Chapter VI - Bloomsburg
History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania
THE observer, standing on the Rupert hills and looking up the valley of the northeast branch of the Susquehanna, beholds a scene spread out before him which rivals in quiet beauty the most famous landscapes in the country. There is not in the distant profile of the Knob mountain, nor the less regular contour of the river hills, that aspect of grandeur presented by elevations of greater magnitude, but their proportions. and the general characteristics of the valley they enclose, harmonize perfectly at that point in the eastern horizon where they seem to converge. The town of Berwick is scarcely distinguishable in the diminishing prospective. At this point, also, the river comes within range of vision, apparently widening in its downward progress. The one street of the village of Espy is clearly distinguished from its situation in a notch at the foot of the hills. Bloomsburg is less distinct, and presents the appearance of a terraced grove, but this impression is dispelled by the spires and cupolas which rise above the surrounding verdure. The hills in the rear have been deeply serrated in the mining of iron ore; and this, with the columns of smoke and vapor which ascend on either side of the town, indicates one phase of the industrial character of the people. The winding channel of Fishing creek, for several miles from its mouth, and the village of Rupert form the foreground of this landscape view. Its aspect as a whole cannot fail to impress the beholder favorably.
It is possible that more than a century ago the first settlers looked upon this valley with feelings of equal pleasure as far as the effect of natural scenery was concerned. The primeval forest had not yet disappeared before the encroachments of advancing civilization. A swamp extended from Fishing creek for several miles to the east, and while this may have caused grave apprehensions as to the healthfulness of the region, its luxuriant vegetation did not mar the beauty of the landscape. A number of islands in the creek, and the waterfowl wont to congregate there, may have attracted attention. The ceaseless plash of the river, the cautious movements of the deer as they brushed through this undergrowth, the stealthy tread of the savage or his shrill whoop and its answering echo-such sounds as these broke the stillness which seemed to pervade everything. From an economic standpoint circumstances were not altogether favorable. The soil gave promise of great fertility, but years of labor would be required to bring it to a condition of tolerable productiveness with the rude implements of the period. The region was remote from any market for its products, and the broad channel of the Susquehanna was the only available highway of travel. When James McClure, in the year of 1772, looked upon this as the region of his future home, it is possible that while he realized its advantages, he was also cognizant of the danger of thus living at such a distance from the limits of civilization and in a country as yet unmarked by its. influence.
Some facts regarding his previous history may indicate the motives of his immigration. James McClure was of Scotch-Irish descent, and a resident of that part of Lancaster county then known as the Paxton district, but included since 17.85 in Dauphin county. He was connected, by marriage, with Captain Lazarus Stewart, and with George Espy, the proprietor of Espytown. It cannot be definitely determined whether he took an active part in those exploits which have made the "Paxton Rangers" such conspicuous characters in the colonial border annals, or whether he remained unmoved by those outrages which incited his neighbors to armed hostility in defiance of the proprietary government. That be was in active sympathy with his brother-in-law, Captain Stewart, when the latter espoused the defense of the Connecticut colony at Wyoming, seems evident from certain statements in a letter from Fort Augusta, by the military representative of the Penns, from which it appears, that, on Wednesday, May 10, 1769, James McClure, with several others, was encamped at the mouth of Fishing creek, en route for Wyoming. It is not further stated whether he reached Wyoming or not; but it seems probable that, for political reasons, his residence in Lancaster county was no longer agreeable, and that when a number of families from Paxton removed to Hanover township, in Wyoming, he went no farther than the mouth of Fishing creek, still, however, within the nominal boundaries of the " Town of Westmoreland." The tract upon which he located was surveyed in June, 1769, for Francis Stewart, who conferred upon it the name of "Beauchamp." It was patented for Mr. McClure, in 1772, under the name of "McClure's Choice," and here, in a rude log cabin, James McClure. Jr., was born, in 1774, this being the first birth of a white child within the forks of the Susquehanna.
The McClures were not the only settlers in this part of Wyoming township for any length of time. In the year of their arrival, 1772, Evan Owen and John Doan became their neighbors. They came from Chester county, with the intention of forming, at the mouth of Fishing creek, a community in which their faith should predominate, as it subsequently did at Catawissa. Evan Owen lived south of a small stream which flowed through the town of Bloomsburg, and near its source, John Doan's land adjoined the McClure tract. Samuel Boone, also a member of the Society of Friends, emigrated from Exeter township, Northampton county, in 1775, and secured the title to four hundred acres of land, including the farm owned by one of his descendants. His land comprised the "Point" between the river and the creek, and extended along the banks of both. From all the evidence obtainable on this subject, it would appear that but three other families, the Clayton, Coopers and Kinneys, lived within the present limits of Bloomsburg, before the war of the revolution. Thomas Clayton was a Quaker from Chester county; Kinney was from New Jersey; nothing is known concerning the Coopers, except a tragic incident in connection with the Indian troubles. And thus, in the interval of comparative quiet which followed the French war, civilization was extended to this county. But before the settlement had experienced the first severity of the next struggle, the, death of James -McClure, Sr., deprived it of one of those most capable of acting in its defense. In abetting the schemes of Lazarus Stewart, the apparent disloyalty to his state was a vigorous, but palliative, remonstrance against the vacillation of the authorities in providing for the defense of Paxton: as a member of the committee of safety for Wyoming township, in 1776, he was equally vigorous in advocating measures for the protection of the settlements, although in the preceding year Colonel Plunkett had passed up the Liver with an armed force, and repassed the McClure plantation in hasty retreat, after an unsuccessful attempt to reduce Wyoming.
His family did not remain at their home long after his death. A. a tong the victims of the Wyoming massacre, Jul. 3, 1778, was Capt. Lazarus Stewart. With the assistance of friends his wife collected her household goods upon a raft supported by two canoe!, and thus descended the Susquehanna with her family. Alarmed by her story of danger and desolation, Mrs. McClure collected her family and embarked in a similar craft. They reached Lancaster county in safety, and remained until the close of the war permitted a return to their respective homes. In the meantime Fort McClure was built., consisting of a row of palisades around her house, for the double purpose of protecting it and affording a safe retreat for the neighbors in case of emergency. It is probable that during Mrs. McClure's absence it was occupied by Major Moses Van Campen, who had married her daughter. The site of the fort is-now marked by a dwelling-house on the farm of Douglas Hughes.
An incident illustrative of certain phases of frontier life occurred during, the last years of the war. Robert Lyon, a soldier at Fort Augusta, was sent. from that place to Wyoming with a boat load of stores. He ran his eano1 r aground at the mouth of :fishing creek, and, leaving his dog and gun in it,. started on to visit his affianced bride, the daughter of a -Mr. Cooper. His. movements were observed by Shenap, an Indian chief, and in his defenseless, condition, he was easily captured and taken to Niagara. Here he was released through the mediations of a British officer, who, by a singular coincidence,. was his brother. The fate of Mr. Cooper was less fortunate. The mysterious disappearance of Lyon made him an object of suspicion. He was arrested' and placed in a canoe to be taken to Sunbury jail. A rifle belonging to one of the posse was dropped into the river by some accident, and he was accused of having thrown it overboard. In the altercation which followed, one of the men seized a tomahawk and buried it in his skull. He lived about twenty days, and expired in prison before Lyon's return had established his innocence.
When the peace of 1783 finally relieved the valley of the "North Branch" of the harassing experiences of the five preceding years, immigration was again directed to this county, but the lower valley of Fishing creek did not immediately receive an increase of population. Thomas Clayton removed to Catawissa, and Evan Owen to Berwick, of which he was the founder. This would' seem to indicate that other localities were considered preferable. There were still occasional additions to the community, however. About 1783 Elisha. Barton became a neighbor of the McClures and Boones. He was born in Virginia in 1742, from whence with his father he went to New Jersey. After his marriage, in 1766, he removed to Northampton county, and after a second- marriage, he again changed his residence, emigrating this time to "Shamokin," by which name a large section of country including this county was popularly known. He built the "white'' white" mill, owned a large farm west of Bloomsburg, became justice of the peace, and was one of the most substantial citizens of this locality. Joseph B. Long, a Jersey emigrant, bought Oven's land upon his departure, and in 1795 he was succeeded in its possession by Ludwig Ever, a native of Northampton county. In 1801 Joseph Hendershott and Andrew Schooley bought a tract of several hundred acres adjoining the river and east of the Kinney farm. They settled here the previous year, haying previously lived at Belvidere, N. J. Mr. Schooley
disposed of his interest to Simon Wirtman, a native of Germany, a few years afterward. Jacob Wanich, also of German descent but a native of North Carolina, settled west of Hendershott some time prior to 1809. And at this time- the present limits of Bloomsburg had become quite as thickly settled as any other part of the surrounding region.
Apparently dissatisfied with the slow increase of population, and doubtless intending to give a new impetus to settlement and improvement, Ludwig Eyer laid out the town of Bloomsburg in 1802, thus following the example of Evan Owen at Berwick, William Hughes at Catawissa, Christian Krenchel at Miffiinburg, and George Espy at "Liberty." Bloomsburg, at that time, had no existence except in the mind of its projector, if two buildings-the Protestant Episcopal Church and John Chamberlain's hotel at the corner of Second street and Miller's alley-may be excepted. There was also a deserted hovel with log chimney and clapboard roof on the south side of Second street below Market. Within a few years after the town was laid out, George Vance, a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian from New Jersey, built a cabin on the south side of Main street, the location of which was nearly identical with the terminus of East street at that place. Abram Grotz removed from Easton in 1806, and built the house occupied by C. C. Marr, at the southeast corner of Second and Iron streets. Christopher Kahler and John Coleman had formerly been neighbors of Grotz in Easton, and no doubt followed him on the strength of his representations. The former arrived in 1.807; Coleman lived for two years in the tumble-down log house previously mentioned, and then removed from this temporary habitation to a more pretentious residence on the corner of Center and Third streets. With seeds brought from his former home he planted an orchard, which covered the square of which his buildings occupied a part. In 1809 Philip MehrIing, a native Hessian, opened a store in a house which adjoined the Central hotel. Daniel Snyder, formerly a resident in the Lehigh valley near Allentown, removed to the village in 1810, and bought the land adjoining Eyer's town plat from John Vance. And thus, by successive immigration from various parts of the country, Bloomsburg had become an incipient village; and in 1814 the population was distributed as follows: Henry Weaver lived in a one and one-half story log house on Front street between Market and West; George Frey lived on the south side of the same street near its intersection with West; at the forks, on the south side of Second street, was a one-story log dwelling owned and occupied by Daniel Snyder; Abram Grotz conducted his business as a hatter at the southwest corner of Second and Iron; a frame house on the east side of the Central hotel was occupied by Christopher Kahler; John Chamberlain lived in a frame dwelling on the site of 1tloyer's drug store; John Hagenbuch's log house was situated opposite Iiahler's; Mrs. Moomey resided in a frame building at the southeast oorner of Second and Jefferson; a log house, at the northeast corner of Center and Second, was occupied by - Fisher; John Hess lived in the one other house on the north side of Second street, at the location of Dr. McKelvey's residence; Caleb Hopkins' house was on East street below Third, and James Thornton lived in the red building still standing on the same side of that street.
John Chamberlain was a tavern-keeper at the time when every guest was expected to spend at least: sixpence at the bar for the privilege of passing the night with such comforts as the bare floor of the public room afforded. His establishment was a two-story frame building at the northwest corner of
Second and Center streets. Casper Chrisman is remembered as the jovial host at a less pretentious building erected in 1810, which occupied the same site as its modern successor, the Exchange. Conrad Hess was the proprietor of a public house on Second street, below Jefferson. The original predecessor of the Central hotel was a log building erected in 1818 by Philip Mehrling, who lost his life by an accident in the progress, of the work. About the year 1825, Daniel Snyder built the "Forks" hotel. The public house at this period was an important social institution, not always possessing those attributes usually ascribed to it at the present day.
