PAGenWeb McKean County, Pennsylvania
HISTORY OF McKEAN COUNTY
BRADFORD TOWNSHIP AND CITY OF BRADFORD
BRADFORD TWP--GENERAL DESCRIPTION—CENSUS STATISTICS—EARLY SETTLERS—LAND WARRANTS AND COMPANIES—EARLY SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES—SOME FIRST THINGS—BRADFORD VILLAGE IN 1875—TOWNSHIP OFFICERS ELECTED IN 1890—VILLAGES
CITY OF BRADFORD—PIONEERS—ORIGIN OF THE TOWN—OIL BOOM, ETC—FIRES—MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS—LIGHT AND HEAT COMPANIES—BANKS, ETC—OIL EXCHANGES—POST OFFICE—HOTELS—SCHOOLS—CHURCHES—CEMETERIES—HOSPITAL—SOCIETIES, ETC.—MANUFACTURING AND OTHER INDUSTRIES—CONCLUSION.
BRADFORD TOWNSHIP is bounded on the north by the south line of Foster township, south by Lafayette and Keating townships, east by Otto township, and on the west by Corydon township. The east branch of Tuna Creek (this creek derives its name from the eddy at its mouth, called by the Indians Ichunuagwant or Big Cove with Large Mouth), running north from Lewis run, near the center of the south line, forms a confluence with the west branch at Bradford, while at Tarport and Babcock the main stream receives Kendall Creek and Foster Brook. The west branch heads in Two Mile Run and flows northeast from the southwest corner of the township to Bradford city. Kendall Creek rises in the southeast corner and flows northwest to Tarport, and Foster Brook rises near the east line of the northeast quarter of the township, flowing almost west to Babcock. Marilla Creek, the principal feeder of the west branch, comes down from the heights in the northwest corner. A hundred smaller streams are found here, some finding a way to the main streams through deep canons. Mount Raub, a mile east of Bradford, is the highest measured point, being 2,225 feet above level. The lowest point !1,415 feet) is where Tuna Creek enters New York State. All the higher points are capped by Pottsville conglomerate, which is either the Kinzua Creek sandstone or the Olean conglomerate, while in the south and west the Johnson run sandstone is found resting on its Alton coal bed. The dip of the Olean and, consequently, the oil sand from Rock City to Tarport (nine miles) averages five and one-half feet per mile; Tarport to Bradford, thirteen feet; Bradford to DeGolier, twelve and one-half feet; DeGolier to Lewis run, thirty-seven feet; Bradford to Marilla summit (summit elevation 2,040 feet, and distance six miles), three feet per mile, and the average dip from Tarport to the southeast corner of the township is fourteen feet per mile. The total thickness of rocks explored in the outcrop or wells is 1,977 feet extending from cap of Mount Raub to the Chemung formations. Bold outcrops of Olean conglomerate are visible in the Tuna Valley, and west of Custer City they take the peculiar features of the formation at Olean, Rock City, where the summit is 2,850 feet above tide. In the Marilla region occurs the extreme northern outcrop, in the United States of the Appalachian coal basis, but the area is so small it is held in little estimation by coal men. At Lewis run is the black band iron ore (under a bed of black band shales) which yielded on test 43.75 per cent of metal. Near the head of Two Mile run, just across the south town line, five varieties of ore exist, one of which yields 48.65 per cent of metal, and one as low as 23.10 per cent. The mineral paint ore on the Foster farm was largely used by the Erie Railroad Company some years ago in painting depots, bridges and cars. It was ground and mixed with crude oil, and found to be very desirable for an outside paint. There being no mill near in which it could be ground, the expense of transporting it to Buffalo, having it ground and then sent to market, was too great for the limited capital of the party engaged in its manufacture. A barn now standing near Smethport built some years ago by Col. Wilcox is entirely constructed of McKean County products except the nails, and is painted with the paint in question.
The population of Bradford Township and Village in 1870 was 1,446, of which 100 were foreign-born citizens. In June, 1874, the number was estimated at 1,500, including 350 in the village. The oil production for the preceding six years was roughly estimated at twenty-one barrels per day, which sold for $1.30 per barrel. One lumberman ran over 5,000,000 feet of white pine logs and manufactured over 3,000,000 shingles that year, and with the other lumber and bark interests of Zeliff, Clark & Babcock, Peterson, J. W. Hilton and P. T. Kennedy brought to the township at least $150,000. Three hundred cows yielded $12,000 worth of butter and $3,620 worth of cheese, while grain and root crops, cattle, sheep, hogs and horses contributed largely to the township’s wealth.
The population of Bradford Township in 1880 was 2,699. In 1888 the township gave 270 Republican, 132 Democratic, 41 Prohibition and 19 Labor votes, or a total of 462. This number multiplied by six, as in the case of Bradford city, gives the population, at the close of last year, 2,772.
The population of Bradford city in 1880 was 9,197. Of this number 2,622 resided in the First Ward, 1,704 in the Second, 2,603 in the Third, 1,520 in the Fourth, and 1,228 in the Fifth. In November, 1888, there were 178 votes cast in the First Ward for the Republican candidate for president, 265 for the Democratic, and 8 for the Prohibitionist; in the Second Ward the figures were 242, 112 and 15 respectively; in the Third, 143, 181 and 17; in the Fourth, 228, 106 and 7, and in the Fifth, 122, 73 and 9, while Streeter received 7 votes in all the wards, or 913+737+56+7=1,713, multiplied by 6 equals 10,278, the population based on vote.
