Painted Hills Genealogy Society
Dedicated to making research accessible to everyone.

"McKean: The Governor's County"
Rufus Barrett Stone
Chapter 27
Miscellany
 

Submitted by PHGS Member
Mike Henderson


"McKean: The Governor's County", Rufus Barrett Stone. Lewis Publishing Company, Inc. New York, 1926. Pages 267--307
 
 

Lena-Belle Chappell Musing at the Dells, Arkwood
Lena-Belle Chappell, Musing at the Dells, Arkwood

Here the Woman's Literary Club of Bradford, enjoyed one summer afternoon

"And so I'm glad the mountain's mine.
I'm glad I own the sea.
That they have special privacies
Which they impart to me."
--From an Arkwood Inscription.


CHAPTER XXVII
Miscellany

Oil Exchange, October 8, 1882 -- Bradford Oil Exchange meeting to determine on annex. Captain J. T. Jones (a member of the board) in the course of his speech, said that the Bradford Oil Exchange was then "the foremost oil exchange in the world and in time would rule the market."

July 4, 1886 -- Election: President, Charles L. Wheeler; vice-president, C. R. Huntley; treasurer, Winfield Scott; secretary, E. A. Flanagan; directors, J. M. Fuller, I.G. Jackson, W.P. Thompson, H.C. Brooks, H.A. Marlin, J.E. Haskell, A.B. Walker, J.H. Conant, B. Forst, J.A. Blackmar; judge of election, W.C. Eccles; inspectors of election, F.P. Atkinson, J.A. Albertson. On January 1, 1886, the corporation had no debt and a surplus of $474.88.

-----------------------
September 25, 1886 -- This is the date of the great Bucktail Rifle Regiment reunion at Bradford. Public meeting, Major A.C. Hawkins presiding. Among those who spoke were: Hon. Byron D. Hamlin, C.L. Wheeler, J.M. McClure, W.B. Chapman and Hon. W.W. Brown. The address of welcome (reprinted from the "Era") was as follows:

"When vieing cloud and sunshine, balmy air and gorgeous forests are speaking welcome to our guests, it would be strange if the lips of man were dumb. When the long valleys have stretched out their arms to receive them and the hills have risen to shut them in, who can withhold our greeting? See, festive Bucktails!  How that when you come to Bradford the very earth lends its own torches to drive away the shadows of the night; and, to-morrow, look out where the spurs of the Alleghenies have been wont to rest, and you will find great masses of mountainous bouquets cast for you, as it were in a night, by all the applauding agencies of nature. Even the tired Tuna, though often furious with impatience and again threatening to hide itself in the gulf, has kept its promise yet and remained these many years to show you where in olden times the bucks came down to drink. But leaf and shrub have been kindly concealing the ancient trails as if they were too sacred fir the rude gaze of unlineal eyes. And in their stead the iron tracks of the railways have been laid, but they, too, in all their hard and busy commerce, have never been unmindful that they were simply waiting your command. Try them and see if they are not obedient to your wishes. And be asured that you have come among a people whom nature has conspired to bid you welcome, a people who love valor as their own, who teach your story to their children and look with added reverence upon these mountains as your native home. They have heard that you and your comrades saved aa doubtful day at Gettysburg, that you charged like a flame of fire across the fields at Antietam and South Mountain, and on many a bloody day made the cry "The Bucktails are coming!" a slogan of terror in the ranks of the enemy.

"Scipio exhorted his army to fight as if they fought before the walls of Rome. You fought as if the Nation looked breathlessly on. Like King Henry of Naverre, who at the battle of Ivry bound a white plume upon his crest, the commander of our armies might have cried out to his troops: "Press where ye see the bucktail shine amid the ranks of war!"

"A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest,
A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest,
And in they burst and on they rushed, while like a guiding star,
Amid the thickest carnage blazed the helmet of Navarre."
"It is to the survivors of such a royal line and their households that the citizens of Bradford bid me extend a cordial welcome. You will all be brigadiers while you stay in our camp?
"We welcome back our bravest and out best;
Ah, me! some come not with the rest,
Who went forth brave and bright as any here,\I strive to mix some gladness with my strain,
But the sad strings complain,
And will not please the era."
"The inspiration of the leadership of a Kane, who sought with his sword the open sea of freedom, is a noble heritage to you and your generation; the distinguished valour of a Taylor who wrote on the sward of Gettysburg more eloquent lines than his gifted kinsman ever penned; the final command of McNeill, as he fell expiring to the earth: 'Forward, Bucktails, forward!' sounding in you ears through all the emergencies of peaceful life; these are among the imperishable stars that glow in your history. And where slumbers American poetry! For surely the Switzer Winkelried, who gathered the spears of the enemy into his own bosom and thus 'made way for librety,' must share the admiration of mankind with Martin Kelly, the Bucktail of Elk, who at the battle of Harrisonburg said to his commander: 'Colonel, I will draw their fire!' and stepping from behind a tree received the rebel volley."
"There sounds not to the trump of fame
The echo of a nobler name,
Unmarked he stood amid the throng,
In rumination deep and long,
Till you might see, with sudden grace,
The very thought come o'er his face."
"Take thus one by one the jewels from your casket, and we will keep them bright. Mingle with your dearest memories he cordial of our fraternal grasp; and in years to come remember the countersign that is on every lip to-night: 'Welcome, Bucktails, Welcome!'"
Soldiers' Monument, Smethport, Fronting the Courthouse
Soldiers' Monument,
Smethport,
Fronting the Courthouse.

June 2, 1886 - On this day the Soldiers' Monument in the courthouse grounds was dedicated. The B.B. & K.R.R. sent over eleven carloads of passengers from Bradford. Mayor Shannon and ex-Mayor Jordan were present, six G.A.R. posts were represented. Hon. Lucius Rogers called the meering to order, and introduced Hon. L. Emery, Jr., as president of the day. Addresses were made by Gen. J.P.S. Gobin, department commander, Adjutant-General T.J. Stewart and Major A. Wilson Norris. Letters of regret were read from John A. Logan, General Beaver, A.J. McClure, Chauncey Black and others. The following passage is quoted from Lieutenant-Governor Black's letter:
 

"The people of our Commonwealth in the erection of numerous impressive and enduring memorials of the heroism of our soldiers are not merely gratifying a National and noble sentiment; they are also providing incitements to patriotic duty in the farthest future. These bright shafts rising heavenward in all parts of this imperial State will point a solemn lesson to posterity when possibly even a greater crisis than that of 1861 shall have to be met."


Said Major Norris, alluding to the embarkation of the Bucktail recruits on the Susquehanna:
 

"That voyage is worthy of a conspicuous chronicle in the history of this Nation. Surmounting a flagstaff made of a hickory pole, and from which swung the Stars and Stripes was a bucktail. The three rafts, packed with 300 men, floated swiftly down the current swollen by recent rains.

