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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Why They Named it Mainesburg
Article: Why They Named it Mainesburg
Township: Sullivan Township, TiogaCounty PA
By - 1939 Elmira Sunday Telegram Article
Submitted by Joyce M. Tice 
from the Mabel HILFIGER "Benson" Scrapbooks 
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Why They Named It: - Mainesburg . . . Max Stauffer Expert On Early History
THIS IS ONE of a series of Elmira Sunday Telegram articles, appearing from time to time, explaining how villages in the New York and Pennsylvania territory served by The Sunday Telegram, received their names.
WHEN SOMEONE seeks information concerning Mainesburg, pa., he consults Max E. Stauffer, former blacksmith. Mr. Stauffer, except for one period of less than three years, has spent his entire 68 years in this little community on Corey Creek in Sullivan Township, Tioga County. Mainesburg took its name, Mr. Stauffer explains, from John Maine, who more than 100 years ago, settled in what was almost virgin wilderness. In 1826 the place was established as a village. Nearly all the land around the small community between Sylvania and Mansfield was early acquired by the Maine family. [Note From Joyce - This is not quite true, but John Maine was the first postmaster and that is how the name was established] Later, of course, these holdings were sold off a little at a time. Mr. Stauffer, naturally, cannot remember the original John Maine but he does recall the pioneer settler’s two sons, both long since dead. They were Dr. George W. Maine, pioneer physician, and E. R. Maine, farmer. Like so many other villages and hamlets, Mainesburg from the earliest was a lumbering and farming community. Mr. Stauffer’s father, George E. Stauffer, who was 62 when he died in 1897, 42 years ago, was a pioneer blacksmith and it was from him his son learned the trade. The elder Mr. Stauffer was a blacksmith nearly 45 years and his son, before retiring five years ago, matched that record. Mr. Stauffer can remember when a saw mill flourished on Corey Creek, near where the highway crosses the stream. When Mr. Stauffer as a boy knew the sawmill, it was operated by L. M. Doud and J. S. Woodburn. There was also a flour and feed mill on the western outskirts of the place, operated by A. B. Austin and belonging to C. M. Horton and his brother, Frank. This burned down some 45 years ago. Disastrous fires in years past were blows to the community. In 1917, the Christian Church, of which Mr. Stauffer was  a trustee, burned down and with it were destroyed a Grange hall, store, and other buildings. Corey Creek has dwindled away so that it no longer supports fishing, but in his youth, Mr. Stauffer recalls, it was no task at all to catch a full creel of trout “right in the village limits.” When, a half century ago, Mr. Stauffer donned an apron and became his father’s helper in his smithy, there were then three other blacksmiths, all now dead. These were Stephen Peters, Fred Bryan and Lewis B. Lucas. L. D. Lucas, a son of the latter, carried on the trade after his father for a time. Mr. Stauffer was born in the house in which he now lives. His father’s home it was as well, and previously to that, Dr. George W. Maine, previously mentioned, lived there. Consequently, the house, still comfortable and homelike, is well over a century old. When a young man, Mr. Stauffer went to Kansas for a time. There he met and wed Miss Laura M. Kuntz, a native of Punxatawny, Pa. In February, Mr. and Mrs. Stauffer will celebrate the 47th anniversary of their marriage. The Stauffers have one son, Gordon E., who operates a store at Mainesburg and is postmaster.

See Mainesburg Postcards by Caulkins showing the buildings that burned in 1917.

Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County People
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
"Vet" Bailey - Sullivan-Rutland Pioneer - The Stuff of a Tall Tale
Joyce's Preface- To this day stories of "Vet" Bailey can be heard around the neighborhood where he lived so long ago. As to whether the following stories which appeared in 1886, only three decades after the death of "Vet," are true or not, I can only say  - I hope not. I really hope they are exaggerations of truth, but who knows? You decide. Most tall tales have a grain of truth behind them. Where is the line between bravery and foolhardiness??

