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History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania
edited by John F. Meginness; 1892

CHAPTER XXXII.

BOROUGH OF DUBOISTOWN.

INDIAN HISTORY - EARLY SURVEYS - ANDREW CULBERTSON - GALBRAITH PATTERSON - SAMUEL CALDWELL - BEGINNINGS OF DUBOISTOWN - MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT - THE BOROUGH TODAY.


DUBOISTOWN stands on historic ground. It is situated on the south side of the West Branch of the Susquehanna, opposite the west end of the city of Williamsport, and under the shadow of Bald Eagle mountain. Lycoming creek, flowing from the north, falls into the river opposite the borough. The "Muscotto," or "Mosketo," (April 17, 1784,) or "Musquettoe," (September 25, 1801,) now known as Mosquito creek, a beautiful mountain stream, dashes in its rapid torrent from the south, through a wild, narrow mountain gorge, flows through the center of the town, and falls into the river where the Teneyck mill now stands. This stream has its source at the base of the White Deer mountain, and has always been, noted as unfailing in its supply of water and for the many brook trout that inhabit it.

The alluvial plateau on which a portion of the town stands was, at the time of its discovery, covered with a rank growth of weeds and heavy timber, among which black walnut predominated. This led the explorers to call it "Walnut bottom." When this plateau was cleared it was found to be covered with stone implements showing that the Indians had once dwelt there in considerable numbers. Their fire places, made of stone, were plainly visible along the bank of the river, and the discolored earth can still be seen when it is stirred by the plow. Here they evidently manufactured arrow points, judging from the quantities of spawl, flakes. of chert, and other substances discovered. Fragments of earthenware, soapstone ware, pestles, skinners, hatchets, ornaments, charms, etc., were also found in great quantities, showing that this secluded retreat must have been where one of their rude manufactories was located. The spot was well chosen. One of their main trails over the mountain came through the gorge and crossed the river to Catharine's Town, (Newberry,) where it intersected the great Sheshequin path leading up Lycoming creek.

About the year 1852, while removing some loose stone from around the base of a large rock near the Big spring, a short distance from DuBoistown, the workmen, when at a depth of several feet, found a large quantity of arrow and spear heads placed under a shelf of the rock. In 1879, while digging a trench near the site of the Indian village, the workmen found a long, slender stone imbedded in the earth, standing upright, with the top near the surface. It bore the appearance of having been rudely dressed. About two feet below the surface a grooved stone axe was found by its side. They excavated around the stone to the depth of about four feet, and then broke it off. It had probably been placed there by the Indians to mark the site of some great event, or in memory of some fallen hero.

EARLY SURVEYS.

One would scarcely suppose, owing to the dense wilderness that existed here one hundred years ago, that the early white explorers would have discovered the place, and that so much interesting pioneer history was made in that secluded spot. But such is the fact. And for much of this history we are indebted to the laborious researches of J. H. McMinn.

In October, 1769, surveys were made along the river in the vicinity of Mosquito creek. This was in Charles Lukens's district, and the land at that time belonged to Cumberland county. A warrant was laid on the DuBoistown tract by Samuel Boone, brother of Hawkins Boone, who fell at Fort Freeland, and a cousin of Daniel Boone, of Kentucky fame. When Northumberland county was formed this section became a portion of Lower Bald Eagle township, then of Washington, of Clinton, and finally of Armstrong in Lycoming.

ANDREW CULBERTSON.

