Pioneering With Sullivan County Pioneers
Published by the Endicott Publishing Company, Endicott, NY
Editor's Note: You can read more about Pauline Holcombe and her family background at Ancestors of Pauline Holcombe.
Near Hillsgrove, PA
Gilbert W. Clarke Looking Out On the Mountains
Seven Counties are Visible on a Clear Day
Photo by Mike Clarke, His Son
Here further up the mountain slope
Than there was ever any hope,
My father built, enclosed a spring,
Strung chains of wall round everything,
Subdued the growth of earth to grass,
And brought our various lives to pass.
A dozen girls and boys we were.
The mountain seemed to like the stir,
And made of us a little while--
With always something in her smile.
Today she wouldn't know our name.
(No girl's, of course, has stayed the same.)
The mountain pushed us off her knees.
And now her lap is full of trees.
Recognizing his sterling worth, the friends he has made and kept through four score years of neighborly kindness to Sullivan County’s homes, schools, churches, welfare projects, fraternities, industries and to friends in joy and sorrow; this volume is affectionately dedicated to the unselfish labor of
HON. BAYARD T. MARTIN
Editor and Publish, Judge, Public Servant, Churchman, Mason, Lion, Chamber of Commerce Leader, and brother in the Universal Fraternity, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
This volume is the cooperative effort of many authors. Its purpose is fourfold: to record the history of Sullivan; to honor the sons and daughters who served in the armed forces of all wars; to recognize the labors of citizens in public office and to give belated recognition to all those who, without laud or fanfare, have unselfishly devoted themselves to the promotion of business, industry, churches, schools and other community enterprises of the county.
Between the lines, the reader may find etchings and masterpieces visible only to himself. As the canvas of memory unrolls, it will present a massive mural, depicting the ten thousand time ten thousand natural wonders of Sullivan County, commonly known as the Heart of the Keystone State.
Friends in far distant places, denied the pleasure of breathing our health, giving air and sharing the heart-warming hospitality of the heaven blessed region, may scan these pages with mutual interest. Reflected from them is the true love of home and kindred that finds its counterpart in all sections of our good land. For many, these pages may re-create home scenes and family ties now shattered by the relentless march of time.
“IN THE BEGINNING”
The discovery of the “Sylvan Eden” is shrouded in mystery. It is reasonably presumed that it remained part of the vast unexplored wilderness for perhaps two hundred years. After the advent of the first white men in Pennsylvania, title to this land was constantly disputed by wild birds and beasts native to the region and roving bands of wild men; the evidence of their presence indicates that there were a few temporary Indian camping sites in what is now Sullivan County. The finding of human skeletons, crude implements of war and domestic life used by these early settlers, the arrow and spearheads, flint knife blades and other relics found in recent years seem to make these conclusions at least plausible.
A former resident, John Snell Morgan, born and bred in Hillsgrove and descendant of a long line of Snells, writes interestingly of Indians along the Sock; unearthing many interesting facts. John quotes the record of an Indian village occupied by Delawares, located near the mouth of the Sock by the name of Ots-ton-wa-kin. This village with all its people perished in 1748-- victims of a twin disaster; smallpox and famine. Relics found after the lapse of two centuries prove that warpaths converged here and imagination conjures prehistoric scenes of blood and thunder. Camp sites of size, but because of their isolation, of little importance existed where the village of Hillsgrove stands and Indian habitations were located on both banks of Elk Creek and on all farms in the Hillsgrove Valley also at Forksville and Millview. Incomplete records indicate that they were occupied in succession by the Susquehannas, Delawares, and Iroquois.
The first white settler in Sullivan County, in the year 1786, located his cabin near the mouth of Ogdonia Creek on the site of an Indian camp ground then recently vacated. This man, Dan Ogdens, a Tory, left no permanent impression except the name of the Creek Ogdonia.
The late Fred C. Rogers, Esq. of Forksville, recalls tradition handed down by generations of his ancestors of visits by Indian vagrants who were always well received, fed and blanketed down on the floor of the settlers’ cabins.
The first attempts to explore and survey much of Sullivan County lands was made in 1793 to 1803 by agents and surveyors of the French Royalists, who seemed to have sensed the ultimate failure of this to create here a new France. When after ten years, the French settlers returned to their native land, many areas were found unrecorded or claimed by speculators in forest lands and resold to pioneer settlers, George Streby, in his excellent “History of Sullivan County”, published in 1903, wrote fine biographies of most of these pioneers and their families. Many of them and their descendents have vanished from local life and are of interest to this record only as ancestors of present residents.
Students of woodcraft can easily imagine the hardship endured by early settlers in this primeval forest; no roads, few streams navigable for canoes, small streams choked with fallen timber and underbrush, narrow valleys filled with thickets of hemlock and laurel, deep gorges, swamps and high mountains combined to impede their progress. Providing food surely was a problem since it could come only from the spontaneous productions of earth and wild fish, fowl and game. All had to be taken at the expenditure of labor and skill.
To the endurance and perseverance of these ancestors and to the seven generations following them, we of today enjoy, as our heritage, the blessings our bountiful land provides, and the inherited traits of industry, thrift and initiative plainly marked by the progress made in developing our natural resources.
Strangers in far away places could ask former residents, prone to boast of this land of abundance in health, beauty, sport, adventure and opportunity to grow basic food. “Where is this Utopia located?” this exile from home could well and truthfully answer; “It is the heart of Pennsylvania. Wholly within its boundaries are 434 sq. miles; 277,760 acres of Paradise with a valley altitude of 800 feet above sea level that climbs to 2600 feet in its endless mountains. A land of crystal streams, superb vistas and an azure sky. The terrain crossed by paved highways and crisscrossed by black top roads. The land of hospitable homes, excellent hotels, motels, and commodious inns. A big outdoors where the active may find thrills in the exciting chase of everything from ducks to bucks and the pensive may relax, dream and drift. Here the seriously minded can find the Great Architect of the Universe in the marvel and wonder of his handiwork. This is Sullivan County. To the permanent resident, home; to the wanderer, a mystic valley of dreams and memories.”
SCENIC SULLIVAN COUNTY
To search and set order, the ten thousand times ten thousand natural beauties of Sullivan County would require a lifetime of research, a million dollar expense account and a battery of photographers. The net result--a hundred volumes, too wordy to be of use.
There are comparatively few locations where nature has bestowed her loveliness which have taken to themselves names, worthy of record, in the memory of their admirers. These names could become landmarks on a scenic map, guiding tourists and natives to a better understanding of mothers nature’s smiling moods. But once over the county line by any of the highways leading to the heart of Pennsylvania, the tourist is so thrilled with the beauty of space and sky, forest and farm, and the seasonal tints and shades, that names of particular places are lost in the wonder of it all. Names are still of use in guiding the traveler on his way and telling the historic value of the scene.
Let us follow the course of the Loyalsock Creek and wonder, as other have done to the past. “What is the meaning of the name?” Out of the dim distance comes the memory of a teacher telling his pupils in school that it is a contraction of an Indian word meaning “Mad Water”;--who knows? Its winding branches, Painter Den, Lopez, Pigeon, Santees, Rocky and Marsh Creeks forming the extreme eastern watershed., come together near Lopez and start the Big Sock rolling on its way; picking up the waters of Glass, Birch and Mill Creek, with the waters of Lake Mokoma, Shanersburg and Rusty Run before joining the North Fork or Little Sock at Forksville. This sister stream rises near the northeast county line above Dushore, bringing in the waters of Black Lick and several unnamed runs. All help to make the Big Sock bigger and more beautiful as it sweeps on majestically for fifteen miles to the county line, carrying the added power of Joe’s Run, Elk Creek, King’s Creek, Hoagland Branch, Slab Run, Mill Creek, Huckles Run, Dry Run, Kettle Creek, Ogdonia and Rock Run, finally loosing itself in the bosom of the Susquehanna at Montoursville. Muncy Creek drains the southwestern section, being fed by Elk Run, Long Brook, and the outlet to Eagles Mere Lake and its branches--Bully and Mosey Runs, Big Run and Elk Lick Run.
Mehoopany and Kitchen Creek touch the southeastern boundary and take their share of Sullivan’s waters which keep alive 75,000 acres of unspoiled forest. Through uncounted years the streams have dug into the endless Allegheny Mountains. They have added inches in ages to the width of the valleys and altitude to the summits, working by a master plan to beautify the vast mural as a whole without forming uncouth shapes and monstrosities such as are found in the Dakota Badlands or in Colorado’s Garden of the Gods. These streams abound in trout, bass and other game fish, making them an “angler’s paradise” amid a succession of deeps and shallows, of eddys and waterfalls, the beauty of which is beyond description.
Endless mountains are named but identifying them by locality is difficult because they blend so perfectly that is hard to determine where one leaves off and the other begins. Big North Mountain stands alone, winning for itself an individuality. Hunters find deer, bear, and smaller game in larger numbers than in any comparable area east of the Rocky Mountain.
The Keystone State cooperates with her citizens living in Pennsylvania’s Heart by creating vacation areas that, once visited, call the tourist back many times with his invited guests to share the delights of valleys, streams and mountains. The various attractions are so diversified and so near that several can be visited on a weekend and all covered leisurely in a season.
Without sparing expense or saving distance, highways are routed to include these scenic wonders and the Department of Forests and Waters ministers to the comforts of guests without added cost. In this connection, the Sonestown-LaPorte Highway was extended by the State Secretary of Highways, Paul E. Wright, to include Wrights View at an added cost of $50,000. On this broad, safe pavement thousands pause annually in breath-taking awe to study this ten league picture--Lake Mokoma, and the altitude at LaPorte, the smallest and highest courthouse and the prison with the least number of inmates. At LaPorte the most unique legal document in America can be seen, a square mile of land deeded to God Almighty.
Over a smooth upgrade highway, sheltered by dense forest growth and beautified by maidenhair fern, the ghost of God’s Country, a celestial city now off the map, may be visited. Eagles Mere, in the past an exclusive resort of wealth and culture, now opens its arms and welcomes the overnight tourists and the season visitor with the same genial hospitality. Natural attractions are so numerous and yet so rare in beauty that time is required to fully appreciate their value. Many can be visited only by forest paths. A summer season is needed to do full justice to Eagles Mere. The chief attraction is the Lake of the Eagles, a glacier-formed pothole, three fourths of a mile long and one third of a mile wide. It has no visible inlet and is sixty feet deep filled with ever-changing water, so pure that fish do not live in it and no underwater vegetation thrives. Here all water sports--bathing, swimming and boating in summer; skating and skiing in winter, and at one time they had a toboggan slide across the thick ice of the lake. There is also a place for children to play in safety in the crystal sands or the shallow waves. Leaving the beaches and coming back to each boat landing, one finds himself walking on a wide safe forest path two miles in length and bordered by mountain laurel and rhododendron. The most amusing and exciting feature of this floral ramble is the fate man’s squeeze, a narrow defile between giant boulders. Other forest paths marked by arrows--red, green, white and blue, lead to beauty spots and the Wenonah Trail which follows the waters of the lake down the mountain and to three waterfalls of unsurpassed beauty and a fairy-like mossy glen. The Wenonah Trail can be traversed only on foot and is an all-day excursion, calling for rough clothing and stout shoes.
Near Eagles Mere, PA
Undated Old Postcard
Issued by Ye Sweet Shop
Contributed by Scott Tilden
Source: eBay Auction in February 2011
Motorists may leave Eagles Mere by several routes, all picturesque beyond the average power of description. The skyline trail down the mountain to Muncy Valley skirts a gigantic bowl of forest and farms brings travelers to the Keystone Observatory. Here an eye-filling view into ten counties must be seen to be appreciated.
Route 42 Between Eagles Mere and Muncy Valley
2141 Feet Above Sea Level
Airline View of 90 Miles with Radial view of 450 Miles
Built in the 1930s
Issued by Dexter Press
Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Source: An Old RPPC Post Card Mailed from Wyalusing PA in 1939
From an eBay Auction in January 2014
The Rock Run Road leads to a natural scenic marvel, Ticklish Rock. Few tourists and visitors dare approach this boulder, which has rocked for ages on its perilous perch. Still, in the Sullivan Highlands, motorists may take the black top road north to World’s End. This place of former isolation has been transformed by the State Recreational Department into a grotto of grandeur, filled with mystery trails into realms where cares and troubles end; here humans join the fish in the invigorating waters of the Loyalsock and to find in spirit the real fountain of youth.
Let us stop to learn something of this State Park with its intriguing name “World’s End”. Its name, its history, its purpose, its care.
