From "The History of Columbia and Mountour Counties"
Battle, 1887





Briarcreek & Berwick Beaver Benton
Conyngham & Centralia Catawissa Fishingcreek
Franklin Greenwood Hemlock
Jackson Locust Maine
Madison Mifflin Montour
Orange Pine Roaringcreek
AVAILABLE HERE (Off this site)

Chapter IX
Centre Township

In 1843 certain citizens of Bloom and Briarcreek petitioned the court for the erection of a new township to be formed from the adjacent portions of each. The court accordingly appointed Joseph BROBST, Isaac WELCH and George A. BOWMAN commissioners to locate the boundaries agreeably to the terms of the petition. In the succeeding January, these commissioners submitted their report with a plat of a township "to be called Centre," which was approved by the court, and its organization ordered.

The township thus erected extended from the Susquehanna too the top of Lee mountain, which separates it from Fishingcreek and Orange; and from the valley of Briar creek on the east to Orange and Bloom, which then included Scott. The regularity of its western boundary is broken by the excision of its northwest corner in favor of Orange. Two distinct ranges of hills extending in a direction parallel with the course of the river, diversify the surface. A narrow, rugged valley separates Lee mountain from the Summer hills, and between these and Lime ridge is one of the most fertile valleys of the county, in which the west branch of Briar creek takes its rise. South of the ridge the surface slopes gradually down to the level lands of the river "bottoms."

This region was among the earlier settled sections of Columbia county. Here in the valley of the west branch of Briar creek, the Van CAMPEN, SALMON, and AIKMAN families reared their homes, which were subsequently involved in the devastation which fell with savage cruelty upon the flourishing colony at Wyoming. In the year 1777 Alexander AIKMAN emigrated from New Jersey and built a cabin on the bank of a stream known from this circumstance as Cabin run. In the autumn he returned to Northumberland. The Van CAMPENS and SALMONS remained, relying on the forts in the vicinity for protection. In the spring of 1778 the house of the former was burned. Joseph SALMON was a near neighbor. Recognizing in the smoke indications of the presence of an enemy, he hastened from the field to his own cabin to take his wife and child to a place of safety. Between it and the clearing was a marsh crossed by a corduroy bridge. It was not until he reached this point that he observed the cabin already surrounded by savages. He approached near enough to see that his wife and child were prisoners, but that apparently their lives would be spared. Unfortunately the Indians discovered him; he sought concealment in the bridge, and they were unable to dislodge or murder him there, although several attempts were made to burn it. Exasperated with this failure, they scalped his wife and then set her at liberty, while her infant child was inhumanly killed before her eyes.* [Footnote: Another version of this story, and probably the correct one, is as follows; When Mr. SALMON reached the house, the Indians were on the point of killing his wife and child. He interposed and had some influence with the chief, who promised to spare their lives and assured him of a safe return if he would accompany them as a prisoner. He agreed to do so, and remained in captivity more than a year. He accompanied the chief on his expeditions, but the latter never mentioned his promise of granting the release, nor did SALMON dare do so. After following the chief alone through a whole night, they reached the summit of the North mountain at daybreak. SALMON recognized with joy the outline of Knob mountain in the distance. "Go", said his captor, "thus can Indians keep their promises." He did not hesitate to obey the command, and followed Fishing creek to his home, where he lived for many years.]

The Van CAMPENS were reserved for a fate even more sanguinary in its details of savage ferocity. In the spring of 1780 the Indian disturbances having apparently subsided, several members of the family left Fort Wheeler to make preparations for rebuilding the house destroyed two years previous. About the same time a small party of Indians and Tories, after committing various depredations in the neighborhood of Wyoming, pushed down the river to Fishing creek. March 30th they reached the head-waters of the west branch of Briar creek.

As the spring opened, the Van CAMPENS, who had taken refuge in Fort Wheeler, determined to go out to their place, rebuild their destroyed cabin and put in crops for their future support. They appear to have been an exception among the settlers in their freedom from apprehension of molestation by the Indians, and left the fort in the latter part of March, the party consisting of Moses Van CAMPEN, his father, a younger brother, an uncle, and his son about twelve years old, and one Peter PENCE. The sequel, as related by Van CAMPEN, is as follows:

We had been on our farms about four or five days when, on the morning of the thirteenth of March, we were surprised by a party of ten Indians. My father was lunged through with a war spear, his throat was cut and he was scalped, while my brother was tomahawked, scalped and thrown into the fire before my eyes. While I was struggling with a warrior, the fellow who had killed my father drew his spear from his body and made a violent thrust at me. I shrank from the spear; the savage who had hold of me turned it with his hands so that it only penetrated my vest and shirt. They were then satisfied with taking me prisoner, as they had the same morning taken my uncle's little son and PENCE, though they killed my uncle. The same party, before they reached us, had torched on the lower settlements of Wyoming and killed a Mr. UPSON and taken a boy prisoner of the name of ROGERS. We were now marched off up Fishing creek, and in the afternoon of the same day came to Huntington, where the Indians found four white men at a sugar camp who fortunately discovered the Indians and fled to a house. The Indians only fired on them and wounded a Captain RANSOM when they continued their course till night. Having encamped and made their fire we, the prisoners, were tied and well secured, five Indians lying on one side of us and five on the other; in the morning they pursued their course, and leaving the waters of Fishing creek, touched the head-waters of Hemlock creek, where they found one Abraham PIKE, his wife and child. PIKE was made prisoner but his wife they painted and told Joggo, squaw, go home. They continued their course that day and encamped the same night in the same manner as the previous.

It came into my mind that sometimes individuals performed wonderful actions and surmounted the greatest danger. I then decided that these fellows must die, and thought of a plan to dispatch them. The next day I had an opportunity to communicate my plan to my fellow-prisoners; they treated it as a visionary scheme for three men to attempt to dispatch ten Indians. I spread before them the advantages which three men would have over ten when asleep; and that we would be the first prisoners taken into their towns and villages after our army had destroyed their corn; that we should be tied to the steak and suffer a cruel death; we had now an inch of ground to fight on and if we failed it would only be death, and we might as well died one way as another. That day passed away and having encamped for the night we lay as before. In the morning we came to the river and saw their canoes; they had descended the river and run their canoes upon Little Tunkhannock creek, so called. They crossed the river and set their canoes adrift.

