Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wilfred-vs William Passmore

 Found on the Internet  ( Kitty)

Stories by "Bertrande"

from the Syracuse (N. Y.) Post Standard
Syracuse Post-Standard, Aug. 29, 1948

Just Around the Corner

By Bertrand H. Snell
“- And this the sorrowful story,
“That’s told as the twilight falls;
"While the monkeys are walking together.
“Holding each others¹ tails!"
I wish I knew what has become of my old friend, Wilfred Henry Passmore. And, if any of you folks, out there, know where he is, show him the above quatrain and he’ll immediately recognize it as our ‘theme song’ during the years we were together.
I first met ‘Passy’ in Ansonia, in 1905. He and I went to work for the old Fall Brook division of the New York Central on the same day in October of that year.. At that time he as about 23 years old, a trifle above six feet in height; a fine figure of a man with no excess flesh - slim-waisted and broad shouldered.
A lover of good literature, he was - and, I hope, still is - a well-read man; a trifle on the reticent side among strangers, but perfect companion among friends. For something like two years, he and I worked together.
Indeed one of the other boys with a rather slim smattering of the classics always referred to Passy and I as “Diamond and Pythagorus!”
Through the years - as too often happens - we drifted apart and I have not set eyes upon him since the summer of 1928, although vague news of him has drifted in to me from time to time. His last address known to me is Lindley, Steuben county, N.Y. - although I know he’s no longer there. And I have heard that he was living in Corning during World War II.
Here’s a bit of a story about my buddy which may help explain why he was always a good guy to take along:
We’d been working on the Fall Brook for only a few weeks when I was assigned to a little telegraph office at Pine, along the banks of Pine Creek. Right out in the wilderness - that was. No highway, no habitations; nothing but trees, mountains, a single-track railroad - and solitude!
On my first night at this job, Passy went along with me. He had no assignment for that day, and he wanted to look over the new territory. It was November. The air was cool, but not too crisp, and traffic was light.
Along about 9:30 p.m. the Corning train dispatcher found that No. 83, the crack southbound fast freight, was losing time and was likely to arrive late at the Newberry Junction terminal. So, he decided to put the northbound passenger train, No. 10, on the siding at Slate Run and let 67 pass them there without stopping. In those days it was not unusual to side-track, a passenger train for the fast freights, which carried perishable goods in refrigerator cars and frequently, had faster schedules than the passenger trains.
 ( 2014--2015 -Somethings never change- This can still happen to Amtrak passenger trains.) "Kitty"
So the train dispatcher called me at Pine, and the operator at Cammal, some 30 miles south, sent us the following train order:
“- No. ten (10) eng. 2834 will take siding and meet No. 83 (83) eng. 3216 at Slate Run.” Both telegraphers repeated this order back to the dispatcher and he gave us the okay for delivery. As I finished the order, No. 87 was reported ’n the block: from DI tower, three miles north of me, so I sent my semaphore red, grabbed delivery hoop, inserted the flimsy in the metal clip and ran out to the track to hand the order to the engineer as he passed by at full speed!
During this time, Passmore had been busy at the office stove, fixing up some brandy sauce to garnish a big can of plum pudding with which we were about to regale ourselves. As the freight thundered by, he came over to the telegraph window and watched me deliver the train order to the fireman, who stood in the locomotive gangway and ran his arm through the big wooden hoop, with the order attached.
All this time there had been a vague sense of something wrong lurking in the recesses of Passy’s mind. As he explained later, he “had a hunch.” He had listened as I copied the train order, and he had also heard it repeated by myself and the operator at Cammal. Suddenly as he stood watching the freight cars jolt by the window, the elusive error came to him in a blinding flash - and he knew what to do!
With this partner of mine, to think was to act! With a quick sweep of his long arm he snatched the red lantern from its hook on the wall and burst through the door of the little shack just as No. 87’s caboose was rolling by. With a full, vertical swing and a wild yell, he let go of the burning lantern. It sped true as a wall-shot arrow and crashed through a window of the caboose!
As I stood, scared, speechless and bewildered, Passy spoke sharply:
“Wrong meet! - get in there quick, an’ tell Blackwell tower to put th’ red on ‘em - in case this don’t stop ‘em.”
-And he pushed me toward the door. I managed to stumble to the telegraph desk and followed instructions, while Passy stood outside and watched the disappearing tail lights of the fast freight.
The “rear shack” had scrambled to the caboose deck and was running forward, frantically “swingin” ’em up” with his lantern. At long last we heard the staccato “two short” engine whistle which announced that the engineer had seen the signal. T he little red tail lights grew no fainter - and at last the train stopped.
In the meantime my companion had explained:
“All the time you were completing that order I thought something was wrong about it, but I couldn’t straighten it out in my mind. You see, that damn ham at Cammal repeated the order wrong. He made the meetin’ point Cedar Run instead o’ Slate Run -and those two trains would have come together, sure as hell, somewhere between them two points! Or if I’m wrong about it, you’re in a hell of a pickle, right now!”
He tapped the key on the “block wire” and called Cammal. When he got an answer he asked:
“Where does 83 meet 10?”
And back came the reply, just as Passy figured: “At Cedar Run!”
Then Passy grinned at me and continued:
“You see, boy, I was right! Now here comes the con an’ the rear shack - so you listen to me. YOU noticed that wrong meet; You throwed that lantern through the cab window. YOU, my long-haired friend, are the hero o’ this here great occasion - and don’t you forget it!’
“But,” I gasped, “it wasn't me. You’re the guy that caught the error. I didn’t even notice anything wrong. I won’t -”
“You¹ll do as I say,” interrupted my mentor, “and no back talk, either. I’m not workin’ here tonight; I’m just a caller, and I never did a thing - that’s what I’ll tell the super when he investigates; so don’t make me a liar out o’ yourself for nothing!”
And at this point the crew of No. 87 stormed in, demanding an explanation of the late goings-on.
So that’s the way it was, folks. I became a three-day hero, while Passy lurked in he background, grinned happily and lied himself black in the face to keep me on my unearned pedestal!
Now, that’s just one of the many reason why I’d like to know just how my good old pal, Wilfred Henry Passmore, is doing at the moment. I was a fool to lose track of him in the first place

