About Watsontown

May 20th, 2007

In 2015, the community of Watsontown, PA, will come to the 100th anniversary of Old Home Week. Back then, it seemed that a number of civic minded individuals felt the need to remember those who just a brief forty-eight years earlier incorporated Watsontown into a borough in the county of Northumberland located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It has been a number of years since I moved from my hometown of Watsontown and think fondly of times in my youth and young adulthood growing up in a small community. While visiting, I noticed photos in a number of local establishments that originated from Old Home Week or from the Silver Anniversary Edition of the Watsontown Record and Star published back in 1907. It seems there is still the sense of spirit wanting to remember the good things of years gone by and the wealth of memories that this community continues to hold dear.


It is also a time to lift up the myriad of gifts that this community has shared beyond the boundaries that have encompassed Watsontown. Lumber, furniture, and brick industries have enhanced the financial acumen of our area. Local merchants, restaurants, and banks have contributed to the commercial success of our community. Administrators, school board members and teachers have instilled a strong value system of life long learning through the education of our young. Numerous fraternal organizations and clubs have enlightened the civic mindedness of our citizens. Burgesses, police officers and volunteer fire fighters have added to the structure and orderliness of local government. Churches and various societies have heightened our awareness of something larger than the individual self or even our own community and to be grateful for our prosperity and generous in efforts to reach out to others in the name of that which is greater than us. My endeavor here is to build on the foundations of preceding histories that have been published duly footnoted and to bring the annals of time to the current date. Perhaps some future generation will take this work and add to it and that this will become part of a continued story for generations to share as our community flourishes and grows to new potential and fame.

~ James D. Robison, Jr., October 2007

Last Modified: 04.06.09

113 Responses

  1. christina miller wolfe Says:

    This is a fabulous undertaking!!
    Thanks, Jim!

    chris wolfe

    Comment by James Robison: Thanks for the affirmations, Chris – it is truly an exciting topic to me as I find out more and more interesting “stuff” about the ol’ home town. Any constructive suggestions would be welcomed.

  2. Paula Dodson Says:

    Do you have anything on the “Watsontown Table and Furniture Co.” incorporated 1893? I have a cabinet from them.

    Comment by James Robison: The company you are inquiring about was established in February 1893 by William Follmer, J.C. Fowler, T.G. Caldwell, G.W. Rombach, G.W. Hess, S.O. Comly, J.E. Kramer, William McCoy, Josiah Stewart, Robert Johnson, James Perry, J.P. Russell, John McCoy, and C.B. McLain. In April of that same year it was incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania, with an authorized capitalization of $20,000 of which $14,000 only was paid in. The organization was completed by the election of the following officers: William Follmer, president; J.C. Fowler, secretary; T.G. Caldwell, treasurer; J.P. Russell, superintendent; and C.B. McLain, foreman. The company bought a plot of ground adjoining the Pennsylvania Rail Road and in 1893 built a three story brick factory with basement along with a boiler and engine house attached. The plant was put in operation in August with twenty-five employees.

    More information will be forthcoming as we get to the industry of the community but until then you can find a little more on page 16 of The Record and Star’s Silver Anniversary Edition, 1907.

  3. Jean M. Chamberlin Says:

    I lived in Watsontown during the early years of WWII and am attempting to research the history of Watsontown at that time. I am writing a personal experience account of Watsontown’s wartime history. It is a pleasure to find your work in progress. Good luckwith this enormous and important project.

    Comment by James Robison: Would be very interested in talking with you about your research and maybe we could collaborate on these years – unfortunately, I’m still far off from getting to the 1930s and 40s. I will e-mail you.

  4. don byrd Says:

    Re: Paula Dodson; I have a table and chair set from Watsontown Table and Furn. Any info would be helpful. By the way my mom was born Martha Dodson.

  5. andy kline Says:

    What was the year of the picture of ben franklin and the paper store and trailways stop. It is now Levans news but about 40 years ago ( give or take) it was Kline’s News stand and owned by my grandmother Mae Kline. Great wealth of information on this site, the most I have ever seen!

  6. andy kline Says:

    My mom answered one question I had. The yellow car in the pic is my grams, Sy Ames is the man standing in front of it.

  7. Jake Keller Says:

    Just discovered a label on the bottom of an old student desk/table, which was in the posession of my father (now deceased) for Watsontown Table and Furniture Company, Founded 1893. Thanks for the Watsontown History.

    It seems obvious that if the piece I have is a student desk, that this company may have mass manufactured (so to speak) many of these items. Do you know if institutional furnishings was a primary business of this company?Thanks again, Jake

  8. Marlene Valdes Says:

    I also have a piece of furniture from the Watsontown company. I would love to hear more about it’s origins.

  9. Brion Watson Says:

    I have recently relocated to Lewisburg, but my branch of the Watson family is from the Snow Shoe, PA area. Does anyone know if there is a connection between that branch of the family and John Watson?



  10. Nancy Slease Says:

    Great idea, Jim. I’m so proud to say you were one of my students at one time. Good luck with this project!

    Comment by James Robison: Nancy ~ thank you for the postive comments – I was fortunate to have great teachers such as yourself – and hope I am able to do justice to all my learning.

  11. Kathy Derr Miller Says:

    I moved home because I missed Watsontown greatly after 20 yrs. I’ve now been back 21 yrs and purchased a house within the same block that i grew up in. I love the history of our area and its even more important to me now that my parents have both passed. I would like to help in any way possible to recreate our history

    Comment by James Robison: Welcome home! Any help would be greatly appreciated – let me know what some of your gifts are and we can put them to use with the history of Watsontown.

