Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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History of Bradford County 1770 - 1878

The Reverend Mr. David Craft

Burlington Township

Retyped by Bruce Preston



Geographically speaking, Burlington is situated between the townships of Smithfield on the north, Ulster, North Towanda, and Towanda on the east, Franklin on the south, and West Burlington on the west, and has an area of about twenty four square miles. The surface f the township is generally broken and its soil is productive, and adapted to the cereals and grasses, and is favorably developed for dairying. The township is well watered by the Sugar Creek, which takes its course through the north central part in an east northeasterly direction, and the tributaries of that stream, the principal ones being Tomjack and Brown Creeks and Pond and Alley runs. Preacher brook rises in the southwestern part of the town, and runs southward into the Towanda creek in Franklin.

There are four post offices in the town: Highland, in the southeast; Mountain Lake, in the south central; Luther's Mills, on the Sugar; and Burlington, in Burlington Borough. Mountain lake is a small body of water lying centrally north and south, and a little to the west, east and west in the township.


In May, 1790, Isaac De Witt, Abraham De Witt, and Jas. McKean, the latter a boy of twenty one years, came to the wilderness of Sugar creek, from Johnny-cake hollow, Chemung County, N. Y., on an exploring expedition. They made the passage down the river on a raft, spending the first night at Tioga Point (now Athens). Reaching the mouth of Sugar creek (in the Indian tongue called the Oscalua), they made their way up that stream to the lodge of Tomjack, a noted Indian of that day, situated on the north side of the creek, near what is now known as Burlington Borough. The creek that runs through the borough takes its name from this worthy of the early days. Making the wigwam of the Indian their headquarters, the explorers proceeded on their quest, going as far up the creek as where D. N. Allen now lives, near East Troy. They retraced their steps, and selected future homesteads. Isaac De Witt chose a tract now owned by O. P. Ballard, near West Burlington. Abraham De Witt selected what is now owned by J. B. Pratt and Thomas Blackwell, and James McKean made his claim to that which was known for years as "the McKean farm," now owned by B. H. Taylor, of Williamsport.

The pioneers erected a hut on McKean's lot, near the place where at present stands a large green oak, but then a mere sapling, just below the old cider mill at present. Here the first blows for civilization were made on Sugar creek, aside from the rude efforts of the Indians for gardening. A small crop of corn was secured that season, ears of which, bunches of wild grapes, and wild plums, were taken back to "Johnny Cake" as trophies of the "land of promise."

During the winter of 1790-1791, the settlers of old and new Sheshequin (now Ulster) rallied to cut out and construct a road, from some point on the Susquehanna, to the contemplated new settlement on the Sugar creek. Mr. Simonds, Mr. Clark, Mr. Gore, Mr. Kinney, Col. Lockwood, and others, with forces from Chemung, formed a heavy pioneer corps. The time selected for the work proved to be favorable, there being no snow, and game being plentiful. The road took nearly the direction as now traveled, except it went farther north in coming up the mountain near Ulster village, and it was, for the time and place, a good road.

On April 1, 1791, five families from the Chemung, including the pioneers of the summer previous, left the Hollow for the Sugar creek. The women and children were put on horseback and under proper escort, while the remaining men of the colony, with the goods and provisions, were embarked on a log raft for the descent of the river. The cavalcade arrived first, and leaving its freight, the women and children, returned to the river to meet the flotilla, but which, owing to unexpected difficulties met with, did not arrive until a full week had passed from the embarkation. In the mean time, those already in the wilderness suffered for want of the things on the raft, besides being devoured with fear of the wolves and panthers with which the woods abounded.

About May I all arrived at their destination in safety; the men of the party being James McKean, Abraham De Witt, Isaac De Witt, William Dobbin, and Yoras, a halfbreed Indian.

Privations were in store for these pioneers upon which they had not fully reckoned: they bad corn, but no mill to grind it with; but that was soon overcome by the manufacture of the Indian mill, a mortar and pestle, supplemented by a Yankee device, a spring-pole. The mortar was a hollowed stump, burned with fire to make it hard, and the pestle was formed of some hard wood. The pounded corn was afterwards sifted through a hair-sieve, and, shortened with bear's fat, made a tolerably palatable bread. Venison and fish for their meats, with leeks and wild onions for sauce, seasoned with salt made by Tomjack, made a bill of fare that many nowadays travel the Adirondacks and Rockies for weeks together to procure. Thus the summer of 1791 passed.

