Twelve miles above the confluence of the west and north branches, and lying on the eastern bank of the former, is the present borough of Milton. Limestone Run flows to the westward, directly through the lower portion of the town, and enters the west branch, opposite two islands of considerable size and great fertility. These islands divide the river into three channels, and the general course of the main stream, at this point, is nearly south.
The West Branch Canal passes through the town, as does also the Philadelphia and Reading, and the Philadelphia and Erie Railroads.
By the course of the latter, the distance is about two hundred and seventy-five miles to the city of Erie, the only port which Pennsylvania holds upon the great lakes of the northwest.
This is the Milton of today: a healthy, flourishing, illustrious borough of four thousand inhabitants. But a century ago, it was not Milton; the name had never been spoken or thought of, in connection with the log buildings - too few to be even called a hamlet, which stood on the leafy bank of Limestone Run.
We really have no knowledge of the events which occurred there, or in its immediate vicinity, until after the year 1770; but, notwithstanding the lack of historical data up to this period, it can hardly be true, as one chronicler has it, that “In 1772, the place where Milton now stands, was covered by a dense forest, and no sound was heard save that of the wild beast or bird, or of the Indian, as he roamed over the grounds in search of prey,” for it appears that in that year, Marcus Hulings had built a log-house, and opened it as a tavern, near the bend of Limestone Run, and that Marcus Hulings, Jr., a son, or, perhaps a nephew of the former, had established a blacksmith-shop further up the river, probably about the present intersection of Broadway and Front streets. And a little later, George McCandlish opened another tavern on what was afterwards the Hepburn farm (now within the borough limits) which, in 1776, had grown to such importance, that on the 8th of July, in that year, an election was held there, for the choice of delegates to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. These facts seem to indicate, quite conclusively, that there must have been a considerable number of settlers in the vicinity, at least as early as 1772; for public-houses and blacksmith-shops must have had white support, and would not have been established for the accommodation of wild Indian hunters.
The business of inn-keeping was evidently quite prosperous there, or else the Hulings were especially inclined toward that calling - or, perhaps, both - for in the next year, on the fourth Tuesday in August, the Court of General Sessions granted Marcus Hulings, Jr. - the blacksmith - “ a license to keep a public house, he giving bond, etc., agreeable to the laws of the Province,” which latter condition shows that inn-keepers, even in those times, were compelled to conduct their establishments in a lawful and orderly manner. But taverns alone, be they ever so orderly, will not promote immigration, nor bring prosperity to any but their proprietors; and so, while Freeland’s mills were bringing steady accessions of settlers to this neighborhood, no progress was made at Limestone Run, and no step was taken in the direction of prosperity, until Andrew Straub came there, late in the year 1779. He was from the county of Lancaster, and, besides being a man of sobriety and enterprise, he was a capable mill-wright and miller - two callings most necessary to the well-being of new settlements. When he arrived, he found no buildings standing there. The houses and shops of the Hulings, as well as another strong log-house, which had been built after theirs, had all been burned, at the capture of Fort Freeland, in July; but there was a new log-house then in process of erection, (“logged up to the square,”) on the lot, now corner of Water street and Broadway. This building stood until it was burned in the fire of May 4th, 1876. Andrew Straub at once set about building a house for his family. It was a log structure, and stood on or near the site now occupied by the Milton National Bank. This, however, was intended only as a temporary shelter, and soon thereafter he built a larger house, with stable in connection - in the German way - on the west side of the present Filbert street. There he lived until 1793, when he removed to his new house, on the rear side of his farm - near the property now owned by Isaac Marsh, ‘at the east end of’ Centre street - and there he remained till the time of his death, August, 1806. Meanwhile, about 1792, he had planned and prepared to build a mill to grind corn and wheat, for the subsistence of the settlers. He had dug a race-way from the easterly bend of Limestone Run to the river. The mill was to stand on the river bank, on or near the line between his own lands and those of James Black, right by the ruins of Hulings’ blacksmith-shop, and where the engine-house now is. But, just then, there occurred an event which changed all his plans, and probably, to some extent, the future of the town; and it was in this way that it happened: Limestone Run, which then furnished all the mill driving-power which the settlement had, or could seem to hope for, came down in a westerly course, to the point where Mr. Straub had planned to divert the water, by means of his race, to his mill-wheels, and thence to empty it into the river. From that bend, it took a more south-westerly course, till it carne within a hundred yards of the west branch; but there, again, it capriciously turned towards the south, and, after a devious course in that direction for about two miles, it fell into Housel’s Run, only a short distance above its mouth. Now, at the point where it approached within a hundred yards of the river, there was a low neck of ground, which, at high-water, was sometimes submerged, and which was, at all times, rather damp for cultivation. So the plowman, with an eye to better drainage, had thrown the furrows from the lowest part, leaving a deep depression there, and the result was that when, in a high Summer freshet, Limestone Run was swollen far beyond its ordinary bounds, the waters went tearing through the accidental furrow, and made it a permanent channel, closing forever the lower part of the stream to its junction with Housel’s Run.
Here was a new aspect of affairs; and Andrew Straub was not slow to profit by it. The flood had opened a new channel, and had, in a single day, made a better mill-site at the lower bend, than he had been able, with all his toil, to make at the upper one. So, without any vain regret, he closed the head-race, on which he had spent so much labor, and in a few months he had built, near to where the present stone bridge is, a log-mill, with wheel outside, and one run of stones, which gave the settlement its first real start on the road to importance, and which also gave to the town its name. For when the mill was completed, and in operation, the settlers of the surrounding country, glad to abandon the long route to the mill at Warrior Run, flocked in to Andrew Straub’s, and called it “Mill-town,” which afterwards was shortened and euphonized to
THE NAME MILTON
At the suggestion of Mr. Straub’s surveyor, when in the next year he laid out that portion of the town south of Broadway.
Andrew Straub had, in partnership with a man named Yentzler, bought these lands from the insolvent estate of Colonel Francis, and afterwards, Yentzler becoming involved, his interest was purchased by Straub, who thus became sole owner.
Settlers from New Jersey and the eastern counties of Pennsylvania came steadily in, and Straub’s mill became so filled with work that, in 1794, he erected a new frame building, with three run of stones, and when all was ready, the water was turned from the wheel of the old log mill, into that of the new one, and the grinding continued without interruption.
After the flood upon Limestone Run had cut the new channel from the bend to the river, it became necessary that a bridge should be built across it, to preserve communication between the upper and lower portions of the town; so two stone abutments were built, with short wing-walls, and a wooden bridge, eighteen feet in length, was thrown across them. Against these abutments and wing-walls, the earth was embanked, and the road-way (now Front street) passed over it. It was a narrow, low, and rather insignificant bridge, but it answered the purposes of travel very well, for more than fifteen years.
It became so much decayed in 1810, that it was replaced by a new stone bridge, with three small arches, built by Peter Swartz.
LAYlNG OUT THE TOWN.
In 1793, Andrew Straub laid out, from the lands which Yentzler and himself had purchased from the estate of Colonel Francis, all that area embraced between Broadway and Ferry Lane, and it was called the town of Milton. But, two years later, when James Black, Esq., of Sunbury, laid out his land from Broadway northward to Locust street, August 11th, 1795, the two plots of Black and Straub became known as Upper and Lower Milton, respectively.
From the time of the completion of the mill, the bridging of Limestone Run, and the laying out of Lower Milton, the young town enjoyed for several years a growth, and an increase of importance which were very gratifying. Settlers - mostly of the better-class - came in rapidly, from the eastern counties, and from New Jersey. Dr. Daniel Faulkner was one of these. He was
THE FIRST PHYSICIAN
who established in Milton. Another accession was Bethuel Vincent, who had been captured by the British and Indians, at Freeland’s fort. After his return from captivity, he was not slow to perceive that the importance of the settlements on Warrior Run had declined, and that Milton must far surpass them. So he lost no time in transferring his family and all his interests to the new town, and there, for many years, he lived one of her most prominent and respected citizens. William and Thomas Pollock, Robert Taggart, John Chestnut, John Tietsworth, James Latimore, Samuel Hepburn, and John Dixon, are found among many other well-remembered names, as residents of Milton previous to 1795.
THE SECOND PHYSICIAN
Was Dr. James Dougal, who left Ireland under proscription, and located here in 1795, but did not bring his family from the old country till 1798.
THE FIRST LAWYER
Daniel Smith, established in Milton as early as 1793. He was most eminent in his profession, and famed for his powers of oratory. Samuel Hepburn, another excellent lawyer, came but very little later.
As regards religious worship, the Methodists were the pioneers. They had held occasional services in private houses in Milton, and the immediate neighborhood since 1788. The Episcopalians were worshiping in their own log church in Morris Lane, in 1795.
THE FIRST TANNERY
Was established in 1795, by John Armstrong, from Montgomery County. It stood near Straub’s mill, and on or very near the site of the present tanning establishment of William H. Reber.
Nor was the school question neglected by these enlightened settlers, for on the 3rd day of July, 1795, Andrew Straub, for the consideration of five shillings, and other good causes thereunto him moving, conveyed to Robert Taggart, Daniel Faulkner, John Tietsworth, James Latimore, Samuel Hepburn, and John Dixon, as trustees, “two certain lots of ground in Milton, the one being a triangle-cornered lot, and situate on the south side of Market street, and the other situate on the north side of said street, and adjoining a lot of William Doland. The one for the sale and proper use of a school and school-house to be erected thereon, for the general good and benefit of the said town. The other for the sale and proper use and benefit of the English Presbyterian congregation of said town and its vicinity.”
The school lot was the triangular one upon the south side of the street.
The inhabitants of the town were thoroughly awake to the necessity of establishing a school for the training and education of their children. They had had some desultory teaching there, to be sure, but it was unsatisfactory, and the sentiment seemed nearly unanimous, that an established school, and a regularly employed teacher were necessary; and so a meeting was called and duly organized, at which it was voted to build a school-house upon the lot which Andrew Straub had donated to them, and three persons were chosen to superintend its erection. A subscription being circulated for the purpose, ninety-three persons - presumably heads of families - responded, in sums varying from two pounds, five shillings, down to one shilling and ten pence. The result was, that a log building was at once commenced, and late in the year 1796, it was completed, under the supervision of James Faulkner, John Cochran, and George Calhoun.
It was called the Milton English School, and the first teacher was James McQuinn.
All went satisfactory for three or four years; but in 1799, the question of a division of the school, and the building of a second school-house was agitated, and after several meetings being held in reference to the subject, it was decided to divide, and to build another house. The work proceeded, and the edifice was finished in 1802. It was a frame building, and stood on the south side of Broadway, upon the site of the present brick school-house.
THE FIRST STONE HOUSE
In Milton was built in 1796, by Peter Swartz, stone-mason, for James Black, Esq., on his land on Water street, just north of Broadway. Before this, all buildings had been of wood - either log or frame - and this one was looked upon as a very superior structure. When Mr. Black’s financial troubles came, the house and land fell into the possession of William and Thomas Pollock, and is now owned by ex-Governor James Pollock, who is making elegant and extensive repairs upon it. The character of the old mansion may be judged from the fact that, on May 4th, 1876, when (in it’s eighteenth year) it was damaged by the fire at the corner of Water street and Broadway, the insurance upon it (exclusive of furniture) was three thousand dollars.
THE SECOND STONE HOUSE
Was that of Dr. James Dougal, also built by Peter Swartz, in 1803. It is still occupied by Dr. James Dougal, the son of the first proprietor. It is a large, solid, quadrangular house, and certainly does not seem to have lived out half it’s days.
The same, or the following year, Swartz built a third house, of the same material, for John Hetherington, in the lower part of the town.
THE FIRST BRICK BUILDING
In Milton, was a one-and-a-half story dwelling-house, built in 1802, for Miss Ellen Sanderson, who afterwards became Mrs. David Ireland. The house stood on the north side of Market street, directly east of, and adjoining the residence of George Correy, deceased.
At the commencement of the year 1798, so many buildings had been erected, that the thoughts of the people began to turn towards the possibility of disastrous tires, and the necessity for some means of prevention and extinguishment. The citizens met for the consideration of the question, and the following is a transcript of the record of their proceedings:
“FRIDAY Evening, January 19th, 1798.
“A meeting was holden at the house of John Chapman, in the town of Milton, by a number of the inhabitants of said town, and after having come to order, a motion was made for some method to be fallen upon to procure ladders, hooks, etc., for the purpose of preventing and extinguishing tire in the town of Milton.
“Agreed unanimously that it was necessary to have six ladders, and six poles with hooks.
“Agreed that after they are obtained, they shall be deposited in the following places and manner, to wit: One pair of ladders and hooks at Samuel Hepburn’s; one pair of each at James McNight’s house; and one pair of each at Peter Egner’s;
“ Agreed that the money for defraying the expenses of said ladders and hooks, shall be raised by a tax, and that a committee be appointed to levy and collect the same, and likewise to procure and deposit the same, in places and manner aforementioned, the committee to consist of three persons, to wit: Samuel Hepburn, John Chestnut, and Moses Teas, who were then unanimously chosen,
“ Agreed that the ladders and hooks be kept for the sole purpose of preventing and extinguishing fires, and that any person taking them for any other use, shall forfeit and pay the sum of four dollars, which is to be appropriated to the Use of the Society.”
Milton, in the year 1805, contained more than five hundred inhabitants.
There was no census made, but the oldest and best informed residents basing their judgment on the school-list of that day, and other data - are confident that the number mentioned above, is considerably too low.
