THE territory on which the settlement of Jersey Shore was made originally consisted of a portion of six surveys, made in pursuance of warrants issued in the month of May, 1785, after the treaty of Fort Stanwix. Previous to this time the land was claimed by the Indians, and remained outside of the jurisdiction of the Province. The warrants were granted to the following persons, beginning at the 28 southern part and running down the river: Jeremiah Morrison, William Morrison, Richard Skinner, Richard Salmon, Thomas Forster, and Robert Martin. The first settler, Reuben Manning, located in 1785 on the northeast part of the Thomas Forster survey, near the present residence of Col. James S. Allen. Manning was the uncle of Forster, who at that time owned and occupied Long Island, in the river opposite these surveys. They were both from Essex county, New Jersey, and from the part known at that day as the "Jersey Shore." As the settlement grow it came to be called "Jersey Shore," because Manning and Forster were Jerseymen. At first the name was applied in derision by the Irish settlers in Nippenose bottom, across the river. The place was named Waynesburg in 1805, but the title, "Jersey Shore," had obtained such notoriety that it prevailed, and when the act incorporating the borough was passed it distinctly said that the place "shall be called and styled the borough of Jersey Shore." That legalized it, and by that title it has been known to the present day.
The second settler was an Irishman named Samuel Boul. He came in 1786, and located on the southeast part of the Richard Salmon survey, near where Jonathan White afterwards lived and died. Boul served as a justice of the peace for several years, and when the town was incorporated he was the first justice in the borough.
Richard Manning had two sons, Reuben and Thomas. The first child born in the settlement was Samuel Manning, son of Thomas, in 1786. About 1800 one of the Mannings laid out the land in town lots. Much of the history of the early settlers will be found in the review of Porter township. The territory on which Jersey Shore was founded originally belonged to Lycoming township, created August 22, 1785. From 1790 to 1800 settlers came in slowly. George Porter and wife located there in 1793, but Mrs. Porter dying soon after, he left the place. Jared Irwin was the first man to open a store; then came James Caldwell, and Gabriel Morrison followed with a hotel. This was an important addition to the village and gave a fresh impetus to business. Benjamin Uncover soon after opened a blacksmith shop, Patrick Smith set up a tailor shop, and Leonard Smith that of a shoemaker. Sampson Crawford established the first tannery near where Peter Bastress lived and died.
Abraham Lawshe came in 1803 and also established a tannery. He was a native of New Jersey, but learned his trade at York, Pennsylvania. Thomas Edward had established a small tannery, which Mr. Lawshe purchased. In November, 1806, he married Miss Elizabeth Bailey, by whom he had six daughters. Eleanor, one of the number, married John A. Gamble, whom she survives; Sarah married Allison White, who represented this district in the XXXVth Congress. All are deceased but Mrs. Gamble, Mrs. Quiggle, and Mrs. Bodine. His first wife dying he married, second, Miss Anna Hamilton, in 1824. The fruits of this marriage were Robert H., John, Anna A., Priscilla H., and M. Elcy. Robert and John have both represented this district in the legislature. The former resides in Jersey Shore and the latter in Williamsport. Mr. Lawshe was an elder in the Presbyterian church for many years. He was noted for his integrity, and all business entrusted to him was faithfully attended to. For several years he held the office of justice of the peace. Mr. Lawshe was a fine looking man of commanding form and ruddy complexion. He died, February 10, 1862, in his eighty-second year. His, widow survived him a number of years, dying in 1886.
In 1805 William Miller commenced business as a jeweler, James Watson as a conveyancer, and Jonathan French as a physician. Watson married Mary, a daughter of Brattan Caldwell, the celebrated Fair Play commissioner, and in addition to conveyancing he opened a store. At that time he had to haul his goods from Philadelphia by wagon.
In 1806 Samuel Updegraff opened a shop for the manufacture of hats, and in 1809 Richard Webb commenced the shoemaking business. Thomas Calvert was the pioneer cabinet maker. He was born in Nottingham, England, March 12, 1788; came to this country with his parents when but six years of age, and settled in Williamsport. There be learned his trade with Alexander Sloan. On completing his apprenticeship he settled in Jersey Shore in 1811, and founded the business which is now successfully carried on by his sons, T. & J. G. Calvert. May 22, 1814, he married Miss Margaret Grafius, of Williamsport. They reared five sons and six daughters. Mr. Calvert lived a long and useful life, and died, May 1, 1868, aged eighty years and nineteen days.
