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The Story of  A Lovely Valley

Delmar Township
Tioga County, Pennsylvania



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Wellsboro Gazette paper dated May 16, 1940.
Mazie SEARS Bodine
 One of the most delightful woodland drives near Wellsboro, and one enjoyed by our own citizens for many years, is that down Heise run. Even before the first automobile appeared in this vicinity nature lovers drove old Dobbin down this, at that time, very narrow road with the after-noon before them in which to enjoy the beauties along the way.

It is about three miles from the old Pine Creek road, now route 660, to the Marsh Creek church and Roosevelt Highway. The run flows down this valley close to the hills on one side, then the other; the road crossing the brook nine times, first over a small sluice, then over narrow bridges on which one may stand and watch the polliwogs and minnows in the waters below. Not many years ago there were brook trout in the stream and wild game was abundant in the surrounding forest.

The farm at the right, as one enters the Heise Run road from Route 660 just above Tyoga Country Club, has been in the Heise family for over one hundred years, David Heise having purchased this land in 1820.

History tells us that to William Hill Wells is usually accorded the credit of being the first person to attempt to clear a farm and establish a home in what is now Delmar township. I could find no authentic account of the exact location of this farm, but it is supposed to have been somewhere near the head of Heise Run. Mr. Wells and his brother came here in 1802, but soon tired of the wilderness and returned to their home near Philadelphia. The farm was Williams's and when he left he gave it to his colored slaves, Eben and Hetty Murry, Elias and Maria Spencer and Marcus Lovitt, whom he had brought with him. With this gift of land went the priceless gift of freedom from slavery. Eben and Hetty Murry were the parents of Betty Murry who was Wellsboro's most famous caterer. Well do I remember Aunt y Betty, her cheerful smile and the happy manner in which she always greeted her acquaintances.

Between 1802 and the coming of David Heise in 1820 about thirty pioneers settled in the township. Of these I could find no one who located in this immediate vicinity. It is said the house now occupied by John Chadderdon (the old Sam Dickinson place), is over one hundred years old, so perhaps this was the next one to be purchased out this way from the small village of Wellsboro. Wellsboro was founded by Benjamin Wistar Morris and named for wife, Mary Wells Morris, a sister of William Hill Wells. Mr. Morris came to this wilderness in 1799, and I found this very interesting item about the Wellsboro post office which was established in 1808. Samuel Wells Morris, son of B. W. Morris, was the first postmaster and during that year statistical reports show that the gross receipts were $27.06 and his compensation was $8.23. (The postmaster of Wellsboro now receives a salary of $2900). The mail in these early days was carried weekly on horseback over the state road from Williamsport. One of the first mail carriers was John Sheffer, Jr., who when 13 years of age carried the mail from Williamsport to Painted Post, a distance of 79 miles. The route was through a gloomy wilderness nearly all the way. The log cabins of the settlers were few. Panthers and wolves roamed the forest and their howls frequently caused the mail boy to spur his horse and dash swiftly through the gloom. John Sheffer, Jr. was an uncle of one of Wellsboro's citizens, Francis M. Sheffer.

In 1812, Samuel W. Morris was appointed an associate judge and sat upon the bench with Judge Gibson at the opening of the first court in Wellsboro in January 1813. It was three years later that David Heise, who was born in Stralsund, northern Germany, came to America. He landed in Quebec, but soon found his way to Wellsboro and started working for Judge Morris. In 1820 Mr. Heise purchased land in Delmar and started to clear and improve it, later building a log cabin near one of the springs that are the headwaters of the Run now bearing his name. Through the influence of Judge Morris he commenced the study of the art of surveying. He was employed by Major Flowers of Athens, Bradford County. While here he acquired the desired knowledge, Major Flowers instructing him and having him assist in surveying lands in western portions of Bradford County and eastern Tioga. Mr. Heise applied himself very industriously and was soon able to survey with accuracy and dispatch. It is said he was always too accurate in everything he did. That if ever a case was brought into court where he had been employed, his work was never questioned by the judges. Something of the qualities and character of this ambitious settler can be seen in his meticulously accurate survey notes, now the property of Register and Recorder Ernest H. Green. David Heise was first elected county surveyor in 1850, serving until 1856, and was elected again in 1865 and 1868.

In t829 David Heise married Hildah Ann Fellows, daughter of John Fellows who had come from Connecticut in 1824, and purchased a farm just over the hill back of the Heise land. On the front page of the diary by David Heise for the year 1829, his wife wrote this verse: Huldah Heise is my name, Tioga is my station, Delmar is my dwelling place and Christ is my salvation."

In 1854 Mr. Heise built a lovely white farm house to replace his log cabin. Still standing, it is now occupied by Mrs. D. W. Heise and her step-son, James Heise, a great-grandson of the builder.

The little school house on the Pine Creek road, not far above the Heise home, has always been known as the Heise school. The plot of ground on which it stands originally belonged to the Heise farm and Mr. Heise was one of the subscribers to the fund raised for the building of this school nearly 100 years ago. He cut trees on his land for some of the lumber, and helped in the actual building as he tells in his diary for 1845 about laying floors and setting windows in the school house. I was unable to find the name of the first teacher, but all three of Mr. Heise's daughters taught here, while Mrs. D. W. Heise taught six terms in the Heise school. It is one of the oldest school houses in Delmar township and is still in use. During the past winter (1930-40) the ringing of the bell in the small cupola has called to their seats the 15 scholars attending this school. When a child about 4 or 5 years old, I came to this school house on Sunday afternoons with my father, who at that time was superintendent of the Sunday school held here.

In 1878 a saw mill was built, just below the Heise school and well '#~ back from the road. It was operated by Russell and Avery, was run by steam power and produced an average of about one and a quarter million feet annually. This was W. 0. Russell who married Maria Heise, daughter of David Heise, and at that time lived in the house now occupied by Fred L. Smith. Hemlock timber was brought off large tracts of land in this vicinity. The logs were brought to this mill and the bark taken to the tannery at Stokesdale. The mill set far back from the road and great piles of logs filled the space between the mill and the road. William Bodine told me he hauled logs to this mill 60 years ago. Besides the saw mill, Mr. Russell also operated side of the road. Ce,tainly this was a busy place in those days, but nothing is now left to tell where the mills once stood.

Before these mills were built a small saw mill was situated about half way down the run. A dam formed the mill pond and the mill was run by water power. It was owned and operated by George Wilcox who lived on the place now occupied by George Dobbs. This is where we now loiter along the way to better view the flowers grown by the Lady of the House. Her gardens are gay with many bright blossoms from early Spring until late Fall.

