Chapter XII - Greenwood and Jackson Townships
History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania
GREENWOOD, one of the original subdivisions of the county, and the fourth in order of time erected within its present limits, embraces an area of considerable extent between Little Fishing and Green creeks. In a strictly topographical sense the name is applied to a valley extending east and west between these streams from the hills of Pine and Jackson to the more regular elevations at the south, known as the Mount Pleasant hills. The larger portions of the township of that name, and of Jackson, were embraced in the boundaries of Greenwood as originally defined in 1799; previous to that date, the region was included in Fishingcreek, and still earlier in the extensive township of Wyoming.
It was during this early period of the political organization of Northumberland county that Greenwood valley ceased to be public land, and received its first white inhabitants. Benjamin Chew, a prominent citizen of Philadelphia secured successive warrants at various dates for surveys in the Green creek valley and eventually became owner of a tract the area of which approximated two thousand acres. This tract was the largest in the county held by a single individual. The site of the town of Millville was originally possessed by William and Elizabeth McMean. Their applications for warrants were dated April 3, 1769 and the corresponding surveys were among the first in this region. This part of the township was also the first to receive settlement and cultivation. The title to the McMean tracts and others adjoining passed to Reuben Haines, a Philadelphia brewer, and from him, in 1774, John Eves purchased twelve hundred acres of land for the sum of one-hundred and forty five pounds. There is a difference of opinion as to the time when he became a resident of the valley of Little Fishing creek, but the preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that he settled upon his land before the title was acquired or the purchase concluded.
If this view is correct, his first visit to the region was made in 1769. Leaving his home at Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle county, Deleware, and crossing Lancaster county, he reached the Susquehanna at Harris' ferry. Following the river to Sunbury, he crossed to the east bank of the " West Branch," which he followed to a settlement near the present site of Milton. Here he made diligent inquiry concerning Little Fishing creek, and the location of lands then owned by the McMeans. He was unable to glean any information from the settlers, but two Indians offered to guide him thither; they followed the Indian trail from "ye great isle" to Nescopeck, until they reached the foot of Fairview, an eminence overlooking Millville. When they had ascended to its summit, his guides pointed to the valley below, and Eves knew that he had at last reached the vicinity of his future home. After examining the timber and soil they returned that day to the Susquehanna, whither he continued his journey to Mill Creek Hundred.
The next summer he returned, and with his eldest son, Thomas, built a small log cabin in a ravine to the west of Little Fishing creek. The following spring he made his third journey from New Castle county, accompanied this time by his family. They followed the same route as he on his first journey but, from the mouth of the Chillisquaque, were obliged to cut a road through the woods. Shortly after their arrival at the cabin, built the previous summer, an incident occurred which caused some regret concerning the trouble taken in bringing hogs from Delaware. These animals found shelter in a bank of leaves among the branches of a fallen tree. The porcine community was one night invaded by an enemy from the forest, and one of its numbers died a violent death; the next day the drove went into the woods, apparently upon their usual foraging expedition, but failed to return at night. Some months later it was ascertained that they crossed the Susquehanna, and from all appearances were progressing in a bee-line to New Castle county. The first effort to introduce hogs into Greenwood, was thus a failure. The abundance of all kinds of game, however, prevented any serious inconvenience in consequence.
The family at Little Fishing creek were not utterly isolated, although their nearest neigbors were in the valley of the "West Branch." Parties of Indians from Wyoming traversed the trail on visits to their dusky brothers at points farther west, passing and repassing the solitary farm, and bringing its occupants into constant contact with every phase of savage character. The opportunity to receive them with uniform courtesy and kindness was well improved. The presence of the family on an exposed frontier at a time when others found safety only in flight, and the refusal of John Eves, with others of the society of Friends, to take up arms when the war of the revolution began, caused the provincial authorities to suspect him of being a tory. Spies were sent to inquire into the matter, but the charge could not be substantiated. It was not sympathy with the British, but exceptional wisdom and kindness that secured for them an immunity from the ravages of the border warfare.
