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iness until February, 1866, in the old store, where the tanning and lumber company's store now is. The building and office in rear were destroyed by fire at that time, and immediately Mr. Aldrich erected his present store.
The present Wilcox House was completed in the fall of 1858, and opened by Thomas T. Goodwin. He was succeeded by John A. Ross, Mr. Morrison, Mrs. Clemmens, Louis Arner, John A. Bell and Ed. Richmond, followed by Capt. Cleveland, a colored employe of Maurice M. Shultz and a whaleboat man, who remained a few years, when Mr. Patterson leased the house, after whom came Fred Schoening and then the present host, H. N. Harris. The hotel is admirably conducted... .The elegant residence built by Col. Wilcox is now the property of Irving Schultz.
The tannery at Wilcox was built in 1870 and rebuilt and enlarged in 1885. It employs 250 men inside and 50 outside. In the summer employment is given to 400 bark-peelers. It has 723 lay-away vats, and 6,000,000 pounds of leather are tanned yearly, which represents 333,000 sides, over 1,000 sides of leather every working day of the year. The tannery consumes from 24,000 to 25,000 cords of bark yearly, which is peeled on the company's own lands. A well-equipped broad-gauge railroad, with cars, engines and side-tracks, is among the judicious accoutrements that enable the firm to transport bark and material from the forests to and around the complicated sidings that gridiron the property for six miles. As the supply of bark is one of the most urgent necessities of a tannery, the elder Shultz made liberal provision, to which the sons have made some very handsome additions, by way of increased acreage. They now own in fee and control the bark and lumber on 40,000 acres of land in the counties of Elk and McKean. It is lighted by both electricity and gas, and so also is the town. Gas is used in the furnaces in connection with tan-bark for making steam. There are thirteen boilers, representing about 700 horse-power, which furnish steam for nine engines, eight large steam pumpers and five power pumpers. There are ten rolling machines, which are kept running night and day. Some very large buildings, constructed entirely of lumber, occupy the major portion of the land used exclusively for the tannery, chief of which might be mentioned the three drying, washing, engine, polishing and vat-houses. Seven hundred and twenty-three vats, seven feet wide by nine feet long, and five and one-half feet deep, the actual capacity of the concern, make it pre-eminently the largest tannery in the world. This great industry was established by Maurice M. Schultz, who came into the wilderness about twenty-six years ago. Over 11,000,000 capital are invested in the tannery, in the town of Wilcox, in the railroad tracks and sidings and general paraphernalia, indispensable to the successful conduct of such a mammoth establishment. Employer and employees work in perfect harmony at Wilcox, a hamlet having a population of 1,200 people, who subsist, directly or indirectly, upon the prolific income of the business. Cozy two-story houses are provided for most of the tenants. A handsome residence is furnished the superintendent, A. A. Clearwater, who lives on elevated ground overlooking the hundred or more acres occupied by the town and tannery. The present owners are Norman and Irving Shultz. The former attends to the buying of hides and selling of leather in New York, while Irving resides at Wilcox, and looks after the management of the tannery and the extensive gas and oil interests of the company.
The oil field, five miles north of Wilcox, at Burning Well, is controlled exclusively by Mr. Shultz.
In October, 1887, Capt. John Ernhout leased the large saw-mill at Wilcox, and increased its capacity to 110,000 feet per day, and is still its operator.... The Wilcox Land & Mining Company was organized in January, 1867, with C. H. Duhring, R. N. Rathbun, R. Ruudle Smith, S. H. Horstman and A. I. Wilcox, members. The object was to develop the mineral lands in Jones township, and in the neighborhood of the Wilcox saw-mill. In 1887 the property of this corporation was sold to H. A. Duhring.
The banking house of J. L. Brown was established in the summer of 1885, and the present bank block was erected in 1887.
Wilcox, in 1870, claimed a population of 1,100, where three years before a little hamlet with a population of 100 existed. The tannery, completed in January, and in operation, employed 300 men, and the monster saw mill employed about fifty men. Capt. Cleveland conducted the Wilcox House; James Malone, a jewelry store, and A. T. Aldrich, a general store. Six years later the Schultz well was drilled, and several oil ventures inaugurated.
The Reformed Church of Wilcox petitioned for incorporation February 25, 1873. A. B. Preston, Andrew Fenn, Benjamin Bevier, J. L. Brown, Theo. Cook, J. B. Wells, H. M. Campbell, and E. G. Fuller were the petitioners. This society occupied a room in the public school until 1874, when the present church was completed.
The Wilcox Presbyterian Church was incorporated May 28, 1883, with Dr. A. M. Straight, W. G. Brown, P. S. Ernhout, H. Winning and J. C. Malone, trustees. This society is the successor of the Reformed Church of ten years before, and holds the property of the old church, worshiping in the house erected in 1874. Rev. T. S. Negley filled the pulpit for about six years prior to September, 1888, since which time Mr. Arny, of Kane, has preached here regularly.