I have a feeling that Wilfred Passmore and William Passmore are the same person.  (Another article by this man says William Passmore was from Gillette, Pa which is near Troy, Pa.)

The following notes are from Dick Riffle's Memoirs about the Morgan Creek  Road residents that he knew . (This was posted  on the LP  Blog August 9, 2009 )
Next to (Bill Ayres) was Bill and Mary Passmore. He was the station agent at the Lindley railroad station. Mary was English and proudly called attention to her English Coat of Arms hanging on the wall.Rutty was their only child. Mary was very protective of him and never allowed him to leave the yard. This became an aggravation to him and at the age of 14 ran away from home. The police found him in Washington,D.C.. Shortly after high school,Rutty began to publish a newspaper called the " Bi -State Express". I helped him by getting paid ads from the local merchants in Lindley and Lawrenceville,Pa.

                                                     Glenwood Cemetery   Troy, Penna.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tobacco Farming in Lindley,N.Y.

Tobacco Farming and Tobacco Barns in Lindley, New York
 by Catherine M. Pierce
      Fall 2007-Winter 2008
      About CLRCurrent IssueIndexMuseumsAuthorsSite MapContact Us
      Tobacco Farming and Tobacco Barns
      in Lindley, New York
      1864 to 1949
      Catherine M. Pierce
(Numbers at end of sentences refer to the bibliography.)
        The Guidelines for the Local Historian published by the New York State
        Department of Education states “The Local Government Historian is both
        an advocate for historic preservation and a resource to his or her
        appointing authority on questions relating to history and
        preservation—to identify historic structures and districts.”10 As I read
        this after being appointed Lindley Historian in 2000, I thought of all
        the buildings –especially the barns and tobacco barns that were quickly
        becoming extinct in our community. Therefore, in the Spring of 2001, I
        started photographing the tobacco barns and older homes. When I do
        presentations to groups such as the Boy Scouts, I use these photos to
        illustrate the places important to our history and heritage.
      For about 80 years from 1864 to 1948/49, tobacco was a major crop in the
      farming business of the river valleys in the Lindley area. As stated in
      the Chemung County Journal June 2003, 3 “Tobacco Was King.” In the same
      issue, there is an article, “Goodbye to an Icon–Tobacco Barns”. Although
      written about the tobacco farming in neighboring Chemung County, the
      information is related Lindley tobacco farming. It is interesting to note
      that a tobacco leaf is part of the town of Big Flats logo.3 In order to
      keep this report brief, I am eliminating the process of growing tobacco
      which was labor intensive and involved most members of the family from the
      spring planting until it was shipped to a customer in the late fall or
      early spring of the next year.  
      However, a brief history seems in order. In 1850, a Connecticut farmer
      moved to Big Flats, New York bringing with him tobacco seed from the
      Connecticut River Valley. Observing his success with the crop, other
      farmers in the area started growing tobacco as a “cash crop” on the
      fertile river soils. Most of a farmer’s crops at that time were returned
      back into the farm production. However, tobacco growing afforded the
      farmer a means of selling a crop to pay his taxes and to acquire a cash
      flow. Most farms raised between 2 to 10 acres locally (1880 census). Some
      farmers had plantations, growing 40 to 50 acres at a season. 3 These were
      exceptions. An acre could produce 1200/1500 pounds. Prices varied over the
      years, ranging from 31/2 cents to 33 cents per pound. 8 Easy to see why
      farmers were tempted to engage in the strenuous job of growing tobacco.
           A demand for tobacco was generated by the Civil War. Most of the tobacco
      grown in this area was used to manufacture cigars. By 1868, this had
      become a successful business enterprise. Cigar factories were located in
      Corning, Elmira, Big Flats, and even our Pennsylvania neighbor
      Lawrenceville. 3 13 Railroads were used to transport the crops to the
      factories and warehouses which provided employment for large numbers of
      people. The need for tobacco began to decline during WW I when cigarettes
      were introduced to the soldiers. In 1933, Congress enacted a law setting
      quotas for crops —including tobacco 3. Locally, the last straw came during
      WWII, when it was difficult to obtain labor19. A few Lindley farmers did
