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Full text of "Arthur George Olmsted, son of a Pennsylvania pioneer; boy orator of Ulysses; for the freedom of the slave; defense of the Union; development of the northern tier; citizen, jurist, statesman"

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GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



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ARTHUR GEOP-GE OLMSTED 




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ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

SON OF A PENNSYLVANIA PIONEER; BOY ORATOR OP 

ULYSSES: FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE SLAVE; 

DEFENSE OF THE UNION; DEVELOPMENT 

OF THE NORTHERN TIER; CITIZEN. 

JURIST, STATESMAN. 



By 
RUFUS BARRETT STONE 




PHILADELPHIA 

THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY 

1919 



Copyright, 1919, by 
RuFus Babbett Stonb. 



1450908 












"He lives twice who lives well.** 

— Olmsted Ancestral Motto. 



\ 



PREFACE 

THE generation in which a man of dis- 
tinction has lived becomes familiar 
with the significant incidents of his 
career. But if he has survived to a great age 
and gradually retired from public view, while 
the visible results of his genius, his public 
spirit, his philanthropy, remain as the me- 
mentos of his mature years, the story of his 
earlier life becomes dim, and the perfect 
whole can only be restored by retracing the 
steps of his upward pathway. It is due to the 
community in which he lived, to the people 
and the state which he served, that some 
account of the notable incidents of his ancestry 
and the circumstances of his youth should be 
preserved, and some connected record made 
of the leading events which marked the 
contemporary history of the community of 
which he was a part, and which gave impres- 
sion to his character in its formative period 
and to the development of his ripening 
faculties. The history, itself, is incomplete 
without the relation which he bore to it, the 

(7) 



8 PREFACE 

part taken by him, which, perchance, gave to 
occurrences then transpiring some distinctive 
form and significant direction towards results 
of historical consequence. In the span of 
life of one who, from youth to old age, lived 
in a pioneer county of northern Pennsylvania, 
and became influential in its settlement and 
progress, it is to be presumed that incidents in 
its growth were comprehended. So the stories 
of the community and the individual run 
parallel, and here and there are interwoven. 
Official distinctions, however high or numer- 
ous, though denoting public confidence, are 
not the truest measure of success in life. 
Neither Franklin, nor Edison, nor Longfellow, 
were elevated to the highest posts of official 
honor. Indeed, public service sometimes 
interrupts careers which, if left to normal 
courses, might evolve into far more important 
spheres of usefulness. Moreover, the call to 
office is not alone dependent upon qualities 
for service, but is more or less incidental, 
contingent upon environment, events, his- 
toric periods. So influential are these factors 
that, given the period and place, the parentage 
and ancestry, an attentive student of biog- 
raphy, with a sufficient knowledge of history, 



PREFACE 9 

local and general, could almost project and 
weave into a narrative, the prefigured inci- 
dents of a boy's life; or, if the course of life 
were run, looking backward over the actual 
events, could see where its natural develop- 
ment had been deflected or accelerated. It 
must, therefore, be considered that as youth 
develops to manhood and manhood to middle 
age, and so on, the influences exerted by the 
individual and his environment upon one 
another are doubly interesting. His con- 
tribution in its relation to locality and events 
is the true criterion of his success. 

In the preparation of this volume the 
writer has consulted both personal corre- 
spondence and published family histories, 
including the Genealogy of the Olmsted 
Family, by Rev. George K. Ward; An 
Abridged Genealogy of the Olmsted Family, 
by Elijah L. Thomas; Savage's Genealogi- 
cal Dictionary; American Ancestry; Genea- 
logical and Personal History of Northern 
Pennsylvania; also town and county his- 
tories, inclusive of histories of the counties 
of Potter, Cameron and McKean in Pennsyl- 
vania; of the counties of Delaware, Saratoga, 
Fulton and Ulster in New York; of the towns 



10 PREFACE 

of Norwalk, Ridgefield and Hartford, in 
Connecticut; Gazetteer of the State of New 
York, Twentieth Century of Bench and Bar, 
McClure's Recollections of Half a Century, 
Report of the Geological Survey of Potter 
County, Journals of the House and Senate of 
Pennsylvania; also files of the Potter County 
Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Press, Evening 
Telegraph, North American and United States 
Gazette. 

Acknowledgment for courtesies is also ex- 
tended to Mr. F. S. Hammond, of Syracuse, 
N. Y.; Mr. C. S. Heverly, Towanda, Pa.; Mr. 
Oscar J. Harvey, Wilkesbarre, Pa.; to the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Widener 
Public Library of Philadelphia, State Library 
of Pennsylvania, Grosvenor Library and Pub- 
lic Library of Buffalo, Connecticut State 
Library, and to the respective offices of the 
Adjutants General of the United States and 
of the States of New York, Massachusetts and 
Connecticut. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



Preface 7 

I Following the Mayflower 15 

II The Cradle of the Republic . . 24 

III In the Revolution S3 

IV On Two Frontiers 39 

V Boyhood and Schooldays 53 

VI Lyceum, Library, Law-Office . . 64 

VII For Abolition and the Union. . 88 

VIII From Home Life to Harrisburg 108 

IX The Speakership in 1865 124 

X Service in the Senate 140 

XI State Leader and Candidate . . 170 
XII As Lawyer and Judge 208 

XIII Rounding the Years 234 

XIV Four-Score and Seven 248 

Index 261 



(11) 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Portrait of Arthur G. Olmsted Frontispiece 



PAGE 



His Manuscript 14 

Draft from Shaffer's Map 44 

connecticut-susquehanna townships 47 

East and West Highway 48 

Fountain-head of Rivers 49 

Prehistoric Battle-ground 51 

Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buf- 
falo R. R 150 

Manuscript of Gov. Geary 163 

Manuscript of Gen. Kane 174 

Statesmen of the Northern Tier 

Facing page 238 

Sources of Population 244 

Manuscript of Gov. Hartranft 249 

Signature of Thomas H. Murray 254 



(13) 



A-tr-?.'^ ^^^-z^^C /^c^^^^J^ /t^-<i_ /x,,.^r-t-^ — 

— ^From the manuscript of Arthur G. Olmsted. 




CHAPTER I 

Following the Mayflower 

No home for these I — too well they knew 
The mitred king behind the throne; — 

The sails were set, the pennons flew. 
And westward ho ! Jor worlds unknown. 

And these were they who gave us birth. 

The Pilgrims of the sunset wave. 
Who won for us this virgin earth. 

And freedom with the soil they gave. 

— Holmes. 

THE English birthplace of the Olmsted 
family was in old Essex^ (East Saxon), 
between Cambridge and Braintree.^ 
These rolling uplands constituted the heart of 
the agricultural district tributary to London. 
Land titles, not held by socage, free or villein, 
were becoming settled into tenures of frankal- 
moigne, grand serjeanty or copyhold, and the 

1 "Bounded on the east and south by the German Ocean and the River Thames; 
by Suffolk and Cambridgeshire on the north, and by Hertfordshire and Middlesex 
on the west." — Wright's Encyclopmdic Repository (London). 

2 The ancient English seat of the Olmsted family has been long identified. Allu- 
sion is made to the parish of "Elmsted" in "Doomsday Book" for the County of 
Essex in the reported survey made under WiUiam the Conqueror in 1086. The 
name is Saxon, ' Elm " and ' sted, " meaning the place of elms. It was also written 
Almesteda, Enmested. Is this parish, later known as Bumsted-Helion in Cam- 

(15) 



16 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

inhabitants, whose prayers were answered 
in great annual harvests of coriander, canary 
and caraway, were already searching and 
fertile for the seed of new thought — if only 
freedom of thought had been vouchsafed. 
There were days when the odors of the sea 
wafted inward over the fens their suggestions 
of other shores; and on the Blackwater ocean 
ships were setting their sails. 

When James Olmsted, the first of the 
colonists, set out for America, he left the 
eastern counties of England in a state of 
intense religious commotion. Luther had 
nailed his ninety -five theses to the door of the 
Wittenberg church, and the blows of his 
hammer had been heard across the English 
Channel. Calvin, too, had spread dissent. 
The government was alarmed, and sought to 
suppress the uprising with an iron hand. 
A statute was enacted "for abolishing diver- 
sity of opinions." The people of England, 
according to the historian Green, had become 

bridgeshire, near the present town of Braintree, the ancestral home was Bituated. 
As early as 1242, it was occupied by Maurice de Olmstede, and earlier by Martin 
de Olmsted, who was the donor of lands to the fraternity of the Knights Templar. 
The modification of the name is perhaps due to the fact that the manor was sur- 
rounded by a moat, since the Saxon word "holm" signified an island. _ The house, 
still well preserved, and now included in the property of the University of Cam- 
bridge, is a long low structure of stone and plaster, with thatched roof. Since the 
fifteenth century it has been known as Olmsted Hall. It is thought that this designa- 
tion is due to the fact that within its walls at one time courts were held. — Wrighl't 
Index, Vol. II, pp. 769-60; American Ancestry, IV, p. 29. 



FOLLOWING THE MAYFLOWER 17 

"the people of a book, and that book was the 
Bible." The Puritans pleaded in vain for the 
liberty of interpretation. They were pursued 
to their hiding places.^ Nevertheless, they 
multiplied. "A great number of the Fathers 
of the American States," says Guizot, "had 
frequented their assemblages." A law was 
enacted forbidding persons over five in num- 
ber, and over sixteen years of age, unless of 
one family, to meet for domestic or social 
worship. Thus persecuted, the people in 1592 
petitioned the privy council for permission to 
come to unexplored America, for freedom to 
worship God "As in conscience persuaded 
by His Word." Although the petition was 
ignored, the dissenters increased. Perpetual 
discussion prevailed. Surely it was "no mean 
school for intellectual training." Raleigh, a 
year later, speaking in parliament, said that 
there were twenty thousand who attended 
conventicles. They were mainly residents of 
the counties along and near the eastern coast, 
Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex and Cam- 



1 "They were imprisoned and scourged; their noses were slit; their ears were 
cut off; their cheeks were marked with a red hot brand. But the lash and the 
shears and the glowing iron could not destroy principles which were rooted in the 
soul, and which danger made it glorious to profess. . . . The dungeon, the pillory 
and the scaffold were stages in the progress of civil liberty towards its triumph." — 
Bancroft's Hist, of V . S., Vol. 2, page 320. 

2 



18 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

bridge, including the notable seats of learning^ 
and centers of wealth. How completely the 
growing purpose of the liberty-loving people 
of these counties to transplant their ideal 
England to the shores of America was ulti- 
mately realized is denoted by the fact that the 
counties bordering on Massachusetts Bay were 
given the identical names of the English 
counties, and ere long became a veritable New 
England to the eager immigrants, who carried 
with them the love of their native land. 

The decade to come was one of repressed 
religious yearning, of persecution and ferment. 
At length the little church of the Pilgrims 
escaped to Holland. The Mayflower sailed 
and returned. Meantime Cambridge had 
become the center of revolt. It was here 
and in the neighboring communities of Essex 
that Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, both 
of Emmanuel College, dared to preach the 
doctrine of the freedom of the conscience. 
King James declared: "I will make them 
conform, or I will harry them out of the 
land, or else worse — only hang them; that's 
all." The beckoning of freedom toward 



1 Fiske, however, comparing the two great universities, notes the "greater 
conservatism" of Ojuord, and the "greater hospitality of Cambridge towards new 



ideas. 



FOLLOWING THE MAYFLOWER 19 

America became irresistible. Cromwell sym- 
pathized with the Puritans, and would have 
sailed with them, but was taken from the 
departing vessel by order of the King, a 
circumstance by which a new direction was 
given to the history of England.^ Hampden, 
too, was eager to throw in his lot with the 
colonists, and though he remained in Eng- 
land, he ultimately aided them to procure a 
royal charter. 

Within the Cambridge sphere of influence 
were the Essex homes of James Olmsted and 
his brother Richard. They had thrived under 
the wise economic maxim of Elizabeth: "The 
money which is in the pockets of my subjects is 
as useful to me as that in my treasury." 
They were the owners of large estates, and 
while it is not recorded that they left all to 
follow in the wake of the Mayflower, the 
purpose to emigrate could not have been 
contemplated without anticipating material 
sacrifice. 

The decision involved more to them than 
can now be easily reckoned. It implied the 



* Four years later (1641) when Parliament had by a majority of eleven votes 
passed the remonstrance, Oliver Cromwell said: "If the remonstrance had been 
rejected, I would have sold all I have in the morning and never would have seen 
England more, and I know there are many honest men of the same resolution."— 
Quizot't Hittory of England, Vol. II, p. 444. 



20 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

utmost individual risk for the cause of religious 
liberty. Their leadership and influence at 
this juncture could hardly have been over- 
rated by their exiled compatriots.^ 

These brothers, James and Richard, were 
children of James, Jr. (and Jane Bristow), of 
Great Leighs, County of Essex, born about 
1550, who was one of three sons of James, 
whose wife was Alice, and who was a descend- 
ant of Richard, born about 1430, these facts 
being verified by the church records of 
Fairsted and Great Leighs.^ 

When the time for departure came, it 
seemed best that Richard should remain in 
England, presumably to better dispose of 
his own and his brother's affairs, for of his 
intention to go there can be little doubt, since 
his three children, Richard, John and Rebecca, 
accompanied their uncle James. Their father, 
however, did not survive to join them in their 
New England home. Besides these children 
of his brother, James was accompanied by his 

• "It was not a mere party of adventurers gone forth to seek their fortune 
beyond seas, but the germ of a great nation wafted by Providence to a predestined 
shore. . . . These men possessed, in proportion to their number, a greater mass 
of intelligence than is to be found in any European nation of our own time. . . . 
Nor did they cross the Atlantic to improve their situation or to increase their wealth; 
it was a purely intellectual craving which called them from the comforts of their 
former homes; _ and in facing the inevitable sufferings of exile, their object was the 
triumph of an idea." — De Tocguetille's Democracy in America, Vol. I, pp. 38-40. 

2 Address of Prof. Everett W. Olmsted, Olmsted Genealogy, by Olmsted and 
Ward, p. XV. 



FOLLOWING THE MAYFLOWER 21 

own sons, Nicholas and Nehemiah, and by a 
goodly number of his Essex neighbors. There 
were one hundred and twenty-three pas- 
sengers, including fifty children. They sailed 
from Braintree, a river port in their own 
county, in the ship Lyon under Captain 
Pierce, and after a voyage of twelve weeks 
arrived in Boston harbor, on Sunday, the 
sixteenth day of September, 1632. They 
settled first at Mount Wollaston, now Quincy, 
near Boston, but in the course of the year 
"by order of the Court," they removed to 
Newtown, soon to be known as Cambridge, a 
name dear to these heroic exiles. Hooker 
and Stone, when they landed a little later, 
found the larger part of their Cambridge 
congregation awaiting them at the wharf. 

The entire Massachusetts colony then num- 
bered but little more than a thousand souls. 
John Winthrop, of Groton, in English Suffolk, 
had been chosen governor. Among those who 
had come over on the previous voyage of the 
Lyon was Roger Williams, the founder in 
New England of the Baptist faith. The year 
had been notable, too, for the visit of the 
Sagamore of the Mohegans from the banks of 
the Connecticut. He came to extol the 



22 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

fertility of the lands of the river valley, and to 
solicit an English plantation as a reinforce- 
ment against the Pequods. 

Richard Olmsted, the elder of the young 
immigrants of the Olmsted name, was nearly 
twenty-one years of age when he stepped 
ashore, having been baptized at Fairsted in 
Essex, February 20, 1612. The invitation of 
the Mohegans appealed to his spirit of 
adventure, and to the vigor of his young man- 
hood. Besides, he and his companions were 
in revolt against the theocratic government 
of the Bay Colony. He enlisted with a 
number of his Cambridge comrades for the 
proposed expedition. Westward to the Con- 
necticut was an unexplored region.^ Under 
the inspiration of Hooker and Stone, who 
already had a vision of a true government 
conceived by them on shipboard, they struck 
out into the wilderness, and after many days 
of hardship and danger, reached the river 
bank, and founded a settlement to which they 
afterwards gave the name of Hartford, after 



1 Extract from Winthrop's Journal: "June 30, 1636. Mr. Hooker, pastor of 
the church at New Town, and the most of his congregation, went to Connecticut. 
Etis wife was carried in a horse-litter; and they drove one hundred and sixty cattle 
and fed of their milk by the way." Trumbull says: "This adventure was the more 
remarkable as many of this company were persons of figure, who had lived in Eng- 
land in honor, affluence and delicacy, and were entire strangers to fatigue and danger." 



FOLLOWING THE MAYFLOWER 23 

the county seat of old Hartford,^ the birth- 
place of Samuel Stone. There could not 
have been more than fifty persons in the 
settlement, for as late as 1637 there were, 
according to Bancroft, but one hundred and 
eighty in the three towns of the colony, 
Hartford, Windsor and Weathersfield, noting 
that he says the force organized in that year 
to prosecute the Pequod war numbered about 
sixty men, *' one-third of the whole colony.'* 
Richard Olmsted was one of the original pro- 
prietors in this colony. He was a soldier in 
the colonial army. His native qualities of 
leadership were soon recognized. He was 
elected a sergeant, and quickly promoted to a 
lieutenancy. The enemy was defeated. 

'Pronounced "Harford." 



CHAPTER II 

At the Cradle of the Republic 

THE colony effected an organization 
under a constitution adopted Janu- 
ary 14, 1639. It was an epochal 
organic document, being the first in the 
series of American consitutions, and it has 
never since been materially altered.^ Hooker 
had been restive and rebellious under the 
theocratic commonwealth projected for the 
Bay Colony. "The foundation of author- 
ity,'* said he in an election sermon preached 
before the general court in May, 1638, "is laid 
in the free consent of the people, to whom the 
choice of public magistrates belongs by God's 
own allowance." In further exposition to 
Winthrop, Hooker wrote: 

"In matters of greater consequence, which 
concern the common good, a general council, 
chosen by all, to transact businesses which 
concern all, I conceive, under favor, most 
suitable to rule, and most safe for rehef of 



1 Says John Fiske: "It was the first written constitution known to history 
that created a government, and it marked the beginnings of American democracy. ' 

(24) 



CRADLE OF THE REPUBLIC 25 

the whole. This was the practice of the 
Jewish church, and the approved experience 
of the best ordered states." 

Thus, from the beginning, Connecticut was 
constituted an independent republic. The 
prescribed oath of office recognized no higher 
authority. It bound the magistrates "to 
administer justice" according to the laws 
here established, and for want thereof accord- 
ing to the word of God." It was a brave 
renunciation of the doctrine of the "Divine 
right of Kings." 

Richard Olmsted, scarce twenty-eight years 
of age, took part in this organization of the 
colony he had fought to save from the 
destruction for which it had been marked by 
the savage Pequods. He was elected a 
delegate to the first legislature, called the 
"General Court," and thereafter for many 
years was repeatedly chosen to take part in 
its deliberations. He held other less impor- 
tant offices. His dwelling-house in Hartford 
was on the west side of Main Street, at No. 49. 
The site in later years has been occupied by 
the Central Church and 4he old burying- 
ground. 

Two years after the adoption of the Con- 



26 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

necticut constitution all the colonies of New 
England united in a formal confederation, and 
John Winthrop was elected president. Then 
followed a decade of peaceful colonial growth. 
By the middle of the seventeenth century the 
population of New England had increased to 
twenty-one thousand. Two hundred ninety- 
eight ships had borne them across the ocean. 
In ten years fifty towns and villages had been 
planted. Still religion, as in the land they 
had left, was the uppermost theme. While 
Roger Williams, brave pioneer of intellectual 
freedom, was a welcome visitor at Hartford, 
the Baptist doctrine which he taught was a 
new source of agitation. From the Rhode 
Island colony, also, came Samuel Gorton, 
proclaiming that heaven was not a place, that 
there was no heaven but in the hearts of good 
men, no hell but in the mind; and later came 
the exiled Quakers. Nevertheless, to the 
inhabitants whose lives had hitherto been 
harassed by the oppressions of the crown, 
these were the "halcyon days of peace.'* 
"These days," says the historian, "never 
will return. Time, as it advances, unfolds 
new scenes in the grand drama of human exis- 
tence, scenes of more glory, of more wealth, of 



CRADLE OF THE REPUBLIC 27 

more action, but not of more tranquillity and 
purity." 

Richard Olmsted, in 1651, had arrived at 
the age of thirty-nine. Hooker, the beloved 
pastor and incomparable colonial leader, had 
died, and theological controversies were again 
arising. A treaty with the Dutch governor 
had been signed at Hartford, defining terri- 
torial claims, and relieving from controversy 
the royal charter which had been procured for 
the English colonists, by Hampden, the great 
Commoner, and his associates, extending from 
Point Judith westward to the Pacific Ocean. 
Wide opportunities seemed to be opening. 
The settlements of New England were expand- 
ing toward the West. It was sufficient to stir 
the imagination and stimulate the ambition 
of one in the vigor of life, as was Richard 
Olmsted. He had in some humble degree 
helped to fashion at Hartford a new form of 
government among men, based upon the will 
of the people, the freedom of the conscience, 
the separation of church and state, a civil code 
which was to become the framework of the 
future republic. Now, he aspired to found a 
town, and mold and develop it after his own 
plan. About ten years before he had acquired 



28 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

grants of considerable land^ about sixty-eight 
miles southwest of Hartford, near the mouth 
of a little stream emptying into Long Island 
Sound, and to it, "defying the dangers of 
wild beast and Indians,'* he removed with his 
own and nineteen other families. He had 
two sons, James and John, and a daughter, 
who died in infancy, all children of his first 
wife. Although twice married, as disclosed 
by his will,^ no particulars of either marriage 
are recorded. The settlement at length 
became centered in a place called Norwalk, 
now a flourishing city of twenty thousand 
people. Here he spent his mature life. The 
town grew as he designed. He was its 
representative in General Court, from year 
to year. He was sergeant of its military com- 
pany.^ At the outbreak of King Philip's 
War (1675), he was sixty-three years of age. 
The growth of the colonies had encroached 
upon the Indian hunting grounds. The reli- 
gion of the white man was a source of irrita- 
tion. Massasoit had tried in vain to preclude 



1 "He had large grants of land in Fairfield, which then embraced a consider- 
able territory, portions of which were narrow strips running back from the coast 
about six miles, to the present town of Redding, and including lands since known as 
Chestnut Hill and Buckingham Ridge; also grants on the site of Norwalk, the same 
being recorded on page 1 of Vol. I of Norwalk Land Records." 

2 Will dated Sept. 5, 1684, recorded in Book III, p. 217, Fairfield Probate Records. 
8 Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England, Vol. Ill, p. 312. 



CRADLE OF THE REPUBLIC 29 

by treaty any attempt to convert his warriors 
from the religion of their race. War was to 
the Indians an unwelcome alternative. "They 
rose without hope, and they fought without 
mercy. For them as a nation there was no 
tomorrow." The white settlers, too, were 
appalled at the prospect of war. Superstition 
ran wild. At the eclipse of the moon an 
Indian scalp was seen imprinted on its disk, 
A perfect Indian bow appeared in the sky. 
The sighing of the wind became the whistling 
of bullets. Invisible troops of horses were 
heard galloping through the air. In such a 
terror-stricken community Richard Olmsted 
was the leader to whom the settlers turned for 
heroic guidance. He was chosen captain of a 
company of militia, and led it through that 
bloody year of ambuscade and surprise, of fire 
and pillage, to the end of the most destructive 
war ever visited upon New England. 

At the close of the war Captain Olmsted 
was again returned to a seat in the legis- 
lature, and for several successive terms was 
re-elected. He died in 1686, seventy-four 
years of age. His will was signed two years 
before his death. It is on file at Fairfield, 
the county seat. 



30 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

His son, John Olmsted, who, with James, 
his brother, shared the property of their uncle, 
John Olmsted, at his decease, was baptized at 
Hartford, December 30, 1649. By his father's 
will he acquired the parental homestead and 
other valuable real estate. He married 
(July 1, 1673) Mary Benedict, daughter of 
Thomas and Mary (Bridgeman) Benedict, of 
Southfield, Long Island, and upon her demise 
he married Elizabeth (Pardie), widow of 
Thomas Gregory. He left the parental 
homestead at Norwalk, and took up his 
residence at Hartford. In 1699 and again in 
1703 he was chosen selectman, and in the 
military company he was a lieutenant. He 
died in 1704. His will is not recorded, but in 
the inventory of his estate the names and 
approximate ages of his children appear.^ 
Among his children were two sons, of whom 
Richard, the younger, was born in 1692, and 
Daniel ten years earlier. Richard married 
(April 22, 1714) Mary Betts (who was born 
September 10, 1693, and died January 31, 
1786), daughter of Samuel and Judith (Rey- 
nolds) Betts. 

These two young men seem to have in- 

1 Detcendanta of Captain Richard Olmsted, by Hammond. 



CRADLE OF THE REPUBLIC 31 

herited the enterprise and pioneer spirit of 
their grandfather, for, as early as 1708, before 
either was married, they had negotiated the 
purchase of twenty thousand acres from the 
Indian sachem Catoonah, and his associates 
of the Ramapoo tribe. This tract was a part 
of the unsettled wilderness, about thirteen 
miles north of Norwalk, lying along the 
eastern boundary of New York. The con- 
sideration was one hundred English pounds. 
The purchase was sanctioned by the general 
assembly sitting at Hartford. The two 
brothers and twenty-two others, of Norwalk 
and Milford, formed a colony and settled on 
this tract. When the settlement became a 
town, it was called Ridgefield, the name which 
it still bears. 

Richard Olmsted served as town clerk in 
1712, when barely twenty-one years of age.* 
What other offices he may have subsequently 
held is not now known, but he was called 
Captain Olmsted. Hence it is to be inferred 
that he was a captain of the Ridgefield com- 
pany in the state militia. He died October 
16, 1776, eighty-four years of age. 



' The elder brother, Daniel, represented the town in the state legislature in the 
years 1742 and 1743. 



32 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

His son, Daniel Olmsted, one of ten children, 
was born in Ridgefield September 22, 1731. 
In 1753 he married Elizabeth Northrop, who 
was born in Milford, Connecticut, about 1735, 
and died April 30, 1822. 



CHAPTER III 
In the Revolution 

NO battles of consequence after Con- 
cord, Lexington and Bunker Hill, 
were fought on New England soil, 
excepting the battles of Ridgefield and Ben- 
nington. In both of the latter instances, as 
in the march of the British to Concord, their 
aim was to secure or destroy a store of mili- 
tary supplies, and in each battle the Americans 
were victorious. 

On the 26th day of April, 1777, a British 
force under Tryon, the Royalist Governor of 
New York, marched inland as far as Danbury, 
Connecticut, where they destroyed not only 
a considerable quantity of supplies but also 
the principal part of the town. The his- 
torian Johnston thus describes^ what fol- 
lowed : 

"There were some Continental soldiers in 
the neighborhood, and two officers of rank, 
Wooster and Arnold. The latter rallied all 



1 Johnston's ConnectictU, p. S04. 
» (33) 



34 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the men available, regulars and militia, and 
headed Tryon on his retreat, at Ridgefield 
(a few miles south of Danbury). In the 
battle Wooster was mortally wounded, and 
Tryon broke through and resumed his way 
to the Sound. Arnold kept up the pursuit 
until the British took refuge on the shipping 
and sailed away." 

Daniel Olmsted, then about forty-six years 
of age, was one of the six hundred Continental 
soldiers who rallied under Arnold that April 
day to throw up a barricade at the cross- 
roads in Ridgefield, and give battle to the 
British. The representation that they were 
rallied by Arnold is not historically accurate. 
In fact, the reverse is true. Arnold was a 
native of Norwalk, and happened to be a 
visitor in a neighboring town. Captain 
Isaac Hines, of Colonel Nehemiah Bardsley's 
regiment, commanded the militia company at 
Ridgefield, and as soon as he learned of the 
British raid upon Danbury, nothing is more 
probable than that he sent for both Arnold 
and Wooster. But how were the soldiers 
rallied? Who played the part of Paul Revere 
and carried the alarm to Fairfield, Bedford 
and Norwalk? It was Daniel Olmsted who 



1450908 

IN THE REVOLUTION S5 

mounted his horse and rode.^ He was a 
private in Captain Hines' Company, and had 
already been put to test as a guard over a 
group of his Tory neighbors arrested as 
"persons inimical to the United States of 
America."^ 

Accelerated, doubtless, by this British raid 
upon Danbury, the destruction of property 
along its course, and continued danger of like 
hostile invasion from the ports of the Sound, ^ 
a considerable number of the inhabitants of 
Ridgefield and its vicinity decided upon a 
removal of their families westward to some 
settlement beyond the Hudson, and Stillwater, 
in the neighborhood of Ballston, in the county 
of Albany (now Saratoga), New York, was 
chosen as the destination. The historian of 
Saratoga County refers to the settlement of 
Ballston as "just about coeval with the 
removal of the Connecticut colony to Still- 
water."* Among these colonists was the 
family of Daniel Olmsted, and there is good 
ground for presumption that he was a leader 
in the movement. The death of his father had 



1 Daniel Olmsted may not have been the only messenger, but his own service if 
attested in the pay abstract of the company for horse travel. — Connecticvt Hutorical 
Society Collections. Vol. VIII:200. 

» Connecticut Archives, Rev. Ist Ser. VIII:216. 

i An apprehension verified by Tryon's destruction of Norwalk, July 11, 1779. 

* Eittory of Saratoga County by Sylvester (1878), p. 246 



36 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

broken the last parental tie, and two of his 
children were in their infancy. Moreover, 
for many years the Connecticut Colony had 
become aware of the wealth of material 
resources lying along the headwaters of the 
Susquehanna and Delaware, within its royal 
grant. It was twenty-three years (in 1753) 
before his father's death (though Daniel had 
then but just passed his twenty-second birth- 
day) when the Connecticut- Susquehanna 
Company was formed to purchase the Indian 
title to lands on the waters of the Susque- 
hanna, within the limits of the Colony of 
Connecticut. The company was composed 
of eight hundred and forty persons (afterwards 
increased to twelve hundred), and included a 
large proportion of the leading men of the 
colony. The purchase was consummated, 
and deed procured, dated July 11, 1754. 
A similar association, called The Delaware 
Company, bought the Indian title to all land 
bounded east by the Delaware River, within 
the forty-second degree of latitude, west to 
the line of the Susquehanna purchase (which 
extended ten miles east of that river). It is 
not improbable, and subsequent events afford 
support to the view, that the removal to 



IN THE REVOLUTION 37 

Ballston was but a step towards the promised 
land. Beyond was the region of the Iroquois, 
then in league with the British. The Seneca 
and other hostile tribes were on the war path, 
and a reign of terror among the white settlers 
presently culminated in the Wyoming mas- 
sacre on the 30th day of June, 1778. 

With the record cited relating to the battle 
of Ridgefield, Daniel Olmsted passed out of 
service in Connecticut as a soldier of the War 
of the Revolution, but he soon afterwards 
reappeared as a private in Captain Thomas 
Hick's Company of Colonel Jacobus Van 
Schoonhaven's regiment (Half Moon and 
Ballston districts),^ and subsequently himself 
rose to a captaincy. No account remains of 
the meritorious action by reason of which he 
gained promotion. 

Daniel Olmsted was a taxpayer in the 
Ballston district in 1779, and in the list of the 
31st of December of that year he was assessed 
a tax of five pounds twelve shillings and six- 
pence upon a valuation of one hundred and 
fifty pounds.^ It was in the summer of that 

>The company and regiment are recited in Certificate No. 19928 for 15«. B^d., 
dated 7 November, 1779. — Cerlificates of Treasurer (Manuscript record), Vol. 4, 
Ms9. section, University of the State of New York. Like mention on list in ofiBce 
of Adjutant General, United States War Department (2253205). 

» Hittory of Saratoga County, by Sylvester, p. 250. 



38 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

year that the expedition of General Brodhead 
from Fort Pitt to destroy the Indian villages 
on the upper waters of the Allegheny, and 
the expedition of General Sullivan northward 
through the Indian country of central New 
York, came almost to a point of junction near 
Olean. The Iroquois fled before them, but a 
harassing warfare continued year after year, 
receiving encouragement from the garrisons of 
the British border forts, until, on the 20th day 
of August, 1794, the Northwestern Indians 
were routed by Mad Anthony Wayne at the 
battle of Fallen Timbers. This was almost 
immediately followed by a general treaty of 
peace with the Indians, and emigration from 
the East began to be resumed. 



CHAPTER IV 
On Two Frontiers 

WITHOUT delay upon the close of his 
military service, Daniel Olmsted set 
out, probably alone, for the country 
of the upper Delaware. Jay Gould, noted as 
a financier, himself a native of Delaware 
County, while a youthful surveyor, and then 
a resident of the county, wrote its history, 
though he afterwards tried to suppress the 
work by buying up the printed copies. It 
was published in 1856. It contains this 
passage relating to the pioneers: 

"The following information in relation to 
the early settlements was derived principally 
from Cyrus Burr, a highly respectable citizen 
of Andes, and formerly and for a number of 
years, supervisor of that town. The family of 
Mr. Burr moved into the county in 1794, and 
settled in what was then called Middletown, 
Ulster County, but now Andes, Delaware 
County, at which time the entire town, 
except a few farms along the river, was one 
unbroken wilderness. The first farm border- 
(39) 



40 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

ing on the river below the Middletown line 
was owned by James Phenix, who was among 
the first that emigrated after the Revolution. 
He had occupied the place before the war, 
but had retired for safety during that period. 
A man by the name of Olmsted, who came in 
about the same time, possessed the second 
farm." 

Presuming the latter to have been none 
other than Daniel Olmsted, he must have soon 
rehnquished his clearing on the river, for he 
is recorded about the same time as a settler a 
few miles farther west at or about the settle- 
ment afterwards known as Masonville. The 
Gazetteer of the State of New York,^ published 
in 1859, mentions Daniel Farnsworth and one 
Pross as the first settlers on the present site 
of Davenport Center, and continues as follows: 
"Among the other first settlers were Hum- 
phrey Denio, George Webster, Daniel Olm- 
sted, Van Valkenburg, Harmon Moore 

and Elisha Orr." Walter Scott, a contributor 
to the county history ,2 referring to the accred- 
ited priority of Farnsworth and Pross, adds: 

"But they could not have much preceded 
Daniel Olmsted, who settled on the farm now 



> Page 260, note 12. 

* Centennial History of Delaware County, p. 326 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 41 

occupied by the widow of Chauncey Olmsted, 
for Mr. Alexander Shellman informs me that 
his grandfather settled near the old Emmons 
hotel east of Oneonta about 1790, and that 
in making the journey to Schoharie the Olm- 
sted settlement was the first one passed. 
The orchard on that farm is said to be the old- 
est one in town." 

Masonville, which so became the family 
settlement, was not formally set apart from 
Sidney until April 4, 1811. The town took 
its name from Rev. John M. Mason, the 
principal owner of the Evans patent of lands 
in this town. The surface of the region may 
be described as hilly upland, divided into two 
ridges by the valley of Bennett's Creek, which 
extends east and west through the north 
part of the town. These ridges are subdivided 
by numerous lateral ravines, through which 
flow small brooks. The highest summits are 
from six hundred to one thousand feet above 
the valleys and eighteen hundred to two thou- 
sand feet above tide. The soil is of shaly 
loam, stony and diflScult of cultivation except 
in the valleys. It is probable that the com- 
munity itself did not gain a population exceed- 
ing one hundred during the lifetime of 



42 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Daniel Olmsted. His wife having joined 
him early in his pioneer pilgrimage, the 
parental home was maintained at Masonville 
during the remainder of their respective lives. 
They had nine children, all of whom appear to 
have been born in their Connecticut home, 
Molly, the youngest, December 26, 1776, and 
Seneca about a year earlier.^ Molly married 
Lee, a Revolutionary soldier, and removed to 
Roxbury in Delaware County, three years 
before her father's death. Seneca grew to 
manhood at the parental home near Ballston, 
and not far from Broadalbin (organized in 
1793, now in Fulton County), gaining such 
education (mainly that of experience in earn- 
ing a livelihood) as a pioneer settlement then 
aJBForded. At the age of twenty-three (about 
1798) he married Elizabeth Hicks, presumed 
to be a relative, perhaps a daughter, of his 
father's Revolutionary captain (Thomas 
Hicks), and they almost immediately joined 
the little colony at Masonville, and established 
their home there. 
Daniel Olmsted died February 7, 1806, 

« F. S. Hammond, author of "Descendants of Captain Richard Olmsted," and 
an accredited contributor to the "Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America," 
in which valuable work a line of descent through Daniel's brother, Ezekiel, has 
been accepted, writes, January 21, 1918: "Now I am fully convinced that there is 
just one error in this, and that the name of Daniel Olmsted, Jr., should be substi- 
tuted for Ezekiel " This conclusion is abundantly confirmed. 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 43 

leaving to survive him his widow and several 
children, including Seneca, who had succeeded 
his father as a leader in the community. 
Seneca's wife did not long survive. She died 
in the year following, and thereupon it is 
probable that his widowed mother came to 
live with him and care for his three little 
children, of whom the eldest was but eight 
years of age. His name was Daniel (namesake 
of his grandfather), and he was born August 2, 
1799.^ He had a sister Lucy^ and a brother, 
Gardner Hicks.^ Seneca Olmsted is said to 
have been of robust frame, and possessed of 
great strength of mind and body. He and 
his mother exerted a very positive personal 
influence in Masonville and its vicinity. The 
first church in the town was formed December 
7, 1811, and it is easily to be believed that 
they were influential in its organization. It 
was of the denomination founded in New 
England by Roger Williams, the Baptist, to 
which the Olmsted family has most generally 
and continuously adhered. The widow of 



1 It is not unlikely that Daniel was born at Providence, Saratoga County, N. Y., 
while his mother was on a visit to relatives there, since the Olmsted Family Genealogy 
(Ward) mentions Providence as his birthplace. 