The day after ther Wyoming massacre, July 4, 1778, a friendly Indian gave timely warning of the approach of danger. By noon of that day the household goods were on the wagon, and by nightfall the party reached Bosley's mills, a stockade on the site of Washingtonville. From this point the journey was pursued to Mill-Creek Hundred.
In 1785 or 1786, the settlement of Greenwood valley was again begun. On their return the Eves found their buildings a mass of charred ruins, and the fields overgrown with bushes. Two houses and a mill were built, the latter being the first in the township. Piles at the side of the old mill race are still in a good state of preservation after the lapse of a hundred years. Others began to enter the township about the same time. Among these families appear the familiar names of Lemon, Lundy, Link, Battin and Oliver. The Lemons located about the center of the township. The Lundy family built a house in which Reuben S. Rich, a descendant, now lives. Jacob Link, in 1797, opened the first tavern in the township. In the same year four brothers Thomas, Samuel, John and William Mather, removed from Buffalo valley to Green creek. Joshua Robbins, Archibald Patterson, George aud William McMichael, native Scotchmen, settled in the same locality.
The first road through this region followed the course of the Indian trail from the " West Branch" to Berwick. Until 1798 the trail itself constituted the only highway to the "North Branch." In that year a road was surveyed from the river across the Mount Pleasant hills. At this early date, and to a greater extent during certain periods since, the Green and Little Fishing creeks have been the channels by which the timber on their banks has found its way to the Susquehanna, and thence to the mills at Harrisburg and Marietta. During autumn and winter, trees were felled, and logs collected where the banks of the streams were high and deep. They were here built into rafts of such shape that when the streams current had risen to a sufficient height these could be pushed into the seething torrent below. Skillful piloting was required to conduct them safely to the broader channel of the river. Sometimes the fastenings of a raft would burst asunder, and the logs and driftwood form a compact dam, diverting the water of the creeks into the meadows on their banks; or perhaps the jam would break, and the pent-up volume of water rush madly on with overpowering velocity. The sluggish appearance of these streams in the summer months cannot convey an adequate idea of their importance in years past in connection with the lumber industry. As early as 1820 an effort was made to obviate the danger of thus transporting the principal commodity of the region by opening another road to the river. It was not until 1856 that the final success of this project was assured. The legislature in in that year made an appropriation for the construction of a road from Bloomsburg to Laporte, in Sullivan county, though the valley of Little Fishing creek. The extensive travel which has ever since passed over this highway proves its necessity and importance. The year 1856 begins an era of rapid development and improvement in the whole township, but particularly in the struggling village of Millville.
It had an existence, however, long before the first inception of the state roads in the minds of its original projectors, and has completed the first century of its history, dating the beginning at the time when the Eves' mill was built. Thomas Eves succeeded his father in the ownership of the mill, and built the first house in the village on the site of a structure recently erected by Josiah Heacock. In this house, in 1827, David and Andrew Eves opened the first store in the township. Four years later David Eves was commissioned postmaster; Andrew Eves succeed him; James Masters held the position from 1842 to 1849; George and William Masters were in charge from the latter date until 1886, from which it appears that during a period of more than fifty years but two families were represented in the list of incumbents. The mail was brought from Berwick until October, 1879, at first once, but afterward twice, a week. Subsequently, a route was opened from Bloomsburg to Sereno, and mail received at Millville three times a week. A daily mail has since been established.
The business interests of Millville are represented by a number of stores, factories and planing-mills. In 1813 John Watson started a woolen factory. The plant comprised two carding machines and a fulling-mill. Wool was brought here by farmers to be cleaned and carded; the process of weaving was performed at their houses, after which it was returnd in the shape of "homespun,'' to be colored and pressed, Chandler Eves succeeded Watson, and built a large brick structure on the opposite side of the water-course from the site of his first building. Unfortunately, it has not fulfilled it promise of an extenslve manfacturing stablishment. The wagon factory established by Charles Eves in 1837 has had a different career. The wagons here made have always sustained an excellent reputation for durability and superior finish. Under the management of John Eves, the present proprietor, the quality of the work has not deteriorated from its high standard of excellence. Henry Getty and William Greenly started a planing-mill in 1881; Shoemaker and Lore followed with another three years later. The lumber here manufactured finds a market in the vicinity, or is shipped to various points. It is probable that these industries will be important and permanent factors in furthering the growth of the town.
