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This book is dedicated to the Memory of Irene W. Hurley who gave unstintingly of her time and talents to assist the Green Free Library, and who would have approved, without reservation, the efforts of the Friends to contribute to the community of Canton in this way.
Canton, Pa. Named for township in Connecticut—Formerly Canton Four Corners and Canton Corners
The Friends of the Green Free Library offer this account of the history of their community as a contribution to the Bicentennial celebration of the United States of America, with the hope that remembrance of things past will result in a new look at the future.
Nancy Arias, Mary Campbell, Rita Flannery, Betty Morris, June Shadduck, Chairman, Patsy Shaffer, Lenore Smith, Donna Zimmer.
Without the cooperation, which we received from a great many people, the writing of this book would have been impossible. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by those who furnished photographs, newspapers, letters and diaries, and of those who supplied us with personal accounts and assistance in locating documents, church histories and locations. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have passed from the scene, but who left us a legacy of written history—the late Eleanor Keagle, Charles Bullock, Elmer Rockwell and Floyd Taylor. We must also thank the Canton Independent – Sentinel for allowing us the use of their files, Canford Manufacturing Corporation for their generosity in loaning office equipment. The First National Bank of Canton for providing storage space and meeting rooms in the early stages of this project, ad the James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, for copies of photographs.
From the wealth of information gathered we have, of necessity, been able to use only a small portion. Regretfully, then, we have had to delete from this history much that was interesting and entertaining. Arrangements have been made to place on file at the Green Free Library, the data collected so that it will be available for researchers.
We apologize for any errors. We have tried to verify our findings but in certain areas information was virtually non-existent or was in conflict with other reports, and we have used historical data as we have found it in general use.
We hope this book will give you pleasure and some small knowledge of the past, and will breed a renewed sense of pride not only in the Canton that was, but in the Canton that will be.
GREEN FREE LIBRARY
The earliest records for this section of Pennsylvania come to us from the Frenchman, Brule (1615) who noted that the land was peopled by the Susquehannocks who lived in palisaded villages extending from Virginia to Tioga. They were overthrown by the Iroquois of the Five Nations about 1650 and for over one hundred years the Susquehanna Valley was carefully guarded. Athens (Diahoga) was the gateway to the territory of the Five Nations. During this time the lands between Tioga and Sunbury seem to have been almost free of habitation, and although the Towanda Path and the Sheshequin Path both passed through what is now Bradford County, there is no proof that the Indians ever did much more than camp or hunt in the vicinity of Canton.
An Indian burying ground is believed to have been located at LeRoy and through the years it has been rumored that the Old Presbyterian Church site near East Canton may have been an Indian camp, since broken pottery was found there. The Towanda Path led from Towanda through Burlington to East Canton and finally reached Lycoming Creek near Leolyn. Many arrowheads and Indian relics were found along a path ten or fifteen feet wide, leading from the corner by the East Canton Church (Methodist) to the Beech Flats valley, and over the hill to Grover. The path may have crossed the site of the present day Franklin Bohlayer farm and overnight camps may have been set up here. One tradition suggests that the Indians were led to the spring at Minnequa following the game that came for the sweet water. Indian artifacts have been found near Minnequa.
In 1737, long before Canton came into existence, Conrad Weiser followed the Lycoming route on a diplomatic mission for the governor of Virginia. He came again in 1743. This is the oldest record of the arrival of a white man to this place. He traveled by way of the old Indian trails from Fort Augusta (Sunbury) to the headwaters of Lycoming Creek, down Towanda Creek and North to Tioga Point. What has long been known as Beaver Meadow, near Grover, marks the beginnings of both Towanda Creek and Lycoming Creek, each of them flowing off in different directions.
In September of 1778, Col. Thomas Hartley of the 11th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line and Commander of the Northern Frontier under Gen. George Washington, led an expedition against marauding Indians, fought a battle near present day Cedar Ledge and proceeded on his way north. Col. Hartley’s account of his experiences is well worth reading and compares the hardships suffered by his men to those of Hannibal crossing the Alps for this was a rough, unsettled country filled with wild streams much larger than they are today, with swamps, timber so thick that the sunlight could not penetrate to the forest floor and many wild animals. It is said that Col. Hartley was needed elsewhere in the War of Independence.
On March 21, 1772 Northumberland County (which then included present day Bradford) was constituted by Act of the Provincial Council. Following the Revolutionary War many New Englanders; hearing of the fine lands laying South of them, made the trek to this region. We can only imagine the courage and stamina inherent in these hardy pioneer men, women and children who came by ox sled in winter, with their crude wagons or pack horses in summer to, literally, carve out a new life in the wilderness.
In 1795 Jonas Gere, his wife and three children came from Rhode Island to a site near Grover and built a sawmill which he later sold to Orr Scovell (Scoville), Ezra Spalding arrived from Connecticut about this same time. Another of the early settlers was Jonathon Prosser, a German who was supposedly the first settler with the present limits of Canton Boro, probably in the Sullivan – Lycoming Street area. He arrived in 1795 but sometime around 1801 he sold to Jacob Grantier and left the area. (Note: We have found the Grantier name spelled Granteer, Grantily and Granidier) Gersham Gillett arrived from New York State in 1796.
The King of England, when meting out the charter for these lands, gave a grant to both the Connecticut Colony and to William Penn. This caused no end of trouble for many years (Yankee – Pennamite Wars). It is assumed that most of the early settlers in the Canton area came in under the Connecticut title, since they were mostly New Englanders. Several had problems in establishing their claim to the land. Ezra Spalding held a Connecticut title but was arrested at the instigation of the Pennamites, thrown into jail and his home burned. He later purchased of the Asylum Land Company (holding the Pa. Charter) and secured a clear title.
Several veterans of the Revolutionary War arrived in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s to make their homes in the township. These included Samuel Griffin, Isaiah Landon, Laban Landon, Zaphaniah Rogers, Noah Wilson, a Mr. Cook, Orr Scoville, Dr. Moses Emerson, John Newell, John Crandall, Isaiah Grover, Ebenezer Bixby, Daniel Bailey, Benjamin Babcock, Nathaniel Babcock, Nathan Roberts, Samuel Griffin, Jr., Henry VanValkenburg, Dr. Joseph Van Sick, Samuel Rockwell, David Pratt, Jeremiah Smith, Kilborn Morley, Levi Morse, Augustus Loomis, Abraham Taber and sons, Stephen Sellard, Samuel Rutty, John Watts, Thomas Biles, Elisha Bloom, John Haxton, Isaac Rundell, David Lindley, Dr. Sylvester Streeter, Jerome Wright, Elias Wright and Esau Bagley. Most of the family names are familiar to us today for many of their descendents live among us, in 1976.