"As they sped along on the high waters the hills resounded with their drums and fifes as the strains of their martial music welled up from the river. Of the million of men who enlisted in the Union Army no more remarkable force followed the country's flag than these stout-hearted lumbermen. From the beginning to the close of the war their record is one unbroken line of distinguished and perilous service noted throughout for the consummate and deadly skill with which they used their rifles. The annals of the war have no brighter pages than those which recount the history of the Bucktails."
"I have taken these Bucktails," continued Major Norris, "as the types of the men who went into the war from this county. In making this particular mention of them, I simply illustrate the patriotism and the valor that moved the 58th Pennsylvania at Cold Harbor, and in the capture of Fort Harrison, that stiffened the ranks and nerved the arms of the 150th at Gettysburg, and enabled the 210th to conduct itself with so much gallantry at Fort Steadman and on the Jerusalem Plank Road. The men from this county who served in these regiments were composed of the same heroic stuff out of which the 42nd was formed, and the record they made was not only resplendent with brave deeds, but was a continuous recital of fidelity to duty and patient, uncomplaining service."


In fitting language Hon. P. R. Cotter, of the 5th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, made the presentation speech. This was followed by the beautiful Grand Army ritual of monument dedication, impressively conducted by J. K. Wallace and E. R. Mayo.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1882-This was the date of the memorable State Firemen's Convention at Bradford.

-----------------------

September 1, 1887-Grand annual fireman's parade. Addresses by Governor James A. Beaver, Secretary of the Commonwealth Charles W. Stone and Attorney General W. S. Kirkpatrick. After the exercises the Governor and other guests visited the art studio of Miss Gretchen Scott in Pompelon Hall.

-----------------------

POMPELON CLUB, May 7, 1883. On this date the Law Enforcement Citizens' League permanently organized at Pompelon Hall. Attendance 200. Executive committee, Poor Kennedy, T. J. Powers, Eugene Mullin, N. B. Smiley, R. B. Stone and C. J. Lane.

May 12, 1885-Ladies' Choral Society held rehearsal in Pompelon Hall.

January 27, 1887-Children's Aid Society regular meetings, first Wednesday, Pompelon Hall.

-----------------------

MARCH 18, 1891-At the peak of the cutting and manufacture of hemlock timber, an association, embracing several contiguous counties, known as the Hemlock Lumbermen's Association, gave at Orpheus Hall the largest banquet ever given in the city. Committee on legislation, Hon. Charles W. Stone, Edward Wetmore, Hon. W. W. Brown. Welcome to the guests, R. B. Stone. Response to "Our Hosts," Hon. C. W. Stone.

-----------------------

JUNE 24, 1885-This is the day on which two Bradford boys (among others) graduated from the Bradford High School, Warren Hugh Wilson, valedictorian, and Lester H. Simons, salutatorian. Warren, known as Rev. Dr. Warren H. Wilson, has risen to a high position of influence in an important field of service in the Presbyterian Church. His life is an illustration of intellectual spirituality. To use a figure of Matthew Arnold he is spelling a noble type of Christian manhood out of the letters God put into his hand. Lester is known as Major Simons. He won his spurs in the Spanish-American War. He is an ideal citizen soldier. He goes to the Temple Beth Zion Saturday morning, and sometimes reads the service. Every day of the week he is the embodiment of all the Children's Aid societies, assistance boards and Sunshine fellowships that his elder comrades still dream about.

MAY 30, 1889--Memorial Day observance at Brad ford, under the auspices of the three local veteran organizations. Chief Marshal W. W. Brown, Escort, Company C, 16th Regiment, N. G. P., Mayor McSweeney presiding. Prayer, Rev. S. Weil. Address by Rev. Edward Bryan. The oration which followed was subsequently printed in pamphlet form under the title "The Republic Triumphant," and many copies distributed. Pursuant to request of Librarian Tillinghast a copy was filed in the keeping of the Massachusetts State Library. From this oration the subjoined passages are quoted:

"The music of children is not attuned to sorrow. The gala season of nature has few harmonies for the habiliments of grief. The hallowing years have wrought their consolation. They have been stanching tears with reverent pride. The bereavement of shot and shell, prison and hospital, has passed from the fireside. It has become the common heritage. Patriotism, laden with song and speech and flowers, presses about the grave of the patriot 'to honor, not to mourn him, to celebrate the heroism of his death and the cause which it sanctified.

"Yes, the rifle-pit is abloom to-day, the old camp ground is the bivouac of herds, the earthworks have become the miner's shaft. A few mementos have been snatched, but the obliterating hand of industrial enterprise reaches eagerly to the very precincts where the government has set up its sacred boundaries. The historian has gleaned the battle field and passed on. The poet has caught the last quaver of its echoes, the politician ruminates no longer among its ashes.

"So closely the future follows after the past that none too soon one day has been securely ordained for the annual contemplation of these memorials.

"Never again shaft we pause so near to the actual events of our commemoration. We look into the faces and touch the hands of the men who fought: They are here in the uniform and circumstance of war, as if in the garb of the dead soldier they might approach the grave more fitly and by that sign summon back his memory into their ranks. They have filled the air with the martial strains that lured his spirits on the march and in the camp. . . .

"Young men and maidens: one by one the living pass through the last narrow defile. The day hastens when the dead will have no comrade to bring these symbols forth and to whiten these graves with the lilies-of-the-valley. Are your hands reverent to accept the trust? Think of the endless chain of years through which this custom passes on, as a spark of electric fire. Do not let the link be broken or tarnished in your generation. Guard these memories well in time of peace. It is then that their significance is blurred. Walls of distinction are thrown down, lines obliterated, principles are relaxed and their antagonism drowned in the intoxication of amity It was not amity for which the war was fought. The distinctions were not incidental nor temporary. They were neither created by the war nor destroyed by it. . . .

"The American nation was to become the vehicle of a peculiar idea, a public conscience destined to rule the world and liberate mankind. It must have, therefore, the right of way. Its progress is to be guarded with vigilance and power. If we are to conquer the world by the processes of peace, we must be strong to command the peace. 'The land without powers,' exclaimed William Penn, Is a shell without the kernel, a ring without the diamond--a name, and no more. . . .

"It was the immigrant citizen, free from the ties of State nativity, ignorant of the sovereign pretensions of the Commonwealth, whose voice was quick to sustain the Union and energize the National sentiment. He felt the obligation of his oath to support the Constitution, and that outran the sophistry of Calhoun. The only emblem of government he knew was this starry flag. He followed where it led. Native and immigrant fought side by side on land and sea. What battle were you in, veteran soldier, when you did not touch the elbow of a naturalized citizen? ...

"Conditions have changed in the rapid progress of a hundred years. It has been a century of political and social readjustments. In the midst of the Civil War Lincoln wrote: 'Now, at the end of three years' struggle the Nation's condition is not what either party or any man expected or devised.' And at its close the historian, Draper, says:

" 'Its real and grand issues, easily enough discerned by us after the events are passed, came forth as it may truly be said in the necessities of the case.'