' Lucy grew to womanhood, and married William Rufus Sanford, of Marion, 
N.Y. . . ^ 

• Gardner Hicks Olmsted accompanied his elder brother Daniel to Ulysses, 
Pennsylvania, and later became a resident of Bennettsville, New York. 



44 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 




From Sheafer's Historical Map of Pennsylvania (by permission of 
the Historical Society of Penna.) designed to show Indian names of 
streams and villages and paths of travel. No Indian village or path 
appears to have existed in Tioga, and none in McKean excepting 
the one here shown and "Burnt Houses" on the western border; 
though in the latter coimty there are streams named Conondaw, 
Kinzua and Dunimgwa. 

Said Hon. Charles Tubbs, in his historical address at the Lycoming 
Centennial: "Northern Pennsylvania and the region of the Alle- 
gheny was a hunting ground into which the Senecas descended from 
the seat of their power on the Genessee, There were their castles 
and there they kindled their council fires." 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 45 

Daniel Olmsted died April 30, 1822. His 
grandson, Daniel, who was then twenty-three 
years of age, became the head of the family. 
On the first day of the following May (1823), 
he married Lucy Ann Schofield, of Masonville, 
born August 18, 1807, and therefore less than 
seventeen years of age, daughter of Lewis and 
Clarinda (Young) Schofield. They had six 
children, of whom the two eldest were born 
at Masonville. The other four were born at 
the later home of the family in Ulysses town- 
ship, in the county of Potter and State of 
Pennsylvania. 

Potter County is one of the Northern Tier 
counties of Pennsylvania, and the New York 
state line serves, therefore, as its northern 
boundary. It is within the strip claimed by 
the Connecticut-Susquehanna Company, along 
which its block-houses, once garrisoned, were 
established twenty miles apart.^ From the 
day that Daniel Olmsted, with the infant 
Seneca, took his departure from his Connecti- 
cut home, there is little doubt that these 
lands were contemplated as the ultimate 
destination of the family. Seneca Olmsted 

» The block-house in Deerfield Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, wa« 
the birth-place of F. W. Knox, Esq., a contemporary and business associate of the 
subject of this biography. 



46 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

and his son Daniel were true to the tradition. 
The Olmsted settlement, which became 
Masonville, was in a sense en route. During 
the period of their residence there, the long 
controversy over the title between Connec- 
ticut and Pennsylvania continued. The Con- 
necticut claimants under the Susquehanna 
Company repudiated the decision of the 
congressional tribunal at Trenton, and con- 
tinued their surveys. They prepared for 
resistance, and induced General Ethan Allen, 
the hero of Ticonderoga, to join them. But 
Pennsylvania, by successive acts of assembly, 
and the exertion of the power of the state in 
various ways, finally triumphed, and in the 
second decade of the nineteenth century, the 
legislative compromise offered by Pennsyl- 
vania had been generally accepted, and titles 
had become settled.^ So the father and son 



'While no comprehensive outline of this controversy can be here given, some 
aspects of it, not hitherto noted, are worthy of attention. By the Decree of the 
Council of Trenton, created by Congress, the claim of Connecticut to the land in 
Pennsylvania north of the 41st degree of latitude was rejected. But the Connecti- 
cut settlers contended that the decree affected only the controversy between the 
states, and was in no sense an adjudication of the claims of the Susquehanna Com- 
pany. Hence they ignored the decree, and the company proceeded to advance its 
settlements. A state of civil war ensued. The state administration of Pennsvl- 
vania sought to quell the trouble, not only by force of arms, but by diplomacy and 
palliating legislation. An Act of Assembly was passed March 98, 1787, known as 
the Confirming Law, designed to confirm certain titles in actual settlers. Never- 
theless, as late as February 18, 1795, the proprietors under the Susquehanna Com- 
pany, to the number of twelve hundred, assembled at Athens, and took further 
aggressive action. On the 4th day of April, 1799, the Pennsylvania Legislature 
enacted a law known as the Compensation Law, fixing a schedule of prices per 
acre, at which, upon payment to the state, the controverted titles might be con- 
firmed, supplemental legislation following during several successive sessions. But 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 



47 



.t,-f>^At.« 










I POTTER: 



i 



Townships created by the Connecticut-Susquehanna Company in 
1796. Grant of Lorana to Joshua Downer, Ezekiel Hyde and 
Samuel Ensign (they having exhibited sufficient vouchers of pro- 
prietorship) signed by John Franklin, Simon Spalding and Samuel 
Ensign, Commissioners, recorded (survey having been approved) in 
Liber F, page 112, of the Records of the Susquehanna Company. 

This map also shows the Allegheny Reservation of the Seneca 
Indian nation, lying across the river one-half mile in width on each 
side. It shows, too, the Cornplanter grant of 1,000 acres. 



these laws, in the excited state of the public mind, did not meet with general 
acceptance. 

The state administration, however, under the leadership of William Bingham, 
had already entered upon a parallel auxiliary course. Mr. Bingham was, at the 
time, not only rated as the wealthiest citizen of Pennsylvania, but also as its most 
influential political figure, having been a delegate in the Congress of 1787, and a 
representative of the government abroad. As Speaker of the Pennsylvania House 
in 1791 and President of the Senate in 1795, he was in a position of advantage to 
procure desired legislation. The plan in view was to throw Pennsylvania settlers 
in large numbers into the vacant lands in advance of the Susquehanna Company, 
and organize local governments therein under the laws of Pennsylvania. Doubtless 
this plan was conceived conjointly with the other master spirits of the common- 
wealth's cause, Timothy Pickering, Chief Justice McKean and Attorney General 
Bradford, but Mr. Bingham entered zealously into it. By Act of 1792, the price 
of these lands was reduced, and upon the same being offered for sale, he became the 
chief purchaser, particularly in Potter and adjoining counties, and many of the 
warrants so purchased by him in 1793 he proceeded to sell to John Keating and others 
who actively undertook to forward settlements. Thereupon Mr. Bingham was pro- 
moted immediately from the speakership of the State Senate to a seat in the United 
States Senate, in which body he served from 1795 to 1801, during which period he 
was for a time its presiding oiEcer. Meanwhile, in 1799, Thomas McKean became 
Governor, and proceeded to carry out the pre-arrangement for the establishment 
of local civil administration. But actual settlements had proceeded so slowly that 
when the Act of 1804 was passed, creating Potter and its companion counties, it 
was absolutely uninhabited. A further important step was to be taken. Just as 



48 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 




"East and West Road," the great state highway designed to 
bind settlers in allegiance to Pennsylvania who claimed homesteada 
under Connecticut title. (See note.) 

who at Masonville had watched the steps of 
the controversy, again turned toward the 
chosen land. The Gushing family with which 
they were closely allied preceded them, Samuel 
Gushing becoming one of the first county 
commissioners of Potter Gounty. The loca- 

fifty years later the Union Pacific Railroad was constructed to bind California to 
the Union, so in 1807 the East and West Road was projected by Act of Assembly to 
be built from a point "where the Coshecton and Great IJend Turnpike passes through 
the Moosic Mountains thence in a westerly direction to the western boundary of the 
state." It was such an assertion of the immediate and beneficent presence of the 
Btate in this region that there can be little doubt but that, as the construction erf the 
road progressed through the counties of Bradford, Tioga, Potter and McKean, it 
served as a bond to hold to the commonwealth the allegiance of the settlers. Thus, 
in the course of time, the sagacious policy of Senator Bingham prevailed, and the 
title contest was abandoned. This was not accomplished, however, without some 
reaction. As late as 1835 indignation meetings in Bradford County held up the 
proprietors as "Our lordly European and American landholders" who have "monop- 
olized for very small consideration a great portion of the land in Northern Penn- 
sylvania, contrary to the spirit of our free institutions," etc., and it was resolved 
that "until the trustees of the Bingham estate establish a title by a solemn decision 
of a court of competent jurisdiction," etc., "we will not pay another dollar to them 
or their agents." There was no difiiculty nor delay in procuring judicial recognition 
of the challenged title. 

An interesting episode in this controversy was afforded by the entrance of Gen- 
eral Ethan Allen. After the Trenton Decree which struck down the claim of Con- 
necticut to the disputed territory it was the plan of Colonel John Frankhn, the able 
leader of the Connecticut claimants, to organize the Northern Tier of Pennsylvapia 
Into a new state. To this end he summoned to his aid General Allen, who had just 
secured statehood for Vermont. He came, says Heverly, in "Bradford Pioneer and 
Patriot Families" (Vol. I, p. 178), in cocked hat and feathers, declaring that he had 
made one state and "By the Eternal God and the Continental Congress" he would 
make another. But he had been checkmated by Pickering, at whose instance the 
Pennsylvania Legislature had created the disturbed district into a new county, 
named Luzerne, a measure which divided the followers of Franklia and frustrated 
bis plan. 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 



49 



tion selected was about one hundred ten 
miles southwest of Masonville, an open " Cat- 
skill Region," according to the geologist, of 
which the present borough of Lewisville is 
near the center, and watered by Gushing Creek 




Potter County, the fountain-head of far-flowing rivers. 

and its tributary brooks. It is, however, not 
far from the famous crest, for along the 
borders of the township streams flow diversely 
southward to Chesapeake Bay, northward to 
Lake Ontario and southwest to the Gulf of 
Mexico. The historian writing in 1880 said: 

"The greater part of the township is still 
as wild as it was when the pioneers of Pike 



50 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Township looked in upon the wilderness, and 
nothing less than the necessities of the future 
will ever lead to its improvement."' 

Forty years earlier, and therefore near to the 
date of the Olmsted settlement, the report of 
the State Geological Survey, referring to 
Potter County generally, said: 

"It remains almost what it was a century 
ago, an unbroken forest tenanted by the 
panther, bear, deer, wolf and fox."^ 

The region was covered with pine and 
hemlock timber, afterwards to become of 
great value. The soil of Ulysses Township is 
termed Volusia, and is especially adapted to 
dairy farming, and to the cultivation of buck- 
wheat and potatoes.^ When an unbroken 
sheet of ice, say two thousand feet in thick- 
ness, came gliding down the Canadian slopes, 
it found a barrier in the mountainous range 
which had been lifted into the air along the 
state boundary between Olean and Salamanca. 
The ice thrown off on either hand, as by a 
plowshare, as it passed away from the eastern 
end of the mountain wall, moved southeast 



> History of McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter (Beers & Co.). 

* Report of Oeological Survey of Potter County, p. 65. 

• State College Bulletin No. 3. 



ON TWO FRONTIERS 



51 




A prehistoric battle-ground, where the giant glacier met the 
unconquerable highlands and turned aside. The line of crosses 
shows the path of the terminal moraine. The map is adapted 
from the Warren Folio, U. S. Geol. Survey, after Leverett, who 
designed to show the probable preglacial drainage of Western Pa. — 
(1) Coudersport, (2) Smethport, (3) Warren, (4) Meadville, (5) 
Franklin, (6) Pittsburgh, (7) Erie, (8) Dunkirk. 



52 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

across the county of Potter, leaving the traces 
of terminal moraine in its pathway.^ The 
mean elevation of Ulysses Township above sea 
level is about 1,700 feet. Against deadly 
drainage of fertility in all directions the forest 
through countless years had stood sentinel 
over the soil.'' 

At any rate, it was a virgin soil, and bore its 
crown of pine. To the family at Masonville, 
shut in by its hard limitations, Ulysses seemed 
the Eldorado of their dreams. 



1 Geology of Oil Region, III, p. 372. 

' In a poem by Jamea Harcourt West entitled "Detritus," there are some fitting 
lines: 

"Could they who till the Mississippi vales — 
Through thousand thousand leagues far-stretched and fair — 
Know well what wealth of distant mountain stair 
Has crumbled to endow their verdant dales; 
Could they but hear the pounding of old galea 
In lands of Seneca and Crow and Bear, 
Or count the centuries the sun and air 
Have filched from forest-lands with silent flails: 
Did they thus ken how came their rich black earth, — 
By grain and grain from Gardens of the Gods, 
From skyey lines far yonder out of reach 
Where Allegheny, Yellowstone, have birth, — 
What new luxuriance would star their sods, 
How costlier far would gleam each vine and peach 1" 



CHAPTER V 

Boyhood and Schooldays 

IN 1836 Arthur George Olmsted, the youth 
to whose life-work this volume is devoted, 
was nine years of age. He and his elder 
brother accompanied his father, mother and 
grandfather in their final pilgrimage. There 
had been five previous stages in the family 
migration on this continent — from Cambridge 
to Hartford, thence to Norwalk, to Ridge- 
field, to Ballston, and to the upper waters of 
the Delaware. All had been accomplished 
on foot and by ox teams, through wild or 
sparsely settled forest region. As again the 
little caravan moved away from the village 
which had grown up around their own home- 
stead, doubtless they looked back now and 
then as long as the spire of their beloved 
meeting-house could be seen shining white 
above the trees. It was a tedious expedition, 
and not without the perils incident to the life 
of the pioneer, but in due time the destination 
was reached, and there the home was estab- 

(53) 



54 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

lished which was to be known once more as 
Olmsted's Corners. 

Four years later the township was created. 
It had twenty -nine residents, although in 
1831 there were but five families within its 
borders. During the first year (1837) follow- 
ing the arrival of the Olmsted family, the 
first school-house was built and the first 
(Baptist) church organized. When the church 
was incorporated (January 6, 1849), Daniel 
Olmsted was one of the trustees, and his 
brother, Gardner Hicks Olmsted, was clerk 
and also a trustee. Here Seneca Olmsted 
spent the remainder of his days, and lived 
to the advanced age of eighty-six years, itself 
a testimonial to the simplicity of his habits 
and the rectitude of his life. He died January 
23, 1860, just as the country began to be 
stirred with the mutterings of Southern seces- 
sion. He had lived to see his son Daniel, with 
whom he lived, become a representative 
citizen of the county, honored and respected 
in the community, a leader in the church and 
in public affairs, and his grandchildren grown 
to manhood and womanhood, excepting 
Seneca Lewis, his namesake, who died in his 
minority, and Herbert Gushing, then a boy of 



BOYHOOD AND SCHOOLDAYS 55 

fifteen. Their success in life must have 
cheered his declining years.^ 

His son, Daniel, their father, was from the 
beginning the active leader of the Olmsted 
settlement. The village of Lewisville, since 
incorporated as a borough, grew up near the 
center of the township, and in 1841 he was 
appointed postmaster, the office retaining the 
township name, Ulysses. He was fortunate 
in the selection of a homestead. It adjoined 
on the west the lands of Lucas Gushing (with 
whose family, also, his own was to be joined 
in romance and wedlock), and embraced one 
hundred nineteen acres. It was a part of the 
great area of lands of William Bingham of 
Philadelphia, and is described as Lot No. 74, 
being a part of warrants 1261 and 1265. He 
went into possession under contract of pur- 



I Henry Jason Olmsted, born at Masonville, Nov. 22, 1825, married May 14, 
1846, Evalina Theresa Gushing (born Aug. 31, 1826), daughter of Lucas Gushing of 
Ulysses. They removed to Goudersport in March, 1848. He served as prothonotary 
of Potter County for twenty-one years. 

Arthur George Olmsted, born at Masonville September 30, 1827, herein further 
mentioned. 

Sarah Elizabeth, born June 15, 1830, married March 10, 1850, Chauncey G. 
Gushing of Lewisville (Potter Go.), born August 22, 1828, died Sept. 12, 1877, son 
of Lucas Gushing — a successful merchant, member of the Baptist society and super- 
intendent of the Sunday School. 

Daniel Edward Olmsted, born May 30, 1832, died Dec. 29, 1900, married Aug. 
29, 1854, Lydia Laura Gushing (born Sept. 30, 1835), daughter of Lucas and Ghloe 
(Wood) Gushing. A prosperous merchant at Goudersport for fifteen years, after- 
wards a resident of Williamsport. 

Seneca Lewis Olmsted, born May 11, 1838, died Oct, 2, 1856. 

Herbert Gushing Olmsted, of Emporium, Pa., born Oct. 21, 1845, married Sept. 
10, 1865, Martha M. Gushing (born Sept. 28, 1843, died May 28, 1905), daughter of 
Leavitt and Jane (Goodrich) Gushing. 



56 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

chase, and in 1849 took title by deed. In 1854 
and 1857 he purchased from H. H. Dent allot- 
ments of forty -one acres and fifty -two acres, 
respectively, both in the township of Ulysses. 
Here at Ulysses he continued to reside 
until the death of his wife, which occurred in 
1865. His living children had then set up 
their own households, and he was left alone. 
The home which had for many years echoed 
to children's voices now seemed desolate, 
and he did not linger in it. It soon passed 
into other hands. In the following year he 
was again joined in marriage. His second 
wife was Jane (Robertson) Bennett, daughter 
of Jabez Robertson and widow of Ira Bennett. 
Thereupon he took up his residence with 
her at Bennettsville, in the county of Che- 
nango, in the State of New York, scarce 
three miles from Masonville, and there was 
his last home. He at once allied himself 
with the Baptist church of that place. The 
minutes of August 5, 1875, cover a resolution 
to unite with the Baptist church of Bain- 
bridge (three miles distant). The resolution 
was signed by Jane Olmsted, Daniel Olmsted, 
G. H. Olmsted, S. G. Scofield and others.^ 

^Hiitory of the Counties of Chenango and Madison, p. 179. 



BOYHOOD AND SCHOOLDAYS 57 

He lived to the age of eighty-three years and 
two months. His death occurred at his home 
in Bennettsville, October 2, 1882. For fifty- 
five years he had been a steadfast and exem- 
plary member of the Baptist church, in which 
he held the office of deacon. In an obituary 
notice it was said of him that "he possessed a 
wonderfully calm and well-poised spirit. 
Hasty, loud, impatient and angry utterances 
were strangers to his lips. Those who knew 
him best observed his entire freedom from the 
vice of evil speaking. Neither was it pleasant 
for you to pour complaints against neighbors 
and acquaintances into his ears. The grave 
silence with which they were received 
amounted to a severe rebuke to him who 
spoke the evil." And again it was said that 
he was "noted for his frugal and industrious 
habits, and his kindly, considerate regard for 
his friends and neighbors." The oppor- 
tunity for distinguished service had not come 
to him. It was something to have led an 
upright life, endured many hardships, and 
to have lived to witness the success and 
happiness of his surviving children. His 
second son, Arthur, had already risen to 
distinction. 



58 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Arthur's boyhood days had been spent with 
his brothers and sisters at the parental fire- 
side. Ahke with them he received from his 
father and mother the impress of their strong, 
reverent natures, and was guided by the 
example of their daily lives. He and his 
elder brother had received their primary edu- 
cation at Masonville, but mainly from their 
parents and the pastor of the church, the era 
of free schools in New York not having 
arrived.^ The paramount political issue in 
Pennsylvania for two years before the removal 
of Daniel Olmsted and his family to Ulysses 
had been the free school system. The inhabi- 
tants of a border county of New York could 
hardly have been ignorant of the heroic legis- 
lative battles in its behalf led by Governor 
Wolf and Governor Ritner, and of the con- 
trolling speech of Thaddeus Stevens at the 
crisis of the debate. The successful enact- 
ment of the measure may have been a deciding 
circumstance, and one which served to hasten 
the removal to Ulysses. In any event, within 
the year following the first school under this 
system was opened in Ulysses. It was con- 



* The free school system of New York was established in 1867. 



BOYHOOD AND SCHOOLDAYS 59 

ducted in the new building known as "Daniel's 
schoolhouse."^ 

Arthur's boyhood can easily be imagined, 
its Christmas eves, its spelling bees, the games 
of winter evenings, the summer tramps. It 
would not be difficult to locate the swimming 
hole and the stretch of still water which 
became ice in the skating season. He was 
never fond of hunting, but he loved to troll the 
brooks for trout. Here and there in the 
neighborhood was a young bear, a tethered 
wolf, a pretty deer, getting their education at 
the hands of the boys. And then there were 
the athletic games, but none of the "national " 
brand, and no moving pictures, excepting such 
as were occasionally afforded by a runaway 
colt, or the crashing to the earth of some 
forest monarch. As he grew older, he was 
called to assist in the varied work of the farm, 
or at the mills. It is not to be doubted that 
he made the most of the opportunity which the 
district school afforded, and that in the course 
of ten years he had exhausted its resources of 
learning, and was supplementing it as best he 
could by wide reading. His taste of knowl- 



1 "It is to be noted that when, in 1835, a state-wide vote was taken, every repre- 
sented district in Potter County voted in favor of accepting the system." — Wicker- 
■ham, History of Edxication in Pennsylvania, S22. 



60 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

edge had made him hunger constantly for 
more, and he had the inteJlectual capacity to 
assimilate it. About this time the Couder- 
sport Academy opened for the reception of 
pupils. It was founded by John Keating in 
1807, as an aid for the building of the town, 
and to promote sales of land in the vicinity. 
He donated a square in Coudersport as a site, 
and five hundred dollars towards the cost of 
building, also one hundred acres adjoining the 
town as a source of revenue for maintenance. 
But it was not until 1838 that it was incor- 
porated and receiving aid from the state. 
When the state appropriations were discon- 
tinued, the county by special act was author- 
ized to pay at first two hundred dollars, and 
afterwards three hundred dollars, towards 
running expenses. These payments by the 
county were discontinued in 1866. Three 
years later the whole property was conveyed 
to the school district for a graded school, with 
a high school department. Like academies or 
secondary schools, as at Warren and Smeth- 
port, were established at the most populous 
centers in the new counties of the Northern 
Tier. In fact fourteen other academies were 
incorporated at the same session, and in 1840 



BOYHOOD AND SCHOOLDAYS 61 

twenty -five. The multiplication of these 
institutions resulted in the substitution of the 
high school as an adjunct of the common 
school system. As late as 1859 an acad- 
emy building was erected at Lewisville, and 
J. A. Cooper, afterwards for many years 
at the head of the State Normal School 
at Edinboro, was the first principal. He 
conducted it successfully until 1873, when 
it also was converted into a graded public 
school. 

In 1847 the Coudersport Academy was 
regarded as an excellent institution. It was 
then conducted by Mr. A. W. Smith, as 
superintendent, "late of Union College." 
The Potter Pioneer, in its issue of the 
30th of October of that year, announces 
that the institution has received the fol- 
lowing new apparatus: a celestial and ter- 
restrial globe, an air pump, an electrical 
machine and galvanic battery, a microscope 
and lenses, together with chemical appa- 
ratus. "With these advantages, which 
are superior to any in Northern Penn- 
sylvania, the trustees confidently hope that 
the * Halls of the Institution' will be 
filled with youth who may seek and 



62 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

acquire the lasting benefits of education and 
knowledge."^ 

Arthur was ambitious to be enrolled as a 
pupil at the academy. But were not the 
obstacles insurmountable? It was sixteen 
miles through the forest from Ulysses to 
Coudersport, and the road was little more than 
a trail. A daily trip was clearly impracticable. 
But a plan was finally arranged to which his 
father consented. He was to make the 
journey weekly, walking in on Monday, and 
home again on Saturday, and earn his board 
during the week by doing chores in town. 
His parents knew the warp and woof of the 
boy's character. They had no fear of temp- 
tations in the town, only of the wild beasts 
on the way. But he was fearless and strong, 
and eager to begin. So this new door of 
learning was unlocked to him, and he made 
the weekly jaunt without untoward incident. 

1 Included in the notice were the Terms of Tuition: 

Reading, Writing, Orthography and Arithmetic 81 50 

English Grammar, Bookkeeping, Rhetoric and Philosophy 2 00 

Chemistry, Botany, Astronomy, Geometry, Algebra and Surveying S 00 

Greek, Latin, PVench and Drawing 4 00 

L. F. Maynard, Secretary. L. D. Spafford, President. 
Board of Tbostees 
William T. Jones Lemuel F. Maynard 

Wm. Crosby Timothy Ives 

Wm. W. McDougall Lorenzo D. Spafford. 

In the standing advertisement the following year the pupil's expenses arc stated 
as follows: 

Tuition per term, from $1 . 50 to $ 1 . 00 

Incidental expenses . 25 

Rate for board per week in private families 1 .00 to $1 ,60 



BOYHOOD AND SCHOOLDAYS 63 

His advancement was rapid. ^ Principal Smith 
was succeeded by F. W. Knox, of Wellsboro, 
who afterwards became a prominent member 
of the Potter County bar. 

I "Even as a young man," sayg the Potler Journal (Sept. 23, 1914), "he was con- 
ceded to be one of the best informed men in the county." 



CHAPTER VI 

Lyceum, Library, Law-Office 

STUDENT OLMSTED had early chosen 
his profession. Perhaps his teacher 
had guided him to a choice. Influential 
friends of his father were already at the 
bar in Coudersport. Hon. John S. Mann 
was its most distinguished member. More- 
over, he was a champion of the prohibition 
of the sale of intoxicating liquor, and an 
advocate of the abolition of chattel slavery. 
It was arranged that Arthur should be 
admitted as a student in Mr. Mann's office. 
So, at the conclusion of his academic course, 
in 1848, he began the study of law, and 
necessarily became a resident of Coudersport. 
In the same year his elder brother, Henry, 
removed to the county seat, and three years 
later was elected prothonotary, register and 
recorder. Thus to Arthur, more than ever, 
Coudersport became his home town. He 
availed himself of the advantages of the 
public library, which came into existence 

(64) 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 65 

about that time, and, although then far from 
adequate, became the nucleus for the sub- 
stantial public library for which, in later 
years, he made liberal provision. In these 
earlier days the library sought to make itself 
felt, not only through the circulation of books, 
but also by occasional literary entertainments. 
Mr. Mann's law student, during his academic 
course, gained a circle of friends in Couders- 
port, and soon became more generally known 
for the breadth of his knowledge and for his 
intellectual acumen. He was not reluctant to 
take part in the Library Course, and chose for 
the subject of his lecture "Science, its Origin 
and Progress," a subject which betokened his 
interest in the academy's advertised equip- 
ment of globes, batteries and microscopes. 
It was in the winter of 1849. Coudersport 
then contained less than one Iiundred tax- 
payers. But there was a goodly attendance 
at the meeting. It was held in the old court- 
house, built in 1834, and replaced in 1853. 
The personality of the young lecturer drew 
the audience more certainly than the charm 
of the subject. He was twenty-two years of 
age, and of exemplary habits. He had 
inherited the superior stature of his lineage. 



66 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

His features were of classic mold, his dark 
eyes flashed, his voice rang out clear, his 
enunciation was distinct. Doubtless his 
brother Henry was in the audience, and per- 
chance his father had been invited to town for 
the night. The lecture was carefully pre- 
pared. Extracts from it are here quoted, not 
because of its immediate interest, nor of its 
treatment of the subject, but rather as a 
measure of the young orator's intellectual 
quality, his power of expression, and the 
gravity of his thought: 

"Created by a Being whose very essence is 
knowledge itself, and whose works are order, 
perfection and science combined, man, the 
most wonderful and noble of them all, with 
mental and moral endowments only second to 
the great author of them — what more enno- 
bling to his character and more in accordance 
with the manifest original design of his 
Creator than a thorough knowledge of those 
great and fundamental principles which by 
ordination of the Supreme Ruler govern and 
control all the great moral, social and philo- 
sophical movements that are constantly tak- 
ing place in that part of the universe with 
which he is or may be familiar ... I have 
no doubt the Almighty, in his wisdom, con- 
fers the privileges of liberty upon any people, 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 67 

and has from the commencement of earth, 
in just as liberal a measure as they have been 
able to receive and enjoy . . . Man walks 
on the surface of a sphere whose very existence 
leads him to study and meditation. Plants 
are springing up under his feet, showers 
descend to water them, rivers, supplied by 
springs that never dry, carry their waters 
along to the ocean which never fills, — day- 
light and darkness succeed each other in 
measured portions, and orb after orb in silent 
grandeur move their ceaseless rounds in the 
great conclave above. Unnumbered beauties 
are on either hand, ever varying and ever new, 
and constantly exciting his innate desire to 
know, and inviting him to thread the pleasant, 
though laborious, paths of Science . . . And 
what is mind even when uncultivated? A 
blank upon which may be written the wisdom 
of earth and heaven in fair and legible lines, 
or upon which may be made a disgraceful blot 
and stain never to be eradicated, — a soil 
capable of producing the richest and most 
abundant fruits or the vilest and rankest 
weeds. Science is the cultivator which 
enriches that soil, sows thereon the seeds of 
virtue and truth, and causes it to bring forth 
abundantly fruits suitable for the enjoyment 
of beings destined to a glorious immortality; 
but without that cultivator the rank weeds of 
ignorance flourish upon that soil, and the 



68 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

mind of man, that noble principle, becomes 
choked with error and crippled with imbecil- 
ity. ... It is well established that 1,856 
years B. C, or more than 3,700 years ago, a 
colony of Phoenicians, who were at that time 
noted navigators, settled on the shores of the 
Mediterranean Sea, mider Grachus, their leader, 
and built a city which they called Argos. 
About three hundred years afterwards, 
Cecrops founded Athens, and gave laws to the 
then barbarous native Grecians. Soon after 
Cadmus, another Egyptian, founded the city 
of Thebes, which, according to Homer, had 
one hundred gates, and introduced the Phoe- 
nician alphabet. From this time learning and 
literature began to be cultivated, and at 
length the Grecians became the most learned 
and enlightened nation the world had ever 
witnessed." 

It may be assumed that an address so 
scholarly and thoughtful gave to the speaker 
an immediate and most enviable standing in 
the community. 

Meanwhile great moral issues were pressing 
for solution, particularly the abolition of 
slavery and resistance to the liquor evil. The 
weekly issue of the New York Tribune was 
finding its way among the settlements of the 
Northern Tier, and the great personality of 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 69 

Horace Greeley was forming on the political 
horizon as the figure of Liberty. The flaming 
utterances of William Lloyd Garrison and 
Gerrit Smith became the topics of the fireside. 
Now, too, the weekly newspaper brought 
occasional report of the lyceum lectures of 
John B. Gough, and, perchance, the text of his 
famous apostrophe to a glass of water was 
heard anew in the declamations of the school- 
room. This very year the temperance move- 
ment was inaugurated, culminating in Good 
Templars organizations, to be succeeded by 
the Sons of Temperance. Olmsted's opinions 
on these questions were already formed, and 
he was outspoken in their expression. 

Having studied law assiduously, he was, in 
1850, admitted to the bar, Hon. Horace 
Williston, of Wellsboro, being the presiding 
judge. The bar of Coudersport then included 
Hon. John S. Mann, L. F. Maynard, Wales C. 
Butterworth, Charles B. Cotter, Isaac Benson 
and Edward O. Austin. The number of non- 
resident members was larger. In this list 
were Hon. Orlo J. Hamlin, John E. Niles, 
Hiram Payne, L. B. Cole, Horace Bliss, James 
Gamble, F. B. Hamlin, A. V. Parsons, S. P. 
Johnson, Benjamin Bartholomew and Joseph 



70 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Wilson. Indeed, it was not unusual for mem- 
bers of the local bar to establish some pro- 
fessional relation with prominent attorneys 
in older counties. Thus Mr. Benson's card 
in the People's Journal, dated March 3, 1848, 
advertises that through him the services of 
S. P. Johnson, Esq., of Warren, may be 
engaged. Later F. W. Knox, Esq., advertises 
that *'a lawyer of experience and ability will 
be associated" with him in prosecuting all 
cases committed to his care. 

During his student days, in the conduct of 
civil and criminal cases, before a justice of the 
peace, in the preparation of contracts, deeds 
and wills, as well as in matters of counsel, 
Arthur Olmsted had gained a reputation for 
his legal knowledge and ability, and it rapidly 
spread among the settlements, for the inhabi- 
tants needing legal services all came in to the 
county seat, there being no lawyer then 
practicing elsewhere in the county. Besides, 
his preceptor, Mr. Mann, in addition to his 
law practice, was, as he then advertised, 
engaged in the sale of land as the representa- 
tive of the owners of several large tracts, and 
this brought to his office many settlers 
desiring to purchase homesteads. Hitherto, 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 71 

criminal offenses had been prosecuted by a 
deputy attorney general who resided at 
Williamsport and rode a circuit of coun- 
ties. Now, in 1850, in the fall of the 
year of Arthur Olmsted's admission to 
the bar, and when he had but just passed 
his twenty-third birthday, he was to be 
elected the first district attorney of Potter 
County. It was not a lucrative office. In 
fact, the compensation for the term did not 
exceed fifty dollars, but it gave the officer 
not only some professional prestige, but also 
desirable experience in the trial of cases. 
At this stage in the development of the 
county, the homesteads purchased by settlers 
from the Bingham and Keating agents were 
generally still held by the purchasers, and 
consequently few questions of title had arisen. 
Sources of litigation were not numerous. In 
after life Arthur Olmsted was heard to say that 
his professional income for the first three years 
of his practice amounted to ninety dollars. 

But the county was just entering upon an 
era of material development. A turnpike 
had been completed between Jersey Shore and 
Coudersport, and previously a post route from 
Jersey Shore to Olean. Hon. Orlo J. Hamlin, 



72 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

then representing Potter and McKean in the 
House, had secured a large appropriation 
($200,000) for construction work on the East 
and West Road through McKean County, and 
at the same session had procured the enact- 
ment of a law organizing the eighteenth 
judicial district, composed of the counties of 
Potter, McKean, Warren and Jefferson. 
Within the next decade other events of 
importance were to occur. A stage route was 
to be established between Bellefonte and 
Smethport, and the Philadelphia and Erie, as 
well as the Sunbury and Erie railroads, were 
to be surveyed. About this time Ole Bull 
purchased from John F. Cowan eleven thou- 
sand acres near the southern border of the 
county now included in Abbott and Steward- 
son townships. His purpose was to establish 
a colony for his countrymen, a number of 
whom arrived and organized a settlement, in 
the midst of which he built a castle. There, 
as if directed by some rare instinct to the con- 
genial intonation of the primeval forest, again 
his far-famed fiddle 

"Sang all the songs it knew 

And learned long years ago within 
The wood in which it grew." 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 73 

But it was a pathetic dream, for the title failed, 
and ultimately the community was deserted. 
The People's Journal, published at Couders- 
port, September 24, 1852, has this paragraph: 

"Ole BulF passed through our village on 
Saturday, on his way to Oleona, the new- 
town just commenced through the energy and 
public spirit of this child of genius." 

Coudersport was truly a village then. 
Although its location was doubtless fixed on a 
map in Philadelphia so as to be as near the 
center of the county as topographical condi- 
tions would permit, a more picturesque site 
could hardly have been chosen. Ten miles 
from its source, and 1,664 feet above tide, the 
Allegheny rapidly crosses its streets and 
winds through its borders, rippling and flash- 
ing in the sunlight, on its way. The village 
was as a jewel set in the comely crown of the 
surrounding hills. Among its inhabitants the 
varied walks were represented. The cards in 
the weekly newspaper, the People's Journal^ 
included that of H. S. Heath, physician; 
William McDougall, surveyor ; Lucas Cushing, 



^ Pond, the lyceum bureau manager, 8ays: " I paid Ole Bull $25,000 for fifty 
concerts, and made a handsome profit." At the Boston concert the poet Long- 
fellow was present, and the sales ran up to $1,100, in addition to course tickets. 



74 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

temperance hotel ; Joseph Mann, agent of the 
Oswayo Lumber Association, and Jones and 
Storrs, general merchandise, "opposite north- 
east corner of Public Square," and in the 
square the new court-house was being erected. 
The names of the editors, William W. 
McDougall and John S. Mann, are set above 
the motto: "Fidelity to the People,'* and 
among the editorials was a stirring exhortation 
for subscriptions to the stock of the Couders- 
port and Wellsville Plank Road Company: 

"Shall the road be built? Or shall we 
permit the great advantages which the New 
York and Erie Railroad offer to us to escape 
us for want of energy enough to build a plank 
road from this village to the state line, a dis- 
tance of nineteen miles?" 

The same paper contained an appeal that 
the county should be represented at the 
National Anti-Slavery Convention to meet at 
Cleveland in September: "In 1848 there were 
twelve thousand men in Pennsylvania who 
refused to wear the collar and who cast their 
votes for Liberty. Organization is the only 
thing that will cure our leading politicians of 
their contemptible and cringing subserviency 
to the Slave Power." 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 75 

Into the various movements of the people 
looking to the development of the material 
resources of the county, and to the growth and 
prosperity of Coudersport, it is safe to say 
that Arthur Olmsted entered with efficient 
helpfulness. It is gratifying to note that 
however ardently he may have mingled in the 
social life of the community, he soon became 
a guiding star in the turbulent storms of 
reform which w^ere beginning to sweep across 
the country. In respect to measures designed 
to curb intemperance and to restrict slavery, 
his attitude seemed to be instinctively right. 
It could have been guessed before it was 
declared. It seemed to proceed from a strong, 
native religious sense, which might have been 
traced through his parentage backward 
through a long, progressive, freedom-loving 
ancestral line; back to Hartford, the "Birth- 
place of Democracy," in the days of Roger 
Williams; back to the landing of Hooker and 
Stone, and their declaration of independence; 
back to the secret conventicles of Old Essex 
and the mental enslavement from which the 
forefathers fled. 