Farther down the run there stood about 50 years ago, what was known as Noelk's Wood Machine. It was owned by Henry Noelk, Sr., and run by horse power. A team was hitched to a sweep and walked around and around, thus creating the power to run the machine. This one arrangement was used to operate thrashing machines and hay presses when they first came into use. Noelk's Wood Machine cut logs of all sizes into lengths suitable for the cook or heating stoves, and longer ones to be burned in the fire places.

Many years ago Horton Matson discovered, on land owned by Addison C. Boyden, what he thought was lime rock. He had this rock analyzed and, finding it would produce lime, built a kiln near the junction of the Bodine and Heise roads. This kiln was operated for several years by Addison Boyden. Webster says, "A lime kiln is a furnace in which certain rocks are exposed to a strong heat and reduced to lime." Another kiln was built later by Eugene Harding on the opposite side of the Heise run road. This was run for only a short time. Remains of both kilns, partially over grown with ferns and woods flowers, can still be seen.

When the Heise Run road was first built, it went straight ahead through the farm where A. Stadler now lives, then over the back of Capt. C. F. Russell's home, keeping along the hillside to the W. T. Derbyshire place. Near here it dipped down into the road now in use, but farther down the Run turned onto the hill at the left and then came back down a very steep pitch and crossed the Run near where Roy M. Harding now lives.

The early settlers along this road were, first David Heise. When he brought his young wife to the log cabin here, before the fireplace was completed, she did the cooking beside a large pine stump near the cabin door, using this stump for a table on which to set her pots and pans. She set the bread and when it was ready to bake carried it down the road to her neighbor's, Mrs. Dickinson's home a distance of a mere 2 miles or so. Mn the cellar of this house was a large brick oven where the bread was baked. John Chadderdon now occupies this house.

Once on her way home Mrs. Heise met a large black bear. I was told that the remains of this oven were still here when John fought the property a year or so ago.

The next place down the Run was owned a little later by Philip Cross, a colored man. With him lived his daughter Emmaline and her son, Phil Cross, Jr., and at one time his three grandsons, the Blackburn boys, also made this their home. This story is still told about Philip Cross: He once caught a deer in his yard and while struggling with it called, "Emmaline! Emmaline! bring the musket quick!" "Shall I bring the powder and shot too, father," asked Emmaline. "Nevah min' the powdah and shot too, hurry wi' the musket!" called back her excited father. Once Mr. Cross sent Bennie Blackburn to town with the ox team, "Buck and Bright". Each ox had a tie rope wound around his horns, but Bennie tied only one ox, "Bright". After a while Buck laid down, and some kind-hearted man, thinking he couldn't get up with the yoke on, unyoked him. Buck, not liking strangers, jumped up and ran toward home. Bennie Blackburn, standing up the street, saw Buck coming. He tried to catch him and just managed to grasp his tail. It was spring and very muddy. Away they went, splashing through the mud with Bennie leaping and bounding along, both hands firmly gripping the tail of the fugitive ox. But Buck soon tired of this, so before they reached the West End bridge Bennie, running ahead of him, caught him by the horns, brought him back and yoked him beside his mate. I was not told, but I hope Bennie then tied Buck as well as Bright to the hitching rail.

DeForest Bowen located on the next farm nearly 100 years ago, coming here from New York state. Three generations of the Bowen family lived here, Galusha Bowen carrying on with the farm after the death of his father, while Will Bowen, son of Galusha, was born and always lived here. The house is now unoccupied. The first home was a log cabin built near another where the Bowen's neighbor, W. T. Derbyshire, then lived, and the two families lived side by side for several years. Later bother built new homes a little farther apart. Chester and John L. Robinson, who in early days were two of the most prominent and enterprising citizens of Wellsboro each married in Hartwick, N. Y., a sister of DeForest Bowen.

The Derbyshire farm has been in that family for 100 years. William T. Derbyshire purchased it in 1830?. He was a harness maker, having learned his trade in Utica, N. Y. At first he cleared and improved his land at the same time working at his trade in Wellsboro. Later he devoted all his time to the farm.a Game was plentiful and in those days the settlers hunted deer with dogs, sometimes the dogs going without their masters. Once a deer, having been chased by dogs, came into the Derbyshire yard and dropped exhausted there. Mrs. Derbyshire, practical like all settlers, killed it with a butcher knife, cutting it's throat, and thus providing meat for the family larder. William Derbyshire, son of W. T. Derbyshire, born in 1848, spent his entire life upon the homestead farm, and his daughter, Mrs. E. J. Tuttle (Mary 0.) now owns this place, which is unoccupied at this writing.

I think the first one to settle on the next place was George Wilcox who had the small saw-mill there. It was then bought by John Russell, who before this lived in a log cabin farther down the Run, where his son Harry H. Russell, was born. After buying the place of George Wilcox, Mr. Russell remodeled the house, making it larger and more comfortable. John Russell's wife was Marian Derbyshire, daughter of W. T. Derbyshire. In this house Capt. C. F. Russell and his sisters were born. They played and fished in Heise run, their mother allowing them to go down the stream as far as Noelk's Wood Machine, which before this had stopped operations. and up as far as the "old stub". Though this old stub has fallen over it is still there.

Just below John Russell's the road climbed the hill at the left. There were three farms along the road on this hilltop. Much earlier Henry Smith had settled on the hill, but farther up the Run, and had a private road to his place. This house is still here and occupied at the present time.

The first place on the hill along the township road was owned by Charles Smith, son of Henry Smith. There are no buildings lift on this farm. The next one belonged to Frank Derbyshire, son of W. T. Derbyshire and the father of George and Frank Derbyshire of Wellsboro, and Sarah, wife of Leland Smith, now living on Route 660 near the head of Heise Run. This Derbyshire farm is now owned and occupied by Mrs. Mary Wilson.

The last place on the hill was Charles Derbyshire's, another son of W. T. Derbyshire. The house on this place is gone but the barn remains. (Torpy owns) It is at this point that the old road came back down the hill, crossing the Run near where Roy M. Harding now lives. His father, Eugene Harding, bought this place in 1880, about a year after the new road was opened. A man who later bought a farm on the steep hillside described it by saying he had bought a farm but there was so much land he had to "stack" it.

Next below Eugene Hardings is the old Losinger place. (Harding girl married this Losinger). The house has been deserted for several years and looks as if it "soon would fall and hide its face". (Torpy property)

The Torpy farm is the last one on the Heise Run road. Luther Torpy settling here many years ago. He married Mary M. Boyden, daughter of Addison Boyden, Sr. To them three children were born. Mrs. Torpy lived to be 90 year of age, staying on with her son Leon, after her husband's death. Max Torpy, son of Leon Torpy is now living on the homestead farm.

The new road was first finished down as far as the W. T. Derbyshire place, and later built on down where it is now situated. Mr. Heise mentions this road in his diary for 1876 and later in the one for 1879. I was told that the last time the upper part of the old road was used was in April of the latter year.