The resident tax-payers of Bradford township in 1844-45 were Phila Ackley, N. J. Buel, Smith Barton, William Coleman, John Dudley, James Cooper, Orrin Fuller, C. Lukins, Hiram and J. O. Beardsley, Phil Barron, Chester Barron, Asmit Brown, Bradley & Fobes (saw-mill owners), Jones and A. L. Buchanan, A. W. Buchanan, George Brookmire, William Beardsley, Aaron Boon, James Babcock, H. C. Blakesley, James Blair (assessed $100 for a gold watch), Andrew and W. P. Browne, John Boyd, Henry Conklin, Erastus Croak, Ed Case, J. L. Colegrove, Dyer Cramer, John Corwin, Henry Collins, John and Orrin Coleman, J. F. Clark, Jared Curtis, Philetus Corwin, Dana & Smith (grist and saw-mill owners), William Dikeman, Joe DeLong, Ben, Dan and Sam Dikeman, Lorenzo and Silas Drake, James, Abel, David and William DeGolier, Nathan DeGolier (saw-mill owner), F. E. Dodge, Tom Doloff, Samuel and Darius Emery, H. Edson, P. D. Dean (owner of a gold watch), L. Dewey (owner of a silver watch), Nathaniel, Newton and Warren Edson, William Fisher (saw-mill owner), G. W. Fisher, H. Fox, M. Filler, Jonathan Fuller & Son, Isaac Farr, Ephraim Foster, David Foster, Edmond Freeman (farmer, near Custer City), C. D. Foot, L. S. Foster, Daniel and H. W. Glass, R. Gates, Nathan Green, A. and A. L. Houghton, Hiram Hagadorn, William Hook, O. Hegle, Orrin and Benjamin Havens, Simon Hamond, A. O. Hunt, Hunt, Bradley & Fobes (saw-mill owners), John and Absalom Hutchison, Lyman Imus, John Inglebee, G. W. and Timothy Kelly, James Lilly, James Meddock, Willliam Miller, W. G. McKean, William and Simeon Morris, Amos Moore (saw-mill owner), Dr. McDougall, J. F. Melvin, Melvin & Wheaton (saw-mill owners), G. W. Mantz, Michael McCullough, Sands Niles, Dr. E. C. Olds (tan-yard owner), Barnabus Pike, R. C. Phillips, R. B. Rogers, George Reynolds, John Rutherford, Seth Scott, William Sherman (saw-mill owner), Silas Stormes, J. P. S. Snape (a foreigner), W. Snyder, H. Stellon, Amos Shepherd, W. C. Shedd, Silas Sutton, William Tanner, Jerry Totton, Col. L. C. Little (agent for Boston Land Company), William Vansickles, L. R. Vaughn, Henry Webb (saw-mill owner), Roswell Walker, J. S. and T. L. V. Waggoner, Allen Whittaker, Matt Woodruff, Matthew Withrow (saw-mill owner), Sabines Walker, Henry Welks, John & Willard Whipple (saw-mill owners) and Eli Whipple. L. S. Foster was accessor.
In 1846 the stores in Bradford Village were those of L. C. Little, A. K. Johnson, R. Walker & Co., Melvin & Wheaton and R. P. Allen, the grocery of Seth Scott and the tavern of S. Walker. In December of this year Kingsbury & Fuller, the Boston Company, Sam W. Bradley and Noble & Tozer were merchants.
The merchants of Bradford Township in 1852 were S. Holmes & Co., (J. H. Porter), J. F. Melvin, B. Chamberlain and B. McCoy, H. Hazzard & Co., David Hunt, G. A. S. Crooker and Daniel Kingsbury. McCoy, Melvin & Co. paid a tax of $10, while the others paid $7.
In 1829 David DeGolier and his wife took three days to move from the site of the present town of Eldred to their farm on the east branch of the Tuna. The Beardsleys, Fishers, Dollops and Fosters were then in the valley, and Henry Bradford Dollop was the first white child born there, in that same house above Sawyer City which was destroyed by the glycerine explosion of 1880. Of the two first houses built on the site of Bradford, one was occupied by the Hart family, six boys and six girls, including three sets of twins. The Deacon speaks of wolves being very plentiful, even in 1867, when the well drillers appeared on the west branch, the time whistles would be chorused by packs of wolves. He further states that No. 1 well, on the Tibbett farm, was the first successful one on the east branch. The farm was purchased by Louis Emery, Jr.
Warrant 3906 dated July 17, 1793, to William Bingham, the consideration for 1,100 acres being £5, 8s. The patent was signed by Gov. Mifflin December 12, 1794. On February 6, 1795, Bingham deeded the warrant to Robert Morris and John Nicholson, but it fell into the hands of the Binghams in 1799 as shown in Deed Book F, page 41. In 1851 the United States Land Company deeded this tract to Daniel Kingsbury.
Col. Levitt C. Little, agent for the United States Land Company, who had purchased 250,000 acres in McKean County, settled where Bradford city now is, and the place was called Littleton. The first log house was constructed in December, 1837, where the old calaboose stood; but later a frame house was erected where the Berry block stands. The plan of the town was drawn in 1838 by Leech, of Boston, after the Colonel’s idea. In 1840 another plat was drawn by C. D. Webster, wherein is shown the space for a church house where is now the St. James Hotel. Main Street was known as the Smethport Road, the south extension of Mechanic Street, the Warren Road, and northward, the Olean Road. Congress Street was a short alley, which connected Main Street with the Corydon Road. The old lumbering town of Littleton was down in Egypt until 1858, when a weekly newspaper, the Miner, was inaugurated, and the name of Bradford assumed.
In December, 1849, when Judge Ward came from Cattaraugus County, N. Y., he settled at Tarport and took charge of the large school there. He was at once struck with the remarkable progressive character of the people and merchants, and equally so by the pupils. Prof. F. A. Allen was then county superintendent and principal of the Smethport Academy. Tarport was then the business center of the Bradford lumber field, and here were the large stores of John F. Melvin (who came as a lumberman in 1826, and Benjamin Chamberlain, his partner, who lived in Cattaraugus County. Sylvanus Holmes and Joseph Porter also had a large store there. Hiram Hazzard was also a merchant, and like the others, engaged in lumbering. David Hunt was solely a merchant; Sabines Walker carried on his grocery; Harvey D. Hicks was postmaster (it is thought deputy to Mr. Melvin) and hotel-keeper; Dr. Goit Brown was physician there, while Dr. Peckham was at Littleton. Johnson & Leech were sole dealers in pine lumber and shingles. There were four saw-mills running, of which W. R. Fisher owned one and Melvin & Chamberlain the remaining three. The school building was a large one, ornamented with a cupola, and in this building the Methodists, Baptists and Congregationalists used to worship. Elder Porter (who owned the farm on which Judge Ward’s house now is) was minister of the last-named denomination, while the energetic Williams watched over the Methodists and Elder Prosser over the Baptists. Judge Ward presided over this school for two sessions, then moved to Bradford to take charge of the village school, and about 1855 he established the Bradford Academy, with Mr. Sellick, assistant. This select school continued only two years, but Judge Ward continued teaching at Limestone, and after the war completed his school experiences at Salamanca. After Mr. Kingsbury’s office was really established Tarport began to decline, and Littleton to advance.
