The Reverend Mr. David Craft
HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIPS
THE name of this township is said to have been derived from the word Tschetschequannink, which was an Indian term, signifying "the place of a rattle," according to Zeisberger.
Judge Bullock thus describes the natural features of the valley of Sheshequin, in the Athens Gleaner, in 1870.
"In early life I read a booked titled 'Rasselas and Dinarbis,' and the beautiful valley of Sheshequin has frequently brought to my mind 'the happy valley,' in which those imaginary happy persons were located by the writer. Extending along the Susquehanna River on the west, as supposed, about seven miles, and with mountains on the east, and varying in width of one to two miles, it has a fertility of soil scarcely exceeded in the United States. The average width of the township is about five miles; and the settlements, which for many years were confined to the valley, have extended throughout its boundaries, in which there is not at present an acre of 'unseated land' and the farmers, with very few exceptions, are highly prosperous and free from debt."
The present town of Sheshequin includes a little more than half of the Susquehanna company's township of Ulster,-an account of the grant, survey, and allotment of which can be found in the account of Ulster, and need not here be repeated,-but was included in the purchase of 1768, and its broad plains were eagerly appropriated by the friends of the Proprietaries. Accordingly there were grants made by the Penns, covering all the townships lying on the river. Beginning, on the south, the warrants were laid in the names of Samuel Nichols. Charles Klugh, Robert Smith, at Horn creek, Isaac Stille, Nicholas Tatemy, Alexander Anderson, Peter Kuntz, Christopher Zorn, Jacob Wallis, Charles Harrison, and John Dicks. These lots averaged about three hundred acres each, and covered all the level land bordering on the river throughout the township. Some of the farms in Sheshequin today trace their title to these proprietary grants; others of them lapsed, and the land was sold for taxes, or the occupants held it on a possessory right.
The first settlement in the township was made May 30, 1783. The party of settlers which then established their firesides in the forest were led by Gen. Simon Spalding, who removed from Wyoming. This party of pioneers consisted of Gen. Spalding and his family, consisting of his wife, Ruth Shepherd, and the following children: John, Ruth, Rebecca, Mary, Anna, and George (Chester Pierce Spalding was born the next year, 1784); Joseph Kinney and his wife (Sarah Spalding eldest daughter of Gen. Spalding), Benjamin Cole, Col. Fordham, Col. (then Sergeant) Thomas Baldwin, and Stephen Fuller.
Gen. Simon Spalding was a son of Simon Spalding of Plainfield, Conn., and was born January 16, 1742, and died January 24, 1814.
Gen. Spalding emigrated from Connecticut to the Connecticut lands at Wyoming about 1774, and settled in Standing Stone in 1775.
He was in command of a company of troops during the Revolution, and was in Gen. Sullivan's expedition in 1779, and as it passed through Sheshequin valley, he was so favorably impressed with its appearance and location that he then resolved to make it his future place of residence. He first purchased of the Susquehanna company the Connecticut title, and farms were allotted to himself, his sons, and his sons-in-law, in the upper part of the valley, extending from the river back to the mountain. When the settlers first came (as Gen. Spalding himself said) the Indian grass upon the flats was as high as his head as he sat on his horse. These pioneers set fire to the grass, when a conflagration such as no one present ever saw before transpired. It ran from one extreme of the intervals to the other, a distance of about four miles.
When the settlers took possession of Sheshequin there were a few Indian families resident on "Queen Esther's" flats, and one family on the same side of the river, but none of any note among them. They proved friendly, and the next year mostly moved off to the west.
General Spalding was a captain in the Revolution, and was made a general of militia after the war closed. His son, John, known as Col. John Spalding was a fifer in his father's company, though but fourteen years old when his father marched with Sullivan, in 1779, through Bradford, to the chastisement of the southern Iroquois. The general was a large man of an imposing and pleasing appearance. He sent an invitation to Judge Obadiah Gore and family to attend the wedding of his youngest daughter and Col. Joseph Kingsbury, late of Sheshequin, which reads as follows:
The Spalding genealogy is as follows: Gen. Simon Spalding married Ruth Shepherd April 15, 1761. Their children were as follows: Sarah, born Jan. 31, 1763, married Joseph Kinney; John, born Nov. 14, 1765, married Wealthy Gore, Oct. 1, 1783; Ruth, born July 2, 1771, married ___________ Hutchins; Rebecca, born Dec. 16, 1773, married William Witter Spalding Mary, born July 20, 1776, married Moses Park, of Stonington, Vt.; Anna, born April 21, 1779, married Col. Joseph Kingsbury, Feb. 1, 1797; George, born Sept. 5, 1782 died May 26, 1800; Chester Pierce, born June 18, 1784: married Sally Tyler, 1806.
Joseph Kinney was born in Plainfield, Conn., about the year 1755. He was a Revolutionary soldier. His first engagement was at Dorchester heights, about March 2, 1776, which resulted disastrously to the British troops. He was wounded in the leg on Long Island, captured, and was a prisoner three months in the old Jersey prison-ship, and suffered its horrors, paralleled only by Salisbury and Andersonville in the war of the rebellion. He limped home on foot, and was at the battle of Saratoga, Oct. 17, 1777, where Burgoyne surrendered, when he returned to Plainfield. and remained until about 1778, when he settled at Wyoming, Pa. There he married Sarah the eldest daughter of Capt. (afterwards Gen.) Simon Spalding, and with that gentleman and others removed to Sheshequin, in 1783, which thereafter became his permanent home. He was a school teacher in Wyoming, but chanced his occupation to that of a farmer in his new home, a calling in which he prided himself, executing his work in an exceedingly tidy, and in some respects peculiar, manner. He was not only a great reader, but was also a close and logical reasoner, and analyzed thoroughly everything offered before be stored it away in his memory as knowledge. He was particularly apt in theological themes, and had many a gusty bout with the preachers of the day; but his biographer (G. Wayne Kinney), from whom the facts, here given are principally taken, says that Mr. Kinney and Moses Park, when sent to oppose and confound Mr. Murra in his first seed-sowing of the doctrines of universal salvation, at Athens, "went wool gathering and came home shorn," after a three days protracted effort. Mr. Kinney's house was the home of all the itinerants of the gospel in his day. He was emphatically domestic in his tastes, and hence disliked and refused political positions generally. He was appointed a justice of the peace for Luzerne county, about 1790, then comprising the present counties of Luzerne, Lycoming, and Bradford. He was also one of the first commissioners of Bradford County, but resolutely declined all further preferment. His biographer says,- "Being of a scrofulous diathesis, which was transmitted to generations after him, he was, no doubt, more or less irritable. But his wife, Sarah, always mild and forbearing, always generous and conciliatory, never was swerved from the unerring law of kindness which seldom fails to soothe the morbid passions of humanity. Upon the whole, with the limited education attainable in his day except by the wealthy few, he would be called a man of decided brainpower, strong in his convictions of right and duty, a close reasoner, irreproachable in his integrity, and highly respected by the large circle of his acquaintances. He died in 1841, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. Mr. and Mrs. Kinney had thirteen children, eleven of whom grew to man and womanhood, viz.: Ruth, drowned in childhood; Simon, Ruth, George, Charles, Sarah, Lucy, Guy, Welthia, Perley, Mina, Phebe, and one who died in infancy.
Simon Kinney was the first white child born in the present town of Sheshequin. He assisted in the duties of clearing up a heavily-timbered farm, receiving in the mean time a careful moral and intellectual training, and at his majority married Phoebe Cash, and removed to a farm his father owned in Scipio, N. Y., and commenced the study of the law. Finding his means inadequate to properly complete his studies and procure a library, the farm was sold and the proceeds used for establishing him in business in Towanda. He was a man of unquestioned legal ability, being the compeer of Mallery, Conyngham, Denison, Strong, Williston, Overton, Watkins, and Baldwin, leaders at the bar of Bradford and Northern Pennsylvania. He was a member of the legislature for the sessions of 1820-21 and 1821-22. His service is favorably remembered by active participators in the political affairs of the time. Judge Wilmot completed his legal studies in Mr. Kinney's office.
Mr. Kinney's family were somewhat remarkable and noted. He had six children,-Harriet, Henry Lawrence, Joseph Warren, Emily, Sarah, and Anna.
