The Reverend Mr. David Craft
WARREN is the northeast corner township of Bradford County. Its surface is very uneven, but at the same time there is but a small portion not susceptible of cultivation. The timber is principally hemlock, birch, beech, and maple, with some basswood, pine, cherry, and ash. The soil is gravel and loam. The crops consist of wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, potatoes, grass, and flax.
The streams, which drain the waters to the Susquehanna, arise here. They afford good water power for running machinery on a small scale.
Previous to 1798 this section was an unbroken wilderness, inhabited by a few Indians and the wild beasts, which roamed unrestrained over the hills and through the valleys.
In 1798, James Bowen, William Arnold, Mr. Harding, and Thomas Gibson came into Warren, then known as Martell, and made a clearing on the south branch of the Wappusening creek, at a place called for many years "the old clearing." But they found they were not on the tract of land they had designed settling on, and after obtaining their first crop they abandoned it and went farther north, to a place which has been known ever since as "Bowen Hollow," where James Bowen built a grist-mill on the middle branch of the Wappusening.
In the spring of 1800, Capt. Ebenezer and Jonathan Coburn, brothers, came, with their sons, from Connecticut, and bought under Conneeticut title 23,040 acres of land, and made a clearing on the same farm where they lived and died. Very soon they learned that their title was worthless. But they were men of courage and energy,--men who could, with brave hearts and stalwart arms, encounter, grapple with, and overcome every obstacle in the way of their making a home for themselves and their descendants. The following spring they moved their families from Connecticut to the new settlement, Clement Corbin and his family coming with them. On their arrival at Martell they found Bowen, Arnold, Fairbanks, and Gibson, who had moved in with their families the season before, and made clearing. "The wild beasts of the forest supplied them with meat, and they laid the whole country on the Susquehanna river from Wysox to Binghamton under contribution for their bread, and at times found a scanty supply there. Seneca Allyn, now living in Warren, says he went with a horse to the Wysox fiats, thence up the river to Owego, before he could find any grain that he could buy; and he bought two bushels of wheat, put it into a skiff, because there was no way to get his horse across the river. He then took the grain on his shoulders and carried it two and a half miles to get it ground, then shouldered it again and brought it back to the river, where his horse was left fasting, for the very good reason that he could get nothing for him to eat."*
William Arnold and Elizabeth, his wife, came from Swanzey, Mass., to Warren, in the year 1799. They brought with them three sons,--James, William, and Andrew,--all of whom lived to be aged men, and reared families. The fourth son--Benedict-was born in Warren, and was the first child in the township. Their oldest daughter--Patience--married a Mr. Green, a sea captain, and did not come to Warren with her parents. Elizabeth Arnold died in Warren when fifty years of age, about the year 1801. Her husband died about seventeen years after, sixty-two years of age. After the death of Mrs. Arnold he married for a second wife a woman by the name of Mapes, who survived him several years. Brown and Ives, the land owners, were anxious to induce settlers to come upon their lands, and made great inducements to secure the settlement of the first-comers upon their lands. The first pasture-field and meadow which the settlers possessed was an old beaver meadow, in which their only cow found pasture during the summer, and where they cut hay to keep her during the winter. There being no mill nearer than the river, Mr. Arnold made a mortar in the top of a hollow stump in front of his door.
During the summer or fall of 1800 the first white child was born in Warren,--a son of James Bowen,--and was christened Harry; and a few weeks later Benedict Arnold was born; and Aug. 10, 1801, A. S. Coburn, son of Parley Coburn.
In 1804 there were fourteen taxables, t viz.: William Arnold, J. Bowen, Henry Billings, Ebenezer Coburn, Parley Coburn, Jonathan Coburn, Moses Coburn, Jr., Amos Coburn, Payson Corbin, Thomas Gibson, Ebenezer Lee and Roswell Lee.
t In 1815 the number of taxables had increased to forty-five.
Mrs. Oliver Corbin, now past ninety years of age, and whose recollections of Warren seventy years ago are clear and distinct, says,"The Arnolds lived about two miles south of us. There was a family of Spaldings, who lived in their neighborhood, when I first remember anything about the settlement. I know but little of him, except that he had the reputation of being somewhat peculiar. Andrew Coburn practiced medicine a little, but generally we had to get well as we got sick.
