BEECH CREEK AREA
HARRY A. AND VERA A. LINGLE
CENTRE COUNTY LIBRARY
Table of Contents
The Authors hi
I Historical, Geographical and Factual Background 1
II Churches and Cemeteries 11
III Schools 18
IV Occupations and Professions 26
V Development of Industry and Transportation 45
VI Commercial Enterprises 59
VII Events, Disasters and Anecdotes 68
VIII Success Cases Among Our People 86
IX Lodges, Organizations and Activities 95
X Early Settlers More Fully Identified 105
XI Afterthoughts and Supplemental Notes 119
This history was prepared to provide an interesting and enlightening
account of the early Beech Creek area and its development to the pre-
sent day. In order to give as complete a story as possible census, assess-
ment and legal records were searched, old newspapers were reviewed,
and "old timers" were queried. To add to the attractiveness of this
publication old pictures, particularly of large groups and interesting
sights or objects, were sought. Despite all this effort it is realized that
what appears on the following pages does not represent the total history
of the area. This book, therefore, leaves a challenge to its readers to find
and record some of the missing data.
It is expected that even the most intense and thorough research has
resulted in some erroneous data. Errors may have come not only from
information gathered by personal interview, but also from data that
had been incorrectly printed or recorded previously. Much difficulty
was encountered in trying to obtain maiden names of early wives, and,
in many cases, especially in the very early days, the given names of
many of the women have not been established. On several occasions
newspaper publicity revealed that this undertaking was in progress and
information, such as may be found in attics, old Bibles, or merely
stored in peoples' minds, was being solicited. Unfortunately responses
to these appeals were not very gratifying.
To better identify persons, particularly those of previous generations,
who are singled out for one reason or another, the names of parents, or
spouses, or sometimes descendants, were included, when available, to
aid the reader. Such identification was included in only one reference
to the same individual, usually the first.
This project was not undertaken for a profit. The cost per copy will
be based on actual printing and distribution, with no reimbursement
for the large expenses involved in years of research, mostly out of town.
Harry A. Lingle was born at Beech Creek to Richard B. Lingle and
Mabel H. (Brady) Lingle on April 25, 1912. As a boy growing up he en-
joyed the tales of the "old timers" who congregated in the tobacco
shops and similar places. He now regrets that he didn't make notes, es-
pecially when they recounted early-day happenings. In his youth he
joined his friends in such activities as swimming, boating, scouting,
camping, baseball, and later, hunting. Meantime he became the best
stilt-walker and pole-vaulter in town and one of the better ice skaters.
His high stilts required mounting from the front porch roof. Using a
sawed-off pike pole for vaulting he could clear the bar around the
eleven-foot mark. He recalls jumping from the top of the Beech Creek
bridge into the water below, and standing on his head on top of the
In 1928 Mr. Lingle completed the courses offered in the local high
school, and in 1930 graduated from Lock Haven High School. Four
years later he completed training for elementary teaching at Lock
Haven State College, where he was a member of the varsity baseball
team. Shortly thereafter he began a six -year tenure as grammar school
teacher and principal at Orviston in Centre County. During these latter
years, and for many years to follow, he played baseball in both the
Central and Centre County leagues. While still a college student Mr.
Lingle married Vera A. Thompson, a daughter of David H. and Bessie
Mae (Leathers) Thompson. At the end of 1969 he closed out a career at
the Lock Haven office of the Bureau of Employment Security, where he
had served as interviewer, assistant manager and interim manager.
Vera A. (Thompson) Lingle was born in Liberty Township on Oc-
tober 12, 1912. Five years later her family moved to the Bower farm,
just east of Mt. Eagle. Incidentally, her husband's great grandmother,
Mary (Leathers) Bitner, was bom in 1815 at this same farm, in the
original living quarters, a log house, that was left standing over the
years and used for storage, until the Sayers dam was built. Vera
graduated from Howard High School in 1929, took a one-year post
graduate course at Bellefonte High School, and completed commercial
training at Altoona School of Commerce in 1982. At the time of her
marriage she was employed by the State Emergency Relief Board at
Philipsburg, having been transferred there from State College. Even as
a young girl she was an avid reader, usually carrying a book with her
when she was assigned to watching the cows at pasture. She is accused,
even to this day, of becoming so involved in her reading that she oc-
casionally allowed the cows to wander too far. She offers no denials.
In 1954, when heart surgery was still in the very early stages of
development, Vera, wisely, and rather courageously, accepted the sug-
gestion of her doctor and neighbor, Robert E. Drewery, and placed
herself in the hands of the pioneering heart surgeon, Charles Philmore
Bailey. A hole, described by Dr. Bailey as "the size of a quarter, and a
thirty-cent one, at that," between the upper chambers was successfully
closed, and she is here today to help write the Beech Creek story. On
March 25, 1957 Time Magazine told of the advances that had been
made in heart surgery. Dr. Bailey's picture was on the front cover.
Knowing that Harry's great grandmother Bitner, wife of Abraham,
was born as Mary Leathers, and that Vera's mother was also a
Leathers, the Lingles set out in 1971 to determine if any relationship
existed. They soon learned that they were fourth cousins, each having
the same great, great, great grandparents, Jacob (Sr.) and Mary
(Shirk) Leathers. Finding this type of research very fascinating, the
two Lingles, in partnership, so to speak, were soon doing more and
more family tracings. In 1975, with a deadline for completion only four
months in the future, the Lingles accepted the task of writing, without
reimbursement, the history for the Bicentennial book of neighboring
Liberty Township. The rapid sale of 700 copies, and the many favorable
compliments received, encouraged the Lingles to prepare a story of the
Beech Creek area.
Mr. and Mrs. Lingle are the parents of these four children: Zoe Ann
(Stine), who teaches in Los Angeles, California, and has four children;
Barry, a regional representative for Mobil Oil Corporation, with head-
quarters in Los Angeles, has twin daughters; Frederick, district at-
torney of Clinton County, has one son; and David, a teacher in the Wil-
liamsport schools has three children.
