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Doolittle Hill School
Pig Barn Road, Braintrim Township, Wyoming County, PA
Located across the road from the former Bethel Church, the school lot is now vacant, although there is a stone left to mark
the former location of the church. The spot is nearly into Susquehanna County, right at the point where Bradford,
Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties come together. The picture was taken in 1903.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

The Leo Bolles Collection


As recounted on the Bolles Cemetery page (shown here below in 1952), Carol Brotzman, our contributor, came into the Bolles family records from Mrs. Anna Labzentis Bolles *, beginning on August 22, 1999, and thereafter through 1996. The materials were loaned for copying, organization and conservation. Anna, and her deceased husband Robert Bolles (1926 – 1998), obtained the records through Robert’s adopted father, Leo Bolles (1887 – 1959). Leo was a noted early historian of the area, and kept diaries, pictures and notes on just about everything. Here we bring you his collection, courtesy of arrangement by Carol. You can reach her at Carol Brotzman with comments and suggestions.

* Editor's Note: We were saddened to receive notice of the passing of Anna (Labzentis) Bolles in Feruary 2012. Here is an obituary:

Daily Review
Towanda, PA
February 28, 2012

Mrs. Anna M. Labzentis Bolles, age 86, of 1109 Jayne Rd., Laceyville, passed away at her home, in Auburn twp., Susquehanna Co., early Sunday morning, Feb. 26, 2012. She was born in Scranton on Oct. 19,1925 the daughter of the late Peter C. and Anna M. Yucus Labzentis. Her early years were spent in the Scranton area. In 1928, her family moved to their farm near Montrose, on Labzentis Rd., in Rush. It was there on the farm where she spent most of her early years. She was a graduate of the Rush High School class of 1944.On Aug 13,1949 she was married to Robert E. Bolles, and was married for 49 years, until his death on Dec. 15,1998. In May 1953, Bob and Anna moved to the Glenn Bennett Farm on Clapper Hill, just outside on Silvara, near Laceyville. It was on that farm where they raised their family, and worked together side by side. Anna lived on the farm until 6 years ago, when she moved near her daughter, Jeannie, near Jayne's Orchard, in West Auburn. Years ago Anna was an active member of the St. Joachim - St. Bonaventure Roman Catholic Churches, helping with the annual St. Patrick Days Dinner, and the annual summer picnic. She was a Catechism teacher for several years, and a member of the church choir at St. Bonaventure's, for many years. Anna was also a 4-H leader in Silvara, while her children younger, working with the children, with their sewing and gardening projects.Surviving are her children, MaryAnn (Chuck) Place of Laceyville, Frances (Marvin) Small of Birchardville, Kathryn (Bill) Boehmer of Tunkhannock, George (Dawn) Bolles of Laceyville and Jeannie (Roger) Jayne of Laceyville; and her 12 grandchildren, Cristen Place (Jim) Charnley of East Stroudsburg, Rebecca Place(Ashley) McClain of Meshoppen, Nathan (Amanda) Small of Montrose, Darren Small of Montrose, Jonathan Small and his fiancé Monica Turner of Montrose, Stephanie Boehmer (Mike) Bauman of Mehoopany, Nikolos (Stephanie) Boehmer of Southport, N.C.; Tonya (Robert) Elliott of Rome, Georgia Bolles of Cincinnati, Ohio, Robert (Shannon) Bolles of Laceyville, Cheyenne (Mike) Whalen of Warren Center and Tracy Jayne of Laceyville; as well as 12 great-grandchildren and six step great-grandchildren. Anna is also survived by a brother, Vincent Labzentis, of Scranton, and several nieces and nephews.Besides her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Charlotte Bendock, and Helen Yurgatis, and a step-grandson, Matt Bowen. Transferal prayers will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, March 1, 2012 from the Sheldon Funeral Home, Main St., Laceyville, with a Mass of Christian Burial at at 11 a.m. the St. Joachim's Roman Catholic Church in Meshoppen with Fr. Joseph Manarchuck of the church officiating. Interment will be in the St. Joachim's Cemetery in Meshoppen. Family and friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Feb. 29, 2012 at the funeral home.In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make memorial donations to the Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen, Tunkhannock, PA 18657; the Endless Mountains Health Care Systems Building Fund, Montrose, PA 18801; the Silvara Ladies Aide Society, c/o Mrs. Betty Spencer, RR 1, Laceyville, PA 18623; the Laceyville Ambulance Association, PO Box 274, Laceyville, PA 18623; or to the Goodwill Fire Co., PO Box 207, Laceyville, PA 18623.