  12. Bill and Louise(Sweitzer) Muffly Says:

    Watsontown is always a big part of us and in our hearts. Many people donated blood for Bill(Billy) Muffly when he was a child having rare open heart surgery. That’s what the heart of Watsontown is- giving, like everyone is family. Our first house was near the old Murray’s Dairy Store on 4th Street. We’d be interested in seeing how many people remember giving blood for Bill or going to Murray’s

    Comment by James Robison: Hope you hear back from some of those who donated blood.

  13. Bill and Louise(Sweitzer) Muffly Says:

    I will also always think of your great singing voice and working with you.

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you!

  14. Dee Says:

    Great job. I have a sister-in-law who has tons of family trees (with lots of photos)dating back to coming to Watsontown.
    Grays, Reynolds, Burrows, etc. if you would be interested.

  15. Donna Reeder Says:

    I’m looking for photos and history of the old Pammy J
    Restaurant which burned in the early
    70’s. Any help would be appreciated

  16. Jean M. Chamberlin Says:

    Does anyone have info on a couple of my 1940s friends: Mary Ann Sheffer and Janet Evans?

    Comment by James Robison: According to Merle Nicholas, Janet Evans married a Clearwater. She was born on April 9, 1929 and she died November 16, 1980 in New Brighton, PA. He doesn’t have any information on Marianne Sheffer, but believes she married either Derrick or Rea of the Rea and Derrick Drug Company. According to the 1940 Census for Watsontown, Robert Sheffer whose parents owned the Dewart Creamery and Geraldine (Schmucker) Sheffer who taught home economics at Watsontown High School, had three children Marianne, born about 1931; Dianne, born about 1938; and Suzanne, born about 1940.

  17. Sandy Boothe Says:

    Hello Jim,

    Thanks for your great project! I just purchased a beautiful solid mahogany Watsontown table and feel even more than I am saving a bit of history after reading your description of the company,

    Thanks so much.
    Sandy Boothe
    Geneva, NY

  18. Jo-Ann Fury Says:

    I have a solid mahogany side table with drawer from the Watsontown Table & Furniture Co. I googled the company and came up with your great site. Thanks for the info.

  19. mpcrowell Says:

    I am the great-great granddaughter of William Henry Trick & Harriet F. Watson. I am researching our family tree and would love any and all information, photos, documents releated to my family and the family store W.H. Trick & Son Dry Goods, Notions, Groceries on Main street. Any information can be sent to me at [email protected]

    Comment by James Robison: William H. and Harriet Trick were listed in the census of 1900 and 1910. Earl and his wife Eugenia were listed in the 1920 census. W.H. Trick also served on Town Council from 1905 to 1907, serving as president of Town Council in 1907. According to newspaper accounts he was a Republican.

  20. Betty Johnson Says:

    Hello; I have a 60 inch round table with 6 leaves and claw feet. The label on the bottom of the table said it was made in PA by Watsontown Table & Furniture Co. MFI estention tables. I”ve had it for about 45 years. I was wondering how old it is…Thanks

  21. Suzanne Parker Artman Says:

    This was fun to read. I miss Watsontown. My dad managed the A&P on the corner of Main and 2nd in the 50s.

  22. Suzanne Parker Artman Says:

    It’s been a long time since Iv’e been back to Watsontown, I meant Brimmer Ave. not 2nd St. Suzanne

  23. mpcrowell Says:

    I have done further research & found that I am the great-great-great granddaughter of John Watson (DOB 5/15/1830) who married (12/15/1852) Louisa Catherine Steiner (DOB 12/4/1831). I am trying to find further information on John Watson and his relatives, as well as more information on the Trick side of my family. Anyone with information, photos, etc can reach me at [email protected]. Thanks.

  24. Beth Weaver Hudak Says:

    This is a wonderful undertaking, and I enjoy seeing history of my family. My uncle, Fred Weaver owned the Massey-Ferguson dealership in the 40’s, and my Uncle Jay Muffly, was a barber on Main Street for probably 50 years. There were others that came from Germany and settled in the Turbotville/Watsontown area. You might want to contact Jim Muffly in Muncy for tons of history that he has. I have lots of photos in addition.

  25. visit Says:

    I finally decided to give you a little feedback ! well you got it! i love your site !!! no , really, its good…

  26. Heather Truckenmiller Says:

    I have copies of the Record and Star Silver Anniversary Edition 1907, and a 1967 Watsontown Centennial newspaper published by the Milton Standard. If you have not seen them and would like to, please let me know. Great site btw!

  27. Laurie Powell Nichols Says:

    Hi Jim,
    I don’t know if you remember me or not but we used to go to UCC together. My Nana was Marie Raup. I remember you and your mom and sister sitting by us at church.
    I think this website is fantastic. I am working on some family tree things and the census info on here was just what I was looking for. I am wondering though,if you or anyone on this board might have information about doctors practicing in Watsontown in 1909. I am trying to find out who delivered my grandmother.We don’t have any birth certificates for her.
    Thanks again for this website and all your work on it. It makes me homesick for Watsontown.

    Comment by James Robison: Of course I remember you Laurie. Your grandmother sat right in front of us at Trinity. I remember her telling me stories of how she received letters from my grandmother and other children in the Sunday School when your grandmother lived at Bethany Children’s Home. Your grandmother was also very active with the Republican party serving on the Board of Election for a number of years. I know that our grandmother’s were born about the same time and that the doctor who delivered my grandmother was R. Henry Hummel who lived where the Brooks’ Funeral Home is now located and I believe was a member of Trinity Reformed Church as well.