      continue to raise tobacco. In 1948, Earl Stermer who had raised a tobacco
      crop and another local farmer—my father—Clarence Brant (who had been born
      and raised on a tobacco growing farm in Big Flats) took the last load of
      tobacco to the nearest market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To them, it was
      the end of an era.
      From about 1864 to the 1940’s, tobacco barns were found on most of the
      farms on the East and West banks of the Tioga River in Lindley. The
      Steuben County Directory of 1868/69 16 shows 5000 pounds of tobacco grown
      in Lindley in 1864. The 1874/5- census lists 1 tobacco grower with 11,000
      pounds produced for the 2 years and a second with 3000 pounds. M.F.
      Roberts in his Historical Gazetter of Steuben County (First Part) 1891 12
      states “ Presho (known previously as Erwin Centre, a Town of Lindley
      hamlet) “formerly was a great lumbering point but now is the center of a
      great extensive tobacco growing and farming district.)” In his directory,
      12 he names 20 farmers as tobacco growers. A catalog New York State and
      Northern Pennsylvania Leaf Tobacco Directory11 (about 1900) names 26
      farmers as growing tobacco in Lindley. (I am able to determine a possible
      date for this because my great grandfather and great uncle who were
      tobacco farmers in Big Flats are listed with their acreage.) The New York
      State Office of National Statistcal Services quoted a figure of 361 acres
      for Steuben County in 1917 and a production of 365,776 pounds.
      Electronic-mail on 8/13/06 from Glenn Bronson who lived in Lindley in the
      1930’s-1940’s, recalls at least 18 tobacco farmers and each of them had at
      least one tobacco barn. I quote these figures to show the extent of
      tobacco growing in the Lindley area. Not only had the demand for tobacco
      declined by the 1940’s but the number of large farms had, also, decreased.
      A May 22, 1970, Sunday Telegram article on Lindley lists only 11 large
      farms.19 Today, most of these are no longer in operation. Many of the
      tobacco barns have met their demise from windstorms, floods, and disrepair
      or being dismantled and used for other purposes. There are only 4 still
      standing in the town as of this date. Sad! Data was difficult to obtain
      because apparently, after the 1880 census, crop production was not always
      In order to compile this report, I attempted to document information about
      tobacco barns—especially the one located on the Elmer/Young farm recently
      purchased by a Mr. Hawbaker for a proposed gravel pit. I checked various
      sources and made calls in relation to this. According to the Agricultural
      Report for the 1880 Census, a tobacco barn was usually 24x80 or 28x100
      feet.and 20-24 foot high with tiers five foot apart for storing the
      tobacco. The average cost was $200 to 300. The barns had horizontal or
      vertical side vents for ventilation. Some had roof vents. Eric Sloan’s
      book, American Barns and Covered Bridges,14 indicates the vertical
      ventilators were New England origin. The Big Flats barns have vertical
      ventilators while Lindley barns have the horizontal type. Other books
      describe a Lancaster type barn.7
      As near as I can determine, the tobacco barn on Elmer/Young/Hawbaker
      property would probably have been built about 1868/70 when the demand for
      cigar tobacco was the greatest. The Chemung Journal3 article states “
      tobacco barns multiplied during this period.” At one time, there were 200
      tobacco barns in Big Flats alone. Today, it is difficult to find 6 to 8
      and generally, they are in poor condition.3
      Unfortunately, there seem to be few records showing how much tobacco was
      produced on the Elmer/Young farm. The Steuben County Co-Operative
      Extension does not this information available. However, a former resident,
      Durland Weale who grew up in Lindley in the 1930’s states that entire
      “flats” in that area were full of tobacco plants.
      This barn involved in this report measures 32 x’s 128 feet with the
      horizontal venting system.21 It still has the ‘stripping room”-a vital
      building needed for the processing of tobacco. From my observations, this
      is the only stripping room remaining locally. The 1880 Agricultural Census
      Report states “a 28x 80 barn with 24 feet posts and five tiers would house
      4 acres of 6000 plants-indicating that at least 4 acres were under tobacco
      cultivation at some time on the Elmer/Young farm. A well-built barn of
      these dimensions with a stripping shed would have cost approximately
      $600(1880 census report).
