PAGenWeb McKean County, Pennsylvania
HISTORY OF McKEAN COUNTY
CHAPTER X KEATING TOWNSHIP
KEATING TOWNSHIP -- BOROUGH OF SMETHPORT
KEATING TOWNSHIP--- TOPOGRAPHY -- GEOLOGY -- OIL WELLS -- POPULATION -- TOWNSHIP OFFICERS IN 1890 -- PORT OF ENTRY -- EARLY SETTLERS -- THE FORESTER -- SOLOMON SARTWELL AND OTHERS -- RESIDENT TAX-PAYERS, 1836-37 -- EARLY MERCHANTS IN THE TOWNSHIP -- VILLAGES.
BOROUGH OF SMETHPORT --- POPULATION, ETC. -- OFFICERS ELECTED IN 1890 -- FIRST CABIN AND HOUSE -- REMINISCENCES OF ASA SARTWELL
-- EARLY SETTLERS -- SOME FIRST THINGS -- POST-OFFICE -- RESIDENT PROPERTY
OWNERS, 1856-57, -- MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS -- ACADEMIES -- CHURCHES -- SOCIETIES --
HOTELS -- BANKS -- WATER AND GAS SYSTEMS -- FLOODS AND FIRES -- MISCELLANEOUS.
KEATING TOWNSHIP holds a semi-central position in the county. Nunundah creek enters the township near the southeast corner, flows north by west via Smethport to Farmers Valley, where it turns northeast to join the Allegheny beyond the north town line. Cole creek's south branch flows northeast from the plateau, receives the north branch in the center of the north half of the township, and enters Nunundah creek opposite Farmers Valley. Marvin creek enters the township a point west of the south center, and flowing northeast to Smethport forms a confluence with the main creek. In the southwestern corner the head-waters of the West Clarion unite with Three Mile run to flow southwest; and within a short distance of this confluence one of the heads of Kinzua creek is found. South of the road from Smethport to Ormsby's summit a feeder of Marvin creek rises, which enters that creek south of the borough limits. A little over two miles east of Smethport occurs the greatest elevation in the State west of the fifth bituminous basin - Prospect hill, 2,495 feet above tide level. The lowest point of course, is where Nunundah creek exits at Frisbee, which is 1,460 feet above the tide. At Smethport depot the elevation is 1,488 feet, so that the grade from the track for two and a quarter miles east to Prospect peak is 1,007 feet. The altitudes of the plateaus may be placed at 2,100 feet. In the southeast corner the Smethport anticlinal separates the Clermont coal basins. At Smethport the anticlinal is broken by the elevation of strata, so that the dome center lies one and a half miles east. Small tracts of Clermont exist along the western line, and on Ormsby's summit, 2,140 feet above tide. The Pocono formation at Smethport is 260 feet thick, and at Barnett's, southwest of Haskell's well, 285 - sixty feet covered, forty feet coarse-grained ferruginous sandstone, partly covered, ten feet fossiliferous flags, fifty feet covered rock, forty feet gray shale with bands of fossiliferous, ferruginous lime-rock; twenty feet of green and brown flags and shale, five feet of hard, fossiliferous, gray lime-rock, and sixty feet of olive and gray shales and shaly sandstone.
The well drilled by Lytle & Vezie in 1875 for the Smethport Oil Company reached a depth of 2,004 feet, its opening being 102 feet higher than the railroad track. Forty-three records of strata were obtained and the crust on the Taylor farm, where the drilling was done, thoroughly explored. From 330 to 378 feet slate and shale, and very hard shells, were taken; from 570 feet sand shells, and so on until oil was struck at 1,127 feet, the Bradford oil sand at 1,350 feet, and the Smethport oil sand at 1,720 feet. This well proved a dry one; the 237 feet of casing were taken up, the hole plugged with five feet of pine below the water courses, and rock filled in above, but within six hours the gas removed such obstructions. The Haskell well, drilled in December, 1876, and April, 1877, for William Haskell, to a depth of 1,861 feet, is located on the east side of Marvin creek, one and one-half miles southwest of Smethport. Gas was struck at 719 feet and also at 1,620 feet, where oil made a fair show for a short period. Brant & Co.'s well yielded one barrel per day; Lucius Rogers' well on Warrant, 2,058, near the borough; Sherman, Hatch & Co.'s well, and other ventures, mark the oil fever period of this township. The Miner said so much about the Haskell well that a skeptical contemporary, named Brandon, of the St. Marys Gazette, perpetrated a pun, which was warranted by the circumstances: "If the Miner continues much longer to sound the praises of the Haskell well in its peculiar way we will not be surprised to learn that it has killed somebody."
Keating township claimed a population of 2,974 in 1880. This included 364 residents of Bordell settlement and 986 of Coleville village, but not the borough of Smethport, which then had only 872 inhabitants. The vote of Keating in 1888, outside Smethport, shows 266 Republicans, 239 Democrats, 16 Prohibitionists and 21 Labor Unionists, or a total of 542, which, multiplied by five gives 2,710 as the present number of inhabitants.
The officers chosen in February, 1890 are: Supervisors, J. H. Sowers, Richard Griffin; collector, Thomas Hussey; school directors, William H. Huff, D. B. Zillafro; constable, J.E. Stull; auditor, Allen Oviatt; town clerk, C. M. Capehart; judge of elections, First District, C. D. Calkins; inspectors of election, First District, W. A. McIntosh, M.N. Allen; judge of election, Second District, R. S. Porterfield; inspectors of election, Second District, C. P. Smith, P. S. Kepler; judge of election, Third District, W. H. Barr; inspectors of election, Third District, M. J. Lynch, R. L. Stephens.
In 1809-10, Benjamin B. Cooper petitioned Congress to establish a port of entry at Smethport. He purchased twenty-one acres of land on the west side of Nunundah creek, near the bridge at East Smethport on which to build a town, and made propositions to men to get out timber for the proposed wharves. This was to be the harbor wherein the ships of the citizens of Instanter might be moored while receiving and discharging cargoes. His plans for hauling freight from the port to his town on the hill are not given.
Shortly after the disestablishment of Instanter, or in 1811, Arnold Hunter moved to the site of Smethport, and other settlers flocked into Farmers valley, as related in the chapter on pioneers. Among the pioneers was Jonathan Colegrove, who died April 11, 1872. He settled in Keating township in 1815, traveling from Portville to Smethport by canoe, with his wife and two children. From 1817 to 1852 he was one of the Ridgway land agents, P. E. Scull being also agent for another portion of the lands. Uncle Daunty, or Jonathan Dunbar, another pioneer, was certainly a stage Dutchman in general make-up and manners. His wife made what she was pleased to call "clothes" for her spouse. He built the first saw mill in the county at Farmers Valley, but had so much trouble with it he finally exclaimed: "If the Lord had given Job a saw mill instead of boils the devil would then have got him sure." Dunbar became leader of the first singing school, and, though a strange character in many ways, was a most useful citizen.
The Forester and Smethport Register, Volume I, No. 12, was issued by Hiram Payne June 30, 1832. The motto was: "The uncultivated forest shall become a fruitful field." W. E. Wolcott, of Sergeant, advertised cattle for sale; Tobias L. Warner his shoe factory at Smethport, and Isaac Burlingame advertised for stone masons; Isaac Harvey placed his books in the hands of John E. Niles for collection; Orvil Ketchum, of Farmers Valley, asked his debtors to pay up; the Erie Canal Company advertised their lines, giving as reference J. M. Hughes, of New York, an uncle of the present editor of the Reporter; P. E. Scull wished his neighbors to have their goods imported to Bushnell's basin; Sartwell & Rice offered ten barrels of pork for sale; the death of Harriet Young, aged twelve years, at Farmers Valley, was noticed, and the marriage of Harman Sprague and Adaline Vredenburgh, of the west branch of Tunuanguant creek was announced. B. B. Cooper advertised 60,000 acres of land for sale, and E. A. Smith his stock of goods.
Solomon Sartwell, one of the leading pioneers, who died August 4, 1876, was born at Littleton, N. H., January 16, 1796; settled in McKean county in 1816 (whither the lady to whom he was married in 1822 came in 1818). He served as postmaster twenty years and as associate judge five years, having previously filled the office of high sheriff for two terms and treasurer for one term. The Stulls and Ottos, to whom references are made in other chapters, must also be counted among the pioneers, while the Williamses, Youngs, Crows (of Sinnemahoning), the Hamlins, and fifty other families of whom mention is made in this volume, are connected with the beginnings of the progressive period. Of the Crow family several humorous stories are related. One is entitled, "Called to Preach." It appears that along in the “thirties” Moses Crow and his father were engaged in the bottom lands back of the present Wright House in chopping trees. Work went on fairly well until a dry elm tree was encountered, and to it both men directed their strength. The day was sultry and the workers perspired freely. The younger one, looking round on the sea of trees, grew tired suddenly, and, addressing his father, said: “I think I am called to preach.” Soon after he became an exhorter, passed a little while at the Meadville College, and received a regular appointment. David, Jr., followed his brother into the Methodist ministry in 1842, and a few years later the old squire was asked for a donation for church purposes, but as a response made the suggestion that he had given two sons to the Methodist church, contribution enough for one man.
