« ZurückWeiter »
Miscellaneous.—The Smethport Cemetery Society was chartered in 1863 on petition of S. C. Hyde, C. K. Sartwell, L. R. Wisner, Miles Innis and W. A. Williams.
The question of building a plank road from Clermont to Olean was presented to the people of McKean county in November, 1849, by O. J. Hamlin. He estimated the number of acres of coal land in the county at 10,000, and stated that the selling price ranged from $1.50 to S3 per acre. In less than two years after this proposition was made the Smethport & Olean Plank Road Company organized (June 21, 1851), with S. Sartwell, president; Henry Hamlin, secretary; William K. King, treasurer; R. Phelps Wright, G. Irons, Rah, som Larrabee, Dr. McCoy and J. W. Prentiss, directors. Railroads now follow this route, the McKean & Buffalo Road being practically completed to Smethport in 1875, and pushed thence to the mines. In 1889 the road was continued from Clermont to Johnsonburg in Elk county.
Smethport has celebrated the anniversary of national independence for fifty years. As if to emphasize this fiftieth celebration, the Fourth of 1889 was a day especially prepared for festivity. From a late hour on the evening of July 3 to the dawn of next day rain poured down in torrents to moisten the parched earth. Early on the 4th the streets were rolled smooth, and before noon were in excellent shape for the parade, the sunbeams giving token that old Sol himself was pleased with the intentions of the people. The procession, which was the feature of the day, was composed of the following well-equipped bands, hose companies, etc.: Marshal, J. M. McElroy, and aids; Smethport Band; McKean Post 347, G. A. R., and guests; Dr. Freeman, commanding second division, and aids; Gorton's Gold Band; J. Gorton Hose No. 1, Friendship, N. Y.; Eldred Band; Mountaineer Hose No. 1, Emporium; Forest Band; Citizen Hose No. 2, Emporium; Bolivar Cornet Band; Citizen Hose No. 2, Bolivar, N. Y.; Smethport Hose No. 1; president of the day and speakers in carriages.
The exercises in the court-house opened with music by the Smethport Band. E. L. Keenan, president of the day, delivered the address of welcome, and at the suggestion of the sheriff, extended a general invitation to visitors to share the hospitalities offered by the citizens. Rev. T. W. Chandler delivered an excellent prayer; Capt. Rogers read the "Declaration," and W. J. Milliken, of Bradford, delivered the oration—which was eloquent as well as historical. At night the festivities were continued, one of the features being a merry march from East Smethport to the court-house square, lead by the Eldred Band. The hose companies, without an exception, presented a handsome appearance, and the music rendered by the different bands mentioned was of a high standard.
The history of the Keating, the Bingham and the Ridgway lands in this county is related on other pages. Smethport has been for years the Mecca of land hunters, as there the agents of the great estates ultimately congregated and established their offices. Robert C. Simpson, the general agent of the Bingham estate, resides at Wellsboro, Penn. Robert H. Rose was the first agent; W. B. Clymer had charge of the estate until Mr. Simpson was appointed, during the war. Robert H. Rose is attorney for the estate and local agent at Smethport. Much of the land is leased, and this, with the'unseated lands, aggregates over 40,000 acres in McKean, and an equal area in Potter county. Smaller areas of lands belonging to the other proprietors are still unsold.
East Smethport may be said to date back to the establishment of the Extract Works at that point. Shortly after the large buildings were erected the place began to assume the features of a village, and with its railroad communication would be a strong contestant for the business center, had it any one of the physical advantages possessed by the old town. The ground is low and marshy, and in seasons of heavy rain subject to the overflow of Nunundah creek. Opposite the Western New York & Pennsylvania depot is the planingmill of Bush & McIntosh, near by the Bottling Works, and in the vicinity the Extract Works. On the corner of Main and Railroad streets is the store and post-office building of James M. Tracy; below is the large store building of Stickuey, Bell & Go. The Exchange Hotel is conducted by John H. Bowers: a few rods westward of this hotel is the Sherwood grocery store, and opposite it the meat market of J. H. Stull. The English Protestant Episcopal Chapel is near the bridge, and across the creek, near the mouth of Marvin creek, the first of a series of saw-mills on the latter stream is found. A number of small dwelling houses, occupied by Swedish workmen and their families, are scat tered here and there, all forming the nucleus of what enterprise may convert into a large business town.
There is no history of failure attached to Smethport. The men who came here to build up a prosperous community knew no such word as fail, and con sequently the story is one of success following perseverance, tolerance and intelligence. To the wisdom and policy of John Keating, who selected this location, much is due, but without the pioneers the place might be still in the wilderness, as it would undoubtedly be still comparatively primitive without the modern pioneers of commercial and professional progress. To the latter the achievement of placing Smethport above all other towns in the district, in beauty and cleanliness, and equal to any in modern conveniences, is due, and to their enterprise and virtues must be credited her substantial business and social life.
