Lakes & Streams
Bear Creek, Rome, so called from being the haunt of bears, more especially from the circumstance that on this stream Nathaniel Moody, the first settler, attacked and killed a bear with an ax.
Chemung (river) corrupted from the Indian word Shamunk, signifying "the place of a horn" -- "a big, horn."
Memorial Streams -- Many creeks
in Bradford county bear the names of pioneers who settled along or near
them, as follows:
|Barnes in Canton||Mitchell in Smithfield|
|Bennett, Asylum||Morgan, Armenia|
|Bentley, Ridgebery||Orcutt, Athens|
|Brown, Albany||Parks, Rome|
|Brown, Burlington & Smithfield||Park, Litchfield|
|Buck, Ulster and Smithfield||Prince, Warren|
|Buck, Ridgebery||Rathbone, Armenia|
|Bullard, Rome||Rockwell, Pike|
|Camp, Herrick||Ross, Pike|
|Case, Warren||Rummerfield, Standing Stone|
|Cash, Ulster||Rundall, Armenia|
|Chaffee, Warren||Satterlee, Athens & Litchfield|
|Chubbuck, Rome||Schrader, Monroe, etc.|
|Durell, Asylum||Seeley, Wells|
|Ellis, Asylum||Shepard, Athens|
|Hicks, Rome||Spalding, Sheshequin|
|Johnson, Rome & Orwell||Stevens, Tuscarora|
|Kent, Monroe||Tomjack, Burlington & Smithfield|
|Ladd, Albany||Vought, Standing Stone|
|Leonard, Springfield||Wolcott, Athens|
|Middaugh, Wyalusing||Wolf, Columbia|
Mill Creek so called because of the number of mills in operation on that stream during the lumbering period. Each Canton, Columbia, Pike, Sheshequin and Springfield and West Burlington township has a mill creek.
Millstone Run, Monroe and Overton, so called from the conglomerate rock abounding there from which mill-stones were cut. John Northrup and others engaged extensively in getting out mill-stones here a century ago.
Mountain Lake, a beautiful sheet of water, half a mile in length and one-fourth of a mile wide, situated near the center of Burlington township, is so called because of its elevation, being on the summit of a ridge, or mountain.
Nepahwin, “the spirit of sleep,” as given by Longfellow in his “Song of Hiawatha.” Gillett’s Lake or Pond in Canton township was changed to Lake Nepahwin at the suggestion of A. T. Lilley.
Tamarack Creek so called from having its source in Tamarack swamp, Armenia, abounding in the tamerack.
Tioga (river) corrupted from the Indian word Tahihogah, Teahoge, Daoga, etc. meaning “at the forks,” “the point of land at the confluence of two streams,” or “the meeting of the waters.”
South Branch applied to the principal stream from the south flowing into Towanda creek and other streams in the county.
Sugar Creek derives its name from the fact that it flows through a locality where maple sugar was made. A century ago there were fine maple groves along this stream in North Towanda. Here in 1737 Conrad Weiser visited the Indian settlement of Oscalui and found the natives “living on the juice of the maple tree.” They could furnish him no provisions but supplied him abundantly with maple sugar.
Susquehanna (river) is an Indian term signifying “winding or crooked river.”
Tom Jack Creek - Heverly has not included this creek, named for the Indian Tom Jack. This photo was taken from the bridge in East Smithfield on Christmas Day 1998 by Joyce M. Tice
Wappasening (creek) corrupted from Wapachsinning, signifying “where are white stones,” alluding to supposed deposit of silver ore.
