THE beautiful tract of land on which the borough of Muncy is located was one of the first places in the West Branch valley, north of Muncy Hills, where white men settled. Its early history, and the stirring events that have occurred on and around the original manor, have been very fully described in the chapters devoted to our colonial times.
It is curious to note in the old documents and records the various methods of spelling Muncy that have been in vogue: "Monsey," "Muncey," "Munsey," "Munsee," "Minsi," "Munci," "Muncee," "Muncie," and "Munzey." The spelling largely depended on the education and nationality of the writer. The name is derived from a tribe of Delaware Indians, named Monseys, who were found here by the whites. When they moved west the remnants of the tribe settled at what is now the town of Muncie, Indiana.
Muncy manor, it will be remembered, was ordered surveyed and laid out by John Penn in 1769, and held as a reserve in accordance with the policy of the Proprietaries. But when the Proprietary interest ceased it was cut up and sold.
About 1787, four brothers Silas, William, Benjamin, and Isaac McCarty, came here from Bucks county. They were of Quaker extraction. William and Benjamin bought 300 acres known as the "John Brady farm," and divided it William taking the portion between what is now West Water street and Muncy creek, and Benjamin that portion between West Water street and the southern boundary. Main street now represents what was then the boundary between the Brady farm and Isaac Walton's. William built a temporary home on his land between the site of Fort Brady and Muncy creek. Benjamin built a house on his tract, where he lived until 1810.
In 1797, ten years after coming to Muncy, Benjamin McCarty conceived the idea of starting a town, and be commenced laying out lots on what is now Main street, and sold them to different parties. His example was followed by his brother William, north of Water street, and by Isaac Walton. The town was named Pennsborough in honor of the Penns.
The town grow slowly and was nothing but a straggling village for many years better known as "Hardscrabbe," than Pennsborough. The latter name was used by the proprietor in conveying lots, but in one deed made to Jacob Haines, for lot No. 5, the word "Pennsgrove" is used. More than a quarter of a century passed before an act of incorporation was applied for. Finally, by act approved March 15, 1826, it was incorporated as a borough and the boundary lines thus defined:
Beginning at the northeast corner of an outlot of John Reibsam; thence east by said lot To its northeast corner: thence south by said lot, M. Neill's lot, etc., to the middle of the great road leading, to Muncy Hills; thence, east along the middle of said road to the northeast corner of an outlot of the estate of John Brindle, deceased; thence south by said lot to its southeast corner; thence by a straight line to the northeast corner of an outlot of James White; thence south by said lot to its southeast corner; thence by a straight line to the northeast corner of a lot surveyed to Dr. T. Wood, Jr.; thence by said lot to its southeast corner; thence by a straight line to the northeast corner of an outlot of John Holler; thence by, a straight line to the southeast corner of Mrs. G. Wood's south lot on Shuttle hill; thence west by said lot to the middle of the road leading to Milton; thence by said road to a point opposite the southeast comer of an outlot of Abel Edwards; thence west by said lot to its southwest corner; thence north by said lot, by lots of J. Turner, A. Haycock, lot late of H. Pepper, and lot of John Uhl, to the northeast corner of lot of Ezekiel Walton; thence east by said lot to its north-east corner; thence by a straight line to the place of beginning, shall be and the same is hereby erected into a borough, which shall be called the borough of Pennsborough.
The act provided that the people living within these lines should elect borough officers and be governed by the same "rules and regulations as had been granted to and provided for the inhabitants and borough officers of the borough of Williamsport." The latter borough had been erected just twenty years before. The records show that the first election was held at the old brick school house, corner of Main and New streets, Thursday, June 15, 1826, pursuant "to an agreement of the majority of the inhabitants of said borough, under their bands and seals, in conformity to the act of incorporation." The officers of that election were: Judge, John P. Schuyler; inspector, Samuel Shoemaker; clerk, John Reibsam, and their return shows that James Boal was elected burgess; Francis McFall, Benjamin S. McCarty, Isaac Bruner, Thomas Colt, and Jacob Pott, town council; Eli Russel, high constable.
The borough government thus organized simply set the machinery in motion, for beyond the election of John P. Schuyler and Samuel Shoemaker as poor overseers December 12, 1826, this council, so far as the records show, did no business. The newly elected poor overseers, however, at once began to exercise the authority of their office by promptly removing one Sarah Weldon to Lancaster. This was the first case under the jurisdiction of the poor authorities of the borough and it is worthy of note that the poor unfortunate Sarah was not "actually" a pauper, but by William Chamberlin and Benjamin Warner, Esquires, two of tile justices of the peace, in and for said county, it was adjudged that "she was likely to become chargeable" to the newly organized borough.
Subsequently, by act of January 19, 1827, the name was changed from Pennsborough to Muncy. This was done because many persons thought it was "too flat and long," and the new name would be more in accordance with the historical associations of the place, and serve to perpetuate the name of the tribe that first dwelt there.
This act also legalized the election previously hold tinder the name of Pennsborough, and "confirmed and declared valid whatever had been done by the burgess, town council, and other officers so elected," and provided that they should remain in office until the third Friday of March, 1827, "and no longer;" because after that date the clause in the act under which they were elected would be repealed and the corporate title "changed to the name and style of the burgess and town council of the borough of Muncy."
The election under the provisions of the new act was held at the "Town House," March 16, 1827. David Lloyd and James Craig were judges; James Turner, inspector, and Henry Wiser and James Henderson, clerks, and the following officers were elected: Burgess, James Boal; town council: Jacob Pott, Francis McFall, William Cox Ellis, John Wendle, Joseph Frederick, Amos Heacock; high constable, Nicholas Merrill; constable, William Bigger; supervisors: Benjamin S. McCarty, Jacob Cooke; poor overseers: William Pidcock, Thomas Van Buskirk. This council seems to have had quite a time in "getting themselves together." We find that they met, March 19, 1827, and elected William Quinn, treasurer, and James Henderson, clerk, after which a quorum was bard to get, and it was not until Burgess Boal issued his "summons," May 26, 1827, that the council did any business. They distinguished themselves, however, at their first meeting by passing ordinance No. 1, which forbids hogs to run at large.
