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COUNTIES TAKEN IN WHOLE OR IN PART
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Written and compiled by the Lycoming
County Unit of the Pennsylvania Writers'
Project of the Work Projects Administrarion
Sponsored by the Superintendent of Schools
of Lycoming County, Frank H. Painter
THE COMMISSIONERS OF
BY THE COMMISSIO^fERS OF LYCOMING COUNTY
In A Picture of Lycoming County I believe
that The Pennsylvania Writers' Project has
prepared a book well fitted for use in teaching
the history of our county.
Interestingly written, it cannot help but give
a truer and better picture of local history to any
readers, from seventh and eighth grade pupils
up to adults, many of whom will find the book
stirring up reminiscences of their own youth.
— ^Frank H. Painter
Superintendent of Schools
of Lycoming County
FEDERAL WORKS AGENCY
John M. Carmody, Administrator
WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION
Colonel F. C. Harrington, Commissioner
Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner
Lt. Col. Philip Mathews,
Pennsylvania Work Projects Administrator
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY is the first in a series of new
county histories being prepared by the Pennsylvania Writers' Project.
As befits their special purpose of classroom use, apart from their interest to the
general reader, the method of treatment varies widely from the more formal
guide books which have already appeared as units in the American Guide Series.
For this reason, the staff of the Writers' Project has special reason to be
grateful to the educators, historians, and other scholars whose contribution of
time, advice, and constructive criticism are woven into the pages of this book.
In this respect, grateful acknowledgment is here expressed to the following
consultants, some of whom reviewed the entire manuscript, others devoting
themselves to portions on which they have special knowledge:
Frank H. Painter, Superintendent of Lycoming County Schools; Dr
Charles A. Lose, President of the Montoursville School District; Russell H.
Rhoads, head of the Department of Social Studies, Williamsport Senior High
School; Bruce A. Hunt, editor of The Wiltiamspoct Sun and member of the
Pennsylvania Historical Commission; Dr. T. B. Stewart, of Lock Haven;
Dr. T. K. Wood, of the Muncy Historical Society; and Miss Katharine
Bennet, Assistant Librarian of the James V. Brown Library, Williamsport.
' Acknowledgment for permission to use special photographs is hereby
tendeied several friends of the project, whose names are given individually in
the list of illustrations. Full cooperation was given by the various newspapers
and by the James V. Brown Library in placing their files at the Writers'
Project's disposal. Also worthy of mention is the spirit of cooperation shown
by the various city and county officials to whom members of the staff went
for special information on governmental topics.
A Picture of Lycoming County was nearly completed by the Penn-
sylvania Unit of the Federal Writers' Project, with Paul Comly French,
State Diiector. The Pennsylvania Writers' Project superceded the activities
of the Federal Project and brought the publication to completion under the
immediate direction of Joseph A. Kilcullen, Editor-in-chief.
The book from its beginning was under the supervision of James T.
Gilson, formerly District Editor in charge of the Lycoming County Unit. His
writing and research staff included Howard E. Painton, J. D. P. Smithgall,
Morton B. Rceser, Leo Orso and George Reidell, Sr. Clerical assistance was
given by Kathleen J. O'Connor and Florence Edythe Coder. ,
The drafting of maps was under the supervision of William J. Hagerty,
of the State Staff.
George B. Reeves, formerly Assistant State Director, gave final editorial
supervision to the manuscript.
The Pennsylvania Writers' Project, sponsored by the Pennsylvania De-
partment of Public Instruction, operates under the supervision of Anna M.
Lebengood, Director, Professional and Service Division, and under the juris-
diction of Lt. Col. Philip Mathews, State Administrator, Work Projects
November 10, 1939.
. C. Lesley
Acting State Supervisor,
Pennsylucmia Writers' Project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction to the County 1
2. Indians of Lycoming County 5
3. Explorers and Land Purchases 15
4. Early Settlement 27
5. Lycoming in the Revolution 41
6. The Big Runaway 47
7. Pioneer Life 61
8. Lumbering 77
9.' Civil War Days 95
10. Industry, Agriculture, and Labor 103
1 1 . The Turn of the Century 117
12. The World War, Business Prosperity, and Depression 131
13. Contemporary Scene 143
Appendix A Civil Government
The Judiciary 173
Appendix B Townships of Lycoming County 183
Appendix C Boroughs of Lycoming County 201
Appendix D Williamsport 211
Lycoming County Court House, Williamsport
Tiadaghton Elm (Rttter) Frontispiece
Lycoming County Court House (Ritter) XVI
Along Pine Creek (Courtesy Penna. Depl. of Highways) 4
Brock Mansion 30
Site of Indian Massacre 46
Model of Fort Muncy (Ritter) 50
Pioneer Log Cabin (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 70
Sawmill at Gray's Run (Courtesy Zimmermann) 72
Portable Sawmill (Courtesy Zimmermann) 78
Bark Peeling Scene (Courtesy Zimmermann) 80
Crew at Lumber Camp (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 84
Log Boom in the Susquehanna (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 90
Band Saw in Factory (Rttter) 91
Spraying Varnish (Rttter) 105
Com Husking (Rttter) 108
Scene in Muncy Valley (Rttter) 110
In Horse Car Days (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 1 20
Paddle- Wheel Boat Hiatvatha (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 121
At Old Curbstone Market (Courtesy Ztmmermann) 123
Oxen and Cart (Courtesy Zimmermann) 126
View from Wildwood Cemetery (Ritter) 144
Third Street, 1936 Flood (Courtesy Williamspert Sun) 146
Market Street, 1936 Flood (Courtesy Wtlltamsport Sun) 150
Williamsport, 1854 (Copy by Rttter) 153
Russell Inn 155
View above Trout Run (Courtesy Vtncent Smtth) 178
Quaker School, Pennsdale 192
View of Jersey Shore, 1854 (Copy by Rttter) 203
Peter Herdic (Courtesy Wtlltamsport Sun) 214
Williamsport Dickinson Seminary (Ritter) 218
Lycoming County Today (Map) Pocket
Lycoming County Court House, Williamsport Pa.
Intxoduaion to the County
IN the heart of Pennsylvania, 125 miles west of the Delaware
River and 30 miles south of the New York State line, is Ly-
coming County, largest in area in the Commonwealth. Formed
by act of the Legislature, April 13, 1795, Lycoming originally
contained more than 12,000 square miles, or nearly one-third
of the entire State. Through gifts of territory to new counties
Lycoming County has been reduced to an area of 1,220 square
miles, or approximately one-tenth of its original size. It is
bounded on the north by Tioga and Bradford counties; on the
east by Sullivan and Columbia; on the south ^by Montour,
Northumberland, and Union; and on the west by Clinton and
Potter. The area is drained by the West Branch of the Susque-
hanna River and its numerous tributaries, the most important
of which are Muncy, Loyalsock, Lycoming, Larrys and Pine
Creeks. South of Lycoming County, at Northumberland, the
West Branch unites with the North Branch to follow a south-
eastwardly course to Chesapeake Bay.
The first human inhabitants of the county were the In-
dians. In its primitive state the land, the forests, and the
streams were ideally suited to their mode of living. Except for
occasional warfare with another tribe, the Indians were con-
cerned principally with the problem of finding food, clothing,
and shelter necessary for existence. Game and fish were plentiful,
and a few basic vegetables were raised in fertile land along the
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
The factors which made the country attractive to the In-
dian contributed directly to his replacement by white settlers.
The valuable furs and plentiful supply of game and fish induced
the first white traders to visit the region, and their reports at-
tracted the first settlers. Once the natural wealth contained in its
vast forests was recognized, the growth of the county was rapid.
Except for a few clearings, the first settlers found the terri-
tory which is now Lycoming County covered with a magnificent
growth of hemlock and pine trees. Although its value was not
immediately recognized, this timber was later to provide the
county with its largest industry and to make Williamsport the
lumber center of the continent. From 1862 to 1894, lumber
was "King." At the peak of the lumber era more than one and
one-half million logs, containing over 318,000,000 board feet,
were cut from the mountain slopes in a single year. Two disas-
trous floods played a part in the destruction of the lumbering
industry. The flood of June 1889 broke the booms which had
been constructed in the river to catch and hold logs that had
been floated down stream. Millions of feet of logs were lost in
this flood and another which struck the valley in 1894. But,
even if floods had not come, it was apparent that the reckless
cutting could not continue. After the forests had been stripped
of their most accessible trees, the lumber business declined.
Many of the inhabitants returned to the cultivation of the
soil. Thousands of acres of land which had been stripped of its
trees were cleared of underbrush and prepared for crops, or used
for grazing. Agriculture developed and expanded until it be-
came the dominant industry. Some of the people, not inclined
toward farming, founded industries based upon the wealth
created by the lumber industry.
INTRODUCTION TO THE COUNTY
THE CONTEMPORARY PICTURE
The valleys and lowlands of the county compare favorably
in fertility with other sections of the State, and the hilly por-
tions are particularly adaptable to grazing, dairying, and fruit
growing. Although the county is primarily agricultural, it has
numerous and varied industries. A variety of products, ranging
from crepe paper novelties to steam boilers, are manufactured
and shipped to every state in the Union and to many foreign
Nature has been exceedingly kind to Lycoming County.
Majestic mountain ranges, deeply carved with narrow gorges,
are contrasted with beautiful valleys and wide stretches of fertile
farm land. Within an hour's drive of Williamsport, industrial
center of the county, are mountain views, dense forests, crystal-
clear streams, and picturesque waterfalls. Brooks meander
through grassy meadows; cattle graze in green pastures,
and prosperous-looking farm buildings are set in fields heavy
The Indians of Lycoming County
BEFORE the coming of white men, Lycoming County was
inhabited in turn by two great Indian families or groups:
the Iroquois and the Algonquin. Except for several dependent
tribes who lived in the mountainous region of eastern Tennessee,
northern Georgia, northern and western North Carolina, and
southern Virginia, the Iroquois lived in Central New York
from the Genesee River in the west to the Hudson in the east.
Just how long they had lived there is not definitely known, but
they were well established in the territory before the white man
Though their realm was not as extensive as the Algonquin,
the Iroquois were the more powerful. About 1570, they or-
ganized the powerful Indian confederacy known as the Five
Nations. It was a league of five tribes, the Seneca, Cayuga,
Oneida, Onondaga, and Mohawk. The Tuscaroras, an Iroquoian
tribe living in North Carolina, were driven out by the white
settlers, moved slowly northward over a period of a hundred
years, and joined the Confederacy, thus forming the Six Nations
or, as they called themselves, "The United People." Other
tribes of Iroquoian stock, who were not taken into the con-
federacy, were considered enemies or dependent tribes of the Six
The first known inhabitants of Lycoming County were
members of an Iroquoian tribe called Andastes, a name given by
the French to the "Susquehannocks" who lived on the upper
reaches of the Susquehanna River. The name Andastes distin-
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
guishcd the West Branch Valley Indians from those living on
the river to the south. It was the Susquehannocks that Capt.
John Smith contacted along the Chesapeake Bay in 1608. Since
Capt. Smith saw many American Indians, the Susquehannocks
must have been a splendid and magnificent people to deserve
Smith's glowing description.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH'S DESCRIPTION
In his journal, The True Travels, Adventures and Ob-
servations, Smith wrote: "Sixty of those Susquehannocks came
to us with Skins, Bowes, Arrows, Targets, Beads, Swords, and
Tobacco-pipes for presents. Such great and well proportioned
men are seldome seene, for they seemed like Giants to the English
yea and to the neighbors, yet seemed of an honest and simple
disposition," with much adoe restrained from adoring us as Gods.
Those are the strangest people of all those Countries, both in
language and attire; for their language it may well besecme
their proportions, sounding from them as a voyce in a vault.
Their attire is the skinnes of Beares. and Woolves, some have
Cassacks made of Beares heads and skinnes, that a mans head
goes through the skinnes neck, and the eares of the Beare fastened
to his shoulders, the nose and teeth hanging downe his breast,
another Beares face split behind hime, and at the end of the
Nose hung a Pawe, the halfe sleeves coming to the elbows were
the necks of Beares and the armes through the mouth with the
pawes hanging at their noses. One had the head of a Wolfe
hanging in a chaine for a Jewell, his tobacco pipe three-quarters
of a yard long, prettily carved with a Bird, a Deere or some such
devise at the great end, sufficient to beat out ones braines; with
Bowes, Arrows and Clubs, suitable to their greatness. They
are scarce known to Powhatan. They can make near 600 able
men, and are palisaded in their Townes to defend them from
the Massawomenkes [Iroquois] their mortal enemies. Five of
THE INDIANS OF LYCOMING COUNTY
their chief Werowanccs came aboard us and crossed the Bay in
our Barge. The picture of the greatest of them is signified in
the Mappe. The calfe of whose legs was three-quarters of a
yard about, and all the rest of his limbes so answerable to that
proportion, that he seemed the goddliest man we ever beheld.
His. hayre the one side was long, the other close with a ridge
over his crowne like a cocks combe. His arrowes were five-
quarters long, headed with the splinters of a white chirstall-likc
stone, in form of a heart, an inch broad and an inch and a half
or more long. These he wore in a Woolves skinne at his backe
for his quiver, his bow in one hand and his club in the other."
The old Indian fortification on the bank of the Susque-
hanna River near the mouth of Muncy Creek was built by the
Andastes. This fort probably fell in 1663 when the Five
Nations, armed with guns secured from the Dutch, attacked the
Andastes and drove their remnants southward. It is believed
that another Andaste fortification at the mouth of Pine Creek
was destroyed at the same time. Although the Andastes were
of the same linguistic stock, they did not accept the domination
of the Iroquois and after a period of bitter struggle they faded
into obscurity. In 1763 there were only twenty known sur-
vivors of this once great tribe. Because of threats from whites,
angered by Indian attacks on the Pennsylvania frontier, they
took refuge in the Lancaster jail, where they were massacred
by a mob.
The Algonquian family inhabited a territory completely
surrounding that of the northern Iroquois. While there were
numerous tribes in this group, and they occupied a vast region,
they were not able to organize with as high a degree of effective-
ness as the Six Nations of the Iroquois. Their most important
confederation was the Lenape, or, as it was more frequently
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
called, the Delaware. This confederacy was composed of three
principal tribes, the Uname, also called the Turtle, because its
totem was the turtle ; the Minsi or Munsee, or Wolf tribe, whose
totem was the wolf; and the Unalach or Unatachtigo. The
totem of this tribe was the turkey, and because of this was called
the Turkey tribe. The Munsee or Wolf tribe is the only one
of the Delaware group who lived in the Lycoming district. The
others lived farther south, with the Turkey tribe being the
The Munsee tribe, most savage and warlike of the Dela-
wares, at one time held a broad expanse of territory between the
Blue Mountain and the headwaters of the Delaware and Susque-
hanna Rivers and as far south as the Lehigh River. Though
most of the Indians living in the West Branch Valley at the
time of the first white explorations were Munsees, they were
a migratory .tribe and scarcely left a mark upon Lycoming
County. They had villages at the mouth of Loyalsock Creek;
on the present site of Newberry; and at Linden. But they were
not able to withstand the prolonged attacks of the Six Nations
and after little more than a generation they went westward.
When Conrad Weiser passed through in 1737, there were only
mixed remnants of Munsees and Shawnees. The main body had
already moved westward into Ohio. The name of this tribe
has been perpetuated in the names of the borough of Muncy,
the valley, creek, township, and the Muncy Hills to the south
of the borough.
After their conquest of the Munsee^, the Six Nations be-
came the undisputed rulers of the West Branch Valley, and it
was they who figured in the troubles between the early settlers
and the Indians. Although the Six Nations did not settle in
the region to any great extent, they were loath to relinquish
valuable hunting and fishing grounds to the whites. During
the Revolutionary War they allied themselves with the British
and made many bloody forays into Lycoming County.
THE INDIANS OF LYCOMING COUNTY
TYPE OF HABITATION
Before their contact with white men the Indians were not
nomadic but lived in permanent villages, leaving them only to
hunt, to fish, or to fight. Because they knew nothing about
digging wells to obtain water, their towns were located near
lakes, streams, or large springs. In winter they moved into
timbered sections where game and furs were plentiful. The
Iroquoian houses were mostly of one design, square or rec-
tangular in shape, and ranging from 20 to 180 feet in length.
The framework of the structure was constructed of peeled poles.
Sides and roofs were covered with bark, with the smooth side
inward, laid so that one strip of bark overlapped the other. The
poles were fastened together by thongs made from the cured
skins of animals or withes made from grass or green bark. Fires
were built on the earthen floor, and directly overhead a hole in
the roof functioned as a chimney. If a house was long, roof
holes were provided for each fire. The average sized house
would accommodate 1 5 persons, and each occupant was allotted
a space. The floors were covered with skins and furs of animals
and with woven mats. In the winter the occupants slept with
their feet toward the fire.
The Algonquian house, typified in Lycoming County by
the dwellings of the Munsees, was described quite well by Wil-
liam Penn: "Their houses are Mats, or Bark of trees set on
Poles, in the fashion of an English Barn, but out of the power
of the Winds, for they are hardly higher than a man ; they lie
on reeds or grasses." Their houses were much smaller than
those of the Iroquois, and much easier to move from place to
place. Sometimes they were arranged in rows; often they
formed a ring around a central space where games and occasional
celebrations took place.
The Indians, at least by modern standards, were untidy in
their dress. Their garments were made chiefly from the cured
10 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
skins of animals. Frequently the head of the animal was re-
tained, thus giving the wearer an exceedingly grotesque appear-
They cooked over open fires, roasting birds, squirrels,
venison, and eels on spits. Fish, mussels, clams, and corn in the
husk were covered with hot ashes. Heated stones, usually placed
in bark vessels, were used in the treatment of disease. A hole
was dug in the earth and lined with clay; into this the sick
person crept through a small opening. He sat down and heated
stones were placed around him. After sweating for some time,
he would leave the rude vapor bath and plunge into a stream of
cold water. This rigorous treatment was often fatal to them.
Arthritis and tuberculosis were prevalent among the Indians,
but they were not affected by smallpox and measles until after
their contact with whites.
A primitive, but apparently quite eflFective, division of
labor existed between the sexes. It has been said that the men
had all the better of the arrangement, perhaps because much of
their time was spent in hunting and fishing. But what the city-
bred white man might consider sport and recreation was to the
Indian the sternest sort of struggle for existence. The Indian
did not kill more food than he could eat, and because of this
fact game was plentiful until after the introduction of guns
and the development of trade in furs by the white man. In their
villages the men were occupied in the making of snowshoes,
lacrosse sticks, stone and pottery pipes, and knives of chert.
They made implements as well as ornaiAents of bone, antler,
and shell. After they had gathered elm and bass wood bark, the
women made it into cords and ropes. Men hunted pelts and as-
sisted the women in tanning and manufacturing them into cloth-
ing and shoes. Women sewed hunting shirts and leggings,
embroidering them with moose hair and porcupine quills which
the men had secured. Corn mortars and pestles were made by
THE INDIANS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 1 1
cutting logs to proper length and hollowing out by j5re. Some
of the mortars were made of stone. Bows, arrows, war clubs,
ladders, and troughs were fashioned of wood. They were very
particular about their hats and each man made his own. The
Iroquois hat was a tight fitting cap topped by gay-colored
On the march, the women carried the burdens so that the
men could use their weapons freely in case of attack. The
guarding of the camp or village was a duty shared equitably by
the men, and the provision of food for the party was a con-
stant task, so difficult in fact that many perished on winter
The Indians were by nature religious. Before their con-
tact with white missionaries they worshipped a "Great Spirit"
or "Manito" whom they believed governed the universe. In
the forests, streams, mountains, and valleys which supplied their
sustenance they saw reflected the power and influence of this
"Great Spirit." Because they believed that the earth was created
by Him for the common good, they were hospitable and gen-
erous, often sharing food and shelter with strangers.
Marriages among them were not entered into for life, but
only so long as husband and wife pleased each other. Before
their contact with white men, they considered separation and
divorce a disgrace and they happened rarely. The practice of
polygamy was banned.
CONDUCT IN WARFARE
In military affairs the Indians were well disciplined; when
confronted with a necessity for action, they could move quickly
and in unison. Their strategy varied with circumstances and
terrain. They often advanced in scattered formation for great
distances without disorder or confusion, even though their line
1 2 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
was more than a mile in length. They were adept in the per-
formance of various maneuvers, such as the formation of a
circle, half circle, or hollow square. The latter maneuver was
employed to avoid being surrounded and fired upon from the
They entered battle unencumbered with clothing, usually
fighting naked, except for moccasins, leggings, and breechclout.
Although military operations were planned by leaders, once the
battle began each man fought as if the outcome depended upon
his own ability. To disobey an order or shirk a duty was a
degrading act, and punishment for such infractions was severe.
Their strategy was to take advantage of the enemy, to
surprise them if possible. They would seldom attack unless
they were certain of victory. If they discovered they were mis-
taken in their expectation of an easy victory, they would re-
treat and await a better opportunity. The fact that they fre-
quently retreated during the battle did not denote cowardice
but the observance of their system of warfare. If surrounded
by an enemy they would attempt to break through at one point
and either return to the attack or retreat. The effectiveness of
their manner of fighting was evidenced by the great losses sus-
tained by the white man, and for self-preservation the whites
soon adopted the Indians' tactics.
The Indians were a peaceful people and in their own way
very polite. They granted few titles of honor, the great military
men being known as captains or leaders. In civil affairs they
were called chiefs, counsellors, or "the old wise men." These
titles were seldom used in common address, but the salutations,
grandfather, father, cousin, and uncle, were frequently employed.
They were respectful of the aged of both sexes. When an old
man was speaking, the young men would sit quietly and atten-
THE INDIANS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 13
tivdy. No one was elevated to a position of honor or trust
except by merit. Military rank was based upon the performance
of heroic deeds in battle. Unusual wisdom was a prerequisite
for elevation to a seat on the council.
When they had food to offer they invited everyone to eat,
and to refuse to do so was considered an exhibition of ill man-
ners. They were very fond of tobacco. Both men and women
smoked a mixture which included dried sumac leaves or red
willow bark. They seldom chewed tobacco, and the pipe was
used as a symbol of peace and friendship.
The pathfinding skill of the Indians was remarkable.
Their knowledge of direction and distance was uncanny. Guided
only by the sun, moon, or stars they could enter the densest
forest and emerge at a predetermined point. With consideration
for topography and availability of water, their paths or trails
always followed the shortest and best routes.
Their government was exceedingly democratic in character.
They had no written code of laws, but were governed by rules
or customs handed down from one generation to the next.
Occasionally these rules were supplemented by new ones adopted
at council meetings. The chief was not in absolute authority.
He could not declare war, make treaties, or transact important
business without consent of the council and other members of
the tribe. There were no legal proceedings among them. They
considered that all men had equal rights to the land, except
that which a person had improved, and that portion only during
occupancy. If a family erected a house, improved the soil and
then moved away, the first person who came along could occupy
it. Should the original owner return within a year or two the
property was returned to him without question. Before white
contact larceny was rarely committed, but if an article was
14 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Stolen, the owner took it wherever it was found. Murder was
quite rare but when it occurred the murderer was required to
indemnify the victim's immediate family with presents. Occa-
sionally he was forced to provide for the victim's dependents
during his lifetime. This primitive form of social security
seemed to work very well.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER II
1. What two great Indian families or groups lived in Lycoming County
before the coming of the white man?
2. What tribes composed the Five Nations?
What tribe became the Sixth Nation?
3. What was the first known Indian tribe on Lycoming County territory?
4. Give the names of several places in Lycoming County which were named
for the Minsi tribe of Delaware Indians.
5. Give a description of the houses built by the Iroquois.
6. How did the Indians cook their food?
7. What were the principal occupations of the Indian men?
8. What was the battle strategy of the Indians?
9. How did the Indians govern themselves?
Explorers and Land Purchases
THE STORY OF ETIENNE BRULE
NO one knows who was the first white man to visit Lycoming
County. Among those who have been mentioned for that
honor is Etienne Brule (pronounced Aye-tee-ane Brulay) . Brule
came to America in 1608 with Samuel de Champlain. Two
years later, while Champlain was in France on a visit, Brule
lived for a year with Iroquet, an Algonquian Indian chief. Dur-
ing that time he became thoroughly acquainted with the Indian
mode of living. He learned Indian language and woodcraft, and
adopted their manner of dress. Because of this experience, Cham-
plain employed him in the capacity of interpreter, guide, and
messenger to various Indian tribes. It was while on a mission
for Champlain that he may have passed through Lycoming.
In 1615, Champlain, with a force of Frenchmen and Al-
gonquian Indians, moved into Central New York to attack the
Onondagas, a tribe of the Five Nations. It had been agreed that,
in the event of war, the Andastes who lived south of the Five
Nations would furnish 500 warriors to assist in the attack.
Brule, accompanied by twelve Huron Indians, was sent by
Champlain to advise them of the time and place of meeting.
On their arrival, a great reception was accorded Brule and his
company. The festivities consumed so much time that the re-
enforcements did not arrive until two days after Champlain had
retreated from the Onondaga stronghold. Brule then returned
with the Andastes to their village. He spent a year or more visit-
16 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
ing neighboring tribes and exploring the Susquehanna River to
It is believed that the Andastes town he visited was Spanish
Hill, near Athens, in Bradford County. Since he returned with
the Andastes to their town and spent the winter in "exploring
the country and visiting nearby lands and nations," it is possible
that he entered the West Branch Valley. Those who contend
that Brule visited the West Branch also claim that upon his
return to Champlain he spoke of the ancient Indian fortifications
near the mouth of Wolf Run. Whether Brule actually set foot
in the West Branch Valley or not, he deserves a place in Lycom-
ing County history because Spanish Hill in Bradford County
was originally included in Lycoming and also because he was
the first man to describe the natural beauty of this section of
It was not until approximately one hundred and twenty
years after Brule that the next European passed through Ly-
coming. In 1737, while on a mission for the Provincial Gov-
ernment of Pennsylvania to Onondaga, New York, the capital
of the Six Nations, Conrad Weiser traveled through the West
Branch Valley. Accompanied by Shikellimy (pronounced
Shik-el-limy) , an Indian chief who later became vice-king of
the Six Nations, he ascended the Susquehanna River to a point
west of the present borough of Montoursvillc. Here they picked
up a branch of the old Indian trail leading north of the present
Williamsport and reached Lycoming Creek near what is now
Hcpburnville. They followed the Sheshequin Path up that
stream, then went northward through Tioga County to New
Weiser made many later trips through this region in the
capacity of guide and emissary for the Provincial Government.
EXPLORERS AND LAND PURCHASES 17
He was born in Germany in 1696. In 1710, at the age of
fourteen, he came to America with his father, John Conrad
Weiser, and a large group of immigrants. As a young man he
was adopted into the Mohawk tribe of Indians and acquired a
thorough knowledge of their language and customs. Later he
became an interpreter in Penn's Province. He followed this
calling throughout the rest of his life and proved a valuable asset
to the Provincial authorities at conference and treaty councils.
He died at Tulpehocken, July 13, 1760.
Shikellimy, a member of the Oneida tribe, was probably
born in New York State. His iSrst place of residence on the
West Branch was at "Shikellimy 's town," a short distance south
of Milton. Later he became chief of all the tribes living on the
Susquehanna with his headquarters at Shamokin, an Indian
town on the present site of Sunbury. He was a constant friend
of the Provincial Government and advanced its cause in many
of the treaty conferences held during his time.
Five years after Weiser's journey up the West Branch
Count Nicholas Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, first of the Moravian
missionaries, came to the county. Accompanied by his daughter
Benigna, Conrad Weiser, Anna Nitchman, J. Martin Mack,
and two friendly Indians, he left Shamokin (Sunbury) on Sep-
tember 30, 1742 and ascended the West Branch as far as
Otstuagy, an Indian village near the mouth of Loyalsock Creek,
present site of the borough of Montoursville. The country at
that time was a dense wilderness, abounding in both large and
small game. The Count expressed surprise at not seeing any
snakes on this journey since he had been informed they existed
in great numbers. He was particularly wary of one species which
was said to lie on the top of bushes and spring on passing
18 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Zinzendorf was followed by other missionaries, including
Bishop Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, David Zeisberger, David
Brainard, and Walter Mack. The advent of these pioneer re-
ligious teachers marked the beginning of a more friendly relation-
ship with the Indians. The Moravians came to convert the In-
dians to Christianity, and they were highly successful. Chief
Shikellimy became a convert and adhered strictly to the beliefs
of Christianity the remainder of his life. Since he was virtually
a dictator over all the tribes then living along the West Branch,
his conversion had a powerful influence upon the Indians. He
was a close friend of Zeisberger, who administered last rites at
his burial in Shamokin.
The Moravians' reports of the beauty of the country, the
abundance of fish and game, and the fertility of the soil, un-
doubtedly were an important factor in opening the region for
LAND PURCHASE OF 1696
After the Six Nations of the Iroquois had succeeded in
conquering the Delawarcs, they considered themselves the right-
ful owners of the territory, but Thomas Dongan, governor of
the Province of New York, also claimed the land. He declared
that he had acquired it from "certain chiefs."
Because the land was rich, William Penn also wanted it.
He therefore contracted with Dongan for a large tract which in-
cluded what is now Lycoming County. It was leased to Penn
for one thousand years on the payment of one hundred pounds
"lawful money of England" and "thenceforth at the annual
rental of a peppercorn."*
These lands included, to cite the deed, "all the said river
Susquehanna; and all the lands lying on the west side of the
river to the setting of the sun, and to extend from the mouth
* Peppercorn is the dried berry of the black pepper: hence in this case it means
something of little value, a mere trifle.
EXPLORERS AND LAND PURCHASES 19
of th€ said river northward, up the same to the hills or moun-
tains called by the said nations 'endless hills' — also with all
the islands in the river, ways, watercourses, woods, underwoods,
timber and trees, mountains, hills, mines, valleys, minerals,
quarries, rights, liberties, privileges, hereditaments and appur-
tenances thereunto " In fact, this purchase included prac-
tically all of the northeastern part of Pennsylvania to the New
York State line. After Penn had leased the land from Dongan
the Indian chiefs occupying the territory objected to the transfer
on the grounds that they, not Dongan, were its legal owners,
and that any agreement for the sale or lease of the land must
be made by them. As a result Penn endeavored to persuade the
chiefs to conj&rm the transaction. On April 1, 1701, an agree-
ment between Penn and the Indians was reached and a treaty
TREATY OF 1737
Although there had been some dispute over the legality of
the purchase of 1696, it did not reach serious proportions until
1737. Not long after the purchase from Dongan and the later
approval by the chiefs of the tribes living on the land, the Six
Nations began to question the authority of those who had made
the original transfer. By right of conquest they claimed that
they alone had power to make treaties, even though they had
remained silent at the time of the 1701 treaty.
This feeling grew stronger until June, 1737, when a Great
Council meeting was held in Philadelphia to restore good rela-
tions. At this meeting a new agreement was signed and for an
additional quantity of goods the Indians released their claims
to the Susquehanna territory.
The deed, dated June 17, 1737, was signed by twenty-
three Indians representing the Six Nations. It was witnessed by
seventeen representatives of the whites, among whom were
Conrad Weiser and Chief Shikellimy. For the purpose of com-
parison with other historic purchases and also with the present
20 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
land values in this territory the detailed list of articles contained
in the "several quantities of goods" is as follows:- "500 lbs.
powder; 600 pounds of lead; 45 guns; 60 stroud water match
coats; 100 blankets; 100 diffle match coats; 200 yds.
half thick; 100 shirts; 400 hats; 40 pairs shoes and buckles;
40 pairs stockings; 100 tobacco tongs; 100 scissors; 500 awl
blades; 120 combs; 2000 needles; 1000 fliints; 24 looking
glasses; 2 pounds of vermillion; 100 tin pots; 100 pipes and 24
dozen of gartering, besides 5 gallons of rum."
Although the articles exchanged for the deed were of little
worth in comparison to the value of the land in question, in
signing the agreement the Six Nations were probably influenced
by their friendship for the English. This belief is borne out by
the fact that the Six Nations did not refuse to accept the trans-
action Penn had made with Governor Dongan and the con-
quered tribes. This treaty stood without change until 1768,
when the so-called "New Purchase" was made.
TREATY OF FORT STANWIX
At the close of the French and Indian War, the oflSccrs
who had taken part in Bouquet's expedition made application
to the Provincial Government for a grant of land on the Susque-
hanna River. They asked for a section of land where they
"could establish a colony of sufficient strength to resist an attack
from the enemy." Each member was to have "a reasonable and
commodious plantation" in accordance with his rank and length
of service. The application called for forty thousand acres on the
West Branch. The Penns agreed to grant the request, providing
that more territory could be purchased from the Indians.
Accordingly a commission was appointed to hold a con-
ference with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix (now Rome,
N. Y.) on November 5, 1768. In consideration of $10,000,
the Indians conveyed another great slice of territory to the Penns.
EXPLORERS AND LAND PURCHASES 21
Although much of the land in this purchase had been included
in the previous purchase, it also included considerable
new territory. This treaty specified Tiadaghton Creek as the
western boundary, and later a great deal of controversy, misun-
derstanding, and bloodshed resulted from confusion concerning
the name Tiadaghton. The Indians claimed Tiadaghton signi-
fied Lycoming Creek, but the Provincial Government insisted
that Pine Creek was the stream referred to in the treaty. The
disputed territory is that which lies between Jersey Shore and
the city of Williamsport and comprises nearly half of present
Lycoming County and a part of Tioga County.
By the time these treaties and purchases had been completed
the Indians had learned many tricks of the real estate business.
They now realized the value of the lands and they set out to
get as much from them as they could by selling as often as they
could find a purchaser. In 1754 they had sold the Susquehanna
Valley to the people of New England, and twelve years later
they gave the section from Wyalusing to a point north of Tioga
to the Christian Indians. At the treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768
they sold this same tract to the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania.
The Indians at Wyalusing knew nothing of the transaction
until some time after it had been closed.
The dispute over the boundary line of the New Purchase
also demonstrated Indian shrewdness in dealing with the whites.
By insisting that by Tiadaghton they meant Lycoming Creek,
they were able to retain an excellent hunting and fishing territory
for sixteen years. The country abounded in elk, deer, bear, small
game, and fish, and the Indians were loath to abandon it.
In a treaty negotiated in 1784 the Indians finally admitted
that Pine Creek was the real Tiadaghton, and it was established
as the western boundary line of the New Purchase. The treaty
of 1784 gave the United States Government all the lands in the
State over which the Indians had claimed jurisdiction.
22 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Early travelers on their journeys through the West Branch
Valley found the Indian village of Otstuagy (present Montours-
ville) at the mouth of Loyalsock Creek. The town was ruled
by a French woman, Madame Montour. Few persons so greatly
affected the fortunes of white men in this section of the State
as this famous woman and her son, Andrew. Her ancestry has
long been a subject of controversy. According to William
Marshe, Secretary of the Commissioners at the Treaty of Lan-
caster, who interviewed her in 1744, she was born in Canada,
a daughter of a French Governor. In 1694, when she was ten
years of age, her father was killed in a battle with the Five Na-
tions, and she was captured and adopted by the Indians.
Because of her knowledge of French, English, and the
various Indian dialects, her services as interpreter at treaties were
extremely valuable to Provincial authorities. Her first appearance
as an interpreter was at a conference between sachems of the Six
Nations and Robert Hunter, British Governor of New York.
The English and Indians alike had confidence in hier ability and
integrity. Because of her influence with the Indians, the French
made repeated efi^orts to enlist her support against the British.
Even though they offered her greater compensation she stead-
fastly refused to desert the British. Her faithfulness seems all the
more remarkable because at the time these overtures were made
she had not received her pay from the British for more than a
In 1702, Madame Montour married Car-on-do-wana, alias
Robert Hunter, an Oneida chief. They settled at Otstuagy some
time prior to 1727. Her husband was killed in a battle with the
Catawbas in the spring of 1729. They had three children:
Andrew, Lewis, and Margaret. Lewis, an interpreter and friend
of the whites, was killed during the French and Indian war.
