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








ALTHOUGH one of the oldest townships in the county, next to Muncy and Washington, Nippenose has been greatly shorn of its original territory, and now stands the twenty-eighth in size with an area of 9,280 acres. At May term of Northumberland court, held at Sunbury in 1786, it was decreed that a now township should be formed out. of Bald Eagle and Upper Bald Eagle, and called Nippenose. Bald Eagle was the original township, created in 1772.

The records show that the first township officers were: Constable, Michael Quiggle; overseers of the poor, John Carson and George Grier; supervisors, Henry Antes and John Clark. In 1791, five years after organization, the officers were: Constable, Francis Clark; overseers of the poor, Charles Stewart and Michael Quiggle; supervisors, J. Whitman and R. Crawford; viewers of fences, W. McGrady and George, Brain.

The boundaries of Nippenose when first organized were thus defined:

Beginning at the mouth of Bald Eagle creek, following down the South bank of the West Branch to join Washington township, to run a south course along the line of said township to meet the boundary of Potter township.

This was a wide scope of territory, out of which townships in Lycoming, Centre, and Clinton counties have since been made. Contrasted today with its original dimensions, Nippenose is a small spot on the map. By the census of 1890 it had a population of 588. It is now bounded on the east by Bastress and Susquehanna, on the north by the river and Piatt, on the west by the river and Clinton county, taking in Long Island in the river east of Jersey Shore borough, and on the south by Limestone township. It is peculiarly situated, the best part of its territory on the north lying in the great ox-bow bend of the river, while the southern part is largely composed of Bald Eagle mountain, pierced by a great canon or gorge, through which flow the waters of Antes creek, forming the outlet from Limestone township, or Nippenose valley, as it is called.

It is difficult to explain the meaning of this peculiar name. Many writers have attempted it, but none are absolutely certain that they are correct. Some are of the opinion that it is a corruption of the Indian phrase, "Nippeno-wi," signifying a warm, genial, summer like place. The valley, on account of its secluded position, surrounded by high mountains, was (and still is) a charming spot, and must have appeared to the original explorers and settlers like an Elysian field, and impressed them with the softness and beauty of the surrounding mountain scenery. Tradition has ascribed another cause for the origin of the name. It is related that an old Indian hunter who lingered long in the valley had his nose nipped by the frost, and the early settlers called him "Nippenose," in consequence of this misfortune, and from that fact the name was derived. But as the Indians generally applied names to places that were singularly appropriate and beautiful, and free from anything of a light or frivolous nature, it is more likely that the name was given to the valley oil account of its soft, sylvan beauty, and it really meant a "Nippe-no-wi," or an attractive and delightful retreat.

Antes creek from time immemorial has been noted as a trout stream. It is only about three miles in length, but it carries off a large volume of water, the accumulation in Nippenose valley. There are three fish cottages on the stream, owned by Williamsport and Jersey Shore parties, where they spend a portion of their time in the trouting season and the summer months. The wild gorge is a delightful place, hemmed in by high mountains. A. fine road runs through it and the railroad station is within easy distance.

Owing to the peculiarity of the face of the country, the geological study of this township is not without interest. It consists of Medina sandstone and conglomerates (No. IV) on the southern line, forming the mountain along the river. Next occur Clinton shales (No. V), occupying the face of the mountain along the river, at a high angle, and finely exposed in the Philadelphia and Erie railroad cuttings near Aughanbaugh’s. Following this occurs Lower Helderburg limestone (No. VI), occupying some folds in the slates (No. V) but mostly concealed except in the "deep cut" of the railroad, above Antes Fort, where the workmen uncovered it. There is also an exposure of slates and shales along the bank of the river, below the bridge leading to the island, and again about one mile above.

Fossil iron ore has been mined above and below Antes creek, which is of a good quality, but is difficult of access, by reason of the amount of debris lying upon it from the superior formation.

Morgan’s valley is a mountain valley in the Bald Eagle range, on the edges of Medina sandstone. It contains some settlements, but is very much secluded. A little stream of water drains this valley, which empties into Antes creek.

Settlements were made in this township at an early period in our colonial history, as the land was not in dispute. In 1769 we hear of the provincial surveyors being at work locating land for applicants. The enumeration lists for 1800, printed in Chapter XV, will tell the reader who the taxable inhabitants were at that time. Henry Clark is claimed to have been among the first to settle in the township. Sterrett lived on Long Island and was accused of "splitting rails and working on Sunday," which so incensed some of the settlers that the made complaint to tile authorities.

The most prominent of the early settlers, whose name is closely interwoven with the history of colonial times, was Col. John Henry Antes. As so much has been said about him and the part he bore in early days in the opening chapters of this work, it is not necessary to repeat it here. That he came probably as early as 1772 there is little doubt. His stockade fort on the promontory just below the mouth of the creek bearing his name has been described.

When Colonel Antes found himself growing old he built a brick house on the river bank, (afterwards known as "the McMicken house,") where he retired. He then invited his son-in-law, Elias P. Youngman, to remove from Mifflinburg to the old homestead at the mill. Here Mr. Youngman opened a public house and erected an oval sign bearing the words, "Nippenose Inn," which he conducted for five years, or until the death of Colonel Antes, when the whole mill property went to his son John by will, and Mr. Youngman moved to the property in Nippenose Narrows.

Colonel Antes was twice married. His first wife was Anna Maria Paulin. She died in March, 1767, leaving five children. The eldest, John Henry Antes, Jr., married Elizabeth Shoemaker. They had nine children, and the fourth, Amelia, married Elias P. Youngman. They had thirteen children, the eldest of whom is George W. Youngman, Esq., now one of the oldest members of the Williamsport bar. Caroline, the second daughter, married John M. McMinn, Esq., the well known civil engineer, who died, September 11, 1870. His widow and seven children five sons and two daughters survive him and are well known.

Colonel Antes married as his second wife Sophia Snyder, by whom he had eight children, all of whom long since passed away. He died, May 13, 1820, at the homestead near the mouth of Antes creek, aged eighty-three years, nine months, and five days, and was buried in the cemetery on the hill near the site of his stockade fort. No memorial stone marks his grave, nor is there one of the name of Antes now living in Nippenose township.

