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Where Wigwams Stood 

A History of Muncy, Pennsylvania, 
as seen through the pages of Now and Then 

by Katherine Yurchak 


Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 17815 

copyright 1994 Katherine Yurchak 

Editor/Designer: Walter M. Brasch 
Typesetter: Meka J. Eyerly 
Printer: BookMasters, Inc. 

Photos courtesy of 

Muncy Historical Society 

Lycoming County Historical Museum 

Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 94-69914 
International Standard Book Number: 0-942991-01-X 

Printed in the United States of America 

Where Wigwams Stood 

1/ Small Beginnings 1 

2/ Getting to Know Gernerd 9 

3/ How Muncy Got Its Name 15 

4/ Rose Elizabeth Cleveland 19 

5/ The Muncy Female Seminary. 25 

6/ The Underground Railroad 31 

7/ The Shoemaker Story. 41 

8/ The McCartys of Muncy. 47 

9/ The Wallis Connection 57 

10/ The Lady of the Manor 67 

11/ A Hero Is Remembered 77 

12/ Prisoners of Hope 87 

13/ Life On the Frontier 95 

14/ The Revival of Now and Then 103 


Gernerd and Greeley. 109 

Living In The House That Wallis Built Ill 

The Last Raft 113 



My gratitude to Dr. Walter Brasch whose patience and 
persistence made this book possible. 

Meka Eyerly did an outstanding job of translating my 
manuscript into type. 

Partial funding for this book was provided by the Office 
of University Advancement and by the Honors Program of 
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. 


Where Wigwams Stood 

J.M.M. Gernerd 


Muncy, Pennsylvania 



■%, %mxMl;§mtit\ to' flu ©ojto ti \ht, %\m$. 

Vol. 1. 

MUNCY, PA. JUNE, 1868. 




Tin; writer was a suburban, or perhaps with more propri- 
ety a provincial. His nrstlcnowledge of the metropolis wag 
M very reluctant Introduction to the Old Academy, as it was 
ilirii called, anil wli'ch has since, degenerated into a common 


Our experienco onntlnped through" the administration of 
..-vend of its most djstlivrairiied Professors, — Willsoti, Sev- 
ern, liutt, tuid Kittoe. The first was u pedant and fop. The 
►.mini In our esteem neve; mac above the. grade of a school 
master. Tho third wag a teacher, a scholar, and a gentle- 
man. The fourth a tcaclter a disciplinarian, a-Bcholar and 
ii HmJeiii; lie hail hnttta.of friendB, and no lack of patrons, 
iliir .inly cninplumt was/his system of punishment, it was 
h.i summitry and iguominiouH,. Tho lect of the unBUgpectiug 
i,i iiMint an if bj mane allj-'flL of the, Professors hand were 
I' .unit elevated to an angle of about 90 tlegrees, and before 
tin- frightened victim crnda roalke his situation a ponderous 
rutrr wns describing semicircles where there was no danger 
uf abdominal contagions. Kittoe excelled all others in this 
<>»tiin of intellectual "in-knuckulation." 

*>f the several of whom we have spoken, connected with 
0ii< Academy" lis teachers,' the latter two have become distlii- 
I'ulshed in professional walks, while the former we belive, if 
livtiiff, are [Hil.igogues yet. 

It would lie interesting to trace, if we were allowed to do 
hi, the careers of some Of tlie Aluinifi, of both sexes, of this 
Aimlciny Many lollowed the "Star of Empire" to the Great 
V\ ixt.aiiil on that theatre are playing their part in the great 
■li.iiiui uf life. Others still linger around the paternal heart'' - 
iiiiw, anil Horae alas — 

"The young and strong,. 
Mho cherished noble longings for the strife, 
Uy the wayside fell and perished, 
Weary with the march of life." 

Unv the Lyceum war organized, and held its meetings. 
U .• ran remember the astonishment we experienced ut the 
» underfill, kuowludge of its lecturers. Scientifiic experimecis 
litre monopolized by Drs. Wood, llankin, and Kittoe; and 
we em i see now, though we did not then, that the society 
tioulil mil have heeen run if the electric machine, or the Gal- 
i aiiic battery, laid not been invented. We must not omit to 
mention however in justice to Dr.Butt, that he came near 
blowing up the audieuce one night iu a benevolent attempt 
t<> vary the entertainment, by prematurely igniting some 
liiliiiiiialing powder. 

Ijithy too expatiated eloquently on Moral Philosophy, and 
we are sorry to say but eeldom followed his own precepts,- 
wliiid liains iu Astronomy, Uoal iu Oratory, Ellis iu Miner- 
alogy, and Sneddon in Esthetics and Belle-letter, constituted 
its- eliiel' lights. Certainly to us, the rising generation, these 
gentlemen were- "Lights shining In the darkness." We are 
sorry to any that with jireater advantages few of us will ever 
reaeh their standard, in private or professional life. 

We believe about the time of which we are speaking, a 
rival school was opened in a building almve the present res- 
idence of Esq. Lloyd. It had been a "Wiud Mill Factory." 
It was the principal-lnntiuitioii for the education of young 
ladles. The only music we ever heard there was the occa- 

sional clatter of one of the rejected wind miHa, and we belive 
the only professor of the fine arts was the apprentice who in 
former times came pot and brush in hand to paint and stripe 
them. The present "Muncy Female Seminary," with its able 
Principal, foods of departments, and its many easels and 
costly pianos, presents a somewhat striking contrast. 

The writer remembers among the attractions of the town 
at thiftime was Mrs. Ellis's "Pyana", as the name was then 
pronounced. It was the only one in the town, and groups 
of boys and girls assembled under the window whenever its 
charming chords were struck. Nothing we thought in this 
world could equal it but Whitmoyer's musical clock, just op- 
posite, though perhaps the "ginger cakes" might To this 
estimable lady is due the honour of the maternity of instru- 
mental music in Muncy, and we are told that her touch is yet 
as delicate and as graceful as a maidens. 

Muncy had then as now its votaries to the Poetic Muse. 
On Petrlkin's corner, where now stands the store of Messrs. 
Clapp and Smith, was a small building occupied as a milli- 
nery shop. Kvery thing of litis kind was then called shop, 
for instance a Doctor shop, a Butcher shop, &c. Miss Jane 
Calviu was a lady of uo ordinary attractions herself, and as- 
sisting her were several Misses in every respect her equal*. 
They had of course many admircrs-araong them a scion of 
Yankee laud ; whose calls proving unacceptable, was treated 
as an iudicatiou of it, to a bowl of mush and milk. We be- 
lieve he was in the employ of the lute .>Ir. II. Noble, also from 
the East, a young man, and who was laying the foundation 
of a handsome fortune iu what s.euied to the people of the 
town a novel, and perhaps abortive enterprise — the broom 
corn business. The ".Muncy Telegraph" a few days after the 
mush and milk incident thus in part narrates it — 

A broom-corn twister made a push, 
And got his pay in milk and mu»h ; 
A friend I am to making brooms, 
But make them, Sir,in proper rooms. 

Not least among the exoitements of these times were Train- 
ings ■ £ "big" and "Tittle niufitors." We remember well uow 
sxe all envied Tom Lloyd, [then n hoy] his superior accom- 
plishment of ploying i he life, — cmuiug into town at the head 
of UiatmaguilTcentirtilitary pageant as it descended "Shettle 
Hill" from Esq. Wood's fields, where of ordering arms 

"It made a short essay, 
Then hastened to be drunk 
The bmiinesH of the day." 

The reputation of the Academy in time began to wauc, and 
a Belect school for the Patricians — the nice young ineu uf the 
town — where the Latin and Greek classics, and the higher 
mathematics were taught, — was opened by Q. F. Boal, Esq. 
At the same time a school under the management of Mr. 
Ocorge Ileightsmim was in progress. An unaccountable ri- 
valry sprung up between the schools, and the patricians dls- 
playtMl tliier superior learning and refinement in epithetical 
effusions like the following: 

"Highteman's hogB are in the pen, 

And dout get out but now and then. 

And wheu they get out, 

They root about 

George Bool's young Gentleman." 



1 /Small Beginnings 


n 1868, J.M.M. Gernerd, a cabinet maker and shopkeeper by 
trade, introduced Now and Then to Muncy, his beloved hometown. 
He described his newspaper as "a humble little serial," which it was, 
and published it with the promise that he would issue it only every 
"once in a while," which he did. Neither he, nor anyone else, could 
ever have imagined that Now and Then would be the official publi- 
cation of the Muncy Historical Society. 

Gernerd used an all-encompassing subtitle, "Topics of the 
Times," which he felt licensed him to write freely about things 
which he said "related to life, health, happiness, death, resurrection, 
and restoration." And he sincerely believed that "people of all ages, 
no matter what their means or education, would find interest in 
such things." 

Gernerd's writings reveal a lively curiosity about humanity pre- 
sent and past, but especially about the race that peopled the 
Susquehanna Valley before white men invaded Muncy' s wilderness 

For example, when a friend told him about "ancient axe-marks" 
seen on a pine stump left from a tree that was felled in 1830, he was 
fascinated to discover it had 133 rings of annual growth. By count- 
ing each ring as a spring and summer, Gernerd deduced that the 
axe-marks had been made about the year 1697. He then compared 
that data with information published by his friend John Meginness, 


2 Katherine Yurchak 

in his book Otzinachson. The historian had mentioned "much older 
axe-marks on an oak that was felled on the north side of Muncy 
mountain..." Gernerd shared this exciting news with readers of 
Now and Then, and told them that "the growths showed that the cuts 
had been made about 460 years before, or about the year 1466." 

Continued Gernerd: "The humble natives who made these sim- 
ple records certainly did not then dream that the Great Spirit would 
send a race of acquisitive white men who would destroy all their 
tribes, occupy all their vast hunting grounds, cut down their mag- 
nificent forests, level their sepulchral mounds with the plow, 
destroy the wildlife, build villages and cities where their wigwams 
stood, and yet that some of these strange beings would find so much 
interest in a few marks made on several trees!" 

It is reasonable to assume that Gernerd, an expert in Indian arti- 
facts, knew something about axe-marks, having collected thousands 
of flint arrow heads which he had carefully catalogued in his muse- 

We also have to assume that Gernerd had given long and care- 
ful thought to his publishing venture before launching Now and 
Then. He already was a busy shopkeeper who dealt mainly in musi- 
cal instruments, and was an accomplished violinist. He did not 
need the time-consuming tasks associated with journalism, since his 
shop was bulging with a variety of merchandise and must have 
needed his attention. 

For his periodical, Gernerd had acquired a hand press. He was 
the typesetter and printer, as well as writer, editor and distributor. 

The inaugural issue of Now and Then bore Gernerd's greeting to 
his readers under the title "Salutatory." He could not have made his 
intentions more plain. He told his readers he was not undertaking 
the publication for profit, although he conceded he would devote a 
few precious inches of space in Now and Then to his business inter- 
ests. And he graciously extended an invitation to his readers to con- 
tribute their views for publication. 

The four pages of the 6 by 9-inch paper were admittedly small 
as to size. But Gernerd dismissed that point with this bit of philos- 
ophy: "... As diamonds and rubies are not the less sought and val- 
ued because always small, we fondly hope its size need be no obsta- 

Where Wigwams Stood 3 

cle to pleasant entertainment and valuable instruction." 

Also small was the type size Gernerd used for printing his arti- 
cles. The type was set 60 characters to a line, and 10 lines to an 
inch. Thus the editor was able to cram each page with his flowing 
essays. Again Gernerd offered no apologies for smallness. He 
explained: "Although the dimensions are somewhat of a 
Lilliputian order, yet, on account of the smallness of the type, each 
number will require a great many pages of foolscap manuscript." 

The price of the newspaper was 2 cents a copy, and the num- 
ber of copies of the first issue probably was no more than 100. 
According to Gernerd's notations, a few years later when he was 
"increasing the subscription to 200 copies," he told those who were 
requesting copies of the first issue that none were available, 
because he had made "far to few" of that number. 

That Now and Then found immediate acceptance throughout 
the area leads to the assumption that during his generation 
Gernerd had filled an important communications gap. And he did 
so in a way that no other journalist until that time had thought to 

He told his readers that although there were several volumi- 
nous historical books about Lycoming County available at that 
time, in his view average individuals did not have the money to 
purchase such expensive books. But he believed even busy people 
would find time to read about the past, if it was presented along 
with current events in brief and concise articles. Gernerd, there- 
fore, had to have seen himself as a different kind of journalist, and 
truly believed Muncy needed his periodical. And since Now and 
Then was being offered so inexpensively (the price was later raised 
to 5 cents a copy) he knew Muncy's people could afford his news- 

For his brief and pithy essays, Gernerd the journalist now 
reached back in time to relate his "recollections" of life as it once 
was in Muncy. But then with charming spontaneity, he would 
extend his pen to embrace those immediate things, people or 
places close at hand. 

In his early "recollections" columns, Gernerd told of his per- 
sonal memories about people who had lived only three or four 

4 Katherine Yurchak 

decades earlier in his beloved community. Since he was in his 
early thirties at the time, we can assume that many of his readers 
could easily compare or share their own remembrances about 
Muncy And they did so in letters to the editor. 

In his newspaper, Gernerd showed no reticence in expressing 
bold opinions on any topic. And despite his appealing writing 
style, he managed to stir up controversy from time to time. 
Gernerd was unswayed. Muncy's friendly curmudgeon wrote 
what he pleased, and as often as he wanted to. Readers loved it. 
Because the paper was small enough to tuck into an envelope, rel- 
atives and friends sent their copies of Now and Then to former 
Muncians who had earlier taken advantage of America's grand rail 
opportunities during the 1850's. At that time, large and thriving 
distant cities had beckoned to young people from America's small 
towns and promised them prosperity. Like Gernerd, some had 
been educated in Muncy's Old Academy. But Dame Fortune's pull 
was not so strong upon Gernerd as it had been on many of his 

The local editor included in the pages of Now and Then bits of 
nostalgia for those who had left their small Pennsylvania town far 
behind. And Gernerd's colorful writings made them homesick for 
what was then happening, while he also made them yearn for life 
as it used to be in Muncy — the little town nestled beneath Bald 
Eagle's Mountain. 

Gernerd's skills as a communicator were effective beyond his 
highest expectations. Now and Then became so popular that his 
writings almost immediately were being reprinted in area news- 
papers. Since they'd failed to give Gernerd credit as the author of 
the articles, the writer had to give strong warning against plagia- 
rism to his competitor journalists. 

By the time the third issue appeared in August 1868, Gernerd 
gave mention to several area newspapers that had acknowledged 
his contribution to the journalistic scene. Among them, of course, 
was The Luminary in Muncy, where Gernerd had become a friend- 
ly rival to his editorial friend, George Painter. Other journals 
issued at that time were The Miltonian, The Waverly Enterprise, The 
Hughesville journal, The Watsontown Journal, The Jersey Shore Herald, 

Where Wigwams Stood 5 

The Clinton Republican, The Mifflinburgh Telegraph, The Popgun, 
being issued out of Sullivan County, and The Williamsport Gazette 
and Bulletin, where his friend John Meginness served as editor. 

Although Gernerd insisted he was not publishing Now and 
Then for "pecuniary purposes," besides the bits of news of times 
past and present that he shared with the community, the editor 
reserved two or three inches of Now and Then to advertise "articles 
for ladies," which were available in his shop. He listed "fine 
cotton for crochet, wire for hair flowers, and oil for sewing 

Under the caption "For Gentlemen," another half-inch of the 
back-page of Now and Then advertised "pocket books, pocket 
knives, fishing rods and tackle, baseballs and bats, and supplies for 

Today when the nation is so environmentally conscious, it's 
amazing to discover that many yesterdays ago Gernerd led a cam- 
paign toward assuring unpolluted springs for Muncy's residents. 
A small advertisement promoting water filters in Now and Then 
reveals that Gernerd was aware of the community's "increasing 
demand for pure water." 

On examining the first issue of Now and Then, it is reasonable 
to assume that Gernerd's shop, indeed, must have had a full inven- 
tory. He also held the franchise for Wheeler and Wilson sewing 

Moreover, as the proprietor of the only music store in town 
Gernerd, with understandable pride, advertised that he could 
"furnish any of various styles of pianos" to his patrons. Indeed, if 
a Steinway or a George Steck & Co. piano were to be delivered to 
a Muncy resident at that time, it no doubt would have had to pass 
through Gernerd's shop. 

But of what use was a piano, if there was no place in Muncy to 
buy sheet music? Gernerd foresaw that need. A list of sheet music, 
available in Muncy only in his shop, was advertised in his paper. 
Imagine what good news it must have been to music lovers of the 
area to discover that such popular songs as "My Love We'll Meet 
Again," "I Wait With a Happy Heart," and "Then You'll 
Remember Me," were on sale at Gernerd's. And the prices were 

6 Katherine Yurchak 

right — from 30 cents to 60 cents each. 

Gernerd also gave space in Now and Then to an announcement 
about the "Circulating Library/' contained in his shop. In addition 
he held a priceless collection of thousands of Indian artifacts he 
had gathered since his boyhood days. They, too, were on display 
in his home/museum. 

From this, Nozv and Then could be described as one of Muncy's 
earliest "direct-mail flyers," except that the first issues of 
Gernerd's periodical were carried to individual homes. 

Although Gernerd used his newspaper as a vehicle for notify- 
ing Muncy of the things he had to sell in his shop, historian 
T.K.Wood later noted that the shopkeeper's newspaper "had cost 
him much more than it had ever brought him in profit." 

Because Gernerd was the inventor and the manufacturer of a 
spring bottom bed, the product also was advertised in later copies 
of Now and Then . Meginness listed the mattress-making business 
as one of Muncy's prosperous industries, and described Gernerd's 
spring bottom bed as "being light, clean, noiseless, strong, durable, 
beautiful, and delightfully elastic." 

As promised, Gernerd published Now and Then "every once in 
a while," until February 1878. During that decade, his publication 
was issued only 19 times, and the subscription list increased each 
time it was published. 

When issue No. 7 appeared, the editor announced he was pro- 
ducing 500 copies, but promised No. 8 would be a 600-copy issue, 
and that there would be 800 copies available for the No. 9 issue of 
Now and Then. He told his readers he had a book that would hold 
3,000 names of subscribers. But even the popular demand for his 
newspaper could not hold Gernerd to his journalistic post. 

In February 1878, he bade a fond farewell to his subscribers 
only to reappear as the editor of his paper ten years later. In the 
revived publication under date of July-August 1888, Gernerd's 
first essay, "Florida Reminiscences," notifies that in the interim he 
had moved to Florida hoping to make it his permanent home. But 
apparently his love for Muncy was stronger than any benefits he 
might have derived from living in the South. 

On his return to Muncy, Gernerd was convinced by his friend 

Where Wigwams Stood 7 

Meginness that Now and Then should be revived. The new period- 
ical had an increase in the number of pages so as to include the 
writings of Meginness and several other local historians. 

By then the editor was 53 years old, and we could reasonably 
assume that he also was more mature in his ideas and interests. 
We find, however, that he had lost none of his curmudgeon quali- 
ties in covering topics (listed on the periodical's frontispiece) such 
as "history, amusement, instruction, and advancement." 

An article published in 1891, for example, dealt with "the dis- 
eased minds of animals," and pointed out that "the most faithful, 
affectionate and intelligent dog is utterly transformed in his men- 
tal nature when he becomes rabid." And he continued: "We had 
an ill-shaped rooster several years ago that was a complete idiot. 
He knew just about enough to eat, but hardly enough to crow. He 
was as defective in organization as he was in mind, and was 
despised, shunned and abused by all his poultry-yard compan- 

A review of Gernerd's later writings shows that he was still 
interested in "topics of the times," as in earlier issues of Now and 
Then. However, none of Gernerd's strong opinions about those 
topics had appreciably changed. He continued to write about such 
controversial subjects as "cremation," and "animal intelligence." 

The newer version of Now and Then also had to be increased in 
price to 10 cents a copy because "postage charges are too expen- 
sive," according to the editor. From this it is learned that the 
Gernerd publication no longer was delivered door-to-door, but 
had become available only by mail to its much increased list of 

The tone for Gernerd's newest volume of Now and Then, was 
established with a couplet taken from "Young's Night Thoughts." 
"We take no thought of time, 
But from its loss. 
To give it then a tongue, 
Is wise in man." 

By 1888, Gernerd's periodical was being printed on the com- 
mercial presses of Muncy's weekly newspaper, The Luminary. 
Gernerd advertised that his old hand press was for sale. It is rea- 

8 Katherine Yurchak 

sonable to assume that it was with great reluctance he had decid- 
ed to get rid of the press. Even so, there were no immediate buy- 
ers. The press advertisement appeared in several issues of the 
paper. But eventually the Gernerd hand press, with "all of its para- 
phernalia," found a new home in the neighboring community of 
Montgomery. The publisher of The Mirror purchased it for its 

The last published issue of Now and Then, with Gernerd as edi- 
tor, was May /June 1892. [Vol. 3, No. 12] The publication was 
brought to an abrupt end. And, again, there were no apologies and 
no explanations. Gernerd was then engaged in preparing a book 
about the Gernerd family's genealogy. Perhaps that work may 
have influenced his decision to end his journalistic duties. 

But whatever the reason for stopping the presses on his publi- 
cation, his "Valedictory" reads as follows: "This number completes 
the third volume of the Now and Then. It faithfully discharges all 
obligations to its subscribers. And this is the last number, and this 
the last volume, that will be published — Now. " 

In the reading of Gernerd's farewell, one senses a hint to a 
future reappearance of Now and Then. But that did not occur dur- 
ing his lifetime. 

2 /Getting to Know 
Jerry Gernerd 


or an introduction to the man who began Now and Then, we 
turn to the book Gernerd published about his family's history The 
genealogical search, published in 1904, had taken him six years to 
complete. And although he insisted his work was meant only "for 
his indulgent kindred," it makes enjoyable reading for anyone 
who is interested in knowing how the early settlers survived life in 
primitive America. 

The original Gernerds (the name has undergone a number of 
anglicized spellings) were "Redemptioners" who had left the 
Palatines of Europe in the late 1600s to escape an oppressive gov- 

Jeremiah Mutzler Mohr Gernerd was born in Foglesville, Pa., 
on July 22, 1836. He was the only child of David and Lydia (Mohr) 
Gernerd. In 1839, the family moved to Muncy where David 
Gernerd continued his trade as a chairmaker, as was his father 
before him. 

Jerry Gernerd was ten years old when his father died in 1846. 
The youngster and his widowed mother made their home with the 
Mohrs, his maternal grandparents, who had earlier also located in 
Muncy from the Foglesville area. 

In writing to his relatives about himself, Gernerd candidly 

1 Katherine Yurchak 

revealed that he was a "sickly, nervous, wayward youngster." He 
wrote: "When I was a year or two old, I was so puny that 
Grandmother Gernert (spelling is correct for that time period) 
declared I would never grow up." 

Gernerd would have preferred to have been allowed to be more 
active "in the open air and sunlight," instead of having been forced 
to attend school. But his father, whose formal learning consisted of 
but a few months during his lifetime, pushed education on to his 
sickly son, and often drilled into him that a formal education is "the 
all-essential thing to prepare a boy for a useful life." 

Gernerd noted he attended our common schools until twelve 
years old but seldom enjoyed the privilege. Corporal punishment 
was standard in the classrooms of those times, and that may have 
helped to sour the boy's taste for formal education. 

"I got too many lickings," he told his family in the book he wrote 
for them. "How I did hate school!" he insisted. 

Then he described how "an irate and unreasoning teacher held 
me up by the feet and bumped my head roughly on the floor." 

Apparently, a fellow student whom he described as "stout and 
broad-shouldered" went to Jerry's defense. Gernerd said his friend 
"pulled off his coat and rushed forward to turn the teacher upside 
down if he did not instantly desist and reverse my position." 

In his first issue of Now and Then, Gernerd elaborated on his mis- 
eries as a student at Muncy's Old Academy, and recounted still 
another experience suffered at the hands of one of his teachers. He 
wrote, "... Another impatient and unthinking teacher tried to help 
me in arithmetic, but because I was rather dull in comprehending 
what he said he became greatly enraged, and gave me a terrific 
broadside with his big, heavy hand. It gave me the sensation for a 
time that either my cranium was smashed, or that my neck was bro- 

Gernerd named four of his teachers (whom we assume had 
passed away by the time he'd told this about them in 1868) and 
labeled one "a pedant and a fop." Another he said, "never rose above 
the grade of a schoolmaster." However, a third teacher, in Gernerd's 
opinion had been "a scholar and a gentleman," and a fourth was con- 
sidered to be "a disciplinarian, a scholar, and a student." 

