History of Pike County
Chapter VII
Dingman Township



DINGMAN TOWNSHIP was taken from Upper Smithfield April 17, 1832. It is bounded on the north by Shohola and Milford; on the east by the Delaware River and New Jersey; on the south by Delaware and Porter, and on the west by Blooming Grove. The Sawkill Creek, which flows into the Delaware near Milford, forms part of the boundary between Dingman and Milford. The Raymondskill is the outlet of the Log Tavern Ponds and breaks over its mountain heights in the beautiful Raymondskill Falls, which consists of three parts, a fall of about twenty-five feet, a steep rapids of about one hundred feet, and another fall, flowing onward through a deep gorge to the Delaware. The scenery along the Raymondskill, as also along the Delaware, is grand. There is a river road running along the Delaware from Milford to Bushkill. The Minisink Valley consists of the river flats on both sides of the Delaware, from Port Jervis to the Delaware Water Gap. These flats are from a quarter of a mile to a mile wide. There are several islands in the river at this point. On the Jersey side the hills recede in gentle slopes, but on the Pennsylvania side the cliff rises abruptly from the flat land, forming a rock-capped bluff about one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet high, from Milford to Bushkill. These rocks have crumbled, leaving a steep side-hill of thin stone clippings banked against their base to within twenty feet of the top, which makes excellent material for roads, the river road being one of the best in the State. In some places the river hugs the base of the bluffs so closely that the roadway is dug out from the hillside, and in others there is fine fertile flatland varying from a few rods to a half-mile in width.

These flatlands were eagerly seized and first occupied by the Holland immigrants.

A ride from Port Jervis to Bushkill is exceedingly pleasant, with the abrupt bluffs of Pike County, whose steep slopes are covered with scrub oak and pine, on the right, and the Delaware River, flat land and receding slopes of Jersey on the left.

The purest of mountain spring waters gush from the hillsides, and the Sawkill, Raymondskill, Conashaugh, Adams, Dingmans, Hornbeck, Mill, Tom's and Bushkill Creeks, break through the bluffs that support the highlands of Pike County, in many cascades and rapids through deep gorges, forming grand mountain scenery, into the Delaware River.

Laura Brink, aged eighty-six, says that Cornelius Cole, or Case Cole, as they then called him, built a house under the mountains in Dingman township, where Foster Howell now lives, as early as 1750. He owned the Delaware flats from the Raymondskill to the Sawkill, his wife being a daughter of Peter Decker, who first settled in Deckerstown, N.J. An old squaw camped on the land every summer and fished in the streams. She claimed the land and told Mr. Cole he must pay her for it. He replied that he had already paid for his land. Mrs. Cole advised her husband to settle with her and he finally concluded to do so. She demanded two Dutch rose blankets, five gallons of whiskey and one sheep. These rose blankets were woven of a long nape-like wool, with roses interwoven. One day, after he had procured the things, she appeared with about thirty Indians and secured all that she had demanded, being very particular not to have the sheep killed until she had received the blankets and whiskey. The sheep was killed, the whiskey distributed and a noisy pow-wow was held all night. Mr. Cole, expecting the Indians to become drunk and attack him, said to his wife, "Now, Maria, you see what trouble we have got into." The old squaw, however, left with her friends and returned to her home in Wyoming Valley and never troubled him more. They made a rude picture of a horse in Mr. Cole's cellar, which other Indians seemed to understand, and during all the Indian wars that followed, his property remained untouched, although the battle of Conashaugh was fought within half a mile of his place. Nothing was disturbed that belonged to Case Cole, because the Indians said he had paid for his land. There is an old stone fort still to be seen on the Jersey shore about one-half mile below Cole's old house. Cornelius Cole's son Abram had the lower part of his father's place, or what is now the Howell and Warner farms. His children were Hugh, Budd and James. Aunchy had the upper part of the farm, now owned by Moses and John Dietrick. She was the first wife of Judge John Brink, who lived on part of the Cole property, and William, his only son by her, was the husband of Laura, a daughter of Ira Newman. She is still living in Dingman township with her son, James Brink, aged eighty-six years. Judge Brink afterward married Nancy Drake, and Dow, Howard, Lydia, Sarah and Ann Eliza were their children. William McCarty, Sr., settled in Dingman township in 1750 or earlier. He had two sons,-William McCarty, Jr., who married Margaret Buchanan, sister of George and Arthur Buchanan, and James McCarty, both farmers. Philip McCarty was a brother of William McCarty, Sr., and lived just across the Raymondskill, adjoining Case Cole's on the south. Cornelius, one of his sons, was a merchant at Dingman's Choice, and one of his sons, Bernardi McCarty, lives on the old Philip McCarty place.

Joshua Drake had a log tavern near the centre of Dingman township, about one mile from what afterwards became known as the Log Tavern Ponds. He was one of the first settlers in that part of the township. His four sons-Stephen, Benjamin, Ephraim and John-located in the neighborhood of their father. Redmond Drake, a son of Stephen Drake, now an old man, is still living in the vicinity. Robert Travis was an early settler near the centre of the township. His son, Jesse Travis, aged eighty years, is still living in Dingman's. The Aldriges are another old family. Richard Huffman is a farmer near the Sawkill Pond, and was justice of the peace for a number of years. Tony Healer, David Case and the Retallicks lived in the vicinity of Union School-house.

