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

Hop Bottom Borough

Page 687

THIS thriving borough is a station on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, in the township of Lathrop, one mile from its northeastern corner. It is solely the creation of the railroad, and whatever prosperity the place has had was produced by that thoroughfare. The location is not as favorable for village purposes as those of some other towns in the county, as the valley at this point is narrow and can be reached from the east and the west only by passing over high hills, on roads which are kept in repair with some difficulty. A natural advantage is the water-power of Martin's Creek, afforded at this point, which has been well utilized. Until the building of the railroad, in 1850-51, this section was a comparative wilderness. There was no improved highway, and on the east side of the creek but a small clearing had been made by Orson Case, the first permanent settler, but who does not appear to have had any title to the lands on which he lived, and which was a part of a large tract belonging to Major Post, of Montrose. West of the creek was a small tenant farm belonging to Jeremiah Blanchard, a non-resident of the county. When the railroad was located, James G. and Marcus Case, sons of Orson, contracted with the Post family for what is now the most of the village site, and soon after sub-divided the lands. Sales of smaller tracts were made to Wm. B. Adams, Alfred Jeifres, Truman and Elisha Bell and David Wilmarth, most of whom occupied their purchases. The Bells donated lands for station purposes and trains occasionally stopped after 1852, but it was not until 1863 that a substantial depot building was provided by the company. Prior to that time an old frame, which had been a corn-house, accommodated the public, and Anson B. Merrill was the first station agent, being also the store-keeper and the postmaster. After the increase of railroad business the name of the station was changed to Foster, the name of the post-office also being changed to that title in 1875. In a short time the village and post-office reclaimed the name of Hopbottom, but the name of the station has since been continued as Foster.

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The shipments from the station are very heavy, the aggregate business being greater than that of any other station on this road in the county. The average passenger traffic is about five hundred dollars per month. In 1883 the present neat and common station-house replaced the first depot building, and at an earlier period, Foster became an important water station on the road. C. G. Merrill is remembered as one of the early agents, but, since 1864, that position has been very acceptably filled by 0. L. Roberts, whose enterprise has helped to promote the business of the place. Albert Titus has here been in the employ of the railroad company since 1851, and is one of the pioneers of the village.

Amos B. Merrill, a son of Amos Merrill, a pioneer in Brooklyn, was a permanent settler next to the Case family. He reared sons named Jonathan, Andrew, Daniel, Leander, Ansel and James, some of whom have continued in Hopbottom.

Lyman Kellum, a carpenter by trade, came from Brooklyn in 1852, his family being the third to take up its permanent residence here. He became a justice of the peace of Lathrop, engaged in the lumber business, and, in 1878, opened a part of the present Foster House. He died in 1880, having reared sons names Char]es H., of Hopbottom, Samuel and Wilham, of Scranton.

ELISHA AND TRUMAN BELL. - The Bell family in New England date back to 1637, when Abraham Bell is noticed in the New Haven records. John Bell (1701-76), an early settler of Southington, Conn., married, in 1727, Rachel (1703-68), a daughter of Samuel and Rebecca (Clark) Woodruff; by whom he had children,-Elizabeth, Ruth, Elinah, Huldah, John, Rachel, Solomon, Hezekiah, Elisha (1743-1835) and Rebecca Bell. Of these children, Elisha married in Southington, in 1876, Thankful Bartholomew (1746- 87), and had the following children: Rachel, Margurette, Luthena, Elias, Ruth and Rollin Bell (1786-1863). He sold his farm of fifty acres in Southington, where he had lived, and gave a deed to William Henson, dated February 8, 1787, and he was dismissed from the Congregational Church records there by letter dated March 31, 1805, to Nicholson, Luzerne County, Pa. He came to Lenox (part of Nicholson), this county, with his family, in 1794, and by his second wife had two children born here,~Sterling and Calvin; the latter was drafted in the War of 1812, and went as far as Danville. Rollin was also drafted in that war, but not called to serve. Of these children, Elias went to Ohio, thence to Indiana, where he died; Sterling resided and died in Clifford; Calvin succeeded to the homestead, which was located in the interior of the township, and was in turn succeeded in the ownership of the property by his son William, who resides on it in 1887.

