LYCO Home     Cemeteries     Census     Family Trees     Lyco History     Links     Obits     Surnames    

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








THIS township was setoff from Mifflin and Pine Creek May 3, 1815, and directed to be called Brown, "in memory of Major General Brown, who commanded the armies in Canada." It lies in the extreme northwestern part of the county, and is the fifth, going westward, of the northern tier. Excepting two notches in the southeastern corner, it is almost a perfect rectangle in shape. Brown is the fifth township in size, and contains 41,560 acres, with a population of 885 by the census of 1890. It is bounded on the east by Pine township, on the north by Tioga county, on the west by Potter county, and on the south by McHenry township, Lycoming county.

Pine creek, which rises, to the dignity of a mountain river, divides the township into two nearly equal parts. It flows through a narrow ravine for many miles, with mountains on both sides rising to a height in several places of 2,000 feet above tide. The scenery is exceedingly bold and picturesque, and before the advent of the railroad there was no wilder place in the State. At times Pine creek becomes a mighty torrent carrying off an immense volume of water from the extensive mountain regions which it drains. At the point where it enters Lycoming county it is 820 feet above sea level. It has numerous tributaries, some of which are streams of considerable size. Those on the east side are named as follows: Trout run, Jacob's run, and Hilborn's run. On the west side, ascending, we have Callahan's run, Tomb's run, Slate run, Miller's run, Gamble's run, and Cedar run. Slate and Cedar are both streams of some importance and have long been utilized for lumbering. Babb's creek, just across the northern line of the township, is known as the second fork of Pine creek.

The geological study of Brown township possesses considerable interest. The rocks belong to formations (Nos. IX and XIII). There is a small area of coal measures along the western and northern margin adjoining the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike, and it also takes in a small area of the Pine Creek coal basin in the southeast corner. There is observed an exposure of the Mauch Chunk shales (No. XI) up Slate run, carrying the umbral iron ores with the accompanying fire clays.

Much of the mountain plateau is 2,000 feet above tide and is covered with the exposed rock floor of the Pottsville conglomerate (No. XII) in some places in immense blocks fifty by one hundred feet in size, and in others the entire surface is covered for acres with the conglomerate rocks, which, lying on each other, form natural chambers of sufficient capacity to shelter from five to thirty persons, while a large portion of the area is Pocono sandstone (No. X). There is some very fair land for agricultural purposes along the creek bottoms, a small area of valley pla-teau, and red shale lands (No. IX) along the valleys of the smaller streams. The face of the township, however, is mostly very rough and mountainous. There is some good flagging and building stone found along the line of the railroad.

Settlement and Development. - White settlers penetrated this wild region at an early date, attracted no doubt by the fine fishing and hunting it afforded. Jacob Lamb is credited with being the first settler at the mouth of Slate run. He moved his family from Milton up the river and creek in ten canoes, and reached his point of destination in November of that year. Benjamin Lamb, son of Jacob and Jane Lamb, was born in the month of March, 1795, at the mouth of Slate run, and he is believed to have been the first white child born that far up Pine creek.

Jacob Lamb was an active and enterprising man. He erected a grist and saw mill in 1796. They were small improvements, no doubt, but they met the demands of the times. His mills were the first of the kind in what is now Brown township.

William Blackwell settled near the county line in 1805. He was soon after followed by Andrew Gamble, John Morrison, and Jacob Warren. Philip and John Lamb, sons of the pioneer, erected a saw mill in Black Walnut bottom in 1811, which was operated by them for several years, when it passed into the hands of Bernard Duffry. About 1819 Jacob Warren built a mill about a mile above Upper Trout run, on Pine creek; and about 1840 a mill was built on the same site by Chadwick & Company. Another was built by John R. Bowen & Company about 1847 below Cedar run on Pine creek. Several other small mills, on different streams, were built forty years ago, ran a short time, and then ceased to be operated.

The Tomb family was also among those who settled early on Pine creek. Philip Tomb in his "Pioneer Life, or Thirty Years a Hunter," says that in 1791 his father purchased land far up the creek, and hired men to build a house. They did not execute their contract fully. On the 1st of November, 1791, Tomb started up the river with his family and goods in a keel-boat, and when they reached Pine creek the water was found to be too low for the boat to ascend. He hired ten canoes and started for such articles as they most needed. It was the 20th of November when they reached their destination. They found the house unfinished and they nearly perished with cold. No chimney had been built nor floor laid. They managed to pass the first night. The next morning all hands went to work and in two days they had the house far enough finished to make it comfortable.

On the 25th his father commenced to build a mill, having brought the irons with him. He split and hewed the logs, dug a race, built a dam, and had the work all finished by the 1st of March. It was thirty miles to the nearest mill, and before he got his mill started they had to pound their corn in a block or mortar.

He relates some marvelous hunting, fishing, and snake stories. Panthers came close to the house some times, bear prowled about, and droves of elk were often seen crossing the creek. He describes how his father, with the assistance of two or three others, once caught an elk alive, on a bet of 250, and took it to Stephenson's tavern near the mouth of the creek. The feat was regarded as a very daring one among the hunters. This was the first elk caught. It was sixteen hands high, and had horns five and a half feet long with eleven branches.