Topography—Minerals—Oil Wells—Coal Mines And Companies—PopiLation—Election In February, 1890—Resident Tax-payers, 1843-44— State Road—Stores—Disasters And Fires—Miscellaneous.
LAFAYETTE TOWNSHIP occupies almost the west half of the center of the county. It is distinguished by three great plateaus or table lands: the Lafayette, in the center, extending from the southwest to northeast five miles, and attaining a width of two and a half miles north of Lafayette corners; the Alton, east and southwest of the East branch, extending into Bradford, Keating and Hamilton townships, being eleven miles long in its southwest course, and five miles wide in a line north of Alton, or from Crawford's to the east fork of Three Mile run; the Marshburg, west of the east branch of the Tuna, and east of the west branch, extending southwest to the valley of the Kinzua, one branch running into the center of Hamilton township, which forms the divide between Chappjl fork on the north, Turnip ruu on the east, and the Kinzua on the south. The greatest length is twelve miles, from a point west of Custer, through Marshhurg to Union run. At Lafayette corners the elevation is 2,143 feet above the ocean; at Marshburg, 2,108 feet; the divide between Winter Green and Turnip runs is 2,165 feet; at Buttsville.
1.998 feet; at Alton, 2,072 feet; on creek at Big Shanty, 1.666 feet; at head of Two Mile run, 2,058 feet, and at Bingham'8 dry well, 1,673 feet. The dip of the rock in the sixth bituminous basin averages only twenty feet per mile to the southwest. Alton being in the central portion, the greatest dip occurs there, being fifty-eight feet between Bond Vein and that point, a distance of little over a half-mile. The lowest dip averages five feet per mile, between Marshburg and Lafayette.
King & Co.'s well, the first at Big Shanty, showed oil sand at a depth of 1,545 feet, or 127 feet above tide water; while in the Prentiss well, Lewis run, oil sand was struck at 227 feet above tide, or at a depth of 1,378 feet.
The Clermont coal deposit underlies the slate, shale and sandstone-capped peaks northeast and southwest of Alton, throughout the Lafayette plateau, and in the summit, southwest of Marshburg, where the cap rocks are deep, the coal is valuable, as in the old Davis mine, and in the old openings on the Newell. Bullock, Root and Whitman lands, the bottoms of all of which rest from 2.130 to 2,145 feet above tide level. This deposit is generally separated from the Alton upper coal layers by Johnson run sandstone, the thickness of which ranges from fifty to sixty feet; but near Bond Vein a black and blue slate occupied this position; on the Bullock lands a hard sandstone, and on the Matthews' lands a sandstone, separated by a six-feet deposit of red rock, rests on a twelve-inch bed of coal. The Alton deposit ranges from four to seven feet. It has been worked at Buttsville, Alton and Bond Vein. The latter mine was worked in 1877-78, by James E. Butts, for the Longwood Coal Company, giving three shallow beds above the bottom, third bed 2,034 feet above tide. The Malony mine showed six to eight feet of bony coal near the roof, and Alton coal, in two distinct beds, before reaching the hard, sandy, fire-clay deposit.
In July, 1863, the Lafayette Coal Company was incorporated, with William Cockroft of New York City, president. The Owen mine, near Buttsville, was opened years ago by Mr. Owen. In April, 1868, the Longwood Company— James E. Butts, E. Sears, I. P. T. Edwards, E. D. Winslow, G. P. Hayward, Lem. Shaw and W. F. Grubb, directors—began operations, 2,065 feet above tide level, on a solid two and one-half feet bench; but owing to its irregularity, work was abandoned. At James E. Butts' house the lower coal was found twenty-eight feet below the surface. In 1865 the Lafayette Coal Company began operations near Mr. Alton's log house, constructing a 280-feet slope to a point in the channel and bituminous deposit, seventy feet below the level of of the opening. This and several other shafts were abandoned. On the Hagadorn and Armstrong lands and at the old Davis mine explorations were made years ago.
The Seven Foot Knoll, on the Keating township line, was opened 2,053 feet above tide level, and won its name on account of the four heavy coal benches discovered in a seventy-two-feet hole, the coal being overlaid by thin beds of carbonate of iron; while in Shaft No. 1, opened 2,083 above tide, 270 feet southwest of the mouth of the drift, nodular iron ore takes the place of iron carbonate. In the vicinity several shafts were constructed, and the enterprise was carried so far by Allen Putnam, of Boston, as to explore near the old Butts saw mill, on Three Mile creek, at an elevation of 2,037 feet. The drill went through 113 feet, meeting only two small seams.
Lafayette township had a population of 1,266 in 1880. Of this number seventy-three were residents of Buttsville. In 1888 there were 128 Republican, 127 Democrat, 5 Prohibition and 12 United Labor votes recorded, a total of 272, which multiplied by five represents a population of 1,360. Fol