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

CHAPTER XLVII.

JACKSON AND COGAN HOUSE.

JACKSON. - ORGANIZATION - STREAMS - GEOLOGY SETTLEMENT - BUTTON WOOD EDUCATION- CHURCH.

COGAN HOUSE. - FIRST TOWNS - OFFICERS - DRAINAGE - GEOLOGY - PIONEERS - PIONEER LUMBERMEN - POSTOFFICES - CHURCHES - SCHOOLS.

JACKSON TOWNSHIP.


AT February sessions, 1824, a petition from "divers inhabitants of Lycoming township" was presented, setting forth that the said township of Lycoming is "about eight miles in breadth on the river and extends over the Allegheny mountain a distance of nearly twenty-five miles; that the inhabitants who reside on the north and northwest side of the Allegheny, and the inhabitants up Lycoming creek, are subject to great inconvenience by being connected with ' the inhabitants on the river, where the township officers generally reside. Therefore they pray for the, court to appoint a view to divide said township."

The court appointed Andrew D. Hepburn, Phillip Krebs, and Mordecai Heylmun as viewers, with instructions that if "they saw proper to divide said township by an east and west line, to commence on Lycoming creek about eight miles from, the mouth, to report at the next term of court."

The viewers reported favorably at September sessions, and recommended that a new township be erected and called Jackson, after the illustrious hero of New Orleans, whereupon the report was approved and the township came into existence. Since that time, however, its territory has been greatly curtailed by the erection of other townships.

As it is now constituted it lies in Liberty valley, the Tioga and Lycoming county line passing through the southern portion or limb thereof. It is bounded on the east by McNett, on the north by Liberty township, Tioga county, on the west by Pine, and on the south by Cogan House township, and is the central one of the five in the northern tier of Lycoming county.

Jackson is the fourteenth in size in the county and contains 21,120 acres. It embraces a large portion of Laurel Hill, a spur of the Allegheny mountain. Block House fork of Little Pine creek heads on the southern slope of Brian Hill, another spur of the Alleghenies, on the north side of the valley, and runs south and west to its confluence with Big Pine creek at Waterville. Next in size and importance is Roaring branch, which heads in the township, runs along the north side of Laurel Hill in an easterly direction, and finally empties into Lycoming creek at the village of Roaring Branch. Its principal tributaries are Big and Little Elk Lick runs, which head in Liberty township, Tioga county, and run south until they join the waters of Roaring branch at the foot of Laurel Hill.

The greater portion of the township is composed of valley plateau lands of Red Catskill (No. IX) lying at a general elevation of 1,500 to 1,700 feet above tide. In the northeast corner, along Roaring branch, there is an exposure of the Chemung measure, (Nos. VIII e and VIII f) with their associated fossil iron ore. In the eastern part of the township at an elevation of 2,100 feet above tide, formations (No. X, XI, XII, and XIII) occur, being the western end of the McIntyre coal basin; while on the western end there occurs the same formation, the eastern end of the Pine Creek coal basin. These two may each contain some of the lower productive coal beds.

There was an attempt made to utilize the calcareous breccia of (No. IX), but owing to the red rock selected containing much iron, it was not a success. At the head of a fork of Pack Horse run there was observed a heavy wash of manganese, which stained the rock and gravel many rods down the stream. On being followed to the head of the run the pocket in the gravel and loose shaly sandstone was found, containing in all about 250 to 300 pounds of fine semi-crystallized manganese ore, which analyzed seventy per cent., but no more was found here. There is a report of its presence in two adjoining townships in greater quantity. It would be of value to the commercial interests of the county should a permanent bed of this excellent mineral be found.

There are good localities for obtaining fossil plates and casts on Roaring branch and its tributaries. Coal and fire clays may be looked for in the coal basin. Good building and flagstone also abound. The surface of the township is generally rolling. In the southeast and southwest it is mountainous. The glacial moraine left marks of its presence, and a hill of glacial drift occurs at Buttonwood, just above the postoffice, near the county bridge. At Sawyer's (formerly Sechrist's) mills is a small natural dam and falls. The rock is cut out to form the channel of the stream about fifty feet in depth.