  28. Jessica Stover Says:

    Hi Mr. Robison!
    I hope you might remember me… 9th grade history! Because of you & that class I’ve been doing some amazing research on my family tree & have been able to trace one line back to ~1550 in Germany! Thank you for igniting a lifelong passion.
    I am hoping that you or someone who visits this website could give any info/assistance re: history of the “Wilson Walkie” wooden toys which were at one time made in Watsontown & apparently quite a cottage industry! My mother is gradually collecting them (she has about 8 now I believe) & out searches online have turned up nothing of significance… Thank you in advance & thank you for this wonderful website & resource!

    Comment by James Robison: Jessica ~ It is good to hear from you and yes, I remember you. I’m so glad that I was able to fan the flames of your genealogical passion. Congratulations and continued success. I have found some interesting things over the years on the wilson walkies, but there is no definitive history on them ~ mostly local tradition. I will see what I can do and put it up on the site so you can further your research. I have to tackle the industrial part of the history and am still tied up with the political, educational and census part. I’m sure you can appreciate the time and effort. Hope to hear back from you and that the material is useful.

  29. Rick Wolfe Says:

    Jim- Mary Grishaver did an excellent book on Wilson Walkies. I stock them. $40

  30. Don Rickert Says:

    Hi! Kevin Johnson has a lot of info on the Walkies. He attends about every auction that has them on the sale bill. His e-mail address is [email protected].

  31. Mary Grishaver Says:

    I have written a book called “A Collector’s Guide to Wilson Walkies.” It gives a complete history of the dolls. I interviewed folks in Watsontown who made the dolls and have included some photos of the town. The book has over 60 pages of color photos of Walkies. It is a labor of love for me! I occasionally list the book for sale on eBay. If it isn’t there, you may contact me directly at [email protected].

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you for the reference. Is there anyway that I could share some of your information with the general public who might be visiting this site? Something that would be documented and interesting that might lead them to purchasing your collector’s guide perhaps.

  32. Rick Wolfe Says:

    Any idea where J.D.Mayes had his marble and granite shop in Watsontown?

    Comment by James Robison: Rick ~ According to the Silver Anniversary edition of the Record and Star dated 1907, J.D. Mayes’ marble and granite shop was originally located near the train depot in 1904 and within a year he purchased a lot on the corner of Main and Seventh Streets where he built a commodious workshop. I’m not sure if it was the ne, nw, se or sw corner.

  33. katy wech Says:

    Can you tell me where the records for the Watsontown cemetery are located? I am looking for a date of death for David T. Albright who is buried there, his stone says 1932 but I can’t find a death certificate on the gentleman. Any help to obtaining a more accurate death date is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Comment by James Robison: Katy ~ the only records of the Watsontown Cemetery would be located at the Borough Building, but unfortunately they don’t have much in the way of detailed records – you might be lucky but I think that they would only be able to tell you where David T. Albright is buried and the year – which you already know. Another possiblity which is labor intensive is to go to the Milton Public Library and look at the Milton Standard day by day for the year 1932 and maybe you will come across his obituary or look up Florence’s obituary in 1959 which might mention the date he died. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

  34. John Rife Says:

    Hey Jim, awesome website!!! Thanks for all the hard work and giving the people of Watsontown a web page not only to be proud of but also a useful tool to share information and history.

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you John ~ It’s a labor of love.

  35. Michele Yoder Says:

    Another great resourse for finding family history information is Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com has a digital archive of the Williamsport Sun Gazette.

  36. Margaret P. Crowell Says:

    I have done further research & found that I am the great-great-great granddaughter of John Watson (DOB 5/15/1830) who married (12/15/1852) Louisa Catherine Steiner (DOB 12/4/1831) daughter of John and Julia Ann (Levan) Steiner. John Watson & Louisa had the following children:Sarah, Harriet, Julia, Mary, Emma, Flora, Hugh Allen & Blanche Watson. In speaking with my grandmother (Frances C. Trick married to William Watson Trick, Sr) she states that we are related to the founding John Watson of Watsontown, PA.I am trying to find further information on John Watson and his relatives, as well as more information on the Trick side of my family. Anyone with information, photos, etc can reach me at [email protected]. Thanks.

  37. johnandrachel46 Says:

    Wow! Just discovered you and your work. Have been researching Gray family in this area for years. Hope to learn even more. Thanks for your efforts. We can’t have too many history ‘buffs’ out there! Thanks!

  38. lee robertson Says:

    Hello, ..thankyou for completing a piece of the puzzle. My acquired 4′ square tiger oak 5 legged ball and claw table has an aged card certificate from the Watsontown Table and Firniture Company. Do you know anyone who could tell me about origins of design?
    Thank You

  39. TWetten Says:

    Excellent website. Had no idea Oliver Wetten was the mayor at one time. I would have loved to learn about his family – he was my grandfather’s cousin – but he passed away before I began researching my family tree and learned of his line. Maybe somebody here remembers him and his parents? [email protected]

  40. Vmateer Says:

    I am a relative of Oliver Wetten . His sister was my grandmother who lived in Reading Pa. He also had other siblings such as Betty, Harry, Dolly who lived in Reading
    My great aunt Betty is still alive I believe living in Reading who might be able to give you more info than I am able to at this time
    Betty’s married lastname is Heiser Harry, Dorthey (my grandmother) and Dolly are deceased. I remember my grandmother told me that when she was a child she lived in Pottsville Pa So maybe that’s where they were born but I am not sure.
    Hope this can help your search .