The stream was filled with large trout, and rattlesnakes were so abundant at some places that it was unsafe to travel. On one occasion a party going up the creek "found the rattlesnakes so numerous that they were obliged to anchor their 1 canoe in the creek and remain in it over night. On the third day they arrived at the larger rock on the west side of the, creek and found as many as thirty snakes lying on it sunning themselves. They pushed to the other shore, and when passing the smaller rock discovered on the top of it a pile of rattlesnakes as large as a bake oven!" Mr. Tomb's hunting and snake stories excel anything related by Munchausen. In course of time he sold out, and crossing the Alleghenies, located in Warren county, where he died. Members of the Tomb family still reside on Pine creek, but they are not given to relating such wonderful stories as their great ancestor.

Another of the very earliest settlers on Pine creek was Daniel Callahan, who came from Ireland in 1750, and after the French-Indian and Revolutionary wars, in which he took part, settled on Pine creek and became a noted hunter. Among his children was John Callahan, born January 17, 1791. He always lived on the creek within a few miles of the place of his birth. When he grew up he became a great hunter like his father. Bear, deer, elk, and smaller game abounded here in early days, and the creek was, the finest fish. It was the abundance of game and fish that attracted the few early settlers into what was then a gloomy wilderness.

John Callahan married and became the father of seven sons and six daughters, all of whom are living but five; and on the 17th of January, 1891, at the house of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Gamble, the one hundredth anniversary of his birth was, fittingly observed. All his, children, but, one, daughter, Were present, and it was an interesting sight. to witness the descendants of the venerable centenarian assembled around him. There were thirty-four grand and, twenty-three great grandchildren, the representatives of four generations present on this memorable occasion. The patriarch was in fairly good health, but a few days after the reunion he fell seriously ill, and on January 28, 1891, passed to the Great Beyond.

Lumbering. - From the earliest times lumbering has been the most active industry on Pine creek and its tributaries. At the mouth of Trout run there is a steam saw mill run by Drake, Landrus, & Company. There is a railroad about five. miles long up this stream which is furnished with a locomotive and cars., It is a log road and is operated by Francis Deloy, an extensive jobber. Opposite the, mouth of Cedar run John S. Tomb & Son operate a steam saw mill on a large scale, and James H. Weed & Company have a large mill at the mouth of Slate run. This firm has a railroad equipped with locomotive and cars, running back into the forest about sixteen miles, which they use for hauling logs to their mill. At the mouth of Jacob's run Wood & Childs have a steam saw mill which they operate on a large scale also.

Villages. - Several thrifty villages have grown up on Pine creek, in Brown township, mainly through the lumbering operations, which received a great impetus by the opening of the railroads a few years ago. Cedar and Slate Runs, as towns, show considerable prosperity, and travelers passing through on the railroad never fail to admire the neat appearance of the dwellings of the people and the evidences of thrift to be seen on every hand. The scenery is bold and picturesque, and in many places the mountains approach a degree of rugged grandeur that is startling to the stranger.

At Slate Run, the Slate Run Lodge, No. 1028, I. O. O. F., was instituted a few years ago, and has a good membership.

Postoffices. - There are two postoffices in Brown township, Cedar and Slate Run. The Cedar Run office was opened December 13, 1853, and Lucius Truman was appointed postmaster. His successors have been Joseph Sofield, appointed August 2, 1858; Dudley A. Fish, June 9, 1862; George H. Abrams, July 16, 1864; Enoch Lloyd, September 7, 1864; Ichabod C. Brown, December 18, 1874; Miss Carry. Brown, March 10, 1884; John G. Scarborough, February 9, 1886, George A. Gamble, present incumbent, March 26, 1889.

The office at Slate Run was established January 23, 1885, and Rosa C. Tome appointed postmaster. Grant A. Rodman, the present incumbent, succeeded her August 7, 1889.

A postoffice called Hilborn was established March 26, 1886, on the west side of Pine creek, and Mrs. Mary A. Gamble was appointed postmaster. As the business was small the office was discontinued in 1891.

Churches and Schools. - The first religious exercises were held at the house of Jacob Lamb, in 1805, by Rev. William Hay. 4 church was erected the same year Dear "Rattlesnake Rock," which was open to all denominations. In 1849-50 a church was built by the Baptists near Cedar Run, which is still in a flourishing condition. There is another Baptist church on the west side of Pine creek, called Hilburn, near the residence of Jacob Gamble. The Methodists have one at Slate Run, making three in the township.

The first school was opened and taught by John Campbell, a Scotchman, at Black Walnut Bottom in 1806, and tradition says that he taught seven days in the, week. The same year a school house was erected. Today there are six school houses in the township, viz: Childs, Trout Run, Cedar Run, Mount Ferns, Hilburn, and Slate Run. The report for 1891 shows six months taught.


This township was organized in 1832, out of territory taken from Mifflin and Brown, and named Cummings, after John Cummings, who was one of the associate judges at the time. The survey was made by Solomon Bastress, of Jersey Shore, and to give the reader an idea of its size at the time, its boundaries are condensed from the survey:

Beginning on the east bank of Pine creek, about three and one-fourth miles from its mouth, thence to a beech on Bear run, partly by Jackson township to the supposed line of Tioga county, about 110 perches east of the first fork and main branch of Pine creek, seventeen miles from its mouth; thence to the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike, southward by the same to Pine creek, southeast corner of Campbell and Nichol's line, crossing the creek and down the same to the place of beginning.

