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History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches

By H. C. Bradsby, 1891

CHAPTER XXXVIII. Orwell Township
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Page 473 - 478

IN April, 1801, the council of Luzerne county appointed Ezekiel Hyde, Josiah Grant and William Spalding, commissioners, to erect a township embracing this territory: " From the fifty-second milestone, on the north line of the county; thence south twelve miles, fifty-one chains and fifty links to the south line of Tioga district; thence east eleven miles; thence north twelve miles; thence west 11 miles to the point of commencement." The report was approved and the new township was called "Mount Zion." In April, 1802, on petition of E. Coburn and others, the name was changed to Orwell.

The first settlement in Orwell township, as it is now, was in 1796, near Ransom's corner, by Francis Mesusan and David Russell. The following year they were joined by Asahel Johnson, Josiah Grant and Samuel Wells. Daniel Russell lived just below the forks of the road from Rome to Orwell hill, on the place occupied by his grandson, Stephen Russell. Edward Gridley occupied the Mesusan place. Mr. Russell was born in Tolland county, Conn., September 26, 1770; was married November 21, 1791, to Polly Chubbuck, and came to Orwell in 1794, on the Wysox creek, where he made a clearing and a farm, and reared a family of eleven children-five sons and six daughters. He made the clearing in 1794 and 1795, but lived at Sheshequin a year, until the summer of 1796, where his second daughter was born.

Two brothers of his wife, Ebenezer and Nathanial Chubbuck, came and settled near him afterward; the latter had ten sons and two daughters. His children, with one exception who died single, were all married and settled within five miles of his homestead. They in turn cleared away the forests and reared families, until the number of his posterity had in his life-time become more than one hundred souls.

Asahel Johnson and Zenas Cook came first to Sheshequin in the winter of 1795-96, and made that settlement their headquarters while they explored the country for a location. They made their selection in Orwell, Mr. Johnson purchasing on Towner bill. Their report was so flattering, several of their neighbors determined to come also; a company was formed, and Marks and Cook were sent to view the land more thoroughly. Their report being favorable, the company purchased the township, which was to be divided among its members. Mr. Johnson remained a year at Sheshequin, and came into Orwell permanently in 1797. The town was six miles square, and was called Menden; Mr. Johnson owned 3,000 acres. He lived where Albert Conklin now lives, and his brother Truman, who came in 1796, lived on the farm now owned by Albert Allen and Lewis Darling. His brother William lived where Zebulon Frisbie lives, The family came from Burlington, Litchfield Co., Conn,

Capt. Josiah Grant settled in the town in 1798, from Vermont. He was a captain in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, serving under Col. Ethan Allen, whose cousin he was, in his brigade of "Green Mountain Boys." I Capt. Grant lived about one hundred rods west of the present site of the Presbyterian church in Orwell. Samuel Wells, who married a sister of Asahel Johnson, came from Burlington, Vt., and settled on the farm just south of Johnson, in 1799. His eldest son, Theron, now owns the property. Capt. Samuel Woodruff came also in 1799; a Revolutionary soldier from Litchfield, Conn. He was a brother of Capt. Grant's wife, and had four children, Nathaniel, Benjamin, Clarissa, and another daughter, who married Adarine -Manville, one of the early settlers of Orwell. Clarissa married Dr. Seth Barstow, who settled on the Pool place in Wysox. Capt. Woodruff settled on the farm occupied by Josiah Newell. He sold to Josiah Grant, Jr., whose daughter married James, the father of Josiah Newell. Capt. Woodruff then went to reside with his daughter, Mrs. Barstow, and died there.

Levi Frisbie came to Orwell from Bristol, Conn. in February, 1800. His wife was the daughter of Aaron Gaylord, who was slain in the battle of Wyoming. After the battle the widowed mother with her three children went back to Connecticut , where Levi was married to her eldest daughter. Levi Frisbie, Richard Marks, Asahel Johnson, Will- iam Johnson, Truman Johnson, Zenas Cook, Asa Upson, and perhaps one or two others, formed the company, which, at the solicitation of Col. Ezekiel Hyde and Elisha Tracy, agents for the first Delaware company, purchased of these agents a township of land six miles square, extending north and east from the present Orwell. Mr. Frisbie came on the place where the Hen. Zebulon Frisbie resided. There had been a small clearing of some two or three acres made, and a log house rolled up by Deacon William Johnson, who had removed into Pike. This to-house stood a few rods from the residence of Z. Frisbie. Levi Frisbie was born in Bristol, Conn., January 31, 1758,and died October 5, 1842. Ile married Phebe Gaylord, who was born in Bristol, Conn., November 19, 1769; married December 20, 1786; removed to Orwell, Pa., 1800; she died October 5, 1851. They had six children, Chauncey, Laura, Catharine, a son whodtied in infancy, Levi, and Zebulon. Chauncey, married Chloe Howard, and after her decease married Eliza, relict of Dudley Humphrey, M. D.,and died May 4,1864.

