The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
150th Anniversary of Roseville
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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These articles appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette 1965
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Roseville’s 150 Years

Telegram Towns—First of a Series

The Elmira Telegram, Sunday, April 25, 1965

Roseville, Pa.—"Gone But Not Forgotten." Roseville settlers chose this phrase to honor the man who pioneered development of Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier.

The familiar words are nearly obliterated from the face of the headstone of the grave of William Rose, located on a slope on a cemetery overlooking the town. But the doctor from Rutland, Vt., who arrived here in 1806, left a heritage of ambition and determination.

The autonomous prosperity that Roseville once knew has been beset by death, fire and industrialization. The Roseville of 1965 is a quiet haven for about 160 inhabitants who mainly seek their fortunes elsewhere. Gone are the hotels, the many stores, the rhythmic beating of the blacksmith’s hammer, laughing children tasting products of the cheese factory and the roaring sounds of the grist mill.

Progress of Roseville began with the population growth in the early 1800’s. In 1822 William Rose began building the first distillery. His son, William Jr., was the first tavern keeper. Business continued on the rise and justified the construction of the first hotel by young Rose in 1850. A post office was opened and managed by Myron Mills. He also owned a store and began operation of the tannery in 1863.

When shoes were torn or soles worn, shoemakers Thomas Dix and later George Washington Reynolds would restore them. J. M. Hall speculated in a new field. He built a mill on Mill Creek and converted iron ore into mineral paint. The progressive community had several doctors. First there was Dr. John M. Barden,. Then Dr. Orin Nye.

Although William Rose practiced medicine, it is not known whether he was certified. The last medical doctor died in the 1930’s at the age of 106. He was Dr. Francis White who began his practice before the Civil War. Ingenuity was a common trait. Lewis Longwell is credited with producing the town’s first electric lights by connecting a generator to harness power at the natural dam on Mill Creek. His invention provided lights to the store he operated and to the Baptist Church.

With sights set on a growing industrial community, the town was incorporated Feb. 3, 1876. The population had reached 428. Hotels and businesses thrived at the crossroads oasis for travelers between Elmira and Mansfield. Then, in 1888, tragedy struck. A fire, its cause never known, nearly destroyed the entire heart of the borough. A total of 23 buildings burned. The disaster was a turning point in the community’s destiny. Several stores and homes were rebuilt but the fire, coupled with the industrial revolution, ended the prosperous era.

A glitter of hope beamed several years later when Will Carpenter erected a cheese factory, a building now owned by the Roseville Sportsmen’s Club. But before 1900, Carpenter relocated at Jobs Corners to be nearer the city market.

New careers became the objective. Small town clerks, laborers and professional people were no longer in demand. The early 1900’s saw a new generation concentrating on further education after graduation from the little school house. Adventurous youth were lured to urban areas. The population decline continues. After 90 years the community’s size has been reduced by 268. The last significant contribution to the area’s economy was a milk processing plant operated by East Smithfield Farms Inc. Today the building is used as a relay point as the milk products are taken to larger centers.

Roseville is the smallest borough in Tioga County. Judge Charles G. Webb of Wellsboro an authority on history, said it is one of the smallest in the Commonwealth. Rutland Township, named for the town in Vermont, has a population of 530. Before the post office in the borough was closed in 1957 it was known as the Rutland Post Office. Now the borough has one general store operated by the Arnold Yoder family. There are two churches. The Rev. William Pipp is Methodist pastor and Lamont Satterly, a Mansfield State College sutdent, is filling the Baptist pulpit until a successor to the Rev. Orey E. Crippen is named. Both churches have large congregations.

The old steeple – roofed school house is vacant. A newer, but small wood-frame classroom building serves about 100 children in grades 1-6. It, too, will become history when a new $1 million elementary school for the Mansfield Joint School system is ready in the fall of 1966. Despite the effects of centralization, the people of Roseville cherish and maintain the dignity of borough status. Main responsibilities of the seven-member council are to oversee care of one-half mile of highway and annual payment of $180 for street lighting. Council President Earl Wood said the council holds about four sessions a year. Although the council functions without an operating budget, Wood said measures are taken to update ordinances and to ensure that proper application is filed for state funds for road maintenance. Private contractors do the repair work. The last major legislation acted on by council was more than a year ago when a dog ordinance was adopted to curb owners from allowing the animals to run at large, Wood recalled.

Mayor of Roseville is Lee McClure, Mrs. Donald Straw is tax collector, Mrs. Marge Soper is justice of the peace. Councilmen are James Chamberlain, Robert Putnam, Leo Swain, Wayne Straw, Lee Hill and Wood. At present there is one vacancy. Borough secretary is Tom Harris. Oldest resident is Mrs. John (Nellie) Benson. President of the old home day association is William Smith.

Roseville is a small town. It has a rich history. The future holds promise in the age of long distance commuting. The families of Sidney Powlison, Arnold Yoder, Earl Baker, Glenn Gould, Donald Straw and many others love the tiny crossroads community they call home.

I’m Proud Of My Town

By The Rev. Orey E. Crippen

Mr. Crippen, a native of Rutland Township, was born in 1889 and has witnessed generations born and die in the Roseville community. For his dedication as a minister and friend he was given the Town and Country Award for creating "a very wholesome Christian atmosphere…due to the respect the community has" for him. In 1963 Mr. Crippen retired after 44 years of circuit preaching. In the community he is affably known as "Uncle Orey."

Roseville is a very friendly town. Strangers say a very pretty town. I like it here mostly because of the people and because they have treated me so well. Of course, it is home to me. I’ve heard said that if you couldn’t live in the community you were born and raised in that you aren’t fit to live anywhere.

The people here don’t all appear friendly at first notice but I’ve found that when help is needed, whether in sickness or distress, they are quick to respond. Morally, the community rates quite high. No town rates 100 per cent.

Through the years there have been many changes in people and the face of the town. What was once a thriving borough with many stores and industry is today a refuge for people who don’t care to live in the city. Roseville is a desirable place to live for those who work out of town. It is an ideal place to raise a family compared to the crowded city.

Because of the size, the town is not very progressive. Young people grow up and move elsewhere to pursue their life’s goals. Some continue living here to manage family farms. It is a different town today because of better transportation and highways.

In a small town you know everybody. I’d dislike living where I don’t know many of my neighbors. Most of the social life is centered about the activities in the two churches. The biggest social event of the year is the Roseville Old Home Day on the first Saturday in August.

Fire’s the Villain in Roseville History

Fires have figured prominently in the history of Roseville Borough. Following is a listing of major fires in chronological order:

1888—Twenty-three buildings leveled by fire in the business district.

1904—Three stores, a hotel and three homes in the business section destroyed by fire. (One store was operated by the late J. M. Sweely, father of Mrs. Glenn Gould of Roseville.)

1908—Fire destroyed the Frost & Cook store.

1912—In July lightning struck the steeple of the Baptist Church. The late Leonard Sweely discovered the blaze but the fire could not be extinguished because there was no ladder available to reach the peak, then the highest in Tioga County.

1925—Fred White’s store burned

1942—Lewis Longwell’s store burned. The Yoder store is now located at that site.

1957—The "Fireside Inn," a restaurant owned by James Chamberlain, burned to the ground.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 02 JUNE 2006
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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