Andrew Culbertson appears as a conspicuous character in our early history. He was born in 1731 in Delaware, and had several brothers and sisters. Their ancestors were Irish. Andrew came to this valley early and took an active part during the Indian troubles. Mention has been made of him in the chapters devoted to our early history. We find upon record the purchase, July 5, 1773, from Samuel Wallis, of the Martin McGraw tract, which adjoined on the east the Samuel Boone tract of 111 acres, lying on both sides of Mosquito creek at its confluence with the river, the warrant for which was issued April 3, 1769, and which was surveyed October 28, 1769. This tract Culbertson owned prior to 1773. The McGraw tract was conveyed to Reuben Haines, of Philadelphia, July 12, 1773, and by him to Samuel Wallis, April 17, 1784, for 35. It contained 172 acres and was describe as "lying one and a half miles south of the Susquehanna river, near the Hagerman survey, adjoining the Samuel Boone tract, now owned by Andrew Culbertson." On March 26, 1793, Culbertson obtained a warrant for a tract containing 411 acres adjoining the Boone tract on the south and extending along both sides of Mosquito run into Mosquito valley to the tract granted Col. Thomas Hartley, February 11, 1778. His brother, James Culbertson, obtained a warrant for an adjoining tract on Mosquito valley mountain, containing 213 acres, March 26, 1793, which was conveyed to Andrew Culbertson, January 4, 1797, for 5s.

It is likely that Culbertson while aiding in the pursuit of marauding Indians into Buffalo or White Deer valley - for we first hear of him as having located a tract near the present town of Lewisburg had entered Mosquito valley by the path over the mountain, and descended it to the mouth of Mosquito creek; and, noticing the natural advantages which the stream presented, he purchased the tracts, on which warrants had already been laid, and took up the adjoining ones to effect a permanent settlement. It is not positively known that he was thus actuated, but such a conclusion appears reasonable from the fact that he located there about 1773, and soon after erected a saw mill and started other improvements. He was driven away at the time of the "Big Runaway" and his improvements destroyed.

When peace was restored Culbertson returned, took up the adjoining land, and with increased energy proceeded to make improvements. He erected a saw and grist mill, and built a spacious dwelling for his family, a little distance from it a distillery, and a few years later a mill for expressing nut and linseed oils.

The saw mill was a plain log building, and its supply of water was received from a dam in the creek, nearly a mile away, conducted through a race about two feet wide and two feet deep, which was excavated by Andrew and William Hepburn. The mill stood on the river bank about twenty rods east of his dwelling. At a later date Culbertson tore down the log mill and erected a larger one on the same site. The Power was an overshot wheel twenty-one and a half feet in diameter. The mill was standing in 1857, when it was torn down by Solomon Moyer and a new mill, with modern improvements, built on the same site. This third mill has also served its time during one generation, and is now being torn down and its heavy timbers removed. Moyer also enlarged the old mill race, making it eight feet wide and four feet deep. Charles Whitehead, of DuBoistown, who settled there in 1848, says that he obtained the information regarding Culbertson's original log mill from the old men of that time.

These improvements were of great advantage to the settlers, and the name of Culbertson was on the lips of every one for forty miles around. The little log saw mill, with its flutter wheel, "up and down saw," could probably cut 1,000 to 1,500 feet per day, which enabled him to supply the settlers with what "bill stuff" they wanted at that time. And the second and, larger mill met the increasing demand.

The grist mill, built soon after the Revolution, stood on the river bank where the old mill race falls into the river. It was a very solid two-story frame structure, resting on a high and strong foundation of stone, and was weather boarded. The wall touched the water's edge, and canoes could be paddled up so close that. bags of grain were hoisted into the mill by means of a rope. The mill contained two run of stones and made good flour. The power was an overshot water wheel, and received its supply of water from - the same race that furnished the saw mill. Culbertson's mill became famous, because the stream of water which drove it never failed, and when other mills were unable to run, it steadily jogged along and ground all grists that came. Canoes laden with grain came from far up and down the river; the Indian path over the mountain from White Deer was "brushed out" so that horses carrying grists of grain could pass over it and return. This caused it to be called "Culbertson's path," a name by which it is known to this day. The old grist mill was accidentally destroyed by fire in the spring of 1850, by a spark blown from under a kettle on the river bank where some women were engaged in washing. Thus was a historic land: mark removed, to the great regret of the older people of that time.

