Coryville Store & Post Office

photo credit:  John G. Coleman Collection

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Painting by
Ella Mae Peters

Asa Cory

Tidewater Pipeline

Tidewater Pipeline

Read Coryville Store by Vernan Rees
ead Coryville Christmas Story

Story on Death of A. S. Cory
See Store in 2004

The Good 'Ol Days from Frank Shick:
Coryville Store & Post Office

Interview by Melissa Hall

Frank Shick worked at the Coryville Store for 13 years (1924-1937). The Coryville Store had almost everything in it, from hay & feed to a shoe department & suits. The store had no electricity at all, until one year the owner bought a battery-operated electrical generator for the lights. It was a 32-volt system. The meat was stored in a cooler, which was cooled with ice blocks that were about 4' long and 2' wide and weighed about 150 lbs.

They also sold dry and baked goods at the Coryville Store and Frank remembered once when the inspector came to the store (as he randomly did). He picked up some jelly rolls that had artificial jelly in them. They were fined $50 for it. If the butter was not up to what it was supposed to be (had to be a certain score), they were fined $50. Well a while later, the fellow (inspector) came back and asked for some of the jelly rolls with artificial jelly in them. Frank showed him a whole pile of them, and was fined $50.

Frank also worked a lot in the post office and he had to throw the mail onto the train every morning at 9 a.m. Frank remembers stripping the 6 big store windows of a sign that said "Moody & Guenter" who had run the store before.


Coryville Store 
By: Vernan Rees
My sister, Helen Harmon had Vernan Rees write this history of the Coryville store.  My Father G. W. Reese worked on this Coryville store for B. F. Cory, about two or three years before the Johnstown flood in 1889.  Frank Williams, B. F.'s son in law, later operated this store.

There also was a store on the east side of Potato Creek operated by the Frisbee's about 1909 or 1910.  George Moody and Edward Guenter were owners of this buisness.  The buiding bought by George Moody from Mrs. Williams, May, who was B. F. oldest daughter.  Ed Guenter also brought in the post office.  They had a thriving business for over 10 years.

In 1920 George Moody passed away and soon after the business was sold.  Theron Hardes also owned and operated the store for many years also a rolling store ......Johnson??? operated the rolling store.

The business changed hands several times until after world war two then George Moody Rees bought the property from Gilbert Rice which he operated until the late 70's.

There are many well remembered names that should be added as they were owners of merchandise, and many who were workers and contributed to the business for many years.

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Death of Capt. A. S. Cory.

Captain Asa S. Cory one of the oldest and best known citizens of Keating township, died at his home at Coryville last Sunday afternoon, aged 78 years and 12 days.

The readers of the DEMOCRAT have known for several weeks past that Captain Cory had been very ill, but along back it was thought that he was improving in health, and some even thought that he would eventually be able to get about again, therefore it was a shock to many of his friends when it became known Sunday that he had passed away.

A. S. Cory was born in Sullivan, Tioga county, Pa, May 31, 1814. He began his business career in Wellsboro, Tioga county, where he published the Phoenix for a period of two years. He came to Smethport, and purchased the McKean County Journal, in September,1837, and changed its name to the Beacon, and published that journal in this place for about three years when he sold the office to the late J. B. Oviatt. Although Mr. Cory had retired from active journalism he was identified with the McKean county press for many years. He finally settled on the farm at Coryville where he continued to reside until the day of his death.

In 1838 Mr. Cory was married to Lucy, daughter of Hon. John Holmes. The children of this union are A. O. Cory and Mrs. F. S. Holmes, of keating township. Mrs Cory died a few years ago greatly beloved by a large circle of friends. In 1861 Capt. Cory raised Co. H, Fifty eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and became its captain, but in 1862, becoming disabled through exposure, he returned home. He was a member of Eldred Post, No. 158, G.A.R.

Mr. Cory was a member of the United Brethren Church, and it was largely through his efforts that the church at Coryville was built. He was a genial and companionable gentleman and had the respect and good will of all who knew him. He was postmaster at Coryville for 20 years, and performed the duty pertaining to that office in a most acceptable manner.

