THE following is condensed from an elaborate paper on the geology of Lycoming county, prepared by Abraham Meyer, the well known local geologist of Cogan House township. Mr. Meyer says:
The geological formations of Lycoming county comprise all the rock formations from the Carboniferous (No. XIII) measures down to the limestones of the Trenton group, (No. 11) representing a depth of about 12,600 feet.
The main range of the Allegheny mountain chain sweeps across the county in the form of a crescent-like curve for a distance of forty-five or fifty miles, entering the county on the west side about the middle of Watson township, thence in a general northeast course across Lycoming creek, above Crescent Nail Works; thence across Loyalsock creek, above Loyalsockville, to near the eastern border of the county in Shrewsbury township, changing to a northeast course on entering into Sullivan county.
When the great movement which culminated in the formation of the many folds and phenomena of the anthracite coal fields in the southeastern part of the State occurred, there was a contemporaneous general movement all along the Appalachian range, which, in Pennsylvania, extended from the South mountain in Cumberland and York counties, to Williamsport, Lock Haven, and points beyond on the West Branch of the Susquehanna river, and was the cause of the many disturbances and phenomena in Lycoming county. And when it occurred the crush and active agencies involved formed the many plicated and contorted rock strata South of the main Allegheny mountain chain, and the resulting movement north of the mountain range being less violent, formed the broad undulating mountain plateau, with its intervening Devonian valleys.
The first group, or Allegheny mountain plateau system, forms an interesting study here. This plateau system, with its intervening valleys, has a mean width of about eighteen miles. There is comprised in this group Watson township, in part, all of Brown, Pine, McHenry, Jackson, McNett, McIntyre, Gamble, Cascade, Lewis, Cogan House, Plunkett's Creek, and the north coiner of Eldred and Cummings, Mifflin, Anthony, and Shrewsbury township, in part. In these townships the mountain plateau assumes a general elevation of 2,000 feet above tide, while the intervening Devonian valleys of Rose and Cogan House have an elevation of 1,000 to 1,600 feet, the valley lands being composed of the formation (No. IX) red and grey Catskill (Ponent) or Upper Devonian with a rim or formation of (No. X) Poco sandstone (Vespertine) around the valleys, with the exception of Jackson, McIntyre, and McNett townships, in which an uplift of (No. VIII) Chemung measures occurs.
While the mountain plateau lands of these townships consist largely of the formation of (No. X) Pocono rocks along the south escarpment of the Allegheny range, and around the mountains generally, with small areas of (No. XI) Mauch Chunk red shales (XI a) and in parts with mountain limestone (No. XI b), which here assumes the importance of being massive ledges from one and a half to three miles in length; and being also the most northern extension of this formation at present known, the higher portions being composed of (No. XII) Pottsville conglomerate, forty to fifty feet thick; and above this, generally occupying the crest of the mountains, occur the productive coal measures.
The carboniferous (No. XIII) occurs in three canoe-shaped coal basins, very much divided in small detached beds, occupying, anticlinal or synclinal basins, with dips as usual to the bituminous measures in the western district of the State; and it is observed that (No. XIb) carboniferous, or mountain limestone, existing here is a typical rock, being the dividing line between the true and false coal measures, and is the main Allegheny range crossing Lycoming county with its south escarpment.
Catskill (No. IX) red shale and sandstone, or Upper Devonian of English geologists, are noted for producing agricultural lands, affording a luxuriant growth of grasses and excellent soil for fruit, which is largely due to the detritus of the decomposing rocks of a calcareous nature (known as carnstone, breccia, etc.,) which impart to the soil a fertility not much short of that of the same mountain and valley ranges further south.
On the south escarpment of the mountain are numerous peaks of a general height of 800 to 1,000 feet above the adjacent streams, which project into the Chemung measures in the valleys adjoining, in bold relief, and form prominent points o f view in the landscape; while the rocks are cut out between 800 to 1,200 feet deep in the measures, forming deep gorges or true canons, through which Lycoming and Pine creeks cross the entire mountain plateau, while many others cut out from within the mountains wend their way through their rocky channels into the West Branch, being the natural home of the speckled trout, which, with the pure water and low temperature, invite many tourists and pleasure seekers during the summer months.
The townships north and east of the river, and up to the south escarpment of the Allegheny range, form a marked contrast to the general regularity of the sections north of the mountain range by their various disturbances and much greater appearance of plications and faults.
