This town is located in the southwest corner of the county, and received its name with regard to its geographical location and the fact that it is partly bordering on Chemung River. The surface of the town is mostly hilly upland, integrated by the deep valleys of the streams. Chemung River, which forms part of the northern boundary, is the principal stream, and is bordered by broad, fertile, alluvial flats. Seely Creek receives as its tributaries, Smith, Bird, and Mud Lick Creeks, which, with itself, finally empties into the Chemung, in the town of Ashland. Hendy Creek flows along the north border. The area of the town is 28,969 acres. The soil upon the hills is a slaty loam, and in the valleys a fine quality of gravelly loam.*
Within the present limits of the town are included parts of the Wells and Holbrook Purchase of Nov. 6, 1788; Cutting Tract, patent issued to A. Bummerfield and Joseph Edsall, Oct. 31, 1788; Seely Tract to Nathaniel Seely, Jr., James Seely, Abner Hetfield, Samuel Edsall, and Aaron Seely, 1553 acres, Nov. 3, 1788; Patent No. 113, to Abraham Miller and Lebbens Hammond (issued to James R. Smith), Oct. 27, 1788, 1000 acres; Christian Minier, Patent No. 117, Oct. 28, 1788; Watson Patent (now called Lawrence Tract), Sept. 16, 1802, 19,927 acres; and several other patents for smaller tracts, among which, issued in 1788, were No. 103 to Thomas King, issued to Abraham Hardenburg; No. 124 to Jabez and John Calver; No. 102 to John Weir; No. 105 to Daniel De Witt; No. 111 to James Garlinghouse (620 acres); No. 190 to James Dunton; No. 107 to Albert Foster; No. 119 to John Harris; and No. 120 to John Williams.
Concerning Seely Creek, Rev. Clark Brown, in a chronicle entitled " A Topographical Description of Newtown, in the State of New York," written in August, 1803, has the following; "Seely’s Creek, so called, is a much smaller stream than Newtown Creek. Its course is by the east side of the mountain already described (Mount Zoar), which lies in the west of the village (Elmira, then Newtown). It empties into the Tioga River at the south part of the town (now Ashland). It is called Seely’s Creek in consequence of a number of families by the name of Seely originally settling near it. The land east of it, on which the settlements and improvements are, is excellent."
*For alterations in the boundary of the town, etc., see "Civil Organization."
of the town was commenced by the Millers, Griswolds, and McHenrys. Judge Abraham Miller* came in from Northampton Co., Pa., in the spring of 1788. He was a man above the average pioneer in intellectual qualifications, and , recognizing this fact, Governor Clinton appointed him the first judge of old Tioga County, the commission bearing date Feb. 17, 1791. Judge Miller has served as a colonel in the Revolutionary army, and thus combined the noble virtue of patriotism to his many other excellent traits of character. John Miller, elder son of Abraham, was appointed judge of Tioga County April 3, 1807, and was, like his father, a prominent citizen. He moved to the town of Elmira, and was subsequently a member of Assembly.
From a work published by J. B. Wilkinson** in 1840 we quote the following: "Southport, which is a beautiful and extended plain on the south side of the Chemung, and the central part immediately opposite Elmira, was settled the first and second years after the settlement of the north side by Judge Caleb Baker, who still lives upon the sod that received its first cultivation from himself, John and Timothy Smith, Solomon Bovier, Lebbeus Hammond, Esq., William Jenkins, Esq. (still living), Rufus Baldwin, still farther down the river, Parson Jabez Culver, a Congregational minister, Lebbeus Tubbs, the father of Mrs. Hammond, Judge Abraham Miller, and Samuel Middaugh." The description of the town in the above is correct, but Mr. Wilkinson errs in asserting priority of settlement for Judge Baker, whose arrival was subsequent to that of Judge Miller and David Griswold nearly two years, and both Lebbeus Tubbs and Lebbeus Hammond were at least contemporary with Judge Baker.
*See also under the head of "Bench and Bar of Chemung."
**Author of the "Annals of Binghamton."
The subjoined is furnished by Mr. A. D. Griswold, a grandson of David Griswold; and while we do not dispute its authenticity, yet we are of the opinion that David stayed with his father in Chemung for about two years after the arrival of the family there in 1787. "In the spring of 1787, David Griswold, a soldier, and afterwards a pensioner, of the Revolution, a native of Connecticut, of English descent, came up the river to Southport, with his wife and daughter Mary (who afterwards married Benjamin Smith), and his sons Thomas and David, the latter an infant, born at Tioga Point, Jan. 1, 1787. His father, Elijah Griswold, with three sons and three daughters, settled at Chemung, two miles east of Wellsburg. Another brother, Elijah, came with David, and settled where his venerable son James now lives. David built a saw-mill and a grist-mill on his farm, bringing the water of Seely Creek, more than a mile, by means of a dam, on land now owned by L. B. Smith. Previous to this wheat was ground on an oak stump hollowed out for that purpose, on land now owned by G. A. Goff. His first wife, Sallie, having died, David Griswold married Mrs. Jane Stull, whose father, John Durham, kept a ferry at Elizabethtown, N.J., across which Washington was rowed. Their daughters, Nancy and Sally, were married to Abner and Richard Hetfield, respectively, and their sons, John and Jonas, own the farm."