During the September term of court in 
1853, the district Baptist Conference was held 



76 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

in Coudersport, and Arthur Olmsted, then 
twenty-six years of age, was invited to deliver 
the principal address. He chose for his 
subject: "The Christianity Demanded by 
the Times,'* and discussed it under three 
heads: 1st, an intelligent Christianity; 2d, a 
practical Christianity; 3d, an earnest, energetic 
Christianity. Fortunately the text of this 
remarkable address has been well preserved. 
Speaking under the second head he said: 

"There was a time in the history of the 
Church when piety sought retirement, when 
the Christian thought it his duty to retreat 
from the busy scenes of active life and seek in 
soUtary vigils and fastings and prayer that 
preparation of heart which would especially 
recommend him to the favor of God. ReUgion 
in those days assumed the meditative, the con- 
templative form, and it was thought that the 
quietness and seclusion of the cloister and the 
cell are especially favorable to the growth 
and development of the Christian graces. Nor 
would I take it upon myself to pass censure 
upon the peculiar behef of the religion of those 
times. It was allowed, and we may suppose 
it was brought about by the Providence of 
Heaven, and can be both explained and 
justified by considering the spiritual necessi- 
ties of that age. 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 77 

"But the demand now is for a Christianity 
of a different mold. Quietism will not meet 
the requirements of present exigencies. Re- 
ligion is called on to lay aside the loose gown 
and slippers of contemplative retirement 
and put on the working-day dress. She must 
go out into the crowded streets and thronging 
thoroughfares, enter the workshop and the 
counting house, walk forth *on change,' and 
visit those places of resort 'where people 
most do congregate.' She must mingle in 
the scenes of the outward world, and con- 
descend to converse familiarly with the liv- 
ing men of the present, as they pursue the 
business and occupations of everyday life. 
We have a deal of that religion that goes to 
meeting on Sundays, but not enough of that 
which lives and acts during the week, and be 
assured the men of this day will estimate the 
value of our religion by its practical results. 
.... They would acknowledge that the 
Gospel system was a most sublime and beau- 
tiful body of divine truth, perhaps, if you 
could persuade them to study and examine it; 
but a beautiful action, a noble deed of 
charity, an instance of generous forgiveness, 
at once challenges their attention and com- 
mands their respect. This is something they 
can appreciate, and when the Christianity of 
today shall put on more decisively this aspect, 
it will more nearly meet the demands of the 



78 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

times, as well as more signally indicate its 
vital reality. 

"It must be confessed, I think, by those 
who contemplate the present condition of 
the Church, that there is in it a disposition to 
lay too much stress upon the behef of abstract 
dogmas and the observance of heartless and 
hollow forms. These have in them no saving 
efficiency or living power. Nor is anything to 
be gained to the cause of true rehgion in this 
day by setting them up as the test and stand- 
ard of orthodox piety. Doctrinal tests and 
theological disputes have had their time, and 
have accomplished what good they may. It 
is time now for the Christian churches to 
cease their intestinal strife and war of words, 
and that she turn her undivided energies to 
the accomplishment of practical good. Let 
there be a cessation of hostilities upon the 
Five Points of Calvinism and a hastening 
from all sides to cleanse the world from the 
Five Points of Iniquity in which the world 
abounds. When the Church can point more 
confidently to instances of public vices cured 
and social evils removed, and to benevolent 
and meliorating reforms carried directly by 
its agency, — then will Religion, of which it is 
the representative, be more powerfully recom- 
mended to the practical mind of this practical 
life."i 



' It is not recorded that these frank utterances produced commotion in the 
conference, and yet they abound with the same views which expressed today (sixty- 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 79 

That was the clear, commanding voice of a 
leader of men, one who had a vision of con- 
tests to come, and who foresaw the oppor- 
tunity and mission of the Church; one who 
had spoken of the Bible as "The Heaven- 
descended charter of Human Rights." He 
was thinking not alone of the impending 
struggle against slavery in the South, but also 
of that slavery in the North which the rum 
power was fastening upon the body politic, as 
well as upon its individual victims. It was a 
day when rum ruled along the frontiers, in 
forest and in camp.^ Where did Arthur 
Olmsted stand, with his future before him, his 
talents and his popularity in the scales? 
He was asked to speak under the auspices of 
the Sons of Temperance, and this is what he 
said: 

"If the day ever comes when men are 
brought to judgment for their action here, 
and it surely will come if God is true to 



five years later) by another noted layman of the Baptist faith, John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., have startled the church and aroused much controversy. Mr. Rockefeller, por- 
traying the "reborn church," said: "Its test would be a hfe, not a creed — what a 
man does, not what he professes, — what he is, not what he has; its object to promote 
applied religion, not theoretical religion. Thus would develop its interest in all the 
great problems of human life — industrial, social and moral problems. ... If the 
Baptists of today have the breadth, the tolerance, and the courage to lay aside all 
non-essentials and will stand upon the platform of the founders of the church, the 
Baptist church can be the foundation upon which the Church of the Living God 
ibould be built." (New York Herald.) 

• About that time there were in Coudersport three licensed hotels, also a recti- 
fying establishment, and all the stores but one sold intoxicating liguor. 



80 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Justice, let me stand in the place of him who 
has defamed his neighbor without a cause, — 
yes, in the place of him who in the dead mid- 
night hour has made the heavens lurid with 
the flame of burning mansions of men, but 
deliver me from the doom of him whose 
business it was to put that to his neighbor's 
lips that stole away his brain. ... I have 
often thought that it needed no argument 
whatever to make the law's inconsistencies 
more glaring. It simply amounts to this: 
that the State of Pennsylvania, in considera- 
tion of a certain amount in dollars and cents 
paid into its treasury, grants to certain indi- 
viduals, under the seal of its respective 
courts, the right to follow an occupation which 
increases its taxes, beggars its citizens, fills 
its jails, and operates as a wasting pestilence 
throughout all its boundaries; twelve good 
citizens of the town or borough being required 
to certify that the individual applicant is a fit 
person to exercise this distinguished privilege. 
It would seem that any respectable man 
could ask for no greater libel upon his char- 
acter than the certificate of twelve men, law- 
ful and true, of his own vicinage, that he is the 
proper character to do such deeds of infamy."^ 



' It was in the course of this adJress that Mr. Olmsted, in terms of the keenest 
earcasm, advised a revision of the current form of petition for license so that it should 
read as follows: 
"To the Honorable the Judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Potter County: 

"The petition of A.B., of Township, county aforesaid, respectfully show- 

eth, that he occupies a commodious house in the county and township above men- 
tioned, and is desirous of keeping a public house of entertainmeDt therein. He 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 81 

While an address of such powerful eloquence 
would have been a potent factor for the cause 
of temperance if it had been delivered at 
some populous center of the commonwealth, it 
was not wholly lost among the pines. It was 
well calculated to stir the community, and 
when passed by word of mouth from settle- 
ment to settlement, to stir that uprising 
against the license law which, under the cham- 
pionship of Hon. John S. Mann, culminated, 

therefore prays your honorg to grant him a license to kill. Your petitioner considers 
the sword as an antiquated way of extinguishing life. There is a savageness about 
it and a useless effusion of blood. Wounds are inconvenient and not always attended 
with death. I wish to do my work with less trouble and more effectually. 

"Death by the sword is an unjust and partial system; it affects only those who 
are drawn up in battle array. It falls entirely upon one sex. According to the 
theory of Malthus, there are more human beings created than the world is able to 
maintain. Therefore it is necessary that a part be cut off for the safety and sub- 
sistence of the whole. Now as there are full as many women in the world as men, 
some process of diminution ought to be devised, in which they shall bear due pro- 
portion. I petition, therefore, for leave to kill women and children as well as men. 
I pray, also, that power may be given me to enter the domestic sanctuary, and to 
slay by the fireside as well as on the battlefield. 

"And may it ^ease your honors, none reverence more than ourselves the inven« 
tion of gunpowder as an expeditious and commodious way of freeing earth of her 
supernumeraries. It is truly admirable. Nevertheless, I am not quite satisfied to 
adopt it. When the field is once covered with the dead, the thunder of the cannon 
ceases. Bat-ties are not of frequent occurrence. I prefer to use an agent that needs 
no test, and that night and day may follow the work of destruction. Do your 
honors suggest, then, that pestilence and famine must be summoned as executors 
to my commission? 

"I suppose that the plague may be imported, and we know that it has produced 
great effects. The cities of the East have been humbled in sackcloth before it, and 
desolated London anciently inscribed with the red cross and 'Lord, have mercy 
upon us' the doors of her smitten and almost tenantless dwellings. The past year, 
too, the opening graves of our own land told how fearful was even the lightest foot- 
step of the destroyer 'walking in darkness.' Famine also has withered whole 
nations. They have blighted and faded away, stricken through for want of the fruits 
of the field, but earth soon renovated herself and was again clothed with plenty. 
The harvest whitened and the grape filled its clusters. The flocks that had vanished 
from the fold returned, and the herds lowed in their stalls. Health and fulness of 
bread banished away every trace of weeping and of woe. Not only is the dominion 
of pestilence and famine transient, but their sway is also restricted. In the height 
of their power they kill only the body. They have no authority over the soul. I 
desire a broader commission. I request liberty to kill the soul as well as the body. 
What tremendous agent do you then seek, before which the ravages of war and pesti- 
lence and famine are forgotten? May it please your honor, I wish for a liceose to 
sell intoxicating drinks." — 



82 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

eight years later, in the passage of the special 
prohibition law of 1860 for the county of 
Potter. 

A community so alert as Coudersport was in 
matters of moral consequence was equally 
alive to intellectual cultivation. This was 
betokened by the existence of the public 
library, the academy, a superior weekly news- 
paper, and a county bar, small in numbers, 
but of more than ordinary rank. The 
enthusiasm of professional spirit and fellow- 
ship which it manifested is hardly equaled at 
the present day, even in larger places. The 
court-house was the forum, not only for the 
vindication of the law, but it served also as 
the town hall, the center of community activi- 
ties. Here lectures were not infrequently 
delivered. It was the era of the lyceum. 
In the first half dozen years of the latter half 
of the nineteenth century, Arthur Olmsted 
developed apace. In the careful preparation 
of numerous addresses, his views on matters 
of public interest became fixed and definite. 
At the instance of the bar association he was 
invited to speak on "Law Reform." Ex- 
tracts from his address are here reproduced, 
not merely because of the intellectual enter- 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 83 

tainment which they afford, but also for the 
reason that they disclose better than any 
words of description his mental traits and 
quality, that degree of scholarship, acquired 
chiefly by private study, which enabled him to 
command historic incident in appropriate 
setting, and because it shows again how he 
made every subject that he touched alive and 
burning with the great oncoming struggle 
between freedom and slavery: 

"We propose this evening to take a sum- 
mary view of the most important general 
reforms which have been effected or attempted 
in England from the period of the French 
Revolution down to the present time. If 
any ask why cross the Atlantic for a theme, 
we can only answer that the people of the 
United States must ever be interested in the 
political history of Great Britain. We have a 
common origin and an identity of language. 
We hold similar religious opinions, and draw 
the leading principles of our civil institutions 
from the same sources: reading the same 
historic pages; and while recounting the 
words and deeds of orators and statesmen, 
who have dignified human nature, or the 
achievements of warriors who have filled the 
world with their fame we say: 'These were 
our forefathers.' The sages and scholars of 



84 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

both nations teach the youth to cherish the 
wisdom of Alfred, the deductions of Bacon, 
the discoveries of Newton, the philosophy of 
Locke, the drama of Shakespeare, and the 
song of Milton and Byron and Wordsworth, 
as the heirlooms of the whole Anglo-Saxon 
family. The ties of blood and lineage are 
strengthened by those of monetary interest 
and reciprocal trade, and such are the 
resources of each in arts, in arms, in literature, 
in commerce, in manufactures, and such the 
ability and genius of their great men, that they 
must, for an indefinite period of time, exert a 
controlling influence on the destinies of the 
world. Now, when viewed in a less attractive 
aspect, can America be indifferent to the 
condition and policy of her transatlantic 
rival? Enterprising, ambitious and intrigu- 
ing, she whitens the ocean with the sails of 
her commerce; she sends her tradesmen wher- 
ever the marts of men teem with traffic; belt- 
ing the earth with her colonies, clothing its 
surface with her forts, and anchoring her 
navies in all its harbors, she rules 160,000,000 
of men; giving law not only to cultivated 
and refined states, but to dwarfed and hardy 
clans that shrivel and freeze among the ices 
of the polar regions, and to swarthy and 
languid fighters that repose in the orange 
groves, or pant on the shrubless sands of the 
desert tropics. With retained spies in half 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 85 

the courts and cabinets in Christendom, she 
has, for a century and a half, caused or par- 
ticipated in all the wars of Europe, Asia and 
Africa, while by her arrogance, diplomacy or 
gold, she has shaped the policies of the com- 
batants to the promotion of her own ends. 
Ancient Rome, whose name was the synonym 
of remorseless power and boundless conquest, 
could not, in the palmy days of her Caesars, 
vie with Great Britain in the extent of her 
possessions and the strength of her resources. 
An American orator once spoke of her as 
'That power whose morning drumbeat follow- 
ing the sun and keeping company with the 
hours, daily encircles the earth with one con- 
tinuous and unbroken strain of the martial 
airs of England.' . . . 

"But when the earthquake shock of the 
French Revolution overthrew a throne 
rooted to the soil by the growth of a thousand 
years, all Britain felt the shock, scales fell from 
all eyes, and the people of the realm discov- 
ered that subjects were clothed with divine 
rights as well as kings, and that the divine 
rights of kings and the divine rights of hod- 
carriers were not essentially dissimilar, and 
that old adage of Lord Castleraugh, which 
had been stereotyped for one hundred years: 
'That the people had nothing to do with 
the laws except to obey them' began to be 
doubted." 



86 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Coming finally to the circumstances of the 
abolition of slavery by act of Parliament, 
allusion was made to Thomas Clarkson as the 
father of the movement for the abolition of the 
slave trade, and to the supporters of the move- 
ment in Parliament, including Wilberforce, 
Pitt, Fox, Burke, O'Connell and Brown; but 
upon broaching the topic, Mr. Olmsted said; 

"Perhaps some may consider an apology 
due this audience for the introduction of a 
subject here which may be considered as hav- 
ing a bearing upon American politics; but to 
me it appears a reform of too much magni- 
tude to be passed over in a sketch of this kind 
without at least a passing notice." 

He quoted the following passage from 
O'Connell's eloquent advocacy of the act of 
abolition : 

"I am for speedy and immediate abolition. 
I care not what caste, creed or color slavery 
may assume. I am for its total, its instant 
abolition, whether it be personal or political, 
mental or corporeal, intellectual or spiritual. 
I am its earnest enemy. I enter into no com- 
promise with slavery. I am for justice in 
the name of humanity and according to the 
law of the living God." 



LYCEUM, LIBRARY, LAW-OFFICE 87 

Referring to the statutory abolition of the 
slave trade in this country, Mr. Olmsted said 
it was true that it had been abolished, so far 
as the forms of law are concerned, " although," 
he added, "there is much reason to suppose 
that it is yet carried on to some extent, and 
undoubtedly will be, for so long as the exis- 
tence of slavery makes a demand for fresh 
cargos of human agony, so long will incarnate 
fiends be found who will brave heaven, earth 
and hell to furnish the supply." 



CHAPTER VII 

For Abolition and the Union 

MR. OLMSTED had already actively 
engaged in the anti-slavery cause. 
Pursuant to the Journal editorial 
hereinbefore quoted, a Free Soil Conven- 
tion met at the court-house on the 17th of 
September, 1851. On motion of O. A. 
Lewis, Dr. H. S. Heath was elected presi- 
dent and Burrell Lyman and Nelson Clark, 
vice-presidents, and Arthur G. Olmsted and 
Nelson Jinks, secretaries. The object of 
the convention was stated by John S. Mann to 
be the election of delegates to the National 
Free Soil convention to be held at Cleveland 
on the 24th day of the coming September. 
The following persons were thereupon elected : 
Joseph C. Allen, Joseph W. Stevens, S. A. 
Slade, Arthur G. Olmsted, N. B. Beebe, D. N. 
Jinks, W. B. Graves, W. C. Butterworth, W. 
M. McDougal, Thomas Lewis, Oliver C. 
Warner, T. B. McNamara, A. H. Butterworth», 
Sala Stevens and D. C. Chase. 

(88) 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 89 

On motion of Arthur G. Olmsted, a com- 
mittee of five on resolutions was appointed by 
the chair. The committee presently reported 
the following draft, which was adopted. It 
is evident that these resolutions were from 
the hand of Mr. Olmsted: 

"Resolved, That our Fathers ordained the 
Constitution of the United States in order, 
among other great national objects, to estab- 
lish justice, promote the general welfare and 
secure the blessings of liberty, but expressly 
denied to the Federal Government which 
they have created all constitutional power to 
deprive any person of life, liberty or property 
without due process of law; 

"Resolved, That *due process of law' 
includes the right of being tried in open 
court by an impartial jury; and that inas- 
much as the Act of Congress commonly called 
the 'Fugitive Slave Bill' deprives a large 
class of American citizens of their liberty 
without due process of law, therefore, it is 
unconstitutional ; 

"Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal 
Government to relieve itself from all responsi- 
bility for the extension or continuance of slav- 
ery, wherever that government possesses con- 
stitutional authority to legislate on that sub- 
ject; and it is thus far responsible for its 
existence; . . . 



90 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

"Resolved, That we are in favor of land 
reform in its broadest sense : that every family 
may have a home, exempt from levy and sale 
by execution; . . . 

"Resolved, That we are in favor of a thor- 
ough and eflScient organization of all the 
friends of freedom in Pennsylvania, and we 
suggest to the delegates from this state to the 
Cleveland convention the propriety of mak- 
ing arrangements for a state convention to 
meet at such time and place as may be most 
conducive to our cause; . . . 

"Resolved, That we will oppose the propa- 
gandism of slavery at all times, in all places, 
by all honorable means, against all odds, and 
without compromise."^ 

These resolutions are here transcribed be- 
cause they are both typical and historic. The 
list of officers and delegates chosen by this con- 
vention may well constitute a county roll of 
honor. The anti-slavery men of Potter were 
laying as best they knew the foundations of a 
political organization which should some day 
abolish slavery. The Cleveland convention, 
to which they sent delegates, called another 
national convention, to be held some months 
later, and the latter convention demanded the 



' People » Journal, September 19, 1861. 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 91 

repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, and free 
homes for the people. It inscribed on its 
banner "Free soil, free speech, free labor and 
free men.'* This was the last national con- 
vention of the Free Soil party. As it was held 
in Pennsylvania, so also was the first conven- 
tion of the Republican party into which, in 
1856, the Free Soil movement was absorbed. 
In Seilhamer's History of the Republican 
party it is said: 

"The first foundation stone of the Republi- 
can party was a hurried amendment offered 
in the 29th Congress, that became famous as 
the Wilmot proviso."^ 

The bill then pending was to appropriate 
two million dollars for the use of the President 
in an adjustment of the boundary line with 
Mexico. The amendment overshadowed the 
bill. It was the outcome of a hurried con- 



' Stanwood in his History of Presidential Elections (p. 163) says the Wilmot 
proviso so divided the Democratic party that it lost the election of 1848. 

"Wilmot was in his first session of his term in Congress, and as yet entirely 
unknown outside of the district that had chosen him as its representative. He was a 
young man of powerful frame, with a mind that partook of the rugged strength of his 
body. His most noteworthy qualities were his strong common sense and his tena- 
cious courage. He was able, without any claims to brilliancy, either as an orator 
or statesman. As a speaker he was clear, incisive and sensible, and convinced rather 
by his sincerity than his eloquence." — Seilhamer's History Republican Party, Vol. 1, 

P- 2. 

"In the beautiful suburbs of the town may be seen the little City of the Silent, 
and near the public road stands the simple marble headstone of the grave of David 
Wilmot, with nis name and date of birth and death on the inner surface and on the 
outer surface, where it can be seen by every passerby is inscribed the text of the 
Wilmot proviso." — McClure's Recollections of Half a Century, p. 240. 



92 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

ference between Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine; 
George Rathbun, Martin Grover and Preston 
King, of New York; David Wilmot, of Penn- 
sylvania; Jacob Brinckerhoff and James J. 
Faran, of Ohio, and Robert McClelland, of 
Michigan. Of these men, Hamlin became 
Vice-President; Grover, representing a South- 
ern Tier district, including the counties of 
Allegany and Steuben, was elevated to the 
bench, and Wilmot, representing the Northern 
Tier district, adjoining that of Grover, and 
including Potter, Tioga, Bradford and Sus- 
quehanna, then but thirty-three years of age, 
was, along with Lincoln, Sumner, Banks, 
Wilson, Clay and Giddings, in the list of 
unsuccessful candidates for the Vice-Presi- 
dential nomination. He was temporary chair- 
man of the Republican convention which 
nominated Abraham Lincoln for President. 
He was subsequently elected president judge 
of the thirteenth judicial district of Penn- 
sylvania, and later a Senator of the United 
States from the same state. The Northern 
Tier was for freedom and Wilmot was its 
chosen leader. As the proviso, though des- 
tined to defeat, was the anti-slavery slogan 
which ultimately divided the Whig and Demo- 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 93 

cratic parties, so Wilmot was himself its 
personification. When he came to Couders- 
port, he was the lion of the day. His name 
was given to one of its municipal allotments. 
Arthur Olmsted had then become a titled 
citizen of the borough. Indeed, sooner or 
later, he was chosen to all the offices of honor 
in the gift of the people: school director in 
1854, councilman in 1855, burgess in 1860. 
On the 10th day of July, 1854, Judge Wilmot 
spoke at the court-house in Coudersport. 
It was about the middle of that decade, 
which was to become in American history its 
great period of debate and legislation. Clay's 
Compromise had been enacted, California 
admitted, and the territories of Utah and 
New Mexico organized. Webster's conten- 
tion that nature unfitted the territories for 
slavery, and that it was useless to "re-enact 
the will of God" had triumphed. Now the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill was pending. In Penn- 
sylvania the issue was complicated by the 
rapid growth of the American or Know- 
No thing party. James Pollock was its stand- 
ard-bearer for Governor. The anti-slavery 
sentiment inclined toward him. Arthur Olm- 
sted was not deterred from his support by 



94 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the adherence of the Know-Nothing party. 
He was not a member of its order. He, how- 
ever, expressed sympathy with its essential 
purpose, so far as it aimed to avoid the danger 
arising from the influx of an element incapable 
of perfect assimilation with native citizen- 
ship. He reviewed the development of the 
naturalization laws, discussed the several 
stages of their enactment, and advocated 
further restriction upon immigration. 

"This order," said he, "although it may be 
injurious and pestilential in its effect, yet it 
differs from the pestilence in this, that 
although it wasteth at midnight, it walketh not 
at noon-day."^ 

Whatever Judge Wilmot may have said to 
the eager listeners in the crowded court-room 
on that July day, it could not have found 

' Regarded as a political organization, Mr. Olmsted was evidently in agreement 
with Horace Greeley, who said of it: "It may last through the next presidential 
canvass, but hardly longer than that. It would seem as devoid of the elements of 
persistence as an anti-cholera or an antiseptic potato rot party would be."— Stan- 
wood's History Presidential Elections, p. 193. And in fact before the next presi- 
dential election it did lose its momentum. The Republican platform of 1860 upon 
which Lincoln was elected, supported by Olmsted and Greeley ahke, contained this 
plank: "That the Republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization 
laws, or any state legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded 
to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of 
giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether 
native or naturalized^ both at home and abroad." 

Nevertheless, Curtin, who was then a candidate for Governor, so recognized 
the strength of the movement in Pennsylvania that he feared the nomination of 
Seward (who had advocated a division of school revenue), and with Lane of Indiana 
turned the nomination to Lincoln. — McCIure's Recollections, p. 218. 

In later years Mr. Olmsted expressed satisfaction with the act of 1906, excluding 
anarchists and polygamists. 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 95 

quicker response than these thrilling sentences 
of the favorite son of Potter, the boy orator of 
Coudersport: 

"We had a mission to accomplish once, 
and every American was inspired by its 
grandeur, and every free heart throbbed quick 
and strong with emotion at the name of the 
young nation in the west, upon whose broad 
banner was inscribed in letters of living Ught, 
*The rights of the people, ' and eternal opposi- 
tion to the blood-red wrongs of aristocrats 
and kings. But the virtue of the maiden 
nation has become debauched, her morals 
corrupted, her sensibilities deadened, and 
freedom is no longer her watchword; upon her 
soil today are the two antagonistic ideas of 
freedom and oppression, contending with 
each other and the whole power of the admin- 
istration aiding the latter. ... It seems to 
me, sir, that the present is a dangerous crisis 
in our national affairs. That power which has 
been constantly encroaching and increasing in 
strength since 1820 must now be checked, or 
the consequences may be fearful. If Kansas 
is admitted into the Union as a free state, it 
will be the death blow of chattel slavery; if 
the reverse should be the result, no human 
foresight can discern what the effect may be. 
We are just entering on a campaign in which 
there is to be but one issue. Pennsylvania 



96 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

will be the battle-ground of 1856.^ . . . Let 
every man swear that the mountain gorges 
and vast plains of Kansas shall be free — free 
not by the force of compact broken and 
trampled in the dust, but free by the force of 
strong arms and brave hearts. . . . While 
I speak, telegraphic dispatches are flying to 
the people of the civilized world heralding 
new tidings of still greater outrages.^ Each 
dispatch adds some new feature to this tale 
of awful horrors. The city of Lawrence has 
been burned to the ground. Her inhabitants 
have been driven to the open fields, to the 
forests, to the mountains like the martyrs of 
the fifteenth century, or have fallen by the 
hands of the mob, headed by United States 
oflBcers, the craven emissaries of the adminis- 
tration,^ and the faithful instruments of the 
party it represents and leads. . . . Now 
let the dumb speak, let the indignant North 
proclaim that slavery propagandism is for- 
ever at an end. Aye, let slavery herself be 
dethroned. I speak ex cathedra for no man. 
I speak but for myself. If slavery has any 
rights under the constitution, let them from 
from this day be ignored." 



1 The contest did center in Pennsylvania. Republicans asserted that upward 
of $150,000.00 were collected in the slave states and sent into Pennsylvania. — 
McMaster. VIII, p. 274. 

2 This was the struggle between the "Free Soil Men" who had emigrated to 
Kansas from New England, aided by Abolition Societies, and the " Border Ruffians," 
who moved in from the South to make Kansas a slave state. 

' Administration of President Franklin Pierce. 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 97 

Pollock was elected, and Arthur Olmsted, 
on the 11th of March, 1857, received courteous 
parchment recognition of his services by 
appointment as one of the Governor's military 
aids-de-camp, with the rank of lieutenant- 
colonel. 

More than a million and a quarter votes 
were cast for Fremont in 1856, and the South 
began to take alarm. The conviction gained 
ground that slavery could only be saved in one 
way, and that was by secession. The South 
began to dream of a great empire around that 
American Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico, 
holding possession of the mouth of the 
Mississippi.^ She counted upon the friendli- 
ness of Europe. England, France and Spain 
were not averse to a diminution of the com- 
mercial power of the republic, and looked 
with favor on the prospect of a division. Their 
alliance to seat Maximilian on the Mexican 
throne was, however, to be thwarted by the 
diplomacy of Seward, the successive steps of 
which, advancing to its inevitable conclusion, 
furnished to the century its most distinguished 
example of a bloodless national triumph. 

This decade stands out in American history 

* Draper's History of the CM War in America, Vol. 1, p. 421. 
7 



98 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

distinct from all others for further significant 
events of national consequence. It witnessed 
the construction of the transcontinental rail- 
road binding the Union from shore to shore — 
the construction of railroad lines, east of the 
Rocky Mountains, at the annual average rate 
of two thousand miles — Perry's visit to Japan, 
and the resulting treaty; the rise of the 
French republic; the tide of emigration to 
the California gold fields; the Homestead 
legislation; the Dred Scott decision, and the 
publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was the 
great constructive era, exciting the imagina- 
tion and stimulating the patriotism of young 
America, who in its marvelous enterprises 
saw the unfolding of a mighty republic. 

In 1852 the first train ran through from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and thereafter 
little was heard of the scheme to add to the 
Union a new state — the State of Allegheny. 
Plans were on foot for a road from Sunbury to 
Erie, and public meetings were held to arouse 
the interest of the people in the region 
affected, and to obtain subscriptions to the 
stock. Some years earlier, a railroad up the 
Allegheny across the Divide, otherwise known 
as the Allegheny Plateau, and on the earliest 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 99 

maps called the Endless Mountains, down 
Pine Creek, was projected, but, owing to the 
wild character of the region and scarcity of 
men, was abandoned. The enterprise was, 
however, revived in 1856, and a company was 
chartered under the name, Jersey Shore, Pine 
Creek and State Line Railroad Company. 
The route ran diagonally across the county of 
Potter. But construction was delayed. How 
could the representative citizens of that 
county, whose support was indispensable, 
Mann, Olmsted, Ross and Knox, give to the 
enterprise requisite attention when the nation 
was distracted with the danger of disunion? 
The serious depression in the Republican 
ranks which attended the defeat of Fremont 
in the Presidential election of 1856, and the 
state of the Union, as it then appeared to Mr. 
Olmsted, are best described in his own words. 
The following passages are extracts from a 
letter written by him to his brother Henry, 
then at Harrisburg, under date of the 24th of 
October, 1856: 

"The result in the state was most aston- 
ishing and disheartening. It seemed to cast 
a general gloom over the Fremont men of 
this vicinity. ... I have no doubt but the 



100 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Northern Tier of counties will raise Fremont 
above the state ticket three thousand, but, 
considering the despondency in other sections 
of the state and the Fillmore disaffection, it 
can have but little avail towards altering the 
result. ... I had hoped from what I had 
gathered from the newspapers that we had a 
majority in the legislature on joint ballot, but 
even that poor consolation was swept away 
last evening. The next Congress is to be pro- 
slavery, and, with a pro-slavery President, the 
good Lord only knows what grave fiUibuster- 
ing schemes may be accomplished during the 
next four years. . . . Wise issues a procla- 
mation calling on the militia of Virginia to be 
in readiness to march down to Old Point 
Comfort and take possession of the United 
States in case Fremont is elected. The 
Southern governors meet in convention and 
discuss dissolution. Almost every Southern 
newspaper avows treason. Brooks, Keith 
and (illegible) threaten to seize the treasury 
and the archives. . . . The most humiliating 
part of the whole thing is that it is to be 
successful." 

The raid of John Brown at Harper's Ferry, 
his capture, trial and execution, deepened 
public excitement, and sectional feeHng ap- 
proached the sundering point. 

Hoping against the inevitable, the loyal 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 101 

sons of Potter County went about their 
accustomed tasks. The great forests had 
already begun to move seaward, — more truly 
than "Birnam wood to Dunsinane" — from 
many a pine-clad slope of the Northern Tier, 
and for years to come, the branches and 
tributaries of the Susquehanna were to be 
clogged by logs running wild and by rafts and 
booms.^ But the day was at hand when the 
raft was to become historic for the human 



>The following Is from a contemporary description of a "log jam" in the flood 
season: "A log catches upon a rock or bar in such a manner as to obstruct the chan- 
nel, other logs rapidly collecting about it until the entire stream, perhaps, is choked 
with a seemingly inextricable tangle of logs. They are fixed in this jam in every 
conceivable position, from horizontal and criss-cross to perpendicular. To the 
uninitiated it would seem impossible to extricate the logs from their tangle with the 
fierce current of the raging stream locking them together as in a vise; but now comes 
as cool a piece of pluck and skill as ever was seen in the life of the soldier upon the 
battlefield — the professional 'jam-breaker,' there always being one or more of 
these experts accompanying the drive (frequently those whonave learned their 
trade upon the turbulent Aroostook and other logging streams of Maine). One of 
these men, divested of all unnecessary clothing, but with his feet securely spiked, 
jumps upon the jam. He carries his pike lever with him, and upon this instrument 
alone he is to win the victory over the maddened stream. He holds his life in his 
hand; a single false move often means his death, but he is cool and determined. 
It is known to veteran jam-breakers that there is usually one log in the mass which, 
if detached, will loosen the entire jam so that it will break with a rush; this is called 
the 'key-log.' The first duty of the jam-breaker is to find the key-log; this found, 
he goes straight to work to loosen it. Other men have to be called upon the jam to 
assist him; but when the last hitch of the cant-hook is to be given which will free 
the key-log (if the business is not precipitated by some unforeseen event), all of 
the men, save the jam-breaker, run for the shore. With a final twist of his lever 
the log springs from the mass of writhing logs and shoots out upon the current, but 
not so quick but that it bears a living freight._ The jam-breaker, with the agility 
of a cat, strikes the spikes of his boots into its slippery side, and is leading a crashing, 
tearing mass of logs and water which chase madly in his wake. By long practice 
he easily balances upon the rolling, pitching log, which he gradually works to the 
shallow water and springs ashore, alter, perhaps, riding a mile or more upon his 
unstable craft. This is the modus operandi of breaking a jam where everything 
works to the wish; but often the jam breaks at an inopportune moment, and the 
men are hurled here and there into the seething flood animate with rushing logs. 
If all come out of the peril with their lives, they are indeed fortunate, even if they 
have fractured limbs or contusions. Woe to the man who sinks beneath the logs — 
they close above him and he is crushed or drowned. There is deadly danger lurking 
at every step, from the felling of the tree in its native wilds until the logs are secured 
in the boom, where the Potter county boy leaves them," -—History of Potter County, 
p. 987. 



102 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

freight that it bore. On the 13th of April, 
1861, General Thomas L. Kane, having ob- 
tained authority from Governor Curtin, organ- 
ized a rifle regiment which assembled on the 
banks of the Sinnemahoning, and took passage 
for Harrisburg on three rafts, upon one of 
which, the "flag ship," they set up a green 
hickory pole, placed above it a bucktail, and 
from this floated the flag of the Union. It 
soon became known as the Bucktail Regiment. 
It included volunteers from Potter County. 
General Kane was in communication with 
Olmsted and Mann, pursuant to which he 
came to Coudersport, accompanied by Dr. 
S. D. Freeman of Smethport and F. B. 
Hackett, Esq., of Emporium (who had been 
a student in Mr. Olmsted's ofiice) and at the 
close of an enthusiastic meeting held at the 
court-house, enlistments were received and a 
captain elected. 

This was doubtless the occasion referred to 
by M. J. Colcord, editor of the Potter Journal, 
writing in 1914:^ 

"The writer's first distinct recollection of 
Arthur G. Olmsted was at a patriotic rally 
near the beginning of the Civil War, when 



i PoH«r Journal, September iS, 1914. 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 103 

Mr. Olmsted made a speech on the court- 
house square in support of enlistment to put 
down the rebellion. His patriotic fervor, 
flashing forth in the eloquent address, helped 
to kindle the fires that lighted the hills and 
valleys of Potter County with a patriotism and 
devotion to the Union cause unequaled any- 
where in the North." 

While individual members of this famous 
regiment were in many instances subsequently 
assigned to other commands, it made an unsur- 
passed record for Spartan bravery. It is 
recorded that at the battle of Harrisonburg, 
Colonel Kane, with 104 men, came suddenly 
upon four Confederate regiments and a bat- 
tery, attacked and broke their line. Upon 
recovering from their surprise the Confederate 
regiments prepared to advance under cover 
of dense woods. It was then that Martin 
Kelly, of Elk, like Arnold of Winkelried, 
turning to Kane said: "Colonel I will draw 
their fire," and stepping forward into view 
received a shower of bullets from which he was 
to die next day "in the glory of war.'* Not 
until the Confederate General Ashby had 
been killed, and his forces repulsed, did the 
Confederates realize that they had been 



104 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

engaged in battle with no other than the 
deadly Bucktail Rifles. This celebrated regi- 
ment lost but fifty-two men in this action, 
but the number of Confederates killed or 
wounded was five hundred fifty -nine. Potter 
County also contributed volunteers to the 
46th, 53d, 58th, 149th and 210th regiments of 
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, also to the 
37th and 85th regiments of New York. 

The orator^ of the day at the County 
Centennial celebration held at Coudersport in 
1904, truly said: 

"In no part of the North was more patri- 
otism displayed or greater sacrifice made. 
According to its strength, no county con- 
tributed more in men or in means. One in 
seven of all her inhabitants went forth to 
battle in that dread struggle in which, on 
either side, were deeds of valor to be remem- 
bered in song and story to earth^s remotest 
d^y." 

It has been elsewhere^ recorded that Potter 
County furnished more soldiers in the Civil 
War, in proportion to its population, than any 
other county in the United States. The 

1 Hon. Marlin E. Olmsted, then representing in Congress the 18th Congressional 
District of Pennsylvania, re-elected for seven successive terms, a leading member 
on the Republican side, son of Henry J. Olmsted. 

2 Potter Journal. 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 105 

soldiers' monument, erected on the court- 
house square, bears the names of 318 soldiers 
who died in battle or from wounds received. 

Arthur G. Olmsted, although a man of 
splendid stature, suffered at times through- 
out his mature years from maladies incident to 
an intense nervous temperament, which dis- 
qualified him from military service. Never- 
theless, he had much to give. His rare gifts 
of oratory, the persuasive power of his elo- 
quence over bodies of men, his knowledge of 
the great issues at stake, his native zeal in 
his country's cause, were all put at the service 
of the Union. 

Hon. J. C. Johnson,^ of Emporium, Penn- 
sylvania, writing of a later stage of the civil 
conflict, says: 

"I distinctly reciall that dark period of the 
Civil War: after McClellan's Army was 
driven into the defenses of Washington, and 
Lee was marching his victorious legions 
towards the borders of our owti state, and 
under such pressure Lincoln had called for 
300,000 more volunteers. It was under those 



1 Captain J. C. Johnson, the writer of this letter, enlisted in Company K, 149th 
regiment, called the "New Bucktails, " commanded by Colonel Roy Stone, only 
one-third of which survived the battle of Gettysburg, two-thirds, dead and wounded, 
having been left on the field. Walton Dwight, the captain of the company, became 
lieutenant-colonel August 29, 1862, and Captain Johnson waa then promoted from 
the position of first lieutenant to the captaincy. 



