The History of Bellasylva, PA
by Henrietta Kester

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The following material was handwritten by Henrietta Kester - no date given and the first page seems to be missing as it starts with No. 2 of 57 pages on 9 x 6 paper.

The following year, Jesse Nathan and Absalom Lee settled at Shady Nook. From them, the settlement on the head waters of the Loyalsock received the name, "Lee Settlement," and the road built from the settlement to Long Pond was called the Lee Road. After remaining one year, James and John Housewart returned to Northumberland County.

Henry Rough, a German, received 100 acres of land in payment for work done on the Turnpike and settled near Rough's Pond or Grant's Lake, on land now owned by his son-in-law. John Housewart, a son of Valentine Housewart.

The Hunsingers were among the early settlers in the eastern section of the county--three brothers: George, John and Jacob, being among the pioneers. The descendants of George Hunsinger claim that he was born in the state of New York, and that he moved from there to Berwick and came to Sullivan County from that place about the time the Susquehanna and Tioga Turnpike was built as far as Loyalsock.

Another theory is that the Hunsingers originally came from the valley of the River Rhine, Germany. It is also stated that John Hunsinger was born at Germantown, near Philadelphia. In evidence of this story is the fact that all of the older members of the Hunsinger families spoke the German tongue, some being unable to speak any other language. It is possible that they are of both French and German origin, and they may have come from that part of the Rhine Valley formerly bordering both countries.

John Hunsinger came from Luzerne County to the Lee Settlement in 1828, purchasing 100 acres of land to the north of Shady Nook. He was a blacksmith and did blacksmithing for those working on the Turnpike when it was built. In 1848 he moved to Colley settlement. His children were:
William (died when a young man);
Katherine (married Wilson Potter of Colley);
Jerry of Lee Settlement (married Hettie Derrick and their children were: Belinda, Lenora, Louisa and Almon)
Daniel settled in Colley, married Mary (or Elmira Miller) and their children were: Mary Catherine, Wellington, Lawson, Reuben, Solar (Solan?), and Clinton L.
Taper settled in Colley, married (1) Mahala Henry and (2) Grista Steel and their children were: C.F., Hannah Jane, Margaret Teresa, Jonathan, Thomas S., Hettie, Rush and Lizzie.
Hettie married Rev. Carl Erle, Alfred married Hannah Reeser - a daughter of John Reeser. He is a carpenter by trade and a veteran of the Civil War and was in the service nearly three years.

To Alfred Hunsinger and Hannah Reeser were born Addison, Laura, Lewis, Oliver and Malissa; Margaret married Ira Steele. Jacob Hunsinger, a brother of John Hunsinger, came from Luzerne County and settled first in Cherry . He later settled Long Pond, now called Ganoga Lake, and afterward moved to Wyoming County. He had one son who lives near Harveys Lake. It said that built a section of the Turnpike near Ganoga Lake.

Many of the earliest settlers came from this country - America. Casper Henry was born in Mauch Chunk and probably came from there - John Henry and George Henry. Those listed in July 1845, besides the above named are William Cadman, Hugh Williams, John Santee, Thomas Junk, Samuel Carroll, John Carl, William Beach, Alexander Black, Thomas Shiels, and Jonathan Daddow.

John Santee came from Northumberland County to Lee Settlement in 1838. There is a popular tradition that the Santees were French Huguenots, moving to Holland in 1685 and coming to America in 1690. John Santee was a soldier in the War of 1812. His son, Isaac S. Santee of Colley is the only survivor of that family at present living in the County.

Jacob Train settled on the farm later owed by the McCarrolls, probably locating about 1834. Elias Girven was also an early settler in that section - I believe he came from Canada, About 1853 the immigrants came to America.

John Hartman Ficht was agent for Hugh Bellas - also Wilhelm Schrage, Esq. in 1858 and William A. Schmitthenner, a commissioner in Castle Gardens, an immigrant port, who influenced many of the immigrants to settle on the Hugh Bellas land.

Johann Hartman Ficht purchased the land around the lake - perhaps in 1847, Then his son-in-law, William A. Schmitthenner purchased the land from him - and ii was called "Schmitthenner's Lake" - originally it was called "Ficht's Pond."

The log cabins across the lake were completed in 1874, contracted by Taper Hunsinger, brother of Jeremiah Hunsinger, but I believe actually built by the Girven boys. The earliest settlers arrived prior to the 1840's and the houses they built were called "Block Houses."

Johann Hartman Ficht first lived in the house on the farm known as the "John Henry Farm" and when his wife and daughter (who became Mrs. Schrage) arrived he had a pig in the room next to the one in which he lived. His wife threatened to leave unless the pig was put out of the house.

One of Johann Hartman Ficht's daughter married a man by the name of ------ Roland. The daughter lived in Narrowsburg, They had six children - 2 boys being strong men - they were physically like their Grandfather Ficht and their mother who was also big and strong like her father. His youngest son was Christian August (Gus) Ficht, whose wife's name was Annie R.--. They had two daughters, Kate A. and Ottilia and one son, Oscar, who died at the age of 92 in La Center Washington.

Dr. B. Finche's wife, whose name as Kate, was a sister to Gus Ficht and William A Schmitthenner's wife. Dr. B. Finche and Lawyer Finche, father of Charles and William Finche, were brothers. Lawyer Finche bought his farm from the McCarroll Estate.

Dr. B. Fincke and his wife adopted Kate A. Ficht, Gus Ficht's daughter, and she went by the name of Fincke - she was a high school teacher in New York. She liked Chris Otten but Chris didn't care for women - all he did was smoke a pipe.

Another daughter of Johann Hartman Ficht married Otto Adolphus William Schrage. It was in Bellasylva that Otto Adolphus William Schrage met Mrs. Ficht . They were married in the house later called the "Ernst Place" and their oldest son was born there. They had four children - Otto, Emma, Charles and Ernest. Emma, Charles and Ernest were never married. Otto was married and had two children - Carl and Hewitt. Carl was married and had one son, Leslie. Hewitt was married and had two children.

Another daughter of Johann Hartman Ficht married William A. Schmitthenner, commissioner in Castle Garden (an immigration port), who bought up various tracts of land, especially around Ficht's Pond of what was known as Bellas land. He and his wife were blessed with seven children, most of them dying in their youth. Three, however survived - August, Frances and Minnie. August became a preacher and married Addie Heinsbuttel, sister to Mrs. Walter Kubl. Frances married Tamaro and Minnie married Charles Ernst and they had one daughter, Marguerite (or Gretchen).

August Schmitthenner and his wife had three children - John, August and Adelaide. John married Florence Neiswender and they had one son, John, Jr., who married Jessie Walton. August became a preacher and missionary to India. He married another missionary, Eyster, whom he met on the boat going to India. They had four children - Jerry, Fritz, Samuel and Molly Ann. Adelaide married Charles Leigh Montell, a chemist, and they had two children, Cynthia and Keith . John Jr . married Jessie Walt on and they had three children - Susan, Carolyn and John.

