The Reverend Mr. David Craft
HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIPS
Geographically the township
of Franklin is situated between West Burlington and Burlington on the north,
Monroe on the cast, Barclay on the south, and Le Roy on the West.
It is separated from Barclay (which, until 1867, formed a portion of the township) by a high range of hills or mountains, and its general surface, except along the creek, is hilly and broken. The soil is productive, and adapted to the cereals and grasses, and was once most heavily timbered.
The Towanda creek passes through the township from west to east centrally, receiving several small tributaries, mostly from the north, the most considerable one entering near West Franklin, from the northwest.
The town is a parallelogram, nearly perfect, about three miles north and south, by six miles cast and west.
The first settlement made
in the present township of Franklin was made in or about 1795-96, by David
and Stephen Allen, who built a gristmill on the Towanda creek, at what
is now known as Franklindale, and the following summer a brother, named
Daniel Allen, moved two miles farther up the creek (to what is now known
as West Franklin), where he opened a farm at the lower end of the bottom,
which was called the "windfall." The father of these men was Daniel Allen,
who was of English descent, and born at or near Providence, R. I., April
25, 1718. He married Sarah Sprague (who was born Nov. 21, 172S),
at Smithfield, Sept. 8, 1745. They removed first to Dutchess Co.,
N. Y., and thence to Luzerne Co., Pa., before the Revolutionary war, and
were there at the time of the Wyoming massacre, and were included in the
capitulation of that place. Isaac Allen, born Dec. 18, 1753, David
Sprague Allen, born April 25, 1756, and Stephen Olney Allen, born Sept.
17, 1758, were at the massacre as soldiers, and escaped from the Tories
and their Indian allies, through the assistance of a friendly Indian, while
the savages were having a grand pow-wow. Men, women, and children
went on foot through the wilderness to Dutchess county, and after the war
the Allens returned to Wyoming.
Daniel Allen, born Oct. 22, 1764, was too young for a soldier. Isaac, David, and Stephen moved to Towanda creek, in 1794, and built the mill at Franklindale as before stated, being joined by Daniel in 1797.
Isaac Allen married Betsy Miller, David S. Allen married Mary Smith, Stephen 0. Allen married Jemima Dodd, and Daniel Allen, Jr., married Anna Dodd. They were all of the regular Baptist denomination in their religious faith.
Daniel Allen, Sr., was buried on Towanda creek, at West Franklin, in 1802, and his wife in 1812. David S. Allen was also buried there about 1837, and his wife lies beside him. Stephen 0. Allen was buried at Wysox, April 17, 1831. Isaac Allen died Jan. 16, 1825, in Champaign Co., Ohio. Daniel Allen, Jr., removed in October, 1824, to Champaign Co., Ohio, thence, in 1839, to Tazewell Co., Ill., where he died Feb. 14, 1847.
David Allen, after his
location at Franklindale, removed to West Franklin, where he built another
gristmill. He had but two children, Nehemiah and Polly. The
latter married Daniel Webber, who lived on the other side of the creek.
Both are dead, and of their families not one individual remains.
Nehemiah Allen had a son named Nehemiah, also, who married Betsy Smiley,
a daughter of John and Susannah (Stone) Smiley. Mrs. Smiley, for
her second husband, married the elder Nehemiah Allen, the father of her
daughter's husband. The older Allen died in 1837, aged forty-nine
Mrs. Smiley was a daughter of Benjamin Stone, whose wife was Elizabeth, a sister of Nathan* Wilcox. The families were from Salem, Mass. Mr. Stone came to West Franklin in 1800.
Daniel* Wilcox settled in Franklin as early as 1798. Mrs. Betsy (Smiley) Allen says that Nathan Wilcox came to Franklin before David Allen, and that he sold out his possession to Allen and moved to Le Roy, where he died. Mr. Wilcox settled in a place which has since been called "Preacher brook." He was a Preacher for the Methodists.
Elder Thomas Smiley was among the very earliest of the settlers of Franklin, and located on the farm occupied by Dorson Stone, and owned by Clay Fairchild. The well dug by Mr. Smiley is still in daily use.
John Knapp and the Spaldings were also among the pioneers; also William Damer.
Benjamin Stone was an early and prominent settler in West Franklin in 1799.
In 1805, Samuel Wilcox, Absalom and Ezekiel Carr, Widow Lattimore, William Blancher, Aaron Cook, Daniel Stone, Truman Holcomb, and their families, were living in the town, in addition to those before named.
Subsequently, but yet early, came Gilbert Gay, Wm. B. French, Allen Rockwell, Nathan Wilcox, Major Oliver Williams Dodge (1826), and Burr Ridgway. The latter came into the county in 1803, and was the publisher of the first permanently established newspaper in the county, the Bradford Gazette. He was a prominent citizen of the county, both officially and as a politician. He died Aug. 19, 1876, aged ninety-seven years.
Mrs. Pladnor settled in the town about 1820, coming in from Monroe, and locating on the farm next above the Ridgway place. She died about 1830,* aged one hundred and nine years. Stephen Wilcox was her son.