The townships embraced in this group are all of Porter, Piatt, Woodward, Old Lycoming, Lycoming, Hepburn, Loyalsock, Fairfield, Muncy, Mill Creek, Muncy Creek, Penn, Moreland, Franklin, and Jordan, and Watson, Mifflin, Anthony, Eldred, and Shrewsbury in part. The formations of this group are best shown in the order of their superposition along Loyalsock creek, commencing at the mouth of that stream. The upper member of (No. V) Clinton shales is observed along the grade of the Philadelphia and Reading railroad, the same formation underlying portions of Muncy, Muncy Creek, etc., townships. Next above occurs (No. VI) Lower Helderberg or Lewistown (Pre-Meridian) limestone, in Lime Ridge, about 120 feet thick This formation underlies all the townships bordering on the river, and Muncy and Wolf townships, showing exposures at various places on the north and south banks of the same.
Next in ascending order occurs (No. VII) Oriskany sandstone and shales (Meridian). This formation, with its characteristic fossils and accompanying flinty shales, is well exposed in Sand Hill cemetery, Loyalsock township, and has a thickness of about 120 feet. Above this occurs (No. VIII) Chemung measures with its various subdivisions being the Vergent, Cadent, and Post-Meridian series of the old survey of Professor Rogers. This formation in its subdivisions forms the greater part of the area of all this group of townships, making generally rounded dome-like hills, where capped by the softer shales of the series, and quite high where capped by sandstones. Between the river and foot of the mountain the measures consist of many strata of shales, slates, and sandstones, intercalated in lower and upper parts with many calcareous bands, which vary from two inches to five feet thick. The detritus from them has given a fair soil to the greater portion of the upland, while numerous small streams traversing the township cause the narrow intervales to become fine meadows for grass and grazing. The subdivisions of (VIII) are known as Chemung shales, sandstones, and limestones, (VIII f); Portage shales, flags, and sandstones, (VIII e); Genesee shales and flags, (VIII d); Hamilton shales, flags, and sandstones, (VIII c); Marcellus shales, (VIII b); Upper Helderberg limestone or corniferous group, (VIII a).
These measures sweep across the entire county in two belts separated by measures resembling Red Catskill (No. IX), but the manner in which they occur at some points in the field would lead to the conclusion that there was a fault along this belt. The strata are all on a very high angle of dip, and a close examination will be required to determine their true relation to the adjoining formations.
Next above the belt of (No. VIII) Chemung measures, and up to the foot and side of the main Allegheny chain, occur (No. TX) Red Catskill, which makes up the greater part of the side of the mountain across the county, and caps the adjoining hills at the foot of' the mountain. The cornstone (breccia conglomerate,) which is an invariable accompaniment of this formation, is not seen in the narrow belt referred to.
The third group comprises the townships south and west of the river, viz: Nippenose, Limestone, Susquehanna, Bastress, Armstrong, Clinton, Brady, and Washington. These can be divided into three sub-groups: Those parts of these townships lying between the mountain and river; Nippenose valley, comprising Nippenose, Big and Little Mosquito, and Morgan's valley, and Bastress township. The White Deer section, comprising the townships of Clinton, Brady, and Washington, lies mostly on, or between, the north and south White Deer mountains. The formation, commencing at the river and in descending order, consists of a number of portions of (No. VI) Lower Helderberg or Lewistown limestone, held in the synclinal folds of the shales (No. V) which, lying generally at a high angle, comprise the greater part of the north face of Bald Eagle mountain, and can be seen in the immense sheets of gray and red shales, with their calcareous bands along the railroad, which, though geologically lower than (No. VI), topographically are higher; as also the formation next succeeding, which is (No. IV) Medina and Oneida conglomerate, (Levant series of Professor Rogers,) and is a very massive formation, being about 2,000 feet thick and forming the greater part of the mountain on the north dip at an elevation of 1,325 feet above the river, and 1,875 feet above tide.
Going over the crest of the mountain, on the south side, succeed (No. III) Hudson River slate shales and limestone, (matinal series,) forming the rim around, and surface of, the center of Mosquito valley; and also the rim around the base of the mountain ridge on the north and south side of Nippenose and Limestone townships. [These black shales and slates have been the occasion of many mistakes, in being supposed to be slate of the coal formation, there having been found shale in pockets highly charged with carbonaceous matter, and in some instances burning very feebly; and much money has been lost in sinking wells and shafts in fruitless search of coal.] In Mosquito valley the formation (No. 111), where it occupies the center of the valley, makes a dome-like hill at an elevation of about 800 feet above tide, and consists of the Hudson river shales (slate and limestone), the limestone bands being quite thin and fossiliferous. The measures have been worked for marble, but not successfully.
