General Elihu Case (Whig 13) Bradford and Susquehanna Counties 1837-1841
General Elihu Case, born September 22, 1790, Hebron, Washington County, New York; son of Reuben and Experience Nichols Case; moved with parents, Troy, Bradford County; married, Charlotte Palmer Case, 1814, children, children, Edmund Case, Irene Case, Benjamin Case, Nathan Palmer Case, Jareb Case, Hiram A. Case, Milton Case, Allen Earle Case, Adrial Hebard Case, Adrial Searle Case, Allen Case, William Penn Case, Adrial H. Case; died, April 13, 1865; interred Case Cemetery, Troy, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 13th district, 1837-1841.
The following interesting letter by Gen. CASE was written to be read at the Pioneer Festival at Montrose. It is a faithful sketch of the deprivations and trials incident to pioneer life – trials which to us, almost unendurable, but which to our forefathers were not of such magnitude. There are many yet living in Bradford, who will recognize in this letter a faithful portrait of the scenes through which they, too, passed, in subduing the forest, and making our County what it now is, one of the most productive and pleasant in the State : —
My father, Reuben Case, moved from Granville, Washington County, New York, in the winter of 1798, and took up two lots of land, which he bought of the State of Connecticut, situate then in Augustia township, Luzerne Co, now Troy township, Bradford Co, on which farm he built, the summer before, a log cabin three logs high, (but they were big ones,) covered it with bark, flooring and door of split basswood plank, with one end of the home left for a fireplace and chimney, a hole left in the bark roof for the smoke to go out. In this shanty he moved his family, consisting of a wife and three children, I being the oldest, then in my eighth year — arrived there the 6th day of March, 1798 — cut the road for four miles as the goods were moved, following along up the creek.
At that time there were only 18 settlers between my father's cabin and the river, (old Sheshequin as it was called) a distance of 20 miles, along up Sugar Creek. Our nearest mill was on the river, and I have frequently been to mill horseback, to John Shepherd’s some three miles above Tioga Point, a distance of some 30 miles by our then traveled roads.
Our nearest neighbor was Nathaniel Allen, five miles down the creek, who assisted in cutting the road when we moved on the farm. I still reside on the old lot, but a few rods from where the first cabin was built. At that time Troy borough was a wilderness, and in fact the whole western part of what is now Bradford, and the most part of Tioga County—with the exceptions of a few settlers along Sugar and Towanda Creeks, and a few on the Tioga river,—a wild wilderness, full of all kinds of game.
Our mills being at so great a distance, we made holes in hard-wood stumps, and with a pounder (as we called them) fastened to a springing pole, pounded out our corn, to make our bread and hominy. For tea we used sage and for coffee, pine bark and sap from the maple trees. All was peace among us; all were neighbors and friends; no lawsuits, lawyers, nor Justices of the Peace needed. Esq. Saltmarsh, who resided at Tioga Point, was the nearest Justice for years, and he had little to do in his office.
In 1802 we began to have some trouble about the title to our land. Pennsylvania claimed it, and sent on men to survey it, but the settlers would not allow them to survey, and drove them off — shot some — a Mr. Goben was shot at what was called “Peter’s Camp,” on the Tioga river, near Blossburg; and they tarred and feathered a man by the name of T. Smiley, burned up his papers, but let him go. He had been and procured contracts from some of the settlers, for the purchase money of their lots, and was then on Towanda Creek getting others to contract, but they, the mob, or Indians, as they were called, burnt up contracts and maps, and after using a coat of tar and feathers, and a short ride on the rail, they returned to their several wigwams. This war lasted for a few years only, for the settlers, finding that Pennsylvania owned the land, compromised and bought their farms over again, in 1806, and 7, I think.
In 1810 we were organized into Bradford County. Our first Court was held in the public house of Wm. Means, in what was then called Meansville, in his ballroom, in 1811 and 1812. I attended the first Court held in the County, and all the business was closed upon __ the week, instead of three and not finished, as is the case now.
We were in those days poor – but rich and happy. We had plenty of the finest kind of fish, shad, and trout, bear’s meat and hominy and venison fresh, salted, and dried, and the skins we dressed and made our pants, coats, hats, and shoes. For hats we used bear and coon skin, for comfort, no quarreling about politics, or office. Lawyers were scarce and no use for them. No trouble about Banks, or counterfeit money, a small amount of cash, a hundred or two of dollars was called a fortune, and he that could raise it was rich.
The scene is now changed. Where the wild once roamed, and had full possession of the forest, we have fruitful cultivated fields, thriving villages and boroughs, mills, furnaces, mechanic shops, merchants and tradesmen of all kinds, a population of thousands, railroads and canals, and can with satisfaction feel and realize the change. May our children and friends long live to enjoy the blessing.
Troy, Bradford Co., PA, May 20, 1858.
Bradford Reporter (Towanda, Pennsylvania) July 01, 1858, page. 2
Bradford Reporter (Towanda, Pennsylvania) July 01, 1858, page. 2.