      The 1900 census shows Fred Elmer and his parents living on the farm. In a
      1940 Farm Directory, Fred is still there and has switched to a dairy and
      poultry farm. Mr. Weale told me that in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s, Mr.
      Elmer, an elderly gentleman sold the farm to the Young family and moved to
      Addison. The Young family had one of the largest dairy farms in the town.
      The former Elmer farm provided additional land for their dairy cattle and
      beef farming until they sold it to Mr. Hawbaker recently.
      About the same time that tobacco growing began in Lindley, the National
      Grange was organizing and building their meeting places. The Steuben
      County Historian’s office recently requested photos of the old Lindley
      Grange Hall. The County Historian expressed concern because like the
      tobacco barns, these buildings are gradually disappearing. As historians,
      it is our duty to identify and to preserve as much history as we can about
      these buildings.
      As a person going into her 77th year this fall and who grew up on a farm,
      one of the hardest things that I experience is watching the decline of
      farming and of the farm buildings in this region. Someone made the comment
      that “once these buildings are gone—they are gone for good.” To me,
      tobacco growing and tobacco barns are a part of our history and heritage
      that future generations will not know or appreciate unless we take steps
      now to preserve them
      Catherine M. Pierce
      Town of Lindley Historian
      August 23, 2006
      1. Personal Interviews with Carl Albers Co-operative Extension Bath,NY,
      Glenn Bronson (E-mail), Marian Connelly, Richard E. Pierce, Sally Stermer,
      Elaine Toby and Durland Weale.
      2. Census Records, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1874/5, 1880 Agricultural Census
      Report, 1900, 1910, 1920
      3. Chemung County Historical Journal June 2003, Chemung Co. Historical
      Society , Elmira,NY
      4. Cigars and Cigar Boxes—1880-1920, Chemung Co. Hist. Soc.
      5. Fink, Daniel, Barns of the Genessee Country 1790- 1915, James Brunner
      Publ. 1987 Geneseo, N.Y
      6. Hakes, Landmarks of Steuben County, 1896
      7. Historical Agricultural Resources of Pennsylvania 1700-1960, River
      Valleys Tobacco Culture 1870-1930
      8.Lindley Heritage Days Committee, Looking Back 200 Years Lindley, NY
      9. Munsell, History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania 1883 Chp. 8,
      10. New York State Education Department Guidelines for the Local
      Historian, src.guidelineshtml 1/05/01
      11. New York State and Northern Pennsylvania Leaf Tobacco Directory
      (Published about 1900, copies at Steuben and Chemung Co. Hist. Societies)
      12. Roberts, Millard F,. Historical Gazetteer of Steuben County, NY,
      Syracuse, N.Y., 1891
      13. Russell, Marian and Others, Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania 1831–2006,
      Multi Media Corning NY
      14. Rural Surveys, Rural Register of Steuben County 1940, Ithaca, N.Y.
      15. Sloan, Eric, American Barns and Covered Bridges, Reprint of Funk,
      Wagnall 1956 Dover Publ. Mineola ,N.Y.
      16. Steuben County N.Y. Directory, 1868/69
      17. Steuben County Directory, 1920
      18. Stuart, William, Who’s Who –Steuben County , N.Y. 1935, Canisteo, N.Y.
      19. Sunday Telegram May 22, 1970, Elmira, N.Y.
      20. Wellsboro Agitator, Bradford Co. Tobacco Growers, Wellsboro, Penna.,
      May 13, 1901
      21. Wright, Ginny and Jerry, Elmer Tobacco Barn, Finger Lakes Chronicle V.
      iv #3 May 1967, Corning, N.Y
      Current Issue | Site Map | About CLR | Email:
Lindley Tobacco Barns  2001
Unfortunately, only the Harris Tobacco Barn in this photo still exists- (2015)
Following the  publication of this article ,the NYS Office of Parks. Recreation and Preservation sent a representative to study several of the local barns. At that time, the Albany  office was unaware that tobacco had been raised locally.
The above  article was published in the Crooked  Lake Review -which was published by Bill and Martha Treichler  of Hammondsport, NY.  for a number of years. The  Crooked Lake Review is no longer published, but the articles about local history can still be found on the Internet. An index of articles is available.
Since many local barns are meeting their demise, a 2015  project of the Lindley Historian's office will be to photograph and collect photos of  Lindley barns.   If  someone has a photo that they would like to add to the collection, the Historian's Office has  a scanner and will make a copy .  Be sure to include your name and address so the original photo can be returned to you. 
Thanks- Kitty