106 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

circumstances that I first really became 
acquainted with Judge Olmsted. I was 
reading law in F. W. Knox's office in the 
summer, and occasionally Judge Olmsted 
took me with him to the trout streams, where 
he loved to while away an idle hour exercising 
his expert skill in fly fishing. I recall my 
youthful, enthusiastic admiration of him; his 
kind, indulgent attention to my callow sug- 
gestions about the conduct of the war, and his 
dark and gloomy suggestions of the conditions 
in the North at that time. It was then, 
August, 1862, that he, with Hon. John S. 
Mann, Hon. Isaac Benson and F. W. Knox, 
went with Walton Dwight and myself out to 
the homes of the people in Potter County to 
raise volunteers. We held meetings in the 
schoolhouses and churches, and in a short 
week one hundred twenty-six of the staunch 
and reliable men of Potter county responded to 
the call. Judge Olmsted did patriotic service 
in raising that company of volunteers, and 
fitting them out, and in securing them a 
bounty of $100 each, and he followed them 
with watchful care and interest after their 
departure for the field, and ever after until 
the close of the war. Judge Olmsted was then 
a prominent figure in the county, and his pa- 
triotic appeals moved men, as the quick result 
of raising so large a company in so short a time 
under the sad and disheartening conditions of 



ABOLITION AND THE UNION 107 

that day abundantly testifies. General Kane 
was then in the field. The old Bucktails were 
then serving under him. Other companies 
of men had been raised in Potter County and 
were in the service. The part Judge Olm- 
sted had in their going out is unknown to me, 
as I was myself new to Potter County, having 
been there only since June of 1862. Of 
course, from the time we went to the service 
imtil I was discharged in 1865, my knowledge 
of Judge Olmsted's career is only such as I 
have derived from the public prints and 
records. On my return he was in the legis- 
lature. ... It was certainly very unfor- 
tunate that physical disability prevented his 
going into service in the field. He was the 
material to make a general of then." 



CHAPTER VIII 

From Home Life to Harrisburg 

MR. OLMSTED'S own home life began 
in 1860. On the eighth of May of 
that year he married Ellen Ross/ 
daughter of David and M. A. Ross, and 
sister of Hon. Sobieski Ross, subsequently 
representing the Coudersport district in Con- 
gress. Her father was of Scotch and her 
mother of Puritan ancestry. They removed 
from Grafton, New Hampshire, to Penn- 

1 The grandfather of Ellen (Ross) Olmsted was Thomas Ross, of Billerica, Mass. 
(son of Joseph Ross, of Mason, N. H.). He was baptized Aug. 31, 1760, according 
to the church records of the First Cong. Unitarian Church (Vital Records of 
Billerica, p. 166; Beer's Hist. Potter Co., p. 1173), and joined the American Army 
in the War of the Revolution, from Ashburnham, Mass., at the age of fifteen years 
(Mass. Military Archives, vol. 24, p. 83; vol. 23, p. 200), serving from May 17 to 
Dec. 1, 1776; and again from May 26, 1777, to May 26, 1780, the latter service 
being in Col. Rufus Putnam's regt. (Mass. Military Archives, vol. 6, part 1, p. 102; 
also U. S. Pension Bureau Rev. Record). Three years later he married Deborah 
Bond, of Ashburnham (Vital Records of Ashburnham) and removed to Hanover, 
N. H. There he reared three daughters and six sons, one of whom (Isaac) became 
a member of the Governor's Council, and held many other offices. "David went 
to Pennsylvania" (Gazetteer of Grafton Co., N. H., p. 320). In 1827 he married 
Mary Ann Knight (daughter of John and Seclendia (House) Knight), then a teacher 
at Lymansville, a Potter County settlement. Her mother, Seclendia House, was 
the daughter of Jonathan House, of Hanover, N. H., a member of the famous 
independent military organization, recognized by Congress, and known in Ameri- 
can history as the " Green Mountain Boys," which Invaded Canada to Montreal in 
1776 (Vermont Revolutionary Rolls, p. 635), captured Fort Ticonderoga under 
Ethan Allen, Crown Point under Seth Warner, and fought at Bennington under 
Stark (Vt. Rev. Rolls, pp. 831, 832; see also Nc-w York in the Revolution, pp. 61, 
62). Colonel E. M. House, known as the personal representative of President 
Wilson, although born in Texas, is of the same New England ancestry. 

In 1819, four years after the death of John Knight, Seclendia, his widow, 
married John L. Cartee (Cartier), a pioneer, whose early settlement, known as 
Cartee Camp, is the only one in Potter County noted on Sheafer's Historical Map. 
He become a resident of Coudersport. 

(108) 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 109 

sylvania in 1820. ' He was a surveyor, 
but for several years was engaged in the 
lumber business at Ceres, removing to 
Coudersport in 1827, where he represented the 
Bingham estate. Mr. Olmsted had purchased 
the residence of Dr. Heath, which the latter 
had built and occupied as a homestead, and it 
became at once the Olmsted mansion. It is 
situated on the principal residence street near 
the public square, and through all the vicissi- 
tudes of the years is still regarded as the most 
desirable residence in the community. One 
child, Nellie, was born July 19, 1861, who grew 
to womanhood and on the 26th day of Decem- 
ber, 1893, became the wife of William F. 
DuBois, then principal of the Coudersport 
High School, since a leading lawyer of the 
Potter bar. They reside at the county seat, 
and have one child, Arthur William, born 
January 14, 1897, now a student at the 
University of Pennsylvania. But two chil- 
dren were born to the Olmsted wedlock. 
The birthday of the son, Robert Arch Olm- 
sted, was June 21, 1877. He succeeded to 
his father's business affairs, and since the 
latter's death has entered into a professional 
partnership with Mr. DuBois. He married 



110 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Kathryn Fizzell, daughter of William and Jane 
Fizzell, of Bradford, Pennsylvania, January 8, 
1907. They reside in the parental home- 
stead at Coudersport, though latterly their 
winter residence has been at Southern Pines, 
North Carolina. They have three children: 
Arthur George, born May 9, 1908; Warren 
William, born May 19, 1910, and Margaret 
Ellen McCloud, born August 23, 1912. 

During the period of political reconstruction 
between 1856 and 1861, Arthur G. Olmsted, 
though yielding often to the demands of 
public occasions, was yet able to devote him- 
self to his profession. Various matters inci- 
dental to the growth of the county, not strictly 
professional, but requiring legal supervision, 
engaged his attention. For instance, it was 
in 1860 that the County Agricultural and 
Horticultural Society was organized. The 
dismemberment of the county by cutting off 
for the formation of Cameron a large portion 
of Portage Township, was also a matter of 
grave concern. His law office at this period 
was over the store of W. T. Jones Bros, on 
Main Street. His practice increased. He 
rose rapidly to the front rank in his profession. 
The election of Lincoln having been followed 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 111 

by secession, and the three months' anticipated 
duration of the war having been spent over and 
over, it was seen that the war was not only to 
be indefinitely prolonged, but that it had 
become formidable. Upon the recurring calls 
for troops it was recognized that the success 
of the Union cause in the Northern Tier 
depended in great measure upon the eloquent 
appeals which Mr. Olmsted was putting forth 
in the counties of Tioga, Potter and McKean. 
He had become to the loyal people of these 
counties the man of the hour. It was pre- 
sently perceived that he was needed at 
Harrisburg, not only by the interests of the 
county, but also by the Washington adminis- 
tration. He was accordingly elected to the 
General Assembly in the fall of 1862. 

Anxiety then prevailed throughout the 
North. McClellan had been forced to retreat, 
and was simply encamped, apparently inac- 
tive, over-estimating the forces against him, 
and calling for excessive reinforcements and 
equipment. Between him and Halleck there 
was evident estrangement. The garrison at 
Washington had become an army of 73,000 
men under Banks, marking time and doing 
guard duty. McClellan's prolonged inaction 



112 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

wrought upon Lincoln's patience until finally, 
on the 6th of October, he gave McClellan a 
peremptory order to move. Meantime, the 
enemy's foraging incursions into Pennsyl- 
vania as far as Chambersburg and into Mary- 
land past the Army of the Potomac, had put 
the Union commander at such disadvantage 
that he was unable to set his army in motion 
until the 25th, and by that time he had so 
lost the confidence of the administration and 
the country, that before encountering the 
enemy he was relieved of command and 
succeeded by Burnside. Mr. Olmsted had 
other means of information than the public 
journals. He had occasional letters from the 
front, from the boys who had gone, as it 
were, upon his call. The subjoined extracts 
are from an exceedingly graphic and penetrat- 
ing letter written to him by Captain J. C. 
Johnson. It is dated at Camp McNeal, 
Washington, D. C, Headquarters 149th Regi- 
ment P. v., October 13, 1862; 

"Undoubtedly you want to know the state 
of affairs with the 'Potter Bucktails.' Well, 
as was anticipated, Capt. Dwight is captain 
no more. That extra bar fell upon my shoul- 
der straps as the crumbs fell into the hands 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 113 

of a certain hungry man of olden time when 
Walt was elected to Lt. Colonelcy at Harris- 
burg. The Colonel is popular, and the 
Potter boys are good soldiers. . . . Regi- 
mentally we've been floundering in red tape 
snarls, and have got so that we can put in all 
the dots in the right places in muster and 
pay rolls, and can find all the offices in the 
city, and wait all day for an audience with- 
out swearing. We've done nothing at drill 
for ten days — given up camp guard — and 
are set at hospital gates or over government 
board piles, to keep legless soldiers from 
running away and old women from stealing 
splinters. I suppose we are to be kept in this 
way until the mud is so thick we can't move. 
We may be doing government great service, 
but I don't see it. 

"All the country within this great chain of 
forts about Washiugton is literally covered 
with soldiers, and brigades of officers block 
up the streets of Washington. Yet they stay 
here, and nobody seems concerned, while 
Jeff Davis is having a gay old time sweeping 
the crops of Pennsylvania, Maryland and 
the valley down into Richmond, and stealing 
homespun broadcloth and horses. It may be 
all right, but I can't see it. Nothing is 
looked for more anxiously than the order 
* Forward,' and we all feel ashamed to sit here 
in inglorious idleness. It may seem bad 



114 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

management, it does seem so, but there is 
no use lamenting. No one but old Jeremiah 
ever made anything out of lamentations, and 
he wouldn't if the Lord hadn't been on his 
side. It is no business of Company officers to 
think, — Generals for strategy." 

Arriving at Harrisburg, Mr. Olmsted found 
a degree of confusion there, a need of con- 
centration for effective support of the admin- 
istration at Washington. More than once 
he accompanied members of the House and 
Senate in visits to the Governor to urge 
measures of co-operation with the President. 
In subsequent conversation with Captain 
E. R. Mayo, of the Smethport bar, himself a 
veteran Union soldier, Mr. Olmsted is re- 
ported to have said that while Governor 
Curtin has been called "The Great War 
Governor," his course in these critical days, 
taken as a whole, was not such as to justify the 
title.^ He was, however, sufficiently demon- 

' In the legislative session of 1863 a resolution was offered in the House approv- 
ing the course of the Governor in caring for the sick and wounded soldiers, and, 
after amendment, was indefinitely postponed. 

Early in June of that year, when the danger of Lee's incursion into Pennsyl- 
vania became apparent, the President sent out to the neighboring states an emer- 
gency call for troops. To the Governor's proclamation about 25,000 volunteers 
responded, but because they did not come prepared for the term enlistment pre- 
scribed at army headquarters, he declined to muster them in, and issued a new call. 
On the contrary, the New York and New Jersey troops were received as they came — 
for the emergency. Before Pennsylvania volunteers could respond to the second 
call, the battle of Gettysburg had been fought. Pennsylvania's default is charged 
by the state historian^ (Egle — Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 266), "to the action 
of the state and natiooal authorities." The alternative conclusion involves an 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 115 

strative and spectacular, as attested by this 
clause from his first inaugural address : " When 
the present infamous and God-condemned 
rebellion broke out." Strong Pennsylvania 
statesmen then stood around the administra- 
tion of Lincoln. In its congressional delega- 
tion were included Stevens, Grow, Kelley, 
McPherson, Morrell, Randall, Schofield and 
Williams. Wilmot was in the Senate, Stanton 
was Secretary of War, and Meredith was 
Attorney-General of Pennsylvania. The dan- 
ger to the Union had brought to the legislature 
men of unusual ability. Mr. Olmsted's dis- 
trict was composed of Tioga and Potter. His 
colleague was Hon. C. O. Bowman of Tioga. 
The adjoining district comprised the counties 
of Clearfield, Jefferson, McKean and Elk, and 
was represented by C. R. Earley, of Elk, and 
T. J. Boyer, of Clearfield. Mr. Olmsted was 
not unknown at Harrisburg. Upon the organ- 
ization of the House he was placed on the 
committees of chief importance: Ways and 
Means, Corporations and Federal Relations. 
His ability, his aptitude for legislation, and 

unjust reflection upon the patriotism of the people of Pennsylvania; and this alter 
native appears to be accepted by Greeley and other historians. It has gained cre- 
dence because it fits into the recognized theory tliat the Confederate raids into 
Pennsylvania were merely campaigns of "f rightfulness," designed to deadeu the 
spirit of loyalty in the North and create a demand for peace. 



116 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

his effectiveness in debate were early rec- 
ognized. The rank attained by him in his 
first session was such as to render his retention 
in the legislature a matter of imperative con- 
cern at this critical period in the history of 
the commonwealth, and he was accordingly 
successively re-elected without opposition till 
the end of the war, so that his continuous 
service in the House included the sessions of 
1863, 1864 and 1865. It was in the nature of a 
patriotic service, and so recognized by his 
constituents, for such a prolonged absence 
from his home necessarily interrupted the 
practice of his profession, and resulted in 
much personal inconvenience and sacrifice. 

If more men of marked ability were then 
sent to the legislature than in recent years, it 
would not be difficult to account for the fact. 
First, the number of members was not quite 
half so large as the present membership (207), 
and the districts were correspondingly larger 
in era. The range of legislation was much 
wider before the adoption of the present con- 
stitution. Nearly all of the local, special, 
municipal and individual business now trans- 
acted in the courts was then accomplished by 
legislative enactment. Thus laws were passed 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 117 

to annul marriages, creating corporations, 
such as lumber companies, oil companies, rail- 
road companies and banks, authorizing Phila- 
delphia to construct certain sewers and drains, 
empowering borough councils and school 
boards to borrow money, county commis- 
sioners to build a bridge, executors and 
guardians to sell real estate. At Mr. Olmsted's 
first session, a law was enacted changing the 
place of holding elections in Stew^ardson 
Township, Potter County; another enabling 
the town council of Coudersport to repair 
sidewalks; an act authorizing commissioners 
to open the state road in Potter and McKean; 
an act to release Potter County from a judg- 
ment in favor of the commonwealth; an act 
confirming loans made by commissioners of 
Potter to pay bounties; a supplement to 
an act incorporating the McKean County 
Railroad Company; a supplement to an act 
incorporating the Potter County Railroad 
Company. To ensure such a body of legisla- 
tion important to the convenience, as well as 
to the prosperity and growth of a particular 
district of the commonwealth, as also effective 
participation in general legislation relating to 
the affairs of the state and nation in a great 



118 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

historical crisis, called for a high order of 
ability and for superior qualities of states- 
manship. Arthur G. Olmsted stood the test. 
In his second session he attained the Republi- 
can leadership in the House. His district 
still comprised the counties of Tioga and 
Potter. His colleague was Hon. John W. 
Guernsey, of Wellsboro. The adjoining dis- 
trict composed of Clearfield, Jefferson, 
McKean and Elk, was represented by T. J. 
Boyer, of Clearfield, and A. M. Benton of 
McKean. It was a Democratic district. 
Dr. Boyer became conspicuous as the author 
of charges of bribery in the contest resulting 
in the election of Simon Cameron to the United 
States Senate, testifying according to the 
majority report of an investigating committee 
that on one occasion he was offered $15,000, 
and later $20,000, and being corroborated in 
essential particulars by Dr. Earley. 

Mr. Olmsted was appointed chairman of 
the Committee on Legislative Apportionment, 
second on Judiciary General (of which W. D. 
Brown of Warren was chairman), and a mem- 
ber of Federal Relations and Judiciary Local. 
By his request he was excused from the chair- 
manship of the Committee on Banks. It 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 119 

was on his motion that a resolution was 
adopted directing the publication of a daily 
Legislative Record^ and he was made chair- 
man of the committee on the part of the 
House. 

The completion of the Sunbury and Erie 
Road was announced. Legislation was con- 
summated changing the boundary line be- 
tween the counties of Warren and McKean, 
also legislation affecting the Potter County 
Coal and Lumber Company and the McKean 
Railroad and Navigation Company. The 
speaker, Hon. H. C. Johnson, of Crawford, 
announced that during his absence Mr. Olm- 
sted would act as speaker fro tern} 

The responsibility of leadership in the 
legislature of the Keystone commonwealth 
was at this juncture a grave undertaking. 
Pennsylvania was not only in many respects 
the most important of the loyal states. It 
was the nearest to Washington, and its 
statesmen could most readily be called into 
council. The Civil War had its dark periods. 

"In the spring of 1863," says McClure, 
"Hooker suffered a most humiliating defeat 
at Chancellorsville, and the Army of the 



« Home Journal, 1864, p. 9. 



no ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Potomac had little to inspire it with hope of 
victory. It had been defeated on the Penin- 
sula; it had been defeated at the Second Bull 
Run; it had a drawn battle at Antietam; 
it had been defeated at Fredericksburg and 
defeated at Chancellorsville. It had not a 
single decisive victory to its credit.^ 

Moreover, Pennsylvania was on the border, 
its boundary confronted the Confederate Army 
of Northern Virginia; its soil was constantly 
exposed to hostile incursion. Thrice, year 
after year, it had been invaded. Chambers- 
burg had been burned, and the counties of 
Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, York and Adams, 
as well as Cumberland, had been raided. Is it 
any wonder if the pulse-beats at the national 
capital were anxiously noted at Harrisburg? 
Pennsylvania had already organized its 
Reserve Corps. The War Department of the 
United States had created in Pennsylvania 
two new military departments: the Depart- 

1 McClure's Recollections, page S18. The following quotation is from John 
Sherman's Autobiography (Vol. 1, p. 329): "The utter failure of McClellan's Cam- 
paign in Virginia, the defeat of Pope at the second battle of Bull Run; the jealousies 
then developed among the chief oflScers of the Union army, the restoration of 
McCleUan to his command; the golden opportunity lost by him at Antietam, the 
second removal of McClellan from command, the slow movement of Halleck on 
Corinth, the escape of Beauregard, the scattering of Ilalleck's magnificent army, the 
practical exclusion of Grant and his command, and the chafing of Bragg and Buell 
through Kentucky — these, and other discouraging events, created a doubt in the 
pubhc mind whether the Union could be restored." The Democratic National Con- 
vention, meeting at Chicago on the 29th of August, 1864, by resolution declared the 
War for the Union a failure, and demanded that "immediate efforts be made for a 
cessation of hostilities." 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 121 

ment of the Monongahela, *' including that 
part of the state west of the mountains,'* 
under command of Major General Brooks, and 
the Department of the Susquehanna, com- 
prising the remainder of the state, under 
command of Major General Couch. In June, 
1863, General Couch arrived at Harrisburg, 
and assumed command. Troops to the num- 
ber of 31,422 were assembled in the Depart- 
ment of the Susquehanna, and 5,166 in the 
Department of the Monongahela. These 
troops were finally merged in the Army of the 
Potomac. 

A special session of the General Assembly 
of Pennsylvania became necessary in 1864, 
and met pursuant to call in August of that 
year.^ The administration of the War Depart- 
ment was not without the most grievous 
scandals, which were made the subject of 
investigation and report on the part of the 
House.^ 



1 Governor's Message, session of 1864, 

2 The following scathing passage is extracted from the report of the House 
Special Committee: "The criminal collusion of army officers with the most reckless 
and unmitigated scoundrels as herein exhibited, clearly proves a state of co-operation 
among the said officers, and systematic villainies perpetrated upon the credulous 
soldier, the unsuspecting people and the general government, which is of the most 
heinous character. Disqualified persons have repeatedly passed the surgeon's 
examination, with his full Knowledge of their infirmities. Men have been mustered 
into the United States service who were utterly disquaUfied for military duty, and in 
many cases are yet in the service of the government. Recruits, after they were 
mustered, were not only permitted to desert, but were even induced to do so by those 
in authority, in order that they might be taken to other recrtiiting stations, with 



122 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

It was a turbulent year — the year in which 
the peace sentiment in the North rose to a cli- 
max and receded. One of the chief causes con- 
tributing to this revolution was a decision of 
the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania holding 
the Draft Act of Congress unconstitutional. 
Against this decision the loyal spirit of the 
North rallied in a resentment not unlike that 
which followed the Dred Scott decision. The 
Chief Justice (Lowrie) who was a candidate 
for re-election and his associate (Justice 
Woodward), who was the Democratic candi- 
date for Governor, were both smartly defeated. 
A motion to dissolve the preliminary injunc- 
tion was promptly made to the reinforced 
court and the order vacated. The report of 
the case (45 Pa. 238) embraces ten written 
opinions covering one hundred pages. Justice 
Strong, who delivered the principal opinion 
sustaining the act, was subsequently called 
to the bench of the Supreme Court of the 

an apparent understanding that those persons, although physically disabled and 
notorious deserters, might again be enlisted, either as volunteers or substitutes. 
Army oflBcers have leagued with bounty swindlers, for the accomplishment of these 
vile purposes. The streets and alleys of our villages, towns and cities, have, at their 
command, given up the deformed and the aged to be accepted as soldiers for our 
armies. Infirmaries have been robbed of their diseased and maimed, and even 
prisons have disgorged their convicts at the bidding of judicial officers and traiEckers 
m human flesh. In fine, human depravity of every grade has feasted upon the needs 
of the government, and while military authority has received from the hands of 
the ci\'il powers these culprits whom they sought to bring to conviction, justice has 
been paralyzed and the commun ity left the easy prey of the most accomplished 
scoundrels." ' — Home Journal, 1864 March 23d. 



HOME LIFE TO HARRISBURG 123 

United States. It was the year, too, in which 
McClellan accepted the Democratic Presi- 
dential nomination, but, with unflinching 
patriotism, won the applause of the North 
by smashing the plank of the party platform 
which declared the war a failure, saying: 
"I could not look in the face of my gallant 
comrades of the army and navy and tell them 
we had abandoned that Union for which we 
have so often imperiled our lives.'* Lincoln 
finally wrested the victory only by the weight 
of the homely argument that it was not good 
policy "to swap horses while crossing a 
stream." 



CHAPTER IX 

The Speakership in 1865 

WHEN the legislative session of 1865 
opened, Mr. Olmsted was named 
for speaker by the Republicans 
with one accord. George A. Quigley of 
Philadelphia was the Democratic candidate. 
The latter received thirty-six votes, includ- 
ing that of his opponent. Olmsted received 
sixty votes and was elected. Among the 
members who supported him were several 
of subsequent note, including Matthew S. 
Quay, representing Washington and Beaver; 
A. K. McClure, of Perry and Franklin, and 
W. D. Brown, of Venango and Warren. At 
this session the Thirteenth Amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States, prohibit- 
ing slavery and involuntary servitude, was 
ratified. A pension law was enacted pro- 
viding a maximum monthly pension of 
eight dollars for honorably discharged offi- 
cers, non-commissioned officers, musicians 
and privates of the army, including volun- 

(124) 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 125 

teers, militia and drafted men, disabled by 
injury or disease. 

A joint resolution was adopted requesting 
the Governor to call upon the general govern- 
ment for the return of sick and wounded 
soldiers, to be treated and cared for in hospi- 
tals within the State of Pennsylvania. 

An act was passed providing for an addi- 
tional law judge in the fourth judicial district, 
then comprising the counties of Tioga, Potter 
and McKean. Petitions were presented from 
the counties of Crawford and Potter praying 
for the passage of an act to secure the rights 
of married women. Acts were passed incor- 
porating or supplementing incorporation of 
Bennett's Branch Improvement Company, 
Clarion Land and Improvement Company, 
Elk County Manufacturing and Improvement 
Company, Laurel Run Improvement Com- 
pany, McKean and Elk Land and Improve- 
ment Company, Midas Petroleum and Im- 
provement Company, Potter County Forest 
Improvement Company, North Western Coal 
and Iron Company. 

The prosperity of great centers of material 
importance, the development of natural re- 
sources in large sections of the commonwealth. 



126 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

were thus measurably dependent upon legis- 
lative skill, tact and ability. While the con- 
stitution of 1873 aimed to overcome existing 
evils, it left disadvantages in their wake. 
Local affairs being transferred from the legis- 
lative forum to the courts, local interest in the 
choice of representatives to General Assembly 
was diminished, and their selection gravitated 
logically to the headquarters of the larger cor- 
porations or their political agency, the party 
machine. Its power became abnormal, and 
willing, rather than strong, men were gen- 
erally preferred as representatives. 

As speaker of the Pennsylvania House of 
Representatives, Arthur G. Olmsted was asso- 
ciated in a galaxy of distinguished statesmen, 
who brought to the commonwealth high 
honor during the Civil War; foremost among 
whom was David Wilmot, who succeeded 
Simon Cameron when the latter was called 
by Lincoln from the United States Senate to 
the portfolio of the War Department; Galusha 
A. Grow, "Father of the Homestead Law," 
Speaker of the National House from 1861 to 
1863; Edwin M. Stanton, also a member of the 
Lincoln cabinet, and Thaddeus Stevens, the 
"Great Commoner of the Republic." 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 127 

A journalistic townsman of Mr. Olmsted, 
writing of him at a later period, has said : 

"While not physically fit for service in the 
field, Arthur Olmsted gave to the Union 
cause the benefit of his talent, his courage and 
his sympathy, with clear discernment antici- 
pating the dangers that impended when the 
South rebelled, with optimism predicting the 
ultimate triumph of the right, and with 
encouraging words and generous deeds help- 
ing the soldiers at the front and the struggling 
populace at home. And when the war was 
over, it was his initiative that erected a mon- 
ument to the brave sons of Potter who had 
'given the last full measure of devotion' to 
their country."^ 

While there were statesmen of note, includ- 
ing distinguished "War Governors," who 
exhibited practical and patriotic concern for 
the Union soldier in the field and for his 
dependents at home, it is safe to say that there 
was no public man of that period who was in 
more intimate touch with the men at the front, 
none who knew better their needs and their 
views, or who was more vigilantly solicitous 
for those whom they had left behind. His 
hand is plainly seen in the pension law of 1865. 



> Potter County Journal, December 10, 1914. 



128 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

He corresponded with soldiers who had en- 
listed under his persuasive eloquence. He 
felt keenly his physical disqualification and 
coveted their comradeship. They wrote him 
not formal acknowledgments merely, but let- 
ters containing reports of battles, observations 
and personal opinions — intimate opinions, at 
first hand, of much value to a public man in a 
position of leadership. The following extracts 
are from a letter written by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Walton Dwight, dated "Headquarters 
149th regiment, near Pollock's Mill, Va., 
May 13th, 1863." It was written at the close 
of the Seven Days' Battles, culminating at 
Chancellors ville. It is of no little historical 
value, as an immediate, intimate, astute 
study of a much-mooted battle, notwithstand- 
ing the writer had evidently not yet learned 
how completely Howard's Eleventh Corps had 
been surprised in the forest by the brilliant 
flanking movement of Stonewall Jackson, nor 
that Jackson had died of his wound, nor that 
the Union commander, Hooker, near to a 
masterly victory, had been disabled by a 
shattered pillar, but for which retreat might 
not have been ordered. How solicitous the 
writer is of the effect of the reverse upon the 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 129 

people at home! How conscious that the 
army was fighting under the eyes of the loyal 
North! And yet how undismayed and con- 
fident! Nor did he dream that he was soon 
to lead his regiment (149th Pennsylvania) in 
the famous battle of Gettysburg, and that 
when General Roy Stone and Colonel Wistar 
were wounded, he was to rank second in 
command in the "Bucktail Brigade." 

"I would like much to step in unobserved 
and listen to the numerous conclusions arrived 
at in the quiet little town of Coudersport rela- 
tive to the late movements of this army. We 
would much like to know how the people feel. 
We can judge by the papers, but they lie so 
infernally we can put no confidence in them. 
Their accounts of the late seven days* cam- 
paign are very incorrect. They give to some 
corps and generals the credit of doing what 
they could not, as they with their commands 
were from two and a half to five miles dis- 
tant from where great and severe conflicts were 
said to have taken place. We want to know 
whether our reverse — for it is nothing else — 
has dampened the patriotism of the people in 
our rear. Will you send us on the new quota 
to be obtained by draft? Is public sentiment 
of that character that it will fully sustain 
the administration in any and all measures 



130 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

necessary to crush out the rebellion? You 
can see that we are much weaker than before 
the late engagement. Our loss is from 
15,000 to 18,000, although the prints put it 
at 9,000. We here know it to be over 15,000 
— although it is not necessary to advertise 
that fact. We now have 23,000 two-years* 
and nine-months' men, making altogether our 
army some 40,000 less than when we made 
the crossing some twelve days ago. We 
then numbered 110,000 men for duty, now 
less than 70,000. True the enemy are 
greater losers than we in killed and wounded, 
but their men do not go out of service imtil 
kind Providence discharges them. They are 
relatively stronger than when we made our 
advance. You need not expect success from 
this quarter unless the enemy is compelled to 
withdraw a portion of his force to some other 
part of the Confederacy. Should he do so we 
could, perhaps, successfully advance with our 
present force; otherwise I fear the result of 
another forward movement. This is one of 
the worst countries to fight a large army ever 
seen; the enemy being perfectly acquainted 
with the same makes it all count advantage- 
ously to them. Their force was, to the best 
of my judgment, 100,000 men in the late 
engagement. They are, if anything, better 
armed than our own men, and are full as well 
clothed, notwithstanding the prints to the 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 131 

contrary. My regiment took ninety prison- 
ers one day while we were on the right. May 
3d. I know we turned in our ovm arms and 
retained theirs in preference. They fight full 
as well as our men and are fully impressed with 
the idea that they are fighting for their inde- 
pendence, and consequently must in the end 
be successful. The more intelligent, how- 
ever, acknowledge that we can overpower them 
if we bring the full power of our government 
to bear against them. 

"There can be no doubt of the final ending 
of this affair if we are true to our principles. 
If the people will do as well in the rear as our 
army will in the field, it is only a question of 
time. You must not blame us for not win- 
ning. We have done all that could be 
expected of any army. Our loss alone 
speaks for us. You must remember we are 
fighting our own kind, officered by the best 
men in the land. We need not expect great 
routs and great victories. We have never 
had them in this war. From what I have seen 
I do not expect them. I think I am per- 
fectly cool, and my experience of the past 
fifteen days has given me an insight into this 
thing never before possessed. Patience and 
long endurance, with a disposition to throw 
all into the balance for our cause, is the only 
thing that will win. There were mistakes 
made on our side that cost us dear, that 



132 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

perhaps lost us the victory, but General 
Hooker is but a man. Had he been some- 
thing more, all might have been well. To 
err is human. None of us could see the end 
in the beginning, consequently none could 
foresee exactly what was wanted. Had we 
sent a small force to Port Royal — some 
fifteen miles below us — to have made a 
demonstration at crossing at that point, we 
could have held Stonewall Jackson there with 
his 20,000 men until Hooker could have 
whipped Lee on the right. Or had the 
Eleventh Army Corps fought like men 
instead of running like cowards, as they did, 
our corps, 15,000 strong, might have been 
left with Sedge wick, and saved Fredericks- 
burg to us, without a doubt. Or had the 
cowardly powers in Washington sent down 
General Heintzelman with his 40,000 use- 
less men at that point, but all needful here, 
the result of the late fight would have been 
the most glorious of anything since the 
rebellion broke out. With that force we could 
have completely gobbled them up, and 
changed the whole aspect of the rebellion. 
As it was, with the cowardice of the Eleventh 
Corps, and the doubtful prospect of holding 
the position we occupied on the 6th (owing to 
the constant reinforcement of the enemy), the 
loss of Fredericksburg, and the fear of being 
outflanked, in connection with the rapid rise 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 133 

of the Rappahannock, which seriously threat- 
ened the carrying off of our pontoon bridges — 
thereby entirely cutting off our supplies — 
common sense dictated that we should 
recross the river, after one of the hardest 
fought battles of the war without any decisive 
results on either side — although I always con- 
sider it a reverse to be compelled to fall back. 
The loss of the enemy is certainly much heav- 
ier than ours, as they in almost every instance 
charged upon our works and were mowed down 
like grass. Lee acknowledges a loss of 
18,000. I think it must be greater Jeven 
than that. 

"The generalship displayed by Hooker in 
successfully crossing the river in the face of 
an enemy nearly our equal in numbers, and our 
superior in position, with comparatively no 
loss, must win the admiration of all. Our 
brigade and the cavalry aided by a series of 
feints which completely bewildered the enemy. 

"The cavalry went up the river, we down. 
Our demonstration was made at Port Royal. 
We made Quaker guns, put them in position, 
built huge fires in and about the woods in 
front of that point, and exposed our empty 
wagon train to view — and this was about ten 
days previous to the general movement. The 
effect produced was more than expected, the 
enemy immediately began entrenching, and 
sent a strong force to that point. Hooker 



134 ARTHUR GEORGE OIMSTED 

made one mistake in not keeping a small 
force there at the time he made his actual 
crossing. As I have previously remarked, 
had he done so Jackson would not have been 
in our way until after he was whipped. This 
point is seemingly the place to cross in advanc- 
ing on Richmond. Therefore a feint neces- 
sarily would have been something more to 
the enemy, and they would have held there a 
large force to meet us. The next feint was 
made by the First and Sixth Corps on the 
28th of last month, the beginning of the late 
movement at Pollock's Mills (four miles 
below Fredericksburg). I see by the prints 
Sedgewick gets all the credit for crossing at 
this point, whereas our corps (the First) laid 
the first two pontoon bridges, and crossed 
the first man. We lost, killed and wounded 
there, about one hundred men, were under 
fire of the four batteries of the enemy at 
that point during the whole time Hooker was 
crossing with his main force at Kelly's Ford, 
all of which we got no credit for in the papers. 
Verily, in these times the loudest trumpet is 
considered the finest instrument. We should 
have been all right had we a newspaper cor- 
respondent along. The loss of our corps here 
was very light, owing altogether to the very 
bad range of the enemy's guns. We remained 
here, keeping up the demonstration, as long 
as the bait took, which was sufficiently long 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 135 

to allow our main force under Hooker to get 
into position on the right. We were then, 
on the morning of the 2d, ordered to the 
right. We made twenty-two and a half miles 
that day under the most scorching sun, with 
eight days 'rations and sixty rounds of ammuni- 
tion per man. As we moved up to our posi- 
tion on the extreme right and front, on the 
night of the 2d, near the confluence of the 
Rapidan and Rappahannock, about one and 
one-half miles from the former, we passed 
through the broken and panic-stricken ranks 
of the Eleventh Corps. Some of them were 
on mules, some on artillery horses that had 
been hastily cut loose from their batteries, 
others in ambulances, all intent only on per- 
sonal safety, and making rapidly for the 
rear, and all giving but one account of the 
front. All there was ruin and annihilation. 
Notwithstanding all this, our boys moved 
through them with cheer upon cheer, which 
was heard by Sickles' men who were at that 
time desperately pushed by A. P. Hill, about 
one-half mile to our front and left. It had a 
good effect as it rested our tired boys and 
instilled new hopes into them, and had a cor- 
respondingly depressing effect on the enemy. 
They immediately retired. There is no 
doubt but what our timely arrival saved our 
army that night at that point. We at once 
proceeded to fortify after we got in position. 



136 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

At nine a. m. next day (3d inst.), we had a 
perfect rifle pit and were ordered to make 
reconnoisances in front. We did so and 
before two p. m. of the 3d our regiment had 
captured eighty-six prisoners, and felt the 
position of the enemy for three-quarters of a 
mile. The enemy in the meantime shifted 
his position to the left of us, only leaving a 
skirmishing force to hold us while he could 
attack our forces to our left. He did so, but 
without success, and with great loss, as our 
lines were too strong for him. The day was a 
series of skirmish fights, resulting in very 
slight losses. Monday, the 4th, all was 
quiet until one p. m., when we were informed 
that the enemy were making to our right. 
Our brigade was immediately ordered out to 
meet his advance guard. We moved to our 
front and right, and then to our left, hoping 
to find it (this whole region is a dense wood 
excepting only the center where the princi- 
pal fight occurred). His move against us, 
however, was only a feint, as he immediately 
whipped about and attacked the center of our 
line on the right, about a quarter of a mile 
to the left of our position. This attack was 
one of the most daring and desperate of the 
whole war. Jackson and Hill had both 
been wounded. We, at that time, had not 
heard of anything going wrong at Fredericks- 
burg. The enemy was desperate. He must 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 137 

cut through. We were in high hopes. Lee, 
in this charge, moved at one time six bri- 
gades against our works. They came up 
with yell after yell to \vathin forty yards of our 
line of defense, then, for a moment, all was 
quiet as the grave; then the continuous roar 
of 30,000 to 40,000 muskets for five minutes; 
then the hea^'y boom, boom, boom of sixty 
pieces of artillery; and then the three cheers 
of our own men; and then the charge, and 
then the * three times three' which told us we 
were victorious, — is something that could be 
felt but not described. There was something 
terribly grand in it all. The 5th was for us a 
hea\y day. It told of disaster and defeat at 
Fredericksburg. The enemy, too, was receiv- 
ing heavy reinforcements, becoming more 
numerous on our right than our forces. A 
terrible rain also set in which would swell 
the river to that extent that it would carry 
our bridges off, and leave us without sup- 
plies. We could hear nothing of Stone- 
man. We then did not know whether the 
enemy's connections were cut, so but what 
he could constantly pour in reinforcements. 
Prudence demanded the re-crossing of the 
Rappahannock. But I assure you we did so 
with heavy hearts. I think we should have 
remained. I believe in either winning all 
or losing all. This thing has run about 
long enough. The commanding general did 



138 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

not take the above view. We are safe this 
side the river. 