"Ruth Dewing was a daughter of Ebenezer Coburn. Her first husband was a Dewing. She came to Warren with her father, and afterwards married Joseph Armstrong. She had lived with her brother Amos until he married a daughter of Maj. Platt, of Nichols. She was a very excellent woman. The Armstrongs came in as late as 1817 or 1818. He lived on the turnpike, near Alexander Dewing's. Mrs. Dewing had by her first husband four sons, --Jeremiah, Andrew, Alexander, and Edward. Jeremiah was a Presbyterian preacher, and had a son, Thomas S., who was also a preacher, and at one time pastor of the Second church in Wyalusing. Andrew was living a short time since. Alexander married Miss Piollet, of Wysox, and died recently. Edward and Jeremiah are also dead. Mr. Armstrong and his wife died in Warren.
"Luther Burlington lived in the Bowen neighborhood. Preserved Burlington, from Providence, R. I., was a brother of Mrs. William Arnold, and came from the same neighborhood. He lived in South Warren, on the farm Samuel Chaffe now lives on. His sons were Luther, Calvin, and Benjamin. A daughter, Sally, married Livingston Jenks. He lived on the farm now occupied by Esquire Burbank. He had a store and done trading for some years. He had a large family of children. He was justice of the peace for a number of years. He moved there after 1808. Reuben Jenks was a brother of his. The family moved west.
"Rev. Salmon King was a prominent man in the township, but not an early settler, but I think the first minister who settled in the township. He was pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Warren, and remained there until his death.
"Capt. Case also was a settler in the township. He had a son, Benjamin, who was a lawyer, and married a sister of Andrew Coburn, and Andrew Coburn married his sister.
"Nathan Young married a Merrill. They had been recently married when they came to Warren in 1815, and settled on the turnpike, a short distance from Alexander Dewing's. He had two sons: Nathan, who is on the homestead, and Oscar F., who lives in Rome, Pa. Mr. Merrill moved into the county with Mr. Young, and lived near him.
"Thomas and Oliver Corbin were sons of Clement. Samuel Griswold was our nearest neighbor.
"Jacob Burbank married a sister of Oliver Corbin. He came from Vermont to Warren as a young man in 1813, and boarded with Oliver Corbin. He bought the farm which joined Mr. Allyn. His first farm joined Mr. Corbin, and he lived there until his wife died, and then bought the other."
A Mr Billings lived near Mr. Cooper, and was an early comer in that neighborhood. Oliver Cooper married a Steinberg. He was an Englishman, and came directly to Warren, where he purchased, and became one of the leading men of the township.
Abel and Joseph Prince were brothers, and lived in the southern part of the township. They came after 1810.
George Pendleton was a seaman and a captain, and then followed the business of fitting up sailing vessels. He came to Warren about 1814. He had sons: George, Andrew, William, Nathan, and Charles. George and William married sisters, Eliza and Caroline Pitcher; Andrew married Charlotte, daughter of Luther Burlington; and Nathan married a daughter of Preserved Burlington.
Mrs. Pendleton had married a man by the name of Rogers; and J. P. Rogers, who kept the Valley House, was a son by this marriage. The first husband lived about a year after their marriage.
In 1802, James Bowen (Mrs. Oliver Corbin says it was built by Noah Bowen.) built a grist-mill on the Middle Branch of the Wappusening, near the centre of the town, the materials for which were furnished by the land-holders, Ives and Brown. This mill was the first in Warren township.
In 1803, William Arnold and Mr. Harding went to Sheshequin to procure meat; they purchased one hundred pounds of pork, divided it equally, and started for home. Snow having fallen to some depth, and there being no track, Mr. Harding gave out when not far from where Potterville now is. Mr. Arnold left him to obtain help, but when help came they found him a stiffened corpse.
The first school was taught by R. Lee, in 1807. The first death of an adult by disease was that of Theda Corbin. Amos Coburn built the first framed house, and had the first "house-warming."
The first church erected in the township was of the Presbyterian denomination, in 1832. Missionaries visited the settlement, hunting the lost sheep in Israel, as early as 1806-7. Among those self-sacrificing men we name Revs. Woodward, Seth Williston, Kingsbury, Hill, Treat, Bascam, and West. "In the Coburn settlement they established and kept up a ‘reading meeting,’ as it was called, for years before there was a man among them who could pray in public."