A striking feature of the business enterprise of this village, not often found in places of its size, is the "Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Millville." It was incorporated September 7, 1875, and organized the following month with Joseph W. Eves, president, and Ellis Eves, secretary. They have held their respective offices continuously to this time (September, 1886). For the six years prior to July 31, 1886, there was no assessment whatever, notwithstanding the low rate at which policies were issued. Nothing further need be advanced in proof of the prosperous condition of the company's finances.
Amid all this business activity, the social necessities of the people have not been neglected. The Millville Reading Circle was organized in Winter of 1882-83, and met at the houses of its members. In order to increase and extend its usefulness, it was subsequently merged into the "Good Intent Literary Society.'' A large library has been collected through the co-operation of the citizens and public schools.
Several fraternal and beneficent societies are also represented. Millville Lodge, I. 0. 0. F., No, 809, was organized August 20, 1872 , with twenty-one members. Its first officers were Ellis Eves, William Burgess and John Richart. After an existence of ten years the interest had abated to such an extent that the charter was relinquished. Valley Grange, No, 52, is one of the oldest in the state. It was chartered with twenty members, February 4. 1874, having been organized the previous year. The library organized by the association comprises a number of judiciously selected works. The grange numbers one-hundred members, and exerts an influence in the direction of more general intelligence among the agricultural community.
J. P. Eves Post, No, 536, Grand Army of the Republic, was mustered September 3, 1886, by M. M. Brobst, A. D. C. as P. C., assisted by M. L. Wagenseller, of Post No, 148, Selinsgrove, William Mensch, T. F. Harder and J. M. Seitzenger, of Hoagland Post, No. 170, Catawissa. The following is a list of its members: James W. Eves, Henry J. Robbins, George W. Belig, B. F. Fisher, Isaac M. Lions, John Shaffer, J. C. Eves, W. G. Manning, Emanuel Bogart, Jacob Derr, Henry J. Applegate, John Thomas, D. F. Crawford, Charles M. Dodson, William L. Caslan, W. H. Hayman, Richard Kitchin, George W. Perkins, John Applegate, Harvey Smith, John Krepneck and John M. Mordan. [J. P. Eves, in whose honor the post has been named, was a member of Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg and died in the field hospital. His remains found their last resting place in an unmarked grave on the banks of the Rappahannock.]
Greenwood township comprises, in addition to Millville, three villages of minor importance: Rohrsburg, Iola and Eyer's Grove. Rohrsburg is so named from Frederick Rohr, a Prussian who had fought against Bonaparte, and who secured the site of the town in 1825 from Samuel Sherts. It was included in one of the Chew surveys. In 1826 the wheel-right shop of Robert Campbell comprised all of the village that then existed. In 1828 Peter Venett opened a store in this shop, and, at a later date, Shoemaker and Rees became the second merchants of the place. Rohrsburg Grange, No. 108, was organized February 12, 1874 with 30 members. The report of its secretary for the quarter ending June 30, 1886, showed a membership of eighty-four. A commendable degree of energy is display in testing and discussing various methods of conducting farming operations.
Industries of varied character have been established in the vicinity of Rohrsburg. A flouring-mill below the town on Green creek was built by Joseph Fullmer of Limestoneville, but this original structure has long since disappeared. In 1832 a fulling and carding-mill was operated on the same stream by Joseph Sands. For many years lumbering was a thriving business. In 1820, four brothers, Joseph, Jonathan, Isaac and William Lemon, started a saw-mill on Green creek below the village. They owned a tract of timber extending three miles in the direction of Millville. In 1847 Kester Parker established a pottery on the Greenwood road. It is still operated with a fair degree of prosperity.