Settlers in the Ox-Bow. - Nippenose bottom, lying in the ox-bow bend of the river, was settled by hardy Irish Presbyterians. James McMicken came from Bucks county in 1784 and first settled on the Loyalsock. In 1799 he purchased land in Nippenose and located there. Here a homestead was founded and the "McMicken farms"became well known landmarks. He was born, December 29,1756, and died in March, 1835. A marble slab over his grave in the Jersey Shore cemetery contains this inscription:

He entered into the service of his country at the commencement of the Revolution, and by his bravery and patriotism was promoted to a lieutenancy, and he was honorably discharged at the close of the war. His wife, Elizabeth, born May 17, 1757, died December 29, 1807, aged fifty years.

They had three sons: David, James, and Charles. The second never married. Charles married Jane Smith, a daughter of Hon. Isaac Smith, whose history will be found in the review of Piatt township. Descendants are living in Williamsport.

David McMicken, the eldest son, was born in Bucks county, May 12, 1779, and came with his parents to Loyalsock when a very small child. He grew to man’s estate on the West Branch and became inured to the toils and privations of pioneer life. His early training and associations developed a spirit of manhood which eminently fitted him for the career of activity and usefulness he entered upon soon after attaining his majority.

In early life he evinced a military taste and in 1808 Governor McKean commissioned him first lieutenant of the troop of horse attached to the Fourth regiment of State militia, First brigade of the Tenth division, composed of the counties of Lycoming, Tioga, Potter, Jefferson, McKean, and Clearfield. He was commissioned major in 1811, and lieutenant colonel in 1814 by Governor Snyder.

Political honors now awaited him. He was appointed deputy sheriff for Lycoming county in 1815, and served under Sheriff Cummings, In 1819 he was nominated for sheriff and elected. Soon after this he was advanced in military rank by being appointed and commissioned brigadier general of the First brigade, Ninth division, State militia, by Governor Hiester. General McMicken was sedate and dignified, a close observer of what was passing around him, and be proved himself a useful and representative man in the county. He died, May 4, 1857, aged seventy-eight years.

General McMicken was twice married. His first wife was a daughter of John Bennett, who was twice sheriff of the county. His second wife was Eleanor Smith, daughter of Hon. Isaac Smith, already referred to. She died, February 1, 1850, in the fifty-seventh year of her age. John B. McMicken, who died in Williamsport a few years ago, was a son by the first marriage. Like his father lie also served one term as sheriff of the county. Dr. Joseph B. McMicken, who died at Mill Hall, was a son also by this marriage. The living descendants of General McMicken are now few in number, and strange as it may seem, none are now living in Nippenose.

Another family that attained much prominence also belonged to the early settlers. Charles Stewart, the head of the family, was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1743. In 1762, when only nineteen years of age, he came to America and joined his uncle, Samuel Hunter, who lived near the present town of Dauphin, a few miles north of Harrisburg. About 1767 he married Elizabeth Hunter, his cousin, and they settled in Cumberland county on a farm he had purchased. Before the treaty of 1784, his attention was directed to the West Branch valley by the flattering reports that reached him of the beauty and fertility of the land lying along the river. Having disposed of his land for Continental money, he made a journey up the river in 1783. This journey proved eventful as well as lucky. He was pleased with the beauty and richness of the land and straightway purchased 714 acres in Nippenose bottom, lying in the great ox-bow bend of the river, and extending back to the base of the mountain, which he paid for in the money he had received for his Cumberland county farm. This is wherein his journey proved lucky in two ways first, because of the excellent quality of the land he purchased, and, secondly, his good fortune to pay for it in Continental money, for it soon afterwards became worthless. In course of time this magnificent estate was increased by other purchases, and it steadily grew in value as the country improved.

Charles Stewart at once set to work to clear up a farm, and when he had everything arranged he returned for his family in 1784. He owned a few slaves which be brought with him. His wife, children, and household goods were transported up the river in a flat-boat and his stock was driven by land. Some of the descendants of his slaves live in Williamsport today.

Charles Stewart and wife had four sons and two daughters: Samuel, who was sheriff of Lycoming county in 1800, subsequently a member of the State legislature, and again sheriff of the County for three terms; Charles a farmer by occupation, who served as treasurer of Lycoming county and was a contractor on the Pennsylvania canal; John, who was lieutenant in the regular army, and died from the effects of a pistol shot at Natchez, Mississippi; Mary, who Married James Beard; Katie, who married John Knox, and Alexander, who was sheriff of Erie county, Pennsylvania, in 1800, from which place he moved to the Nippenose valley; he first married Elizabeth Hepburn, and after her death he married her sister, Matilda Hepburn, and moved to Linden, where he became a prominent farmer, and the father of two children: Charles and William. An exhaustive history of this famous family may be found in Gernerd’s Now and Then, Vol. III, No. 1, 1890. Charles Stewart died September 25, 1809, aged sixty-six years. His wife followed him, March 22, 1813, aged sixty-three years. They were buried in a private lot on their farm near the river, which was used many years afterwards as a place of interment for their descendants.

Samuel Stewart, born December 4, 1770, died April 6, 1844. He married Jane West Stevenson about 1809, and she died August 19, 1849. He was in some respects the most remarkable man of his time. At the age of twenty-three he was appointed a deputy surveyor and served for two or three years. When Lycoming county was formed he was elected the first sheriff, October 16, 1795, and served three years. During the closing year of his term (1798) he sold the lands of the celebrated Robert Morris in this county for debt on executions issued in Philadelphia. Over 100,000 acres were thus disposed of. Some of these lands lay on the Clarion river and some in Muncy township. In 1805 he was appointed treasurer, and in 1808 he ran for the State Senate on the Federal ticket, but was defeated by Gen. John Burrows. During 1812-13 he was brigade inspector of the Militia with the rank of major, and in 1814 he was elected a member of the Lower House of the legislature. He filled, meantime, a number of minor civil offices. Stewart was a giant in stature. He stood six feet four inches in height and was proportionately framed. His strength and endurance were great. He had a remarkable head and heavy eyebrows and presented a unique as well as commanding appearance. In speech he, was plain, blunt, and often rough, but possessed a warm, sympathetic heart, was devoted to his friends, and noted for his hospitality.

