Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
1869 Bradford County History
From Beers Atlas
Sketch of the Early History of Bradford County


Atlas of Bradford County, Pennsylvania

From actual Surveys by and under the direction of

F.W. Beers

Assisted by Geo. P. Sanford & others.
Published by
F. W. Beers, A. D. Ellis & G.G. Soule
95 Maiden Lane, New York


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Engraved by Worley & Brache Printed by James McGuigan
320 Chestnut St. Phila. Cor. 3d & Dock Sts, Phila.

Sketch of the Early History of Bradford County

Northern Pennsylvania belonged to the Six Nations of Indians when first visited by the Whites. The Upper Susquehanna was owned by the Cayugas, but was frequented by the Munseys, Mohicans and other Southern Nations.

As early as 1750, Bishop Cammerhof and Rev. David Zeisberger, guided by a Cayuga, passed up the Susquehanna to Onondaga. To each nights’ encampment a name was given, the first letter of which was cut into a tree by the Indians. They tarried at Tioga, "a considerable Indian village." There appears to have been an Indian village in 1759 at "Machwihi aluting," (Wyalusing), where the Moravians, in 1763, under Zeisberger, established a mission, and a good work was commenced.

Upon the breaking out of the Indian War of 1763, along the Lakes and the Ohio, a large portion of the Christian Indians were removed to Bethlehem for protection. Peace being restored at the end of 1764, the whole body of Indian converts returned in the following year, and pitching upon a spot a little below Wyalusing, built a regular settlement, which they called Friedenshuetten, (Tents of Peace). On the completion of the town the usual regulations and statutes of the Moravian Stations were adopted.

This Station was situated about thirty miles below another Indian town, called, in the orthography of the Mission, "Tseheehschequannink." This town was Old Sheshequin, on the right bank of the River opposite, and a little below the present village of that name.

In 1741, there was an immense flood in the Susquehanna Valley, and all the inhabitants of Sheshequin were obliged to take to their boats, and were detained in the woods four days.

November 5th, 1768, at Fort Stanwix, (near the Oneida Lake), the Chiefs of the Six Nations sold to the agents of Thomas and Richard Penn, in consideration of ten thousand dollars, all the land in Pennsylvania not heretofore purchased, South-East of a stated boundary. (See historical collections of Pennsylvania). Again, at Fort Stanwix, Oct. 23d, 1784, the Six Nations sold to the State all the land North-West of said boundary, and this latter sale was confirmed by the Wyandot’s and Delaware’s at Fort McIntosh (in Beaver County) in Jan., 1785.

The Six Nations having thus sold the land "from under their feet," the brethren were compelled to appeal to the Governor of Pennsylvania, who kindly ordered the surveyors not to take up land within five miles of Sheshequin. Many pressing invitations were received from the Delaware’s on the Ohio, to settle with them, but they did not decide to do so until 1772. Their exodus to the Ohio was remarkable. The congregation partook of the Holy Communion for the last time, June 6th, 1772. On the 11th they met at Freidenshuetten, in number 241 persons. After prayer and praise, they proceeded with great cheerfulness.

The land travelers had with them seventy head of oxen and more than that number of horses. The greater part went by water, and after a perilous journey, they passed Shamokin and then up the West arm of the River by Long Island to the Great Island, where they joined the land party, June 29th, and they proceeded together by land over the Alleghany Mountains, by way of Bald Eagle, to the Ohio, where they arrived August 5th.

Previous to the removal of the Moravians, pioneers from Connecticut had arrived in the Wyoming Valley, and made some settlements as far up as Wyalusing, though few permanent settlements were made until after the Revolutionary War. During that war these Valleys swarmed with hostile parties of the Six Nations.

As early as 1770 Rudolph Fox, born in Germany, 1937 (O.S.,) came boldly up the Susquehanna from Sunbury, to a point just below Towanda, bringing his family, where for some years in comparative quiet, they cleared and tilled the soil, which produced abundantly from seed and roots brought with them.

In 1778, being forewarned by Job Gilloway, (a friendly Indian) of the advance of a large Indian force from the North, Col. Hunter, of Fort Augusta, sent directions to all the occupants of the Forts above him, on the West Branch to evacuate and join him. This caused a general panic, and the "Big Runaway," ensued. Every sort of craft that would float was filled with families and their goods, fleeing to Sunbury for safety.

This strange fleet, gathering strength as it floated down the West Branch, was guarded by the adult males of each family, who marched along the shore.

Similar warning had been given to Mr. Fox, on Towanda Creek, by a friendly Indian woman, and after a hasty preparation, he, too, with his family, started down the River, leaving stacks of hay and grain.