There are four farms on the Heise Run road on which have lived, consecutively three or four generations of the same family. The Torpy, Derbyshire, Bowen and Heise farms. This seems unusual for the short istance of three miles.

The farm across the main road from the Heise place was settled, and owned for several years by Edwin Matson Sr. This was one of the largest farms in Delmar township. It now belongs to the Tyoga Country Club. The house was built about 80 years ago. It is said Mr. Matson built this large farm-house that his family might have every comfort possible in those days. Each one of his children had a room of his own, there were nine rooms on the first floor, eight above, many closets, two large halls, and four stairways. There was also a large attic and a cellar under the entire house, a brick fire-place in the kitchen, and a large brick oven. In this oven a fire was built and when it had burned down, the coals were raked out and the baking done, the oven staying hot for a long time. Mr. Matson had interests in the lumber industry, not only in Tioga County but also in Northumberland and York Counties while at one time he spent 14 months lumbering in Florida. For several years John Russell and his family lived on this farm, Mrs. Matson staying with them while her husband looked after his many interests in the lumber business.  (See Photo of the Matteson House)

Old Heise Run is full of interesting stories. One of these relates the strange experience of the oldest Blackburn boy. This is the story as it was told to me: After obtaining an education at the Heise school, young Blackburn went to Baltimore to work in a hotel. He became acquainted with a Negress who also worked at the hotel and they fell in love and were married. Both were thrifty and had saved money, so they decided to go West and start a business for themselves.

They opened a restaurant in Denver and did very well, but Mrs. Blackburn looked after the shekels and also, being jealous of her husband, made life miserable for him. He made up his mind to leave and boarded a train for New York. Here he took a boat for Africa, putting as much distance as possible between himself and his wife, whom he never saw again. As it happened he jumped out of the frying pan into the fire". Landing in Africa he went far back into the country and stopped at a negro village. Young Blackburn was a large, good-looking negro. The villagers liked him too well and their chief chose him for a son-in-law! They watched him so he could not escape and he married the chief's daughter.

But, the story goes, this life didn't suit Blackburn, and he got more and more homesick for America, so once again he made plans to run away from a wife. Cautiously he made his preparations, hiding a bullet at a time as he could, and when the chance came he took a gun and the ammunition he had hidden and, walking as fast as he could, finally, after ten days, reached the coast. Here he waited for a boat, but luckily was not found by his father-in-law, the chief. So at last he reached America again and came back to Heise run. He brought back with him some curios from Africa among them an ostrich egg, and all the friends and neighbors came to his grandfather's home to see this large egg. Soon after this young Blackburn returned to Baltimore and is said to have died of pneumonia there.

The house on the farm now owned by Louis Grosjean is very old. It was built by John Fullwood, Sr., grandfather of Postmaster Charles Fullwood of Wellsboro. Mr. Fullwood came here in the early 50's and while living on the farm, also kept a small general store in Wellsboro. When Mr. Fullwood came with a team of horses, his neighbors thought he must be very well off, for at that time they had oxen, but no horses. This farm was purchased in 1858 by Lucius L. Russell, grandfather of Capt. C. F. Russell. Mrs. Russell continued to live with her son George, on the farm after her husband's death. She was known to all the younger generation, whether relatives or not as Grandma Russell . Later she moved to Wellsboro and kept a small grocery in her home on West Avenue. The spring on the farm is one of the largest in the township. Its waters, joining those of a spring on Fred Smith's farm and the water of the spring beside which David Heise built his log cabin, and the beginning of Heise Run. For many years a trough by the roadside, filled and over-flowing with this sparkling cold water, furnished a refreshing drink to thirsty animals as well as all passersby. The children from the Heise school have always brought their drinking water from this spring. Nessmuk Place, our home, was originally part of the Russell Farm.

The house on the Stadler place is also very old. Edward Grosjean having built it about 100 years ago. His son, Sirquet, father of Louis Grosjean lived here until his death.

Just a short distance nearer Wellsboro is the farm where Addison Boyden, Sr., located about the time Edward Grosjean settled here. The first house built by Addison Boyden was taken down several years ago, the present and larger one having previously been built. Alfred Boyden, son of Addison Boyden lived here for many years. This farm is now owned by John Chadderdon, who at the present has a tenant occupying the place.

The old road turned off from the main one before reaching the Grosjean house (now the Stadler place). Oh, the tales this road and the old house could tell! The coming of the first white settler, others following the building of log cabins and later the lovely new houses, some of them still having a dignified and aristocratic air. The plodding feet on the road, the ox team going by. The arrival of horses, the farm team, or the high stepping driving horse. The jingle of bells, and happy voices of the sleighing parties in winter, and last the coming of the automobile. The happy gatherings in the old homes on Thanksgiving Day, on Christmas Day, or for a family reunion. Smiling faces and gay laughter around the festive board.

Sad gatherings too, when loved ones had passed on and were carried to their last resting place. So many, many happenings both glad and sad, the old houses and the road have witnessed.

As we never kept a horse and a carriage, it was not until several years after the automobile came to Wellsboro, and we were the proud possessor of our first one that we discovered the beautiful road down the Heise Run. Since then it has been one of our favorite drives. But we never realized it had such an interesting history until I began this article. Probably many more incidents, both historical and humorous might be obtained. At first this was intended to be a nature article, but it grew and grew, almost as fast as Jack's famous bean stalk.

For some time after we first began driving this way there were many elder bushes on the banks near the head of the Run. Their creamywhite blossoms adding to the beauty of the roadside, and later the berries providing food for the birds. Where the road first crossed the Run these bushes nearly covered this small stream. The catbirds, song sparrows and different species of warblers loved this place. Here the tall Joe Pye weed lifted its purple bloom among the elder bushes, while the bee balm, jewel weed and wild asters grew luxuriantly. Wherever we passed by I always looked for the birds and flowers, so one can imagine my dismay when we discovered these shrubs had been cut, this beauty spot and place for the birds destroyed. Why does the Highway Department set out trees, shrubs and vines to hold the banks and beautify the roadsides, then allow their employees to cut the shrubs Mother Nature has already provided for the same purpose? As the shrubs on the banks of this road did not obstruct a driver's view, why cut them? It seems to me the head of the Department should inspect these by-roads and give the "Man with the Scythe" strict instructions to leave such place alone. They add so much to the pleasure of the passer-by and also furnish food and shelter for the birds.

Farther down the Run one will find, in early spring, the hepaticas opening their dainty blooms. They grow profusely beneath the trees on the banks by the wayside. The forget-me-not grows in larger masses or smaller clumps, here and there along the run, close to the water's edge. One will find these lovely blue flowers in June and July. There are many ferns and wild geraniums, while the bright and red tousled head of the bee balm peeps above the tall grasses, and in autumn the wild asters open their starry blossoms and yellow plumes of the goldenrod along theory.