The resident tax-payers of Keating township in 1836-37 were Daniel Acre, Samuel Armstrong, William J. Anderson, Aaron Arnold, Dudley Birge (a saddler at Smethport), J. L. Birge (moved west), N. G. Barrus, Joseph Brush (moved to Lafayette corners), Levi Bennett (who sold the site for the poor-farm to Col. Wilcox), T. Barrett, Willis Barrett, Gardner Barrett (died in 1888), Nath. Barrett, Daniel Burbank, Enoch Briggs (who still resides in the township), Aurilas Beman, Dr. Joshua Bascom, Elisha and Uri Bush, Daniel Brown (who cleared the Vincent farm), Harvey Brewer (a shoemaker), D. R. and O. R. Bennett, William Bell (of Ceres), John Brockham, Nicholas Baker, Curtis Bump, Amos Briggs (a mason), H. N. Burgett, P. W. Beach, B.C. Corwin, C. D. Calkins (now at Smethport), Ghordis Corwin (who owned the grist- and saw-mill), Daniel and David Cornelius, Amasa Cowles, Erastus Cowles (saw-mill owner), Henry Chapin, Thomas Curtis, Richard Chadwick (who died in 1866), E. J. Cook, David Crow, Elihu Chadwick, J. F. Clark (merchant), C. S. Comes (living in Eldred), Daniel Crossmire, Silas Crandall, John and J. D. Dunbar, D. Othneal, Eliza De Golier, L. H. De Aubigny (non-resident), R. R. Fowler, Dr. George Darling, James O’Daily, Levi David, Jr., Brewster Freeman, Daniel Foster, Nathan Folsom, D. C. And J. A. O. Gunning, G. W. Griswold, Truman Garlick, Jesse, Hiram and Almon Garey, Wheeler Gallup, James Green, J. W. Howe (a lawyer), Simon Hammon, James Hoop (now of Lafayette), Barnabas Hill, George Hetchelder, Minard Hall, John Holmes & Co. (tan-yard owners, near F. Andrews’ house), Holmes & Richmond (merchants), L. R. Hawkins (of Chacopee, Minn.), O. J. Hamlin (lawyer), Dwight Holcomb (moved to Florida) A. Housler, L. Havens, Gideon Irons, John King, Horace B. and Isaac King, Jared and Jonathan Ketchum, Rev. Abner Lull, Warren Lucore (merchant), John and T. Moore, J. McDowell, Dr. William Y. McCoy, T. Mattison, Chester Medbery (now in Dakota), John Nolan (lawyer), John E. Niles, John Needham (merchant), Alvin Owen, Dr. William Otto, James, John, Jemima and Charity Otto, W. D. Owen (merchant), Joseph Otto (saw-mill owner), W. S. Oviatt, Silas D. and Lewis Otto, , Eben Parker (who owned a part of the A. H. Cory farm), Hiram Payne (editor), Elisha Randall (dealer), Dr. Salmon M. Rose (who owned the Freeman property), S. R. Robbins, William Rice, Allan Rice, Nelson Richmond, Jonas Riddle, William Ripley (died in 1888), P. E. Scull (died in 1867), Jonas, Sam. And Arnold Southwick, Cephas Scott, Asa Sartwell (fulling and saw-mill owner), Joel Sartwell (now of Cedar Rapids, Iowa), John Smith, Jesse Spencer, Sol. Stoddard, Charles Smith, and Samuel Smith (tailor, now in Iowa), Sol. Sartwell, Jr., Sartwell & Arnold (traders), Sol. Sartwell, R. H. Stillson, John Taylor (merchant), Nathan Tinney, James Taylor, Enoch Tyler, D. Voorhes, D. S., William C., George W. and Nathan White, William Williams (trader), L. C. Willard (col.), Clinton and Stephen Young, Hiram Spencer and Henry Bunyan (trader). Abner Lull, the assessor, recommended Jared Ketchum and Ghordis Corwin for collectors. In 1837 A. H. Cory and Lawyer L. F. Maynard settled here.
In Keating township in 1846 were the general stores of C. Steele & Co., Ford & Holmes, O. J. & B. D. Hamlin, W. Y. McCoy and O. R. Bennett; the taverns of O. R. Bennett and Richmond & Bennett, and the grocery of James Miller. Elijah Bennett had a store in December. The merchants of Keating township in 1852 were B. D. & H. Hamlin, James Taylor & Son, C. K. Sartwell & Co., S. & E. G. Eaton, C. Steele and O. R. Bennett. The latter and Sartwell & Co. were also liquor dealers.
No. 1, Volume VI, of the Citizen, was issued September 3, 1859, with L. Rogers editor. At this time E. B. Eldred, W. A. Williams, William A. Nichols, Warren Cowles and John C. Backus were resident attorneys; W. Y. McCoy, J. Darling and S. D. Freeman, physicians; W. K. King, surveyor, and J. K. Haffey; geologist. The hotels advertised were the Bennett House, by D. R. Bennett, and the Eldred Half-way House, on the Olean road.
Villages – Farmers Valley, Coryville and Frisbee may be called synonymous terms. They all form a part of the old settlement of Farmers Valley, of which so much is written in the general history as well as in this chapter. In 1812 Francis King surveyed the fifty-acre tracts donated by John Keating for the following named settles in Farmers Valley: George, Joseph and Matthias Otto, Robert Gilbert, Jonathan Moore, Zachariah, Thomas and William Ashley.
The old post-office of Farmers Valley dates back to early in the “thirties,” when Timothy R. Robbins was master. Thomas Goodwin, Jackson Otto and F. C. Olds have filled the office. The post-office of Coryville was established in 1872 with Asa H. Cory, master, who has been continued in office since.
The Union Church of Farmers Valley was built early in the “fifties” through the exertions of A. J. Otto and Arnold Southwick. Dan Lennox was the carpenter and builder. It has been open to all denominations, but the United Brethren may be said to be the principal worshipers.
The United Brethren Church at Coryville, or Frisbee, was built in 1878-79 on land donated by A. H. Cory. The building cost over $2,000.
The United Brethren Society of Farmers Valley was founded October 19, 1867, with William S. Moore, T. R. Robbins, the Southwicks and John Holmes the elder, as organizers.
The E. A. U. Lodge of Farmers Valley was organized in February, 1886, with A. R. Tubbs, Mrs. Otto, J. H. McQuade, Mrs. Tubbs, Mrs. Ellen Otto, J. L. Bean, A. Tyler, F. C. Olds and Dr. R. J. Sharp, officials.
The tide water pump station was established near A. H. Cory’s house, but owing to the absence of gas the pumping works were moved to Rixford. On June 19, 1887, a 25,000-barrel tank was burned, 1,000 teams bringing people to witness the fire. The remaining tanks were moved to Ohio in 1888.
Lucius Rogers built the first steam saw, shingle and planing mill in Nunundah Creek valley in 1885. Prior to that time saw-mills run by steam and water-power were common along the banks of this stream, and a few are found today using up the remnant of pine and hemlock of the valley and hills.
In 1855-57 a coal oil factory was established up the creek from Smethport.
Bordell (Coleville post-office), known in 1879 as the “Banner Frontier Town,” was partially burned February 9, 1880, when McCormack’s hall and three other buildings were destroyed. In November, thirty-five buildings were reduced to ashes, the Bennett House, the leading hotel, conducted by T. P. Hill, being among the number.....The fire of February 16, 1881, resulted in the destruction of the Golden Rule block, and two adjoining buildings...In February, 1880, the sum of $30,000 was subscribed to build a plank road from Bradford to Coleville. The stockholders elected J. J. Carter, President; P. T. Kennedy, vice-president; James Amm, secretary, and F. A. Wheeler, treasurer when the town was in its glory the Bordell Bazoo was published here, and altogether the place was considered of much importance.
Ormsby Junction is the name given to the junction of the n arrow gauge roads connecting Smethport with Bradford, Mount Jewett and Kane. Subsequent to 1842 Mr. W. F. Ormsby settled in this then comparative wilderness, and he continues to reside here on his fine farm.
Aiken, Davis, Van Vleck and Simpson are small settlements on the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua Railroad. Cyclone post-office is located in the western part of the township.
In December, 1888, a well was drilled on the Ormsby farm to a depth of 2,408 feet, to the fifth sand. This well answered 120 quarts of glycerine with seventy-five barrels of oil with four weeks; but the production fell to one and one-half barrels, when it was abandoned in February, 1889. One and one-half miles west of the Ormsby farm is a well which gives gags and oil, but is undeveloped.
BOROUGH OF SMETHPORT
Smethport is located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the mountain country. Its site was selected by John Keating, and this selection confirmed by the commissioners. The latitude and longitude ascertained by Surveyor Chadwick in 1839 are 41º 55’ and 78º 33’, respectively.