Another exposure of these measures is seen above Antes Fort, or Jersey Shore Station, on the Philadelphia and Erie railroad, where there is one exposure below the river bridge, which is much contorted; and again, up towards the grist mill, they seem to occur, resting unconformably on the edge of yellow shales, showing on the opposite bank of Antes creek a portion of measures concealed; while in the railroad cut just above the station is a large boulder of calciferous sandstone, (Chazy group) with large nodules of black chert scattered through the mass.
Next in succeeding order comes (No. 11) Trenton (Auroral) limestone. The various subdivisions of this formation are met with from the west to the east end of the valley, and about 300 feet thick of measures are exposed.
At the southeast part of the county occurs the White Deer valley group, the formation of (No. VI) Lower Helderberg limestone, forming a double fold against the North and South White Deer mountain, while (No. V) Clinton shales comes in above, and in some parts forms the face of the mountain; while (No. IV) Medina forms the crest alike of the North and South White Deer mountain, and (No. VI) Lower Helderberg forms the lower part of the valley in Clinton and Brady townships. Clinton shales (No. V) form the center and greater area of Washington township, and (No. VIII) Chemung forms the greater part of Brady township.
The lands of these valleys compare favorably with any of the limestone valleys in the State in their agricultural value, and the finely cultivated farms and fruitful orchards give evidence of the generous fertility of the soil.
WEST BRANCH VALLEY.
In addition to the three general groups just described, there is lying within the area of the second and third groups what has been known ever since the first settlement was made upon its soil as the "West Branch valley." This term has been applied by some to the narrow strip of rich alluvium along the river, but the term is intended to take in the broad belt of land from the river mountain on the south to the foot of the Allegheny mountains on the north, a belt of some eight miles wide, and having a general elevation of 530 feet above tide nearest the river, and some 850 feet on the uplands back from the river, the present river channel being about 500 feet above tide. But a careful examination discloses the fact that the ancient river channel was some sixty-five to eighty feet below the present surface, which has been filled with drift and alluvium, and is now the present site of the city of Williamsport. The city owes much of its facilities as a business center to its stratagraphical position, in a measure due to the influences of surface geology, which formed the greater portion of the lower levels, as well as the higher portion of the present site of the city, and gave the beds of clay that produce so much of building material; and by this vast deposit of modified drift It has furnished such natural drainage that needs only to be effectively supplemented to give Williamsport economical and proper sewerage.
A MIGHTY ARCH.
In See. 3 geological phenomena are observed in the anticlinal of Nippenose and Mosquito valleys, which may be thus described: Commencing at the southeast corner of the county there is a synclinal valley which is shown in railroad cuts along the river, and the upper measures above Watsontown, and back of Muncy and at Hall's station. At the latter place (VIII C) Hamilton (Tully limestone) occurs, and Marcellus (VIII d) etc. are succeeded by (No. VI) Lower Helderberg limestone around the Black Hole and White Deer valleys. Next, against the North and South White Deer mountain, occur (No. V) Clinton shales and sandstone; and next above, forming the crest of the two mountains, is (No. IV) Medina and Oneida conglomerate, which in the North White Deer ridge, or Bald Eagle mountain, forming the south dip of the great anticlinal of (No. IV), the Medina group, which, stretching upward, formed an immense arch over Mosquito and Nippenose valleys. The distance on a base line from the south dip of (No. V) in Washington township to the north dip on the face of the mountain along the West Branch of the Susquehanna is about six and one-fourth miles; and with the estimated thickness of measures it would be over 2,400 feet; and including all tile superior measures, would make a column of a total height of, some 17,500 feet, or over three miles some estimate five miles which has been carried away over these remarkable valleys by erosion.
Some of the effects are seen by a. walk over these mountains. The wonderful agencies exerted to have produced such varied phenomena can be partly seen in the ruins of formations strewed over the surface, as if hurled down the precipitous sides of high mountains, and leaving the open page to be read with awe by finite minds! The field of broken rocks seen from the turnpike going down the mountain to White Deer valley, vulgarly called the "Devil's Turnip Patch," and "Featherbed Lane," together with the craggy rocks up Mosquito valley and the overturned anticlinal toward the east end of the arch, near the Mosquito valley quarries and Culbertson's path, are among the debris left as indications of the mighty forces that formed the present surface and made the great changes as we now find them.
