Look here for additional information on the History of Montour County
Anthony Township was formed in 1849 and named in honor of Judge ANTHONY, who was at that time president judge of the courts in the district. Prior to this it was a part of Derry Township. It is connected with the earliest history of Montour County chiefly through the fact that the old Derry Church, in the division of that old township, fell to the territory of Anthony, and is now within its territorial limits. The first church meetings held here in the past century were under two white oak trees, and which are still standing, and in some respects are now associated in the minds of the descendants of these pioneer Christian men and women, after the manner of the Charter Oak tree of this State. For some years church meetings were held under the spreading branches of these two oak trees. In 1802 a little log church was put up a short distance below the site of the present church building. It had only a dirt floor, was covered with branches of trees and grass and leaves, and on the ground in the center of the structure was built a fire in extreme weather. This log house had a gallery (evidently a space-saving device) and the rough stairway to this was on the outside of the building. A high pulpit was on one side, and just below and in front of this was a boarded up box for the choir. Everything about it was of the olden time that has passed away. Its attendants were scattered over a wide extent of the country. They came from not only the present county boundary limits, but from what is now Columbia County, and from Northumberland, Luzerne and Lycoming Counties.
Among the prominent organizers of this first church were William McVICKAR and Thomas ADAMS; both were the first elders. The first Presbyterian minister who preached under the trees was Father DUNHAM, as he was universally called. The first regular pastor was Rev. John B. PATTERSON, who filled the place of pastor, father and friend to the little flock for forty-one years. He died in 1843 and was buried in the Derry Cemetery. He was followed by Rev. John H. RITTENHOUSE, who came from his native county, near Milton, to take charge. He, soon after being installed, commenced the agitation of the subject of a new building. The building was erected to the great joy of the minister and people. In 1852 he dropped dead while standing in front of the new church that the people were then assembling to hear him dedicate in Washingtonville. He was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. John THOMAS, and he in turn by Rev. John JOHNSON, and he by the present pastor, Rev. G. A. MARR, who resides in Northumberland County. These were all the regular pastors of this church, but there were a number of supplies, some of whom filled the pulpit for a long periods. The present elders are Andrew BRITTAIN, W. S. POLLOCK, J. W. LOWREY and W. C. McVICKAR; the trustees: D. M. SHEEP, James RUSSELL, A. C. DILDINE. Present membership, seventy-five. W. C. McVICKAR is superintendent of the Sunday-school. The old historic church was torn down (which is now to be regretted) to be replaced by the present building, which was erected and dedicated in 1846.
Col. Robert CLARK, the eminent patriot and soldier of the Revolutionary war, came to what is now this township and settled in 1792. He won and wore his eagles in the front ranks in the war for independence. He was born in Dauphin County and there grew to manhood. He was present at the sighing of the Declaration of Independence. He purchased about 600 acres of land which is now the property of Charles MOWREY, just west of the McVICKAR farm. Col. CLARK’s wife was Sallie HUTCHINSON. They both lie buried in the Derry graveyard. Their children, of whom there were seven, are all dead. Their son Robert came to what is now Montour County, with his parents, when but fourteen years old, in the year 1778. He married Jane WILSON, born in 1780. They had eight children. He died in June, 1868, and she died in 1863. They were also buried in Derry Cemetery.
White Hall – The first settler here was John FRUIT. He settled here in the latter part of the last century–some believe that it was in the year 1800. He was a native of Ireland. He opened a store-room in his dwelling soon after he came, and afterward put up a store-room; this he built on property now belonging to Henry C. MONROE. It was a small frame structure, and in it he kept the usual variety to be found in a country store. He sold the store in 1810 to John Frederick DERR who carried it on alone until 1841, when he sold an interest to William McBRIDE. Mr. DERR died in 1853, when Mr. McBRIDE continued to conduct the establishment until 1866 assisted by his son, J. S. McBRIDE, now the proprietor The stock was removed to the present brick structure in 1864. ELY & MOYER were merchants in this place at an early day. In 1841 Neal McCOY started a store which he carried on about six years. The place was called at that day “Fruitstown.” The mail was carried by a circuitous route from Catawissa to this place. It was a pony mail, and the first mail boy on the route was Jacob DYER. This postoffice was established in 1820. The postmaster succeeding Mr. BIDDLE was John F. DERR. He remained in the office until 1855, when William McBRIDE became postmaster. The latter remained until 1862, and then John CRAWFORD was installed. He was succeeded by his son, G. W. CRAWFORD, and in turn he was succeeded by the present postmaster, J. S. McBRIDE.
Daniel DILDINE, an Irishman, opened the first blacksmith shop. He was one of the early settlers of the place. The first hotel or “entertainment for man and beast,” was the Red House Hotel, by Andrew SCHOOLEY. It occupied the ground and house where the present brick store stands. The hotel was torn down to make room for the store building. David ELY succeeded Mr. SCHOOLEY in the hotel. The latter was succeeded by Ferdinand RITTER, a native of Berks County. Mr. RITTER built the present White Hall Hotel in 1818. It was rebuilt in 1849-50.
