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

Gibson Township

Page 750

in that body. He moved back to New York and died there. His brother Jonas became wealthy in California. Keth Walker married Ann Hawley and reared a large family; Sabinus and George were engaged in business at South Gibson for a number of years; A. B. Walker, another son, was a member of the Legislature twice, the second time as representative of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties in 1870; Rev. Ira T. Walker, another son, was born in Gibson, May 22, 1838, and moved to Salem, Pa., when twelve years of age. He commenced to preach for the Methodists at Cherry Ridge, Wayne County, then in Springville, Susquehanna County, 1858-59, and has been a successful clergyman ever since. One thousand persons have been converted under his preaching. He was presiding elder at one time and is now located at Lexington, Ky.

Nathan Guile came to Gibson in 1809, and located between Burrows' Hollow and Union Hill. He cleared up a farm and died at the age of ninety-two. He had eight children. Vander, a cripple and for many years mail-carrier, died in South Gibson; Jason, lived and died on the homestead; Eliza, was the wife of Chester Carpenter; Nathan and Charles live in Jackson and Joseph in Burrows' Hollow.

Thomas Evans came to Gibson from Wales in 1842, and Lewis Evans came with him. Thomas bought his place of Abijah Wells in 1847. Mr. Wells was an Orange County man, who owned about seven hundred acres of land. Mr. Evans married a daughter of Willard Gillett, who came here from Connecticut in 1816. He has a good library, and is a man of intelligence, in religion a Presbyterian and in politics a Prohibitionist. He has been elder and Sunday-school superintendent in the Union Hill Presbyterian Church many years, and was the candidate of the Prohibition party for the State Senate. Lewis Evans bought a farm of James Chamberlain, and Daniel Evans bought the William Parmenter place.

JACOB L. GILLET.-Willard Gillet (1781-1868), the son of Isaac, a native of Lebanon, Conn., came to Gibson in 1816, bought out the improvements ] of one George Williams, on some one hundred and sixty acres situate on Union Hill, erected a frame house and returned most of the way on foot to his home in Connecticut. He had married, in 1806, Eunice Loomis (178 -1861), a daughter of Jacob Loomis, born in the same place. In 1817 he removed to his new home in Gibson, with his wife and the


Gibson Township

Page 751

following children: Eunice (1807-86) was the wife of Silas Chamberlain, of Gibson; Roswell (1809-55) was a farmer in Gibson; Marietta (1811-86), the wife of Thomas Evans, of Gibson; and Sophia, born 1814, first the wife of D. C. Payne, of Gibson, and the present wife of William Thyer. The children born in Gibson are Jacob L., September 1, 1817 ; Justin W., 1819, a farmer, in Smiley Hollow. Willard Gillet afterwards bought the right of soil from the Drinkers, cleared a large part of his land, and erected the present residence in 1829. He was an energetic and industrious farmer, a man of good judgment, and made a comfortable home for himself and family. He interested himself in church matters, assisted in erecting the church edifices (Presbyterian) on Union Hill, and lived a Christian life as an attendant of that church. He was drafted in the War of 1812, but furnished a substitute. This Jacob Loomis served in the Revolutionary War.

Jacob L. Gillet, next to the youngest child, remained on the homestead until his marriage, in 1844, to Almeda E. Parmenter, who was born in Gibson, July 20, 1821, a woman devoted to her family and to the church (Methodist). He then bought a farm in the northwest part of Gibson, but remained on it only four years, when, upon the solicitation of his father, he returned to the homestead, and in 1851 erected his present residence just across the highway from his father's, where he has made other improvements and resided since, engaged in general farming. He succeeded to the whole home property and added some seventy acres more by purchase. All the appointments of his farm and sugar-works show the hand of thrift, and an intelligent farmer. Mr. Gillet had the usual opportunities of the early school of the neighborhood, which he so improved, together with his parental training, as to possess practical ideas of every thing that pertains to his farm and the duties of a citizen. Although not identified with the church near his home as a member, he contributes to its support, with its charities, attends its meetings with his family, and has served as trustee for many years. He has ever supported all measures calculated to advance education among the rising generation, and for eighteen consecutive years served the township on the Board of School Directors, besides holding other offices in the gift of his townsmen. His children are Uleric B., horn in 1845, educated in the home schools and at Montrose Academy, began teaching at fifteen years of age and has been a teacher since. He has been employed in the graded school at Susquehanna, was the first teacher of the graded school at Gibson, and for some six years has been principal of the graded school at New Milford. His wife is Addie J.Bradford, daughter of J. W. H. Bradford, of New Milford, and has been a teacher as long as her husband. Their only daughter is Emma Almeda, born in 1861, the wife of Burton H. Tiffany, and resides on the homestead of her grandfather. Mr. Tiffany is also a teacher, and is the son of John Sheldon Tiffany, of Mt. Pleasant, Wayne County, a relative of the Tiffany families who early settled in Harford.