At Littleton was Daniel Kingsbury’s little store, also that of G. D. H. Crooker. The Boston Company’s land office was just opened with Mr. Kingsbury in charge, and Col. Little, agent. The double mill stood just west of the Mechanic Street iron bridge; a frame school house stood on what is now the corner of Corydon and Mechanic Streets. Therein religious services were held by the preachers named in the history of Tarport. From this period the progress of Littleton dates. Thomas J. Melvin, Loyal Ward (who, about war times carried on a store at Tarport) and Nelson Parker established their business at Littleton after the war. E. C. Old’s tannery was here in 1849. Among the leading lumbermen were Fuller and Miller, of Bolivar run. The firm of Bradley & Fobes had three mills on Foster Brook. At the State Line, on the Tuna, was the Webb and Leech & Johnson mills; up Kendall Creek was F. A. Moore’s mill, also Whipple’s and Silas Sutton’s. Up the south branch was N. DeGolier’s mill, and above Bradford Fobes & Bradley had a mill. The Judge is convinced that this list covers the mills in operation forty years ago. All over the country shingle makers found a home, bringing the shingles to the lumberman in the evening and receiving their pay. The square timber industry was also very extensive, as the pines were large and clear. The large timber was rafted and run down the Tuna to the Allegheny, and thence to the Ohio.
The first golden wedding celebration ever held in Tuna Valley was that of July, 1883, by W. R. Fisher and wife. Forty years prior to this date they settled on the Tarport Road in a log cabin which this old settler erected. In 1847 he built the house in which the celebration was held. Dan Glass, who for forty years played the violin throughout the Tuna and neighboring valleys, contributed the music on this occasion.
In September, 1875, when C. L. Wheeler came to Bradford, the business of the village was represented by Thomas Melvin, who kept a general store, Frank Davis, the druggist and telegraph operator, and Wilbur DeGolier, watchmaker and postmaster. J. K. Pomeroy kept a dry goods store; Albert DeGolier had a general store, the popular Bradford House, Green’s Hotel on Main Street, while the old St. Nicholas Hotel stood where the Producer’s Exchange now is. The hotel formerly kept by P. M. Fuller was in existence in 1875.
The officers of the township elected in February, 1890, are as follows; Supervisors, J. L. Morris, H. Boss; school directors, W. H. Emery, H. G. Cutting; auditor, M. Ingalsby, Sr.; collector, J. L. Morris; constable, G. W. Eddy; town clerk, H. C. Chesney; judge of election, First District, C. A. Wilbur; inspectors, C. E. Seely, Louis Brown; judge of election, Second District, W. W. White; inspectors, George A. Brown, James Bell.
Villages—Custer City, south of Bradford, was brought into existence during the days of the oil stampede up the east branch. Here are the works of the Rock Glycerine Company noticed in the history of the city. The bull and bear fight of July 1, 1879, took place at Custer City, under the management of one Marsh. The officers of the Pennsylvania society for prevention of cruelty to animals, tried to stop the fight; but the people threatened to pitch them into the pit, and ultimately drove them as far as Bradford. The fight went on, but the bear, escaping from the infuriated bull, ran through the crowd, was recaptured, placed in the pit and made fight to the death. The agent had twenty men arrested for participation in this brutal affair, but without satisfactory results. The fire of December 16, 1881, destroyed seven buildings, including the Straight House. In March, 1885, the explosion of 6,000 pounds of glycerine at Custer City resulted in the deaths of H. V. Pratt and William Harrington.
DeGolier, north of Custer City, was named in honor of the pioneer, of whom mention is made in the history of Bradford. As a settlement it is among the oldest in the western part of the county. The DeGolier Cemetery Association was incorporated in December, 1869, with M. Ingalsby, H. J. Hammond, Phil Shaffner, Aug. M. Cram, Michael K. Dexter and John K. Haffey, trustees. The United Brethren Church of DeGolier was incorporated April 12, 1888, with L. E. Cutting, Allen T. Foster, W. C. Freeman, M. Ingoldsby, G. W. Foster, Spencer Tibbits and H. E. Bryner, officials.
Howard Junction, near the south line of the township, is a lumbering village.
CITY OF BRADFORD
Throughout the pages devoted to general history and particularly those on the Bradford oil field, a good deal has been written relating to this capital of oildom. In the foregoing sketch of the township many names, inseparably connected with the early agricultural and lumbering interests of this section are given, so that little of the early history of the old village remains to be told. How often the Indians camped in this beautiful valley of the Tuna will never be learned any more than the history of the people who were here before them. How often the ancient Mount Raub was ascended by the watchmen of the tribes to give warning of the advance of hostiles of the same race, or to signal the approach of friends, as they turned the distant valley curve, can never be known, but enough has been told by the Cornplanters to point out the fact that Indians hunted here before the coming of Seneca or Delaware, and that the valley, from Foster Brook to Marilla Creek, on the west branch, and Rutherford Run on east branch, was a favorite site for their camps. As told in the third chapter, remains of ancient settlement were unearthed a few years ago.
From 1823 to 1827 the pioneers of a new race appeared on the scene. Dr. William M. Bennett, after whom Bennett’s Branch is named, the Pikes, Farrs, Scotts, Fosters, Beardsleys, Harts, Dollops and Fishers came into the beautiful wilderness. This immigration took place almost a quarter of a century after Robert Morris, of Revolutionary fame, lost his title to lands here, leaving them to revert to the Binghams. The Hart family, fourteen members, settled on the site of Bradford in about 1827. For years they held possession of the Forks, welcoming new comers and hailing new settlers. They saw a thriving village built up north of them at Tarport, and south of them the DeGolier settlement was winning recruits; but their chosen spot was merely a mark in the forest.