Among the later though classed as early merchants, were Samuel Humes and John Durell. They were representative business men of their time and did a large trade. Later came Robert Crane, and then Muir & Stearns. All except the two latter are deceased. Mr. Stearns is now the head of a large firm in Williamsport.
Thomas Martin was the owner of a farm in the lower or central part of what is now the borough, extending from the river back upon the hills. The old homestead stood where now stands the mansion of Mrs. John A. Gamble. He was the son of Robert Martin, who built the first hotel at Northumberland, and the owner of one of the six original tracts already referred to. In an early day he (Thomas) and three brothers moved from Northumberland to Jersey Shore, where they all lived and died. The names of the brothers were Richard, Ellis, and Peter. Thomas had three children, to wit: Charles, Lewis, and Julia A. Charles married Margaret Ramsey. After the death of her first husband she married John Fisher. Lewis married a Miss Berryhill, and Julia A. married Stephen R. Morrison.
Thomas was an excellent citizen and was greatly respected in the community. In business he entertained what were considered very peculiar views. It was his custom to fix a certain price upon the products of his farm from which he refused to vary under any circumstances. For instance, his standard price for potatoes was the fourth of a crown about 30 cents and when the market price was less, he would not fall, and when more, he would not rise or take more. No argument or persuasion could induce him to change. He remained firm in adhering to a princi-ple that he believed to be right. Another practice of his seemed strange to his neighbors and friends. Repeatedly during the winter he would go down to the river and cut a hole in the ice, when he would plunge into the stream and take a cold bath. This doubtless was a severe ordeal, but accounted in part, perhaps, for the robust health that he enjoyed.
He had in his family an ex-slave who was blind, named Jack. He had been liberated by the laws of Pennsylvania when slavery was done away in the State. This poor helpless servant was cared for tenderly until his frail body was laid away in the grave.
Lewis, one of the sons of Thomas Martin, was born in Jersey Shore, November 3, 1803, and died at Williamsport in May, 1886. He served as a justice of the peace at Jersey Shore for several years, and in 1845 he was elected prothonotary and removed to Williamsport. He also served as United States deputy marshal for many years. In the latter years of his life he became a noted hotel keeper, his last place of business being in the building now occupied by Alexander Beede & Company, wholesale grocers, Williamsport.
Rev. William Turner claimed kinship with one of the early emigrants of Pennsylvania. It is a tradition in the family that their first ancestor, Robert, Turner, came to this country with William Penn and was a member of his first, council when he returned to England. At an early period he purchased a farm in Oxford township, Chester county, and there his successive descendants have been born. The old residence is still in the family and in the name. They adhere to, the old English custom of retaining the old homestead in the family from generation to generation. The family were strict Presbyterians.
His father, Robert Turner, was born at the old home in Chester county, in 1762. He married Miss Nancy Carlisle, and moved to Northumberland county and resided awhile in Derry township, now Montour county. In 1794 he removed to Muncy, where he purchased a farm of 140 acres, which was part of Muncy manor and is now included in the southeast part of the borough on the east side of Main street. He was the father of nine children, to wit: Rebecca, William, James, Mary, Moses, Jane, John, Martha, and Robert. Rebecca married James McMurray of Pine Creek. James wedded a Miss Smith of Milton. He moved to Ohio, where he died. Jane married Robert Eastman of Fort Hamilton, New York. John died in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The remainder of the children excepting William moved with their parents to Rising Sun, Indiana, where they married and died, excepting Robert, who moved to Iowa, where he died.
William, the subject of this sketch, was born in White Deer township, Northumberland county now New Columbia, Union county on the 22d of November, 1787. In 1810 he became a citizen of Jersey Shore. When he came to this place it was a small village and the surrounding country was mostly a wilderness. August 19, 1812, he married Miss Matilda Adams, daughter of Matthew Adams, and niece of Hon. John Forster, then owner and resident of the island opposite the town, where the ceremony took place. He resided here for sixty-seven years and it may be said of him that during that period few persons were more respected.
He was a member of the first town council upon the organization of the borough of Jersey Shore in 1826, and he was an acting justice of the peace from about 1825 until the close of 1838, holding his commissions from Governors Shulze, Wolf, and Ritner. Being a man of great probity and excellent judgment he was intrusted with a large amount of business.
