The Reverend Mr. David Craft
Towanda Borough and Township
THE present Site of the borough of Towanda, when the first settlers came to it, in 1784, was covered with a dense growth of timber, and shrubs so noted as to be known by the older settlers as "Canewood." It now contains the dwellings, business houses, churches, and schoolhouses for the accommodation of five thousand inhabitants.
Another has aptly described the beautiful surroundings of Towanda, which we quote: "The town is beautifully located. Starting on the Wysox end of the bridge, it spreads itself out before the beholder like a Pre-Raphaelite picture, glowing in the sunlight and shadows. The foreground of the landscape is the broad, blue mirror of the Susquehanna and the long line of stately stores and warehouses of Main Street, broken by the spires of the courthouse and the Presbyterian church. While rising in terraces, peeping, out from the beautiful foliage which half conceals them, the comfortable homes and neat residences on Second, Third, and Fourth Streets, clinging to the hilly background, recall to the mind visions of the celebrated hanging gardens of ancient Babylon. It is a scene of natural beauty that is rare in its combinations of natural and artificial adornments, one that is rare in any country, even in our own favored land, so beautiful by nature, so adorned by human endeavor."
The village was united with the township for municipal purposes until 1828, when it was incorporated as a borough. It improved very slowly until the canal and railroads were built through it, which gave to its growth a great impetus. Land in its vicinity when it was first laid out, sold from 50 cents to $2.50 per acre, side lots in the borough for $50, and corner lots in eligible situations sold for $100; and in 1877 lots on Main street sold for $50 to $150 per front foot, and the land in the immediate vicinity sold for $100 to $150 per acre.
The borough contains 5 hotels, 2 banks, 3 public balls, 14 stores, 6 churches, a college, a graded free school, society lodges of various orders, 2 steam fire engines, 1 hand engine, a hook and ladder company, mowing machines, mail, fanning mill, window sash and blind, boot and shoe, and furniture manufactories, a steam grist and planing mill. Three railroads pass through the borough, and a fourth one is in contemplation.
The population of the borough in 1850 was 1135; in 1860, 1571; in 1870, 2696, of whom 323 were foreign born and 87 colored.
When first laid out the village had but a single street, a narrow wagon road along what is now Main street, called the "Tioga Point" road. The ravines near Bridge and Lombard streets were crossed by bridges of logs covered with planks, which, becoming rotten, made their transit dangerous. Judge La Porte once fell through the lower one with his team, but fortunately without injury to his person or horses.
When Bradford County was organized, in 1812, for judicial purposes, commissioners were appointed to select a county seat of justice, and were limited by law to a radius of two miles from its geographical centre; the Susquehanna river, at Towanda, forming the eastern line of the radius, this being the point towards which the valleys of the Sugar, Towanda, and Wysox creeks and the Susquehanna converged, the stake for the site of the court house was set by the commissioners at that point, on a tract of land in the warrant name of William Kepple, parts of which, as appears from the town plat, were owned by William Means, Thomas Overton, Shepard & Dorrance, Ebenezer B. Gregory, and Harry Spalding. The portion owned by William Means was from the square below South street, so called because it was the southernmost street of the plat-up to the run between Pine and Spruce, now called Bridge street; Overton and Shepard & Dorrance owned from Means' line up to Beech, now called State street. Gregory owned from their line to the western terminus of Maple street, whence his line diverged northeastwardly to a point near the corner of Tanner and Second streets, whence it diverged still farther eastward to the river, at the terminus of Tanner street; Overton and Spalding owned all north of Gregory's line. The proprietors laid out the town at the site fixed upon for the court-house in 1812, which in the original plat was called "Overton," and is so named in the deed conveying the public or court-house square, and a lot on State, below Main street, for county offices, to "Joseph Kinney, Justus Gaylord, and William Myer, commissioners of the county, and their successors in office, in trust for the use of the county, described as being a part of a large tract called Canewood," and patented to William Kepple, May 17, 1785; who conveyed the same to Adam Kuhn, Aug. 24, 1795; who conveyed the same to Thomas Overton, Oct. 24, 1810; being the tract of land where the stake was stuck for the county town of Bradford County, now called Overton, containing two acres, more or less." The other lot on State street contained half an acre. Efforts were made to call the town "Meansville," in honor of William Means, one of the proprietors, and it generally went by that name for several years. The contest over the name assumed a political phase, the Democrats favoring the name of Meansville, and the opposition that of Towanda. In 1815 the editor of the Bradford Gazette, Burr Ridgway, offered, "in the interest of peace and harmony," the name of Williamstown, as a compromise, but neither side were satisfied with it. In 1828, James P. Bull and William Patton, leading Democrats of the county, who had previously influenced the senator from the district, Judge Ryan, to oppose its incorporation, finally yielded to the strong current of popular feeling and acquiesced in its incorporation by the name of Towanda, which in the Indian dialect was pronounced To-wan-daugh, and by the primitive inhabitants in its vicinity Townday. The conflicting claims under the Connecticut and Pennsylvania titles were compromised and settled.
The courses of the streets were laid north 2 decrees east, and north 88 degrees west, and were laid out 3 rods, or 49 1/2 feet, in width, except Front, now called Main Street, the principal street, Poplar, and Beach or State streets, which were 4 rods or 66 feet wide. From the river westward the streets were 5 squares in length, and were called Front (now Main), Second, Third, and Fourth streets; from south to north they were called South, Spruce, Pine, Poplar, Maple, Beech, Lombard, Tanner, Chestnut, and Walnut. Owing to the divergence of the line of the Kepple warrant from near the western terminus of Lombard street towards the river, being, north 50 degrees east, some of the squares along the northern diagonal boundary line were reduced to fractional parts of squares. As Elizabeth street (so called in honor of Elizabeth Means by her grandson, Col. John F. Means) and other streets have been laid out south of South street, the name of that street has been by common consent changed to Washington street. Since the bridge over the Susquehanna was located at the eastern terminus of Spruce street, that street has been known as Bridge street; and as the State road passes westward through the borough, and diagonally crosses Beech street, and was made to conform to it, Beech now goes by the name of State street.
In 1868 the borough council appointed William H. Morgan engineer, to make survey of all the open streets and alleys, and report the same as open upon the ground, which was all properly done June 1, 1869. The property owners were notified that a corrected map of all open streets and alleys of the borough, with proposed location, had been prepared under directions of town council, and objections must be filed in writing within five days, etc. after which time the council ordained the width of the several streets, and directed the setting of permanent stone and iron headers indicating the lines of the same.
SAYRE & CO.'S ADDITION
The borough limits were extended north in 1867, so as to take in the farm of Wealthy Ann Kingsbury, and a portion of the same adjacent to the line of railroad was sold to Robert H. Sayre & Co., which was subdivided in 1868 into village lots, since which time a number of fine houses have been erected and a large proportion of the lots sold.
