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Bradford Reporter Towanda, Pa., October 18, 1883



Towanda, Pa., Dec. 11, 1884


 "The noblest men I know on earth

Are men, whose hands are brown with toil;

Who backed by no ancestral graves,

Hew down the wood and till the soil;

And win thereby a prouder name

Than followed king’s or warrior’s fame." 

The history of the world is, that a great percent, of all of our great and rich men were once in life poor boys, and that the solid and reliable men have come from the farms. There are many noble examples of industry, economy and self-reliance found in the lives of many of the characters which we have been sketching in our letters in the REPORTER, and we again have the pleasure of introducing another to you.

The subject of this sketch, Mr. A. Murdoch, was born in Scotland near the historic town of Kilmarnock, where a monument is erected to the memory of Burns, and two miles from here Sir William Wallace first saw the light of day; and only thirteen miles from here Burns, the poet, was born at Ayr. Mr. Murdoch was a weaver by trade, and for six years previously to coming to America, was a policeman at Kilmarnock. In 1848, in company with other Scotch families he left his native soil for America, a poor man. He bought a possession on "Moore’s Hill," going into debt, and began battling with discouragements incident to life in a new country. His maiden effort in farming was a most trying one, he had not turned the first sod before coming to this country, and was unacquainted with the use of farming tools. He, however soon learned the art of farming, and after years of unremitting toil and economy, he had cleared a handsome farm and paid for it. His son, George, now occupies this farm and Mr. Murdoch has an elegant new house in Ulster village, where he has a second farm, which is under his immediate supervision. He makes a specialty of tobacco growing, and carries a choice Jersey dairy.

Mr. Murdoch is a pleasant, open-handed gentleman, and with Mrs. Murdoch’s kind words and delicious dinner added, we were highly pleased with our visit.

We found Mr. W. H. Rockwell a very pleasant and hospitable gentleman, and one of the most extensive farmers in Ulster. He has a pleasant farm in the southern part of Ulster village, and occupies a part of the Rockwell estate, and a portion of the Lorenzo Watkins property, his lands comprising a considerable part of the rich Ulster flats. In addition to general farming Mr. Rockwell makes a specialty of the growing of tobacco and the breeding of thoroughbred Merino sheep, keeping a stock of about 200. M. Rockwell generally puts out about six acres of tobacco annually, which necessitates a great deal of care and attention. We might almost say that tobacco growing is the leading business in Ulster. About one hundred acres are now being grown annually. This industry has developed rapidly in Ulster township since about 14 years ago, when Wm. Smith began growing tobacco, and was soon followed by the Kennedy boys, then the Rockwells, and soon after the Holcombs and others, until now almost every farmer in the township seems to be growing the Indian weed. Mr. Rockwell gave us some interesting facts, which we will append:--"To grow this crop well the ground must be put in good order--plowed three times, and plaster, lime, and fertilizers used. If a good crop, an acre should yield a ton, which will sell from 9 1/2 to 18 1/2 cents per pound. The tobacco should be properly cured, then carefully stripped, and packed up in boxes containing 400 pounds.

W. H. Rockwell is a son of Channecy Rockwell, a native of Cortland County, N.Y., who after living in different parts of the country, came to Ulster township in 1849, moving in his family the following year. He engaged in the lumbering and mercantile business with Welles and Hollenback, and was connected with them until 1856, when the company dissolved and he took the farm which his sons now occupy as the share of his stock, and thenceforward gave his attention to farming until the time of his death which occurred in 1862, at the age of fifty-four years.

Mr. Rockwell was a public-spirited man, and did much to assist the cause of education, and was a liberal donator to the churches. The lands as now occupied for school and church purposes at Ulster were donated by him.

Mr. Rockwell married a daughter of John Gordon, and his wife yet survives him. Unto them were born eight children, all of whom are yet living and in the township. These are Charles G., William H., George B., Ella, Emmett, Emma, Edward and Albert.

Charles and William were both members of the Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves. They were both musicians, and remained for one year, enlisted together September 1961, and were discharged at the same time in 1862. George B. was also in the service.

W. H. Rockwell married a daughter of Lorenzo Watkins, who married a daughter of John Watkins, a historic character that lived at Green’s Landing.

Lorenzo Watkins was a brother of the late William Watkins of Towanda, a member of the Bradford County bar.

Lorenzo Watkins came from Vermont about fifty years ago, and located upon the place where he died. He was an excellent citizen, and an honorable, upright man. His widow survives him.



Towanda, Pa., Dec. 18, 1884



 is a village of about 200 persons, and is pleasantly situated in the extreme northern part of the township along the Susquehanna, on the line of the Pa. & N.Y. Railroad, four miles south of Athens, at the debouchere of Buck Creek into the Susquehanna. And here too is the main outlet from Smithfield to Athens and Towanda.

Milan is quite an important shipping point, and ranks as one of the first on the line in the shipment of live stock, poultry and dressed calves. Conveniences are wanting, however, in the way of stock-yards and a suitable depot. It would be very much to the interest of the company to supply these wants and thus assist the growth of Milan. H. Z. Shaw is the gentlemanly operator and agent at this place, and has acted in that capacity for a space of thirteen years. The following are the points of interest here:

Dickerson & Son are general merchants, and successors (1882) to Amasa Watkins, the original merchant at Milan. In their store may be found a choice line of goods adapted to the country trade. It consists of dry goods, groceries, drugs and medicines, boots and shoes, and an endless variety of useful articles. They also have a coal yard, and handle salt extensively. The post office is kept in the store, and Mr. D. O. Dickerson is postmaster. In this store the wants of their many customers are pleasantly and promptly met with, and Dan’s happy countenance is always found wreathed in smiles.

J. P. Carey established himself in the mercantile business at Milan in April 1884. He carries a line of groceries, confectioneries, and notions. He is a deserving gentleman, and we hope he may work up a large trade.