Philip Mehrling was the first merchant in Bloomsburg, and was a man of some wealth, judging by the standard of that day. A Mr. Bishop opened a store in 1.810 at the northwest corner of Second and Center streets. John Barton was also a merchant about this time. William McKelvey opened the largest mercantile establishment the village had yet known in 1816, and during the sixty years following was prominently identified with the business interests of the place. In 1835 John Moyer, with a capital of one hundred dollars, inaugurated the drug business, which has steadily expanded to its present proportions. Eyer & Hefley was the caption of a well known business house from 1835 to 1845. In 1843 the business career of I. W. Hartman was begun in the old Arcade building.
Local manufacturers at an early period in the history of the town comprehended the shops of such mechanics-blacksmiths, weavers, carpenters, etc.-as formed the usual features of country villages at that time. Industrial enterprises of greater importance were the tanneries and wagon factory. Daniel Snyder came to Bloomsburg with the express purpose of establishing a tannery, but found himself so seriously embarrassed financially after purchasing land, that he was on the point of relinquishing the idea. Fortunately for the prospective enterprise, Mrs. Snyder was able to sell several pounds of butter every week; and taking a roll of some size he bartered it at the store for a shovel, and was thus enabled to begin the work of digging the vats. Philip Christman's tannery was situated in front of a stone building still standing on Third street. William Robison was afterward proprietor. Sometime in the year 1816, a stranger came into the village and remained over night at a hotel. Strangers at this time so rarely appeared as to be regarded as objects of curiosity, as well as suspicion. Inquiry elicited from him the fact that be was a Yankee, and a wagon-maker by trade. When the landlord suggested that he should stay and make him a wagon he was repeatedly refused the use of such tools as were needed by the different carpenters of the town, so great was the prejudice against New Englanders. Finally, William Sloan agreed to give him a bench. He obtained seasoned wood from fences on neighboring farms, and in due time the first one-horse wagon that ever appeared in Bloomsburg was driven through its streets by the proprietor of the inn, to whom it gave abundant satisfaction. Mr. Sloan at once incorporated the manufacture of wagons with his business and established an industry of some importance, considering the size of the town and the extent of its resources. He would send salesmen with a dozen or more "dearborns"
into adjoining counties, and thus "Eyerstaedtel" became better known as the location of this factory than from anything else connected with it. About the year 1832, it was proposed to begin the manufacture of plows, with John K. Grotz as managing partner of this branch of the. business. Accordingly, he made a journey to Lewistown, Mifflin county, the nearest location of a plow factory. The proprietors refused to sell patterns, but he bought a plow by strategy and started for home with his load on one of the famous dearborns. At Sweisfordtown, Union county, he sold the wagon. In this dilemma, he extemporized a sled by fastening the root of a sapling beneath the plow point, and thus traversed a distance of forty miles in one day. It does not appear that the plow factory prospered as Mr. Grotz's efforts made it deserving. In this connection, it should be mentioned that about the year 1832 John Whitenight built a Union canalboat on his lot in West Bloomsburg. It was sixty-nine feet long and eight feet wide. It was hauled to the "deep hole " in Fishing creek, floated to Northumberland, and there launched in the canal. The following year, John Barton and Isaac Green built a similar craft at the "ark" building and named it the " Water Witch." Isaac D. Gulick was master or captain. It was also taken to Northumberland to be entered into the canal. This seems to have been the extent of boat-building in Bloomsburg; but before the canal was excavated, grain and produce were exported by means of arks--a variety of river craft usually seventy feet long and sixteen feet wide-the building of which constituted an important branch of industry. Samuel Ludwig and George Frey are remembered as master builders. The ark building was situated on Fishing creek, and the different stages of the work were as follows: The " stringle " was laid flat upon the ground and the bottom boards affixed thereto with wooden pins three-fourths of an inch in diameter. It required a force of thirty men to raise the bottom platform to a vertical position, when it was allowed to .fall upon ground prepared for the purpose; the sides were secured by means of mortises, and the seams carefully caulked; when finally completed another force of men was summoned, and the unwieldy structure was launched. William McKelvey and John Barton were the largest dealers in grain, and usually shipped the ark as well as its cargo, both being sold when their destination was reached.
About the year 1838 the culture of the silk-worm was agitated in many parts of this country. Among those who conceived the idea that golden possibilities could be realized were Robert Cathcart and William G. Hurley, of Bloomsburg. An orchard of the
morus multicaulis, or Chinese mulberry, was planted on the north side of First street. The cocoonery was reported as in active operation in 1841; and about this time it seems to have lapsed into desuetude.
The importance of Bloomsburg as an inland town increased as the settlement of the surrounding region became more compact, and the efforts of its citizens were, directed toward improving its business facilitiep and extending its manufacturing interests. In 1838 the population slightly exceeded three hundred. In the size and appearance of the houses, there was a marked improvement over those first erected, many of which had been replaced by more substantial structures of brick and stone. McKclvey's store and dwelling at the southeast corner of Second and Market streets, the Forks hotel, William Robison's hotel, Thomas Witlit's, John R.
Moyer's, and Reverend George C. Drake's residences were built of brick. Market street extended from First to Third, and at either end a building fronted the open avenue, while the Forks hotel was similarly situated with reference to Second street. It verily appeared as though it was meant to circumscribe the growth of the town, by thus closing all the streets except such as were absolutely necessary for ingress and egress. If productive of no other benefit, this arrangement prevented to some extent, that straggling appearance by which country villages are wont to apologize for being such; but the time had arrived when Bloomsburg should pass that period of its history forever.
In the year 1822 a laborer in a field on the Montour ridge noticed a peculiar color in the ground he was plowing. He called the attention of his employer to this, and, when assayed, it was found that the soil contained an appreciable proportion. of iron ore. Drift mining was at once begun, but for some years the product was hauled to furnaces on the south side of the Susquehanna, thus depriving Bloomsburg of the advantage it should have derived from the mineral wealth in its vicinity. It was nearly twenty years before local enterprise realized that fact and .acted upon it. June 22, 1880, "The Bloomsburg Rail-Road and Iron Company " was incorporated by the legislature. The leading capitalists were Joseph Paxton, William McKelvey, Edward Miller, Thomas Hayes, Robert M. Lewis, Ellis Lewis and Charles G. Donnell. The country had not yet recovered from the financial stringency of 1838, and, the furnaces were not completed until 1844. The rail-road connecting Iron-dale with the canal was the first work of this character in this county. Iron-dale furnaces have been supplied with ore from Hemlock township until recent years, when the supply has been drawn largely from Snyder county. The name of the company has been so changed as to exclude the word "Rail-Road." The management during the past third of a century has been directed by E. R. and Y. P. Deinker, and the ownership of the plant continues with the original investors or their descendants.
The discovery of ore on Montour ridge was followed by similar develop. ments regarding the hills east of Fishing creek. Here, too, its existence was found out by a trivial circumstance. While plowing on the side of a hill deeply seamed with water-courses, Jacob Melick allowed his plow to retain a uniform depth, and thus, when passing through a place where the surface soil had been washed away, he noticed, in the substratum, that peculiar color possessed by iron ore. December 27, 1852, an agreement was entered into by Mr. Melick, William McKelvey and William Neal, to erect and operate an anthracite furnace. April 1, 1852, seventeen acres were purchased from Daniel Snyder and Joseph W. Hendershott, and on the same day ground was broken for the contemplated. works, which were completed and put in full blast, for the first time, April 14, 1854. In 1S73 the firm name was changed from McKelvey, Neal & & Co., to William Neal & Sons, its present style. The furnaces have been continuously operated, except occasional short periods when suspended for repairs. Prior to January 1, 1875, the gross aggregate product was one-hundred and seventeen thousand, nine-hundred and sixty-eight tons-an average of one-thousand, eight-hundred and five tons per annum, which has been, fully sustained since that time. Owing to the exhaustion of the ore deposits near Bloomsburg, the bloom furnaces are supplied mainly from mines in New Jersey. The transportation charges thus incurred are more than compensated by the advantage of a short transit from the anthracite coal region.
While this branch of the manufacture of iron has become a permanent factor in promoting the growth of the town, the practicability of extending the industry in various directions has also been demonstrated. In 1863 Messrs. Sample & Taylor established a machine-shop and foundry. In 1871 the capital was increased, facilities enlarged, and the manufacture of mine-cars begun by the " Columbia County Iron Manufacturing Company," successors to the gentlemen who established the business. The new firm became involved financially in 1873; the plant was sold by an assignee, and purchased by G. M. and J. K. Lockard, who had been foremen in the shops since they were-first operated.. In 1875 a part of their present quarters was first occupied, and in 1879 they became sole proprietors. In the same year a destructive fire destroyed a part of the works, causing a loss of many thousands of dollars. Within three months' time, the site of the burned buildings was occupied. by others of improved appearance. The succeeding four years were the most profitable in the career of this establishment. Upward of four thousand railroad cam were built, and the volume of business annually exceeded a million. of dollars. In 1870 S. M. Hess began the manufacture of car-wheels, iron fencing, etc., and still continues in this branch of industrial pursuit. In 1875 Harman & Hassart inaugurated a business career which has now had an existence of more than one decade. The Eagle Iron Works have also become well known, through the energy of their proprietor, Mr. B. F. Sharplese.
The origin of the carriage factory of 31. C. Sloan & Bro. has already been explained. The oldest establishment of the kind in this section of country, its management continues to retain that energy with which Major William Sloan was wont to engage in everything be undertook.
The Bloomsburg woolen mills were established in 1882 by S. A. Caswell, M. E. Caswell, H. C. Caswell and H. C. Halfpenny, and have been in successful operation since that time. The plant consists of a brick factory one-hundred and twenty-four feet by sixty-four feet, engine house, fourteen looms, and other apparatus of improved design. The value of the annual product has reached sixty-thousand dollars. The location of the mills is at the foot of West street, and was given as a bonus by D. J. Waller, Sr.
The Bloomsburg School Furnishing Company was incorporated July 17, 1885, "for the purpose of manufacturing school and church furniture, and doing general planing-mill, foundry and machine work." Among the projectors of this enterprise were C. W. Miller, W. S. Moyer and J. C. Brown.
The Bloomsburg Planing and Cabinet Company succeeded November 1, 1886, to the plant of the Agricultural and Iron Works. Charles Krug's Planing-mills were first operated in 1880. Sashes, doors, frames, moldings, etc.,constitute the product at these places.
The industrial activity of Bloomsburg has resulted in great measure from the transportation facilities afforded by the canal and rail-roads. The former was opened in 1831, and rapidly fulfilled the expectations of those who advocated state aid to public works. Its period of greatest usefulness to Blooms. burg was the decade immediately preceding the construction of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg rail-road. This line of traffic was projected by citizens of Wilkesbarre, whose only way of reaching Philadelphia was the circuitous route via Scranton and Now York. It was originally intended that Rupert should be the western terminus of the line, as the connection at this point with the Catawissa rail-road effected the main objects of the projectors. January 1, 1858, the first train of cars rolled into Bloomsburg, or rather passed it, as the line of the road was then quite beyond the limits of the town. For several years one regular passenger train and one mixed train, in which freight predominated, constituted the daily traveling facilities. The way in which accommodations were thus limited was due in great measure to lack of enterprise on the part of the officials of the road. Two trains daily were advertised in 1861, three in i871, and four in 1881, from which it appears that an addition of one train daily has occurred for every ten years in the history of the road.
