Historical View of Clinton County, Pennsylvania by "D. S. Maynard"
The following sketch of Noyes township was written by John S. Bailey Esq.
This township was cut off from Chapman in 1875, and named in honor of Col. A. C. Noyes, the most prominent citizen residing within its limits. It is about eight miles in extent, and is bounded on the east by Chapman and Grugan; on the south by Beech Creek, on the west by East Keating, and on the north by Leidy. Its surface presents the same general appearance and characteristics as that of the adjoining township of Chapman, being rendered exceedingly uneven by hills and mountains. It is traversed its entire length, from south-west to north-east, by the West Branch of the Susquehanna, which receives the waters of Kettle creek, one of its principal tributaries, at Westport, which place is about equi-distant from the eastern and western boundaries of the township. The other streams of the township, flowing into the West Branch, are: Cook's, Milligan's, Dry, Shintown, and Drury's runs, from the north; and Smith's Fish Dam, McSherry's, and Hall's, from the south, and the Two-mile run which flows into Kettle creek from the east. This stream empties into the latter stream two miles from its junction with the river, hence its name. It has three principal branches, the Main, Middle, and Huling's, all of which are heavily timbered. Short Bend, Duck, and Saw-mill runs, are small streams flowing into the creek from the west; the two former are heavily timbered.
No approximate estimate of the quantity or value of timber, pine, oak, and hemlock, in the township, can be given; but there are millions of feet, worth perhaps millions of dollars in value. Messrs. Munson and Merriman, have thousands of acres on which a stick has never been cut, and some of the finest in the state.
Bituminous coal abounds in the mountains, in quantities of more or less extent. Beds or seams have recently been opened on A. C. Noyes', Karthaus Co.'s and Munson and Merriman's lands, from three to four feet thick. Munson and Merriman, have tested their coal lands, which lie in the vicinity of Westport, and found a seam of four feet in thickness and of good quality, also a seam of three feet.
The principal industry of the people is lumbering. Farming is beginning to receive, however, considerable attention, as the price of lumber has been so low, and sales so unreliable, that its manufacture is a very uncertain business to depend upon. The flats along the river are well adapted to growing all kinds of grain, and back from the river, the smaller streams, we have some fine plateaus of land; none better in the country, thousands of acres in extent. Col. Noyes, is clearing up several farms on one of these plateaus, equal to some of the best land on the river flats. He has quite a corps of men employed in his commendable business. Farming is a more safe, reliable, and independent business than lumbering, more peace and happiness flows from planting and sowing, particularly to men of small means and of families, than any other pursuit. Many of our citizens are beginning to see this, and have acted accordingly, within the last two or three years. There is however one prominent difficulty in the way of obtaining some of these tillable lands. The parties owning them, who generally live at a remote distance, will not allow them to be improved, will not sell, or even lease them, and this to the great detriment of the people who reside in the township. They should be willing at least to have these lands improved, or pay a good round tax for holding them.
The first settlement in the territory, now embraced in Noyes township, was made about the time of the Revolution, or shortly afterwards, on the lower or north side of Kettle creek, and near its mouth, by Richard Gilmore. The pre-emption warrant is dated July 21st, 1785, in Pine Creek township, Northumberland county, for the consideration of fifty pounds in gold; and Wm. McCombe deeded the same to Wm. Andrews, dated May 3d, 1794, for the consideration of 260 pounds in gold and silver; and Wm. Andrews deeded the same to James Caldwell, dated Jan. 23d, 1796, in consideration of one yoke of three years old oxen, one milch cow, and ninety-five pounds of gold and silver, Pine creek township, Northumberland county, Pa. James Caldwell was a revolutionary soldier, who remained in active service till peace was proclaimed throughout the land. He moved up to the mouth of Kettle creek about the year 1807, having purchased the above tract of land of Mr. Andrews. The land is now owned by Col. A. C. Noyes, C. R. Noyes and others. Mr. Caldwell was born in Lancaster county near the slate quarry, and removed from thence to Warriors run, near Watsontown, in Northumberland county, and from thence to Young Womanstown. Afterward remaining at the latter place two years, finally removed to Kettle creek, now Westport.