George Buchanan, corrupted to Bowhanan, was born in 1763, and came to Milford from Orange County when he was about twenty-five years old. His first wife was a sister of Nathaniel B. Eldred, and his second wife a sister of Frederick Rose, of Rosetown. He kept the first hotel in Milford and had the brush cut out of Broad Street and opened that road. He was also a lumberman and tanner. He owned a tannery in Milford, on the Valentine Kill, in 1838, which was destroyed by fire after being in operation seven or eight years. He owned about fifteen hundred acres of land in Dingman township, where a number of his children lived. He died when eighty-two years of age.

Jesse Olmstead, a lawyer, from Connecticut, came to Milford in 1815 and married Mary, the eldest daughter of George Bowhanan. The Olmstead family moved into Dingman township, on part of the Bowhanan property. George Olmstead, a farmer, was for many years a justice of the peace. Frank Olmstead, a man of considerable ability, has been sheriff and associate judge of Pike County. Harriet is the wife of Rev. George Windsor. Nancy resides with her brother, the judge.

Sally Bowhanan, another daughter of George Bowhanan, was the wife of William Quinn; a farmer in Dingman. Theodore Bowhanan had a tannery in Dingman township. Harry Bowhanan is in the paper business in New York. John, George, James and Louisa Bowhanan live in Milford. Jane married William Freel, who was one of the first merchants in Milford. Emily is the wife of Ebenezer Warner, a farmer in Dingman.

Arthur Buchanan,* a brother of George Buchanan, lived at Shohola Farms in 1797. His only son, William, died in Dingman township. Olive, one of Arthur's daughters, was the wife of John P. Rockwell, a merchant in Milford, and the father of Charles F. Rockwell, of Honesdale. Mary was the wife of Edwin Power, a merchant in Milford and Honesdale. C.E. Power, merchant in Honesdale, is a son.

A number of Frenchmen formerly lived in Dingman, but most of them have removed from the township. Among them was Ramie Loreaux, who built a large brewery, stone houses, sheds, etc., on part of the old McCarty property. He carried on an extensive business and was a prominent man in the township from 1832 until about 1872, when he left. His daughter was the wife of Desiré Bornique, who had a watch-factory in Milford and was an active business man until he died, in 1884, when the enterprise declined. Joseph Rigney, another Frenchman, has a large summer hotel in the vicinity of Raymondskill Falls that is annually patronized by his countrymen.

Judge Olmstead says that some of the best lands in Dingman township for agricultural purposes are in the western part, about Rattlesnake Creek, and remain as yet unoccupied. There are seven schools in the township,-the Franklin, River, Union, Sawkill, Rattlesnake, Dark Swamp and German. There are no churches; the Methodists occasionally hold services at the Franklin and Union School houses. There is a Sunday-school at the Franklin. The first school-house in the township was at Brink's, on the river road. The population in 1880 was five hundred and eighty-six. The highest point on the Dingman bluffs is called Utter's Point, and is often visited by summer boarders in Milford, a good view of the valley being obtained on a clear day from Port Jervis nearly to the Delaware Water Gap. The battle of Conashaugh, or Raymondskill, which occurred in Dingman township, in which thirteen of the settlers were killed, will be mentioned in the general history. John Greening was the first settler on Rattlesnake Creek, in the western part of Dingman township. His sons were John, Jerry and Hubbard Greening. Jerry Greening remained there and has a farm and a family of children. He figures conspicuously in Ed. Mott's "Pike County Folks," and in his articles for the New York Sun. During the War of the Rebellion Jerry Greening and one or two of his boys were drafted; he stayed in his house and resisted twenty United States cavalrymen for some time, until at last he was compelled to surrender. A neighbor gives the following account of the affair: "One night one of Jerry's boys came to my house and said, What shall I do? the United States troops are after me.' I had lost a boy down in Virginia myself, and had other sons drafted, one of them in three different townships, and they had gone West; so I got Jerry's boy a blanket and told him to go out in the barn and crawl into the hay-mow. During the night I heard guns go off in the direction of Jerry's. Next morning I went down. The snow about the house was trampled and covered with blood and the window-lights were shot out of Jerry's house. Mrs. Greening sat by the fire with her head down. She would cry and then she would swear. Her husband and Charles Bates, both pf whom were drafted, had a shanty where they slept, but had come home to butcher hogs, and there the cavalrymen found them. Jerry was well armed, and when the cavalrymen came up he fired on them, and a younger son of his helped him in the shooting, but Bates did not take any hand in the firing. They hit one of the cavalrymen in the neck. A ball that had about spent its force hit Jerry on the bone of the hip, flattened out and fell down into his boot. The soldiers forced their way into the house and captured Jerry. Mrs. Greening threw a straw bed over Charles Bates in the hall, but they found him and took them both down to Philadelphia." Jerry had not been in the barracks in Philadelphia more than two hours before he got into a fight with another man about who should use the fire first to cook his dinner; but fortunately for Jerry he had made a friend in the backwoods who did not forget him in his extremity. Mr. Cuthbert, a gentleman of influence in Philadelphia, stopped at the Sawkill House a number of summers. In his hunting and fishing excursions he often went out as far as Rattlesnake Creek, where he became acquainted with Jerry, who was a guide to him in that region. He bailed Jerry out and saved him from receiving any further punishment for his belligerent attitude towards the cavalrymen.

* All the brothers of George Bowhanan wrote their names Buchanan, which is the correct spelling according to the family records.

Page(s) 905-907; History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties, Pennsylvania, Mathews, Alfred, Philadelphia, R. T. Peck & Co., 1886