It may fairly be predicted that Bloomsburg will become a rail-road center of importance, second to no inland town of its size in this state. This is inferred from its geographical position, and from the work in rail-road construction now in progress and approaching completion. The reason first given is purely theoretical; the forty-first parallel of north latitude crosses the Susquehanna at the mouth of Fishing creek; this is approximately the latitude of both New York and Chicago, and if the proposed air-line route between those places-"The New York, Bloomsburg and Western rail-road" -should ultimately become an accomplished fact, Bloomsburg cannot fail to derive importance and advantage from it. When the Bloomsburg and Sullivan rail-road has been completed, the county seat of Columbia will also become its commercial metropolis. But, returning to the consideration of things as they now exist, the business interests of Bloomsburg have materially improved since the completion of the North and West Branch railway. The history of this road from its first inception in the mind of the Reverend D. J. Waller, Sr., to its present condition, is directly traceable to the tireless energy with which he fought its battles and achieved its final success. He conceived the idea that a road bed of uniform grade could be constructed at the foot of the hill on the south bank of the Susquehanna. Simon P. Case, a vigorous but unscrupulous man, had previously projected a telegraph line, merged it into a railroad, and finally, by deciding to tap the coal field at the Hazel region instead of at Wyoming, vacated the river route from Catawissa to Wilkesbarre. Mr. Waller was one of those who had confidence in Case's rail-road, if not in its projector; he wrote a charter for the North and West Branch Rail-Road company, and through the efforts of Hon. C. R. Buckalew, it received legislative sanction in May, 1871. This was but the initial step, however; ten years elapsed before the line was operated from Wilkesbarre to Catawissa. J. C. Brown was chief engineer, and Samuel Neyhard assistant, in directing its construction. It is provided, in the charter of this company, that a wagon way may be constructed in connection with its bridge over the Susquehanna, and that upon the payment of one-fifth its cost by the commissioners of Columbia county, the company shall maintain it as a free bridge for public use. There is every probability that this bridge will be built in the near future, and Bloomsburg will then realize to the full extent what advantage can be derived from competing lines of railway.
It seems unnecessary to state that the mercantile interests of inland towns. receive an impetus from lines of travel which bring them into more direct communication with the commercial centers of the country. The returns from the mercantile appraisements of May 1, 1886, show an aggregate of seventy-one dealers, representing every branch of business enterprise. A similar exhibit in 1858 would not have shown one-third of this number. There are two, financial institutions-the First National Bank and the Bloomsburg Banking Company. February 5, 1864, William McKelvey, William Neal, I. W. McKelvey, Robert Cathcart, Robert F. Clark, John K. Grotz, George Hughes, Lloyd Paxton and C. R. Paxton formed a temporary organization and began to transact a banking business. February 29, 1864, the Comptroller of the Currency issued his certificate authorizing such action; and, March 7, 1864, the bank was formally opened with C. R. Paxton, president, and J. P. Tustin, cashier. In 1868 Charles Conner and John A. Funston established a broker's office in Bloomsburg, which, in March, 1871, was merged into the Bloomsburg Banking Company, of which Mr. Funston was president; Charles Conner, Joseph Sharpless, John G. Freeze and Wilson WI. Eves were the first directors. It is a private corporation, with a capital of fifty thousand dollars, and a surplus equal to fifty per cent of the same. Both are prosperous and successful institutions, and have greatly facilitated the general business workings of the community.
The Bloomsburg Board of Trade, "founded for the encouragement and protection of trade and commerce," numbers among its members the leading merchants and other citizens of the town. It was incorporated May 12, 1886, with Hon. C. R. Buckalew, C. G. Barkley, D. W. Kitchen, I. W. McKelvey and I. S. Kuhn, directors.
In medical circles, Bloomsburg is well known as the location of Dr. L. A. Shattuck's Rest-Cure Sanitarium. It was originally established in 1870 by
Dr. A. L. Tench, who was succeeded within a few years by Dr. A. L. Turner. His experience as a surgeon in the late war and as superintendent of Onondaga insane asylum, rendered him exceptionally competent to treat nervous diseases with success. The location combines healthfulness, accessibility and congenial natural surroundings. Dr. Shattuck assumed the management in 1882, since when it has maintained a high character as a popular resort.
As this industrial development of the county seat progressed, the population increased, the building area was extended, and a different political organization followed in the wake of changed social conditions. The town plat laid off by Ludwig Eyer extended from First street to Third, and from West to East (iron) street, comprising thirty-two blocks of three lots each. Mr. Eyer was not an exact geometor, but his good judgment is seen in the location of the town, the width and regularity of the streets, and their distance from each other. About the year 1815, the Reverend Caleb Hopkins laid out a number of lots on East street below Third. Although this nominal addition comprised for years no other houses than the reverend gentleman's residence, it was known and recognized as Thopkinsville.*
When the size and importance of this suburb became such as to really require a name, this designation was succeeded by the less complimentary one of Snaketown, for which East street has finally been substituted. When the canal was opened in 1831, Port Noble came into existence as the port of entry for Bloomsburg, and a road was made from Market street thither. Daniel Snyder's addition, the south-west corner of Second and East streets, between Iron and Third, was made about 1837. Anticipating an influx of laborers when the Irondale furnaces should begin operations, D. J. Waller, Sr., in 184-, laid off that portion of Bloomsburg, known as Welsh hill, from the prevailing nationality of its people, the northeast corner of Iron and First streets. Dr. John Ralnsay's addition adjoins this on the south side of First street. On the west side of the some street between Oyer and Murray alleys, Messrs. Cathcart and Hurley laid out a number of lots, after the failure of their cocoonery. In 1857 Catharine street was opened; the location of the depot of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg rail-road had determined to a great extent the direction in which Bloomsburg has expanded since that time. Passenger trains stopped at the Market street crossing at first, but when negotiations for the purchase of land proved fruitless, a temporary station was built at East street. If this arrangement had become permanent, Bloomsburg as then existing, would have virtually ceased to be the business portion of the town. This was averted by the prompt action of D. J. 'Waller, Sr., who purchased a tract of land, and in 1859 gave the rail-road company the site occupied by its stations. Since this time, the area between Fourth street and Seventh has gradually become one of the most beautiful parts of the town. The extension westward has been popularly known as Scott-Town, from the fact that Dr. David N. Scott was the first person who lived below the hill on Second street and. still considered himself a resident of Bloomsburg. The addition by Messrs. Rupert and Barton is bounded by Fourth, Iron and East streets, and the canal. Upon the erection of the Normal School building in 1869, Second street was extended beyond the forks. Morgantown is the name applied to the company houses at Irondale furnace, while Rabbtown comprehends a number of similar structures at Bloom furnace, The population of Bloom township in 1821.? was one thousand six hundred and twenty-six; in 1830, two thousand and eighty-one; in 1840, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four; in 1850, three thousand one hundred and twenty-two; in 1860, two thousand six hundred and sixty-eight; in 1.870, three thousand three hundred and forty; in 1.80, three thousand seven hundred and two. The apparent decrease in the decade ending in 1.6O is explained by the fact that Scott township was not included in the census of that year.
In view of this constant increase in population, it is matter of surprise that the township organization, established in 1797, and continued for seventy-three years, was not sooner supplanted by a form of
government better adapted to a compact community. Efforts to secure incorporation as a borough under the act of 1.834, were successively made and as frequently defeated. The reasons to which this may be assigned, is the situation of Bloomsburg within a farming region too small to constitute a separate township, and the great diversity of opinion as to what limits should be prescribed for the purposed borough. March 4, 1870, an act prepared by Hon. C. It. Buckalew, was passed by the legislature, in which the limits of the town are defined in a manner that completely obviates this difficulty, by the simple declaration, "that the Town of Bloomsburg shall hereafter include all the territory now included within the limits of Bloom township." It provides for a classification of real estate, based upon the situation of property in the built up or suburban portions of the town, or its use for exclusively agricultural purposes. The burden of taxation is thus distributed; farm lands are assessed at a rate equal to one-half, and suburban property, at a rate not exceeding two-thirds, respectively, of the highest rates of tax required to be assessed in each year. Cumulative voting is authorized by this act, which thus provides in the only instance in this country, a method for securing proportional representations. The following is extracted from section fourth, of the act referred to, and sufficiently explains the distinctive features of this system of voting.
In any case where more persons than one are to be chosen in
said town to the same office, for the same time or term of service, each voter duly qualified shall be entitled to as many votes as the number of persons to be so chosen, and may poll his votes as follows, to-wit:
First-Where two persons are to be chosen he may give, one vote to each of two candidates, or two votes to one,
Second-Where three persons are to be chosen, he may give one vote to each of three candidates, two votes to one candidate and one to another, one vote and a half to each of two candidates or three votes to one.
Third-Where four persons are to be chosen, he may give one vote to each of four candidates, one vote and one-third to each of three, two votes to each of two, or four votes to one.
Fourth-Where six persons are to be chosen, he may give one vote to each of six candidates, one vote and a half to each of four, two votes to each of three, three votes to each of two, or six votes to one.
A town council, consisting of president and six members, is elected annually. A. list of the incumbents since the organization of the town has been compiled from official sources and is herewith subtended: 1870-President, Elias Mendenhall; members, Joseph Sharpless, Stephen Knorr, W. B. Koons, F. C. Eyer, Caleb Barton, C. G. Barkley. 1871-President, Elias Mendenhall; members, Joseph Sharpless, C. G. Barkley, Stephen Knorr, W. B. Koons, F. C. Eyer, John Rinker. 1872-President, Elias Mendenhall; members, fleas Brown, Stephen Knorr, Caleb Barton, John S. Sterner, James Dennis, J. H. Maize, vice W. B. Koons, resigned.
1873- President, Stephen Knorr; members, Louis Bernhard, Charles. Thomas, C. W. Miller, Samuel Knorr, J. S. Evans, John S. Sterner.
1874-President, David Lowenberg; members, Joseph Hendershott, P. S. Harman, J. K. Eyer, Louis Bernhard, Stephen Knorr, W. Peacock,
1875-President, David Lowenberg; members, E. R. Drinker, G. W. Sterner, Eli Jones, Isaiah Hagenbuch, W.
O. Holmes, Wellington Hartman, vice John Cadman, resigned.
1876-President, David Lowenberg; members, Peter Jones, Isaiah Hagenbuch, E. R. Drinker, G. E. Elwell, W.
O. Holmes, E. M. Knorr.
1877-President, David Lowenberg; members, E. R. Drinker, W. Rabb, W.
O. Holmes, Peter Jones, G. W. Correll, G. E. Elwell.
1878-President, G. A. Herring; members, J. S. Evans, E. R. Drinker, W. Rabb, G. E. Elwell, B. F. Sharpless, W.
1879-President, I. S. Kuhn; members, J. S. Evans, W. O. Holmes, G. M. Lockard, B. F. Sharpless, E. R. Drinker, W. Rabb.
1880-President, G. A. Herring; members, W. Rabb, J. S. Evans, B. F. Sharpless, Charles Thomas, George Hassert, W.
1881-President, G. A. Herring; members, W. Rabb, George Hassert, J. K. Lockard, I. W. Hartman, G. W. Correll, C. W. Neal.
1882- President, G. A. Herring; members, C. B. Sterling, W. Rabb, George Hassert, W. S. Moyer, L. E. Waller, I. W. Hartman.
1883- President, G. A. Herring; members, C. B. Sterling, W. Rabb, George Hassert, I. W. Hartman, L.. E. Waller, W. S. Moyer.
1884-President, L. B. Rupert; members, C. B. Sterling, W. Rabb, Eli Jones, C. A. Moyer, Isaiah Hagenbuch, L. T. Sharpless.
1885-President, L. B. Rupert; members, C. B. Sterling, J. C. Sterner, Henry Rosenstock, C. A. Moyer, Isaiah Hagenbuch, L. T. Sharpless.
1886-President, B. F. Zarr; members, C. B. Sterling, J. C. Sterner, Henry Rosenstock, E. B Clark, L. F. Clark, W. J. Correll.