In 1787, Timothy Smith was living on Seely’s Tract, 600 acres of which was granted to him in 1791, and he built on land now owned by Elias Snell. The barn was dated 1799, and now stands on the south side of the road.
His sons, Solomon L. Smith, Job Smith, Uriah Smith, a physician of successful practice till 1862, and Archibald and his daughters, Elizabeth Satterlee, Hannah Lowe, and Abbey Chapman, are represented now by numerous descendants in the valley. One daughter, Susan, was never married.
Timothy Smith was accompanied by four brothers, all men of tall stature,--one six feet four inches,--and their descendants made the Smiths numerous at a very early date. They came from Orange County. J. L. Smith is a son of one of the brothers,--John.
In the south part of the town, one of the most prominent of the early settlers was Philo Jones, who came from Norwalk, Conn., at the solicitation of his brother, the Rev. Simeon R. Jones, an early and noted Presbyterian clergyman, who came to Elmira as early as 1803, and was in Bradford Co., Pa., prior to that time.* Mr. Philo Jones arrived in Elmira in 1806, and removed to Southport in 1817, and settled on the place now occupied by his son, Simeon R. Jones. He held several offices of importance in the town, notably those of Supervisor in 1839-40, and Justice of the Peace in 1857. He also served two terms in the State Assembly in 1849-50. Mr. Jones was born in Norwalk, Conn., June 25, 1791, and died in Southport, Feb. 24, 1872. His children now living are Albert, a retired merchant of Elmira; Simeon R., who resides on the old homestead; Finla M., postmaster at Seely Creek; Philo, who lives in Caton, Steuben Co., N. Y.; Julia S. and Laura J., both reside near the homestead in this town.
*See under head of "Presbyterian Church" in history of Elmira.
Among others who settled in this part of the town were Archibald Marvin and Dr. A. Gates White, who came in 1802 and settled,--the former below Pine Woods, and owned the present site of the hamlet; the latter at Webb’s Mills. Archibald Marvin’s daughter, Mrs. Robert Beckwith, is still on the old homestead, and Seth Marvin, one of his sons, is a resident of the town. General Seth Marvin, father of Archibald, was with the surveyors in 1788, and purchased a large tract, where Seely Creek, Webb’s Mills and Pine City are now located,--a part of the Wells & Holbrook Patent. John Wheeler Pedrick came to Elmira about 1797, and was the first shoemaker there. He settled in Southport in 1802, and bought a lot between those of A. Marvin and Dr. A. G. White, on part of which two of his grandsons, Nathan and E. C. Pedrick, now reside, and on the other part, H. F. Wells and others occupy. John Kelley bought a tract on the State line in 1800.
Other early settlers in various parts of the town were John McHenry, who came in about 1790. His son, Abraham, was born on the farm now owned by John D. Miller, in 1797, and died on the same place in 1846. Miller, Guy P., and Julia, now the wife of Shelden Tense, of Whitehall, Washington Co., N. Y., were all born in Southport. Wm. Fitzsimmons, who was with Sullivan in his expedition of 1779, came into the town to settle about 1790. John Fitzsimmons came about one year later. Davis Fitzsimmons was born on the old homestead in 1805.
Daniel Beckwith settled on the farm now occupied by the widow and family of his son John, in 1793. Daniel Beckwith died July 30, 1844, John Beckwith, Aug. 17, 1877. Jude, Guy, and Ida are his only children. Peter Stryker, father of Abraham Stryker, came in about 1795. Valentine Strouse came with his parents and their large family of children, from Easton, Pa., in 1827. Charles Evans came in from Delaware in 1825, and settled on the farm now occupied by Solomon L. Smith. Charles Dense arrived from Orange Co., N. Y., in February, 1829. Philetus P. Rathbun came in 1831, and settled near the Corners, where he has since resided.
The first house erected within the present limits of the town was by Abraham Miller, in the spring of 1790.
The first saw-mill was built by Colonel Abraham Miller, on a branch of Seely Creek, as early as 1798.
The first grist-mill, by David Griswold, about the years 1799-1800.
The first factory was that for the manufacture of wool, erected by Silas Billings, in 1821-22, and sold to Solomon L. Smith about 1823-24.*
The first distillery was erected by Solomon L. Smith, about the year 1820. He manufactured his whisky from both rye and corn.
The first school-house was erected about the year 1800, in the Griswold neighborhood. One was erected near the present residence of Draper Nichols, in the southern part of the town, in 1806.
The first church edifice was the Presbyterian, built about the year 1820, and destroyed by fire in 1831. It stood on the river-road, on the farm now occupied by James Griswold.
The first store was kept by Samuel Gibson, at Webb’s Mills , in 1835.
The first tragedy in the town was the murder of James Kelley, by a youth of eighteen years named George Lucas, June 19, 1820. The shooting was done in a corn field, near the present site of the barns of Allen Cooper.