*'The men are in good spirits and willing to 
again cross arms with the enemy whenever 
our best interests demand it. As regards the 
part my own command took in the late cam- 
paign, I can safely assure you it stands second 
to none in our corps. The nmnber of prison- 
ers taken by us was greater than by any 
other regiment; and the amount of informa- 
tion obtained by our scouts was large and of 
the most valuable character. I cannot say 
enough in praise of the many excellent 
qualities displayed by our men under the 
most trying circumstances. Their cheerful- 
ness, perseverance and stern will at all times 
prominent during our arduous campaign of the 
past few days, must win the admiration of all. 
I have discipline in my regiment, and every 
man now can appreciate the value of it, 
although I have been considered very severe, 
heretofore. In all of our various moves not 
one of my men ever gave a false alarm. I can 
safely say, were all the men in our army under 
as good discipline as our little brigade, the 
70,000 men now left would be more eflBcient 
than the 110,000 we took into the late 
fight. I do not intend that the good people 
in Potter shall ever hear of any disgrace to 
our soldiers, however much they may learn of 
my severity. 



THE SPEAKERSHIP IN 1865 139 

*'My kindest regards to your most estima- 
ble lady, and believe me 

"Very truly yours, 

"W. D. DWIGHT, 

"Comdg. 149th P. V. 
"Please write me if convenient. I have run 
over this in great haste, but it is reliable. 
The whole summing up of the matter is not 
very much in our favor. 

"W. D." 

Twenty days after the second inauguration 
of Lincoln, the Pennsylvania Legislature ad- 
journed. On the 24th of March, 1865, Mr. 
Quigley of Philadelphia offered the following 
resolution in the House, which, upon call of 
♦he roll, was unanimously adopted:^ 

"Resolved, That the thanks of this House 
are due and hereby tendered to the Honorable 
Speaker, A. G. Olmsted, for the prompt, 
able, dignified and impartial manner in which 
he has presided over our deliberations." 

In token of the esteem of the officers of the 
House, an elegant gold-headed cane was then 
presented to the speaker by Mr. W. H. 
Ruddiman. 



' House Journal, 883 



CHAPTER X 

Service in the Senate 

LEE'S surrender, the assassination of 
Lincoln, induction of Vice-President 
** Johnson into the Presidency, the func- 
tion attending it, the processes of recon- 
struction, the election of Geary in succes- 
sion to Curtin as Governor of Pennsyl- 
vania, these and many other stirring events 
speedily followed the close of Mr. Olmsted's 
period of service in the lower house of 
the Pennsylvania Legislature. He was suc- 
ceeded in that body by his preceptor, Hon. 
John S. Mann, who was successively elected 
for the sessions of 1867, 1868, 1869 and 
1871, and later chosen a delegate to the 
Constitutional Convention of 1873. It was 
the intention that Mr. Olmsted should go to 
the Senate, Succeeding the incumbent from 
Tioga County. The senatorial district was 
then comprised of the counties of Potter, 
Tioga, McKean and Clinton, in area (4,078 
square miles) nearly four times as large as 

(140) 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 141 

the State of Rhode Island. Mr. Olmsted was 
elected to the Senate in the fall of 1868, 
carrying McKean County by a majority of one 
hundred seventy votes over A. M. Benton, of 
Port Allegany, the Democratic candidate, 
leading the ticket, with scarce exception, 
throughout the district. Meanwhile he gave 
more consecutive attention to the practice of 
his profession than for some years had been 
possible. Seth Lewis and Don Carlos Larra- 
bee, students in his oflSce, were admitted to 
practice. The latter received the appointment 
of postmaster at Coudersport, but after a few 
months relinquished the oflSce and became the 
law partner of Mr. Olmsted under the firm 
name of Olmsted and Larrabee, a partnership 
which continued unbroken until 1883. Hon. 
Robert G. White, of Wellsboro, was still the 
president judge of the district composed of the 
counties of Potter, Tioga, Cameron, Elk and 
McKean, but was to be succeeded in 1871 by 
Hon. H. W. Williams, of Wellsboro. Potter 
County was still without rail communication 
with the outer world, and, therefore, but 
slowly increased in population. Lumbering 
was still the chief industry. Few saw-mills, 
however, had yet been established, and trans- 



142 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

portation of logs was by nature's highways, — 
the several tributaries of the Sinnemahoning, 
the Allegheny and the Genesee, and for the 
purpose these smaller streams were made 
"navigable'* by act of assembly. 

It is interesting to note the order of legis- 
lation in aid of pioneer development; first, 
for transportation by stream, then by high- 
way, and later by railroad, settlements (towns 
and villages) following along these courses in 
their natural sequence. Thus, streams of the 
commonwealth having been declared naviga- 
ble by act of assembly, their chief tributaries 
were by numerous acts also declared public 
highways. For instance, by act of 1805, 
the west branch of Pine Creek from the third 
fork in the county of Tioga to the forks at the 
Elk-Lick, in the county of Potter, and also the 
said third fork from its mouth to Morris' 
marsh (in the said county of Tioga) "were 
declared to be public highways for the passage 
of boats and rafts," and "lawful for the inhabi- 
tants and others desirous of using the naviga- 
tion of said branches to remove all natural or 
other obstructions in the same." Likewise, by 
act of 1807, "all that part of Oswaye Creek, 
in the county of Potter and county of McKean, 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 143 

which lies between the north line of this state 
and the forks of said creek about twenty 
miles from its mouth, and *'all that part of 
Six's or Conondau Creek, which lies between 
the town of Smith's Port^ in the county of 
McKean, and the mouth of said creek, and so 
much of the Allegheny River, in the counties 
of Potter and McKean, as lies southwardly 
of the north line of the state," were declared 
"public streams or highways." 

There was contemporaneous legislation reg- 
ulating the use of said streams by mill- 
owners, and the construction of slopes and 
locks in such manner as should not prevent 
fish from passing up stream, or boats and rafts 
passing downward. Then followed a half 
century of successive acts, in such detail, 
intricacy and volume as to constitute an inde- 
pendent branch of the law, governing the use 
of these streams in the business of lumbering 
and transportation of logs and rafts along the 
same, including the marking of logs and 
lumber, taking up and reclaiming the same, 
construction of booms by driving piles to 
gather and hold floating logs, and finally, 
for the incorporation of associations for such 
purpose, known as boom companies. With 



144 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the exhaustion of the forests, this period passed 
into history. 

The number of senators, since increased 
to fifty, was then but thirty-three, and a seat 
in the Senate was consequently regarded as a 
position of high dignity and importance. 
Mr. Olmsted entered the Senate with the 
prestige of his distinguished service in the 
House, from which he had gained an enviable 
state reputation. His associates, many of 
them, were to be men of marked ability. 
Wallace, afterwards a Democratic leader in the 
United States Senate, came from Clearfield; 
Buckalew, noted as a constitutional lawyer 
and author, who had just finished a term in that 
body as the successor of Wilmot, came from 
Columbia; General Harry White, soon to 
become a conspicuous member of the 45th and 
46th Congresses, from Indiana; and Charles H. 
Stinson, speaker of the Senate, from Norris- 
town. Into the ofiice of Attorney General, with 
the incumbency of Governor Geary, had come 
Benjamin H. Brewster, of Philadelphia, sub- 
sequently called to the cabinet of President 
Arthur. General Hartranft had become Audi- 
tor General, and Robert W. Mackey, political 
preceptor of Quay, was State Treasurer. 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 145 

Senator Olmsted was assigned to the follow- 
ing important committees : Federal Relations, 
Judiciary General, Education, and he was 
made chairman of the Committee on Library. 
Early in the session he introduced and 
secured the passage and approval of an act 
supplemental to the act of 1853, incorporating 
the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and State Line 
Railroad Company. The promotion of this 
road was regarded as essential to the public 
interests of Potter County, and Olmsted and 
Mann had it at heart and kept it in view 
throughout their respective terms. But there 
were still obstacles in its way which it would 
require legislation to remove, and this was 
to be sought by an act subsequently to be 
introduced. 

It was in the session of 1869 that an act was 
passed appointing commissioners to lay out a 
road from Kane to Campbell's Mill. By far 
the most important action of this session was 
the adoption of a joint resolution ratifying the 
Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of 
the United States declaring that the right of 
citizens of the United States to vote shall not 
be denied or abridged by the United States 
or by any state on account of race, color or 



146 ARTHUR GEORGE OIMSTED 

previous condition of servitude. Party repre- 
sentation was evenly divided in the Senate, 
and it was by no means certain that the 
resolution would pass.^ In fact, a serious 
contest was anticipated. The resolution came 
from the Committee on Federal Relations with 
a strong minority report by Wallace and 
McCandless. The majority report was signed 
by M. B. Lowry, James L. Graham and A. G. 
Olmsted. Its language is easily identified 
as that of Olmsted, and the fact that his 
name was the last to be affixed is a circum- 
stance not needed to confirm the conclusion. 
The following passages are worthy of a place 
in history: 

"That in free America, the home of 
Washington — the refuge of the oppressed of 
all climes — the land of a free church and a 
free Bible, where education is opened to all, 
and where alone in all the earth was each 
white man the political equal of every other 
white man, there should remain upon the 
statute books of states which had long de- 
clared all their inhabitants free, a law for- 
bidding the exercise of suffrage because of 
color, could be as little explained to our 



1 In 1861 (January 24th), the legislature had passed a joint resolution which, 
inter alia, conceded the maintenance of slavery as a constitutional right. 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 147 

friends abroad as it could be excused by our- 
selves. The principle of justice which had 
struck the manacles from the limbs of the 
black man would have seemed equal, at the 
same time, to the duty of placing the ballot 
in his hands. That it would have been so suf- 
ficient is now evident to all but for one rea- 
son, namely, the baneful and blighting influ- 
ence of slavery in the Southern states. . . . 
The negro race in Pennsylvania may be 
estimated at 75,000. Many can trace their 
state lineage through generations; must have 
been born on her soil. . . . The negro in 
Pennsylvania voted until 1838. Did his exer- 
cise of suffrage injure the state? Can any 
one — did even the convention, which, in 
obedience to the behest of slavery, deprived 
him of that right — say that it did? . . . Tax- 
ation without representation is as repugnant 
to the moral sense today as it was in the 
Revolution. Let Pennsylvania no longer 
tolerate it within her borders, but now, hand 
in hand with her sister states, let her help to 
engraft into the constitution of the nation 
this last lesson of the Rebellion, this crown- 
ing act of justice, and proclaim that under 
the flag of our country all men shall be equal 
in the eye of the law.'* 

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 
eighteen in the aflBrmative to fifteen in the 



148 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

negative.^ In the session of 1870 Senator 
Olmsted was given an additional chairman- 
ship, that of the Committee on Estates and 
Escheats, and subsequently was also assigned 
to the Committee on Electoral Reform. Gen- 
eral Thomas L. Kane, a member of the 
first State Board of Public Charities, was 
elected president of the board. General 
Kane afterwards tendered his resignation, and 
in a rather scathing report, recommended the 
abolition of the board as an inefficient means 
for the purpose in view, saying that members 
generally were inattentive and neglectful in 
respect to attendance at stated meetings, and 
little interested in regard to the respective 
charities over which they were presumed to 
have supervision. 

General White succeeded to the speakership 
and Lucius Rogers of Smethport was con- 
tinued in office as assistant clerk of the Senate. 
The time had come for the introduction of 
the railroad measure which was to set the 
people free enchained in the wilderness, and 
liberate the resources of the county of 
Potter. The record shows^ that "Mr. 01m- 



» Senate Journal, 1869, p. 550. 
» Senate Journal, 1870, p. 623. 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 149 

sted read in his place and presented to the 
chair a bill entitled *An Act to facilitate and 
secure the construction of an additional rail- 
way connection between the waters of the 
Susquehanna and the great lakes, Canada 
and the northwestern states, by extending 
the aid of certain corporations to the Jersey 
Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railway Com- 
pany." The preamble of the bill affords such 
concise explanation of the measure that it is 
here quoted: 

"Whereas, It is a matter of much 
public importance to the state at large 
that a railway should be completed at an 
early date to form an additional connection 
between the anthracite and bituminous coal 
fields of Pennsylvania and the great chain of 
lakes and states west: also to aid the construc- 
tion of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charles- 
ton Railway, the Clearfield and Buffalo 
Railway and the Erie and Allegheny Railway, 
and thereby provide outlets for important 
portions of this commonwealth that are 
filled with valuable coal, mineral and other 
products, now without such highways, and 
when those lines are constructed adding 
greatly to the taxable values for state, county 



150 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

and municipal purposes, ^^s well as to greatly 
increase the value of productions from those 
sections of the commonwealth for manufactur- 
ing, agricultural and all other purposes; and 
"Whereas, It is believed that those desira- 




Approximate route of the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buflfalo 
Road (extended to Buflalo). 

ble objects may be accomplished by the provi- 
sions of the annexed bill, and in order to grant 
sufficient authority for effective aid as afore- 
said to secure the same; therefore,'* etc. 

The route of the road was to be from Jersey 
Shore by way of Pine Creek and the Allegheny 
River to the New York state line. March 16, 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 151 

1870, was agreed to for the consideration of 
the bill, and to enable members of the House 
and other persons interested to attend, con- 
sideration was postponed to the morning 
session of the 17th and again to the evening 
session of that day. Debate on this bill 
had been long anticipated. It was understood 
that it was to be opposed on the part of cer- 
tain railroad interests. Constitutional ob- 
stacles were to be the ostensible ground of 
opposition. Buckalew, one of the most 
distinguished lawyers in the commonwealth, 
was to lead the attack. It was to be a forensic 
battle of giants. The Senate chamber was 
crowded. If the bill should pass, it would 
go to the House. Hence many members of the 
lower branch were in attendance, and the 
argument was in effect to both branches. 
Representatives of affected interests were 
present. Here and there friends of the bill 
could be counted in the audience, among 
them, doubtless, F. W. Knox and Sobieski 
Ross, also Backus, of Smethport, Byron 
Hamlin, a senatorial predecessor of Olmsted, 
also Strang, speaker of the House, who was to 
succeed him, and perhaps Arnold, moved by 
the argument that the Buffalo and Washing- 



152 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

ton Railway via Port Allegany was dependent 
upon the success of the pending project. 
These gentlemen, or some of them, with 
certain of their friends, had subscribed liberal 
contributions in land, required to secure 
requisite capital for the proposed railroad con- 
struction. Senator Olmsted had made careful 
preparation. He was to meet adversaries 
worthy of a supreme intellectual effort. The 
audience was intent. He began by clearing 
the ground of the constitutional question 
which had been raised, and then entered upon 
a description of the advantages which would 
result from the construction of the road, well 
calculated to propitiate his hearers. He then 
proceeded in the delivery of a powerful argu- 
ment, which lacked nothing of vision, nor of 
eloquence, nor of legal acumen and cogency, 
nor of a masterly array of facts, legal principles 
and precedents. He anticipated and over- 
whelmed objections, met interrogation with 
ready and convincing retort, and when he 
took his seat, it was realized that he had made 
an argument which no senator could cope 
with, that he had won the day, and that 
the address was a forensic triumph of a high 
order. There are passages in this address 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 153 

which will be of permanent interest, particu- 
larly in the region which then embraced his 
constituency. 

Omitting the discussion of the constitutional 
question as one of no present interest, and in 
any event, substantially disposed of by the 
Supreme Court in the case^ cited by Senator 
Olmsted, the argument proceeded as follows: 

"I believe, sir, that this road when con- 
structed will immediately become one of the 
most important lines of travel in the United 
States. It will reach by its connection with 
the Buffalo and Washington Railway ,2 now 
in course of construction, the great entrepot 
of the western lakes by a route fifty miles 
shorter than any now in existence. It gives 
a Pennsylvania corporation control of a 
short, direct line from Philadelphia to Buffalo. 
It should be remembered that while New 
York has already four lines of communica- 
tion between Buffalo and New York City, 
we have not one between that important 
point and our great seaboard city, though 
trains are now rim from Philadelphia to 
Buffalo, under a lease held by the Northern 
Central of the Ehnira and Canandaigua road, 
but this lease soon expires, and then that 



« Gratz M. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., S Wright, 447. 
' Via Emporium and Keating Summit. 



154 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

road falls into the control of the New York 
and Erie. The harbor at Buflfalo is now and 
always will be the great point from which the 
enormous productions of the West are dis- 
tributed. It is safe to say that nine-tenths 
of the grain and cattle production of the 
entire West is deposited en route to the 
Atlantic sea-board in that harbor, and, as 
facilities now exist, it is carried eastward 
almost exclusively by New York corporations." 

Here the speaker exhibited by a comparative 
statement of facts and figures the magnitude of 
the developing coal trade of Buffalo, from 
which shipments were being made to Chicago, 
Milwaukee, Detroit and the great West, 
ignored by Pennsylvania capital, absorbed in 
over-supplying the market toward the sea- 
board. 

"That line of transportation will be most 
important which puts this article of con- 
stantly increasing and unlimited demand, 
at the great entrepot of the lakes by the short- 
est and cheapest route. . . . Now, Mr. 
Speaker, this line, when completed, will put 
both the anthracite and bituminous coals of 
Pennsylvania from forty to one hundred and 
fifty miles nearer to Buffalo than they can now 
be put there by any existing line." 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 155 

Taking the distances from the anthracite 
coal fields of Scranton and Shamokin via 
Williamsport, Elmira and Canandaigua as 
approximately two hundred ninety -four miles, 
Senator Olmsted showed that the projected 
route via Sunbury would be forty-five miles 
shorter. In the following language he por- 
trayed the development of bituminous coal 
mining in the counties of McKean and 
Potter: 

"The nearest bituminous coal to Buffalo by 
present line is that in Mercer County, which 
reaches that point by way of Erie and the 
Lakes, or by rail at a distance of one hundred 
sixty-seven miles. The next nearest is that 
at Blossburg, Tioga County, which by rail 
and the Seneca Lake, reaches Buffalo at a dis- 
tance of two hundred eighty-nine miles, or 
by rail exclusively at a distance of one hun- 
dred seventy miles. Now, sir, pass this bill 
and build this road, and the bituminous coals 
of McKean and Potter counties can be placed 
on the docks at Buffalo at a distance of from 
eighty-five to one hundred twenty-five miles. 
It necessarily follows inevitably from these 
facts that the seven hundred thousand tons 
now distributed from Buffalo can be trans- 
ported thither from seventy-five cents to 
one dollar and twenty-five cents cheaper 



156 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

than by existing lines, and as a necessary con- 
sequence a large portion of the coal carrying 
trade must be done over it." 

He next demonstrated the importance to 
Philadelphia of a share of the eastern traffic 
from Buffalo then going to New York. He 
gave the figures of 1870 for grain, live stock 
and lumber, and showed that only a small 
fraction passed over roads in which Pennsyl- 
vania capital was invested. 

"Now, Mr. Speaker, when the facts show 
that by construction of the Pine Creek, State 
Line and BuflFalo Railroad, we place Phila- 
delphia fifty-five miles nearer to Buffalo and 
to this immense trade than she now is, and 
over seventy miles nearer to that point than 
New York City by present lines, the impor- 
tance and value of the undertaking becomes 
apparent, and our plain duty as senators 
comes home to us. Shall we be deterred by 
imaginary evils or objections, narrow and 
technical, or shall we arise to a just apprecia- 
tion of the great argument, and by an act of 
liberal justice to ourselves, grasp now what 
the law of development and of trade declares 
is our inheritance." 

From this discussion of the importance of 
the through traffic the speaker passed to the 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 157 

subject of local development and its economic 
results. Taking the instance of the branch 
only twenty-five miles long, up the Tioga 
River to the Blossburg coal region, he showed 
that the state had in the single year 1870 
received from it in taxes $11,978.89. 

"And yet," continued the speaker, "the 
idea has become almost chronic in the earher 
settled and better developed portions of the 
state, that all that section of our common- 
wealth is comparatively valueless, and its 
people and its interests have hitherto been 
regarded as unworthy of consideration as 
those of a delegate from a distant territory in 
the National Congress, or a Catholic bishop 
from Egypt or Syria in the Ecumenical Coun- 
cil at Rome." 

Showing that for more than seventy miles 
the projected road would pass through this 
undeveloped region "containing coal enough 
to occupy the entire transporting power of all 
the corporations in Pennsylvania for fifty 
years," he went on: 

"Build this road through that region now 
totally undeveloped and you bring forth this 
hidden treasure and haste it onward to the 
markets of the West, add untold millions to 



158 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

local values, create new objects of state reve- 
nues, and furnish employment for thousands 
of the hardy sons of toil." 

Deposits of iron ore had been discovered at 
various points, and the speaker predicted its 
development as a matter of importance be- 
cause of its proximity to coal and timber 
requisite for its manufacture. Then he 
turned to agriculture. 

"A careful examination of the census returns 
for 1870 shows that the aggregate value of 
agricultural products in the three counties 
through which this road mainly passes is 
equal to that of any counties in this state or 
elsewhere of equal population. For dairying 
purposes they are not equaled by any counties 
in this commonwealth, resembling in their 
climate, soil and general surface the counties 
of Cortland, Allegany, Steuben and others 
in the State of New York that produce now the 
bulk of the butter and cheese sold in the 
markets of the City of New York." 

Having thus demonstrated that the earnings 
of the proposed road would surely pay the 
interest and principal of the proposed lien upon 
it, the senator proceeded: 

" It would be well for us all to remember that 
this road will pass through a region that has 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 159 

hitherto received no aid from the fostering 
care of the commonwealth. As I remarked 
last winter, it is a neglected and imappre- 
ciated portion of the state. Its citizens have 
hitherto been treated as aliens and strangers 
from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
They have borne the burthens without the 
benefits of citizenship, and they ask that from 
henceforth they shall stand as equals upon a 
common platform. They pay for what they 
demand. These bonds are but the repre- 
sentatives of money actually expended by 
the state in sections that are now rich and 
populous, and great common gratitude requires 
that the representatives from those counties 
should go to the verge of constitutional limit 
in their efforts to be just to others." 

Appealing for a more liberal public policy, 
the speaker, though not foreseeing the adapta- 
tion of electricity to interurban transporta- 
tion, nor the motive power of gasoline and the 
invention of the modern motor-truck, clearly 
foresaw the expanding need of increased 
facilties for transportation at low cost, and 
thus predicted municipal construction and 
maintenance of lines of railway over short 
routes: 

"The time will come in this country when 
railroads of cheap construction and narrow 



160 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

gauge will be as common as highways, and 
then they will be built and maintained at 
the expense of the municipal corporations 
through which they pass." 

Recurring to the pending bill, he related a 
striking instance of the success attending 
legislation of similar import in aid of a 
Southern road, and closed with this eloquent 
peroration: 

"Mr. Speaker, I need hardly say that I 
am anxious for the passage of this bill. I 
represent upon this floor an important por- 
tion of this commonwealth when brought by 
railway lines into connection with the outer 
world. Now it is as nothing. The whole 
future of that region is hanging upon the 
proposition contained in this bill. It is for 
the legislature to say whether it shall become 
rich and populous and great, or whether it shall 
remain as it now is, cast off from communica- 
tion with the human race. Pass this bill, and 
it will bring our people into connection and 
sympathy with the balance of this great 
commonwealth. It will remove the dread 
shadow under which they live and expose 
their great natural wealth to view and apply 
it to the uses of mankind." 

The Senate chamber may well have re- 
sounded with prolonged applause. Those 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 145 

Senator Olmsted was assigned to the follow- 
ing important committees : Federal Relations, 
Judiciary General, Education, and he was 
made chairman of the Committee on Library. 
Early in the session he introduced and 
secured the passage and approval of an act 
supplemental to the act of 1853, incorporating 
the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and State Line 
Railroad Company. The promotion of this 
road was regarded as essential to the public 
interests of Potter County, and Olmsted and 
Mann had it at heart and kept it in view 
throughout their respective terms. But there 
were still obstacles in its way which it would 
require legislation to remove, and this was 
to be sought by an act subsequently to be 
introduced. 

It was in the session of 1869 that an act was 
passed appointing commissioners to lay out a 
road from Kane to Campbell's Mill. By far 
the most important action of this session was 
the adoption of a joint resolution ratifying the 
Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of 
the United States declaring that the right of 
citizens of the United States to vote shall not 
be denied or abridged by the United States 
or by any state on account of race, color or 



146 ARTHUR GEORGE OLlSiSTED 

previous condition of servitude. Party repre- 
sentation was evenly divided in the Senate, 
and it was by no means certain that the 
resolution would pass.^ In fact, a serious 
contest was anticipated. The resolution came 
from the Committee on Federal Relations with 
a strong minority report by Wallace and 
McCandless. The majority report was signed 
by M. B. Lowry, James L. Graham and A. G. 
Olmsted. Its language is easily identified 
as that of Olmsted, and the fact that his 
name was the last to be affixed is a circum- 
stance not needed to confirm the conclusion. 
The following passages are worthy of a place 
in history: 

"That in free America, the home of 
Washington — the refuge of the oppressed of 
all climes — the land of a free church and a 
free Bible, where education is opened to all, 
and where alone in all the earth was each 
white man the political equal of every other 
white man, there should remain upon the 
statute books of states which had long de- 
clared all their inhabitants free, a law for- 
bidding the exercise of suffrage because of 
color, could be as little explained to our ^ 



I In 1861 (January 24th), the legislature had passed a joint resolution which, 
iiUer alia, conceded the maintenance of slavery as a constitutional right. 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 147 

friends abroad as it could be excused by our- 
selves. The principle of justice which had 
struck the manacles from the limbs of the 
black man would have seemed equal, at the 
same time, to the duty of placing the ballot 
in his hands. That it would have been so suf- 
ficient is now evident to all but for one rea- 
son, namely, the baneful and blighting influ- 
ence of slavery in the Southern states. . . . 
The negro race in Pennsylvania may be 
estimated at 75,000. Many can trace their 
state lineage through generations; must have 
been born on her soil. . . . The negro in 
Pennsylvania voted until 1838. Did his exer- 
cise of suffrage injure the state? Can any 
one — did even the convention, which, in 
obedience to the behest of slavery, deprived 
him of that right — say that it did? . . . Tax- 
ation without representation is as repugnant 
to the moral sense today as it was in the 
Revolution. Let Pennsylvania no longer 
tolerate it within her borders, but now, hand 
in hand with her sister states, let her help to 
engraft into the constitution of the nation 
this last lesson of the Rebellion, this crown- 
ing act of justice, and proclaim that under 
the flag of our country all men shall be equal 
in the eye of the law." 

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 
eighteen in the aflSrmative to fifteen in the 



148 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

negative.^ In the session of 1870 Senator 
Olmsted was given an additional chairman- 
ship, that of the Committee on Estates and 
Escheats, and subsequently was also assigned 
to the Committee on Electoral Reform. Gen- 
eral Thomas L. Kane, a member of the 
first State Board of Public Charities, was 
elected president of the board. General 
Kane afterwards tendered his resignation, and 
in a rather scathing report, recommended the 
abolition of the board as an inefficient means 
for the purpose in view, saying that members 
generally were inattentive and neglectful in 
respect to attendance at stated meetings, and 
little interested in regard to the respective 
charities over which they were presumed to 
have supervision. 

General White succeeded to the speakership 
and Lucius Rogers of Smethport was con- 
tinued in office as assistant clerk of the Senate. 
The time had come for the introduction of 
the railroad measure which was to set the 
people free enchained in the wilderness, and 
liberate the resources of the county of 
Potter. The record shows^ that "Mr. 01m- 



1 Senate Journal, 1869, p. 550. 
' Senate Journal, 1870, p. 623. 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 149 

sted read in his place and presented to the 
chair a bill entitled *An Act to facilitate and 
secure the construction of an additional rail- 
way connection between the waters of the 
Susquehanna and the great lakes, Canada 
and the northwestern states, by extending 
the aid of certain corporations to the Jersey 
Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railway Com- 
pany." The preamble of the bill affords such 
concise explanation of the measure that it is 
here quoted: 

"Whereas, It is a matter of much 
public importance to the state at large 
that a railway should be completed at an 
early date to form an additional connection 
between the anthracite and bituminous coal 
fields of Pennsylvania and the great chain of 
lakes and states west: also to aid the construc- 
tion of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charles- 
ton Railway, the Clearfield and Buffalo 
Railway and the Erie and Allegheny Railway, 
and thereby provide outlets for important 
portions of this commonwealth that are 
filled with valuable coal, mineral and other 
products, now without such highways, and 
when those lines are constructed adding 
greatly to the taxable values for state, county 



150 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

and municipal purposes, as well as to greatly 
increase the value of productions from those 
sections of the commonwealth for manufactur- 
ing, agricultural and all other purposes; and 
"Whereas, It is believed that those desira- 




Approximate route of the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo 
Road (extended to Buffalo). 

ble objects may be accomplished by the provi- 
sions of the annexed bill, and in order to grant 
sufficient authority for effective aid as afore- 
said to secure the same; therefore,'* etc. 

The route of the road was to be from Jersey 
Shore by way of Pine Creek and the Allegheny 
River to the New York state line. March 16, 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 151 

1870, was agreed to for the consideration of 
the bill, and to enable members of the House 
and other persons interested to attend, con- 
sideration was postponed to the morning 
session of the 17th and again to the evening 
session of that day. Debate on this bill 
had been long anticipated. It was understood 
that it was to be opposed on the part of cer- 
tain railroad interests. Constitutional ob- 
stacles were to be the ostensible ground of 
opposition. Buckalew, one of the most 
distinguished lawyers in the commonwealth, 
was to lead the attack. It was to be a forensic 
battle of giants. The Senate chamber was 
crowded. If the bill should pass, it would 
go to the House. Hence many members of the 
lower branch were in attendance, and the 
argument was in effect to both branches. 
Representatives of affected interests were 
present. Here and there friends of the bill 
could be counted in the audience, among 
them, doubtless, F. W. Knox and Sobieski 
Ross, also Backus, of Smethport, Byron 
Hamlin, a senatorial predecessor of Olmsted, 
also Strang, speaker of the House, who was to 
succeed him, and perhaps Arnold, moved by 
the argument that the Buffalo and Washing- 



152 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

ton Railway via Port Allegany was dependent 
upon the success of the pending project. 
These gentlemen, or some of them, with 
certain of their friends, had subscribed liberal 
contributions in land, required to secure 
requisite capital for the proposed railroad con- 
struction. Senator Olmsted had made careful 
preparation. He was to meet adversaries 
worthy of a supreme intellectual effort. The 
audience was intent. He began by clearing 
the ground of the constitutional question 
which had been raised, and then entered upon 
a description of the advantages which would 
result from the construction of the road, well 
calculated to propitiate his hearers. He then 
proceeded in the delivery of a powerful argu- 
ment, which lacked nothing of vision, nor of 
eloquence, nor of legal acumen and cogency, 
nor of a masterly array of facts, legal principles 
and precedents. He anticipated and over- 
whelmed objections, met interrogation with 
ready and convincing retort, and when he 
took his seat, it was realized that he had made 
an argument which no senator could cope 
with, that he had won the day, and that 
the address was a forensic triumph of a high 
order. There are passages in this address 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 153 

which will be of permanent interest, particu- 
larly in the region which then embraced his 
constituency. 

Omitting the discussion of the constitutional 
question as one of no present interest, and in 
any event, substantially disposed of by the 
Supreme Court in the case^ cited by Senator 
Olmsted, the argument proceeded as follows: 

"I believe, sir, that this road when con- 
structed will immediately become one of the 
most important lines of travel in the United 
States. It will reach by its connection with 
the Buffalo and Washington Railway,^ now 
in course of construction, the great entrepot 
of the western lakes by a route fifty miles 
shorter than any now in existence. It gives 
a Pennsylvania corporation control of a 
short, direct line from Philadelphia to Buffalo. 
It should be remembered that while New 
York has already four lines of communica- 
tion between Buffalo and New York City, 
we have not one between that important 
point and our great seaboard city, though 
trains are now run from Philadelphia to 
Buffalo, under a lease held by the Northern 
Central of the Eknira and Canandaigua road, 
but this lease soon expires, and then that 



« Gratz VI. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 5 Wright, 447. 
* Via Emporium and Keating Summit. 



154 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

road falls into the control of the New York 
and Erie. The harbor at Buffalo is now and 
always will be the great point from which the 
enormous productions of the West are dis- 
tributed. It is safe to say that nine-tenths 
of the grain and cattle production of the 
entire West is deposited en route to the 
Atlantic sea-board in that harbor, and, as 
facilities now exist, it is carried eastward 
almost exclusively by New York corporations." 

Here the speaker exhibited by a comparative 
statement of facts and figures the magnitude of 
the developing coal trade of Buffalo, from 
which shipments were being made to Chicago, 
Milwaukee, Detroit and the great West, 
ignored by Pennsylvania capital, absorbed in 
over-supplying the market toward the sea- 
board. 

"That line of transportation will be most 
important which puts this article of con- 
stantly increasing and unlimited demand, 
at the great entrepot of the lakes by the short- 
est and cheapest route. . . . Now, Mr. 
Speaker, this line, when completed, will put 
both the anthracite and bituminous coals of 
Pennsylvania from forty to one hundred and 
fifty miles nearer to Buffalo than they can now 
be put there by any existing line." 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 155 

Taking the distances from the anthracite 
coal fields of Scranton and Shamokin via 
Williamspori?, Elmira and Canandaigua as 
approximately two hundred ninety -four miles, 
Senator Olmsted showed that the projected 
route via Sunbury would be forty -five miles 
shorter. In the following language he por- 
trayed the development of bituminous coal 
mining in the counties of McKean and 
Potter: 

"The nearest bituminous coal to Buffalo by 
present line is that in Mercer County, which 
reaches that point by way of Erie and the 
Lakes, or by rail at a distance of one hundred 
sixty-seven miles. The next nearest is that 
at Blossburg, Tioga County, which by rail 
and the Seneca Lake, reaches Buffalo at a dis- 
tance of two hundred eighty-nine miles, or 
by rail exclusively at a distance of one hun- 
dred seventy miles. Now, sir, pass this bill 
and build this road, and the bituminous coals 
of McKean and Potter counties can be placed 
on the docks at Buffalo at a distance of from 
eighty -five to one himdred twenty-five miles. 
It necessarily follows inevitably from these 
facts that the seven hundred thousand tons 
now distributed from Buffalo can be trans- 
ported thither from seventy-five cents to 
one dollar and twenty-five cents cheaper 



156 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

than by existing lines, and as a necessary con- 
sequence a large portion of the coal carrying 
trade must be done over it." 

He next demonstrated the importance to 
Philadelphia of a share of the eastern traffic 
from Buffalo then going to New York. He 
gave the figures of 1870 for grain, live stock 
and lumber, and showed that only a small 
fraction passed over roads in which Pennsyl- 
vania capital was invested. 

"Now, Mr. Speaker, when the facts show 
that by construction of the Pine Creek, State 
Line and Buffalo Railroad, we place Phila- 
delphia fifty-five miles nearer to Buffalo and 
to this immense trade than she now is, and 
over seventy miles nearer to that point than 
New York City by present lines, the impor- 
tance and value of the undertaking becomes 
apparent, and our plain duty as senators 
comes home to us. Shall we be deterred by 
imaginary evils or objections, narrow and 
technical, or shall we arise to a just apprecia- 
tion of the great argument, and by an act of 
liberal justice to ourselves, grasp now what 
the law of development and of trade declares 
is our inheritance." 

From this discussion of the importance of 
the through traffic the speaker passed to the 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 157 

subject of local development and its economic 
results. Taking the instance of the branch 
only twenty-five miles long, up the Tioga 
River to the Blossburg coal region, he showed 
that the state had in the single year 1870 
received from it in taxes $11,978.89. 

"And yet," continued the speaker, "the 
idea has become almost chronic in the earlier 
settled and better developed portions of the 
state, that all that section of our common- 
wealth is comparatively valueless, and its 
people and its interests have hitherto been 
regarded as unworthy of consideration as 
those of a delegate from a distant territory in 
the National Congress, or a Catholic bishop 
from Egypt or Syria in the Ecumenical Coun- 
cil at Rome." 

Showing that for more than seventy miles 
the projected road would pass through this 
undeveloped region "containing coal enough 
to occupy the entire transporting power of all 
the corporations in Pennsylvania for fifty 
years," he went on: 

"Build this road through that region now 
totally undeveloped and you bring forth this 
hidden treasure and haste it onward to the 
markets of the West, add untold millions to 



158 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

local values, create new objects of state reve- 
nues, and furnish employment for thousands 
of the hardy sons of toil." 

Deposits of iron ore had been discovered at 
various points, and the speaker predicted its 
development as a matter of importance be- 
cause of its proximity to coal and timber 
requisite for its manufacture. Then he 
turned to agriculture. 

"A careful examination of the census returns 
for 1870 shows that the aggregate value of 
agricultural products in the three counties 
through which this road mainly passes is 
equal to that of any counties in this state or 
elsewhere of equal population. For dairying 
purposes they are not equaled by any counties 
in this commonwealth, resembling in their 
climate, soil and general surface the counties 
of Cortland, Allegany, Steuben and others 
in the State of New York that produce now the 
bulk of the butter and cheese sold in the 
markets of the City of New York." 

