Little Known facts of Bradford County History

This is the eighth segment in a 20-week series that is being submitted by the Bradford County Historical Society in honor of the bicentennial of Bradford County which occurred on March 24, 2012 and is being celebrated throughout this year. The columns were originally written by Society President Leo E. Wilt in 1940.

Sullivan's Expedition

Encouraged by the success of Col. Hartley, Congress decided to send a large army to chastise the Six Nations, so that their raids upon the border be ended. Command was given to Maj-Gen. John Sullivan of New Hampshire. The plan was to have two armies unite at Tioga Point-the one under Gen. Sullivan to move up the river from Wyoming, the other under Gen. Clinton was to descend the Susquehanna from Otsego.

Sullivan's army assembled at Wyoming and by July 31, 1779 was ready to move. It numbered 2,539 men; 120 boats carried the heavy artillery, stores and provisions; 1,500 pack horses carried camp equipment and daily rations; and 700 beef cattle provided meat.

Profiting by Col. Hartley's experience in his choice of the Sheshequin Path, the route followed was the Great Warrior Path up the east side of the river. This is about the same as the present Roosevelt Highway No. 6 between Towanda and Tunkhannock. As we drive over the highway, it is hard to imagine Sullivan's army toiling over the narrow Indian path, strung out for a distance of five miles with soldiers, pack horses and cattle.

The army took 12 days from Wyoming to Tioga, with 7 night camps, all of which are today marked by granite markers and tablets, four of which are in Bradford County.

At Tioga, Fort Sullivan was built to serve as a base and to store reserve ammunition and stores, On Aug. 22, Gen. Clinton arrived with 1,500 men and camped on the Tioga Flats. Here was assembled on the soil of Bradford County an army of 5,000 men, which was about one-third of the whole Continental Army.

On the 26th the army moved up the Chemung and on the 29th met the Indians and British at Newtown. The enemy was decisively defeated and scattered. Sullivan moved up through central New York and laid waste all the Iroquois country. Forty-one Indian towns and villages were destroyed, crops burned, orchards cut down and all with a loss of only 41 men.

On Oct. 3, Fort Sullivan was demolished and the army marched to Wysox. There they embarked on the boats and reached Wyoming on the 7th. This campaign broke forever the power of the Iroquois Federation and made secure the frontier. Congress set aside a day of Thanksgiving for the success of the American arms.

Bradford County What Do You Know About It?

Quiz Number 8

1. Who was the first printer in Towanda?

2. What was the first newspaper printed in Bradford County and when?

3. Who taught the first school in Towanda?

4. How many families were in Towanda in 1812?

5. Who built the oldest house now standing in Towanda and when was it built?

6. Who built the first brick house in Towanda?

7. Who operated the first ferry in Towanda?

8. When was the Towanda Bridge built?

9. Who was the first prothonotary of Bradford County?

10. When was Towanda's "Great Fire?"

Answers on Page A8

Answers to Quiz Number 8

1. William Simpson

2. Bradford Gazette - August 10, 1812

3. Miss Wealthy Tracy (afterward Mrs. Ruben Hale), in 1803

4. Seven

William Means

Adam Conley

Harry Spalding

Oliver Newell

Ebenezer B. Gregory

Abijah Northrup

Watts Family (Francis Watts who died in 1808)

5. Col .Harry Spalding built in 1812 the house which is now the Episcopal Rectory. It was an inn and also a general store. Today in 2012 it is the Christini home at 1 York Avenue.

6. Andrew Irvine, a tanner, built in 1828 a two story brick home which stood where McCracken's Alleys now are.

7. William Means had a ferry at Franklin Street.

8. In 1834. In 1837 original structure was taken down, the piers raised, one more span added at the east end, and towing path added.

9. Charles F. Welles.

10. March 12, 1847