PLEASE NOTE: These electronic pages are for the use of individual researchers, and may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by other organizations.

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

Gibson Township

Page 746

GIBSON TOWNSHIP, which was named in honor of Justice John B. Gibson, was erected in November, 1813. In January 1813, Asa Dimock and others petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions of Susquehanna County,

"praying that a town ship be laid off from the township of Clifford, beginning at the north-east corner of said township, thence south on the line between Wayne County and said township six miles and one hundred and sixty perches, thence west to the line of Harford, thence north to the northwest corner of said township, thence east to the place of beginning."

Whereupon the court appointed Walter Lyon, John Carpenter and Hosea Tiffany to inquire into the propriety of granting the prayer of the petitioners. These three persons were discharged at the request of Walter Lyon, and Nicholas McCarty, Job Tyler and Joseph Washburn were appointed in their stead. This committee reported to the court that they found it necessary for the convenience of the inhabitants, that said town should be divided according to the prayer of the petition, and as the line of said town had never been ascertained, and there was some dispute already, they found it necessary to accurately survey and definitely mark the boundaries, which they reported as follows:

"Beginning at the northeast corner of the town of Clifford in the Wayne County line, then south on said line six and one-half miles to a stake and heap of stones for a corner, thence west nine miles to a stake and heap of stones for a corner, thence north six and one-half miles to the line of Harmony and New Milford to a stake and stones, thence on the line of Harmony nine miles to the first-mentioned bound."

which report was confirmed finally at November session, 1813. In 1825 Herrick was formed and in 1852 Ararat was formed, each taking territory from Gibson, leaving it in its present shape, bounded on the north by New Milford and Jackson, on the east by Ararat and Herrick, on the south by Clifford, on the southwest by Lenox, and on the west by Harford-containing about thirty-six square miles. The Tunkhannock River runs diagonally through the township from the northeast to the southwest Corner and completely drains the township, receiving the waters of the Willis and several other small lakes. The flats along the Tunkhannock are good farming lands. The East Mountains or Hills rise eastward of the creek and high hills rise to the westward from the Tunkhannock. These long, rolling hills were once covered with maple and beech and the valley was timbered with hemlock. Gibson is a good dairy-farming and stock-raising township. It has a good meadow and pasture land and apple orchards. The farm-houses are generally good and the people are thrifty and intelligent. William Poyntell was one of the first men who laid warrants under Pennsylvania title in Susquehanna County. He commenced at the mouth of the Tunkhannock and continued up the stream as far as Jackson Centre. His surveyors left the creek only once, and that was to secure the lands afterwards known as " Kentuck."

Joseph Potter, a Revolutionary soldier, from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, settled in Gibson January 21, 1792. He commenced on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Joshua M. Potter. Captain Potter, as he afterwards became, by commission from Governor Mifflin, dated July 18, 1798, wherein he is commissioned captain of the Second Company, Fourth Regiment of the Luzerne County Brigade of Militia, came from Baliston Spa to Pennsylvania, by way of the Bend, and erected a cabin without a door, into which he moved his family. His wife did not see a woman's face for the first six months. He afterwards moved two miles farther east, to the farm now occupied by his grandson, Oliver Potter, then he moved to the place now owned by his grandson, Stephen Potter, where he had a tavern on the Newburg road and where he died, February 9, 1835, his wife Lois having died, November 5, 1824. They had a family of nine children, Noah, who died in Illinois; Parley, who resided in the township, was accidentally killed up the Susquehanna (his son Oliver resides on that farm now); John, who married Polly Washburn, lived and died where his son J. M. Potter now lives. John's children were Electa, Joseph, Parley, Stephen, William, Elsie, Polly, Francis, Elmina and Joshua M. The six daughters of the original family were of Edie, wife of Daniel Tingley; Elsie, wife of Newton Hawley; Lucretia, wife of Dalton Tiffany; Lois, wife of Otis Stearns; Amanda, wife of Wheeler Lyon; and Cynthia, wife of Franklin b. Joshua M. Potter owns four hundred acres of land and has good farm buildings. He has one of the best cellars in the county.

KENNEDY HILL, -Deacon William Holmes was a ship-carpenter. He bought the property now owned by Joshua M. Potter. His wife was Hannah Fuller. His sons David, William, Thomas and Daniel settled in the vicinity. Daniel settled on East Mountain and is there noticed.