In 1880 the borough claimed 872 inhabitants. In 1888 there were 148 Republican, 116 Democratic, nine Prohibitionist and one Union Labor votes cast, or a total of 274, which number multiplied by six gives an idea of the present population as 1,644.
In 1811 Capt. Arnold Hunter built the first cabin at Smethport, where the Widow Rifle resided in 1871, now occupied by a Swede. A second house was built in 1812, but both were abandoned in 1814. Capt. Hunter died in Harrison township, Potter county, March 16, 1857, aged seventy-eight years and 364 days. In 1850 he was deputy census marshal for Potter county.
Asa Sartwell, of Iowa, who revisited his old hunting grounds in 1880, made the visit memorable by relating to the editor of the Miner his reminiscences of Smethport and vicinity in early times. Over sixty years before, his father, Solomon Sartwell, located within a few miles of the county seat in Farmers Valley, while his brother, Solomon, Jr., settled soon after at Smethport, and built the second large log-house, Eastman having built before. Asa, the younger brother, came in 1820, when Smethport contained a few log huts and a carding-mill. He bought this mill, but at the close of the season saw it destroyed by fire. Going to Utica, N. Y., he purchased machinery for carding wool and dressing cloth, brought it higher, and in conjunction with these industries entered the lumber trade, and became a real estate dealer. John Applebee’s saw- and grist-mill and Conant’s cloth-dressing house were among the first industries.
Joseph Otto came from Mifflin county, Penn., early in 1810, and settled two and one-half miles below Smethport with his young wife. The trip higher from Angelica was through sixty miles of wilderness without one inhabitant, and from the effects of such a journey he fell sick soon after settlement, and he and his wife were almost on the point of starving when he became strong enough to hunt. Stephen Young located in Farmers Valley with others named in the chapter on first settlement. James Taylor moved to McKean county in 1824, and a few years later engaged in mercantile business at Smethport with Hawkins & Ford. A. N. Taylor, who died May 15, 1876, from injuries inflicted by a fall September 25, 1875, came with his father, and in 1843 became a partner in the business, ultimately purchased his father’s interest in the store and built a house, adjoining the Astor House, which was burned in the fire of March 28, 1868. He filled the office of associate judge for one term. In his journey to Smethport in November, 1826, Lawyer Orlo J. Hamlin met the Smethport and Jersey Shore mail carrier, Moses Hanna, at Canoe Place. Both traveled to the county seat over the mountains and across the terrible corduroy or pole bridges. Crossing Nunundah creek, they were soon at the Red Tavern, kept by Mrs. Willard. His stay he describes in his reminiscences, thus: “It being long after dark when we arrived, the bar-room was well filled with men. After supper we joined the men in this room. One of them, the leading man, after inquiring whence I came and what I came for, asked me ‘What spelling books are in use now?’ Replying, I said it was long since I was in the elementary schools, but I believed Dillsworth’s were going out and Webster’s coming in. Retiring for the night, I was shown to a room adjoining the bar-room. It so happened that a married couple occupied a room near by, and about ten o’clock that night the woman was in her accouchement, and I was kept awake by neighboring women passing to and fro every few minutes, while the men in the bar-room kept up a continual cross-fire of conversation and laughter. About midnight I heard the sound of men falling on the bar-room floor, and this intolerable nuisance was kept up until nearly morning, when I arose, irritable and feverish, determined to return to Towanda.” In his reminiscences of the bar, given in connection with the courts, he refers to the manner in which he was received next morning and the establishment of his law office at Smethport.
Moses Hanna was mail carrier between Jersey Shore and Smethport as early as 1826, making the round trip every two weeks. Bryon D. Hamlin carried the mail later on the Eldred route, while Davis Young carried over the Smethport and Olean route in the “thirties.” The latter died in Michigan in January, 1871. Orlo J. Hamlin was postmaster for three years, 1829-31. L. R. Hawkins held the position in 1837; Arthur Burlingame, in 1843; Philetus Ford, in 1844; E. Bard, in 1847; W. K. King, in 1851; Sol. Sartwell, Jr., in 1855, followed by C. K. Sartwell, Ira H. Gleason, M. L. Armstrong, and M. A. Sprague, who was appointed in 1884. Mr. Wilson, editor of the Democrat, was appointed in 1888. Mr. E. M. Kerns was appointed in July, 1889, but did not take possession of the office until April, 1890. The office is now located in the Odd Fellows' hall building.
Smethport borough, in 1856-57, was assessed by William K. King. The resident property owners were: N. W. Abbey (joiner), H. W. Annis, F. A. Allen (printer and school superintendent), Almon Allen, William Bell, J. C. Backus (attorney), S. A. Bachus (representative), G. B. Backus, G. Barrett, D. R. Bennett, O. R. Bennett (hotel keeper), E. W. Bingham (owner of fifty-two lots), J. L. Beckwith (blacksmith), John Baker, J. Charwick, R. Chadwock, Warren Cowles (attorney), G. Corwin, Widow Milligan, Amor Chandler (joiner), J. C. Chandler (printer), David Crow (owner of twenty acres and thirty-three lots), G. C. Chapin (joiner), L. H. DeAubigny, G. C. DeGolier (joiner), Dr. George Darling, Jedediah Darling (physician and judge), John Doyle, J. G. Eaton, E. G. Eldred (attorney), B. Freeman (owner of 40 lots and thirteen and a half acres), B. H. Freeman, S. D. Freeman (physician), Philetus Ford (merchant, Job Gifford, Jr., O. W. Gallup, S. S. Hackett (shoemaker), B. Harris (cooper), Mary Holmes, Henry Hamlin, O. J. Hamlin, A. D. Hamlin, B. D. Hamlin (attorney), Ed. Hupey (mason), J. C. Hamlin, G. Irons, B. F. Jackson, W. K. King (owner of twenty one lots and six and three-quarter acres), Robert King (draftsman), Patrick King, John K. Lamphier, John Long, Dr. W. Y. McCoy (owner of twelve lots and seven acres), N. Medbery, Joe Morse, J. M. Miller (Astor House), C. J. Medbery, E. B. Mason (tinner), W. F. Ormsby (blacksmith), W. S. Oviatt, Hiram Payne, T. P. W. Palmer (watchmaker), W. H. and E. F. Richmond, Chris. Ritzan (cabinet-maker), G. W. Sartwell, C. K. Sartwell, W. H. Sartwell, Sol. Sartwell, S. B. & R. Sartwell, Stanton & Beckwith (owners of sixty-four lots), J. L. Smith, P. E. Scull, G. M. Smith (joiner), J. B. Taylor (blacksmith), A. N. Taylor, Aug. Wolters, Ernest Wolters (blacksmith), W. A. Williams (attorney and treasurer), Dr. L. R. Wisner, J. G. Young. There were seven watches discovered and assessed. There were thirty-nine horses and fifty-two cows, and all property was valued at $25,504.
Municipal Affairs - The first election held at Smethport, for borough officers, was that of February 11, 1853. William A. Williams received forty-three votes for burgess; W. Y. McCoy, S. Sartwell and Henry Hamlin, received forty-three; William K. King, forty-two, and Ghordis Corwin, forty-one votes, for council; O. R. Bennett, Jeremiah Chadwick, N. Medbery and N. W. Goodrich, received forty votes; C. B. Curtis, twenty-eight, and P. E. Scull, four votes, for school directors; Byron D. Hamlin, eighteen votes, and Jeremiah Chadwick, seventeen votes, were chosen poormasters; N. W. Goodrich, James Miller and C. B. Curtis, were elected auditors; O. R. Bennett, assessor; George B. Backus, constable, and Hiram Payne, justice. At this time C. K. Sartwell and A. N. Taylor were chosen inspectors, and Philetus Ford, judge of election.
The names of citizens who have filled the office of burgess down to the present time are as follows: W. A. Williams, 1853; Philetus Ford, 1854; John C. Backus, 1855; C. K. Sartwell, 1856; S. M. Smith, 1857; G. C. DeGolier, 1858; S. A. Backus, 1859; Byron D. Hamlin 1860; W. Y. McCoy, 1861-62. G. H. Mason was chosen assistant burgess in 1862; L. R. Wisner, 1863, with R. Sartwell, assistant; Warren Cowles, 1864, with J. R. Townsend; G. Corwin, 1865-66, with N. W. Abbey; B. D. Hamlin, 1867, with H. Hamlin; Henry Hamlin, 1868, with M. A. Sprague. The last named was elected burgess in 1869, with R. Sartwell assistant, and re-elected in 1870; John C. Backus, 1871, with M. L. Armstrong, assistant; W. Y. McCoy,1872, with W. D. Gallup, assistant; P. Ford, 1873, with N. W. Abbey, assistant; G. M. Smith, 1874-75, with T. J. Gifford, assistant; Thomas King, 1876, with Hugh Glenn, assistant; M. A. Sprague, 1877, with E. F. Richmond; M. L. Armstrong, 1878, with H. L. McCoy; S. J. Gifford, 1879, with H. S. Sartwell; B. L. Knapp, 1880, with J. C. Hamlin; J. C. Backus, 1881-85, with S. J. Gifford; M. L. Armstrong, 1882-83; Frank Moses, assistant, in 1884; A. T. Palmer, burgess, in 1886; B. F. Wright, 1887; F. W. Brownell, 1888, and Warley Gifford, 1889.