Johann Hartman Ficht and his family arrived at New York July 4, 1835. Flags were flying and it was a holiday. They came on a ship from Germany.

Dr. John C. Becker was one of the early settlers in Bellasylva. He came from Brooklyn and built the house on the property known as "The Becker Place." He must have realized that the clean fresh air on the mountain was ideal to start a sanitarium were people could relax and recuperate from their problems. I have a picture of the house. Dr. Becker was there in 1846 when his wife and his daughter, Matilda, went to the edge of the clearing near their home one afternoon to pick some berries and were lost.


The Dr. John C. Becker Home, later known as the
Kuster place and the Otten place, but most often
referred to as the "Sanitarium," as photographed by Rev.
Robert A. McLaughlin in August, 1965. The house
has since caved in. The view is still spectacular from
the other side, where the porch was in the back,
and the spring is still used by the locals.

Two young fellows thought they would fool Dr. Becker. One said he had a sore back. The Doctor strapped him down on a surgical table and tested his back - found out he had nothing wrong with his back. So he took cotton wads soaked with a little alcohol and put them around on his back and then lit them. Then he gave him some salve and told him to put it on right away that it would heal his back and in about a week his back would be well.

Jonathan Daddow (born 31 Jan. 1788) died 19 June 1864 was one of the earliest settlers. He came to Pennsylvania in 1835 bringing with him his wife, Catherine Harries Daddow, and four sons - Samuel Harries Daddow, Joseph T. Daddow, John Jr. Daddow, and James Daddow. They came from St. Agnes, Cornwall, England. They may have spent some time in Pottsville before they came to Sullivan County and bought the land from Hugh Bellas.

Otto Adolphus William (Wilhelm) Schrage and his brother, Karl Schrage, came from Germany to visit their uncle, Dr. John Becker.

The Free German Society for the Foundation of Community Culture and Civilization in America was, however, established on 5 March 1842 even without its founder, John Henry Wiedmann as the Society warned that no money should be loaned to Wiedmann, as he had been expelled from the organization and accused of dishonesty. The Colony as such lasted barely three years and old records indicate that Bellas, Anthony and Frick offered for sale acres which the colony had acquired.

The Colony planted seed potatoes and dug them up to eat as they were starving. A scissors grinder was among the group, Some of the names of the Colony were Hiller, Kuloff, Deisz, Koch, Meggenhosen, Albrecht , Trumbauer, etc.

Casper Henry is buried on his farm at Bellasylva. He married Katherine Hoffman and they have ten or eleven children, John Henry being the eldest. John Henry married Mary Ann Klace born in Mauch Chunk 11 Dec 1813 and they had five children - Edann, Rachel, Levi, Philip and an infant (died). His second wife was Ann Elizabeth Horn, born 23 An 1821 (maybe in New York City) and married 31 Dec. 1839 and they have seven children - Amanda, Hulda, Mary Elysbeth, William, Sarah Ann, Franklin, George Roland Kasson.

John Henry was born near Mauch Chunk, PA. on 14 March 1806 and, therefore was 90 years 2 months and 11 days old at the time of his death 24 May 1896.

Herman Pollner married Eda Ann Henry, John Henry's sister on 1 Feb 1850. Herman Pollner was born in Germany 9 June 1826. He also had a brother, Louis. When Herman n was six years old, his father died and when he was twenty, some of the Germans rebelled against the Catholic King. Herman was one -- he skipped the country to avoid being killed. He with a friend, a Mr. Fischer, came to America. They went from State to State until they reached Utah. Later they came back to Bellasylva where he married Eda Ann Henry. Herman A. Pollner died in Centralia, Washington, 8 Nov, 1909, aged 83 years. His wife died in Centralia, Washington 10 Jan. 1920, aged 87 years.

Oscar H. Pollner, born in Tunkhannock, PA, on 13 March 1858, the son of Herman and Eda Ann Henry Pollner. For several years he resided at Lake Carey and Sugar Hollow before moving to Centralia, Washington, in 1908. Mr. Pollner married Margaret Cadden of Auburn Center, PA, and to them were born two daughters - Mary and Lucy. Mrs. Pollner preceded her husband in death in 1896. Mary, the oldest daughter married Howard Kishbaugh of Sugar Hollow and Davenport, Washington, and also preceded him in death.

Mr. Pollner is survived by his daughter, Mrs. Lucy Fyock of Centralia, Washington, with whom he resided and two sisters Mrs. Warren Alexander of Centralia Washington, and Mrs. Worthy Jayne of Kingston.

William C. Henry and Hester M. Krewson were married on 1 Nov. 1877. William Henry was 14 or 15 when he and his parents moved down from Bellasylva to the Alva Krewson place. William C. Henry' s wife preceded him in death on 29 April 1932. She was daughter of the late Harford Krewson and wife, Hester M. Henry. William Henry died 31 May 1933 at the age of 84 and his wife died at the age of 74.

They had five children - Oscar and Harmon of West Nicholson, Mrs. John Sibbald of Rimbey, Alberta, Canada. Mrs. Alvin May of Dalton, PA and Miss Ethel at home.

Philip Henry died in 1890 aged 50 years - buried in Forkston Cemetery - member of Co. B. 50th P.V. Philip Henry's wife, Mrs. Margaret Howell Henry died 15 April 1904.

There are two soldiers graves on the Casper Henry place - Casper Henry, who is a Revolutionary War soldier and Sam Rosengrant, who is a Civil War soldier. Sam's wife, Libby Rosengrant was a Civil War nurse who was a Terry - related to Judge Terry and the Terrys at Falls, PA.

Archibald Rosengrant, I believe, bought the Casper Henry tract of land from George Henry, containing about 50 acres, about 25 acres thereof improved with a log house, log barn and a small orchard. Archibald Rosengrant was father of Sam Rosengrant and John Rosengrant, who lived to be 105 years old - always wore a high silk hat but otherwise no fancy clothes. He walked at age 95 from Meshoppen up to Bellasylva in six hours.

When we moved up to Bellasylva on 8 May 1922, Aunt Libby Rosengrant was still living with Burt and Belinda Taylor. She always saved the Grit paper she got in the mail to give to my brother, Arthur Kofink, and she also gave mother a black sateen pillow with a ruffle and feather stitching on the edge and crocheted flowers that she sewed on the pillow. I still have that pillow. I believe Burt Taylor's mother was a Rosengrant (Sarah R. Purvis probably her married name).

The Bella Sylva Gun Club now owns it - since 1934

At present the graves have a section of the old markers painted white fence around them. Ed (or Garey) had a cabin in back of the Bella Sylva Gun Club house and he always stopped at my folk's place and sometimes showed them a rattlesnake he had killed at his place and also asked them if they needed any groceries from Lopez. He had a Ford coupe with a small box on the back where he kept the rattlesnakes.