Further along in this history, we will provide several ancestral charts and other documents that will help the reader understand how the Bolles families in northern Pennsylvania are related to one another. The Bolles tradition goes back to Maine and Connecticut before the family migrated to Pennsylvania. Joseph Bolles, Sr. was born in 1608 in England. He and his wife Mary emigrated to Wells, Maine. One son, Samuel, moved to Massachusetts, but his brother Thomas relocated to New London, Connecticut. Both men had three children. However, the Connecticut branch was nearly wiped out in 1678 when a vagrant the wife and two children of Thomas. Only the infant son John survived. John later married twice and his wives gave birth to fourteen children. A genealogy of the Bolles family, now out of print, was published in 1865 by a descendant named John Augustus Bolles. More recently, a comprehensive history was written in 1970, with a supplement issued in 1989. You can read more about the overall Bolles Family Genealogy, their reunions, and other connections at The Bolles Family Association.

Now, back to Leo Bolles and his collection.....


Bolles Cemetery
August 27, 1952

Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
The note on the back of this photo states that the picture was taken from the top of a gravel pile. One truck in this view is loaded and pulling away. Leo also notes that the "front wall is gone". So, at one time, the entire cemetery must have been enclosed with the beautiful stone walls that are still present on the other borders.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Leo Bolles (October 10, 1887-May 15, 1959) of the Lone Pine Farm, Auburn Township, West Auburn, Susquehanna County, PA always dreamed of being a newspaperman or journalist. However, he remained on the farm taking care of his parents. He was married to the love of his life, Bertha E. Crawford, on August 01, 1911 in the Skinners Eddy Methodist Church. They were unable to have children, although Bertha longed for a child. Therefore, they adopted Robert Edward Edsell "Bob Bolles" (March 17, 1926-December 15, 1998) on January 3, 1933. It is Bob's widow, Ann Labzentis Bolles, who is sharing his recorded treasures with Carol to further share with the world. As we mentioned, Leo recorded everything he could possibly record. Even when he got a haircut! He had extensive diaries, photos and genealogy data. He was even a Justice of the Peace. Bertha (December 16, 1882-October 25, 1935) died soon after they adopted Robert. Leo then married her sister Ella Crawford December 17, 1936 in Johnson City, New York. All three kept diaries and genealogy. It is Carol's pleasure to start sharing his treasures. The Sullivan County Genealogical Web Page is very grateful to the Bolles family and to Carol for their efforts.

Here are four pictures taken at various times of the house and farm where Leo lived. Just click on the links to see the pictures.

Home of Leo Bolles in July 1921
Peter the Dog on Leo Bolles Farm in February 1927
Home of Leo Bolles in 2006
Gathering of Women at Leo Bolles Farm on July 10, 1923--This picture shows Ella Crawford and Catherine Lyon seated; the ladies standing, left to right, are Lottie Lyon, Loretta Ackley [died April 9, 1932], Adelia Moody [died March 20, 1934] and Bertha Bolles [died October 25, 1935].

We can learn some basic information from the obituaries for Leo and his two wives, and therefore we show them here:

Montrose Independent
Montrose, PA
May 1959
Note: Found in clippings kept by Ella Crawford Bolles and surmised to be from this newspaper.

Leo Bolles, 71, of West Auburn died Friday Morning after a short illness. He was born on the farm in Auburn Township, the son of George W. and Lewcette Lyon Bolles **. Three generations of Bolles have resided on that farm. He was a 4th term Justice of the Peace and the West Auburn news correspondent with the Montrose Independent newspaper for many years. Leo was a member of the West Auburn Shiloh Grange and the West Auburn Methodist Church. His wife Sarah Ella Bolles, a son Robert, and five grandchildren survive him.
Burial will be in the Beech Grove Cemetery under the direction of the Reverend Joseph Hollopeter, with the funeral being held at the West Auburn Methodist Church.