Typed by Sherry Nichols


A Modern Sampson Whose Feats Were Unparalleled for Bravery and Whose Endurance Was Simply Marvelous.
(Written expressly for the Telegram by an old correspondent)

One of the most remarkable and eccentric pioneers of Rutland and Sullivan townships in Tioga county, PA, was Sylvester Bailey, better known as “Vet Bailey”.  He was born in the state of Connecticut about the year 1798, and came into the Tioga valley with his parents when he was about eight years of age, riding a pony all the way from that state and carrying a small rifle by his side. The hunting and shooting traits for which in after life he was so greatly distinguished, commenced their development upon that journey, shooting and killing a number of deer along the road in the Catskill and Delaware mountains, along the Chenango and Chemung valleys, and in the mountains intervening between the towns of Towanda, Troy, and on the Armenias. His father first located at the mouth of Mill creek, and subsequently removed to Rutland. Vet. was a sturdy, square-built boy, fearless of danger, and rugged and firm as the mountain country which he inhabited. Before he was twelve years of age he had killed 100 deer or more, and at the age of twelve he shot his first panther. He would roam over the mountains barefoot, defying frost and ice, in quest of game, and when his feet became too much chilled he would pull off his hat and step into it, and thus bring back the circulation. Twas thus he spent his youth and boyhood. In time he turned his attention to business, which he prosecuted with great, energy, building saw mills and grist mills and erecting dwellings. He married Miss Mary Welch, a native of Vermont, and a