The origin of the name is in doubt. Tradition tells that travelers overlooking the steep sides of the valley from an abandoned road, now a trail sensed the danger of sliding over the brink and exclaimed that it would be the “end of the world”. Another story is that when surveyors were locating a road up the Sock in 1820, coming to the natural bridge abutment formed where the swimming pool is now located, they looked across the swollen stream and remarked that they had come to the “world’s end”. Much controversy arose when highbrows in the Geographic Board attributed the formation of the valley to glacier action, stating that at this point the mass ceased whirling and that the name “whirl’s end” was more appropriate. Present residents of the county discarded this theory, stating their doubts as to whether pioneer settlers had any knowledge of glaciers. Old maps made from surveys made by U. Bind in 1887 called the place “World’s End”. After long-drawn arguments the Geographic Board surrendered gracefully and the name “World’s End State Forest Park” was accepted. The present name is popular and a drawing card with visitors to the State Park
Editor's Note:Here is what the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had to say in 2015 about the controversial periodic naming of the park as "Whirls End". A map from 1872 called the area Worlds End. An article from July 20, 1935, by W.S. Swingler, Assistant District Forester of Wyoming State Forest, now Loyalsock State Forest, addressed the topic. He noted that some people called it Worlds End, others Whirl’s Glen, and still others Whirls End. The first name arose from the topography of the place. Seven mountain ranges converge on the point and one does receive the sensation of being at the ultimate ends of the earth. The proponents of the second name base their claim upon the whirlpool in the Loyalsock Creek and the third name was probably a contraction of the other two. Since the whirlpool largely disappeared, it was decided that the name Worlds End would be the most appropriate. Hence, the name Worlds End State Forest Park. In 1936, a letter campaign caused the park name to be changed to Whirls End. Another letter campaign forced the matter to be brought to the former State Geographic Board, which supervised the official naming of places. The name was changed back to Worlds End in 1943.
Editor's Note: Here are three 1941 postcards that give us a good impression of what Whirls End *, as it was still called then, looked at the time:
Whirls End State Park
Forksville, PA 1941
Photos Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Originals Auctioned on eBay in July 2012
The back of the first card carried this information: "Genuine Curteich Chicago 'C.T. American Art' Post Card" and had a rectangular area assigned for the placement of a one cent stamp. The second card had "Whitman's Phototypes, Canton, Pa." imprinted on the back. Finally, The third card was titled ""High Knob" , and was produced by the Pennsylvania State Publicity Commission. The back of the card had a brief description of the site and mentioned that "Whirls End" was a "C.C.C. project". The notation "Silvercraft - Made by Dexter Press, Pearl River, N.Y." was also imprinted on the back.
Historically, the Park idea came with the depression in 1932 when C.C.C. camps were located in the area. Their work disclosed the possibility of locating a state park here under the supervision of Wm. Swingler, district forester at that time, and John Annable, first forest ranger. District foresters are men of talent and trained in scientific branches of their calling. All forest rangers and park superintendents are graduates of the Great School of Nature and lovers of their work in the big outdoors. District rangers and park superintendents are on the same level of authority.
The World’s End State Park and Loyal Sock Canyon Vista are the largest recreation areas in Sullivan County. The management is under supervision of the Dept. of Forest and Waters, with district offices in Bloomsburg, Pa.
The park was opened to the public as a recreation area in 1934 and grew in popularity with each succeeding season. The total for the 1952 season beginning April 1 and ending December 15, end of hunting season totaled by count of car capacity 80,000, and this does not include moonlight excursions and evening picnics of which no count is made of cars. Weekends and holidays attendance of 8,000 people is not unusual, always more than the parks can accommodate. Undeveloped facilities can and, no doubt, will supply this need in the future.
The attractions include swimming, rustic cabins, camping, picnic tables and fireplaces with wood provided. Hiking over well-marked trails, one leading to the overlook, where from an elevation of 2.200 feet the Loyal Sock Canyon Vista stretches in the near distance, give thrills that pen or brush cannot imitate.
It can be noted that all facilities of the park are free to all visitors; the few necessary restriction are seldom abused.
Sullivan County’s citizens are justly proud of two lasting memorials modestly placed where three men toiled with hands and brain to give pleasure and inspiration to thousands of natives and visiting friends who are inspired by the visible results of their labor. No tribute, however eloquently spoken, could add to the truth recorded on the bronze plaques permanently set in native boulders in Workd’s End Forest State Park and on High Knob; no word picture can portray the silent grandeur of these two recreation areas, to the development of which these two men gave the best years of their lives.
THE WORLD’S END MEMORIAL
1866 - 1932
A. Lincoln Cox--first Sullivan County game protector--conservationist--nature lover--philosopher--created respect for game laws--developed desire for conservation of natural resources--was a friend to all who knew him.
1878 - 1940
John Annables--first Sullivan County forest ranger. His untiring efforts are reflected in the development of World’s End Park. His work as a forest ranger and conservationist bear tribute to his memory. Both men were faithful and trustworthy servants of the public; by nature, lovers of wild life and forests and firmly believed in their conservation. This tablet was erected and dedicated to their memory October 15, 1941 by their many friends.
Eleven miles down this enchanting valley we turn left passing the Dry Run area--no, not passing, we will pause long enough to view the picnic spot that frequently receives the overflow of visitors to World’s End. Here, too, are conveniences, but without attendants. It was formerly the site of a C.C.C. camp and is on the direct road to High Knob where we will presently stand.
By a gentle grade, without changing gears, we drive to the top of the mountain--top of the world, it seems, --and stand on High Knob. Greet billows of mountains roll silently across the deep green of forest below us. Here the Maker of the firmament meets his people face to face and none can stand on this eminence and doubt His eternal presence. In truth this is the mountain top of scenic Sullivan’s highlands.
The charm of these vacation areas lies in the fact that the beauties are natural and are kept as Nature made them.
Look! Here is another memorial.
THE HIGH KNOB MEMORIAL
In memory of Sumner Frances McCarty, First Forest Ranger 1930 to 1950, Wyoming and Sullivan County State Forests. Lover of out doors; philosopher; friend; faithful public servant. Erected by the host of friends July 15, 1951.
John Annables and Sumner McCarty were cousins and life long friends. Their bodies lie with their kindred in the quiet Friends Cemetery near the place where they were born. Sumner McCarty loved High Knob. John Annables regarded World’s End State Park as a house by the side of life’s road. Both memorials are placed amid scenes they loved.
Under the wide and starry sky
Deep in their graves they lie.
Nobly they wrought, nor feared they to die,
But laid themselves down with a will.
This be our prayer for lives as such:
Lowly and loving, may we be as much;
Lofty in aim; common in touch,
And home at the end by the hill.
Everything seen after this, if taken the same day, would be an anticlimax. Fortunately, there will be tourists cabins for overnight and later days to visit Mill Creek Glen and numerous western Sullivan cataracts, Lincoln Falls among them. The north road from Shunk to Eldredsville, past Fox Township, Piatt, Elk Lake and Camp Brule brings scenes that are like a condensed Far West. The Elklands and Forks townships residents are both hospitable and courteous to tourists. The several roads to Dushore are all scenic but around Mildred and Bernice the barren coal lands and cut over timber wastes make a somber contrast to the foregoing grandeur.
A longer drive may include Lake Ganoga, 2267 feet above sea level. It is the highest lake east of the Mississippi. If we continue to Ricketts Glen, just north across the county line, we realize, having seen Sullivan County, north, east, south and west, that it well deserves the name it has often been called, the Switzerland of America.
This, friend and neighbor, is your invitation to share the joy of good things in Sullivan County with its permanent residents, all of whom are deeply appreciative and reverently thankful for the acres of diamonds of health and happiness to be found in their own back yards.
HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF PENNSYLVANIA’S SULLIVAN COUNTY
By Mildred Lundy
Nestled among the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania there lies 458 square miles of fertile rolling fields, large green forests and breathtaking scenery, dotted here and there with sparkling lakes, swift-funning streams and well-kept farm buildings. This area, which is known as Sullivan County, lies 1500 to 2500 feet above the sea between the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River.
The first settlers to come into the “highlands” that was to become Sullivan County were Daniel Ogden and James Ecroyd. They settled at the present site of Hillsgrove in 1785, about sixty years before the county was organized. John Hill settled in the same region four years later. Soon a number of others began to migrate to the same area. A few of these were Colonel Hepburn, Captain William Gray, Colonel Cooke, T. Cooper, Robert Martin, Brady, Boyd and Haines. There is an unproven story that an early attempt to settle in the wilds of Sullivan County was made by a group of French Royalists who had escaped to America during the French Revolution and bought 200,000 acres of land, 100,000 of which were along the banks of the Loyalsock, but the project was abandoned when the French Revolution was ended and the Frenchmen returned to their own country.
In the early 1790’s much land comprising the county was bought from the government by Samuel Wallis of Muncy and Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen. After his father’s death Joseph Priestly, Jr. bought some more of the land from Wallis. He sent William Molyneaux, Powell Bird and John Warren to the Forks of the Loyalsock in 1794 where they founded the first permanent settlement in the county, called Millview. In 1794 Charles Walstoncraft bought the rest of Samuel Wallis’ land and later the same year sold 10,217 acres located on top of a mountain and including a lake to George Lewis of Philadelphia.
The first effort to organize the county, which failed, was made in 1820 when George Lewis, Edward J. Eldred, William King and William Molyneaux, assisted by Joseph Priestley, Jr., led a campaign to have a bill enacted by the state legislature which would have included the county in all of its present territory and part of Lycoming County. It was to be called Lewis County, and the county seat was to have been Mount Lewis, the present Eagles Mere. Finally, on March 15, 1847, by act of the state legislature Sullivan County was organized from part of Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County. The county was named for Charles C. Sullivan, a state senator from Butler County, not for General Sullivan who fought the Indians, as many people believe. At the present time there are nine townships, only four small boroughs and many small, almost tiny, towns which are scattered throughout the county.
Shrewsbury Township, one of the original five townships, was organized in 1803, by an act of the Lycoming County Court. It was named for a town in New Jersey that had been the original home of the Lewis and Bennett families.
In 1803 George Lewis bought 30,000 acres located in Shrewsbury Township. Included in this tract was a clear, sparkling lake perched on the very top of a mountain. It was first called Lewis Lake and is now Eagles Mere Lake. George Lewis built a glass works in 1808 beside Lewis Lake because of the quantities of white sand available there. The glass works was bought by John J. Adams in 1831, who, in turn, leased it to Thomas Wells and Edward Grundy Lyon. It changed ownership several times after that until it was closed in 1845 because of a lack of adequate transportation for the product. The borough of Lewis Lake was incorporated by Shrewsbury Township April 20, 1899. Later the name was changed to Eagles Mere, which means “lake of the eagles”, because of its location on the top of a mountain. It is now a large and beautiful resort in summer and a ghost town in winter, with only a few permanent year-round resident families.
Elkland township was set off from Shrewsbury Township in 1804 by the Lycoming County Court and was named for the many elk found in the region by the earlier settlers. It was in this region that Joseph Priestley, Jr. settled and James Ecroyd built a grist mill in 1800. The Township contains several small towns, one of the largest being Estella, but no boroughs.
The first settler in the present Cherry Township was Amos Ellis in 1816. Two years later Andrew Shiner built a sawmill on Birch Creek and settled at what is now Sugar Hill. The next few years brought John Lopez, Samuel Dill, William Colley, William Potter, Charles Scott and the Hicks brothers, all to Sugar Hill.
In May 1824, Cherry Township was organized by the Court of Lycoming County. It was taken from the eastern end of Shrewsbury Township and was supposed to have been named for the abundance of wild cherry trees found throughout the area. It comprises an area of 36,000 acres and lies in the northern part of the county. Cherry Township has the distinction of being the wealthiest township in the county, with its agricultural output exceeding all other products. Nearly all of the coal found in the county is located in this township. It has one borough and several towns within its borders.
Dushore, the largest borough in the county was first settled by John Mosier in 1825. He owned most of the land upon which the town now stands, This settlement was first called Moshier Hollow and later Jackson Hollow until Josiah Jackson named it Dushore, a corrupted form of its real founder’s name Aristide Aubert Dupetit-Thouars, exile from the French Revolution. Dushore was incorporated from Cherry Township in 1859 by the Sullivan County Court. Mildred and Bernice, two small towns in the township, are separated only by a tiny stream and are considered by the people as being practically one. Bernice is a mining town which was built by the railroad and named in honor of Mrs. Bernice Jackson, one of the leading women of the section. Satterfield, formerly Dohm’s Summit, was named for John Satterfield of Buffalo, N. Y. and is a very small today, though it was once much larger. There are many other named hamlets becoming smaller and smaller with the passage of time.
Forks Township was organized in 1832 by the Lycoming County Court and was named for the forks of the Big Loyalsock and the Little Loyalsock, which are within its borders. It was in this territory that an Indian fighter, Captain Brown settled in 1789, and Priestley sent his three settlers to found Millview in 1800. Forks Township, economically, is agricultural and has few towns, the three largest being Millville, Campbellville and Vought’s Corners.
Forksville, one of the four boroughs of the county, is located in the township. The first permanent residents of Forksville were William Molyneaux, John Warren and Powell Bird in 1800. In 1810 the Rogers brothers built a woolen mill here. Forksville continued to grow and was incorporated from Forks Township December 22, 1880 by the Lycoming County Court. The borough received its name from the fact that it is located at the forks of the two Loyalsock Creeks. For several years it was the shipping center for the glass which was manufactured at Lewis Lake and other products manufactured in the Loyalsock Valley. It is one of the two oldest towns in the county.