Surprisingly, we can learn quite a bit about some of the early families. Presently residing near Cedar Ledge and the old homestead are descendants of Ezra Spaulding, H. A. Spalding and his wife, their son John and their grandson, Wayne Bronson. Nearby is the small family graveyard where Ezra lies buried. Coming from Connecticut, with his wife and children, after having served in the Revolutionary War, he also brought with him two slaves, Beulah and her son, Caesar. They were later given their freedom and remained in the area for some time. Living was not easy for the Spaldings, what with the troubles with the Pennamites and the burning of their home. In 1798 Mr. Spalding build a small grist mill on a stream running through his property. It was in the fall of 1800 that his home was burned and he then accepted the offer of the use of a small log house near present day Spring Brook where he lived for about a year while building another home. This he turned into a country hotel known for many miles around. The Spaldings are given credit for naming Cedar Ledge, along with John Brown.
According to old histories, Laban Landon, a native of New Jersey who had served as a guard for General Washington, came from the Trout Run vicinity with his family (which finally consisted of 14 children) by pack horse, crossing Lycoming Creek thirty-two times in a journey which took two days.
David Lindley of Vermont built a cabin near the present day Larry Thoren home on Route 414 east of Canton. He supposedly opened the road to Ralston and drove the first wagon over it, crude as it was. David’s brother-in-law was Solomon Brown, of whom we will hear more later.
Zephaniah Rogers settled what was to become the Hubbell Manley farm, later Mourland Park which was owned by the McFaddens, and which now is the property of James Clark. Mr. Rogers built a small "tub" mill, a very crude affair which could crack a bushel and a half to three bushel of corn, provided it worked for twenty-four hours.
Samuel Griffin also owned a portion of land east of what is now Canton, probably near the first crossroads and was very prominent in those early years. He arrived with his son-in-law, Nathan Roberts, from Middlefield, Connecticut, having served in the Revolutionary War, at the Battle of Yorktown. He is listed as being the first adult to die in the township.
Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States when Samuel Rockwell and his family group came to the township in 1804, having lived in Connecticut, Shoreham, Vermont and Crown Point. Traveling with his wife, one daughter and seven sons he made his home two miles from the last settler just north of Canton. Old stories tell us that they cleared a road from Alba to the farm site in one day, built a crude cabin the second and moved in the third. Two more sons were born here. Descendants of Samuel Rockwell held their 128th annual reunion in 1975, and several of them have assisted in the preparation of this history.
We are fortunate to have the Reminisences of Oren Brown, as they were told to his family in 1910. These were given to us by Mrs. Gordon (Eva) Brown Stover, his granddaughter. We have noted the locations as of 1976.
"March 10, 1910 –Solomon Brown, the father of Oren Brown, came to Canton Township from Rutland, Vermont in the year 1815, in the month of March, coming in a sleigh, his family consisting of himself, his mother, (who sat in a chair the entire distance) his wife and two children, Oren age three, and Hulda, one and one-half. They occupied a log house temporarily where a man by the name of David Bailey had lived, whose wife was a Loomis and both had died a while before." (note: probably near present day Canton High School)
"The Grantiers had previously settled here and owned nearly all the land where Canton Boro now is. There were three Grantier brothers, John, Jacob and David. A small frame house stood where the Packard House (Wood’s Apartments) now stands. No other house in sight of the public square at that time. The next house below was the David Bailey place on the Collon Innes Farm (near high school). The next house was the home of Augustus Loomis (probably site of present day Shoemaker – Foust properties on Main St.) and next we come to what’s now the O. C. Griswold place (now site of Edward Scholtz home) where about that time there lived a man by the name of Dr. Streeter, an intelligent man and a good doctor for those days. David Pratt (brother-in-law of Samuel Rockwell) of Pratt’s Pond lived in this neighborhood. (Pratt’s Pond was near present day home of Merle Wooster) in the next home on the other side of the road lived Samuel Griffin, farmer and blacksmith, the father of George and John Griffin, grandfather of Harry Griffin and Mrs. Will Sechrist.
Now we come to the fine home of John Palmer (now Charles Tarbox residence) and perhaps he can hardly realize that about the time of which we speak there was just a little clearing on the knoll, and a log house, and a man living there by the name of Amos Strickland, whose wife was the daughter of Samuel Griffin.
We next come to Somells. (probably near site of present day Donald Baldwin home) William Smith lived there long ago; he was a shoemaker, the log house had two rooms, and it was used as a school room for a number of years. They got water from the spring at the side of the road, and oh, what a place to ride down hill, regardless of shoes and stockings.
Mr. Brown’s story continues as he tells us that "Rosselle Rogers, Jr. lived on the Hubbell Manley place, now Mrs. George Meeker’s farm. The first polling place was on this farm where the Seymour Mansion now stands. (This is Mourland Park) The house stood on a steep hillside slanting toward the road. There was a basement under, opening towards the road, making the front three stories high and at one time this was used as a school house. The next place was Roselle Rogers, Jr. (Deacon Rogers, as he was called) and the next settler was David Lindley, whose wife was a Brown. He had taken up land where the Lindley’s now live, and 200 acres, mostly level land. He cut down the trees and built a log house, some of where the road now is, below the knoll up towards Hiram Lindleys."
"Solomon Brown, my father, took the East part of David Lindley’s farm and built a log house near David’s, his brother-in-law, and moved in, in September 1816, without door or window. Cannot remember where the boards and shingles came from. (This was on site of present day Don Clark home.) He lived in this house about 20 years, raising quite a large family and finally built the house where Hiram Lindley now lives."
"Solomon Brown, being a man of mirthful disposition, the log house was the scene of many gatherings, dances in the first few years, but a Methodist itinerant came to the settlement. A revival took place and men and their wives were genuinely converted. A class was formed among them. The house of Solomon Brown was the place where meetings were held for years afterward, many coming from a great distance – (even from Wellsboro area) and staying all night at time of Quarterly Meetings, and as many stayed as there were boards in the floor. All these people were fed and you can imagine the amount of baking and cooking the day before to prepare for the crowd. Monday morning all were gone.
According to Mr. Brown this was the beginning of all of the Methodist churches in the area.
Mr. Oren Brown used to go to the mill, on horseback to Shunk, to get the grist ground when he was but nine years old. Soon after this the Pratt Mill was built by David Pratt. Said Mr.Brown, "This was a wilderness then, only small patches here to there being cleared, stumps still remained."
