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Centennial History of Susquehanna County
Rhamanthus M. Stocker 1887
Chapter XXXI

 

Friendsville Borough

Page 496

THE borough of Friendsville is twelve miles from Montrose, on the old New Milford and Owego turnpike, which forms the principal street of the village. Its early history is blended with the townships of Apolacon, Choconut, Forest Lake and Middletown, from which the area of the borough was taken. It owes its origin and name to the purpose of Dr. R. H. Rose to found a village for the members of the Society of Friends, whom he had induced to settle on his lands in this locality. In 1819 he set aside a tract of land, three-quarters of a mile long and half as wide, along the above highway, which was laid into village lots and called Friendsville. A few of the Friends coming at that period settled within these bounds, but most of them lived in the surrounding country and had this place as their business centre. In consequence of the removal of many of the early settlers the growth of the village was slow, and, though it has a pleasant location, in a rich country, it has not attained the importance of younger villages in the county which enjoy the advantages connected with railway communication. There were, in 1886, not quite two hundred inhabitants, a good Catholic Church, three stores, two public-houses and several large mechanic shops. Three lines of stages bring the place in easy communication with Binghamton, Montrose and Apolacon, the latter being at the mouth of Apolacon Creek, in the State of New York.

Samuel Savage was one of the first Friends in the place, remaining but a few years. William Salter, another Friend, opened the first store about 1820 and Dr. Levi Roberts came about this time, remaining until his death, in 1825, after which his lands passed into the hands of Joshua Gurney. In 1820 Thomas Peironnet, an Englishman, came to Friendsville, but died soon after. His lands were transferred to his brother, James S. Peironnet, a native of Dorchester, England. He was a cultured gentleman, of whom it was said he exchanged for a home in a then uncultivated wild the shaven lawn and rose-wreathed cottages that lend such charms to English scenery. He often reminded me of those virtues that grace the character of an English country squire as shadowed forth by the felicitous pen of Irving. He retained a love of letters to the last, and when in the mood, touched his violin as a master. He had a thorough knowledge of music as a science, and composed with readiness. He died, in 1843, in his seventy-first year, leaving a large family. His sons Robert D. and John S., were merchants in Friendsville from 1835 on, and Frederick was a physician. Two of his daughters married Henry and Sackville Cox. The family removed to the West after 1860. Thomas Christian, a merchant, was a later settler. Dr. Calvin Leet, after living in the central part of Choconut a few years, came to Friendsville, where he owned a tract of three hundred acres of land, on which he lived to be more than eighty years of age. For some time his father, Captain Luther Leet, abode with him. Of the children of Dr. Calvin Leet, Elizabeth married Judson Watkins, and moved to Connecticut; Susan became the wife of Andrew Keyes; Martha D. is the wife of Dr. E. L. Handrick. The sons, Calvin L. and Nathan Y., both became physicians. The former died in the village in 1872, and the latter removed to Scranton.

Lark Moore, a cooper, was a valuable addition to the settlement at Friendsville, removing before his death. His daughter, Susan, became an artist of distinguished reputation.

Friendsville Borough

Page 497

Benjamin T. Glidden, a native of New Hampshire, settled in Friendsville about 1825, but removed and did not permanently locate here until 1833. He was a blacksmith by trade, and lived here until his death, in 1852, at the age of sixty-eight years. He was the father of Benjamin Glidden, Esq., of this borough, and D. W. Glidden, of Montrose.

About 1835 a large number of Friends removed from the village, and their places were taken by other citizens, many of Irish descent; and in late years the population has been composed almost wholly of that nationality.

In 1848 the following lived in the newly-organized borough.

Edward Andree, chairmaker; Hallock Armstrong, School-teacher; Charles L. Brown, house and lot; Benjamin Brey, farmer; S. P. Buel, merchant; Samuel Baldwin, farmer; Henry Cox, farmer; Dayton Canfield, Erastus M. Day, wagonmaker; James Ferry, farmer; Abraham Fordham, cooper; Benj. Glidden, blacksmith; Joshua Gurney, farmer; Thomas Glennon, tailor; Nelson Griffiths, painter; Joseph Hyde, innkeeper; Andrew J. Keyes, blacksmith; Thomas Leary, laborer; Calvin Leet, physician; Calvin L. Leet, student; S. D. Lyons, tailor; Lark Moore, farmer; John S. Peironnet, storehouse; Robert D. Peironnet, tanner; Henry M. Pierce, farmer; John H. Pierce, physiclan; William Robbe, chairmaker; David Robbe, farmer; Robert Reynolds, farmer; Henry Slade, house and lot; James Tallon, shoemaker; James Taggart, wagonmaker; Benjamin Virgil, clerk; Ahira Wickham, merchant; J. R. Wood, tailor.