Margaret, generally known as 'Trench Margaret," ruled a vil-
EXPLORERS AND LAND PURCHASES 23
lage at the mouth of Lycoming Creek, on the present site of
Newberry. On Scull's map of 1759, her place is designated as
"French Margaret's Town." She prohibited the use of intoxi-
cants in her realm, probably the first recorded case of enforced
prohibition in the United States. Margaret's eldest daughter,
Esther, frequently called "Queen Esther," resided at Tioga
Point, Bradford County, Pa., at the time the Indians attacked
the Wyoming settlers. It is said that she led the Indians in the
Wyoming Massacre of July 3, 1778, one of the most brutal
slaughters in the frontier history of the State. A group of
prisoners, among them women and children, were lined up and
Esther passed down the line dashing out their brains with her
tomahawk. For her part in the massacre she received the name
"Fiend of Wyoming."
It is not definitely known when Madame Montour died,
but it was probably between 1745 and 1748. When Conrad
Weiser visited her in 1737, she was a widow well advanced in
years. The journals of other travelers do not mention her
after 1745. Zeisberger, who visited the valley in 1748, reported
her village deserted and in ruins.
With the passing of Madame Montour, her son Andrew
became a leading character in the colonial drama being enacted
at that time. Andrew, whose Indian name was "Sat-tel-ihu,"
also became famous as an interpreter, guide, and ambassador to
the Indian tribes in the eastern part of the country.
In 1742, Count Von Zinzendorf, accompanied by Conrad
Weiser, visited the Montours at Otstuagy. In his journal he
gives the following interesting personal description of the man
for whom the borough of Montoursville was named:
"Andrew's cast of countenance is decidedly European, and
had his face not been encircled with a broad band of paint ap-
24 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
plied with bear's fat, I certainly would have taken him for one.
He wore a broad-cloth coat, a scarlet damasken lapel waistcoat,
breeches over which his shirt hung, a black cordovan neckerchief
decked with silver bangles, shoes and stockings and a hat. His
ears were hung with pendants of brass and other wires plaited
together like the handle of a basket. He was very cordial, but
on addressing him in French, he, to my surprise, replied in
Leaving the West Branch, Zinzendorf went to visit the
Shawnee Indians at Wyoming, on the North Branch. Andrew
went with him as guide and interpreter. In 1743, he acted as
interpreter for the Delawarcs at a conference held at Shikellimy's
house at Shamokin (Sunbury) . In 1745, with Conrad Weiser
and Chief Shikellimy, he served as messenger from the Gov-
ernor of the Province to the Indian headquarters at Onondaga.
In 1748, he was presented to the Council of Pennsylvania, at
Philadelphia, by Conrad Weiser who openly complimented him
as a "faithful, knowing and prudent servant."
After the Great Lakes region had been ceded to England
following British victory in the French and Indian War, Mon-
tour worked diligently to establish an alliance between the Ohio
Indians and the English. His efforts were so successful that the
Ohio Company offered him one thousand acres of land if he
would move to Virginia and settle within the company's do-
main. But he chose to remain in the West Branch Valley, where
he accepted a grant which included the present borough of Mon-
toursville. "Montour's Reserve" contained 880 acres lying on
both sides of Loyalsock Creek. The original cost of this tract
was $193.60, or approximately twenty-two cents per acre.
In 1754 he was appointed to a captaincy in Washington's
army and fought at Fort Necessity. Because of his influence
among the Indians he was recognized as a powerful figure in
the Lycoming country. Washington complimented him highly
EXPLORERS AND LAND PURCHASES 25
and wanted him and "as many friendly Indians as would" to
come and live among the English. His later life was devoted
almost entirely to military service. He was made a captain in
Sir William Johnson's regiment. In the dual capacity of officer
and interpreter, he was sent as far west as Detroit. He took part
in many expeditions against the French and Indians in Canada
and on each occasion won the respect of his superiors and asso-
Andrew Montour was married twice. His first wife was
the granddaughter of Al-lum-ma-pees, a Delaware chief. They
had one son, John, and a daughter, Mary Magdeline. Andrew
also was the father of a son, Nicholas, by a second marriage.
John Montour was born in 1744. He was educated at the
Philadelphia Academy and served as a Captain in the Dunmore
After leaving the West Branch, Andrew received a grant
of land on the Juniata River. Finally he drifted to Montour's
Island in the Allegheny River near Fort Pitt, where he died
prior to 1775.
In the contest between the French and British for control
of what is now the eastern part of the United States and Can-
ada, Madame Montour, Andrew Montour, Conrad Weiser, and
Chief Shikellimy were leading figures. Their wisdom and in-
fluence were potent factors in moulding the destinies of the early
inhabitants. Their power was great enough to divide the Six
Nations, and they were in large measure responsible for the
breaking up of this great Indian confederacy. The Seneca tribes,
who lived nearest the French in Canada, eventually responded
to the overtures of the French, while Sir William Johnson,
noted Indian agent of New York State, gained control over the
Mohawks. Enough of the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and
Tuscaroras were influenced by the emissaries of the British to
throw the balance of power to their side.
26 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
QUESTIONS CHAPTER III
1. What reasons are there to support the belief that a Frenchman was the
first white man to pass through Lycoming County territory?
2. Who was Conrad Weiser?
3. Who accompanied Weiser on his first journey through Lycoming
4. Name three Moravian missionaries who came to this region.
5. Why did the missionaries visit this territory?
6. From whom did William Penn purchase the land in which Lycoming
County is now included?
7. What was accomplished by the Treaty of 1737?
By the Treaty of Fort Stanwix?
8. Who was Madame Montour?
9. What other members of the Montour family figured in the early history
of Lycoming County?
IN the early days of the Province of Pennsylvania, William
Penn's policy was to reserve one-tenth of all lands purchased
from the Indians. These tracts were selected and laid out for
the purpose of granting them to persons who had rendered spe-
cial service to the Provincial Government, or were held by the
Proprietaries for their own personal benefit.
The first grant, or reserve, to be laid out within the present
Lycoming County was the one given to Andrew Montour,
October 29, 1768. The next was "Muncy Manor," the war-
rant for which was issued by John Penn on December of the
same year. The manor had been located and recommended to
the Penns by Job Chilloway, a friendly Indian, and in recogni-
tion of this service the Governor of the Province had the words
"Job's Discovery" affixed to the original draft.
The manor included in its acres practically all of the level
and rolling land around the mouth of Muncy Creek, on the
east bank of the Susquehanna River. The fertility of its soil,
its natural beauty, and its location at a point where the old
Indian trails met were factors which contributed to its desira-
The third and last of the reserves was "Orm's Kirk." It
contained 599 acres and included all of what is now the western
part of the, city of Williamsport. Part of this tract was pur-
chased by Hawkins Boone, a relative of the celebrated hunter
and Indian fighter, Daniel Boone. Hawkins Boone was killed
in the battle of Fort Freeland, at the time of the Little Runaway.
Orm's Kirk eventually became the Amariah Sutton farm. Sutton
28 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
donated a portion of his farm to the Methodist congregation,
which erected one of the first church buildings in the county.
In 1776, Muncy Manor was divided into five tracts and
sold to the following persons: Tract No, 1 to Mordecai Mc-
Kinney, Tract No. 2 to Peter Smith and Paulus Sheep, Tract
No. 3 to Captain John Brady, Tract No. 4 to Caleb Knapp,
and Tract No. 5 to John Scudder.
Scudder was born in New Jersey in 1738. He came to
Muncy Manor in 1769 on a prospecting tour and the next year
brought his family here. His wife was the first white woman to
locate in the settlement, and their second child, Mary, was the
first white girl born west of the Muncy Hills. Scudder's cabin
stood beside Glade Run, not far from the river. It was rudely
constructed and without windows. The bed was set on posts,
forked at the bottom, as a precaution against rattlesnakes and
copperheads. Scudder served as lieutenant in the Associated
Militia in guarding the frontier and also fought in the Revolu-
tionary War. Mordecai McKinney also came here from New
Jersey in 1775. At the time of the Big Runaway, he fled with
his family to Harris's Ferry and never returned.
Job Chilloway, friend of John Penn and discoverer of
Muncy Manor, was a Delaware Indian. Because of his knowl-
edge of Indian dialects and his familiarity with the Indian trails
his services as a spy and messenger were valuable to the Pro-
vincial Government. As a young man, while serving under Sir
William Johnson, noted Indian agent of New York, he dis-
tinguished himself by his ability and honesty in negotiations
with various chiefs. He entered military service during the
Revolutionary War, serving in Colonel Potter's Regiment at
the battle of Red Bank. At the expiration of his military ser-
vice he returned to his home on the West Branch.
EARLY SETTLEMENT 29
His favorite hunting grounds were in Nippenose Valley
and it was while sojourning there that he became a friend of
Colonel Antes, in command of Antes Fort. Because of his fre-
quent long journeys through the country Chilloway was able
to keep Colonel Antes informed of the movements and intentions
of the Indians, and thus to prevent surprise attacks on the valley
In appearance he was a "tall, muscular man, with his ears
split to hang pendant, like a pair of earrings." He was married
to an Indian girl whom the white settlers called Betsy. Unlike
her husband she was not friendly toward the white settlers. As
friendship grew between Job and the whites, his wife's unfriend-
liness developed into hatred. Gathering what information she
could from her husband, she carried it to her Indian friends.
Her conduct so greatly annoyed Job that he warned the white
men against having any communication with her. Betsy finally
left Job because of his friendship with the whites and returned
to her people.
In 1770, Job joined the Moravian mission at Wyalusing,
So highly regarded was he by those in charge that when they
abandoned the mission and migrated to Ohio, Job was made
custodian of the property. He was known and trusted by all
the settlers in the valley. Even the unprotected women and
children welcomed him to their cabins. Although he had a home
in the Nippenose Valley, he left it and went to the Moravian
settlement in Ohio, where he remained the rest of his life.
Samuel Wallis, born in 1730 of Quaker ancestry, erected
the first permanent dwelling in Lycoming County in 1769, and
became one of the most prominent land speculators in the his-
tory of Pennsylvania. While engaged as a shipping merchant in
Philadelphia before the Revolution, he saw the possibilities
EARLY SETTLEMENT 31
offered to surveyors in this new country, and he spent consid-
erable time preparing himself for that profession.
When the "New Purchase" of 1768 was made, Wallis was
working with a crew of surveyors along the Juniata River. As
soon as he received news of the purchase he hurried to the West
Branch Valley and settled in Muncy Township, purchased all
the land he could in his own name, and induced others to take
out claims and transfer the titles to him for five shillings each.
By this method he acquired thousands of acres. So vast were
his holdings that at one time he owned almost all of the terri-
tory in the river valley between Muncy and Jersey Shore, be-
sides thousands of acres in other parts of the state.
The site he selected for his home is one-quarter mile west
of Halls Station on Highway US 15, now (1939) owned by
Henry G. Brock. This tract alone contained 7,000 acres. At
Wallis' death in 1798 he left a large estate, heavily mortgaged.
When his lands had been sold to satisfy creditors, nothing was
left for his heirs.
NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY INCORPORATED
In 1772 the population of the West Branch Valley had
grown to such proportions that the residents began a movement
for the formation of a new county. The valley was included
in Berks and Cumberland counties, but their county seats, Read-
ing and Carlisle, were too far away. At some seasons of the year
the roads were almost impassable, and even in good weather
travel was slow and expensive.
On March 21, 1772, a new county was erected from por-
tions of Berks, Bedford, Cumberland, Lancaster, and North-
ampton; it was named Northumberland for a northern county
of England. Fort Augusta was established as the county seat,
with the fort itself serving as a courthouse until a new one could
be constructed. The first court met April 9, 1772. as a "private
32 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
session of the peace." One of the first actions of this court was
to divide the new county into five townships. Muncy town-
ship, one of the five, embraced an extensive area, nearly all of
what is now Lycoming County. During this period it was the
most thickly settled section in the West Branch Valley.
FIRST ROAD SURVEYED
In the same year the court authorized the "viewing and
laying out" of a road from Fort Augusta to Lycoming Creek.
The order called for a road thirty-three feet wide. It was not
constructed at once, for a later court order instructed a group
under Colonel Antes to "view, and if they saw cause, lay out a
bridle path from Bald Eagle Creek to Sunbury."
Eventually, however, the first order led to the building
of a road to the settlement at Muncy, Lycoming Creek, and on
up the river. It was the first road in the county upon which
wagons could be used. Today it is part of the famous Susque-
FIRST GRIST MILL
Another innovation of 1772 was a grist mill. It was
erected by John Alward on the bank of Muncy Creek, just out-
side the present borough of Muncy, near the junction of Big and
Little Muncy Creeks. This rudely constructed mill, the first
west of Muncy Hills, served an important purpose in the section.
People came with their "grists" from miles around and "going
to mill" was an event in the lives of the settlers.
THE MORAVIAN EMIGRATION (1772)
At Wyalusing on the North Branch of the Susquehanna
the Indians who had been converted by the Moravian mission-
aries had settled and established a mission. When the Iroquois
sold their lands to the Provincial Government, the Moravians ap-
pealed to the authorities for permission to remain. Failing to re-
ceive this, they decided to abandon their town and migrate to
EARLY SETTLEMENT 33
Ohio. For the first leg of their journey, they divided into two
The first party, consisting of about 140 persons, descended
the North Branch of the Susquehanna River to the West Branch,
and ascended the latter to the mouth of Muncy Creek. The
other group, which included 54 persons, 60 head of cattle, and
50 horses, traveled an overland route through what is now
Sullivan County, following the old Wyalusing path down
Muncy Creek to its mouth. By prearrangement the two parties
were to unite at Samuel Wallis' place, near the present Halls
The overland caravan was led by Bishop John Ettwein,
who recorded in his journal the perils and obstacles of the wild,
unsettled region. They crossed an almost impassable swamp
where the undergrowth was so dense that it was impossible to
sec more than six feet ahead. At several places the trail was en-
tirely wiped out, and it was difficult to bring the cattle and
horses through in safety. To add to the emigrants' discomfort,
it rained continually during the passage through the swamp.
When they reached Muncy, they had crossed Muncy Creek
thirty-six times. The distance between these two points can be
traveled today in a few hours. While waiting for the river party
to join them their hunters killed fifteen deer and dried the meat
for use on the remainder of the journey.
On Saturday, June 20, 1772, the two groups united at
Wallis' place and the next day they held a religious meeting,
attended by settlers from a radius of twenty miles. The follow-
ing Monday a market day was held. Among the things offered
for sale were: cattle, canoes, fowls, casks, buckets, chains, and
After resting a few days they traveled up the river, passing
Loyalsock Creek, and camped near the mouth of Larrys Creek.
The next night they camped on Long Island (Jersey Shore).
34 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Here the Bishop wrote about the numerous rattlesnakes that
were killed and of a horse that died of snake-bite. From Long
Island they pushed on to Lock Haven, then over the mountains
to their new home in Ohio.
The appearance of these Moravians and Christian Indians
in the West Branch was an event of great interest to the settlers
and the chief subject of conversation among them for many
"YANKEES" IN WEST BRANCH
During the period of early settlement Pennsylvanians came
into the West Branch Valley mainly from the southeast. At the
same time New England was extending its settlements from the
northeast. Their villages were in the Wyoming Valley, along
the North Branch, and at the present sites of Wilkes-Barre,
Kingston, and Plymouth. Later they became a part of the Con-
necticut Colony in the township of Westmoreland. The Con-
necticut Colony claimed the land along the northern border of
Pennsylvania, which in fact had been given to both Connecticut
and Pennsylvania by the Crown.
Originally the West Branch was not included in West-
moreland Township, but an act of the Connecticut Council ex-
tended the territory of the "Yankees" to the western boundary
of the New Purchase, which at the time had been accepted as
Lycoming Creek. In 1771 two townships were surveyed on the
West Branch and named Charleston and Judea. They included
the settlement at Muncy. The Susquehanna Land Company of
Connecticut sent a group of about 540 colonists to settle at
Wyoming. Three hundred of them expected to receive land
along the West Branch river. The number that reached the
river lands is not known, but there were enough to create a great
disturbance among the Pennsylvanians who had preceded them.
The new arrivals were looked upon as impostors and were
told to leave immediately. But the "Yankees" claimed the
EARLY SETTLEMENT 35
territory was legally theirs and said they intended to occupy it.
The Pennsylvanians petitioned Richard Penn, acting Governor
of the Province, for legal redress. The petition stated that a
large body of armed men had invaded their territory and if the
government did not provide some means of protecting their
rights, they would assume the responsibility themselves and
oust them by force. The governor, under instructions from the
Assembly, objected to the invasion and advocated their removal
on the grounds that their presence threatened the "destruction
of the infant county" and "the peace of the whole province."
He also called upon the various magistrates to protect the in-
terests.of the Pennsylvania settlers.
Zebulon Butler, the Connecticut leader, then announced
that he had been appointed a justice by the authorities of Con-
necticut. The Governor of Pennsylvania replied with an order
forbidding the people to have any dealings with "this usurper"
on the grounds he had no legal authority in the Pennsylvania
As the controversy continued, excitement increased. The
Connecticut men held to their claim to the land and the Penn-
sylvanians were just as resolute in their demands that they "get
out." Finally it became evident that severe measures were neces-
sary. The Yankees had not only demonstrated that they in-
tended to stay, but it was rumored that re-enforcements were to
be sent in to assist them.
Colonel William Plunkett, with a force of fifty men, was
ordered to march from Fort Augusta to "meet and demand a
reason for this intrusion and hostile appearance." Evidently
there was little resistance, since only one man was killed and
several wounded. The Yankees' buildings were burned, their
property taken, and a number of them made prisoners.
Two of their leaders, William Judd and Joseph Shuman,
were captured and placed in jail at Philadelphia. The women
36 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
and children were sent back to their friends in Wyoming. This
was the end of Connecticut's attempt to establish a colony on
the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
FAIR PLAY MEN
It will be recalled that the treaty of Fort Stanwix specified
Tiadaghton Creek as the western boundary of that purchase.
The Indians claimed that Tiadaghton referred to Lycoming
Creek and not Pine Creek as the Provincial authorities had sup-
posed. This was the state of aflFairs until the treaty of 1784,
when the Indians finally admitted that Pine Creek was the
Tiadaghton. Thus for sixteen years the territory lying between
these two tributaries of the West Branch of the Susquehanna
River was to all intents and purposes Indian land and was
recognized as such by the Provincial Government.
Although the governmental authorities had forbidden set-
tlers to enter this disputed territory under penalty of a heavy
fine and imprisonment, a number of fearless Scotch-Irish settlers
from the lower counties and from New Jersey had come up the
river and squatted near the mouth of Pine Creek.
Where Pine Creek empties into the river there was a wide
flat area covered with a vigorous growth of tall grass and a few
trees. The soil was so rich and fertile that the squatters were
willing to risk Indian attacks and the threats of the Provincial
Government in order to hold it. Because of their insecure posi-
tion with both the government and the Indians they were de-
pendent entirely upon themselves for protection. For their
own safety they organized a simple form of self-government
which they called the Fair Play System.
This system functioned under three commissioners, elected
by ballot in March of each year. It was their duty to see that
each person received "fair play" and to mete out punishment to
all violators. They had no regular place or time of meeting.
EARLY SETTLEMENT 37
When necessity demanded, a general summons was circulated and
the place of meeting made known. No person could join the
settlement except by permission of the commissioners. If any
person absented himself from his land for more than six weeks
at one time he lost all claim to it. The only exception to this
rule was absence for military service.
The decisions of the Fair Play Men were final. Anyone
disregarding their verdict was placed in a canoe, paddled down
the river to the mouth of Lycoming Creek, and set adrift with
orders not to return. The justice of their decrees was never
questioned. This was due to the high character and sense of
honor of the men who administered them. Unfortunately no
written records of their transactions exist. One reason advanced
for their failure to keep records is that they were not friendly
to the English Crown and did not wish to put anything in
writing that might be used against them at any future time.
At the time of the "Pine Creek Declaration of Independ-
ence" of July 4, 1776, the Fair Play commissioners were Bratton
Caldwell, John Walker, and James Brandon. Since these three
men are the only commissioners mentioned in contemporary ac-
counts, it is presumed that they were reelected from year to year
and served throughout the system's existence.
The Fair Play territory embraced the present townships of
Old Lycoming, Woodward, Piatt, Porter and a portion of
Watson, The system was in operation from 1773 to 1785.
After the treaty of 1784 and the opening of a land office in May
of the next year the rights of these settlers to the land were
recognized, and deeds were granted to them by Act of Assembly,
PINE CREEK DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
A remarkable coincidence occurred in the Fair Play Terri-
tory in 1776, At a mass meeting held July 4, the Fair Play
Men wrote and signed their own Declaration of Independence
38 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
on the same day and at approximately the same hour as the
better-known document was signed in Independence Hall in
Philadelphia. That these pioneers, living more than two hundred
miles from the seat of government, should frame a similar docu-
ment is indeed unusual, but that it should take place on the
same day has caused historians to proclaim it "an unparalleled
coincidence in the annals of American history."
Less than a mile from the mouth of Pine Creek, just over
the Clinton County line, stands a stately elm more than seven-
teen feet in circumference and approximately three hundred
years old. It is said that it was under this giant tree that the
meeting was held and after a great deal of discussion and nu-
merous patriotic speeches, these pioneer patriots passed resolu-
tions, renouncing allegiance to Great Britain and declaring them-
selves free and independent.
After the document had been signed the leaders retired to
Fort Horn, on the south bank of the river, where its disposal
was discussed. It was finally decided to place the original in a
strongbox and bury it within the stockade of the fort and to
send a copy- to the seat of government in Philadelphia.
Two of the most daring men of the settlement, Patrick
Gilfillan and Michael Quigley, Jr., were chosen as dispatch
riders. Their course lay along Bald Eagle Mountain and the
Susquehanna River to near the present site of Harrisburg ; thence
southward through Lancaster to Philadelphia. While crossing
Blouser Mountain, near the present town of Dalmatia, the
couriers were ambushed by Indian allies of the British and
robbed of their horses, saddles, money, and rifles. They then
proceeded on foot to Harris Ferry, where they were arrested as
spies. Quigley, who could speak the Indian language, enlisted
the aid of an Indian girl named Lily Ann.
At night the girl unlocked the prison in which the mes-
sengers had been placed and guided them to freedom. The Fair
EARLY SETTLEMENT 39
Play Men then concealed themselves under the hay in a covered
wagon bound for Philadelphia. They finally reached their des-
tination on July 10, only to discover that the Liberty Bell had
proclaimed the Philadelphia Declaration almost a week pre-
After remaining for a few days in Philadelphia to take
.part in the festivities and to gather news of the great event,
they returned to the West Branch to urge their friends to join
in the fight for American independence.
In spite of a thorough search no draft of the Pine Creek
Declaration has been found. Three reasons for its loss have
been advanced. One is that when the two couriers were robbed
on Blouser Mountain the copy they carried may have passed into
the hands of British Tories, who under the circumstances would,
have certainly destroyed it. Another possibility is that no
written document existed, in accordance with the policy of the
Fair Play System. A third theory, considered by many the most
plausible, is that the original document was lost during the
Great Runaway of 1778, when Indians and Tories burned
It was the opinion of the late Jacob Quiggle, Esq., (1821-
1911) whose grandfather, Phillip Quiggle (1745-1800), was
one of the signers, that the actual signing took place inside the
palisade of Fort Horn, after the meeting had retired to the fort
from the great elm. According to Quiggle more than two hun-
dred persons were within the palisade at the time the document
He also claimed that a copy of the Declaration was writ-
ten in the Clark family Bible, in the handwriting of Thomas
Among the signers were : Thomas, Francis and John Clarke
Alexander Hamilton, William Campbell, James Crawford,
Alexander Donaldson, John Jackson, Jacob Pfouts, Adam Car-
son, Henry McCracken, Adam Dewitt, Robert Love, Simon
"^0 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Curts. Hugh Nichols, Peter Pents, Peter Grove, Robert Coven-
hoven, Samuel Horn, and Phillip Quiggle.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER IV
1. What was Muncy Manor?
2. Who was Job Chilloway?
3. Who built the first permanent house in present Lycoming County?
4. Where was this house erected?
5. When was Northumberland County created? Where did it get its name?
6. What was the cause for the Moravian Emigration? Where did they
desire to settle?
7. What group of colonists from outside of Pennsylvania laid claim to
territory in the West Branch Valley and attempted to occupy it?
8. What was the "Fair Play System"?
9. What was the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence?
Lycoming In The Revolution
AT the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Lycoming
County was a part of Northumberland County. It was
sparsely settled, with few centers of population. The settlers,
and especially the Fair Play Men, were enthusiastic supporters
of the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately they faced
a difficult problem. The territory was a wild frontier, covered
with dense forests, and inhabited by roving bands of Indians
allied with the British. In addition to assisting the Continental
Army by sending men and limited quantities of supplies, the
settlers had to defend their homes and settlements against
At the beginning of the War the Proprietary Government
was replaced by the State Government. Each township formed
a Committee of Safety. On July 11, 1774 the township Com-
mittee of Safety selected William Scull and Samuel Hunter to
represent Northumberland County on the "Provincial Com-
mittee of Deputies."
On June 15, 1775, a request for marksmen was received
from the Continental Congress. John Lowden was commis-
sioned as captain and instructed to raise a company of riflemen.
He quickly performed the duty assigned him. The company as-
sembled at Sunbury on July 8, 1775 and marched to Cam-
bridge, Massachusetts. In it were many men from the West
Branch Valley. Later the unit became part of the Second Regi-
ment of the Army of the United Colonies, under the command
42 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
of Washington. On January 1, 1776 it was absorbed into the
First Regiment of the Continental Army. Military records of
the War describe the regiment's personnel as being remarkably
accurate shooting, most of them being able to hit a seven-inch
mark at a distance of two hundred yards.
The company left Cambridge on March 14, 1776 with a
battalion sent by General Washington to prevent the British
from landing at New York. They were dismissed from service
July 1, 1776. Almost to a man, the company re-enlisted for
two years, a term which in October of the same year was ex-
tended to the "end of the war." The First Regiment, com-
manded by Colonel Daniel Morgan, participated in the Battle
of Saratoga, and as "Morgan's Riflemen," became famous
throughout the Continental Army.
As the war continued, trouble increased in the valley. The
Indians had supported the English during the French and In-
dian War. Consequently when the colonies revolted, the ma-
jority of the Indians remained friendly to England and were a
great source of anxiety to the frontier counties. English agents
used the friendship of the Indians to their advantage. Through-
out the Revolutionary War the Indians received aid and support
from Tory sympathizers, who at times were more cruel in their
warfare than were the natives.
COUNTY COMMITTEE OF SAFETY
The County Committee of Safety was composed of repre-
sentatives of the various township committees of safety. It met
each month unless called together more frequently because of
an emergency. The members served for six-month terms. At its
meetings the Committee pondered an almost endless variety of
problems caused by the Revolution. The Committee was fre-
quently criticized. On one occasion recruiting officers visited
the territory to enlist men in the Continental Army. Several
LYCOMING IN THE REVOLUTION 43
officers of the Committee entered a protest. They argued quite
reasonably that every available man was needed for protection
against Indian attacks.
Hawkins Boone, one of the recruiting officers, was sum-
moned to appear before the Committee to answer charges that
he had secured several enlistments in the army. Although Boone
claimed he had authority from Congress for that purpose, he
did not appear to answer the charges.
At one meeting, the Committee received a complaint against
two traders. They were charged with having a large quantity
of salt which they were holding in anticipation of higher prices.
This was contrary to a regulation of the Committee. After de-
bating the question, William Sayers was instructed to confiscate
the salt and sell it at a rate of fifteen shillings a bushel. No
family was allowed to purchase more than half a bushel at one
Sayers was told to keep an accurate account of every sale
and, after deducting his commission, to turn the proceeds over
to the Committee.
At another time the Committee of Safety of Bald Eagle
Township complained about the amount of grain taken out of
the county and used for the manufacture of liquor. They urged
the County Committee to seize the grain and sell it at a fair
After consideration the resolution was referred back to
the Bald Eagle Committee in altered form. It was suggested
that the township committee use moderation, and "study a sort
of medium between seizing of property and supply the wants
of the poor,"
AID REFUSED SETTLERS
As the war progressed, the Indians became bolder in their
attacks. The settlers lacked numbers and ammunition. In a
letter written on November 23, 1776, the Committee of Safety
44 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
appealed to the Supreme Executive Council at Philadelphia
The Supreme Executive Council was composed of thirteen
members, chosen by districts, one from each of the twelve coun-
ties, and one from Philadelphia. One-third of the Council were
elected to terms of three years, one-third to two years and one-
third to one-year terms. It was the duty of the Council to ex-
ercise all the powers needed for the public safety and for the
proper execution of the laws. The Committee of Safety urged
the Philadelphia authorities to raise men and provide ammuni-
tion for the defense of the frontier. They explained that the
single men of the county felt that since they could not avoid
fighting either in the Continental Army or against the Indians,
they would prefer to enlist in the Army and be underpaid fight-
ing a "humane enemy" than to fight "merciless savages" at
their own expense.
The appeal to the Supreme Executive Council was in vain.
That body was interested in obtaining men to serve in the
Continental Army, and apparently gave little thought to the
consequence of taking many of the best fighters from the fron-
tier. It was not until after several years of war that the county
received support from the State Government. Towards the close
of the war the State Assembly passed a tax law, making a heavy
assessment against each county. The tax was the only method
by which they could obtain needed war supplies. To the amaze-
ment of the residents it was found that the tax quota for the
county exceeded the total value of all the personal property.
After a vigorous protest had been sent, no further effort was
made to collect the county's quota.
In 1777 a large number of settlers came from New Jersey.
That state was overrun by both the British and the Continental
Armies, and the New Jersey residents wanted to get away from
the warfare. Most of the newcomers were poorly equipped with
LYCOMING IN THE REVOLUTION 45
arms and the necessities of life, a factor which added to the
burdens of the Committee of Safety.
Approximately seventy-five men from the territory which
is now Lycoming County served in the Continental Army.
Hundreds of others served on the frontiers with the local militia.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER V
1. What was one outstanding characteristic of the soldiers from Lycoming
County who took part in the American Revolution?
2. Why did the Committee of Safety oppose the enlistment of men into
the Continental Army?
3. What was the Supreme Executive Council?
4. Why did the Supreme Executive Council refuse aid to the settlers?
The Big Runaway
As the Revolutionary War progressed, relations between the
Indians and the settlers became acute. English agents had
been active in inciting trouble between them. Although the out-
break of the war had caused apprehension in the region, it had
not stemmed the tide of migration. The portion of the valley
called the "New Purchase" had attracted the largest number of
settlers. They willingly faced Indian hostility in order to obtain
their share of the rich farm lands. They were almost unani-
mously sympathetic with the Revolutionary cause. A great
many of these recent settlers joined the Continental Army, and
still more of them enlisted in a company of militia formed for
the purpose of protecting the frontier against attack by the
The pioneers were in need of firearms, ammunition, and
food. The latter was obtainable from the southeastern counties
only in small quantities and at high prices. Supplies were trans-
ported up the Susquehanna River in crude boats poled by hand,
a slow and difficult task.
All the while hostile bands of Indians constantly molested
the inhabitants. Frequent attacks were made on the homes of
the settlers. The residents either were carried away as prisoners
or their scalps were taken and exchanged for bounty the British
The most serious of these attacks took place on the site of
the Calvary Methodist Church at West Fourth and Cemetery
48 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Streets, Williamsport, on June 10, 1778. A wagon party of
six men, two women, and eight children, on their way to Ly-
coming Creek, were ambushed. All were killed and scalped ex-
cept Peter Smith, leader of the party, one other man, and two
children, a boy and a girl. The dead were buried at the scene
of the massacre. (An appropriate marker now designates this
As the war continued, more soldiers were needed for the
Continental Army and supplies for the militia became more
difficult to obtain. In spite of repeated appeals to State author-
ities for more adequate protection, assistance was not forthcom-
ing. In order to meet the urgent need for arms and ammunition,
old and broken guns were repaired and household articles of
lead were converted into war material. Lead weights were taken
from the clocks and moulded into bullets.
By the early summer of 1778, the settlers had realized that
the British and Indians intended to drive them from the north
and west branches of the Susquehanna River. Job Chilloway, a
friendly Delaware Indian, had warned the authorities against a
surprise attack. On July 3, 1778, there occurred the Wyoming
Massacre, the first step in the plan of the British and Indians to
destroy the settlements along the Susquehanna River.
SETTLERS FLEE THEIR HOMES
News of the terrible tragedy on the North Branch soon
reached Lycoming. The settlers now realized the warnings had
been true and that the West Branch Valley would be the scene
of the enemy's next attack. Knowing that an attack by a large
force could not be successfully resisted, the inhabitants began
to abandon their homes and assemble at various points. Those
at Muncy met at Captain John Brady's stockaded home; those
living between Muncy and Lycoming Creek gathered at Samuel
Wallis' place: and those west of Lycoming Creek went to Fort
THE BIG RUNAWAY 49
Antes, opposite Jersey Shore, or Harris' Fort, near the mouth
of Bald Eagle Creek.
Colonel Samuel Hunter, in command at Fort Augusta,
anxious for the safety of the people up the river ordered Colonel
William Hepburn to evacuate the territory and retire to Fort
Augusta. Colonel Hepburn called for volunteers to carry the
message to Fort Antes. Robert Covenhoven, a fearless scout and
skillful woodsman, was selected for the dangerous mission. To
avoid the dangers of ambush by Indians, he kept away from the
paths in the valley and climbed to the top of Bald Eagle Moun-
tain, followed the ridge along the river to near the present village
of Antes Fort, then dropped down to the fort. From Fort Antes
the warning was sent on up the river.
In a short time the exodus was under way. Covenhoven
returned to the Wallis' place and assisted his family to escape
to Fort Augusta. He then returned in a keel boat for their house-
hold goods. Livestock was herded together and driven to the
bank of the river. Boats, canoes, and rafts were pressed into
service. Hog-troughs, barn-doors, anything that would float,
were used. The women and children, with hastily collected
household goods, were loaded on these makeshift craft and
floated down the river. Men drove the livestock along the bank,
guarding the river party.
The excitement of the settlers was intense. Confusion
and terror spread rapidly. Each mile of the journey brought
new rumors and alarms to the refugees. At night the sky was
red with the fires of burning buildings. When a craft was
grounded, the men plunged into the river to push it into deep
In a few days the countryside was deserted. The settlers'
homes and their ripened harvests were left to the invaders. The
advancing Indians entered the West Branch from Lycoming
Creek, and swarmed up river as far as Fort Antes and down river
THE BIG RUNAWAY 51
as far as the present site of Muncy. In their wake they left de-
vastation and destruction. From Muncy to Fort Antes, the
only buildings left standing were the Wallis house and Fort
Antes. The former, built of stone, withstood the flames. The
fort, constructed of peeled oak logs set on end, was not easily
Four-fifths of the population of the West Branch Valley
had deserted their homes. The loss in property and goods was
estimated at 40,000 pounds (approximately $200,000) , When
their destructive work was completed, the invaders returned to
Fort Niagara over the same route by which they came. Most of
the inhabitants took refuge at Fort Augusta, but some of the
recent emigrants from New Jersey returned to their former
Colonel Hunter was severely criticized for acting so hastily
in ordering the Big Runaway. Many of the settlers believed
that if he had pursued a militant policy the militia, assisted by
the inhabitants, would have been able to resist the invaders
until re-enforcements arrived. Such a policy might have pre-
vented the flight and spared the people much suffering and great
As soon as the enemy had retired from the valley the set-
tlers began to return to their homes. In fact, a few of them
arrived before the ruins of their buildings had stopped smoulder-
ing. In their mad haste, it had been impossible to corral all
their livestock, and some of the braver men hurried back to
salvage what they could. As soon as a large number of settlers
had returned, the guerrilla warfare was resumed. Small bands of
Indians were continually prowling through the territory annoy-
ing the settlers in their work of rebuilding their homes.