by whom he had six children , vix: Abigail, wife of Russell Burnside; William Bailey, who married his second cousin; Sarah Bailey; Lucy, wife of William Aylesworth; Constant Bailey whose wife was Amey Jones; Laura, who married Clark Bartlett and Griffin Bailey, who married Alvira Aylesworth. But in the midst of pressing business engagements he always found time to hunt. As we have stated he commenced the slaughter of deer at eight years of age, and at twelve he had downed his first panther, and at thirteen a bear came into the pig-pen and his mother held a light while he engaged in a combat with the bear, in which he was victorious. After he arrived at the age of manhood he became the most renowned hunter in northern Pennsylvania. One time he set two traps near the present village of Mansfield, and upon going to them one morning he discovered that one had been carried off by some animal. He followed up the trail, which led to a mammoth white pine hollow log. Vet cut a strong hickory club about six feet long and entered the hollow log, punching away with his club. At length it came in contact with an animal which proved to be a she wolf. Vet. kept punching it with his club, and the wolf commenced snapping and biting it, and so successful was she in the business that in less than five minutes she had bitten the club off, so that the part that remained in Vet’s hand was not more than two feet long. Discretion, Vet thought, was the better part of valor, and once in his life he backed out. But his backing out was only to gain a strategic point. He stopped up
and went after an axe. This obtained he returned to renew the battle. He chopped a hole in the log where the wolf was in trenched, and after a desperate struggle succeeded in capturing her ladyship alive, gagging and muzzling her. He also found seven little wolves, which he also captured. He slung the mother wolf over his shoulder, fastened the puppy wolves together, gathered them under his arm and started for home, about eight miles distant. The mother wolf struggled desperately to release herself and finally succeeded in doing so, getting the stick out of her mouth and seizing Vet by the scalp and tearing the hair and skin loose from the top of his head down to the back of his neck. The sudden attack took Vet rather by surprise; but he rallied not withstanding his scalp was torn loose and he was almost blinded with blood which flowed from his wounds succeeded in putting the gag again in the mouth of the wolf and reaching his home with the live wolves. He sat down after reaching home and his wife, who had strong nerves took a needle and thread, replaced the scalp again and took some ninety stitches to complete the patchwork. Vet bound a handkerchief over his head, and the next morning was going about in his usual manner. He kept the old mother wolf for several years, together with two of her pups. The pups he made completely tame, and they followed him wherever he went. One time he went to Ithaca, NY for a mill stone, and had one of those wolves with him. On returning from Ithaca he stopped over night at the famous inn of John Davis, in Newtown, now Elmira, which was located on the corner of Water and Lake Streets.
had a very peculiar dog, which it was necessary to lock up nights, and that he was willing to pay for his lodging. Uncle Johnny went with Vet to the granary, that being the most safe and suitable “lock-up”. Vet discovered a fine harness and a most excellent saddle and told Uncle Johnny to remove them as his dog was very fond of leather, and might destroy them. Uncle Johnny thought it only a whim of Vet and would only remove the harness leaving the saddle hanging in the granary. Vet’s dog was given an old worthless horse blanket to sleep on, when he was locked up for the night. His dog’s name was Mollie Starks, named in honor of Mollie Starks, wife of General Starks of revolutionary fame. When the granary door was unlocked in the morning all that remained of that elegant saddle was the stirrups and iron horn and tree. Mollie had entirely demolished it and eaten it up. Uncle Johnny swung a very bitter lip for a few minutes, cursing the dog and everybody else. Vet kept cool for a while and then launched forth in a counter tirade, which completely laid Uncle Johnny on the shelf. Finally peace reigned in Warsaw, a few drops of old rye were imbibed and matters were adjusted in an amicable manner and Vet started for his home over the rough and unworked roads from Elmira up Seeley creek to Samuel Miller’s where the present village of Millerton is located, and over the mountain to his home in Rutland. His eye was clear and his aim steady. One time he and his old friend Apollis Pitts, of Richmond, and others, were returning home from a logging bee or shooting match, when the subject of marksmanship came up.
of Mr. Pitts and at a distance of six rods fired and shattered the apple in a thousand pieces. As a hunter he always captured his game. He would take upon the track of a deer and follow it with the rapidity, endurance and pertinacity of a hound, literally running them down. Five and ten deer were usually the result of one day’s hunting. He wrestled with bears, trapped and ran down wolves, killed elk, shot panthers and slaughtered small game by the thousand. Many eccentric and amusing anecdotes are related of him by his old friends and neighbors. It is said that one day he went down to his saw-mill where Israel Smith was working and told Smith that he was obliged to remain at home that day in order to see a man who would come there on business, but that he needed exercise and must have it. Vet proposed to get up on the saw gate and take a ride upon that. Smith did all in his power to prevent him but Vet climbed on to the old-fashioned upright saw gate and commanded Smith to turn on the water or feed. Smith dare not disobey him and complied with his demand. At first the gate moved up and down slowly on a light head of water. This did not suit Vet and he demanded “more feed, more feed, Israel”. Smith remonstrated with Vet but to no avail. Vet was going up and down at a rapid rate, the downward motion raising his long hair until it stood eight or ten inches above his head, and still Vet cried for “more feed”. Smith
or gate, the embodiment of fear and despair. He knew if more speed was given the gate that Vet could not hold on to it and there was danger of his being crushed between the gate and the fender beam. “More feed more feed, d—n you, more feed!” shouted Vet. Finally half crazed, Smith turned on the full speed and the gate went up like a streak of lightning sending Vet up through the roof of the mill, from whence he rolled off into the flume. Smith, when he saw Vet take his departure heavenward, shut off the speed and ran to an opening on the north side of the mill just in time to pull Vet from the water. The breath of life was in him and that was all. He was completely demoralized. His exercise that morning was too violent and excessive. He was carried to the house and an investigation proved that his arms and legs were broken and his hip out of joint, with sundry and divers other wounds too numerous to mention. Vet however, soon rallied, and in the proper season went forth to make war on the denizens of the forest. Death, however, claimed him as a victim and he died in the year 1852 aged fifty-four years. He was just in the prime of life. The recital of his hunting exploits would fill a volume. He made a record which none could excel in the hunting line, and today when any young hunter is very successful in the chase he is told to persevere, and perhaps he will yet be as good a shot and hunter as Vet Bailey. {Estate was probated 22 DEC 1851, so death date is slightly off in this article} See Family History from Joyce's Sullivan-Rutland Genealogy Project
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Communities & Neighborhoods
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
The Horse Thieves at Elk Run
The following story comes under the category of lore. It is true that the story has been part of the neighborhood forever. The Bailey Farm Joan mentions is just north of the Rutland - Sullivan border on the Rutland side.