Eyers Grove and Iola are situated on the Bloomsburg and Laporte road and Little Fishing creek. The former comprises fifteen dwellings, a store and mill built in 1860 by Jacob Eyer on the site of a similar structure, erected in 1807 by Robert Montgomery. At the latter place, in the winter of 1828, Joseph and John Robbins established a milling business.
The industrial development of Greenwood and growth of villages in consequence have been outlined at some length. No large town has grown within the limits of the township; no great manufacturing enterprise has ever been attempted. The development of the lumber interests has largely resulted from individual enterprises, and received capital and encouragement from the immediate vicinity. Greenwood valley is a region of great fertility. The presence of an intelligent agricultural community, and the prospect of improved facilities for the transportation of its products, and indicate a steady and permanent prosperity.
It is a natural inference and a correct one that the township has religious and educational advantages commensurate with the wealth and intelligence of its people. Six denominations of Evangelical Christians are represented in eleven different church organizations. The Society of Friends is first in order of time. A meeting house was built at Millville is 1795, and the indulgence of holding services at this place granted by Exeter (Berks County) monthly meeting. At a meeting of a body similarly constituted at Catawissa, May 21, 1796, Jesse Haines and Jacob Clayton, on behalf of Fishingcreek Friends, requested the continuance of this indulgence. It was granted, and William Ellis, Thomas Ellis and John Hughes were appointed to the supervision of affairs at that point. In 1799, at the instance of the Catawissa Friends, the Philadelphia Quarterly established the Muncy monthly meeting, alternating sessions of which were held at Fishingcreek. In 1856 the name was changed to Fishingcreek monthly meeting of Fiends, held at Millville.
In 1832 Roaringcreek Friends suggested to Philadelphia yearly meeting the propriety of establishing a half-yearly meeting at Millville. The matter was referred to a committee consisting of John Foulk, Amos Basly, Ruth Pyle, and Mary Pike, and on their recommendation Roaringcreek and Muncy were united into "Fishingcreek half-yearly meeting.'' October 18, 1834, this body, convened for the first time. Thomas G. Rich was appointed clerk. William Watson, James Millard, James Stokes and Benjamin Kester were elected delegates to the ensuing yearly meeting at Philadelphia. In 1845 an effort was made to incorporate Fishingcreek and Centre Chester county into Center yearly meeting, but this was never effected.
Since 1795 it does not appear that Fishingcreek Friends have deviated from an established regularity in their appointments for religious services. These have been attended and supported during this period by successive generations of the families by whom they were commenced. A record of this character, unbroken for nearly a century, cannot be claimed by any other religious organization in the county.
Methodism also found adherents among the early settlers of Greenwood valley. The first service was held in 1809 in Thomas Eves' mill. A class of eleven members was formed, among whom were William, Lydia, John and Mary Robins, Elizabeth Richie, Mary Richie and Jacob Evans, who was appointed leader. For sixteen years they held meetings in William Robbins' barn. A house of worship was built in 1825, and after thirty-five years of use was abandoned as unsafe. In November, 1882, the corner stone of a new building was laid. The site of the first structure was at the forks of the roads from Millville to Rohrsburg. The adjoining burial ground is known as Greenwood cemetery. The second and third Methodist church buildings were erected in 1850 at Rohrsburg and Iola. The pastors at this time were Reverends Joseph S. Lee and George H. Day. Eyer's Grove and Chestnut ridge appointments were formed in 1860 and 1881, respectively.
The Presbyterian church of Rohrsburg has been a regularly organized body since 1843. Previous to that date the Presbyterian element of the population worshiped at Orangeville, and attended occasional services at school-houses in the vicinity Finally application was made to the Presbytery off Northumberland for aid in effecting an organization, and Reverends Williamson, Thom- son and Boyd were appointed to that service. Philip Sipley, Elias Smith, James Wilson and Charles Fortner were among the original members of the congregation thus formal, which for seven years met for service in William Mather's barn. In 1850 the church edifice still occupied was completed. This church forms part of the Orangeville pastorate.
