THE first white man known to have settled on what is now a part of the borough of Hughesville was David Aspen. This was about 1777. On the appear-ance of the Indians he was notified on the 8th of August, 1778, by Rachel Silver-thorn, to leave his cabin for a place of safety. Tradition says she was sent by Capt. John Brady to warn him of his danger. He fled to Fort Muncy, at Wallis's farm. A few days afterwards he ventured home, but not returning to the fort, search was made and his dead body was found near where Immanuel church stands. He had been shot and scalped by the savages. All this part of the county was then included in Muncy township.
The land on which Hughesville was founded was patented to John Heap, May 7, 1793, and by him conveyed to Samuel Harrold, who by his will conveyed it to his son John. It was purchased, March 23, 1816, by Jeptha Hughes, who soon afterwards laid out a town. It first took the name of "Hughesburg". On the 1st of July, 1820, Hughes sold the entire plot to Daniel Harrold. The town grow Slowly for a long time. In 1819 Jacob Clayton purchased a part of this land from William Hurl, and the same year he erected a grist mill on the site of the one now owned by the heirs of William Taggart. About 1862 the mill was destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt by Edward Lyon, who was the owner.
FIRST DOCTOR AND LAWYER.
The first resident physician was Dr. John W. Peale, father of ex-Senator Peale, of Lock Haven. He settled here in 1828 and remained ten years, when he Sold his practice to Dr. George Hill, who had just graduated. He is now one of the three oldest practitioners in the county. Peter Rishel, the first practical dentist, opened an office in 1853. W. E. Crawford opened a law office in 1875, and is regarded as the first lawyer to settle in the borough.
Tradition informs us that Paul Willey opened the first tavern in 1820. It stood on the site of the present, United States Hotel. Theodore Wells opened the first store in 1830. He afterwards sold his stock to Adam Bodine. His son Charles, father of De Witt and Milton Bodine, then took charge of the business and successfully conducted it.
The Hughesville postoffice was established November 19, 1827, and Theodore Wells was appointed postmaster. He held the office until December 9, 1834, when Christopher Kaylor was appointed. His successors have been appointed as follows:
Gershom Biddle, October 9, 1839; James Huling, May 11, 1849; John F. McLain, June 15, 1853; James Laird, October 2, 185P; James H. Huling, July 23, 1861; Aaron C. Carlisle, September 18, 1866; Michael R. Swartz, December 30, 1867; Jeremiah Kelley, March 2i, 1869; William H. Warne, October 28, 1870; William Kitchen, January 4, 1875; Milton Bodine, July 3, 1884; Harry H. Rutter, September 4, 1885; Theodore A. Boak, March 27, 1889. He is the present incumbent.
Early in 1852 a movement was started to have the town incorporated. The act passed and was approved, April 23, 1852. The boundaries were defined as follows:
That the town of Hughesville, in the county of Lycoming, and territory included within. the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the land of Edward Lyon; thence running S. 40º 30' W. 210 perches to a point on the lands of Abraham Bodine; thence S. 49º 30' E. 78 perches to a point on the lands of Thomas Ellis; thence N. 40º 30' E. 251 perches to a point on the aforesaid lands of Edward Lyon; thence N. 79º W. 90 perches to the place of beginning, is hereby erected into a borough, to be called and styled "the borough of Hughesville."
The second section of the act called for the election of a burgess and other officers on the third Friday of May, 1852, and on the third Friday of February annually thereafter.
