Thursday, April 23, 2020

Watsontown, Pennsylvania

The Early History Of Watsontown
An index of the various articles I have written or compiled about the town of Watsontown Pa
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A Photo Tour Down Main Street Through The Years
The Watsontown Record  & Star 1907 Anniversary Edition
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Watsontown in 1856

Ripped From The Headlines

1965 Plane Crash In The Susquehanna River, at Watsontown PA

Misc History: 
Nurse Helen Fairchild (from Allenwood, but the bridge is named for her)

Events:


Fire Companies & Fires
The Opera Houses         The Movie Theaters
The Boot & Shoe Building      The Marsh Building



The Algert Fountain       The C.W.T.U.Drinking Fountain
The Cemetery Arch

Mills 
The Hefty Mill   The Truckenmiller Mill

Watsontown Knitting Company, Third & Elm Street
Destroyed by Fire on December 6 1911

Watsontown Social  Clubs  & Entertainment

P.O. of A Masquerade Party October 29 1917

Parks
Watsontown Memorial Park     8th Street Park


Fort Freeland
July 29th 1779 The Battle Of Fort Freeland  
Schools

Churches


MAPS


Sanborn Fire Maps
  1887  1896 1901 1906  1912 1921 1941

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Find More Local History Here

WATSONTOWN

 The first doctor to locate in the place was H D. Hunter, a young man who was reared in White Deer Hole valley. He practiced here before the opening of the civil war and continued in the active discharge of professional duties until his death. The first resident attorney was Oscar Foust.

THE TOWN PLAT.

 In the original town plat there was a commodious public square at the intersection of Main and First streets. It is to be regretted that this feature was not retained in the modern plat.

The land owned by John and David Watson passed into the possession of Moses Chamberlin, a son-in-law of the former, and E. L. Piper, who bore the same relation to the latter. The modern town plat between its southern limit and Fifth street was laid out in 1858 and 1859 under the auspices of Moses Chamberlin, E. L. Piper, and the executors of John Watson, deceased, by Abraham Straub, a surveyor of Milton. Between Fifth street and the line of the Hunsicker and Houssegger warrants the plat was surveyed in November, 1866, by James Armstrong and A. J. Guffy under the auspices of Moses Chamberlin and Ario Pardee. Above the line of the Hunsicker and Houssegger tracts the plat was surveyed in 1867 by A. J. Guffy for Joseph Hollopeter, S.M. Miller, and Samuel Caldwell. The principal additions since that date are those of Joseph Everitt, John H. Goodman, A. B. Seller. Samuel Caldwell, and James A. Dinehart.

The principal street is Main, the Milton and Muncy road, which extends north and south (approximately), with Ash and Liberty streets parallel on the east and Elm street parallel on the west. The cross streets, beginning with First on the south, are numbered consecutively to Tenth on the north.

RAILROADS.

The Philadelphia and Erie railroad was opened on the 18th of December, 1854, and the Wilkesbarre and Western on the 13th of December, 1886. The latter has its western terminus at Watsontown. The Philadelphia and Reading railroad, on the opposite side of the river, was opened in 1871.

THE POSTOFFICE.

The following is a list of postmasters since the office was established, with the respective dates of appointment: David Watson, January 10, 1828; Edmund L. Piper, July 18, 1854; Joseph P. Hogue, July 12, 1861; E. Everitt, March 25, 1868; Philip Shay, November 16, 1868; Joseph Wagner, April 29, 1S69; John D. Caldwell, July 5, 1871; Philip Shay, January 16, 1879; Mary V. Shay, February 9, 1885.

MANCFACTURING, PAST AND PRESENT.

The earliest industrial establishments at Watsontown were the battery and scythe factory previously mentioned. These were perhaps of relatively local importance at the time, but very meager information regarding them is attainable at this late date.

Higbee & Wagner's Saw Mill was originally established in 1856 by Moses Chamberlin and William Follmer for the manufacture of “bill” lumber, and therefore marks the beginning of the recent industrial development of the place. At that time the Catawissa Railroad Company was constructing extensive trestle-works and bridges, and a considerable part of the product of this mill was used by that company. The business was conducted by Chamberlin & Follmer until 1857, when Joseph Hollopeter was received into the firm, which continued to operate the mill successfully until it was destroyed by fire on the Saturday night previous to Abraham Lincoln's second election to the presidency. It was immediately rebuilt and successively operated by Chamberlin, Follmer & Hollopeter, Chamberlin & Follmer, Cook, Hollopeter & Everitt, and Cook & Pardee—Ario Pardee and E. C. Cook. Cook & Pardee ran in connection with the saw mill a match factory and employed sixty operatives. After continuing business ten or twelve years in this way Pardee purchased Cook's interest and took his son into partnership, when the style of the firm became Pardee & Son. After the flood of 1889 the mills were closed; operations were suspended until May, 1890, when they were purchased and reopened by the present firm.

Pardee's Saw Mill. — In 1866 Ario Pardee erected a large saw mill in the southern part of the town at a cost of seventy-five thousand dollars. Mr. Pardee is interested in the mining of coal at Hazelton, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and the product of the mill consisted principally of prop timbers for use in the mines. He also owned a large tract of undeveloped land in Union county, from which the timber for this mill was derived. This establishment, the largest of its kind in the county, gave employment to a number of men, and was a most important feature of the manufacturing interests of the borough until its destruction by fire, April 17, 1882.

The Watsontown Steam Tannery was originally established in 1866 by Hollopeter & Wagner. The plant subsequently passed to Miller, Faust & Caldwell, who were succeeded in 1879 by W. T. and C. B. McKean. The works were destroyed by fire on the 28th of July, 1881, but have been rebuilt, and the present capacity is four hundred fifty hides per week. Cutler, Foster & Company are the present proprietors.