The shape of the settled parts of the town was - as one of the principal citizens expresses it - that of a pair of saddle-bags, there being two clusters of dwellings, one below the stone bridge, in the present locality of Mahoning and adjacent streets, and the other on Broadway and northward from thence, while the string of shops and business places, on Front street, and contiguous to the river, connecting the upper and the lower settlements, completed the fancied resemblance to the saddle-bags.
Milton was then a very important depot of agricultural products, which were brought there from the teeming country which surrounded it - Paradise, Pleasant Valley, Chillisquaque, Buffalo, Sugar Valley, and White Deer - and of course a prosperous merchandise trade, an exchange of commodities, was the result. In the frozen months, this traffic passed to and fro, between Milton and Philadelphia, on wagons or sleds, over the hills by the way of Reading, the trip occupying three weeks. In the months of navigation, the route over land was discontinued, and the business was done by boats on the river via Columbia.
The principal general merchants were then William and Thomas Pollock, James Moody, Charles Comly and his brother, James and Ezekiel Sanderson, and Seth Iredell. After the death of Ezekiel, which occurred about this time, his brother, WiIliam, took his place in the business. The stores were mostly on Front street, but the storage warehouses (for grain, etc.,) were upon the river bank.
All those merchants, with, perhaps, the exception of Mr. Moody, made modest fortunes in their vocations. The owners of boats, too, often realized as much of profit as did the merchants, and they were a class whose wellbeing was closely linked with that of the town.
THE FIRST BUTCHER
In Milton, and the only one at this time, was Michael Gower. There were four blacksmiths, of whom Jerome Egler was one, and two cabinet-makers on the main street - James McCord and one Moody. Philip Goodman, from Berks County, was a weaver and a maker of weaver’s reeds. A Mr. Kirk, a Scotchman, was also a weaver. Both had shops on Front street, and near them was the store and workroom of Shunk, a German hatter.
About that time was started the carding-mill of Henry Follmer. It stood on Limestone Run, a short distance out of town, on premises now owned by H. P. Follmer. McGowan’s sickle and carding-mill, at Front street, was built a few years later.
On a back lane, now known as Elm street, stood two distilleries, owned by Moses Teas and Samuel Teas, with a large storage-building belonging to each; and near them, Armstrong’s tannery was doing a small business in the tanning of slaughter-hides; while only a few yards away, Straub’s frame mill - now thirteen years old - still kept chattering away, in the production of honest wealth.
THE FIRST COOPER-SHOP
And the only one in Milton, at that time, was that of Isaac Osburn, who made both flour and whisky-barrels. Some of the people complained of the din which he made by his hoop-driving, and certainly it was far more noisy than the clack of the flour-mill.
There were other callings, which clearly suggested luxury, young as the settlement was: Nancy Reese - afterwards the wife of Bethuel Vincent - kept a millinery establishment on Front street, in partnership with her sister, Hannah. While, as regards men’s wear, James Hutchinson was prepared to furnish it, from his genteel tailor-shop, on the same street. It was this James Hutchinson who, on a trip to Jersey Shore, recognized in the fair Esther McDowell, the young impostor in male attire, who had previously, in Milton, worked for him as a Journeyman tailor. There were several boot and shoemakers, and, among the chief of these was Christian Wood, whose residence and shop were on the main street. Sometimes, at his establishment, even in that frugal day, the price of a pair of warranted calf boots with high legs, and tops of red leather, cost the extravagant figure of sixteen dollars!
David Rittenhouse was located on Front street, as a clock and watchmaker - or, rather, repairer; and Philip Housel was engaged in the same business. Each of these gentlemen annexed to his ordinary trade-title the more sounding one of silversmith, and each, at a later day, received the additional dignity of Justice of the Peace.
But the trade of inn-keeper seems to have had the most numerous following : Hugh Montgomery had built and kept a public-house, on the spot now occupied by the dwelling of Mr. Isaac Brown, on Front street. But Montgomery had died in 1802, and the house was then kept by John Brady.
David Derrickson added to his vocation of auctioneer, that of inn-keeper, and his tavern was on the east side of Front street, just below, and adjoining the present premises of Gotlob Brown. (That hotel was afterwards carried away by the great Limestone Run flood, in 1817, and was then owned by a Mr. Hill.)
Bethuel Vincent’s inn was at the corner of Front street and Broadway, and was, at this time, probably the most frequented of any, except John Brady’s.
Christian Holler was innskeeper, saddler, and cavalry officer. His inn was on Front street, below the bridge, the spot now occupied by the premises of P. H. Schreyer.
Joseph Hammond’s tavern was in the upper portion of the town, and was a great deal frequented by those whose fancy ran in the direction of fine horses.
Gower’s inn was in the lower town, on a site which would now be described as the north-east corner of Front and Lower Market streets. Gower was a German, and an enthusiastic lover of good, solid German amusements. His house was the head-quarters of dancing parties, and many were the festive nights spent by the young people there. Those occasions sometimes provoked the ill-will of those whom circumstances compelled to he absent, and who were occasionally known to attempt annoyance of the parties within, by lowering live geese down the capacious chimney, and many other similar tricks, partaking somewhat of the malicious. But the appearance of the old soldier-landlord, with a “Queen’s arm” in his hand, and threatenings and slaughter upon his tongue, always caused the outsiders to cease their annoyances, and beat a retreat.
While speaking of the graceful science, it would be unpardonable to omit a mention of Robert Patterson. He was the dancing-master par excellence of the lower West Branch Valley. It was not alone at Milton, but at Northumberland, and Lewisburg, and Muncy, that he was known, and patronized, and feared, for at that day, and in that neighborhood, none dare assert their claims to polite recognition, unless their patent of gentility bore the terpsichorean stamp of Robert Patterson, dancing-master.
Mrs. Patterson was a lady of many graces, physical and mental; and it is very probable that much of the popularity of the husband was reflected from the beauty and accomplishments of the wife.
THE RELIGIOUS WORSHIP
At this time, was rather meagre. In the log school-house, in Lower Market street, the Rev. John Bryson preached to the Presbyterians every fourth Sabbath, and the Reformed Church people held occasional services there, when preachers of their persuasion happened in the neighborhood. The Methodists, too, worshiped there with considerable regularity. There was not a single Baptist person in the town, for nearly twenty years after this.
The Catholics held no services in Milton, but they met for worship from time to time at various houses in the immediate neighborhood.
The Episcopalians had a regular place of meeting, a log church-building, in Morris Lane, Upper Milton, where the Rev. Mr. Depney ministered to their spiritual needs.
The school-houses were the log building of 1796, on Lower Market street, and the frame of 1802, on Broadway. In these, in the year 1805, the youth of the town were taught and flogged by teachers John L. Finney and Joseph Kerr; the former being the better skilled in the language, but the latter showing far more proficiency in the use of the rod. He (Kerr) was, on this account, a good deal unpopular with his scholars, and, to some extent, with their parents, also. Miss Owens, the daughter of an Episcopalian clergyman, had charge of the female school.
THE FIRST POST-OFFICE
Had been established the previous year, with Bethuel Vincent as post-master. The office was at Bethuel’s tavern, Front street and Broadway. A young man named Moore was the carrier, in the employ of James Cummins, mail contractor.
There were no telegraphs, railways, nor steamers then. The European mails came and went in fast packet ships, consuming only from thirty to sixty days in crossing the ocean. The time from Philadelphia to Milton, was three days, and the mail service was weekly, arriving nom the east, on Saturdays, and all their news and correspondence passed through this slender and infrequent service.
But it answered its purpose well enough; and who can say, that at the present day, the “coming of the morning train, as it thunders up with fresh newspapers, telling us the doings of the previous evening in Paris and Vienna, arouses more of interest than did the coming of young Robert Moore, the mail messenger on horseback, of a Saturday morning, seventy years ago, bringing the Wednesday’s Gazette, with latest European advices, announcing the battles of Ulm and Austerlitz, only sixty-five days after their occurrence.
Andrew Straub, the original proprietor of the lower town, was still living, as was also, Mr. Daniel Smith, though both died in the succeeding year.
Mr. Straub’s enterprise had given the settlement its first impetus, and Mr. Smith had done great honor both to himself and to Milton, by the fame which he achieved as a lawyer and an orator. At the bar of Northumberland, none surpassed him in legal ability, while in oratory, he stood preeminent
Few, if any, now live, who heard his funeral oration and eulogy, pronounced at Sunbury, in 1799, on the occasion of the obsequies of George Washington. But as long as any of those hearers did live, their old eyes would fill, and their voices grow tremulous, when they told how he stood that day, in the old Lutheran Church, with Revolutionary heroes all around him, and citizens crowding seats and aisles to their utmost; and how men, and women, and veterans, held their breath, that not one silver word might be Iost; and how the whole auditory were moved to tears, as he told them, in strains of marvelous eloquence and pathos, of the virtues and deeds, and death, of the Father of his Country.
That day established his fame, and brought him clients and honors without stint. But it was not long that he staid to enjoy them. Even then the shadows were lengthening for him, and during the next year, 1806, both Daniel Smith and Andrew Straub, passed away.
The only physician then in town, was Dr. James Dougal, and this position be held for about seventeen years, from the time of Dr. Faulkner’s departure in 1798, till Dr. Piper’s coming, about 1815. His practice was very large. It not only embraced Milton, but extended over nearly all of the County above the north branch, and an equally large territory on the west side of the river. His visits were made on horseback, carrying his medicines with him in saddle-bags, and making up his own prescriptions. To reach his patients at White Deer, Buffalo, Sugar Valley, and other points west of the river, he crossed on the old ferry at the Marr farm, a short distance above the town, or at George Hoffman’s, below the island, when that ferry was established, somewhat later.
Horseback traveling was not confined to physicians, however. It was the usual means of travel for all. Of wheeled vehicles, there were but four then in Milton - a gig, owned by James Sanderson; a nondescript, belonging to Dr. Dougal (a rude, home-made affair, probably similar to the “buckboard “), while Daniel Pollock and William Pollock each owned a lumbering two-horse carriage. These last-mentioned were considered very luxurious establishments, and were, upon extraordinary occasions, lent by their proprietors to favored friends.
As for stage-coaches, there were none entering Milton until 1809, when James Cummins established
THE FIRST MAILCOACH
between Williamsport and Northumberland, making the trip in one day. Its stopping place in Milton was Eckert’s hotel, on Front street. Robert Moore, the former mail messenger, having faithfully served Mr. Cummins in that capacity, had been promoted to the office of driver, and we may imagine the pride with which he first reined up his horses in full view of Post-master Vincent, who had always been his friend and patron.
THE INCORPORATION OF MILTON AS A BOROUGH
Dates February 26th, 1817. The first officers elected were: Chief Burgess, Arthur McGowan; Assistant Burgess, Robert McGuigan; Town Council, Christopher Woods, president; Samuel Hepburn, Daniel Scudder, Joseph Rhoads, George Eckert, Daniel R. Bright, Thomas Comly; Supervisors of Roads, John Jones, David Derrickson; Town Clerk, John Tietsworth; High Constable, James Sharp.
The population of the borough at the time of its erection, is not exactly known. Three years later (1820), it was one thousand and fifteen, which makes it probable that, at this time, it varied but little from nine hundred.
The town had improved, and grown steadily in importance during the twelve years preceding its incorporation. Many of the new buildings had been erected of brick, and there had also been a few of stone, one of the principal of the latter class being the new residence of Bethuel Vincent, on Front street, just below his former tavern-stand, and this ranked among the chief residences of the town. David Rittenhouse had, in the preceding year (1816), built the large brick house on Front street, now known as the United States Hotel. He first intended it as a dwelling-house, but afterwards rented it to Lemuel B. Stoughton, who opened it as a public house, and advertised it in the Miltonian as follows: Spread-Eagle Tavern (first below where Bethuel Vincent formerly kept) - L. B. Stoughton respectfully informs travelers and others, that he has rented that spacious, airy and convenient three-story brick-house of David Rittenhouse, Esq., where he keeps a public house of entertainment, for the accommodation of travelers and others. No possible exertion will be spared to render general satisfaction.”
The mention of this house recalls to mind the enterprise of Elisha Babbitt and Isaac Straub, who, looking at the unusual height (three stories) to which Mr. Rittenhouse had reared his dwelling, fancied that it was lofty enough for a shot-tower! and that it might be profitably used as such; and when Lemuel Stoughton opened it as a public-house, the way seemed clear to the prosecution of this project. So they took a third story room, and, from its window poured melted lead, through a sieve, into a large tub of water, which stood directly underneath. But the experiment was not successful, and they found that the height of three stories was far too little to cause the lead to assume the necessary globular form in its descent. The failure, however, was not a disastrous one; in fact, it cost them nothing more than a little good-natured ridicule.
George Eckert’s mill was one of the recent erections which dignified the new borough. After the death of Andrew Straub, his executors had sold the mill property, on Limestone Run, to James Moody, who, in turn, sold to Eckert; and he, in 1816, demolished the old frame mill, which had done such good service to Straub and to the settlement for nearly a quarter of a century, and, in its place, built the fine new stone mill, which has now been in constant operation - it may almost be said, by night and day - for sixty years, and it was an establishment most creditable to the new borough.
An institution conferring still greater dignity, was the
NORTHUMBERLAND UNION AND COLUMBIA BANK
Which had commenced business, two years before, under a State charter, and was now “in full tide of successful experiment,” paying semi-annual dividends of four per cent, under the management of Seth Iredell, as president, and W. Cox Ellis, as cashier. Their banking-rooms were in a wooden building, which stood on Front street, on the site now occupied by Huff Hotel. The bank was the feature, the accomplished fact, which, more than any other, tended to mark the borough of Milton as a place of consequence - to remove all suspicion of rusticity, and to stamp indelibly upon it the character of a town.