Going north to the river we find many places that show plications and faults. Near Jersey Shore Station, above and below the river bridge, occur rolls and plications in the strata. Above Jersey Shore to Pine creek, just below the Beech Creek railroad bridge, can be observed in John Sebring's lime quarry some interesting plications and rolls on a grand scale in a vertical cliff of (No. VI) Lower Helderberg or Lewistown limestone. Above and along Pine creek are Many exposures in the Chemung measures (No. VIII), which are quite precipitous. Just above Cammal station, in the railroad cut, Is a good opportunity to observe the characteristics of the peculiar mode of deposition of the calcareous breccia or cornstone.
Going South along the Beech Creek railroad, below Jersey Shore, a series of plications and rolls are seen in the Chemung measure (VIII d and VIII e); and just above the railroad under the grade crossing of Larry's creek can be observed a perfect section, about eight feet high, of an arch of an anticlinal of (No. VIII e), the slates being mineralized in contact seams with Galenite.
Passing up Larry's creek there are a number of exposures for the next half mile; South, below Larry's Creek station, occur many exposures (VIII a-b), in the short railroad cuts towards Level Corner and Linden. On Lycoming and Loyalsock creeks many exposures occur, showing the plications in different parts. On Lycoming creek two anticlinals, of considerable height formerly existed; one over the site of the lower part of the village of Hepburnville. The base line between the north and south dip does not exceed 240 rods, but occurring at an exceedingly high angle, approaching the vertical, this anticlinal may have been quite sharp and high. Just above this another occurs, the best exposure being the north dip near J. S. Hayes's barn, Lycoming township, the base line between the north and south dips being about 450 rods; angle of dip, 70º. These two anticlinals, follow the course of the fossil ore across the county.
THE GLACIAL PERIOD.
One of the important agencies in the particular arrangement of Surface geology was the presence of the Great Glacier in the northern part of our continent, which occupied a large area, the southern edge passing through, the upper corner of Lycoming county. It has been variously estimated as having been from 2,000 to 5,000 feet thick.
The valleys of all the streams south of the section of the county once covered by ice show evidence of the near presence of the glacial moraine. In 1881 the writer had the pleasure of meeting Professor Lewis, and in company with Rev. G. F. Wright, while examining Lycoming county, found some granite pebbles in a hill of modified drift on the east side of Lycoming creek from Trout Run station, which were evidently derived from the glacial moraine. I have found the same also in the drift at Cogan station and at Williamsport. Quite a number of glacial pebbles have been found, some of granite, gneiss, and garnetiferous gneiss; while the pebbles of all the formations belonging to the county north of the moraine can be found in every drift deposit along the streams. The moraine crossing the larger streams being washed by heavy floods in prehistoric ages formed the large areas of water and ice worn, rounded, cobble stone, known locally along the streams as "stony batters," which are quite a trial to the patience of the farmer when tilling the ground. A careful study of these "stony deposits" will show some of the effects of the various prehistoric floods which gave the present conformation to the valley of Lycoming creek, and in part to the West Branch valley.
COAL IN LYCOMING COUNTY.
There have been no workable beds of coal yet found in (No. X) formation in Lycoming county, though several places seem to favor the possibility of containing the Gresh coal bed of Elk and McKean counties. which in some places is workable, the measure lying under (XI a) Mauch Chunk red shale, showing six feet and upwards of black slate, (fire clay bottom) with some coal on crop in thin seams in the slate. This is the most southern outcrop of coal in the county, and it lies on the south side of Loyalsock creek. It is reported as occurring about half way up the side of the mountain, and as there is such a distance to the top, there may be ele-vation enough to bring in coal. The carboniferous limestone (No. XI b) occurs immediately opposite on the north side of the creek at an elevation. of about 1,000 feet above the stream. Coal two feet thick is reported as having been opened immediately south of this, by the occupant of the farm on the same ridge, on the south side.
The next coal deposit observed Is a small, narrow, synclinal, canoe-shaped basin in Cogan House, Mifflin, and Cummings townships, on the line of the Bernice and Waterville anticlinal, one division being in Cogan House township, and having a total depth of about 100 feet above the Pottsville (seral) conglomerate (No. XII). There are some eight veins of coal, one of four feet six inches, with one parting of four inches of shale, occupying the higher crest of the mountain, with seven inferior veins ranging from nine inches to one foot six inches, aggregating nine feet nine inches of coal in twenty feet four inches of measure, with underlying coal bed "A" and Pottsville conglomerate twenty to thirty feet thick in place. This upper coal was worked about forty-five years ago, and hauled to Cresent Nail Works and Forge, on Lycoming creek.