The borough records show that the following persons voted at the election held March 16, 1827: Benjamin S. McCarty, Andrew McCarty, John P. Schuyler, John Reibsam, Jr., James White, Jacob Rooker, John Uhl, Thomas Van Buskirk, Francis McFall, Thomas Colt, Jacob Pott, Peter Wendle, George De Hass, William Michael, John Pott, John Bruner, Eli Russel, James Bishop, Amos Heacock, Simon Schuyler, John Wendle, Peter Reibsam, John Hufer, George Lebo, James Craig, Peter Becher, Jacob Hackenberg, Philip Reibsam, Elijah Smith, Dr. Thomas Wood, James Beal, Dr. George Wood, William Bigger, Ezekiel Walton, William Quinn, William Edwards, Joseph Bishop, Samuel Shoemaker, Peter Michael, James Turner, Charles Lebo, Henry Wiser, Nicholas Merrill, James Henderson, James Rankin, John Holler, William A. Petrikin, David Lloyd, Samuel Edwards, John Fogleman, Isaac Bruner, Joshua Bowman, Philip Reibsam, Joseph Frederick, Conrad Frederick, William McCarty, John Reibsam, and James P. Howland.
Fifty-eight votes were polled, which might be considered a pretty good "turn out" for that time, but the novelty of having a new borough government undoubtedly excited more interest than usual and caused this good attendance at the polls.
The assessment list for 1827 shows who were the first taxables of the borough of Muncy. It is as follows: Adler, William J.; Buskirk, Thomas, Jr.; Bruner, Isaac; Beeber, Peter; Bigger, William; Boal, James; Buskirk, Thomas; Bishop, James; Bruner, Solomon, Bower, Brindle Heirs; Colt, Thomas; Crouse, John J.; Craig, James; Chilcot, Rachel; Doctor, Henry; Ellis, William Cox; Edwards, Samuel; Edwards, William; Edwards, Abel; Frederick, Conrad; Fletcher, James; Frederick, Joseph; Fahnestock, Henry; Galer, George; Grange, William; Grange, Thomas; Hall, Thomas; Huckle, John; Harlan, Joshua; Holler, John; Hackenburg, Jacob; Hawley, Enos; De Hass, George; Henderson, James; Haines, Barbara; Heacock, Amos; Hitesman, George; Jones, Benjamin; Johnson, Lewis; Lebo, Charles; Lloyd, David; Lebo, Benjamin; Moyer, Jacob; McCarty, Mary; McCarty, Silas; McCarty, B. S.; Michael, William; McCarty, Charles; Michael, Peter; Merrill, Elizabeth; Merrill, Nicholas; McKinney, John; McFall, Francis; McCarty, John; Neel, Mar-garet; Petrikin, William A.; Petrikin & Bowman; Pott, John; Pott, Jacob; Pidcock, William; Philipu, Daniel; Patterson, Aaron; Quinn, William; Rizener, Samuel; Rooker, Jacob; Reibsam, Philip; Reibsam Lewis; Russel, Eli; Reibsam, John; Rothrick, Henry; Reibsam, Peter; Rusli, William; Rankin, James Ross, Margaret; Shoemaker, Samuel; Schuyler, John P.; Turner, James; Treon, Dr. George; Taylor, Abraham; Uhl, John; Weiser, Henry; Walton, Isaac; Wendle, John, Wood, Thomas; Wood, Grissel; Walton, Ezekiel; Wood, Dr. George; Whitmoyer, George; White, James; Wallis, Samuel; Wood, Henry; Yoxthimer, Jacob.
Single Freemen. Beeber, Isaac; Bruner, John; Bishop, Joseph; Erwine, William; Frederick, Thomas; Fogleman, John; Fahnestock, Abner; Hurlocker, Jacob; Lebo, George; Michael, Peter; Reibsam, John, Jr.; Reibsam, Philip, Jr.; Reibsam, William; Whitmoyer, Christian.
The first assessed valuation of property aggregated $14,500, the rate of taxation that year (1827) being 5 mills, and the levy for the borough purposes was $72.50. The assessed valuation for 1891 was slightly in excess of $500,000, and there are several individuals who pay a tax on a larger valuation than the entire assessment for 1827.
This list of taxables shows the names of the residents of Muncy at the time it was made a borough. The names are those of early settlers, some of whom fought Indians during & Revolution; others served in the Revolutionary army, and still later in the war of 1812. The descendants of the majority of them still live here and are worthy representatives of their forefathers.
AN ELECTION MUDDLE.
A supplemental act approved March 15, 1831, authorized nine persons for town council to be elected on the third Friday of the following March; three to serve three years; the next three highest two years, and the next three highest one year; and at every subsequent annual election the places of three whose terms were about to expire should be supplied by the election of three others.
This act caused a misunderstanding and some trouble. At the regular election hold March 18, 1831, Gen. William A. Petrikin was certified as elected to the office of burgess, but the election was set aside because "the officers holding the election were not sworn, before proceeding to business, and that nine persons were elected for town council, whereas the advertisement calling on the citizens to elect borough officers directed them to elect but seven persons for that office." A special election was ordered for April 11th following, at which James Boal was chosen.
The act of April 1, 1837, extended the limits of the borough considerably.
