Saturday, September 9, 2017

Old Stories from Sabinsville & places in Clymer Township - Tioga County

1858 - Grasshoppers began to over run property in Clymer Township during the month of March, despite bitter cold weather. William Douglas reported that his farm was covered in the hungry insects which measured anywhere from half inch to an inch long. Locals became concerned... considering the terrible destruction a year before at Minnesota when farmers lost their crops to the ravenous bugs. 

1884 - Stillman Whitman heard his dog yelp in the barn and ran to see what was up. The mad bull inside was viciously attacking his four legged friend. Stillman attempted to rescue the dog by drawing attention to himself, and was also attacked. The two had to put up quite a fight with the enormous cow but made it out. They recovered on bed rest together and after a couple of weeks were back to work together. 

1889 - James Rexford butchered three hogs on his farm at Lansing. The combined weight was a whopping 1367 pounds. The pigs were only 11 months old, so they were quite large. 

1890 - Around town everyone referred to Chauncey Ackley as an odd bird. It wasn't surprising when he shot and killed a strange and very rare white owl on his property. The wing span was almost 6 feet long. 

1894 - Reuben Morton was digging through his barn at Mixtown when he found an old iron tea kettle. According to Mr. Morton the family heirloom was brought over on a ship when his ancestors relocated to North America in 1626. For years it was forgotten but now he had it on display.

1898 - It was a good year for hunting and fishing. Mrs. Justus (Ada)Beach caught the largest trout known in the area. The fish weighed 26.5 ounces and was almost 16 inches long. Charles Reese and Ernest Ladd were hunting on the mountain near Azelta and killed two wild cats. One weighed 30lbs and the other half its size. 

1900 - Henry & Estella Wamsley noticed the creek on their property near Azelta was abnormally dirty. Mrs. Wamsley had recently washed clothing in the stream that was now terribly stained and ruined. Their misfortune turned into excitement when it was realized that oil was leaking from a valuable pocket on their land. A celebration followed. 

1912 - Susan Wilcox owned a hen that produced 4 double yolked eggs which were laid in 4 weeks and weighed in at 1 lb combined. She made a bet that no one could beat her record. 

1914 - Business was good for Gary Stebbins, and got even better when he began to offer something unheard of. The fresh milk, butter, and eggs at his farm were now available to be ordered and shipped to customers right at their home. People were excited for the new convenient service. 

1936 - Several feet of snow was hindering trappers from checking their traps. Snow shoes became a hot commodity. Raymond Cole had a pair he purchased in Maine and had used them more for decoration purposes until this time. Bert Earl had to replace the ones he formerly used, which were made for his grandfather by local Native Americans in the early 1800's. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ghost Towns of Tioga County - Keeneyville


Stories from Keeneyville & vicinity
Other communities in the township of Middlebury: 
Crooked Creek, Hammond, Holiday Station, Holidaytown, 
Middlebury Center, Niles Valley, Shinglebury

In the beginning...
The first known person to live in the vicinity was George Abbot, well known as a hunter and trapper during the 1820's. In 1835 the village of Keeneyville was established, named after Elias Keeney, a local blacksmith. As the population grew, the area flourished with little businesses... unlike other communities which were built around booms and the railroad. Some of the industries & hot spots included: The handle factory, post office, grocery store, two hotels, furniture stores, farms, cheese factory, harness factory, blacksmith shop, doctors office, schools, churches, and more. Eventually businesses were sold, and many died or moved away. Nowadays a much smaller version of what once was, still remains. 

Youngest person to be tried for murder in the county....
Hugh Townsend, 8 year old adopted son of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Townsend, was shot on the first day of August while playing with friends along the creek. He died from the injuries. Foster Gee, Henry Gee, and Olin Gee told police that they were skipping stones in the water when two older boys, Lyle West & Roy Neal, began fishing across the creek. The older boys became frustrated when they couldn't catch anything because of the rock skipping. Lyle West had a gun used for frog hunting earlier. He raised the gun to give warning and said, "Stick 'em up." A shot rang out. The bullet hit Hugh in the knee, but apparently traveled upwards and lodged in his lungs. He was unable to be saved. The West boy was from Andover, Ny and had been spending time with his grandparents when this occurred. He was charged with manslaughter and sent to a reform school. 
*Hugh was the biological son of Harriet Townsend & Bob Goodwin
** News article from The Potter Enterprise - 1936

George Keeney was backed up with orders at his shop for broom and fork handles, and people were getting anxious. In order to speed up production, the handle maker purchased a 6 horsepower engine and soon was processing orders at a much quicker rate. customers in town were happy and back to work. 1866

During a 4th of July celebration at the Keeneyville Hotel, a walkway from the ballroom to the Inn/Tavern area collapsed. About 4o people fell 15 feet to the ground. Eighteen of them were injured, some more serious than others. 1881

Henry Shaff was feeding his farm animals.  After entering the pig pen, two of the hogs began to attack him, tearing his pant legs off and breaking through skin. His loyal mastiff came to the rescue and cornered the angry pigs. He quickly climbed the fence. Mr. Shaff's injuries were so terrible that he was bedridden for quite awhile. 1899

In September Ray Bosard mysteriously vanished from home and friends became worried that the poor man lost his mind. Talk around town is that he was depressed after all three of his fiance's had died a week or two before wedding. 1903

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Monster Trout of Pine Creek

Once upon a time, stories about the Monster Trout of Pine Creek were frequently told. This particular fish lurked in the creek between Galeton and West Pike, terrorizing anyone who neared the banks or entered the water. Swimmers, especially at Crandall Hole and Fallen Springs, said they had seen the fish up close... just before they ran for their life! They claimed it plowed through water like the Norge, but with supersonic speed. Some said they saw it lying in wait, submerged in the water like a submarine topped with a massive fin. Farmers declared they had given up trying to raise ducks, who were snatched up as a snack by the hungry water beast. They also claimed this hungry fish was to blame for the disappearance of small live stock, especially lambs and calves who were last seen drinking from the creek. Bill Hoey, a merchant from Galeton, sold hunting and fishing gear at his store... With an enormous trout like that, it was hard to keep enough fishing rods in stock. Mr. Hoey said that in the season, all day long fishermen would come and go, complaining about a mammoth trout that latched onto their line. It was pulled so hard that the cast snapped in two pieces like a toothpick. One fisher said the beast had jumped nearly two feet above water trying to steal his bait. According to Zeke Musto, he was crossing Pine Creek with a loaded wagon of hired men when they spotted the Monster Trout. He made a split second decision, slammed the brakes of the Ford tractor, and jumped into the water to catch it. Mr. Musto said he must have missed and was knocked silly. The next thing he knew, he was downstream quite a ways being helped from the water. The hired men backed the story. They claimed to witness the fish strike Mr. Musto with its gigantic tail, throwing him about 20 feet downstream. No one was ever quick or brave enough to catch the Monster Trout of Pine Creek, and eventually it must have moved on or died.