History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches
By H. C. Bradsby, 1891
Among the early immigrants to America, a strong and marked race of people were the Dutch; these were among the first on the South line of the state - the oldest settled portions outside the City of Philadelphia. Bradford County, being in the extreme northern section of the Commonwealth, was not settled for nearly one hundred years after the Dutch and Scotch-Irish had reduced to possession the bay and the mouth of the Susquehanna river. And here came the German Palatines, a people that were denounced in the father-land as religious outlaws, and had been driven out and turnned their faces toward the New World, and landing in New York had located their
54 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
colony in Schoharie county. It is said the British settlers bad placed these Palatines between them and the Indians as a protecting shield against the incursion of the barbarians--the strong and warlike Mohawks. Alan of these people-were not pleased with their treatment at the hands of the English of New York, and cast about for a new location. They beard of Penn's Woods, and many of them came in scattering bands to this province as early as 1727, and as they came from the North down,. the Delaware and then again from the Mohawk, the short portage to the Susquehanna, and once upon the latter stream they would naturally float down and the moment the current brought them to what is now Bradford county, they beheld the beautiful land and coveted it. It is not known how early the first of these daring discovered the northern part of the Susquehanna river; nor is it more than conjecture whether the hunters and trappers were here before them or not. The reasonable supposition is that for at least a hundred years before the Palatines had migrated from the Old World, all this region of country along the Susquehanna was known to the whites. Who were they ? And when did the white-faced discoverer come? These are questions that echo only can give any answer to. The Palatines came in 1710 to New York; bow soon after this they were here is not now knowable. The best that is known is that in 1737, when the Moravian interpreter, Conrad Weiser, came up the river on his way from Philadelphia to the Six Nations, in the Genesee country, be found some of these Germans at Wyoming trying to buy lands of the Indians.
Rudolph Fox.-In the month of May, 1770, came two of those German
relatives-Rudolph Fox and Peter Shuefelt [in time spelled Shoefelt "].
Fox stopped at the mouth of Towanda creek, immediately south of the borough,
Towanda and Shoefelt continued on to where is Frenchtown. These were the
first white families who undertook the work of making permanent homes in
what is Bradford county, whoever may have been here as mere travelers or
hunters and trappers before them. The Penns had sent surveyors up the river,
as high as Wyalusing, for the purpose of making surveys and allotting lands
in that vicinity as earl as 1769-a year before Fox and Shoefelt came. Then,
too, at or about the same time as these men, came the Connecticut people;
they bad not only long been fully acquainted with the beautiful country
on the upper Susquehanna, but were ready to come and lay claim to it in
the name of "The Susquehanna Company." And the meager first arrivals from
Connecticut were about the same time, or soon after, of Fox and Shoefelt.
Some idea of the sociability of the first to arrive is seen in the fact
that Fox settled at the mouth of Towanda creek, while Shoefelt continued
on down to Frenchtown-these men were of the kind that wanted breathing
room evidently-they had come from the Old World, crowded and cramped with
wrong and oppression ; where liberty was scourged and coffined, and the
very air was laden with taxation and tyranny; where rulers were many and
great, and where the people were worse than mere chattles; where ignorance
and vileness were worshiped as the Kin- who can do no wrong and equally
the masses could do "no
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 57
right;' ",here whatever ruled was a sacred fetich-the self-assumed vicegerents of God, born to waste in worse than drunken debauchery the hard and never-ending toil and bread of life of the people; where the ruling powers were rich aristocrats, who taxed and exacted the very heart's blood of all men; where the governments were paternal in all powers over the people; where men were educated into ignorance far below the dull ox on the hill sides; where men's beliefs, from inheritance and wrong education through generations, were simply stolid and absurd. The most venomous idea in this world is the long-drawn out beliefs that man, in his aggregate, must have a supreme ruling head, born so, and whether a scrofulous infant, full-grown idiot, madman or a two-legged impotent animal in the prime of life, utterly base, low and vile, ignorant or brutal, yet always the " good king" with supreme power to tax, to oppress and destroy. They are all rulers, sacred heads of the society or government, the most of whom have been worshipped because they have been utterly vile. Some barbaric peoples have worshipped toads, lizards, snakes, alligators and man-eating tigers, and other peoples who worship kings and princelings for their national fetiches speak of and regard with contempt the snake worshipers; but would not a modicum of sense reverse all this and justify the wild barbarian's contempt for this boasted better civilization? No man-eating tiger god was ever half so evil as the average royal rulers the world over. The worship of the toad is a harmless lunacy compared to that of any of the " divine rulers," that can 11 do no wrong," the average " infallible head " or ruler, whether king, junta, head and supreme war-makers and governors-the whole race of born paternalists from Alpha to Omega. The bee-hives have their queen and their drones and innumerable workers. The queen is born in her