In 1837 Col. Little purchased 250,000 acres in and around Bradford, and built a log house. In 1838 the village was surveyed, and named Littleton. In 1851 a large tract was sold to Daniel Kingsbury by the United States Land Company, and to that year we must look back for the first faint beginnings of the city, though not until 1858 did the new proprietor make a determined effort to build up the place. Thirty-two years ago the name Littleton was cast aside, and the present name chosen. Messrs. Kingsbury and Haffey established a newspaper to aid in building up a village; Old’s tannery, the mills, stores, schools and religious societies referred to in Judge Ward’s reminiscences were all here sharing in the hopes of Kingsbury; but all their efforts were rewarded with very limited results, the mercantile and manufacturing interests named in the history of the township being the only material response. During the Civil War the oil fever penetrated the valley, and new hopes were built up, only to be cast down; after the war, a series of disappointments waited on the attempts to find oil; but amid all such reverses men came and remained, a few of whom in after years, took a foremost place among those to whom the honor of developing the resources of this section is credited. They decided to carve out for themselves a home in this valley and fashion out a city in the forest, which would one day be regarded as the goal of enterprise, where scholars would find a home and religion 10,000 adherents. They built well! Only a few years of hope deferred, and a city sprung out of the ancient forest, extending from hill to hill, and stretching down the valley. In 1873 the people asked for borough government, and the demand was granted. Within three years the locality was filled with busy men, and the oily ocean was yielding up its wealth of petroleum; the forest fell, and in its place hundreds of houses and a thousand derricks grew up, as it were.
In 1880 eight large brick buildings, including the Riddell House, and 500 frame buildings were erected; the swamp was reclaimed and a number of new streets laid out.
Col. A. K. McClure, of the Philadelphia Times, visited Bradford in May, 1883. In his description of the city, he says: “The houses as a rule are pitched together like a winter camp, with here and there a solid brick edifice to mock the make-shift structures around it. The oil exchange is a beautiful building, and looks as if it was expected that oil gambling would continue, even after the day of doom, regardless of the shifting of oil centers. * * * Oil is just now on a boom. Everybody talks oil, and the visitor must talk oil or endure the unconcealed pity of all around him. Oil had struck somewhere about $1.12 on Tuesday. * * * They sold oil by the million of barrels, without a speck in sight, and with only a small percentage of margin money to give substance to the hazard. Five million barrels, and even more, are sold in a day, and speculators make one day to lose the next. * * * The one thing that the people of this great center of oildom pride themselves upon is their hospitality. They are, as a community, a broad gauge, manly, generous people, with little affection and much merit.”
The first public observation of Decoration Day at Bradford was that of May, 1876. On May 13 a subscription list (now in possession of F. S. Johnson) was circulated, and thirty persons paid $2 each to aid in defraying expenses. The first subscribers were Ezra Holmes, E. F. Clark, John McGill, Joseph A. Hughsto, E. J. Carew, George Wright & Co., G. A. Berry, A. L. Hughes, J. E. Butts, Jr., J. Moorhouse, H. J. Pemberton, D. E. Matteson, J. H. Norris, Ed Dolan, A. DeGolier, J. K. Haffey, C. S. Whitney, L. C. Blakeslee, G. D. H. Crooker, J. Amm, P. T. Kennedy, P. M. Fuller, F. W. Davis, L. Emery, Jr., A. B. Walker, P. L. Webster, E. Parsons, Bell Bros., F. S. Johnson and J. C. Jackson. The oration was delivered by R. C. Beach, on the public square, and the cenotaph erected there.
Fires.—The Bradford House, valued at $10,000, and one of the first buildings there under the rule of progress, was burned May 30, 1868. The oil fire, one mile from the center, of June 13, 1876, arose from lightning setting fire to the gas from the Olmsted Well No. 1, on the Sandford Farm. It communicated with the McKean County pipe line tank, then with the P. C. L. & P. Company’s tank, P. T. Kennedy’s mill, Prentiss & Co.’s tanks, Jackson & Walker’s well and tank, J. B. Farrel’s well, forty empty wooden car tanks of Prentiss & Co., and Riley’s dwelling, the total loss being placed at $90,000.
The fire of November 15 and 16, 1878, destroyed forty buildings, great and small, including the Riddell House, the machine shops and foundry of Bovaird & Seyfang, the planning mills and tank shop of Stewart, the United States Express Company’s building, besides numerous stores, saloons, boarding houses, and shops of every description. The area burned over extended from Boylston Street on the north through and across Main Street to Corydon Street on the south, easterly to the Erie Railway track, and west on Main Street to Osgood’s dwelling house on the north side and Burgess’ green grocery on the south side. The total loss was placed at $150,000. The following list embraces the names of owners of destroyed buildings in the order of location on Main Street, looking east along that street: Fred Schutt’s, where the fire was stopped, still standing; Hogan & McCartey’s unfinished building; Dilaberto’s barber shop; Keystone clothing store; Boyd & Dickson, drugs; Corbierre & Benson, billiards; cigar store and Brunswick saloon; Theatre Comique, where the fire originated; Union House; United States Express Office; George S. Stewart, planning-mill; office, occupied by Williams & Cushman, vitrified stone flues; Sanborn & Co.’s news room; Tinker’s hardware store; Pierce House; Riddell House; Lockwood & Haggerty, bakery and confectionery; Osgood & Howard’s, occupied by Misses Rogers, millinery; Osgood, owner, Mrs. Clark, occupant, boarding house (damaged, but fire stopped); Thompson & Co., feed and flour; Riddell House laundry; Johnson’s, Ryder’s, Shaw’s and Mrs. Wentworth’s boarding houses; Palmer’s dwelling and grocery; Wallace Lawkes’, scorched and damaged, but fire stopped; Kennedy’s building (Brady, tenant); Newell’s building; Bradley’s oil well rig; Whitney & Wheeler’s oil well rig and tank; Bovaird & Seyfang’s boiler shop, damaged, but fire stopped; Seyfang & Bovaird’s machine shop, consumed; planning mill, George S. Stewart; Oyster Bay, Pete Heaton; Bradford Ice Company’s store room, ice melted; House That Jack Built; Bell Mahone’s house; Bradley’s oil and well rig, tank and two old buildings; the union and elevated railway depots were scorched, but saved. The fire did not cross the Erie track.