A new and very substantial wooden building had been erected on Limestone Run, west of Front street, by Arthur McGowan, as a carding-mill and sickle manufactory. About this time, D. R. Bright added to his inn-keeping and general merchandising, an extensive iron-mongery, with drugs and medicines, paints and hardware.
David Rittenhouse had purchased the Sunbury Brush Manufactory, and removed the business to Milton, and nearly all the trades and vocations had received such augmentations and accessions, as might be expected in the natural course of the town’s growth. Among them was the first public bakery, which was advertised by its proprietor, as follows:
BANK HOUSE IN MILTON
“Libs Hadman, just from Philadelphia, has the pleasure of informing the citizens of the Borough of Milton and vicinity, that he will commence the Baking Business, after the first of June, in the house lately occupied by Mr. Climson, in Market street. Such of the inhabitants as become regular customers, will be served with fresh bread, Hot Rolls, Twist, etc., every morning in Philadelphia fashion.
“Beer and Cyder will be kept constantly on hand.
“N. B. - Tavern keepers and ferrymen may be supplied with every kind of bread or cakes, which will always be kept on hand.
MILTON, May 24th, 1817”
The above appeared in the Miltonian, which was the first newspaper published in Milton, having been started in the previous September, by General Henry Frick. It is still in existence, and will be further mentioned in another place. The increase of the business of the borough, in one respect, however, was by many, regarded with other feelings than those of gratification. That is, in the matter of the production and consumption of spirituous liquor, for John A. Schneider had added a new distillery, making the third in Milton, while the number of taverns had grown to twelve, or about one to every seventy-five of the population, large and small. Ten years later, the public houses numbered seventeen, with five distilleries.
When the borough was incorporated, its principal lawyers were Samuel Hepburn and Alem Marr. Daniel Scudder and Joseph B. Anthony were admitted to the bar in the following November. Mr. Scudder married Grace, the daughter of Daniel Smith, and he became almost as eminent in the profession as was his father-in-law. He afterwards moved to Lock Haven, and died there. Mr. Marr removed to Danville shortly after.
The only physicians were Drs. Dougal and Piper. There was one James Steward, who pretentiously advertised in the Miltonian, announcing himself as “a successful physician and surgeon,” as well as a professed “botanist,” and after enumerating twenty-five diseases, which he could invariably cure, wound up poetically in this wise:
“The public I have notified, That I in Milton now reside.”
“The healing art I do profess, Like many others in this place.”
“I practice physic and surgery both, From east to west, from north to south.”
“Two thousand, thousand miles I’ve rode, To find my patients on the road.”
With much more of the same kind, showing plainly that there were ignorant pretenders and quacks sixty years ago, as well as now. It was but a little later, that this same William Steward was advertised and denounced as a swindler, in the same journal.
Dr. Piper afterward removed from Milton to Turbutville, and Dr. James Dougal was killed by a fall of his horse, near where the Paradise churches now stand. His death occurred July 18th, 1818. For twenty years, he had practised very extensively, not only in Milton, but over a large section of country on both sides of the river. Many of his students afterwards became eminent physicians.
Was held by the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, and the German Reformed. The two last named, and the Methodists, had no regular pastor. The Lutherans were under charge of Rev. Philip Repass; the Presbyterians under Rev. Thomas Hood; while the Episcopalian rector was Rev. Abijah Hopkins.
In that year occurred the destructive flood on Limestone Run, which not only swept away the Front street bridge, built seven years before, but did great injury to the street itself and also to private property. It was a memorable event, on account of the severe loss which it occasioned to the borough and the County, as well as to individuals. How the disaster was regarded at the time, is shown by the following mention in the columns of the Miltonian of August 16th, 1817:
“Awful Calamity. - The fine, industrious, and very thriving town of Milton was visited, on Saturday Iast, by an awful calamity. From Friday evening till Saturday, at four P.M., the rain poured forth in continual torrents, and the small streams emptying into Limestone Run, which enters the river through the town, increased with so much rapidity, that the inhabitants were compelled to guard against it, and, if possible, to impede the force of that destructive element; but though every effort of human industry was used, it was still unavailing. The stone bridge on the main street was undermined and almost entirely razed to the foundation, which filled up the channel, and opened a new one on the opposite side. The water continued to come with an increased force and rapidity, undermining some houses, and sweeping the lots on which they stood to a level with the water. The houses swept away are: the inn of Mr. Hill, occupied by George Nagle, and dwelling and store-house of Arthur McGowan, and a small saddler’s-shop, occupied by Mr. Merkle; the store-house of D. R. Bright, and the foundation of part of his inn, tenanted by H. Wolfinger; the store-house of Mr. Moses Teas. By the activity of the inhabitants, the moveable property was saved from destruction. One corner of Mr. George Eckert’s superb stone mill was partially undermined, but, we are happy to state, this valuable edifice, so necessary to the community at large, is now under repair.
“Mr. McGowan’s carding-machines were also saved, together with the building in which they stood, and we rejoice to think that they can be put in operation in a short time. This building stands upon the edge of the run. Mr. Samuel Teas’ distillery sustained considerable injury, as did also the buildings attached to the distillery of Mr. John A. Schneider. A substantial bridge is now erecting over the run, on the old foot-bridge, to pass by Mr. Moses Teas’, Mr. Eckert’s, and the saw-mill, and then into the main street by Dr. Dougal’s. The persons at work at this bridge proceed with a celerity and industry highly creditable, and we think the bridge will be passable by Monday next. Added to this calamity, we will have to regret the great impediment to travelers, as it will probably be eighteen months before we can possibly have the new bridge in the main street, together with all the other repairs necessary.”
The bridge that was destroyed had been of stone, with arches, but it was decided to replace it by a wooden bridge, resting on stone abutments, and such a one was built and completed in the succeeding year, by James Moore, Sr., as contractor. The borough received aid from the legislature, in addition to the sum received from the County, towards the cost of rebuilding. This structure did good service to the public for thirty years, when, becoming so much decayed as to be judged unsafe, the wooden portions were rebuilt by Neil Kleckner, in 1847 or 1848, the old abutments being used in the rebuilding.
In 1869, this was demolished, and replaced by a double-arched bridge of stone. The old one had existed long enough - the wooden portion was again decayed and unsafe, and the abutments themselves, were considered unfit to place a new bridge upon. So it was thought expedient to build anew, from the foundation. .A higher, wider and more commodious bridge, in every particular, was wanted, and was decided on. The cost was ten thousand five hundred dollars. The County paid seven thousand dollars, with the condition that the borough of Milton should furnish the remaining three thousand five hundred dollars; should cause the work to be done in a substantial manner, and guarantee it to stand for five years from time of completion. David Starick was the builder. It has stood safely through the five years of guaranty, and will stand for a great many years to come, unless old Limestone Run should unexpectedly become even more ungovernable than it was on the ninth of August, fifty-nine years ago.
THE HARMONY CHURCH.
This old landmark was built by a union of the Lutheran, Presbyterian and German Reformed congregations. It stood in the south-eastern corner of the Presbyterian burying-ground, at the upper end of Mahoning street.
It was built of brick, and, in that day, was considered a splendid structure.
It was commenced October 5th, 1817, but (probably from the lack of funds) was not completed until the Spring of 1819. The event of its consecration was a very impressive one. Divine services upon that occasion, were held in both the English and German languages, and occupied two days - the 23rd and 24th of May.
The” union” appears to have still labored under pecuniary difficulties, in the way of paying for the church, for we find, on June 10th, 1822, announced the first of a series of Lottery Drawings, for the benefit of Harmony Church, with Joseph D. Biles and Adam Follmer, as managers. These drawings continued for a number of months, and it is presumable that they resulted favorably to the fiscal condition of the “union.”
During the succeeding Summer, the building was struck by Iightning, and considerably, though not seriously, damaged in its interior.
By those who recollect the time, it is represented that there was but a solitary flash, and that from a cloud not much larger than a man’s hand - in fact so insignificant as to appear almost like a thunderbolt from a clear sky; but probably some allowance should be made for the power of imagination, especially when operating through an interval of more than fifty years.
It was occupied in common, as a place of worship, until 1832, when the Presbyterians withdrew. The Lutherans followed in 1850, and the Reformed congregation remained alone until 1866, when they demolished the old building, to use the material contained in it, in the erection of their new church. A severe blow to the importance of the town was the failure of the Northumberland Union and Columbia Bank. After a five years’ existence, and just as the citizens had come to regard it as one of the permanent institutions of the place. This occurred in 1820, and the charter was declared forfeited in 1823.
THE POPULATION IN 1830
Was one thousand three hundred and fifty-two. A part of this accession was, of course, due to the building of the West Branch Canal, which, after several years of labor, had been completed to Muncy Dam in October, 1828. Freight boats had commenced running upon it in 1829, and the people now looked for a new departure towards prosperity. It is questionable whether, as regards Milton, or Muncy, or other towns similarly situated, the canal ever realized the citizens’ anticipations in that direction, though it certainly changed the methods of their trade, to some extent, though Arks and Durham boats continued to navigate the river, after the advent of the canal. Mr. John L. Watson recollects that he made trips with them, certainly as late as 1834.
But the Philadelphia grain and produce market was generally preferred to that of Baltimore, and thus the canal received the preference.
It was certainly a long step towards encouraging the establishment of manufactories, requiring heavy freighting; and it, without doubt, went far to induce Major Joseph Rhoads to build, in the year 1830, at Milton,
The first iron foundry on the west branch
It was considered a novel enterprise, as well as one of doubtful success, and was visited out of curiosity by people from Williamsport, and other places in the valley. It was located on Upper Front street, and Major Rhoads manufactured there mill-gearings, stoves, wool carding machines, and farming implements, and these, together with the brass-working, and copper-smithing, which he had started three years before, made a most successful business.
THE FIRST BRIDGE ACROSS THE RIVER,
At Milton, was commenced in 1830, and completed in 1833. It was built by a bridge company, incorporated by the legislature, and composed of stockholders in Milton and vicinity. The bridge was built across the channels of the river, at the islands just below the mouth of Limestone Run. It consisted of three sections: First, that from the left bank of the river, across the east channel, to the first island; second, the section crossing the centre channel, between the two islands; and third, that crossing the right hand channel, from the western island, to the Union County shore. It was a trussbridge, with double tracks. The contract for building was awarded to Abraham and Isaac Straub, the price being twenty-two thousand dollars. This price was understood to be wholly unremunerative to the Messrs. Straub, but they took the contract, and carried it successfully through, being influenced by consideration of the great advantage which would accrue to their lumber and grist-mills, which they had built on the island in 1824. By damming the outer channels, they had secured in the centre a head and fall of four feet, and this, upon their reaction wheels, (the first of the kind ever used in the United States,) gave a water-power sufficient for their operations. So, as their mill business was a prosperous one, they were willing, for the sake of securing a good and permanent communication with the island, to build the bridge at the price named, but which afterwards proved insufficient to cover their money outlay.
The mills were operated successfully, until the building of the Lewisburg dam, which injured them so much, by backing the water and ice upon them that, in 1840, they were removed to Muddy Run, a mile and a half above Milton. In 1846, an interest in them was sold to Moses Chamberlin, and, in 1852, the remaining interest was purchased by Daniel Bissel; and, after passing through various other hands, was burnt in 1874, as mentioned in the account of the “Boonville flour-mill” in Turbut township.
In connection with the building of this bridge, and before its completion, there occurred an incident, which, at the time, created great excitement along the river, and which is now well remembered by many of the older inhabitants of the valley. It was
THE RESCUE OF JOSEPH BAILEY
Late in the afternoon of the 4th day of February, 1832, Mr. Joseph Bailey, of Jersey Shore, went down to the river side, to secure a flat-boat, which he had moored at the lower end of the island, opposite the town. The water in the stream was rising, and the ice was becoming loose and detached, notwithstanding that the weather was cold. Stepping on board the flat, and having his attention diverted for a moment, he was dismayed, on looking up, to find himself not only loose from the shore, and in the current of the river, but that his boat was so fastened to, and encumbered with the masses of floating ice, as to be entirely unmanageable. He bad neither oar nor paddle, and, indeed, if he had, they would have been useless. He was in the swiftest part of the stream, and whirling along, sometimes broadside to the current, and sometimes stern foremost, but his shouts were heard on shore, and his neighbors were not slow in showing their will to help him. They mounted their horses, and armed with coils of rope, rode on to Linden, to head him off; and, as they believed, to rescue him there. But they had miscalculated their strength and skill, for they failed to reach him, and the swift waters hurried him on.
At Jaysburg, they repeated the trial, but only succeeded in cheering him by their shouts and assurances of eventual rescue.
Again at Williamsport, he went careering past, wedged and helpless in the crowded masses of ice, and again they found themselves powerless to do more than to renew the promise to stand by and not desert him. But night had now closed in, and there could be no hope of rescue till daylight should come, and by that time were would he be? They could not keep him in sight during the hours of darkness, and it must surely be a night of danger and of suffering - both bodily and mental - to him. There was no bridge across the river at any point nearer than Milton, but the very fact of its distance was an encouraging one, for it was so far away, that he might not reach it until after daylight, and if he could safely pass the Muncy dam, and survive all the perils of the ice and the flood, and the cold, and if the friendly light would come before he reached the Milton bridge, they would certainly save him there. So the mounted messengers went on, carrying the warning to Muncy and Milton, and he was unwillingly left to the mercies of the night and the river.