Another small end of a canoe shaped basin is on the lands of the West Branch Lumber Company, in Cummings township, and is the east end of a basin coming in from Clinton county. The conglomerate outcrop on a heavy dip may be observed on the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike, between the heads of the upper and lower Pine Bottom runs.
Next is observed an extensive coal basin occupying McIntyre, McNett, Jackson, Pine, and McHenry townships, known, respectively, as. the McIntire, Red Run, and Pine Creek coal basins, consisting of two canoe shaped synclinal coal basins, which together extend a distance of thirty-four miles across the northern part of the county, the central arch, between the basins (Laurel Hill) having been elevated. Whatever coal measures existed there were probably eroded by glacial action during the Ice Age, Laurel Hill being 100 feet higher than the mountain at McIntyre, and the measure is cut down into the Pottsville conglomerate (No. XII) and Mauch Chunk red shale.
The McIntyre coal basin lies east of Lycoming creek, and is about seven miles long and four miles wide at the mountain face, on Lycoming creek, pointing out eastward between the forks of Rock run, where it is about one and a half miles wide. It is very much cut out by numerous small streams, so that the area is divided into some eleven or more parts. Coal was mined here at an early date, but it was not until the Williamsport and Elmira (Northern Central) railroad was completed from Ralston to Elmira that there was active mining carried on In 1848 there was an examination, and a report made on the first survey in 1858. There had been an active business carried on by a company composed principally of citizens of Almira for some twenty years, but the mines have been abandoned, and the rails of the plane on which the coal was carried to the foot of the mountain have been removed. The coal as worked showed three feet ten inches, with one foot nine inches of bony coal and slate, making the total thickness five feet seven inches. There is still considerable area of coal in this basin not worked out that may be of local value in the future.
On the west side of Lycoming creek are the Red. Run coal mines. This basin lies between the headwaters of Trout run, Gray's run, and Roaring Branch, and is about nine miles long and three and a half miles wide, and is divided by streams into three parts constituting quite a large area of coal, one division being about nine miles long by two miles wide. There are some six coal beds in this basin that vary from twelve inches to over five feet, but as the mines are not being worked it is impossible to. give the average of what the actual working thickness may be. There are some developments now going on which may prove the value of this basin, and it gives promise of working into an active colliery. Last year (1891),an incline plane was built for lowering the coal to the foot of the mountain, and the work of operating the mine commenced.
The next basin is the Pine Creek, which is the largest undeveloped coal deposit in Lycoming county. The basin is about fourteen miles long by three miles wide, and it is divided by streams into five parts. On the east side of Texas creek there are three parts, and on the west side the basin lies in an almost unbroken bed. The lowest bed opened, B, has an elevation of 1,500 feet above tide, while D is opened at an elevation of 1,670 feet, and the summit of the highest ground is 1,970 feet, giving the greatest depth of measures anywhere in the country. According to a report made for Hon. R. J. C. Walker and Robert P. Allen, Esq., in 1890, there is reported to be in vein B, on less than 2,000 acres of their land, 8,037,000 tons of coal; and in vein D, on 1,100 acres, 3,300,000 tons, making a total of 11,337,000 tons estimated in these beds. This estimate does not include the coal in the balance of the basin and the allowance for waste and loss in mining, it being only for what lands were tested by boring. An examination of the Weightman lands in 1888 showed 18,280,000 tons as the gross estimate of coal in B vein on all the tracts. The examination of the coal, as shown by analyses by different chemists under Mr. Lyons, superintendent of the Arnot mines, in 1890, is that in no way is it inferior to the Arnot coal, and in some points it is reported
by the examining engineer to excel it in purity and freedom from partings. In this report the coal in the other beds was not estimated. The amount above given would therefore be largely supplemented by the additional coal areas of the Bache, Trump, and Davidge & Company warrants, and other land owners, and tend materially to increase the gross aggregate yields of tonnage for the area of the whole basin.
The bulk of these lands are known as the "Weightman coal lands," and in charge of Hon. R. J. C. Walker, of Williamsport, who kindly furnished the foregoing information, taken from reports of examinations recently made. They show a local coal field which may be of considerable value in the future, as upon these lands alone there could be based a colliery with an output of 300,000 tons per annum, with an assured stock for sixty years or upwards. And by including the area of the Weightman lands, this basin would assume a commercial value next to the Beech Creek section.