JAMES WARD'S ADDITION
James Ward's property lies between Sayre & Co.'s addition and Locust avenue, and has been subdivided into lots on the east and west boundaries, leaving his residence on the height of ground in the centre.
HOUSTON STREET SUBDIVISION
The property of Mrs. Houston and James Foster has been subdivided into lots and nearly all sold, with grades of streets reported for record.
MERCUR & RUSSELL'S ADDITION
This subdivision includes a portion of the enlarged Riverside cemetery and all the lots lying between Locust Avenue, York Avenue, and Dietrick's line. This plat is all occupied by buildings.
MRS. BARSTOW'S SUBDIVISION
This plat of ground lies between York avenue and Main street, north of the fine residence of William H. Morgan, on that street.
This subdivision lies south of Bridge street and west of Main. Since 1865 lots have sold rapidly. This property, in connection with the estate of David Cash on the north, has furnished considerable revenue to the borough from its rapid growth.
The estate of Thomas Elliott, which had been withheld from the market for many years, was subdivided by Wm. H. Morgan, civil engineer, in 1871, and put upon the market by Edward T. Elliott, proprietor, since which time lots have sold rapidly. Fourth Street has already been extended through the property.
HENRY WARD'S ADDITION
This addition was laid out in 1872, and comprises thirteen acres. It is composed of seventy-six lots, which average 50 by 135 feet. The new schoolhouse is located on this addition.
COURT HOUSE AND JAIL
Until the courthouse was built the courts were held at the Red tavern, owned by William Means, opposite the ferry, and the jail was kept by Sheriff Rockwell, at his residence in Monroeton. The deed for the public square was dated April 21, 1813, and arrangements were at once consummated for the erection of an office for the commissioners and prothonotary, Joseph Elliott contracting for the same at $335. The office was completed and occupied August 4 of the same year.
The courthouse was begun in 1814, the commissioners doing the work by the day and buying the material as the building progressed. The cost of the courthouse was not far from $7000, and it was completed and occupied Jan. 9, 1816, the jail occupying the basement story. Among the bills audited were some for the expenses incurred in "raising" the building, one of which was for $46.50 for whisky and $4 for cider, and another $91.82 for meals.
This building was burned down in the great fire of March 12, 1847. The records of the commissioners contain the following entry made by the clerk: "March 12, 1847. This day the greatest fire occurred in Towanda that has ever been known in this section of country. It broke out on Main street, between One and two o'clock p.m., and among other buildings the courthouse and jail were burned."
An act was passed by the legislature, March 15, 1847, enabling the county to make a loan for the erection of new buildings, and a contract was made with Col. John F. Means for the erection of a new building", June 25 1847, Sidney Hayden being the sub-contractor, who fulfilled the contract. The new building (the present one) was occupied in September, 1850. Its approximate cost, complete and finished for use, was $28,000. The prisoners in the jail, the same year of its completion, attempted to destroy it by fire, but were frustrated. The fire being discovered and extinguished before serious damage was done. An apprehension of a repetition of the attempt, and which might prove successful, led to the construction of the present massive structure on Pine between Main and Second streets, which was erected in 1871-72, at a cost of $65,000. For strength and adaptation to the purposes of a county prison it is probably not excelled in the State, and is equaled by very few similar structures. It is constructed of mill-stone brought from Mill Stone Creek, on the Barclay railroad. It contains a "dwelling-house" basement, 30 by 60 feet, with a connection for a "prison" 48 by 60 feet, all two stories high, the stories being 10 feet 6 inches in the clear. The main entrance, on Pine street, is a massively built archway, and the entire building presents an appearance of strength and durability that gives a most pleasing sense of security to the residents of the county.
In 1857-58 the present prothonotary's and register's office was built. It is a fire-proof building, and is usually called the "fire-proof." It cost about $7500.
The three wards of the borough constitute one school district, whose school affairs are managed by a board of six members elected by the people. There is a brick school building on Second street, and the board completed a magnificent brick schoolhouse on State street in 1873, It was designed by J. E. Flemin, architect, and is 63 by 65 feet, three stories, with basement. The architectural effect is very pleasing, and the structure is surmounted with a cupola for bell. The basement is 9 feet high; first floor 12 feet 6 inches; second floor 13 feet; and third floor 15 feet high. The third floor contains but one room, and is designed for an exhibition hall, etc.
In 1812, or thereabouts, Mrs. Ebenezer B. Gregory tau-ht a select school, near the present site of the Catholic Church. While the children were dismissed for recess, a screaming and shouting was heard from them by the school-ma'am, and the scholars came rushing, into the school-room, shouting, "A bear, a bear!" When the confusion had subsided, it was discovered that a tame cub had got away from its tether, and, running in among, the children for a rough frolic, had caused a stampede, upon which he climbed up a tree, as much frightened as were those with whom he had come to play.
THE SUSQUEHANNA COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE
This educational institution, under the care of the presbytery of Lackawanna, of the Presbyterian Church, was chartered in 1849, and the building completed and occupied September 6, 1854. The building is a handsome four-story brick, and stands isolated in an enclosure of ten acres. It is built on high ground, and from it a magnificent view of the borough and surrounding country can be had. The value of the property is $50,000. Its concerns are managed by a board of trustees and an executive committee.
The history of the churches will be found elsewhere in the general history of the county, where will also be found the history of the press, the legal and medical professions, schools, societies and associations and railroads.
BUSINESS INTERESTSTHE POST-OFFICE
The first postmaster of Towanda was Reuben Hale, appointed in 1810. The post-office is very centrally located in Mercur's block, Main street. In 1873, it was refitted and furnished with Yale's patent lock-boxes, and its interior arrangements so placed as to expedite the handling of mail matter. It is now one of the neatest and best-arranged offices in the State. Through the kindness of S. W. Alvord, Esq., the postmaster, we are enabled to give the following statistics The office contains 1200 boxes, of which 675 are lock, and 525 call boxes. The present officers are S. W. Alvord, postmaster; F. C. Gore and C. M. Wilson, clerks.
TELEGRAPHIC AND EXPRESS
The Western Union telegraph company's office in Towanda is located in the Ward House block, a most convenient and central location.
The Central and Adams express companies have an office in the same room with the telegraph company. They employ three men and one wagon at this point.
THE TOWANDA BANK
was chartered in 1838 and failed in 1842. M. C. Mercur conducted a private bank for a few years in the borough.
