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History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania
edited by John F. Meginness; ©1892




ALTHOUGH officers for the administration of justice had been appointed, there were none to enforce the decrees of the court, or appoint assessors and collectors of revenue. It became necessary, therefore, to prepare for the election of a sheriff and commissioners at the State election to be held the ensuing October. Just how the candidates were placed in nomination there are no records to show. Probably they were selected by a caucus, and no opposition ticket was placed in the field. The people, after their long struggle to secure the new county, were too much elated over their victory to think of dividing themselves into two parties to contend for the county offices. Political strife did not become an element in local affairs until many years afterwards. All we know regarding the first election is that Samuel Stewart was chosen sheriff, and John Hanna, James Crawford, and Thomas Forster, commissioners, at an election held October 16, 1795. Stewart resided in Nippenose township, Hanna and Crawford were from Pine and Bald Eagle, -respectively, and Forster from Lycoming, in the vicinity of Jersey Shore.

It is recorded, October 28, 1795, that Samuel Stewart filed his bond in the sum of "£2,000 for the faithful performance of his duty," with the following sureties: Charles Stewart, Robert Crawford, and Brattan Caldwell. He took the oath of office before Judge Hepburn and Samuel Wallis at Jaysburg, and immediately entered on the duties of his office. His commission was signed by Alexander James Dallas, secretary of the Commonwealth.

The commissioners, it seems, were in no hurry to assume the duties of their office. On the 1st of December, 1795, the following entry in the plain, round hand of Prothonotary John Kidd, was made on the first page of their minute book, and as it is the first official entry of this body pertaining to the administration of county affairs, it is quoted herewith in full:

The commissioners, to wit: Thomas Forster, John Hanna, and James Crawford, met the first day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, in open court of general quarter sessions of the peace and common pleas for the county of Lycoming, and took the oaths of office to be taken by commissioners, before the Hon. William Hepburn, John Adlum, and James Davidson, Esquires, judges of the said courts, which oath subscribed by the commissioners remains filed in the office of the prothonotary of the county aforesaid.

Nothing more appears to have been done at this meeting, except the official organization of the board. December 15th, the second entry informs us that the commissioners met "and by their warrant under their hands and seals appointed John Kidd to be treasurer of the taxes, etc., for the county aforesaid." All the offices necessary for the new county were now filled, except coroner. It may be remarked as a singular circumstance, that John Kidd was invested with more authority than usually, falls to the lot of a single individual about a court house. He was prothonotary, clerk of the court of oyer and terminer, orphans court, quarter sessions, register and recorder of wills, deeds, and mortgages, treasurer of the county, and clerk to the board of commissioners. The appointment of a treasurer was all the commissioners did at this meeting. But as there were no funds in the treasury, it became necessary to take early steps to procure revenue to carry on the local government. A treasurer without money was a useless officer. Salaries must be paid and the running expenses of the court provided for.

At the third meeting of the board, which took place on the 21st of December, 1795, important business was transacted. The commissioners "issued their warrants for taking the enumeration of the taxable inhabitants of the county, returnable at Jaysburg the first Tuesday in January next." This was in accordance with the tenth section of the act creating the county; and a return to the legislature was required "on or before the 1st of February, 1796." The following returning officers were, appointed, to whom the warrants were directed: Muncy township, James McKelvey; Loyalsock, Samuel Harris; Lycoming, William Boyd; Nippenose, George Quigley; Washington, Andrew Culbertson; Lower Bald Eagle, James Burchfield; Pine Creek, Hugh Andrews. These were the seven original townships into which the vast territory of Lycoming was divided. The settled territory commenced at Muncy; took in a portion of White Deer and Nippenose valleys, extended up the river to Bald, Eagle valley, beyond which was an unknown wilderness. A few settlements had also been made on Loyalsock, Lycoming, and Pine creeks, a few miles above their mouths.