Cummings is still a very large township, being the third in size in the county, containing an area of 41,600 acres, with 422 inhabitants by the census of 1890. Its boundaries at the present time are as follows: On the east, Mufflin and Cogan House; on the north, Pine and McHenry; on the west, Clinton county, and on the south, Watson. Pine creek runs through the center of the township, with Little Pine creek flowing from the northeast as its principal tributary. On the west are Upper and Lower Pine Bottom runs, with Ramsey's run on the east. The first fork of Larry's creek also heads in the township. The principal tributaries of Little Pine creek on the east are English run, McKee's run, and Carson run.

It consists of Red Catskill (No. IX) along the valleys of the streams, upon the side bills, and on their tops. Next occur Poco rocks (No. XI) occupying the tops of the eroded hills, and the faces of the first benches of the mountains, above which (No. IX) occurs on Puterbaugh mountain, west of Big Pine creek, between Big and Little Pine Bottom runs, and along the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike.

Above this occurs Pottsville conglomerate (No. XII) along the pike, where probably some of the lowest coal beds may exist, where there is sufficient dip of the conglomerates to bring in the measures.

There are some good quarries of flag and building stone along Pine creek; good iron ore and fire clay occur in several places in the township, but there has been no mining.

The surface of a large portion of the township is rough and mountainous, with bold and picturesque scenery along both branches of Pine creek. There are some good farms along the valleys of these streams.

Survey and Settlement. - The first survey made in the township was lottery warrant No. 20, granted to James Strawbridge May 17, 1785, for 311 acres at the junction of the first forks of Pine creek. This land was conveyed by Strawbridge to Alexander McDowell, for whom the survey was made September 13, 1786.

John English is claimed to have been the first settler. He located on the largest of a cluster of islands in the creek, which contained twenty-seven acres and ninety-two perches, nearly twelve miles above its mouth. This was in 1784. He and his brother James had served in the Revolutionary army, having entered it in 1778. Immediately on the close of the war they came here in search of a place to settle. They were of Irish origin. John English had married Fannie, daughter of Claudius Boatman, the previous year, and she accompanied him to the new settlement. The country was extremely wild at that time and it required some nerve to settle in what was in every respect a "howling wilderness." The Seneca Indians, whose country was less than a hundred miles north, frequently came here to hunt and fish, and parties of them passed his cabin almost daily.

John English and his wife Fannie reared a large family. Their son Claudius was the first child born on this part of the creek. This was sometime in 1785. He lived near the place of his birth until 1829. William, another son, occupied the island until 1832. Sarah, a daughter, married Thomas Ramsey, and they settled about two miles from the island homestead. At her home her father ended his long life of ninety-four. She died in 1874.

James, the younger brother of John English, settled about three miles up Little Pine creek in 1809 and made some improvements, for which he obtained a warrant for 219 acres and eighty-five perches June 10, 1816, and on the 20th of the following August it was surveyed to him. James English and wife spent their lives here and reared a large family. He was a man noted for his integrity and exemplary habits, and did much during his life time to advance the interests of his locality. He built a grist and two saw mills, the ruins of which may still be seen. He died in 1855. Numerous descendants of the two brothers still live in the Pine Creek regions, while others have scattered over the country.

Industries. - Owing to the abundance of pine timber on the creek bottoms and the mountains, lumbering was the earliest and, leading industry. The first saw mill was built by Capt. Christian Stake three-fourths of a mile up Little Pine creek about 1792. It rotted away and a new mill was erected on its site in 1828 by William Watson, and it was subsequently owned by John Slonaker, of Jersey Shore.

In 1815 a mill was built on Upper Pine Bottom run by Michael Brednack, which did a small jobbing business. A new mill was erected on Pine Bottom run in 1817. It passed into the hands of George and Jacob Myers, who operated it for more than twenty years. Their lumber was floated to market in rafts. Robert Carson built a mill about 1838 seven miles up Little Pine creek. Two miles below him another mill was built about the same time.

About 1836 a mill was built at the mouth of Little Pine creek by Gates & Wilcox, which was subsequently converted into a gang mill, and later a grist mill was attached. This mill was operated on a large scale for many years and much lumber was manufactured. It afterwards became the property of James M. and Michael Wolf, of Waterville. They also improved the grist mill and were doing a prosperous business when the great flood of June 1, 1889, came and destroyed everything. About 1824 a mill was built at the mouth of Ramsey's run by Thomas Ramsey, son-in-law of John English, Sr., which was carried on for many years. There is neither saw nor grist mill in the township now.

A furnace to manufacture pig iron was erected on Upper Pine Bottom run in 1814 by Mark Slonaker', Benjamin and Henry Tomb, John Fisher, George Tomb, Solomon Bastress, and Phillip Krebbs. Iron ore had been developed near the Coudersport turnpike. The hauling of the ore to the furnace, however, proved too costly to enable the company to realize a profit, as it required from one to two days to get a load of ore from the mines to the furnace. Supplies also had to be hauled fifteen miles over steep mountains. These difficulties proved too great for the company, and after struggling along until about 1817, and losing nearly $7,000, they gave up the enterprise. The ruins of the old furnace were visible for many years.

Waterville. - The village of Waterville at the junction of Little Pine creek with the main stream, was settled early but grew slowly until the advent of the railroad. It contains two stores, a hotel, and a number of pleasant dwellings. The Wolf Brothers did much to start the village on the highway of progress, until stricken by the disastrous good of 1889.