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF TOWANDA
This. one of the most successful banking, institutions of the country, was chartered under the National banking law July, 1863, and immediately commenced business. The original capital of the bank was $100,000; but in February 1865, it was increased to $125,000. Gordon F. Mason was the first president, and served in that capacity until January 13, 1865, when he was succeeded by E. H. Smith; and on January 13, 1870, Joseph Powell, the present popular and efficient president, assumed the position he now holding. N. N. Betts, Jr., has filled the position of cashier acceptably since the organization of the bank. The brick building formerly owned by the bank, and occupied by it as a banking-house since its organization to 1874, was then demolished to give place to a structure worthy of Towanda and the bank. The banking-house was designed by J. E. Fleming the well-known architect, and is elegantly and conveniently arranged. It is of brick, 40 by 70 feet, two stories in height, and provided with fire and burglar proof vaults and safes of the most approved description, besides being fitted up with special reference to the comfort and convenience of the customers and patrons of the bank, as well as its employees.
THE CITIZENS' NATIONAL BANK
was recently chartered, and is fast acquiring a substantial business success.
TOWANDA EUREKA MOWER COMPANY
This company was organized in 1873, with a capital of $100,000. The present officers are S. D. Madison, president; Joseph Powell, treasurer; W. G. Tracy, deputy treasurer and secretary. The company has purchased the premises on Main Street formerly occupied by O. D. Bartlett'as a foundry and machine-shop. The company only took possession of their shops in March, 1873; yet such was the energy and vigor of the management, that on the lst of April all had been got ready, and operations commenced. On the 20th of May the first machine (Wilber's patent direct draft Eureka mower) was completed. The works consist of a main building, of brick, three stories high, 75 by 90 feet, and a two story frame building, 45 by 70 feet. The motive power is steam
TOWANDA IRON MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
This company was chartered July 23, 1870, and has a capital of $75,000. The works and office are located at South Towanda, on the Barclay Railroad. The present officers are Col. J. F. Mean,;, president and manager; H. L. Scott, secretary and treasurer. William Long, an experienced iron-master, is superintendent of the works. Ground for the works was broken in August 1871, and they were completed in September 1872. They consist of a main building, 150 by 75 feet, with two wings, each 40 by 60 feet. They contain three double puddling furnaces, three beating furnaces, a nail-plate mill, a puddle-bar mill, twenty three nail machines, a set of shears with engine attached for preparing scrap iron for the beating furnaces, a powerful fan-blower with engine, and other machinery of various kinds. The motive power for the rolling mill is furnished by an engine of two hundred and fifty horsepower, and for the nail machines, by an engine of seventy-five horsepower. The works at present give employment to about eighty hands, and have a capacity for turning out about two hundred kegs of nails per day. The works turn out all kinds of nails and cut-spikes, and Towanda nails have already achieved an enviable reputation in the market as first-class goods.
BOOT AND SHOE FACTORY
Humphrey Brothers & Tracy's boot and shoe manufactory is located at the corner of Main and Elizabeth streets. The firm commenced their manufacturing business August 1, 1871, although its members had long previously been engaged in the boot and shoe trade. Their facto is a fine brick structure, 40 by 80 feet, five stories, with an elevator running from top to bottom. The business is conducted with great system, and the building is divided as follows: Basement floor, sole-leather cutting; first floor, office and general salesroom second floor, cutting and fitting of boot and shoe uppers; third floor, bottoming department; fourth floor, crimping, treeing, and finishing department. There are seventy-five men employed, and the firm have in use all the latest improved machinery. At present only pegged work is turned out in any quantity, and the boots and shoes, although largely manufactured by the aid of machinery are in reality as much handmade as any boots or shoes made in village or city shops. The present production of the establishment is about one hundred cases per week, each case containing twelve pairs of boots or shoes. The establishment pays for wages alone nearly $1200 weekly.
TOWANDA TANNING COMPANY
This company was organized in 1867. The present officers are Joseph Powell, president, and J. F. Means, C. S. Russell, Robert H. Sayre, and James McFarlane, directors. The tannery is situated at Greenwood, six miles from Towanda, and gives employment to eighty men. It turns out sole leather only, of which it has a capacity of 60,000 sides per year. Office at Towanda.
In 1871, Messrs. J. O. Frost & Sons, furniture dealers, who had, prior to that time, carried on a limited manufacturing business in connection with their furniture store, finding that the quality of their products had created a large demand, determined to erect a factory, filled with all the improved machinery, that would enable them to supply the trade throughout this region with good and cheap furniture. Accordingly work was commenced, and the present fine factory, on Charles Street, rapidly pushed forward to completion. It consists of a solidly built three story brick building, with slate roof, 40 by 160 feet, with an addition 12 by 30 feet, and an engine and boiler-room 40 by 20 feet. The motive power for the machinery of the factory is supplied by two splendid engines of forty horse power each. The works give employment to forty persons, and turn out quantities of bedsteads, cottage chamber suites of elegant designs, bureaus, tables, chairs, etc. These goods are sold all over the country, and a large and growing demand has sprung up for them. A portion of the factory is used as a planing mill, and is provided with a full set of machinery for the manufacture of flooring siding, sash, doors, blinds, architectural woodwork, etc.
Henry Stulen, Pine street, near Main, Established in 1870. The factory is 25 by 70 feet, four stories, and contains a blacksmith-shop, 35 by 25, two fires wood-shop, 25 by 35, four bedebes; variiisli-room, 20 by 20 – paint shop, 50 by 25 trimming shop, 20 by 25. The works gave employment to fifteen hands. Towanda carriage factory, corner Elizabeth and Main Streets. This establishment was started in 1832 by G. H. Drake and in 1866 James Bryant, the present proprietor, assumed control. The works are located in a fine brick structure, 101 by 26 feet, and give employment to twenty hands. They consist of a blacksmith shop, 50 by 26, three fires; wood-shop, 50 by 26, four benches; trimming shop, 26 by 20; varnish-room and ware rooms, 60 by 26.
FOUNDRY AND MACIIINE-SHOP
Means, Rockwell & Co.'s foundry and machine shop, Pine street, below Main. The business was established by John Cartijon, in 1837. In 1869, Col, J. F. Means purchased the establishment, and in 1871 the present firm was formed. The works consist of a brick machine shop 45 by 81, containing five lathes of various sizes; two planers; two drills; a bolt-cutter and a boring mill a blacksmith shop, 25 by 30, with two fires supplied with rotary blast a foundry, 45 by 50, with cupola capable of melting four tons, and crane for handling heavy castings; also a core-oven; a pattern room, 20 by 40; and wood shop, 32 by 50. The engine and boiler-room is 20 by 24 feet, and fire-proof. It contains a splendid steam engine of sixty-horse power, which furnishes motive force for the establishment, which gives employment to twenty men, and turns out steam engines of all kinds, mill gearing, circular saw-mills, castings of all kinds, corn shellers, force-pumps, Griswold's patent turbine water-wheel, mine cars and wheels, shafting hangers, etc. l. A. Rockwell, one of the firm, a practical mechanic, oversees every department.
There is also a branch at Monroeton, four miles from Towanda, of which W. H. Rockwell is superintendent, and where a specialty is made of plows, cultivators, sleigh-shoes, etc.