The fire of April 3, 1880, originated in the Sawyer House, in the room occupied by James Wilson, who was burned to death. Four acres of buildings were destroyed, the total loss being over $100,000. The following list of losses is taken from the Era’s report of the fire; On the south side of Main Street, R. G. Wright & Co.’s grocery store, where the fire terminated on the west; loss on stock, $6,000; on building, $1,000; insurance, $4,500. John C. Holmes, wholesale liquors and cigars; loss, $9,000; no insurance; owner of building unknown; loss, about $3,000. Sawyer Bros’ Saloon and Restaurant; loss on building and stock, $2,500; no insurance. Applebee & Rogers, grocers; loss on building and stock, $8,500; insurance, $4,300. Titusville House, T. McGoldrick; loss on building, $5,000; insurance, $2,500. Harvey Hill; loss on furniture, $500; insured. Academy of Music, John Nelson; loss, $18,000; no insurance. Philadelphia Oyster House, Irving Campbell, proprietor; loss, $1,500; no insurance. R. Michael, clothing, Academy building; loss on stock, $1,700; no insurance. Owney Williams, billiard room; loss, $200; insured; building owned by John H. Shaver; loss, $2,000. Rush Building; loss, $3,000; occupied by P. Hanlan, saloon; loss, $500. Stephen O’Leary, hotel; loss on building, $2,000; insurance, $450; on stock, $400; insured; occupied by Luther & Draper; loss, $600; no insurance. Thomas Bradley, building; loss, $1,000; fully insured; occupied by G. H. DeWitt, saloon; loss, $300; no insurance; goods partly saved. Italian fruit stand; goods partly saved. L. E. Dunton, watchmaker; loss, $200; goods partly saved. Billy Howard and Billy Rose, saloon; stock mostly saved; loss, about $100. Barber Shop; stock damaged by moving. Greenewald Bros., clothing; damage, $700; fully insured. A. Mayer & Co., liquors and cigars; damage by moving, $300; insured. Folwell & Mott, druggists; loss on building, $1,250; insurance, $500; on stock and fixtures, $550; no insurance. Whitlock, liquors; loss, $100.
On the north side of Main Street considerable damage was done by the intense heat and removal of goods. James Casey, liquors, $100; insured. McCarty, billiards, $100; insured. N. Lazarus, saloon, $70; insured. Borchert, Daggett & Co., $100; fully insured. T. Bradley, express office, $150; insured. A. & G. Hochstetter, loss, $50; insured. Daniel Clark, $150; insured. Nick Weiss, loss, $50; insured. On Webster Street, behind the Academy of Music, was Judge Newell’s building and office, totally destroyed; loss, $1,500; fully insured. Bullis, meat market, loss on building and stock, $1,000; no insurance, as far as could be learned. J. W. Ruble, Washington House; loss on building, stock and fixtures, $2,000; insurance, $600. Mrs. P. McNamara, Corry House; loss on building and furniture, $2,000; insurance, $1,500. Amos Williams, Williams House; loss, $2,500; no insurance. Traveler’s Home, owned by Whitman & Trainer; loss on building, $800; furniture, $200; no insurance; saved part of contents. Parker House, Lewis & Davie, proprietors; damaged by fire, $2,000; $1,000 on furniture; insured. McBean, from Tonawanda, N. Y. (old Frew House), in charge of C. A. Durfee; damage, $250; insured. Jamestown Bottling Works, damage, $150; insured.
The fire of May 31, 1880, originated in Wheeler’s rig, in rear of the Parker House. Hostetter’s Building, occupied by R. G. Wright & Co. as a storehouse, and the rig, were destroyed, and other buildings were damaged.
The central office of the United Pipe Lines was destroyed by fire June 22, 1882, the loss being placed at $20,000. The fire of December, 1882, destroyed Habenrig’s Store on Mechanic Street and public square, the Hotel LaPierre, the Hotel Florence, and Irvin’s livery stable.
The fire of June 19, 1884, destroyed the Burt House and three adjoining
buildings. The burning of Mrs. Charles Reibley’s bakery and hotel occurred July 11, 1884, when Mrs. Reibley, her two children and a Swedish girl was burned to death. A few months before Mr. Reibley was drowned in the Allegheny at Carrollton. The fire of December 19, 20, 1886, destroyed five buildings on Kennedy Street. The fire of January 11, 1889, destroyed the Palace Hotel nearly opposite the Riddell House, burning out P. P. Bateman, McEvoy Bros., A. F. Moore, Samuel Ames, J. Krienson, Ardizone Bros., J. B. Fox, A. Lino, I. Marks and others in the Durfey & Walshe buildings, and damaged the Greenwald Bros. stock.
A number of small fires are recorded, many of them occasioned by lightning, such as that which destroyed Park & Hazzard’s rig. The great oil fires are recorded in the sketches of Foster and Keating townships, while a few belonging to this township are noted as follows: The glycerine explosion of September 15, 1878, on the farm of Jared Curtis, near Bradford, and opposite Toad Hollow, resulted in the destruction of the McIntyre Torpedo Company’s magazine and the death of N. B. Pulyer, A. P. Higgins, C. Page and J. B. Burkholder. The oil fire of July 14, 15, 1880, at Custer City, Lewis Run and Coleville, caused by lightning, resulted in the burning of a 30,000 barrel tank belonging to the Acme Oil Company, and the destruction of three N. P. L. oil tanks at Custer City and other property in the Minard Run neighborhood. The Custer City fire of December 16, 1881, destroyed seven buildings, including the Straight House then conducted by William Dean.
The Bradford fire of November, 1889, originated in the Stewart Building on Main Street. The Bradford Stone Company lost $1,000; L. L. Higgins, $6,000; F. N. Merrian, $400, and George S. Stewart, $4,500. Insurance reduces the total loss to a few thousand dollars.
The fire of January 19, 1890, destroyed the Protestant Episcopal Church building on Chatauqua Place. The fire was assisted in its rapid progress by the Christmas evergreen trimmings, which had become dry and had not been removed since the services for which they had been put up to commemorate, and the flames thus reached the steeple, which afforded them an excellent draft. It was the universal remark that a fire was never seen to spread with so much rapidity and burn so fiercely as did this one. The fire of February 19, 1890, originated at 118 Pleasant Street, destroying the houses of John Hutchinson and Myers, and damaging that of James Gleason. The firemen worked like heroes to save the property, but their work was made slow and difficult by too much mud and too little water. McAmbley’s lumber mill was totally destroyed by fire February 26, 1890, entailing a loss of $6,000.