"Who, then, will presume to measure the Republic by the flexible and outgrown standards of the past? It is a law to itself. It has supplanted precedent and outstripped the Nations of the earth. It is in motion, transforming society in its progress. It touches impassable mountains and they make way for it; it opens their veins and they give up their jewels; it takes truant rivers to the sea; it deepens the verdure of the meadows and draughts its landscapes on the hills; its minarets and towers are the spires of its humanity; it puts eyes into the night that challenge the stars, and gives an ear to distance. It has made the face of Nature gleam with beauty and with thought until the supicion steals upon the minds of men that the new earth is the new heaven, its discovery the divinest of-revelations, its possibilities the laughing spring of human hope."

-----------------------

MARCH 11, 1886-On this date a disastrous fire destroyed the Central School Building in the Second Ward of the city of Bradford. The Board of School Directors met in the afternoon of the same day, and unanimously adopted the following resolution offered by J. M. McClure:

"The Board of School Controllers of the City of Bradford having learned of the admirable conduct of the superintendent, George F. Stone, and teachers named below on Be occasion of the fire which this day destroyed one of the school buildings in the Second Ward, in recognition of this conduct tender to them the Board's thanks: Alma E. Wales, Etta Koch. Alice Haggerty, Mabel Wann, Winifred G. Murphy, Annie M. Ford, Sadie E. Bruce, Nellie E. Robinson, Katherine S. Jameson, Oriana Wyckoff, Edith O. Rowe, Lillian R. Reis, Anna McClurg, Maggie Davis, Ula Kinkaid, Maude Nutt, Ida L. Kempke, T. B. Spaulding."
 
 

The Embarkation, Lake Eva, Arkwood
The Embarkation, Lake Eva, Arkwood
"Souls know -- he said -- the songs unsung
As well as those that find a tongue."
-- From an Arkwood Inscription.

-----------------------

FEBRUARY 11 1887-A great mass meeting of oil producers was held at the Oil Exchange. Senator Emery spoke in defense of the Billingsley Bill, and in the course of his remarks said:

"When the National Transit and Tidewater Companies came to an understanding 88 1/2 per cent. of the oil tonnage was given to the Standard and 12 1/2 per cent. to the Tidewater. Out of this the Standard agreed to take care of the Pennsylvania, the New York Central and the New York and Erie road." (This was in substance the very result anticipated by James E. Butts, N. C. Clark and R. B. Stone in their resistance, successful for two sessions, against the merger of the Equitable Petroleum Co., Ltd., with the Tidewater.)

Resolutions were adopted and a committee of ten appointed: P. T. Kennedy, David Kirk, L. E. Mallory, C. S. Whitney, Major A. C. Hawkins, C. B. Whitehead, R. J. Straight, T. P. Thompson, John Denman, John B. Farrell, J. B. Brawley, T. N. Barnsdall, Captain W. B. Chapman and Alfred Short.

A further resolution was adopted reciting the passage and approval of the McCullum interstate commerce bill, and requesting the President of the United States in selecting the membership to include representation from the oil region.

Bradford became the center for producers' mass meetings. They were usually held in the Wagner Opera House, which became historic for such events.

The most notable speakers of the entire oil region were often present. Among them none were more distin- for eloquent oratory than Col. J. A. Vera and ex-Congressman C. V. Culver, both at that time residents of the "lower country."

-----------------------

NOVEMBER 13, 1883-This is the date on which the first glass-works projected to use natural gas as fuel, and silica from vicinity of Rock City. W. B. McCartney, superintendent. Subscribers, Aug. W. Newell, M. W. Wagner, R. B. Stone, David Kirk, Whitney & Wheeler.

-----------------------

APRIL 27, 1885-Hon. W. W. Brown planted twenty choice maple trees in the public square.

-----------------------

JULY 25, 1885-Ulysses S. Grant died on the 23rd day of July, 1885. His visit to General Kane in 1880 for a day's outing along the trout streams accompanied by Colonel Wilcox, and his visit to the Kinzua Viaduct November 16, 1883, were perhaps to him trivial incidents, although on the latter occasion he was formally received at Bradford, and greeted by several thousand citizens of McKean. Nevertheless, these incidents created a peculiar sense of personal sympathy in the county toward the grizzled old hero who had proposed to "fight it out all summer" in the Wilderness, and yet after the surrender, was the first to say to the North and the South: "Let us have peace." Upon the announcement of his death a citizens' memorial meeting was held at the Wagner Opera House, and after appropriate remarks the following resolution was adopted:
 

"Whereas, The foremost citizen of the Republic, the hero of its latest story, the choice exemplar of its institutions, the marvel of its military annals, the idol of its civic life, fearless soldier, patriotic sage, most honored son, Ulysses S. Grad, has passed from the scene of his shining career.

"Resolved, That the inhabitants of the city of Bradford in mass meeting assembled desire to give some measure of utterance to our sense of grief, some testimonial of a stricken community to the memory of the dead chieftain, and some message, if we may, to the bereft kindred on Mount McGregor, not in the stateliness of words, but, rather, in the fullness of human sympathy and in the earnest fellowship of American brotherhood;

"Resolved, That in token of our common sensibility, touched by the thought of the sheathed sword, the motionless pen, the silent lips, a Nation pausing in reverent homage, listening to the echoes eloquent with the clangor of battle, persuasive with the counsels of peace, a smitten household, bending with sorrow and brought near to the heart of the Republic, the presiding officer of this meeting be requested to transmit these resolutions to the family of General Grant and cause publication of these proceedings."


-----------------------

The Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment was not the result of a single battle of the ballots. It was the consummation of victory won through long drawn years of earnest, undeviating devotion to the cause. It was won by eloquent appeal and scientific demonstration, won in school and pulpit and press. Among heroic citizens of McKean who gave the cause effective support were Peter Kennedy and Reuben Dennis, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lyon, Mrs. Bertha W. Howe, Mrs. Eva Sullivan, Mr. and Mrs. Heineman, Elisha K. Kane, valiant civic soldier; Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Newell, W. H. Dennis and his royal family, Mr. and Mrs. Milward, E. V. Cody, Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane and John Brown.

In a period when public sentiment in the county was in the balance, a member of the bar invited to speak on the subject at a grange meeting at Coryville, August 7, 1913, alluding to the authority of the school textbooks relating to the effect of intoxicating liquor, proceeded as follows:
 

"If the court believes such instruction to be well founded in scientific ascertainment, it would be an abuse of discretion to grant a license in the face of it. Having the power to refuse, can he deliberately authorize the sale of a beverage which the Commonwealth is teaching its children to be essentially poisonous? What answer will the teacher make to the child if her instruction is belied by the court? The judge must discredit the schools, and disbelieve their teaching to set his discretion free from their constraint. Is it conceivable that the authorization of the sale of an injurious and dangerous thing is 'necessary for the accommodation of the public and the entertainment of strangers and travelers?' The question is now on higher ground than the level where petitions and remonstrances would leave it. Is the Commonwealth at cross purposes? Are the schools to teach one thing and the courts another? I speak for the integrity of the schools. The teaching of the schools is affirmed by the regulations of our great employing companies. I speak for the business interests of the community., Organized labor has heeded the lessons of science and put its ban upon the liquor evil. I speak for organized labor. Shall judicial discretion be insensible to such deliberately formulated judgment of the community in determining the question of public necessity?"
-----------------------