On Sunday, December 16, 1805, be fought a duel with pistols with the celebrated John Binns. The affair grew out of some comments by Binns in his newspaper on Stewart’s public acts: The latter was greatly offended, and meeting Binns in a ball alley at Sunbury assaulted him. Binns challenged him to fight a duel according to the code. Stewart accepted, seconds were chosen, and they met in the marsh near where Montandon now stands and exchanged shots. Neither was hurt. Before proceeding to a second fire the seconds Made a proposition for compromise, which was accepted, when they shook hands and parted friends. Binns in his autobiography (page 186) gives a full and impartial account of this affair, and states that he and Stewart afterwards became warm friends. This duel was the only one ever fought in the West Branch valley according to the code, and caused a great sensation at the time. It led to the passage of the act of March 31, 1806, forbidding dueling under severe penalties in the State.

When Samuel Stewart died he left a landed estate of 800 acres, which bordered on the river for two miles, and embraced some of the finest farms in the bottom. It was divided among his children, as follows: Ann E.; Jane W.; John A.; Mary P.; Samuel C.; Charles H.; George W., and James S. All are deceased but James, and he is the last representative of the first sheriff of Lycoming county. He is a bachelor and lives on his share of the estate.

Many incidents in the life of Samuel Stewart are preserved which illustrate the character of the man. Although he possessed many noble qualities, he was often inclined, on account of his great physical strength, to be of an imperious nature and thought that he was born to rule. Nearly opposite the mouth of Pine creek, on a plateau or bench of the mountain, lived two brothers, William and Jacob Antes. Jacob was over six feet in height, well proportioned, and a man of great strength, but one of the most peaceable men in all that part of the country. They were nephews of Col. John Henry Antes. Stewart and Antes were both what we would call stalwarts. The former was of Irish extraction, the latter of German.

In those early days personal quarrels and fights were not uncommon. It was a custom of the times for the men especially on Saturdays to come in from the surrounding country to the village to hear the news, compare notes in reference to farming operations and other matters of interest. Many, during their stay, indulged in drinking carousals which often ended in one or more fights. Stewart had been engaged in several fights and had always been the victor, and he thought he had no peer in that part of the country. Indeed, he came to think that he was invincible.

Stewart bad an antipathy to the Anteses, called them "low Dutchmen," and frequently boasted what he would do with them if an opportunity offered. They knew of his threats, but did not fear him. On one occasion Stewart took a grist of grain to the mill, but the Anteses would not receive it, telling him to send one of his "niggers," and they would deal with him. And it is said that he was compelled to do as they said, as he must have the grist ground; but the offense was one that he was bound to resent. On a certain occasion he met Jacob Antes at a tavern in Jersey Shore kept by Leonard Pfoutz, and he concluded that he would try the mettle of Antes, and he commenced hectering and insulting him. He continued until Antes became angry and determined that he would stand it no longer, and then the fight commenced. The battle raged and the struggle was terrific and fearful between the two giants. Antes finally obtained the mastery and was declared the victor. The last blow he delivered missed Stewart and was received by a door which was shivered in pieces. It was believed that if Stewart had received the blow it would have caused his death, as it was delivered with such terrific force. It is said that Stewart received injuries in this contest from which he never fully recovered. This was his last battle, he being willing ever afterwards to let fighting alone, and he became friendly to the Antes families.

John Stewart, born November 14, 1789, was killed in a duel near Natchez, Mississippi, May 5, 1811. When a young man he entered the United States Army as a lieutenant and became a popular officer. While serving in the South he got into a difficulty with Captain Cheny, who challenged him. He accepted and fell at the first fire.

Alexander Stewart, born April 30, 1773, died May 10, 1850. He was a surveyor and was appointed to survey "the triangle" at trio. When Erie county was erected, March 22, 1800, he was chosen the first sheriff of the county. At the close of his term he returned to Lycoming county and settled on Queneshaque near Linden. He was twice married, to sisters. His first wife, Elizabeth, was a daughter of Hon. William Hepburn. She died, March 29, 1817, in her twenty-ninth year, leaving two sons, Charles and William. The former died at his home in Williamsport on Christmas morning, 1889, in the seventy- third year of his age. The latter survives. His second wife, Matilda Hepburn, born October 3, 1784, died October 80, 1866, without issue.

Charles Stewart, born September 22, 1775, died March 5, 1846. He was twice married. By his first wife, Elizabeth Crane, he had a son and a daughter; George and Eliza. His second wife, Mary McCormick, had four sons and five daughters. One of the daughters, Rosetta, married John F. Cowden, a noted land speculator, and at one time they lived in Williamsport. On her death he married her sister Josephine.

Catharine, born April 27, 1780, died January 5, 1842. She married John Knox and they settled on Larry’s creek. See sketch of Piatt township.

Michael Curts, born December 27, 1819, at Myerstown, Pennsylvania, came to Nippenose township when he was ton years old and has lived there continuously since 1829. He is now the oldest resident, but John Bubb is the oldest man. Mr. Curts served as a justice of the peace from 1857 to the spring of 1892. He received his first commission from Governor Packer.

Industries. - Colonel Antes built a grist mill at the mouth of the creek certainly as early at 1777, for we are informed that when the scouts returned after the "Big Runaway" they found it burned and the aroma of roasted grain still tainted the atmosphere. When peace was restored and the country had become tranquil he rebuilt the mill in 1792. For a long time it was patronized by the settlers within a radius of thirty or forty miles, and it only succumbed to time in 1873, when it was torn down by Russell & Williamson and a more modern mill was erected. It is now owned and run by William Welshans.

In 1810 Colonel Antes built a fulling and carding mill on the creek about midway through the gorge in the mountain. It was run for many years by Elias P. Youngman, his son-in-law. About 1835 he attached machinery for cleaning clover seed, which was run for a long time. At that time clover seed was very costly and comparatively few farmers could afford to purchase much at a time. It is related that George W. Youngman, Esq., sold a bushel of seed to the. Hon. Anson V. Parsons, of Jersey Shore, for $24. The primitive fulling and carding mill was regarded as a valuable improvement at that time, and for many years W enjoyed a wide patronage. The old mill long since disappeared, but one of more modern style and construction occupies the site and is now owned by William L. Youngman and operated by H. C. Halfpenny.

