History of Columbia and Montour counties, Pennsylvania

With this page ends the task which has been pursued through many months with growing interest. The location of the early founders of these counties, surrounded by the more vigorous settlements in the Wyoming Valley at Sunbury, and the more exposed settlements on the "West Branch," has robbed these pages of much of the thrilling exploits and daring adventure which are naturally associated with early border experiences; but while the editor of this work has found only the annals of a quiet neighborhood to chronicle, there has not been wanting abundant evidence that its founders exercised that patient endurance and preserving intelligent labor which is required to make the wilderness blossom like the rose.


Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. Introductory 15-23

CHAPTER II. Sir William Keift, 1638-47. Peter Minuit, 1638-41. Peter Hollandaer, 1641-43. John Printz, 1643-63. Peter Stuy- vesant, 1647-64. John Pappagoya, 1653-54. John Claude Rysingh, 1654-55 23-33

CHAPTER III. John Paul Jacquet, 1655-57. Jacob Alrichs, 1657-59. Goeran Van Dyck, 1657-58. William Beekman, 1658-63. Alex. D'Hinoyossa, 1659-64 33-35

CHAPTER IV. Richard Nichols, 1664-67. Robert Needham, 1664-68. Francis Lovelace, 1667-73. John Carr, 1668-73. Anthony Colve, 1673-74. Peter Alrichs, 1673-74 35-41

CHAPTER V. Sir Edmund Andros, 1674-81. Edmund Cantwell, 1674-76. John Collier, 1676-77. Christopher Billop, 1677-81 41-50

CHAPTER VI. William Markham, 1681-82. William Penn, 1682-84 51-61

CHAPTER VII. Thomas Lloyd, 1684-86. Five Commissioners, 1686-88. John Blackwell, 1688-90. Thomas Lloyd, 1690-91. William Markham, 1691-93. Benjamin Fletcher, 1693-95. William Markham, 1693-99 61-69

CHAPTER VIII. William Penn, 1699-1701. Andrew Hamilton, 1701-03. Edward Shippen, 1703-04. John Evans, 1704-09. Charles Gooken, 1709-17 69-75

CHAPTER IX. Sir William Keith, 1717-26. Patrick Gordon, 1726-36. James Logan, 1736-38. George Thomas, 1738-47. Anthony Palmer, 1747-8. James Hamilton 1748-54 75-89

CHAPTER X. Robert H. Morris, 1754-56. William Denny, 1756-59. James Hamilton, 1759-63 89-97

CHAPTER XI. John Penn, 1763-71. James Hamilton, 1771. Richard Penn, 1771-73. John Penn, 1773-76 98-104

CHAPTER XII. Thomas Wharton, Jr., 1777-78. George Bryan, 1778. Joseph Reed, 1778 -81. William Moore, 1781-82. John Dickinson, 1782-85. Benjamin Franklin, 1785-88 104-114

CHAPTER XIII. Thomas Mifflin, 1788-99. Thomas McKean, 1799-1808. Simon Snyder, 1808-17. William Findlay, 1817-20. Joseph Heister, 1820-23. John A. Shulze, 1823-29. George Wolfe, 1829-35 Joseph Ritner, 1835-39 114-121

CHAPTER XIV. David R. Porter, 1839-45. Francis R. Shunk, 1845-48. William F. Johnstone, 1848-52. William Bigler, 1852-55. James Pollock, 1855-58. William F. Packer, 1858-61. Andrew G. Curtin, 1861-67. John W. Geary, 1867-73. John F. Hartranft, 1873-78. Henry F. Hoyt, 1878-82. Robert E. Pattison, 1882-86. James A. Beaver, 1886 122-131