It was decided by the court, December 12, 1853, "that the borough of Muncy shall become subject to the restrictions and possess the powers conferred by the act, entitled an act regulating boroughs, passed April 3. A. D. 1851, and the provis-ions of the former charter are hereby cancelled so far as they conflict with the act of April 3, 1851." This act provided for five councilmen, but no change was made, and nine councilmen were annually elected, until the court, January 12, 1869, ordered and decreed "That five persons, inhabitants all citizens of said
borough, shall be elected at the next borough election for said borough, as and for the town council; one person as burgess thereof, and all other corporate elective officers mentioned in the general law of April 1, A. D. 1834, and of April 3, A. D. 1851, and to be elected annually thereafter."
By act of June 2, 1871, the number of members of the town council of all boroughs was changed to six, and it was provided that the "several courts of the Commonwealth may upon application fix or change the charter of any borough so as to authorize the burgess or chief executive officer thereof to serve as a member of the town council, with full powers as such, and to preside at the meetings thereof." No such application has ever been made by Muncy borough, and hence the burgess is not a member of the council and can not preside over its deliberations.
Under the act of April 4, 1803, the county commissioners were required to lay out the county into suitable districts for the appointment of a competent number of justices of the peace. Lycoming county was, by said act, limited to six districts. Samuel Shoemaker was appointed one of the justices of the peace for the Second district, composed of the townships of Muncy Creek, Moreland, and part of Washington, May 1, 1821. It some later date the Second district was changed to include Penn, Franklin, Davidson, and Cherry townships, (now in Sullivan county) and Simon Schuyler was appointed an additional justice, May 17, PS27, and John Johnson, January 8, 1835.
The borough records show that Samuel Shoemaker and Simon Schuyler were justices of the peace in 1829, and that they both remained in office from that time until after the first election for justices in 1840.
The act of June 21, 1839, provided for the election of justices of the peace-two for each township, borough, etc., and the records show the following persons to have been commissioned for Muncy borough upon the dates set opposite their respective names:
David Lloyd, May 11, 1840.
Adam Rankin, March 24, 1869.
John J. Crouse, May 11, 1840.
Simon Schuyler, March 7, 1870.
Resigned, March 1, 1872.
David Floyd, March 18, 1845.
Simon Schuyler, March 18, 1845.
A. B. Putnam, March 12, 1872.
Simon Schuyler, March 12, 1850.
John J. Crouse, March 24, 1874.
John J. Crouse, March 12, 1850.
Joseph Shoemaker, April 5, 1877.
W. P. I. Painter, March 13, 1855.
D. B. Dykins, September 1, 1879.
Appointed vice John J. Crouse, deceased.
Jacob Pott, March 13,1855.
W. P. I. Painter, March 13, 1860.
D. B. Dykins, March 30, 1880.
Simon Schuyler, April 16, 1860.
Joseph Shoemaker, April 10, 1882.
W. P. I. Painter, April 5, 1865.
Resigned, December 31, 1898.
D. B. Dykins, April 18, 1885
Joseph Shoemaker, April 14, 1887.
Simon Schuyler, April 5, 1865.
D. B. Dykins, April 15, 1890.
Muncy has been a borough for sixty-six years and her records for that time have been carefully preserved, which is more than can be said of Jersey Shore and Williamsport. Her burgesses for that time, with their names and dates of election, are herewith presented; 1826-20, James Boal; 1830, William A. Petrikin; 1831, James Boal, 1832-33, Simon Schuyler; 1834, Joseph Gudykunst; 1835, Simon Schuyler; 1836-30, David Lloyd; 1840-41, Jacob Cooke; 1842-43, Jacob Bruner; 1844, Joshua Bowman. 1845, Enos Hawley; 1846-49, Samuel Shoemaker; 1850,
Baker Langcake; 1851, Samuel Shoemaker; 1852-53, William P. I. Painter; 1854, Jacob Cooke; 1855-56, Robert Wilson; 1857-59, John Burrows; 1860-64, E. M. Green; 1865, Daniel Clapp; 1866-657, Benjamin S. Merrill; 1868, O. A. McCarty; 1869, John M. Bowman; 1870, Thomas G. Downing; 1871, William Cox Ellis; 1872, Charles A. Bowers; 1873, George L. I. Painter; 1874, D. B. Dykins; 1875, L. E. Schuyler; 1876-77, Adam Rankin; 1878-79, John De Haas; 1880-81, A. W. Tallman; 1882; E. P. Hall; 1883-81, W. E. Mohr; 1885, S. E. Sprout; 1886, Baker L. Bowman; 1887, A. H. Gudykunst; 1888-89, Baker L. Bowman; 1890, Lewis S. Smith; 1891, George L. Painter; 1892, John Stauffer.
The secretaries of council during these sixty-six years have been as follows: James Henderson, from 1826 to 1857; Robert Hawley, 1857 to 1864; W. P. 1. Painter, 1864 to 1869; Rev. George C. Drake, 1869 to 1876; Charles A. Bowers, 1876 to 1878; William H. Everett, 1,878 to 1880; D. B. Dykins, 1880 to 1892.
The only material addition to the territory within the borough limits since the act of incorporation was by act of Assembly in 1853, when the northern line was extended from the southern line of the lot now occupied by Henry V. Peterman, on Main street, to its present location, and embracing the addition laid out by H. Noble, and known as Nobletown. An ordinance was passed in 1869 to extend the lines to the river on the west, Muncy creek on the north, the manor line on the east, and to Musser's lane on the south; also an ordinance in 1876 to extend the lines eastward to the manor line, and to straighten the northern line so as to include all of Mechanic street or "Lovely lane;" but both of the proposed additions failed to receive the approval of the grand jury and were, therefore, inoperative.