The next meeting of the board was hold January 5, 1796, at Jaysburg, when returns from the enumerators were received. This was the first enumeration of the, taxable inhabitants of Lycoming, and the total number in the seven original townships may be recapitulated as, follows:

Muncy Township……………………….. 378
Loyalsock……………………………….... 100
Lycoming………………………………..... 359
Washington……………………………... 106
Pine Creek……………………………..... 189
Nippenose………………………………... 96
Lower Bald Eagle……………………... 158

Total taxables, January, 1796 .................................1,386

An average of three inhabitants to each taxable—which is undoubtedly a fair estimate—would give a population of 4,158 in Lycoming county at that time. The census of 1890 shows a population of 70,579, or an increase of over 66,000 in ninety-four years. But it must be borne in mind that the immense territory which comprised the county when it was first erected has since aided in forming over a dozen populous counties, and the aggregate population now considerably exceeds half a million !


The reports of the enumerators were made early in January, except that of Muncy, which was not received till February 1st. No returns of property being made from any of the townships, however, the commissioners "issued their precepts for that purpose returnable at Jaysburg the 1st day of February," under date January 6, 1796. To show who the assessors were that made the first return of property their names are taken from the official, minutes:

Muncy Township.-Benjamin Warner, assessor, elected by the township. Henry Shoemaker, John Batton, assistant assessors, appointed by the commissioners in default of election by the township.

Loyalsock.-Samuel Harris, appointed by the commissioners in default of election. Samuel Grier, William Benjamin, assistants.

Lycoming.-Brattan Caldwell, elected by the township. Joseph Mahaffey, James Douglas, assistants, elected by the township. Mahaffey refused to serve and the commissioners appointed Isaac Smith in his place.

Pine Creek.-Robert Shaw, elected by the township. John Chatham, David Hanna, assist-ants, elected by the township.

Lower Bald Eagle.-James Burchfield, appointed by the commissioners in default of an election, by the township. John Donnel, assistant.

Nippenose-Robert Love, elected by the township. Samuel Montgomery, James Patterson, assistants, appointed by commissioners in default of election by the township.

Washington.-Marcus Hulings, appointed by commissioners In default of election by the township. John Eson, John Lawson, assistants, appointed also.

Soon after the county was organized the following justices of the peace were commissioned and districts assigned them:

1. William. Carter, April 4, 1796. District-Lycoming, Loyalsock, and Pine Creek.
2. Richard Salmon, February 13, 1797. District-Lycoming, Loyalsock, and Pine Creek.
3. Frederick Richards, June 16, 1796. District-Bald Eagle and Nippenose.
4. William Wilson, January 25, 1796. District-Loyalsock, Lycoming, and Pine Creek.
5. John Hanna, March 15, 1797. District-Pine, Lycoming, and Loyalsock.

On the 27th of February, 1796, the commissioners having arranged the quota of tax for each township, issued their warrants to the assessors as follows: Lycoming township, £234 5s, Brattan Caldwell; Muncy, £209, Benjamin Warner; Washing-ton, £41, Marcus Hulings; Loyalsock, £60, Samuel Harris; Lower Bald Eagle, £102, James Burchfield; Nippenose, £54, Robert Love; Pine Creek, £64, Robert Shaw.

That the reader may be apprised, of the cost of making the first assessment of the county, an extract from the record is made. By comparing it with what it costs to make the assessment of today, our advancement in material wealth is more clearly seen and understood. The commissioners met at Jaysburg April 1, 1796, "to make and confirm the duplicates to the collectors of each township according to the tenor of their warrants to the assessors." On the 4th they issued orders for the payment of the assessors and their assistants as follows:

Nippenose. - Robert Love, $17; assistants, James Patterson, $4; Samuel Montgomery, $4.
Lycoming. - Brattan Caldwell, $21.25; assistants, Isaac Smith, $8; James Douglas, $8.
Pine Creek.-Robert Shaw, $26; assistants, John Chatham, $6; David Hanna, $6.
Loyalsock. - Samuel Harris, $16; assistants, Samuel Grier, $2; William Benjamin, $2.
Washington. - Marcus Huling, $19; assistants, John Eson, $5.50; John Lawson, $4.50.
Muncy. - Benjamin Warner, $27; assistants, John Battin, $8; Henry Shoemaker, $8.
Lower Bald Eagle. - James Burchfield, $14; assistants, John Donel, $5; Jesse Hunt, $5.

