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

Lenox Township

Page 708

The grist-mill has three runs of stones, and the saw-mill has a cutting capacity of ten thousand feet of lumber per day.

Before 1850 Daniel Baker had in operation a turning-shop, on the site of the present saw-mill, where he manufactured hoe and shovel handles. It was kept up but a few years. Above the mill Hiram White started a foundry, at an earlier day, which was operated on repairs and common castings until his death in 1885, since which time it has been idle. Nearby O.C. Serverance put up large mechanic shops, in which many wagons were made. These are now carried on in a more limited manner by Nathan C. Halstead. Lower down the stream Martin Doud and others have operated small saw-mills, which are still in existence, though run but a few months each year.

The first merchandising in Lenoxville was done by Abraham Churchill in 1850. He used one room of his present dwelling, and continued in trade three years, having Daniel Baker as a partner in the last year. In 1853 Decker Brothers opened a store near their mill, in which they merchandised some time, being followed by Miller & Bolton. In this building Silas B. Hartley has been continuously in trade since 1870. Lower down the turnpike Alfred Marcy opened the second extensive business stand, after the war, and J.C. Decker is now there in trade. At a later period, Adam Miller built another store-house, but died before he could occupy it. In this place William Miller and O.C. Severance have traded, the latter being still in business.

Lenoxville post-office was established January 28, 1851, with Skidmore D. Tompkins as first postmaster. His successors have been: 1853, A.C Tompkins; 1854, Abraham Churchill; 1866, Hiram White; 1869, Abraham Churchill; 1872, M.J. Hartley; 1873, Silas B. Hartley; 1885, Mary E. Johnson. The office has a daily mail.

At Lenoxville, Dr. J. Harding has been the first resident physician, locating in 1884. Many of the buildings in the hamlet, have been erected within recent years, the old residence of William Johnson Ashbel Munson being regarded as land-marks of the time when they were the only buildings on the west side of the creek. Munson was a pioneer miller.

Glenwood has a delightful location in the southwestern part of the township, above the forks of the East Branch and the Tunkhannock. It is not inappropriately named. The surrounding hills are high, and in most places still wood-covered, making a marked contrast with the lands along the stream, forming a glen nearly a mile long and about one-fourth as wide. The early settlers at this point were the Millard and Hartley families, descendants of the latter still owning the lower part of the glen. At the upper end of the glen was the homestead of the Millards, which became the property of the Grow family in 1834, whose energy and business enterprise has caused the hamlet to spring up. In 1887 Glenwood contained mills, a store and post-office, hotel shops, chapel and about fifteen residences. Near the centre of the present hamlet Solomon Millard put up his grist-mill prior to 1817, having his saw-mill and distillery on Millard Brook, above his residence. In 1825 Benejah Millard became the owner of the mills which, three years later, were reported as the property of James Coil. In 1833 Woodbury S. Wilbur owned the mill property, and later it passed into the hands of the Grow Brothers, and was owned in conjunction with their farms in the upper part of the glen. In 1846 they rebuilt the mills, erecting a large three-storey frame, in which were placed three runs of stones. These mills were used until their destruction by fire, February 14, 1885. The work of rebuilding was immediately commenced, and within four weeks the saw-mill, on an enlarged and improved plan, was in operation. The grist-mill was completed the following summer, and is also a fine structure. Both mills are operated as the property of the Grow family, and do large business.

In a few years after her removal to the Millard farm, in 1834, Mrs. Grow began merchandising on a small scale, occupying a room in her house. The business increasing, in which two of her sons, Edwin R. and F.P., engaged in a mercantile business, which has been continued to the present time. In 1875 this building was removed to a lot below the mills and opposite the F.P. Grow mansion, where it was enlarged and well fitted up for its purpose. Since 1881 it has been occupied by F.F. Grow as the successor of Grow Bros. Here is kept the Glenwood post-office, established January 3, 1835, with the name of Millardsville, and Woodbury S. Wilbur as the postmaster. He was succeeded by F.P. Grow in January 1838, and he, in turn, in 1841, by Edwin R. , who has been postmaster continuously since that period. December 30, 1854, the name of the office was changed to Glenwood, a name which had been applied to hamlet at an earlier period.

A short distance below the mills the Grow Bros. built the Glenwood Hotel, in 1850. It was a large building with accommodations for one hundred guests, and had a fine patronage of summer boarders, who were attracted to the place by the comfort and rest the hostelry afforded, as well as by the bracing air and natural scenery of the locality. At that time fine trout abounded in the brooks, and the flora of the hills was large and varied. The Grow Bros. sold the hotel to A.F. Snover, who kept it successfully many years, when he was succeeded by V. Cafferty. This fine structure was completely destroyed by fire March 18, 1870, and no hotel was rebuilt on its site. Near by a farm-house now stands. The present public-house was originally a residence, which was enlarged and improved for hotel purposes by A.F. Snover after the destruction of the above house, and was kept by him until 1883.