He was twice married. His first wife died in 1832. His second wife was Miss Jane J. Turner of Muncy. She died in 1882 in the eighty-second year of her age. By his first wife he had nine children, as follows: Matthew A., Robert, Mary A., John F., James, Ann C., William S., Rachel F., and Matilda J. who died in infancy. Matthew A. is a minister and member of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. On account of failing health he has hold a clerkship in the "Sixth Auditor's office of the treasury for the general postoffice department" since August 15, 1849, and for many years has had charge of the archives of the office. He married Martha J. Everett of Rockville, Maryland. Robert married Miss Elcy Snyder near Jersey Shore, and is living at Green Castle, Indiana. He has married the second time. Mary A. married John Miller of Rising Sun, Indiana, where she died, May 2, 1850, aged thirty-one years. John F. married Miss Harriet Knapp of Tioga county, Pennsylvania. He died, November 4, 1871, in the fifty-first year of his age. James was a minister and member of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. He married Mary A. Warfield of Millersville, Maryland, where he died, June 2, 1865, aged forty-three years. Ann C. was married to Richard Martin of Rising Sun, Indiana, where she still resides. William S., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, is a member of the Columbia River Conference in the State of Washington. He has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Ann S. Cowgill of Green Castle, Indiana. The second was Miss Susan Beecher of California. He now resides at Spokane Falls, Washington. Rachel F. married John Miller of Indiana and is now living at Spokane Falls, Washington.
By his second wife he had eight children, to wit: Thomas J., Rebecca M., Martha L., Sarah E., Charlotte C., Margaret F., Joseph K., and Harriet E. None of the children are now living but Charlotte C. and Harriet E. Charlotte C. married Abraham Lozier of Aurora, Indiana, where they now reside. Harriet E. is unmarried and lives with Mr. Lozier and her sister.
Mr. Turner in 1817 became a professor of religion and joined the Methodist Episcopal church. Such was the confidence reposed in him during his Christian life, that he was called upon to fill all the different offices peculiar to his church, such as class leader, steward, and exhorter. For many years he was an ordained local preacher. He had his regular appointments in the surrounding country, where he formed societies that are now served by the regular ministers of the con-ference. During the last year of his life he was stricken with paralysis. From this time his health gradually declined until the inevitable hour came, when the weary wheels of life stood still. Like the servant of God of old, having "served his own generation by the will of God, he fell on sleep," December 13, 1877, aged ninety years and twenty-one days. He was buried in the old Dr. Davidson cemetery, where sleep the dead of his family.
Robert McGowan, Esq., is another well remembered old citizen of the borough. He was born in Milton, December 28, 1810, and came here when quite a young man, and entered the store of Samuel Humes, one of the old merchants. He was afterwards engaged in the drug business. When he retired from this he was elected a justice of the peace, which position, he filled for thirty years. He retired at the ,close of his sixth term, declining a seventh nomination. Mr. McGowan lived in Jersey Shore for fifty-six years, and died January 18, 1888.
Among the early representative men of the town was Solomon Bastress. He was born at Pottstown, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1788, and died at Jersey Shore, May 12, 1872, in his eighty-fourth year. Before locating here in 1817, he became interested with a company in the furnace business (see review of Cummings township) on Pine Bottom run. This was before 1814. Mr. Bastress was a weaver and dyer by trade, but soon after settling, here he became surveyor and scrivener also. He was sent to the legislature in 1827 and re-elected in 1828, 1829, and 1830, serving four years in succession. In 1846 he was chosen an associate judge and served two terms of five years each. When Susquehanna township was divided in 1854, his friends insisted that the new township should be name after him, and it was done.
The oldest native resident of Jersey Shore is John Hill Maffett, born about 1815. The oldest man is Francis T. Carpenter, born May 21, 1802, at Marshalton, Chester county, Pennsylvania. He came to Lycoming county in 1829 and located at the iron works on Pine creek. Previous to coming here Mr. Carpenter spent several years in Philadelphia, and in 1813 he remembers two illuminations of that city. One was for Perry's victory on Lake Erie, and the second was for Harrison's victory over the British and Indians in the battle of the Thames, when Tecumseh was killed. July 25, 1825, Lafayette visited the Brandywine battlefield, which was near the home of, Mr. Carpenter. There was a large number of people present to greet him, many of whom came a long distance. Mr. Carpenter joined the procession near Chadd's Ford, and rode near enough to the distinguished visitor to see him indicate points of interest, and pause at the spot where he was wounded.
Mr. Carpenter has been a resident of the county for over sixty years, and has witnessed great changes in every department of human effort. He retired from active business many years ago, and now at the ripe age of ninety, he is spending the evening of his life in peace, tenderly cared for by his daughters.
Among the old innkeepers, after Gabriel Morrison, the first, came James Shearer,. Leonard Pfoutz, Thomas Turk, and Donnelly. Turk kept the stone house in 1840, which was built by the McClintocks. It was also kept by Samuel Carothers and Daniel Reighard.