Next in order come the iron ores of Lycoming county. Formation (No. VY, Clinton group, (surgent) the fossil iron ore of Montour's ridge, occurs in the southern part of the county on a long line of outcrop along the face of the mountain and around its flank, forming a loop around Black Hole valley. But on account of the mass of superincumbent debris from the next formation, (No. IV) Medina and Oneida, covering it up deeply, it is not readily accessible. The ore has been mined along the face of the mountain on the north side, in Nippenose township, on either side of Antes creek. High up on the side of the mountain the ore was reported as averaging fifteen to eighteen inches, and the result of three analyses was thirty-nine per cent.; metallic iron, twenty-seven per cent. The ore bed was oolitic, and resembled., closely that of the mountain ridge, a dull, reddish color, staining the hands when coming in contact with it, the deep characteristic color of keel, or Indian paint ore.
Above the Clinton shales (No. V) occur (No. VIII) Chemung measures, which also carry a fossil ore very similar in its characteristics and associated rock formations to (No. V). It has been called the Mansfield iron ore, and has generally been reported in the State Surveys as belonging to the lower part of formation (No. IX). and in (No. VIII); though, where generally found, there is a similar series of shales and limestones above the iron ores as below, to the body of the Chemung measures. There have been many exposures of this ore in the county, and the mines that have been worked will be found noticed in the review of the townships.
These ores occur from fifteen inches to three feet six inches thick and are of various grades of quality. They were mined some thirty-three years ago, and the work was continued for twenty-five years, when the demand for the ores ceased. They were shipped principally to Bloomsburg and Danville, and at the former place were observed to have worked forty per cent. in the furnace when properly mined and clear of slate. This was considered a good working per cent. for ores of this class.
There are next observed several varieties of ore that occur along the edge of the (No. VI) limestone, etc., back of Hughesville. There some very fine hand specimens of yellow hematite iron ore have been found, resembling very closely the hematite ores of Centre county. They deserve attention, as in other parts of the State, between the lower horizon of (No. VII), and top of (No. VI), Lewistown, there have been some good workable ores found. In the upper part of the Portage, (sub-formation of Chemung) (VIII e) the olive shales, there was found a thin vein of pipe ore and a lean sandy ore (on Lycoming creek) called by some the Webster vein, but of no practical value.
There may be observed all along the mountain plateau the formation (No. XI) (Mauch Chunk red shales), with its subdivisions (XI a), (XI b), and (XI c). In (XI a), (umbral shales,) which occur from 120 to 150 feet thick, from the prospecting that has been done among them, they seem to belong to the same horizon as the iron ores called by Professor Rogers, in Geology of Virginia, "the Martin Group;" and they also belong to the same class of ores used quite extensively for a number of years at the Lemont, Centre, and Dunbar furnaces, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania.
Surface specimens of these ores have been found analyzing fifty to sixty per cent. of iron, in masses of from five to fifty pounds weight, of a very fine grained compact and semi-crystalline texture; while very fine specimens of brown and yellow hematite iron ore occur strewed over the surface in Cogan House and in Pine townships, on what are known as "the barrens," where they were reported to be from three to five feet thick. The measures seem to indicate the crops of three or more beds of ore, and deserve investigation as to their value.
Above this are observed the oxidized carbonates and clay carbonates of formations (Nos. XII and XIII). There are many outcrops of these ores in the different coal basins, and they occur in a round and nodular form, from four inches in diameter and upwards. Some fine crystallized specimens of earthy blue color occur on Pine creek, while in McIntyre and on Red run there are many exposures; and at one time good tough iron was made successfully from the pig metal of the white and grey carbonates at the old Astonville furnace by the Essingtons (Crescent Iron Mill from 1840 to 1848) taken from what is now the farm of Charles Heylmun, above Powy's station,
There are some seven veins of brown argillaceous iron ore known to exist in these formations, one band and one slab vein and five veins of ball ore. The ball ore occurs in a soft shale or fire clay four inches to eight in diameter. Also two veins of a grey white carbonate ore, one two feet, and one five and a half feet thick.
The area of the two formations (No. XII and No. XIII) and their accompanying coals, with the area of the inferior formation (No. XI) would embrace a total of upwards of 50,000 acres that contain these different classes of ore in Lycoming county.