  41. paula Evens Rogers Says:

    I am reading your comments here and am interested in finding out information on any dieffenbachs that lived in wattson town. There was a mary and a george I believe they were sister and brother

  42. dee gray Says:

    37.johnandrachel46 Says:
    May 27th, 2010 at 3:43 pm
    Wow! Just discovered you and your work. Have been researching Gray family in this area for years. Hope to learn even more. Thanks for your efforts. We can’t have too many history ‘buffs’ out there! Thanks!

    I am a descendant of Stephen & Martha Gray & my sister in law has tons of Gray info from this area going way backkkkkkk

  43. TWetten Says:

    Vmateer, thanks so much for responding. As far as I know, your grandmother was the oldest. My late grandmother told me Oliver had several siblings, including Marion, Violet, and Elsie. I also know that poor Oliver lost his son back in the late 1940s, sad to say. I actually have a recent obituary in which a Betty Heiser in Indiana was named, but had no idea she was a relative – I thought she was part of an unrelated family of Wettens originally based in Chicago. Perhaps I will try to track her down. For what it’s worth, you and I share a set of great great grandparents, making us 3rd cousins, and making me 1st cousin, “twice (or 2 generations) removed” with Betty.

  44. Marty Hunsberger Says:

    Read a story about a $10 bill with National Bank of Watsontown PA on it. It was found among donations at a fund raiser for a missionary. It was sold at auction by a Mike Weaver of Watsontown, who not only did not charge a fee, but sent a check for double the amount it brought. I have checked this on switchboard.com and snopes and found nothing? Do you know of such a bank or auctioneer? Lovely story – wish it were true. Marty

  45. Kathy L Edinger Says:

    I was raised in Watsontown – on E. Brimmer Ave. just a block from the theater. It was a great place to grow up. Everyone looked out for each other and our parents didn’t need to worry about where we were every minute. We could ride our bicycles all summer and in the winter we carried our ice skates to school with us so that we could take advantage of the free skating at the 8th street playground. I remember the A&P that stood on the corner where Buck’s Plumbing is now; and how big the hole was when the building was torn down. We even had a butcher shop in town thanks to John Balliett and his father. Thanks for the memories that this site has brought back to me.

  46. Max Foust Says:

    Jim: Awesome! You are just the man to do this! I, and my family look forward to reveiwing this site and future information.

  47. Nancy (Phillips) Manning Says:

    What a great site!!!

    I only just discovered it about an hour ago, and I can’t get enough. Bless you for putting so much time and effort into this project. May it continue to grow.

    I am a life-long “Watsontownie” and I want to thank you so much for the info and the memories.

  48. dan reeder Says:

    Jim GREAT SITE! Do you have any knowledge of a store on Main St. by the name of W.T.Russell’s? I have four advertising cards that say Main St. Watsontown Pa. Thanks.

  49. Jim Martin Says:


    I think I have a photo of South Watsontown that I don’t see in the photo gallery. How can I send that to you as an attachment to an email. I don’t see your email address anywhere.

  50. Jim Martin Says:


    I, recently had a picture sent to me of the south RR crossing looking north at the RR Station. All the street were dirt at the time. I didn’t see it anywhere on your website and will be glad to send it to you as an attachment. I’ll need an email address.

  51. Steven Wagner Says:

    What a great website. Thanks for the time and energy for making it so nice. I grew up there, and so did many of my ‘ancestors’. I love reading and hearing others talk about Watsontown. Great place to grow up. Hopeful to live there again. Thanks again for your site.

  52. Steven Wagner Says:

    I am wondering if anyone might have pictures of the Watsontown High School.. which was demolished and replaced with a Acme Grocery store? I would love to see pics of the outside, and inside.

    Thanks for your website.. I really appreciate it.

  53. Lou Daehnke Says:

    Is there any way I could get a message to Rick Wolfe? Would love to purchase a Wilson Walkie…..Lou

  54. Bill Rishel Says:

    Love the picture. I remember the scene when the Ben Franklin was there. Wasn’t it across from the Watson Theatre? Hey, Dan.

  55. Bill Rishel Says:

    Would anyone at mywatsontown know of any archived newspapers from 1920’s. My grandfather’s identical twin brother was killed by a train when he tried to cross the tracks. It was Oct. 6, 1921.
    Bill Rishel

  56. joni gray Says:

    Verrrry interested in then comments about the Gray family. Have been searching for the parentage and lineage of John Gray, born 8 july 1821 in Watsontown. He married Rachel Chamberlain Fox in 1846 and is the father of Woods Chamberlain Gray, my husband’s grandfather. ANY clue would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of Grays who go way back, but just can’t zero in on his family. Thanks to everyone and especially you Jim, for this site.

    Comment by James Robison: Joni, there was a John and Rachel Gray living in Delaware Township in 1850. John was 27 and was listed as a broommaker and Rachel was 26. Three children were living with them: Miles, aged 3; Mary, aged 2; and Clara, aged 1.

  57. Cathy Wuestner Says:

    Hello James Robison: Keep up the good work! Cathy Wuestner (Aunt Jean’s neighbor and friend)

  58. Dale E. Fordsman Says:

    Trying to locate my Great Grandfathers grave. Civil War records show he is burried in Watsontown PA and his children lived in Watsontown with my Great Grandmother.. Elisa / Liza Fordsman

    Any help would be helpful. We plan to make a weekend of it from LI NY to Watsontown to see the grave sites and where they all lived.