Mr, Lingle's ancestors include Snyders, Kuneses, Berryhills, Bitners,
Nestlerodes, and Housers. Mrs. Lingle's lines include McCloskeys,
Oylers, Bryans, Foresmans, Piatts and Holters in addition to
Thompsons. As indicated elsewhere their Leathers and Shirk ancestry
is shared equally. Tracing back further in each of their family lines are
found the names Martin, Marshall, Kaup, Homier, Spohn, Fagen,
Gould, Bott, Dieffenderfer, Freeman, Hostrander and Failor.
In the Bicentennial year of 1976 the Centre County Historical
Society, in an appropriate ceremony, buried in a sealed vault a number
of historical mementos. This vault, the location of which is identified
by a bronze plaque in the sidewalk in Bellefonte's town square, is be-
queathed to the county inhabitants of 2076 and is to be opened in that
Tricentennial year. Included in the vault is a copy of the History of
Liberty Township, mentioned heretofore.
Historical, Geographical and
On June 21, 1839 our county of Clinton was formed from parts of
Centre and Lycoming Counties. In May, 1850 Bald Eagle Township, in
this relatively new county, was divided by a line running northeasterly
from about the middle of its southern border. The eastern section
retained the Bald Eagle name. The western part was given the same
name as the stream that flowed along its western edge and the town
that was built along this stream — a name that had come down from
the Delaware Indians — Beech Creek. However, the Indians did not use
the words beech and creek. Their term was "Schauweminsch-Hanne,"
which meant beech stream.
Histories of the Indians reveal that one branch of the Great
Shamokin Path of the early tribes left the Susquehanna River at Great
Island, below Lock Haven, and followed Bald Eagle Creek to Beech
Creek, where it was again divided. The Bald Eagle Path continued up
the valley, turned south, crossed the creek near Milesburg and passed
through the gap. It then followed a generally westward direction
through Warriors Mark, Tyrone and Hollidaysburg. The other branch
turned up Marsh Creek, went through Romola and Yarnell, then
ascended the mountains to reach the Clearfield area and eventually
The name "Beech Creek" had been applied before 1807 to the settle-
ment that was developing about one mile upstream from the mouth of
the fast-flowing, crystal-clear creek, with the beech trees along its
banks. Bald Eagle Township assessment records, prepared in late 1807
for the year 1808, indicate that certain of its taxable property was at
"Beech Creek." This should clear the misconception that there was no
Beech Creek until our post office was changed to that name from
Quigley's Mills. One book, A Picture of Clinton County, published in
1942 as a Federal WPA project sponsored by our county commissioners,
goes so far as to declare that our town was not named Beech Creek until
the borough was incorporated in 1869. Incidentally, the information in
this book becomes even less regarded when one finds the David
Our grist mill was built around 1815.
cemetery in Beech Creek Township listed as the Quay cemetery.
During the past seventy-five years sole credit for the founding of
Beech Creek town has somehow gone to Michael Quigley. The begin-
ning event is given as the building of his grist mill in 1812. Official
records show that Mr. Quigley came here in 1814, the year in which the
mill project was begun. In November of that year he was assessed for
the ownership of one horse and two cows. By this time our town already
had a number of full-time tradesmen and shops. We had at least one
weaver, one shoemaker, one cooper, one distiller, one carpenter, two
tanners and two sawmills. In the grist mill enterprise Mr. Quigley was
one of a partnership of McFadden and Quigley. However, he later
purchased Mr. McFadden's interest. For the year 1816 the mill,
situated on a 27-acre tract, was first assessed for tax purposes.
When Beech Creek gained a post office in 1828 Michael Quigley
became postmaster. Apparently having the option of identifying the
new post office, he called it Quigleys Mills. However, the town was still
Beech Creek. Letters written from here to Ohio in the 1830's are being
preserved by the authors of this story. Even though the return ad-
dresses on the outside of the envelopes show Quigleys Mills, the letters,
themselves, list Beech Creek, Centre County in the heading. After Mr.
Quigley's retirement in 1839 our post office was closed and Beech Creek
patrons received their mail through the post office at Eagleville, now
Blanchard. However, in 1846 we regained a post office and it very ap-
propriately was given the same name as the town. Even if Mr. Quigley
cannot be credited as founder of our town, it must be remembered that
the grist mill went a long way in making the town a trading center for a
very large area.
On February 13, 1800 Centre County had been formed from parts of
Huntingdon, Mifflin, Northumberland and Lycoming Counties. At
that time this new county included Bald Eagle Township, which then
extended from Beech Creek stream to the edge of Flemington, with the
Susquehanna River forming a portion of its northeastern boundary.
Bald Eagle Township then included that part of Nittany Valley that
was removed in 1817 to form Lamar Township. Lamar Township was
later divided to form Porter Township. When the second National
Census was taken in 1800 our township of Bald Eagle was listed as if it
still was a part of Lycoming County. At that time, even though we were
very large geographically, we had only 103 family units with a total
population of 698, including one black person. A very small number
then lived in our Beech Creek area.
As late as 1785 our township of Bald Eagle, then a vast,
predominantly wilderness area extending from Lycoming Creek
(Newberry area of Williamsport) westward to Moshannon Creek, was a
part of Northumberland County, which had been formed on March 21,
1772, with Sunbury as its seat. In 1786 the part of our township that lay
west of Beech Creek was separated and named Upper Bald Eagle
Township. The original Bald Eagle Township was then further reduced
to the area between the mouth of Bald Eagle Creek and Beech Creek
The old post office with Stella and Chrissie Linn in the doorway.
A main street scene during World War I.
stream and was generally known as Lower Bald Eagle Township. When
Mifflin County was created on September 8, 1789, with Lewistown as
the seat, Upper Bald Eagle Township became a part of that new
county. Lower Bald Eagle Township, our area, remained in
Northumberland County until April 13, 1796, when we became a part
of newly-formed Lycoming County. Thus, we learn that we were a part
of Lycoming County for a period of less than four years.