Southport was formed from Elmira, April 16, 1822, and a part of Ashland was taken off in April 1867. The boundaries as described in the act by which the town was erected are as follows: "All that part of Elmira lying south of a line beginning on the pre-emption line at the corner of lots Nos. 54 and 55 of the subdivision of Watrous’ large tract in said town; thence south 88 degrees east to the southeast corner of lot 95, in said subdivision; thence northerly to the southwest corner of lot 103, in said subdivision; thence north 80 degrees 30’ east to the Tioga River; thence down the same as it runs to the head of Davis Island; thence down the channel on the southerly side of said island; thence down the river to the head of Big Island; thence on a line through said island which divides the farms on the east and west sides of said island, to the lower part thereof; thence down the middle of the river to the head of Rummerfield’s Island; thence down the channel of the river on the south side of said island and Carpenter’s Island to the Chemung line." The area of the town is 28,969 acres.
The first town-meeting was held at the house of John Ware, on the 14th of May, 1822, at which the subjoined list of officers was elected, namely: Solomon L. Smith, Supervisor; William Wells, Clerk; John W. Knapp, Wm. Jenkins, and Samuel Strong, Assessors; John L. Smith, Platt Bennett, and Samuel Strong, Commissioners of Highways; William Benson, James B. Goff, and Platt Bennitt, Inspectors of Common Schools; William Jenkins, William C. Ware, and Jacob Miller, Commissioners of Common Schools; John Fitzsimmons and John L. Smith, Overseers of the Poor; Nathaniel Knapp, Collector; Aaron Brown and Nathaniel Knapp, Constables; Samuel Strong and John L. Smith, Fence Viewers; John Ware, Poundkeeper; Samuel Middaugh, John Bovier, John Fitzsimmons, John Sly, Wm. K. Knapp, Philo Jones, Thomas Comfort, and Jeremiah Coleman, Overseers of Highways.
At the first town meeting it was
"Voted to authorize the town clerk to purchase books to the amount of five dollars, for the purpose of keeping the town-records."
"Voted that all hogs weighing less than 80 pounds, that shall be found in any inclosure, that the owner of the same shall pay the occupant of said inclosure, if the fence be good and lawful, 25 cents per head."
"Voted to give 50 cents for every fox-scalp."
Annexed we give a list of the supervisors and town clerks who have served the town from 1822 to 1878, inclusive; and the justices of the peace from 1830.
Supervisors; Solomon L. Smith (5 years), William Wells, Solomon L. Smith (4 years), John L. Smith, Solomon L. Smith, Jacob Miller (2 years), Albert A. Beckwith (2 years), Philo Jones (2 years), David Howell, James Griswold, Lewis Miller, Solomon L. Smith (3 years), Treadwell O. Scudder, Solomon L. Smith, Lewis Miller, Richard Baker, John Baldwin, Jr., Richard Baker, Charles Evans (3 years), James Griswold, Jud Smith (2 years), Edmund Miller, William T. Post (2 years), Edmund Miller (3 years), H. F. Wells, Edmund Miller (8 years), William Brown, Miller McHenry (3 years), John Brown (2 years).
Town Clerks; William Wells, Henry Baldwin, John L. Smith (8 years), George Hyde, David Howell (3 years), Isaac L. Wells, David Howell (2 years), Nathan Boynton, Nathaniel Seeley (2 years), John Baldwin, Jr. (6 years), Hiram T. Smith (4 years), Miller McHenry (3 years), Charles A. Eckensberger, Miller McHenry (3 years), Charles A. Eckensberger (2 years), Harvey Smith, Charles A. Eckensberger, John Bryant, Charles A. Eckensberger, Charles W. Evans (8 years), Philetus P. Rathbun, Charles W. Evans (4 years), E. C. Pedrick.
Justices of the Peace; James Griswold, Samuel Giles, Abraham Stryker, George W. Miller (vacancy), William Lowe, James Griswold, William McClure, David Brewer, Wm. T. Knapp, Edmund Miller, William McClure, George W. Miller, H. W. Atkins, Shepard Miller, John Baldwin, Jr., George W. Miller, H. W. Atkins, Warren K. Hopkins, Festus A. Webb (vacancy), John Baldwin, Jr., Timothy T. Brown, Ezra Canfield (vacancy), Abner Wells, Hiram Roushey (vacancy), William Webb, Andrew Hancock (vacancy), Abner Wells, Thomas Maxwell, Hiram Roushey, Wright Dunham, Mark A. Burt, R. S. Perine, Philo Jones, Hiram Roushey, Andrew Middaugh (vacancy), Hiram Middaugh (long term), Thomas Maxwell (vacancy), Mark A. Burt, James Griswold, William Webb (vacancy), Charles Evans, Wm K. Shepard, George W. Roberts, Nathan Nichols, Charles Evans, David McWhorter, Mark A. Burt, Nathan B. Nichols, Cornelius B. Putman (vacancy), Charles Evans, James M. Edsall, Cornelius W. Putman, H. B. Knapp, Wm. T. Bower (vacancy), Lewis B. Smith, Isaiah V. Mapes, George W. Cooper, Charles Evans, Nathan Pedrick, Isaiah V. Mapes,--the last four present incumbents (1878).
As a sample of the patriotism that generally prevailed during the national struggle of 1861-65, we quote the following from the proceedings of a special town-meeting held at the house of Charles G. Smith, Aug. 9, 1864:
"Voted that means be raised for the payment of bounties to fill the quota of 200,000 men, under the last call of the President." On the ballots being counted they stood 98 for and 4 against.