The names of the justices are as follows: W. A. Williams, 1854; Jeremiah Chadwick, 1855; G. B. Backus, 1856; Philetus Ford, 1860-65; R. Sartwell, 1861; A. B. Armstrong, 1862-67; M. N. Powell, 1869; J. G. Eaton, 1870; P. Ford, 1872; C. K. Sartwell, 1872; G. M. Smith, 1876-81-86; P. Ford, 1877-82-87.
The officers elected in February, 1890, are as follows: Burgess, F. W. Brownell; council, N. D. Ramer, William Haskell; school directors, Hon. T. A. Morrison, E. R. Mayo; constable, H. L. Burlingame; collector, J. A. Holder; judge of election, E. F. Waller; inspectors of election, J. C. Backus, Wash. Starks; auditor, W. D. Gallup.
The secretaries of the borough have been Henry Hamlin, 1853; C. K. Sartwell, 1854; G. C. Chapin, 1855; S. B. Sartwell, 1856; W. K. King, 1858; A. N. Taylor, 1859—64; B. F. Wright, 1860; W. S. Brownell, 1861; J. C. Hamlin, 1862-78-78; P. Ford, 1865; C. K. Sartwell, 1869; Robert King, 1870; Henry King, 1871; D. R. Hamlin, 1872-74; H. F. Barbour, 1875; R. H. Rose, 1877; W. D. Gallup, 1879-81; E. Quackenbush, 1880; A. B. Armstrong, 1882; Lucius Rogers, 1886, and John Forrest, 1889.
The expenditures for the year ending March 1, 1889, amounted to $2,900.05. The vouchers for this expenditure, in possession of treasurer, M. L. Armstrong, were examined by Auditors J. O. McCarty, F. R. Foster and John Forrest, borough auditors.
Hose Company – The Smethport Hose Company was organized in December 1881, with Sheridan Gorton, Pres.; W. F. Specht, V.P.; G. R. Brownell, Sec.; M. L. Armstrong, Treas.; W. P. Walshe, foreman; H. L. Wilson and John Russ, Assts.; Hugh P. Brawley, A. B. Armstrong and John Forrest, trustees. In July of this year 107 votes were recorded for, and eighteen again, the proposed water tax. The question being carried, the work of construction commenced, and when the hose company was organized a full supply of water for all purposes existed.
The election of the following efficient officers for the ensuing year occurred in December, 1889. President, E. M. Kerns; vice-president, Henry Beiver; foreman, F. W. Brownell; first assistant foreman, F. W. Rumsey; second assistant foreman, W. H. DeGarmo; secretary, Clifford Burlingame; treasurer, M. L. Armstrong; trustees, Frank Kerns, John Rooney, Sam. Fry.
Academies – The April exhibition of 1839, at the Smethport Academy, was participated in by David Crow, Levi Ketcham, Henry Hamlin, Wallace Sawyer, William King, Ransom Devereaux, Ithual Humphrey, Elizabeth Chapin, Violetta Sartwell, George Sartwell, Montague Rose, George Birge, Niles Taylor, I. N. Sawyer, Ormand A. Holmes, John K. Williams and Byron D. Hamlin. At this time Luther Humphrey was principal from 1837 to 1840, when Atkins came; George W. Scofield came in 1842, and is now judge of court of claims, at Washington; L. D. Wetmore in 1842-43, later president judge of the Warren District; Franklin Freeman was succeeded by B. D. Hamlin in 1844; Henry M. Lane came in 1845, and from 1847 to the temporary closing of the school, ladies presided. In November, 1849, the old academy was re-opened, with Ephriam Mariner (now a leading citizen of Milwaukee), principal. W. Y. McCoy presided at this time over the board with J. Darling, secretary. In the fall of 1850 Miss Miner was principal. On June 30, 1851, the academy trustees organized, with S. Sartwell, president; William Y. McCoy, treasurer; Hiram Payne, secretary; G. Irons, J. Taylor and William Williams, directors. This board resolved to collect all debts due the old academy, put the buildings and grounds in repair and rent the concern to a qualified teacher. In November the academy was re-opened by F. A. and C. H. Allen. In 1854 the Allens left, but were followed by others until Mr. Train ended the academy days. In March 1970, the trustees of the academy were authorized by special act to convey the buildings and grounds to the school district, which was done, the old buildings moved and the present large buildings erected on the site.
The call for the organization of the Smethport Lyceum was made in October, 1870, by W. Y. McCoy, who was chosen president; E. H. Bard, secretary; L. Rogers, J.C. Backus, A. B. Armstrong, Henry King, M. A. Sprague, G. Corwin, G. M. Smith, W. J. Milliken and A. N. Taylor. In November, L. Rogers was chosen president, and D. R. Hamlin, secretary.
Churches - The history of religious bodies in McKean county dates back to 1809, when a Catholic missionary founded a congregation at Instanter, and held services there regularly until his disappearance in the forest toward the close of 1810. A reference to the history of Cameron county points out Smethport as a part of the Sinnemahoning Methodist circuit in the "twenties;" the collapse of the circuit work; the introduction of the Adventists; the return of Methodism and the introduction of Universalism.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Smethport is said to have had its beginning about 1832. Under date October 9, 1837, a subscription book was opened by the trustees. The subscription contracts were drawn for $500 down, but under the $500 heading a few men write their names for $5.00: Andrew Rifle, David Crow, Jr., Harvey Brewer, Richard Wooley and Daniel Rifle; Asa Sartwell contributed $300; Brewster Freeman, $200; Richard Chadwick, A. M. Stanton, Nathan White and Nathan Burlingame, $100; Samuel Smith, David Crow, Thornton Barrett, $50; John Needham, James O. Gunning, David C. and Warren Lucore, $25; Horace B. King, $20 in nails; David Comes and Lew R. Hawkins, $25; Hiram Payne, John E. Niles, Salmon M. Rose, A. Burlingame, Harvey Brewer, Cephas Scott, Dudley Birge, J. L Birge, W. Y. McCoy, Charles Smith, Leonard Rice, Issac Thompson (who subscribed $10 worth of axes), William C. White, Joel Sartwell, L. F. Maynard, E. C. Chandler, Horace and Milo Scott, Anson Rice and Barnabas Graves were also among the subscribers. The society was incorporated with Samuel Smith, Cephas Scott, Willis Barrett, Daniel Rifle and Gardner Barrett, trustees. The petitioners were Sandusky Miller, H. B. King, John Mills, R. Chadwick, D. S. White, Daniel Brown, W. J. Colegrove and C. Steele. In 1837 a lot was purchased from the commissioners of the county, and the present house was build by Sol. Sartwell and P. Ford. It was completed, in 1839, at a cost of $3,000, repaired in 1865 at an expense of $1,000 and in 1880 at $2,000. The past recording stewards were Richard Chadwick, S. M. Rose, David S. White, I. S. Gleason, H. L. Burlingame and W. J. Colegrove. The present recorder is W. P. Eckels. The roll of preachers from 1832 to 1889 is as follows: 1832, William Butts and Samuel Gregg; 1833, Thomas J. Jennings, Benjamin Preston and Joseph A. Halback; 1834, Ignatius H. Hacket, Amer G. Smith and Bryan S. Hill; 1835, John Demming, Matthew Hanna and Lorenzo Whipple; 1836, Augustin Anderson and J. W. Stryker; 1837, A. Anderson F. W. Conable and J. F. Mason; 1838, Alpha Wright and F. W. Conable; 1839, Horatio M. Seaver and J. W. Stryker; 1840, H. M. Seaver and Hugh Ely; 1841, A. Haywood and J. Hagar; 1842, J. P. Kent, J. Hagar and John Glass; 1843, J. F. Mason and John Glass; 1844, J. F. Mason; 1845, J. Pearsall; 1847, F. W. Conable and J. McCleary, Jr.; 1848, James McClelland;1850, E. B. Pratt; 1851, R. E. Thomas, 1852, Hiram Hood; 1854, Withan H. Kellogg; 1855, H. W. Annis; 1857, J. J. Roberts; 1859, S. D. Lewis; 1860, Alonzo Newton; 1862, L. A. Stevens; 1864, Lowell L. Rogers; 1866, William Blake; 1867, Roswell R. Purce; 1868, E. B. Williams; 1870, W. Gordon and F. D. Sargent; 1871, H. Peck; 1873, J. L. Rushidge; 1875, J. C. Whiteside; 1878, W. B. Waggoner; 1881, E. P. Hubbell; 1884, William Bradley, and 1887-89, T. W. Chandler. The presiding elders are names as follows: 1832, J. S. Barris; 1822, H. Kinsley; 1836, A. Abell; 1837, J. Hemminway; 1841, J. Durham; 1844, Thomas Carlton; 1845, William Hosmer; 1846, J. G. Gulick; 1848, Elija Thomas; 1850, A. D. Wilbor; 1852, J. C. Kigsley, 1854, C. D. Burlingham; 1858, E. E. Chambers; 1862, A. P Ripley; 1866, W. S. Tuttle; 1870, E. A. Rice; 1873, L. D. Watson; 1878, L. A. Stevens; 1882, O. S. Chamberlayne, and 1886, T. J. Bissell. Carlton, above named, was one of the Methodist Book Concern for twenty years; Hosmer died in June, 1889. He was an abolitionist. Thomas was killed in the Modoc war. The membership of this church is placed at fifty and the value of property at $5,000.