Allen’s Lake, called Wesauking Nestling among the hills of the upper Susquehanna is one of the most beautiful valleys in Pennsylvania--the Wysox, or Wysauking. Overlooking this vale from the north is a tableland at an elevation of 1,300 feet. Half hid here among the fine farm lands, sparkling like a diamond in the sunlight, is lake Wesauking--one of the most beautiful sheets of water in the state. These waters from which the pretty deer used to drink, around which the panther, bear and wolves roamed in search of their prey, for centuries, were only known to the Red man. Who discovered Lake Wesauking? We might venture that it was the “Hermit of Wysauking,” for he was a great hunter and this refreshing retreat among the hills would have afforded many of the pleasures of his peculiar nature. However, this tempting sheet of water was known to the pioneers more than a century ago. A man by the name of Grover made the first improvements on the west side of the lake. He sold to Jesse Allen, a Revolutionary soldier, who came to the possession in 1797. Allen in turn sold to John Lent, another Revolutionary soldier, who in March, 1800, moved into the little log house near the lake with his family. Lent occupied the farm until his death, when it passed into the hands of his son Albert and from him to his son, Albert, present owner, the title having been in the same family for 115 years. The east side, or head of the lake was settled by John Bull in 1802. A number of cottages have been built and many find pleasure and comfort here as a summer home. The word Wesauking is of recent coinage, evidently a modification of Wysauking, the original name of Wysox. Originally this body of water was known as Allen’s Lake, then long as Pond Lake until changed to Wesauking as a mere fancy.
Hills and Valleys
Many of the hills in Bradford county take their names from and stand
as memorials to the pioneers locating upon them. The following are the
|Babcock, Windham||Judson, Wells|
|Bennett, Ridgebery||Moore’s, Ulster|
|Clapper, Tuscarora||Morley, Rome|
|Corson, Albany||Rowlee, Wells|
|Crayton, Franklin||Shores, Wysox|
|Ellis, Asylum||Taylor, Rome|
|Fisher, Towanda||Thompson, South Creek|
|Garrison, Wells||Towner, Rome|
|Gregg, Towanda||Vaughan, Wyalusing|
|Hatch, Albany||Viall, Terry|
|Hibbard, Albany||Vroman, Granville|
|Hollon, Monroe||Waltman, Albany|
Among the Valleys or Hollows named for first settlers are Allis, Orwell; Keeler, Smithfield; Northrup, Monroe; Slater, Burlington; Vought, Rome; Wells, Orwell; Wolcott, Athens; Wolf, Columbia.
Beaver Dam and Meadows--The noted Beaver Dam and Meadows were at the headwaters of Towanda Creek in Canton township, near Grover.
Breakneck and Squaw’s Head--Tradition has it that an Indian squaw was offered a quart of rum if she would jump from the rocks above Towanda into the Susquehanna river. She tried for the rum and broke her neck, hence the name of the locality. The point at which she made her leap is known as the "Squaw’s head." Here for many years the image of a squaw’s head was painted upon the rocks, originally having been done, it is claimed, in her own blood, by the Indians. Colonel Hubley of Sullivan’s army in his journal of August 9, 1779 says: "We ascended a very remarkable high mountain, generally known by the name of Break-Neck Hill. The mountain derives its name from the great height of the difficult and narrow passage, not more than one foot wide and remarkable precipice which is immediately perpendicular and not less than 180 feet deep. One misstep must inevitably carry you from the top to bottom without the least chance of recovery."
Carantouan was located at what is known as Spanish Hill, just above the present village of Sayre. It was the principal town of the Carantouannais, was palisaded and contained 800 warriors. Samuel Champlain had secured the friendship of the Hurons who occupied the territory adjoining lakes Huron and Erie. The Carantouannais were the allies of the Hurons. In 1615 Champlain sent Stephen Brule`, his interpreter and explorer, with twelve Hurons to arrange with the Carantouannais for a force of 500 warriors to co-operate with Champlain and the Hurons in an attack upon the Onondaga stronghold. They reached Carantouan the latter part of September, where they were "welcomed with great joy, being entertained by banquets and dances for some days." After the expedition Brule’ returned to Carantouan and explored the surrounding country. The next year (1616) he went down the Susquehanna to the sea, being the first white man every to perform this journey, and so far as known, was the first white man to set foot upon the soil of Pennsylvania. What was the Carantouan, for more than a century has been known as Spanish Hill. Why it should have been so called is mere fancy as there is no historic basis for such name. Spanish Hill stands out from the encircling hill ranges at the head of the plain where the two valleys converge. It has an elevation of 230 feet above the plain. As to origin it has long been a matter of speculation and investigation. That Spanish Hill is a "moraine," or "drift mound," the work of nature, is the conclusion most probable.
