In 1869, John Gould Curtis and his wife, Mary, together with David Curtis
and his wife, Sarah, came to Ludlow. They purchased vast tracts of virgin
timber lands, covered with valuable pine and hemlock trees, from original
owners who had obtained their titles from the Holland Land Company. Logging
operations were started and a sawmill, under the Partnership name of J. G.
and David Curtis, was erected. In 1885, however, David Curtis withdrew from
the partnership with his brother and moved to New Haven, Connecticut. J. G.
Curtis then continued in business alone. He built a store and post office in
what was then the western end of town. The old store was located across the
tracks from his home, where a garage now stands. There was a meat market in
the basement and the other two stories were occupied by a dry goods and
grocery department. The post office and J. G. Curtis office were in the east
end of the building. Every employee of J. G. Curtis traded at his store. He
was given a book in which he was credited with his earnings and charged with
his purchases, and was given the balance in cash.
J. G. Curtis's logging operations brought more people to Ludlow. Houses
were built and one or two more stores were opened. Ludlow was primarily a
lumbering town and would have undoubtedly remained so had it not been for "J.
G." The trees were rapidly being stripped from the hills, but there remained
on hand a vast amount of hemlock bark which was being shipped to the
Sheffield tanneries. "J. G." had a desire to make use of this bark himself,
so he proceeded to erect a tannery of his own to utilize his hemlock bark.
This later developed into the J. G. Curtis Leather Company and was sold to
the present corporation in 1901.
About the same time that J. G. Curtis's family settled in Ludlow, L. B.
C. B. Springer and John Gibbs came to Ludlow. Both Byham and Gibbs were
former employees of J. G. Curtis in his tannery in Emporium, Pennsylvania.
L. B. Byham had charge of the tanning processes and John Gibbs directed the
logging, bark peeling, and woods operations of "J. G.'s" interests. The
Byham family later moved to the state of Washington, the Springers to Kinzua,
but John Gibbs remained on his farm on Gibbs Hill until his death in 1924.
The Curtis family left Ludlow in 1907 for Erie and Mr. J. G. Curtis died
eleven years later, at the age of 88.
In the early eighties, J. Augustus Jones operated a "cider-joint" which
burned but was later rebuilt. He ran a meat and fish route to Kinzua selling
fresh fish shipped to him over the newly constructed railway from Lake Erie.
Leaving the meat and fish business he became carnival conscious and started
out on the road with a five-legged calf, a two-headed sheep, and a few
trained dogs. The next time he made an appearence in Ludlow he was traveling
with a tent show. Eventually, he became the largest carnival owner in the
United States. He lies in Warren Cemetery, and whenever a carnival comes to
this section of the country, it inevitably pays homage to him at his grave.
source:Souvenir program book, Ludlow Old Home Week, July 4-5-6-7, 1935