Having thus demonstrated that the earnings 
of the proposed road would surely pay the 
interest and principal of the proposed lien upon 
it, the senator proceeded: 

" It would be well for us all to remember that 
this road will pass through a region that has 



SERVICE IN THE SENATE 159 

hitherto received no aid from the fostering 
care of the commonwealth. As I remarked 
last winter, it is a neglected and miappre- 
ciated portion of the state. Its citizens have 
hitherto been treated as aliens and strangers 
from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
They have borne the burthens without the 
benefits of citizenship, and they ask that from 
henceforth they shall stand as equals upon a 
common platform. They pay for what they 
demand. These bonds are but the repre- 
sentatives of money actually expended by 
the state in sections that are now rich and 
populous, and great common gratitude requires 
that the representatives from those counties 
should go to the verge of constitutional limit 
in their efforts to be just to others." 

Appealing for a more liberal public policy, 
the speaker, though not foreseeing the adapta- 
tion of electricity to interurban transporta- 
tion, nor the motive power of gasoline and the 
invention of the modern motor-truck, clearly 
foresaw the expanding need of increased 
facilties for transportation at low cost, and 
thus predicted municipal construction and 
maintenance of lines of railway over short 
routes : 

"The time will come in this country when 
railroads of cheap construction and narrow 



160 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

gauge will be as common as highways, and 
then they will be built and maintained at 
the expense of the municipal corporations 
through which they pass." 

Recurring to the pending bill, he related a 
striking instance of the success attending 
legislation of similar import in aid of a 
Southern road, and closed with this eloquent 
peroration : 

"Mr. Speaker, I need hardly say that I 
am anxious for the passage of this bill. I 
represent upon this floor an important por- 
tion of this commonwealth when brought by 
railway lines into connection with the outer 
world. Now it is as nothing. The whole 
future of that region is hanging upon the 
proposition contained in this bill. It is for 
the legislature to say whether it shall become 
rich and populous and great, or whether it shall 
remain as it now is, cast off from communica- 
tion with the human race. Pass this bill, and 
it will bring our people into connection and 
sympathy with the balance of this great 
commonwealth. It will remove the dread 
shadow under which they live and expose 
their great natural wealth to view and apply 
it to the uses of mankind." 

The Senate chamber may well have re- 
sounded with prolonged applause. Those 



STATE LEADER 177 

"Judge Olmsted is well known throughout 
the state, and wherever known is respected 
and beloved. He was repeatedly chosen, 
while still a young man, to represent his 
district in the House of Representatives, and 
subsequently in the Senate of the state, and 
by the former body he was chosen speaker, 
thus showing the esteem in which he was held 
by those who knew him best, whether person- 
ally or officially. As speaker of the House, 
and in his service m the Senate, at the bar 
and on the bench, he has earned a reputation 
for firm character and impartial judgment that 
make him eminently fitted to preside over the 
deliberations of the State Senate, and, should 
the emergency occur, to assume the chief 
magistracy of the commonwealth. Judge 
Olmsted well represents the devoted and 
unwavering republicanism of the rural coun- 
ties, as Judge Paxson that of the city, and with 
two such names at the head of the ticket, there 
can be no question of success." 

A few days later the Philadelphia Press 
refers to the nomination as having been 
received with especial favor by the press of 
of the state, and *' given universal satisfac- 
tion." But the Republican party throughout 
the country was entering upon an unfortunate 
campaign. The second election of Grant had 



178 ARTHrR GEORGE OLMSTED 

left the party disrupted. Powerful leaders, 
including Greeley and Sumner, had been 
alienated. In a protesting convention of 
Labor Reformers, Governor Geary had led 
on the informal ballot for the presidential 
nomination. The resumption of specie pay- 
ments had been a source of division. The 
country was slowly recovering from the 
financial panic of 1873. An era of hard 
times had set in, and agitation had begun for 
an inflation of the currency. The Ku-Klux 
Klan had generated the obnoxious Enforce- 
ment Acts of Congress. Official complicity in 
the frauds of the *' Whisky Ring,'* exposed by 
the Secretary of the Treasury Bristow, and 
the impeachment of Secretary of War Belknap, 
had not been without adverse effect upon 
Republican prestige and prospects. Party 
leaders in Pennsylvania were uniting upon the 
presentation of Governor Hartranft for the 
presidential nomination of 1876, and the 
agitation of a third term for General Grant 
was a disturbing cause. The Democrats with 
great skill turned to their account every 
point of vantage. The October elections in 
Ohio and Indiana resulted in favor of the 
Democratic party, and this had its disheart- 



STATE LEADER 179 

ening effect in the Republican *'rank and file." 
It is hardly a matter of wonder that the 
elections in November proved a Waterloo for 
the Republican party. The Democrats swept 
the country and won a majority in the lower 
house of Congress for the first time in eighteen 
years. But Pennsylvania was a Republican 
state. Two years before the Republican 
candidates had carried the state by a majority 
of 140,000. It was, nevertheless, a ques- 
tion whether the party could stem the 
adverse currents sweeping across the country. 
Besides, there were unfavorable conditions 
in the state. Local option was a vexatious 
issue. 

The new constitution had not been put into 
operation without some friction. Friends of 
Governor Hartranft and former Governor 
Geary were not in accord. But Republicans 
in Pennsylvania, handicapped as they were, 
entered upon the canvass bravely and with 
enthusiasm. A stronger ticket could hardly 
have been nominated. 

After the campaign had been running 
nearly two months, and the wisdom of the 
convention had commended itself in the 
public mind, a leading Republican journal of 



180 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Philadelphia alluded to the head of the 
ticket as follows:^ 

"Mr. Olmsted's record as a loyal man is as 
somid as that of any man in the state, and 
his character as a legislator is above reproach. 
No man has ever dared to charge him with 
corruption. His votes and his voice in the 
halls of legislation were always on the side of 
right, and his manly devotion to the National 
Government in the hour of its peril, and to 
his state, are part of the proud records of the 
commonwealth . ' ' 

It now seems incredible that at so late a 
day there should have existed in Pennsyl- 
vania, particularly in the counties of the 
Southern Tier, a serious apprehension of 
negro usurpation as a result of emancipation. 
Nevertheless, Democratic distrust over against 
Republican pride, in respect to the liberation 
of the slave, constituted throughout the can- 
vass a theme of animated discussion. Latta, 
the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant- 
Governor, speaking in the Senate on a bill to 
give colored passengers equal rights on public 
conveyances, was quoted as follows: 



> Philadelphia Press editorial, October 8, 1874. 



STATE LEADER 181 

"Any law which proposes to raise them to 
an equality with the white men of America, 
is a step towards the formation of a monarchi- 
cal form of government." 

Judge Olmsted, on the contrary, was re- 
garded as the champion of the rights of the 
freedmen. 

It is needless to follow Judge Olmsted in 
the course of his attendance at the great 
gatherings which greeted him throughout the 
state. It will suflSce to mention the single 
grand Philadelphia ratification meeting, which 
had been called to be held in Horticultural 
Hall on the tenth of October. A Pennsylvania 
canvass, state or national, reaches its climax 
in that metropolis. In no large city of the 
Union does such a meeting become so dis- 
tinctively a matter of the populace. It is an 
assemblage of the people of Philadelphia. 
To the candidate it is almost a crucial test. 
If he should fail on the occasion, or if the 
meeting should lack the aspect of an out- 
pouring of the people, these circumstances 
would forebode disaster. 

On this October night the auguries were 
favorable. No indication of success was 
lacking. On the balcony in front of the hall 



182 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Beck's Philadelphia Band rendered patriotic 
music. Sky-rockets were sent up on Broad 
Street, and the splendid thoroughfare was 
ablaze with red and blue lights. The spacious 
hall was crowded to overflowing. Prominent 
citizens occupied seats on the platform. 
Among them were Hon. A. E. Borie, of the 
Navy portfolio in the Grant cabinet; Hon. 
William D. Kelley, protection leader in Con- 
gress; General H. H. Bingham, afterwards 
known from his long congressional service as 
"Father of the House;" Hon. A. C. Harmer, 
M. C; Seth Comly, a leader of the Pennsyl- 
vania bar; Jeremiah Nicholson, and others. 
Benjamin H. Brewster, then at the head of the 
Philadelphia bar, and later Attorney General 
of the United States, was chosen to preside. 
At least two hundred and fifty vice-presidents 
were named, including such widely known 
Philadelphians as William E. Cramp, John 
Stackhouse, Edwin H. Fitler, Samuel Bisp- 
ham, Samuel J. Reeves, Anthony D. Lever- 
ing, Thomas Dolan, Dr. F. H. Gross, and 
General Robert Thompson. Among the secre- 
taries were Robert Patterson, General Louis 
Wagner, Hamilton Disston, George Graham 
and Simon Gratz. Besides Judge Olmsted, 



STATE LEADER 183 

General Charles Albright and Hon. George 
Lear were to speak, but Judge Olmsted was 
to precede them. He had not been previously 
heard by a Philadelphia audience, nor had 
it been his fortune to ever before address an 
assemblage of such magnitude, nor one includ- 
ing so many citizens of distinguished attain- 
ments and superor intelligence. But he had 
not been placed at the head of the Republican 
state ticket merely because of his qualifica- 
tions for the performance of the duties of 
the oflSice of Lieutenant-Governor. He was 
chosen as the forensic champion of the party, 
its ablest platform advocate, at a time when 
it was beset with scandal and criticism and 
danger, when it was charged with the prev- 
alence of hard times, when its policies 
respecting the freedman and the enforcement 
of his civil rights were challenged, in short, 
when the party needed in the field its ablest 
exponent and defender. Judge Olmsted was 
the very incarnation of the Republican faith. 
Into it he had been born and bred. He 
breathed its spirit and believed in its mission. 
He knew its history by heart. Its achieve- 
ments and purposes were at his tongue's end. 
They fairly shone as he recounted them. 



184 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

His address was not only a closely knit 
argument, meeting his adversaries at every 
point of dispute, and advancing the standards 
of his party, but it was illuminated with 
historic incident, with imagination and vision, 
rising often into periods of eloquence, which 
won from the audience their frequent applause. 
While it fitted the need and the hour, it 
remains as a classic of masterly exposition and 
defense. It will repay future study, not only 
by students of our political history, but also 
by American youth seeking models of forensic 
speech. 

When the applause following Judge Olm- 
sted's introduction had subsided, he spoke 
as follows: 

"Almost unceasing attention to affairs of a 
political character seems to be a duty under a 
government framed like ours: *A govern- 
ment of the people, by the people and for the 
people.* Not so under a government despotic 
in its form, where all power springs from the 
sovereign, and the people, in the language of 
one of England's hereditary lords, have 
nothing to do with the laws except to obey 
them. 

"The people of this country, under our 
republican form of government, while looking 



STATE LEADER 185 

after affairs of state are simply attending to 
their own business and discharging a duty as 
much incumbent upon the citizen as the 
affairs of his own household, 

"In a republic a bad administration of pub- 
lic affairs for any length of time is an im- 
possibility if the citizen attends to his duty. 

"I speak of these things, fellow-citizens, 
because I know from my own experience, as 
well as from observation, how wearied the 
citizen is apt to become of these constantly 
recurring political excitements. Yet the 
demagogue and the political aspirant is never 
tired of his occupation, and the public inter- 
ests are never in danger except in times of 
calm indifference. 

"Dangerous political heresies are short lived 
where the people are all attention. Danger 
lurks, and lurks only, on a smooth political sea. 

"Many men are anxious about the future of 
the country. Give yourselves no concern 
about that. The future is boundless, and is 
counted by eternities; it will take care of 
itself. It is only the present, illuminated by 
the past, with which we have to do. Dis- 
charge your duty, whatever it may be, and 
trust that he who comes after you will do his 
also, enlightened by your example. We learn 
the danger and the policy of the present 
hour, from our knowledge of the past. It is 
our teacher and in its light we go forward. 



186 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

The Choice of Administration: 

"We come again to the question so often 
presented to us, whether it is best for the 
interests of the country, that the party that 
defended its unity and integrity should still 
exercise a controlling voice in its management, 
or whether it shall be controlled by the party 
in the South that sought its destruction by an 
appeal to arms and the party in the North that 
acts with it politically. It is a living vital 
question today, as it was when the air was 
black with the coming of the armed hosts of 
treason, and the soil of Pennsylvania was 
polluted by the tread of the invader. 

"True it is, thank God, that the confused 
noise and bloody garments of war have passed 
away, and that peace and prosperity reign 
in their stead. True that the government 
is united, and not divided, and that from the 
pine forests of the northern lakes to the orange 
groves of the Rio Grande the sun never rises 
upon a master nor sets upon a slave. And 
to whom do M^e owe all this.'* To the Republi- 
can party. It, and it alone, sustained always, 
without qualification and without hesitation, 
whether upon the tented field, in the political 
gathering, or the legislative council, the policy 
that led to this grand fruition. While upon 
the other hand, the great majority of those 
who now say that they shall control the gov- 
ernment were in arms against it, seeking its 



STATE LEADER 187 

destruction, and the establishment of another 
government, based upon the crimson suicide 
and madness of American slavery, while the 
lesser portion of that party, distributed 
through another section, without actual trea- 
son, gave but a hesitating, doubtful, fault- 
finding and qualified adhesion to the govern- 
ment. These things have happily passed 
away, and I take no pleasure in referring to 
them, but, as I have already said, the light 
of the past shines upon the present, and by 
it we go forward. (Applause.) 

Probation for the South: 

"Upon this subject I wish to be understood. 
There should be no lines of distinction, so 
far as political privileges and the rights of 
citizenship are concerned. While the people 
of the country yield assent to the grand idea 
worked out by the war, that the govern- 
ment must exist as a unity, and that it pos- 
sesses the inherent and constitutional power 
to maintain that unity against domestic as 
well as foreign foes, it does not follow from 
these premises that the man who so recently 
sought to destroy the government is as safe 
to intrust with the reins of control as he who 
imperiled his life to maintain it. (Good !) 

"The recollection of the past is yet too vivid 
all over the land, and will remain so until 
experience has abundantly demonstrated that 



188 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the fire has ceased to burn in the hot and 
smouldering ashes of treason. 

"We passed through a political campaign 
recently in which we were constantly told that 
it was the duty of the American people to for- 
get the war, its blood, its trials and its conse- 
quences. It was said to be the duty of the 
people to think and to act as though it had 
never been. We were asked to do an impos- 
sibility. It can never be forgotten. The 
Lethean river of the Greek mythology could 
not produce such oblivion. The people of 
this country never did forget a war. Did 
they forget that there were Tories in the 
Revolution? After many years they removed 
the political disabilities from them, but was 
one of them ever intrusted with political 
power by the suffrage of the people? Not 
one instance in all history. (Applause.) 

"Did the people forget that portion of the 
Federal party that arrayed itself in even a 
qualified opposition to the War of 1812? They 
placed no political disabilities upon them, yet 
as a political party it was destroyed forever. 
And how with the Mexican War? The Whig 
party filled the army with its brave young 
men, and furnished many of its best oflScers, 
yet the party at home opposed it as a war 
without suflScient cause, and for doubtful pur- 
poses, and it died utterly from that opposition. 

"No political party in this country, as a 



STATE LEADER 189 

political party, has survived opposition to any 
war in which the government engaged. Much 
less can it be so of a war that involved the 
life of the nation itself; and why should it not 
be so? Pray tell me, where is the motive, the 
incentive to patriotism, if, when the struggle 
is over, he who sought to destroy the govern- 
ment to which he owed allegiance, is to be 
exalted over him who imperiled his life in its 
defense? The young men of the country 
should be taught no such lesson. No govern- 
ment on earth could maintain itself under 
such a policy. 

"Mr. Chairman, the hope and safety of the 
country today, as in the past, exists in the 
continued success of the Republican party. It 
is not faultless, and bad men can be found in 
its ranks, as everywhere else in human society; 
but its face is set in the right direction, its 
vision is forward, not backward; it reaches 
upward and not downward, while all experi- 
ence shows that the Democratic party cannot 
safely be intrusted with power. Wherever it 
has won but the slightest foothold it has 
betrayed its old spirit with all of its reaction- 
ary tendencies. It crops out today all over 
the South in the form of White Men's Leagues 
and other organizations formed for the pur- 
pose of ostracising a race of black men and 
all white men that dare differ from them. 
These are but the inspiring effects of Demo- 



190 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

cratic victories in some of the Northern 
states, which lead a bad element in the South 
to hope for Democratic ascendancy, and show 
clearly — far too clearly — what the condition 
of every man in the South, white or black, 
who sustained the government during the 
war, would immediately become should that 
event occur. 

Pledge of Security to the Freedman: 

. "I would say nothing to exasperate the pub- 
lic mind upon this or any other question; but 
it is but just to say that a disposition now 
seems too manifest to undo the work of 
reconstruction, and to crush the black man 
betwixt the upper and the nether millstone, 
to make his condition worse than though he 
were a slave, to make his liberty and his 
right of suffrage but as ashes and apples of 
Sodom in his possession. They mistake the 
public sentiment. The negro stood faithful 
to his country's blue and when he went down 
into the thick of the battle with you and your 
sons and brothers on behalf of a government 
that had previously but done him wrong, the 
people of the country swore, as by an inspira- 
tion coming from the great source of all justice, 
that though the tongue should cleave to the 
roof of the mouth, and the right hand forget 
its cunning, yet the negro should have his 
right forever : and they will keep that oath. 



STATE LEADER 191 

"By the memory of common cause and com- 
mon suffering, by all the early political his- 
tory of this nation, and by all the patriot 
blood that has been shed, the people have 
decreed that, while the escutcheons of social 
equality are beyond and outside of the 
province of government, yet civil equahty shall 
belong to all the inhabitants of this land 
forever. 

Tested by Deedy not by Profession: 

"There are but two great political parties in 
the country, and all political history has 
demonstrated that there can be but two great 
parties in the field for any length of time, 
each contending against the other. The 
country, therefore, must be governed either 
by the party that fought for the Union, or by 
the party the majority of whom fought 
against the Union. Choose ye between the 
two. Are you willing as Republicans, are 
you willing as citizens, that this great and 
mighty change should occur in the administra- 
tion of either state or national affairs? What 
has the Republican party, as a party, done 
that it should forfeit the public confidence? 

"Saying nothing of the past, what has the 
Democratic party of the present hour to offer 
to you as an inducement to make this change? 
It passes volmnes of resolutions, I admit, in 
favor of economy and honesty, and, as the 



192 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

New York Tribune recently said of the 
Democratic platform of a neighboring state, 
*It is always refreshing to read resolutions 
upon this subject, passed by a party out of 
power, and seeking for power.' But what has 
it done in the way of reform in any state in 
which it has been intrusted with power, that 
commends it to your confidence? Has its 
legislation been superior to ours? Has its 
management of state finances excited admira- 
tion? There is scarcely a Northern, Eastern, 
or Western state but what, under Republican 
rule, has either diminished or entirely wiped 
out its state indebtedness; while Tennessee, 
under Democratic administration, has in- 
creased her indebtedness thirteen millions, and 
Virginia, a state claiming to be a model of 
Democratic government, has increased hers 
by twelve millions, the State of Mississippi, 
controlled absolutely by Republicans, and, 
for the most part, by very black Republicans 
(cheers), has increased her indebtedness but 
three millions, an indebtedness she will pay, 
and not repudiate, as under a former admin- 
istration (prolonged applause); and in Ken- 
tucky, if we may believe the utterances of 
the great Democratic organ of the South- 
west, the Louisville Courier- Journal, a state 
of lawless anarchy exists; and in Missouri, 
under the Democratic administration, human 
life has been rendered so unsafe, and her debt 



STATE LEADER 193 

has increased so frightfully, that the people, 
with Carl Schurz at their head, are aroused 
as by a sense of impendmg ruin, and will hurl 
the Democratic party to the earth at the 
coming election, with all its false pretensions 
of honesty upon its head. (Applause.) 

"Yet, in the face of these facts, the Demo- 
cratic party, strengthened by the financial 
troubles of the country, are seeking to per- 
suade the people to reinstate it in place and 
power. They mistake both the intelligence 
and patriotism of the people. They are not 
ready yet to take so important and dangerous 
a step, and they cannot be persuaded to do so 
by the mere catchword of politicians, and by 
vague and unmeaning charges against those 
whom they have heretofore delighted to 
honor. ('That's so!') If reform is neces- 
sary, they will seek to accomplish it through 
the party whose movements are forward and 
not backward, and not through a party that 
has been shown by an experience of years to 
be incapable of reforming itself. 

" The river Rhiue, it hath been shown. 
Doth wash the city of Cologne; 
But, oh ye gods ! what power divine 
Can ever cleanse the Rhine?' 

Republican State Administration: 

" I now turn abruptly for a few moments to a 
discussion of the affairs of our state, for this 



194 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

is to be an election of state as well as of 
national importance, and it is proper that they 
should be discussed. For fourteen years the 
Republicans have had the management and 
responsibility incident thereto of the legisla- 
tion and the financial affairs of Pennsylvania, 
and, I say, now, in this great presence, and 
with some knowledge of the truthfulness of 
what I say, that the financial management of 
the State of Pennsylvania for these fourteen 
years challenges the admiration and approval 
of the intelligent world. They came into 
power at the commencement of the war, with 
a debt upon the commonwealth, funded and 
unfunded, of over forty millions of dollars, 
with her credit in doubt and her securities 
depreciated everywhere. In the foreign mar- 
kets her bonds were but the subject of ridicule 
and jest. And during these fourteen years 
they have reduced the state debt by an 
annual average of over one million dollars. 

"In addition to this they paid a temporary 
war loan of three millions of dollars. They 
have appropriated from five hundred thou- 
sand to one million dollars per annum to the 
support of the common schools, and for the 
last eight years have appropriated annually 
from three to five hundred thousand dollars 
to the maintenance of soldiers* orphan 
schools — the noblest charity the sun ever 
shone upon. They have appreciated the 



STATE LEADER 195 

bonds of the state until they are sought for 
in financial circles everywhere as permanent 
investments, her six per cent currency bonds 
being worth at last quotations eleven per cent 
premium. 

"To accomplish all this have they increased 
taxation? Have they laid burdens upon the 
shoulders of the masses grievous to be borne? 
No. They have reduced taxation on personal 
property from three mills to two and one- 
half mills per cent, and in 1866 they swept 
the state tax entirely off real estate, from 
which the commonwealth derived an annual 
income of one million four hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. (Applause.) They 
have reduced taxation for state purposes, and, 
in every way possible, lightened the burden 
of the state government. (Applause.) Could 
our Democratic friends have done better than 
this, had they been in power? Has any one a 
complaint to make? Does any one believe it 
to be the best policy for the state government 
to turn out of power the party that has accom- 
plished these reforms and made this reduction 
in our state debt, for the purpose of reinstat- 
ing the party that made the debt? (Cries of 
'No?' 'No!') 

"In the State of New York for 1872 the 
state taxes were $18,550,000. In Massachu- 
setts the same year, with the population more 
than one-third less than ours, the state 



196 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

taxes were $11,874,000, while in Pennsylvania 
they were but $7,076,000. 

"And during all these years of Republican 
control, notwithstanding the vague talks 
about 'Rings,' and frauds and corruption, 
in which our opponents have indulged them- 
selves, no man can point to a dollar lost to 
the treasury by the default or negligence of any 
one of its treasurers. 

"I say again, that our administration of 
state finances commends itself to the admira- 
tion of the world. The New York Evening 
Post, in October last, although a paper of 
such eminent conservatism that it finds but 
little in the world to commend, published an 
editorial upon the financial policy of Penn- 
sylvania, and concluded by declaring that in 
no state in the Union were the state taxes so 
cheaply collected, and so directly and hon- 
estly disbursed, as in this state. 

"No state has excelled ours in its magnificent 
appropriations to public charities, and when 
it was determined to celebrate the Centennial 
of our American Independence in this, the 
city of its birth, she patriotically stepped to 
the front with her contribution of one million 
of dollars. 

"Every citizen of Pennsylvania, whatever 
his political proclivities, has just reason to be 
proud of our present state administration, 
particularly of its chief executive officer. Gov- 



STATE LEADER 197 

emor John F. Hartranft. He was a true and 
brave officer during all the long years of the 
war. He was an upright and just Auditor 
General for more than six years. Yet the 
Democratic efforts for his defeat when a 
candidate for the position he now holds are 
unparalleled in the history of political war- 
fare. He was covered with shame and 
reproach as with a garment. Yet he was tri- 
umphantly elected, and from the hour of his 
inauguration until the present moment, no 
newspaper in the conunonwealth or else- 
where, no individual of any shade of political 
behef, has been able to point to a single act 
of his administration that will not bear the 
light of the most intelligent and scrutinizing 
criticism. 

Personal Detraction as a Political Weapon: 

"It seemed to me, during that contest, that 
the time had come in American politics where 
there was no longer any motive or incentive to 
honesty among public men. The charge of 
dishonesty and corruption is as easily made 
against an individual of unflinching integrity 
as against an abandoned thief. And, indeed, 
this system of personal detraction has been 
carried to such an alarming extent that the 
public can no longer discern, from the surface 
of a campaign, between an individual fit for 
public station and one utterly unfit, and I 



198 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

know of really no policy for the political 
aspirant to pursue except to stand to his integ- 
rity, preserve his own self-respect and let the 
storm of personal detraction pass over him as 
it may. 

The Democratic Record: 

"What are the distinctive principles of the 
Democratic party today, and what have they 
been during the entire period of Republican 
ascendency? What were they during the 
war, except dissent from every position 
assumed by the Republican party, step by 
step, and year by year, as time rolled on and 
taught its lessons of public emergency and 
public necessities? 

"First came the declaration of the utter 
want of constitutional power in the General 
Government to coerce a rebellious state, then 
an utter dissent from all measures to which the 
administration resorted to raise money neces- 
sary for the maintenance of the army and 
the public credit. 

"You all remember with what utter con- 
tempt they received the first issue of govern- 
ment paper money. Not a Democratic print 
in the whole land but pronounced the whole 
issue as unconstitutional and valueless. In 
that hour of extremity, when the issue of 
paper money must be made or the government 
utterly fail, but three Democratic members of 



STATE LEADER 199 

Congress could be found to vote for the bill, 
and yet at the last session, when the extreme ne- 
cessity had passed away, the Democrats in the 
House of Representatives voted thirty -six to 
thirty -four in favor of issuing more of the same 
currency. Then, in the order of events, came 
the most violent and unrelenting opposition 
to Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation; 
then opposition to putting the negro into the 
army that he might fight for his freedom and 
his country; then came determined opposition 
to the reconstruction amendments of 1866; 
then opposition, long and prolonged, to the 
amendment granting suffrage to the colored 
man, and yet, in 1872, they adopted the Cin- 
cinnati platform, which cordially approved of 
all these measures, and took Horace Greeley, 
who had but recently been the representative 
man of the opposition, as their candidate for 
President. (Loud cheers.) The Cincinnati 
platform went even further than this, and 
declared as resolution No. 1: 'We recognize 
the equality of all men before the law, and 
hold that it is the duty of the government in 
its dealings with the people, to mete out 
equal and exact justice to all, of whatever 
nation, race, color or persuasion' (applause), 
embodying in the strongest Anglo-Saxon 
words to be found, the very essence of Sum- 
ner's Civil Rights bill of the last session, 
against which every Democratic Senator voted. 



200 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

I have said that the Democratic party was 
reactionary in its tendencies. 

"In its platform at Pittsburgh, it declared the 
principles of the Civil Rights bill to be inju- 
rious to the black man as well as to the white, 
and that it was *an unconstitutional invasion 
of the rights of the states.' These words, 
*an unconstitutional invasion of the rights 
of the states' were thrown in because they 
had them still on hand. They can be found 
in every Democratic platform, state or na- 
tional, from the inception of the war to 1872; 
applied to every measure of the Republican 
party for the suppression of the rebellion 
and the government of the country, and 
as they travel backwards they begin again 
to use them, and now all over the South 
they form White Men's Leagues and 
prattle again about a white man's government. 
(Applause.) 

Responsibility for Hard Times: 

"What new principle in government, or 
what earnest elaboration of old principles do 
they now present to the popular consider- 
ation? None whatever. Hanging upon 
'craggy edges of remorse, anxiety and 
despair,' the panic is the breast from which 
they suckle the hope of success, and in their 
platform at Pittsburgh they actually charge 
responsibility for the panic upon the admin- 



STATE LEADER 201 

istration. Just how the administration 
could be charged with the financial disturb- 
ances in the country, they, of course, fail 
to state. 

"They might as well have held the party in 
power responsible for the visit of the grass- 
hopper or the potato bug. Who ever heard the 
administration of James Buchanan charged 
with the far greater financial troubles of 1857, 
or an earlier administration charged with the 
disasters of 1842.'* Who ever heard the Brit- 
ish Parliament or the British Queen held 
responsible for the various financial diflB- 
culties encountered in England during the 
last fifty years? Nobody is responsible for a 
panic. They come unannounced, unexpected 
and unexplained. They puzzle the philosophy 
of the wisest, and set at naught all business 
rules; but if the billion and a half of gold and 
silver that has been mined in this country 
since 1850 had been kept in the country 
instead of being sent abroad to purchase 
articles that we might have manufactured 
ourselves, no panic would have occurred. 
(Tremendous applause.) 

"When we are wise enough to adopt the 
great principle of self-protection, which is as 
applicable to nations as to individuals, our 
era of panics will have passed away. 

"But I am trespassing upon patience, and 
must hurry these remarks to a close. 



202 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Republican Achievement: 

"I have said that the Republican party was 
not without its faults, but it differs from any- 
other party of which the world has knowledge. 
It exposes its own corruptness to the public 
gaze, treads it under foot and moves onward. 

"The present Congress at its last session 
paid its own postage — a thing no Democratic 
Congress ever did It repealed the back sal- 
ary law and annulled the Sanborn contracts. 
It cut down the annual expenses of the govern- 
ment by seventy-seven millions, and the 
reduction of the public debt still goes on. 

"The Republican party, during all its years 
of supremacy, has accepted with sublime 
courage the duties of the hour. It sup- 
pressed a gigantic rebellion and emancipated 
4,000,000 slaves, and decreed universal suf- 
frage and equal citizenship; it established a 
uniform national currency and sustained the 
public debt under most extraordinary bur- 
dens; reduced national taxation from the 
fearful rate imposed at the close of the war 
till its burden is unfelt and unappreciated by 
the citizens, and at the same time reduced the 
national debt at an annual average of one him- 
dred millions of dollars; it established a great 
principle of national rights and national 
responsibilities, and recovered thereby fifteen 
millions of dollars from the British Govern- 
ment for the Alabama claims, teaching all 



STATE LEADER 203 

the world that 'peace hath her victories no 
less renowned than war.' (Enthusiastic 
applause.) Is any one weak enough to 
believe that the people will now intrust the 
government to the control of any party or 
combination of men that opposed, for the most 
part, every step of this great progress? No; 
the Republican party has established its prin- 
ciples in the laws and in the constitution of 
the country, in the hearts of the people, in the 
very soil of the American continent, and it will 
govern the country it has saved." (Applause.) 

The text of this address, or oration, as 
termed in the newspaper head-lines, was 
published at length in several of the Philadel- 
phia journals on the day following its delivery. 
The manner in which it was received by the 
public is not only to be determined by the 
applause with which it was greeted at the 
time, but also by such editorial comment as 
the following: 

"There was great interest evinced to hear 
Judge Ohnsted speak, for the position of 
Lieutenant-Governor is so distinguished a 
one that it is felt only a man of signal ability 
should be elevated to it. If there were any 
doubts entertained by those who did not 
know Judge Olmsted, of his pecuhar fitness 
for the oflBce to which he was nominated, they 



204 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

were removed before he had spoken five 
minutes. His strong, incisive language, cloth- 
ing profound thoughts, immediately stamped 
him as one of the most brilliant thinkers 
and orators ever heard in public in this city, 
and proved the wisdom of his selection by 
the convention."' 

Up to the very eve of election a majority for 
Judge Olmsted was counted upon with con- 
fidence. As late as October 29th, the Phila- 
delphia Press said editorially: 

"Hon. Arthur G. Olmsted will carry the 
West like a storm." 

The election occurred on the 3d of Novem- 
ber. On the 5th of that month the Daily 
Evening Telegraph said: 

"Judge Olmsted, Republican candidate for 
Lieutenant-Governor, leads his ticket here 
and elsewhere, and may possibly be elected 
by a small majority, but the chances appear 
to be against him." 

For three days the result was in doubt. 
On Wednesday the Philadelphia Press (Repub- 
lican) claimed the election of the state ticket. 
On Thursday it said: *'We do not give up 

> Daily Evening Telegraph, Philadelphia, October 12, 1874. 



STATE LEADER 205 

the state." On Friday it printed a table 
showing a plurality of 356 for Latta. His 
plurality, as officially recorded, was 4,679. 
The temperance candidate received 4,649 
votes. Hence if Judge Olmsted had received 
the temperance vote, to which his principles 
and services in the cause of prohibition 
entitled him, he would have lacked but 
thirty-one votes of a majority. It is plain 
that he, a most effective advocate of tem- 
perance, having a prohibition county behind 
him, was defeated by the prohibitionists and 
liquor men together, a result that has doubtless 
retarded the cause of prohibition in Penn- 
sylvania. Although Judge Olmsted may 
have regarded the result 

"As the struck eagle stretched upon the plain 
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart," 

nevertheless he was always unswerving in his 
devotion to the cause. When the question 
of repeal of prohibition in Potter County 
subsequently arose. Judge Olmsted was quoted 
as unalterably opposed to it. 

The general reverse of the Republicans 
throughout the country amounted, however, 
to a landslide, and sufficiently accounted for 



206 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the result in Pennsylvania. It must have 
been a matter of some personal gratification to 
Judge Olmsted that his vote exceeded that of 
General Beath, the exceedingly popular can- 
didate for Secretary of Internal Affairs, and 
that of the late Chief Justice Paxson for 
Justice of the Supreme Court. 

The high-water mark had been reached in 
the history of the Republican party of Penn- 
sylvania. It had come to the turning point. 
Hitherto its policy had been guided by the 
wisdom of such counselors as Stevens, Wilmot 
Ulysses Mercur, Thomas Williams, Alexander 
McClure, W. D. Kelley, Glenni AV. Scofield, 
Edward McPherson and Arthur G. Olmsted. 
If Senator Olmsted had, by the turn of a vote 
here and there in less than half the precincts, 
or say, a single vote in two-thirds of the wards 
and townships, been elected Lieutenant- 
Governor, he, instead of Wallace, in the 
natural course of events, would have passed 
from the presidency of the Pennsylvania 
Senate to the Senate of the United States; 
the need would not have arisen to call the 
younger Cameron from the presidency of the 
Northern Central Railroad, nor to have 
sought new leadership for the party, which, 



STATE LEADER 207 

however sagacious and skilful, should be 
destined to bring a degree of reproach rather 
than of honor to the commonwealth, and to 
inflict upon it the loss in good measure of the 
prestige to which it had become entitled as 
the birthplace of the party of Fremont and 
Lincoln, in whose borders it had rung the 
bell of liberty to the Southern slave, and 
raised the standard of protection to American 
labor. 



CHAPTER XII 

As Lawyer and Judge 

THE will of the people had been regis- 
tered in the established way, the 
Pennsylvania Legislature elected a 
Democratic Senator, and both branches of 
Congress passed into Democratic control. 
Judge Olmsted returned to the long-deferred 
demands of his profession. It can hardly 
be said that his practice had suffered in 
his absence, for in his several legislative 
terms, as well as through his judicial experi- 
ence, his reputation for learning and legal 
ability had become enhanced, so that upon 
return to his office abundant professional 
business awaited him. 

In his own and adjoining counties he 
was retained in nearly all important litiga- 
tion so long as he continued in practice. 
Contemporary lawyers speak of him in 
reminiscent letters. Hon. J. C. Johnson, 
hereinbefore quoted, a former member of the 
state legislature, and for many years at the 

(208) 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 209 

head of the bar in Cameron County, thus 
writes: 

"Upon my admission to the bar in 1866 
he came mider my observation as a lawyer. 
When I began practice, - Cameron County 
was in the old fourth judicial district with 
Potter County. Hon. Robert G. White was 
the president judge and Hon. Henry W. 
Williams associate judge. The latter suc- 
ceeded Judge White as president judge, and. in 
1871 Stephen F. Wilson became associate 
judge. In 1882 Judge Ohnsted succeeded Wil- 
son as associate judge, and in 1883 he became 
president judge of the 48th district, com- 
posed of Potter and McKean counties, and 
he retired at the end of his term, in 1902, as 
president judge of the 55th district, the 
county of Potter. His long career at the 
bar was during a period of great advancement 
and important development in the northern 
counties of Elk, Cameron, McKean, Pot- 
ter and Tioga, where he had an extensive 
and lucrative practice. He was always a 
leader at the bar. His learning was acknowl- 
edged, his keen judgment of men and his 
knowledge of affairs, and his remarkable 
power of clear and logical statement won ver- 
dicts from juries and decisions from judges, 
and gave him acknowledged leadership. His 
integrity was of such a well-known and high 
character that his friends sometimes said he 



210 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

was so straight that he leaned backwards — 
intending to express the opinion that in a con- 
troversy where a friend of his was interested, 
he was so careful not to be chargeable with 
partiality that there was a probability that 
his friend would suffer. 