Where Wigwams Stood 1 1 

His formal education helped to enforce Gernerd's belief that 
"life is from first to last the great and real school." And so he chose 
not to attend college, but rather allowed life to become his teacher. 

Louise C. Sieger, of Allentown, became Jerry Gernerd's wife in 
1863. Within two years after he was married, the young man 
became a clerk in Muncy's post office. And then he went into busi- 

"I started out in business for myself in a small way," he wrote, 
"opening a music and variety store, with which I soon combined a 
circulating library." 

The Gernerds were the parents of one child, Lydia, who was 
born in 1868. Unfortunately, their daughter suffered an untimely 
death at the age of 27. At a picnic, in August 1893, she fell from a 
swing. The injuries were not thought to be serious at first, but 
eventually internal abcesses developed, and surgery to correct the 
condition was not successful. Lydia died three months after the 
accident, in November 1893. 

Gernerd told his family about his daughter's passing in his his- 
tory book. He copied Lydia's eulogy which he said was "written 
by a friend who knew her intimately all her life." It was published 
in The Muncy Luminary, and noted that Lydia "was brought up by 
her parents in the most careful and painstaking manner, with 
every wish gratified, whether 'uttered or unexpressed,' and she 
repaid them with an affectionate attachment and loving kindness, 
manifested by her obedience and assistance as a dutiful daughter 
and a fondness for her home." 

Lydia was her father's constant companion. She played the 
violin and served as organist for the local Episcopalian Church. 
She was remembered as a highly accomplished girl. 

Lydia's father was a health fanatic and a vegetarian. In the 
pages of Now and Then we learn of his aversion to physicians, and 
that he was a teetotaler and an abolitionist. He was a member of 
the Masonic Order, and was strongly against spiritualism. He 
truly believed that everyone following his rules for living would 
enjoy long life. 

In a photograph of Gernerd, taken at his home in August 1893, 
we see him seated with his friend, John Meginness. The editor of 

1 2 Katherine Yurchak 

Now and Then has white hair and a beard that reaches at least six 
inches below his chin. He appears much older than his 57 years, 
with eyes sunken beneath thick brows. Gernerd is lean and trim. 
He's wearing a well-tailored tweed suit with six-button vest. His 
wide-brimmed straw hat lies on the ground. The small-town edi- 
torialist appears relaxed, as he bends his body and lets the back 
legs of the wooden chair support his trim figure. 

After the first copy of Now and Then was issued, Gernerd gave 
less time to his shop and more of his energy was given to the peri- 

The shopkeeper and journalist participated in a variety of 
activities. He served as school director for two terms. We don't 
know if he managed to abolish corporal punishment for students 
of that generation, but we do know that the memories of his 
schooldays had not entirely faded. And so in giving public voice 
to those sad expereriences, he may have made a contribution to 
changing attitudes on the part of teachers of those days. Gernerd 
also served as a notary public for three years, and he worked as a 
bookkeeper at Muncy's First National Bank for ten years. 

J.M.M. Gernerd died in 1910. He was 74 years old. 

T.K. Wood prepared a biographical sketch of Gernerd in which 
he described the fate of the historian's unique collection of Indian 
artifacts. The article appeared in 1936 in Now and Then, and states 
that Gernerd's will contained no disposition of his valuable pieces 
of antiquity. Representatives of Bucknell University approached 
Gernerd's widow with the suggestion that the college be named 
custodian. She was offered a small sum and an equally small 
annuity for the historical treasures. 

The record notes that Professor Nelson Davis, then of 
Bucknell's Biology Department, had the collection placed in the 
Old Main Building, where he also kept a valuable collection of 
birds valued at $20,000, as well as numerous botanical specimens, 
lantern slides, and other items he'd collected over a lifetime. 
Unfortunately, in 1932, a fire swept through the University's 
wooden building. The destruction was total. Gernerd's museum 
of Indian History was lost forever. 

According to T. K. Wood, Gernerd's business establishment 

Where Wigwams Stood 


was located at 122 S. Main Street, presently the site of the parson- 
age of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church. Later, he built a home at 506 
S. Main Street, now the residence of Scott Williams, a prominent 
Muncy lawyer who has offices locally and in Williamsport. 

Incidentally, next door to Williams' home is the residence of 
Thomas Taber, a local historian who served as one of the eight edi- 
tors Now and Then has known during its 125-year history. 

The Gernerd Room on the second floor of Muncy Historical 
Museum displays his bed and other furniture made by edi- 
tor of Now and Then. 


Katherine Yurchak 

3 /How Muncy Got Its Name 


JLhe editor of Now and Then had spent many hours pouring 
through history books to learn how Muncy acquired its name. 

From the diaries of missionaries who journeyed into the 
Susquehanna Valley, J.M.M. Gernerd found records of a people 
whom they described as "tall and stout ... of gigantic mould." 
One of the earliest evangelists who came to Christianize the 
Indians was Count Nicholas Ludwig Zizendorf, a Moravian 
who had disembarked at Philadelphia in 1742. 

Late in the 1770's, George Whitefield (sometimes called "the 
Billy Sunday" of the eighteenth century) also believed he was 
called to convert the savages to the Christian religion. 

From the records of historians, we find there were several 
Indian settlements to whom the missionaries ministered. 

"About the time the Europeans were first tentatively poking 
the noses of their ships into the bays and estuaries of the 
Atlantic seabord," writes one historian, "there was living in the 
region later to be known as the Susquehanna Valley, a group of 
Indians sparsely scattered throughout the length of the great 
river's course. "[The Long Crooked River, p.45] 

These groups of Indians, then, were the original inhabitants 
of the territory later known as "the Province of Pennsylvania in 
America," named for a wealthy British admiral, Sir William 
Penn, who received a grant from Charles II, under the Great 


1 6 Katherine Yurchak 

Seal of England, on March 4, 1681. 

Historians name the aborigines as the "Andastes," a people 
whose origins are believed to have been in Asia thousands of 
years ago. There is no certainty, however, as to the date when 
the Andastes found their way to the Susquehanna. 

Historian John Meginness notes: "As early as 1620 the tribe 
called Andestes dwelt in the valley of the Susquehanna, but lit- 
tle is known of them. They are spoken of by different writers 
under various names, the most frequent of which are 
Susquehannocks, Minquas, and Conestogas." [p. 18] 

This information seems to corroborate our history books 
which tell us that Captain John Smith, in 1608, met a party of 
Susquehannocks along the Chesapeake Bay. 

From William Henry Engle's account of the people he calls 
"the aborigines of Pennsylvania," we come upon a new phrase, 
the "Five Nations" of Indian tribes. He says they "planted 
themselves on the Atlantic border," but "were soon divided and 
became embroiled in war among themselves." The Five 
Nations, Engle tells us, were comprised of the Cayugas, 
Mohawks, Oneidas, Onandagas, and the Senecas who had 
made their way through the wilderness from Canada and then 
New York. 

But when William Penn came to Pennsylvania he met a peo- 
ple known as the Lenni Lenape, which translates into "the orig- 
inal people." They inhabited the shores of the Delaware, and 
made crossings over a river now known as "The Allegheny," 
(named for the tribe Allegewi). 

From their tracings of the tribal wanderings of the Indians in 
our valley, Pennsylvania historians know that tribes of Indians 
had come East by way of Mississippi River crossings. Again, at 
what point in time this happened is not recorded. It is believed, 
however, that the tribes that migrated East were survivors of 
bloody wars with the Iriquois (Mengwe) tribe in America's 
"wild West." 

Historians of the Susquehanna Valley have documented 
three warring tribes of the region. They were the Unamis (the 
Turtle); the Unalachtigo (the Turkey); and the Minsi (the Wolf). 

Where Wigwams Stood 1 7 

The latter tribe has won the distinction of having been the most 
warlike. And this is the tribe of savages with whom Muncy's 
first settlers had to do battle. 

Although today's residents spell the name of their town 
M-U-N-C-Y, through the years it has undergone a variety of 
transitions in spelling. Historians notify that it depended upon 
either the education or nationality of the early writers, as to 
how the name of the community would be spelled. 

Beginning with Minsi, the name has become Monsey, then 
Munzey, Muncie, Muncee, Munci, and Munsey. But finally, we 
have Muncy. 

However, on plaques marking our historic sites, we read, 
"the Monsey Indians." 

The Indian tribe calling itself "The Monseys" left the 
Susquehanna in 1750. "They made their way finally to Indiana," 
Meginness notes, "and their name is perpetuated by the town of 
Muncie in that State, as well as by the borough of Muncy, and 
the creek and valley, in Lycoming County." [p.46] 

Incidentally, despite the savagery of warring tribes, it is 
interesting to note that "the mediators between the Indian 
nations . . . are the women," according to Engle. He continues: 
"The men, however weary of the contest, hold it cowardly and 
disgraceful to seek reconciliation." Therefore, to keep Indian 
wars from being interminable, we find that it was the women 
who "pleaded their cause with much eloquence." 

A typical effort on the part of an Indian's wife found its way 
in Engle's historical notes. It reads: "Mothers who have borne 
with cheerfulness the pangs of childbirth, and the anxieties that 
wait upon the infancy and adolescence of their sons, behold 
their promised blessings crushed in the field of battle, or per- 
ishing at the stake in unutterable torments. In the depth of their 
grief they curse their wretched existence, and shudder at the 
idea of bearing children." 

The historian states: "Prayers thus urged seldom failed their 
desired effect." 

Eventually, therefore, though "the strongest passion of an 
Indian's soul is revenge," we find that upon reflection, some 


Katherine Yurchak 

man of the Indian race had come to be convinced that if they 
were to be preserved as a nation, some one person of the tribe 
would have to "assume the character of a woman." That meant 
laying down the hatchet and smoking the pipe of peace with an 
enemy neighbor. 

There are no Indians in Muncy today. Although they played 
a vital role in the community's history, only the Wolf Tribe's 
name on plaques and historic markers has been left to remind 
us of battles fought and won on Muncy's soil. 

A plaque at the entrance to town announces how Muncy 
got its name. 

4 /Rose Elizabeth Cleveland 

V V hen J. M. M. Gernerd resumed the publication of Now and 
Then, in 1888, he had gained considerable confidence as a writer, 
as well as editor and publisher. His historian friends, and count- 
less subscribers, had convinced him that his periodical, which 
had been suspended abruptly in February 1878, was an impor- 
tant contribution to Muncy's place in history. 

His pen was loaded, therefore, when in the very first issue 
[July-August, Vol 2, No. 1] he defended Rose Elizabeth 
Cleveland, who had been a teacher at the Muncy Female 

Grover Cleveland, Rose's bachelor brother, was a notable 
and successful politician. He was Governor of the State of New 
York. Later he won election to the highest office in the United 
States of America — and for two separate terms. He served as the 
22nd president (1885-1889), and as the 24th president (1893- 

Gernerd's ire was aroused by an item he had read in the 
Philadelphia Press and described it as "throwing mud at Miss 
Cleveland." Published anonymously, the item was as follows: 
"Miss Cleveland was not so popular with the 'fair Alviras' of the 
Seminary. She was called 'Jake' by the students and the young 
men who took her out buggy riding on moonlight nights." 

"A vindictive slur," Gernerd retorted, and then went on to 
argue in defense of the former Female Seminary teacher. He 



Katherine Yurchak 

wrote that Miss Cleveland was a "sensible, prudent, and highly 
respected young woman." 

Although he admitted they were not personal friends, Gernerd 
noted that he and Miss Cleveland often had encountered each other 
in town, during the years she had been teaching Muncy's young 
women at the Seminary. 

Defending the young woman's honor, Gernerd noted that the 
item about Miss Cleveland in the Philadelphia paper was "a base and 
cowardly abuse of the freedom of the press." Then he continued 
asserting to readers of Now and Then that Miss Cleveland "could help 
herself too well for 'night hawking young men' to take her for a 
buggy ride on moonlight nights." 

"When she wanted a buggy ride, Miss Cleveland usually sent her 
order to the livery," Gernerd added. 

From data in local historical files, we can conclude that Rose 
Elizabeth Cleveland was truly a one-of-a-kind individual. She was 
born in 1846, the youngest of nine children to 
Richard and Anna Cleveland, of Fayetteville, 
N.Y Her father, a Presbyterian minister, took 
charge of a church in Clinton, N.Y. soon after 
Elizabeth was born. And when she was seven 
years old, Elizabeth's family had to move again, 
when her father became pastor of a church in 
Holland Patent, N.Y. Unfortunately, during that 
same year (1853) he died. 

Rose was educated at Houghton Seminary, 
and graduated as class valedictorian. An essay 
she wrote, entitled "Ordinary People," is said to 
have won the acclaim of the school's faculty for 
its insightful content. A search has failed to bring the essay to light, 
but in alluding to her graduation paper, Now and Then records that 
Miss Cleveland was not an "ordinary" person. [Vol. IV, p.101] 

Since teaching was her chosen profession, Miss Cleveland was 
given an opportunity to remain at Houghton, where she taught for 
two years after graduating. Later, she became the principal of the 
Collegiate Institute, in Lafayette, Indiana. 

Meanwhile, in Muncy, stockholders of the Female Seminary had 

Rose Elizabeth 

Where Wigwams Stood 21 

sent out posters which advertised their need for teachers. "To those 
unacquainted with the Borough of Muncy," the poster read, "it is a 
beautifully situated place, containing about six hundred inhabitants, 
and its society is as good as that of most villages of its size." 

Private homes were made available for boarding teachers who 
responded to the poster's plea. And to Mrs. Susan J. Life, then 
named principal of the Muncy Female Seminary, goes the honor of 
recruiting Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, in 1869, to teach young ladies 
Greek and Latin. 

About Mrs. Life (who also was the wife of the pastor of Muncy's 
Presbyterian Church) the historical files record that she was "strug- 
gling against tradition in an effort to give women a more generous 
place in the sun." And so she found Miss Cleveland to be a teacher 
well suited for advancing the role of Muncy's women in society. 

indeed, when Miss Cleveland alighted from the train at Muncy's 
Pennsylvania Railroad depot, she must have distinguished herself 
from Muncy's "ordinary people." 

Rose was only 23 years old when she came to Muncy. She was 
of medium build and stature. Her complexion was fair and she had 
rather plain features. Rose wore her blondish /brown hair slightly 
curled . . . and bobbed! More than that, her skirts were short! Stylish 
young ladies in Muncy wore their dresses long. One thing was cer- 
tain, Miss Cleveland never would have to complain, (as other 
Seminary teachers did), about snagging skirts on Muncy's wooden 
plank sidewalks. 

About Miss Cleveland, Gernerd wrote: "She was hostile to fash- 
ion, and publicly declared that corsets, cottons, French heels and the 
like had better go, rather than to sacrifice comfort." 

E. P. Bertin, a local educator who also was an editor of Now and 
Then, prepared a feature on "Illustrious Names in Muncy's Unique 
Educational History," and noted about Miss Cleveland that "she 
was a rugged individual, born almost a century before her time." 
[Vol. VI, No. 10, Oct. 1940] Bertin quoted one of her contemporaries 
as saying that "Rose's independent spirit stimulated a new confi- 
dence toward creating a dome of wider justice for her sex." 

The local records note that Miss Cleveland often would walk 
briskly down the street with an umbrella on her arm. And usually 

22 Katherine Yurchak 

she carried a book with her. 

T.K. Wood has this recollection about Miss Cleveland: "There is 
an ancient apple tree still standing in Muncy and allowed to stand 
(though long unproductive) because Rose Cleveland used to climb 
into it on occasions and blissfully read for hours." [Vol. V, p.3] 

Could it be that such tomboy traits earned Miss Cleveland the 
nickname "Jake"? 

Despite her blatant independence, Miss Cleveland impressed 
the staid Mr. Gernerd with the fact that she was a progressive and 
ambitious young woman "who always conducted herself with the 
propriety that is reasonably expected of an educated and refined 

A young woman of keen intelligence (she was a skilled lecturer 
and writer, as well as a teacher of Greek and Latin) Miss Cleveland 
apparently was well able to hold her own in conversation with most 
young male professionals of her day, according to historical records. 

It is fair to assume, therefore, that the young woman's extra- 
ordinary intellect, and her political stand as a staunch Democrat (in 
a community that was predominantly Republican), must have given 
her many opportunities to boldly express her opinions. 

Mary Jane Levan, who wrote the history of the Female Seminary 
for Now and Then, noted that in 1871 a formal reception featured 
"several dainty and unique refreshments that were prepared by 
Miss Cleveland whose knowledge of such arts the Queen of Sweden 
can never learn to excel." [Vol. V, p. 101] 

Miss Cleveland had to resign her teaching position at the Female 
Seminary, in 1879, to care for her ailing mother, in Holland Patent. 
But soon after her mother's passing, she purchased the homestead 
with her own earnings and then gave herself totally to writing and 

One of her more famous lectures is said to have been on "Joan of 
Arc." She wrote and published a textbook on the works of the 
English novelist, George Eliot, who was born Mary Ann Evans. 
Later she prepared an insightful book on the soliloquies of St. 

Muncy's former Female Seminary teacher won distinction as the 
hostess, at the White House, before her brother was married to 

Where Wigwams Stood 23 

Frances Folsom, in 1886. And the locals who had known Miss 
Cleveland took great pride in the fact that their former teacher, at 
her first reception at the nation's Executive Mansion, had greeted 
some 2,200 international guests. It is notable that Grover Cleveland, 
as president, banned alcoholic beverages from the Executive 
Mansion. Despite that, Miss Cleveland (as we learned earlier from 
Nozu and Then) had a regal way as a receptionist. And, of course, 
local historians have described in detail that the young hostess (who 
hated "corsets . . . and French heels") was fashionably attired in a 
green velvet dress. Her long gloves have been marked in history, 
and so is her gray ostrich-feather fan. 

While in Washington, the former Muncy teacher created no 
small stir, because she'd been seen attending the theatre with a lady 
friend, rather than being escorted by any prominent male politi- 

When the 49-year-old bachelor president married 21-year-old 
Miss Folsom, Rose Cleveland relinquished her role as the White 
House hostess to return to Holland Patent, where she resumed her 
life as a writer and lecturer. 

Miss Cleveland was an activist in women's issues. She was a 
member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and sup- 
ported Frances E. Willard's platform regarding Women's Suffrage. 
After meeting Mrs. Bishop Whipple, the pair traveled extensively 
throughout the world. And during the First World War, they settled 
in Italy, where they became engaged in refugee work, which includ- 
ed caring for wounded soldiers, and raising funds for hospitals and 

After the war, although they had permission to leave Italy, Miss 
Cleveland and her companion Mrs. Whipple chose to remain over- 
seas. Unfortunately, both were stricken with the influenza epidem- 
ic in 1918. 

Their graves are prominently marked in an Italian Cemetery, in 
Bagni di Lucca. Rose Cleveland died November 22, 1918. 


Katherine Yurchak 

Fire destroyed the originial general store in this Main Street 
building belonging to the Gudykunst family. After the turn 
of the century it was restored and became Frey's hardware. 

5 /The Muncy 
Female Seminary 


he beginning of the Muncy Female Seminary was April 17, 
1840 when a State charter was granted to the Borough for the 
establishment of a school "for the education of Female Youth in 
arts, sciences and useful literature." 

Within a month after the school's charter was received, the 
Female Seminary was provided a building separate from any local 
church. Prior to that time, young girls in Muncy received their 
education either at home or in their church. 

Mary Jane Levan, a contemporary of J.M.M. Gernerd, prepared 
a historical review of the Female Seminary for Now and Then, and 
noted that she was taught "the art of orthography," as well as read- 
ing and writing by local Methodist preachers. Her lessons, she 
wrote, invariably were combined with Biblical studies. 

"A peculiar feature of this Female Seminary," according to 
Mrs. Levan, "was its 'male boys' of which there was a large class. 
However, they came merely to recite." 

The Seminary's first teacher was a Muncy native, Gemella 
Lyons. She was described in Now and Then as having "a great 
mind in a frail body." [Oct. 1940, p.270] Miss Lyons' first class was 
composed of 25 students. But by October of that year, the frail 
Miss Lyons was facing a student body of 40 pupils. 

Whether from overwork, or for some other reason, Miss Lyons' 


26 Katherine Yurchak 

health failed. She was replaced by Susan Miller at the end of that 
year. Miss Miller taught until February 1841, when once again the 
teaching staff was in need of a replacement. So the Female 
Seminary had to turn to the church for help. 

The Rev. S.S. Shedden, pastor of the local Presbyterian Church, 
not only became the school's only teacher, but he served as its 
superintendent as well. 

The Female Seminary's campus was Muncy's Main Street, 
since classes were then conducted in an empty store room, which 
had been built in 1818 by Joshua Alder. 

On April 19, 1841, two days after the first anniversary of the 
school's opening, a new prospectus was issued for the Muncy 
Female Seminary as follows: 

"The Trustees of the Muncy Female Seminary have 
engaged the services of the Misses Anna and Emily Wynkoop who 
are believed to be well qualified to give instruction in the above- 
named branches (arts sciences and useful literature)." 

The Wynkoop sisters were related to a Colonel Wynkoop, of 
Pottsville. They were described as "highly accomplished," of "rare 
intelligence," and "socially brilliant." They had been engaged to 
teach Latin, Greek and French. And the historical records note that 
they also conducted classes in painting, water colors, and 

The young ladies must have excelled in beauty, as well as 
brains, because Mary Jane Levan's records note the fact that soon 
after arriving in Muncy the Wynkoops were married to local busi- 
nessmen. Therefore, by October 1842, the Seminary was conduct- 
ing a search for teachers once again. 

This time Mrs. C. H. Rowe, widow of a Baptist missionary to 
Hindoostan, was recruited to be in charge of Muncy's young girls. 

"I remember her as prim in appearance and precise in man- 
ner," wrote Mrs. Levan. "She was very thorough in her teaching 
and decided in her views." 

The widow Rowe had come to Muncy with identical-twin 
daughters. "They seldom appeared in the schoolroom together," 
noted Mrs. Levan, and so that "gave us the benefit of the doubt." 

By 1844, the local church was still deeply involved in Muncy's 

Where Wigwams Stood 27 

educational system, when the Rev. John Smalley, of the 
Presbyterian Church, opened his home for "a select school," for 
the purpose of educating Muncy's young women. 

Rev. Smalley was assisted by his wife who is said to have "pos- 
sessed considerable artistic ability." And at that time, notes Mrs. 
Levan, the young ladies of the school were introduced to "the art 
of making wax flowers." 

The historical records note that, as strong and binding as the 
Borough's charter was for maintaining a school for girls, the 
trustees of the Muncy Female Seminary had great difficulty in 
locating and maintaining suitable teachers. 

Mrs. Levan, in tracing the history of the educational institu- 
tion, notes that in 1846, the Rector of the local Episcopalian parish 
had offered his church for classes for "The Young Ladies Institute." 

Two sisters were hired by the Rev. C.A. Foster to teach at the 
new girls' school. Unfortunately, the Misses Ellen and Elisabeth 
Conyngton, who lived in the South, never arrived in time for the 
school's opening day, which was in May. 

Mrs. Levan records that the Episcopalian minister advised the 
community: "I will take a class of six young ladies for the higher 
branches of education, devoting a few hours of the afternoon to 
their instruction." 

It is fair to assume, that it must have been with some frustra- 
tion that the Rector of the Episcopalian church had to give his wife 
the charge of the school's "ornamental department." Mrs. Levan 
offers no explanation as to what that department entailed. 

Another attempt was made by the Presbyterian Church to 
maintain the chartered Female Seminary, on April 1847, when Rev. 
Smalley (a graduate of Lafayette College and Princeton 
Theological Seminary) purchased a corner property on Main and 
Pepper Streets. Rev. Smalley and his wife were determined to 
make the Muncy Female Seminary prosper in its purpose, which 
was to educate the local young women. 

And, indeed, the school did prosper under the Smalleys. Mrs. 
Levan wrote that the school's success was almost solely because of 
the management of Mrs. Smalley. 

Mrs. Levan also notified that J.M.M. Gernerd was among the 

28 {Catherine Yurchak 

group of "male boys" who attended the Muncy Female Seminary 
"merely to recite," during the time she was enrolled in the school. 
She adds that Gernerd "had his knuckles rapped and his nose 
pulled by the teachers at the Seminary." From what we already 
know about the corporal punishment Jerry Gernerd suffered as a 
student, and "too many lickings" he had endured during his school 
days, we can assume that those experiences at the Female Seminary 
only had to have added to his distaste for formal education. 

