Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1897 Tioga County History
Chapter 41 - Duncan Township
Bradford County PA
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1897 Tioga County History Table of Contents
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Duncan township, named in honor of Duncan S. Magee, was organized in December, 1873, and was taken from Delmar, Charleston and Morris townships. It is one of the smaller townships in the county, and contains between twenty and twenty-five square miles. Delmar and Charleston townships bound it on the north, Bloss and Morris on the east and south, and Morris and Delmar on the west. Its lands are nearly all owned by the Fall Brook Coal Company, its population, except a few families living on farms and in the village of Summit, in the northern part, being confined to the mining town of Antrim. Its area, the greater portion of which is underlaid with semi-bituminous coal, is rugged and mountainous, the elevation at Antrim being 1, 672 feet and that at Summit 1,862 feet above tidewater. In !880 the township had 1,791 inhabitants, and in 1890, 2.449. The following named persons have served as justices of the peace of the township since its organization; Isaac S. Marshall, 1874; William Clark, 1874; David W. Jenkins, 1879; James W. Donaldson, 1883; John Hammond, 1884; George W. Balfour, 1884; re-elected, 1896; J. A. Vandegrift, 1888; Eleazer Jones, 1889; re-elected, 1894.


The preliminary investigations which led to the opening of the coal mines at Antrim were begun in May, 1866, by Thomas Farrer and John Smith, town experienced explorers and woodsmen, in the employ of the Fall Brook Coal Company, at Fall Brook. Their explorations, which were continued during the year, were carried on in the mountain regions near the headwaters of Wilson Creek, on lands owned by William Bache, and resulted in the finding of coal in what they believed to be paying quantities. Their favorable report led to the securing of the land by Duncan S. Magee and Humphries Brewer for the Fall Brook Coal Company, and to the building of a log house for the use of the explorers, while engaged in further explorations, which were continued during the 1867-68m with such successful and gratifying results that it was determined to build a line of railroad from Lawrenceville to the new coal field.

On April 4, 1867, the Lawrenceville and Wellsboro Railroad Company was incorporated, with Humphries Brewer of Fall Brook, president, and James Heron, also of Fall Brook, secretary and treasurer. A preliminary survey was begun under Mr. Brewer’s direction, September 23, 1867, by Anton Hardt, civil engineer. Mr. Brewer died December 25, 1867, and was succeeded as president by Hon. Henry Sherwood, of Wellsboro, who filled that position until the completion of the road from Lawrenceville to Wellsboro—a distance of twenty-four miles—in May, 1872. On October 28, of the same year, it was completed to Antrim, the new mining town on Wilson Creek, the contractors for the entire line being Gen. James Ward & Company, of Townada, Pennsylvania.

Duncan S. Magee died in the spring of 1869, and was succeeded as superintendent of the Fall Brook Coal Company by Gen. George J. Magee, under whose direction the survey and location of the railroad was completed, a steam sawmill erected and the work of opening up the mines and providing houses for the miners begun and carried forward until everything was in readiness for the mining and shipment of coal, which was begun upon the completion of the railroad. During 1872 the product of the mines amounted to 11,366 tons. Since then mining has been carried on continuously, hundreds of thousands of tons of coal being mined and shipped annually, furnishing employment for a large number of miners and workmen and profitable traffic for the railway leading from the mines of Lawrenceville. Within the past few years there has been marked falling off in production and a consequent reduction in the number of employees, owing principally to the opening up of new mines in Clearfield county, where coal is more easily and more cheaply mined.

William Howell, the resident manager of this company, has filled that position since 1882, for eight years previous to which he was the paymaster. James Pollack has filled the position of mining superintendent since 1883. His son, Alexander Pollack, and Morgan Davis are mine foremen, E. S. Harrower is outside foreman, and C. E. Burgess chute foreman. The store is in charge of William Howell, Jr., with W. W. Forest buyer and D. M. Edwards bookkeeper. O. E. Crediford fills the position of station agent and is also postmaster, while the steam sawmill is in charge of A. C. Dudgeon.