Watsontown Planing Mill Company. — In 1867 Wagner, Starr & Company erected a planing mill on the bank of the river at the present site of the water-works pumping station. It was destroyed by fire, and replaced by another of enlarged capacity; the latter was burned in 1874, and in the following year the present mill on the east side of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad between Sixth and Seventh streets was built by the Watsontown Planing Mill Company, of which J. H. Wagner, J. W. Muffly, and D. F. Wagner were the constituent members until the retirement of Mr. Muffly in 1890. The mill is one of the largest and best equipped in the West Branch valley. Thomas H. Kistner has been foreman since 1870.

The Watsontown Steam Flour Mill was built by John McFarland, who conducted the business for some years. The present firm, Follmer, Fowler & Company, became proprietors in April, 1890. The building is situated on Eighth street, and is a three-story structure; the daily capacity is one hundred barrels of flour and ten tons of chop.

The Watsontown Boot and Shoe Company. — The factory of this company was originally established by Joseph Hollopeter, William Wagner, Samuel Caldwell, Frederick Heilman, D. C. Hogne, Samuel Miller, George Burns, and Silas Kirk in connection with the Watsontown Steam Tannery. The business of the tannery and shoe factory was jointly conducted by the same firm until 1872, when the present factory building, a three-story brick structure on the east side of Main street between Second and Third, was erected. After experiencing several changes of ownership it became the property of Ario Pardee, the present owner, who was also at one time individual pro- prietor of the factory. The Watsontown Boot and Shoe Company was formed in 1885, and is composed of H. F. Algert and Edward Waldschmidt. Eighty operatives are employed.

The Pardee Car and Machine Works were established in 1872 by a company known as "The Watsontown Car Works," composed of Joseph Hollopeter, president, Ario Pardee, Levi Linn, J. H. Wagner. H. T. Goodman, Samuel M. Miller, and a Mr. Ten Brook. This company was succeeded in 1880 by Pardee, Snyder & Company, Limited, and upon the expiration of this limited partnership, June 1, 1890, Ario Pardee became sole owner. The plant is located on the east side of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad between Fourth and Sixth streets; it has a capacity for building five cars per day, and employs two hundred fifty men when in full operation.

The Watsontown Furniture and Table Works were started by Joseph Hollopeter and James W. McLain in the buildings erected for the car shops, which were not then in operation. Samuel Miller, George Bums, and Isaac Stryker were afterward admitted to the firm, and Ario Pardee subsequently became individual proprietor of the works, which he removed to his lower planing mill. From Mr. Pardee the establishment passed to Frank Miller and J. G. Bower, by whom the present plant on the west side of Main street in the southern part of the borough was erected and has since been operated.

Starr, Durham & Company operated a planing mill on South Main street from 1883 to 1890. The mill was built by John Bly & Son, and first leased by Kline & Meckley.

The Watsontown Nail Works were established in 1886 and occupy the site of Ario Pardee's first saw mill, which was destroyed by fire in 1882. The building is eighty-five by two hundred twenty-five feet, and contains rolling mill and nail factory combined. The works have a capacity to employ eighty men and manufacture three hundred kegs of nails per day.

(History of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, edited by Herbert C. Bell, Published by Brown, Runk & Co. of Chicago, Ill, 1891;

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HISTORY
OF
NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA,
EDITED BY HERBERT C. BELL. ILLUSTRATED. 
CHICAGO, ILL.: BROWN, RUNK & Co., PUBLISHERS.


1891

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CHAPTER XIX.
 WATSONTOWN.
PIONEER HISTORY - THE FIRST SURVEYS - EARLY INDUSTRIES, STORES, AND
HOTELS - THE TOWN PLAT - RAILROADS - THE POSTOFFICE - MANUFACTURING,
PAST AND PRESENT - BANKS - ELECTRIC LIGHT AND WATER COMPANIES - BOROUGH
ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT - SECRET AND FRATERNAL SOCIETIES -
EDUCATIONAL AND LITERARY EFFORT - CHURCHES - WATSONTOWN CEMETERY.

THE history of Watsontown commences in the latter part of the last  century.  The place may be said to have had two beginnings, the first of  which resulted in the establishment of a small country village, while  the second and more successful was the means of bringing into existence  the pleasant and enterprising town on the east bank of the West Branch  and in the extreme northern part of Northumberland county.  By the  census of 1890 the population was twenty-one hundred fifty-seven. The  borough has a creditable system of public schools, five churches, two  newspapers, two banks, extensive manufacturing interests, water and  electric light companies, a number of stores representing the various  lines of business, etc., etc.

PIONEER HISTORY.

The first title to any part of the land upon which the borough is situated was acquired by Lieutenant Daniel Hunsicker by virtue of  military services in the French and Indian war.  The application was marked No. 1 and dated February 3, 1769.  The tract was surveyed in the succeeding May, and was situated between Delaware run on the north and a diagonal boundary on the south which extended from the east end of Pear alley to the opposite terminus of Apple alley.  The most remarkable and interesting feature of this application is the fact that it was the first granted under the land office system established by the Proprietary government for the disposition of the purchase of 1768. To the south of Hunsicker's warrant the land was granted to Lieutenant Nicholas Houssegger, for services rendered in the same war; his tract extended for some distance beyond the southern limits of the town. On the 13th of May, 1792, John Watson, then a resident of Londonderry township, Chester county, Pennsylvania, purchased from John Harris, of Cumberland county, and Blair McClenachan, a merchant of Philadelphia, a tract of six hundred nine acres and allowance, known as  "Elmdon," embracing the larger part of the site of Watsontown.  The  consideration was eleven hundred 