The night before the great flood of June 1, 1889, a mighty torrent of water, carrying death and destruction in its course, swept down the creek. The dwelling houses of the two Youngman brothers, who were operating the woolen mills, were carried away, and their wives, five children, and two young ladies were drowned. The calamity was one of the saddest of the many which occurred at that time.

Jersey Shore Station. - About the time the railroad was projected Jonathan White had a town plat surveyed, and named it Granville. He purchased the land from the Stewart estate. From some cause the name never took root, as it were, the people preferring to call it Jersey Shore Station, because it was the station for that borough, although it is two miles away, on the other side of the river.

Jersey Shore Station, or Antes Fort, is not an incorporated borough, although it is regularly laid out with streets and alleys. The streets running east and west are named First, Second, and Third; north and south, Pine, Main, and Walnut. It has three stores, kept, respectively, by Michael Curts, W. E. Gheen, and Bailey Brothers; one hotel, by W. M. Wright, a grain and tobacco warehouse, by W. E. Gheen, and a grist mill, by Napoleon Brosha. The Baptists erected a church as early as 1867. Antes Fort, the only postvillage, was the outgrowth of the comple-tion of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad through the township. It is better known, perhaps, as Jersey Shore Station. The postoffice, which was established August 5, 1861, with George Treon as postmaster, was named Antes Fort in honor of Col. Henry Antes’s stockade, which stood half a mile west of the place. Treon’s successors have been as follows: John Griggs, Jr., appointed November 13, 1865; W. L. Stetson, May 10, 1869; Robert Potter, April 5, 1872; Michael Sypher, December 19, 1873; John Griggs, Jr., January 16, 1882; Shem Spigelmyer, February 26, 1884; William E. Gheen, August 24, 1885, present incumbent.

Railroad Excavation. - The construction of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad through the township involved much heavy work. The cutting just west of Antes Fort was a big job, on account of the amount of earth to be removed, and several contractors failed before it was completed. It is better known as the "deep cut." In 1854 J. B. and W. G. Moorehead secured the contract to grade the road between Williamsport and Lock Haven, and the same year they sublet the "deep cut "to Dull & Creswell. The job proved heavier than they expected, and after working a short time they throw it up to save themselves from loss. The contract was then given to Killen & Moorehead, but after working a short time they threw it up, as they found they were losing money. This was still in 1854. Another letting took place, when Oliver C. and George Chapman, in connection with Sidney Dillon, got the contract. This was in the spring of 1855. On the 12th of July of that year they commenced work. They introduced a steam excavator, which was a great curiosity at that time, and people came a distance of twenty miles to see it scoop up the earth. With this great labor saving machine the work was carried on rapidly with about twenty-five men.

The winter of 1855 was a memorable one on account of the severity of the cold. The frost penetrated the ground to a great depth, and to facilitate the work of excavation blasting was resorted to. The Crimean war was in progress at that time and the demand for powder was so great that the lowest grades commanded $8 a keg. When spring returned the work was pushed more vigorously, and on the 27th of July, 1857, the "deep out" was completed, and today stands as a monument of the pluck and enterprise of Chapman & Dillon.

The excavation, which curves through a bench of the mountain, is about 2,200 feet in length, and sixty-five feet at the deepest point, and involved the removal of 300,000 cubic yards of earth. This was carried away by cars and an engine, and used to make the embankment over Antes creek. The first contractors had removed about 50,000 cubic yards, leaving 250,000. The excavation cost about $120,000, and was the heaviest and most expensive section on the line.

G. P. Smith, of Amherst, Massachusetts, came with the last contractors as bookkeeper and cashier, and when the work was completed he married and settled in the township, and still resides there. His comfortable house and well kept farm are in sight of the great work where he was employed thirty-seven years ago.

Nippono Park, a very attractive place for picnic parties, is located at the base of the mountain, on the river bank, in the eastern end of the township. There are buildings for the accommodation of visitors, a dancing pavilion, and a number of persons have erected cottages, where they spend the warm season. A steamboat runs on the river between the park and Williamsport, and nearly all trains stop at the station. For the convenience of summer residents and others living near by, a postoffice called Nippono was established March 3, 1892, and Dr. Jacob Stickel was appointed postmaster.

Schools. - The inhabitants of Nippenose give careful attention to the cause of education. The township is supplied with six school houses and the report for 1891 shows six months taught with four female teachers, who received an average, of $33.75 per month.


A petition for the erection of a new township out of parts of Nippenose and Wayne was presented at May sessions, 1824, and the court named as viewers Solomon Bastress, William Babb, and Robert Allen. They made a survey and submitted a report recommending the division as prayed for. The court confirmed the report and ordered "that the new township as struck off from Nippenose and Wayne shall be called Adams." The decree was made December 4,1824, and it was named in honor of John Adams. Under this name the township was known for over eleven years, when the inhabitants became politically dissatisfied, and applying to the legislature had an act passed changing the name to Limestone, a more appropriate title. which was (See P. L., 1834-35, page 274) approved April 14, 1835.

After the change in name from Adams to Limestone township in 1835, the inhab-itants enjoyed comparative peace until 1870, when a movement was started to divide the township by cutting off enough from the eastern end to form a now one. A petition to this effect was laid before the court at August sessions, 1870. On the 7th of October following the court appointed John S. Laird, Edward D. Trump, and Thomas Waddle, viewers, to consider the application. They reported December 7, 1870, in favor of division, and an election to test the sense of the people was ordered to be held March 29, 1871, The movement for division had strong advocates, and the opposition was just as determined. The contest was a sharp one and resulted in a pretty frill vote being polled as follows: For division, 109; against, 115. A majority of only six against division shows that the sentiment of the people was pretty evenly divided.

