Potter County, Chapter 13, Genesee Township

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




G ENESEE TOWNSHIP, bounded north by the New York State line, shows the Chemung lands along the border and in the valleys of the west and middle branches of the Genesee river. Those streams in the eastern half flow north, while the sources of the Oswayo here flow west, leaving the great Pocono mountain in the center, bounded by the Catskill hills. At Genesee Forks the two branches named join the Genesee river, while from the east come in Cotton and Mundy brooks.

The population of the township in 1880 was 883. In 1889 there were 86 Republican, 99 Democratic, 7 Prohibition and 3 Union Labor votes cast, representing 975 inhabitants. There were 289 tax- payers in 1889, assessed $73,971. This township appears to have been established under the name of Loudon, but in 1830 the present name was given. The resident tax- payers in 1831 were Cornelius Gannon, William and Wells Chaffee, George S. and T. Cady (later of Ulysses), N. Doty, Ben. P. Dolbee, Richard, Consider and Harry Ellis (whose sons reside at Ellisburg), Russell Goff, John, Oliver and Lemuel Lovell, George Maynard, Horatio A. and Henry Nelson, William Peet, John H. Rose, William Atherton and Fred Tanner. H.A. Nelson was assessor, assisted by Consider Ellis and Lemuel V. Lovell. Among the taxables was Goff's saw- mill, Richard Ellis' grist- and saw- mill, at Ellisburg, and Ben. Dolbee's saw- mill, just north of Genesee Forks. The first settlement made in the Irish colony was in 1841, by Martin Moran, an Irishman, and James Osborne and the Owens family, Americans. Mr. Moran died about eighteen years ago. His son, Matthew, was the postmaster of Ore Bed, a post- office established in 1884 at the Irish settlement, now discontinued. Patrick Burke, Martin Moore, Patrick O'Donnell, M. O'Donnell and John Shamus were the first settlers at this point, coming in 1842; the Morans settled in Oswayo; and others, named in other pages, were also here; John Hart, M. McHale, Lawrence Moran and Peter Cunningham came in 1846. Henry Roche opened the first store in the Irish settlement, in Genesee township, in 1871. The first school- house in that settlement was built in 1850, and the first school was taught by B. Avery. There are now six schools in the settlement.

The Catholic Church of Genesee township (St. Mary's) was founded in 1844, when Bishop O'Connor, Rev. Smith and Rev. Gallaher visited this point. Rev. John Burns came next, followed by Father J.P. Cody. In 1848- 49 Patrick Burke donated one acre for church building, and the old church building, still standing, was erected. Rev. J.R. Madigan succeeded Father Cody, and remained eleven years, attending all the churches of McKean and Potter counties, or the district now attended by five priests. The present large church was commenced in 1879, and dedicated by Bishop Mullen June 28, 1881. Rev. Madigan and Rev. Pue were here after the war; Rev. Martin Meagher came in March, 1871; Rev. J.L. Madigan, in March, and Rev. P. Cosgrove in June, 1874. The same year Father Madigan returned, and on his removal to Coudersport, in 1883, Rev. M.R. Flood, the present pastor, was appointed.

Ellisburg, at the confluence of the head streams of the west branch of the Genesee, is a village on the roads which run from Genesee Forks to Coudersport and Raymond's Corners. In 1870 the old Stannard and Dickinson hotels fronted on the latter; the school- house, the houses of J.E. Munroe, S.G. Rouse, J.C. Cavenaugh and Mrs. Thompson, on the former; the Ellis store and dwellings, the saw- mill, Ellis' harness shop and the Harlow dwelling, on the main road. In 1836 Richard Ellis' dwelling and grist- mill were the only buildings there. This mill was erected by Ellis in consideration of a large land bonus. The general stores of Webster & Wilson and R.E. Henry are credited with a large business.

In December, 1886, W.H. Scoville, of Andrews Settlement, discovered a mound at Ellisburg. On exploring it were found parts of the skeleton of a man measuring between seven and eight feet. A large birch tree grew on the top of this mound, and round it were hemlocks two and two and one- half feet in diameter.

Keech post- office, on West creek, was established in July, 1883, with James H. Tilburgh, postmaster. Elias Keech erected a saw- mill here in 1844- 45. Perryville, at the confluence of the Middle branch and Genesee river, early in the seventies was made up of H.O. Perry's woolen factory and dye house, a saw- mill, G.W. Hackett's grist- mills, and the dwellings of H.O. and A.H. Perry, G.W. Hackett, O.W. Hickox, F. Howard, T. Moon and W. Hill.