Municipal Affairs—Bradford borough was incorporated February 28, 1878, and the first election held the last Friday in March. P. T. Kennedy was chosen burgess; P. L. Webster, assistant burgess; F. W. Davis, E. Parsons, J. Moorehouse, J. H. Matteson and A. T. Stone, councilmen; G. D. H. Crooker and James Broder, justices; W. Lord, constable; G. D. H. Crooker, with R. W. Davis and S. Emery, assessors; A. C. Switzer and P. Woodward, poor-masters; J. H. Hilton, A. DeGolier and G. D. H. Crooker, auditors; J. H. Matteson, H. S. Baker, P. T. Kennedy, W. J. Morrow, J. Moorehouse and E. D. Foster, school directors, and J. Moorehouse, treasurer. F. W. Davis was appointed clerk. A. DeGolier, John A. Evans and Loyal Ward were elected justices prior to 1878.
Borough elections were held February 17, 1874, when the following votes were recorded: Burgess: P. L. Webster, 33; P. T. Kennedy, 17, and A. K. Johnson, 2. Councilmen: A. DeGolier, 35; E. Parsons, 44; P. Woodward, 42; J. Moorehouse, 39; J. W. Morrow, 38; J. R. Pomeroy, 38, and Con Lane, 32. There were eleven other candidates, who received from one to nine votes. The school directors elected were E. D. Foster and P. L. Webster. Mrs. J. Colby and five other candidates received a nominal vote. In 1875 J. W. Brennan, A. C. Switzer and A. DeGolier were elected directors, the latter being succeeded, in 1876, by A. T. Lane and E. A. VanScoy. The council centennial year comprised P. L. Webster, C. J. Lane, J. A. Evans, F. W. Davis, A. C. Switzer and J. W. Brennan. A. DeGolier was chosen assessor; M. W. Wagner, auditor; W. Lord and P. Woodward, poor-masters; Samuel Emery, constable; Con Lane, inspector, and P. Woodward, judge of elections. A. DeGolier was appointed clerk.
The burgess’ office has been since filled by the following named citizens: J. W. Brennan, 1875; :. T. Kennedy, 1876; J. H. Norris, 1877; J. M. Fuller, 1878. In February, 1879, the first city election was held. James Broder received 483 votes and P. T. Kennedy 222 for mayor; Will F. Jordan received a large majority for mayor in 1881; James Broder, 1883; P. M. Shannon, 1885; R. A. Dempsey, 1887; Edward McSweeney, 1889, and Loyal Ward, 1890, for three years. The assistant burgesses elected annually up to 1877 are named as follows: T. J. Melvin, 1875; P. L. Webster, 1876; H. Friedenburg, 1877.
In 1870 R.P. Miller was appointed clerk, serving until April 30, 1883, when James A. Lindsey was elected by the council, and has since held the office, except for nine months in 1887, when S. M. Decker filled the position.
In 1875 G. A. Crooker was treasurer; in 1876, C. J. Lane, succeeded in July by J. W. Brennan; F. S. Johnson, in 1877; L. G. Peck, in 1878. Treasurer Critchlow was elected in 1880.
In February, 1882, City Treasurer Critchlow was arrested on the charge of embezzlement, but on the 23d was discharged on common bail. On the 25th F. W. Davis was appointed treasurer. In May, 1879, Messrs. Daggett, McElroy and Logan were elected by council members of the first city board of health. In January, 1880, C. D. Webster was chosen city engineer. Buildings for the Johnson and Era Hose Companies were authorized, the Whitney Hose Company having been hitherto supplied with a building. The bondsmen of R. J. McMath, absconding collector, asked for the appointment of a collector for balance of taxes, and G. W. Moorehouse was appointed.
The officers of the city elected in February, 1890, are as follows: Mayor, Loyal Ward (R), who received 804 votes against 689 recorded for Gardner; city treasurer, R. T. Lain (R); city controller, M. Albert (R); city assessors, N. J. Stanton (R), George P. Booth (R), E. A. Boyne (R).
Select Council—J. L. Andrews (R), John P. Zane (R), Matt Ruddy (D), L. G. Howe (R), C. R. Harrington (R). Republicans, four; Democrats, one.
Common Council—F. A. Moore (R), Felix Steinberger (D). L. E. Hamslier (R), W. K. Laney (R), E. Quigley (D), Bert McAllister, (R), W. C. Kennedy (R), S. D. Weaver (R), Thomas A. Flynn (R), T. W. Roberts (R), Republicans, eight; Democrats, two.
School Controllers—C. A. Durfey (D), W. O. Neely (D), J. T. Jones (R), W. R. Weaver (R), H. H. Adeit (R), A. M. Mayer (D), W. A. Booth (R), A. Miller (R), Samuel Huff (R), M. D. Harris (R).
Constables—Thomas Osborne (D), George R. Gibbons (R), Thomas Fennerty (D), C. A. Sprecter (R), W. W. Tadder (R).
The vote by wards is recorded as follows
- First Ward, First Precinct—Select council: Andrews (R), 77; O’Donnell (D) 66. Common council: Steinberger (D), 84; Moore (R); Ruble (D), 65; Hawkins (R), 53. School controller: Durfey (D), 77; Neely (D), 71. Constable, Osborne (D), 91; Hayes (Ind), 51. Assessor: Osborne, 89; Brinton (R), 50. Judge of election: C. M. Hendrickson (R), 68.
- First Ward, Second Precinct—Select council: Andrews (R), 189; O’Donnell (D), 97. Common council: Steinberger (D), 158; Ruble (D),133; Moore (R.), 124: Hawkins (R.), 4. School controller: Durfey (D), four years, 180; Neely (D), two years, 148; Greenewald (R.), 30. Constable Osborne (D), 151; Hayes (Ind.), 94. Assessor: Osborne (D), 151, Brinton (R.), 80. Judge of elections: P. H. Gallagher (D), 152; H. K. Welch (R.) 58. Inspector of election: T. F. Mayer, 158; C. A. Dickinson, 55.
- Second Ward, Select council: Zane (R.), 201; Sondheim (D), 89. Common Council: L. E. Hamslier (R.), 216; W. K. Laney (R.), 211. School controller: J. T. Jones (R.), 210; W. R. Weaver (R.), 210. Constable: Gibbons (R.), 206; B. F. Smith (D), 84. Inspector of election: W. B. Chamman, (R.), 204; J. H. Dibble (D), 84.