Limestone is the eleventh in size in the county and has an area of 23,280 acres, with a population of 1,096 by the census of 1890. It is bounded on the east by Washington and Armstrong, north by Bastress and Nippenose, west by Wayne township, Clinton county, and south by Washington township. It is known more generally as Nippenose valley, and consists of Trenton limestone (No. 11), which occupies the greater part of the center of the township. Going over the measures about fifty feet of limestone are exposed along the public road just beyond Mill-port and in all some 300 feet are exposed in different parts of the valley. Hud-son River shales and slates (No. III) seem well exposed in the stream just above Millport, on the north side beyond Jamestown and against the foot of the mountain. Medina sandstone and conglomerate (No. IV) are observed on the north side of the township at Millport, inclined at a high angle; and again on the south side forming high mountain peaks, making North White Deer ridge and Bald Eagle mountain, the whole enclosing an interesting valley about ton miles in length and ranging in width from three to five miles.

The Trenton group (No. II) embraces subdivisions of Black River group eighteen feet thick, incrinal and coralline limestone eighteen feet thick, blue massive limestone alternations, blue argillaceous limestone thirty feet thick, grey coralline limestone (magnesian) thirty feet thick, with many fossil corals and seams of Calcite, with black and grey shelly limestone thirty feet thick and black and massive variegated limestone; while at the very top of the measures observed on the line of Clinton county, west of Rauchtown, are layers of black fossiliferous and grey limestone, with intermediate fossil layers thirty feet thick. There were observed many fossils in a fine yellow slate overlying very fossiliferous - possibly Hudson River - (No. III), and also black graptolitic shales with pyritous shales, (Utica,) soft shales and trilobitic slates six feet thick; and fossiliferous black limestone, with bands of soft shales, thin bedded, overlaid by yellowish slates and shales seventy-five to 100 feet thick, with layers of nodular iron ore.

Nippenose Valley is an oval limestone basin. The mountains surrounding it rise from 600 to 900 feet high, with a border of mound like hills not so high as the mountains, but forming a sort of scalloped terrace. There are but two breaks in the mountain ridge Rauch’s gap and Nippenose gap, almost opposite each other in a north and west direction.

The great natural phenomena in the valley are the immense "sink holes" in the limestone floor of the basin, which occur in various shapes and sizes, but at a comparatively common depth of eighty or more feet. Some are rectangular with vertical sides; others are quite conical. On this account there are no running streams and no wells in the valley. All the water flowing from the mountain sides sinks and accumulating in the subterranean, caverns, finally gushes through one of these holes in the western end of the valley, just above Millport, in the shape of a spring of immense volume which forms Antes creek and flows northward through the great ravine in Bald Eagle mountain to the river. The water flowing from this spring is of sufficient strength to drive a grist mill less than half a mile away, and a large woolen mill but a mile distant. Oil a rocky ledge overlooking the spring G. L. Sanderson has a summer cottage, which is a delightful place of private resort in season. The stream has always been noted for trout, and to take them with a fly is a source of much pleasure to sportsmen.

The origin of the name of this peculiar and beautiful valley is discussed in the review of Nippenose township, to which it originally belonged. The first white visitors supposed the land to be barren, as there was no timber on the flats except in an occasional yellow pine, the surface being covered with a dense thicket of white thorn that bad grown over a burned wreckage of fallen yellow pine. The pine knots were so plentiful that in after years parties went in and built kilns for making, tar and lampblack for a livelihood. Immense quantities of "rich pine" were hauled away for use in "gigging" on the river for fish, and for kindling wood at the old fashioned fire places, and for light. The land at first sold for fifty cents an acre, and the grubbing was contracted for at $10 an acre. After it was discovered that the land was rich and raised marvelous crops of wheat, the value advanced to $5 per acre in a short time. Much of that land could not be bought today for $100 per acre.

For many years after its settlement a wheeled vehicle was unknown in the valley, all the produce being taken to Jersey Shore (the nearest market town) on horseback, or on the heads of women, who carried burdens of marvelous weight. When the Indians owned the valley they had three places of ingress and egress, one by a path over the mountains from White Door Hole valley on the east, one over the mountains in the west through Love’s gap, and one down Antes crook to the north. Public roads were made over all the paths by the whites.

First Settlers. - Adventurers and prospectors penetrated the valley quite early, and there is some dispute as to who was the first actual settler. By some it is claimed that William Winland settled there as early as 1789, and his son Joshua was the first child born in 1791. John Williams came next and settled near Windom. Col. Jacob Sallade, in his reminiscences of early settlers, says that Francis Clark came next. This was in 1795. He settled in the western end and cleared the first field on a tract of land containing several hundred acres, which later on became the property of Michael Showers. After his death his son-in-law, Jacob P. Sallade, became the owner by purchase from the heirs. As Colonel Sallade was born in the valley, February 26, 1817 and when a young man know every old settler personally, his recollections (written in 1883) should be accepted as reliable. When Mr. Showers became possessed of this farm it was located in Wayne township, now Clinton county. The farm was afterward sold to Mr. Shaw, from whom Col. Jacob Sallade, Jr., purchased it in 1862.

At the time of Showers’s settlement there were not over thirty families living in the valley. Their names and places of settlement are herewith given: Francis Clark, on the farm now owned by the Messrs. Welshans; Charley McElhaney, on the farm lately occupied by Daniel Shadle; Thomas Gheen, on the farm now owned by his descendants; Peter Pence, the famous scout, who killed four Indians in a hand-to-hand encounter on the North Branch, assisted by Van Campen (Little is known of the early history of Pence. In June, 1775, he enlisted in Capt. John Lowdon’s company and marched to Boston, where he did good service. When peace was restored he settled in Nippenose valley, as already stated, where he died in 1812. He left several sons and daughters. In 1810 the legislature granted him a pension of $40 per annum); George Shadle, who lived on the Jacob Stahl farm; Daniel Antes, son of Col. Henry Antes, on the farm at Millport, now owned by G. L. Sanderson; John Sypher, on the farm adjoining that of Daniel Antes; Abraham Sypher, on the farm afterward owned by Matthew Gamble (Mrs. Barnes, the widow of Abraham Sypher, was the last survivor of the original settlers. She outlived all her children and died recently at the house of her granddaughter, Mrs. Christopher Bubb, near Antes Fort, at the great age of about one hundred years); Michael Shadle, who lived on the farm now owned by Jesse Gheen; John Pence, where William Welshans now lives; Thomas Clark, on the farm now occupied by Jacob Shadle; Peter Epler, on the Tate farm; John Gann, on the farm now held by his heirs; William Shaw, on the Buffington farm; William Clark, on a farm near Collomsville; Samuel Gibson, on the farm. afterward owned by Mr. Ludwig; Jonathan Phillips, on a small tract near the head of Antes creek; Michael Showers, Jr., on the farm now owned by Mrs. Dunlap; Jacob Brocious, a son-in-law of Showers, Sr., on the farm just beyond; Christian Showers, on the farm now owned by Jesse Showers; Elizabeth Stine, a daughter of Showers, Sr., on a farm next to her father’s, and now owned by her grandchildren; John Clark, on the farm now owned by his son Thomas; James Vandyke, a son-in-law of Thomas Clark, Sr., on the farm now owned by his sons; Jacob Casper, also Clark’s son-in-law, on the farm owned by the McMurrens, whose grandfather settled in the valley more than seventy years ago; William G. Clark, on the place now owned by his descendants, near the Catholic church (He also kept a hotel at the foot of White Deer mountain, near Collomsville, which was long a favorite stopping place); Capt. J. P. Sallade, on part of his father-in-law’s (Michael Showers) farm, lately owned by Col. Jacob Sallade. In 1812 Captain Sallade built a saw mill on this place. It was the first mill of the kind in the valley. It was here that Col. Jacob Sallade was born in 1817, and where he first commenced housekeeping when he was first married in 1838, and where he operated the saw mill as his father had done twenty-five years before.