J. M. Loomis is proprietor of a steam saw and gristmill. Custom work is done in both branches of his business. His grist mill has three run of stones. Satisfaction in work is always guaranteed. Mr. Loomis succeeds Samuel Myers in the milling business, who established the above mentioned mills about fifteen years since.

D. B. Vincent is engaged in blacksmithing, and has worked at his trade there for many years, first with his father. In connection with this establishment a wagon shop is run by F. Loomis. Mr. Vincent does a general business, and is a skillful workman.

Dan Brown is proprietor of the Milan House, a building which was opened for the accommodation of the public about thirty years since.



Towanda, Pa., Dec. 18, 1884 


G. W. Rockwell has a pleasant home in the southern part of Ulster village, and is a thorough, wide-awake and prosperous farmer. He occupies a part of the Rockwell estate, which includes a farm of about 200 acres, and is largely of the best of the Ulster flats. Mr. Rockwell carries general farming, making tobacco a specialty. His tobacco sheds are elaborate, conveniently arranged, and the best in the locality. The Rockwell brothers grow annually about eighteen acres of tobacco. Everything about the premises presents a very neat appearance, and Mr. Rockwell affords one of the most valuable young teams in the township. Mr. Rockwell has in his possession several interesting old documents, among which we noticed a commission granted to Mr. Rockwell’s grandfather by General Morgan Lewis, of New York, making him an ensign; also a land warrant issued by Governor George Clinton.

Near where Mr. Rockwell’s residence now is, was the first school house in the township, which some of the older settlers yet well remember, and where some of them learned their A’s and Ab’s.

The Clark hotel stood where the garden of W. H. Rockwell now is. When the Ulster section of the old canal was put through sixteen human skeletons were unearthed one of which was found under the old Rice tavern. They were the remains of the Indians that had been buried there years before.

Among eminent Scotch families that came to Ulster, the Mather family deserves our notice. John Mather purchased the Thomas Overton property, and lived there until the time of his demise. His son, Thomas, now occupies the place, and it is held by the heirs. It is a large and fruitful farm, and is well managed. This is the place that was visited by the cyclone and great damage done on the 27th of September. John C. Mather has been a clerk at Washington in the Second Auditor’s Office, Treasury Department for twenty years. James, another son of John Mather, is a prominent citizen of Ulster, and a merchant, and the postmaster at Ulster village.

Ward Eastabrook promptly responded to his country’s call and entered the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, P. V., in 1861. He was through the Peninsular Campaign, and participated in all the battles fought in connection with it. He was then sent back with his regiment and was at the second Bull Run defeat. Re-enlisting, he was with his regiment at Gettysburg and through the overland campaign. He was slightly wounded at Chancellorsville, but remained in active service until the close of the war.

William R. Merrill came to Ulster thirty-seven years since from Easton, Pa. He engaged in shoemaking, and has been succeeded by his son, M. L. Merrill. He is a gentleman now nearly eighty years old, and will probably endure many years more. He had a family of twelve children, only one of whom is deceased.

F. A. Bowman is a wide-awake, intelligent gentleman, and is a conductor (freight) on the Pa. & N.Y.R.R. He has acted in that capacity for thirteen years. He is a son of William Bowman, one of the oldest residents, who is yet living.

H. E. Pitcher, the "veteran schoolteacher" of Bradford County, began his career as a pedagogue in the winter of 1843-44 in the township of Windham, on what is known as "Babcock Hill," and has taught every winter since then, save one. For twenty-two years he taught in the counties of Tioga and Chemung, in the State of New York, and the balance of the time in Bradford County in the towns of Windham, Warren, Smithfield, Towanda and Ulster, and at present has charge of the Monroeton Graded School. for three years he had charge of the public schools at Towanda, and was succeeded by Superintendent G. W. Ryan; and was at Ulster for fourteen years. Mr. Pitcher is a graduate of the State Normal School at Albany, N.Y., class of "47". As a teacher he has been eminently successful, and has been regarded as the humorist at our county institutes and county gatherings. His experience as a teacher contains some rich points. Here is his experience before his first examining board:--"The question arose as to which one should interrogate the young applicant--one said, he had no larnin’ the second had no education, consequently the task fell upon the third." For some years Mr. Pitcher has made Ulster village his home.

Jackson Hollenback, who is living at Ulster with his aged mother (85), is a son of John H. Hollenback, who was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, in 1775. At the age of eighteen he came to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., walking the entire distance. Here he lived a few years with his uncle, Matthias Hollenback, and was at Wyoming at the time of the battle. He was wounded in the shoulder, and made his escape by swimming the river. From 1796 to 1801 Mr. Hollenback had been in the employ of Judge Hollenback on the Susquehanna. In that year (1801), he purchased a quantity of goods in Philadelphia and opened a store for their sale at Wyalusing, and continued in business for some years. Mr. Hollonback was one of the first postmasters at Wyalusing, and is said to have built the first grist mill there, and to have established the first ferry and shaddery at Wyalusing. He also gave a considerable attention to lumbering. He died at Wyslusing on the 13th of March, 1867. He had a family of sixteen children, ten sons and six daughters. Jackson was a soldier in the late war, and draws a pension for disabilements.

C. J. Dettra is a gentleman who spends his time in diligent toil, and has his pleasant home near Ulster village. He has a neat little place, and gives some attention to the growing of tobacco. He has been employed as a carpenter on the Pa. & N.Y.R.R. for fifteen years.

James McCarty has a pleasant mansion in Ulster village and is an extensive farmer. He does a general farming business, making a specialty of tobacco growing. He also keeps young stock in large numbers. An excellent line of horses are kept upon the place. Mr. McCarty came to Ulster in the spring of 1840 from Muncy, Lycoming County, Pa. He has given considerable attention to lumbering and the buying and selling of stock.