As far as it has been possible to find any record, it appears that Enos Hawley was the first burgess, after which there is a blank until 1861, when Mr. Hawley appears to have been elected again. After his term the record is as. follows: 1862, W. A. Krouse; 1863, J. F. Meclain; 1865, Israel Buck; 1866, C. Reedy; 1867, Joseph Crowley; 1868, John Butler; 1869, Ira Robbins; 1870, A. C. Carlisle; 1871, Michael Steck; 1872-73, A. C. Henry; 1874, Conrad Reedy; 1875, Lawson Hughes; 1876, Thomas Kahler; 1877, S. R. Kline; 1878, S. R. Kline; 1879, James Laird; 1880, Lewis Ball; 1881, H. R. Merhling; 1882, J. K. Rishel; 1883, J. K. Rishel; 1884, A. C. Henry; 1885, A. C. Henry; 1886, John Kahler; 1887, J. C. Laird; 1888, Charles J. Hill; 1889, O. S. Lutz; 1890-91, William Kurtz; 1892, S. C. Bussler.
Secretaries of council have been as follows: Theodore Hill, 1852 to 1860; J. A. Swartz, 1860 to 1865; W. A. Krouse, 1866 to 1867; William Frontz, 1867 to 1869; Charles M. Hill, 1869 to 1870; Lewis Ball, 1870 to 1872; G. C. Frontz, 1872 to 1875; William Frontz, 1875 to 1880; W. E. Crawford, 1880 to 1886; George Ball, 1886 to 1887; Jacob Hart, 1887 to 1888; Theodore Bonnell, 1888 to 1890; W. A. Ball, 1890 to 1893.
Since the original town plot was made by Jeptha Hughes, the borough has been greatly enlarged by additions from time to time. Many of the residences are neat and cozy in the cottage style of architecture. The principal streets running north and south are named, Railroad street, Main, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth; east and west: Walnut, Water, Academy, Cemetery, and Park streets.
The first blacksmith shop was started by Tingley & Corson in 1820. William Kitchen established a chair factory in 1829. A wagon shop was opened in 1830 by Wells & Johnson, and among other vehicles they manufactured the noted Dearborn wagon. In 1832 Robert Pursel started a tannery on the site now occupied by Santee's shingle machine shop. As there were quite a number of distilleries in those days the Cooper trade was one of the leading industries. A saw and planing mill, owned by Bodine & Webb, occupied the ground on which the Baptist church stands. It was converted into a turning and bending factory in 1869 by James Laird & Sons, but was burned in 1874. James Laird & Company. then built the furniture factory now owned by J. K. Rishel. It is now an important industry and employs a large number of men. Boak Brothers also carry on a large furniture, factory and employ a strong working force.
Other industries are Doted as follows: Knitting factory, Mrs., Ella Faus; carriage shop, Samuel Moss; washing machine manufactory, Deibler & Ring; sash, door, and planing mill, J. R. & M. W. Swartz; foundry and machine Shop, Snowden Brothers.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK.
The First National Bank of Hughesville was organized, September 1, 1888, with a paid up capital of $50,000, and the surplus has now reached $5,000. The present, officers are: President, De Witt Bodine; vice-president, C. W. Woddrop; cashier, W. C. Frontz; assistant, Frank A. Reeder; directors: De Witt Bodine, C. W. Woddrop, W. C. Frontz, Peter Reeder, Jeremiah Kelley, Milton Bodine, J. K. Rishel, J. C. Laird, S. L. Van Valzah, D. H. Poust, John Bull, Peter Frontz, James K. Boak.
LIGHT AND WATER.
In October, 1891, an electric light plant was founded for illuminating the borough, dwellings, and manufactories; and at the Same time water works were established. The borough, although the census of 1890 only gave it a population of 1,358, is fully abreast of the times in modern improvements. Its two furniture, manufactories employ over 200 hands in the aggregate, and its three hotels fully meet the wants of all travelers.
Hughesville Lodge, No. 331, I. O. O. F., was organized, October 16, 1848., The war of the rebellion caused a recess of about thirteen years, on account of so many members having enlisted. On the 1st of August, 1870, the lodge was reorganized, and since that time 199 members have been admitted. Other lodges are Lady Hughs Rebecca Degree Lodge, No. 215, I. O. O. F., organized January 23, 1890, 45 members; P. O. S. of A., organized October, 1887; Jr. O. U. A. M., organized November,. 1890; G. A. R., organized in 1886.
