Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
History of Bradford County

H. C. Bradsby, 1892


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BURR RIDGEWAY was one of the first settlers of Franklin township. His name will remain with us while the civil division of Brad ford county lasts. He was the First county commissioner of the county, and the second editor and publisher of the first newspaper, The Bradford Gazette. He was living in Franklin township as late as 1867, a very old man, with h is son, David Ridgeway. Other names of the early settlers were William Spalding, Gilbert Gay, William B. French, Allen Rockwell, Nathan Wilcox and Major Dodge.

Mr. A. S. Hooker in his paper, the Northern Tier-Gazette, of July 18, 1867, publishes a most interesting letter from "one of Bradford county's oldest inhabitants "-Burr Ridgeway-from which we make interesting extracts I am now in my eighty-eighth year, and have been a resident within the boundaries of Bradford county since 1803 first in Wysox, and when the county was organized removed to Towanda, which then contained three log huts and two small buildings, except what was called I Mean's Red Tavern,' built the year before. I was elected the first county commissioner, was acquainted with almost everybody in the county, but have neglected to make notes of them. I was three years deputy prothonotary under C. F. Wells, and three years under Governor Hilster, and over thirty years an active justice of the peace, first by appointment and then by election. I published a paper, but not being a printer myself, and political differences Springing up between Gen. McKean and Wells, made the paper unproductive, and I abandoned it. We have a person in our neighborhood, Timothy H. Lewis, widely known as I Harry Lewis,' who never forgot anything. .1 will try and see him and get him to refresh my mind of those old times. * " In a postscript he adds: "I established the first post routes in Bradford county, except that up and down the river carried by Mr. Teetor, the one from Towanda to Canton by Job Irish, Jr., son of the celebrated Job Irish, of much law memory ; the one from Towanda through Burlington to Canoe Place, in Tioga county, and then back to Bradford, through Columbia, Springfield, Smithfield to Athens by my sons, on the east side of the river I had many riders." Burr Ridgeway died at his son's, James D. Ridgeway, August 19, 1876, aged ninety-seven years; his wife had died June 8, 1858, aged seventy-nine years, and side by side they peacefully sleep in Franklindale Cemetery.

Barclay formed a portion of this township until 1867 (Note from JMT: And was resorbed into Franklin again). Towanda creek passes centrally through it, several small tributaries.

David and Stephen Allen were the first settlers, in 1795, at what is now known as Franklindale. The next season their brother Daniel Allen settled further tip the creek at West Franklin. Benjamin Stone came in 1800. Daniel Wilcox, or as is sometimes said "Nathan " Wilcox came, it is supposed, before the Allens, and settled on the place called " Preacher brook." Elder Thomas Smiley, at a very early date, improved the Dorson Stone farm afterward owned by Clay Fairchilds.

John Knapp, William Damer and the Spaldings came as early as 1799, and afterward came Samuel Wilcox, Absalom and Ezekiel Carr, Widow Lattimore, William Blaincher, Ahran Cook, Daniel Stone, Truman Holcomb, Gilbert Gay, William I. French, Allen Rockwell, Nathan Wilcox, and -Maj. Oliver Williams Dodge. The Spaldings were three brothers: Horace, William D. and Noah. The two latter bought the mill property, at Franklindale. There were three of the Lattimores; Stephen, Peter, and Elizabeth, latter of whom married David Smiley. Alpheus Holcomb came to the township in 1832, and settled near the Ridgeways. Ile had formerly lived in LeRoy.

Franklindale is the principal village, situated on the Towanda creek, has a general store, a gristmill, sawmill and hotel. West Franklin is in the west part of the township on the Towanda road ; it contains two churches, one hotel, one general store, and several smaller shops.

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