A. Record is a pleasant, open-handed gentleman, living at a pleasant point one-half mile north of Ulster village. He is engaged in farming, and conducts a vineyard of about three-fourths of an acre. A. Record is a son of J. A. Record, of Towanda, a gentleman well known to Bradford County people. In April, 1861, Mr. Record enlisted in the Fifth Pennsylvania Reserves. He participated in many of the engagements, and remained in the service until the time of the battle of Cold Harbor, June 3d, 1864, when he received his discharge.



March 5, 1885 


Our visit with R. S. Edmiston was spent very pleasantly at his Milan home. He gives especial attention to find blooded horses, and at any time valuable ones may be found in his stables. "Governor Blackburn" is a handsome animal, fleet and of a beautiful color. He was brought to this county less than a year ago at a large price. He is one of the finest horses ever brought to this section. Two fine fillies were also noticeable, one an English Coach and the other a Star, both of good speed. Mr. Edmiston is always open for bargains.

In September, 1861, R. S. Edmiston enlisted in the Fifty-Second Regiment, P. V., and proved an excellent soldier. He was through the Peninsular Campaign, and was with Burnside at the time of the Fredericksburg disaster. Here on the 5th of December, 1862, he was seriously wounded in the head, his escaping death seeming almost a miracle. After several weeks in the hospital, he accepted a Second Lieutenancy and again joined his regiment, but being troubled from his wound he found it necessary to resign, and returned home in June 1863.

He is a son of Joseph Edmiston, who came to this county in 1837 from Mifflin County, Pa. He was a contractor on the North Branch Canal and had two sections. Mr. Edmiston followed public works for some years. He had charge of a section of the old canal until 1858, in which year he died. He married Mrs. Sarah Brooks, a daughter of John Minier, an early settler of Milan. Four children blessed their union, all of whom are living, R. S. being the only one in the township. Joseph Edmiston was well educated and had many friends, he was a son of Judge Joseph Edmiston, of Mifflin County, Pa.; he died at the age of sixty-seven years.

J. M. Loomis, in addition to milling, carries a prosperous farm, which he keeps well supplied with young stock, and gives attention to breeding horses. He has two very fine young Gambettas, one two and the other five years old. He is well known as "Gambetta, Jr." Mr. Loomis has lived in the township for almost half a century, and is a son of Theodoras Loomis.

D. B. Vincent is pleasantly domiciled at Milan, and is a hard-working, straight-forward citizen. He is a son of Butler Vincent, who died at Milan. His Grandfather Vincent emigrated to Warren, Bradford County, from Rhode Island, where he died. His maternal grandfather, Christopher Darrow, was a Major in the Revolutionary war. He was taken prisoner but made his escape.

S. W. Brague is an affable gentleman, and a good husbandman. He has his home in the hamlet of Milan. He keeps a couple of good breeding mares from a superior line of stock.

Henry Doty is a good mechanic, and also has his abode at Milan. For a number of years he followed the teachers profession, having discontinued that avocation within a few years. He is a son of Dr. Lebbus Doty, who settled in Smithfield on the place now owned by his son, James Doty. He emigrated hither from Schoharie County, N.Y. He married Emily Smith, a daughter of John Smith, one of the earlier settlers of Smithfield. Their union was blessed by eight children, five daughters and three sons. All were teachers save one. John Doty was attorney at Lock Haven for a number of years, and is now an employee in the Register’s office at Washington. Miss Etta Doty, a well known teacher of the county, is a daughter of Henry Doty.

H. H. Smith is pleasantly located upon his "hundred acre farm," and is a careful husbandman. He gives attention to mixed farming, and carries a choice dairy of the Ayrshire and Durham line.



April 2, 1885


 At "Argyle Lodge," that looks out upon a beautiful prospect, and the quiet flowing Susquehanna, we were pleasantly entertained by the "Scotch Gentleman," S. B. Watt, Esq. His cot is finely furnished, and he has surrounded himself by servants, horses, carriages, and all that contributes to a man’s earthly happiness. Mr. Watt was formerly from Glasgow, Scotland, and for a number of years was a tourist with his beautiful wife, whose sudden demise about a year ago cast a pall of gloom over "Argyle Lodge," and the circle of her new friends. Mr. Watt purchased the place known as the "Berry farm," three years ago, supplied it with blooded stock, and now as a true husbandman has turned his whole attention hither. He keeps a choice dairy, and makes a specialty of the Alderneys. He supports a very fine coach team for his own use.

S. L. Anthony is situated upon a fruitful farm, most pleasantly located along the Susquehanna, and is a diligent tiller of the soil. A small dairy of blooded stock is kept, and attention given to mixed farming, together with tobacco growing. S. L. Anthony is a son of J. S. Anthony, who moved from Windham township to the place now occupied by his son and widow, twenty-nine years since. He came from Connecticut with his father’s family (Samuel S. Anthony) when a young man. He lived upon the place until the time of his death.

We were received in a hospitable manner by A. A. Snell and family at their pleasant Milan home, on the banks of the gentle Susquehanna, and were entertained in a most edifying manner. Mr. Snell is extensively engaged in farming, and conducts his fruitful acres in a skillful manner. He has supplied himself with all of the improved appliances and has large and conveniently arranged barns. He carries a choice dairy of blooded stock, together with young stock. Fine young horses of the Hambletonian stock are found upon the place. For some years Mr. Snell engaged in the mercantile business at Athens. He is a son of John Snell, late of Athens township, and a grandson of Jacob Snell, claimed to be the first settler at Tioga Point.

