Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County People 
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
1933 Autobiography of Philip H. Dewey of Tioga County PA


Photos from the book will be added later
In Process February 2006

Book - Autobiography of Philip H. Dewey 
Of Richmond and Gaines, Tioga County PA
Year: 1933 original publication date
Formatted & Published in complete ebook version by Joyce M. Tice
Thanks to Marylyn DEWEY Adams for sending us a copy of this book
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Autobiography of Philip H. Dewey

Farmer, Lumberman, State Official


Chapter Content Page

I The Beginning 9
II Starting Life in the New Country 16
III School Days 22
IV Industrial Era 27
V Gave Up College and Got Married 33
VI Bark Peeling and Lumbering 45
VII Fraternal and Genealogical 56
VII Will Dugan Killed -The big Fire at Corbett 65
IX Experiences in Minnesota 71
X A Minnesota Log Drive 82
XI Farewell to Mr. Charles B. Watrous,and Meeting with Mr. William L. Sykes 88
XII Contract with Emporium Lumber Company 93
XIII A Smallpox Episode 100
XIV Candidate for County Commissioner--Death of Our Little Son 106
XV Elected County Commissioner of Tioga County--Lumbering Days Are Over--The Old Environment Passes and a New Life Begins 113
XVI Life Insurance--Leetonia-- Telephone Business 122
XVII The State Grange 126
XVIII The Grange Dormitory 129
XIX Our Daughter Mildred--The State Workman’s Insurance Fund--Elected Secretary of Internal Affairs 138

List of Illustrations

Philip H. Dewey 7
Addison and Amy ( Ripley) Dewey --Father and Mother 9
Monarchs of the Forest 16
Felling a Giant of the Forest- The first operation in lumbering 20
Building a Splash Dam for Driving Logs 29
"Breaking" the Landing; a Log Driving Scene--Close-Up View of Lumber Yard 31
Lucy Elnora ( Mrs. Philip H.) Dewey 38
A Good Load of Logs on Bobsleds and a Good Team of Horses--Building a Tram Railroad in Early Days 39
How Hemlock Bark is Peeled--A Typical Scene 45
Logs at a Sawmill in Gardeau, Cameron County, to Be Manufactured Into Lumber 49
Loading Logs on Cars by Hand Before the Days of the Log Loader 50
A Familiar Lumbering Scene: A Husky Crew; Log Slide at Top; Railroad at Bottom of Landing 53
The Dewey Coat-of-Arms 59
Peeling the Bark from a Giant of the Forest 60
Logs from the Hills to Be Hauled to the Mill on a Railroad Built for that Purpose 61
Logs Piled, Known as Skidways, Ready to Be taken to the Mill 63
A Log Slide in Operation 65
Taking Logs to the Mill on the Snow by Bobsled 66
Sixty Million Feet of Lumber at the Large Sawmill at Sheffield, McKean County 88
A Typical Lumber Camp-- Scene at Liberty, McKean County 93
A Typical Log Landing  94
The Great Sawmill, Cross Fork, Pa., in Full Swing 95
Stacks of Hemlock Bark to be Used in Tanning Leather 100
Costello, Potter County, Pa.--Showing one of the stands of original hemlock 101
Log Loader in Operation--Log Train Ready to Go 102
Steam Log Loader in Action 103
A Lumber Mill at Leetonia, Tioga County 122
Watrous Concert Band of Gaines, Pa.-Six of my own children playing, two sons and four daughters 125
A group of Grangers--Mrs. W.D. Phillips "breaks the ground" for girls dormitory, Pennsylvania State College, State College, Pa. 129
The State Master Speaks at Ground-Breaking Exercises, Grange Dormitory, Pennsylvania State College, Pa. 132
The Grange Dormitory for Girls, Pennsylvania State College, State College, Pa 137
Mr. And Mrs. Philip H. Dewey and Family, 1926 142


In writing this short story of my life it has not been my desire to draw out in tedious and meaningless phrases any portion or part of my activities. Acknowlwdgment is hereby extended to the Department of Forest and Waters for several lumbering scenes used in this publication.