The Baptist Church of Smethport had its origin in the society formed in Norwich township in 1820. The Baptist revival of May, 1836, was conducted by a Mr. Ketchum. He came to Farmers Valley to convert the people who scoffed at the preachers of the period. During the meetings a baby died at Smethport, and Mrs. Asa Sartwell went up to offer consolation to the parents. At the burial there was no one to say a prayer. Next morning she, with other women, went down to the camp, and arrived there just as Ketchum was reading the text, "Woe unto ye lawyers." After the rough address the women told him the state of affairs at Smethport, and he agreed to move on the village the next day, provided the women would support him. He came and opened his batteries in the court-house. There was a Methodist class here composed of Richard Chadwick, Horace King, Mrs. Sol. Sartwell, Mrs. Ghordis Corwin and others, but they had no church home. All turned to Ketchum, who conducted the meetings for some days, when he was called away, leaving Mr. Denning, a Methodist preacher, to baptize sixty persons. In 1840 a society was organized here with the following members: William Williams and wife, James Taylor and wife, Ann Taylor, William L. Oviatt and Wife, Abner Lull, Benjamin Oviatt and wife, George Griswold and wife, Job Gifford, Sr., and wife, Elizabeth Holcomb, Amy Holcomb, Nelson Medbery and wife, Ghordis Corwin and Benjamin Corwin. The pastors have been Rev. S. Messinger, William Sawyer, Abner Lull, J. L. Smith, J. P. Evans, S. D. Morris, Columbus Cornforth, F. H. Gates, W. H. Willahan, C. H. Michelmore, and the secretaries have been George Griswold, William S. Oviatt, C. L. Douglas, Mrs. C. L. Douglas, P. D. Hopkins, J. H. Duntley and L. T. Medbery. In 1847 the church house was erected. This, with lot and other property, is valued at $5,000. The membership is fifty-six. The society was incorporated in June, 1850, on petition of Ghordis Corwin, J. L. Smith, Bester Corwin, William Williams, W. G. Oviatt and E. J. Cook. At the time of organization, in March 1850, G. Corwin, William Williams, Wheeler Gallup, James Taylor, Benjamin Corwin and J. L. Smith were the trustees.
The Catholic Church of Smethport may be said to be a continuation of the old mission of Instanter, established in 1809, and of St. Marys, founded in 1842, when the Reilly family came into the Daly settlement on Nunundah creek. A year later the Tracys came. In the fall of 1842 Father Berthy rode higher from Pittsburgh and held the first services of the church at James Daly's house. The settlement was subsequently visited by Father Alexander, by the present Bishop Mullin and other priests until Father Smith came, in 1845, to stay a few years. On March 1, 1848, John Keating donated to Bishop O'Connor, of Pittsburgh, in trust for the Catholic congregations in McKean county, a part of Warrant 2050, near the lands of James Daly, Sr., while at Turtle Point, near William and John Crowley's lands, a tract of fifty acres was donated. A church building was erected in 1848-49 and dedicated by Bishop O'Connor. It was in use up to the time the church at Smethport was completed. At St. Marys Revs. John Burns and J. D. Cody were stationed, and a few missionary priests came higher until Father Madigan came; P. J. Patterson took charge and remained some years. Father Flood was here in 1869, after Father Patterson moved to Newell creek. Rev. John Smith came in 1881, and remained until Rev. J. J. Galligan was appointed, in 1884.
St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church was founded at Smethport February 19, 1868, and in 1869 part of square 61 was donated for church purposes by Dr. William Keating. The proposition to build was received with favor, and a subscription book opened, Andrew Reilly subscribing $200; Eugene Daly, $125; Bernard McKean, $50; James Daly, $124; James W. Griffin, $95; Martin Burns, $70; Charles Hyland, $70; Hugh Glenn, $70; C. McElwee, $87; Timothy McCarthy, $60; Hugh McCabe, $60; Ed. McGill, $55; John Ward, $50; Mrs. McCullough, $50, and Timothy Land, $35. Later B. D. Hamlin contributed $120; Henry Hamlin, $100, and Dr. Keating, $500. Other sums were subscribed by the Lynches, McCarthys and other members and citizens, subsequently, so that the building fund in August, 1874, was $4,624.48. The present church was dedicated April 25, 1874, by Bishop Mullin, assisted by Fathers Flood, Patterson and Kinsella.
St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Church of Smethport. The first services of the Episcopal church were held in the county seat in 1842. There were then only three members of the church living in the place. Irregular services were had at long intervals up to 1872, when a mission was organized by Bishop Kerfoot, with an executive committee consisting of Messrs. J. C. Hamlin, P. Ford, J. C. Backus and D. C. Young. At that time there were twenty-four communicants. The progress was rapid, and in 1879 a parish, called “St. Luke’s,” was organized and incorporated, and in the same year a handsome church building was erected. Rev. H. Q. Miller, the first rector, retired in 1880, and was followed by Rev. J. H. McCandless, the present rector. The church continued to grow rapidly year by year, and now, in 1890, it numbers sixty families, 160 communicants, and has a membership of about 300 by baptism. Many improvements have been made in the church property, a fine rectory has been built, and other additions are about to be made. The value of the church property, including the chapel at East Smethport, which was opened in 1887, is $8,700. The present vestry is composed of Dr. H. L. McCoy, Messrs. J. C. Hamlin, John Forrest, Henry Hamlin, D. C. Young, E. L. Keenan and W. D. Gallup.
The Congregational Church of Smethport was chartered in January, 1851, with Dr. W. Y. McCoy, Ezra Bard and Zera R. Tubbs, trustees. The petition was signed by O. J. Hamlin, John E. Niles, A. A. Aldrich, Calvin Howard, Timothy R. Tubbs, George W. Pelton, Abner Rockwell, Jonah S. Aldrich and S. G. Curtis.
Societies – McKean Lodge No. 388, A. F. & A. M., Smethport, was instituted June 5, 1867, with S. C. Hyde, W. M; J. C. Backus, S. W.; Miles Irons, J. W.; Warren Stark, S. D.; William Gifford, J. D.; M. A. Sprague, S., and S. D. Freeman, treasurer. Lucius Rogers, William Haskell, T. W. Hogarth, J. W. Stark, T. Seems and A. B. Armstrong, unofficial members. The names of past masters are S. C. Hyde, J. C. Backus, T. Seems, G. M. Smith, S. D. Freeman, J. W. Stark, A. B. Armstrong, J. G. Boyer, William Specht, O. D. Gallup, G. N. Barrett, W. T. Callar, H. T. Sawyer, D. Martin, G. M. Smith, M. A. Sprague, I. A. Holder, W. D. Gallup, H. P. Brawley, F. W. Brownell. T. R. Foster is the present master. The past secretaries are M. A. Sprague, L. Rogers, F. King, E. H. Bard, and W. D. Gallup. G. M. Smith is the present secretary.
The Masonic Hall Association of Smethport was incorporated in March 1879, with S. D. Freeman, W. T. Callar, William Sprecht, M. A. Sprague, O. D. Gallup and H. T. Sawyer, stockholders. The capital stock was divided into 200 shares of $5 each. The hall was erected in 1878-79, and, with other property, is valued at $2,000. At present there are seventy-five members.