Harriet married Dr. Whitehead, and removed to Peru, Ill. She was a woman of rare intelligence, and acquired accomplishments of a high order for her day. Col. H. L. Kinney achieved an enviable celebrity by his dash, courage, and enterprise, which made him at one time quite the lion of the country. He was the founder of Corpus Christi, Texas, and peopled the town by a donation of his lands to settlers; served in the Mexican war in Gen. Scott's army supplied the commissariat with stores from the resources of the country; and was deemed a millionaire at the end of the war. He spent much of his fortune afterwards in Central American expeditions. During the rebellion, he served in Mexico as colonel of her army and fought against the French and Maximilian, and was killed at Monterey, while leading a small troop in ferreting out guerrillas in that city. He became one of the finest horsemen of Texas, taking lessons of the Comanches, and so far surpassing them that they were, to his mastery, but as initiates. He won many victories over them in some of their sharpest fights. He married a daughter of Gen. Lamar, of the "Lone Star" fame.
Joseph Warren married in Illinois, and followed the fortunes of his brother in Texas, and acquired considerable landed property. He was accidentally shot, by the explosion Of his Pistol, in mounting his horse, and died from the wound soon after.
Emily, Sarah, and Anna maintained the reputation meted out to the family generally by common consent.
Ruth married Warren Brown, a merchant at the time in Towanda. They afterwards moved to Illinois. A son, Joseph Mortimer Brown, was a prominent clothing merchant in St. Louis, and was the father of ten children, all sons.
George Kinney, the second son of Joseph Kinney, was a captain and lieutenant-colonel of the Pennsylvania militia, a justice of the peace by appointment of Governors Wolf and Ritner, and afterwards by election of the people, and a member of the Pennsylvania house of representatives for the session of 1837-38. He was a frequent contributor to the country press, his nom de plum being "Old Man of the Mountains." He was an active participant in the stirring political events of the earlier days of the county. He married Mary Carner a "person of admirable qualities, and who exhibited superior talents and judgment in providing for a large family with slender means at command." She was the mother of nine children, -Julia Hutchinson, George Wayne, Horace, Newcomb, W. Wallace, O. H. Perry, Mary, Somers, and Lucy.
Julia was subsequently known as a writer and poetess of considerable merit, her love for literature being developed at an early age. She was a passionate admirer of wild flowers, and drew her inspiration "more copiously from nature's first and only edition than from books compiled by human authors." Her contributions to the Saturday Evening Post and Atkinson's "Casket of Philadelphia," over the signature of "Juliet," attracted the attention of Mr. Greeley and others, and she afterwards contributed frequently to the "New Yorker" and the "Universalist" magazines. She married David L. Scott, of Towanda, in 1835, and died in 1842, of consumption. Her writings are noticed in the article in this work on "Books and Authors."
George Wayne left the farm at sixteen years, and went to Towanda, to learn the printing trade of James Catlin, then editor of the Independent Republican. The apprentice completed his transformation to a "jour" on the Bradford Settler, and printed the Anti-Masonic Democrat, at Troy, for O. P. Ballard, under the editorial management of Edward Payne, Dummer Lilly being a fellow-compositor in the same office. At his majority he spent a year in Connecticut, as a journeyman printer on a Unitarian paper published in Brooklyn, Conn., by Rev. Samuel J. May, and on the Witness, an opposition paper to the Hartford Times. At twenty-three years of age with Dummer Lilley, he inaugurated the Bradford Argus, merging the Troy Argus (Anti-Masonic Democrat) of Dr. Utter in the new publication. Mr. Kinney continued but a year on the Argus, and, as he himself says, "With the exception of incidental dashes with the pen, for local papers, the poetry of his life has been spent upon a farm."
He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the years 1866-67. He married, at the age of twenty-five years, Abbey M. Hutchins, of KillingIy, Conn., and reared a family of four children, their only son, Newcomb, being killed under Sheridan, in one of that general's fierce carnpaigns.
Maj. Horace Kinney, the second son of George Kinney, was a large, well-proportioned man, physically (all the Kinney boys were about six feet in height), and an active business man. He married Anna P. Satterly in the outset of his business life, and began in mercantile pursuits, chiefly dealing in lumber. He was public-spirited, enterprising, cultivated, and generous, contributing his full share in all movements for the public good. He died suddenly in the prime of his manhood, and in the midst of his usefulness. His children are Orrin Day, a promising, member of the Bradford bar - George, Franklin, Julia, and Anna.
Newcomb (the third son of George) went to Rockford, Illinois, where he died quite early in life. W. Wallace also went to Rockford, Illinois, and studied medicine, but the "shakes" and the alarming, (to a novitiate) febrile symptoms of the ague proved too much for him, and he returned to Bradford, where he married Elizabeth Chaffee, and settled in Rome. He reared a family of six children, and established himself in a successful practice of medicine after the homeopathic school. He died of consumption in the prime of' life, leaving Julia H., Winfield S., Lucy, George, Dell, and Grace, a credit to the family and ornaments (useful ones) to society. Julia (now Mrs. Spalding is a successful homeopathic practitioner, having a wide field of usefulness, and Winfield S. is the justice of the peace of the borough.
O. H. Perry Kinney studied law with Judge Wilmot, was admitted to the bar in 1844, and formed a law partner-ship with E. W. Baird, under favorable auspices. G. W. K. says, " But be had net found his true sphere. He was too conscientious for a lawyer, and too modest for a politician. He had merit which could not be wholly hidden from the public. He was elected to the legislature in 1859 and 1860, in which sessions the responsibility of preparing a bill for the adjustment of damages done landowners and others by the, North Branch canal fell upon him. There were so many conflicting interests to satisfy, it was an extremely delicate duty to perform, and one from which he would gladly have shrunk. He met it, however, successfully, and the wisdom of the act has scarcely been questioned."
He purchased an interest in the Waverly Advocate, where his former record found him out, and he was sent to represent his district in New York in the legislature of that State for two successive terms, and was also a member of the last constitutional convention of that State. He is said to resemble mentally the old patriarch, Joseph Kinney, more than any of the name in the vicinity, being especially fond of philosophical, theological, and biological discussions, in which he treats those subjects in consonance with the advanced thought of the day. He is clear, concise, forcible, and honest in all his editorial emanations. He married Mary Eggett, and has a family of three children,-H. Greeley, John, and Wallace,-the oldest following- closely in the footsteps of his father, and is already an excellent printer, and a young man of much excellent intellectual promise. John is an expert in telegraphy, and Wallace has his record all to write yet, being too young to have begun it.
Mary, daughter of George Kinney, married D. S. Bull and moved to Iowa, and reared a large family of children.
Somers, the youngest of the George Kinney boys, was exceedingly enterprising, and his misfortunes seemed to keep pace with his indomitable perseverance. He was devoted to the improvement of highways, but his health failed him before the consummation of his schemes in his old home, and he went south. At Corpus Christi, Texas, he conceived and undertook the construction of a ship-canal inland from Galveston to Corpus Christi, involving a heavy expenditure of means. The city was bonded in a heavy sum, and solitary and alone he purchased a dredging-boat at Mobile, which was shipwrecked on Padre island. An endless-chain dredge, procured in New York, was wrecked at Cape Hatteras, and lost. A boat built by a company at Corpus Christi proved successful, but, as the channel was rapidly approaching completion, the Rebellion broke out and broke down the back-bone of the company, and, like his dredges before him, he, too, was wrecked, with no prospect of salvage. He was a member of the Texas legislature in 1857, and obtained large land grants in aid of his proposed channel improvement. Having graduated as an operator in public works, he went into journalism, and, with his "red hot" style, became very popular. G. W. K. says, "He evidently aimed to remain neutral during the war. As he was a prisoner on both sides, perhaps he was successful.
He married a Miss Howard, a lady of culture and a writer of ability, and by her had two children born to him, named Somers and Howard. He and his wife and firstborn died in Houston, Texas.
Charles Kinney was a quiet, respectable citizen, thoughtful and prudent, a man of few words and far between. Ile married Amanda Carrier, and reared three sons,-Joseph, Hanford, and Amzi. The elder son became a Universalist preacher, located in one of the western States, and died at the age of forty-five years. He married a daughter of Joseph White. Hanford died from exposure in the army, and Amzi is on the homestead.
Sarah Kinney, daughter of Joseph Kinney, married Lockwood Smith, afterwards sheriff of the county and member of the legislature. She died at sixty years of age, without issue. She is said to have been a most amiable woman, and a lady of rare culture and intellect. Lucy married Thomas Marshall, and died without issue. "She was a tidy housewife, a companionable neighbor, and a pattern of industry."
Guy Kinney married Matilda Gore, who bore him eight children. He was open-handed and hospitable, independent in thought and utterance, and hated parsimony and greed most cordially. He died Oct. 25, 1872, aged seventy three. His children were Ellen, Newton, Roxana, Ada, Avery, Simon, H. Clay, and Ida. Newton was noted as a lecturer on phrenology and spiritualism, in which he was by no mean contestant. He married Juliette Thomas, reared several children, and died in Waverly. But one son Simon remains of the family, all having died of consumption in early life, a disease unknown in either of the original families of the Kinneys or Gores. A son of Ada, who married Gov. Blackman, and two of H. Clay's, are living.