During the summer the settlement on the creek was largely increased by the arrival of emigrants from Connecticut, among them, Messrs. James Ward, the Campbells, Derrick Miller, and Dunbar.

The trouble of the Connecticut title, as fully detailed in the general history, had its demoralizing affect in the Sugar Creek settlement the same as elsewhere, yet it did not stop the immigration coming in from Connecticut. In 1792 a large number of families came in, among them, Swain, Nichols, Soper, Braffit, and Jaqua, all violent Connecticut title men. In 1803 the claims of the Connecticut company were silenced, but the roots of bitterness engendered by the strife were not healed for many years.

During these troubles the settlers raised but little breadstuffs, and had not the game been abundant, many must have suffered intensely, if they bad not starved. In 1794 the season proved favorable for both wheat and corn, and a good crop was secured, but there was no way to grind the wheat except to take it to Milltown, three miles above Athens. The settlers, led by Mr. Ward, worked hard to get a mill on the creek, near the residence of the late Gen. McKean, but the dam proved a failure, and the mill would not grind.

In 1796, Ezra Goddard, and his sons Luther and Ezra, came in from Connecticut, bringing a large sum of money, for those times, in hard cash, and such goods as were needed for a new country. They cleared off a heavy forest acreage and erected a grist, and saw-mill, the site being near the present location of Rockwell's mills, in West Burlington. It was but a partial success, but it added much to the comfort of the settlement.

Stephen Ballard came to the settlement on Sugar creek in 1796. Stephen built him a house, took up a farm, and returned for his family, and John and Nathaniel Ballard, twin brothers, and cousins of Stephen, who were then eighteen years old, came back to Sugar creek with their cousin, and their father, Joseph Ballard, came on with the rest of his family the next year. They were all from Framingham, Mass. Nathaniel took up a farm next to Stephen's, above the centre of Burlington, where the old church now is, and Joseph, the father, located half a mile above, with John. Joseph Ballard died in 1806, and his wife, Betsey Cloise, died May 2, 1804. Their children were Nathaniel, John, Nathan, Lyman, Joseph, Josiah, Anna, Mehitabel, Betsey, and Polly. Betsey married William Dobbins; Anna married William Pratt, and resides in Burlington; Mehitabel married David Miller, and lived in Burlington also; Polly never married, and died in 1806.

Nathaniel moved into Columbia in the spring of 1832. John lived and died on the old homestead, and one of his sons now occupies it. Nathan, Joseph, Josiah, Lyman, and William Dobbins moved into Ohio from Burlinton. Stephen Ballard had a large family also. Beside these Ballards above named, there were many cousins of the first and second degree in the town. There were three John Ballards, one a brother of Joseph Ballard, and the one before named, the twin brother of Nathaniel, and another, the brother of Thomas, the father of 0. P. Ballard, of Troy. Myron Ballard, of Burlington, is a son of Nathaniel Ballard.

William Dobbins was an Irishman by birth, and in his early life lived on the Juniata, in the Kisliocoquillas valley. He came to Burlington from the Chenango, below Buckville, following the route through Ulster and over the Overton bill, the road being but a bridle path. He settled on the farm now owned by Stanton, near the Gen. McKean place. He married Mary McClain, and their children were Robert, Eleanor, Daniel, Susanna, John, Jane, Betsey, Polly, William G., and Sally. Mr. Dobbins moved to Troy, and settled on the place now owned by Joraloman. Robert became a Methodist minister, and settled in Ohio. Eleanor married Johnson Miller, and moved west. Daniel went to Erie, and for many years was in command of an American revenue cutter. He commanded a vessel on the lake at Perry's victory. Susanna married Nathaniel Ballard; John, the father of ex-sheriff Dobbins, married Rebecca McKean, and settled on the Joraloman place; Jane married Ebenezer Kendall; Betsey married Nathan Ballard; Polly married John Ballard; William G. married Betsey Ballard; Sally married Reuben Wilbur, and is still living. William S. Dobbins, son of John Dobbins was elected sheriff of Bradford County in 1848.

Deacon Moses Calkins came with his family, of whom Joel Calkins was one, to Sugar Creek from Duanesburg, Schenectady county, N. Y., in April, 1795. He settled on the farm owned seventy years later by Calvin Rockwell. He

reared a large family, his son Joel learning the father's trade, that of a blacksmith. Deacon Calkins built a sawmill on Leonard's creek. Joel married Laura, the second daughter of Ezekiel Leonard, who came from Springfield, Mass., in what is now known as Leonard's Hollow, in the town of Springfield, but then called Murraysfield. Joel Calkins settled on the farm afterwards owned by Frederick Whitehead, and reared a family of eight children, all of whom survived him except his third son. He died Aug. 18, 1867, aged eighty-two years.

