THE act incorporating. Williamsport as a borough was approved by Gov. Thomas McKean, March 1, 1806, and its material points are given herewith from the official record:
Be it, etc., That the town of Williamsport, in the county of Lycoming, shall be, and the same is hereby erected into a borough which shall be called "The Borough of Williamsport," and shall be comprised with the following bounds: Beginning at the West Branch of the river Susquehanna; thence N. 31º W. 150 feet to the northeast corner of East and Front streets; hence along East street including the same N. 31º W. 1,994 feet to a point on Michael Ross's land; thence S. 59º W. 556 feet to the northwest corner of Mulberry and North streets; thence along North street including the same S. 59º W. 1,448 feet to the northeast corner of Williams and North streets; thence S. 59º W. 556 feet to a post on James Hepburn's land; thence S. 31º E. 1,062 feet to the southwest corner of West and Third (or Main) streets; thence along West street including the same S. 31 o E. 932 feet to the northwest corner of West and Front streets; thence S. 31º E. 240 feet to the river; thence down the same the different courses and distances thereof to the place of beginning.
And be it etc., That it shall and may be lawful for all persons having resided within the said borough six months next preceding the election, and being entitled to vote for members of the General Assembly on the first Monday of May, in each and every year hereafter, to meet in the court house in said borough, and then and there elect by ballot between the hours of 12 and 6 o'clock in the evening, one reputable citizen therein who shall be styled "The Burgess of the Borough," and five reputable citizens to be a town council, and shall elect a high constable.
Sec. 3 declares that the burgess and town council "and their successors forever," shall be one body politic and corporate in law by the name of "The Burgess and Town Council of the Borough of Williamsport, in the county of Lycoming," and shall have perpetual succession forever.
See. 4 enjoins that if any person shall be elected burgess or councilman, and, after official notification shall refuse or neglect to act, he shall be fined $20 for the use of the corporation.
Williamsport remained a borough from 1806 to 1866, a period of sixty years, and according to law elected a chief burgess every year. But the most diligent search has failed to develop who her burgesses were for thirty-eight years. On account of fires and floods the early records have been lost. The records that have been pre-served show the following burgesses up to the time borough government ceased: 1844, Joseph B. Anthony; 1845, Adolphus D. Wilson; 1846-47, A. J. Little; 1848-49, Hepburn McClure; 1851-53, Thomas W. Lloyd; 1854-56, Elisha Covert; 1857, W. W. Willard.; 1858, Hepburn McClure; 1859-61, S. M. Crans; 1862, Hiram Mudge; 1863-66, S. M. Crans.
It was not until after 1850 that the borough of Williamsport began to show signs of rapid improvement. The population was then only 1,615; but in 1860 it had jumped up to 5,664, and the outlook was very encouraging. The lumber business, which afterwards proved to be such a powerful factor in the progress of the town, was just beginning to develop. In 1853, a restless, irrepressible, and progressive man, Peter Herdic, settled in the borough, and his presence soon infused new life into every branch of business. He projected all kinds of improvements, built houses and mills, and proclaimed that a new era was about to dawn in Williamsport. He was sleepless and untiring-imbued with a marvelous spirit of enterprise and endowed with a keenness of perception that won both admiration and envy; he forged ahead and drew the lumbering car of fogyism after him in spite of every effort on the part of many to hold it back, until it became apparent to all that there was to be a new Williamsport!
In 1866 he was instrumental in having an act passed incorporating Williamsport as a city. It was approved January 15, 1866, and the old borough, which had existed for sixty years, passed away. The act defining the first boundaries of the. city reads:
By extending the northern boundary line of the former borough of Williamsport in a straight line west to Lycoming creek; thence down said creek in a southerly direction, the several courses and distances, to the West Branch of the Susquehanna river; thence easterly along the northern bank of said river to the southwestern corner of the boundary of the former borough of Williamsport.
After defining the duties of the officers of the new corporation, the act divided the city into four wards, as follows: East, Centre, West, and Lycoming. The three first were to remain as first laid out by the borough; Lycoming ward was to embrace all the territory west of the former west boundary of the borough. An election for mayor was provided to be held on the third Wednesday of May, 1866. With this new condition came a higher order of municipal organization. The last burgess was Samuel M. Crans, and the first mayor was Maj. James M. Wood, who was elected May 17, 1866, his competitor being the last burgess.
The act provided, furthermore, that whenever fifteen or more freeholders residing on lands adjacent to the city desired to be annexed, they could petition council, which was authorized to admit them.
In the winter of 1866 a few citizens of Newberry submitted a petition to the grand jury praying to have a borough organized, the limits to be from Lycoming creek west to the lands of D. W. Foresman, and from the river north to the Williamsport public road. Several farmers on the "Long Reach," fearing to be left out, and seeing the advantages of the taxable property in the proposed borough, opposed the movement with a petition, signed by a number in the surrounding country. The grand jury reported against the borough applicants. In the meantime another petition was prepared, in which it was proposed to make the north line of the Dodge property the southern line of the borough; and the western boundary the eastern line of the Reighard farm. Much feeling among the parties was engendered and it was difficult to agree on any lines. Before the grand jury met Peter Herdic and Thomas Updegraff had a petition prepared and presented to the city council praying that the "adjacent" territory west of Lycoming creek be annexed to the city in accordance with the provisions of the act of incorporation. Common council voted in favor of the appeal, but the select branch opposed it. That stopped proceedings in council, but Herdic with his fertility of resource soon conceived another plan. At that time S. C. Wingard was the member of Assembly from this district, and Herdic to succeed in his scheme secured the old petition, tore off the names of the signers and had a new petition written praying to have the territory west of the creek annexed to the city, to which he attached the names, and it was forwarded to Mr. Wingard. As the signers were well known Mr. Wingard had the annexation bill promptly passed. There being no objection, as the citizens were not aware of what had been done, Governor Geary approved the bill, March 21, 1867. The clause of annexation is as follows:
Beginning at the southeast corner of the farm of H. C. Packer on Market street; thence in a northerly course by line of said farm to a point opposite the south side of Gilmore's lane; thence in an easterly course along the south side of said lane, and by a line in the same course to the west side of the farm of Samuel H. Lloyd; thence by the several lines of said farm and the line of the late borough of Williamsport to the West Branch of the Susquehanna river; thence westwardly along said river to the eastern line of Woodward township; thence north-erly along said eastern line until it intersects a line extended from the northern boundary of said city, as it is now established, and in range therewith; thence eastwardly along said extended line, and the northern boundary, to the place of beginning.
Any one acquainted with the territory can see, by following the line, how adroitly the work of annexation was accomplished without mentioning the name of the populous district west of Lycoming creek that it was designed to secure by legislative enactment. It is needless to add that many of the Newburyites, and especially the farmers living, along the river above the town, were indignant when they found themselves living in an incorporated city without their consent.
By this bit of "sharp practice," to use no harsher phrase, old Newbury, Jaysburg, and a vast territory west of the creek, became a part of the city, and to this day there is a feeling of jealousy between the citizens above and below the railroads in Newbury, while many members of both factions unite in denouncing the method employed by Herdic to annex them.
By this last act the city was divided into seven wards, as follows: All that part east of Vanderbelt, Penn, and Henry streets, to constitute the First ward; all east of Market and west of Vanderbelt, Penn, and Henry, the Second ward; east of Hepburn and west of Market, the Third ward; west of Hepburn, north of Fourth, and east of Fifth avenue, the Fourth ward; south of Fourth, West of Hepburn, and east of Park, the Fifth ward; west of Park and Fifth avenue, known as Woodward lane, and east of the eastern bank of Lycoming creek, the Sixth ward; all west of Lycoming creek, the Seventh ward.
No further change occurred until 1878, when the Second ward was divided, by making all that part north of Fourth street the Eighth ward. No further divisions occurred until December 5, 1891, when the First and Sixth wards were divided by decree of court, after the electors had so requested by vote. These divisions were demanded by the increase of population, which made it difficult to receive and count the votes at elections in a reasonable time. The city is now divided into ten wards, but a view has been held for the purpose of dividing the Seventh ward, (Newberry,) ,and a favorable report was made in June, 1892.
The area of territory within the city limits is about seven square miles, or 4,500 acres; and it is divided almost equally east and west by Lycoming creek, which forms the boundary between the Sixth and Seventh wards. The city engineer reports the total number of miles of paved and unpaved streets, roads, and alleys within the city boundaries, at seventy-five and onehalf miles. The site of the city is mainly a bench in the river valley, on the north side of the stream, which consists of loose river debris to a considerable depth. This bench or river plain slopes gradually up to the hills north of the city, which rise to a height of 800 to 850 feet above the river. Williamsport lies In latitude 41º 14', and one minute west of the meridian of Washington. The lowest step of the court house is 505.4 feet above the level of the sea.
The first mayor under the city charter was Maj. J. M. Wood, elected May 17, 1866. His successor was William F. Logan, elected May 15, 1867; re-elected, May 20, 1868. An act of Assembly passed this year required all "city, ward, borough, and township elections to be hold on the second Tuesday of October" following, and provided "that officers whose terms expire shall hold over," Under this law Mayor Logan held over until October, making his term of office a year and nearly five months.
The fourth election was a very exciting one, Peter Herdic and H. C. Parsons were the candidates. Herdic spent money lavishly and was elected by 816 majority. It was generally believed at the time that his triumph cost him $20,000. In the beat of the campaign it was not an uncommon thing for saloon keepers to find ten and twenty dollar bills among their bottles on the bar. How they got there no one seemed to know, but that they were put there for a purpose was apparent. Herdic's administration was a lively one and many curious things were done.
A new law relating to the city, approved March 22, 1870, required city elections to be held on the second Monday of May each year thereafter. It was also provided that officers should hold over.
Maj. James H. Perkins succeeded Peter Herdic, May 9, 1871. His successor was S. W. Starkweather, elected May 14, 1872, and re-elected in May, 1873. The lumber riots occurred during the first year of his administration.
The time for holding elections was again changed by the passage of a supplement, to the election law, which required city, borough, and township elections to be held on the second Tuesday of February. Under this act Martin Powell was elected. the eighth mayor, February 17, 1874, and re-elected in 1875. In, the tenth contest. Ex-Mayor Starkweather was elected, February 15, 1876.
By the passage of the "Wallace law," the office of controller and treasurer was created and the term of the mayor extended to two years. Ex-Mayor Logan was elected, February 19, 1878, for the third time. He was succeeded by F. H. Keller February 17, 1880. His successors have been as follows: H. C. Parsons, February 21, 1882; S. M. Crans, February 16, 1884; William N. Jones, February 16, 1886; James S. Foresman, February 21, 1888; F. H. Keller, for the second time, February 18, 1890. The act of May 23, 1889, extended the term of the mayor to three years.
The almshouse is located a short distance north of the city, where those unable to care for themselves find a home. As it belongs to the city it is under the direction of the overseers thereof. The county proper has no institution of the kind and each township therefore has to care for its own indigent. The question of building a poor house has often been discussed, but it has never been carried out. As early as October 14, 1851, a vote was taken by the county "for and against" a proposition to erect a poor house. It resulted: For poor house, 1,560; against, 1,996. Years afterwards the question was discussed again, but nothing came of it. The overseers of the city have at times talked about buying a large farm and erecting buildings, where the paupers who were able could be used in cultivating it, but it never has been carried out, and the overseers have been content with the present cheap, inadequate quarters.
WILLIAMSPORT AND NEWBERRY POSTOFFICES.
