it was relied upon by the settlers to furnish them the means to clear their lands and equip them with the implements needed in their cultivation.

The early lumbermen on the Tioga river, therefore, floated the product of their mills down to the junction of that stream with the North Branch of the Susquehanna at Tioga Point, now known as Athens; thence it descended the latter stream to the markets below. Returning from these rafting trips, the men generally came to Williamsport and walked over the mountains from Trout Run or Roaring Branch, for railroads had not then been built and the stage line was slow and uncertain.

It would be hard to estimate the value of lumber floated out of Tioga county before the advent of railroads. An old record says that in 1804 about 452 rafts, containing 22,000,000 feet of lumber, besides a large number of arks, loaded with wheat, flour, staves, whiskey and shingles, the whole aggregating in value $5,000,000, passed out of the North Branch at Northumberland. Of course only a small part of this was from Tioga county, it being then comparatively unsettled, but it shows the magnitude of lumbering operations in northern Pennsylvania even at that early day.


An old diary of a trip from Painted Post on a raft to Port Deposit, made by Judge Strong, of Steuben county, New York, in the early development of the business, gives an interesting reminiscence. Judge Strong says:

Many a time and oft when a boy have I taken a convenient station during the spring freshet and watched for hours the rafts and arks sweeping out of the Conhocton and Tioga rivers, their rollicking stalwart crews, stripped to the shirt, neck and bosoms bare, with stout arms, when the pilot shouted, "Right! Left! Jump to the work," raising the large oars to the utmost, force them through the resisting flood with a will, then lower them and with a run carry them back ready for another stroke. So they fly from side to side, with brief breathing spells, like cannoners in an engagement.

The ice had gone in March, 1838 and the judge was at Painted Post when the opportunity presented itself for him to take advantage of the ambition of his life. He was employed to assist in running a raft to the bay as a "light hand," at five shillings per day and "found." The first place they passed was Newtown, now Elmira, and they landed six miles below at Hogback, where Sullivan had a battle with the Indians and Tories in 1779. He made the journey to the point of destination and returned, and gave a very interesting account of what he saw and learned, not omitting "a peep" at the legislature which was then in session at Harrisburg.


In 1804 Eddy Howland built a saw-mill on the Cowanesque above Knoxville, and soon afterward Emmer Bowen and Ebenezer Seelye built one near Academy Corners. In 1811 Bethlehem Thompson erected a grist-mill a mile above Knoxville, the water being taken from Inscho run, and conducted to the mill in long continuous troughs hewed out of pine logs. This mill was operated about ten years. The first grist-mill at Westfield was built by Ayres Tuttle previous to 1812. It appears on the assessment list of that year. A grist-mill was erected at Beecher’s Island or Nelson about 1810 by John, Thomas and Hopestill Beecher, pioneer settlers there.

In 1815 a distillery was built by Joshua Colvin at a large spring near Academy Corners. He brought the still and other apparatus from Herkimer county, New York. Rye and corn were used exclusively. The rate of exchange was six quarts of whiskey for one bushel of rye or corn. Sometime in 1818 John Knox bought Colvin’s apparatus and started a distillery at the Strawbridge spring, a short distance east of Academy Corners, and carried it on about five years. At this manufactory whiskey was made from corn, rye and potatoes. The product of both distilleries was sold at home.


The first mills on Pine creek north of the Lycoming county line were built between 1812 and 1815. One of these was erected about a mile and a half above Ansonia, in Shippen township, by Richard Ellis. Other early mill owners in this township were Asaph Ellis, who built a grist-mill; Reuben Herrington and Richard Phillips, who built and operated saw-mills. The pioneer saw-mill in Gaines township was erected at Gaines about 1815, by John Smith, on Long run. Capt. John Phoenix built a mill in 1817 near the mouth of Phoenix run. The first grist-mill in the township was erected at Furmantown before 1820, by Aaron Furman. It was a hand mill and was later replaced by one run by water power. Mr. Furman also built a saw-mill which he afterwards sold to Col. Dudley Hewitt. All or nearly all of these early mills were washed away in the flood of 1832, which either greatly crippled or utterly ruined financially those who were engaged in lumbering operations in the Pine Creek valley.

