Cameron County

Chapter VII






On July 14, 1860, the Citizen ceased publication at Smethport, the issue being the forty-third number of the sixth volume. Capt. Rogers, in his sketch of the removal of the office to Emporium, addressed to Mr. Gould in 1888, says: "For reasons which I cannot now recall, the publication of the Citizen was not resumed in Shippen until December 28 following. It was probably owing to my being engaged in the oil business on Oil creek and at Tidioute that season. On the day mentioned the first number of the Cameron Citizen made its appearance, and in the salutatory occurs the following passage: 'We have finally made the commencement which we promised you should be made in July or August last. In explanation of our course in not issuing a paper in this county at the time we originally intended, we have only to say that circumstances of a business nature, which we consider of far more importance than publishing a country newspaper, demanded our personal attention.' In the first paper (December 28, 1860), is announced the 'gratifying fact that the court-house will be ready for occupancy one week from next Monday,' when the first court in the county was to be held. The first work on the courthouse was not commenced until after September 1. In the same paper appears the ordinance of secession passed by the South Carolina convention on December 20. In the issue of the Citizen of April 19 appears the startling news of the surrender of Fort Sumter. The Kane Rifles, or 'Bucktails,' left Shippen for Harrisburg on the 28th. On the 30th the legislature convened in extraordinary session in response to the call of Gov. Curtin. Recruiting officers were frequently seen, their business being to gather into the ranks of the nation's defenders the 'bone and sinew' of the land. It was one of these, I think the late J.K. Haffey, a former resident of Bradford, who took from the Citizen office Thomas Malone, a young man who had learned his trade in my office, who had resided in my family for years, and who was as near to me as a brother. Malone left some time in July. Early in August S.D. Barrows, of Lock Haven, came to Shippen for cavalrymen recruits, and one of the first men to enlist with him was my brother, William B. Rogers, who, up to that time was a partner in the business. Very soon after my brother left I received an appointment from Col. Canton B. Curtis, of Erie, to raise a company, he having been commissioned by Gov. Curtin to raise a regiment of volunteers in the northwestern counties. I commenced recruiting in the latter part of August, and I think the last Citizen was published in the first or second week of September. Some time after I was mustered into the service the printing office was sold to a committee of the citizens of the town, and I believe what remained of it subsequently passed into your hands."

There was no effort made to revive the paper until the summer of 1865, when two young men, Stacy and Young, came from Ohio and started the Citizen again, but continued its publication only a few weeks, and left suddenly, leaving many unpaid bills behind them. The paper could have been made a success with the proper labor and enterprise, but the young men lacked experience, and, it is said, greatly neglected their business.

The Press - The story of the establishment of this excellent journal was told by the owner, C.B. Gould, in 1888: "In 1866, an association of gentlemen, residents of the county, purchased the printing material of the defunct Citizen, with a view of establishing a Republican paper, and sent to us, then in Binghamton, N.Y., to come and publish it. We arrived here the last day of February, 1866, and a more desolate looking place, or one more uninviting to embark in the enterprise of establishing a newspaper, could rarely be found. The only view that met our eye, on stepping from the cars, was the towering mountains, woods and stumps, with a few scattering houses, including the Biddle House, then kept by J.L. Cook. Our first impulse was to take the return train, then due, for New York State, and not show ourself to the committee that we felt had imposed upon us, but just then Frank McCollum, who had preceded us here, and was engaged to work in the printing office, put in an appearance and informed us that James G, Clark (an old acquaintance from Utica) was to give a concert in the court-house that, evening, and desired to see us. After supper at the Biddle House, we were piloted to the court house, meandering between stumps (sidewalks were a luxury unknown), and through mud we imagined to be about three feet deep, and at last arrived at the temple of justice, a thoroughly disgusted individual. To our surprise we found a large audience of intelligent, fashionably dressed men and women, and a better class of people we never met. But where did they come from? was a query we could not answer. There were but a few dilapidated dwelling houses to be seen, but woods and stumps, and stumps and woods everywhere. Did these people live in hollow trees or behind stumps? Where else could they live? We did not then know that the woods were full of the best kind of people, engaged in lumbering - living in their own lumber camps - a wealthy, prosperous class, and many of them educated and refined. After the concert, we were taken through the audience and introduced to the people, very much as a new minister would be exhibited to his flock. . We then made the acquaintance of many who have been our most valued friends these many years. Some of them still reside here, a few have made their residence in other places, and many have ceased from their labors and gone to their eternal rest. The next morning after our arrival in Emporium, we went to the printing office, then in the old Gibson House, at the lower end of the borough, and found a sorry looking concern. There was a hand-press, some newspaper type, and very little material for job works The forms of the Citizen had been left without washing, and having been in that condition for nearly a year, printers can readily understand the labor required to clean the type and get it ready for use. The office was in a terrible condition, and almost a complete mass of 'pi.' However, we went to work, and in about ten days put the office in good shape, and issued the first number of the Press. The paper was a six-column folio (just half the present size), set in long primer, but a creditable looking sheet, and the enterprise proved a financial success from the start. It was then the only paper published on the line of the P. & E. Railroad, between Lock Haven and Warren, and our business increased so rapidly that we were compelled, in a few weeks, to put in the establishment a Gordon job press, and add largely to our jobbing facilities. The business steadily increased, and the Press had been enlarged to an eight-column paper; the establishment was complete in every department when, in November, 1877, it was completely destroyed by fire, without a dollar of insurance; the hard earnings of eleven years went up in flame and smoke, and we were compelled to start at the bottom round again; and now, after eleven years more of toil, and many discouragements, we have a better office, one of the most complete newspaper and job establishments in Northern Pennsylvania; a large and rapidly growing business, and brighter prospects for the future." H.H. Mullen is the indefatigable assistant editor, and to him particularly the readers of the Press are indebted for the extent and interesting character of the local pages.