The election of the first town council expressed an almost unanimous sentiment in favor of internal improvement. Little effort had been directed to this object, and much had been misdirected. If one township supervisor attempted to correct the inherent muddy propensity of the streets, the conscientious scruples of this successor impelled him to immediately suspend road making operations on the score of retrenchment. As early as 1793, the brook ras crossed at Second street by a pine bridge, a neighborhood affair which greatly convenienced people on their way to church. The first combined effort at street improvement was made in 1813, when the town was much excited over the prospect of becoming a county seat. As if to emphasize its eligibility, stumps were removed and the streets generally levelled. The commissioners appointed to select the county town visited Milton first; after preparing Bloomsburg for their reception, James McClure; John Chamberlain, Casper Chrisman, and others, rode over to Jerseytown to meet them. Although it was years before their object was finally attained, their efforts were not in vain. In 1838 the hill in Second street beyond West was deemed too steep for travel, and the public road followed the channel of the creek after a circuitous descent. The Port Noble road at this time was narrow, crooked, and almost impassable in wet weather. After purchasing the land on either side of the road, Mr. Waller straightened its course, graded it as a private enterprise, and built a bridge over the rail-road as one of the conditions for the location of the station at its present site. Market street was not fully opened until 1874, when the house of Wells below Third street was removed. The Forks hotel was removed in the following year, and Second street extended to the Normal School grounds. Center street was opened and extended from Second to First. The grading of East street was begun in 1872, and this work has been extended to every street in the town, agreeably to plans prepared by Samuel Neyhard at the instance of the council. The initial effort toward establishing a fi e department was made in 1868, when the Bloomsburg Fire Company, known as Friendship Fire Company No. 1), was incorporated. Two similar organizations have since been formed. The police service was established by the town council in 1870.
While the process of improving the general appearance of the town was in progress, efforts were also made to provide public conveniences of a character which had not hitherto been attempted. May 9, 1874, the Bloomsburg Gas Company and the Bloomsburg Water Company were incorporated. Gas was supplied to private houses and business places, October 28, 1874; the streets were lighted with gas for the first time, May 1, 1875. The water company proposed to secure an adequate s apply from Stony brook, a small affluent of Fishing creek. Negotiations were opened with the municipal authorities to dispose of the franchise to them, but before this was effected, an act passed by the legislature, limiting the bonded indebtedness of boroughs, suspended this proceeding in a summary manner. August 14, 1877, a second water company was organized. The advantage of bringing water from such an altitude that the natural flow would raise it above the level of the town was strongly advised, but as no springs of sufficient volume and elevation are found in the immediate vicinity, a system proposed by Mr. Henry Birkenbine was adopted. The water is carried from Fishing creek into a well by a brick conduit. It is then pumped a distance of one-thousand, one hundred feet, into a reservoir, from which it is distributed through the town. The water-works were completed in August, 1880. A public sewer was established in 1884 by the town authorities, the trustees of the Normal School and the county commissioners, conjointly. The Bloomsburg Steam and Electric Light Company was incorporated December 7, 1885. The Birdsall-Holly system has been used, and many residences and stores are thus heated with economy and convenience.
The extent to which industrial and commercial pursuits have been developed in Bloomsburg, the character and efficiency of its local government, and the degree of interest manifested in public improvements, combine in establishing its claim as the most progressive town in the lower valley of the " North Branch " of the Susquehanna. Contemporary with its growth in population and material wealth, it has become the educational center of this section of the state. There was little in its early history to indicate that it would reach its present prominence in this respect. George Vance taught an English school in a log building on the site of the Protestant Episcopal church edifice in 1802, and about the same time, Ludwig Eyer taught a German school in a building at the north-east corner of Second and Market streets. Robert Fields, William Ferguson, Murray Manville and Joseph Warden were among the immediate successors of these two pedagogues. On the introduction of the public school system, in 1842, school-houses were built in various parts of the town. Practically, there was no system of grading, nor any general supervision by any one. Consolidation was begun in 1870, when the Fifth street school building was erected at a cost of twelve thousand dollars, and first occupied with F. M. Bates as principal. Five years later, the Third street building was erected. I. E. Schoonover was the first principal of the schools of West Bloomsburg, after it was occupied. In 1885 it was decided to place all the schools of the town under one superintendent, and D. A. Beckley was elected to that office. A regular course of study has been prepared, and the condition of the schools improved in various ways under his administration. The present (1886) board of directors is constituted as follows: J. J. LawaIl, president; J. C. Brown, secretary; Stephen Krum, Isaiah Hagenbuch, William Kramer and Henry Rosenstock.
The general unsatisfactory condition of the public schools led to many ventures on the part of teachers of more than ordinary acquirements in establishing private schools. An effort of this kind was made in1839, when the building at the corner of Third and Jefferson streets was first occupied for school purposes.* "The standard of instruction was elevated, if judged by the advertisement of the first teacher, to give instruction in the Hebrew language, which was not extensively pursued at that early day in Bloomsburg. But the teacher's literary reputation dwindled, when, on perusing a copy of Shakespeare, he inquired whether this was the celebrated author of that name, and what were his principal works, and evinced his astonishment in the question, 'What, these dialogues?' " This teacher took his departure the same year (1839); and, by the efforts of the citizens, Mr. C. P. Waller, a graduate of Williams, college and subsequently a president judge in this state, was induced to come to Bloomsburg to found an academy. He remained two years, and left it in a flourishing condition. The far-reaching results of this effort may be traced in all the subsequent educational history of the town. The existence of the academy for some years after this was merely nominal. Teachers in the public schools during the winter months opened subscription schools in vacation. Joel E. Bradley, one of the most successful teachers who ever made teaching a profession, restored, to some extent, the high character and advanced standard of the course of study prepared by Mr. Waller. About the year 1854, B. F. Eaton opened a classical school in the Primitive Methodist church building (afterward purchased by the parish of St. Colomba's church). It was continued the following year with such success that its friends began to consider measures for making it a permanent institution. Reverend D. J. Waller prepared a charter, and William Robinson and others circulated it; after obtaining the signatures of A. J. Sloan, M. Coffman, E. Mendenhall, A. J. Evans, William McKelvey, J. J. Brower, B. F. Hartman, S. H. Miller, J. 31. Chamberlin, Philip Unangst, Jesse G. Clark, A. Witman, Michael Henderson, J. G. Freeze, Levi L. Tate, Peter Billmeyer, W. C. Sloan, Jonathan Mosteller, A. J. Frick, E. B. Bidleman, Robert F. Clark, A. M. Rupert, R. B. Menagh, W. J. Bidleman, Robert Cathcart, A. C. Mensch and H. C. Hoover, it was submitted to the court, and confirmed at the September term, 1858. It provided for establishing and maintaining a school, to be known as the "Bloomsburg Literary Institute," and the object of the corporation was defined to be "the promotion of education both in the ordinary and higher branches of English literature and science, and in the ancient and modern languages." Under the articles of incorporation, Reverend D. J. Waller, William Robison, Leonard B. Rupert, William Snyder, Elisha C. Barton, William Goodrich, D. J. Waller, Joseph Sharpless, John K. Grotz and I. "N. Hartman were constituted a board of trustees. Mr. Eaton's school was continued in the building it formerly occupied for several years, when it was discontinued. It was subsequently opened in the old academy building, and there conducted with fair success by Lowry, D. A. Beckley, Henry Rinker and others, There was no connected succession of teachers, nor does it appear that the board of trustees exercised control over the management of its affairs. Asa conesquenee, the character of the school depended altogether upon the attainments and ability of the teachers, in some of whom executive ability was not a characteristic, so that the prospects of the so-called " Literary Institute " were not always encouraging.
Fortunately for the educational interests of this county, a new actor appeared upon the scene, when the condition of affairs seemed to have reached the lowest ebb. This man was Henry Carver, a native of Now York state, a self educated teacher, whose power of exerting an unconscious influence over the minds of those with whom he came in contact, was phenomenal. After serving as principal of an academy in his native state, in which capacity he evinced marked ability, he was placed in charge of the preparatory department of the University of California, and here his faculty for organizing was again manifest. He returned to his home in Binghampton, New York, and while making a pleasure tour through the valley of the " North Branch, " stopped for several days at Bloomsburg, impressed with the beauty of its natural environments. He made some inquiries regarding the general condition of the schools, and was introduced to Reverends D. J. Waller and J. R. Dimur, Messrs. I. W. Hartman, Ti A. Beckley, and others, who, after learning his character and profession, persuaded him to prolong his stay, and open a school. Its success surpassed any thing in his previous career, or in the school history of Bloomsburg. After continuing this school two years, Mr. Carver declined to remain any longer unless better accommodations were provided than the academy building then occupied. There was a general feeling of confidence in his methods, and measures for securing adequate facilities for the unrestricted growth of the school were vigorously agitated; and, that the movement might properly crystalize, the charter of the " Literary Institute" was revived, May 2, 1866. William Snyder, John K. Grotz, L. B. Rupert, I. W. Hartman and D. J. Waller met at the latter's study in the capacity of trustees, under the articles incorporating the Institute, and reorganized, with the election of D. J. Waller as president; I. W. Hartman as secretary; John G. Freeze, Robert F. Clark and William Neal as trustees, to fill vacancies caused by removals of an equal number of the original board., At the second meeting, two days later, a committee was appointed to attend to the financial necessities of the undertaking, and another to secure a location for the contemplated building. The efforts of the finance committee were seconded by Mr. Carver with characteristic energy. This all important part of the work progressed to such an extent, that, June 16, 1866, a meeting of the stockholders was held in the court-house to decide the question of location. After some discussion, the consideration of this subject was postponed until the 22nd instant. On assembling in pursuance of adjournment, various portions of the town were suggested as most eligible for the site of the contemplated structure. When the matter was put to a vote, it was found that the sentiment in favor of the location proposed by William Snyder was almost unanimous. This was finally accepted in August, 1866, on the assurance that the owners of the Forks hotel would, at no distant, time, remove it, and extend Second street to the front of the Institute grounds. It was formally resolved, the preceding July, to procure specifications and plans, and contract for the erection of a building at a cost not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars. This sum was six-fold larger than any one except Mr. Carver had ever thought of expending. The cost of the building and its furniture aggregated about twenty-four thousand dollars. Under ordinary circumstances the project would have collapsed, but the unremitting exertions of Mr. Carver were equal to the emergency. His faith in its ultimate success never faltered, and was amply justified, when, on Thursday, April 4, 1867, the completed* struct ure was dedicated to the cause and purposes of education. The state of the weather was favorable to the enactment of the inaugural ceremonies in the pleasantest manner. That the connection between the old academy and the Institute in which it was thus merged might be properly indicated, a procession, consisting of a band of music, the members of the board of trustees, the clergy of the town, the parents of the pupils, the pupils themselves, and lastly, the faculty, formed at the academy building, on Third street, and proceeded to the Institute building. Hon. Leonard B. Rupert, as president of the board of trustees, unlocked the door, and the procession entered in inverse order. After music of an appropriate character, and prayer by Reverend D. J. Waller, Mr. Rupert briefly outlined the progress of the work from its first inception to the final accomplishment. Professor Moss, of Lewisburg, delivered the dedicatory address. The exercises of the evening were opened with prayer by Reverend J. R. Dimur, after which, Hon. William D. Elwell spoke upon the past history and future prospect of the Institute, and emphasized the importance of continued effort on the part of its friends. Among the pupils who participated on both occasions, were many who have since risen to positions of honor and responsibility in the various walks of life.
The initial step in organizing a corps of instructors for the Institute was made May 25, 1866, when Prof. Henry Carver was elected principal by the board of trustees. The first faculty was constituted as follows: Henry Carver, professor of civil engineering, intellectual and moral philosophy; Sarah A. Carver, preceptress, teacher of French, botany, and ornamental branches; Isaac
O. Best, A. B., professor of ancient languages; Martin D. Kneeland, teacher of mathematics and English branches; Alice M. Carver, teacher of music; Jennie Bruce, in charge of the primary department. Two courses of study were arranged, in one of which scientific studies predominated, while the classics were represented to an equal extent in the other. It was proposed that four years should be ample time to complete either. There was also a commercial department, and the first catalogue, issued j for the school year 1867-68, makes mention of the fact that lessons would be given in sewing. The liberal ideas of the principal wore manifest throughout. The number of pupils in attendance and the general results of the school for this first term were fairly satisfactory. It ceased to be merely a local institution, and became well known in other sections of the state, and even beyond its limits. To those who were interested in educational matters the success of the Institute was truly gratifying.