Total cost of making the first assessment, $216.25. On the 9th the commissioners issued an order to William Culbertson for "£6 5s for his services as a clerk."

The next meeting of the board was held March 9, 1796, at Jaysburg, when "I the commissioners issued their warrants to the collectors of the different townships as follows:"

Lower Bald Eagle, James Boyd, collector ...................... £102
Washington, Marcus Huling, collector .......…………......... 41
Muncy, Henry Buck, collector ...................…………........ 209
Loyalsock, Alexander Smith, collector ………………............ 60
Nippenose, Robert Love, collector .………………….............. 54
Pine Creek, Robert Hamilton, collector………………............ 64
Lycoming, Mathew Wilson, collector ………………............ 234 5s
Total ........................................................ £764 5s

Some time during 1796 the court authorized the erection of a new township out of Lycoming and it was named Mifflin, in honor of the Governor. The dividing line was Pine run, and the territory extended to Pine creek.

It does not appear that the commissioners collected pay for their services for the fractional part of 1795, which was only one month, but for 1796, the first full year, they awarded themselves the following sums: Thomas Forster, £60; John Hanna, £55 3s 9d; James Crawford, £65. On the 22d of February, 1797, an order for £12 was drawn on the treasurer in favor of Joseph Foulke, in payment of his services as clerk to that date.


March 21, 1797, the Assembly passed a law dividing Lycoming county into five election districts, to wit:

The township of Loyalsock and that part of Lycoming township lying east of Pine run, and also that part of Washington township lying north of the Bald Eagle mountain, being the First election district, the freemen residing therein shall hold their general elections at the court house; the township of Muncy and that part of the township of Washington lying, south of the Bald Eagle mountain, being the Second election district, the freemen residing therein shall hold their general elections at the house now occupied by Henry Shoemaker, Jr., in the township of Muncy aforesaid; and that part of the township of Lycoming being west of Pine run, and that part of Pine Creek township east of Chatham's run, and the township of Nippenose, being the Third election district, the freemen residing therein shall hold their general elections at the house now occupied by Thomas Ramsey, at Pine creek; and that part of the township of Pine creek west of Chatham's run, being the Fourth election district, the freemen residing therein shall hold their general elections at the house now occupied by Hugh Andrew, in

Dunnsburgh; the township of Bald Eagle, being the Fifth election district, the freemen residing therein shall hold their general elections at the house now occupied by Frederick Richards in said township.


That the commissioners still kept their office at Jaysburg, notwithstanding Williamsport had been selected as the county seat in the summer of 1795, is shown by an entry in the minute book for April 9, 1797, which reads: "The commissioners agree with John Carothers to pay him £3 rent for the room formerly occupied by the commissioners, exclusive of fire wood and candles, for one year."

At a meeting held May 17, 1797, the commissioners issued their warrants to the collectors of the different townships, and as the amount of each duplicate, when contrasted with that of the preceding year, is interesting to show the progress, made in the short time of our existence as a county, they are transcribed from the official record as follows:

Muncy Township. - Thomas McCarty, collector; residents, £175 5s 6d, unseated lands, £25 7s 11d, single men, £23 12s. 6d. Total, £224 5s, 11d.

Loyalsock. - James Tothill, collector; residents, £74 0s 8d, unseated lands, £60 Os 6d, single men, £8 8s 9d. Total, £142 9s 11d.