When Culbertson settled here walnut timber was so abundant that he built a fine stable out of that material for his horses, which continued to stand long after his death.

Culbertson's old mansion still stands and, is an object of much curiosity. It must have been a grand affair in its day, for it is yet spacious and pleasant at the end of a century. It was built about 1796; is two stories high, of hewed logs, sawed oak joist 3x8, and the flooring yellow pine fastened down with wooden pins. The rafters are hewed and covered with shaved shingles. The dimensions of the main building outside are twenty-seven feet six inches by thirty-three feet, and inside it contains three rooms and a spacious hall on each floor. An immense chimney built of stones picked up in the fields extends from the collar up through the roof, though of late years the portion above the roof has been replaced by brick. There is a large open fire place in each room and one in the cellar. The kitchen is 22x23 feet, and also has an immense stone chimney with a fire place in the cellar and one oil the first floor. This structure is but one story high with a loft. The door hinges in the building are of the T strap pattern and were made by a blacksmith. The windows have nine lights in the lower and six in the upper sash. No nails were used in the floors, doors, and other parts of the building - wooden pins alone taking their place. This was on account of their great cost at that time. The old log mansion was "sided up" by Jacob Hinkle in 1835, for the second time, and plastered inside for the first time. Other improvements have been made to it from time to time, but the main building is the original and stands there today, weather beaten and scarred as a relic of almost forgotten times.

"Culbertson's," in those days, was a popular place of resort The settlers would bring their grists to the mill and wait for them to be ground, meanwhile patronizing the distillery and playing games. In winter time the young people from Jaysburg and the country round would gather there to attend social parties and enjoy the hospitality for which the place was noted.

In February, 1807, when the old mansion was occupied by Charles Sarch, a very distressing accident occurred. A party had assembled to witness the nuptials of William Ray and Margaret Morris. Among the guests was a young man named James Duffey, from Larry's Creek. All was life, frivolity, and gayety. In the upper story of the house was a door which had been intended to open on a balcony, but it had not been built. Young Duffey being up stairs, and seeing this door, thoughtlessly opened it and stepped out. He fell headlong to the ground, landing on a large flat stone which lay at the door of the north entrance, and was instantly killed! The stone lies there today scarcely changed from the position it occupied on that fatal night.

Andrew Culbertson died about 1797, and it is supposed he was buried in the Newberry graveyard. In his will, dated June 20,1796, appears the following clause: "Mrs. Culbertson and family shall have possession of the two back rooms of the man-sion house and equal liberty to the kitchen and cellar, and the old walnut stable, until April 10, 1801, and they shall not Still." In a codicil dated February following he appointed as his executors John B. Culbertson, John Boyd, and John Kidd.

The estate appears to have been heavily encumbered. On the 3d of March, 1800, the executors sold to Galbraith Patterson, for 1,600, and 500 to the heirs of John Cox, the following four tracts of land: Samuel Boone tract, 111 acres; Martin McGraw tract, 172 acres; Andrew Culbertson tract, 411 acres; James Culbertson tract, 213 acres, making a total of 907 acres, for which a deed was executed, December 3, 1800.

The wife of Andrew Culbertson was Miss Jennett Boyd, and they were married at Philadelphia in 1763. They had the following children: William, born April 15, 1765; John, born in 1767; Elizabeth, born in 1769, married Matthew Wilson; Boyd, born 1770; Andrew, born 1772; James, born 1774; Samuel, born 1776; Mary, born 1780; Jennett, born 1783. Mary married James Cummings and was the mother of the late Andrew Boyd Cummings, the donor of Brandon park to the city of Williamsport. Of the sons William married his cousin, Mary Culbertson, at Williamsport, in 1794, and the same year they emigrated to the western part of the State and settled near what is now Edinboro, Erie county. His brothers soon after followed and settled on adjoining tracts. The mother of this family, Mrs. Bennett (Boyd) Culbertson, died at Williamsport in 1802. W. C. Culbertson, who represented the Erie district in Congress in 1888-90, is a grandson of William Culbertson. He lives at Girard, Erie county, and is a man of wealth. His father, Andrew Columbus Culbertson, was born at Williamsport, June 20, 1795.

