History of the Counties of McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890

CHAPTER VIII

RAILROADS- AGRICULTURAL- STATISTICAL.

RAILROADS- PROJECTED AND COMPLETED RAILROADS- FIRST PASSENGER TRAIN- ESTABLISHMENT OF RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.

AGRICULTURAL- SOCIETY- RESULTS OF NOT WORKING IN HARMONY.

STATISTICAL- STATISTICS OF POPULATION- VALUATION- RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES.

 RAILROADS.

BENJAMIN REYNOLDS, in 183738, assisted the surveyors in running their lines for the proposed railroad up the Allegheny, across the divide and down Pine creek. The enterprise was a just one, but owing to the wild character of the country and the difficulty of obtaining men, even for the survey, the project was abandoned. The surveyors tried many routes, even going down the Allegheny portage and again crossing Bunker Hill. Mr. Reynolds, after half a century, remembers Miller, the chart man, Fitzgerald, the man of levels, and Powers, of the transit.

The Jersey Shore, Pine Creek & State Line Railroad Co. was chartered in 1856, but little was done toward the construction of the line. In 1864 Francis Hughes presided over the revived company, the route was surveyed, and a full effort made to obtain a bonus from the farmers and others along the line, but the enterprise again collapsed. In 1870 the name was merged into the J.S., P.C. & B.R.R., and Sobieski Boss elected president. Under him the road bed was perfected to within four miles of Coudersport; but the Reading Railroad Company, the new helpers of the scheme, became embarrassed, and the officers of the reorganized Reading did not look with favor on expenditures in this direction, so that in 1876 work ceased. In 1877 Judge Ross died, when John S. Boss succeeded him as president, and served, until 1881, when Gen. George Magee, representing a new company, took control, and sold the right, of way between Coudersport and Port Allegany to the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad Company. John S. Ross died December 14, 1882.

In 1881 citizens of Coudersport and Olean, headed by A.G. Olmsted and F.W. Knox, negotiated for the purchase of right of way and grading, with the railroad men, represented by Gen. George Magee, of the J.S., P.C. & B.R.R., from Coudersport to Port Allegany- seventeen miles. The right was bought, with the proviso that Magee could have it back any time after ten years, by paying back to the stockholders all moneys expended by them in fitting and equipping the road.

The organization at first (1881) was named Coudersport & Olean Railroad, but in 1882 the name was changed to the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad. The capital stock, $150,000, was divided into 1,500 shares at $100 each. Eight directors were chosen: F.W. Knox (president); A.G. Olmsted and Isaac Benson, of Coudersport; F.H. Root, of Buffalo; A.M. Benton, of Port Allegany; B.D. Hamlin, of Smethport; C.S. Cary and C.N.B. Barse, of Olean, and F.H. Arnold, of Port Allegany. B.A. McClure was appointed superintendent. On September 26, 1882, the first passenger train passed over the road.

The officers of the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad at present are F.W. Knox, president; C.S. Cary, of Olean, vice-president; A.B. Mann, secretary; M.W. Barse, of Olean, treasurer, and B.A. McClure, general superintendent. In December, 1888, the question of adopting the standard gauge was looked on favorably, and this work was commenced April 1, 1889, under Mr. McClure's supervision, and in July the cars were run over the broad gauge road. The length of the road is seventeen miles. The freight carried in 1888 amounted to 30,848 tons, 11,250 being local freight, and the number of passengers carried was 21,924. It is now (March, 1890) stated upon authority that this road will extend their line to Lymansville, thence to Sweden Valley and beyond.

The officers of the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad elected in January, 1890, are F.W. Knox, president; C.S. Cary, vice-president; M.W. Barse, treasurer; B.A. McClure, superintendent; A.B. Mann, secretary; A.G. Olmsted, F.H. Root, B.D. Hamlin, C.S. Gary, Isaac Benson, F.H. Arnold, W.K. Jones and James L. Knox, directors. In March, 1890, the proposition to sell the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad to a New York syndicate was made. The latter propose to connect it with the Lackawanna system, or by using the roadbed already graded and bridged, via Geneva, N.Y., to connect with the New York Central. The Coudersport & Port Allegany road is to be extended south forty miles to Ansonia, to connect with the Reading system, or to Weedsport, to connect with the Pennsylvania system.

In May, 1883, a gang of laborers entered on the work of grading the Coudersport & Gaines Railroad, but an injunction by the S.L., B. & P.C.R.R. Co. ended the matter. The Cowanesque branch to Harrison Valley was begun in April, 1883, and completed that year to the east end of the village, and is now being constructed to Mills. The survey of the proposed extension of the C., C. & A.R.R. from Mills to Lewisville, made in July, 1883, showed a grade of 100 feet per mile for three and three-fourths miles, up the Worden Summit from Mills, and of ninety-two feet per mile for four miles up the Marsh Creek Summit. In December, 1888, the railway mail service was introduced on the Fall Brook Company's railroads, the first postal car, under Fred. W. Bailey, coming in December 3.

The proposed Hornellsville, Coudersport & Lackawanna Railroad, with headquarters at Hornellsville, is a project with a promise of success. The company was organized in October, 1888, with the following named, officers: President, D.C. Larrabee; treasurer, H.J. Olmsted; secretary, C.L. Peck; directors, P.A. Stebbins, William Dent, A.B. Crowell, W.B. Perkins, F.A. Raymond, Amos Raymond, Thomas Coulston. In April, 1889, a meeting of stockholders was held at Gold to elect a president, vice D.C. Larrabee, deceased. The honor was conferred on N.J. Peck. The following named officers were elected in January, 1890: N.J. Peck, president; C.L. Peck, secretary; H.J. Olmsted, treasurer; A.B. Crowell, Thomas Coulston, P.A. Stebbins, William Dent, W.B. Perkins, F.A. Raymond and Amos Raymond, directors. From a statement prepared by C.L. Peck, of Coudersport, it is learned that there is an average daily production of lumber to he reached by this road of 750,000 feet at present, which can be increased to 900,000 feet. It is safe to say that there are 5,000,000, 000 feet of lumber, of which 4,500,000,000 is hemlock. The average daily production of bark at the present time is 500 cords, which the building of this road will increase to 600 cords.