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

                                                   From a "Penny" Post Card

                                                            Merry Christmas
                                                   a Prosperous, Happy New Year
                                                                Dick &  Kitty

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Changes in Lindley



Built 1898

Trivia  --   A FEW CHANGES IN LINDLEY 1790-2004


Land – Farms-- Homes


1790        Wilderness –First  settlers arrive- Build first log cabins, plant small fields of grain

              Oxen are used to plow fields


1855        Fields are larger –small dairy farms grow apples, grain --- Horses are replacing the oxen for preparing fields--  Homes are changing from log to frame ( boards for homes are being sawed in the many sawmills)


1875        178 farms - add tobacco to the crops – Larger frames houses built.


1972     Less than 12 large dairy farms most of which are located on Rt.15 or on River Road       

             Many owners of small farms now work in factories, or the railroad

            Since 1945 – many people use mobile homes for their houses


2004         1 large dairy farm remains.  Other farmers raise hay, corn and beef cattle to sell .




1790        40 members of the Lindsley family and their slaves

1855    704 people    

1875        1481        2x’s as many people in 20 years         Why??? Tannery Industry started after Civil War (1865) and new families arrived

1960     1313

1980     1831         An increase of  500 people in 20 years

2000     1881         Only 400 more people than 125 years ago   



1790        1 male school teacher who taught all grades, all subjects


1855          Several one room schools with only 1 teacher.  Most students do not attend school beyond the 8th grade. Children walk to school.  Woman teachers are not allowed to marry.


1912     1 room school at Presho adds 2 more rooms. High school students ride the train to  Corning, and live with someone there during the week for about $2.50. Return home for the weekend. 


1920’s-1930’s   9 one room schools with grades 1-8  Within walking distance of most families.

                          Women  teachers are now able to get married and teach.   (Gt. Grandparents)


1933-4     First bus takes students to Painted Post, Corning for grades 9-12       (Grandparents)


1957          One room schools close. Some are torn down. Some are used for homes.

Lindley/Presho School opens with 210 students  (K-6th grade ) and 

            9 teachers.  Few students walk. Grades 7-12 are bussed to Painted Post and
             Corning.                                                                                                                   (Parents)


2004    L/P   176 students (grades K-5th )   6th –12 go to Painted Post , Corning  

            ? teachers   9/10 buses transport most students to L/P           



1790        Ministers travel town to town to preach. Colonel Lindsley holds services at Meeting  House Hill –near Lindsley Burying Ground (Cemetery) located on Route 15.


1800’s  Presho Methodist , Lindley Community  and other churches are built.


2004    3 Churches   Presho Methodist, Lindley Community, East Lindley


Roads and Railroads


1790        Tioga River is used as means of travel.   Native American trails used as roads


 1792    Colonel Williamson hires people from Germany to build a road from NY State

 Route 15 follows some of this old road. Horse and wagons, buggies are used for travel.


1839      First railroad is built from Corning to Pennsylvania      There were 4 depots (Railroad Stations) Arks, rafts carry lumber, grain to markets in Chesapeake Bay, Md


1900        Automobiles are replacing horses and wagons.


1922        Dirt road from Lindley to Presho  is paved.(Concrete)   People use the train to travel.


1940’S-1980’s    Trains no longer carry passengers. All the Railroad Stations are gone. One was  used to build a house. Trains have 50 to 100 cars that carry coal, grain, etc.

  4 lane highway to Presho from Painted Post

2004          Usually only 1 train a week –(no coal)- Carries supplies for business in Penna.




1840’S-1850’s     Farming, sawmills, logging,  blacksmiths, wagon ,barrel makers .Tanneries make leather for shoes, boots, harnesses ,and trunks .Flour mill.  Tenant farmers.