The Clark and Lane families are of the very early pioneers of Burlington. In 1799 and 1800 another lot of emigrants from Connecticut arrived, among them Jeremiah Taylor, Muffitt, and Benj. Saxton. One Otho, a colored man, came into the settlement with Ezra Goddard, he having been formerly Goddard's slave in Connecticut. This ex-slave proved to be a valuable acquisition to the colony, being a turner by trade. He provided the settlers with dishes, including platters, trenchers (plates), bowls, mortars, etc., which he made from butternut wood, which grew in abundance in that vicinity. Clam-shells with a turkey-bone handles served for spoons. Knives and forks were hardest to provide a substitute for. Blocks of wood, carved more or less artistically according to the skill or desire of the possessor, constituted chairs, until the arrival of Jesse Marvin, a sash and chair-maker. He turned his work by a foot-lathe, and it was slow work, but three chairs to a cabin were a luxury. Jehiel Ferris, from Delaware county, N. Y., was a shoe maker, who settled on the farm afterwards owned by Mrs. Lydia Patrick and Jesse Beach. Timothy and Jesse Beach were sons of Mrs. Ferris by a former marriage. They were skillful choppers from boyhood and expert mathematicians, acquiring the latter proficiency by the study of their books by the light of a pine-knot at night.


John Gammage was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His descendants live on the property, George Head had a large family, and lived at Burlington Corners. The Campbells, James and David, lived below Burlington Borough; Cephas Campbell owns it.

Eliphalet Luther, who was grandfather of Roswell, the present owner of Luther's Mills, settled below Burlington Corners.

William Nichols, whose grandson is the Hon. C. F. Nichols, of Towanda, lived within the limits of present Burlington Borough, and had a large family of children.


As before mentioned, Ezra Goddard, in 1796, brought in a small stock of goods for the more pressing and immediate wants of the settlers, but until 1814 there was no general stock of merchandise opened for sale in Burlington. During that year, Samuel McKean, afterwards prominently known throughout the State, brought in a stock of goods from Philadelphia, which was a large one for those days. For these goods people paid in exchange such things as they had, such as deer-skins, furs, maple sugar, rags, flaxseed, and whisky. These articles were sent to Philadelphia via the Susquehanna, Chesapeake, and Delaware bays. The port of entry was Meansville (now Towanda); the vessels were Durham boats, carrying forty tons down, and from a half to two-thirds as much back. They were wholly managed by setting poles and a small rudder. This enterprise of Mr. McKean's was hailed with great rejoicing and a liberal patronage ensued, the store being crowded from morning till night. Those who had the barter in hand made the exchange at once; others traded on the prospects of the next sugar or fur crop, which, sometimes failing, the debt was charged against the next ensuing harvest, and in time these long credits swallowed the entire possessions of the debtor. Another evil grew out of this system. Rye would not be accepted in exchange for goods, because of inconvenience in handling or want of transportation, but whisky was a legal tender for anything; hence distilleries flourished, and blackened the fair face of a smiling Heaven with their foul fumes. This brought much gain to the merchant, but it proved a sore burden to the people financially and socially. But public sentiment began to grow, and out of this sorrowful experience a happier condition was developed; the distilleries have all disappeared, and their places are filled with schoolhouses and churches, and peace, plenty, joy, and happiness crown the scene in the present.


The first schoolhouse built in Burlington was in the first settlement on Sugar creek, and very soon after the first pioneer families came in, in 1791. Mr. McKean gave an acre of ground for a cemetery and church site, the building to be erected for the double purpose of a church and school house. It was on the same ground now occupied by the old church and the burying ground near it.

The returns of the school year ending June 1, 1877, make the following exhibit of educational matters in the township.

There were nine schools taught during the year, averaging six months each, two male and fourteen female teachers being employed. The shares of the gentlemen averaged $17 dollars per month, and those of the ladies $15.67. 203 boys and 194 girls attended the schools. 5 mills on the dollar of valuation were levied for school purposes, producing $907.55, and $254.80 were received from the State, the total income being $1108.74; $838 of which were paid for teachers' wages, and $240.35 for other expenses.