From the branches above our heads come the calls of many birds. Among them the vireo's "you see it? you know it? you hear me?" and the softly uttered "dee-dee, dee-dee" of our black capped chickadee. While on the ground the over-bird scratches among the leaves for insects and sings "tee-char, tee-cher, tee-char". Once near the road at the head of the Run we saw several kilideer, while often a king-fisher flies up and down the stream, sometimes stopping to fish for minnows.

There were many hemlocks, my favorite of the evergreens in these woods, The new light-green shoots that cover this tree in early summer are as lovely as flowers. And is there any other evergreen more beautiful then a large hemlock with many small brown cones hanging from all its branches?

We were sorry when the owner of some of this land began cutting the trees, so, of course were very glad to hear that one of our citizens had bought this tract. His purpose being to keep the beauty of this drive, the woods, wild flowers and home for the birds, intact for the people of Wellsboro and vicinity to enjoy. Last summer Mr. H. C. Young purchased land on both sides of the road one-half mile in extent. His intention was to give this tract to the State, hoping it would be cleaned out and perhaps a small park made here. But at this time the gift was not accepted, though Mr. Young thinks eventually it will be. Meanwhile no more trees will be cut in these woods, the ones left will probably grow larger. This woodland drive is still beautiful and will be more so when the felled trees and brush are all removed. Many people who love the Heise run road will be happy to learn of this purchase by H. C. Young.

Wellsboro Gazette, June 2, 1938
Laurel Bloom
Mazie Sears Bodine, Amateur Photographer and Naturalist Gives Us Her Picture of Our Beautiful Hills When the Laurel Is in Bloom

There are many beautiful drives through the Canyon Country when our State flower, the Mountain Laurel, is in bloom. One we love is up Baldwin run, over the hill and down the Asaph road.

One leaves the main highway, Route 84, just below Wellsboro Junction, turning to the left where a sign tells you to “see Pennsylvania’s State Forest from a 40-foot fire tower.” 

It is not far until we find the laurel growing on both sides of the road. The shrubs are literally covered with large clusters of lovely blossoms. Some are a bright pink, other nearly white – great clumps reaching back into the forest.

There are many other beautiful things along this woodland road. The birches stand straight and tall in their gowns of white. While the dark evergreen needles and brown cones of the pines and hemlock show to advantage against the brighter green of the deciduous trees. There are partridge berries, winter greens, ground pine, many varieties of ferns and wild flowers.

Strawberries may be found in open places, while huckleberries abound and are already offering some ripe ones to the passer-by.

At the top of the mountain stands the fire tower, from which there is a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. Near the tower we find an arch and a table where one may cook and eat in the open, while all around us are the blossoming shrubs of the mountain laurel.

Keeping to the left over the mountain one comes out where farming country may be seen. Here again we turn to the left, above the road the hillside is covered with trees and laurel; below are farm buildings, meadows and cultivated fields, with a country road winding down the valley toward Little Marsh.

Soon we start down the Asaph road. The forest closes in again but still the mountain laurel grows all along the way. And now we hear the murmur of Asaph Run as it goes gurgling down around moss-covered boulders and old logs, sometimes close to the road and again farther away. The road goes down, down the mountain until we come to the forks.. Here we find another picnic ground with arches and tables. At this point one may drive over the bridge and go up the left-hand branch of Asaph Run, finally coming out at Manhaven in the Roosevelt Highway. While this is a pretty drive, we keep on down the hill side, passing through a planting of pines, the ground covered with new growth needles. We wonder do elves and gnomes dwell among these evergreens and hide in these thick branches when we pass by?

Now we cross the river over a bridge on which we have ??? and watched those speckled beauties, the brook trout. Near there are clumps of rhododendrons on each side of the road, while among the shadows on the hillside grow the lovely maiden-hair ferns.

Soon we come to the small village of Asaph. This was once a busy place when lumbering was going on and a saw mill was located here.

On this drive one may see deer, black bear, ruffed grouse or other shy dwellers of this forest land. Once we saw a mother porcupine with two babies following her. We hear the call of the chick-a-dees, the noisy blue-jay screams and scolds because we are invading his domain, while that black rascal, Jim Crow, calls “caw-caw-caw” from the top of the very bushes tree.

Whenever we leave the car we must be careful where we step for these mountains are the home of that poisonous serpent the rattler. Once driving the Asaph road in the evening we saw and killed one of these venomous snakes.

From Asaph one has a choice of roads up the Marsh Creek valley. If we keep the dirt road we will pass through more woodland. We may hear the red-wing in the marsh calling “conk-a-???” and later when the evening shadows are beginning to fall, sometimes we hear the mournful rote of that night bird, the whip-poor-will.. Or we may cross Marsh Creek and go up on the main road, the Roosevelt Highway. Along either way the mountain laurel grows on the hillsides. About six miles and we are back to Wellsboro Junction and three mils from home, the end of a very interesting drive.

We love these roads in the spring when the azalea is in bloom and the pink lady’s slippers may be found in autumn when the leaves have turned to gold, in winter when a mantle of white covers the ground and pines and hemlocks wear an ermine coat, while the Runs are silent in the clutch of Jack Frost’s icy fingers. Always there are lovely things to see, but the hills are especially beautiful in summer when the mountain laurel is in bloom.

Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Local History Articles Section
Bradford County PA
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Wellsboro Gazette, September 29, 1938
Lambs Hill View
Wherein Are Described the Picnic Parks and Fine Views at Fall Brook and On Armenia Mountain – Scenic Trails and Many of Nature’s Beauty Spots Mark the Entire Trip Which is Outlined in Detail by Boro Nature Lover.

(Now, on the eve of our great fall foliage spectacle, Mrs. Bodine has again provided us with another of her stories of the lovely drives over the less familiar roads, leading to the impressive view from the top of Lamb’s Hill. Follow the article carefully and you will have no trouble finding the way.)

We wonder how many of our friends know about the picnic parks and splendid views at Fall Brook and on Armenia Mountains. We didn’t until just recently.

A pleasant way to make this trip is to go from Blossburg to Morris Run and continue on the hard surface road to the site of the old town of Fall Brook. Only two houses remain of this once flourishing mining town. Here on the right you will find parking space and a cinder path leading to a fine picnic park situated under beautiful hemlock trees. There are tables, arches, and a large shelter. Paths lead down to the creek and the falls and you can follow the creek bed back to the foot of the falls. The creek is full of huge boulders that have fallen from the high rocky ledges on either side.