The current was very rapid, and swept him on, till soon he was nearing the dam at Muncy. We may imagine, but we can never know, his anxiety as he approached it, his thankfulness, when he found himself safely past, nor the eagerness of his gaze, as he looked in vain to the eastward, over the Muncy hills, for the first streakings of the February dawn. He was moving on as rapidly as ever, hour after hour passed, it was but a few miles more to the bridge, and the night seemed interminable.
It became evident that he must pass Milton in the darkness, and could now only look for his friends to save him at Lewisburg or Northumberland. He knew they would be there, if they failed at Milton. They would have stood by him to the Chesapeake, if need be!
Suddenly be felt himself moving slower, and soon he was stationary grinding among the loose ice, against the head of Tyler’s (now Fisher’s) Island, a short distance above Dewart.
In good earnest he set himself at work, with what means he had, to get in and secure his flat to the island, but, after two or three hours of vain labor, be found his boat and himself moving into the current, and again carried irresistibly down the stream. But it was morning now, and the hard labor which he had had, in endeavoring to land the boat, had moved his blood, and driven away the chill and numbness, so that when he approached the unfinished bridge, and saw the preparations made for his succor, be felt confident that his dangerous journey was nearly at an end.
The rescuers, when they saw he would pass in the eastern channel, had gathered upon that section of the bridge with ropes securely looped, and cast over the side - which was very conveniently done, as the bridge had not yet been weather-boarded. They feared, however, that he would be too much benumbed with cold to secure himself in the loope, or that he might lose his hold and drop in the river, after his boat had passed from under him. As he came to the upper side of the bridge, General Henry Frick threw him a thick cloak, and General Hammond, an overcoat, so that if he failed to catch the ropes, he might, at least, have a covering for his chilled limbs. But coat and cloak struck the water, and were carried away in an instant. He did not need them, however, for, as he came near the loop, he stood up, grasped it firmly, and, in a few moments, was standing on the floor of the bridge safe and sound, and, it must be said, but little injured by his Winternight’s voyage down the west branch!
His boat was caught at Lewisburg, and was purchased by Mr. Daniel Caldwell, who used it as a ferry-boat between ’Watsontown and White Deer mills.
THE FIRST STEAM FLOUR-MILL
Was built in 1832, by Fleming W. Pollock.
The Straub mill, and its successor, the “Eckert,” had enjoyed a monopoly in their line. for forty years, but now the other portion of the town, although it possessed no water power, invoked the aid of steam, and this Pollock mill was put in motion on upper Front street, opposite the Rhoads foundry.
Its builder, Mr. Pollock, is now a resident of Shamokin, and president of a bank there, but the solid old stone-mill - now owned by Mr. Bickel - is still running as glibly as ever, on the site where he started it, forty-four year, ago.
Of Benevolent, Bible, Missionary, and Tract Societies, there were not less than seven then in existence in Milton, and in 1831, there was organized the “Milton Temperance Society,” and, for years later, the “ Reformed Temperance Society,” - probably, in view of the great increase of distilleries and taverns.
During the decade which ended in the year 1840, the population of Milton had increased but one hundred and fifty-six souls. The reasons for these unsatisfactory figures, cannot be absolutely given, but perhaps it is safe to infer that the canal had its effect on the town, just as, in later days, we have seen railroads operate unfavorably towards many places, which are not actually terminal points. At all events, Milton no longer seemed to enjoy that preference - it might almost be said monopoly - in trade, which she had twelve and fifteen years earlier, when the stable accommodations, below the Front street bridge and on Mahoning street, amounting to more than two hundred feet, side by side measurement, often fell far short of the demand, by farmers, and others, entering town from a distance, for disposition of their grain and produce.
Trade and methods of transportation had changed, not only in the matter of freight, but of passenger traffic - freight boats had taken precedence of arks and Durhams, and the packets offered better inducements to travellers, than had ever been offered by Hulings’ or Cummins’ stage-coaches. These, and the succeeding years, were the palmy days of canal boating, when the packets were commanded by such royal souls as Captains John M. Huff, and David Blair, who secured a degree of personal popularity and esteem, which is never attained by railway officials in the hurry-scurrying of their profession at the present day.
THE FIRST STEAM SAW-MILL
On the west branch, was built by Dr. William McCleery, at Milton, in the year 1842. It was driven by a twenty-five horse-power engine, sawing capacity about two thousand five hundred feet per day, of twelve hours. The saws were two “Mulays.” None of the slabs, edgings, etc, were utilized, by being worked into lath, pickets, and shingles, as the machines for their manufacture were unknown at that day.
The best white pine and oak timber could then be bought at two to two-and-a-half cents per cubic foot, the sawed lumber selling at six to eight dollars per thousand feet.
This modest mill (situated on the east side of the canal just above Locust street.) was the pioneer, in the vast lumber-cutting industry, which made the city of Williamsport, as well as many other places of lesser importance, on the Susquehanna and its tributaries.
THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1847
On the west branch, made comparatively little havoc at Milton. The principal damage was done to the Milton bridge, of which the middle section, that between the islands, was carried away. The bridge company set about re-building it at once, and the work was done by Thomas Murdock and brother.
During the time between the destruction and the re-opening of this section, a ferry, from island to island, was operated by Jacob Wheeland, in the employ and interest of the company.
THE FIRST TELEGRAPH
Connection with Milton was made in 1850. The office was in the store of William F. Nagle, at the corner of Broadway and Upper Front street, and Russell Wingate was the first operator.
It was continued at Nagle’s store for some years, and from there was removed to the Miltonian building, which then stood on the spot now occupied by J. F. Gauger & Son’s store, on Front street. One of the next operators after Wingate, if not his immediate successor, was L. M. Morton, Esq., the present editor of the Miltonian, at which printing office is, to-day, the only telegraph in the borough, except those at the railway depots.
The population, in 1850, was one thousand six hundred and forty-nine, a still smaller increase than that from 1830 to 1840. It was not flattering, but there was hope of recovering, as soon as railway trains should supersede the canal boats, and this was close at hand.
THE FIRST RAILWAY
Communication with Milton (the Catawissa) was opened in 1852, eastward ; that is, Milton was the western, or northern terminus so that passengers coming from the east, and bound for Williamsport, could go, by rail, only as far as Milton.
Three years later, (1855) that section of the Sunbury road, between Milton and Williamsport, was opened, but still that portion between Milton and Sunbury was not completed ; so that passengers from Reading or Philadelphia, for Williamsport, could reach Milton by the Catawissa, but must there change to the other road to reach Williamsport
Downward from Milton, the railway was opened to Sunbury in December, 1855, but it was not until 1858, that the continuous line was completed to Harrisburg, and then, and not before, could passengers by rail from Harrisburg, reach Williamsport and Elmira, via Sunbury and Milton, without change of cars. But even the coming of the iron-horse only-raised the population of the borough to one thousand seven hundred and two in 1860, an increase of but fifty-three in ten years.
“When, in 1854, during its construction, the Sunbury and Erie Railroad had appropriated to its use the bed of the old Northumberland and Muncy road, northward from Milton, it became obligatory on the company lo furnish the County another road for that which had been taken. In this, as in most similar cases, the ideas of the citizens were diverse as to which route should be adopted. One party wished it to be by Water street, and thence northward, and another by way of Upper Front street and thence to Watsontown. Either route would cut the farm of Mr. David Marr, and he, favoring Upper Front street, offered free right of way by that route, while he demanded three thousand dollars damages if the Water street route was adopted. The decision of the question virtually lay with Robert H. Faries Esq., Chief Engineer of the Railroad, and, for more than six months, both parties paid assiduous and persistent court to him whenever he carne to Milton. The free right right of way, offered by Marr, caused him to favor Upper Front street, and that route would surely have been obtained, but that the old Episcopal burying-ground laid directly in the way, and the law forbade disturbing it without consent of the proprietors.
This consent was positively refused. Some said that the machinations of the Water street party induced the refusal, but, however this might. be, it turned the route from upper Front street. David Marr received his three thousand dollars, and the highway passed through Water street, on to Watsontown and Muncy.
Immediately after the route was fixed through Water street, Dr. Wm. McCleery laid out his addition to the town as follows; North boundary, Church Iane; south boundary, Locust street; east boundary, West Branch Canal; west boundary, the river, containing thirty-two acres, and subdivided into one hundred and one lots.
A short time prior to this (July, 1853) Mr. J. J. Reimensnyder had Iaid out the addition called “Shakespeare,” viz.: North boundary, land of Philip Follmer; east boundary, land of Samuel T. Brown; south boundary, land of --- Teas; west boundary, Sodom public road, containing seven acres, eighty-five perches.
ADDITION OF WILLIAM F. NAGLE
Laid out in 1855, extending eastward from the borough limit to the “old Follmer farm,” and northward from Broadway to Heinen’s addition. Area, thirty acres.
J. B. DAVIS’ ADDITION
Laid out in 1856, Boundaries: North, Ferry lane; east, West Branch Canal; south, street crossing at Nail Works; west, the river; containing thirty acres.
LAWSON & SCHREYER’S ADDITION
Was laid out in 1864, and contains forty acres. It is bounded as follows: On the north, by Washingtonville road; on the east, by land of John Houtz; on the south, by Limestone Run; on the west, by borough limit.
MOSES CHAMBERLAIN’S ADDITION
Was laid out October 28th, 1867, and contains twenty-six acres, West boundary, the river; east boundary, canal and basin; south boundary, Locust street; north boundary, other lands of M. Chamberlain.
WILLIAM HEINEN’S ADDITION
Contains about fifty acres, and extends eastward from the borough line to Fifth street, and from Locust street northward. It was laid out in 1872, and twenty-three dwellings have already been built upon it. These last three additions are, chronologically, out of place here, but are inserted with the others, for obvious reasons,
OPENING OF CENTRE STREET.
As late as the year 1860, Milton still preserved, in a great measure, its original shape, that is to say, there were two towns, one below Limestone Run, and the other on and above Broadway; while between these there was no settlement worthy of mention, except “the connecting line of business places and residences on Front street. The project of filling up this vacant space, by the opening of a new, wide street, from Front street eastward, across the canal, had been entertained for two or three years by a number of prominent citizens. The principal obstacle was the Methodist Church building, which stood directly in their route, but this they succeeded in purchasing in 1859, and the way then being clear, they opened their thoroughfare (Centre street) in 1860. It is wide, and well graded - in fact, one of the best streets of the town. Upon it stands the fine edifice of the the Baptist Church, the Centre school-house, and a large number of most desirable residences. Its opening has proved a great benefit, by gradually building up the vacant spaces between the solid extremities of the borough.
WAR ATTITUDE, 1861
From the first call for troops, made by President Lincoln, in 1861, until the final suppression of the Southern Rebellion, Milton nobly sustained a character for patriotism, second to no community in the Keystone State. What more than that need he said? The names of those who went to the battle-field will be found in another part of this work, with the roster and muster-roll of the County. Many names are of those who returned, and are now peacefully and honorably engaged in the pursuits of civil life. But many, too, are of those who returned not, but who still lie far off on the Southern fields on which they fell.
THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1865.
On the 17th of March of that year, commenced a flood, unprecedented for the height of the water, and the amount of damage done, not only at Milton, but at all other points along the river. The following account of the havoc at Milton, is from the Miltonian, of March 26th, 1865:
“On Wednesday of last week, the river commenced to make a gradual swell, which slowly continued on Thursday, through the effects of rain and melting snow among the hills, until Friday, when the rise became more rapid, first filling the river-bank full. But still it rose and rose, higher and higher, not caring for any former precedent as to height, until, Saturday morning, it had risen to such a depth that Front street, in some places, contained over six feet of water, and Saturday morning, the good news came that the water was falling. This glad news was welcomed by one and all. Each then wore a cheerful face. It was Noah’s dove returning to the ark!
“It. was a sad sight to see such a destruction of property - bridges, houses, household furniture, stables, fences, etc., came floating down the river in confused masses.
“On Friday it was perceptible, to each one’s eye, that the Milton bridge could not much longer withstand the pressure brought against it by the accumulating logs and debris of all kinds. The western portion was swept away some time on Friday night. The eastern portion, or that nearest to town, left about three o’clock Friday afternoon. Many aching hearts witnessed the grand scene! Just previous to starting, her creaking timbers made loud throes of agony. By the bridge breaking in two, and swinging round towards either bank, she floated grandly down the river, never to return. The middle bridge - that between the two islands - was swept from the piers about the same time, but, lodging against trees, moved only a few rods down the river.
“To enumerate and individualize the Iosses experienced by different ones in this locality, would be impossible in a newspaper article. The families on the river-bank, in the upper portion of the borough, as well as the lower, were compelled to forsake their homes, without much loss however. Many of those in the lower part of the town, took refuge in the German Reformed Church, reminding one of those sad, rebellious times, when refugees are driven from their homes - while others were provided for in other ways.
“There is but little injury done in the upper portion of the town, as the water had little or no current. In the lower portion, however, where the current was swift and strong, it washed out streets and did great damage.
“Mr. John Datesman, of West Milton, is a heavy loser in grain, which became wet, and may nearly all be destroyed by not being made dry. We are informed that about two thousand bushels had to he taken from his warehouse, and through the kindness of friends and neighbors, was hauled to the different barns in the country to dry. It is stated that, while the goods were being removed from his store, some rascal robbed his till of all the money it contained. Such a man will steal from the devil, when he can.