It is needless to go into a detailed history of all the mills erected in those earlier years in the different parts of the county. They have received adequate mention in the township chapters. They were all water mills and were equipped with the machinery then in use. Many of them could cut no more than 1,000 feet of lumber in twelve hours, and their output was consequently insignificant compared with that of even a small mill of the present. Much of the timber was simply squared and was floated down the stream in that form, many deeming it a less risky and more profitable way of handling it.


The early settlers in the Pine Creek valley about and above Ansonia were lumbermen rather than farmers. Pine creek was their highway to and from Jersey Shore, * the trips being made in canoes, constructed out of heavy pine trees, or in rude flat boats. When there began to be a demand for lumber the settlers scattered along the creek saw their opportunity and commenced manufacturing. The pine in this section of the county was of a superior quality, and made better lumber than can be obtained to-day. Mills sprung up rapidly and a new impetus was given to the business when the construction of the canal was commenced up the West Branch of the Susquehanna. By the year 1832 large investments had been made in timber lands along Pine creek and in the erection of saw-mills. Lumbermen came from the State of New York, as well as from Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, and engaged in the business. The flood of 1832, already referred to, proved disastrous to the growing enterprises, and its effects were felt for a long time. The field was, however, too inviting and it was not long before business rallied, and the woods swarmed with lumbermen, while the valley resounded to the chorus of many mills.

In 1829 Leonard Pfoutz erected a saw-mill and a grist-mill at Manchester, below Ansonia. In 1831 John Daily and John Beecher bought out Reuben Herrington, who was known as a very stirring man. About this time John Mathers erected a saw-mill near the Gaines township line. This mill was afterward operated by Mathers & Scoville and then by John Mathers & Company, and after 1845 by Jesse Locke. Leonard Pfoutz sold his mills to Stowell & Dickinson, who, in 1833, were operating two saw-mills. In 1834 they were running four saw-mills and a grist-mill, and were cutting about 5,000,000 feet of lumber annually, which was floated down the stream to the river.

Hezekiah Stowell, the head of the firm, was a native of Chenango county, New York, where he was born in 1796. He came to Wellsboro, Tioga county, in 1833, young, vigorous and ambitious, and, associating himself with Peter Dickinson, they commenced lumbering on an extensive scale. In 1835 Mr. Stowell took up his residence at Pine Creek, now Ansonia, and continued to live there until 1851. The firm was active and progressive. They ran as high as 100 board rafts down Pine creek in a season, or when the water was favorable, and gave employment to 500 men. No greater firm carried on lumbering in the county in those days. They purchased 25,000 acres of timber land and laid the basis for an enormous business. But owing to losses they became commercially crippled and their land and property subsequently passed into the hands of Phelps, Dodge & Company, and that firm prepared to operate the mills on a more extensive scale than the former owners. The Manchester mills, as they were named, came to be regarded as the center of a large business. The little village of Ansonia, named for Anson G. Phelps, head of the firm, grew up at the point where Marsh creek unites with Pine creek, and it still retains the name.

After the new firm became the owners of the property, Mr. Stowell managed the business for them until 1851. He then retired to Delmar township, where he had purchased 1,200 acres of land, settled upon it and in course of time cleared a farm of 600 acres. There he resided until his death, which occurred December 26, 1874.

Mr. Stowell was succeeded as manager by E. B. Campbell, who continued to serve the great firm in that capacity until his death at Williamsport, July 17, 1890.