Continuing on through Fall Brook on the hard surface road and then a narrow but good dirt road. Along the cinder road on the right there is another parking place and picnic park with many tables under the trees. At this place you turn left (the right hand road goes down to Gleason) and continue on past several hunting camps and cottages for about a mile and then turn right, crossing the head waters of the Tioga River..

Just across the bridge at the right is an old house. This will let you know you have taken the correct road. If you walk out past the house you will find a flowing well. It was drilled many years ago by oil seekers but produced water instead of oil. The pipe stand about three feet above ground with cold water constantly flowing from it.

Near the old house a road leads off to the right but you must keep straight ahead here through the woods where the road ??? are covered with ferns. Take the second turn to the right and then the first turn to the left where you will find a country school house on the right corner. Keeping to the left for just a short distance, you will come to a sign saying Lamb’s Hill. Follow the road to the right around the hill to the top. Here you will find a picnic park with ample parking space, tables, arches and a shelter at the very edge of the mountain.

Here there is a wonderful view of the valley between Canton and Troy. The main road is about 1100 feet below and the cars look like toys from this height. A mosaic of cultivated fields, farm houses and patches of woodland are spread out before you for miles and miles with wooded hills against the horizon far in the distance. It is said that on a clear day you can see into Susquehanna County from here.

If you turn to the right as you come down from the mountain top you can go to Canton and home through Gleason, Ogdensburg, Liberty, Nauvoo and Morris. Or at Ogdensburg you can go to Troy and back through Mansfield. However, we came back the same way we went over through Fall Brook and Morris Run to Blossburg, reaching home about six o’clock, at the end of a perfect day spent in the open.

The leaves are turning now and this would be a lovely drive, as most of the way after leaving Blossburg as through the woods. If you follow the directions carefully you will have not trouble finding the way.
--Mazie Sears Bodine

Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Wellsboro Advertiser - December 29, 1938
Mazie SEARS Bodine


One of the most beautiful and breath-taking sights in this vicinity rewards the weary climber on the summit of this mighty mountain.  Miles of farm lands and mountain ranges can be seen from it’s peak.


Postcard by Caulkins

Near the junction of Marsh Creek and the River of the Pines stands the largest and highest mountain in this vicinity – the one we call Mt. Tom.  Always, when driving east toward Ansonia on the Roosevelt Highway, I have wished that I might stand on the rocks at the summit of this mountain.  Surely there would be a wonderful view of the surrounding country from this point.  Two of our friends had voiced this same wish.  While the Good Man of the House was not so enthusiastic, yet one Sunday morning he said, “If you people want to climb Mt. Tom we’ll go today.”

So we packed our lunch and taking cameras and field glasses left home about 11 o’clock.  Just before crossing the viaduct at Ansonia we turned to the left and after passing the road going down to the Darling Run CCC camp, turned to the left on an old road and stopped under an apple tree.  Here we ate our lunch and leaving the car started up the mountain trail.  Nearby is a cottage from which there is a beautiful view up the Pine Creek valley.  Soon we passed through a painting of pine where the trees have grown to such a height one has a faint idea of how these mountains looked when their sides were covered with these stately trees.

The trail is wide, quite smooth and not so very steep though one climbs steadily upward.  Along the way were lovely mosses, lichens and wintergreen vines with their bright red berries.  While peeping out from among the brown leaves were the light green ones of the beautiful trailing arbutus.  The trees were bare but beneath them grows the mountains laurel with its shining evergreen leaves.

We reached the top of the mountain at the back and walked out across the level summit until suddenly we were in the open and standing on the rocks that we could see from the highway, now so far below us.  Looking up the valley toward Galeton we can see many of the farm houses along the Roosevelt Highway which stretches before us like a silver ribbon.

We see the beautiful River of the Pines also cars on the Painter Run road, the dirt road between Rexford and the Deer Trail Inn. and the large barn with the two silos that stands just above Gaines while the far distant hills are nearly lost in purple haze.

In the fore ground at the left is the CCC camp at the mouth of Darling Run.  The river flows around the mountain at Barber’s Bend and is lost to view.  But we can see the new road going up the opposite hillside to Colton Point. and range after range of distant mountains.  Farther to the left are farm houses, ploughed fields, meadows and patches of woodland.  We see the dirt road going up the hill beyond Dexter.  We ate our lunch one evening at the top of this hill and watched the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen.  It seemed quite high for there is a lovely view from this hill top, but standing on Mt. Tom it didn’t look high at all for we were looking over it to the hills beyond.

The notch between the mountains where flows Stony Fork Creek is plainly visible as is the one where the road goes to Morris.  We can see the hills near Antrim and the ones farther north toward Blossburg and Mansfield.  Mt. Tom, itself, hides the view up the Marsh Creek valley, unless one walks farther around to the right, but we could see the Aseph Run fire tower.

We stayed on the mountain top about an hour and the men carved their names on the rocks where another name had been carved many years ago, the date being 1883.

When coming down the trail, we reached the planting of pines.  it was so dark beneath the trees one could imagine that here dwell the gnomes and goblins of the old-time fairy tales.  While it took us two hours to walk up the mountain trail, we came down in one hour and twenty minutes.

I had tied my handkerchief in the top of a small tree just below the rocks, so we drove out on the highway and stopped to look through the glasses.  While I though[t] I could see the handkerchief, the others said I imagined it, and as the evening shadows were beginning to fall, perhaps they were right.

I have wished there might be a pole on the summit of Mt. Tom with a large flag waving at its top.  It would be interesting to discover from how many points in the surrounding country side this flag could be seen.

And now I learn that the Lions Club are advocating an observation tower on Mt. Tom.  A road for automobiles following the old log road up which we walked would not be a hard grade, and with a picnic ground and observation tower at the top, the wonderful view could be enjoyed by countless travelers who love to take time for beautiful things to be found just off the main highways.  –MAZIE SEARS BODINE.

View from Mt. Tom 
Wellsboro Gazette, November 6, 1941
Little Roads

Little, Narrow Country Roads, winding and turning through beautiful woods, colorful fields, past old and picturesque farm houses are ever a delight to the nature lover. Mazie Sears Bodine takes us on one of these little roads known as the “Ding Dang.”

Gay little road, where do you go
Wandering round about?
Some time I’m going to follow you
Just simply to find out.

“I’ll take you” said the little road,
“Up many hills and down,
And show you nature’s beauties
That you never see in town.

“A wood, a brook, a water fall,
A bird in every tree—
It beckons and it beckons,
Come, come on with me!”

--Mabel H.. Andrews

Always when diving down through Catlin Hollow I had noticed a little road going off to the right and disappearing among some trees, and of course I wondered where it went. One day a friend said, “that road goes up the Ding Dang.”

The Ding Dang! What a queer name! Now, more than ever be before, I want to follow the road.. Now it  seemed to beckon and call - come on, come on.” So one day three friends and I started to go over on the Ding Dang.