The Independent - In 1866 the Emporium Independent was established by S.S. Hacket. This enterprise has continued to the present time, and The Independent is classed among the largest country papers in the State. While Mr. Hacket devotes the greater part of his attention to his lumber and other interests, he controls the policy of this journal; Jonathan Gifford, however, is the de facto editor.

The Herald - In 1869 J.B. Newton, commenced the publication of the Cameron Herald. This was ably conducted till 1873, when, at the burning of the "Cook Block" on July 8, the press and all the material were burned, and the career of the paper terminated. John B. Newton, said to have been born at Franklinville, N.Y., January 4, 1839, studied law under Judge Spring, after graduating from the Tenbrook Academy. He was admitted to the bar at Buffalo, N.Y., May 7, 1862, and same year came to Emporium, where, in October, 1862, he was admitted to the bar of Cameron, as related in the transactions of the district court. After the war he married Miss Emily J. Mercereau, of this county, who still resides here. Mr. Newton died December 8, 1887, after a quarter of a century of services to the county. The Press, noticing his death, says: "The deceased was, perhaps, more closely identified with the prosperity of Emporium than any other city."

The Sterling Gazette was issued at Sterling in March, 1877, by H.D. Earl & Co. This was a very small journal, indeed, until it was enlarged in March, 1879, and converted into a newspaper. In 1880 the office was moved to Driftwood.

The Driftwood Gazette was issued June 16, 1880, by H.D. Earl & Co., who continued until December 8, 1885, when J.T. Earl & Co. issued their 'salutatory as publishers. Daily editions were issued during meetings of the institute in 1887- 88.

John Brooks, the first historian of the county, as well as Dr. Lanning and J.B. Newton, who contributed valuable, historical sketches in Centennial year, deserve a first place in the history of letters in this section of the State. Mrs. E. Mercereau Newton, widow of J.B. Newton, is the authoress of "Boscobel" and other stories.


The first school taught on the Sinnemahoning river was taught in 1818 by one William Boyd, a native of Chester county, Penn., who was a graduate of one of the Philadelphia colleges. This school was held in a round-log house, built by one Peter Walters, for a dwelling, and stood on the Devling farm, near a spring, and near where the Lumber school-house No 1 now stands. About the year 1820 the first school-house within the county limit was built. This house was erected on the Mason farm, near the Pine Street Church; it was built of round logs, was chinked and daubed with mud mortar made from the clay soil. The roof consisted of rough clapboards, put on without nails, and kept in place by round logs called "weight poles." The schoolhouse in question, thus built of round logs, chinked and daubed with mud-mortar made from the clay soil on which it stood, with rough clapboard roof, held on by weight-poles, instead of nails, was built in the year 1820, on the Mason farm near, the cemetery. The gables were cabined off with round logs, the door made of rough pine boards fastened upon long wooden hinges, and with wooden latches, the buckskin latch strings pendent on the outside. The windows were made of rough sash; with oiled paper substituted for glass. The floor was of rough boards laid loose, upon hewn sleepers. The house was heated from an immense corner chimney, constructed with rough stones and mud, with a wooden mantel over the wide fireplace, in front of which was an extended hearth of flagstones. Occasionally, the huge pile of logs in the fireplace, in full combustion, would, set on fire the wooden mantel, and then boys and girls, eager for the fray, at the command of the master, would bring snow from the yard, or water from the spring, to play upon the ignited mantel, until the fire was extinguished. The house was seated with rows of long benches made of slabs or plank, in which holes were bored and round sticks fitted in them, for logs, and were without backs. The desks were boards or plank, placed, at proper angles along the walls, and maintained in positions by pins driven into the walls. The pupils who were being taught to write and cypher occupied these desks. The wood in the fireplace was ignited by light-wood shavings, set on fire by "punk," which was ignited by sparks obtained by striking a steel upon a flint. There were no lucifer matches in those days, though it was thought some of the natives were a match for Lucifer himself.