The Muncy Female Seminary had to be closed again, in October 
1855, when Rev. Smalley and his wife "encountered difficulties," 
with their congregation, according to Mrs. Levan's historical notes. 
And although it is assumed she was familiar with those "church 
difficulties," the former student of the Female Seminary did not 
recite them for the record. However, she does note that "Rev. 
Smalley was much respected by all who knew him." The minister 
and his wife moved from Muncy to Butler, Pa., where Rev. Smalley 
became the principal of Witherspoon Institute. 

Two more years passed before the Muncy Female Seminary 
opened its doors again, in 1857. The school building, which had 
been owned by Rev. Smalley, was purchased by the stockholders of 
the Female Seminary. 

Then the Rev. William Life, the new minister of the Presbyterian 
Church, rented the school building. When classes were resumed, 
his wife, Susan, was named as principal of the Seminary. 

That year, the purpose of the school was restated by Mrs. Life, 
who noted that the Muncy Female Seminary was reopening "with 
the design of giving a thorough education and elevating and refin- 
ing the character, both mentally and morally, and fitting the pupils 
as far as possible with a high degree of usefulness." 

One of the first things Mrs. Life did was to institute a class in oil 
painting, with Miss May Calder having been hired for that pur- 

Mrs. Life, a gifted musician, also selected teachers "of the finest 
musical talent," notes Mary Jane Levan. And the young lady 
singers and musicians of the Seminary often participated in patri- 
otic parades, and held recitals at local social events. 

Mrs. Susan Life is responsible for bringing to Muncy Seminary 

Where Wigwams Stood 29 

the notable teacher, Miss Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, whose assign- 
ment was to teach local young women Greek and Latin. 

In 1869, Mrs. Life also brought Miss Julia Ross to Muncy. Her 
distinction is that she totally renovated the old school building, 
having done much of the painting and redecorating. Miss Ross also 
gained historic notice for having instituted the Charlotte Bronte 
Society, which is on record as having been very popular among the 
young women. 

Mrs. Levan has given special historical note to a teacher named 
only as "Miss Hastings." She was the daughter of a Presbyterian 
minister to Ceylon. And Mrs. Levan noted, "She was of gentle dig- 
nity and had sweet womanly ways, and soon won the esteem of all 
who made her acquaintance." 

Miss Hastings also is named in Now and Then because she was 
the niece of Rose Elizabeth Cleveland. 

Mary Jane Levan would have it known that she recounted the 
happenings of the Muncy Female Seminary for Now and Then, 
"with the hope that out of the great number of ladies educated at 
these schools, one at least may be found that will some day gain the 
honor that Rose Elizabeth Cleveland has attained." 

This would confirm the fact that Muncy's citizens were singu- 
larly proud of having had the sister of a President of the United 
States on its roster of teachers at the Female Seminary. 

Some of the Seminary's young ladies, whose names have been 
recorded by local historians in Now and Then are: Sara Ellis, Ann 
Ellis, Jane Alder, Fannie Alder, Emma Alder, Margaret Petrikin, 
Elizabeth Bruner, Ann Elizabeth Thomas, Margaret Maxwell, and 
Henrietta Riebsam. 

Additional names of young women who graduated from the 
Muncy Female Seminary are Martha Lancake, Sara Crouse, Mary 
Jane Cook (later Mrs. Levan) Lucretia Hawley, Ellen Montgomery, 
Elizabeth Montgomery, Janet Petrikin, Sallie Wallis, Elizabeth 
Wallis, and Emily Rankin. 

We have no account of what happened to these young women 
after their days at the Muncy Female Seminary. But while they 
may not have achieved great distinction in world history, it is fair 
to assume that they did fulfill Mrs. Susan Life's stated purpose for 


Katherine Yurchak 

the Seminary. 

Therefore, after acquiring their education at the Female 
Seminary, in Muncy, we can suppose that the young women were 
fitted "as far as possible with a high degree of usefulness," even 
though their training may have been put to use only among their 
family and friends in their home town's social activities. 

The Muncy Female Seminary, at the corner of Main and 
Pepper Street, in Muncy, where Rose Elizabeth Cleveland 
taught Greek and Latin. 

6 /The Underground 


.s early as 1790 — two years before the incorporation of 
Muncy, and while the village still was known as 
"Pennsborough," — a petition was made for a road to be known 
as Genea-Sea. 

For readers of Now and Then, T. K. Wood personally traced 
the road where it began at Muncy's Main Street, then "on to 
Muncy Creek and the entrance to the Shoemaker covered bridge 
..." [Vol. 5, p. 125] The historian noted that the road passed on 
to Pennsdale, then to Huntersville into Picture Rocks and 
Highland Lake, and from there to the Allegheny ranges. Wood's 
exploration of the Genesee Road took him further on to Deer 
Lake into Towanda where it continued to Elk and King's Creeks. 
Out of Towanda, Wood followed the famous road into New York 
State to the territory of the Lakes, and finally to Canada. 

These check points along the Genesee Road corroborate 
Williamsport Court House records under date of 1792, and 
establishes the historic pathway to freedom that changed the 
destiny of thousands of fugitive slaves. 

At great risk to their lives, the runaways had become partic- 
ipants in a national network of secret shelters. At the clandes- 
tine "stations" they met people who served as their "conduc- 
tors" and then lead them to the next point of refuge. This unique 


32 Katherine Yurchak 

piece of history has been preserved as "The Underground 

Charles L. Blockson, descendant of a fugitive slave, offers this 
description of the slaves' secret journeys: "The Underground 
Railroad was no actual railroad of steel and steam. It was a net- 
work of paths through the woods and fields, river crossings, boats 
and ships, trains and wagons, all haunted by the specter of recap- 
ture. Its stations were the houses and churches of men and 
women — agents of the railroad, who refused to believe that 
human slavery and human decency could exist together in the 

same land." *■ 

Muncy played a significant role in aiding fugitive slaves. 
However, actual records of individual events are understandably 
nonexistent. Because the secrecy that shrouded the escaping of the 
slaves is what made the operation successful. 

"A good many men here (in Muncy) helped Negroes escape 
into Canada," is the recollection of Frank Barnes, as quoted by Dr. 
Wood, in Now and Then, of 1936. But again, no written record of 
actual happenings has surfaced. 

Gernerd named John McCarty as one of Muncy's "conduc- 
tors," but the daring moves he made to help fugitives to freedom 
died with him. Profoundly religious men and women — the con- 
ductors in Muncy were Quakers who, otherwise law-abiding citi- 
zens, chose to defy the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, with the expla- 
nation that they were obeying "the higher law" of God in making 
freedom possible for the fugitive slaves. 

The Fugitive Slave Act was a piece of legislation demanded by 
Southern slaveholders who believed that their "loyal and well 
treated" slaves were being lured away by Northern abolitionists. 
For the slave masters the federal machinery for returning run- 
aways was ironclad, and provided nothing in the way of personal 
liberty for captured slaves. A returned slave could neither testify 
in his own behalf nor have a jury trial. And even if he were bold 
enough to speak for himself, there was little hope for the illiterate 
slave who had been forbidden by law to be taught to read or write. 

2 Charles L. Blockson, "The Underground Railroad," National Geographic 
Magazine, Cover Story, July 1984 (Vol. 166). 

Where Wigwams Stood 33 

Therefore if a slave had the misfortune of being captured by a 
slave-catcher (and countless of them were) not only was the slave 
doomed to be returned to the South, but the condition of that one 
(considered but a rag of humanity) was much worse than before 
the attempted escape. Little wonder, then, that a fugitive slave 
preferred death rather than to be returned to his owner. And so, in 
Muncy, kindly Quakers who had braved the wilderness frontier 
made it their mission to help runaway slaves flee to freedom by 
way of the Genesee Road to Canada. 

Canada's place in the history of fugitive slaves began "as early 
as 1820," notes Charles L. Blockson who, after preparing the cover 
story for the National Geographic Magazine, expanded his research 
about the Underground Railroad and published it as a book. 

Blockson, whose great-grandfather escaped to Canada from 
Delaware in 1856, documents the fact that Charles Stuart was then 
secretary of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society, and had set aside 
50-acre parcels of land at $2.50 an acre in preparation for fugitives 
arriving at the border, [p. 287] However, even in Canada, the 
plight of the fugitives was not without controversy. Runaways 
arriving from the United States into Canada "scorned the descen- 
dants of the Loyalist and slave Negroes in the Canadas," noted 
Historian Robin Winks, as quoted by Blockson in his book. 
Researching those events, Winks also found that "during the 
1820's fugitive slaves helped make Amherstburg (in Canada) the 
center of a modest but flourishing tobacco culture." The reason 
for this was that fugitives arriving in Canada usually were without 
funds, and "as exiles, they remained close to the frontier for an 
eventual return," according to Historian Winks. 

So while the Genesee Road may have been traveled by only a 
few daring souls at first, the Blockson historic findings note that 
with each decade after the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, the 
road became more and more heavily traveled until an estimated 
"twenty-five to forty thousand" were numbered as runaways. 
However, even these calculations are questioned because of a lack 
of written documentation. 

The runaways entered Canada mostly from "the lakebound 
region lying between New York on the east, and Michigan on the 

34 Katherine Yurchak 

west." Historians note that so great was the number of refugees 
who followed the North Star across the Canadian border, that even- 
tually a Confederation of Canada was established in 1867, for the 
purpose of providing shelter, food, and educational facilities for 
families of the fugitives. 

Gernerd, in September 1872, told readers of Now and Then, 
about "a new work entitled The Underground Railroad'," by 
William Still which had just found its way into the hands of Enos 
Hawley, who (in Gernerd's words), "was long a devoted conductor 
on the Underground Railroad." 

Until today, Still's book, The Underground Railroad, is considered 
a classic collection of stories about escaped slaves. And as gripping 
as these accounts are, Gernerd noted that, "It would require a great 
many large volumes like it, to give a complete record of the hair- 
breadth escapes and death struggles of the fugitives from slavery." 

William Still of Philadelphia, a coal worker by trade, has 
marked his place in history as "a black agent on the line to liberty," 
and as "a black historian with great narrative skills." We have 
Still's historic records only because he hid them away in the loft of 
a building at the Lebanon Cemetery. And Blockson's book pro- 
vides a modern reprinting of many of the narratives of fugitive 
slaves, as told originally by Mr. Still, who came to be known among 
fugitives as "the great conductor." Still served as secretary of the 
Philadelphia Vigilance Society, founded in 1833 by Robert Purvis 
who, it is said, "might have passed for white," being of English, 
African and Jewish extraction. Purvis, president of the Vigilance 
Society, was married to the daughter of James Forten, who also is 
named as one of the Society's founders. Forten was an influential 
resident of Philadelphia, as well as a veteran of the Revolutionary 

William Still's famous account of Henry "Box" Brown has 
become a legend in the history of the Underground Railroad. 
Brown was a wretched slave in the employ of a wealthy 
landowner in Richmond, Virginia. He determined to escape his 

The ingenious slave had himself boxed up as a piece of freight 
and shipped to the Philadelphia Vigilance Society. He ordered a 

Where Wigwams Stood 35 

box two feet eight inches deep, two feet wide, and three feet long, 
had it lined with cotton felt material, and provided himself for the 
journey with "a bladder of water and a few small biscuits." The 
narrative notes he also carried a boring tool to make holes for air. 

Brown sent a telegram to a shoe dealer in Philadelphia, which 
read: "Your case of goods is shipped and will arrive tomorrow 
morning." Then he had himself nailed into the box, had the 
"freight" bound with five hickory hoops, and then sent by over- 
land express to Philadelphia. The label, "This Side Up," was 
ignored as Henry was tossed and tipped enroute. 

Twenty-six hours later, the Vigilance Society made arrange- 
ments to have the box picked up. Not to arouse suspicion, they 
hired a drunken Irishman who was given a gold piece to deliver 
the "freight" to the Anti-Slavery office. 

William Still's narrative records that three members of the 
Vigilance Society were present at the opening of the box. First, one 
man tapped on the lid and said: "All right!" And from within the 
box, a voice responded: "All right, Sir!" 

The men hastened to chop the hickory hoops from the box, 
pried open the lid, and according to Mr. Still the Vigilance Society 
members were witness to "the marvelous resurrection of Brown. 
Rising up in the box, he reached out his hand, and said: 'How do 
you do, Gentlemen?'." 

Still's record continues: "He was about as wet as if he had 
come up out of the Delaware. Very soon he remarked that, before 
leaving Richmond, he had selected for his arrival hymn (if he 
lived) the Psalm beginning with these words: T waited patiently 
for the Lord, and He heard my prayer'." (Psalm 40:1) 

As harrowing as "Box" Brown's escape was, the flight of an 
unnamed pregnant young woman (the slave of an aristocratic fam- 
ily in Baltimore) is another "resurrection" narrated in Still's book. 

The event occurred in the winter of 1857. Her "companion," a 
young man, had sent word to a Mrs. Myers in Philadelphia to be 
prepared for "a piece of boxed freight." Mrs. Myers alerted a hack- 
man (George Custus) to pick up the "freight," and deliver it to the 
residence of the local "shrouder" (undertaker). She "thought it not 
wise to move in the matter of the resurrection (of the freight) without 

36 Katherine Yurchak 

the presence of the undertaker," wrote Stills, because Mrs. Myers did 
not expect the "freight" to be alive. 

What the two witnesses found upon opening the box was the 
young woman wrapped in straw. 

"Get up, my child," Mrs. Myers said. 

The record notes that hardly a sign of life was visible in the young 
mother-to-be. The ladies carried the fugitive slave upstairs to bed. A 
few moments later, despite her limp body they heard her whisper, "I 
feel so deadly weak." 

The near-corpse accepted a cup of tea. But not until the third day 
did the young woman begin to speak, which is why Historian Still 
recorded this incident as a "resurrection." 

Later, the young woman in describing her journey said that her 
greatest fear was that she would be "discovered and carried back to 
slavery." And she explained that she had survived the journey 
because she had carried a pair of scissors with her, and had poked 
holes in the box so as to be able to have air. 

About this incident, Still wrote: "How she ever managed to 
breathe and maintain her existence, being in the condition of becom- 
ing a mother, is hard to comprehend." 

He explained that the young woman had made her escape from 
Baltimore when her owner had sent her on an errand to get some arti- 
cles in preparation for the Opening Ball at the Academy of Music. 

As he often did with runaways, Still took the young fugitive into 
his own home for a few days, before arranging for her journey to 

Although noted briefly here, many of the facts and information 
about the Underground Railroad are filled with "sufferings, trials, per- 
ils and marvelous escapes," in Still's words, so that some stories were 
too painful to put into print. 

Elizabeth Warner, the daughter of a Quaker whose home was in 
Pennsdale, at the request of Now and Then made a record of her remem- 
brances of a wooded area near her home that was known as "Nigger 
Hollow." According to her recollections, the law was always on patrol 
for fugitive slaves, but even so her family harbored runaways in the 
nearby forest, and provided them money to buy food. 

According to Miss Warner's account, "the slaves generally were 

Where Wigwams Stood 37 

received at night, or at dawn, and usually were in pitiful conditions. 
Exhausted and hungry, the slaves were given a place to stay overnight, 
and then would be set on their way for the next night's trip over the 
Genesee Road." 

Another Warner recollection: "I remember one dark night, two 
strange white men convoying a parcel of negroes to our home. They 
left them at the hut nearby, and they came up to our house and stayed 
all night. I heard their voices down the pipe hole, but they left at day- 
light." [Vol 5, p.137] 

A tap on the window in the night was the signal that a slave had 
arrived at a "station." The fugitive then would be buried in bales of 
hay and carried by horse and buggy to the next "station." Or he might 
be led into barns or caves, to hide out until it was safe to move on to 
the Genesee Road's next safety post. 

It was because so many slaves were escaping that one slave-owner 
remarked: "There must be an underground railroad out of this place." 
Thus the national network of escape routes to freedom has been so reg- 
istered in America's historical records. 

A glimmer of light began to invade the dark history of slavery fol- 
lowing a Union victory at Antietam, in 1862. Abraham Lincoln issued 
a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and stated that it would be 
put into effect in one hundred days. On January 1, 1863, "all persons 
held as slaves" within the areas under Confederate control were 
"henceforward declared free." However, not until December 18, 1865 
(when Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the 
Constitution) were all slaves set free. 

Mary Jane Levan provided readers of Now and Then [Mar.-April 
1891] with an account of how a group of Muncy women from the 
Society of Friends, in 1864, traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to conduct 
the "Freedman's Relief Association." 

Lizzie Shoemaker and Kate Fribley, two women of prominent 
Muncy families played a major role in this effort. The former was a 
doctor's daughter, and the other was the widow of a Colonel in the 
Civil War. 

When the women arrived in Tennessee they had "schools, 
camps, and asylums" erected. And according to Mrs. Levan, "Old 
and young soon flocked to this relief association — old men with 

38 Katherine Yurchak 

wives, young men with sweethearts, barefooted children, cripples, 
of all shades and color and of all sizes, some singing as they came, 
'De day of jubilee hab cum'." 

The school the Muncy ladies had set up for educating children 
of the former slaves was called "William Perm School." "The great 
difficulty among this medley (of students)," wrote Mrs. Levan, 
"was the want of proper names. They nearly all had nicknames 
and their former owner's names." The ladies from Muncy "named 
the unnamed, and new-born babies. Very soon they had an 
Abraham Lincoln, a Horace Greeley... and even a Jerry Gernerd." 
A letter describes what happened in Nashville in March 1865. 
"Yesterday the colored people of Nashville held high festi- 
val in celebration of their deliverance from slavery through 
the ratification by the people of Tennessee of the amend- 
ment of the Constitution abolishing and prohibiting slav- 
ery. From early morning the streets were thronged with 
dark and eager faces, and when the procession passed here 
its extent surprised me. On it passed rank after rank, in 
almost interminable line, proceeded by marshals on horse 
back bearing batons; next followed a guard of honor with 
muskets and bayonets, followed by a military band in an 
open car.... Among the banners I noted the following mot- 
toes: 'We can forget and forgive the wrongs of the past,' 
'We ask not for social but political equality,' 'We aspire to 
elevation through industry, economy and Christianity'." 
Mrs. Levan then shared her sentiments with the readers of Now 
and Then, and wrote: "These were the chattels for whom shackles 
had been forged to hold them in perpetual bondage." 

Today, the Underground Railroad's history is being perpetuat- 
ed by a 72-year-old artist in Coatesville, Pa., whose great-grand- 
mother was a fugitive slave. The former steel worker took up 
painting as a hobby when he retired from the factory. Lee Carter's 
passion for the history of the Underground Railroad was aroused 
while painting a local school building. He was told the building 
once was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and accepted the 
invitation to investigate the site. In the building, the artist found a 
boarded up 400-foot tunnel once used as a get-away for his ances- 

Where Wigwams Stood 39 

tors fleeing to Canada. Seeing and being in personal touch with 
the slaves' escape route changed Carter forever. From that time, he 
has been depicting the history of fugitive slaves in his paintings. 
So far, he has painted 35 buildings that served as secret way sta- 
tions for runaway slaves. 

Carter's great-grandmother was a slave in Virginia. She was 
freed in 1865, but she refused to talk about what she experienced 
during her flight to Canada. 

"There were no written records kept either," says Carter, "since 
the Quakers, clergymen, and other families who risked harboring 
slaves could be fined, imprisoned, or executed." 

Besides painting the history of fugitive slaves, Carter speaks in 
schools. He says he is dismayed by young African-Americans 
who show no interest in the history of the Underground Railroad. 

The Carter story and his interest in the history of the 
Underground Railroad was reported by John Chambless for the 
West Chester (Pa.) Daily Local News, and was reprinted in the 
Williamsport Sun Gazette, June 23, 1993. 

Lack of documentation may put in question the numbers of 
runaway slaves who passed through Pennsylvania on their way 
North. But there is no doubt that Muncy's peace-loving Quakers 
participated in the freeing of countless frightened fugitives. 
Blockson's book lists "Muncy, in Lycoming County... as a station 
where fugitives could be sheltered for a short time." [p.239] 

And once on the historic Genesee Road leading out of Muncy 
Valley, the runaway slaves began tuning their hearts for songs of 
jubilee to be sung in Canada where they were free at last. 


Katherine Yurchak 




















• I— 1 











• i— i 



























h— i 









































7 /The Shoemaker Story 


wo miles east of the Borough of Muncy is a crossroad which 
over the years has come to be known as "The Y." At the intersec- 
tion, one road leads north to Hughesville, and another east to 

A commemorative marker at the crossroad hardly is noticed by 
people riding in the estimated 10,000 cars that daily wend their 
way through the treacherous intersection traffic. 

But if they could find a moment to look, people would see a 
monument of three large millstones, and a plaque inscribed with a 
few details about the place that once was the site of the Shoemaker 
Grist Mill. It is memorialized as the "first flour mill in the valley," 
and was built in 1772. The present bridge is a replacement for the 
historic Shoemaker Covered Bridge through which, among others, 
passengers of the Underground Railroad made their way over the 
Genesee Road, and on to the Canadian Border. 

The story of the Shoemakers begins in Germany, in the 
Palatines, a district west of the Rhine River. Shortly after William 
Perm had acquired land in Pennsylvania, he visited the Quakers of 
the Palatines and encouraged them to be part of his new colony. 
When, in 1683, Francis Daniel Pastorius accompanied a small band 
across the Atlantic, their ship docked at Philadelphia, where they 
settled in the area which has become known as Germantown. 
According to Thomas Montgomery Lightfoot, writing in the January 


42 Katherine Yurchak 

1941 issue of Now and Then, Jacob Schumacher, "a young man who 
scarcely was of legal age, drew lot No. 22" on Perm's land grant. 
Jacob later married Margaret Gove. They were the parents of four 
children. One of their sons, Jacob Jr., married Elizabeth Roberts. 

It was the second Jacob, an American citizen, who anglicized the 
surname to Shoemaker. He was the father of five children. Two of his 
boys — Henry and Charles — in 1765 "took up land along the 
Schuylkill River," later known as Shoemakersville near the city of 
Reading. Charles was a tanner; Henry went into the milling busi- 

In Lightfoot's account, the brothers "built at first a log house, but 
in 1768 they built a substantial stone house which is still standing." 
Both brothers served as officers in the Revolutionary War, and they 
both married Kepner sisters. Maria Kepner was Charles' wife; her 
sister Barbara became Henry's bride. In 1783, a century after their 
grandfather had settled in Germantown, the Shoemaker boys trav- 
eled with their families to Muncy Creek. According to Lightfoot, 
"Barbara was a large person and had several children. One of them, 
Samuel, being about a year old. The roads of those days were not 
well developed and so Barbara and the children came across from 
the Schuylkill to the Susquehanna and took a canoe at the foot of 
Peters Mountain up the river to the mouth of Muncy Creek. Henry, 
with some companions, came overland with cattle and horses and 
joined his wife and her party at Muncy." 

Godfrey Fiester, a "Redemptioner," who had come to America to 
escape military service in Germany, was among those in company 
with Henry Shoemaker. Fiester also had married a Kepner girl. 
Lightfoot notes that the record shows the Redemptioner "served well 
in the Revolution." 

About thirteen years before Henry Shoemaker had come to the 
valley, another family also settled in Muncy. According to historian 
John Meginness, "some time in 1770 John Scudder moved his family 
from New Jersey. His daughter, Mary, was the first female child born 
in Muncy, May 21, 1771." She would grow up to marry Benjamin, 
Henry Shoemaker's son. 

Henry Shoemaker purchased land from John Alward who, 
after settling in the valley in 1772, had built a grist mill beside 

Where Wigwams Stood 43 

Muncy Creek, and a large dam for powering his mill. But when 
word came that Indians were about to invade the valley, in 1778, 
Alward made preparations for an escape with his family (as did all 
the other settlers) to the Sunbury area. (Historically, that chapter 
in Muncy's history is known as "the Big Runaway") Before leav- 
ing the valley, Alward buried the gears of his grist mill. Thus they 
were saved from destruction, when the Indians had torched every 
building in the area. Those gears later were used for operating the 
Shoemaker Mill. 