The Catholic Church of Wilcox dates as far back as the Kane congre-' gation, but until 1889 the people had no proper church edifice. In that year steps were taken by the Rev. George Winkler, its pastor, to erect a new frame church. It has about twenty-tive families, and cost $1,500.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church was erected in 1885. Services were given by the pastor of Kane.
The Wilcox Cemetery Association was organized in January, 1876, with fifty-three subscribers, A.I. Wilcox, A. B. Preston, A. T. Aldrich, Irving Schultz, R. A. Westcott, Theo. Veiditz and J. L. Brown, being directors. The improvement of the old cemetery was at once begun.
State Deputy G. W. Brown, of Youngsville, Penn., organized a new lodge of Good Templars in May, 1877, called Wilcox Lodge, with twenty charter members, and the following-named officers: J. C. Malone, Laura M. Brown, W. N. Longreen, Amanda L. Wilcox, J. L. Brown, Rev. W. H. Hoffman, H. W. Campbell, Mary Praut, Charles Bower, Mrs. W. H. Hoffman, Mrs. A. H. Brown, Mrs. M. L. Malone, Mrs. Laura McPherran, Jessie Aldrich, Prof. W. S. McPherran; trustees, A. B. Preston, J. L. Brown and J. C. Malone.
Wilcox Lodge, No. 571, F. & A. M., was constituted in June, 1887, by the grand officers, when the following named officers were installed: O. M. Montgomery, W. M.; J. L. Brown, S. W.; P. S. Ernhout, J. W.; J. C. Malone, treasurer; Carl Oldoerp, secretary. The officers for 1888 were Gurnee Freeman, W. M.; J. L. Brown, J. W.; P. S. Ernhout, J. W. For 1889: J. L. Brown, W. M.; P. S. Ernhout, S. W.; Dr. J. S. Wells, J. W. Messrs. Free man, Clark and Van Ostin are members of the commandery.
Hiram Warner Post, 594, G. A. R., was organized at Wilcox in December, 1889, with twelve members. A. A. Clearwater was elected commander. Col. J. M. Grosh and other soldiers from Ridgway assisted at muster in.
Ridgway Township—Streams, Elevations, Etc.—Coal — First ComersElections—Resident Taxpayers In 1844—Population—Villages—MisCellaneous.
Borough Of Ridgway Location, Etc.—The Ridgways And Other PioNeers—some First Things—Post-office, Etc.—Municipal Affairs— Fires—Manufactures—Banks—Hotels—Churches—Cemetery AssociaTion—Schools—Societies, ETC.
RIDGWAY TOWNSHIP lies entirely west of the main divide. With the exception of a few rivulets rising inside the west line, and flowing southwest into Bear creek, all streams find their way to the Clarion—East branch. Power's run and Elk creek entering from the east; Big Mill, Little Mill and several smaller streams flowing south and southwest into the parent stream. From Bridgetown, in the center of Johnson's run coal basin, to a point south of Power's run, the river flows against the dip of the rocks; for the next 8,000 feet the dip of the rocks increases, and the strike changes from northeast and southwest to a general westerly direction, while the river runs west in obedience. At the mouth of Little Mill Creek, it takes a southwest course for about eight miles, paralleling the strike of rock, and at fourteen places running to the strike, causing sharp angles rather than curves. At Ridgway it makes an abrupt sweep north of west, and after receiving the waters of Big Mill creek, below Ridgway, it takes the name "Clarion River." The hills rise from 300 to 600 feet above the river bed, which, at the north line of the township, is 1,460 feet above tide. At Boot Jack, said to be the highest point in this township, the elevation is 2,166 feet, while the lowest point is on the western line, near the Little Toby, 1,321 feet.
From borings made for oil at Silver Creek well, Johnsonburg well, Dickinson well and Ridgway Gas Company's well, it is learned that the total thickness of strata is 710 feet, or 285 feet in coal measures; 325 in Mauch Chunk and Pocono, and 100 in Red Catskill. Of this total, about 400 feet appear above the water level, and on the hills are huge sandstone and conglomerate rocks, some 30x20 feet, which are now being cut up for export to Erie. This rock is commonly called Johnson run sandstone, and is much prized by builders; the front of the court-house is constructed of it. While much easier to work and less expensive than granite, it meets all the requirements of granite, except for heavy cornice work.
In January, 1879, a coal bed, two and one-quarter feet thick, was opened on Hyde's hill by E. K. Gresh, which Carll pronounced to be Marshburg coal. The Wilmarth coal tract, on warrants 3285-4850, was opened extensively soon after (1880), and given the name "Glen Mayo." as it was operated by J. H. Mayo. The first mine on this tract was originally opened by Frank Whitney, a Chicago detective, and John V. Daugan, a conductor on the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad. The elevation of this coal-bed is 1,908 feet above tide, or 461 feet above the track level at Wilmarth depot, or ninety-seven feet below the summit of the hill. Prior to 1883 a number of coal drifts were