The Reverend Mr. David Craft
HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIPS
The township of Litchfield is situated between Tioga County, New
York on the north, and the townships of Windham on the east, Rome and Sheshequin
on the south, and Athens on the west. The surface is high and considerably
broken by small streams, except along the Susquehanna, which touches its
northwestern border, where a most beautiful flat occurs. It was on
this flat that Thomas Park built the first house in the town just on the
State line. The other streams are the Wappusening, Satterlee, Park,
and Bullard creeks. The soil is fertile and well adapted for the
growth of the cereals, and also for grazing and dairying.
The township was organized in 1821, being setoff from Athens.
The first settler in the township was Thomas Park, who built his
house near the State line, on the Susquehanna, about 1800. His children
were Daniel, Samuel, James, Amos, Joseph, Elijah, Benjamin, Sally, Mary,
Elizabeth, and Susanna. Daniel married Martha Sanders, who bore him
eleven children. His second wife was Nancy Ellis, who bore him three
children. Samuel married Margaret Wolcott, and had four sons and
one daughter. James (the first while child born in the township)
married Margaret McKinney, and had one son; married, second, Sibyl Franklin,
and had three children - married, third, Anna Bronson, and by her had two
sons and one daughter. Amos married Arlette Griffin, and had two
daughters. Joseph married Polly Stewart, and had four sons.
Eliza died unmarried, in her youth. Benjamin married, but never lived
in Litchfield. Thomas married Margaret (Wolcott), the widow of his
brother Samuel, and had three daughters and one son. Sally married
Cornelius Stephens, and moved into the lake region of central New York.
Mary married John Moore, and had two sons and one daughter. Elizabeth
married Elijah Wolcott, and bore him six sons and six daughters.
Susanna married John R. Wolcott, and bore him one child, a son.
Eleazer Merrill and his son Hiram, natives of Connecticut, came in to the territory now included in the township of Litchfield, from Farmingham, Hartford county, in November, 1803. They stopped on the Schoonover place until February, while they were building their log house on the place now occupied by the youngest son of Eleazer, Ira Merrill. Four of the children were born in Connecticut,-Hiram, Nancy, Elisha, and Milo - Thomas and Ira were born in Litchfield. The only settlers in the township when the Merrills came were Thomas Park and William Drown, both of whom died in the town, -Drown perishing from cold soon after the Merrills came. Hiram Merrill, from whom the facts concerning his family have been obtained, was born March 3, 1798, and has occupied the place he now resides upon since 1823. He lived on it twenty-two years before any one joined fences with him. His farm is located in the southeast corner of the township. Mr. Merrill assisted to roll up twenty-two log buildings in 1816, mostly about Litchfield Centre.
The second son of Hiram, named C. S. Merrill, when two years and three months old, was lost in the woods, July 11, 1833, and was found, after forty-eight hours' absence, about half a mile from the house, nearly three hundred men being searching for him during the time.
Solomon Merrill, a brother of Eleazer, and their father and mother, came to Litchfield in 1806. Solomon first settled on the Schoonover place, where he remained about three years, and then went to Chemung, N. Y. He came back again, and bought the place where Thomson McAfee now lives. He had two sons, Cyrus and George, and five daughters, Alma, Betsey, Anna, Abigail, and Theodosia. Rebecca, sister of Solomon and Eleazer, married a Mr. Doan in Windham.
Eleazer, Jr., father of Hiram, was born. in 1772, and died April 4, 1855. He was reared under Calvinistic influences, afterwards was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and died a firm believer in universal salvation.
Solomon Merrill expended all be had on a Connecticut title, and when he arrived on his purchase had but three dollars left. His son Cyrus lives near his birthplace in the county, and George is in Kansas.
Hiram Merrill married Susanna Wolcott, who bore him five sons and four daughters. He subsequently married Nellie West, and third, Mary Wood, but they bore him no children. Nancy, daughter of Eleazer, married Chauncey Park, of Rome, and died in 1862, at the age of eighty years. She had one daughter, her only child.