  59. joni gray Says:

    How can i contact someone who says they have ‘tons of stuff on Grays that go waaay back?’ I need to accurately connect John Gray b. in Watsontown in 1821,–married Rachel C. Fox to some family. I have all the records from them on to my husband who is John’s g-grandson. Which Gray family were his parents and siblings??? Please help! Thanks soooo much!

  60. Laurie Says:

    Hi, my mom also has a side table from the Watsontown Table and Funiture Company and would like to find out what it is worth? Just wondering if someone can help….thanks!

  61. Marlin L. Plymette Says:

    I have lived in Watsontown all my life–I was born in Dewart. It is interesting to read all the coments and History. Thanks Jim

  62. Elsie C Miller Says:

    What was the name of the store on 4th St across the railroad track — sold ice cream? This is a great site thanks would love to see it on FB as well.

    Comment by James Robison: Was Murray’s Icecream. They also had an icecream truck that would come through the neighborhood during the summer months. I’m trying to remember the name of the couple that owned it, but it doesn’t come to mind ~ all I remember is Mr. and Mrs. Murray, maybe someone else would know their first names.

  63. Tony Rife Says:

    Jim, this is such an amazing project. Good Luck with it all. I look forward to being able to look over the site and learn so much more of this town so many people call home. The information about my class, 1997 follows Cassie Kurtz, Secretary, Deirdre Bussom, Treasurer, Laurie Engleman, President, Scott Shaffer Historian, and Matt Kennedy, Vice President.
    I hope you are doing well.

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you Tony, for the information and for the compliment. It is a labor of love. And all is well at this end. Again, thank you.

  64. Kevin Johnson Says:

    Dale & Grace Murray

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you Kevin ~ just couldn’t think of their names. I think you mentioned to me before that someone else owned the icecream store prior to the Murray’s as well.

  65. Kathy Edinger Says:

    Watsontown had their Centennial Celebration in 1967. We dressed in period costumes, participated in parades around the area; and even took a train ride (in costume) from the Watsontown RR Station to the Sunbury RR Station and back again. The men were required to have “facial hair” or be thrown into the jail that sat at the corner of Main St. & Brimmer Ave. And stayed there until someone bailed them out. I have a copy of the photo book that was put together for that if anyone would like to see it. Do you know if any plans for their Susquetennial Celebration in 2017?

  66. Kathy Edinger Says:

    To Dale Fordsman: there are very good records at the Northumberland Co. Courthouse that might tell you where your ancestor is buried. Or even the Watsontown Borough Hall if he’s buried in the town cemetery.

  67. Kathy Edinger Says:

    To Bill Rishel: The Milton Library has archives of the Milton Standard-Journal that go way back. I found them very useful when I was first starting my family’s genealogy.

  68. Barbara Datesman Says:

    Hi Jim: Unbelievable
    site, family is from West Milton. Looking for hotel owned by William P. Datesman in Dewart during the 1870’s or so. Weidenhamers are also related.
    Thanks for an info on this hotel. Love your town of Watsontown.

    Comment by James Robison: I found a Walter L. Weidenhammer living on North Main Street in 1900 who was a bicycle merchant and was listed in the 1910 Census as well but living in the First Ward.

  69. Layla Robbins Says:

    Mr Robison,

    You were always my favorite teacher due to your ability to make learning fun. Fifteen years after graduating from WR you are still making it fun for me. Thanks for all your hard work and efforts. This is amazing.

    Comment by James Robison: Wow! Thank you, Layla, for that wonderful compliment. I hope you continue to enjoy history and participate in preserving the past. And again, thank you for the nice compliment and encouragement. Mr. R.

  70. crystal newman Says:

    Hey jimmy, glad to see you working on something you love ! I enjoyed reading all the history of watsontown and look toward to reading more . :)

  71. Trish Magargle Says:

    James I was wondering if you could find me any information on a Robert Johnson that lived in Watsontown back in the 1800’s. Did he live on the corner of 8th and Main Streets? How did he die? And did he die in the house on corner of Main and 8th?

    Comment by James Robison: Hello Trish, I hope this is helpful, I gleaned it from the obit in the Record and Star.

    One of the oldest and best known citizens of Watsontown, Robert Johnson, died at his home on East Third Street on Tuesday evening, after a brief illness. A remarkable man, active and industrious all his life, he had rounded up almost four score years of age, and had been employed at his usual occupation in the mill of the Watsontown Door & Sash Company up to within a few months of his death. His record as a good and honorable citizen, a consistent Christian gentlemen a devoted husband and father, is unimpeachable, and his loss will be severely felt in his home, his church, and the community. He is survived by three sons and two daughters: William R. and Ed. N. of Lancaster; E.S. of Philadelphia; Mrs. D.A. Williamson and Miss Alice of this place. Funeral services this Friday afternoon, Rev. P.A. DeLong officiating. Interment in Watsontown Cemetery.
    [Record and Star, January 5, 1917, pg 1]

    I also found in my records that he was elected overseer of the poor in the first election 1867 and was an original stockholder of the Watsontown Cemetery Association. He was a registered Democrat and is listed in the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 Census.

    Hope that was helpful and good luck with your continued research.