The first teacher employed in this school-house was, one Dennis Lynch, a native of Ireland. He taught in 1821 and 1822. Succeeding him were Elihu Chadwick, Jr., of New Jersey, and who now is a resident of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and a worthy and excellent man; afterward William Boyd, already referred to, and Dr. Joseph T. Hunt, of Lycoming county, Penn., and others, among whom some were exceedingly illiterate, and were discharged for incompetency after a short trial. The schools were all subscription schools prior to 1838, when the common-school system was introduced. The next schoolhouse was built in 1819, on ground now occupied by the Tannery school, a very short distance above Emporium on the road to Rich Valley. This was first taught by John Chadwick, the father of Richard Chadwick, the first county superintendent of the county of Cameron after its organization. It is contended, indeed, by some, that the latter school-house was really the first in the county. English grammar was not taught in the schools until about 1836. About the years 1834- 35, the science of land surveying was taught by a teacher named Baker, in a hewed-log school-house which was erected near the mouth of the first forks of the Sinnemahoning. This school-house and the Pine Street Church, also built of hewn logs, were erected about 1826. The first high-grade schools in the county were established at Sinnemahoning, in 1864- 65. These schools were founded by John Brooks, who employed principals and teachers and among these mentioned are Miss Henrietta Baker (a graduate of Oxford College, Penn.), Prof. J.H. Vosburg and Mrs. J.H. Vosburg, of Binghamton, N.Y., Miss Alice M. Lindsley (preceptress of the Waverly Institute, N.Y.), Miss E. Baldwin, of London, Rev. A.B. Miller, of Gettysburg College, Penn., and Profs. A.B. Clough, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and B.W. Hollen, of Iron City College, Penn. The last two named were principals of the commercial department. These schools were suspended in 1873, on account of financial embarrassment. The first county superintendent of common schools in the county of Cameron was Richard Chadwick, who was elected to office in 1861 for two years. The second was Francis J. Chadwick, elected in 1863 for a term of three years. The third was J.B. Johnson, who was elected in 1866 and re-elected in 1869, and again in 1872, holding it altogether for three consecutive, or during nine, years. The next was N.H. Schenck, who was elected in 1875. Prof. Pearsall is now superintendent of schools.

In November, 1866, Mrs. J.B. Johnson opened a select school in Felt's block. The district school was then presided over by Miss Anna Hendry and Miss Williamson.

The report of Supt. Pearsall for year ending June 4, 1888, gives the following statistics: School-houses, 34; school rooms, 44; schools, 43; graded schools, 14; number of districts supplying textbooks free, 1; number in which Bible is read, 36; number of male teachers, 6; of female, 48, of whom 8 held professional certificates; male pupils, 711, female pupils, 716 - total 1,427, of whom 1,114 attended school; school tax, $11,987. 50; State moneys, $1,429. 61, of which the sum of $8,930.39 was paid teachers, the total expenditure being $12,446.59.

The Teachers' Institute was organized in 1867, and the seventh annual meeting hold December 2, 1873, with J.B. Johnson, superintendent of schools, presiding. Miss M.C. Simpson presided over the business meeting with J.W. Eldred, secretary.


In the history of Elk county reference is made to the first physician who settled on Bennett's branch. The first physician who practiced within the limits of this county was Dr. Kincaid. **He settled near the present village of Sterling Run, and for years treated the various diseases that flesh is heir to. One incident occurred in his practice, that is remembered distinctly by the people who were living in the country at that time, that is somewhat amusing. He was treating a patient at the old Dent place on Bennett' s branch. Leaving his saddle-bags outside, near the creek, while he went within the house, a certain cow, not having the fear of the god ∆sculapius before her eyes, and instigated by the very spirit of mischief and with malice aforethought proceeded to eat the saddle-bags and all their contents, and when the Doctor returned she was quietly chewing the cud. If the proof of the pudding is in the chewing of the bag, by a parity of reasoning that cow should have obtained the full benefit of the medicine, but what was the actual effect upon the animal or what became of her, or how the Doctor replenished his stores, this deponent sayeth not, as history is entirely silent upon those points. We have to add that the Doctor was the father of the great Baptist missionary to India, Eugenio Kincaid.