McKEAN COUNTY answered to the call. If the war is yet to be mentioned, it may be said that in the beginning the attitude of the public mind in the United States towards the conflict was as uncertain as that of President Wilson. It wheeled into line only after a laborious process of study and conviction. At length however public opinion was consolidated. The moral, financial and physical resources of the country were set in motion for the contest. Not only was the morale of the community to be maintained, but there were definite, concrete things to be accomplished. Organization became indispensable. Civic volunteers came to the front upon the call and arose to positions of leadership as by natural selection. There were so many who put themselves and their all at the service of their country that the inquiring reader can only be referred for particulars to memorial lists and official records. In every community, however, there was, doubtless, one man who, above his fellows, seemed to instantly comprehend the exigency, and be able instinctively to survey and gather up the resources of the community and direct its energies. McKean County, fortunately, had such a man at the helm. Mr. E. E. Lindemuth, by the undemonstrative pressure of his personality, persistent and commanding, with loyal support at the centers of population,' met the recurring demands of the government in abundant measure, and made every good citizen proud of the community in which he lived. The orator of the crisis, as of many civic campaigns, was Mr. Asher R. Johnson, though many eloquent tongues responded to the call for Four-Minute Men.

A California Visitor at Arkwood - Betha (MacEwen) Duquesne near the top of the County Looking Toward the Valley
A California Visitor at Arkwood -- Bertha (MacEwen) Duquesne near the top of the County
Looking Toward the Valley.
"What do I tell the ocean?
That on the sun-kissed hill
Are perfumed winds of healing
And music-haunted rill."
--From and Arkwood Inscription.

Heroic women, too, without number, left their homes, often at some sacrifice, to work for the Red Cross and other World War agencies. Now, while the liberated countries of Europe are studying the alphabet of popular sovereignty, we, on this side of the water, are taking a post-graduate course in respect to the significance and application of. the new community aspiration.

FROM the year 1917 until 1922 as an incident and aftermath of the World War, two of the railroads entering Bradford (the Erie and the Pennsylvania) curtailed their service and for a time held it in suspense, and the city was menaced by a very disastrous loss of express and passenger service. Complaint was made by the Bradford Board of Commerce to the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania, which heard testimony at the city of Bradford at repeated sessions, making final decision in favor of the city. Argument on the part of the Board of Commerce concluded as follows:

"The United States Railroad Administration, holding in its control these three railroads as one, and administering them with even hand, primarily for the essential needs of the government, now well-night past the emergency stage, hampered by no conflicting claims nor noxious cornpetition, is not knowingly demanding such a sacrifice as has come upon us and is now threatened. This great gov- is not seeking out a little community of eighteen thousand souls with vital industries, served by a single locomotive and a couple of cars, to strike it down with a tragical blow. We appeal to the only intermediary available, the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania, which has our welfare in its keeping, to interpose in our behalf."

-----------------------

On the 10th day of June, 1915, a memorial boulder set up on the schoolhouse green at the county seat by the Smethport Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in commemoration of the expedition of General Brodhead in 1779 to destroy the Indian villages on the upper water of the Allegheny was formally dedicated. The exercises were conducted under the direction of the regent, Mrs. Thomas A. Morrison. The address delivered on the occasion was subsequently delivered at Philadelphia before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; at Pittsburgh before the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania; at Olean, New York, under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution; before the historical societies of the counties of McKean and Warren (Pennsylvania), the Conewango Club of Warren, the Bradford Board of Commerce and high school, and at Mayville, New York, before the Chautauqua County Society of Natural Science and History. It was printed in the "Magazine of History" and in the "Magazine of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

-----------------------



 
 

Bertha Hall Helmer
Berta Hall Helmer
American Descendant of William the Silent, Prince of
Orange; Corresponding Secretary of Canoe Place Historical
Society.

BERTHA HALL HELMER, daughter of John G. Hall and Elnora Grinolds Hall. Mr. Hall operated a planing mill at Port Allegany. Mrs. Helmer's grandmother, Anne Dunbar Hall, was a direct descendant of Admiral Coligny, whose daughter Louise married William the Silent, Prince of Orange. Their daughter, Sara, married Prince Wolfert Webbert, and after his death came to America, arriving at Manhattan with three children. This was Mrs. Hall's first American ancestor. The line comes down through the daughter, Anneka Jans Bogardus, whose son, William, had a daughter, Anne, who married Jacob Brower-their youngest daughter, Magdalena, marrying John Drake, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Hall. A first cousin of Princess Anneka Jans Bogardus was William the III, who was king of England from 1869 to 1702.

Mrs. Helmer, from generation to generation, has lost none of the royal qualities in her ancestral line. In Port Allegany she is a moving spirit in community enterprises. The Canoe Place Historical Society, under her inspiration and initiative, has entered with much success upon a promising career. The community has a record to be proud of, and its unfolding is a new source of public vitality. Mrs. Helmer is a graduate of the Port Allegany High School and of the Clarion State Normal School. She has also taken a special course at Pennsylvania State College. She is the wife of Daniel Steuben Helmer, a member of the McKean County bar. Mrs. Helmer is corresponding secretary of Canoe Place Historical Society, historian for Frank Burt Post, No. 258, American Legion, and historian for Canoe Place Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

-----------------------

In 1923 the Canoe Place Historical Society was organized and in March, 1924, admitted to the State Federation of Historical Societies. Prior to the discovery of oil Canoe Place (Port Allegany) was the commercial capital of the county. Here the lumber business of the region was centred. It was the commercial birthplace of the lumber kings, the Arnolds, the Dolleys, A. M. Benton, Waterman Davis, Medberry, Dalrymple, Holden, Hall and many others. It was a progressive, vigorous community. A considerable number of the early settlers were from New England, including the Dolleys, Hall, Viner, Fessenden and John Lyman. Here the rafts were started for terminal ports at Warren, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and New Orleans, tinder the skillful guidance of famous river pilots, Scroggs, the Indian, or J. K. Moore, or Fitch or Bellows.

It was in these days that the world-renowned violinist, Ole Bull, on his way in and out of the wilderness, upon occasional visits to his famous castle in the interior of Potter County, would sometimes tarry at Canoe Place. The completion of the hotel to be known as the Butler House, erected by Ludovic Lillibridge, was celebrated by a ball long to be remembered, for Ole Bull was present and furnished the music. Amy Lillibridge, then sixteen years of age, was proud in after years to relate the fact and the attendant circumstances, and so through her son, Eugene Baker, of Roulette, the story is told to this day.

A Raft on the Allegheny Bound from Canoe Place to New Orleans
A Raft on the Allegheny Bound from Canoe Place to
New Orleans
This passing raft of white pine was estimated to be worth $10,000. To-day
it could be sold for $100,000. See the small boat for going ashore, the cabin
for kitchen and shelter and stores, and the famous pilot Moore, on the hewn
log in front.