The Raubs came from Pittston or thereabouts. There were some old apple trees on their farm but no buildings nor any apples when my husband, Clyde Kester, and I walked down the lane across from Peterson's house toward the Mehoopany Creek. They may have been some of the early settlers of Bellasylva. Charles A. Raub was born 29 April 1888 on a farm in Bellasylva, Wyoming Co., a son of George A. and Lena M. Bonning Raub. He died at the age of 96 on 15 April 1985. He lived on this farm until he was 10 years old when the family moved to Lopez. I remember Ambrose Kunes bringing him to the George Kronmiller house probably after his family moved to Lopez. When the tri-weekly rural mail route was established on 1 April 1908, he became a carrier and post office clerk in Lopez. Later on he transferred to a daily rural mail route out of Dushore.- He was carrier on Route 2 out of Dushore Post Office in Sullivan Co., when he retired on 1 Dec 1952 after 44 years 8 months service with an honorable record. In the nearly 45 years of service, Mr. Raub has used five horses and 14 automobiles. In 1910 he married Bertha C. Boves and they were parents of six sons. She died in 1958 and in 1962 he married Mrs. Clare M. Sayman Hunsinger, a widow. The sons names are Charles Jr., Karl, Edwin, Kenneth, Leon and G. Merlin.

Carl Frederick Bliesenick was one of the early settlers of Bellasylva as his property was on the East side of my parent's property. He always hauled things around in a wheelbarrow. His wife, a little woman, helped pull it. He once had a lot of nice cabbage - sold it to Willie Fincke -- took it over Williams Hill -- his wife pulling the wheelbarrow. He had only one son, Lou Bliesenick, he said he would leave $1.00 to his son, Lou, to buy a rope to hang himself. Louis wasn't too good a worker - would work if it suited him - traded horses, etc. The elder Bliesenicks went to an old folks home in New York City.

Frederick Miller was on of the early settlers of Bellasylva as his property was on the north side of my parents' property. He and his wife went to the old folks home in New York City, too.

Jeremiah Hunsinger, son of John Hunsinger, who was 92 years old in the autumn of 1907, died in 1911 at the age of 95. He had a long white beard, full cheeked and keen blue eyes. His property was on the west side of my parent's property. Jerry Hunsinger took a sled load of deer (and one bear on top) all frozen stiff - to Philadelphia and got three cents per pound. Dr. Leitz from Scranton (a hunter) wrote a letter to the president of the Society (Jerry H.) that he would be up on the footlog crossing on the Mehoopany Creek near the waterfall on a certain day with his hound and if there were any hound killers, they should be there. So old Jerry Hunsinger and Bruce Girvin went over and Leitz and his hound in front of him was crossing the log and Jerry shot the hound - rolled off into the creek dead. Dr. Leitz gave up hunting at Bellasylva after that. This was before 1883 as was the item about the trip to Philadelphia. Lou Marcy had a load of deer - belong to the White Tent hunters who were mainly from Scranton. They had shot the deer and Marcy was just hauling them. They went past Otten's place two or three years after the Ottens moved from New York in 1883. The hunters and their dogs walked behind the sled. The Buckskin Gang said they would come on the mountain and bring their dogs and they wouldn't lose them. But some of the mountain people went to their camp to visit in the evening - Girvins, etc. and threw meat (poisoned) around near the dogs and they lost all of the dogs but one. So they decided to go home and with the dog between them on the seat of the buckboard or wagon. But when they started to break down the top of the mountain, Jerry Hunsinger shot the dog sitting between the two men. Jerry had a double-barrel shotgun - one barrel for rifle and one for shot. He also had a muzzle-loader and Jerry and somebody else had a contest to see who was the better shot - a team of oxen was the prize. They were to shoot 300 yards from the Ernst Place (later Kesters) to Williams Hill (now Rose Hill Hunting Camp). Jerry practiced until he had his sights right and won the team of oxen. I wonder if Almon Hunsinger's team of oxen (Dime and Duke) are the same ones Jerry won. I have pictures of Almon's team of oxen, as he still had the team when my folks moved to Bellasylva on 8 May 1822.


Almon Hunsinger and his team of oxen (Dime and Duke)

Fritz Hunsinger from down country lost a hound and he asked Jerry Hunsinger if he had seen it. Jerry said, "Go back in the wagon shed and see if you can find its hide there." Jerry always skinned them and hung them up.

It was legal to hunt deer with dogs but the residents of Bellasylva were not in favor of this practice. A dog seen alone in the woods would be shot regardless of whether or not it was chasing deer. Hunters, who brought dogs to Bellasylva to hunt deer, lost most of their dogs, either by poisoning or by being shot.

I have a picture of Jeremiah Hunsinger and of his three daughters and one son, and also of his grandson, Andrew [Ambrose] Kunes who died at the age of 27. His oldest daughter, Belinda, married Burton M. Taylor on 5 April 1889 and they had no children. [Actually census records indicate that they had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Their son, Clarence J. Taylor, who died on May 9, 1890 at the age of 8 months and 6 days, is buried in the Bellasylva Cemetery on Dutch Mountain, in Colley Township, Sullivan County. --RAMcL] Belinda died on 27 Sept. 1934 and Burton died on 7 Sept. 1945.


Dr. Herman Lobeck

Dr. Herman Lobeck had the house built (later known as B.M.Taylor Forest Cottage). It was a large building with many rooms for the business of boarding hunters and summer boarders. It was a show place with its gingerbread trim and upper balcony with its fancy railing. The house was torn down in the 1950's. The Hunsingers always made rag carpet -- Belinda usually made it and got 10 cents a yard for making it - she made it after she was married. She also wove cloth (woolen) for her father's clothes - took the wool from the top of black sheep - it would be brown from fading from the sun.


The Dr. Herman Lobeck house (later known as the B.M.Taylor Forest Cottage)

Burt Taylor was an exceptional shooter with a shotgun, but terrible with a rifle. He would walk through the woods nonchalantly smoking his pipe and carrying his shotgun under his arm - but seldom did a grouse get away.


Louise Miller, Burton M. Taylor and Belinda M. Taylor in front of
the B.M.Taylor Forest Cottage in Bellasylva, on Dutch Mountain.

Forkston Township with its many acres of Game Lands is a popular hunting territory - also Bellasylva. Even as early as the latter part of the 1800's, it was considered THE place to hunt. Deer were plentiful and there was no limit to the number of deer a hunter could take. The deer became scarce the early part of the 1890's and it wasn't until the 1920's and 1930's that they became numerous again. Pictures of hunters at. B.M. Taylor's Forest Cottage at Bellasylva have only ruffed grouse and bear photographed as deer were not there to hunt at that time. Hunters came from distance by train and were met at the Lopez Depot at first with a wagon and team of horses and later years - with a Ford automobile. It was not unlikely for them to stay for a month. A hunter at Taylor's Forest Cottage (a novice) was told he had to get all the bucks for the rest of his gang and did the first day and ruined their hunting.