Before the close of 1809, David Carpenter came from Massachusetts and settled on the "Kentuck" road, where "Freel" Brendage now resides. He was a cousin of two of the nine partners of the same family name, and his wife was Abi Follett, sister of Robert Follett. They had four children-Chester, whose son Calvin is a judge in Golden City, Col. Lucy, wife of John Brundage; Timothy, for fifteen year's justice of the peace of Gibson ; Delancy, wife of Sabinas Walker, a merchant in Salem, Pa.

In 1822 Joab Tyler, John Seymour & Co. had a tin and sheet iron factory on Gibson Hill. A year or two later William A. Boyd came to the place, and after the removal of Seymour, was of the firm of Tyler, Boyd & Co. About 1827 they sold their store to P. K. Williams. In 1835 N. E. Kennedy bought of P. K. Williams and continued the mercantile business for nearly one-half a century. He is now past eighty. The hill has been known as Kennedy Hill for many years. The Newhurg road passes through here and at one time it was a central point for business.


Gibson Township

Page 747

Francis Burrows, brother of Urbane Burrows, was a partner with Kennedy for a time. Stephen Potter lives where Capt. Potter died. He had a hotel there many years. Horace Thayer started a hotel on Kennedy Hill and William Purdy Embler, Peter Foster and Asa Post followed him. Tyler, Seymour & Co. had a grist-mill, distillery and ashery. One of the first school-houses in the township was started on Kennedy Hill. The Methodists had a church here, and at one time it was the central point for miles around; now nothing but farming is carried on at this point. David Sparks was an early settler in Gibson. His son Lee Sparks is living at Chipmuck Hollow at an advanced age.

OSCAR WASHBURN. His great-grandfather Washburn came from Massachusetts and took up land where Bellevue is now situated, in Lackawanna County, and when coal was first brought into use as fuel large beds of it were found on his property. Not thinking it of value, Washburn sold his coal interest to one Dr. Roberts for a hat. The doctor afterwards found that the title of the land was in the hands of Pennsylvania claimants, and was obliged to surrender it under his Connecticut claim. This Washburn's sons-Joseph, WaIler, Ebenezer, Samuel and daughter - Polly (wife of John Potter of Gibson), Betsey (wife of Elisha Harding, of Herrick) , and Mrs. Howe, afterwards of the lake country - came to the central part of Gibson township in 1802. The sons, with the exception of Samuel, who died in Ohio, and one daughter, Mrs. Potter, spent the remainder of their lives in the township. Waller left children - Dexter, Julius, Franklin, Lyman, Samuel, Mrs. Tarbox (of Susquehanna), Ruth, Elmira and Lucretia. Ebenezer left at his death children, - John (of New Milford), Joseph, Erastus, Philander, Elsie, Achsah and Roxanna.