Welthia Kinney, married Guy Tozer, and bore him Helen, Ralph, Lucy, Guy M., George, Frank, and Charles. She was a bright intellect, sarcastic and spicy if need be, and kept well informed of all that was progressing, in the world of letters, and even of politics. She was a frequent contributor of meritorious poetical articles to the local press. Mr. Tozer was once sheriff of the county, an active Democratic politician, and a shrewd business man. His boys copied his activity, and their mother's desire for general knowledge.
The boys were all well situated in business in the west, except Guy, who remains on the homestead. Helen was very happily united in life with a Mr. Walker, of Ottawa, Illinois.
Perley Kinney married Sarah Hutchins, of KillingIy, Connecticut, who bore him three children, Pcrley H., Miles F., and Ruth, of whom Perley alone remains. The father was killed accidentally in a threshing machine, the wife died suddenly, and Ruth died of the old enemy, consumption. Perley was of a genial disposition, and a capital musician. The old people, his father and mother, resided in the old home under his protection in the evening of their days, and until their late autumnal sunset that opened to them the future. While Perley lived he inherited the old home. Perley H., his son, married Elizabeth Horton; he is a skillful farmer. Miles F., son of Perley, was a talented young man, a successful practitioner in the legal profession, and took an active part in the stirring events which culminated in the late war, and his labors undoubtedly hastened his death, which resulted from a hemorrhage of the lungs. Ruth married G. W. Fish, and died at the age of about thirty years, leaving a son of much promise.
Mina married Stephen Smith, and migrated to Illinois at an early day. Her husband was elected sheriff of Bureau County many years ago. They had three children, Ida, Osmyn, and Guy. Phebe never married, and devoted herself to the care of her father and mother. She died suddenly, at the old mansion, at about sixty years of age.
Thomas Baldwin was the father of Vine Baldwin, afterwards an early settler in Ridgeberry. The son was born in Sheshequin in 1783, and is reported to be the first white person born in the Susquehanna valley after the war.
This was the Sergeant Thomas Baldwin, whose name occurred so frequently in the history of the county during the Revolutionary war. He moved into the State of New York, and died near Elmira. He drew in Ulster lots numbered 2 and 5, which, by deed dated April 25, 1789, he sold to General Spalding. Spalding sold No. 5 to Joseph Kinney, June 18, 1791, and describes it as "land which I hold of Captain Thomas Baldwin, it being to him a settling right under the Connecticut claim,"
In 1784, Obadiah and Samuel Gore and Arnold FrankIin came into the settlement, from Wyoming.
The old homestead of Judge Obadiah Gore was what was known as the Isaac Stille lot, which joined the Nicholas Tatomy lot next above, which was also in the family, and is described on the maps as "a Draught of a Tract of Land called Indela mooking, situate on the East side of the North East Branch of the Susquehannah River, opposite an Indian Settlement called the Sheshequanung, and above and adjoining land claimed by Isaac Stille, formerly in Northampton County, now in Northumberland County, containing 182 1/2 acres, and allowance of 6 per cent.
"Surveyed for Nicholas Tatemy,* 24th of September, 1773, in pursuance of a warrant dated 22nd of January, 1770, by Charles Stewart, Deputy Surveyor. Returned to the Secretary's office the 30th of November, 1773. For John Lukens, Esqr.,
Jud-e Obadiah Gore was the son of Obadiah Gore and Hannah Park. He was born in Norwich, Conn., April 7, 1744, and married Anna Avery (born Dec. 18, 1744), March 22, 1764. He removed, in 1768, together with his father (Obadiah) and their families, to Wilkes-Barre. In 1776 he entered the Continental army, in a regiment commanded by Col. Isaac Nichols and served six years; was commissioned first lieutenant by John Hancock, Oct. 11, 1776, and by John Jay, March 16, 1779. He was commissioned judge at the organization of Luzerne county. He moved to Ulster in 1783, and to Sheshequin the next spring 1784. He had a store in the latter place as early as 1796, and continued in it until 1803. This was probably the first store in the town. He connected with William Presher to build a grist-mill on the river opposite the Valley House, on the Tatemy lot, June 6, 1807. This was known as the Presher mill, and was the first grist-mill in the township. Judge Gore also built the first framed house in the township, about the year 1787, Joseph Kinney building the second one, the next year. Judge Gore also had the first distillery in town. He was appointed a justice of the peace as early as April, 1782. The first marriage entry on his docket is April 20, 1788, and is that of Mathias Hollenback and Miss Sarah Hibbard.
Judge Gore and his father were blacksmiths, and were the first persons to use anthracite coal in this country, and began so to use it in their forces about 1772. They came via Plainfield to Wyoming and were among, the prisoners taken by the Pennamites in 1768. They were also in the terrible troubles of Wyoming, known as the first and second Pennamite wars.
Judge Bullock says of Judge Gore, "He was a man of superior mind, and benevolent in the fullest sense of the term. His name was a household word among the settlers in the backwoods for a long time, and they ever found in him a friend who would assist them from his ample stores as their necessities required. His memory is yet highly respected by the few who survive and who had participated in and were recipients of his favors."
The following extract, from the Pennsylvania Archives, 1783-86, p. 23, shows an important trust fulfilled by Judge Gore. It is a letter from Capt. Shrawder to President Dickinson, dated March 29, 1783:
"Mr. Gore of this place, who had been sent some time ago to the assembly of New York with a petition for a grant of land thirty miles square at Aqhquague, on this side of the lake near the head of the river Susquehanna, returned last night and brought the news that the petition of the Wyoming settlers had been granted, and that he was going up to chose the place."
Jude Gore had three brothers and two brothers-in-law killed at Wyoming. His children were Avery, born Jan. 10, 1765, who succeeded to the homestead; Wealthy, born Aug. 10, 1767, married Col. John Spalding; Hannah, born Sept. 18, 1769, married John Durkee ; Anna, born Feb. 8, 1772, married John Shepard; Sally, born Sept. 22, 1774, married Isaac Cash.
Avery Gore was associated with his father, Judge Hollenback, and William Buck in heavy land speculations in the State of New York about Chemung and elsewhere. He was commissioned by Governor M'Kean 2d lieut. of the 2d troop of cavalry in Luzerne county, 2d brigade, 9th division of enrolled militia, Aug. 2, 1800; 1st lieut., Jan. 28, 1802 ; Capt., May 26, 1806. He was also commissioned ensign of the 3rd company of foot in the 2d battalion by the supreme executive council, May 1, 1789. He was postmaster at Sheshequin in 1804 and for several years afterwards.
He married Lucy Gore, his cousin, the second daughter of Silas Gore, who was killed at Wyoming. They had eleven children, as follows: Calista, born Nov. 30, 1794, married Samuel Kennedy Gore, died Jan. 6, 1849 - Alfred, born Sept. 18, 1798, died when three and a half years old Matilda, born Nov. 6, 1800, married Guy Kinney in 1822, and died Feb. 20, 1861 - Wealthy Ann, born March 6, 1803, married Byron Kingsbury in 1822, and is still living; Harry, born March 20, 1805, married Elizabeth R. Ellis, and died Sept. 9, 1855; Edwin, born September, 1807 - Obadiah, born Oct. 8, 1809, married Matilda Shaw, 1834, and is still living; Ralph, born Sept. 21, 1811, married Jane Eggett; Silas P., born Dec. 12, 1814, married Rebeeca Spalding Oct. 22, 1840, died Dec. 19, 1857 - Charles, born Oct. 25, 1816, married Ann Eliza Ballenger, 1843, died Feb. 15, 1865, in Illinois; George, born Sept. 7, 1820, died July 27, 1869.
Samuel Gore was a brother of Judge Obadiah Gore. He was also a soldier of the Revolution, and one of the few who escaped the Wyoming Massacre. He was also an actor in the Pennamite and Yankee troubles. The first winter after he settled in Sheshequin he was obliged to go, via Wyoming to the Delaware river to winter his oxen, no means of doing so being nearer. His money to carry him a journey of one hundred and fifty miles was an English crown. The paths (there were no roads) were impassable, nearly, but on the fourth day he arrived at Wyoming where he rested and prepared feed for his cattle for the rest of the journey, by twisting hay into large ropes and fastening, them around their bodies and necks. He packed his wallet with Indian johnny-cake and slung it upon his arm, and entered the great "dismal swamp." The snow was two feet deep, and the weather severe. On the second day he had a creek to cross so deep that footmen could not pass without wading. Mounting one of his oxen, he attempted to ride across, but the anchor-ice hit his legs, his steed played him false, and left his rider to make his way out as best he could. He was now four miles from any house, his clothes were frozen, and he alone in the depths of the forest, and night approaching. He used to say he considered his chance for life more hopeless and desperate than when pursued by the yelling savages at Wyoming.