I have a picture of Louise Hunsinger Miller and her pet sheep -- also one of her and her pet goose and a picture of her washing clothes the hard way -- in tubs and in pails. l haven't any idea when she died - probably early in 1940. Fred Smith said the fresh air on the mountain and Louise Miller's tender care - saved his life. There is a marker in the Bellasylva Community Cemetery and Fred Smith always put flowers near it while he lived.

I have a picture of Almon Hunsinger sitting on a crate and a shoulder yoke nearby. The Hunsingers always carried water from the nearby creek - the Loyalsock. I also have a picture of him standing in front of Marble McCarroll's car with Marble and Vernon Felton. I also have several pictures of groups of people and Almon Hunsinger is right in the front line on one of the pictures. Almon Hunsinger married Hannah Jan Schofield Bowie (widow), probably before 1923 and she died on 20 July 1930. She is survived by her husband and two sons - Bob Bowie and one living in Florida.


Hannah Hunsinger (Bob Bowie's mother) and Almon
Hunsinger and Louise Hunsinger Miller in front of
the Hunsinger Home, now owned by Leo Dieffenbach.

"An aged brother and sister, devoted to one another for many years were found under different circumstances on Thursday morning at Bellasylva near Lopez. The dead man is Almon Hunsinger (78) who died of a heart attack on 24 Oct. 1945."

"His sister, Mrs. Nora Kunes, when he did not return in a reasonable time, started to search for him. Suffering from impaired eyesight, Mrs. Kunes is reported to have become lost in the darkness and spent most of the night on her hands and knees searching for her brother. When Bob Bowie found her she was at McCarroll's upper gate - badly bruised and scratched from the underbrush. Mrs. Nora Kunes died on 9 April 1946."

Hugh Bellas left no son, but a daughter, Mrs. Brisbin. This son-in--law of Hugh Bellas died young and may be Wm. M. Brisben. The daughter, Mrs. Brisben, had a daughter who is now the wife of Frank Gowen. Hugh Bellas had a second daughter (now deceased) by the name of Mrs. Pleesants. The second daughter also had a daughter by the name of Mrs. Roderick.

The circumstances of the heirs of Hugh Bellas are very wealthy by development of his coal land. The deed for a tract of land at Bellasylva which was executed in 1850 was recorded at the court house. The land belonged to Hugh Bellas and was deeded by Ferdinand Hiller of Wilmington, Delaware.

There are several opinions about the origin of the name, Bellasylva, one being that it was named Bellas from Hugh Bellas and his wife Sylva (or Sylvia) but unless he was married more than once, his wife's name was Esther, as verified on an old deed dated 10 Aug 1859. The other theory also could include the name "Bellas" as the words "Bella sylva" in Latin is translated as "beautiful woods" as indeed they were at that time before the lumbering industry invaded this section.

Bellasylva Post Office was established on 8 April 1854 and discontinued on 16 June 1856 but reestablished on 3 Oct. 1856. It was discontinued on 9 March 1908, when the mail route from Lopez was established. During the time the Bellasylva Post Office was in operation there were 12 different postmasters appointed.
Charles Schrage April 8, 1854
Hugh Williams October 3, 1856
Lewis Stohmenn March 3, 1857
Otto Schrage August 10, 1857
Hugh Williams May 18, 1860
Samuel I. H. Daddow January 9, 1863
John J. Daddow September 7, 1864
James Junk July 3, 1865
Louis P. Ernst April 25, 1867
John McMullin May 3, 1875
Henry Ernst October 24, 1883
Burton M. Taylor May 15, 1895
F. Charles Fincke May 29, 1896

John McMullin had the Post Office in 1883 when Ottens moved from New York to Bellasylva. Mail came up from Forkston up the Devil's Elbow (through Lovelton). When the Ernsts had it the mail came from Forkston up the creek road and on up the mountain. I think most of the Bellasylva postmasters had the Post Office in their homes.

The first school in Bellasylva was located on William Fincke's property (probably where O'Leary's barn is now) The teacher was a German from the Colony and taught in German. His scholars were all Germans except Mrs. Peterson (who was a Girven and the Girvens were of Scotch descent. Old Mr. Gervin couldn't read or write when he came to Bellasylva but learned afterward and he was the best reader in Bellasylva. Maybe Lawyer Fincke (Charles and William's father) taught him. Lessons were written on basswood boards and they were erased by sand papering the boards.

A later school was located at the bottom of Williams Hill - probably around 1870. Kleber Robinson taught in school built before the Red School House. There were a number of teachers who taught school in the Red School House: Hattie Hitchcock, Mac Murray, Dessie Wintermute Boyce, Effie Reynolds Alleman, Louise Adams, Margaret Walab, Teresa Welib ? (substitute) Mate Farr Martin, Hannah Scofiel Hunsinger (1898), Alice Gilligan (1898), Stella Robinson Dorr (May
1893), Calvin Robinson (1905-1906), Viola Slater Decker (1913).

Some of the pupils listed were: William Bonning, Bertha Fincke, Charles Bonning, Frances Otten, Edward Bonning, and Anne Bonning. The Bonnings boarded a lot of the teachers. I have a picture of the Red School House.

There was another school in Sullivan County in front of the Bellasylva Community Cemetery. I believe the teacher was Linda Housewert. Some of the pupils at that school were: Ambrose Kunes, aged 11 years, Oda Behr, aged 7 years, Mollie Ryman, aged 11 yrs., and Alice Housewert, aged 11 years. Later on the pupils were Ernest and Gilbert Barber, Oda and Edith Behr, Alex Kleiner, Vernard Felton, Clyde Kester and a few others. In the Schoolhouse at the Cemetery Audubon had painted birds on one side of a window frame.

Lumber camps were built in the woods during this period when Jennings Brothers were cutting down the timber and hauling it to the mill at Lopez. Herd's Camp was one of these and it was located on Schmitthenner property. Another camp was located at Shady Nook.

On September 30, 1896 a terrible wind storm uprooted a large black cherry tree near the small lake on the lands of William A. Schmitthenner. It measured 53 inches in diameter where the trunk was severed from the roots and over 400 rings were counted. A section of this tree - a block five feet long and 45 inches in diameter - is in the New York Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Near the turn of the century and in the early 1900's lumbering was in full swing in Bellasylva. Some of the companies were Jennings Brothers, Brown Brothers, Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company, etc.

Log slides were in use at this time. The slides would be 2 to 3 miles long. The slides were made icy in the winter by pouring barrels of water down them and in the summer motor oil made it slippery. At the side they had solid iron spikes two inches square and six inches deep to stop the logs. The smaller logs would jump out of the slide if they hit the spikes. They had about 3 horn blowers (men who blew a horn) - first when the log started at the top, one horn was blown part way down and the third was blown at the landing. A splash dam held the logs until they were ready to float them to the mill.