In 1816, the Congregational church was organized with fourteen members, of whom eight lived in Warren, the rest in Orwell. In 1822 a revival in Warren added forty three persons to their number.
At a very early date a Baptist society was organized at Warren; they were called "Old-School Baptists." In 1844 a New-School Baptist church was organized at Warren Centre. In 1841 a Free-Will Baptist church was organized at the same point.
The Corbins and Coburns came from Pomfret, Vt. Captain Ebenezer Coburn was the other of Parley, Ebenezer, Jr., Amos, Andrew C., and Nehemiah. George was a son of Jonathan Coburn. Alfred Allyn lived on the road to Pike, about two miles from Oliver Corbin's. He came from Providence, R. I., as also did the Bowens.
Among other early settlers who followed close in the wake of those already mentioned we may name Charles and Robert Sutton, Isaac Van Brunt, Samuel Mason, Lewis Barton, and Samuel Mapes.
Amos Coburn built the first framed house in Warren, at which he had a house-warming, and all the good people in Martell, some on foot and some on ox-sleds; and how they tripped the light fantastic toe! and, possibly, what was infrequent, some of them went in store-troughs, drawn by their oxen, in lieu of sleds.
As an illustration of difficulty of another kind to which the settlers were subjected, the following incident may be related: t "In 1800, Ebenezer Coburn was attacked with fever, and they had no bed, but borrowed Mrs. Bowen's. She, however, was soon taken sick, and the bed must be taken back. They then took the sick man on a horse, and carried him to Mr. Frisbie's, in Orwell, a distance of about eight miles. Parley Coburn then went to Tioga Point for a doctor, and, as the record has it, the doctor came, gave him some physic, and he felt better. He recovered, and the settlers enjoyed a good degree of health till 1814. Then came an epidemic fever which threatened to sweep off the whole colony. It was very difficult to obtain medical assistance. At Binghamton was Dr. Lusk, distance twenty-five miles; it was twelve miles to Owego, for Dr. Waldo; at Wappusening Corners was Dr. Gamaliel Barstow; at Tioga Point was Dr. Huston; at the mouth of the Wysox was Dr. Warner; and Dr. Seth T. Barstow was about four miles up the creek, no road to either place, and there were not well persons enough to take care of the sick. Ebenezer Coburn, Jonathan Coburn, George Coburn, Jacob Allyn, George Pendleton, John Pendleton, Mr. Spalding and wife, Mrs. Bowen, and Mrs. Tripp died. Then there was no unusual sickness, at least no epidemic, until the winter of 1824-25, when Amos Coburn's ftmily were visited with fever, and Amos Coburn and his wife died. These were the most fearful epidemics, I think, that ever visited these townships."
There are now in the township twelve school districts and four post-offices, viz., South Warren in No. 6, Warren Centre in No. 4, Warrenham in No. 1, West Warren in No. 8. Warren Centre, or Bowen Hollow, is the most considerable place; Warrenham and West Warren are business centres.
The following table shows at a glance the comparative growth and prosperity of Warren, by decades, for over a half-century:
Year. Inhabitants. Valuation.
1814 46 $11,148
1824 129 76,156
1834 224 81,979
1844 304 91,594
1854 395 146,550
1868 377 209,464
In 1850 there were 1571 white and 2 colored persons ill the township; in 1860, 1555 white and 8 colored; in 1870, 1417 white, 4 colored, 1291 native born, 130 foreign born, a total of 1421 souls,--one of the very few townships of the county in which there is a decrease in the population.
The township is bounded on the east by Susquehanna County, on the north by the State of New York, on the west by Windham and Orwell, and on the south by Pike township. In making inquiry as to the origin of the name, two answers have been given; one that it was named from some place in the cast, and the other that it was named in honor of Gen. Joseph Warren, who was slain at the battle of Bunker Hill.
To sketch the early history of Mr. John Beardslee, the incidents of his father's settlement in the locality will be briefly referred to.
Silas Beardslee was born in New Milford, Conn., May 7, 1761. He moved to Stevensville, in Bradford Co., Pa., in the year 1794. He subsequently moved up the north branch of the Wyalusing creek, on the farm ever since known as the Salt-well farm. The surroundings of those brave heroes who changed the wilderness into fruitful fields were forbidding.