Gubernatorial Table 132
CHAPTER I. General Topography and Geology 3-38

CHAPTER II. The Planting and Extension of the Early Settlements 38-65

CHAPTER III. Organization of the County 65-97

CHAPTER IV. The Social Development 97-123

CHAPTER V. The Storm and Stress Period 124-151

CHAPTER VI. Bloomsburg 151-184

CHAPTER VII. Scott Township 181-190

CHAPTER VIII. Briarcreek Township and Borough of Berwick 191-207

CHAPTER IX. Centre Township 207-219

CHAPTER X. Fishingcreek township 219-224

CHAPTER XI. Sugarloaf and Benton Townships 224-232

CHAPTER XII. Greenwood and Jackson Townships 234-245

CHAPTER XIII. Mount Pleasant and Orange Townships 245-256

CHAPTER XIV. Hemlock and Montour Townships 256-263

CHAPTER XV. Madison and Pine Townships 264-269

CHAPTER XVI. Catawissa and Franklin Townships 270-285

CHAPTER XVII. Mifflin Township 286-291

CHAPTER XVIII. Maine Township 292-294

CHAPTER XIX. Beaver Township 294-298

CHAPTER XX. Roaringcreek Township 298-301

CHAPTER XXI. Locust Township 301-310

CHAPTER XXII. Conyngham Township and borough of Centralia 310-318


CHAPTER I. - Indians 3-7

CHAPTER II. - Some of the Early Families 7-18

CHAPTER III. - Early History - County Organization - Public Buildings, Etc. 18-28

CHAPTER IV. - Description - Topography - Geology - Agriculture, Etc. 28-38

CHAPTER V. - Internal Improvements 38-44

CHAPTER VI. - Border Wars - War 1812-15 - Mexican War - Civil War, Etc 44-51

CHAPTER VII. - Schools 52-58

CHAPTER VIII. - Medical 61-63

CHAPTER IX. - Bench and Bar 64-66

CHAPTER X. - Newspapers 66-72

CHAPTER XI. - Officials and Statistics 72-74

CHAPTER XII. - Danville 75-118

CHAPTER XIII - Townships 121-138
Mahoning 121
Anthony 122
Derry 125
Limestone 128
Liberty 128
Valley 133
Mayberry 135
Cooper 137
West Hemlock 137




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Montour is among the youngest of the sisterhood of counties of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as being one of the smallest in territory, but with all this a rich and precious jewel in the cluster of sixty-seven counties of this Keystone State. It was named in honor of Madame Montovir, of whom an account is given in the chapter entitled Indians.

On the fifth day of November, 17G8, the provincial authorities purchased the Indian title to the district embraced in the present counties of Northum-berland, Montour, Lackawanna, Wayne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Bradford, Sullivan, Lycoming, Union and Centre, all of which were embraced in the county of Northumberland, erected in 1772. These eleven counties were of themselves a rich empire at the hands of the resolute Anglo-Saxons. The negotiations were conducted at Fort Stanwix. Immediately thereafter the first surveys were made by the proprietaries. On the third of April following the lands were opened to settlers; and so eager was the desire to secure possession in the new territory, that over two thousand applications were filed the first day. The first survey in what is now Montour County was made February 22, 1769. A part of this tract is where Danville now stands. On this spot, at the mouth of the Mahoning, there was a small village of Delaware Indians. Here, it is said, the venerable Tamanund dwelt. The Indians did not wholly abandon their village until about 1774. For at least fifteen years they remained in the hills hereabout secure in their rocky fastnesses and sometimes descend- ing in their murderous raids upon the settlements. Prior to this purchase the Indians permitted no invasion of their grounds by the whites, save as travelers, traders and trappers and hunters with much jealousy and no great good will toward the latter. The whites looked upon this fair territory and they coveted it. A few daring adventurers had explored its grand old forests, its broad fertile valleys, its cool sweet waters, boiling from its many springs, forming the murmuring mountain streams and purling valley brooks, and its forests and streams filled with game and fish, and they told their neighbors and friends of the wonderful country that lay waste and waiting the pale faced avant couriers of civilization; and the story spread among the people and filled them with eager desire to visit and to own this beautiful and promised land. To this "new purchase," at once it was opened to the hardy settler, there was a rush of immigrants that to that time had hardly had an equal in suddenness and numbers. In four short years after the opening of the country the immigration was so large that the machinery of civilized government was an imperative necessity, and a nucleus of a town had been formed at Sunbury and this place was fixed upon as a county seat and home for courts and the paraphernalia of law and justice. This was done in 1776, or a little less than eight years after the people were permitted to come here. Circumstances fixed the abode of the new people along the banks of the Susquehanna River, following up from the bay the main stream and its two branches where it forks and spreads out in different courses. These streams were the only highways that the people could use to and from other settlements. This was the case for several years. They found here the few Indian trails, and in crossing the mountain ranges and the often precipitous foot hills, they were often guided by these in shaping their course over the country and across the streams.