Back in the days when Pennsylvania was divided into just three
mammoth counties we were a part of Chester County. On March 11,
1752 a large part of Chester County, including our area, was removed to
form Berks County, in which we remained until Northumberland
County was erected.
The year 1787 marks the first permanent settlement in our area,
when members of the Hays family took up residence. Their land, a
grant for military service in the Revolution, was adjacent to the mouth
of Beech Creek stream. Within a year the Fearons were occupying land
just east of the Hays tract. It is quite possible that there was a
relationship between the first Hays and Fearon families. Our earliest
settlers, and those who followed, will be more fully discussed in a sub-
sequent chapter devoted to this subject.
Our valley, which extends from the Tyrone area eastward to the Sus-
quehanna River, and the mountain range that walls us in on the south
were named for Indian Chief Bald Eagle, whose nest was located in a
narrow gap about twelve miles west of us. The mountain itself, along
which flows Bald Eagle Creek, was once known as Muncy Mountain.
Traveling northward in our area from Bald Eagle and Beech Creek
streams one passes from fairly level, rich bottom land through rolling
hills, most of which are used for farming or pasture land. The traveler
soon reaches the mountainous area of the Allegheny Plateaus. This rug-
ged terrain, once wealthy in virgin timber and minerals, was responsi-
ble for much of our early development and industrial growth. In addi-
tion, its freshwater streams and deep, thickly-vegetated ravines have
provided good fishing and perhaps the best hunting ground in the com-
monwealth. The southern portion of our township is drained principal-
ly by Canoe, Sugar and Masden Runs. Our northern mountainous area
is drained by Big Run, Monument Run and Twin Run, which flow into
Beech Creek stream, and Tangascootac Creek, which empties directly
into the Susquehanna.
The chief sources of county taxes in the early 1800's were land, horses
and cows. No mention was made of buildings except those used for in-
dustrial purposes, such as sawmills and tanyards. Perhaps the local
taxing authorities were allowed to collect on houses, bams, etc. Almost
every family owned at least one horse and one cow, but few families
owned more than two horses or two cows. Single men who worked, but
did not own taxable property, were taxed by the county for their oc-
cupations. Additional items taxed at various times included gold
watches, money-at-interest, and collateral inheritances. Our
township's assessor for its first taxable year (1801) in the new county of
Centre was James Boyd (Sr.), a Revolutionary War veteran.
For the annual assessment of 1828 each city, borough and township
assessor was authorized by the Commonwealth to report each destitute
family not already in possession of a Bible, and to indicate the language
Main street in 1918 with the "Seven Kitchens" in background.
This bridge, just south of the present borough line, was one of three
wooden bridges that joined us to Liberty Township.
spoken by each. In what was described as a "Benevolent undertaking"
the Philadelphia Bible Society provided a free copy of the "Holy Scrip-
tures" to each such family. Recipients in our township, according to the
report of our assessor, John F. McCormick, were the families of William
DeHaas, Benjamin Johnston, John Lannen and James Miller, all of
whom spoke the English language. A copy of one of these Bibles, if
preserved to this day, should have exceptional value.
In 1830, our assessor, John Montgomery, had to place each parcel of
land in one of twelve categories, according to its relative value. The
largest plot had three hundred acres and was leased by the owner,
Henrietta Craig, a daughter of Brig. General John Philip and Eleanor
(Bingham) DeHaas. This farm was placed in category four with a value
of eleven dollars an acre, or a total of $3300. The county tax amounting
to $10.54 was paid by the then lessor, Paul Lingle, who had come from
Linglestown in Dauphin County and replaced David Courter on this
tract. The next lessor was George Haagen, who later became the owner.
Land in category one was valued at seventeen dollars an acre, while
that placed in category twelve had a value of only twelve cents per acre.
Trades and occupations were classified by four categories, ranging from
$50 to $300 of annual income. Doctors, of course, earned more, but not
much more. Each was placed in one of three divisions, ranging from
$300 to $500 in annual income.
When Beech Creek Township was organized in 1850 the two super-
visors were Joseph Linn, son of Andrew and Martha (Polk) Linn and
Thomas Crispen, who, after the death of his first wife, Hannah, and in
advanced years of age, remarried and had several more children. The
first justices of the peace were Thomas Packer, son of Eli and Ann F.
(Thomas) Packer, and Andrew White, whose wife, Eliza, was a
daughter of Michael and Mary (Clark) Quigley. Other officers were:
Cline Quigley, a son of Michael; John McGhee, a son of John and
Elizabeth (Linn) McGhee; Giles W. Halenbake, son of Henry Halen-
bake of New York state, and husband of Frances Johnson, the daughter
of Nathaniel and Sarah (Willis) Johnson, natives of England; Austin
Leonard, a son of Theodore and Elizabeth Leonard of Massachusetts,
who married, first, Julia Ann, a daughter of Moses and Hannah
(Packer) Packer, and later Anna Eliza (Knepley) Packer, the widow of
Vickers Packer and the daughter of Samuel and Rebecca (Courter)
Knepley; Joseph M. Smith, a son of Roland and Mary Smith of the
Philadelphia area; Abraham Bitner, son of John and Susanna
(Nestlerode) Bitner; William Masden, son of Justus and Elizabeth
This house, built in
1800 and crumbling for
the past eighty years,
is still in evidence on
the Bossett farm.