Almeda H. Parmenter is the daughter of William (1787-1853) and Diriuda Bennett (1793-1863) Parmenter. The former was a son of Joseph Parmenter, of Vermont, and came to Gibson, a young man, about 1808, settled on Kennedy Hill; the latter was a daughter of James Bennett, a resident of Gibson in 1807, who came from Orange County, N.Y. This couple spent the remainder of their lives on their homestead, were members of the Methodist Church, mid highly esteemed citizens. Their family of children are Melinda (1811-81), wife of Hiram Belcher, of Gibson; Joseph (1816-38), drowned in Grand River, Grandville, in Michigan; Sarah (1817-48), wife of Eli Z. Seeley, of Gibson Almeda E., 1821, wife of Jacob L. Gillet; Calphurnia H. (1823-56), wife of Silas Whitney, of Gibson; Eliza Ann, 1825, wife of Joseph E. Whitney, of Gibson; Marietta, 1827, wife of William Tiffany, of Gibson ; William Jackson (1829-57) of Gibson, married Ellen Birdsail, Calvin, 1831, of Gibson ; Urbane (1833-70,) married and died in Michigan; and Adelia Alvina, 1837, wife of Truman Woodward, of Dakota City, Iowa.


"Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury and Rev. M. M. York met at the Union school-house in Gibson, agreeable to the appointment of the Susquehanna Presbytery, at the request of a few inhabitants of the township. Rev. Oliver Hill, being requested to attend the council took his seat as a member."

The following persons were constituted members: Wright Chamberlain, John Seymour, Abigail Case, Eunice Whitney, Abijah Chamberlain, Deborah Benton, Ann Holmes and Betsey, William and Mary Holmes were admitted. They chose Wright Chamberlain and William Holmes deacons, and John Seymour clerk. In 1820 Arunah Tiffany, Lucy Tiffany and Polly Follet were received from the church at Harford. Samuel S. Chamberlain and Mrs. Sarah A. Seymour were received at that time. About this time Rev. E. Conger, employed by the Susquehanna County Domestic Missionary Society, labored in Gibson, and more than usual religious interest existed. Near the close of the year Rev. John Beach came among them, and March, 1822, the people agreed to hire him for one year. Of forty-three who were pledged to his support, thirty-six were living a quarter of a century later. They paid him $35.25 in cash; wheat worth $16; rye and corn worth $86; oats, $100; butter, $114; sugar, $81; flax, $102; something undecipherable, $150; wool, $47; besides three sheep, 105 lbs- of pork, $5 in boots and shoes and $5 in merchandise.

The agreement was to pay this "to the trustees of the Presbyterian Society of Gibson." It is certain the church sent delegates to the Presbytery about this time.


Gibson Township

Page 752

Rev. Mr. Beach brought his family to Kentuck in May, 1822, and was with the church two years and a half. [The statements that follow, down to 1863, appear in the church records written by Deacon Tiffany]

"In the spring of 1823 A. Tiffany gave the use of an acre, which was planted with corn, and cultivated by the people of Kentuck, for the use of the County Missionary Society. In 1824 one acre of land on Union Hill was purchased from James Bennett for twenty dollars, by the church and society, and they then contracted with Elisha Williams to build a meeting-house (thirty-six by twenty-six feet, and twelve feet between joists, with arched beams), to be finished outside and the floor laid (the timber being found for him) for one hundred dollars. Nearly half this sum was subscribed by the people of Kentuck. In 1825 the ma" sionery acre was sold for twenty dollars. From 1828 to 1830 the Rev. Jas. Russell was half the time in Gibson, and the other half in Mt. Pleasant. Rev. Isaac Todd, sent out by the 0. S. Educational Society of Philadelphia, labored through the years 1830 and 1831. His salary was two hundred and fifty dollars per year, and he was boarded. A. Tiffany, M. Chamberlin, Esq., and Deacon William Holmes were responsible for four months each. The Educational Society gave one hundred dollars each year. The weekly prayer-meeting was kept up, and 'the church was never more blessed with a spirit of fervent prayer before nor since. There was not a communion season in the two years but that more or less were added to the church.' Mr. Todd was instrumental in getting the church finished inside and out, and he obtained sixty dollars in New Jersey to secure a charter of incorporation, which was finally had in 1834. Early in January, 1833, the slips were sold for one hundred and eight dollars. In October, 1833, the form of government was changed to Presbyterian, and J. Chamberlain, Arunah Tiffany, J. B. Buck and P. K. Williams were chosen elders. The Rev. Samuel T. Babbit preached through this year. [The first two were chosen deacons May, 1854.] January 1, 1834, Alonzo Abel and E. Whitney, Jr., were ordained deacons. The latter died May, 1852. The first case of discipline was reported in 1835. In the following year the Rev. John Sherer was employed, and, by vote, the slips were to be free. During the next ten years Revs. M. Thatcher, Lyman Richardson and Eli Hyde occupied the pulpit. July, 1846, Rev. Geo. N. Todd came as stated supply for this church, in connection with the one at Ararat, and November, 1847, he became the first installed pastor. About this time there was a discussion as to the propriety of moving the church edifice over to the turnpike, near the Methodist Church then standing on Gibson's Hill. It was decided in the negative. A Sabbath-school was organized with ten or fifteen scholars; Deacon Abel, superintendent. In June, 1849, one person joined the church on profession of faith-' the first in ten or twelve years.'"

