PORTAGE TOWNSHIP- BOROUGH OF AUSTIN- WHARTON TOWNSHIP- EAST FORK (OLEONA)
PORTAGE TOWNSHIP- TOPOGRAPHY- POPULATION AND TAXABLES- ELECTIONS IN FEBRUARY, 1890- MISCELLANEOUS.
BOROUGH OF AUSTIN- INCORPORATION, AND FIRST OFFICERS- ELECTIONS IN FEBRUARY, 1890- LUMBER INTERESTS-- GOODYEAR RAILROAD SYSTEM- SCHOOL AND CHURCH- SOCIETIES- BUSINESS, ETC.
WHARTON TOWNSHIP- CONFORMATION- POPULATION, ETC.- EARLY LAND OWNERS- FIRST ASSESSMENT, 1881- FIRST SCHOOLS, ETC.
EAST FORK (OLEONA)- A WILDERNESS- RESIDENTS, STREAMS, ETC.
PORTAGE TOWNSHIP is, geographically, a part of the township of that name in Cameron county. Although wanting in the streams which lend a picturesque charm to the sister township, with the exception of the miniature caflons of Cowley's and Lucore runs; the township is a tree-covered, elevated plane of Pocono sandstone, broken in the north centre by the creek cuttings in the Catskill formation, and in the northeast corner by the diminutive tread of the Sinnemahoning creek. The Mill- creek- Pine- creek range leaves the county in the southern corner of Portage, after giving said township more than its share of high land. In 1853, there were 12 tax- payers; in 1889, 69, with property assessed at $71,794. The population in 1880 was 114, which has been increased a little. There were 30 Republican, 18 Democratic and 6 Union Labor votes cast there in November, 1888.
In 1860 a portion of Potter, McKean and Clinton counties were, by an act of the legislature, erected into a county to be called Cameron, in honor of Gen. Simon Cameron. Portage township in Potter county, fifteen miles long, along the McKean line and five miles wide, situated in the southwest corner, was thickly settled along the Portage creek to below Shippen (now Emporium). The diagonal line of Potter, now seen on the maps, cuts off the portion of Potter below the line, so as to take every person in the township into the new county, but by the provisions of that act the township might resume its municipal organization whenever it contained a sufficient population. In 1871 a supplement to the Cameron county act set off a portion of Sylvania township along Freeman's run to Portage township, containing the requisite number of inhabitants, and they at once municipally organized. The Sinnemahoning at Costello (then North Wharton) was made the boundary line. As the Costello company required all their territory in their farms for their own use, the balance of the town sprang up on the Young place across the river. It contains several stores, markets, offices, a hotel and the usual accompaniments of a town.
In 1876 this division claimed the following named resident tax- payers: E.O. Austin, C.D. Austin, F.P. Austin, C.C. Burdette, Thomas Brownlee, John Brownlee (saw- mill), Robert Brownlee, William Carson, Mrs. M.E. Everett, H.H., George, Benjamin, John and D.A. Everett, Josiah, Monroe, and Daniel Hacket, John Sullivan, Harry Tenbrook, Geo. Turner, John Van Metter, William Willis, R.K. Young, and Thomas L. Young. E.O. Austin was assessor that year, and certifies to the above, although on page 22, geological report of Andrew Sherwood, it is stated, that there were only two families known to reside there that year. In the history of Cameron county a good deal is related affecting the old township, as in 1860 the inhabited portion was attached to that new county. In 1871 a portion of Sylvania was annexed to Portage, and its reorganization effected.
The officers chosen in February, 1890, are as follows: Constable, William Putman; town clerk, S.B. Haskins; supervisors, Charles Rees, John E. Brownlee; school directors, Thomas Logue, Chas. D. Austin; inspectors of election, A.B. Peet, John B. Stiner; judge of election, C.W. Hungerford; overseer of the poor, J.Q. Adams; treasurer, T.W. Brownlee; collector William Putman.
BOROUGH OF AUSTIN.