regal cell, and is fed on queen food. The workers sting the drones to death at the end of the season and cast out their dead bodies; all but one of the queens are destroyed, and that one, while she does not go to the field with the workers to gather stores of honey, yet she has her duties and lays all the eggs for the colony that in time is to go out and make new hives. She is a real queen, a good queen, but never yet has she tried to tax all her workers and take from them all the honey they had gathered during the long summer. And these little insects have ages and ages ago reached a perfection of good sense and social organization that compared to the best that man has been able to do, is an ideal government a high water-mark of intelligence that poor dumb man it seems can never hope to attain. The most astounding thing of all in human nature is the unshakable tenacity with which Men cling to ancient, disgusting practices. Suppose that you could put a million of men, the wisest the greatest and best men in all the world, chosen from every quarter of the globe, on some new world to themselves, and surround them with everything that goes to make them great happy and contented; they would not be in their new place ten days before there would be a convention called to select an all-wise paternal ruler,-a taxer, who could fix at will the amount of tribute the others should pay him for fine houses, palaces, servants and standing armies,-his chief business would be to build harems and
58 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
call about him his favorites to help spend in waste, extravagance and debauches the hard-earned substance of the people, and, as a rule, the more intolerably infernal he would become the 'more wildly worshipped be would be. Well, every forty years or less an entire action of the fourteen hundred million people on the earth new goner is born. This entire new race find things just about as their forefathers found them, and that settles it; the man who dares to ask is in immediate danger of losing not only his reputation but his life; that we are so constituted that life. Possibly this is the divine or we. can in no other way be happy than by being completely miserable, so we balance the books by striking the balance sheet between optimists and pessimists.
The very dreams of the wildest theorists build their Utopias on the old plan, invariably; they can and have worked out some beautiful conditions and theoretical lofty surroundings, but the foundations, the fundamental ideas are those simply of the good old cannibal king Of pre-historic times,-a "divine " taxer, and lest poor man might escape, government paternalism somewhere in the great futurity, there are watchful -gatekeepers to the high walls on his every pathway. In this respect, the wildest barbarians, yet too wild and crude to form tribal relations, without fire and naked, fighting for life on the outer borders of brute creation, at least are not taxed, are not blessed or cursed with a paternal ruler.
The first arrivals of the Susquehanna Company came to Bradford county in 1774-four years after the arrival of Fox and Shoefelt. They bad built their little bark huts, much after the Indian fashion, and enlarged the " deadenings " about them, and were now raising a little corn and a few vegetables, and bad ponies and cows, and from the streams and the woods all the meat they wanted. When the ground as cleared enough for the sun's rays to play freely upon it, the rudest cultivation yielded the greatest returns. These first arrivals surveyed for themselves the long east and west townships, Wyalusing and Standing Stone. Among these settlers were James Welles and Robert Carr, at Wyalusing; Edward Hicks, at Sugar Run; Benjamin Budd, at Terrytown; Anthony Rummerfield , at Runnerfield; the Van Valkenbergs, at Misiscum; Lemuel Fitch, at Standing Ston and John Lord, at Sheshequin.
St. John de Creve Coeur, a Frenchman, passed up the Susquehanna river, with Indian guides, in 1774. A report of his exploration was published some time after in France. He was an educated man and a close observer; be says: "On the fifth day we arrived at Wyalusing, situated ninety miles from Wilkesbury. It is a plain of considerable extent and of great fertility. I observed that the blue grass had been replaced by white clover with which the pastures were covered. There were as yet only a few families living along the river. Their cattle were of great beauty. Passing up the river they showed me the remains of the ancient villages of the Seneca-Sissusing (Sheshequin)Teoga, Shamond (Chemung), etc. After three days' navigation, always against the current, we landed-at Anaquaga, one hundred and eighty miles from Wilkesbury."
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 59
By the next year, 1775, the Proprietaries had made grants and set off and surveyed them to the grantees. Among others was that of Casper Hoover, nearly opposite the Dodge farm, at the upper end of Terrytown.