Mr. Caldwell had ten children, four sons and six daughters, viz. William, James, John, Andrew, Polly, Jane, Nancy, Betsy, Sarah and Hetty. He died about the year 1819 and the children were all dead but James, who will be 90 years old in March. The writer of this, visited Mr. Caldwell Feb. 8th, 1876, to interview him in regard to the early settlement of Noyes township. We found him in reasonable good health, in possession of all his facilities, hearing as good as ever, eye sight undimmed by the iron hand of nearly a century. He was very jovial and communicative, physically strong. We were invited to accompany him to the barn where, he personally fed the stock and did the out door chores as nimbly as a boy of fifteen. With pen and paper we took down the following conversation in reference to the early history in question.
We will state that Mr. Caldwell lives in Chapman township, on the south side of the river opposite the borough of Renovo, where he has lived for nearly fifty years.
"We moved up to Kettle creek in 1807, on the land which had been abandoned by Gilmore. Mr. Gilmore had cleared some eight or ten acres, which was now mostly grown up and overrun by elder bushes. The land on both sides of the creek stood thick with pine timber of a thrifty growth; all was a dense wilderness, not one settlement up on Kettle creek, now Leidy township. Isaac Herrington, had cleared some five acres on the south side of the creek, near the upper end of the flat on which Col. A. C. Noyes now lives. The first house or shanty we built, was of round logs, and was designed rather for a boarding house for hands, than a dwelling house. It stood near the bank of the creek, on the ground now occupied by the house of W. T. McCloskey. We boarded the hands in this while building the saw and grist mill, which stood where the shingle mill of Noyes and McCloskey now stands.
The stones in the grist mill were taken out of the Kettle creek narrows on the river below. They are now in possession of C. R. Noyes, and are in active service, same as three quarters of a century ago. People came with their grists to grind, from great distance, from Sinnemahoning, Driftwood, &c.
The origin of the name of Kettle creek, is legendary. A party of Indians were coming out of the creek in a birch bark canoe near the square rock opposite where the shingle mill now stands, when the canoe upset and tipped out their kettles and implements. Hence the name.
After we had built the mill, we built a good hewd log house below near the bank of the creek, located near where the end of the railroad bridge now is, and also where the P. & E. R. R. runs on the lower side of the creek. The size of the house was thirty by twenty-five feet, two stories high, a good porch and kitchen attached. Here we lived for many years and devoted ourselves to clearing the land and lumbering. We growed more corn and potatoes than we could use, made or manufactured all our clothing out of flax and wool which we raised; both boys and girls were brought up to toil, in and out of doors; the spinning wheel was the musical companion of the girls. Mother and I planted the orchard in 1807, many of the trees of which are now standing. We kept a nursery of small trees from which we supplied many of our neighbors in after years. Deer and fish were very plenty, and I presume, John, you would hardly believe me if I would tell you, that in our fish basket at the foot of the tail race under the mill in the fall of the year, we caught barrels and canoe loads of fish and eels. At one time my brother William came up on a visit with his canoe. We blew the horn for the dogs. We kept eight or ten. We started them and had four deer killed in a short time, loaded his canoe down with venison, fish and eels and he returned the same day. We generally had venison hanging up in the house all the time. Deer were almost as numerous as the trees of the forest.
Shortly after we came to the creek I called on Levi Hicks to go with me to kill some deer. As he had not time then, he directed me where to go. I went up the creek to the island, where Noyes & Bros. Saw mill now stands. The grass on the island and banks of the creek was nearly as high as my head. Before I got to the island I saw a deer in the creek. I shot and wounded a buck. I was not much of a marksman at that time. I continued up the creek some further, and one of the grandest sights burst upon me, I ever saw. I think I saw from, well I should say, from five hundred to one thousand deer feeding on this island and on the banks of the creek. I brought down a large buck, which satisfied me for that time.
We had no smith shop at this time nearer than the Big Island, or Dunnstown, where we got our smithing done. Our nearest school house was Drury's Run, five miles below. The first organized school was up the river above the mouth of the Sinnemahoning, nearly opposite where James Moore now lives, which was eight miles distant. An English scholar by the name of James Hill, taught sometimes in the former and sometimes in the latter house. Our family went to these schools and generally took their provisions and bed clothing with them and remained to the end of the term, the distance making it necessary for them to do this. The teachers were all paid by subscription and usually taught three months at a time.