In 1799, when the commissioners commenced to build the jail, there was no postoffice in Williamsport. The nearest office was at Northumberland, nearly forty miles away. Application was at once made to the department and orders were issued to open an office at Williamsport. The date of the appointment of each postmaster from that time to the present is as follows: Samuel E. Grier, August 12, 1799; Henry Hughes, April 20, 1819; Hepburn McClure, May 18, 1839; Joseph K. Frederick, July 1, 1841; Joseph S. Titus, August 30, 1843; J. J. Ayres, July 29, 1845; Chauncey Donaldson, May 8, 1849; Charles Kalbus, January 6, 1852; Jacob S. Maxwell, May 5, 1853; Theodore Wright, January 12, 1855; Thomas Throp, September 3, 1855; John R. Campbell, April 30, 1861; Horace E. Taylor, August 8,. 1865; Jacob Sallade, August 27, 1866; J. J. Ayres, April 20, 1867; John S. Grafius, April 5, 1869; Robert Hawley, July 30, 1869; Frank J. Burrows, January 19, 1882; William F. Logan, February 10, 1886; John B. Emery, present incumbent, March 25, 1890.
The two first appointees held the office about twenty years each. Henry Hughes lived in a log house oil East Third street, where he kept a hotel. It is now owned by Mrs. Toner, and a saloon occupies one end of the building. In the saloon part the postoffice was kept. Hughes had a corner of the bar room enclosed when he kept the office.
When Hepburn McClure succeeded Hughes he removed the office to a building which stood on the site of Hicks's book store. He introduced letter boxes and made other improvements. At that time the daily mail matter was carried in a pair of saddle bags!
Of the twenty-two postmasters who have served the people of Williamsport for ninety-two years, one-half are deceased. One of the survivors, Theodore Wright, has been chief editor of the Philadelphia Record for ten years or more.
The following table of receipts of the office from 1800 to 1891, together with the gradual increase of salary, shows the growth of the postal business of Williamsport in nine years less than a century:
Gross receipts ($)
The act of Congress passed March 3, 1845, reducing postage on mailable matter, accounts for the falling off in gross receipts between 1840 and 1850.
Through the efforts of Hon. R. J. C. Walker in 1882, an appropriation was secured to purchase a site on which to erect a building for a postoffice and United States court house. The appropriation was afterwards increased to $225,000. The site, on Fourth and Hepburn streets, cost $44,093. 11, several lots with buildings having to be purchased. The building proper, which is an elegant stone structure, cost $1.64,000. The total cost, which includes the heating apparatus, grading the grounds, furniture, site, etc., was $208,430. It is seldom that the cost of a public improvement falls short of the amount appropriated. The building in its interior arrangements is first-class, and the furniture and equipment are complete in every respect. The United States court rooms are in keeping with everything else, and are much admired for their convenience and comfort.
The postoffice was completed and occupied, June 30, 1891. The carrier system was introduced, October 1, 1882. At first six carriers were employed; now there are fourteen, with seven additional help in the office.
Although Newberry was laid out in 1795, and is one year older than Williamsport, it did not have a postoffice until 1824, nearly a quarter of a century after an office was opened in the latter place. The appointments have been as follows: John Sloan, first postmaster, appointed April 5, 1824; John Murphy, August 25, 1824;
Samuel Caldwell, May 15, 1829; James Cummings, August 1, 1833; Nicholas Funston, October 30, 1835; James Cummings, August 12, 1841; Mary Ann Cummings, May 23, 1842; Lindsay Mahaffey, April 12, 1850; James C. Funston, June 1, 1853; John F. Stevenson, June 8, 1857; William J. Mahaffey, April 14, 1860; William Colt, December 21, 1863; David Showers, October 1, 1866; Rebecca Showers, June 28, 1867; William Colt, June 10, 1869; John P. Fisher, August 21, 1885; Elizabeth C. Johnson, the present incumbent, March 26, 1889.
There have been many great floods in the river. The first known to early history occurred in 1744, the second in 1758, the third in 1772, the fourth in 1786, and the fifth in 1800. The next great flood during the present century occurred June 28, 1829. This was followed by a disastrous freshet, October 7, 1847. The water came up to Third street so that boats could be rowed along the south side from the lower end of Market square nearly to Pine street. The court house bell was rung to alarm those living in the "hollow" below Third street. The stores, cellars, and houses between this street and the canal were flooded and much damage done. The next great flood occurred on St. Patrick's day, 1865. The ground was covered with a deep snow, and a warm southwest wind, with rain, caused it to melt rapidly. The water rose rapidly and flooded the lowlands. At Williamsport it attained a height of 27½ feet. All the river bridges from Farrandsville to Northumberland were, either carried away or badly damaged; fences were destroyed, and heavy losses entailed on the farmers. The water came up to the court house steps and all the houses in the lower part of the city were flooded. This was the highest flood ever known, and for nearly a quarter of a century it was accepted as "high water mark in this valley.
A greater, however, came. The memorable flood of June 1, 1889, has passed into history as the highest and most destructive to life and property ever known to white men in the West Branch valley. Rain fell incessantly for nearly forty-eight hours., with the wind strong from the southwest. It seemed that the windows of heaven had been opened and the water descended in a solid sheet. The river rose rapidly and at Williamsport attained the unprecedented height of thirty-three feet one inch, or nearly six feet higher than in 1865. Three-fourths of Jersey Shore, Williamsport, and the lower parts of Muncy and Montgomery, were under water, which ranged in depth from two to ton feet. The destruction of property was immense. Houses, bridges, saw mills, outbuildings, and fences were carried away; crops were ruined and many persons left penniless; the boom broke and 200,000,000 feet of lumber were swept down the river, besides millions of feet of manufactured lumber. The inundated portion of the city presented a scene of desolation, on the subsidence of the water, that beggars description. Scores of people in the lower part of the city were taken out of their houses in boats and carried to places of safety. A great camp for the sufferers was established in Brandon park, and as soon as possible the State furnished tents to shelter them. Funds for their relief were, raised and provisions from all quarters were contributed.
When the flood was at its height on Sunday a small river steamboat passed through the principal streets, crossed the tracks of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad at Market street, and went nearly a square beyond. There were over four feet of water in the corridors of the court house; stocks of goods in the stores were ruined; saw logs, lumber, and debris blocked the streets and rendered them impassable; pavements were torn up, houses moved from their foundations, gas pipes broken, and general havoc produced. A list compiled by the local relief committee showed that twenty-three lives were lost in the county, a majority of which were those of children.
All the county bridges over the principal streams, as well as the river bridges, were swept away, entailing a loss of over $500,000. The total loss to the people of the county probably reached $5,000,000.
The rainfall for the month of May 1889, as reported by J. S. Gibson, meteorologist, of Nisbet, Susquehanna township, showed 9.08 inches. From 3 P. M., May 30th, to 4 A. M., June 1st, 7.01 inches of water fell; and from 8 P. M., May 31st, to 4 A. M., June 1st, the rainfall was four inches. It was this tremendous downpour which was the culmination of the unprecedented and irresistible torrent, which swept through the valley leaving ruin and desolation in its wake.
The blow to the city was a severe one, but owing to the pluck and energy of the people, nearly all traces of the disaster have been wiped out and business booms as if nothing of the kind had occurred. By the assessment of 1892 the total valuation of property for taxation is shown to be $8,623,613. Total city tax, $135,782; poor tax, $20,880.51.
EARLY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.
The first boot and shoemaker of any note in the borough was Jeremiah Tallman, who, as early as 1799, opened the business in a frame shop on the southwest corner of Third and Pine streets. The site was afterwards used for a hotel, known as the Eagle Hotel, kept by Maj. Charles Burroughs. The second workman at this trade was Henry Harris, who about the year 1808 erected a two-story frame building on the southeast corner of Market square. Judge John Smith learned the shoe trade with Mr. Tallman, and after working for him about two years as a journeyman, began business for himself in a log structure on the north side of Fourth street, about half way between William and Hepburn. This was in 1818. The log house served Mr. Smith both as dwelling and shop.
The first hatter was Robert McElrath, who as early as 1795 opened business on the north side of Third street, between Pine and William, in the neighborhood of the present jail. Being subsequently made jailor, he lived in the jail, and there followed his trade on a small scale. A few years subsequent, Thomas and Richard Hays had a hat manufactory on the south side of Third street, on the third lot east from Pine street. The building was a two-story frame, a part of which was occupied as a dwelling. About 1817 it was converted into a hotel by Thomas Hays, known by the "Sign of the Lion," and kept by Mr. Hays as a public house for some fifteen years.
In the spring of 1811 Henry Lenhart came from York, Pennsylvania, and commenced the manufacture of bats on the southeast corner of Third and Pine streets. The year previous a two-story frame had been erected on this spot by Thomas Alexander. This building Mr. Lenhart purchased of Alexander, and also put up a one story addition on the east side for a hatter's shop. This addition was occupied for this purpose four years, when it was converted into a drug store, the first in the borough.
In 1821 Maj. Charles Low became a partner with Mr. Lenhart in this business, and continued such for about one year, within which time he erected a two story frame dwelling and had shops for his own use, on the southeast corner of Third street and East alley, and, in 1822, dissolving partnership with Mr. Lenhart, began business for himself and became the fourth hatter in Williamsport. He carried on the business at this stand till 1840 a period of some nineteen years, when he sold out the entire business to John and David Trainer.
The first gunsmith was Henry Gable, who, previous to 1811, opened a shop on the north side of Third street, between William and Hepburn. The second workman in this line was Henry Pickle, who in 1811 had a shop on the northeast corner of Fourth and Market streets. Walter Lawrence was the third gunsmith, who about the same time had a dwelling and shop on the south side of Fourth street, between Pine and William. John Heisley was also a workman at this trade. His shop was in his dwelling, a story and a half log cabin, which stood on the west side of Market street, next to the canal. Mr. Heisley built this cabin about the year 1818. In 1842 it was torn down, and a three story brick erected.
The first cabinet maker was Alexander Sloan, who, in 1802, had a shop on the west side of Market street, between the canal and Black Horse alley. The second workman in this line was Edward Calvert, who, about the year 1816, opened a shop on the southeast corner of Market square.
The first blacksmith in the borough was Peter Vanderbelt, of New Jersey, who served the pioneers with work in this line previous to the organization of the county. His shop stood on the south side of Third street, near Academy. His son, Peter, carried on the business at the same place after his father's death. The second blacksmith was George Duitch, who had his shop on what is now the site of the Williamsport National Bank.
About the year 1801, Peter States, of New Jersey, opened the first harness shop in the borough. The second saddler and harness maker was Richard McEwen, who had a shop on the west side of Market street, between canal and Black Horse alley.
John Murphy was the first man to open a watchmaker shop, in 1805. It stood on the north side of Third street, between Market and Mulberry. On the 5th of January, 1810, his apprentice boy ran away, and he announced the fact in a quaint poetic effusion which he published in the Lycoming Gazette of January 10, 1810. The name of the runaway was John Swares, and "two cents" was all the reward he offered for his return. Murphy first settled on Larry's creek about 1788, and a daughter, Sarah, is claimed to have been the first white child born on that stream in 1790. In 1798 he opened a shop in Jaysburg, but when Williamsport was selected for the county seat he came hither.
Elijah Reeves, who had learned the trade with Murphy, opened a shop in 1813 and carried on the business for ten years, when he moved away. The third watchmakers to open a shop were Robinson & Gaw, on the corner of Fourth and William streets in 1821.
FLOUR MILLS, DISTILLERIES, AND TANNERIES.
The first grist mill within what are now the city limits was erected by Robert Martin, of Northumberland, as early as 1797 or 1798. It stood on the west side of Lycoming creek, a few rods south of the present mill owned by Abram Good. It was a frame structure. It has been stated that it was built in 1778. But that is doubtful. At that time the land was claimed by the Indians and the dispute was not settled until 1784. There is nothing on record to show that any improvements, save the most primitive cabins, were made on these lands until an undisputed title was acquired by the State. It is not likely, therefore, that an improvement so important as a mill was made on the Indian land.
Soon after building this mill Martin sold it to George Grant, who, about 1812, sold it to Jacob Bastian, who owned it till 1821, when the entire building, with some 330 acres of land, extending along the west bank of the creek, was sold at sheriff's sale to John Cowden. About 1842 John H. Cowden, son of John Cowden, built a brick mill. This was the second grist mill.