Washington. - Cornelius Vanfleet, collector; residents, £64 14s 11d, unseated lands, £24 16s 6d, single men, £5 12s 6d. Total, £95 39 11d.

Lycoming. - John Martin, collector; residents, £83 13s 11d, unseated lands, £17 1s 10d, inmates (?),£2 7s 6d, single men, £10 2s 6d. Total, £113 5s 9d.

Mifflin. - James Stevenson, collector; residents, £81 16s 6d, unseated lands, £204 9s 7d, single men, £11 5s. Total, £297 11s 1d.

Nippenose. - Robert Crawford, collector; residents, £57 16s 9d, unseated lands, £58 11s 9d, single men, £10 13s 9d. Total, £127 2s 3d.

Pine Creek. - John Jackson, collector; residents, £92 6s 11d, unseated lands, £41 17s; 7d, single men, £15 3s 9d. Total, £149 8s, 3d.

Lower Bald Eagle. - Matthew Alison, collector; residents, £137 15s 6d, unseated lands, £118 5s 1d, single men, 17 6s 3d. Total, £263 6s 10d. Grand, total, £1,412 13s 11d.

At this meeting the commissioners "wrote and signed six circular letters to the respective deputy surveyors of the district, requiring them to make accurate returns of all the land by them surveyed on warrants, etc., agreeable to the act of Assembly," on or before a certain time, which is not specified in the order. The surveyors were as follows: William P. Brady, William Ellis, Henry Donnel, John Canan, James Hunter, and John Brodhead.

That the jail was still kept at Jaysburg is shown by an order on the treasurer, September 12, 1797, in favor of "Samuel Jordan, keeper of the temporary jail, for £4 13s 9d, on account of iron, etc." Immediately following this entry is another stating that the commissioners had issued an order "in favor of Samuel Stewart, sheriff, for £26 2s 11d as rent for the jail, etc." But as the time covered by the order is not stated, we have no means of knowing whether it was for a year or less. Possibly it was for the year ending about that time.

Muncy township was divided by order of the court this year and the new township named Muncy Creek. The division was rendered necessary on account of the extensive territory embraced by the original township and the increase of population. The county was now divided into nine townships.

At a meeting held December 4, 1797, the name of William Wilson appears for the first time on the minutes as a commissioner. He took the place of Thomas Forster, who was the first member of the original board to retire. The time of meeting was the "first Monday in December," which, we are informed by a minute, was "according to law." A return was received from "William Ellis of all lands surveyed and returned within his district, with his account for $74.88, for 1,872 tracts of land." William P. Brady sent in his return of lands surveyed through John Kidd, but the number of tracts and the cost of survey are not given. Henry Donnel also made his return, but no particulars are mentioned. This appears to have been all the business done at this meeting which was deemed worthy of record, for the next entry, under date of December 28th, informs us that the board met at Jaysburg "according to law," but no business appears to have been transacted. Thus closed the year 1797.

They did not remain away very long from the temporary county seat, for under date of January 2, 1798, we find them in session again. At this meeting "no returns of property" were made from any of the townships, whereupon the commissioners issued their precepts for that purpose returnable at Jaysburg the 2d of February, 1798, to the following assessors: Muncy Creek, Judah Foulke; Muncy, Benjamin Warner; Loyalsock, Samuel Harris; Washington, Marcus Hulings; Lycoming, Brattan Caldwell; Mifflin, James Stevenson; Nippenose, Robert Love; Pine Creek, Robert Shaw; Lower Bald Eagle, John Black.

The first election contest in the county of which we have any record took place this year, for a minute informs us that on January 5th the "commissioners issued schedules or copies of the taxable inhabitants within each election district in the county of Lycoming to the House of Representatives, by order of the select committee for trial of the contested election." What the contest was about we are uninformed.