Mr. Brown lived on the old homestead until 1862 when he moved to Canton
For many years, the settlers had to travel to Towanda, Williamsport or Newtown (Elmira) for supplies. Passage was difficult and it was with what must have been a great deal of thankfulness on their part that they learned, in 1798, that a public road had been completed up Towanda Creek. Begun in 1796, it ran from Silas Scovell’s to Daniel Wilcox’s in Franklin and was finally extended to Canton Corners in 1798. This road was not the superhighways we are used to, but a dirt track which closely followed Towanda Creek. Even so, it must have been better than the paths which had been in use.
In the year 1800, the population of Bradford County was listed as 3500.
In 1812, Bradford County became a separate judicial district, or county. W. J. Bradford was a Revolutionary War veteran, first Attorney General of the United States, appointed by George Washington in 1794. It was for him that the county was named.
The first county election was also held in 1812 and listed, as Judges of Election for Canton Corners were Luther Hinman, Samuel Griffin and Samuel Rutty. Inspector was Daniel Ingraham and serving as Clerks were Horace Spalding, Isaac Chaapel and Orr Scoville. Taxable inhabitants list (males over 21 and females owning property) for 1812-13 shows a total of sixty-eight names, including four women. Seventy-one are listed as voting in this first election, no women among them, in the days prior to laws giving them this right. Some were taxable, but could not vote.
We were now involved in another war with England—the War of 1812. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 had doubled our young country’s size and, doubtless, even the settlers at Canton Corners were beginning to realize the vastness of this country. Now we were no longer "Englishmen", but Americans, with James Madison serving as our President. When the call to arms was given, Canton Corners sent its quota of soldiers, militia under the command of Eliphalet Mason. They were called to service in October of 1814 as a detachment of the 144th Regiment, 9th Division, Pennsylvania Militia with Benjamin Landon as 4th Sargeant. Also serving were Samuel Griffin, Harry Ingraham, David Green, Samuel Rockwell, Irvine Rogers, Horace Spalding, Stephen Sellard and Amos Strickland. Following the War of 1812, other veterans moved into the region, including those with the familiar family names of Boyd, Hunt, Manley, Ward, Wright, Andres (Andrus) and Withey.
It was in 1816 that a private post route was begun up Towanda Creek, but this ended at LeRoy and the Canton Post Office was not established until December 31, 1825 with Asa Pratt as postmaster. Mr. Pratt operated the office from his small log house on what is now Troy Street and also served as justice of the peace, performing many marriages during the years 1828 to 1841. A stage line operating between Elmira and Williamsport served the postoffices between these towns.
The Rev. James Parsons, circuit riding Baptist minister was the second postmaster, receiving his commission from President Andrew Jackson on September 23, 1828. This office was also located on Troy Street in Mr. Parson’s log house a short distance north of the present day railroad tracks. H. B. Parsons described his father’s duties in this way – "The duties of postmaster at that time were not very onerous. Two or three times a week the heavy stage, drawn by four horses halted at the door of the office and the mail had to be changed, leaving perhaps three or four letters and taking away as many. The postage on a letter cost from 25 cents and upward, according to distance. Envelopes had not yet been invented and the letter sheet had to be so folded as to leave a blank face for the address. Then the letter was sealed either with wax or wafers made for the purpose. Postage might be paid by the sender of the letter, but was usually paid by the party receiving it."
J. R. Pratt was commissioned postmaster on March 23, 1832. His postoffice was in the Red Tavern (on site of present day T. Burk and Co.) John Cummings, commissioned August 8, 1835, retained the postoffice in the Red Tavern which he operated, but Bernard Wood moved it to his home on Troy Street. In 1841, Benjamin Coolbaugh moved it back to the Red Tavern and on October 28, 1841, Senaca Kendall moved it to his wagon shop on Lycoming Street.
We can imagine that there were some who suffered disappointment at the loss of the Red Tavern site. How better to explain to an indignant wife the smell of whiskey than by telling her that you had only been down to the post office checking on the mail.
A Charles Stockwell kept the office at his home on Troy Street, but in January of 1848, Mr. Kendall was again made postmaster and moved it back to his wagon shop. John Van Dyke succeeded Mr. Kendall and, again, the site was changed – this time to a small store at the corner of Main and Sullivan Streets.
It was not until 1900 that a permanent home was found for the post office, in the then newly constructed Lewis Block on Main Street where it remained until the building burned in 1942.
Near Leolyn is the old Half-Way House now owned by Mr. Shearer, which he has lovingly restored. This was built, using bricks made on the grounds, to replace a log house dating from 1768. This was an important stop on the stage coach route between Elmira and Williamsport and here the weary traveler rested. A relay station was located at Canton Corners and stage lines operating between Elmira and Williamsport and a second route operating between Towanda and Morris both used Canton as stopping places. A large barn and stable for the horses was located on the site of the present day Ben Franklin Store, corner of Main and Troy Streets. The White Tavern at Alba was also a stage stop.
The stage between Towanda and Morris used Concord coaches with one team and operated for many years.
An account which comes to us from about 1837 mentions a log house which stood on the west side of Troy St. near what is now Rockwell’s Mill. We must assume that this is the home of James Parsons since the writer tells us that it was used for a school and we do know that this is true. Continuing the description of Canton Corners in 1837, the storyteller describes a small frame house on the corner of what is now W. Union and Troy St. This belonged to John Ross who had a store on the site of the present day First National Bank of Troy. Kendall’s Wagon Shop was on Lycoming Street near the corner and opposite this was the blacksmith shop of John and George Griffin. Also mentioned is a water powered mill which David Grantier had in the ravine on the North side of Lycoming Street on what is known as Tannery Creek.
In 1844, when Frederick Black arrived in Canton, there were only two stores, one kept by Walter and Ezekial Newman and the other by a Mr. Rathbone. These stores were certainly not like any we would recognize in 1976. It must be remembered that one had to buy wheat and deliver it to the mill where it was ground, thus breadmaking was the order of the day. Almost every home kept its own garden and it was only through hard work that food was available. Some families had a cow to supply them with milk, cream and butter. We know that a number of them also had sheep which they had, somehow, managed to bring with them from their old homes. They depended on the sheep for much of their clothing, the women being very adept at spinning and weaving. In one account of the early days of the Brown family (Solomon) we learn that they had to keep their sheep and animals in a shed at night since if they did not, the wild animals would carry them off.
In 1846-48, during the Mexican War, we found only one man, Josiah T. Newell, who served in the army.
It was in 1854 that the railroad, known then as the Northern Central and later as the Pennsylvania and Penn-Central, ran the first train through Canton. This linked Williamsport and Elmira and surely eased the arduous life led by our ancestors, enabling them to travel far more easily and making the procurement of staples and other goods, far less time consuming.