In the sketches of the several townships, villages and boroughs mention is also made of the old physicians who practiced within what is now Cameron county.

The Cameron County Medical Society was organized July 25, 1879, and the following officers elected: President, W.H. DeLong, M.D., Emporium; vice-president, S.S. Smith, M.D., Driftwood; secretary, E.O. Bardwell, M.D., Emporium; treasurer, B.P. Heilman, M.D., Emporium. The list of members comprises W.H. DeLong, R.P. Heilman, E.O. Bardwell and S.S. Smith, of Emporium; E.G. Torbert, of Driftwood, and C.S. French, of Sterling.

February 16, 1882, the by-laws were approved by the State Society, and in May, 1882, the society was represented in the Pennsylvania State Society by E.O. Bardwell. In 1883, owing to the paucity of the membership, the society voted to join and did join the Elk County Medical Society. At the present time all the regular physicians in Cameron county are members in good standing of the Elk County Medical Society. John C. McAllister, Jr. registered in December, 1889, as a physician of Cameron county. In March of that year he graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Baltimore, Md. Dr. J.G. Bryan died at Jacksonville, Fla., in December, 1889.


Agricultural Societies - The first agricultural society was organized September 20, 1876, with the following named officers: President, John Brooks; vice-presidents, J.L. Cook, C.H. Sage; secretary, A.H. Boynton; treasurer, J. Henry Cochran.

With a view to the holding of a county fair early in October, the following gentlemen were selected as a committee of arrangements: Emporium - Dr. J.G. Bryan, J.W. Cochran, J.B. Newton, George W. Warner, John Day, J.W. Phelps, C.B. Gould, Jonathan Gifford, L.G. Cook, S. Kirk, C.C. Fay, J.C. Johnson, George Metzger, H.C. Olmsted, L. Taggart, P.P. Catlin, Joel Shives, Henry Edgcomb, J.M. Judd, Riley Warner, Dr. J.T. Lanning, J.W. Frank, R.M. Overhiser, E.R. Mayo, C. Sweazey, M.M. Larrabee, Seneca Freeman, James Matteson, A.G. Holbrook, J.F. Parsons, H.C. Rockwell, G.A. Walker, I. Morro, Amos Finton, J.P. Felt, Edward J. Ralph, N. Seger, F.D. Leet, M.C. Tulis. Shippen - J.S. Wiley, W. Russell, Allen Russell, Sol. Ross, John Jackson, Charles Weller, L.B. Jones, L.A. Freeman, Noah Parker, Karl Zimmer, N.P. Minard, I.L. Craven, George Thayer, R.E. Thompson, Gillis Bliss, B.S. Morrison, John Morrison, L.T. More, J.B. Buckwalter, W.C. Clark, C.C. Craven, George Dodge, B. Sweazey, Philip Lewis, Morris Lewis, John C. Lewis, William Lewis, Aden Housler, Joseph Housler, B.L. Emery, Franklin Hausler, John Chandler, Henry Haines, Henry Lewis, Penrose Chadwick. Portage - L. Lucore, D. Burlingame, W.L. Ensign, N.D. Sizer, E.D. Sizer. Lumber - P.W. Whiting, W.P. Herrick, Philip Smith, John Chapman, C.C. Devling, C.C. Lyman, E.P. Lester, J.H. Barrows, G.H. Mayo, Matt. Phoenix, V.A. Brooks, Milo Bull, D.D. Alderfer, H.J. Smith, Joseph Ritchie, John Summerson. Gibson - John Mason, James Wylie, B.V. Wykoff, Hezekiah Mix, Levi Hicks, Adam Smith, Darius Barr, Reuben Collins, Harrison Logue, William Dent, G.W. Huntley, Isaac Smith, William Wylie, Washington Mason, William Miller. Driftwood- Col. J.S. Bates, C.Y. White, D.J. McDonald, Levi Musser, J.B. Earl; B. Rothrock. Grove - B.M. Williams, G.A. Barclay, Josiah Fink, Jacob Shafer, Washington Bailey, J.W. Phillips, George Goss, John A. Wykoff, John C. Logue, Isaac Ramage, Joseph M. Shafer, A.P. Floyd.