Writers for Now and Then, recording their recollections of the 
Shoemaker Mill along Muncy Creek, have related that usually a 
farmer's wagon would arrive with only one bag of grain. And 
Lightfoot's explanation for this is that "there was no way of sepa- 
rating the germinal portion of the grain, and since the germ was 
ground with other parts of the grain, in a few weeks fermentation 
would spoil the flour." Modern milling methods remove "wheat 
germ" before grinding. 

The Shoemaker Mill was so prosperous that Henry had 
planned to build a new and larger mill, but he did not live to carry 
out those plans. After his passing, in 1797, Henry's son Jacob built 
a larger brick building for milling the local farmers' wheat, barley, 
and corn. But he retained the original grist mill for processing 
plaster. Ceilings displaying the artistry of master plasterers of 
those days can be seen today in a number of historic homes in the 

Although the Schumachers of the Palatines were Quakers, 
their sons had married into the Lutheran faith, and so they pro- 
vided land for Lutherans to build a place of worship. It is listed in 
historic files as the first church building in Lycoming County. 

Notes made by St. Martha's Guild of the church offer this infor- 
mation: "The first church was built of logs in the summer of 1791. 
It contained a gallery on three sides and could seat 600 persons. A 
second church of brick was built in 1832." 

In August 1868 issue of Now and Then, Gernerd informed read- 
ers that the "Shoemakers at the Mills" would ride to church in 
their "Dearborn" carriage. He added that he believed theirs was 
among the first such vehicles of the kind brought to Muncy. 

44 Katherine Yurchak 

The present church structure (known as Immanuel's 
Evangelical Lutheran Church) in 1869 also was built on land 
donated by the Shoemakers. Today, only annual services are held 
at the historic church building. 

The cemetery adjoining the church contains grave markers that 
record the resting place of Henry Shoemaker and his several 
descendants. Among them, Mary Scudder Shoemaker (Benjamin's 
wife) who was affectionately known as "Aunt Polly" in the com- 
munity, is marked in local history as "the first white child born in 
Lycoming County." The mother of nine children, she died at the 
age of 79, April 14, 1850. 

When Jacob Shoemaker died in 1826, his heirs Peter and 
Charles continued the milling business until 1872. Their mill was 
finally dismantled in 1918. Lightfoot noted in Now and Then that 
one of the large timbers was sold for $75.00 to erect a barn, and 
"another piece of timber, which was of excellent grain of hemlock, 
was sold for use in manufacturing violins." 

Gernerd cites Peter and Charles as having been among the 
"principal ship owners" along the West Branch Canal. [September 
1868] And he informs that the capacity of their boats was "about 
33 tons," and that they "monopolized most of the export and 
import trade to the valley." He also noted that "when their 
packet boats sailed, the whole community knew it." Gernerd 
named the chief articles of export as "wheat, hogs, leather and 

The Shoemaker name appeared in Now and Then again and 
again. For example, in mentioning the passing of "the late Samuel 
G. Shoemaker, Esq. who died April 1873 at the age of 82," Gernerd 
noted that when this descendant of the Shoemaker family "was a 
little boy just old enough to manage a team of horses, he assisted 
at hauling stones used in the construction of the foundation for 
one of Muncy's pioneer business places." It was The Lycoming 
Fire Insurance Company. 

And to give an insight to some of the social habits of the 
Shoemakers, Gernerd in the February 1875 issue of Now and Then. 
recollects Muncy's dancing school. Apparently it had been a place 
bustling with activity some 63 years earlier, and the editor wrote 

Where Wigwams Stood 45 

that "a goodly number of persons were found ready to join in 
dancing classes." Among the several men who learned to "trip the 
light fantastic toe" was Charles Shoemaker. 

And again, in May 1875, Gernerd told readers of Now and Then 
that "a much esteemed fellow citizen" (whom he named as John 
Poust) had told him that as an apprentice builder "he helped to put 
up the first plank building erected in Muncy Valley, and that he 
also helped to put up a plank kitchen for Jacob Shoemaker, about 
a half mile west of Hughesville." 

From these notations, and writings of other local historians, it 
is evident that the many members of the Shoemaker family had 
made their mark on West Branch Valley's society. And today, more 
than three centuries after young Jacob Schumacher settled in 
Germantown, his innumerable descendants are still a part of the 
area's activities. 

A scan through the Muncy telephone book finds a listing of 25 
families bearing the Shoemaker name. And in nearby William- 
sport, where some of the children of the earliest Shoemakers made 
their living, the name is listed more than 75 times in the telephone 

Gone is the quaint covered bridge that bore the Shoemaker 
name. It was removed in 1923 to make way for the present con- 
crete structure. But the more modern cement creek crossing at the 
"Y" still is known as "the Shoemaker Bridge." 

And about 100 feet from the site where for years farmers 
unloaded their grain at Shoemaker's Mill, there is continued activ- 
ity each day. However, nowadays pre-school children are being 
instructed in primary social skills at the "Shoemaker Mills Day 
Care Center." 


Katherine Yurchak 

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8 /The McCartys of Muncy 


he McCarty House, at 34 N. Main Street, is the oldest structure 
in Muncy. Built in 1789, it has sheltered five generations of the 
McCarty family. Although the building has undergone a few 
changes to keep up with America's different lifestyles, the original 
log walls have remained for more than two hundred years. 

The McCartys were among Quakers from Ireland who had 
accepted the opportunity to form a colony in Pennsylvania. 
Benjamin and Margaret Walton McCarty established residence in 
Richmond Township, in Bucks County, where they raised their 
family and prospered as farmers and surveyors in their new sur- 

At yearly meetings attended by the Society of Friends, the 
McCarty children had to have heard stories about "Muncy Manor," 
the magnificent stone mansion built by their wealthy "Friend in the 
faith," Samuel Wallis, who also was of Irish extraction. 

Wallis was one of the original land barons in the Susquehanna 
Valley From 1769, and during the next two decades, Wallis had 
been engaged in surveying and selling off pieces of his 7,000 acres 
in the Susquehanna Valley. Mainly, the land purchasers belonged 
to the Philadelphia Society of Friends, of which he also was a mem- 
ber. So, little by little, Wallis had surrounded himself with a thriv- 
ing community of farmers and tradesmen in Muncy and the sur- 
rounding area. 


48 Katherine Yurchak 

Nor is it likely that the impressionable young sons of Benjamin 
and Margaret Walton McCarty could have missed the heroic stories 
of Muncy Valley's pioneers, whose exploits had to have been carried 
to the yearly meetings. Rather, it is safe to assume that on achieving 
manhood, the McCarty boys were not only eager to see the land for 
themselves, but they would match the stories of the frontiersmen 
with experiences of their own, as they'd push back some of the 
wilderness of the Valley to build a settlement there. 

Again, McCartys' sons could not have missed the tragic tale of 
Capt. John Brady, who despite a fortified stockade which Wallis had 
built near his mansion estate, was killed by invading Indians during 
the American Revolution. 

This assumption is fair, because we know that the land the 
McCarty boys eventually would possess originally was "the Brady 
tract," which the Revolutionary War hero had acquired from John 
Perm. And therefore, the McCartys also had to have been aware that 
the land was in the "burnt district," which the Indians had torched in 
1778, during the "Big Runaway." 

What is remarkable is that none of what they had heard could 
diminish the determination of the four sons of Benjamin and 
Margaret Walton McCarty to settle in Muncy. Rather, step by step, 
they planned their journey to the Susquehanna Valley. 

First, William found himself a Quaker to be his bride, and in 
1787, he married Mary Lloyd, of Springfield Township, in Bucks 
County. Their son, Benjamin was born a year later. 2 

The precise year when William and Mary "left the comforts of 
a well settled community to make a new home in the wilderness of 
the Susquehanna Valley," according to notes prepared by a descen- 
dant, is not known. It may have been 1788 or 1789. 

However, it is known that the couple and their infant son were 
not alone on their journey. Accompanying them to Muncy were 
the McCarty brothers Silas, Benjamin and Isaac. Their sister, 

2 Tracking the historical records of the McCarty and Walton families can be 
somewhat confusing, because there is an unusual duplication of names in the 
genealogical records of both the McCartys and the Walton families. Adding to the 
confusion are human errors made in reference material. To the best of our knowl- 
edge, however, the data compiled here is accurate. 

Where Wigwams Stood 49 

Margaret, who was married to David Lloyd, was the only other 
woman in the frontiersmens' party. 

It is possible that the enthusiasm the McCarty boys showed for 
making a new life in Muncy created dreams of success in the 
minds and hearts of young cousins on their mother's side of the 
family. However it came about, we find that James, Ezekiel, and 
Isaac Walton also were Muncy bound. There were, therefore, 
seven men, two women, and an infant child in the band of pio- 
neers leaving Philadelphia for the Susquehanna Valley in 1789. 

That also was the year that America was suffering from a post- 
Revolutionary War economic chaos. It may have been necessary for 
the young Philadelphians to seek their fortunes beyond the City of 
Brotherly Love, since historical records show that even their fellow 
Quaker, Samuel Wallis, was reeling from financial losses at that 

Since James Walton was the oldest of the men in the party he 
was given first choice of the properties available in Muncy, which 
the Quakers had named "Pennsborough," after William Perm. 
Walton chose the 300-acre farm originally owned by John Scudder, 
father of the first white woman to be born in the Susquehanna 
Valley. His land was situated at the bank of the Susquehanna River. 

William and Benjamin each claimed half of the 300-acre Brady 
tract, which adjoined the Walton's acreage on the east. 

Emilie McCarty Sanders, a family descendant wrote in the July 
1939 issue of Now and Then: "William McCarty's family needed 
immediate shelter and so he first built a temporary log house 
between Muncy Creek and Glade Run." 

About 1790, timbers were prepared for the walls of the present 
McCarty building on North Main Street. The original plan for 
William's house included four rooms, an attic and an upper hall. 
Then he built a large stone chimney on the west side of his home. 
To retain heat, he made the ceilings low and the walls thick. Boards 
for the floors of the front bedroom were eighteen inches wide. The 
batten doors and original hinges William built for his house two 
centuries ago were treasures maintained by his descendants, and 
they remain in the McCarty house today. 

Access to the second floor rooms was by a narrow winding 


Katherine Yurchak 

stairway. Family descendants report that although five genera- 
tions of McCartys "climbed the difficult stairway, there was never 
a record of serious mishap." 

Handhewn rafters were used for the first floor. During the 
time a member of the fourth generation of McCartys lived in the 
house, the rafters in the second floor rooms were plastered over, 
much to the dismay of others in the McCarty genealogical lineage. 

Mary McCarty provided little Benjamin with a baby sister in 
1790. She was named Margaret after her maternal grandmother. 

From Emilie Sanders' historical notes, we learn that "Mary 
brought her treasured possessions from Bucks County, and that 
she began a little cottage industry in the house, with her spinning 
wheel. It remained in the attic for almost a hundred years." 

The record also shows that "Mary McCarty wove linens, 
moulded candles, made soap, dyed cloth, made maple sugar and 
syrup." It is reasonable to assume she was joined in these tasks by 
other Quaker women who had settled in Muncy Valley. And they 
probably used the large outside oven of brick and stone which 
William McCarty had built for such purposes. 

The McCarty House, oldest building in Muncy, on Main 
Street, was recently converted to a restaurant and inn. 

Where Wigwams Stood 51 

William and Mary brought fourteen children into the world. 
One died in infancy. But since their thirteen living children 
required more space in the house, "the dimensions of the 
McCarty home" grew, notes one record keeper. William added a 
larger kitchen and pantry, two more bedrooms, and an upper 
hall and attic. He also built another circular stairway to access 
the upper hallway and attic. 

A centerpiece in the living room of the home was a large fire- 
place with a high mantle. A reference has been made to "an old 
crane over the fireplace" with the explanation that it was used to 
"haul large logs to the kitchen door to be used in the fireplace." 
The original stone hearth remains in the house. 

Over the years, William McCarty who had earned his living 
as a farmer, built barns, a carriage house and a granary on the 
Brady tract of land. He kept cows, not only for milk for his fam- 
ily's use, but in the Quaker spirit he also supplied milk for his 

"Those who couldn't afford it, received the milk anyway," 
wrote Emilie Sanders in her historical account of her forebears. 

Members of the Society of Friends who traveled to the year- 
ly meeting in Philadelphia often were hosted by William and 
Mary McCarty in their home. 

Now and Then defines a sad note about William McCarty's 
final days as follows: During conflicts with the Indians, "a com- 
pany of soldiers encamped on William McCarty's land near 
Muncy Creek and several were sick with an epidemic known as 
'black fever.' William visited the camp on an errand of good 
will and a few days later (January 21, 1813) he died from the 
same disease. He was buried in the Walton-McCarty graveyard 
where a marble slab marks his grave." 

His wife, Mary, was left alone to care for her thirteen chil- 
dren. At that time, the youngest was a two-month-old infant. 

The historical record of the McCartys notes that "five of the 
McCarty children died before their mother. Six of her children, 
with their families, joined that long procession of covered wag- 
ons and found new homes in the West, where their descendants 
are living today. They and their children took their part in the 

52 Katherine Yurchak 

settlement of the West, pushing the frontiers before them, as 
their parents had done earlier." 

William and Mary McCarty's fifth child, John, (born November 
4, 1794) retained the home of his birth after his mother died in 
1838. He was a blacksmith and had never married. He cared for 
his sister, Mary, who was retarded from birth. The benevolent 
bachelor was known to everyone as "Uncle John." 

For those who had never met "Uncle John" McCarty, J.M.M. 
Gernerd provided this graphic description to readers of Now and 
Then: "He had penetrating blue-gray eyes, but they beamed so 
brightly with kindness and purity that no one perhaps ever felt 
annoyed by his gaze. His lips and chin indicate the great will 
power and firmness that he was known to possess, but he was in 
this respect so well balanced by a good heart and head, that very 
few men have perhaps in the same time had less trouble with their 

"His good-natured and benevolent physiogonomy speaks 
strongly for itself. He had a good, compact, symmetrical robust 
figure, and what at his best was considered a fine looking man. 
His height was six feet, and his weight slightly exceeded 200 

Gernerd's fondness for "Uncle John" was expressed in a eulo- 
gy of the Quaker gentleman which he prepared for his readers, in 
the Jan.-Feb. 1850 issue of Now and Then. It is worthy of an inclu- 
sion here. Wrote Gernerd about John McCarty: "He was not 
known as a man of large earthly possessions, nor as a leader 
among his fellowmen; not distinguished as a man of genius, nor as 
a scholar; not regarded as a fluent talker, nor as a man of any 
decided particular talent; not rated as a 'man of society,' nor as a 
man of accomplishment; yet 'Uncle John' McCarty, as he was by 
everybody respectfully called, made, perhaps, as lasting an 
impression for good on all with whom he came into contact, and 
was as truly good, as sincerely respected and beloved, as any man 
on the West Branch of the Susquehanna in his day and generation. 
He was conspicuous for the quiet, peaceable, even temperate and 
unassuming life he lived; for his general good sense, manliness, 
honesty and truthfulness; and because he was uniformly generous 

Where Wigwams Stood 53 

and unselfish, and too great-hearted to be a respecter of persons. 
There was something in his open face and cordial and unaffected 
manner that at once, always and everywhere, commanded respect. 
He was everybody's good, dear 'Uncle John,' as long as the writer 
knew him — about forty years." 

John McCarty lived all the days of his life in the home of his 
birth, except for one year when he served as an apprentice in 
blacksmithing with his cousin David Lloyd, in Jerseytown. He 
was 90 years old when he died on January 24, 1884. 

Gernerd wrote of him: "He loved the old home. No sum of 
money would have induced him to part with it." This leads to the 
assumption that he may have been approached, from time to time, 
by those who wanted to buy his home. 

"Uncle John" McCarty's chestnut sorrel 
horse, "Salem," was as beloved by the com- 
munity as was his master. A story about 
Salem notes that when he was 38 years old, 
"several ladies borrowed him to take a load 
of baskets with refreshments to a Sunday 
School picnic, on Shoemaker's island. He 
brought them safely home, but the instant 
they drove up to the stable door, the faithful 
old beast, without a warning symptom of ill— 
"Uncle John ness, fell over and almost instantly gave up 

McCarty the ghost." 

The narrative notes that the ladies were pre- 
pared to drag the horse's body to a field for burial, but "Uncle 
John" would not permit such cruelty. Old Salem was tenderly lift- 
ed on a wagon and hauled out to his burial place. At the grave, it 
was proposed to knock off the horse's shoes. 

"No," interposed Uncle John, according to Gernerd "Salem 
must be buried with his shoes on." 

"Uncle John" was not a teetotaler, as many Quakers are. His 
cellar was stocked with various kinds of wines — blackberry, elder- 
berry, grape, and currant. Someone had stopped at his door, one 
Sunday, and asked for some of his wine. The bachelor Quaker is 
reported to have replied: "If you can't be employed in any better 

54 Katherine Yurchak 

business on Sunday than to run about to hunt up wine, you must 
be in a bad way, and so you can't have any of my wine." 

William McCarty's brothers, in their own ways, contributed to 
Muncy's growth and history For example, ten years after settling 
in Muncy, Benjamin McCarty conceived the idea of starting a 
town, in 1797. As a surveyor, he laid out lots East of what is now 
Muncy's Main Street. One by one, the lots were sold. And a 
plaque, on East Water Street, commemorates Benjamin McCarty 
for his contribution to Muncy's historic setting. 

William, Isaac, and Silas followed their brother's example and 
also had parts of their properties plotted for development. Then, 
in 1826, after the Borough of Muncy's boundary lines were 
defined, an act of incorporation was applied for. Finally, the name 
was changed from Pennsborough to Muncy because, according to 
the records, "the new name would be more in accordance with the 
historical associations of the place, and serve to perpetuate the 
name of the tribe that first dwelt there." 

An oil portrait of "Uncle John" McCarty hangs in the main 
auditorium of the Muncy Historical Society. The artist has cap- 
tured a distinct feature of the benevolent Quaker. He is depicted 
clean shaven, but with a "ruching" (like a collar) of white whiskers 
about his neck. 

The home "Uncle John" McCarty loved passed through five 
generations of his family. The exterior of his beloved home has 
been stuccoed, and an Old-English architecture now covers the 
original siding of William McCarty's building. In 1945, the deed to 
the property no longer bore the McCarty name, when it was trans- 
ferred to the Wertmans of Muncy. 

Then in 1988, Thomas and Gloria Clegg, of Muncy, purchased 
the property. The Cleggs, over the years, have restored several 
early-American homes in the historic community. In the restora- 
tion of the McCarty House, the place has become "The McCarty 
House and Inn." The first floor of the home is now a restaurant, 
and the upstairs rooms have been made available for overnight 
guests. William McCarty's barn has become "The Carriage 
House." Adjoining the restaurant's property, it now is a reposito- 
ry for antiques, as well as a variety of early-American arts and 

Where Wigwams Stood 


crafts pieces. 

After a bitterly cold night, on the morning of the 30th of 
January 1993, a fire broke out in Muncy's oldest house. The fire 
destroyed all of the contents of the second-floor bedroom which 
was over the fireplace. The night before, because of the cold 
weather, the Cleggs had been using the fireplace to heat the rooms 
of the Inn. 

No one knows how the fire began, but only a local policeman's 
quick action, on seeing flames coming out of the house, prevented 
total devastation of Muncy's oldest home. 

The Cleggs immediately repaired the damage to the second- 
floor bedroom and what they've named "the William and Mary 
Room." The beautiful fireplace, which was charred by the searing 
flames, also has been restored as much as possible to its original 

There are many beautiful old homes in the community of 
Muncy. But only the McCarty House has endured more than two 
centuries of American history. 

Because the valley has many creeks and small waterways, 
Muncy's pioneer families needed to build bridges from 
field to field. 


Katherine Yurchak 

9 /The Wallis Connection 


n the January 1878 issue of Now and Then, J.M.M. Gernerd told 
subscribers about "our distinguished pioneer, Samuel Wallis." He 
was right in noting that "the Wallis' name figures as often as any 
other in our early annals." For in perusing the pages of 
Meginness' History of Lycoming County, we find that Wallis was the 
original owner of thousands of acres of land in the Susquehanna 
Valley, and anyone who planned to settle in Muncy proper first 
had to negotiate with Wallis about acquiring a tract of land from 
his claim. 

The Gernerd jottings about Wallis inform that he "came to this 
valley from Philadelphia, where he was engaged in mercantile and 
commercial business. He was a Quaker, a man of large fortune, of 
great energy and influence, well-educated, a surveyor, and an 
ambitious speculator in lands." 

But on delving deeper into the historical mines, a lode of infor- 
mation is garnered about the who and what of Samuel Wallis. For 
example, from the first paragraph of "A Short Sketch of Samuel 
Wallis' Private Life," as prepared by T. Kenneth Wood in the 
October 1940 issue of Now and Then, hints are given as to "his trag- 
ic and lonely death and burial in an unknown grave." 

Further tracings of the Wallis family tree reveal that roots were 
established in Maryland, where Samuel was born April 21, 1731, in 
Elkton. His parents, Samuel and Cassandra Tolbott Wallis, origi- 


58 Katherine Yurchak 

nally were from England and Wales. The Wallises were prominent 
and wealthy members of early-American Quaker society. 

Young Samuel Wallis is said to have been well-educated, and 
was a surveyor, but where he acquired his education is not stated. 
When in his early thirties, he made his way from Maryland to 
Philadelphia. There he found employment with a prominent 
Quaker firm, James and Drinker, agents of the Holland Land 

Wood's search through the Wallis files uncovered this informa- 
tion: "Samuel Wallis engaged in many lines of business but princi- 
pally in coastwise shipping and land-jobbing." Today, Wallis 
would be considered a land speculator. 

Additional findings lead to the assumption that Wallis was a 
shrewd businessman. He had become interested in Muncy Valley 
in 1768 which, according to Wood's notes, was because of "the 
Treaty of Fort Stanwix which threw open for occupation Muncy 

In Muncy, Samuel Wallis had a mansion built in preparation 
for his marriage to Lydia Hollingsworth, in 1770. The walls of his 
one and one-half story stone building were three feet thick. It 
eventually was used mostly as a summer residence for the Wallises 
and their six children. Their city residence was on Arch Street, in 
Philadelphia, where we can assume that he engaged freely in the 
brilliant social activities of those times. 

The Wallis estate in the valley was known as "Muncy Farm" 
and is said to have provided opportunity for the country gentle- 
man to host Quaker missionaries, his business acquaintances, as 
well as the men of the monarchy who had been sent to govern the 
colonies. Historical papers also note that Wallis had relations with 
Indian chieftains inhabiting the Susquehanna Valley, and they also 
were frequent visitors to his mansion. 

When Wallis entered the Susquehanna region, he came with a 
band of skilled surveyors. According to Wood, "He arrived in 
1768, and in 1769 he had the floor of the Valley platted and staked 
before the Penns had a chance to make known their intention of 
setting these lands aside as a Proprietaries Manor (or as a Reserve) 
to be called 'Muncy Manor'." 

Where Wigwams Stood 


«^ p 



During a land dis- 
pute with John 
Penn in 1772, 
Samuel Wallis had 
his draftsmen pre- 
pare this map 
found among the 
pioneer's papers. 
Wallis lost his 
rights to the 
manors depicted 

Wood continues: "In a legal tussle with them (the Penns) 
Wallis lost and had to content himself with extra-manorial lands, 
principally lying between the mouths of Muncy and Loyalsock 

Local historical files also give credit to Samuel Wallis for the 
surveying and plotting of the town of Wilkes-Barre. An article 
appearing in Proceedings 1990, of the Northumberland Historical 
Society, states that Wilkes-Barre was laid out by Wallis in a rectan- 
gular design, with a diamond (or square, as it is called) in the cen- 
ter, and was destined to be the scene of the bloodiest battle of the 
Revolutionary War — "the Wyoming Massacre." 

Compiled for the Northumberland Historical group by Linda 
Fossler, then of Gwynedd-Mercy College, the article casts a long 
shadow over Wallis' patriotism during the Revolutionary War. 
Fossler links Samuel Wallis to one of George Washington's "most 
successful generals; his personal friend — Benedict Arnold." 

It is reasonable to assume that as a shipping magnate, as 
well as a prominent member of Philadelphia's society, Wallis 
must have had more than casual contact with Arnold and 
British militarists, such as John Andre, who participated in the 
city's brilliant social events. 