William Babb, born at Bennington, Vermont, in 1794, came to Williamsport with Stephen Winchester about 1820. He built the house at the southwest corner of Main and Thompson streets, which he kept as a tavern until within a few years of his death, July 18, 1852. He had two sons and four daughters. George, one of the sons, studied law, but died when a young man; William T. became a physician, entered the navy as a surgeon, and became prominent. He died in 1863. Of the daughters, Lucy married Thomas Cummings, and was the mother of the gallant young officer, Lieutenant Cummings of the navy, who was killed at Port Hudson; Harriet married Robert McGowan and died in 1839; Catharine became the wife of James Wilson, and still survives; Sarah Jane married Rev. Mr. Evans, a Lutheran minister.
Stephen Winchester, who came with William Babb, was about the same age. He taught school for several years and then became a storekeeper. He served as a justice of the peace for one term. In 1837 he was a contractor on the Tide Water canal. It was his fortune about this time to draw a prize of $300 in a lottery, which gave him some prominence. Mr. Winchester was a tall, fine looking man, and bore a striking resemblance to Henry Clay. He died, August 8, 1853, in his sixtieth year, leaving several sons, but none of them now reside here.
Among the more modern innkeepers, none are better remembered than Samuel G. Allen. He was born in Boston August 9, 1806; learned the trade of a wheelwright, which he followed for several years. When William P. Farrand was operating at Farrandsville, (now Clinton county, Mr. Allen came out as a skilled mechanic in 1831. When the enterprise failed in 1836 Mr. Allen came to Jersey Shore and purchased a property of James Caldwell and started a hotel, which he called the Franklin House. He conducted it very successfully until 1848, when he sold out to Frank Carothers. In a few years he was succeeded by Cook and Shaw; after them came George F. Stone. During his administration it was burned, and a fine brick block now occupies its site. In early days the stage stopped at the Franklin House, and as it was noted for good cheer and good fare, it became popular among travelers. Mr. Allen engaged in the mercantile business in 1848. He also served as postmaster. He died August 20, 1857.
BAILEY’S PERILOUS RIDE.
In February, 1832, Joseph Bailey, who lived on the island, had a thrilling adventure. The ice on the river was suddenly broken up by a freshet. Bailey had a flatboat tied near the lower end of the island, and while endeavoring to better secure it, the pressure of the ice broke the mooring and boat and man were carried down the stream. The situation was perilous, but there was no way of escaping to the shore. His brother, Robert S. Bailey, and others, followed on the shore mounted on horses to encourage him. Williamsport was passed in the night, and although scores of people were on the lookout, they could render no aid. The craft dashed through the "race ground rapids" below Loyalsock, safely passed the breach in Muncy dam, and continued down the river. Friends preceded him to Milton, and when his craft hove in sight hundreds lined the river bridge. As he was about to pass under, a rope was thrown to him, which he caught and was drawn up and saved. His ride was a perilous one, and he almost perished with cold, having been afloat from early in the afternoon until 9 o'clock the next morning.
The act of March 15, 1826, incorporating the borough, defined the southern line as beginning at the lane near and below the farm house of the late John Pfoutz, in Porter township; then westward by said lane, crossing the canal near the public bridge, 388 perches back from the river, and including the late Jacob W. Pfoutz, the Jersey Shore cemetery, the residence of the late Peter Bastress, and continuing northerly to, at, or near, Nice's lane; thence by the same southeasterly to the river; thence up the same to the point of beginning. The provisions of the act incorporating the borough of Williamsport (March 21, 1806) were extended to the borough of Jersey Shore.
At the session of 1828 an act was passed, and approved February 16th, annex-ing the property of John Bailey, known by the name of "Long Island," to the borough. Some years afterwards it was detached and annexed to Nippenose township.
By an act of Assembly passed in 1831 the boundary lines were circumscribed to merely include the part then built up. This boundary extended along and down the river from Junod's alley to the culvert and greatly reduced the territory included within the original lines. Porter township was taken from Mifflin by decree made at May term, 1840, and in 1854 a part of Porter was annexed to the borough of Jersey Shore by act approved May 6, 1854, and the boundary lines were corrected by a re-survey on the 7th of July, 1862, by A. H. McHenry and E. B. Parker.