It was in April of 1910 that Mrs. Emeline Sellard Leavitt presented a paper at a meeting of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This was preserved by Mrs. Elizabeth Bunyan and we include it here as a matter of historical interest. Again, we have added notes which will enable you to place the various sites she mentions.
"I am not a D.A.R., but I am proud to tell you that I am a Cantonian through and through. As we have come together to talk of old times and of the progress of our beautiful town for the past hundred years. I trust a few disconnected reminiscences may not be amiss. My earliest recollections, when I was four years, are of a small wood colonial house of one room and a bedroom. In this house I was born in the year 1834, on October 22. The house stood where the Packard House stands. (site of Wood’s Apartments) When I was four years old, my parents felt the need of a larger house and our old home was moved back and a new home was built in front of the old one. It was built for a farmhouse and was considered a fine structure for the place and time. There were six fireplaces and hickory logs and pitch pine for kindlings was plenty in those days. We lived there until the railroad was being built, when my father sold out and bought what is now known as the John Innes Farm. (site of present day Raymond Foust home on Main St.) The old home was used for a hotel for many years but was finally taken down and the more commodious Packard House occupies this site. When the house my father built was nearly completed, a house warming, as it was then called, was in order. It was to be a ball, beginning in the afternoon and lasting until daylight the next morning. They came from Laceyville and Towanda, some on horseback, some in wagons, and the immediate neighborhood on foot. They brought a keg of whiskey as no doings in those days was complete without it. The keg was put on the small room at the end of the dining room and I remember of us children the next morning, paddling in our bare feet in the whiskey and water that had been spilled through the night. My father has since told me that none was drunk in the way they are now, as the liquor in those days was purer from poisoning than it is now."
"Where the Burk and Company store stands was the old Red Tavern, built by Jonathon Pratt, in what year I do not remember. It was kept by a man by the name of Cummings."
"An old frame building used as a store stood on the corner of the Manley block. Afterward it was moved over to the corner of Main and Sullivan Street where Hendelman’s now is (site of present day First National Bank of Troy) and a barn built to accommodate the Red Hotel. (The barn, we have found from other records, probably was at the site of the Ben Franklin) At that time there were two or three houses on Troy Street, a wagon shop on Lycoming Street and my father had a blacksmith shop where the new bank now stands (Main Street) Where Center St. comes into Main was the "Red School House". It was a very good building and Miss Anna griffin was the first teacher that I remember. But the first school in Canton, prior to this, was held in the loft of a log house on Troy Street (Parsons) this side of Mill Creek. The pupils went up a ladder into the school room, slab benches were used to sit on, the smaller children sitting next to the wall as the larger ones occupied the center of the room, being higher in the middle. There were no buildings on Main Street beyond the Red School until one came to the corner of Main and Washington, where Charles Black now lives, (believed to be the oldest house in Canton, this is now owned by Winifred Morse) then to the church in front of Main Street Cemetery which in later years was moved uptown and used for a school building, until the present one was built. (This house, and former school and church is now on Center Street (No. 114) and is also a very old house.) There were select schools taught by different teachers. I would not forget passing notice of Miss Harriet Cecil Hunt, who taught many years at Young Ladies Select School in Canton (site of Max Reynard home-Center and Carson St.) She was the daughter of Mahor (or Major) Hunt and was born at a fort at Detroit."
"My father walked one winter from near Grover to Hickok Hill to school, nearly eight miles daily. In his younger days he frequently walked to Towanda and back in a single day."
"These were training days. My father was captain of a company of militia. He received his training in 1830. The cavalry troop went to Troy for their training."
"There was a public library here 80 years ago. (this would have been in 1838) and I have two or three books that belonged to it."
"Before the railroad was built, stage coaches ran from Williamsport to Elmira and from Canton Corners to Towanda…fine upholstered coaches, sleek horses, four on the Williamsport and Elmira route with relay station at Canton Corners."
"In the campaign of William Henry Harrison, he passed through Canton from Williamsport to Towanda, stopped at the old Red Tavern for refreshment. It was the Campaign of Tippecanoe and Tyler too." (Harrison was elected Present in 1840)
"Lake Nephawin was discovered by my great grandfather. His name was Gillett. He lived in a double log house where Mr. Daniel Ines house is now (South Avenue – home of Mrs. Anna Lee Owen) and he was out hunting cattle and came to this sheet of water and for many years it was known as Gillett Pond in honor of him."
"The first physician was Dr. Hazelton, the first tailor Enoch Sellard. The first house was built by Mr. Prosser in 1796, who came in to trap on Sullivan Street, just below Mr. C. William’s shop. (near site of present day Wood’s Second Hand Store.) The first tent show was 65 years ago (this would have been in 1845) – Vandenburg’s Menagerie and Circus – tents were pitched where Crawford’s Mill is now. (site of Landon’s Car Wash) Fine show."
"It was a great day when the first train of cars went through Canton. Citizens turned out enmasse and after they had passed through, the crowd went to the Disciple Church (on corner of W. Union and Troy Sts.) which was beautifully decorated with flags and flowers, and had speeches and singing and gave thanks."
"I have lived to see many changes, from a half a dozen houses to what Canton is at present. Do you wonder that I love the place? Here I was born, here I married, here I have lived for 75 years, and in my present home I went to housekeeping. Over fifty years I have watched the old elm, its growth all of these years from a tiny tree to its majestic proportions. And when the time comes I expect to be laid away in the old cemetery where seven generations of my family are resting. I say again, do you wonder that I love my native home?"
(Mrs. Leavitt lived in the home most most recently occupied by Dr. and Mrs. J. D. McCallum. The fine old home was razed to make room for McCallum Manor, the elderly housing project on Main Street. Canton, as has so often been the case, lost an irreplaceable piece of history.)
The first conscription for the Civil War was held in Bradford County on September 25, 1862. The notice contained the statement that the draft would be made from citizens between the ages of 21 and 45 years and that school directors would be exempt. Any person drafted could offer a substitute, as long a the substitute previously concurred. The county quota was 2,944 men and they had already sent some 2,658, but things were not going well for the Northern armies and, as they have always done, they asked for more. We have an account of a meeting to raise volunteers, which was held in Canton on Wednesday, July 23, 1862. After some stirring speeches (both political and patriotic) encouraging the men to enter the fray, "twenty-two brave men stepped forward and fifteen others were pledged by the first of the week." The account continues – "mothers and daughters said go; we will rake the hay and reap the wheat.
The list of Cantonians serving in the Union Army during the Civil War is much too long to be reprinted here, but we find again the old familiar names, descendents of early settlers; The Griffins, Rockwells, Browns, Landons, Lindleys, Wrights, Spaldings, along with coons, VanDyke, Witman (Whitman), Wilcox, Williams, and many more.