The first year of active work was not yet completed, however, when a change in the character of the school was agitated. Hon. James P. Wickersham, state superintendent of common schools, passed Bloomsburg by rail shortly after the building was finished, and was favorably impressed with its conspicuous situation and symmetrical proportions. The idea of erecting additional buildings and converting the Institute into a state normal school seems to have occurred to him at once. He presented the matter to the board of trustees. At a meeting of that body, -larch 9, 1868, it was "Resolved, that the trustees of the Bloomsburg Literary Institute agree to establish in connection with the same, a state normal school, under the act of assembly of the 2nd of May, 1857, and to procure the grounds and put up the necessary buildings as soon as the sum of seventy thousand dollars is subscribed by responsible persons, agreeably to the foregoing propositions." At this and subsequent meetings, plans and estimates for the proposed building were pro_ rented and discussed. A soliciting committee was also appointed; but from the meagre results realized through its efforts, it was evident that the project did not receive the co-operation of the entire body of citizens. That the views of all might be considered, a public meeting was held in the court-house, April 18, 1868. Reverend D. J. Waller was called to the chair. It was found that the opposition or indifference resulted from a misconception of the position taken by the trustees; but when it was explained to the satisfaction of all that the proposed change would not effect the academic character of the school, and thus contract its local advantages, and that its influence would be extended in the manner suggested, the meeting became as enthusiastic as it had provionsly been reluctant. This is sufficiently indicated by the following minute, which appears as part of its proceedings: "Resolved, that the trustees of the Bloomsburg Literary Institute be earnestly requested to purchase the necessary grounds and proceed to make an agreement to carry forward the enterprise of erecting the building required; that the plans submitted by Prof. Carver be recommended to the trusties for adoption; that it be recommended to let the building to Prof. Carver at his estimate of thirty-six thousand dollars." This was submitted to the board of trustees the same day, and on the strength of the financial support thus assured, Hon. Leonard B. Rupert, Peter Billmeyer and F. C. E+ yer were constituted a building committee and empowered to contract for the erecting of the building with _1r. Carver at his bid of thirty-six thousand dollars. Subsequently, Hon. William E. Elwell and William Neal became members of the building committee instead of the last two named.
June 25, 1868, the corner-stone of the state normal school building was laid. The exercises were preceded by an address in Institute hall by Hon. C. L. Ward. The audience then proceeded to that part of the grounds where the foundation walls of the building formed the exterior angle of its two wings, and where the stone was to be placed. The exercises began with ,prayer by Reverend D. J. Waller, after which John W. Geary, governor of the state, placed the corner-stone in position, depositing within it documents relating to the history of the school, its charter, with the names of the trustees, the faculty and students, and of the state school board, contemporary issues of the local newspapers, a copy of the Bible, and specimens of currency, after which he delivered an address. Hon. William E. Elwell spoke in behalf of the board of trustees, and Hon. Leonard B. Rupert read a history of the Institute. Governor Geary placed the plans and specifications in the hands of Professor Carver, and the latter, in accepting, promised to complete the work he thus assumed as rapidly as possible. Hon. James P. Wickersham addressed a large audience that evening on the general aspect of educational effort, particularly as directed in the preparation of teachers for teaching, which be emphasized as the central object in the normal school idea.
Mr. Carver pushed the work he had undertaken with his usual energy, and the building was finished within nine months from the date upon which the corner stone was laid. It remained for the state authorities to formally recognize the Institute as a state normal school. February 8, 1869, the board of trustees, through its president, Hon. Leonard B. Rupert, and secretary, Col. John G. Freeze, signified its desire that a committee should be appointed agreeably to the act of 1857, to consider the claims of their institution for recognition as a state normal school. The following named gentlemen constituted this committee: Hon. James P. Wickersham, ex officio, Hon. Wilmer Worthington, Hon. James C. Brown, Hon. George D. Jackson, Hon. Henry W. Hoyt; the superintendents of schools in the counties composing the district were notified, and Friday, February 19, was appointed as the day for the examination. The committee met on the day appointed; examined the charter, deeds, organization, methods of instruction - everything pertaining to the character of the school, and embodied its conclusion in the Pillow
Bloomsburg, COLUMBIA COUNTY, February 19, 1869.
WHEREAS, The "Bloomsburg Literary Institute," having made the formal application to the Department of Common Schools for the appointment of a committee to examine its claims to be recognized as the State Normal School of the Sixth District, according to the provisions of "An Act to provide for the due training of teachers for the Common Schools of the State," approved the 20th day of May, 1857; and
WHEREAS, The undersigned, being duly appointed and authorized under said act, and having personally, and at the same time, on Friday, the 19th day of February, 1869, visited and carefully inspected said Institute, and made a careful examination thereof of its by-laws, rules and regulations, and its general arrangements and facilities for instructing, and having found them to be substantially such as the law requires:
Resolved, That the "Bloomsburg Literary Institute" is, in our opinion, entitled to recognition as a State Normal School, with all the privileges and immunities enjoyed by other institutions of like character in this Commonwealth.
WILMER WORTHINGTON, Chairman.
J. P. WICKERSHAM, Secretary.
GEORGE D. JACKSON.
JAMES C. BROWN.
HENRY M. HOYT.
C. G. BARKLEY, sup't. Columbia county.
C. V. Gonos, sup't. Union county.
WILLIAM HENRY, sup't. Montour county.
The legal existence of the "Bloomsburg State Normal School of the Sixth District," dates from the anniversary of this report, February 19, 1869, although the proclamation from the department of public instruction was not promulgated until three days later.
In his report for this year (1869), Mr. Wickersham states that the estimated value of the buildings and grounds was one hundred thousand dollars, and that the general equipments of the school were superior to those of any similar institutions in the state. While this was no doubt true, the troubles that immediately followed threatened to compel a suspension of the school. Mr. Carver's health was seriously unpaired by his multiplied duties as principal, contractor and business manager. His departure from Bloomsburg, in 1871, was quite unexpected to the trustees, who were thus obliged to assume his liabilities in order to save the property. At one time they personally obligated themselves for an amount exceeding twenty thousand dollars. Meetings were held every night for several months consecutively, and the whole board was resolved into a ways and means committee. Every circumstance seemed discouraging. Every element of opposition that had ever existed seemed to assert itself. And when finally the crisis seemed to have passed, the boarding hall was destroyed by fire, September 4, 1875. Monday, September 6, a meeting of the citizens was held in the court-house;
Reverend J. P. Tustin presided. Hon. William E. Elwell stated the object of the meeting. It was a critical period in the history of Bloomsburg. There were those who favored the application of the thirty thousand dollars of insurance, to the improvement of the property that remained, and an organization from which the normal school idea should be excluded; Reverend D. J. Waller was called upon to express his views. He did so with the force and vigor which the importance of the occasion demanded. He stated that it was net possible that the school could experience greater reverses and misfortunes than had already befallen it; that even under such a combination of unfavorable circumstances--financial embarrassments, unfortunate selection of principals, or the existence of a vacancy in that department-the results had been only such as might be expected in the incipient stages ofo an educational enterprise; that the inducements which prompted their first effort were still operative, but as the opportunity was greater, so was their responsibility; that it required but the influ,ence of that energy which the supreme importance of the houf' should inspire to raise, Phoenix-like, a new building of larger proportions from the ashes of the old; and that the time would come when a thousand students would- be assembled on the hill for the purpose of securing an education. These remarks had the desired effect. It was unanimously decided to rebuild. Temporary accommodations were provided for the students. October 30, 1875, the cornerstone of the new building was laid. The work of construction progressed rapidly, and on Wednesday, April 26, 1876, the building was opened for students. It has a front of one hundred and sixty-two feet and an extension -of seventy-five feet. Its predecessor was L shaped, with a front of one hundred and twelve feet in each direction.
While the financial stringency of this period was a most perplexing problem, it did not monopolize the attention of the trustees. Their constant ma-ability to provide for the support of teachers necessitated frequent changes in the constitution of the faculty. There were ten instructors at the opening of the first annual term of the Normal School, and their respective departments were as follows: Henry Carver, A. M., Principal-Mental and Moral Science, Theory and Practice of Teaching; Sarah A. Carver, Preceptress-French, Botany, and Ornamental Branches; Isaac O. Best, A. M.-Ancient Languages; J. W. Ferree, A. M.-Mathematics and Practical Astronomy; Reverend David C. John, A. M.-Chemistry, Natural Philosophy and Physiology; F. M. Bates, Superintendent of Model School Department, History, Geography, and Bookkeeping; James C. Brown, Assistant in Mathematics; Alice M. Carver, Instrumental Music; Hattie L. Best, Vocal Music; Julia Al. Guest, Assistant in the Model School. When Professor Carver's sudden illness, at the opening of the second term, left the institution without a principal, the duties of the position devolved upon James C. Brown. His efforts and Professor Ferree's co-operation prevented the school from disbanding, and at length it successfully passed through the most critical period of its history. At his own request, Air. Brown was relieved, December 20, 1871'. At Mr. Wickersham's suggestion, C. G. Barkley assumed the principalship, and continued in that capacity until March 27, 1872, when Reverend John Hewitt was elected in his stead. He was succeeded at the commencement of 1873 by L. T. Griswold, A. M., M. D. Concerning his administration it need only be stated that the financial management was such as to limit the expenses of the school to its income, or vice versa. In the judgment of the trustees it was thought best the change should be made, however, and for the school year of 1877-78 an entirely different faculty was elected, with the single exception of Professor Ferree, who retained his position as instructor in Higher Mathematics. The present faculty is constituted as follows: Reverend D. J. Waller, Jr., Ph. D., Principal-Mental and Moral Science; J. W. Ferree, A. M.-Natural Sciences; H. A. Curran, A. M. -Ancient and Modern Languages; William Nettling, A. 1.-Rhetoric, Theory and Practice of Teaching; G. E. Wilbur, A. M.,-Higher Mathematics and History; I. W. Niles-Music; F. H. Jenkins-Grammar and Composition; Miss Enola B. Guie, M. E.-Physical Culture and Elocution; J. G. Cope, M. E. -Mathematics and Geography; Miss Dora A. Niles, Drawing and Painting; E. Gertrude La Shells, M. E.-Model School; Miss Sarah M. Har- vey-Assistant in Model School; I. H. Winter, B. E.--Geography and History. 'That the change in 1877 was judicious seems evident from the fact that the four professors, whose names appear in order from the head of this list, have been continuously connected with the school since that time.
More than four hundred pupils were in attendance during the term of 1885-86. During the existence of the schools, four thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight pupils were enrolled prior to July, 1886; four hundred and nineteen have graduated in that time, and twenty-five were prepared for college and received since 1877. These facts need no comment.
The present principal is a native of Bloomsburg, and a graduate of La Fayette College, with which he was also connected as a teacher. He is a gentleman of extensive and varied attainments, of natural aptitude for teaching, of rare executive ability, and fine social qualities. His administration has been eminently satisfactory. The patronage of the school has increased from year to year. It has become an educational power, and influences to a great extent the character of the public schools of a large section of country.
Bloomsburg has been a prolific field for the organization of secret societies. Whenever a movement of this character has been inaugurated it has eventually secured a representation here. Many of the organizations thus affected have succumbed to the absorbing character of these stronger rivals, thus presenting in the rise and growth of social institutions an illustration of the principle of the "survival of the fittest." The Masonic order alone has increased in numbers and influence with the added years of its existence. The first regularly organized Masonic body in this county, Rising Sun Lodge, No. 100, was instituted June 16, 1804, by Israel Israel, R. W. G. M., and George A. Baker, G. S., of the R. W. G. Lodge of Pennsylvania. The first officers of Lodge, No. 100, were Christian Brobst, W. M., William Parks, S. W., and John Curlee, J. W. The intense opposition to Masonry resulted in disbanding " Rising Sun" Lodge about the year 1830. The efforts thus relinquished were renewed in 1852, when Washington Lodge, No. 265, F. and A. M., was chartered, with William Sloan, W. M., Jacob Melick, S. W., and Christian F. Knapp, J. W. The officers for 1885-86 were as follows: Robert R. Little, W. M., John Appleman, S. W., George W. Bartch, J. W. A complete list of the Past Masters of this Lodge is herewith presented: C. F. Knapp, F. C. Harrison, Al., D., J. A. DeMoyer, Agib Ricketts, John Penman, D. A. Beckley, R. H. Ringler, C. W. Miller, J. C. Rutter, M. D., Rev. John Thomas,- S. Neyhard, W.