Owing to the danger and uncertainty of running the manufactured lumber down Pine creek, the firm decided that it would be better to float the logs down the stream, secure them in a boom or harbor, and manufacture them at a point near the river. The Manchester mills therefore were abandoned, and what was known as Phelps mills were built on Pine creek, in Clinton county, near the junction of the Fall Brook and Beech Creek railroads. These mills were operated on an extensive scale until 1871, when they were dismantled and removed to Williamsport, where still better advantages were secured for the manufacture of lumber. Scarcely a vestige now remains to mark the sites of the Manchester and Phelps mills, on Pine creek. All the parties who were active in conducting these great mills are now deceased, including the old members of the firm, and new men have taken their places. During the thirty-six years that these mills were operated on Pine creek, they manufactured and sent to market hundreds of millions of feet of lumber, the greater part of which was a superior quality and commanded the highest price. But the stock of timber is now exhausted and the buzz of the busy saws is no longer heard where these great Pine creek mills once stood.

In 1870 the firm was incorporated under the name of the Pennsylvania Joint Land and Lumber Company, and Gen. Jerome B. Niles, of Wellsboro, became its resident representative, a position he still holds. The company yet owns large bodies of land in Delmar and Shippen townships.

Peter Dickinson, the partner of Hezekiah Stowell, was a native of Bainbridge, New York. He was born May 1, 1797, and died January 11, 1879, and is buried in Wellsboro Cemetery. A younger brother, Samuel Dickinson, born July 22, 1805, died March 10, 1886, and is buried in the same lot. Both of these brothers were pioneer lumbermen, and are well remembered by the older lumbermen yet living. John Dickinson was a brother of Peter and Samuel.

Soon after Phelps, Dodge & Company became the owners of the Stowell & Dickinson property, Mr. Dickinson was sent to Baltimore to manage the interest of the new firm in that city, as that was the

market to which they shipped their lumber. He did not remain very long there, for in a few years we find him back on the Susquehanna conducting a mill near Lock Haven. He was a man of "large expectations," but never realized what he so fondly cherished.

His younger brother, Samuel, was wiser. He came to Wellsboro in 1832, built a storehouse, stocked it with goods and did a large business. The storehouse was the building in which Chester and John L. Robinson – who purchased it – afterwards carried on business and later opened the bank, where the great robbery occurred in 1874. The old building is now used for a carpenter shop.

Silas Billings, an early settler and mill-owner and lumberman at Knoxville, made an investment in mills and lands in Gaines township about the time that Stowell & Dickinson began operations at Manchester, and soon became a leader among the lumbermen of the Pine Creek valley. In 1831 he purchased the John Benn mill property at Gaines, and within a few years was operating on an extensive scale, having added to his Gaines township lands large bodies of pine and hemlock lands in Elk township. During the later years of his life and after his death his extensive business enterprises were managed by his son, Silas X. Billings, who soon became the leading lumberman of the county. He operated on a large scale, and through the exercise of good judgment and an intelligent oversight of his affairs was notably successful. Among the other prominent operators in this township were John L. Phoenix, Col. Dudley Hewitt, Stephen and Simeon Babcock and David Rexford.


Few, if any, of the early lumbermen made any money at the business. The owners of small mills scarcely realized as much from them as a good farmer would now make on a twenty-acre farm. But lumber was about the only thing that brought any ready money into the county, and the timber had to be cleared away before the land could be cultivated. Farming, at least, in the western part of the county, was a low ebb, none making more than enough to eke out a scanty living for a family. Men, women and children had to live, and to live decently had to have clothing, and to live at all had to have something to eat, and the men especially had to have something to drink. They could raise a little rye, which was changed into whiskey at the distillery in Wellsboro’ but tea and coffee and spices and cotton they could not raise, and the only business that furnished the money to buy these necessaries was lumbering.

It is hard to tell whether it was sawed lumber or squared timber that brought most money back to the creek settlement; and what did come generally went to Wellsboro to pay store bills contracted during the lumbering season, never for a moment forgetting the little stone distillery across the creek in that town. Pay day was always "after rafting," and it was generally futile and very unpopular to attempt to collect a debt till after the spring floods had floated the lumber to market and its diminishing price had been brought back.