The result of this refusal to enlarge the territory is that towns have grown up to the east and the west of the borough and though only separated from it by an imaginary line they aggregate almost as great a population as Muncy itself. These settlements belong to Muncy Creek township, but are practically a part of the borough. This has caused its population to appear less in the census reports than it really was. The population of the borough for six decades has been reported as follows:
1840 ……………….. 662
1850 ……………….. 901
1860 ……………….. 1,055
1870 ……………….. 1,070
1880 ……………….. 1,174
1890 ……………….. 1,310
The census of 1890 showed the population of Muncy Creek township to be 1,740, and out of this number fully 1,000 should be accredited to the borough, which would swell its population to over 2,300.
The records at Washington show that a postoffice was established at Muncy, April 1, 1800, and Henry Shoemaker was appointed postmaster. His successors have been as follows: James Boal, appointed January 13, 1803; John Brindle, January 11, 1815; Abraham Taylor, December 28, 1816; William Pidcock, February 22, 1817; George Frederick, Jr., December 4, 1819; William A. Petrikin, March 20, 1822; Cowden S. Wallis, December 22, 1840; John P. Schuyler, March 15, 1843; William Michael, December 14, 1844; John Whitlock, May 1, 1849; William Michael, July 11, 1857; Enos Hawley, July 9, 1861. After this date the postmasters were appointed by the President, as follows: Enos Hawley, April 5, 1869; George E. T. Painter, March 12, 1873; James H. Fulmer, December 5, 1885; P. M. Trumbower, October 8, 1889; W. E. Mohr, February 29, 1890.
Gen. William A. Petrikin hold the office nearly nineteen years, the longest of any one of the appointees; Mr. Painter came next, with nearly thirteen years; then Enos Hawley with nearly twelve. Furthermore, the records show that in 1826 a mail route was established from Muncy to Meansville (Towanda, Bradford county); 1832, Pottsville to Muncy, Muncy to Cherry, Towanda, and Jersey Shore.
Among the old time families of Muncy may be mentioned those of Brindle and Petrikin. Henry Brindle and Susanna Hildebrand were married in 1773 and had four children. John, when he grew up, became one of the early merchants and was postmaster from July 1, 1814, to March 31, 1817. He married Margaret, daughter of John Montgomery, and they had two children. Ellen, the daughter, died several years ago, and William, the son, lives in Philadelphia. John Brindle Carried on the mercantile business alone, and then in connection with his brother-in -law, Henry Fahnestock, husband of his sister Elizabeth. He died, December 1, 1819. William Brindle, brother of John, became one of the publishers of the Lycoming Gazette in 1808, He met his death by drowning when crossing Muncy creek near Clarkstown, May 15, 1833. His remains were laid in Walton's grave-yard and the mound was enclosed by a brick wall upon which was placed a large marble slab. A tree was planted by his friend. the late Joshua Bowman, as a grow-ing tribute of affection for his dead friend, which still stands as a sentinel over the grave, notwithstanding half a hundred years have passed. William Brindle, the nephew, served in the Mexican war as an officer, and on his return home brought with him a native Mexican boy, but, he died soon after of consumption.
William Alexander Petrikin was one of Muncy's representative and influential citizens, and was identified with all her growing institutions up to the time of his death, which occurred December 20, 1867, at the age of seventy-four. He came to Muncy when quite a young man and succeeded in establishing himself in business. He married the widow of John Brindle. She was a lady of exceedingly pleasant manners, a good adviser, and possessed of considerable property. Six children blessed the union, as follows: Elizabeth, who married Adolphus D. Wilson, Esq., and died in Williamsport; Hon. J. M. B. Petrikin, deceased; R. Bruce Petrikin, Esq., of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania; Margaret M., widow of Charles Dunning, Hon. Henry W. Petrikin, of Montoursville; and Jeanette C., wife of Rev. Stewart Mitchell, D. D.
William A. Petrikin held many offices of trust and responsibility during his life. He was postmaster of Muncy from March 22, 1822, to December 31, 1841, a period of over eighteen years. On the 4th of July, 1842, he was appointed major general of the Ninth division, Pennsylvania Militia. General Petrikin was a self-made man and often spoke of the very short time he went to school, and of the disadvantages he labored under when a boy; but there was no better read man in the borough than he, and his library consisted of the choicest literature. Principally through his means the Muncy Female Seminary was established in 1840, an institution that was an honor to the place. He was also one of the originators of the Lycoming Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was its first secretary. He was a prominent and energetic politician in the Democratic party, and only through dissension in his party was he defeated when twice a candidate for Congress. Socially he was one of the most pleasant, dignified, and entertaining gentlemen of his day.
Another old time resident is Baker Langcake. He was born near Philadelphia, January 23, 1803, of English parentage. He married Miss Janet Hepburn, daughter of Judge William Hepburn, of Williamsport, and first settled there, where he followed the mercantile business for several years. Mr. Langcake took up his residence near Muncy many years ago, and became largely identified with business operations. After a long, and busy career he is now enjoying the evening Of life at the mellow age of over eighty-nine, respected and honored by his friends.
It is not positively known who opened the first hotel, although there is proof that Jacob Merrill died while keeping a tavern in 1804. It has been stated that Benjamin McCarty opened the first tavern, but his descendants declare that they are not aware that a McCarty was ever engaged in that business, all being Quakers in their belief. It is probable that Benjamin McCarty built the house and Merrill started a tavern about the beginning of this century. After his death in 1804 his widow kept the house until 1822 or later. James Merrill was born there in 1818, and B. S. Merrill, still living in Muncy, in 1820.
After Merrill, one of the first landlords was "Jack" Kelly. His tavern was the house now occupied as a dwelling by, and belonging to, Mrs. Ida Van B. Walton, on the southwest corner of Main and High streets. His black cook, "Beck," was famous for her skill in basting, turkeys on the spit. It was in the well of this house that some one living up Glade run, by way of a barbarous joke, threw a dead wolf, and much unpleasantness was caused thereby. For a long time afterwards the water was called "wolf broth!" Kelly rented the house of Ellis Walton who bought the ground of the Penns, and sold it to Philip Goodman in 1815. His successor, as landlord, was Christian Holler; after him came George Spade, and John P. Schuyler was the last. in 1820 or 1826. The name of the tavern was the American House.