During this same year, after the Wyoming conflict, Col. Hartley, with a body of troops, came up the Valley and burned the Indian towns.

At Tioga Point was an old Fort erected during previous Indian wars. Near by stood the "Castle" of Catherine Montour, sometimes called "Queen Esther." She was a half breed daughter of one of the French Governors of Canada, where she received her education. (Transcriber’s Note: This should read Esther Montour; Catherine was her sister).

In 1779 the expedition of Gen. Sullivan against the Tories and Indians passed through Wyoming up the Susquehanna. The object was to chastise them for their many outrages committed on the Whites and friendly Indians. As they passed the Fort, amid the firing of Salutes, with their gleaming arms, and their 120 boats arranged in order on the River, and 2000 pack horses in single file, they formed a military display well calculated to make a deep impression on the minds of the savages. The expedition halted about four miles above Towanda, at "Break-Neck Narrows," on the left bank of the River. When the armies approached their settlement, the savages fled into the swamps and Mountains. As soon as it was known that Sullivan was advancing into the country, Brant and Col. John Butler with 600 Indians, and Col. Guy Johnson, with 200 Tories, undertook to cut him off. Sullivan came upon them August 29th, near Elmira, N. Y., in the present town of Ashland, where they were intrenched, and immediately attacked them. The battle lasted about two hours, when by a successful movement of Col. Poor, at the head of his New Hampshire regiment, Brant’s warriors were thrown into confusion, and driven into the River, and his whole force put to flight. The army destroyed 160,000 bushels of corn, burned 40 villages, and left no trace of vegetation – even destroying the young fruit trees in obedience to Gen. Sullivan’s orders. All their cattle were killed or brought off, many of which had been formerly taken from the Whites.

In 1779, after the successful expedition of Gen. Sullivan, the hardy Pioneers returned to their deserted homes on the West Branch. Mr. Fox, however, did not return until three years after the "Big Runaway." Then he came with his older sons and one daughter—Elizabeth (afterwards the wife of Wm. Means), leaving his wife and younger children at Sunbury. He came to the old cabin, found it ravaged, and his stacks of hay and grain burned. They set to work, refitted the cabin, and he, with his sons returned to Sunbury to remove the family and goods, leaving Elizabeth, then aged 18 years, to guard their home. The family not returning as soon as expected, and becoming frightened by wild animals about the cabin at night, she resolved to fit up a raft and float down the River. Fortunately her friends returned before she was quite ready to start on her perilous journey. We may consider Rudolph Fox the first permanent white settler in Bradford Co. The land he chose was patented to him in 1792, under the name of "The Fox Chase."

In 1620 King James I granted to the "Plymouth Company," as association in England, a charter covering the expanse from the 40th to the 46th degree of North latitude, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, excepting all territories then in possession of any other Christian Prince or State.

This exception operated in favor of the Dutch at Manhatan and Fort Orange, afterward New York and Albany. The Plymouth Co. Granted in 1631 to the Connecticut Colony their territory.

On the restoration of Charles II, he granted in 1662 a new charter to Connecticut, confirming the previous one, and defining a different Southern boundary. In 1681 he granted to Wm. Penn the charter of Pennsylvania (Penn’s Forrest) at which time the present Northern boundary was defined and established.

Here then was a broad stretch of land, granted by the same Monarch to different parties.

In 1769 commenced a bitter civil war, which lasted upwards of six years.

In vain did the Colonial Governments of Connecticut and Pennsylvania attempt an adjustment by negotiations; in vain did they appeal to the Crown.

During the Revolution these disputes were swallowed up in the more engrossing question, and common cause of defending our liberty but so soon as peace with Great Britain was declared, the old feud was renewed.

Finally, Congress being referred to, appointed Commissioners to meet at Trenton in the Autumn of 1782, where it was decided that "Connecticut" had no right to the land.

This the settlers cheerfully agreed to, but claimed that the Susquehanna Company had.

The State was here forced to resort to arms, but the opposition was so fierce that in 1799 and 1801, she passed a law compensating the Pennsylvania claimants by a grant of lands elsewhere, or by a payment in money, and confirming to the Connecticut settles their titles (for which they had paid about one shilling per acre, on condition of their paying the State from 86 cts. To $1.20, according to the quality of the land.

Bradford County was formed from parts of Luzerne and Lycoming Counties in 1810, under the name of Ontario, but in 1812 it was changed to Bradford in honor of Wm. Bradford of Philadelphia, Attorney General of the United States.

The county, originally consisting of ten townships, was fully organized for judicial purposed March 12th, 1812. Tioga, Wayne, Susquehanna and Bradford composing the 11th Judicial District.