After his death, which occurred May 2, 1834, Mrs. Gore, his widow, received a pension. She expected a small amount only, and was very much surprised when $600 were counted down to her. With a sorrowful countenance and desponding tone she said, "I don't know what I shall do with all this money. I don't want it."
Mr. Gore was for many years a justice of the peace of Sheshequin, and was said to be one of the best magistrates in the county. He always decided a case on its merits, regardless of quibbles or nice legal technicalities. He was very regular also in his domestic habits, retiring early, and rising the same. A story is told of him which illustrates both of these traits in his character. A trial had come before him in which the examination had continued until the usual bed time of the 'squire. After the testimony closed, the lawyer (from Towanda) entered into a long argument of the case, as was his custom, and the court, as was its custom at that time of the evening went to sleep. Towards the conclusion of the argument the attorney discovered the somnolence of the court, and with some abruptness aroused him, intimating, rather sharply, he wished the court would keep awake long enough to enter judgment. "I entered that before you began your plea," quietly yawned the court, pointing to the docket at the same time. The attorney subsided, while a hearty laugh went around the room at his expense.
Samuel Gore married, about 1785, Sarah Brokaw, who was born April 10, 1764, and who died Nov. 17, 1845. He brought his wife to Sheshequin in 1786. Their children were seven, is follows: Samuel Kennedy, born Dec. 4, 1786, died July 9, 1840 he married Calista, daughter of Avery Gore. Silas, born Sept. 21, 1788, married Catherine, sister of James Elliott; died April 29, 1856. Sally M., born July 26, 1791, still living married Elijah Townsend in Rome, Feb. 22, 1813. Abraham B., born Aug. 6, 1794, died Sept. 5, 1840. Judith H., born June 17, 1796, married Elias Minier; died Sept. 20, 1864. Nellie V., born April 19, 1799, married West, and a second time, Merrill died Aug. 24, 1857. George D., born Feb. 10, 1809, died Feb. 28, 1809.
Silas Gore, who was killed at Wyoming, left a widow and three daughters. The were in the fort at the time of the battle, and fled to Northumberland, and thence to Connecticut. They afterwards came to Sheshequin, where the widow married Capt. Benjamin Clark, of Ulster - her maiden name was Keziah Yarrington. Mr. Gore was commissioned by Gov. Trumbull, of Connecticut, as ensign of the 5th company, "a train-band" in the 24th Regiment of the colony, in his majesty George III's service. The commission was dated at New Haven, Oct. 17, "in the 15th year of the reign of our sovereign lord George the Third, king of Great Britain, etc., Annoque Domini, 1775."
The Gore genealogy, from the settlement of the family in America, is as follows:
1. John Gore and Rhoda, his wife, settled in Roxbury, Mass., in 1635.
2. Samuel, son of (1) John and Rhoda Gore, born about 1652, married Aug. 28, 1672, to Elizabeth Weld.
3. Samuel, son of (2) Samuel and Elizabeth Gore, born Oct. 20, 1681, married Hannah _______. Samuel Gore moved to Norwich, Conn., between 1714 and 1720.
4. Obadiah, son of (3) Samuel and Hannah Gore, born July 26, 1714, married Hannah Parks, and died about 1779. Hannah was a sister of Capt. Thomas Parks, of Litchfield, Bradford County. Obadiah moved from near Boston to Plainfield, Conn., thence to Wyoming.
5. Obadiah, son of (1) Obadiah and Hannah Gore, born April 7, 1744, married Hannah Avery (born Dec. 18, 1744), March 22, 1764. He died March 21, 1821, and she April 24, 1829.
6. Samuel Gore, son of (4) Obadiah and Hannah Gore, born May 24, 1761, married about 1785, Sarah Brokaw, born April 10, 1764. He died May 2, 1834, and she Nov. 17, 1845.
Arnold Franklin was a settler in 1784 in Claverack (Sheshequin), under Strong and Hogeboom, as testified by Isaac Foster, in the minutes of the commissioners under the act of 1799. He was proprietor of a half-right, as appears of record, and held his possession on the said halfright.*
The Franklins were a large and respectable family, distant relatives of Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Of the Wyoming family there were seven brothers, all of whom had large families, from whom a numerous progeny has sprung. Seven of the family were killed at the Wyoming slaughter; John, Jonathan, Roswell, and Jehiel were of these seven brothers, Jonathan being killed in the battle. Arnold Franklin was a son of Jonathan, and was also in that battle, but escaped. He owned the island opposite his farm, which was next above the Ichabod Blackman farm. Mrs. Blackman was Arnold Franklin's sister. The island contained then about sixty acres, and had been cleared by the Indians, and was very productive; they had used it for their corn patches. In 1804-5, Mr. Franklin sold out his property to Richard Horton and removed to Palmyra. While there his wife (Abigail Foster, a sister of Abiel Foster) died. He married again, and came to Smithfield, and lived with his son William, a Presbyterian preacher, who preached at Smithfield for a number of years. The father and son both died in that place, the former, February 20, 1839, at the age of seventy-four years. Arnold was captured at Wyoming but after three months' captivity, escaped from the Indians on the Genesee, and made his way back to his uncle Roswell Franklin, who lived at Kingston, by whom he was adopted into his family. Roswell Franklin had a son Roswell, Jr., about Arnold's age. The two boys-they were about twenty years old-were made prisoners by the Indians soon after, as they were at work in the field near the house, and taken to Canada, where they remained three years, when they were released or escaped. With great difficulty they made their way home, to the joy and surprise of their friends, who had supposed them dead, not having beard anything respecting them since they went to the field to work, three years before.
About the year 1780 a small clearing was made in the woods south of the river, opposite the present city of Binghamton, and about 1782-83 these two young men went there from the Wyoming valley to continue the improvements, taking with them six oxen and a horse, to be kept upon or from the productions of the small patch already cleared. They began a small fallow on the north side of the river, cutting the first tree that was felled within the limits of the present city of Binghamton. They gathered some fodder, enough as they supposed, to keep their stock through the winter ensuing, but were mistaken. They shoveled off the snow from the ground on the south side and found grass, but their oxen in crossing the river upon the ice, which was covered with snow, broke through and were lost. Their horse died also, and their stock of provisions became entirely exhausted. They, therefore, were compelled to make an attempt to return to Kingston.
They made a small canoe, in which they embarked, taking with them the hide of the horse, on which to subsist during their journey. Their progress was slow, tedious, and dangerous. The frequently had to get out of the canoe to dislodge it from impediments, and sometimes were compelled to haul it a considerable distance by land to avoid obstructions in the river. At night they camped on the bank, and when pressed by hunger, cut slices off the raw hide, shaved off the hair, roasted it, and chewed it for their eating. At one of these halts for rations a mouse, disturbed by the fire, was caught and added to the repast. The first house which came in their line of observation was that of Mr. Fox, near the mouth of Towanda creek, where they made a brief stay, and then, with renewed strength and courage, continued their voyage seventy miles farther to their homes in Wyoming, having endured failures and toils happily passed away from this country forever.
Moses Park came to Sheshequin about 1785-86. His father was a sea captain, and was lost at sea when the son was of tender years. While at Sheshequin he taught school, which probably was the first school taught in the town. He married Polly Spalding and removed to what was called New Connecticut, in Ohio (Western Reserve), where he remained six years. His nearest white neighbor at the time of his arrival there was eight miles distant. He returned to Sheshequin, and lived on the farm now owned by Obadiah Gore. He remained here five or six years, and then went to Athens, living about a mile below the village, on the east side of the river, where he kept a ferry for a number of years. He commenced to preach when be was very young and before leaving Sheshequin for Ohio; and he continued to preach, after his return, at Sheshequin and Athens the remainder of his life. He was at first a Baptist, but changed his views (after a certain famous discussion had with Mr. Murray, in which he, Mr. Park, was seconded by Joseph Kinney), and embraced the doctrine of universal salvation, to which be ever after held. He was born in Groton, Mass., Aug. 8, 1766, and his wife, July 19, 1776. They were married March 14, 1792.
Their children were Cynthia; Clarissa, married Nathaniel Flower, June 27, 1816; Harriet: Amanda, married Jabez Fish, and is still living (was born Nov. 24, 1799) Chester S., Moses, Jr., George, Silas Warren, Simon S., Mary, and Sterry.
