A Sketch:
The Early History of Brooklyn,
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
1787-1815


Source: E. A. Weston’s, History of Brooklyn, It’s Homes and It’s People, 1889.

 

The first settlement in what was to become the Township of Brooklyn, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania occured during the spring of 1787. At that time John Nicholson led about forty settlers from the Philadelphia area. Others from along the Susquehanna Valley joined over the next five years. By 1798 these earliest settlers had become discouraged by the hardships of life in the wilderness and bagan to sell their holdings to a new wave of pioneer from Connecticut.
The first settlers reached the area by canoe coming up the Susquehanna, the Tunkhannock Creek and finally the Hopbottom Creek. Mortimer Page settled first on the south bank of the Hopbottom Creek a little west of the old cemetery. and Dennison settled further up stream, and William Conrad followed the little brook that ran north from opposite the Page’s cabin. The Brooklyn lands had been mortgaged by Nicholson, and when he failed in his payments the lands fell to the ownership of a corporation . John B. Wallace purchased rights and began to sell lots to eastern pioneers from New England.
The first two New Englanders to arrive were Andrew Tracy and Joseph Chapman in 1798.
Andrew Tracy came in August 1798 and purchased Wm. Conrad’s place. Conrad had been a Hessian soldier who had deserted during the revolution. He remained only about ten weeks and after planting grain returned to Norwich, Ct. He and his family returned, travelling between the 8th of January until the 6th of February , to reach Brooklyn. He immediately began to build his cabin and when it was finished during July, 1799 a large party was held with 40 in attendance. That would be the entire Chapman, Tracy and Sabin Clans, the sole inhabitants at that time.
Mrs. Tracy (Mary Cady Weston) married April 2, 1797. Her Father had been a resident of Brooklyn, Windham County, Ct. She began to sell the first stock of merchandise offered in the township. She received articles shipped from Philadelphia and sold from her cabin.
Peleg Tracy, eldest son of Andrew Tracy came in 1798 from Norwich Ct. He brought his family the following year and purchased land first cleared by Bloomfield in 1790. Joshua Sabin, a Captain in the Revolutionary Army came from Otsego County, NY in Spring of 1799, he returned to NY and came back to Brooklyn with his family and the first apple seedlings. He settled on Richard McNamara’s original homestead.
Joseph Chapman, Sr. Was a sea captain "who had made fifty voyages to the West Indies". He resided in Brooklyn from late 1798 to early 1800 while preparing his future home in Dimock. His son Joseph Chapman, Jr. took over the lands first settled by Robinson in 1787.
Samuel Weston, stepson of Andrew Tracy arrived in 1799 at the age of 13. He took part of the Tracy improvements after marrying Julia Horton, daughter of Foster and Sarah Horton of "Horton’s Mills", Nicholson.
Jacob Tewksbury, was the third from New England, coming from Hartland, Vermont in the spring of 1800 . Mr. Tewksbury’s log house and first clearing were situated on the knoll near two springs not far from where he lies buried in the old cemetery.This land was a part of a larger parcel, Page’s original tract, on what much of Brooklyn village sits today. The next spring Mary (Reed) Tewksbury and several small children joined Jacob.Their firstborn son, Daniel Tewksbury, b. Nov. 22, 1801 was the first born in the township of New England parentage.
Jeremiah Geer, a tanner from Norwich, Ct. came in 1802 and occupied the log house of Joseph Chapman. Chapman, being a shoemaker and Gere, the tanner seem to have been in partnership.
Sargent Tewksbury arrived in 1802 from Vermont like his brother Jacob. Isaac Tewksbury joined his sons in 1804, arriving with the large family of Orlando Bagley. Isaac and Jacob built the first saw-mill in the township. It stood at the south-east corner of the New Cemetery.

Religion:

Brooklyn was, early on a melting pot of religious belief and practice. Congregational, Methodist, Universalist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian , Baptist, Quaker, Unitarian and Catholic were all represented by 1810, and thereafter other denominations appeared including Unitarians. The religious atmosphere of the community seems to have been cordial and uncontroversial. There was a long period of live and let live, a tolerance bred in old New England over the past three generations.They assisted their neighbors and welcomed all to each of their meetings..

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