Ellenberger's mill was located on the Loyalsock about three quarters of a mile above Hunsingers. It was a steam mill - big circular saw - one of the first circular saws in Bellasylva. There was a plank bridge over the Loyalsock. The mill was still there in 1883 - the boiler, etc.- but taken away soon afterward. Ellenberger bought the lumber from old Jerry Hunsinger - land and all. Jerry owned it as squatter's rights. Ellenberger was from Dushore or Colley. Most of the old houses here in Bellasylva got their lumber from this mill. Lumber used in log cabins on Schmitthenner property probably came from this mill also. The width of the boards in the old house is evidence that the trees from which the lumber was sawed were large.

Hollenbeck had a sawmill at Shady Nook - moved in about 1885 -- steam and circular mill - cut about 125,000 feet a day. Harrison Barnhart was the sawyer. Hollenbeck and Burnhart came from Hottentot, near Wyalusing - claimed the people there intermarried with Indians, negroes, etc. Old John Bailey, a big story teller (a liar or an exaggerator) came from Wyalusing.

Carter building a railroad up to Crane Swamp to take timber out cost $7000 a mile to build whereas Jennings Brothers had previously built their railroad for $1,000 a mile. Carter came from Wyalusing and made his money on his sawmill there - farmers bringing their logs to his mill to be sawed into lumber. In order to start the Crane Swamp job, he mortgaged his farm for $13,000 which must have been quite a farm for those days. He eventually lost everything and shot himself.

Billy Mitchell, born in England and at the time a man of about 50 or so, was working in a lumber camp at Shady Nook -- always bragged about this or that being bigger or better in England. So the men sewed a small snapping turtle about the size of a man's hand to his sheet or blanket. He was always playing cards so usually it was late when he got to bed. Llewellyn Schock kept his lantern lit and when Billy Mitchell yelled after the turtle had taken a bite the size of a man's small finger tip out of his rump, Llewellyn said! "That is a big bedbug. Do they have them any bigger in England?" Mitchell couldn't take the joke and the next morning asked for his time.

I have a picture of Herd's Camp and my husband, Clyde Kester, said Ira Robinson was in the picture. Ira was Ralph Robinson's brother. The Ottens gave Clyde the picture.

Around 1900 or a little later a fire started in the bark slashings by a spark from a locomotive on one of the branches or spurs (old road beds of these can still be found) of Jennings Brothers Narrow gauge railroad which extended at least fifteen miles into the forests of Wyoming and Sullivan Counties from their mill at Lopez. Jennings mill was shut down so the men could help fight the fire. Men were fighting it everywhere. At night, it looked like a city - a tree burning here and there. There was nothing left between Bellasylva and Ricketts but blackened bare trees. At the Otten place, they started a backfire so it wouldn't burn the barn. It burned everything from the Mehoopany Creek to the Loyalsock Creek. After the fire it was red with wild strawberries and how the woodchucks increased.

The huckleberry crop was an additional income. My parents would send crates of berries to a firm in Philadelphia - before the hardback and brush ruined the berry bushes. The huckleberry bushes are a beautiful sight in the autumn when the leaves are a combination of purple, red, yellow and green.

Coal was found in the late 1800's on Bellasylva lands. It is a semi-bituminous coal and has been mined by various people though the years including Marcy, Peters and team of O'Donnell, Silvester and Stackhouse, who erected a breaker in the 1930's, which was torn down later. My father had a job there at time.

Elias Girven was Scotch and came from Canada. They were some of the earlier settlers of Bellasylva. Old Mr. Girven was a carpenter of sorts. The Girven house was built around 1870. Mrs. Peterson had two brothers - Joe and Bruce Girven and a sister who married a Salsbury. Linda Girven, 92, born October 10, 1876 died December 8, 1968, at the Foulkrod Nursing Home. Her husband, Byron J. Girven , 72, died September 20, 1947, son of Charles and Pamelia Allen Girven. Mrs. Linda Girven will be remembered for all of the rugs she wove over the years. She also sold eggs and honey for a living until recent years.

The William Petersons also came to Bellasylva about the same time as the Girvens. They had five children. Alice - she was so black; Charlie - he was black and wild; Emily - got killed in New York State, trying to stop a runaway team - married and had children; Ann - married somebody from New Jersey and I believe divorced him; Agnes married Duane Atkyns William (GAR Flag) born 1842, died 1898; Emma , his wife, born 1848, died 1920.

I believe Ann' s mother died the year before we moved to Bellasylva on May 8, 1922. She had a horse and sled and would give my sister, Amelia, and my brother, Art, a ride on the sled. Ann saying, "By God , you don't have to follow us up, we ain't bullin'." She and Agnes after the cows and a couple Pennsy woodsmen followed them. Some men asked Ann the direction to some place. Ann was living alone after her mother died. She stepped into the hose and picked up a shotgun and pointed the gun to where they wanted to go and told them to start right away.

Wearing a red hat, Ann Peterson said "I'm a gay old bird" and Ambrose Kunes name for Ann Peterson "Gentle Annie!" The first time she came to visit after we moved to Bellasylva, Ambrose wanted to know whether she did any swearing but we told him that she didn't! I guess she was on her best behavior! I don't know if Aldo (maybe Louis) Zorzi bought the house and acreage from the Petersons or not. In October 1985 the house was burned and it was a total loss.

May McCarroll said Mrs. Peterson's name was Emma and not Alice. I believe the Junk family were one of the earliest settlers of Bellasylva. Deep in the woods of Bellasylva is this gravestone in the Junk Cemetery marking the grave of a Civil War Veteran, William A. Junk of Company B, Pennsylvania Volunteers. He died February 1896 at the age of 58. George C. Junk, 84, was born Nov. 28, 1890 in Colley Twp. , a son of William A. and Cornelia DeKalb Junk and died Dec. 5, 1974. Mr. Junk sold Raleigh Products in early life and later became a rural mail carrier out of New Albany. He retired in January 1962 after 33 years of service when he was 70 years old. His wife was the former Eloise Decker of Mehoopany.

Mrs. Annie May Steele, 84, was born May 21, 1891 in Cherry Twp., Sullivan County, the daughter of William A. and Cornelia DeKalb Junk, and died Sept. 25, 1975. Her husband, Burten Steele died in 1965. Mrs. Gertrude L. Suttan, 88, a daughter of William A, and Cornelia DeKalb Junk, died December 6, 1956.