  72. Kathi Wertman Says:

    To Dale Fordsman: David W Fordsman 10/10/1835-8/12/1887 (Co H, 91st Pa Inf) and wife Eliza 2/27/1837-4/4/1918 are both buried in the Watsontown Cemetery. I have just finished transcribing the old cemetery. So far, 4114 names!

  73. Terrie Rogers Says:

    A previous comment was made concerning ice-skating at Eight Street. Growing up in Watsontown I remember when a lot of us kids used to skate on the canal. I was very disappointed when we were no longer able to skate there. It sure was a different time.

  74. Kathi Wertman Says:

    To Joni Gray: Please contact me about the Gray family-I’ve wanted to connect with your elusive John Gray for a long time.

    Anyone with questions on burials in the Watsontown cemetery can contact me also. When I am completely finished going through cemetery records, I will give the borough a printed copy of my research. Great site, Jim!
    [email protected]

    Comment by James Robison: Thanks Kathi for the compliment ~ hope you will give me permission to put your information on this site for others to access. All the best in your continued research and work.

  75. Rick Wolfe Says:

    Was researching the tall case clocks of Jacob Cope of Watsontown. Apparently there was another Watsontown in PA in the early 1800’s, maybe in present day Bucks or Berks County which is where Jacob Cope lived and worked.
    Any idea where that Watsontown was located?

    Comment by James Robison: Rick ~ a friend called me after seeing something on the Antique Road Show about Jacob Cope of Watsontown, but I can’t seem to find any information regarding him and his location. Was thinking of asking Rich Nornhold to see if he would know.

  76. Rick Wolfe Says:

    Also, there is on ebay at this time 3-6-12 a postcard from Watsontown Pa. but the image is unfamiliar to me.
    Could this be from the mysterious other Watsontown?

  77. Louise Sweitzer-Muffly Says:

    Hi, Jim. Glad this is still up and running. My brother-in-law Jay, just found this and is forwarding it to family. Bill and Jay’s uncle Jay was actually C. Jay Muffly, the barber. C was for Carroll.

    Comment by James Robison: Still up and running ~ still working on research and was hoping to have the majority of the work done by 2014, but the time is slipping by and not enough hours in the day. I knew Jay and Marion quite well ~ Jay and I shared the same birthday ~ August 21 though he had a few years on me. If your brother-in-law has any history that he thinks would help, I would be grateful. Thanks for the words of encouragement as well.

  78. Clare Says:

    I have a small side table with the name John G. Gray 1946-47 written on the outside of the drawer. Part of my family came from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and I am wondering if this table could have come from Watsontown. Any help is appreciated.

    Comment by James Robison: Not sure I can be of any help but maybe someone else might see this and comment.

  79. Larry Haines Says:

    Elisha Kisner, Civil War veteran, 3rd PA Heavy Artillery, lived in Watsontown at 409 Liberty Street from the late 1870’s until his death in 1913. Recently my sister found an amusing interview with him originally published in the “Watsontown Record” and subsequently picked up by newspapers across the country. Kisner describes an incident in which he was choked by the hands of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, because of his sqeaky shoes.

    At the close of the Civil War, Elisha Kisner was one of the sentries in charge of guarding Jefferson Davis in his cell room at Fort Monroe. Davis was attempting to nap while Kisner was pacing the cell room, evidently wearing very squeaky shoes. After some heated words, the annoyed President attacked Kisner and got him by the throat, dropping Kisner to his knees. The other guards, upon hearing the altercation, entered the cell and rescued Kisner.

    It is rather amusing to read Kisner’s own words in describing the incident. Kisner is buried in Watsowntown Cemetery. I also have a wonderful old picture of his house at 409 Liberty Street.

  80. Mario Ricchiuto Says:

    I found an old Brick will caving near the Susquehanna with Watsontown PA, printed and I thought it was neat but i now find out it was manufactured at eh brick company and was willing to part with it to a collector or someone who wanted a piece of history would love to hear if anyone is interested.

  81. Don Hollen Says:

    I have been researching the Louis Hampel family who lived in Watsontown from the 1860’s to about 1900. Sons John and Frank stayed in Watsontown until 1929 and 1933 respectively. I have seen the graves at the cemetary but I am looking for any records or maybe photos of the family. Louis was a blacksmith. He and his wife Sophia raised 11 children in Watsontown.

  82. Michele Yoder Says:

    I have a question regarding the 1930 census. Under some of the entries there is an address stated “Wagner Addition”. Where was/is Wagner Addition located?

  83. Kristie (Keiser) Lee Says:

    I would like some information on the semi-pro baseball team, I believe the Watsontown Senators, from the 1940s-1950s. I have googled and have come up with nothing. My father played for them and with his passing, I wondered if any pictures or news articles were available.

  84. trish magargle Says:

    James thanks for the info. I found out 8th use to be 3rd before adding more streets. The reason I wondered is because his spirit still resides here. I had ghost hunters here and everything u told me is what they told me. I was told he died from emphazemia. Do u have a picture u could send me of him?

  85. Pat Reinert-Lawson Says:

    Regarding Murray’s Ice Cream, I believe it was Ritter’s.

  86. Pat Reinert-Lawson Says:

    In the 50’s, I lived right across from the skating rink on Elm St. I also have a picture of my brother, Wayne, and I skating on the canal. It was very scary, but great fun!