“John Halter, on Mrs. Marr’s farm, had his house swept away and his furniture all lost. He also lost two crops of tobacco, leaving him penniless. Mrs. Marr also lost tobacco to the amount of a thousand dollars and over. But there is loss, more or less, by each family residing along the river, and we cannot now enumerate. Farms lying along the river were swept of all fencing, which proves a very heavy loss.
“Our citizens all, no doubt, feel thankful that Milton escaped with such a slight loss. Many in other towns lost their all. Lock Haven was entirely overflown, the water being from five to six feet in depth in the highest part of the town. Williamsport fared but little better. At Muncy, the canal is much damaged - the towing-path having been entirely torn away in some pIaces, and in others, the canal filled up even with the banks. The aqueduct, at the mouth of Muncy Creek, was swept away, and the piers much injured. The steam saw-mill of Courson & Fox, at the mouth of Muncy Creek, was moved from its foundation, and swung across the bank of the canal, separating in the middle. These gentlemen also lost a considerable quantity of lumber - their loss is estimated at from ten to twelve thousand dollars. The Muncy bridge suffered materially. One span is entirely gone, and several others had the lower timbers carried away.”
The rebuilding of the bridge was now the serious question. The disaster had been so great that the stock of the company was nearly extinguished. It was declared to be depreciated four-fifths, which left a total of only about five thousand dollars in existence, while sixty thousand more than this sum was necessary for rebuilding. The old stockholders were unwilling to pay the assessment of eighty percent, and there seemed to be no new takers of stock. The prospect for a new bridge seemed gloomy enough, and, indeed, it could not have been accomplished - perhaps four years - but for the unwearying and persistent exertions of Colonel Thomas Swenk, and a few other individuals, who were determined that Milton should suffer no such blow as the permanent loss of her bridge. At last, the company was rehabilitated, and the contract for the new bridge was given to Benjamin Griffey, who employed David Starick to build the necessary stone-work. The entire cost of the structure was sixty-five thousand dollars. During the construction, a ferry, to partially fill the place of the bridge, was run across at the lower end of the islands.
The Catawissa Railroad northward from Milton, was completed through to Williamsport in 1871. The entire road is now leased to the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company, and bears the name of the late corporation. Thus Milton has the advantage of two lines of railway in each direction - northward to Williamsport and eastward to Philadelphia. She has also a stage-line still left - running daily between the borough and Lewisburg, Union County.
The old Eagle Hotel, on Front street, a building part frame and part log, which, sixty years ago, was occupied by the Northumberland, Union and Columbia Bank, and which later, at various times, was kept as the “Spread Eagle Tavern,” and as the “Eagle Hotel,” by Lemuel B. Stoughton, Captain John M. Huff, and others, was, in 1871, demolished by the latter gentleman, and he erected in its place a fine three-story house, and named it for himself, “Huff’s Hotel.” Since his death, which occurred soon after, his widow has continued it as a public house, under the same name.
THE FIRE OF DECEMBER 12th, 1875.
At eight o’clock in the evening of Sunday, December 12th, 1875, Mr. Henry Huth, proprietor of the Riverside Hotel, on Front street, discovered heavy volumes of smoke issuing from the rear basement of his house. He at once gave the alarm of fire, and then, with the assistance of Mr. J. G. Kurtz, entered the room with buckets of water, to find the location of the fire, and to extinguish it if possible. But the dense smoke made it impossible to remain inside for more than a single moment. In a very short time, the two hand-engines were on the spot, and each had a stream into the burning basement - one from the front, and the other from the rear. The house was kept closed as tightly as practicable to smother the fire, or at least to retard its progress until help could arrive from Lewisburg and Watsontown. Dispatches had been sent to those towns for aid, but, as it was Sunday evening, there was no locomotive under steam at either place. Permission, however, was received from the superintendent of the railroad, and they were then fired up as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, although the hand-engines had done their best, the fire was steadily gaining on them, rising from floor to floor when, at half-past ten, it burst furiously from the roof. Just then, the steam fire-engine from Watsontown arrived and, a little later, the “William Cameron” steamer of Lewisburg came in. It was but a few moments until each engine was playing two heavy streams upon the fire. The companies worked most manfully, but the fire had too much headway, and had eaten through the walls of the “Riverside” into the adjoining building, and, spreading with great rapidity, it consumed everything in its course, and was only subdued when it had reached the building of George T. Piper on the north, and that of W. H. Phillips on the south. The loss was estimated at one hundred thousand dollars. Thirteen places of business were burned, including some of the best buildings in the town of Milton.
The origin of the conflagration was unknown, as there had been no fire for two days in the room where it was first discovered. The warmest gratitude was manifested by the citizens of Milton towards the Lewisburg and Watsontown firemen, for their prompt and manly aid in saving the town.
BURNING OF THE OLDEST HOUSE.
At two o’clock in the morning of the 4th of May, in the present year (1876) there occurred at the north-east corner of Broadway and Water streets, a fire which, though not a very destructive one, as regards the amount of property consumed, yet should receive more than a passing notice, because it destroyed the oldest building in the town - the old log house, which, when Andrew Straub came to Limestone Run, in 1779, he found, not yet roofed, only “logged up to the square,” and the only building of any kind in the place. This house, when burned, was ninety-seven years old, more than fifteen years older than Governor Pollock’s old stone mansion, which stood adjoining, and which was unroofed and badly damaged by the same fire.
The old house and a small building on the same lot, and both consumed, were the property of Dr. Waldron, who had no insurance. The Pollock house was insured for three thousand dollars.
At the census of 1870, the borough contained a population of one thousand nine hundred and nine, but as fully three-sevenths of the population of the town live outside the limits of the borough, and as the growth, since 1870, has been very good, it is confidently believed that four thousand is very nearly the correct figure for this year of 1876.
There are, in the town, five hotels, ten groceries, two hardware, three drug, and six dry goods stores; four merchant tailors, three watchmakers, three saddlers and harness-makers, three dentists, one printing and two express offices, besides the numerous small dealers and shops, which are not easy to enumerate, but which are in the usual proportion found in similar towns.
ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW
The members of the legal profession in Milton are: John F. Wolfinger, William C. Lawson, John Porter, Franklin Bound, C. W. Tharp, J. Woods Brown, Peter L. Hackenburg, John McCleery, Thomas Swenk, Jr., Edmond Davis.
Are Dr. James S. Dougal, Dr. David Waldron, Dr. U. Q. Davis, Dr. T. R. Hull, Dr. Charles H. Dougal, Dr. James P. McCleery, Dr. J. H. Miles.
Dr. James S. Dougal is not now in practice, being in the eighty-third year of his age. In 1798, at the age of four years, he was brought by his mother from Ireland, across the ocean, to join his father, Dr. James Dougal, who had settled in Milton three years before.
In the war of 1812 he volunteered for the army, and served, for a considerable time, at Marcus Hook. His medical education, he received from his father, and succeeded to his large practice, at his death, in 1818. His professional life has been a long, a busy, and an honorable one. May his remaining years he painless and serene!
The physicians of the Homeopathic School are: Dr . J. A. Osborn and Dr. J. R. Ely.
THE MlLTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
The apparatus for extinguishment of fire consists of a “Silsby” steam fire engine, a hook and ladder truck, and two suction hand-engines.
The hook and ladder company, when full, numbers forty members, and is called the “Fisher Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, of Milton”, D. K. Fisher, foreman. Their organization is independent, and only under control of the borough authorities when on duty at fires.
The steamer called the”Miltonian” is located on Front street, just above bridge. The company in charge of it consists of about seventy-five members, under Franklin Hoy, foreman. The two hand-engines lie in the enginehouse on Front street, opposite Broadway. But they have no companies, and are are for use only in case of accident to the steamer. The Chief Engineer, in charge of all, is Charles McGee.
Milton has had, during the past seventy years, three fire-engines, other than those in its present department. The old hooks and ladders were procured in 1798, and eight years after Andrew Straub left, by will, one hundred dollars, towards a fire engine, and the sum being supplemented by the citizens, an engine was purchased in Philadelphia, for the use of Milton. It was named the “Pat Lyon” in honor of its maker, who was reckoned among the best of that day. It is still in existence, and is now the private property of Mr. Louis Hilgert. He has placed it in thorough repair, and it is said to throw as strong a stream as it did in its youth, sixty years ago.
The “Enterprise,” a rotary engine, came next. It was located on the river bank at Lower Market street. In 1840, it became a tender or supply machine for the” Harmony” engine (not a suction) which was purchased at or about that time. Of the apparatus now in use, the hand-engines were purchased, one in 1861, the other in 1870. The steamer and the hook and ladder truck were both procured in the present year, 1876.
The employment of a
Commenced May 30th, 1874. It consists of only two patrolmen, whose duties cease at midnight. Thus much for the good morals of Milton .
MILTON LODGE, NO. 256, A. Y. M.
Constituted, 1851. Names of charter members: Amos Witter, John M. Huff, John F. Caslow, Joseph Eckbert, James Sherer, Christopher Steine, A. F. Ludwig, John N. Oyster, John Frick, Samuel Logan, David H. Watson, Allen Schreyer, James R. Caldwell. Wardens - John M. Huff and J. F. Caslow. Place of meeting, Masonic Hall, Goodlander’s block.
THE OLD LODGE, NO. 144, A. Y. M.
Was organized in Milton about 1815. The members were: General Robert Hammond, General Henry Frick, Hon. John Montgomery, William Cox Ellis, Esq., CoIonel Robert, McGuigan, Dr. James S. Dougal, of which only Dr. Dougal survives.
This lodge disintegrated in 1828, and working tools removed to Lewisburg.
MUTUAL LODGE, NO. 84, I. O. O. F.
Meets Saturday evenings, at Academy of Music.
PILGRIMS ENCAMPMENT, NO. 160, I. O. O. F.
Also meets at Academy of Music.
KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS
Meets in Haag’s building, second floor.
PATRIOTIC SONS OF AMERICA.
Place of meeting, Hackenburg’s block.
ORDER OF AMERICAN MECHANICS
Meets in Swartz’s block.
JUNIOR ORDER OF AMERICAN MECHANICS
Meets in Swartz’s block.
THE MILTON SILVER CORNET BAND AND THE MILTON lNDEPENDENT BAND
Have lately been organized, and bid fair to attain excellence.
THE MILTON ACADEMY OF MUSIC.
Is a three-story brick building, one hundred and forty feet in depth, with a frontage of fifty-four feet, situated on Water street, a short distance above Broadway.
The lower story is sixteen feet, and the audience-hall, twenty-seven feet in height. In the first story are two stores, each twenty by fifty-four feet; one occupied as a grocery and seed-store, and the other as a drug-store. In the rear of these is a room, fifty-four by eighty-six feet, fitted up for a markethouse, and most suitable for the purpose. In this, festivals and similar gatherings are held. It has side and rear entrances for rapid egress.
The main entrance is on Water street, and the hall is reached by a stairway ten feet in width. At head of stairway, on each side, are suites of offices, two rooms each, also ticket-office, while immediately above these is a hall, fifty-four feet in length, used by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The audience-hall will comfortably seat seven hundred and fifty persons. The large stage has every appliance for theatrical performances, for which, as well as for lectures, the hall is chiefly used. The entire building is supplied with gas. The hall is lighted from the ceiling by two large reflectors of forty-eight burners.
The frescoing, and all the decorations and appointments, are first-class in every particular.
The building was erected by J. Woods Brown, John McCleery, Samuel T. Brown, and Jacob F. Gauger. It was commenced in the Spring of 1870, and formally opened on the 13th of the succeeding December. Entire cost, twenty-eight thousand dollars.
MILTON GAS COMPANY
Was incorporated in 1856. The first officers were: W. C. Lawson, president; Thomas S. Mackey, secretary and superintendent; and William F. Nagle, treasurer.
The works are located on Filbert street, at Limestone Run. They were built in 1860-61 by William Helm, of Philadelphia, as contractor, at a cost of about twenty-two thousand dollars.
The gas is manufactured from Clarion and Westmoreland counties bituminous coal, and is furnished at four dollars per thousand feet. Before the present year, the price was five dollars per thousand. The mains extend to Chamberlain’s addition on the north, and to Lower Market street on the south.
In April, 1876, W. C. Lawson, Esq., having resigned the presidency, Mr. W. A. Schreyer was chosen his successor. The secretary is J. Woods Brown, Esq., and W. P. Hull is the treasurer. The company pays a semiannual dividend of five per cent.
Milton has no water-works nor public parks.
Murray, Dougal & Co., proprietors. The enterprise was started in February, 1864, for the manufacture of agricultural implements, which was soon after changed to the manufacture of railway-cars, and the new firm of Murray, Dougal & Co. was organized, the partners being S. W. Murray, W. P. Dougal, J. S. Stoughton, John McCleery, and S. H. Pollock. In November, 1865, the firm was re-organized under the same style and name, but with only Murray, Dougal, McCormick and McCleery, as partners. It continued, without change, till the retirement of Mr. McCleery in 1874, the three remaining partners continuing the business and firm name. Other branches have since been added, as the manufacture of mine-cars, oil-tanks, steamboilers, bridge-bolts and castings, bill lumber, etc. The buildings consist of machine-shop, iron-foundry, brass-foundry, smith-shop, erecting-shop, paintshop, two repair-shops, boiler-shop, planing-mill, wareroom, saw-mill, and office, and they occupy about six acres of ground. At full capacity, the works employ about four hundred and fifty men.
THE MILTON IRON COMPANY.
W. A. Schreyer, president; P. C Johnson, secretary and treasurer; John Jenkins, superintendent. Stock owned by citizens of Milton and vicinity.