Leo Bolles, 71 years old, a very able correspondent for 30 years is dead, He resided in West Auburn, PA. He was born October 10, 1887 on the farm he lived on to George and Leucetta Lyon Bolles, he was a fourth term Justice of the Peace. He passed to the great beyond Friday morning May 15, 1959. He was devoted to the West Auburn Methodist Church; he joined on his twelfth birthday [and would have been a member for] almost 60 years had he lived till his birthday, October 10th. He was a 50-year member of the Shiloh West Auburn Grange, the treasurer of his church. He is survived by his beloved wife Sarah Ella Crawford, a sister to his first wife Bertha, a son Robert E. Bolles and five grandchildren. The funeral was held Monday in the West Auburn Church by the Reverend Jason Hollopeter. It was filled to capacity. Sheldon's Funeral home was in charge of the burial at Beech Grove Cemetery.

** Editor's Note:Leo Bolles was the son of George Warren and Lewcette (Lyon) Bolles. He was the grandson of James Stoddard and Susan (Heady) Bolles. There is an ancestral chart provided below.

Here is a link to the Funeral Card created at the time of Leo's death. In addition, we present a letter, found in Leo Bolles collection, from Cyrus Whipple to James Stoddard Bolles. Dated July 24, 1864, the subject matter is the repayment of a debt and small talk about country life. Whipple was a prominent citizen and, along with Jonas Fuller, an original owner of the land on which the Bolles Cemetery would later be built. You can also learn more about the Fuller family at Joe Payne's Fullers Pond Family Tree, and see a Fuller ancestor in the 1896 Beech Grove School picture shown below.

Meshoppen Enterprise
Meshoppen, PA
October 1935
Note: Found in the Lou Mericle Collection saved by Burton Hollister and conserved by Carol Brotzman; presumed to be from this newspaper.

Mrs. Leo Bolles (Bertha E. Crawford) of West Auburn, died October 25, 1935, age 53 years. She has been a patient in Hillside Mental Hospital at Clarks Summit, for the past 26 months. She was born on Shannon Hill, December 16, 1882. A resident of West Pittston for 15 years, where she graduated from the High School in the class of 1903 and taught school one term at Exeter. She married Leo Bolles of West Auburn, August 1, 1911. She was a member of Church, Ladies Aide, Grange and W.C.T.U. (all of West Auburn, PA). Funeral services and burial was held at her late home, Tuesday afternoon October 29, at 2 p.m: Sermon was by Rev. V. F. Thomas from text Psalm 55:6. Four nephews were bearers. Her husband and one adopted son survives: and two brothers and three sisters: N.G. Crawford of South Auburn, G.W. Crawford of South Montrose, Mrs. L D Strope of Wysox, Mrs Mary Mason of Dinuba, California and Miss Ella Crawford of West Auburn. *
* Editor's Note: Both Bertha and her sister, Sarah ("Ella") were daughters of Gershom Bunnell Crawford and Sarah "Ellen" Green. You can see pictures of these daughters, and other family members, in the photo of the 1930 Crawford family reunion on our Old Reunions page. There is also a caption and commentary on the reunion and its subjects at that link.

Rocket-Courier
Wyalusing, PA
October 1970
Note: Found in the Mae Fassett Collection and likely to be from this newspaper.

Mrs. Sarah Bolles (known as Ella), widow of Leo Bolles of Beech Grove, died October 21, 1970 in Monroe Nursing home, Scranton, PA. Where she had been a resident for two months. She was born at Shannon Hollow, the daughter of Gershom and Ella Green Crawford. She taught school in various schools in Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA. Ella was a member of the West Auburn Methodist Church. She is survived by a son Robert and five grandchildren. Burial will be at the Beech Grove Cemetery with the Reverend Marjorie Hanton. Sheldon Funeral home is in charge.