Rev. Mr. Todd's pastoral relations to the people of Gibson and Ararat were dissolved December, 1853. Early in 1855 Rev. O. W. Norton took bis place and occupied it for three years. Rev. Edward Allen, of Harford, was pastor, from 1858, for twelve years or more, and was very energetic in pushing the erection of a new church and parsonage. The Union Hill Church was dedicated July 7, 1869. The church, which has a seating capacity of three or four hundred persons, cost six thousand dollars. The parsonage, which was built shortly after, cost two thousand dollars. Miss Jane Abel bequeathed three hundred dollars toward the erection of the parsonage. Mr. Todd was followed by Rev. H. J. Crane, who supplied the pulpit about three years. Rev. S. C. Marvin, who succeeded him, is remembered as a good sermonizer. He remained about three years, then went West, D. W. Marvin followed, remaining about three years, and was succeeded by Rev. Wm. H. Ness, the present pastor. Silas Chamberlain was chosen deacon in 1858. Thomas Evans and William Maxey are elders now. Mrs. Noah Tiffany is now ninety-one years of age, and has been a devoted member of the church a great many years. Betsey Chamberlain, Mrs. D. C. Brundage, Mrs. Gao. Morgan and Mrs. Geo. B. Tiffany are among the active workers now. There are only about twenty-five or thirty members remaining. As has been mentioned, a Sunday-school was started by Deacon Abel, with twelve or fifteen pupils. Thomas Evans has been active in the school for many years, acting as superintendent for twenty years. D. C. Brundage, T. G. Reynolds and Gilbert L. Payne has also acted as superintendents. The attendance of scholars is about forty or fifty. It is to be hoped that this landmark of the devotion of the pioneer settlers, from its elevated position on Union Hill, may ever send forth a beacon light of Christian influence, that shall enlighten all the surrounding country in the way of truth and righteousness.

BURROWS' HOLLOW AND VICINITY.-Tho pioneer settler at Gibson or Burrows' Hollow was Joshua Jay. He came about 1790, and built a log house, a log gristmill and a blacksmith-shop. He wore a long beard, which was uncommon in those days, and was a great hunter. He used to pry logs out of the beaverdam down the Jay or Claflin Creek, and when the beavers came out to make repairs, he would shoot them. He sold his mill and other improvements, about 1794, to Elias Van Winkle for a horse and some other consideration. He used the horse to move his family back to New Jersey. He afterwards had cabins in various places in the township, where he spent more or less time hunting. There was a man by the name of Lavoo with him a portion of the time. Elias Van Winkle was a large, broad-shouldered, six-feet-tall Dutchman. He was a hard-working man, of considerable force, well fitted for a hardy pioneer life. He introduced a very good breed of horses called the "Jersey Blues " into this section of the country. He