The White Hall Baptist Church was erected in 1858 at a cost of about $1,500. The most active parties in raising the money for the church were William McBRIDE, Effie DERR and A. HOLDEN. But they were liberally aided by all the residents in that vicinity. Andrew F. SHANAFELT was the first preacher. He made his residence in this vicinity. He removed from here to Old Chester where he died. The first officers of the church were William McBRIDE and George W. SUPLEE, deacons, and Aid HOLDEN and William McBRIDE, trustees. The present officers are John CREAMER and William McBRIDE. The Sunday-school superintendent is John CREAMER, and the attendance about fifty.
The first school here was taught in 1818 by John REA in a frame building on the site of the present schoolhouse. The building was torn down in 1841. The present one is a brick building.
The old historic Derry Presbyterian Church is situated about one mile from White Hall. The first church building was of nicely hewn pine logs. It was torn down late in “the forties” and the present frame structure was put up.
There is a Baptist Church in the place. A frame building near the village is also the Primitive Methodist Episcopal Church.
Among the old families of this village are the CAREYS. John CAREY, now residing there, was born in the place. He is over seventy-five years of age.
Exchange – St. James Episcopal Church is located here. The first regular pastor was Rev. Milton LIGHTNER. At first services were held in what was known as the Baptist schoolhouse. Mr. LIGHTNER’s first visit to the place was to preach at the funeral of Stephen ELLIS–the first of that name to settle here and one of the early settlers in this township. The regular services began in 1843, and were held regularly. When Stephen ELLIS died he left a verbal will giving $200 toward the building of the church, “should there ever be a disposition to erect such a building.” The erection of the church was commenced in 1848 on land purchased for that purpose. The corner-stone was laid by Bishop Alonzo POTTER, and that year it was completed and dedicated by the same bishop, assisted by Rev. Milton LIGHTNER and others. The prominent contributors were the estate of Stephen ELLIS, William ELLIS, Stephen ELLIS (son of Stephen ELLIS, deceased, and who now resides in Exchange), Catharine ELLIS and Jane, William, Isabella, Ellen and John C. ELLIS, and Milton LIGHTNER and Amos HEACOCK.
Rev. Milton LIGHTNER served the congregation about ten years, and was succeeded by Rev. Edwin LIGHTNER, who served the congregation from Danville. He was succeeded by Rev. ELSEGOOD, and the ministers in charge, in the order following were Revs. FURY, William PAGE, Albra WADLEIGH, Rollin H. BROWN, Abram P. BRUSH, Baldy LIGHTNER (son of the first of that name), Frank Duncan JADOW, Frank CANFIELD, William JOHNSON, David L. FLEMING, the present pastor, who is located in Muncy. The cost of the church building was over $1,300. The first officers were William ELLIS, Stephen ELLIS, John C. ELLIS and Amos HEACOCK, vestrymen; William ELLIS and Amos HEACOCK, wardens. The present officers are Charles REEDER, William ELLIS, John CALDWELL, John D. ELLIS, Robt. CALDWELL and Stephen C. ELLIS, vestrymen, and Charles REEDER, senior warden, and S. C. ELLIS, junior.
The present Exchange Hall and school was built in 1874, and opened to the public and as a school that year. It was erected at a cost of $1,300. The building committee was Stephen C. ELLIS, Patrick DENNIN and Dr. McHENRY. The first school-teacher in the building was Augustus TRUCKMILLER. This hall is occupied by the Odd Fellows and by the Patrons of Husbandry. The building is the property of twenty-eight stockholders, who joined together in its construction. The first school in Church Hill District, No. 6, was built in 1849. That building was torn down and the present house erected in 1870, in which Miss STINE is the teacher.
Walter JOHNSTON, father of William C. JOHNSTON, the clerk and recorder of the county, was the first hotel-keeper in Exchange–about 1839. He left there in 1840 and went to Jerseytown. Among the early settlers in this place was William CRAIG. The families of John and Alexander CRAIG are still in the place. James McKEE was another early settler. John BULL kept a hotel on the top of the hill, but his family are gone years ago. The house where he kept his hotel is still standing, though it has been closed as a place of entertainment for years. One of the old families living above the hill was that of Patrick MONTAGUE. David WILSON is now a man over eighty years of age; was among the early settlers. Charles CLARK (now a very old man) and family lived north of Exchange. His wife was a DERR. He opened the first store in Exchange, built his storeroom in 1838 and for a time boarded at Johnston’s Hotel.
Exchange Lodge, No. 898, I. O. O. F., has a membership of thirty-eight. Exchange was named about 1840. The Crownover mill and a few clustering houses were then there. There was an ancient log schoolhouse across the creek from the place. The first brick house in the place, now owned by Patrick DINNEN, was built by John CALDWELL. It is now a very old house. John CALDWELL married a daughter of James POLLOCK, another family of the earliest settlers. The first postmaster in the village was Gersham BIDDLE.