"The period covered by Judge Olmsted's 
active life was for the old fourth district a 
very important one. The counties of Tioga, 
Potter, McKean, Elk and Cameron con- 
tained great wealth that awaited develop- 
ment: Lumber, coal, clay, oil and gas. 
There was need of new and important legis- 
lation and the interpretation of new laws. 
Railroads were to be constructed. Booms 
for lumber operations and highways were to 
be opened. Schools were to be provided and 
all the needs of a rapidly increasing popula- 
tion were to be provided. Judge Olmsted 
has left the impress of his ability upon this 
work perhaps more than any other citizen of 
Potter County. 

"He was successful also in business, as the 
magnitude of his estate attests. He never 
attempted to reap where he had not sown, and 
his success in business came through his fore- 
sight and good judgment and his confident 
reliance on action as they directed him. 

"Judge Olmsted was admirably equipped for 
the practice of the law in the field where he 
undertook it at the time he was admitted. 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 211 

He both knew and understood the plain peo- 
ple. He could talk with the coimtryman about 
the things that he knew interested him in his 
daily life. He knew as well courtly people 
and readily carried on negotiations with 
dignitaries who held the highest state interests 
in their hands. He was possessed of a high 
degree of intellectuality. His tastes led him 
in legal battles into the center of the arena. 
He enjoyed the legal conflict and he broke his 
professional lance with the opponent, and 
bore off on his shield the honors of the fray 
with great dignity. 

"He knew literature and history, and he 
appropriated and enjoyed the wisest sayings 
and brightest scintillations of master minds. 
He was learned in the law, and was able to 
command his most effective weapons for 
instant use in the heat of the conflict with 
either court or jury. He came on when titles 
were open to contest and land law became 
important. In the courts common law forms 
had given way to modern and practical direct- 
ness and simpUcity, and the mind of the 
lawyer and the judge was free to grasp the 
essentials in his case. Judge Olmsted entered 
the lists under favorable conditions for the 
practice of the law, and was called upon in 
his early practice to work out first-time solu- 
tions of difficult questions arising in and relat- 
ing to land titles and the lumber industry. 



212 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

"He was a most companionable man, and 
yet he lacked some of the elements of a popu- 
lar and appealing character. I mean that he 
was not a wit and raconteur as Wilson was, 
and did not attract the following of the ' boys ' 
as Wilson did. 

"I recall when he was candidating for his 
first nomination as judge we had a protracted 
contest. Wilson could corral the delegates 
and entertain them so they would shout with 
glee, while Olmsted could only retreat to some 
place where unsavory fragments of the stories 
could not offend his ears. When the vote 
was counted, however, it was found that 
Wilson had only the 'hurrahs;' Olmsted had 
the votes. 

"Judge Olmsted's career was successful and 
honorable as a man, a citizen, a lawyer and a 
judge, and affords an example for us all." 

In the memorial resolutions adopted by the 
Potter County bar, this passage occurs: 

"In all the traditions of his successes, his 
singular resourcefulness, shrewdness, and abil- 
ity, and his instant grasp of every legitimate 
advantage in the practice of law, there is no 
hint or insinuation of any action on his part 
not in strict accord with the highest ethics of 
the profession. His former associates always 
commented upon the wonderful accuracy with 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 213 

which he forecast the procedure of his 
adversary,'* 

So also the bar of the City of Bradford, in 
its resolutions, declares that 

"In the culminating period of his practice 
at the bar, no lawyer in Western Pennsylvania 
was considered more effective before a jury 
or in the argument of questions of law." 

The following is the estimate of a cotem- 
porary journalist:^ 

"As a lawyer he was keen, analytical, tact- 
ful and resourceful. In those early years 
'decided cases' had not so thoroughly out- 
lined the legal practice as at the present time, 
and the legal practitioner was often compelled 
to resort to reason and logic, to supply the 
place of the judicially determined law, to win 
his cases. His ready wit and keen insight into 
human character made him a formidable 
opponent and a successful trial lawyer. The 
great number and variety of suits arising out 
of early oil operations in McKean and War- 
ren counties gave full opportunity for a dis- 
play of his legal learning and ability, and he 
was engaged in nearly every important suit 
of that busy and litigious period. Often 
hundreds of thousands of dollars hung in the 



' Potter Journal, September 23, 1914 



214 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

balance in suits where the skilful turning of a 
legal hair decided the matter in controversy. 
He was constantly in contact with many of 
the highest legal minds of the state, but 
never at a disadvantage or discredit to him- 
self. He was strong, not only with the 
court, but also before the jury. He was 
recognized as one of the most capable advo- 
cates in the state. The chief element of his 
success before both judge and jury was his 
conservatism. He never made a statement 
to either judge or jury that he had not first 
convinced himself was strictly true. His 
appeals were to the reason rather than to 
the passions. Apparently trivial incidents in 
a case were so tactfully handled as to become 
the turning point in many a legal battle. 
His practice extended over Potter, McKean 
and Cameron counties, often reaching into 
other courts in occasional important cases." 

Judge Olmsted enjoyed the relaxation from 
the strain of political excitement and public 
service. In the service of his country and 
his commonwealth he had well-nigh given his 
life. For the highest measure of success in 
civil life the physical powers are requisite 
which are demanded for military service. 
The impairment of his health was a matter of 
grave solicitude to his friends throughout the 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 215 

stale, often manifested in their correspon- 
dence. He was glad to take up the responsi- 
bilities and duties of common citizenship, and 
to enjoy its varied compensations. It pleased 
him to have thrust upon him, as it were, the 
appointment of street commissioner,^ and he 
undertook the duties with much zeal and char- 
acteristic efficiency. The soldiers' monument 
subscription had flagged in his absence. He 
resumed responsibility for it, and in due time 
published, over his own signature, a carefully 
itemized account of receipts and expenditures. 
The subscription list included the names of 
Peter Herdic, Judge Williams, Judge Wilson, 
M. E. Olmsted, Captain J. C. Johnson, Col. 
W. Dwight, Stebbins, Mann, Jones, Ross, 
Knox, Ormerod, and many others. Up to 
that time the work had cost $1,177.21. The 
excess of payments over receipts was $248.95. 
The contract was let to Joseph Schwartzen- 
burg for $750.00, but the price was inadequate. 
*'It cost at least one hundred dollars," says 
the report, *'to move the three large stones 
from the quarries to the place where they were 
finally dressed. This work was generously 
done by farmers in the vicinity, who had 

» Potter Journal, March 11. 1875. 



216 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

suitable teams, without charge." The initial 
meeting in this public enterprise was held 
September 20, 1869, at which time the project 
was put in the hands of a committee of four: 
Captain Kinney, Captain Horton, Hon. 
Arthur G. Olmsted and S. S. Greenman. The 
memorial column was raised December 20, 
1874, but it was. not until April, 1887, that 
the statue of a soldier was placed on the 
shaft. 

During all these years there was no relin- 
quishment of the railroad project which was 
to connect Coudersport with the civilized 
world, and bring to the inhabitants of the 
county the blessings and advantages which 
its means of development would afford. Judge 
Olmsted was still the central figure at the 
hearthstone within which the fire of this 
purpose was kept burning. At a meeting of 
the stockholders of the Jersey Shore, Pine 
Creek and Buffalo Railway Company, held 
January 14, 1878, John S. Ross was elected 
president, and Arthur G. Olmsted, Arch F. 
Jones, Charles H. Armstrong, Pierre A. Steb- 
bins, Jr., William K. Jones and D. C. Larrabee 
were elected directors. Between Jersey Shore 
and Coudersport the project had become 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 217 

stalled. The Reading Railroad Company, 
which had assisted, withdrew its co-operation, 
and in 1876 work had ceased. Attention was 
finally directed to securing by an independent 
movement the right of way between Couders- 
port and Port Allegany. 

About this time, in the winter of 1879, the 
Tidewater Pipe Line Company established a 
telegraph office at Coudersport. The Phila- 
delphia Record, in its issue of the 20th of 
February, said: 

"We welcome the people of Coudersport 
into the electric circle that holds the world 
together in quick intelligence." 

The Potter Journal^ in a little later issue 
(March 6), hailing this achievement, reviews 
the steps of progress since its establishment in 
1848, when there was neither railroad nor 
telegraph nearer than Hornellsville, a distance 
of fifty -four miles. On the 12 th day of 
February, 1851, the cars ran through to Cuba, 
and soon after a daily stage was started, 
and the mail was carried six times a week 
thenceforward between Wellsville and 
Coudersport. It mentions the completion of 
the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad to Em- 



218 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

porium in October, 1863, soon after which a 
daily mail was carried between Emporium and 
Coudersport. The Buffalo, New York and 
Philadelphia was completed January 1, 1873, 
from Emporium to Buffalo. 

"These progressive steps," said the Journal 
"have all worked great improvements in this 
coimty, and taken all together have reduced 
the price of goods in Coudersport at least 
fifty per cent, and have added that much to 
the comfort of living here." 

Noting the completion of the Tidewater 
telegraph line through to Williamsport, it 
proceeds to say: 

"The pipe line which is being pushed with 
great vigor is soon to follow, and then we hope 
the crowning step — the railroad! Why not? 
Is there not as much undeveloped wealth 
waiting for the railroad to give it activity, as 
for the pipe line?" 

In 1881 George Magee and his associates 
had come into control of the right of way 
between Coudersport and Port Allegany, and 
Judge Olmsted, together with F. W. Knox, 
having organized sufficient capital among the 
citizens of Coudersport, Olean and Smethport, 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 219 

negotiated with Magee for the right of way, 
and finally consummated the purchase. 
Thereupon they procured incorporation first 
as the Coudersport and Olean Railroad Com- 
pany, but afterwards changed the name to 
Coudersport and Port Allegany Railroad 
Company. Eight directors were chosen, 
namely: F. W. Knox, president, Arthur G. 
Olmsted, Isaac Benson, F. H. Root of 
Buffalo, A. M. Benton of Port Allegany, B. D. 
Hamlin of Smethport, C. S. Cary and C. V. B. 
Barse of Olean, and F. H. Arnot of Elmira. 
The road was constructed, and on the 26th day 
of September, 1882, the first passenger train 
ran over it from Port Allegany to Coudersport. 
The great enterprise which had so long 
engaged the hopes and fears of the people of 
Potter County had at last been consummated. 
Further development of railroad lines 
through the county came in rapid sequence 
by logical stages. The conversion of the 
great forests into lumber and chemical wood 
necessitated the establishment of mills and 
factories of immense capacity, particularly at 
Austin and Galeton, and the extension to them 
of railroad facilities. The discovery of natural 
gas and petroleum along the western border 



220 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

of the county, where the timber had already 
been depleted, afforded a considerable re- 
inforcement of the material resources of the 
county now being rapidly developed. The 
prediction of Judge Olmsted, addressing the 
Pennsylvania Senate, of the disclosure of 
unbounded natural wealth, is being verified. 
The population of Coudersport, which in 1880 
was less than seven hundred, rapidly ran up 
to more than three thousand. So throughout 
the county new towns have been established, 
and old towns have prospered. The enter- 
prise of the citizens of the county seat under 
the quickening hand of Judge Olmsted kept 
pace with the public need. Thus, in 1882, 
together with F. W. Knox and R. L. Nichols, 
he organized the Citizens' Water Company for 
the supply of water to the inhabitants. The 
need of such a supply, not only for domestic 
uses, but also for fire service, had been 
keenly felt, for, in 1880, on the 25th of May, 
the business center of the borough was fire- 
swept, three whole squares having been de- 
stroyed, including blocks of stores on Main 
Street and on both sides of Second Street. 
The oflSce of Olmsted and Larrabee on Second 
Street was burned. They found temporary 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 221 

desk-room in the sheriff's office in the court- 
house. 

The time came when the inhabitants of 
Coudersport were eager to enjoy the advan- 
tages of natural gas for light and fuel. 
Through the efforts of Judge Olmsted, W. I. 
Lewis and others, a natural gas company was 
organized and incorporated, of which Judge 
Olmsted was chosen president, and by means 
of which the inhabitants of the borough were 
afterwards supplied with natural gas. 

Throughout this period of his political 
inactivity, Judge Olmsted's counsel was occa- 
sionally sought respecting party policy. Once 
when factional division became threatening 
and the forthcoming state convention prom- 
ised to be turbulent, an exigency requiring 
the services of a veteran parliamentarian, 
cool, impartial, experienced, skilful — ^he 
yielded to the call, and presided over the 
convention with distinction and success. The 
interval of eight years succeeding the disas- 
trous canvass of 1874 enabled Judge Olmsted 
to carry through the railroad project upon 
which he had set his heart, and bring to a 
consummation other matters affecting public 
interests, as well as his own. 



222 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

In 1882 he succeeded Hon. Stephen F. 
Wilson as additional law judge of the fourth 
judicial district, composed of Potter, Tioga, 
McKean and Cameron, and the following 
year, upon a reapportionment, he became pre- 
sident judge of the forty-eighth district, com- 
posed of the counties of McKean and Potter. 
In 1892 he was re-elected and by subsequent 
re-apportionment Potter was created an inde- 
pendent district, of which he became president 
judge. His second term expired in 1902. 
Hence his services on the bench were con- 
tinuous for a period of twenty years, during 
which exactly one hundred volumes (102d 
to 202d) of Supreme Court Reports were 
issued. Comparatively few appeals were 
taken from his decisions, and he was rarely 
reversed. Among the appealed cases most 
frequently cited were the following: 

Jones vs. Backus, 114 Pa., 120; 
Short vs. Miller, 120 Pa., 470; 
Taylor vs. Wright, 126 Pa., 617; 
Gates vs. Watt, 127 Pa., 20; 
Pullman vs. Smith, 135 Pa., 188; 
Titus vs. Railroad Co., 136 Pa., 618; 
Edgett vs. Douglas, 144 Pa., 95; 
Genesee-Fork Imp. Co. vs. Ivers, 144 Pa., 
114; 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 223 

Wilmoth vs. Hensel, 151 Pa,, 200; 

Goodyear vs. Brown, 155 Pa., 514; 

Warren Gas Light Co. vs. Penna. Gas Co., 
161 Pa., 510; 

Strong, Deemer & Co. vs. Dininney, 175 Pa., 
586; 

National Transit Co. vs. Pipe Line Co., 
180 Pa., 224; 

Miller vs. Bradford, 186 Pa., 164; 

Western New York & Penna. R. R. Co. vs. 
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Ry. Co., 
186 Pa., 212. 

Other cases came to trial which at the 
time were regarded as of transcendent impor- 
tance. About the year 1890 a series of eject- 
ments were instituted in McKean, Elk and 
Cameron counties, wherein the McKean and 
Elk Land and Improvement Company, of 
which the venerable Hon. Henry M. Watts, 
formerly Supreme Court reporter, and later 
United States Minister to Russia, was then 
president, was plaintiff, and William Hacker 
and Harry G. Clay, prominent citizens of 
Philadelphia, were defendants. These suits 
were brought to recover large tracts of land 
whose value, by reason of the discovery of 
oil and gas in the vicinity, had risen to great 
magnitude. The first of the series was tried 



224 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

at Smethport. Judge Olmsted presided. Dis- 
tinguished non-resident lawyers were present 
and took part in the trial, including Franklin 
B. Go wen and William W. Wiltbank of 
Philadelphia (and later George A. Jenks of 
Brookville), for the plaintiff, and John G. 
Johnson and E. Hunn Hanson of Philadel- 
phia, M. F. Elliott of Wellsboro and C. H. 
McCauley of Ridgway, for the defendants. 
Verdict was entered for the defendants. The 
second case was tried at Ridgway before Judge 
Charles A. Mayer, with like result. Upon 
appeal from the Elk County judgment the 
decision was affirmed. Incidentally, this 
determination was a judicial vindication of 
the course of General Thomas L. Kane in the 
transactions involved. 

The divorce proceeding of Theodore N. 
Barnsdall (reported in 171 Pa., 625), also tried 
before Judge Olmsted, at Smethport, in which 
numerous able lawyers were employed, at- 
tracted wide attention, chiefly because of the 
prominence of the plaintiff in business circles, 
his reputation as a pioneer oil producer and 
later as the most extensive individual operator 
in the United States. The litigation resulted 
in a verdict for the defendant, and the 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 225 

decision rendered lost its value as a precedent 
by reason of a supplemental enactment pend- 
ing the appeal. 

The late Hon. Thomas A. Morrison, a judge 
of the Superior Court, and for several years 
officially associated with Judge Olmsted as 
additional law judge, in an admirable remi- 
niscent address, spoke as follows: 

"My first personal acquaintance began 
with Judge Olmsted early in the year 1880, 
although I knew him well by reputation as a 
distinguished lawyer and legislator for many 
years. During all my intimate relations 
with Judge Olmsted as a lawyer and judge, 
I never discovered any wavering on his part 
from a desire to discharge his duty in a just 
and equitable manner on all occasions. The 
friendship that existed between him and me 
extended over many years, and while occasion- 
ally we differed upon legal questions, there 
never was to my knowledge the slightest 
interruption of the warm friendship that 
existed between us. When we could not 
agree as to the law governing a case, we were 
always able to agree that the one who ought 
to decide the case should proceed with it, and 
if the counsel desired to except, we always 
gave him that privilege so that he could carry 
his case to the Supreme Court and have it 



226 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

determined by that body. I am confident 
that nobody ever heard Judge Ohnsted criti- 
cise any judicial action on my part, and I 
am sure that I never said anything reflecting 
on Judge Ohnsted's great ability and judicial 
fairness. I have already indicated that I 
regarded Judge Olmsted as a very remarkable 
man; I consider that he had one of the finest 
minds of any man whose personal acquaintance 
I was privileged to form. He was a close 
thinker, and one of the clearest reasoners on 
the bench in Pennsylvania. His mind 
always seemed to seek for the correct solu- 
tion of every question that came before him 
judicially." 

Near the close of his judicial career, his 
**home paper," the Journal,^ said of Judge 
Olmsted : 

"The retirement at the end of his term was 
with the approving plaudit of the people of his 
district as having been an honest, fearless, 
capable and upright judge. Soon after his 
accession to the bench he came to be recog- 
nized as one of the most capable judges in the 
commonwealth. His legal opinions were 
quoted with high respect throughout the 
courts of the state, and in the Supreme Court 
they were received with notable considera- 
tion. He suflfered as few reversals, in propor- 



' FotUr JoumaL 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 227 

tion to the litigation, as any judge in the 
state. His despatch of the business of the 
courts became particularly marked. He 
caught legal propositions quickly, and was 
prompt and decisive in his rulings, and vigor- 
ous in the disposition of business. He held 
the respect of the entire bar, and his rulings 
were gracefully received. In all his decisions 
in which judicial discretion was exercised, his 
rulings were invariably in the interest of 
public morals and the uplifting of society." 

The bar of the district during the respective 
terms of Judge Olmsted's judicial service, as 
well as in the preceding period of his practice, 
was of superior rank. McKean County was 
the first to be developed, and the richest in 
resources of the counties of the Northern Oil 
District of Pennsylvania. Titles began to be 
contested, and transfers and contracts to 
multiply until litigation of importance arose, 
and the court-room at the stated terms was 
fairly crowded. Lawyers of distinction from 
other counties came not infrequently, particu- 
larly on the opening days of the terms. C. B. 
Curtis and Ross Thompson came from Erie, 
Brawley and Douglas from Meadville, Roger 
Sherman from Titusville, Mason from Mercer, 
Hancock, Lee and Osmer from Franklin, 



228 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

Rasselas Brown, C. W. Stone and W. D. 
Brown from Warren, George A. Jenks from 
Brookville, John G. Hall from Ridgway, M. F. 
Elliott from Wellsboro, and C. S. Gary from 
Olean. The McKean bar was itself exception- 
ally strong, including, among others, Byron 
D. Hamlin, John C. Backus, David Sterrett, 
Henry King, E. R. Mayo, Thomas A. Morri- 
son, E. L. Keenan, J. W. Bouton, Sheridan 
Gorton and John Apple, of Smethport; George 
A. Berry, N. B. Smiley, A. Leo Weil, W. J. 
Milliken, Eugene Mullin, W. B. Chapman 
and J. M. McClure, of Bradford; John E. 
Mullin, of Kane; S. W. Smith, of Port Alle- 
gany; W. E. Burdick, of Duke Center, 
and P. R. Cotter, of Eldred. It is probable 
that there were notable days within Judge 
Olmsted's recollection when there were more 
lawyers of distinction in the court-room 
at Smethport than were ever assembled 
at one time in the court-room of any other 
district court in the commonwealth. 

The Potter bar during the same period 
included, among others, D. C. Larrabee, 
H. C. Dornan, W. I. Lewis, W. F. DuBois, 
W. K. Swetland, John Ormerod, Fred C. 
Leonard, A. S. Heck and Newton Peck. 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 229 

To have so presided in the respective courts 
of a district of such considerable importance, 
during a period of its development of such 
historical consequence, as to win at the end 
the unqualified commendation of the members 
of its bar, was the fittest crowning of Judge 
Olmsted's judicial service. 

When the opportunity came to the bar of 
Potter County, it thus placed its estimate upon 
his judicial career: 

"His judicial experience was state-wide, 
as was his reputation as an upright and able 
jurist. During more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury of continuous judicial service, it became 
his duty to pass upon many principles there- 
tofore judicially undetermined, and the large 
number of leading cases in which his judg- 
ment was confirmed by the appellate courts 
evinces the clarity of mind with which he 
applied the fundamental principles of justice 
to such questions. 

"He was quick to appreciate the essen- 
tials involved in any litigation, or to draft 
the intent and weigh the merit of a legal 
argument. The fact that during his entire 
judicial career, no improper motive was 
attributed to any judicial act of his even by 
disappointed litigants, indicates the contem- 
poraneous recognition given his strict integ- 



230 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

rity, not only in his judicial capacity, but also 
in his private affairs." 

The bar of McKean gave its concurrent 
expression: 

"His wide learning," said the resolutions, 
"his clear mind, his unblemished integrity, 
raised him to eminence among the judges of 
the commonwealth, and among the ablest and 
most honored of those judges he ranked as a 
distinguished peer." 

Not less affirmative was the testimonial of 
the bar of the City of Bradford : 

"He was invariably patient, conscientious, 
able and learned. The trials which he con- 
ducted were often illuminated by jQashes of 
humor of which he had a fine appreciation." 

In a recent address W. J. Milliken, Esquire, 
has spoken of Judge Olmsted's conservative 
caution : 

"This did not spring," said he, "from self- 
distrust, nor from mere timidity, but from his 
trained habit of careful investigation, which 
sought to know whether propositions ad- 
vanced, or conditions asserted to exist, had 
any true foundation, either in fact or prin- 
ciple. Though a thing seemed plausible, 
whether in law or anything else, it did not 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 231 

gain his acceptance without rigorous demon- 
stration. In all things his sympathies and 
feelings were made subordinate to his reason." 

He presided over the court with true 
dignity, without ostentation, oblivious to the 
galleries. The prosaic procedure of the court- 
room was often enlivened by his quaint humor. 
Intense situations were relieved by it. To a 
lawyer who urged that on a former hearing of 
the case he had forcibly argued his present 
contention, the Judge dryly interjected: 

"I remember the argument, but I do not 
remember the force." 

To a grand juror begging to be excused from 
attendance because of his deafness in one ear, 
the Judge replied : 

"You will do. You are only to hear one 
side of the case." 

The bar repeatedly sought to do him honor 
at banquet or reception, but he always eluded 
it. Whenever caught for an after-dinner 
speech, he spoke with grace and fluency and 
wit becoming the occasion, but he was known 
to light his cigar and walk out before he could 
be called upon. 



232 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

The duties of the bench were not distateful 
to him, although their responsibility he keenly 
felt. He appeared to have no ambition for a 
seat in either of the appellate courts. It is 
doubtful whether he would have enjoyed a 
position where his strong individuality would 
have been measurably tempered or in some 
degree restrained. He seconded no move- 
ment in that direction, although once or 
twice it was put on foot without his instigation. 
Particularly when a vacancy on the Supreme 
bench was caused by the death of Justice 
Williams, the Bradford Evening Star^ men- 
tioned Judge Olmsted as "eminently quali- 
fied," and added that his appointment would 
be *'a strong acquisition to the bench of the 
highest court. He has figured prominently in 
state affairs, and his reputation as an able and 
impartial jurist extends from one end of the 
commonwealth to the other." The Port 
Allegany Reporter and Austin Autograph 
commended the suggestion. Other papers 
in the same quarter of the state expressed 
regret that his illness might preclude the 
merited honor. 



> Bradford Evening Slar, January 80, 1899. 



AS LAWYER AND JUDGE 233 

In fact, his health was not equal to the 
strain which the duties of such a position 
would have exacted. As his judicial service 
came to a close, he fairly coveted the relaxa- 
tion of private life. He was then seventy -five 
years of age. He might say, with Emerson: 

" It is time to be old. 
To take in sail: — 
The god of bounds, 
Who sets to seas a shore 
Came to me in his fatal rounds, 
And said: No more!" 



H 



CHAPTER XIII 

Rounding the Years 

E was entering upon the period of 
retrospection. 



"Coming into the county as a boy," 
observes an editorial neighbor/ "when it was 
new, his life has been a part of its history and 
occupies a conspicuous place in it. He knew 
the county when it was little more than a 
wilderness, its citizens suffering all the incon- 
veniences and trials of the backwood's settler 
life. He knew their privations and sympa- 
thized with their hardships. He has lived to 
see all the early settlers pass into the Great 
Beyond, and the rugged forests change into 
beautiful fertile farms. He has witnessed the 
passing of the log cabin and seen it replaced 
with neat, comfortable homes. He is the 
last remaining member of the old Potter bar 
which was composed of as vigorous and active 
class of men as were to be found in the pro- 
fession anywhere." 

In the language of another journalist writing 
at the time: 



> Potter Journal 

(234) 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 235 

"He knows every hill and dale, and it is 
given to him to know the people as few people 
know them. He knew the rugged pioneers 
who conquered the wilderness, and their joys 
and sorrows were an open book.**^ 

His judicial duties had not taken him very 
far, nor often, from his own fireside, and had 
comported better with his physical condition 
than would the duties of political leadership, 
involving, perhaps, congressional service. 
When the time was opportune for such 
service, he had felt unequal to the test which 
it would have put upon his impaired vitality. 
In the national arena he would have added 
new luster to the statesmanship of the 
Northern Tier. It has already much to its 
credit. It has been the nursery of great 
cardinal governmental policies. 

First, the Free School System. A third of a 
century before the State of New York estab- 
lished such system, the Connecticut settlers of 
the Wyoming Valley^ under the leadership of 
Timothy Pickering,^ a delegate in the Consti- 



'Bolivar Breeze. 

' Three shares of land were set apart, one for the maintenance of public schools, 
another for the erection of a meeting-nouse, and a. third for the support of a minister . 
— Matthews on Expansion of New England. 

• Wickersham's History of Education in Pennsylvania, 259. Timothy Pickering, 
Postmaster General, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, took a Connecticut title, 
as Ethan Allen did, but he wisely foresaw the ultimate supremacy of Pennsylvania, 



236 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

tutional Convention of 1790, who had brought 
from Massachusetts to Wyoming the germ of 
its policy, successfully resisted Thomas 
McKean, who, at a critical juncture, although 
a powerful friend of the cause of education, 
mistakenly sought to restrict the public schools 
to the indigent; and thus the system in 
Pennsylvania was early planted upon a broad 
and enduring foundation. 

Second, the Wilmot Proviso. This prop- 
osition, of which David Wilmot^ was the 
recognized sponsor and able champion, if not 
the author, became the rock upon which polit- 
ical parties were wrecked and the country 
divided — a division which resulted in civil 
war and eventually in the abolition of 
slavery. 



and exerted his distinguished ability to procure effective compromise legislation. 
He lived at Wilkes-Barre for several years prior to his summons to Washington's 
cabinet. The dwelUng house which he built and occupied on South Main Street 
is still standing and little changed. On his return from Washington in 1800, he 
retired to his farm in Susquehanna County, which he named Harmony (Lanesboro), 
and while engaged in clearing it lived in a primitive log-house. When John Adams 
came to the Presidency he preferred another for the office of Secretary of State. 
Estrangement grew into dislike and the cjuarrel resulted in the retirement of Adams 
from public life. On the contrary Pickering's friends urged hig return to Massa- 
chusetts from which state he was ultimately elected to the United States Senate. 
Criticising the statement of Adams (in 1809) that "Great Britain is the natural 
enemy of the United States," Pickering with great courage and almost prophetic 
wisdom expressed himself as follows: 

"A new reason now urges the United States to maintain a friendly connexion 
with Great-Britain: Hers is the only free and independent country in Europe; and 
Ours the only other country in the World in a condition to cooperate with Britain 
in sustaining the cause of Liberty on the Earth." 

I Son of Randall Wilmot, of Woodbridge, Connecticut, and hereinbefore men- 
tioned. 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 237 

Third, the Homestead Law.* Controversy 
over the titles of the Connecticut claimants, 
incidental adjudication, and ultimate recogni- 
tion of their homestead rights, and the incor- 
poration of the principle involved into the 
law of the commonwealth, generated under 
the championship of Galusha A. Grow^ a like, 
though broader, homestead policy for the 
general government. 

There are national exigencies, too, such as 
the existence of war, when congressional 
leaders are demanded, of rare wisdom, saga- 
city, patriotism, and in such time of need the 
Northern Tier has not failed to respond. 
Glenni W. Scofield,^ second only to Thaddeus 
Stevens, led the Pennsylvania delegation dur- 
ing the contest between the North and the 



1 It is to be noted that eleven years before the Homestead Law was enacted by 
Congress, the Potter County^ pioneers in their Free Soil Convention of 1851, herein- 
before mentioned, declared in favor of "land reform" in its broadest sense, that 
every familjr may have a home exempt from levy and sale by execution." 

* Born in Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut. " A man who has con- 
tributed, as Galusha Grow has, to the lasting welfare of millions, is entitled to the 
gratitude, not only of his country, but of the world." — John Hay. 

When the late Czar of Russia was asked by General Nelson A. Miles what he 
intended to do with Siberia upon the completion of the East and West Railroad, 
ECs Majesty replied: 

" We intend to do with it what your great statesman, Mr. Grow, did 
with the public domain of the United States. In due time we shall give it 
to the people, because we are convinced that the Homestead Law is the 
most valuable enactment ever placed on the statute books of nations. " 
' Son of Darius Schofield, of Stamford, Connecticut.^ Judge Scofield represented 
in Congress the Warren- Venango district of Pennsylvania for twelve years, covering 
the period of the Civil_ War, during which he was chairman of the Committee on 
Naval Affairs. Referring to instances of promotion from the House to the Senate 
and to the Cabinet of members who had been prominent in the debate upon the 
Xlllth Constitutional Amendment, Seilhamer says: But Glenni W. Scofield and 
M. Russell Thayer, being Pennsylvanians, went unrewarded of the higher prefer- 



238 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

South, and Charles W. Stone^ held no lower 
place of influence during the Spanish-American 
War. But there was an era in the history of 
these counties when they had a cause without 
a leader, and their cause lingered and suffered 
in consequence. In the category it may be 
designated as follows: 

Fourth, Corporation Restraint. It was in 
the oil region of Pennsylvania, particularly 
the northwestern counties of McKean, Craw- 
ford and Venango, that a popular revolt first 
occurred against corporate aggression. It 
arose in the first instance by reason of freight 
discrimination in favor of the Standard Oil 
Company, and became more and more intense 
as corporations multiplied, combined and 
coalesced into obnoxious trusts. A delegation 
was sent to Washington, and the attention 
of Roscoe Conkling, the distinguished Senator 



tnent that Pennsylvania has always denied to her ablest men in the House." — 
Hist. Rep. Party, 171. 

• A native of Groton, Massachusetts, first Republican Lieutenant-Governor 
of Pennsylvania, Senator and Representative, Secretary of the Commonwealth. 
He represented in Congress the district, including Warren, from 1890 to 1899. He 
was chairman of the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures during the 
free silver agitation. He was repeatedly mentioned for the oflBce of Governor. 
Senator Quay opposed his nomination, and in the Republican convention of 1890 
sacrificed the election to prevent it. The candidate whom he named suffered an 
anticipated defeat at the polls. In the convention of 1894 Stone's nomination was 
prevented by a change of seven votes after the arrival of Quay. Farmer Governor 
Pennypacker, in his Autobiography (p. 323), relates that when the name of a dis- 
tinguished jurist was suggested for promotion to the Supreme Bench Quay said, 
"No, I will oppose him. He is one of those Yankees from around Wilkesbarre, and 
you cannot trust one of them." It was not Senator Quay's habit to be looking for 
leaders, but always for followers. He and they constituted The Organization. 




WiLMOT 



Grow 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 239 

from New York, was engaged. Some forma- 
tive progress was made. It was at this 
juncture that the movement called for its 
own representative in Congress, one having 
the ability, the legal knowledge, the legisla- 
tive experience and parliamentary skill of 
Arthur G. Olmsted. He seemed born for the 
mission, trained for the crisis, the man for 
the hour. Under such leadership, springing 
from the body of the people under oppression, 
and yet possessing in large measure the con- 
fidence of corporate interests, appropriate 
constructive measures might have been de- 
vised, which, while effective for the primary- 
purpose, would yet have been less destructive 
and grinding in their operation. But the 
leader which the times indicated, and whom 
the course of events had thus selected, was 
unable to respond. The cause of the people 
was passed on to Senator John Sherman, of 
Ohio, of like Hartford and Essex ancestry, 
who, by a single act, laid the foundation for 
a new governmental policy toward corpora- 
tions. But it was like a seed that is planted 
and left for years to germinate. 

Judge Olmsted's private affairs now de- 
manded undivided attention. His invest- 



240 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

ments had become large and varied. They 
included material interests in the South, as 
well as in corporate and kindred enterprises 
in his own county. Besides, he had made 
many loans to farmers and mechanics, in and 
near Coudersport, to whom he gave at need 
numerous renewals and extensions.^ He had 
meditated, too, upon certain projects of 
advantage to the community at Coudersport. 
In 1890 he had presented the Coudersport 
fire department with a hose-cart. In 1895 
two hose companies were organized and 
chartered, one in the first ward to be known 
as A. G. Olmsted Hose Company. In 1905 
he began the erection of the present fire 
station which, costing when completed $4,000, 
together with the equipment costing $551.00, 
he, on the 17th day of August, 1905, presented 
to the fire department. Another institu- 
tion, in the organization of which Judge 
Olmsted was instrumental, is the Citizens' 
Trust Company, a company which, from its 
nature, its powers under the law, is calculated 
to be of much service to the community, and 
to be an important instrumentality in the 

> Observing that his will directed that no inventory should be filed, Judge Ham- 
lin said he doubted not that it was because Judge Olmsted did not wish it to be 
known how many liens he had lost by indulgence. 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 241 

material advancement of the county. A 
condensed milk factory was organized in 
1900, of which Judge Olmsted was chosen 
president; J. Newton Peck, vice-president; 
M. S. Thompson, treasurer, and A. B. Mann, 
secretary. Judge Olmsted had builded for 
the borough and the county better than he 
knew. He never spoke of anything he had 
done as in the nature of a benefaction to the 
community, nor, in fact, looked back to see 
what he had accomplished. He would not 
willingly have listened to the enumeration: 
the railroad that opened up the wilderness, 
the telegraph, the library, the soldiers' monu- 
ment, the water supply, the gas supply, the 
fire protection, the trust company. Besides 
his very life had been a public service, in the 
cause of freedom, of temperance, for the 
Union, in the House, in the Senate, on the 
bench. The county had been his companion. 
They were young together. He had kept step 
with it. It had grown old along with him. 
Its hundredth anniversary approached. He 
may have urged its recognition, and willingly 
taken some minor part in promoting its cele- 
bration. But it was not for him to speak the 
praises of the century. To the gathered 



242 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

multitude on the tenth day of August, 1904, 
President Colcord fitly said: 

"The voice of a hundred years has called 
to the people of Potter County, bidding them 
pause for a brief while and take note of the 
flight of centuries;" 

and then he introduced Hon. Marlin E. 
Olmsted, LL.D.,^ of Harrisburg, as the anni- 
versary orator, saying: 

"I shall introduce him as a Potter County 
boy, who from this humble village went out 
into the world in early life to seek his fortune, 
and as we listen to his voice this afternoon, we 
will not forget that that voice in the halls of 
Congress, and in the councils of the nation, 
commands respectful attention from the fore- 
most statesmen of America.'* 

The oration which followed was replete 
with historical incident. It narrated the 
purchase of 1784 from the Six Nations of all 
this region for $5,000 and the later purchase of 
the same lands from the Wyandot and 

' A biographical sketch of the speaker in Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in 
America says, inter alia: "In 1869 he was, through the influence of Senator Olm- • 
sted, tendered a position in the State Treasury, but the then State Treasurer, Robert 
W. Mackey, learning of his youth and inexperience, traded him off, as it were, to 
Auditor General Hartranft, in whose office he rose to the responsible position of 
Corporation Clerk, re-drafted the general revenue laws, afterwards entered upon the 
stuoy of law; was admitted to practice, rapidly rose in his profession, was elected to 
Congress and reelected, attaining high distinction as a legislator and parliamen- 
tarian. 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 243 

Delaware tribes for $2,000, and how the deed 
was signed by the sachems, Half King, Sweat 
House, the Pipe, the Present, the Council 
Door, the Big Cat, The Twistmg Vine, The 
Volunteer, The Desire of All, with their own 
peculiar devices, such as a bow and arrow, a 
spear, intertwining vines. He mentioned the 
fact that when the act of January 13, 1804, 
was passed creating the present counties of 
Potter, McKean, Jefiferson, Clearfield, Tioga 
and Cambria, the legislature was in session 
at Lancaster. As the act passed the House, 
the county of Potter bore the beautiful Indian 
name Sinnemahoning, and it was proposed to 
substitute Potter for the name of McKean, but 
in perfecting the measure Sinnemahoning was 
sent back to its own wild waters, gathered 
from its sources in both counties, singing its 
way to the Susquehanna. 

