Potter County, Chapter 12, Clara, Hebron and Pleasant Valley Twps

Created: Tuesday, 21 October 2008 Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 Written by Nathan Zipfel Print Email






CLARA TOWNSHIP (known as Milton in 1828) does not differ much in formation from Hebron on the east and Pleasant Valley on the west. Clara creek runs north to feed the Oswayo, and Roulette creek runs south to swell the stream of Fishing creek. The Oswayo synclinal hills have a width of six miles here, and on warrant 3439 is the boulder- covered summit about 2,330 feet above ocean level. In the neighborhood of Clara post- office is the celebrated outcrop of green sandstone.

The population in 1880 was 238. In 1888 there were 41 Republican, 16 Democrat, 2 Prohibitionist and 4 Union Labor votes cast, representing 315 inhabitants. The number of taxables in 1889 was 94, and the assessed value, $39,150. The resident tax- payers of Clara in 1836- 37 were R.W. Allen, David Brown, G. Fosmer, J.C. Fessenden (assessor), Jacob, Isaac and Luke Cole, Phil. Hawes, H. Leroy, John and Isaac Lyman, M. Lamphere, Nathan Phillips, Samuel, Nathan and Robert Wakely and Nathan West. In 1860 there were 35 voters, and in 1869 there were 69 resident tax- payers.

The first record of an election in Clara was of one that took place on the second Friday in February, 1836, at which Nathan Phillips was elected supervisor and Maxon Lamphere, A.G. West and R.W. Allen, auditors. The town meeting was held at the house of R.W. Allen. The general elections were held in a log- house in Millport, in conjunction with Sharon. In 1847 Clara township was divided, and the western half was named Pleasant Valley. In 1832 Richard W.Allen and Garret Fosmer moved to Clara. Mr. Allen was a. blacksmith, and his forge was erected in a shingle shanty, which was burned in 1834. Just before this Shelden Bradley moved into the township. Reuben Clark went over from Eulalia to assist at the raising of Bradley's house. He took his dinner with him, but, staying all night, he had to catch some trout from the stream now known as Bradley run for his breakfast. These he roasted at a fire in the open air. The Greenmans, one of whom resides at Eldred, were among the old settlers. About the year 1835 in Clara, N. Phillips, Garret Fosmer, David Brown, M. Lamphere, Philip Haynes, Nathan Wakely and R.W. Allen met and built a log school- house on the farm of R.W. Allen. It was a cold, cheerless affair, but it demonstrated by its existence that the first settlers' heads were sound, for it was the first step toward giving their children an education. The first winter school was taught by David Hall, and the first summer school by Harriet Allen.

Rodney L. Nichols, who resided near the north corners of Clara and Hebron townships, when agent for the land owners, had the carriage which was used by Daniel Webster. A few years ago the old vehicle was sold, and is now said to belong to a farmer on Eleven Mile creek.

Clara post- office is located in the northeast corner of the township on a branch of the Oswayo. Frederick P. Brooks, who died at Lodge Pole, Neb., January 6, 1890, aged seventy- two, and Lydia Brooks, who died on January 9, same year, aged sixty- seven, resided there five years, having previously lived in Clara township for forty- two years.

The officers of the township, elected in February, 1890, are as follows: Justice of the peace, J.L. Allen; constable, O.E. Corsaw; collector, O.E. Corsaw; supervisor, Odell Fowler; treasurer, J.M. Tyler; town clerk, F.B. Stevens; auditor, A. Weimer; overseer of the poor, H. Baker; school directors, E.L. Fish, John Tauscher; judge of election, Samuel Ferguson; inspectors of election, Madison Bridges, M.E. Baker.


Hebron township is divided by the R.H. & B. anticlinal, with the Coudersport synclinal hills in the southwest corner, and the Oswayo synclinal hills in the northwest. Dent brook and Steer brook rise in the southeast corner, and flow across the south line into the Allegheny through deep ravines. Fishing creek flows from a point near Hebron post- office, southwest to Roulette, while Whitney's creek, South Branch and other feeders of the Oswayo rise in, the north half of township, and flow northwest through magnificent gulches. A mile southeast of East Hebron, massive boulders of conglom lie around in confusion, and in a few other places those evidences of Nature's whims are to be seen. Two and one- half miles from Hebron, on the Clara road, is the mountain top, 2,397 feet above ocean level, or 280 feet above the level of the village.

The population in 1880 was 835. In 1888 there were 122 Republican, 45 Democrat, 9 Prohibitionist, and 17 Union Labor votes, representing 965 inhabitants. The number of tax- payers in 1889 was 279, and the assessed value, $69,138. The township was established in 1832, and in 1839 the resident tax- payers were Martin Britt, Samuel Baker, Shelden Bradley, D.C. Brian (or O'Brien), Eleazer Chamberlin, Ezra Carpenter, Hiram Cheeseboro, Daniel and Nelson Clark, Noah Crittenden, Julian Coon, Versal Dickinson, B.D. Dolbee, L.D. Felt, J.M. Greenman, W.H. Hydorn, Judson Kine, Moses Haney, Gard. Hall, Luke Seaman, C. Lincoln, Nathan and Ezekiel Main, Joe Milham, John Pearsall, Foster Reynolds, John Read, George, Anson and George W. Stillman, Ozias Sparks, Louis Wood, John Wells, James C. Whitney (saw- mill), James Whitney, John White (assessor), Joab H. Ross and Seth Taggart. In 1834 there was one school- house at least, in Potter county, built in 1833, on the G.W. Stillman farm, in Hebron township.