Leo kept a diary and notes on nearly any topic; records of births, marriages and deaths; and charts of ancestry and so forth. For example, in one of his diary entries, shown below, he mentions the deaths of both Benjamin Crawford and Elmer Bolles. Benjamin Carpenter Crawford, a brother to both Bertha and Sarah Crawford, was born in Auburn township on April 11, 1868. He got into a dispute with his father, Gershom Crawford, about the proceeds from selling a pig,and moved to California as a result. He was living in Dinuba, Tulare County, in the Central Valley of California, but died in Santa Cruz in December 1932, allegedly as the result of a stumble that caused a hernia to rupture. He is buried in Santa Cruz Memorial Park in a grave without a marker, in the farthest corner of the Garden of Faith section of the cemetery. Apparently, his widow, Minnie Louise (Beauchamp) Crawford, owned property there and they were in the process of moving when the accident occurred that caused his death. We are grateful to Patricia Crawford for this information on the burial location. Elmer Leander Bolles, a grandson of Robinson and Hannah (Stoddard) Bolles by way of Abel Bolles and Anna Stevens, was born in Herrickville, Bradford County, PA, but died in Vineland, New Jersey on October 21, 1920. He apparently had lived there quite a while, since he married Mary Weatherwax in Vineland in 1872. He was a first cousin of Leo's father, George Warren Bolles.

Yet another collection item is a note with a formula for Grafting Wax that was compiled by Leo's father, George Warren Bolles. Grafting wax, according to Carol Brotzman, is the compound used to graft buds/branches to trees. The farmer can graft a better peach tree bud, for example, or small branch to any kind of tree. It then continues to grow and produce peaches where it is grafted, even if it has been grafted to an apple tree. The Leo Bolles farm had a peach orchard, as seen in photos of the Bolles cemetery. To give another example, Carol tells us that she has bought trees grafted on entirely different stock. The growers use a hearty rootstock and graft hybrids into it, so you might end up with five kinds of apples on one apple tree. The note in Leo's handwriting states that this was the last batch made by his father on February 28, 1916. George died December 15, 1918.

Click here for the Ancestral Charts for Leo and his wives.

Click here to see an 1864 Letter from Cyrus Whipple to James Stoddard Bolles.

Leo kept a lot of pictures of schools--the buildings, teachers, students, surrounding structures and so forth. Let's start with two classes from the Beech Grove School taken in 1881 and 1887, respectively.


Class of 1881
Beech Grove School

Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
Photographer: Frank Warwick, Laceyville, PA
Source: Leo Bolles Collection


Class of 1881
Beech Grove School
Identifications and Death Dates
Leo Bolles or his wife Ella numbered the pictures, then Leo provided the death dates.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Here is a transcript of these names, with birth date, death date, and age provided as the author recorded them:

1. Miles B. Fuller, born September 10, 1868, died September 13, 1904
2-4. Unknown
5. John Bart Carter, born 1871, died 1921
6. Unknown
7. Charles Osborne [teacher]
8. Unknown
9. Daniel Carter, died March 22, 1913
10. Unknown
11. Kern Carter
12. Iona Fuller, died April 10, 1939, age 69
13-15. Unknown
16. Arthur J. Fuller *, born 1870, died 1940
17-19. Unknown
20. Helen (Briggs) Shaver, died April 1, 1972
21-22. Unknown
23. Solomon B. Parker, died October 28, 1946
24. Lottie Clink *
25. Isaac C. Parker *, died April 22, 1953
* = also listed in 1887 class below


Class of 1887
Beech Grove School

Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
Taken December 1887
Source: Leo Bolles Collection


Class of 1887
Beech Grove School
Identifications and Death Dates
Leo Bolles or his wife Ella numbered the pictures, then Leo provided the death dates.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Here is a transcript of these names, with death dates and ages provided as the author recorded them:

1. Carrie Cogswell [teacher], later Carrie (Cogswell) Rohrer, died November 14, 1952, age 85
2. Emma Manning, died August 13, 1958, age 88
3. Lottie Clink, later Lottie (Clink) Noble, died January 26, 1953, age 81
4. Carrie Roberts, later Carrie (Roberts) Parker, died August 1914, age 42
5. Isaac C. Parker, died April 22, 1953, age 80
6. Leslie Clink
7. Arthur J. "Artie" Fuller, died March 1940, age 70
8. Henry Bolles, died August October 29, 1955, age 80
9. Roland "Rollie" Clink, died June 25, 1939, age 70
10. Bertie Potter, later Bertie (Potter) Hillis, died July 17, 1947, age 76
11. Etta "Ettie" Parker, later Etta (Parker) Tewksbury, died June 27, 1931
12. Angie Parker, later Angie (Parker) Swisher, died February 23, 1954, age 73
13. Charley ["Charlie"] Roberts, died December 31, 1948, age 72
14. Frank Clink
15. Roy Bolles, died February 9, 1957, age 79
16. Joseph Briggs
17. George Parker

Here is the Beech Grove class of 1896, mentioned above in connection with the Fuller family:


Class of 1896
Beech Grove School
Frank Raub Fuller (1884-1974) is the second boy in the top row; he is about 12 years old in the picture.
The teacher, standing on the left, was Eva Tewksbury, who married Arthur Lott in 1899.
Source: Barbara Lott

Frank Raub Fuller was the son of Charles Fuller and Mary "Rhetta" Raub. The nearby hamlet of Retta was named for her. She was also the first "post mistress" in the Auburn area. If you want to learn more about the lineage of this Fuller family, you can also look at the attached charts prepared by Carol Brotzman:

--Ancestors of Ermal Fuller: Note Ermal was the mother of Frank Lott and mother-in-law of Barbara (Fisher) Lott, our Fuller source, We have posted Ermal's obituary below.
--Ancestors of Frank Lott
--Ancestors of Joe Payne: Note that Joe, who hosts the Fullers Pond page mentioned above, is the son of Elizabeth Ann Fuller. She came down from Jonas and Clarissa Main Fuller as did Ermal Fuller, but the former was descended from Josiah Fuller, while Ermal came down from his brother, Charles Fuller. Elizabeth and Ermal were third cousins. Here is the actual ancestral chart for Elizabeth's father, Jonas Luther Fuller:
--Ancestors of Jonas Luther Fuller

The following three charts extend this Fuller ancestry back into England in the seventeenth and late sixteenth centuries:

--Ancestors of Charles Fuller
--Ancestors of Josiah Fuller
--Ancestors of Joseph Fuller

Binghamton Press
Binghamton, NY
August 3, 2004

Ermal Fuller Lott of
Wallingford, Conn.


Ermal Fuller Lott, 89, of Wallingford, Conn., formerly of South Montrose, Pa., died Sunday, August 1, 2004, at the Masonic Healthcare Center, Wallingford, Conn. Born September 25, 1914 in Auburn Twp., Susquehanna, Co., she was the daughter of the late Frank Raub and Vida [Carter] Fuller. Mrs. Lott married Audley Brooks Lott on June 27, 1934 in Camptown, Pa. He predeceased her in death on December 23, 1993. Along with running the Lott household, Ermal assisted Audley in the operations of Lott´s Feed Mill (formerly Audley B. Lott Feed Mill and previous to that E.R. Lott & Son Feed Mill), South Montrose, Pa. She was a member of the South Montrose Community Church, Order of the Eastern Star, Montrose Chapter # 151, where she served as Past Matron in 1951, Auburn and South Montrose Granges, where she was holder of the 7th degree, Women´s Monday Club, Montrose Camera Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, Montrose Chapter, where she served as registrar for many years, Ladies Aid of South Montrose Community Church, where she served as president from 1947 to 1948, Child Welfare Advisory Board, County Welfare Department, Susquehanna County, Pa. From 1914 to 1934, she lived on the family farm in Auburn Twp., Susquehanna Co., Pa., then from 1934 to 1997 she lived in South Montrose, Bridgewater Twp., Susquehanna Co., Pa., and since 1997 she has lived at Ashlar Village Apartment, Pond Ridge Assisted Living and finally at the Masonic Healthcare Center of the Masonicare Facilities, Wallingford, Conn. She started the Cub Scouts of South Montrose in 1952. Over the years Ermal and Audley traveled Pennsylvania and New York for pleasure and to feed conventions, and to Canada to fish and sight see. From 1971 to 1986, they traveled to every state of the United States, all provinces of Canada but Newfoundland; to Europe; around the world seeing Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. They cruised the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal. In all their travels Ermal said, "Home always looks best." Ermal had a fond desire to know who her ancestors were and spent many years researching her family history which is being carried on by her daughter-in-law. Survivors include, son and his wife, William Frank and Barbara [Fisher] Lott, Amston, Conn.; nephew, Charles Fuller, Atlanta, Ga.; grandchildren, Edward Andrew Lott and wife, Amy Fish, Mashpee, Mass., Carolyn [Lott] Walton and husband, Mark Stephen Walton, Virginia Beach, Va., Robert Frank Lott and friend Annett Loiselle, Mt. Clemens, Mich.; great-grandchildren, Sarah Katherine Lott, Abigail Vera Lott, Hannah Elizabeth Walton, Audrey Brook Walton and Chandler Stephen Walton. Besides her husband and parents, she was predeceased by her brother and his wife, Leland & Irene [Overfield] Fuller. Services will be 4 p.m., Saturday, August 7, 2004, at the South Montrose Community Church, South Montrose, Pa. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church. The family suggests that, if desired, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the giver's choice, Susq. Co. Historical Society & Free Library Assoc., 2 Monument Square, Montrose, Pa. 18801, South Montrose Community Church, PO Box 86, South Montrose, Pa. 18843, or to Quality of Life Fund, c/o Masonic Charity Foundation, PO Box 70, Wallingford, Conn. 06492. Arrangements have been entrusted to Bartron-Myer Funeral Home, Inc., a Selected Independent Funeral Home, 74 Church Street, Montrose, Pa. 18801.