I renewed my suggestion to my companions to dispatch them that night, and urged that they must decide the question. Disarm them and each take a tomahawk and come to close work at once. There are three of us; plant our blows with judgment, and three times three will make nine, and the tenth one we can kill at our leisure. They agreed to disarm them and after that one take possession of the guns and fire at the other side of the four, and the other two take tomahawks on the other side and dispatch them. I observed that would be a very uncertain way; the first shot fired would give the alarm; they would discover it to be the prisoners and might defeat us. I had to yield to their plan. Peter PENCE was chosen to fire the guns, PIKE and myself to tomahawk. We cut and carried plenty of wood to give them a good fire; after I was laid down one of them had occasion to use his knife; he dropped it at my feet; I turned my foot over it and concealed it; they all lay down and fell asleep. About midnight I got up and found them in a sound sleep. I slipped to PENCE, who rose; I cut him loose and handed him the knife; he did the same for me and I in turn took the knife and cut PIKE loose; in a minute's time we disarmed them. PENCE took his station at the guns. PIKE and myself with our tomahawks took our stations. I was to tomahawk three on the right wing and PIKE two on the left. That moment PIKE's two awoke and were getting up; here PIKE proved a coward and laid down. It was a critical moment; I saw there was no time to be lost; their heads turned up fair; I dispatched them in a moment and turned to my lot as per agreement, and as I was about to dispatch the last on my side of the fire PENCE shot and did good execution; there was only one at the off wing that his ball did not reach; his name was Mohawke, a stout, bold, daring fellow. In the alarm he jumped off about three rods from the fire; he saw it was the prisoners who made the attack, and giving the war-whoop, he started to take possession of the guns; I was as quick to prevent him; the contest was then between him and myself. As I raised my tomahawk he turned quick to jump from me; I followed him and struck at him, but, missing his head, my tomahawk struck his shoulder, or rather the back of his neck; he pitched forward and fell; at the same moment my foot slipped and I fell by his side; we clinched; his arm was naked; he caught me round my neck; at the same time I caught him with my left arm around the body and gave him a close hug, at the same time feeling for his knife but could not reach it.

In our scuffle my tomahawk dropped out. My head was under the wounded shoulder and almost suffocated me with his blood. I made a violent spring and broke from his hold; we both rose at the same time, and he ran; it took me sometime to clear the blood from my eyes; my tomahawk had got covered up, and I could not find it in time to overtake him; he was the only one of the party that escaped.

PIKE was powerless. I always had a reverence for Christian devotion; PIKE was trying to pray, and PENCE swearing at him, charging him with cowardice, and saying it was no time to pray, he ought to fight; we were masters of the ground, and in possession of all their guns, blankets, match coats, etc. I then turned my attention to scalping them, and recovering the scalps of my father, brother, and others, I strung them all on my belt for safe keeping. We kept our ground till morning and built a raft, it being near the bank of the river where they had encamped, about fifteen miles below Tioga Point; we got all our plunder on it and set sail for Wyoming, the nearest settlement. Our raft gave way, when we made for land, but we lost considerable property, though we saved our guns and ammunition, and took to land; we reached Wyalusing late in the afternoon. Came to the Narrows; discovered a smoke below, and a raft laying the shore, by which we were certain a party of Indians had passed us in the course of the day, and had halted for the night. There was no alternative for us but to rout them or go over the mountain; the snow on the north side of the hill was deep;; we knew from the appearance of the raft that the party must be small; we had two rifles each; my only fear was of PIKE's cowardice. To know the worst of it, we agreed that I should ascertain their number and give the signal for the attack; I crept down the side of the hill so near as to see their fires and packs, but saw no Indians. I concluded that they had gone hunting for meat, and that this was a good opportunity for us to make off with their raft to the opposite side of the river. I gave the signal; they came and threw their packs on the raft, which was made of small dry pine timber; with poles and paddles we drove her briskly across the river, and had got nearly out of reach of shot, when two of them came in; they fired; their shots did no injury; we soon got under cover of an island, and went several miles; we had waded deep creeks through the day, the night was cold; we landed on an island and found a sink-hole, in which we made our fire; after warming we were alarmed by a crackling in the crust; PIKE supposed that the Indians had got on the island, and was for calling for quarters; to keep him quiet, we threatened him with his life; the stepping grew plainer, and seemed coming directly to the fire; I kept a watch, and soon a noble raccoon came under the light. I shot the raccoon, when PIKE jumped up and called out: "Quarters, gentlemen! Quarters, gentlemen!" I took my game by the leg and threw it down by the fire: "Here, you cowardly rascal," I cried, "skin that and give us a roast for supper."

The next night we reached Wyoming, and there was much joy to see us; we rested one day, and it being not safe to go to Northumberland by land, we procured a canoe, and with PENCE and my little cousin, we descended the river by night.

Fort Jenkins was erected in 1778, and became an important place of retreat for the settlers along the river. It appears that the fort was merely the house of a Mr. JENKINS, barricaded and surrounded by a stockade. In September, 1780, a party of Indians from the Chillisquaque, having passed through the Fishing creek valley below Knob mountain, crossed the Summer hills through the defile of Cabin run and burned the cabin built by AIKMAN three years previous. Fort Jenkins had been evacuated by its garrison, who retreated to a point farther down the river. The Indians burned the fort, which was never rebuilt. In an appendix to the "Pennsylvania Archives," the following particulars concerning it are credited to a communication from Jacob HILL under date of October 2, 1855. "Its location was about twenty rods from the river, and about half the distance from the "North Branch canal." It stood upon the very spot where my house now stands. There are no remains left above ground, but I think there might be some pieces of the logs found buried in the ground. There is a very low spot between my house and barn, which is said to have been the well inside the fort. There is also another such spot near my house, and about four rods from the former which is said to be the cellar of a house built by JENKINS; and in digging the cellar for my house my hands found a quantity of stone which I took to be the foundation of some building, among which were some brick of rather singular dimensions, four or five feet under ground. The fields in the vicinity are scattered with arrows such as Indians use." Upon the cessation of hostilities the sense of security and repose so welcome to the wearied settlers after the harrassing experiences of the preceding years, attracted to their depleted ranks a class of pioneers whose characteristic energy and perseverance gradually removed the traces of war and bloodshed. Alexander AIKMAN returned from New Jersey, wither he had removed with his family. In 1782 Benjamin FOWLER, a young Englishman who had participated as a British soldier in the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown the previous year, traversed the distance from New York to the Briar creek valley on horseback. Here he formed the acquaintance of a Miss FOWLER, whose family had but recently entered the region. He conceived a strong attachment for her, and amid the multiplied labors of his first year on the frontier, found time to learn that his feelings were reciprocated. The marriage that ensued might be chronicled as the first in Centre township, if there had been a clergyman in the vicinity to perform the ceremony. Under the circumstances a journey was made to Reading, where the wedding was celebrated.

In 1792 Frederick HILL purchased from JENKINS a tract of land embracing the location of the old fort. On the site of the original building he erected a house and opened the Fort Jenkins hotel, then the only public house in the present limits of the county. The following year a number of families from Mount Bethel, Northampton county, attracted to the region by reports of its fertile soil, located in the valley of Briar creek. Among those who settled within this township were John HOFFMAN, Nehemiah HUTTON and James CAULEY. The same year Henry HIDLAY, having secured the title to "Mendham," a tract "situate three miles northwest of the Susquehanna," removed his family and household goods thither in a covered wagon. These families journeyed from Easton by a road recently opened from that point to Nescopeck falls, across the Broad, Buck and Nescopeck mountains.