Settlement. - It is strange to relate that at the present time there is neither a grist nor saw mill in the township. The lumber being exhausted there is no further use for saw mills. The Jackson people get their milling done at Liberty, Tioga county, and Trout Run and Roaring Branch. As early as 1811 Peter Sechrist, one of the sturdiest of the early pioneers of the valley, moved from Liverpool, Perry county, over the Williamson road, to what is now Jackson township and opened up the farm now owned by Hiram Sawyer, Esq., lying on the Block House fork, about one mile south of the county line, and erected a grist and saw mill. They were the first of the kind in Liberty valley and for many years did good service, but they finally succumbed to the ravages of time, and today not a vestige of either remains, excepting the old mill stones. Daniel Sechrist, born in 1812, was the first white child to see the light of day in that dreary wilderness. He was born before the cabin in which they afterwards lived was completed, and he still lives to recount the stories of privation and sufferings the family endured in his youthful days. A fine dwelling house, with neatly kept grounds, commodious outbuildings, and well tilled fields surrounding it, now stands near the site of the old mill. It is owned by Hiram Sawyer.

Other settlers soon followed Sechrist. About 1814 Jacob Beck, Daniel Beck, and George Miller started from York county on a prospecting expedition. They reached Williamsport in due season, where they remained for a short time, but were not entirely satisfied. Three years later (1817) they rode over Laurel Hill, following the Williamson road from Trout run to the Block House. Daniel Miller (still living) soon afterwards followed and joined them. They selected places in what is now the eastern part of Jackson township, in the dense wilderness, made improvements, and finally founded homes.

The census of 1890 gives the township a population of 619. The inhabitants are noted for their hospitality, thrift, industry, and sobriety. It was through their territory that Charles Williamson cut his famous road in 1792 and built the Block House, just across the Tioga county line, which has been a noted landmark for a hundred years.

Buttonwood. - Jackson township has but one postoffice and it is named Buttonwood. It was established August 29, 1872, and Henry Weaver, Jr., was appointed postmaster. He was succeeded, September 12, 1889, by Charles B. Halstead, at whose store it is kept, in the southwestern part of the township.

Education has not been neglected. Jackson has seven schools, viz: No. 1, Kehler district, east end; No. 2, Mountain House, foot of Laurel Hill; No. 3, Raker district, in the center of the township; No. 4, Reed's, in the northwestern part; No. 5, Centennial, on Block House fork, near the postoffice ; No. 6, Independent, near J. Beck's; No. 7, Zucker's, extreme northwest.

Church. - There is one church in the township. It is a good brick structure and belongs to the Lutherans. And there is but one hotel, David D. Reed proprietor, at the mouth of Pack Horse run.

COGAN HOUSE TOWNSHIP.

This township was formed out of territory taken from Jackson and Mifflin townships, December 6, 1843. A petition having been presented praying for a division of these two townships, the court appointed A. Taylor, Jacob Cook, and William Quinn commissioners to investigate and report. Their report being favorable, it was confirmed on the date stated above and the township was created.

As the township was organized in December, 1843, no officers were chosen until the subsequent spring election. They were as follows: Justice of the peace, Joseph Stryker; supervisors, John Aikin and G. Botts; school directors: Joseph Stryker, John Weigel, Benjamin Quimby, Paul Stryker, Charles Straub, and G. Botts.

The township is the sixth in size in the county and has an area of 39,360 acres. By the census of 1890 the population was 1,126. It is situated in the second tier from the north and is bounded as follows: On the east by Lewis and McNett, on the north by Jackson, on the west by Pine and Cummings, and on the south by Mifflin, Anthony, and Lycoming townships.