In 1786, Capt. Jeremiah Shaw, a Revolutionary soldier, came to Sheshequin, together with his son Ebenezer, then a lad of fourteen or fifteen years. Capt. Shaw was born Feb. 2, 1730. He was a son of Jeremiah Shaw, who was born in 1700, whose father, Israel Shaw, was born in 1663. Ebenezer Shaw was born in Little Compton, Bristol county, R. I., Sept. 5, 1771. In 1772, Capt. Shaw moved with his family to Nine Partners, in Dutchess county, N. Y., where they resided about four years, and in 1776 moved to Nobletown, in the same county, where they remained nine or ten years, and in 1786 removed to Wilkes-Barre, whence, after a short stop of three or four weeks, they came to Sheshequin, arriving there April 21, which has been the home of the father, son, and grandson, Uriah, since that time while they have habited in the flesh. Capt. Shaw died May 29,1815, and his wife, Abigail (Campbell), March 19, 1811, aged about sixtyfour years. Ebenezer Shaw died December 17, 1871, aged one hundred years three months and twelve days. He married Cynthia Holcomb, Feb. 26, 1801, who died in Sheshequin, April 10, 1868, aged eightyfive years. She came into Ulster with her father and mother March 11, 1793, at the age of eleven ears.
Ebenezer, at his majority (1792), went into the lake region, where he remained eight years; returning in 1800, he bought a portion of his father's farrm and the balance of it in 1811. The children of Jeremiah Shaw were Jedediah, Ebenezer, Jeremiah, Lorin, Hannah, Phebe, and Elizabeth.
Peter Snyder came from La Fayette, Sussex county, N. J., to Sheshequin in 1788-89, by the way of the "beech woods," reaching the Susquehanna not far from the Great Bend. His children were Peter and Jacob, by his first wife, and William, John, Pitney, Betsy, Katy, and Nancy, by the second. His second wife also had two children by her first marriage, who came to Sheshequin with the family of Mr. Snyder, Thomas and Mary. John remained on the old homestead until about 1855. It was in the upper part of the valley, and is now owned by C. H. Shepard. Mr. Snyder began and operated rather extensively for the times a tannery, saddlery, harness, and shoemaking business combined for some years. His son William, at the age of fourteen years, went into the business as an apprentice in the tannery, and continued in it, buying his father's interest subsequently, and operating the business alone. He also built the house where his son William now resides, and kept it as a hotel for a number of years. Peter Snyder died Jan. 14, 1822, aged seventy-seven years. The records show a deed from Simon Spalding to William Spalding for "lot 11, in Ulster, on the east side of the river, in a place called New Sheshequin," excepting one acre for a burying ground. Also, a deed from William H. Spaulding and Simon Spaulding to William Snyder for lot 11, which is the lot on which William Spalding resides, adjoining Jabez Fish on the north, Harry Spalding on the south, Susquehanna river on the west, and to extend east two miles.
Daniel Brink came to Sheshequin from Stroudsburg about 1790-1. He owned a place next above the Tuttle farm. His father, Benjamin Brink, was a Revolutionary soldier, and owned the place where David Horton now resides. The Brinks went west about 1855.
Abel Newell was a very early comer to Sheshequin, but the exact date of his settlement cannot now be fixed, He was from Springfield, Mass. He married a daughter of Ethan Wilcox. She had a brother killed at the battle of Wyoming. Abel Newell owned the farm now occupied by his son, Stephen Newell, next above the Arnold Franklin farm. David Horton married a daughter of Mr. Newell. Mr. Newell died at about the age of seventyfour years. His family, except Stephen, are all dead, or removed from the county.
George Murfee was born in Esquire Depew's barn, on the Delaware, near Stroudsburg, Sept. 30, 1778. James Bidlack was born at the same place. The fathers of each of these boys were killed at Wyoming and their mothers fled with the fugitives to the Delaware. Murfee's mother was a sister of Judge Gore, and when George was seven years old he went to live with the judge, and remained there until he was twenty-one. He carried the mail from Tioga Point. Stephen Morgan lived on the place now occupied by Obadiah Gore, son of Avery Gore, and Daniel Curtis was on the place before Morgan, and built a small log house on it. Matthew Rogers was among the early settlers also. Henry Hiney, a German, came, via Canada, to Sheshequin in 1789, and made a beginning on the same farm.
COLONEL JOSEPH KINGSBURY
was one of the prominent men of Bradford County. He was born in Enfield, Conn., on May 19, 1774, "just as the cradle of liberty began to rock," as he used to express it. His father, Lemuel Kingsbury, was a farmer of that town, and Joseph was bred to the same occupation, but received, nevertheless, a good education for the times, and familiarized himself with the rules of surveying. He was in the family of his paternal grandfather. for whom he was named, much of the time, who was a rigid Presbyterian, and who offered to send him to Yale college if he would prepare himself for the ministry; but the offer, tempting as it was, had too heavy conditions attached for the young man, who looked, as all people more or less did upon a minister as little less than a demi-god, and felt that he was not of that material of which gods were made, and the offer was declined. At nineteen years of age he left the friends of his youth, and with a horse, a small sum of money, and a compass, be turned his face towards the Susquehanna, to find a home and employment. He arrived at Sheshequin in the spring of 1793,* on the very day he was nineteen years old, and resolved to make it his home, and which became so for the remainder of his life. He engaged at once with Gen. Simon Spalding as a surveyor, and began a career that culminated in his appointment as agent for the vast landed estates of Vincent Le Ray de Chaumont, known as the Le Ray lands, Count De Chastelieux, McEwen and Davidson, the Bank of North America, and other tracts granted by the government to liquidate the payment of money loaned to carry on the War of the Revolution. Upon the death of Gen. Spalding, whose daughter, Anna, he had previously married, Col. Kingsbury became the owner of that portion of the old homestead upon which the original mansion stood, where he and his amiable wife reared a family of ten children to manhood and womanhood, and lived to see them all married and well established in life.
His biographer says of him, "Col. Kingsbury was a man of marked characteristics. Possessed of more than ordinary ability by nature, he had brought to the storehouse of his information large additions by thought and reflection, gained from extensive reading and observation. In the field of political discussion he was an adversary of acknowledged force. He was bold, terse, and argumentative as a writer; modest, timid, and reserved as a speaker. In disputes among the early settlers be exercised an extensive influence, and, by individual appeal as agent, he was instrumental in getting the interest abated from their land contracts, by the foreign owners, three several times prior to settlement. He became connected at an early day with the Masonic fraternity, and held a leading position in the order. Without giving special attention to politics, be was taken up as a candidate for congress, contrary to his wishes, and received, in a district strongly opposed to him politically, a vote nearly sufficient for an election. From an early period to his death be was a member and generous contributor to the religious denomination of Universalists. Exercising charity to all, and inculcating principles of morality and integrity in all around him, he strove to lay the foundation of good principles in the community, and among those who with him had opened up the forests to the sunlight and let in its genial rays upon the hearts and homes of the pioneer settlers."
He also owned and cultivated one of the choicest and most beautiful farms in the valley of Sheshquin, and his home was the seat of a most generous and refined hospitality.
He was for many years the colonel of the militia of his district, and postmaster of the town till near the close of his life. He died at his residence, in Sheshequin, June 22, 1849, in his seventy-fifth year, leaving behind him a devoted wife, who died September 18, 1864, in her eighty-sixth year, in the house where she was born. Col. Kingsbury's family consisted of five sons and five daughters, viz.
Mary, the eldest, married Allen Smith, and settled in Steuben Co., N. Y., where she gave birth to three children, a son and two daughters. She now resides in Towanda, with her daughter, Mrs. Chester Spalding, and has reached the age of eighty years.
Almira, the second daughter, married Charles Comstock, and settled at Athens, in this county, having had one daughter and four sons born, all of whom reside away from the county of their nativity; the mother making her home principally with her daughter, in the State of New York, having attained the agc of seventy seven years.
Byron, the third, and oldest son, married Wealthy Ann, daughter of Avery Gore, and moved, in 1824, to the farm now in the borough of Towanda, upon which his widow and remaining family still reside. " His ready wit and genial humor made his society much sought after, while his knowledge of human nature rendered his quaint portraiture of men and incidents, coming under his observation, enlivening topics of social intercourse." He died in 1859, at the age of fifty-six, leaving a widow with two sons and two daughters, out of a family of nine children.
Burton, the fourth child, and second son, married Rowena, the daughter of Judge Scott, and settled in Towanda as a merchant, where he remained till his death, in 1868. They had three sons and one daughter, who, with the exception of one son who volunteered in the Rebellion, and died in Kentucky, are living, but not residents of the county. Mrs. Burton Kingsbury is still residing in Towanda.
Eliza, the fifth child, married Ira H. Stephens, who subsequently became sheriff of Bradford County, and a prominent citizen of his day. They had five sons and one daughter, of whom but three sons are living. She died in Towanda in 1867, aged sixty-two years.