In 1885 fifty-seven acres on the northwestern side of the borough were annexed, extending from near the old tannery to the Dunkel House. The last and largest addition was made by decree of June 10, 1891. It embraced an area of 465 acres, and took in the cemetery, the railroad station, machine shops, and the village which had grown up around it called the Junction. By this annexation a population of 600 was added to the borough, making the total population about 2,500. The borough is divided into three wards, with three councilmen to each ward. The principal streets running north and south are named Water, Main, Broadway, and Wilson. Those running east and west are named Seminary, Allegheny, Smith, Thompson, Locust, Arch, Cemetery, and Nelson. Jersey Shore is supplied with water pumped from the river to a reservoir on an elevation to the southwest, whence it is distributed by mains through the town.
The first election for borough officers was held in 1826 and resulted as follows: Burgess, Solomon Bastress; council: John Slonaker, Andrew Ferguson,. John Fisher, William Turner, Thomas Calvert, Abraham Lawshe; clerk, James Watson. From the election of Mr. Bastress as burgess in 1827 up to 1834, no records can be found to show who served as chief executive officer for those seven years. After that year the burgesses were: 1835-36, James Wilson; 1837-40, James Gamble; 1841, C. S. Baird; 1842-43, C. M. Laporte; 1844, C. Donaldson; 1845-46, S. G. Allen; 1847, record missing; 1848-49, Robert Crane; 1850-51, record missing; 1852-53, Huston Hepburn; 1854-55, Robert McGowan; 1856, Huston Hepburn; 1857, John B. Carothers; 1858, Thomas Waddle; 1859, W. N. Wilson; 1860-61, John B. Carothers; 1862-63, J. H. Allen; 1864, John B. Carothers; 1865-67, John S. Tomb; 1868, H. B. Humes; 1869, James Williamson; 1870, Thomas Waddle; 1871, Thomas McCurdy; 1872, James L. Barclay; 1873, P. D. Bricker; 1874-75, G. Brenneman; 1876, P. D. Bricker; 1877, Thomas McCurdy; 1878, George Ramsdell; 1879-81, H. B. Humes; 1882-83, J. L. Barclay; 1884, W. L. Levegood; 1885, J. S. Childs; 1886, Thomas Calvert; 1887-88, J. E. Nice; 1889, W. L. Levegood; 1890, Dr. G. H. Cline; 1891, Joseph Wood; 1892, Henry D. Seely.
A postoffice was established at Jersey Shore, April 1, 1806, and Thomas McClintock appointed postmaster. His long line of successors has been as follows: Samuel Donnel, appointed March 8, 1819; Matthew McReynolds, April 22, 1823; Samuel Humes, November 17, 1828; Stephen Winchester, February 8, 1833; William Babb, May 21, 1837; Joseph B. Torbert, April 2, 1844; Samuel Maffett, October 11, 1845; James S. Allen, December 30, 1847; Samuel G. Allen, May 17, 1848; Solomon Gudykunst, November 13, 1849; Robert Baker, December 16,1852; Thomas Calvert, Jr., December 13, 1855; Thomas Stevenson, December 15, 1862; James Jones, September 30, 1864; Abraham S. Crist, August 29, 1866; James Jones, April 2, 1869; Robert Grier, June 5, 1871; Jone E. Potter, October 13, 1876; Charles H. Pott, December 21, 1887; William K. Fiester, January 7, 1892.
Postmaster McClintock held the office almost thirteen years, the longest of any of the appointees in eighty-six years. Captain Potter came next, holding the office over eleven years. Thomas Calvert, Jr., held it seven years.
A bank was established in Jersey Shore as early as 1856. When the national banking law passed it was authorized to become a national bank, but the company disposed of their charter to George L. Sanderson, who founded the Williamsport National Bank in 1870. A new company, entitled the Jersey Shore Banking Company, was organized in 1869, and in 1886 it was incorporated as a State bank with a capital of $60,000. It has been successfully conducted and now reports a surplus of $58,000. The officers are as follows: Hamilton B. Humes, president; Robert A. Sebring, cashier.
The first tannery at the borough was established by Simpson Crawford near where Peter Bastress lived and died. Abraham Lawshe, who came in 1803, also founded an industry of this character, and purchased a small tannery previously established by Thomas Edward. It was afterwards carried on for a time by George Quiggle, his son-in-law, when it passed into the hands of Robert Sponhouse. The planing mill of Cammerer & Lambert now occupies the site of the old tannery. A. Junod also started a tannery at an early day, which, in 1830, was purchased by Bingaman & Slonaker. It was conducted by them for many years. The plant is Still there but little work is now done.