The first court was held in January, 813. The first public officers were

John B. Gibson, Presiding Judge

John McKean, George Scott, Associate Judges

Abner C. Rockwell, Sheriff

Charles f. Welles, Prothonatory.

Wm. Myers, Justice Gaylord, Jr., Joseph Kinney, Commissioners

The first Grand Jury consisted of

James Ward, Foreman. Jonathan Stevens, Jonathan Fowler, Adonijah Warner, David Rundle, Samuel Cranmer, Austin Leonard, Ezra spaulding, Moses Calkins, John Harkness, Humphrey Brown, Jonathan Frisbie, Peter Furman, John Sp0aulding, Isaac Chaapel, Isaac Foster, Phineas Pierce, Samuel Wood, Zephon Fowler, Jesse Allen, Parley Coburn, Reuben Hale, Robert Ridgway, Elisha Rich. At the first election of Commissioners the number of votes was 454.

The act organizing the County directed the Courts to be held at the house of Wm. Means until public buildings were erected. The first Court House was commenced in 1814.

Towanda was first laid out by Mr. Means, and the name Meansville adopted for a time. The "Bradford Gazette" of March 4th, 1815, (Burr Ridgeway, editor) announced a new name, "Williamston," but, subsequently in the same year, it appeared dated "Towanda." Again in 1822 the "Bradford Settler" appeared dated "Meansville." In 1828 Towanda was incorporated, and then its name became permanently fixed.

Col. Satterlee, who was very active in securing the early organization of the County, at an early day obtained an appropriation of $600 for opening roads into the Northern part of the County thus hastening the settlement of Wells, Springfield, Ridgebury and Columbia.

The first permanent Church (Presbyterian) was organized June 20th, 1793, at Wyalusing under the Rev. Ira Condit. The first thirteen names enrolled were

Elder, Uriah Terry, Sarah Rockwell, James Lake, Anna Camp, Justus Gaylord, Jr., Lucretia York, Lucretia Gaylord, Thomas Oviatt, Mary Lewis, Zachariah Pierce, Ruth Pierce, Abigail Wells, Hannah Beckwith. About the same time another Church was organized at Wysox, for that place and Towanda, but it was disbanded and not reorganized until 1809.

At the present time the County is divided into thirty-seven townships and ten Boroughs, and has a population estimated at 58,000. The Northern part is generally well adapted to farming purposes, while the Southern portion is rough and broken, but abounds in mineral wealth. A number of coal beds still undeveloped have been discovered in various parts, while already from the Barclay Mines vast quantities of coal are being shipped annually. It is estimated that the Towanda Coal Co. alone, will ship from their mines during the year 1869, not less than 200,000 tons of coal. The Fall Creek Coal Co., newly organized with increased facilities is shipping large quantities of coal daily.

Towanda, the County seat, is a thriving, active Borough on the Susquehanna. The Lehigh Valley R. R. And the Barclay R. R., intersecting here with the North Branch Canal, afford conveniences for all classes of business. It contains, beside the County buildings, the Susquehanna Collegiate Institute, a Convent and six Churches, and is rapidly increasing in wealth and population.