Chapter XLVI

Lenox Township

Page 709

He was succeeded by G.W. Hinckley, and within a year by the present, James Doran. It is a large frame building. The first public-house in this place was kept by Benejah Millard, a short time only, after 1825. In 1831 and the following few years Charles H. Miller kept a tavern which had a very unique sign, on which was the admonition "Live and let live". A part of this building was used in the construction of the F.P. Grow mansion.

In 1842 Charles W. Conrad began blacksmithing in the building which had been used by Miller as a barn, while he kept the tavern, having first only an ordinary shop, and often taking his pay in produce. But his business increased to such an extent that, in the course of years, he had the most extensive establishment of the kind in the county. A large portion of the work done was making mule-shoes for use on the western mail-routes, on contracts secured him by Geo. H. Giddings, a native of the county, who was interested in the staging business. Steam power was employed, and improved machinery was used in carrying on the shops, the business requiring an investment of no less than six thousand dollars, when the entire plant was destroyed by fire on the night of June 28, 1869. In the fall of the same year the shops were rebuilt on a larger scale than before the fire, and a portion of the steam-power was used to operate a shingle-mill. This establishment was also destroyed by fire, burning down in the winter of 1875. A smaller shop was erected on the ruins of the building, in which Mr. Conrad worked until 1879. The present occupant is Richard Wescott. Another mechanic at Glenwood, whose occupation has been carried on for a long term of years, is L.M. Hardy, who has had a shoemaker's shop for more than three decades.

Nearly a mile above the mills, on the Tunkhannock, an extensive tannery, costing sixty thousand dollars, was built, in 1850, by Schultz,Eaton & Co. In 1857 it was destroyed by fire, but rebuilt the same year. It had a capacity to turn out forty thousand sides of sole leather per year, and besides bringing a large number of people into the township, offered a good market for the hemlock bark in this section, and produced a free circulation of money. The tannery employed steam-power and the plant embraced a number of tenements and a store, which was kept by the tannery-owners.

"Asa Eaton, one of the original firm, united seemingly diverse tastes, the one inducing him in 1856 to erect a church, and the other in 1858 to provide a race-course for his own and others' enjoyment. Fast horses were his recreation, and before the 'course' was laid out he had cleared the highway for the distance of a mile (between the tannery and the hotel), of every stone or unevenness that could retard a horse's speed or lessen the comforts of a rider. In the fall of 1861 he conceived the idea of assembling the fast horses and fine riders of the country to try the race-course on his beautiful flat by the margin of the Tunkhannock. The occasion was also dignified by the inauguration of the Glenwood Fair, which was under the management of an agricultural society of which F.P. Grow was president and Asa Eaton treasurer. The fair was held in October three years in succession, when it was superseded by the one at Nicholson, five miles below." (Miss Blackman)

Mr. Eaton lived at the tannery until his removal to Orange County, N.Y. His love for fast horses never led him to sacrifice his honor, and it is said that, finding the privileges of the race-course abused in his new home, he sold his horses and vowed that he should not have anything to do with a business which was tainted with the least suspicion of unfair dealing. In the course of years the tannery passed into the hands of Black, Burhans & Clearwater, and Burhans retiring, the firm was composed of the two other members several years. Later, W.H. Osterhout became the owner, and A.A. Clearwater was the resident agent and manager. In the summer of 1882 work was suspended and the machinery removed to Clearfield County. Some of the buildings were removed and others fell into decay. Very few of the employees remained in the locality. The abandoned store building still stands, as also does the Union Church, both having been repaired by new owners.

The Good Templars had several active organizations in the township, and there was also a division of the Sons of Temperance, all of which have suspended their meetings.

Centreville is a hamlet of half a dozen houses, where the Owego turnpike crosses Bell Brook, in the northern central part of the township. On this stream was the Truesdell mill, as early as 1825, and later the mill of Henry S. Millard. L.W. Read became the owner, and, later, Alonzo Payne tore down the old grist-mill and erected a saw-mill on that site. Horace Whiting is the present owner and operates it. A shingle-mill, in this locality, was sold to H. Marcy. Just below the turnpike, on a site higher up the stream, Vincent Truesdell had a shop in which were turned chair-stuff and spinning-wheels. The property was sold to Orville Tiffany, who built a saw-mill on the west side of the stream, but which was later changed to a small feed-mill, and is still operated as such. Above the bridge, Orville Tiffany built a public-house, which had a good patronage in the days of stage travel. But, an earlier house of entertainment was at the foot of the hill, which is now known as the D.C. Oakley place. This was kept by Henry Millard, and was a well known stopping-pace, from the fact that the stage horses were there changed. The Tiffany tavern was afterwards kept by William O. Gardner, who also operated the mills. William Spencer was a later owner of the property and keeper of the inn, which, about this time, obtained an unenviable name.

