Elk township was formed from the townships of Delmar and Morris in the year 1856. It is mountainous and sparsely settled, lying west of Pine Creek, and in the southwestern portion of Tioga County, bounded on the west by Potter County and on the south by Lycoming, on the east by Morris and Delmar townships. Pine Creek touches its northeastern boundary. Cedar Run and the Billings branch of Kettle Creek are its principle streams. Silas Billings, the elder, erected a steam saw mill upon the headwaters of Cedar Run in the year 1847, and constructed a plank road down the Run, nine miles to its junction with Pine Creek in Brown township, Lycoming County, Pa. Mr. Billings erected a dwelling which for many years was known as the "White House" together with several other dwellings for his men. The township abounded with white pine and hemlock timber. The pine timber has been pretty generally cut down and marketed. In 1856 Silas X. Billings and his brother-in-law, P. S. McNiel, erected a steam mill about two miles farther down Cedar Run and engaged extensively in lumbering. They also erected several dwellings. It was known as "Billings Camp" and a post office by that name established.
It was at this time (1856) that the township was organized. Its first taxables were Jehiel Beach, George Bendle, William Bendle, J. F. Bristol, John Cramer, S. S. Dingman, James Farley, Benjamin Frever, Edward Fridley, Charles Fisher, Henry Fisher, Daniel K. Fitch, G. W. Howd, George Maynard, Sarah Maynard, John Maynard, Peter S. McNiel, Daniel Minsker, A. P. Roberts, C. F. Roberts, D. W. Ruggles, Homer Ruggles, Jason Smith, John E. Smith, Lyman Thompson, Joseph Thompson, Columbus Wells, J. F. Westcott, Lauren Wetmore, John Wetherell. A large portion of the above named persons were employees of Billings & McNiel. In the northern portion of Elk township the actual settlers were John Maynard, George Maynard, Loren Wetmore, John E. Smith, Jehial Beach, Homer Ruggles, D. W. Ruggles, Benjamin Freyer, James F. Westcott, Jason Smith, G. W. Howd. Of these John Maynard was the pioneer; he made a permanent settlement in the northwestern portion of the township, purchased sixteen hundred acres of wild land, cleared one hundred and fifty acres, set out four orchards containing about one thousand trees, erected dwellings, barns, etc. He died December 9th, 1878, aged 67 years.
In the year 1879, a company styling itself the "Cedar Run Tanning Co.," erected a large tannery at Billing’s Camp, having the year previous, (1878), secured the hemlock bark from Silas X. Billings, growing upon about 20,000 acres, surrounding the tannery. To accommodate their workman they erected fifty or more dwellings, a school house; opened a store and changed the name of the place from "Billings Camp" to Leetonia in honor of Mr. William Lee, one of the principal owners of the tannery. Mr. William Lee, Jr., erected a fine residence in the year 1880
There are now four school houses in the township.
James F. Palen was the first Postmaster at Leetonia.
Dr. E. P. Luce was the first resident physician of Leetonia.
Miss Mary Harrington was the first school teacher at Leetonia.
The first post office in the township was called "Malone" and Loren Wetmore postmaster.
A convenient school house was erected in 1879, which is used for school and church purposes.
In 1879 Lee & Co. experienced much difficulty in getting their heavy machinery to Leetonia.
Augustus B. Snyder was the first superintendent with James Gilbert assistant, at Leetonia.
A portion of Elk township, a few years since was annexed to Gaines township on the north.
James Thompson was the first superintendent at the tannery; and James F. Palen the first store agent.
The first school in the township was taught by Miss Marion Watrous. Among the early teachers were Martha Dennison, Albina Vermilye, Mary Kelley, Selana Hart, Carrie Wilcox, Phebe Wetmore.
The first public road in the township was constructed under contract by John Maynard and others in 1856, and led from Gaines in Tioga County to Germania in Potter county, a distance of twelve miles.
Silas Billings the elder, was engaged for forty days with a large complement of men in cutting a road from Gaines on Pine Creek to where he located his mill, in 1847. His road was over one of the highest mountains in Tioga County.