We drove out past the depot and up Barlow Hill. And is the Barlow Hill road rough! It should have a macadam top; it already has a stone base! At the top of the hill we turned to the left and went  down past where my uncle, Dexter Atherton used to live. Mrs.. Atherton and my mother were sisters, so she was truly my aunt, but they were known to all the neighbor children and to all my friends as Uncle Deck and Aunt Sylvia.. They are both passed on now and strangers occupy the old homestead, which had been in the Atherton family  for over 100 years. What good times we had at the farm.. Aunt Sylvia’s cooky jar was always full; she kept it that way I do not know, so many small hand taking them out. Such delicious cookies! I have never tasted any like them since, and no apples were as good as the ones that grew on the old trees in the orchard back of the house. The two large pines that stood, one on each side of the path going  up to the house, have been cut down. Though we know these trees were very old and becoming brittle, as pines will, yet an old landmark has gone and our hearts were filled with sadness to see the empty space where once stood these stately trees. We will always cherish dear memories of this place but we could not linger then, so we drove and turned down the Catlin Hollow road.

We knew Ed.. Henry once lived on the Ding Dang, and that Mrs. Henry was now living in Catlin Hollow. We were anxious to know how the Ding Dang got its name and, thinking she might know, stopped to see her. She said Mr. Henry named the road. I asked why he gave it that particular name. She thought it was because the road went up and down with many turns, first to the left then to the right, winding around here and there. It was a “ding dang” road! One might have said “darn” or “damn” but Mr. Henry said “ding dang” and by that application it is still known.

We turned off the main highway near Fuller’s Rest. This looks like their driveway, only going to the barn, the Ding Dang road goes on and a short distance beyond the barn turned to the left. Now we found one of the loveliest woodland roads it has ever been our fortune to discover. It does go up  and down and rambles around.. It is very narrow with trees and shrubs growing close, almost touching the car.. There is a grassy boulevard in the center with ferns and other wildings along the way and at this time every open spot was filled with wild asters. Though the weather had been dry, the asters were especially lovely this year. The plants grew tall, with the individual flowers very large and such a bright blue in color. Where they mingle with the late goldenrod we find one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful color combinations. These blossoms do not last long when picked, but there is another variety with smaller flowers that will keep in water for at least a week, sometimes longer. They have an airy grace lacking in the larger bowered kinds and so lend themselves to many very  lovely arrangements.

There is only one house on this road, the one where Ed. Henry and his family once lived. It reminded me of a poem by Clarence L. Peaslee beginning:

“There is an old deserted house
Beside  a road lost in the hills.”
This house is not deserted, it is occupied at the present time, but it surely stands beside a road lost  in the hills.

We thought this a beautiful woodland drive on a bright autumn day. But  we all agreed that if we had lived here many years ago, before the automobile came into common use, and had to ride slowly out behind a team of oxen or horses, in all kinds of weather, we too might have called it a ding dang road!

When we finally came out of the woods we found that only a few rods to the left would take us out onto the Hill’s Creek road. However, we turned to the right  and when reaching the top of the hill found a delightful view of the Hill’s Creek valley and distant mountains. We intended to go over on Reese Hill, but turned again to the right when we should have gone to the left. So we came back down to meet the road where we turned to the left when we first started up the Ding Dang.. We had gone around in a circle, and came out again at Fuller’s Rest.

We now drove down the Catlin Hollow road had toward Niles Valley. A short distance and we turned up a very steep pitch to the left. This road if followed straight ahead will bring one out near the depot at Wellsboro Junction. This is one of my favorite little roads, sometimes wandering through the woods, sometimes through farm lands, with beautiful views of the valley, the celery fields and the distant hills. But we kept to the right and down through another lovely piece of woodland. Here many white birches grow among the other trees, while occasionally between the branches one has a glimpse across the valley where the main highway winds along like a silver ribbon. We came down past the Niles Valley cemetery, crossed the railway and so out to Route 84. We had been down this road earlier in the season and just as we left the forest found the lavender bergamot in full bloom. It was growing on both sides of the road and in the open fields. A charming sight!

Now we had been over on the Ding Dang and learned how it came by that name. We had had a most interesting and beautiful drive and spent a happy afternoon. How we enjoy following these little roads lost among our Tioga county hills. Always there are wild flowers along the way. Ferns, mosses, lichens and tea berries grow beneath the trees in the wood-lots. Often we see black or gray squirrels, chipmunks or ruffed grouse.. Once a beautiful red fox ran across the road in front of the car. Sometimes we see one or more deer and once two bear cubs came up the bank, crossed the road and went up on the other side. We see flocks of birds along the roadside, vesper sparrows, juncos, bluebirds and gold finches, and the friendly chickadee comes down on the lowest branches and visits with us. Softly he sings dee, dee, dee, or more loudly chickadee, dee, dee, as if he were saying – “how are you? I’m glad to see you here.”

And we are thrilled with the views that suddenly burst upon our vision when we reach one of the hill tops. So –

We love the little roads
That ramble here and there,
Where grow the friendly trees,
Where bird songs fill the air.

They loiter through the fields
Where buttercups are gay,
Or cross a meadow brook
Where happy children play.

They climb the hillside steep
And the go dashing down
To linger near the door
Of a cottage old and brown.

Now through the wood they pass
Where shadows are deep and cool,
And fragrant hemlocks grow
Near a shining, crystal pool.

They find the mountain hills
Where sparkling waters flow,
Along their winding ways
The starry asters blow.

Yes, we love the little roads
Wandering here and there.
Where God’s peace reigns supreme
And bird songs fill the air.

--M. S. B..

Wellsboro Gazette, March 24, 1948
Button Hobby is Interesting
And Is Increasing In Popularity Says Mazie Sears Bodine.

Nearly every housewife has a button box. A receptacle where she keeps the buttons cut from discarded or worn-out garments. Some of these buttons are used over and over again. If, perchance, there are any that have been handed down from grandmother’s day, these may or may not be valuable specimens much sought after by collectors whose hobby follows this fast growing fad. Because a button is old does not signify it is of worth to a collector; it must have other values.

It may be a beautiful jet or black glass, a picture or story button, or paper weight or another one that will help to fill out a collector’s card. The value of a button depends on how badly a collector wants it or how scarce is that particular button..

Collecting buttons is not new; the early sea captains brought them home from foreign lands to put in their curio cabinets. While, when our mothers were young, girls vied with each other to see which could add the greatest number and the most beautiful buttons to a long string known as “charm,” “love’ or ‘memory” strings. Occasionally, one of these strings comes to light to the delight of the button collector.