Elisha Merrill married Calistia Allington, who bore him four sons and four daughters, who are now living. He married a second time, in Ohio, Rachel Halsey, and is now living at Waverly, N. Y.
Milo Merrill married Catherine Hulett, a daughter of Samuel Hulett, of Athens. They had seven sons and two daughters, all now living, but scattered away from the old home, except Charles H., who lives on the homestead. Milo died in 1871. He was born while his father was looking for the homestead in 1803.
Thomas B. was born in Litchfield in 1805; married Eliza Rose, who bore him twelve children, four sons and one daughter still surviving.
Ira married Maria Wolcott, and yet lives on the old homestead, selected and begun in 1803. He is now seventy years old, and has never been twenty five miles from home in his life. He has three sons and four daughters.
Solomon Merrill's children: Alma married James Burns; Betsey married Benjamin Wolcott, and lives in Michigan; Cyrus married Nancy Hicks; George married first Jerusha Byington, and second, Catherine Boyd; Anna married Elijah Munn - Abigail married Joseph P. Munn, and is now dead - Theodosia married James Martin.
Silas Wolcott came to Litchfield in 1805 or 1806. He went from Bald Eagle, near Lock Haven, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, to Catherinestown, and thence to Ithaca, N. Y., being six days in making the journey through the woods. He was originally from Connecticut. Mr. Wolcott cleared up a farm near Ithaca, and built a grist and sawmill, which he sold when be removed to Litchfield. He settled on Satterlee creek, and contracted to stock and operate the mill, and remained there one or two years, and then moved to the farm occupied previously by Mr. Park, and which is now owned by sorae of Mr. Wolcott's descendants. Mr. Wolcott married Peggy Rowen, near Lancaster. He was a great hunter, the chase being a passion with him, and it was the abundance of deer in Pennsylvania that induced him to come to the country. His son, Elijah Wolcott (the father of Oscar Wolcott, the latter yet a resident of the town), married a daughter of Thomas Park. He came to this town with his father, Silas Wolcott.
A daughter of Silas, Molly Wolcott, married Thomas Munn, and bore him twelve sons, who grew to manhood, and one daughter, who married and went to Minnesota. Mr. Munn settled on the farm where Heinan Morse now lives, and the majority of his sons settled in the township. He came from Ithaca at about the same time as Silas Wolcott. The latter was a Revolutionary pensioner.
In 1808, Josiah White (born November, 1790) came from Charleston, Vt., to Litchfield, arriving in the month of March. He served in the War of 1812, as a soldier. He cleared up a large farm, and still owns it. Ruloff and Samuel Campbell were here before White, and came in 1806 or 1807. Samuel made an improvement on Rowen Munn's farm, and built a saw-mill on Park creek, about a mile from the mouth, which was the first saw-mill in the township.
Daniel Bush was also among the early settlers, and built a grist-mill in Cotton hollow, just beyond David McKinney's. The McKinneys came in after Josiah White. There were four of the boys, and their father. The boys were Henry, Joseph, David, and Samuel. George Headlock came into the town about the same time with White. The McKinneys and Whites were connected in the family relation, the father of Josiah being a cousin of the older McKinneys. Josiah's mother was a daughter of Matthew Rogers, of Sheshequin.
Alsop Baldwin came to the township a short time previous to Mr. White's coming. He was from the Delaware River, and died on the farm he first began to clear up, the same being his residence from that time to his death. His daughter, Mrs.Evans, now owns the farm. He died in 1873. Samuel Ball came in after Mr. White. Christopher and Doan Schoonover lived in the neighborhood of Mr. Park.
Christopher Schoonover was an early settler in Wilinot, where be lived a number of years. He finally went to Ohio, where he died. Mr. A. P. Wolcott now occupies the Schoonover place.