Antrim is situated in the southwestern part of the township, near the headwaters of Wilson Creek, and its history dates from the building of the Lawrenceville and Wellsboro railroad and the opening of the coal mines by the Fall Brook Coal Company. In 1868, while the explorations of Thomas Farrer and his party were in progress, the site of the village was visited by Duncan S. Magee, Hon. Daniel E. Howell of Bath, New York; Gen. George J. Magee, John Lang and Charles Crawford, of Watkins, New York; Hon. Charles C. B. Walker and A. H. Gorton, of Corning, New York; John Magee, Jr., S. S. Ellsworth, of Penn Yan, and Anton Hardt, John Smith and B. F. Cummings, of Fall Brook. The purpose of their visit was to note the progress of the work and to christen the village. The party accordingly gathered around one of the springs nearby, while Duncan S. Magee, after dipping a glassful of water from its crystal depth, named the new village "Antrim" in honor of the County Antrim, Ireland, "the native land of the Magees." The name was duly recorded after the observance of appropriate ceremonies.

In December, 1867, Titus Drainsfield, who is still living the village, moved into the log house previously erected for the explorers. About the same time, Thomas Gaffney, the first mining superintendent, located at the foot of the mountain. A small building erected for a blacksmith shop, for the purpose of repairing the tools of the explorers, was soon afterwards occupied by Solomon Rosenkrans. These three men and their families constituted the pioneers of the place. Most of the early miners who followed them came from Fall Brook, where they had been in the employ of the company.

During 1870, Drift No. 1, the opening of which is in the southeastern part of the village, was put in under the direction of Thomas Gaffney. A steam sawmill—the boilers for which were drawn overland on sleighs from Tioga—was completed early in 1871, and was destroyed by fire in July, 1872. It was replaced by a portable mill. On January 1, 1871, there were ten dwellings in the village. In April, 1871, Thomas Farrer moved his family from Fall Brook, and was followed in November by John Hinman, the first postmaster and store agent. In January, 1872, David Cooper, master carpenter, took charge of the erection of tenements and chutes, and Isaac S. Marshall succeeded Mr. Hinman as store agent, the latter devoting his time to his duties as paymaster, etc. On October 28, 1872, the railroad was completed, the first train arriving in the village being hauled by engine No. 1, Joseph Boyle engineer. John Wilson was the conductor.

A hotel building was erected by the company, the first landlord being D. D. Holliday. This building, which stood near the railroad depot, was burned in 1882, Andrew K. Fletcher being landlord at the time. The present Antrim Hotel was erected the same year. The landlords have been James E. Fish and John F. Dwyer. Mr. Dwyer took charge in 1888, and has proven a genial and popular landlord.

A post office, named Antrim, was established soon after the completion of the railroad, in October, 1872, the first postmaster being Thomas Farrer. His successors have been A. J. Pollock and O. E. Crediford, who was appointed August 4, 1890. The office is in the railway station, Mr. Crediford also filling the position of station agent. A daily mail is received by rail from Wellsboro and from Morris by stage.

The first school in Antrim was established temporarily in a tenement house, Miss Ella Cooper and Miss Mary Hinman being the early teachers. After the organization of the township, a school building was erected and used until 1880 when the present three room building was completed. Night schools were also established for those who were compelled to work during the day. A district school was erected at Summit for the accommodation of pupils living in the northern part of the township. School is maintained at Antrim an average of nine and at Summit an average of six months in the year.

Among the early resident physicians were Dr. Egbert George and Dr. E. G. Drake. The profession is now represented by Dr. W. D. Burke and Dr. J. J. VanWert.

The following named secret societies have lodges in Antrim: Duncan Lodge, No. 968, I. O. O. F., which was instituted December 23, 1879 and now has 119 members; Division No. 2, A. O. H., organized October 28, 1888, and a K. of P. lodge with a large membership, the lodge at Morris having recently been merged with it.


Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church dates the beginning of its history from a service held in the school house in Antrim July 24, 1872, by Rev. Charles Breck, D. D., rector of St. Paul’s church, Wellsboro. At the close of the service a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a church. Dr. Breck presided and John Hinman acted as secretary. The organization was effected and a vestry elected. The early services were held in the paymaster’s office, John Hinman acting as lay reader. Sermons were read by Isaac S. Marshall and Dr. E. George. On April 26, 1873, John Magee Fr., died, and in his will it was provided that the sum of $50,000 be expended by his executors in erecting five Episcopal churches, in compliance with which the present handsome edifice, costing $13,000 was built. The corner stone was laid in July, 1880 and the building completed in 1881. It was consecrated June 6, 1882. Rev. Charles Breck, who established themission, was the first rector. In August, 1874, Rev. John London took charge. In 1875 Rev. Charles Breck again became rector. In November, 1872, Rev. R. Lansberger became the first resident rector. His successors have been Revs. Percy Clinton Webber, Enos J. Balsley, W. L. Woodruff, George Rogers, J. U. Graf, Lawrence Buckley Thomas, D. D., and Alexander Renshaw DeWitt. On November 11,1894, Rev. Dr. Thomas again took charge. He is also the rector of St. Andrew’s church, Tioga. There are now ninety members in this church, which maintains a Sunday school of 125 pupils, of which James B. Howell is superintendent.

St. John’s Catholic Church is the outgrowth of monthly services held soon after the opening of the mines, by Rev. John Wynne and Rev. J. C. McDermott, of Blossburg. A church edifice was erected in 1877. Since 1890, during the pastorate of Rev. M. J. Manly, the church has been frescoed, a bell purchased and put in place and other improvements made, the whole involving an outlay of $3,000. St. John’s is one of the mission churches of St. Peter’s parish, Wellsboro, and has been served by the pastors of that church. A good Sunday school is maintained, of which Matthew Donlan is superintendent and Miss Sadie Nash assistant. The Polish members of this church are served by Rev. Father Lopanski.

The Baptist Church of Antrim was organized February 20, 1873, with about twenty members. Meetings were held in the school house until 1884 when a house of worship costing $1,500 was erected. The first pastor, Rev. G. P. Watrous, remained one year, after which until 1881, when Rev. R. J. Thomas took charge, the church was without a regular pastor. In 1883 he was succeeded by Rev. Willaim Young, who has continued to serve until the present time. He is also the pastor of the church in Morris township. The church now numbers forty-six members. There are sixty-one pupils in the Sunday school, of which Ira N. Grinnell is the superintendent.

The Swedish Baptist Church of Antrim was organized August 30, 1886, with about fifteen members. Rev. Karl Molin, the first pastor, remained until 1890. In 1892 Rev. C. E. Duohon took charge, remaining one year. In 1894 the church disbanded, its members uniting with the English church.

The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Lebanon Church was organized November 6, 1879, and has now a membership of 200. A church building was erected in 1882, and repaired and renovated in 1892. The property is now valued at $3,5--. The following named ministers have served as pastors of this church: Revs. P. A. Berquist,1881-82; A. Kinett, 1883-84; E. J. Nordin, 1888-89; C. J. A. Holgren, 1893-95; and Rev. A. J. Beausang, the present pastor, who took charge in 1896.

The Presbyterian Church of Antrim was organized September 24, 1887, with twelve members by Rev. A. C. Shaw, D. D. The church worships in the building originally used by the Congregational society, now no longer in existence. It has been recently repaired and improved. Rev. E. Rawson preached for the society during 1887. Rev. T. G. Jones, a Congregationalist minister, preached from November, 1880, until November, 1890. Rev. David Craft, also pastor of the church in Lawrenceville, took charge in 1891 and has continued up to the present. This church now numbers thirty-three members, with a Sunday school of thirty-five pupils, of which James Pollack is the superintendent.


Brownlee Post Office, or Summit, as the name of the station is called, is situated near the northern line of the township. The post office was established here in September, 1888. John Bradley, the first postmaster, held the office until June, 1889, when N. W. Hallock, the present incumbent, was appointed. The works of the Antrim Sand Company are located here. This company was incorporated March 21, 1888, for the purpose of manufacturing sand for glass making and for use on locomotive engines, from sand rock. The incorporators were John W. Bailey, president; Isaac P. Borden, vice-president; Robert J. Borden, secretary and treasurer, and Robert Brownlee, superintendent. The product of the works is shipped to Corning and other points.

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