Mr. Snell married Miss Jennie F. Davies, a daughter of T. R. Davies, of Athens, in 1851. She has attained considerable eminence as literary character, and is known in her writings as "Jennie F. Snell." Mrs. Snell, fortunately, began laying up a fund of knowledge early in life that has proved of great value to her. Being of a quick and retentive memory, an early lover of history and poetry, she stored her mind with the things indispensable to an entertaining and successful writer. Mrs. Snell has a very free entertaining style, that is beautified by the proper use of adjectives, being almost flowery. At the age of fifteen years, Mrs. Snell began teaching, and continued to do so for a number of years. In the meantime she instructed in vocal and instrumental music. When young, Mrs. Snell began writing for the local papers, and after maturer years wrote an occasional article for a more important journal. The readers of the Towanda Journal and Republican will remember her articles. She has contributed much to the Elmira Advertiser, Sunday Tidings, and Phrenological Journal, the Weekly Ithacan, the Illustrated Christian Weekly, the Golden Censer and others. For some of her contributions she is well paid. Mrs. Snell has a natural taste for historical writings, and has given more especial attention to history and science since 1876.

Mrs. Snell is also a poetess, and has an interesting collection of poems, which would make a valuable volume. Some of the hymns found in "Great Joy," are from Mrs. Snell’s pen. Mrs. Snell inherits her abilities from her mother, who was a lady of fine natural abilities, and of literary attainments. She wrote ably and well, and contributed to various journals. Just prior to her death she contributed to "Great Joy."

Mr. Davies was also a man of learning, and gave much attention to scientific subjects. At present Mrs. Snell is unable to give the people the fruit of her pen, being unable to use her hand, suffering with inflamatory rheumatism.

Murry Doane occupies the "Doane property" owned by Newell Morse, of Binghamton. The property was occupied by Reuben Doane for over a quarter of a century. It is a fruitful place, favorably located on the Susquehanna. Attention is given to general farming, and is successfully conducted. Mr. Doane is known as "the great horse swapper," and made his first traffic when but twelve years of age. He is a grandson of Daniel Doane, an early settler of Windham township.

We found the "latch string of Nelson Shaylor’s castle on the outside," and "Nelt" within wreathed with smiles, with a nut ready to crack at our expense. We enjoyed ourself immensely, and listened with pride to "Nelt’s" stories, of which he has no small supply. Mrs. Shaylor’s excellent repast suffered severely. We were bound to match our host, and had arranged our appetite accordingly. Mr. Shaylor has a handsome little place, but gives the most of his time on the road as agent. Upon Mr. Shaylor’s place is a very fine mineral spring as clear as a crystal. We have no doubt but that this spot will ere long be frequented by the invalid. In our mind the water and place leads Minnequa.

In October, 1862, Mr. Shaylor gallantly donned the blue in the One Hundred and Seventy-First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. He did service in and about Norfolk, Suffolk, Newbern, etc., under Generals Foster and Dix. He did mainly camp and picket duty. He was a Corporal. In the winter of 1863 he was taken sick, and discharged in the spring for disability. Mr. Shaylor is a son of George D. Shaylor, a native of Connecticut, who settled in Broome County, N.Y., thence in Springfield township where he died. He was a soldier in the war of 1812.

Burton Shaylor, Mr. Shaylor’s only son has shown some ability as a literary character. Mrs. Shaylor exhibited to us some ancient keepsakes from her great grandmother, Mary Crowell, among others a handkerchief, with a neat border.



April 9, 1885



Chester Mallory is a pleasant gentleman, and has a good location. He carries on mixed farming, giving considerable attention to sheep. Oats and corn are his leading crops. When Mr. M. came upon the place only a garden spot had been cleared, but through unremitting toil he cleared and improved many acres. Mr. Mallory has lived in Ulster for nearly half a century. He was born in Litchfield township, whither his people had moved from Connecticut, and where they lived until the time of their demise.

C. W. Thompson has a desirable location and is happily domiciled in a cosy new home, gay with all of the showy colors of the season. We enjoyed Mr. T.’s kind hospitality, and were otherwise pleasantly entertained. Mr. Thompson is a careful, progressive husbandman, and owns a large farm, which he has finely improved through his own unremitting efforts. Mixed farming is carried on and a cheese dairy kept together with considerable young stock. Mr. T. is developing into the Polled stock, and has supplied himself with all the improved farming appurtenances. C. W. Thompson is a son of Palmer Thompson who located in Smithfield from New York State, and died there. He married a daughter of Luther Goddard, of West Burlington.

B. A. Havens is an enterprising young farmer and has charge of the fruitful farm of H. A. Scott. He drives

his business, and that he is successful may be known from the fact that he has been upon the place for a number of years. A specialty is made of grain; oats and buckwheat are grown extensively, and wheat and rye successfully. The Hollenstine line of stock is kept.

E. P. Lenox is a successful farmer, and an obliging gentleman, who very much, assisted us in our work on "Oak Hill." He does general farming, and grows tobacco successfully. Stock of the Holenstein line is kept upon the place, and some very fine blooded colts are found in Mr. L’s stables. In August ‘62, Mr. Lenox enlisted in the 141 N. Y. R. V. and remained in the service until March 1863, when he was discharged for disabilities. In September, ‘64, he again enlisted in the 188th Regiment N.Y.V., and remained until the close of the war. He was in several engagements. He was present at the surrender of Lee, and has as a trophy of this scene, a piece of the notable apple tree. Mr. Lenox is a son of Daniel Lenox, who, when a child five years old, came with his father Samuel Lenox and family from Canada, in 1799, and settled in Ulster. Mrs. Lenox dying soon after their advent to the place, the family was broken up, and Daniel put out. After the demise of his wife, Samuel Lenox moved to the Mohawk Valley, and again married. He resided in that locality until the time of his death. Daniel lived with various families until he was old enough to care for himself. He united in marriage with Miss Betsey Head and soon thereafter moved to "Oak Hill," on what is now the place of his youngest son, E. P. Here he began hewing himself out a home in the wilderness, and abode there until the time of his death. His effort was the first opening made on what is now called "Oak Hill." This was in about 1818, and he was soon followed by Patrick Higgins. Mr. Lenox had a family of thirteen children, and with the assistance of his sons cleared a large farm, half of which is yet owned by his son Edward. Mr. Lenox died in February, 1874, at the age of seventy-nine years, and Mrs. Lenox, April 13th, 1881, at the age of 82. The children living are Edward P., upon the homestead; David S., at Mountain Lake; John, at New Albany; George at Mansfield, Pa.; Mary, Mrs. G. M. Ross, Ulster; Annie, Mrs. Edward Thompson, Wellsville, N.Y. Mr. Lenox amused our curiosity by showing us a Conch horn, which his great-grand-daughter had used in calling her husband to dinner. Mr. L. has the most perfect Indian pistol we have yet seen.