The mothers in Israel of the pioneer settlement of Burlington were Mrs. James McKean, Mrs. Wm. Dobbin, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Joseph Ballard, Mrs. Stephen Ballard, and Mrs. Ferris. These were mothers indeed, and from them sprang a host, who have graced the church in later days. They, too, were the first to erect an altar for the worship of the Almighty ruler of the universe in the wilds of Sugar Creek.

On the very evening of the arrival of the men of the first pioneer party, in 1791, McKean and Mrs. Dobbin proposed and held a prayer-meeting and thanksgiving for the safety of the colony, and these two then and there covenanted together to erect the family alter at their own firesides, and at it worship daily, and they faithfully kept their covenant through life.

It was, however, some years before a joint effort was made and preaching secured, and a most singular circumstance heralded the first preacher. Some time previous to 1796, or about that time, a party of the young people met at the house of one of' the settlers for an evening's entertainment. They played and danced and sang until they were tired of the exercises, and desiring some "new thing" jocularly proposed a prayer meeting, and accepted it in the same spirit. One of their number, being a good singer, was appointed leader. He at once, with dignity and solemnity well assumed, began the exercises by giving out Wesley's favorite hymn,-

"Children of the heavenly King,

As we journey let us sing."

The hymn was sung with decorum, and then they all knelt while the leader prayed. He was followed by a second, and third, then another Hymn was sung of a different nature, not so joyous, and in a minor key,

"Why should we start and fear to die?

What timorous worms we mortals are!"

This seemed to break up the current of mockery, for no sooner had the song ceased than they fell on their knees again, and two commenced praying at once, then a third broke in, and finally all supplicated Heaven earnestly for themselves. They felt at once they needed help, and dispatched a messenger for mother McKean, who came at once to the prayer meeting begun in mockery and ending seriously. She was a woman of strong, and abiding faith, and her soul was it once drawn out in prayer and exhortation for the salvation of the penitents, and the result was that eight of the party became consistent Christians from that time. One of the numbers, Andrew McKean, being afterwards a Methodist itinerant, preaching forty years, and died but lately, age ninety years. Another one was a local preacher for forty years, and was the first justice of the peace of Burlington after its organization as a township.

The news of this singular occurrence spread far and wide, and a Methodist minister being on the very same evening at the house of Mr. Campbell, on his way to hold a meeting in the settlement somewhere, he held it the next day at the house of' Mr. McKean, preaching from the words "This day is salvation come to this house."

Soon after, through the assistance of a Mr. Scott, who was on a visit to his sister, Mrs. McKean, a preacher named Newman came to the Settlement as

a missionary from the Baltimore conference, and spent a year in the county, dividing his time between Sheshequin, Sugar Creek, and Muncy.

In l798 an organization was formed called the Loyal Sock circuit, Northumberland district of Baltimore conference, and Jacob Gruber was sent as an associate of Mr. Newman.

Among the early Baptists were the Swains, Calkins, Allens, Stevens, and Elders, Smiley, Jaynes, and Rich, all of whom helped to clear the forests of moral darkness, and lead the young forward to better things.

A Mr. Ellis came in the early days, and preached what some looked upon as "another gospel," it being the doctrine of universal salvation by the blood of Christ. His doctrines remained longer with the people than his person.


came to the settlement in June, 1806, dressed in Quaker drab and broad-brimmed hat, and took up his abode at Mrs. Jane McKean's. He announced preaching in the church that evening and a general notice was sent through the settlement, accompanied with a faithfull if not an exaggerated description of the preacher. A large congregation, for those days, assembled to hear and see the unknown oddity. He had not given his name, nor the locality from whence he came, and until he ascended the pulpit every one was ignorant of all things concerning him. He then announced, "My name is Lorenzo Dow-my business here is to save souls from hell ; and for this purpose I have brought my credentials, which are these: I Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." A strong and lasting impression was made by his sermon, and the eccentric went from house to house exhorting the people, and in the evening preached from the text, "Beware of wolves in sheeps' clothing," intimating rather strongly that they had better inquire into his antecedents, and ascertain if it was not a wolf, who had robbed a Quaker sheep of his garb, who was warning them from the wrath to come.

The visits of the circuit preachers were infrequent, it being six-weeks' circuit, with but two men to fill it; but this lack was ably supplemented by local preachers, viz., Phillips Packard, Daniel Wilcox, Elisha Cole, and others from Towanda creek, and Lewis, from Sullivan. The main burden of the Methodist Episcopal church, however, fell on John McKean, who for forty years bore it bravely and unweariedly. Aside from him, Elisha Cole was the main help of the Burlington Methodist Episcopal church.