Claverack was one of the "original seventeen townships" of the Susquehanna Company, which came into existence as follows: "Rumors of the wondrous beauty and fertility of the Susquehanna valley were in circulation. A few prominent men of Connecticut, wishing to know more of the country, sent a party to explore this region. They were charmed with Wyoming. Its broad plains, its rich soil and beautiful situation made it a paradise beside the sterile, rockbound New England, and so favorable a report did they make that an association, styled the Susquehanna Company was formed July 8, 1753, for the purpose of securing the purchase and effecting a settlement of the Susquehanna lands with the ultimate design of being erected into a separate colony by royal charter." June 20, 1774, permission was given Jeremiah Hogaboom and Solomon Strong by the Susquehanna Company to locate and survey a township five miles square. The said township extending on both sides of the Susquehanna river, in or before 1778, was laid out and given the name, "Claverack." It embraced half of Wysox and the Towandas, Lower Sheshequin and a section of Macedonia. The name Claverack long clung to Towanda and the territory within its bounds, and the Claverack lines are still in evidence as landmarks.
Fencelor’s Fort--One of the most interesting natural curiosities to be found in the territory of Rome is the rock known as Fencelor’s Fort. Half way between Rome village and North Rome, where the public road runs close to the creek, the traveler will observe, in going over the ground, that he has gradually ascended to the crest of a small hill. Here is Fencelor’s Fort. The formation of the ground is like that of a huge wedge driven into the bank with the butt lying in the creek, the three sides showing a perpendicular face of some 15 or 20 feet. Thus at the crest, where the public road crosses, there is only a narrow neck leading to the top of the natural fortress. The tradition for the name is substantially as follows: Matthias Fencelor, "the hermit," who came early to Wysox, and of whom many interesting tales are related, having been to the upper settlements along the river found himself drifting through the darkness before he could reach him. A pack of wolves came upon his track and pressed him closely until he reached the rock above described. The only point of attack left open was the narrow neck at the crest of the hill. Here Fencelor built a fire, through which the wolves would not venture to pass, making his situation secure. Upon the dawn of morning, the pack departed and Fencelor resumed his journey without further interruption.
Friedenshutten signifying "huts of peace," the name of the mission town established by the Moravians at Wyalusing in 1765. It took the place of the Indian town and occupied the flats in the bend of the river opposite the mouth of Sugar Run creek. The town consisted of 29 log houses, 13 huts, 7 stables for horses and a church, surmounted by a cupola containing a bell. During the continuance of the mission 139 had been baptized and 7 couples married. In June 1772, the mission was abandoned when all (151) removed to the Tuscaroras Valley in Ohio.
Gap Rocks--Directly back of Towanda on the Laning place, there is a natural passageway, about 8 feet wide, between two rocks (Gap Rocks) in the ledge. Through this gap or opening was an Indian path for a long period of time; General Sullivan and his army passed through this gap in 1779.
Indian Hill on the southern border of the county in Tuscarora township derives its name from the fact that there on the 29th of September, 1778, a decisive engagement took place between Colonel Hartley’s men and the Indians. The enemy fled, leaving ten of their number dead upon the field. Hartley’s loss was four killed and ten wounded.
Miciscum, or Great Indian Meadows was the flat land on the west bank of the Susquehanna river, extending from Shoemaker’s rift (one-half mile above Homets Ferry station) to the old Crawford farm. The meadows were from 40 to 80 rods wide. These flats when first known to white man were covered with an immense growth of blue grass, the only timber being the large walnut trees. The Moravians and early settlers harvested the grass at Miciscum for their stock in winter.