David Richart, Colonel Derr and Nathan Howell on a hunting trip in 1808, found a fertile valley at the base of North Mountain. They returned with their families and were the first settlers in the present Davidson Township. Located in the southeastern section of the county, Davidson was organized in 1833 by the Lycoming County Court and was named for Thomas Asher Davidson of Jersey Shore, an associate judge of the court. This township contains some of the most beautiful scenery found in Pennsylvania. Once the center of a large tanning industry, it is now important in agriculture and lumbering.
Fox Township, organized in September 1939 by the Lycoming County Court, was the first settled in 1800 by Phineas Bond. In 1803 Joseph Hoagland came to the same region. It was named for Samuel M. Fox of Philadelphia, a descendent of George Fox, founder of the sect of Quakers, the faith to which most of the earliest settlers belonged. Fox Township is agricultural and has only two towns of any size. Those are Shunk and Wheelerville.
The first settlers in Hillsgrove Township were Daniel Ogden, 1786, and James Ecroyd. It was organized in 1847 from Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County, as Plunketts Creek until 1856 when it was named for John Hill, one of the earliest settlers in the county. It contains one fairly small town, Hillsgrove.
Hugh Bellas, of Sunbury, made the first attempt to settle permanently in what is now Colley Township, at Shady Nook in 1813. By 1823 the Housewarts and Lees had settled there too, and it became known as Lee Settlement. Colley Township was organized in 1849 by the court of Sullivan County and was named for William Colley, one of the pioneer settlers. It was settled mainly by the Germans and therefore, most of its residents today are of German descent. Colley Township raises much grain and is a lumbering center. Lopez, in Colley Township was named for John R. Lopez, a contractor. It was originally called Tar Bridge and was first settled in 1886 by J. S. Hoffa who built a sawmill at the site. Ricketts, another small town in the township was started in 1891 and is divided by the county line.
Laporte Township was organized in 1850, when the new county seat was located within its borders. It was formed from parts of Cherry, Davidson and Shrewsbury Townships. It was named after the county seat which was in turn named for John Laporte, who as a surveyor general of the state used his influence to have the county organized and to have the county seat at its present site.
Laporte borough was incorporated in 1853, and the earliest settlers at the site were German, Michael Meylert, in 1850, laid out a plan for LaPorte and gave the land for the town, It is the smallest county seat in the Commonwealth and the only one which does not publish a newspaper. Lake Mokoma *, surrounded by summer cottages, is within the town limits.
* Editor's Note: You can learn more about the origins of Lake Mokoma at the Wikipedia entry for Lake Mokoma. Here are some photos and comments on the ownership of the Lake over time:
Camp Mokoma Campers
Two musicians on right, one holding a trumpet
Card Postmarked August 25, 1909
Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Source: eBay Auction of an old RPPC postcard in January 2012
The Mokoma Inn
Old Postcard Dated 1936
Hotel was Built in 1899
Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Source: eBay Auction in November 2011
Original Stock Certificate
Lake Mokoma Boat Company
Owned by W. C. Mason 1911
Signed by Francis W. Meylert of Laporte, Pa. as Secretary, and Ink Stamped by Ellery Ingham as President
Photo Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Original auctioned on eBay in March 2015
* Editor's Note: The Lake Mokoma Boat Company took over ownership of the Lake in 1908. Most of the original 33 stockholders were friends and neighbors of the purchaser, Charles Pennock of Kennett Square, PA. The Company publicized the Lake in an attempt to sell land, but only sold 12 lots between 1909 and 1926. Despite that, the Company launched a new 50 foot motor boat, the Clinton Lloyd, and successfully operated the Lake enterprise for 18 years until 1926. On November 16, 1926, as a result of heavy rains and melting snow, a 35 foot breach was created in the earthen dam holding in the lake. The Lake was not in service during 1927 and 1928, effectively bringing the Lake Mokoma Company to an end. You can find many additional online resources describing the subsequent history of the Lake, In 2015, the Lake was onwed by the Lake Mokoma Association.
The Township also has several small towns and settlements including Celestia, a square mile of land settled in 1864 by a religious group who were awaiting the end of the world. Peter Armstrong, who owned the land deeded it to God when he dies, but God didn’t pay his taxes so the land was sold by the county to Peter Armstrong’s descendants.
As we see it Sullivan County, though small, is rich in historical background. It also has much undeveloped wealth. At the present time it is an agricultural county with lumbering the second most important product. There is an abundance of hardwood even now, though lumbering has been a major industry for nearly a century. In the 1860’s there were several tanneries in the county but these passed out in the 1920’s and only their memory and an occasional stone wall remains.
There are only 21 industrial establishments in the county, the larger ones being Weldon Textile, the shoe factory, milk plant, and reel factory. Collectively, these 21 industries employ only 555 people. There is a small amount of free-burning anthracite coal mined in the county. Geologists say there are veins of copper and other ore running underneath the county. There is also a possibility of the presence of oil, and though nothing was found, there was a well drilled in 1951.
The county has one newspaper, the Sullivan Review, published by B. T. Martin in Dushore. It was founded in 1878 by A. B. Bowman.
The state owns 75,000 acres of land in the county, used as both game refuge and tourists spots. The scenery found in Sullivan County is unsurpassed, with such scenic wonders as Canyon Vista, Ticklish Rock, North Mountain, High Knob and Celestia to prove the point.
Yes, Sullivan County may be small, but it is mighty and will become mightier as it is developed by the modern, pioneer-spirited inhabitants.
Brugler, Milton A. (ed.) Sullivan County Endless Mountains, Williamsport: Grit
Publishing Co., 1928
Egle, William Henry The History of Pennsylvania, Boston: Pub. 1936
Godcharles, Fredrick A. Chronicles of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg: Lewis
Historical Publishing Co. 1944
Ingham, Thomas J. History of Sullivan County, Harrisburg: Lewis Publishing Co. 1899
Meginnes, John F. History of Sullivan County, (No Date Found) Original Manuscript
Streby, George, History of Sullivan County, Dushore: Sun Gazette Printing Co., 1903
DAME NATURE GAVE HER BLESSING
Pioneers of Sullivan County were agriculturally minded. They came into this region with little of the world’s goods; worked on government contracts, building roads that followed Indian trails, receiving half their wages in government land which sold at $2.00 a acre. Large tracts had previously been sold to French Royalists and reverted to federal ownerships when abandoned. Small down payments were made on large tracts; the balance to be paid seems to have been no handicap to German, English, and Irish pioneers. The mingling of their blood produced a class of citizens--patriotic, sturdy, upright and honest.
The fertile lands of the valleys produced, under primitive cultivation, food for their families and their small flocks and herds. The pine-clad hills gave winter employment in the cutting and sawing of lumber. Mountain streams gave power to rudely constructed saw and grist mills. The sale of the surplus products of field and forest was used in payment of debts to the state. Thus, permanent title was acquired and held through the years by their descendants.
It is a far cry from the days of the home-forged sickle, scythe and wooden rake, ox-drawn plows and sledges, mattocks, spades and crude hoes; flintlock muskets, candles, spinning wheels and hand looms, knitting needles and goose quill pens with which our forefathers laid the foundations the hard way for steam shovels, bulldozers, tractors, mechanical planters, bailers, combines, milking machines and creameries, electric fences, plumbing and modern conveniences in our homes, automobiles, paved highways, centralized high schools, and community churches of today and the vanished giant industries of lumbering, tanning and mining of yesterday. The story of this century-and-a-half of progress from tomahawks to television is written into the history of America’s greatness, and no section abounds with more romance of labor and sacrifice to their fellow man than was contributed by Sullivan County’s sons of the soil. Her grass roots citizenry are and, of need, always will be the cornerstone of national solidity and the living spring, the source of human progress. Kinship with land has ever bred in humanity a natural sense of liberty, independence, tolerance, faith and reverence that gives to agriculture and animal husbandry a dignity that lifts men and women so employed to the high plane of nature’s noblemen.
With pride in their achievements we list the results of their labor in food products and raw material for the present year.
Tabulated facts would make dry reading if the record of brain and brawn expended in human toil and the resulting happiness to five hundred and thirty farm families in Sullivan County did not add luster to every item recorded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
“The average size of the farm cultivated is 142.1 acres; totaling 75,313 acres in production. Value of crops in 1950 was $8,195,070, averaging $108.90 per acre.” These figures taken from the 1950 census report do not include the new source of income from two hundred acres of peas grown as an experiment by twenty-five progressive farmers--the average yield, one and one-fourth tons per acre.
Grain and fruit crops listed are corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, potatoes, hay and apples, with no estimate of vegetables, pears, plums, peaches, cherries, berries of all kinds-- wild and cultivated, and grapes; all adding to the food supply and finding a ready market.
Flowers are not grown commercially but are cultivated by every farm and home owner in the county and are a great source of pride, Wildflowers are protected by sane conservation laws.
Animal husbandry accounts for 7,400 cattle and calves valued at $1,361,600. Of these 4,550 are milk cows valued at $1,105,650, or about $243 a head.
Swine---1080 value $ 28,510 each $26.00
Sheep---1470 “ 27,200 “ 18.50
Chickens---72,900 “ 128,460 “ 1.06
Milk Production “ 1,084,160
Eggs---763,180 dozen “ 294,470 doz. .40
Wool---8780 lbs. “ 4,130 lb. .48
Honey---21,080 lbs. “ 4,850 “ .24
If these entries represented net profits from Sullivan County farms, our forests would banish and every inch of land would be grabbed by fortune hunters invading our soil in numbers exceeding the western gold rush days. However, the expense of productions and distribution, fertilizer and every rising taxes, the cost of new farm machinery and gasoline, reduce profit materially though enough is left to provide conveniences and luxuries of which the pioneers preceding us never dreamed. These modern aids include electricity and electrical appliances, telephones, radio and television, running water and bathrooms, heating systems in our home and all kinds of farm machinery--442 cars, 187 trucks, 270 tractors, 156 gasoline engines.
Comparatively few horses are in use on farms and in lumbering. The equipment needed for their use is fast becoming museum pieces. Writers of history are prone to hark back to the good old days and compare pas and present values. In this effort, it seems more practical to let the past bury its dead and enjoy the hospitality of present makers of history; bringing to the printed page, evidence of debts owed, not to the past alone but to present and future pioneers facing unknown adventures in a rapidly changing world.
We find in the new construction of farm and home buildings, modern and improved lines, but in the substantially built homes inherited, little exterior change. The interiors blend into the new order but the home atmosphere of neighborly kindness has neither needed nor experienced any noticeable change. In labor and sacrifice contributed to the common good, freely given by all our citizens, the farm families give until it hurts; neither receiving or expecting public acclaim for their service.
Leaders in the varied activities fostered by agriculture and its branches are numerous. In fact, nearly every farmer is a specialist in his line--ready and willing to aid neighbors with knowledge gained by experience. Several, outstanding in their service both to agriculture and the general public, merit honorable mention far beyond local limits.
The late Horatio Alger would have enjoyed writing the story of a recent pioneer family in Sullivan County, whose exploits in accidentally developing a business enterprise that succeeded far beyond their fondest dreams would bring him face to face with an experience in which truth is stranger than fiction.
Noticing on the outskirts of Dushore Borough, a collection of neat and orderly buildings, painted green, and flanked by streets of outdoor runs and sheds, and seeing thousands of pure white hens active upon a two acre plot, motorists comment upon the size and scope of this industrial plant and would doubt the true statement that in the space of eighteen years this plant and modern dwelling are from a flock of twelve back yard hens and the perseverance of a determined wife and mother to provide a living for her family, her husband having met with a serious and nearly fatal accident under a fall of rock in the Forksville coal mines. A long year of pain and suffering and slow regaining of health prevented his return to his former job and kept the Souto family on the trail of their success. Mr. Souto laughs away the memory of the soul-trying days of adversity, Mrs. Souto refers to this period in her life in terms of “The Egg and I.”
In 1920, while in his teens, Manuel Souto, a Spanish youth, left his native land for Cuba where he labored for four years. He then went to New York, landing in 1924. Hearing that laborers were needed in the Pennsylvania hard coal mines, he came to Jessup, Pa., where he met and married Miss Frances Shenuski of Throop, whose parents came from Lithuania. The Soutos came to Dutch Mountain and later to Forksville, where the accident occurred December 17, 1934, soon after they had purchased their modes home and two acres of land in Dushore and before the birth of their eldest son.
Meager compensation insurance and the twelve hens, five of which were kept in incubation, was their sole income. In 1947, a small incubator was purchased for $69. This equipment has grown into a plant of 15,000 capacity, with air-conditioned buildings housing 3300 egg produces. Fifty thousand broilers are sold annually from twelve to fourteen thousand are available at all times. The big wooden buildings were constructed from salvaged lumber from unused breakers and empty miner’s homes at Bernice. Mr. and Mrs. Souto doing the carpentry, with no outside labor used, the family caring for every detail and with neighbors willing and eager to clean the building for the valuable fertilizer which is never allowed to accumulate. Cost of fuel for the central heating plant is $6,000 per year and daily cost of grain is over $100. The hatching machinery and brooder equipment cost more than $25.000.