Another family, which afterwards became connected with the western Culbertsons by marriage, was that of Thomas Colter. About 1786 he came from Philadelphia and settled on the West Branch. Here he married Elizabeth Logue. They lived here until 1797, when, with their three daughters, they moved to what is now Crawford county and settled. Very likely they followed William Culbertson.

GALBRAITH PATTERSON.

Capt. William Patterson, who was prominent during the Indian troubles, married Mary Galbraith, of Donegal, Lancaster county. They. had but one son, Galbraith Patterson, who was born at Patterson's fort in 1767. When he grew to manhood he went to Lancaster, studied law, and was admitted in 1789. He moved to Harrisburg and was admitted there in August, 1789. Thence he moved to the Culbertson place in 1790, where he died, February 26, 1801, in his thirty-fourth year, leaving a widow, Catharine, who afterwards married James Orbison, of Chambersburg, where she died, February 24, 1811. She had a daughter, Isabella, by Mr. Patterson, who married, first, David Maclay; second, Hon. Alexander T. Hayes, who for forty years was judge of the circuit court and of the common pleas court, at Lancaster.

Patterson came here on account of his interest in the Culbertson estate, and was. admitted to the bar of Lycoming county. He was noted for his eccentricity of character. Before his death he selected a spot on the north declivity of Bald Eagle mountain, not far in the rear of the residence of the late Solomon Moyer, where he requested to be buried. He explained that "he wanted to lie there and see the, dd bluestockings go to church," referring to the Presbyterians attending the old Lycoming church at Newberry, among whom were Andrew Culbertson and wife. His antipathy to these people likely grow out of his business transactions with them. His irreverent and last request was carried out and he was buried on the spot he had selected, from which there is an enchanting view of the river, valley, and mountains beyond, with the spire of the offending church in the foreground. pointing heavenward. For many years his lonely grave was enclosed by a picket. fence, but in DuBois's time it was plowed over and now all trace of the burial spot is obliterated. Among the later settlers it was known as the "fiddler's grave," because he was noted in life as an expert violin player.

The records show that John Rose and William A. Thompson became the administrators of Patterson's estate, and that on September 25, 1801, a mortgage was executed to the executors of Andrew Culbertson, to secure the balance of the purchase money due. The Culbertson-Patterson estate soon after passed into the ownership of Thomas Caldwell, then living where John Good's mill (which he had built) now stands, on Lycoming creek, and he carried on the old mill for many years.

SAMUEL CALDWELL.

McMinn in his reminiscences says that James Kinman built and ran a carding machine for many years in the Culbertson mill. He lived in the dwelling connected with the oil mill in 1823. Thomas Caldwell died, August 7,1828, aged sixty-seven. years. Frederick Ott came from Selinsgrove and ran the old mill two years. William Updegrove was one of the oldest millers, and ran the mill in Culbertson time. James Wilson was the miller when Duffey was killed. The estate of Thomas Caldwell was divided, in partition, December 27, 1828, among his children, James D. and Robert getting the portion extending into Mosquito valley, and Samuel part of the tract along the river. June 1, 1835, Robert and James D. sold 119 acres and forty-five perches to Jacob Hinkle.

While Samuel Caldwell lived here he built the fine stone mansion afterward owned by Solomon Moyer. The latter purchased it in May, 1864, with twenty-three acres of ground for $4,500. His purchase included the old mill site, on which he built a new mill and commenced manufacturing lumber. His business was not very remunerative until the Linden branch of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad was built, in 1874, when his piling ground was damaged. He brought suit and recovered $12,247; then came the Lycoming Gas and Water Company. They took their supply of water from the stream that ran his mill. He brought suit and recovered $10,500 damages. This ended his conquests in the line of litigation and he died soon after.