Henry Pawling, of Providence, in 1775, purchased of Job Chilloway the Indian, -the valley of Wyalusing and four rights in the Susquehanna Company, adjoining, and that year, with his three sons, Benjamin, Jesse and William, settled on their land. With this family came Isaac Hancock, as tenant and housekeeper, and, as laborers, they brought Richard Berry and a man named Page. The three Pauldings were young men who afterward were known as among the wealthy, influential people of the county. The Pawlings for years lived on the site of the old Moravian Indian town. Isaiah Pasco lived just north or above them on a lot owned by Elihu Williams, and still further on was James Welles and family, near where the old Foley house stood; Nathan Kingsley was a few rods above the depot; Amos York on the John Hollenback farm, and near him his nephew, Miner Robbins. Capt. Robert Carr was on the north of Wyalusing creek ; he sold to James Forsythe, and he in turn to Abraham Bowman.
In 1777, settlements were made near where is Camptown in Wyalusing, and also along the river at Asylum, Standing Stone, Macedonia, Wysauki g, Towanda, Lower Sheshequin and at Sugar creek, Philip Painter and Leonard Lott were in Wilmot, on the Gamble place.
Benjamin Budd and his three sons, John, Joseph and Asa, and also Parker Wilson were located at Terrytown.
Peter Shoefelt, companion in the coming of Rudolph Fox, was at Frenchtown, where were also James Forsythe, Samuel Ketchum (his place afterward was the William Storr's place) and Samuel Cole and family; Jacob Bruner and Stephen Sara were at Macedonia.
Anthony Rummerfield was the first settler on Rummerfield creek, and that stream bears his name; and at Standing Stone was Simon Spalding, Lemuel Fitch, four of the VanAlstynes, Henry Birney., Charles Anger, John Pencil and Adam Simmons; these were mostly just below the York narrows.
The Van Valkenbergs and Stropes were near the mouth of Wysox creek; William Nelson, on the Lanning place; Isaac Larraway, senior and junior, and Samuel Showers were on the flats nearly opposite Towanda.
Jacob Bowman was one of the first close neighbors of Rudolph Fox and Capt. John Bortles bad made his "pitch" up the Towanda creek toward Monroeton; John was at Greenwood.
John Lord had settled in Sheshequin, on the Gore place, and he soon sold to William Stewart.
At Tioga point was John Secord, family and two grown sons, James and Cyrus. A full account of the settlers at this point will be found in the chapter, 11 Athens Township."
These constituted the be innings of the -1 Happy Valley," at all events would have been, not only the happy, but as well the magically growing valley, had not cruel circumstances-in one sense like fate itself-come upon the people. There were the fewest of people, and
60 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
only the wide-scattered, rudest of huts with their bark coverings- Schools. churches, courts, officials, police, culprits, palaces, paupers, penitentiaries, or preachers, these people were laying the foundations of peace, happiness, wealth and a great empire; they were a law unto themselves - industrious I frugal, honest and intelligent-the world's fairest models of self-government; living examples of how very little men need governing when really left by rulers to govern themselves. A healthy, robust public opinion was the strong, supreme law of the and, before which the most hardened outlaw slunk away from the sight of men as do the ferocious wild beasts and the venomous vipers. A blue-coated policeman with his brass buttons and tin star would have been to these simple-minded pioneers as veritable a show as the elephant and his keeper pulling himself up by his tusks and poking his head in the animal's wide-extended mouth. Think of a police court every morning consigning the poor over-night drunks to the rock-pile in those primitive days! About the only officer of the government they ever knew was the tax-collector, and, he was not seriously dreaded, for, even though the nation was young, as all supposed, hopelessly in debt, all her great institutions to build, yet the tax was then but a fraction of a cent to where it is now' dollars. Money was very scarce, but so were paupers and millionaires. The modern reader need not shudder in pity over these "simple annals of the poor "-they were the contented poor, with little or none of that sordid greed that has been the fruitful source of so much of man's inhumanity to man. With none of the glittering and costly trappings of state, hardly able to realize they had a tax-gatherer, they bad set about the noble life-work before them, and the rainbow of promise spanned their eastern sky. But in a moment through their " sweetest of the plains " went driving the plowshare of war-the people rose up against their horrid King fetich, whose cruelties had driven the iron into their very souls, and finally on the altars of liberty they staked their fortunes and sacred honor. Driven to rebellion they were rebels, outlaws, with a price set upon their heads, and for seven long, dreary, cruel years the cloud of war hung over the land, the invading enemy on one hand, open and secret foes and spies in their own midst, and the prowling, pitiless red savages in the rear, marking the trail of his marauds by the smoldering ruins of pioneer cabins and the bloodiest of massacres. Did these men and women, think you, realize that all this infliction bad come upon them because they and their ancestors had hold to the implicit faith of the "divinity of kings,'' the right of taxing at will the people? They were not in a condition possibly to know that the only "divine" thing in this world is every human being's right to "liberty and the pursuit of happiness," absolute and unrestricted.