The Coudersport & West Branch Railroad Company elected N.J. and C.L. Peck to their positions as above, with A.B. Crowell, treasurer; W.B. Cutter, P.A. Stebbins, Thomas Coulston, W.J. Grover, F.A. Raymond, A. Carpenter and C.H. Armstrong, directors. A New York syndicate is said to have taken this road in hand, with the intention of building it and the Coudersport & West Branch Railroad during the coming season. Engineers were on the ground in February, 1890, preparing estimates. The same syndicate is trying to buy the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad, and have offered a large premium for the stock of the road.

The Wellsville, Coudersport & Pine Creek Railroad elected in February, 1890, the following named officers: John McEwen, president; E.J. Farnum, vice-president; H.K. Opp, secretary; H.N. Lewis, secretary; Rufus Scott, attorney, and they, with G.H. Blackman, W.B. Coats and Charles Day, were directors. The stock is subscribed, and ten per cent of the amount paid, while the road is mostly graded between Wellsville (N.Y.) and Genesee Forks (Penn.). The contract for regrading the road-bed has been sold, and an assessment of ten per cent has been levied for the purchase of ties.

The Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad is completed and running from Keating, in Keating township, to Costello, in Sylvania township, and is now being rapidly constructed toward Galeton, in Pike township.

In the southeast corner of the county there is a short line, known as the Slate Run Railroad, connecting Slate Run, in Lycoming county, with Black Forest, in Stewardson township, Potter county.

In Pike township is a portion of the Addison & .Pennsylvania road, connecting Gaines, in Tioga county, with Galeton; and from this line a short branch, called the Phoenix Railroad, runs to Davidge, also in Pike township.

In 1872 the building of the B., N.Y. & P.R.R., cutting through the edge of the county at Keating Summit, was begun, and was finished in November of that year.

AGRICULTURAL.

The Potter County Agricultural and Horticultural Society was organized in 1860. But one fair was held prior to the war, which broke up all further action upon the part of the society until Peace again spread her white wings over the land. April 25, 1878, W.B. Gordnier, having been appointed commissioner by the managers of the Potter County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, purchased of J.M. Spafford the grounds between Coudersport and Lymansville, now used for the fair grounds of this society. These grounds had heretofore been leased by the Driving Park Association.

For a few years back a fair has been held annually at Lewisville, at the Driving Park in that borough, with a considerable degree of success. Connected with the fairs, both at Coudersport and Lewisville, have been the races of the driving associations. For reasons heretofore given regarding agriculture in Potter county, the fairs have not equaled those in older counties, and, owing to the little animosities and antagonisms of different portions of the county, a worthy enterprise has been injured.

STATISTICAL.

The statement of property assessed in the several townships of the county, for 1889, prepared by Commissioners' Clerk Bennells, relating to the number of taxables, total valuation and population in 1880, is given as follows: 

 

 

No.

Valuation.

Population.

 

No.

Valuation.

Population.

Austin,

389

48,071

 

Oswayo,

306

77,226

883

Abbot,

186

148,426

623

Pike,

330

79,241

281

Allegheny,

190

80,255

872

Pleasant Valley,

101

47,445

211

Biugham,

264

89,301

832

Portage,

69

71,794

114

Clara,

94

39,150

238

Roulette,

350

81,723

648

Coudersport,

458

73,052

677

Sharon,

424

64,885

1,055

Eulalla,

224

195,318

554

Stewardson,

70

146,989

223

Genesee,

289

73,971

883

Sweden,

151

69,555

416

Harrison,

590

123,693

1,162

Summit,

57

107,879

202

Hebron,

279

69,138

835

Sylvania,

211

82,415

214

Hector,

337

90,768

958

Ulysses,

229

166,909

638

Homer,

109

73,705

189

West Branch,

154

127,816

374

Keating

186

61,771

204

Wharton,

133

140,086

346

Lewisville,

206

33,814

365

       

The total number of resident tax-payers is 6,385, and this total multiplied by 4, equals 25,540, giving a fair estimate of the number of inhabitants, while the number of voters, 4,616 multiplied by 5 gives only 23,080. The political character of the county is shown by 2,570 Republican, 1,692 Democratic, 172 Prohibition, and 182 Union Labor voters, the figures representing the vote cast for the several presidential electors in 1889. It may be said that the census of 1890 will show double the population of 1880, which was 13,797. The population of the undivided county, in 1810, was 29; in 1820, it increased to 186; in 1830, to 1,265; in 1840, to 3,371; in 1850, to 6,048; in 1860, after division, to 11,470, and in 1870, it decreased to 11,265.

The receipts and expenditures of the county of Potter, for the year ending December 31, 1888, are as follows:

The total receipts amounted to $47,699. 69, all of which was expended except $7,514. 67. The estimate of receipts for 1889, including this balance, is $58,858.77; being $4,299.52 under the estimate of necessary expenditures, which includes $10,000 to apply on completing court-house, and $2,000 for county bridges.

Source: Page(s) 1040-1044 History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed March 2006 by Mary Bryant, Published 2006 by PA-Roots

 

 

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