In formation (No. X) Pocono and (No. XII) Pottsville conglomerate are many very fine and desirable building stone for massive or cut stone work. There is a better class of building stone from this source in the little stone chapel in Hepburnville, and as good, durable, and economical building stone as many of the imported stones used in some of the Williamsport buildings. Stone have been used in a small way for flagging, of a fair quality, quarried at many places on Big Pine creek, but it is evident from the appearance of some of the flag pavements in the city of Williamsport that some of these are of a very poor quality. This is not because there is not good material to be had, but that a poor selection for a quarry site has been made. Good quarries for flagging might be opened at many places in the county upon the same horizons as have been opened in adjoining counties, and which are accessible at many different places. Fine flagging stone are quarried in (No. VIII) e above Picture Rocks and near Larry's creek, and good quarries might be opened on Pine, Larry's, and Loyalsock creeks on (No. IX) Red Cattskill, and (No. XI b) mountain limestone, with calcareous bands, would furnish flagging of almost any size desirable.
The foregoing interesting description of the geology of the county shows that much of the land is well adapted to agriculture, notwithstanding it is hilly and much broken in many places. The alluvial lands along the river are very rich and produce luxuriant crops; the red shale lands in the northern part of the county are especially well adapted for the production of grasses, and the limestone valleys of Nippenose, White Deer, and a portion of Muncy are noted as wheat growing districts.
From the first settlement of the county agriculture has been the leading pursuit of a majority of the citizens, and the breadth of land under cultivation increases steadily every year. In the red shale districts productive little farms have been made on the sides of the mountains which are a surprise to those who visit them. In "Blooming Grove," as it is called, the industrious and hardy German settlers have made farms that are noted for their productiveness; and notwithstanding that the land is very hilly, it has been made so attractive by the hand of industry, as to elicit the admiration of all visitors.
THE FIRST NURSERY.
The first nursery within the confines of Lycoming county was started by George Edkin in 1794. He came from England when a young man, (see Now and Then, Vol. III, page 244,) and was employed for several years by General Gates, the hero of Saratoga, at New York, as a nurseryman. On the death of Gates he came to Lycoming in 1808, bringing with him a large number of apple, peach, pear, and plum tree shoots. He settled at what is known as "Edkin's Hill," now in Sullivan county, and started a nursery. And from it the settlers in Muncy valley, and up the river as far as Williamsport, were supplied with fruit trees. It is a fact, therefore, that thousands of the apple and other fruit trees of the West Branch were direct descendants of the trees that grew on the farm of General Gates less than a hundred years ago. And it may be mentioned as another singular fact that the only one of Edkin's six children now living is Margaret, the wife of Frederick Taylor, and she is in her ninetieth year. She possesses a large mahogany table which once belonged to Gen. Horatio Gates. It is an interesting relic, on account of its associations, and is carefully treasured by its venerable owner, although she takes great pleasure in exhibiting it to visitors.
EARLY MANUFACTURE OF SALT.
The early settlers experienced much trouble in getting salt, and as it commanded a high price during the two first decades of the century, efforts were made to manufacture it wherever salt wells could be sunk. The locations of "salt licks "were carefully noted, as they were frequently by the deer and elk. Reference has been made to the existence of a primitive salt manufactory on Salt run, in the review of Gamble township; and the Moravians spoke of a "salt lick" near Roaring Branch, where experiments were afterwards made to manufacture salt. A well was sunk to a considerable, depth and salt water discovered, but it does not appear that any great quantity was ever manufactured. A reservation of this salt district was made by Gideon Freeborn, in transferring a large body of land in 1829. ? See Deed Book W, page 380.
As early as 1809 the Lycoming Salt Manufacturing Company was organized at or near Muncy. It appears from old receipts that Joseph Whitacre was president and Samuel Carpenter treasurer. One of the certificates of stock is herewith given:
We do hereby certify that William McCarty is entitled to one share or fiftieth part of the profits and losses arising from the proceeds of the Lycoming Salt manufacturing Company, provided he continues to comply with the articles of the said association. Witness our hands this 5th day of April, A. D. 1809.
JOSEPH WHITACRE, President.
SAMUEL CARPENTER, Treasurer.
That he paid an installment on his stock is shown by this receipt:
Received the 20th of 5th month, 1809, of William McCarty, the sum of $5, it being the first installment on one share held by him in the Lycoming Salt Manufacturing Company. Received by me,
Treas. for said Company.