The roar of resounding arms-the harsh tocsin of drove out the people from the fair and happy valleys of the upper Susquehanna, and armed men in serried columns cut highways through these forests, where were only the few and small deadenings as and blind paths before. The people fled for their lives to the forts in the older and heavier settlements, the men as best they could conveying their families to
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 61
places of comparative safety for the time, having, when they left their backwoods cabins, left crops and kine behind them and departed at a Moment's notice often; and, as soon as the general rendezvous was Macho(], they would shoulder their rifles and join the army, and go forth with their lives in their hands-the long and indescribable cruelties and sufferings of war, invasion, rapine, "hired Hessians" Murdering for lucre, and painted savages for even less compensation, the miserable instinct of cruelty confronting these men-pickets in the fore of civilization, and behind them were their wives and babes and the dark, uncertain hope that hung only as a deep pall above them. For seven long years Bradford county was again the gloomy, silent Wilderness, with no sign of life save that of the fierce growl of fighting wild beasts, the war-whoops of fiercer men, or the crack of the long black rifle, as some enemy of mankind bit the dust and laid his bones to bleach on the hill-side. The women and children to the forts, the Mon to war and the rare Tory to Canada, and the upper Susquehanna was again a lonely desert. On the heels of the fugitive pioneers came the Indian marauders, headed by Englishmen, determined to stamp out forever all rebellion against the "sacred King"-wash it out in blood and burn it up with fire, and behind these pitiless woods' people was the great English Empire-the bloody Anglo-Saxon, turning in unappeasable wrath upon his own kith and kin, unleashing the dogs of cruel, horrid war. The forts were besieged and overpowered, and the bloodiest border massacres of the Revolution were enacted. along the banks of the beautiful blue Susquehanna, when finally Washington sent (,on. Sullivan's expedition, and then the heavy heel of the Son of Van came with one fell crushing blow upon the head of the serpent.
Gen. Sullivan cleared the beautiful valley of these devils incarnate, killing the men as fast as he could reach them, and then destroying their villages driving off their stock and destroying the last vestiges n of destruction both to the savages and of their crops-a very lesson of destruction both to the savages and their white allies. Then again the white man began to venture on these grounds; hunt out the little spot where stood the cabin, now one in smoke and a scattered handful of ashes, and the unconquerable pioneer, undaunted, set about the work of re-making his wilderness home. Nothing can be more tiresome than that dyspeptic sentimentalism that is now possible at rare intervals among American writers, who carp at what they call Sullivan's cruelty to " Lo, the poor Indian," on the occasion of his expedition. Red or white, he struck to kill, as was his high and holy duty, and these hysterical outgivings-carpings that lie came with real soldiers, instead of praying missionary women, to appease with (rifts and burning aromatic incense these children of Satan-is a travesty upon common sense.
Hardly was the ink dry on the parchment that contained the treaty or peace when the eager Susquehanna settlers were again ready to pour into the valley and build anew their cabins on the little spit of ashes that was, the only remains of their former homes. This borderland for more than seven years bad been the scene of the march of soldiers and the stealthy, prowling men in moccasins and their white conquerers. These had crossed and recrossed each other's tracks--the white
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY 62
man most often in hot pursuit of some band fleeing from the lower settlements where they had swooped down in the darkness and committed some horrid slaughter and stolen the horses and cattle of their poor victims; many of their acts of refined cruelty were in stealing the children of the whites and carrying them away and keeping them in captivity, leaving a poor mother to waste the remaining years of her life in the pursuit or vain hope of recovering their precious babes. A little girl child was stolen and carried tip the Susquehanna and adopted into the tribe, and was never again found by friends until long after she was a woman and the wife or squaw of an Indian. She refused at that late day to return to friends and civilization.