The present town-officers, other than those included in the above lists, are Daniel Dalrymple, Aaron B. Beardsley, and Charles Antes, Assessors; Emmett Holmes, Collector; Andrew Fitzsimmons, Cornelius B. Chase, and John C. Todd, Inspectors of Election, District No. 1; D. C. Beckwith, S. M. Helms, and Allen Cooper, for District No. 2; Daniel Mack, Jacob Weyer, and Thomas Curran, Auditors.
is a post-village located on the Southport plank-road, in the southern part of the town. Its site is included in the old Webbs and Holbrook Patent. Among the early settlers there were Josiah Seely, as early as 1798; John W. Pedrick, in 1803; Dr. White, about 1805; and later, Wm Spencer Nathan, E. C. Pedrick, Festus A. and Mortimer T. Webb, I. V. Mapes and others. The place now contains one general store, of which M. T. and F. J. Cassada are the proprietors; one millinery-store, one grist-mill, and one saw-mill,* operated by John Brown, Esq., two blacksmith-shops, two wagon-shops, and one church of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, a historical sketch of which will be found under the hear of "Religious" farther on. There is a resident justice of the peace, namely, Nathan Pedrick, Esq. The population of the settlement is fairly estimated at 250.
*See under head of "Manufacturing Interests.
so called from the fact that its site was until within the memory of many yet living covered with pine timber, is located on the Tioga, Elmira and State Line Railroad. The first settler there was Charles Atkins, who was a cooper by trade, and came here in 1830. He was followed within a few months by John Egbert, who built a saw-mill. Other early settlers were the Hatches, Damon, Dorus, and Harvey. The contents of the place may be briefly summarized as follows: two general stores, one hotel, two blacksmithies, one wagon-shop, one Baptist church, and about 200 inhabitants. There is one resident justice of the peace, namely, I. V. Mapes, who is also a lecturer and literary character. The post-office was established here in 1874, and Emmett Holmes was appointed the first postmaster, and has since retained the office.
SEELY CREEK POST-OFFICE,
was named after the creek upon which it is located, and the creek, as before stated, after the Seely family, that was once numerously represented in the town. It was established in 1833, and John Brownell was the first appointed to the office; the present incumbent is Finla M. Jones, who was appointed by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He is also the merchant of the place. It is on the Tioga and Elmira State Line Railroad, and is a distributing point for mail for points south.
is a small hamlet, the village proper of that name having been annexed to Elmira as its Fifth ward. It was here that Nathaniel Seely, the pioneer hatter, settled, and opened a small shop where he made hats for the old settlers. Those of the pioneers still living will remember him as an industrious and practical workman. Here also is the old Presbyterian church, erected in 1832 in place of the old Gehall edifice, which once stood on the river, and was destroyed by fire. The post-office here was the first in the town, having been established as early as 1827. John L. Smith was the first postmaster; the present one, Philetus P. Rathbun.
Southport Corners also contains the site of the old woolen-factory, first started here by Silas Billings, not far from 1820. In 1825, the property passed into the hands of Solomon L. Smith, with whom Charles Evans became connected in the business soon afterwards. The old mill, which was among the first of its kind established in the county, stood for more than fifty years, until on the 25th of June, 1877, it was destroyed by fire. And thus perished a venerable landmark of the industry of the old settlers.
This hamlet is so called from the peculiar architectural design of the old Captain Dalrymple Hotel, erected there at an early day. Solomon L. Smith, Esq., subsequently became proprietor of it, commencing about 1818-19. Mr. Smith came into the town from Orange Co., N. Y., in 1790. He was the first supervisor of the town, and several times subsequently held that office, in all fourteen years. His deed for his place is by Adam and Israel Seely, and bears dates in 1805 and 1806. Solomon L. Smith is the father of Jud Smith, now of Wellsburg.
The principal manufacturing establishments of this town, and among the most extensive in the county are:
The Northern Central Railway shops, which were established here in the fall of 1866, and work commenced therein during the following winter, and put into full operation in the spring of 1867, under the management of Mr. James Strode as master mechanic. The dimensions of the various shops are as follows:
Round-house, 800 feet in circumference; machine-shop, 90 by 185 feet; blacksmith-shop, 50 by 100; office and store-room, 30 by 50; engine-room, 15 by 48. These buildings are all of brick, which, with temporary wooden sheds and a large water-tank, occupy an inclosure containing 20 acres, and give employment on an average to 170 men.
James Strode, upon whom the management of this great industrial establishment devolves, was born on a farm in West Calm township, Chester Co., Pa., May 8, 1832. He received his education at the common schools of his native town. When a youth he was apprenticed to the machinist trade in the shops of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, and early evinced an aptitude and mechanical genius which have secured for him important positions, notably those of general foreman of the shops of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad at Fort Wayne, the same position in the shops of the company at Alleghany, and also at Chicago, from whence he came to assume his present position in 1866, which he has since retained to the entire satisfaction of his employers.