From the very fact that during my life many and various occupations have entered in, it is but natural that explanation should preface the detail in order that the reader may get some knowledge of the essential or outstanding changes before reading the entire story.

First, as a lad in school, then as a pioneer in a new country; later, the writer becomes farmer, lumberman, musician, supervisor, school director, County Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, insurance manager, telephone builder and operator, Member of the General Assembly, Lecturer and Master of the State Grange, Manager of the State Workmen’s Insurance Fund and Secretary of Internal Affairs.

These occupations have been of a public or semi-public nature. Farming is so well known that little has been said about that; lumbering is so little known that about it much has been said. None of these activities has left the author poorer for having engaged therein, but, on the contrary, each has added not a little to the of this busy , if not somewhat useful life.

It is our hope that some portions of this life’s story may be worthy of emulation by the youth of today, especially in matters pertaining to reliability and faithfulness, in whatever calling, occupation or profession may be chosen or selected.

Philip H. Dewey August 8, 1933

Some Recollections of a Busy Life Looking Backwards

Chapter 1 The Beginning

This is Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1932 , and it reminds me that my first birthday was November 12, 1868, just sixty-three years and three months ago today. Born in a comely frame house in Richmond Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the fourth son of Addison and Amy (Ripley ) Dewey.

Unlike all the stories I have read, I was never accused of being overly handsome, could run no faster, jump no farther, or in any way outdo my associates at work or play. However, by means of a few well meant and solidly grounded principles of life that I learned early enough to make use of and, in fact, establish as the true maxims of life, I believe I have managed, through my friends and the Grace of God, to live a full and useful life.

There at least two good and sufficient reasons why these memoirs are being written: first, to complete a record looking backward of the outstanding episode, many of which perhaps my nearest friends knew little or nothing about; and second, should there be anything in my life work worth emulating, it can be used by those who wish or desire to follow any or all of these lanes lanes of activity and vicissitudes which have been my lot to travel.

Rather than undertake to charm any reader who may elect to peruse these lines through the use ot meaningless words and phrases, I prefer to make clear my thought in as few words as possible, even to abbreviation.

Naturally, a writer begins at the beginning and follows along, step by step, throughout the lifetime of his subject, thus unfolding, page by page and chapter by chapter , the life span from early childhood until the final or closing chapter. Therefore, it will be my purpose to begin with my earliest recollections as they come to me now, and follow after that manner throughout this narrative.

A quilting party, with a house filled with women, was the earliest of my recollections, probably because in creeping about the floor my activities apparently disturbed some of the visitors, who offered to cut off some of the curls that adorned my head at that time, while others agreed to cut off my ears if I did not take to the tall timber and cease to be a child. This threat must have accomplished the desired result, for immediately I crawled under the lounge and would not come out until the party broke up.

A wedding party, when my mother’s sister was married, was the next big event in my life.

Soon after this, for I had learned to stand on my feet and walk around a little, a neighbor boy came along, placed me on his sled and drew me to the school house, a short distance away, where his sister was teaching. Being missed at home, a search was made and the whole community joined in the search. I was found asleep on a bench by the anxious searchers, where the teacher had tucked me away after keeping the whole school in an uproar for an hour or two.

School life was probably not as serious in those days as now, for that mischievous boy obtained consent from his teacher sister to call upon my mother, together with him, for the purpose of borrowing me each day that the weather was nice until the close of the term. Thus, I attended school at the age of three years.

My father’s farm was new, and men were building the roads and cross roads in the neighbor hood, and it was great sport to watch them with ox teams drawing logs to fill in, corduroy fashion, across the swampy places, or using the dump scraper to make a fill.

One of our neighbors owned a threshing machine, and when he came to thresh for my father it was a revelation to a youngster to watch those three horses climb upon the old fashioned tread; and, when locked in and the brake taken off, the weight of the horses would start the machine going, when the horses were compelled to walk ahead in order to keep on the machine.