It was in keeping with the spirit of local pride, enterprise and vigor of this later generation that the Canoe Place Historical Society should have set up a sign opposite the railroad station calling the attention of the traveler to the fact that this is the "Junction of the Tioga and Shamokin War Trails," that the Bradford Oil Field is near -- "Finest Crude in the World," and that the region is "Noted for Good Hunting and Good Fishing." The Society has an established home in the borough, and has gathered for preservation many interesting relics. Among them is a box of carved English oak brought over in the "Mayflower," a cup handed down from Oliver Cromwell, a letter from Horace Greeley, and a stone used by the Indians for grinding corn, found when excavating to concrete the East and West Road near Dunbar Mill in 1924. The Society is compiling incidents of pioneer life, and has awarded prizes for school essays of historic character. It has had the invaluable aid of the Port Allegany "Reporter-Argus," and received much impetus in its formative period from the remarkable historic issue of that paper on the 29th day of May, 1924, as well as from the active personal cooperation of its enterprising publisher, Mr. C. F. Boller. Many estimable representative citizens of the valley, known to the author, including Darius Simpson, C. M. Slack, M. C. Field, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Holden, would, it is believed, if still living, have joined earnestly in the work of the Society. An enumeration of the committees and their respective chairmen will disclose the extent of the field which the Society aims to embrace:

Jewelry-Mrs. John G. Robbins.
Indian Relics-Eugene Baker.
Records and Glassware-Mrs. G. E. Lauer.
Schools-C. W. Lillibridge.
Churches-Mrs. M. C. Field.
Shells and Minerals-C. A. Dolley.
Natural Science-J. C. Galloway.
Books--Lyle W. Holden.
Pictures--Mrs. 0. C. Wagner.
China-Mrs. R. H. Foote.
Furniture and Implements-0. L. Snyder.
Dolly and Tags--Mrs. Nina Hanson.
Needlework-Miss Mary Cole.
Costumes-Miss Marion Davis.
Army Relics-Revolutionary and Civil War: M. E. Hall and William Van Loon; Spanish War: Robert Peling; World War, Darold Downs, Walter J. Hall.
Knitting, Crocheting and Tatting-Mrs. Angela Coleman.
Stamps-James Helmer.
Rocks and Stones-Eugene Brown.
Musical Instruments-Mrs. Louise Ford.

Belle (Lillibridge) Lauer and Sons Wilkin Lillibridge Lauer, and Edward Stanton Lauer.
Belle (Lillibridge) Lauer and Sons
Standing: Wilkin Lillibridge Lauer, Princeton '23: Edward Stanton
Lauer, University of Pennsylvania, '27.

The present officers of the Society are as follows:

President-D. S. Helmer, Esq.
Vice- President-Eugene Squires.
Recording Secretary-Mrs. William Rice.
Corresponding Secretary-Mrs. D. S. Helmer.
Treasurer-Mrs. Clarence Billingsley.

Buffalo Herd
This is probably not the same buffalo herd which Ludovic
Lillibridge saw moving southward in 1818, for where the
author saw it was 2,000 miles beyond Canoe Place, but the
scene is like the vale of the Allegheny with its Border
of Familiar Hills

It appears to be the practice of the Society to name historians. The present list is quite large, and at the date of publication was said to be subject to revision. It is certain, however, to include John French, Charles Dolley, and Arch Eastwood.

--------------------------

Solomon Sartwell, born in Langdon, N.H., in 1776, came to Mckean in 1816. He was elected high sherif of Potter and McKean when the two counties had but one set of officers, and later conducted their separate organization. He was a lumberman and merchant, county treasurer, postmaster and associate judge. He married a daughter of Isaac and Phoebe King, and had six children, among whom were Chester K., who was pronthonotary, and Roswell, who was sheriff.

--------------------------

Among other relics of the period during which both counties were served by a single set of officers was the Bible upon which officers took oath and witnesses were sworn. This volume, printed in Philadelphia by Mathew Carey in 1814, fell to McKean by reason of its two to one majority on the board of commissioners. Mr. I. L. Wynn, in behalf of the county commissioners of McKean at the present time, has presented it to the McKean County Historical Society. The following is a facsimile copy of the inscription on the fly-leaf:

Bible Inscription

JULY 2-6, 1916-Centennial Anniversary at Port Allegany. From day to day of the week an elaborate program was, carried out. It included not only games, races and athletic sports, but also addresses, parades and pageants. A leading feature was  a parade illustrative of progress in agriculture, addresses by Professor Bordwell of State College, and Professor Teagarden of Punxsutawney, an historical pageant conducted by Lyle Holden, typical of Penn's Treaty, arrival of first settlers, capture of Mary Jamison, and other events, displaying relics, implements and cos- chinaware and furniture of the pioneer period. Uncle Sam being impersonated by Lyman Burrell Burt.

-------------------------

Grace Sartwell Mason, native of McKean County, a daughter of Stephen C. Sartwell, of Port Allegany, married James Redfern Mason, of San Francisco. She is the author of well-known stories, including "The Golden Hope," "The Bear's Claw," "The God-parents," and a contributor to leading magazines, particularly "The Ladies' Home journal" and "Saturday Evening Post." By the latter journal she was sent on a mission to Europe at the close of the World War, and recently' to Florida. The stories in her printed volumes appear to be drawn from scenes and characters in McKean, as are those of the Bradford novelists, Bryant Sherman, author of "The Bell Cow," and Bion Butler, who wrote of "The Church on Quintuple Mountain." Other writers indentified with the county of McKean include Doris Kenyon, Amanda Jones, elsewhere mentioned; S. G. Bayne, who for his own pleasure, and the delectation of his friends, published several volumes of travels and studies in science, and Bertha W. Howe, who is a frequent contributor to metropolitan journals and magazines on sociologic and economic topics.

Grace Sartwell Mason
Grace Sartwell Mason
Author and magazine writer, representing
"Saturday Evening Post" in Europe and
recently in Florida

-------------------------

It is not to be forgotten that among those who rendered technical service of a high order during the World War was Auguste J. Paris, Jr., Doctor of Science, who is a resident of Bradford, and from 1904 to date has maintained a laboratory in that city. Long prior to the war he announced from his workshop, at Bingham, important discoveries pertaining to the manufacture of gasoline. At the outbreak of the war he was conducting a laboratory at Charleston, W. VA. He promptly tendered his services to the government and the use of his experimental station. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, reporting to the President in November, 1918, by Dr. C. D. Walcott (Secretary Smithsonian Institution), Chairman of Executive Committee, says: "Research and experiment have been conducted by Messrs. Paris at Charleston in full cooperation with and under the direction of this committee. The subjects investigated during the year are as follows":

1. Gasoline direct from crude petroleum without stills, cleaned without the use of acid or alkali.

2. First distillate, or crude benzine, cleaned and purified without the use of acid or alkali.

3. Natural neutral gasoline.

4. Increase yield of straight paraffin from crude oil.

5. Separation of gasoline from crude oil by mechanical means.

The report (numbered 42) of Dr. Paris and his brother, Lieut. W. Francklyn Paris, his associate, submitted the results of their experiments. Of this Dr. Walcott, reporting to the Adjutant-General under date of January 16, 1919, says:

"The work has been continued to a point where remarkable results have been established, inasmuch as by this new method the world's production of gasoline, as shown by demonstration before representatives of this Committee and of the British Military Mission, and as outlined in Report No. 42, of this Committee, will be increased by an amount now estimated to be eighty per cent."