- Third Ward—Select council: Ruddy (D), 207; Hockenberry (R.), 111. Common council: Quigley (D), 162; McAllister (R.), 150; Coffey (D), 158; Lucas, 151. School controller, Adsit (R.), 214; Mayer (Ind.), 163; Hager (D), 129; Wilcox (D), 71. Constable: Fennery (D), 191; Blair (R.), 124. Judge of election: M. W. Chaffee (D), 174; George Duffey (R.), 145. Inspector: Clarence Morrow (D), 175; C. Hill (R.), 142.
- Fourth Ward--Select council: Howe (R.), 187; Flynn (D), 100. Common council: Kennedy (R.), 283; Weaver (R.), 131; Scott (D), 59. School controller: Booth (R.), four years, 288; Miller (R.), two years, 217; Davis (D), two years, 71. Constable: Sprector (R.), 288. County assessor Haggerty (R.), 215; Robbins (D), 71. Judge of election: W. F. Robinson (R.), 288. Inspector of election: N. J. Loveless (R.),.219; Frank Costella (D), 71.
- Fifth Ward—Select council: Harrington (R.), 127; Rasch (D), 65. Common council: Flynn (R.), 429; Roberts (R.), 112; Murray (D), 87; Brooks (D), 52. School controllers: Huff (R.), two years, 121; Harris (R.), four years, 118; Walker (D), four years, 75; Mallick (D), two years, 70. Constable: Tadder (R.), 117; Harrigan (D), 70. County assessor: Gowdy (R.), 122. Judge of election: William Maginn (R.), 122; J. W. Slattery (D), 70. Inspector of election: John B. Pierson (R.), 120; W. Enches ((D), 72.
- City Finances—Prior to 1887 there were two valuations of taxable property in the city, one for city purposes and one for county purposes. The valuation for county purposes was at least one third, and often one half, less than the valuation for city purposes. But it happened that the Supreme Court in 1886 declared the act of 1875 (the act under which two assessments were permissible) unconstitutional. This made it necessary to fall back to the county valuation as a basis for the city assessment in 1887, which brought the valuation down from $1,500,000 to $1,000,000.
The bonded indebtedness of the city, December 31, 1888, as shown in Mayor Dempsey’s address, is as follows:
Bonds issued December 1, 1881, to purchase old water-works, due December 1, 1891, $3,500; purchased by sinking fund commissioners, $1,000; leaving a balance outstanding of $2,500; cash in treasury, $1,157.04, which leaves a balance of $1,342.96 to be raised in three years, or $447.65 this year, together with interest, on $3,500 amounting to $210, making a total of $657.65.
Bonds issued May 1, 1883, for the erections of the city building and funding the floating debt, $17,000; purchased for benefit sinking fund, $1,900; leaving a balance outstanding of $16,000; cash in treasury, $8,431.37, which leaves a balance of $9,568.68 to be taken care of in four years, or $2,876.99 this year with interest on $17,900 amounting to $1,074, making a total this year for principal and interest of $3,450.99.
Bonds issued December 1, 1883, for building new water works, due December 1, 1898. Amount of bonds $20,000; cash in treasury, $2,381.20, leaving a balance to be paid in ten years of $17,618.80; in order to liquidate this we will have to raise this year $1,761.88.
Bonds issued December 1, 1883, due December 1, 1903. Amount of bonds, $25,000; cash in treasury to apply, $1,984.33; amount to be raised in fifteen years, $23,015.67; amount required to be raised this year, $1,534.37.
Total to be provided for this year.
Bonds due December 1, 1891, $657.65; bonds due May 1, 1893, $3,450.99; water bonds due December 1, 1893, $1,828.42; water bonds due December 1, 1898, $1,761.88; water bonds due December 1, 1903, $1,534.37; interest on water bonds, $3,900; all showing a total of $13,138.31.
The total assets of the city on January 1, 1889, were estimated at $141,885.27, of which the water works were said to be worth $102,000; the city building, $8,000, and fire department houses and outfits, $5,200.
The municipal act of May, 1887, was declared unconstitutional in 1888, and some difficulty in managing the affairs of the city ensued; but the act of 1889 remedied this, and in April, 1890, the city officers chosen in February, under this act, assumed their duties.
Police Department—The oldest police record dates back to 1879 when Thomas Murphy was chief, with Abel Edick, Nelson Morrell, John C. McCrea, S. H. Emmerson and Thomas McDonough, policemen. In 1880 John C. McCrea took Chief Murphy’s place, and William Quirk and William McAndrews were added to the force. In July, J. D. Fiscus, J. W. Riley and S. W. Truck were added. On the 21st of this month no less than fifty-one arrests were made within houses of prostitution. The old officers may be said to have continued in service until 1887, when John Wilson, Cummings, and Bent and Hills were appointed, and Ed Ronan came in later, vice Wilson. In 1887 N. J. Stanton succeeded John C. McCrea as chief, and he was succeeded in April, 1889, by Thomas E. McCrea, chief, who along with William Rohne, Matthew Donahue and P. H. Donnelly form the present police force. The police docket, which was opened December 17, 1888, was filled up January 28, 1890. It contains 500 pages and represents about 1,500 arrests.
In years now gone forever the position of the police officer was no sinecure. Desperate men and even women came here at intervals. Even the obsequious Chinaman got into trouble in those days. In June, 1880, Wah Lee delivered a bundle of laundry goods to some girls on the island, who refused to pay him. He battled for repossession, but was driven to retreat, after leaving marks of his visit on the faces of the girls. Charged with assault, he was brought before Justice McClure, and after a ludicrous attempt to defend himself, was remanded for trial, and subsequently was punished.
The first murder ever recorded at Bradford was that of Major Ashton, a colored man, August 23, 1883, George Gordon, another colored man, being charged with the murder.
Fire Department—A movement to organize a hose company resulted in the formation of the F. S. Johnson Hose Company No. 1. This took place on August 2, 1877. The company was furnished with 1,000 feet of hose and a two-wheeled cart, by the borough. The hose house was on Barbour Street, in Whitney & Wheeler’s old barn. Another barn located on the public square was used as a place of meeting. In the loft of that building the first needs of the hose boys were brought up and acted upon, with
Frank Whalen in the chair. Later on the Johnsons fitted up a building on Pine Street and made their headquarters there. Their first fight with the fiery enemy was the conflagration which destroyed the old Bradford House. In recognition of their gallant services at this time the citizens purchased a carriage for them, and since that time they have played well their parts in saving life and property from the devouring element. Their present headquarters are in the city building. This company was incorporated March 7, 1881. The following is a list of the present officers. President, Thomas Blakely; vice-president, Thomas Osborne; recording secretary, B. McAllister; treasurer, George Carney; foreman, D. A. Ropp; first assistant foreman, Jacob Heckel; second assistant foreman, Charles Robbins.