With all the hard work and drawbacks of those days, lumbering on Pine creek had its charms. With the hardy, rugged lumbermen it made little difference whether he slept on a board, hemlock boughs, or a feather bed. Most of them preferred the former.


The assessment list of 1812 shows that two tanyards, one assessed to William Baker and the other to Ebenezer Jackson, were then in operation in Tioga township. As the different townships settled up local tanyards were established and the tanning of leather, for home use, became one of the recognized industries of the county. In time some of these local enterprises began to tan for shipment, and in this way extended the industry. The presence of vast forest of hemlock, promising an almost inexhaustible supply of hemlock bark, essential in the tanning of leather, invited a larger investment of capital, and led to the erection of a number of great tanneries at different points within the county. These are given proper notice in the township chapters. All of these extensive tanning plants have been erected within the past thirty years, and, with the exception of the Kingsley tannery at Mansfield, the tannery of John Gisin, at Wellsboro, and the Eberle tannery at Westfield, are devoted to the production of sole leather. In May, 1893, these sole leather tanneries, except the one at Elkland, passed into the control of the Union Tanning Company, which is a member of the United States Leather Company. This great corporation now operates the tanneries at Blossburg, Tioga, Osceola, Westfield, Stokesdale, Niles Valley, Hoytville, Leetonia and Manhattan. At the time of its erection in 1883, the tannery at Hoytville was the largest steam tannery in the world, having a capacity of 1,000 hides of leather a day. The aggregate output of the tanneries of the county, when working to their full capacity, is over 1,000,000 hides of leather per annum. During later years, owing to a number of causes, the output has been greatly reduced. These various enterprises give employment to hundreds of men, not only in and around the tanneries themselves, but in the woods, getting out hemlock bark, not far from 100,000 cords of which is used annually. A large proportion of the hides tanned come from South America. Their transportation to the tanneries and from them, as leather, forms an important item in the freight traffic of the railroad companies doing business in the county.


Perhaps the very first attempt at establishing an iron foundry in the county was made by Benjamin W. Morris at Wellsboro. The year in which it was built is not clearly known, but it must have been quite early. It stood about where the glass works were erected in more modern times. William Bache says that he remembers being in the foundry. A few castings, consisting of sugar kettles, cooking utensils, andirons, etc., were made. He obtained his iron from bog ore. As Mr. Bache was born in 1812, it must have been some years after that when the foundry was established - unless it was the ruins he saw. In that case, it might have been built about the time of his birth, or earlier.

About 1812 a small iron foundry was started at Lawrenceville, but the name of the founder has not been preserved. In later years the plant was carried on by James Kinsey.

About 1825 Judge John H. Knapp, of Elmira, New York, became interested in coal and iron lands at Blossburg, and a few years later began the erection of an iron furnace. After being owned and operated by a number of parties, usually at a loss, the plant was purchased by T. J. Mooers, in 1864, and has since been used as an iron foundry. In 1855 an iron furnace was erected at Mansfield by Charles F. Swan for the Mansfield Iron Company. It was operated until 1870, the ore being obtained from a deposit in Richmond township three miles west of Mansfield, and also from a deposit at Roseville.

Although iron foundries are still carried on successfully in many of the villages and boroughs of the county, the production of pig iron from iron ore ceased a quarter of a century ago. The iron ore, containing but about forty per cent. of iron, was not of a character to warrant a further investment of capital, in competition with other portions of the country, where the character of the ore and extent of the deposits insured a cheaper production of pig iron.


The presence in the same localities of glass sand-rock and of coal offered an opportunity for the investment of capital in the manufacture of glass. The first factory was established at Blossburg in 1847 was operated for nearly forty years, first by William Dezang, of Geneva, New York, and after him by James H. Gulick, and then by Hirsch, Ely & Company. After being successfully carried on for nearly forty years it passed into the control of the United Glass Company, and was shut down. Another factory was erected about 1850 at Covington. It has also had various owners, the present ones being a local stock company. It is now being operated on the co-operative plan. In later years a factory was established in Wellsboro, but after being twice destroyed by fire, the enterprise was abandoned. All these factories were devoted to the manufacture of window glass, a fine quality of which was produced. A revival and extension of this industry is looked for in the near future.