April 16, 1885



M. McKinney is a successful "delver of the soil," and has a desirable location on Oak Hill. He gives attention to general farming, and carries a choice little dairy of the Alderney line, together with some young stock. Some fine young horses of the Clydesdale stock were noticed upon the place.

In August, 1864, Mr. McKinney enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventy-Ninth Regiment, New York Veterans. He was a Corporal, and did service in and about Petersburg until the close of the war. he is a son of henry McKinney, who settled in Litchfield.

Alfred Holcomb lives upon the place which he has cleared and improved through his own diligent efforts, and with the assistance of his sons. Now being an aged gentleman, Mr. Holcomb has rented his place and has retired from active life. Mr. Holcomb is a son of Truman Holcomb, and was born in LeRoy township. Truman Holcomb came with his father’s family from Connecticut at an early day and settled in Ulster, thence moved to LeRoy. Here Truman lived for some years, then again came back to Ulster, where he spent the remainder of his days, living to be eighty-four years of age. His grandson, Charles Holcomb, occupies the "old homestead."

William J. Olmstead has a finely improved farm. He is enterprising and very neat. A choice little dairy of the Durham line, together with young stock is kept. Some very fine high-bred colts are found upon the premises.

In October, 1862, Mr. Olmstead enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventy-First Regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, and served under General Foster in North Carolina. He served faithfully until the expiration of his enlistment in 1863. Mr. Olmstead is a son of Matthias Olmstead, who moved to Ulster from Delaware County, N.Y.

J. E. Arnold has a neat little farm which he conducts in a masterly manner. He keeps a choice little dairy. Mr. Arnold is a son of David Arnold who settled in Smithfield.

H. Kitchen is located on a very pleasant street, and has a fruitful farm. Attention is given to promiscuous farming, dairying and stock-raising, all of which are carried on successfully. Mr. Kitchen, when twelve years of age, came with his father, Adam Kitchen, to Ulster, from Bucks County, Pa., and settled upon the Mather place. This was in 1828. Mr. Kitchen had a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters, only three of whom are now living.

G. N. Ross has a desirable location on Oak Hill, and is an extensive and successful farmer. Especial attention is given to general farming. A dairy of young stock is kept upon the place, and fine young horses of the Hambletonian stock bred. Mr. Ross is assisted on the farm by his son George, who is agent for the Champion mowers and reapers.

G. N. Ross is a son of John Ross, deceased of Burlington, and a grandson of David Ross, mentioned in connection with the early history of Burlington.

John Ross was a man of considerable prominence. His trade was that of a blacksmith. He was an ardent church member and class leader of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and his house was the home of the Methodist ministers. Form many years he was post-master at Burlington. He died in 18180, at the age of eighty-eight years. His widow survives him at the remarkable age of almost four score and ten. She has been totally blind for over thirty years.

Of Oak Hill’s most substantial citizens it is our pleasure to chronicle the successful career of another of Scotland’s diligent sons. Our subject is no other than Hugh Templeton, who crossed the deep Atlantic in 1841, and landed upon the American soil. Mr. Templeton being of humble parentage, as soon as old enough, became a farm servant. Much of his time was spent upon the farm, next to where the immortal Burns spent his boyhood days. Young Templeton had perhaps thought--

"No help, nor hope, nor view had,

Nor person to befriend me, O;

So I must toil, and sweat, and broil,

And labor to sustain me, O.

To plough and sow, to reap and mow,

My father bred me early, O;

For one, he said, to labor bred,

Was a match for Fortune fairly O--"


and resolved to take his chances in the new country, of which he had learned such glowing accounts. For the first six years after Mr. Templeton’s advent to this country he was required to depend upon his labor for a livelihood, and by practicing the strictest economy he succeeded in purchasing a span of horses, and a small amount of stock. He bought a possession, or rather traded his team for it, and moved thereon in 1847, being required to cut his road in. Gersham Elsbree had made a small beginning and erected a log cabin, which Mr. Templeton purchased of John Smith. Mr. Templeton says: "When I moved on the hill I had a cow, calf and yoke of steers." Setting assiduously at work, after years of hard knocks, Mr. Templeton has his place cleared and paid for. It is to-day one of the handsomest and most fruitful farms on Oak Hill. Mr. Templeton has settled himself in a pleasant home, and surrounded himself with all of the conveniences of life. Mr. Templeton having spent the best of his years has retired from active life, and placed the farm in charge of his son Robert, who conducts it in a masterly manner. a choice dairy is kept, and attention given to fine blooded stock, the Durhams and Ayrshires, together with young stock. Good blooded horses are also kept upon the place. Mr. Templeton makes a specialty of seed grains, and perhaps has the best oats, wheat, spring wheat and rye in the county. His yield from these grains is unexcelled. Mr. Templeton also handles the best agricultural machinery of all kinds.