Chapter XLVI

Lenox Township

Page 710

The contention which followed his residence here is still remembered. Some time after William Burton opened a small store in the corner building, still standing, though unoccupied. In 1883 John W. Talman began trading in the Tiffany building, which had long been a residence, and still continues; and on the opposite side of the stream, Forest Whiting opened another store, in a new building, in the fall of 1886.

Near this place is the fine Baptist Church, and on the road below, at the farm-house of Archibald Hill, the first postmaster, the West Lenox post-office was established May 24, 1866. He was succeeded January 27, 1881, by E.P. Bailey . On the first of October, 1881, Alonzo A. Payne became the postmaster, and since April 6, 1882, Mary Coleman has held the office at her residence, nearly midway between Centreville and Loomis Lake.

At the latter place the Loomis family had a saw-mill, which has gone down, and in this neighborhood a number of buildings were put up, giving it the appearance of hamlet. There are a good schoolhouse, Free-Will Baptist Church and a dozen residences in the immediate locality. A store was kept here for a brief period in a building put up for this purpose by Neil Carpenter. It is now a residence. Mechanic shops have also been maintained; but the nearness of the hamlet to Hopbottom has prevented it from becoming a business point.

Educational and Religious.-

Miss Blackman states that the first school in the vicinity of Glenwood, and probably in all of Lenox, was taught about 1804 by Miss Molly Post, in a barn belonging to John Marcy, whose farm was partly in Susquehanna County, though his residence was just below the line, in Luzerne (now Wyoming) County. The barn was soon needed to store the hay of that season, and then a large tree was selected as shelter for the scholars and teacher till the close of the term.

It was in one of her schools that a boy showed his intelligent comprehension of the word "bed". On being told to spell it, he began: "B-ah, e-ah, d-ah," and being unable to pronounce it, his teacher, thinking to aid him, asked what he slept on, when he replied, "Now I know! Sheepskin. She is also authority for the statement that the first winter school in Lenox was taught by a man who was unable to prove a sum in addition. Upon his dismissal for his incompetency, another was employed to complete the term, who had to secure the help of one of his pupils to write out his bill for teaching, being unskilled to do such work himself. Later teachers were more competent to instruct the young, and the schools of Lenox, and the buildings in which they are kept, compare favorably with those of the other townships.

The first religious meetings were held in private houses, barns, and for many years, in schoolhouses.

The First Baptist Church in Lenox is the oldest organized religious body in the township, and was constituted a separate organization December 15, 1830, with the following members: Levi Mack, Betsey Mack, Henry S. Millard, Sarah Wilmarth, Russell Tingley, Joanna Tourgee, Elizabeth Ronbinson, Nathaniel Tower, Lucy Tower, Rial Tower, Betsey Tower and Lydia Harding. The following summer several more persons joined by letter, but it does not appear that any were admitted by baptism until 1837, when seven persons were received in that manner, among them Freeman Tingley, the only surviving deacon, serving since 1840. The first deacons of the church were John Robinson and Zerah Scott, who were chosen in June, 1834, and were also selected as delegates to the Abington Association, of which body the church became a member and has since retained that connection. On the 14th of September, 1831, the Rev. Levi Mack was ordained to the ministry and served as pastor of the church until September 29, 1833. Previous to this the Rev. Charles Miller, of Clifford, had preached, and Levi Mack had also been the minister as a licentiate before his ordination. February 15, 1838, Rev. Rial Tower became one of the deacons of the church, having served as clerk and treasurer up to this time. In October of the same year he was licensed to preach, and ministered to the congregation, frequently exchanging pulpits with Elder Miller, of Clifford. On the 22nd of August, 1844, he was ordained, and continued as pastor until June, 1862. At that time Elder Benjamin Miller was called for - half his time - and, with the assistance of Elder Rial Tower, served the church until April, 1864, when Elder Rial Tower again became pastor and so continued for several years.