The later history of the church will be found elsewhere in the general history of the county.


The first highway cut through the forest to the Sugar Creek settlement from the outside world was the one already named, which was cut through from the Susquehanna in the winter of 1790-1.

In the winter of 1800-1, Jeremiah Taylor, Mr. Maffitt, and Benjamin Saxton, with a few of the settlers from Sugar Creek, cut a road from that point to the North Branch, as it was then called, as is it is in fact the north branch of the Towanda creek at its junction with the main creek. This road was for a long time called the "Maffitt and Taylor" road, to distinguish it from one cut a little below, from Beriah Pratt's (then) to Bailey's. This last road was cut out by Oliver Nelson and Lawson Hemingway. These men were squatters, but their title was as good as those who held under the title of Connecticut, who came near being forced to resort to the "rifle title" before their just rights were secured to them.

In 1811, there was a mail-route established from Towanda (then called Meansville) through Burlington to some point farther west. Samuel McKean was appointed postmaster at Burlington, and a man named Needham carried the mail on horseback, with two bags, one for letters and one for newspapers, distributing the latter to subscribers along the route, giving notice of his advance by blasts upon a tin born he carried by his side.


was planted out before 1800, by a man from Connecticut, named Kendall, who came on foot and alone from that "land of steady habits," with his worldly possessions all in his knapsack. Among the contents of his precious, though not invaluable burden, were some apple-seeds and scions, the latter being of the celebrated Westfield seek-no-further," which he engrafted, and which are still growing fruit on the farm of Thomas Blackwell.


The summer of 1816 was noted as the cold and wet summer, there being a frost in every month of the year. Wheat was mostly killed by the first frost in June, and the corn in August, and consequently great suffering was experienced for breadstuffs. Game was plenty in the woods, and the snow being deep the following winter the deer were easily taken but having browsed on laurel for a long time the venison was unwholesome, and caused a distressing bloody flux. None of the settlers, however, died, and in the spring getting access to the round nuts, leeks, and artichokes, with the wild beef (bear's meat), corned, they managed to exist till the harvest of 1817 brought a greater abundance.

The great destruction caused among the deer that winter by man and and the carnivore nearly extinguished that variety of wild game, and they never recovered from the disastrous effects in this region, and have long since entirely disappeared from the waters of Sugar creek.

The summer of 1822 was a remarkably dry and warm one. No rain of moment fell from the middle of May until the first of October. But little of any kind of crops was raised, and cattle were greatly reduced in condition. However, the disastrous effects did not extend far beyond the limits of the valley of the Sugar, and no particular hardship was experienced except by a few.

The rains of October were fortunately warm ones, and the grass grew, cattle recovered their condition, and no feeding was required until Jan. 15 following.


In the fall of 1807 a family named Durand came to Mr. Braffit's house with a sick child. Dr. Alexander being consulted, at once pronounced the case one of smallpox, and great alarm spread through the community. Little or nothing being known about vaccination, resort was had directly to inoculation, and Mrs. Alexander, Rowle, and Westcott were fully engaged for six weeks, when the alarm subsided. None died except the child.

In 1813, Dr. Ira Lee, an Englishman, came into the county to introduce vaccination as a preventive of the smallpox, but so much ignorance existed on the subject then, and the war feeling ran so high against the mother country, with whom we were again at war, that Dr. Lee was looked upon more as an emissary of Great Britain commissioned to spread some dreadful disease among the people, in order that they might be subdued the more easily, than as an angel of mercy bearing an exemption from a loathsome place, and, per consequence, Dr. Lee barely escaped lynching at the hands of the patriotic Burlingtonians. He settled, however, in Ulster, and subsequently proved his faith by his works, and convinced his mistaken neighbors of their error, and did them much good by vaccinating them and their children. His foremost opposer was a doctor, whom was soon afterwards compelled to leave for "his country's good."

In the fall of 1814 a disease called the "cold plague" made its appearance among the people. The premonitory symptoms being an intense ague, the shaking continuing ten or twelve hours. This was succeeded by an exudence of yellowish slime from the loins and the abdomen, and the patient would fall into a collapse, become unconscious, and generally die in about forty hours from the first attack. Scarcely one-twentieth of those attacked recovered, men seeming to be more liable to the attack than women, and all persons under fifteen years of age being wholly exempt. The disease subsided and disappeared as the weather grew colder in December and January.