The funeral, which was very largely attended, was held at the house Monday afternoon at 1 o'clock, Rev. A. Bronson officiating, after which the remains were brought to this borough and deposited in Rose Hill cementery.

In the death of Capt. Cory McKean county has lost one its oldest and most highly esteemed citizens.

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A Coryville Christmas in the 1890's
By: Myra Guenter

Dear Grandchildren, Great-grandchildren, etc.,

 It has occured to me that you might like to heat how we spent Christmas in Coryville in the 1890's. There was only one Christmas tree in the village and within a two-mile radius in all directions. People gathered at the church and brought their families and gifts for their families, young and old, to this one neighborhood tree. At that time there was just one room in the church, a plain austere chapel, symbolic of the plain, austere faith of the people who worshipped there. There were as yet no Sunday School class rooms, no stained glass windows, no bell in the steeple, no basement, kitchen or dinig room, just a bare sanctuary. On the rostrum were a couple of chairs, a lectern and an old-time Estey organ.

The room was heated (so to speak) by two wood stoves, one on each side. From the high ceiling hung two clumsy so-called chandeliers (fashioned of plain pipe) each holding three oil lamps. Needles to say, the light was not very bright, but men brought their lanterns in and set them on the window sills all around the three sides not occupied by the rostrum. What a pretty sight that was! To my enshanted eyes the place was glowing with light and splendor.

The tree was usually a 14-foot hemlock. Sometimes there were two trees, one at each end of the platform. This was during the lumbering era. There was plenty of activity and plenty of money. Any man who wanted to work could get a job. My father, B.F. Cory, had a saw mill on the bank of Potato Creek and his logging railroad extended three miles up Moody Hollow. The lumbermen and pioneer families all came to the church to hear the program and to watch the distribution of gifts. The pews would be filled (these seats had been discarded at the Courthouse in Smethport) with peoplo standing in the rear. Some of these people never darkened the doors of the church at any other time. All were welcome.

The gifts, unwrapped, were placed on or under the tree. We had never seen or heard of fancy Christmas wrappings. There would be hacd-knit wool caps acd stockings and leather boots with copper toes for the boys; bonnets, and mittens and high-buttoned shoes wit tassels at the tops for the girls; feather boas, parasols, black silk shoulder capes for women; hand-knit or crocheted fascinators (head scarfs) or maybe a set of furs, consistingof neckpiece and muff; thick tufted white wool mittens for men who gauled logs on the big sleds in the winter weather and drove those magnificent big draft horses. I remember of seeing a buffalo robe one time among the gifts. And oh! the dolls! What exquisite joy it was to lean back in the seat and gaze up into the higher branches of the tree and try to figure out which of those gorgeous dolls was to be mine. The sleds and the skates had their allure too. Naturally we all knew well0enough what every one else received. The curious spying eyes of shildren would read the name tags. A wire was usually stretched across the room from wall to wall to accommodate many items. I remember of seeing a fine gold watch and long gold chain suspended from  the wire. In no time at all the word spread, "Mark's giving Gertie a gold watch and chain." You may know that by the time the gifts were given out, Gertie wasn't much surprised to receive hers. But she was pleased, and so were we all. We all shared her pleasure.

If a courtship had not reached the point where an engagement ring was acceptable to the young lady, the next best thing from an admiring swain was a bureau set consisting of a brush, comb and mirror in a plush lined box. To receive such a luxury item was a mark of distinction. My older sisters each had one and I looked with envious eyes upon these gorgeous things. Often they had heavy silver mountings or maybe ivory (real or imitation). I secretly resolved that sometime, by hook or by crook, I should manage to be the recipient of one of those meanongful offerings.

The Preacher's Barrel usually stood in a conspicuous place near the tree. In that day and age a man who owned a good productive farm was considered to be "pretty well-fixed". The farmers lived well. They came with their Christmas donations for the pastor-big home-cured hams, white hunks of salt pork, a chunk of hard maple sugar, the size and shape of a loaf of bread, long strings of dried apples, big two-quart glass jars of canned blackberries (plenty of beries free for the picking on the many slashings on hills and valley where the timber had been taken off), a sack of buckwheat flour, or maybe a bag of oats for the preacher's horse. Our minister served four rural churches - Rew City, Coleville, Farmers Valley and Coryville. He had lots of driving to do.