Incorporated. - The village was incorporated by an act of the Legislature in 1848, with the following limits:

" Beginning at a stake and stones on the lands of Joshua Gurney, in the township of Middletown; thence south 37 W. 320 rods across lands of said Gurney and those of William Carion, deceased, to a stake and stones; thence north 53 W. 480 rods to a stake and stones on lands of Canfield Dayton, in the township of Apalachian; thence north 37 east 320 rods to a stake and stones on lands of the estate of James Peironnet, deceased; thence south 53 east 480 rods across the corner of Choconut to the place of beginning;" just twice the original limits, and remain unchanged.

The first election was held on the third Friday of March, 1848, when the following were chosen:

Burgess, Amos B. Mott; Councilmen, Charles L. Brown, Joseph Hyde, Ahira Wickham, John S. Peironnet; Clerk, Jeremiah Fordham Justice of the Peace, Benjamin Glidden; Assessor, Robert D. Peironnet Street Commissioner, Joshua Gurney.

Since that time the following have been the burgesses and clerks:

 1849, Dr. C. Leet, William Robbe;     1850-51, Ahira Wickham, William Robbe; 
 1852, James Taggart, M. W. Bliss;     1853, John S. Peironnet, M. W. Bliss; 
 1854, Ahira Wickham, M. W. Bliss;     1855, John H. Pierce, Henry Slade; 
 1856, D. W. Glidden, James Mead;      1857, D. W. Glidden, William Robbe; 
 1858-59, Dr. Calvin Leet, James Mead; 1860, James Mead, James M. Rice; 
 1861, Thomas Matthews, James Mead;    1862, D. W. Glidden, B. Glidden; 
 1863, J. J. Rooney, James Mead;       1864, J. W. Flynn, James Mead; 
 1865, E. L. Handrick, James Mead;     1866, E. L. Handrick, D. W. Glidden; 
 1867, Michael McManus, D. W. Glidden; 1868-69, James W. Flynn, James Mead; 
 1870, James Mead, R. Foran            1871, C. McCarthy, James Mead; 
 1872, Philip Millan, E. L. Handrick;  1873, Hugh Duffy, E. L. Handrick; 
 1874, R. Winters, James Mead;         1875-76, Dr. E. P. Hines, John W. Hagan; 
 1877, James Trodden, John W. Hagan;   1878, James Trodden, R. Foran; 
 1879, E. L. Handrick, R. Foran;       1880, Dennis O'Day, R. Foran; 
 1881, R. Winter, R. Foran;            1882, Thomas Matthews, J.M. Price;
 1883, Thomas Hagan, Thomas Matthews;  1884, J.W. Hagan, Thomas Matthews;
 1885-86, M. Dow, R. Foran

In this period Benjamin Glidden has served five terms as justice of the peace; R. Foran, three times; and that office has also been held by William Buffum, Thomas Matthews and Miles W. Bliss. In 1886 forty-three votes were polled in the borough, and the bounds remained as established.

BUSINESS INTERESTS.-It is generally conceded that William Salter, a Friend, sold the first goods in the village about 1820, having a store on the hill where is now the hotel. About 1827 he sold out to Thomas Christian; and the latter had also a public-house at the same place. Later the site was given up wholly to use for tavern purposes, and Joseph Hyde was for many years the inn-keeper. Then came Miles Bliss, O. B. Jackson and Philo Sherwood, each in turn keeping a popular house. From 1868 to 1879 John Foster was the landlord, and the latter year the house was burned. On its site the present three-story building was erected in 1880 by Stephen D. Sawyer and kept by him some time. Since the summer of 1886 the host has been A. M. O'Donnell. In the same locality an old business-stand was converted into a hotel by Edwin Bliss, which is now kept by Philip Ryan. As merchants there were at this place the Peironnets, the Pierces, and last, James Patch.