In her book, Romantic Days in the Early Republic, [Little, Brown 

60 Katherine Yurchak 

and Company, Boston 1912] Mary Caroline Crawford describes a 
typical all-day festival which had been held in Philadelphia, in 
May 1778, featuring a regatta of highly decorated ships in port. 
British generals and local social leaders, as well as "several fair 
ladies," had boarded the ships early in the day Then in the after- 
noon, the music and dancing was transferred to the mansion of 
Joseph Wharton, where a grand lawn party continued until mid- 
night, at which time a magnificent banquet was served. 

Crawford notes that the party's guest list included Sir Henry 
Clinton, of the British military family, and Major John Andre, who 
was in love with Margaret Shippen, daughter of one of 
Philadelphia's proudest families. 

At that time, Crawford notes that Benedict Arnold was in com- 
mand of American forces in Philadelphia. Arnold, originally from 
New Haven, Connecticut, had earned his living as a druggist, 
prior to entering the military. He had lost his first wife at the 
beginning of the Revolutionary War. In Philadelphia, he fell in 
love at first sight with Miss Shippen, a Tory belle. He wooed and 
won her as his bride, despite her father's great displeasure. 
Margaret was 21 years old, when they were married; Arnold was 
35 and the father of three sons. The couple participated freely in 
Philadelphia's high society. 

At the time they were married, according to the Crawford 
book, "Arnold began writing to Sir Henry Clinton, in disguised 
handwriting and under the signature of 'Gustavus' describing 
himself as an American soldier of high rank, who, through disgust 
at the French alliance and other proceedings of Congress, might 
perhaps be persuaded to go over to the British, provided he could 
be indemnified for any losses he might incur by so doing." 

Crawford notes that the replies from Clinton were penned by 
Major Andre over the signature of "John Anderson." 

This information is in line with Linda Fossler's findings which 
state that "The negotiations between General Arnold and Major 
John Andre, adjutant general of the British forces, became known 
almost immediately, as the former escaped into the arms of the 
British and the latter was executed by order of General 
Washington. The identity of Arnold's most mysterious courier, 

Where Wigwams Stood 61 

however, remained a secret for over 145 years, until the contents of 
the papers of General Clinton, in the British Headquarters files 
revealed him to be Samuel Wallis, respected Philadelphia mer- 
chant, part-time resident of Muncy, Pennsylvania, and extensive 
landholder in old Northumberland County." 

The startling facts about Wallis's shady past, as related by Ms. 
Fossler, originally were expounded in great detail by noted author, 
Carl VanDoren, in Secret History of the American Revolution [1941]. 
VanDoren revealed that Joseph Stansbury, a Philadelphia shop- 
keeper, was a British spy with whom Arnold also shared confi- 
dences. And Wallis, who had frequent business dealings with 
Stansbury, was a trusted friend of the shopkeeper. In the personal 
papers Wallis kept in his voluminous files there are receipts for 
jugs, bottles, and china purchased from Stansbury's shop. 
Moreover, in the City of Brotherly Love, Wallis the Quaker 
businessman had earned the reputation as a "Gentleman of credit 
in Philadelphia." Fossler boldly wrote: "People told him every- 

Further, General Clinton's papers indicate that at one point 
Wallis had been useful to the British in providing information 
about "underwater fortifications along the Delaware River 
approach to Philadelphia." 

Recently, quotes about the Wallis connection during the 
Revolutionary War were taken from VanDoren's book and pub- 
lished in the August 1993 Now and Then, by Jane Jackson, editor of 
the Muncy Historical Society's publication. Jackson told us: 
"Samuel Wallis of Muncy Manor on the Susquehanna was 
Arnold's agent and General Clinton's correspondent; though so 
stealthy in his movements, that he had not hitherto been detected. 
In Philadelphia Wallis went on expertly pretending to be a Whig. 
So long as Congress should be in power, thus, he could stand well 
with the Patriots. If the British forces should put down the rebel- 
lion, then he could prove he had been for a long time, a Loyalist." 

For Wallis, whose wealth and influence was known in the 
British colony in America, it is reasonable to assume that he need- 
ed to protect his varied business interests. The records show he 
owned at least three ships (Betsy, Pigeon, and Hannah) and traded 

62 Katherine Yurchak 

extensively in the West Indies and Bermuda. It is fair to assume, 
therefore, that he must have had frequent communications with 
British tradesmen overseas, as well as with prominent colonial set- 
tlers during the Revolutionary War. 

But while England was endeavoring to get a firmer hold on the 
colonies, the people of the new settlements wanted to be free of the 
monarchy. Governors, sent from London to oversee colonial busi- 
nesses, wanted the newly settled tradesmen to adhere to English reg- 
ulations. This brought objections from the people of the colonies, and 
problems for England. 

The colonialists wanted freedom in political, religious, and eco- 
nomic activities. This philosophy ultimately was stated in the 
Declaration of Independence. 

Where did Wallis fit in during those times in the colonies? He 
must have been in a dilemma. At the yearly meeting held in London 
in 1775, Quakers in America were urged "to remain clear of any polit- 
ical commotions of rebellious activities against the King." 

Historians note that Wallis (the surveyor) knew the Pennsylvania 
frontier. Eventually he became the connection for providing maps to 
leaders of the American Revolution. Quaker though he was, Wallis 
was put in a position of having to appease various factions. He was 
commissioned as captain of the 6th Company, 2nd Battalion of the 
Militia in Northumberland County. Nevertheless, the record shows: 
"In 1778, Wallis and his family fled for their lives to Fort Augusta, 
during the 'Big Runaway/ which had occurred during the expected 
movement down the Susquehanna of nearly 1,000 Indians, Tories, 
and British, under the command of Colonel John Butler." The battle 
expected in Muncy never did occur. Rather, it took place in the 
Wyoming Valley, and is recorded as "The Wyoming Massacre," [July 
3, 1778]. 

At that time, General Sullivan planned an expedition along the 
Susquehanna frontier to retaliate against British and Indian raids. 
His contact was the president of the Pennsylvania Council, Joseph 
Reed, of whom he requested a map of that area of the wilderness 
where the exercise would take place. Reed then asked Wallis, in 
February 1779, to provide General Sullivan with a map for his expe- 
dition against the Six Nations in the Susquehanna Valley. 

Where Wigwams Stood 63 

Fossler's recounting of this incident states: "This request offered 
a unique opportunity for Wallis to assist the British. He would pre- 
pare a deliberately inaccurate map for General Sullivan and the 
American forces. Wallis would be above suspicion, because he had 
pledged allegiance to the Patriot cause, and his official pass described 
him as 'Friendly to the Liberty of America'." 

"The false map scheme failed, however," Fossler continues, 
"because General George Washington wisely consulted several maps 
and various frontier experts while planning the expedition." 

In the VanDoren version, Wallis clearly is connected to Arnold's 
act of treason. This is confirmed through correspondence between 
Benedict Arnold and Major John Andre, adjutant general of the 
British forces, whose letters have been preserved in the William L. 
Clements Library, at the University of Michigan. 

In explaining why Arnold was planning to commit treason, the 
Fossler historical paper notes that though Arnold "had risen to the 
grade of Major General, his date of rank was set by Congress below 
that of political appointees and other officers whom Arnold believed 
to be inferior to him in leadership abilities. In addition, Congress had 
ordered an investigation into some of his expenses as commander 
and rejected some of the financial claims he had made upon 
Congress. This investigation eventually was referred to a military 
court martial which resulted in a personal reprimand from General 
George Washington." 

Fossler notes that on August 1, 1780, Arnold was given one of the 
highest honors — that of commanding the cavalry which in due 
course would be used to engage the British army. However, Arnold 
although plotting treason wanted the appointment of commander to 
the post at West Point, because he was convinced "he was disliked by 
Congress." Arnold had not lost Washington's confidence, despite his 
bitterness toward Congress, and the General gave Arnold the West 
Point command on August 3, 1780. 

The Fossler description of the plot by Arnold to commit treason 
reminds us that "negotiations were conducted through written corre- 
spondence which had to pass through several hands to reach General 
Clinton." And, therefore, one can imagine that Arnold must have 
had fears of detection, and even was aware of the dire consequences 

64 Katherine Yurchak 

that would befall him should he be found out. The delay in receiving 
a response may have caused Arnold to distrust Joseph Stansbury. 
And when the answer to his letter did not appear, he had to have 
wondered if Stansbury had delivered the message to Major Andre. 
The thought might have entered his mind that Stansbury was a dou- 
ble agent! 

Such troublesome imaginings lead to the reasonable assumption 
that Arnold had to turn to someone else — Samuel Wallis, 
Philadelphia's most trusted man. Thus, Wallis became "his principal 
agent and messenger between Philadelphia and New York," notes 

The British files reveal that Arnold wrote a letter to John Andre 
dated July 11, 1780 in which he noted: "the bearer (Wallis) in whom a 
confidence may be placed, is charged with others and is instructed — 
preliminaries being first settled — to fix a plan of safe conveyance and 
operation." [Fossler, p.lll] 

The "plan" of the letters was this: That Arnold would surrender 
West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds of sterling. He also 
requested "a thousand pounds to be paid my agent (Wallis)." 

According to the Fossler rendering of this episode, the capture of 
Major Andre and the subsequent revelation of the plot to surrender 
West Point ended in Arnold's escape to the British, and Andre's exe- 
cution. As for Margaret Shippen Arnold, she was sent a notice on 
October 1, 1780 by the Philadelphia Council. It read that "as the wife 
of Benedict Arnold, an attainted traitor whose residence in this city 
has become dangerous to public safety," she was given fourteen days 
to get of town, as noted in the Crawford book. 

And Wallis, the trusted Quaker, never was suspected of partici- 
pation in Arnold's treachery. VanDoren's findings in the Clinton let- 
ters uncovered the Wallis connection only because the papers at the 
University of Michingan were opened to scholars, almost a century 
and a half after the fact. 

Wallis, the wealthy Philadelphian, continued to prosper in his 
affairs after the Revolutionary War. He remained in the city until 
1782, and then took full charge of the settlements in the Susquehanna 
Valley. He built a grist mill in 1785 at his Muncy Farm, and gained 
enough prominence in local government to win an appointment as 

Where Wigwams Stood 65 

an associate judge in Lycoming County, in April 1795. 

His experience as a frontiersman and land speculator won him 
continued work as a buying agent for the Holland Land Company. 
He hired James Wilson as his legal representative. Fossler's notations 
say that, "as a land agent, Wallis bought land and often assumed the 
obligation to pay, although the title was vested in the Holland Land 
Company. He would then be reimbursed by the Company, whose 
funds were administered by Judge Wilson." 

The relations between the partners began to sour, however, so 
that by 1798 Wallis was owed 88,500 pounds of Sterling by the 
Holland Land Company. He hounded Wilson for the money, but was 
not aware that his partner also had claimed ownership of land that 
had greatly depreciated in value. Wilson, too, was deeply in debt. 

Wallis traced Wilson as far as North Carolina, where papers were 
drawn for the entire amount to be paid in cash, and delivery of the 
money was to be made within 24 hours. Wilson never came through 
with the cash. He either committed suicide or succumbed to an acci- 
dental overdose of medication and alcohol. He was found dead in 
his bed on the morning he was to have delivered the money to Wallis. 

Dejected and penniless, Wallis, in company with a servant, made 
the return trip to Philadelphia. Exhaustion forced a stop in 
Maryland, where he took a room for the night. Too tired to complain 
about the used linens on the bed, he spent the night where a guest 
had died of Yellow Fever. 

Not until the next morning did he learn that he'd exposed him- 
self to the disease then rampant in the colonies. Racing back to 
Philadelphia, he demanded the services of his friend Dr. Benjamin 
Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But it 
was too late. 

Samuel Wallis was 67 years old when he died at his home on Arch 
Street, October 14, 1798. His body was laid in an unmarked grave in 
a Quaker burial site. 

Wallis had lost his fortune, but his stone mansion which was pre- 
served for his widow by family friends, remains as one of Muncy's 
historical landmarks. 


{Catherine Yurchak 





















10 /The Lady of the Manor 


homas Jefferson was serving the second term of his presiden- 
cy, and the American frontier was rapidly spreading westward, in 
1806, when a wealthy ironworks manufacturer, from Lebanon 
County, purchased 7,000 acres of the land left by Samuel Wallis, in 
Muncy Valley. The transaction was made through the 
Philadelphian James Drinker, agent of the Holland Land 

Robert Coleman's acquisition of the Muncy pioneer's estate 
became the dowry for his daughter, Elizabeth, who had married a 
prosperous young lawyer, Charles Hall of Sunbury, in 1790. Hall 
already owned 4,000 acres of land in the area, so the couple's com- 
bined holdings made them among the largest owners of property 
in the Susquehanna Valley. 

Grand as the Wallis home was when she moved into it, 
Elizabeth Hall directed extensive renovations for her Muncy resi- 
dence. The young matron brought to the Valley the contractor 
who then was constructing the capitol building, in Harrisburg. 
And the records show that "both contracts were in progress at the 
same time," and that all the material used in the reconstructed for- 
mer Wallis home was hauled up the Susquehanna River to Muncy 
by boat. 

Charles and Elizabeth Hall became the parents of 11 children, 
while living at Muncy Farms. The focus of this writing is upon 
Susan Emily, their tenth child, who was born in 1814. 


68 Katherine Yurchak 

It is fair to assume that under the tutelage of her mother, heir to 
a fortune, Susan was trained in a grand and gracious manner of liv- 
ing. As "the lady of the manor," her mother entertained lavishly in 
the mansion Wallis had built in 1769, and which even then had 
been listed in historic records as "the oldest house in Lycoming 
County, and older by three years than the township of Muncy" 
[Meginness, p.41] 

Susan Emily was seven years old when her father died. Her 
widowed mother left the manor in Muncy and returned to her 
paternal surroundings in Lancaster. Susan's brother, Robert 
Coleman Hall was left in charge of the family residence in the 
Susquehanna Valley. 

Meanwhile, Susan was being nurtured by her mother and 
grandmother. Later, her formal education was acquired in 
Burlington, Vermont where she enrolled at the "Episcopal 
Institute," founded by Vermont's first Episcopalian bishop, John 
Henry Hopkins, in 1824. 

Susan Emily was in her teens when she became engaged to 
Edward Hopkins, the Bishop's son, who then 
was actively engaged in a naval career. 
Touching on the romantic phase of Susan 
Hall's life, the April 1992 issue of Now and 
Then, noted: "As a midshipman, Edward was 
sent to Brazil. That marriage was not meant to 
be!" [April 1992, p.158] 

No information is available as to why the 
wedding between Susan Hall and Edward 
Hopkins did not take place. But since Edward 
was gone at sea for seven years, it is reasonable John Henry 
to assume that either he or his young bride-to- Hopkins Jr. 
be may have had a change of heart. 

While at school in Vermont, Susan Emily's home in Muncy was 
being exchanged into the hands of various members of the Halls' 
family tree. Her brother Robert was married to Sarah Ann Watts, 
(daughter of Judge Watts, of Carlisle) and had made the decision to 
practice law in the community of his wife's family's roots. That left 
Muncy Manor in an abandoned state. 

Where Wigwams Stood 69 

After her husband's passing, Sarah Watts Hall returned to 
Lycoming County, and her son James was given charge of her 
estate at Muncy Farms. At his mother's death, James Hall moved 
to Philadelphia and gave his only son, William 
Coleman Hall, Esq., charge of the family's 

In the meantime, Susan Emily Hall's devo- 
tion to her church was intensifying. During 
her years in Vermont, she had taken a sisterly 
interest in the Bishop's other son, John Henry 
Hopkins Jr., and had seen him graduate with 
honors from the University of Vermont. He 
then trained at General Theological Seminary 
baran hmily m New York City, where his career was devot- 
Hall e d to "church journalism." Later still, John 

Henry Jr. was ordained to the priesthood of 
the Episcopalian Church. 

Her friendship with the Hopkins family, incited Susan Emily 
Hall to have a place where Episcopalian missionaries and clergy- 
men could rest in their journeys while evangelizing throughout 
the Valley. The work of the Episcopalian Church became her life. 
When Muncy Manor passed into the hands of nephews, Susan 
Emily Hall used her share of the family fortune to acquire 
"Oaklands," the former summer residence of Colonel Potter, a 
Philadelphian who had been in the militia with Samuel Wallis. 
The home also was built on the Wallis tract, and had been acquired 
by the Colemans from James Drinker. 

As her mother had done when she acquired the Wallis man- 
sion, Susan Emily had "Oaklands" remodeled. As, "the lady of the 
manor" called "Oaklands" she hosted various Episcopalian church 
officials. Therefore, the architecture she chose had religious over- 
tones. For example, stained glass windows in a grand hallway 
with a winding staircase. 

One special room, on the third floor of the mansion, became 
"the Bishop's Room." A cathedral effect was sculptured into the 
ceiling's plastered design. The large mahogany bed, made espe- 
cially for the chief cleric of the church, was adorned with bronze 

70 {Catherine Yurchak 

angelic carvings on opposite posts of the headboard. Sashed 
windows — one facing East, and the other South — caught the 
splendor of the Susquehanna River Valley mornings and 
evenings, and brought it into the Bishop's quarters. 

Susan Emily Hall dressed like a priestess. While women 
of those days bedecked themselves in velvets and silks, and 
beads and feathers and lace, Susan Emily only wore long black 
gowns. The same black ruffled material trimmed the neckline, 
with only a slim sliver of white fabric adorning the collarline. 
The plain-faced maiden lady wore her long hair parted in the 
middle and pulled tightly away from her face. 

Although she grew up in prim and proper surroundings, 
and all her lifetime had associated with churchy people and 
things, Susan Emily Hall had a feisty personality. She explod- 
ed when exasperated with the indecisiveness of people around 

For example, one of her special gifts was in the art of 
embroidery. She used her gift to create altar vestments for her 
church. The exquisite embroidery was mostly her own design. 
For her needlework, Miss Susan used embroidery silk of a spe- 
cial quality, acquired from a specialty shop in Philadelphia. 
Usually, "the lady of the manor" would have the silk sent to 
the "Oaklands" estate. However, this time she happened to be 
in the city, and went personally to the shop to purchase the 
special silk thread. The clerk had difficulty finding the prod- 
uct on his shelves, and searched and searched for it. 

"We don't sell much of it," he said. "Only that old Susan 
Hall up at Muncy uses it." 

"Well, I'm that old Susan Hall," responded the unexpected 
patron. "So hurry up and find it." 

The Episcopalian zealot had her dander aroused once 
again when she learned that the vestry of her church (St. James 
Episcopal) had settled plans to tear down the old brick church 
and would replace it with another brick edifice "of rather non- 
descript architecture." 

Describing this incident for a centennial event, The 
Harrisburg Churchman [Mar. 1938] reported: "On hearing this, 

Where Wigwams Stood 71 

Miss Susan exclaimed 'Nonsense. I won't hear of it. We will 
build a proper Episcopal Church, Gothic and of stone'." 

The protests of the Vestry were to no avail, even though an 
architect already had been hired for the proposed new brick 
church. Anyway, the type of church Miss Hall wanted was 
beyond the congregation's budget. 

But Miss Susan remained firm: "I said we will build a prop- 
er church, and Gothic, and stone it will be. It is all arranged. The 
first thing you will do is pay the present architect, and then tear 
up his plans." 

Miss Hall then enlisted the help of her friend John Henry 
Hopkins Jr. who had studied architecture, in New York City. 
Among his friends were masters of architectural art, among 
whom was Renwick, designer of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Later, 
he had become associated with Richard Upjohn, architect for the 
reknowned Trinity Chapel, in Manhattan's financial district. At 
Susan Emily Hall's request, Reverend Hopkins secured Upjohn's 
architectural services to draw plans for her Gothic and stone 
Muncy church. 

Ida Jane White, a Muncy resident and member of the 
Episcopalian Church, prepared a paper about the woman she 
calls "Aunt Susan" for the Muncy Historical Society. [Dec. 1985] 
Mrs. White noted that Susan Hall found a family in Montomery 
(a town across the river from Muncy) to agree to provide stones 
from their quarry. The stones were readied and hauled to the 
banks of the river. Then in winter, when the river was frozen 
over, Susan Emily Hall gathered together the women of the 
parish. And while the men with ropes and sleds hauled stones 
across the ice, the women served hot meals and coffee to keep 
the workers warm. They worked through the night to get the job 

Wrote Mrs. White: "And so, Muncy's St. James Church was 
built just exactly as the indomnitable Susan Emily Hall had 
wanted. The result is our lovely Gothic stone church." 

The historical data notes that the original brick church struc- 
ture was removed in 1856. The cornerstone for the present 
building was laid in August 1858. It was completed debt free. 

72 Katherine Yurchak 

The cost: $9,000.00. The dedication services for St. James 
Episcopal Church, were held November 15, 1859. 

Muncy's historic St. James Episcopal Church is the "mother 
church" of Christ Episcopal Church, in Williamsport, where Reverend 
Hopkins was named rector. The Episcopalian Church of Muncy also 
has historic "sister churches" in the surrounding area. They are the 
Church of Our Savior, in Montoursville, and the Church of the Good 
Shepherd, at Fairfield Center. Both churches were built during the 
time Susan Emily Hall and the Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. 
were active in the local religious community. 

Susan Emily Hall's friend, Reverend Hopkins, during his lifetime 
composed a number of hymns, chorales and poems. Most notable is 
his composition "We Three Kings of Orient Are," a part of America's 
Yuletide songfests. 

In 1891, J.M.M. Gernerd, a member of the local Episcopalian 
Church, sought information about Muncy's first Sunday Schools. 
Susan Emily Hall, then 77 years old, was ailing from a diseased heart. 
She wrote a letter to Gernerd, who published it in Now and Then. Her 
personal jottings grant glimpses of Miss Hall's life and help to piece 
together the fabric of the unique character of this woman of faith. 

Susan Emily Hall wrote: "Mrs. Elizabeth Hall (her mother) 
removed from Sunbury to the Muncy Farms in April 1821, her hus- 
band having died about three months previous. Mrs. Hall had then 
three grown daughters, under twenty years of age, named Ann, 
Catharine and Margaret, and they felt prompted to give some instruc- 
tion to the children of the neighboring families who were growing up 
without much chance (of Sunday School training). I was myself one 
of the scholars, not being quite seven years old. At that time, there 
was no church edifice in or near Muncy, except the old brick church 
on the road to Hughesville, and the Friends' Meeting House, in what 
was then called Goosetown." [Now and Then, Sept.-Oct. 1891]. 

The next paragraph of Miss Susan's letter mentions "an 
Episcopalian clergyman named Hopkins," who had held services at 
"the old brick church on the road to Hughesville." The Episcopalian 
clergyman, who is named with such deference by Miss Hall, is none 
other than her longtime friend Dr. John Henry Hopkins. 

Returning to the letter to Gernerd, Miss Hall writes about her 

Where Wigwams Stood 73 

brother Coleman Hall, whom she names as "a zealous churchman," 
and notes that he was "principally instrumental in building the St. 
James Episcopal Church, in Muncy." She gives emphasis to the fact 
that he "walked to church every Sunday to teach Sunday School." 

However, this was not always so, because a finding in the August 
1868 issue of Now and Then records that Gernerd, as a boy, was 
deeply impressed by the unusual mode of travel used by the Halls 
when they attended church. He refers to the years after 1836, when 
"about this time the 'Dearborn' wagon or carriage was brought to the 
country. When Hall's carriage drove up to the church door, we boys 
almost held our breath. We never expected the owners of so mag- 
nificent an establishment to condescend to notice the ragged brigade 
who footed it to church, and scattered on the mud sidewalk as the 
cavalcade approached." 

To continue with Miss Hall's letter concerning Muncy's church 
history, we find that she refers to herself in the third person, and 
writes the following: "Mrs. Hall (her mother) had an unmarried 
daughter, Susan. Miss Hall found her time hanging heavy on her 
hands, having always been accustomed to church and Sunday 
School, and in imitation of her elder sisters, invited a few little girls 
to come to her every Sunday to be taught. She began with nine little 
girls, who took great delight in their Bible lessons, and were a source 
of great pleasure to their teacher." 

In this unusual practice of speaking of herself as though she lived 
in the distant past, Susan Emily Hall reveals a practice of many early- 
church personalities whose lives were saturated in hours of quiet 
meditation and contemplation of the Sacred Scriptures. To Gernerd 
she continues: "Miss Hall was not familiar with the routine of 
Sunday Schools, and did not know what books to use, but after a 
variety of efforts, settled down upon simple Bible readings and 
explanations. Miss Hall's object in combining the prayer-book with 
the Bible instruction was to enforce the truth, that nothing was 
important but the Word of God, and that every line in our book of 
worship was in full accordance with the Holy Scriptures; if not, it 
was of little worth." 