The program wasn't very different from those presented in rural churches today. We didn't sing many of the traditional Christmas Carols so prevalent today. They were not in our old-time hymn books. (Was this a reflection of our Puritan heritage? Most of the pioneer families of this area had their beginnings in New England).

 One outstanding feature of the program was quite unappreciated by us children, eager for gifts to be handed out, - the customary "remarks" by the pastor or Sunday School Superintendent. The remarks were apt tlo be repetitious and verbose and to our way of thinking altogether too lengthy. If, however, the speaker happened to be "Lisher" Moody we didn't mind so much. He knew how to talk to little children. In his younger days Lisher had been a wicked man. He piloted log rafts down the Allegheny-Ohio-Mississippi Rivers. He could hold his own among the rough, carousing, thieving river men of that era. One  time he happened to attend a revival service at a camp meeting. He "got religion" and what's more, "it took"! From that time onward his life was changed. The drinking, swearing, fighting and gambling stopped. Every morning on his raft he read the Scripture and prayed aloud. Those rough ungodly river men maintained a respectful silence while he did it. Only a man of exceptionally strong physique and strong character could pull off a feat like that. "Lisher" Moody had both.

When  I knew him he was a pillar of the church. He was often Sunday School Superintendent and he taught the primary class of which I was a member. He had a clear tenor voice, and when he sang:
                                                                  Little chidren, little children
                                                                  Who love their Redeemer
                                                                  Are the jewels, precious jewels
                                                                  Bright gems for his crown,
we believed him. We thought we were jewels, "His loved and His own".

When later I discovered that his real name was Elisha, I immediately identified him with the Old Testament prophet upon whom the mantled of Elijah fell when Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. (Maybe I wasn't so far wrong at that:)

When it finally came time to distribute the gifts certain children were selected to wend their way through the crowded aisles to deliver them. I must have been seven or eight years old when I was asked to be one of these lucky "bearers of gifts". Or course we youngsters had been craning our necks. We knew everyone in the congregation and where each one sat. What a thrill: Louis XIV, the Sun King of France in all the glory of his "Divine Right" never felt any more honored or any more honored or any more important than i did then;

For several das before this my mother and several other good women of the communit had been busy making little stockings of red mosquito netting. They filled them with popcorn, nuts and candy enough for every child in the community to have one. They also collected a few extra toys and a few knit wool scarfs suitable gifts for a man, woman, or child who otherwise might not receive a present.

One year in the late '90's a shocking event occurred. John Stull's family were having a tree in their own home! An ugly rumor was going around; "The Stulls were not going to participate in the neighborhood celebration!" John Stull was the village blacksmith. With all those bark and logging teams coming to his shop to be shod, he had become quite prosperous. "Pretty highly-tighty, if you ask me" was the general sentiment. That simple event marked the beginning of the end. In a few years family trees became the rule, and the neighborhood tree became a thing of the pas. It was inevitable of course. Times change and people must change with them. Never again was it possible to recapture in like measure the folksiness, the love and friendliness, the unquestioning faith, or the sense of absolute security which we felt at that particular time in our lives. In our memories they shine like priceless gems.

As for the feeling of absolute security; no doubt it sprang from the character of our religion of that time and place- We were the saints of god, the Born Again, the Saved! Then our country was peaceful and secure (or so we believed). A powerful, boastful adolescent United States didn't expect any attack or invasion from without, or if such an unlikely event should occur, we were sure we could lick the aggressor. We know so much more now in 1969. We have found out what can be done with a few atoms of uranium! Now nobody anywhere on earth is secure. And yet we would not care to return to those "good old days".

Christmas still is a time of unselfish giving and sharing and loving. Still there is a yearning for "peace on earth" and a hopeful striving for good will toward our fellow men. The Bethlehem Star still shod its radiance, and that unbelievable glimpse of the earthrise afforded us by the astronauts adds to our faith in the future. Yes, this is a great time to be alive.

                                                            Merry Christmas to all - Gram
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Coryville Store 2004

photo credit: Melissa Hall 2004

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