Henry Junk of California was a son of William A. and Cornelia DeKalb Junk but I have no record of his death. His wife Edith McCarroll Junk, was born October 21, 1885, a daughter of the late Harry and Dicae Felton McCarroll and died November 8 (-). Dr. Ivan Junk, 68, born in 1918 at New Albany, was the son of George and Eloise Decker, and died January 4, 1986. After graduating from New Albany High School, he enrolled in Pre-Med at Temple University, Philadelphia. He received his medical education at Hahnemann Medical College. He served in the military in World War I where he specialized in psychiatry. After returning from the service, he joined the Medical Staff of the Robert Packer Hospital at Sayre for some time before setting up his private practice of Psychiatry in Baltimore. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice Myers Junk and four children, two sisters, Jean Junk, Mehoopany and Mrs. Marian Every, Owego Nursing Home, and a brother, Robert Junk, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Otto Adolphus Schrage died in 1897. William Schrage was born in Germany and came to this country in 1852. Louis A. Schrage , 80, a brother of William Schrage, died September 6, 1944 at his home in Susquehanna. I don't know when Otto S. Schrage, William Schrage's oldest son died, but his wife (or widow) died sometime around April 16, 1955. Mrs. Bessie A. Schrage was a daughter of the late Hewitt J. and Anna Glenn Abbot. Her father was killed in the battle of Gaines Mills, VA in 1862 during the Civil War. Mrs. Schrage was a direct descendant of Samuel Van Horn who fought in Washington's army in the battles of Trenton, Brandywine and Germantown. Surviving are two sons, Carl C. Schrage, Floral Park, L.I., and Hewitt A. Schrage, Richmond Hill, L.I., three grandsons and three nieces, Mrs. Roy W. Voris, Mrs. Joseph H. Harrison and Mrs. Leslie B. Tyler of Scranton, PA. Carl Schrage of Long Island died on June 5, 1972.

Marshall Ryman came from Harvey's Lake to Bellasylva to work in the lumber woods and had a sawmill on the Loyalsock below Hunsingers. There were a number of Rymans - Marsh, Cub, Clayton, Abe, Elisha , and one who was a butcher (name unknown) was killed by a train - he was
short and thick - the rest of the Rymans were all thin and tall. There were also some Ryman girls - Mary (or Mollie), Nellie, Aletha, etc. I don't know just where Paul Ryman and Francis Ryman fit in.

Asa Ryman was the first patient admitted under Medicare at Memorial Hospital, Towanda in 1966. Asa Ryman died on January 15, 1968. His widow was Mrs. Helen Louise Ryman, 67, and died December 8, 1974 at Towanda Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Ryman was born March 26, 1907
in Elkland Twp,, a daughter of Charlie and Laura Hatch Smith. She is survived by a son, Richard E. Ryman who married Miss Rhona Kilgore on November 12, 1960 at New Kensington. Miss Nellie Ryman, a sister to Abe Ryman, and daughter of Marshall Ryman of Elkland, and Almon J. Hulburt of Leolyn were married February 4, 1932 by Rev. Leon J. Jelliff. Almon Hulburt died June 29, 1971.

The eight-year-old pet monkey named Smokey belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Asa Ryman contracted measles during the recent epidemic. The monkey was exposed to the highly contagious disease when the foster children of the Rymans had the measles. The pet monkey, which ordinarily lives in his cage is allowed freedom of the home at intervals for exercise and Mrs. Ryman thinks Smokey contracted the measles while playing with the children. Smokey's symptoms were the same as those of any child and he is now apparently none the worse following the illness.

Frederick A. Behr came to Bellasylva in 1860. He was born n in the province of Piess Schleie, Germany on June 25, 1823, the son of John A. Behr, a draper and cloth manufacturer. The mother was Christine Marie 0elert, who was born in the same village as her husband. John Behr's family comprised eight children - one of whom died in childhood, the others being: Antonia Wilhelmin, Frederick August, Caroline A., Edward, Adolph and Anton. The parents were Lutherans and both died in their native land.

Frederick August Behr received a good education in the public schools of Germany and when fourteen years old entered college where he remained three years. At the age of twenty-four he sailed from Hamburg on the ship, Caroline Marie, and forty-five days in making the voyage to New York City. From the latter place Mr. Behr went to Philadelphia, where he resided for thirteen years, carrying on a manufactory of pictures and mirror frames. He was united in marriage in Philadelphia, 1852 to Ottline Foerster, a native of that city who bore him one child, now deceased, named Alvina, who died in 1855. Mr. Behr was subsequently married on November 13, 1857 to Miss Anna Huch, a native of the Dutchy of Brunswick, Germany, whose parents were Carl and Sophia (Vandenburg) Huch, both born in the same village as their daughter.

Frederick A. Behr purchased five hundred acres of land, on which no clearing had been made. He at once began its improvement and by unceasing industry and a thorough knowledge of the art of agriculture, he has succeeded in converting the one time wilderness into fertile fields, green meadows and orchards bearing luscious fruits. Here he has a beautiful residence, with grassy lawns, large barns and out-buildings. He also has an extensive park, in which deer roam at leisure.
F. A, Behr, 80, died Nov. 16, 1903.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Behr consists of seven children: Heding, Sophia, wife of Ernest Troeger, living in Philadelphia; Otto Frederick, a lumberman and prominent business man of Colley Township; Bertha, wife of Louis Werner, of Philadelphia; Hermann August, one of the firm of Behr Brothers of Lopez; Sophie, wife of August Kraemer of Denver, Colorado; Helena, wife of Adolph Otten of Wyoming County, and Minna. They also have an adopted daughter, Frances, whom they took when a babe two months old.

I don't know how many children Heding Sophie Behr and Ernest Traeger had - at least one daughter Frieda who died in 1980.

Otto F. Behr, Lopez and Edith Heacock, Dushore, were married on March 28, 1900 and their family consisted of two daughters, Oda H. Behr and Edith Behr Shuman. Oda H. Behr, 73, was born June 5, 1902 in Colley Twp., a daughter of Otto F. and Edith Heacock Behr and died Aug. 1, 1975. She taught school nearly 45 years and retired in 1968 from the Wyalusing Area school system.

Mrs. Edith Behr Shuman, 86, native of Colley Township was born February 16, 1906, on the family homestead, Shady Nook, east of Lopez, a daughter of Otto F. and Edith G. Heacock Behr and died December 21 1992. Mrs. Shuman attended Lopez schools and was a graduate of Bloomsburg State college. She taught in Sullivan County schools for many years. Mrs. Shuman and her late sister, Oda, maintained the family farm, raising Jersey cattle, sheep and horses. An accomplished horsewoman, she served as a guide on Bellasylva trail rides, and kept a number of horses in the Shady Nook stable. She and her sister could have been called "original conservationists" because of their interest in maintaining their property in its original condition. The property is now owned by the State.

One of the first cousins of the Behr girls was Mrs. Ethel H. Keller, born in Dushore November 16, 1903, a daughter of Bayard T. and Elizabeth E. Martin and who died February 16, 1993. She was the widow of James F. Keller who died in 1980. She was a graduate of Dushore High School, Class of 1923, then attended Indiana (State) Normal School (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and graduated in 1926 in Art Education.