We had no meeting house or preaching anywhere along the river at this time. Had no doctors nearer than Dunnstown. When any of the family needed one, we sent to that place. I never had one come to see me but once in my life and then he was of no use to me. The first road made along the river from below, through to the Allegheny river, was by a man by the name of Elicot, about the year 1805 or 1806. It was a poor excuse for a road, the brush was cut out through the bottoms, but in the narrows it ran along the edge of the water, and was impassable in ice and high water. We carried our freight principally in canoes. I have pushed in one day, from Dunnstown to Kettle creek.
Wm. Caldwell and Jack Lawson made the first two square timber rafts on Sinnemahoning, on the Driftwood branch, and ran them to Baltimore. In those days we had no ropes, but used hickory halyards instead. These rafts were 100 ft. long, by 20 wide. I made the third raft of timber the next spring and ran it to Baltimore. I made staves at the mouth of Fish Dam run, which I sold for $10 per M. and for pine boards we got $6 per M. We had no looms in those days nearer than Mill Hall and Rich's, where we got our weaving done. I was up on Sinnemahoning one time in company with Robert Barr. One Jerry Gaines who lived there misused a sister of Barr's; he met Gaines, an altercation took place, and resulted in Barr shooting Gaines in the leg. By advise of Barr's friends he gave himself up, was taken to jail, and when the day of trial came Barr had hosts of friends, he was cleared without any trouble and come home rejoicing.
We had to go to the Big Island or Dunnstown to vote. My father was a strong Democrat. I have rode horse-back to Muncy in one day, 77 miles; would take our horse feed and lunch along, and eat whenever we got hungry. At an early day when we lived at Warriors run near Watsontown, a revolutionary soldier by the name of Nathaniel Coulter, a drunken, dissolute character, came up to Kettle creek, and made the acquaintance of an Indian who had a very fine horse. They were traveling one day, sociably, when Coulter murdered the Indian for his horse, which he came riding home, and told of his adventure. A man by the name of McKinley who claimed to be a wood-ranger and an officer having authority, arrested Coulter for murder, and was taking him to jail, when Coulter escaped, as he no doubt intended he should; for McKinley kept his horse and watch, and Coulter ran away and was never again heard of."
Both James Caldwell's parents are buried in the family burying ground at Westport.
The following interesting sketch of the early days of James Caldwell Jr., spent on Kettle Creek, now Westport, we take from the Renovo Record.
"At the time of our settlement at the mouth of Kettle Creek. I was about 21 years old. The country was nearly one dense wilderness, save a few small farms ten and fifteen miles apart, occupied by settlers. In 1815, I married sheriff McKinley's daughter Rachel; by whom, two children were born. In 1820, she died; and eight years afterwards I married my present wife, Sarah Ann Stout.
During my residence on Kettle Creek, I often passed my spare time in hunting and fishing. On one occasion I set a large wolf trap for "varmints." After visiting it on three or four occasions, and finding the bait had been taken away each time, I concluded to make a tour of inspection through the forest and if possible, discover the cause. I had not proceeded far until I saw a panther. As I was not prepared to meet so formidable foe, I turned my steps homeward for my gun and dogs and the assistance of those residing in the neighborhood. As soon as I could get the dogs together I started with them to the place where I had first discovered the animal, leaving the men to bring the gun. The dogs took his track at once, and soon came upon him. A terrible battle ensued between them, in which the dogs where nearly worsted. I then advanced to their relief, armed only with a large knife, but when I arrived within a few feet of the monster, it ran some distance away; this gave much courage to the dogs, they pursued it hotly, when to free itself the panther took refuge up a tree. I remained near by until I was joined by the men. I was handed a rifle and fired, wounding him in the shoulder but not fatally, when soon another ball was sped into his body with fatal effect. After this shot he lapped his tail around a limb of the tree and remained in his position until life was extinct. The monster measured 11 feet 3 inches from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.
On another occasion I killed a young panther, which I skinned and dressed. The hind quarters I carried home for food, and never tasted better meat."