George McCabe & Son, Main street, are the only marble manufacturers in the borough. The time was established in 1860, and employs six hands. Their shop is 50 by 25 feet, elegantly arranged and well lighted, and contains a food assorties of their work, such as monuments, headstones, mantels, etc. They also keep on hand a stock of slate mantels, terra-cotta garden ornaments, vases, marble dust, plaster of Paris, etc.
MINERAL AND SODA-WATER FACTORY
G. S. Smith, Chestnut street, established in 1868. Employs four persons in the manufacture of soda water, buck and cronk beer, etc. His factory is 24 by 36 feet, with cellar, and provided with improved machinery.
B. Ro-ers & Co.'s planing mill, on the plank-road, was established in 1864. The mill is 44 by 70 feet, two stories high, with a basement. The firm gives employment to forty men. There is also a storing house, 20 by 30 feet, two stories; paint-shop and drying kiln, 20 by 30; and a finishing house, 20 by 40. The mill contains two flooring machines, one double surfacer, re-saw, jig saw, and a full set of sash, door, and blind machinery; the whole driven by a fine engine of forty horse power. The capacity of the mill is two million feet per year.
Towanda has several good hotels, among which we might name the Ward House, on Main street, built by J. 0. Waid in 1848, and now kept by Thomas R. Jordan. The Ward House was destroyed by fire in 1877, and rebuilt and thoroughly fitted up for a first class hotel ; and it is so kept, under the able management of the genial host and his estimable lady. The Means House, also under the management of Mr. Jordan, was destroyed by fire, in March 1878. Also, the Elwell House, of Park street, opened in 1867 the Vance House, on State street, American hotel, near the bridge, on Bridge street, the Temperance hotel, on tile corner of Main and Elizabeth streets; and the Eagle hotel, on Court street.
MUTUAL BUILDING AND SAVING FUND ASSOCIATION
This association was incorporated in 1871.N. N. Betts, Jr., president;, F. Goodman, secretary; W. G. Gordon, treasurer. It meets monthly at the courthouse, on the third Monday in each month. The object of the association is to accumulate a fund and invest the same, so as to enable members to purchase real estate, erect buildings, and for other similar purposes.
TOWANDA BUILDING AND SAVING FUND ASSOCIATION
This association was incorporated in December 1871. Joseph Powell, president; J. B. Judd, vice president; C. F. Cross, secretary; W. H. Dodge, treasurer. Meets on the fourth Monday of each month at the grand jury room, in the courthouse. The object of this association is to accumulate a fund, and invest the same so as to enable members to purchase real estate, erect building, pay off incumbrances, and for other similar purposes. Members are enabled to buy homes with payments Do heavier than the ordinary yearly rent paid by men with families.
Masonic Hall association was chartered in 1863, and owns the third story of the brick building on the west side of Main street, which is occupied by the several orders of Masonry in the borough.
TOWANDA GAS AND WATER COMPANY
This company was chartered in 1859, but work was not commenced until 1870; and the as was first furnished for consumption in November of that year. The capital invested is $45,000, and the works are very complete. The present officers are E. T. Elliott, president and acting treasurer; C. S. Russell, secretary; Mrs. Olive Elliott, C. P. Spaulding, W. G. Tracy, and James Elliott, directors.
The company have laid down about ten miles of main pipe. The works are located on Railroad Street, below the Barclay depot. The company supply thirty or more street lamps.
At present the borough is supplied from wells and cisterns for culinary purposes, and in case of fire the engines take suction from the river, which runs parallel with the town its whole length. There are several points in the surrounding hills from which an unlimited supply of water could be obtained, at an elevation which would rise above the highest buildings in town.
The Fire Department of Towanda is purely volunteer in its organization. It is composed of four companies, whose apparatus is of the most approved kinds, and whose membership and discipline will compare favorably with those of any fire department in any interior city of our land.
Franklin Steam Fire-Company, No. l.-This company was organized April 8, 1854. The company used a Button hand-engine until Dec. 11, 1870, when it purchased a Silsby rotary steam fire engine. The number of active members is forty eight. Engine house next to courthouse, on public square. Regular mectings on the first Wednesday of each month at the engine house. The company has a steam fire engine, fuel-cart, two hose carriages, and one thousand feet of rubber hose.
Naiad Engine Company, No. 2. This company was or,-anized April 24, 1855, and reorganized in 1870. The present number of members is fifty-nine. Their house is on the public square, adjoining the courthouse. The company owns one hand engine, built by Cowing & Co., Seneca Falls, N. Y., one hose carriage, and five hundred feet of hose.
Lin-ta Steam Fire Company, No. 3. Lin-ta Steam Fire Engine Company is an independent organization, instituted Sept. 28, 1857, and incorporated May, l871. It owns a handsome two-story brick engine house, on Poplar street, erected by the company at a cost of $5000. The apparatus, consisting of a Silsby rotary steam fire engine, two hose carriages, fuel cart, etc., are also the property of the company, and are worth about $7000. The company owns in all about $15,000 worth of property. The present number of active members is seventy-one.
Mantua Hook and Ladder Company, No. 4.-This company was organized. in March, 1871. The present number of members is thirty. The regular meeting of the company are held on the first Wednesday of each month. The company owns a good hook and ladder truck, provided with hooks, ladders, axes, picks, etc.
Fire Notes and Notices. From a fire record kept by J. V. Geiger, Esq., we learn that from January 1, 1852, to the present time there have occurred in the borough a total of sixty three fires, destroying one hundred and fifty-six buildings of various kinds. The old Franklin hand engine was first used at a fire in the Ward House ice house. The Franklin steamer was first used at a fire that destroyed Ward & Overton's barn and Disbrow's hotel, on which occasion a fine team belonging to Lin-ta Steam Fire-Company was burned up. The Lin-ta steamer was first used at a fire which burned up Means' foundry and McKean's barn. The Naiad was first used at a fire which destroyed a building on Main street belonging to the Barstow estate. The Button hand engine, formerly used by the Franklin, is still in good order.
The burial place of Towanda, known as Riverside cemetery, is situated in the Northern Liberties, on the high bank overlooking the Susquehanna. It comprises in all about seven acres, the first half acre of which was donated by Henry Spalding. Thos. Burnes has acted as sexton continuously since July 14, 1830, a period of forty three consecutive years. On December 21, 1839, Hiram Mix, and wife gave a piece of ground to the trustees, to be added to the cemetery. The trustees were Wm. B. Storm, Enos Tompkins, and H. S. Mercur. In 1863, the court appointed E. W. Hale and B. S. Russell as trustees, in place of Storm and Tompkins. The cemetery contains many fine monuments, among which may be enumerated those of Fox, Mercur, Montanye, Baird, Overton, Douglass, Kingsbury, Watkins, and Adams. David Wilmot, the celebrated author of the "Wilinot Proviso," also lies buried here. His grave is marked by a plain head-stone, bearing the following inscrption:
Born January 20, 1814,
Died March 16, 1868,
Aged 54 years.