The inclusion of these paragraphs is to demonstrate the zeal 
Susan Emily Hall showed for her religion, and to help in under- 

74 Katherine Yurchak 

standing the kind of life she lived after the plans for her marriage to 
Midshipman Edward Hopkins did not materialize. 

Ida jane White's findings about Susan Emily Hall include the 
information that she often would take long rides in the country with 
her horse "Dobbin." Mrs. White wrote: "It was said that once Miss 
Susan made up her mind about something, no one or nothing could 
stop her — except her horse. On those long rides to the country 
churches she and Dr. Hopkins had founded, sometimes Dobbin had 
to stop and rest. Or he wanted something to eat along the way. Miss 
Susan would plead with him or take a whip to him, but the horse 
wouldn't budge. He never went on until he was ready to go. During 
those struggles with her horse, Susan Hall would take out her Bible 
and read, until Dobbin made up his mind to be on his way" 

Another story Ida Jane White collected for her presentation to the 
Muncy Historical Society came from a woman whose parents 
worked for Miss Hall. It reveals how conditioned the horse, Dobbin, 
was to his owner's church habits. 

"Sometimes my parents were allowed to borrow Miss Susan's 
horse and buggy for the day," is the story told to a local historian. 
"When they would ride up Main Street past the Episcopalian 
Church, Dobbin would suddenly stop. He refused to go any further. 
Someone in the buggy had to step out and open the church door — 
wait a few moments — and then close the door of the church, and 
walk back to the buggy. Dobbin then would glance around. Upon 
seeing the passenger's foot touch the step of the carriage and again 
was seated, the horse knew it was time to move on. And that Dobbin 
would do, trotting briskly on his way." 

"Oaklands," Miss Susan's manor, perfectly suited her need for 
quiet and rest during her later years when a failing heart curtailed 
her activities. During those years, she gave herself almost entirely to 
her gifted art of embroidery, and created altar pieces and vestments 
for her church. 

After Miss Hall's death, her mansion was passed to a niece, 
Elizabeth Ashurst. With a new resident-owner, the house was given 
a new name — "Ashurst Manor." 

The continuing history of the manor includes the purchase of the 
property, in 1915, by a state senator — Charles W. Sones. Sones was 

Where Wigwams Stood 75 

unmarried and lived in Williamsport, and used the manor only for 
entertaining his friends. After the Second World War, Sones subdi- 
vided the 240-acre tract of land he owned. Thirty-five acres, includ- 
ing the manor house, then became the possession of the Ulmer fam- 
ily, who converted it to a tavern and inn. 

The religious heritage of Miss Hall's mansion was revived in the 
early 1960s, when the property was purchased by the Audio Bible 
Society, of Williamsport. This time the name of the place was 
changed to "Muncy Terraces." Extensive building took place on the 
grounds, as it became the hub of religious conferences. A dormitory, 
an activity center, and an assembly hall were built on the grand estate 
which once was Susan Emily Hall's home. 

Again, in 1968, the manor took on a different character when the 
Csehy Summer Music School moved from Indiana to Muncy, to pro- 
vide a six-weeks studies program during the months of July and 
August, for aspiring young musicians. While the surroundings of 
the Valley echoed with sounds of orchestral themes, the management 
of "Muncy Terraces" was soliciting financial help. To ensure that the 
property would be maintained as a Christian conference center, a 
group of local businessmen and pastors acquired the property in 

Later, "Muncy Terraces" was acquired, in 1986, by Lakeside 
Youth Services, of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Robert Parker, a 
Muncy resident, was hired as manager of the complex. 

Perhaps Susan Emily Hall, who died in 1895, would find plea- 
sure in the fact that her beloved manor continues to exist as a center 
for religious-theme activities. 

The remains of "the lady of the manor" are resting in the Hall 
family's cemetery plot, a short distance from Miss Hall's majestic 
manor. The beautiful monument marking the Hall family's grave 
site was designed by the man who helped create the plans for 
Muncy's St. James Episcopal Church — John Henry Hopkinsjr. 


Katherine Yurchak 

11 /A Hero Is Remembered 


.ore than 200 years after his death, the telling and retelling 
of Captain John Brady's heroic exploits continues to echo across 
the Susquehanna Valley. A Revolutionary War hero and fearless 
Indian fighter, Brady (1733-1779) is honored with memorials at 
several sites in Muncy. 

An historic marker is at the northern entrance to the borough, 
where a shady nook creates an idyllic setting for a natural stone 
monument. The tablet of bronze, mounted in a stone pillar, abbre- 
viates the heroic frontiersman's life in these few words: "Capt. 
John Brady was ambushed and killed by Indians near this spot." 
In the Muncy Cemetery, a 30-foot-high cenotaph honoring Captain 
Brady was made possible through a local campaign spearheaded 
by J.M.M.Gernerd while he was editor of Now and Then. It was 
dedicated in October 1879, and stands as a reminder to the com- 
munity of Brady's heroism. 

In sifting legend from truth, one thing is clear: While he lived, 
Captain John Brady was a threat to the Indians. He was a marked 
man, because the frontiersman was as familiar as they were with 
the rich hunting and fishing territories of the West Branch Valley. 
But more than that, Brady had usurped the Indian warrior's hall- 
mark — victory in battle. 

In the words of Frederic A. Godcharles, a Pennsylvania histo- 
rian, "Captain John Brady had taken such an active part in the 


78 Katherine Yurchak 

efforts of the settlers to subdue the Indian atrocities, and his dar- 
ing and repeated endeavors had so intensified their hatred, that 
they determined his capture above all other efforts." 

This was that period in Muncy's history about which J.M.M. 
Gernerd had written — the time when "the humble natives had not 
dreamed that the Great Spirit would send a race of acquisitive 
white men who would destroy all their tribes, occupy all their vast 
hunting grounds, cut down their magnificent forests, level their 
sepulchral mounds with the plow, destroy the wildlife, build vil- 
lages and cities where their wigwams stood." 

In his confrontations with Indians in the wilderness, Brady had 
bested them. He had eluded and humiliated them so often that 
accounts of these events had to have brought retaliation from 
vengeful chieftains who were after Brady's scalp. 

Brady was of Irish parentage, the second son of Hugh and 
Hannah Brady. He was born near Newark, Delaware, and taught 
school in New Jersey, before moving to Pennsylvania with his 
parents. Local history books do not record which subjects Brady 
taught, or the date when he became a Pennsylvanian. But it is fair 
to assume that the young schoolmaster's students were gathered 
in a one-room schoolhouse, and that Brady was interested in at 
least teaching his pupils to read and write. 

At some point in his own education, Brady learned surveying, 
the work that provided the frontiersman ample opportunity to 
know the cunning wiles and ways of the Indians whose wilderness 
trails he had criss-crossed so often, while platting tracts of land in 
the Susquehanna Valley. 

In 1754, he married Mary Quigley, whose Irish parents had 
also settled in Delaware. The couple had 13 children, eight sons 
and five daughters. Two sons and one daughter died in infancy. 
Brady's eldest son, Samuel, born in 1756, would also carve a 
notable place for himself in Muncy's roster of heroic frontiersman. 

The outbreak of the French and Indian War, stirred John 
Brady's patriotism to the extent that he enlisted in the military, and 
was commissioned as captain on July 19, 1763. He served in the 
Second Battalion, under the command of John Penn, who later 
became governor of Pennsylvania. 

Where Wigwams Stood 


History notes that the English colonists were eager to fight 
since they didn't agree with the expanding French empire. 

Although they lacked organization, the colonists and the British 
had far greater population and resources in America, outnumbering the 
French 15 to 1. Also, the French had an enormous wilderness area to 
defend, stretching from Quebec to New Orleans, but it was populated 
by only 90,000 colonists. 

Having served the Province of Pennsylvania admirably, Brady 
was granted a parcel of land of his choosing, something John Perm had 
granted to all his officers when they left the battalion. Brady's choice 
was a site near Lewisburg which gave him access to the river and 
forests to provide for his growing family. But the Brady settlement at 
Lewisburg was only temporary 

Historian John Meginness notes that Brady was moved by the 
"restless mysterious impulse that molds the destiny of the pioneers of 

Brady, for another little while, made a home for his family at 
Juniata. There, on July 27, 1768, his wife presented Brady with 

"Silver Lustre," 3-piece tea set once was owned by John and 
Mary Brady. His descendants gave it to J.M.M. Gernerd. 


Katherine Yurchak 

twins — Hugh and Jane. Hugh later became a major-general in the 
U.S. Army. 

In the summer of 1769, the Brady family was on the move 
again, and returned to the Lewisburg area where they built their 
cabin beside the Susquehanna River. 

During this period, Brady intensified his interests in surveying. 
According to Meginness, when the young frontiersman's work 
took him to Muncy, he was so impressed with "the beauty of the 
location, the richness of the land, and the charming surroundings," 
that he decided to settle there permanently. 

Hardly a year earlier, John Penn had been informed about the 
fertile Muncy territory by Job Chilloway, an Indian guide who had 
been befriended by the Quakers of the Valley. Penn had had the 
land surveyed (perhaps by some workers in the Samuel Wallis 
company) and on November 5, 1768, John Penn signed a treaty 
with representatives of the Six Nations, acquiring about 40,000 
acres of land for $10,000. Later, on February 3, 1769, 24,000 acres 
of the Susquehanna Valley was opened for settlements. 

Shady glen at entrance to Muncy features a stone monument 
that marks the place where John Brady, Revolutionary War 
hero, was shot by Indians. 

Where Wigwams Stood 81 

Historical files note that when John Perm opened the Land 
Office on April 3, 1769, making 300-acre parcels of land available 
to each applicant, nearly 3,000 requests were received in a few 
weeks. John Brady was one of these, and took up "squatter's 
rights" in what is now the center of Muncy, where he built a log 
cabin for himself and his family. 

J.M.M. Gernerd noted in Now and Then that "Brady's log house 
and stockade fort was the first improvement on the site of our 
town." [July 1877] The Samuel Wallis mansion (built in 1769) pre- 
dates Brady's cabin, and is marked in historical files as "the oldest 
home in Lycoming County," but its location is about two miles 
west of the borough. 

Because Brady, the frontiersman, was as watchful of the 
Indians as they were of him, he stockaded his property. And for 
good reason. He was aware that the Monseys already had bathed 
the area's hills in blood, during their engagements with the French. 
And to make matters worse, at the time Brady settled in the Valley, 
word had circulated that some Indian tribes were in conflict with 
those tribal groups who had signed away their territories to John 
Perm. The transaction, they insisted, was invalid. Their response 
was to drive the white settlers from the land. 

To preserve their lives, the men were never without their rifles. 
And so Brady's Fort was prepared not only to protect his own fam- 
ily, but it had become a place of refuge for any others in the com- 
munity of settlers who wanted safety from marauding savages. 

Not only were the pioneer families taunted and stalked by the 
Indians, but Great Britain was creating divisions in the settlers' 
communities. There were those who still pledged loyalty to the 
King, and others who were revolutionaries, determined to fight for 
the independence they'd sought when they left Europe. 

Brady had joined the Revolutionary Army in the Spring of 
1776, and was appointed first major of a battalion headed by a 
Colonel Plunkett. And soon afterwards, when regiments were 
formed by Colonel William Cooke, Brady was commissioned cap- 
tain of one of the companies. The 43-year-old soldier was with 
George Washington's army when the troops were engaged in bat- 
tle with England's General Howe at Brandywine. 

82 Katherine Yurchak 

Two of Brady's sons also were there. His eldest son, Samuel, 
and fourth son John, Jr. also fought in the war. Though he was 
only 15 years old, John "had gone to the army to ride some hors- 
es home, but noticing that a battle was imminent, insisted on 
remaining and taking part." [Meginness, p. 165] John Brady Jr. was 
killed in battle by a shot in his mouth. While at Brandywine that 
frigid winter, Captain Brady contracted pleurisy and was sent 
home to Muncy to recuperate. He was not able to resume military 
duty until two years later. But on his return in September 1778, the 
officers of the Twelfth Regiment already had been mustered out. 
Brady's orders from Washington were to return to the 
Susquehanna Valley, and help Hartley defend the frontier. He did 
so, and participated in Hartley's expedition to Tioga. 

Between 1777 and 1779 no one dared venture beyond rifle 
range from Fort Brady. Sometimes they were duped by the 
Indian's imitation of a wild animal. Pioneers who left the stock- 
ade, believing they would return with a supply of meat for their 
families, were either killed or taken prisoner. 

Many repeated attacks convinced Colonel Hartley to request 
permission to have a large stockade built near the Samuel Wallis 
manor. But despite the dangers of the Valley, and even as Fort 
Muncy was being built, increasing numbers of settlers (mostly 
from New Jersey) moved into the West Branch area to stake their 
claims from John Penn. 

It is ironic that while the attacks on the settlers were unrelent- 
ing, at the same time the Monsey and Seneca tribes were in conflict 
with the Delawares. And because of such tribal wars, Brady 
sensed it might be a good time to try to negotiate a treaty with the 
Monsey and Seneca tribes. 

The Indians agreed to meet with Brady and representatives of 
the settlers at Fort Augusta. It was the summer of the "Big 
Runaway" and Muncy's families had fled to Sunbury with only 
the shirts on their backs. 

The Indians who arrived at Fort Augusta appeared in their war 
costumes, apparently prepared to take a leadership role in the bar- 
gaining session. But because the settlers were destitute, they could 
offer nothing of value to trade with them. The Indians, therefore, 

Where Wigwams Stood 


retraced their steps up the trail from Sunbury to their Muncy 
Valley haunts, determined more than ever to hold on to every inch 
of their territories. 

Brady suspected that on their return the Indians probably 
would make their usual stop at Derr's Trading Post, along the river 
at Lewisburg. Derr kept whiskey by the barrel at the post, and the 
Indians always stopped there for their "treat." Brady believed it 
was unconscionable for any settler to offer the Indians whiskey 
when they were so unwilling to be at peace. He quickly rode up 
the trail to the trading post. There, an open barrel of rum was near 
the door. Enraged, Brady overturned the whiskey barrel. The 
Indians, just as enraged, watched the precious brew spill over the 

One day, very soon after that episode, the fields of corn that the 
Indians had planted in Muncy Valley suddenly were chopped 
down. Although the plants had not yet produced ears, the Indians 
had torn down their crops in preparation for a retaliatory strike 
against Brady and the Muncy settlements. For months, the Indians 
had disappeared. No one is certain where they went, although 

Sketch of the Muncy Historical Society by Judy Tomagno, 
Muncy's artist in residence. 

84 Katherine Yurchak 

some historians have speculated that maybe it was the bitter 
cold winter of 1778 that had kept the Indians in their under- 
ground caves in the hills. When they did return, it was during 
the harvest season of 1778. Peter Smith (still grieving from the 
loss of several members of his family) found himself surround- 
ed by a community of helpers, ready to assist with the gather- 
ing of the grain from his fields. 

In the meantime, Colonel Hartley who had managed to get 
the stockade built at Fort Muncy also provided troops from the 
militia to protect the harvesters from the Indians. Among these 
soldiers was James, son of Captain Brady. He was directed by 
Colonel Hartley to be the sentinel for the reapers. 

That early Saturday morning (August 8, 1778) the mists 
from the river had enveloped the valley with a thick fog. Eager 
to finish the harvesting, the reapers had set their rifles against 
nearby trees. They were bundling their sheaves when a band 
of Indians suddenly encircled them. James Brady, the sentry, 
was captured first. He was wounded with a spear, and then 

Incredibly, despite his wounds, the young soldier rose to 
return to the Fort, and asked to die at his mother's side. Mrs. 
Brady, who with the other settlers had fled to Fort Augusta that 
night, had the sad duty of meeting the canoe that bore her 
wounded son. He lived a few days, dying August 13, 1778. He 
was 20 years old. 

What a remarkable trophy the Indians had! Historians note 
that the young, Irish soldier had long, bright red hair. To the 
bloodthirsty Indians, it was a prize — especially because it 
belonged to a member of the Brady family. 

This tragedy brought Peter Smith and Captain John Brady 

Brady's family returned to Muncy from Sunbury in the 
Spring of 1779. With so many people in the Fort, Smith and 
Brady needed lots of provisions. 

The record notes that the men were returning to the fort 
with a wagon full of supplies. Brady was on his horse, and 
Smith had been walking beside the wagon. Less than a mile 

Where Wigwams Stood 85 

from Fort Brady, a fork in the road offered them a shorter route 
that followed a small stream. 

Turning toward the stream and its wooded banks, Brady 
remarked to Smith that the spot would serve as a good hiding 
place for Indians. The words were hardly out of his mouth 
when rifle fire sounded three times. Brady fell dead instantly. 
His horse, frightened by the shots, made a leap. Smith grabbed 
the bridle, mounted Brady's horse, and raced to the Fort. 

Mrs. Brady, and others in the fort, having heard the rifle 
shots, ran in the direction of the sound. They met Smith on the 
road. He led them back to where Brady had fallen. His body 
had not been moved. 

Apparently, the Indians had realized that being close to 
both Fort Brady and Fort Muncy, there were many men armed 
and ready. And so they raced away. The Meginness account 
notes that Brady's scalp wasn't important to them, because "it 
was glory enough to know that they had slain the man they all 
hated and feared." 

Mary Brady was 15 years old when her father was killed. 
She reported later that her father had been shot twice in the 
back. Though Brady had carried a gold watch, it wasn't taken 
by the Indians. Nor did they take a green sack Brady wore 
around his neck. The sack contained the parchment that 
marked his having received his commission as captain in the 
Continental Army. 

Also a captain in the Continental Army was Brady's son, 
Samuel. He was on his way to Western Pennsylvania when 
word reached him that his brother, James, was murdered at 
harvestime by the Indians. When he arrived at Fort Pitt, he 
was given word that his father also was killed by the Indians. 
He vowed he would avenge their deaths. And his later exploits 
in the wilderness, as recorded by historians, note that he kept 
his vow. 

While the editor of Now and Then, Gernerd conceived the 
idea of building a monument to Brady. He insisted that the 
money be raised through $1 voluntary donations. He raised 
$1,600, and on October 15, 1879 (the centennial year of Brady's 


Katherine Yurchak 

murder) the monument was dedicated in Muncy Cemetery. 

On April 9, 1888, the Williamsport Daily Gazette and Bulletin 
noted: "Had it not been for Gernerd's disinterested efforts in 
this direction, it is doubtful if a cenotaph would have been 
reared to keep the memory of the gallant Brady green in the hearts 
of the people of this section of the West Branch Valley." [July- 
August 1888] 

The Brady 
Memorial in 
was made 
possible by 
$1 individual 
tions, a cam- 
paign spear- 
headed by 
Gernerd in 
Now and 

12 /Prisoners of Hope 


he editor of Now and Then described them in 1891 as "a class 
of white servants that formed a notable phase of civic life in the 
early settlements of this country." History has named them 

They were the thousands of people who migrated from the 
Palatines to Pennsylvania in the early 1700's. Although unable to 
pay their own fare for the Atlantic crossing, their desire to escape 
the horrors in their homeland was so great that they dared to brave 
unknown hardships in America. Of their own free will, they sold 
themselves into servitude four to seven years in order to get shel- 
ter, food, and to be trained in a vocation. At the end of their ser- 
vice, they received a suit of clothes and, if it had been stipulated in 
their contract, a horse, a cow, or some land." [A Modern History of 
the United States, p. 24] 

Robert Sutcliff, a merchant from Sheffield, England, kept a 
diary of a 10,000-mile journey he'd taken through the Eastern 
Seaboard states during the years 1804-1806. Although he did not 
live to see the work published, in 1812 a copy of the merchant's 
book was obtained by J.M.M. Gernerd, and portions were 
excerpted in Now and Then. 

The Sutcliff diary described these Redemptioners perfectly as 
"people in low circumstances, who, being desirous of set 
tling in America, and not having money to pay their pas- 
sage, agree with the American captains of vessels to be 


88 Katherine Yurchak 

taken over on condition of hiring for a term of years, on 
their arrival in America ..." 
The following points out Sutcliff 's impression of Redemp- 

tioners he'd met in his journey: 

I noticed two female servants employed in the fam- 
ily. Both had been lately hired from on board a vessel 
lying in the Delaware, and which had recently arrived from 
Amsterdam with several hundred Germans, men, 
women and children, of that description of people called in 
America Redemptioners. 

One of them had two children with her in the fam- 
ily, who were quite young. This woman had lost her hus- 
band about the time of their arrival on the American coast; 
and the husband of the other, being a seafaring man 
belonging to Holland, had, as I understood, lost his life and 
property by an English ship of war. Although these two 
females had obtained a settlement in a country enjoying 
many privileges beyond that which they had left, yet, I 
think, no feeling mind could behold them thus circum- 
stanced, placed amongst strangers of whose language 
they were almost wholly ignorant, and habituated to cus- 
toms very different from those to which they had now to 
conform, without sensations of compassion; and it was 
very pleasant to me to observe that the general deportment 
of my relations toward them was respectful. I noticed 
many families, particularly in Pennsylvania, of great 
respectability both in our Society and amongst others, who 
had themselves come over to this country as Redemp- 
tioners, or were the children of such. And it is remark- 
able that the German residents in this country have a char- 
acter for greater industry and stability than those of any 
other nation. [Vol. 2, p. 123] 
In the January-February 1891 issue of Now and Then, Gernerd noted 

that some men, women and children among these "term slaves were 

worse in some cases than the bondage of the negro..." [Jan.-Feb. 1891] 
But it also is a fact that some of America's white bond servants 

had been arrested for petty crimes in their homeland. When 

Where Wigwams Stood 89 

released from jail, they either were tricked or kidnapped, taken to 
seaports, then were forced to be in servitude to cruel shipmasters. 

Samuel Wallis, one of the chief landholders in the West Branch 
Valley, was responsible for having brought more Redemptioners to 
the Muncy area than anyone else, says Gernerd. 

The process Wallis used for obtaining the indentured servants is 
explained by Gernerd: "It worked somewhat like the modern 
employment agency. When Wallis needed white farm hands, arti- 
sans, or house servants, he went to the shipping agents in 
Philadelphia, and contracted for the type [of people] he wanted. He 
then brought or sent them up to his estate at Muncy." Between the 
years of 1772 and 1796, upwards of fifty or more Redemptioners 
were contracted for by Wallis to serve him on Muncy Farm. 

One example of a Redemptioner's contract is that entered into 
by John and Dorothea Betz on April 22, 1788. The couple bound 
themselves as servants to Samuel Wallis, as farmers "to service him 
four years, to have Ten Pounds 10 shillings apiece and Sixteen 
Spanish Dollars each in lieu of their freedoms, a cow & calf and a 
sow and pigs." 

Another Betz placed himself in service on April 22, 1788: 
"Wilhelm Betz, with his father's consent, bound himself servant to 
serve eleven years, to be taught to read English, to have Ten Pounds 
in Lieu of the New Suit." 

Since Gernerd's heritage included indentured servants, he took 
a keen interest in the history of the Betz family, one of Muncy's ear- 
liest Redemptioners. Writing about a hundred years after they'd 
been contracted for by Wallis, Gernerd revealed that the family 
name of Betz had been anglicized to Betts. The history writer noted: 
John Betts is the oldest man now in this neighborhood. He 
was born in the autumn of 1786, and is therefore in his 89th 
year. His parents, Johannes and Dorothy Betts, came to this 
valley from Germany, soon after the War of the Revolution, 
and were among our early settlers. John was born on the 
Wallis Plantation. 

Gernerd's keen interest in this pioneer family often was shared 
with his readers. He told that the former Redemptioners had lived 
"in a cabin near the Big Spring on Wolf Run." And most Muncians 

90 Katherine Yurchak 

were familiar with the spot. He mentioned more than once that 
John's mother, Dorothy, would "go over the ridge to the Big Spring 
for water, and return with the filled bucket balanced on her head." 
He also recorded this bit of folklore about Dorothy Betts to the 
readers of Now and Then: 

While at work one morning for Ben Shoemaker, a total 
eclipse of the sun came on, and was the occasion to these 
old folks — as it was to thousands of others — of the most 
serious alarm. The unusual darkness was a phenomenon 
they did not understand. However Johannes concluded 
that the darkness foreboded the dissolution of the world, 
and he whispered to Dorothy that 'the Day of Judgment 
has come.' 'We will go home to the children,' said Dorothy, 
'and then we will all be together when we die.' So to their 
home they went, to wait for the world's great catastrophe. 
But by and by the heavens seemed less threatening, and 
then Dorothy thought of her almanac. In a moment she 
exclaimed, 'Oh, der tuifel, Johannes, it's notting but a 
clipse'. [Dec. 1894] 
Gernerd made note that Redemptioners bound to Muncy's 
most notable landowner were not abused. 