Rollin married Anna Millard (1788-1869), a daughter of Solomon Millard, one of the foremost and enterprising' early settlers of Lenox, who was in the township prior to 1797, and served in the Revolutionary War. He owned a farm of two hundred and sixty acres on the Tuckhannock, most of which he per cleared. The homestead is now the property of his daughter, Mrs. Charles Kent, of Brooklyn. He was, a large real estate owner, a man of broad views, gave his children practical ideas by his own example, and as good an education as the home schools afforded. He was upright in his dealings, honest in his purposes and free from all ostentation. His wife was a member of the Baptist Church, and a worthy help-meet in their mutual life-work. Their children are Solomon (1810-44), a carpenter resided in Harford; Elisha, born March 14, 1812; Worthy (1814-54) was a farmer in Lenox ; Sarah, 1816, first the wife of Daniel Roberts, whose son is Oscar D. Roberts, depot-master at Hopbottom, and the present wife of Charles of Kent, before mentioned; Truman, born December 7, 1818; Ira D., 1823, a farmer in Lathrop; and m Stephen Bell, a farmer in Hopbottom Borough, whose only children are Mrs. Arthur Robinson, of Lathrop, and Mrs. Irwin W Wright, of Hop Bottom. ELISHA BELL became inured to farm-work in his boyhood, and early learned that economy and industry are essential characteristics to him who would attain financial success. He remained at home until the age of twenty, and in 1832 married Icy B. Miller (1814-56), a daughter of Samuel and Icy (Bender) Miller, early settlers of Clifford, who bore him children, -Alonzo E.; Polly Ann, died in 1855, aged twenty; Philander; Clarinda Rosina, died in 1842, aged two years; Charles H. died in 1864, aged twenty-two; Solomon W.; and Samuel Galusha Bell. All the surviving sons are farmers in Lenox - Philander and Samuel G. on the homestead.

At the time of his marriage he bought a woodland tract of land-two hundred and fifty acres and set about making a home for himself. He cleared one hundred and fifty acres of this land himself, erected farm-buildings thereon and farmed it there until 1854, when he settled at Hopbottom, where he has been a merchant from 1854 to 1866, with his brother Truman as partner (E. & T. Bell) for ten years of the time. The brothers bought a saw-mill a mile or two below Hopbottom, on Martin's Creek, in 1856, of which he has been sole owner since 1857, and run it, shipping his lumber to Scranton, until 1886, when he sold it. Mr. Bell has been a very active business-man, has dealt largely in real estate and been the owner at times of several farms. The judicious management of his business has gained him a competence, and he can happily see his sons settled in life on farms donated by their father.

The political alliance of the family is with the Democratic party. He has never sought any official preferment, nor has he shrunk from duty when placed upon him by his townsmen, and has served as assessor and school director. The family are identified with the Universalist Church, and Mr. Bell was a large contributor to the present church edifice at Hopbottom.

Hop Bottom Borough

Page 689

For his second wife he married, in 1870, Mrs. Richard Hughes, nee Martha M. Tanner, who was born October 4, 1830, and is a daughter of Seneca F. Tanner (1808-79) and Louisa F. Payne (born 1806), who resided for a time in Harford, and afterwards in Lenox. Louisa F. Payne was a daughter of Amos (1765-1862) and Susan (Moss) Payne (1772-1852), settlers of Lenox in 1812 from Connecticut; the former served in the War of the Revolution. Seneca F. Tanner was a son of Clark S. and Sabra Tanner. Richard Hughes, born in Lancashire, England, in 1823, married Martha M. Tanner in 1845, by whom he had children- Seneca Freeman, an engineer on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, resides at Hampden, N.J.; Sarah Ann, wife of Samuel Kellum, of Scranton; Richard Hayden, an engineer in Franklin, this county. The father served in the Confederate army, was a musician, and was last heard of in the hospital. The other children of Seneca F. and Louisa F. Tanner, are Mordecai C., of Harford; Cyrus F., of Lenox; Seneca Riley died in 1864, aged twenty-three years, (these three sons all served in the late Rebellion), and Amos Tanner, a carpenter, residing in Lenox.