Dr. Stephen Ballard was a skillful surgeon and physician in those days, especially in the treatment of scrofulous affections.


In 1806, as Ezra Goddard, Jr., was burning over a fallow, and watching his mill to prevent its taking fire, a tree in the rear of his position fell unawares, and crushed him so severely that he died the same day.

In 1808, as Ephraim Blakesley was engaged in getting the first log on the carriage of his new sawmills be slipped and fell - his head was caught between the log and the timber below, and he was killed instantly.

In 1813, Ezra Goddard, Sr., attempted to ascend a ladder from the basement of his grist mill to the room above, when his feet slipped, and he fell to the floor of the basement, and was so severely injured that he died in a few days thereafter.

In 1814, Luther Goddard, brother and joint owner with Ezra Goddard, Jr., was crushed to death by the falling of the chimney to the grist-mill, the bank on which it stood giving way. Thus these three pioneers father and two sons met violent deaths almost on the same spot, and within a comparatively short period of each other's death.

John Ballard, Sr., was bitten by a small dog supposed to be rabid. The wound being inflicted on his under lip, and from which it was supposed the virus had been removed; but in his old age this old wound assumed the appearance of a rose cancer, from which he died.

In 1822, as James McKean and a number of other men were engaged in chopping a slash fence, a limb sprang back and struck him on the head with such force as to dash his brains out and cause his death in a few hours. He was one of the first pioneers who came in 1790 to seek a home for his father's family.

In June, 1827, a young man named Pratt was injured by a limb falling from a tree upon his back, and died from the effects in a few days. In May, 1828, Ralph Pratt, a brother of the last-named person, in chopping in the woods, cut his foot so severely as to be carried to his home, being unable to walk. Lockjaw supervened, and he died in great agony soon after.


In 1822, while digging a cellar on the farm of Gen. McKean, the excavators came to what was supposed to be an "impenetrable rock, but striking it with a crow, it gave forth a hollow sound." They redoubled their efforts, and at last the stone broke and fell into a vault. And now, with visions of long-buried treasure flitting through their minds, they carefully removed the earth from the arch, speculating, the while as to the probable extent of the "treasure-trove," and the amount of salvage the General would be likely to claim. On removing the cap they found "not what they sought," but a sepulchre. A careful examination of the sarcophagus revealed it flagged at the bottom, the sides, artistically built up, and a, flat stone laid on the top. The sarcophagus measured nine feet in length, two feet six inches in width, and two feet deep. In it was found a skeleton, measuring, as it lay, eight feet two inches

in length. * The teeth were sound, but the bones were soft and easily broken. There were two of these sepulchres within the space of the cellar, one of which had a pine growing over it three feet in diameter.

In 1841, Wm. McKean resorted to an old oak stub for fuel, which was hollow, and was known to be dead when the first settlement was made. It had been a harbor for raccoons, but on account of its great size had never been cut down to get them out, nor for fuel, it being more than four feet in diameter. On cutting it down, about four inches from the heart, a mark was found to indicate that an edge-tool had been used upon it. The body was split up with care, and examinations made to see if any other marks were thereon, and to discover, if possible, what kind of a tool they were made with. They were on one side only, and were evidently made with an axe of some kind, with a three-inch bit, and sharp, too, as the gashes were one and a fourth inches deep, Part of them were oblique upward, and part of them the reverse, and they were seven in number above the stump. The grain or rings of the wood were counted carefully, as far possible, as the sap or white wood was nearly all destroyed, and partly by calculation, aided with sortie inference, it was believed that the marks must have been made more than four hundred years previously.

*This measurement being made by Dr. Williams late of Troy, now deceased


was discovered on the horizon of the Sugar Creek settlement, in 1812, which continued to grow into a portentous cloud until 1815, but which fortunately did not burst at this point, arid passed away in 1815, with the end, it is to be hoped, of our last war with our British cousins. Military companies were formed, and drilled monthly, sometimes oftener. The little boys caught the military ardor of the "Big" brothers, and formed a company, and drilled and drummed to their hearts' content. A fencing master, named Chesbro, was sent to Burlington, by the governor and adjutant general, to drill the officers arid raise volunteers for the regular army. His headquarters were at Kendall's tavern.