In 1826 the Muncy Valley House one door south of Schuyler's was built, and after that the corner house was no longer kept as a tavern. The first landlord of the Muncy Valley was Robert Dunlap. He afterwards took charge of a house in Philadelphia.
The Buck Tavern in later times known as the Petrikin on the west side of Main street, was opened about as early as Kelly's. Jacob Merrill had kept it for several years before he died in 1804. After his death his widow, Elizabeth, conducted it for eighteen years. She was succeeded by Thomas Hall.
The Union House, now known as the Central, and owned by L. G. Watts, was built by George Fredericks, and opened to the public by a grand dance in the winter of 1812. The famous dancing, master and violinist of the time, "Bob "Paterson, conducted the dance. It was at this house that the first Masonic funeral ever
witnessed in Muncy occurred, the deceased brother being George Fredericks. It is recorded in Now and Then, Vol. I, page 55, that among the Muncy Masons in the procession were Dr. Thomas Wood, David Lloyd, Samuel Shoemaker, Conrad Fredericks, Henry Wiser, John Walton, and William Cox Ellis. The latter carried the open Bible on which lay the emblematic square and compass. Esquire Henry Lenhart, of Williamsport, was the chaplain, and in his peculiar and loud tone of voice conducted the impressive service. The nearest Masonic lodge at that time was in Williamsport.
The successors of Fredericks were Thomas Van Buskirk, Thomas Montgomery, John Woodly, Henry Weaver, John Hepburn, Noble Parker, and William Johnson. The sign was a likeness of Anthony Wayne mounted on a spirited charger. In early times, it is related, a party of Indians came along and seeing the sign exclaimed, "Bad man! Bad man!"
According to an old record John Shaffer applied for a license in 1841 to keep the Franklin Hotel, (now Crawford,) and out of fourteen names attached to the petition but two persons are yet living; they are William Brindle and George Gowers. Peter Kelchner kept the old Petrikin stand, and William Quinn the Washington Hotel, but in 1842 the latter was run as a temperance house by Elias Benner. During this year Father Matthew caused a great revival in the temperance cause and Muncy felt the benefit of it.
The manufacturing industries of Muncy have increased greatly during, the past decade. The Muncy Woolen Mills Company, founded in 1882, after a prosperous career of ten years, was chartered February 12, 1892, with a capital of $100,000. The directors are George H. Rogers, James Coulter, Samuel Rogers, and Samuel Coulter, Muncy; Uriah Megahan and J. Clinton Hill, Williamsport. The mills of the company are situated on Market street near the basin, and the buildings are brick. The consumption of wool annually reaches 150,000 pounds. During the year 1891 the company manufactured and sold 30,000 blankets. From fifty to sixty hands are employed.
The Muncy Manufacturing Company, Limited, is engaged in the production of furniture. The company was organized in 1887; officers: George H. Rogers, president; A. B. Worthington, superintendent and treasurer; W. F. Brittain, secretary and bookkeeper. The manufactory of the company is located between the railroad and canal, near the Reading railroad station, and is quite extensive. The product consists of hardwood chamber suites, sideboards, and a line of common beds. Between fifty and sixty hands find steady employment and the value of the annual production is $100,000.
Another industry is that of L. B. Sprout, John Waldron, and James Sprout. They manufacture milling machinery and haying tools. Their factory, which is large, is located near the Reading railroad extension and canal. The firm employs forty-five men and pays out about $18,000 annually in wages. The line of manufacture consists of bolters, purifiers, French buhr mills, hay elevators, forks, hooks, grapples, and pulleys. The factory was destroyed by fire in 1888, but was immediately rebuilt.
S. E. Sprout & Son are largely engaged in the manufacture of the Williams Evaporator for drying fruit. And in connection with this business they carry on a planing Mill, which gives employment to about fifteen bands.
The Muncy Table Works Company, composed of Richard P. Ort and Ellis Gundrum, was formed in July, 1888. They have an excellent plant supplied with the necessary machinery, and manufacture extension tables, book cases, ladies' secretaries, and small stands. They employ fifteen men and turn out thirty-five extension tables per week along with their other specialties.
The Muncy Agricultural Works, John Artley, proprietor, is one of the oldest industries of the borough. Plows of various styles and patterns are manufactured, besides attention being given to repair work.
Muncy has no large factories engaged in the manufacture of carriages and wagons by machinery, but she has three good shops carried on by competent mechanics. These shops annually turn out quite a number of fine carriages, buggies, wagons, and buckboards. The carriage shops are run by De Haas Brothers, John Gable, and J. A. M. McDaniels.
Another industry is the machine and engine building shop of Clinton Guyer. He is a young man of great energy and much mechanical skill and ability. Mr. Guyer is one of the inventors of the Stayman Guyer Automatic Engine, a piece of machinery that is rapidly coming into popular favor; and also of a hammerless gun.
Perry M. Trumbower, proprietor of the Muncy Machine Works, is doing a general foundry and repair business. His shops are well equipped with tools and machinery, and he is prepared to do all kinds of casting, and machine work.
Another industry calculated to bring comfort to wearied humanity and soothe the tired brain is the Gernerd Spring Bed. J. M. M. Gernerd, antiquarian, and late publisher of a local bi-monthly magazine, entitled Now and Then, is the inventor, as well as the manufacturer, of this popular spring bed bottom, which is noted for being light, clean, noiseless, strong, durable, beautiful, and delightfully elastic.
THE BANK AND INSURANCE COMPANY.