This new town may be said to date back to the fall of 1886, when the building of the great saw- mills commenced. In February, 1887, it boasted of 700 inhabitants, and in May, 1889, there were 389 personal tax- payers (or 1,556 inhabitants on a basis of four persons to each voter). The assessed value in 1889 was $48,071, and moneys at interest $15,301. Austin was incorporated on June 14, 1888, and the regular election ordered to be held at John E. Doyle's house in February, 1889. The special election was held in October, 1888. James W. Thorne received eighty- three votes for burgess. The councilmen chosen were F.P. Austin and F.L. Blaisdell, for one year; John P. Roth and J.W. Yennie, for two years; Aaron Elliott and James B. Carson, for three years. John Freeman was chosen assessor, James F. Higgins, constable and collector, and W.H. Erhard, treasurer. The school directors elected were Dan. Collins and C.L. Garretson, one year; Charles Rothstein and F.P. Austin, two years, and Aaron Elliott and M. Taylor, three years. In 1889 the two first named councilmen were re-elected, also the collector, with W. Watkins, assessor. Messrs. Collins and Garretson, N.E. Weed and W.V. Harney were chosen school directors; L.R. Walters, auditor; the treasurer reelected, and George Sharp and George O. Hellwig, overseers of the poor.
In February, 1890, there were 129 votes cast, the burgess and one or two others receiving 128 out of that number. No fight was made except on high constable, F.H. Davis being put in the field as an opponent of William Goulder. The latter received a majority of seventeen votes. The officers elected are: Burgess, W.H. Sullivan; councilmen, Joe Ireland, J.W. Yennie; constable James Higgins; collector, James Higgins; auditor, F.J. Weisert; overseer of the poor, C.S. Watkins; Joseph Alesworth; judge of election, F.A. Worster; inspectors of election, N.E. Weed, Rufus Henderson; school directors, J.G. Corbett, F.A. Worster; high constable, William Goulder. Mr. Austin was first postmaster, succeeded by W.H. Sullivan. In June, 1889, Mr. Hastings, the present master, was appointed.
In August, 1888, a $3,500 school building was completed. The Methodist Church of Austin was incorporated in November, 1888, with J.W. Thorne, John Brownlee, A.S. Heck, C.H. Hartman, S.C. Bush, Robert Leech and R.J. Gaffney, members. The society was organized in 1887 by Elder W.A. Stephens, and Rev. J. Emory Weeks commenced his duties as preacher in charge April 3, 1887. On June 5, that year, a Sunday- school was organized, On November 21, 1888, the church building was dedicated, and in 1889 Rev. H.H. Crotsley took charge. The proposed Catholic and United Brethren Church buildings are not yet begun. A tent of the K.O.T.M. was organized at Austin in April, 1887, with the following named officers: T.S. Darling, E.S. Rudy, J.C. Doyle, M.E. Cleary, J.K. McDonald, S.B. Chambers, William P. Burdick, O.A. Nelson, C.R. Unrick, John Sullivan, A.L. Pearce, E.B. Fisher and L. McKerry. The charter was granted in June following.
Austin Lodge, No. 702, I.O.O.F., was instituted, August 16, 1887, under charter of July 15, with the following named charter members: G.B. Booth, N.G.; Wm. H. Sullivan, Treas.; S.H. Lewis, V. G.; H.P.H. Snyder, Sec.; B.F. Pelton and J.B. Carson, Asst. Secs.; G.W.P. Judd, George Hayes, J.K. McDonald and Aaron Elliott. Rufus Henderson, O.C. Learn, O.C. Carmar, John Keshoe, Mark Taylor, L.R. Walters, F.J. Wisert, M.J. Young, B.C. Sweet, Fred Graw, A.W. Burt, E.K. Kershner, M.J. Phelps, W.P. Burdick, N.H. Hastings, Geo. Caldwell, C.L. Garretson, Geo. B. Sharp, Geo. Leonard, Robert Looney, J.W. Thorne were admitted that night. The past grands are G.B. Booth, S.H. Lewis, H.P.H. Snyder, J.M. Phelps, and Rufus Henderson, present noble grand. The past secretaries are H.D.H. Snyder, Rufus Henderson, G.B. Sharp, and Sam. B. Haskins, the present secretary, with Jeremiah Gallager, assistant secretary. The present number of members is seventy- one. Geo. Leonard and C.L. Garretson were killed by accident, and G.W.D. Judd died from natural causes. The hail is on the upper floor of the Wisert block.