The La France Manufacturing Company was incorporated April 12, 1873, with George M. Diven as president, and Eugene Diven as secretary and treasurer. The company was established for the purpose of manufacturing the "La France Rotary Steam Fire-engine" and the "La France Rotary Steam-pump," both of which now enjoy a reputation second to no similar commodities in the country. The La France Fire-engine is built from patents invented by Mr. T. S. La France, who now occupies the position of master mechanic of the establishment. This fire-engine is very highly indorsed by cities and corporations which have used them, and was also awarded a medal from the Centennial Commission at the National Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876, and also one by the American Institute in 1874. The company have a capital of $100,000, and give employment to 40 hands. Their main building is of brick, 300 by 40 feet, with a wing 50 by 50; wooden building is 100 by 80, and three stories high; boiler shop is 50 by 50; Pattern and store building, 50 by 30, and two stories high. The present officers are George M. Diven, President; Hon. John T. Rathbone, Vice-President; Eugene Diven, Treasurer; H. R. Micks, Secretary; and T. S. La France, Superintendent of the Shops and Master Mechanic.
The Seely Creek Mills, located at Webb’s Mills, and for several years called after the present name of the post-office, were erected by Hezekiah Dunham about 1835. At first there were but two runs of stone, but on the property passing into the possession of Festus A. Webb it was improved and enlarged. From Festus A. Webb it was disposed of to M. T. and William Webb, and by them in 1866, to the present proprietor, John Brown, Esq. During the time the Webbs owned the property, they called it "Webb’s Mills," from which circumstance the post-office was named. Mr. Brown has greatly improved the mills, and has added a new engine and boilers. There are now four runs of stone for flour and feed, and one for buckwheat. The product for the year ending Dec. 31, 1877, was about 2000 barrels merchant, 40,000 bushels general custom, and 10,000 bushels buckwheat; average number of hands employed, 10; capacity of saw-mill adjoining, 1,000,000 feet per annum. A saw-mill was erected on the present site of that now owned and operated by Mr. John Brown, by Dr. A. G. White, about 1818.
The Southport Mills, erected by Jacob Weyer, in September, 1876, operated by him until June 21, 1877, when destroyed by fire, rebuilt the latter year. Has three runs of stone, manufactures 2000 barrels of merchant and 25,000 bushels of custom per annum. A mill was built about 1820, by John H. Knapp, and used by him as a grist-mill. In 1862, Jacob Weyer purchased the property, and converted it into a saw and plaster mill. In 1876, he removed the machinery to his new mill at Bulk Head, where it was when the mill burned.
Seely Creek Saw-Mill was erected by Philo Jones in 1841, and by him sold to his son, Simeon R. Jones, the present proprietor, in 1843. He converted it into a steam mill in 1867, as at present. Its annual capacity is 500,000 feet.
On the same site Philo Jones erected a woolen-mill in 1829, and commenced operations in 1830, which he continued until 1843, when he disposed of the property to Simeon R., who conducted the business until 1848, when he sold the machinery to William Benedict, who removed the same to Wysox, Bradford Co., Pa., where it is still in use.
The Southport Tannery was erected by H. F. Wells and R. Hammond in 1852. The former has retained an interest in the concern until the present time. The firm is now Wells, Burt & Co. The annual product is 40,000 hides per annum, in the tanning of which 4000 cords of bark are used, and 25 men employed.
The Woolen-Factory erected by Solomon L. Smith about 1823, and operated by him and Charles Evans for several years, is mentioned in the history of Southport Corners Post-Office. It was the oldest manufacturing establishment in the town at the time of its destruction by fire in 1877.
There are other manufacturing interests in the town, although the above is a capital showing in this connection; but of their history we have received no data from which to prepare the customary notices.
The religious interests of the town received the attention of the pioneers at an early day. While we find no actual records of the existence of a regular organization prior to 1819, yet, from various authentic sources, we gather the fact that missionaries of the Presbyterian faith and the Methodist itinerancy were in the town probably twenty years earlier than the date above given. Records exist of a Baptist society at Wellsburg in 1789; and doubtless many of the old settlers of Southport of that faith attended worship there.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SOUTHPORT.*
The fording of the Chemung River being a formidable barrier to church-goers of Southport, a church was built on the river-road on land donated by Elijah Griswold, now occupied as a cemetery. The building was erected in 1819, and was held by a variety of sects, whose dissensions culminated in the destruction of the building by fire in 1832, and immediately the Presbyterian society built the house now standing on the plank-road, on land of heirs of John L. Smith.
The church was organized Oct. 31, 1821, and John Fitzsimmons, David Griswold and Jane his wife, Milly Smith, Sarah Baker, and Philo Jones were from the First Church in Elmira; Partial Mapes, Bethiah Kinner, Amy Holmes, Betsey Brown, Phitty Wing, and Hannah Comfort were from other churches. William Wells, Richard Comfort, and Sabia Jones made profession of their faith, and Rev. Henry Ford preached to this newly-constituted church, followed in June, 1822, by Rev. Simeon R. Jones for two years or more.
In April 1826, Rev. Richard Williams began preaching, followed in 1828 by Rev. David Harrower, for two years, these last two only preaching half the time.
As early as June, 1831, Rev. B. Foster Pratt began preaching, and during the year was installed as the first pastor; and during his three years’ ministrations "the church was blessed by renewed visitations of the Holy Spirit, and its numbers were largely increased."
Rev. John Gray succeeded till 1836, followed by Rev. George Spalding till September, 1842, when B. M. Goldsmith, a licentiate, followed, who was ordained and installed February, 1845, and continued till October, 1849.