E. D. DeGroff has charge of the ......ful place of Henry Smith. A ....dairy of good Alderney’s and Ayshires is kept, young stock raised and ......farming conducted successfully.

In May, 1861, Mr. DeGroff enlisted in the 6th Regiment, Penn. Reserves, and served with his regiment for on...... under Gen. Orde, then was discharged for disabilities. Mr. DeGroff when a child came to Windham, Bradford County Pa., with his parents from S..........county, N.Y.

Henry Smith, the father-in-law ........ DeGroff, is a son of John Smith ...... mentioned, who settled in Smithfield. John Smith was originally from New jersey, settling for a time in the ..... of New York, he moved from To ........county to Ulster, Pa., where he remained for a time, thence to Smithfield. He had a family of eight children. Mrs. Smith, a daughter of Lockwood (no relative of John Smith,) is a lady nearly eighty years of age, and has memory on much that is of inter ....the history of Ulster. Her tin ...... witnessed great improvements in ..... respects, she recollecting when the country was literally a wilderness. Her ...... assisted the Mitchels in cutting the first road to Smithfield, and helped to carry in such effects as they brought with them from the East, .....ginning life in a new country.

A. D. Minier, is domiciled in a pleasant new home and is surrounded by neat well arranged outbuildings. He .... fruitful farm, and is a neat and .... farmer. His farming is promiscuous, a choice dairy of Alderneys is kept .... him with young stock, and a good .... for general purposes. Mr. Minier ....christian gentleman and is a scion .... excellent family. He is a son of Abr... Minier, and a grandson of Daniel ... the original settler at Milan. Ab.... Minier was a Methodist clergyman ... many years. He married Miss Burch, who came from Ireland ..... child. Tow of her brothers, Robert ... Thomas Burch became disting..... Methodist preachers.

J. P. Carey has a face wreathed in smiles, and cracks his jokes at all ...... he may be found at his cosy little .... at Milan.

In July, ‘63, Mr. Carey enlisted .... 10th Md., Inft. He did guard duty in West Virginia. Upon the expiration of his enlistment, he re-enlisted ..... 7th Md.Vt., Regiment in February .... He was in the overland campaign ....participated in eleven general ..... ments and thirty skirmishes. .......seriously wounded in the 1st .... Run battle. After three days .... upon the field he was picked ..... taken in the rebel prison at Ric....... He was paroled and taken to the h..... where he remained until after the .... of the war. J. P. Carey is a son of William Carey, who landed in Spr...field about half a century ago. He ... from the Wyoming valley when yo... and was a descendant of the Careys, ... fell in the massacre.

Geo. Corneby is a successful tiller of the soil, and has a pleasant location .... fruitful farm. His farming is ge.... and considerable attention given to ..... stock. Mr. C. is a son of Amos Corneby .... native of England, who died upon .... place in Athens township.


J. V. Huff and son run a fruitful farm in a most successful manner. They are fully up with the times, and have the improved appliances for conducting their industry. A good dairy is kept and attention is given to young stock.

Jas. G. Lenox is an enterprising, diligent young farmer, and has a prosperous farm. Mixed farming is carried, and a small dairy and young stock kept upon the place. Southdown sheep are made a specialty. Mr. Lenox is the owner of a very fine Gambetta, Morgan colt, two years old, which has taken the first premium. Mr. Lenox is a great grandson of Samuel Lenox, an early settler, who will be mentioned farther along.

E. B. Minier has a fruitful farm, well improved, and handsomely located. He has a neat home and conveniently arranged and spacious barns. Mr. Minier has made many valuable improvements. The place was first settled by Henry Smith, and owned by Clam Paine.

General farming is conducted in a careful manner, and attention given to dairying and the raising of young stock. The stock is of good blood, and a good line of horses is kept upon the place. Mr. Minier is a son of Abraham Minier.

A. A. Brainard is engaged in wagon making and ironing near Milan, and has been a fixture there for nineteen years in this same business, which is evidence of the popularity of his work. Especial attention is given to the manufacture of lumber wagons and general repairing. However, Mr. B. does all kinds of wagon making and ironing. For some years Mr. B. was engaged as a boat builder on the North Branch Canal at Ulster. he is a son of Andrew C. Brainard, one of the pioneers of Litchfield. Mr. B. has a neat little place, and keeps some blooded stock.

Mr. G. Van Syckle is situated upon a beautiful farm that overlooks the charming Susquehanna Valley for some distance--the scenery being quite enchanting form this point. An excellent spring is found upon the place, which together with its commanding view, causes it to be frequented by visitors during the summer season. General farming is well carried on, a small dairy kept, and especial attention given to sheep, the Southdowns. The crops raised upon the place average very high. Mr. Van Syckle is assisted upon the place by his sons, and W. H. Van Syckle is agent for the Johnston Reaper and Mower. The Van Syckle place was first improved by Frank Murry. Mr. Van Syckle is a native of New jersey, and has lived upon the place for thirty-three years.

G. N. Havens and son are affable and hospitable gentleman, and large successful farmers and dairymen. Besides general farming, a specialty is the shipment of the milk and cream from their large dairy, together with what they purchase of several smaller dairies.