The plant is under regular Federal inspection and is given high rating for sanitation and efficiency.
Asked for a estimate of the value of the plant, Mr. And Mrs. Souto replied “It is not for sale. Perhaps if we ever grow old, we may sell”. Their youthful appearance and enjoyment of the music of their talented sons would place the infirmities of age for them a long way in the future. Mr. Souto is a Thirty-Second Degree Mason, an enthusiastic member of the Chamber of Commerce and proud of his American citizenship. The family, by the warm-hearted courtesy and friendliness have won a high place in community life.
The adverse criticism hurled against government bureaus in many section of our country, citing the political patronage they create, may be justly merited, but in Sullivan County the honest efforts of citizens employed by state and federal projects are a source of pride to the men and women so employed, and to citizens and strangers who profit from the work they do so well. Pride in their locality and the fact that their jobs mean security for their families may help, but mutual respect and faith in the motive of those who labor and those in authority builds morale and gets things done.
Leading the list of citizens bringing agricultural interests to the high position occupied by local tillers of the soil through the years are the farm agents and their office workers. Under the name of the Farm Bureau, this service started in the Fall of 1917. The foundation was built on an organization known as the Sullivan County Agricultural Society which fostered the Sullivan County Fair and with groups of interested farm families held farmer’s instituted and small agricultural meetings in cooperation with the Farmers Alliance and the patrons of Husbandry through three decades. The Bureau met opposition from a group of citizens who evidently placed a wrong conception upon its motives. Under the sponsorship of the Pennsylvania State College, a group of farm leaders and their wives raised funds for emergency use, and an office was established at Dushore in 1918; for its maintenance the County Commissioners allotted the sum of $50,00 monthly. Paul Korb was appointed by State College as the first Farm Agent, serving until 1920. He was succeeded by Raymond Waltz, who was called to a bigger and better paying position in 1924. The service has grown in popularity and use. Eugene Hamill assumed leadership and the Bureau name was changed to Agricultural Extension Association. In 1927, J. Walter Learn accepted the appointment and established his home in Dushore, giving eleven years of undivided attention and service to a cause which was his ideal. His foresight and energy made the Association indispensable to all citizens of Sullivan County and removed the last opposition. A talented musician, he endeared himself to the youth by helping whenever their bands needed his assistance. His service is remembered and his untimely death in 1948 mourned by all who knew his sterling worth. It can well be said of him: Gone, but not forgotten.
His worthy successor, W. H. Gregory, vocational agricultural teacher in the Sonestown High School, later instructor in the G. I. Agricultural Training Program, was already known and respected before assuming the duties and responsibilities to which he became heir. Carrying forward the policies of his predecessor and introducing improvements, under his management the office as part of the Pennsylvania State College Extension Service, has won the confidence of all branches of agriculture as a teaching service; in demonstrating better ways of doing things on farms; better varieties of seeds; of fertilizers; and better farm practices in general, with instruction by specialists from State college. The service has changed the county life from dependence on manufacturing to a just appreciation of agricultural pursuits as the leading dependable industry of the county.
In recent years notable progress has resulted in the grassland type of farming necessary to the rapidly growing dairy industry, --scientific application of methods in rotation of pasturage and better quality of hay, grass and legumes.
The Extension Service enters all phases of farm life particularly in the breed and breeding of dairy and beef cattle, both natural and artificial. Also the care, adjustments and use of farm machinery, in which dealers cooperate.
The over-all extension program includes Home Economics. This valuable service grew from small beginnings in 1922 when Mrs. Blanche Coit from State College spent alternate weeks in the Extension office in Dushore. Her work was not connected with High School programs. She reached her pupils through demonstrations and meetings with youth through 4-H Clubs and adult rural groups of women. Since she left in 1935, an extension representative has been available at all times. It is stressed that the entire extension program is education in which rural dwellers are encouraged to help themselves through organization and cooperation. The kind greeting and cheerful service of office assistants through the years has contributed to the efficiency of the service. The following well remembered names merit recognition in records of Extension achievements:
HOME ECONOMICS EXTENSION REPRESENTATIVES
Miss Mary K Rissinger 1935-1941
Miss Geraldine Cornish 1941-1944
Miss June Mertz 1944-1947
Miss Mary Metzer 1947-1949
Miss Mary Musser 1949-1952
Miss Josephine DeRaymond 1952-
Agnes Carroll Saxer 1920-1928
Madelyn Foley 1928-1929
Mildred Murphy Marshall 1929-
Aiding the State’s assistance to agriculture and animal husbandry, the Federal government provides the equally valuable services of the Agricultural Conservation Association with a central office in Dushore of which George Bahl is the chairman of the county committee. Other members: Frank Rohe, Vice-Chairman, and Foster Myers.
Members of this committee are elected annually. Fertilizers and seed are purchased in bulk and distributed to members at cost. Assistance is given in marketing produce and in planning acreage of vital crops with reliable information as to the general needs to balance supply and demand.
SULLIVAN COUNTY POTATOES
Three prosperous farmers with three decades of patient application to their chosen ambition, plus foresight and business ability, have turned the bane of life for former farm boys into a blessing. Many wanderers from the farm trace their desertion to a losing battle with weeds and bugs-- their weapon of defense a dull hoe in a stony “tater patch. Perhaps they never dreamed of machines conquering this drudgery or the ease and speed with which future farm boys would accomplish that which to them was impossible. The winning of this victory by these three leaders, with the cooperation of neighboring growers on a lesser scale, has brought to the county an envied reputation among potato growers in adjourning states.
Our hardy ancestors, sons of Old Erin, driven out of Ireland by successive failures of potato crops in the 1820’s, brought their crude mattocks and hoes with them and soon proved that the red shale soil of Cherry and Forks townships was naturally adapted to raising their staff of life.
The thought of raising more potatoes than were needed for home use and to supply local markets was not considered until the turbulent twenties. In 1926, Mr. Frank Rhoe, after years of research, decided to raise certified seed under Government inspection and guidance. To the KP peeling endless quantities of spuds, the housewife peeved by high prices and the die-hards joined to their idols of doing things on the farm and hard way, this plan meant nothing. To the State Department of Agriculture it meant three exhaustive inspections of the growing crop and a final inspection of the gathered produce with check and recheck of conditions under which it would be stored. To Mr. Rhoe it meant ready sale of his crop at fifty cents more per bushel than the price of commercial potatoes, with the added pleasure of knowing that his efforts had raised the standard of quality and increased the yield of growers using his seed. Starting with one acre that produced 300 bushels, the project grew to twenty acres that over a period of twenty-six years produced an average yield of 6,000 bushels per year.
Honors came in the form of ribbons won and certificates of merit by the State Agricultural Department and the State Potato Growers’ Association with more orders for his produce than could be filled. On the sidelines since 1948, Mr. Rhoe still manages his farm though living in his beautiful home in Dushore. A director of the First National Bank, he interests himself in his neighbors’ financial welfare and in the fine herd of whitefaces that are his pride and joy.
Reminiscing, Mr. Rhoe paid a glowing tribute to his colleagues with whom he has cooperated through the years calling attention to their integrity and the independence with which each follows his chosen lines, to the successful accomplishment of their goal.
Mr. David Vought of Forks Township places his faith in land adaptability and the quality of fertilizer and seed. Ten thousand bushels of top grade marketable potatoes are his average yield.
Mr. Kinnery Conners of Dushore owns and tills four farms in Cherry Township raising diversified crops. His specialty is commercially grown potatoes. He finds pleasure in breaking up ground, weed-grown and neglected for years, and raising thereon bumper crops, thus changing a liability into an asset. Twelve thousand bushels are produced by Mr. Conners annually.
The equipment, machinery, chemicals, storage, bags, crates, seed and fertilizer indispensable to potato raising on a large scale total $20,000.00, not including labor, incidental expenses and the ever-increasing tax on everything needed. These handicaps make the success of these pioneers outstanding and worthy to be recorded in local archives.
The machinery that makes this dream a reality, and a conservative estimate of their value as listed by M. Rhoe, includes: Tractor $2,000; Planter $800; Sprayer $2,000; Cultivator $350; Cutting machine $125; Graders $800; Digger $900; Truck $2,000; Tractor plows, harrows, manure spreaders and incidental use of machinery used in general farming are an added expense, making potato growing a gamble that gives zest to the venture and satisfaction to results attained.
SULLIVAN COUNTY FAIR
Ninety-nine years have passed since 1854, the year the first fair was held at Forksville, where the M. E. Church now stands. The record of this fact was made in the nineties by the late Jacob L. Snyder, who attended the first fair and noted few horses but many pairs of oxen on or near the grounds. Tests of skill and strength of oxen and their drivers were the main attraction. Cash premiums were paid and twenty-five cents admission was charged. The exhibits consisted of maple products, sugar and molasses, grain products, dried fruit and berries, home-made butter and cheese, and hand-woven garments of wool and flax. Few, if any, farm animals were exhibited. The second fair was moved to Millview on what is now the Molyneux Norten farm; and the third was at Eldredsville, on what was then the Mullen farm, now owned by J. Lyman Snyder.
Drinking and fighting were features of early fairs. Old grudges were settled or renewed and new ones formed. Law enforcement just wasn’t in the good old days!
From 1858 to 1883 no definite records are available, but references were made to a fair held at Laporte and a surplus of $60.00 left in the treasury.
There is also reference to the removal of the fair from Forksville and a loss of $300.00. An ancient poster advertising a fair at Forksville in 1878 is treasured by J. R. Molyneux.
Agricultural Society Exhibit
Sullivan County Fair
September 16-18, 1884
Entry Ticket held by Victoria Lusch *
Photo by Scott W. TIlden:
Original Auctioned on eBay in November 2011
* Editor's Note: Victoria Lusch (1859-19480 was a local school teacher.
You can learn more about the Lusch family at The Lusch family of Sullivan County.
The Sullivan County Agricultural Society with twenty members was chartered in 1883. Fairs were held in Huckles Grove until the present fair grounds was purchased in 1891. Through the years public speakers have been featured and two Pennsylvania Governors, Patterson and Beaver have made official visits.
The Centennial of the first three permanent settlements in the County was held in 1894, with the Hon. Thos. J. Ingham as orator. Attendants at the fair raided their attics and appeared in clothing of 1790. A replica of a pioneer cabin was filled to overflowing with family relics, since purchased by dealers in antiques. The farm machinery, the parlor organs, the heavy Clydesdale stallions and big red Durham bulls; the road horses hitched to two wheeled sulkies and to surreys “with the fringe on top”; the over-sized farm wives with their balloon sleeves; the baby shows, cane stands, rural police with blue ribbon badges and armed with ball bats, and one hundred other sights and possessions common in 1894, would appear as curios, having only sentimental value in the motor age of 1953.
Thus the history of the fair is brought up to date with the statement that constant improvement in moral and cultural standards has been the goal of the promoters. This is reflected in the success attained, both socially and financially, but the real history is written in the memories of Sullivan County’s son and daughters, young and older grown!
PUBLIC ASSISTANCE IN SULLIVAN COUNTY
The history of mankind has been a struggle against want and hunger, a striving for security and for the better things of life. Many have succeeded in attaining their goals, others have fallen short. Always there have been those who, because of age, illness or incapacity, have been unable to obtain through their own efforts even the bare necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. Through the years the methods and extent of carrying out provisions for aid to these people have changed and developed in accordance with changing conditions.
The firs public provision for poor relief in Pennsylvania was contained in the “Duke Laws if 1776”. From that time until the present, Pennsylvania has always had some provision for the care of the poor. Early poor laws were characterized by an attitude of harshness toward those who were dependent on public aid, since it was generally felt that poverty was due to shiftlessness or unwillingness to work. Toward the end of the nineteenth century this attitude began to change, as it was generally recognized that all relied recipients were not idle dissolute persons. Private charities were organized which stressed efficiency and service and led the way toward a more humanitarian approach to the problems of dependency.
In 1932, the State Emergency Relief Board was established to administer a program of unemployment relief. At first relief was distributed in the form of commodities or commodity orders which were redeemable at stores for a specified amount, This method proved unsatisfactory and in 1936, relief in kind was abandoned and system of cash relief, based on a family’s budgetary deficiency was established.
In 1932. The State Government established a unified public assistance program administered by a State Department and 67 County Boards of Public Assistance in Pennsylvania. The office of the Sullivan County Board of Assistance was set up in The First National Bank Building, LaPorte, Pa. On February 28th, 1938, where it remained until 1946 when it was moved to Dushore.
Five different types of assistance are administered by the Sullivan County Board of Assistance under this program:
Old Age Assistance is granted to persons 65 years of age or older, whose income and resources do not enable them to meet their ordinary living expenses.
General Assistance is granted to persons or families under 65 years of age, usually because of unemployment or temporary illness, A person must be a citizen of the United States to receive general assistance although this does not apply to other types of assistance.
