Tionesta to celebrate bicentennial - Titusville Herald: Arts & Entertainment

Tionesta to celebrate bicentennial

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Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:52 pm

Tionesta borough will be celebrating its 200th anniversary, this month, with two events.

Both bicentennial events are wreath ceremonies — the first will be held today, at the DAR Monument, for Lt. John Range, at the Forest County Courthouse.

The ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m.

The second wreath ceremony will be held on Monday, May 30, at Riverside Cemetery, for Lt. Range.

This event will be held at 10:30 a.m.

During this ceremony, former mayors of Tionesta will join Mayor Judy McDaid and former Mayor Brian Hale, as they place the wreath on the Revolutionary War veteran’s grave.

Following the cemetery service, people are invited to visit the Forest County History Center on Elm Street, in Tionesta, for displays, pamphlets, wooden nickels, homemade bread, and jams/jellies; as well as tours of the history center. 

Several of the residents will be in period clothing from 1816 when the Range family settled their land.

Lt. John Range received the land in 1785 for his service in the Revolutionary War.

According to Hale, a committee has been planning the celebration for three months.

He said the committee is comprised of himself, McDaid, Mary Alyce Knauff, Julia McCray, and Carol Witherell.

Knauff said she has lived in Tionesta for almost 40 years. She is a retired family and consumer science teacher.

“I became involved with the Forest County Historical Society since retirement, because I have really enjoyed working and raising my family here and coming to an appreciation of the families that have gone before us,” she said. “This anniversary is special, because it is an opportunity to celebrate the rich heritage of our area.”

Knauff added that the bicentennial celebration is also a chance for education and, therefore, appreciation of the area’s resources. “I became involved and am trying to contribute with my sewing knowledge in creating period dress,” she said.

Lt. John Range

According to Hale, a historian and former mayor of Tionesta, John Range was born Jan. 27, 1744, in Raritan, Somerset County, N.J. His parents were Noah and Elizabeth (Coons) Range. He grew up in Somerset County.

Hale provided the following information on Lt. John Range:

In 1765, he relocated at Mount Pleasant, York County.

He fought in the French and Indian War, with Lord Amherst’s Division of Colonial Troops.

They marched from Philadelphia, through the northern wilderness, to Quebec, Canada.

Upon returning to York County, he married Madeline Shollas, in 1767. She was born in 1750, in Mount Pleasant Township, York County. Her parents were Theobalt and Magdalena Shollas.

Her father built a grist mill in 1747, and John Range worked for him.

The plantation was patented to Theobalt Shollas on Jan. 22, 1767.

On April 5, 1778, John Range was commissioned as First Lieutenant of the Fifth Company of the Fourth Batallion of York County.

He fought in several skirmishes until the end of the Revolutionary War. 

In 1784, lands were purchased by the commonwealth in western Pennsylvania. 

For his service, John Range was warranted a parcel of land along the Allegheny River known as Saqualinget.

This took place through the Northumberland Lottery on May 17, 1785.

He received 258 acres, and the warrant was taken out in the name of his oldest son, Shollas Range.

Theobalt Shollas, father of Madeline (Shollas) Range, wrote his will on Sept. 5, 1788.

He left his plantation and grist mill to his daughter, Madeline. She and John took ownership in December of the same year.

John and Madeline inherited 190 acres and 83 perches.

The plantation consisted of several buildings. The stone house measured 34 by 30 feet. The log barn measured 38 by 24 feet. One grist mill measured 24 by 24 feet. The other grist mill measured 48 by 27 feet.

Also, there was a sawmill and a hemp mill.

On Jan. 22, 1800, Adams County was formed from York County.

The Range Plantation was then located along the Little Consewago Creek near New Oxford, Adams County.

John and Madeline sold their plantation and grist mill to Frederick Myers Sr. on Dec. 13, 1805.

In 1807, John’s son, John Range Jr., relocated to Richland Township, Venango County.