Henry McKinny came to live in Litchfield in 1824. He bought his place of Mrs. Hewlett. The family came from Scholarie, N. Y. they were Dutch people. Mr. Hewlett came on, took up the farm, and lived on it until his death. His sons, John, Ira, and Lewis, came on with the old man besides these were Samuel, James, and Benoni. Benoni took up the next farm to his father, where Johnson now lives. Old Mr. Hewlett died about 1825. The old lady moved away. Most of the family went to Ohio.
James Brown was among the early settlers. He was a large, athletic man, of great strength. William Loomis was also an old settler. Alanson was his son. Esquire Nichols moved into the town in 1808, but removed in a year or two.
John Moore and Joseph Greek came before 1808. William Cotton came when a boy, and still resides in the town, aged eighty years. Peter Turner came in from White Plains very early. Richard Struble and his son Moses were also early confers to the town.
Zenas Cleveland came with his father in 1816. He was in the Adams war of 1800, and in the War of 1812. He counted his age from the death of Washington, at which date he was twenty-one years of age. He died in 1873, aged ninety-four years. He was a hard-working man, but was reduced by misfortune to indigence. He was blind and bedridden for many years. His family was an important one in the country, and was the one for whom the city of Cleveland, Ohio, was named. Nathaniel Hotchkiss came in with the Clevelands.
Joseph Nichols and Russell Marsh came in together and settled, about 1816-17, at the Centre. Paul Apgar, a blacksmith, settled about the same time, a little east of the Centre, and carried on his business there. Nichols and Marsh removed to Ithaca, N. Y., and John Campbell now owns the Nichols farm, and Sheriff Layton the Marsh farm. Drown was on this property before them. Gleason settled in the northeast part of the town. Beach, Tappan, Neff, and John Marks were all early comers. John Moore was the first settler in that part of the town called South hill. Absalom Adams came to the Centre in 1816-17.
Orson Carner came, in 1823, from Massachusetts to the property now owned by Henry Brink. He was a Methodist local preacher, and came to Litchfield when a young man. He died in 1875.
The township at the present time contains two gristmills,-Hunt's,
on the Wappasening, owned by A. C. Hunt, and Snell's, in Cotton hollow,-two
stores, a Hall of the Patrons of Husbandry, a Methodist Episcopal church,
a Baptist church, ten school-houses, and three post-offices. Its
population in 1870 was 1256. In 1850 there were 1112 inhabitants
in the town, and 1191 in 1860.
BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCHES
SAMUEL P. WOLCOTT
was born in Litchfield township, Bradford Co., Pa., Dec. 29, 1811, on
the place which he now owns, and where he has lived the most of' the time
for sixty-six years. His occupations through life have been, like
most of the early settlers, lumbering and clearing up land during his earlier
days, and afterwards farming. He commenced on his place when it was
almost an unbroken wilderness, and with energy and hard work be has succeeded
in converting it into a farm and home for his declining years. He
followed rafting down the Susquehanna river from his boyhood until about
twenty years ago, and for many years was a successful pilot. He has
been elected to several of the most important offices in his township,
filling all with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of the people.
He married, Aug. 24, 1834, Lydia, daughter of James Bidlack, of Sheshequin township, and a granddaughter of Captain James Bidlack, who was killed at the massacre of Wyoming. Samuel P. and she had eight children, viz.: Oscar F., who married Sarah T. Hadlock, and lives in Litchfield, Eupbemia D., who married H. F. Johnson - Theron D., who married Eva Hastings, and lives in Athens borough; Mary B., who married Frederick Gobl, and lives in Athens borough; Esther E., who married Warren Green, and died in Iowa, April, 1866 - Eliza C., who married Archie McVaugh, and lives in Sayre, Pa.; Franklin S., now living in Litchfield township - and Emma M., who died when young.
Samuel P. Wolcott is a son of Elijah Wolcott and a grandson of Silas Wolcott, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary war as one of Washington's body-guard during the memorable winter when his army lay encamped at Valley Forge. He came from Ithaca, N. Y., to Litchfield about the year 1806 or 1807, and lived there until his death, June 4, 1834, aged seventy-eight years. He drew a pension from the United States government for a long time before his death, and his widow afterwards. His wife's maiden name was Margaret Rowen, who survived him ten years. She died in 1844, at the age of eighty eight years.