At this meeting the commissioners issued their "warrants of sale to the sheriff of the county," returnable at Jaysburg the 2d of February next, against the collectors of taxes for 1796. As the delinquencies of these collectors-the first of the county forms a curious incident in the early history of our organization, they are given in full to show that trouble with tax gatherers commenced in the beginning and has continued down to the present day. The transcript from the record is as follows:

     £  s. d.
  Debt ………………………………………… 234 5 0
Matthew Wilson Sheriff fees …………………………………..   18 6
  Commissioners ………………………………     15 0
    235 18 6

     £  s. d.
  Debt ………………………………………… 54 0 0
Robert Love Sheriff fees ………………………………….. 1 3 8
  Commissioners ………………………………     15 0
    55 15 8

     £  s. d.
  Debt ………………………………………… 102 0 0
James Boyd Sheriff fees ………………………………….. 1 10 9
  Commissioners ………………………………     15 0
    104 5 9

     £  s. d.
  Debt ………………………………………… 41 0 0
Marcus Huling Sheriff fees ………………………………….. 14 5 0
  Commissioners ………………………………     15 0
    42 9 5

     £  s. d.
  Debt ………………………………………… 64 0 0
Robert Hamilton Sheriff fees ………………………………….. 1 3 9
  Commissioners ………………………………     15 0
    65 18 9

According to the record the commissioners met January 29, 1798, at Jaysburg, for the purpose of receiving the returns of property of the townships of the county." That they remained in session several days is evident, for on the 2d of February we find an entry to the effect that on this day they " issued an order on the treasurer in favor of Samuel Jordan, keeper of the temporary jail, from the 12th of September, 1797, to this date, for $15.40. This order was followed by another dated February 23, 1708, directing Samuel Jordan to be paid; £3 5s, omitted in his last bill of jail fees."

There is no record to show what the outcome was with the delinquent collectors. It also appears they had some trouble with their deputy surveyors, for an entry dated February 22d informs us that on that day an order was issued "on the treasurer in favor of Martin Wilson for £11 for services rendered by going to Huntingdon for the returns of unseated lands, etc., from John Canan and James Hunter." The following day this important resolution is entered on the minute book:

WHEREAS, We, the commissioners of Lycoming county have required John Brodhead, Esq., a deputy surveyor of this county, to make return to us according to the act of Assembly entitled "An act to regulate the mode of assessing and collecting county rates and levies," passed the 17th day of April, 1795, of all the lands surveyed in his district, and the said John Brodhead hath neglected and refused to make return accordingly to us, we do therefore fine the said John Brodhead in the sum of $100 for his neglect and refusal aforesaid, according to the form, force, and effect of the act of Assembly aforesaid. And we the commissioners, direct John Kidd, treasurer of the county aforesaid, to sue for and recover the same according to law.

Jaysburg, March 1, 1798.

Immediately following the above is another resolution, couched in the same language and referring to John Canan, one of the deputy surveyors, declaring him guilty of the same neglect as Brodhead, and directing the county treasurer to bring suit against him for $100.

This action of the commissioners seems to have had a stimulating effect on tax collectors, at least, for numerous entries soon after appear to their credit, indicating unusual activity on their part. But nothing appears to show what luck Treasurer Kidd had in collecting the fines imposed on the deputy surveyors.

On the 24th of April, 1798, the commissioners paid John Carothers $18.66 "for one year's rent of a room, fire, candles, a writing desk, etc." The assessors were also paid for their services in making the last assessment, Sheriff Samuel Stewart received an order, June 18, 1798, for "$50 for rent of a house occupied as a jail, and $16 for repairs of said house." July 2d, Joseph Foulke was paid £72 11s for services clerking to the board from the 24th of February, 1797, to this date." No further entries of any importance appear till November 28th, when an order was, issued directing the treasurer to. pay William Ellis, deputy surveyor, $74.88 for making a return of 1,872 tracts of unseated land in his district. In this connection it may be noted as a curious fact, that the commissioners' minute book was written up by John Kidd, prothonotary, etc., and that he drew the orders on himself, as treasurer, for the payment of all bills relating to the administration of civil affairs. All the entries are in his plain, bold, round hand, which admits of no doubt as, to identity.