Rev. F. S. Howe has been preaching since May, 1871, and the elders are Jonas Griswold, H. R. Osborne, Jesse Leverick, and A. D. Griswold. Water Dense, Emory S. Smith, and Irving Hopkins are the deacons; and Thomas Hopkins, Clayton Griswold, L. B. Smith, Walter Dense, H. R. Osborne, and A. D. Griswold are the trustees.
Irving Hopkins superintends the Sunday-school of 75 scholars, assisted by seven teachers. The church property is worth two thousand dollars.
*Contributed by A. D. Griswold
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF SOUTHPORT
is located at Pine City, and was organized in May, 1855, by Elder T. S. Sheardown, who was installed the first pastor of the church. He was followed in the pastorate by Elder T. S. Mitchell, and he by the present incumbent, Elder D. R. Ford, who has been with the church nearly fourteen years. The church edifice was erected prior to the regular organization of the society, having been built in 1853, and dedicated in February, 1854, the Rev. T. S. Sheardown conducting the dedicatory exercises. It originally cost $2200, but is at present valued, with furniture, organ, and lot, at $5000, and the society has $2000 at interest, and is free of debt. The present trustees are John Brown, John A. Roy, Albert Seely, Nathaniel Ellison, William H. Gosper, and Ransom Tanner; Deacons, John Brown and Nathaniel Ellison; Clerk, E. O. Haven. The present membership of the church is 115; number of teachers and scholars in the Sabbath-school, 100; Superintendent, Dix Smith; number of volumes in library, 300.
THE SECOND METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF SOUTHPORT
Is located at Webb’s Mills, and was formed in 1855, though a class had existed for at least a quarter of a century before. The lot upon which the church building stands was purchased by the trustees of the church of the Josiah S. Pedrick estate, the deed bearing date Feb. 8, 1855. The house of worship was erected during the summer of the same year, and dedicated the following fall. The first pastor was Rev. D. Leisenring; the present incumbent, Rev. J. Jolley. The present value of church property is $4000. Trustees, T. J. Bradbury, William Brown, Lyman Miller, Nathan Pedrick, William Sherman, Henry B. Knapp, and W. W. Goodwin. Membership, 55; number of teachers and scholars in the Sunday-school, 40; Superintendent, Homer C. Wade.
EDUCATIONAL AND GENERAL
Contemporary with the preparations for the accessory comforts of shelter and security, the pioneers began to consider the necessity of furnishing educational advantages for their children; and hence we find at an early period in the history of the town, here and there, a humble log house, in which the primitive pedagogue was employed to impart to the youth at least the rudiments of learning. Invariably was this interest evinced by the early settlers, who themselves principally without extensive knowledge, yet possessing that common sense without which the most elaborate education is of little worth, felt the importance of practical scholastic attainments. Therefore, as early as the year 1800, we hear of a school having been taught, and of others within a lustrum from that year. The progress in educational matters has been equally rapid with that of the material development of the town. From the last annual report of Robert P. Bush, Esq., County Superintendent of Schools, we glean the subjoined statistics, which afford a good showing for the time as regards its schools: There are 16 districts, and as many school-houses, the value of which, with sites, is $12,965; 1277 children of school age, of whom 961 attend school; 535 weeks were taught by 11 male and 20 female teachers, whose compensation for the year was $5386; there are 288 volumes in the library, which are valued at $150. The town received for educational purposes—from the State, $2383; from taxation, $4191; from all other sources, $73; the payments (besides that for teachers’ wages) were, for school-houses, building, and repairing, $2008; all other expenditures, $839.
The subjoined shows the population of the town for the lustrums from 1845 to 1875, inclusive: In 1845, 2539; in 1850, 3184; in 1855, 4479; in 1860, 4733; in 1865, 3412; in 1870, 2727; in 1875, 3285.
The information from which the above history of the town of Southport is prepared was kindly furnished by the following persons and authorities, to whom and which we hereby acknowledge out indebtedness:
Charles Evans, Finla M. Jones, Abraham Stryker, Charles Dense, Jonas and ____Griswold, the McHenrys, the Fitzsimmons, Philetus P. Rathbun, Seth Cooley, the Millers, Nathan Pedrick, Esq., John Brown, Esq. (supervisor), E. C. Pedrick (Town Clerk), James Strode (in manufacturing interests), Hon. Thomas Maxwelles, and J. B. Wilkingson’s historical sketches, and the various State Gazetteers from 1813 to 1872.
The family from which Mr. Dalrymple is descended was of English origin. His paternal grandfather resided near Bennington, Bt., at which place Ephraim, the father of our subject, was born, June 26, 1792. Ephraim married Abigail Bridgman, a native of Afton, Chenango Co., N. Y. She was born March 10, 1793; the daughter of Reuben and Abigail (Town) Bridgman, whose parents emigrated to Chenango County from Vermont, about the year 1790. His father having died when he was about twelve years old, Ephraim came to Chenango County in 1804, and lived with an older brother. He served in the war of 1812. He followed the trade of a carpenter and millwright, and in later years engaged in farming. In 1831 he moved to Jackson, Tioga Co., Pa., where he resided until 1841, when he purchased the farm now occupied by his son Daniel in Southport. He subsequently left the farm to the charge of his son, and engaged for several years in the lumber business in Potter Co., Pa., where he died April 22, 1856. He was twice married; first to Abigail Bridgman, as above stated, by whom he had seven children, viz.: Mary Ann, Daniel, Adna, Delia Ann, William, Abigail, and Lydia Sophia; all living except the first named. His second wife was Sarah Bovier, widow of Noah Bovier, and by this marriage were born to them Mary Ann, Sophronia Maria, Hannah, and Ephraim, all living and residing in Southport. William and Sophia are living in Potter Co., Pa., while Adna, Delia A., and Abigail reside in Illinois.