Dr. Mattison, in his history of this township, says: "Up to 1829 the only families in Hebron were those of Peabody, Whitney, Reuben Card and John White. A colony of Seventh Day Baptists. from Alfred came into the town. In 1833 Nathan Main, of Hebron, was killed by a falling tree while chopping a fallow in Hebron. There were so few settlers at this time that this first fatal accident in the county cast a gloom over the entire community.

W.H. Hydorn came from Rensselaer county, N.Y., and settled in Hebron, this year. The Seventh Day Baptists organized their church in Hebron in 1833. Their first pastor was Rev. N.V. Hull. The first saw- mill in the town was built by a man named Whitney. H. Lord and John Dwight, kept the first store on Oswayo creek. A covenant was entered into by the early settlers of this township not to use liquor, a resolution that was rigidly kept. In 1833 the first wedding was celebrated in this township between Jeanette Coon and Ezekiel Main. The first birth was that of Amanda Crandall. The first school was taught in 1834 by Elias Wells."

The Seventh Day Baptist Church of Hebron was incorporated September 23, 1869, with J.M. Greenman, J.H.R. Greenman, W.C. Reynolds, W.H. Hydorn, G.W. Stillman and S. Greenman, officials. The Hebron Cemetery Association was organized in February, 1882, with the object of establishing a burial ground near Hebron post- office. The directors were Sylvester Greenman, L.R. Burdic, W. Hydorn, G.W. Stillman and J.T. Randall. In 1889 the John Schollard store at East Hebron was assessed as a first- class store. The post- offices of the township are Hebron, in the southwest corner, and East Hebron, in the east center.

The officers of the township elected in February; 1890, are as follows: Supervisor, Mark Harvey; constable, E.P. Clare; treasurer, Edwin Hollenbeck; collector, H.W. Press; town clerk, John Schollard; auditor, F.M. Van Wegen; overseer of the poor, E.E. Swift; school directors, R.H. Feet, C.H. Sherwood; judge of election, Albert Eggleston; inspectors of election, Floyd Estes, Miles Higley.


Pleasant Valley varies in formation from Clara only in the greater width of elevated plateau. Sartwell creek flows south, and the feeders of Bell's run of the Oswayo runs north. The Chemung formation forms a narrow strip along the northern section, as an introduction to the fairer land of Sharon. The hills are bold and steep and the caflons narrow and deep, except in the agricultural valley of Sartwell creek. The population in 1880 was 211, increased, by 1888, to 300, the latter figure being based on the twenty- five Republican and thirty-five Democratic votes cast. The number of tax- payers in 1889 is 101, and the assessed value, $47,445.

Pleasant Valley township was assessed, in 1855, by Israel Burt, who found here S.M. Beckwith, L. Benjamin, Joseph Clark, George Coss, J.C. Fessenden, Rodney, S.R. and William Fessenden, Nelson Fluent, D. Hause, William Jackson, Isaac Lyman, Louis Lyman, Hannibal Lad, Matthew and Henry McDowell, William Monroe, William North, Jacob Palmer & Son, James Read, J.J. Roberts, D.P. Roberts, George Weimer, J.T. Warren, William Warden and Dan. Yentzer.

In 1832 religious meetings were held from house to house, in Pleasant Valley, by Elder Pasco. More lately a congregation of United Brethren was organized. About this time, and later, the Indians built a lodge upon the land of George Weimer, which they used for their chief camp while hunting and fishing in this region. In 1846 the first school- house was raised by J.C. Fessenden (who suggested the name of the township after it was set off from Clara), and Miss Sally Standish was called to teach. Isaac and Peter North erected the first grist-mill in this township in 1851, at the head of Bell's run. It was a little concern of one run of stone, and used more as a corn- crusher than as a grist- mill. Simeon Beckwith opened the first blacksmith shop in 1868, and in March, 1884, Pleasant Valley post- office was established, with Pulaski Reed, master. The only post- office now in the township is Williston. In 1857 the first store was established, by Luther Benjamin.

The officers of Pleasant Valley township, chosen in February, 1890, are as follows: Justice of the peace, N.C. Hammond; constable, John McDowell; supervisor, Henry Yentzer; clerk, Wilson McDowell; treasurer, I.V. Reed; collector, John McDowell; auditor, Elmer Deming; judge of election, D.T. Yentzer; overseer of the poor, A.M. Beckwith; inspectors of election, E.B. Keeler, B.A. Haynes; school directors, J.L. Yentzer, H.D. North.

Source: Page(s) 1078-1081 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