“The Tenth Partner”
Laban Capron was born on January 10, 1768 in the strongly Puritan parish of Attleborough, Massachusetts. He was the great-grandson of Banfield Capron, who emigrated from England in the 17th century. Laban married Hannah Sweet on September 19, 1788 in Attleborough.
In April 1790, a group of nine young men left Attleborough in search of a new home with ampler room and cheaper soil. They were strongly inclined to settle in Cherry Valley, New York, but visiting William Cooper at the outlet of Otsego Lake, they were persuaded to travel down the Susquehanna River to view lands of which he had the agency.
Disembarking at Great Bend, Pennsylvania, they proceeded through the remote Endless Mountains region in a southerly direction and arrived at the Beaver Meadow. Finding a good spring of water nearby, they decided to settle there, purchasing four square miles of land, divided into sixteen plots. They were the first white men to live in an area that was hitherto part of the extensive hunting grounds of the Lenape tribe.
Originally known as “Nine Partners,” this settlement would ultimately become the township of Harford, Pennsylvania.
No village in N.E. Pennsylvania so much resembles New England in the Puritan element as Harford.
In the spring of 1794, Laban Capron became the first addition to the Nine Partners settlement. He brought with him his wife and three children – Wheaton, Nancy, and Hannah; also his father Dr Comfort Capron (1743–1800, a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and the community’s first physician). They built a frame house on the Attleborough plan, with two stories and narrow eaves.
Laban Capron eventually had seven children by his first wife Hannah, who died in 1803. Laban subsequently married Asenath Fuller and there are a further six children recorded by that marriage.
The settlement was granted township status in January 1808. “Hartford” (after Hartford, Connecticut) was the proposed name, but since that was pronounced without the T in those days, Laban Capron suggested “Harford” be adopted:
Hosea Tiffany suggested Hartford as the name; Laban Capron said strike out the ‘t’, which was agreed by all.
Harford was originally part of Luzerne County, but in 1810 became one of 10 townships that separated off to form Susquehanna County. Laban Capron was elected to the first Board of Commissioners for the new county, serving as County Commissioner from 1812 to 1814.
Laban Capron died on November 21, 1824. He is interred in Harford Cemetery, which adjoins the First Congregational Church of Harford.
Thacher, Wallace L. (1907). Harford Fair. Binghamton: Barnes, Smith & Company
Blackman, Emily C. (1873). History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger
Stocker, Rhamanthus M. (1974). Centennial History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company
Laban Capron in Connecting Capron Cousins
Laban Capron in Find A Grave
Nine Partners Monument in the Smithsonian’s Art Inventories Catalog