1870’s        Early tractors are used on farms. These will replace horses. Hired men or girls.

                   2 post offices-one in Presho, one in “Lindleytown” (near Lindley bridge)


1930’S        3 or 4 grocery stores supply needs of Lindley people.1 or 2 tourist homes for  travelers. Some Lindley residents now drive to Corning or Painted Post to work   in factories, hospital , on the railroad.   Cheesefactories /Condenseries serve the dairy industry.

 Electric and telephones become popular.


1950’s    Television is introduced to Lindley residents.  New homes are smaller with fewer occupants.


1970’s –1980’s   Computers are new.  Some high school students drive to school.                 


2004               Brownies Mini Mart, Lawrenceville , Corning, Mall  serve shoppers

                      Lindley Woodworks, Smith’s Trailer Sales, Chilson’s Roofing, Demings

                      Garage. Most residents now commute (drive to work in Painted  Post,      Corning )

                      1 post office  -   Cable Television   -       (Video games ,VCR’s DVD’)
The above was compiled in 2004 for a Lindley-Presho  4th grade class that  asked about changes in Lindley.

             Since 2004, a "new" bridge over the Tioga River opened, County Rt.73 was extended to U.S. Rt.15, the Lindley-Presho School closed , all students are bused to Erwin Valley, Painted Post or City of Corning, a gravel pit opened, State Line Camping moved, several homes, businesses and farms were lost or affected by the construction of Interstate I 99, a new bridge spans the Cowanesque River, U.S. Rt. 15 became Steuben County Rt. 115, the Railroad became more active with Pennsylvania gas well business and cell phone towers appeared on the hillsides..

Although not in the Town of Lindley, Walmart came to near-by Gang Mills and a large shopping complex developed that serves Lindley residents.

But the  population of Lindley remains about the same .

 And hopefully, many lives are being saved with the opening of Interstate -99.
            What other changes have occurred in the past 10 years???

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Follow-up of German Builders of the Williamson Road (1792)

 The question has been asked--- What happened to the German families who participated in building the Williamson Road-in 1792?

Although not directly connected to Lindley history , it is to Steuben County history. As Commentator - Paul Harvey-used to say "The rest of the story"  

  This information was discovered when someone in Markham  researched the family history .

You never know what interesting stories you will find as you tract down ancestors.  

             A Little  History of The Town of Markham, Ontario, Canada 

William Moll Berczy, Founder of Markham
William Moll Berczy, Founder of Markham
The modern history of the Town of Markham began in 1791 when John Graves Simcoe (British Revolutionary General) was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. During his term as Lieutenant Governor, Simcoe's actions impacted directly on Markham. His concern for improving the military security of the new territory led to the clearing of Yonge Street and a system of free land grants, both of which greatly influenced the establishment and growth of what became the Township of Markham. Simcoe was also responsible for giving the Township its name, after his friend, William Markham, the Archbishop of York at the time.

The first European settlement in Markham occurred when William Moll Berczy, a German artist and developer led a group of approximately sixty-four German families to North America. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1792, they had originally intended to settle on land in the Genessee area of New York State. ( ** As has been mentioned These families were recruited through Berczy by Colonel Williamson to build the Williamson Road from Northumberland, Penna. to Bath, N.Y. and to Geneseo, N.Y.  Sections  of U.S. Rt.15 through Penna. and NYS followed the former Williamson Road that these families struggled to build.) 
On their arrival on their in New York, however, disputes arose over finances and land tenure and the Berczy Settlers were forced to look elsewhere. In May of 1794, Berczy negotiated with Simcoe for 64,000 acres in Markham Township, soon to be known as the German Company Lands.The Berczy settlers, joined by several Pennsylvania German families, set out for Upper Canada.Sixty-four families arrived that year and their first few years proved difficult, as a result of harsh winters and crop failures.A number of original settlers moved back to Niagara, but those who stayed managed to prosper eventually.
Union Mills on the Rouge River, built 1841, burned 1930s
Union Mills on the Rouge River, built 1841, burned 1930s
Other groups soon arrived, including French Revolutionary Émigrés, United Empire Loyalists, Pennsylvania Germans and migrants from the British Isles, all looking for a better way of life.
Markham's early years (1794-1830) were characterised by the rigors of homesteading and the development of agricultural industries. The township's many rivers and streams soon supported water-powered saw, grist and woollen mills. Small hamlets such as German Mills, Almira, Buttonville, Cedar Grove and Unionville began to spring up at the mill sites.
The people of Markham were always politically active, and with the heated tensions between reformers and the family compact, leading up to the MacKenzie Rebellion of 1837, Markham found itself bitterly divided. Markham, as part of the riding of York, elected the rebel leader William Lyon MacKenzie as their member of the Legislative Assembly on five occasions between 1828 and 1836. He did not sit for long, however, as each time he entered the house, he was expelled for his republican views.
As a result of this and other issues, some Markham farmers risked arrest by openly supporting the rebellion of 1837 while others under Captain John Button raised armed troops of militia to quash the violence.
With improved transportation routes such as Yonge Street and the growing population, urbanisation increase. By 1857, most of the township had been cleared of timber and the land was under cultivation. Villages like Thornhill, Unionville and Markham greatly expanded and new, specialised industries such as wagon works, tanneries, farm implement manufacturers and furniture factories sprang up.
Buttonville General Store, photographed c.1900
Buttonville General Store, photographed c.1900