END OF PAGE 677

pounds specie. Harris and McClenachan had secured this land in 1780 by
purchase from Jacob Shallus, a merchant of Bristol, Bucks county,
Pennsylvania, for the sum of seventeen thousand pounds, and Shallus, in
partnership with Amos Wickersham, acquired the tract in 1779 by purchase
from Thomas Willing, to whom it was originally patented, March 23, 1774.
Watson was of Irish descent. He resided on the land thus purchased until
his death; his remains were interred in the old Warrior Run graveyard,
but have been removed to the Watsontown cemetery.
The idea of locating a town near the month of Warrior run first
occurred to John Watson, who laid it out in 1794, and in honor of whom
it received its name, although, by some who regarded his effort to
establish a town with disrespect, it was for a long time called
Slabtown. The only streets in the original plat were Main and Front;
Main was the road leading from Sunbury to Muncy, and Front street is
what is now termed First, still called Front by many. At their
intersection ground was reserved for a public square. At the time of Mr.
Watson's death the town consisted of some half-dozen houses, situated on
Front street between where the railroad now crosses it and the river
bank. Its diminutive proportions were due to lack of enterprise on the
part of the projector rather than any disadvantage of location; for,
after disposing of some half-dozen lots, although they were sold at
several hundred dollars each, he suddenly became alarmed lest the
growing village should interfere with his farming operations, and, at a
great sacrifice to himself, began to purchase the lots sold, ultimately
securing them all.
The first hotel and store were kept by David Watson, and stood on the south side of Front street at the canal. There was another hotel at the time of Mr. Watson's death, which was erected by James Watson (no relative of the former, however), and stood on the north side of Front street directly opposite the residence of A. J. Guffy. Upon the death of David Watson his house was closed, but the one built by James Watson was continued for some years under the successive proprietorships of Robert Brown, James Brown, George Fox, and others.   The industrial features of the place at that time were a distillery, established by John Watson, a hattery, and a scythe factory, located in the vicinity of the David Watson hotel.  Between the years 1830 and 1840 the land upon which the main portion of the town is situated was used as a race course. What was then called "the mile heat" commenced on the north of town, near the residence of the late Silas Rambach, and ended south to First street.  A third hotel was built on the northeast corner of First and Main streets by William Cooner in 1857 and opened in August of that year. The building is still used as a public house with Mr. Cooner's sons as proprietors.  The owners of the land after the death of John Watson were his three sons, David, John, and George. The lands of David and John adjoined

END OF PAGE 678

the river, with First street as a mutual boundary, while the youngest
son, George, inherited the land to the east of his brothers. The rough-
cast house on the north side of First street at the canal was erected by
John Watson, and was his residence until death. Two of David's sons,
David C. and Robert, were captains in the Northumberland Troop, and the
former reached the rank of brigadier general, which position he held at
the time of his death.
A great convenience for the settlers in the vicinity of Watsontown
in crossing the river into Union county, and vice versa, was afforded by
the ferry, which was established in 1800 by Dan Caldwell, an
enterprising and wealthy citizen of White Deer valley. This was the most
important outlet until the canal was completed.
The growth of the town was much retarded from the fact that David
and John Watson, on account of some trouble which existed among the
inhabitants at that time, refused to sell lots on the plea that it would
only result in contention. Thus it happened that at their death the town
was, if anything, in a less flourishing condition than when their father
died. The hattery and scythe factory of his day had become things of the
past, and no manufacturing interests had developed to take their places.
The opening of the Philadelphia and Erie railroad gave a
quickening impulse, and the years immediately following may be regarded
as the period in local history when the country village passed out of
existence to give way for a more enterprising and extensive town. In
1868 the town extended on Main street from where the Mansion House now
stands to the depot, and on First street from the railroad to the canal.
It contained two dry-goods stores and two groceries. The most important
business house at that time was on the corner of Main and First streets
and was conducted under the firm name of A. T. Goodman & Brother. The
other dry- goods store was in the building now owned by George Burns, on
the west side of Main near Second street, and was conducted by C. O.
Bachman; T. G. Caldwell had a grocery along the canal, and Thomas Barr
conducted a business of the same kind near the depot. There was but one
hotel in the place, the house of William Cooner, which was erected in
1857 and opened as a public house in August of that year. The next hotel
established was the Mansion House, on the northwest corner of Main and
Second streets, which was erected by John Forgeman in 1867 and is now
conducted by Allen I. Kremer.
The first doctor to locate in the place was H. D. Hunter, a young
man who was reared in White Deer Hole valley. He practiced here before
the opening of the civil war and continued in the active discharge of
professional duties until his death. The first resident attorney was
Oscar Foust.

THE TOWN PLAT.

In the original town plat there was a commodious public square at the intersection of Main and First street. It is to be regretted that this feature was not retained in the modern plat.  The land owned by John and David Watson passed into the possession of Moses Chamberlin, a son-in-law of the former, and E. L. Piper, who bore the same relation to the latter. The modern town plat between its southern limit and Fifth street was laid out in 1858 and 1859 under the auspices of Moses Chamberlin, E. L. Piper, and the executors of John Watson, deceased, by Abraham Straub, a surveyor of Milton. Between Fifth street and the line of the Hunsicker and Houssegger warrants the plat was surveyed in November, 1866, by James Armstrong and A. J. Guffy under the auspices of Moses Chamberlin and Ario Pardee. Above the line of the Hunsicker and Houssegger tracts the plat was surveyed in 1867 by A. J. Guffy for Joseph Hollopeter, S. M. Miller, and Samuel Caldwell. The principal additions since that date are those of Joseph Everitt, John H. Goodman, A. B. Seiler, Samuel Caldwell, and James A. Dinehart. The principal street is Main, the Milton and Muncy road, which extends north and south (approximately), with Ash and Liberty streets parallel on the east and Elm street parallel on the west. The cross streets, beginning with First on the south, are numbered consecutively to Tenth on the north.