From the best information it appears that the salt manufactory was located at what is now Driftwood, at the mouth of Bennett's branch, on the Sinnemahoning, and that it was carried on quite extensively. There are persons yet living who remember seeing the evaporating pans used in making salt, and the location of the furnaces is still pointed out. The track of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad now passes over the spot where the salt well was located, nearly opposite the mouth of the creek.
How long these works were carried on, or what was the extent of their manufactures, is unknown. That the company was composed largely of Muncy valley capitalists there seems to be little doubt, as the president was a prominent Quaker resident of that place. McCarty lived in Muncy and his descendants now possess the papers copied above. John Brooks, the well known surveyor, of Sinnemahoning, thinks that the works were carried on until 1820 or 1821, and that many persons were interested, Judge Burnside being among them.
The Lycoming County Agricultural Society was incorporated, September 24, 1859. The charter member's were as follows: B. Morris Ellis, John B. Hall, H. B. Packer, John Gibson, Daniel Updegraff, Charles Allen, Abraham Updegraff, and John V. Woodward. A fine tract of land for exhibition grounds was secured on the eastern end of the "Packer farm," north of the city limits, in Loyalsock township, which was enclosed, buildings erected, and a trotting circle laid out. The society held annual exhibitions, with varying success, until 1883, when it ceased to exist.
The Muncy Valley Farmers' Club, Hughesville, was organized in August, 1868. The first officers were: President, Dr. George Hill; secretary, Daniel Steck. They served until 1873. The first exhibition was hold on the grounds of the club in the fall of 1872. It was quite successful, there being about 1,600 entries. In 1875 a charter of incorporation was procured. The fees for membership were fixed at 50 cents, and 50 cents per annum for dues. For many years a, great feature of the club was the discussion of various agricultural topics which took place at the monthly meetings. They were very fully reported and, elicited much interest. That great good grew out of these discussions was evident. The club still holds annual exhibitions and seems to be in a flourishing condition. At the annual meeting for the election of officers, held December 5, 1891, the following were chosen President, Abner Fague; vice-presidents: James K. Boak, Peter Reeder; secretary, George P. Frontz; assistant secretary, C. Steck Hill; corresponding secretary, A. C. Henry; treasurer, D. H. Poust.
The Lycoming and Clinton County Agricultural Society was chartered May 2, 1878. Citizens of both counties, of whom a long list of names appears in the petition, were interested. The capital stock was fixed at $5,000; shares, $100. The office of the society was at Jersey Shore. Grounds for exhibition purposes were leased and a trotting circle laid out. Fairs were held for several years and were well attended. Finally a lack of interest began to manifest itself, and when the Fall Brook railroad came along in 1882, and desired to occupy a portion of the grounds, the society gave up its lease and passed out of existence.
The State Agricultural Society held an exhibition in Williamsport in the autumn of 1865, which was largely attended. It was brought here through the personal efforts of Peter Herdic, who furnished the grounds, and also to give eclat to his new hotel, the Herdic House, which was opened at the same time. The exhibition grounds have long been used for lumber and manufacturing purposes.
The agricultural statistics collected by the census of 1890 not yet being made public, it is impossible to give the cereal products of the county for that time. For ten years or more the cultivation of tobacco received much attention in and around Jersey Shore, the rich bottom lands being particularly adapted to its growth. It is also cultivated in other parts of the county, but not to the same extent as in this district. The census for 1890 reports 126 acres of tobacco cultivated in 1889, producing 134,791 pounds, valued at $10,370. There has been a marked decline in the tobacco product, however, for the census of 1880 reported 319 acres cultivated, and yielding 463,686 pounds. This shows a falling off in one decade of 328,895 pounds. Various causes combined to bring, about this decline, the principal one being the great flood of June, 1889, which seriously damaged the crop.
The veterinary surgeon may be regarded, to a certain extent, as a factor of agriculture, as his profession calls him to look after the welfare of horses and other animals. Under the act of April 11, 1889, the following veterinary surgeons have registered in the prothonotary's office; the figures indicate when they commenced practicing: William Greenzweit, Williamsport, 1867; William J. Tomlinson, graduate American Veterinary College Williamsport, March 1, 1887; Peter Vanderbelt, Picture Rocks, 1858; David M. Keller, graduate Ontario Veterinary College Williamsport, March 25, 1886; John C. Faughman, Toronto, Ontario Bodines, 1891; Samuel Stickleg, English Centre, 1884; Richard Harding, Penn township, April, 1884; Nicholas Hedrich, Bodines, 1865.