The Noble Mills had their beginning in 1854, when Peter Herdic and B. H. Taylor erected a frame saw and flour mill. The property passed through several ownerships until 1871, when Seymour J. Noble, H. C. Noble, and Ezra Canfield purchased it. Upon the death of Mr. Miller, Mr. Noble bought the interests of his partners and associated his son Edward F. with him in the business. In 1886 the old frame building was replaced by a modern brick structure, which was remodeled in 1892, when its capacity was largely increased. It contains a full roller system and its product enjoys a high reputation.
As early as 1796 Jacob Grafius built a distillery on the southwest corner of Market square. The building was log, about twenty feet square and a story and a half high, and stood about fifty feet from the street. It was from Mr. Grafius that the commissioners purchased the six gallons of whiskey mentioned in the account of the "raising" of the first court house. The dwelling of Jacob Grafius was a two-story frame. Both of these buildings were burned by the fire of 1841. This site was occupied by father and son for nearly ninety years. At the present day the ground is occupied by substantial modern buildings, and there is nothing to indicate that whiskey was ever manufactured there.
Thomas Updegraff, tanner, and father of the late Abraham Updegraff, was the first man to establish a tannery in Williamsport. He came from York, Pennsylvania, with his family in 1799. Previous to emigrating, Mr. Updegraff had visited his uncle Dirck, who lived on the "Long Reach," while on a visit to the Genesee country, which was then attracting much attention. On this trip he had a four horse load of leather, which he quickly disposed of. This so pleased him that he resolved to move here and settle. Returning to York he made preparations to move his family up the river. He started with two canoes and after six days' hard work arrived in safety. He described their landing in a reminiscence which he afterwards wrote:
We arrived at the Pine street landing about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and Betsey, hastening up the bank with the babe on her arms, exclaimed, "Why, Tommy, where is the town?" Only one small frame house and the brick office of a lawyer [Andrew Tulloh] being discernible from that standpoint. We soon found our old friend Grafius, who welcomed us to his hospitable home, with invitation to remain until other quarters could be procured. I had just 25 cents in money left, with which I bought two salt shad!
Soon after his arrival he obtained work for a portion of his time of Daniel Tallman, who had a tanyard at what is now the intersection of Almond street and the road running north of the city. In the meantime he commenced building a cabin about twenty feet square for a dwelling and shop, of round pine logs, with clapboard roof, and moved in with his family six weeks after. The same fall he sunk six tan vats by his own labor, built a shed with posts covered with slabs from a saw mill, for grinding and storing bark, and built a wooden wheel with large cogs, and when hides were offered he proposed to tan them for the half next season, which was generally accepted. Thus was the Updegraff tannery founded on the west Sid of Market street and corner of Black Horse alley, while a portion of his time was given to dressing hides for Daniel Tallman. It is needless to say that he prospered, paid all his debts, and left a handsome patrimony when he died, October 30, 1857, in his eighty-fourth year. The mother of Thomas Updegraff, who accompanied him thither from York, died, March 21, 1837, in the one hundredth year of her age.
The second tannery was established by Robert Hays at the corner of the canal and what was called Center alley.
George Fulmer established a tannery in 1813 on the site of George Slate's Sons' present business house facing Government place, and operated it until his death. In 1837 his son, J. Hyman Fulmer, and son-in-law, George Slate, under the firm name of J. H. Fulmer & Company, purchased the tannery. After a few years this title was changed to George Slate & Company. In 1856 Mr. Slate became sole owner of the plant, and ran the business individually until 1868. He then took his eldest son, Hyman A., into partnership, and the firm name became George Slate & Son. In 1880 J. Walton Slate was admitted to partnership, and it then became George Slate & Sons. In 1886 Mr. Slate retired from business, and the present firm of George Slate's Sons came into existence. The tannery was operated until 1889, when the business was abandoned as unprofitable and the building was removed.
John K. Crawford came to Williamsport in 1860 from Warrensville, where he had been engaged in the manufacture of leather for many years. In 1878 he built his present tannery, near the intersection of the Philadelphia and Reading and Philadelphia and Erie railroads, where he has since carried on the business.
The tannery of J. K. Mosser & Company, located at Newberry (Seventh ward) is one of the largest industries of the kind in northern Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1876. The buildings and sheds are ample for a large business, covering an area of over fourteen acres of ground. There are 365 vats used in the tanning of leather in all the vat houses, and the capacity exceeds 1,000 hides per week. Three steam engines are used to operate the machinery, one being eighty and the others thirty horsepower each. From 12,000 to 15,000 carloads of bark are consumed annually. There are seventy-five employees. The members of the firm are J. K. Mosser, Thomas Keck, and Henry S. Mosser, the latter being the resident partner in charge of the business. The other members reside elsewhere.
FOUNDRIES AND MACHINE SHOPS.
The first iron foundry in Williamsport was established by John B. Hall in 1832.
He brought his boilers, engine, and cupola on wagons from Geneva and started business in September of that year. This was the first engine in the West Branch valley, and the first foundry in Lycoming county, Tioga, Centre, and Bradford. Mr. Hall brought the patterns to town for the first coal stoves, which he made and sold in town, and for fifty miles around, for some years. His leading idea was to manufacture machinery for saw mills, because he believed the vast pine and hemlock forests of this country must be largely cut by machinery. The subsequent development of the lumber business showed that he was not mistaken.
His foundry was a great novelty at first, and when he commenced running his engine and melting iron, it was constantly crowded with people. On one of his "casting" days an old citizen, who had formerly been a member of Congress, remarked: "That man Hall is a clever fellow, but I'm sorry to see him locate here, as he can not do business enough to keep him!"
After many vicissitudes Mr. Hall succeeded in founding his business, and it became large and remunerative. As the canal was only partly built when he started, he experienced some trouble in getting iron, which had to be brought from Centre county. At first it was hauled on wagons. Dr. James Hepburn and Tunison Coryell were his partners. In the second year (1833) they got a contract from the State to furnish castings for the Columbia railroad. Dr. Hepburn, becoming discouraged, sold his interest to John Cowden. He died soon afterwards and left his share in the foundry to his son, John H. Cowden. The firm worked along steadily and gained ground. Besides the railroad castings, they made all the canal lock wickets to be used between Muncy dam and Lock Haven. In 1836 they made the ornamental iron fence which was put around the court house yard. It stood for more than forty years. In 1838 they made the castings for the first iron gang gate of saws used in this State, for the "Big Water Mill," which was superintended by J. H. Perkins, They also made the castings for the furnace at Astonville, and the furnace and rolling mills of McKinney, and Manly & Heylmun, on Lycoming creek; also for the blast furnace started in Williamsport by Bingham & Company, in 1846-47.
The Hall foundry finally became one of the fixed institutions of Williamsport and did a large business. The founder, who still lives, has reached the mellow age of eighty-eight, and although long since retired, still takes a lively interest in the iron business, and contemplates with pride the part he bore in being the pioneer founder of what has become one of the leading industries of his adopted city.
Philip A. Moltz was one of the pioneer machinists of the city. He came here in 1854, and two years later he purchased the plant of Mayby & Bowman, corner of Basin and Church streets, where he carried on business until 1868. He then sold the shops, but again became proprietor in 1871, and in 1877 he finally disposed of the plant to Rowley & Hermance.
One of the oldest as well as most extensive of the machinists and iron founders is the firm of Rowley & Hermance, composed of E. A. Rowley and A. D. Hermance; the company was established in January, 1875, and commenced business on West Third street. In 1877 they purchased the plant of Philip Moltz, one of the pioneer machine shops of Williamsport. The works have been enlarged from time to time as business demanded. The extensive works of the firm are located at the corner of Church and Basin streets. Their specialty is the manufacture of woodworking machinery for furniture factories, sash, doors, and blinds, and all woodworking establishments of whatever kind. They also manufacture all kinds of machinists' tools. The products of this large manufactory find a market in. all parts of the world. The employees range in number from 160 to 180 according to the demands of business.
The Williamsport Machine Company was organized as a limited concern, March W, 1882, with a capital stock of $6,000. In 1878 Thomas and John H. Millspaugh, who had done business since 1875 at the corner of Hepburn street and the canal, purchased from Oliver Watson a small building located on the site of their present works. Here they did general repairing and manufactured engines and saw mills until March 30, 1882, when Fred H. Sweet was admitted as a partner. The firm manufactures all kinds of improved woodworking machinery. The building been enlarged until they now occupy a floor space of 42,000 square feet. The capital stock is $225,000. The company is officered as follows: John H. Millspaugh, chairman; F. H. Sweet, general manager; Thomas Millspaugh, secretary and treasurer. The office and works are located on West Third and West streets. From ninety to one hundred men are employed.
The manufacture of saws is an important factor in the industrial line in Williamsport. In 1860 E. Andrews founded a saw manufactory which long since attained extensive proportions; and in 1882 the firm of E. Andrews & Sons was organized by the admission of W. F. and F. M. Andrews, sons of the founder, to partnership. The manufactory comprises a three story brick building 5Ox75 feet in dimensions, splendidly equipped with all the necessary tools and machinery. The firm manufactures all grades of circular, shingle, gang-edger, and crosscut saws. The senior, proprietor and inventor was born in England and came to Williamsport in 1858.
The E. Keeler Company, manufacturers of boilers, etc., conduct Quo of the old industries of the city. The business was established in 1864 by J. Heathcote & Company, who conducted it until 1877, when it was incorporated with a paid-up capital of $50,000, the executive officers being George W. Sands, president; Isaac Barton, treasurer, and A. G. Anthony, secretary. The E. Keeler Company manufactures all kinds of steam boilers, tanks, steam heating, engine supplies, plate work, etc. Thirty-five hands are employed.
The Valley Iron Works were established by W. P. Riley in 1865. His specialty is the manufacture of automatic steam engines, which have not only been sent largely to California and other parts of the United States, but to the Dardanelles and Japan. An average of fifty men are employed.
John Arthur, blacksmith and machinist, and iron and brass founder, foot of Park street, started business in 1868. He gives employment to twelve men. Saw mill and tannery machinery is included in his line of manufactures.
Jacob J. Moltz commenced business in 1878 on Church street, in partnership with his brother Jerome, which partnership was dissolved in June, 1885, He manufactures gang-edgers and all kinds of mill machinery, circular saw mills, and does general repair work. There is a foundry connected with the shop. An average of twelve men are employed.
George G. Wyland, machinist, Grace street, started business in March, 1882. He employs four men. Repairing machinery is a specialty.
Younkin, Evans & Stambach, Vine street, founders and machinists, started in business in March, 1886. They employ eight men, and manufacture engines, woodworking machines, and machinery of all kinds.
Jerome Moltz, machinist, foundryman, and general repairer of all kinds of machinery, established his present business in March, 1886. His plant is located on East Third street almost on the site of the old blast furnace of Bingham & Company. From twelve to fifteen men are employed.
The Lehman Machine Company A. T. Lehman and S. H. Smith, proprietors was established in 1889. They manufacture all kinds of woodworking machinery and give employment to about forty men. Their shops are on Vine street.
Frank Stutzman, machinist, started business in 1890. His shop is located n Campbell street. General repairing of machinery is a specialty. Five men are employed.
THE LUMBER INDUSTRY.
Williamsport owes its development, growth, and prosperity to the lumber manufacturing industry, which long since attained vast proportions. The first saw mill of which we have any account was built on Lycoming creek, about four miles from its mouth, by Roland Hall in 1792. This was on what is known as the Carothers property. The mill was a primitive affair, but it furnished the lumber for many of the first houses in Williamsport. Samuel Torbert came next with a mill on Bottle run in 1798; and the same year Thomas Caldwell built one in connection with his grist mill on the creek, the site of which is Dow owned by John Good. It was afterwards rebuilt by John C. Oliver and Samuel H. Lloyd. Sheriff Bennett purchased the homestead property of Thomas Mahaffey and erected a saw mill and still house. The mill, however, never amounted to much. Scarcely a trace of these original mills remains today, which at the time of their erection were regarded as great improvements. Pine timber of the finest kind abounded in those days, but the only demand for lumber was by those who were building houses and barns in the infant settlement.