                       RAILROADS.

  The Philadelphia and Erie railroad was opened on the 18th of
December, 1854, and the Wilkesbarre and Western on the 13th of December,
1886. The latter has its western terminus at Watsontown.  The
Philadelphia and Reading railroad, on the opposite side of the river,
was opened in 1871.

                    THE POSTOFFICE.

  The following is a list of postmasters since the office was
established, with the respective dates of appointment: David Watson,
January 10, 1828; Edmund L. Piper, July 18, 1854; Joseph P. Hogue, July
12, 1861; E. Everitt, March 25, 1868; Philip Shay, November 16, 1868;
Joseph Wagner, April 29, 1869; John D. Caldwell, July 5, 1871; Philip
Shay, January 16, 1879; Mary V. Shay, February 9, 1885.

                MANUFACTURING, PAST AND PRESENT.

The earliest industrial establishments at Watsontown were the
hattery and scythe factory previously mentioned. These were perhaps of
relatively local importance at the time, but very meager information
regarding them is attainable at this late date.
Higbee & Wagner's Saw Mill was originally established in 1856 by
Moses Chamberlin and William Follmer for the manufacture of "bill"
lumber, and therefore marks the beginning of the recent industrial
development of the place. At that time the Catawissa Railroad Company
was constructing ex-

END OF PAGE 680

tensive trestle-works and bridges, and a considerable part of the
product of this mill was used by that company. The business was
conducted by Chamberlin & Follmer until 1857, when Joseph Hollopeter was
received into the firm, which continued to operate the mill successfully
until it was destroyed by fire on the Saturday night previous to Abraham
Lincoln's second election to the presidency.  It was immediately rebuilt
and successively operated by Chamberlin, Follmer & Hollopeter,
Chamberlin & Follmer, Cook, Hollopeter & Everitt, and Cook & Pardee -
Ario Pardee and R. C. Cook.  Cook & Pardee ran in connection with the
saw mill a match factory and employed sixty operatives. After continuing
business ten or twelve years in this way Pardee purchased Cook's
interest and took his son into partnership, when the style of the firm
became Pardee & Son. After the flood of 1889 the mills were closed;
operations were suspended until May, 1890, when they were purchased and
reopened by the present firm.

Pardee's Saw Mill. In 1866 Ario Pardee erected a large saw mill in
the southern part of the town at a cost of seventy-five thousand
dollars. Mr. Pardee is interested in the mining of coal at Hazelton,
Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and the product of the mill consisted
principally of prop timbers for use in the mines. He also owned a large
tract of undeveloped land in Union county, from which the timber for
this mill was derived. This establishment, the largest of its kind in
the county, gave employment to a number of men, and was a most important
feature of the manufacturing interests of the borough until its
destruction by fire, April 17, 1882.

The Watsontown Steam Tannery was originally established in 1866 by
Hollopeter & Wagner. The plant subsequently passed to Miller, Faust &
Caldwell, who were succeeded in 1879 by W. T. and C. B. McKean. The
works were destroyed by fire on the 28th of July, 1881, but have been
rebuilt, and the present capacity is four hundred fifty hides per week.
Cutler, Foster & Company are the present proprietors.

Watsontown Planing Mill Company.- In 1867 Wagner, Starr & Company
erected a planing mill on the bank of the river at the present site of
the water-works pumping station. It was destroyed by fire, and replaced
by another of enlarged capacity; the latter was burned in 1874, and in
the following year the present mill on the east side of the Philadelphia
and Erie railroad between Sixth and Seventh streets was built by the
Watsontown Planing Mill Company, of which J. H. Wagner, J. W. Muffly,
and D. F. Wagner were the constituent members until the retirement of
Mr. Muffly in 1890. The mill is one of the largest and best equipped in
the West Branch valley. Thomas H. Kistner has been foreman since 1870.

The Watsontown Steam Flour Mill was built by John McFarland, who
conducted the business for some years. The present firm, Follmer, Fowler
& Company, became proprietors in April, 1890. The building is situated
on Eighth street, and is a three-story structure; the daily capacity is
one hundred barrels of flour and ten tons of chop.

END OF PAGE 681

The Watsontown Boot and Shoe Company.- The factory of this company
was originally established by Joseph Hollopeter, William Wagner, Samuel
Caldwell, Frederick Heilman, D. C. Hogue, Samuel Miller, George Burns,
and Silas Kirk in connection with the Watsontown Steam Tannery. The
business of the tannery and shoe factory was jointly conducted by the
same firm until 1872, when the present factory building, a three-story
brick structure on the east side of Main street between Second and
Third, was erected. After experiencing several changes of ownership it
became the property of Ario Pardee, the present owner, who was also at
one time individual proprietor of the factory. The Watsontown Boot and
Shoe Company was formed in 1885, and is composed of H. F. Algert and
Edward Waldschmidt. Eighty operatives are employed.

The Pardee Car and Machine Works were established in 1872 by a
company known as "The Watsontown Car Works," composed of Joseph
Hollopeter, president, Ario Pardee, Levi Linn, J. H. Wagner, H. T.
Goodman, Samuel M. Miller, and a Mr. Ten Brook. This company was
succeeded in 1880 by Pardee, Snyder & Company, Limited, and upon the
expiration of this limited partnership, June 1, 1890, Ario Pardee became
sole owner. The plant is located on the east side of the Philadelphia
and Erie railroad between Fourth and Sixth streets; it has a capacity
for building five cars per day, and employs two hundred fifty men when
in full operation.