The eldest, Joseph Washburn, was a gun-smith and blacksmith, and his shop for the manufacture of tools was the only one for miles around. He was a man of good business ability and was commissioned the first justice of the peace in the township, and served two terms as county commissioner. He died at over eighty-four. His wife (Prudy Corbet) died in 1848. Their children were Ira, born in 1803, a blacksmith, gunsmith and farmer, whose only son succeeded to a part of the homestead on Gibson Hill, where he resides in 1887; Thersa (deceased) was the wife of Thaddeus Whitney, of Gibson; Betsey, killed accidentally, was the wife of Horace Thayer, of Gibson ; Eliza died young; Nancy was the wife of N. E. Kennedy, a merchant on Kennedy Hill, Gibson; Julia Ann, wife of S.S. Ingalls, Chicago, formerly a merchant in Burrows' Hollow; Ira married Eliza b, who was born in 1805, a daughter of William Belcher, who came from Orange County and settled in Gibson in 1794. He was a brother of John Belcher, who settled in the township at the same time. Ira and Eliza Washburn's children are Oscar Washburn, Esq., born on the homestead April 17, 1824; Amanda, first the wife of Stephen Payne, and after his death married a Mr. Baylis, of Binghamton; Janet, deceased, was the wife of F. M. Ellting, of Oneonta, N. Y.; Frederick died while sheriff of Lassen County, California; Mary, wife of John Fitch, of the same county; Freeman C., a gunsmith, of Wellsborough, Pa.; Betsey, deceased, the second wife of F. M. Ellting, of Oneonta; Alice, deceased young; Josephine, the wife of Lewis Steenback, died in Gibson; Helen, wife of Richmond Whitney, of Oneonta; and Henry A., a farmer in California. Oscar, eldest of these children, spent his boyhood on the farm, obtained a fair education at the home district schools, and for some six terms was a teacher in the schools of the vicinity and for one year in New Jersey. He married, in 1850, Abby E. Tyler (1828-58), youngest daughter of Dr. Chester (1787-1847) and Laura Chedell (1790-1868) Tyler, of Gibson. After his marriage he bought a farm west of Smiley, where he resided until 1868, when he sold it, and settled on a farm on the Tunkhannock in Gibson. Here he resided until the sale of this farm to E. W. Jones, in 1886, when he removed in the spring of the following year to Susquehanna. His political affiliations have been with the Republicam party, and he has served his township for ten years as justice of the peace, school director and assessor one term, and he was elected and served ome term as county commissioner. He had one child (Mary E.), who died at the age of sixteen. For his second wife he married, im 1859, Sally C. Tyler (who had been a teacher in Susquehanna County over fifteen years and was a student of Harford University for two years), born February 13, 1820, a half-sister of his first wife, whose mother, Sally Crafts (1790-1820), was the first wife of Dr. Tyler, and the sister of Judge Crafts, of Otsego County, N.Y. This Dr. Tyler was a native of Windham County, Connecticut; was examined and admitted to practice medicine and surgery at Delhi, N. Y., in 1816 and came to Hartwick, Otsego County, a young man, where he practiced his profession until 1825, when he settled with his family on Kennedy Hill, in Gibson, where he continued practice until his death. The children by his first wife were Sally C., the present wife of Squire Washburn, and one son, James C., who died young. By his second wife Dr. Tyler had children, - James C. of Montrose; Mary A. died at thirty; Emeline R., wife of John C. Frazier, died in Gibson; Abby E., the first wife of Esquire Washburn; John C., a druggist, died at Lafayette, Ind., in 1885; and Joab died young. The religious persuasion of the Tylers is Presbyterian, that of the Washburns Methodist.

KENTUCK, OR FIVE PARTNERS.-In traveling up the Tunkhannock, there is a road that heads from South Gibson northward up the hill which passes through a fine farming country; this land, in its wild state, is said to have so impressed a Kentucky hunter with its beauty, that he declared it looked like Kentucky


Gibson Township

Page 748

hence the name. Poyntell's surveyors, who were surveying lands where they could find the best localities, left the Tunkhannock River flats to secure these lands for their employer. William Abel, Ebenezer Bailey, James Chandler, Hazard Powers and Daniel Brewster, a cousin of Abel's, who never settled in the settlement, constituted the "Five Partners.', Wm. Poyntell advertised his lands in Connecticut. Jacob Loomis, William Abel's father-in-law, contracted for eight hundred acres in the interest of the partners. In the fall of 1809 they all came to Pennsylvania, and with the exception of Brewster, all returned the next spring. They had some difficulty about obtaining a title, which made it necessary for William Abel and James Chandler to go to Philadelphia to arrange the business, which was accomplished by Mr. Poyntell's deeding the whole tract to James Chandler, to be divided by lot among the "Five Partners." Three men from Harford acted as appraisers. The lands were divided and appraised, two dollars and fifty cents per acre being the lowest, and three dollars and fifty cents the highest price apprized. In the final allotment Mr. Abel's lands were three dollars per acre; Bailey's, three dollars and twenty- five cents; Brewster's, three dollars and fifty cents; Chandler's, two dollars and seventy-five cents; Powers', two dollars and fifty cents.

William Abel came from Windham, now New London County, Conn. He was brought up near Jonathan Trumbull, "Brother Jonathan." His wife was Polly Loomis; both his father and wife's father had seen service in the Revolution. He cleared up a good farm on his allotment of one hundred and twenty-five acres, and lived to be nearly ninety-two years of age. He was born the 12th of July, 1775, and remembered the burning of New London by Arnold. He was industrious and amassed a good fortune for his day although not a member of any church, he was a liberal supporter of the Presbyterian Church. His wife died at the age of eighty. They had a family of ten children, nine of whom arrived at the age of maturity,- William Abel is a successful merchant at Ann Arbor, Mich.; Guerdon L.; Rhoda, wife of S. S. Chamberlain. Sylvester Abel read law with Wm. Jessup, and was admitted to the Susquehanna County bar in 1839 (he removed to Ann Arbor, where he practiced law, and was State Senator and a candidate for State treasurer when General Scott was a candidate for the presidency); Alonzo resides in Owego; Nelson at Saginaw; Jane is dead; Henry resides in the township and is a good business man; Seth resides on the old homestead.