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted."
The Catholic cemetery is also located on high ground on the river bank, north of the Riverside cemetery, and comprises an acre of ground.
THE WARD LIBRARY
The largest collection of books, prints, coins, etc., in northern Pennsylvania was the Ward library, at Towanda, Pa., collected by the late C. L. Ward, and now the property of Lafayette college, at Easton, Pa., the same being a gift from the daughter of Mr. Ward. The library consists of over sixteen thousand volumes of standard as well as curious literature.
Through the efforts and influence of Hon. Reuben Wilber, when in the State senate, from this senatorial district, the legislature, appropriated $10,000 towards building a bridge over the Susquehanna at Towanda; the remainder of the money necessary to complete it being raised by individual subscriptions as stock. The charter of the bridge is perpetual. One span of the bridge was subsequently burned, and rebuilt by another legislative appropriation. It is a toll-bridge, but efforts are at present being made to make it free.
The earliest settlers in Towanda, on the present site of the borough, were William Means and his brother-in-law, Adam Conley, Ebenezer B. Gregory, and Harry Spalding. William Means was the first settler. His father, Samuel Means, lived in Northumberland Co., Pa., at the breaking out of the War of the Revolution, in which he and his oldest son served. He was wounded, and, before surgical aid could be procured, died from the effusion of blood. His son was never afterwards heard of by the family. The family remained in Northumberland county, until tidings came to the mother of the approach of the Indians, when she took her children, one an infant but six weeks old, and, in a canoe, made her escape down the river. They had scarce embarked when she saw her home in flames, but, fortunately, the savages did not pursue her. The family soon after returned to the homestead, but the mother survived her return a short time only, and her children were scattered among different families. The mother's maiden name was Clark. When Rudolph Fox fled with his family down the river from the approach of the Indians, they fell in with Samuel Means' family, and through them William Means learned of the country about Towanda, and soon after the war closed came to view it, and being pleased with it, settled here, and after a year or two married Elizabeth Fox, the daughter of Rudolph, and ever after lived in the limits of the present borough until his death. He probably came to the place in 1784. He was engaged in the transportation of goods for Judge Hollenback between Wilkes-Barre and Athens, on the Susquehanna, for two years or more. He was an active, energetic man. He assisted to bring the French refugees to Asylum up the river. When his sister, afterwards Mrs. Dr. Warner, was fifteen years of age, he gave her a home in his family, and one by one her four sisters came into the county. The oldest sister married Adam Conley, and her son, Clark Conley, lived in Ralston, in Lycoming Co. He is now dead.
William Means, or, as be was generally known, Esquire Means, as heretofore shown, one of the original proprietors of Towanda, donated from his portion of the plat two lots, on the corner of Spruce and Bridge streets, for church purposes, but which, since his death, have been appropriated to private uses. He was the first magistrate of the town, being commissioned Dec. 20, 1800, and built the first log house on the site of the then future borough. In 1802 he built the "old red tavern," opposite the Means ferry, and near the present Eureka mowing machine factory. He also built and occupied the house now occupied by his grandson, Col. John F. Means, on the corner of Bridge and Main streets, in which he died in 1828.
The father of Col. John F. Means was born, lived, and died in Towanda, and his son succeeded to his property. The latter has been an enterprising, energetic man, building largely in the borough, and engaged in projects for the material prosperity of the town, which he has assisted much to develop and enhance. He remodeled and rebuilt the Means House, which was opened to the public as a hotel in 1863 or 1864, and has been so maintained until early in March 1878, when it was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of several thousand dollars. Col. Means was elected sheriff in 1845, and was colonel of the 35th Regt. Pa. Militia of 1862. Adam Conley lived at the corner of Pine and Main streets, where he also had a blacksmith shop.
Ebenezer B. Gregory, also one of the original proprietors of Towanda, donated from his portion two lots for an academy, but which after his death shared the same fate as the lots donated by Esquire Means for the meeting house. He came to Towanda at an early period. His wife was an accomplished lady, and taught school. He lived in a house near the river-bank, in the rear of the present residence of Hon. Edward Overton; and near his residence, on what was called the Glebe lot, a log house was built for a parsonage for the congregational society, but which Was never occupied as such. In 1814 it was occupied by Jesse W. Woodruff as a tailor shop.Col. Harry Spalding lived in the house where William Mix now lives, and kept a store in a building appurtenant to it, which was afterwards moved away. he also kept a tavern in his house.
Gordon Hewitt came to Towanda in 1818, married a daughter of Esquire Means; was a merchant on Spruce Street, and afterwards on Main. He removed to Oswego in 1827, where he resided until his death, which occurred Dec. 24, 1871, in his eighty-second year. His wife died in Towanda, and he married for his second one a daughter of Col. Platt, of Nichols, N. Y. He was born in New London, Conn., and, with his parents, emigrated to Chenago Co., N. Y., while a boy. He acquired a large fortune, though commencing in his youth with slender resources.
In 1820, Nathaniel N. Betts, the father of N. N. Betts, cashier of the First National bank of Towanda, came from Unadilla, N. Y. to officiate as a clerk for Mr. Hewitt. Mr. Betts married a daughter of Esquire Means, and after her death he married a daughter of Dr. Warner, of Wysox and engaged in mercantile pursuits with Joseph D. Montanye, at the corner of Main and Court streets, in a frame building erected by Eliphalet Mason. Mr. Betts was, in his later years, a magistrate, and scrupulously honest in his official relations. He died in 1875.
Burr Ridgway came to Towanda from Wysox in 1812.To Wysox he came in 1803, from Philadelphia. He lived in an old log house directly in front of Harrv Spalding's when he first came to Towanda. In 1814 he bought the Bradford Gazette of Thomas Simpson, giving $800 for the establishment, and continued the publication until 1818, when he sold it to Lemuel Streator and Edwin Benjamin, who changed the name to the Bradford Settler. He was elected county commissioner in 1813, being the first democrat ever elected to office in the county. He was also a magistrate and the prothontary of the county afterwards. He was a prominent politician of Bradford for many years. He was of Quaker descent, but embraced the faith of the Methodist church in later years, and died in that communion. He removed to Monroe some years previous to his decease.
Andrew Irvine came to Towanda in 1820, and in 1828 erected the first brick house built in the borough, bringing the bricks from Wysox. It was located on his tannery lot, and occupied by him, on Main street near Bridge street, about where Taylor & Co.'s store now stands, and was burned down afterwards. He was elected county treasurer.
Andrew Trout was a soldier of 1812, and came to Towanda about 1821. He and George H. Bingham were drowned when running a raft over the Shamokin dam one dark night. William Salmon escaped by swimming ashore, but was carried down the river two miles by the current before gaining the bank. Mr. Trout was the father of Capt. Andrew J. Trout, of the 5th Pennsylvania Reserves, in the war of the Rebellion.