The discoveries of Dr. Paris leading to the manufacture of gasoline from natural gas and to the cracking process by which the quantity of product from oil and gas has been greatly multiplied was the opening of a secondary era in the oil and gas industry. The producer is too apt to pay all homage to the drill rather than to the retort, forgetful that it was by the report of Professor Silliman that Seneca Oil was ushered into the civilized world, its field of utility and its commercial possibilities foretold. So fifty years later Dr. Paris and his compeers, in the laboratories of DuPont, the Standard and the Geological Survey, by subtle combination and intricate process, have opened door after door leading to unknown sources of hidden wealth.

A Lady who Loved Arkwood
A Lady who loved Arkwood: 'wsa its soul and charm
whose companionship and counsel, through more than
fifty years have left their impress upon many pages
of this book

And again it is to the credit of the county of McKean that it was within its borders at Bingham Station, in the year 1907, that the crude, extemporaneous machine here portrayed, responding to the magic control of Auguste Paris, first separated gasoline from natural gas.
 
 

Experimental Gasoline Separator
Experimental Improvised Machine by Means of Which
Dr. August J. Paris, Jr., Separated Gasoline from Natural
Gas at Bradford and Bingham in 1907.

------------------------

Up in the Otto Hills, above the morning cloud-lake, at a curve on the interurban traction line, where no human habitation interrupts the view, and where valley and mountain unite to form the most varied landscape in the county, this bungalow was built. It seemed to grow into the woodland as if somehow it had been omitted. As piece by piece it was put together according to a cardboard model, it became an object of hilltop curiosity. Among those who eagerly watched its growth was a genuine mountaineer who every morning left his half-hidden hermitage in the hills for the pleasure of looking on. To him this new structure was a temple, rude enough as it was, a temple to nature. For he was a lover of the forest, the varying moods of the hills, the colors of earth and sky, the ways of the little winged and four-footed inhabitants. He was the John Burroughs of Trolley Mountain, only his name was Henry, like that of Thoreau. His spirit and theirs were one, the same simplicity and personality, guileless, gentle, unaffected, companion of the birds and wild flowers. His contact with the human race was slight. Mary Franks, perchance, at the little traction station, and the children of William Meacham, Alma and Elinor, Denilda, Josephine and Marian, may have met him on woodland paths along which trailing arbutus grew, or the wild azalea, or shrubs of laurel, and they may have learned from him, not alone some secrets of the hills, but casual lessons, also, of a solitary life, a unique character, which he would unconsciously impart: Who knows? If they are a little shy of the world, so was he; if they love the simple things, so, indeed, did he. If they are transparent as the pebbly brook, was he not so? If their spirits are filled with song like the forest, so was his; it was be who caught the morning sunshine while the lowlands were in the cloud-lake; he reflected the charm of native contentment, the culture of the conservatory of the stars singing together, of the university of the quiet life within the gates of primal knowledge.
Arkwood
Arkwood
A bungalow in the Otto Hells, on th einterurban traction line between
Bradford and Olean. Altitude 2,200 feet. Quotation lettered on the
gate-posts: "Have you named all the birds without a gun, loved the
wood-rose and left it on its stalk?" Amonf poetic quotations inscribed
on the walls the following occurs over a dining-room window:
"Bowls of sunrise for breakfast,
    Brimful of the wast.
Foaming flagons of frolic
    The evening's gay feast."

There was the digging of earth to be done, the uprooting of stumps. He was there to lend a hand and scorned a fee. It was not a market-place that was being founded, nor even a mere shelter for soulless, grasping, money-hoarding human beings. Here Lillian was to come and Helen, Leone, Myrtle and Katherine, with their racquets, or to see what the season had wrought upon the hills, or to greet the sunset, while from the balcony at twilight Grace would sing Tennyson's Brook to the tumbling little stream below until the whippoorwill answered, and then the owl. Here, too, while Kathryn and Robert joined hands, the Rev. Dr. Augustus Kieffer was to celebrate a wedding. In the grove above the track Donald and Geordie were to pitch their summer tent. Here Emma Bovaird and Joseph, and their comrades were to come for an evening from their camp hard by. Some day judge Olmsted was to stop over, Dr. Donehoo -was to look in, Lieutenant Sheldon, of the Navy, and Judge Morrison; members of the county bar were to come for an annual outing, and the Woman's Literary Club, of Bradford. And beside the great stone fireplace Major George Baldwin, a veteran soldier of the Civil War, was to spend with his sister his declining years. He had brought from Richmond to Lincoln the first news of Virginia's secession, and delivered to him personal dispatches, and then joined the famous battalion of Cassius M. Clay, which guarded the Executive Mansion, after which he entered the service, participated in many battles, receiving wounds which ultimately proved fatal.

The tillable land of ten acres surrounding Arkwood, as it was named, was made a testing ground for fruits and flowers, and rare trees. Here several kinds of grapes were found to ripen, notably the Brighton, Delaware and Green Mountain, several varieties of currants, red and black, immense gooseberries, the largest strawberries ever exhibited in the city, besides apples, standard and dwarf, in three orchards, pears, plums, quinces and cherries. Saghalin, a Russian forage plant, was grown on a small scale, and proved hardy and succulent, growing to an average height of eight feet. The success of the experiment justifies more extensive tests on the dry soils of the Big Level.

Gladys and Wilhelmina Robbing the Arkwood Orchard
Gladys and Wilhelmina robbing the
Arkwood orchard

 
Bradford N.H., Melvin's Mills, Warner River
Bradford, N. H. -- Melvin's Mills -- Warner River

Groves were formed of chestnut and of maple. Specimens of sassafras were preserved, and here and there an elm and a butternut. Much interest was taken in the success attending the transplanting of rare native trees: the flowering ash from the Backus swamp, the Allegheny balsam, from a distant point in the river valley, the Pennsylvania (striped) maple and the sweet crab; also in the growth of the scarlet oak, the redflowering dogwood, the palm willow and golden willow, the Colorado blue spruce, the fragrant, flowering linden and other trees, of unremembered names; the English hawthorn, the -mock orange, in several varieties, the shrub honeysuckle, the laurel, the rhododendron maximum and the three Carolina varieties, the native azalea and five others, and clumbing the bare trunks of welcoming trees might the seen the Chinese akebia, the wild grape and the fragrant wistaria.
 

" In the name of the bee, and of the butterfly, and of the breeze, Amen ."
 

-From an Arkwood Inscription.
------------------------

It is not unlikely that Lucretia, daughter of Isaac Farr, was the heroine of the second romance in the history of McKean. As Mary King and Joel Swayne had made memorable the enchanted banks of the Oswayo, so there may have been trysting places known to John Folsom Melvin and Lucretia Farr along the Warner, pretty tributary of the Merrimac, whose laughing waters leaped lightly to the task of turning the wheel to saw the log or grind the corn at Melvin's Mills. The home of Isaac Farr at Bellows Falls was only thirty miles from these famous mills in the New Hampshire town of Bradford, run by Melvin's uncle Josiah and cousin Richard (Note 1)" Moreover, it appears that Melvin and Farr migrated together to the valley of the Tunungwant.