In April, 1866, the church called Elder James Van Patten to the pastorate, but from 1867 to 1868 the pulpit was supplied. In June of the later year the Rev. J.C. Sherman began two years' ministry, and from 1870 to 1871 the Rev. Newell Callendar was the pastor. In April, 1872, the Rev. D. Pease here entered upon a ministry which continued until January, 1878. For a period the pulpit was supplied by the association, Elder David Halstead and others preaching until the fall of 1882. In December of that year the Rev. O.W. Cook began a series of meetings which awakened much interest, and which led to his being ordained, March 13, 1883, as the pastor of the church. He continued until November, 1884, but since March, 1885, the pastor has been the Rev. William A. Miller, preaching every two weeks. In addition to the three ministers named above, ordained in this church and serving as its pastor, two other members were ordained to the ministry, - W.N.Tower, October 24, 1861, and H.J. Millard, December 8, 1870. Each of these had been licensed to preach about four years before his ordination, and both rendered efficient service to the church before assuming charge of other work. In all, nearly one hundred and eighty persons have been connected with the church since its organization, forty-five being members in March, 1887.

Chapter XLVI

Lenox Township

Page 711

The clerks have been Rial Tower, Hugh Mead, W.C. Tower, A.H. Adams, C.M.Tower, Ira Millard, W.N. Tower, D.C. Oakley, and Lucy Z.T. Oakley.

The first meetings were held in the old schoolhouse, near the Henry T. Millard place, and later in the schoolhouse farther down the road. In April, 1863, the building of a church was agitated, but it was not until December 10, 1863, that work on the building was commenced, the first blows being struck by Elders B. Miller and Newell Callendar. Progress was slowly made, as the society was weak and the prosecution of the war claimed the attention of the members, so that the church was not dedicated until 1866. It was a frame building, with belfry, of attractive appearance, and was well furnished at the time is was destroyed by an incendiary fire, August 29, 1875. Within two weeks it was decided to rebuild the church, but again a long period elapsed before the building was ready for occupancy. It was not formally dedicated until October 4, 1882, when it was consecrated, free from debt, and stands today a memorial to the faithful members who completed it with so much effort that its accomplishment was often deemed impossible. The edifice has an eligible location on the edge of a belt of woods overshadowing the vale, and is an inviting place of worship, as well as an ornament to the neighborhood in which it stands. It is supplied with a bell, and is neatly furnished. The property is valued at twenty-five hundred dollars, and is controlled by the church as a body, incorporated April 16, 1866, with Trustees Freeman Tingley, Rial Tower, Henry S. Contant, Asa H. Decker, Warner C. Tower, D.C. Oakley, Charles M. Tower, Elias M. Moore, and Amos H. Adams. Nearly opposite is the cemetery, located on the land of Henry Millard, and opened to the public long before the building of the church. It has been well kept, and contains some of fine memorials to the many dead there interred. Here repose two of the ministers of the church - Elders Rial and William M. Tower, - and many of the pioneers of this part of the township.

The West Lenox Free-Will Baptist Church is a frame meeting-house, with a capacity for several hundred persons, standing on the west shore of Loomis Lake. The building was commenced soon after the breaking out of the late war, but was not completed for several years. It has recently been reseated and improved internally. Since Aug. 18, 1878, it has been controlled by an incorporated body, whose trustees at that time were O.W. Loomis, O.G. Carpenter, Alson Tiffany, J.L. Whiting, William Gormann and W.P. Gardner. Some of these serve on the present board, and have been active members of the church. Prior to the building of the meeting-house the meetings were held in the school-house at Loomis Lake, and among the members were Elder Dariel Pease and family, William D. Milller and family, William Gormann and family, Warren M. Tingley and family, J.L. Whiting, Isaac Knapp, Otis Bailey and their wives, Mrs. Lydia Gardner and Alson Tiffany. In 1867 the church received an addition of fourteen members, and among these joining about this time were O.W. Loomis, Henry Coleman, L.D. Wilmarth, Josiah Whiting, Howard Sinsibaugh and their wives, and Mrs. S.A. Miller

Elder Pease ministered to the church a number of years, and among others who preached in the church were Elders John Green, Asa Lord, C.M. Prescott, W.A. Sargent, Othniel Phelps, A.H. Fish, Raleigh Carpenter, and S.B. York. The church is at present without a regular pastor and membership is small not exceeding twenty. William D. Miller and William Gormann were early deacons. Those offices are at present filled by John L. Whiting and Henry Coleman, and L.D. Wilmarth is the church clerk.