During the following year, Lt. John Range traveled to western Pennsylvania.

His son, Shollas, deeded the 258 acres along the Allegheny River to his father. He checked out his property at Saqualinget, which had been received as a warrant in 1785. He then returned to Adams County.

On April 13, 1810, John Range took out a land patent for 181 acres and 159 perches in Straban Township, Adams County. James Range joined his parents at this farm with his wife and children. The land was farmed, and timber was sold as needed.

In 1816, John and Madeline relocated to their property along the Allegheny River.

James Range stayed on their farm in Adams County. Their son, John Range Jr., brought his family from Richland Township, Venango County.

Lt. John Range deeded 115 acres to John Range Jr. on May 10, 1816.

They cleared land and built their houses near the river. Other outbuildings were also constructed. An apple orchard was planted behind the houses toward the east. A long canal was built to help drain the swampy areas.

On Jan. 23, 1826, John and Madeline (Shollas) Range made an agreement to sell their farm in Straban Township, Adams County, to Christian Benner.

James Range would keep possession of the farm until April 1, 1826, and have what firewood he needed for his own use.

James Range would leave all the grain, straw, and one ton of hay. No person was allowed to destroy any timber.

Christian Benner was deeded the property on June 22, 1826.

James Range brought his family to Tionesta to live with his parents.

As Lt. John Range’s health declined, he decided to get his estate in order.

He wrote his will on March 7, 1827.

Lt. John Range died at his home on May 4, 1827.

He was buried near his home.

His son, James Range, received his property, consisting of 143 acres.

Madeline (Shollas) Range died on Aug. 5, 1830. She was interred next to her husband.

Several acres were sold by James Range during the late 1820s and early 1830s.

He sold the remaining 135 acres to the Rev. Hezekiah May on Nov. 27, 1835.

The one square perch where his parents were buried was excluded from the sale.



of Lt. John & Madeline (Shollas) Range

1. Theobalt Shollas Range  (1770 - ?)

2. John Range Jr.  (April 8, 1772 - October 28, 1851) m. Ann Nancy Myers

3. Elizabeth Range  (1774 - ?) m. Jacob Kuhn

4. Mary Range  (1776 - ?) m. No. 1  William N. Galbraith m. No. 2 Mr. Bradley

5. Susanna Range (1779 - 1856) m. John Gallagher

6. Ann Range  (1781 - ?) m. John Bogart

7. James Range  (1782 - 1857) m. Mary Magdalen Sheltrone


First settler of Tionesta

The Democratic Vindicator published the following story on Lt. John Range in the paper’s Nov. 24, 1887, edition.

On Friday last, the remains of Lt. John Range and his wife were, with the consent of relatives, removed from a plot of ground reserved for that purpose back of the Forest House, to Riverside Cemetery.

Lt. John Range was the first actual settler of Tionesta, about the year 1800, by reason of meritorious service rendered his country, as a member of Amstetter’s Regiment, Washington’s army, been granted what is known as Lottery patent, No. 511, which included all the flat land on the east side of the river from Tubbs Run south to and including the Wm. Lawrence lands across the creek. 

The land was first known by the name “Sequa Linget,” which means in the Indian tongue, place of council, and from which Council Run derives its name. Shortly before his death, which occurred about the year 1822, he divided the land by a line running east and west at or near what is now called Williams Street. The upper half being willed to his son John Range, who subsequently sold to the late Hezikiah May, and the lower half to his son James Range, which land has since been run off in town lots and sold to various settlers and purchasers.* 

The ditch running through these lands south from Williams Street to the river, was dug by him, and wild cherry trees a foot through, have recently been cut on its banks. The descendants of the subject of this sketch, with the exception of Jacob I. Range, mostly reside in the vicinity of Milledgeville, Erie County.


*There are some discrepancies in this newspaper article with actual facts. From following courthouse deeds, John Range Jr. received the southern half of his father’s property. James Range received the northern half.

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