Silas and Margaret Wolcott had nine children, viz. : Molly, who married Thomas Munn; Elijah, who married Elizabeth Park; Dorcas, who married Joseph Pew, and lived in Ithaca, N. Y.; Loviah, who married John Perrigo, and lived in Ithaca, N. Y.; Minerva, who married William Reed, and removed to Michigan ; Silas, who married Effa Pixley, and removed west; John, Benjamin, and Margaret. Benjamin married Betsy Merrill; Margaret married Samuel Park. Margaret was then left a widow, and married Thomas Park, and is now living in Litchfield township, Bradford Co., Pa.
Elijah Wolcott, eldest son of Silas Wolcott, first came to Litchfield in the year 1802, when he married Elizabeth Park, and returned to Ithaca, N. Y., where they lived until a few years later, when they again removed to Litchfield, and remained there until their deaths. Mikah Wolcott died Jan. 30, 1840, aged fifty-nine years, and his wife Jan. 26, 1873, aged eighty-five years. They had twelve children, as follows: Susannah, married Hiram Merrill, she died May 9, 1843, aged thirty-eight years; Thomas, married Eliza Gillett (deceased), lived in Springfield township, this county; Silas (died), married Maria McCauly; Samuel, married Lydia Bidlack; Maria, married Ira Merrill; Elijah, married Harriet Rose; Polly, married Henry Wood (deceased) Polly, married Hiram Merrill; William (deceased), married Asenath Hotchkiss - Hannah ; Amos Prentice, married Esther J. Munn ; Louisa, married E. M.Hadlock; Marion, married W. K. Green, and lives in Athens. Of the above, all who are living, except Marion and Thomas, reside in Litchfield.
Thomas Munn, who married Molly, eldest daughter of Silas Wolcott, had fourteen children. They married as follows: Charles (deceased), married Hannah Swartwood; Silas, married Sally Park (deceased) - Elijah, married Anna Merrill; Rowen (deceased), married Jane Andrus; Betsy, first husband, E. T. Potts (deceased); second husband, A. Loomis, and lives in Minnesota; Joseph P., married Abigail Merrill (deceased) ; Lemuel (deceased), married Harriet Wilkinson (deceased) ; John, married first Eunice Johnson (deceased), and, second, Phebe Park; Thomas, married Mary Ann Lambert; Ezra, married Jane Chandler, lives in Athens; Ulysses, married Charlotte Lambert; Huston, married Rachel Sinsebaugh; William, married Caroline Chandler, lives in Monroe township; Ransom, died young.
The above Munn family, all being the descendants of Thomas and
Molly Munn, are at present the most numerous family in Litchfield township.
A. D. MUNN
was born in Litchfield, Bradford Co., Pa., June 13, 1841, the
youngest child of Elijah and Anna Munn, who are still living on the same
farm where, the family first settled in that town. Three brothers,
farmers, and two sisters, wives of Robert Sanders and Albert Carmer, are
also residents of Litchfield. Thomas Munn, the grandfather, was among
the first settlers of Litchfield, moving there from Tompkins Co., N. Y.
He had fourteen sons and one daughter, of whom Elijah, the father, was
the third son.
The subject. of this sketch lived with his parents till 1867, when be moved on to the farm which be now owns. He received his education in the district schools of Litchfield, and at the Waverly institute. He was married Oct. 27, 1861, to Augusta Park, daughter of Reuben and Maria Park, who was born in Litchfield, Feb. 17, 1843, on the same place where they now live. She had three sisters and one brother, all of whom are living. Her father is deceased. Her mother is still living, making her home at her daughter's, Mrs. Munn. Thomas Park, her great-grandfather, was among the residents of the Wyoming valley who fled for their lives at the time of the massacre, coming up the river on horseback and seetting in Litchfield, near the State line.
Mr. and Mrs. Munn have three children, as follows, viz.: Clarence E., born March 18, 1863; Dana P., born May 14, 1868- Harry Ford, born Dec. 13, 1873.