There are still many of us who remember "Uncle" Rufus Brown (a son of Oren Brown) who in later years resided with his niece Mrs. Gordon Stover and who, for years, was a proud participant at all of the area celebrations and parades. He was the last surviving Civil War veteran in Canton and died in 1939.
The following has been excerpted from a letter loaned to us by Mrs. Laura Tarbox. The letter was written to Elisha Rockwell by J. E. Rockwell.
"January 6th, 1863
Dear Father Elisha Rockwell,
I now seat myself to try and write to you. I am well at present and in good spirits. I went down to the Doglas (sic) Hospital yesterday and saw Albert C. I found him much better than I expected to. He is getting along finely. He can walk around on his crutches some. He has lost his left leg. It was cut off just below the knee. It was taken off within about a half hour after he was wounded and it was done good. The Dr’s. say it is the best amputation they have got. He tells me that he was wounded by a cannon ball while advancing on double quick through the City of Fredricksburg. He says it was a lucky misfortune for him to lose his leg but save the knee joint. Giles Coons was not in the engagement. He was on duty at some Generals headquarters. Lucky for him as well as for myself to be absent from the fight. I feel as if I ought to be with the Reg’t., but Albert advises me to stay where I am and I guess I will take his advice. The Dr. told me if I was to go to the Reg’t. I would not stand it long with it, to lay on the ground. I wish I was as tough as Giles Coons is. Albert tells me that he is as tough as a pine knot. (Giles Coons was the grandfather of Jim Coons and great grandfather of Betty Morris and Nancy Coons Arias, Canton) (Both Elisha and J. E. Rockwell are descendents of Samuel Rockwell)
Giles Coons kept a diary, as did many people in those early days, and the Coons family made available to us several entries from the year 1863. Giles M. Coons enlisted at the age of 16 and was wounded at the Battle of Antietem. The diary makes frequent mention of prayer meetings which apparently were held each night.
Thursday 20th August
A fair day, had to drill and dress parade. Had orders read of a man who was to be shot for desershion (sic)
Friday 21 August
A verry (sic) warm day. I was sargeant of Brigade Guard. There was a man shot in presence of the division. John Rockwell was taken verry sick.
Thursday, 28 August
A fair day. Had morning drill. Went and saw two men shot for desershion (sic). It was a hard sight.
Friday, Nov. 27
A fair day. We marched through the wilderness and struck the Fredericksburg and Gandersville Pike road about 2 ½ miles from Robertson’s Tavern and marched to the tavern where we met the enemy and had a brisk fight. Col. Helsor was kiled (sic) and B. Whitcom was wounded.
In a display case at the Canton Area High School is preserved a worn and tattered American flag. Doubtless hundreds of students pass by each day without ever reacting to this piece of history. Yet this flag, and the story behind it, is one which every Cantonian should know.
It was during the summer of 1861 that the state of California offered to furnish funds for organizing and equipping a brigade to serve in the Civil War. President Lincoln commissioned Col. Edward D. Baker, United States Senator from California, to raise this brigade to be under his command. He resigned his senate seat and left for Philadelphia, his boyhood home, to recruit his men. The entire brigade was recruited in Philadelphia, except for three companies which came mostly from Western Bradford County. They were known as the "Sunflower" Brigade.
By the first of October, 1861, they were at the front and fought their first battle at Balls Bluff on October 21. Baker was killed in battle and his commission naming him a general, which he had received only that morning, was found in his hat when he was carried off the field.
California no longer had a claim or interest in the regiment. Pennsylvania at once claimed it as her own. They went into winter quarters at Poolesville, Maryland and then were reorganized as the "Philadelphia" Brigade composed of the 69th, 71st, 72nd and 106th Pennsylvania Regiments under the command of General Burns.
Governor Curtin went to Maryland and presented, in person, the flag to the 106th Regiment, known as "Morehead’s Blazers", in 1862. This was carried by the men during the Pennsylvania campaign and the Battle of Antietam. Company D of this regiment was composed of Canton men under the command of Captain Newman.
After Antietam, all state flags were exchanged for smaller ones and the original flag was located after the war by Captain Lynch of Company C and through some political influence he succeeded in getting the first state regimental flag which he kept and cherished for many years. Shortly before his death he said to William Black (father of Nelle Black Westgate) "Billy, I am going to bring the old flag to Canton; more of you old boys are here that fought under it, than at Philadelphia." The following August he brought the tattered banner here.
For fifty-seven years the flag, protected by a glass case, hung in the Children’s Room at the Green Free Library. In 1971, when renovations were being made at the library and a new home had to be found for the flag, it appeared that it might even be destroyed, but through the efforts of several citizens, particularly Miss Harriet Doll, the school agreed to take it under their keeping. At the time Miss Doll wrote an impassioned plea in the local newspaper for someone to come forward and preserve the flag saying, "Americans have become satiated with war, but that makes past wars no less a part of our history. The "Boys in Blue" who were mere youths when they left Canton as volunteers to fight under the 106th Regimental Banner, probably hated war too. The colors they carried, however, were never once lost during all the bloody conflicts in which they engaged. Surely that imposes upon us a trust that their flag not now be tossed away simply because there is not room at the library."
It seems fitting, somehow, that the flag brought to Canton to William Black who had served under it, should now be in the keeping of a school system to which Mr. Black’s daughter, Nelle Black Westgate, gave so much.
The township furnished 292 men to the Union forces. Fourteen were killed, seventeen died of disease, twenty four were maimed for life.
Following the Civil War our little farming community began to grow. A map of Canton for the year 1869 shows that the town line extended as far as the Main Street Cemetery. Main Street was known as Towanda Street and Minnequa Avenue, in those days before the discovery of the springs, was called Division Street. South Avenue was called, appropriately enough Suburbs Street. Center Street did not extend beyond Towanda St. (Main) since there is no sign whatsoever of present day South Center. Much of the community, as a matter of fact, was still taken up with farm lands. What is now Second Street had no name, and ended at Division St. (Minnequa). The lands east of here were farms. There were, of course, no side streets after one reached Washington Street and even this street did not extend more than two or three lots below Towanda (Main) Street. Troy, Sullivan and Center Streets appear to be well settled. Union Street stopped at Troy, but there was a road which extended out present day West Union, across the railroad tracks, there being no overpass at that time, and this section was partially occupied by the residences of L. Gleason and W. Irwin, who operated a steam tannery, Gleason, Irwin and Company, also located in this area. (The Gleasons are believed to have built the home now occupied by Mr. And Mrs. Allen Stull on Main Street and they also built the lake cottage which is now the home of the Harley Campbells.)
