Little known facts of Bradford County History


This is the ninth 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 and is being celebrated throughout this year. The columns were originally written by Society President Leo E. Wilt in 1940.

The French Asylum

In April 1794, Durham boats could be seen laboriously poled up the Susquehanna from Catawissa. They contained the goods and chattels of a group of French refugees, fleeing from the horrors of the Revolution, to settle in the new republic on the Western Hemisphere.

At Asylum, they laid out a town with wide streets, built about fifty log houses, had two stores, an inn, a grist-mill and a chapel. They bought thousands of acres of wild forest land in what is now Sullivan County and built a road to Forksville.

The Colonists were of the best blood of France, some of Royal birth, some of the clergy, some soldiers and a few had been of the King's household. They brought into the wilds of Bradford County a touch of the joy and charm of living, which had heretofore been lacking among the early settlers. And they also brought into the community hard cash, for they paid well hand hired all labor done.

The settlement grew in importance and by 1800 "Azilum" was the most populous village in the county. Many famous visitors were entertained in great style with banquets and outdoor fetes. Louis Philippe Duc D'Orleans, afterward King of France, spent a week here in 1795. Talleyrand, who played such an important part in the rebuilding of Europe in the early nineteenth century, spent considerable time here. Duke de Liancourt was here in 1795 and wrote a great deal about Azilum, Sheshequin and Tioga Point in his "Travels," a copy of which is owned by the Bradford County Historical Society.

In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, began to remove the decrees of arrest and confiscation of the exiles, and invited them to return. This began the break-up of the colony. By 1804 they were all gone, save three who remained in Bradford County, to become useful citizens. These were: Antoine Lefevre, Bartheleme Laporte and Charles

Homet. Descendants of all of these are now living in Bradford County.

Bradford County What Do You Know About It?

Quiz Nunber 9

1. How many courthouses have been built in Bradford County?

2. When was the County Jail Built? (now the Bradford County Historical Society building)

3. How many jails has the county had?

4. Where was the first jail located?

5. Who was the first Burgess of Towanda?

6. Where was the first church erected in Towanda?

7. Who ran the first hotel in Towanda and where was it located?

8. When did the first steamboat land in Towanda?

9. Who built the first sawmill in Bradford County and where?

10. Where was the first tavern in Bradford County?

Answers on Page A8

Answers No. 9

1. Three at Towanda and one at Troy.

2. In 1872

3. Four

4. First jail was at Monroeton, because the sheriff lived there.

5. Col. Hiram Mix

6. On Pine street, just in rear of the Brooklyn Apartments

7. William Means built the Red Tavern in 1804 at the corner of Main and Franklin streets.

8. Steamer Cadorus in May 1826.

9. Prince Bryant, in 1987 on Cayuta Creek.

10. "Hancock's Tavern" at Wyalusing, licensed in 1788.