Nearly opposite is the old business-stand of Mott & Stone, and where later merchants were Wickham & Stone, Wickham & Hosford, J. Hosford, and, for the past fifteen years, Robert Winters. At the other end of the village, in a building which has been destroyed by fire, Robert D. Peironnet traded; and farther up the street was John S. Peironnet. At the tannery was a small grocery by William Gartley. Nearer the centre of the village Frank Gorman was in trade, and was killed by lightning August 15, 1871, while sitting in the store. Later John Gorman had this stand, and while owned by him the store was burned down. On this site is a store in which E. E. Lee has traded since November, 1877. Opposite was a store by the Pierce Bros., Charles Campbell, William Buffum, J. J. Rooney, M. Hickey, and was also burned down. In an adjoining building, which was also burned, was S. P. Buel, James Donley and others. In the same locality Benjamin Glidden and M. S. Marsh had the largest store in the place, and in the fall of 1856 this building was destroyed by fire. William Buffum has merchandised in the borough since 1857, occupying his present stand since the late Civil War.

At the Lee store is kept the Friendsville post-office, in charge of E. E. Lee since October, 1885. The office was established January 3, 1820, with William Salter as the first postmaster. The intermediate appointees were,

1827, Thomas Christian;  1834, Robert D. Peironnet;  1842, Joseph Hyde;
1844, charles L. Brown;  1848, John S. Peironnet;    1849, Edwin Bliss; 
1851, WilliaM C. Waters; 1854, Miles W. Bliss;       1856, James Mead; 
1861, JaMes M. Rice;     1862, Jeremiah Hosford;     1868, William Butfum;
1869, J. Hosford;        1882, J. M. Rice.  

Friendsville Borough

Page 498

The office has several mails per day, and receives matter for a large scope of country.

Dr. Levi Roberts appears to have been one of the first medical practitioners in this place, from 1821 to 1825. The veteran Dr. Calvin Leet and his sons, Calvin L. and Nathan Y., were conspicuous in medical history of the place. The former was the first doctor in the northwestern part of the county, and lived at Friendsville until his death, January 1, 1874. Dr. Alfred Peironnet and Dr. Charles Gissey, the latter a Frenchman, also practised in this place. Dr. John Pierce, son of Henry M. Pierce, an Englishman, said to have been of noble descent, after practicing a number of years, moved to Waverly; and Dr. E. P. Hines, who was here from 1866 to 1879, moved to Great Bend. When Doctors Lathrop and William Bissell were here they were associated with the elder Dr. Leet. Since July, 1863, Dr. E. L. Handrick has practised at Friendsville, and since the fall of 1881 has had a drug-store, the first in the place.

But little manufacturing has been done at Friendsville. The Hosfords had a tannery in operation before the Civil War, which was burned in 1866. J. S. Hosford put up a steam saw and shingle-mill in the same locality, which is at present owned by W. S. Treadwell. The ordinary mechanic trades have been carried on since the village has had an existence, James Palmer being a pioneer blacksmith, and B. T. Glidden following later. E. M. Day, P. Matthews and Michael Welsh have been wagon-makers, the last two continuing ships. Lark Moore, Abraham Foran and R. Gillan have been coopers, a trade which has been carried on since 1866 by R. Foran. Among those who carried on shoe-shops have been James Bliss, Philip Millan, E. Guglan, Michael Dow and Martin McWade. Benj. Glidden has for many years maintained a justice's office in the village, and the legal profession has a representative in A. M. O'Donnel.

EDUCATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS. - From 1832 to 1840 Miss Elizabeth W. Richards successfully taught a select school for young ladies and small boys in the John Hudson house. She was the only daughter of Daniel and Lydia Richards, Friends, who came from Chester County about 1820. Her mother was a woman of marked ability and a public speaker in the Friends' Meeting. The daughter inherited her mother's good qualities, and had, in addition, a strong character of her own. A grateful pupil said of her,-

"Many were anxious to avail themselves of Miss Richards' success in imparting instruction: but her instinctive modesty and desire for a retired life prevented her becoming as widely known as her attainnients deserved. Her mission to California in attendance on her youngest brother - the 1ate Joseph T. Richards, Esq, of Montrose-was as heroic as it was sad.

"The journey at that time (in 1852) was but rarely attempted by women, and almost only by those impelled by love and duty. Yet the privations were nothing compared to the changes of climate; their peril on the rainy night, when their hotel at Sacramento was consumed by fire; their flight and exposure, only escaping with the bedclothes wrapped around them; their journey to a more genial southern clime; then the last sad scenes, and the lonely grave in which now rest the mortal remains of her only treasure in that far off El Dorado! Her reliance on the All-sustaining arm alone carried her through all, and brought her home a composed, though sorrowing, woman. She now turned her attention to her brother's orphan children. This duty occupied her time for several years.