The first settlement at Shintown was made by a Mr. Long, about the year 1790, and after he abandoned it, a man by the name of Geo. Hunter succeeded him. Hunter lived here in 1806 or 1807 at the earliest, he had two sons and two daughters, lived in an old log house with the chimney built outside. Mr. Caldwell told me when they were on their way up to Kettle Creek some of the family stopped at Hunter's over night. The night being cold they piled so much wood on the fire place that they set the chimney on fire which came near proving disastrous to the house. Hunter subsequently moved west. He was succeeded by David Drake and David Summerson. Drake also moved west, in course of time. The property at this time was owned by John Caldwell, it was sold by him to David Summerson, and was afterwards sold out by the sheriff and again purchased by John Caldwell and finally sold by him to Jacob Kepler about 1831 who moved on it from Drury's Run. Samuel Kepler, Jacob's father was of German origin, and was a miller by occupation, and lived near Philadelphia, and moved from thence on the opposite side of the river below Dunnstown, remained two years, and moved from thence up the river near the mouth of Drury's Run, (the Indian name of which was "Peary-Weary-Mingo,") about the year 1801. He had three children, sons Jacob, Samuel, and one who was burned to death when a child by accidentally running into the fire. Samuel is still living, residing at Shintown. Samuel Kepler Sr. built a saw and grist mill at the mouth of Drury's Run, and improved the land along the river from the Renovo freight depot to the upper end of the borough limits. One of the first organized schools was at the mouth of this run, and was taught by an English gentleman and scholar, by the name of James Hill. Subsequently a man by the name of Austen taught the school. He is spoken of as being an excellent mathematician, understood surveying and navigation, his penmanship was very fine.
Jacob Kepler raised a family of twelve children, six sons and six daughters. His children and grand children, who now reside in Noyes township, number some sixty or seventy. Jacob lived to a ripe old age; he died about three years ago, and was buried at Shintown. The name Shintown, is legendary, being derived from an Indian chief called "Shin," or "Shene."
The warrant for the land is in the name of Shene, and dated 1785. The land on the south side of the river, now owned by E. Hall and others, was improved by Joseph Corns and John Perry about the years 1806 or 1807. Corns had built a house and made a small improvement on the flat below, now owned by Wm. Stout. He abandoned this and moved up to the lower end of the flat above, built a house and cleared some 10 or 15 acres of land. The house stood near where the house of David Stout now stands. John Perry improved on the upper end of the flat. A man by the name of Jesse Hall manufactured a lot of staves and cut a lot of walnut logs, which Corns refused to let him haul in and raft. It seemed the land belonged to a party in Philadelphia, which fact Mr. Corns was apprised of by Samuel Kepler, who lived on the opposite side of the river, and was urged by him to go to the city and buy the land. Hall being offended at him for refusing to let him haul and raft his lumber, got the start of Mr. Corns by purchasing the land from the owner in Phila. Corns had to leave the property and removed back to his house below, where he lived many years and eventually sold his purchase to John Bridgens, who also lived here many years and afterwards sold the property to Wm. Stout, who lives on it at the present time. John Perry did not persist in his part of the claim, but after the purchase by Hall, abandoned the property. Mr. Jesse Hall is still living in the west, over a hundred years old.
The land on the south side of the river at the mouth of McSherry's run, was settled and improved by Barney McSherry about 1810 to 1815; Mr. McSherry, came from Maryland and married a sister of James Caldwell Jr. Mr. Caldwell informed the writer that he assisted McSherry to buy land for which $50 was paid. He also assisted him to clear the land, taking his oxen over the river to help him haul the logs off. The land is now owned by Samuel Werts and part of it by Geo. Armstrong, who is married to a daughter of Mr. McSherry.
A. C. Caldwell, some five years ago, related the following incident to the writer: "All the family were absent from home but myself and mother, when the Indians very suddenly and stealthily presented themselves at the door, and demanded something to eat. Mother was much frightened and after hiding me in the closet admitted them and got them something to eat; she then slipped me out of the closet, and ordered me to ride to John Baird's, with all speed. The grass did not grow under the horse's feet. I soon gave the alarm and returned and found mother safe and alone, the Indians having gone. They proved to be friendly, and of the Seneca tribe.
Cook's run was settled at an early day by a man by the name of James McGinley, perhaps about the time of the revolution or shortly after. It was known for many years as McGinley's Bottom. This was then Pine Creek township, Northumberland county. The land was claimed by pre-emption right, and the warrant dated Aug. 2d, 1785; and patent issued in the name of Wm. Cook, under Gov. Mifflin, dated May 26th, 1795. The land was purchased by Wm. Cook of the McGinley heirs.