A foundry and machine shop was established by W. R. Wilson & Company in 1851, and continued by them for several years. It was destroyed by fire once, but was immediately rebuilt with stone and better equipped than before. It is now owned and operated by F. & E. Trump.
In a large brick building, erected in 1838 for a distillery which failed in 1841, Delate & Cilley started a saw mill in 1858, and ran it for several years. In 1870 it passed into the hands of Wood & Childs, who enlarged the building, and fitted up a first class steam gang mill, which they successfully conducted until the canal was abandoned in 1889, after the great flood. As there was no longer water to supply their log pond, they were forced to remove the plant to a more eligible location up Pine creek. The industry was valuable to the town and its departure was greatly regretted.
In 1859 gas works were established at an expense of about $10,500 by a com-pany. They are now conducted by private management.
Lodge No. 101, I. O. O. F. was organized in 1844 in a room in the third story of Allen's Hotel, on Main street. The charter members were James Gamble, Joseph B. Torbert, James S. Allen, Robert Crane; and Charles Stewart.
Jersey Shore Encampment, No. 59, I. O. O. F., meets in Odd Follows' Hall on the first and third Thursday evenings of each month.
Canton Friendship, No. 30 of Patriarchs Militant, I. O. O. F., meets in the same hall the second Thursday of each month for drill practice, and the fourth Thursday evening for business.
Hobah Lodge, No. 1034, I. O. O. F., was instituted at the Junction, April 14, 1892, by acting Grand Master Mendenhall, assisted by J. F. Gehl as District Deputy Grand Master. Forty candidates were present and received the initiatory and three degrees.
Lodge No. 232, A. Y. M., was instituted in 1848. John A. Gamble was the first W. M.
The first G. A. R. Post organized in Jersey Shore was without a name. It was chartered, September 19, 1867, with forty-seven members, and disbanded September 19, 1868.
Major Keenan Post, G. A. R., organized June 26, 1883, with forty-two charter members. At the present time there are sixty members in good standing.
Jersey Shore has had a number of newspapers. The first, name the West Branch Courier, by Daniel Gotshall, came into existence January 8, 1827, and ceased about 1830.
In 1828 a humorous little sheet called The Nose appeared. It was published by William Piatt, Jr., and lived but a short time.
Alexander Hamilton started The Anti-Masonic Advocate about 1830, and published it until the winter of 1834. It then passed into the hands of Loehr & Middleton, who discontinued it in 1835.
After the suspension of the Advocate Jersey Shore was without a paper until January, 1846. At this date The Republican was started by S. S. Seely, and he issued it until October, 1850, when the office, with much surrounding property, was destroyed by fire. The borough was again without a paper till June, 1851, when The Republican in an enlarged form was resuscitated by its old publisher. In September, 1851, Robert Baker became associated with Seely and the paper was continued by them until June 9, 1852. At this time Seely sold his interest to J. Sallade, and it was published by the firm of Baker & Sallade until Time 9, 1854, with John F. Meginness as editor, when Sallade and Meginness retired, the former having sold his share to Baker. After this change the paper was continued for a few years by the firm of R. & F. A. Baker.
On the 29th of June, 1854, the first number of The News Letter was issued by Seely & Meginness, and they conducted it until August 30,1855, when Meginness retired and Seely became sole owner and publisher. December 6, 1855, James Jones became associated with Seely, but he retired from the partnership on the 18th of September, 1856. Seely continued alone for some time, when he discontinued its publication.
The National Vidette was started, May 15, 1855, by H. J. B. & L. J. Cummings, and continued by them for six months, when the senior member of the firm retired. The junior issued a few numbers, when he retired also and the paper ceased to exist.
After lying idle until the 25th of September, 1856, it was resuscitated by James Jones and published by him until May 24, 1871, when the office, with all its contents excepting two presses, was destroyed by fire. After this calamity the paper remained dormant until May, 1887, when it was revived by J. W. and R. H. Grier, and they have continued it to the present time as a Republican paper.
After suspending The News Letter Col. S. S. Seely remained idle for a short time. In 1860 Moore & Snyder started the Jersey Shore Herald and ran it until 1862. Bruce Coleman bought Moore's interest, and the new firm continued about a year, when Colonel Seely bought out Coleman. In a short time be purchased Snyder's share and became sole owner. Seely conducted the paper until September 1, 1879, when it was purchased by his son, Charles B. Seely, by whom it has been published up to the present time. In politics it is Democratic. Colonel Seely died, September 5, 1879. He was a veteran publisher and editor, and was noted for his excellence and taste as a workman.