Henry M. Wolf was among the early settlers, long before a village was thought of. His father, Michael Wolf, came from Berks county in the beginning of this century, settled in Brush valley, and cleared a farm. In 1817 he removed to Pine creek and located at Crist's mill, two miles from the mouth. There he remained until his death in 1858. Among the children of Michael Wolf was Henry M.. Wolf, now living at Wellsboro in his seventy-eighth year. In 1837 he married Mary Gamble, of Pine creek, and the union was blessed with seven sons and two daughters. Soon after marriage Mr. Wolf settled at Waterville, where he remained until a few years ago. Five of his sons served in the war. One, Andrew, was killed, and Oliver was wounded at Fredericksburg. James M., afterwards sheriff of the county, served as first lieutenant of Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-first regiment. When peace was restored he settled at Waterville and formed a partnership with big brother Michael, under the firm name of J. M. & M. Wolf, and they operated extensively as lumbermen until 1889, when their mills, were destroyed by the great flood, Another brother, John G., is postmaster of Waterville. Oliver is an extensive lumberman and lives near Antes Fort.

Waterville is a postvillage. The postoffice was established February 22, 1849, and Abraham Harris was appointed postmaster. His successors have been Jeremiah H. Callahan, appointed May 9, 1854; John H, Bitter, August 9, 1855; Joseph Bitter, February 21, 1857; William T. Jones, March 11, 1859; Jacob Weaver, March 21, 1860; Miss Ellen Harris, March 7, 1863; John G. Wolf, August 17, 1875. He is the present incumbent.

English Mills. - The next postoffice is at English Mills, on Little Pine creek, where James English originally settled. It was established September 25,1872, and Stephen English was appointed postmaster. He is still in office.

Ramseyville. - An office was established at Ramsey's, below Waterville, January 8, 1889, and named, Ramseyville. George A. Ramsey was appointed postmaster, and he still holds the office.

Paducohi. - There are some eligible locations in this township for summer cottages. In 1886 four gentlemen of Williamsport - F. W. Page, J. B. Duble, E. A. Cornell, and J. C. Hill - united for the purpose of building a cottage on Pine creek, a short distance above Waterville, where they could take their families during the summer months for, rest and recreation. A pleasant, site was selected and a comfortable yet inexpensive building was erected, where, without being subjected to the annoyance, expense, and conventionalities of fashionable resorts, each family is enabled to spend a few weeks of the season with comfort, pleasure, and profit, surrounded by pure air and beautiful mountain scenery, and in sight of passing trains on the Fall Brook railroad. The cottage is named Paducohi, a title as appropriate as it is odd. When the question of selecting a name came up Miss Mable C. Duble suggested that by combining the two first letters of the last names of Page, Duble, Cornell, and Hill, a title could be produced wholly unlike any other known. Her suggestion was adopted and the cottage was named Paducohi.

Churches. - The first church was built here and dedicated by Rev. Gideon H. Day in July, 1850. Mr. Day was an active, enterprising minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. Religious meetings, however, were held in the township as early as 1805, at the house of John English, by Rev. John Thomas, the pioneer of Methodism in this region. Rev. Timothy Lee, another ardent worker, conducted meetings here in 1809. The present church was built by the people as a Methodist Episcopal place of worship, with a clause in the deed that it should be free to all Protestant denominations when not in use by the Methodists. The Baptists and Methodists have preaching services on alternate Sundays. The Methodists also have preaching services in the East Hill and Carson school houses.

Schools. - The first school in the township was taught by Robert Young in 1806 at the First Fork. He was a man of great piety and noted for his strong advocacy of temperance. The first school house erected exclusively for that purpose was on the main creek, one and a quarter miles below Waterville, in 1828. There are now five in the township, named as follows: Waterville, Ramsey, English Mill, Carson, and East Hill. The report for 1891 shows an average of six months taught by five female teachers at $28 per month.


This township was organized from territory taken from Brown, Cummings, and Cogan House townships. On a petition for division being presented in 1856, the court appointed James Wilson, W. H. Miller, and Robert Crane as viewers. They reported favorably, and on November 18, 1856, the report was confirmed nisi. In the meantime a meeting of citizens was held at the Kingston House, English Centre, and a resolution that the now township might be called Kingston was passed. The resolution seems to have had no weight, for the report of the viewers was confirmed absolute January 27, 1857, and the new township named Pine, because of the heavy forests of pine timber which covered its surface.

Pine is the first in size in the county and contains 48,640 acres. By the census of 1890 the population was 901. It is bounded on the east by Jackson and Cogan House, on the north by Tioga county, on the west by Brown and McHenry, and on the south by Cummings and Cogan House.

The immense territory embraced by this township is very wild and mountainous, and until within a few years contained primitive forests. It contains about three-fourths of what is known as the Weightman or Pine Creek coal basin, which is composed of formations (Nos. XI, XII, and XIII). Among these occur quite, a large area of the mountain plateau lands, being mostly (No. XI) red shale.

There is an area of valley plateau red shade (No. IX) lands at Oregon Hill, of considerable extent, and 1,650 feet above tide, which, with the narrow bottoms along the streams, makes a considerable extent of farm land outside of the coal basin.

The corustone marl (No. IX) occurs at the mouth of Otter run, some seven feet in thickness. A trial was made of it as an agricultural lime, but it was found to contain too much iron and was not successful. A specimen near this was found to contain bismuth. Copper shales occur at quite a number of places along Little Pine creek in thin seams and pockets near these deposits of calcareous breccia or corustone. Chlorite slates from one to twelve inches thick are also associated with these deposits, and are more or less colored green with the salts of copper. Just above English Centre a deposit of this kind extends for five or ten rods among the rocks above the public road, in the narrows on the west side of the creek; and there is another deposit three miles below the village on the east side.