O. Holmes, Rev. John Hewitt, A. C. Smith, J. V. Logan, W. W. Barrett, Theo F. Hayman, I. Hagenbuch, P. E. Knapp, W. T. Callan, C. K. Francis, D. W. Conner, V. N. Shaffer, P. S. Harman.
The charter of Bloomsburg Chapter, No. 218, R. A. 'Al., was granted July, 28, 1868. The officers named therein are as follows: D. A. Beckley, H. P.; Paleman John, J. B. Robison, E. P. Lutz, and C. F. Knapp.
Mount Moriah Council, No. 10, E. s. Ex. & s. ni., was originally organized under a dispensation granted December 27, 1857, but was chartered June 14, 1864, with J. A. DeMoyer, T. I. G. M.; C. F. Knapp, D. I. G. M.; J. B. McKelvey, P. C, W. ; Jacob Melick, M. E., and E. F. Lutz, Recorder. The following named individuals have been T. I. G. Masters: C. F. Knapp, P. M. P. G. M.; J. A. DeMoyer; F. C. Harrison, M. P.; E. P. Lutz; H. S. Goodwin, P. G. P. C. W.; D. Lowenberg, D. A. Beckley, A. J. Frick, C. L. Stowell, P. E. Knapp, G. W. Reifsnyder, C. K. Francis. W. W. Barrett, W. J. Scott, John Thomas.
Crusade Commandery, No. 12, K. T., was formed by virtue of a dispensation granted March 15, 1856, and received a charter June 8, 1864. The original officers of this body were as follows: Christian F. Knapp, C.; J. B. McKelvey,
O.; F. C. Harrison, C. CL; J. A. DeMoyer, P.; Jacob Meliek, T.; E. P. Lutz, B.; C. Bittenbender, S. W.; George S. Gilbert, J. W.; Lewis Enke, S. B.; F. H. G. Thornton, W.
Orient Conclave, No. 2, K. of R., C. of R. & C., was chartered February 16, 1871, with C. F. Knapp, Soy.; Charles P. Early, F. V. R., and G. T. Wheeler, Secretary.
The "Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, in the valley of Bloomsburg, Pa.," consists of four distinct bodies, numbering a total membership of seven hundred. Bloomsburg is one of four places in this State where the Scottish Rite has been introduced, and this fact, with its large numerical representations, sufficiently indicates the energy and enterprise of the Masonic fraternity at this. place.
Enoch Grand Lodge of Perfection, 14°, was instituted October 8, 1865, and chartered May 19, 1866, with the following members: C. F. Knapp,. George Shorkley, John Vallerchamp, Paleman John, C. C. Shorkley, E. W. M. Lowe, F. G. Harrison, B. M. Ellis, J. R. Dimm, C. Bittenbender, E. P. Lutz and John Penman.
Zerubbabel Council of 1.6', was instituted and chartered on the same dates, respectively. Its original membership consisted of John Vallerchamp, E. P. Lutz, C. F. Knapp, Paleman John, E. W. M. Lowe, S. G. Vangilder, John. Thomas, J. R. Dimm, John Vanderslice and John Penman.
Evergreen S. Chapter of Rose-Croix de H. R. D. M., 18°, was chartered May 19, 1866, with the following named officers: C. F. Knapp, John Vallerchamp, J. R. Dimm, Paleman John. S. G. Vangilder, C. C. Shorkley, E. P. Lutz and John Penman.
Caldwell S. Consistory, S. P. R. S., 32°, was chartered May 19, 1867. The following individuals were among the first members of this body: John Vallerchamp, Paleman John, C. F. Knapp, C. C. Shorkley and George Shorkley.
Van Camp Lodge, No, 140, I. O. O. F. was chartered November 17, 1845, with Andrew D. Cool, N. G.; Ephraim Armstrong, V. G.; Edward Keifer, S.; Henry Webb, A. S.; and George W. Abbott, Treasurer. Among the other members at this time were Anthony Foster and Robert Cathcart. The latter died in Danville, in 1879, and was the last surviving charter member.
Bloomsburg Council, No. 146, O. U. A. i41., was chartered July 16, 1868, with the following members: Henry F. Bodine, Tobias Henry, Harman Kline, H. J. Evans, M. S. Houseknecht. 31. M. Snyder, A. S. Crossly., Robert Roane, James M. Thornton, Frederick Gilmore, George Nicholas, I. K. Miller, J. S. Jacoby, Edward Searles, William Thomas, Joseph Christman, M. M. Johnson, J. S. Evans, I. Hagenbuch, P. Welsh, J. Schultz, Henry Shutt, W. M. Furman, John Culp, George Moyer and C. W. Miller.
Bloomsburg Council, No. 957, Royal Arcanum, was organized by H. E. W. Campbell, D. G. R. of this state, February 26, 1886, with the following persons as officers: I. Vj. Willitts, G. A. Clark, Thomas E. Geddis, D. A. Beckley, C. H. Campbell, John F. Peacock, F. D. Dentler, L. F. Sharpless, C. S. Furman, S. F. Peacock. G. M. Quick, William Reber, VT. H. Brooks, and C. W. Miller.
A number of flourishing church organizations attest the religions character and activities of the people at any period of the history of the town. The parish of Saint Paul's Protestant Episcopal church is the oldest religious organization in Bloomsburg. Its existence dates from 1793, when Elisha Barton appeared in the diocesan convention at Philadelphia as the representative of certain members of the church in Fishingcreek township, who had formed. themselves into a congregation. The object of his mission was to present a request for the appointment of a rector; and in the minutes of the convention of the following year, the name of Reverend Caleb Hopkins appears as missionary in a field which embraced all the territory within the forks of the
Susquehanna - among other points, Saint Paul's church at Bloomsburg. About this time there was erected "on the west side of the grate road leading from Esq. Barton's to Berwick" a house for worship, the outward appearance of which suggested the workmanship of no artisan save nature herself in the tin-hewn logs which still retained that massive rotundity developed through years of exposure to wind and rain and sunshine. Its interior was scarcely less striking. There was neither fireplace, stove nor chimney. A charcoal fire burned on a rude grating before the chancel. The minister's face was either illumin. .aced by the fitful flames or completely obscured by the ascending smoke, which found such outlet as the crevices in the roof or the chinks between the logs afforded.. Upon the wall there was a constant play of fantastic forms, the shadowy outlines of rude benches and their occupants. Young people sneezed, while their parents and grand-parents seemed to experience no unpleasantness from the fumes of this primitive heating apparatus. The congregation assembled from all directions, and engaged in the service with that interest usually manifested when such occurrences were only occasional. Before mounting their horses for the homeward journey, current topics were discussed, and the social spirit of the worshippers expressed in hearty hand-shaking and kindly inquiries for absent ones. Churches at the present day are undoubtedly far in advance of their predecessors of a century ago in many respects; but nothing has been gained in losing that simplicity which invariably characterized religious services at that period.
The Reverend Mr. Hopkins officiated in this church at irregular intervals until 1805, when he resigned, August 4, 1806; at the conclusion of service, he was called to become stated minister. He was offered an annual salary of one hundred dollars and the use of a glebe about to be erected by the Saint Paul and Saint Gabriel (Sugarloaf) congregations. He signified his acceptance, and entered upon the duties of the rectorship, October 1, 1806. From this time his field of labor was restricted to the churches at Bloomsburg, Jerseytown and Sugarloaf, and Saint Paul's congregation enjoyed greater frequency and regularity of religious services. Mr. Hopkins resided in that part of Bloomsburg properly known as Hopkinsville, until 1819, when his incumbency as rector ceased. The Reverend - Snowden succeeded him in 1820. The ereetion of a new church was vigorously agitated about this time, and Mr. Snowden took measures to have the parish incorporated as a protection to its financial interests. An act of the legislature under date of April 5, 1824, created the church a corporate body, with Daniel Pursel, Baths Appelman, Littleton Townsend, Isaac Green, Robert Green, Philip Appelman, Elias Bidleman, Peter
Melick and John Barton, wardens and vestry. The Reverend - Eldred succeeded Mr. Snowden in 1825, and was the last rector who officiated in the old church. It was replaced in 1827 by a frame structure with greater pretensions to architectural beauty, which was used as a place for worship during the ten years following. July 13, 1837, the corner-stone of the third building on this site was laid. This was one of the few brick structures in the town at that time, and one of the finest churches in this section of country. The next effort at church building was made in 1868, when legislative action was secured for the disinterment and removal of the dead from that part of the burial ground at the corner of Second and Iron streets, upon which it was proposed to build. The acre of ground upon which the church and rectory are situated was secured by Elisha Barton, John Trembly ' and Edmund Crawford, the vestry, in 1795, from Joseph Long. . The amount paid was five shillings. The site of the log church was nearly identical with that of the rectory. The remaining portion of the inclosure was used as a cemetery; hence the legislation and disinterment agreeably to its provisions. The corner-stone of the fourth and present church edifice was laid in September, 1808. The first service in the completed structure was held on Sunday, October 28, 187Q. Ten years were required to liquidate the debt of eight thousand dollars that then remained. Tuesday, June 28, 1881, the dedication occurred. There were present on this occasion Reverends T. H. Cullen and J. Hewitt, former rectors; J. H. Black, G. H. Rockwell, C. E. Fessenden, H. E. Hayden, J. P. Carneross, C. E. Dodson, G. H. Kirkland, J. M. Peck, G. Gregson, and Bishop Howe. The certificate of the rector and vestry was read by E. R. Drinker, senior warden. Bishop Howe conducted the service. Reverend T. H. Cullen pronounced the sentence of consecration. The ceremonies throughout, were of an interesting and appropriate character. In 1850 the parish came into possession of a house on East street, by the will of Elizabeth Emmitt. The proceeds of its sale were applied to the purchase of a pastoral residence on First street. The brick rectory contiguous to the church was built in 1883, and occupied by the Reverend L. Zahner in that year. After completing a pastorate of ten years, he resigned in September, 1886. The vestry has elected Reverend William C. Leverett to fill the vacancy thus existing, and he has signified his acceptance.
Saint Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran church has been known by that name since its incorporation, December 3, 1856, although known as Saint Paul's during the first fifty years of its history. During this period, the congregation worshiped in a church building at the corner of First and Center streets. This structure was built in 1808, and jointly owned by the Reformed and Lutheran churches. It was nearly square, with wide galleries on three o sides and a high, "wine-glass" pulpit on the fourth side. Its seating capacity was about five hundred, of which number as many people would be upstairs as down, when the house was crowded. After some years, its exterior was weather-boarded and painted white, and this improvement seemed to give it a new lease of life in the affections of the community. It was finally removed in 1861, but the two congregations still retain their joint ownership of the -cemetery of which its site forms a part. This burial ground comprises about one acre, and was purchased for eighty dollars from Ludwig Eyer, who was a member of this church.
Reverend Frederick Plitt is the first pastor of whom mention is made in the records, although the fact that Reverend - Frederitze was here as early as 1800 and preached in the Episcopal church building, seems well authenticated. March 13, 1808, the church adopted a constitution of fourteen articles, signed by Mr. Plitt, as pastor, John Deitterick and Bernard Lilly, elders and trustees, and Bernard Stetler, deacon. The records were made exclusively in German until 1833, and part in that language for some time afterward. Public worship was conducted in German until 1835; from that time until 1851, this language was used alternately-with the English. The transition was finally ,completed in 1851, under the ministry of Mr. Weaver.