Gibson Township

Page 753

sold his mill property to Stephen Harding in 1805-06, and made a clearing on tlie hill, where he built a plank house and set out fruit trees. He traded this property with his son-in-law, John Green, who had made a clearing on what was afterward known as Van Winkle's Creek. He died about 1848, aged eighty-four years. His children were Elizabeth, wife of John Green, who traded as before noticed and lived on the road from Burrows' Hollow to Harford. He had a large farm of two hundred acres, with good orchards, and lived to the age of eighty-three years. His sons, Elms V. (who was sheriff of the county in 1860), John and Lines, all lived on the homestead. Lines Green, aged eighty years, is the only one of the family now living. He is the oldest man in the neighborhood, and remembers when they had to yard their sheep every night to keep them from the wolves. His father was a great hunter and killed panthers, bears and deer. He drew in eleven deer one morning before breakfast. The deer would huddle together under the hedge during winter, and it was an easy matter to kill them, especially when the snow was deep and there was a crust on the snow. He was a shoemaker, and went from house to house to make shoes for the families,-what they called "whipping the cat." He hunted and gave the venison away to his neighbors. Stephen Harding built a saw-mill, and was building a grist-mill when Nathan Claflin and Cyrus Cheever bought the mill property in 1807. Harding was a good millwright, and they had him complete the grist-mill. It had one run of stone quarried out of the mountain opposite Pittston by S. Harding. It was a white flint-stone. Harding always carried a double-barreled ride, and was a good hunter. Cyrus Cheever removed from here to a place near Abel Read's, and finally died at Montrose. Mr. Claflin continued to run the mills until he died, in 1837, when his two suns, Nanman F. and John H., divided the property, Naaman taking the farm where he now resides, aged sixty-nine years. He is remarkable fur his knowledge of local history. Nearly everything that has happened at Burrows' Hollow, both past and present, are familiar to him, day and date. His wife was Fanny Tuttle, daughter of Daniel Tuttle, an early settler in Franklin township.

John H. took the mills and built a new grist-mill, with two run of stones, in 1831, and a new saw-mill about 1856. He run the mills until 1884, when the property fell into the hands of Harriet Seymour, who sold it to William Gillespie. The mill was patronized in early days by people for seven or eight miles around. Nathan Claflin had two wives. Watson, who lived in Gibson; Hermon, who was a millwright; and Mindwell, the wife of Lemuel Biugham, of Harford, were children of the first wife. He then married widow Elias Sweet. Harriet F., wife of Alvin J. Seymour; Naaman F.; Sally Ann, wife of Harvey Pipher; and John H., were their children.

A man by the name of Hamilton built the first frame house in Gibson township, and it was a frame house in the full sense of that term. It was about twenty-four by thirty-four feet on the ground, and was raised in bents like a barn, with timbers large enough for a barn, The bents were about three or four feet apart, so that these immense beams would be close enough together for joists. A number of different families lived in it. It was built on land that Drinker had given to the wife of his dissipated son-in-law, Skyrin, and the house was known far and near as the Old Skvrin House. Dr. Robert Chandler, the first postmaster, occupied the house in 1804-05 as a hotel, He subsequently resided about one-half mile east on the turnpike. Leonard Mowrey sold goods at the Skyrin House, and it was used for a school-house at times. Finally it passed into the hands of Nathan Claflin. David Tarbox started the harness-making and saddlery business here, and continued until 1827, when he sold and moved to Honesdale, and engaged in the same business there.

Urbane Burrows, Tarbox's brother-in-law, came in 1819, and soon after bought the Dougherty goods of Mallery. The store was near Butler Creek. He had a barrel of rum, a keg of plug-tobacco, a chest of tea whips that he made himself; and a few other things to begin with. From this small beginning he became wealthy and carried a large stock of goods. He built a saw-mill, about 1829, where an old mill had been built by Elder Lewis. He was the most public-spirited man that ever lived in the township. Soon after he came he had a school-house built, and later was active in having a graded school building. He contributed largely to the building of the Methodist Church on Kennedy Hill in 1837, and later, in 1868-69, he was a liberal contributor to the church in the village. He did nothing for show, but he became so identified with the place that it was called Burrows' Hollow in his honor.

Dr. Robert Chandler kept the "Skyrin House," which was the first hotel. There was an old road that led to Great Bend, and another to "Nine Partners" from here. John Green's wife often told the story of Hamilton's barrel of cider and laughed over it. Some time about 1800 Hamilton, who built the Skyrin House, got a barrel of cider from New Jersey. When it became known down to "Nine Partners" that there was a barrel of cider at Hamilton's, they came in full force, some with horses and others with oxen, bringing their families along. They drank it all that evening, and doubtless went back to their humble cabins feeling that they had tasted one of the joys oftijeir Yankee home once more. The Great Bend and Cochecton turnpike passes through Burrows' Hollow. Soon after that was built, the old State road was started at this place and extended westward through Harford, Brooklyn, etc. The travel was going from Cochecton to the Bend, and thence westward through New York. This Pennsylvania State road, which intersected the Cochecton and Great Bend road at


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