Travel between different points along the river had increased to such an extent since the opening of the Fort Jenkins hotel, that Abram MILLER, in 1799, established another. From its position midway between Bloomsburg and Berwick, it was afterward known as the Half-Way house. When a stage-line was established between Sunbury and Wilkesbarre, its land-lords became widely known for their hospitality and for the celerity [sic] and promptness with which an exchange of horses could here be made. Thomas MILLER succeeded his father, but the establishment reached the zenith of its prosperity under the management of Samuel HARMAN, who was proprietor at a period when stage travel was necessary for a large class of people. When the canal was opened, the packet, a long, narrow boat drawn by six horses, was regarded as a more rapid and comfortable conveyance than the coach, and received a fair degree of patronage during the summer months. The decade immediately preceding the construction of the rail-road, was the most profitable one in the finances of stage proprietors. The volume of travel was such as to give a lucrative business to several companies. Since the opening of the railroad in 1858 the Half-Way house has ceased to be a place of popular resort, as the conditions under which it became such no longer exist. To the imaginative observer the quaint appearance of its broad porches still suggests the hurry and confusion of the old stage-exchange.

The name of Abram MILLER is also associated with an early industry of Centre township, and one that has adapted itself to the changing characters of the circumstances under which it has been conducted. The tract purchased by him in 1799 embraced a portion of lime ridge, in which the strata of limestone were but thinly covered by soil, and appeared in some places at the surface. Quarries were opened and the stone reduced to lime. This was conveyed to different points by means of flat-boats and wagons. A considerable portion was used in constructing the first brick buildings of Wilkesbarre. When the manufacture of iron was begun at Danville, Roaringcreek, Hemlock creek, Shickshinny and Wilkesbarre limestone for smelting purposes was obtained at this point. The canal-boat superseded the batteau as a means of transportation. The limestone was thus taken to Lackawanna in 1841, then at the head of navigation, and from there by a gravity railroad to Scranton, where it was used in considerable quantities for some years. The MILLERS, Abram and Thomas, operated quarries at the west end of the Centerville surface strata, John JONES its eastern, and John KNORR its central portion. Since 1854 LOW Brothers have controlled three-fourths of the product. The quarries are practically exhausted at some places, although still operated to a limited extent.

The village indications on the map of Centre are somewhat misleading. Two or three locations are dignified as postoffices, where no villages are visible to the naked eye. An aggregate of dwellings variously known as Centreville and Stoneytown is somewhat more tangible. About 1845 several lime-kiln proprietors, desirous of securing better shipping facilities, purchased twenty-four acres of land bordering the canal. After erecting suitable wharves, the remainder of the land was disposed of to quarry hands as building sites on which some fifteen or twenty cheaply constructed dwellings were built. The name Lime Ridge applies exclusively to some half-dozen more substantial residences subsequently erected to the west of these. During the greatest activity of the lime business Centreville was a thriving hamlet, and still does considerable business, though many of its residents are now transferred from the quarries to canal-boats. Two stores, which conduct a thriving local trade, and two church buildings add to the attractiveness of the place. The denominations represented here are the Evangelical and the Methodist. The condition of the former is not as flourishing as formerly, a large proportion of the membership having moved to other points. The latter was organized in 1832 by Isaac LOW, George SLOAN, Henry TREMBLY and Aaron BOON, in a school-house at some distance from the village. Ten years later its present house of worship was built. A second structure for Methodist services was dedicated at Fowlersville, November 3, 1867. The congregations at both places are connected with the Mifflinville circuit.

The only society represented at Centreville is Centre grange, No. 56. The Briarcreek Farmers Mutual Insurance Company was organized by its membership January 11, 1875, with Levi AIKMAN, president; Samuel NEYHART, secretary; and George CONNER, treasurer. These persons have held their respective offices continuously to this time (September, 1886), and have conducted the company's affairs through a decade of prosperous usefulness.

Briarcreek Presbyterian church has existed from a period compared with which the societies above mentioned are of but recent origin. Its history begins with the early settlement of the township. By indenture of August 19, 1796, Henry HIDLAY conveyed to Andrew CREVELING, George ESPY, and Conrad ADAMS, trustees of the Briarcreek Presbyterian society, an acre of ground for the location of a house for worship. It is probable that the latter was erected the following year, but this cannot be positively stated. The following names constitute a list of pew-holders, August 17, 1807: William SLOAN, John FREAS, Moses OMAN, William HUTCHISON, William PARKS, Samuel WEBB, Hugh SLOAN, Samuel BELLAS, Alexander AIKMAN, William AIKMAN, William HENDERSON, Benjamin BOONE, Andrew CREVELING, Daniel McCARTY, John KENNEDY, William MARR, John BRIGHT, Samuel CREVELING, James HUTCHISON, Joseph BRITTAIN, Joseph SALMON, Ephraim LEWIS, William OMAN, Josiah McCLURE, James FOWLER, Benjamin FOWLER, John STEWART, Henry HIDLAY, Levi AIKMAN and John BRITTAIN. In 1792 the Presbytery of Carlisle appointed Reverend Henry to supply this congregation. Two years later, he was succeeded by Reverend John BRYSON. Asa DUNHAM was pastor from 1798 to 1816. Reverends HENDERSON, CROSBY, LEWERS, PATTERSON, BRYSON, HUDSON, WALLER, HAND, WILLIAMSON, NEWELL, SALMON, MELICK, DICKSON, SPEAR and CANFIELD have successively been the pastors of this organization. August 28, 1838, a new structure was dedicated on the foundation of the old one. In the burial ground adjoining are the graves of many of the original members.

Lutheran and Reformed congregations have also worshiped in the Briarcreek church building. Reverend Isaac SHELLHAMMER in 1846 was the first to minister to the latter. At a later date Reverend William FOX organized the former. With the Centre English Lutheran church, it forms part of Briar creek charge. Reverends SHARRETS, DIM and BERGSTRESSER were its first pastors.

Whitmire Evangelical church and Briarcreek Baptist society, complete the number of religious organizations in the township. The first meeting of the former was conducted by James FOWLER and Emanuel KOHE in David FOWLER's house. Its first church building was erected in 1849; the second was dedicated in August 29, 1880. The latter religious body was admitted to Northumberland Baptist Association in 1851, with John H. WORRELL, pastor, and thirty members. It has generally been connected with the Berwick church.