The Watsontown Furniture and Table Works were started by Joseph
Hollopeter and James W. McLain in the buildings erected for the car
shops, which were not then in operation. Samuel Miller, George Burns,
and Isaac Stryker were afterward admitted to the firm, and Ario Pardee
subsequently became individual proprietor of the works, which he removed
to his lower planing mill. From Mr. Pardee the establishment passed to
Frank Miller and J. G. Bower, by whom the present plant on the west side
of Main street in the southern part of the borough was erected and has
since been operated.

Starr, Durham &Company operated a planing mill on South Main
street from 1883 to 1890. The mill was built by John Bly & Son, and
first leased by Kline & Meckley.

The Watsontown Nail Works were established in 1886 and occupy the
site of Ano Pardee's first saw mill, which was destroyed by fire in
1882. The building is eighty-five by two hundred twenty-five feet, and
contains rolling mill and nail factory combined. The works have a
capacity to employ eighty men and manufacture three hundred kegs of
nails per day.

                       BANKS.

  The Watsontown National Bank was originally organized as a State
institution, December 31,1872, under the name of the Watsontown Bank.
The first directors were J. H. Goodman, J. B. Leinbach, Silas Rambach,
Samuel Caldwell, Simon Schuyler, James D. Barr, Joseph Nicely, Jr., and

END OF PAGE 682

Martin Powell. Samuel Caldwell, the first president, was elected on the
2d of January, l873, and De La. Green was the first cashier. The bank
commenced business on the 2d of January, 1873. The original capital was
one hundred thousand dollars, which was increased (July 2, 1874) to one
hundred twenty thousand dollars, at which it remained while the bank
continued as a State institution. At a meeting of the stockholders on
the 4th of May, 1880, the directors were authorized to surrender the
State charter and take the necessary measures to convert the institution
into a national bank  It was accordingly incorporated as such, June 17,
1880, under its present name, with a capital of sixty thousand dollars
and the following officers: president, Silas Rambach; cashier, G. W.
Rombach; teller, W. A. Nicely; directors: Silas Rambach, Joseph G.
Durham, Andrew M. Lowry, Thomas Kirk, John B. Leinbach, Thompson Bower,
Ario Pardee, and John P. Dentler. At its organization as a national bank
the institution was paying annual dividends of six per cent., which have
steadily increased and have been eight per cent. since 1889. A surplus
fund of thirty-four thousand dollars has also been accumulated.  The
present bank building, a brick structure at the northeast corner of
Third and Main streets, was first occupied in the spring of 1880. The
succession of officers since the organization of the bank as a State
institution has been as follows: presidents: Samuel Caldwell, Ario
Pardee, Silas Rambach, Joseph G. Durham, and Thompson Bower, present
incumbent; cashiers: De La. Green, Robert B. Claxton, Jr., and G. W.
Rombach, present incumbent; tellers: G. W. Rombach, J. G. Bower, and W.
A. Nicely, present incumbent.

Farmers' National Bank of Watsontown.- The first meeting for the
organization of this institution was held, January 11, 1886. The charter
was granted, February 27, 1886, and the doors were first opened for
business March 29th of the same year, with a capital of fifty thousand
dollars distributed among sixty-four stockholders in shares of one
hundred dollars each. The first board of directors consisted of Charles
Heilman, Samuel Everitt, Simpson Smith, J. H. Harley, D. F. Wagner,
Thomas L. Clapp, W. H. Nicely, Daniel Lerch, Alem Mauser, E. L. Matchin,
V. S. Truckenmiller, Hiram Dunkel, and Enoch Everitt. The first election
of officers resulted in the choice of Simpson Smith as president;
Charles Heilman, vice-president, and Hiram Dunkel, cashier, the latter
still retaining that office. During the two years immediately following
the first nine months of business the bank declared an annual dividend
of six per cent. Since that time the annual dividend has been uniformly
seven per cent. The surplus now amounts to seventeen thousand dollars.

               ELECTRIC LIGHT AND WATER COMPANIES.

  The Watsontown Electric Light, Gas, Power, and Heating Company
was chartered, September 1, 1886. J. G. Bower, Thompson Bower, Samuel M.

END OF PAGE 683

Miller, and C. B. McLain were the original stockholders, of whom J. G.
Bower was chosen as first president and Samuel M. Miller as secretary
and treasurer. The charter was purchased by L. C. Kinsey & Company, of
Williamsport, July 1,1887; they erected an electric light plant, and
increased the capital stock to fifteen thousand dollars, associating
with them J. H. Wagner, J. I. Higbee, T. G. Caldwell, Hiram Dunkel, S.
H. Hicks, Lorenzo Everitt, and others. The capacity of the plant is one
thousand incandescent lights, with a power to supply arc lighting. It is
situated at the western terminus of Third street.

The Watsontown Water Company was incorporated, May 18, 1886, with
a capital stock of forty thousand dollars, and the following persons as
stockholders: Robert Buck, I. N. Messinger, S. B. Morgan, J. H. Wagner,
W. Brady Piatt, William Field Shay, J. F. McClure, S. E. Slaymaker, L.
T. Rohrbach, and J. E. Mathews. The company owns the mouth of White Deer
creek, in Union county, near which they have erected a filter, forty-
eight feet long and eight feet square, which leads from their dam to
large wells near the bank of the stream. From these wells it is
transferred by gravity to the east side of the river, where a pumping
station is located, which forces it to a reservoir at a vertical
altitude of one hundred fifty feet above Main street. This has a
capacity of two million gallons, and from it the water is distributed to
the town, through seven miles of mains.

              BOROUGH ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT.