Much additional particulars will. be given of* these pioneers in the
respective chapters relating to the thirty-seven townships that constitute
Bradford county. It is enough to say here that the development of the county
was slow indeed--the people came in a little stream and never in swarms
or colonies, as has been the case in some of the Far West new territories.
They encountered many obstacles then that are known not of in this age.
For fifty years the advance was so slow that it was hardly more than perceptible;
the dark old woods melted away reluctantly, and easy or rapid transportation
was unknown to them. The children of even the most favored or wealthy,
while they bad nearly everything they wanted, were ignorant even of luxuries
such as our present children demand as common necessities. Many a young
man of that day was big and old enough to go a-sparking--that is what they
called love-making in those simple, honest days, before he had become the
happy possessor of a pair of boots. The young man of to-day breathes nearly
a different atmosphere to that of the boys or young men of fifty years
ago. One of these old-time boys, whose head is now white man many winters,
recent] y recounted some-thing of his boyhood to his interested listeners.
He was born in Bradford county of parents of more than the average advantages
of wealth. He remembers every process of raising the flax and clipping
the wool, and front that to the home-made clothes that dressed the entire
family; bow the ox was slaughtered in the fall, and the younger cattle
in the spring and summer, and the bides -were carried to the tannery and
returned home ; and then the annual visit of the shoemaker-shod all around,
the big and little in footwear that was worn with infinite pride, but each
pair must last a whole year; how when he was large enough be hired out
and rode one of the 'neighbor's plow horses while the man plowed his crop
of corn, and three days the boy thus endured the sharp bare back; and when
the man settled up be paid him two ten-cent silver coins--a picayune a
day, and how, while lie pocketed his wages in silence, as he trudged his
way home, lie took the coins out of his pocket and threw them into the
brush by the wayside and hated the man most cordially all his life for
his meanness. This man could draw a vivid picture of his boy life in this
then comparatively new country, especially in the Ion- walks the children
often took to the log cabin school house, and while it was before the day
of free schools, yet a large family of children then cost their parents
less outlay of cash to educate them than each average child
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 63
now costs. This venerable man can tell you that in his young manhood he commenced life for himself, without capital or even the backing of strong friends, and opened a store, and at one time sold more goods every week from his store in Towanda than is now sold in the same length of time from all the many stores in the borough. While the boys of to-day will. hear of the boys of fifty years ago, and pity them, yet it is a fact that the young man of today is under very many disadvantages in the comparison of then and now. Now, unless the young man has inherited capital, he must seek employment as a rule from others, and it is very much more difficult to become an employer of others than it was at one time. Capital and society have been recast. Capital has been aggregating, and the small beginners are smothered out; the country store, with its limited stock. of goods, is more nearly in direct competition with the great city stores than formerly; and so of every other branch of business. The avenues to success are being slowly but surely closed up--fewer employers, and the army of employees constantly growing and expanding. In such surroundings the struggle for life, with all those who must struggle at all, will grow harder and harder. To use a phrase that is not exact- wealth will more rapidly increase in these conditions, but so will the numbers of the poor and, alas, too, the numbers of those out of employment and seeking it. While stagnation is death, yet all change is not improvement. It is easy for us to say our society is now better - the nearest perfect the world has seen ; that we have those things that contribute to our happiness in the highest degree; that our schools and churches and the laws are better than ever known to the world before. There are _pros and cons to all this self-laudation. We have better food, clothing, houses and drainage, and the average of life is longer than it was when our ancestors were first struggling here; but we have more penal institutions, asylums, feeble-minded homes, soup houses and actual starvation; crimes wholly unknown and a class of criminals that our grandfathers never heard of; and one feature that is wholly new, and that is the bequest or gift outright by one individual of the enormous sum of six million dollars to the church and school, and hundreds of others giving nearly similar amounts, and yet the State has taken charge of educating our children, and from free schools and endowed universities and colleges laws are being passed to compel parents to send their children to school. And, amid it all, the demand exceeds the supply on every hand, except on the evil side.
Honest simplicity is never an ungainly thing-it may call for a smile of pity, but never a tear. Phenomenal school children, cunning and tricky street Arabs of the city may know many things that George Washington never learned. The dullard boy of today knows more of fast living than did the. brightest boy a hundred years ago; but (toes lie live longer or enjoy it more?