Hon. David S. Barstow came to Towanda in 1823. He was born in Sharon, Litchfield Co., Conn., Nov. 6, 1796, graduated at Union College, Schenectady, N. Y., in 1817, studied law at Albany, N. Y., and was admitted to practice in the supreme court of New York in 1821, and in the Bradford courts in 1823. He was a resident of the borough thirty-six years, and died April 30, 1859. He was a member of the State legislature, and filled many offices of trust and honor with distinguished ability and fidelity. He married a wife in 1841, and left a son and two daughters surviving him.
Hon. William Elwell was a distinguished lawyer, and is now judge of the 26th judicial district, and resides in Bloomsburg, Columbia Co., Pa.
Dr. John N. Weston came to Towanda in 1825. He was elected sheriff of the county on his personal popularity, being the candidate of the Whig party, then in the minority. In 1842, Weston street was so called in his honor.
Hon. George Scott came from Massachusetts to Towanda previous to 1812. He was commissioned an associate judge of Bradford County, by Governor Snyder, in 1812; as prothonotary, in 1818 ; as clerk court of quarter sessions, oyer and terminer, and orphans court, in 1824; held these positions until 1830. He was county treasurer in 1823 and '24. He was the publisher for a time, also, of the Bradford Settler, and was prominent in the politics of the county for many years. He married a Miss Strope, of Wysox, and was the father of' 11. Lawrence Scott, who was subsequently United States collector of internal revenue. His other children were Rowena, married Burton Kingsbury, and now deceased; Ellen, married Gen. H. J. Madill; Wilson, a promising young lawyer, now deceased; George, died from injuries received from the kick of a horse; Luther, Clinton, and Walter.
Dr. Charles Whitehead came to Towanda in 1824, and was the first resident physician in the borough. He lived on Main near State street.
Henry Mercur settled in Towanda in 1810, coming hereto from Lancaster Co., Pa. He is the father of Ulysses, Henry S., Mahlon C., James W., and Hiram. Ulysses was admitted to the bar, 1843, was elected president judge of this judicial district in l861; served eigbt years in congress, 1865 - 1873 ; and is now on the supreme bench of Pennsylvania. Rodney A. Mercur, his son, is a rising young lawyer of Bradford.
Christopher L. Ward came from Susquehana county to Towanda in 1838, and purchased and occupied a brick house built by Charles Toucey on Third between Maple and Lombard streets. He was an eminent lawyer, a gentleman of fine literary tastes and talents, and the dispenser of a princely hospitality. He had the largest and best selected library in northern Pennsylvania. This library was purchased of his estate by his daughter, and donated by her to Laftyette college, at Easton, Pa. Mr. Ward was president of the old Towanda bank in 1838-42, president of the Bradford County historical society, and at one time chairman of the national Democratic committee. His first wife was a daughter of Judge Rainsford, and his second one was a sister of Dr. H. C. Porter, a lady of superior taste and refinement, as her literary culture fully indicated. His children were Ellen, wife of the late Hon. William H. Miller Henry, a lawyer; and Mary, who died of consumption in South Carolina. He died in the summer of 1870.
Dr. Samuel Huston came from Hooksett, Mass., to Towarida in 1827, and was an eminent physician and Master of Towanda Masonic lodge for a number of years. He married a daughter of Col. Hiram Mix, deceased, and died in May, 1856, in his cottage on York avenue, where his widow now resides. He was the father of a large family. Jesse Woodruff was one of the early settlers in the borough; was a tailor, and lived in a log house north of the present residence of Edward Overton. He subsequently built a framed house near the site of the present residence of Mrs. Dr. H. C. Porter. He built the Bartlett hotel next, on Main street, nearly opposite the court-house, about where the Bradford Reporter office now stands; and subsequently removed to Sugar Creek, and from thence out of the county to the west.
David Cash, an attorney, and nephew and law-partner of Simon Kinney, was admitted to the bar of Bradford County in 1822. He was a successful practitioner. He married a Miss Spencer, and died in 1863. His widow still survives, and occupies the house built by Mr. Cash on Third street.
William B. Storm, the cashier of the old Towanda bank, removed to the city of Washington and secured a position in the treasury department.
William Keeler (2d), a painter, invented a valuable water-wheel and safety-boat.
James Catlin at one time edited the Bradford Gatzette. He became subsequently a celebrated portrait-painter, and some of his deliniations of noted Indians adorn the wells of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington.
Enos Tompkins sold his farm in Rome township in 1833 or 1834, and purchased a lot and erected an elegant residence on it, on Main street, near Lombard. The same is now owned and occupied by J. D. Montanye. He was a man of active business habits, integrity, and sagacity, and owned an extensive area of lots on the west side and south end of the borough. He built near the red tavern a large chair and bedstead factory and iron foundry. He was for several years president of the Towanda Bridge company, and removed to Belvidere, Boone Co., Il.
Hon. Ellis Lewis lived in the Barstow house, corner of Main arid Maple streets, in 1831 or 1832. He was an attorney, represented this county in the legislature, was attorney general of the State, and judge of the supreme court.
Hon. George Sanderson was a lawyer and a State senator, and removed to Scranton, where he recently died.
William Patton came to Towanda, in 1823. He was born in Huntingdon in 1799, and came from Mifflin County, where he was admitted to the bar, to Bradford. He married the eldest daughter of Reuben Hale, and on her death married Mrs. Ann Jane Gai, of Washinton, D. C. Mr. Pattton was a magistrate- district attorney of the county, held at successive periods clerkships in the State senate, in the United States war and navy departments, and general land-office, and in the United States senate; in the latter body for more than twenty-five years. He was a captain in the militia, and in 1833 was elected major general, and at the age of sixty-five volunteered for the defense of Washington against an expected attack during the late Rebellion. He was a prominent member of the order of Good Templars, and, in l872, was one of the presidential electors on the National Temperance ticket, and for two years was District Deputy Grand Worthy Chief Templar for Bradford County.
He was several times a delegate to the Grand Lodge of the State, and State temperance conventions. He began his temperance life early, in the delivery of an address to young men and was the orator at Towanda on the Fourth of July, 1850. In 1866 be was a delegate to the National Conservative Union convention at Philadelphia, and is the author of an Essay on the relative states of the white and colored races of mankind, again for their separate creations, and consequent disunity. He was also a somewhat leading member of the Patrons of Husbandry, and was president of the Bradford Count Historical society for two years. When Judge Black resigned his seat in the State constitutional convention, Judge Woodward presented the name of General Patton as his successor, Ex-Govs. Bigler ind Curtin seconding the nomination; but Mr. Barr, editor of' the Pittsburg Post, was elected. Hon. Joseph G. Patton, whose biography is given elsewhere, is the son of General William Patton and Mrs. J. J. Griffiths was a daughter. The general died this present year, 1878.