Henry, the sixth child, married Matilda Clisby, and settled on a farm in Sheshequin, from which he removed in 1854. Himself and wife are now living in Towanda, never having had any children.
Joseph, the seventh child, married Matilda, daughter of Col. Hiram Mix, became a merchant in Towanda, and continued in that business for a number of years, subsequently receiving the appointment of deputy collector of internal revenue, which he held for fifteen years. He and his wife reside in Towanda, having reared seven children, four sons and three daughters, of whom all survive but one son.
Marion, the eighth child, married George Sanderson, a lawyer for many years of Towanda. He was also State senator, and is at present a banker in Scranton, Pa. They had five children, three daughters and two sons, four of whom are living, but none are residents of the county.
Helen, the ninth child, married M. C. Mercur, lived for a short time in Towanda, and died in 1840, leaving a son, who resides in the west.
Lemuel S., the tenth child, married Sarah Osborne, and resides upon the homestead farm in Sheshequin, in the house refitted from the old mansion occupied by Col. Kingsbury, and originally by Gen. Spaiding. They have three children, all daughters. The eldest married Orrin D. Kinney, grandson of Joseph Kinney, one of the first pioneers of Sheshcquin. They live in Towanda. The other daughters, one married, live with their parents on the homestead.
W. Wallace Kingsbury, son of' Byron, and grandson of Col. Jos. Kingsbury, is the present secretary of the Historical Society of Bradford County. He has been a resident of nine States and one Territory, twice a member of the legislature, once a member of a constitutional convention, and a delegate to congress from the Territory of Minnesota. He has also been a contributor to the political literature Of his county, and until recently was somewhat active in politics. He is now living in Towanda, in the house where he was born, on the firm given by Avery Gore to his mother a few years subsequent to her marriage with his father, Byron Kingsbury.
A. H. Kingsbury, also a son of Byron, is married, and has four children, and has always resided upon and worked the farm of his mother.
On a gravel knoll on this farm, near the banks of the Susquehanna, numerous Indian arrowheads and pieces of pottery were gathered in earlier days than now, the former being used by the settlers for gun flints.
Ichabod Blackman, son of Elisha Blackman, of Wyoming valley, came from Lebanon, Conn. He was in the Indian battle, but escaping, the family returned to Connecticut. Ichabod came to Sheshequin in the spring of 1794, built a log house just by the road to the ferry, and afterwards built a hewed log house on the upper end of the farm now owned by Franklin Blackman. He came up on a boat with Judge Hollenback, and brought the first cart used in the township. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Jonathan Franklin; she was born in 1770, and was eight years old at the time of the battle. After the battle she stopped in Goshen, N. Y., living with a family named Carpenter, where she was married. Ichabod Blackman was a shoemaker, and frequently made a pair of shoes at night after the severe labors of the day in the forest were over. His excessive toil told seriously on his constitution, making him subject to epilepsy. In the month of April, 1798, he was drowned while crossing the river one very dark night, falling out of the canoe, as was supposed, in one of the attacks of his disease. He was about thirty five years old at his death. Mrs. Blackman married, as her second husband, Timothy Winship, a Hartford merchant, who bought the Connecticut title to nine thousand acres of land in Herrick for twenty-five cents per acre; but Le Ray holding the Pennsylvania title, Winship lost his venture. Mrs. Winship died in 1809, when her husband moved into the Mohawk valley, where be died in 1812. He never recovered from his loss.
Ichabod Blackman had three sons, Franklin, Elisha, and David S. The former lives on the old-homestead, Elisha at Pittston, and David is a Presbyterian minister. Franklin Blackman, known as Col. Blackman, gained his title in the militia service, being lieutenant colonel in 1832. He was justice of the peace under the Dew constitution (1838) for ten years, and was succeeded by his son George W. for the next ten years. He was born Sept. 1, 1787.
William Furguson came to Sheshequin about the same time that Ichabod Blackman did. He married Patience, a daughter also of Jonathan Franklin. He lived for a short time near the Fanning place in Wysox, and then bought and settled on the place now owned by Widow Smith. He brought it up from the wilderness to a fine farm, and died there. Hezekial Smith bought the property about 1845, and Mrs. Furguson and her two sons moved to southern Illinois.
Ebenezer Franklin, a son also of Jonathan, lived for two or three years with his brother Arnold and with Ichabod Blackman, and then went to Indiana, where he died.
Joseph Franklin, another son of Jonathan, came to Sheshequin and taught school for a year or two, but being consumptive, he took a sea voyage by advice of his physicians and died unmarried, on shipboard.
Hugh Rippeth, an Irishman, came to Sheshequin about the time the Blackmans and Franklins came. He lived where Mr. Patterson now lives, near the lower end of Breakneck. His wife was Huldah Franklin, a daughter of John and a niece of Jonathan Franklin, and cousin of Arnold. He lived and died on the Patterson farm, his death occurring about 1805. He had two sons and two daughters. William, the oldest son, died on Shore's hill; one of the daughters married Salmon Beardsley.
Elijah Horton came to Sheshequin about 1794, and lived where Edward Brigham afterwards lived. His sons, William, Joshua, Elijah Jr., Stephen, and Gilbert, came with him. His son Richard came from Stroudsburg about 1796, and bought Arnold Franklin's place. Elijah Horton, Sr., gave a family party in 1815, at which eighty grandchildren were present. This has been a large, respectable, and well-known family; Many of their descendants are now living in the lower part of Sheshequin, and many of the old members have attained great age. Richard Horton bought 100 acres of No. 11, of Arnold Franklin, by deed dated December 12, 1799; Gilbert and Elijah Horton, of Hugh Bippeth, March 11, 1801.
Josiah Tuttle first settled in Ulster, and came over into Sheshequin about 1798, and lived on a place he bought of Josiah Newell, a relative of Abel. Newell moved to the head waters of Towanda creek, where he died. Tuttle died on his purchase.
In establishing his claim to lot No. 11 of Claverack, Abiel Newel brought before the commissioners, under the compensation law of 1799, John Strope, who testified that Captain Solomon Strong told him that William Webber was a settler under him, and that Webber came in the fall of 1786. It was shown that John Newell bought of Webber the year after (1787) ; that John was the father of Josiah Newell and Abiel. John Newell sold a part of his lot to Joseph Salisbury, who retained it for a while, and in 1802 sold part to Josiah Tuttle, and in 1804 the balance to Jonathan Stark, and moved into Ontario county, N. Y. Living also in the same neighborhood was an early settler by the name of Eliphalet Gustin, whose lot was adjoining the Newell lot. John, Josiah, and Abel Newell are given in the Claverack list as settlers prior to 1786.
Jesse Smith came from Connecticut about 1800.
Captain Jabez Fish came from Wilkes Barre to Sheshequin in 1809, and moved to the farm next above the church, where his son Jabez now lives. Zebulon Butler and Harry Spalding had a small framed house on the property near the house now occupied by Wm. Snyder, in which they kept a store. Butler sold the farm to Capt. Forbes, and the latter sold to Fish. Butler married Jemima, the oldest daughter of Capt. Fish by his first wife, who was an Avery and a sister to Judge Gore's wife. Butler lived at Sheshequin with his family. Mr. Fish came from Groton, Conn. Capt.
Captain Jabez Fish will be recognized as a familiar name to every reader Of Wyoming history. Living near him was an old companion in arms and in sufferings, and who came with Gen. Spaidin in 1783, Capt. Stephen Fuller. These two men were pioneers in Wyoming. In a letter written by Judge Stevens, he says that his father, in the month of April, 1773, "moved his family into a house erected on the Wilkes-Barre town-plot, now borough. Previous thereto, only two houses had been erected thereon. In one of them resided Stephen Fuller, and in the other Benjamin Clark afterwards also a neighbor at Ulster. Near the lower, or southwest, corner of the plot were two more houses; in one lived Jabez Sill with his family (who died in Asylum township), and in the other two brothers, Jabez and Elisha Fish, single men. The above was at that time the whole population of what is now the borough (city) of Wilkes-Barre." It was remarkable that all these families, afterwards became residents of Bradford County. Stephen Fuller lived on lot No. 16 of Wilkes-Barre, and sold it to Thomas McCluer, the deed bearing date June 2, 1783. He became quite a speculator in lands under the Connecticut title. Besides receiving a large grant as compensation for his losses from the Pennamites, he was owner of another township, and part owner of several others. In one of his deeds he describes as a mason by trade. Of his family we have learned no particulars. Under date of Feb. 24, 1790, he sells to Reuben Fuller lot No. 8 of Ulster, lying between the lots occupied by Simon and John Spalding.