Mt. Pisgah, one of the highest points in Pennsylvania and far famed for the beautiful and extensive landscapes to be seen from its summit, is in the southern part of Springfield township. In shape it much resembles a Greek cross. The nave or upright part lies nearly north and south and is about 2 1/2 miles long. The transept or cross-bar lies nearly east and west and is about two miles long, the western arm somewhat the longer. "In the fall of 1817, John Dobbins with Myron Ballard and Elam Kendall started out from Sugar Creek for a general hunt to the then nameless mountain. They went to the very apex where they found a nice clear spring of water, where they pitched their tent for the night. In the morning Dobbins said, "boys, this is too nice a place without a name’ and taking his knife he cut in the smooth bark of a Norway pine the word, Pisgah, then stepping back a few feet, looking to the east and seeing the rising sun in all its splendor, said, "From Pisgah’s top I view the promised land.’" As thus christened so has the name of the mountain ever remained.
Oscalui was one of the palisaded villages of the Andastes within Bradford county. It occupied the bluff, on the north side of Sugar Creek near its mouth, bounded by the creek and the Lehigh Valley railroad. It was the second in importance to Tioga, standing as it did at the junction of the great trail from the West Branch to the Susquehanna with the Great Warrior path down the river. Oscalui was succeeded by the village of Newtychanning which was destroyed by Sullivan’s army in 1779.
Queen Esther's Flat - Queen Esther's Flats lie along the Susquehanna river in Athens township just above Milan. They derive their name from the fact that here for a time was the home and domain of Queen Esther. She was the wife of Eghohowin who died about 1772. As he had been chief or "king," his wife was called Queen Esther and had control of the clan. Queen Esther's town comprised about 70 rude houses which were destroyed by Colonel Hartley in September, 1778. Queen Esther became notorious for her fiendish acts at Wyoming in July, 1778. She led the Indians into the fort after it was surrendered. Prisoners, captured in the battle, were taken to the "Bloody Rock," where 14 of them are said to have received their death blow from a tomahawk in the hands of this desperate woman.
Standing Stone--For a long period of time there were two Standing Stones known to and of great importance to the American Indians. One of these was in Huntingdon county on the Juniata river where the town of Huntingdon now stands. The ancient Indian village there was called Standing Stone but the stone which was regarded by the Indians with superstitious veneration disappeared before the advent of white man in the valley. The other standing stone and many times the greater is within Bradford county, and is in the same place today where it has stood for ages. As it has been a landmark since the coming of white man, it was also for a long and unknown period a point of note with the Indians.
Our Standing Stone stands on the west bank of the Susquehanna river, opposite the Standing Stone flats. From actual measurement the stone is 21 feet wide at the water-line and tapers from 4 feet to 3 feet in thickness. Its greatest height above the water-line is 25 feet, sloping on the opposite side to 17 1/3 feet. The distance across the top is 14 feet. Estimating that the stone extends 10 feet below the water-line its weight would be 168 tons. Two theories are advanced as to how this great stone came here in its upright position. One is that it was detached from its bed on the mountain and taking a downward course displacing all obstacles, took a final leap from the top of the precipice and landed in a vertical position in the water near the shore, and remains a standing stone. The other theory, and the more probable one, is that this rock once lay as other stratum; and those beneath having crumbled and been washed away, the stone of its own weight fell, landing end-ward into the earth where it has since remained intact. Standing Stone has attracted wide attention and been studies as a great curiosity. It was a matter of great interest to Sullivan’s army when it passed up the valley in 1779. Several of those who kept journals made especial note of this remarkable stone. Col. Adam Hubley says: "August 8th we entered an extensive valley or plain, known by the name of Standing Stone; made a halt here for about half an hour for refreshments. The place derives its name from a large stone standing erect in the river immediately opposite this plain. It is 20 feet in height, 14 feet in width and 3 feet in depth. This valley abounds in grass, the land exceedingly fine and produces chiefly white oak, black walnut and pine timber."
Table Rock--Opposite Upper Towanda on the east side of the river is a great ledge or wall of rocks. Almost at the summit of the ledge at an elevation of 1317 feet is a flat projecting section, which has long been known as Table Rock. From this overhanging stratum it is nearly perpendicular to the roadbed 600 feet below. It is a most sightly point and hundreds of people climb the rocky hill every year to take observations from Table rock
SUBMITTED BY PAT RAYMOND.