Otto F. Behr, 73, died on November 12, 1934 and his wife, Edith G. Behr, 81, died May 23, 1959 (parents of the Behr girls). An aunt of the Behr girls, Mrs. Anna Keeler, nee Heacock, 91, was born 26 January 1876 in Dushore and died 22 April 1967. After her marriage to Charles H. Keeler, she resided in New Albany, where her husband for many years conducted a general store.

Robert Bowie has been caretaker for a number of summer homes near Bellasylva. For several years he has made his home with Mrs. Edith G. Behr. He was born 4 October 1900 at Winsted, CT, and died 11 April 1956.

William Fincke owned Williams Hill and Otto Behr was probably going hunting and Willie Fincke told him to get off his property and after Otto got on the road he asked him for a job in the woods. Otto and Herman Behr had a saw mill. Otto Behr was at his sawmill and he had one pair of sawyers who needed a man with an axe. Charles Peterson asked for a job and Otto Behr told him to bring his axe but Charlie said that it was hard work and asked if he needed a water boy. Then Charlie said with the lumber around the mill, "That could cause a big fire," so Charlie got the water boy job. But the job lasted a week because when Charlie got his first pay check that was the end of the job.

Mrs. Bertha Behr Werner, widow of the late Louis Werner, died in Philadelphia the 19th of September following a lingering illness - probably in 1944. She had three daughters - Minna, Bertha and Elsa.

Herman August Behr married Christina Dunlop and only one son, Carl Behr, who died 2 September 1970 at the age of 64. Herman August Behr must have had four children - one son and three daughters.

Mrs. Sophie Minna Behr, widow of August Kraemer, died 15 December at the home of her daughter, Miss Elsa Kraemer at Bayshore, Long Island, following a short illness at the age of 67 years, probably in 1942. She was born in Sullivan County, PA on July 30, 1868 and had two daughters, Mrs. Helen Kronkhite of Denver, Colorado, and Miss Elsa Kraemer of Bayshore, L.I. Also two grandchildren of Denver, CO.

Miss Elsa Kraemer, whose book, Back to the Loyalsock, was so well received, now has produced another one entitled, The West in Our Eyes, tells of her childhood in Colorado. This book, too, is enhanced by pen and ink drawings at the chapter headings. In her book, Back to the Loyalsock, Elsa Kraemer says Freda Troeger's property is just across the road going to Lopez, from her own property so the Troegers must have had one daughter at least.

Look for the Otten Family History for Helen Behr's section of the Behr family.

Miss Minna A. Behr, 85, died at her home at 703 Oak Park Road, Lansdale, PA on 4 December 1961. Born in Lopez, Sullivan County, she was the daughter of the late August and Anna Huck Behr. She was a retired bookkeeper for a Philadelphia restaurant.

Mrs. Frances Beck, adopted daughter of the John A. Behr family. I believe she had one daughter, Alvina, who married George Briesch. Frances Behr Beck, 94, of Hatfield, PA and Upper Gwynedd, PA, and a native of Lopez, died 17 February 1988 in Upper Gwynedd. She was born at Shady Nook where she spent her early years and received her early education at the rural school in the area and moved to Philadelphia when she was 16 years old and attended Pierce Business School. She was the widow of William F. Beck. Burial was in Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA.

The first time Philip Ernst of Philadelphia came to Bellasylva was when he purchased the property (house included) from Otto Adolphus William Schrage and his wife, Hermine, on 2 April 1863. Justina Ernst, Philip Ernst's wife came from Lancaster County. The Ernsts moved to Bellasylva shortly after the Civil War. Philip Ernst came from Germany - he was a tailor by trade and a cook for three years on Lake Erie ships. Their children were Henry, Lou, Matilda (Tilly), and Charles. Tilly married Carl Blume's father.

Charlie was the wildest - he would work hard for three or four weeks a year - just enough to get a new gun, etc. He worked on Persun's mill and that time worked quite steadily. Charlie was a typical woodsman and lover of wildlife. For years he worked the woods, when the virgin timber was being cut off. He can remember the wild pigeons when they were so thick they darkened the sky. He was one of the men who helped build roads over the Thunder Mountain in Idaho and helped put one of the first bridges over Salmon River. When he returned to Pennsylvania he decided that the old Keystone State was good enough for him.

Old timers say he used to be able to run like a deer and that once he shot at a fox with his old muzzle-loader and when it missed fire he threw the gun in the fence corner in disgust, took after the animal, overtook and kicked it into the air. When the fox came to earth, he jumped on it with both feet and killed it. Also they tell of his running for miles to head off dogs that were chasing deer.


Charlie Ernst

Charlie Ernst was working at Persun's Landing and a Jew peddler came along and told Charlie to throw away his Colt muzzleloader. Charlie told him to hang up his watch on the stump about 75 feet away and Charlie hit it right on the hands and smashed it all to pieces. This Jew said it cost him over $15.00.

Charlie Ernst was noted for his marksmanship. He once shot a woodchuck from the Ernst place to just below the barn at the Williams place with a 38-56 caliber Winchester rifle - rested the gun against the post on the porch.

Charlie Ernst and Chris Otten built the Ernst cottage and while they built it Minnie would cook every woodchuck she could get and fed it to them. Adolph Otten found many woodchucks for her - the men told him they wanted no more woodchuck.

Charlie came past the Otten place with a big bouquet of Peonies - going to see Katie Ficht Fincke (Ottolin's sister). She wouldn't see him so he came back with his bouquet. Adolph Otten told him to take it to Minnie Schmitthenner and that is how that romance got started. The house was built before Charlie and Minnie were married on 24 August 1905 at Bellasylva. Charles Ernst was born 30 June 1863 and died 5 January 1940.

Anna Wilhelmina Schmitthenner Ernst was born 20 September 1862 in New York City and died 17 August 1934. Charles and Anna Wilhelmina Schmitthenner just had one daughter, Marguerite (or Gretchen). She married Eugene H. Plessinger 25 May 1933. They had two children - Rev. Franklin C. Plessinger, Sr. and Rosemary Safford. Rev. Franklin C. and Helene Plessinger, Sr. had the following children: Sally, William, Ruth, Franklin, Jr., Phyllis, Philip, and Jerrie.

David and Rosemary Safford had four sons - Steven, Stuart, Thomas and Joseph. Eugene H. Plessinger was born 24 August 1906 and died February 1, 1993 at the age of 86. I remember Clyde telling me where the Blume place was located. I believe the Buckhorn Camp owns it now.

Mr. and Mrs. Carl Blume were married in June 1900. Carl A. Blume was born 22 August 1873 and died 27 January 1959 at the age of 85. Maude K. Blume was born 21 January 1880 and died 3 April 1963 at the age of 83. Maud Blume and her husband attended our wedding and brought flowers from her yard for my sister and herself.