The Lenoxville Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1866. It is a frame building, thirty-five by fifty feet, and has a spire, but no bell. The church is plainly furnished, but recent repairs have made it inviting. The society controlling it became an incorporated body Jan. 18, 1868, with the following trustees: S.F. Wright, E.V. Decker, M.J. Decker, E.J. Brundage, Abraham Churchill, and P. Van Etten . But twenty years before the building of a church a class of Methodists was organized at this place, which had Hiram White as its leader, and which embraced, among other members, Francis Hull, John Carmichael, L.N. Beage, J.T. Rood, Abraham Churchill and Joseph Allen . The meetings were held in the old school-house, near the mill, and later in the new school-house, on the west side of the creek. The preachers came from the Dundaff and Herrick Circuits; but since 1886 the church has been a part of the Clifford Circuit, to an account of which the reader is referred to a list of ministers who have preached in later years. The present memberships of the church is small, numbering but fourteen, with Abraham Churchill as their leader. He is also on the board of trustees, having as associate members Alvah Johnson, M.S. Roberts, William White, A. Harris, and N.C. Halstead,.

The Glenwood Methodist Episcopal Church became an incorporated body in August, 1882, on the petition of C.W. Conrad, J.T. Bennett, L.M. Hardy, A.A. Clearwater, B.E. Miles, D.N. Hardy, W.C. Clearwater, D.O. Farnum and J.W. Height. About this time the Union Church, at Glenwood Tannery, which had been erected in 1856 by Asa Eaton, was secured by the society, and repaired so as to become a comfortable place of worship. In this building was organized, in 1875, a class of Methodists, which had among its first members G.N. Hardy, D.G. Black, James Clearwater, D.N. Hardy, Alonzo Miles, Benjamin Miles, James Conrad, Mary P. Conrad, and in most cases, the wives of the foregoing. The Rev. J.L. Race was the first regular minister of the church, whose membership was now much augmented by a revival held under his direction, so that at one time there were nearly forty members.

Chapter XLVI

Lenox Township

Page 712

The closing of the tannery and other local causes has reduced the membership to eighteen persons, who belong to the Nicholson and South Gibson Circuit, the Rev. C.M. Surdam being the pastor. Other ministers since the organization of the class have been the Revs. S.J. Austin, J.H. Weston and F.A. King. The church property is valued at six hundred dollars, and is in charge of Trustees C.W. Conrad, P.P. Squiers, John Buck, D.W. Wright, J.T. Bennett, Cyrus Hoppe and D.N. Hardy. Within a year the services of the Methodists have been alternately held in the above church and in the Glenwood chapel, a house for religious meetings in the hamlet of Glenwood. A part of this building was originally a school-house, which was used as early as 1835, but, upon being abandoned, was taken by Fred P. Grow, and enlarged by the addition of twenty feet and otherwise improved, to make a chapel for the use of a Sunday-school, which was organized by Mrs. Fred P. Grow in 1860, and has since been conducted by her. She began the school with five scholars, who met in her room, while she was a boarder at the Glenwood Hotel. But the school rapidly increased in numbers and interest until larger accommodations were demanded and more teachers required. At one time there were more than one hundred attendants, but at present the number does not exceed fifty, who are instructed with unabated interest. The school was established in the face of considerable opposition and prejudice, but has since been recognized as a desirable moral force, and commands the support of the community.

    A man who had been greatly opposed to having his children attend the 
    school, became convinced at last of the benefit they had derived from it. 
    Aroused to a sense of gratitude, before leaving the place he resorted to 
    Mrs. G. to express it, which he did by saying 
    "It's the d___dest best Sunday-school I ever see!" - Blackman.
A former teacher in the school, Miss Carrie Hartley, was for two years a missionary in Madura, India. In the past few years the chapel has been improved by the addition of a spire, in which has been placed a fine bell, the gift of Thomas Dixon, of Scranton. William E. Dodge, of New York, presented valuable maps, and other friends have contributed to make the chapel more attractive. In addition to the meetings of the Methodists, Presbyterian services are occasionally held in the chapel, but no congregation has been organized.

In other parts of the township Sabbath-schools were organized at an early day, one being conducted successfully by Obadiah Mills and family at his private house, while others were held in school-houses, and after the building of churches were transferred to these places.

In addition to the cemetery at the Baptist Church, near Centreville, there is a place of interment east of Loomis Lake, on the old Carpenter farm, which is kept up by the Titus, Loomis and Carpenter families, and is in good condition. In the northwestern part of the township a burial-pace was started many years ago, in which were interred many members of the Tourgee and Gardner families. This ground was not appropriately selected, and is not receiving the care the resting-places of the dead deserve at the hands of the community in which they are located.

Previous section (Part Three) - for Lenox township extracted from Stocker Centennial History of Susquehanna County

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