One of the foremost organizers of the fire department was Mr. J. L. Andrews, who for several terms held the position of chief engineer. He helped to build up the department, and the fame of Bradford’s excellent organization spread all over the country. Mr. Andrews laid the foundation for the Era Hook and Ladder Company, which was the second fire-fighting company organized in Bradford. This was in June, 1878. Mr. Andrews raised the money and went to New York and purchased the truck, which cost $1,000, and has served its purpose admirably. As a company for work the Eras are second to none in the State, and, as the name implies, “they are up with the times.” They belong to the era in which we live. Headquarters, city building. The present officers are: President, H. H. North; vice-president, Charles H. Steiger; treasurer, Robert L. Edgett; secretary, Fred Humbert; financial secretary, Frank Levens; wardrober, Charles F. Genthner; foreman, Charles F. Genthner; first assistant, J. J. Hutchinson; second assistant, J. Disney.
Citizens’ Hose Company No. 2 was organized November 27, 1878. Their first conveyance for carrying hose was a sleigh, the runners of which were made of bent pipe two inches in thickness. The motto of this hose company, semper paratus, is well sustained by their record in checking the ravages of fire. William M. Williams, now of Buffalo, was their first foreman. This organization has furnished the two latest chief engineers of the department, James E. Grainger, and the present incumbent, J. F. Campbell. Their headquarters are on Newell Avenue, near Webster Street. They are earnest and effective in their work. The present officers are: President, J. C. Greenewald; vice-president, Herman Frank; treasurer, M. Schaaf; recording secretary, Len Chadwick; financial secretary, J. W. Ruble; foreman, J. H. Burns; first assistant foreman, James Casey.
Whitney Hose Company No. 3 was organized November 12, 1878, and commenced a brilliant career with the Johnson’s old pumper and 500 feet of rubber hose. They soon acquired a good footing, and established their headquarters on Barbour Street, where they now have a fine building and first class equipment. E. N. Southwick, who has been elected to the positions of first assistant and chief engineer, was presented by the company with a hat, belt and trumpet in 1880. The presentation was made by William McVeigh, foreman. These were his remarks: “Nate, here is something the boys got you—the speech will be ready next week.” Nate was nearly overcome, but managed to say: “Much obliged, Bill; my speech will be ready at the same time.” The Whitney boys are firemen of the “first water.” The present officers are: President, W. B. Potter; vice-president, T. Whiting; secretary, James Bell; foreman, Thomas White; first assistant foreman, D. Smith; second assistant foreman, C. Hudson.
The Weaver Hose Company (independent) is an organization composed of employees of the firm of Emery & Weaver. They are well prepared for service, being backed up by the steamer “Lewis Emery, Jr.” They are thorough firemen. The present officers of the Weaver Hose and Steamer Company are: President, M. B. Bailey; treasurer, C. D. Evans; secretary, Ed Caldwell; foreman, E. A. Guy; assistant foreman, G. F. Guy; engineer of steamer, John Doty.
The central Hose Company (independent) was organized in the fall of 1885, and since that time has accomplished good work in fighting fire. The majority of the members belong to the Central Iron Works and the Oil Well supply shops. They beat the record in a hose race in this city September 1 of the present year by running 100 yards in 31 seconds. They should join the department. The present officers are: President, H. W. Eaton, Jr; vice-president, W. J. Bovaird; recording secretary, J. M. Crawford; financial secretary, W. H. Zabnizer; foreman, C. S. Flick; first assistant foreman, S. H. Nightingale; second assistant foreman, J. J. Crosby.
The Falcon Hose Company is a Third Ward independent organization which is always ready to respond to an alarm. It was formed to protect property remote from the other companies’ headquarters, and deserves encouragement.
The present officers of the Bradford Fire Department are: President, Herman Frank; vice-president, J. B. Fuller; secretary, M. Cohn; treasurer, J. C. Greenewald; chief engineer, J. Campbell; first assistant engineer, Bert McAllister; second assistant engineer, Harry Campbell.
The Bradford Exempts are firemen who have seen veteran service, and have retired on their laurels. They own a large and finely furnished building on Kennedy Street. They are firemen to the back bone. Their handsome quarters are a favorite resort. The parlors are furnished with pictures donated by citizens, and the floor is covered with a costly carpet. Here the Exempts meet and talk over old times. The Exempts have a striking parade uniform and always command the lion’s share of the public attention. Mr. C. L. Wheeler has served as president since the organization of the company. The present officers are: President, C. L. Wheeler; vice-president, M. McMahon; secretary, George L. Blakeley; treasurer, J. C. Greenewald; foreman, J. L. Andrews; first assistant foreman, Thomas Osborne; second assistant foreman, Col. B. Adams; directors, J. W. Ruble, Arthur Colby, J. F. Campbell, T. C. Kelly.
Two steam fire engines, known as “L. Emery, Jr.,” and “City of Bradford,” are two fine machines that are useful adjuncts to the efficient fire department. The “Emery” steamer is housed in the rear of Emery & Weaver’s Store, Main Street, and the “City of Bradford” is kept in the city building.
The Bradford Fire Police Brigade was organized in December, 1878. The object of the organization was to keep crowds from interfering with firemen while at work, and to stop the operations of thieves. While this company lasted much good work was accomplished in that line of duty. The fire police disbanded and sold their effects some months ago.
The United Hose Company No. 4 was organized March 25, 1879. This company was composed of men employed mostly by the United Pipe Line. They were originally organized to protect the pipe line property in the city, but were admitted to the department in July, 1879. Their record is a good one. This company disbanded a few years ago, much to the regret of all citizens.
Water Works—The Bradford Water-Works Company was incorporated in June, 1877, with C. S. Whitney, president; T. J. Melvin, treasurer; T. A. Hylands, secretary; A. W. Newell; Lewis Emery, Jr., Thomas Bradley and H. J. Pemberton, directors. The capital stock was placed at $7,000, which
contributed by Janet O'Neil Ruel