Mr. Munn is one of the most successful farmers in Litchfield. He has filled various town offices: town clerk, constable for two years, assessor one year, and town commissioner two years. He was also Master of the Grange for two years. In politics, Republican.
was a native of Ireland, born in about 1769. His father being
a farmer of some pretensions, and in the days of the tithe law, in which
the parish priest was entitled to one tenth of all crops, and was to make
a choice of his share as soon as the grain was cut and in the shock, and
if not taken off by a certain time after the owner had cleared the field
of his, the farmer had the right to turn his cattle therein and let them
destroy. These laws enraged young Henry, and with four others, they
concluded to clear the field at once, and did so, and without giving the
priest notice, turned the cattle in, which destroyed the tithe. This
enraged the priest, and he sought redress by the legal authorities.
So young Henry and his four companions had to flee the country. They
took passage in a vessel, and in due time arrived in Philadelphia, and
were sold for their passage money.
The next we hear of him is in Cecil Co., Md., about 1792, when he is married to Rebecca Hyntuan, of the same place. She was born Oct. 20, 1776. The same year they took their all, which was three horses and a young babe, and on horseback journeyed up the Susquehanna river, with the intention of settling in the lake country, New York State, making their first halt at Daniel Moor's ferry, now the S. W. Park farm, in Athens township, High water in the river causing their stop, they waited here for the water to subside, and unpacked their goods, and finally abandoned the idea of going farther; remained here some time, then took up their abode in Tioga village, in a house on lot No. 27 of Athens town plat, said lot being allotted to Eldad Kellogg in first division of said town. He here followed his trade-weaving-for a livelihood, in which he excelled, as can be seen at the present day by the production of his loom of figured bed-quilts, and other articles of household use, plain and in colors, delineating birds, animals, flowers, etc. In 1795 they removed to Sheshequin; remained here till 1803, when they again took up their abode in Athens township, on the east side of the Susquehanna, on the north half of what is now the John J. Thompson farm, but did not purchase it. On the 28th of September, 1796, he purchased lot No. 14, in the town of Murraysfield, as per deed, consideration $100, fully executed and recorded, which was never looked after, or entered into possession, by any of the family.
April, 1806, he was drowned in the Susquehanna river, on the east side, nearly opposite the lower end of the island (Moses Park witnessing the accident), by the upsetting of a canoe. Some four weeks thereafter his remains were found lodged on the Wyalusing bar. He was buried on a point of land near the river, on the east side thereof, near where the railroad is now built.
His wife remained on the old place, and brought up the family, being poor, as best she could, teaching them by her example habits of industry, economy, sociability, and honesty, of whom she never had cause to complain, as they all filled the qualifications taught, and became prosperous and respected. In 1816 her son Samuel married, and worked the place until 1824, when he moved to Litchfield, this county. Her family being all married, except the youngest, she went and lived with her son Henry a while, thereafter took up her abode in the house of her son Joseph, and finally broke up housekeeping in 1834, and passed the balance of her declining years with her son Joseph, and died March 23, 1855, aged seventy-nine years. To them were born Samuel, January, 1792, in Maryland John, December, 1793, in Tioga (Athens), died December, 187 0 Margaret, 1795, in Sheshequin, died January, 1820 Henry, Oct. 10, 1797, in Sheshequin ; David, Aug. 1, 1800, in Sheshequin; Joseph, Sept. 17, 1802, in Sheshequin - Cynthia, Oct. 11, 1804, in Athens, died March 6, 1871.
David McKinney, fifth child of Henry and Rebecca McKinney, was born in Sheshequin Aug. 1, 1800; lived at home until his marriage; passed his childhood days in working around and going to school in the old log schoolhouse on the flats, situate on the late Col. Franklin (now the E. R. Ovenshire) farm. His first teachers were George Kinney, John Watkins, and Nathaniel Flower; the most of his education was obtained here.