James Chandler located about one mile south of William Abel, and cleared up the farm now owned by Wm. H. Davall. He raised a family of some prominence; his oldest son, Charles, was coroner in 1824, sheriff in 1827 and a member of the Legislature in 1838-39. Stephen P. and James were the other sons. Mary was the wife of Charles Edwards. Their son, C. C. Edwards, is a celebrated physician in Binghamton. Harriet, Huldah, Adelia, wife of Dr. Dickerman, of Harford, are the daughters.

Captain Hazard Powers was an old sea-captain. He located south of Chandler's. His children were Joseph, Samuel, Ichabod, William, Hazard, Daniel, Sarah and Hannah. Ebenezer Bailey located south of William Abel. He had five children, none of whom are now living in the township.

WILLIAM W. WILLIAMS.-Elisha Williams, grand-father of our subject, when a young man, came to Pennsylvania from Connecticut, and made purchases of land, the title of which proved worthless, and he returned to his native State. He was among the unfortunate soldiers who were at Wyoming in 1778, but escaped that memorable and terrible massacre, in which nearly all were killed. Upon returning to his home, near Norwich, Conn., he began studying for the ministry, but after a time abandoned his intention of becoming a clergyman, read law and practiced his profession the remainder of his life. One of his sons, Alden, served with ability as a judge in Ohio; another, Whitman, also settled in the same State; a third, Elisha Williams (1793-1877), a native of Cider Hill, near Norwich, where the family resided, came to Brooklyn township in 1811, where he learned the trade of a carpenter. He afterwards settled on a farm, the Brewster allotment of the Five Partners', in Kentuck settlement, Gibson township, as where he carried on farming, in connection with working at his trade the remainder of his active life. He built the grist-mill at South Gibson, which he owned and ran several years. His wife, Lucy S. Dix. (1799-1876), whom he married in 1818, was a daughter of Elijah Dix. In religious persuasion they were Universalists; their children are Huldali C. (1821-83), J. Alden (1826-53), was a merchant for many years at Salem, Wayne County, afterwards at South Gibson, and died while in New York City purchasing goods, leaving one daughter, Alpha Frances, a teacher in Scranton.

William W. Williams, their only surviving son, was born on the home farm, in Gibson township, November 11, 1828, where he spent the major part of his life. He had the usual opportunities for obtaining an education at the district school, and for sometime attended the old Harford Academy, now the Soldiers' Orphans' School. While at school he took a prominent part in the exhibitions, which were largely attended from all parts of the county. He gained recognition and praise for the contributions rendered, and many thus sought his acquaintance. From the age of seventeen years he managed i by the home farm, and during his residence in the township purchased other real estate adjoining and in other parts of the township, until now he is the in owner of three farms there, and one in Bridgewater township. Mr. Williams was in early life a large dealer in sheep, and afterwards in cattle, and,


Gibson Township

Page 749

especially during the late war, he made large purchases in Buffalo, which he shipped to this county and fatted and sold for home consumption.

In 1852 he engaged in the lumber business at Equinunk, Wayne County, where he purchased some five hundred acres of timber land, and manufactured and shipped lumber to Philadelphia, via the Delaware, until the sale of this property, three years thereafter. Returning to Susquehanna County, he carried on mercantile business at South Gibson, and was post-master at that place for three years. When a young man he became interested in township and county affairs, and, upon reaching his majority, was elected and served as constable. He subsequently served as justice of the peace, assessor and in other official positions in the township. He was the chosen candidate of the Republican party for their Representative to the State Legislature in 1875 and 1876, and served on the Committees on Appropriation, Agriculture and others. In 1881 Mr. Williams removed to Montrose, where he has since resided, continuing, however, the personal supervision of his farms. His first wife, whom he married in 1853, was Charlotte (183~ 68), daughter of Roswell and Nancy (Thacher) Gillett, who died, leaving two children,- William E., who was a graduate at Keystone Academy, Factoryville, in the class of 1880, and for one year was a student at the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville (he read law with McCollum & Watson, was admitted to the bar at the January term, 1884, and is now a member of the law-firm of Blakeslee & Williams, at Moutrose); and Julia A., wife of Dr. J. A. Greenawalt, of Pittsburgh, who was also a graduate at Keystone Academy in the class of 1880, at the age of sixteen, being the youngest student ever graduated at that institution. In 1884 she was also graduated for the National School of Elocution, at Philadelphia.