Arcana Lodge, A.F. & A.M., was chartered February 5, 1890, with W.H. Sullivan, W.M.; S.H. Lewis, S.W.; W.A. Worster, J.W.; J.G. Corbett, secretary; E.O. Austin, treasurer, and Geo. E. Fluery, G.B. Sharp, Joseph Ireland, J.B. Carson, J.E. Pomeroy, Geo. P. Helwig, R.J. Sharp, Rufus Henderson and S.C. Bush, petitioners. The new lodge proposes to build a hall this year.
A branch of the N.S. & L.A., of Rochester, was organized here in January, 1890, with the following named officers: S.H. Lewis, president; Dr. R.J. Sharp, vice- president; F.A. Worster, secretary; W.H. Sullivan, treasurer; J.G. Corbett, attorney; A.L. Pearce, S.H. Lewis, W.H. Sullivan, apprising committee.
Great Manufacturing Industries.- During the summer of 1885, while the road was being built and the building of the mills talked of, Oliver S. Garretson, of Buffalo, N.Y., owner of the extensive furniture and foundry works, was visiting in the vicinity, when the question arose as to the expediency of utilizing the hardwood on this tract in his works at Buffalo. The results was the purchase of all the hardwood upon this tract and the project of building a sort of double mill, sawing the hard- wood for himself and the hemlock for Mr. Goodyear. To carry out these ideas the line of the railroad was somewhat altered, the plans for a mill drawn, and in September the work on the dam was commenced, and soon after on the mill. A street seventy feet wide was laid out to the projected depot, the house of Mr. Austin being the central point, from which the present town was laid out; while his garden, one of the finest in the country, had to be given up for the mill pond. It was soon discovered that the plans for the mill would have to be considerably enlarged to meet the demands upon it, so they were much extended. A portable saw- mill was employed to cut the necessary lumber for it and other necessary buildings, with the supposition that some 200,000 feet would be required. This would have filled the bill, had the original plans been carried out, but the plans extended; the logging by rail and steam, and building a mill to correspond, was being invented, and while the little saw- mill cut about 1,000,000 feet before it was drowned out by water in the new pond, nearly 2,000,000 more were sawed at and shipped from Keating Summitt and the Four Mile mills to go into this structure.
The Hemlock mill was completed September 20, 1886. The mill cuts an average of 280,000 feet each twenty- two hours. The average cut per month is over 7,000,000. It is equipped with all the modern improvements in saw- mills. The machinery consists of three Babcock & Wilcox safety boilers of 200 horsepower each, a 400 horse- power Wright's automatic engine with steam pumps and condenser, which adds greatly to the power of the engine (the condensed steam. by a system of huge pipes, is carried to the pond by which means it never freezes over in the coldest weather); two circular mills with steam loaders, niggers and feed, a Wicks gag, two gang edgers, an automatic trimmer, live rolls and two plainers of large capacity. On the first floor is a net work of large belts and conveyors, shafts and pulleys. The largest belt is 110 feet long, forty- two inches wide, costing $700. The filing or grinding room is equipped with five automatic grinders and two automatic swages. There is dock room for loading thirty railroad cars at a time, besides three strings of docks to pile lumber from, each three-fourths of a mile long. The lumber is taken to the yard along the three docks on tram cars drawn by horses. About five- sevenths of the lumber is shipped green. There are 175 men employed at this mill whose average wages are $1.90 per day- the pay roll amounting to $8,000 per month.