This was vividly impressed on my mind that for weeks after the machine had gone my brother and I would play at threshing, using chairs or benches, carts, and handsleds, to resemble as best we could the mechanism of that machine. My brother and I were good imitators for, after watching the men build roads, we would build our own roads for our little wagons.

The business of growing up, as it appeared to me at that time, was one round of endeavor in trying to keep up with the older boys with whom I came in contact. My brother Rupert, who was two and a half years older, was my constant companion and when we were alone, could play from morning until night without any trouble; but when our cousins came to visit us, or some of the other boys of the neighborhood, a hike was always proposed and my trouble would begin.Of course my legs were long enough to reach the ground, but still too short by several inches to keep up with the other fellows. My shortcomings were their long suits, for they could get twofold pleasure out of every turn in the path. First, they would run away from me, much to my distress; then they would hide somewhere and scare the life nearly out of me by pretending they were bears. This furnishes us with Maxim Number One, for early in life I learned that by scaring a boy until he has no initiative, until he is afraid to move about alone. And especially after dark when he imagines all manner of evil spirits or animals are after him, he has lost much of the pleasure of childhood and has instilled in his very makeup a handicap that will take years to overcome. Therefore, I have never permitted myself to scare another youth, or permitted it to be done if within my power to prevent the same.

My father was a school-teacher and singing master, as well as a student of the Bible. It seemed that every morning of his life, nearly, he was at the little school house, which was used by everybody as the community house, either in a religious service, a literary society meeting or a singing school.

I was such a regular attendant at all these meetings that the background of three important phases of life seemed to have found a rather lasting abiding place in my life.

All Through my life I have had, and enjoyed, a splendid religious tendancy, so thoroughly tolerant that I have been able to resppect all denominations in their effort for the good and in their desire to eventually reach a home in heaven. From those early literary programs I learned lessons and poems that have never been forgotten; that have cheered my pathway; that have helped to bless my home, and I trust, will help to comfort and bless the homes of my children. From those early singing schools I learned to read music, and while I have never mastered anything, perhaps, yet there has never been a time I could not enjoy good music, and have been able to play most of the musical instruments common amoung our people--such as the violin, piano, all the band instruments, accordion, harmonica, and the jew’s harp. This knowledge if music enabled me to play in many musical organizations, as well as teach and lead several bands in my lifetime.

The first mowing machine ever used in Richmond Township was of the Walter A. Wood extraction exhibited on the farm of Franklin Hayes, in Schodac, and I was one of the fortunate lads to be present and watch the process, as well as listen to the remarks made by the doubting pioneers, many whom expressed their opinion that the"darn thing" would never work and, if it did, it would ruin the laboring man by taking away his work.

One day in school a great commotion arose when some pupil discovered that a jack-knife artist had been using one of the porch pillars for the background of his lastest efforts in hieroglyphics, and told the teacher. No one was seen in the act and no one pled guilty; so the teacher applied the "first degree," then the "second degree," and finally the "third degree," without success. In an almost frantic effort to find and punish the guilty sinner, the teacher declared she would whip every boy in school until she found the culprit.

The author oif :When a Fellar Needs a Friend" must have been there that day, for there was never a more appropriate occasion. That was life’s darkest moment for me, for I was a boy and supposed I was in for a trouncing. However, the teacher knew, but I did not know, that a lad of my size could not wield a jack-knife with such dexterity as the author of the offensive carving had done. At any rate, the began with the largest boys’ class, and her first guess, or choice, was my elder brother Frank, who was known to possess a good knife, and, accordingly, he was placed in readiness and the licking began.

She would labor for a period of about five minutes, then pause long enough to inquire if he would own up or plead guilty. She always received a steady and firm denial, then the whipping would resume with renewed vigor. This performance kept up until the teacher tired out completely, and promised she would finish on the morrow. Of course, after an exhibition such as that became known, and it did not take long, there was a ban placed on whipping in that school. Some years after, I had a similar experience, and will give later the details in the hope it may stay the hand of some hadsty teacher and save some helpless boy from receiving punishment for another’s fault or misdemeanor.

