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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Photos by Joyce M. Tice October 31, 1999

Chapter VIII

The History of the Windfall

It was about 1817 or soon after that a new settlement was formed about three miles from the Centre "as the crow flies" on what was to be called the "Windfall." Windfall derives its name from the condition of the wilderness found by the first settlers. In March, 1794, a terrific tornado passed from the Armenia Mountain area through Granville township, thence on to LeRoy, onward in a southwestern direction into Sullivan County. In its path a mile wide, the timber was fallen.

The first settlers were Zoroaster Porter, Abijah Ayers and Simon Chesley in 1820 with Joel Packard, Nathaniel Clark, Malachi Shoemaker, Caleb White and John Ferguson coming soon after. Zoroaster and Anna Porter came to the area in 1817 as pioneers, clearing the farm on which they lived with their children Seth K., Minor T., Major B. and Albert.

Abijah and Hannah Edwards Ayers were settlers in Troy township in 1815. They came to Granville township in 1816, cleared a large track of land, farmed and died there. Their children were Abijah, Gilbert, John, Jemima (Mrs. Elihu Andrus), Moses, Isaac, Anna (Mrs. Minor Porter), Sally (Mrs. Silas Packard), Rachael (Mrs. Phillips), Lemuel, Marcus and Mary (Mrs. Reuben Palmer).

Soon after arriving the settlers built a log school. This school was also used as a church with Elders Pentacost, Sweet and Asa Dodge preaching there. A few years later the first church building was erected in the area known as the Union Church. This served as a place of worship for the Baptists and the Methodists of the community. It was built in 1848 and stood between the present Church and the site of the schoolhouse but nearer to the road. Later the Baptists left the Church and erected their "Free Will Baptist". In the Bradford Couty History of 1891 it states that it was built sometime after 187. It was located in a point just off the Cowley-Windfall road. The church having been closed for many year, the building was sold to the Granville Township Supervisors. It was torn town and the lumber used to construct the present township maintenance building.

The Union Church was replaced in 1869 by a large building and on the same foundation as the present Church stands. In 1918 it was replaced by a stucco building and this church was destroyed by fire on February 12, 1949. The disastrous fire, which burned the structure to the ground, was discovered just as preparations were being made for a wedding that evening. It was voted to erect a new church on the same site occupied by the destoryed church. An interesting note was that the bell in the present church is the same one that was forged in Troy, N. Y. During the 1949 fire it fell from the tower to the ground where it was found to be intact. Opening day of the new Church was January 15, 1950 with about 250 attending the service. Dedication services wer held on January 22, 1950.

In the 1900 Directory of Bradford County, the pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church was listed as Rev. W. H. Ward. The pastor in the same Directory was E. Britten..

Minor T. Porter was born in Troy township in 110 and came to the Windfall with his parents, Zoroaster and Anna Porter. Minor married Anna Ayers, the daughter of Abijah Ayers. Their children were Edward, Sally (Mrs. Fred Bladk), Roxie (Mrs. Seeley Ayers), Nancy (Mrs. John Grantier) and Theodore. Theodore Porter, born in 1844 at the Windfall, the one of the farmers in the area on the farm which was cleared and improved by his father-in-law Dr. Solomon Bovier. Mr. Porter married Helen, the daughter of Doctor and Almira Edsell Bovier of Granville township in 1866. They were parents of one daughter, Effie (Mrs. S. F. Tinklepaugh).

Abijah and Polly Shelly Ayers were parents of seven children: John, Betsy, Henry, Moses, Ellen, Hannah and Shelly. By his second wife, Thurza Palmer, he had nine children: Mary, Eliza, Sarah, Naomi, Lucy, Marcus, Andrew and Burton. Shelly Ayers was marrie3d to Roxanna, the daughter of Minor Porter. His children were Mary, Flora, Deliva, Fremont, Oscar and Frank.

William and Lucy Hewitt Haflett, natives of England settled in Granville township about 1838 and were parents of Amelia (Mrs. John Reed), John, Mary (Mrs. John May), George H. and William H. George H. Haflett was born in the township in 1841 and married Helen, the daugher of Philander and Betsy Grantier Case of Canton in 1862. A daughter, Hattie, was born to them. John Haflett, born in 1835, was married to Delilah, the daughter of Philander and Betsy Case and the parents of Lucy (Mrs. McCroy), David, George, Gladdus and Merton.