The region along Towanda Creek, between present day South Avenue and Lycoming Street contained tracts of land belonging to the Blacks, Griffins, Tabers, Landons, Porters, Metlers. On the East end of Suburbs (South Ave.) Street near the base of Pond Hill (Lake Road) was Hazelton Brothers, proprietors of a steam saw mill and clothing works. A carding factory was a part of this site and, at one time, an apple evaporating business was situated near here.
Miss Ethel Crandell, who lived for many years at Lake Nephawin, is now a guest at Bradford County Manor and she was asked to tell us about the mills which were located here. This is her description.
"The saw mill and carding mill were across the creek. The carding mill was run by a water motor machine. People would bring their wool to the mill wrapped in a sheet. The sheet was laid on the floor and oil pounded into the wool. After the oil was pounded in, the wool was put on the carder where it was pulled apart. Then it was put through a mill with a lot of wheels and as it came through this mill it was dropped into a trough. At this time the wool was in strips about 12 inches long, that were about finger size in thickness. These strips were twisted and put back into the sheets and the wife of the owner would fasten the sheets together with thorns from the thornbushes."
Miss Crandell remembers her own mother spinning the wool from this mill and said that at this time almost every farmer had a flock of sheep and came from miles around to have the wool taken care of. The father of the late Rhoda Hackett originally owned both the sawmill and carding mill. Later John Rockwell ran the carding mill.
The water for this mill was brought down from the lake and was used only for this mill. This is probably where Canton received the inspiration of using the lake as a town water supply.
In speaking of the development at Lake Nephawin, Miss Crandell mentioned that John Brown’s first home at Cedar Ledge was burned and wood salvaged from this home was used to build the cottage now owned by Harry Mott. Cameron Campbell’s cottage (Crawford Holmes residence) was the first one built at the lake and was originally used as a shelter for ice cutters.
Continuing our look at Canton in 1869 we find that Mr. Burt, a cooper, had a shop on Sullivan Street as did Mr. Beals, Manufacturer and Repairer of Wagons, Sleighs, etc. F. D. Chase was the proprietor of the Keystone House on Troy Street. This was located on the west side of the street just above Tioga Street and the large hotel barn stood at the corner of Tioga and Troy. George Metler ran the Central Hotel on Towanda (Main) Street and this was a forerunner of the Packard House. There was also another hotel, the American, almost directly across the street.
Mrs. Robert Burk resides today on the property shown on the old map as belonging to T. Burk.
Mr. Scudder maintained a brick yard at the lower end of Lycoming Street and the post office, with A. J. Conklin as postmaster, was just off Towanda (Main) Street, on Center Street.
E. Newman was justice of the peace and also a dealer in groceries and provisions on Troy Street.
T. H. Morse, physician and surgeon, had his office at the corner of Troy and Carson Streets (site of Morse Park).
The Church of Christ sat on the corner of W. Union Street and Troy Streets at the site of the present day Swayze warehouse.
Dr. Davidson had a large lot on the corner of Division (Minnequa) and Tioga Streets (present day Alex Kolis residence) and on the bend of the road, just above this property was a planing mill and furniture shop. Dr. J. Davison lived just across the railroad tracks on the west side of Troy Street.
J. W. VanDyke, Assoc. Judge (and dealer in lumber) lived on Center Street between Crooked Alley and Union Street. The lots here ran just as they do today, to Wright’s Alley, which connected Union Street and Crooked Alley.
The entire corner area fronting on Towanda (Main) Street and extending down Division (Minnequa) to present day Second, contained only the home of the Leavitts.
William Wright, master builder, resided near the corner of Washington Street and Towanda (Main) Street.
One business which appears on the map of 1869 and which would also appear in the same location today, is that of T. Burk and Company. The store was opened in 1867 and has been in continuous operation since that time.
Napoleon Bonaparte Peterson operated a barber shop which was first located in a room above the present day Morgan Barber Shop. Later it was moved to Sullivan and following that to Main Street, upstairs over the present Widmann Store. Mr. Peterson was a black man and his shop was the gathering place for the veterans of the Civil War. Here they spent their days playing checkers, swapping stories of the war, and arguing among themselves. It is probable that Hugh Crawford, Will Black, Squire Rolison, Rufus, Calvin and Clark Brown, Charles Mason, Giles Coons, Sam Keltz, Ed Leahy, Dent Lindley and the other veterans of the war visited the shop to join in the camaraderie and pass the time of day.
The late Elmer Rockwell wrote that they would tell of their ailments and their reasons for asking the government to increase their pensions (which were barely adequate) and added that "Boney", as Mr. Peterson was called, could have pled their cases for them.
Mr. And Mrs. Peterson resided on Minnequa Avenue in the home now occupied by Mr. And Mrs. A. H. Wilcox and Mr. Rockwell recalled that when, as a child, he had lived nearby he had received his first lesson in tolerance from Mr. Peterson. Appearing afraid of him, he was told by "Boney" that the "only difference between you and me is that you are white and I am black."
Another building, built in 1852, is still standing today and is considered the oldest business structure in Canton. This is the Newman Building on the corner of Lycoming and Sullivan Streets. It was the product of the late Walter Newman and he built it upon his return from the California gold rush. He did not dig gold, but grubstaked the miners. He returned to Canton via the Panama Canal and caused great excitement with his stories of the great country beyond the Rockies. The store, which he operated with his brother, was the latest in architecture for that time. A painter was brought from new York to decorate the interior and the timbers used in the construction were so massive that carpenters from Tioga Point (now Athens) were hired to raise them. Mr. Newman lived to be over 100 years old and was said to be the last survivor of the California gold rush.
Peter Herdic was born in Fort Plain, New York in December of 1824. Before he was two years old his father died leaving his mother with eight children. They moved to Ithaca in 1826 and later to Tioga County, N.Y. where Peter grew up and began working as soon as he was old enough. When he was twenty-two he came to Lycoming County, Pa., and hired out as a laborer in a saw mill, later on building his own mill. In 1853 he went to Williamsport and in the next ten years he turned Williamsport into a "boom town". By the time he was thirty he had accumulated $10,000 and during the next twenty years he became one of the most astounding characters in Pennsylvania history. He managed the Susquehanna Boom, collecting a toll on all logs passing through, built what was then the largest and best known hotel in Pennsylvania, the Herdic House, later called the Park Hotel (which later became the Park Home) and in addition, built and operated stores, lumber mills, flour mills, shingle mills, a rubber factory, a brush factory waterworks, a gas plant, a church (Trinity Episcopal Church which he gave to the people) bought a newspaper and started another one. He was a manipulator of legislatures and various officials, and bought and sold more real estate than any man of his day. And when he crashed, he did that, too, with a flair.
Our own history would not be complete unless we told the story of his connection with Canton and Minnequa.Springs.