In addition to the foregoing pioneers others came later and settled among them. Among those who came within the last seventy years may be mentioned Messrs, Smith, Moore, Clinger, Zerbe, Pfleger, Wentzel, Stuver, McClure, Kaufman, Bigler, Wagner, Seifrit, Moyer, Allen, Pursel, Welshans, Perry, Ranch, Ecke, Ludwig, Gebhart, and Zeigler. Later came Tate, Dunlap, Denworth, Meixell, Eonte, Dr. John H. Grier, and the entire Catholic settlement.

All of the first settlers are deceased, together with many who came after them, and their farms are now occupied by their children and grandchildren. Ninety years have wrought great changes in the valley. It has been thoroughly reclaimed from its wild condition, and its well tilled farms, ranging in size from 50 to 200 acres, are ornamented by fine houses and barns, and prosperity abounds on every hand.

In 1822 Col. Henry Antes commenced the erection of a covered bridge across the creek at Millport. When it was finished he placed a board on each end lettered as follows: "Commenced to build in 1822; finished in 1823." The bridge has since been repaired, but the lettering was destroyed by the flood of 1889.

Jacob Philip Sallade, one of the early settlers, was of French extraction. His grandfather, Philip Jacob, was a native of Basle, on the Rhine, and came to America with his family in 1749 and settled in Berks county. Here his son John born in Basle, March 17, 1739 married in 1771, Margaret Everhart, and soon after moved to Gratz, Dauphin county, where Jacob Philip Sallade, the youngest in a family of four children, was born, March 1, 1788. When he grew up he located in Nippenose valley in 1811. He had married Catharine, a daughter of Michael Showers, a native of Snyder county, in March, 1809.In 1817, after the death of his father-in-law, he came into possession of the Showers homestead, upon which he had previously built and operated a saw mill. He subsequently erected a saw and grist mill at Sallade’s gap, which he carried on many years, and which is now in possession of his son-in-law, Christian Weidler. Soon after settling here he was appointed a justice of the peace for Wayne township, which included Nippenose valley. After the erection of Adams township in 1824 he was re-commissioned for that township and served until 1835, when the name was changed to Limestone.

He was commissioned by Governor Snyder in 1809, lieutenant of Company A, One Hundred and Thirty-second Pennsylvania Militia, and afterwards captain, which commission he hold during the war of 1812, but was not called into active service. He was a practical millwright and a contractor on public works. He built the first dam on the Potomac, above Washington City; the first dam on the outlet of Seneca .Lake, New York, and the grist mill at Montoursville, known as the "State Mill," for General Burrows in 1828. He was one of the contractors and builders of Shamokin dam, Sunbury, and he built the section of the canal which passes Linden. He built the first grist and saw mills in Nippenose valley, and erected the grist mill at Millport for Daniel Antes. In connection with Abraham Sypher and Christian Showers he built the first school house in the valley. It stood near the Limestone church and was used as a church also until about fifty years ago. He held the offices of school director, assessor, collector, and supervisor. He collected tax in Wayne township when it included the whole valley; but seventy-five people were assessed and the taxes amounted to but $78.

In 1834 he built a saw mill on Larry’s creek for a Philadelphia party in what was then a forest of white pine and hemlock. The party failed to pay him for his work and he took the mill. In the spring of 1837 he moved his family there and began lumbering for himself. In the same year (1837) he cleared land, built a grist mill, houses, and shops, and started the settlement. A few years later he laid out the town of Salladasburg, and built the first church on a lot he had set apart for that purpose. It is now a borough and perpetuates his name.

Captain Sallade was a generous, good natured man and had many friends. Physically he was a giant, standing over six feet in height and weighing about 245 pounds. His strength was great and he handled heavy timbers and mill stones with ease, while working at his trade. He was not a quarrelsome man, but it did not take him long to quell a disturbance if one occurred in his presence. While engaged one day in looking over some papers he was stricken with paralysis, which caused his death, October 21, 1853, at the age of sixty-five years, seven months, and twenty-one days. His remains were taken to Nippenose valley and laid in the family burial ground. His wife died, August 4, 1863, in her seventy-second year. A beautiful granite monument, erected by Col. Jacob Sallade, marks their resting place. Captain Sallade and wife had a family of seven sons and five daughters, all of whom are deceased but Jacob of Williamsport, Thomas of Virginia, Simon, who lives near Trout Run, and Catharine, wife of James Carpenter of Loyalsock township. The deceased are Lydia, who married Michael Fenstermaker; Phoebe, who married Michael Shadle; George; Nancy, who married Elias Moore; John; Elijah; Julia Ann, who married Christian Weidler, and Abner.