The State authorities, by this time aware of the necessity
of protecting the frontier, ordered Colonel Daniel Brodhead,
with a company of one hundred and twenty-five men, to the
52 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
region. Arriving at Sunbury too late to assist the settlers at
Wyoming on the North Branch, Brodhcad pushed on to Wallis'
place. The presence of the soldiers restored confidence among
the people. Under their protection the portion of the harvest
vsrhich had escaped the torch of the Indians was gathered. Colo-
nel Brodhead remained until August 1, when he was replaced
by Colonel Thomas Hartley. Hartley was deeply moved by the
poverty-stricken plight of the inhabitants. One of his first duties
was to build Fort Muncy, demanded by the women of the
frontier before they would return. (The fort was situated 3^
miles west of the borough of Muncy near the present Reading
Company railroad tracks. A boulder and plaque on U. S. High-
way 15 marks the site) .
COLONEL HARTLEY'S EXPEDITION
The authorities, believing that the most eflFective means of
ending Indian raids was to invade their territory, directed Colo-
nel Hartley to lead an expedition against them. A force con-
sisting of approximately two hundred men left Fort Muncy,
September 24, 1778. It followed the West Branch to the
mouth of Lycoming Creek. They ascended the stream, by way
of the Sheshequin Trail, to near its head, where they followed
a trail to the North Branch. The first engagement occurred on
Lycoming Creek, a short distance south of Canton. An Indian
chief was killed and his followers routed. At Sheshecunnunk,
an Indian town near the present town of Ulster, a second victory
was won. From this place Hartley and his men moved on to
Teago (near Athens) , destroyed the village, took prisoners, and
captured livestock and other articles of value. The little army
marched to Wyalusing and then down the North Branch to
Sunbury. They had covered about three hundred miles in less
than two weeks. Hartley's losses were four men killed and ten
wounded. Aside from the number of Indians killed and cap-
tured, he returned to Fort Augusta with fifty head of cattle.
THE BIG RUNAWAY 53
twenty-eight cannons, and other useful plunder. He had de-
stroyed Queen Esther's town as well as the town of Teago, and
for a time at least had subdued the Indians.
From the prisoners captured by the expedition it was
learned that preparations were being made for other attacks at
Wyoming and along the West Branch. Although Hartley's ex-
pedition did not end the trouble with the Indians, it did effect
the postponement of a general attack. The expedition received
a vote of thanks from the Supreme Executive Council for its
DEATH OF CAPTAIN JOHN BRADY
Smarting under their defeat by Colonel Hartley, the In-
dians waited for an opportunity to avenge their losses. Captain
John Brady, who had been released from service in the Conti-
nental Army to assist Hartley in the expedition, proved so valu-
able that he received special mention in Hartley's report. Because
of his capability as a frontier fighter, Brady was hated and
feared by the Indians.
During the fall and winter of 1778-1779, the situation
near Muncy, where Brady lived, was comparatively quiet. The
Indians apparently were biding their time and laying their plans
with care. Brady's family lived near the mouth of Glade Run in
a stockaded house, known at the time as Brady's Fort.
Accompanied by several men, Brady one day traveled to
Fort Muncy for supplies. Having obtained them they started to
return to his house. Brady, riding a horse, had lingered in the
rear. Peter Smith, who had lost his wife and children in the
massacre of June 10, 1778, was walking beside his mount talk-
ing with him. When the pair were within a short distance of
his home Smith proposed they take a short cut, which they did.
As they approached Wolf Run, three rifles cracked and Brady
fell from his horse, dead.
54 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Brady's body was buried in a small cemetery on a knoll
facing the Susquehanna River near Hall's Station. The funeral
was attended by nearly every one in the settlement. For some
years the grave received no care and was not marked. Finally
it was located and a marker placed. (Before the discovery of
Brady's grave, a cenotaph had been erected in Muncy Cemetery
in his honor) .
Captain John Brady, the second son of Hugh Brady, was
born in Delaware in 1733. He received a good education for
the times and taught school in New Jersey for a few years. In
1750 he emigrated with his parents to Pennsylvania, settling at
Shippensburg, Cumberland County. Before the outbreak of
Indian troubles he was a surveyor. At the beginning of the
French and Indian War, Brady enlisted and became a captain
in the second battalion of the regiment under the command of
Governor John Penn. He also took part in Bouquet's expedi-
tion to Fort Pitt.
In recognition of his services in the latter expedition Brady
received a grant of land on the Susquehanna River, west of the
present borough of Lewisburg. In 1769 he moved his family
there, and made some improvements. Learning of the natural
beauty of Muncy Manor and its fertile soil he selected a spot
near the mouth of Glade Run for a home site.
In 1776 Brady was commissioned a Captain in the Con-
tinental Army and served at Brandywine. In 1778 he was
sent back to the West Branch to assist in the protection of the
THE LITTLE RUNAWAY (1779)
The death of Brady was a serious blow to the settlers, for
the Indians, encouraged by the removal of their most feared
enemy, resumed the attacks with increased vigor. Meanwhile,
General John Sullivan was making preparations for an expedi-
tion on the North Branch. His purpose was to drive the Indians
THE BIG RUNAWAY 55
from the vicinity of the North Branch and, if possible, from the
entire northern part of the state. Sullivan's base of supply was
Fort Augusta. Supplies were transported up the river in boats,
as many as two hundred being used at one time. Sullivan be-
lieved that as his army moved up the North Branch the Indians
would be drawn to that section to resist him, and thus the West
Branch Valley would be in no great danger.
But Sullivan's strategy was faulty. The Indians, already
acquainted with his plan, had mapped theirs accordingly. They
planned to drive through the West Branch Valley and attack
Sullivan from the rear. With a strong force in front of his
party and another attacking from the rear, they believed Sulli-
van could easily be defeated.
Rumors of the approach of a large force of Indians reached
the settlements every day. Colonel Hepburn, still in charge at
Fort Muncy, decided to send a scout up Lycoming Creek to
ascertain the truth of these rumors. Again Robert Covenhoven
was selected for the job. Preferring to go alone, he ascended
Lycoming Creek to the vicinity of Roaring Branch. Here in the
dense forest he discovered a large force of Indians. After con-
cealing himself in a heavy thicket and observing them for a day,
Covenhoven concluded they were preparing to swoop down the
West Branch. He immediately returned to Fort Muncy and re-
ported his j&ndings to Hepburn. Covenhoven 's observation
proved to be correct. The marauding Indian bands which had
been harassing the settlements were only the advance guards of
the vast hordes concentrating in the wilderness along Lycoming
Hepburn at once notified the inhabitants of the threatening
danger and they made immediate preparations to evacuate the
territory. Although there was less excitement and confusion
than at the time of the Big Runaway, the settlers retreated to
Fort Augusta in much the same manner. The women, children,
and household goods went down the river in rafts, boats, and
56 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
canoes. The men, under the leadership of Robert Covenhoven,
marched along the bank as guards.
The enemy entered the valley the 26th or 27th of July,
1779. Their forces consisted of approximately one hundred
Tories and British and two hundred Indians. The British and
Tories were commanded by Captain John McDonald, who lived
near Albany, New York. The Indians were led by Hickatoo,
a Seneca chief. They came down Lycoming Creek to the river
valley, and followed the West Branch as far as Fort Frecland
on Warriors Run, about four miles east of Watsontown. Here
the settlers who either had ignored, or had not received the warn-
ing, were attacked and more than half their number killed. The
women and children were made prisoners, and the fort was
burned. Among those killed in the attack was Captain Hawkins
McDonald and his allies were enraged to discover that most
of the inhabitants had escaped. They scoured the countryside,
burning every cabin, granary, and haystack. Brady's Fort and
Fort Muncy were destroyed. The livestock was driven away
for their own use. The total number of persons killed and cap-
tured is unknown, but it was large in proportion to the popula-
By this time Sullivan's army was well on its way up the
North Branch. Messengers were sent to McDonald and Chief
Hickatoo to hurry back northward to resist Sullivan's advance.
They arrived in the Chemung country in time to take part in
the battle of Newton (now Elmira, N. Y.), where the British
and Indians were badly defeated.
The Little Runaway had the effect of arousing the state
authorities to the necessity of providing adequate military pro-
tection for white settlers on the frontiers. General Sullivan's
expedition had given the Indians a taste of war in their own
territory. Although roving bands still raided the settlements
THE BIG RUNAWAY 57
and scalpings were frequent, Sullivan had dealt the enemy a blow
from which they did not recover.
This time the settlers were more reluctant to return to their
deserted farms and ruined homes. Some of the more venturesome
returned that fall to collect stray livestock and other property.
Frequent appeals were made to the State authorities. The settlers
who had returned threatened to leave unless protection was as-
sured. In response to these appeals, the German regiment of the
Continental Army under command of Colonel Ludwig Weltner,
was sent into the valley. Weltner had only the remnant of a
regiment, approximately one hundred twenty men. With this
small force it was impossible to patrol or protect the frontier
The winter of 1779-1780 was very cold, with a heavy
snowfall which retarded the activities of the Indians. But
with the spring thaws their invasions were certain to be resumed.
Weltner's regiment was withdrawn the following spring. He
was followed by other commanders, the last of whom was Cap-
tain Thomas Robinson. During Robinson's tenure a sense of se-
curity returned to the settlers. They now felt they could rebuild
their homes in safety. Although frontier troubles were not en-
tirely ended, there were indications that the end of the Revolu-
tion was near. When the treaty acknowledging the independence
of the United States was signed, the citizens on the frontier
rejoiced in the hope that they could once more establish them-
selves in the rich and beautiful Lycoming country.
INCORPORATION OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Settlers hurried to take possession of the fertile West
Branch Valley, at that time part of Northumberland County.
The upper valley soon became the most densely populated sec-
tion of the country. Many of the settlers had to travel forty or
fifty miles to reach Sunbury, the county scat. Since there were
no bridges across the many streams, the journey was dangerous.
58 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Because of these hardships a movement began for the formation
of a new county. The people who lived in or near Sunbury
naturally opposed this action, since they profited from the
business of a large area.
In 1786 a motion was introduced into the General As-
sembly to create a new county from the northern part of North-
umberland County. The resolution failed of passage; and its
advocates then submitted a petition requesting the removal of
the county seat to a point more accessible to the West Branch
Valley. This resolution was also defeated.
Agitation for change continued and adherents of the new
county plan increased in number. On February 27, 1787 a
"petition of 385 inhabitants of Northumberland County was
filed, praying that the seat of justice may be removed from Sun-
bury to Northumberland," a village on the west side of the
river. A year and a half later another "petition signed by 996
inhabitants of Northumberland County, residing on the west
side of the Susquehanna, was read asking for a division of said
county." The petition contained the names of almost every
settler residing from Muncy Hills west to Bald Eagle Valley.
A legislative committee brought in a report opposing the request.
Despite the difficulties of transacting legal business, new
residents poured into the West Branch Valley. For several years
no further organized attempts to erect a new county were made.
Efforts were renewed, however, in 1794. The journal of the
House of Representatives for February 15 of that year records
a "petition from a number of inhabitants . . . that in case a new
county was erected, the seat of justice within the same may be
fixed on the west side of Lycoming creek, at the mouth thereof."
Nothing more is written in the journal about the subject
until almost a year later when a "Mr. Hale, from the com-
mittee appointed to consider and report on the petitions praying
for a division of Northumberland county, made report, and the
same was read, as follows:
THE BIG RUNAWAY 59
" 'The committee appointed to consider the petitions pray-
ing for a division of Northumberland county, report: that as,
from the great extent of Northumberland county, much incon-
veniences is suffered by many of the inhabitants of that county
from their great distance from the present seat of justice, the com-
mittee are of opinion that the prayer of the petitioners ought to
be granted, and they therefore recommend the adoption of the
following resolution: Resolved, That a committee be appointed
to bring in a bill dividing Northumberland county in a manner
that may appear most convenient to the inhabitants thereof.' "
By this Act the territory taken from Northumberland to
form Lycoming County included "all that part of Northum-
berland county lying north westward of a line drawn from
the Mifflin county line, on the summit of Nittany mountain;
thence running along the top or highest ridge of the said moun-
tain, to where the White Deer Hole creek runs through the
same, and from thence by a direct line crossing the West Branch
of Susquehanna, at the mouth of Black Hole Creek, to the end
of Muncy hills and the Bald Eagle mountain, to the Luzerne
county line." Thirteen counties, Armstrong, Bradford, Centre,
Clearfield, Clinton, Indiana, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Sulli-
van, Tioga, Venango, and Warren have since been formed
wholly or in part from the original area of the county.
Senator William Hepburn of Williamsport was a member
of the committee, and he was undoubtedly responsible for final
passage of the bill. The committee adopted the name "Lycom-
ing" for the new county. After all disagreements had been
ironed out in conferences, the bill was passed by the legislature,
and signed bv the Governor on April 13, 1795. The territory
taken from Northumberland to form Lycoming County com-
prised approximately 12,000 square miles. Later divisions and
60 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
subdivisions brought the area down to its present size of 1,220
QUESTIONS CHAPTER VI
1. Why were the Indians hostile to the white settlers at the time of the
2. Where did the most serious of the local Indian attacks take place?
3. Name three places used as meeting points by the settlers.
4. Who warned the inhabitants of the West Branch Valley of an attack
by the Indians?
5. Why did the settlers leave the territory rather than attempt to defend
6. How did the fleeing settlers transport their possessions from the West
7. Where did the settlers go after leaving their homes?
8. Where was the site of Fort Muncy?
9. Who was Captain John Brady?
10. Who was Colonel Hepburn?
1 1 . What eflFect did the second or Little Runaway have upon the State
12. Why did the inhabitants of the West Branch Valley want to form a
13. When was Lycoming County formed?
WHY THEY CAME
THE earliest settlers of the West Branch Valley came from
England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany. Many of these
immigrants came to America to escape religious persecution.
Many others were mere adventurers. They were induced to come
to the West Branch Valley through the enterprise of the land
speculators and the stories of missionaries, hunters, surveyors,
and traders concerning the fertility and beauty of the land along
the Susquehanna River. They made their way slowly up the
river to Lycoming Creek, then the Indian boundary.
CHOOSING A SITE
Choice lands were selected along the banks of the river and
along Muncy and Loyalsock Creeks. The adventurous and fear-
less Scotch-Irish disregarded the Indian claim to the land be-
tween Lycoming and Pine Creeks and "squatted" there. Many
of the bolder pioneers were killed or carried into captivity by
the Indians, but the most pronounced setback came during the
period of the Runaways, from 1778 until after the peace treaty
of 1 784. The successful termination of the Revolutionary War
instilled a sense of security in the settlers. Many now rebuilt
their hastily abandoned properties, and many more came for the
first time to take up home sites.
People have wondered why many of the early settlers of
Lycoming County selected lands far back in the hills, heavily
wooded, difficult to clear, and infertile. Many of these pioneers
62 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
had come from New Jersey, which, in many places, was a barren,
sandy, and unfruitful land. The emigrants mistakenly believed
that land capable of growing big trees would naturally produce
large crops. This reasoning caused many hardships. Those who
came later and were obliged to take the lowlands discovered
that their task of clearing was easier and their soil more fertile.
The German immigrants preferred the heavily wooded
areas because they had suffered from a scarcity of fuel in their
homeland. When they learned that woodland could be pur-
chased for a few dollars an acre, they rejected the scrubby growth
of the lowlands. Some of the newcomers thought the titles to
the bottom lands were defective, while others shunned the lands
along the river because of the fear of fever and ague.
HOW THEY CAME
Most of the early emigrants from the southern counties
came in by river. Although the Susquehanna was too swift
running for easy upstream navigation, it provided an unob-
structed avenue into this territory. However, some of the later
arrivals took the land route and entered by wagon and on foot.
The Germans, for example, left Germantown (near Philadel-
phia) on foot, men, women and children, carrying cooking
utensils, clothing, food, and household furnishings upon their
backs or heads.
They came to Lycoming by way of the turn-pike to Read-
ing, thence through present-day Pottsville, Ashland, Mt. Carmel,
and Bear Gap to Danville. Crossing the North Branch at Dan-
ville, they followed an Indian trail up Mahoning Creek to the
site of Washingtonvillc. Thence the route cut through the
Muncy Hills and descended Glade Run to the West
Branch, west of Muncy. The Germans then passed
through Montoursville, forded the Loyalsock, ascended Sand
Hill, and proceeded through the "Great Swamp" at Williams-
PIONEER LIFE 63
port. From this point some of them followed the Sheshequin
Trail up Lycoming Creek. It is said that one German immigrant
woman carried her child in a basket, walking all the distance
from Philadelphia to Lycoming County, and a father is said to
have brought his small daughter in a wheelbarrow.
After the early settlers had constructed crude huts, their
energies were directed toward the clearing of land and the sowing
of grain. In clearing the land they cut down and burned great
trees which today would be worth more than the land on which
Food was not their only problem. In the early days snow
frequently fell to a depth of several feet and the streams often
froze solidly to the bottom. Wild animals, made bold by
hunger, carried off domestic animals and terrified the settlers.
Their sleep was disturbed by the screams of panthers and the
howling of wolves. Wily bears captured young pigs and tapered
off their menus with stolen honey. Poultry yards suffered from
the raids of foxes, minks, weasels, skunks, owls, and hawks. Deer
did not hesitate to leap a ten-rail fence in search of grain. Many
of the early settlers had religious scruples against the use of fire-
arms, but it soon became necessary to use them in self preserva-
tion. Their scruples abandoned, the settlers discovered that wild
game was a partial solution to the ever empty family larder.
Today one of the common commodities in the housewife's
budget is salt, but this was not true in the early settlements.
Salt was needed for the curing of meat and fish, as well as for
seasoning. The only sizable source of salt in Lycoming County
was from two wells walled up twenty feet deep, on Salt Run, a
branch of Wallis Run. The water pumped from these wells
yielded one tablespoonful of salt to eight quarts of water.
Not only was it difficult to raise enough grain to eke out
an existence, but the problem of grinding it perplexed the early
64 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
settlers. One of the earliest devices for making flour was em-
ployed by Colonel Antes at the time of the erection of his fort,
in 1776. It was simply a large iron coffee mill run by man
power. The need was so great that it was operated day and
night. The flour from this mill was quite coarse. The bran
was separated by a hair sieve. This primitive mill was preserved
as a relic until 1865, when the flood of that year swept it away.
As the settlements grew and crops increased, crude mills were
no longer able to supply the demands of the population. It now
became necessary to load a bag of grain on a horse and travel
as far as ten miles to a grist mill, where the customer was often
obliged to wait his turn.
But there was also a bright side to these trips, for the grist
mills were the news centers of the countryside, and the waiting
time was spent in playing games, gossiping, and visiting. It
was not uncommon to see a mother and daughter carrying
grists to the mill and returning with bran and middlings bal-
anced on their heads.
The footwear problem also occupied the attention of the
early settler. Indian moccasins solved it for a time, but soon it
became apparent that leather for real shoes was needed. To
meet the need three tanneries were founded. Wyckoff's was
started on the Loyalsock about 1800; Updegraff's at Williams-
port about 1802; and a third somewhat later at Warrensville.
A man who wanted leather first secured his raw hides,
then went to the forest, peeled some oak bark, loaded hides and
bark on a wagon, and drove to the tannery. At the tannery
his own horse furnished the power to grind the bark. He left
the hides at the tannery for a year-long tanning process. When
he returned a year later, he received half of the tanned hides.
The other half was retained by the tanner in compensation
for his work. During the long winter months the settler himself
or the traveling shoemaker made rough cowhide shoes for the
PIONEER LIFE 65
men and calfskin shoes for the women and children. Boots were
unknown until 1830.
Since the footwear supply had to last a year it was neces-
sary to practice strict economy. When they traveled long dis-
tances the settlers often carried their shoes and went bare-
footed. Among the German immigrants wooden shoes and
shoes with wooden soles and leather uppers were common. The
traveling shoemaker usually carried two or three pairs of lasts,
a hammer, an awl, some wax-ends, and wooden shoe pegs. He
charged fifty cents a day and board.
The blacksmith was another important man in the early
settlement. He shod the oxen and horses, made irons for the
wagons, cranes for the fireplace, and manufactured trammel
hooks, door hinges, and nails.
Pioneer women were endowed with marvelous energy and
endurance. Not only did they assist in wielding the sickle and
mattock in the field, but to them fell the duty of caring for the
flax from the sowing to the pulling, the break, hackle, spin-
wheel and loom to the finished cloth. Then they completed
the process by making the cloth into garments. The women also
raised the sheep, sheared the wool, carded, spun, and wove the
yarn. With natural dyes gathered from the forest they pro-
duced their favorite colors and with their needles clothed them-
selves and their children in linsey-woolsey.
INCONVENIENCES OF FRONTIER LIFE
As late as 1804 there was but one public road in the West
Branch Valley. There were Indian paths, some of them brushed
out wide enough to allow a horse to be led by the bridle, hence
the name "bridle path." The streams had to be forded, a
perilous task at flood time.
Only three mechanical tools, the poleax, mattock, and
sickle, were employed in clearing the land and harvesting crops.
66 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Food was cooked in an open fireplace in winter and a
burning stump in summer. The settlers adopted the Indian
practice of heating water by placing red-hot stones in sections
of hollow trees. Great was the rejoicing when the fireplace
crane and the iron kettle appeared in the settlement.
Homestead bake ovens were scarce for a long time. Bread
was baked in communal ovens, scattered through the country-
side. In one instance, at least, a young man on his way to the
community oven lost both his balance and his dough in climb-
ing a rail fence. Undaunted, he is said to have retrieved his
parcel, dusted it oflf, and proceeded on his domestic errand.
The first platters were of wood, and it was some time be-
fore pewter ware and the luxurious German silver were intro-
duced. To meet the need for tableware, Joseph King set up a
plant at the mouth of Lycoming Creek where for fifty years he
made platters, bowls, and crocks of red clay, glazed with lead.
Today matches are so cheap that many are given away.
Not so in the days of the early Lycoming settlers. Until the
early 1850's people were obliged to use the tinder box, flint
and steel, to start their fires. For lighting they used pitch pine
splints, unless they were prosperous enough to afford iron lamps
for burning lard.
Envelopes and postage stamps were not commonly used
until the 1850's.
Horses were not generally used for farm work in the early
days. Oxen pulled the plows and carried the burdens. Within
the memory of living residents proud young men and their best
girls went about the streets of Williamsport in two-wheel,
white oak sulkies, drawn by well-groomed steers. The couple
would be tastefully attired in homespun and snuggled under
deer skins and wolf hides. Parking their buggy at the north-
west corner of Pine and Willow Streets they would dismount
and enter a cafe where the "special" for the day was spruce
beer and gingerbread.
PIONEER LIFE ^1
The early settlers were tireless walkers. It was a common
occurrence for a woman to walk fifteen miles or more, a great
homemade basket filled with butter, eggs, and farm produce
balanced on her head. Women and men carried boards for
gables, doors, and floors from the saw mill on their backs and
The first charter for a railroad in Lycoming County was
granted on March 31, 1836, to the Jersey Shore and Willards-
burg Railroad, which later became the Pine Creek Railroad. On
May 20, 1837 a charter was granted to the Williamsport Rail-
road Company, and a railroad was opened between Williams-
port and Ralston in 1839. Although this road was constructed
to handle iron and coal operations along Lycoming Creek, it
was not until twenty years later that coal was used as a fuel
for locomotives. The early locomotives were wood burning.
The cutting of cordwood and its transportation to the railroad
where it was cut into proper sizes was a sizable source of em-
The settlers were elated when Samuel Ball introduced his
grain cradle in 1847. No longer was there need for the sickle
in harvesting grain. To find naturally crooked snaths and
fingers for his invention, Ball was first obliged to hunt in the
woods for them. As demand for his product increased he used
a steam box and form to get the proper bend. Another im-
portant innovation was the use of the ox-drawn shovel-plow
instead of the mattock in preparing the soil for sowing.
DEVELOPMENT OF HOME CONSTRUCTION
The earliest German dwellings in Lycoming County were
huts made of small round logs. Joints were chunked and
daubed; floors were of puncheon or earth; roofs were made of
68 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
clapboards held down by poles; the fireplace was open with a
rough stone chimney on the outside. As an anchor from which
to suspend long hooks and trammels to hold pots and kettles,
a thinly hewn piece of white oak, set on edge and resting on pro-
jecting stones within the jambs, was used. Hot ashes and coals
served the dual purpose of cooking and heating. The huts had
only one door, and frequently this was only an opening covered
with a blanket or an animal hide. Alongside the door was a
single window made of greased paper.
As the settlers became more prosperous, larger homes were
built. These were provided with a loft reached with the aid of
a ladder from the inside, or, in a few cases, from the outside.
As the walls were put up the interior surface was hewn flat or
faced and the joints closed with chunks of wood and mortar
and finished with whitewash. The introduction of the swing-
ing crane, skillets, and the Dutch ovens was a long stride toward
casing the cooking problem.
Windows were now improved by using "bull's eye" glass
instead of greased paper. Doors were hung on wooden hinges
with great wooden latches, and the proverbial "latch string
hanging out" was an evidence of hospitality.
Straw played an important part in the economy of the
home. With deft fingers it was twisted into ropes and, with
the aid of white oak splints, transformed into bread baskets,
bee hives, and cradles. To provide straw hats for summer, rye
straw was twisted into braids which were formed over a block
to get the proper head size. Twenty-four yards of braid were
required for each hat. The men's winter caps were long and
conical in shape, knit of colored wool and adorned with a tassel.
On special occasions a Williamsport made fur hat was worn
over the knitted cap.
Iron for mounting farming utensils made of oak now
came into more general use. The old natural crook sleds and
dugout vessels were improved by the use of iron and cooperage.
PIONEER LIFE 69
The next improvement in the construction of homes was
made by adding an extra room or two, with inside chimneys,
board floors, roofs of shaved shingles, iron hinges on doors.
Cellars and spring houses became more common. The ten-plate
stove came into vogue and in small families answered the double
purpose of cooking and heating. But the acme of comfort
seemed to have arrived when, in 1840, the first Hathaway cook-
ing stove was brought to the valley.
Houses were improved in appearance and comfort with the
practice of weather boarding the crude log dwellings. Saw mills
began to supply clapboarding and hewn timber frames, and
houses were often constructed by professional builders, a divi-
sion of labor not possible in the earlier days.
The recreations of the pioneers were in harmony with their
environment and experience. Among the most popular were
hunting, fishing, horse-racing, rifle-shooting, fox chasing, and
the netting of wild pigeons in the autumn. During the migra-
tion season, flocks of wild pigeons darkened the sky, and with
the aid of huge nets and "stool pigeons" it was not unusual to
trap a thousand at a time. They were sold in the Williamsport
market for as little as six cents a dozen.
Shad of the finest quality were found in abundance in the
Susquehanna and served as an important source of cheap food.
Brook trout were caught in all the smaller streams of the county.
Then as today horse racing was popular. From far and
near the best horses were brought to be entered in the races.
Wagers were made but seldom in cash. More often they were
paid in corn, wheat, or other produce.
During the holiday season shooting matches were popular.
The prizes were usually turkeys, ducks, and chickens, and unless
the rifleman could "drive the nail" at thirty yards he did not
PIONEER LIFE 71
carry home any poultry. From fall until early spring hunting
furnished the chief sport for men. No license was required, there
was no bag limit, and hounds were often used in chasing deer.
During the long winters sleighing parties were popular
aflFairs. Sleds large enough to hold fifty or sixty people were
drawn by four horses liberally laden with bells. The ride us-
ually ended at a tavern or friend's house miles distant from
home. A fiddler provided the music, a leader called the rounds,
and the dance was underway. At midnight there was a chicken-
and- waffle supper and, at daybreak, a ham and egg breakfast.
HABITS AND CUSTOMS
Dress provided a difficult problem for the pioneer seam-
stress. Calico was less common than silk is today and it cost
seventy-five cents a yard. A person who bought the seven yards
of calico needed for a dress was considered extravagant. A wo-
man's everyday dress was "copperas and white," as it was called,
and "copperas and blue, two and two" for special occasions.
Each woman not only manufactured her own cloth, but did her
own coloring with bark from a soft maple tree, hemlock, butter-
nut or witch-hazel, as well as logwood and smartweed. Cop-
peras, alum, and sorrel were used to set the colors. Garments
had to give long service for it was uncertain when the next
could be bought. Handkerchiefs or home-made bonnets served
Maple syrup and honey took the place of butter. Bears'
fat was used foreshortening. Fried cakes were baked in pots of
bear and raccoon fat. Browned rye, peas, beechnuts, and chicory
were substituted for coffee. Sage, thyme, peppermint, spearmint,
evanroot, spice bush, sweet fern, and tansy were served instead
The cabins were illuminated by the light of huge fireplaces
and by blazing pitch-pine splinters stuck in the chimney jams.
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Sawmill at Gray's Run
Sufficient light was furnished by these means for the women to
sew, spin and weave; for the men to mend and make shoes; and
for the children to read their lesson books. A supply of pitch-
pine knots was usually put in before winter. Deer fat and lard
were also used for illuminating purposes. Tallow lamps were
introduced later, but were used only when tallow or lard could
The time of day was determined by "sun marks" or "moon
marks" upon the doors or windows. This method was finally
superseded by the old-fashioned clocks, without cases and long
cords, which sold at fabulous prices.
PIONEER LIFE 73
FIRST SCHOOLS OF THE COUNTY
Because of the few and scattered inhabitants west of the
Muncy Hills, popular education was not practicable until the
advent of the Quakers at Pennsdale. As early as 1793, the So-
ciety of Friends established a school there, probably the first
one in the county. A school was founded in Jaysburg (south
of the present site of Newberry) and one at Dunnsburg (near
the Great Island at Lock Haven), then in Lycoming County.
About 1796 the Michael Ross school was established on part of
the present site of the Court House at Williamsport. Later,
schools were started at Quaker Hill and at Jersey Shore. The
free school system was established in 1834, and from that time
they received regular financial assistance from various govern-
The first school houses were patterned after the early
cabins: small buildings somewhat longer than wide, made of
unhewn logs notched at the ends, with joints chunked and
daubed, puncheon floors, the usual clapboard roof held in place
by poles. One window covered with greased paper was the only
source of light. A stone chimney, with an open fireplace, to
which a large log was daily dragged as a back log, served the
purpose of heating. These buildings were constructed wholly
through the enterprise and public spirit of the citizens of the
neighborhood who also paid the salary of the teacher and
boarded him "round," which means that families took turns
boarding and lodging him.
The^e primitive buildings gave place to a considerably im-
proved structure. For better lighting purposes as well as for
compactness many now took an octagonal shape, and were made
of sawed lumber, embellished with a cupola and a shaved shingle
roof. Windows of 8 x 10 inch bull's eye glass supplanted the sin-
gle oil paper one, and Ben Franklin's ten-plate stove was adopted
as the heating system. The elements and the march of time
74 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
compelled the replacement of these buildings. The later build-
ings were constructed of brick and stone, well lighted and fur-
nished. Many of these exist in the county today.
Free textbooks and modern equipment which are now
taken as a matter of course were not conceivable a century ago.
Until the turn of the century it was necessary for parents to go
to Williamsport to purchase school books, slates, pencils, and
copybooks. Long box-like desks and uncomfortable benches
were provided for older pupils; the smaller ones were seated on
the flat side of slabs raised upon stakes.
A popular method of punishment was the "dunce's hat,"
which was placed upon the head of the stupid pupil. To his
embarrassment he was forced to stand on an elevated spot be-
fore his schoolmates. Generally, the teacher or '"master" was
respected by his pupils and their parents, but after the close of
his term he was the object of many pranks. Thejre was dissen-
sion in some communities regarding courses of instruction. The
Germans naturally wanted their children taught in native tongue,
but the other nationalities insisted that the instruction be given
in English. These differences became so heated that separate
buildings were erected at Jaysburg for the Pennsylvania German
and the Scotch- Irish.
There was no free transportation to the schools in the
pioneer days. Children were accustomed to walking four miles
through lonely forests or unfrequented trails to their log school
house. Dressed in homespun or in furs they were immune to the
freezing weather of the mid-winter months. School was in
session only in the winter months, when pupil and teacher could
be spared from work in the fields.
There were no blackboards in the early schools. With a
piece of keel or charcoal the teacher would write the A. B. C.'s
on the walls or the pupils' desks. There were no textbooks for
PIONEER LIFE 75
the advanced pupil. A spelling book, the Bible or prayer book,
or an occasional newspaper served that purpose.
Later the Yankee schoolmaster introduced Daboll's arith-
metic and the New England primer, together with some ad-
vanced educational ideas. He substituted a droll wit for the
cudgel and employed fun and frolic for his weapon. Unfortu-
nately the memory of the feud between the Connecticut Yankees
and the Pennsylvanians over the Connecticut Claim still per-
sisted and many residents were still prejudiced against Yankees.
In spite of this preju^lice, the schoolmaster organized subscrip-
tion schools, introduced the "spellin' skeule" and "singin'
skeule" and the debating society. He soon convinced young
people that it was fun to /'hook up Dobbin to the shay" and
go to a schoolhouse gathering. Much credit is due the "writin'
master." Before the days of the typewriter the art of writing
was more important than it is today. Equipped with a "pen
knife," the teacher sharpened points on goose quills at recess and
noontime. The results of his teaching are found in old county
court records. The beauty of the script has not improved with
the steel pen. If one wishes to satisfy his mind as to whether
or not the privations . and discomforts endured by the early
scholars and teachers were worth what they cost let him but
study the lives of the men who were a product of these mental
nurseries. Forth frpm them came authors, statesmen, jurists,
merchants, generals, patriots, and others who stamped an in-
delible impression for good on the pages of history. That they
acquired a foundation for honorable citizenship, a realization of
the possibilities of human effort, an appreciation of the blessings
of liberty and a spirit of patriotism that led them to sacrifice
freely their lives that this nation might live is indisputable.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER VII
1. From, where did the early settlers of the West Branch Valley come?
Why did they choose this location?
76 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
2. By what route did the German immigrants reach Lycoming County
3. What were some of the hardships suffered by the early settlers?
4. How did the settlers obtain leather for shoes?
5. What were the duties or tasks of the pioneer women? Write a letter
about pioneer life.
6. What was the name of the first railroad in Lycoming County?
7. Describe how houses were built in pioneer days.
8. What were the recreations of the pioneers?
9. What did the early settlers use instead of coffee and tea?
10. What were some of the early customs?
11. How were the log cabins illuminated?
WHEN the pioneers came to Lycoming County they found a
wild and romantic region. Nine-tenths of it was a gloomy
wilderness covered with an abundance of large timber, existing
in tangled profusion. No wonder the Indian set fires to facilitate
hunting. He had little use for wood. He was, in fact, unable
to cut it easily with his axe of stone. When the white man ar-
rived Lycoming County still had virgin forests of the finest
hemlock and white pine.
FIRST TIMBER CUT
The first trees were cut for a twofold purpose: logs were
needed for the erection of cabins, and the land had to be cleared
for the sowing of crops. After the log huts had been built, trees
seemed to the pioneers more of a liability than an asset. Since
many of them had chosen land heavily covered with trees, the
problem of getting rid of them was a major one. The easiest
and most logical method was to burn them. Our grandfathers
can well remember great piles of burning timber, of inestimable
value at today's prices, consigned to the flames for lack of a
THE FIRST SAWMILLS
After the early settlers had cleared land for crops, their
attention was directed to the improvement of their log houses.
This required finished lumber and furnished the impetus for
the erection ©f the first crude sawmills. One of the earliest and
simplest devices for manufacturing lumber was the pit saw, a
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
common cross-cut rip saw with one man in a pit and another
on top of the log furnishing the power. Improvement came
with plain "up and down" s.aws powered by water. This saw
was improved from time to time by adding "slabbers" and flat
or rolling gangs. An important innovation was the first steam
sawmill introduced by Peter Tinsman on January 1, 1852. It
was located on the river bank at Williamsport, east of the later
With the steam mill came the circular saws. Two objections
to the circular saw were, first, the width of the kerf made by it
wasted lumber; and secondly, it frequently was not big enough
to cut large logs. The band saw was a long step forward in the
process of sawing lumber ; it is used today in all large operations
and in many smaller mills. The band saw is an endless belt of
flexible steel -saw which cuts logs of large diameter and makes a
FIRST MILLS IN COUNTY
It is believed that Roland Hall built the first sawmill in
1792. The mill was on Lycoming Creek about four miles from
its mouth. Although a crude apparatus, it produced lumber for
many of the first houses in Williamsport. Six years later Samuel
Torbett erected a mill on Bottle Run and Thomas Caldwell
attached a sawmill to his gristmill on the same creek.