The first entry we find relating to the expense, of boarding prisoners appears under date of December 5, 1798. It reads:

Issued an order on the treasurer in favor of Samuel Jordan, jailer, for $39.15 as follows: For Ale. S. Hamilton, from the 1st of April to 20 August, at 25 cents per day, $29.30; for Israel Sanders, 15 days, $3.75; Jonathan Baily, 16 days, $4; Henry Dougherty, 10 days, $2.50, making in the whole $39.15.

For what offences they were incarcerated it is impossible to say, as the quarter sessions record for that period can not be found. The only clue we have to any criminal business in the court for the year 1798 is an entry on the minute, book for December 10th of that year, directing that an order be drawn on the treasurer in favor of Jonathan Walker, Esq., attorney general, for £78 12s 6d, as fees for ignored bills, etc., from February sessions, 1796, until December sessions, 1798, inclusive." It is not unreasonable to suppose, therefore, that these parties were the first convicted and imprisoned for any length of time, although it is believed that the "temporary jail" was used before this for confining refractory individuals; but it may have been more in the form of a police lookup.

The commissioners finding that no returns of property from, any of the townships had, been made, issued their precept for that purpose returnable at Jaysburg the first Tuesday of January, 1799, and directed it to the assessors. Wayne having been erected as a township this year, there were now ten in the county to be looked after by the board. Sebastian Shade was the assessor elected for this township, with George Quiggle and James Stone as assistants. Wayne was taken from the upper end of Nippenose and named after "Mad Anthony."

The last official act, of the commissioners for 1798 was the re-appointment (December 25th,) of John Kidd as "treasurer of taxes, etc., for the county of Lycoming." He gave bond in £2,000, with William Ellis as surety. The board then adjourned to meet at their office in Jaysburg the first Tuesday of January, 1799.

When they met to close out the last year of the eighteenth century, their first act, under date of January 3d, was to issue orders to pay themselves for past services, as follows: William Wilson, for 1797, £55; William Wilson, for 1798, £80; James Crawford, for 1798, £80; Henry Donnel, for 1798, £52.

In those days the commissioners were not extravagant in the use of stationery, if we may judge from the amount of orders drawn. 0n the 18th of January an order was drawn in favor "of John Calvert for 50 cents for an inkpot, for the use of the commissioners," and one in favor "of Thomas Caldwell for 8s for four quires of writing paper, for county use." Mr. Caldwell was the third storekeeper in Jaysburg, having succeeded, James Grier, who was the second. February 19th they paid Joseph Foulke £47 9s 9d by an order on the treasurer, "on account of clerking to the board." The same day "Samuel Stewart, late sheriff," was paid $290.26 for "ignored bills, prosecutions, acquittals, persons poor, etc." Immediately following this entry is another in favor of the "late sheriff" for $15.50, for 44 miscellaneous public expenditures.