  The borough of Watsontown was incorporated by decree of court,
November 4, 1867, and on the 16th instant the first borough election
occurred, resulting in the choice of the following officers: burgess,
Joseph Hollopeter; council: Thomas Carl, Frederick Whitman, C. O.
Bachman, John Bly, D. C. Hogue; high constable, Eli Lochner; justice of
the peace, John Orr; school directors: John Y. Ellis, William Cooner, H.
K. Whitman, Joseph Ott, H. W. Kremer, Thomas Barr; overseers of the
poor: Peter Schaefer, Robert Johnson; inspectors of election: Philip
Winterstein, I. N. Messinger; judge, David Teas.  The following persons
have successively served as burgess since the borough was incorporated:
1867, Joseph Hollopeter; 1868, J. P. Starr; 1869, Nicholas Gauger; 1870,
C. O. Bachman; 1871, Philip Shay; 1872, S. M. Miller; 1873, William M.
Wagner; 1874, J. P. Starr; 1875, Phineas Leiser; 1876-80, John B.
Cooner; 1881-82, W. Brady Piatt; 1883-84, J. H. Wagner; 1885-86, D.C.
Hogue; 1887-88, Lorenzo Everitt; 1889-90, E. Sherman Follmer; 1890,
Alfred Hockley; 1891, J. F. McClure.

Hope Hose Fire Company, No. 1, was organized on the 11th of June,
1878; the frame building at the foot of Second street occupied by this
company was erected in 1875.

                   SECRET AND FRATERNAL SOCIETIES.

  The following is a list of societies at Watsontown with dates of
organization

END OF PAGE 684
Page 685 contains a portrait of Silas Rambach.
Page 686 is blank.

or institution: Watsontown Lodge, No. 401, F. & A.M., January 16, 1868;
Warrior Run Chapter, No. 246, R.A.M., January 23, 1874; Watsontown
Lodge, No. 619, I.O.O.F., January 25, 1868; Bryson Post, No. 225,
G.A.R., September 30, 1881; Washington Camp, No. 229, P.O.S. of A., May
19, 1884; Freeland Castle, No. 217, K.G.E., November 3, 1887.

                EDUCATIONAL AND LITERARY EFFORT.

  The first school house in the vicinity of Watsontown was erected
in 1790. It was a log structure, and was situated near the bank of the
run which flows a short distance south of where the Philadelphia and
Erie depot now stands. The name of the first teacher in this pioneer
school house is not ascertainable, but, whoever he may have been, the
youth of the community received the rudiments of an education in this
old log school house until 1800, when the second building was erected.
This was a somewhat larger structure and was situated on an elevation
south of the present residence of R. C. McKee. It served as a place of
instruction until 1833, when a more elaborate frame building was erected
at the intersection of the Sinking Spring and Bald Eagle roads, now the
corner of Fifth and Liberty streets.  It was used for school purposes
until 1859, when it was destroyed by fire and an academy was built east
of the railroad on Front or First street by Joseph Hogue, Peter
Schaeffer, Joseph Everitt, Joseph Hollopeter, William H. Follmer, Daniel
Kremer, and others. Here the educational work of the town was conducted
until 1882, when the building was closed and remained unoccupied until
1889; it was then reopened and has since been used as a borough poor-
house.
The present public school building was erected on the corner of
Eighth and Elm streets in 1882.  It is a brick structure two stories
high, and contains eight school rooms with two additional recitation
rooms.  The cornerstone was laid with Masonic ceremonies May 27th of
that year, on which occasion Professor C. W. Wrightmyer was orator and
Robert H. McCormick chief marshal for the ceremonies of the day.  The
directors were Oscar Foust, Robert Buck, Samuel M. Miller, Thomas H.
Kistner, E. B. Hogue, and Dr. S. L. Van Valzah, and the building
committee consisted of Robert Buck and Thomas H. Kistner. The first term
of school in the new building was opened in the fall of 1883 with George
W. Wrightmyer as principal, S. C. Hartranft, assistant principal, and
the following teachers: Misses Mae Renninger, Jensie M. Kriner, Bardilla
Kautz, Sue H. McCarty, and Alma S. Kerstetter, and Mr. J. D. Nimick.

The first Literary Society at Watsontown was organized in 1860,
with D. C. Hogue, J. P. Starr, A. S. Lamm, Worthing Maxiel, John R.
Cooner, George Piper, and C. M. King as its original members; the first
president was D. C. Hogue with A. S. Lamm as secretary. At the outbreak
of the civil war the society was abandoned; in 1869 it was reorganized
with

END OF PAGE 687

renewed energy and zeal. Quite a number of new names were added to the
roll at that time, and by a vigorous financial policy the society
succeeded in erecting the hall at the corner of Second and Main streets.
This building now constitutes the Watsontown opera house.

The Watsontown Lyceum was the next literary society. Principally
through the efforts of Dr. J. J. Leiser a stock company was formed and a
suitable building erected, after which a formal organization was
effected on the first Monday of May, 1876, with H. F. Algert as first
president; he was succeeded in this office by William F. Shay.

Local Papers.- There was no newspaper at Watsontown until 1870,
when a company was formed and a paper established. The name adopted was
the Watsontown Record, which was conducted by a company for some time,
afterward experiencing numerous changes in ownership and management
until its purchase by the proprietors of the Star, Fosnot & Burr, in
1884. The Star was the second paper established, and was started in
1882, the first copy being issued on the 1st of April in that year. The
first proprietors were Fosnot & Fisher. After the purchase of the
Watsontown Record in 1884, the name was changed to the Record and Star,
which it still retains. L. C. Fosnot is the editor and proprietor.

The Blade was established by J. Ward Diehl, and the first copy was
issued, May 18, 1889.

The Agricultural Epitomist was published at Watsontown from its
inception in 1882 until its removal to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1886.

                         CHURCHES.