Blind pension is granted to persons over 21 years of age whose vision is less than 10/200 and whose total resources do not exceed $5,000. This is the only pension program administered in which need is not necessarily a factor.
Aid to Dependent Children is granted to widows or widowers with children under 18 years of age who are attending school or to families where the mother or father is incapacitated.
Aid to Disabled is given to persons between the ages of 21 and 65 who have a permanent or total disability.
In addition to a cash assistance allowance, all persons who are receiving any type of assistance are eligible for medical, nursing, dental and pharmaceutical care.
In Sullivan County, as of May 1952, 329 persons were receiving some type of assistance. This is 4.9 percent of the population of the county.
The staff of the Sullivan County Board of Assistance is composed of Miss Grace Nottingham, Executive Director; Mrs. Millicent Stackhouse and Mrs. Twila Gephart, Senior Visitors; and Mrs. Sarah Meehan, Stenographer.
Members of the County Boards of Assistance are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of 2/3 of the members of the Senate. Under the direction of the County Board, and supervised by the State Office, the Executive Director administers the public assistance program through his county staff, for whose supervision and development he is responsible. The Executive Director is appointed by the County Board from a Civil Service list and is subject to the same rules and regulations as apply to his staff, who are also under Civil Service.
The Sullivan County Assistance Board is composed of Mr. Frank J. Bendinsky, Chairman; Miss Ann Yarosh, Mrs. Susan Morgan, Mrs. Marie Kanally, Mrs. Sue Dailey and Mr. Vell C. Holcombe.
HERE REST OUR DEAD
To the returned prodigal or the permanent resident of Sullivan County, no place is more sacred than the quiet churchyard where sleep the men and women who were our ancestors. No field of research yields truer data than names and dates carved on tombstones. No word picture of pioneer life would be complete without reference to the last resting place of our forefathers.
Modern life has so unified Sullivan County that it is now one neighborhood, to which every village and township contributes to the general welfare. The only public property that is a local responsibility and an individual shrine is the cemetery. The care we give to these consecrated plots is proof of our belief in immortality and faith in neighbors and friends to protect our last resting place from the ravages of time. A few of these sacred areas, once loved and cherished, are brush grown and forgotten. It is the purpose of this chapter to give them historic recognition and perhaps to inspire public-spirited citizens to bring about their restoration.
According to record, the first white man to be given burial in Sullivan, was Charles Felix Rui Boulogne, agent and business manager of the French Settlement at the Asylum. He was swept from his horse and drowned while attempting to ford the flood-swollen Sock, July 19, 1796. Around his lonely grave the present Hillsgrove cemetery grew.
Because of the fact that no records were kept and no plans made for perpetual care, many graves are unmarked. The original plot, given by pioneer John Hill, was free and burials without plan of order. Private plots were purchased surrounding the original plot on two sides and the owners keep these in order. In recent years the Volunteer Fire Company has made the cemetery the object of care and attention. Within the memory of older residents are marble slabs marking the graves of John Hill and his wife who died in 1841. In a row across the plot sleep many of his descendants: the Sadler, Davis, Rogers and Craven families. Two rows are given to the McBride family. A section to the Biddle and Speaker families, the Lewis and Huckel facilities, the Boyles and Jackson families, the Darby, Greene, Moulthroup, Peck and Golough families, the Harrison, Dunlap, Brey, Huffsmith and Dutter families. Few of their descendants are left with sufficient interest to help bring order out of what is rapidly becoming chaos. This is the only cemetery in Hillsgrove Township.
The Fair Mount Cemetery of Forksville is located within the borough limits and is an outgrowth of the Rogers family burying ground. Samuel Rogers, who settled at Forksville is buried here. His death is recorded, on a fine granite monument that was evidently placed many years later, as occurring in 1828. Of the several bearing his name who were born in Sullivan County, only three people are alive. This cemetery was incorporated under the present name in 1887 when sections were added and many lots sold for $5.00, considered a fair price at the time. Perpetual care was instituted in 1897 but fails to provide sufficient income for present needs. Improvements and labor are being donated which leaves little to be desired and wins approving comments from relatives from far places who frequently visit the graves of their ancestors; many having no descendants living in Sullivan County.
Prominent among historic names are the Randalls, father and son, noted country doctors; Black, Ostler, Glidewell, Brown, Benfield, Collins, Snyder, Huckel, Whitely, Lancaster, Pardoes, Smith, Snell, Wright, Fleeming, Little, Miller, Clarke, Shafer, Schanbacher, Glockner, Boyles, Bennett, Burgess, Mullan, McCarty, Norten. Plotts, Jennings, Voght, Faucett and Vargeson.
Fox Township has four cemeteries at Shunk having perpetual care under Cemetery Association Plan Management. These are a credit to neighborly cooperation and speak eloquently of the affection cherished for departed ancestors.
The Friends Cemetery is near the site of one of the first meeting houses built of logs in 1818, and since early Quakers did favor monuments, the graves are marked by fieldstones without inscription. The Williams family plot joined the Old Friends Cemetery with no fence between. The earliest monument date is that of Perus Williams, second generation of pioneers--1851. Reliable information places the first burial in the Friends section as that of Amos Hoagland. He was killed by a falling tree in 1820. Early burials were restricted to members of the Friends Society and the Williams families but neighborly sympathy in times of bereavement broke these barriers which may have caused the Brown Cemetery, located on the other side of the public road, and the Shattuck burial ground within hailing distance and now known as the West Hill Cemetery, to be used. This plot was donated by Ebeit Shattuck who emigrated from Holland in 1851 and was owner of 700 acres of land. He reserved twelve lots of equal size for his twelve children and there are now few unoccupied graves remaining. In fact, everyone buried in the cemetery is related, by blood or marriage, to the Shattuck or Porter families.
Family names in all four cemeteries are: Williams, Shuttuck, Porter, Cott, Caseman, Morgan, Walker, Rightmier, Fanning, Campbell, Brenchley, Salisbury, Wright, Dickerson, Hoagland, Warren, Kilmer and Wilcox.
The Porter Cemetery, two and a half miles northwest, contains about twenty graves and may be the oldest burying ground in the Township. Dr. John Wilcox served in the Revolutionary war and is buried here. Memorial records list thirty-one soldier burials in Fox Township,: Revolutionary War, 1; Civil War, 23; First World War, 3; Second World War, 1.
The Estella Cemetery, on a southern slop near the High School, shows evidences of neglect with sunken graves, Comparatively new, but without organized care, there is room for improvement. Pioneer members of the Bird family are buried here. Like all Sullivan County burial places descendants find homes in far away places and forget hometown memories. The last burial here occurred in 1949.
The new Quaker or Friends Cemetery hidden in back of the only Old Friends Meeting House, located near Piatt in Sullivan County, is characteristic of the people buried there. It came into use with the building of the Meeting House in 1883. The elders seem to have conceded to the younger element the privilege of placing headstones in the cemetery, and every grave is marked with a simple granite monument--solid and lasting. The stones are not over twenty inches high. No tree, bush or flower is seen within the enclosure, grass clipped and graves in alignment that suggests the order and silence prevailing at the regular Sunday meditations within the Meeting House, that still are called occasionally by visiting elders.
Family names in the cemetery are: McCarty, Anabell, Pardoe, Sheels, Hesse, Hoagland, Caseman, Cott and Rogers, pioneers of the 1840’s whose ancestors sleep in unmarked and forgotten graves in the older cemeteries at Shunk and Eldersville.
The cemetery brings to memory the words spoken in pioneer days by an early saint of the Friends’ Society, Ellen Roberts McCarty. Asked by a visiting elder as to whether the poor of the community were given due consideration, she replied, “Ours is a land blessed with everything needed. We have no poor among us.”
Along the highway on a shelf of level land overlooking wide Indian meadows once pasture of elk but for a century and a half under cultivation, the modern and well kept Millview Cemetery is located. Within a large enclosure surrounded by a low fence over-run with a growth of myrtle and dewberry vines, the gates locked with poison ivy, is the Warren Cemetery to which no new graves have been added since 1900. Here sleeps John Warren, original owner of the lands surrounding the cemetery in 1795, and builder of one of the three log cabins that sheltered the entire population of Millview in 1800. Monument bearing the earliest date, 1855.
Family names in both cemeteries are duplicated in all Western Sullivan cemeteries and include: Molyneux, Bird, Warren, McCarty, Barnes, Battin, Brackman, McIntyre, Clarke, Hunsinger, Wilkenson, Wenck, Wright, Reifsnyder and Kilmer.
Isolated on a steep hillside near the home of Mr. And Mrs. John Norten at Millview is the Molyneux Cemetery, abandoned for the past 70 years, myrtle and moss grown with leaning or fallen monuments. One marble block, scarred by time, stands proudly on its base of large field stones and is visible from the highway. On moonlight nights deer are frequently seen feeding around it. The inscription reads: William Molyneux, native of England and first settler in Sullivan County, 1794. Born 1761, died 1848. Near it is the grave of Rebecca Bird Molyneux wife of his son; first white child born in Sullivan County. Modernizing or attempt at restoration of this sacred spot would seem out of place. Time and decay add to its beauty and emphasize its antiquity.
Why pioneer families should have chosen to bury their dead on hillsides is an unanswered question. Pioneer Powel Bird is buried in a narrow tract of land of this nature near the present home of Mr. And Mrs. Bernard Shaffer and near the site of his primitive cabin built in 1795. His grave is in a group marked by native stones; none are carved, making identification impossible. The Bird Cemetery contains forty marked graves of his descendants by blood or marriage including the names of Bird, Reinbolt, Norten, Kilmer, Biddle, and Gibbs. An evergreen windbreak on one side of the plot contains red and white pine, spruce and hemlock trees seventy feet tall, indicating that the land has been used as a cemetery for more than a century. One grave has been added within the last ten years.
Endowed with a fund by Judge Richard Bedford in 1884, the Elkland Cemetery located near the Wesleyan M. E. Church is one of the cleanest and best -cared-for cemeteries in the county.
Accurate records of its age are not available, but several graves marked by native stone markers--one bearing the inscription “John Grange died 1818”--would indicate that it has been a local burying ground for more than 130 years.
Graves of members of the Hart family are dated 1859; two Wright graves 1833-34. Other pioneer names in large groups are: Norten, Lucke, Warburton, Faucett, Wenck, Baumunk, Mourean, Dieffenbauch, McCarty, Lee, Hottenstein, Wilcox, Frey and Chambers.
Located in Elkland Township near J. Lyman Snyder’s farm, the Mullen-Pardo Cemetery grew around the grave of pioneer Charles Mullen, buried in 1843, and native stone markers of members of his family who preceded him in death. Sixty graves record names of early families of the Mullen-Pardo families and relatives by marriage, including Nichols, Streby, Brenchley, Everett, Frey, McIlwane, McCarty. The grave of Chars. Grange, died in service in 1862 is marked by a soldier flag placed for the last Memorial Day, Hoagland, Harvey and Nichols are names that appear. The pioneer Mullen name is spelled” Mellon.”
The following singular epitaph was found on an infant’s grave; “Shall I wait till He comes,” said my darling? “Not long did I wait until needed in Heaven.”
Tradition credit’s a ghostly visitor from this cemetery appearing in local stores and purchasing his favorite brand of chewing tobacco long after his death.
The last burial occurred in 1947, and though the plots receive care from interested relatives occasionally, it seems fated to be forgotten by the next generation.
Noticeable are the graves of Chas. Orlando Mullen, killed in a hunting accident in 1888, and John Mullen, age 92, and his good wife Selena Woodhead Mullen, 90, native of England, who though she gave 19 children to the Mullen name, of whom 13 grew to maturity, always remained loyal to English royalty.
Sheltering the cemetery are sugar maple trees four feet in diameter and a triple group growing from one stump that measures 30 feet in circumference.
The Webster Cemetery, thirty feet square, is located along the highway on land owned by Raleigh Beinlich, and is enclosed by a high iron fence placed by the late Harry Webster 30 years ago.
Judging from the six monuments and other graves, unmarked, Jonathan and Harriet Webster may have buried two sons, soldiers of the rebellion and planned a place for their own interment.
Dates on the monuments would indicate that the cemetery is less than 100 years old. There is but one Webster descendant living in the county, Ezra Webster, living near Forksville. Flags are placed on the graves but there is no indication of any care for many years, although a burial occurred here ten years ago.
Perhaps the least visited and hardest to find abandoned cemetery in the county is the Bryan-Brown Cemetery located across the Sock on the southern end of the Charley Bryan farm, on ground once covered by the back water of the big splash dam that has been a memory for the past fifty years.
Harold Gardner’s interest in local history prompted him to carry a gun, provide the writer of this sketch with wading pants and a hoe as protection against snakes and wade the Sock in an effort to locate this city of the dead. This is the only way this cemetery can be visited. In a plot 30 by 30 feet, enclosed by a dry stone wall still in good condition, ten graves (eight adults and two children) are plainly marked by headstones of red slate. One, dimly visible, informed us that S. Bryan aged 79, died in 1841. This one marble headstone marks the grave of Margaret Black, age 29, died in 1852. The labor involved in gathering stone and building the wall proves loving care on the part of friends a century past.