Many antics were played in his school days, some of which are both ludicrous and laughable. Discipline in those days was strict, teachers layin- down their rules and making the scholars live up to them or suffer the consequence. One rule was that no scholar was allowed to exhibit a plaything during school hours; if he did, it was taken from him and thrown into the fire; but the scholars would at times be willing to endure a flogging for the sake of seeing the fire fly. So one day an elder pop-gun was filled with powder for the occasion, and was exhibited during school hours, when the teacher demanded it. It was handed over; no sooner received than thrown in the fire, when the coals and ashes flew pretty lively. Also soon after the switch did.
Many days during his boyhood be has worked for a shilling day. In 1818 he made his first trip down the Susquehanna river on a raft. Went for his brother Samuel; received man's wages, which was fifty cents a day. Since then for forty years he did not miss making from one to three trips down said river with lumber, either as hand, supercargo, pilot, or owner. Many incidents and hair breadth escapes has he passed through while on the river, besides witnessing the loss of great amounts of lumber.
He worked a great deal for Col. John Franklin, and chored considerably for him, being paid in Continental money for the choring. In the year 1821 he worked for Samuel Ownshire six months for $10 a month, and in the pay received not a dollar in money. He remembers the big flood, which drove all the settlers from their homes along the river-road. It came into his mother's house up high enough to wet the yarn on the loom-beam. The family escaped to a knoll, and made a shanty on what is the Martin Rogers farm, and remained there four days, till the water subsided. He well remembers the great eclipse of the sun in 1806. George Flower, Zullirurna Flower, and himself were playing along the river-bank, and it became dark, which scared them so they all scampered home. The first time he went to mill was to the Spalding mill in Sheshequin. In 1825 he went to mill in a canoe from Satterlee's landing up the river to Shepard's landing, and backed the grist from there, about a mile, to the John Shepard mill. As he couldn't get the grist ground right away, he accepted an invitation from Moses Park to join a fishing party for dragging a seine for shad, the river abounding with them at this time; got things in readiness, and made a haul about sundown, resulting in five hundred nice ones caught; remained with the party and drew the net during the night, and in the morning had over three thousand. As he owned no share in the seine or fishery, be was entitled to only a small money for his share; but there were distributed to him twenty-seven large ones, which were all he could possibly carry.
Sept. 16, 1824, was married in Litchfield to Jane Bush, daughter of Daniel Bush, who built the first grist-mill in Litchfield ; 1825, purchased his farm, on which he now resides, in Litchfield township, Bradford Co., Pa. Built himself a small frame house, and went to housekeeping, clearing up his farm, etc. Was here seven years before he could see any cleared land except his own. When he came here Litchfield was a howling wilderness, game and wolves plenty. He has known them to come in the night within a few rods of his door. He made a salt-lick a short distance southeast of his house, and killed seven deer there in one season, spending but a very little time; 1850, be built a new house, in which he now lives.
By frugality, industry, perseverance, and economy he has cleared up a large farm, paid for it, made a good, well-finished house, besides rearing a family of five children, educating them, and helping them to a start in the world. Their children are as follows, to wit: Rebecca, born in Litchfield June 12, 1825, died Sept. 9, 1858, Joseph H., born in Litchfield April 16, 1827; Hannah Jane, born in Litchfield Oct. 31, 1829; Cynthia, born in Litchfield July 29, 1832, died Dec. 14, 1861, Mary, born in Litchfield, Sept. 21, 1834.
His son Joseph married Lucretia Fitler, in 1858, and owns a farm a few miles from him, in Athens township.
The daughter Hannah Jane married Richard Sensebaugh, and resides in Athens borough. Another daughter, Mary, remains on the homestead with her father. On Sept. 29, 1865, his wife was called to her rest.
Mr. McKinney has passed the seventy-seventh year of his age. Politically, he was a Whig in the days of that party. At the breaking up of the parties he took the Republican side, and has adhered to it to the present time; though not radical, yet always avers his principles, talks them, and votes them. Religiously, he is a good, whole souled Christian, has belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a friend to the needy.