Grouped with them in local tradition were Leonard Samson Foster, who came from Townsend, Mass., and Barnabas Pike, Aaron Kellogg and Prosper Moore from the same State, all of whom were signers of the petition for the formation of Bradford (Pennsylvania) Township. In the same coterie were other settlers from New England, as if a call had gone out, heard in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont, in Oxford, Me., Lebanon and Langdon, N. H., Bethlehem and Barrington, Cheshire, Townsend and Lancaster, Mass.; or as if the tide of emigration just then turned to the lumber woods of the Northern Tier, as it did twenty years later towards the gold fields of California. Arthur Prentiss brought a whole colony from the Penobscot region to the valley of Knapp's Creek.

Grace Elizabeth Melvin
Grace Elizabeth Melvin
(Private Secretary to Governor Bass, Candidate for U.S. Senate)

Among those coming to the valley of the Tuna, young Melvin, a stripling of twenty-three, brought from New Hampshire sufficient experience as a sawyer, together with energy and capacity, the qualities of natural leadership, which, almost at once, put him in charge of the great mill at Tuna, to be known as Melvin and Chamberlains, and around this mill the first substantial settlement centred. It was the nucleus of Bradford Township. The Warner and Tunungwant were as much alike as if they had been measured to match: the partial view of the mills in the accompanying picture shows the hills beyond as if the twin range of the Hooker farm had been incorporated into the photograph; and according to early pictures of Bradford, Pennsylvania, it had begun to take on the present appearance of the elongated Main Street of the New Hampshire town, with its Wrights Hill, corresponding to Mt. Raub, in the distance, and the Sunapee Mountains dimly seen. Melvin, looking thoughtfully at the stream, the hills, the embryonic town, the setting of the Tuna mill, may well have exclaimed: "How like the scene at Melvin's Mills!" And he may have had reflections which his companions did not share. Lucretia Farr was still in the East. His thoughts turned in that direction-the "way of least resistance," and when in his fine, flowing hand be wrote Bradford into the petition, he may have had a hope that it would prove a drawing name. She came. The first wedding might have been a fitting commemoration of the creation of the new township. But there was neither magistrate nor minister at hand. It was an event of first importance. It should be celebrated in the city of Pittsburgh. No train was leaving for that city for several years. The wedding party could' take passage on a raft equipped for a long trip with sheltered conveniences,. With colors flying, banners of white, songs and gay merriment, what a contrast to the crew intent on civil war which under the Bucktail symbol embarked on the Sinnemahoning in 1861 ? So it was that in the city of Pittsburgh on the twelfth day of 'July, 1828, John Folsom Melvin and Lucretia Farr were united in marriage.

-----------
(Note 1) On January 12, 1926, Miss Grace E. Melvin wrote from Concord (14 Perley Street), N. H., as follows:
"I am employed in the State Laboratory of Hygiene, which is a department of the State Board of Health, of' which the Department of Vital Statistics is also a part. I find proof that John Folsom Melvin, whose brother was Thomas J., was the son of John Melvin. He and Josiah were brothers, these two (John, Sr., and Josiah) being the sons of Benjamin Melvin. This would prove without doubt that John Folsom was the nephew of Josiah. I am directly descended from Richard Melvin, who was a son of Josiah. I have a sister, Ruth Frances, and a brother, Winslow Edson. I was born in 1904, my brother in 1907, and my sister hi 1910.

"Melvin's Mills is a small community which is a part of Warner Township. Bradford and Warner are towns with a common boundary. Melvin (or Melvin's Mills Post Office) is almost exactly on that boundary In fact, the town line is within four hundred feet of the station and post office at Melvin's Mills. At one time it was doubtless considered to be a part of Bradford. Richard Melvin worked in the mills there, which were started, I am sure, by Josiah and two of his sons. My father's people all came from that locality, Until a very few (perhaps three) years ago, my father's uncle was postmaster and storekeeper, and after his death his wife continued so long as she was able. To meet the people in Pennsylvania to whom you refer would be a great pleasure to me, and if the opportunity should arise which would permit this, I would like to avail myself of it.

"I came here on September first, before that time being employed as Secretary to Hon. Robert P. Bass, who is now running for election as United States Senator to oppose George Moses of this State.

"Sincerely yours,
 "Grace E. Melvin."

----------------------

SABINAS WALKER was a pioneer of Tuna Valley. He kept the first hotel, on the site now occupied by the Odd Fellows' Building. The first conveyance of land to him was recorded in 1846. His homestead included Walker Place, Chautauqua Place, and all between in the present city of Bradford.

Gilbert Carlton Walker was a son of Sabinas (and Matilda) Walker, and was born at the parental home then at South Gibson, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, on the first day of August, 1832.( Note 1 ) While the father determined to make his future home in the unexplored timber lands on the headwaters of the Allegheny, it was deemed best that the child should go with its mother to Binghamton, where advantages for education were said to be superior, and thenceforward his parental home meant less and less: to him, for from preparatory school he passed on to college, first to Williams, then to Hamilton, and from the bar at Binghamton, thence to Chicago, soon to Norfolk and finally to New York. His was a brilliant, meteoric career With amazing intellectual acumen and consciousness of an unusual personality, he had a towering ambition that would never brook defeat. Consequently when he discovered what be conceived to be discrimination against him at Williams, he went to Hamilton and there won the first speakership prize. Defeated for district attorney at Binghamton, he soon afterwards removed to Chicago, presently to become the head of the law firm of Walker, Thomas and Hart. Not content with distinction at the Chicago bar, through which he had attained a National reputation, nevertheless, upon the defeat of Senator Douglass, whose cause be had espoused for the Presidency, he was, in 1864, induced to remove to Norfolk. He was made president of the Atlantic Works and Dock Company, and after a residence of less than five years, by a coalition of liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, he became a candidate for Governor of Virginia against the entrenched "Yankee" incumbent, and, after a whirlwind campaign of forty speeches, was triumphantly elected. He was heralded as the "Political Savior of the State," and in the performance of his duties as Governor of the "Old Dominion" from 1871 to 1874, inclusive, he made an unsurpassed record.

Gilbert Carlton Walker
Gilbert Carlton Walker
Governor of Virginia (1871-1874)

The conservative element was satisfied. (Note 2) He had done what they had chosen him to do, and he had given Virginia back to them. It was theirs, not his. He had won preferment, but it was not to be given to him. He was entitled by the rule of promotion to go to the United States Senate, but they did not recognize the rule. No Virginia Senator had ever been born at South Gibson. To the conservative element it was not a congenial birthplace.

Thor, the Great Dane
Thor, the Great Dane, and his Woodland Friend
If they had stopped beside the spring in mid-summer they would have
found two little, speckled, sentinel trout guarding its waters with
vigilance and waving over it in glorious crescent of ref bergamot, and
growing along its rocky border masses of blue forget-me-not, and in
the spillway the gloden bloom of luxurious cowslips. What a trinity
of color!