BEGINNINGS OF DUBOISTOWN.

What is now known as DuBoistown commenced its modern history when John DuBois And his brother Mathias, with Elias S. Lowe, bought a tract of 119 acres and 19 perches of land, June 24, 1852; Lowe and DuBois also bought of Samuel Caldwell 370 acres, October 10, 1857, for $4,000. They afterwards sold off several pieces of land including the tract on which the Culbertson mansion is situated.

The first steam saw mill in DuBoistown was built by Maj. J. H. Perkins in 1854. It stood just west of the mouth of Mosquito creek. Since that time it has undergone changes, and now has a daily capacity of 65,000 feet.

Having made land purchases, John DuBois laid out a town to which he gave his name, and it soon showed signs of prosperity. In 1856 Lowe & DuBois built a large saw mill of 90,000 feet daily capacity. They also erected a wire suspension bridge across the river for transporting their lumber to the canal. The lumber was pushed across through a pair of compression rolls, and was kept under control by other machinery. A narrow walk along side the trough through which the lumber passed, was used by pedestrians. The entire structure was destroyed by the great flood of 1865, and never rebuilt. The mill has been greatly improved Since it was first built, and now has a capacity of 100,000 feet daily. It is known as the Teneyck mill.

In 1867 John DuBois built his model mill of stone a few rods southwest of the Major Perkins mill. It had a daily capacity of 75,000 feet. Unfortunately it was burned in 1884 and was not rebuilt. Soon afterwards Mr. DuBois transferred his business interests to Clearfield county and founded DuBois City.

Careful estimates place the total amount of lumber manufactured here by the different mills from the-beginning to the present time at fully 500,000,000 feet.

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.

The quarter sessions records show that a petition praying for the incorporation, of the village of DuBoistown was laid before the court on the opening of January sessions, 1878, and immediately referred to the grand jury for investigation. The matter was promptly attended to, for on the 11th a favorable report was returned. In the' meantime some opposition to the movement was aroused. Citizens of Armstrong township, from which the territory would be taken to form the borough, did .not like the idea of having their township further reduced, and they remonstrated by petition. This caused the court to grant a mutual rule to take depositions and the question of creating a borough was carefully considered. Finally, on the 14th of October 1878, the court entered a decree incorporating "The Borough of DuBoistown."

The records show that C. C. Brown was chosen the first burgess, but as he moved away about the time of his election, the court was petitioned to appoint George Foulkrod. This was done, March 21, 1879, and he appears as the first executive officer of the new borough. His successors have been elected as follows: 1880, Thomas Wheeler; 1881, James A. Dinehart; 1882-84, Henry Aurand; 1885, A. B. Carnett; 1886, A. B. Harrison; 1887, Frederick Lannert; 1888, E. F. Layberger; 1889, F. L., Miller; 1890, J. C. Carson; 1891-92, W. C. Carson.

The first secretary of council was Joseph C. Carson. H. W. Whitehead succeeded him in 1880, and served to 1883, A. W. Richard then filled the office from 1884 to 1885, when A. K. Brown was elected and served to 1890. C. B. Wilson succeeded him in 1891.

THE BOROUGH TODAY.

The streets of DuBoistown run nearly east by west and north by south. The, main streets through the borough, east and west, are Main and Susquehanna, while those running north and south are named Spring, Summer, Valley, and High.

In addition to the steam saw mills, DuBoistown has three stores, two hotels, one, carriage and blacksmith shop, two school buildings of brick, with graded schools, and one Methodist Episcopal church - a substantial frame building. The report for last, year showed three schools and seven and a half months taught by two males and one female teacher.The population of the borough, according to the census of 1890 was 697.

DuBoistown was made a post station, June 1886, and Sarah E. Sheaffer appointed postmaster. She was succeeded, June 12, 1889, by John, F., Blair, and he is still the incumbent.


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