Mr. Plitt's name appears at the head of a list of thirty-eight communicants under date of May 1, 1808. From 1809 to 1816, Reverend J. Frederick Engel served the congregation as pastor. At the communion of April 23, 1815, the names of fifty-seven persons appear upon the records. Reverend Peter Kessler followed him and remained until 1829. Reverend Jeremiah Schindel was pastor from 1830 to 1837, and Reverend William J. Ever from 1887 to 1845. The latter was assisted during part of this time by Reverend Charles Witmer, who preached quite frequently at Bloomsburg. Reverend Monroe J. Allen assumed the pastorate from 1845 to 1847, when Mr. Ever again became pastor. Reverend Philip Weaver succeeded him in 1851, but resigned two years later. His immediate successor was Reverend E. A. Sharrets. The church building on Market street, since occupied by the congregation, was erected during this pastorate. Jacob Eyer was the leading spirit in this enterprise, in which he was ably assisted by David Stroup and John K. Grotz, the other members of the building committee. The building of sa large and substantial a church edifice at this time speaks highly of the faith and liberalty of the people. It was dedicated September 20, 1857. In the autumn of the following year, the East Pennsylvania Synod convened at Bloomsburg, numbering among its members many of the most eminent Lutheran divines in 'this country. Reverend J. R. Dimm, D. D., was pastor from 1859 to 1867. During his ministry the remaining indebtedness on the church building was paid, and the finances of the congregation further improved to such an extent that Bloomsburg was constituted a separate pastorate. Previous to this time it had received pastoral care in common with neighboring-congregations. Reverend B. F. Alleman, D. D., was pastor from 1867 to 1872, Reverend J. R. Williams from 1872 to 1875, Reverend J. McCron, D. D., from 1875 to 1878, Reverend
O. D. S. Marclay from 1878 to his death in 1881, and Reverend F. P. Manhast, the present incumbent, since June 1, 1881. Several thousand dollars have been expended within the past five years. upon chancel and pulpit furniture, repairs to the church property, and a pipe-organ. And thus, under the leadership of an able ministry, devoted and efficient church councilmen and Sunday-school superintendents, the congregation has steadily developed to its present strength of three hundred and twenty-five communicant members. A marked degree of interest and activity is manifested in sunday-school work, while several organizations of a benevolent and charitable character are well sustained.
As nearly as can be ascertained, the Reverend John W. Ingold was the first Reformed minister who preached in Bloomsburg. Among the German immigrants, this body of Christians was numerously represented. The services were held in the Episcopal church building mentioned above. On one occasion, a large congregation had assembled outside the church, when they were summarily denied admittance. Upon the arrival of Mr. Ingold, he was requested to announce preaching in four weeks at a school-house to be built about two miles distant on Little Fishing creek. Not a tree had yet been felled nor any preparation made for the contemplated building, but it was completed within the specified time, and Mr. Ingold preached agreeably to appointment. The burial ground, in the rear of the site of this school-house, is still pointed out, and here repose many of the first settlers of this region in unmarked graves.
The Reverend John Deitterich Adams succeeded Mr. Ingold about 1807, upon the death of the latter. It was decided to co-operate with the Lutherans in building a house of worship more convenient to Bloomsburg. The Reverend Jacob Dieffenbach preached the sermon at the dedication of this church. April 1, 1815, he received a call to become pastor at Bloomsburg. He accepted, and removed his family and household goods from Lynville, Lehigh county, to Espy, where a parsonage had been prepared for his use. His field of labor embraced Bloomsburg. Briarcreek, Mifflinville, Muncy, Nescopeck, Wapwallopen, Shamokin. Catawissa, and several minor points. He was a man of considerable intelligence, and exerted a degree of influence not usually possessed by clergymen at this period. He died of consumption April 18, 1825, but in the decade of his residence in Columbia county, be laid the foundations of all the Reformed churches within its limits. His immediate successor, the Reverend Larosh, served the different congregations for two years, when he fell a victim to malarial fever, then unusually virulent and prevalent, The Reverend Richard Fisher, of Catawissa, preached at Bloomsburg occasionally for a short period, but Reverend Daniel S. Tobias, who entered upon the pastorate, in 1828, and remained in charge until 1851, was the next regular pastor. He was assisted during part of this time by Reverend Henry Funk, who preached in English to the five churches which constituted the Bloomsburg charge. Mr. Funk resigned in 1854 and was succeeded the following year by Reverend William Goodrich. During his ministry the exclusively Reformed church building at the corner of Iron and Third streets was erected. He resigned in 1866, and in the same year a call was extended to Reverend L. C. Sheip. He accepted, and the charge was reduced to two congregations, which it numbers at present. Reverend F. J. Mohr became pastor in 1868 and added several other churches to his charge. In the space of three years he traveled more than four thousand miles; but finding this labor greater than his strength, he resigned in 1871. Reverend T. F. Hoffmier was pastor from March, 1872, to .June 1, 1876; Reverend G. D. Gurley, from 1876 to 1878; Reverend Walter E. Krebs, from May 3, 1878, to 1883, during which time the appearance of thechurch building and the finances of the congregation were much improved. Reverend C. H. Strunck assumed the pastorate in August, 1885. His work was quietly pursued, but was eminently satisfactory. In February, 1883, a unanimous call was extended to Reverend S. R. Breidenbaugh, then pastor at Berlin, Somerset county, Pa. He accepted and was installed on the evening of April 25, 1885, by a committee of classes consisting of Reverends J. S. Peters, G. B, Deehant, and A. Hantz. A debt, incurred in the purchase of a parsonage, has been paid during Mr. Breidenbaugh's incumbency. This church is connected with the East Susquehanna session of the -Synod of the United States. Both bodies have met here-the former quite frequently, the latter on the occasion of its annual convention, in October, 1873.
The Presbyterian element of the population of Bloomsburg and vicinity was originally connected with the old Fishingcreek church, the organization of which is still sustained in Center township. This church is mentioned in 1789 in the records of Carlisle Presbytery. Reverends Henry, Bryson, Porter, Judd, Condit, Andrews and Gray, were successively sent to missionate in the valley of the Susquehanna, and undoubtedly numbered among their hearers, at the Fishing creek church, the McClures, Kinneys, Sloane, Pursels, and others, who afterward formed the membership of the Bloomsburg church. Reverend Asa Dunham, .a native of Middlesex county, N. J., and a revolutionary soldier, became a resident of the Fishing creek valley in 1798, and preached in the barn of Elias Furman, between Bloomsburg and Espy. The fact that public worship was thus held in the vicinity of the incipient village of Bloomsburg, and also at the Briarcreek church, would seem to indicate an increasing number of Presbyterians at the former place. Their religious privileges were convenient only through the courtesy of the German people or the Episcopalians, while their growing numbers emphasized the importance of a separate organization, and the building of a house of worship for their own use. Accordingly the Presbyterian church of Bloomsburg was organized in 1817, with James McClure, Paul Leidy and Peter Pursel, as elders. The congregation united with the Briarcreek and Shamokin churches, in extending a call to the Reverend Samuel Henderson, whose services should be divided equally among them. This call was made December 6, 1817, but the Bloomsburg congregation had already taken measures to provide their quota for his support. His energy was further manifested in the purchase of a lot at the westend of Third street for a cemetery and building site. It was decided that the church building should be two stories high, with galleries on three sides, and that its dimensions should be thirty-six and forty feet. After the foundation had been laid, a controversy arose as to whether the entrance should be from the rear, agreeably to the custom of the neighborhood, or from that end of the building next the street. The more modern ideas prevailed, although a change was required in the work already done. While this structure was in course of erection, the trustees united in an agreement with the officers of the Episcopal church for the use of their church building. An instance in which the announcements of the two clergymen conflicted has thus been described" When a communion service had been appointed, and the Rev. J. B. Patterson had been published to preach on Saturday preceding, the Rev. Caleb Hopkins, the founder and rector of the church, wrote a note to Mr. Henderson, announcing that he wished to occupy the pulpit on that afternoon. The notice reached 14 Tr. Henderson, on his coming to town, to meet his congregation, who were already gathering. Finding Mr. Hopkins in the little pulpit, which would hold but one, he ascended the steps and asked permission to publish a notice, which, being courteously granted, he announced that those who wished to hear the Rev. Mr. Patterson, would repair to the German church on the hill. The whole congregation left. As the last were passing out Mr. Hopkins said, despairingly, 'Well, if ye will go, ye may.'"
Mr. Henderson continued to preach at Bloomsburg until 1824, when he was succeeded by the Reverend John Niblock. Reverends James Lewers, Crosby, Mathew B. Patterson, Robert Bryson, and Irvin successively assumed the pastorate, but found no encouragement to remain any length of time. The Reverend John P. Hudson's connection with the Bloomsburg congregation began in December, 1832, when he became stated supply, and subsequently regular pastor, until his resignation in 1838. The vacancy that ensued was temporarily supplied by Reverends ----- Tobey and Daniel M. Barber, but the latter had established a flourishing boarding school for young ladies at Washingtonville and declined to relinquish it, although importuned to do so. At the instance of Reverend D. M. Halliday, of Danville, D. J. Waller, a licentiate of New Castle Presbytery, had preached once in Bloomsburg, in the summer of 1837; he was now invited to make his residence in the town, and take charge of a pastorate embracing the whole of Columbia county, with several preaching points beyond its limits. The call was tendered and accepted in the autumn of 1838, and May 1, 1839, the pastor was ordained and installed. The pastoral relations thus established continued through thirty-three years. What was then included in one pastorate has now been formed into five or six.Mr. Waller's reminiscences would fill a volume. His house was the recognized stopping place for traveling clergymen, book agents, agents of benevolent societies, and other travelers of a miscellaneous character. He relates that that hospitality attained such proportions that occasionally more guests and conveyances left his house in the morning than left the hotel; and when the village landlord erected a new sign-board in hopes of thus emphasizing his claims upon the traveling public, some wags procured the old one and elevated it in a conspicuous place before the pastor's dwelling.
Upon the removal of the seat of justice to Bloomsburg in 1845, the future prospects of the town were supposed to be improved to such an extent as to require the erection of a new church building. The question of location was one of importance, and the different views entertained were widely different, and, unfortunately, equally pronounced. That the energies of the congregation might be concentrated on the erection of the church, and thus diverted from the consideration of this delicate subject, the pastor secured financial aid from friends abroad and purchased the lot on Market street which is the present location of the church edifice. The plans for its erection were prepared by Napoleon Le Brun. Its cost was about three thousand dollars. The last sermon in the Third street church building was delivered on the last Sabbath of August, 1848. The new structure was dedicated on the following Wednesday, on which occasion the pastor was assisted by the Reverend W. R. Smith. Mr. Waller tendered his resignation in 1871; it was accepted and the relation terminated by the Presbytery. After an interval of one year, the Reverend Stuart Mitchell, D. D., was installed as his successor, October 17, 1872. A parsonage was erected in 1880 on the lot formerly occupied by the old church. The subject of building a now church has been under consideration for some time, and a fund for this object has been accruing during this period. The erection of a more commodious church edifice certainly cannot be long delayed.
The first Methodist service in Bloomsburg was conducted by Reverends Geo. Lane, a former member of the Genesee Conference, who was obliged, in consequence of lost health, to engage in business in Berwick. He preached in the Episcopal church, during a vacancy in the rectorship of the parish. This was probably in the year 1829. In the autumn of 1831, while William Prettyman and Wesley Howe were stationed at Berwick, Reverend Alem Brittain visited Light Street and found it necessary to remain, although the presiding elder insisted that he should return to his circuit in Center county. At Mr. Prettyman's suggestion, Mr. Howe exchanged work with Mr. Brittain. It had meanwhile been publicly announced that regular religious services would be held at Bloomsburg, and on a Sunday evening in October, 1831, Mr. Brittain preached to a large audience in the school-house. This was the first sermon delivered in Bloomsburg, after it had become a regular appointment. A class was formed in 1832, and consisted of Dr. Harman Gearhart, William Paul, Jesse Shannon, Delilah (Creveling) Barton, and others. Preaching at that time was held in a school-house, at the corner of Second and Iron streets. Subsequently, William Paul's carpenter-shop on Market street, between First and Second, became the place of meeting. In 1835, a frame church building was erected on Third street; this was replaced in 1857 by the brick structure that now marks its site. It was dedicated in December, 1857, by Bishop Levi Scott. Its appearance, both internally and externally, has been improved at various times since. An extensive revival was held at the dedication of the church in 1857, during the pastorate of Rev. George Warren, and again in 1869, under the leadership of Reverend J. A. Melick,
The Primitive Methodist and Welsh Wesleyans were represented in Bloomsburg by strong congregations during the first prosperity of the iron industry. The African Methodist church seems to have become a permanent organization. A building site on First street was purchased in 1868, and a frame church building erected thereon. It is the place of worship of a flourishing organization.