A Boy and Leather Breeches.- At the beginning of this century one of the sore needs of the people was wool with which to make clothing The scarcity of' this article was the mother of the idea of dressing deer-skins and making clothing They were soon able to dress these Aim, and they were soft and pliable, and the art of giving
64 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
them a slight buff color was learned, and when made into trousers they resembled modern nankeen, and to this was soon added a bright color for the fringe around the deer-skin hunting shirts-these were soon worn with as much pride as a militiaman once strolled under his waving rooster feathers. '-Doeskin " pants, as these leather trousers were sometimes called, were no doubt in their time quite dudish.
The pioneers had their own amusements, and had more time to be amused than have our modern get-rich-quick people. They had far greater wealth then than now, in the way of dogs and many children; and if in the family was a rat-tailed spotted horse, the big boys of that fortunate household were, not only rich, but happy. Fifteen children and forty-two grandchildren, to say nothing of the great-grandchildren, reveled in all the needed prospective wealth of the eldest male Monte Cristo, in the "old man's" long squirrel gun, and the short, slim-tailed spotted horse, that in the course of nature would come to the expectant and hopeful heirs. It is a portentous fact that these peculiar guns and horses were far rarer in those good old times than are 'railroads and millionaire bondholders now; and the prospective heir was far more happy, as well he might be; and we know that great and splendid wealth is wholly in the variety of the (lower, and not in any intrinsic values. For instance, our modern idiots dote on diamonds and similar miserable and useless trash, all not only worthless. but worse than bubbles. Compare these with cur dogs, sixteen children and a rat-tailed spotted horse and a flint-lock, long-barreled squirrel gun, and then please exploit yourself "a ass" in the stupid faith that the new order may smile in contemptuous pity upon the great past. Poverty then and riches now, no sip! It is base diamond-crowned delusion now, and it was the gun and pony then-real substantial wealth versus a lunatic's dream. A glint of sunlight is worth more than all the diamonds and rubies the whole world has ever contained and a dog, flint-lock and a calico pony, granting him a fair share of pole-evil and string-halt, is a solid, intrinsic reality; a real wealth to dower fifteen towsley brats, and make them lords and ladies all.
Then, too, the pioneers and their " brats " had amusements far better than anything we now know. Sugar-making camps in the early spring the sweet sap from the maple flows, when the whole neighborhood would go to the woods
and camp and make sugar and that dark and delicious syrup. Why our effete youngsters know not enough to dream in
their lifeless way of real fun-life in its highest and best form. One hundred years ago the people knew how to really live-live for all that healthy, bounding life is worth. The woods were full of game and the streams of fish, and hunting, trapping and fishing commenced as soon as children could toddle, and continued with no game laws interfering, as long as old age could again toddle. The nightly concerts of the wolves and panthers would literally knock silly our make-believe tragic operas; two gew-gawed "lumaxes" singing out their mad duel, fought with paper swords, and another
fellow stabbing himself with a bar of soft soap, accompanying the act with such boss bullfrog croaking as of itself ought to kill the lunatic as well as the audience. The pioneers had great hunting frolics, log
HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY. 67
rollings, and real courting that was give-and-take like the strokes from a blind mule's hind quarters compared- to this modern dude-lolling. Towanda creek especially was noted for the number of its rattlesnakes, and nearly every year hunting parties were organized, and at the meet divided off under captains, and contest as to which party could kill the greatest number of rattlers. Our modern men hunt snakes, but the kind that is corked up in bottles, whose bite is so intoxicating that men seek them out and actually pay go much a nip. And other things have changed as much as ancient and modern snake hunting.