Twenty-six years later, the same Beech Grove school building where Frank Raub Fuller was a school boy is shown in the following double-exposed picture taken on March 5, 1922:


Beech Grove School
Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
Double Exposed Photo Taken in 1922
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

And, here is how the weathered old building looked in 1946:


Beech Grove School
Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
Photo Taken by G. A. Seeley of Mullens, West Virginia in 1946
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

While we are looking at old school houses, let's take a look at the West Auburn School in May 1958:


West Auburn School
Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, PA
May 1958
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Leo had typewritten a note on the back of the preceding school picture. It reads:

WEST AUBURN public house
in use about 80 years
last day of school May 29 1957
Mrs. Ruth W. Sherwood, teacher
and 22 pupils enrolled
picture taken May 20, 1958 by
Leo Bolles
Justice of the Peace
R. D. 1--Laceyville, PA

Almost half a century earlier, his future second wife, Ella (Crawford) Bolles was the Teacher listed in the West Auburn School Booklet, dated March 28, 1912. Three years later, she was listed as the Teacher for the South Auburn School Booklet for the South Auburn School, dated April 9, 1915. The students attending these schools are listed on each Booklet, and represent a cross section of the community. No wonder that Leo Bolles had such an attachment to these old local schools.

The Bolles family periodically held reunions as well. You can see two examples, one small and one quite large, on our Old Reunions page. The information and history surrounding these photos brings us into contact with the Bolles family writ large. A key figure is Edgar Warren Bolles, Leo's first cousin, once removed. We can trace the relationships of Leo Bolles, our contributor, down from Robinson Bolles as follows. Among the children of Robinson Bolles were two sons, Elkhannah and James. Edgar Warren Bolles was a son of Elkhannah; Leo Bolles was the son of George W. Bolles *^* and grandson of James Bolles. Among the other papers found in Leo's collection is a handwritten notice from Edgar W. Bolles, the brother of James, to Leo, dated June 9, 1925, in which he reports the Death of Lee R. Bolles, Edgar's son. That would make Leo and Lee second cousins. The stationery on which the note is penned shows a black and white picture of the Bolles homestead, presumably the original one, with the names of the ancestors who lived there: Robinson, Elkhannah, Edgar, Lee R. This is not Leo's direct line, since Robinson is the first ancestor that he has in common with these relatives, and Leo lived in nearby Skinner's Eddy, PA at this time. However, the information shows how close the families remained over 100 years or more. The note also records in separate handwriting the death of Edgar himself in 1928 and also the death of Ethel Rykert Bolles in 1941. The latter was the wife of Lee R. Bolles.