Large areas of iron ore, fire clays, and coal occur in this township. The coal basin is the largest yet undeveloped in this county. (See general chapter on geology:) There are some good building and flagstone found at various places.

The surface of Pine township is mostly mountainous in the southern and central parts, and rolling in the northern part. The glacial moraine occupied the greater portion of the township. It occurs with characteristic knob-like hills, holding kettle holes, one and a fourth miles south of Oregon Hill, with swamps on the very summit of the mountain, about 1,900 feet above the sea. The moraine appears to, leave Lycoming county in the northwest corner of Pine township.

Pine township is well watered. Little Pine creek runs through the eastern part and falls into the main creek at Waterville. Its course is through a deep and wild ravine, up which a road runs to English Centre. The scenery is bold and picturesque; the mountains are lofty and impress the traveler with their grandeur and beauty. The great flood of June 1, 1889, tore through this ravine with terrific force, destroying fine bottom farm lands by covering them with sand and stones, sweeping away fences, bridges, mills, and houses, leaving utter desolation behind. The principal tributaries of Little Pine creek on the east are Callahan's run, English run, Lick run, Bear run, Block House fork, Wolf run, Rock run, and Crooked creek; on the west side, Otter run, with Buckeye branch, Pine run, Bonnell run, Four Mile inn, and Hews run flowing northeastward from Oregon Hill. In the, northwestern corner rises Trout run, which flows through Brown township and empties into main Pine creek.

Although many saw mills were once operated in the township there are none. now. Neither are there any grist mills. Considerable lumbering is yet done, but, it consists in cutting the timber into logs and floating them to the boom at Williamsport to be manufactured. In this industry a large number of men are employed by the jobbers.

A Seminary in the Wilderness. - The first survey within the present limits of the township was lottery warrant No. 55, to Ludwig Karcher, dated May 17, 1785, calling for 419 acres, including the first fork of Pine creek. The land was surveyed during August, 1785, and patented October 28, 1788. The first permanent, settlement was made by John Norris, who located on lands covered by warrant 1598, surveyed by Hughes & Fisher, about nineteen miles above the mouth of Little Pine creek on the west bank of the same, where the hamlet of Texas is situated. Norris settled here in 1800. He had no family but a wife and an adopted son, who afterwards took up his residence in Wellsboro. A small saw mill was built by Norris about 1803. It was a primitive affair, but served to furnish the few settlers in that region with lumber. At the same time Philip Moore, another pioneer, built a grist mill, which also served a useful purpose, as there was no other mill nearer than that of Col. Henry Antes, near Jersey Shore. Moore appears to, have been a man of enterprise. About the time he built his mill he erected a large two story frame house, divided into four square rooms below, and otherwise arranged for a dwelling. At that day such a building was looked upon as a great improvement in that wilderness region, attracted much attention, and called forth many curious remarks.

John Norris was a man of education. In 1806 he leased the house from Moore and, turned it into a female seminary, he and his wife serving as teachers. This was a bold venture, but it proved eminently successful. There being no other school of the kind in this part of northern Pennsylvania, parents who were able, to educate their daughters placed them in charge of Mr. and Mrs. Norris, and the result was that some of the best young ladies of that day were educated at the wilderness seminary. Among them may be mentioned the following: Ann Blackwell, afterwards the wife of Benjamin Lamb; Hannah Blackwell, wife of Henry Lamb; Maria Davidson, daughter of Dr. James Davidson, the Revolutionary Burgeon, who settled near Jersey Shore; Elizabeth Burrows, of Montoursville, who became the wife of Tunison Coryell, of Williamsport; Jane Morrison, afterward married to Samuel Morrison, a namesake; Priscilla Morrison, married to Thomas Martin, and Elizabeth Porter, who remained single. There were others, doubtless, but their names have not been preserved.

The Norris Seminary was reached by the State road, which had been opened a few years before from Newberry to Painted Post. It was regarded as an important thoroughfare at that day, and there was a great deal of travel over it in fact, it was the main route to Wellsboro and the settlements beyond.

"The English Settlement." - It was in this. township that the colony known as the "English Settlement" was founded soon after the beginning of the century, and suffered great hardships, The country was wild and inhospitable. Heavy timber covered the hills and there was no cleared land. The history of that affair, which was little less than criminal on the part of the prime move, is as follows:

In 1805, Rev. John Hey, of the Independent Church of England, as he styled himself, was living in Philadelphia. He was an Englishman by birth. At that time there was a great rage to found colonies by those who had acquired large bodies of land. Men of means, it seems, were not content with a few hundred acres, but they sought to own tens of thousands. This desire was largely begotten by the example of Robert Morris, Phelps & Gorham, and others, to own nearly the entire northern part of the State, and the southwestern part of Now York. Land was cheap, and they imagined they saw immense wealth in these vast landed possessions.

Rev, John Hey became imbued with the same ideas, and becoming acquainted with Colonel Kingsbury, agent for Samuel W. Fisher, and others, who owned thousands of acres of wild land, conceived the idea of purchasing a large body of land for the purpose of founding a colony. Fisher was a merchant in Philadelphia. A bargain was struck and June 12, 1805, Fisher and those interested with him in the ownership of 110,859 acres (See Deed Book F, page 195), conveyed to Hey the following named fifteen tracts in consideration of $21,757: Lenox, Wheatfield, Bethlehem, Auburn, Maple Bottom; Pine Grove, Mexico, Fertility, Hampstead, Vermont, Brighton, Fairfield, Hickory Grove, Beech Plain, and Richelieu, each containing 990 acres, making a total of 14,820 acres, at a cost of about $1.47 an acre.