The Christian church at Rohrsburg was the third and last religious body formed at that place. August 4, 1870, Elder J. J. Harvey organized this congreation with a membership of thirty-one. Services were held in Appleman's shop until the following year, when a house of Worship was completed. This society is also represented at Millville. In 1870 and 1871 Elders Harvey and Radenbaugh held occasional services in the school-room of the seminary. February 21, 1880, a number of citizens assembled here to consider the feasibility of erecting a church building for the use of all denominations. S. B. Kisner, R. M. Johnson, and Josiah Heacock were appointed a committee to superintend the financial requirements of the work. In November of the same year the "Free-Church" was dedicated. At this place, in the autumn of 1881. Reverend F. P. Manhart organized the Millville English Lutheran church; a charge was formed embracing St. Paul's in Pine township, and Cady's church, in Lycoming county.
The most recent addition to the number of religious bodies is the Greenwood Evangelical church. April 22, 1880 Reverend W. H. Lilly conducted its first service at the house of Eli Welliver. The following year, through the efforts of David Albertson and Wilson Kramer, a church building was erected. The appointment is embraced in Waller circuit.
The religious and educational institutions of a community are reciprocally related in various ways. With the Quaker settlers of Greenwood, schools and churches received an equal degree of attention. One end of their first meeting house was petitioned from the rest and used exclusively for school purposes. In 1798 Elizabeth Eves instructed the children of the vicinity in this room; Jesse Haines and John Shirely were among her successors. The first school house in the eastern part of the township was situated on the farm of Jacob Gerard. The school was subsequently removed to a building erected for its use where Catharine McCarty now lives.
If the Friends deserve honorable mention in connection with the early schools, much more should their later educational efforts receive favorable comment. In the year 1851 a number of citizens of Millville, influenced by a desire to provide for their children better educational advantages than the public schools could confer, erected a suitable building by their joint efforts and planned an institution known as the Millville High-school. In the following year, William Burgess, a man of broad culture and liberal views, was called to the principalship of the school. He opened it in the autumn of 1852 with an enrollment of thirty, and continued at its head for twelve years. During this period, although the school was a complete success, it became involved to an extent that threatened to result in its permanent suspension. To avert this impending danger, the Greenwood Seminary Company was organized March 31, 1861, with a capital stock of five-thousand dollars, It assumed the liabilities of the former management; made extensive improvements and additions to the buildings, and established the school on a firm financial basis.
Professor T. W. Potts, of Chester county, took charge in 1865. July 17, 1866, the property was leased to C. W. Walker. Three years later William Burgess returned and remained until 1872, when he resigned to accept an appointment on an Indian reservation tendered him by President Grant. He was succeeded by R. H. Whitacre. During the winter of 1974-75 Florence Heacock, of Benton, conducted the school. March 6, 1875, the trustees leased the property to the Fishingcreek monthly meeting of Friends. Professor Arthur W. Potter was employed as principal. Two years later the property reverted to the trustees, an R. H. Whitacre was again placed in charge. During the succeeding seven years the seminary was conducted only in the summer. John M. Smith, Harold Whitacre, M. C. Turwell and A.. L. Tustin were the teachers during this period.
At the opening of the present school year (1886) the Fishingcreek monthly meeting of Friends has again become lessee of the property. The buildings and grounds have been improved in appearance, courses of study have been prepared, and every arrangement completed for the accommodation and instruction of a large number of students. The management has not been disappointed August 1, 1886, the school opened with 75 pupils. Anna C. Dorland, of Philadelphia, is principal. Her assistants are Roland Spenser and Frances Foulk. A normal class is under the tuition of Lizzie Hart, of Doylestown, Sidney B. Frost and George L. Mears, of Philadelphia.
Among those who have attended this school may be mentioned B. Frank Hughes, of Philadelphia; Charles B. Brockway and Thomas J. Vanderslice, of Bloomsburg, and J. B. Knittle, of Catawissa, all of whom have at various times been members of the state legislature. It remains to be seen whether the record of the seminary in the future will approach its usefulness in the past.