To maintain his band of indentured servants, Samuel Wallis 
kept a teacher in his employ, in order that the children of his "free 
willers" (as Redemptioners also were called) could be taught to 
read and write English, and to learn mathematics "as far as the 
Rule of Three." 

Mathematicians know this to be the method of finding the 
fourth quantity in such a relationship when three are given. For 
example: 2 is to 6 as 3 is to X. [2:6::3:X] 

The wealthy Quaker also made himself responsible for provid- 
ing clothing and food to his several servants. And when they or 
their children became ill, he also had to be certain they were cared 
for. Wallis was often away from Muncy, due to his extensive busi- 
ness interests, and usually had assigned men he trusted to super- 
vise his holdings in the Susquehanna Valley. The files of Muncy's 
illustrious pioneer again prove that a number of contracts for 
Redemptioners were signed by Stephen Hollingsworth, brother- 

Where Wigwams Stood 91 

in-law to Wallis, and by Joseph Jacobs Wallis, his half-brother. 

Since Wallis had owned several thousand acres of the Valley, it 
is fair to assume that all of the German immigrants bound to him 
were living as "prisoners of hope" in the small log dwellings they 
built for themselves on the Wallis tract. 

Gernerd felt only compassion and understanding for these 
Pennsylvania "term slaves." This prompted him to publish in the 
February 1891 issue of Nozv and Then, an essay entitled "The 
Redemptioners and Their Bonds." Because his ancestors had 
escaped the Palatines and had begun life in Pennsylvania as inden- 
tured servants, Gernerd wrote: 

"The great majority of Redemptioners were merely poor, 
cultured or unfortunate people who wanted but a fair 
chance in life to prove that the blood in their veins was by 
nature as good, pure and noble as that which coursed 
through any other human veins." 
There were thousands of these voluntary servants, and they 
came from nearly all the countries of Europe. Today their blood 
flows through the hearts and brains of millions of Americans, and 
their descendants are among the best and most honored citizens in 
the land. Many of the Redemptioners themselves, after honorably 
and faithfully serving their term of indenture, lived to gain com- 
fortable and respectable positions in society. 

Gernerd's pride in his ancestry is further expressed when he 
stated that "no country furnished this portion of the new world so 
many Redemptioners as Germany." 

In the case of the Betz family which began life on the Wallis 
plantation as "term slaves," Johannes and Dorothy Betz "never 
accumulated a fortune," according to Gernerd. But Dorothy dis- 
tinguished herself in the local community "as a noted cook and 
baker." Gernerd wrote, "In her best days there were few funerals 
and weddings in the valley at which she did not do the cooking 
and baking. And she often was sent for by citizens of 

Redemptioners had been engaged in every area of colonial life. 
They were the ones who had farmed the land and harvested the 
crops for wealthy landowners. Bondslaves cared for their horses. 

92 Katherine Yurchak 

Blacksmiths, in servitude, kept the horses of their masters well 
shod. The horses' harnesses were produced in livery stables where 
Redemptioners busied themselves from early morning to late at 
night. And the women, working beside their indentured hus- 
bands, milked the cows and sheared the sheep belonging to their 
owners. The bread from wheat ground at the local grist mill was 
prepared by bonded servants. The Redemptioners' children also 
had faces whitened with the flour. They had to help their inden- 
tured mothers in the master's bakery. Hunters were vital to colo- 
nial society. The animals of the forests provided meat for the mas- 
ter's table, as well as for their own. Bondsmen tanned the deer- 
skins that provided leather for shoes and clothing ordered by their 
masters. The fur of foxes and rabbits were tailored into coats and 
hats for the owners of the land on which indentured servants hunt- 
ed. The fats of the animals were melted down by Redemptioners 
who used the grease that provided the candles that lighted their 
masters' banquet halls. Lumbermen in bondage to the landlord 
cut and hauled logs, then chopped the wood that fueled the fire- 
places that warmed their master's home. 

Redemptioners had to build their own log shelters for housing 
their individual families, even though they knew they would have 
to leave their cabins when their time of servitude would expire. 
Colonial furniture makers, while serving wealthy men like Wallis, 
honed their skills during their years of bondage. 

We would not be wrong to assume that during their term of 
servitude to Wallis, the Betz family often remembered the circum- 
stances that had surrounded them in the Palatines, and which had 
made them willing to become bondslaves to a wealthy landowner 
in Muncy. And we can imagine that the Betz family had kept a 
close watch on the calender, counting one month after the other, 
until their four years of servitude had ended. It is fair to assume 
that, while in their log cabin, they maintained a lively hope that 
they would survive life in the wilderness. 

They eventually fulfilled their contract with Wallis and found 
a place of their own on the Benjamin Shoemaker farm. Gernerd 
notified his readers that they moved "from the ridge ... to occupy 
a cabin on the main road, close to Wolf Run." 

Where Wigwams Stood 


Historian Andrew J. Mellick Jr., who had traced the lives of 
Redemptioners and their masters noted that many well-to-do 
immigrants who brought bondsmen to America often lost the 
"prestige of their affluence" because they were unable to maintain 
their rank and influence in their new homeland. However, the 
servitors who knew how to endure hardships and were undaunt- 
ed by the difficulties of colonial existence, after serving their time 
through diligence, acquired a parcel of land and built their homes 
on them. Wrote Mellick: "Thus it was not uncommon in the sec- 
ond generation to find the Redemptioners, in every way, taking 
precedence to the children of the master who had owned their time 
during their first years in this country." 

In the fields beyond this gateway a fort was constructed by 
Samuel Wallis as protection from Indian fighters. 


Katherine Yurchak 

i— i 
















13 /Life on the Frontier 


hat there were any survivors of the hazardous sea journeys is 
a marvel. Masses of humanity, filled with hope for a new life, had 
been huddled in small ships from six to eight weeks, depending on 
the temper of the sea. Even the most hopeful had to have won- 
dered if the seemingly interminable journey would ever end. 

Gottlieb Mittelberger, having made the trip from Germany to 
Philadelphia in 1750, in a letter to his countrymen who were con- 
templating escaping by sea to America, wrote: "The people are 
packed into big boats as closely as herring. The bedstead of one 
person is hardly two feet across and six feet long, since many of the 
boats carry from four to six hundred passengers." [America, A 
Modern History of the United States,, p. 24] 

Such information should have discouraged would-be travelers. 
But so burdensome were the impositions of the Palatinate govern- 
ment at that time that the people chose the discomforts and dangers 
of long sea journeys, and the hope of ultimately knowing a brighter 
future and freedom, than to remain in Europe. In 1688, the French 
had murdered more than 100,000 people in Northern Bavaria (the 
Palatines) and were threatening to annihilate thousands more. 

Mittelberger tells us, "During the journey the ship is full of piti- 
ful signs of distress — smells, fumes, horrors, vomiting, various 
kinds of sea sickness, fever, dysentery, headaches, heat, constipa- 
tion, boils." 

Even so, all that was but the beginning of hardships for the 


96 Katherine Yurchak 

German pioneers who, after having planted their feet at last on 
American soil at Philadelpia, then inched their way through the 
wilderness to settle along the Susquehanna. 

First, the forests and fields had to be cleared to make a dwelling of 
logs. In the meantime, every able-bodied person prepared the cleared 
soil for planting grain crops (mainly corn and wheat) to insure long- 
term survival, while Indians threatened destruction of their homes and 

Moreover, nature often added misery to their daily tasks. 
Historians document that "clouds of mosquitoes and flies harassed 
both man and beast; chickens fell prey to raccoons, weasels, and 
minks; rabbits helped themselves to turnips and cabbage; and squir- 
rels and crows made merry in the cornfield." [p. 32] 

But despite the rigors of life on the open frontier, German settlers 
in Pennsylvania have become reknowned for their ability to overcome 

"So productive were the German farms," noted historian Louis B. 
Wright, "that it is said that Pennsylvania alone could have fed the rest 
of the colonies." [The Cultural Life of the American Colonies 1607-1673, p. 

Of course, not every farm family had achieved wealth. Gernerd's 
great grandfather, a German pioneer, provided only a meager list of 
belongings in his will for his heirs. "In the name of God, Amen," he 
left, "the garden and the firewood, and the hay. Three cows, apples, 
beef, pork, bushels of corn and buckwheat." 

In the book J.M.M. Gernerd wrote for his family's descendants, he 

Farm life was one continuous drudgery. The early settlers had 
few comforts and conveniences, and knew little of labor-saving 
machinery. To have a horse, wagon, plow, one or two cows, a 
saw, axe, a few tools, as augers, a draw-knife, square, etc., and 
a hundred broad acres, more or less, made the stout-hearted 
and ready-handed German pioneer feel as independent and 
contented as the most flourishing farmers are now with all 
their cleared lands and modern conveniences." 
Now and Then's first editor took great pride in his heritage. He 
keenly sensed the "freedom and novelty and pleasure" that his 

Where Wigwams Stood 97 

ancestors had found in their new life on the Susquehanna Valley's 
frontierland. He noted, "They rejoiced whenever they thought of 
the restraints and despotism from which they had escaped." 

After clearing enough land, the frontiersman had to build a log 
cabin, then pound its dirt floor smooth and hard. Later on, the 
floor probably would be laid over with planks. The cabin's tem- 
porary roof was thatched with branches or straw. But later boards 
or shingles would make it weatherproof. There were no windows 
in the cabin, so as to keep the heat inside. The door was made of 
heavy wood. Strong and heavy, too, were the door's hinges to pre- 
vent men or beasts from intruding. 

The frontiersman's cabin, says Gernerd, probably had "two 
rooms on the ground floor, and a half-story loft above, where the 
children slept when old enough to climb up the stairs, or ladder." 

And we are reminded that the beds in the cabins were "sup- 
ported by four stout rustic posts, each post cut with a fork. They 
were well elevated to protect sleepers from rattlesnakes and cop- 
perheads, which were so common that it is said that the hogs were 
fattened on them." [July 1872] 

More information on the structure of cabins of wilderness days 
comes from a manuscript by Thomas Cooper, of Dublin, dated 
1794. He describes a log house owned by a tenant of Samuel 
Wallis. He notes that it was "about 36 feet by twenty, sashed win- 
dows (implying glass) carelessly finished within, one story high. 
The logs of his house were all raised and fixed in one day. One 
man at each end of every log, as it is raised, knotches it, while other 
logs are ready to be handed up." 

Muncy's historian notifies us that by 1772, "there were not 
more than eight or ten houses on the Susquehanna west of Muncy 
Hills. There was unbounded forest, the deep silence of which was 
only disturbed by the occasional yell of the lingering savage, or by 
the howling of wolves, the cry of the panther, or some wild ani- 
mals." [July 1872] 

As for the pioneer woman, when not working in the field with 
her husband or caring for her children, she spent her days in the 
kitchen before a huge stone fireplace. Her cooking kettles were 
suspended on an iron crane over a hot log fire, which had been 
started by sparks from flint which had first ignited pieces of 

98 Katherine Yurchak 

straw, and then had enflamed dry sticks, and finally gave fire to 
large logs. Trained in cleanliness in her native country, the 
woman pioneer probably swept her earthen floor with a broom 
made of hickory saplings. 

Gernerd tells us that women "burnt hog's lard, or the fat of 
some wild animals, in little boat-shaped iron or tin lamps; or per- 
haps at first used pitch-pine knots and splinters to make light." 

Food for America's frontiersman consisted of whatever was 
edible and at hand. "For coffee they substituted roasted beech 
nuts, chestnuts, peas, rye or corn," Gernerd wrote about the eat- 
ing habits of his forebears. He noted, "No time was lost in plant- 
ing an orchard. And as soon as they had apples, then came the 
greatly esteemed luxury of cider, apple-butter, dried apples, and 
apple pie." 

Apples were a fruit that could be enjoyed all year long. They 
dug storage holes deep into the ground at the end of the Fall sea- 
son, and the fruit stored there was reclaimed when snow and ice 
covered the terrain. Every German family made apple butter. 
And later on, when a community of families formed villages in 
the opened wilderness, the close of the apple butter season was 
celebrated with music and dancing. 

The importance of the apple tree and its fruit to the pioneer is 
recorded by Gernerd in a brief essay entitled, "A Remarkable 
Tree." He notified his readers that the tree was on the farm of 
Ebenezer Walton (one of Muncy's earliest settlers in the 
Susquehanna Valley) and noted that the trunk of the tree, "sever- 
al feet above the ground, measured eleven feet and seven inches 
in circumference. This giant tree is about one hundred years old, 
and is probably the oldest apple tree in Lycoming County." (The 
same method of counting rings to estimate the lifetime of trees is 
used even today by local foresters.) Gernerd named the brand of 
apple from the Walton's apple tree as "water core," and family 
members had told him that the apples made "the most elegant 
cider." The historian added, "At the height of its bearing season, 
the tree's yield was about seventy bushels of apples." 

Root vegetables (turnips, for example) were the main fare on 
the frontier family's table, along with potatoes, brought to the 

Where Wigwams Stood 99 

Valley by the Scotch-Irish immigrants. Nor did settlers fail to 
borrow agricultural tips on how to plant corn from the Indians. 
Gernerd wrote: "Old-fashioned farmers used to say, 'It's time to 
plant corn when the dogwood is in bloom.' But the Indian 
women would say: 'It's time to plant corn when the shad come 
up the river'." This is because when Indians prepared holes for 
corn seed they dropped a small fish from the river in each hole to 
fertilize the planting. 

And so corn mush and milk became a mainstay in the pioneer 
family's cupboard. Then, after the wheat crop was harvested, the 
early settlers took delight in their buckwheat pancakes. Proud of 
his German ancestry, Gernerd says with authority that "sauer- 
kraut was regarded as being very nearly one of the necessities of 
life." Although the editor of Now and Then claimed Horace 
Greeley, one of America's leading journalists and politicians, as 
an acquaintance, he took no offense when the noted American 
newspaperman contemptuously termed sauerkraut as "pickled 

Of course, there always was an abundance of game in the 
forests of the Susquehanna Valley. Every settler was as familiar 
with his rifle as he was with his axe. This insured a good supply 
of meat for the table. "Wild pigeons were so plentiful that they 
could sometimes be brought down with stones, or even with a 
club," notes Gernerd. More than that, shad from the river was 
bountiful, and the creeks and streams offered lots of trout and 
panfish. Turkeys in the wild weighed between 30 and 40 pounds, 
and there were also squirrels and crows in abundance too. Deer 
visited "the fields in herds to brouse on crops that the needy set- 
tler could not well spare." We can assume, therefore, that the 
pioneersman's gun was always handy and loaded, while work- 
ing in the fields and forests. 

But in the early years, the settlers' rifles were readied for still 
another reason. "The Indians frequently lurked about the settle- 
ment during the dark and bloody era of 1777-1779," writes 
Gernerd, "and it was sometimes extremely hazardous for anyone 
to venture beyond the range of their cabins. The savages resort- 
ed to various devices to decoy and entrap the settlers. Often they 

1 00 Katherine Yurchak 

would imitate the cry of some wild animal and try to draw the 
unsuspecting settlers into ambush." 

Water for drinking and bathing was readily accessible and 
usually was drawn from the log cabin's adjacent streams or 
springs. Later, a well would be dug when the family was able 
to build a permanent home. 

With the passing years, lifestyles changed dramatically for 
the frontiersmen and their families. They built homes fash- 
ioned after the larger homes they'd left in Bavaria. Windows 
(usually with 12 panes of glass) brought the beauty of the 
Susquehanna Valley's natural panorama into their homes. But 
every window was also fitted with shutters to keep the winter's 
frigid winds outside. 

Sleeping quarters were eventually built on the second floor, 
and winding staircases would lead weary field workers to their 
bedrooms. Heat rising from the giant fireplace in the room 
below helped give warmth to human bodies nestled beneath 
heavy handmade quilts. 

Besides their hand quilting, women who had formed home 
industries wove blankets and rugs, and linsey-woolsey fabric 
for furnishings and clothing. These were created on looms that 
used wool shorn from their own sheep. And the wool had been 
spun on large home-made spinning wheels. 

Lamps now illuminated the darkness of the night because 
they had woven cotton flannel wicks and embedded them in 
lard. And every community had its candlemaker who provid- 
ed candles for chandeliers the tinsmiths had fashioned. 

The men and women of the frontier may have begun their 
time in the settlements tilling the soil and building their own 
cabins, but the many necessities of those days produced craft 
workers whose unique skills often branched out into shops that 
supplied their towns and sometimes increased their personal 

For example, after having the wheat ground at the local grist 
mill, the best bread and cake bakers opened shops for the needs 
of the villagers. The milk which provided excellent butter and 
cheese for a particular family, in time was in demand by others 

Where Wigwams Stood 101 

of the community, at a central dairy. One farmer's fine smoked 
hams and barrels of pork meat may have become the supply 
center for a small group of people at first, but as towns grew 
everyone became acquainted with the local butcher. 

Male members of the settlement built chests and cabinets, 
tables and chairs, and washstands for the kitchens and bed- 
rooms of their permanent dwellings. The cherry, walnut, and 
pine lumber used for this furniture had been seasoned during 
the planting and harvesting seasons. 

Usually the woodworking shop was in the huge barns 
raised by every willing helper in the community. In those 
barns, skilled carpenters made their own wagons. Older men 
with innate mechanical skills taught younger male members of 
the community to mend their plows and to forge implements of 
iron needed for successful farming. 

Every pioneer community had its own weaver, leather 
worker, and clock maker. Someone created buckles for shoes, 
others made pipes to smoke the tobacco. A craftsman was need- 
ed to make rope for the local boatbuilder. Wooden staves for 
barrels may have been made in a farmer's barn at first, but as 
communities grew so did the stave maker's shop. Glass blow- 
ers practiced their craft in shops along lakes and rivers where 
sand was plentiful. And every community had a potter for 
making crocks and dishes. 

Countless apprentices served their time in barns and small 
shops in the Susquehanna Valley. Eventually, when they had 
sufficient means, the apprentices opened their own shops and 
created competition for their master craftsmen. 

Inevitably, conflicts developed between established shop- 
keepers and artisan farmers. Some wealthy craftsmen (who, no 
doubt, had first begun in a small way in a small shop) com- 
plained that well-to-do farmers were meddling with their busi- 

Today, samples of the pioneers' handiwork are highly 
prized when found at antique auctions. And for those who are 
able to detect the mark of years on pieces of early-American 
crafts, there is a vast field from which to search for treasures, 


Katherine Yurchak 

because everything the pioneer family needed to survive had to 
be made by hand. 

Sometimes it is not so much for their dollar value that early- 
American crafts are appreciated, but for the fact that they witness 
to the heroic acts of survival experienced by the pioneers who 
gave themselves so willingly to the wilderness of the 
Susquehanna Valley. 

All log cabins of pioneer days have been destroyed. This 
one, along Muncy Creek, was built in the 20th century. 

14/The Revival of 

Now and Then 


hen the publication of Now and Then ended abruptly in the 
Summer of 1892, the 56-year-old editor noted, "This is the last vol- 
ume that will be published — now." 

The tone of J.M.M. Gernerd's statement hints that the journalist 
believed sometime, somehow, Now and Then would resume publica- 
tion. But when? Gernerd could never have imagined that a young 
doctor with a passion for history was waiting to receive his mantle. 

However, more than three decades would pass before new life 
was to be breathed into Now and Then by Dr. T. Kenneth Wood. He 
was thirty-three years old when he attended Jerry Gernerd at his 
death in 1910. 

We do not know if patient and doctor had ever discussed the 
future of Muncy's historical publication. But we do know with cer- 
tainty that Dr. Wood loved Muncy, its history and its people. He was 
perfectly suited to be Muncy's chief historian. 

T. Kenneth Wood was born Christmas Eve 1877. He had been a 
frail baby and was not expected to live. But his family spent summers 
in Eagles Mere where his mother set her ailing infant outdoors in a 
clothes basket. On sunny days, the child lay naked soaking in nature's 

"The sun and the milk made him grow up strong," his mother 


1 04 Katherine Yurchak 

explained years after her son had grown to be a healthy adult. 

T.K., as he came to be known, was graduated from Muncy High 
School, attended Pennsylvania State College, and later trained at med- 
ical schools attached to the University of Pennsylvania and the 
Harvard School of Medicine. He was fourth in a line of Muncy physi- 
cians whose combined local service totaled 140 years. 

The Woods of Muncy trace their origins to England in the 1600s, 
and had originally settled in the Carlisle area. The first Dr. Thomas 
Wood began practicing medicine in Muncy in 1803. 

Continuing the family tradition, T.K. Wood opened his office in 
Muncy, in 1903 on Washington Street, in a house he purchased for 
$6,000 from Daniel Clapp. Later, when the Clapp family's larger 
homestead at 26 North Main St. became available, Dr. Wood moved 
his practice and living quarters there. 

The doctor loved beautiful things and surrounded himself with 
the best he could afford. For example, after setting up residence and 
his office on Main St., Dr. Wood hired Carl Welker, a noted architect, 
to restore the house. One of its distinct features is a glass-enclosed 
alcove facing the south. There, the doctor often sat and read or gazed 
upon his lovely wrought-iron enclosed garden, the centerpiece of 
which was a rare and magnificent bronze beech tree which still adorns 
the place. The back yard of the Wood home also boasted a large play- 
house built for his only daugher, Eleanor. The playhouse still stands. 

Dr. Wood's patients, it is reported, were either aghast or enter- 
tained by the sight of a large human skeleton which the local physi- 
cian kept in a glass chamber in his office. The young surgeon had a 
thriving practice. His specialty was tonsillectomies and appendec- 

Having purchased two homes from the Clapps, Dr. Wood kept a 
close association with the family. This later would prove to be the key 
for the establishment of Muncy's Historical Society, since T.K. Wood 
maintained a lively interest in local historical lore while practicing 

Apparently, Dr. Wood's keen interest in Muncy's history had not 
entirely overshadowed his professional duties. For we find that he 
was a key figure in the establishment of Muncy Valley Hospital, in 
1922. His name is first on a list of twelve doctors recorded as being the 

Where Wigwams Stood 1 05 

hospital's founders who contributed $1,000 each toward the hospital's 
beginnings. That was a time when a doctor's "fee bill" was $ 2 per 

Dr. Wood also is responsible for starting Muncy's first nurses' 
training school, where doctors served as teachers to high school grad- 

The small-town doctor's spacious Main St. home was a perfect set- 
ting for spending leisure hours exploring Muncy's past. At some 
point in his study of the Gernerd publication, Dr. Wood determined to 
revive the historical paper and then appointed himself the new editor 
of Now and Then. 

We know that the young doctor greatly admired Gernerd. This is 
sensed in a biographical sketch T. Kenneth Wood prepared about the 
late editor for the people of Muncy, when the publication of Now and 
Then was resumed in 1929. 

Dr. Wood noted that when he sat down to write about Gernerd he 
could not help taking "detours" to describe people and places of 
Muncy's past that they both had known. Dr. Wood explained, "It was 
as if someone resolutely set out to write of a favorite professor of his 
college days and then found himself continually thinking of and 
extolling his alma mater." 

One of the first things Dr. Wood did, after deciding to bring Now 
and Then back to life, was to compile all of Gernerd's historical writ- 
ings and have them reprinted. That selfless task has made it possible 
for all original issues of Now and Then to be preserved in bound vol- 

But the work was not easy. Gernerd's essays had been published 
without numbered pages, and with no table of contents. Dr. Wood 
indexed all of Gernerd's work according to date and content. 

"Seldom has anyone before seen so small a volume carrying so 
large an index," wrote the new editor when he presented his work to 
the people of Muncy in 1929. "That it is so is at one and the same time 
both an embarrassment to me and a matter of pride. Embarrassment 
because so few perhaps will consider the collection of historical jot- 
tings worth the effort and expense. Pride, in having done the job so 

Indeed, the historian's work was thorough. He managed to lay 

1 06 {Catherine Yurchak 

down a simple foundation upon which subsequent editors of Now and 
Then have been able to publish their presentations of Muncy's history. 