Having acquired this large body of land Rev. John Hey visited Haven Parish, England, for the purpose of inducing a colony of his countrymen to emigrate and settle on these lands. He painted to them in glowing language the beauty of the virgin country; how he would sell them lands at a small advance on the cost, and they could in a few years clear them and found comfortable homes. He succeeded in inducing the following parties to emigrate: Enoch Blackwell, Mr. Sherborn, Mr. Wells, Henry Hews, Jabez Hay, Joshua Blackwell, Peter Blackwell, Joseph Maggs, John Crook, William Blackwell, Nathaniel Blackwell, and Joshua Blackwell. Enoch Blackwell, Sherborn, and Wells preceded the others, who soon followed. All these emigrants, when they arrived here in 1806, made their way to Williamsport and passed over the State road from Newberry to the place where the colony was to be founded in the wilderness. On the 10th of September, 1807, Hey deeded fifty acres to Maggs in consideration of $150. It was located near Moore's mill, on the Wills tract; on the 12th of the same month he conveyed 200 acres to Henry Hews for $600, on the tract called Lenox; and on the 20th 1, 200 acres to Enoch Blackwell for $3,600, on the tract called Maple Bottom now known as Oregon Hill. Jabez Hay purchased 200 acres, June 10, 1808, for $600, and Joshua Blackwell paid $450 for 150 acres.

When these emigrants settled here there were no improvements. It was a dense forest. They were unused to the hard work of clearing land covered with heavy timber, and to use the language of a descendant, "they did not know how to cut down big trees!" Winter came on before the had scarcely succeeded in erecting cabins to shelter them, and as their scanty stores were soon exhausted, starvation began to stare them in the face. Their first winter in the wilderness was a dreary one. Summer came on and they did a little better, but they soon began to realize their condition and they felt that if they had not been deceived, it was cruel to lead them into the gloomy forest where it was almost impossible to subsist. Had it not been for the abundance of game some of them must have starved.

Sherborn and Wells were the first to leave the settlement. Others soon followed. In the meantime Enoch Blackwell was working hard to clear up a farm, and a few others followed his example. But becoming discouraged, Enoch Blackwell, his son William, and family left Oregon Hill in 1811, and settled on Pine creek, at what is now known as the town of Blackwell's, just outside of Lycoming county. When they came there they found A. P. Harris and George Bonnell living on their land, which was embraced in their purchase from Hey. The Blackwells proved their title, and commenced to make improvements. They early engaged in lumbering and prospered. Enoch died at Jersey Shore in 1816, aged sixty-five, and was buried in the Davidson burial ground near the mouth of Pine creek. William, his son, succeeded to the estate, and died at Blackwell's, December 6, 1859, aged seventy years. Enoch, son of William, and grandson of Enoch the pioneer, lives there today. He was born, January 29, 1824, and has lived to see wonderful changes and improvements not only on Pine creek, but on the hill where his ancestors first settled in 1806.

The first death in the settlement occurred in 1808. John Crook, while hunting, was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun in his hands. He was buried on his own land and his grave was pointed out for a long time.

The first child born in the settlement was Sarah, daughter of Peter Blackwell, in 1806. When she grew to womanhood she married Capt. George Davis of the merchant marine service and went to live in New York.

One by one the original settlers departed. Henry Hews sold his 200 acres to Jacob Warren, September 13, 1815, for $400, a loss of $200, and left. He died at Trout Run, as may be seen in the review of Lewis township. Maggs settled at Jersey Shore and died there, Nathaniel Blackwell also reached Jersey Shore in time and settling on a farm owned by John A. Gamble, carried it on for him till old age compelled him to cease work. He died at the house of his son, J. M. Blackwell, in Jersey Shore, May 31,1882, in his eighty-sixth year. He was only about nine years of age when he accompanied his parents to the English settlement, and never forgot the horrors of their residence, in the wilderness.

The settlement being abandoned by nearly all the original emigrants, and Rev. John Hey having died, the land passed into the possession of the Keims, of Reading. Jacob Warren, an Englishman, was then appointed their agent. He came to Philadelphia, but in 1816 took up his residence in Brown township near the lands. He died there in 1831 and was buried at Oregon Hill. Thomas Lloyd, also an Englishman, succeeded him. He died in 1859, when Enoch Blackwell, of Blackwell's, became agent for the Keim estate and he only succeeded in closing up the business in, 1877, Such, in brief, is the history of the English settlement in what is now Pine township. It was an unfortunate affair and caused much suffering and misery for those who were concerned in it.

Oregon Hill. - But there is a silver lining to every cloud. Oregon Hill is now a beautiful and thrifty hamlet of twelve or fifteen houses, two churches, Evangelical and Methodist, two stores, and one blacksmith shop. Finely cultivated farms, yielding abundantly, surround the settlement and travelers are surprised at the fertility of the land and the prosperity of the people. In the cemetery are buried some of those who were identified with the colony.

A postoffice, called Oregon Hill, was established there September 20, 1869, and Hiram G. Mattoon was appointed postmaster. His successors have been as follows: James E. Brown, appointed February 8, 1877; Hiram G. Mattoon, August 3, 1881; Orison J. Graham, November 2, 1886. He is the present incumbent.