Story of the Elk Run Horse Thieves
By Joan Nash O’Dell
January 2001

This story was related to me several years ago by Jim Welch who had heard it from Owen Smith at a much earlier time.

The farm where I lived, often identified as the Bailey farm or “the farm where the barns burned” was the site of this illegal activity.  Across the road from the buildings was a small stream that had its origin up on a much higher hill facing the north.  If one were to walk from a small bridge by the barn north they would find a ravine which has been carved out by this stream over the many years.

As the story goes, and I do not attest to fact or fiction, horses were stolen around the area at night time, herded into this rater remote, secluded area and retained there ‘til further action could be taken to sell them out of the immediate area.

The light colored horses were rubbed with a clay colored soil to disguise them when they were “going to market” elsewhere.  I have no idea what they did about the darker shades but I presume like the importing them to the ravine, the exporting was also done by moonlight.

I have wondered which Bailey person was running this activity.  Was it Sylvester, known as “Vet” or one of his forefathers, brothers or descendants?

On top of a knoll not far from where this all was suppose to have happened is a small, family burying ground known as the Bailey Cemetery.  When I was touring around those hills and dales, I remember several grave markers.  Today there are few, due to woodchucks and cows.  We do know that Constance Bailey and his wife are buried there.  This small plot is on the present adjoining farm, known as the Longwell farm and this was also true half a century ago.  Apparently this wasn’t always true or else two Baileys owned adjoining farms.

I know nothing of the law becoming involved in this activity but apparently the surrounding neighbors knew about it because Smiths lived near by and the story has been passed down through the many years.  True or not true, it makes a good story.

Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Communities & Neighborhoods
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
The  Windmill at Mainesburg

The windmill in 1979 As a Gas Station in the 1930s when Emery Austin ran it.
Old Gas Station Sprouts Windmill
From Sunday Telegram, Elmira, N.Y.  Sunday, January 28, 1979
By Garth Wade

Mainesburg – Rt. 6 travelers through this tiny Northern Tier community do double-takes when they spot what appears to be a windmill growing out of a house.

Not true.  It was built that way just before the Depression.

Today, the house is owned by John Clark who lives on Old State Road about two miles south of here.  Clark rents the old structure to Donna J. Wilcox and her son.

“That’s a good question,” said Clark when asked why he bought the place from the late Irene Kuykendall eight years ago.  “We were farming at the time and wanted a little bit of something extra to do,” Clark said.

Clark said he didn’t know why the house was built that way, but said the local postmistress is a good source for local history.

Miss Webster has headed up the local post office for 21 years and has lived many of her 60 years here.  The late Emery Austin built the structure as a gas station nearly five decades ago, said Miss Webster.  “About the time I was going to grade school in Mainesburg.” See Correction Below

The windmill is just a decoration, not functional, she added.  Mr. Austin added the eye boggler “just for fun, I guess,” Miss Webster said.

Mrs. Kuykendall apparently inherited the property.  Mr. Austin was her uncle, Miss Webster said.

The place is hard to maintain, said Clark who is now a caseworker for Tioga County Children’s Services.  The numerous peaks and corners created by the windmill structure make the house hard to weatherize, he said.

At any rate, Clark would like to sell the property.  That includes three nearby cabins.  Clark rents on a monthly basis.

Clark doesn’t dare tear the place down.  Local folks wouldn’t stand for it.

“I’d have to leave the community,” Clark said.

Correction by Joyce: The windmill was built by Lettie Austin and her husband Dr. Lou Smith as their summer home. It was built on land that was part of the Austin Family area of Mainesburg. Emery Austin,  Lettie's brother, did  run it as a gas station after Lettie and Doc Lou no longer used it. Irene "Kuykendall" mentioned in the article,was the daughter of Lettie and Lou.

At right - Lettie Austin and her husband,. Dr. Lou Smith at an Austin Reunion abt 1921. 

Photo by Joyce Autumn 2005. No longer a windmill, the characteristic adornment has been removed. I imagine it was a roofing nightmare. I don't know when the windmill was removed. The "windmill" and the little cabins next to it are in good condition, all painted and well roofed. 
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 20 JAN 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
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