Daniel Dalrymple, the eldest son of Ephraim, was born in the town of Afton, N. Y., June 11, 1819. With his father he moved to Jackson, Pa., in 1831, and with him, ten years later, came to Southport, which has since been his residence. Besides the 100 acres of the homestead farm (given him by his father for his years of service), he owns 600 acres of farming lands in Wells, Pa., stocked with seventy-five cows. Some years since he sold his mill interests in Potter County to his brothers and sisters residing there. He is no politician, but has been a life-long Democrat, as was his father before him; has held the office of assessor, but much prefers to leave official cares and duties to others, and to follow agricultural pursuits and enjoy the quiet life of a farmer. With no educational advantages, in early life he was self-reliant, industrious, and trustworthy. From the age of fourteen years he had the entire charge of his father’s farm, in addition to which for years he kept the books and settled the accounts of the lumber business, which, at one time, embraced eleven different saw-mills. He thus developed into a practical business man,--a successful manager. He married, first, Sophronia M. Morrell, Jan. 12, 1813, who died Feb. 27, 1843. His present wife, Emily Edsall, was born in Columbia, Bradford Co., Pa., Feb. 18, 1830. Her father, Jesse, son of Samuel Edsall, was born in Southport, in 1790; her mother, Clarissa, daughter of Thomas Wright and Sarah Owens, was born in 1801. Her grandmother, Sarah Seely, was a native of Orange Co., N. Y. Jesse Edsall drove the first stage between Elmira and Binghamton, in 1802. In 1803 he settled in Columbia, Pa., where he died Oct. 2, 1861. He and his wife were both members of the Baptist Church. He was a man of much social influence, possessed of a strong intellect, vigorous constitution, and a clear judgment. His wife died Aug. 31, 1976, and was buried by his side in the town of Columbia. Of their children, Hiram, Jonas, Hila, Charles, and Harriet are deceased; Emily, Austin, and Jesse reside in Southport; Sara, in Columbia; and Amanda, in Elmira.
Mr. Dalrymple has three children: Clara, born Sept. 1, 1852; Charles
E., born Feb. 5, 1854; and Cora, born April 30, 1865. Clara married
Wisner J. Roy, resides in Wells, Pa., and has two children; Charles married
Emma Metzger, has one child, and lives on his father’s farm. Daniel
Dalrymple has the reputation of being one of the most thorough, persevering,
and industrious farmers in the town, and the competence he now enjoys was
only attained by years of toil and economy.
was born in the town of Truxton, Cortland Co., N. Y., April 7, 1824. His father, William Brown, was a native of Massachusetts, and after residing in Rhode Island, Norwich, Chenango County, and Cortland County, finally settled in the town of Caton, Steuben Co., in October, 1826, and was one of the pioneer settlers of that town.
He married Lurana Simmons, of Connecticut birth, about the year 1808, by whom he had eleven children, five sons and six daughters,--Mrs. E. A. Miller (deceased), William A., Mrs. Abigail J. Rowley, Charles (deceased), Mrs. Mary Helmer, Mrs. Clarissa Higman (deceased), Mrs. Lurana Bovier, John, Anthony, Mrs. Achsah Clough, Comfort S. (deceased).
The father died at Port Deposit, in Maryland, about the year 1833. The mother died two years afterwards.
John was two years of age when his father came to Steuben County, spent hi minority at home until he was twelve years of age, and upon the death of his mother resided with his brother-in-law, E. A. Miller, until he was seventeen, when he bought the balance of his time until he would reach his majority, and went out to work on a farm. At the age of twenty he began to work in saw-mills more or less.
At the age of twenty-two he married Martha C. Waier, of Southport, daughter of William C. and Mary (Jones) Waier.
After farming for three years, from 1848, Mr. Brown removed to Wells, Bradford Co., Pa., where he engaged in the manufacture of lumber, buying some fifteen hundred acres of timber land, from which he took the logs, and for twelve years manufactured some one million feet of lumber each year. In 1865 he settled on his farm located at Pine City, in the town of Southport, a view of which may be seen in another part of this work.
Since this time he has engaged in farming, lumbering, and the manufacture of flour,--the two latter at Webb’s Mills.
Mr. Brown has spent an active business life, and in all his dealings and business transactions has preserved that integrity of purpose characteristic of the family.
Mr. Brown has never been an active politician, but preferred the quiet of business to the emolument of office and the strife of a political life. He has generally been identified with the Republican party, and has held important offices in the gift of the people in Wells, Pa., and also in Southport, and is now holding his second term as Supervisor of the town of Southport.
His children are William D., Louisa C., Mrs. Frank J. Cassada, John H., and Mattie L.
HON. EDMUND MILLER
Edmund Miller was born Nov. 1, 1808, in the house in which he died,--the old family residence on the Wellsburg road. His home was a short distance below Governor Robinson’s mansion, about two miles from Elmira.