There are several beautiful legends concerning Minnequa. One tells of Minnequa, the lovely daughter of an Indian chief who made a miraculous recovery from illness after drinking the water brought from the spring in the wood. Another legend concerns the "Giant of Minnequa" who came marching over the hills centuries ago. After drinking prodigious quantities of the water he grew so large that he split his beautiful clothes and continued to grow until, when he died, he was too large to be buried. His friends then laid him on the ground behind the spring and covered him with dirt, thereby forming the hill upon which several persons now reside. Yet another story is that of the Iroquois chieftain who was brought to the spring to drink when he became ill. On one of his journeys here his daughter, Minnequa, met a tragic death and was buried near the spring. The name is also said to signify "to drink".
Shortly after the Civil War, two brothers from Alba, Palmer by name, built a log house a short distance from the spring and began to cut wood in order to fill a contract they had with the Northern Central Railway to furnish fuel for the old wood burning engines. Alba was, at that time, enjoying something of a boom, due entirely to the efforts of James Reynolds who opened a carriage shop which had expanded into rather a large business. In his shop he manufactured what came to be known as the "Herdic" coach. This was a horse drawn vehicle first used in Philadelphia and Washington and later on in other cities, and which was the forerunner of our modern day buses and taxis. Mr. Herdic suffered from rheumatism and was supposedly introduced to the water of Minnequa Springs while visiting the carriage shop on business relating to his coach. Since the water seemed to help him Mr. Herdic, who was known as a rather flamboyant and dauntless entrepreneur acquired the spring and several acres of adjoining land, and built a hotel which opened for business in 1869. (Another story tells us that Mr. Herdic suffered from a ringworm and a farmer sent him to a mudhole to bathe his face since the water there had a local reputation for curing ailments. When the ringworm disappeared, Mr. Herdic was struck with the thought that he could capitalize on the healing powers in the water.)
By 1876 the buildings had been enlarged to the point where 600 guests, along with their personal servants, could be accommodated. Trains stopped there on a regular basis, discharging patrons from Williamsport, Elmira, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore. The governor of Pennsylvania and the editor of the Philadelphia Times visited the resort. The hotel contained its own station, postoffice, newsroom ad telegraph, doubtless to cater to the millionaires who were frequent guests. The water of the spring was one of only two accepted in Pharmacoepeia, the other being at Bedford Springs.
Mr. Herdic brought an Indian tribe to the spring to lend color and to entertain the guests. A military company called the "Herdic Grays" was organized with parade and drill grounds.
He advertised that any suffering man, woman or child could be relieved by the waters or he would pay their expenses.
On July 4, 1877, a celebration was attended by 6,000 persons, 1,000 of whom dined at the Minnequa Hotel while the rest ate picnic lunches in the beautiful woods.
A New York newspaper, about 1891, made mention of the fact that at Minnequa Springs there were always plenty of men to go round as it was one of the popular resorts for them during their vacations.
Herdic, visionary that he was, conceived the idea of adding the western half of Bradford County to the Eastern half of Tioga, to form a new county to be known as Minnequa, with Minnequa to be the county seat. The plan was fought bitterly by some area residents who felt that their taxes would be to high to pay. (Now that we sometimes appear to be on the wrong end of Bradford County, perhaps we wonder if Mr. Herdic did not have the right idea after all.) Mr. Herdic was so certain that the plan would not fail, due to his influence with the legislators, that he began building another large structure which was to be used as a court house and office building. This was a five story brick edifice which went uncompleted at that time. The proposal to form a new county was defeated by just one vote!
Later, after the first hotel burned in 1878, and Mr. Herdic went bankrupt for the then fantastic sum of two million dollars, there was little activity at Minnequa. In 1884 the Maynard Estate remodeled the brick building which had been started as a court house and another hotel brought to the area all sorts of modern conveniences such as steam heat, gas lights, an elevator, and electric bells in every room. Later in the 1800’s several prominent people built cottages on the hill but, somehow, Minnequa never regained the heights it had known under Peter Herdic.
On May 13, 1903, a second fire destroyed the hotel, which had been unused for two seasons, and so ended the golden years at Minnequa.
The spring house is still standing and the local Village Improvement Association has recently made renovations at the site. It would be tragic, indeed, if the spring and the surrounding area disappeared through neglect. It is one of the few reminders of the past still intact in Canton.
Canton Sentinel February 27, 1880
"District Court virtually discharges Peter Herdic, the millionaire bankrupt of Williamsport, from the payment of his debts. The court decides that it has not been shown that Herdic has concealed any of his property fraudulently; that he did not commit perjury in swearing to the correctness of the schedule of debts filed (it was charged he had omitted to mention debts aggregating $500,000; that he did not allow debts to be fraudulently proved against him by persons with whom he was in collusion; that entries made in his book three days before his bankruptcy, said entries representing transactions amounting to $1,250,000, were made correctly and not irregularly. On the latter point the court has a good deal to say. The opinion concludes by saying that Herdic ought to be discharged as soon as the usual formalities are gone through with. This decision is final, as Judge M’Kennan, of the circuit court, unites in the opinion."
Mr. Herdic afterwards engaged in several businesses, including erecting waterworks in Selinsgrove, Cario, Ill., Florida and in Huntingdon, Pa. A fall on this last project was the contributing factor in his death and he died on March 2, 1888. Politician (running for one year term in Williamsport it was said that he spent $20,000 and won election as mayor), capitalist, businessman, entrepreneur or con man – whatever Herdic was, he left an indelible mark on our community.
See Photos already on site
Situate in Bradford County, Pa., on the line of the Northern Central Railway, a connection of the Pennsylvania railroad, forty one miles south of Elmira, N.Y., about equi-distant from Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Erie. It is easily accessible from all these cities by daily trains.
Located in the midst of a rich farming and dairy country, at an elevation of fifteen hundred feet above the sea, its pure mountain air, picturesque scenery, delightful drives and shaded walks afford unlimited opportunities for the enjoyment of our-door life.
Mount Pisgah, within easy driving distance, is claimed to be the highest point in Pennsylvania. From its summit the view is grand beyond description, surpassing anything to be seen in the Adirondack or White Mountains. From the tower erected upon its highest point, the visitor may, as from a balloon, look down in every direction upon a scene of surpassing beauty.
The Hotel, a substantial structure with ten thousand square feet of wide verandas, is complete in every appointment. With steam heat, gas, electric bells, elevator, and with post office, telegraph office, railroad ticket and express offices in the house.
Its cuisine is noted. Supplied daily with the fresh products of farm and dairy, its table forms one of its chief attractions. With a dining room one hundred feet long, spacious ball room and cozy parlors, in-door life at Minnequa possesses a peculiar charm.