So, after decorous delay, Governor Walker removed to the city of New York, to engage in the practice of law, with what visions of the future is unknown, for there in New York on the 24th day of May, 1885, he died, and on the following morning the Bradford "Era" contained this brief dispatch: "Gilbert C. Walker, ex-Governor of Virginia, formerly of Bradford, Pa., died in this city to-day."

There were other statesmen born or bred in the Northern Tier, who were not congenial to the antebellum South, particularly David Wilmot, Galusha A. Grow and Robert J. Walker. The Southern boundary of the Northern Tier is sometimes taken to be the 41St degree of latitude, being the accepted boundary of the claim of the Connecticut-Susquehanna Company, and sometimes the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Robert J. Walker was born at Northumberland about the time (1796) when the imperial county of that name extended northward to the State line, and included the area of McKean. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and entered upon the practice of law in Pittsburgh In 1826 he removed to Mississippi, emancipated the slaves found upon his plantation, advocated the policy of gradual emancipation, was elected to the United States Senate and reelected. He supported Polk for the Presidency, was called to his cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury, became father of the "Walker Tariff" in force from 1846 to 1861, differed with Buchanan on the slavery question, and resigned the Governorship of Kansas, supported the Union and negotiated a European loan Of $250,000,000. He was the outstanding statesman of the old South after the death of Calhoun. If it had accepted his sane guidance instead of that of his antipodal colleague, Jefferson Davis, it would not have suffered the devastation and horrors of civil war, and slavery would have been abolished in the processes of peace.

And yet, to-day, it is Letcher who is remembered in Virginia, the Governor who put the State troops at the disposal of the Confederacy without waiting for the vote of the people, while Gilbert Carlton Walker's name is never spoken, his portrait is on no Virginian's mantel, and the State Historical Society has only cyclopedic knowledge of him; and so, likewise, it has come to pass that Jefferson Davis is hailed as the idol of the South, while Robert J. Walker, the ablest statesman in the annals of Mississippi, once the man of the hour, whom I should be proud to honor, is now never mentioned in court or hall without a sneer.



(1)"In 1825 the name of Sabinas Walker, the father of Governor G. C. Walker, first appeared on the tax list of Gibson. His brothers, Enos, Keith, Arnold and Marshall were also here. "-"History of Susquehanna County" (Blackman), 203.

(2) "No new name could conceal the fact that the election was a great conservative triumph, the difference between the Walker Republicans and the conservatives was fundamental."-Eckenrode.

-------------------------

On a bright Monday morning, the 22nd day of March, 1915, and again on the 19th day of March, 1917, as also on one or two later dates, pursuant to invitation, the writer read the paper of the session before the Bradford Ministerial Union. The association included the rabbi of Temple Beth Zion and all the Protestant ministers of the city. Among them the writer recognized personal friends, for some of whom he has formed a lasting attachment. It would be difficult for him to express his sensibility of the compliment of the invitation and of its repetition. Excepting before such an audience, or to those who through increasing years have been his neighbors and friends, would he have ventured expression of reflections which must be of so little consequence to others. The following brief extracts are published, not to justify their purport, but to disclose their spirit and preclude their misinterpretation:

"So with you this morning I have followed the child of the public school, caught in the wire entanglement of the law, past the church, through the prison doors to the outer gate of the factory.

"You have been very kindly patient. I have coveted the opportunity to speak with you thus frankly face to face. Not all of you whom I have had the pleasure to hear in your respective pulpits do I always understand. My ears are dull, I know, and now and then bring confusion to me. I should be glad to find out what I have failed to comprehend. Some ministers have habitual phrases, more or less professional, I presume, such as we use, for convenience in the practice of law, but which often seem to me like a foreign tongue.

"You speak of salvation as if it were to be gained by some other than Christ's way, the way of which I have tried to give you my understanding. You speak as if it were to be sought after selfishly, and I had thought the true Christian soldier went into the battle of life for noble causes, forgetful of self, contending for his neighbor, his community, his country. Have I not heard you mention heaven and hell as if they were destinations some- where in the universe outside of one's self? And do you and I have the same meaning when we speak of God? It would be sacriligious for me to contemplate the Divinity as a Person or Being or Spirit, having limitations of space and definite or definable. attributes or qualities. I think of God simply as the sublime in nature and in thought and deed, and not otherwise to be apprehended.

"One who went yestermorn to the hills, beckoned by the finger of spring, surely walked there alone with God. The sun shone, the birds caroled. The distant brook sang its new song, the balmy air breathed gently, and through the perfect whole the ear intent could hear the divine commandment: 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'

"The doctrine of a Creator, himself created in the image of man, speaking with his voice in the language of his day, evincing his passions, his caprice, his cruelty, is only respected as a conception pertaining to the infancy of the race. Man has found the laws of nature so invariable that he can count upon their inflexibility for all human purposes. How the molecule germinated a million years ago, when the earth cooled, does not concern either his physical or spiritual existence. Man's soul does not reach out after the scientific facts of creation. It does not see God in the light of a planetary creator. God's domain is within, not without God A spirit, otherwise indefinable. Jesus, of Nazareth, never dwelt upon the creation. He said the kingdom of heaven is within. It is the savage who bears God in the raging tempest, the rolling thunder, the rustle of a leaf. Civilized man discovers instead the self-operating laws of nature. He knows that when the March wind blows seaward the clouds of winter, and the sun rises higher in the sky, the increasing warmth of the atmosphere in the tree-tops will draw the moisture from the earth and by chemical processes, not unlike those of the student's laboratory, convert it into the swelling bud and leaflet of the spring.

"He is a sculptor and seats himself to his task. Bye and bye the dumb rock begins to speak his thought. God is not in the rock. God is in the soul of the sculptor . . . The God eternal is the God of the individual, the God manifest in personal consciousness, whose kingdom is within.

"I do not mean that Christ failed to recognize the God of the Hebrew people. But I am mindful that he thought and spoke under the limitations of his generation, his people, his environment, his interpreters. And I prefer to believe that when he dwelt upon the Fatherhood of God he was drawing God down from his throne on high to his throne in the human heart, and that the substance of the message which, above all, he meant to be remembered, was in these words: 'The Father abides in me and I in you.' It was the kingdom within which he came to establish. He recognized God as the inward monitor. He marveled openly that men should not know of themselves that which is right.

"If God is Love, then Love is God; if God is Spirit, then Spirit is God; if God is Soul, then Soul is God. 'Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven, your Immanuel, your ideal is perfect. God is the sublime in thought, the noble in burl, me heroic in deed. The will to do, the will to be, the will to attain, it is that which is Divine. Said Christ to the twelve: 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.' Who will venture to set up any other test? If it was sufficient for the disciples when they were twelve, is it not sufficient now that they have multiplied into millions, and have established the world over the various beneficent institutions which betoken the love of men for one another.' What matter all our differences if we can come together under this simple standard?"


Back To McKean County


If you have anything of genealogical or historical interest to add to this site, or if you are interested in becoming a member of the Painted Hills Genealogy Society, please contact us at:
Painted Hills

This page is maintained by the PHGS
Last Update January 30, 2020