The first saw mill within the present limits of Williamsport was what was known as the "Big Water Mill," built by Cochran, Biers & Company in 1838, forty years after Hall had erected his little mill on Lycoming creek. The firm was composed of Philadelphia gentlemen, and their mill stood on a framework of timber and cribbing, which extended from the mainland into the river opposite the lower end of the island, at the foot of Locust street. The mill contained four "up and down saws," or English gates, and the power was furnished by four reaction water wheels of Johnson's patent.
Cochran, Biers & Company ran their mill for three years, when they failed and the property was sold by the sheriff to Updegraff & Armstrong. Maj. James H. Perkins purchased the property of Updegraff & Armstrong early in 1846 and made preparations to run the mill. He also bought Hepburn island, then existing in the river opposite the mill, of Hugh Kinly, of Philadelphia. This island originally contained fourteen acres. It extended from the foot of Locust street to nearly opposite the mill of Payne, Cochran & Company, and formed a pond for the mill. It was originally heavily timbered, but the trees were cut to permit drift, which usually collected in a great mass during high water, to pass down the river. When the stumps and roots decayed there was nothing left to resist the action of the water on the soil, which soon carried it away, notwithstanding large quantities of stone were transported there from the mountain in the hope of staying the work of destruction. But it did not prove a success, and now all that remains of this once large island is the small remnant in the river at the foot of Locust street.
In 1848 Major Perkins sold a half interest in his purchase to John C. Cameron, of New York, and in 1850, or 1851, they put a "flat gang" in the mill, which was the first introduced in Williamsport. Charles Whitehead, of DuBoistown, came here in 1848 in the employ of Cameron, and he was the first man to run this gang successfully.
Some time in 1851 Perkins & Cameron sold an interest in the mill to Andrus, Langdon & Ransom, and the new firm enlarged the mill and put in several gangs and slabbers, and two more waterwheels. The mill now extended from the mainland to the island and was a large and solid structure.
Andrus, Langdon & Ransom soon sold their interest to Hodgman, Harris & Company, and the firm was reorganized. Nehemiah Shaw, now one of the pioneer lumbermen of Williamsport, took charge of the mill and ran it for two years. In 1852 he went to Fort Edward, New York, and there had built under his instructions a flat or rolling gang. It was brought by rail to Elmira and from there transported to Williamsport on sleds. It was the first improved iron gang introduced here.
Major Perkins finally sold his interest to Peter Herdic & Company, and the mill, after passing through various hands, was finally destroyed by fire in the fall of 1863.
To Peter Tinsman belongs the credit of starting the first steam saw mill. On the 1st of January, 1852, he and George W. Quinn purchased a lot from Thomas Updegraff for $1,000. It was situated below what is now the Shaw mill, on the river bank, and there the mill was built. Tinsman ran it from 1852 to 1855. He then sold his interest to his brother, Garret Tinsman, who, in partnership with George W. Quinn, ran it several years. This pioneer steam mill was operated by different parties for several years longer, and was finally destroyed by fire.
Woolverton & Tinsman erected a steam sawmill in 1852 a short distance below the Peter Tinsman mill, and began operations soon afterward. For the past forty years the business has been continued at the same point under the original firm name, although the founders are both dead. Woolverton & Tinsman and Tinsman & Ryan operate this mill, which manufactures 14,000,000 feet of lumber annually.
About the same time that the Tinsman mills were built, John and Charles Dodge erected a small steam mill near the site of the Coleman mill. In 1854 they replaced it with a larger one. In 1863 the plant was purchased by Fletcher Coleman, who has since operated at this point one of the most extensive mills in Williamsport.
Peter Herdic and B. H. Taylor built a saw and flour mill in 1854 on the site of the Noble Mills. Seymour J. Noble, H. C. Miller, and Ezra Canfield bought the property in 1871, and on the death of Mr. Miller Mr. Noble purchased the interest of his surviving partner. The old saw mill was swept away by the flood of June, 1889.
White Lentz & White had its beginning in October, 1859, when Peter Herdic, George W. Lentz, John White, and Henry White formed the co-partnership of Herdic, Lentz & Whites and built extensive saw mills near the river above Centre street. In 1867 Herdic withdrew from the firm, which then became White, Lentz & White. The average annual production of this mill has ranged from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 feet.
After the boom was erected, and it was found to answer the purpose for which it was designed, a fresh impetus was given to the lumber business. The building of saw mills commenced, and as the civil war caused a great demand for lumber and prices rapidly advanced, the business of manufacturing soon assumed large proportions. Many of the mills were large and filled with expensive machinery. Every modern improvement was introduced by the manufacturers until the mills of Williamsport came to be recognized as taking rank among the largest, finest, and best equipped in the United States. The lumber yards were often devastated by fire and mills destroyed, but the latter were generally quickly replaced and fresh lumber manufactured. The lumber industry gives employment to fully 2, 000 men in the city eight months in the year. Over $9,000,000 are invested in the mills, and their product is estimated at nearly $7,000,000 annually.
The majority of these mills are first-class in every respect, and one of them ranks with the largest in the world, having a cutting capacity of 30,000,000 feet annually. The number of mills in and around Williamsport number twenty-five.
The planing mills are another important branch of the lumber industry and employ over 500 men and boys. It is estimated that the capital employed in these industries will reach $250,000 and the value of the product will exceed $400,000. Several of these planing mills are large establishments, filled with improved and costly machinery, and employ from fifty to eighty men. The larger mills are prepared to manufacture portable houses and ship them to any part of the globe ready to be set. Doors and other articles required in the construction of houses have been shipped to Europe and sold there. School and office furniture, ornamental chains, stands, and racks of all kinds are turned out. Within the last few years machinery adapted for wood work has been so improved that there seems to be no limit to the range of operations performed by this class of machinery.
In connection with the dressing of lumber are many small industries, such as the manufacture of toys of various kinds and swings for the nursery. The manufacture of packing boxes from cheap lumber for use in the great mercantile houses of the large cities has been extensively carried on for years. Material for these boxes is cut to certain sizes, shipped in the piece and then quickly put together in the form of a box. The principal saw and planing mill firms are herewith given, together with their annual capacity:
Dodge Mills, operated by the Pennsylvania Joint Lumber and Land Company, manufacturers of all kinds of lumber; the mill has a capacity of 30,000,000 feet annually. Officers: Henry James, president, Baltimore; Charles L. James, superintendent .... Williamsport Land and Lumber Company; production, 18,000,000; Officers: Elias Deemer, resident, J. H. Price, Jr., secretary and treasurer.... Strong, Deemer & Company; (two mills), production, 28,000,000 per annum .... Star Mills, Williams & Foresman; production, 10,000,000; also B. C. Bowman & Company; production, 10,000,000 Payne ,Cochran & Company; production, 19,000,000.... F. Coleman; capacity, 12,000,000.... W. Righter's Sons & Company; capacity, 18,000,000; this business was first established at Columbia in 1834; the yard and mill are at Williamsport; members of the firm: Dr. W. Righter, Michael Myers, J. C. Righter, and P. C. Righter; F. W. Benedict, special partner .... George B. Breon; production, 9,000,000.... Elias Deemer & Company; production, 4,000,000 .... N. Shaw & Company; capacity, 15, 000,000 .... Brown, Clarke & Howe; capacity, 20,000,000.
Previous to 1854 there were no planing mills in Williamsport. The impetus given to building about this time demanded a more rapid method of surfacing and dressing lumber for building purposes, and in 1854 William A. McCann and Hiram Crafts made an effort to establish a mill, but, owing to lack oil sufficient means, failed. In 1855 George S. Banger came from Philadelphia and took an interest with them and the firm of Banger & Company was formed. They introduced a Woodworth planer and a surfacing machine. At first their business was confined to the manufacture of flooring and siding, and the surfacing of lumber; but they were soon after induced to include also the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, and mouldings. Mr. Banger subsequently purchased the interest of his partners and carried on the business alone for several years. The mill afterwards was operated by Brown, Allen & Company. Many mills have come and gone since that time, but the original is still in existence.
The following planing mill firms are now operating in the city: Howard & Perley; capacity, 20,000 feet per day .... Purdy & Green; capacity, 10,000,000 per annum; successors to Reading, Fisher & Reading McCollum & Cline, City Planing Mill; capacity, 1,000,000 feet per annum; John Coleman, Ninth ward; capacity, 10,000,000 feet per annum. . . . National Planing Mill Company, Limited, Ninth ward: officers: S. M. Titus, John G. Hostetter, Franklin E. Eck, and W. D. Springman; capacity, 35,000 feet per day. ....Susquehanna Saw and Planing Mill, foot of Susquehanna street; members of firm: Edgar Munson, Robert H. Munson; manager, C. La Rue Munson; annual production: sawmill, 12,000,000, planing mill, 6, 000,000 feet .... E. A. T. Rathmell; capacity, 2,000,000 feet per annum .... The Mill Work and Mantel Company, Ninth ward; officers: Jesse Snyder, president, Charles H. Huffman, secretary .... The Wychoff Pipe Company, manufacturers of all kinds of wooden water pipe and tubing for underground wires .... The Williamsport Planing Mill Company, Limited; officers: Thomas Deutschle, chairman; Andrew Birkle, secretary; Henry J. Weasner, treasurer; Charles R. Krimm, general superintendent; planing mill work of all kinds done; seventy-five men employed.
SUSQUEHANNA BOOM COMPANY.
After the coming of Major Perkins to the West Branch Valley it soon became apparent to him and a few others that Williamsport could be made a great lumber mart. Its location on the river and contiguity to the vast forests of pine and hemlock that lined the eastern slopes of the Allegheny mountains warranted this conclusion. The river could be made the contributing artery to supply the mills with logs, if some means could be devised to bold them safely until manufactured. It was this idea that gave birth to the boom project. Major Perkins came here in December, 1845, and now at the mature and mellow age of eighty-nine he can look back upon the pioneer days of lumbering and contemplate with pride the part he bore in the early enterprise, and the improvements he was instrumental in having introduced.
John Leighton, of Maine, accompanied Major Perkins to Williamsport from Philadelphia. The object of their visit was to engage in the lumber business, and, should circumstances favor it, establish a boom in the river. Soon after their arrival they directed their attention to the question of location, and settled upon what is familiarly known as the "Long Reach." At this point nearly all the essential requisites for such an improvement were found to exist. The high range of mountains on the south side of the river affords an insurmountable barrier to the overflowing of the logs, when once they are brought within the enclosure of the boom. The bend in the river at this point and for miles above naturally draws the logs to this south side of the stream; and the fact of the river being almost level for miles beyond prevents the possibility of swift currents during low-water stages.
Without some arrangement of this kind to secure the logs until they could be manufactured, it would be useless to build mills. What few were floated down the river had to be watched all the time, and even then many escaped. In those early days the method of securing logs was by means of small boats, from which the men fastened them together in the form of rafts. To prevent these floating logs from escaping in the night time, these pioneer lumbermen had recourse to a simple expedient. Large fires were built along the bank of the river, and other fires on the flat boats anchored in the middle of the stream, and men were stationed at several points to catch logs as they came down. The work was hard and dangerous. This was the method employed until the advent of Major Perkins. In March, 1849, he completed two temporary booms with sunken cribs, one at Goose island and another nearly opposite the point where the lower end of the present boom is located. After this the logs were left to float freely until they reached one of these booms, when they were caught and towed into one of these temporary booms. The flood of 1849 subjected these structures to a very severe test, but they stood it well enough to convince all skeptical lumbermen that a boom could be built.