Since the early mills were powered by water, they were
naturally located along streams. As the water mills became out-
moded they were converted into steam mills. The early steam
mills stayed along the streams because there was an abundance of
timber in the valleys, logs could be floated to the mills, and, in
many instances, lumber could be rafted directly from the mills
to distant markets.
THE BUSINESS OF LUMBERING
The first requisite in the business of lumbering was the
acquisition of timber. The early lumbermen either bought the
timber land outright or in fee-simple. Many of them owned
hundreds of acres of land for which they had no use after the
timber was gone. These men often became "land poor." To
overcome this condition, and in order to conduct the business on
less capital, the lumbermen bought only standing trees of a cer-
tain size, leaving the title to the soil and mineral rights to the
original owner. Sometimes the buyer paid for timber on a
certain tract without measuring the log feet by scale. A timber
estimator would travel over the tract and calculate from ob-
servation the amount of lumber it would produce. It was sur-
prising how accurately he estimated. Another much-used method
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Bcark Peeling Scene
of purchasing timber was that of scaling the logs after they
were cut. Expert scalers, selected by agreement between seller
and buyer, determined accurately the number of log feet.
After the timber had been purchased the next step was the
cutting. There was little guesswork. Usually a jobber cut the
logs at an agreed price for a thousand log feet. A crew of lum-
berjacks felled the trees, cut them into proper sizes, and piled
the logs on nearby skidways or along streams.
TWO PERIODS FOR CUTTING
Because of the importance of the bark in lumbering, timber
was cut at two periods of the year. Hemlock trees could be
peeled only from early spring until about July 1st, when because
LUMBERING 8 1
of sap conditions the bark could no longer be stripped. Hard-
wood trees, with the exception of some kinds of oak, were not
peeled, and could therefore be cut in the fall and winter. The
hardwoods could be handled more economically then because
they had already been stripped of their leaves by frost.
GETTING LOGS TO THE MILL
After the logs had been cut and piled the next operation
was transporting them to the mill. Since there were two kinds
of timber — the heavy hardwoods and the lighter woods such
as white pine and hemlock — it was necessary to employ dif-
erent methods of transportation to the saws. Only the lighter
logs, such as hemlock and pine, would float; the hardwoods,
such as oak and maple, were transported on sleds.
Floating or "driving" logs began with the first spring freshets
or as soon as the heavy ice had cleared away. In some instances
the work was done on a natural rise of water, but the lumber-
men often built splash dams to facilitate the splashing or wash-
ing of the logs downstream. Only experienced men were used
in floating. Equipped with heavy, high topped, calked shoes,
thick woolen clothes, and a peavey or "picklevcr" or "cant
hook," the drivers chased the logs and broke up jams. Al-
though care was exercised to prevent the formation of jams, the
logs often became twisted into a tangled mass. The most skillful
driver then had the dangerous job of releasing the key log. If
he could not budge it, the jam was dynamited, with the re-
sultant waste of valuable timber. Men and teams of horses fol-
lowed the drive. It was a common sight to see horses, with
men on their backs, swimming in the log-choked streams.
On the larger streams, such as Loyalsock Creek, the driving
crews were usually accompanied by large ark rafts in which they
ate and slept. The tired men often crawled into the hard bunks
without changing their wet and frequently icy clothing. Old
82 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
lumbermen who took part in the drives contend that the man
who slept in his wet clothing suffered no ill eflfect and that colds,
pneumonia, and rheumatism were unknown among those who
followed this custom.
The sled was an important vehicle in the lumber business.
Because it was low, large logs could easily be placed upon it.
The narrowness of its track enabled it to negotiate mountain
trails, and a team of horses could draw an amazingly heavy load
on snow or ice. When it became necessary to go farther back
into the mountains to cut floatable logs, sleds were largely used
to transport them to the streams. The heavy hardwoods had
to be hauled all the way from the woods to the mills. During
winters when the snowfall was light, logs were hauled day and
night. Logs left in the woods through the summer greatly de-
creased in value; also there was always the chance they would be
destroyed in the numerous forest fires. When night hauling was
necessary, the woods and log roads were illuminated with
torches. Horses and men -were often so tired that they slept dur-
ing the midnight lunch period.
Another method of moving logs toward the mills was the
slide. By hewing logs on one side and placing the sides together
in a series, a long trough or chute was made from the top of a
mountain to the stream. After the slide was oiled or iced, logs
were placed in the trough and started toward the water's edge
where they piled up in a rough and tumble landing. To regu-
late the speed of the logs in their wild ride it was necessary to
insert protruding spikes at intervals along the slide to retard
motion. In spite of these devices for controlling momentum the
logs would often make terrifying jumps from the speedway.
Although the life of the lumberjack was strenuous, it was
not without compensations. The atmosphere in which he lived
and worked was conducive to health and high spirits. Though
he sometimes worked from dark to dark the healthful mountain
air laden with the aroma of pine and hemlock aroused a ravenous
appetite which he satisfied with plain well-cooked food. After
supper he could look forward to a restful night in the loft of a
wind swept cabin. He was not surprised to find a carpet of snow
in his loft when he heard the early breakfast call, "Come and
The earliest lumber camps, like the pioneer dwellings, were
built of logs, but after the sawmills were erected it was more
economical to construct these temporary structures of cheap lum-
ber and slabs. They were the plainest kind of buildings, with
three rooms on the first floor:- kitchen, dining room and a lobby.
The second floor had one large bunk room for the crew and fre-
quently a smaller compartment for the boss. The furniture was
crude: benches instead of chairs, a long dining room table of the
picnic variety, and bedroom equipment of boards and straw.
The most popular room in camp was the lobby. With a
big chunk stove loaded with beech or maple radiating welcome
heat, a table, cards, and plenty of tobacco, the woodsmen were
fixed for the evening. It is unfortunate that many of the tall
tales and stories have been lost, for these plain, unlettered men
were prime storytellers. One of the popular discussions in the
bark-peeling season centered about the subject of rattlesnakes.
Timber, particularly hemlock, seemed to attract rattlesnakes.
There were instances where certain tracts could not be cut dur-
ing the summer season owing to the prevalence of these dan-
gerous pests. A bark-i)ccler considered the killing of three or
four rattlesnakes part of his day's work. One Lycoming County
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Crew' at Lumber Camp
camp reported that had the men skinned all the "bell-snakes"
they killed and tacked the hides on their sizable shanty, it would
have been completely weather-boarded.
There was little time or opportunity for recreation. The
camps were far from social centers, and evenings in the lobby
were too short for more than a round or two of "seven-up."
Because of the long hours of labor most of the men were ready
to "hit the hay" shortly after supper. Rainy days were spent
in grinding axes, repairing tools, greasing harness, calking and
nailing shoes, mending and washing clothes. Sunday was wel-
corned as a day of well-earned rest. Men who lived near the
camp would occasionally go home for the day, but most of them
stayed in camp from spring until the 4th of July. Many of the
men did not draw their pay during their entire stay, and, since
their wages were above the average, they accumulated sizable
bank rolls. They lost no time getting to the nearest town. Wil-
liamsport, because of its size and accommodations, was the most
Sawmill men, like woodsmen, possessed great powers of
endurance. The morning whistle blew promptly at six o'clock,
and the saws began to whir immediately. Every man had to be
at his post, for a sawmill was a well organized machine. The
day's output of lumber depended, in large measure, upon the
head sawyer. If no logs were slabbed by the main saw there
were none to be finished by the gang saws, the edgers, the cut-
offs, and the lath mill. The head sawyer paid little attention to
what happened to the log after he had performed his initial
operation. If he pushed the logs along too fast for the other
sawyers, that was not his worry. When he outstripped the
crews he was feeding, he felt he was deserving of his higher
wage. His job was not without its hazards. When a saw was
forced beyond its capacity, it was not unusual for it to break or
to burst into flying pieces.
Another valuable man about the sawmill was the master
mechanic. He had to be versatile indeed. His principal work
was to keep the saws sharp, but he was called upon to fix every-
thing from the simple "bull- wheel" which dragged the logs up
the "jack-slip" to the complex twin-engines which furnished
the power to move the carriage forward and backward.
Speed was the byword of a mill. The "setter" and the
"dogger" who rode the carriage had to be particularly fast. The
head sawyer gave them little time to adjust their instruments.
86 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
The log must go on; the slab must go off, to fall on "live-
rollers," guided by "off-bear" men toward the rear of the mill.
The finished lumber finally reached the end of the mill. Here
it was pushed on hand cars to the pilers, the biggest and strong-
est men on the job. Equipped with heavy leather aprons and
"hand leathers" to protect them from splinters, they placed the
heavy planks on an orderly pile. They were among the highest
paid men in the unskilled class.
The working hours, as late as the 90's, were from 6 A.M.
to 6 P.M. with an hour for dinner. They worked six days a
week. During winter the plant was illuminated by torches
morning and evenings. Sometimes the mill ran all night with
only the poor light of oil torches. Wages ran from 80 cents
per day for boys to $4.00 for the sawyer and head mechanic.
The lumber pilers received $2.00 a day and found. Most of the
men were boarded by the mill owners in a nearby camp or
house. If the worker paid his own room and board, he was
allowed 40 cents a day extra.
During the long summer days there was an hour or two
for daylight recreation after supper. Some of the men went
fishing, some swam in the mill pond, and others held a contest
in "log cuffing" or "log rolling." Two men shod with calked
shoes would ride a log to deep water and, with their feet, roll or
spin it rapidly. The first man to tumble lost the game.
One summer a sawmill crew had the good fortune of hav-
ing an extraordinary entertainer among them. Mike Scully, the
blacksmith, had a penchant for snakes. He had not been a
member of the sawdust crew very long before he advertised,
"Don't kill snakes. I pay money for live ones." Mike had been
wise in choosing a location for the snake business, for there
were plenty of snakes with which to operate. His verbal adver-
tisement by way of the "grapevine" was so effective that a
stranger soon inquired for the purchasing agent of the Scully
Snake Company, Limited. The stranger, a Mr. Catchem, had
snared a particularly fine specimen of yellow rattlesnake and
was anxious to get a market quotation. Mr. Scully, wishing to
create the impression that his company's working capital was
unlimited, informed the owner of the reptile that his sample
was fine and asked how many dozens he had at home ready for
delivery. The salesman replied by saying that he was just the
junior partner of the firm of Snarem and Catchem, but, since
his firm owned hundreds of untapped rattlesnake dens he was
sure that Mr. Snarem would not bother with small orders. He
preferred to do business on a wholesale scale. Mr. Catchem left
his rattler — in exchange for 50 cents — and said he would
report back in a few days.
The news of the purchase spread like measles. Mike was
deluged with snake vendors. The fire in his forge was neglected,
his irons had to be reheated, his work piled up, and he almost
lost his job, all because so much of his time was spent on snake
deals. But he accomplished his purpose. He created one of the
best menageries of its kind in the county. The warehouse of the
Scully Snake Company was filled and purchasing stopped.
Mike's pets needed exercise and training. They also needed
an audience to cheer them when they performed laudable feats,
and the mill-men had free grandstand seats to the circus. With
every performer on his pedestal and the ringmaster in the center
the show was on. Each actor had his chance to do a stunt.
They tied themselves into fancy and difficult knots, shaped
themselves into ornate pendants about their keeper's neck, con-
torted themselves into stylish bracelets and anklets, and con-
tested with each other in distance striking. Of course the com-
petitors were classified. The water snakes competed in the aquatic
events, the garter snakes in the stretching contests, the black
snakes and racers in sprints, the adders and vipers in hissing and
blowing, the green snakes in preening and showing, the milk
88 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
snakes in milkincss, and the copperheads and rattlesnakes in
WILLIAMSPORT. THE LUMBER CITY
In 1838, forty-six years after Hall erected his primitive
mill, Williamsport's first sawmill was built at the foot of Locust
Street. Although it contained only four "up-and-down" saws
powered by four water wheels it was known as the "Big Water
Mill." Lumber was manufactured on a commercial scale and
shipped to distant markets. With the success of the Big Mill
others sprang up as if by magic.
One of the most influential men in the development of
the lumbering business, not only in Williamsport but all along
the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, was Major James
H. Perkins. He was born in 1803, in the village of South Market,
New Hampshire. At middle age he had accumulated a fortune
in the calico business in Philadelphia. Believing he could further
increase his wealth by entering the lumber business in Lycoming
County, he came to Williamsport in 1845. Shortly afterward
he purchased the Big Water Mill. Armed with capital, business
experience, and plenty of energy, Perkins soon demonstrated
that the lumbering industry had a brilliant future. After oper-
ating the mill for a number of years he sold it and constructed
a more modern steam mill at DuBoistown, which he success-
fully directed for fourteen years.
When the timber in the immediate vicinity of Williams-
port was exhausted, a cheap method of transporting logs from
a distance had to be found. There were millions of trees farther
up the river. The logical way to get the logs to the mills was to
float them; but this process required a device for stopping them
when they reached Williamsport.
In order to solve this problem Major Perkins put into
operation a device that was to revolutionize the lumber industry
and to make Williamsport famous for lumber throughout the
country. The boom (the word comes from beam) consisted of
a chain of logs stretched diagonally across the river. At the
height of its development the boom extended from Williams-
port to Linden, a distance of six miles, and was able to hold
300,000,000 feet of logs at one time.
At the peak of operations the lumber kings of Williams-
port operated some thirty great sawmills. To feed these giant
hungry machines, in 1873, the peak year, 1,582,460 logs were
required, which when converted into lumber amounted to
318,342,712 board feet. Today there is not a large sawmill
in the county. Virgin trees are few and scattered, and the second-
growth is small in size of logs as well as in tracts. The tan-
bark industry, which was so important at one time that hemlock
trees were cut and stripped for their bark and the wood allowed
to rot in the forest, is now virtually defunct. Other tanning
materials from which tannin is extracted, such as que-bracho-
wood from South America, are now substituted for native bark.
Most of the lumber is manufactured in the portable mill, some-
times called the "vest-pocket" mill, a compact piece of machinery
which may be moved easily from place to place. The mill is
transported to the timber instead of the opposite. Finished
lumber is delivered to the market by motor truck.
THE FORESTS TODAY
"I regard the forest as a heritage given
to us by nature, not for spoil or to
devastate, but to be wisely used, reverently
honored and carefully maintained."
Bacon Ferdinand von Mueller.
LUMBERING 9 1
The war on the forests of Lycoming County has left a
sorry aftermath. Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the United
States Forest Service, once told a group of western lumbermen
that if they continued cutting timber as fast as they had been
cutting it, their forest would be cleared in thirty years.
"Mr. Pinchot," replied the leader of the group, "there is
enough timber tributary to our mills to keep them going for
That was in 1915. Today the timber is gone, the mills
are closed, fifteen hundred workers are scattered. This is not
an isolated case, but illustrates a condition that obtained not
only in the West but also in Lycoming County.
As late as the middle 90's a thousand board feet of grade-
A hemlock lumber, after it had been hauled by wagon a dis-
tance of ten miles, sold for $6.50. Less than twenty-five years
later this same amount of lumber brought $36.50. The price
of lumber today is so high as to make building costs prohibitive.
Many buildings recently constructed in the county have not a
piece of native timber in them. Most of the lumber has been
transported for hundreds of miles. Because of high lumber and
transportation costs all kinds of substitutes have been employed.
Trees that were once considered worthless are today transported
miles and manufactured into lumber that would have been
classed as cull by the lumbermen of yesteryear.
In the wake of the ax and saw came that wasteful demon —
fire. The dead and dried limbs and tree tops, the stumps and
abandoned logs provided excellent food for the flames. There
were no fire roads to assist fighters. Fires were considered un-
preventable, and were expected each spring and fall. For days
they raged up the mountain sides and across the broad tops
with such terrific heat that stones cracked and crumbled. In
many instances only a welcome rain put an end to the destruc-
tion. Wild life, seedlings, saplings, and promising young trees
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Band saw cutting out a piece of furniture
all fell victim to the fiery scourge which left barren, desolated
areas in its wake.
With the destruction of the forests, the reservoir that ab-
sorbed heavy rains was demolished. Devastating floods became
common. Regions that had never before been flooded were
regularly afi^ected. Inestimable damage was done to valuable
lowland farms, villages, and cities. Springs, wells, and streams
dried up. Game fish perished in dry or stagnant pools.
The wholesale removal of the forests also worked wide-
spread harm among the permanent residents of the mountains.
These people were primarily dependent upon lumber for their
sustenance. When lumbering ceased, their small fields and gar-
den patches were no longer able to support them. The impov-
erished inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes and
seek employment in the towns and cities. Their unproductive
fields reverted to a wild state and so remain today. To illustrate
the exodus from typical lumbering counties let two examples be
given. Forest County, in 1900, had a population of 11,039;
in 1910, 9,435; in 1920, 7,477; and in 1930, 5,180. Potter
County for the same periods declined as follows: 30,621 to
29.729 to 21,089 to 17,489. This was the tragic aftermath of
the war on the forests.
After the ruthless lumbermen had denuded the forests of
timber, they gathered up their tools and set out for new forest
lands. They headed North, West, and South, to the Adiron-
dacks, Michigan, Georgia, and Louisiana. They had no further
use for thousands of acres of timberless land upon which they
were obliged to pay annual taxes. The owners naturally wished
to sell, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania bought the
land, much of it for back taxes. The State Government de-
cided that these boundless acres of treeless land must be refor-
ested and set out to do the job.
Today, almost half of the land area of Pennsylvania is
forested. If the 13,200,000 acres of forest land were equally
divided, each man, woman and child resident in the state would
have one and one-third acres. There are about 110 different
varieties of trees in the State forests, more than half of them of
the timber variety.
On March 1, 1936, the state forests embraced an area of
1,964,439 acres, purchased at an average cost of $2.43 an acre.
This land was acquired in the short period of 38 years. A con-
servative estimate of the value of this land is in excess of
$20,000,000. The state forests have already yielded approxi-
94 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
mately $1,000,000 in income, most of which has been placed
in the State School Fund.
To preserve and protect this vast domain approximately
3,000 miles of forest roads and 4,000 miles of trails have been
constructed and are being maintained. In conjunction with the
roads and trails, the State owns and maintains about 425 build-
ings valued at $700,000. To guard against devastation 144
forest fire observation stations have been set up, 57 of which are
located upon State-owned lands. Of the 127 primary State
game refuges and 65 auxiliary refuges, 44 of the former and 24
of the latter are situated in the State Forests.
For the purpose of reforestation the Commonwealth in
1904 established its first tree nursery at Mt. Alto. Today there
are four large nurseries with an annual capacity of 15,000,000
trees. Nearly 50,000,000 trees have been planted in the state
forests. Private owners of woodland in Pennsylvania have pur-
chased from the department and planted more than 150,000,000
Forests are grown for other purposes than timber produc-
tion. As agents in modifying the surface of the earth, as places
of recreation, as moderators of floods and droughts, as sources
of health-giving properties, and as hunting preserves, these
forest lands are of incalculable value to the present generation
and to posterity.
The above figures were furnished by the Department of Forests and
Waters and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER VIII
1. For what two purposes was the first timber cut?
2. Who built the first sawmills in Lycoming County?
3. How did men become "land poor"?
4. How were the logs transported from the forest to the lumber mills?
5. Why were sleds used in the lumber business?
6. Write a short letter to a friend explaining the camp life and recreation
of a lumberjack.
7. What were the hours of labor and wages of saw mill workers??
8. Who was Major James H. Perkins?
9. What was meant by a log boom?
10. What is the State of Pennsylvania doing today to preserve its forest land?
Civil War Days
IN Lycoming County, as elsewhere throughout the country
the events leading up to the Civil War provided topics for
endless discussions. Since the newspapers of the district were
usually affiliated with and interested in the success of a political
party, the partisanship of their editorials and the coloring of
their news columns intensified the prejudices of the readers.
In the presidential election of 1860 Lincoln carried Ly-
coming County, receiving 3,494 votes to Douglas' 2,541. But
local newspapers were far from unanimous in their endorsement
of Lincoln's victory. Shortly after his election he was attacked
bitterly by The Lycoming Gazette, February 20, 1861. Lin-
coln's speeches, on his way from Springfield to Washington
were said to contain "neither statesmanship, tact, nor talent in
them — only twaddle that the merest pettifogger in several coun-
ties around would be ashamed to have set down as coming from
him, and which the whole nation should blush to know came
from one who is soon to be its chief magistrate."
The firing on Fort Sumter in 1861 shocked Lincoln's
editorial critic, and he immediately began to support the admin-
istration's military policies and leadership. Throughout the
Civil War the people of Lycoming County supported the Union
cause with virtual unanimity. The spirit of '76 again quick-
ened the hearts of descendants of Revolutionary families, and the
more recent immigrants were also prompt in aligning them-
selves on the side of the North.
In Lycoming County little trouble was experienced in en-
listing men. Party lines were erased. Republicans and Demo-
96 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
crats lined up shoulder to shoulder in answer to the call. Mili-
tary enthusiasm was at such a high pitch that only twelve days
after Fort Sumter had been fired upon the county had sent
three companies to the front. The "Woodward Guards," which
were organized on August 23, 1856 and named for Judge
Apollos Woodward, was honored by being made company
A of the Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Com-
pany D was mustered in Williamsport, and Company G was re-
cruited in Muncy.
These three companies were mustered into service on April
23, 1861, at Harrisburg, and were attached to the Eleventh
Regiment. These companies not only served their first term of
three months, but at the expiration of that period their regiment
became the first to enlist for three years, a period everyone con-
sidered "the duration of the war." The Eleventh Regiment
Volunteers achieved an enviable record in service during the war,
participating in almost all the engagements of the Army of the
The companies from Lycoming County attracted the ap-
proving attention of all* who reviewed the regiment. A corre-
spondent of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin assigned to the
regiment was so impressed that he wrote his paper, "The 11th
Regiment was reported at Harrisburg to be the best drilled regi-
ment in the camp. It is not uniformed and the men are armed
with very diversified and wonderful weapons. Some firelocks
that I have observed with them might have done service in the
old Colonial wars. A few have no guns at all, but are provided
with carving and sheath knives, veterans horse-pistols, rusty
bayonets and swords that seem to have been beaten into shape
in some village forge. What they lack in martial means they
make up in physical excellence, as all are broad chested, huge
limbed men with countenances already indurated and scarred by
a lifetime battle with the elements. . . . They have ponderous
CIVIL WAR DAYS 97
feet, if boots are testimonies, and might answer for grenadiers
for Frederick the Great."
The pay of soldiers in the Union Army as published in
The Lycoming Gazette ranged from $218 a month for colonels
to $22 for corporals, $21 for musicians, and $20 for privates.
From this pay officers were required to furnish "their own uni-
forms and supplies," but privates were provided with these
necessities by the Government.
The first Lycoming County soldiers to leave for military
service were compelled to endure unexpected hardships. Despite
the good intentions of the Federal Governmnt it was several
months after their arrival in camp before they were provided
with more than the bare necessities. Frequently the soldiers
were dependent upon the people residing in communities adjoin-
ing the camps for food.
More than a month after their departure from Lycoming
County, one soldier, in a letter to a county paper, wrote, "Thus
far no uniforms have been furnished us — no shoes, no caps, or
clothing of any kind — except perhaps in a few instances; some
of the officers have supplied the wants of the most needy of
their men from their own private purses; others cannot appear
on parade in consequence of a want of clothing. Our rations
have been tolerably good until quite recently, when we were
served the other morning with hard crackers instead of bread,
and salt meat, with half-browned coffee. The crackers were
soon flying in every direction and shouts of disapprobation rent
the air." The reason for the abject appearance of the men from
Lycoming was due to the fact that they had been informed
that upon their arrival at Harrisburg they would be supplied
with army uniforms. They had worn their oldest clothes,
which could be discarded, rather than sent home when they re-
ceived government clothing. As the uniforms were not forth-
98 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
coming the men were compelled to continue wearing the shabby
outfits taken from home.
The rations for soldiers, as published in the Williamsport
Press of May 10, 1861, consisted of "Breakfast — one quart of
good coffee, eight ounces of bread, and three-eights pound of
beef; Noon, five-eighth pound of beef or mutton, well cooked
with potatoes, one quart of baked beans, rice, bean or vegetable
soup at the rate of one pint per man. Supper, eight ounces of
bread, three pints of coffee and one- fourth pound of cold beef
or mutton. Coffee to be furnished properly sweetened, and milk
in due proportion to be provided."
An indispensable part of each soldier's equipment was the
"work bag." Most of these were made by patriotic women of
the community who desired to be of direct aid to the departing
soldiers. The bags were made of "dark calico, double with
compartments for each article, so as to be readily got at." Each
usually contained "one pair of round pointed scissors, one pair
coarse needles, one hank grey patent thread, two hanks black
patent thread, one spool coarse white thread, three dozen por-
celain shirt buttons, five dozen suspender buttons, one pair hose,
one piece grey twilled tape, two pieces of white tape, half paper
of strong pins, and woolen yarn to darn stockings, and darning
needles." In addition to the "work bags," boxes containing
bandages and other first-aid articles were made up and for-
warded to the soldiers in camp.
Persons exempt from military service tried in other ways
to contribute to the comfort of the soldiers and to relieve them
of worry concerning their families. Typical of this attitude
was the action of one property owner in releasing all his tenants
from paying rent while they were serving in the army. A well
known physician of Williamsport offered free medical service
to the families of volunteers in the Woodward Guards and Wil-
liamsport Rifle Company.
CIVIL WAR DAYS 99
Troop trains passed through Williamsport almost daily.
Invariably the trains were met by the ladies of the county, who
fed and entertained the soldiers. Thousands of dollars in con-
tributions were raised in the vicinity to assist dependent fam-
ilies. One small borough raised almost $1,500 in several "bene-
fits," and the borough of Williamsport borrowed money to aid
its fatherless families.
Many of the men from Lycoming and neighboring coun-
ties were from pioneer farms. This background proved to be a
decided asset to the hastily recruited, largely volunteer army.
If their regiment needed log cabins or larger buildings, men
from Lycoming County were usually asked to build them. One
soldier wrote as follows, "It is rather amusing to see them build
cabins without having nails or any kind of tools except an
axe . . . Company D ... is composed of men from Bradford,
Tioga and Lycoming Counties. If our General or Colonel
wants a cabin built, or wants any men to do any kind of work,
it seems Company D has to do it."
At the beginning of the war troops were obtained by en-
listment. The results of this method were disappointing. Con-
gress therefore passed a selective draft act, which, in its original
version, contained inequalities. In order to secure a sufficient
number of soldiers, all manner of inducements and rewards were
offered. So numerous and complicated did these become that
the filing of claims on behalf of veterans was a lucrative business.
A little more than a year after the beginning of the Civil War
several so-called "agents" were advertising in Lycoming County,
offering to aid veterans in securing "soldiers pay, pensions, extra
pay, bounty and bounty lands."
For the Fourth Reserves, Thirty-third Regiment, Lycom-
ing County recruited Company E. To the Fifth Reserves,
Thirty-fourth Regiment, the county contributed one full com-
pany. Company A. Many Lycoming men were in the ranks of
100 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Company K of the Forty-fifth Regiment. Several residents were
in the Fifty-first Regiment which distinguished itself at Antie-
tam. The Eighty-fourth Regiment, numbering 109 men from
the county, made an enviable record for itself. While with this
regiment Colonel Milton Opp, pioneer settler, lost his life in the
battle of the Wilderness. To the Eightieth Regiment the county
contributed fifteen men; to the Sixty-fifth, eighty; and to the
Lycoming County was represented in the One Hundred
and Sixth Regiment by several men, among whom was Captain
W. N. Jones, later a Mayor of Williamsport.
To the One Hundred and Thirty-first Regiment the county
contributed three companies: Company G from Williamsport,
Company H from Muncy and Company I from Jersey Shore.
In the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Regiment the county
helped to man Company A. In the One Hundred and Ninety-
fourth Regiment, Company A was wholly from Lycoming,
and in the One Hundred and Ninety-fifth, Company F was re-
cruited at Jersey Shore.
When the state was invaded by the Confederates in June
1863, emergency regiments were organized. One of these regi-
ments was the Twenty-sixth, to which Lycoming contributed
Company G. Other regiments and companies of the emergency
troops having Lycoming residents in their ranks were: Company
K of the Twenty-eighth; the Thirty-seventh Regiment; the
Forty-third, with Henry W. Petrikin of Muncy as Major; the
Forty-seventh, with part Company B and all of Company G
recruited in the county.
The One Hundred and Forty-third Regiment, part of the
famous Bucktail Brigade, included a number of Lycoming men.
Lieutenant Colonel John D. Musser lost his life in the Wilder-
ness, and W. F. Keys of Williamsport was taken prisoner in the
CIVIL WAR DAYS 101
Lycoming County contributed also to the cavalry. The
Eighty-ninth Regiment, Eighth Cavalry, included Company G.
This regiment gained fame by its charge on "Stonewall" Jack-
son's infantry at Chancellorsville, The county also contributed
men to the Sixtieth Regiment, Third Cavalry; the Sixty-fifth
Regiment, Fifth Cavalry; the Eightieth Regiment, Seventh Cav-
alry; the One Hundred and Seventeenth Regiment, Thirteenth
Cavalry; and to the One Hundred and Sixty-third Regiment,
An independent cavalry company was organized in Wil-
liamsport in September 1862, but it served for less than a month
and its men drifted into other companies and regiments. On
July 10, 1863, an independent cavalry battalion was organized.
Lycoming furnished Company C. This unit was disbanded on
August 18, 1863, and its members went to other regiments or
The county was represented by musical organizations in
the war. The Repasz Band of Williamsport, the oldest brass
band in continuous existence in the country, served with the
Eleventh Regiment Volunteers, and later with the Twenty-
ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers. The Stopper Silver Cornet
Band, with Fridoline Stopper as leader, was a part of the One
Hundred Sixth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. The band
was composed of seventeen men, most of whom were from
On May 12, 1863, Williamsport was chosen as headquar-
ters of the Board of Enrollment for the Congressional district
composed of Lycoming, Centre, Clinton, Tioga, and Potter
counties. It operated until April 14, 1865, furnishing 8,311
men to the colors. Of this number Lycoming contributed 2,471.
The demands made upon local communities by the Federal
Government as a result of the war were generally well received
in Lycoming County. Difficulty was seldom encountered in
102 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
filling county, township, and borough quotas. Moreover, the
local authorities applied the "draft act" in a fair and impartial
When draft call was issued in the early months of 1864,
thousands of men had already enlisted, but hundreds more
hastened to volunteer. The borough "Town Meeting" adopted
a resolution requesting "all persons enrolled and subject to the
draft within the Borough of Williamsport" to pay twenty-five
dollars to the borough authorities. Council acted as custodian
of the money thus raised. In a short period of time, 481 from
Williamsport paid the amount into the fund. When a man who
had subscribed was drafted, a substitute was hired for three
hundred dollars and the fee paid from the fund. Such substitu-
tion was permitted under the draft law and the subscription plan
was entirely voluntary. This method of hiring substitutes held
complaints to a minimum. It also allowed men a measure of
choice and sometimes prevented needless hardships to their fam-
ilies. Other townships and boroughs adopted the same pro-
cedure to soften the effects of the compulsory draft.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER DC
1. What were the names of the first companies from Lycoming County
to be mustered into Civil War service?
2. What was a "work bag"?
3. How were the families of soldiers assisted?
4. What method was used to hire substitutes for military service?
5. Make a list of the various companies and regiments in which men from
Lycoming County served.
Industry, Agriculture, and Labor
IN the early days of Lycoming County, when roads were little
more than trails cut through the wilderness and there were
numerous turbulent unbridged streams to be forded, wagons
and river craft were the only means of communication with the
outside world. From the early settlement of the territory to
the construction of the West Branch Canal in 1834, virtually
all of the necessities of life were produced in the home, the field,
the grist mill, and the blacksmith shop. While men toiled in
field, forest, mill, and shop, the women worked at home to pro-
vide the family with wearing apparel. Wool was carded, spun,
woven into cloth, and made into garments. From surplus fats
and homemade lye, soap was made. A generous supply of roots
and herbs was kept on hand for the treatment of infection and
Until the rise of the lumber business, most of the com-
mercial enterprises in Lycoming County were personally owned
and operated. The wild state of the territory and the difficulty
of transporting supplies were not favorable to large scale manu-
facturing like that which existed in New England and along the
Atlantic seaboard. In 1838 the first large sawmill in the county
was constructed. Its operation proved so profitable that others
were soon built. Lumbering became a gigantic industry, and
completely dominated the commercial life of the county.
The first forward step in transportation was the comple-
tion of the West Branch Canal from Northumberland to Lock
104 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Haven in 1834. The canal for many years played a significant
role in the country's industrial development, particularly during
the lumber era, when millions of feet of lumber were shipped.
Although the canal was a great improvement over the horse-
drawn wagon and the crude river craft, it still was a slow means
The first railroad in the county was from Williamsport
to Ralston, constructed in 1839, but it was not until 1855,
however, that the county was given easy access to the large
eastern markets. Lumber, coal and iron-ore were responsible for
attracting many of the early industries. Later, the development
of modern transportation facilities, its nearness to the great an-
thracite and bituminous coal fields and a quick means of reach-
ing the eastern markets caused industries to locate in this section.
The advent of improved marketing facilities brought an influx
of tradesmen and craftsmen, not only to sell goods, but also to
manufacture them. Shops sprang up in all sections of the county.
In a comparatively short time, grist mills and sawmills operated
by overshot water wheels were supplanted by larger ones pow-
ered by steam. Woolen mills, with power-driven machinery, re-
placed the hand-card (an instrument for combing wool) , the
spinning wheel, and the hand loom. Tanneries, foundries, ma-
chine shops, steel mills, furniture factories, and various indus-
tries of other types produced a varied list of products, comparable
to those made in any other county of the state.
In 1860 there were 430 manufacturing establishments with
a capital investment of nearly two and a half million dollars.
Ten years later, there were 608 factories and the amount of
the capital investment had more than trebled. During the next
ten-year period, because of a financial depression, the advance
was halted, but near the close of the century there were 645 in-
dustries with invested capital totaling nearly seven million dol-
lars. From that time to present there has been a marked de-
INDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR
Spraying varnish on futnitute in a furniture factory at
crease in the number of manufacturing establishments, due
largely to the consolidation of related interests and the elimina-
tion of smaller ones. Athough the number of industries has
steadily decreased since the 80's, capital investment has steadily
increased. In 1938, the number of manufacturing establish-
ments had shrunken to approximately two hundred, but the
capital investment had grown to more than twenty-seven million
dollars. The value of the manufactured products closely ap-
proached the thirty million dollar mark, with an annual pay-
roll of more than seven and one-half millions. The total num-
ber of persons engaged in manufacturing industries was 9,598,
106 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
of whom 7,167 were males and 2,431 females. More than 500
different items were produced by the 192 industries and many
products necessary to human existence were found in the list.
Metal and metal products led the list, with lumber and its re-
manufacture a close second. Textiles and textile products were
a close third in the number of articles processed or manufactured
in the county.
Among the items produced by the metal and metal product
industries are: gas, automotive and marine engines; generator
plants; airplane propellors; steam boilers; smoke stacks; grates;
metal and sheet-iron products; emergency light plants; air con-
ditioners; gas boilers and humidifiers; foundry castings; iron;
brass; bronze and aluminum; radiator shields; metal cabinets;
grilles and boiler jackets; metal stampings and furniture hard-
ware; cutting dies for leather, paper and rubber; metal stamp-
ing dies for blanking and forming metal parts and leather spe-
cialties ; wood- working machinery, gate valves and fire hydrants ;
steel rcenforcement bars; steel rails, saws, and cutting knives;
fire escapes and steel stairs; automatic magazine feed heaters for
steam, vapor, hot water and warm air furnaces; steel oil boilers;
steel stoker boilers, heavy duty tank heaters and rotary ash re-
ceivers; oil well packing; valve caps; wire rope and steel cables.
Among the products classified under- lumber and its re-
manufacture are: dining, living, and bed room furniture; office
furniture and hardwood flooring; doors, sash and wood trim;
store fronts and fixtures; picture and mirror frames; spindle
carvings and novelties; window shade rollers; Venetian blinds
and roller awnings; trailers, excelsior, ironing boards, step and
extension ladders, snow shovels, furniture frames, and all types
of upholstered furniture.