Older residents warned us that the place is regarded as a snake pit. We found neither snakes, ghosts or tradition haunting the cemetery, but plenty of signs of wild life. A large bear left unmistakable signs of his occupancy during the previous night--his bed plainly marked by crushed ferns. Cornstalks and gnawed ears of corn in the still water told of the presence of coon, mink, or beaver, and fresh tracks at the water’s edge proved that deer had recently departed.
The Bear Mountain Cemetery was visited the same day, located in a pasture some distance from the highway; this burial place is hard to find. Marked by white marble monument recently placed, the graves of pioneer Samuel Norten and his wife, Catherine Bryan, dominate the spot but do not inspire descendants to clear the cemetery of brush and trees. There is no evidence that an interment occurred here in the past twenty years.
Two marked graves of the Wicks family tell why their once prosperous farms are vacant and brush grown. They left no posterity.
The German Cemetery on the same plot occupied by the German Reformed Church in Elkland Township, until recent years brush grown and neglected, now shows evidence of better care, with new monuments, grading and shrubbery. Early German families, settling a century ago, rest here. Names include: Hugo, Hines, Caseman, Beimlick, Herman, and Baumank.
The Woodhead family evidently started the Bethel Cemetery more than a century past, and the Bethel Schoolhouse, used as a church alternately by two Methodist denominations, has added slowly to its growth until it contains more than one hundred marked graves, and the recognized potter’s field of the County.
This first recorded burial occurred in 1850. Perpetual care, supported by the county plan would benefit this burying ground if adopted. Near this resting place of our ancestors are ruins of the first Woodhead cabin, built about 1860. The site is covered with a luxuriant growth of lilacs.
Many of the usual pioneer names are met here: McCarty, Beadford, Kay, Whiteley, Snell, Barnes, Woodhead, Chapiman, Black, Avery, Biddle, Miller, Bacorn, Beinlich, Kilmer, Keeney, Wright, Shaffer, Rightmier, Glidewell, and Hatch.
The Warburton Hill Cemetery in Forks Township was evidently the burial place of the pioneer Warburton families many years before neighbors were permitted to bury their dead here. Recent grading and a new red shale drive around the entire plot, with new fence and landscaping with new shrubbery make it very attractive. Old moss-grown field stone markers with carving gone leave doubt as to the exact age. The earliest date on granite is 1850.
Family groups include Warburton, Reinbold, Shaffer, Sherman, Bird, Grange, Streby, Vough, Molyneux, Greek, Connors, Driscoll, Kahnie, Payne, Tomblison, Ferrell, Bartlow, Rumsey, Robbins, Clarke, Mathews and Hottenstein.
Beautiful Mountain Ash Cemetery at LaPorte is sheltered in winter and secluded in summer by a hedge of tall arbor-vitae trees. Exact records of its age are not available. The oldest monument bears the date 1861. Funds were invested several years ago to provide perpetual care but this plan is outmoded by changing conditions. The cemetery is usually mowed and cleaned for Memorial Day by interested citizens. Forgotten by absent kindred, pioneer families are buried here with substantial monuments which defy the ravages of time. Among them are Meylert, Fleschhart, Ingham, Dunham, Wrede, Miller, Clark, Mason, Stormont, Keeler, Crossley, Spencer, Crocker, Grimm, Smith, Gavitt, Hellsman, Saxon, Heim, Gumble, Low, Lauer, Rose, and Ganesel families. Soldiers’ graves of all wars are marked and a U.S. marker is placed at the grave of Mollie Keeler, Spanish American War Nurse.
Back in 1894, when Tannery Town LaPorte was a thriving community and a goodly number of Catholic families were identified with the business and professional life on the hill, a beautiful mission church was built and a self-supporting congregation established.
Today tannery town has vanished into the limbo of forgotten things, with only eight families left to bear the financial responsibility of the Parish. The building is deteriorating and most of the Sacred heart Cemetery is abandoned. A few plots near the church are given care, some by relatives from distant places but out in the wood the few monuments are moss grown and forgotten.
That unforeseen conditions would bring this result in 58 years was not imagined by the founders. We, of today, can follow the same star of hope, believing that our sires labored not in vain; that the beauty of this sacred edifice will be restored and the consecrated ground again become the resting place of the dead.
Obeying the kind invitation of Howard Gunther, a new-found friend and “brother of the brush”, to make an exploration in his jeep into the forgotten lands of Sullivan County, we found ourselves somewhere in the vicinity of Ringdale on a trail marked “to the Irish Settlement”, over which we traveled for several hours and met no sign of human habitation although animal life was abundant. Deer, in the spotted stage, looked at the bounding jeep and quickly sought shelter in the brush.
In the tree-grown section of his wild region, a square of land (paced 75 feet on either side) where strands of wire gave evidence that it had been enclosed perhaps forty years past, fieldstones set in rows proclaimed the place an abandoned cemetery. Several stones carried carvings, The only one that could be traced informed us that the adult buried here died in 1840. Inquiry gained us no further information as to what pioneer families used this forgotten land as a burial ground and no unresting spirits haunted the place so that, to date, it remains in the realm of the unknown.
Perhaps an aged resident reading these lines may reconstruct this desolation, restoring the brush-grown and abandoned farms to their former fertility and recreating the rural life once abounding here; the history of which has become a mystery.
Once owned by the late Senator Sones, the foundation of a mill and pond as well as a few decayed piles of square sticks that in 1900 were expected to become broom handles may help dissolve the mist.
Bayard t. Martin, sage of Sullivan County statistics, dissolved the mist with information that the lost cemetery was the burying ground of the Hunsinger family less than a century past, and the abandoned farms were owned and successfully operated within his memory by the Walls, LaVelle, Philburn, Smith. Harrison, Cavanaugh, Devanney and Kernan families all with many offspring.
Their sons walked to work in the LaPorte Tannery. These family groups, in early Spring, Summer, and late Fall, walked barefoot to the Dushore line, washed their feet at a watering trough and donned their shoes to attend Mass at St. Basil’s Church.
These hardy ancestors knew and respected the demands of economy, but none were hungry or cold. By the expenditure of human labor, the forest gave fuel and the fields yielded food. The streams provided fish for fast days. Sheep grew needed wool, and Irish settlers’ wives could weave and knit. Local talent provided music for dancing and the log schoolhouse trained the youth to master the three R’s.
From this abandoned section known as the Commons have sprung men and women we can be proud to claim as our friends.
Near the golf course, a long mile from Eagles Mere Borough on land that is part of the tract purchased by Theophulus Little in 1799 and part of the pioneer founder’s home site, is located the Eagles Mere Cemetery. Here the Little family dead are buried. This well cared for cemetery has grown slowly in the last century and a half. It is the last resting place of soldiers of all wars.
A fine granite monument attests to the fact that Theophulus Little was a soldier of the Revolutionary War and died in 1825. Many field stone markers in the older section indicate that the cemetery was a burial place proceeding this date. Family monuments in the new section carry dates in the 1850’s. Forty family groups are represented many name and dates proving that the departed lived to a good old age in this healthy environment. The cemetery , less than half filled will care for the section’s needs for perhaps another century. Family groups, their descendants lost to the locality, perpetuate the names of Andrews, Bender, Bennett, Brink, Bigger, Booth, Christman, Dunham, Danley, Edkin, Fiester, Green, Houseknicht, Herman, Hurst, Haywood, Inghams, Kisinger, Litson, Moyer, Morgan, McCarty, Madison, Peale, Reeder, Rider, Reese, Saunders, Smith, Tucker, Woods, Worthington and Watts.
The Cherry Valley Cemetery, one mile from Nordmont is a memorial attesting to the love cherished for the departed and pride in an historic landmark made and kept beautiful by the united efforts of present and former residents. Memorial Services are conducted annually on the Sunday nearest Memorial Day in which the local Post of the American Legion joins with several hundred friends; many motoring from other states or sending money for the purpose of decorating every grave.
Perpetual Care together with voluntary labor, the awe-inspiring view and the service held in the primitive setting of the old church modernized by a loud speaker, make the occasion ideal for silent meditation or the renewing of friendships.
Names on the monuments make the cemetery an archive of local history suggesting the unwritten story of early settlement and later development of the community. These include: Sperry 1835, Hiddleson 1857, Keeler 1861.
Other family groups with substantial monuments are: Arms, Boston, Botsford, Bundridge, Bogart, Covert, Carsdale, Cox, Cook, Converse, Cary, Chementoni, Deitz, Durkee. Edgar, Fiester, Foust, Faurman, Hunter, Haines, Houseknecht, Hampton, Hess, Harvey, Hallstead, Heilig, Gritman, Gorman, Glidewell, Golder, Green, Gansel, Jones, Kaige, Kohonsparger, Kilgus, King, Laird, Little, Land, Lease, Latourette, Miller, Morris, Mastellar, Martin, McCellan, May, Peters, Pennington, Peterman, Phillips, Picciari, Reese, Rider, Reichart, Robbins, Sick, Snyder, Smith, Sparrow, Sinclare, Small, Stanley, Traugh, White, Weslay and Yenger.
The beautiful S shaped valley of Muncy Creek sheltered from storms the village named for the Sones family that one hundred years ago owned nearly all the land. Today it seems to be caught in an eddy in the stream of progress.
Once the scene of lumbering and railroad activity the town thrived. Today the only noticeable activity is in the Sullivan Highlands Schools.
Here two cemeteries provide rest for the dead and revive memories of history made in the valley. Substantial monuments, representing the style prevailing in the years when placed give evidence of the social standing of families in the community who are now forgotten, their descendants having long since moved to places unknown.
Dates in the old Sonestone Cemeteries near which the M. E. Church was later built, indicates that burial of soldiers of the Sones name killed in the Civil War was the reason for providing this community burial place, Completely filled fifty years ago, a new one was planned in an ideal location on a hill where it can be seen from the highway and all sections of the valley. The monuments in both cemeteries bear the same family names including Anderson, Arms, Avery, Andrews, Armstrong, Atwell, Bogart, Breitmeier, Burk, Bump Buck, Bender, Bosley, Boatman, Brink, Briggs, Christ, Campbell, Cordeman, Converse, Cook, Carey, Carrigg, Corsen, Christman, Crawford, Davis, Dewald, Darling, Eddy, Edgar, Eberline, Frester, Ferrell, Gritman, Gansel, Glidewell, Gower, Hoffer, Haus, Hertz, Hacker, Hazen, Hummer, Horn, Houseknecht, Hall, Hill, Hess, Johnson, Keeler, Kiess, Layton, Long, Laird, Loveless, Lockwood, Little, Lorah, Magargle, Miller, Morrison, Mastellar, Mencerm, Myers, Menniger, McGary, McBride, Moy, Pinton, Phillips, Robbins, Rea, Rodamel, Richart, Rolleson, Reed, Rinier, Speery, Shroup, Shaffer, Sones, Sellers, Sherwood, Simonds, Swank, Snyder, Stackhouse, Starr, Steinback, Taylor, Walborn, Watts, Whitacre, Wells, Wilson, Warburton.
Human interest stories are buried in three graves of the old cemetery, graves of a child, a woman and a man. The child was the ten year old son of L. R. Bump of Muncy Valley, builder of the tannery, and was a victim of older boys carelessness. The plot of ground is enclosed by an iron fence protecting the bones too frail for life to spare. The second grave holds the remains of Miss Mary McClain, Civil War nurse, an indomitable crusader for temperance, she lived as nearly blameless a life as was ever known in those parts but her grave is unmarked. Unmarked, also is that of the man. He was a murderer and was hanged. His old mother, Mary Jane Pinton, brought the body home and after a public funeral at the home they had shared, had him buried near the southern fence.
On a hillside, near the Methodist Church in Muncy Valley, sheltered by large trees and dank with dense growth of myrtle vines, is one of the smallest cemeteries in the County. Once enclosed with a white picket fence but neglected, are three lonely graves. Here rest the bodies of two Remsnyder brothers, 15 and 17 years old at the time of their deaths in 1897. They died the same day of diphtheria during an epidemic in Muncy Valley at the time. Two white marble stones, raided to their memory, are fallen and the inscriptions covered with moss.
Public funeral was denied them, presumably as a health measure. Two years later, their grandmother died and obeying her last request, she was buried with her boys.
This historic incident brings a sense of thankfulness for advances in medical science and sanitary laws which bring protection and relief to sufferers from this once dreaded malady which fifty years ago proved fatal in three cases out of four.
In an isolated locality on the George Cawley farm on Edkin Hill in Shrewbury Township, the Edkin Hill Cemetery--last resting place of perhaps one hundred members of pioneer settlers’ families in Shrewbury Township--is hidden in a pasture.
The plot is about 120 feet square, fenced with wire. Changes in the highway make visits to this cemetery difficult. The neglected condition proves lack of interest on the part of descendants living in distant places, and a generation has passed since the last interment was made here. The monuments range from moss covered fieldstone, on which carving is still visible to expensive granite of the time they were placed.