The other mill, or No. 2, was begun in April, 1887, and finished and started in February, 1888. This mill is generally only run in the day time, cutting 70,000 feet in eleven hours, 1,700,000 feet in a month. It is equipped with two Babcock & Wilcox safety boilers of 200 horse- power each, running two automatic engines of 200 horse- power each, steam pumps, feed, niggers and loaders, one circular and band saw, a gang- edger, automatic trimmer, live rolls, etc. The filing room has two automatic grinders and swages. There is dock room for sixteen railroad cars at a time, and three strings of dock each one- fourth of a mile in length. Here, too, about five- sevenths of the lumber are shipped green. There are manufactured at this mill 3,000,000 feet of hardwood lumber each, for Mr. Garretson's own use at his works in Buffalo, cut by the band- saw. The band saw saves about one- seventh of the lumber over a circular, which, in the better class of hardwood lumber is a large item. It is safe to say that these mills cut more lumber in a year than is cut by any similar mills in the States. They are both lighted by electricity, and have a fine system for protection from fires, both automatic and by powerful pump and hose, aside from that afforded by the borough water system, which is admirable. Mill No. 2 employs sixty men at an average wage of $1.90 per day; the monthly pay- roll being $2,600. The wages paid the employes of both mills are about $11,000 per month, which is promptly paid in cash. There is at each mill a. large, circular, inclosed brick burner or crematory, forty feet high, for burning the waste. For a perfect understanding of these works we will give some statistics as reported to us by the proprietors themselves. The hemlock mill cuts 7,000,000 pet' month. Teams loaded with this lumber would make a nearly solid line of forty miles, and, at 10,000 feet each, would require 700 cars each month to move it. The bark peeled each year averages 60,000 cords. If this was loaded on wagons at two cords each, the line would be 380 miles long, and at fourteen tons to a rail car, would require upwards of 4,000 cars to move it to market.
Of logs there are 100,000,000 feet put out to the mills yearly, and as the ponds will not hold more than one day's sawing, they are moved from their store ground or skid- ways in the woods daily, from eight to ten or more miles away; to do this over 100 cars are used peculiarly designed for this purpose, each car having four pairs of wheels on spring trucks connecting with a platform and reach jointed in the middle so as to yield on curves, with bunks and bolsters twelve feet long. Each car when loaded holds about three thousand feet. From twenty to twenty- five cars, with from 60000 to 75,000 feet of logs, make the average train load, although as many as fifty cars are sometimes hauled at a time. It takes an average of 115 car- loads to run the mills a day. Five of the "Stem- winder" engines are constantly busy drawing logs and bark and doing switching. Their weight is from thirty- five tons, the smallest, to eighty- one tons, the largest.
In handling the bark a large, number of flat- cars is required, of which there are at present 185 belonging to the road. All freight is taken to the W.N.Y. & P.R.R. at Keating Summit, where it is handled by engines on that and other roads. There is in connection with the main line a large amount of siding and tracks leading to the mills, docks, chemical works and kindling- wood factory, which in the aggregate will measure many miles.
In July, 1887, Blaisdell Brothers looked over the mills and situation in Austin, and making arrangements with Messrs. Goodyear and Garretson, resolved to put in one of their celebrated kindling- wood factories. Here they had an abundance of material for a large factory from one mill, with only a short tram- road to it. They are the owners of several such factories; in fact they are the pioneers in this preparation of kindling- wood, being the inventors of most of the machinery for manipulating the wood. The 1st of July, 1887, their buildings were commenced and in about one year, in August, 1888, they were completed, and work in them started. Subsequently the buildings were greatly enlarged, and machinery put into double the factory's capacity.