The semi-weekly hops, with music furnished by the noted Stopper & Fish orchestra, of Williamsport, are occasions of especial delight to the young.
Cottage life at Minnequa is characterized by a generous hospitality. Rock-Girt, the country home of Dr. Arthur Brooks, rector of the Church of the Incarnation, New York, occupies a position near the summit of Maynard Hill, the centre of a vast amphitheater of hills. The house, an imitation of an English farm house, conveys the impression of roomy comfort.
Beechwood, the charming summer home of Mrs. C. Maynard Parker, of New York, stands neighbor to it. The overhanging Gambril roof gives a cozy, home-like appearance to this pretty colonial house with its dainty coloring of yellow and white.
Owenheim, with its pointed gables, is the picturesque summer home of Mrs. Thomas J. Owen, of New York; a commodious house, with large hall, spacious stairway and wide fireplaces. A beautiful feature, and one much enjoyed by guests, is a tiny stage, complete with dressing rooms and other accessories, for amateur entertainment’s and musicales.
In the orchard is Hillside Cottage, the summer place of Miss F. A. Smith, of New York, a pretty home with wide verandas.
Peeping through the tree tops in Wood Crest, the country house of Henry A. Oakley, Esq., of the Continental Trust Co., of New York, a large house in yellow and white.
Rev. Stephen W. Dana, D.D., of Philadelphia, with his sister, Miss Elizabeth Dana, of Morristown, have built a large house on the southern slope of the hill, at a point known as the Bluff, where Dr. Dana and family, with Miss Dana will spend the summers.
Dr. Jean Saylor Brown, of Williamsport, Pa., has a pretty cottage near the hotel.
Embowered in trees and shrubbery is the handsome summer home of Mrs. Judge Maynard.
Mooreland Park, a large and handsome house, is the summer place of Dr. Seymour, of Louisville, Ky.
Crockett Lodge, the well appointed residence of Mr. Frank Mayo, the popular impersonator of Davy Crockett, is located about a mile from Minnequa, adjoining the handsome home of the late E. L. Davenport, the well-known actor. Opposite them on the road that skirts the side of the valley, is the effective country home of Fanny Davenport.
The medicial properties of the spring were known to the Indians, and through them to the earliest settlers. Physicians of the neighboring towns have prescribed the water for many years in certain classes of disease.
Analysis of Minnequa Spring Water
Total solid contents in one U.S. Gallon…7.652
Carbonic Acid …………………………..2.053
Boracic Acid ……………………………2.132
Oxygen, (with Silicates)…………………0.138
Temperature of Spring—47 degrees Fahr.
Amount of Sample—25 U. S. G.
The active ingredients are the Boracic Acid and the Salts of Manganese and Zinc.. These metals are of unusual occurrence. One of them, Manganese, is found in the following celebrated springs:
Ems, Nassau; Spa, Belgium; Carlsbad, Bohemia; Pyrmont, Waldeck; Weisbaden, Nassau; Garonne, Toulouse.
Boracic Acid is also found in the water at the Spa, Belgium.
It is a well-known fact that many remedial agents act most favorably when largely diluted. The springs at Vichy, for instance, contain one grain of Arsenic in Seventeen gallons of water and are wonderfully efficient in cases requiring the use of that metal.
Nature sometimes unites the inorganic constituents of spring water in a peculiar manner, so that artificial mineral waters containing the same elements fail to produce the particular results derived from the water from springs. Friedrichshall is a well-known example of such a water with a peculiar constitution.
In addition to the benefits derived from drinking medicated waters, the effects of change of air, diet, habits, etc., consequent upon a visit to the springs, aid materially in the cure, especially of chronic diseases.
Minnequa is situated in one of the great mountain ranges, at a considerable elevation above tide water, and is free from the local detractions of our great watering places.
The rolling country is conducive to healthy exercise, and the surroundings are pleasant to the eye, and the invalid can enjoy the benefits of light and air in groves, without much expenditure of muscular energy.
The ailments for which this water is best adapted are such as require tonics, anti-spasmodics and alternatives, Scrofula, Epilepsy, Chorea, Chlorosis, Neuralgia and Rheumatic Affections will chiefly be benefitted.
For anemic patients, with whom the preparations of Iron have failed or act but feebly, the use of Minnequa water is peculiarly suited, at first in conjunction with the Carbonate or Iodide of Iron, and finally alone.
This treatment will usually improve the appetite, increase the pulse force and induce healthy secretions.
As active secretion, especially of the liver, is produced by the Salts of Manganese, it will be prudent to use this water under restrictions, and as soon as its constitutional effects appear, to gradually diminish the amount taken, ceasing its use when healthy secretion is established.
(Division Street was changed to Minnequa Avenue when it was planned to run this road directly to Minnequa, bypassing Center Street. This plan, also, was never carried out.)
Canton was, and continues to be, a farming community. The early settlers made the trek to the region because of the rich, fertile soil and without the farmers Canton could not prosper. Canton Corners was a trading center for a large area and the community itself was, for a considerable length of time, made up of various farm tracts.
A farmer’s diaries from the years 1874 and 1882 give us a picture of life on one of these early farms. The diaries were kept by Samuel A. Rockwell, a grandson of the first Samuel who settled in the township, and were loaned by his great-granddaughter, June Wilcox Shadduck.
January 19, 1874
Done chores and worked some in shop. Made quilt frames and chair rockers. Went to LeRoy
Went to LeRoy – got three bushels of chafe (sic) ground for the pigs, and got horses shod at Minard’s.
Fetched water to wash and worked in shop on sled. Cut some wood.
Fixed churn power and churned with dog
Plowed a piece by the barn for corn and potatoes. Planted sweet corn and potatoes, sowed carott (sic) seed and raddish (sic) seed.
November 11, 1882
Finished cleaning buckwheat. Had 43 ½ bu.
Carried apples into the cellar, also some little potatoes
The days were spent doing chores which are now done with machines and much time was consumed by visits to the blacksmith for the horses were the only means of transportation. This particular farmer made most of his "cash money" by selling butter in both Canton and Troy and his accounts were meticulously kept in the back of each diary. Purchases were frequently made at Burk, Thomas and Co., now T. Burk and Co. They were faithful churchgoers and enthusiastic supporters of the singing schools so common in those days and seem never to have missed an "Entertainment" of any kind.
During this period, also, Canton had a national guard company. There were at least thirty men from the region who were members of Co. I of the 12th Regiment, Captain Newton Landon commanding.
Mostly listed as farmers, there were several laborers, one mason and two carpenters. The most interesting piece of information which we learned from their inspection roll was that none of them were very tall, the majority being about 5’9".