Lower Water Street under flood
Bald Eagle Township W me hefore movln 8 l"to
town lots to fa. ^S^S7£Sa2 , ft , 1 2j
- JSKf i^^^^^j^ "Beech Creek
we. a, follow,: Aahe, Pache, a son of lE^^^SES
of Nancy Hall, the daughter of Jesse Hall, born in New Jersey, and his
wife, Betty (Johnson) Hall, a native of England; George Furst, who had
come from lower Nittany Valley at about the time of his marriage to
Elizabeth Stewart, a Quigley descendant; A.H. Knecht, who had come
from Easton as a business partner of George D. Hess; John Ligget, a son
of John and Susanna (Neff) Ligget; and Charles R. Keyes (pronounced
Kise), a son of Stillman and Eliza (Strong) Keyes, who had come from
New York state. Other borough officers at that time were: George
Wensel, the son of Everett and Catharine (Rhumsbutt) Wensel, both
natives of Germany, and the husband of Ellen Eliza (Quigley) Wensel,
a daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Moore) Quigley; Hugh White,
whose daughter, Martha, became the second wife of Civil War captain,
James A Quigley; George Q. Williams, a son of George and Susan
(Quiggle) Williams and husband of Elizabeth Bollinger; Harrison Mil-
ler, who had come from Lehigh County and married Sara Amanda, the
daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (James) Linn; John Mason, whose
wife, Martha, was a sister of Sara Amanda Linn; Solomon Strong, the
developer and entrepreneur; John McGhee, identified previously; and
John W. Grays, who died seven years later at age 39.
In 1875 Mr. Strong laid out the eastern portion of the borough in
town lots. His land was surveyed and mapped by James Clark, and in-
cluded that which was shortly thereafter conveyed to the original
developers of the Beech Creek Railroad. Mr. Strong's layout maps are
currently in the possession of the authors of this story. Many years
earlier the section of town between Water and western Harrison Streets
Taken from Clarks Hill, north of town.
was laid out and named "Florence," likely for the wife or a daughter of
the developer. Florence was used on deeds, etc, to better identify loca-
tions. For example, an 1848 obituary said that William Williams of
Beech Creek died at Florence. His widow, Ann (Lingle) Williams, lived
until her death in 1897 in the house on Water Street now occupied by
the Heimer family. It is quite understandable that because of the
likeness of names our Florence area is sometimes confused with the
Floral area. Floral was the official name of the post office that served
the Laurel Run area until rural delivery was inaugurated there in 1909.
Of the township and borough officers named in this chapter, seven
were local postmasters and will be listed in a later chapter. In addition
a high percentage were drawn from business and professional ranks and
they had a keen interest in maintaining the community as a desirable
place to live. For example, records show that in August, 1906 our coun-
cilmen, Dr. H.H. Mothersbaugh, John P. Wynn, George F. Hess, W.
Frank Berry, Edwin R. Reed, G.. Thomas Furst, Timothy McCarthy
and W.A. Dugan, took definite action to force the removal of manure
that was creating a stench on Locust Street. The guilty party was a
local justice of the peace, which indicates that no favoritism was
shown, not even to fellow borough officers. Would not a community-
minded council such as theirs take action on some of today's problems,
including noise and dust from various types of motor vehicles, un-
licensed motorcycles, clogged streets, poor sidewalks, dogs running
loose, the indifference of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
toward local problems of their making, etc.?
In his book published in 1877- evangelist Nathan Johns Mitchell,
organizer of Churches of Christ in Bald Eagle Valley and elsewhere,
tells of responding to an invitation to come to Beech Creek for outdoor
services in the summer of 1832. The meeting was held on Nestlerode
Island, south of the grist mill, where seats and a pulpit were improvised
by lumberman John Nestlerode, himself a member of the Mennonite
faith. This particular meeting marked the beginning of the local
Church of Christ and led to the eventual construction of the present
church building in Blanchard, where a "Century With Christ" was
celebrated in 1932. This building, built in 1867, was preceded by a
wooden structure, likely of logs, on the opposite side of the street on a
spot now occupied by part of the cemetery. The house of worship had
remained at Beech Creek until 1848 or later. An obituary of that year
listed the decedent as a member of the Disciple Church at Beech Creek.
In May of 1837 preacher Mitchell became the first minister of any
denomination to establish residence in Beech Creek. In April, 1839,
shortly after the death of Mrs. Mitchell's mother, the family moved to
Howard to occupy the Packer homestead, this being the birthplace of
Mrs. Mitchell. While living in Beech Creek Mr. Mitchell taught school
for one term. William M. Bauman, who" lives in the Lamar area, is a
great, great grandson of Nathan J. Mitchell. By his own story,
recounted with the aid of a well-kept diary, and published in 1877, Mr.
Mitchell acknowledged that his congregation was preceded in Beech
Creek by the Methodists. Therefore the Methodists were first organized
some time before the summer of 1832 and not in 1833 as sometimes
recorded. In 1834 the Methodists erected the first church building in
the township. Their one-room, pine-log structure, located northwest of
town, just outside the present borough limits, was later shared with the
Presbyterians. Early Methodist circuit riders who preached in this
building included Timothy Lee, Fern Brown, James Hunter, James
Sanks, Switzer Paulsgrove, John Anderson, Abram Britten, J.S. Mc-
Murray and Messrs. Gutwald, MacClay and Ball.
In 1868 the Methodists constructed on Harrison Street a large two-
story, brick edifice with bell tower and bell. The bricks were made by
Mexican-born Francisco "Frank" Wallace at his kiln on Sugar Run,
just north of town, not on the west side of Beech Creek stream as oc-
casionally reported. This building has been used steadily to this day
and gives promise of serving for many years to come. In 1926 a kitchen,
with space beneath for central heating equipment, was added to the
rear of the church. Since that time a number of interior improvements
have been made including the installation in 1957 of a pipe organ,
which, since that time, has been melodiously responding to the skillful
hands' of organist, Joseph M. DeHaas, son of Morton and Chrissie
From 1873 to 1883 Beech Creek was headquarters for a Methodist
charge that included Mill Hall, Flemington and Laurel Run. The par-
sonage was located on Vesper Street across the street from the present
school building. One of the occupants of the parsonage was Rev.