The Susquehanna Boom Company was incorporated by act of March 26, 1846. The original . stock consisted of 100 shares of $100 each, and was subscribed for and issued to the following stockholders, to wit: John Leighton, 1 share; John DuBois, 25 shares; Matthias DuBois, 25 shares; James H. Perkins, 24 shares; Isaac Smith, 20 shares; Elias S. Lowe, 5 shares. There was no organization under the act of incorporation until the 5th of November, 1849, at which time a meeting of the stockholders was called for that purpose. John Leighton was called to the chair, and Elias S. Lowe was appointed secretary.
On the day after the organization of the boom company, arrangements were made to accept proposals for building twelve piers, five to be completed in the spring and the others in the fall. More piers, under a contract of December 8th, were put in, and the structure was complete enough to hold all the logs that came down the following spring.
The Loyalsock Boom Company was organized a few months after the Susquehanna Boom Company. for the accommodation of mills below the dam. Trouble soon arose between these companies, the most important cause of which was the charge imposed by the upper boom company upon the logs of the lower, which passed into their boom. Trouble, too, arose about the rope. No piers were put up by this company until 1855-56. Difficulties continued until the winter of 1857-58, when the two companies petitioned the legislature to allow them to consolidate, which was done. The officers of both companies resigned and a new set were elected. The officers of the old companies met and arranged for an appraisement of the property of the lower boom company. An amicable agreement was made and the stock was apportioned.
The original dams in the river, already described, having become worthless, authority was obtained from the legislature by act of December 11, 1866, to construct a new and larger one. It was built in 1867 and is still in good condition.
The Jersey Shore boom was built during 1868-69, but scarcely a trace of its piers now exists. The pocket boom or what was originally the Loyalsock boom below the dam was reconstructed in 1871. It has almost entirely passed away. The Muncy boom, built in 1872, has also disappeared.
The first mishap, after the consolidation, was the spring flood of 1860. The boom was broken and at least 50,000,000 feet of lumber were carried down the river. During the summer fifty-four new cribs were erected and the boom greatly strengthened. In the month of September, 1861, another flood, almost as damaging as the one of the previous year, occurred. When it was at its height the Lock Haven boom broke, and a mass of logs were precipitated against the Williamsport boom with irresistible force. The loss was heavy, but the damage was repaired in time to secure the logs of the next season. The experience gained by the company during these floods showed them where the boom could be strengthened and they straightway had it done.
During the season of 1866 the company erected their boom at Linden, by connecting the two islands at that place. Other repairs and extensions were made from time to time, one of the most important of which was the rebuilding of the Linden boom in 1873, by putting in forty-one new cribs.
The boom is nearly six miles in length and will hold 300,000,000 feet. The average annual expense of keeping it in repair is $40,000. Since its erection the cost of rebuilding and repairs has exceeded $1,500,000. At present the company receives $1 per 1,000 feet on all logs rafted out and turned over to the owners. Logs are designated by certain marks adopted by the owners and stamped in the end by a marking iron. This mark is put on the log when cut in the woods, and a facsimile is registered in the offices of the company and the prothonotary. These marks make it easy to select the logs belonging to each manufacturer when the work of "rafting out" and assorting is in progress. When the great flood of June 1, 1889, occurred, the boom contained nearly 300,000,000 feet. It was broken and every log carried away, thousands passing to Chesapeake bay and out into the ocean. Logs were strewn along the shores of the river and on the islands to the mouth. More than one-half were recovered, and at points where the quantities were great mills were erected to manufacture them. The flood entailed a heavy loss on the boom company and the manufacturers, but the boom was speedily repaired and the manufacturers saved what they could by gathering up their stray logs. During the season of eight months the number of men and boys employed on the boom averaged 150, and their pay equals $1.50 per day, making the outlay for wages nearly $50,000.
The following table shows the number of logs annually passing through the boom since 1862, and the feet they represent in board measure.
No. of Logs
Feet, Board Measure.
The total quantity of lumber over 5,500,000,000 feet - represents the volume of the lumber business of Williamsport for this period. All this lumber was manufactured on the mills in the city.
The following is a list of presidents of the Susquehanna Boom Company since its organization, with the respective dates of election: John DuBois, Jr., November, 1849; Mahlon Fisher, May, 1857; E. S. Lowe, November, 1859; Mahlon Fisher, November, 1860; Peter Herdic, May, 1875; John G. Reading, March, 1878;. Benjamin C. Bowman, February, 1883, present incumbent.
George S. Banger, the present efficient secretary of the company, has filled that position since May, 1862. The officers for 1892 are as follows: President, B. C. Bowman; secretary, George S. Banger; treasurer, E. R. Payne; manager, J. Henry Cochran; solicitor, H. C. McCormick; managers: B. C. Bowman, R. J. C. Walker, J. Henry Cochran, Jacob Tome, E. R. Payne.
The first clam in the river at Williamsport was built on Culbertson's ripples. It was constructed of brush and stones and was probably built at the same date as the "Big Water Mill" (1838), as it furnished the head of water to run it. An old ford extended across the ripple, and it was here that the Indians often crossed after descending the mountain from White Deer valley by the trail afterwards called "Culbertson's path." The dam extended diagonally across the river, starting on the south side a short distance below where the saw mill erected by Solomon Moyer now stands, and ending at the head of Hepburn island, nearly opposite the sawmill of Payne, Cochran & Company.
In 1854 Peter Herdic built another dam almost on the same site. It consisted of three rows of oak piles driven quite close together; the center row was of considerable height, whilst the other two were lower. They were all capped with timber, draw-bolted together, and then sheeted with plank. The piles had fitted to their lower ends an iron socket with a steel point, so as to enable them to penetrate the shell rock in the bed of the river. A section was also built on the south side of the river, and at a low stage of water it can be plainly seen today.
The summer of 1872 witnessed the famous "Sawdust War," a strike among the workmen of the lumber mills, which subsequently culminated in a riot. The total amount of shipments during the preceding year was 269,963,392 feet, valued at $5,397,267. Nearly 3,000 men were employed to get this into market. Up to June, 1872, there was no difficulty between employers and employed, the latter being in general perfectly satisfied with the wages which they received. However, in this year, several demagogues managed to create a feeling against the long number of hours-twelve and sometimes more. A strike was inaugurated upon the 29th of June, which continued until the 20th of July. The employers having in the meantime made some concessions, the leaders became fearful lest the workmen would, on the following Monday, resume their places. They therefore held a meeting on this date, and by incendiary speeches soon established a lawless condition of affairs. The military was called out and gave protection to all who needed it, and work was accordingly resumed. There has been no trouble since. Twenty-one were convicted at the next term of court, and light sentences were pronounced upon all except four, who, as leaders, were more severely dealt with. They had barely reached the prison when a messenger from Governor Geary appeared and handed the Sheriff a full pardon for each man convicted and they were released. The pardons were obtained through the intercession of Peter Herdic, who had great influence with the Governor.
When the lumber interest assumed large proportions, the manufacturers perceived the necessity of having some kind of an organization for mutual protection, and after several conferences it was decided to establish an exchange. Application for an act of incorporation was made. It passed and was approved, March 23, 1872. The following mouth the West Branch Lumbermen's Exchange was organized by thirty-six manufacturers, and it has continued to the present time. Its objects, as expressed by the preamble to the constitution, "are to advance the commercial character and promote the general lumber interests of the valley of the West Branch; to inculcate just and equitable principles in trade, establish and maintain uniformity in the commercial usages of the valley, acquire, preserve, and disseminate valuable business information, and to avoid and adjust, as far as practicable, the controversies and misunderstanding which are apt to arise between individuals engaged in trade when they have no acknowledged rules to guide them." The officers are a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The board of directors have authority to appoint inspectors and measurers, establish grades of lumber, lath, etc. An official report of stock on hand is made by the secretary after the close of each year, from information furnished him by each manufacturer.
The officers of the Exchange for 1892 are as follows: President, F. Coleman; vice-president, Samuel N. Williams; treasurer, E. R. Payne; secretary, W. R. Prior; directors: B. C. Bowman, F. Coleman, A. C. Hopkins, Elias Deemer, Ezra Canfield, William Emery, Henry James, Edgar Munson, E. R. Payne, John R. T. Ryan, S. N. Williams, Henry W. White, William Howard.
Next to the lumber business the manufacture of furniture is one of the largest industries. As early as 1859 John A. Otto commenced the manufacture of lumber here, to which he afterwards added a planing mill and sash, door, blind, frame, and moulding factory. In 1872 the firm of John A. Otto & Sons was organized, and in 1881 the buildings were struck by lightning and destroyed. The next year the head of the firm retired, leaving the management to the four sons: Dr. Luther M., H. Howard, John M., and Frank R. Otto. This same year the firm of John A. Otto's Sons was organized and they established the furniture industry, which they have since conducted with success. Their manufacturing plant embraces a large factory and planing mill, two and four stories high, filled with a full equipment of machinery and labor saving devices, with machine and Smith shop, lumber sheds, and other buildings attached. The firm are extensive manufacturers of antique oak, mahogany, and cherry chamber suites, sideboards, wardrobes, etc. Their goods, which are sold at wholesale, find a market in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America.
The Williamsport Furniture Company was originally a partnership concern and reorganized, March 1, 1882, into a limited liability company. On the 1st of January, 1890, the large interests were incorporated with a paid up capital of $180,000, with The following directors: William Gibson, James J. Gibson, William P. Harding, F. West Page, of New York, and R. W. P. Goff, of Philadelphia. The treasurer, F. W. Page, is a recognized authority in the manufacture of furniture. He was the proprietor of a furniture store from 1865 to 1868, and in the latter year became the manager of the original company. In 1882 he was elected treasurer. The company's factories are situated at the foot of Centre street, and with the lumber yard cover an area of nearly six acres. Over 4,500,000 feet of lumber are used annually and 350 hands are employed. The finest grades of furniture are manufactured and the market is the United States.
The firm of A. H. Heilman & Company takes rank among the oldest and most extensive furniture manufacturers in the city. As early as 1870 they embarked in the business, which has grown to large proportions. A glance at their great store and warerooms on West Third street will convince any one of the magnitude of their business. They always carry a stock exceeding $60, 000 in value, and their annual sales amount to j300,00'0. A.H. Heilman, the head of the firm, is a native of Muncy, while John K. Heilman is from the same place. The firm carries on a large manufactory in the borough of Montoursville, where they give employment to fully ninety hands. The total number of their employees, including finishers and others at their warerooms in the city, will reach about 120.
The National Furniture Company, Limited, was founded in 1882 with a capital of $24,500. The industry has steadily grown and prospered. The officers are as follows: President, John G. Reading; general manager and treasurer, Louis Welker; secretary, Fred Heim; directors: J. A. Stearns, David J. Bluemle, Herman E. Lentz, John G. Reading, and Louis Welker. The company manufactures all grades of standard furniture and ships to all parts of the United States, and as far away as Australia.
The City Brewery was established by a Mr. Huffman in 1854. In June, 1865, it was purchased by Henry Jacob Flock, who operated it until his death in 1884. During this period he replaced most of the original buildings with new and modern structures. Since his death the business has been conducted by his widow and sons, and many improvements in the machinery and plant have been made in the past eight years.
The boot and shoe factory of J. E. Dayton & Company was established in July, 1873. The plant was first located on Third street, whence it was removed to its prevent location on West Fourth in May, 1882. In 1892 the name was changed to the J. E. Dayton Company. The number of operatives employed is 110.
The National Paint Works were started in 1878 by W. G. Elliot on Church street. Power was obtained from Jacob Moltz's machine shop, which stood near by. In 1879 Mr. Elliot purchased the old carriage works, located on East street, and removed to the same. Here the business has grown to large proportions and the products are eagerly sought by railroad, bridge, and car building corporations. In 1881 W. H. Loomis, who was formerly employed by Mr. Elliot as a traveling salesman, became a full partner. Mr. Loomis resides in Brooklyn, New York, and with two employees attends to the sales of their well known paints, while Mr. Elliot looks after the manufacture.