Ethan Baldwin, Esq., a lawyer and physician, came from Washington Co., Pa., to Towanda in 1819. His residence was on his farm in North Towanda township. He removed to Harrisburg, and from thence to Philadelphia. As an advocate at the bar he was rallied for metaphorical comparisons and illustrations, and his imagery was often sublime. He had an extraordinary memory and prolific imagination; had an inventive genius, and among other things invented a dirt-excavator for work on canals, which was said to operate well. He was badly disfigured by an explosion of steam in one of his experiments.
James McClintock, from Lycoming Co., Pa., read law with his uncle, Ethan Baldwin, and was a young man of superior ability. His first plea before a jury was in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Hall, for an aggravated assault on James P. Bull, editor of the Bradford Settler, in which he displayed great oratorical powers. His poetic genius was also more than medium. He settled in Wilkes-Barre. Death robbed him at once of a loved wife and a large property, which, added to political defeat, unbalanced a brilliant intellect, and the darkness of insanity settled on him forever, momentary dreams of the sunlight of reason only rendering the gloom more fearful.
Col. James P. Bull came to Towanda from Ohio, in 1822 or 1823, and edited the Bradford Settler, then the sole organ of' the Democratic party. He was appointed a clerk in the treasury department at Washington, by Hon. Samuel D. lngham. He was talented, tasteful, and energetic as an editor, but impetuous and scathing in his denunciations of political candidates and parties. He was colonel of the Fifteenth Regiment of the Ninth Division of Pennsylvania militia, and at one of the training of the regiment inaugurated a sham battle, in imitation of Indian warfare, which was an admirable affair of its kind. He married a Miss Wallace, of Williamsport, and died in the communion of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Col. David M. Bull came to Towanda in 1826. He was a merchant and mail contractor, and assistant editor of the Bradford Settler. He was a sutler in the Union army during the rebellion, was three months a prisoner in Libby, and held a position in the New Orleans custom-house through the influence of Senator Cameron. He was married twice; first to a Miss Patrick, of Wysox, by whom several children were born to him, and secondly to a Miss McCauley, of Washington. He died in New Orleans.
George H. Bull came to Towanda in 1826; was a justice of the peace, and a man of stern integrity. He removed to Newark, N. J., where be died and was brought back to Towanda for burial, Towanda lodge of Freemasons, of which be had formerly been Master, performing the funeral rites.
Nathan Bull, the father of James P., George H., and David M., went from Saybrook, Conn., to Ohio, and from thence came to Towanda in 1826. He removed to Hale's Mills, in which George H. had an interest, where he died.
Wm. A. Overton, father of D'Alanson Overton, Esq., was a resident of the borough in 1840. He was a heavy mail contractor with his brother-in-law, D. A. Saltmarsh, in the southern States, and suffered ruinous losses through the Rebellion, being obliged to abandon his contracts on account of his Union sentiments. He moved to Brooklyn, N. Y., and held a position in the custom-house in New York, and died at his son's residence in Towanda in 1873. His wife was Eliza Saltmarsh, of Athens.
Hon. Wm. T. Davies, an attorney, and present State senator, was born in Wales in 1831, and with his parents came to the township of Pike in 1830. He taught school in 1856-60, read law with Edwards and Williston and Wm. Watkins, Esq.; was admitted to the bar in 1861. The same year he was commissioned captain of Company B, One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served two years. In 1863 was elected district attorney of Bradford County, and in l876 elected State senator from this district for a term of four years. He married a daughter of William Watkins, Esq.
Joseph D. Montanye came to Towanda from Owego, N. Y., in 1826, as a clerk for Gurdon Hewitt, and subsequently formed a mercantile partnership with Nathaniel N. Betts, Sr., and engaged in trade at the corner of Main and Court streets, in a frame building erected by Eliphalet Mason. In 1848, Mr. Montanye erected a brick building on the same site where he is at in trade, having been continuously in business in the same place fifty years and more. He is a superior mathematician, and is yet a vigorous, hale, and hearty man, though aged seventy-seven years. He married a daughter of Abner C. Hockwell, who was the first sheriff of Bradford County, and who came to what is now Monroe township, front Connecticut, seventy-eight years ago. Mrs. Montanye is yet living at the age of sixty-eight years a genial, refined, Christian lady.
Their children were George D., once a prominent member of the Bradford bar, formerly district attorney of the county, and more recently United States collector of internal revenue, and died in 1876, a gentleman of refined taste and extensive literary attainments ; Frank, now deceased DeLa; and DeLester. Joseph D. Montanye's father, Abram D. Montanye, resided for a number of years near Owego, N. Y. His grandfather (whose name was also Joseph D. Montanye) moved from New York City to Stroudsburg, Monroe county, Pa. From there he passed over to the Wyoming valley, and purchased some lands, but owing to the great troubles between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania claimants, in regard to land-titles, he returned to Stroudsburg. Later in life he moved into what is now the town of Union, Broome county, N. Y., and purchased land on which he continued to reside until his death, which occurred about 1815. During the Revolutionary war he was frequently employed by Gen. Washington as bearer of dispatches, and in other confidential relations.
The Montanye family were originally Hugenots. They fled from France to Holland, at the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and came from Holland with the Dutch, in the early settlement of New Amsterdam, and took a prominent part in founding what is now New York City. One of the family was governor of New Amsterdam in its early history. Others held high positions of trust, both in church and state.
Col. Allen McKean came to Towanda from Burlington township in 1848. He is a native of Burlington, and a nephew of General Samuel McKean. He was elected prothonotary for four terms in succession, and held the office twelve consecutive years. He held a clerkship in the United States treasury department at Washington from 1861 to 1863, and afterwards was paymaster in the Union army. On Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, under the call of the governor, be raised and commanded a company of volunteers, and led it to the front. He was a very competent officer. His too generous nature led him to endorse the paper of friends, by which he impaired seriously a fine fortune, accumulated by years of labor and business success. One wing of the Republican Party, of which be was an ardent supporter, offered him a nomination for congress, but having accepted the candidacy for the legislature, at the hands of his conservative friends, he declined the nomination for congress.
Col. McKean is yet a resident of Towanda, in a fair state of health, and in the full possession of his mental powers. His memory is replete with incident and fact of the earlier times of Bradford, and his information of the political history of the county is valuable and reliable. Having been conversant with the legal and official history of Bradford for many years, his memory is a storehouse of well-preserved unwritten data, from which large drafts are honored with readiness and a pleasing urbanity. His contributions, too, on the township history of Burlington, have been valuable and important.