The works were established in 1872. They embrace the mill buildings, three double dwelling-houses and office, covering six acres of ground, about half-a-mile from the centre of town, and adjoining the West Branch Canal and the Philadelphia and Erie and Philadelphia and Reading Railroads, thus giving excellent facilities for transportation. They manufacture merchant bar-iron, the annual product of which is fifteen hundred tons. The engine is of one hundred and forty horse-power. There are one heating and six puddIing furnaces. Hands employed, thirty-five.
MILTON NAIL WORKS.
Established in 1875, by C. A. Godcharles & Co. They manufacture muck-bar and nails. Run nineteen machines, and employ about seventy hands. Mill located at junction of the Reading and Philadelphia & Erie Railroads, about half a mile from centre of town.
IRON FOUNDRY OF BICKEL & BAILEY.
This is the business established by Joseph Rhoads in 1830, which has been before mentioned. After Major Rhoads, it passed through several hands to those of the present proprietors, who run it on general foundry and machine work, and the manufacture of farming implements.
IRON FOUNDRY AND MACHINE SHOP
Of Lawson & Company, consisting of foundry-building, machine-shop, pattern-shop, and warerooms, is situated on both sides of Upper Front street, below the old Rhoads foundry. They manufacture all kinds of mill-gearing, reapers and mowers, and other agricultural implements. These works were established by John Patton, about 1838. They have passed successively through the ownership of White & Mervine, and White, Mervine & Lawson, till the coming in of the present firm. They employ eleven hands.
FOUNDRY AND MACHINE SHOP
Of J. M. Sasseman. It is located on Upper Front street, nearly opposite the McCleery saw-mills. Is run in the manufacture of engines, lathes, drills, and mill-gearing. Was established in 1843 by the present owner, who has carried it on constantly till the present time. When busy, there are eight hands employed.
STEAM SAW MILLS
Of McCleery, Newhard & Co. This business was established by Dr. William McCleery in 1842, and has been mentioned as the first steam saw-mill ever built on the west branch. The old original mill was kept in operation until 1857, when a new firm was organized, the partners being Moses Chamberlain, William McCleery, John Runkle, and Charles Newhard, who erected a larger mill above the old one, and on the opposite side of the canal. Its power was forty-horse, and cutting capacity eight thousand feet per day. Lath, shingle, and picket-machines, were operated for utilizing the offal.
This mill was destroyed in the Spring of 1864, but in October of the same year, a larger and better mill had been completed, and is now still in operation by the firm, consisting of William P. McCleery, Charles Newhard, and John W. Clinger. The mill runs a circular and a Mulay saw, and its cutting capacity is fifteen thousand feet per day, and in addition to this, it manufactures eight hundred thousand laths, five hundred thousand pickets, and six hundred thousand shingles, annually. Besides the Iumber saws, it operates a planer, re-saw, and flooring-machine. Number of hands employed, twenty.
MILTON SAW AND PLANING-MILL
Situated on the east side of Upper Front street, and joining the West Branch Canal, is owned and operated by D. Clinger, and is believed to be the oldest planing-mill in northern Pennsylvania. It was built in 1855, by Balliet, Billmeyer & Goodlander; it is eighty by eighty-six feet, two stories high, and propelled by a forty-horse engine; has dry-kilns attached, capable of drying twenty-five thousand feet at once. The mill was purchased by the present proprietor in 1867. When running to capacity, it employs forty men.
THE EXCELSIOR PLANlNG-MlLLS
of Knouf & Co., is situated at Centre street, and the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad. They manufacture flooring, siding, doors, frames, sash, and shutters. Use thirty horse-power, and employ twenty-three hands. The main building is eighty by eighty feet, and the dry-kiln, forty by sixteen feet.
The first firm was Knouf, Crist, & Co., who built the mills in 1873, commencing on the 17th of March, and completing them ready for work on the 5th of May, of that year.
KEG AND STAVE FACTORY
of Shimer & Co. This commenced work in Milton in 1872, working the offal of an oak bill-mill, located in Union County. That mill was removed to Milton in 1873, and the two were run in connection.
In May, 1875, a machine-shop was added. They manufacture oak bill-lumber, boxes, cloth-boards, staves, nail-kegs, and wood-working machinery. Value of productions, in 1875, thirty-five thousand dollars.
of Seydell & Tilden. It is situated at the corner of Upper Front and Upper Market streets. They manufacture carriages, spring-wagons, and sleighs. They employ eleven hands. Carriage works on this site were started by Robert and Duncan Patterson many years ago, but were burned about 1845. Since then, the business has passed through several firms before the present one.
THE OLD ECKERT FLOUR-MILL
Built by George Eckert, in 1816. Mr. Eckert died January 25th, 1850, after which it was rented for two years by George Baker, who, in December 1851, (before the expiration of his rental) purchased the mill, and has owned it till the present time. He does custom work, wholly, has four run of burrs, and a capacity of fifty barrels per day.
THE POLLOCK FLOURING-MILL
On Upper Front street, opposite the Rhoads foundry, has already been mentioned as having been built in 1832, by F. W. Pollock, Esq. It is now owned and run by Elias Bickel, has forty-five horse-power, and a capacity of thirty to forty bushels per hour. Annual business, thirty-five thousand dollars. Custom and merchant work.
TANNERY OF W. H. REBER
Is located on Elm street near Mahoning. The tanning business was started here in a small way, before the present century, by John Armstrong, from Montgomery County. By him it was sold to WiIliam Jordan, who in turn sold to Abraham Straub, about 1818. Twelve years later, Straub sold to Samuel T. Brown, and from him, it was purchased, in 1863, by William H. Reber, a practical tanner from Berks County. The tannery was burned October 7th, 1867. The present one was immediately commenced upon the ruins, and in the following December it was completed, and business resumed. The work is principally sole-leather, of oak and hemlock tannage. Annual production, twenty-two thousand sides. Hands employed, twenty-one. Tannery building, one hundred by seventy-three feet, two-story.
FLY-NET FACTORY OF R. F. WILSON
This business was commenced, in a small way, in 1856, by Robert Wilson, who was the inventor of the machinery used in the manufacture. The business increased steadily, and on January 1st, 1860, he removed to the second-story of Goodlander’s block, where it remained until 1871, when it was removed to its present location; the new building is on Lower Front street, near Philadelphia and Reading Railroad depot.
THE MILTON NATIONAL BANK
The germ from which this institution sprung was the Milton Savings Bank, incorporated in 1855, and organized in 1856, with a capital of only twenty-five thousand dollars. James Pollock was president, and Robert M. Frick, cashier.
In 1857, Mr. Pollock resigned the presidency, and W. C. Lawson was elected to fill his place.
March 8th, 1862, it was made a bank of issue, the capital increased to fifty thousand dollars, and the name changed to The Milton Bank; Mr. Lawson and Mr. Frick, respectively, retaining the offices of president and cashier.
On the 17th of January, 1865, having complied with the requirements of the National Banking Law, it became the Milton National Bank, with a capital increased to one hundred thousand dollars, and with W. C. Lawson and Robert M. Frick still as president and cashier.
The banking-rooms were first in the Cadwallader Building, adjoining the Bethuel Vincent corner. Its present quarters are in one of the brick dwelling-houses, purchased by the bank from the estate of William H. Sanderson. The residence of the cashier occupies the remainder of the property.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF MILTON, PA
This institution commenced business, under the National Banking Law, February 13th, 1864 - J. Woods Brown, president, and Samuel D. Jordan, cashier. In 1875, Mr. Jordan died, when the teller, Mr. John M. Caldwell, was promoted to be cashier.
The institution does a general banking business, and makes collections at accessible points. The present president is J. Woods Brown, and the cashier is John M. Caldwell. Capital, one hundred thousand dollars.
Its first place of business was in a brick building owned by the Sanderson estate, on the site now occupied by the law office of Lawson & Brown. Two years later, it was removed to Haag’s Block, and it remained there six years. At the end of that time, banking-rooms were rented for a term of twenty-five years, in the block of Mr. Henry Huth, on Front street. There it continued business until the block was destroyed in the great fire of December 12th, 1875. The safes and other property were got out, with but very trifling loss, and removed to premises on the opposite side of Front street, owned by Mrs. Frymire, and occupied by D. W. Angell, who vacated to accommodate the bank.
Here it did business until July 12th, 1876, when it was moved to the new banking-house which had been built on land purchased from Mr. Huth; being the same spot which it occupied at the time of the fire.
The cost of land and building was seven thousand dollars. The new banking-house is twenty by forty-five feet-two stories, each fourteen feet high. The material is brick, with eighteen-inch walls, iron beams and girders, brick-arched ceilings, heavily covered with cement, iron stairway, corrugated iron doors and shutters, and metallic roof; making it, as nearly as praeticable, fIre-proof. Its interior finish is of walnut, with solid furniture of the same material. The “Valentine & Butler” vaults, with chronometer locks, afford as much security against burglars, as steel, chilled-iron, and ingenious design can give.
Soon after the expiration of the first decade of the present century, the citizens of Milton began to think that their population, and their importance, entitled them to a local newspaper - one which might reflect their own views and feelings, untrammeled by the opinions and prejudices of the older towns. The Freiheitsvogel, of Sunbury, had died several years before, and the Republican Argus, of Northumberland, was already in the throes of dissolution. The Northumberland Gazzette, the Northwestern Post, and the Sunbury Times, still came up regularly by mail, but Milton needed a journal of her own; and so General Henry Frick, one of her principal citizens, bought presses and type, and all the expensive necessities of a newspaper, and on Saturday, September 21st, 1816, he issued the first number of the Miltonian, from his office of publication, at the corner of Broadway and Water streets.
It was the pioneer, as it is now the the sole survivor of journalism in Milton. There is pride in the term pioneer, and there is inexpressible melancholy in that of last survivor; but neither pride nor melancholy seem to have sown the seeds of decay in the Miltonian, for now, in the sixtieth year of its existence, it is as fresh and vigorous as ever. It has lived under the administrations of fifteen Presidents, and has noticed fourteen of them in obituary. At the time of its birth, George the Fourth had not yet come to the throne of England, and the great Napoleon had been but a few months on St. Helena. So we find among the foreign news in that first issue, as follows: “Bonaparte - We have a roundabout West India account that Bonaparte had escaped from St. Helena on the 22d of June. Particulars are not given, but the report is said to have been believed at Barbadoes.” Also, an item referring to a recent ball given by the Prince Regent (afterwards George Fourth), on which occasion the Princess Charlotte had interdicted the wearing of any stuffs not of British manufacture. (It would be well if Americans today would emulate that royal economy and patriotism). There is no marriage recorded in the fIrst number, but there is an announcement of death, as follows: “Died, on Tuesday last, in this place, after a short illness, Mr. Edmund Hogan, a respectable inhabitant.”
Abner Cox advertises in it a general assortment of dry goods, boots, shoes, china, glass and crockery-ware, Montezuma salt, and also old rye whisky, by the barrel or gallon. And Henry Follmer returns his sincere thanks to the public for their encouragement to his wool-carding factory, and he reminds them that flax-seed will be taken, at Milton prices, in payment of debts due him.
It publishes Grotigan’s Philadelphia Prices Current, of date September 9th, 1816, as follows:
Wheat, per bushel, $1.25
Rye, per bushel, 1.25
Barley, per bushel, 1.00
Oats, per bushel, . . . .50
Superfine wheat flour, per barrel, 9.50
Rye flour, per barrel, 6.50
Rye whiskey, per gallon, .56
Butter, per pound, .16
Spanish dollars (premium), .10
American dollars (premium), .08
Gold dollars (premium), .08
Western notes (discount), .12
It carries a disproof of the popular belief, that in the olden times “the office sought the man and not the man the office,” for we find John Wheatley, George Lesher, Jacob Markley, and Jacob Urban, advertising themselves as candidates for the office of County Commissioner, and asking the votes of their fellow-citizens. That candidates and voters were as bibulously inclined, and also that liquor bills were as difficult of collection then as now, seems apparent from the following, which is found among the advertisements.
“CAUTION TO INN-KEEPERS.
“ As an election is drawing nigh, and as Samuel Maus, Esq., among other candidates for the office of Commissioner, may be riding through the county, canvassing for votes, all inn-keepers should be cautious in trusting him beyond the amount of twenty shillings, as they will perceive, by the following transcript from the Magistrate’s docket, that they cannot recover any sum beyond the amount. (Signed) V ALENTINE SMITH.”
(Then follows the transcript above mentioned, showing that Esquire Maus had, in a certain action, pleaded the “Bar Act,” as against Smith, and thereby brought him to grief, in the sum of three dollars and forty-four cents, Valentine being himself an inn-keeper, and having incautiously trusted the defendant with that amount for certain gill-glasses, in excess of the twenty shillings allowed by Iaw.)
For ten years and seven months, the Miltonian continued under the proprietorship and management of General Frick, but during the thirteen succeeding years he had associate with him, in its publication, at different times, Montgomery Sweeny, Robert Bennett, John W. Correy, and John H. Brown.
This latter-named gentleman assumed the entire management of the paper on June 3d, 1840, when General Frick permanently retired. Mr. Brown continued alone till January 1st, 1842, and was then succeeded by John Frick and E. B. Hunter. On May 5th, 1843, Hunter retired, and from then until 1854, tbe paper was suecessively under control of John Frick, Robert M. Frick, and Henry Frick, Jr., sons of the founder.
On January 1st of that Year, it was purchased by John Robins. Three years later, viz: January 1st, 1857, it passed from the hands of Mr. Robins into those of Robert M. and Jacob Frick.