To those unacquainted with this business the manufacture of kindling- wood is a great curiosity. The main building here in which the work is done is 300 feet long and sixty high, not including air shafts and ventilators, which reach much higher. The system of belting, shafting and piping is a spectacle to strike the visitor with wonder. In addition to the factory proper there is a complete carpenter and machine shop and a filing or grinding room, employing several hands constantly. The machinery is run by two, or twin, engines of eighty horse- power singly, which, when worked double as twins with condenser, afford fully 200 horse- power. The bank of boilers is large in proportion, and set in fire- proof iron buildings some distance from the factory proper. So complete is this structure, that when on fire in the summer of 1889, the woodwork was almost completely burned out, yet the factory was not closed for a day; indeed, almost the only damage done was by the enthusiastic firemen of the borough fire company, who burst the windows and grates in the furnace by too much water thrown on them.
The wood, which is the slabs from the hemlock mill, is taken from the mill to the factory by tram cars on a trestle work tram railway, in four- feet lengths, as slashed at the mill, and is immediately put through the gang bolters and slitters just as it comes from the mill saws; any over- plus of wood being piled in the yard, of which there are usually about 5,000 cords on hand all the time. The wood, after being split and slashed or cut off in blocks three inches long and one and one- half inches in size, is taken by a system of carriers on endless chains into the immense kilns, where it is seasoned as dry as bone by steam. The system of drying is novel and peculiar to Blaisdell Bros. Some six miles of steam pipe ranges through the kilns in such a manner that the dry wood is always at the bottom, while a constant stream of green wood is pouring in at the top. The kiln chamber is a good place to take a sweat bath in. An average of eighty cords of wood is run into and taken out of the kiln each day. A bundle of wood is oval or egg shape in its circumference, being eleven inches long, eight inches wide and three inches thick. Each bundle with card of factory attached in the band, is bound with a tarred hemp twine. There are 100 bundling presses in the factory, which are mostly handled by boys and girls in about equal number, from fifteen to twenty years of age. These presses are worked automatically by steam screw presses, with a pressure on each bundle before tying of 40,000 pounds. The pressure and release is made by a simple touch of the foot of the bundler. The gearing of the presses are made to turn one- half inward and one- half outward; the side with the outward turn being for the girls so their skirts cannot be caught in the machinery. These children soon become remarkably expert, binding 700 or 800 bundles a day each, while some very expert and nimble ones bind twice as many. They receive 20 cents per hundred bundles, which it will be seen gives them excellent wages. If they are reasonably diligent their work can be done in less than full time, when they can bind more or take their outing. A months' binding, if laid in a solid line would reach nearly 200 miles, requiring 600 miles of twine to bind them or 7,000 miles in a year's work. The band twine for a day's work in this factory costs an average of $60, and it is not uncommon for this company to purchase sixty tons of twine at a time, and as much as $25,000 worth is sometimes purchased in a single bill. It requires on an average 100 railroad cars a month, loaded with 10,000 bundles each, to carry the product of this factory to market. It is nearly all consigned to the company's houses in New York and Brooklyn, and from these distributed to various cities of the east. The wholesale price in market is $1.20 per hundred, which is about one cent per bundle after paying for binding. It requires 170 hands to run the works, about eighty being engaged in other parts than the bundling rooms. In addition to the machinery already alluded to, there are always seventy- five circular saws in motion, namely: three gangs of eighteen saws each, and four gang boilers of five saws each, which require some 225 circular saws to be constantly on hand, either in motion or in the filing room. The monthly pay of the hands exceeds $4,000 per month, which is always cash, the proprietors being much averse to any "store trade" in their business. The genial and accommodating gentlemen engaged in this business here and several other places are W.F., M.L., F.L., J.W. and P.C. Blaisdell.
The chemical works, under the supervision of R.J. Gaffney, were erected in 1888. At these works are manufactured wood alcohol, acetate of lime and charcoal, made from hardwood such as, beech, maple, birch, etc., consuming in these works ten cords of four- foot wood each day, or about 2,500 cords a year. Each day's work produces seventy-five gallons of wood alcohol, 2,000 pounds of acetate of lime, and 300 bushels of charcoal. The alcohol is used in the manufacture of shellac and varnishes, and is also used for heating lamps and illuminating. The acetate of lime is used in the process of making white lead and calico printing and dying; the charcoal for fuel, especially by tinners and braziers. The enterprise gives employment to fifteen men about the works besides wood cutters and handlers, and affords quite a large amount of business in transportation by the railroad. The pay roll amounts to $700 per month.
The Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad.- The great body of timber lands in Keating, Portage, Homer, Sylvania and Summit townships, not already ‘purchased by settlers or the Costello Company, were practically untouched and were mostly held by the Keating estate, up to 1884. Some time in 1884, some Smethport gentlemen, one of whom had long been the agent of the Keating estate, bought the entire body of lands. They found it expedient with some reservations, to sell them, and in December, 1884, Hamlin, Hamlin & Forrest, sold to F.H. Goodyear between 14,000 and 15,000 acres, being the tract embraced in the Freeman's run valley. The residence and farm of E.O. Austin, was centrally located on this tract, and in itself contained natural advantages long since foreseen both by himself and the quaker gentleman, Mr. Webb, of Philadelphia. Mr. Goodyear was interested in mills at Keating Summit, and other points, along the Buffalo road, and in May, 1,885, commenced building a standard guage road into the nearest portion of his purchase of December before. The hills were high, and the route a few years earlier would have been thought impracticable, but under the direction of an able engineer, Robert F. Ewing, all difficulties were surmounted. Much of the nearest timber was taken to Keating Summit and other mills nearby. In September, 1885, the road was completed to the Austin farm, where temporary sheds were erected to cover the small amount of freight that came over the road. In August, 1886, the road was completed to Costello, giving that manufactory the impetus that makes it what it is today. Thus the main line to Costello is about thirteen miles. There are no lateral lines between Austin and Costello, but the aggregate above Austin is about four miles for one of the main line. The road is being pushed on farther as new tracts of timber are opened, the main line projected through the timber being thirty- five miles, which, in the same proportion will require nearly 140 miles of lateral track. This lateral is torn up and relaid as the timber is cleared from one section, and a new one opened, so that never is it all required at any one time. The Lima machine engine is generally used. To these engines there are no driving wheels proper, but each wheel of the trucks, of which there are from four to six pair to an engine, is geared to the driving power by a jointed or knuckled shaft, similar to the trummelling rod to a horse- power threshing machine, so that each wheel is really a driving or traction wheel. There are three pistons working perpendicularly, each upon a different eccentric, so there is no dead point, two of them being always so situated as to work to the greatest advantage. These engines have been found best on the steep lateral roads, and to climb a 500- foot mountain on one of them in two miles, and then sail down to the valley like a pigeon, is an experience always to be remembered. They are not so very pretty, although much fault can not be found that way; they do their work well, and like a true pulling horse every inch they get they hold. There are now five of these engines on this road, and one or two more are being built for it. They are popularly known as "Stem- winders."
In May, 1887, Charles W. Goodyear joined his brother Frank H. in the business, forming the company F.H. & C.W. Goodyear. At the present time (January, 1890) the total purchase of timber lands by the company is 72,000 acres, and the annual output of tan bark 60,000 tons. Of saw logs, which are all sawed in the mills hereabout, 100,000,000 feet are nearly all sawed at Austin and all shipped from there. The length of the main line of the road when completed through these lands will be about thirty- five miles, reach nearly to Galeton and Pine creek, the terminus of the A. & P.R.R., while the lateral lines will much exceed 100 miles. There are now in use on the road eight engines, several of which have been before described as peculiarly for this business, the others are large size traction engines of great weight; others of both kinds are now being built for the road, the present force not being sufficient; indeed the lack of locomotive power the first two years of the mills were a great hindrance to their success. The log cars which have been described number 115, and there are 185 flat cars for bark belonging to the road. The round- house is sufficient for all the engines, the machine shops located at Austin have all the necessary tools and facilities to make all needful repairs on engines and cars, employing twenty men. All the machinery in the shops are run by steam and lighted by electricity. The pay roll of this company amounts to $70,000 per month.