The only mill for preparing grain for food was a hole burned into the top of a stump, using a bent sapling for a spring-pole, with a heavy stick for a pestle, which answered a very good purpose for the neighbors for about ten years. He raised a family of eight children,--three Sons and five daughters. The oldest daughter taught the first school ever taught in Apolacon, Susquehanna Co., Pa., and was the first person married in the township. His death occurred in 1820, his neck being broken by a fall from a load of hay.
John, the subject of this sketch, was born in Middletown, Susquehanna Co., Pa., June 12, 1812, being only twelve years old at the time of his father's death; at which time his mother moved, with her children, to Apolacon, Susquehanna Co., oil a small farm near the Bradford County line, where, by thc combined efforts of both mother and children, they were enabled to keep the family scantily clothed and fed. Early learning the lesson of self-reliance, he indentured himself, at the age of' eighteen, to the shoe and tanners' trade, with the Hon. Zebulon Frisbie, of Orwell, Bradford Co., Pa. He remained three years, and made the acquaintance of the family of Col. Theron Darling, who came to Orwell in the year 1798, and married Sally Russell in 1802.
He subsequently married their daughter, Adaline, July 7, 1833. His early discipline of mind to habits of industry found full scope in his new home, established in the north part of Warren, Bradford Co., Pa., where he bought a piece of land and commenced the manufacture of boots and shoes, and in a few years established a tannery, to which he gave the most of his attention for about sixteen years.
He then gave up the business to more fully engage in farming, which was always more congenial to his tastes. He raised two children,--one son and one daughter.
His business relations have always been diversified. He has employed more labor to carve out farms and bring them always took an active part in the civil, political, and educational interests of his town and county. He was always generous to those in want, and to his public spirit Warren owes much of its material prosperity. He has been frequently chosen to positions of trust by his fellow-citizens, and always discharged the duties of those he accepted with honor to himself and fidelity to the public weal. He was chosen county commissioner in 1864. His public policy was to equalize taxation and economize expenditures; as fruits of this policy, during his term the county tax was reduced one third, and a county debt of $6000 paid. He is, at this time, living on the farm he originally purchased, enjoying the results of his early industry, and the blessings of an honorable reputation well earned: surrounded by the family of his son R. S. Beardslee, who succeeds him in his business.
The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Warren, June 15, 1820. He is a son of Nathan and Lucy Young, who emigrated from New Hampshire to Bradford County in 1815, locating in Warren Township. His father died at the advanced age of eighty-two years, after having been prominently identified with the growth and development of Warren for many years. Mr. Young received a good common-school education. He taught school winters and worked on his father's farm summers. He was married, Nov. 8, 1843, to Miss Phoebe Coburn, who died a short time after her marriage. He married for his second wife, Sept. 9, 1846, Miss Nancy Bowen, a daughter of George and Sarah Bowen, who emigrated from Providence, R. I., to Bradford County in an early day. The result of this marriage was the birth of three children, viz., Irvin M., Isabel, and George G., of whom only Irvin M. is now living. Mr. Young owns a beautiful farm. A cut of his residence, barns, etc., can be seen on another page of this work. He has been an active member of the Republican party since its organization; has held many town offices, the duties of which he has performed with spotless integrity; has been a member of thc Presbyterian church for many years; is in fair health, and will probably enjoy life for many years to come.
The subject of this sketch was born in Salisbury, Conn., July 19, 1792. He is a son of Michael and Ruth Dewing. He came with his mother, when he was but nine years of age, to Warren, Bradford Co., Pa. His early educational advantages were quite limited, owing to the absence of schools. At the age of twenty-one he began to earn the means of his own support. He soon after bought a strip of land, upon which he now resides, clearing it himself. He was married April 1, 1820, to Miss Elizabeth Fahnstock, of Harrisburg. She died in July of the following year. He married for his second wife Miss Nancy Dobson, of Susquehanna county. They had born to them four children, viz.: George F., Ann C., Ervine M., and Andrew Jr., all of whom are still living, and well settled in life. Mr. Dewing has been an active member of the Republican party ever since its organization, and has been a prominent member of the Presbyterian church of Warren fbr many years.
By his industry and perseverance he has amassed a handsome property. A cut of his farm, buildings, etc., can be seen by referring to another page of this work. Mr. I)e-wing is still living, at the advanced age of eighty-six years.
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