John Cummings was now sheriff, having succeeded Samuel Stewart by election. in October, 1798, and on the 3d of May he was granted an order " for $50 in full for one year's rent of a house as a jail." Whether this jail was the old one located. in Jaysburg, or a new one in Williamsport, the record does not inform us, but the inference is that it was for the same building occupied for that purpose for several years in Jaysburg, for on May 4, 1799, there is a minute stating "that the commissioners agree with the sheriff for the rent of a house as a jail, which was formerly occupied for that purpose, the agreement to continue until the end of the year." The same day an order was issued to "Samuel Jordan, gaoler, for $5.50, for expense of keeping Jonathan Church, etc." As Jordan was a resident of Jaysburg, it seems pretty clear that the jail had not yet been moved to the county seat. On the 5th September, 179% an order on the treasurer, in favor of Jordan, "for jail fees for boarding Uriah Spencer, John Patton, and John Alward, for $27, was, drawn," John Alward, it will be remembered, was the first man to build a mill at. Muncy. Misfortune seems to have followed him, for he was afterwards imprisoned for debt in Berks county, and was only released after filing an affidavit of his. inability to pay. His imprisonment here may have been the beginning of his, troubles. It appears that Charles Hall, Esq., was employed by the Commonwealth in the prosecution of John Alward and others, for on the 6th of September he was. paid, by direction of the commissioners, $37.75, for his services, "and for witnesses, etc." On the 21st "John Kidd, Esq., clerk of the sessions," received $438.33 "for his fees on acquittals, ignored bills, etc." The same day he also received an order for $22.20 "for recording commissions of judges and justices of the peace," and another order for $70. 01 "for providing paper for commissioners and court, books, seals, press, etc.," making a total of $530.54 in three orders, Previous to this, the prothonotary had no seals or press, for there is nothing in the records to show that those articles, indispensable in modern days, had been provided before. The entries on the minute book after the beginning of 1799 show a rapid increase, and they continued to increase as the year wore away.

The cost of providing election boxes in those days is shown by an order under-date of October 15, 1799, to "Matthew Adams, for $12 for services making boxes." There were only ten townships at that time. Two extra boxes were, probably hold in reserve in case of accident. Some of the voters had to travel twenty, thirty, and even more miles, if they wished to exercise the right of suf-frage. But many settlers did not vote at all, on account of the great distance they would have to travel.

The last entries made in the minute book from which the foregoing facts relating to our early organization have been deduced, and which was the first book opened by the commissioners, were under date of October 15, 1799. After that there is a blank of several months. About this time the State election was held and two new commissioners were chosen. When the new board met and organized they undoubtedly opened a new minute book, but the most diligent search has failed to develop it.


That a great deal of dissatisfaction existed regarding the location of the county seat at Williamsport has been shown. At the time the latter place was selected there were not more than three or four log buildings scattered over an extensive territory. Money to erect public buildings could not be secured in a day, and much time necessarily elapsed before arrangements could be made for that purpose. The antipathy of the Jaysburgers, too, caused things to move slow. The commissioners made their headquarters at the latter place till the close of the century, and from December 1, 1795, when the board first met and was sworn in, down to October 15, 1799, a. period of about four' years, there is not an entry on their minutes to show that the question of erecting public buildings ever came up. Prothonotary Kidd, who held all the offices excepting judge, sheriff, and commissioners, kept his headquarters and the county records at Jaysburg. The court, after holding two sessions at Jaysburg, became peripatetic-as will hereafter be shown-and moved about for several years over the Williamsport territory. It was evidently waiting for a local habitation.

That the reluctance or tardiness of the sheriff, the commissioners, and Kidd, to remove the offices from Jaysburg and locate them at the county seat became a subject of remark, there is reason to believe. Complaint of this dereliction of duty, if not positive disobedience of the law, seems to have been made to the Governor, and at one time he seriously contemplated issuing an order for the removal to be made. The feeling regarding this matter is shown by the following correspondence:

Williamsport, June 4, 1798.

    SIR: Some time last winter I wrote to the Governor [Mifflin] for permission to keep my, offices at Jaysburg for another year. I mentioned at large my reasons for the application, and principally rested upon the unsettled situation of our seat of justice. I had my application presented by Chief Justice McKean. His letter of the 10th of February last, of which I send you a copy, satisfied me. I particularly noticed your expressions on this subject to the Chief Justice. In return for your attention please to accept my sincere thanks.

    Afterwards, about the latter end of April, I was privately informed that application had been made to the Governor to obtain a refusal of his promise to stay at Jaysburg and to direct me to remove to Williamsport. At May term I removed all my papers belonging to the offices of prothonotary and others connected with the courts, to this place, whereat I now keep them, and wrote to the Governor that I had done so. I informed him at the same time that then I still retained the recorder's office at Jaysburg; but that unless I could speedily obtain his permission to keep it there I would remove it likewise.

