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History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches

By H. C. Bradsby, 1891

CHAPTER LI. Tuscarora Township
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THIS township was erected from Wyalusing in 1830, and received the name of Spring Hill. In 1856 the name was changed to Tuscarora. Joseph Wharton built the first log cabin. There was no road along the river until as late as 1790, travelers taking the Indian paths or river-beach. This pioneer improvised s samp-mill by felling a huge white pine, and hollowing out the s mp for his mortar, and ised a heavy Indian pestle for grinding the corn. The owner of this mill. frequently loaned its use to his neighbors-after he had some-for there was no water-mill nearer than the Wyoming valley.

Wharton cleared and fenced about sixty acres of land. and set out an orchard, also built a second log house in the central part of his cleat-in g. This house stood some thirty rods from the present location of the road, and directly back of Edwards' farmhouse. In 1808, Joseph Wharton conveyed this farm to Elihu Hall and Elihu Hall, Jr. The Halls were carpenters, and made but little improvement on the land. Finding the Wharton house too small for both families the y y demolished it, and built a long log house, with a chimney at each end. While the Halls were in possession, the Spring Hill road was Opened in part. They built a plank house on this road, and sold to Jacob Gray in the spring of 1815. Rev. D. D. Gray was then a boy seven years old, and he asserted that he traveled every sled path, and visited every habitable part of the township, the first year of his residence. He thus names the families resident in the township in that year, 1815. Thomas Morley, Stephen Beeman, Edward Cogswell, and Elisha Cogswell, on Tuscarora creek; James Black, Harry Ackley, Jacob Huff, Reuben Shumway, and Stephen Bowen, on Spring Hill; William Clink and Daniel Johnson, on South Spring Hill. These settlers had at that time from two to twelve acres of cleared land each, the whole of the improved land in the township, aside front the Wharton farm, probably not exceeding eighty acres.

About this time Jeremiah Lewis, Chester Wells, and several others made a beginning, and in the course of a few years all the land suitable for farming purposes was taken up. The first settler on the Tuscarora creek, within the present bounds of the township, was Oliver Sisson, who came thereto in 1805, and located four miles from the river, on the farm known on the Bradford county map as the " Cogswell Homestead," and the hill known. as Sisson hill received its name from him. He died in 1809, leaving all of his property to his wife, his will being recorded in Wilkes-Barre, as this was then a part of Luzerne county. The possession. or quitclaim right, was conveyed by the widow to Julius and Elisha Cogswell about 1809. Julius soon


after conveyed his interest to Elisha, and the farm has ever since remained in the family down to Rev. Bela Cogswell.

Edward, Joel and Daniel Cogswell, three brothers, came from Connecticut and settled in Bradford county. Daniel soon moved away and was lost sight of, Joel settled near Le Raysville, where he lived and died. He reared a large family of children, and was the father of the elder Dr. Cogswell. Edward was a miller by trade. He settled on the farm owned and occupied by his grandson, Dr. Cogswell, a son of Elisha Cogswell. Elisha Cogswell was a soldier in the War of 1812. His wife was the daughter of Bela Ford, who came from New York to Pike township, as early as 1807.

Reuben Shumway came into Tuscarora in 1805. He came from Steuben county, N. Y., in 1801, to the Wyalusing, near the residence of the Widow Buck, and lived there four years. He also lived a short time on Lime hill. He settled in Tuscarora, on the farm owned by Stephen Lyon. At this time there was nothing but a foot-path over the hill. His wife was Miriam Town, a sister of Joseph C. Town. She died in 1819, and was the first person who died on the hill, and the first person buried in the burying-ground near Mr. Lyon's,

The two brothers, John and William Clink, came in 1814 to Spring Hill.

Benjamin Hurlbut came to the Wyalusing creek in 1803. He was a miller, and was employed in Gordon's, and afterward in Town's, mill. He came to the hill in 1805 or 1806, his brother Amos coming with him.

Stephen Beeman came in 1809, and began a clearing a mile below the Sisson place, where Oliver Warner lived; resided there until death. Alpheus and Daniel Lewis Crawford, brothers, came from Connecticut and settled at Fast Spring Hill about 1829, David Lacey came about the same time. The father of the Crawfords came to Wyoming at an early day.

Emanuel Silvara came from, Portugal. When a lad he secreted himself on a vessel bound for the United States, and was discovered when a short distance from port. On landing in America the captain sold him for three years to pay for his passage. He served his time, after which he married and came to East Spring Hill about 1839, He bought the Crawford's farm, and though to a great extent ignorant of our language and destitute of all advantages of education, he accumulated a fine property. The little village which has sprung up about the place where the old mansion was built is called Silvara in his honor. He reared a large and respectable family.

Burrows Dowdney was from New Jersey, and lived at the mills.

Some time after Abial Keeney bought Dowdney's farm, and the latter removed from the town. David Dare was a relative of Dowdney's, and Dare's sister was the wife of George Smith. Jacob Huff was a native of Germany, and emigrated Therefrom to this country about the time hostilities commenced between the mother country and the Colonies. He enlisted in the service of the latter, and was engaged in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Brandywine and others. He lived where Milton Lewis resided. Other early settlers were


Daniel Merritt, on the place occupied by Martin Lyon; Moses Rowley, where the Gartlands lived; Richards and Starks.

The first sawmill was built about 1821, by Ludd Gaylord, near the mouth of the creek where the present foundry is located. A gristmill was afterward built there. The first white child born in the township was Marinda, a daughter, to Julius Cogswell, in 1811.

The first death in the town among the settlers was that of Oliver Sisson, in 1809. The first marriage in the township was that of John Morley and Orilla Cogswell, in 1816. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John Hazzard, the first Methodist circuit preacher on the creek. The first regular religious services were held by this minister in 1813, in the house built by Oliver Sisson. The first carriages were carts. The wheels were blocks sawed off of large logs, the blocks being from six to eight inches in thickness. These were facetiously called "Toad smashers."

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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