There are many roads for a collector to follow, all are interesting and instructive. Many picture buttons have heads of famous men and women. Then one wants to find out something about these people. A story button may illustrate an old fable, a nursery rhyme or a fairy tale.

Now we renew our acquaintance with Aesop’s Fables, Mother Goose and all the old fairy tales we knew and loved when a child. If we have a button illustrating the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we want to read the poem written in 1855 by Robert Browning and founded on a medieval legend which he found in an old book published in 1634. When we found a button with three dogs and were told they were St. Hubert’s Hounds we asked “who was St. Hubert and why the hounds?” In an encyclopedia we found St. Hubert was a bishop who was canonized in 708; that his festival falls on Nov. 3, and in legend and in art St. Hubert appears as a hunter who was startled into repentance when hunting on Good Friday by the appearance of a stag bearing between his horns a crucifix. These are the hounds he was hunting with when he saw the stag.

There are buttons showing pictures of gods and goddesses. These take us into mythology, which is very interesting. There are buttons with the signs of the Zodiac, with stars, the moon and the sun. Have you ever studied astronomy? There are Biblical buttons – Moses in the Bullrushes, Eleazer at the Well and other. How well do you know your Bible?

We have followed this by-path for a short distance. Now let us return to the main highway and take the path marked “Materials,” It is amazing how many different materials have been used in the making of buttons. They have been made of wood, tin, bone and horn. There are brass, copper, silver and gold buttons. They have been made of china, porcelain, cloth, pewter and shell or pearl. Of rubber, vegetable ivory, glass, coal and cork. Of iron, steel, zinc and leather. Buttons have even been made of yeast.

The story of rubber is a very interesting one, as is that of vegetable ivory. The jet buttons of grandmother’s day were made of lignite, a form of anthracite coal. There were found to chip easily so some one conceived the idea of making buttons of black glass to imitate jets. These were more durable and have been found by the hundreds in old button boxes. It takes an expert to tell real jet from black glass.

A collector who is interested in black glass may have a very lovely collection without much outlay in money, for they are not expensive. Many different designs were used on these buttons; flowers, castles and birds. There are faceted, iridescent, silver and gold lusters make a beautiful card. The paisley design was much used; while the ones with any gold or silver design are lovely. Glass buttons also are found in many colors – green, amber, lavender, pink, red, and blue. A card of clear glass or crystals is very nice.

Collectors have been picking up the red glass until it is hard to find any at the present time. They are found in plain red, in red with gold and silver designs, and in different shapes and sizes.

There are both fresh water and ocean pearls. Plastic buttons are fast replacing pearls in the dress trade, and pearl button manufacturers are closing their doors because they can’t meet the high cost of pearl production and the competition of plastic buttons.

Some collectors specialize in pearls, and it is well to get these lovely buttons while they are still obtainable.

So much for materials; now let us see what we can find on some of the buttons. Here is a path marked “birds,” along the way one will see many different species.. There are long-legged water birds standing among the rushes. There are swans and ducks, swallows, woodpeckers and quails. See the wise old owl sitting on a limb? There is an eagle, a parakeet, a peacock and a humming bird. A cockatoo, a rooster and some we cannot identify. All these are found on buttons. A button may have only one bird or perhaps two or more.

Now we come to a path marked “animals.”  My! Here is a tall giraffe, an elephant and a camel! See the horses, dogs and cats. There is a pig, a wild board, a polar bear, a lion and a tiger. A Rocky Mountain goat stands on a high ledge over a chasm.. There are deer squirrels, rabbits, frogs and turtles. And of all things, some horrible dragons of olden times! A regular zoo, isn’t it?

And there is a garden too; with roses, pansies, tulips, lilies-of-the-valley, a fuchsia, iris and water lilies. Clover blooms and thistles, morning glories and a trumpet vine.

Buttons, buttons, such a number of things are found on buttons. There are many more paths to follow, but we must leave you now. Don’t get lost.

Many interesting and humorous stories are told in connection with buttons. “A rose-pink waist coat, embroidered in silver, with buttons of a darker pink shell in silver settings, was worn by a Boston groom, with a silver grey velvet coat also with shell buttons and white satin small clothes. His dress was so much more striking than the bride’s that she had a hearty fit of crying over it.”

During Queen Elizabeth’s reign perfume was used in many ways. One account speaks of “perfumed gloves, lined with white velvet, and splendidly worked with embroidery and gold buttons.”

We are told of a book covered with crimson velvet having ten buttons of silver and gold, and of handkerchief trimmed with buttons! The London cart or  donkey-chay peddlers vied with each other in covering their clothes with pearl buttons. One man had a suit with 32,000 buttons on it, besides several thousand on his hat, spats and gloves. The average suit weighed sixty pounds. (Oh, the poor wife if she had to sew on all these buttons!) At the beginning of the eighteenth century jeweled buttons were worn on men’s cloaks and jackets. Vests or waistcoats were most elegant with their embroidery and magnificent buttons.

Yes, button collecting is a very interesting hobby. And we are told “that he who acquires a hobby has started on a glorious adventure. He has thrown boredom overboard and contracted an incurable disease.”

This is a very sketchy article, as a short one on buttons is apt to be. Listen! We will let you in on a secret if you will promise not to tell. We know very little about buttons, and the more we learn, the more we find there is to learn, confusing isn’t it? And sometimes discouraging too. However we like our buttons and enjoy them very much. We like them because they are beautiful and amusing as well as interesting.. We started with button boxes; now we will return to button boxes. Our buttons are mounted on cards 7 X 11 inches in size, and kept in boxes with tissue paper between each card. How many? Well over three thousand altogether. But remember it is quality and not quantity that makes a nice collection. We do not have that many that are real quality buttons. But we like them all – each and every one..
Mazie Sears Bodine.
See Also Aunt Nellie's Button Box by Joyce M. Tice

Wellsboro Gazette, December 11, 1947
A Christmas Story
By Mazie Sears Bodine

The rolling year has brought us the month of December, the month the children love. For now we are preparing for Christmas, the time when good old St. Nicholas, with his eight reindeer and pack of gifts, makes his rounds. This is the time of secrets, of wrapping mysterious packages, of lovely colored papers, of Christmas Seals and bright ribbons. Of watching for the mailman with his many bundles – all sizes and shapes. He brings the greeting cards too; of all we receive, hardly ever are there two alike. How we enjoy them! Now an evergreen tree is brought in and trimmed with tinsel, shining balls and colored lights. Isn’t it lovely?

It is said that when Christianity was first preached in the North, the Lord sent his three messengers, Faith, Hope and Love, to light the first tree. They sought a tree that would be as high as Hope, as wide as Love, and that bore the sign of the cross on every bough. They chose the balsam fir which, best of all trees met these requirements, and while we may not have a balsam fir, we may have an evergreen tree, pine, spruce or hemlock.

