Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Memories Along the North Branch
Memories Along the North Branch
History of Granville

(in Bradford County PA)

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Chapter VII

The Founding of Granville Summit (Cowley)

In 1852 with the building of the Elmira to Williamsport Railroad, "The Summit" depot and post-office was established in February of 1856 with William Nichols as postmaster. Granville Summit received its name from the high elevation of 1400 ft. This high point of the railroad line is located near the Elwin Fleming farm. It was the railroad that chose the name of "Cowley" to be affiliated with the line in the summit. The railroad officials wanted a shorter name, one which would not be confused with Greenville Summit, another station on the rail line. So they chose Cowley to be the name. However, it is said that the old-timers did not like the name so they would not use it only in matters pertaining to the railroad business.

Joel Packard, an early settler, is buried near what used to be the ball ground, formerly an apple orchard. The place was selected as his last resting place by Mr. Packard himself. It was at one time marked with an iron fence around the plot, but time has taken its toll and the fence is gone. Joel Packard was the grandfather of the William Packard, mail carrier mentioned earlier in the book.

Until 1926, a hay and coal business was conducted in the Summit under the name of the Granville Mercantile Co. Mark Merritt was the last manager of the company that had been organized by his father, James E. Merritt. The building was located just over the railroad tracks from the store.

Some interesting information was received in a letter to me from the late Lynne Merritt who lived in Canton. He was a brother of Mark Merritt. The letter read as follows: "The Merritts were early settlers and were farmers. My father was James Merritt, born in Granville township in 1856. His father was James Merritt also but he was born in Troy township in 1817 near the site of Dr. Lopatofsky’s farm, the old buildings having been town down. His father, (James of Troy township) was John Merritt."

"The Merritts owned several tracts of land along the township road and my grandfather bought the forest land that adjoined the old Northwood school on the east. He chopped down the trees and made a farm, which is now owned by the Robert Ayres family." According to Lynne from records that he found in Towanda, the land was purchased from an Elisha Merritt (no relation) from Wyalusing who owned the land at the time. He could find no record from whom Elisha had purchased the land.

Another business in the Summit was the Adams Express Company with Orrin Jaquish, a former resident of Troy as the agent in the early 1900s. Also in the Directory of 1900, Orrin Jaquish and Company with Harvey English as general manager were merchants and wholesale dealers in butter, eggs, cheese, hay, grain and produce. At a later date, the store was owned by the Mark Merritt family. Mr. Merritt purchased the store from Harvey and Bertha English in the early 1900s. Other proprietors of this store has been Elwin and Harold Allen and the Shoemakers. Max and Lucille Shoemaker purchased the store in the early 1940s. The Elwin Allen family owned and operated a feed mill located near the Sheffield milk plant at one time. Harold Darrow operated a grocery store in one side of this feed mile for awhile. The feed mill was torn down by Lunn Porter and removed to his farm to be used as a toolshed.

Prior to the building of the Sheffield creamery, there was a creamery operated by an association under the name of the Granville Summit Creamery Co. This creamery was in operation in the early 1900s and was located on the road above the store near the intersecting Troy township road. Two of the fine butter makers at this creamery will be remembered as Henry Saxton and Allison Spencer. The milk plant built for Sheffield Farms by the Clawson Company served as a receiving station for the cream and milk. Managers of Sheffield Farms have been Hugh Allyn, Dillon Stone, Roscoe Rowe, Arthur Dann, Charles Rockwell and Charles Richter. Its door were closed during the year of 1947.

Delivering the milk or cream to the milk station was a daily chore. This is why it was necessary for the neighbors to take their turns hauling it and to change works with one another.

As there was no modern refrigeration in those days, other ways to cool the milk had to be used. Ice was the one commodity that was handy to do the job. This meant the annual task in the winter months of filling the ice houses in the community to be ready for the warm months to come. Most homes and farms had their own ice house as well as the ice house that provided ice for the milk station at Cowley. The farmers patronizing the station would get to gather to have an ice bee. The ice was cut on the pond at the foot of the Windfall to Cowley road in the freezing winter months. These cakes of ice were sawed into squares by two people using an ice saws and then hauled in wagons to be placed in the sawdust in the icehouse.

A daily mail route was provided between the Summit and the Centre in the 1865 and the post-office is still maintained in the store.

Abram F. Shoemaker was born in Granville in 1833, the son of Malachi and Susannah Shoemaker, reared in the township. He was married to Sophia, the daughter of David and Sally Downs Coe. Abram and Sophia were parents of Francis, Hattie (Mrs. Orrin Hawthorne), L.D. and Harry. Mr. Shoemaker was a Civil War veteran. This article bearing the date of 1933 was found in a newspaper clipping: "Mr. F. E. "Nim" Shoemaker’s grandfather was the first settler in that section of Gradford County known as the Windfall. His grandmother, Susannah Shaffer, lived near Wyoming at the time of the famous Indian Massacre. Susannah and her father was going home from a hay field. They saw their home in flames and the Indian raiders ride away with her younger sisters. The sisters were never seen again by the white settlers."

"Nim" Shoemaker, a prominent resident of Cowley for many years was widely known as a famous checker player. His wife, the former Cora Riggs, was a teacher in many of the early one-room schools in the township.

Orrin Jaquish, the Summit business man, died of pneumonia in a Pittsburgh Hospital while on a business trip at the age of 72 on January 28, 1925.

The Cowley baseball team was famous in the sports circles in the early 1930s. Mark Merritt was manager of this baseball team which often played to a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 in the ball park.