The Citizen's National Bank of Muncy was incorporated, April 3, 1886, with a capital stock of $50,000. The officers for 1892 are: President, E. M. Green; cashier, John H. Hatch; teller, Clyde S. Smith; directors: E. M.. Green, James Ecroyd, John Phillip Opp, A. C. Trumbower, David Stolz, H. V. Peterman, E. R. Noble, William J. McCarty, Lewis S. Smith.
The West Branch Mutual Fire Insurance Company was chartered, June 4, 1878. The general objects of the company are to insure against loss by fire, all kinds of buildings used in connection with agricultural pursuits and rural residences and their contents, if sufficiently isolated, as well as all kinds of personal property belonging to a farm, or used by a farmer, under such limitations as the by-laws may impose. Thirteen directors are elected annually on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in January, and meet to organize on the Saturday following. The officers for 1892 are: C. D. Eldred, president; William J. Wood, secretary; Hiram Dunkel, treasurer. The latter is cashier of the Farmers' National Bank of Watson-town. The directors are C. D. Eldred, William J. Wood, Hiram Dunkel, William N. Koch, D. F. Dietrick, J. R. Murray, Henry Smith, B. F. Gortner, Peter Gray, Joseph Hileman, John Vanderbelt, F. C. Ulman, and W. F. Schooley. The annual statement showing receipts and expenditures for 1891, including an account of the risks in force and deposit notes on hand, is as follows: Cash account, $7,597.56; losses and liabilities, $7,432.88; risks in force, December 31, 1890, $1,675,285.95; risks taken during 1891; $402,961.65; total, $2,078,247.60. Expired, exchanged, or surrendered during 1891; $270,842.66, leaving a balance of $1,807,404.94 in force.
Muncy is supplied with water brought from a reservoir located on the south fork of Glade run nearly three miles southeast of the borough. The capacity is 3,000,000 gallons. The system cost about $35,000.
There are six secret societies in Muncy, as follows: Muncy Lodge, 29 9, A. Y. M., which was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on the 2d of June, 1856, and began with nine members, the present membership being over 100; Brady Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 116; Col. John D. Musser Post, No. 66, G. A. R.; Junior Order of American Mechanics, No. 516; Royal Arcanum, No. 934; Patriotic Order Sons of America, Washington Camp, No. 166.
The Muncy Telegraph was the first paper started in Muncy. James Potter Patterson founded it in the autumn of 1831. It was a folio and had five columns to the page. The young editor conducted it with spirit and ability, and had he lived would doubtless have made his mark. He died of consumption, February 27, 1835, at the early age of nearly twenty-three. James Potter Patterson was born on the Juniata, and started on his brief editorial career in Muncy when but eighteen. His grandfather, William Patterson, commanded the whites in the battle with the Indians in Muncy Hills in 1763. After his death A. Maclay Patterson, probably his brother, conducted the paper about a month, when J. Kidd Shoemaker became the editor and published the paper until the spring of 1841, when he removed the establishment to Bellefonte.
Next came The Luminary as the successor of The Telegraph. It was founded, April 10, 1841, by W. P. L. & G. L. I. Painter. Originally it was a five-column paper, the size of the sheet being 21x28. In 1844 in was enlarged to six columns, size of sheet 21x31. The senior editor retired in 1846. and George L. I. Painter the junior, continued the paper alone until April, 1879, when he retired, and his son, William P. Painter, assumed control. He was succeeded in 1888 by Thomas B. Painter, a brother, who is the present editor. It is now a nine-column paper, size of sheet 28x44, and a power press and steam are employed to print it. The Luminary has always been a stanch Whig and Republican paper. On the 31st of July, 1891, it celebrated its semi-centennial anniversary by publishing a double sheet filled with valuable matter relating to the history of Muncy, which the author has freely made use of in the compilation of this chapter. It is rare to find a paper fifty years old that has never been out of the family that founded it.
Sometime in the summer of 1844 The Olive Branch was issued by J. M. Newson. it was discontinued at the end of a year. A copy is now in the collection of Mr. Gernerd.
A little historical magazine, called Now and Then, was started by J. M. M. Gernerd in June, 1868, and published irregularly up to February, 1878, when it was discontinued. During the ten years of its existence nineteen numbers were published, and it became very popular on account of the valuable local historical matter it contained. After a rest of ten years Mr. Gernerd resumed his Now and Then in an enlarged form as a bi-monthly July - August, 1888, and continued it up to May, 1892. It largely increased in popularity and value during the four years it was published.
The Muncy Pastorate founded in August, 1890, by Rev. J. A. Koser, pastor of the Lutheran church, is a unique little quarterly devoted to the interests of his church and congregation.
One of the first school houses within the present borough limits was situated at the corner of Main street and the Danville road. It was built of round, unhewn logs, and roofed with bark; the regulation pine slab, with four pegs in it, was used for a seat, In the year 1800 the Guide school house was built near the southwest comer of Muncy manor, and one George Hog became the first teacher. Later another school house was built in the northern part of Muncy and was used for school purposes many years.
In 1834 a law was passed by the State legislature to provide for the better education of the children of the Commonwealth. Under the provisions of this act directors or trustees were elected, who should look after the work of procuring teachers and buildings. The first election for school directors was held at the "Brick school house," September 19, 1834, and the following were chosen: George Roberts, Joseph K. Frederick, James Rankin, Joshua Bowman, J. Potter Patterson, Simon Schuyler.
In 1841 the first seminary for young ladies was opened under the direction of Miss Anna Wynkoop, assisted by her sister. Mrs. Belinda Smalley, wife of Rev. John Smalley, opened a select school in 1846. When Mr. Life succeeded her husband in 1857, his wife continued the school. These schools were of marked excellence, and to this day Mrs. Smalley and Mrs. Life are hold in the highest esteem for their invaluable services to Muncy as educators of her youth. It was during the time of Mrs. Life that Miss Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, sister of ex-President Cleveland, was employed as a teacher.