The officers of the township, chosen in February, 1890, are as follows: Supervisor, Thomas Maxwell; treasurer, John Simons; constable, H.G. Hurd; collector, H.G. Hurd; town clerk, F.S. Alexander; school directors, Ira Easton, J.A. Keech; overseer of poor, N. Chapman; judge of election, James McNulty; inspectors of election, J.F. Collins, P. O'Donnell.


Genesee Forks.- The first post- office at the Forks was established on the hill before the war, with Isaac Annis postmaster, and Isaac Dawley mail- carrier to Joel Raymond's office at North Bingham. Seth Roberts came next, then Resolva Easton, next Mr. Whittaker, followed by Easton, all before the war. About 1867 Jerome Diamond, built the first hotel in the present village, and carried on the office until Mr. Carpenter was appointed in 1880 or 1881. J.B. Bobbins was appointed by the late administration, and served until S.F. Alexander was appointed in 1889. He established his store, here in March, 1886, buying the interests of Hiram L. Jones, the first tenant of the store.

The Waterman House was built in 1886, for Jerome J. Waterman, at a cost of about $4,000. On December 25 that year it was opened by a party of 147 couples. The first store at Genesee Forks was established, twelve years ago, by John H. Carpenter, who is in business now. He started in the old cheese factory, now the Waterman House barn, and continued one year until he built his present store.

Martin V. Ryan Post, No. 372, G.A.R., was chartered October 17, 1883, with the following members: Jerome J. Waterman, 37th New York; Patrick Kane, Pennsylvania Artillery; A.H. Perry, 53d Pennsylvania; W.A. Whittier, New York Infantry; Isaac Dawley, 149th Pennsylvania; G.A. Leach, 85th New York; M.R. Grover, 53d Pennsylvania; George Barlow, 53d Pennsylvania; James Ryan, 46th Pennsylvania; W.D. Atherton,- Pennsylvania; Isaac Harris, James Tilburgh, T.R. Tracey, B.F. Bishop, John Collar, C.G. Woods, William Hawks, J. Odell, A.J. Barlow, E.L. Fuller, E. Hackett, J.A. Keech, Isaac Harvey and Lewis Fish. J.J. Waterman was first commander, followed by M.R. Grover, James Briggs and Amos C. King, the present commander. T.R. Tracey has served as adjutant since 1883, except for a short term when the position was held by J. Tilburgh.

Dennis Clancy Camp, S. of V., No. 205, was organized June 22, 1888, with D.W. Kane (captain), F. Dawley, George Gray, N. Wright, T.T. Gray, B.L. Chapman, C.E. Kenyon, M.W. Briggs, G.O. Briggs, G. Kenyon, C.W. Tracey, Patrick H. Kain, J.D. Clancy, E. Hawks and W.M. Berry. T.T. Gray is now captain.

The K. of H., No. 2016, was chartered August 27, 1880, with Norman Chapman, B.F. Sherman, I. E. Easton, F.M. Teater, E.L. Fuller, A.C. Ellis, V.M. Stannard, J.J. Waterman, C.L Crum, O.J. Hackett, D. Lewis, J. Lewis, S. Robbins, A.L. Robbins, John Ahearn, J. Carpenter, W.C. Whittaker, W.W. Howard and A.A. Elliot.

Genesee Forks, E.A.U., No. 366, was organized December 20, 1883, with C.L. Palmer, F.B. Bingley, W.C. Hawks, Willard Hickox, Stephen C. Hurd, A. Childs, William Atherton, C.W. Parker, James Patterson. Geo. Leach, D. Freeman and Elsworth Hawks, officials.

Acme Division, No. 136, Sons of Temperance, was organized August 9, 1886, with Mesdames A.H. Briggs, R.A. Cassy, E.J. Genung, E.C. McCarn, S.T. Smith, A.C. Race and Julia Slawson; Misses Cora Bobbins, Ione Briggs, Carrie Gates, Kate Roche, Gertie Easton, Kate Tilburgh and Ella Ellis, and fourteen male members.

Genesee Forks Cemetery Association was incorporated in September, 1887, with Thomas Coulston, J.J. Waterman, John C. Keech, Ira Easton and Graham Hurd, directors.

The frame for a church building was erected at Genesee Forks in 1850, but this was the extent of the venture. The various Christian associations have representatives there, however. The mercantile circle comprises M.D. Briggs, J.H. Carpenter and W.C. Alexander & Son, general merchants, and Jerome J. Waterman, hotel- keeper.

Source: Page(s) 1081-1084 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