  87. mpcrowell Says:

    I am trying to finding genealogical info. I am descended from John Watson whose son Hugh married Sarah Seidel. Their son John Watson married Louisa Catherine Stiner and had a daughter named Harriet F. Watson who is my great-great grandmother. I would be interested in any/all info, docs, pics from the family.
    Incidently, I was speaking with the Tartan Museum and Scottish History curators in Franklin, NC and they stated that “Watson” was also a Scottish clan. A few brothers went to Germany to apprentice for Tannery and Beer Making and then came to the US. I would also like any info on this new topic as well. Thanks.

  88. Sue Hefty Says:

    Hi Jim, I am trying to do some history of the Watsontown Area Society for Pinocchle . I know it was started in 1993 and that you , Harry, and Al were original members. Do you have any other information or pictures. Thanks

  89. Georganne Derick Says:

    Regarding Jean Chamberlain’s interest in Marianne Sheffer, she is my mother. She passed away this March 14, 2013 and lived a full & generous life. We will be sending an obituary to the Milton Standard this week or next (posting this on 4/1/2013). You are welcome to contact me for details and for more information. She married George C. Derick, Jr, then Richard Schmidt (widowed), and finally Andrew d’Elia. Both of her sisters are alive and well (Dianne Sheffer Ganz-Scheper and Sue Sheffer Liggett).

  90. Pauline Turner Says:

    My niece has a picture of my grandfather David Moody Aunkst as a worker,building the Watsontown bridge I’m sure she would share a copy. If you are interested Pauline (Aunkst) Turner

    Comment by James Robison: That would be great!

  91. Philip Scott Morone Says:

    This is great – I love hearing the names and places of my memory – Suzanne Parker – I remember you and your father and family and the Reinerts and Murrays Ice cream and my barber , Jay Muffly and the Pammy J and Plymettes and and our jeweler Ollie Whetten .I have the old Watsontown HS in my minds eye as I sat in 5th grade class with Mrs Moltz. This place and those times are at once universal and unique and therein lies the value of this heartwarming effort to reunite us in spirit and truth. God Bless

  92. Nancy Albin Says:

    I’m looking for the clear barley Chistmas candies that Murray’s Dairy store used to sell.
    I asume Murray’s no longer exists, but thought maybe someone might have the old recipe. I’d like to recreate them or find someone who still makes them. Any information would be appreciated.

  93. Cynthia Moore Says:

    I have been all over the map via the computer trying to find out who has records for burials in McEwensville PA and Watsontown PA. A transcript titled Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Parish Registry Burials for 1883-1944- there Grace Elliott is listed as 1941. Her husband’s record say he died in 1968 in Watsontown.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by James Robison: Cynthia, there is a book entitled Northumberland County Pennsylvania Burials, Volume VI by Joseph A. Meiser, Jr. and Sarah Roadarmel Meiser published in 1991. On page 212 they have listed Henry Elliott (1883-1968) and Grace Elliott (1880-1941). They are buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery, McEwensville, PA

  94. Kathy Edinger Says:

    This note is in response to Nancy Albin’s request about the clear toy candies made and sold by Grace Murray. Her recipe is alive and well. Her son John still makes the clear toy candies. He lives in Watsontown near the elementary school. I just saw him at the Warrior Run Fort Freeland Heritage Days weekend on October 04, 2014. He sells them there and he will take orders.

  95. Pat Reinert Lawson Says:

    Philip Scott Marone – Your name sounds familiar. Were you a friend of my brother Wayne? I had Mrs. Moltz too and LOVED Murray’s Ice Cream.

  96. Jean LeVan Hormell Says:

    Warrior Run Alumni: The Warrior Run Education Foundation is newly formed and works to support the education of WR students beyond what the normal school budget can accommodate. The Class of 1964 recently, on the occasion of their 50th Class Reunion, raised $50,000 for the WR Education Foundation. We hope this will be a trend as succeeding classes use their reunion as an opportunity to give back in a much needed way. For information on how to initiate this campaign, contact Jean LeVan Hormell, [email protected].

  97. scott morone Says:

    for Pat Reinart – You bet,It has been many years , but many recollections of him all all positive. Am looking forward to coming back to Watsontown for the WRHS. class of ‘66 reunion. and talking and with the people of my memories.It is as they say, you can’t ever truly go home, but it was in retrospect a wonderful idyllic time that shaped the mines and hearts of so many. Apologies for not revisiting this site more often. Scott

  98. Bill Stamey Says:

    I just found this site, but back in 2009 Jean Chamberlin posted the note below. Janet Evans Clearwater was my step aunt (her dad married my grandmother Elva Stamey Evans). The info posted in response (also below) is correct. Jean, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me: Bill Stamey [email protected].

    Jean M. Chamberlin Says:
    May 30th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Does anyone have info on a couple of my 1940s friends: Mary Ann Sheffer and Janet Evans?

    Comment by James Robison: According to Merle Nicholas, Janet Evans married a Clearwater. She was born on April 9, 1929 and she died November 16, 1980 in New Brighton, PA.

  99. scott morone Says:

    In response to Pat Reinert, Yes ,I remember Wayne and If memory serves also his Dad who I believe served as a sunday school teacher of mine for a time. I am very much looking forward to coming back to Watsontown for the class of ‘66 50th reunion next summer. so many old friends that i am anxious to see and talk with once again.

  100. Barbara Datesman Says:

    Hi Jim, coming to Watsontown in October for further research. The Weidenhamer family (John Adam, Walter, and Horace) operated stores in Watsontown in the late 1800’s. I understand the Datesman’s (Fred and Mary) also had a grocery store on Main Street, and from two ladies in the cemetery, the Datesmans were very nice (always good to know). Thanks for all your hard work.