Elijah Towner and his sons, Enoch and John, settled first where Cyrus Wheeler now lives. They came from Danbury, Conn.
Daniel Moore came from Ireland, and was a soldier of 1812-14. Christopher Avery was a brother of Judge Gore's wife, and a Revolutionary soldier; for his services in which he received a pension. He probably came directly from Connecticut; lived with Judge Gore until his death. He never married.
Among the early settlers may be named also the following: The Kennedys (or Canadas), Peter Bernard, James Bidlack, whose son Daniel now lives in Ghent; Timothy and Samuel Bartlett, Henry Boyce, the Brokaw family, Lodowick Carner, a very ingenious man, and miller of Gen. Spalding; Silas Carner, a brother of the former, whose sons are Horace and Jay, of Athens; Henry Cleveland, a blacksmith; John Dietrich, and Christian Forbes, two Hessians (Edward Vought is a grandson of the former); Zadoc Gillett, who was a successful physician, and lived in the lower part of the town, had an extensive practice, and whose widow lives in Terrytown: Jerome B. Gilbert, of Horn Brook, is his son Freeman Gillett, a superior cabinet-maker and painter, was a noted Freemason also; William Presher, a millwright, and for a time interested in Judge Gore's mill; Edward Griffin, who made "bull" plows in Centre Valley; Samuel Hoyt, a carpenter; Isaac S. Low, a blacksmith (1820); Samuel Thomas, and Josiah B. Marshall, brothers, of whom Josiah went to the Sandwich Islands, thence to California, finally dying in Corpus Christi; Matthew Rogers, an Irishman and a soldier of 1812 (John S. Roger was his son); David E. Weed, noted for his deer-skin dress, worn as long, as he could get the material to make the same.
THE CHARACTER OF THE PIONEERS
is thus described by Judge Bullock: "There was one trait in the inhabitants worthy of remark and of imitation, which was their avoidance of lawsuits. In attendance at our courts for nearly half a century, I was seldom, if ever, present at a trait of a suit between parties from that locality. I attribute the circumstance very much to the general influence of some of the aged members of that community, and have also thought its happy effects could be seen in the continued prosperity of the inhabitants. Instead of wasting their time and means at court, and in supporting constables, lawyers, sheriffs, and prothonotaries, their energies were devoted to improving their farms, and in making themselves and their families comfortable at home, in which they were eminently successful."
INCIDENT AND REMINISCENCE
Gen. Spalding had a peculiar tact in pleasing the redskins and rarely failed to provide good cheer for the innerman, and relaxation and sport for all on their frequent visits at his home, on their way to and from their homes in New York. At one time he combined the two objects by furnishing two slim bodied, long legged shoats for the supper and breakfast of the Indians, provided two of their number should catch the aforesaid shoats by fair means of running. The proposition was accepted and the runners selected, who proceeded to strip to their leggings and breech clouts, and with their knives were ready for the run. The shoats were turned loose on the flats, and the chase began, and it is quite safe to say that such ecstasy as both red man and pale-face were in at the novel spectacle is seldom witnessed. The hogs were at first too swift for their pursuers, but once in a while the Indians would catch their game by the tail, but in attempting to secure it would be thrown down, sometimes tumbling heels over head, and dragged over the ground till they could hold on no longer, the air the while being filled with the roars of laughter of the spectators, and the squealing and grunting of the frightened swine. This sport lasted for three quarters of an hour, when the Indians proved the conquerors. A fire was built, the hogs laid on without dressing, roasted, and eaten with much satisfaction.
The treaty of 1790 with the Six Nations was one of much interest. About three hundred warriors, in full gala dress, passed down the Susquehanna and encamped on the Sheshequin flats. Their whoops and war dances, though terrifying, still became interesting in the extreme. Gen. Spaiding contributed to their frolic and cuisine at the same time by giving, them six good rounding hogs for capturing and cooking. This race was a long and exciting one. They cooked these shoats in a kettle with corn and beans, sans dressing, and called it "ump-a-squanch." On their return from Philadelphia they stopped at the same place and challenged the whites for a foot race. The challenge was accepted and William Witter Spalding selected as the champion of the settlers, and won the race. This gave umbrage to the Indians, and then Spalditig challenged them to run a mile, but it was refused, and peace was maintained with much difficulty, the Indians drawing their knives for fighting.
THE PUMPKIN FLOOD
occurred in the fall of 1786, on the Susquehanna, and was so called from the fact that it swept away all the pumpkins on the flats in this and other townships, lodging them in the lower valleys of the river. Another great inundation occurred in the valley of Sheshequin in July 1809, doing at that season of the year great damage to growing crops.
THE TREATY OF GHENT
Ghent, as the eastern portion of the township of Sheshequin is called, received its cognomen from the following incident: A man named Earl Mastin, and his wife, early settlers there, were rather rare specimens of humanity. In one of their drunken sprees they got into a fight, which, resulting rather as a drawn game, the belligerents agreed to a dissolution of partnership. After some days of sober reflection, Mastin came to the conclusion to make overtures for the resumption of amicable relations, but fearing the reception of his terms, if presented by himself, would be prejudiced, be concluded to employ an ambassador, and therefore applied to Silas Gore who undertook to negotiate a peace with the woman in the question. Mr. Gore brought the parties to his own house as neutral ground, and, after considerable diplomacy, articles of peace and amity were agreed upon, and the reunited pair went home rejoicing. Just previous to that time articles of peace had been signed at Ghent, in Belgium, between Great Britain and the United States, and Dr. Zadoc Gillett gave this place the name of Ghent, which designation is likely to be retained a long time, in commemoration of the reconciliation of that pioneer pair.
A melancholy accident occurred in Sheshequin, July 8, 1801, which resulted in the death of a young man named Lockwood Curry. A son of Joseph Smith secreted himself before dark, one evening, to watch a deer-lick. Some time after, Lockwood Curry a son of Wm. Curry, aged about nineteen years, took his way to the lick for the same purpose, covered with a covering of a reddish color. As he approached in the dusky light, young Smith, supposing it to be a deer, discharged his rifle full in the face of the approaching object. Smith ran to the spot where the object had fallen to the ground, and, to his horror and anguish, found his friend and companion, bleeding and speechless. He was too terrified to render assistance, but ran to his home and alarmed the parents and neighbors of the young man, who rallied and brought the unfortunate in. He lived until about three o'clock in the afternoon of the next day, remaining speechless to the last.
On Friday, Feb. 17, 1804, David Smith, a tailor in Sheshequin, committed suicide, after a prolonged debauch, by plunging into the Susquehanna through an open place in the ice. He first hung his hat, coat, and vest on a pole projecting from the bank over the stream.
In 1850, Sheshequin had a population of 1453, of whom 2 were colored. In 1860 there were 1599 persons in the township, all white. In 1870 there were 1596, of whom 75 were foreign born and 7 were colored. There are at present three stores in the township, all at the centre; three churches, Universalist, in the upper part of the village, Methodist Episcopal, in Horn Brook*, and another of the same denomination in Ghent, and an Odd Fellows' lodge in the village (Valley lodge), a hotel, Valley House, and a planing and grist mill, owned by Messrs. Ayres. The village strangles along a single street for nearly a mile.
*Horn Brook takes its name from a tree found growing on its banks, in which the horns of a deer were imbedded, the tree in its growth having encompassed it.
THE RESTING PLACES
of many of the old pioneers are as follows: In the Gore burying ground: Judge Obadiah Gore, Hannah his wife; Capt. Avery Gore, Lucy, his wife; Hannah Park, mother of Judge Gore; Hannah Gore, born 1721, died Aug. 14, 1804; Samuel K. Gore, died July 9, 1840, aged 53 years, Calista Gore, his wife; Jane Gooding, died Dec. 27, 1867, aged 73 years. In the old Sheshequin burial ground: Gen. Simon Spalding, Ruth, his wife; Col. John Spalding, Wealthy, his wife; Joseph Kinney, and Sarah, his wife; Perley, Sarah, Phebe, and George Kinney, children of Joseph Kinney; Mary Carner, wife of George Kinney; Col. Joseph Kingsbury, and Anna, his wife; Capt. Jabez Fish and wife, Ebenezer Shaw and wife, Capt. Jeremiah Shaw, and Jedediah Shaw; Maj. William Witter Spalding died Oct. 16, 1845, aged seventy seven years; Col. Robert Spalding son of Maj. W. W. Spalding; Rev. Moses Park and wife, Samuel Gore and wife, Peter Snyder and wife, and son William; Benjamin Brink and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Myers, died Aug. 22, 1834, aged one hundred and five years.