Family names with earliest dates of death include: Bennett 1831, Taylor 1865, Frester 1878, Edkin 1836, Hall 1890, Harding 1894, Spencer 1905, Roach 1909. These dates prove the age of the plat as a cemetery exceeds 121 years.
Four cemeteries each a short distance from Dushore, mark the last resting place of Sullivan County forefathers. The first is the old Thresher Cemetery consecrated by the grave on his father’s farm of the first member of the family buried in the county. Friends and neighbors were welcomed here in times of bereavement and given permission to bury their dead. With the building of the church in 1853, the name was changed to Zion Cemetery and today many graves and modest monuments cover the hillside in orderly rows with the names of families who were members of the Lutheran Church predominating. The same names appear in the Fairview Cemetery three miles away on the opposite hill, and in the old Peace Cemetery just of the LaPorte Road.
The Fairview Cemetery, located on Bahrs Hill, contains several monuments that, in size and beauty, would not be duplicated in city cemeteries serving many times the population of Dushore and vicinity. The Scouten monument, raised by the late attorney and Mrs. John Scouten, is the base for a life-like statue, in classic pose, of their deceased daughter. Monuments keep in memory names of the ancestors of Schaad, M. E. Herman, M. D. Defanbach, Younkin, Hoag, Kingsley, Weaver, Robbins, Kline, Bahr, Dyer, Johnson, Tubach, Steff, Persun, McHenry, Schrump, Zaner, Scureman, Erle, Hartzig, Carpenter, Eavens, Smith, Abrams, Beneville, Kast, Pomeroy, Vaughn, Cook, Hunsinger, Line, Hellsman, Wheatey, Thompson, Jackson, Wagner, Wadell, Deegan, Reeser, Cox, and Albert families.
The exact date of the first burial cannot be determined. Monuments in the older section were placed by the Bahr family in 1853. The enclosed Jackson plot has a stately monument marking the grave of State Senator George D. Jackson which is dated 1879. There is no descendants of many of the prominent families of long ago left in the county. Perpetual care was set up many years ago on the basis of wages prevailing at the time and is found insufficient for present demands but volunteer labor, especially on the part of the custodian Mr. Kast, make of this place of tender memories a shrine of which Dushore neighbors are justly proud.
If the flight of years could travel in reverse, bringing a missionary pastor, Rev. Carl Ludwig Eile, back to the little log church which was the scene of his prayers and privations in 1839, he would be astounded to see the old building covered with imitation brick, pattern covered glass in the windows and two hundred forty monuments glistening in the moonlight; standing in lines like soldiers on parade. The log church called Friedens (Peace) built in 1825 by volunteer labor, was a neighborly project on which Catholic and Protestant shared the labor and all faiths used the building. The Pease Cemetery became the resting place of the dead of German extraction and branches of the Lutheran faith. Many of the epitaphs are in German Script. Seven generations of Dushore and Cherry Township dead are buried here.
The monument to the memory of Casper King, dated 1833, marks the first burial. Family groups include: Barth, Reinbold, Shaffer, Smith, Jacoby, Dohn, Saxer, Herst, Yonkin, Watson, Rhoe, Ring, Koller, King, Hunsinger, Shrimp, Kraus, Heipel, Sick, Gravfley, Mawder, Hartzig, Snyder, Foust, Bodie, Friess, Rennimpade, Huffmaster, Kshinka, Pipper, Long, Kester, Stahl, Deschler, Walburn, Cable, Weisbrod, Heiver, Epler, Eemig, Sazman, Fulmer, Ershenlaub, Karge and Zaner. Ground for the cemetery was donated by two friends of Catholic faith named Thall and Litzelswope, in the year 1819.
High on a sun-kissed hill near the abandoned weather, beaten Quinn School House in Cherry Township along the old North Turnpike, a cemetery is located that is seldom visited by older residents and is forgotten by the rising generation, though honored names of Sullivan County’s best history making families sleep here.
Gleaming white marble marks the last resting place of Martins 1827, Wells 1854, Moshier 1859, Stanfords 1852, Meyers 1863, Quinn 1869, Benjamin 1867, Wilcox 1872, Hoffman 1895, and Fairchilds 1878.
In another section of the free ten acres, given by one Caldwallader (a non-resident of whom little is remembered except that he gave the land for a school and a cemetery), another group of Sullivan’s citizens sleep covered by a thick pall of forgetfulness in unmarked graves, unwept, unhonored and unsung. Here lie the poor who have been buried at public expense in eastern Sullivan County for the past on hundred and twenty-five years. This condition grew like a fungus upon our community’s family tree and seems to attest that in death men are not free and equal. While the dead past continues to bury its dead, may we of today give to our forgotten relatives the passing tribute of a sigh.
Two cemeteries at Mildred have grown slowly around the Catholic and Trinity Lutheran Churches. Each shows care and attention by custodians though funds are lacking for this service. Monuments indicate that the Lutheran Cemetery was started in 1906. Three soldiers’ graves are marked with flags annually.
The Bernice Cemetery grew around the Presbyterian Church and, like the congregation, has suffered neglect because of industrial conditions.
The earliest date on monuments place the start of the cemetery in 1886. A few plots are cared for by kin of the departed which includes men killed in and about the mines. Here is a wonderful opportunity for ten public spirited citizens, with the necessary tools, to give two hours of labor, clean up the cemetery and change a public responsibility from an eye sore to a place of beauty. Expense of care for soldiers’ graves could be secured from the County. It is hoped that this suggestion, made with the motive of helpfulness, will be received in the spirit in which it is offered.
Family names on monuments are: Allen, Austin, Bircher, Brackett, Benjamin, Cook, Collins, Ferrell, Hood, Hay, Hatton, Hibbard, Johnson, Kichloe, Kimble, Newel, Palmer, Post, Pedro, Paniche (the scrip on this monument is in Italian), Ramsey, Ross, Strope, Spence, Snyder, Shields, Thayre, Van Horn, Watson, Webb, Williams.
Along a dirt road, recently rutted by truckloads of logs, Paul Dyer steered his car to the site of the old Seaman Hotel, near Lopez. The original building burned long ago. The replacement is occupied as a farm home by the present owner, a Russian-American, not too proficient in handling the American language, Here, on an elevation overlooking the Sock and nestled in a sheltered nook, is a cemetery unique in many features. Enclosed by a high stone wall and completely sheltered by the branches of virgin pine trees, some with trunks measuring 4 ft. 6 in. in diameter, Mr. Dyer paced the interior and found that it measured 24 x 24 ft. or 576 sq ft. Twelve graves within the enclosure are marked, the first, Titus V. Ellis 1793-1822; the last, Alexander Green 1847-1900. Here a painter or poet could be inspired to create a masterpiece or a tired hunter find rest and shelter among the kindly spirits sleeping in this quiet spot.
Lopez, planned to be a short lived town, gave little thought to the future. Families came with a wish to make money rather than homes and those who died in the attempt were taken to the place from whence they came for burial. This may account for the lack of pride in the appearance of their cemeteries.
The United Brethren Evangelical Cemetery grew slowly around the church of this faith. Since the first burial in 1897, there are now eighty graves, many unknown or forgotten. A recent survey predicts that the church will be closed permanently in the near future and the cemetery abandoned.
Soldiers’ graves are decorated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in all cemeteries. Nearby is a Greek Catholic Church and cemetery in about the same neglected condition and with about the same hope for survival. Across the valley is a Russian Orthodox Cemetery which is filled and a new one rapidly filing a mile farther out on Jackson Hill. These show signs of better care.
Located near the Evangelical Church at Colley Corners, the Colley Cemetery is the only rural cemetery in Colley Township. The earliest date of death recorded is on a monument on the Moffet family group marked 1844. The cemetery has perpetual care. All burials in the original plot are free. Space is rapidly filling. Private plots are purchased on three sides giving plenty of room for expansion.
A Lutheran and a Catholic cemetery in Wilmot Township are located within a short distance of each other where the dead of these faiths are buried.
Twenty-three veterans’ graves are marked with flags and decorated every Memorial Day. The list includes: Civil War, 16; Spanish American War, 2; World War I, 2; World War II, 2; Civil War, 1 Confederate Veteran. Family groups: Adams, Beach, Brown, Barnhart, Bates, Baker, Decker, Douglas, Dean, Deffenbacher, Earl, Foot, Girven, Golf, Goldsmith, Henley, Hunsinger, Kolb, Kennedy, Kneller, Lanback, Mosier, Moffatt, Mace, Morningstar, Martin, Neuber, Oliver, Prichard, Potter, Pender, Pond, Reeser, Ross, Steel, Scouten, Shaffer, Sutton, Santee, Smith, Thrasher and White.
Nearly every Township has somewhere on its farms a lone, or a small group of graves, This could result from inherent love the pioneer held for the first land he ever owned or the hope that the land would become the permanent possession of this family through centuries to come. Agriculturally minded, few of the settlers dreamed that development of resources would result in migration by their posterity to distant places or manufacturing and transportation win them from the land. These graves, like the settlers sleeping here, are forgotten by all except the few in every community who seek to keep alive records of past achievements or failures to be used by those coming after us as guide posts pointing to detours where life’s road is difficult and full speed ahead where the way to success seems plainly marked.
Not in the records of the silent dead, but rather in the progress of their posterity which their love, labor and sacrifice made for us, we inherit their unfinished tasks. Commending them to the care of our Father, God, in Whose providence there is no death, we bid the pioneers of yesteryear a fond adieu in the beautiful words of Edwin Markham:
“I am through with the years that were
I am quits
I am through with the dead and old.
They are mines worked out; I have delved into their pits
And saved their grains of gold.
I turn to the future for wine and bread;
I have hidden the past adieu,
I laugh and salute the years ahead;
Come on! I am waiting for you.”
OUR VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANIES
Fire controlled and at work generating light, heat and power is a basic necessity to civilization. Rampant, it becomes man’s deadly enemy challenging our best efforts aided by research and modern machines to protect us from its ravages. Bitter experience through the ages has taught us, the hard way, that organized effort efficiently trained and directed is the most practical method of prevention and protection. To this end public spirited citizens offer their time, labor, and sacrifice to fire fighting organizations serving without pay and paying for the privilege of serving, risking life and limb in the performance of duty with fidelity equal to citizens soldiers trained in all other branches of the national defense.
In the ‘good old days’ this was accompanied with fuss and feathers gaudy uniforms, silver bugles, over-sized helmets, gaily decorated galloping horses matched for color and speed and resplendent in silver mounted harness drawing silver plated engines emitting smoke and cinders that was just another fire hazards.
Entertaining a firemen’s convention, with perhaps forty visiting companies, was a doubtful blessing to a city. Rude conduct and lax enforcement of law and order with the influx of undesirable persons from the lower grades of humanity served to give the visitors black eyes literally and figuratively and the city police plenty of work. Fire Company membership carried club privileges, fraternal ties and political preferment. Since the turn of the century all this is changed, the pomp and parade is gone.
The purpose of this article is to bring public appreciation to the eight organized volunteer fire companies in Sullivan County, civic minded citizens who take responsibility for our protection from fire and flood seriously and aid in every worthwhile project for community benefit, giving freely of labor and material.
Each company protects its allotted area and when called gives aid to companies within a radius of forty miles. They raise funds by their own efforts to buy equipment and supplies, usually by public entertainment. The combined efforts of these organizations have built community centers on land they purchased and fire fighting equipment with a total replacement value of $200,000 and is covered by insurance on which the premiums are paid annually. Records show that Dushore was first to organize, having a company of sorts to assist its bucket brigade as long ago as 1888. B. T. Martin, then a lad of fourteen, was a member.
Somewhere along the years a toy pumper was owned and wrecked by over zealous operators but of this incident record sayeth not. At this early date residents and business men gave little encouragement to insurance or protection but on July 11, 1892 Dushore Fire Company No. 1 was legally launched with the stated purpose “To protect property within the Borough of Dushore”. Guaranteeing public confidence and support the following substantial business and professional men were elected to membership: Fred Newel, Fred P. Vincent, Geo. T. Deegan, Frank C. Woliver, Garrett E. Donahue, Leonard J. Deegan, Ernest Chalmers, A. H. Garey, Frank Donehue, Fred Weis, Asa D. McHenry, D. A. Wagner, Frank H. Farrell, Joseph Middendorph, John H. Cronin, Bayard T. Martin, Wm. Landback, Ed McConnon, John D. Reeser, Samuel Cole, Edward Carl, Clement Champion, Wm. Obrian, Frank T. Mainard, Fred Rogers, Chas. W. Croll, Chas. Lawrence, Roe Bigger, Edward Hope, Wm. Drake, and Victor Hugo.
The honorary membership included M. D. Swarts, John Utz, Sr., J. H. Yonkin, C. R. Hulbert, B. M. Salvara, B. S. Collins, Jerry Deegan, Joseph Cook, J. V. Rittenbury, Dr. M. E. Herman, J. H. Lawrence, F. B. Pomeroy, A. H. Zaner and Dr. Wm. Wardell.