The Cameron County Agricultural Society was incorporated November 19, 1881, with G.A. Walker, Joel Shives, J.B. Newton, Allen Russell, J.G. Bryan, and J.W. Cochran, trustees. They, with the following named, were the stockholders: J.D. Logan, H. Edgcomb, R.P. Heilman, L.G. Cook, Frank Shives, H.C. Olmsted, William Frane, A.A. McDonald, C.C. Fay and B.W. Green.

Centennial Association - The county organization, for the purpose of making arrangements for and carrying out the celebration of the Centennial Fourth in 1876, comprised: President: E.R. Mayo; vice-presidents: Shippen- J.S. Wiley, W.C. Clark, L.T. More, Benjamin Emery, Joseph Housler; Portage- William L. Ensign, L. Lucore; Lumber - P.W. Whiting, D.R. Nelson; Driftwood- Henry Cochran, Levi Musser; Gibson - John Brooks, Hezekiah Mix, G.W. Huntley; Grove - Charles Barclay, Isaac Ramage, R.M. Williams. Marshal, J.W. Phelps; assistant marshals, L. Taggart, J.O. Brookbank, J.M. Shafer. Committee of arrangements: Emporium - C.B. Gould, William Howard, G.A. Walker, J.W. Cochran, S.S. Hacket, F.D. Leet, L.G. Cook, Samuel Kirk; Shippen - W.C. Clark, Franklin Hausler, Charles, Weller; Lumber - Green Mayo, R. and J. Barrows, Milo Bull; Driftwood - Col. Bates, Thomas Dougherty, Daniel McDonald; Gibson- M.J.B. Brooks, James Wylie, Isaac Smith; Grove - Joseph Shafer, Josiah Fink, Alonzo Bailey.

Semi-Religious Societies - The County Temperance Convention was organized at Sterling, April 10, 1874, with Levi Musser, president, and Thomas M. Lewis, secretary. The delegates present were Miss Frances Pinney, Rev. L.H. Schenck, L.H. Chase, James Estes, William Herring, William Arnold, Rev. M.H. Moyer, David Chapman, Mrs. Jinks, Ella Herrick, John Lane, A.R. Smith, T.C. Page, Annie Page, Revs. A.E. Taylor, Washington Shaffer and J.W. Bell.

The County Sabbath-school Association was organized in May, 1874, with L. Taggart, president; J.H. Cole, secretary; Philip Smith, treasurer; L. Musser, H.C. Whitner, Joseph Shaffer, Sr., D.R. Nelson, P. Burlingame, J.C. Chandler and George Metzger, vice-presidents.


In August, 1850, Lemuel Lucore sold to Cameron & Stanton the right of way for their railroad, then built as far as Salt Spring run. Work on the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad was commenced in 1859, but suspended for a time. In January, 1862, the company entered into a contract with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to lease to the latter their partly constructed road from Erie to Sunbury for a term of 999 years, subject to all encumbrances. The road was completed to Emporium October 20, 1863, and opened throughout its entire length in 1864. In December, 1881, the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad depot, above the junction of Bennett's branch extension of the Allegheny Valley Railroad, was moved to the junction, the last named company agreeing to leave title of building in the Philadelphia & Erie Company. The Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad was completed to Emporium December 23, 1872. The first rail was placed in October, 1867, on the old Buffalo & Washington Railroad, and completed to East Aurora January 23, 1868. Work was resumed September 15, 1870, and the road was formally opened to Emporium December 28, 1872, the borough entertaining the visitors. J.F. Parsons purchased the first ticket, and received the first bill of goods from Buffalo via this road. This end of the road was called, in 1866, "The Sinnemahoning Portage Railroad."

The history of the Low Grade Division of the Allegheny Valley Railroad shows its completion from Driftwood to Red Bank in 1874. Lumber railroads run through several valleys, as noted in the township sketches.

* F.J. Chadwick writes with regard to the schools of Cameron county that the school that William Boyd taught in 1818 was not the first school taught on the Sinnemahoning. And the school-house, "built on the Mason farm in 1820," was not the first school-house "built within the county limit." Miss Eliza Dodge, who was educated at the Williamsport Academy, taught a summer term in a new framed barn, at the mouth of North creek, in 1817. The barn is still standing, and is at present occupied by Mr. George Dodge, who is, however, no relative of Miss Eliza. There was a log house built in 1819, where the new school-house now stands, just above Emporium, and John Chadwick taught a winter term in it, in 1819- 20; Miss Jedidah Freeman taught a summer term in 1820; Mr. Leonard Townsend taught a winter term in 1820- 21.

** From John Brooks' Centennial sketch.

Source: Page(s) 857-866, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed February 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Cameron County Genealogy Project
Published 2006 by the Cameron County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project


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