"When," said the orator, "The legislature 
of 1804 promised the future settlers that a 
part of the sovereign power of the state should 
be theirs to exercise, it had faith that the 
hardy pioneers who should first cultivate these 
beautiful and fertile valleys, breathe this pure 
air, imbibe these crystal waters and drink in 
the spirit of freedom among these hills, would 



244 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

be men in whom that trust might be safely 
reposed. Most gloriously has that confidence 
been justified. No country was ever won from 
the wilds by men more deserving or more 
patriotic than those who, from that remarkable 




SoTJHCES OF Population 
Potter and McKean were settled by three streams of immigra- 
tion (a) from the old Wyoming district, (b) from New York and New 
England, following Wayne's victory and Indian treaty of 1795, 
(c) Scotch-Irish and Quakers from Philadelphia and the West Branch, 
including Fair-Play Men.* The countries west of the Allegheny, 
Warren, Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango received their early 
settlers from the same sources in the same decade.* 



1 For many years some doubt existed whether the Indian name Tiadaghton was 
intended to identify Lycoming Creelt or Pine Creek aa a boundary under the purchase 
of 1768, and white settlements were consequently made on the rich lands between. 
These settlements were repudiated by the government at Philadelphia. There- 
upon the settlers organized their own government under the name of Fair Play Men, 
electing a committee of three to arbitrate all differences. They held their ground 
until a decision was obtained in their favor. _ Itis an interesting historical incident 
that, having learned from the East of a growing inclination towards a declaration of 
independence, the Fair-Play Men determined upon the same course,^ and having 
assembled on the plains above Pine Creek, on the 4th of July, 1776, without means 
of knowledge of the actual events of the day in Philadelphia, adopteda resolutioB 
renouncing allegiance to Great Britain and declaring themselves free and independent. 

' The superior Nordic type, represented by these several strains, which thus 
peopled the Northern Tier, although since somewhat^ depleted by war, has prob- 
ably suffered less deterioration here than in other sections of the Commonwealth. 
Moreover, in the last half of the nineteenth century it was reinforced by a con- 
siderable influx from Scandinavian countries, which are now, says the ethnologist, 
Madison Grant, " as they have been for thousands of years, the chief nursery and 
broodland of the master race." 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 245 

beginning, have made Potter County what it is 
today. Though not blessed with an over- 
abundance of this world's goods, they were, in 
the main, educated, sturdy, intelligent, fear- 
less, liberty-loving, law-abiding, God-fearing 
men. They had religious services before they 
had church edifices, and even before they had 
preachers; and realizing the value of educa- 
tion, they had classes and schools before they 
could afford schoolhouses." 

The speaker mentioned instances of legisla- 
tion peculiar to the times. Upon the day that 
the Governor approved the act locating 
Coudersport, he also signed one making 
squirrel and crow scalps receivable for taxes. 
Later the commissioners of Potter County 
were authorized to pay fifty cents for fox and 
seventy-five cents for wolf scalps, and still 
later twenty-five dollars for a full grown wolf 
and half price for puppies; sixteen dollars for 
a panther and nine dollars for puppies. 
Touching salient points in the county's his- 
tory, the orator finally reached the great 
county railroad enterprise, the Coudersport 
and Port Allegany, which he pronounced *'a 
monument to the wisdom and patriotism of 
its promoters and of untold value and impor- 
tance to the county." 



246 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

"Its first effect," said he, "was to encourage 
the manufacture of lumber at home. This 
was greatly increaseb when Frank H. Good- 
year, having from *The Lookout' conceived 
the idea of hauling that great forest in manu- 
factured form, up hill, to Keating Smnmit and 
thence to Buffalo, built the Sinnemahoning 
Valley Railroad from 'Squire Austin's house to 
Keating Summit. It was six miles long, and, 
as he delights to say, *all under one manage- 
ment.' It is related that a lady passenger 
on one of the first trains said she could get off 
and walk faster. Asked by the conductor why 
she did not, she replied that she would, except 
that her folks would not be expecting her so 
soon. The business in connection with that 
little railroad became so extensive that the 
owner induced his brother, C. W. Goodyear, 
then a prominent young Buffalo lawyer, to 
join him in the enterprise. Together they 
have extended it into a great system, with 
eight or ten millions of stocks and bonds, and 
nearly two hundred miles of railroad, which 
will soon afford another outlet to Buffalo. 
And they have caused great mills to be erected 
along its line so that the logs which would 
otherwise have been floated to the Williams- 
port boom, have been manufactured at home. 
The wealth and business interests of the county 
have been thereby vastly increased, and 
'Squire Austin's farm,' which, twenty years 



ROUNDING THE YEARS 247 

ago, stood in the wilderness, is now covered with 
dwellings, stores and churches. If the promo- 
ters have made great fortunes for themselves, 
they have also done much for the county." 

The oration concluded as follows: 

"As the headwaters of the Genesee, the Sus- 
quehanna and the Allegheny, springing from 
that wonderful watershed in Allegheny and 
Ulysses townships, and flowing, respectively, 
northward to the St. Lawrence, southward to 
the Chesapeake, and yet further south to the 
Gulf of Mexico, refresh many counties and 
many states, and, uniting with other streams, 
form mighty rivers bearing many burdens and 
turning many wheels, until, at length, they 
pour into the ocean and help to bear the 
mightiest vessels, so the love of liberty and of 
country and the unalterable sentiments of 
loyalty and devotion ever present, and ever 
forming, among the old green hills of Potter, 
will continually flow forth and, joining with 
and encouraging similar streams from every 
part of this fair land, help to swell the great 
and everlasting ocean of national patriotism 
upon which our Ship of State may ever safely 
ride, while 'Old Glory,' now proudly and 
peacefully waving over forty-five states and a 
myriad of islands on the sea, emblem of free- 
dom and of protection to eighty millions of 
people, shall grow even brighter in the 
blessed radiance of its own increasing stars." 



CHAPTER XIV 

Four-Score and Seven 

THIS celebration, at which were gath- 
ered the sons and daughters of the 
pioneers, the companions of Judge 
Olmsted's youth, home-coming from far and 
wide, his surviving comrades in the civic 
battles he had won, his associates in the 
enterprises he had founded, at which were 
recounted the events of which he had been 
a part, was a fitting culmination of his 
public life. And yet there were years of 
usefulness before him, restful years when he 
brought minor purposes to fruition, years in 
which he sat in the twilight as the sage of 
Coudersport, the general counselor, helpful to 
many, concerned for the future comfort of 
his invalid wife and family, his children and 
grandchildren. He was fond of his carriage 
horses, and reluctantly yielded to the substi- 
tution of the automobile. He drove daily in 
good weather, and, as if by instinct, back to 
Ulysses, not alone because it was still the 

(248) 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN 249 

home of his kindred, but also for a sight of 
the parental homestead of his boyhood, to 
which he fondly directed the attention of his 
fellow-passengers. For dull days he had the 
excellent companionship of his private library 
to which he had made important additions in 
recent years. In his files he could turn to 
interesting letters, especially letters written 
during the period of his legislative service. 
Among his correspondents were Governor 




Geary, General Hartranft, Chief Justice 
Woodward, General Kane, Treasurer Mackey, 
the Republica leader in Pennsylvania during 
the Civil War, and Senator Rutan, his first 
lieutenant. Senators Strang and Stinson, Col. 
Walton Dwight, Captain J. C. Johnson, Peter 
Herdic, United States Senator J. Donald 
Cameron, Dr. S. D. Freeman, Representatives 
H. Jones Brooke and Lucius Rogers, Editor 
Bowman, Thomas A. Scott, vice-president of 



250 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and 
Assistant Secretary of War. Lon M. Konkle, 
of Philadelphia, wrote, in 1871, offering eight 
lots in Coudersport for one hundred dollars, 
and Samuel Lewis, of Pottsville, wrote in the 
same year offering seven hundred and fifty 
acres of ''valuable timber land'* in Potter at 
ten dollars an acre. 

Recalling this quiet period of Judge Olm- 
sted's life, the late Thomas H. Murray, of 
Clearfield, a leader of the bar in Western 
Pennsylvania, and prominently mentioned 
both for judicial and gubernatorial honors, 
about a year before his death wrote the 
following appreciative letter: 

Recollections of Arthur G. Olmsted. 

Judge Olmsted was of a type of men who are 
now fast disappearing. Other examples of 
his class were William L. Corbet of Clarion, 
John H. Orvis of Centre and Simon P. Wolver- 
ton of Northumberland. They will not be 
reproduced. The conditions which made 
them, or rather which enabled them to make 
themselves are here no longer. The older 
lawyers of today who came to know them well 
are better lawyers and better men because of 
their life and example. Their distinction was 
not merely their intellectual stature, but the 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN 251 

individuality that forged their way through 
barren soil and unfriendly environment to 
high rank in their great profession. 

Theirs was the day and place of the weekly 
mail — of the log school house with its slab 
benches and tin plate stove. The preacher 
came, if at all, once in three or four weeks. 
Whatever church he came from he was a circuit 
rider, — or walker; anyway he had a circuit. 
This class of lawyers had a personality which 
protected them from the dwarfing and enervat- 
ing influences which ensnare so many weaker 
men under modern conditions of life. Theirs 
was not a race for the least work and the most 
leisure, but for the highest achievement. 
Therefore were they able to come up well 
equipped from the time of the weekly mail, — 
to a time when they could, at the breakfast 
table, read a verbatim report of the speeches 
made the night before, — at the banquet of 
the Lord Mayor of London. 

I first saw Judge Olmsted about thirty 
years ago at Harrisburg. He was presiding at 
a Republican State Convention. I observed 
him closely, for I had heard much of him, and 
was then impressed with his self-poise and 
his entire freedom from mannerisms. He 
next appeared in May, 1891, at this place to 
try a land case, involving only title, but with 
many complications. I tried the case for 
the plaintiff and Judge Orvis appeared for 



252 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

the defendants. We were both pleased with 
his spirit of fairness and his apparent familiar- 
ity with the questions raised. 

For about six years before retiring from 
active practice I had a number of cases in 
Potter County, and was at Coudersport 
once or twice a year, either to court or to 
prepare for these cases. Two cases were 
for a local railroad in which Judge Olmsted 
was a stockholder. During these times I 
came closer to him and saw more of him. 
In the summer of 1905 when I went to court 
there Mrs. Murray accompanied me. One 
evening we took supper with him and Mrs. 
Olmsted. In a trip that included Sraethport, 
Buffalo, Detroit and Mt. Clemens, we met 
nobody who left with us such pleasant and 
lasting recollections as these substantial 
people who had brought down into a life of 
plenty that genuine hospitality which is 
usually found at its best — and unmarred by 
present-day conventionalities — in a sparsely- 
settled and primitive community. After 
supper the Judge talked of the books he was 
then reading. He prefaced what he said of 
them by the statement that he had not 
opened a law book for some years. He was 
reading a book on St. Paul I had never seen. 
I was much interested in the book and as 
much in what he said about its contents. 
He had another book on the distribution of 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN 253 

the races of men over the earth, and spoke 
particularly of the dominant power of the 
Aryan people and their language, and of how 
much of our present-day civilization related 
back to them. Of the great judges of Penn- 
sylvania, like most of the big lawyers of the 
olden time, he put Tilghman, and not Gibson, 
first. He said "his opinions were so exhaus- 
tive that when you read one of them, there 
seems to be nothing left to be said on the 
subject." 

The next day he drove us about the hills and 
valleys where the years of his life had been 
spent, and in which much of the thrift and 
economy of those years had been invested. 
Judge Olmsted's characteristics were: his 
substantial and reliable character that ren- 
dered him a man of force in the community 
and part of the state of which he was such a 
distinguished representative. There were 
some things he stood for, and these were the 
better things of life, and there was no diffi- 
culty in finding what they were. His clear 
vision enabled him to so master the mysteries 
of the law as to reach a top place in his pro- 
fession. This quality also enabled him, 
when yet young, to so direct his thrift and 
energies as to early acquire a competence that 
protected his declining years from care and 
anxiety. He lived to a ripe age, honored alike 
by his people and by the profession which he 



254 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

adorned both by his learning and by the 
integrity of his life purpose. 

Clearfield, Penna., 
November 18, 1914. 

With increasing age Judge Olmsted and his 
wife felt more keenly the severity of the 
northern winter. They journeyed one or 
two seasons to resorts in the South, and, 
finally, he having acquired interests with 
Hon. Henry Hamlin, of Smethport, in South- 
ern timber lands, was able to content himself 
repeatedly for a few weeks in Florida, upon 
a satisfying theory of combined business and 
recreation. Judge Hamlin was occasionally 
his companion at the most famous of the 
hotels of Palm Beach. Speaking reminis- 
cently some time later. Judge Hamlin was 
heard to say that he had sat beside Judge 
Olmsted while he was in conversation with 
men of culture and education from the East 
and elsewhere, and that he never suffered in 
comparison; that his fund of information on 
all topics seemed inexhaustible. At length 
Judge Olmsted gave up these winter trips, and 
shortened his daily rounds. Long after he 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN ^55 

was able to give consecutive attention to 
matters of business, he yet went regularly to 
his office, to the bank and to the nearest 
store, where he learned all that for the day it 
sufficed him to know. His son Robert was 
his business confidant. 

More and more the circle of his interest 
narrowed to his own home and to the house- 
holds of his son and daughter. The world 
seemed to have fallen away from him in the 
course of time, and left him solitary. His 
professional associates of other years, Knox, 
Mann, Benson, Ross, Larrabee, all had gone 
before him. He had formed many new asso- 
ciations, it is true, but such friends were far 
and wide. Political issues and party adminis- 
tration were no longer such as engaged the 
statesmanship of the earlier days. With the 
religious creed of his fathers he was perfectly 
familiar, but he seemed to have quietly 
recognized and accepted the modifications 
which time and modern scholarship had 
contributed. Reverent of spirit, he rarely 
spoke of religion, never to disparage, nor even 
to discuss it. He recognized it as a social 
factor, but for himself, it had only negative 
value. His mind seemed already filled with 



^56 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

other sources of reflection. In his reading 
he preferred history and biography. Perhaps 
he regarded religion as only a means to an 
end, and that the end was an upright life. 
The sunset of his days had for him only clouds 
of silver lining, and he enjoyed his comforts, 
his little circle, his car, his books, his cigar. 
He had rare, reminiscent moods. Unfortunate 
it is that the incidents he recalled, his estimates 
of the elder statesmen and of events once 
crucial, were never recorded. By and by, 
his former associates, his old companions, the 
lawyers who had once been with him at the 
bar, were again alive. He forgot the cir- 
cumstance of death, and inquired of their 
doings from his visitor. His memory lost its 
tenacity of dates and then of names. His own 
he would sometimes forget. Pathetic it was 
beyond expression when one day, so at a loss, 
he put on his hat and walked down to the 
store that he might ask Mr. Thompson to be 
good enough to tell him who he was. One of 
Emerson's biographers, writing of him, says: 

"The failure of his mental machinery to 
respond to his will left his personal charm 
singularly undimmed. An artist, who came 
to his house to paint his portrait after his 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN 257 

memory was nearly gone, said of him: *I see 
Mr. Emerson every day, and every day he 
asks me afresh my name — and I never saw 
a greater man.' This dominating virtue of 
personaHty was long held to accomit for his 
pre-eminence among his contemporaries, but 
time has proved it, so far as it existed apart 
from his thought and vision, merely the lovely 
light in which the enduring features of his 
genius were at once made beautiful and to a 
degree obscured." 

Thus relinquishing his faculties by degrees 
he became finally quite detached from the 
community. Though slightly bowed, his 
presence was still distinguished. As this 
venerable man walked with measured step 
along the street or passed by in his car, his 
townsmen came to regard him very much as a 
personage from abroad, an ambassador, as it 
were, from an historic land, of which they had 
dim knowledge, soon to depart for a country 
unknown but not far distant. The announce- 
ment of his departure came without surprise. 
The contact between life and death had been 
gentle. The physical infirmity which in 
other days had held him back from the great 
tasks his country would have put upon him, 
held him no longer. His death occurred on the 



258 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

eighteenth day of September, 1914, twelve 
days before his eighty-seventh birthday. As the 
news spread abroad from farm to farm through 
the countryside, and from county to county of 
the Northern Tier, it awoke the memories of 
other days. The great account of the hfe 
that had Hngered in the shadow so long was 
retold at many a fireside — the story of the 
boy orator of Ulysses, the student lecturer for 
the library, his later scathing arraignment of 
the liquor license, his denunciation of chattel 
slavery, his leadership in the Free Soil move- 
ment, his thrilling appeals to the people which 
rallied the soldiers of Potter County for the 
defense of the Union; the pride which the 
people had in him as their representative, his 
statesmanship in the House and in the Senate; 
how his failing health had recalled him from 
a distinguished career; and he had come 
home, by his ability and genius to dispel the 
darkness of the wilderness with the search- 
light of the locomotive, and make his later 
years an epitome of the industrial history and 
material development of the county. Was 
it any wonder that when, on the following 
Monday, the funeral services were held, his 
doorway should have been crowded within 



FOUR-SCORE AND SEVEN 259 

and without, and that representative citizens 
should have come from WiUiamsport, Buffalo, 
Olean, Bradford, Wellsboro, Smethport, 
Eldred, Austin, Emporium, as well as from 
the smaller towns of the county to join in 
tribute to his memory? The body, almost 
matchless in its proportions, which through its 
eighty-seven years had borne his undaunted 
spirit in its high endeavor, found its last 
resting place at the spot in the cemetery 
which he had carefully indicated, almost 
beside the glistening waters of the beloved 
Allegheny whose banks he had in youth so 
often trod. 

County bar associations adopted memorials 
and public journals extolled his services. 
These are seemly, but passing tributes. If 
in the years to come another generation shall 
turn these pages and gather from their imper- 
fect record some inspiration towards an 
upright and effective life, a citizenship of a 
high order, a superb patriotism, an undeviat- 
ing devotion to human rights, a high concep- 
tion and conscientious discharge of public duty, 
then to the children of Arthur George Olmsted, 
and his children's children, it will, as the 
years go by, be the most gratifying memorial. 



260 ARTHUR GEORGE OLMSTED 

It is, after all, as if he were in truth born 
in old Essex, seeing the masts above the 
Braintree docks, daring the sea for freedom 
of the conscience, nurtured at Hartford in the 
new school of liberty, the American university 
of human rights; born again at Ridgefield, the 
Connecticut Lexington, to stake his life against 
the old world tyrant; reappearing at Ballston 
in the uniform of the Revolution, and once 
more, in the wilderness at Masonville, to 
learn the added lessons of border life, finally 
bringing to Ulysses the undiminished inheri- 
tance of this rare lineage, here to respond again 
to the call of human freedom, and to be highly 
exemplified, not only in the story that has 
been written, but in many unnoted deeds, and 
to pass on into the lives and memories of the 
generations to come. 



INDEX. 



FAQS 

Academy, Coudersport, its equipment and oflScial list 60, 62 

Addresses: Before the Baptist Conference 76 

The Sons of Temperance 79 

The County Bar Association 82 

Allegheny Plateau, The Divide, or "Endless Mountains" 98 

Allegheny Indian Reservation 47 

Allegheny, State of, blocked by railroad extension 98 

Allen, Gen. Ethan, participant with Connecticut Title Claim- 
ants 46, 48 

Allen, Harrison, Auditor General 164, 175 

Allen Joseph C, a Potter delegate to National Free Soil Con- 
vention 88 

American Mediterranean, contemplated by Southern statesmen, 97 
Armstrong, Charles H., corporator of Jersey Shore, Pine Creek 

& Buffalo R. R. Co 216 

Arnold, F. H., associate judge, business associate 151 

Arnot, F. H., of Elmira, railroad corporator 219 

Austin, Edwin O., lawyer, founder of Austin 69 

Bar, admission to 69 

Backus, Seth, of Smethport, business associate 151 

Barse, C. V. B., of Olean, N. Y., corporator C. & P. A. R. R. Co., 219 
Bartholomew, Benj., non-resident member of Potter County Bar, 69 

Battle of Ridgefield, in the American Revolution 34 

Beath, Gen. Robert B., candidate for Secretary of Internal 

Affairs 175, 206 

Beebe, N. B., a Potter delegate to National Free Soil Convention, 88 

Bennett, Jane (Robertson), wife (2d) of Daniel Olmsted 66 

Benson, Isaac, lawyer, corporator, loyal to the Union ... 69, 106, 219 
Benton, A. M., assemblyman, representing Clearfield, Jefferson 

McKean and Elk 118, 141, 219 

Bingham, William, U. S. Senator, land proprietor 47, 55 

Bliss, Horace, non-resident member of Potter County Bar 69 

Bowman, C. O., House colleague 116 

Boyer, T. J., assemblyman representing Clearfield, Jefferson, 

McKean and Elk 118 

Boyhood days 59 

Boundary between McKean and Warren 119 

Bradford, William, Attorney General 47 

Braintree, English port of embarkation, on the Blackwater 21 

"Border Ruffians," their invasion of Kansas 96 

Border raids during the Civil War 114, 115, 120 

Brewster, Benj. H., Attorney General of United States 144, 183 

(261) 



262 INDEX 

FAGB 

Beaver, General James A., confirmed as Major-General .... 165 

Brodhead and Sullivan, their expeditions against the Indians, 38 

Brown, Rasselas, of Warren, distinguished lawyer 171 

Brown, W. D., judge, legislator, representing Warren and 

Venango 118, 124 

Buckalew, Charles R., constitutional lawyer, U. S. Sen- 
ator 144, 161, 173 

Bucktail Rifle Regiment 102, 129 

Butter worth, A. H., delegate from Potter to National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

Butterworth, W. C, editor and lawyer 69, 88 

Candidature of Fremont for President 99 

Cary, C. 8., of Olean, N. Y., Solicitor-General, railroad corpo- 
rator 219 

Cases, important, tried during judicial presidency 222 

Cartee (Cartier) settlement 44, 108 

Catoonah, Indian Sachem, purchase of lands from him 31 

Centennial Celebration, Senate Committee service 164 

Chairmanship Republican State Convention 221, 251 

Clark, Nelson, a vice-president, Free Soil Convention of Potter 

County 88 

Chase, D. C, a Potter delegate to National Free Soil Convention, 88 

Clark, Junius, of Warren, a professional associate 171 

Citizens' Trust Company, organization 241 

Citizens' Water Company, organization 221 

Civil War, its darkest days 119, 120 

Connecticut Title Controversy 36, 46-48 

Crest, The, fountain of far-flowing rivers 49 

Chancellorsville, Battle of, description of 127 

Colcord, M. J., editor, president Centennial Day 102, 242 

Cole, L. B., non-resident member of Potter Bar 69 

Committee assignments in House 115, 118 

in Senate 145, 148, 164 

Constitution of Pennsylvania, consequences of revision, 116, 117, 126 
Constitution of United States, 15th Amendment in Pennsylvania 

Senate 145 

Constitutionality of Conscript Law denied by Supreme Court . . 122 

Contemporaries in Congress and Cabinet 115 

Cooper, J. A., principal Lewisville Academy 61 

Correspondence with soldiers 128 

with civilians 249 

Cornplanter Indian grant 47 

CoWser, Charles B., member of the Bar 69 

Condersport Fire Department 240 

Coudersport fire of 1880 220 

Coudersport Natural Gas Co., organization 221 

Coudersport Milk Factory, organization 241 

Coudersport & Port Allegany R. R. Co 219, 246 

County Agricultural and Horticultural Society 110 

Court-house built and rebuilt 66 

Cromwell, Oliver, his purpose to join the emigrants 19 

Curtin, Andrew G., War Governor 94, 102, 114 

Cashing, Lucas, pioneer and proprietor temperance hotel, 48, 66, 73 



INDEX 263 

PAGE 

Dent, H. H., land proprietor 66 

District Attorney, first election 71 

DuBois, William F., lawyer, married Nellie, only daughter of 

Arthur G. Olmsted 109 

DuBois, Arthur William, eon of William F. and Nellie (Olmsted) 

DuBois 109 

Dwight, Walton, commanding 149th P. V 105, 128, 249 

East and West Highway 48, 72 

Election to the House, 111 ; re-election 118 

Election to the Senate 140 

Early, C. R., representative from Elk 115-118 

Elizabeth, Queen, her economic maxim 19 

Fair Play Men, a source of population 244 

Fizzell, Kathryn, married Robert Arch Olmsted 110 

Freeman, S. D., of Smethport, Civil War Army Surgeon 102, 249 

Free Soil Convention at Coudersport 88 

Free School Law of Pennsylvania, in its inception 68, 235 

Gamble, James, a non-resident member of Potter Bar 69 

Geary, John W., Gen., Governor of Kansas and Pennsylvania, 

162. 171, 179, 249 

Glacial onset along the highlands of the Allegheny 51 

Goodyear, Frank H. and C. W., lumber manufacturers 246 

Gorton, Samuel, his new theology 26 

Gould, Jay, historian of Delaware County, N. Y 39 

Graham, James L., senatorial contemporary 146, 176 

Graves, W. B., a Potter delegate to the National Free Soil Con- 
vention 88 

Greeley, Horace 69, 94, 178 

Grow, Galusha A., father of Homestead Law 115, 126, 237 

Grover, Martin, M. C, of Wilmot Proviso Committee, judge. . . 92 
Guernsey, John W., of Wellsboro, House colleague 118 

Racket, F. B., of Emporium, who aided recruiting in 1861 102 

Hamlin, Byron, lawyer and state senator 161 

Hamlin, Hannibal, Vice-President and Senator United States . . 151 

Hamlin, Henry, banker, associate judge 240, 254 

Hamlin, Orlo J., legislator, member of Pennsylvania Constitu- 
tional Convention 69, 71 

Hampden, the great English Commoner 19, 27 

Hartranft, General John F., Governor, confirmed Maj.-General, 

144, 165, 174-17S-79, 249 
Heath, H. 8.," president Potter Coimty Free Soil Convention, 

79, 88, 109 
Hicks, Capt. Thomas, of New York Volunteers in the Revolution, 

37-42 

Hooker, Thomas, minister and Colonial leader 18, 21-24, 27, 76 

House, Col. E. M. (see Jonathan, a Revolutionary soldier, and 

Seclendia, ancestors of Ellen (Ross) wife of A. G. Olmsted), 108 



264 INDEX 

FAQB 

Indian Wars, ending in treaty of peace 38 

Issues, State and National, in 1874 184, 203 

Ives, Timothy, academy director, state senator 62 

Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo R. R. Co 99, 149, 218 

Jinks, Nelson B., secretary Potter County Free Soil Convention, 88 
Johnson, J. C, captain in Civil War, assemblyman from 

Cameron 105, 112, 209, 249 

Johnson, S. P., prominent lawyer and judge 69, 79 

Jones, Arch F., a corporator of J. S., P. C. & Buffalo R. R. Co. 216 
Jones, W. K., a corporator of J. S., P. C. & Buffalo R. R. Co.. . 216 

Jones & Storrs, general merchandise, Coudersport 74 

Judge, appointment and elections 171, 209 

Eane, Thomas L., General, first president State Board of Public 

Charities 102, 106, 148, 225, 249 

Keating, John, land proprietor 60 

Kelley, W. D., Protection Congressional leader 182, 206 

Kelly, Martin, a Bucktail Arnold of Winkelried 103 

King Phillip's War 29 

Knox, F. W., lawyer and business associate, 45, 63, 70, 106, 151, 

218, 220 
Know Nothing Party 93, 94 

Labor and capital, first arbitration commission reported .... 167, 169 

Larrabee, Don Carlos, law partner 216 

Lawyers, distinguished in attendance at Smethport 224, 227 

of McKean Bar during judicial presidency 228 

of Potter Bar during judicial presidency 228 

Law of the lumber business 143 

Lear, George, lawyer and Republican orator 172 

Lewis, O. A., a Coudersport delegate to National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

Lewis, Seth, law student admitted to practice 141 

Lewis, W. I., prominent lawyer and citizen 221 

Lewis, Thomas, a Coudersport delegate to National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

Library, Public 65 

License petition revised 80 

Lieutenant-Governor nomination in 1874 176 

Lincoln, Wilmot, Sumner, Banks, Wilson, Clay and Giddings, 

unsuccessful candidates for Vice-President in 1856 92 

Log jam, description 101 

Lowry, Morrow B., a senatorial contemporary 146, 161 

Lyman, Burrel, a vice-president Coudersport Free Soil Con- 
vention - - 88 

Mackey, Robert W., State Treasurer and political leader 144 

Mann, A. B., secretary condensed milk factory 241 

Mann, John S., lawyer, legislator, abolitionist 64, 69, 70, 81, 

88, 106, 140, 145 

Mann, Joseph, agent Oswayo Lumber Association 74 

Masonville, N. Y., description of the region 41 



INDEX ^65 

FAGBl 

Mayo, E. R., of Smethport, lawyer, captain in Civil War 114 

Maynard, L. F., lawyer, secretary of Coudersport Academy. . .62, 69 
McClure, Alexander K., distinguished editor, assemblyman from 

Perry 91, 124, 176, 206 

McKean, Thomas, Governor, Chief Justice, President of Con- 
gress 47 

McDougall, William W., editor 73-74, 88 

McNamara, T. B., a Coudersport delegate to National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

McPherson, Edward, Republican party leader 206 

McKean and Elk Land and Improvement Co. vs. Wm Hacker 

and Harry G. Clay 223 

Melvin's Case 170 

Memorial resolutions 212-14 

Mercur, Ulvsses, M. C, a Congressional leader, Chief Justice 

of Pennsylvania 173, 206 

Morrison, Thomas A., Superior Court judge, reminiscences 225 

Murray, Thomas H., of Clearfield, an appreciation 250 

Natural resources, development legislation 125, 165-66 

Nature's highways, navigable by law 142 

New county project defeated 167 

Nichols, R. L., corporator of Citizens' Water Company 220 

Niles, John E., non-resident member of Potter Bar 69 

Northern Tier, nursery of important governmental policies . . . 235-38 
Norwalk, Conn., its settlement, 28; destruction 35 

Ole Bull, his settlement in Potter 72 

Olmsted (1) Richard, earhest known ancestor, born in England 

about 1430 20 

(2) James, a descendant of Richard, born about 1524, 20 

(3) James, Jr., of Great Leighs, Essex, born about 1550, 20 

(4) James, son of James, Jr., emigrated to America. . . 21 

(5) Richard, born in 1611 (son of Richard), nephew of 

James, arrived with his uncle at twenty-one 
years of age, founded Norwalk, legislator, 
sergeant 22, 28 

(6) John, lieutenant and selectman at Hartford, son of 

Richard 30 

(7) Richard, captain (son of John), who, with his 

brother Daniel, purchased lands from 
Catoonah, and founded Ridgefield 31 

(8) Daniel (son of Richard), Revolutionary soldier, 

pioneer on the headwaters of the Delaware, 

32, 34-40 

(9) Seneca (son of Daniel), settler at Masonville, N. Y., 

migrating with his brother and family to 

Pennsylvania 43, 44, 54 

Gardner Hicks, son of Seneca 43, 64, 66 

(10) Daniel (son of Seneca), removed to Pennsylvania 

frontier at Ulysses, Potter County. . .45, 46, 55-57 

Henry Jason (eldest son of Daniel) 55, 64, 66 

Marlin E., M. C, son of Henry Jason 104, 215, 242 



^Q6 INDEX 

PAGE 

(11) Arthur George Olmsted, subject of this Hography, 

second son of Daniel, events in his life, 55, 68, 69, 

76, 79, 82, 88, 89, 94, 116, 118, 106, 124, 127, 

139-40, 176, 184, 251 

Sarah Elizabeth, his sister 65 

Daniel Edward, his brother 55 

Seneca Lewis, his brother 65 

Herbert Gushing, his brother 65 

(12) Nellie, only daughter of Arthur George Olmsted, 

married William F. DuBois 109 

DuBois, Arthur WilHam, son of William F. and 

Nellie (Olmsted) DuBois 110 

(13) Robert Arch Olmsted, only son of Arthur George 

Olmsted, married Kathryn Fizzell 109, 255 

Arthur George, Warren William, Margaret Ellen 
McLeod, children of Robert Arch and Kathryn 

(Fizzell) Olmsted 110 

Orator for the Union 95, 102, 105 

Oswayo Lumber Association 74 

Parsons, A. V., Deputy Attorney General 69 

Payne, Hiram, editor and lawyer 69 

Paul-Revere ride of Daniel Olmsted 34 

Paxson, Edward M., Chief Justice of Pennsylvania 175, 206 

Pennsylvania Legislature concedes slavery as a constitutional 

right . 146 

Pennsylvania Reserve Corps 120 

Pennsylvania statesmen of 1868 144 

Peace faction in the North 122 

Pension Law of 1865 : 127 

People's Journal, herald of liberty to the pioneers 74 

Period of retirement 248-54 

Peck, J. Newton, lawyer, vice-president condensed milk factory, 

228-241 

Pequod War 23 

Persecution of Puritans 17 

Pioneers of the Upper Delaware 39-40 

Pickering, Timothy, exponent of free school system, cabinet 

oflBcer and senator 235-36, 247 

Philadelphia Republican mass meeting in 1874 181-82 

Political upheaval of 1873-4 178-79 

Pollock, James, Governor 93-97 

Population, sources of 244 

Portage township, detached to Cameron 110 

Potter County Centennial 241 

Potter County Prohibition Law 82 

Potter County Volunteers in Civil War 104 

Potter County, its natural characteristics 49 

Prehistoric drainage of Western Pennsylvania . , . , 61 

Quakers, exiled, took part in the Hartford settlement 26 

Quay, Matthew S., representative from Washington and Beaver, 

United States Senator 124, 144 



INDEX 267 



Reminiscences and appreciation 209-14, 225, 229, 250 

Republic, foundation of, at Hartford 24 

Republican party prestige overwhelmed in 1874 by "Hard 
Times," Enforcement Acts, Local Option, "Third Term," 

"Whiskey Ring" and Belknap impeachment 178 

Republican party turning point in Pennsylvania 206 

Republican party defeat of 1874 discussed 204-206 

Rockefeller, John D., Jr., his creed 79 

Rogers, Lucius, of Smethport, Senate clerk 148, 249 

Root, F. H., of Buffalo, railroad corporator 219 

Ross, Bobieski, M. C, business associate 108, 151 

Ross, Ellen, daughter of David Ross, wife of Arthur G. Olmsted, 108 
Ross, David, a Revolutionary soldier at fifteen, father of Ellen 

(Ross) Olmsted 108 

Ross, John L., president J. S., P. C. & Buffalo R. R. Co 216 

Rutan, James L., Republican leader and State Senator 164, 249 

Scott, Thomas A., Assistant Secretary of War 249 

Scofield, Glenni W., M. C, a Congressional leader in the Civil 

War 206, 237 

Scofield, Lucy Ann, wife of Daniel Olmsted, daughter of Lewis 

Scofield 45 

Seward's bloodless national triumph 97 

Blade, 8. A., a Coudersport delegate to the National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

Slavery, abolition of 74, 86, 88, 95, 146 

Soldiers' monument at Coudersport, subscribers 215-16 

Spafford, L. D., president Coudersport Academy 62 

Special legislation, era of 117 

Special session of General Assembly in 1864 117 

Smith, A. W,, principal of Coudersport Academy 61 

Speeches: In the Senate on railroad bill 152, 161 

At Philadelphia in campaign of 1874 184, 203 

Stage route, Bellefonte to Smethport 72 

Stebbins, Pierre, Jr., director in J. S., P. C. & Buffalo R. R., 215, 216 
Stevens, Joseph W., a Coudersport delegate to the National 

Free Soil Convention 88 

Stevens, Thaddeus, "American Commoner" 58, 115, 126, 206 

Stinson, Charles H., of Norristown, Speaker of Senate, 144, 171, 249 

Stone, Samuel, teacher and religious leader 18, 21, 22, 23, 75 

Stone, Charles W., M. C, Congressional leader in "Free Silver" 

and Spanish War eras 167, 238 

Stone, General Roy, commanding "Bucktail" Brigade 129 

Strang, Butler B., Speaker of the House afterwards Senator, 

151, 161, 249 
Susquehanna Company, townships of, 1796 47 

Temperance cause in its early organization 69, 79 

Thirteenth U. S. Constitutional Amendment 124 

Thompson, M. B., treasurer condensed milk factory 241, 256 

Tubbs, Charles, historical address cited 44 

Turnpike, Jersey Shore to Olean 71 



268 INDEX 

PAGB 

Ulysses Township, its soil and character 60 

Veto of J. S., P. C. & Buffalo R. R. bill 162 

Wallace, William A., distinguished U. S. Senator, Democratic 

leader 144, 146, 161, 164 

Warner, Oliver C, a Coudersport delegate to National Free Soil 

Convention 88 

War scandals in Pennsylvania during Civil War 120 

Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers 38 

Wellsville Plank Road Company 75 

White, Gen. Harry, M. C, State and Congressional leader, 

144, 161, 164, 168 

White, Robert G., of Wellsboro, judge 141, 209 

Williams, H. W., Supreme Court Justice 141, 209, 215, 233 

Williams, Roger, founder in New England of Baptist faith, 21, 26, 75 
Williams, Thomas C, a Congressional leader in CivU War. .115, 208 

Williston, Horace, of Wellsboro, judge 69 

Wilson, Joseph, non-resident member of Potter Bar 69 

Wilson, Stephen F., M. C, of Wellsboro, judge 209, 212, 215, 222 

Wilmot, David, M. C, of Towanda, a noted Congressional 

leader 91, 93, 237-38 

Wilmot Proviso 91 

Winthrop, John C, Colonial Governor 21, 23, 26