Wm. Cook subsequently sold this property to one Samuel Hains of Loyalsock township, Northumberland Co., and in time he sold to John Carskadden May 6th, 1795, and Carskadden sold to John Baird May 7th, 1810, both of Lycoming Co., Pa. John Baird came from New Jersey, and found this almost a wilderness, only a few acres cleared, with a small log hut on it. He was a remarkable man, a man of energy, of strong physique, distinguished for his endurance, perseverance and firmness. Intellectually he was a strong man, of iron will, full of courage. By his industry he made this wilderness blossom like a rose. He lived here for a period of over forty years and raised a family of six children, all daughters. Shortly after Mr. Baird moved here, he built a saw mill and subsequently a hewed log house which was located on the upper side of the run, in front of where Abner McCloskey's house now stands. Afterwards he built a frame addition to this, having the big stone chimney in the middle of the house. Here was meted out hospitality to all friends and neighbors without cost or price. All were welcome under his roof, and none sent away hungry.
All the early settlers were as a general rule noted for their hospitality. As there were no hotels at that day, they fed and lodged each other free of charge and with no begrudging hand. Mr. Baird was also a fisherman. A man by the name of Tom. Burns had a fish dam and basket in the river above, which Mr. Baird purchased the property right of by giving him a dog and a gun. Some nights he would catch such quantities of eels and fish in this basket that when he loaded up his canoe, it would be running over with them-more than it would carry.
During the first years of Mr. Baird's life at Cook's Run, he had a hard struggle to pay for the property, maintain his family and make necessary improvements. He had on one occasion, in one weeks time cut and hauled 100 saw logs to the mill, and was sawing them into broad fencing rails, when he became gloomy, the blues took possession of him, he sat down on a log in the mill, and pondered over his debts, looked on the dark side of things and became almost discouraged. When in this reflective mood, what should step into the mill and hop upon the carriage of the mill but his big rooster, flopping his wings and crowing several times, stepped near Baird; he interpreted this as a good omen and went to work. He went down to Kettle Creek, saw McKissen the millwright whom he owed for labor, and made an arrangement with him and his other creditors, to take fencing rails for what he owed them.
Mr. Baird had the first post office established at Cook's run and he also got the mail route from Dunnstown to Coudersport. He was appointed P. M. at Cook's Run and also had the mail route. This was the only post office for many years in what is now Noyes township. The office and the route were established in 1830. The Cook's run P. O. was abolished by the department in 1863. Mr. John Baird closed his earthly career in the year 1851. His property at Cook's run was divided between two of his daughters, Nancy, who is married Abner McCloskey, and Emily, married to John McCloskey. Each of these have raised large families. A. O. Caldwell, late of Westport, was married to Mary and Mr. Thomas Loveland, now of Lock Haven, was married to Sarah.
A man by the name of Conaway made the first improvement on the flat below Cook's run on what is known as the Millegan place, and subsequently John Barr came in possession of the property and planted an orchard, and made most of the improvements. This was in an early day and contemporaneous with the settlements at Kettle Creek and Cook's run. Br. Barr had three sons, William, Robert and James. This property was eventually purchased by Hugh Millegan, with the assistance of the Caldwells at Kettle Creek. Hugh Millegan had four children, two sons and two daughters, James, Hugh, Margaret and Jane. Margaret was married to Jacob Smith and Jane to Michael Stout. All the children are dead. The property is now owned by James Smith.
The first school house in this, now Noyes township, was built about the year 1825, on the lower end of the Millegan place.
The property of Mr. Caldwell at Kettle Creek on his decease, fell into the possession of two of his sons, John and Andrew. John owned the portion on the south or upper side of the creek, and Andrew, that on the opposite side. In 1848 John sold out to Norman Butler, of Montgomery county, and moved west, and in 1854 Mr. Butler, sold to Col. A. C. Noyes of New Hampshire, who came to the state in 1847, resided at Emporium, now Cameron Co., two years, came to Westport in 1849, following the lumber and mercantile business. He rented a room from Mr. Butler, and started a store. C. R. Noyes came to Westport, and joined his brother in 1850.
The first Post Office was established at Kettle Creek about 1847 or 1848. A. O. Caldwell was appointed P. M. The name of the office was "Kettle Creek." This office was eventually discontinued, leaving the place without any, for over a year or more, the nearest office being Cook's Run, over three miles distant.