Cogan House is well watered. Its principal stream is Larry's creek, which heads on the farm of Reuben Crist, near Steam valley. It is twenty-five miles long and falls into the river east of Jersey Shore. Hoagland's ran empties into Lycoming creek and Bear run enters Little Pine creek above English Centre. Flook's run and Pack Horse run also empty into Little Pine creek. Trout run heads in Laurel valley and enters Lycoming creek at the village of Trout Run. Wolf run falls into. Lycoming creek below Trout run. The Plank Road fork of Larry's creek falls into the main stream above the borough of Salladasburg.

The township forms the south escarpment of the main Allegheny range and consists of Red Catskill (No. IX), which forms a red shale valley about twelve miles long by four miles wide, lying at a general elevation of 1,450 to 1,650 feet above tide. Next above come Pocono rocks (No. X) forming the rim around the valley and edge of the mountains, but does not give much encouragement to farmers. Next above occur considerable areas of Mauch Chunk (No. XI) red shale, upon which are quite a number of farms, most of which are of fair agricultural value. At an elevation of 1,700 to 1,800 feet above tide occurs mountain or carboniferous (umbral) limestone from sixty to seventy feet thick and some three miles long. This is the most northern extension of the great limestone formation which extends into the southern part of Tennessee and has a thickness there of 800 to 1,500 feet. Above this occurs Pottsville (seral) conglomerate (No. XII) forty to sixty feet thick, and above this is a section of the lower productive coal measure (No. XIII), containing one bed of coal three feet eight inches to four feet six inches thick, and a number of minor beds. Coal was mined on Hoagland's run some forty-six years ago and hauled to Crescent Iron Works.

Iron ore occurs in the (No. XI) umbral red shales. Manganese has been found as a bog ore and semi-crystallized. Copper ore has been found in some three or four localities, and one deposit of sufficient thickness to constitute a vein fifteen inches thick, with an underlying sandstone impregnated with copper. Fire clay of various qualities is observed in numerous outcrops, and mineral earth paints have been worked, affording a good red and brown. Fine building stone exists in the township.

Cogan, is a remarkably fertile valley, which it owes chiefly to the disintegration, of the numerous masses of calcareous rocks (corustone marl) in which the measures in and around the valley abound. The surface is rolling in the valleys, with some portions mountainous. The State road, built in 1799, passes through the township near the old coal mines. The gorge of Hoagland's run is a true canon, where the measures have been cut out to a depth of from 500 to 1,000 feet. The entire township forms an interesting study for the geologist.

Pioneers. - The township is so named in honor of David Cogan, who was one of the first settlers on Larry's creek. This was about 1825. He built a log house, cleared ground, and made other improvements. The location was pleasant, there were fine groves of maple and attractive surroundings, but as there was only one settler near, he soon tired of his wilderness home and abandoned it about 1842. The place gradually fell into decay and came to be known by hunters and travelers as "Cogan's House." Hence the name of the township. Another settler named Carter had made some improvements in the neighborhood, built a house, and planted an orchard, but when Cogan left he followed him. The latter place was afterwards known as the "Carter House."

The section of country where these pioneers attempted to found homes was noted for fine timber and the abundance of game. Old settlers on Hoagland's run used to repair to the place every spring to make maple sugar, but they often had to defend themselves against wild animals. As late as 1840 David Conn was there for that purpose, and was disturbed by the howling of wolves all night. Edward Persun finally became the owner of Cogan's improvement, and in course of time the letter s was dropped and it was known simply as Cogan House.

Among some of the earliest adventurers to penetrate the wilds of Cogan House in search of homes, after Cogan and Carter, might be mentioned the following: Charles Straub, Joseph Stryker, Adam Fausnaught, Benjamin Quimby, John Akin, and John Weigle. This was as early as 1842. At that time it was, indeed, a "howling wilderness," but being endowed with pluck and great endurance, they succeeded, and today many of their descendants may be found there.