For the following interesting facts in relation to Fort Jenkins and the site on which it stood, the editor is indebted to Mr. C. F. HILL, of Hazleton, who has been at great pains to furnish the following details, not elsewhere to be found in any published work:

The following letter is from the Hon. Steuben JENKINS, of Wyoming, Pa., who is a recognized authority on early history of this portion of the state, especially of Wyoming valley. He writes as follows:

Wyoming, October 2, 1886
Dear Sir:
In reply to yours of the 28th ultimo, I can add but little to the account of Fort Jenkins which will be found on pages 380, etc. of the "Appendix" to the Pennsylvania Archives. You are right in suggesting that Van CAMPEN was "Big Indian" and his narrative is a tissue of brag and falsehood, mingled with a little truth that makes the falsehood the greater deception. None of his statements are to be relied on. On Friday, 16th April, 1869, accompanied by Henry WOODHOUSE, Esq., of Wyoming, and W. W. SMITH, president of the board of county comm'rs of Luzerne county, I visited the site of Fort Jenkins. We found the site about a mile below Willow Grove station, on the Lackawanna & Bloomsburg R. R., and just opposite the lower part of the town of Mifflinsville, on the opposite side of the river. The situation was high and dry and commanded a fine view of the country around and of the Susquehanna river, on the east. The location was beautiful and well adapted for defense. We were shown by the wife of Jacob HILL, who occupied the premises, the place of the well and one of the ditches of the fort. They are situated between the house and the barn, somewhat nearer the barn than the house. The land around it is of the first quality for farming purposes. The HILL family were not able to five us much of the history of the fort. They only knew that a family by the name of JENKINS came there before the revolutionary war, built a blockhouse, which in the early part of the war was converted into a fort; that they got tired of the place, there were so many Indians about, and built a boat and in that went off and left it, and the HHILLS afterward bought the place of them. After we had examined the premises around, we passed on down to upper Lime Ridge, where we fell in with an old man who gave us this account of the fort and premises:
"Sometime before the revolutionary war, two brothers by the name of JENKINS built a blockhouse, which was afterward converted into a fort, by setting up saplings sharpened at the upper end, making a kind of stockade; that the Indians had a town on the opposite side of the river, at the mouth of a small stream; that during the war the Indians became troublesome, and under cover of an island in the river, they passed over to the island unseen, and from that point had shot and killed one of the brothers as he was down at the river. The other brother, with the women and children, got into a boat and passed down the river to Sunbury, and from there over the country to Berks county, or Philadelphia, where they traded their title to the Fort JENKINS property to James WILSON, attorney at law, Philadelphia, who conveyed the same to Jacob ZOLL, of Hamburg, Berks county, 15th of July, 1796, who conveyed the same to Frederick HILL, of Richmond, Berks county, 17th of June, 1797, the ancestor of the present owner. An entry under date of Thursday, September 14, 1780, in the journal of Lieut. John JENKINS, says: 'This day we heard that Fort JENKINS and Harvey's Mills were burnt.' This fort need not be confounded with 'Jenkins Fort.' in Wyoming, which was built by John JENKINS, Esq. The one at Wyoming is invariably called 'Jenkins Fort,' while the one about which I have written is invariably called 'Fort Jenkins.' This latter was built as a 'blockhouse,' of hewed logs, closely laid together, and stockaded by the provincial authorities of Pennsylvania, on land owned by James JENKINS, a merchant of Philadelphia--himself and family afterward of Northumberland, Pa., at and near which place, and in Buffalo valley, they carried on merchandising, milling, farming and iron smelting. The following memoranda of title would seem to fix the dates when JENKINS obtained the land at Fort Jenkins and when he parted with it. I have in my possession a patent issued by John Penn, dated 25th Feb. 1775, in behalf of himself and Thomas Penn, for a tract of land called 'New Orleans,' situate on the westerly side of the N. E. Branch of Susquehanna river, county of Northumberland, beginning at a marked black oak at the side of the N. E. branch of said river; thence by Wm. CHAMBERS' land N. 30 degrees W. 304 perches; thence by vacant land S. 61 degrees W. 166 perches to a pine, thence by Rev. Doctor Francis ALLISON's land S. 30 degrees E. 312 perches to a white oak on the river, thence up said river to the beginning, containing 304 3/4 acres. Surveyed for Daniel REES, 24 Oct., 1774, on warrant dated 24 Oct., 1774, who assigned to James JENKINS 25 Feby., 1775."

This is enough to give you dates, etc., besides what you have, and I will end this part of the case here. Hon. Samuel Freeman HEADLY gave me the following in reference to the fort:

"James PRAT was wounded at Fort Jenkins by a shot in the hip. He kept the ferry. as he was coming up from the river to the fort some person pursued him. There was a girl by the name of UTLEY outside of the fort milking a cow; he called to her to run for her life; she ran for the fort and arrived in it in safety; date not known. At the time of the invasion of Wyoming by the combined forces of the British tories and Indians, Capt. CLINGMAN was in command at Fort Jenkins with a force of ninety men. He was sent for by express, the urgency and danger of the situation made known to him and his assistance with his command earnestly solicited, but he failed to respond. The force were Pennamites who felt no interest in defending the settlers, but rather were willing they should be destroyed, and so they left them to perish.

Fort McClure was about a mile above the mouth of Fishing creek on the Susquehanna. Fort Jenkins was where I have stated, some six or seven miles above, and these were all the forts there were on the west side of the Susquehanna above Northumberland.

Abraham PIKE remained after the revolutionary war and settled in Lehman township about 12 miles from Wilkesbarre and died a town pauper about 1834. Van CAMPEN had no farm. He settled on land under Pennsylvania, but I do not know that he ever owned what might be called a farm.

My grandfather, Lieut. John JENKINS, in his diary says:--1780, April. 4, "PIKE and two men from Fishing creek and two boys that were taken by the Indians made their escape by falling on the guard of ten Indians, killed three and the rest took to the woods and left the prisoners with 12 guns and about 30 blankets."

Col. FRANKLIN, April 4, says:--PIKE and others returned, made their escape at Wysox on the 1st; killed 3 Indians and took all their arms. VanCAMPEN, after describing the conflict with the Indians says, in his Falstaffian way, "Nine Indians were laying dead upon the ground." (Life, &c., of Van CAMPEN, Page 205.)

Van CAMPEN was of Low Dutch descent and came there from Delaware river and was a neighbor of the Van GORDONS, the Van ASHTINES, Van LEERS, etc. Two of the family were residents of this place for many years, leaving for Illinois about 1840. One Garret was a blacksmith, the other, Aaron, was a general laborer. They were both great story tellers, and none too honest in general. PIKE was a wanderer, settling and staying anywhere, never pretended to farm or own lands. I leave it for you to reconcile V. C. with the facts. I would like the Jenkins surveys, deeds and title to the fort.
Yours respectfully, Steuben JENKINS.
To C. F. HILL, Esq.
Hazleton, Pa.