One of the old-time boys, so old that he remembers an incident in his life that occurred eighty years ago, relates the following: He was promised that if be would for the next month be a real good boy-that is, work to the utmost limit of endurance-then be might go afoot five miles to the shop and see the man pound hot iron. His imagination was fired at the very thought-was ever a boy so rich in anticipation-a real blacksmith and pounding hot iron and the sparks flying in every direction and they never burned up the smithy,-a sure enough king of fire, and his parents had promised him an afternoon holiday to go and see all this for himself 1 Time with that boy now lingered, loitered and fooled away his gallop along the way incomparably slower than it now does with the hard-up young man who knows the 11 old man " has made his will and there's millions in it for him, except the old man is awful healthy-has neither manners nor regards for his only hopeful and chip-of-the-old-block son; if the loving son only had energy enough he would poison the old duffer. But this is wandering from the boy that, if the slow-coach time ever did get around, was going to see the hot iron pounded. His mother and sisters realized that the boy must have different clothes-must be dressed well, as well as all over, to go on that great expedition ; he bad a pair of "doeskin" trousers and roundabout of the same, and on a pinch could wear his father's moccasins, but he had no cap; a solemn council convened, and as a result of its deliberations a cat was killed, the shin dressed with the tail left hanging down his back for a queue. The great day did arrive and the boy went, and as good luck would have it the smithy was not too drunk to work, and his visions were more than realized. The smithy, with a tooth for enjoyment, took in the situation when the gawking boy was looking on so intently as he worked the bellows and slyly spat on the anvil and jerked out the white heated metal and struck it a tremendous blow, and the loud explosion nearly frightened the ]ad to death, and he confesses that he was a married man and had children before he had any other thought but that the anvil, the hammer and the smithy bad all exploded at the same time-a veritable cataclysm to him, and that the creature was supernatural was evidenced that it could not kill him, as he pounded away right merrily.
When that boy returned be was the hero of all the children for many
miles around-all of them went to church, or meeting rather, the following,
Sunday to see him. The nods, frowns and thumb-jerking of the old folks
could not control them-the good divine thundered his
68 HISTORY OF BRADFORD COUNTY.
thirty-seventhly louder, but in vain; the children for once did not quake when he, a last resort with the good Shepherd when all else failed to interest the people, as he called it, would " lift the leds of bell and show them the fires," the children, the boys especially, had heard that before, but had never before known a boy that had been up to see hot iron pounded, and the poor preacher, parents, pickled rods, etc., were unheeded, and they gathered about the real hero of the day, who told them all he saw ; that is all that he had words to express. Happily, children can make themselves understood to children, and there was never a boy at meeting that day but who went home with the high resolve that, come what might, some day he too would go and see the blacksmith pound hot iron-utterly reckless of consequences, some day when he had a pair of 11 doeskin" trousers, like those his big brother always wore when he went a-courting, he would go and his mother and sisters could not scare him out of it, especially if "he could get his hair roached, and look big and not afraid ; hadn't be already gone clear out to the wood-pile one night, and although lie heard a screech-owl he held onto his armful of wood and landed it, with a good deal of clatter, it is true, on the floor by the chimney corner-and then foolish girls talk to him about being afraid of pounded hot iron, even if everything and smithy too did burst, what of it?-go he would!
Simply as a matter or relish of life can you imagine anything, any-where of modern days, that in the least compares with this instance in pioneer life? All true life is in the mind's excitation the mental exultation in expectancy that fills the cup to the brim and it overflows. it is but one in every pioneer family of the land, where things were pure and primitive-when neither children nor grown persons died of ennui--when children had hardly anything as toys or luxuries that could be called boughten." Why' is it that the children who never had a doll, except rag ones of their own making, remember their childhood with so infinite a zest that it is beyond all comprehension of the modern child that is loaded and even oppressed with its multitude of elaborate and expensive toys? Luxuries, expensive and valuable luxuries, costing great sums of money, and that are beautiful and fragile, are not what the child wants, unless the little one is first trained out of all natural sweet childhood. The boy that gets some person to bend a pin for him, and provides his own string and fish-pole, for his first fishing in the shallow puddle, has incomparably more delight in fishing than is ever known to the coddled child of wealth who when be is nearly grown is allowed to go with a groom and fish with one of these expensive tackles that can be purchased at the sporting store. It is the boy fourteen years old who looks forward to the day when his father will buy a new cap or hat, and give him the old one to dress up in and go to meeting, who will remember longest his triumphs and joys in the acquisition of new clothes, or anything and everything that comes to him in his callow days. The modern boy and man for that matter looks back upon the pioneer times and shudders at their primitive simplicity, because he is ignorant of the fact in the premises; he gratifies every appetite, and they in succession cloy and. he gets drunk, if he has the energy, or might commit suicide, and
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has but the one consolation-that be didn't live before they had railroads and uniformed servants and waiters on every band, and he may have looked forward to the one glory of death, of being buried in a suit cut and made in Paris. Expensive and artificial life is not a boundless joy-rather it is the keen earnestness of simplicity-gratified rarely, but always intensely.