  The second story of the academy building was designed as a place
of worship for all denominations, and was so used until the erection of
the different church edifices. The first Sunday school of the town, a
union organization, was held here; the first superintendent was Joseph
Hollopeter, and the first assistant superintendent was William H.
Follmer.

The Watsontown Baptist Church is the oldest organization of that
denomination in the northern part of Northumberland county. It
originated in the labors of William S. Hall of White Deer valley, who,
with the assistance of W. B. Bingham, commenced a series of religious
meetings in the school house at Watsontown in May, 1840. Mr. Hall
continued services at Watsontown, Scott's school house, and Abram
Stearner's grove for some time, and at frequent intervals administered
baptism. As a result of these efforts the following members at White
Deer valley and Clinton were organized as a regular Baptist church,
August 12, 1841: John Snyder, John Oyster, Joseph Everitt, Sr., Joseph
Everitt, Jr., Robert Everitt, Samuel Dougherty, Lansing Burrows, William
W. Burrows, Thomas Crawford, Amos Anderson, Benjamin Oyster, Mary McCoy,
Esther Oyster, Lucy Ann Everitt, Elizabeth Everitt, Margaret Guffy, Mary
Ann Mackey, Mary Burrows, Catherine Hays,

END OF PAGE 688

Elizabeth Anderson, and Catherine Oyster. The sermon at this service was
delivered by Elder D. C. Waite, prayer, by Elder J. G. Miles, right hand
of fellowship, by Isaac Jones, and charge to the newly organized church,
by W. S. Hall, who became the first pastor.
The first place of worship was a small frame building situated
near the center of Delaware township on Delaware run. Here the
congregation met until 1870, when they erected a church edifice at
Watsontown. The contract was drawn up between the building committee,
Joseph Everitt, George Burns, Theodore Carey, and James W. Johnson, and
the contractors, Conrad Springer and Lewis Koch, July 14, 1870.  The
church building is a two-story frame structure, and was erected at a
cost of thirty-five hundred dollars. It stands on Main street at the
corner of Fifth. The history of the church has been marked by frequent
pastoral changes.

The Methodist Episcopal Church had its origin, in the vicinity of
Watsontown, at the Swamp school house, where a class was formed in 1858.
In the following year the society was organized at the incipient village
of Watsontown, with Joseph Hollopeter as leader; among the first members
were Mrs. Susan Hollopeter, Benjamin Grier and wife, John Shadel and
wife, and Mrs. Martha Stover. The society worshiped at the school house,
the academy building, and elsewhere until 1872, when the present two-
story brick church edifice on Third street was erected under the
supervision of a building committee composed of Joseph Hollopeter, John
Goodman, and John Seiler. The lecture room was dedicated, November 10,
1872, but the audience room remained unfinished for some years.  The
last payment of the church debt was made, February 22, 1883.  The
parsonage, a frame building at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets,
was purchased in 1883.  The following is a list of pastors since the
organization of the first class: 1858, Samuel Barnes, A. E. Taylor;
1859, John A. De Moyer, A. E. Taylor; 1860, George Warren, J. A. Dixon;
1861, C. F. Thomas; 1862, F. Gearhart, H. C. Pardoe; 1863, S. C.
Swallow; 1864-65, John W. Haughawout, E. Shoemaker; 1866, B. P. King,
Elial L. Chilcoat; 1867, H. Wilson, W. W. Reese; 1868, H. Wilson, Thomas
O. Cleese; 1869-70, F. Gearhart, J. Comp; 1871-73, J. W. Olewine, C. W.
Burnley; 1874-75, J. A. Woodcock; 1876, A. W. Gibson; 1877-78, B. P.
King; l879-80, Benjamin H. Crever; 1881-83, Andrew E. Taylor; 1884-85,
David H. Shields; 1886-87, William McK. Reily; 1888-89, John W. Buckley;
1890, W. W. Reese.

Trinity Reformed Church.- The first service of the Reformed church
at Watsontown was held in the academy building, June 20,1864. For two
years services were conducted by Rev. S. H. Reid, but no organization
was effected until June 24, 1866, when thirteen persons presented
certificates of membership, and the following officers were elected:
Peter Schaeffer and William Brumbach as elders, and William H. Follmer
and Simon Lantz as deacons. During the same year negotiations were made
with the Lutheran

END OF PAGE 689

congregation for the erection of a house of worship to be used by both
churches. The building was erected on the northeast corner of Main and
Fourth streets.  The corner-stone was laid, July 15, 1866, but owing to
the death of William H. Follmer, one of the most influential members,
and financial embarrassments, the building was not dedicated until May
12th in the following year. During this time the congregation was
without a pastor and its interests languished; the membership became
small and virtually disbanded. At this juncture a reorganization was
effected, July 23, 1867, by Rev. H.  Mosser, and the church was attached
to the Paradise charge. The members at this time were Peter Schaeffer,
Daniel Carl, S. L. Hilliard, Charles Bealor, Alexander Rodgers, Mrs.
Catherine Everitt, D. J. Krebs, Simon Lantz, Mrs. Catherine Rambach,
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer, William Brumbach, Rachel Brumbach, and George
Mull.  The same officers were elected as at the former organization,
except that D. J. Krebs was chosen to fill the office before intrusted
to William H. Follmer, who died, July 17, 1866.
The interest of this congregation in the union church building was
sold to the Lutherans, May 1,1886, and on the following day a
congregational meeting was held, when Thomas Mast, Mahlon Metzger, H.
Wagner, D. A. Engle, and George W. Hess were appointed to purchase a lot
upon which to erect a church edifice.  The present location was secured,
and the cornerstone of the new church was laid, July 4, 1886, with
appropriate ceremonies. The building committee consisted of H. F.
Algert, Thomas Mast, Mahlon Metzger, J. H. Wagner, D. A. Engle, O. W.
Hess, and J. W. Muffly. The church was erected at a cost of twelve
thousand dollars, and dedicated, February 20, 1887, Rev. J. H.
Romberger, D. D., officiating. Since that time a parsonage has been
erected on the adjoining lot at a cost of three thousand five hundred
dollars. From the time of its reorganization the congregation has been
served by Reverends H. Mosser, J. K. Millett, and George S. Sorber, the
present pastor.