Unionville Main Street, c.1960
Unionville Main Street, c.1960
Borrowed from History of Markham  on the Internet with my notes in red.  Kitty

Monday, December 1, 2014

Susquehanna Trail (From Ancestry .com)

One of the most remarkable pieces of road construction ever attempted in this country and that, too, at a time when facilities for doing this kind of work were of the crudest character and most of it had to be done by hand, was the building of what was known as the "Williamson Road."
In the year 1778 a large body of land was granted by the state of Massachusetts to certain individuals on the Genesee river in western New York state. Among these grantees was Robert Morris of Philadelphia and he subsequently sold 1,200,000 acres of this land to Charles Williamson, who was in reality acting for Sir William Poultney of Bath, England.
At that time the limits of Northumberland county, of which Lycoming county was a part, extended to the line of New York state and adjoined the Morris and Williamson purchase. Williamson had located at Northumberland where he awaited the arrival of 500 colonists whom, he was advised, were being sent to America by Sir William Poultney.
At the time there was no road by which these colonists could reach the tract of land in New York state so Williamson set about to devise some way by which a road could be built through the wilderness. He applied to the legislature and it granted him the paltry sum of $500 but with this as a starting point, he set about the work of construction. The colonists had arrived from England and he took them to the Loyalsock Creek to which point a road had already been built.
He used the men of the party to do the actual work of building, while the women and children followed on behind and encamped in rude shelters which were erected from time to time as the work progressed. The women did the washing, cooking and baking. In this way the road was constructed through Williamsport, up to Trout Run, over Laurel Hill and on to what is now Painted Post in New York state. Two brothers, Robert and Benjamin Patterson, who had rendered distinguished service in the Revolutionary war, and who were familiar with the country, acted as guides.
Operations were begun in May or June, 1792. An advance detail was sent ahead to erect log houses as depots for supplies and also as a shelter for the women and children. These depots were of a substantial character and were afterwards used as dwellings, notably the one at what is now Liberty, in Tioga County, which became known as the "Blockhouse" so called because when the building was torn down and rebuilt, the logs were sawed into blocks about the size of ordinary building stone. This "Blockhouse" subsequently became a famous hostelry.
The journey and work were of a very arduous character. The section through which the road ran was an unbroken wilderness, much of which had never been trodden by the foot of white men. Great trees had to be felled, bridges built and the road graded. It was a stupendous task for that day and would be no small job even at the present day.
The road was finally completed through to what is now the city of Bath, in the summer of 1796, and was a lasting monument to the genius and determination of Charles Williamson. Unlike so many enterprises of this character, funds were not lacking to facilitate the work. Williamson had back of him a very wealthy man and he furnished the means with which to complete the undertaking.
Williamson founded the city of Bath and became a very prominent man in his day. He instituted a number of attractive sport events at Bath, among them being a series of horse races, which attracted blooded stock from as far away as Kentucky, all of which were driven over the "Williamson Road". Williamson took the oath of allegiance and became an American citizen. After he had completed the work, he transferred the property to Sir William Poultney and sailed for the West Indies but was lost at sea.
The "Williamson Road" became one of the most important highways in the state, a great thoroughfare, and played an important part in the settlement of western New York. Stage coaches operated over it for a long time and today it is part of the wonderful scenic highway, the "Susquehanna Trail" which runs from Washington, D. C., to Buffalo, that portion of it in Lycoming County through a section that for the beauty and grandeur is unsurpassed by any other in the United States.
There is no section of the United States in which the scenery is more imposing and diversified than that of Lycoming county. High mountain ranges, lofty peaks, narrow gorges and overhanging rocks are interspersed with lovely valleys and long stretches of fertile farming land. It was the home and hunting grounds of the Andastes Indians, who were among the most enlightened of all the eastern tribes.
Through the heart of this section runs the famous Susquehanna Trail, universally conceded to be the most picturesque scenic highway in the eastern United States. Taking its name from the beautiful valley through which it passes, the trail is an unbroken ribbon of concrete four hundred and fifty miles long, connecting two of the most important places in America, the National capitol and Niagara Falls, the natural wonder of the western hemisphere.