He offered to the soldier "no flowery beds of ease," or promotion for daring deeds at the cannon's mouth, or in tile" eminent deadly breach," but put the case upon the high plane of patriotism, duty to fatherland, and that a volunteer was ever more respected than a conscript. A draft was made at Maj. Kendall's in 1815, but, before the detail was ordered away, peace was declared and published, and celebrated accordance to the several inclinations of the people,-at church, in thanksgiving by those who loved to pray - by a dance by those who felt too joyous to neglect so happy an opportunity to trip "the light fantastic toe ;" and by others by their never-failing, resort in times of joy or grief, the whisky-bottle, at which a most immoderate pull was bad in honor of the American eagle..


was developed in the Sugar Creek settlement in the years of privation and land troubles, when food was scarce, and quarrels and vexatious between "Pennamites" and "Connecticut titlers" were abundant. It is no wonder that women and children in thinking of the comforts of their father's house," where they had "enough and to spare," while they were reduced to "husks" almost literally, should long for the old fireside, and the rosy-cheeked apples, and the smoking brown loaf from the old brick oven, and the generous boiled beef and pork, flanked by garden "sass" in profusion. And, as they longed for it, no wonder that that intense desire to return to the old scenes which every homesick boy or girl, or strong man or tender woman has felt, that brings that indescribable "lump" into the throat, and turns the stomach against every tempting morsel that can be set before the miserable victim of nostalgia, in plain prose, homesickness.

One poor lad of sixteen, sorely afflicted, but upon, not a very brilliant scheme it must be confessed, to force a return of his family to the old home. One morning, while the men of the settlement were all at the river for supplies, he took his gun into the woods, and taking off his hat shot a hole through it, and did the same thing to his coat, being careful to shoot it where, if on him, the ball would not have bit him - but, unfortunately for his pretty little scheme, he forgot to take that precaution with his hat. Having thus unloaded his gun, he appeared in the hamlet in an apparently nasty condition, and proclaimed his escape from a body of Indians, who commanded him to halt, but not doing, so they fired on him, exhibiting the bullet-holes in hat and coat as evidence of his statement, and his empty gun as proof of his alleged stout defense. The alarm spread like wildfire through the settlement, messengers were dispatched to the river to hasten the return of the men, the houses were prepared for defense, bullets cast, guns cleaned, in momentary anticipation of hearing the dreaded war-whoop of the savage, and seeing the gleaming of his knife. The men returned quickly, and equipping themselves with their rifles, they took the boy who gave the alarm, and proceeded cautiously to the point where he alleged he saw the Indians. Arriving there, they examined the ground carefully, but failed to find any signs of a body of Indians, the only tracks seen being all of one size and going one way towards the houses. Pressing the lad closely with questions, he at last confessed it was a sham, conceived and executed by himself to scare the women and so induce them to force a removal back to Connecticut. The men laughed heartily at the ruse, and especially when an examination of the boy's hat revealed the fact that if it had been bit while on his head it would certainly have been death to him. The women were not so easily pacified, especially some who had passed through the horrors of Wyoming but having a fellow-feeling for the homesick boy, they at last forgave him.


Tomjack, to whom allusion has been made in the early part of this historical sketch of Burlington, was by nationality a Mingo, but never gave his Indian name. He was born at Logan's Gap, near the Juniata, and when the whites came into the valley of that river to settle, he emigrated to the Susquehanna, just above Forty fort. There he married Betty Montour, a three-quarters blood squaw. He was emphatically a "peace-man." When it was proposed by the Indians and Tories to massacre the white settlers in the Wyoming valley, Tomjack refused to join in the war, and moved up the river to Wysaukin (now Wysox), where was a Moravian mission, at which place he professed religion,

and lived till the approach of Gen. Sullivan's expedition. Supposing himself, notwithstanding the assurance of the Missionary to the contrary, he removed again, to the wilderness of Sugar Creek, where he lived when the white settlers appeared there. He remained three years after their advent into his hunting grounds, and then removed to the Allegheny River, where be died in 1809. There is no record extant of his children except of White Fawn, a girl, and Sun Down, a boy, whose tragical death is a matter of history.

White Fawn was educated, and became a teacher and missionary, and was instrumental in doing much good to her race in the Allegheny region, and in bringing about a reciprocity of good feeling between the Indians of that section and the whites. She never married, giving as a reason that the Great Spirit made her a mother of a nation rather than a mother of a family. She died in 1823, much lamented, and in 1836 a monument was erected to her memory by the Moravian missionary society, of which church she was a member, as were her parents.