Theodore S. Faus, who had married Martha Williams of Laurel Run,
daughter of John and Mary (Hoy) Poorman Williams. At that time the
trustees were John Ligget, Samuel Hall, William Trexler, Daniel Lose,
J. D. Engles, Abner McCloskey and George W. Wensel. During the long
period of its existence the present church building served for the follow-
ing ministers, some of whom represented the Mill Hall charge, some
the previously mentioned Beech Creek charge, but with most from the
present Howard charge:
Thomas F. McClure
J. W. Buckley
J. Foster Bell
John Z. Lloyd
Theodore S. Faus
Mortimer P. Crosthwaite
George E. King
Nathan B. Smith
J. W. Forrest
A. P. Wharton
G. F. Boggs
Ellsworth M. Aller
Rollin S. Taylor
James E. Dunning
C. W. Rishell
Walter G. Steel
M. S. Q. Mellott
Arthur A. Price
J. Franklin Smith
John F. Winklebleck
Raymond L. Morris
Robert E. Fleck
Wallace J. Cummings
Roy A. Goss
Foster L. Pannebaker
Norman J. Simmons
Elwood C. Zimmerman
Francis J. Geiger
Jas. W. Nottingham
Max B. Cook
William B. Stan-
Norman L. Handy
As indicated previously the Presbyterians first used the Methodists'
building. In 1865 the Presbyterians purchased a plot of land on Main
Street and soon afterward began the construction of the Beech Creek
Memorial Presbyterian Church. The first major improvement to the
building was the addition of a belfry and bell in the early 1920's. During
the latter part of the twenties a kitchen and dining room, with space
beneath for a heating boiler, were added. The next major improvement
was a new Hammond organ. Having been constructed almost
simultaneously, this church, the Methodist Church and the Church of
Christ at Blanchard are of very similar design. Then too, each of the
various major improvements at these three churches were scheduled at
nearly the same time. Since 1857 the pastors, usually shared with the
sister church in Mill Hall, have been:
H. S. Doolittle
W. G. E. Agnew
L. L. Houghawaut
W. A. Jenks
S. W. Pomeroy
L. F. Brown
William M. Grant
A. D. Bateman
Louis V. Barber
Lindley W. Cook
John S. Lonsinger
Carl C. Gray
George A. Vir chick, Jr.
Edward L. Junkin
Timothy W. Held
C. Robert Meyer
In addition to the above the local congregation was also served by
pastors Van Sickle, Bunsteen and Hawthorne. During the 1950's Rev.
J. W. Dean served as supply minister.
The Wesleyan Church, formerly the Pilgrim Holiness Church, is the
newest of the community's congregations. Church services were held at
various places, including private homes, public buildings and vacant
houses until about the 1920's. At that time a dwelling on Maple Avenue
was converted to serve as both a place of worship and a parsonage. In
the early 1930's an attractive frame church facing Main Street was con-
structed on church property, after which the former church building
was reconverted to provide a full two-story parsonage building. The re-
cent application of aluminum siding to the church building guarantees
continued attractiveness and a minimum of maintenance.
The following list is the best obtainable record of the ministers who
served this congregation on a regular or temporary basis: Liden
Adams, Floyd Baker, William C. Bloom, Ralph Davie, Robert Detmer,
Philip Doyle, Mr. Gangaware, Russell Gardner, Philip Gazal, Norman
L. Handy, Robert Heckert, Harley B. Hoffman, Mr. McCarthy, Edwin
Mayes, William Merrill, Ronald Murphy, Mr. Philips, J. C. Sherwood,
Fred Strawser, Harold Tallman, William Welch.
The question of which is our oldest cemetery has not been resolved.
In contention for the distinction are two vastly different appearing
burial grounds. One is the David Cemetery in Beech Creek Township
on the hard-surfaced road leading northwesterly from Sugar Run. No
burials have been made there for many, many years, and the plot has
been allowed to descend to a deplorable state. It is overrun with trees
and underbush to the extent that a passerby, only a few feet distant, is
unable to see the markers. This is partly because most of them are lying
on the ground. This cemetery was started by the pioneering David
family, and without doubt contains the remains of Daniel David, the
Revolutionary War soldier, Efforts to locate a newspaper story of some
seventy years ago, in which the burials at this cemetery were listed,
have not been successful, but will be continued. In addition to Davids
and their descendants some of the Liggets are buried here.
The other contender is the Hays-Fearon Cemetery, which, if not the
oldest, does have the distinction of being our best-kept cemetery. It was
started by the Hays and Fearon families, who had settled close by and
began farming before 1800. This cemetery was also allowed to
deteriorate for a number of years for the same reason that affected the
David Cemetery. Too few of the kin of the early burials were living in
the area. Fortunately, however, the thoughtfulness and diligence of J.
Aaron Haugh, along with the assistance of others such as George F.
Hess affected a restoration project that turned this plot from one of
disgrace to one of beauty. Burials include Lt. James Hays, a
Revolutionary soldier, his wife, Sarah (Brown) Hays, and other
members of the early Hays and Fearon families, some of whose graves
have no marker. Also buried here are two additional Revolutionary War
soldiers, Lt. John Philip DeHaas and Gideon Smith. Of the marked
graves at Hays-Fearon a total of twenty-two bear the name Rupert.
Next in line is the family surname of Linn, followed by Gummo,
DeHaas, Johnson, Hall and Ligget, in this order. Others are of eleven or
fewer burials. . .
The Clark Cemetery on the hill overlooking the town is halt in tne
borough and half in the township. The borough-township boundary
' crossing diagonally' from its southeast corner to its northwest corner,
creates an invisible and generally unknown division of this plot into two
triangular sections, one in each political subdivision. According to the
best authority the land was donated by the Clark family at the time of
the death of William Clark in 1851. His wife, Sarah (Hays) Clark, died
two years later. For many years afterward all the lots were properly
cared for. However, its condition is immensely different today. Some of
the lots axe well cared for, while others are totally neglected. It has
been widely suggested that the organization of an association would
solve the problem. Perhaps these words may spur someone into action.