Col. Hiram Mix came to Towanda from Wysox in 1822. He and his brother, St. John Mix, were merchants on the corner of Main and Park streets. He married a Miss Martin, and, on her death, was again married, to Miss Graves, an intelligent and well-educated schoolteacher. While returning from a western tour, he and his wife were exposed to a malarial fever, of which they both died, shortly after their arrival at their home. His sons were William, Harry, and Hiram deceased; and his daughters, Amelia, wife of Hon. D. F. Barstow, Celinda, wife of' Dr. Huston, Elizabeth, wife of Col. Jno. F. Means, Matilda, wife of Jos. Kinsbury, Jr., and Emily, wife of George Mix, who moved to the west. Col. Mix was an enterprising man, and of good business habits.
Dr. Caleb W. Miles came to Towanda about 1812, and lived on Main street, near the red tavern.
H. S. Mercur, oldest son of Henry Mercur, built his brick block on Main Street in 1848. He died suddenly at Pittston, while engaged in the coal trade. He served one term in the legislature. His son Fred has charge of the Lehigh valley coal-mines at Wilkes-Barre.
Hanilet A. Kerr came from Milton to Towanda in 1828, and edited the Bradford Settler a short time, and removed to Northumberland.
Col. John A. Codding came to Towanda in 1854, on his election as sheriff. He subsequently engaged in the hardware line with C. S. Russell, and is yet a prominent resident.
Miller Fox, yet a resident of Towanda, is the son of Deacon John Fox. He is a civil engineer by profession was clerk of the county commissioners for the years 1830 to 1835 inclusive; is at present president of the Towanda Bridge company and of the Susquehanna collegiate institute.
Hon. John La Porte built and occupied a house on the corner of Main and Lombard streets. His official and political record is given in the political history of the county. He was the only son of Bartholomew La Porte, one of the French refugees to Asylum from the proscriptions of the French Revolution of 1798. Bartholomew was a sailor, and on his return to Cadiz from a certain voyage learned of the condition of things in France, and at once sailed for America. He married a daughter of Maj. Oliver Dodge, a Revolutionary veteran. Hon. John La Porte was twice a member of congress, and died suddenly in Philadelphia.
Eleazer T. Fox, Esq., was born in Owego, N. Y., in 1825, came to Greenwood in 1841, and clerked for E. Rainsford: Esq., merchant. In 1843 came to Towanda, and clerked for Means and Overton in a store on the corner of Main and Bridge streets, where the Means House lately stood. In 1846 formed a mercantile copartnership with A. D. Mont,-anye. February, 1847, was mai-ried to Lydia S. Homet, daughter of Charles Homet, one of the early French ,settlers in Frenchtown, and in March of that year was burned out at the great fire, which consumed the courthouse and all the buildiii,-s south of it to Pine street. In 1866 established the wholesale house of Fox, Stevens, Mercur & Co., and afterwards of Fox & Mercur. In 1874 retired from the mercantile business, and assumed the niana,-,ement, as trustee and administrator, of sundry estates, and was elected a member and chief burgess of the town council, and in 1876 was elected president of the Citizens' national bank of Towanda.
Hon. Joseph C. Powell was born in Dutchess Co., N. Y., in 1786. In 1796 emigrated to Pennsylvania, and settled in what was then Old Sheshequin, now Ulster, in this county. When a young man he removed to Troy, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. Soon after the organization of the county he was elected county commissioner, and subsequently sheriff, when he took up his residence in Towanda; was afterwards appointed prothonotary by Gov. Ritner, which office he held for several years. In 1847 was elected to the State legislature, and in 1854 died at his residence in Towanda, aged sixty-eight.
Hon. Joseph Powell, son of Hon. Joseph C., was born in Towanda, in 1828. Received such an education as the common schools and academical facilities afforded. Engaged in mercantile pursuits in early life, in which be still continues, and also in other enterprises. Was one of the corporators and first directors of the First national bank of Towanda, and in 1868 was elected president of it, which position he still holds- and in 1874 was elected to congress.
Jacob De Witt was a member of the bar of Bradford, and noted as a political writer of some eminence. He read law with Hon. R. R. Little, and was admitted to the bar in 1856, forming a law partnership with Mr. Little, in Wyoming county. He was five years superintendent of common schools of that county, and came to Towanda in 1863, and formed a law partnership with the late J. C. Adams, Esq. He died Feb. 23, 1872.
Capt. Nicholas Richard Hentz, a native of France, landed in this country in 1816, and settled in Wilkes Barre, where he learned the tinner's trade, and from whence he removed to Towanda about the year 1830, where he married. He served as captain in the French army under Napoleon the First, in the imperial guard, and afterwards in regiments of the line, from 1806 until the downfall of the emperor, but did not resign his commission until he accompanied his father to the United States. His father (Nicholas Hentz) was a member of the National Assembly of France during the Revolution of 1792, and belonged to the party of the Mountain, and was a colleague of Robespierre and St. Just. He was on the legislative committee, and assisted in compiling the code of laws known as the "Code Napoleon." After the death of Robespierre he was proscribed by the convention, and sentenced to imprisonment for life in the Castle of Ham, but lived in concealment, under the assumed name of Arnold, for a number of years, and thus eluded being captured. Having cast his vote for the death of Louis XVI, he was excepted from the general amnesty on the restoration of the Bourbons, and was ordered to leave France in thirty days; and, accordingly, with all his family, except one son, who remained in Paris, on the 21st of January, 1816, the day on which Louis XVI was beheaded, he sailed from Havre for the United States. From Towanda he removed to Pittsburgh, where be died in 1838.
Col. Gordon F. Mason, now one of the prominent attorneys of Towanda, was for many years a deputy state surveyor for Bradford county, and ran the lines of a large number of the farms of the county. He was interested at one time largely in the manufacture of flour and lumber in Monroe, with his father, Eliphalet Mason, a prominent citizen for many years of Bradford. He, the father, was a native of Massachusetts, and as early as 1803 issued and published an elementary work on vocal music, which was printed in Owego, N. Y., Mr. Mason being then a resident of Wysox. He was a professor and instructor of vocal music. He was commissioned as a justice of the peace in 1807, and held the position the greater portion of the time till the adoption of the State constitution in 1839. He built in 1809-10, in company with Dr. Asa C. Whitney, a saw-mill at Masontown, and in 1813 built the first steam distillery ever known in Bradford County. In 1814 he was elected county auditor for three years, and built another saw-mill in 1816, on Towanda creek. In the fall of 1816 was elected county commissioner for three years. In 1818 was commissioned by Governor Findlay register and recorder of Bradford County. In 1823-24 was commissioner to lay out a State road from Muncy to Towanda, and while engaged on the commission was appointed deputy surveyor of the State for Bradford, and held the position until 1830; was land agent for the Bank of North America, of the Franklin college, and of the Holland company, 1829-31 was county commissioner. He was a writer of some note on politics and the fine arts, and died at a good old age.
W. C. Bogart came from New York City to Rome Township in 1832, and from thence to Towanda in 1839, and was for twenty consecutive years (1855-1875) a justice of the peace of the borough. He was secretary of the County agricultural society for twenty-five years. He is yet a resident of the borough.