James and Mary Ferguson Hawthorne, antives of County Armagh, Ireland, came to American in 1842 and settled in the township. They were parents of James A., John, Orrin, Frank and Mary. Their son, James A., born in 1844, was in the Civil War, wounded and taken prisoner at Petersburg but was recaptured by friends. It is said that he carried a musket ball in his head for 12 years when it suddenly dropped out through his mouth. James married Gertrude, the daughter of Silas and Sally Ayres Packard in 1877. They were parents of Hugh, Carrie (Case), Dent and Lou (Mrs. Fred Shedden).

John Loomis, a native of Genessee Valley, N. Y. came to the area in 1841, cleared and improved the farm on which he died in 1866. He married Adeline Haxton and the following were born to them: Lydia (Mrs. Warren Bagley), Hannah (Mrs. Milo Webster), Seth, Noah, Sherman, John and Angelina. Noah Loomis, born in 1836, was married to Margaret Packard, the daughter of Silas and Sally Packard. They were parents of Maud (Mrs. D. H. Stone), Cora dn Lylis.

Sylvester and Emily Gray Kendall settled in the Windfall in 1853 where he purchased a farm. They were parents of Eraim, Horatio, Joseph Laurence and Orange. The three oldest sons were in the Civil War and Horatio died while in the service.

A large general store was maintained in the Windfall for many years, being located across the road from the Grange Hall. This store had living quarters where they proprietor lived. Burton Porter, Thomas Webster, Howard Webster, Rush Kennedy and Robert Hettick were among those doing business in the old store. It was during the Robert Hettick tenure that the building was destroyed by fire. A new somewhat smaller building was erected for the use of a store and a home. Luther Fleming ran this business until his retirement. A post-office was maintained in the village at one time presumably in this store.

About the year of 1830, Abijah Ayers, a resident of the township gave the part of the Cemetery known as the original Cemetery. By a rather queer coincidence the same Mr. Ayers was the first person to be buried there.

At that time, what was known as the Windfall was a very sparsely settled region, being for the greater part a vast wilderness. What if some of those first settlers were to be brought back to view this region now just for a day! What would they think? What a change!!

About the year of 1874 additional land was purchased from Seth K. Porter. An organization was formed with Major Porter, William Shoemaker and William Haflett as trustees. This plot and the older part was used as a burial place until the fall of 1906 when the association known as the West Granvilkle Cemetery was formed. A charter was procured from the County Court with Honorable Judge A. C. Fanning and more land was purchased from Theodore Porter, James Hawthorn and others.

Llewellyn Clark had a skimming station at the Windfall and hauled the cream ot the Granville Summit Creamery at Cowley. In one history book this station is referred to as the "cheese factory." Also Llewellyn Clark was in partnership with Frank Ayres in a business that was known as the Clark and Ayres Threshers. In the 1900 Directory, David Pepper was listed as a thresher.

In a newspaper clipping it was stated that the funeral of Marcus Ayres, an early settler of the Windfall, was held in the Methodist Church with Rev. F. M. Clough officiating. Mr. Ayres died in 1899 at the age of 86 years.

James McKerrow was the blacksmith in the village in the early 1900s and sold agricultural implements. In the latter years of the blacksmith shop’s existence the business was conducted by Emery Tillotson. The shop was located just down the road from the large store building.

Gordon J. Porter, a resident of the community for many years, received a patent from the Brennan and Company, Chicago, Illinois for the building of a road scraper for road maintenance. Gordon was a licensed auctioneer during the 1930s. Working out the road taxes was a community affair in the township. The neighbors came in the spring with their teams, road scrapers, rakes and shovels to repair the sink holes that the dirt roads nearly impassable by the spring months.

Dean and Maud Duart established a grocery store in their home in the middle 1930s. Sometime later the store was closed and he operated a garage near his home. John Duart, his brother, had operated the garage on the site previous to this time.