The unwieldy proportions of Greenwood interfered with the convenient transaction of township business to such an extent that in April, 1837, a proposition to annex its northern portion to Sugarloaf was laid before the court. It was not favorably considered however. The petitioners met with better success the following year by requesting the formation of the new township of Jackson from the contiguous portions of Greenwood and Sugarloaf. Fishing creek became its boundary on the east, and Little Fishingcreek on the west. This arrangement continued in force until January 31, 1840, when the area formerly included in Sugarloaf was reannexed to it, thus reducing Jackson to its limits as at present defined.
Settlement does not appear to have advanced to this region until other portions of the county were marked by the presence of an aggressive population. To a certain extent this may be attributed to the nature of the tenure by which the lands were held. The Asylum Land Company, a syndicate of land speculators, secured a large tract embracing the whole of this township and the adjoining portions of Sugarloaf, Greenwood and Pine, and of Lycoming and Sullivan counties. The character and methods of such corporations at this period were not such as to recommend them to prospective settlers. This class of people feared and not without reason, that after paying for lands on the representations of unscrupulous agents, they might find the titles defective, or perhaps fail to find their lands at all. The existence of these circumstance, the utter absence of good roads, and the distance from markets seemed insuperable obstacles in the way of advancing settlement. Not until 1800 did the smoke from a cabin reveal the location of a human habitation. Jacob Lunger removed from Northampton county in that year and settled on Green creek. In the autumn of 1805 Abram Whiteman made an improvement at the head waters of that stream, about four miles from the North mountain and the same distance from the southern boundary of the township. Jonathan Robbins, formerly a resident of Bethlehem township, Huntingdon county, New Jersey, entered this township about 1810, having settled in Sugarloaf, in 1795. In 1811 Paul Hess located north of Waller on a tract of two hundred and forty acres. At this time Levi Priest was living southeast of that village, and George Farver on land bought in 1809 by John Conrad Farver of James Barber. These families comprised the population of the township at this time. Subsequent immigration was drawn principally from Greenwood, although several families removed from New Jersey and the lower counties. The familiar names of Yorks, Golder, Waldron, Everhart, Campbell and Parker my be mentioned among this number.
An incident in connection with the early settlement should not be passed unnoticed, as it affords a striking illustration of the dangers incident to pioneer life, and the courage which characterized the early settlers. Abram Golder, Sr., had gone into a swamp near the present residence of Daniel Young, for the purpose of cutting hoop-poles. His only defensive weapon was a small hatchet, but no danger was apprehended, although it was known that bears and other wild animals infested the region. He had scarcely begun his work when a panther crossed his path. True to his instinct Mr. Golder's dog attacked the animal, while he himself called for a gun. Not waiting for it, however, he seized a large pine-knot, and when an opportunity was presented struck the panther's neck with such force that it fell dead at his feet. The animal measured eight feet from the nose to the tip of its tail. Mr. Golder's presence of mind was equaled only by the skill with which he delivered his blow.
The first well constructed road through this section was opened from Unityville, in Lycoming county, to Benton in 1828. The first post-office, Polkville, was established on this road in 1848, at the house of John P. Hess near his present residence, one-half mile west from Waller. Lot Parker succeeded Mr. Hess in 1863, and the office remained at his house until 1866, when D. L. Everhart became postmaster. At the expiration of his term of office it was discontinued several years and was next established at Waller on the mail route from Benton to Muncy. The village comprised at that time a church building, school-house and store. The number of buildings has since increased to thirteen, while the fine location and central situation warrants the prediction that it will become a place of considerable local importance. Postal conveniences were extended to the souther part of Jackson in 1878, when the enterprising citizens of that region secured the services of a carrier to bring their mail from Rohrsburg. December 22, 1879, Derr's post-office was established with A. J. Derr as postmaster at his store.
The introduction of church and school organizations followed in the wake of increasing population. John Denmark was the first teacher, and conducted his vocation in a log dwelling near the location of the Union church building at Waller. This school was opened in the winter of 1821-22. A school-house was built in the vicinity the following year, and here John Keeler and William Yocum continued the work begun by their predecessor. The first house for school purposed in lower Jackson was built in 1825. Cornelius McEwen, Helen Calvin, Joseph Orwig and Peter Girton successively taught at this place. The township maintains four schools for a term of five months. The appearance of the buildings and ground compares favorable with similar school establishments in thickly settled localities.