Another natural resource is moulding sand for foundries. The deposits are extensive and considerable quantities are shipped to Elmira and other places. Large quantities of glass sand are also shipped from Brownlee, in Duncan township, where a rock-crushing plant is in operation.


But it is to the patient and persistent labor of sturdy and stout-hearted husbandmen that the greater share of the present prosperity of Tioga county is to be attributed. This labor, begun with the felling of the first tree and the clearing of the first garden spot, has transformed the face of the county from a dense and unbroken forest wilderness, into cultivated fields, orchards and gardens, dotted with farm homes, the abiding places of comfort, thrift, intelligence and happiness, and has, notwithstanding a rough and rugged surface, placed the county well up in the list of the prosperous and productive agricultural counties of the State.

At first the land in the valleys of the principal streams and their branches were settled and cleared, it being thought that those valley lands, in addition to being the most accessible, were the most fertile. But, as the county became more settled, the uplands began to be cleared and their fertility tested, and the fact established that some of the richest and most enduring soil is to be found in the more elevated sections. The upland farms are now, therefore, regarded as equal, one year with an other, in productiveness, with those in the creek and river valleys.

During the earlier years of the county’s history, when lumbering was largely depended on to supply ready money, agriculture did not receive the attention it has since the practical disappearance of the pine and hemlock forests. The diversified farming of the present was unknown, as well as the methods pursued by the first class farmer of to-day. The man who owned a stumpy clearing was glad to produce enough wheat, corn, rye or oats to feed his family and the animals used in the labor of the field and the woods, the surplus that found its way to market being a very small per centage of the whole.

The fields of the present bear but a slight resemblance to those of early days. On many of them the labor of four generations – continued year after year with infinite patience – scarcely sufficed to free them, first of stumps and, later, of stones, so as to make possible the use of modern farm machinery. Their present condition bears eloquent witness to what can be accomplished in the face of the most discouraging and disheartening primary conditions, and tells the story, better than words can tell it, of the sturdy and stalwart character of the men and women, who, from the earliest settlement of the county to the present, have been the main factor in its industrial growth and development.

While all the cereal grains are produced in the county, more attention is paid to oats, corn and buckwheat than to wheat, barley and rye. Considerable tobacco has also been produced, especially in the Tioga and Cowanesque river valleys, within the last twenty years, each year, until the recent decline in prices, showing an increased acreage.

The census of 1890 shows the following acreage and production of each of the leading cereal crops:

This gives a total of 58,126 acres cultivated, with an aggregate product of 1,381,659 bushels. As there has been a notable increase in the acreage of cleared land since these statistics were gathered, it would be safe to assume that the total production of these cereals for 1896 would reach over 1,500,000 bushels, provided there was a proportionate increase in the acreage devoted to them. Within the past few years, however, many farmers have turned aside from the growing of the different grains to the growing of grasses for pasturage and hay, and the county is fast forging forward as a county of dairy and meadow farms. The cultivation of buckwheat, however, still holds a prominent place, a large acreage being each year devoted to it. In 1890, as shown in the figures given, 17,369 acres produced 300,206 bushels, making Tioga and Bradford counties, which produced 506,412 bushels in the same year, two of the greatest buckwheat-producing counties in the State. The cultivation of tobacco increased from 234 acres and 292,198 pounds in 1879, as shown by the census of 1880, to 457 acres and 498,752 pounds in 1889, as shown by the census of 1890. This crop, when prices are good, is a very profitable one, but during the past two years prices have fallen so low that the production has greatly decreased.