(diagram map showing location of Fort Jenkins on this page - 214)

A draught of a tract of land called "New Orleans," situate on the westerly side of the northeast branch of the Susquehanna river, below and joining land surveyed for William CHAMBERS in the county of Northumberland, containing three hundred and four acres and three-quarters of an acre besides the usual allowance of 6 per cent for roads, etc., surveyed the 26th day of November, 1774, for Daniel REESE in pursuance of a warrant dated the 24th day of October, 1774. - By Chas. STEWART, Dep. Sur.
To John LUKENS, Esqr., S. Gen'l.
In testimony that the above is a true copy of the original remaining in my office I have hereto set my hand and seal of office at Philadelphia this 18th July 1796. - Daniel BRODHEAD, S. G.
The following is a brief of title to a tract of land in Centre Township, Columbia Co., Pa., called "New Orleans" on which is the site of Fort Jenkins.
Surveyed the 21st day of October, 1774; Warrant dated 24th day of October, 1774. See copy of survey herewith.
New Orleans
Patent James JENKINS dated the 25 February, 1775.
In pursuance of a warrant dated the 24th October, 1774, there was a surveyed for Daniel REESE a certain tract of land called "New Orleans," situate on the westerly side of the north east branch of Susquehanna river in the county of Northumberland. Beginning at a marked Black Oak at the side of the north east branch of the Susquehanna river, thence by William CHAMBERS' land north thirty degrees west three hundred and four perches to a marked Black Oak, thence by vacant land south sixty-one degrees west one hundred and sixty-six perches to a marked pine, thence by the Reverend Doctor Francis ALLISON's land south thirty degrees east three hundred and twelve perches to a marked White Oak at the side of the aforesaid branch, thence up along the side of said branch to the place of beginning, containing three hundred and four acres and three quarters and allowance, etc., under one penny per acre to Penn's.
Daniel REESE by deed dated same day conveyed to James JENKINS. Inrolled in Pat. Book A. A. 15, page 107, the 27th Feby., 1775.
St. James
Patent James JENKINS dated 25th Feby., 1775. Inrolled in Pat. Book A. A. 15, page 108, the 27th Feby., 1775.
Warrant dated 24th October, 1774, to William CHAMBERS, a certain tract of land called St. James, situate on the westerly side of the north east branch of Susquehanna river in the county of Northumberland, beginning at a marked Red Oak on the side of the north east branch of Susquehanna river, thence by Philip JOHNSTON's land and vacant land north thirty degrees, west three hundred and twelve perches to a marked White Oak, thence by vacant land south sixty-one degrees, west one hundred and sixty-eight perches to a marked Black Oak, thence by Daniel REESE land south thirty degrees, east three hundred and four perches to a marked Black Oak on the side of the north east branch aforesaid, thence up along the side of the said river one hundred and sixty-nine perches to the place of beginning, containing three hundred and three acres and three quarters and allowances, etc.
Wm. CHAMBERS by deed dated 24 Oct., 1774, granted to Philip JOHNSTON. Philip JOHNSTON by deed dated 25th Feby. instant granted the same with appurtenances unto James JENKINS in Fee under One penny per acre.
I do hereby certify the above to be true extracts taken from the records this 14th day of July, 1796, for Nath. Irwin, Esq., M. R.
Inrollment office
of Pennsylvania.
Daniel REES of the
county of Philada
Deed Poll
James JENKINS of the
city of Philada
Dated Feby 25th 1775.
Witnesses Phil JOHNSTON Wm. GRAY.
Consideration 100 L a certain warrant obtained out of the Proprietary's land office for 300 acres more or less on the North East Branch of the Susquehanna and below and joining lands granted to William CHAMBERS in Northumberland County.

John PENN in behalf
of himself and Thos
Penn Patent to
Tract of land called New Orleans
Dated 25 Feby 1775

James JENKINS, and Phebe, his
wife of the county of Lancas-
ter Pa.
Gentlemen. Deed to
James WILSON of the city of
Philadelphia Attorney.
July 27th 1781.
Tract Land called New Orleans 304 3/4 acres.
Consideration 500 Pounds.
Acknowledged before the Hon. William A. ATLEE,
one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Pa. Aug 24

Witnesses Stephen CHAMBERS,
Recorded in Northumberland County Oct 13 1781 Book B page 286.

James WILSON and Hannah his
wife Deed to
Jacob ZOLL of Hamburgh
Windsor Township county of
Berks, Yoeman.
Date July 15th 1796.
Two tracts of land New Orleans And St. James,
400 acres.

Jacob ZOLL
Frederick HILL of
Richmond township in the said
county of Berks, Pa.
Dated June 17th 1797.
Two tracts of land the whole of tract called New
Orleans 304 3/4 acres and part of the tract called St. James
in all 400 acres.
Consideration of 2500 Pounds Gold and Silver.
Witnesses Joseph HOCH, John SPYKER.
Acknowledged before James DIEMER one of the Judges of the Common Pleas of Berks County Pa. June 20th 1797.
Recorded on Northumberland County in deed Book K page 66 &c Jan. 23 1798.

The following is a copy of a legal opinion given to Frederick HILL of his purchase from Judge WILSON, and evidently relates to the purchase of the Fort Jenkins Tract.
"Frederick HILL, the purchaser of a tract of land in Northumberland county the title of which is derived from Judge WILSON generally asks my opinion whether or not judgments against said WILSON ca affect the aforesaid tract of land?
"To this I answer,
"1. That judgments against Mr. WILSON in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia cannot.
"2. That judgments in the supreme court of Pennsylvania against Mr. WILSON upon action brought within the original jurisdiction of said court cannot.
"3. That judgments confessed in Northumberland county-or generally judgments rendered in said county will bind the land aforesaid.
"4. That judgments upon actions removed from any county into the supreme court will also bind the said land.
"But as Mr. WILSON has constantly resided in Philadelphia it is not probable that judgments of the 3rd and 4th description have been rendered against him, therefore, I think Mr. HILL safe in his purchase. June 3rd 1797.
(signed) Jno SPAYD."

Frederick HILL settled upon the site of Fort Jenkins in 1797 about seventeen years after the fort had been destroyed by the Indians. He was the son of Leonard HILL of near Kutztown, Berks county Pa. and was married to Catherine CONNOR a sister to John CONNOR the tanner, of Briarcreek. A good home had been built on the site of the destroyed fort by Judge WILSON to which Frederick HILL built a large addition and opened the Fort Jenkins Hotel, which he conducted until his death in 1823. In the year 1807 he was appointed a captain of the 6th company 112th Regt. Second Brigade of Ninth Division of the Militia of the counties of Northumberland and Luzerne. His commission bears date August the 3rd 1807, and was issued by the second governor of the State of Pennsylvania, Governor Thomas McKEAN. It is not known that a muster roll of Captain Frederick HILL's company is in existence although efforts have been made to find one; the following is a copy of a report found among his papers which gives the names of a number of persons who belonged to his company.