April 30, 1885



We found James H. Higgins, a hero of the Mexican War, pleasantly located upon a neat and fruitful little farm. He has a pride in fine blooded sheep, and is a model farmer. He occupies the ancestral estate settled by his father, Patrick Higgins, about 1818. Patrick Higgins was a native of Connecticut, and learned the trade of a shoemaker while living there. He left his native State, and for a while worked at his trade in New York City. Thence coming to Ulster he took up land, farmed and shoemaked. After Mr. Higgins’ boys had attained some age, they did the improving of the lands and farmed while he worked at his trade. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins lived to a good old age each, and died upon the homestead. Patrick Higgins and his father, David Higgins, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. James H. Higgins enlisted in the Mexican war in 1856. He was a member of Captain McKinney’s Company, Wood’s division, Taylor’s army. He was in several battles--Monterey, Buena Vista, etc., and was bodyguard to General Wood. He served at a compensation of $7 per month. He was wounded, and had a horse shot from under him. Of his experience he relates: "A body of Mexicans, that we had made prisoners, had in their knap-sacks only parched corn and strings with which to tie their prisoners. Many of them had no guns, and all were poorly equipped. They stated that their officers told them, that two hours after they saw the Americans they would have them tied, and be taking breakfast out of their knap-sacks." But the poor fellows were doomed to disappointment as they were in every battle they fought. Mr. H. has done considerable prospecting in California and Nevada, and at present owns an interest in silver mines in Nevada. He is of a family of all six children, all of whom are living save one.


John Howie is a progressive, open-hearted, young Scotch farmer, and has a desirable location. He is a son of Matthew Howie, who came from Ayershire County, Scotland, in 1857, and settled in Smithfield where he died in 1859. General farming is carried successfully on, and attention given to dairying, and the raising of young stock.

James D. Barbour is a Scotch gentleman of enterprise, and is quite an extensive husbandman. Promiscuous farming is carried on successfully, and a small dairy kept. Especial attention is given to young stock and the breeding of blooded horses. Oats is made the leading grain. Mr. Barbour came to Ulster about thirty years since with his father’s family--Hugh Barbour--and located upon the place which he now occupies. Fine improvements, are the result of diligence and much hard work, the whole place now being improved. In the fall of 1866, Mr. Barbour enlisted in the 53d Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and did active service until February, 1866, when he was taken sick and placed in the hospital, remaining there until the close of the conflict.

Andrew King carries farming quite extensively, and gives attention to lumbering. He keeps a dairy and a full supply of horses. He is a son of Andrew King who settled in Smithfield from New England, but died in Ulster. he had a family of nine children.

Isaac Brown has a very neat and fruitful farm, and is pleasantly domiciled in a cosy new home. His farm is finely watered and yields all the grains abundantly. A choice dairy of the Alderney line is kept. Mr. Brown came to Smithfield with his father’s family, (David Brown,) from Tioga County, N.Y., in 1850, and located upon what is now known as the "Brown Lot," owned by Peter Brundy. But slight improvement had then been made, and only a log house contained thereon, when Mr. Brown moved upon the place. Mr. Brown was a man six feet two inches tall. He had a family of five children. I. C. Brown, merchant at Burlington is a son. In connection with our visit here, we were highly entertained by Mr. R. I. Brown, who had spent the last seven years in the mining regions of California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. He gave the inside of the miner’s life, and interested us in his fine collection of rare minerals.

As we watched the diligent hand of W. H. Rolfe, we could but think--

The time is short--the world is wide,

And much has to be done;

The woundrous earth, and all its pride,

Will vanish with the sun;

The moments fly on lightnings wings,

And life’s uncertain too;

We’re none too wise in foolish things,

There’s work enough to do.


Mr. Rolfe is a very ambitious, driving young farmer, and pushes his work with a commendable zeal. The growing of the grains is made a specialty.



May 7, 1885


Moore’s Hill


Moore’s Hill of about the same elevation as "Oak Hill," and south of it, is very similar, as an enterprising farming locality and is made up of many fine farms, the surface generally being quite new.

Geo. Bartholomew is one of the most successful and extensive farmers of Ulster. His large farm is most handsomely located, and is of fruitful soil. The farm is well supplied with buildings, and the improved appurtenances for farming. The many fine improvements are due to the efforts of Mr. B’s over diligence. A fine dairy of the Durham line is owned, and attention paid to young stock. Lincolnshire and Southdown sheep are made a specialty. Fine young horses are kept upon the place. The grains are growing profusely. The farm is in charge of Geo. H. Bartholomew, a young man of enterprise, who conducts it in a skillful manner.

Levi Noble is situated on this same pleasant street with Mr. Bartholomew, leading from Moore’s Hill to Oak Hill, and has a most desirable location, and a large and productive farm. Mr. Noble came to his place in 1844 from Broome county, N. Y., cutting his road in from Moore’s Hill. He was the first settler between Moore’s Hill and Oak Hill. He erected himself a log house, and began battling with the wild woods, and the discouragements incident to pioneer life. In the course of time, after days and years of diligence and economy, saying nothing of the hardships, the woodland has disappeared, and a lovely farm dotted with neat and spacious buildings, meets our gaze. Nearly the whole change was caused by Mr. Nobel’s honest hand. But his usefulness is now at end and he has retired from the cares of the farm, which is in charge of his son I. W. Noble. Attention is given to promiscuous farming and a fine dairy of grade Durham kept. Young stock is carried, and the growing of oats made a specialty.

We enjoyed the bountiful hospitality of J. F. Ammerman, and were pleasantly and profitably entertained. Mr. A. is an enterprising farmer and occupies the "Lewis Lewis" place. Grain growing is made a specialty and dairying is carried on. A very fine six-year old Hambletonian of excellent speed was noticeable in Mr. A’s stable.

At the age of sixteen years, Mr. Ammerman gallantly donned the blue, enlisting August, 1861, in the 106th regiment P. V., Col. Moorehead’s, Col. Baker’s brigade. He was at Bull’s Bluff, when the noble Baker was killed. He says, "I cried as if my father had been slain". He served with Banks in his expedition near Winchester, and was through the Peninsular campaign, after which he received his discharge. He again enlisted in September, 1864, in the 50th regiment N. Y., engineers. He did service in front of Petersburg, and came home at the close of the war with his health very much impaired. Mr. Ammerman is a highly respected citizen of his town, and has always taken a great interest in public matters. He has been honored with various offices, Commissioner, Treasurer, Assessor, Collector, etc., and Superintendent of the Presbyterian S. S., at Moore’s Hill. He was Commander of the Bradford Encampment in 1881.