Among the hundreds of articles classified under chemicals,
food products, textile, leather and rubber goods, and miscella-
neous products are: soaps, disinfectants, insecticides, glues, grease
and fertilizers, paints, enamels, stains, sweeping compounds and
INDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR 107
varnishes for industrial and consumer uses, ice cream, dairy prod-
ucts, pretzels, potato chips, candy, flour, ice, meats, shoes,
sandals and slippers, braid, bindings, lingerie tape, men's uni-
forms, caps, shirts, blouses, ladies' hosiery, shirts, pajamas, broad
silks and rayons, ribbons and belting, men's and boys' sport
shirts, ladies' underwear, cigars, musical instruments and optical
supplies, cast stone and cinder blocks, paper boxes, mattresses
and bedding, automobile springs, crepe paper, celanese products,
ladies' and misses' hand bags, carbonated beverages, and many
Industry in Lycoming County grew as a result of the
tireless efforts of its citizenry. With the decline of the lumber
business, many workmen who were skilled in this industry
turned to the soil, but there was not enough land for all, and
many were obliged to seek employment elsewhere. For a while
business and industry were virtually at a standstill. Something
had to be done to compensate for the lost lumbering business if
Williamsport and the surrounding towns and villages were to
avoid the fate of "ghost towns." In order to avert industrial
and financial collapse a trade association was formed by a group
of business men for the purpose of attracting new industries to
the county. That the association was successful is evidenced
by the foregoing list of products now (1939) being manufac-
tured. These new industries have provided a balance in the busi-
ness life enjoyed by few communities of Pennsylvania. Seldom
have national economic depressions caused as much disorganiza-
tion in Lycoming County as in other sections of the state. The
industrial life of the county is affected very little by seasonal
unemployment, since the industries operate on a fairly well bal-
anced production schedule throughout the year.
The population of Lycoming County is quite homoge-
neous. Of a population of approximately 95,000, about 90,000
are native-born whites. Only a little more than three and one-
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Corn husking near Jersey Shore
half per cent of the residents are of foreign birth. Except for a
number of laborers imported for the construction of railroads
and a few skilled workmen brought in by the steel mills, the
mills and factories are manned by local labor. Most of those
imported by the railroad interests were from Italy, Hungary,
and Ireland, and those brought in by the steel interests came
largely from New York and were of Polish descent. Several
skilled mechanics in the machine shops came from Canada.
From the time of the first pioneers to the present day, agri-
culture has played an important part in the economy of the
INDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR 109
county. Farming was the chief occupation of the population
before the coming of the lumber industry. It was then, as it is
now, the cornerstone of the county's economic structure. Dur-
ing the heyday of the lumber business the farmer was hard
pressed to provide the basic needs of the people engaged in it.
Rough feed and grain, milk, butter, eggs, and meat were needed
in large quantities in the lumber camps and in the towns. When,
in spite of this heavy demand, the financial returns of farming
dropped rapidly, farmers left their acres to work in the forests.
When the lumber business declined many of them returned to
their neglected fields, some of the land which had been stripped
of its trees was now cleared and converted into farms. The West
Branch Valley, Nippenose Valley, and Muncy Valley were dis-
covered to be exceedingly adaptable to various types of farming,
in spite of the rugged and rocky hills which enclose them.
Because of great differences in elevation and wide varia-
tions in temperature, Lycoming County is adaptable to a variety
of agricultural pursuits. Elevation and temperature conditions
divide the county into three zones, each of which reflects these
differences in its agriculture. The first zone includes the West
Branch Valley and its immediate environs. Here the frost-free
season is longest, usually a full six months. In this valley the
raising of dent corn is commercially successful and peach trees
thrive. This district contains some of the most fertile and pro-
ductive truck-farms in the state. Truck farming has been highly
developed in the vicinity of Williamsport where an extensive
acreage equipped with irrigation facilities produces a great variety
of vegetables. Roadstands along the main highway, east of
Williamsport, sell many kinds of fruits and produce throughout
The second zone embraces the central hill region and Nip-
penose and White Deer valleys. Here the growing season is
considerably shorter than in the first zone. The production of
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Scene in Muncy Valley
seed corn is small, and peaches thrive only in carefully selected
places. The third zone comprises the Allegheny plateau, most
of the intervening lowlands, and the elevated area south of the
Susquehanna River. In this zone the growing season is fre-
quently less than 110 days and rarely more than 120 days. Some
dent corn is grown for feed, rye is often substituted for wheat,
but the main crops are the short-season crops: oats, buckwheat,
Agriculture in Lycoming County has always consisted of
general farming, dairying, and poultry raising. The general
practice has been a five-year crop rotation of corn, oats, wheat,
and hay. In some instances, the rotation period is shortened to
INDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR 111
four years, and occasionally buckwheat is substituted for some
other crop. In the western part of the county some tobacco is
grown, but not extensively. For many years there were few im-
provements in methods employed or in quality of farm prod-
ucts. This was due in large measure to the fact that the finan-
cial returns from the lumber industry were so much greater.
Since the close of the lumber era, hundreds of acres have
been cleared and devoted to farming. But for many years agri-
culture was conducted along makeshift lines, and it was not
until the establishment of farm agencies and associations that
any great advancement was made. Since the inauguration of the
County Agricultural Extension Association (1914) and the ap-
pointment of a County Agricultural Adviser, progress in all
phases of rural activity has been steady. The adoption of sci-
entific methods of seed treatment, insect control, and soil fertili-
zation has resulted in a great increase in virtually all crops. Due
in a large measure to the various stock breeding and testing as-
sociations, milk production per cow has nearly doubled, and the
value of the herds has greatly increased. Although sheep raising
is not practiced extensively at present, similar advances have been
made. Through the introduction of high-class stock, culling of
poor ewes, and improved methods of feeding and care,
poor grades of wool have decreased from 12.7 per cent to 3.3
per cent. Along with these improvements in crop production
and animal husbandry has come an increased efficiency in the
economics of the home. Better foods are selected and prepared,
and more stress is placed upon the relation of food to health.
Careful grading and packing of farm products have resulted
in larger income, and bookkeeping methods have removed the
uncertainty of many farm activities. Because of the activities of
farm agencies and trade associations, there has been a recent
trend toward specialization in farming and in stock and poultry
raising. Of the recently introduced crops, the most important
112 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
arc soy beans, alfalfa, and barley, with soy beans of greatest
value in agriculture and industry. Barley in some localities is
being substituted for wheat, and in other places alfalfa is re-
placing clover or timothy as a legume crop. Agriculture in Ly-
coming has reached the proportions of big business. Within
the county arc 3,014 farms, of approximately 100 acres each,
with an average value of $3,676 per farm. The value of all
farm land and buildings is over $1 1,000,000. These farms pro-
duce annually 7,000,000 gallons of milk and over 1,000,000-
dozens of eggs. The estimated value of farm crops, including
livestock, poultry, and livestock products, is considerably
above the five million dollar mark. Farm implements and ma-
chinery are valued at approximately $3,000,000 or about one
thousand dollars for each farm. These figures and estimates arc
based upon the United States Census of agriculture for the year
Most of the early commercial enterprises in Lycoming
County were personally owned and operated. Industry grew
and mechanical improvements were introduced. These machines
brought new problems in the relationship between employee and
employer. While businesses were small the interests of the owner
and his few employees were closer and a friendly feeling usually
prevailed. But as industrial establishments became larger, these
relationships were usually altered.
With the growth of the lumber industry there came a
rapid increase in population. Numbers of workers were attracted
by reports of steady employment at high wages. Attempts to
organize labor unions met with failure until 1872, when a
labor dispute locally known as the "Sawdust War" occurred.
This was the county's first and most serious labor disturbance.
By 1872 the lumber business had reached gigantic proportions
and huge profits were being made by the operators. The workers.
IlSfDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR 113
dissatisfied with their share of the benefits derived by various
improvements in production, struck.
Twelve hours was the usual working day, and in many
industries it was not unusual for employees to work fourteen
hours. Thus one of the main objectives of the workers was a
shorter working day. On April 14, 1868, the State Legislature
enacted a law defining a legal working day as "eight hours of
labor between the rising and setting of the sun, where there is
no contract or agreement to the contrary." One year later a law
was passed by the legislature granting workers the right to or-
ganize. Since there were many exceptions in these laws and no
penalties were attached, there was no effort to enforce them.
The county contained approximately seventy-five sawmills em-
ploying about three thousand men.
These men worked in the mills an average of six and one-
half to seven months of the year. During the remainder of the
year they were employed in the woods, cutting and rafting tim-
ber for the coming season. The work was strenuous and haz-
ardous. In the mills, the huge saws used to cut the logs were
a constant source of danger. At the time there were no laws
compelling employers to provide safety guards or periodical fac-
tory inspections for the protection of workers. Serious accidents
frequently occurred. Because of the dissatisfaction arising from
these working conditions coupled with the decrease in the
amount of free land available to settlement, large numbers of
workers were in a mood to organize and to demand their rights.
In 1871 a labor political organization known as the Labor
Reform Union was organized and set up on a nation-wide basis.
The movement grew and, in 1872, a branch was organized in
Williamsport. As soon as the local branch was formed a meet-
ing was called at Bender's Hall on Market Street, Williamsport.
The immediate point at issue was the question of hours. Among
the resolutions were demands that the workmen receive a share
114 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
of the benefits which had come with the invention of labor-sav-
ing machinery. The resolutions pointed out that it was only just
and equitable that the labor thus saved should result in a reduc-
tion of working hours without a corresponding reduction in
wages. The workers charged that they worked longer hours
(eleven and one-half to thirteen per day) than their brothers
in other cities, and they insisted upon the introduction of a ten-
A committee of ten persons was appointed to see the mill
owners, to present the resolutions, and to report at the next
meeting. For several days meetings and parades were held, and
most of the mills in Williamsport and vicinity were closed.
Meanwhile, the West Branch Lumbermen's Exchange, an in-
corporated association of businessmen of the West Branch Val-
ley, held several meetings to discuss the situation. On June 29,
the Exchange adopted a resolution defending the scale of hours
and wages and announcing the reopening of the mills. The
workers then visited the mills and induced the men to remain
on strike. Day after day the union meetings continued, and
the attitude of both the men and the owners became more bel-
ligerent. Since the entire commercial life of the community was
dependent upon the lumber industry, almost all activity was at
a standstill. Fearing violence the Mayor and City Council ap-
pointed special deputies and policemen to cope with the situa-
tion. At several of the mills the strikers refused to obey orders
to disperse, and forced their way into the mill yards. Minor
riots resulted and several men were injured. The mill owners
then appealed to the mayor and the sheriflF for further aid. An
appeal was made to Governor John M. Geary to call out the
local militia. The Governor acted promptly. Approximately
400 members of the Lycoming and Dauphin County militia
were ordered to report for duty at Williamsport. The troops
jBirst encamped in front of the court house. Later they were
INDUSTRY, AGRICULTURE, AND LABOR 1 1 5
quartered in Herdic's Grove, the present site of the Williamsport
With the arrival of the militia excitement in the com-
munity increased. Soldiers patrolled the city streets and numer-
ous arrests were made. One of the union leaders, named Greevy,
was arrested when he attempted to make a speech. He was
charged with "inciting to riot" and held under five thousand
dollars bail. Bail was provided by a friend, but an hour after
his release he was rearrested and the amount of bail raised to ten
thousand dollars. Other leaders were arrested and held for bail.
In several instances when bail was furnished, the men were re-
arrested on other charges and additional bail demanded. When
their best leaders had been put in jail by the militia, the workers
gradually returned to their jobs on the terms prescribed by the
Lumbermen's Exchange. The arrested men were held for the
next term of court. While they awaited trial, petitions contain-
ing thousands of names and requesting pardons, were presented
to Governor Geary. Local authorities also circulated petitions
urging the governor to refuse pardons and compel the men to
stand trial. The latter prevailed; the men were tried, convicted,
and sentenced. In several instances the charges were dismissed;
several persons received light sentences; but the leaders were com-
mitted to the State Penitentiary for long terms. On the day
their sentences were to begin, Governor Geary issued pardons for
all those found guilty without stating his reasons. It is said that
Peter Herdic interceded on behalf of the union men and con-
vinced the governor that the time spent in jail awaiting trial
was sufficient punishment.
The outcome of the "Sawdust War" had a demoralizing
effect on the Labor Reform Union and it soon disbanded. With
only a few exceptions, attempts to organize labor unions in the
county met with general failure until the beginning of the twen-
tieth century. In 1878-79 the Knights of Labor organized sev-
116 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
eral units among the sawmill workers. They lasted but a short
time, being replaced by the craft unions of the American Federa-
tion of Labor and by the Railway Brotherhoods. The Typo-
graphical Union, Local No. 141, one of the oldest labor or-
ganizations in the county, has been in existence for more than
fifty years and has achieved considerable success in improving
the working conditions of its members.
The years immediately preceding the World War were
prosperous ones for labor organization in Lycoming County.
In Williamsport alone the total union membership exceeded five
thousand. But with the close of the war the unions rapidly de-
clined in influence and membership. Except in a few instances
there was little growth in the labor movement until 1933. Since
that time, unionization has been greatly accelerated, due in a
large measure to the organizing activities of the Congress of In-
dustrial Organizations and the American Federation of Labor.
The Lycoming County Labor Council was formed in
order to provide a basis of cooperation between C. I. O. and
A. F. of L. unions. The old Central Labor Union, which
functioned for many years under an A. F. of L. charter, died
when the split occurred in Pennsylvania.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER X
1. What was the first large industry in Lycoming County?
2. What other industries located in the county?
3. How many factories were there in the county in 1860?
4. Name ten products manufactured in Lycoming County today.
5. What are principal farm crops grown in the county?
6. What was the "Sawdust War"?
The Turn of The Century
CHANGES IN LIVING
ALONG with the growth in population occasioned by the
lumbering industry came numerous changes and innova-
tions which we call progress. The twenty years from 1894 to
1914 witnessed sweeping alterations aflFecting virtually every
phase of individual and community life. Some of these changes
are directly traceable to the disastrous floods of 1889 and 1894
in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the decline
of the lumber industry. Others were brought about by new
developments in the fields of communication, transportation,
Social customs and ideas, many of them observed for cen-
turies, were discarded and replaced. Habits, manners, and fash-
ions in thought, dress, and action were changing amidst a chorus
of cheers from youth and sighs from the aged. The business
panics of 1893 and 1907, with their accompanying widespread
unemployment and resultant lowering of living standards, were
in large measure responsible for the re-examination of the beliefs
of political and industrial democracy.
Beginning with William Jennings Bryan's first presidential
campaign, which projected the "free silver" controversy, on
through to the split in the Republican party, which led to the
election of Woodrow Wilson, there was a nationwide battle
for political supremacy. In Lycoming County this struggle for
power was marked by heated, often bitter, and sometimes hu-
morous discussions. At times the Socialist party polled sub-
118 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
stantial and unexpected numbers of votes for its candidates.
Commanding considerable attention during this period were
the activities of groups demanding a woman's suffrage amend-
ment to the United States Constitution. At the same time
other groups and organizations were concentrating their efforts
upon preventing the manufacture and sale of intoxicating
liquors. These factions finally gained victory with the passage
of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments.
The business life of the county also was undergoing a
great change. This was a period which changed the county
from an agricultural and lumber center to one with a variety of
industries. By 1914 the vanishing lumber industry had been
replaced by scores of busy factories in almost every section of
the county. A great variety of products were being processed
and shipped to all parts of America as well as to many foreign
countries. With the establishment of new industries came a de-
mand for skilled workers. This need was met partially by the
transportation of workers from other sections of the country.
But most of the workers had to be trained in the factories them-
selves or in the schools.
This added responsibility of the schools was met by pro-
gressive advances in education. Special emphasis was placed
upon training in the practical or vocational subjects. Instruction
in the manual trades and commercial sciences was stressed and
facilities were expanded. Strict attendance laws were enacted
and the school term was lengthened. Fortunately, except for
the Spanish-American War, this period was free of military
strife. Thus the people of Lycoming County were able to pur-
sue their tasks uninterrupted by abnormal financial demands
upon the community. Although many changes took place be-
tween 1894 and 1914, they were accomplished slowly enough
to be accepted by the people. New inventions, customs, and
ideas were necessary to progress, and they sometimes made neces-
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY 1 1 9
sary restrictions which were unknown to the pioneer settlers.
Laws were made to regulate public utilities, corporations, and
large businesses. By these, obligations and responsibilities for-
merly assumed by the individual were taken over by the com-
munity or the state. Among these were the workmen's com-
pensation laws, regulation of weights and measures, and laws
relating to the public health.
The turn of the century also brought sweeping changes in
methods of transportation. Horsedrawn street cars were sup-
planted by those of the electric type. The invention of the in-
ternal combustion engine made possible the "horseless carriage"
which soon displaced the horse and buggy and resulted in the
construction of a network of .paved highways. Bicycles, too,
were widely used for travel and pleasure, and cindered paths
for cyclists were constructed beside the public roads. In the
West Branch Valley a favorite course was the tow-path of the
old West Branch Canal.
Although the motor-truck and motor-car had not yet be-
come dangerous competitors of the railroad, the railroads com-
peted with each other for business. One-day excursion trips at
reduced rates were a popular method of attracting customers.
Excursions from Hall's Station to Lake Mokoma at twenty-
five cents the round trip were quite popular. Another popular
trip was from Hall's Station to Harvey's Lake in Luzerne
County. Complete time-tables were published in railroad ad-
vertisements, and the superiority of the coal used on one line
over that used by its competitor was stressed. The management
of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway was particularly proud
of the fact that their locomotives burned "hard coal — ^no
smoke," A popular diversion was a ride on the paddle-wheel
steamboat which made regular trips down the river from Market
Street bridge in Williamsport to Sylvan Dell, then a favorite
THE TURN OF THE CENTTtry
Paddle-Wheel Boat (Hiawatha)
place for picnics. Another equally popular trip was the ride on
the open trolley from city line to Star Island, later known as
Indian Park, near Montoursville.
An important institution of the period was the curbstone
market. It was conducted in Williamsport on Market Street
between Fourth Street and the river, two days each week, Wed-
nesdays and Saturdays. Farm products were brought into the
city and offered for sale on the Street. The market vehicle was
a one-room cabin on wheels, called a van, about six feet wide
and eight to twelve feet long. These vans were drawn up to
122 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
the edge of the pavement, and purchases were made from the
curb. Farmers who did not have vans sold their produce from
wagons or carts. Many farmers started long before daybreak,
to make the long drive to market. Others came a day in advance
and spent the night with friends or at a hotel. Besides being a
commercial enterprise the street market was an important social
institution. It afforded a common meeting place for the people
of the community. Streets were thronged with busy shoppers
eager to visit with rural relatives or friends, discuss current issues
of the day, and to garner a choice bit of scandal for retelling
on their arrival home.
Religious institutions have always been a major part of
the life of Lycoming County. Williamsport, where the spires
of more than a half hundred places of worship point skyward,
became familiarly known as the "City of Churches." Free from
the competition of radio, the automobile, and the popular maga-
zine, the church building was more than a place of worship.
It was a center for recreation and a general meeting place for
all social groups. Church buildings ranged in size and archi-
tecture from the plain one-room building of the rural crossroads
to the magnificent edifice of the more populous center. Each
congregation owned an organ or piano. Several of the more
prosperous ones had large pipe organs.
To those living in the rural districts, attendance at Sunday
services was necessarily preceded by considerable advance pre-
paration. Livestock had to be fed, cows milked, horses hitched
to the wagons. Then carefully, almost reverently, the "meetin"
clothes were removed from the closets and young and old were
properly groomed and attired for the occasion. The drive to
the church often required from one to three hours. The spending
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
Scene at Old Curbstone Market
of so much eflFort is a clear indication of the depth of their faith
and the extent to which the church entered into their daily lives.
An important addition to the educational facilities of the
county was the establishment of the James V. Brown Library
in 1906. Every year since its founding thousands of books,
pamphlets, and periodicals have been added, and the library has
become a great educational and cultural force.
Of importance, particularly to the rural sections of the
county, was the inauguration of the rural free delivery in 1896
and the parcel post in 1913. These services enabled the more
remote sections of the county to buy a variety of merchandise
ranging from pins and needles to a suit of clothes.
1 24 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
The introduction of the bicycle hastened the end of Vic-
torian ideas of modesty and morality, and women began to take
part in athletics. This brought about radical changes in fash-
ions of dress. Lisle and silk stockings replaced the old-fashioned
cotton, and skirts began to leave the ground. Women's hair
underwent a cycle of change which reached the stage of the
"boyish bob." Dress-tight kid gloves, high buttoned shoes, and
high tight-laced corsets were the object of severe criticism by
reformers and physicians, but gradually women's clothing be-
came more comfortable and practical.
Men's styles, though not as quickly as women's, were also
undergoing a change. The tendency was toward lighter weight
clothing and more attention to appearance. The well-dressed
young man at the turn of the century wore a woolen suit with
heavily padded shoulders, a shirt with stiff front fastened to-
gether with studs, separate stiff collars and cuffs, a derby hat,
"tooth pick" shoes, fleece lined underwear, and heavy socks.
Only "sports" wore garters. There were no winter and summer
suits, only a "second best" or a "scuff" suit, which was worn
every weekday of the year, and a Sunday suit for special occa-
sions. These fashions were replaced by the soft hat, soft shirt
with soft attached collars, and lighter weight suits for summer.
Heavy kersey overcoats, made to last for years, gave way to
lighter, though less serviceable, materials.
Fads in men's jewelry revealed interesting phases of the
life of the era. Emblems of trade were popular: a gold anvil
or horseshoe for blacksmiths, a jeweled beerkeg for bartenders,
an anchor or compass for sailors, and a miniature locomotive or
caboose for railroaders. Gold-headed canes and umbrellas were
signs of wealth, and hunting-case watches with heavy gold
chains were regarded as signs of prosperity.
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY 125
In the rural districts electricity was not yet in use for
power or lighting. Coal-oil lamps illuminated the homes, the
most convenient and elaborate of them having reflectors. The
most ingenious type was the hanging lamp, suspended from the
ceiling and raised or lowered by a small chain on pulleys.
Laundering was done by hand or with a hand-turned ma-
chine. The mechanical threshing machine was in general use,
but it was vastly different from today's model. In the early
part of the period threshing was done by a professional thresh-
ing crew which travelled from farm to farm. The machine was
powered by horses on a treadmill. This type was replaced by
the portable steam engine and later by gasoline motors. The
reaper, a horse-drawn machine which cut the grain and dropped
it untied to the ground, was rapidly being replaced by the
reaper and binder which not only cut the grain but tied it with
twine into sheaves in one process. The combination binder and
mowing-machine outmoded the scythe and grain-cradle except
for fence corners and small patches.
Every community had its gristmill where grain for stock
feed or flour for the family bread was ground on shares. By
preserving fruits, berries, and vegetables, the housewife of the
period was able to enjoy a degree of economic independence.
At the turn of the century rural folks depended on the grocery
store far less than they do now. Almost every household had
its sausage grinder, coff^ee grinder, and apple parer. Sugar,
weighed and packaged by the grocer; molasses, drawn from a
barrel into a jug; coffee, unground; and tea and spices were
purchased, not for cash, but in exchange for butter and eggs.
In the towns, milk was delivered to the door, not in bottles but
in the consumer's own container, at a price of five cents a quart.
The passing of the country store was regretted by many. It
was more than just a commercial enterprise; it was a civic insti-
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY 127
tution. It afforded a common meeting place for the people of
the locality; local and national news was gathered there; and
the great problems of the times were discussed. In time the
.sugar-bins, molasses-barrels, and the mummified cod and mack-
erel that hung from hooks or wires on the walls and ceiling
were replaced by the neatly arranged cans, bottles, cartons, and
packages of the later-day store.
Music, always an important factor in the cultural life of
the county, underwent a great change during this era. From
its beginning in 1831 the Repasz Band gained in popularity,
being in great demand for special functions throughout the state.
In Williamsport also were the Imperial Teteques, a unique mu-
sical body organized in 1894 as the Triple Tongue Quartette,
the Fisk Band, and the Stopper and Fisk Orchestra. Many of
the boroughs and larger towns also supported brass bands or
fife and drum corps. Musicales were frequently presented, and
many of the nation's best artists appeared.
An innovation which had a far-reaching effect in the field
of music was the perfection of the talking machine or phono-
graph. This instrument made it possible for people living in
lemote sections of the county to enjoy the country's most popu-
lar entertainers. It in large measure supplanted the guitar, vio-
lin, mouth-organ, and other instruments which produced home-
grown music. The phonograph popularized new songs and
music rapidly and the demand for new works brought forth a
^reat variety of songs ranging from semi-classical to modern jazz.
POPULAR SONGS AND HYMNS
A popular hymn of the period was, "When the Roll is
Called up Yonder I'll Be There," by James M. Black of Wil-
liamsport. Highly popular were the Indian songs "Hiawatha"
and "Red Wing," and the Hawaiian song "Aloha Oc." Other
128 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
songs in a lighter vein were "Yankee Doodle Boy/' "Alex-
ander's Rag-time Band," "Oh! You Beautiful Doll," "Sweet
Rosie O'Grady," "Down on the Farm," "I've Got Rings on
My Fingers," and "I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl That
Married Dear Old Dad."
This was the gay and interesting period when the waltz
dance for favor. A song popular among the exponents of the
new dance was "Waltz me around again Willie — around,
around, around; the music is dreamy, it's peaches and creamy;
Oh don't let my feet touch the ground." Then there was the
railroad song "Casey Jones," and two special favorites of vaude-
ville vocalists "I'm Afraid to Go Home in the Dark," and
"Please Don't Take Me Home."
The Swarthmore Chatauqua was a valuable contribution
to the culture of the county. It provided entertainment and en-
lightenment by presenting many of the country's most outstand-
ing musicians, speakers, and entertainers. The Chatauqua made
seven-day stands with new talent presented daily, afternoon and
The old Lycoming Opera House, erected in 1892 and
burned in 1915, was the theatrical center of the county. Al-
most all of the country's great theatrical stars, and most of the
leading stock and minstrel companies were seen there. During
the summer season the open air pavilion in Vallamont Park,
Williamsport, also presented excellent talent. A popular type of
entertainment during the early part of this era was the travel-
ing shows consisting of glass-blowers, ventriloquists, and Punch
and Judy or puppet shows.
Frequently came transient medicine shows, composed of a
group of entertainers similar to the minstrel show, the main
purpose of which was to sell medicines recommended for the
cure of any disease "that human flesh is heir to," were frequent
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY 129
Although baseball had been a popular sport some time
prior to the turn of the century, it was not until 1904 that or-
ganized professional baseball was introduced to Lycoming
County. In that year Williamsport joined with York, Harris-
burg, Altoona, Lebanon, and Wilmington to form the Tri-State
League. Originally this league was set up to include teams from
the three states, but New York did not join. Later Trenton
joined the league. The first pennant was won by York. The
next year Williamsport, which had acquired the name "Million-
aires" because of the excellent financial support given the club
by a group of affluent citizens, finished second. In 1907 and
1908 the Williamsport club won pennants. In 1910 the league
passed out of existence. The Williamsport "Grays" team is
now (1939) a member of the Class A Eastern League.
Football made its appearance in the early '90's but there
was no real organization of this sport. At the time of its in-
troduction it was still a game of brute strength, with laterals,
reverses, and spinners unknown. However, it rapidly grew in
popularity and in a few years most of the county schools
boasted teams. Penn State, Bucknell, and the Carlisle Indians
brought their teams to the Dickinson Seminary and the old Ath-
letic Park fields in Williamsport for games.
Golf had not yet attained a place in sports or recreation.
It was not until 1909 that courses were constructed and golf
began to grow in popularity.
Basketball, introduced early in the century, was played
only at the Y. M. C. A. After the World War it became a
major sport in the colleges and high schools. Boxing com-
manded considerable attention during this time. Exhibition
matches between Jim Jefi^ries and Bob Fitzsimmons and other
famous boxers were held, and several Lycoming County men
130 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
attained considerable prominence in this field. The most not-
able of these were the "three greats of Lycoming County":
Frankie Maguire, Tiger Thomas, and Jess Gilbert.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER XI
1. What were two important changes in the social life of Lycoming County
which took place between 1894 and 1914?
2. How did the industrial life of the county change during this period?
3. What added responsibility was assumed by the schools because of in-
4. What changes occurred in transportation methods?
5. Describe the curbstone market.
6. How did rural people benefit by the establishment of the Rural Free
Delivery and the Parcel Post?
7. Name the various early musical organizarions in the county?
The World War, Business Prosperity,
WHEN the factory whistles and church bells heralded A
New Year in 1914, the people of Lycoming County were
concerned with problems of unemployment; campaigns for
better roads, better homes, and better living conditions; pro-
posals for the prohibition of child labor and the limitation of
feminine employment in factories; movements to stop the
manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages and to grant equal
political rights to women.
In scores of factories and mills in Lycoming County con-
siderable unemployment existed. Because of a business depres-
sion throughout the nation, many establishments had curtailed
their operations and several had closed down. Agriculture, too,
was affected. Prices of many farm products were below pro-
duction costs. Farmers had difl&culty in finding a market for
their surplus products at any price. This economic condition
continued, with little improvement, until after the Presidential
campaign in 1915. By that time most of the nations of Europe
were at war.
When the World War began, few residents of the county
had any conception of the forces that were being set loose or of
the far-reaching effect the war would have on community and
national life. The war had not been waged very long before
England and France were in need of supplies and munitions in
enormous quantities. The United States, one of the few major
industrial and agricultural powers not yet involved in the con-
132 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
flict, was the only nation in a position to furnish these neces-
sities. In order to obtain war materials, England and France
appointed certain business and financial houses in the United
States to act as purchasing agents and to arrange credits. Huge
orders were placed in factories throughout the country. Many
of the companies were compelled to make mechanical changes
and to expand their plants in order to fill the orders. A notice-
able improvement in business conditions took place almost
In order to counteract the effects of the blockade which
England and France had placed against her shipping, Germany
soon initiated a campaign of unrestricted undersea warfare. This
action, together with the growing sentiment among the Amer-
ican people in favor of the Allies, finally brought the United
States into the war. A special session of Congress was called by
President Wilson, and on April 6, 1917, Congress declared
"that a state of war existed with Germany."
In Lycoming County the action of Congress was not un-
expected. Before the sinking of the Lusitania, sentiment in the
county had been equally divided between England and France
and their allies and Germany and her supporters. But shortly
before the declaration of public opinion had swung overwhelm-
ingly to the side of the Allies. In Williamsport, previous to the
declaration of war, arrangements were made by City Council,
local newspapers, and the fire department to sound all fire alarms
as soon as word was received. With the beginning of hostilities,
a Committee of Public Safety was formed in Lycoming County
to coordinate military and civil activities. One of its first duties
was the stationing of soldiers to guard the principal bridges,
factories, highways, and railroads. A public proclamation
warned all persons approaching bridges and other points under
guard to obey promptly military commands. Every phase of
community and individual life, related directly or indirectly
THE WORLD WAR, PROSPERITY, AND DEPRESSION 133
to the conduct of the war, was placed under the direction of the
full committee or one of its subcommittees. More than a dozen
subcommittees functioned in the county. Most important of
these were the Bureaus of Finance, Legislation, Publicity, Agri-
culture, Motors, Medicine and Sanitation, Home Guards, Plants
and Materials, Civic Relief, Commissary and Equipment, Fuel,
Recruiting, Transportation, and Enrollment.
Under the Selective Service Act every man within the age
limits prescribed by the Government was compelled to appear
at designated places for registration. From the registration lists
persons were drawn by number and inducted into military ser-
vice as needed. Because a number of Lycoming County men
had enlisted before the adoption of the draft law, the county's
first quota was considerably reduced.
The first contingent of draftees left Williamsport for Camp
Meade, Maryland, September 19, 1917, more than five months
after America's entry into the World War. Several months be-
fore, members of the National Guard and volunteers had left for
service. Each group called to camp was given a splendid send-
off by thousands of people gathered at the railroad stations. The
Repasz Band, for many years considered one of the best brass
bands in the country, was mustered into service as a unit. Re-
named the Marine Band, it toured the county, appearing in re-
cruiting drives and Liberty Loan campaigns. A total of 3,170
men from Lycoming County rendered military service during
the war. Of this number 1,296 were enlistments — 207 in the
navy and 1,089 in various branches of the army. A total of
1,874 were inducted into service under the selective draft law,
900 from Williamsport and 974 from the county outside of the
city. Casualties among Lycoming County men totaled 311.
The passage of the Selective Service Act solved the prob-
lem of supplying men to the army, but the problem of main-
taining our own army and those of our allies became quite
134 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
serious. As greater numbers of men from all walks of life were
drawn into the armed forces, while orders for war materials
poured into the factories of the county, hundreds of women
took places vacated by men. Despite the entrance of women into
industry, a grave labor shortage occurred. So serious did the
shortage become during the latter period of the war that em-
ployers joined in a public appeal to workers to refrain from
changing their places of employment.
Many articles necessary to the conduct of the war were
manufactured in Lycoming County factories. Shells, shell cases,
field desks, army shoes, shirts and uniforms, powder bags, and
equipment for chemical and dyestuflF manufacture were among
the county's wartime products. Of importance in the protection
of shipping were mine nets and mine cables manufactured by the
Williamsport Wire Rope Company.
In addition to the task of feeding an American army on
foreign soil there was the responsibility of supplying food to
the armies and civil populations of our Allies. Before the termi-
nation of the war the capacity of both farm and factory was
taxed to the utmost. More than four million men had been
taken from the industries and farms of the United States to serve
in various military activities. The necessity of conserving food,
fuel, and other war supplies became so great that a nation-wide
campaign to avoid waste and duplication was inaugurated. Food
and fuel were the articles most in need. In order to conserve the
supply of these, a Food Administrator was appointed in each
county. Certain days were set aside each week when the people
were urged to abstain from using certain kinds of food and cer-
tain types of fuel.
There came into existence "meatless days," "wheatless
days," and "gasoline-less days." To avoid a serious curtailment
THE WORLD WAR, PROSPERITY, AND DEPRESSION 135
of factory production, a national campaign was conducted to
induce householders not to maintain temperatures in their homes
above 65° Fahrenheit and to avoid wasteful use of electricity,
gas, and kerosene. Restrictions were placed upon the use of elec-
tricity for window display lighting. Prices of food, fuel, cloth-
ing, shelter and other commodities skyrocketed. During the last
months of the war, sugar, wheat and other essential foods could
be obtained only in rationed quantities. Retail food merchants
were compelled to keep strict account of the names and addresses
of purchasers and the amount of sugar obtained. In the last
month of the war, the use of sugar was restricted to three pounds
per person per month and the allowance to hotels and restau-
rants was three pounds for each ninety meals served. Because
wheat was a basic product, a mandatory regulation provided that
each purchaser of white flour must buy an equal quantity of
grain cereal substitute. Food substitutes came into more or less
general use. Chicory was used for coflFee, oleomargarine for
butter, and vegetable shortening for lard, to mention but a few.
To discourage profiteering and to insure a just price to both re-
tailer and consumer, a fair price list was issued weekly by the
food administrator. Its purpose was to give information con-
cerning fair prices, and at the same time to assure a just profit
to the handlers. Soon after the signing of the Armistice on No-
vember 11, 1918, restrictions on the sale of food and fuel were
somewhat relaxed, but not until months after the end of the
war did conditions approach normalcy. Local administrators
were invested with authority to enforce rules and regulations
pertaining to the conservation of food and fuel, but most of
them were voluntary. However, behind the regulations was a
strong public opinion, backed by the newspapers and churches.
The raising of money to finance the war was a major task.
In addition to unprecedented taxes on income and special sales
136 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
taxes on luxuries and many necessities, the Federal Government
was forced to raise billions of dollars by the sale of "Liberty
Bonds." Every cross-roads hamlet, village and town, every
ward in the city, was visited by volunteer speakers asking the
people to purchase these bonds. Through the efforts of the Sal-
vation Army, the American Red Cross, the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association, Knights of Columbus, and many other local
organizations, thousands of dollars were raised in Lycoming
County. The county subscribed its quota of bonds and thrift
stamps, and also contributed generously to funds raised by the
various organizations. Thrift stamps priced as low as 25 cents
each were sold to pupils in the county schools. Bankers, busi-
ness-men, and manufacturers, cooperated by assisting their em-
ployees to purchase Liberty Bonds on the installment plan.