Mr. Butler had the Westport office established Oct. 22d, 1850. The name was suggested by him, as there could not be two offices of the same name in the state, and "Kettle Creek," was the name of the office at the head of the creek. The name was confirmed by the Department, and Mr. Butler was appointed P. M. Hence the origin of the name of the village of Westport. The first mail route established, from Westport up Kettle creek to connect with the Jersey Shore and Coudersport pike, was in 1851, by the influence of A. O. Caldwell, who had the contract for carrying it. When Mr. Butler sold out to Col. Noyes, C. R. Noyes, received the appointment of P. M. April 1st, 1855, which appointment he has held for over twenty years and still holds it.
A. O. Caldwell rented his property to John Werts of Lewisburg, Union Co., in 1863 for a period of five years. Mr. Caldwell then lived in the old hewed log house, built by his father. John Werts moved into this with his family, worked the farm, lumbered and sold goods, which was the first regular store kept in the place. John Caldwell also about this time kept a kind of store, and in 1838 to 1840 Reber and Musser of Lewisburg kept a store.
After Mr. Caldwell had rented to Mr. Werts, he built on the lower end of his place a hotel, or rather a dwelling house in the first place, but subsequently turned it into a hotel. This was in the years 1836 and 1837. Mr. Caldwell rented this hotel to Edward Shults who did business here when Gov. Ritner was digging the old canal ditch. John Green now of Lock Haven kept it at one time. And Abner McCloskey Esq., from the year 1841 to 1844, when finally Stephen Werts purchased the property from Mr. Caldwell and kept one of the best hotels on the river from Lock Haven to Emporium, for a period of twenty years. Mr. Werts' wife was known as a good cook and a model landlady, by all river-men and travelers. Nelson George of Lock Haven had his stage office here for several years, and when the railroad was built to Westport in the fall of 1862, the revolution which followed in travel rendered it necessary to abandon this point as a hotel stand, which Mr. Werts did in the fall of 1864. The old hotel was laid in ashes in Feb. 1870. In 1857 and 1858 John L. Proctor built a hotel in Westport on the bank of Kettle creek, which he kept for two or three years. He rented the house to John J. Walton Esq., who kept it for two or three years. When Stephen Werts left the old hotel at the foot of the flat, he rented this hotel of Mr. Proctor and moved into it in Feb. 1867, and kept it till the time it was fired and burned by an incendiary the latter part of September 1873. This was a great calamity to Mr. Robbins, as he was just completing a large addition to his hotel. W. C. Werts' store was burned at the same time, the building however belonged to Mr. Robbins. He has since built a large hotel a few feet back from where the former one stood, which is the largest in the place, and one of the largest on the West Branch. It is well furnished and well kept, and is called the "Westport House."
In 1866 Mr. Stephen Werts built a commodious house opposite the railroad depot, to be used as a hotel, store room and dwelling house. Mr. Werts wife died in this house in Sept. 1867. In 1870 Mr. Werts rented the property to H. Whitcomb as a hotel, and moved to Charleston West Va. In the fall of 1870 he sold the property to John S. Bailey. Mr. Bailey kept store in it for over three years, and in July 1875 sold the property to J. H. Ryan and O. M. Montgomery, known as the firm of O. M. Montgomery & Co., who are now doing a large mercantile business. These parties rented the hotel part of the house to Mr. Samuel Kimbal, who has it well furnished and keeps a good house. It is called the "United States Hotel."
G. W. Drake kept the "Alpine House" for about fifteen years, but at the present time does not keep the hotel.
In 1865 L. G. Huling & Son built a store house, and were engaged in the lumbering and mercantile business, till the spring of 1869, when they sold to Kepler & Brooks. These parties carried on the mercantile business for two or three years. Then J. D. L. Smith conducted it a year or more, and at present John B. Saltsman is doing a very good and safe business.
Mr. A. O. Caldwell, in 1860, had a portion of his farm laid out in lots. That part adjoining the creek, and west of the railroad. The P. & E. R. R. Co., commenced negotiating about that time for the purchase of the property, for the building of their machine shops. The company and Mr. Caldwell failed to come to terms, and no sale was effected. It is alleged that they offered Mr. Caldwell a good and round price. They subsequently purchased Mr. Baird's property, where Renovo now stands. In 1863 Mr. Caldwell sold his Westport property, at a less figure than the company had offered him, to C. R. Noyes, who owns most of it at the present time. The population of the village at the present time is 226. It contains one church, Methodist, which was built in 1866. The first preacher who preached in the new church was J. L. Chandler. The first school house was built in 1853, the first teacher was a Mr. Shoemaker. The first shoe shop was started by A. McDonald, about 1860, and one of the first blacksmiths was old Harry Bowman. Norman Butler had a smith shop in his time and Charles Crepps did the smithing and old Tom Getter the tinkering. Samuel Kneply at the present time has a first class shop, and is considered one of the best workman in the county. A. B. Caldwell has a smith shop and does quite a business. Mr. Caldwell is a good workman in wood, and has a carpenter and wagonmaker shop connected with his business.
