History of Columbia County, Pennsylvania

Herewith is submitted to the general public of Columbia County, a second printing of the first six chapters of a history of this county, designed also for school use and prepared under the aegis of the Columbia County Historical Society. It is still In tentative form. A number of our county's high schools have found the first printing useful and expressed the desire that it continue to be available for school use.

Rather than being an excursion Into narrow provincialism and pettiness the history of one's locality and region touches the broader history of one's commonwealth and country In many places and in many ways.

In some occasional Instances these contacts are at critical and decisive points. At others such contacts are representative manifestations of our larger history, clarifying and sharpening it by Instances In the reader's own home land. in addition the heritage of the advantages and achievements of the leaders and others and, - yes, let us face them - also the heritage of tensions and scars, - make up our region. We live here. Knowing our own community the better, we can become better community builders and more loyally attached to it.

These objectives and points of view have guided the author.

The standard sources have been combed, and diligent effort has been exerted to uncover new sources. Are there persons who have reliable traditions, letters, diaries, manuscripts, which would be helpful? Pictures, newspapers, clippings, catalogues, anything that will contribute to a more effective account of our cherished region, are requested. It Is hoped that such sources may be made known for a more nearly definitive work to be attempted In the future. These are requested both for the period prior to 1870, and also for the period 1870 to the present. To be more specific; items dealing with mining, lumbering, quarrying, farming, industry, religion, education, any significant aspect or detail.

Careful efforts have been made to avoid errors, errors of omissions, of misstatements, or of any other type. Friendly criticism is welcomed. Responses to this request will be utilized fully to improve a final edition planned for Issue In standard book form.


Table of Contents

Preface III
Relief Map, Columbia County and Region IV
Political Map, Columbia County with Neighboring Districts V
Suggestions to Teachers and Students; Acknowledgements VI
Chapter I, The Columbia County Region When it Was Indian Country 1
Chapter II, Pioneers, Patriots, and Tories in the Susquehanna Valleys 10
Chapter III, Pioneer Settlements in the "New Purchase" 29
Chapter IV, Transforming the Frontier into Civilized Communities 38
Chapter V, Canals, Railroads, and Industries 55
Chapter VI, Some Mid-Century Conflicts 69
Outline Map of Columbia County 78
Bibliography of useful reference books following p. 67 VII


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Dwellers in Columbia County are reminded in many ways that our beautiful region was at one time the home of people different from Europeans, The main river flowing through our county is called the Susquehanna. Both the name and the river are considered, respectively, among the most beautiful in the United States. The name is Indian. We are not sure whether it meant river where-the-water-makes-the-rocks-Indian grind-on-the-banks, or the long and crooked river, or even the muddy Times river. Fishing Creek is a translation of the Indian name, Namescesepong, meaning stream-of-fish, or merely that its water smells fishy, Catawissa may have meant growing-fat-from-food or the place of pure water. Roaring Creek is probably a translation of the Indian, Popemetunk. Briar Creek' was known to the Indians Kawanishoning.