During the World War, an influenza epidemic swept the
county, taxing local medical facilities to the limit. The simi-
larity of this disease to the common grippe caused many persons
to disregard preventive measures until the malady had taken a
foothold. At the height of the epidemic, health authorities esti-
mated that in Williamsport alone there were one thousand cases
of influenza, and in the county a thousand more. Most of the
preliminary measures adopted by city and county health boards
had little effect on the spread of the epidemic. On October 4,
1918, the Williamsport Health Board, composed of the Mayor
and City Council, issued an order closing all schools, churches,
clubs, pool rooms, bowling alleys, public libraries, and theatres,
and prohibiting all public meetings either indoors or out. Since
most medical men and health officials were of the opinion that
the disease was spread by close association in crowds or gather-
ings, the ban against public meetings was extended and schools
and churches were not permitted to reopen for several weeks.
The epidemic struck with such great force that factories manufac-
THE WORLD WAR, PROSPERITY, AND DEPRESSION 137
turing munitions and other war supplies were crippled. The
disease seemed to be particularly severe among apparently healthy
and robust persons. It was many months before the epidemic
had spent its force, and in almost every home some member of
the family was stricken.
For some time after the signing of the Armistice, industry
and agriculture were carried along by the war momentum. A
number of contracts for war materials held by county manu-
facturers did not expire with the end of the war, but, in several
instances, continued to keep factories busy for many months.
The fulfillment of these contracts and the return of soldiers
from overseas soon created a severe unemployment problem. By
1921 the situation had become so acute that a State employment
office was established in Williamsport. Beginning in the summer
of 1922, business improved and unemployment was reduced.
During the twenties the county embarked upon a period
of industrial expansion paralleled only by the lumber boom of
fifty years before. This upswing surpassed even that of the war
period. Everywhere in the county additions were being made
in plants and equipment. Real estate values soared to new levels.
In Williamsport alone, approximately $2,000,000 in building
permits were issued in one year, and the county experienced the
greatest building boom of its history. In 1924 and 1925 more
than a thousand new homes were erected. Surplus savings ac-
counts in the banks of the county reached a total in 1924 higher
than at any time since 1900. Christmas savings accounts were
exceedingly popular. The banks of Williamsport paid out more
than $600,000 in these accounts in 1924. During this period
the motor car completed its conquest of the horse and buggy
as a means of transportation. Automobile dealers reported the
sale of approximately four thousand trucks in 1924 at an esti-
mated cost, including maintenance for the year, of more than
138 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
$4,000,000. Many of the trucks were powered by motors
made in the county.
This era of prosperity was marked with a movement to-
ward friendlier relations between employer and employee. In-
surance and pension systems were inaugurated. A number of
industrial concerns installed cafeterias in their plants, organized
bands or orchestras, and equipped athletic fields. High wages
and an easy flow of money brought many improvements not
only in the industrial but also in the social and educational
structure of the county. Public camps, playgrounds, and amuse-
ment places were established and immediately received public
The first rural community vocational school was estab-
lished in the county in 1922, and junior high schools with
classes in home economics were inaugurated two years later.
Household duties were lightened by the increased use of
electrical appliances. The development and improvement in radio
provided the home with a new source of entertainment and en-
Unlike many other sections of the United States, Lycom-
ing County was fortunate in that the post-war boom continued
for a longer period. Even the stock market crash in the fall of
1929, when prices of stocks and bonds dropped to extremely
low levels had little immediate effect upon the county and its
Industry continued on an even keel until the early spring
of 1930, when there was a sharp decline in all commodity
prices. This was followed by a curtailment in industrial ac-
tivities and unemployment soon became a serious problem. In
November 1930 a group of public spirited business men in Wil-
liamsport formed a "Central Emergency Relief Committee" to
distribute food and clothing to the needy unemployed. All of
the work of this committee was done by non-salaried volunteers.
THE WORLD WAR, PROSPERITY, AND DEPRESSION 139
Money to carry on the work was contributed by various com-
panies, organizations, and individuals, and by means of benefit
performances and dances. The first C. E. R. C. report for the
period from November 24, 1930 to April 11, 1931, showed
expenditures of approximately $28,000. Approximately one-
fifth of the population of the city was given assistance.
In addition to food and clothing, coal, coke, and fire wood
were supplied to needy families. Doctors and dentists provided
medical care, and drugstores filled prescriptions at cost. In con-
junction with its other activities the C. E. R. C. conducted a
city-wide survey of the unemployed and appointed an employ-
ment sub-committee whose function was to place men in part-
time or permanent jobs. An important feature of the employ-
ment sub-committee was the "re-training program" by which
men who had lost jobs were taught other occupations. During
the first year the committee obtained 10,169 days of work for
The C. E. R. C. during its two years of existence pre-
vented a great deal of suffering among the unemployed. Because
of the work of this organization and the extensive road building
program of the .State Department of Highways, unemployment
in the county was kept at a minimum until 1932. During the
summer and fall of 1931 more than a hundred miles of high-
way were constructed, a job which provided work for more
than 800 men. In 1932, with the passage of the Talbot Act,
money for relief purposes was provided by the state. Under this
system relief was administered through a County Relief Board
composed of twelve persons.
Distribution of food, fuel, and clothing by the county
relief board was accomplished under the so-called "Commissary
Plan." Relief was administered by volunteers. All funds were
used for the purchase of food and other necessities. When it
became apparent that the relief problem was a long term propo-
1 40 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
sition, the State Board made provision for administrative ex-
penses and assumed direct responsibility for the distribution of
Under the State Emergency Relief Administration the
"Community Market System" was adopted. The purpose of
this method was to provide the recipient with a properly bal-
anced diet at a low cost to the taxpayers. In September, 1933,
the Community Market System was discontinued, and a budget
system established. Under this system relief was given in a uni-
form manner throughout the state. The peak of the relief case
load in Lycoming County occurred in March and April of 1934
when the total number of cases reached 4,500, representing ap-
proximately 22,000 persons. By July 1936 the load had fallen
to 1,100 cases.
WORK PROGRAM ESTABLISHED
The Works Progress Administration was established July
1, 1935. From that date until the end of the third fiscal year
on June 30, 1938, a total of $5,343,170 was expended for
work relief in Lycoming County. Of this amount, $4,830,350
was paid out in wages, with $512,805 representing the cost of
material and equipment. In June, 1938, W. P. A. was employ-
ing 3,120 persons in the county. The greatest number em-
ployed at any one time was during the two-month period im-
mediately following the flood of March 1936, when 3,637
persons were on the rolls. Every employable man eligible for
relief work was pressed into the task of clearing up the debris
resulting from the flood.
The program of the W. P. A. was designed to provide
jobs for unemployed persons of all classes including "white-
collar" and professional and skilled tradesmen. Both men and
women were employed. In June 1938, women's and profes-
sional projects in the county employed 627 persons, 42 of whom
were engaged in educational and recreational work.
THE WORLD WAR, PROSPERITY, AND DEPRESSION 141
A major portion of the W. P. A. program has been con-
cerned with the improvement of the county's highways. This
work took on many forms. Pavements were widened, shoulders,
and berms were stabilized and graded; ditches and drains opened
up and improved ; curves eliminated or eased ; bridges constructed
or repaired ; retaining walls to prevent washouts and slides were
built; and banks cleared of debris, fallen leaves and brush. On a
number of important traffic routes in the county projects for
landscaping and beautifying the rights-of-way were operated.
W. P. A. projects have improved in one way or another 49
miles of primary highways, 30 miles of berms and shoulders,
two miles of drainage and in addition have widened 1 7 miles of
pavement. Rural or farm-to-market roads also have been im-
proved under the program. Twenty and one-half miles of
streets were paved, one mile and a half repaved, 56 miles im-
proved and three miles of sidewalk laid in Williamsport and
boroughs of the county. Other phases of public work include
the construction or improvement of recreational facilities, such
as parks, tennis courts, athletic fields, and swimming pools.
During the three years 1935-1938, three new school buildings
have been built, 56 rehabilitated, and additions made to two
others. Twenty-four municipal buildings have been improved
and three new public structures erected. Flood hazards along
most of the important streams of the county have been elimi-
nated. A modern airport and hangar were constructed at Mon-
Shortly after the establishment of the work program, it
was recognized that many needy persons were not able to per-
form manual labor. Many eligible persons had educational
qualifications which could be utilized on educational and recrea-
tional projects. Thirty-nine educational centers were established.
Among the subjects taught in these centers were English, music,
naturalization, parliamentary law, public speaking, dramatics.
142 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
sewing, auto mechanics, Diesel and electrical engineering, build-
ing construction, shop mathematics, and tool maintenance. The
W. P. A. also provided instructors for the Williamsport Re-
training School which had been created in 1931. This school, a
cooperative enterprise, diagnoses the causes of individual unem-
ployment, offers vocational training, and assists the student in
adjusting himself to changing industrial requirements. More than
200 representatives of industries in the county cooperate with
the school in placing retrained men in jobs. The success of the
school has attracted considerable attention throughout the coun-
Another important depression activity is that of the Na-
tional Youth Administration, which gives assistance to students
who are without funds to continue their studies. During the
three years of N. Y, A. ending June 30, 1938, the sum of
$34,145 was spent for this phase of assistance in Lycoming
Information pertaining to W. P. A. activities was obtained from report
of W. P. A. District, No. 8, now No. 4, for period 1935-1938.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER XII
1 . What was the condition of industry and agriculture in Lycoming County
2. How did the World War affect local industry?
3. What were the duties of the Committee of Public Safety in Lycoming
4. What measures were adopted to conserve food and fuel?
5. What methods were used to finance the war?
6. How was the influenza epidemic combatted in Lycoming County?
7. When did Lycoming County experience its greatest building boom?
8. How did the Central Emergency Relief Committee combat unemploy-
9. What has the Works Progress Administration done in Lycoming
IN area the county contains 1,220 square miles, situated be-
tween the ridge belt and the Allegheny plateau, its topog-
raphy varies from rugged mountains to the flat river plain. The
boundary line of the Allegheny plateau borders the northern
limits of Shrewsbury, Mill Creek, Eldred, and Hepburn Town-
ships, and from the northwest corner of the latter township, it
runs southwestward to the county line in Watson Township.
The ridge belt lies south of this line and the Allegheny plateau
north of it.
The southern half of the county consists of a hilly low-
land ranging in elevation from about 500 feet in the river
valleys to 1,000 feet on the hill-tops. The northern half is a
plateau with an elevation of about 2,000 feet. This plateau
is dissected by several large creeks, each of which has a valley
about a thousand feet deep. The highest elevation in the county
is more than 2,300 feet.
The streams have cut deep valleys through which they flow
rapidly, and the process of stream cutting is still active. The
West Branch of the Susquehanna River has a fall of about 3
feet a mile; the larger tributaries descend from 8 to 30 feet a
mile; and many of the small streams in the mountains have
gradients ranging from 100 to 200 or more feet a mile.
Population is densest in the valley of the West Branch,
and the more important towns are located there. The moun-
tainous regions are sparsely settled except along the railroads
and in the lowland belts. The population is made up of native-
CONTEMPORARY SCENE 145
born whites, with many families of German and Irish extraction
and a sprinkling of other nationalities in the industrial centers.
The early settlers came largely from the southeastern part of the
State. The population of the county, according to the 1930
census, is 93,421, an increase of 12.4 per cent over the 1920
figure. Growth of the county is shown by the following census
figures: 1870. 47,626; 1880, 57,486; 1890, 70,579; 1900,
75,663; and 1910, 80,813.
Lycoming County lies entirely within the drainage basin
of the West Branch. Its most important tributaries are Pine,
Lycoming, Loyalsock, and Muncy Creeks, all of which drain the
section of the county north and east of the river. Pine, Loyal-
sock, and Lycoming Creeks rise in lowland belts of the plateau
region outside the county, but in Lycoming County they cut
through elevated sections of the plateau and form narrow val-
leys 1,000 to 1,500 feet in depth. Little Muncy, Little Pine,
and Larrys Creeks all have rather extensive drainage basins with-
in the county. Nippenose Valley is drained by subterranean
streams which disappear when they reach the limestone strata
underlying the valley. Uniting under ground, they emerge in an
immense spring at the valley outlet and form Nippenose Creek,
which cuts a rugged gap through Bald Eagle Mountain. This
stream joins the West Branch opposite Jersey Shore.
With the exception of Williamsport, Lycoming County
is without a large industrial center. There are nine boroughs
with a combined population of 22,557 (1930) which, with
the population of Williamsport, makes a total of 68,286 resi-
dents in the more thickly populated centers. Since the total
population of the county is 93,421 (1930), roughly one-
quarter of the residents live in rural sections. If all centers of
population under 2,500 are classed as rural, the farm population
would figure approximately 27 people to the square mile.
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Third Street, Williamsport, looking East, during 1936 Flood
The 1935 census gives the number of farms as 3,014.
They range in size from less than 3 acres, of which there are
14, to more than 1,000 acres, of which there are 4. The farms
average 100 acres in area. The average value of the farms is
$3,676. Although many of the farms are thin of soil and
poorly cultivated, the greater number are in an excellent state of
production and yield sufficient income to support a large part
of the population.
The typical Lycoming countian is proud of his county
and its historical background. He firmly believes that his county
is the favored spot of the world, and no amount of argument
will cause him to retract. He loves to tell of the significant
CONTEMPORARY SCENE 147
part his locality has played in the development of the state and
nation. He recites tales of pioneering days on the turbulent
Susquehanna and stories of trips through the wilderness from
Philadelphia. The clearing of land, the building of homes and
the reaping of the first crops are subjects for familiar stories
handed down from father to son, mother to daughter. Family
ties are closely held, and there is considerable interest in geneal-
ogy. The interest in history is exemplified by collections of
documents and relics brought together by local historians and
anthropologists. The Lycoming Historical Society in Wil-
liamsport and the Muncy Historical Society have been particu-
larly active in the field of research and in the preservation of
historical data. There are several excellent privately owned col-
lections in the county.
Because of excellent communication and transportation
facilities, the average resident of the county frequently attends
grange and fraternal gatherings, and is usually well informed
in current events. He is keenly interested in politics, conversant
with topics of the day, and he usually has definite ideas and
opinions regarding them. He will travel miles to listen to a po-
litical speech and will sacrifice a night's sleep to march in a
In matters of culture the county was quick to accept the
idea of public education, and the philosophy of common schools
was early entrenched. When an attempt to repeal the Free School
Act, of 1834, was being made throughout the state, friends of
education in Lycoming County vigorously fought the move-
ment, and made their influence felt, not only in the retention of
the original act, but also in securing valuable amendments.
Unique in the history of education in the state was the
founding of the Lycoming County Normal School of Muncy,
which was a pioneer of this type. District teachers' institutes
which are now so popular throughout the state, owe much to
148 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
this institution for their origin. This school, during its sixty
years of existence, sent forth many scholars who later took
prominent places in the educational institutions and school sys-
tem of the state. Dr. Charles A. Lose of Montoursville, oldest
educator in the county in years of service, was an early principal
of this school. He later held the position of County Superin-
tendent of Schools, Superintendent of Schools of Williamsport,
Principal of the Central State Normal School at Lock Haven,
President of Pennsylvania State Educational Association, and
was a Member of the General Assembly for three terms. The
late Dr. J. George Becht also was a principal of this institution.
Through various educational stages, he was elevated to the posi-
tion of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The same exper-
ience holds true with Dr. Lester K. Ade who was Superintendent
of Public Instruction 1935-1939. The above mentioned are
but a few of the many men and women who have gone forth
from this school to fill important positions.
From the time when pioneers hunted the deer and wild
turkey by day and feasted and danced about the fireplace by
night, the people of Lycoming County have been a sporting,
pleasure-loving, light-hearted folk. There has always been
time for sport and recreation here. Because of a wide diversifica-
tion of landscape, the county is particularly attractive to de-
votees of hunting, fishing, and hiking. Its rugged, forest-
covered hills and mountains, its green valleys, and its rushing
streams oflFer healthful out-of-doors recreation to everyone.
The mountain streams are particularly suitable for trout
because of their gravelly and rocky bottoms and their sharp
descent. These swift pure streams provide ideal habitats for
three species of trout: the brook or charr, a native fish and the
region's favorite; the rainbow, popular and game, brought from
the Pacific coast; and the brown trout, imported from Europe.
In the larger, slower streams the angler has a wide range in
CONTEMPORARY SCENE 149
which to exercise his art. Depending on the time, the place, and
his luck he may land one of the following species: large or
small mouth black bass, pickerel, wall-eyed pike, catfish, suckers,
<;arp, eels, yellow perch, rock bass, sunfish, chubs and any of the
various types of minnows.
A network of improved roads gives the hunter easy access
to the remotest mountain regions, and the county is literally
peppered with hunting and fishing lodges. It is estimated that
of the 127,000 deer killed in Pennsylvania during the 1938
season, Lycoming contributed 8,000. More than 350 bears were
killed in the season. Ringneck pheasants are plentiful and they
are hunted extensively. The State Game Farm at Loyalsockville
raises thousands of game birds annually for stocking purposes.
Trappers and hunters of fur-bearing animals may seek the valu-
able beaver, fox, mink, raccoon, wild cat, skunk, and weasel.
THE FLOOD OF 1936
Of the many floods which have visited the county since
its settlement, the one which swept through the West Branch
Valley in March 1936 was by far the most widespread.
The winter of 1935-1936 had been a season of unusual
severity. For weeks the temperature registered close to the zero
mark and there were record snowfalls. The mountains and val-
leys were blanketed to the depth of several feet. The river and
its tributaries were frozen. In March sudden warm weather
thawed the deep snows, and rain fell heavily in the watershed
drained by the river. Despite these threatening conditions the
residents were not alarmed when the river overflowed its banks
in a number of places. The rain stopped falling and colder
weather caused the water to recede without causing great damage.
Several days later it began to rain again. A warm sun
melted the snow so quickly that water ran off^ the hillsides in
torrents. On the night of March 17, at 9 o'clock, the Disaster
A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Looking South on Market Street from Pennsylvania Railroad
in Williamsport during the 1936 Flood
Preparedness and Relief Committee was called together and
met in the Grit ofl&ce. Steps were immediately taken to prepare
for the emergency. A warning was broadcast by radio urging
the people living in the threatened area to move to elevated sec-
tions. The fire whistle also sounded the warning. Thousands
of persons left their homes and went to higher ground.
Throughout the night the flood warnings continued. By
morning the Susquehanna had overflowed its banks, and water
swirled through the lower sections of cities and towns along
its course. The Lycoming and Loyalsotk creeks left their banks
and grew to the size of rivers.
CONTEMPORARY SCENE 1 5 1
At 3:30 A.M. the river stage at Williamsport had reached
a height of 23 feet 1 1 inches. Five hours later the gauge regis-
tered 27 feet 6 inches, and during the night flood stage reached
the unprecedented height of 33.9 feet. Almost two-thirds of
the municipality was covered with water, in some places more
than ten feet deep. Most of the business and industrial district
was in the flooded area. The waters deluged all but a few of
the manufacturing establishments, most of the churches, all of
the theatres, many schools, public buildings, hotels, and thou-
sands of homes.
Hundreds of marooned persons were rescued in boats. At
the height of the flood, water swept through streets and build-
ings with terrific force, carrying debris, breaking windows and
doors, and overturning automobiles. Telegraph and telephone
lines were broken and railroad tracks wiped out. The only
contact with the outer world was the radio. Station WRAK
broadcast thousands of personal and business messages. With
the cooperation of several amateur stations service was main-
tained 24 hours a day.
Although losses were enormous, hundreds of thousands of
dollars in goods were saved by the advance warnings. Despite
the damage, only three lives were lost, a child at Williamsport
and two men near Jersey Shore.
Shortly before daybreak on Thursday morning, March
19, the water began to recede. The downtown business district
was guarded against looters. Although guards prevented pre-
sons from entering parts of the city which had been flooded, ex-
cept on business, hundreds of men, women, and children began
to sweep out the mud in a seemingly hopeless attempt to restore
a semblance of order.
An army of volunteer workers joined established agencies
in relief work. Thousands of families were sheltered and fed
152 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
in school buildings outside the flooded area. Countless others
were given quarters in private homes.
Governmental agencies placed their entire forces at the dis-
posal of the stricken communities. The Civilian Conservation
Corps and the Works Progress Administration employed hun-
dreds of men in cleaning out flooded cellars and in spreading
disinfectants. The American Red Cross played its part in the
rehabilitation of financially embarrassed flood victims. Assist-
ance came from all parts of the state. Food, fuel, and clothing
were sent from other districts by the truckloads. At one time
so much of this material was available that it was diverted to
other areas. The Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee
was formed about four years prior to the flood of 1936, hence
was ready for immediate action when the necessity arose. Had
it not been for the warning issued by it the loss of life and
property would have been much greater. Although the per-
sonnel has been changed the committee is still intact and in case
of an emergency functions in conjunction with the Lycoming
County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
THE LAST RAFT
The greatest news event in Lycoming County during 1938
was the tragedy of Pennsylvania's "Last Raft." The lives of
seven men were lost when the log craft crashed against the piers
of the railroad bridge at Muncy, March 20, 1938, while on
its historic trip down the West Branch of the Susquehanna
River. Without warning, a happy carefree journey, heralded
as a last tribute to the daring raftsmen of the logging days, sud-
denly turned to tragedy before the horrified eyes of hundreds
The men who perished in the disaster were Harry C. Con-
nor, of Burnside, chief pilot; Dr. Charles F. Taylor, Burgess of
Montgomery; Thomas C. Profiitt, of Chester, newsreel cam-
View of Williamspott, 1854
eraman; Harold Bcrringer, of Tyrone; Malcolm McFarland, of
Montclair; W. W. Holly, of Bradford; and W. C. VanScoyoc,
The raft, 112 feet long and 28 feet wide, was built of
giant white pine logs cut from the forests near McGees Mills,
Clearfield County, near the source of the West Branch. R.
Dudley Tonkin, of Clearfield, one of the surviving members
of an old lumbering family, suggested the project to re-enact a
typical rafting scene from the hewing of the timber to the final
"tie-up" a hundred or more miles down the river. The proposal
aroused enthusiastic support.
On Monday, March 14, the raft, containing 35,000 feet
of timber, was pushed into the swirling water about four miles
154 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
west of McGces Mills and after the short trip to the Mills was
anchored for the night.
The official start began early in the morning of March
15th. Manned by a crew of six men and carrying 38 passengers,
the raft moved out of McGees Mills on a four-foot rise in the
river. Hundreds of persons lined the shores as it got under way.
At nightfall the party reached Clearfield, where it received
a rousing welcome. On Wednesday morning the raft left Clear-
field. It was maneuvered successfully over the dam and headed
for Karthaus. A cold rain fell during the day, but bad weather
could not dampen the enthusiasm of the raftsmen. At Karthaus
the current was too swift to allow the craft to be moored, so
the tie-up was made at Salt Lick Landing.
Anchor was again lifted on Thursday morning. After
Buttermilk Falls and the Cataracts had been negotiated, the
raft party stopped at Keating for a noontime snack. Renovo
was reached before dark.
At Renovo a great crowd greeted the raft. Hundreds of
school children boarded it in small groups, and in a ceremony
on the river bank, the raftsmen were given the keys to the town.
Lock Haven was the next port of call. The run from
Renovo was completed by 3:30 P.M., on Friday, March 18th.
The rivermen were entertained at a banquet by the Chamber
of Commerce and the lumber pioneers were eulogized.
On Saturday the voyagers were thrilled when Harry Con-
nor, the chief pilot, shot the raft over a five foot drop at the
Lock Haven dam. The feat was accomplished without a mishap
and a few minutes later the raft was tied up long enough to
take on several passengers.
Between Lock Haven and Williamsport large crowds
watched the progress of the raft. Shortly after 1 P.M. the craft
slid under the bridge at Jersey Shore at a speed of approximately
four miles an hour, but it was 8 o'clock when it docked at
Russell Inn, first house erected in Williamsport, 1796
Maynard Street, Williamsport. Because of the hour, formal
celebration of its arrival was curtailed, but the excursionists
were welcomed by the Mayor and members of City Council.
Shortly after daybreak the next day, Sunday, crowds of
persons gathered at the riverbanks to see the raft. They watched
with anxious eyes as it glided gracefully through the chute and
tied up at the Market Street bridge. Here more passengers were
taken on and the journey continued. As the current whirled
the raft along, those aboard were in high spirits. Except for a
slight scraping against one of the highway bridge piers north
of Muncy there was no portent of the danger which was to
inject tragedy into the gay voyage.
156 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
As the raft neared the Muncy railroad bridge the pas-
sengers saw the huge crowd which jammed the span. Suddenly,
Ord Tonkin, a lookout, yelled that the raft was heading for
one of the bridge piers, and the riders braced themselves for
the expected jar.
With a loud crack the bow of the raft plowed into the
abutment. The tail swung around, hurling nearly everyone
on board into the swift icy water. Men floundered in the
wreckage, trying to grasp a piece of timber for support. Rescue
parties saved thirty-eight persons. The bodies of the seven
drowned were recovered only after days of dragging and dyna-
miting the river.
An inquest held by Coroner Thomas C Brandon, of Ly-
coming County, declined to fix responsibility for the disaster.
Later the raft was repaired and with John B. Myers as
pilot and Edward Winner as head steersman, it was floated to
Old Heck's Mill, eight miles north of Harrisburg. Here the logs
were manufactured into lumber and sold.
QUESTIONS CHAPTER XIII
1. What is the area of Lycoming County?
2. What is the population of Lycoming County?
3. How many farms were there in the county according to the 1930 census?
4. What county groups are active in historical work?
5. Make a list of the men from Lycoming County who have made great
contributions to education.
6. Why is Lycoming County suitable for hunting and fishing?
7. What was the height of the water in Williamsport during the flood of
8. How was relief given to flood victims?
9. What agencies aided flood sufferers?
10. What was the reason for the journey of the "Last Raft"?
BEFORE the Declaration of Independence the Province of
Pennsylvania was governed by the Penns and their repre-
sentatives or governors. Since most of these officers were sent
from abroad and hence were not Pennsylvanians, their services
were not satisfactory either to the Penns or the colonists. Op-
position to this kind of government increased through the years
until November 1765, when an envoy was sent to England to
present the situation to the King. The controversy did not
terminate until the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, when
the proprietary government ended and was replaced by the State
Government. At that time Lycoming County was a part of
Northumberland, with Sunbury as its county seat. During the
first years of the war the people living in the territory which
now embraces Lycoming County were so demoralized by the
demands made upon them by Colonial authorities and by Indian
troubles that the machinery of civil government broke down.
It was not until the close of the war that the administration of
justice was reestablished on a firm basis.
On April 13, 1795, Lycoming County was created. Soon
afterwards, governmental machinery was set up and put in mo-
tion. With certain changes, improvements, and additions this
system of civil government still exists. Today the political
divisions of Lycoming County consist of one incorporated city,
nine boroughs and forty-two townships, each division to a
degree, having its own system of government. Lycoming is a
158 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
county of the sixth class. (By Act of Assembly, July 10, 1919,
it was declared that those counties having a population of fifty
thousand and more but less than one hundred thousand inhabi-
tants, shall constitute counties of the sixth class) , Its govern-
mental set-up conforms with that of other counties of that
Townships are incorporated under the general townships
laws of Pennsylvania, and derive their powers from these laws.
Williamsport was designated the county seat during the first
year of the county's existence, and the public buildings of the
county were erected there. The first jail was erected in 1801
and the first court house in 1804.
The court house contains all the county offices. The most
important offices of the county government, with a brief outline
of the duties, powers, and functions of each, the term of office,
the amount of compensation, and the method of selection are
described below. For more complete information it is sug-
gested that the student consult the Pennsylvania Code.
In listing the rank of the various officials who comprise
the purely county officers, outside of the judiciary, the sheriflF
is the highest ranking executive officer. The designation is de-
rived from the two words, shire (county) and reeve (admin-
istrator) . The authority of the Sheriff is displaced only when
martial law is declared by the Governor of the State. He is
elected by majority vote of the electors of the county and is for-
bidden by state law to "succeed himself." The salary is $4,000
a year. The chief duties of the office are to conduct SheriflF's
sales, execute judgments and writs, execute orders of the court,
deputize persons in case of riots or emergencies, and keep in
custody all prisoners in the county jail. He must produce before
the court when so ordered by the court, any persons legally com-
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: COUNTY 159
mitted to his care. The Sheriff is empowered with the authority
to make arrests for violations of the law ; has custody of prison-
ers being sent to other institutions, and he must be present when
the jury commissioners make up the jury lists. He is assisted by
two deputies. Lycoming County has had but one woman
Sheriff. Mrs. Mable Gray, widow of Thomas M. Gray, was
appointed by Governor Pinchot, in 1923, to serve the unex-
pired term of her husband. She was the first woman Sheriff
in the State.
Second in rank among the county officials is the Coroner.
The office is elective, for a term of four years. His most im-
portant duty is to investigate accidental deaths, homicides, and
other deaths not believed to be due to natural causes, and make
a report with recommendations to the District Attorney. Only
the Coroner has the authority to arrest a Sheriff. In the event
of the sheriff's death the coroner automatically assumes that
office and serves until a successor is appointed by the Governor.
The Governor also appoints a successor to the Coroner in the
event of death or resignation. There is no stipulated annual
salary, the compensation being based upon a fee and mileage
He is the chief legal representative of the Commonwealth
in criminal cases for the county. It is the duty of the District
Attorney and his assistants to present the Commonwealth's
evidence to the Grand Jury, and where a "true bill" or indict-
ment is found, to represent the Commonwealth in a trial before
a Petit Jury. He is elected for a term of four years at an annual
salary of $3,125. By a recent act of Assembly, the salary
will be increased to $3,800 per annum, with two assistants
whose salaries will be $2,500 and $2,000, per year, respec-
1 60 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
tively. In case of death or resignation, a successor is appointed
by the President Judge.
The Board of County Commissioners is composed of three
members, elected for a term of four years at an annual salary of
$3,000 each, not more than two of whom may be of the same
political party. They are in reality the managers of the business
affairs of the county. Besides being the custodians of all county
property, their office acts as a clearing-house for all county
transactions. All county funds, which in the case of Lycoming
County, amount to nearly three-fourths of a million dollars
annually, are disbursed through this office. The commissioners
also keep the permanent registration records of the voters of the
county. If a vacancy occurs, a successor is appointed by the
court to serve the unexpired term. A chief clerk to the commis-
sioners is appointed by the commissioners at a salary set by the
Salary Board. This board is composed of the county commis-
sioners, the county treasurer and three county auditors. It is
their duty to fix the compensation of the deputies, clerks, jani-
tors, and other minor employees of the county.
This office in Lycoming County carries four commissions
from the Governor of the State: Clerk of the Court of Quarter
Sessions, Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, Clerk of the
Court of Oyer and Terminer, and Clerk of Naturalization
Court. Its duties are varied and important. All court records
except those of Orphans' Court are kept in this office. As an
agent of the State, the Prothonotary collects taxes on tran-
scripts and writs, for which he receives a small fee in addition
to his yearly salary of $4,000. The office is elective for a term
of four years and in event of death a successor is appointed
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: COUNTY 161
by the court. A deputy is appointed by the Prothonotary and
has full authority during the Prothonotary 's absence.
REGISTER AND RECORDER
He is elected for a term of four years at an annual salary
of $4,000. In addition he receives fees for his Commonwealth
work. The duties of this important office are varied. As Re-
corder of Deeds it is the duty of this office to receive and enter
for record all deeds, mortgages and other acknowledged legal
instruments, such as power of attorney and various forms of
releases, and to place them on record in the various dockets fur-
nished by the county for that purpose. This officer also permits
the satisfaction of mortgages by proper authority, and upon
proper proof of payment, so marks it on the indices of both the
mortgagor and mortgagee. He records all commissions of coun-
ty officials, including aldermen, justices of the peace, and no-
taries public and records the date when commissions were re-
ceived by him from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. As
Register of Wills, he issues letters testamentary, enters them in
the proper dockets, and indexes and files them in the estate of
decedent. He receives for record all partial and final accounts
of executors, administrators and trustees under wills, also final
accounts of guardians of minors, properly advertises and certi-
fies these accounts, and presents them to the court for confirma-
tion. As Clerk of Orphans' Court, he receives and records all
orders issued by the Judges of Orphans' Court. He also receives,
files, and confirms all reports of auditors appointed by the Court.
Among his duties is the issuance of marriage licenses.
The treasurer is elected for a term of four years at an an-
nual salary of $4,000. He is forbidden by law to succeed him-
self and is bonded to both the State and county. The State
requires a bond of $10,000; the amount of the county bond
162 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
is fixed by the Board of County Commissioners. This is a
highly important ofiice, since the County Treasurer receives all
county funds and disburses them upon proper orders or vouchers
from the County Commissioners. He issues the following li-
censes: Hunting, fishing, dog, mercantile, dance hall, portable
grinding mill and detective. He has two deputies, appointed by
himself. Their salaries are set by the Salary Board.
He is appointed by the County Commissioners for the
length of their term of office, which is four years. He acts as legal
adviser for county officials, mainly the County Commissioners.
His salary at present is $1,500 a year.
COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
This officer is elected every four years by a majority vote
of the School Directors of the county, who also fix the salary
to be paid him by the state. The salary is $4,500 yearly, plus
travel allowance. His chief duties are to inspect school grounds
and buildings and to report any violation of the provisions re-
garding safety and sanitation to the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction, to determine the qualification of teachers
and to make periodical visits to the schools; to plan the curric-
ulum and to supervise the School System generally. Reports
of the secretaries of the school districts are inspected and ap-
proved by the County Superintendent of Schools, and upon his
recommendation are approved by the County School Board.
The County School Board is an innovation, having been or-
ganized by a recent Act of Legislature (1937). It is composed
of five members of the County School Directors Association, and
elected by the members of that body. The term of office is
fixed by State Law at six years. It is empowered to merge
school districts and to consolidate schools and transportation
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: COUNTY 163
routes. The County School Directors Association is composed
of the directors of the various school districts of the county.
Its functions are to meet at least once each year, receive reports
from the County Superintendent, elect officers and, once every
four years, elect a County Superintendent and fix his rate of pay.
In case of a vacancy, a successor is appointed by the State Super-
intendent of Public Instruction. The jurisdiction of the County
Superintendent extends only to the districts of the Third and
Fourth Classes, and does not include the City Schools. South
Williamsport and Jersey Shore are the only Third Class dis-
tricts in the county. All others are Fourth Class. An Assistant
County Superintendent is appointed by the County Super-
intendent with the consent of the County Board and is com-
missioned by the State Department of Public Instruction. The
salary of $3,500 per annum is fixed by the County Directors
Association. The duties and authority are the same as those of
the County Superintendent, who is responsible for the Assistant.
COUNTY VOCATIONAL EDUCATION ADVISER
The Adviser is appointed by the County Superintendent
of Schools and paid from State funds supplemented by Federal
appropriations. The amount of compensation is set by the De-
partment of Public Instruction. The present salary is $2,640
a year. The duties of this office are fourfold: (a) to provide in-
struction in secondary education where a full time supervisor
is not employed; (b) to promote interest in agricultural educa-
tion and organize new departments; (c) to supervise the work
of local teachers of agriculture, develop a work program and
submit reports to the State Department of Agriculture; (d) to
develop a long term program of agricultural education among
out-of-school youths. He also supervises a student cooperative
market at Growers Market, Market Street, Williamsport.
1 64 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
COUNTY HOME ECONOMICS
She is also appointed by the County Superintendent of
Schools. The salary is fixed by the State Department of Public
Instruction and paid by the state, which receives a supplemen-
tary appropriation from the Federal Government. The present
salary is $2,640 a year. The duties of this ofiice are to supervise
the teaching of Home Economics in the schools of the county
and once each week personally teach a Home Economics class
in one of the schools not having a regular teacher. The course
includes homemaking, cooking and dietetics, sewing and per-
The Detective is the County Police Officer and is appointed
by the District Attorney at an annual salary of $1,920. He
works under the direction of the District Attorney, and co-
operates with the police officers of the various political sub-
divisions of the county. He has full authority to make arrests
and to prosecute cases. The major part of his work consists
of investigations and the serving of Commonwealth papers.