It is difficult to explain how the place got the name of Oregon Hill. Mr. Enoch Blackwell, who was born near there, and is familiar with its history, is unable to account for it. He says that in 1844 a few Mormons settled just over the line in Tioga county and the, people called their settlement "Nauvoo." Soon after this a lumbering camp was started a few miles further down the stream and named "Texas," because it was about the time of the war with Mexico; and later the name "Oregon" was given to the hill region, being suggested probably by the phrase, "fifty-four, forty, or fight," used in connection with the dispute with England regarding the boundary line in Oregon, the "hill" being added because you have to make an ascent to reach the settlement-and then it was originally settled by English people

English Centre. - The largest village in the township is English Centre, so named because it was the center of the settlement of those bearing the name of English. It is located on Little Pine creek about twelve miles from its mouth, surrounded by high mountains, which lend an air of extreme wildness to the place. Years ago Jeremiah English used to operate a large saw mill there, but it has entirely disappeared. This place is also the terminus of the Larry's creek plank road English Centre contains one church, several stores, three hotels, one licensed, the others not, and the tannery of Samuel Davidge & Company. This is a large industry giving employment to one hundred or more men. A splendid iron bridge crosses the creek near the licensed hotel, kept by Mr. English, and there are two more a short distance below. The three most numerous families living on the creek are the Carsons, Callahans, and Englishes.

English Centre suffered severely during the great flood of June 1, 1889. Many houses were overturned, fences destroyed, and all the bridges carried away. The water came down the narrow ravine in which the town is situated in a mighty torrent, filling it from hill to hill, and the inhabitants were forced to fly for safety. this being the central point for lumbermen, there is considerable stir at times and much business transacted.

English Centre is an old settlement. As early as October 25, 1844, a postoffice was established there and called Little Pine Creek, and John M. English was appointed postmaster. His successors were: Ellis English, appointed August 15 1846; William Boatman, September 16, 1846; Claudius Boatman, July 14, 1849; David Kelly, May 19, 1854; Benjamin Kirk, May 16, 1855; James M. English, July 19, 1855.

Little Pine Creek was changed to English Centre, February 29, 1856, and Jacob C. Resse was appointed postmaster. His successors have been as follows: Jeremiah English, January 7, 1862; Eugene A. Miller, February 7,1871; Bruce Elmore, October 9, 1874; Isaac Gildersleeve; August 7, 1876; Harry Harling, May 5, 1879; Edward Hardenburg, April 23, 1880; John R. Hartwell, April 11, 1881. He is the present incumbent.

Schools. - There are seven school houses in this township, named as follows: English Centre, graded; Oregon Hill, graded; Callahan, Chestnut Grove, Snow, Glen, and Texas. The report for 1891 shows six and one-half months taught by three male and eight female teachers.


As early as September, 1845, the movement to create a now township in the Pine Creek region was commenced. At that date, on petition the court appointed A. H. McHenry, William Porter, and George Quiggle, all of Jersey Shore, as viewers on a proposed new township to be made out of parts of Cummings and Porter. Their report was favorable, bat the matter seems to have been dropped, as we find no farther reference to it. The project was not renewed again till January sessions, 1855, when James M. English, Warren Evans, and others petitioned the court praying for a new township to be erected out of parts of Brown and Cummings, to be called English. On the 7th of February, 1855, the court appointed James Wilson, Samuel G. Morrison, and Jacob W. Pfouts, all of Jersey. Shore, viewers. Nothing seems to have come of this movement, as the official records are silent. The movement was revived again next year, for we find that James Wilson, William H. Miller, and Robert Crane, all of Jersey Shore, were appointed to view a proposed new township to be made out of Brown, Cummings, and Cogan House. They performed their duty and made a favorable report November 15, 1856, and on the 18th it was confirmed nisi, and named Kingston.

Soon afterwards a meeting of citizens was held at the Kingston House, English Centre, and they resolved that "out of the respect and esteem they entertained for Alexander H. McHenry, Esq.," it should be called McHenry township.

Still there seems to have been opposition to the creation of the new township, and the movement "hung fire," for at January sessions, 1861, a petition was presented praying for a new township to be formed out of Cummings and Brown. The court appointed A. H, McHenry, E. D. Trump, and Thomas McCurdy, all residents of Jersey Shore, to serve as viewers and report the result of their investigations.

They reported favorably and the court ordered an election to be held July 20, 1861. The majority of voters favored the division, whereupon the court, on August 21, 1861, made a decree erecting the now township and directed that it be called McHenry. This was in honor of A. H. McHenry, late of Jersey Shore, the veteran surveyor. The fight had lasted for a period of sixteen years before victory was secured, and a township named after him.

This township lies in the Pine Creek mountains, is the third in size in the county, and covers an era of 42,920 acres, with a population of 608 by the census of 1890. It is bounded on the east by Cummings and Pine, on the north by Brown, On the west by Clinton county, and on the south by Cummings. Pine creek sweeps through it from the northwest to the southeast corner. Its principal tributaries are Mill run on the east, and Trout run, Harris's run, and Pine Bottom run on the west.

The region of country lying within the borders of McHenry township is wild and broken, and at many points the mountain scenery is bold and imposing. It consists of formations'(Nos. XI, XII, and XIII), which occupy the northeast corner being the western end of the ' Pine Creek coal basin. A small area of the same formation is formed in the southwest, and all along the western boundary of the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike there is a narrow belt of these rocks. Among them are quite large areas of the mountain plateau lands of Mauch Chunk (umbral) red shale (No. XI). Some of these areas are quite fertile, while other portions are known as "barrens," containing much iron ore.