Up to 1873 the school houses were scattered and overcrowded and the teachers could not do justice to their pupils. These troubles were overcome this year by the completion of a magnificent school building at a cost of $30,000, which put Muncy in the front rank, so far as educational buildings were concerned. The work was systematically arranged. A high school course leading to graduation was introduced, the first class graduating in 1881. The course embraces a thorough drill in the common branches, taking up also Latin, German, literature, and some of the higher mathematics. It has attracted many students from outside the borough, and each year finds an increase in the number of those who wish to avail themselves of the advantage of this excellent course of study. There are six schools in the building and last year seven and two-thirds months were taught by four male and three female teachers. The enrollment showed 321 pupils.
The Lycoming County Normal School was organized at Montoursville in the spring of 1870 under the leadership of T. G. Gahn, Esq., ex-county superintendent, and W. R. Bierly, Esq. The number of students at first was small and its influence confined within narrow limits. Each year, however, there was an increase in the attendance, and in 1877 the school had grown so large that it was removed to Muncy, where the handsome and commodious building which had just been erected offered the necessary facilities. Before the establishment of this school the teachers of the county had no acquaintance with the theory of teaching, or school government, and the advancement that was made was slow and unsatisfactory. Teachers labored vigorously for the advancement of those under their care, but no adequate returns rewarded their toil. The Normal teaching presented new methods and theories, which were carried into the work of teaching, and the progress that was made was gratifying to all friends of popular education. During the period that the school has now been here it has continually advanced in numbers and influence. The course of study has been enlarged, and now includes, besides the regular teachers' course, a college preparatory course, which prepares pupils for admission to the leading institutions. Since its inception the school has been in charge of the following principals: Ex-County Superintendent C. S. Riddell; Superintendent Charles Lose, A. M.; Emerson Collins, Esq.; W. R. Peoples, Esq., and J. George Becht, B. S. The catalogue for 1892 shows an enrollment of 231 students, the largest in the history of the institution. Two free scholarships are offered to the pupils of the public schools passing the best examination for common school diplomas.
An Episcopal church was the first founded in Muncy. From a pamphlet history left by the late Rev. A. P. Brush, it appears that in 1797 the Rev. Caleb Hopkins came to Muncy and held a service. He was a missionary and a pioneer. During the war of the Revolution he was a lieutenant in the Continental army; at its close he laid aside his sword. His missionary work began at Milton, and extended to Muncy, Jersey Shore, and other points. It is supposed the first services at Muncy were held in a barn. An entry in an old book says: "At a regular meeting of the congregation of St. James church, held at Immanuel church of the German Luther-ans in Muncy Creek township, on the 30th of August, 1819, officers were chosen, namely: Samuel Shoemaker, clerk of the vestry; Thomas Adlum, John Shipman, Benjamin Shoemaker, Matthias Woodley, Deter Dimm, vestrymen; Edward G. Lyon, Jacob Shoemaker, Esq., John Opp, Benjamin Smith, wardens." This was the first organization, but where they had been worshiping before this is unknown. It is probable, however, that what was known as the Guide school house had been the place of worship for many years. Mr. Hopkins was chosen rector about this time, and served until January, 1824, when he removed to Angelica, New York, where be soon afterwards died. He "was the first resident minister in this vicinity who preached in the English tongue."
Mr. Hopkins was succeeded by Rev. William Eldred, who, as a young man, had practiced law in England. The story of his life is most interesting and pathetic. He was a man of untiring energy and industry. He walked from here to Philadelphia and back in midwinter to be examined for ordination. Literally worn out by hard work, he died, January 16, 1828.
Rev. Lucius Carter succeeded Mr. Eldred as rector, December 7, 1828. The following year was made memorable by a visit from the Rt. Rev. H. U. Onderdonk. The bishop officiated in Immanuel church and confirmed thirty-three people.
During the rectorship of Mr. Carter the first Episcopal church was built. It stood on the site of the present church; was a plain brick building, and cost $1,946. It was reconsecrated by Bishop Onderdonk, June 9, 1832. Mr. Carter resigned the same day, and August 10, 1833, Rev. Isaac Smith was called. He served the congre-gation six years, and resigned in August, 1839. Rev. Edwin N. Lightner came the 1st of February, 1840, and owing to his zeal, vigor, and efficiency, Muncy is today the mother parish of the parishes of Williamsport and Lock Haven. After the retirement of Mr. Lightner the following rectors had charge: Rev. John B. Calhoun, Rev. Colley Alexander Foster, Rev. John Gaulter Downing, Rev. George C. Drake, Rev. Albra Wadleigh. He was tile tenth rector, and took charge in 1857. During his administration a new church was built, and it was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Samuel Bowman, November 15, 1859. It cost $9,000. Mr. Wadleigh retired in 1866, and was succeeded by Rev. A. P. Brush. His successors are as follows: Rev. P. B. Lightner, Rev. F. Duncan Jordan. Rev. Francis D. Canfield, Rev. W. H. Johnson, Rev. David L. Fleming, and Rev. William Heakes, the present Incumbent.
The second oldest church in Muncy is the Methodist. The first sermon was preached by Rev. John Rhodes in the old log school house, on South Main street, in 1821. The first church was erected on the site of the present church in 1830. In 1854 it was displaced by the present building at a cost of $7,000. Four years later the gable end and roof were destroyed by, a wind storm, but they were replaced at a cost of $1,500. During 1884 the church was remodeled at a cost of $2,500, and a parsonage was also purchased and fitted up at a cost of $3,000. In 1890 the debt was wiped out and the church now rejoices in the possession of church property worth $15,000, and a membership of about 230.