The Jury System of Lycoming County conforms to the
State Law pertaining to counties of the sixth class. Two Jury
Commissioners are elected by the voters of the county to serve
for a period of four years. They must not be members of the
same political party. It is their duty to supply a list of names,
picked from each ward, precinct or township, in proportion to
the total number of voters of the district. These names are
placed in the jury wheel until the jury lists are made up, when
a number, determined at the previous session of court, are drawn
by the Jury Commissioners in the presence of the SheriflF. There
arc three distinct types of jurors — Grand Jurors, Petit Jurors
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: COUNTY 165
and Traverse Jurors. The first twenty- four names drawn are
selected as Grand Jurors.
According to the law governing juries, a juror must be a
qualified voter and may serve only once in three years. Petit
and Grand Jurors are paid three dollars per diem, plus travel
allowance. The same method is used in the selection of jurors
for both criminal and civil trials. Traverse Jurors sit in the
trial of civil cases and twelve of them constitute a jury. Before
a criminal case is tried the evidence is submitted to a Grand
Jury, composed of twenty-three persons, together with the in-
dictment which has been prepared by the District Attorney or
The court always excuses from duty one of the twenty-four
Grand Jurors so as to avoid the possibility of a tie vote in pass-
ing on an indictment. After the evidence is heard the Grand
Jury either finds a "true bill," or ignores the charge and makes
a return of "not a true bill." Before an indictment may be
ignored by the Grand Jury, all witnesses for the prosecution
must be heard. A Grand Jury may, on its own initiative, in-
vestigate any county institution and oflFer its recommendations
to the court.
In times of emergency, such as labor disturbances, riots,
murders, etc., the District Attorney may convene a Grand Jury
to investigate the circumstances and advise him concerning ap-
propriate action. Petit Juries are composed of twelve persons,
drawn to hear evidence and render a verdict in cases where the
Grand Jury has returned a "true bill." To render a verdict a
jury must agree unanimously. The Coroner's Jury is composed
of six persons, drawn up and subpoenaed by the SheriflF of the
county. It is their duty to hear the evidence and render a verdict
in cases where the coroner has original jurisdiction, such as
deaths of persons from other, than natural causes. Their findings
are frequently used as a basis upon which to determine if crim-
inal action should be taken by the District Attorney.
166 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
There are three auditors elected by voters, two by the
major party and the third from the minority. They are paid six
dollars a day. Their duties are to examine the books and reports
of all county officers and make a report to the court.
BOARD OF VIEWERS
This Board is composed of seven members, appointed by
the court. It must contain one lawyer and the county surveyor.
Its chief duties are the settling of damage claims, occasioned by
the construction of new roads, the vacating of old roads, and
any other duties which might be ordered by the court. The rate
of pay is $10 a day. The County Surveyor, elected every four
years, serves on the Board. His duty is to survey county land.
For his work he receives $6 a day.
QUESTIONS — APPENDIX A — COUNTY GOVERNMENT
1. When was Lycoming County created?
2. How many townships are there in the county? How many boroughs?
3. What is a county of the sixth class?
4. When was the first jail in the county erected?
5. Make an outline of the various officers of the county showing how
elected, terms of office and most important function of each.
6. Make an outline showing how education is carried on in the county.
7. Name the various types of jurors.
8. What action must be taken by a Grand Jury before a criminal case
may be tried?
WILLIAMSPORT was incorporated as a city in 1866. Un-
til 1914 its government was patterned after the state gov-
ernment, in that it had two legislative bodies. These were
called the Common and Select Councils. The Common Council,
comparable to the State General Assembly, was composed of
two council men from each ward of the city. The Select Council,
which was likened to the State Senate, was made up of one
representative from each ward. Hence the Select Council con-
sisted of as many members as there were wards in the city and
the Common Council double that number.
This system was replaced by a commission form of Gov-
ernment, under the Clark Act of 1914, which stipulates that
cities of the third class (in which group Williamsport belongs)
shall elect four Councilmen and one Mayor to serve for a term
of four years.
The salary of a Councilman is fixed at $3,000 a year
while that of the Mayor is $3,500 a year. Two of the Council-
men are to be elected every two years, so that at all times there
arc two old members if necessary.
Under this system of operation the city government is
divided into five departments, namely: Public Safety; Ac-
is divided into five departments, namely: Public Safety; Ac-
counts and Finance; Public Affairs; Highways and Parks; and
Public Property. The head of the Department of Public Affairs
which includes the Police Department is always the Mayor.
The heads of the four remaining departments are elected and
their duties assigned to them by the members of the council at
the inaugural meeting of the body, which is held the first Mon-
day in January following their election.
168 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
To qualify as Mayor the candidate must be at least twenty-
five years of age and shall have been a resident of the state for
four years and of the city at least one year prior to election. He
is also required to live in the city during his full term of office.
The Mayor is the Chief Executive of the city and as such his
duties are many. It is his duty to manage the aflFairs of the city
in the best interests of the majority of its citizens, to be vigi-
lant and active in the maintenance of peace and in the enforce-
ment of the laws of the city and of the Commonwealth. He
has the power to prevent violence by mobs, suppress riots, or
deal with any other emergency that may arise. The Mayor
supervises the conduct of all city officials and examines all com-'
plaints against them. In case of violation of law or neglect of
duty, he metes out proper punishment or reports the infraction
to the city council. To make less difficult the performance of
this function he is empowered to subpoena such persons, books,
or papers as he may consider necessary. He may call upon
officials of the city or heads of departments for any information
he may require and from time to time, as he may deem necessary
he may communicate to the council a statement of the aflFairs
of the city and offer such recommendations as he believes to be
in the best interests of its citizens. He has the power of an
alderman in criminal cases within the city, but not in civil cases,
except in relation to fines, penalties, or forfeitures imposed by
virtue of ordinance, or the laws of the Commonwealth. He is
empowered to take acknowledgments of any instrument in writ-
ing, perform marriage ceremonies, and administer oaths and
All actions or proceedings taken before him are entered
in a docket and these entries may be used in evidence in the same
manner as the docket entries and transcripts of aldermen. For
this work he receives the same fees and costs as is allowed by
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: CITY 169
law to an alderman, but he is required to pay them over to the
City Treasurer monthly.
DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTS AND FINANCE
The member of city council designated as Director of
Accounts and Finance is Vice-Mayor and during the absence of
the Mayor is authorized to exercise all rights and powers of that
office. In case of absence or inability of the Director of Ac-
counts and Finance to act, the council designates another of its
members to serve as Mayor. The Director of Accounts and
Finance must be a competent accountant. His chief duties are to
keep the accounts of the city and, in conjunction with the City
Controller, to pay all bills, salaries, etc.
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND PUBLIC PROPERTY
This department has supervision over the fire department
and makes periodical inspection of public buildings for fire
hazards. It also has charge of street signs, traffic regulations,
and light poles.
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND PUBLIC SAFETY
This department has charge of public buildings, such as
the City Hall, fire houses, and highway buildings, as well as
the parks, playgrounds, golf course, tennis courts, recreational
places, airport and incinerator plant. It also supervises the
activities of the health department and milk and plumbing in-
DEPARTMENT OF STREETS AND
This department supervises the engineering department and
all street construction and improvements.
The personnel of many of the departments of the city gov-
ernment are appointed under civil service. This system com-
170 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
prises three Civil Service Boards, of three members each, including
a physician and an educator, chosen by the City Council for a
term of four years, to serve without pay. Two members of a
board constitute a quorum. These boards handle applications
for various city positions. It is the duty of these boards to ascer-
tain the physical j5tncss, habits, reputation, education and ex-
perience and to "prepare examinations upon the subjects deemed
proper or necessary for the purpose of determining the qualij5ca-
tion of the applicant." After the examinations are given the
boards make up a list of the names of all applicants who have
passed the mental and physical examinations, with their ratings.
When a vacancy occurs, the Civil Service Board supplies the
City Council with the names of four applicants who have the
highest ratings. The director of the department in which the
appointment is to be made then presents the name of one of these
to the council for approval. In case the council does not approve
the name of the j&rst nominee, a second name is presented and so
on down the list. In any case the boards may recommend per-
sons already employed in the department for promotion. Ex-
soldiers and sailors are given preference, in that they are credited
with an additional fifteen per cent above the grade established
by the examination. Appointments are permanent, except for
dismissal for misconduct or violation of city ordinances or state
law; or when it may become necessary, for reasons of economy,
to reduce the number of employees. When this occurs, the em-
ployees last appointed shall be the first removed. In case of
emergency, temporary appointments may be made without the
OTHER OFFICERS OF GOVERNMENT
Besides the ofl&ce of Mayor and City Councilmen there
are several other offices for the transaction of the city's business.
Some of these officials arc elected by the voters; others are se-
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: CITY 171
lected by vote of the city council. Some of the more important
of these, together with a brief outline of the qualifications and
duties of the office holder, are described below.
This officer is elected by the voters of the city at large for
a term of four years. He must be a competent accountant, a resi-
dent and an elector of the city for at least three years previous to
His annual salary is fixed by city ordinance and may not
be less than that paid to members of the city council. His duties
consist of "examining, auditing and settling all accounts in
which the city is concerned, either as debtor or creditor, and ex-
amine the accounts of all bureaus, offices and departments which
collect, receive and disburse city funds." The Controller is
authorized to administer oaths and is also empowered to issue
subpoenas to compel the attendance of officers whose accounts
he is authorized to adjust,
The qualifications for this office are the same as those of
the City Controller. The candidate must be a com-
petent accountant and a resident of the city for three
years prior to election.
The term of office for which the treasurer is elected is
four years and the incumbent is required to give bond for the
faithful performance of his duties. He receives all funds due the
city from all sources and pays them out upon proper authoriza-
tion from City Council. City funds are kept in such banks or
financial depositories as the City Council may direct. The City
Treasurer is required to keep separate accounts of the receipts and
expenditures of city, such as the sinking fund, water and light-
ing department and any special fund which may come into his
172 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
He is elected by the City Council for a term of four years.
He must be qualified to practice in the Supreme Court of the
Commonwealth. His duties are to prepare all bonds, obliga-
tions, contracts, leases, conveyances and assurances to which the
city, or any department of the city, may be a party; and to act
as legal adviser to the City Council and the Mayor.
This officer is elected by City Council for a term of four
years. He must be a registered engineer and is required to give a
bond for the faithful performance of his duties. The salary is
fixed by city ordinance. His chief duties are to prepare plans,
specifications and estimates on any engineering work to be done
by the city and to superintend and direct all engineering work.
He is elected by the City Council for a term of four years.
His salary is fixed by council. He has the power of a notary
public to administer oaths in matters pertaining to the city or,
in any legal proceedings in which the city is interested. Since he
is in reality a clerk of the City Council his duties are those pre-
scribed by law, ordinance, or resolution of that body.
QUESTIONS — CITY GOVERNMENT
1. Why is Williamsport a third class city? (Consult Pennsylvania Manual)
2. How many councilmen are there in Williamsport? How do they obtain
office? How long is their term of office?
3. What are the departments of the city government?
4. What are the qualifications of the Mayor?
5. When the Mayor is absent who takes his place?
6. What city department has charge of traffic regulations?
7. What are the duties of the city controller?
THE judicial branch of the county government may be divided
into two departments, major and minor. The judges who
preside at courts which arc held in the court house at the county
seat are the major judiciary; the police courts or mayor's court
and courts conducted by aldermen in cities and by justices of
the peace in boroughs and townships are classed as minor judi-
ciary. The major judiciary comprises the judges of the Court
of Common Pleas, which has jurisdiction over the trial of civil
cases only: the Court of Oyer and Terminer, which has juris-
diction in the trial of felonies; the Court of Quarter Sessions
which has jurisdiction in the trial of misdemeanors; and the
Orphan's Court, which settles the estates of deceased persons.
Although there are these several classes of county courts, they
are presided over by the same judges. In Lycoming County
there are two common pleas court judges. They are designated
as the President Judge and the Additional Law Judge. A judge
of a Court of Common Pleas is regarded by the Constitution of
Pennsylvania as a state officer and not a county officer. He is
paid $10,000 a year by the state and may be assigned by the
Supreme Court to hold court in any county in the state with the
same powers and authorities of the judge who resides there and
is bound to obey such an assignment. They are elected for a
ten-year term at elections held in the odd-numbered years, when
county, city, borough, and township officers are elected. The
judge older in point of service is commissioned by the Governor
as President Judge. When both are elected to their first term
at the same time lots are drawn to determine who shall be com-
missioned as President Judge. The duties and authority of the
judges are the same, except the President Judge has charge of
1 74 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
assigning the cases for trial, and when the court sits en banc
(the judges sitting together) the President Judge presides. In
passing on the question of whether a new trial shall be granted
the action of the President Judge is decisive in the matter.
When for any reason such as illness or absence of one of
the judges or otherwise, it may become necessary to have an out-
side judge assigned to assist in holding court, the request for
such judge is made by the President Judge to the Prothonotary
of the Supreme Court of the State.
In order to define the diflfcrent kinds of county courts it is
necessary to distinguish between civil actions at law and crim-
inal oflFenses. A civil suit in law is one instituted to collect a
debt, to recover damages or to secure the legal rights of a citizen.
A criminal suit is one in which a person is charged with the
commission of a crime.
The minor judiciary in Lycoming County is composed of
the aldermen and justices of the peace. Each borough and town-
ship is entitled to two justices of the peace, and Williamsport,
a city of the third class, one alderman for each of its sixteen
wards. These officials are elected by the electors of their respec-
tive wards, for a term of six years. Since there is no stipulated
salary connected to the office, the compensation being derived
from fees, many of the thinly populated townships elect only
one justice and some of them none at all. Aldermen and justices
of the peace have limited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal
cases. In civil cases, aldermen and justices of the peace have no
jurisdiction in cases of indirect injury, such as an injury in-
flicted by an agent, servant, or employee of the defendant, or in
cases which involve the title to land. A civil case is begun by
making information before an alderman or justice of the peace,
who issues a summons to the defendant and serves him with a
copy of the information. After the defendant has been sum-
moned the case is brought to a hearing. The magistrate hears
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: THE JUDICIARY 175
both parties and their witnesses. Either or both parties may be
represented by an attorney. After all testimony is taken, the de-
cision is rendered by the magistrate. In cases involving $5.33
or less the magistrate's decision is final and no appeal can be
Either party, if dissatisfied with the judgment, may seek
redress in the Court of Common Pleas, by appeal or by certiorari.
The latter is an order upon the magistrate to present to the court
a copy of the record of the entire proceedings before the magis-
trate. The judge then decides whether the record is proper and
renders judgment accordingly. Where there is no error alleged
in the record itself the aggrieved person may appeal. Then the
case is taken into court and tried before a jury in the same man-
ner as if it were a new case. In taking either a certiorari or an
appeal, it must be done within twenty days of the date the judg-
ment was rendered by the magistrate.
Criminal cases begin with an information, sworn to by the
prosecutor who may be either a law officer or a private citizen.
A warrant is then issued by the magistrate for the arrest of the
defendant. The defendant may give bail for a hearing before
the magistrate issuing the warrant, in which case he retains his
freedom until the date set for the hearing. If the defendant does
not furnish bail for his appearance he is taken to jail to await
the hearing. At the hearing the procedure differs according to
the nature of the crime charged. In minor offenses, such as vio-
lations of the motor vehicle code, the alderman has authority
to hear the entire case and decide summarily as to the innocence
or guilt of the accused, and if he is found guilty, to impose sen-
tence according to the law. From this decision there is no abso-
lute right of appeal, but within five days' time, the defendant
may petition the Court of Quarter Sessions for permission to
take an appeal. If the court allows such appeal to be taken, then
on a day set by the court, the judge hears the testimony of both
176 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
parties and their witnesses, and decides the case without a jury.
In felonies and misdemeanors, the alderman or justice of the
peace does not decide the question of innocence or guilt of the
accused. He hears only the prosecutor and his witnesses and
from this testimony decides whether there is sufficient evidence
to warrant the defendant being held to bail for a jury trial. If,
in the opinion of the magistrate, there is sufficient evidence to
warrant holding the defendant for action by the court, the ac-
cused is either committed to jail, or released on sufficient bail.
There is one exception to this rule and that is in case of assault
and battery where the magistrate hears both the witnesses for
the prosecutor as well as for the defense. In all cases except
where a felony is charged the magistrate fixes the amount of bail.
In felonies the bail is fixed upon request made of one of the
judges. This may be cash put up by the defendant himself or
in the form of a bond signed by a responsible person or persons.
The alderman then makes a transcript of the proceedings and
files it in the office of the Prothonotary.
Thus it may be seen that the laws of the Commonwealth
protect the liberty of its citizens. The evidence of the prosecutor
is subjected to two tests, the magistrate and the Grand Jury,
before a defendant may be brought into court to stand trial and
Before a criminal case may be tried before the county court,
the evidence of the prosecution is first submitted to a Grand
Jury. If the Grand Jury finds that the evidence does not war-
rant a jury trial, it ignores the charge by making a return of
"not a true bill" and the charge is then dismissed, but if suffi-
cient evidence is produced, the Grand Jury returns a "true bill"
or indictment, which commits the defendant to a trial before a
judge and petit jury composed of twelve persons.
Integral parts of the Major Judiciary are the court crier
and the court reporters. They are appointed by the President
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: THE JUDICIARY 177
Judge. The salary of the Court Crier is $1,000 a year. The
duties of this office are to act in the capacity of constable for the
court in bail forfeitures, bench warrants, etc., to assume charge
of the Law Library and preside at the opening ceremonies of
the courts. Salaries of the court reporters are fixed by the county
salary board. It is their duty to take and transcribe testimony
in court trials. They are also subject to call by the coroner to
take testimony at inquests.
QUESTIONS — JUDICIARY
1. How many Common Pleas Court judges are there in Lycoming County?
2. What is a civil suit at law?
3. Who arc the members of the minor judiciary in the county?
4. Who hears cases for violations of motor vehicle code?
5. How are boroughs governed?
6. How are townships governed?
THE civil government of a borough is similar to that of the
city of Williamsport. Boroughs not divided into wards, elect
a burgess, seven councilmen, a high constable, constable, assessor,
tax collector and three auditors. Boroughs divided into wards
elect at least one and not more than three councilmen in each
ward, an assessor in each ward, except in boroughs where as-
sessment of property for county purposes is made by a county
board of assessors. These boroughs also elect a burgess, con-
stable, tax collector, and three auditors. All borough officials
are elected for a term of four years. The duties and functions of
the burgess are comparable to those of mayor. As chief executive
officer of the borough, it is his duty to be active in the mainte-
nance of peace and in the enforcement of the laws of the bor-
ough. Like the mayor in a city the burgess has the power of a
committing magistrate, with the same authority and jurisdic-
tion as an alderman or justice of the peace, except that the fees
or costs collected must be turned over to the borough treasurer.
The Burgess' salary is limited. It cannot exceed $1,000
per year for the first 5,000 population and $50 a year for each
additional 1,000 population. No member of Congress or any
person holding any office or appointment of profit or trust under
the government of the United States is eligible to the office of
burgess. The borough council is required by state law to meet
at least once each month. A majority constitutes a quorum.
It is their duty and authority to revise, repeal and amend such
laws, rules, regulation and ordinances as are not consistent with
the laws of the state; and to enact or amend such laws as it
may deem beneficial to the borough and to provide for the en-
180 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
forccment of the same. The council is required to preserve all
records of its proceedings.
The chief duty of these officers is to list the names of tax-
able persons in the borough or township including a description
and valuation of property that is taxable by law.
The list of names of taxable persons made up by the as-
sessor is received by the Tax Collector whose duty it is to collect
the taxes — county, borough, and township — which provide
the revenue from which the expenses of government are paid.
Assessors are compensated on a fee basis and tax collectors re-
cieve a percentage of taxes collected. Tax collectors are required
to give bond in sufficient amount to insure the faithful perform-
ance of their duties.
They are required to meet on the third Tuesday of January
each year and adjust, audit and settle the accounts of the town-
ship or borough officials. They publish annually an itemized
statement of the receipts and expenditures of officials who re-
ceive or disburse public funds.
THE simplest governmental unit of the state is the township.
A long time ago the whole area of the Commonwealth was
divided into townships patterned after the political divisions of
England. In size and population they are small. From time to
time new townships are formed by taking territory from one or
more old ones. This is done by proper action by the county
court. Thus every township is created by an act of law and
constitutes what is called a corporation. Being incorporated
under the General Township Act of Pennsylvania, they derive
their powers from the General Township laws of the Common-
wealth. Of the 42 townships which compose Lycoming County,
Muncy is the oldest. It was created April 9, 1772 by the North-
umberland County Court. As a separate political division, each
township has its own governmental officials elected by the
electors of the townships. The offices and the duties of the offi-
cials of a township elects a board of school directors, road super-
visors, board of auditors, assessors and tax collector, constable,
justice of the peace and election officers. Road supervisors are
responsible for the maintenance of all township roads. Since
many of the township roads have recently been taken over by
the state, this township office does not carry the same responsi-
bility as heretofore. However, a township supervisor may sue
at law or be sued; therefore this office is one of the most im-
portant in the township. The duties of auditors, assessors and
tax collectors are the same as those described in county and
Lycoming County Townships
Townships of Lycoming County
ANTHONY was named for Judge Joseph B. Anthony.
Erected September 7, 1844, out of Old Lycoming Town-
ship. During the period of the Indian wars it was a part of the
"Fair Play" territory. One of the first three German Baptist
churches in America was founded here. Bruce Caldwell was the
Armstrong was named for Honorable James Armstrong,
prominent member of the bar and a Justice of Supreme Court.
This township, erected in 1842, was taken from Clinton, which
in turn had been created in 1825 from Washington. Thomas
Hartley, on February 11, 1773, became the first to take up land
in this township. There are two streams in the township. Mos-
quito Creek and Hagerman's Run. They drain an extensive
territory on the northern slope of Bald Eagle Mountain and fur-
nish the water supply for the city of Williamsport. Mosquito
Creek enters the Susquehanna at DuBoistown, Hagerman's
Run at South Williamsport.
An old Indian trail at one time followed Mosquito Creek
through the ravine to DuBoistown. Albert Culbertson built a
grist mill at the mouth of the creek, and gave his name to Cul-
bertson's Trail or Path, which is still visible in many places.
Bastress erected December 13, 1854, was named for
Solomon Bastress, Associate Judge and member of the General
Assembly. The township was first settled by German Catho-
lics in 1837 under the leadership of Rev. Nicholas Steinbacher,
S. J. The present building of the Church of the Immaculate
Conception was erected in 1860. Adjacent to the church is a
1 84 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Lourdes Grotto erected in 1 9 1 5 . A niche in the hill beside the
road contains a statue of the Immaculate Conception carved out
of a solid block of Carrara marble in Genoa, Italy. Thousands
of people attend annual religious services there Sunday after-
noons during the month of May.
Brady was named for the distinguished family of Indian
fighters. It was created from a part of Washington township
on January 31, 1855.
The Stone Church (Lutheran) is a historic spot in the
township. The original log structure, built about 1780, was
near the present church. The present Stone Church was built
in 1847. A cemetery adjoins the church property, and many
of the pioneers of White Deer Valley are buried there.
Brown was named for Major-General Jacob Brown of
Bucks County, a hero of the War of 1812. It was erected May
3, 1815 from Mifflin and Pine townships. Pine Creek, which
divides the township, runs through picturesque, mountain scen-
ery which at one point reaches an altitude of 820 feet above sea
l?vel. The land contains coal, slate, iron ore, and fire clay. The
first resident was Jacob Lamb, who settled at the mouth of
Slate Run. Lumbering for many years was the chief industry;
millions of feet were taken from the territory surrounding Pine
Cascade derives its name from the cascades or waterfalls
along its streams. It was erected from Hepburn and Plunketts
Creek townships on August 9, 1843. Burnett's Ridge crosses
the township and enters Sullivan County to the east. The ridge
was named for William Burnett, Indian trader. The first settler
was Michael Kelly, who built on Wallis Run in 1843. He was
the founder of Kellysburg and a pioneer in road building.
Clinton was named in honor of DeWitt Clinton, Gov-
ernor of New York. It was erected December, 1825, by divi-
sion of Washington township. The first settler was Cometine
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 185
Low. Low and his family joined the Great Runaway, fled to
Fort Augusta, and later returned to New Jersey. After the
restoration of peace, several of Low's sons returned to the town-
ship and became influential in its affairs. Its natural features
are the Black Hole Valley, a rich agricultural section, and Penny
Hill, a scenic point.
COGAN House erected December 16, 1843, was named for
David Cogan, the first settler. Cogan built a cabin on Larrys
Creek in 1825, and lived there until 1843. After he left, the
buildings and improvements fell into decay and hunters named
the entire vicinity Cogan House. Early industries of the
township were lumbering and the manufacture of maple sugar.
Fire clay, iron ore, copper ore and a fine grade of building stone
are among its natural resources. The principal stream is Larrys
Creek. Other streams are Hoagland's Run, Flook's Run, Pack
Horse and Trout Run.
CUMMINGS named for Associate Judge John Cummings,
was erected in 1832 from Brown and Mifflin townships. Pine
Creek flows through the center of the townships, and Little
Pine Creek flows from the northeast. The township contains
excellent beds of flag and building stone and some iron ore and
fire clay. The first white settler was John English, who came in
1784. English settled there when the territory was practically
a wilderness; Seneca Indians still inhabited the region and fre-
quently passed his cabin. Lumbering was the first industry of
this section. Near Waterville are many summer cottages, most
of them erected since paved roads have made the district access-
ible. Other villages are English Mills and Rameyville.
Eldred one of the smallest in the county, was erected
November 16, 1858 and named for C. D. Eldred, an Associate
Judge. The land speculations of Robert Morris attracted Quaker
settlers, for whom Quaker Hill was named. The site of War-
rensville, only village in the township, was cleared in 1802 by
186 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Samuel Carpenter, who erected the first grist and saw mill and
installed the first carding machines. The town was plotted in
the year 1841 by John Weisel and was named in honor of Gen-
eral Warren. A post office was established on July 25, 1842,
with Samuel Torbert as first postmaster. About a mile east of
Warrensville the first school building, a stone structure, was
Fairfield created in 1826, was named for the rolling
land of the Susquehanna River Valley. In this township is the
Samuel Wallis house, now the Brock estate, the oldest house
in the county. The first road from Northumberland to Lycom-
ing Creek passed through its southern part. Governor John
Andrew Shulze, upon his retirement from office in 1829, came
to the township to live.
Franklin named for Benjamin Franklin, was erected
from Moreland in 1882. Topographically the township is a
section of Muncy Hills. Among its earliest settlers were Wil-
liam Howell, Nathan Howell, Peter Snyder, Solomon Reed,
Joseph Lyons, Daniel Ritter, and William Lore. During the
lumbering boom many mills operated in this section, but the
most important industry was the Franklin tannery near Lairds-
ville. At one time this was the largest tannery in northern
Pennsylvania. The only village in the township is Lairdsville.
Its first post office was known as Chestnut Grove.
Gamble was named for Jesse Gamble, a President Judge
of Lycoming County. It was erected January 30, 1875. The
first settler was David McMicken, who was said to have dis-
covered Rose Valley about 1784. About 1820, Germans began
to arrive and in a short time these energetic settlers developed
prosperous farms. An early industry was the manufacture of
salt and potash. The salt plant was on Salt Run and the potash
works nearby. Lumbering and the extraction of hemlock bark
were also early industries.
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 187
Hepburn erected 1804, was named for William Hepburn,
State Senator and County Judge. Hepburnville stands on the
site of an old Indian village, called Eeltown, perhaps because
of the abundance of eels found in Lycoming Creek. The first
settler was James Thompson, in 1784. The next was Samuel
Reed, whose house was the only one between Trout Run and
Newberry. Reed was also the first school teacher in the town-
ship at what is now Cogan Station. German colonists founded
Blooming Grove, the most important early settlement of the
township, in 1807. The colony located near the present village
of Balls Mills, functioned under a written agreement, signed by
all, with power of representation vested in Wendel Herman.
Still standing is the Blooming Grove Dunkard Meeting House,
built in 1828. In 1930 the Pennsylvania Historical Commis-
sion and the Lycoming Historical Society erected a marker on
the site. Behind the building is the Dunkard Cemetery. A
museum, housing relics of these pioneer settlers, is also on the
Jackson created in 1824, lies in Liberty Valley. It was
named in honor of the hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
Within its boundaries are Little Pine Creek, Roaring Branch,
and Big and Little Elk Lick Runs. Peter Sechrist, who came
from Perry County in 1811, was the first settler. About 1817,
Jacob Beck, Daniel Beck, and George Miller established homes
there. The Charles Williamson road from Montoursvillc to
Painted Post, N. Y. was built in 1792. Williamson also built
that noted landmark, the Block House, on the edge of the county
and township lines.
Jordan was named for Alexander Jordan, a President
Judge of Lycoming County. It was erected February 7, 1854,
from Franklin township. William Lose settled there in 1812.
Unityville is the only village in the township. Lumbering was
its early industry, but today it is an agricultural section.
188 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Lewis erected in 1835, was named for Ellis Lewis, a
President Judge. In 1840 a part of Cascade was annexed to
Lewis. Lycoming Creek flows through the township. Along
the banks of this stream was the old "Shcshequin Path," an
Indian trail. Conrad Weiser often traveled over it and Colonel
Hartley followed it in 1778, when he invaded the Indian terri-
tory. In 1779, when the West Branch Valley was devastated,
the Indians came on this trail from the north, burning and de-
stroying everything in their path. The first resident was A. M.
Slack, who came there after the Revolutionary War. Slacks
Run gets its name from him. There are small amounts of iron
ore, copper shale, fire clay, and building stone in the township.
The bottom lands along the valley are productive, but the re-
mainder is mountainous.
Limestone was originally called Adams, in honor of
President John Adams. The name was changed on April 14,
1835. The first settler was probably William Winland, who
came there in 1789. Jacob Sallada, of French extraction, came
to Nippenose Valley in 1 8 1 1 . He was a carpenter and builder
and played an important part in the early development of this
and adjacent townships. The borough of Salladasburg is named
for him. Nippenose Valley, one of the scenic spots in the town-
ship, is an oval limestone basin, surrounded by mountains ris-
ing to a height of nine hundred feet. Two breaks occur in the
ridge line. Ranch's Gap and Nippenose Gap. A natural phe-
nomenon in the valley is the immense "sink holes" in the lime-
stone floor of the basin. Water from the mountains enters the
"sink holes," and after flowing through a subterranean passage
for some distance, it gushes forth in a huge spring. The spring
forms Antes Creek, which flows northward through a gap in
Bald Eagle Mountain to the Susquehanna River. Collomsville,
named for Seth CoUom, an early settler; Oriole, or Jamestown,
the original name; and Oval are township villages.
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 189
LOYALSOCK erected in 1786, was named for the creek
which bounds it. The only settlements at the time of its founda-
tion were near the river and a short way up Loyalsock and Ly-
coming Creeks. The township affords geologists excellent op-
portunity for the study of rock strata. The first permanent
settlers arrived there in the years between 1796 and 1800, but
the pioneers had entered the territory as early as 1768. Peter
Smith, Samuel Harris, the Covenhovens and the Benjamins
were early settlers. Industrial development began with the Mc-
Kinney Iron Works, established in 1825 at Heshbon. Iron was
brought by boats from Centre County to Jaysburg, then trans-
ferred to carts and hauled to the works, which consisted of a
furnace and rolling mill equipment. Lumbering was also an
important industry in the early days.
Lycoming was erected on December 2, 1857 from Old
Lycoming. The Hayes, Inigels, and Kulp families first settled
along Hoagland's Run. Quiggleville, on Hoagland's Run, is
the largest village in the township. Perryville, on Lycoming
Creek, is the second- largest village. Its first mill was built by
Josiah Hays in 1831.
McHenry was created from Brown, Cummings and
Cogan House townships on November 18, 1858. Its first name
was Kingston; but a meeting of citizens held shortly after its
creation voted that the name be changed in honor of Alexander
H. McHenry, a veteran surveyor. John Mix probably plotted
the first settlement in 1785, with Claudius Boatman settling
there in the same year.
McNett erected February 10, 1878, was named for H. H.
McNett, one of the petitioners for the new township. Coal,
iron ore, fire clay and building stone are found in the area. The
greater portion of the surface is mountainous, consisting of
glacial moraine. Near Roaring Branch good fossil plates and
casts have been found. Roaring Branch, the largest village, is
190 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
situated half in McNett township and half in Tioga County.
Penbryn, also called Leolyn, is the next village in size. The
name is Celtic and means "Head of the mountain." EUenton
and Chemung are other villages.
McIntyre erected 1848, was named for Archibald Mcln-
tyre of Philadelphia, one of the founders of the Williamsport
and Erie Railroad. The surface of the township is rough and
mountainous, with steep rocky slopes. Back of Ralston is a
high ledge of rocks, on the summit of which is a level notch. It
was over this notch that the Shcshequin Path, an old Indian
trail, passed to avoid the almost impassable thickets in the valley
below. On this precipice Shikellimy, famous Indian chief and
vice-King of the Six Nations, nearly lost his life while guiding
Conrad Weiser and party through this territory on their his-
toric journey to Onondaga, capital of the Six Nations. Settlers
were slow to come to the township, because of the density of
the wilderness. In 1794, Aaron Levy, and Michael and Hyman
Gratz settled on land near Ralston, and John Smith Koutz and
John Blackwcll, in 1805, settled on Pleasant Stream and near
Roaring Branch, respectively. About 1831 an iron furnace was
established near Frozen Run, several buildings were erected, and
the place was named Astonville, in honor of the manager of
the enterprise. The ore was filled with fire clay and at that time
the only method by which it could be removed was by freezing.
It was from this process that Frozen Run received its name.
Ralston was named for Mathew Ralston of Philadelphia, a
pioneer in the iron and railroad industry,
Mifflin was named for Governor Thomas Mifflin. When
it was created in 1803, it was quite extensive but since has given
territory for the creation of other townships, with the result
that it is now eighth in size. Mifflin was in the "Fair Play"
region, land whose ownership was disputed by Indians and
white men. Among those who settled in the territory were John
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 191
Murphy, Anthony Pepperman, John Olen, and Joseph Robin-
son. These men were of the old school of pioneers; they lived
in primitive cabins and spent much of their time hunting and
fishing. In this township is "Ogontz," summer home built by
Jay Cooke of Philadelphia.
Mill Creek erected in 1879, was named for its principal
stream. Samuel Hall and Jonathan Collins were the first set-
tlers. They were followed by the Nunn, Klees, Lockard, Wil-
son, Moon, and Reeder families. Since the removal of the tim-
ber, the township has become an agricultural section with good
farming and sheep grazing land. Along the base of the mountain
there is some fine flag stone.
MORELAND was erected in 1813 and probably derives its
name from its hilly terrain. The hills give it a greater surface
area than level country of the same dimensions. Colonel George
Smith, an ofiicer in the Revolutionary War, was the first set-
tler on Muncy Creek in 1 790. Among those who took an active
part in the early development of the township were the Opp,
Gower, Hill, Shipman, Jones, Fiester, Brittian, Christopher,
Derr, and Taggart families.
MUNCY is a name derived from the Monsey Indian tribe,
who once inhabited the territory. Muncy is the oldest township
in Lycoming County. It was erected as a part of Northumber-
land County on April 3, 1772, or twenty-three years before
Lycoming County was created. Samuel Wallis, builder of the
first permanent residence, lived there. Muncy Farms and Muncy
Manor were within its boundaries. Pennsdale is the only vil-
lage in the township. It was first known as Pennsville, later
changed to Hicksville, and finally to Pennsdale. Pennsdale is
the site of the historic Friends' Meeting House, built in 1779
and in continual use ever since. The old furnishings, the in-
terior, and the original parts of the exterior are well preserved
and hundreds of persons visit this historic building annually.