Michael Quigley (1778-1858), who is frequently mentioned in this story,
and his wife, Mary (Clark) Quigley (1792-1864) are buried here. The
greatest number of marked graves is shared by the Linn and Mann
families with fourteen each. Then come the names McCloskey, Mapes,
Rupert, Clark, Cottle, Heverly, and Lindsey, with eight or more of
Old newspaper accounts reveal that some time prior to 1920 an as-
sociation had been formed to assure continued maintenance of the
Clark Cemetery. During that year the following were serving as officers
of the association: Charles E. "Dix" Bullock, the blacksmith; Joseph
Shuttleworth, whose wife, Dora, was a niece of Mr. Bullock; Frank
Mann, the son of Harvey and Clara (McCloskey) Mann, and the hus-
band of Anna (Dickey) Mann; W. Quigley Clark, whose wife, Emma,
was a daughter of James and Catharine (Rose) Gardner; Charles
Lindsey, the son of Hezekiah and Mary (Bullock) Lindsey; and George
Rupert, the son of Barnard and Elizabeth (Hannon) Rupert, and the
husband of Ella (McCarthy) Rupert. It is currently reported that the
mishandling of finances within the organization caused its disband-
ment several years later.
In late 1977, at the request of the rfuthors of this story, our county
sponsored a government CETA. project to do clean-up work at the
David Cemetery. This followed similar action at the Clark Cemetery,
which had been requested by borough officials. The latter cemetery, it
should be repeated, is half in the borough and half in the township.
Brush cutting, as was performed at both places, is only a temporary
improvement at best. For the long term both cemeteries need grubbing,
leveling, sowing of grass seed and regular care.
A very large number of Beech Creek area people are buried at the
Blanchard Baptist Cemetery and the Blanchard Church of Christ
Cemetery. This is mainly because the membership of these two
churches has always included many of our residents. It should be
pointed out that the burials at the small dilapidated Nestlerode
Cemetery in Liberty Township represent ancestors of a wide percent-
age of our Beech Creek area residents.
Early schools were of the one-room type, generally placed in locations
convenient to the greatest number of pupils. The building was usually
erected in the corner of a farmer's field, on a plot that had been donated
or sold cheaply. If a deed was actually prepared it was seldom recorded,
and was usually lost or misplaced over the years. This arrangement
gave the particular farmer a number of advantages. His own children
would have only a short distance to walk to school; he could board the
teacher and the teacher could tutor his children. In addition, the school
was given the name of the farmer, which provided some prestige, and, if
ever closed, there was the possibility of the land, including the
building, reverting to his ownership.
The first school in the township was located just east of town. It was
erected in 1810 on Fearon property and, in all likelihood, was called the
Fear on school. It was this school where Buckham "Buck" Claflin
taught for several years. He is best remembered as the father of Vic-
toria (Claflin) Woodhull-Martin, a one-time candidate for president of
the United States on the Women's Rights ticket. The second school was
built about the year 1820 along Beech Creek stream, about one mile
above the present borough limits. The third school, built about 1840,
east of town on land of Robert Fearon, replaced the first school. The
fourth school was built just above Beech Creek, and, in all probability
replaced the second school. In 1882 Beech Creek Township had seven
rural schools. They were: (1) Haagen, located on the main highway east
of town; (2) Masden, on the Masden Hollow road, which leads from the
same highway at a point farther east; (3) Bitner, farther north at the
foot of the mountain; (4) Hubbard, on the road then leading mainly to
Marsh Creek, now to Monument and Orviston; (5) Quay, on the hill
directly north of Maidsville; (6) Sugar Run, on the Sugar Run road
about a mile from town; and (7) Mountain, along the Bald Eagle Valley
Railroad, on the mountain road leading to Mill Hall.
The first school within the limits of what is now Beech Creek borough
was built in 1856 on Main Street on land purchased from Austin
Leonard. In 1867 a two-story, four-room school was erected on the
northwest corner of Harrison and Fairview Streets. This school was
replaced in 1904 by the large brick structure on Vesper Street and a
two-year high school course was inaugurated, with the first graduates
receiving their diplomas in 1909. The high school had been designed to
serve students from both the borough and the township. In 1914 a
three-year course was adopted, resulting in no graduations that year.
As the years went by more and more local graduates enrolled
elsewhere, at their own expense for transportation or board, in order to
gain a four-year diploma. Most attended Lock Haven High School,
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BEECH CREEK PRIMARY GRADES .
ELIZABETH RISHEL, TEACHER
Joseph Smith, Mary Kunes, unidentified, unidentified, David Hess, un-
identified, Bernice Stull, Samuel Waite, Robert Bitner, Ellen Bitner,
Sara Lingle, Frances Hunter, Sylvia Sykes, Lorena Smith, Elizabeth
Miller, Margaret Rohrbaugh, Stella Confer, unidentified, Florence
Greninger, Sheldon Bitner, Perry Mann, William Bitner.
Violet Bowers, Sue Bitner, unidentified, Anna Mae Hunter, Dorothy
Clark, Sarabelle Holter, Raymond Shope, Harold Greninger, Robert
George Miller, Clifford Stull, Mildred Waite, Edward Waite, Arthur
Masden, Floyd Scott, Blair Bitner.
where two additional years of study were required in spite of each hav-
ing the minimum graduation credits after just one year. Those going
elsewhere were graduated after one additional year. At the same time
graduates of two-year high schools in the area were graduated at Lock
Haven after a total of just four years. In 1930 our school board, realizing
the unfairness involved, awarded diplomas to our potential 1931
graduates along with the 1930 class and reduced our high school to a
two-year course. Following the graduation of the class of 1946 our high
school was closed. Several years later, with the borough and township
as part of the Bald Eagle-Nittany jointure, the elementary school was
BEECH CREEK INTERMEDIATE GRADES
ROXIE BECHDEL, TEACHER
Glenn Stephens, Gladys Confer, Erba Bullock, Mary Johnson, Louene
McCullar, Jeanette Rogers, Wanda Campman, Audrey Stall, Blaine
Robb, Kathryn Rohrbaugh, Evelyn Confer.
Chester Stevens, Lewis Miller, Irene Sanders, Bessie Bitner, Clarinda
Smith, Edward Bitner, Harry Lingle, Fred Johnson, Max Winslow, Anna
Hess, Mildred Myers, Martha Myers.