A. C. Noyes and Bro. Have a saw mill, well adapted to the manufacture of all kinds of lumber, particularly for cutting bill stuff all lengths, up to 80 feet. They give constant employment to many of our citizens.
In 1868, Noyes and McCloskey built a shingle mill, on the site of the old saw and grist mill of James Caldwell. W. T. McCloskey has charge of this mill, and manufactures about 500,000 shingles annually.
We will subjoin a sketch of Westport which we penned for a public journal sometime ago.
This village is situated on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, which river bursting forth from the mountain gorges from the southward, thence following in a due north course for a distance of two miles, wheels around at almost a right angle to the east, and loses itself again among the mountains. The location of Westport is in a valley from a half to a quarter of a mile in breadth. The mountains on the east tower to an altitude of almost one thousand feet, presenting an almost impassable barrier to its approach. The mountains on the west are of a gentle slope, and moderate height. Kettle creek the most famous trout and lumber stream, flows into the river at this point, dividing the village into two equal parts.
The soil of the valley of Westport is of rich and sandy loam, of but recent formation, the greater part being above the highest floods. The climate is salubrious and delightful, producing salutary effects on invalids.
Westport is easy of access. The P. & E. R. R. traverses the village at right angles with Kettle creek. The company has a good depot, one of the best on the road. The distance to Philadelphia is 264 miles; to Harrisburg 152; to Williamsport 58; to Lock Haven, 33; to Erie, 198; to Emporium, 40; to Renovo, 6; and to New York 354. The creek is spanned by two fine bridges, one railroad, and the other a county bridge.
At the present time the population of the township is 450. The election to divide the township of Chapman was held Jan. 19th 1875, and the result of the vote at Westport was unanimous for a division, also a vote was taken for the name Noyes. The following is the order of the court.
"And now Jan. 19th, 1875, the within petition, read and considered, whereupon it is ordered, that the public house of J. W. Robbins of the village of Westport, be the place fixed for holding the elections in the township of Noyes, until changed according to law. J. S. Bailey is appointed Judge, and Samuel Werts and Elhanan Hoyer, are appointed Inspectors to hold the first election in the said township on the 3d Tuesday of February next.
By the order of the Court.
C. A. Mayer, P. J."
At the first election held, the following officers were elected.
John S. Bailey justice of the peace, (W. C. Kepler is also justice of the peace who holds over from Chapman township) John Romey constable, J. W. Robbins Judge of Election, E. Hoyer and Samuel Werts inspectors, Geo. W. McDowell, Seymour Goodnoe, Daniel Smith, A. P. Stewart, W. C. Werts and M. McCloskey, school directors. A. Kepler, W. C. Kepler and J. F. Stewart, Auditors. James Smith and E. Hoyer Supervisors, James Grace, Township clerk. E. Hall and H. Denison overseers of the poor. The present school board, G. W. McDowell Pres., Daniel Smith Treasurer, and W. C. Werts Secretary.
There are three school houses in the township, Cooks Run, Westport and Shintown. The schools are generally kept open during the warm season, from four to five months, with about 125 scholars enrolled, and an average attendance of 100.
The first regular smith shop which was built to do custom work, was about 1820 by John Baird of Cook's Run, and the Caldwells of Kettle Creek, located near the river below Cooks Run, and near the old Millegan place. Samuel Conaway was about the first to work in the shop, Jacob Smith also did work in it. It was afterwards used by James Barr for a dwelling house, and lastly for a school house which was really the first in the township, and was over two miles above the mouth of Kettle Creek, being at that time near the center of the settlement. The first school house at Cook's Run was built by Newton Wells about 1854 and the first teacher a Miss Rynder. The present school house at the same place was built by W. T. McCloskey 1873. In 1867 the first school house was built at Shintown, and the first teacher Miss S. E. McCloskey, under the auspices of the Rev. Sturges of Renovo, a Presbyterian in creed. The first church was built at Shintown in 1866 or 1867. It is now under the control of the Methodist Evangelical denomination.