It has been thought proper in this connection to present the names of all the Methodist clergymen who have preached in Bloomsburg or the surrounding country, by conference appointment. This section was embraced in Northumberland circuit from 1791 to 1831, with the exception of the years 1799 and 1800, when it was included in Wyoming; Berwick circuit comprehended this territory during the fifteen years following; Bloomsburg circuit in 1817, and Bloomsburg station in 1862. Having thus summarized the changes in the ecclesiastical map, the list of ministers is herewith subtended: 1791, Richard Parrott, Lewis Browning; 1792, James Campbell, William Colbert; 1793, James Campbell, James Paynter; 1794, R. Manly, J. Brodhead; 1795, James Ward, Stephen Timmons; 1796, John Seward, R, Sneath; 1797, John Lackey,D. Higby; 1798, J. Lackey, J. Leach; 1799, J. Moore, B. Bidlack, D. Stevens; 1800, E. Chambers, E. Larkins, A. Smith; 1801, J. Dunham, G, Carpenter; 1802, Aiming Owens, J. Atkins; 1803, D. Ryan, J. Ridgway; 1804, T. Adams, G. Draper; 1805, C. Frye, J. Saunders; 1806, Robert Burch, John Swartzwelder; 1807, Nicholas Joel Smith; 1808, Thomas Curren, John Rhodes; 1809, Timothy Lee, Loring Grant; 1810, Abraham Dawson, Isaac Puffer; 1811, B. G. Paddock, J. H. Baker, R. Lanning; 1812, George Thomas, Ebenezer Doolittle; 1813, Joseph Kinkead, I. Chamberlain; 1814, John Hazzard, Abraham Dawson; 1815, R. M. Everts, I. Cook; 1816, John Thomas, Alpheus Davis; 1817, Benjamin Bidlack, Peter Baker; 1818, Gideon Lanning, Abraham Dawson; 1819, John Rhodes, Darius Williams; 1820, John Rhodes, Israel Cook; 1821, Marmaduke Pearce, J. Thomas; 1822, John Thomas, Mordecai Barry; 1.823, J. R. Shepherd, M. Barry; 1824, R, Cadden, F. Macurteny, R. Bond; 1825, R. Cadden, R. Bond; 1826, John Thomas, George Hildt; 1827, John Thomas, David Shaver; 1828, Charles Kalbfus, William James; 1829, James W. Donahay, Josiah Forrest; 1830, James W. Donahay, A. A. Eskridge; 1831, William Prettyman, Wesley Howe; 1832, William Prettyman, Oliver Ege; 1833, Marmaduke Pearce, Alem Brittain; 1834-35, J. Rhodes, J. H. Young; 1836, J. Sanks, J. Hall; 1837, J. Sar"ks, George Guyer; 1838, Charles Kalbfus, J. Hall; 1839, Charles Kalbfus, Penfield Doll; 1810, James Ewing, William R. Mills; 1841, James Ewing, W. F. D. Clomm; 1842, Thomas Taneyhill, Joseph A. Ross; 1.843, Thomas Taneyhill, Thomas Bowman; 1844, Francis N. Mills, W. L. Spottswood; 1845, John Bowen, W. F. Pentz; 1846, John Bowen, J. W. Bull; 1847, S. Ti. M. Couser, J. Turner; 1848, G. H. Day, J. W. Elliott; 1849, John W. Gere, P. E., G. H. Day; 1850, J. S. Lee, E. H. Waring; 1851, J. S. Lee, T. M. Goodfellow; 1852, Thomas Taneyhill, W. E. Buckingham; 1853, Thomas Taneyhill, J. A. DeMoyer; 1854, J. A. Ross, A. W. Guyer; 1855, J. Morehead, F. M. Slusser; 1856, George Warren, S. Barnes; 1857, George Warren, N. W. Colburn; 1858-59, J. Guyer, T. Sherlock; 1860, F. Gearhart, A. R. Riley; 1862-63, D. C. John; 1864-66, R. E. Wilson; 1867, J. A. Price; 1868-69, J. A. Melick; 1870-71, B. H. Crever; 1872-73, N. S. Buckingham; 1874-75, 3. H. McGarrah; 1876, J. S. McMurray; 1877-78, 31. L. Smyser; 1879-80, E. H. Yocum; 1881-82, John Donahue; 1883-85, D. S. Monroe, D. D.; 1886, F. B. Riddle.
The first efforts to establish the Baptist faith in Bloomsburg were made in 1840 by the Reverend J. Green Miles, who preached in the Methodist church building in April or May of that year. He was then in charge of the Little Muncy, or Madison church. He was given the use of the union meeting house, and preached, in all, six sermons. The next minister of this denomination was Reverend William S. Hall, of Berwick. In January, 1843, he preached two sermons and baptized John Snyder in Fishing creek. This was the first baptism in Bloomsburg agreeably to the doctrine and practice of the Baptist church. Subsequently, Reverend Joseph B. Morris preached several times in the ° ` Smoketown " school-house. At a still later period, and after the erection of the Welsh Baptist church, Reverend A. D. Nichols visited the town and preached several sermons. No continued and regular services were held in Bloomsburg until 1.858, when Reverend J. R. Shanafelts, of Berwick, began to preach once in three weeks in t1fe court hall. He delivered his first sermon October 3, 18o8. In less than a year from this time a house of worship was dedicated. It is a neat and substantial frame structure, and required a greater degree of liberality than would now be required. It was dedicated July 11, 1859, Reverends Joseph Kelley and A. F. Shanafelts preaching on that occasion. The church was organized with Martin C. Woodward, deacon; John Snyder, clerk; Daniel Breece, treasurer, and nineteen members, of whom Martin C. Woodward, Sarah J. Woodward, Isaac Tyler, Susan Tyler, Harriet Roan and Lena Fidler were received by letters from the Danville church; Sarah A. Philips, by letter from the Madison church; John Snyder, in a similar manner from the Berwick church; Richard Edward and Martha Edward, by letter from England; Daniel Breece, Robert Roan, Elizabeth Cadman and Maria Logan, on experience; Margaret Derr, Mary A. Breece, Lucy Cosper, Mary N. Powell and Mahala Brittain, by baptism. The organization thus effected was constituted a Baptist church by an ecclesiastical council, composed of the following clergymen, representatives of eleven different churches: S. H. Mirick, A. J. Hay,
O. L. Hall, E. M. Alden and A. J. Kelly.
Mr. Shanafelts resigned after a three years' ministry. He was succeeded by Reverend J. G. Penny, who remained one year. Reverend G. W. Scott took charge January 12, 1863, and resigned in March, 1865. Reverend J. P. Tustin became pastor March 15, 1865, and continued in that capacity for fifteen years. Reverend C. Wilson Smith took charge in the spring of 1882, and remained one year and six months. He was succeeded, in 1884, by Reverend D. J. R. Strayer. Since his resignation, in the autumn of 1885, Mr. Tustin has again become pastor, and continues in that capacity at this time (1886). Since the organization of this church two hundred and nine persons have been received into membership by baptism, fifty-six by letter and twenty-six by experience-a total of two hundred and ninety-one. During the same period a loss of thirty-two has been caused by death, of thirty-seven by expulsion, of sixty-eight by erasure, and of fifty-four by letter-a total of one hundred and ninety-one. From a comparison of these figures it appears that the present numerical strength of this church is one hundred members.
The first religious service in Bloomsburg agreeably to the ritual of the Roman Catholic church was held while the canal excavations were in progress, by Reverend Father Fitz-Patrick, of Milton. His successor at that place, Father Fitz Simmons, held mass on several occasions, in 1844, for the population attracted to Bloomsburg during the construction of Iron-dale furnace. Services were held regularly several times a month at the house of Michael Casey, on Iron street, below the hill and across from the culvert. Many of the workmen attended, and if they had remained permanently in the town, a strong organization might have been effected. After they left the town services were held at irregular intervals by the priests stationed at Pottsville, Shamokin, Sunbury, and Danville. Among this number were Fathers Sherdon, Murray, McGinnis, Smith, and Noonan, from Sunbury, and Schleuter, from Danville. Under their ministrations, a congregation was gradually collected. The need of a permanent place for public worship became apparent with every addition to its membership. The purchase of a stone structure on Third street, between Iron and Center, formerly occupied by the Primitive Methodists, was successfully negotiated. It was rebuilt in 1874, and the pastoral residence adjoining was purchased in 1883. Fathers O'Brien, Reilly, Clarke and McCann have been resident pastors. The parish of St. Columba's church also embraces several other points in this county where the Roman Catholic faith is represented by members, but not by regularly organized churches.
The success of the Evangelical Association in extending its borders is largely due to the spirit of its leadership in advancing into new territory, establishing missions, and taking up new appointments. In March, 1873, the Central Pennsylvania Conference of this body decided to occupy Bloomsburg as a mission, attach to it several points in the vicinity, and place the whole under the pastoral care of the Reverend R. C. Bowersox. Six years previous, in the winter of 1867, the Reverend U. W. Harris held the first service of this church in Bloomsburg, in the "Port Noble" school-house. A class was formed with George Rishel, leader. Among its members were Joseph Garrison, Henry Garrison, George Rishel, Elijah Strohm, - Houseknecht and Tobias Henry. Public worship was held regularly, but the necessity of moving from one place to another greatly hindered the growth of the society. A lot of ground was purchased in 1873 for a building site; December 12, 1880, Bishop Thomas Bowman dedicated tlw brick structure erected thereon, and the congregation for the first time worshiped in their own house. The following ministers have sustained pastoral relations with the Bloomsburg mission: 1873-74, R. C. Bowersox; 1875-76, J. N. Irvine; 1877, A. W. Shenberger and J. S. Hertz; 1878-79, G. W. Hunter; 1879-80, L. K. Harris; 1880-81, S. E. Davis; 1882-84, S. P. Remer; 1885-, H. W. Buck.
The Columbia County Sunday School Association is an organization which includes all evangelical sunday schools. It is auxiliary to the State and International Sunday School Association. It is the purpose of this organization to encourage weak schools and to organize schools where needed. It has been organized eighteen years and holds conventions annually in various parts of the county, at which time its officers are elected. The work of organizing an association in each township and borough auxiliary to the county association has progressed until but four remain unorganized.
At the time when Bloomsburg is beet described as a country village, the burial ground of each congregation was in the rear of its church building. This arrangement continued until Rosemont Cemetery was incorporated. Messrs. D. J. Waller, Jacob Eyer, Joel Ruderow and the clergy of the town were the leaders in this movement. Subsequently, the different denominational burial grounds have ceased to be used for that purpose, and except in the case of the German cemetery, the remains of those buried there have been disinterred and removed to Rosemont.
*The origin of the name 6;laou,sburg cannot so easily be explained. It is said that the name was suggested by certain of the old settlers who had formerly lived at Bloomsburg, N, T. Bloom township was formed from the western part of Brlareraea in 1797 and so named in honor of Samuel Bloom one of the county oommis- aionurs for orthumberland county at that time. It is said that when the name for a post-office was discussed, some of the citizens protested against nyertown, notwithstanding their German nationality and respect for the proprietor. On the occasion of a fourth of July celebration in the wood above First street, some one, with rneellent tact, called for three cheers for Bloomsburg at the insteot when patriotic enthusiasm was at its height. In the excitement of the moment, the name made a favorable impression on the popular mind, It is not a matter of vital importance, but of curious importance, how the name originated, and the reader can but judge which of the explanations given is most plausible.
**Reverend D.J. Wallets Presbyterian Centennial discourse
***Properly speaking, it was not completed until the following year, when a bell weighing one hundred and seventyone pounds, was secured through the efforts of D. J. Waller, Jr., G.E. Wlwell and Charles Unangst, who were then pupils.
Source: Page(s) 151-184. History of Columbia and
Montour Counties. Battle, J.H., Chicago: A. Warner, 1887.