"Absendees of Capn. Freaderick HILLs Company the 112 Regemont of Northumberland County Millitea Commanded by Collonel Leonard Ruppert for not Attending Muster & Fild Days in October 1807.

  1st Muster Day Field Day  
1 James Evans   1 Exempt
David Owen
1 John Patton   1  
1 Josiah Jackson   1  
1 Hezekiah Bierce   1  
1 Abraham Stackhous   1  
1 John Millard   1  
1 George Webb   1  
1 John M. c. Quowen   1  
1 James Herren   1  
1 William Stall   1  
1 Jacob Cooper   1  
1 Thomas Welch   1  
1 Mordecai Owen   1  
1 David Witmier   1  
1 John M. c. neal 1 1  
1 John Snyder   1  
1 Leonard Kisner   1  
1 Thomas Iddings 1 1  
1 Hugh Thompson   1  
1 Sebastian Kisner   1  
1 Charles Berret 1 1  
1 Samuel Millard 1 1  
1 Henry Drach 1   Freaderick Hill

Endorsed on the back as follows:
"Return of Cap Freaderick Hill Company,"
"We Do Certify that the Within Names Is Un Croast Are Charged With fined--
Andrew IKLER
James M CLURE"
The following reciept was also found among his papers:
"1 November the 18th 1808
Received of captain Frederick Hill one Dollar for Repairing the Drum I say Received


Chapter VII
Scott Township

The last change in the political map of this county north of the river was made in 1853, when Bloom township was divided, and its eastern portion given the name which appears at the head of this chapter. The latter was conferred in honor of George SCOTT, then entering upon his second term as a member of the legislature from the district embracing Columbia and Montour counties. This township is the smallest in the county. It is inclosed between Fishing creek and the Susquehanna, on the north and south, and between Centre and the town of Bloomsburg on the east and west. The points of historic interest of which this sketch treats, are the circumstances of its settlement, the growth of its villages, the industrial and social character of its people.

The early settlers were principally of English origin, and emigrated from West Jersey, and from the eastern counties of this state. Among this number the names of MELICK, BRIGHT, HENRIE, LEIDLE, WEBB, BRITTAIN, CREVELING and BOONE are still familiar. Peter MELICK, the first of that name in this neighborhood, emigrated from Jersey before the revolution. He lived on a farm below Espy, which was purchased in 1774, from the proprietaries of the province. He enlisted twice in the continental army and passed the winter of 1776-77 at Valley Forge. When the Indian troubles of 1778 threatened to extend to his house, he returned to its defense. In the spring of that year Lieutenant Moses Van CAMPEN was placed in command of twenty men and directed to build a fort on Fishing creek, for the protection of the frontier. He selected as its site, a rising ground on the south side of that stream, about three miles from its mouth, near the location of the paper mills. The SALMONS, WHEELERS, AIKMANS and Van CAMPENS lived in the vicinity. The fort was located on the farm of Mr. WHEELER, and has been generally known by his name. It was also popularly known as the "Mud Fort" from the appearance of its walls, which consisted merely of a frame work of logs covered over with earth. Its erection was timely; even before its completion a threatened attack compelled the inhabitants to seek protection within its walls. Peter MELICK was then living in a dwelling on the John SHERMAN farm below Espy. The cellar excavation of this house is still pointed out near a pear tree, sixty yards northward from the canal bridge. On the 17th of September, 1778 it was burned by the Indians, the occupants having previously escaped to Fort Wheeler with such valuables as they could collect. It is related that the enemy selected a feather tick from among his personal effects and fastened it upon the back of a pony. The latter became frightened, broke away from his captors, and reached the fort with the tick, valued so highly by friend and foe.

During the night of siege that followed, the ammunition of the garrison was exhausted. Two privates, Henry McHENRY and another whose name has not been preserved, volunteered to go to Fort Jenkins and secure a supply. Although the intervening country was infested with savages, they performed the journey in safety and the fort was saved. Its protection was deemed insufficient however, and some of the families retired to Sunbury where they remained until the close of the war.* [Footnote: When the fort was evacuated its one piece of ordnance, a small brass swivel, was sunk in a deep hole in Fishing creek. The course of the stream has changed since then and all efforts to discover the missing cannon have proved fruitless. Its traditional location is known as "Cannon hole."] Other families had meanwhile made their appearance in the vicinity. About the year 1779 Henry with his wife and children descended the Susquehanna from New York state in a canoe and stopped at Wilkesbarre until the Indian troubles had cleared away. They then continued the journey in the same manner as before to the mouth of Fishing creek. A deserted log cabin with the present limits of Light Street was occupied as a dwelling. An acre of ground adjoining was planted in potatoes; but before the first crop had matured they were compelled to dig out for food the seed thus planted. When this supply was exhausted, wild potatoes in the swamps were eagerly sought after, roasted on the coals, and eaten with avidity. A parallel instance occurred in the experience of the WEBBS, who lived above the town of Espy. Levi AIKMAN had settled in Briar creek valley the previous year and gathered his first harvest. The grain was put in a sack, and a son sent to take it to mill at Sunbury. He made the journey in a canoe, and on the return trip recruited his strength by eating a crust of bread, the only provision he had taken from home. He reached the landing nearest his home at nightfall and carried the sack of meal to WEBB's. Mrs. WEBB would gladly have given him super, but there was no food in their home. He shared the contents of his sack with that family, and with several others before he reached home the next day. The ravages of disease were added to the hardship of insufficient food supply. Zebreth BRITTAIN and ____ ROBBINS made a visit to the region about 1782 for the purpose of buying lands. The former was attacked with small-pox; he died and was buried in the old Derry graveyard. His family was on the way to join him when they were apprised of his death. They did not turn back however, but continued to their destination and settled east of Light Street. John BRIGHT removed from Mount Bethel, Northampton County, about the same time, and became a neighbor of the BRITTAINs. Mr. BRIGHT had sent a son in advance to secure land but he was attacked with the fatal small-pox and died without the care of friends and kindred. Alem MARR located on a farm adjoining. And thus, through hardships and inconveniences from which none were exempt, the first representatives of some of the oldest families in the county became residents of Scott township.

The fertility of its soil is attested by the fact that every acre of ground that was ever farmed is still under cultivation. The land that seemed least adapted to farming has in some instances proven most valuable. The wealth in these cases was beneath the surface and not upon it. This is particularly true of the hills bordering Fishing creek where valuable deposits of iron ore have been found. RODMAN, MORGAN & FISHER, constituting the Duncannon Iron Company, purchased land from Samuel MELICK and began the mining industry in this section. The ore was hauled to Espy and forwarded by canal. The Bloomsburg furnaces have received ore from these hills since 1844. Matthew McDOWELL operated a furnace at Light Street for some years on a small scale. The Light Street Iron Company engaged in a similar business but was not financially successful. A paper-mill on Fishing creek, some distance below the town, has had a career of greater permanency. Thomas FRENCH purchased a grist-mill from John BARTON about 1830 and converted it into an establishment for the manufacture of paper. It has passed through different hands and suffered many changes, but still retains its character as a manufacturing point. The lime ridge should be mentioned in connection with the mineral resources of the township. The ridge has furnished employment for a number of people and a small hamlet has been formed in consequence. It bears the poetic name of Afton, but its appearance is not likely to inspire the beholder. The cottages are substantial and comfortable, however, while two churches seem amply sufficient to minister to the spiritual wants of the population.