Among the modern settlers in the township may be mentioned Abraham Meyer, the well known geologist.. He was born in Philadelphia, January 9, 1835, and is a grandson of Abraham Bleyler, who served as a farrier in the Continental Army, and afterward settled in Germantown. He entered the Central high school from the Jefferson Street grammar school, and graduated with & class of 1850. In 1852 he came to Lycoming county and settled on the "Squire Mahaffey farm," Here he remained until 1863, engaged in farming and lumbering. On the 3d of December, 1863, by order of the Secretary of War, he was assigned to the United States Signal Corps, Army of the Potomac, where he remained until the close of the war. Mr. Meyer studied geology and is well known throughout the county as a local geologist of good standing. His residence since the war has been in Cogan House township, where he has served as justice of the peace five years, and auditor and town clerk for a number of terms.

Pioneer Lumbermen. - In early times, owing to the heavy growth of pine timber, Cogan House w as one of the best lumbering districts in the county, and the output of manufactured lumber during the last fifty years has been heavy. The venerable James Wood was one of the pioneer lumbermen, assisted by his son Robert. Their first mill was primitive in its construction. It consisted of a pit saw with Mr. Wood at one end and Robert at the other. This was as early as 1844, before steam and the fine water power furnished by the streams bad been thought of being utilized. Mr. Wood in course of time became the owner of' a fine mill and manufactured a large amount of lumber.

The first mill run by water of which we have any account was started by Mr. Schuyler some time in 1844. , Isaiah Hayes followed him in 1845, and the same year F. Whitlock started a steam mill. From that time to the present the list of those who operated mills is a long one. The lumber product of this township has amounted to hundreds of millions of feet, but in the absence of statistics the exact amount can not be given. The supply of pine is about exhausted and in a few years all traces of the once busy saw mills will have disappeared.

Postoffices. - Cogan House township has five postoffices. The oldest, Perkinsville and White Pine, was established July 6, 1854, and Harford, J. Perkins appointed postmaster. He served until May 6, 1857, when the office was changed to White Pine and Cassimer Wittig was appointed. His successors have been as follows: Charles Whitehead, appointed May 2, 1881; J. R. Weigle, February 9, 1882; Robert Wood, present incumbent, July 6, 1888.

Cogan House postoffice was established December 21,1854, and Charles Persun was appointed postmaster. He served until January 2,1889, almost thirty-five years, when Mrs. Lora J. Maxwell was appointed to succeed him. She is the present incumbent.

Steam Valley postoffice was established August 2, 1872, and Henry Yoder was appointed postmaster. His successors served as follows: Henry F. Winder, appointed April 7, 1879; Charles H. Naylor, June 4, 1887, present incumbent.

Brookside was established December 18, 1882; Lawson O. Graham was made postmaster and is still in office.

The last postoffice was established May 26, 1892, at Buck Horn and named Steuben, in honor of Baron Steuben, who has descendants living in the township, and Joseph F. Reeder was appointed postmaster.

Churches. - Religious services were hold in various places as early as 1846. Rev. Mr. Bellman was the first officiating minister, but no church was built until 1860, when the Methodists erected one at the Summit. Today there are five in the township, viz: Brookside, Summit, and Cogan House, known as the Centennial Chapel, all of which are Methodist Episcopal. The Union church on Wolf run is used by the Disciples and Lutherans, and the, Steam Valley church is used by the Evangelicals, Disciples, and Lutherans.

Schools. - In 1846 two school houses were built, one at Schuyler's mill, the other near Benjamin Quimby's residence. The first teachers were Lucy Doctor and Lucinda Moss. Today there are seven school houses in the township, named as follows: Brookside, on the Plank Road fork of Larry's creek; Summit, on the main road from Larry's creek, called the "back valley road;" Beech Grove, on the "back valley road," near the headwaters of Bear creek; Cogan House, on the main road leading from Larry's creek, on Wolf run; Green Mountain, on the main road leading to Trout Run; Steam Valley, on the fork of Trout run; Buck Horn, near the Buck Horn tavern.


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