TRUMAN BELL was born on the homestead in Lenox December 7, 1818, the fourth son of Rollin and Anna Bell. In common with the other children, he obtained a liberal education in the home district school, and by attending one term at the Harford Academy. He thoroughly learned farming, and remained with his father until 1844, when he married Harriet Peck (1821-55), a daughter of Captain Freeman and Eunice (Otis) Peck, who settled in Harford in 1806. This Freeman Peck was one of the first members of the Universalist Church upon its organization at Brooklyn, in 1826. Mr. Bell's only child by this marriage is Eunice E., the wife of William E. Carpenter, of Binghamton. After his marriage he settled on eighty acres of the homestead, given him by his father, only being required to pay the right of soil to William Hartley, who had title from the State, at one dollar per acre. He cleared seventy acres of this land, added other land to it, erected farm buildings and resided there until 1856, when he removed to Hopbottom and was the partner of his brother Elisha (E. & T. Bell) in mercantile business for twelve years, when they sold out the business to Johnson & Reese. They had bought the Case sawmill in 1865, on Martin's Creek, of which Mr. Bell became sole owner in 1867. Since this date he has been engaged in lumbering and managing his real estate.

Hop Bottom Borough

Page 690

Industrious, judicious and prompt in business matters, he has the confidence of all who know him, and he is the trusted counselor of his neighbors, and has been frequently of service to them in conveyancing of a local nature. He served as justice of the peace of Lenox, assessor, school director and supervisor, and as a member of the Board of School Directors - during the war assisted in raising the bounty-money for soldiers. During his residence in Hopbottom he has been burgess two years; member of the Borough Council five years; school director thirteen years; and assessor, both of the borough of Hopbottom and township of Lathrop, for several years. Himself and wife are members of the Universalist Church, and he assisted, by liberal contribution, in the building of the present church edifice in the borough. In 1858 he married his second wife, Fannie M. Kellum, who was born November 21, 1839, by whom he has children, - Jennie Eliza, wife of Charles H. Hoover, of Binghamton, and Luther P. Bell. His father, Lyman W. KeIlum (1812-80), a native of Bridgewater, resided in Brooklyn until 1852, when he settled at Hopbottom, where he built the Foster House, now managed by his widow and children. Her mother, Sally Ann Williams, born 1817, is a daughter of Captain Stephen Williams, an early settler in Brooklyn from Connecticut.

W. M. Tingley, a descendant of one of the oldest families of Brooklyn, became connected with the interests of the village in 1854, and is still an honored citizen of the place. He reared a number of sons, who, like their father, are remarkably tall men, their average height being nearly six feet two inches. In 1864 Emanuel Carpenter became a resident of Ho bottom, and engaged in the staging business, but all his sons became successful railroad men. The population of the village increased slowly until in more recent years, when it became more permanent and a better class of residences were erected. In 1887 there were three hundred and fifty inhabitants, a good school-house, two churches, six stores, two public houses and other interests noted below. The first building in Hopbottom which had a noteworthy size was a part of the present "Exchange Hotel," which was erected in 1853 by David Wilmarth. It was enlarged by him from time to time, and he kept it until 1885, when Asa Day became the landlord. Opposite from it, on the south side of the railroad, the popular "Foster House" was opened in 1878 by Lyman Kellum, which has been kept by his family since his death, in 1880.

Hop Bottom Borough

Page 691

Under the management of his son Charles H., it has lately been much improved. The second good business building at Hopbottom was a large store.house, erected near the depot, in 1862, by S. W. Breed & Co., of Brooklyn. As soon as completed it was occupied by Truman & Elisha Bell, general merchants. The first goods were sold in the place by Amos B. Merrill, who had a store in a small building on the site of the present drug-store as early as 1852. Two years later he sold to Elisha Bell and W. M. Tingley, and in 1857 the latter disposed of his interest to Truman Bell. In 1862 the Bell Brothers occupied the Breed building, and four years later sold out to Cyrus Johnson and George W. Bees. In 1870 Bees alone engaged in trade, continuing until his death, in July, 1883. This building was destroyed by fire January 1, 1886, while occupied by Otley & Schoonmaker as a drug-store.

In 1866 E. M. Tiffany & Co. engaged in merchandising at the stand where, since 1872, E. M. Tiffany alone has been in trade, and where for many years has been kept the Hopbottom post-office. In 1867 Nelson M. Finn commenced trading in the village, occupying his present business house since 1875. A little later the Hall Brothers came from New Hampshire and began trading in a small way, but, in 1870, occupied the store built by them on the corner of Centre and Main Streets. In 1886 they sold to George P. Tiffany, of Brooklyn, and William A. and Clark B. Hall returned to New Hanipshire, George b. Hall going to thc West. They were very successful merchants. In 1872 James Jeffres and John H. Tiffany built a store, in which they engaged in trade. A number of others have occupied this building for trading purposes, George W. Strupler merchandising there since 1883. In 1874 Alfred Jeffres erected another business house, in which his son Frank opened a furniture-store. Lyman Blakeslee became the owner, and in 1882 J. S. Wright occupied it as a hardware and grocery-store. Since June 1, 1885, I. W. Wright has merchandised at that stand. A tin-shop has been carried on at Hopbottom by J. S. Wright since 1872, it being the oldest continuous mechanic-shop in the place. In 1875 J. P. A. Tingley opened a drug-store in the improved Merrill stand, which is now owned by Saddlemire & Schoonmaker.