The next year, 1858, it was purchased by L. H. Funk, who published it alone for five years.
In 1863, L. M. Morton purchased a half-interest, and the publishing firm-name became Funk & Morton. In 1867, Mr. Funk died, and his interest in the paper was sold to Hon. Franklin Bound. In 1869, Mr. Bound sold his interest to William M. Mervine, and the firm was then Morton & Mervine.
The next year, a one-third interest was sold to Rev. D. C. John, and the paper was then, for five years, published by Morton, Mervine & Co.
In March, 1875, the paper was sold to P. L. Hackenburg, Esq. At the end of nine months, however, he sold it to L. M. Morton, Esq., who is still editor, proprietor and publisher.
All things terrestial must have an end, and so will the Miltonian; but now, after outliving all local contemporaries, it seems so well and firmly established that it is not unlikely to live to announce the festivities of the next centennial.
THE STATES ADVOCATE
Was first printed in Milton, Februay 26th, 1826, by William Tweed and E. H. Kincaid. On April 13th, 1829, Mr. Kincaid withdrew. August 15th, 1833, the firm became Tweed & Kelchner. November 13th, 1834, Tweed withdrew, and, after four years more, Kelchner removed the paper to Lewisburg, Union County, November 1st, 1838.
THE WEST BRANCH FARMER AND TRUE DEMOCRAT
Was started by Montgomery Sweeny, a former partner with General Frick, in the Miltonian. Its first issue was September 3d, 1834, and it expired after about three years.
Was very short-lived. It first appeared in November, 1837. Mr. A. Kerr was its proprietor and publisher.
THE MILTON LEDGER
This newspaper was commenced in 1838, and existed for a little more tban six years. It was founded by McGee & Wilson, and its subsequent publishers were: McGee & Collings, H. L. Dieffenbach, John M. Porter, and Brewer & Armstrong. Its last publisher was a gentleman named Frank. The paper was suspended in 1844.
THE ADVOCATE AND DAY SPRING.
First publication in Autumn of 1844, by Rev. W. H. T. Barnes, who afterwards died in the Mexican war. The paper was devoted to temperance, and existed some two years.
On April17th, 1852, was issued the first number of
THE MILTON DEMOCRAT
by John R. Eck, Esq. It died a natural death in 1859.
THE NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY HERALD
Was started as a temperance journal in 1868. It was central in politics, and was published by Rev. E. W. Kirby and J. W. Speddy, Esq. It was continued about a year.
The gentlemen composing the present board of Milton School Directors are: Thomas R. Hull, president; William H. Gotwald, secretary and district superintcndent; Leonard C. Beidleman, Hugh D. Barr, Samuel H. Tilden, Leander M. Morton; Robert M. Frick, Treasurer.
The number of schools is nine, with an average attendance of about four hundred and fifty scholars in the aggregate. The schools are creditable, but neither they nor the school buildings are what they should be in the town which once boasted a Kirkpatrick, and which, today, swells with just pride at the mention of him and his peerless academy.
No fault, however, can attach to the district superintendent or to the directors, who each and all, take a deep interest in the welfare of the schools, and in every effort towards their advancement.
The Centre school-house is of brick, respectable in size and most other respects; but of some of the others, particularly that on Broadway, there can hardly be as much said.
The high-school is ably conducted, and its pupils acquire all the necessary qualifications for freshmen. Its principal is a graduate, and receives eighty dollars per month. The other teachers’ salaries are from thirty-five dollars upwards. The free school terms amount to eight months of the year, and this is supplemented about two months by subscription.
Of the Milton schools, in olden time, there were some which deserve mention. The earliest of these was that taught by Joseph D. Biles, who announced his capacity to teach “reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, geography, book-keeping (Italian form), mensuration, surveying, navigation, algebra, natural and moraI philosophy, and the Latin and Greek languages”. This school was commenced in 1815, in the old frame schoolhouse on Broadway, and was called the “Milton academy,” whereof the trustees were: David Rittenhouse, John Chestnut, and Bethuel Vincent.
This was, doubtless, a good school, but it languished and soon expired, probably for lack of support. And Mr. Biles, after keeping a book-store in Milton for a few years, removed to geading, and became there a lawyer of some note.
The Kirkpatrick School. But the “school of schools” was the second, the “Milton Academy” - Kirk’s school,” as it was admiringly called. The project was initiated in 1822, by Rev. George Junkin. The school was opened in a room which had been a printing-office, in a building standing on the spot now occupied by the residence of Dr. James P. McCleery. This was used for some time, before the low, square, hip-roof Academy was built, on the rise of the hill upon the north side of Broadway. Its cost did not reach four bundred dollars, which was made up by stock subscriptions, in twenty-five dollar shares, placed among ten or twelve citizens of the town. Mr. Junkin had, from the first, thought of his friend, the Rev. David Kirkpatrick, intending to persuade him to assume charge of this school. He was a graduate of the University of Dublin, Ireland, and, coming to this country, bad commenced teaching in a small way in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Mr. Junkin’s persuasions prevailed, and Mr. Kirkpatrick left Oxford to take charge of the Academy in Milton. But so high did he stand in Oxford, that several who were students there followed him, to continue their studies in the Acadcmy.
His career was more than a success It was a triumph! During the eleven years that he remained, his students numbered four hundred, very many of whom attained distinguished positions, and very few, if any, remained in mediocrity. One hundred and fifty of them are still living, and among these, are Representatives and Senators in Congress, lawyers of the highest repute, and more than one who has been Governor of Pennsylvania. It is believed that in all the State, there has never been a school of similar size and pretension, which turns out such a bright galaxy. But, in 1834, he embraced what seemed an advantageous opportunity, and removced to Indiana County and the glory of the old academy went with him. The school lived on, in ordinary existence, under charge of Rev. Mr. Ferguson and others, until 1854, and then it was discontinued.
From that time, the old house remained vacant till about 1872, when it was purchased, to he used as a storage-house to a carriage manufactory. It was like planting cabbages in the Roman Forum.
The Reunion. At Milton, on the 14th of ,July, 1874, there gathered, from near and from far off, fifty-seven of the one hundred and fifty surviving scholars of Kirkpatrick. They had come to look again at the old academy, and to revive memories of their youthful tribulations and triumphs within its walls. There were those present who had followed him from Oxford, and many who had been his pupils half a century before.
There were some to whose eyes the old house had not become unfamiliar - some who had seen it nearly every day tor years; but to those who had not seen it since their school-days, the feeling could not have been other than that of deep disappointment, as they looked upon it in its dinginess and dilapidation; with even these, intensified by the addition of a pair of decaying wooden wings. They mustered inside the old school-room, as they had done so many years before, but it was only a short session, for dinner awaited them at the Riverside Hotel. The appetites, at least, were as keen as of old, and the exercises there were most agreeable.
Thence, they adjourned to the Academy of Music, and listened to eloquent words from Governor James, Pollock, and others of their own number, and though those words brought frequent tears, and though chords were touched that sometimes thrilled to their hearts’ cores, they felt that they had done well in coming there. It was an occasion which they will never forget, and one which will long be remembered hy the citizens of Milton.
The Lancasterian School System was one under which pupils were, for superior scholarship and good conduct, appointed to be ushers and monitors over their fellows; and those positions could only be kept by the continuence of that relative superiority through which they were obtained - a superiority which those under them were always striving to extinguish - it was claimed that the extraordinary spirit of emulation thus engendered, must produce the best possible results to the sehool.
On that system, the Lancasterian School of Milton was commenced in 1830, in a long one-story brick building, standing where the Centre sehoolhouse now is. The enterprise was inaugurated by a stock company, as is shown by the fact that .Mr. C. C. Straub has in his possession some of the stock certificates which he recently discovered among the papers of his deceased father.
A Mr. Wright, of Philadelphia, was the first teacher, and was eminently fitted for the position. Under him, the scholars attained excellent proficiency, but with his sucessor, Mr. Charles Guenther, the results were not so satisfactory, and it was not very long before the project was abandoned.
The Prospect Hill School, a private subscription enterprise, was commenced ahout 1847. The house was erected in a square, containing five town lots, at the corner of Upper Market and Second streets - a beautiful high swell of ground, called “Prospect Hill,” or sometimes “Academy Hill.” It was not a very fine or commodious building, but it answered all the purposes of the school until 1819, when it was demolished.
The New Milton Academy was built upon the same spot, by subscribers, citizens of Milton, at a cost of six thousand dollars. It was a handsome two-story brick structure, with symmetrical towers rising from the two front angles. The grounds were neatly enclosed, and well kept, and the entire establishment and surroundings were very attractive to the eye.
The first principal was Rev. William T. Wylie, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. He was excellent, both as pastor and as teacher, and Milton well appreciated him. He is now laboring in Chambersburg, Pa.
After five or six years, the interest in the Academy seems to have waned, for, about 1865, the stockholders sold land and building to Colonel Wright of Rochester New York, but it was with the condition that the property should never he used for other than educational purposes.
Colonel Wright, however, was not fortunate in his undertaking and investment, for about two years later, the fire destroyed all his fine buildings, and left but a blackened waste of his beautiful grounds, and this was the end of Milton’s third academy. It is to be hoped that it may he rebuilt, but as yet no movement has been made in that direction.
The Episcopal Church is the oldest in Milton, and dates back more than eighty years, the families composing it, at the commencement of the century, were those of Marr, Hull, McCurley, Hepburn, Rittenhouse, Smith, Stadden, Seydell, Covert, and Webb. Their first house of worship was a log building, which stood on Church lane, (where it now corners with Lincoln street,) upon a lot donated for church and burial purposes by Joseph Marr, August 18th, 1794, to Matthias Webb, Samuel Stadden, and John Covert, as trustees for the church.
The Rev. Caleb Hopkins was the first who preached to the congregation, but was not their rector. The first rector was Rev. Depuey; the next, Rev. Eldred; and the third was Rev. Abijah Hopkins, who remained up to about 1820. From that time, for about twenty-five years, they had neither rector nor services, and the members mostly united with other churches. About 1845, or a little later, worship was resumed, and the question of building a new church edifice was soon after earnestly agitated by the Rev. B. Wistar Morris, now Bishop of Washington Territory, who had then just assumed the rectorship. There were but few communicants at that time, and it was only by the most strenuous and persevering efforts of Mr. Morris that the church was built. Mr. Rolland McCurley, who is still living in Union County, gave the lot of ground, and, after years of effort, the corner-stone was laid by Bishop Potter, July 17th, 1849. It was completed without further delay - a substantial and commodious brick edifice, which still remains their place of worship. They are now again without a rector, and their numbers are not large.
The First presbyterian Church of Milton was organized by the Presbytery of Northumberland, December 3d, 1811.
Prior to the organization - from about 1803 to 1810, the Rev. John Bryson, pastor at Warrior Run and at Chillisquaque, preached in the log school-house on Lower Market street in Milton, on every fourth Sabbath, and during the latter part of that time, on alternate Sabbaths.
Their first regular pastor was the Rev. Thomas Hood, who was installed, October 7th, 1812, and, under his ministry, the congregation worshiped in the Episcopal Church edifice, in Morris lane, or Church lane, until 1819, when they removed to the Harmony Church, on Mahoning street, and this they occupied alternately with the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations until 1832. Then, on account of pecuniary embarrassments, they left the Union, and obtained the use of the Baptist Church, until 1836. Then, for two years, they worshiped in Shiloh Church, until the dedication of the new brick church building, which they had erected on Water street. This was on July 29th, 1838. In this edifice they worshiped through the pastorates of Rev. James Williamson, installed November 27th, 1838, and Rev. David Longmore, D.D., installed November 17th, 1846.
On December 14th, 1854, the Rev, James C. Walson, D.D., was installed as their pastor, and his rninistry has continued until the present time.
In May, 1856, their church building was removed, and a new edifice commenced upon the same site. It was completed ill 1857, and dedicated on the the 16th day of August of that year. It is a substantial brick building, and is still used as their place of worship.
Methodist Episcopal Church - as early as the year 1788, worship was held, at irregular intervals, by the Methodist residents of Milton and vicinity. These meetings were held, sometimes at one, and sometimes at another, of the citizens’ houses, and at such times us a preacher could be secured for the day or evening, that is, whenever a minister of their persuasion came in their vicinity from other localities.
In this manner they continued until the building of the log school-house in Lower Market street in 1796, after which that building was used for their meetings, but they still had no regular pastor.
It is a matter greatly to be regretted, that there are no accessible data by which the correct time of organization can be given, nor the names and dates of service of the different ministers. Some time after the commencement of the century, a small Iog church was built opposite the old school-house on Market street, and in this they held their worship, under the ministrations of a large numher of different pastors, until 1835, when their new church building, on the east side of the canal, was completed and occupied. This edifice stood on a spot which fell directly in the middle of Centre street, when that thoroughfare came to be laid out, and so, as the most satisfactory way out of the difficulty, the projectors of the street purchased and removed the church in 1859, and the congregation then built and removed to the new church building in Upper Front street, which has been their place of worship till the present time. Their pastor is now the Rev. A. D. Yocum. The membership is three hundred, which is also about the average attendance at their excellent Sabbath-school.