The first bridge that spanned the creek at Westport, was erected by the county in 1852, and the first R. R. bridge, within a few feet of the former, was built in 1859. The two bridges were swept away simultaneously almost, March 17th 1865, by the great flood, which did immense damage to the people of this township, in taking timber adrift. Parties lost whole rafts, all their winters labor swept away in a few moments by the besom of destruction. From this calamity they were never able to recover. People were grateful however to get off with themselves.
The above bridges were replaced in a short time with new ones.
Part of the following biography of the Hon. A. C. Noyes, we take from a late publication.
"Col. A. C. Noyes is a native of New Hampshire, where his ancestors, who were of Scotch-Irish and English decent, resided from the earliest settlement of the state. He was born in Grafton county, New Hampshire, Sept. 17th, 1818. His father was a farmer, and he spent his youth in the same healthful employment, going to the country school during the winter months, until he was himself competent to assume the role of teacher, when his winters were devoted to that, to a young man, delectable avocation. In this manner of living he attained to man's estate, when in conjunction with his father he engaged in lumbering on the Connecticut river. For this business he had a strong predilection, and as his knowledge of its requirements enlarged, so did his ambition for a wider field of operation. The pineries of the West Branch of the Susquehanna offered an inviting field, and thither his guiding star led the way. Hence, in 1847, he landed and located at Emporium, Cameron county, Penna., where he resided and followed the business of lumbering ever since. He has never been a politician, but being an extensive operator, employing a large number of hands, with whom he was always in sympathy, never fearing to doff his coat and take a hand in "logging" with the boys, and being generous, frank, open-hearted, honest and true to his friends, he has been frequently pushed forward for places of trust, and whatsoever the odds against him, with success. In politics he has always not only professed, but practiced democratic principles-that were drank from his mother's breast, pure and unadulterated, and to this day are without speck or taint. With a clear record for everything that is manly, honest and ingenuous, and a host of friends surrounding him, it is little wonder that he was nominated and elected to office repeatedly, where his party was in the minority.
In 1862, his Legislative district, then composed of Clinton, and Lycoming counties, nominated him as the democratic candidate for the house of Representatives. Hon. James Chatham, was the Republican nominee for re-election. The previous year Mr. Chatham had carried the district by four hundred majority. This Col. Noyes not only reversed, but added twelve hundred to it, really changing his district sixteen hundred votes. His term for which he had made such a gallant fight, was filled with such honest fidelity to his section and the state, that he was again put forward by his friends for the same position, and triumphantly elected. In 1864, observing the two consecutive term rule, he was not a candidate. In 1868, he was a Presidential elector, on the democratic ticket. In 1870, his Legislative district, which had been, by the apportionment changed to embrace Clinton, Cameron and McKean, again nominated him for the Legislature. Cameron was a republican county, and gave Schofield, the republican candidate for Congress, at the same election, forty-five majority, while it gave Col. Noyes three hundred and forty-eight democratic majority, and he was triumphantly elected. In 1871, his district was again changed, to comprise Clinton, Lycoming and Sullivan, and form what is called a double district, that is a district sending two members. Col. Noyes was again nominated, and again elected."
In 1872 he was again nominated and triumphantly elected, being the fifth time, showing conclusively, that he was of the people, for the people and justly entitled to be called the "Great Commoner."
In 1875 at the democratic convention at Erie Col. A. C. Noyes was one of the most prominent candidates for the Gubernatorial office. After a warm contest of many ballotings, between his friends, Bigler's and Barr's a compromise was finally made by nominating Judge Pershing, which was undoubtedly a mistake as the Col. was by far the more popular man with the people. He would without question have polled many thousand more votes than Pershing, or any other man before the convention.
We will quote again: "Col. Noyes is a jovial, whole souled, big hearted gentleman, large and commanding in appearance, over six feet in height, and weighing two hundred and forty pounds-a fine type of American manhood. His is a mind not brillant, effervescent, exhaustible, but solid, calm and deep seated. He thinks first, then acts, and with vigor and persistency. He is all, and more than he assumes; all that honest men want in a public officer-what Pope puts down as the noblest work of God, an honest man."