We were pleasantly entertained by A. G. Moore at his pleasant home. Mr. Moore is one of Ulster’s most reliable citizens, and a careful and successful farmer. He occupies the ancestral estate. Mr. Moore’s farm is improved and finely watered and has a fine new barn thereon, mixed farming is conducted successfully, and a good dairy of grade Durham and Alderneys kept, together with young stock. A. G. Moore is a son of Robert Moore (from whence the "Hill" takes its name), who came to the township about 1816, from Williamsport, Pa. He had a wife and two children. When he came upon the place the first tree had not yet been felled, and he was without means, for beginning life in a new country. He erected the usual log cabin, and began life for himself, witnessing the severest trials, before fairly gaining a foothold in the forest. In 1840, after Mr. Moore began to live, his house, with all the clothing of the family, bedding, etc., was destroyed by fire, and he was left with only a shilling in money. He said, "these were the hardest times we had yet witnessed." For a time they were required to live in the barn. By the assistance of his son’s Mr. Moore was able to clear a large farm and spent the close of his life in peace and plenty. He died in June, 1863, at the age of 74 years, and Mrs. Moore in October, 1869, when 78 years of age. They had a family of nine children, two sons and seven daughters, only three of whom now were living. There are--Mr. A. G. Moore, Mrs. L. Munday, of Ithaca; Mrs. Frank Brook’s, of Moore’s Hill. Mrs. A. G. Moore is a relative of Grover Cleveland, but she says she is not proud of the distinction.

Chas. McMoran has a prosperous farm, and pleasant location. Oats is made the leading grain, and a good dairy of the Durham line is kept upon the place. Mr. M. is a native of Scotland, and came to this country in 1844. The first improvements upon his place were made by one Nicholson.

Another enterprising Scotch family, whose generous hospitality we enjoyed is that of Thomas Pollock, which we found happily domiciled in a cosy new home, on a fruitful, and finely improved farm. The crops of our clime are grown abundantly and a choice dairy is kept, together with young stock. A fine young team was noticed upon the place. Mr. P. occupies the place on which Alex Hibbard began and was afterward owned with the Kennedy place by Mr. James Howie, who recently died in the West at the age of 90 years. Mr. Pollock came with his father (Walter Pollock), and family from near Glascow, in 1827. After a few years Mr. Pollock took up the place now occupied by his son, Robert Pollock, and H. Heath, and there remained until the time of his death.

We found D. L. Kennedy, as usual, good natured and brim full of fun and of course made him the butt of our innocent sport. We however soon found out that we had mistook our man, and were glad to get off in other topics. Mr. Kennedy is a good farmer, and makes oats and corn the leading grains. A dairy of grade Durham is kept, and attention given to young stock. Mr. K. is owner of a very fine young horse of Ethan Allen stock.

Our visit was spent most pleasantly with A. A. Vincent and family. And for a recreation we were most highly entertained by Master Clarence, and Miss Gertie, the former presiding at the organ, and Miss Gertie, playing the violin. They do very nicely. Mr. Vincent is one of Ulster’s most substantial citizens, and a good farmer. He has been honored with some officers of trust, and has always proved himself worthy and competent. A dairy is carried upon the place with some young stock. Some good horses are kept, and a young Messenger especially is one of the finest we have ever seen in our travels.

The Howies are a careful, neat, and enterprising people, and have well improved farms, amply supplied with some buildings, good stock, and proper farming appurtenances. Wm. Howie was a native of Ayershire, Scotland, and came to this country with his family in 1854. He located in Ulster on the place, now owned by his son, J. W. Wm. Howie died upon the place in 1867, his widow surviving him at the age of 80 years. Connected with the Howie family is an item worthy of note. In 1162 they rented a farm in Ayershire, and the place has ever since been occupied by them the present incumbent, being of the thirty-third generation. In each succeeding generation the names of James or John has been preserved, save in the last Howie upon the place, whose name is Thomas.

The Smiths have neat farms and buildings, and are careful enterprising men. They came in when the locality was covered with woodland, but they have made the forests bow, and fruitful fields are seen instead. They have good houses, and keep fine blooded stock. Attention is given to fruit, and a fine peach orchard of 1,100 trees is found upon them lands. Their farms are furnished with improved appliances. John Smith was the first to settle in the locality. He came in from Burlington. He and his three sons, M.K., F.A., C.H. improved fully 300 acres. In Feb. 1863, F.A. Smith entered in the 161st regiment N.Y., V. He served in the south-west under General Banks, and was through the notable Red River expedition. He was in several engagements, and remained in the South until Nov. of ‘65.

Abraham Frederick is a careful farmer in the Smith neighborhood, and was one of the boys who gallantly donned the blue. In Aug. 1862, he entered the memorable 141st P. V., and served faithfully in connection with it. He was wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville, and after the wound became healed, he again joined his regiment. He was taken prisoner in front of Richmond, and was confined for six months at Bell Island, Florence and Saulsbury. Of his prison experience he says: "Our fare was very meagre, we had but one meal a day, and no shelter. Sometimes we would get a piece of Indian bread with a few beans, which had been prepaared with a sort of soup. Sometimes we drew our rations in our shoes. To have a better receptacle I bought an old tin pail full of holes for a dollar, and remedied it as best I could with pieces of rags. Our clothing literally rotted off us, and we could not hide our nakedness. Many had no beds and only a brick for a pillow. When we laid down for the night we had no covering but laid as closely together as possible to keep warm. When I was put in I weighed 193 lbs. but came a mere skeleton, weighing only 90 lbs."

There are other citizens of Ulster, worthy of a place in our columns but it was not our pleasure to visit them.