Contributed by Bob Nay
The Winslow family originally came to Pennsylvania at an early date from the State of Maine. Reuben Colburn Winslow came to Benezette with two of his other brothers- Carpenter, and Ebenezer before 1830 and is considered the official founder of the Town and Township of Benezette. Reuben became an extensive landowner by purchasing several hundred acres land in and near Benezette- located from Spring and Trout Runs to Austern’s and Dent’s Runs. The first coal veins that were worked were the Winslow’s at the location where Spring Run empties into Trout Run. His coal veins – called the Winslow Colliery– in this area were among the first and the best. He was also a prominent merchant and one of Elk County’s first commissioners in 1843.
On April 26, 1871 Reuben C Winslow was killed in a train wreck at Cook’s Run (near Lock Haven, Clinton Co., Pa.where Reuben and family lived at that time)between Philadelphia and Benezette. Being on business for his railroad- the Winslow Colliery Railroad- at the time, he was the first one to be rescued. However realizing himself -he was too badly wounded, he told the rescuers to try and instead save the lives of the other passengers.
Around 1862, The Winslow Colliery Railroad was incorporated by the State of Pennsylvania for the purpose of enabling Rueben Winslow to construct a railroad to connect his coal mines, in Elk County, with the Philadelphia and Erie railroad. The Winslow Colliery desired to construct a railroad that connected their lands with the Philadelphia Railroad and Erie Railroad. This act was approved but required that it not interfere with the right of the Allegheny Valley Railroad to connect with the Philadelphia and Erie railroads, and that the Allegheny Valley railroad shall have priority of location over the railroad privilege. The railroad was to be constructed, with one or more tracks, from any point on the lands indicated, to connect with the Philadelphia and Erie railroad, at Colman’s.
In the spring of 1868 Pennsylvania Railroad crews began locating the Low Grade Line along Bennett Branch, coming into conflict with the grading crews of the Winslow Colliery Company, which had completed about 3/4 of their work between Driftwood and Brookville. The Winslow Colliery Company filed suit against Philadelphia & Erie Railroad. The P & E said the Winslow Colliery Company was trying to build a trunk line between Milton and Franklin without proper charter authority.
Reuben was a very ambitious and industrious business man. He patented many products including railroad equipment patents. Reuben C Winslow of Loch Haven and Reuben C. Petrikin (his grandson) invented a new and improved railroad car running gear and submitted the patent 115261.
This is just a brief account of Reuben Winslow and his activities involving the railroad industry in the Valley. As I further research this topic I will continue to update this story. If you have any questions or comments please contact Bob Nay.