The Presbyterian church is the third in the order of age. It was organized in July, 1834, in the brick school house in the borough, the Rev. Phineas B. Marr being the officiating clergyman. Thomas Hutchison and Dr. James Rankin were elected elders, and later in the same year were ordained by the Rev. John Bryson. In 1852 the church was regularly organized under State law, with eighteen charter members. Rev. S. S. Shedden was ordained as the first pastor of the church in 1835, and was dismissed in 1812. Rev. John Smalley served from 1843 until July, 1850. The church was then served occasionally until April, 1857, when Rev. William Life was installed pastor and remained until 1868. Then followed Rev. Archibald Heron, Rev. Lyman D. Calkins, Rev. S. T. Thompson, Rev. Nicholas F. Stahl, Rev. Edwin B. Raffensperger, and Rev. A. Dean, who is the present pastor. A house of worship was erected and dedicated in 1835. It was enlarged and improved in 1859, and rededicated in 1860. A parsonage was built in 1873.The membership of the church is now about 100.
A Baptist church was organized, June 24, 1841, with twenty-eight constituent members, and Rev. J. Green Miles became the first pastor. The present house of worship was completed and dedicated in March, 1843. Rev. Miles was succeeded by Rev. Edward Ely in 1843. The line of succession has been as follows: Rev. Dr. Bradley, Rev. William S. Hall, Rev. E. Bochnogen, Rev. J. Edminter, Rev. C. A. Hewit, and Rev. George Peltz, each occupying the pulpit for a period of two years. Rev. Joshua Kelly, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church of this place, changed his views and was baptized and received into the fellowship of the church by Rev. J. R. Loomis, LL. D., in November, 1856. He was soon afterwards ordained and settled as pastor. He resigned, 'November 1, 1859, and accepted a call to Williamsport. He took an active part in addressing Union meetings at the breaking out of the rebellion, and it was believed by many that his great zeal in this work shortened his days, for he died suddenly of heart failure. Since the time of Rev. Kelly the pastors have been as follows: Rev. S. G. Keim, Rev. N. Calender, Rev. A. F. Shannafelt, Rev. T. M. Shannafelt, Rev. George T. McNair, Rev. E. C. Houck, Rev. E. L. Pawling, Rev. E. C. Houck, for the second time, Rev. R. Kocher, and Rev. H. C. Munro, who came in 1884. Under Mr. Munro the Picture Rocks and Montgomery congregations built new houses of worship. He resigned in March, 1892, and retired to his former home at, White Hall.
Notwithstanding the Lutheran denomination is the oldest in and about Muncy, no church was built within the borough limits until 1852. Previous to this the Lutherans worshiped at old Immanuel church (See Muncy Creek township.), which was founded in the last century. An organization was formed, November 21, 1852, and Steps taken to build a church. The work was pushed so rapidly that the edifice was ready for dedication, October 19, 1853. Rev. George Parson was pastor and continued as such until June 1, 1865, during which time he admitted 148 members. Up to the present time there have been half a dozen pastors, the present one being Rev. J. A. Koser. During the pastorate of Rev. A. R. Aughe the church was enlarged at a cost of $2,500, and on the day of reopening the money was all provided for. In 1876 a parsonage was built at a cost of $1,900. Other improvements were made from time to time. The church, which is located in the northern part of the town on low ground, was badly damaged during the great flood of June 1, 1889, the water reaching a depth of six feet one inch in the lecture room. Much expense was involved in making repairs, as the furniture and organs were ruined, but there is no debt on parsonage or church property now, and the congregation numbers 335 members.
The two oldest burial places in Muncy are those of the Episcopal church and the Walton graveyard. In both of these many early settlers are interred. In the former lie the ashes of Mary Scudder Shoemaker, who was the first white female child born north of Muncy Hills, and of John Henry Popper, an eccentric German, who came here as a gardener for Samuel Wallis about 1790. It is said that Wallis gave him a lot in what is now the southern part of the borough. He put up a little log cabin and lived there as a recluse for many years. In 1800 a school house was erected near his cabin, which was surrounded by trees. He wore his hair long, and done up in a queue. During a cold winter night he came near freezing found was in a pitiable condition. He became a public charge, and died, March 5, 1833, aged about eighty years. After giving his name, place of birth, and date of death, the inscription on his tombstone closes: "A resident of Muncy for upwards of forty years, and proprietor of that part of the borough of Muncy called Pepperville."
James Walton gave the ground for what is known as "Walton's graveyard," but in what year is not remembered. It was probably soon after he and the McCarty's received their deeds in 1791. The headstones of the oldest graves bear no inscriptions. William and Benjamin McCarty were both buried there. The grave of William is marked by a marble slab. He died, January 21, 1813, of "black" fever contracted from stricken soldiers who were encamped on the west bank of Muncy creek. A patriot and a Christian, he ministered to the wants of the sick men, carried them provisions, etc., and while thus engaged took the disease which ended his life. Benjamin McCarty was buried here also, but as his grave was not permanently marked, its identity has been lost. The next oldest marked grave is that of Susan Brindle, who died, January 11, 1818; William Brindle, who was drowned at Clarkestown, on Muncy creek, March 15, 1833, and Eli Stone, the once widely known landlord, who for many years kept the tavern on the old county road at the dividing line between Northumberland and Lycoming counties. He died in 1854, aged seventy-four years.
The Muncy Cemetery Company was incorporated by the court, January 20, 1857. The original grounds comprised about eight acres and are beautifully laid out and ornamented with trees, shrubbery, and flowers. The plot calls for 416 burial lots. The handsome cenotaph, erected in honor of Capt. John Brady, and an imposing soldiers' monument, both stand in these grounds. The cemetery has been twice enlarged since it was first laid out, the last time in 1801. The grounds now embrace upwards of seventeen acres. The present number of lots is 537, and twelve circles. The cemetery grounds contain many beautiful memorial stones, and tokens of remembrance.