Like the iron industry, the fisheries no longer possess the importance once attached to them. They were known, in order, from the mouth of Fishing creek to Mifflin rapids, as the BOONE, McCLURE, KINNEY, HENDERSHOTT, KUDERS, WHITNER, CREVELING, WEBB and MILLER fisheries. Fishing seems to have begun about 1780 and reached its point of greatest importance fifty years later. Certain varieties once numerously represented are now practically extinct. The shad, gar-fish, salmon, and rock-fish may be mentioned among this number. Lines used were from two-hundred to four-hundred yards in length and four or five yards in depth, with meshes two inches square. the season began the latter part of March and continued until June. A statute law prohibited fishing on Thursdays in order "to give fish a chance for head-waters." Two hauls per day was the rule--one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The flats used were about twenty-five feet long, eight feet wide, and eighteen inches high, provided with two stout oars near the bow. Two men were required at each oar, one attended to "paying out" the seine, while two others remained on shore to adjust the land end. Seven men thus constituted a fishing crew. Two flats were used to one seine at WEBB's fishery. It is said that at this place nine thousand fish were once caught at a single haul. The price of shad in 1800 was six dollars per hundred; in 1830 it had risen to more than twice as much. People came to the river from all points to buy fish, bringing in exchange produce of every description--corn, meat, peach cider, whisky, metheglin, etc. Both the fisheries and the ore industries have ceased to be important in comparison with their former influence upon the general business character of the people.

One result of their existence was the growth of two villages--Light Street and Espytown, from their respective locations in the iron region and on the river bank. The former originally consisted of two villages at each extremity of the present one. In 1821 John HAZLETT, Uzal HOPKINS, William McCARTEY, James McCARTEY,--Lake and George ZEIGLER were living on the town plot of "Williamsburg." It was laid out by Philip SEIDLE, December 12, 1817, and consisted of Front and Second streets, and Magdalene's alley parallel with the public road, and Catharine street, South street, Walnut, Strawberry and Cherry alleys crossing these at right angles. The hamlet about a half-mile distant in the direction of Bloomsburg was represented at this time by the blacksmith shop of Robert GARDNER and the farm house of John DEAKER. General Matthew McDOWELL came into possession of the Jew's mill about the year 1823, and established a post-office under the name of McDOWELL's Mills. Benjamin SEIDLE was the proprietor of the mills at an earlier period and popular usage was divided between the names of Seidletown and Williamsburg. As is usually the case, the post-office designation superseded both. Mr. McDOWELL found his mill a profitable enterprise and built another at the lower end of the town, previously mentioned as the location of a smithy. When he engaged in the iron business, this was sold to Reverend Marmaduke PEARCE, a Methodist clergyman. He found the distance of half a mile to post office too long, and took measures to have it established at his mill. The location was changed and also the name, which became Light Street and so remains. Mr. PEARCE was once stationed in Baltimore, Md., and lived on Light street in that city. This explains the origin of the name. The two villages gradually approached each other until they have become practically one. The town contains a number of stores and hotels, two flouring mills, three churches, a school building and a population of about three hundred. It was a place of considerable business activity during the prosperous period of the iron industry and still retains more of this character than the average country town.

Espytown has not experienced the frequent changes of name which characterized its neighbor; but the mutations in its fortunes have been equally unfavorable in their influence. It appears that in 1775 Josiah ESPY purchased from the Penns a tract of about three hundred acres of land, including the site of the town that bears his name. He sold this to George ESPY, his son, in the same year. The George ESPY property is supposed to have been a two-story log house about twenty-four feet square, with two rooms below and one above, covered with shingles three feet long, fastened with wrought iron nails. It was situated on the Abbot log, about one hundred yards from the house of William CARSON and twenty yards from the towing path of the canal. It was built by Mr. ESPY about 1785, and occupied by him until 1810, when he removed to Crawford county, Pa. In locating the town he seems to have observed a notch in the river hill and corresponding depression in the ridge in the rear of his land. It is probable that he thus meant to secure the advantage of a roadway from Fishing creek to Catawissa which would eventually pass through those points. Directly on the line of this route he laid off twenty-five acres into sixty building lots, the length of the plot being eighty perches and its width fifty perches. It is supposed that this was done about the year 1800, for in 1802 several lots in "the town of Liberty" were sold by Mr. ESPY to various persons. The modesty of the proprietors was overruled by the general practice of the villagers, which was confirmed in 1828 when a postoffice was established under the name of ESPY. Among the residents of the place at an early period were John EDGAR, Alexander THOMPSON, John KENNEDY, Samuel McKAMEY, ____ HINKLE, John HAVERMAN, ____ MILLER and Frederick WOEMAN. There were fourteen log-houses and twelve frame dwellings in the town in 1826; the population at that time may therefore be estimated at one hundred and thirty. The first hotel was built about 1805 by John KENNEDY, rebuilt in 1856 by Henry TREMBLY, and constitutes the present Espy hotel. The first frame house was owned by John SHUMAN, and was built of lumber sawed at the Elias BARTON saw-mill in Hemlock township. The first brick house was built in 1845 by John HUGHES. In 1826 the people were supplied with water from three wells, located respectively at the WOEMAN hotel and the houses of John WEBB and Philip MILLER. The latter was at the center of Main street at its intersection with market. At this time the bog in the rear of the town was scarcely passable. The "Indian path" consisted of two rows of yellow pine logs and lead in the direction of Light Street. The swamp extended from the brook above Espy to the canal culvert, a mile from Bloomsburg. A corduroy road was laid by John HAUCH in 1815 to haul iron ore to his furnace at Mainville. Among the attractions of Espy from 1810 to 1835 was WEBB's lane, a famous racing ground. Jockeys resorted thither from Sunbury, Towanda, Wilkesbarre, and other places, to try the speed of their nags. The following anecdote of Reverend John P. HUDSON is related in a historical discourse by the Reverend David J. WALLER: "On a visit to his home in Virginia his father gave him a blooded horse, the speed of which, in carrying him from place to place in his wide circuit, gave the clergyman an inconvenient reputation for horsemanship. On one occasion, riding along the river road, he passed over the old race course at WEBB's lane, when a shower of rain obliged a farmer to loose his horses from the plow. One horse, coming out of the field, took the tract at his best speed. Meeting the clergyman, under his umbrella, the Virginia courser promptly accepted the challenge, wheeled, and took his master a "John Gilpin ride,' with umbrella stripped backward in the wind, and distancing the pretentious plow horse. A wag, who saw the unique performance, related to a listening company the story of having seen the preacher run his blooded horse against a famous courser of the neighborhood and win the race. A man of high pre From an industrial point of view, the town has been equally well known on account of its boat yards. About the year 1834 George and Thomas WEBB built a Union canal boat on their land at the lower bank of the canal. It was launched about three miles above Espy and christened "The Fourth of July." It was about seventy feet long and eight feet broad. The industry thus begun has been continued with fluctuating energy until the present time. The boatyards of BARTON & EDGAR, KRESSLER & VANSICKLE, FOWLER, TROUSOE & MCKAMEY, have at one time or another been locally important. The works of the Pennsylvania Canal Company were established in 1873 and have gradually absorbed similar enterprises. Manufacturing interests have also been represented by a annery, distillery, pottery, flouring mills, and brick-yards. The first merchant was William MANN, a storekeeper from 1816 to 1818; C. G. RICKETTS, Samuel WOEMAN, WOEMAN & SERABY, Cyrus BARTON, Miles BANCROFT, and PATRICKEN, cover the period from 1820 to 1850 in their financial operations. About sixty individuals and firms have been engaged in business at various times.

