1833-1983 South Creek Sesquicentennial
Reprinted on Tri-Counties site with permission of June SMITH Mickley
ReTyped by Paul Newell
RAILROADS AND THOSE WHO WORKED ON THEM
In 1854 the railroad was completed and opened between Williamsport and Elmira. It entered the southwest corner of the county and passed through the townships of Canton, Granville, Columbia, and South Creek. It was known as the Northern Central Railroad and was the first railroad in the county. It later became the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was the source of many jobs in the area and played a large part in transporting freight and passengers. It carried war prisoners in the Civil War (1864-65).
Soft coal was transported from Ralston and hard coal was shipped to Sodus Point and loaded on boats to be shipped to Canada. Some of the trains carried from 125 to 140 cars, and some cars weighed as much as 100 tons each. The railroad was discontinued after the flood of June 1972, and the tracks were taken up during the summer of 1978.
Dunning was called a flag stop where people could flag the train to travel or to let people off. An attempt was made to compile a list of local workers, but it was impossible to gather a complete list. Here, in part is a partial list of area people who worked on this conveyance.
Gillett Telegraph Operators
Harry A. Berry, Harold Furman, John Kulp, William Mahood, William McLaughlin, and William H. Passmore, Jr.
Telegraphers at the Fassett Tower
Jim Bromley, Frazier Burke, Frank Collins, L.W. Gillett, William Goodman, Lester Judson, Mae Judson, Jim Price, and Fred Sanford.
George Strong was a freight agent and his store building was used as a waiting room for passengers. There was also a separate room for freight in the same building.
Track Foreman at Fassett were: Fred Collins, Thomas Costello, Mike Crotty, and William Decker. Assistant Foreman was Fred Decker. Fassett Trackmen were: Fred Collins, Thomas Costello, Mike Crotty, Thomas Crotty, Elmer Moore, Frank Parks, Harry Seymour, Raymond Seymour, Roy Seymour and William Seymour.
Gillett Station Personnel
David Dunning, Fred Hatch, Lee Hertel, Harold Hoagland, Walter Marsh, Levi Yeomans (also telegrapher), Ben Youmans, and Vern Yeomans were agents. Daniel Ameigh was a foreman, and Herman Cuffman was book agent. Other track foremen were Joe Doan, Jim Fitzgerald, William Mahood, George Newell, Barney Reilly, Karl Teribury (40 year employee), Ed Terwilliger, and George Wilson. Assistant foremen were Cola Maynard and Clarence Newell.
Claude Andrus, John Andrus, LaFayette Bartlett, Terry Brown, Fred Collins, Ulysses Culver, Sr. (37 year employee), Jim Fitzgerald, Romie Gustin, William Hill, Floyd Kilmer, Walter Kingsley, Thomas Mack, William Mahood, Harry Maynard, Clarence Newell, Oliver Owens, Thomas Pitt, Danny Porter, Herbert Porter, Emery Rumsey, Charlie Russell, Jacob Spender, Ralph Swartwood, Karl Teribury, Ed Terwilliger, Asa Terwilliger, William Terwilliger, and Wayne Watson were trackmen.
Terry Brown, Ulysses Culver, Sr., Clarence Newell, Walter Oldroyd,
Danny Porter, Karl Teribury, Wayne Watson, William Watson, and George Wilson
|Fassett Railroad Tower was moved from the tracks at the state line to Fassett train station. It was used by telegraphers. Operators were Jim Bromley, Frazier Berk, and Lester and May Judson. The tower was control-burned by the South Creek Fire Co. soon after the company formed in 1962.|
ROADS, MAIL ROUTES, POST OFFICES AND MAIL CARRIERS
The first mail route through the county was established in 1803 from Wilkes-Barre to Tioga Point (Athens) and post offices were established at Wyalusing, Sheshequin and Tioga Point. Every two weeks mail was carried on foot as there were no roads for any other conveyance to pass. It took tow weeks to make a round trip and for seven years these trips were made through the mountains from Wilkes-Barre to Athens; no quite a hundred miles. Often the total mail for a whole trip would be one letter. These foot-mails were succeeded by the man on horseback who made his appearance once a week. By 1810 the roads had been sufficiently cut out and the rock ledges improved to the point where mail was carried once a week in a coach and the tin horn of the driver was "music in the air" for all the people. The mail was usually carried in one’s pockets or in a pillowcase. This was the beginning of stage-coach travel.
The old Berwick Turnpike was chartered in 1817 to run from Berwick, Pa. to Elmira. A charter was obtained and road was built through Bradford County in 1821-1823, entering the county at the south line and passing through Albany township, Monroe, Burlington, Smithfield, following the streams and passing out of the state through Ridgebury township to Elmira. This was the first good road in the county and was a mail route. It was a toll road until 1847 when it became a free public road.