The Canusarago Daily Herald was published during the third annual exhibition of the Muncy Valley Farmers' Club in the fall of 1873. It was the first paper published in the town, and was run in the interest of the club. When the fair was over it ceased.
The Enterprise was the second paper to make its appearance. It was started by R. A. Kinsloe, June 19, 1874, and was a six-column folio. He conducted it until June 18, 1883, when he sold out to Jeremiah Kelly. The material was immediately purchased by H. H. Rutter, who ran it for five issues, and then changed the name to the Hughesville Mail, Under which title he has published it to the present time. . It is a quarto, with six columns to the page, and is Democratic.
Early in June, 1877, Daniel Riley issued the first number of the Hughesville Journal. It was a folio of six columns to the page and was Democratic in principle. Mr. Riley conducted it until some time in 1879, when he retired, and soon afterwards the material was purchased by Buck & Hill. They immediately started a paper called The Mirror, which they published for less than a year and then suspended.
The Lutheran Sentinel, a quarterly church paper, was started by Rev. J. A. Wirt in April, 1890. It is devoted to the interests of the Lutheran church, of which Mr. Wirt is pastor.
Our Report is the title of a church paper published by the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church.
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES.
About 1818 a log school house was built on the present school grounds. It was a rude structure, furnished with a tenplate stove instead of the common open fire place. Some of the pupils came five miles to this school. After the borough was incorporated a new school house was built on this ground, which had been deeded in trust by Jacob Shoemaker for school and church purposes. The trustees were Jacob Hill, Jacob Clayton, and Baltzer Stock. The building was brick and contained two rooms. It was torn down in 1875 and a larger building, containing four rooms, was erected. This building was remodeled in 1889, and two rooms were added, making it much better. Steam is used for heating purposes. The value of the property is estimated at $16,000. The report for 1891 shows six schools taught by two male and four female teachers, and an average attendance of 240 scholars out of an enrollment of 295.
About 1820 the Methodists organized the first religious society in the town. For twenty-four years they worshiped in the old log school house. A church was then built in 1844. In 1879 it was rebuilt. In the meantime the congregation had become so large that more room was required, and in 1892 a handsome brick building was erected adjoining the old church.
The Lutheran church was not organized until long after the Methodist. About 1850 a church was built. This was used until 1884, when a lot was purchased on the corner of Main and Academy streets and a fine brick church erected at a cost of $18,000. In 1866 the Evangelical church was organized, and the same year a church was built. The Baptists commenced erecting a church in 1891, which has been completed. It is a neat frame building.
The old graveyard, near the Railroad station, which was started near the close, of the last century on land set apart for that purpose by Mr. Shoemaker, was abandoned about 1860. There many of the pioneers were buried. In 1859 Pleasant Hill cemetery was laid out on the declivity of a hill overlooking the borough from the west, which has been so beautified and adorned until it has become a very attractive place. It is related that when it was laid out a party of ladies and gentlemen visited the place. Among them was. Miss Emma Coder, sister-in-law of Lewis Ball, who made the remark: "I wonder who will be the first one buried here?" In a short time she was taken ill and died, and her funeral was the first at the new cemetery!
It is outside the limits of the borough, in Wolf township, but it is the place of burial for the borough and the region round about. Many of the monuments, tombstones, and other memorials are neat and appropriate. On one of the avenues, in a neatly kept plot, this inscription on a marble tombstone will attract the attention of the visitor: "J. Lukens Wallis died July 27, 1863, aged eighty-nine years, eight months, and three days. He was the first male white child born in Muncy valley." His birth occurred just after the stormiest period (1779) in the history of the valley, when the white settlers were slowly returning, after being driven away by the savages.
Within sight of this modern cemetery, near the Newman school house, is one of the oldest graveyards in the valley. It is called the "Newman graveyard," and there the Newmans, Rynearsons, Lows, and other original settlers buried their dead for many years. It has been abandoned as a place of interment for more than fifty years, but it is still kept enclosed.