    Mr. Joseph J. Wallis, a young man at Jaysburg, records for me. His situation renders, it very inconvenient for him to remove with me-this summer at least. I am desirous on this account of retaining my office of recorder at Jaysburg for this summer or until next spring. There is as yet little business to be done in the prothonotary's office in vacation, and the two towns of Jaysburg and Williamsport being about two miles distant, easily admit of a superintendence at both places. I have written to the Governor of this date requesting that permission. In fulfillment of my promise to the Governor, I will remove that office likewise about the 20th instant, unless I first receive his permission. If I am directed, I will do it on the first notification of the Governor's pleasure.

I now take the liberty to solicit your good offices in this behalf, which, should I be so fortunate as to interest, I shall gratefully remember it.

I am Sir, your very humble servant,
Alexander J. DOW, Esq.,
   Secretary of State,

The tenor of this letter clearly indicates that influences were at work to have all the offices removed from Jaysburg, and that there was imminent danger of the Governor directing the same to be done. Humble apologies and subservient, promises only restrained him from acting. It seems that a dilly-dallying policy had been pursued by the officials whose duty it was to have made arrangements for the change, which leads to the conclusion that the opponents of Williamsport still hoped that the decision of the commissioners who selected the site might yet be set aside and Jaysburg chosen. If they entertained such an opinion, they clearly overlooked the language of See. 7 of the act creating the new county, which clearly says that the report of the commissioners selecting the site for the seat of justice "shall be final." Had it not been for this positive language it is probable that Jaysburg would have triumphed in the end. But the law, and the legislature-owing to the influence of Judge Hepburn was dead against her and she had to submit to the decree of fate, go into decline, and finally pass out of existence.

A copy of Chief Justice McKean's letter in reply to the one written by Kidd, to which he refers in his communication to A. J. Dallas, is appended to complete, this correspondence:

Philadelphia, February 10, 1798.

    Sir: The Governor called at my house the morning after I received your letter to me enclosing one for him. I mentioned your request and delivered your letter. He read it, and asked my opinion, which I gave him without hesitation in favor of the measure, and he then told me that he would give you a formal permission to reside where you now do for a year, or longer, if necessary.

    A few days after I waited on him at his house in town, but was informed he had gone to his seat at the Falls of Schuylkill, where he was indisposed. He remains still unwell, and has not been in town since. I have postponed writing to you hitherto, until I could enclose the permission under the Governor's hand, Agreeable to the 3d section of the 6th article of the Constitution, but I have not yet been able to obtain it for the cause assigned. I called on the Secretary, Alexander J. Dallas, Esq., last night, as I had often done before, to learn when the Governor would be in town, but he could not inform me with certainty, tho' he told me her had nearly recovered his health. However, he told me the Governor would certainly grant your request, and that I might assure you of it.

    You may rest perfectly easy, for the permission will be granted as you desire. I am, sir, with esteem,

Your most obedient servant,      
To John Kidd, Esq., Prothonotary of Lycoming County.

Notwithstanding the Chief Justice was so positive that "formal permission" would be granted for Kidd to keep a portion of his many offices in another town—or in other words, divide the honors of the county seat between Jaysburg and Williamsport—there is nothing, so far as I am aware, to show that the Governor even acted beyond a verbal promise; and the uneasiness shown in Kidd's letter of June 4th indicates as much. Whilst the Governor undoubtedly was inclined to favor the Williamsport faction, the Chief Justice warmly sympathized with the Jaysburgers, but the slowness of the Executive to officially make good his promise finally became ominous, and Prothonotary Kidd, with the close of the eighteenth century, closed out his business in Jaysburg and officially established all his offices at the county seat.

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