Quaker School, Pennsdale
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 193
MUNCY Creek erected in 1797, was named for the stream
of the same name. The borough of Muncy, with its southern
line crossing the Muncy Hills, lies within its borders. On the
river bank is Port Penn, where under a great elm, noted Indian
chiefs met in conference. This was also the junction of several
Indian trails. On Little Muncy Creek is Clarkstown, site of
one of the oldest churches in the county, the Immanuel Luth-
eran. The deed for the land on which it was erected was exe-
cuted on April 5, 1791. Its constitution, written in German,
dates back to 1794. The township, a rich agricultural section,
also contains paint rock which has been successfully worked
NiPPENOSE is a name whose derivation is not clear. One
definition is "nose nipped by the frost." Another, more logical
perhaps, is the Indian word, "nippc-no-ivi," meaning "like
the summer." This township was erected in May, 1786. Its
best land is in the southern section, where Bald Eagle Moun-
tain is split by a great canyon through which Antes Creek
flows. Prominent in the Colonial history of the area was Colo-
nel John Henry Antes, who came to the section about 1772.
The stockade, erected by him at the mouth of Antes Creek,
played an important role during early settlement. The village
of Antes Fort gets its name from this soldier of pioneer days.
Antes Fort was laid out by Jonathan White and called Gran-
ville. The name never became popular and finally was changed
to its present title. Some years ago, Nippcnose Park was situated
in the eastern end of the township. There were cottages and
pavilions, a steam boat ran from Williamsport, and it was a
train stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The park survives
only in the memory of the older residents of the community.
Old Lycoming named for Lycoming Creek, received the
prefix "Old" to distinguish it from Lycoming, a more modern
subdivision. One of the original townships, it was created
194 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
August 22, 1785, nine years before the erection of Lycoming
County. Newberry and Jaysburg were its early villages. At
Jaysburg the first county courts were held and the first jail
built. Near this place the Moravian missionaries met French
Margaret Newberry, head of an Indian clan, for whom New-
berry was named. Among the early settlers were the McMeens,
Mahaffeys and UpdegraflFs. Their descendants are still promi-
nent in the life of the community.
Penn was named for William Penn by Tobias and Isaac
Kepner, former residents of Penn Township in Berks County.
It was erected in 1828. The surface is mountainous and rough,
not suited to agriculture. Benoni Wiesner, whose place was near
the base of North Mountain, was the first settler. He was fol-
lowed by Christopher Frey, Thomas Reed, John Craft, and
Thomas Strawbridge. Fribley, Strawbridge, and North Moun-
tain are villages in the township.
Piatt erected April 20, 1858. was named for William
Piatt, an Associate Judge. The surface of the township, though
mostly rolling contains some fine bottom land, particularly at
Level Corners. This area was in the disputed territory ruled by
the "Fair Play System." Larry Burt, an Indian trader, was the
first settler. The next was Simon Cool, a captain in Colonel
Plunkett's Army. At the time of the Big Runaway Cool fled
the valley. After his return he was killed by Indians.
Another early settler was John Knox, descendant of the re-
former. He settled on Pine Creek in 1799, and erected a grist
mill at what is now Safe Harbor. Level Corners was the home
of Robert Covenhoven, Revolutionary soldier, spy and scout, in
the period following the Indian troubles in the region.
Pine derives its name from the heavy pine timber which
covered its surface. It was erected January 27, 1857 from terri-
tory belonging to Brown, Cummings, and Cogan House town-
ships. It is the largest township in the county, containing
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 195
48,640 acres. Originally covered with a heavy growth of tim-
ber, it is mountainous and wild, with knob-like hills, one of
which, Oregon Hill, rises to a height of nineteen hundred feet
above sea level. Little Pine Creek and its tributaries constitute
its principal drainage system. The scenery along its course is^
magnificent ; in many places it cuts through deep ravines of great
beauty. In 1800 John Morris settled above the mouth of Little
Pine Creek, where the village of Texas now stands. Morris
and his wife, in 1806 leased the Moore property and opened a
girl's seminary. This venture, a bold one for the period, met
with considerable success. It was the only school of its kind in
northern Pennsylvania. The school, which later received the
name of "Wilderness Seminary," was on the Newberry-to-
Painted Post road. Many of the persons who helped to make
county history were at one time enrolled in the school and
taught by Mr. and Mrs. Morris. Oregon Hill and English Cen-
ter are important villages. The former was so named because
of the intense interest shown by the early settlers in the Oregon
Boundary dispute, which had for its slogan "forty- four- forty
or fight." English Center gets its name from its early English
Plunketts Creek, erected 1838, was named for Colonel
William Plunkett, Commander at Fort Augusta prior to the
Revolutionary War. Louis Donelly settled near the mouth of
Bear Creek in 1818. When Donelly arrived he found evidences
of a predecessor; a man named Paulhamus had squatted there
for a while and left about 1776. It is said that he was a de-
serter from the British army. Another early settler was John
Barbour, a Scotchman, who became an extensive land owner,
built the first lumber mill, and took an active part in the de-
velopment of the township. Proctorville, named for Thomas
Proctor, was the home of a large tannery during the latter half
of the nineteenth century. It employed several hundred men and
196 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
did an extensive business for many years. Another early indus-
try, which exists only in the memory of the older inhabitants
of the township, was Roger's Woolen Mills on Bear Creek,
which did a thriving business until its destruction by fire in
1891. In general the township is wild and mountainous, since
much of its territory is part of the main Allegheny range. Its
mountains and streams provide hunting and fishing of the finest
sort. Comfortable summer houses and cabins have been erected
in many places.
Porter erected in 1849, was named in honor of Governor
David Porter. It is one of the smallest townships in the county.
Part of its surface is rolling and hilly, but along the river are
some very valuable bottom lands. Until 1784, the township
was "forbidden territory," governed by the "Fair Play Men."
The first settler was William McClure, who located near Jersey
Shore in 1773. Another prominent settler was Dr. James
Davidson, who settled here prior to the creation of Lycoming
County, about 1791. He was a native of New Jersey, and had
served in the Revolutionary War as physician and surgeon.
After the close of the war he purchased a farm two miles above
Jersey Shore, and for a long time was the only physician in
that section. Upon the erection of Lycoming County he was
appointed Associate Judge by Governor MiflBin. Stone quarry-
ing along Pine Creek has for many years been a profitable in-
Shrewsbury was taken from Muncy Township in 1804.
Its original area embraced Sullivan County, which was erected
from it in 1847. Theophilus Little, Sr., a native of Monmouth
County, Shrewsbury Township, New Jersey, succeeded in per-
petuating the name of his old home by naming the new town-
ship. Peter Corson, who located in the woods along Muncy
Creek in 1794, was the first settler. Jacob Maish and John
Rynearson were the first on Big Run, and Peter Buck was the
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 197
earliest pioneer on Lick Run. Tivoli and Mawr Glen are the
only villages in the township.
Susquehanna formed in 1838, was settled by Anthony
Moore, Thomas and John Miller, Alexander Beatty, and John
Gibson. The township has some very productive farm land.
Nisbct is the only village in the township. Its post office was
established on November 23, 1867.
Upper Fairfield, erected in 1851, was originally named
Pollock in honor of Judge James Pollock, the seventh judge of
Lycoming County. Pollock became Governor of Pennsylvania
and later Director of the Philadelphia Mint. On January 29,
1853, the name was changed to Upper Fairfield. Among the
names of early settlers appear: Osbourn, Rooker, Rothfuss,
Entz, Heylman, Rentz, Sweely, Buckley and Slaugen white.
Washington, named for George Washington, is one of
the oldest in the county. It was erected August 23, 1785, while
Lycoming County was still part of Northumberland. The first
settler was Michael Huling, a blacksmith by trade. Another
early settler was Catherine Smith, a widow with ten children,
who was left three hundred acres of land near the mouth of
White Deer Creek. Since her property was an excellent site for
a saw and grist mill, she borrowed money and built one in 1774.
The following summer she built a boring mill, where a great
number of gun barrels were bored for use in the Revolutionary
War. Later she built a hemp mill. At the time of the Little
Runaway, when the Indians devastated the valley, her mills
were burned and she with her children were forced to flee. She
returned in 1783 and rebuilt the mills. Business was resumed
only a short time when Claypoole and Morris, claiming priority
rights to the land, instituted eviction proceedings against her.
She appealed to the General Assembly to no avail. After years
of litigation Catherine Smith was finally dispossessed. During
litigation it is said that she made thirteen trips on foot to Phila-
198 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
delphia and return. The heroic struggle of her life is a legend
in this section.
Watson was named for Oliver Watson a prominent
banker of Williamsport. It was erected from Cummings and
Porter in January, 1845. The first settlement was by John
Alexander at the mouth of Tomb's Run in 1784. The valley
along Pine Creek is a fertile farming section. Iron ore has been
mined along Furnace Run, but not in sufficient quantities to be
of commercial value.
Wolf, named for George Wolfe, Governor of Pennsyl-
vania, was formed from Muncy township in September, 1834.
Since the formation of the township it has contributed land for
the creation of two boroughs, Hughesville and Picture Rocks.
The history of the township is intertwined with that of Muncy,
the parent township. David Aspen, who arrived in 1775, is
credited with being the first settler. His cabin was located on
the southern boundary line of the present borough of Hughes-
ville. It was to his place that Rachel Silverthorn made her his-
toric ride of warning prior to the Big Runaway, in 1778'. Aspen
escaped to Fort Muncy, where he remained for a few days. He
then returned to his cabin on a tour of inspection. When he
failed to return a searching party discovered his body near his
cabin. He had been shot and scalped by the Indians. Another
early settler was Abraham Webster, who came from England
and located near Pennsdale. In 1778 the family was attacked
by Indians, a son, Abraham, killed and another son, Joseph and
two daughters captured. One of the girls was drowned in Seneca
Lake by an angry squaw, and the other was never heard of
again. The southern part of the township is rolling country,
with many fine farms, the northern section is hilly and rough.
Limestone is quarried west of Hughesville. There are great
quantities of flagstone in the northern section.
TOWNSHIPS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 199
Woodward, erected November 23, 1855, was named for
Apollos Woodward, of Williamsport, an Associate Judge. Its
surface is rolling, with fertile farm land along the river valley.
The principal streams are Queneshaque Run, Kulp's Run, and
Pine Run. Linden is the only village. When the canal was be-
ing built, several shanties were put up there and the place was
called "Shanty Town." Eventually better homes were erected
and the pleasant little village was named Linden. Queneshaque
Run derives its name from the unpronouncable Indian word
"Quenis-chasch-hacki," which is interpreteci ' "long straight
water." The Delaware Indians, whose town was on the present
site of Linden, used this name to designate the long, straight
stretch of still water in the river at this place, now known as
the "Long Reach." The white settlers called the creek by the
Indian name for "Long Reach" which has been corrupted to
"Queen-e-shock-any" and other forms of spelling. Quene-
shaque is now the spelling generally used. One of the outstand-
ing early settlers was Brattan Caldwell. He came to this country
from County Kildare, Ireland, about 1770, and to the West
Branch about 1772, settling west of Lycoming Creek on Indian
land. Caldwell was one of the organizers of the "Fair Play
System" and frequently served as commissioner. At the time
of the Big Runaway he and his family fled to Lancaster County,
but they returned as soon as the immediate danger was past.
Lycoming County Boroughs
Boroughs of Lycoming County
DUBOISTOWN was incorporated as a borough in October,
1878. The population in 1930 was 1,049. It was named
for John DuBois, who in 1867 built a large lumber mill there.
The mill burned in 1884 and was never rebuilt. Subsequently
DuBois moved to Clearfield County and founded the city of
The borough is on the south side of the West Branch of the
Susquehanna River in the shadow of the Bald Eagle Mountain.
Mosquito Creek, a mountain stream, flows through the town
before joining the river. The early settlers called the place Wal-
nut Bottom, for the heavy growth of walnut trees. Numerous
Indian implements and fireplaces found by the early settlers
were evidences of Indian occupation, near the town. The In-
dians undoubtedly considered it a desirable spot for a village,
since the trail over the mountain passed through it and crossed
the West Branch at what is now Newberry, where it joined the
Sheshequin Path up Lycoming Creek. It is believed that Albert
Culbertson entered Mosquito Valley by this mountain path and
was favorably impressed with its natural advantages. He pur-
chased land on both sides of Mosquito Creek at its juncture with
the river. On this tract he erected a spacious dwelling and, near
the edge of the river, a sawmill. This mill he replaced with a
larger one, driven by an overshot water wheel twenty-one and
a half feet in diameter. Soon after the Revolutionary War Cul-
bertson erected a grist mill on the bank of the river. The build-
ing was strongly built, two stories high, and stood on a high
stone foundation at the water's edge. Canoes were paddled up
202 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
close by and their cargoes of grain hoisted into the mill by a
rope. Because of the quality of the flour made in his mill its
popularity grew and people came laden with grain from great
distances up and down the river. At the time of the Great Run-
away, when the hostile Indians invaded the West Branch Val-
Culbertson was compelled to flee and all of his improve-
ments were destroyed. When peace again came to the valley he
returned and rebuilt his saw mill and grist mill and a few years
later erected a mill for pressing nut and linseed oil.
Other prominent early settlers in the district were Captain
William Patterson and Samuel Caldwell. Patterson was a mem-
ber of the Lycoming County bar and an accomplished fiddle
player. Caldwell became an outstanding figure in the borough
because of his frequent litigations in the county courts. He later
purchased the Culbertson mill and erected a fine stone mansion.
HUGHESVILLE was laid out in 1816 by Jeptha Hughes,
for whom the town was named. It was incorporated as a bor-
ough April 23, 1852. The population in 1930 was 1,868. The
first white settler on the site of the present borough was David
Aspen. (See Wolf Township)
The town grew very slowly during the early days. About
1820 a grist mill was erected by Jacob Clayton. In the same
year a blacksmith shop was opened by Fingley and Carson. In
1829, William Kitchen started a chair factory. The following
year. Wells and Johnson began to make the famous Dearborn
wagons. Robert Pursel opened a tannery in 1832. A furniture
factory erected in the 1870's is now the property of J. K. Rishel
Company, manufacturers of desks.
In 1818 a log school house was erected. To this crude
structure, heated by a ten-plate stove, came pupils from five to
eight miles distant. When the town -was incorporated as a
borough, this building was torn down' and a two-room brick
BOROUGHS OF LYCOMING COUNTY
View of Jersey Shore, 1854
structure erected in its place. From time to time this building
has been remodeled and additions made.
Near the Newman school house, on the edge of the bor-
ough, is one of the oldest graveyards in the valley. It contains
the graves of the Newmans, Ryncarsons, Lows and many other
early settlers of the section. Though abandoned as a burial
ground it is still kept enclosed and preserved.
Jersey Shore was incorporated as a borough March 15,
1826. It was first named Waynesburg but was changed to its
present title at the time of its incorporation. The name Jersey
Shore was suggested by the fact that some of the first settlers
came from Essex County, New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore.
The land upon which the borough now stands was in the dis-
204 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
puted territory ruled by the "Fair Play System." It did not
come under the jurisdiction of the Province until after the second
treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1784. Reuben Manning, in 1785,
was the first settler. Samuel Boul followed in 1786. Boul was
the first justice of the peace in the new borough.
For many years the growth of the borough was slow.
Jared Irwin was the first store-keeper. About 1800, Samson
Crawford established the first tannery and three years later
another was started by Abraham Lawshe. A citizen of im-
portance in the early life of the borough was Thomas Calvert,
an Englishman by birth, who came with his parents to Wil-
liamsport, in 1794, where he learned the trade of cabinetmaker
under Alexander Sloan. At the end of his apprenticeship he
went to Jersey Shore and established the first cabinet making
business in the borough. Calvert Street in the borough was
named for him.
In 1817, Solomon Bastress, who was a weaver and dyer
by trade, settled in the borough. He eventually gave up this
vocation and became a surveyor and scrivener. From 1827 to
1830 inclusive he was a member of the General Assembly. In
1846 he was chosen Associate Judge and served in that capacity
for ten years. When Susquehanna Township was divided in
1854, a new township was named in his honor.
Today Jersey Shore is the second largest borough in the
county with a population of 5,781 (1930). Its chief indus-
tries include a canning factory, hosiery mill, wire manufactory
and the New York Central Railroad shops at nearby Avis, in
Montgomery was incorporated as a borough March 27,
1887. Its first name was Black Hole, changed to Clinton Mills
in 1853; but when the post office was established, May 25,
1860, it was called Montgomery Station for Robert Mont-
gomery who owned a carding mill in the borough. Cornelius
BOROUGHS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 205
Low was the first settler, in 1778. He was followed five or six
years later by John Lawson and Nicholas Shaffer.
The first business enterprise was a distillery operated by
P. M. Barber in 1859. He also made the first plot of the town.
Among the earliest industries of Montgomery were sawmills,
a carding mill, and a planing mill. In 1870 the Montgomery
Machine Shop was established, which for many years did a
thriving business, employing at one time about 250 men. Fur-
niture manufacturing and upholstering and the manufacture of
leather specialties are the present industries of the borough. The
population in 1930 was 1,903.
MONTOURSVILLE was laid out by John Burrows in 1820.
It was incorporated as a borough 30 years later. It received its
name in remembrance of Andrew Montour, whose Indian town,
"Otstuagy," was situated near the mouth of Loyalsock Creek.
For many years prior to the establishment of a post office in
1831, the town was composed of two sections. The eastern
part of the borough was called "Coffee Town," and the western
portion was known as "Tea Town." They were so named by
teamsters who while passing through on their way to Williams-
port were often besieged by housewives requesting them to bring
a quantity of these commodities.
The first permanent white settler was John Else, who
erected the first house. Else, a carpenter-contractor, built many
of the homes in early Williamsport and his services were in de-
mand from Muncy to Bellefonte. Among the early settlers Gen-
eral John Burrows was outstanding. As a boy of thirteen years
he carried mail on horseback from Philadelphia to New York.
During the Revolution he participated in many important bat-
tles. After several years spent in farming and blacksmithing, he
went to Muncy, where he engaged in the liquor distilling busi-
ness for a time. In 1796, the year after the erection of Lycom-
ing County, he was appointed a justice of the peace by Governor
206 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
McKcan. In 1802 he was elected a County Commissioner.
While a commissioner he assisted in building the first court house
and hauled the bell which still hangs in its belfry from Phila-
delphia to Williamsport in a wagon. In 1808 he was elected
State Senator. At the end of his senate term he purchased a large
tract of land near the mouth of Loyalsock Creek. This was the
site of the old Indian village, Otstuagy. Except for a small plot
which had been cleared by the Indians, the territory was a forest.
In 1811, Burrows was appointed Major General in the Ninth
Division of the Pennsylvania Militia. In 1820, with Thomas
Lloyd, he laid out the borough and sold lots at fifty dollars each.
For many years lumbering was the chief industry. Later
three furniture factories provided the major portion of employ-
ment. Today Montoursville is a pleasant town with well-kept
streets, comfortable homes and a municipally owned water sys-
tem. Two silk mills, two sand and gravel plants, a Venetian
blind factory and the Maintenance Division of the State High-
way Department are now the chief sources of employment. A
modern airport, with two large hangars and hard surfaced run-
ways, is situated within the borough limits.
MUNCY's name was derived from the Monsey Indians, a
tribe of Delawares that inhabited the region before the arrival
of the white man. Remnants of this tribe later settled at present
The town was laid out in 1797 by Benjamin and William
McCarty and Isaac Walton and named Pcnnsborough, in honor
of the Penns. For years it was just a straggling village better
known as "Hardscrabble." More than a quarter of a century
passed before it became an incorporated borough, on March 15,
1826. On January 19, 1827 the name was changed to Muncy.
Its population in 1930 was 2,419.
Of the old families who played an important part in the
early days of the town were the Brindles and Petrikins. The
BOROUGHS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 207
early merchants and postmasters were members of the former
family. William Brindle was at one time the publisher of the
Lycoming County Gazette. William Petrikin, too, was a post-
master, and in 1842, was appointed Major General in the Penn-
sylvania Militia. He was also instrumental in the establishment
of the Muncy Female Seminary. The Lycoming County Normal
School, organized in Montoursville in 1870 and moved to
Muncy in 1877, was the first school of this type where local
and district institutes were held. The school existed about sixty
years and many men prominent in the aflFairs of the state were
students or instructors there.
An important industry in the early days of the borough
was the Muncy Agricultural Works. It was a thriving business
in the days of fine carriage, buggies, buck boards and wagons.
Clinton Guyer, inventor of a hammerless gun and the Staymen-
Guyer automatic engine, operated an engine works and machine
shop here for several years. Industries which constitute a major
part of the present industrial life of the community arc: two
machine manufacturing plants, a woolen mill, and a wire rope
Picture Rocks on Muncy Creek about two and a half
miles north of Hughesville, was incorporated as a borough Sep-
tember 27, 1875. Its population in 1930 was 548. The name
of the borough is derived from the crude Indian pictures painted
on a ledge of rocks which rises perpendicularly two hundred feet
above Muncy Creek. These pictures were objects of great cur-
iosity to the first white men. It is said that Wolfs Pathway, a
Seneca chief, ordered Fisher Fox, a famous Indian artist, to re-
move the original pictures and in their place to depict his great
victory in the Battle of Canoes. The battle occurred near Nip-
penose Park on the Susquehanna. The discovery of arrowheads
and other implements adds credence to the story.
208 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
The land was first owned by Henry Rody, whose warrant
bears the date of June 3, 1773. He sold it to Abraham Singer,
who later conveyed it to John Tice. In 1848, A. R. Sprout
and Amos Burrows of Susquehanna County purchased the land
from Mr. Tice. Previous owners had erected a cabin and a saw-
mill but had made little progress in the seemingly impossible
task of clearing the land, which was covered with logs, rocks
and brush. Sprout and Burrows established the first sash, door
and blind factory in the county. As the settlement grew, other
industries were founded. Some of these have been discontinued
or absorbed. The present industries include furniture manufac-
turing; manufacturing of excelsior and tool handles; and the
making of extension and step ladders.
Salladasburg is on Larry's Creek about five miles north
of its junction with the Susquehanna River. It was erected from
Mifflin Township, January 12, 1884, and named in honor of
its founder Jacob Sallada. Sallada, in 1837, erected the first
grist mill, which he operated until 1867. About this time
Sallada and Stephen Bell built another mill near the older one.
Cline finally sold his mill to Good and Company, who converted
it into a planing and cider mill, and a few years later he pur-
chased the new mill of Sallada and Bell. This mill was de-
stroyed by fire in 1887, and the site was purchased by Thomas
and Brothers who rebuilt it and did a flourishing business until
1928, when it was again partially destroyed by fire. It was re-
built and modern machinery was installed, and it is still the
property of the Thomas family.
For some time the leading industry of the borough was a
tannery established in 1848 by Robert Lawshe. In 1882 the
buildings were destroyed by fire and Robert McCuUough re-
built them on a larger scale. After modern machinery had been
installed, the plant had a capacity of four hundred hides a day.
The hides were hauled in wagons from Larry's Creek station
BOROUGHS OF LYCOMING COUNTY 209
and returned there by the same means. Steady employment
was furnished to about one hundred men. The industry exists
today only in the memory of the older inhabitants of the bor-
ough. Jim's Inn Beach in the borough is one of the popular
recreational places of the county for swimmers and skaters. It
has a modern bath house with showers and lockers with life
guards on duty during the season. The population of Salladas-
burg in 1930 was 227.
South Williamsport is practically a part of the city of
Williamsport, being separated only by the Susquehanna, but
connected by two free bridges. It is on a low plateau that was
known by early pioneers and surveyors as the "Lower Bottom"
to distinguish it from the "Upper Bottom" opposite Linden.
On its western boundary is the borough of DuBoistown.
The borough is cut by Hagerman's Run, which drains the
northern slope of Bald Eagle Mountain and empties into the
Susquehanna River. When the Williamsport Water Company
located their original reservoir it was placed near the mouth of
this stream, but when more water was needed the company con-
structed a storage reserve farther up the ravine to be used in
conjunction with its reservoir in Mosquito Valley.
Aaron Hagerman, who came to this country from Holland
before the Revolutionary War, was responsible for the name of
Hagerman's Run. Hagerman settled along the stream at a point
near where Koch's brewery now stands. During the canal
days a sizable village named Rocktown sprang up. Inasmuch
as the mouth of Hagerman's Run was a popular place for "tieing
up," McMichael McDonough established a tavern there. Good
shad fishing in the river nearby increased the business of the
place. The tavern was also at the junction of two public roads.
The initial movement towards the establishment of a town
occurred when Jacob Weise bought a tract of forty acres, laid it
out in town lots, and established a brick yard near McDonough's
210 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
tavern. He later built an oil mill, which was razed when the
water company erected their, reservoir. He also erected a grist
mill near the Koch Brewery.
The furniture factory of George Luppert, the sawmills of
Green, Sands and Company, and Valentine Luppert, and the
planing mill of the latter, together with the mills of the Wil-
liamsport Iron and Nail Company, brought about a second set-
tlement, this one named Bootstown. The origin of the name
"Bootstown" is interesting. Through George Luppert a number
of Germans from Neuberg on the Rhine settled just below the
Kaiser spring. Shortly after they had selected their new homes,
a pair of boots was stolen from one of them. In spite of the
fact that the Germans wished the town called Neuberg, news of
the stolen boots spread widely and the name remained until it
was amalgamated with Rocktown into the borough of South
The population of South Williamsport grew from 2,900
in 1890 to 6,058 in 1930. Most of this increase has been due
to the introduction of new industries and the growth of some
of the older ones.
The old Koch Brewery still does business under the orig-
inal name, though under diflFerent management. The more recent
industries in the town manufacture the following: Institutional
supplies, cement blocks, furniture, hardware, and silk textiles.
WILLIAMSPORT is the county seat and the only city in
Lycoming County. It was laid out by Michael Ross in
1795, incorporated as a borough in 1806 and as a city January
16, 1866. Little is known of the place of origin or ancestry of
its founder. Ross was born in Europe of German and Scotch
parentage and came to this country when he was about ten years
old. In 1772, with his mother he came to Samuel Wallis*
Muncy Farms, where as a "redemptioner" he served as a sur-
veyors' assistant until 1779. At the expiration of his term
Wallis gave him 100 acres of land, some livestock and equip-
ment. During the following fourteen years, little is recorded
of Ross' activities, except his marriage to Ann Courson in 1793.
By that year he had acquired the 300 acres which now comprise
the borough of South Williamsport. How he came into posses-
sion of this tract is not known, nor is there any record of what
became of the land he received from Wallis. Tradition has it
that Ross while plowing his tract in the spring of 1794 became
impressed with its natural surroundings and, believing the
river to be navigable, visioned a "city" or "port" on the oppo-
site or north side of the stream. Imitating Cincinnatus of old,
he left the plow in the field and set out to acquire the land on
which the foundation of Williamsport was to be erected. On
May 7, 1794, the Commonwealth patented to him a 280-acre
tract. The following spring he employed William Ellis and
Joseph Williams to assist him in laying out the town. The orig-
inal plot extended from the river north to Brandon Park and
west from Penn to Hepburn Street. It contained approximately
212 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
111 acres, divided into 302 lots, with a public square in the
center in accordance with English custom. Ross lived in an
abandoned log cabin until 1800 when he erected a large brick
dwelling at the northeast corner of Basin and Third Streets.
Because he always believed that the Susquehanna River would
eventually be made navigable and that the infant town would
be the "port of entry," he reserved all fishing and ferrying
rights for himself and for years after his death his heirs retained
title to the land lying along the river bank between Penn and
In 1795, the first year of Lycoming County's existence,
Williamsport was chosen as the county seat. Jaysburg, a small
village west of Lycoming Creek and Dunnsburg (now Dunns-
town, Clinton County) , were vigorously contending with each
other for this honor. Dunnsburg had already set aside a plot of
ground for a court house. Jaysburg had provided a jail and
temporary quarters for county oflicials. The designation of Wil-
liamsport caused a great deal of bitterness between the villages
west of Lycoming Creek and that to the cast. People residing
west of Lycoming Creek charged Michael Ross and Judge Wil-
liam Hepburn, who owned a tract of land adjoining Ross', with
fraud and coercion. They were accused of transferring choice
lots to friends and relatives of the commissioners appointed by
Governor Thomas Mifflin to select the county seat. In 1794,
Hepburn had been elected to the State Senate from Northum-
berland County. As Senator he was instrumental in the creation
of Lycoming County. He resigned his senatorship and was
appointed the first President Judge of the new county.
The first court house was started in 1800 and completed
in 1804. It was constructed on the site of the present building
at a cost of $20,417.80. In 1860, the old one having become
obsolete, a new one was built. It was ready for occupancy in the
spring of 1861 and cost $41,030. The bell, which still hangs
in the belfry, and the image which adorns the dome were used
in the first building. The bell was brought in a wagon from
Philadelphia by General John Burrows, one of the county com-
missioners. It bears the inscription: "George Hedderly made
me in Philadelphia Anno. Di. 1804." The image on the dome
is a female figure holding the scales of justice. The clock in-
stalled in the 1861 building still remains, except that the original
wooden dials have been replaced by glass ones.
The first jail was started in 1799 and completed in 1801.
The cost probably did not exceed $8,000. In 1867 it was so
badly damaged by fire that the old building was razed and the
present jail erected at a cost of $139,440.87.
At the time of its incorporation as a borough the town had
less than one hundred taxable inhabitants. For some time
it grew slowly, due in part perhaps to the enmities caused by the
competition for a county seat. It required many years, and, in
fact, a new generation, to entirely efface the bitterness resulting
from this vigorous and spirited campaign. Almost fifty years
after its incorporation as a borough Williamsport had a popu-
lation of less than 17,000.
In 1853 Peter Herdic came to town and aroused it from
its lethargy. Herdic was born at Fort Plain. New York, on
December 14. 1824. Soon after his arrival in Williamsport.
his dynamic personality and restless energy infused new life
into the community and every branch of business and industry
was renewed and invigorated. The town immediately began a
period of unprecedented development and prosperity. During
the next ten years. Herdic built houses, business blocks, hotels
and churches. He organized bands, purchased the gas works
and, failing in an attempt to purchase the water works, he con-
structed a rival one. In 1864. he erected the Herdic House (later
called Park Hotel), a very pretentious structure for the tiine.
more than a mile from the business center of town. He then in-
duced the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to locate its station
adjoining the hotel, built a street car line to connect the hotel
with the business district and proceeded to sell building lots.
From the sale of lots he was able to pay for the hotel and car
line, and there were still many lots unsold. Another illustra-
tion of Herdic's foresight was the purchase of a large tract of
land in what is now South Williamsport. Then, as now, the
Pennsylvania Railroad, in the eastern end of the city, crossed
from the south to the north side of the river and, after passing
through Williamsport, recrossed to the south side near the vil-
lage of Nisbet. Because the bridges were frequently damaged
by floods, Herdic was able to persuade the railroad company to
construct a spur line through his property connecting these
two points. Thus the value of his land was considerably en-
hanced and he proceeded to sell factory sites and building lots.
The venture was not only a financial success for Herdic, but
South Williamsport, a borough of over six thousand popula-
tion has grown up on the site, largely as a result of the enter-
prise of this man. He built the Weightman Block on West
Fourth Street and persuaded the city to construct a sewer from
the present underpass at Campbell Street to the river. After its
completion the "Dutch Gap Canal" as it was popularly called,
provided excellent drainage for Herdic's land.
Herdic's greatest feat was gaining control of the great log
boom on the river, which he and two others, Mahlon Fisher
and John G. Reading, bought from Major James Perkins and
others in 1857. The log boom was virtually the toll-gate of
the lumber industry. He increased the tolls from seventy-five
cents to a dollar and a quarter a thousand feet. Since the num-
ber of logs passing through the boom in a year reached hundreds
of millions of feet, the profits were enormous. The income of
the company for the first eight years after the increase in tolls
totaled over two and a quarter million dollars. In the course
216 A PICTURE OF LYCOMING COUNTY
of his business career, Herdic became owner or controller of all
the principal enterprises in Williamsport. He organized the
Lumbermen's National Bank, operated sawmills, started a rub-
ber works, owned a brush factory, a nail works in South Wil-
liamsport, the gas plant, the upper water works, the Maynard
Street bridge, the West Branch Gazette and Bulletin, the Herdic
House (now Park Hotel), and great tracts of coal lands, be-
sides other extensive tracts of land and scores of dwellings. He
had Williamsport incorporated as a city in 1866 and was the
"power behind the throne" in having Newberry annexed to
Williamsport. During the panic of 1873 he went into volun-
tary bankruptcy. At the time of his financial collapse his lia-
bilities were approximately $1,000,000. But for his untimely
death February 2, 1888, it is very probable that he would have
again become a potent factor in the further development of his
adopted city. Within five years after his failure, the property
turned over to his creditors was valued at more than $2,000,000.
Herdic's business tactics were often the object of severe criti-
cism. He had faults, but his virtues probably exceeded them.
He gave freely to the poor and to every community enterprise.
He built the beautiful Trinity Episcopal Church and presented
it to the congregation. He gave lots for the Congregational
Church, the Church of the Annunciation, the First Baptist
Church, the First Evangelical Lutheran and contributed gen-
erously toward building the Jewish Synagogue. To Peter
Herdic, more than to any other man, belongs the credit of
awakening the sleepy little country town that was Williams-
port in 1853 and transforming it into a thriving city. At the
time of Herdic's arrival the town's population was less than
2,000 but by I860 it had grown to nearly three times that
Since the 1860's the city's growth has been continuous.
After the forests had been divested of their timber, other in-
WILLIAMSPORT 2 1 7
dustries took the place lumbering had occupied. There arc
about ninety manufacturing plants in the city, with an annual
payroll of almost $8,000,000. The population, including
immediate environs, is approximately 55,000 persons. The city
has a modern business district, with office buildings, stores and
hotels. There are more than sixty churches, representing almost
Splendid educational facilities are provided. Williamsport
Dickinson Seminary furnishes an opportunity for higher studies.
This recognized co-educational institution maintains college
preparatory courses and also has two years of studies paralleling
the freshman and sophomore years in a liberal arts college.
The public school system of the city includes one senior high
school, three junior high schools and eleven elementary schools.
Total enrollment for the 1938-1939 term was 8,775 pupils
with 293 teachers and instructors. There also are two Roman
Catholic high schools and two parochial elementary schools
with a total enrollment of approximately 1,000 students. Three
business schools, maintaining accounting and secretarial courses,
also are located in the city.
The Williamsport Hospital, an institution of 275 beds,
is one of the best equipped in the state. A nurses' training
school also is connected with the hospital. There also is a well
equipped private hospital in the city.
The James V. Brown Library, the only large size free
public library in Lycoming County, has complete facilities for
the reading needs of the city's inhabitants. In addition to the
main building, the library maintains two branches, one in the
western part of the city and one in Montoursville. The inaugu-
ration this year (1939) of a county- wide traveling circulating
library has brought a wide variety of reading material to the
rural population. Funds for this purpose are provided by the
county with State aid. A truck is used for the distribution of
WiUiamsport Dickinson Seminary and Junior College
WILLIAMSPORT 2 1 9
books in charge of a librarian. The project is administered by
the Board of Directors of the James V. Brown Library.
Two daily newspapers, the Gazette and Bulletin and the
Williamsport Sun, are published in the city. Williamsport also
is the home of Grit which has the largest circulation of any
weekly newspaper in the United States, 600,000 copies.
Residents have excellent recreational facilities at their dis-
posal. There are two city parks, twelve playgrounds and five
athletic fields, in addition to a nine-hole municipal golf course
and a number of tennis courts. Swimming is provided in near-
by streams. The Young Men's Christian Association and the
Young Women's Christian Association also have swimming
pools in their buildings which arc fully equipped to care for
the needs of their members and guests.
Approximately sixty per cent of the homes in the city are
owned by the occupants. The newer residential districts are in
the Vallamont and Grampian sections in the northern part of
the city, where winding drives traverse the foothills overlooking
the river valley. Faxon and Kenmar, suburbs to the cast of the
city, also arc fast-growing residential areas.
QUESTIONS — WILLIAMSPORT
1. When was Williamsport laid out?
2. Who was Michael Ross?
3. Who was Peter Herdic?
4. What did Herdic do for Williamsport?
5. How many manufacturing plants arc there in Williamsport?
6. What opportunities in education are oflFered in Williamsport?
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