Smethport Lodge No 389, I. O. O. F., was organized and the by-laws approved by the grand lodge October 10, 1882. The charter members were H. W. Rubin, J. B. Brawley, Frank Rowlee,* W. B. Wagoner,* H. W. Georgia, T. A. Morrison, W. H. Wetenhall, John McConaghy* and A. Reynolds.* Among the present members, who are not charter members, are M. N. Allen, W. G. Holder, W. Z. Georgia, T. F. Richmond, G. W. King, C. H. Moore, A. R. Cory, M. A. Lillibridge, H. S. Sartwell, E. J. Hall, C. H. Calkins, B. F. And E. G. Pelton, B. Badger, A. Deshetler, William Bennett, C. A. Krueger, W. A. Young, W. B. Joiner, H. H. Wilson, C. J. McClure, R. McCord, F. C. Olds, D. B. Freeman, D. Ramsdell, M. Rosenfield, F. Westerland, John Malin, A. G. Farley, G. A. Hyde, H. Saunders, H. L. McCoy, E. B. McCoy, W. A. King, A. B. Hyde, H. B. Vincent, S. B. Sherwood, M. A. Hall, R. W. Bloodsworth, W. A. McIntosh, A. D. Bush and F. N. Taylor. A. T. Stranahan is present secretary of the lodge and H. M. Choate, noble grand. Among his predecessors in the chair were H. W. Rubin, J. B. Brawley, H. L. Wilson, Charles Beckwith and A. R. Cory. The officers elected in October 1889 are: N. G., W. A. McIntosh; V. G., O. D. Bush; P. S., A. T. Stranahan; A. S., W. G. Holder; Treasurer, H. W. Rubin; Con., A. R. Cory; trustee, J. E. Stull. (* not now members)
Smethport Encampment No. 273, I. O. O. F., was instituted January 18, 1888, with the following named charter members: M. N. Allen, Jacob Amend, R. W. Bloodsworth, W. E. Butts, Samuel Bedford, H. M. Choate, A. R. Cory, B. Freeman, A. G. Farley, Frank R. Foster, W. Z. Georgia, A. W. Hamm, W. G. Holder, G. W. King, W. A. King, H. G. W. Kunsman, George W. Weaver, D. M. Wright, R. E. Looker, W. A. McIntosh, Peter Martin, John C. Martin, C. H. Moore, H. L. McCoy, T. A. Morrison, Robert McCord, C. J. McClure, S. J. McKendrick, F. C. Olds, E. G. Pelton, B. F. Pelton, W. V. Provin, D. Ramsdell, H. W. Rubin, W. A. Russell, M. Rosenfield, J. O. Sonbergh, F. N. Taylor, H. B. Vincent, W. A. Young, J. H. Tate and I. J. McCandless.
The officers of the encampment in order of rank in October 1889 were: H. W. Rubin, C. P.; John O. Sonbergh, S. W.; F. C. Olds, J. W.; A. R. Cory, H. P.; T. A. Morrison, trustee; G. W. King, treasurer.
The officers in March 1890 are: A. R. Cory, C. P.; F. C. Olds, S. W.; G. W. King, J. W.; J. O. Sonbergh, H. P.; J. Amend, trustee; H. M. Choate, scribe.
The Smethport Odd Fellows' Hall Association was incorporated in July, 1889, on petition of M. N. Allen, H. M. Choate and W. H. Wetenhall, trustees of Lodge 389, and M. Dunn, E. G. Pelton and J. O. Sonbergh, trustees of Encampment No. 273. The lodges names, with J. H. Tate,* W. V. Provin, D. P. Ansall, G. W. King,* E. G. Pelton, A. R. Cory,* H. M. Choate,* S. J. McKendrick, J. O. Sonbergh,* M. Dunn, H. W. Rubin,* Frank M. Taylor and Peter Martin, are also names as subscribers to stock. The names marked * and F. C. Olds were chosen directors. J. H. Tate was elected president; H. M. Choate, secretary, and H. W. Rubin, treasurer, in December 1889. This building was completed in April 1890. This is a three-story brick, with stone facings, just north of M. A. Sprague's store.
Keystone Encampment No. 77, Knights of St. John and Malta, was founded in January, 1890, and on February 1 the following named officers were installed: Eminent commander, F. A. Thomas; lieutenant-commander, J. W. Baker; captain of guards, A. H. Kidder, prelate, H. S. Rogers; chancellor, W. A. Curtiss; assistant chancellor, L. W. Dunn; almoner, William Masser; herald at arms, Fred M. Baker; sword bearer, Frank Green; marshal, George Thomas, first guard, William Bennett; second guard, B. A. Eastman, medical examiner, Dr. Burg Chadwick; warder, John Cramsie; sentinel, Edward Normal; trustees, Dr. Burg Chadwick, O. S. Greenley and James Dunn. The officers names, and the following named, were charter members: J. B. Laraway, C. R. Sprague and Peter Conley.
McKean Post No. 347, G.A.R., was mustered in June 21, 1883. At the beginning of 1889 the following names were active members, names marked * being charter members:
B. F. Wright*, First Pennsylvania Rifles, Smethport. William H. Grumbine*, Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. S. D. Freeman*, Bucktails, Smethport. D. A. Easterbrook*, Second United States Signal Service, Kendall Creek. A. H. Peirce*, Sixth Ohio Cavalry, Smethport. N. D. Foote*, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. J. D. Barnes*, Forty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Kasson. R. Sartwell*, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. W. H. Rifle*, Forty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Norwich. S. G. Bush*, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. W. Brockham*, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. W. Olgilvie*, First New York Dragoons, Coleville. M.S. Sheldon*, Two hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. A. Reed*, One Hundred and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, Farmers Valley. E. P. Pratt*, One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. J. Howard*, One Hundred and Forth-first New York Volunteers, Farmers Valley. H. S. Sawyer*, First Volunteer Cavalry, Farmers Valley. Charles S. Sanford*, Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Smethport. George Ogilvie*, First New York Dragoons, Farmers Valley. M. Rowan*, Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers, Smethport. J. L. Stanton*, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. J N. F. Ferris*, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. W. W. Brewer*, Forth-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Mount Jewett. Emil Thamm*, Forty-first Missouri, Smethport. J. H. McQuaid*, Tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. M. O’Reilly*, Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Smethport. R. E. Hooker*, First New York Dragoons, Farmers Valley. M. R. McCauley*, One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. William Smith*, One Hundred and Fifth New York Volunteers, Mount Jewett. J. M. Robinson, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Kasson. A. L. Hughes, Indiana Cavalry, Smethport. P. Rowan, Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers, Smethport. J. E. Henderson, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colegrove. S. W. Evans, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Norwich. John A. Marsh, Sixth Vermont, Norwich. F. Cox, One Hundred and Thirteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Kane. A. Ostrander, Two hundred and Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Port Allegany. W. Ostrander, Two Hundred and Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Port Allegany. J. H. Sowers, Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, East Smethport. Thomas Walker, Twenty-first Pennsylvania Cavalry, East Smethport. H. K. Moore, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Coleville. A. A. Wolters, Forty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. D. Smith, One Hundred and Seventy-ninth New York, Coleville. D. Sterrett, One Hundred and Thirty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, Washington. E. Grover, Two Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colegrove. S. Martin, Two Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. O. Brink, Thirty-third New York Battery, Smethport. H. L. Burlingame, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. Jacob Hafner, One hundred and Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Clermont. William Wilkins, Forth-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Kanesholm. F. J. Vickery. One Hundred and Ninety-fourth New York, Smethport. H. J. Ellsworth, One Hundred and Seventh New York, Smethport. J. Colegrove, Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colegrove. W. H. Curtis, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. L. Rogers, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. W. C. Dickenson, Second United States Signal Service, Norwich. W. Grigsby, Fifth-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. H. M. Choate, Twenty-first New York Volunteers, Smethport. R. Kasselbach. One Hundred and Tenth New York Volunteers, Olean. J. M. McElroy, One Hundred and Second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. J. H. Stull, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, East Smethport. H. B. Vincent, Fifty-first New York Volunteers, Smethport. A. Fields, One Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Kane. G. W. Talbot, United States Navy, England. L. W. Searfass, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, Kane. T. A. Morrison, One Hundred and Twenty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. G. W. King, One Hundred and Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, East Smethport. Herman Young, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Farmers Valley. J. A. Briggs, One Hundred and Ninety-fourth New York Volunteers, Smethport. S. E. Quick, One Hundred and Forty-fourth New York Volunteers, Keating. C. F. Holmes, Tenth New York Heavy Artillery, Keating. T. W. Chandler, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. D. Y. Lee, Sixth New York Artillery, Smethport. Asa Champlin, Thirteenth Artillery, Farmers Valley. J William Caskey, One Hundred and Forth-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. G. H. France, One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Smethport. D. E. Robbins, Sixth New Hampshire Artillery, Smethport. P. O. O'Brien, Third New York Volunteer Excelsior Brigade, Smethport. S. Lewis, One Hundred and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, Colegrove. E. R. Mayo, Third Maine Light Battery, Smethport. T. Ray, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry. H. C. Hammon, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry. J. C. Backus*, J. K. Graham*, E. V. Chadwick*, Joseph Hoover*, Patrick McCabe*, George Badger*, R. E. Tooker*, J. Londragon*, Henry Herring*, B. H. Farman*.
B. F. Wright was chosen commander, and J. K. Graham was acting adjutant until appointed adjutant in July. In 1884 A. L. Hughes succeeded Graham, but H. L. Burlingame filled the office until he was appointed, vice Hughes, In July. J. C. Backus was commander in 1885 and Burlingame adjutant. William H. Grumbine was chosen commander in 1886; Lucius Rogers in 1887, with the adjutant of 1885-86 still in office. In December 1887, J. M. McElroy was elected commander, and H. M. Choate adjutant, who served until January 1889, when Adjt. Choate was elected commander, and Lucius Rogers was appointed adjutant. The officers for 1890 are: S. G. Bush, C; C. S. Sanford, S. V. C.; H. L. Burlingame, J. V. C.; Emil Thamm, Q. M.; T. W. Chandler, Chap.; J. D. Barnes, Surg.; J. H. Sowers, O. of D.; J. H. Ellsworth, O. of G.; M. O'Reilly, O. S.
