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




THIS pretty little borough is situated on Big Muncy creek, about seven and a half miles from the town of Muncy, and two and a half above Hughesville. A. ledge of rocks rises nearly perpendicularly 200 feet above the stream which washes its base. The valley at this point is about three-fourths of a mile wide, increasing in width as you descend the creek, and is surrounded on the east, west, and north by rocks and mountains. The basin in which the settlement was made covers an area of probably 500 or 600 acres.

The peculiar name - Picture Rocks - was given to the place by the early settlers, who found rude Indian pictures painted on the rocks. They have long since disappeared. These hieroglyphics attracted much attention at first and were long regarded as an object of curiosity by the whites. What they indicated no one could tell. Tradition informs us that the flat on which the town is built was once a favorite camping place for bands of Monsie Indians, and as many arrow points and other relies of the departed race were found there, such was probably the fact.


In the fall of 1848, two families, viz: A. R. Sprout and Amos Burrows, came from Susquehanna county and settled here. The place was little better than a wild. There was but one house, a barn, and a Saw mill. Both families moved into the house, until more quarters could be provided. Other friends and relatives soon followed and the little settlement grew apace. The land was first taken up by Henry Rody, his warrant bearing date, June 3, 1773. He sold it to Abraham Singer, who conveyed it to John Tice, by whom it was sold to A. R. Sprout and Amos Burrows in the autumn of 1848. At that time it was not very attractive in fact, the land was regarded as worthless, owing to the seeming impossibility of clearing away the rocks, logs, and underbrush which encumbered it.

A. R. Sprout and Amos Burrows, the founders of the town, have both been gathered to their fathers. Mr. Sprout was born in Connecticut, April 25, 1816, and died at Picture Rocks, October 25, 1888. His mother, who was a sister of Amos Burrows, was born on the 4th of July, and on the same day, eighty-seven years later, she died. She was the mother of eight sons and three daughters, and Mr. Sprout was the eldest of the family. He was noted for his inventive genius and love of fruit culture. His wife did not survive him long. They left no issue.


Picture Rocks was made a postvillage, July 9, 1861, and James E. Lobdell was commissioned postmaster. His successors have been as follows: Robert S. Shoemaker, June 6, 1867; Theodore W. Little, July 2, 1869; S. H. Burrows, September 9, 1881; Howard M. Essick, August 21, 1885; John B. Musgrave, April 15, 1889.


The town was incorporated as a borough, September 27, 1875, since which time it has greatly improved. Burgesses have been elected as follows: 1876, C. H. Eddy; 1877, A. A. Collins; 1878, A. L. Eddy; 1879, E. T. Sprout; 1880, T. W. Little; 1881, J. D. Musgrave; 1882, W. Beck; 1883, A. Fague; 1884, A. C. Little; 1885, W. W. Pickering; 1886-87, A. E. Burrows; 1888, C. N. Molyneaux; 1889-90, T. H. Bennett; 1891, S. H. Burrows; 1892, J. D. Musgrave.


Tice, the owner of the land, was the possessor of a primitive saw mill, but it had been standing idle for several years. This mill was. purchased, by Sprout & Burrows and a sash, door, and blind manufactory started. This was the first window sash factory in the county, and the product was regarded as an innovation by carpenters, who were prejudiced against it. They argued that the making of sash by machinery would ruin their business and they discountenanced its use by builders. But the spirit of progress could not be stayed. The sash factory won the victory after a hard struggle and the plucky founders lived to see many others established throughout the country.

Town lots were laid out and sold and buildings erected. Other manufacturing industries were founded, more settlers came, and in a few years the place had assumed the dignity of a village. Purchasers of lots were required to enter into an agreement not to open a saloon or engage in the liquor traffic. The town was built on the sure foundation of temperance and morality the potent factors of prosperity, religion, and civilization and today the people are thrifty, godly, and happy.

Picture Rocks now has five industries. The leading concerns are Burrows Brothers & Company's, Limited, Furniture Manufactory, employing about 100 hands; Handle and Excelsior Company; Frey & Fague's Planing Mill; John P. Little & Company's Bending Works, and John Bryan's Knitting Factory. In the aggregate these various industries employ a large number of men.

There are three stores, one drug store, one blacksmith shop, two physicians, two livery stables, one jewelry store, and a number of shops.


The majority of the original settlers were Baptists, and in 1840 they organized a society with about twenty members, but as they had no church they were compelled to worship in a school house. The supply preacher arrived one Saturday evening, intending to preach the next day. While stopping with one of the brethren he remarked that he "dreaded to attempt preaching in that pig pen of a house with such low ceilings and broken walls." A person remarked that he once read of a house being built by having a general turn out of the people, when a day's work put up a decent log structure in the new settlement, where service was held. At this suggestion it was agreed that an effort should be made. After preaching a business meeting was held and arrangements entered into to erect a church. A lot was procured, every one contributed something in the line of material, and at a given day all came together and assisted in the work of "raising" the building, and in eight days it was completed and ready for use. It stood for over twenty-five years and served the purpose for which it was designed. Its site is now occupied by a more imposing and convenient place of worship. The strength of the congregation is now about eighty, and there is a flourishing Sunday school connected with the church.

Some years ago the Methodists erected a church in the borough, and they now have a good list of members and a flourishing Sunday school.


In this hive of industry and sobriety education has not been neglected. There are three schools in the borough and the report shows six months taught in 1891, by one male and two female teachers. The former was paid $50 a month and the latter an average of $32 each. Average number of male scholars, 49; female, 64. The borough, according to the census of 1890, had a population of 510.

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© 2001 Lycoming County Genealogy Project

Please note this book was written more than 110 years ago and was reproduced exectly as published.