As the record shows, Possinger family information was found in the diaries of Leo and Sarah "Ella" Crawford Bolles of West Auburn, Susquehanna County, PA. Leo was a great historian of the Laceyville area. Leo was first married to Ella's sister Bertha Crawford, then married Ella on December 17, 1936 in Johnson City, Broome County, NY; the Reverend Fred C. Lott presiding. They lived on the Lone Pine Farm, West Auburn, Susquehanna County, PA. Bertha and Ella were daughters of Gershom Bunnell and Sarah Ellen (Green) Crawford. Gershom in turn was the son of Benjamin and Catherine (Bunnell) Crawford. Finally, Benjamin was the son of Benjamin Noah and Olive (Carpenter) Crawford. In fact, this branch of the Crawford family is related by blood to the Crawfords that married the Thrasher, Sayman and Hunsinger families in Sullivan County.


The Bolles Organ
Owned At One Time By Sarah Bolles
Warren, Vermont 2010
Photo Courtesy of Bob Gow

*^* Editor's Note: George W. Bolles had a sister Sarah (1841-1874) who married John Henry Black (1842-1921). This family owned a Pelubet Pelton reed organ, picture just above. In August 2010, their great great nephew, Bob Gow, of Warren VT, wrote to Carol Brotzman as follows:

My mother Margaret Lacey Gow was born in West Auburn and is recorded in the 1900 Federal census there with the Elmer Bolles Lacey family. It was from her family that I inherited a Pelubet Pelton reed organ. This year I finally had it restored. It was built in 1874 and I always heard it referred to as "the Bolles Organ. I am descended as follows:

Robert M. Gow.born 1927 (that's me!)
My mother Margaret Lacey Gow (1896-1992); my father Millard R. Gow (1896 -196?)
My mother's father Elmer Bolles Lacey (1870-1934); my mothers’ mother May Titman Lacey (1870-1960).

My mother's grandfather Alonzo Lacey (1843-1913) married "Philena" Anna Bolles (1842-1922), daughter of Abel (1796-1873) and Anna (Stevens) Bolles (1801-1891). Philena was a first cousin of Sarah Bolles (Black).

Elmer Bolles Lacey was born in West Auburn, PA on Jan. 31, 1870, son of Alonzo and Philena (Bolles) Lacey. He attended public schools and entered Elmira Business College. He then joined his father in the mercantile business. About 1900, he moved to Endicott, NY, where he began contracting and building. He was manager of the Endicott Lumber & Box Company and then a superintendent at Endiott-Johnson. He also served with the State Bank of Endicott, a was both a Mason and Shriner. He married May Titman, in Auburn Four Corners, PA on Oct. 27, 1892. May was the daughter of Dwight and Alvira (Kirkhuff) Titman. Elmer and May had four children: Arthur born July 29, 1893; Margaret and Mildred (Bob Gow's mother), twins, born Mar. 31, 1896; and Annis born Jan. 2, 1900. They moved from West Auburn to Endicott, New York to a house built by EB Lacey.

Any way, since it was called "the Bolles Organ" not "the Lacey organ" I am trying to locate its first home. It was built by Pelobet Pelton Co. in New York City in 1874 (per its number). The first time I remember seeing it was in my grandmother’s house on Lincoln Avenue in Binghamton, NY in 1937 or 38. No one in the family seemed to play it. The organ then traveled across the Susquehanna River to Vestal, NY to the home of Carl and Annie (Lacey) Seltzer. My Seltzer cousins had it in their playhouse until it stopped playing due to a hole in one of the bellows pumps. In the 1970’s, when they sold the Vestal house, I brought it to The Christmas Tree Inn in Warren VT, where I hoped to fix it. Doing so was way beyond my carpentry or musical abilities, howver. When I sold the Inn, I moved it to my daughter’s barn where it languished in disassembled pieces. I also bought lots of books from the "Reed Organ Society" on repairing reed organs. Alas things didn’t get better.
In 2009, by good luck, I found a man, Bruce Stevens, doing business as "1001 Keys" in Wells River VT. He reassembled the organ using its original parts (minus one small piece of wood which I had mislaid). It now plays beautifully and I am hoping my granddaughters (who both play piano) will enjoy it. My cousin Joann Seltzer, who remembers it as the "Bolles Organ", thinks that it first belonged to Philena Bolles Lacey, not Sarah Bolles Black. This may or may not be true, since Philena was married to Alonzo in 1870 before the organ was built. Maybe, he bought it for her after they were married; we don't know for now. Perhaps the organ did belong to Sarah (Bolles) Black, then when she died in 1873, the organ went to Philena, her first cousin. Or, it might have belonged to some other member of her family who moved from the Pennsylvania to Endicott or Binghamton and then gave or willed it to my grandmother (May Lacey) in the 1930’s.
The history of reed organs is quite fascinating. While there are only a few remaining today it was a major industry in the 1860 to 1890 era. You can learn more about them at The Reed Organ Society.