Miscellaneous. - The business circle of Austin at the beginning of 1889 comprised Hackenberg, Olmsted & Co., general store; Hastings & Yennie, druggists; M.E. Taylor, confectionaries; F.H. Davis, one billiard and two pool tables; William Nelson, groceries; Patterson Bros., hardware; A. Friedman, clothing; S. Browsky & Co., clothing; F.J. Weisert, groceries; Edwin Smith, druggist; S. Deiches & Bro., clothing; Buffalo Hardware Co., general store; G.P. Hellwig, druggist; C.S. Watkins, novelty goods; Chas. Mahon, one. pool, one billiard table; P.J. Weiper, one billiard table. During that year the trade circle of the borough increased, and great emporiums of trade sprung' into existence.
The fire of February 13, 1889, at Austin, destroyed John Hogan's shop, Mahon's opera and billiard halls, and O. Clafflin's dwelling. James Moyer was burned to death. This fire was the incentive to the construction of a system of water-works, and on March 23, 1889, a committee of construction and the stockholders placed the works in the control of the borough, on condition that no taxes for the maintenance and equipment of the works be collected from any subscriber to the fund, until the whole amount of his or her subscription shall have been credited in taxes so levied and for such purpose. On April 15 the council accepted the works, and adopted the ordinance relating thereto.
The manufacturing era of the town was only commenced. The great industries point out its possibilities.
Wharton township is bounded south by Clinton and Cameron counties, west by Portage township, north by Portage, Sylvania and Summit, and east by East Fork (Oleona). A branch of the Hammersly and the Lorshbaugh run rise in the southeast corner, while the Sinnemahoning portage, its east fork, Birch run and Bailey's and Nelson's runs wander at will north and west of the divide, but do not cut up the anticlinal plane so thoroughly as to destroy the general level character of this four- mile wide plateau. The Catskill formation has been washed out by the Sinnemahoning, leaving a bed of Chemung; but apart from this valley and its ravines the Catskill shows at the base of each gulch with walls of Pocono. The township presents many interesting spots for the geologist, such as the fossilliferous shale near Swartwood's old farm, the fossil shells, Chemung fish bone, and varieties of soil and red rock near Wharton mills.
In 1853 there were fifty- seven resident taxpayers; in 1889 there were 133, with property assessed at $140,086. The vote in 1888 shows sixty- four Republicans, fifty-four Democrats and one Union Labor, representing a population of 595. The officers of Wharton, elected in February, 1890, are as follows: Justice of the peace, Perry Devoll; supervisor, Harrison Bailey; constable, Frank Lewis; overseer of the poor, Orrin Court right; auditor, Wilber Bailey; judge of election, Eli Westgate; inspectors of election, Frank Peterson, Edward Card; treasurer, Emory Williams; town clerk, Ira Barclay; school directors, Stephen Carman, James Logue; assessor, C.B. Berfield; collector, Frank Lewis.
William Waln paid unseated tax on 11,385 acres in 1834, amounting to $76.77; Robert and Jesse Waln, on 18,030 acres, $183.82; F.R. Wharton, $4.20 on 890 acres; David Lewis, $17.33 on 1,485 acres; Samuel Slaymaker, $8.64 on 1,006 acres; Jane Humphrey, $29.16 on 4,320 acres; James Greenleaf, $80.12 on 9,900 acres; Wolcott & Tripp, $7.42 on 1,100 acres; Samuel Webb, $72.62 on 14,911 acres; Charles Smith, $4.62 on 1,086 acres; Nathan Dunn, on 1,564 acres, $10.55; Robert E. Griffith, on 2,843 acres, $17.25 James Hopkins, on 2,053 acres, $8.63; William C. Pool, on 125 acres purchased from William Willich, 94 cents; Brewster Freeman, $6.80 on 1,600 acres of the Griffith lands; John Gibson, $14.00 on 1,100 acres purchased from George Mead; Thomas I. Wharton, $3.29 on 1,980 acres of the William Willich warrant, 200 acres of which was then seated; Jacob B. Smith, $15.85 on 1,980 acres of same estate of which 490 acres were then seated; Hannah M. Wharton, $7.51 on 990 acres of Willich lands, of which 100 acres were seated; John Westcott, 85 cents on 100 acres of the William Willich lands. Charles Smith, $7.32 on 1,086 acres of William Smith's warrant; Yard & Co., $29.68 on 5,500 acres of the George Mead warrant; Eli Gilbert, 48 cents on 110 acres; Abram Stoner, $4.21 on 990 acres of the Mead warrant; R.E. Griffith, $44.52 on 6.600 acres of the Mead warrant; Samuel Maxwell, $26.93 on 4,400 acres, part of which was then owned by Wilcox & Kenyon and Ed. Bandall; James P. Allane, $3.71 on 550 acres of the Mead warrant; Joseph West, $2.70 on 400 acres of the Willich lands; Ben. D. Dolbee, $1.69 on 250 acres, and Potter county $5 on 740 acres.