Mills. - It has been stated that the first saw mill in the valley was built by Captain Sallade. This was about 1812. He then built one for Christian Showers, up Rauch’s gap, in 1821; then a grist mill for himself at the month of the gap in 1828, and in 1829 a saw mill near it. In 1835 he built the grist mill at Millport for Daniel Antes and James Murray, assisted by his son, Col. Jacob Sallade. In course of time the mill property passed into the hands of John J. Sanderson. This was about 1848. Mr. Sanderson had settled there as early as 1837 and engaged in the mercantile business, which he conducted for several years. The Mill property is now owned by G. L. Sanderson, but the mill is not, running.

At present there is one saw and grist mill in the valley, own by John Angler. The mills are located on the stream coming out of the mountain on the Buffington Place opposite Collomsville. The grist mill was first built by Henry Clinger about 1852.

Postvillages. - The first postoffice in Limestone was established at Millport, November 21, 1828, and called Nipponese. Daniel Antes was the first postmaster. It was discontinued, August 20, 1891.

Collomsville, located in the eastern end of the valley, is a postvillage of about 200 inhabitants. A postoffice, under the name of Collomsville, was established here December 20, 1841, and Jesse Bower was appointed postmaster, and Henry Clark, , June 1, 1854. The office was discontinued February 19, 1855. Oval was then established to take the place of Collomsville, June 18, 1855, and George Clark was appointed postmaster. He served until May 15, 1862, when Oval was changed to His successors have Collomsville, and George Eonte was appointed postmaster. been David A. Clark, appointed December 7, 1876, and Hugh Denworth, December 6, 1883. Oval, situated about midway between Collomsville and Jamestown, was re-established, November 10 1886. H. J. Moore was appointed postmaster and he is still the incumbent.

Collomsville takes its name from Seth Collom, an early resident. Limestone is the only township in the county that enjoys the distinction of having a weekly newspaper. The Weekly Ledger was started at Collomsville, August 8, 1890, by H. J. Moore, and is still published.

Jamestown, a postvillage in the western end of the valley, was laid out by James Gamble about 1838, and takes its name from him. An office was established bore September 30,1872, (named Oriole) and Zebulon S. Rhone was appointed postmaster. He has had two successors, viz: George B. Wolf, appointed May 25,1874, and J. H. Grier, October 26, 1875, present incumbent.

Churches. - There are four churches in the valley today, two Lutheran and two Methodist. The first church was built about 1815 in the woods on the ground now enclosed for a cemetery and adjoining the present Limestone Lutheran. It was built of logs, "chunked and daubed," had six small windows, slab benches, a small box in one corner for a pulpit, an old fashioned ten-plate wood stove, and at night it was lighted by tallow candles. It was built by the early settlers and was designed for both a church and school house. The Lutherans, Evangelicals, Methodists, Baptists, Reformed, Presbyterians, and Tunkers made use of it. Rev. T. J. Frederick, in his history of the Lutheran church of the valley, says that Rev. Gustavus Schultze, a Lutheran minister, Rev. B. Schneck, Reformed, Rev. J. H. Grier, Presbyterian, and Rev. Tucker, Baptist, and others were the first ministers to hold services in this primitive church. In the year 1841 Rev. Tucker hold a protracted meeting here which was considered the first successful revival ever held in the valley. The ground whereon the church stood, and that included in the cemetery, was donated for a common burial ground by Christian Showers, Abraham Sypher, and Samuel Stewart, each one at different times giving a part. A daughter of Christian Showers, named Juliana, is supposed to have been the first one buried there. The grave was made while the ground was yet covered by timber. No fence enclosed the grounds. When the grave was filled up saplings were out and a fence of one rail’s length was made to enclose it. This enclosure was gradually enlarged as more graves were needed, until when the old log school house was no longer of any use, it was sold and the proceeds used to enclose the whole cemetery. Here the early settlers were buried.

In this log building Rev. B. Schneck, a Reformed minister, held catechetical lectures in 1826. A number of those attending his lectures were confirmed in the Lutheran church, and because there was no Lutheran minister in the valley at that time they frequently walked ten miles across the mountain to Sugar valley, and there received the rite of confirmation at the hands of Rev. George Heim, who was then Lutheran pastor in that valley. This is the earliest known circumstance which gave rise to the Lutheran church in Nippenose valley. Those two sister denominations existed for some time together, and united in church work until finally the Reformed congregation was absorbed by the Lutheran and ceased to exist as an organization in the western end of the valley.

About 1835, says Rev. Frederick, Adam Epler and Henry Klinger secured a corner of wooded land, now comprising the old cemetery at Collomsville, for the sum of $5. This purchase was made from Elizabeth Smith with the agreement that it was to be used for a burial ground, and the erection of a building for church and school purposes, but no night meetings were to be held there, and it must be for the exclusive use of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Presbyterian denominations. Before this time the people living in that end (east) of the valley buried their dead on a small piece of ground now owned by, Samuel Buffington. These graves are still to be seen in their isolated condition.

An Irish Presbyterian lady by the name of Simpson was the first to be interred in the cemetery bought from Mrs. Smith. Soon after securing the lot the people agreed to build a church. The work was mostly done without charge by small parties at different times. The building was constructed of logs, was nearly square, and "chunked and daubed;" it had slab benches, a ten-plate wood stove, and a small stand boarded up for a pulpit. Fourteen feet were afterward added for the increasing congregation. This gave the building such an odd appearance that it was called the "bark house."Here Revs. Schultze, Grier, Weighand, Barnitz, and Evans held services. Thus the Lutherans and Reformed co-operated in the eastern end of the valley.

Soon after the first church was built Seth Collom organized a Sunday school, which was held in the old church. Collom wrote a constitution for its government and was its first superintendent, assisted by Jesse Bower. Rev. Gustavus Schultze was the first Lutheran minister in the valley. In 1838 the members and friends raised by subscription $39. 70 to be paid him as his salary, but his receipts show that he only got $29. 70. A sketch of this pioneer minister will be found in the review of Hepburn township.

Before the close of Rev. Schultze’s ministry steps were taken to build a new church in the western end of the valley. The money was raised by subscription, and in May, 1842, the corner stone was laid. Colonel Sallade was the contractor. The building cost about $700, and as the foundation walls were built of limestone it was called the "Limestone church." It was dedicated in the fall of 1842. The building was frame, 36x40 feet, and stood on the opposite side of the road from the cemetery, and back of the present church. It was quite an improvement. This church stood until 1866, when steps were taken for the erection of a new one. The money was raised and a building 65x40 feet was erected and dedicated in 1867. The cost of the church and furniture was about $5,000. A parsonage was built at Jamestown about 1879 at a cost of $1,600. The Collomsville church was refitted and improved in 1877 at a cost of about $600. Since the time of Rev. Schultze in 1831 to the present, there have been seventeen or eighteen pastors in charge of these churches.