The different religious denominations represented did not secure houses of worship until a comparatively recent period. As early as 1819 the township was visited by ministers of the Baptist denomination on their missionary tours through this section. Joel Rodgers and Elias Dodson, the former a licentiate the latter an ordained minister, regularly help monthly services, preaching in housed, barns, in the open air, in the woods and in school-houses, when they were erected. Subsequent to this Samuel Chapin, Brookins Potter and Merrit Harrison made excursions from Huntington, Luzerne county, and maintained the appointments in Jackson for several years. They all labored without compensation. They were plain, earnest men, and supported themselves by farming at their homes. Elders William S. Hall and J. Edminster preached occasionally, 1845-49. In 1852 Reverends A. B. Runyon and F. Langdon visited Jackson and held a series of meetings which resulted in a number of conversions. For some years previous to this time efforts had been made to build a house of worship. Upon the death of John Christian in 1849, who was deeply interested in this, the work stopped. Finally, September 11, 1853, the completed structure was dedicated. In the autumn of 1848 Reverend John S. Miller held a protracted meeting, and thirty or forty accessions were made to the church. The necessity of an organization became apparent March 24, 1856, the Benton Baptist church was organized with a membership of nineteen, resident principally in Jackson, although twenty-two persons had been converted at the former place the preceding winter though the efforts of Reverend E. M. Alden. The following summer this church was admitted into the Northumberland Baptist association. Reverend J. Shanafelts succeeded Mr. Alden in 1859. The violent political agitation of the succeeding six years resulted in virtually disbanding this congregation. Reverends Alden, Furman, Zeigler, Stephens and Tustin preached occasionally. May 5, 1866, at the instance of Mr. Furman, a meeting was held at Benton to consider the propriety of attempting a reorganization. It was at once decided to do this. John R. Davis and Theodore W. Smith were elected deacons, and John F. Derr, clerk. March 6, 1869, the name was changed to "Jackson Baptist church," which it still retains. The Sunday-school was organized in 1870. The resignation of Mr. Tustin in 1872 severed his connection with this church. Reverend Benjamin Shearer was pastor from 1873 to 1882. Mr. Tustin again became pastor in 1882, but was succeeded in the winter of 1885-86 by Joseph W. Crawford, a licentiate of the Northumberland Baptist association. Considering the difficulties under which the existence of this church has been maintained, there is much encouragement in its present prosperous condition.
The Church of Christ (Disciples) of lower Jackson was organized in 18__ with eleven members, among whom were Luther German, Iram Derr, Thomas W. Young, and Absalom McHenry, all of whom had formerly been connected with the churches at Benton and Stillwater. The following persons have successively been its pastors: John Sutton, J. J. Harvey, A. Reutan, Edward E. Orvis, Charles S. Long, C. W. Cooper and D. M. Kinter. Luther German and Iram Derr have been elders of this church since its organization. The church edifice in which this body worships was built in 1870, and dedicated in November of that year by Reverend C. G. Bartholomew and John Ellis.
The Evangelical Association is represented in this township by two organization. The older, at upper Jackson, was established by Reverends James Dunlap and Jeremiah Young. The former preached at "Hilltown" (Waller) in 1846. The first class was formed by Reverend James Seybert and consisted of George Hirleman, Henry Wagner, Michael Remly, David Remly and Frederick Wile. At this time the congregation was embraced in Columbia circuit, which included the whole of this county. The union church building at Waller was built in 1854. The Evangelical class at lower Jackson was formed in 1876 with nineteen members, and D. B. Stevens class leader. Reverends James T. Shultz and C. D. Moore are at present in charge of Waller circuit. It is to be regretted that church buildings in this section were erected with an undenominational ownership. Though a necessary expedient at the time, this has done much to retard the growth of the different churches.
Source: Page(s) 234-245. History of Columbia and
Montour Counties. Battle, J.H., Chicago: A. Warner, 1887. Transcribed by Rosanna Whitenight.