Women's Relief Corps No. 23, Smethport, was organized September 17, 1885, with Madams Kate L. Wright, Helen S. Morrison, Rebecca Kerns, Alminia Backus, Sarah Grumbine, Hattie P. Colegrove, Julia L. Easterbrook, Rose E. Peirce, Elminia Thamm and Amelia Bush, members. Mrs. Wright was elected first president and Mrs. Morrison secretary. In 1887 Mrs. Chambers was elected secretary, and Mrs. Thamm president, succeeded in 1888 by Mrs. Helen Morrison as President, and Miss Ella J. Wright secretary. In July 1888, Miss Lena Wright took the former secretary's place and was appointed in December 1889, when Mrs. Morrison was re-elected president. On the latter's election as president of the department of Pennsylvania, W. R. C. Mrs. Kate Wright was elected president and Mrs. Bertie Choate vice president. The officers for 1890 are: President, Miss Lena Wright; senior vice-president, Mrs. Nina Rumsey; junior vice-president, Mrs. Amelia Bush; treasurer, Mrs. Sarah Vickery; chaplain, Mrs. Julia Pratt; conductor, Mrs. Rose Peirce; guard, Miss Maud Stephens.
The K.O.T.M. is a recent organization at Smethport. I. S. Reynolds presides over the lodge, with M. B. Greer, recorder.
The Central Home Relief Society was organized at Smethport August 20, 1863, with Mrs. P. Ford, president; Mrs. H. Hamlin, vice-president; Mrs. C. Cornforth, treasurer; Mrs. W. Cowles, secretary; Madams A. N. Taylor, W. H. Richmond, L. A. Stevens, A. S. Swift, M .A. Holmes and J. R. Chadwick, collecting committee. The object was to furnish aid to the families of volunteers.
The County Prohibitory Constitution Association was organized at Smethport in February 1889, with W. W. Brown, president; Byron D. Hamlin, vice-president; E. E. McElwaine, secretary, and B. F. Hazelton, treasurer. W. A. Young, Mrs. Young, W. H. Dodd and Reuben Dennis were chosen delegates. In May of this year the association established The Amendment Herald, and by other means essayed to educate the people in temperance affairs, carrying the question so far as to win 3,054 votes for the amendment, against 2,058 recorded for maintaining the evil to which they were opposed.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Association was organized March 13, 1883, and reorganized May 2, 1885. The names of original members are Madams L. T. Medbury, F. L. Chadwick, A. Corwin, F. M. Blodgett, R. Kerns, B. F. Wright, C. L. Douglas, E. J. Bush, J. G. Strong, S. J. Gifford, T. A. Morrison, K .E. Kidder, Charles Leemler, C. A. Burdick, M. L. Georgia, Emma Gifford, E. P. Hubbell, E. Sterrett and M. D. Bush. Mrs. L. T. Medbury was president of the old society. After reorganization Mrs. H. Hamlin presided, and next Miss S. A. Scull. The present president is Mrs. T. W. Chandler. The first corresponding secretary was Mrs. T. A. Morrison, Mrs. Bogisch, Mrs. E. Richardson and Mrs. Chadwick have held the secretary’s position. The officers elected in July 1889 are Mrs. D. L . Forsyth, president; Mrs. E. F. Chandler, vice-president; Mrs. M. E. Richmond, recording secretary; Mrs. Esther Keefe, corresponding secretary; Mrs. M. A. Backer, treasurer. Vice-presidents in churches: Mrs. A. T. Palmer, Methodist; Mrs. B. F. Wright, Baptist; Mrs. A. F. Brown, Episcopal. Superintendents: Mrs. Martha Chadwick, literature; Mrs. M. A. Backer, heredity; Mrs. B. F. Wright, soldiers and sailors; Mrs. Esther Keefe, jail and almshouse; Mrs. D. L. Forsyth, Mrs. M. E. Richmond, assistants jail and almshouse. Delegates to county convention: Mrs. Martha Chadwick, Mrs. Esther Keefe. Alternates: Mrs. A. T. Palmer, Mrs. E. F. Chandler.
The I.O.G.T. was organized in January, 1871, with S. B. Sartwell, Anna Potter, H. S. Sartwell, M. L. Armstrong, J. C. Bard, L. O. Chadwick, R. D. Hays, E. V. Chadwick, L. S. Bard, D. C. Young, Mrs. A. E. Taylor, B. Downey and G. Corwin filling the offices of the lodge.
The Young Women’s Christian Temperance Union is one of the new additions to the ranks of temperance workers. Mrs. W. P. Burdick is president, with Miss Lydia Burlingame, secretary.
The C. M. B. A. Elected the following named officers for 1890: Chancellor, J. F. Rooney; president, Morris Mulvehill; first vice-president, James Lynch, second vice-president, Peter Conely; recording secretary, Ed. Obertrifter; assistant recording secretary, James A. McKean; financial secretary, Daniel Bacon; treasurer, Dennis Quinlisk; marshal, Thomas O’Brien; guard, William Covley; representative to the Grand Council, John F. Rooney; alternate, T. H. Purtle; trustees (two years), J. F. Rooney, P. Conely.
On July 18, 1875, the St. Elizabeth’s Total Abstinence Association was organized.
The Knights of St. Martin and the Iron Cross are presided over by Dwight Waller, with Fred Gallup, scribe, and Rev. J. H. McCandless, warden.
The McKean County Musical Convention held its first session in February, 1875, with C. S. Diffen, president; J. W. Hilton, Dr. E. A. Van Scoy and T. J. Campbell, vice presidents; Albert DeGolier, secretary; and Loyal Ward, treasurer.
The Equitable Aid Union is presided over by Lucius Rogers, with W. H. Knight, secretary.
Smethport Lodge 182, A.O.U.W., was instituted August 19, 1880, with G. Lyman, S. V. Godden, H. L. Burlingame, W. O. Congdon, George R. Brownell, W. F. Sprecht, Frank Kerns, S. W. Pattison and S. G. Bush, holding the respective offices. At the annual election in December H. L. Burlingame was chosen master.
The Wild-Cat Base Ball Club was organized at Smethport in May, 1878, with A. W. Colegrove, president; Henry Biever, vice-president; M. L. Armstrong, treasurer; B. T. Downey, secretary. The directors were Robert Wolters, C. A. Burdick and Patrick McLea.
Hotels – About 1822 the first regular hotel was completed by Willard, whose wife carried on the house in 1826. Some short time after came Squire Crow from the Sinnemahoning country to compete with the Willard Hotel. The house which he erected occupied the site of the Bennett House. This last named hotel was erected in 1851 by O. R. Bennett. This house, and the Haskell store, built in 1857 by B. D. and Henry Hamlin, were destroyed by fire in May, 1882.
In January, 1847, O. R. Bennett petitioned the court to open an inn at his house in Smethport. This petition was signed by Edward Hartnett, O. A. Holmes, B. D. Hamlin, Ferd. Hamilton, W. F. Ormsby, O. R. Bennett, Nathan Barrett, J. B. Taylor, Gideon Irons, Adam Brockham, W. F. Young and N. W. Goodrich.
Mr. Williams, at whose house the judges and officers of the court made their home for years after 1826, came about 1822, when John Keating Williams was born as the first white child of the settlement. Squire Williams had many of the pioneer’s experiences. On one occasion he was making lard from a hog killed for the purpose, and left this lard in an iron kettle to render during the night. Later there was heard a terrible racket in the cellar, and the Squire, descending, discovered a huge bear with his head trapped in the kettle. The Squire had little difficulty in killing “bruin.” The late Mrs. Asa H. Cory remembered this event.
Rockwell House was built in 1880-81, by S. J. Rockwell, who conducted it for a few months; C. W. Dickinson followed, then H. S. Sartwell. John Hussey carried on business here for two or three years, when the property was bought by H. B. Vincent, who changed the title to Chautauqua House, and conducted it for three years when J. L Thomas became proprietor.
The Wright House, built in 1875, is modern in arrangement and management, and is generally credited with being one of the first-class hotels of this section of the State.
The Grand Central Hotel building, begun early in 1880 by Andrew Reilly, was completed in June, 1881. The intention of Mr. Reilly was to make it one of the finest hotel buildings in the northern part of the State, and in carrying this intention forward he gave to Smethport a house 67x82 feet, containing sixty-two rooms fitted with all modern improvements and elegantly furnished. The plans were drawn by S. A. Bishop, assisted by Mr. Reilly. The latter superintended the mason work. The building cost $40,000 and was opened by Mr. Reilly June 22, 1881. Gen. Hammer, of the Bennett House, leased the building soon after, and after two years H. S. Sartwell conducted the house. In the year 1883 the property passed into the hands of Mrs. A. N. Taylor, from whom the popular Frank N. Taylor leases the house. The lessee and his chief clerk, Ham Hill, conduct this hotel on modern principles.