Jersey Shore has never been backward in the cause of education. A school was opened here soon after the town was laid out. The West Branch High School, opened in the old "Union Church" building in 1850, did good educational work in its palmy days. It is still used as a school building. In her common schools Jersey Shore is fully abreast of the times. The present elegant building is an ornament to the borough. It was erected in 1885 at a cost, altogether, of $14,500, and furnishes accommodations for six schools. In 1891 eight months were taught by two male and four female teachers. The principal, J. E. Myers, was paid a salary of $75 per month, and the other teachers received an average of $41.25. The total number of pupils enrolled was 416; average attendance, 366; total tax levied, $4,472.44; State appropriation, $843.63.
Among the well remembered teachers of nearly forty years ago was E. B. Parker. He was born in Philadelphia, August 3, 1824, and received the rudiments of a sound education in an excellent private school. At the age of fourteen he was placed on board the training ship North Carolina, stationed at New York, preparatory to entering the naval service. Taking a dislike to the rigid discipline of the navy he applied for a discharge, which was granted. He then shipped on a merchantman and made a voyage to the West Indies and China. The master, Captain Foulke, took special pains in instructing him, and as he was an apt pupil he soon acquired a good knowledge of the science of navigation. He left the sea in 1844, and in 1845 he married Eleanor M. Justis, of Philadelphia, and the same year they came to Jersey Shore and settled. In the autumn of 1845 he opened a school, and continued to teach until October 21, 1856, when he was commissioned superintend-ent of schools of Lycoming county, to fill out the term of J. W. Barrett, who had resigned. Mr. Parker was the second county superintendent. He served faithfully until June 3, 1857, when he was succeeded by Hugh Castles, and immediately resumed his profession, which he followed till within a short time of his death, October 6, 1880.
The organization of the Presbyterian church dates back to 1793. The first pastor was Rev. Isaac Grier. Rev. Dr. Stevens, in his History of the Presbytery of Northumberland, says that Rev. John H. Grier came in 1814, and in 1815 he was installed as pastor of the Pine Creek church for half his time. In 1832 a few Presbyterians in and around Jersey Shore joined with the Baptists and built a brick meeting house to be occupied by the two denominations jointly. It was called the "Union church." In 1844 the Presbyterian congregation bought out the Baptist interest in the "Union church," and six years after this abandoned it for a new building in a more central locality on Main street. The old church building was converted into the "West Branch High School," a parochial institution, which was conducted for many years with varying success. After the retirement of Mr. Grier he was succeeded, July 31,1851, by Rev. Joseph Stevens, who continued as pastor until October, 1886, a period of over thirty-five years, when he was succeeded by Rev. P. D. Kohler. This church has had but four pastors in 100 years.
Rev. John Hays Grier, who served the Jersey Shore congregation so long, was born, February 5, 1788, near Doylestown, and died, February 3, 1880, lacking but two days of being ninety-two years old. His father's name was John, and he called his son John Hays Grier. John Hays settled in Lycoming county and became sheriff in 1822. After leaving college Mr. Grier studied theology with Rev. Nathan Grier, and in 1813 he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of New Castle. When the British fleet Jay in Chesapeake bay in 1814, he was among the first citizens to volunteer to assist in repelling them in case they should attempt to land.
In 1814 he started for the West via the West Branch valley. His first stop was with the Pine Creek congregation, and being without a pastor they induced him to tarry with them a few Sabbaths. He pleased them so well that the members of Pine Creek and Great Island united in a formal call for him to become their pastor. He accepted, and this became the turning point in his life. The original call, bearing date September 6, 1814, is still in existence, in the hands of his son, Dr. John H. Grier, of Jamestown, Limestone township. In the call they obligate themselves to pay him a salary of $275 per annum. All the signers, sixty-two in number, are deceased.
When Mr. Grier located as pastor he rented a farm west of Pine creek, which he tilled in connection with his church work. He supplied the Great Island pulpit (Lock Haven) for thirteen years, when he resigned in 1828, but continued as pastor of the Pine Creek (Jersey Shore) church until declining health compelled him to retire from active work. For thirty-seven years he faithfully served this church. During that time he seldom missed preaching twice on Sunday, and he performed the marriage ceremony for 615 couples.
Mr. Grier was married four times and was the father of eleven children, seven of whom are living. His first wife, Mary Macleduff, died January 19, 1831; the second, Rebecca Bailey, August 6, 1849; the third, Elcy A. Hamilton, September 19, 1861; the fourth, Mrs. Margaret Snodgrass, December 15, 1863. The first three are buried side by side in the old Pine Creek graveyard, and the last in Jersey Shore cemetery. A marble monument, beautiful in its simplicity, marks the resting place of the patriarch.