In 1818 there was but one mail route through Bradford County. That year a new line was started from Towanda to Burlington, to Troy, to Sylvania and back through Springfield and Smithfield to Towanda. The stage route from Williamsport to Elmira passed through South Creek. The route from Troy to Elmira was owned and operated by O.P. Ballard of Troy. Counting back five generations, O.P. was brother to the direct lineal ascendant of Edward P. Ballard who now lives in Gillett. Stages continued to carry mail and passengers for several years until the early cars came out.
After the completion of the railroad through South Creek in 1854 the mail went by rail and continued to do so until the last mail train went through in 1940. Many will remember Julia Palmer who had trained tow of her dogs to fetch the daily paper; thrown from the train by a cooperative trainman. The last train went through before the flood of June 1972 when the tracks became so damaged it was decided not to repair them. The rails and ties were removed by crews in September of 1978.
Rural free delivery of mail in Bradford County with Towanda as a distribution point was inaugurated May 1, 1901.
The first concrete road through South Creek Township was constructed in three segments over a period of about three years during the 1920’s. The first year it was contracted from the Sate Line at Fassett to the Blue Hill Road (The Blue Hill Road began at the old Joe Young house now owned by the Grangers and came out at George Pautz’s). The second year another contractor constructed it from the Blue Hill Road in Fassett to about where Dave Kendall lives at the foot of the Saunder’s Hill in Gillett. The third year yet another contractor completed the road form there to the south end of the township near Hugh Berry’s home. There is much controversy over the actual year of completion among the oldsters of the township but it seems to have been about 1926.
Some of the Postmasters down through the years have been:
Philo Fassett………….1st P.O. was kept at Fassett
Asa Gillett…………….Gillett – 1856
Joseph M. Young…… Fassett – 1867
Philander Pettingill……Gillett – 1869
Henry S. Patterson……Gillett – 1880’s
Elmer Dewey…………Gillett – 1900
Thomas B. Moore……Fassett – 1900
Reuben Barnhart……..Fassett – Abt. 1903
Elmer Dewey…………Gillett – 1907
George W. Strong……Fassett – 1907-1926
John Passmore………..Gillett – ____- 1936
Olive Harkness………..Gillett – 1936-1952
Charles French………..Gillett – Feb. 1952 - May 1952
Charles Root………….Gillett – May 1952 - May 1982
Shirley Teribury……....Gillett – Aug. 1982 – present
Charles O. Pitt was a mail carrier in 1900 and 1907.
Charles L. Lowrey was carrying mail in 1907.
George Andrus was an early carrier. He was killed on the railroad track behind Strong and French’s store.
John Chase carried mail on R.D. #3 in 1907.
Earl Harkness also delivered mail in 1907.
Lee Fletcher was a mail carrier: killed in World War I.
Arthur Chase was a mail carrier: also killed in World War I.
Harry Kerrick was a carrier.
J. Raymond Smith delivered mail on R.D. #1 with a horse and buggy beginning in March 1915 through November 1, 1955.
H. Claude Andrews delivered mail on R.D. #2 also beginning with a horse and buggy for 44 years: January 1, 1918 – January 1, 1963.
Lee D. Richmond carried mail on R.D. #3 from December 2, 1918 to July 2, 1938 when he transferred to the Wyalusing Post Office until he retired on December 30, 1964.
Burton Hall began as substitute on R.D. #2 in April of 1954 and as a regular carrier on R.D. #1 in March of 1956. His substitute is Polly Boughton who started in April of 1972.
Sam Heath, Jr. delivered mail on R.D. #2 until January of 1978.
Shirley Teribury became a regular mail carrier on 1978. She had been substitute on R.D. #2 since June of 1971. She became postmaster in August of 1982.
Matthew Harkness was a substitute carrier beginning in November 1980 and became regular carrier on R.D. #2 in August of 1982.
Victor Woodward carried mail in Wellsburg from August of 1957. When R.D. #3 was added to Gillett in August of 1981 he began delivering out of the local office.
Wayne Ward was substitute mail carrier for 32 years on R.D. #1. He quit in April of 1972.
Max Morgan was substitute on R.D. #3 from April 1982 to November 1982.
Martha Kress is presently substitute on R.D. #2 since October 1982.
Lynn Warner is presently substitute on R.D. #3 since October 1982.
John Hall was a substitute carrier on R.D. #2.
LaRue Saunders was substitute carrier on R.D. #2.
Fred Sawdey was one of the older substitute carriers.