In the Lower Sheshequin burial ground: John M. Smith and wife, aged seventy-five and eighty years respectively; Elijah Horton, born 1740, and Jemima, his wife; Richard, Richard C., William, and Isaac Horton, and Sally and Laura, wives of Isaac; Elijah Horton, born 1768, and his two wives; Jesse Smith, and Jane, his wife, both aged seventy-seven years; Mercy Smith, a-ed seventy-eight years; James Shores and wife, David S. Blackman, Francis Joseph Presse, born in Tours, France, 1770, died 1833; John C. Forbes, aged ninety-three years, and Deborah, his wife, aged seventy-five years; Sibyl, wife of Col. F. C. Blackman, aged seventy-six years; Saloma, wife of George Kilmer, aged eighty-five years; Christina, wife of Jeremiah Kilmer, aged seventy-three years.
In the Ghent burial ground: John C. Van Sise, died Oct. 30, 1849, aged ninety-three years. "Bunker Hill, Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, and Yorktown, attested his valor and fidelity."
The subject of this sketch, Ebenezer Shaw, was born Sept. 5, 1771, a subject of the tyrant king George Ill. As a child he listened to the talk of his father and the neighbors, down in Rhode Island, about the illegal and unjust taxations imposed, and the degree of resistance that was justifiable and expedient. The tea bait he saw spurned; he beard the fearful booming of the coming Revolution from the fields of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill ; and his boyish hurrahs may have mingled with the rejoicing over the Declaration of Independence. He heard, during seven years, the ebbs and the flows of the battles of the war for independence, and, most welcome of all the news of peace. Israel Shaw, the great grandfather of our subject, was born at Little Compton, in the province of Rhode Island, in the year 1660, twenty-four years after its settlement by Roger Williams. Jeremiah Shaw, his was born in the same place, in the year 1701. Jeremiah, Jr., his father, was born at Little Compton in the year 1730, and our subject, as previously stated. In 1772 the family of Jeremiah, Jr., removed to the east bank of the Hudson, and in 1786 came to Sheshequin making the journey via Stroudsburg the valley or the Lehigh crossing, the mountains to Wyoming valley, and thence up the Susquehanna to Sheshequin, arriving there April 1. His father's family consisted of ten children, five boys, and five girls, our subject outliving them all, and at the centenial celebration held at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Ob(idiah Gore, in Sheshequin, every branch of this numerous family were represented, except that of Phebe Bartlett. There were five generations present, the last being a daughter of Mrs. De Kelley, who was formerly Anna Powell, the daughter of B. F. Powell, formerly editor of the Bradford Argus; her mother was a daughter of Sidney Bailey, who married a daughter of Ebenezer Shaw. Mr. Shaw was married to Cynthia Holcomb in 1801; the fruits of this union were nine children, five of whom are living. He came from a long lived ancestry; his father died in 1815, at the age of eighty-five; and his grandfather and great-grandfather lived to very advanced ages. He inherited a physical organization the most powerful and enduring. His life labors were ever in the open air, and those of his early days were such as to develop a strong and vigorous constitution. His habits were the most regulate, and his food plain and simple. He never used tobacco in any form, and for the last forty years of his life wholly abstained from the use of stimulating drinks. He was, genial, jolly, and happy, fond of fun, frolics, and jokes, allowed no cares to worry and weigh him down, and had no reflections of wrong doing to annoy and disturb his hours of rest. Such were the conditions which prolonged his life to five score years. It was his pride and boast that he voted for General Washington at his second election in 1792, and at every presidential election up to the date of his death. In 1801 be joined Rural Amity Lodge, No. 70, F. and A. at., at Athens (Tioga Point), and at the date of his death was probably the oldest Mason in the nation. He held various offices in his lodge from time to time; first as Tyler; then eight years as Senior Deacon Junior Warden, three years; and Treasurer, fifteen years. And the records, show that during those twenty-nine years there was rarely a meeting that he was not present. Brother Shaw also received in the chapter then working in Athens the degrees of Capitular Masonry. Jan. 21, 1813, he was exalted a Royal Arch Mason. May 27. 1847, at the reinstitution of the lodge, he was present as an acting officer of the Grand Lodge, with Col. Kingsbury and others of the old members. His name appears as an attendant until the younger officers were fully instructed, when his presence became less and less frequent; and well it should, for he was then upwards of seventy-five years of age. Mr. Shaw, in the declining years of his life, was tenderly cared for by his daughter, Mrs. Obadiah Gore, near his former residence. He died Dec. 17, 1871, over one hundred years of age. A large concourse of Masons followed him to his last resting place.
The subject of this sketch was born in Wyalusing, April 25, 1797, and is the second son of Daniel and Mary Brown, who were among the pioneer settlers of said township. At the age of twenty-five, Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Maria, daughter of Jabez Fish, of Sheshequin. The fruits of this union were two daughters, Ethlin A. and Mary Elizabeth, the former born June 28, 1823, the latter July 27, 1828. Ethlin A. married Elijah A. Parsons, of Towanda (proprietor of the Argus, the oldest paper in the county, and at present controlled by himself and son), and died May 14, 1877. Mary Elizabeth married Levi Wells, of Susquehanna county, and died some seventeen years since. Mrs. Brown, wife of Jesse, died July 16, 1847, aged forty-nine years three months and thirteen days. For his second wife Mr. Brown married Sophia, daughter of Guy and Betsey Wells, of Wyalusing, Feb. 27, 1849. Mrs. B. is a member of the Presbyterian Church, with which she has been connected fifty eight years, and has ever been a faithful attendant until stricken down with paralysis some time during the spring months of 1877. Mr. Brown is a member of no church, though his sentiments are with the Methodists. He has been successful in life as a farmer, having accumulated a large property, and at present is in possession of some three hundred acres of fine and fertile lands in the valley of Sheshequin. We present in this connection the portraits of himself and wife as a memento to their relatives and friends of Bradford County.
COL. FRANKLIN BLACKMAN
The subject of this sketch, Colonel Franklin Blackman, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne Co., Pa., Sept. 28, 1787. He is the oldest son of Ichabod Blackman, who was born in Windham, Conn., in the year 1762. His mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Franklin, was born in Litchfield, Conn., in the year 1760. They were united in marriage at Goshen, Orange Co., N. Y., in 1786, and settled in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne Co. When Franklin was three years old they moved to Sheshequin (then Luzerne county), and settled on the farm now occupied by our subject. It was then a wilderness, the only spot cleared being an island of the giver, which was considered a valuable piece of property at that time, and in the immediate vicinity of the now choice lands of Mr. Blackman, lying on the eastern bank of the beautiful Susquehana. Six years from the date of their settlement, Ichabod, rather of Col. Blackman, was drowned at the mouth of Sugar creek, nearly opposite their farm.
At the age or twenty-two, Col. Blackman was married to Sibyl Beardsley, daughter of David and Louisa Beardsley. The result of this union was ten children, viz. Malinda, Elizabeth, George W., who died Jan. 18, 1819: Celinda, Hiram L., Wealthy, David J., Joseph P., Mary, and George W., all of whom lived to be men and women except George W., who died when but five years old. Seven of them are still living (Jan. 1, 1878). Malinda died in Sheshequin, June 7, 1850, and Hirim L. in California, Dec. 19, 1850. At the age of seventeen, Col. Blackman conceived the idea of establishing a ferry across the river, and, constructing a rude craft, began operations. This must have been a severe task in those days, especially at high water and with a strong current but it is said of the colonel that he was very skillful, and with the aid only of a long pole conducted his passengers over with safety. This proved to be a very successful undertaking, and to-day, instead of using the pole or paddle, there is a strong wire cable extending from one bank to the other, and, with a rapid current as the propelling power, one cannot but enjoy crossing the river at Blackman's ferry.
In politics he was originally a Whig and upon the formation of the Republican party united with it, and has since stood firm to its principles. During Whig days he was the nominee for sheriff of the county, and, although the county at that time had a Democratic majority of over 600, he brought it down to less than 300, and subsequently, when nominated for county commissioner, the majority against him was less than 100. He served fifteen consecutive years as justice of the peace, and was succeeded by his son, George W., in 1860. Prior to his nomination for sheriff, be held four commissions in the military service from the Governors first, as cornet (color bearer) of cavalry second, as first lieutenant; third, as captain of the foot, and fourth, as colonel of militia. He has ever been a peaceful citizen, was never brought before a justice, and never appeared on a court calendar as plaintiff or defendant. Mr. Blackman came from a long lived ancestry, and inherited a strong physical organization and vigorous constitution, which were the better developed by his life upon the farm and ferry; and now, at the age of fourscore and ten, we can imagine that we hear him say,-
A holiday, companions dear;
My days are drawing to an end,
And I would for that end prepare."