The Hopbottom post-office was established March 15, 1852, with Amos B. Merrill as the postmaster. his successors have been, in 1861, J. M. Nicholson 1865, John H. Chapman; 1866, John H. Tiffany. March 19, 1875, the name of the office was changed to Foster, and soon after discontinued. It was re-established, with the name of Hopbottom, March 8, 1876, and Thomas J. Miles appointed postmaster. In 1880 Nelson M. Finn became the postmaster, and was I succeeded in the fall of 1885 by the present postmaster, E. M. Tiffany. Since August, 1882, this post-office has been a postal money-order office. Two mails per day are supplied.

EDSON M. TIFFANY.-In the fall of 1794 Thomas Tiffany, wife and children,-Lorinda, Alfred (1781-1860), Thomas, Pelatiah, Tingley, Dalton and Lewis- came from Attleboro', Mass., and joined the " Nine Partners" settlement, in what is now Harford (formerly Nicholson) township. They came from the Delaware to the Susquehanna at the rate of ten miles per day, over a road cut out without being worked. This Thomas Tiffany was commissioned justice of the peace in 1799, which he resigned some three years afterwards. He died in 1835, aged seventy-eight years, and was buried in the village cemetery at Harford. Thomas Tiffany's children born here were Betsey, Millie, Preston and Orville. His eldest son, Alfred, was thirteen years old when the family came here. He married first, in 1806, at Salem, Pa., Lucy Miller (1784-1816), a native of Glastonbury, Conn., by whom he had six children,-Cynthia (1806-48), wife of Eli B. Goodrich, of Brooklyn; Anson M. (1808-81), resided in Brooklyn; Clarissa, 1809, widow of Walter Follett, of Binghamton ; Nelson (1811-55), of Brooklyn ; Lucy Emeline (1813-71), wife of Jonas Adams, of Harford; Alfred Judson (December 28, 1815-March 25, 1876), father of Edson M. By his second wife, Fanny Mack (1798-1850), a native of Lyme, Conn., whom he married in 1818, he had thirteen children,- Lydia Amanda, 1818, wife of Elias N. Carpenter, of Harford; Joseph Lord (1820-26), Charles Horace, 1821, resided in Brooklyn; Hannah Eliza (1823-72), wife of Stephen E. Carpenter, of Harford; Finny Mary (1825-79), wife of Jackson Tingley, Harford; Edwin Mack, 1828, resides in Bridgewater; Betsey Norris (1830-73), married Horace Makeel Rice, of Binghamton; William Henry, 1832, of Brooklyn; Sarah Matilda (1834-78), wife of George J. Benjamin, died in Chicago; Marvin Lee, 1836, of Hopbottom; Franklin Elliot, 1838, resides at Nicholson ; Harriet Adelaide, 1842, wife of Homer Tingley, of New Milford; and Newell Wesley Tiffany, 1844, resides in Binghamton.

Fanny Mack was a daughter of Elisha and Lydia (Lord) Mack, settlers from Lyme, Conn., in Brooklyn in 1810. He had sons - Elisha, Marvin and Enoch -and daughters-Lydia, Eliza, Matilda and Fanny Mack. Alfred Tiffany's third wife, Patience Vance (1794-1869), was a native of Windsor, N. Y., and died without issue. He settled, and resided until his death, on a farm near Kingsley's Station, in Brooklyn, on the Old State Road, owned in 1887 by his grandson, Edson Tiffany. Alfred Judson, youngest son of Alfred and Lucy Miller Tiffany, married, in 1840, Lucy Eliza Loomis, who was born in Coventry, Conn., October 18, 1818. She is the youngest daughter of Eldad (1785-1829) and Fanny Jeffers (1790-1882) Loomis, who settled in Harford from Coventry, in 1824, and whose paternal ancestor, Joseph Loomis (1590-1658), settled in Windsor, Conn., from London, England, in 1638, she being the eighth generation from him in regular line.



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