Along the valleys of the streams some fair bottom land is found; on the side bills and at the heads of the streams, there are quite large areas of Catskill red shale (No. IX) with its accompanying breccia, or corustone, of which a good section can be seen in the cuts of the Fall Brook railroad, just above Cammal station. Here this peculiar formation can be studied, and its mode of thickening and thinning in ellipsoid or concretionary forms can, be plainly observed from one to six feet or more in thickness. There are good exposures for flagging and building stone, and coal, fire clays, and iron ore abound quite extensively in the undeveloped coal basins.

Settlement. - Notwithstanding the wildness, of this region explorers made their way up Pine creek quite early. The first warrant was No. 456, to John Nixon, dated May 17, 1785, and the survey was made September 26, 1785; for 5191 acres. The line commenced a short distance above the site of Jersey Mills and extended up Pine creek to the mouth of Trout run, four miles. Claudius Boatman settled at the mouth of Callahan's run, October 17, 1785. His son-in-law, Comfort Wanzer, settled about the same time a short distance below on the same tract that was subsequently settled by Abraham Harris in 1802. Boatman, the pioneer, was a Frenchman by birth. He came from Buffalo valley, where, it will be remembered, his daughter Rebecca was scalped by the Indians while making one of their last forays. She was found and cared for, and recovered. In after years she married Isaac Smee and had three sons, Charles, John, and Alpheus, and two daughters; Mary married Louis Hostrander; Elizabeth, John Shaner. Their mother lived to a good age, but never had any hair on her head after being scalped.

It is claimed that the first child born within the present territory of McHenry was William Boatman, son of Claudius and Esther Boatman, in 1787. They had several children besides this son and Rebecca. Another daughter named Fanny married John English, who had located as early as 1784 on what has since been known as English island in Pine creek, He was warned by "Shawney John," a friendly Indian, to leave as the savages were about to make a descent on Pine creek. He heeded the warning and remained away about a year, when he returned.

Esther Boatman, wife of Claudius, was a very useful woman in the settlement. She was a nurse and physician and quite successful in her ministrations to the sick. She was a very large woman, weighing about 250 pounds. Fanny, her daughter, also became very stout. Another daughter named Jane married James English, who was a Revolutionary soldier and settled on Pine creek, and her sister Margaret married John Morrison, who resided at Horse Shoo bottom opposite Cedar run. William, their brother, settled in 1832 about two miles below the present village of English Centre.

Claudius Boatman removed from the place where he first settled to the spring opposite Jersey Mills in 1796, where he died about 1802 at the great age of ninety-eight. When his wife died is unknown. On a slight elevation, a few rods east of the first fork of Pine creek, repose the remains of Claudius Boatman and wife, Comfort Wanzer and wife, and William Hamlin, father of Rev. Benjamin Hamlin, Probably other members of the family were buried there. A grove of young timber surrounds their graves. When Waterville was laid out Capt. James M. Wolf directed the engineers not to disturb their graves.

Lumbering has been largely carried on in this township. As early as 1810 a saw mill was built on Trout run by Jeremiah Morrison and brother, which was run several years. In 1810 Abraham Harris built a mill on Harris's run, which was operated until 1846. Two mills were built on Mill run one in 1812, and the other in 1840 by George and Abner Campbell. The first was burned in 1835, and the second disappeared about 1848. In 1848 a large gang mill was built at Harris's island by Crane, Day & Baldwin. It changed hands many times, but did a large business. In 1849 McHenry & Bubb started a mill which they operated for several years. George Brown & Sons put up a mill on the site of the Abraham Harris mill in 1849. A steam mill was erected in 1870 by C. M. Laporte three miles up Harris's run, which was operated two or three years and then removed on account of the scarcity of timber to Upper Pine Bottom run. It was burned in October, 1875. About 1850 Lucius Truman built a steam mill on Bark Cabin run, which he operated for some time. Nearly all of these mills have disappeared or crumbled into ruins.

A railroad is now (1892) being built from Cammal to English Centre via Oregon Hill, a distance of fifteen miles, by C. E. Thomas & Company, of Shenandoah, for the purpose of getting out "prop timber" for the mines. It is to be standard gauge, and on account of the steep grades, a "stem winder" locomotive will be used. This road will afford an outlet for a large amount of timber and lumber.

Postoffices. - A postoffice was established at Jersey Mills, January 19, 1855, and Levi Fisk was appointed postmaster. His successors appear as follows: William Stoddard, October 9, 1855; John J. Coolidge, October 14, 1870; M. Bonnell, April 5, 1875. He is the present incumbent.

"Cammal," which is a contraction of the word Campbell, was established September 16, 1884; James Lamison was appointed postmaster, and he is still the. incumbent. The Campbells are old settlers here, and a little village is growing up around the railroad station, which is called Cammal. Lodge No. 1001, I. O. O. F., was recently instituted here.

Okome, the last postoffice, was established April 7, 1890, and Carl P. Carlson, was appointed postmaster. He is the present incumbent.

Schools. - The first school within the limits of the township was taught by Robert Young in 1804, and the first school house was built about half a mile above where Claudius Boatman settled in 1808. The township now has four school houses, viz: Jersey Mills, Cammal, Ross, and Mt. Zion. The report for 1891 shows seven months taught, with four female teachers receiving an average of $27.50 per month.

Next Chapter

Lycoming County, PA Genealogy home page
© 2001 Lycoming County Genealogy Project

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