First officers were President, Fred Newel; Vice-President, Fred Weliver, Secretary, George T. Deegan; Treasurer, M. D. Swarts; Foreman, Garrett Donehue.
The company moved slowly for several years using buckets, chemicals and small hose carts, the membership dwindled until only fourteen remained. In 1903, with completion of the water system, the need of a strong organization became apparent and the following names were added: Fred E. Hoffa, J. H. Thayre, V. B. Holcombe, A. F. Hesse, William Dieffenbach, Dr. P. G. Biddle, George W. Jackson, John J. Coyle, C. A. Bahr, John L. Hileman, B. F. Crawsley, J. E. Reese Killgore, Charles Lauer, Samuel Cole, J. D. Reeser, B. T. Martin, John Hamer, Dr. W. F. Randall, J. S. Harrington, James Oneill, J. H. Cronan, Oscar Hammond, O. E. Musselman, Robert Hoag, Henry Obert, Sr., J. B. Cocoran, Chauncey Cunningham, Thomas W. Carroll, Charles Heaverly, Thomas Coyle, Thomas Brogan, William McHenry, P. P. Martin, John Cadden, J. E. Harney and Julius P. Bahl.
The Dushore Fire Company No. 1 was chartered May 6, 1908. Officers at the time were: President, Fred E. Hoffa; Secretary, O. E. Musselman. Active members included John Hemberry, F. O. Fulmer, Henry Black, J. G. Black, Austin Streby, John Scher, Jr., C. A. Bahr, B. M. Silvara, B. T. Martin, V. B. Holcombe, Henry Obert, B. T. Crosley, Thomas Brogan, Oscar Hammond, John Morrison, Harland McCarty, J. D. Reeser, Charles Weed, X. A. Kaier, Fred Glover, Michael Oneil, Walter Hoffa, Zack Cole.
The present Fire House was built in 1907 on land to which the only title held by the company is squatter sovereignty. The first motor equipment purchased was a Model T. Ford truck, used to carry hose. The new modern pumper was purchased May 11, 1927 and the Ford was traded in as part payment on the cost of $4750. The Ford was returned to the company as a donation. A new Ford V8 was purchased in 1941. The first pumper was sold to the Lopez Fire Company and replaced with an ultra modern American LaFrance in 1945. This pumper was equipped with lighting plant, four wheel drive, and auxiliary pumper to be used when hydrants are not available. Dushore owns the only resuscitator and artificial respirator in the County, purchased in 1940 together with two large oxygen tanks at a cost of $535.00. It has been called into service several times for victims of drowning and is frequently used as an emergency oxygen tent, No charge is made for its use but sizable checks have bee received from friends as an offering of thanks for its benefit, Pharmacist Robert Diltz was largely responsible for its purchase and superintends its operation. At the annual banquet held February 12, 1953, B. T. Martin and John Hileman were awarded jewels for fifty years of continuous service.
For meritorious service rendered through the years the names of four deceased members, P. F. Crowsley, V. B. Holcombe, Floyd Kast and Sam Cole were cited, together with M. B. Obert, Richard Holcombe, Henry Obert, V. C. Holcombe, William Kast, William Gilmore, Andrew McDonald and John Hamer. The officers and members for 1953 are: President, M. B. Obert; Vice President, John Hamer; Secretary, Joseph Frawley: Treasurer, Paul Rush; 1st Ass’t. Fire Chief, Richard Holcombe; 2nd Ass’t. Fire Chief, E. T. Foley; Financial Secretary, William F. Kast; Fire Chief, Robert McDonald, Louis Bahr, Curtis Baumunk John A, Boyle, Gerald Cain, Steve Charnitski, A. Lincoln Cox, John Cox, James Deegan, Eugene Dempsey, James Dempsey, Robert Ditz, Dan Donovan, Peter Donovan, Walter Dunn, William Farrell, Joseph M. Farrell, Eugene Farrell, Duane Fiocca, Eugene Foley, Joseph Frawley, Donald Fries, James Gallagher, Jack Gerrity, William Gilmore, William R. Gilmore, John Gilmore, Donald Green, Oscar M. Hammond, H. B. Hartzig, M. J. Harrington, Ed Harrington, Ralph Henninger, John L. Hileman, Richard Hileman, John H. Hileman, Albert J. Hoag, Vell C. Holcombe, Dick Holcombe, Tom Homer, Harley Hunsinger, W. F. Kast, William E. Kast, Chas. Kschinka,
Jerome Lane, J. R. Lentz, B. J. Litzelman, Joe Lynch, B. T. Martin, Kelton Meehan, D. Reese Meehan, Donald Miller, Leslie Miller, F. C. Moshier, Joseph Murphy, Gerald Murray, Andrew McDonald, Robert McDonald, Leo McMahon, H. L. Obert, Henry E. Obert, Bernard Obert, Joseph F. Obert, Ralph Obert, Richard Obert, Robert F. Obert, M. B. Obert, George Pearson, Glen Plotts, Harold Plastow, George Peterson, William Pollack, Karl E. Raub, Charles Raub, Paul Rush, Charles Rush, Jack Rush, Donald Sayman, Dr. T. J. Saul, W. P. Sick, James Sick, Francis Smith, John Smith, A. F. Snyder, Albert Snyder, Floyd Steafather, Gale Steafather, Myles Steafather, H. C. Thomas, Joseph Trasco, Gordon Trubach, Don Waples, John White, Gale Worthington, John Yonkin, Arthur A. Yonkin, William Zaner, A. J. Zangara.
The list of past and present member of Dushore Fire Company No. 1 presents the ‘who’s who’ in Dushore since 1892. Each name gives opportunity for memories of incidents amusing or tragic, with sixty years of service in a field which includes all of Sullivan and parts of adjoining counties. The organization is out of debt and still young in strength and spirit.
In 1899 Forksville Borough purchased an unique piece of fire equipment and organized a one-man fire department to direct volunteers in its use, It cost $300 and was expected to supplement the efforts of the bucket brigade. It consisted of a toy pumper and a few yards of hose. The four wheels were of hickory wood twenty inches high, with iron rims, This red and gold fire engine was rushed to fires at break-neck speed by four husky volunteers who also manned the double action handles of the pump which drew water from a well or stream and threw a small stream for a distance of about twenty feet until the water supply was exhausted. All motive power was by leg action and elbow grease.
At a hotel fire in 1906 (off the record) a large quantity of whiskey was salvaged down the throats of the firemen. Ladies of the W.C.T.U. extinguished the blaze. Fifty years have come and gone and after a bath and trial work out this spry old lass won a trophy at the Laporte Centennial, the oldest piece of fire fighting machinery capable of emergency use in central Pennsylvania. The present modernly trained and equipped volunteer department was incorporated in 1941. They are housed in a new cement block fire house which is also a social center, built at a cost of $6,000. The cost was reduced by volunteer labor and material gifts. An up to date pumper purchased from war surplus, three thousand yards of hose, chemicals and accessories bring the total assets to $14,000, on which $13,000 insurance is carried. Present officers are: President, William Whiteman; Vice Present, Gaylord McCarty; Secretary, Vernon Hatch; Treasurer, Milo Baumonk; Fire Chief, Gerald Rosback.
Way back in the ‘gay nineties’ when Hillsgrove was a thriving village, the Hoyt Bros. Tanning Co. laid water lines, built hydrant houses, and with a stationary pumper supplied fire protection, thus reducing their insurance cost, All this was sold for junk when the tannery was dismantled in 1922. Twenty-four years later, in 1926, the Hillsgrove Volunteer Fire Company was incorporated with fifty members, fifteen charter members and six life members. This company is in a healthy condition with all debts paid. Total value of assets is $13,000. Several fires have been fought successfully in their area and aid given when called. The fire company cares for the church grounds and cemetery and sponsors the Annual Old Home Day as a public service. Officers are: President, Norman Rinker; Vice President, Gleason Lewis; Secretary, Dwight Lewis; Treasurer, Ray Kanelly; Fire Chief, E. E. Renninger.
The LaPorte Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1946. They purchased the pumper from the Borough Council for $1100; assets listed for insurance purpose total $10,000. Through the years before the company was organized fires were uncontrolled and insurance rates high, but since their organization all fires have been extinguished and adjourning buildings protected. Officers for 1953 are as follows: President, Donald Worthington; Vice President, John Hollabuk; Secretary, Harry Mauck; Treasurer, Harrold Benniger; Fire Chief, Duane Shultz.
The Weldon-Lopez Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1947 and has a membership of sixty-five with fifty members still active. Their equipment is housed and meetings held, rent free, in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall. A fire truck was purchased from war surplus with 3000 yards of hose, at a cost of $1050 and later a large pumper was bought for $1500. The ordinal cost of this good as new pumper was $16,000 and could not be duplicated for $24,000. A portable pumper used to empty flooded cellars is in frequent use at no charge. All financial obligations are met promptly and company morale is excellent. The Annual Fair and Old Home Day is a source of pleasure to both present and former residents and a social and financial benefit to the Fire Company. Present officers are: President, Paul Comara; Vice President, Andrew Matychak; Secretary, Clair Johnson; Treasurer, Morris Kellog; Fire Chief, Edwin Cole.
The Ber-Mil Volunteer Fire Company, organized and incorporated in 1948, owns its Fire House which is a combined Company Headquarters and Community Center. It is a two story building 40 x 50 feet and is equipped with kitchen and dining service. The auditorium is used by United Mine Workers and several community organizations. The lot was purchased in 1949 and cost $1000. Much volunteer labor and donated material aided in its construction. The incorporation assets were listed as four hydrants and $200 in cash. The fire truck was purchased May 8, 1949 from the Shavetown Fire Department for $5000. A Marine pumper was included and is used when hydrants are not available. Recent donations are 300 feet of hose and several uniforms from Endicott-Johnson and $250 in cash from the Keystone Shoe Co. The membership was 70 when organized and grew rapidly to 110. Insurance of $8000 is carried on the property and replacement value would exceed $15,000.
Three schools have been conducted by the state Fire Prevention Dept. of Public Instruction, Tuition free, this training added to interest of the members. Plans call for the purchase of an ultra modern fire engine in the near future. Present officers are: President, Morris Hoffman; Vice President, Ben Engle; Secretary, Erland L. Prozzi; Financial Secretary, Joseph Chiplis; Treasure, Joe Kelly; Fire Chief, James Christina.
The Muncy Valley Fire Company was organized in January 1952 with a membership of 130. Their pumper was awarded first prize at the LaPorte Centennial as the newest and most modern, having a fog making attachment for use on gasoline fires, Two and a half acres of land were purchased for $1000. Two lots have since been sold for $1500. Enough land was retained for a parking lot and new Fire House and Community Center now under construction. The building is 40 x 80 feet and is of cement block construction, waxed cement floor and wood roof made non-inflammable by the latest methods. All labor and material used is donated, including trees in the forest. Members cut the trees, cart them to the mills and convert them into lumber without cost. Elaborate plans are formed for laying the cornerstone with Mrs. Emma Hesse handling the trowel.
For an expenditure of $700 a $7000 building will result from the brain and brawn of Americans having faith in one another and full credit will be shown in the carefully kept records of Charles Moran, bookkeeper; George Upman, Supt. Of Wood Construction and Harold George, Supt. of Masonry.
Present officers of the Company are President, H. W. Bender; Vice President, Ted Hill, Secretary, Myron Schugh; Financial Secretary, B. H. Laurenson; Fire Chief, E. M. Houseknicht; First Assistant, Robert E. Eberlin; Second Assistant, Dale Meyers.
The Eagles Mere Company, founded in October 1902, has rendered valuable service through the years to the Borough and outlying districts, always working with the Council in the purchase of equipment, Membership comprises business men and home owners who are conscious of the value of the Company in protecting property and lowering insurance rates and funds for maintenance are subscribed willingly. Completion of the water line in 1901 and the need of fire protection becoming apparent a meeting was called in the Dunham home by Capt. E. S. Chase, with E. V. Ingham, Chairman and Raymond Kehrer, Secretary in attendance. Also present were; J. W. Aumiller, A. R. Lisson, William Fletcher, N. E. Brink, C. E. Dunham, Ed Stevens, W. J. Taylor, Claude Brink, Alvice Dunham, Charles McCarty, C. J. Brink, John Brink, F. C. Dunham, G. W. Montgomery, C. Dunham, Leo Brink, Clarence Brink Wm. Anderson, George Donnley, E. S. Worthington.
The equipment consisted of a hose carriage, ladder truck and twenty gallon chemical engine which was later declared unsatisfactory and sold. Records of Company activity were kept by Secretary R. D. Kehrer from 1902 until the reorganization in 1940. The first motorized truck purchased was a Ford truck with ladders, In 1941 the Fire House and Town Hall was completed with volunteer labor at thirty cents an hour and a modern pumper bought from war surplus. Total assets are valued at $15,000. Present officers are: President, Carl Bigger; Vice President, C. L. McCarty, Secretary, P. S. Houseknicht; Fire Chief, C. L. McCarty.
Residents of Sullivan County are proud and appreciative of their efficient Volunteer Fire Companies and give them hearty support and cooperation.
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