His ancestors were among the very earliest pioneers of the valley. His grandfather, Abram, settled here prior to1790, coming from Northampton Co., Pa.* His Father, Jacob Miller, was a farmer, and Edmund, in due time, took up the same pursuit; he soon became one of the most successful and prosperous farmers of this section. He remained on the old home farm, enlarging its territory and applying himself earnestly to its cultivation. With his industry was allied a keen, sagacious, business discrimination, and he became known as one of the wealthiest farmers of the county.
For years Mr. Miller was the leading, most influential citizen of the town of Southport; and year after year he ably and satisfactorily represented his town in the Board of Supervisors, many time serving as chairman. In politics he was ever a staunch Democrat, and the part frequently honored him. Three times he was sent to the State Legislature,--once in 1868, next in 1874, and again in 1876, after one of the most exciting canvasses ever made in the county. Despite factions opposition in his own party, he was crowned with a majority of over 800, so great was the confidence of the people, and so deeply impressed were they of his capacity and honesty. The public career of “Honest” Edmund Miller was in the highest degree creditable. At Albany he was noted as an industrious, upright, and useful member; and his entire legislative course was satisfactory to his constituents, without regard to party. He was instrumental of much legislation of practical and lasting benefit.
Mr. Miller was noted for the heartiness with which he enjoyed life. His home was ever the center of a generous hospitality to a large circle of friends and relations. He was a farmer of the old time, one of the lords of the soil, whose means permitted the exercise of those hospitalities. The happiness of his domestic life was enhanced by children grown to the estate of manhood and womanhood, six of whom, with the partner of his life, survive him. They are John D., residing near Southport Corners; Edmund, living at home; Mrs. S. W. Forman, whose home is at the homestead above the house of her father; Mrs. Jesse Leverich, living near Wellsburg; Mrs. T. S. Flood, of Elmira; and Amelia, at home. The widow was a Miss Dubois, of Tioga Centre.
For a year prior to his decease, Mr. Miller had been in failing health, and for months suffered severely from rheumatism, later aggravated by dropsical symptoms, from which relief was impossible. He died, as if going to sleep, March 28, 1878.
He was eminently a useful life. He served his day and generation faithfully, honorably, well; and there is left to relatives the tender remembrances of family affection and devotion, and to the world at large the example of a life whose bright success illustrates the value of industry and honesty.**
*Abram Miller was the first judge of the old county of Tioga after its
erection in 1791. He served with distinction as a captain in the
Revolution. He also erected, on a branch of Seely Creek, the first
saw-mill in the town of Southport.
**Elmira Gazette, March 29, 1878.
The grandfather of the subject of this notice, John McHenry, was a native
of Orange Co., N. Y., and moved to Elmira in 1792. He married Anna
Miller in 1793. Of his family of thirteen children Abram (father
of our subject, the third son, was born on the place not occupied by John
D. Miller, in Southport, Feb. 11, 1796. Abram’s wife, Ruth H. Brewster,
was born in Orange Co., N. Y., Oct. 16, 1799, but removed to Southport
in the year 1818. They were married May 1, 1818, and raised a family
of six children, of whom three survive, viz:
Catharine, born Aug. 12, 1819; died Feb. 2, 1871.
Lyman, born Nov. 14, 1821; died April 8, 1867.
Miller, born Dec. 11, 1823.
Eliza, born July 23, 1826; died March 7, 1863.
Guy, born July 27, 1830.
Julia, born June 18, 1832.
The latter married Selden Tense, in March, 1855, and is now residing in Whitehall, N. Y.
Miller McHenry married (Oct. 12, 1847) Angeline Seely, a native of Lawrenceville, Pa., removing thence to Southport when very young. Her father, Nathaniel Seely, Jr., was one of the early residents of Southport, and to her grandfather, also named Nathaniel (senior), is accorded the honor of having erected the first frame dwelling in the valley on the south side of the Chemung River, in 1792. Her father was born Feb. 15, 1795; her mother, Henrietta Holdridge, was born Jan. 28, 1802. They were married April 22, 1819, and had three children,--Angeline, Morris, and John Arnot; of whom only Morris survives. Nathaniel Seely, Jr., and his wife died May 14, 1868 and June 10, 1876, respectively.
The family of Mr. McHenry are Abram, born July 4, 1848; Sarah Frances, born Aug. 9, 1850; Nattie, born July 21, 1852, and died Dec. 21, 1858. His son Abram married (Feb. 28, 1872) Sarah Ward, and have three children, viz., Nattie, born Dec. 11, 1872; Laura, born May 2, 1874; and Bertie, born Sept. 4, 1876,-- all living.
All his life Mr. McHenry has followed the avocation of his father,--that of farmer,--and now in the prime of life is enjoying the result of his years of labor, but greatly missing the faithful companion of those years of toil, whose loss he has so recently been called to mourn. She departed this life March 23, 1978, aged fifty-eight years.
Mr. McHenry has held the offices of town clerk, assessor, and supervisor,
each for a term of years, having been favored by his townsmen in this regard
almost continuously since 1844. He was also for many years a director
in the old Elmira and Southport Bridge Company, and has always taken a
lively interest in the affairs of his town.