An Examination of a summary of the assessment for 1896, prepared by the county commissioners for transmission to the secretary of internal affairs, as required by law, shows that there are 17,086 taxables in the county. The total number of acres of land reported is 669,576, of which 410,488 acres are cleared and 259,088 acres are timber lands. The total value of real estate is given at $16,158,685, of which $13,773,835 is taxable, and $2,384,850 is exempt from taxation. There are 9,531 horses and 14,759 neat cattle in the county. The aggregate county tax is $104,636.10, the levy being seven mills on the dollar. The aggregate state tax is $9,765.87, the levy being four mills on a dollar. The amount of money at interest is $2,437,972 and the total county debt $175,000. The total taxation for all purposes, for 1895, including bridges, roads, etc., as well as that derived from money at interest, was $306,610.70.

It is a well-known fact that there is a wide margin between the assessment value of real estate and its actual value, the former usually representing about one-third of the latter. Applying this rule to Tioga county, the present value of its real estate would reach a total of $50,000,000, a grand increase in value over that of 100 years ago, when an average of one dollar an acre would have been considered a good price to have paid for the land of the county. The present value represents not only the labor expended in clearing and cultivating the land, in erecting buildings, fences, etc., but it represents the advantage of being within easy reach of the best markets in the country, insuring a certainty of always realizing the best prices for the products of the garden, the field and the orchard. It also represents the advantages of good schools, good churches and good society, things as desirable as fertile acres of modern farm equipments.


The first agricultural society in the county was organized at Wellsboro as early as 1854. The names of the first officers are not obtainable, but those for 1855 were as follows: President, William B. Clymer; vice-presidents, Daniel L. Sherwood, George McLeod, B. C. Wickham, Ira Bulkley and J. S. Kingsbury; corresponding secretary, F. E. Smith; recording secretary, G. D. Smith; treasurer, John F. Donaldson. There was a long list of names of persons composing the executive committee, embracing many of the best men in the county. Efforts were made to arouse an interest in agriculture throughout the county and they were successful. Fairs were held, premiums were paid, and a stimulus given to the growing of better crops of all kinds and to the breeding and rearing of better grades of horses, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry. In 1859 Horace Greeley delivered the annual address, which called forth a large attendance.

At the beginning of the Civil War the fairs were discontinued, but were resumed in 1866, and regularly held for a number of years. Among those who served as presidents of the society may be mentioned Hon. Stephen F. Wilson, Hon. Henry W. Williams, Hon. John I. Mitchell and Hon. Henry Sherwood. Such distinguished speakers, aside from Horace Greeley, as Hon. Henry White and ex-Governor Pollock delivered annual addresses.

On November 3, 1877, the Tioga County Pomona Grange was organized with forty charter members, its hall and headquarters being in Wellsboro. It soon afterwards purchased the grounds, consisting of thirteen acres and buildings, of the Tioga County Agricultural Aid Society. Its special and annual meetings are held here, but the annual fair has been practically abandoned, not receiving paying financial support.

The Smythe Park Association at Mansfield and the Cowanesque Valley Agricultural Association at Westfield, have for a number of years conducted successful fairs in the boroughs named. Both organizations are well managed and embrace in their membership many of the most active, aggressive and enterprising business men of the county. They receive adequate notice in the chapters devoted to Mansfield and Westfield.

The Patrons of Husbandry are exceedingly strong in Tioga county, having the neighborhood of fifty granges and 5,000 members, composed of both sexes. The avowed object of this order is to advance the interest and elevate the condition of agriculture and to aid those engaged therein to conduct their business in conformity with scientific principles. The Farmers’ Alliance is also represented in the county, but as yet have not obtained a strong foothold.

Joyce Tip Box -- December 2007 -
If you are not navigating this Tri-Counties Site via the left and right sidebars of the Current What's New page you are doing yourself a disservice. You can get to any place on the site easily by making yourself familiar with these subject and place topics. Try them all to be as familiar with the site's 16,000 plus pages as you can. Stop groping in the dark and take the lighted path. That's also the only way you'll find the search engines for the site or have access to the necessary messages I may leave for you. Make it easy on yourself.