When about six years of age I wandered out a short distance in the woods, where my father and elder brothers were gathering sap for the purpose of making maple sugar. Seeing a nice little tree that looked easy to climb, I had a great desire to show my dexterity in the art of climbing. I climbed amd climbed until the tip of the tree bent over with me so that I could not get back down, for I would be compelled to climb backwards and up-hill at that. There I hung with head down, clinging to the small tip of that tree until, finally exhausted, I fell head first to the ground. My head struck one of the roots, cutting an ugly gash in my forehead, leaving a scar that I have been compelled to carry all through life because I did not know enough to let loose with my feet and hang on with my hands so that I would come down feet first. This taught me another lesson, and might be called Maxim Number Two: Keep your head up.

Soon after my seventh birthday, my father began negotiating for the sale of the farm, and seemed filled with a desire to go a little farther west, where a still newer community was developing. Accordingly, after watching the papers for some time, there appeared in the "For Sale" column a farm of one hundred and twenty-four acres, well watered, with two good orchards, and abounding with a dense growth of pine, hemlock and hardwood timber.

The old home was sold and the new one purchased, and March 20, 1876, was set for the long trek of thirty-five miles to the new home, through an almost unbroken forest in Gaines Township, Tioga County.

During these premoving days I do not recall hearing a single regret concerning the leaving of the fine little home, the splendid surroundings, or the delightful friends that were to be left behind. My thought about the matter now is, as I look back over that period, that the youngsters, now numbering seven, were too young to understand what it all meant, and that both father and mother were too considerate of our feelings to mention the great loss we were to sustain.

Everyone was anxious to see the new home and, when the day came, we were loaded in the carry-all wagon and accompanied the loaded team, six in number, over ice and snow,--first to Wellsboro, the county seat, for a short rest for the horsed and to fet warm; then on to Ansonia where we stopped for dinner.

Here we saw for the first time the beautiful, uncontaminated waters of Pine Creek. No stream ever flowed through more delightfully glorious surroundings. The hills like small mountains, picturesque beyond the power of man to describe the virgin pine and hemlock timber in great profusion towering above those mountains, with the sun peeping through at intervals, for the timber was so dense that it was almost dark in mid-afternoon; the sparkling waters with their silvery caps dancing down through it all, abounding with speckled brook trout, seemed to smile at nature itself, and in defiance of man, as though it had been hidden since the days of creation and was now welcoming this new pioneer family to its bosom and to its entire domain.

Little did I dream, at that time, how closely my life was to be enshrined in everything pertaining to the Pine Creek watershed and everything connected therewith, for destiny had decreed that I should first roam over those hills and valleys, to fish in that great stream and all its tributaries; to learn to swim in its waters; to turn over every stone and pebble along its banks looking for gold, as every red blooded boy loves to do in his early experience; to learn to know the wild animals in the woods, the birds of the air and to call them by their names; to ride down those hills on the snow in winter and to skate on its icy waters,-- all this, and more, was to be my lot in preparation for nearly a quarter of a century in lumbering and denuding those beautiful hills of the timber planted by the providence of God for the benefit of humanity, and to use those sparkling waters for the motive power to carry the logs down to the Williamsport mills, where they could be manufactured into lumber and then to the markets of the world.

After our dinner and short rest at Ansonia, we drove onto Gaines, stopping again at the Isaac Walton Hotel; another short rest for the horses, another lunch, then the long home stretch up Elk Run to the new home.

We reached our destination about eleven o’clock that night, and while I must have slept most of the way on that home stretch, for I have no recollection at all of the arrival, I pause to pay a tribute to that delightful pair of three year old colts, Dick and Doll, that delivered the Dewey family safely on the head waters of Elk Run, at the extreme southern boundary of Gaines Township, thirty-five miles from the starting point, on that cold March day.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On  07 FEB 2006
By Joyce M. Tice
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