The Williamsport Wagon Company had its beginning October 15, 1880, and was known as the firm of Ring, Cable & Company. The company was composed of the following persons: Daniel F. Ring, William Q. Cable, William Gibson, J. J. Gibson, and D. S. Andrus. These persons are still members of the firm, except Mr. Andrus, who was succeeded after his death by his wife. In 1882 the firm was changed to the Williamsport Wagon Company. The works are located on the corner of Court and West Church streets, where all kinds of light wagons, buggies, and vehicles are manufactured. Employment is given to about thirty men.
J. F. Gold's Carriage Works were established in 1886 on the corner of West Third and Centre streets. He manufactures carriages and wagons, and does all kinds of repairing. Mr. Gohl employs from one to six men.
Christian Gohl's Carriage Works were established in 1887 on West Third street, near Hepburn street. He does an extensive business in the manufacture of light carriages and delivery wagons, and also does general repairing. He gives employment to eight men.
The Lycoming Rubber Company is one of the great industries of the city. The plant was founded in 1882, and in 1883 the first shoes were made. July 31, 1890, it was chartered with an authorized capital of $500,000, nearly all of which is paid up. The officers for 1892 are as follows: President, B. C. Bowman; secretary, treasurer, and general manager, S. N. Williams; directors: B. C. Bowman, William Howard, J. Artley Beeber, C. La Rue Munson, S. N. Williams. In addition to the manufacture of standard boots and shoes, the company makes a specialty of sporting shoes for lawn tennis, yachting, and gymnasium use, and for general summer wear. The daily output is 4,500 pairs. The total value of their manufactured goods annually is $1,500,000 gross. There are 400 persons employed, 175 of whom are females and 225 males. The company finds a market for their goods throughout the United States and Canada,
One of the latest and growing industries of Williamsport is the manufacture of suspenders. The Wire Buckle Suspender Company is now the largest in the world. It was first established at Jersey Shore in 1885, under the title of the Economy Suspender Company. In 1886 the manufactory was removed to Williamsport and a new company, consisting of William Silverman, Solomon Silverman, C. R. Harris, and Joseph E. Austrian was organized, with ample capital and enlarged facilities Charles R. Harris is the patentee of the wire buckle, as well as of a number of other inventions. The daily capacity of the manufactory is 40,000 pairs of suspenders. An average of 150 girls and boys are employed and thirty men are kept traveling.
The Self-Locking Buckle Suspender Company was chartered in October, 1890, and commenced operations in November following. The company manufactures suspenders, braces, garters, and belts. Ninety operatives are employed and there are twelve .traveling men. The officers for 1892 are as follows: President, E. A. Rowley; treasurer, W. H. Taylor; secretary, Joseph Kunkel; general sales agent, W. J. Stewart.
Samuel Baum and Victor B. Ulman established a suspender manufactory in 1889 on West Third street. Their patent, also a wire buckle, was obtained in July of the following year. They have a branch office in New York. About eighty-five hands are employed.
The Williamsport Wire Rope Company was incorporated in 1886 with a capital of $100,000. The company is officered as follows: J. Henry Cochran, president; C. La Rue Munson, secretary; C. W. Van Dusen, treasurer and general manager. As manufacturers of iron and steel and galvanized wire rope, this new industry has built up a national reputation. The works comprise several spacious and convenient frame and iron buildings directly connected with the railroad tracks. The company manufactures wire ropes from one-eighth of an inch to two and one-half inches in diameter, and of any length up to two miles in one continuous piece. All wire previous to being used in a rope is subjected to rigid tests to determine its strength. It is conceded that the product of this manufactory is unsurpassed by any similar establishment in Europe or America.
One of the industries of Williamsport which has attracted much attention is the "Henry Distin Manufacturing Company," their line of work being the highest grade of band instruments. The company was chartered in 1888 with a capital of $25,000, which was increased to $50,000 in 1889. The officers are as follows: President, Hon. L. R. Keefer; secretary and treasurer, B. C. Keefer; directors: L. R. and B. C. Keefer, George Gerber, D. Dechert, M. D., A. F. Deibert; manager, B. C. Keefer. They manufacture all brass and silver plated instruments and handle all kinds of musical merchandise. Their instruments have a wide reputation among bands and musical organizations. An average of fifty men is employed.
The Demorest Manufacturing Company is one of the large industries of Williamsport in which iron is involved. In brief, the history of this establishment is as follows: It was founded in 1845 by Madame Demorest, who retired in 1883, selling her interest to G. S. & F. M. Scofield, of New York. They sold in 1888 to the Demorest Fashion and Sewing Machine Company, and the business was transferred to the Demorest Manufacturing Company of Williamsport in 1892. The factory was built in Williamsport in 1889, the citizens subscribing $100,000 in stock. The buildings cover six acres and the capital at present is $300,000. The employees number 250, and an average of fifty sewing machines are turned out daily. Opera chairs, and the "New York" bicycle are also manufactured. Officers for 1892 : President, E. R. Payne; treasurer, J. Henry Cochran; secretary H. C. McCormick, directors: E. R. Payne, J. Henry Cochran, H. C. McCormick, F. E. Embick, C. La Rue Munson; manager, Hugh McDonald.
The Backus Manufacturing Company is one of the new industries of the city. It was chartered in 1891 with a capital of $250,000. The company is the sole manufacturer for the United States of the Backus patent portable steam radiators for gaseous fuel, radiating mantels, tiles, open fire places, gas logs, and various other articles, under letters patent granted to Q. S. Backus. The present officers are: President, A. D. Hermance; vice-president, E. A. Rowley; secretary and treasurer, J. J. Crocker; general manager, P. B. Shaw; general superintendent, Q. S. Backus. This promises to become a very extensive industry. At present about sixty men are employed.
The West Branch National Bank was first incorporated as a State bank in 1835, John H. Cowden being elected president and James Armstrong cashier. The latter was soon after succeeded by Tunison Coryell. In 1842 John C. Oliver was chosen president and Thomas W. Lloyd cashier. Mr. Oliver resigned, May 18, 1847, when Hepburn McClure was chosen in his place and served until June 6, 1848. A. Updegraff succeeded him as president and served until January 1, 1856, when he resigned and Oliver Watson was chosen. Samuel Jones was elected cashier, November 26, 1855 and served until February 21, 1865, when William S. Watson was elected. The "old West Branch," as it came to be familiarly known, was recognized as a substantial banking institution for many years; and although it was severely tested, like many of the State banks in panicky times, it always came out right. It was changed into a national bank, August 7, 1865, with a capital of $100,000. Mr. Watson served as president until his death, September 1, 1882. Henry C. Parsons succeeded him as president and is the present incumbent. The cashier, W. S. Watson, having retired, he was succeeded by F. E. Gleim May 9, 1882. In 1884 an elegant new banking house was built on Pine street. The bank now has a surplus of $180,000. The present officers are: President, H. C. Parsons; cashier, E. E. Gleim; director, H. C. Parsons, F. E. Gleim, L. Mahaffey, J. H. Perkins, Ezra Canfield, John H. Watson, J. R. T. Ryan, A. P. Perley, William Emery.
The First National Bank was organized, December 3, 1863, with a capital of $100,000, with the privilege of increasing it to $300,000. It was the first national bank to open in the city, and the fourth in the State. The building in which it is located was erected by Thomas Hall in 1840-42, and was first used for a hotel for a dozen or more years. It became the property of the Messrs. Doebler, who gave it the name of the United States Hotel, and under their management it became very popular and did a large business. Soon after the death of Valentine S. Doebler the building was purchased by the banking company. Abraham Updegraff was chosen president and served until his death, April 17, 1884. On the 1st of May following J. A. Beeber was chosen his successor and still fills the office. The capital stock and surplus now amount to $500,000. The present officers are: President, J. A. Beeber; cashier, W. H. Sloan; directors, J. A. Beeber, W. H. Sloan, James V. Brown, James J. Gibson, John M. Young, A. D. Hermance, E. Andrews, S. N. Williams.
The Lumberman's National Bank was organized in February, 1865, with a capital of $100,000. Peter Herdic was president and Samuel Jones cashier. It commenced business on Pine street, but was removed to the Herdic Block on Trinity place in 1867. Herdic was succeeded in the presidency by John G. Reading, who was followed by R. J. C. Walker. Mr. Jones filled the position of cashier until the bank went into voluntary liquidation in 1889.
The Savings Institution of the City of Williamsport was incorporated April 12, 1867, and organized June 4th of the same year by the election of the following officers; President, George White; vice-president, James H. Perkins; secretary and treasurer, Henry Sproul; solicitor, Hepburn McClure, On the death of Mr. White in 1868 James H. Perkins succeeded to the presidency and has continued in the position up to the present time. Godfrey Hess became vice-president on the promotion of Mr. Perkins. Mr. Sproul resigned, October 5, 1870, when Mr. Hess was made secretary and treasurer, and Henry C. Parsons was chosen vice-president. At this time A. Niemeyer was elected assistant treasurer. On the 8th of July, 1871, H. W. Watson succeeded Mr. McClure as solicitor, and on June 7, 1873, M. Niemeyer followed Mr. Hess as secretary and treasurer, and both have served in their respective capacities up to the present time. The institution does business strictly as a savings bank, pays three percent., and its loans are secured by first liens on real estate situated within the county. The capital and surplus is $106,85 The trustees are: Heavy C. Parsons, John B. Coryell, A. Niemeyer, James H. Perkins, O. H. Reighard, Charles L. Lyon, E. J. Russ, H. W. Watson, J. W. Hays, Henry W. White, Charles K. Geddes, Godfrey Hess, J. T. Long, and James
Simonton. The institution occupies a handsome building on Fourth street, between Pine and Market.
The Williamsport National Bank was authorized by a special act of Congress, December 28, 1870. The officers for 1892 are: President, Edgar Munson; cashier, James S. Lawson; directors: Edgar Munson, C. La Rue Munson, James S. Lawson, Addison Candor, John R. T. Ryan. Capital stock, $100,000. The Williamsport Safe Deposit Company, incorporated in 1881, is connected with this bank, and the officers are the same.
The Lycoming County Savings Bank, a private banking institution, was organized April 13, 1871, with a capital of $50,000. The first officers were J. P. Finley, president; J. H. Watson, cashier, and J. P. Finley, J. H. Watson, T. B. Hamilton, H. C. McCormick, J. W. Leonard, E. G. Fay, Robert M. Forsman, A. S. Young, and James McConkey, directors. The bank was reorganized in 1873 under State charter with a capital of $100,000. In March, 1875, it was converted into national bank with the title of Lycoming National Bank.
The Lycoming National Bank of Williamsport was organized, March 30, 1875, to succeed the Lycoming County Savings Bank, with a capital of $100,000. The present officers are: President, George Bubb; cashier, Charles Gleim; teller, J. C. Sturdivant; assistant, Hall Reighard; solicitor, O. H. Reighard; directors: George Bubb, E. M. D. Levan, O. H. Reighard, John A. Gamble, John H. Hunt, John B. Coryell, William Gibson, E. J. Russ, G. D. Tinsman, Henry Johnson, W. E. Sprague. The bank has been prosperous. Its last statement shows a surplus of $80,000, and $265,000 on deposit.
The banking firm of Cochran, Payne & McCormick is a partnership composed of J. Henry and Joseph W. Cochran, E. R. Payne, and H. C. McCormick. It was organized April 4, 1887, with an invested capital of $215,000. On the 1st of April, 1892, they had a surplus of $70,000. Cashier, James A. Pugh. The banking house, corner of Fourth and William streets, is a substantial and elegant structure.
The Merchants' National Bank, corner of Third and Pine streets, was organized in 1888. Capital and surplus, $125,000. The officers for 1892 are: President, J. W. Mussina; vice-president, J. B. Duble; cashier, J. H. Boyer; teller, C. S. Miller; directors: J. W. Mussina, J. B. Duble, J. H. Boyer, J. C. Green, Thomas Lundy, W. W. Hart, James Thomas, John H, Millspaugh, J. F. Laedlein, C. S. Miller, W. M. Howell, H. It. Rhoads, Abram Good.
