Saturday, June 6, 2015

Susquehana boom history Williamsport Sun Gazette Fri Mar 24 1876

Susquehanna Boom Company

The location of the boom at Williamsport attracted the attention of eastern capitalist. Already there had been an accession to our population of quite a number. New mills were in the course of erection and others contemplated. It was no usual circumstances even in the early days the watch of the departure of exploring parties in the quest of timberland. At that time there were no mill roads with their luxurious appliances to tempt the weary traveler. The old lumbering stagecoach and slow pokey packet were all that we had to transport these parties to the wilds of western and northern counties.

These indications of growth and prosperity were not without effect upon the minds of those early pioneers. Their business sagacity already discerned in the near future and necessity for expansion and enlargement of their works. Accordingly at the meeting of February 1852 they “resolved that the harbor now commenced below the main boom be completed this season. “  Also, that the capital stock increased to the sum of $20,000.

The drives of this and the succeeding three or four years were successfully made: and so far as concerned this working of the boom, nothing could've been more satisfactory. But for some time there had been secretly indulged by some of the patrons of the company a growing unfriendliness towards its management.

As the feeling finally developed into a positive opposition and in… assumed the attitude of a formidable rival it may be well at this point to introduce with some degree of XXX? The circumstances and conditions that brought it to life the “ Loyalsock Boom Company” and that

ultimately merge those two conflicting factions into one harmonious whole.

The origin of the Loyalsock Boom Company appears to been associated with the fact that in the early days, the large number of mills were located in the river below the borough of Williamsport. Also that the corporators of the Susquehanna boom had  previously decided to locate their booms,  as it has been shown on at a point in the river several miles above these mills. These lower mill proprietors anticipated additional expense and delay in getting the logs from the boom to their respective mills particularly as there was a dam across the river at an intermediate point and their logs would necessarily be broken loose from the fastening and scattered in the act of passing them over the dam. To gather them up again and re-raft the logs before they could be run to the mills, would occasion both delay and expense.

These anticipations work to some extent ultimately realized and provoked a feeling of unfriendliness and animosity between the two parties. There also appeared to be an unwillingness on their part to pay “tribute to Cesar.” In addition to the 50 cents per thousand feet charge by the Susquehanna boom Company as boomage for securing and rafting out their logs, there was charged an additional sum for “warp”.

It may be necessary to explain this item: warp, or rope, is is extensively used in the operation of rafting. The logs are secured together on long strings or floats by a small rope passing over them and hitched around a wooden pin driven into the center of each log. It formed a part of an expensive rafting and was included in the $.50 charge as boomage.

These floats during the operation of making them up (which seem to require several days) were secured to the platform or stretcher by means of stay lines. During high winds or a sudden rise in the river, it was frequently necessary to duplicate these lines. When the floats were cut loose from the stretches the party using the knife would not infrequently XXX the man who cut off the dog’s tail “back of his ears”They would make an incision at stretcher and thus the logs were gleefully received a long a long line of rope would very conveniently drop into and under the water, and this way they would secure a large quantity of rope by the simple process of making the “cut “ at the wrong place. Now it was for this wrap inadvertently removed as explained that the boom company proposed to charge.

This additional expense though, insignificant had a tendency to widen the breach between these early pioneers and to provoke a spirit of opposition and strife when unity and cooperation should have prevailed.

These grievances whether imaginary or real, together with bad counseling and advice from those who should have dis XXX  all such independent efforts resulted in the organization of the “Loyalsock Boom Company”

The legislature of the state of Pennsylvania by an act of assembly passed the 11th day of April, 1849 and the supplement thereto approved the 9th day of April 1849. Incorporated and constituted Isaac Smith and William Woodman, and their associates and successors a body politic and corporate by the name and style of “The Loyalsock Boom Company “

It will be noticed that this act of incorporation was passed only two years subsequent to that of the Susquehanna boom Company.

 Under the act of incorporation Isaac Smith, William Woodman, Jacob Brown, Daniel W Smith, Jerome G Kidder and Lyman Pray, in the month of June 1850 organize the said Loyalsock Boom Company by the adoption of the Constitution and bylaws.

Another noticeable fact is that the organization was only a few months subsequent to that of this Susquehanna Boom Company. These articles of association defined the objects of the company as follows; “To erect and maintain a boom or booms in the West branch of the Susquehanna River with piers as may be necessary to stop and secure logs, masts, spars and other lumber floating upon the river and erecting such piers, side branch or shear boom as may be necessary for that purpose etc.

The capital stock provided by the articles of association consisted of 50 shares apportioned as follows:  Isaac Smith 22 shares; William Woodman, 7 shares; Jacob Brown, 1 share; Daniel W Smith, 1 share; Jerome G Kidder 24 shares; Lyman Pray 1 share.