Banks – In the history of Bradford City the story of the old McKean County Bank is told. It was established in 1857, and in opposition to the desire of many of the local stockholders Bradford was fixed upon as its headquarters, which action led to legal proceedings to change headquarters to Smethport.
The Hamlin Bank may be said to date back to 1862. Since that year Henry Hamlin has been the recognized leader of the banking business at the county seat, if not in the county. His store office was the bank office, and drafts of exchange, as well as loans, were negotiated in much the same form as at present. In 1874,he retired from mercantile life, and established a banking office over the old Hamlin store, later known as the Haskell store. In 1880 S. C. Townsend was employed as cashier. After the fire of May, 1882, the office was in B. D. Hamlin’s office, and in 1885-86 in the room now occupied by Wells’ drug store until the present building was completed in January, 1887. It is one of the best finished buildings of its size in the State, and fully equipped for banking purposes. The cost of this ornamental pile was $15,000. In February, 1889, Moss M. Coleman took the position of assistant cashier and bookkeeper. The financial condition of this house July 8, 1889, is shown as follows:
The McKean County Savings Bank was chartered in February, 1872. A N. Taylor, V. P. Carter, J. C. Backus, J. E. Butts, Jr., J. R. Chadwick, J. F. Gallup and D. C. Young being incorporators. This banking company was never organized.
|Due to Banks........... $585.63||Due from Banks and Bankers..$ 43,647.46|
|Exchange................. 782.69||Stocks and Bonds................... 11,750.00|
|Profit and Loss......... 108,891.16||County Order........................... 4,590.00|
|Interest and Discount... 19,380.27||Cash......................................... 12,339.18|
Water and Gas Systems - The beginning of Smethport's water system dates back to 1874, when the commissioners purchased a spring lot and connected the spring with the jail by means of a small pipe. E. V. Chadwick secured the use of the surplus water for $10 per annum and had a pipe extended from the main pipe to his dwelling, but the supply being limited the contract was rescinded. The Smethport Water Company was incorporated in April 1881, with thirty-seven stockholders. Henry Hamlin held twenty-four, Byron D. Hamlin ten, W. J. Colegrove and D. R. Hamlin five shares each. The works were completed within the year.
The Smethport Gas Company was incorporated September 20, 1881, with C. A. Backer, E. L. Keenan, Robert H. Rose, David Sterrett, Leroy Tabor and L. J. Backer, directors. In January, 1890, the following named officers were chosen: C. P. Byron, president; H. McSweeney, secretary; A. B. Armstrong, treasurer; and they, with R. H. Rose and W. D. Gallup, directors. The gas well on the Eben Gallup farm was opened in January, 1890.
Floods and Fires - The rains of May 31 and June 1, 1889, swelled the tributaries of Marvin and Nunundah creeks and raised these streams far above all high-water marks of previous floods. The citizens of Smethport emerged from their homes Friday morning to find the low lands everywhere covered with several feet of water, while the rain still fell in torrents. Some residents of East Smethport were forced to take refuge in the second stories of their buildings, and anchor their houses to neighboring trees. The only way to reach the depot was by means of a boat. The railroads were undermined and damaged in many places, and traffic was suspended for several days. The bridge on the poor-farm, which was built at the expense of the county, was swept away, and Gifford's upper dam was damaged, necessitating the suspension of work.
In the destruction of G. W. White's house (two miles southwest of Smethport) in March, 1852, a three-year-old son was burned to death, and the father severely burned while trying to rescue the boy. The Smethport fire of March 24, 1868, destroyed the Astor House block, property of William Haskell, A. N. Taylor's store, Miss Holmes' building, and the barns, all valued at $40,000 and insured for $19,000. The Smethport fire of May, 1882, originated in the Bennett House, destroying Haskell's large store-building on the other side of the street, the banking office of Henry Hamlin in that building, the Bennett House and Sterrett & Rose law office.
Miscellaneous - The Smethport Cemetery Society was chartered in 1863 on petition of S. C. Hyde, C. K. Sartwell, L. R. Wisner, Miles Innis and W. A. Williams.
The question of building a plank road from Clermont to Olean was presented to the people of McKean county in November, 1849, by O. J. Hamlin. He estimated the number of acres of coal land in the county at 10,000, and stated that the selling price ranged from $1.50 to $3 per acre. In less than two years after this proposition was made the Smethport & Olean Plant Road Company organized (June 21,1851), with S. Sartwell, president; Henry Hamlin, secretary; William K. King, treasurer; R. Phelps Wright, G. Irons, Ransom Larrabee, Dr. McCoy and J. W. Prentiss, directors. Railroads now follow this route, the McKean & Buffalo Road being practically completed to Smethport in 1875, and pushed thence to the mines. In 1889 the road was continued from Clermont to Johnsonburg in Elk county.
Smethport has celebrated the anniversary of national independence for fifty years. As if to emphasize the fiftieth celebration, the Fourth of 1889 was a day especially prepared for festivity. From a late hour on the evening of July 3 to the dawn of next day rain poured down in torrents to moisten the parched earth. Early on the 4th the streets were rolled smooth, and before noon were in excellent shape for the parade, the sunbeams giving token that old Sol himself was pleased with the intentions of the people. The procession, which was the feature of the day, was composed of the following well-equipped bands, hose companies, etc.: Marshal, J. M. McElroy, and aids; Smethport Bank; McKean Post 347, G. A. R., and guests; Dr. Freeman, commanding second division, and aids; Gorton's Gold Band; J. Gorton Hose No. 1, Friendship, N. Y.; Eldred Band; Mountaineer Hose No. 1, Emporium; Forest Band; Citizen Hose No. 2, Emporium; Bolivar Cornet Band; Citizen Hose No. 2, Bolivar, N. Y.; Smethport Hose No. 1; president of the day and speakers in carriages.
The exercises in the court-house opened with music by the Smethport Band. E. L. Keenan, president of the day, delivered the address of welcome, and at the suggestion of the sheriff, extended a general invitation to visitors to share the hospitalities offered by the citizens. Rev. T. W. Chandler delivered an excellent prayer; Capt. Rogers read the "Declaration," and W. J. Milliken, of Bradford, delivered the oration - which was eloquent as well as historical. At night the festivities were continued, one of the features being a merry march from East Smethport to the court-house square, lead by the Eldred Band. The hose companies, without an exception, presented a handsome appearance, and the music rendered by the different bands mentioned was of a high standard.
The history of the Keating, the Bingham and the Ridgway lands in this county is related on other pages. Smethport has been for years the Mecca of land hungers, as there the agent of the great estates ultimately congregated and established their offices. Robert C. Simpson, the general agent of the Bingham estate, resides at Wellsboro, Penn. Robert H. Rose was the first agent; W. B. Clymer had charge of the estate until Mr. Simpson was appointed, during the war. Robert H. Rose is attorney for the estate and local agent at Smethport. Much of the land is leased, and this, with the unseated lands, aggregates over 40,000 acres in McKean, an equal area in Potter county. Smaller areas of lands belonging to the other proprietors are still unsold.
East Smethport may be said to date back to the establishment of the Extract Works at that point. Shortly after the large buildings were erected the place began to assume the features of a village, and with its railroad communication would be a strong contestant for the business center, had it any one of the physical advantages possessed by the old town. The ground is low and marshy, and in seasons of heavy rain subject to the overflow of Nunundah creek. Opposite the Western New York & Pennsylvania depot is the planing-mill of Bush & McIntosh, near by the Bottling Works, and in the vicinity the Extract Works. On the corner of Main and Railroad streets is the store and post-office building of James M. Tracy; below is the large store building of Stickney, Bell & Co. The Exchange Hotel is conducted by John H. Sowers; a few rods westward of this hotel is the Sherwood grocery store, and opposite it the meat market of J. H. Stull. The English Protestant Episcopal Chapel is near the bridge, and across the creek, near the mouth of Marvin creek, the first of a series of saw-mills on the latter stream is found. A number of small dwelling houses, occupied by Swedish workmen and their families, are scattered here and there, all forming the nucleus of what enterprise may convert into a large business town.
There is no history of failure attached to Smethport. The men who came here to build up a prosperous community knew no such word as fail, and consequently the story is one of success following perseverance, tolerance and intelligence. To the wisdom and policy of John Keating, who selected this location, much is due, but without the pioneers the place might be still in the wilderness, as it would undoubtedly be still comparatively primitive without the modern pioneers of commercial and professional progress. To the latter the achievement of placing Smethport above all other towns in the district, in beauty and cleanliness, and equal to any in modern conveniences, is due, and to their enterprise and virtues must be credited her substantial business and social life.
contributed by Beryl Redfield