    Comment by James Robison: My pleasure and good luck with your research Barbara

  101. Tom Becker Says:

    Any idea why Brimmer Ave. is so-called? That is, at some point, “Second Street” didn’t happen. I’ve always puzzled over this. Thanks!

    Comment by James Robison: On June 4, 1928, town council voted that Second Street which leads to the Watsontown approach to the Watsontown White Deer Bridge be named Brimmer Avenue in honor of William C. Brimmer. From an excerpt from my.watsontown.com reads as follows: “William served one term on town council from 1900 to 1902 serving the last two years as its president. On March 1, 1909 William became chief burgess serving until 1912. William was the original promoter of the Watsontown-White Deer Bridge having drawn up the plans for the construction of the bridge in his tailor shop on Main Street. He submitted the plans to the commissioners of both Northumberland and Union counties and fought three courts before the bridge was finally built in 1926.”

  102. Steve guffy Says:

    I am looking for the house at Andrew j guffy lived on first st I can’t find any number on a census and the location of my grandfather Hampton Guffey home listed by a census by Oscar Foust. A distant cousin from another tree of mine

  103. Kathy L. Edinger Says:

    My grandfather (Tom Allen) was a charter member of the Watsontown Recreation Hunting Camp in Western Union County along White Deer Creek Rd. If anyone has any info regarding this group, please contact me. Other members were J. Wagner, Danny Kemble, Johnny Raup and more.

  104. Harry Byers Says:

    Like your site, can’t wait to read more good job Jim.

  105. Bev Foust Staman Says:

    Enjoyed finding this on Facebook, especially all the comments. John Murray and his wife Donna still make “clear toys” and also the great sand tarts that Dale and Grace Murray made. Big plans are underway for the sesquicentennial next year which should be great. It would be great if your material was ready by then, Jim. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by James Robison: Thank you Bev ~ I’m hoping to take time off from work so I can get back to Watsontown and do some research so that I can have this project finished by the end of the summer 2016 ~ we’ll see how things unfold ~ it has truly been an interesting journey ~ again, thank you!

  106. James e. Rife,Jr. Says:

    when I was a kid my family lived at 717 ash Street I have an old deed dated 1907 deed to a John Heilman which was given by the Watsontown building ass by deed dated Dec 31 1881 recorded in deed no.84 page 334 is this same land as my parents bought in 1943

    Comment by James Robison: Very interesting ~ wish more people would go to the courthouse in Northumberland and research their properties back to the original ~ would make for some fabulous reading

  107. diane emery fowler Says:

    hi jim we went to school together.i am looking forward to your book.i hope you let usknow how to get one.watsontown is the greatest town.thank you for this web site.

    Comment by James Robison: I’m looking forward to it as well ~ crazily trying to get it completed by the end of this summer in time for next years sesquicentennial in Watsontown. I agree, I love my home town and thank you for checking out the website and leaving a comment ~ keeps inspiring me to complete this awesome project.

  108. Jean Chamberlin Says:

    I appreciate the responses that gave me info on my friends Janet Evans and Marianne Sheffer. I thank you all. I would like to find the history of the munitions manufacturing in Watsontown during WWII. My father was transferred there by Philco Corp. of Philadelphia early in the war. The three years we lived in Watsontown were filled with adventure, friendship, and the scars of war. I am eager to find more of the war industry in Watsontown: where was it located? What had been there before? How long were munitions manufactured there? These are only the first questions that come to mind. There are many more.

  109. Caroline Williams Says:

    I bought a small side table with drawer at the Goodwill store in Matthews, NC, near Charlotte, yesterday. It had a sticker in the drawer saying it was 100% mahogany by Watsontown Table. I had never heard of that company, so I googled and found your website. I am wondering what years the furniture company operated, just to know about how old this table is?

    Comment by James Robison: The Watsontown Table Works was established in 1878 by James W. McLain, Joseph Hollopeter, Dr. Joseph Housel. Ario Pardee subsequently purchased the works and moved its location from the car shops near Fourth Street to a location across from the Railroad Depot. In 1882, Pardee sold it to J. Gosh Bower and Francis Miller who continued operating it under the firm name of West Branch Table & Furniture Company until 1894 when they moved their operations to Hagerstown, Maryland. The company continued under different names (Breon Table Company, Barr Table Company, and Wood Products Company) until it was destroyed by fire in 1924.
    A separate company known as the Watsontown Table and Furniture Company was established in 1893 near Eighth Street and the railroad tracks and operated until 1936 before it changed to the Watsontown Cabinet Company and became a subsidiary of Philco.

  110. Fred Strickler Jr Says:

    Miss the old home town. Class of 1952 and would like to hear from some of them.

    Comment by James Robison: Memories are great ~ hope you hear from some of your old hometown buddies.

  111. Ric Jones Says:

    Anyone know when Jim Robison’s book about Watsontown History is coming out?

    Comment by James Robison: Hello Ric ~ the book project, which has been going on since 2007, is slated to be completed in the next month or so and will be available through Watsontown Historical Association

  112. DIANE L FOWLER Says:

    Will we be able to reserve copies?i need to get one.

  113. Sabrina Pasko Says:

    I remember my Great Grandmother Bessie Muffly babysitting me when I was young. I would wait for my my Mom to get off work from Philco (Zenith) My Great Grandmother had a trailer that faced the factory. I remember her giving me a dime and then sending me to Murray’s ice cream store so I could buy a cone. I was just three I think. The trailer is still there last time I was down that way. I miss my Great Grandmother.

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