The Susquehanna Trust and Safe Deposit Company was organized in February, 1800, and commenced business in the Weightman Block on West Fourth street in the same month. The authorized capital is $500,000, of which $300,000 are paid in. In July, 1891, the bank took possession of its present quarters, erected by the company and known as the Trust Building, a massive, elegant, and substantial structure, complete in all its appointments. The vault is a marvel of solidity, and the financial standing of the institution is on a par with the structure it occupies. The first officers were: President, Robert P. Allen, who died on the 16th of December, 1890, and was succeeded in January, 1891, by E. A. Rowley, the present incumbent; first vice-president, Henry Rawle; second vice-president, E. A. Rowley; treasurer, Samuel Jones; secretary, Hiram Mudge. The present officers are: President, E. A. Rowley; first vice-president, B. C. Bowman; second vice- president, John Lawshe; treasurer, Samuel Jones, secretary, Hiram Mudge; solicitors, Coryell & Collins.
WATER, GAS, ELECTRIC LIGHT, AND STEAM COMPANIES.
The Williamsport Water Company was organized in 1856, a charter having been secured April 18, 1853. In 1875 the company built a stone dam across Hagerman's run for holding water in dry weather. The expense of this improvement was upwards of $7,000. The Lycoming Gas and Water Company was formed in 1864 for the purpose of supplying water to the mills and houses west of Campbell street, and the subsequent year the company was incorporated, with Peter Herdic as president. Water was obtained from a stream flowing through Mosquito valley. In course of time both companies were consolidated under one management. Improvements have been made from year to year until the works are now among the most extensive and complete in the country. The capacities of the reservoirs are given in the review of Armstrong township, where they are located. The company now have about fifty-three miles of main pipe in use, The officers are as follows: President, J. V. Brown; secretary and treasurer, William H. Bloom.
The Williamsport Gas Company was organized, February 25, 1856, by authority of the act of February 7th of the same year., The charter members were William F. Packer, A. B. Cummings, James Armstrong, William R. Vanderbelt, W. H. Armstrong, John B. Coryell, Robert Faries, Randolph Evans, Tunison Coryell, Hepburn McClure, John Gibson, and John K. Hays, Of these corporators not more than three survive. At the first meeting John K. Hays was elected president and Tunison Coryell secretary. The latter was the most active member and for seventeen years he served as secretary, superintendent, and treasurer, and was truly the father of the gas business in Williamsport. When the company was organized the population of the town was about 2,500 and for a long time there was a prejudice against using gas which took several years to overcome. It was difficult on this account to get the people to take stock. Finally, on the evening of February 24, 1857, gas was turned on and lighted for the first time. The consumption was small at first, and for seven years the gas made at the works was very small, but in 1875 it had increased to 20,000,000 cubic feet.
In 1865 Peter Herdic established rival gas works near his largo hotel in the upper part of town, and gas was turned on in the autumn of that year. The occasion was the holding of the State fair and the opening of the Herdic House. The competition lasted until 1872, when Herdic purchased a majority of the stock of the original gas company, and in January, 1873, the two companies were consolidated and the following board of managers elected: Peter Herdic, John Gibson, Henry Sproul, Theodore Hill, Samuel Jones, George Gilmore, and Thomas Barclay. Herdic was chosen president; Hill, treasurer, and Charles Nash, secretary and superintendent. After the consolidation the company was operated under the presidency of Herdic until his failure, in 1878, when the works were sold. The officers now are as follows: Joseph M. Gazzam, president; C. A. Byers, treasurer and superintendent; directors: B. C. Bowman, Hiram Mudge, John G. Reading, Jr., Joseph AT. Gazzam, C. M. Lawler, G. Alvin Hill, H. W. Watson. The company owns twenty-five miles of main and twenty miles of service pipes.
The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was incorporated May 5, 1882; capital, $120,000. The present officers are: President, E. A. Rowley; vice-president, J. B. Duble; treasurer, J. J. Croker; secretary, J. C. Hill. The plant consists of six steam boilers of 900 horsepower, with an engine capacity of 500 horsepower, which supplies 5,000 incandescent lights and 100 are lights, all of which are used for. commercial purposes. There are also 200 horsepower of electric motors attached to the system for driving machinery. P. B. Shaw and Godfrey Hess are general managers.
The Lycoming Electric Company was organized in September, 1889, with a capital of $100,000. Officers for 1892: President, John R. T. Ryan; vice-president, Addison Candor; treasurer, John Lawshe; secretary, H. R. Rhoads; directors: John R. T. Ryan, Addison Candor, John Lawshe, H. R. Rhoads, Moses Ulman, Henry W. White, and C. M. Lawler. The plant, which furnishes 175 are lights to the city under contract for five years, has over 8,000 sixteen-candle power incandescent lights capacity, and also furnishes power to the Williamsport Passenger Railway Company. Its boiler, engine, and electric power capacity is about to be increased, giving 900 to 1,000 horsepower, or 400 to 500 more horsepower than it now has nearly double.
The Williamsport Steam Company, started for the purpose of warming buildings, offices, and private residences, was organized in 1884 with a capital stock of $150,000, the bulk of which was taken by citizens of Williamsport. The cost of the plant was $112,000, at least $60, 000 of which was for labor. They put up a building in which were placed six boilers of 125 horsepower each, and mains over five miles in length were laid underground in the principal streets. On the 1st of November, 1884, the company commenced furnishing steam, and the first year they heated 2,784,000 cubic feet of space. It has since run up to about 10,000,000 cubic feet. About 9,000 tons of bituminous coal, at a cost of $15,000, are consumed annually, and the works are in operation seven months in the year. Buildings a mile distant from the boilers are easily warmed. The officers for 1892 are: President, E. R. Payne; I secretary, James A. Pugh; directors: H. W. Watson, B. C. Bowman, J. R. T. Ryan, Henry W. White; managers, P. B. Shaw and Godfrey Hess. About seven miles of main pipes have been laid. The water used in making steam costs $975 a year.
TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE FACILITIES.
In August, 1851, the Susquehanna River, North and West Branch Telegraph Company constructed a line to Williamsport and opened an office in the jewelry store of J. L. Mussina, who was the first operator. The first message from the city was sent by Hon. James Armstrong; the first business message was sent out on the 14th of August, 1851. The line was purchased by the American Telegraph Company and subsequently merged into the Western Union.
The telephone was introduced into Williamsport by H. R. Rhoads, and the first exchange was opened May 1, 1879, with twenty-five subscribers. This was the second exchange in the State, the Erie District Telegraph Company having displaced the call box about one year earlier. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh followed shortly after in the same year. The Williamsport system was constructed, and owned, by Mr. Rhoads until October, 1880, when it became a portion of the Central Pennsylvania Telephone and Supply Company, incorporated with an authorized capital of $1,000,000. The system has since been extended by taking in Scranton, Wilkesbarre, and Hazleton. The combined number of subscribers now exceeds 3,500, with some 5,000 miles of wire. The Wilkesbarre exchange was also opened by Mr. Rhoads, January 1, 1880, in connection with L. C. Kinsey. The line in this city comprises 385 miles, with the following number of telephones in use: Business, 445; residence, 107; total, 552; Jersey Shore, 23; Muncy, 20; total in the county, 595. The officers of the company are: President, H. R. Rhoads; vice-president, Richard O'Brien; general manager, R. M. Bailey; secretary and treasurer, J. E. Wilkinson.
The Williamsport Passenger Railway Company was organized under a special charter issued to Peter Herdic in 1863. Its capital was then $75,000, but since its purchase by the present owners, and to provide funds for the electric equipment, it has been increased to $250,000. This will be further increased to meet the contemplated extensions to be made from time to time.
The road was first opened with two horse cars in September, 1865, for the State fair held here at that time; and it was conducted as a horse road until August 6, 1891, when the first electric car was run on Third street, and the fourth street line was put in operation in November, 1891. Its present equipment is twelve sixteen feet electric cars, and about seven and a half. miles, of track. The increase in passengers carried over horses is about ninety per cent. The officers for 1892 are: President, H. R. Rhoads; vice-president, H. C. Parsons; treasurer, John Lawshe; secretary, J. F. Starr; superintendent, H. C. Young.
The Lycoming Opera House Company was chartered May 19,1891, with the following officers: President, H., W. Watson; secretary and treasurer, John L. Guinter; directors, Charles R. Stearns, Fred H. Sweet, Emanuel Andrews, J. W. Pierson, Charles J. Cummings, William C. King, and H. W. Watson. The building is situated on West Third and Laurel streets, and has a seating capacity of 1,800. It cost $85,000.
A FAVORITE PLACE FOR CONVENTIONS.
Williamsport has always been a favorite place for the meeting of religious and civic societies. Two State Democratic conventions have been hold here. The first met in 1850 and Dominated a State ticket. The last met in 1881 for a similar purpose. Both were largely attended and their proceedings were exceedingly lively.
Many State conventions of the various secret societies have met here from time to time. The Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church has met here twice, and conferences of other religious denominations have been held often, such as the presbytery and synod of the Presbyterian, conventions and convocations of the Episcopal, and synods and conferences of the Lutheran and Evangelical churches.
Brandon Park, in the northeastern part of the city, contains forty-three acres and was the gift of A. Boyd Cummings. It was so named by him in honor of his only sister, who married John Brandon, one of the early publishers of The Gazette. The gift was a munificent one and will forever remain as a memorial of its generous donor.
To the late J. L. Mussina belongs the credit of organizing the first brass band in Williamsport in 1831. It was composed of the following members: J. L. Mussina, John S. Hyman, Henry D. Heylmun, Abraham Rothrock, Reuben Ruch, John Rothrock, Jacob W. Hyman, S. Strayer, and a few others. It was called the Williamsport Band, and J. L. Mussina was chosen leader. Subsequently Joseph Grafius became a member and was elected captain. Christopher Lawrence, J. W. Hyman, and A. K. Mabic served as leaders. About 1856 Daniel I Repasz took charge of the band, and under his instruction it attained great proficiency. He introduced new and improved instruments, and under his management it came to be known as the Repasz Band," a title which it has borne to the present day. As a band it became very popular. Mr. Repasz continued to serve as leader until old age forced him to retire. As a musician he had few superiors, and when no longer able to use an instrument he would attend the band meetings and listen with a critical ear to the music. This veteran musician was born in Clinton township, Lycoming county, April 18, 1813, and died in Williamsport, November 21, 1891. He had been a resident of Williamsport for over fifty years and was the last of the original members of this famous musical organization. He served as an alderman in the Third ward for a quarter of a century. The Fisk Military Band attended his funeral and in accordance with his request played his favorite dirge, "Flee as a Bird." A son and a daughter, G. Morris Repasz and Mrs. M. A. Pray, survive him.
The Repasz Band served in the late war, first in the three months' service in the Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, and then in the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers for about a year. The band is composed of thirty-five members; manager, Anthony Smith; leader, Herdic Wood.
G. Morris Repasz, one of the old members, has in his possession a key bugle which his father, Daniel Repasz, purchased from the late Hon. Samuel Linn more than forty years ago. At that time Linn' was the leader of a band at Bellefonte. Squire Repasz used the bugle in leading his band many years. It is now treasured as a valuable relic.
The Stopper and Fisk Orchestra was organized, September 1, 1877. It has twelve members. Manager, L. J. Fisk; leader, Charles Fischler. They have a second organization called the "annex," which enables them to fill two engagements the same night.
The Fisk Military Band was organized, May 6, 1880. Present number of members, twenty-five; manager, J. F. Moorehead; L. J. Fisk, director and musical leader.
The Star Orchestra was organized in September, 1890, and consists of ten members. Manager, J. P. Langlois; leader, F. E. Haswell; musical director, G. Bert Repasz.
The Metropolitan Orchestra organized June 16, 1891, with eight members. The manager is Aloysius Stopper, with Sylvester Vogel as leader.