Floyd Holter, Berwyn Miller, Harry Wolfe, Caroline Bowes (a visitor),
Othella Lytle, Bessie Strunk, Dorothy Smith, Elinor Clark, Ruth Shope.
Robert Hunter, Joseph DeHaas, Harry Bechdel, Richard Mann, Laura
Strawcutter, Elva Wilson, Priscilla Winslow, Elwood Rohrbaugh, Helen
John Farwell, Arthur Cox, William Winslow, Kathryn Bitner, Elizabeth
Reed, Fred Brungard, Brook Linn, Eva Bullock.
reduced from eight grades to six. Consolidation of borough and
township elementary grades required additional space. At that time a
modem annex was attached to the rear of the old brick building, which
is still in apparent good condition.
In the early 1860's Pulaski F. Hyatt, who represented the seventh
generation of the Hyatt family in America, taught four terms at the
Bitner School and boarded with the Abraham Bitner family. He later
received degrees in pharmacy, dentistry and medicine. On June 8, 1893
President Grover Cleveland appointed Dr. Hyatt to be U. S. diplomat
to Cuba, a position he held with distinction throughout the insurrection
that followed. Dr. Hyatt, according to authorities, was a direct descen-
dant of Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski of Revolutionary War fame. In all
likelihood he was a close relative, possibly a brother, of Rev. L. B.
BEECH CREEK GRAMMAR GRADES
CHARLES MAPES, TEACHER
Wanda Campman, Catharine Lewis, Berwyn Miller, Fred Brungard,
Harry Lingle, Harry Wolfe, Joseph DeHaas, Bessie Bitner, Clarinda
Smith, Louene McCullar, Glenn Stephens.
Max Winslow, Glenn Swartz, Fred Johnson, Esta Miller, Priscilla
Winslow, Floyd Holter, Bessie Strunk, Richard Mann, Kathryn Rohr-
baugh, Evelyn Confer.
Audrey Stull, Irene Sanders, Robert Mann, Arthur Cox, Elizabeth Reed,
Kathryn Bitner, Abbie Lewis, Martha Myers, Eva Bullock.
Hyatt, who preached at the Blanchard Church of Christ in the 1860s.
In previous writings the authors of this history have mentioned the
Pennsylvania school law, passed on April 4, 1809, which required each
assessor to annually list "all children between the ages of 5 and 12,
whose parents are unable to pay for their schooling." Their tuition fee,
usually amounting to about three cents per day, plus the cost of books,
paper, etc., were bome by the taxpayers. It is written that each such
child was conspicuously identified by the wealthier students, a condi-
tion that sometimes put the parents, as well as the children in a
humiliating position. Many poor parents, therefore, preferred to raise
their children uneducated. The 1809 school act, declared by some to
contain more philanthropy than wisdom, was replaced in 1834 and 1835
by legislation to provide free education for all, with no distinction
between rich and poor. Controversial as it may have been, it
nevertheless, seems certain that the act of 1809 provided many poor
children with a basic training that led to notable careers. Legislation
requiring school districts to provide pupils the free use of textbooks was
not forthcoming until near the end of the century.
In addition to Buckham Claflin and Rev. N. J. Mitchell; the follow-
ing have been identified as early schoolmasters: John Philip DeHaas
(III), who had a long tenure and Joseph Ranken, Abraham Row,
Thomas Price and Alexander Fargus, about whom very little more is
A compilation has been made of the graduating classes of Beech
Creek High School from the very first to the last. It is observed that of
the unusually large class of 1925 only one member now lives in our area.
In contrast, two members, or one half of the class of 1918 still reside
here. Of the twenty-seven 1930 graduates not one now lives within our
area. The lists of graduates for 1932, 1934 and 1942 cannot be verified as
complete and correct. Official school records have been lost or
destroyed. Of the fourteen members of these three small classes who
were personally approached, not one could positively identify all his
fellow graduates. It is added, rather sadly, that few, if any, were suf-
ficiently interested to aid in the research. It is only fitting to pay
tribute, at this point, to Florence McGhee, daughter of Oscar and
Jemima (Haagen) McGhee. Florence, a 1910 graduate, named, without
any hesitation, the ten members of her class.
1909 — Earle Bittner, McDowell Bullock, Bertha Linn, Harry Linn,
Stella Mobley, Helen Quigley, Mary E. Smith.
1910 — Wilda Berry, William Beschler, Russell Clark, Clarence Earon,
Maude Gangnon, Beatrice Linn, Florence McGhee, Leotta Packer, Lil-
lian Quigley, Olga Sundin.
1911 — Doyle Heverly, Nevin McCloskey, Lucy Mantle, Sylvia Miller,
Willard Snyder, Fred Wynn.
1912 — None.
1913 — Ellen Matilda Batschelet, Edna Magdalena Bittner, Margaret
Rebecca Clark, Bernard Forcey, Fannie May Johnson, Elma Mildred
Peters, David Milford Waite.
1914 — None.
1915 — Hazel Joan Heverly, Besse Isabelle Tibbins, Archie David
1916 — Hulda Batschelet, Mary Packer, Orpha Peters, Charles Swartz,
1917 — Thelma Bullock, Boyd Clark, Merrey Clark, Lois Crays, Bertha
Heverly, Joseph Kunes, George Trexler.
1918 — Clyde Clark, Dorothy Linn, Celia Packer, Myra Peters.
1919 — Frances Berry, Rella Biddle, Victor Peters, Mary F. Smith,
1920 — LaRue Burd, Margaret Farwell, Sarah McGhee, Helen Miller,
1921 — Donald Clark, Rachel Forcey, Merle Johnson, Howard T. Linn.
1922 — Delos Glossner, Mae Masden, Kenneth C. Miller, Esther
Peters, Laura Peters, Grace Swartz.
1923 — Blaine W. Kunes, Howard F. Linn.