From Washington the tourist may take one of two routes, either through York to Harrisburg or by way of Gettysburg, next to Valley Forge, the most sacred spot on the American continent. By either route the trail passes through some of the most beautiful scenery of a quiet character to be found in the state until it reaches the state capital at Harrisburg. North of here the character of the scenery changes entirely.
For fifteen miles the highway clings to the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River along the base of Kittatinny Mountains until it reaches the magnificant new concrete bridge at Clark's Ferry from whence an enchanting glimpse may be had into the Juniata Valley, famous in poetry and song. Here the road swings to the western bank of the river which is follows to Sunbury, passing through a country where pioneer history was made and fringed by beautiful hills all the way. At Sunbury the highway crosses again to the eastern side of the river which it follows to Williamsport.
At Sunbury may be seen the great bluff, known as Blue Hill, three hundred feet high which dominates the entire valley and is an imposing spectable from any point of view. Crossing the river at Northumberland, the former home of Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, the trail enters the gateway to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River Valley.
From here it proceeds through a country full of historic lore, the habitation of the best examples of the red men who ever lived in the eastern part of the United States, the home of Shilellimy, the over-lord of the five nations, and the celebrated Logan, who was a man of the highest intelligence and character.
Passing through Montandon, opposite Lewisburg, the seat of Bucknell University, and Milton, near which is the site of the old frontier fort, Freeland, the road reaches Muncy at the base of the Bald Eagle range of mountains. Just above here is the spot where the heroic Captain John Brady, the famous Indian fighter, was killed and a little farther on is the site of Fort Muncy, marked by a beautiful bronze tablet erected by the Lycoming Historical Society and Mr. and Mrs. Henry G. Brock.
Stretching a little further on, the trail reaches the borough of Montoursville, named for the son of Madame Montour, a celebrated half breed who had her village, Otstuagy, on the river just south of the present town and then on to Williamsport.
Here the trail bends to the north following the beautiful Lycoming Creek to Trout Run at the base of the mountains, with towering peaks rearing their majestic heads to heaven. Up over the mountains the ribbon of concrete winds its way, passing through a section of extreme wilderness and surpassing in beauty any scenery of like character in the United States. This strip of fourteen miles is the delight of tourists and all who have ever drive over it are loud in praise of its marvelous sublimity.
Emerging from the mountain fastness at Steam Valley the trail follows the old Williamson Road, built through an unbroken wilderness in 1798, until it reaches Liberty, the site of the famous block house station used by the builders of the Williamson Road and which is also marked with a tablet erected by the Wellsboro chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The trail then passes through valleys nourished by the beautiful Tioga river, runs on north through Blossburg, Mansfield and Tioga until it reaches the New York state line where the valleys are wider and the country more rolling. Thence on to the finger lakes, shimmering in the sun. Painted Post is on the line, a place celebrated in the early history of the section through which the highway passes. Here in 1791 a conference was held with the representativs of the Five Nations and Colonel Pickering, growing out of the treaty of Fort Stanwix, entered into in 1784. And here Red Jacket made one of his famous addresses. The remains of the Indian village may still be seen at the "Post."
From here the trail swings to the northwest through a bolder section until Williamsville is reached where the road branches, one trail leading to Buffalo and the other to Niagara Falls.
The trail is especially beautiful in the fall when the mountains and hills through which it runs are clothed in their garb of russett, crimson and gold foliage, presenting a picture unrivaled for either bold or quiet beauty.
Volume 1, pp. 526-530.
Dennis Abbey Photo
Not sure of the source of this history on -but it does describe why the section of  U.S Rt.15 in Lindley was sometimes referred to  as " The Susquehanna Trail ".
The rest of the  Williamson Road story
There is little known local fact about the Williamson Road and the Germans who were involved in building it . Some of their descendants live in Markham, Ontario- Canada.( north of Toronto ).
 In researching their family genealogies, they discovered that following a dispute with Col. Williamson, members of the German families moved to Ft. Niagara, Canada.  There the British General Simcoe aided them by granting them a tract of land north of Toronto . This became Markham. Some of the descendants visited this area a few years ago and presented a program on the history of their community.
Thanks ,Dennis for another great photo of I99 and the hamlet of Lindley, N.Y.