Dr. John C. Becker must have been at Bellasylva before he bought his property from Hugh Bellas in 1852 because it was at the time in 1846 that Dr. Becker's wife and little daughter, Matilda, then about three years of age, went to the edge of the clearing near their home one afternoon to pick some berries and were lost. Neighbors and friends joined in the search and hunting parties were formed to search for them. They were found on the third day, having spent three nights in the forest. When found Mrs. Becker was reclining on the bank of one of the small brooks, nearly famished, but the little girl was walking about and clasping in her hand the little cup she had taken along when she went with her mother for the berries. Mrs. Becker's health became broken from the experience and she was never the same again.

Dr. John C. Becker, a fine doctor from the community of Bellasylva, was sent to Philadelphia to care for Alvah Fassett of Scotsville, who was shot in the head in the Battle of Four Oaks in 1862. Alvah recovered but always wore a beard to cover the scars. Dr. John C. Becker and his wife Matilda, had these children born in Hanover, Germany: Otto (physician), Hermane (domestic), Adolphus (tailor-F), Ottelee (domestic), and Matilda. Miss Ottelee Becker married Francis Wagner, of Scranton, PA.

Miss Kate Becker and Frank B. Handrick (both of Wilkes-Barre) announced wedding plans 12 August 1896. I don't know who Miss Kate Becker is unless it is Matilda and she was married twice because her name later was Young.

Matilda Becker Young was born in 1846 and died at the age of 93. Christian Henrich Otten, an immigrant in 1848, bought a tract of land in Bellasylva from Hugh Bellas in 1855 and then in 1883 bought the August and Anna R. Ficht property and also the Girven property.

Christian Heinrich Otten, 72, born in May 1828; died 24 August 1901 married Bertha Otten, immigrant in 1858, in 1964. Bertha Otten, 68 was born October 1831 and died at age 71, 28 June 1903. Christian A. Otten was born in New York City 12 January 1865 and died 26 November 1944 at the age of 79 years at the home of his brother, Adolph, in New York City, with whom he had lived for 44 years. He was never married.

Adolph Otten, 93, died 24 April 1963 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Helen Weeks, in Bryn Mawr, where he was visiting. He was born in New York City in 1869 and in 1883 moved with parents to a farm in Bellasylva, Wyoming County. There he was employed in the lumber business and also had a registered stock farm and on 1 June 1905 the Otten Bros. of Bellasylva, Wyoming County had purchased from James Stewart of South Boston, MA the standard bred trotting stallion, Precious Jay, 3 years old, 16 hands, solid black color.

Adolph Otten married Helene Behr in 1897. Helene Behr Otten was born October 1871. There children were: Frances born 1898 and died 17 August 1954 - Married Joseph Seymour of Cleveland, Ohio. Henry C. born December 1901 died 18 April 1902 at 5 months. Helen born 11 March 1903 died 12 June 1989, married Herbert J. Weeks who died 11 June 1960 at age 62. Helen was 86 when she died and had attended Bellasylva School in Sullivan County from 1909-1913; from 1913-1920 she finished high school in New York City, NY; from 1920 to 1924 she attended and graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York City, NY, as a dietitian.

Adolph C. born 18 August 1908 married Dorothy Zenkert in 1937. She was born 13 January 1916 and died 6 June 1990 at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA. She spent most of her early life in New York City and started visiting Bellasylva in 1936, becoming a full resident in 1963. She was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Dushore and the Ladies Auxiliary of McDermott Post 452 American Legion in Mildred. Adolph C. Otten was a veteran of World War II stationed in Italy. He also raised Golden Retriever dogs and sold them to the Seeing Eye Dogs of Morristown, NJ, where the dogs were trained as "willing and efficient eyes" for blind persons.

The Ottens came to Bellasylva on 12 September 1883; brought the Gus Ficht farm for $3500 including five cows - also the Girven place. Arrived in Tunkhannock at 2:00 AM - couldn't get in hotel - stayed in station all night - Came up on the milk train. Train left at 8:00 in the morning. They got off at Mehoopany - crossed on the ferry - came up in the carry-all that belonged to the hotelkeeper at Mehoopany.

Chris came to take over when the Gus Ficht and family left. He bought some furniture, a big frying pan, a lamp, etc. from the Ficht's. But that night he and Charlie Ernst had to fry their potatoes in the dark because no kerosene was left in the lamps. The potatoes were fried as black as the pan.

Then on time Chris and Adolph had been fixing fence at the Girven place and when they got almost to the Otten place, they saw a big woodchuck not far from the road. Chris told Adolph to keep the woodchuck occupied watching him while Chris sneaked around and behind the woodchuck. He killed the woodchuck with the hammer he had to fix fence.

Adolph and Christian A. Otten bought the Charles A. Kuster property (the former John C. Becker property) in 1908. I believe the barn at the Otten place burned and the Ottens had to keep their cattle, etc. in the Kuster barn. In May 1984 Adolph C. and Dorothy Otten sold a small piece of land to Robert H. Stover.

I do not know how John Otten of Forkston was related unless he was distant cousin. I believe he was the son of Henry Otten.

Dr. Herman F. Lobeck, born in 1815 died on 30 October 1897 at the age of 82. He was a native of Kalbitz Kingdom of Saxony, Germany. He came to America about 1842 with his wife, Marie Lobeck - born in 1823 and died in 1891 and then only child. Their children were: Johanna born 1847, died 1921; Clara born 1851 and died 1895; Marie born 1857, died 8 April 1941; Martha born 1859, died 1930; Aldolphus.

Marie Lobeck, Herman Lobeck's wife died at her home in Bellasylva and was buried there. When her daughter, Clara, died in 1895 she was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock. Then Marie was moved and buried in the family plot. Marie Lobeck, daughter of Herman Lobeck, married James E. Frear, born 14 September 1858 and died 2 August 1902 at the age of 46 years. He was a prominent member off the Wyoming County Bar. He was first married to Miss Susie Marcy who lived only about one year after leaving a baby son to survive her. He was sometime after united in marriage to Miss Marie Lobeck who survived him with three daughters. Mrs. Marie Lobeck Frear was 83 years old when she died and was a talented violinist as one of the famous Lobeck Sisters.


Thanks are due to Kathy Kuhl and Dorothy Colbenson and the Wyoming County Historical Society in Tunkhannock, for the ancient pictures used in this article. I digitized them from original prints and a few copies with a Casio QV-100 Digital Camera, and converted them with Ken Mitchell's excellent Mactintosh GIF Converter program. Thanks also to George Kronmiller for introducing me to Dorothy Colbenson with her wealth of knowledge and joy in sharing it.
Dorothy Colbenson at the Wyoming County Historical Society in Tunkhannock

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