The assessment of Wharton township was made in December, 1831. At that time the resident tax- payers were James Ayers, John Berfield, Jacob Burge, William Berfield, Levi and Sam Burge, John Biss (the four last named being single men) F. Bents, W. Crosby, Z.C. Cowley, B.W. and Sam Freeman, John Gallaspy, Clifford & Clark Haskins, S. and W. Hamilton, and Dan. Bailey and Alex. Mahon, saw mill owners; Seneca Freeman, saw- mill owner; Edmund Huff, John Jordan, Jr., Arch Logue, George March, Sam. Magill, William Montgomery, saw- mill owners; David, John, William and Seth Nelson, Eli Reese, Isaac Reese, James Smoke, Hiram Sizer and Brewster Freeman. A part of this township was set off to Cameron county in 1860 after the establishment of old Portage township.
May 3, 1826, Wharton township was erected. It contained at that time Wharton, Sylvania, Portage, Homer, Keating and a part of Summit; and taxes were first collected in Wharton this year. John Berfield, John Lorshbaugh and John Nelson came to Wharton in 1816, about the same time as Judge Freeman and James Willey. John Berfield was born in Muncy in 1800. He moved into Wharton in a canoe, coming up the First fork of the Sinnemahoning, thus bringing his family and household goods. There were no roads at that time. He had to go down as far as Muncy with his canoe on a raft, and pole his canoe, filled with provisions, back to his clearing. Deer and wild turkeys were plentiful.
In 1845 the first school- house was built in Wharton. Mason Nelson was one of the first teachers. The school- house~ was one and a quarter miles from the Cameron county line, where Thomas Logue now lives. Before this, school was taught from house to house. The religious camp- meeting ground was laid out in Wharton township ,in 1870. This ground is pleasantly situated in a grove of trees on the bank of the Sinnemahoning (First fork), and camp meetings of the Methodist Episcopal Church are held here yearly. Peaches grew finely in Wharton until 1870. Burlingame had a large orchard of peach, apple and pear, trees, and used to build an "ark" every fall in which he transported his fruit crop to market down the river. Joseph Berfield's general store and David Card's lumber industry made up the village of Wharton. Sanders post- office is located in the northern part of the township, on Sinnemahoning creek.
EAST FORK (OLEONA).
East Fork (Oleona) may be called a wilderness. For some years three or four families have made it their home; but yet they have made little impression on the wilds. Hammersly run and the heads of the East fork of the Sinnemahoning are natives of this wild division of the county. The bed of the Hammersly is Catskill rock, and the walls of the deep trench, Pocono sandstone. Geologist Sherwood stated that not a soul resided here in Centennial year, but like other travelers in the desert he did not explore it thoroughly, and so missed a few pioneers. A reference to the history of Eulalia township will show the relation of this "no- man's land" to that township.
Source: Page(s) 1110-1121 History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed May 2006 by Nathan Zipfel, Published 2006 by PA-Roots
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