Cameron County Genealogy Project, Grove Township

Cameron County Genealogy Project

A History of Mason Hill

by William U. Barr

Read at Lyceum on Mason Hill 1891

From the Little Museum Collection - Cameron County Historical Society

Donated to the Museum by Miss Laura Sheddy

Mason Hill is situated about the center of Cameron County about 3 miles Northwest of Driftwood and 2 1/2 miles west of Sterling Run. If formerly belonged to Lycoming, Centre, Clearfield and Elk Counties.

Its length is about 10 miles and it's breadth about 2 1/2 miles on an average. It was covered with a dense forest of pine and hem lock until the year 1840, when the first trees were felled on this hill with the intention of clearing a farm by Joseph Mason from whom the hill derived its name.

It has an altitude of about 1800 feet, a healthy climate and excellent water. The soil is of clayey nature and so adapted to raising potatoes, small grains, etc.

The first settlers who moved in the hill were Joseph Mason, Joseph Ritchie, Bob Ritchie, George Hollingsworth and Wental Bottomy who moved in the year 1840.

Joseph Mason moved onto the place now owned by Barr's; Joseph Ritchie moved on the place now owned by Saul Nyce; Bob Ritchie built the house now owned by A. R. Smith and now being used as a barn.  In 1840 it was then one of the first houses on the hill.

George Hollingsworth occupied the house now owned by H. M. Bailey. Wental Bottomy started the farm that Joseph Farley now resides on.  The population of the Hill at that time consisted of the above mentioned families, made a population of 16 in 1840. In about the year 1847, Joseph Mason moved off the place, leaving it vacant until about 1858 when it was purchased by Solomon Yound who cleared the principal part of the farm now owned by Barr's.

The first Sunday School was organized in 1860 and held in a little log house owned by Abe Eaflen on the place now owned by Mrs. Losey, Solomon Yound officiating as Superintendent.

The first term of school taught on the hill was taught by Miss Mary Yound now Mrs. A. R. Smith and seven bright children responded to the roll. The school was taught in the little log house used for Sunday School.  The school house was built in the year of 1867; E. S. Coleman being the school director at that time.  Miss Jennie Hanford was the first teacher in the new school house.

Rev. Thomas Holland was the first minister to have the pluck to climb the hill to preach. He delivered his first sermon in aforesaid log cabin on Losey place surrounded by the tall pines in almost endless stretch of unbroken forest to a small but attentive audience in 1866.

The first township road was built in 1860 and went from Philip Whiting's to Levi Hicks and the next important event was the solemnizing of the first wedding, the partied being Mr. James O. Jordan and Miss Sarah Jane Miller. The wedding was held in the residence of the bride's father ont he place now owned by A. R. Smith, Squire David Chapman officiating.

The road from A. R. Smith's to the south corner of Cole's fields was laid out under the supervisorship of Reuben Miller and was cut out by Reuben Collins, stumped by H. M. Bailey and turnpiked by G. W. Tanner.

The first stump machine put in it's appearance in 1870.  George Trump owned it.  

The first death was Miss Katie Tanner, daughter George Tanner. The first person buried on the Hill was Minnie Lane, daughter of William Lane in 1878.

The oldest settlers now residing on the Hill now are H. M. Bailey, who moved on in 1858. W. J. Lane moved on in 1865. G. W. Tanner in 1864; Joseph Farley in 1867 and David Marsh in 1868.

The first charter was taken up in 1867 (Sunday School Charter), and Sunday School organized, Mrs. May acting as superintendent.

The first picnic was held in the barn now owned by Barr's in 1867.

The first Literary Society was organized in 1881, with Mrs. S. P. Kreider as president.

The first regular baseball nine was organized in 1891 with Joe Farley, captain.

The present population in 82 people, being an increase of 67 people in 51 years.

There have been six teachers raised on the Hill, all but one at present following that profession. The one got married and the rest will soon follow so I am told.

The trades people on the Hill are:

    W. J. Lane - Blacksmith

    Omer Ives and Walter Barr - Ox Teamsters

    Ella Bailey - Prophetess

    Charles Fitch - Fiddle Maker

    Thomas Jordan - Bark Peeler

    George Lane - Kite Maker

    C. L. Smith - Professional Ball Pitcher

    Russ Russell - Saw Fitter

    Russ Barry and Joe Kailbourne - Lumbermen

    J. O. Jordan - Fence Builder

    H. M. Bailey - Professional Base Ball Umpire

    Darius Ives - Clog Dancer

    Elmer Land and Jay Smith - Wrestlers and Boxers


This page was last updated on  Monday, August 11, 2003.

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