"On the breaking out of the Rebellion she offered her services to the Governor of Ohio (where she was then residing) as hospital nurse. She was assigned to duty at Camp Dennison; but the effects of the Panama fever had never been wholly eradicated from her system, and the exposure and hardships of camp life, together with her new duties, soon induced typhoid fever, which terminated her life while yet in its prime in the autumn of 1861."

About 1843 Joseph Hyde and others employed the Rev. Richard B. Thurston, a native of Maine, and who was a son-in-law of Henry M. Pierce, to teach in the academy established by them in the building next to Hyde's hotel. He taught three or four years, when the house was converted to private uses by Joseph Hyde, and a select school was opened in another building, erected by subscription for this purpose. This house soon after passed into the hands of the directors of the free schools, and has since been used by them as the schoolhouse of the borough.

Opposite this was the church erected by the Presbyterian congregation of Friendsville in 1841. It was, in its day, a serviceable building, but being long unused, fell into decay before its removal, in 1874, when it was converted into a barn on the R. P. Mulford farm. The church was erected through the instrumentality of Samuel Milligan, of Ellerslie, who was one of the ruling elders of the congregation, which quickly declined after his removal from the country, in 1847. The congregation became a corporate body on the petition of twenty-one members. August 19, 1841, with the following as trustees: John S. Peironnet, Garrad Stone, H. M. Pierce, Ahira Wickham, Joseph Hyde and Judson Watkins. There was no settled pastor, though preaching was for some time regularly maintained. The ministers usually taught the select schools above noted. An account of the Friends' Meeting, with which many of the former people of Friendsville were connected, and of the Episcopal chapel now on the same site, is given in Choconut township, in which it is located.

In the eastern part of the borough the Odd Fellows of Lodge No. 471 had erected a small hall, in which their meetings were held a number of years. The removal of many members caused the surrender of the charter; but a new lodge, with this number, has lately been established in Rush. The hall is now used for farm purposes.

ST. FRANCIS XAVIER'S CHURCH(R.C.) - This church, as originally built, was small and plain, and was put up in 1831 by Edward White and others of the early Catholics in this part of the county, embracing members from the Keenan, Flynn, Ryan, Tierney, Reilly, Hickey, Lee and other families. Through the efforts of Father Mattingly, the church was improved and supplied with a fine-toned beil. The parish has again outgrown the Church, and a new edifice will be erected in the near future.

Friendsville Borough

Page 499

A good priest's-house has also been secured in the village for benefit of the parish, which includes the church in Rush. A library at Friendsville has been a valuable adjunct in the work of the church, greatly promoting the intelligence of the younger members. It is kept in a substantial building, a part of which has been fitted up for a hall for literary and other meetings. Here, also, was maintained, several years ago, a Catholic Temperence Society. The parish has a very large and growing membership, the communicants numbering several hundred. Under the watchful care of the present priest, the Rev. Father J. J. Lalley, it promises to become among the strongest churches of the denomination in the county.

The grave-yard connected with the church is large and well kept. Here repose some of the early Catholic pioneers, including members of the White family, and Patrick Griffin and his wife, Ellen. They were the parents of the gifted Gerald Griffin, the Irish novelist, and of Mrs. Edward White. The following epitaphs mark their places of rest :

I. H. S.
Sacred to the
memory of
PATRICK GRIFFIN,
The first Catholic settler
in this country,
Born in Limerick, Ireland.
DIED
Januarv 20th,
1836,
Aged 72 vears.
May the Lord have mercy on his soul,
Through the merits of our Savior.  Amen.

-:o:-

SACRED
To the memory of
E L L E N,
Wife of Patrick Griffin,
of Susqueehanna Co.,
Born in the city of
L I M E R I C K, IRELAND,
May, 1776,
Died Oct. 14th, 1831.
Aged 65 years.
Revered and beloved by her own family, 
respected and esteemed by all who
knew her, she presented in her life the 
model of a tender mother, an affectionate 
wife and a sincere Christian.  
May she rest in peace.

This stone is erected as a tribute of affection by one who loved her as a son, her nephew., Doctor Rubert Hogan, of New York.

Patrick and Ellen Griffin settled, in the year 1820, on a tract of land bordering on Quaker Lake, in Silver Lake township, Susquehanna County, one of the prettiest and most beautiful spots in this portion of the State, which they christened " Fairy Lawn," in memory of their forsaken home in the old land.

They were thus the pioneers of Catholicism, not only in Susquehanna County, but in Northern Pennsylvania, introducing a faith which has since been embraced by thousands of those who came after them to this section.

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