The Spaldings were three brothers, Horace, William B., and Noah. The two latter bought the mill property of Mr. Allen, at Franklindale, and lived next above Mrs. Pladnor. William B. Spalding was a very energetic man, and did an extensive business, and accumulated at one time a large property, but was unfortunate in business and lost it, and went to Texas, where he died.
There were three of the Lattimeres,-- Stephen, Peter, and a sister Elizabeth, who married David, son of Rev. Thos. Smiley. He moved to Ohio, where he and his wife both died. Stephen and Peter also went to Ohio, as early as 1825, and settled near Columbus.
Alpheus Holcomb came to the township in 1832, and made a clearing of' some five or six acres on the farm on which James C. Ridgway now resides. He brought his cattle to his clearing for pasture in its vicinity, but they persisted in returning every opportunity to Le Roy, where Mr. Holcomb formerly lived, and at length he became disgusted with the necessary travel involved in getting them back so frequently, and followed them himself, selling his improvements to Ridgway. He had put up no buildings. Mr. Holcomb bought his right of Deacon William Lewis, a Welshman, who bought of Wm. Means.
Oliver Williams Dodge was born in Connecticut, about six miles from New London, in 1775, and died in 1845. He came to Towanda creek in 1826-27.
Stephen Wilcox lived above Mr. Ridgway, where the Browns now live. He went west after his mother, Mrs. Pladnor, died, which date is given by Mrs. (Lyon) Haynes (born Jan. 4, 1799), as 1826-27.
Franklin was covered by the Susquehanna company's township of Fullersville, granted Maech 1, 1795, to Capt. Stephen Fuller, of Sheshequin, on account of "his former expenses, services, and loss in supporting and defending the interests of the company,"March 1, 1795, by Simon Spalding, John Jenkins, and Elisha Satterlee, commissioners of the company, which is described as lying on the waters of Towanda creek, and containing 22,286 acres, made at the request of Col. John Franklin, Silas Franklin, Alexander Wolcott, William Fellows, Simon Tubbs, Mrs. Sally Bidlack, Josiah Marshall, and others. The period of the settlement of' the town, however, was so late, that the worthlessness of the Connecticut title was soon discovered, and the settlers did not suffer much loss therefrom.
The Pennsylvania owners were the Bank of North America, Franklin college, and Washington college.
The township took its name in honor of Col. John Franklin, who had warm friends and enthusiastic friends among the early and prominent settlers of the townships
BURIAL RECORDS OF THE PIONEERS
In the burial-grounds at
Franklindale the following pioneers are buried :
T. H. Lewis, died April 1, 1871, aged 73 years.
Lucy, his wife, died Feb. 3, 1869, aged 63 years.
Delight, wife of Wm. B. Spalding, died May 11, 1844, aged 55 years.
Jacob Myer, died Oct. 9, 1835, aged 55 years.
Evan 0. Shiner, died March 21, 1844, aged 56 years.
Tenny Ann (wife of above), died April 3, 1844, aged 57 years.
Lewis Kirkendall, died Jan. 2, 1836, aged 60 years.
Margaret Kirkendall, died March 7, 1863, aged 72 years.
Samuel Anderson, died Feb. 23, 1877, aged 85 years. Sallie Anderson, died Aug. 9, 1866, aged 77 years. Burr Ridgway, died Aug. 19, 1876, aged 97 years. Alice Ridgway, his wife, died June 8, 1858, aged 79 years.
In the old burying-ground below Franklindale
Maj. 0. W. Dodge, died Feb. 1, 1845, aged 69 years.
Elizabeth Dodge, died Aug. 30, IS56, aged 60 years.
Joanna Latimer, died June 5, 1814, aged 55 years,
Stephen Latimer, died Nov. 30, 1800, aged 11 years.
Natban Latimer, died May 1796, aged 7 months.
Jane Latimer, died July 1803, aged 19 years.
Diniel Wilcox, died Dec. 1815, aged 75 years.
Elizabeth Wilcox, died May 1817, aged 73 years.
The township was formed from the townships of Troy, Canton, and Burlington, in 1819, and the first election was held at John Knapp's. About that time, too, a post-office was established in the town, and Knapp was appointed postmaster.
In 1850, Franklin had a population of 767 souls; in 1860, 998; and in 1870, 705. In 1853 Overton was formed, and took a part of Franklin, and in 1867 Barclay was formed from Franklin. In 1876 the town polled 179 votes.
The township is divided into five school districts, in each of which a school was taught seven months during the year ending June 1, 1877. Eleven female teachers were employed, at salaries averaging $15.40 per month; 91 boys and 61 girls attended the schools, the average attendance being 120. The tax raised for school purposes amounted to $682.86; $174.80 were received from the State, the total receipts for the year being $1052.45 ; $,539.27 were paid for teachers' wages, the total expenditures being $760.48.
is a small village in the eastern part of the town on the Towanda creek, and contains a church (Methodist Episcopal), a school-house, post-office, saw-mill, grist-mill, a hotel, and general store, and a few dwellings.
is a similar village situated
in the west part of the town, at the junction of the roads north, a short
distance, of the Towanda, and contains a schoolhouse, a Baptist and a Union
church, post-office, hotel, general store, mechanic shops, and a small
collection of dwellings.