Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
A Short History of Asylum by Ingham
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
A Short History of Asylum

by J. W. Ingham, 1916

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MR. TALON arrived at Asylum the 9th of December and took charge of the business. Work was carried on until the 21st of December, when the weather became so cold that the operations were suspended until the following spring. Several houses had been completed except chimneys, and for these Franklin stoves and pipe had been substituted so that the winter was spent in comfort by those already in the settlement. A quantity of goods and supplies for the place had been sent from Philadelphia to Catawissa and were brought up in boats after the ice commenced running in the river. When spring opened work was resumed at Asylum, and emigrants who had spent the winter in Philadelphia began to arrive. They came by land to Catawissa and thence in boat up the river. Of these, says Mr. Craft, the historian, "some were of noble birth; several had been connected with the King's household; a few belonged to the Secular clergy, i.e. had not assumed monastic vows; some had been soldiers; others keepers of cafes, or restaurants, and merchants." It was a discouraging prospect for these city bred people to take up their residence in log houses far away in the woods of northern Pennsylvania in a clearing full of stumps and no roads that any team but oxen could safely travel. However, they soon improved their land, and made themselves comfortable. Mr. Talon, who was general manager, and governor, planned improvements on a large scale.

At this time there was no mill in Bradford county that could make bolted flour. There were some small mills that ground corn into meal. There was no stream in Asylum large enough to drive a mill, a grist mill driven by horse power was erected. The mill stones, which were composed of the Lackawanna flint rock, were brought up from Wilkes-Barre. These flint rocks supplied mill stones for country mills for a long time before the French bur mill stones were manufactured. For a bolting cloth one of the ladies donated a new silk dress which had never been worn, and it answered the purpose extremely well, though the meshes were rather too fine to take out all the flour. Only the finest and the whitest [flour] was gotten out.

The nearest store to Asylum was Judge Hollenback's establishment at Tioga Point (now Athens), nearly 30 miles distant. Two general stores were established and well patronized at Asylum. They kept a larger and more varied assortment of goods than could be found at any store north of Wilkes-Barre.

The colonists cleared up their lots, beautified their lawns with flowers and shrubs, raised good gardens and make their homes more attractive than their American neighbors were accustomed to see. Blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers and laborers were brought to the place, for well they knew that it is laborers who build up and support the towns. The romance of the settlement, the reputed wealth and distinction of the settlers, their refinement, the well filled stores, the skill of the mechanics who had gathered there, brought many visitors here from abroad out of curiosity. To accommodate these strangers who came among them, as well as some of their own citizens who had no families, three taverns were licensed, though two would have been enough. Mr. Lefevre was licensed in August, 1794, by the court of Luzerne county to keep an inn. In January, 1795, a like license was granted to M. Heraud, and in April 1797, to Peter Regnier and John Becdelliere.

The services of the Catholic Church were observed by the Secular clergy. It is said there was a small chapel erected. The missal in use was afterwards in the possession of the Rev. Patrick Toner, formerly a Roman Catholic priest at Towanda, Pa.
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