Statistics for Bradford County for 1868

Name of Townships Date of Organ. From What Territory Taken Names of Earlier Settlers
(List includes male settlers only. Women not mentioned)
Armenia 1843 Troy and Canton Newton Harvey, Alba Burmnam, Silas Shepart, A. Field, John Lyon, Herman Morgan
Asylum 1814 Wyalusing Chas. Homet, John Huff, A. Bennett, A. LeFevre, R. Benjamine, S. Gilbert, B. Laporte
Athens   Original Town E. Mathewson, Geo. Welles, E. Saterlee, Gen. H. Welles
Albany 1824 Monroe, Wyalusing D. Miller, T. Coon, D. Burdick, --- Ladd, --- Hibbard, A. Kellogg, M. Scribbins
Barclay 1867 Franklin  
Burlington   Original Town --- Campbell, Dea. Calkin, Capt. Nichols, Nathaniel Allen, --- Soper
West Burlington 1855 Burlington  
Canton   Original Town Noah Wilson, H. Wilson, E. Spaulding, H. McClelland, A. Tabor, A. Loomis, E. Ward, Z. Rodgers, Ira Wilson
Columbia 1813 Smithfield P.A. Morgan, Nath. Merritt, David Watkins  
Franklin 1819 Canton, Troy, Burlington N. Allen, --- Wilcox, J. Taylor
Granville 1831 Franklin, Troy, Burlington J. Taylor
Herrick 1837 Wyalusing Ephram Platt, I. Camp, Chas. Squares
Leroy 1835 Canton, Franklin H. Holcomb, S. Holcomb
Litchfield 1821 Athens Elijah Wolcott, Wm. Stewart, Danl. Park, John Cotton, Thos. Park, R. Campbell, E. & S. Merrill, Russell Marsh, Danl. Burt
Monroe 1821 Towanda, Burlington G. Irvine, G. Fowler, S. Cranmer
Orwell   Original Town A. Johnson, S. Woodruff, Danl. Russel, F. Darling, J. Grant, J. Barnes, M. Russell, L. Frisbie
Overton 1853 Albany, Monroe, Franklin D. Heverly, L. Streevey, F. Kesel, H. Sherman
Pike 1813 Orwell, Rush * J.B. Rockwell, Dea. Johnson, E. Keeler, S. & J. Bosworth, A. Stevens, J. Bradshaw
Ridgebury 1818 Athens, Wells J. Stirton, PI Squares, A. Marcellus, J. Davidson, D.A. Gillett, --- VanGorder, S. Bennett, B. Fuller
Rome 1831 Wysox, Orwell N.P. Moody, E. Towner, G. Vought, R. Bump, H. Lent, R. Gibbs, F. Elknor
Smithfield   Original Town R. Mitchell, S. Morse, J. Saturly
Springfield 1813 Smithfield E. Leonard, J. Harkness, F. Leonard, W. Brace, Wm. Eaton, H. Horton
South Creek 1835 Wells, Ridgebury  
Sheshequin 1820 Ulster Judge Obediah Gore, S. Spaulding, E. Horton, E. Shaw
Standing Stone 1841 Wysox, Herrick  
Terry + 1859 Wilmot, Asylum Jonathan Terry, O. Dodge, Uriah Terry, John Horton, Parshall Terry, Israel Fairchild.
Towanda   Original Town J. Bowman, R. Fox, A. Grigg, S. Scovill
Towanda Borough 1828 Towanda  
North Towanda 1857 Towanda E. Rutty
Troy 1815 Burlington A. Case, J. Ward, S. Case, T. Barber, R. Wilber, J. Barber, N. Allen, R. Barber
Tuscarora 1830 Wyalusing A. Keeny
Ulster   Original Town S. Tracy, Edward Cogswell, Stephen Beeman
Warren 1813 Rush * and Orwell W. Arnold, E. Coburn, J. Bowen, J. Coburn, --- Harden, M. Coburn, A. Dewing
Windham 1813 Rush * and Orwell Thos. Fox, H. Russell, ---Wardwell, R. Terrill, Danl. Doanne, S.R. Jakway, J. Pease, J.K. Ellsworth
Wyalusing   Original Town Guy Wells, Judge Hollenbeck, J. Elliott, Maj. A. Wells, Thomas Lewis, Job Camp, S. Gordon
Wysox   Original Town S. & H. Strope, J. Allen, M. Coolbaugh, John Bull, H. Tuttle, John Lent, S. Franklin
Wells 1813 Athens Rev. J. Smith, S. Edsall, B.F. Bird, S. Judson, I. Judson, J. & T. Osgood
Wilmot 1849 Albany, Asylum Jas. Quick, M. Keeney, Jas. Schoonover
Total: 56730
* Rush is now part of Susquehanna County

+ Durell township was organized in 1842, and continued till 1859, when the lines were changed, and the new town was called Terry

Villages and Locations

Alba Canton   Mosierville Wells
Asylum Asylum   Myersburg Wysox
Athens Athens   New Albany Albany
Austinville Columbia   Orcutt Creek Athens
Barclay Barclay   Orwell Orwell
Bentley Creek Ridgebury   Overton Overton
Burlington Burlington   Potterville Orwell
Camptown Wyalusing   Rome Rome
Canton Canton   Sheshequin Sheshequin
Cayuta Athens   Springfield Springfield
Centreville Ridgebury   Standing Stone Standing Stone
East Canton Canton   State Line Station South Creek
East Smithfield Smithfield   Stevensville Pike
East Troy Troy   Sugar Run Wilmot
Franklindale Franklin   Sylvania Columbia
Gillett’s Station South Creek   Terrytown Terry
Granville Centre Granville   Towanda Towanda
Greenwood Monroe   Towanda, South Towanda
Herrickville Herrick   Troy Troy
Leona Springfield   Ulster Ulster
Le Raysville Pike   Warrenham Warren
Leroy Le Roy   Westbrook Mills Athens
Luther’s Mills Burlington   West Burlington W. Burlington
Middletown Ridgebury   West Franklin Franklin
Milan Ulster   West Warren Warren
Mill City Springfield   Wyalusing Wyalusing
Monroeton Monroe   Wysox Wysox

Transcribed 3/26/2000, Richard J. McCracken, Towanda, PA

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 11/20/2004
By Joyce M. Tice
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