The citizens of Espy have displayed a degree of interest in improving the appearance of its streets. The Lombardy poplar was the first ornamental shade tree; it was superseded in 1836 by the weeping willow. A single shoot was brought from a tree in front of the Forks hotel at Bloomsburg, and planted in a similar position before WOEMAN's tavern. The planting of trees was pushed vigorously about 1868 by Mr. McCOLLUM and others. Efforts have been made for some time to secure legal action for the erection of Espy into a borough. Should this be accomplished, the administration of its affairs by judicious hands would certainly be a benefit to the citizens in various ways.

The first school in Scott township was established in 1805 with Messrs. WEBB, KENNEDY, and WATERS, trustees. The course of study included the alphabet, spelling, writing, reading and arithmetic. Between 1830 and 1840 grammar and geography were added. Algebra and history became part of the course sometime in the next decade. The first school-house stood on lot No. 56, in Espy, the north-eastern corner of Market and Main streets. It was the only one for the town and vicinity within a radius of three miles. The ceiling of its one room was eight feet high, and unplastered, while the other dimensions were twenty and twenty-four feet. The three windows on each side were filled with eight-by-ten glass. Benches were made of slabs; three-writing tables extended around three sides of the room; a "John Heacock" wood stove occupied the center; a tin cup and wooden water-bucket completed the furniture of this temple of learning. The educational interests of the township are well sustained, if the general appearance of school buildings and grounds may be regarded as evidence in this respect.

The religious denominations represented are the Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Evangelical. The oldest congregation of the society first mentioned is at Light Street. A camp-meeting at Huntingdon in the autumn of 1819, was attended by Jacob FREAS, John BRITTAIN and others who lived in the vicinity of the village. They were converted and formed into a class by Reverend John RHOADS, who was then stationed at Berwick. Meetings were held at Mr. BRITTAIN's house for eight years before the society had become strong enough to build a place of worship. General Daniel MONTGOMERY, of Danville, gave the church one-hundred perches of ground in 1827, at which time Paul FREAS, John BRITTAIN, John MILLARD, Samuel MELICK and Peter MELICK were trustees. The church building was erected the same year. In 1851 the church was incorporated, thus rendering a new deed necessary in order to give the corporate body the title to its property. Two years later, "in consideration of the love and veneration in which they hold the memory of Daniel MONTGOMERY, and Christiana, his wife, and their desire that their pious and charitable acts should be confirmed," the heirs at law of William MONTGOMERY executed a new deed. The old log structure was removed some years ago and replaced by a structure better adapted to the needs of a strong and increasing congregation.

The Reverend Isaac JOHN preached in Espy as late as 1828. Lorenzo DOW visited the place in 1833, and preached to a large congregation in the school-house. The barking of dogs in an adjoining yard exasperated the reverend gentleman. He announced with some indignation that he had come to preach to people and not to dogs. A gentleman from Light Street offered to take him to Mainville in a carriage. He declined in favor of Mr. MURRAY's truck-wagon. The first place for worship was built in 1838, and the present structure upon its site in 1883. It was dedicated by Bishop Thomas BOWMAN. On the death of Reverend H. C. CHESTER, the pastor at that time, Reverend R. H. WHARTON, succeeded him. Reverend J. BEYER was Mr. WHARTON's successor. Reverend Richard MALLALIEU has been in charge since August 20, 1886.

Reverend William WEAVER, a Lutheran minister at Bloomsburg from 1851 to 1853, preached occasionally at Espy during that period. A number of members of the Bloomsburg church were formed into a separate organization. Among those who were prominently identified with the movement were David WHITMAN, John SHUMAN, Samuel KRESSLER, J. D. WERKHEISER, Cyrus BARTON and Conrad BITTENBENDER. The last two named were constituted a building committee, and in the summer of 1853 a church building was dedicated. Reverends Philip WILLARD, William WEAVER and the pastor were present at the ceremonies. Reverend E. A. SHARRETS became pastor in 1853, and remained in charge until 1860. Reverend J. R. DIMM was his immediate successor, but resigned in 1863. Reverend D. S. TRUCKENMILLER was pastor from 1863 to 1867, J. M. RICE from 1867 to 1878, and E. A. SHARRETS from that time until October 1, 1886, since when the pastorate has been vacant.

The Presbyterian church at Light Street is not a regularly organized body. Its membership was originally connected with the Briarcreek church, but the distance from their homes to the place of worship prevented many from attending. The Light Street church was built in 1853, but services have not been held with any degree of regularity in recent years.

The Evangelical societies at Espy, Afton and Light Street are included in Bloomsburg mission, but were established while this territory was embraced in Columbia circuit. During the ministry of Reverend A. J. IRVINE, he held occasional services in the Presbyterian church at Light Street, and in the winter of 1866-67 conducted a protracted meeting, which resulted in sixty conversions. Among the members of the first class were James PULLEN, Thomas BEAR and James MERADIS. Measures were at once taken to build a church, and this was highly necessary as well as feasible in view of the membership that had been formed upon the first revival effort. August 4, 1869, the corner-stone was laid in May, 1872, and the consecration of the church occurred in the following September. In the winter of 1875-76 Reverend J. A. IRVINE was invited to preach in Espy. February 1, 1876, he began a protracted effort, in which one hundred persons were converted. Two classes were formed under the leadership of William SCHECHTERLEY and William HEIDLEY, with John McKAMEY and Clark PRICE as exhorters. Reverend H. W. BUCK is the present pastor of Bloomsburg Mission, which embraces these appointments.


Back to