The First Lutheran Church was organized in 1866. The first council
consisted of Samuel M. Miller, Samuel W. Hitman, Abram Goodman, and
Silas Rambach. An arrangement was effected with the Reformed
congregation for the erection of a union church edifice, which was
completed in 1867, as stated in the history of Trinity Reformed church.
This union was dissolved in 1886, when the church property was purchased
by the Lutheran congregation. The old building was removed and the
present church edifice erected at its former site during the same year.
It is a brick structure, and was finished at a cost of twenty thousand
dollars, under the supervision of G. W. Rombach, J. H. Harley, Samuel M.
Miller; Charles Heilman, Isaac Stryker, and J. G. Bower, who constituted
the building committee. The corner-stone was laid, July 25, 1886, and
the church was dedicated, March 6, 1887. The following is a list of
pastors since the erection of the union

END OF PAGE 690

church: Reverends Thomas C. Billheimer; Mr. Keller; P.S. Mack, July 1,
1871, to July 1, 1873; S. P. Orwig, October 1, 1873, to October 1, 1878;
A. K. Zimmerman, June 1, 1879, to November 1, l881: Samuel G. Shannon,
June 1, 1882, to March 1, 1883; and F. W. Staley, May I, 1885, to May 1,
1890; M. H. Fishburn, 1890.

First Presbyterian Church.- In compliance with a petition
presented at a meeting of the Northumberland Presbytery at Lewisburg,
April 17, 1872, requesting the organization of a Presbyterian church at
Watsontown, the following committee was appointed to perform that duty
if they should deem it advisable: Rev. J. C. Watson, D. D., Rev. B. L.
Jones, and Elder Robert Laird.  On the first Sabbath of the following
June a meeting was held at Watsontown for this purpose.  After a
discourse by Rev. J. C. Watson, D. D., the following persons organized
as a Presbyterian church according to the regulations of the presbytery:
William B. Bryson, Dr. J. H. Hunter, Martha Hunter, William Bryson, Mary
Bryson, Samuel Bryson, Martha Bryson, Reuben Bryson, Sarah Bryson,
Elizabeth Hunter, James L. Schooly, Charles Sterner, Elizabeth Campbell,
Rebecca McKee, Mary E. Lowry, Mary Campbell, Ellen Hughes, Emily Hughes,
Ellen Campbell, Jane M. Lowry, Sarah McKee, Emund H. Russell, Almira
Russell, Philip Shay, Emma Shay, Anna R. McKean, Elizabeth McKean,
Lucinda McKean, Margaret McKean, Samuel W. Riddle, Margery Guffy, Mary
Ann Weiler, Stephen J. Braley, Mary Braley, and Francis Hammond.  On the
same day William Bryson, Joseph H. Hunter, and Samuel W. Riddle were
elected elders, and Samuel Caldwell, Philip Shay, and James Schooly were
chosen as trustees.  The name of "First Presbyterian Church of
Watsontown" was adopted, and the minutes of its organization were
approved by presbytery, September 30, 1873.
In 1874 a one-story brick church was erected on the northwest
corner of Main and Fourth streets at a cost of thirteen thousand
dollars.  The building committee were Samuel Caldwell, Robert M. McKee,
Enoch Everitt, Enos Everitt, and Isaac Vincent; the trustees at that
time were James L. Schooly, William B. Bryson, Isaac Vincent, Enoch
Everitt, and Samuel Caldwell.  The church was dedicated, January 5,
1875, Rev. James C. Watson, D. D., officiating. During the twenty years
of its history the following pastors have served the church: Reverends
George Eliott, David Kennedy, and George S. Van Allen.

                        WATSONTOWN CEMETERY.

  The first meeting for the organization of a cemetery association
was held, May 28, 1866, when George Burns was elected president, A. B.
Latchaw, secretary, and Silas Rambach, treasurer.  A charter of
incorporation was granted, November 5, 1866, to the following persons:
Silas Rambach, Christian Gosh, Simon Lantz, Samuel Whitman, Samuel
Miller, George Burns, F. S. Whitman, Joseph Hollopeter, Enos Everitt, A.
T. Goodman, Peter Shaeffer, A. B. Latshaw, John Bly, William Cooner,
Robert Johnson,

END OF PAGE 691

D. S. Kremer, Joseph Albright, Joseph Everitt, John Y. Ellis, and Cyrus
Brumbach.  The tract lies to the east of the borough, and contains eight
acres.

END OF Chapter XIX
=========================

On April 27 1917, The Public Press announced that Watsontown and Mifflinburg would be getting "city mail delivery". The paper noted that both towns were smaller than the town of Northumberland. The city of Watsontown had made an attempt to get mail delivery several years earlier, but had failed. The success in 1917 was credited to the large mail business done by the industries in the towns. "Free mail delivery for Watsontown comes as a surprise to many people, as it was not known that an effort in this direction was under way. Postmaster Hummel did the work quietly but effectively, and with Congressman Lesher is entitled to the thanks of the town. It will prove a great convenience to the citizens and puts Watsontown another big step forward in the march of progression." - The Watsontown Record & Star
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More Old Photos Of Watsontown
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Postcard found online labeled "1910 Watsontown"
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