The following board of managers was elected to wit: Lyman Pray, Daniel W Smith, Jacob Brown, Jerome G. Kidder and Isaac Smith. At subsequent meeting of the newly elected board, two wit July 13, 1850 Daniel W Smith was elected president, and Lyman Pray secretary and treasurer.

During the years 1851 and 1852, George White Esq. acted as the president of the company. The organization commenced as above in 1850 continued with some few changes and with no organized effort to carry on the provisions of the act of incorporation until the 29th day of August 1854 which time an agreement was entered into between Steven B Leonard for himself and John C. Davis and D.B. Taylor for the Pennsylvania lumber company,  stockholders and owners of the charter of the Loyalsock Boom company of the one part and Samuel Caldwell and his associates of the other part,  by which the party on the first part agreed to transfer a certain specified amount of the stock held between them to the party of the second part who also agreed.

At this same meeting the stockholders agreed to increase the capital stock from $5000 as originally prescribed $20,000 to be repeating represented by the 200 shares of $100 each. The old officers having resigned Steven Gold was elected President and Runyon Wolverton secretary XXX.

No active efforts were made, however towards direction the boom until May 1855 of which time the following resolution was adopted at the meeting of stockholders, to wit:
Resolved:  that the company proceeded forthwith to build the boom as contemplated in their charter
Resolved:  That John Branson , R. Wolverton,  Steven Gould,  Samuel Caldwell and John F. Grafius be appointed to the committee to examine and to locate a site for the boom and to report at the next meeting the comparative cost of the two sides of the river.

The report made by the committee favored the location of the proposed boom on the south side of the river, commencing at the lower end of Toney's Island. One large pier or crib to be erected at that point, two peers between Toney’s Island and Field’s island and one at the head of Field’s island, with the necessary number of sunken cribs for shear boom.

On 20th day of December 1855, a contract was entered into with Henry B Smith for the erection of the cribs above designated and for supplying the requisite number of XX and buoys.

At the annual meeting in July 1856 Steven Gould, Garrett Tinsman, Samuel Caldwell Jacob S Young and John S Graffin's were elected managers, who subsequently elected Steven Gould president and John S Graffins secretary and treasurer.

The above managers were re-elected in 1857 with the exception of Jacob S. Young , AA Winegardner having been elected president , And AA Winegardner secretary and treasurer.

In the meantime a changes had been necessarily inaugurated at the upper boom, regarding the logs of the three lower mill owners. They now had a boom of their own but as many of the logs would naturally go into the upper boom became necessary for them to notify the Susquehanna boom Company annually to XXX these logs through their boom and not to raft them as formally.

Under a provision of the chart of the Susquehanna boom Company charge them eight cents per log, for all such logs turned through their boom. This charge was stubbornly XXX and and provoked a perfect storm of opposition. The treasurer of the Susquehanna boom Company made out his bills daily for the logs that passed and upon payment being XXX suits were brought and judgments obtained. The next day new bills were presented in payment demanded, which being likewise refused, suits were brought and judgements obtained as on the previous day . These proceedings were operated daily for weeks, until there were scores of these suits entered upon the “Squires “docket.

It appears that these proceedings prompted the board of managers of the Loyalsock Boom Company to seek relief probably from the legislature from their charge of eight cents per log, for, at the meeting of their board held on 28 January 1858 the following was unanimously adopted to wit:
Rsoved: That the president of the LoyalSock Boom Company be authorized to expend $500 of the funds of the company for the purpose of getting an abatement of the eight cents per log charge by the Susquehanna Boom Company

This apparently hostile movement on the part of the Loyalsock Boom Company was really the harbinger of peace and goodwill and resulted in cementing together the two opposing elements into one harmonious whole. Subsequently at the instance of the two companies the general assembly passed an act authorizing them to unite and consolidate under the name, style and title of Susquehanna Boom Company

A meeting of the two companies called for the purpose of organizing under the provisions of said act. To affect this organization was deemed expedient that the officers of both company should resign and that the stockholders should unite electing the board of managers from the consolidated company.

At  this time May, 1858 the following gentlemen comprise the board of the Susquehanna Boom  Company to wit: Mahlon Fisher president;  E.S. Lowe, secretary; and treasurer James H Perkins,  JP Finley and Jacob S Young.  Mr. Young in the meantime having resigned Garrett Tinsman was elected to fill the vacancy.A the same time the officers and some of the stockholders of the two companies met.

At same time the officers and some the stockholders of two companies met and adopted measures preparatory to the proposed consolidation. Commissioners were appointed to appraise the value of the properties of the two corporations which was done an amicable adjustment of their several interest was satisfactory arranged.

Upon the surrender of their stock to the Susquehanna Boom company there was issued to each stockholder in the Loyalsock Boom Company an equal number of shares of the stock of the Susquehanna Boom Company together with a certain number of shares apportioned stock to cover the amount agreed upon and then value of the boom property.

This compact sealed the alliance previously entered into on the occasioned much rejoicing among the many friends of these early rivals.