Lutheran Church - The Lutheran and Reformed churches of Milton, being union congregations for many years, the history of one is, to a certain extent, that of both. From 1796 to 1807, the Lutherans of Milton were supplied with preaching by traveling ministers. Services were held in the old log school-house, in Lower Market street. About 1807, a small one-story log building on south side of Mahoning street, was purchased by the congregation. It stood on land now owned by Baltzer Critzer. Here preaching and German day-school were regularly held. The Revs. Oyer, Stock, and Engle were the first preachers. After them, in 1811, carne the Rev. Philip Repass as pastor. The old Harmony Church, at the eastern end of Mahoning street, became their place of worship, in union with the Presbyterians and German Reformed people. It was dedicated May 23d and 24th, 1819. The church was now organized, under Mr. Repass, as pastor; Philip H. Schreyer, as elder; and John Hill, as deacon.
The successors of Mr. Repass, till 1850, were Rev. Frederick Waage, Rev. Garman, Rev. Charles P. Miller, John G. Anspach, Charles F. Stoever, Eli Swartz, and Frederic Ruthrauff. The Lutherans, having sold their interest in the Harmony Church to the Reformed congregation, built for their own use, in 1850, a new two-story brick church building-naming it Trinity Church. It stood near the western end of Mahoning street. The pastors who preached in this church were Rev. F. Ruthrauff, John J. Reimsnyder, C. C. Culler, T. Titus, and P. Sprecher.
In 1861, their present large and beautiful church edifice, situated on the north-east corner of Second and Mahoning streets, was completed and dedicated to God’s worship.
The pastors who have successively ministered in this church, are Revs. George Parson, N. Graves, A. Burnman, and the present pastor, Rev. W. H. Gotwald.
Reformed Church - As early as can now be ascertained, this congregatiun was first regularly organized on the 25th of April, 1819 - the first election for church officers resulting in the choice of Christian Markle, as elder, and Joseph Rhoads, as deacon. The few Reformed families living in and around Milton, had been more or less frequently supplied with preaching by Reformed clergymen, who came this way, as early as 1805 - first in the log school-house on Lower Market street, and later, in a small log building in Mahoning street.
In 1817, the Reformed people united with the Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations in erecting a church edifice on the hill at the east end of Mahoning street, to be known as the “Harmony Church,” (completed 1819) in which this congregation worshiped until that building was remodeled in 1866. The church edifice now occupied is a commodious brick building on Upper Front street, and was erected in 1867. Following is a list of all the ministers who have served since the organization: Rev. Justus Henry Fries, 1812-23; Rev. Samuel Gutelius, 1824-27; Rev. Henry Wagner, 1827-35; Rev. Daniel Gring, 1835-46; Rev. Ephraim Kieffer became Mr. Gring’s colleague, to preach in the English language, in 1840, and continued until 1844. Rev. Henry Harbaugh then associated himself with Mr. Gring, preaching in English, until 1846, after which, Mr. Gring having resigned, he served the congregation as pastor uutil 1849. Rev. E. M. Long served 1845-52; Rev. A. G. Dole, 1853-65; Rev. Samuel H. Reid, 1866-73. The present pastor, Rev. F. F. Bahner, assumed charge in 1873.
The congregation has a communicant membership of two hundred and twenty-five, and has connected with it a flourishing Sabbath-school.
The Milton Baptist Church - The Rev. Eugenio Kincaid has, during all his life, been eminently a soldier of theCross. Early in the year 1826, he came into the valley of the Susquehanna - a Christian knight-errant - in search of the neglected and destitute, and reaching Milton, and finding that one solitary individual, a woman, stood alone in all that town as the representative of the Baptist persuasion, he resolved to plant the standard there, and to give stated preachings, for he knew where two or three were gathered together in the earnest desire to serve uuder the Divine Commander, that He would come down in their midst, and that His panoply would cover them.
These stated preachings very soon produced their effect, for around this nucleus there collected a little band, which, on the 25th of August, in the same year, was recognized as the Milton Baptist Church, regularly constituted. There were nine members, viz.: Eugenio and Emily Kincaid, Nathan and Martha Delany, William and Catharine Thomas, Susannah Thomas, Sarah Watts and Harriet Geddes. On Sabbath morning, the 10th of the following September, immediately after morning service, occurred their first baptism. A great concourse of people thronged the river bank, and the scene was a most impressive one. Now the church prospered apace, continuing under the ministration of Mr. Kincaid until his appointment as missionary to Burmah, in 1830, when his place was filled by Rev. George Higgins. He was an itinerant, but made the Milton Church his centre of labor, and his home. During the five years of his charge, fifty-one were received into the fellowship of the church. In August, 1832, James Moore, Sr., and William Thomas, were ordained deacons, and in March, 1833, their first Sabbath-school was commenced.
The exact date of the erection of their first meeting-house is not known. It was commenced, however, not far from 1830, but was not entirely finished for some years. Deacon James Moore, Sr., gave the lot. The church stood on the spot where Daniel Krauser’s house now stands, in Filbert street. It was then called Church Alley. After Mr. Higgins, came Rev. S. B. Brown, who remained till 1837, and added fifteen to the church in baptism. Following him was Rev. D. C. Wait, till 1839, during which time twenty-nine were received. His successor was Rev. C. A. Hewitt, whose pastorate continued till 1845, and was a most successful one. The Rev. T. E. Bradley, and theological students Kelly, Hay, and Carnohan, supplied the pulpit up to 1852, when Rev. Howard Malcolm held charge for about four years. For the succeeding ten years, preaching ,was supplied principally by Professor Curtis, and by various students of the Lewisburg University. Then, in 1864, came Rev . T. A. Kirkpatrick, followed successively by Rev. James Parker, Rev. T. E. Clapp, and Rev. W. B. Thomas, until 1868, when their new place of worship was completed. It is a handsome brick structure, standing on Centre street and Elm, at the south-cast corner. In December, 1868, Rev. A. C. Wheat assumed charge, and remained untill 1870. The present pastor is Rev. J. Green Miles, whose ministry commenced in 1871. The membership is one hundred. The Rev. Mr. Kincaid, their present pastor, still lives at a very advanced age, in Girard, Kansas. Three times he went as missionary to the kingdom of Burmah, freely braving the terrors of that climate, in the hope of saving souls. His life has been truly a noble one.
Reformed Presbyterian Church - The organization of this church was effected in 1831. Their first church edifice was a frame building, near the present site of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad depot. Their first pastor was Rev. William Wilson, whose ministration continued until 1836, when he was succeeded by Rev. John McKinley, of Philadelphia, who, at the end of three years, was in turn succeeded by Rev. J. A. Crawlord. His ministry extended over a period of six years. The fourth pastorate was that of Rev. Matthew Smith, which continued but little more than a year. Their fifth (and last regular) pastor was Rev. William P. Wylie, a man eminent in every Christian grace and virtue, who remained with them eleven years (1854 till June, 1865). He is now laboring in Chambersburg, Pa. Since his time, the pulpit has been supplied by the Second Reformed Presbytery of Philadelphia.
In 1854, during Mr. Wiley’s ministry, their old church building and land were sold to the railroad company, and they removed to their new brick edifice, which had just been completed, on Walnut street, between Upper Front and Water street, and which is their present house of worship. The cost of this church building was about nine thousand dollars. They are wholly free from debt and prosperous.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church - This church, in Milton, was founded in 1837. The first entry in the baptismal register is of date, November 5th, in that year, and is signed by Rev. Edward Maginnis, the first priest in charge. The names of his successors are not all known, but among them were Revs. Daniel Sheridan, Basil, Shorb, and George Gostenshnigg, the latter of whom died on the second day of May, 1860, and now lies interred in the yard of their church on Walnut. street, east of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad. This church is a brick structure, and was built in 1844. It was their first (and has been their only) regular place of worship in Milton. Rev. Louis Grotemeyer is the present pastor.
The Zion African M. E. Church - The date of its organization as a church is not exactly known. The congregation worshiped for some years in the frame school-house on Broadway, and in the year 1849, they purchased that building, and removed it eastwardly to a point near the top of the hill, upon the same street, (its present location) and with some repairs it becarne their church edifice, which they have occupied for worship until the present time. Their pastor is now Rev. James Henry, who, in 1875, succeeded Rev. T. N. Allen. Before Mr. Allen, the Rev. James Barnes had preached for two years. Of the names of their earlier pastors, there is no record. The num ber of communicants is at present twenty-seven.
Milton Mission of the Evangelical association - This mission was founded in the year 1866. The first missionary was the Rev. S. Dans, who labored on the mission for two years. In the Spring of 1869, the Rev. J. M. Pines became pastor of the congregation. During his pastorate they had no regular place of worship, and he found it very difficult to build up the society. The next Spring, he was succeeded by Rev. A. H. Irvine, who aided the society in the purchase of a house and lot on Lower Market street. The building was fitted up and used as a place of worship during the pastorate of Mr. Irvine. His successor, in 1873, was the Rev. H. B. Hertzler, during whose ministry the house was removed, and the lot cleared for the building of a new church edifice. After this removal, the congregation held their meetings in a school-house in Lower Market street.
The Rev. A. W. Schenberger became pastor in the Spring of 1874, and it was chiefly due to his unwearying labors, aided by those of Rev. M. J. Carothers, Presiding Elder of the Lewisburg District, that the new church building was carried to completion. Its size is seventy-four by fifty feet, and the total cost was four thousand two hundred and seventy-two dollars and ten cents. It was dedicated to Almighty God, by Bishop Dubs, of Cleveland, Ohio, January 31st, 1875. Rev. Mr. Schenberger is still their pastor. The membership numbers eighty-four, and they have a large sabbath-school.
The Christian Association - At the time of its commencement, in 1871, it was called the Young People’s Prayer Meeting. Its object was, and is, the dissemination of religious knowledge and ideas, with meetings for prayer, and religious interchange. After an existence of five years, they adopted, in March, 1876, their present name and designation. Their meetings are held at the various churches, in rotation. Contributions for necessary expenses are received by the executive committee, but are not solicited in public at the meetings.
The President of the Association is W. P. Wheeland; Vice President, William D. Snyder; Secretary, .J. F. Wolfinger; Treasurer, John M. Caldwell; Librarian, George T. Gauby.
THE CEMETERIES OF MILTON
The first place where interments were made by the inhabitants of Milton was A ground situated south of Ferry lane, and about midway between Front street and the river. Its use dates back beyond 1790. The name of the first interment is not known. The bodies have all been removed years ago, and no trace of its ancient character is now visible.
The German Reformed Burying Ground directly north of the Presbyterian, was donated by Andrew Straub, on March 11th, 1793. In that year, his son John Straub was buried there, and that was the first interment. His remains have recently been removed to Harmony Cemetery by his nephew, C. C. Straub Esq., president of this association. Very few interments are made there now, and it is going into disuse.
Episcoplal Burying Ground - On August 18th, 1794, Joseph Marr gave a lot of ground in Church Lane, adjoining Upper Milton, to Matthias Webb, Samuel Stadden, and John Covert, trustees of the Episcopal congregation, for burial and church purposes. This ground was principally used by members of the congregation, but it has been abandoned for many years, and most of the dead removed to the cemeteries.
Methodist Graveyard - A year or two later, ground for a burial place and church was given to the Methodist congregation by Andrew Straub. It was situated on the north side of Lower Market street, just north of the present school-house. It has been many years since any interments were made there and all the remains have been transferred to other grounds. It is now in disuse, and a lumber yard occupies its site.
The Old Presbyterian Graveyard was donated to that society by Daniel Scudder, Esq., about 1820. Very few burials are now made there, and many of those buried in earlier times, have been removed.
The Milton Cemetery Association was incorporated in1853. Their grounds contain ten acres, beautifully located on a high swell of land, just outside the eastern limits of the borough, and beyond the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad. They are enclosed by a handsome paling fence, and are tastefully laid out with avenues and walks. Much pains has been taken to beautify this last resting-place, by the planting of trees, shrubbery, and flowers, and many handsome and expensive monuments have been reared by sorrowing friends. The cemetery is a beautiful one, and most creditable the the citizens of Milton.
The Harmony Cemetery Association was incorporated in 1860, Abraham Straub was the first president, and was succeeded, in 1864, by C. C. Straub, who still holds the office.
The first interment was that of a child of William Derrickson, which was buried there even before the laying out was completed.
The cemetery is a tract of ten acres, lying on a beautiful southerly slope, bounded by the borough limits on the west, and by a public road on the east.
The grounds are laid off in sections, fronting south-westerly, and thence running to the rear line upon the crest of the acclivity. Avenues run entirely around the enclosure, and divide the sections from each other. Footwalks are laid between the avenues, and give access to all the burial lots.
The plan and the embellishments are in the true spirit of the modern idea - that the home of the departed should be made attractive to the eye, and freed from the gloom with which our forefathers were too apt to invest it. No “naked rows of graves, and melancholy ranks of monuments” are here, but flowers are springing upon the green sod, and the willow trails its long pendants over the pure white marble. The larch, the ash, and the maple, wave their graceful branches above the mounds; the walks are bordered with shrubbery, and a living hedge of honey-locust encloses the whole .
“Peace to the dust, that in silence reposes
Beneath the deep shade of the cypress and yew;
May Spring deck the spot with her earliest news,
And Heaven wash their leaves with its holiest dew.”
The Catholic Cemetery is about two miles east of the town. Its area is about five acres, enclosed by a substantial brick-wall. Within the enclosure is an old brick building, which was formerly their church. It is now in decay. The interments are very numerous.
These are the cemeteries of Milton, but her dead are not all here.
There is another, and a wider burial-place - stretching from the locust-fringed Potomac to the sand beaches of the Gulf - and all over that broad ground, aII along the slopes of Virginia, and on the ridges of Georgia and Tennessee, her soldier sons are sleeping in unmarked graves; and there they will slumber on till the reveille of the archangel awakens them.