Mrs. Williams' parents were among the old families of Gibson township, and her grandfather, Willard Gillett, settled there from Connecticut. For his second wife, he married, in 1875, Carrie J., a daughter of O. F. and Jeannett (Anderson) Gunther, formerly of Archbald, now of Fleetville, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. She was born February 28, 1857. Her mother is a native of Thompsonville, Conn., and her father is a native of Saxony, Germany, who came to Carbondale about 1850, where he first met his wife. Mr. Williams' children by his present wife are Ethelberta, Alden Humphrey and Elbert Anderson Williams.

Arunah Tiffany lived about 1809 on the highest point on Kentuck Hill. and remained there, with the exception of two years spent in Brooklyn, until his death, in 1863, at the age of seventy-eight years. His son, George B., now occupies the old homestead. From a point west of the house an extended view can be obtained. One can see, with the aid of a glass, the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches at Ararat and Harford, also the orphan school at the latter place, the Presbyterian Churches at Gibson and Dundaff and the Baptist Church at Greenfield. Noah Tiffany, a brother of the foregoing, came to Gibson a few years later. His widow died recently in her ninety-second year. She had been a member of the Presbyterian Church for many years. Noah Tiffany, Sr., father of Noah and Arunah, settled in Brooklyn in 1809, and had other sons, Olney and John, and daughters, Jemima and Hannah, wife of Wells Stanley. These children were by his first wife, Hannah Carpenter By a second wife he had two children,-Melinda, wife of Myron Lindsley, of Bndgewater; and Clarissa Waterman, of Brooklyn.

UNION HILL AND VICINITY.-John Belcher came in 1794 to the farm since owned by George Maxey. It extends west from Union Hill Church, and was once owned by George H. Wells. Mr. Beicher sold to Ahijah Wells and removed to Lymanville, Springville township. His sons were John, Ira, Hiram and Alanson. The family is scattered. Some of them moved into Wayne County. Michael lived in the vicinity of South Gibson, and is remembered as an eccentric and rather demonstrative Methodist classleader. His second daughter, wife of Exekiel Barnes, was born in 1795, and claimed to be the first white child born in Gibson. She lived to be past eighty. James Bennett came to Union Hill and purchased an improvement of William Belcher, where George Morgan now lives in 1802. He had three hundred acres, and cleared up a good farm. The roads afterwards ran through his farm and cut it into five corn ei~s. The Union Hill Presbyterian Church stands on part of this land. Mr. Bennett died in 1847, aged eighty-two, and his wife died ten years later, at the same age. Their children were Charles, Luke, John, Rachel, Loren G. and Julia. They all resided in Gibson except Luke, who moved to Lenox, and were all farmers, except Charles, a shoemaker, and all attained a ripe old age. Levi Bennett came later and located where Justin Gillett lives.

George Galloway came to Union Hill, then known as Toad Hill, from Orange County, in 1795. His farm and James Bennett's lay adjoining each other. His children were Jonatham, born in 1796; William, born in 1801. These were among the first children born in the township. Mary Ann, Matilda, Huldah, Solomon W., Baron, Betsey, Lewis, Sarah, George and Abigail, Mary Ann (the wife of George Woodward) were the other children. There were six Walker brothers moved to Gibson as early as 1818, and settled in different parts of Gibson township,- Arnold, Enos, Keth, Sahinus, Cady and David. The latter married Ann Holmes and moved to Syracuse. Cady and Sabinus moved to Allegheny County; Arnold and Enos died in South Gibson; Sabinus married Matilda Galloway. Their sons were William, Jonas, George and a Gilbert. The latter became Governor of Virginia and Representative to Congress from that State, and had the reputation at the time of being the handsomest man

section (Part Two) for Gibson township extracted from the Stocker Centennial History of Susquehanna County

to the Stocker Centennial History of Susquehanna County index page

Back to the DSdata genealogy index page
This page updated last on 01 Nov 1999

[eMail the site administrator] [DSData homepage] [DSData company] [DSData genealogy] [DSData olives]