The Methodist churches are located at Jamestown and Collomsville (Oval). They are plain frame structures and cost about $2,500 each. They wore built about 1845.

Schools. - The first school house, as heretofore noted, was built in 1824. There are now eight in Limestone township, named as follows: Reidy, Mosquito, Collomsville, (first grade and primary), Oval Normal, Jamestown, Ecke, and Moore. The report for 1891 shows six months taught with six male and three female teachers. The average pay of the males was $33.33 per mouth and the females $30.66. Number of male pupils, 150; females, 121; average attendance, 189.


This township was formed out of parts taken from Nippenose and Armstrong at December sessions, 1838. It is the forty-first in size in the county and contains 3,940 acres, with a population of 294 by the census of 1890. It is bounded on the east by Armstrong, on the north by the river, on the west by Nippenose, and on the south by Bastress. Geologically this township consists of Clinton shales inclined at a high angle on the north face of Bald Eagle mountain, and reaching to its summit. Next occurs Lower Helderberg limestone (No. VI) concealed along the base of the mountain and in the river bottom. Many exposures of the shales and fossiliferous calcareous layers exist in the cuts of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad in its passage through the township. Fossil iron ore (Clinton No. V) has been opened on the f ace of the mountain. The surface of the township is rough and mountainous, except at the base of the mountain. Here the river makes a bend in sweeping around by Linden, forming a rich alluvial bottom of very fine farm land.

In 1769, when the surveyors were first at work on early applications, this was named the "Upper bottom,"in contradistinction from the plateau on which the borough of South Williamsport is built, which was called the "Lower bottom." Samuel Wallis secured five tracts of land for which warrants had been granted to applicants on the opening of the land office. These tracts ranged in quantity from 310 to 338 acres, and footed up a total of 1,592 acres. The administrators of Samuel Wallis offered them at privat6 sale to Robert Coleman for $4 an acre, but as he refused to give that price, they were sold by the sheriff on the 2d and 3d of May to Thomas Grant for $2,016.67. The best of these lands are worth today $200 an acre.

The first settlers of whom it is possible to obtain any information were Anthony Moore, Thomas and John Miller, Alexander Beatty, and others. John Gibson, father of William H. and Robert, settled there about 1801 and commenced making improvements. They found a few cleared spots on the "bottom," but previous to their advent no special effort had been made to make anything like permanent improvements. The descendants of Mr. Gibson who live there today own choice farms, and the entire "bottom" is in a good state of cultivation.

There are no streams of any importance in this township, and no industries of any kind. Nisbet, a post hamlet of about a dozen houses, is near the railroad station of the same name. A postoffice was established here, November 23, 1867, and James Gibson appointed postmaster. He was succeeded, July 8, 1870, by John S, Gibson, who is the present incumbent. At an early date a factory for the manufacture of cloth was built by Mr. McKinley on a small stream called Mill run, where, previous to this the Gillespies had built a small grist mill. In later years G. F. Braun built a grist mill on the site of the first, but, like the others, it has disappeared.

There is no church in the township, although Rev. John H. Grier held religious services in the school house and private houses ver early in the century. The first school teachers were a Mr. Pendergast and a Mr. Lee. There is only one school house today, and the report for 1891. shows eight months taught by one male teacher, who was paid $36. 25 per month. The pupils numbered thirty-four males and thirty-three females, with a total average attendance of forty-two.


This is also one of the smallest townships in the county. At May sessions, 1854, a petition was filed praying for a division of Susquehanna township. The court appointed Samuel Torbert, Thomas Hughes, and Mark Slonaker commissioners to view the ground. They reported in favor of a division, and on the 13th of December, 1854, the court confirmed their report and ordered the new township to be erected and called Bastress. This was in honor of Solomon Bastress, of Jersey Shore, who was an associate judge and ex-member of the legislature.

Bastress township is the thirty-eighth in size in the county and contains an area of 6,400 acres, with a population of 236 by the census of 1890. It is bounded on the east by Armstrong, on the north by Susquehanna, on the south by Limestone, and on the west by Nippenose township. Geologically it consists of Hudson River shales and Utica shales (No. III) on the south side, forming part of the rim around Nippenose valley. Next above this occur Medina, Oneida conglomerate, and sandstone (No. IV). Along the north edge of the township are Clinton shales (No. V). It lies principally in the Bald Eagle mountain, but has some fair agricultural land in a valley of disintegrated rocks from the adjoining measures, though much of the land is rough. Morgan valley in the west end of the township contains Medina sandstone. There has been no mineral development in the township. The only streams are Jack’s run, Panther run, and Morgan valley ran. There are no saw mills or grist mills in the township.

The first school was taught by Michael Myers in 1840, where the postoffice is now situated. There is but one school now conducted under the free school system, and the report shows that for 1891 six months were taught. The teacher, a male, was paid $30 a month, and there were seventeen male and six female scholars.

There is but one postoffice in the township and it is named Bastress. It was established February 21, 1857, and George W. Agold was appointed postmaster. His successors have been Charles Otenweller, appointed May 5, 1864; Jacob Reighard, July 12,1870; Charles Otenweller, September 10, 1870; Mary Otenweller, May 2, 1881. She is the present incumbent, and keeps a store, the only one in the township, at the postoffice.

Bastress township was first settled by Germans, for whom the lands were purchased in 1837. The Rev. Nicholas Steinbacher, a German Catholic priest, was the leader or founder of the colony. In 1840 a Catholic church the only one in the township was built on the southern boundary. In 1853 it was replaced by a large stone building. A flourishing school is connected with the church. Father John Lempfert is the present pastor of the church, which is called the Immaculate.

Considering the forbidding appearance of this mountain region and the difficulties that had to be overcome, the hardy German settlers have accomplished much and surrounded themselves with comfortable homes. But to succeed great industry, pluck, and economy had to be strictly observed.

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