We are told that at one time the ivy rivaled holly as a Christmas decoration. And there was a contest between the two for the place of honor in the hall. They have an argument in which each sets forth claims to superiority. It is finally decided that the holly, with its red berries, shall have the place of honor instead of the ivy whose berries are black. So we decorate at Christmas with red berries – the holly, alder and bittersweet. Do you know that the bittersweet blossoms are blue with a bright yellow center? They are shaped much like the potato blossom, these two plants belonging to the same family.

The following legend is told about the Christmas rose. On the night when the angels sang to the shepherds of Bethlehem, a little girl stood watching the wise men present gifts to the Babe lying in the manger. Having nothing to offer she went sadly away. As she journeyed a light suddenly shone on her and a voice said, “Little one why are you sad?” The child answered, “Because I could carry no gifts to the Babe of Bethlehem.” The Spirit waved a lily and suddenly the ground was white with Christmas Roses. the little one filled her arms with flowers which she bore, and the Holy One, turning from the gold of the Magi, held out His tiny hands for the blossoms.

And there is the magic mistletoe which we always associate with Christmas. under its bough many a gallant of our grandmothers’ time stole a kiss from his fair lady. This plant had mystic and ceremonial significance long before the advent of Christianity. It was the “Golden Bough” of Virgil. It was one sacred plant of the Druids in ancient Britain. It is said that a Druid priest mounted a sacred oak tree on which the mistletoe grew, and snipped off very small fragments with a golden sickle and dropped them onto a white cloth upheld by other priests. Later these fragments were given to the people to be cherished as charms against evil. Many superstitions still cling to the mistletoe in different parts of the world, such as its power to bring success to the hunter, to give strength to the athlete, to cure disease, to cast out evil spirits, and to keep witches from doing harm. For these purposes a sprig of the plant is worn about the neck. Because of its many pagan associations, mistletoe, to this day, is never used to decorate any church or religious building.

The most of our lovely Christmas carols are very old, even the beginnings of some being unknown. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” is thought to have been first sung in Italy as far back as 1200. S. Willis wrote the English version which we sing. “Silent Night” was written on Christmas Eve in 1818 in a little Austrian village by Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest. But it wasn’t until 1833, when it was on a prominent music program, that its fame began to spread over the land. Now throughout the entire world Christmas would hardly seem quite complete if this song were not sung.

The most celebrated of all Christmas poems – “The Night Before Christmas,” was written by Clement Clarke Moore, Ph. D., on Christmas Eve, 1822. Dr. Moore was then professor of Greek and Oriental Literature in the Episcopal General Theological Seminary. The jingles were written for his own children. He had no thought of publishing them or of their ever going beyond his family fireside. But it so happened that a young relative, Sarah Harriet Butler, visiting the Moores that Christmas, delightedly put a copy in her diary, and read them to her father, the Rev. David Butler, when she returned to her home in Troy, N.Y. The minister sent it next year to a newspaper, the author’s name not given. Other newspapers printed the jingles and they quickly became known all over the country to the embarrassment of Dr. Moore, who feared to have it known he was the author. He considered it undignified for a man of his scholastic standing to be the author of children’s jingles. Also, at that time, Christmas merriment of any kind was frowned upon by religious zealots; and the professor had to be mindful of his position in the church. Twenty-two years later he finally acknowledged authorship. Ironically, Dr. Moore’s serious works are forgotten today. He is mentioned in encyclopedias because he wrote the celebrated Christmas verses.

Do you know that at one time more gifts were exchanged throughout the world on New Year’s Day than on Christmas? We are told that in England during the reign of Henry VIII, it was customary to exchange large quantities of gifts on New Years Day. This was also the custom in Scotland, Russia, France and China.

The year 1846 marked the genesis of the Christmas card. Although there is a record of some being made four years earlier, none were sold. However between 1846 and 1886 two hundred thousand were put on the market in England alone. About 1878 certain manufacturers, printers and publishers recognized the possibilities which lay in an improved type of production, with the result that in 1882 so great was the boom that one firm alone paid in a single year seven thousand pounds for original drawings for these cards. One of the most ardent is credited with the ownership of 700 volumes, containing 163,000 varieties! (Where, O where, did he keep them all!) The decade 1878 to 1888 was his happy hunting time, for it was then that not only were book illustrators of the highest repute induced to follow this employment but established artists and others who were popularly supposed to work only for art’s sake and not at all for that of commerce, vied with one another for the rewards which waited upon artistic success in the new field. Kate Greenaway, author and illustrator of many children’s books, also designed Christmas cards. We are told that her designs were very lovely and that these cards are now well worth the notice of the collector of beautiful things.

And how we all wish for a white Christmas. A Christmas Eve with the snow softly falling, and Christmas morning! How beautiful how dazzlingly bright! With the sunlight on the snow! Now the children can try their new sleds, can make snow-men – perhaps a Santa Claus with pipe in his mouth and pack on his back.

When I was a small child it was customary for the Sunday School to have a tree on Christmas Eve for the children.. A large one was set up in our church. (We attended the Methodist church) and trimmed with presents for us all. Each child received a bag of candy and nuts. The teachers gave their scholars small gifts, while we all contributed something toward one for our teacher. Parents, too, brought presents to be hung on the tree for their children. There was a program of singing and recitations. How we did enjoy it all!

I was a very happy little girl as I trudged home with my treasure in my arms. Now we have dear memories of these trees in the old church. How many remember the old Methodist church with its tall spires?

Hark! hear the bells, the
  Christmas bells! Ringing, ringing!
“How sweet the lingering music dwells—
The music of the Christmas bells.”
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet their words repeat,
Of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”

And oh! the goodies on Christmas Day. Nuts, fruit and candies, fancy cookies and cake. What a picture is the festive board with a center piece of evergreens, red berries and lighted candles, the roasted meats, vegetables of all kinds, pies and puddings. With the family gathered round – a jolly crowd! Oh, Christmas Day! What joy and merry-making, laughter and song! But let us not forget to give thanks for all our many blessings. This is our Lord’s Natal Day, the day when “God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.” So we thank Thee, Lord, for this month.

“The Queen of the year in all her peerless charms—
December, fair and holly-crowned with the Christ-child in her arms.”

The Spirit of Christmas
I love the Christmas spirit
That pervades the wintry air
When many folks with gifts of love
Are hurrying here and there.

I love the Christmas trees
With bright lights all aglow,
The carols that the children sing
Their voices sweet and low.

The evergreens, the berries red,
The seals and ribbons gay,
And the lovely greeting cards
That come on Christmas day.

Though these joys are fleeting
And the gifts will perish too,--
Each year the Christmas spirit
Wakes in the heart anew.
--M. S. B.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 21 NOV 1997
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933