A somewhat different reunion picture is the majestic "4th Annual Reunion of Company C of the 203rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, dated 1903, and found in the Collection. We do not know at this time the individual names of the veterans and their wives. Note the canes and crutches on the grass, presumably indicating that some of the seated men were survivors of war wounds. Their average age appears to be in their sixties, which would be in line with the years of the war: 1861-1865. This unit was organized at Philadelphia in September 1864 and served mostly in North Carolina. You can learn more here about the history of the 203rd Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Now here are two pictures of Ella Crawford Bolles. The first, taken in 1952, shows her with a pet cat and dog. The second, taken in 1958, shows her standing next to the Dallas, Texas based Tennessee Gas Transmission Company pipeline that started going through the area in July 1955.


Ella Crawford Bolles
August 27, 1952
With pet cat named "Golda" and new puppy named "Betty"
Source: Leo Bolles Collection


Ella Crawford Bolles
September 1958
Next to Tennessee Gas Transmission Company pipeline
The line ran from Corpus Christi, TX to Greenwich, CT and was 2200 miles long. Each pipe section was 24 inches wide,
came in forty foot lengths and weighed 100 pounds per foot of length.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Here is a picture of the South Auburn Grange Hall taken in the 1940s.


Grange Hall
Auburn, Pennsylvania 1940s

Behind the South Auburn ME Church
Hall is on right with an outhouse on the left.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

On the back of the preceding photo is written:

"Fire escape on South Auburn Grange Hall.
Erected April 1922
Grange hall moved back
Summer of 1939
South Auburn Grange No 1188".

Let's take a look now at the West Auburn Methodist Church:


West Auburn Methodist Church
Auburn, Pennsylvania 1942

This is a rare photograph. The Reverend George C. Snyder is standing in front of the church entrance.
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Note: The above photo bears the date of July 1958 for when it was produced, although the inscription on the back dates the photo to 1942. So, Leo must have kept the negative on hand for more than 15 years before he had it developed. Leo is identified as the local Justice of the Peace in Laceyville, PA with a pasted on typed address on the backside inscription, although it is not clear when this appointment occurred.

Leo kept am amazing assortment of materials. Here, for example, is his handwritten recipe for salve. The mixture seems pretty potent to the modern eye!
The ingredients listed are one pound of rosin, two ounces of beeswax, two ounces of mutton tallow, and two tablespoons of "Venas" turpentine. The last item is probably a reference to Venetian turpentine, which itself is a misnomer. Venetian turpentine is actually not turpentine, but instead a balsam extracted from the European larch tree and used as an ingredient in everything from salves to paint thinner.


Recipe for Salve
Asserted to have been obtained from H. O. Taylor on September 5, 1907
Source: Leo Bolles Collection

And, here is the greeting card for a local minister, Ivan Lott Snyder, who was pastor in 1913-1914, and again in 1916, at a local church:


Reverend Ivan Lott Snyder
Pastor
The Methodist Episcopal Church
Rush Charge of the Wyoming Conference
Greeting Card Dated About 1913-1916Source: Leo Bolles Collection

Leo Bolles also obtained a license to preach. Here is his initial Exhorter's License, dated 1923, for the Methodist Episcopal Church in West Auburn, PA. The following year, 1924, he received a Local Preacher's License for the same venue. This preaching license was renewed periodically at least through 1934, as shown by the License Renewals marked on the back side of the original license.

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