The church has a membership of about 250; Sunday school scholars, 200; superintendent, H. B. Hume.
The Methodists were the pioneer church society in Jersey Shore. The first Sunday school was organized in 1829 by John Forster. Previous to this (1810) religious meetings had been held at a school house just outside the town, and a class was formed in 1816. In 1815 David Craft built a wagon maker shop on the west side of the canal, near Smith street, and the society purchased it in. 1821 and fitted it up for "a meeting house." And in this building they worshiped until May, 1831. Rev. Menshall is supposed to have been the minister in charge. The foundation for the first regular church building was dug in 1830. For many years afterwards the place of worship was known as the "little brick church." It stood between the old wagon maker shop and Smith street. The building was about thirty-five feet square and seated 150. The membership at that time numbered about forty. When the canal was built it cut off a portion of the lot and ran so close to the side of the church as to endanger the wall, and a supporting wall had to be built. The new church was dedicated in May, 1831. Here the congregation worshiped until 1846, when they removed to the basement of the present building on Main street. The old brick church was sold to the colored people, and in 1879 it was torn down. During the year 1845 the building of the present church was begun, but it was not completed for several years. The lot was purchased from William Babb. Rev. E. M. Stevens, in his reminiscences of the church, says: "There has been some conjecture as to why it never had a steeple. One reason is that Grandfather Rich gave a certain amount toward the building, and some time afterwards in passing noticed the frame steeple, and said that if it was taken down he would double his subscription. Another, and perhaps the more probable reason, is that after the frame had been raised a storm twisted it and necessitated its removal; this necessity being increased from a failure of funds to repair and complete. it." Whatever may have been the cause, the frame for the steeple lay in the loft of the building until 1858, when it was removed. Most of the timber for the frame work of the building was given by, converts in a meeting held at English Centre by Maj. A. H. McHenry, and floated down Pine creek. The church gradually increased in strength and usefulness as the years passed, until today it is free of debt and has a membership of 275. The Sunday, school is large; superintendent, Charles F. Sinex. Pastor, Rev. J. M. Johnston.
There were a few Baptists in and about Jersey Shore quite early in the century. The first baptism was in 1825. After the congregation retired from the "Union church" in 1842 they resolved to build a church of their own. In the meantime a temporary contract was made with George P. Nice to bold services in his wagon shop. From this shop the meetings were removed to Mark Slonaker's store, which was rented until a house could be built. In 1843 the work of erecting a building was commenced and December 25, 1844, it was dedicated by Elder Eugenio Kincaid. In casting up accounts the congregation found that it was $1,000 in debt. This debt was long a burden on the church. At length an execution was issued and the sheriff advertised the building for sale. The execution, however, was stayed for seven years by members becoming responsible. The debt was then divided into stock payable in fourteen years, which was sold, and the proceeds to be paid to the sheriff semi-annually. The payments were kept up three years, when they stopped, and a new levy was threatened by the sheriff. Another effort was made, and although the debt had then reached $1,400, success crowned the labors of the workers, and July 28, 1860, it was wiped out and a small surplus left in the treasury. The church had a hard struggle, but it succeeded and is now on a permanent basis. Improvements have been made from time to time, and a fine bell weighing 625 pounds is suspended in the belfry. Revs. Charles Tucker and J. Green Miles were the pioneer ministers in founding the church. Sunday school scholars, 162; superintendent, N. B. Messimer.
The Lutheran house of worship was commenced in 1869 and dedicated January 4, 1872. This fine edifice stands more especially as a monument to the church loyalty, liberality, and energy of John Staver. He was not only a liberal contributor, but solicited subscriptions, collected funds, superintended the building, and met the indebtedness as it occurred. During the severe storm in the summer of 1891 the fine spire was blown down, just missing the parsonage as it fell prone in the street.
Trinity Evangelical church, located at the Junction, has a membership of forty-one. Pastor, Rev. J. F. Shultz.
The fine cemetery overlooking the town from a western elevation was projected by Mark Slonaker, an enterprising gentleman of his time. It originally comprised 432 lots, which were surveyed and laid out by Maj. A. H. McHenry in 1854. In 1863 a charter was obtained and a company organized. The original plot has been enlarged by an addition on the west by Dr. Uriah Reed. Great pains have been taken by lot holders to beautify and adorn the grounds, and as the cemetery now contains many fine monuments and memorial stones, it has become a very beautiful "Silent city of the dead."