When the settlers first arrived at Sugar Creek, it was proposed to govern the colony by the principles of reciprocal fair dealing and honesty with one another, and all differences to be settled by arbitration. This plan worked well for a short time only, and a petition was sent to the governor, an organization of the town was effected, and the governor commissioned Nathaniel Allen a justice of the peace for that district. He then lived on the farm now occupied by Philemon Pratt.

At that time the county was Lycoming which had been taken from Luzerne. The township was named Burlington, because at the time of its organization a number of the settlers were originally from Burlington, Vt. Juddsburg, Sugar Creek, Penn, and Danburg were also proposed as names, but Burlington was adopted.

This was an occasion of rejoicing too: a wedding was ready to be celebrated, and good beer was provided.

When first organized Burlington comprised the territory now included in Burlington, West Burlington, Troy, and the greater part of Granville and Canton. The election was held at the house of Ezra Goddard, where the elections for West Burlington are now held. The first election board were Noah Wilson, Nathaniel Allen, Mr. Campbell, James McKean, and Mr. Case. After the polls were closed a barbecue and a dance closed the day.


The present township of Burlington covers the Susquehanna company's township of Juddsburg, by which name the whole Sugar Creek valley was frequently called by the old people. This township, whose lower line began at the narrows on Sugar creek about three miles west of the westerly bounds of Franklin, was granted July 10, 1786, to Major William Judd (in whose honor it was named), Timothy Hosmer, John Franklin, John Jenkins, and their associates to the number of twenty-two, as appears by said grant on file; that twenty eight one half-share proprietors were to be admitted to fill said town, agreeably to the votes of the Susquehanna company:

"Now know ye that James Carnpbell, Stephen Ballard, and Sainuel Wallace may, if they think proper, take in to the number of twenty eight to fill up said town, etc., which is to contain twenty-five square miles.

(Signed) "John Franklin, "John Jenkins,

"Tioga August 13, 1792.." "commission.

James Campbell, of Tioga township, is certified as being entitled to one whole share in the Susquehanna purchase, which is entered in Juddsburg June 12, 1793 ; survey made and approved Nov. 23, 1799.

Also a certificate that John Clark, of Juddsburg has a right entered in said town, June 26, 1793, and conveyed to Champion Scoville, in second division, containing seven hundred acres.

Also a certificate to William Dobbins, of Tioga township, entered in the town of Juddsburg May 26, 1793, assigns the right, reserving six hundred to John Spalding.

The Pennsylvania land-holder was Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, whose agent, Dr. Robert H. Rose, was compelled to use all of his skill of persuasion, and occasionally threaten severer measures, before the Sugar Creek settlers, who clung with great tenacity to their Connecticut rights, would abandon them and purchase the legal title. This, however, was finally accomplished, and the Sugar Creek settlements have become among the most prosperous in the county.


In 1850, Burlington had a population of 1927; in 1860, 1320; and in 1870, 1375, of whom 49 were foreign born. In 1830 West Burlington was enumerated with Burlington, which accounts for the apparent loss between 1850 and 1860.


was established as such in I853, under the general borough act of 1851. It lies on the north bank of the Sugar creek, its western boundary being also that of the township. The Tomjack creek runs through the village from the northeast, taking its rise a short distance north of the northern boundary of the borough, which includes in its limits about two hundred and fifty acres.

Tomjack's cabin was situated just above the mouth of the creek named in his honor, on the south side of the Sugar creek.

The business of the borough is chiefly confined to an edge-tool and horse-rake manufactory, carriage, wagon, and sleigh manufactory, cabinet-ware and pumps, cooper, carpenter, and blacksmith-shops, general stores and drugstore, one hotel, two physician and surgeons, and a post office.

There are one good schoolhouse and two churches in the borough; the detailed history of the latter will be found in chapter devoted to the churches, in the general history.

The school was taught eight months during the year ending June 1, 1877, 3 female teachers being employed at in average salary of $20 per month; 17 male and 24 female pupils attended the school, the average attendance being 31 for the whole time. The cost per scholar per month was 83 cents. Seven mills on the dollar of valuation were levied on the property in the borough for the support of schools, the revenue arising therefrom being $173.99; $19.68 were received from the State, the total income being $216.68 $162 were paid for teachers' wages, the total expenditures being $215.58. The population of the borough in 1860 was 125; in 1870, 203. It polled, in 1876, 38 votes.


is a small settlement at the crossing of the Sugar creek by the Towanda and Troy highway. It contains a saw- and grist-mill, post-office, one or two stores, a blacksmith-shop, and a schoolhouse, and a number of pleasant residences.