The Elite Orchestra is another musical organization, with John Hazel, the, celebrated cornetist, manager; leader, Gus Lettan.
The oldest Masonic lodge is No. 106, F. and A. M. It was instituted by special dispensation of the Grand Lodge directed to Brothers John Cowden, John Boyd, James Davidson, and Enoch Smith, Past Masters, July 1, 1806, who installed William Hepburn as W. M., James Davidson, S. W., Samuel Coleman, J. W., and John Kidd, secretary. It is supposed that the lodge was opened in a building on the north Side of Third street, opposite what is now the First National Bank. In 1822 a room was secured in the court house, where meetings were held for several years.
At that time there was a strong antimasonic sentiment among the people, and it finally culminated in an open attack on the lodge. On the evening of June 17, 1829, the room was broken into by a mob of infuriated men, who pitched the paraphernalia and furniture through the windows for the purpose of breaking up the place of meeting. According to tradition the lodge was in session, and the ,members made their escape through the windows, being afraid to face the mob. The movement was a highhanded outrage, but so violent was public feeling, that the handful of members had to submit. Rev. Henry Lenhart, the secretary, gathered up the books, papers, and emblems, and carried them to his house for safe keeping.
The breaking up of the lodge by mob force caused a great sensation at the time. After this it remained dormant until January 30, 1846, a period of seventeen years, when the charter was revived by the Grand. Lodge and meetings were resumed. From that time to the present no interruptions have occurred.
The following are given in the Order of their organization: Baldwin II Commandery, No. 22, September 13, 1866; Adoniram Council, No. 26, September 16, 1866; Ivy Lodge, No. 397, F. and A. M., September 28, 1867; Lycoming Chapter, No. 222, March 11, 1869.
St. John's Lodge, (colored) No. 26, A. Y. M., organized October 27, 1847. George Roach was the first Worshipful Master, supported by Daniel Hughes as senior, and James Smith as junior, wardens. The other lodges are: St. John's Chapter, No. 40, A. Y. M., organized May 18, 1869; Lycoming Lodge, No. 70, F. and A. M., organized March 15, 1888; St. John's Commandery, No. 5, organized February 18, 1889.
Lycoming Lodge, No. 112, I. O. O. F. , was instituted May 26, 1845. Officers: Oliver Watson, N. G.; John White, V. G.; Henry S. Gilbert, See.; Samuel Jones, A. S., and John B. Beck, Treas.
Williamsport Lodge, No. 570, I. O. O. F. , was instituted May 21, 1863. Jacob Rohe, N. G.
Amazon Lodge, No. 6, I. O. O, F., was instituted April 12, 1869. William Mitterer, N. G.
Iona Lodge, No. 729, I. O. O. F. , was instituted September 3, 1870. G. C. Sweeley, N. G.
Custer Lodge, No. 855, I. O. O. F. , was instituted December 19, 1890. John B. Ort, N. G.
Elderton Lodge, No. 855, I. O. O. F. , was instituted at Elderton, Pennsylvania, October 16, 1873. Surrendered charter, 1889; charter granted to Custer Lodge.
Brandon Lodge, No. 1007, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 13, 1891. T. E. Beck, N. G.
West Branch Encampment, No. 136, I. O. O. F. , was instituted September 2, 1865. Officers as follows: J. W. Leonard, C. P.; Matthew Gowland, H. P.; Michael Laedlein, S. W.; Francis D. Green, J. W.; D. D. Else, Scribe; Jacob Robe, Treas., and Fred Kasten, Guide.
United Encampment, No. 44, I. O. O. F. , was instituted November 7, 1879. Jacob Rohe, C. P.
Canton Wildey, No. 3, Patriarchs Militant, I. O. O. F., was mustered into service, March 12, 1886. William Goehrig, Commandant.
Williamsport Uniform Degree Camp, No. 3, I. O. O. F., was instituted January 25, 1882. Through change of law, reinstituted into Canton Wildey, No. 3, P. M., I. O. O. F. , March 12, 1886.
Canton Ridgely, No. 8, Patriarchs' Hilitant, I. 0. 0. F., was mustered into service March 13, 1886. Henry B. Eberly, Commandant.
Williamsport Council, No. 027, Royal Arcanum, was instituted October 19, 1885. Henry B. Eberly, Regent.
Utility Council, No. 1364, Royal Arcanum,. was instituted April 20, 1891. Robert A. Jaggard, Regent.
Bashan Lodge (colored), No. 1430, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted August 16, 1869. West Branch Lodge, No. 3443, was instituted December 17, 1891.
Mount Olivet Commandery, No., 17, Knights of Malta, organized September 17 1887; Lelolde Commandery, Knights of Malta, No. 77, organized January 9, 1891.
Lycoming Castle, No. 123, k. G. E., organized August 26, 1886; Custer Commandery, No. 123, K. G. E.,. organized October 19, 1886, with forty-five members.
West Branch Lodge, No. 98, K. of P., was instituted in July, 1867, and is therefore the oldest in the city; Susquehanna Lodge, No. 199, K. of P., was instituted October 14, 1869; Williamsport Division, No. 19, U. R. K. of P., was instituted June 117, 1884; West End Lodge, (Newberry,) No. 276, K. of P., 'was instituted August 18, 1889.
The log house of Amariah Sutton stood near the site of the "red barn," now owned by Hon. R. J. C. Walker, and the surrounding land was his farm. Sutton was one of the leading men of the times. On the 20th of March, 1776-three months and fourteen days before the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed he conveyed (See Deed Book V, page 385) to James Hagerman, Andrew Culbertson, Edmund Ruff, and Thomas Hughes, trustees of the Lycoming congregation, in consideration of 5s, a piece of land in these quaint words:
A certain lot or piece of land of 287½ acres, on the north side of the great road, containing one and a quarter acres, with buildings and improvements thereon, for a public burying place forever; and also to build a meeting house thereon for the public worship of God by the majority of the Protestant people of the said congregation thereon forever. And likewise also, to raise a school house thereon for the education of the children of the settlement thereabouts therein successively forever; provided always that the people of the aforesaid congregation or a majority of them, have liberty at a future day to add to or diminish the number of the trustees, or that any one or more of them be and continue to act as trustees only during the pleasure of the majority of the people of said congregation. And if it should be found expedient, hereafter at any time or times to turn any one or more of said trustees out of, said office of trusteeship, or any remove away, or any are removed by death, that it shall be legal for the people to convene …and the majority of them may turn out any one of said trustees and elect others in their places. They are also authorized to hold the ground for a burying place, while Protestants only, for a school and meeting house, forever.
This is the oldest burying ground in the county that we have any account of that was set apart by deed for that purpose. The burial grounds at Muncy and Hall's are perhaps older, but the author is not aware of any legal conveyances designating, them for such purposes.
It was in this graveyard that the killed in the massacre of June 10, 1778, which occurred within a few hundred yards of the spot, were buried. And here also the bodies of the men killed by the Indians in the early autumn of 1778, while cutting grass. on the flat near the present trotting ground, were buried. These were among the first interments. Sutton, Hepburn, and many others of the original settlers, were buried there, and some of their tombstones may yet be seen. The remains of others have been removed to Wildwood.
Realizing the importance of having a place of burial near the limits of his town the Sutton graveyard being considered too far to the west Ross set aside a plot of ground in a field on his farm, which is now occupied by the residences of David Stuempfle, Mrs. Godfrey Hess and others, on Fourth street near Penn, for that purpose. He afterwards designated a square on Pine street for a cemetery; this ground, known as the Pine street, or Ross, graveyard, was set apart for that purpose in 1796 by Michael Ross, the founder of Williamsport. It comprised a square of ground, and in it the founder and his family were buried. It was his intention to convey the ground on Pine street to the borough, but dying before he could execute the papers, it remained for his descendants to carry out his intentions by deed. It was not laid out regularly in lots and the dead were buried promiscuously. The ground as early as 1850 was filled to overflowing and it was apparent to all that burials there would have to be discontinued. Interments ceased about 1856. July 1, 1867, councils passed an ordinance making it the duty of the city surveyor and street commissioner, one year after its passage, to remove the monuments, head and footstones, grade and lay out the grounds for a park. S. L. Youngman, Esq., who lived opposite the ground, then put up a board on a tree labeled "Ross Park," and it has been known by that title ever since. But instead of being made a park, it is a general receptable for building material and rubbish. In 1887 the city erected a small brick building on the southwest corner for police headquarters and a look-up, which is still used for such purposes.
Next to the Fourth Street graveyard the Lycoming (Newberry) burial ground is the oldest in the city. There are no records to show when it was set apart for that purpose, as it was doubtless started when the Indians claimed the land. Settlers were on: that side of the creek as early as 1770, and interments were very likely made there soon after. Possibly it may be older than the Sutton graveyard. The Culbertson settlement on the south side of the river was made very early, and it is not improbable that the dead from that side were brought to this ground for interment. Settlers on the river as far up as Level Corner used to bury their dead at Newberry. The ground was enlarged as necessity demanded, and in 1850 the stone from the, old church were used to build a wall for its protection. Hundreds of interments have been made in this around, and it is still used.
In 1850 Abraham Updegraff and Samuel H. Lloyd, while engaged in laying out, an addition to the borough on the east, concluded to set apart eight acres for a cemetery. They laid out the ground in lots with convenient avenues, and agreed. that when enough had been realized from the sale of lots to reimburse them for the ground, they would make over to the cemetery. company the balance to be used in improvements. A comfortable brick house was put up for the sexton, and the place was named the Williamsport Cemetery. Soon after it was opened the remains of many who had been interred in the Ross graveyard were removed to this new cemetery, among them those of Michael Ross and family. This cemetery is still in use. The secretary and treasurer is William H. Sloan, cashier of the First National Bank.
Wildwood Cemetery, for rural beauty and eligibility of location, is exceedingly attractive. It is situated on high rolling ground northwest of the city, overlooking the valley and river, and affording a view that is most charming to the eye. The Cemetery Association was incorporated August 18, 1863, and sixty acres purchased, which were subsequently increased to about eighty. The charter is perpetual. The well remembered civil engineer, John M. McMinn, was employed to lay out the grounds. Robert Faries, also an engineer of high standing, assisted him. With a thorough knowledge of landscape engineering, Mr. McMinn also united an intelligence for his work and an exquisite taste which enabled him to arrange the, walks and drives to the best advantage. The result, was the production of a cemetery that calls forth the admiration of all who pass through its grounds. The numerous lot holders have taken great pains to beautify and adorn their plots. Stately monuments and other appropriate memorials are found on every band native trees spread their branches over the graves ; evergreens serve as rich settings to marble and granite; flowers bloom in luxuriance and load the air with the fragrance of their perfume. The officers are as follows : Dr. W. F. Logan, president; John F. Laedlein, secretary and treasury; Daniel Curns, superintendent.
Mound Cemetery, on a high knoll near the bridge of the Northern Central railroad across Lycoming creek, was laid out recently. It commands' a fine view of the city, the river, and surrounding country.
The latest cemetery is called Grand View. It is on the old cemetery road above the northern limits of the city, and is well named. Standing on its heights a panoramic scene of unsurpassed grandeur is unfolded to the eye. The enclosure, consists of sixty acres, and the company was chartered in 1891. The officers are: President, J. W. Mussina; secretary and treasurer, J. H. Boyer.
St. Bonifacius Cemetery is located at the corner of Henry and Wyoming streets. The eastern part of the ground was purchased in 1859. The western part was acquired in 1881, and consecrated October 18, 1885. Sexton, Charles Baierle.
Mt. Carmel Cemetery is located east of the Northern Central railroad, and south of Wildwood, on high ground. It was purchased by Rev. Eugene A. Garvey for the congregation of the Church of the Annunciation. It contains thirteen and a half acres. The Williamsport Jewish Cemetery is located at the corner of Almond and Tucker streets in Lloyd's addition.