However, Dr. Wood was wrong when he wrote that few would 
find his efforts worthwhile. Local historians treasure their rare copies 
of the early Now and Then publications. 

Dr. Wood had the advantage of being able to draw from his fami- 
ly's rich social and professional contacts, while serving as editor of 
Nozv and Then. He called upon those whose roots were deep in the soil 
of the Susquehanna Valley to contribute scholarly essays about 
Muncy's unique place in Pennsylvania's history. 

Dr. Wood had been recording pieces of Muncy's past for about 
seven years when Muncy became one of several towns in the 
Susquehanna Valley that was inundated by the Hood of 1936. Dr. 
Wood's home and office were devastated by the flooding 

Only a few doors from Dr. Wood's residence on Main Street, the 
Daniel Clapp family's small ancestral home built in 1820 also suffered 
such extensive damage that Mrs. H. Forrest Clapp, who held the deed 
to the house, was considering abandoning it. But then she had an 

Bearing a soggy small sack in one hand, she walked a few houses 
up the street to Dr. Wood's large home to notify him that she would 
donate her property to Muncy, but only for the purpose of housing a 
Historical Society and Museum. 

The record notes that Dr. Wood, then coping with flood damage to 
his own residence, took little interest in Mrs. Clapp's offer of her fam- 
ily's ancestral home which the flood had overrun. But then he asked, 
"What do you have in that sack?" 

Opening the flood-soaked sack, the weary woman showed Dr. 
Wood a collection of brass knobs she and her sons had just removed 
from the doors of the Clapp house. 

"You can have the brass door knobs, but only if you accept my 
offer to establish the Muncy Historical Society in the house," bar- 
gained Mrs. Clapp. "Otherwise, I'll call the wrecking crew and have 
the house demolished." 

Dr. Wood's passion for ancient things alerted him to Mrs. Clapp's 
magnanimous offer. Then as editor of Now and Then, he used the peri- 

Where Wigwams Stood 


odical to appeal to a growing list of subscribers. Eventually, a small 
group of members was gathered for the proposed Muncy Historical 

The project took on additional momentum when Dr. Wood 
addressed the Muncy Rotary Club to ask the service group to help 
educate the community about its historic treasures. Soon afterward, 
the Pennsylvania State Historical Commission began conducting 
archeological excavations on the Fort Muncy site on the Wallis estate. 
That put Muncy on an eligibility list for federal funding. Mrs. Clapp 
transferred her deed to the Borough of Muncy which was given a 99- 
year lease on her family's property. The house was restored at a cost 
of $9,000. Of that amount, 80 percent was borne by the federal gov- 
ernment, and the remainder by friends and members of the Society. 

A dedication ceremony of the Muncy Historical Society took place 
in 1938 in the auditorium at Muncy High School. That same year Dr. 
Wood, in his eleventh year as editor, also initiated the Muncy Garden 
Club whose members keep the grounds beautifully 

T.K. Wood relinquished his duties as editor of Now 
and Then, and also retired from medicine, in 1957. 
That year his editorial post was passed to Marshall 
Anspach who practiced law in Williamsport. He was 
married to Dr. Wood's daughter. 

Dr. Wood died in 1958. He was 81 years old. 

Anspach, Wood's son-in-law, continued as editor 
of Now and Then until 1962. Only five other names 
have had the distinction of appearing on the mast of 
Now and Then since the paper was introduced in 1868. 
The following have been editors of Muncy's official 
historical paper: Eugene P. Bertin (1962-1977), Bonnie 
Troxell and Coleman Funk (1977-1980), Thomas Taber 

Jane Jackson, who has been editor of Now and Then 
since 1989, lives at 26 North Main St. in the house that 
once belonged to Dr. T.K. Wood and Daniel Clapp Antique 
before him. hitching 

Tall, lean and plain-faced, Dr. Wood has a portrait . 


Katherine Yurchak 

prominently displayed in the main auditorium of the Muncy 
Historical Society's building — the gift to Muncy from Mrs. H. 
Forrest Clapp. 

The portrait of Dr. T.K. Wood hangs in the Muncy 
Historical Museum. Dr. Wood was responsible for the 
revival of Now and Then ten years after J.M.M. Gernerd's 

Gernerd and Greeley 

I . M. M. Gernerd was 21 years old when he made his first contact 
with Horace Greeley (1811-1872) one of America's most famous 
journalists. Greeley was founder and editor of the New York 
Tribune, which became one of the most powerful and influential 
magazines in American history, and also of The New Yorker, one of 
the nation's most popular literary magazines. Both publications, 
under Greeley, became molders of public opinion during the 19th 

In 1872, Greeley was nominated for the presidency by both the 
Liberal Democratic and Republican parties. During that cam- 
paign, Gernerd, who idolized Greeley, described him as "the head 
of the journalists of the land, nobly battling the foes of liberty with 
his mighty pen." [September 1872] Greeley lost that election to 
U. S. Grant, running for his second term. Soon after the election, 
the famed journalist died. In an obituary, Gernerd shared with 
readers of Now and Then a letter from Greeley he had received 15 
years earlier. In response to having been named an honorary 
member of the Hiawathans, one of Muncy's most prestigious soci- 
eties, in April 1857, Greeley had written: 

"Though the name of your Association has an Aboriginal 
sound, I presume its members do not wear tomahawks as a part of 
their ordinary uniforms, or at least do not use them on the person 
and visages of the Honorary associates. (I only approve the use of 
this implement on border savages or Border Ruffians.) With this 


110 Katherine Yurchak 

understanding, I gratefully accept the membership you proffer. 
Yours, Horace Greeley." 

The editor /publisher of Now and Then sent one of the first 
copies of his publication to Greeley. They kept in touch through 
their writings. Greeley was one of the first editorialists to support 
the Republican party. And Gernerd, a staunch Republican, gained 
strength from Greeley's bold editorials which promoted the rights 
of labor and equality for all persons. It is fair to assume that this 
public support by Greeley and Gernerd for the abolition move- 
ment gave courage to the local "conductors" of the Underground 
Railroad to continue aiding slaves escaping to Canada. 

Greeley's influence was felt in Muncy as many young people 
from the community's pioneer families left the area to push back 
the western frontier. The phrase, "Go west, young man" was made 
popular by The New Yorker after an article by John Soule, of 
Indiana, appeared in the magazine. The young and unemployed 
were encouraged to take advantage of opportunities in America's 
western states. Those Muncians who had traveled there were kept 
abreast of local happenings through Gernerd's Now and Then. 

Living in the 
House That Wallis Built 


'rian Barlow, now of Maine but formerly a resident of the house 
that Samuel Wallis built in 1769, chronicles what it was like to live in 
Lycoming County's oldest home. Born in England, he came to 
America as a boy during the Second World War. 

At that time, the Wallis home was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Henry 
Brock. Barlow notes: "The history of the house came full circle when 
the Brocks, who had no children, decided to take one large family of 
war evacuees from England for the duration into their home." 

While preparing for the children to come to America, Mr. Brock 
was suddenly stricken ill. He died while in Philadelphia, in 
September 1940. He was 54. But Mrs. Brock went ahead with their 
plans to evacuate an English family. By the end of September 1940, 
four Barlow children had become residents at Muncy Farms. 

Notes Barlow: "The four of us — my sister and I were twins of 12 
years; my next sister was 11, and my youngest brother had just turned 
5 — found the house inviting, despite its historical importance." 

He remembers the night he arrived. "After spending nights in the 
London blitz in a house with blackout curtains," he says, "the house 
in Muncy seemed a dazzling sight with its many lights in the win- 

Mrs. Brock made the four children feel at home by arranging an 
English dinner for them. And then each of the four children was free 


112 Katherine Yurchak 

to choose his or her bedroom which was furnished with a fireplace. 

"I chose a third floor bedroom in the East wing," Barlow notes. 
"That suited me fine, because it didn't get visited very often." 

On their first Christmas in Muncy, the four English children 
helped select a tree from the farm. 

"It was tall enough to reach the third floor," Barlow remembers, 
"and was framed by a circular staircase. Mrs. Brock decorated it after 
we had gone to bed. We each received a new sled, and so four 
English children spent Christmas morning 1940 enjoying the deep 
snow in Muncy." 

The living-room of the Wallis home with its hundreds of books 
was known as "the library," when Barlow lived there with his broth- 
er and sisters. He recalls that "local artists visiting Muncy were invit- 
ed by Mrs. Brock to perform before the large fireplace. The house 
was always full of visitors, neighbors and friends." 

Barlow describes a formal parlor in the East wing of the house as 
being decorated with Chinese handmade paper which dated back to 
Clipper ship days. And in the West wing of the Wallis home, was a 
formal dining-room with a table that could be extended to seat twen- 
ty guests. 

"Every inch of the house was lived in," Barlow reminisces. "The 
swimming pool and tennis court were always in use. Most of the 
neighborhood children learned to swim there." 

The four Barlow children, who had been brought to America "for 
the duration of the war," never did return to England. Mrs. Brock 
invited their mother to come to America and they became close 
friends. (The father of the Barlow children had died during the war.) 

Upon her passing, Mrs. Brock left Muncy Farms to the four 
Barlow children. Their mother is buried next to Mrs. Brock in the 
family cemetery at Hall's Station, near Muncy. 

On an unusual note: Brian Barlow's younger brother married a 
woman from a Philadelphia family. She is a descendant of Lydia 
Hollingsworth, the wife of Samuel Wallis. 

The Last Raft 


event planned as a project to recall the days from 1840 to 
1890, when lumbering and rafting were the area's main industries, 
has been marked in local history as one of the worst tragedies ever 
recorded in Muncy. 

It was noon, Sunday March 20, 1938, when thousands of people 
rose early to line the banks of the Susquehanna. Some, with cameras 
in hand, swarmed atop local river bridges to capture for history "the 
last raft's" passage through Muncy. 

The 112-foot long raft had been launched earlier in the week at 
Clearfield. It was to pass through Muncy as part of a 200-mile river 
route to Harrisburg. Because the Associated Press had detailed every 
step of the project, the imagination of the nation had been captured. 
Universal Newsreel had assigned W.C. Proffitt, one of its most 
respected camerman, to the raft. He considered himself fortunate to 
have been selected as one of only 48 passengers allowed aboard the 

That Spring morning, the cold waters of the swollen river at 
Muncy were moving swiftly. By the time the raft approached the 
highway bridge, the rear and forward oarsmen had to struggle to 
maneuver pass the pier. The raft did make it through, but not with- 
out scraping the abutment. 

That minor bump shifted the raft from its course. It was report- 
ed that seasoned lumbermen, piloting the rear and forward ends of 
the raft, were in disagreement about which channel to follow. 



Katherine Yurchak 

Where Wigwams Stood 115 

Meanwhile, the raft moved diagonally across the swift current. 
Then, with thousands watching in horror, the unrelenting river car- 
ried the raft toward the Reading Railroad bridge. 

"It crashed with fatal force against two piers," reported the 
Williamsport Sun the next evening. "The impact shattered the col- 
lapsible cabin, and crew and passengers were thrown off balance." 

Among those aboard the raft were two young Sea Scouts. They 
helped saved several people from drowning by encouraging them to 
hang on to pieces of lumber. A man, who happened to be following 
the raft in a boat, helped some others to safety. However, ten pas- 
sengers did not survive the disaster. 

A boy with a box camera, viewing the incredible event from the 
railroad bridge, captured the scene for posterity. His photographs 
were published in The Luminary a few days later. 

Witnesses reported that W.C. Proffitt, Universal's photographer, 
was still turning the crank of his newsreel camera when he disap- 
peared into the frigid waters of the Susquehanna River. 

Despite the tragedy, the trip to Harrisburg was resumed after 
several days. On March 14, 1938 crowds gathered to meet the raft on 
its arrival in the capital city, but out of respect for those who died in 
Muncy there was no formal reception. As for the last raft, it was 
donated to a Harrisburg sawmill. 


The Now and Then. 


Editor and Publisher. 

Entered at the Muncy Post-Office as Second-Class 
Mall Matter. 

MAT AND JUNE, 1892. 


This number completes the third volume of 
the Now and Then. It faithfully discharges 
all obligations to its subscribers. And this is 
the last number, and this the last volume, that 
will be published — Now. 

We regret to suspend the publication. It has 
been, to us, a source of great pleasure. It has 
revived old friendships, and made us new friends. 
It has brought us many delightful letters. It 
has gathered and preserved many things of in- 
terest that would otherwise have been forgotten. 

Other engagements have not allowed the time 
that we should have spent on some of its con- 
tents. It was attempted merely for pleasure, 
and for an occasional useful pastime. But, 
■ many thanks to twenty-five highly valued con- 
tributors, and many correspondents, its columns 
contain a great deal that is original, instructive 
and valuable. For whatever is enunciated in 
the articles without signature we alone are re- 

Four years have passed like a dream since its 
revival. Nearly fifteen hundred golden days 
have rolled by,— gone, forever, into the bound- 
less ocean of eternity,— yet so rapid has been 
their flight that it seems but a day or so since 
the first number was issued. The whole natural 
life of man is in fact, as the Scriptures affirm, like 
a vapor, a shadow, a weaver's shuttle, or as the 
flower of the field. 

Yet these fleeting days bring many pleasures, 
and are bright with hope. True, they con- 
stantly admonish man of his vanity and his 
mortality. But, they also give joyful expecta- 
tion of better things, of a more glorious life, 
"nigh at hand." 

We part expectant, with a word of cheer. 
There is a bright side to all things. It is not 
all of life to live, nor all of death to die. To 
the wise, the world abounds with the proofs of 
wisdom. To the pure, all things are pure. To 
all who value life, life is valuable. Man is only 
a brute when he lives like a brute. He need 
not forever perish, as the beasts perish. He can 
be more, if he will, than "of the earth, earthy." 

He may, if he choose, "also bear the image of 
the heavenly." 

Pity the misanthrope who says "life is not 
worth living." It is more than worth living. 
It is worth all its sufferings. It is worth all 
man's sacrifices, love, thought and care. To be- 
lieve that the human race will make continuous 
advancement, that truth will some day prevail, 
that right will triumph over wrong, that there 
is a grand purpose in the plans and beauties of 
nature, that it is profitable to obey the laws of 
life, that it is wrong to take or imperil life, 
that the greatest thing in this world is love, that 
there is a God of Love, that it was for human 
life that the God-like Christ and many noble 
martyrs and patriots gave their lives, that the 
dead shall be raised immortal, that the " meek 
shall inherit the earth," is to be assured of the 
inestimable value of human life. 

This faith in Life, in Truth, in Love, in Na- 
ture, in Universal Progress, in the Now, in the 
Then, in God, made Now and Then, to us, a 
source of pleasure, and, we trust, a source of 
comfort to its readers. Glad indeed would wo 
be, therefore, if circumstances favored to con- 
tinue these humble efforts to entertain, instruct 
and advance. In this sense, and in this spirit, 
may all that we have said be understood. 

We cannot say what we may hereafter be led 
to decide upon, — we still have historical data 
and notes that we had hoped to hand down to 
posterity in this fitting form, and there are still 
many things that it seems the Now and Then 
ought to say, — but at present we have no positive 
thonght that we shall ever again revive the little 
magazine. We, therefore, now most sincerely 
thank you, kind readers, one and all, for your 
friendly support and sympathy, and for your 
kindly indulgence, and bid you — Farewell. 

To Our Exchanges. 

Many thanks to our Exchanges for their kindly 
reciprocations. Among the reasons why we 
should be glad to continue the publication of the 
Now and Then, is the visitations— daily, weekly 
and monthly — of a number of much esteemed 
and very regular periodical friends. But, the 
best of friends must part sometime, as we all 
know, and so we must now part with our friendly 
Exchanges. Many thanks to our brethren of the 
quill, also, for the kindly notices given from time 
to time to the Now and Then. 

"Owe no man anything," 
Not even— Now and Then. 



Blockson, Charles L. The Underground Railroad, New York: 
Prentice Hall, 1987. 

Blockson, Charles L. National Geographic. Washington, 

D.C., "The Underground Railroad." Vol. 166, No. 11 July 1984. 

Burt, Struthers. Philadelphia the Holy Experiment. New York: 
Doubleday, 1945. 

Chambless, John. "Coatesville Painter Is Immersed In the 
'Underground Mystique'." Williamsport Sun-Gazette. 
Pennsylvania: June 23, 1993. 

Crawford, Mary Caroline. Romantic Days in the Early Republic. 
Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1912. 

Engle, Henry Wm. History of the Commonwealth of Pa. Philadelphia: 
E.M. Gardner, 1883. r 

Fossler, Linda. "Samuel Wallis: Colonial Merchant, Secret Agent." 
Proceedings, Vol. XXX, Northumberland County Historical 
Society, 1990. 

Freidel-Drewry. America, A modern History of the United States. 
Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., 1970. 

Goho, Stephen O. The Pennsylvania Reader. New York: American 
Book Company, 1897. 

Graeff, Arthur D. Tlie Pennsylvania Germans. New Jersey: 
Princeton University Press, 1942. 

Meginness, John. History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. 
Chicago: Brown, Runk & Co., 1892. 

Mann, W.L. "Raft Meets Disaster at Muncy." The Muncy Luminani. 
Pennsylvania: Mar. 24, 1938. 

Myers, Richard. The Long Crooked River. Boston: Christopher 
Publishing House, 1962. 

VanDoren, Carl. Secret History of the American Revolution. 
New York: The Viking Press, 1941. 

Wood, T.K. Now and Then. Muncy Historical Society. Vol. I- VI, 

Wright, Louis B. The Cultural Life of the American Colonies. 
1607-1673. New York: Harper Brothers, 1957. 


About the Author 

Katherine Yurchak has been a resident of Muncy 
since 1947. Her career in broadcasting, journalism, and 
freelance writing spans 57 years. She is a member of the 
Society of Professional Journalists. 

She is completing requirements for a degree in mass 
communications /journalism at Bloomsburg University 
where she is in the honors program. 



§k gournnl §mtn\ to tiu Sftpid of Uw. Status. 


MUNCY, PA. JUNE, 1868. 

No. 1. 



Tlie w rlior was a- suburban, or perhaps with more propri- 
ety a provincial. Hi* first "knowledge of the metropolis was 
a very reluctant introduction to the Old Academy, as it was 
then called, and wh'ch has since, degenerated into a common 

Our experience continued through* the administration of 
IH 1 1 lilt '<f Ml most distiufnusiied Professors, — Willson, iJer- 
trn, Unit, and Kittoe. The first was a pedant and fop. The 
second in our esteem never ruse above the grade of a school 
master- The third was a teacher, a scholar, and a gentle- 
man. The fourth a teacher u disciplinarian, a- scholar and 
h •tuili'i't. lie had hntrts of trlends, and no lack of patrons. 
Our ••nly complaint wan his #ystein of punishment. It was 
fa summary and ignominious. 11>e lect of the ui suspecting 
reiu-ant a* if by some sligflt of the, Professors hand were 
found elevated to an angle of about 90 degrees, aud before 
the frightened victim could rt"alfee his situation n ponderous 
ruhr was describing semicircles where there was no danger 
of iibriotniiiul contusions. Kittoe excelled all otl'iers in this 
sxfteni of intellectual "in-knockulatinn." 

Of the several of whom we have spoken, connected with 
thd Academy an teachers, the latter two have become distin- 
guished in professional walks, While the former we bciive, if 
living, ;1 re pcilagogues yet. 

It would be interesting to trace, if we were allowed to do 
so, the career- laTsnmi of the Alumrfi, of both sexes, of this 
Academy Many Jollowed the "Star of Empire" to the Oreat 
W est, ami on that tneatre are playing their part iu the great 
<!r;<ma of life- Others still linger around tlie paternal heart*. ■ 
-one, and some alas — 

"The young and strong, 

>A ho cherished noble longings for the strife, 

Ity tlie wayside fell and perished, 

Weary with tlie march of life." 

Urtv the Lyceum wa" organized, and hekl ita meetings. 
•'•cam remember the astonishment we experienced at the 
wouderfiil know ledge of its lecturers. Scientifiic exp< rimca* s 
were nionoiolized by Drs. Wood, Kaiikiu, and Kittoe; and 
M can see now, though we did not then, that the society 
nould not have run if the xleetric m.'tchiue, or the Gal- 
v aide butter}-, laid not been invented. We must not wait to 
Mention liowcver in justice to Dr.Uutt, that he came near 
blowing up the audience one night in a heuevciiciit attempt 
t" vary the entertainment, by prematurely Igniting some 
fulminating powder. 

LMh} too expatiated eloquently on Moral Philosophy , and 
we me sorry to say but seldom followed his an precepts,- 
while llahis in Astronomy, Boal in Oratory, Ellis in Miner- 
nl'-t-y , "ml BhaMM In Esthetics and Belle-letter, constituted 
it? i In, i light*. Certainly to us, the rising generation, these 
p nth men were- "Lights shining in the darkness." We arc 
sorry t.i my that wilh greater advantages lew of ux will ever 
n-ai h tin ir standard, in prhffle or professional life. 

We Isdieve tltsit tlie lime of which we are speaking, a 
Ittal m luiol w;u< opened in a building ahnfV the pref-nt res- 
i lei (.. .f Sdq. Lloyd. It had been a "Wiud Mill Factory." 
ll w.i- il,e principal-Institution for the education of young 
ladl/n. Th< only music we ever heard there was the occa- 

sional clatter of one of the rejected wind aiiUs, and we belive 
the only professor of the fine arts was the apprentice who la 
former times came pot and brush in hand to paint and stripe 
them. The present "Muccy Female Seminary," with its able 
Principal, fcads of department's, and its many easels and 
costly pianos, presents a gomswhat striking contrast. 

The writer remembers among the attractions of the town 
at tliii/'.ime was Mrs. Ellis's "Pyana", as the name was then 
pronounced. It was the only oue in the town, and groups 
of boys aud girls assembled under the window whenever its 
ch&nning chords were struck. Nothing we thought in this 
world could equal it but Whltmoyer's musical clock, just op- 
posite, though perhaps the "ginger cakes" might. To this 
estimable lady is due the houour of the maternity of instru- 
mental music in Munry , and we are told that her touch is yet 
■jf, delicate and as graceful as a maidens. 

Muucy had then as now its votaries to the Poetic Muse. 
On Petrikin's corutr, where now stands the store of Meters. 
Clapp and Smith, was a small building occupied as a milli- 
nery shop, Every thing of this kind was theu called shop, 
for instance a Doctor shop, a Butcher shop, &c. Miss Jaue 
Calvin was a lady of no ordinary attractions herself, and as- 
sisting her were several .Misses in every respect her equals. 
They had of course in. my admin rs-:imong them a scion of 
Yankee land -. whose calls proving unacceptable, was treated 
as an indication of it, to a bowl of mush and milk. We be- 
lieve he was in tla employ uf the late Mr. H. Noble, also from 
the JOust, a young man, and who was laying the foundation 
of a handsome fortune in what s.ttucd to the people of the 
town a novel, ami perhaps abortive enterprise — the broom 
corn business. The "Muncy Telegraph" a few days after th« 
inush anil milk incident thus hi part narrate* it — 

A broom-corn twister made a push, 
Aud got his pay in milk and mu«h ; 
A friend 1 am to caking brooms, 
Hat make them, Sir. in proper room'. 

Not least among the exoitemeots of these lime? were Train- 
ings or "big" aud "little musters." IV e r< member well bo* 
vre aii i:eied Tutu Llojd, (the., a boy] his superior accom- 
plishment of playing Use flfrj nimiiil into town at the head 
of that tmigniircent military pag. .o.t as it lira I mini "Shettle 
51:11 " from Esq. Wood's fields, where of ordering arms 

"It made a short essay, 
Theu bastemd 'o be drunk 
The buaim-ss of the day." 

The ropntation o:" the Academy in time begun to wane, ami 
a select school for the 1'atricians — tin nice young men of the 
Uwn— where the Latin and Stack classics, and the higher 
mathcuialiee were taught, — v. as opened by Q. P. Boal, Esq. 
At the same time a school under the management of Mr. 
George Heights!. .an was in progress. An unaccountable ri- 
valry -prang up between the schools, aud the patricians dls- 
pbiycd thier Mperk* learning and refinement in epithetical 
efjfaebma like the following: 

"nighUrjar.'o hogs are io the pen, 

And a nit get oat but r>ow and tliea. 

And when they get out, 

They root a^xnit 

Georg? Boal's younj Ger.tletnan."