In 1801, Theron Darling and his father Abel, John Pierce, and Alpheus Choat came in. Col. Darling was from Litchfield, Conn., and Mr. Pierce and Mr. Choat from Vermont. Mr. Pierce's wife was a sister of Mrs. Josiah Grant. They lived where formerly was the Gridley farm, and left about 1804-5, and went to near Owego, N. Y. Mr. Choat married a daughter of Mr. Pierce, and subsequently moved into Wysox. Joel Barnes came with Levi Frisbie from Massachusetts, and settled near Mr. Eastman. Ile married a daughter of Capt. Grant, and died in Orwell. Deacon William Ranney settled where -Mr. Payson lives, and Lebbeus Roberts on the Woodruff corners, in 1802, Capt, John Grant was a brother to Capt, Josiah, and came to Orwell about 1804-5, and located on the farm of Carlos Chubbuck, about three-fourths of a mile from Orwell hill.

Zenas Cook located a farm in the hollow in which Potterville is now situated, but abandoned it after finding his claim was worthless. Joel Cook, a brother, came to Orwell after 1800. His father, Joel Cook, was a soldier for three years in the Revolution, and was at the siege of Mud Island, and in the battle of Germantown. He and hisson, Uri, came to Orwell in 1814, and settled on the farm adjoining his son Joel's. A daughter married Truman Johnson . . . Nathaniel Chubbuck was the first of his family who came to northern Pennsylvania. He was born in Tolland county, Conn., and came from there to Orwell, in the summer of 1811, and purchased the possession-right of 300 acres on Wysox creek ; on a portion of which he resided until his death, and a portion of which tract is owned by his son, L. S. Chubbuck. The purchase was made of William Keeler Oct. 2, 1811. -,Nathaniel returned to Connecticut, and on January, 28, 1812, married Hannah Lovet, and at once proceeded to his new home. with her. His brother, Aaron Chubbuck, came to Orwell two years later, in the winter, traveling the whole distance with oxen and sled. He located on the creek about a mile below Nathaniel's, on land adjoining Dan Russell, where he resided until about 18547. He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1819. The father of these two gentlemen, -Nathaniel Chubbuck, with his wife, Chloe, and a daughter of the same name since the wife of Levi Frisbie, came from Ellington, Tolland Co.. Conn., in the spring of 1818, and selected several hundred acres on the hills of Orwell, in preference to lands in Wysox, now owned by the Piollets.

On October 10, 1803, Revs. Seth Willotson and James M. Woodword, tinder direction of the Connecticut Missionary Society, organized a church at the house of Lebbeus Roberts, on the Robert's corners" any cross-roads at that time were called corners,". This was named the Church of Orwell, but afterward was moved to Le Raysville, and became the Church of Pike, and Rev. Benoni Mandeville was pastor from 1812 to 1814.

The first justice of the peace in Orwell township was Jarvis Buttles, appointed by the governor, and, as recited, " to have and to hold so long a-, you behave yourself well." He was postmaster over forty years at South Hill, and since it was opened the office has been in the Buttles family.

Among the " old boys " of this township is yet living a man who split 200 rails to secure his marriage license, and -who is the living testimony that marriage is not a failure. The first couple married in the township were Archibald Coleman and Miss Walker.

The three-story wooden school building in Orwell was built by subscription in 1859 or '60, at the time with a hall above for public meetings, shows, etc. One room in second story for school, and residences below. It was sold at public sale, and now is the property of Daniel Dimmick; center room for school, and upper hall for exhibitions; two graded rooms in school. Orwell township has five postoffices and four villages.

Orwell village has two stores, hardware, and grocery, an incorporated public library, tin, blacksmith and wagon shops.

Pot-tersville has two stores, one gristmill and one saw and planing mill. The gristmill is owned by E. & C. Workhiser, and the sawmill is owned by D. F. Barstow. North Orwell has two stores and a creamery. Allis Hollow has two stores.

Orwell Hill had some important industries established as early as 1839. The big "black building " was built that year by Hezekiah Dunham, a carpenter, as a distillery and feed-mill. In 1840 one room was used for a school. Then a tannery was built and a shoe and trunk factory started. Mrs. Maynard's present dwelling was built for a tavern, and ran several years; a carding-mill and bedstead factory were built "up the hill."

The preceding was scanned from the Bradsby book and interpreted by OCR software by Joyce's office staff. It was edited and formatted by Joyce M. Tice. Financing for the out of pocket costs of producing this page was provided by the gift contributions of web site guests who are listed on the sponsors page. Our gratitude goes out to them for helping to cover some of the costs of generating this web site. 
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