1924 — Nellie Bickel, Louise Clark, Berton Confer, Jesse Courter,
Leonard Heimer, Robert Lindsey, Madelyn Miller, Naomi Peters,
1925 — Catherine Confer, William Cook, Clyde DeHaas, Helen
Dunlap, Roy Dunlap, Rowena Glossner, Mary Hess, Robert Holter,
Robert Linn, Alton Miller, Esther Miller, Louise Miller, Alice Peters,
Harold Robb, Harriet Rohrbaugh, Ardell Smith, Dean Stephens, Lois
Stephens, Bessie Stevens, Lena Stevens, Ethel Swartz.
1926 — Hester Gunsallus, Ruth Hunter, Freda Myers, Casper Peters,
George Peters, Burnette Rohrbaugh.
1927 — Elinor Clark, Ruth Counsil, John Farwell, Anna Hess, Helen
Johnson, Helen Kunes, Brady Lingle, Kenneth B. Miller, El wood
Rohrbaugh, Donald Rupert, Ellen Shuttleworth, Pauline Shut-
tleworth, Laura Strawcutter, Glenn Williams.
1928 — Fred Brungard, Evelyn Confer, Joseph DeHaas, Fred Johnson,
Harry Lingle, Richard Mann, Martha Myers, Kathryn Rohrbaugh,
1929 — Robert Hunter, James Linn, Sarah Mapes, Berwyn Miller
1930 — Dorothy W. Berry, Beatrice Bitner, Dorothy M. Bitner, Ellen
Bitner, Sheldon Bitner, Dorothy Clark, Stella Confer, Margaret Earon
Sarabelle Holter, Anna Mae Hunter, Frances Hunter, Mary Johnson'
Minnie Leathers, Perry Mann, Arthur Masden, Dorothy Miller'
Elizabeth Miller, Ethel Miller, Malcolm Peters, Margaret Rohrbaugh'
Lorena Smith, Harold Stevenson, Olive Stevenson, Edward Waite'
Max Winslow, Robert Winslow, Lena Zanella.
1931 — Edith Bitner, Marybelle Burd,' Harold Gardner, H. Lucille
Glossner, G. David Hess, Devester Heverly, Martha Mapes, George R.
Miller, Hilda Myers, Joseph Smith, Bernice Stull, Margaret
Wadsworth, V. Abraham Zanella.
1932 — Lucinda Heverly, Dean Lingle, David McKean, Jean Mann,
Ruth Shuttleworth, Russell Smith, Sidney Tressler.
1933 — Dorothy Bitner, Robert Bitner, Evelyn Gardner, Mary Heimer
Norman Heimer, Mary Holter, Thelma Johnson, Walter Kunes'
Malcolm Lindsey, Jane Linn, Woodrow Rohrbaugh.
1934 — Devonna Bitner, Byron Bullock, Clifton Glossner, William
Gundlach, Miriam Lindsey, Louise Myers, Allen Stevenson, Lee
1935 — Dorothy Coffey, Millar Holter, Bessie Hunter, Dorothy Hunter
Pauline McCloskey, William McKean, Nora Myers, Harold Packer,
1936 — Joseph Berry, Madeline Bitner, Stanley Bitner, Warren Bitner
Harold Heverly, Leslie Hevner, Ruby Hull, Pauline Hunter, David
Mapes, Marjorie Moore, Harry Packer.
1937 — Eleanor Bechdel,- Jane Bechdel, Perry Berry, Bruce Bitner,
Louise Bitner, William Bowman, Alice Hevner, Robert Hevner'
Merwyn Johnson, Betty Kephart, Jack Kessinger, Alice Lindsey,'
Twyla Lingle, Leonard Mann, James Mapes, Blair Philips, Faye
Peters, Paul Rupert, Pauline Rupert, Violet Rupert, Phyllis' Stull,
1938 — Ross Beschler, Geraldine Bitner, Clara Glossner, Linn Heverly,
Helen Hevner, Fred Hunter, Mark Kessinger, Laura Mapes, Mary
Mapes, Daune Miller, Warren Miller, George Murray, Richard Packer,
Aldine Rupert, Josephine Stull.
1939 — Bernadine Barnard, Mae Conway, Miriam Dickey, Vivian
Fravel, Darlene Gardner, Jack Gundlach, Emily Herb, Jane Heverly,
Eugene Hunter, John Hunter, Lois Kephart, Allan Lingle, Virginia
Moore, Violet Peter, LeRoy Rupert, Jean Scantlin, Miriam Scantlin,
Rudy Shilling, Dorothy Smith.
1940 — Emma Lou Berry, Ila Jean Bitner, Joseph Bitner, Alma Glos-
sner, Beatrice Heverly, Gertrude Heverly, Miriam Hevner, Vivian
Hunter, Jean Kessinger, Carl Lindsey, LeRoy Peters, Dorothy Rupert,
Pauline Toner, Dorothy Womelsdorf.
1941 — Jeanette Barnard, Margaret Coffey, Darell Counsil, Samuel
Driver, Glenn Hevner, Edrie Holter, Robert Murray, June Myers, Rus-
sell Stull, Adam Yaggie.
1942 — Joseph Clark, Richard Dickey, Clair Glock, Gerald Holter,
Robert Kitchen, Betty Lindsey, Bertha Lingle, Bernard Miller,
Edward Scantlin, Isabelle Shilling.
1943 — Doris Bechdel, Harriet Berry, Zula Cox, LaRue Hinchliffe,
Howard McGhee, Louise Wagner, Robert Wolstencroft.
1944 — Claire Bitner, Richard Carter, Ellsworth Conway, Jr., Earl
Cox, Margaret Hevner, Bruce Holter, Doris Hunter, William Kes-
singer, William Linn, Lloyd Masden, Joanne Myers, Evelyn Scantlin,
Roy Shawley, Samuel Wolfe.
1945 — Sylvester Brungard, Melvin Dickey, Janice Heverly, Joan
Heverly, Harry Hevner, Mary Hunter, Helen Lindsey, Kathleen
Masden, Doris Miller, Donald Myers, Virginia Wagner,
1946 — Clarabelle Brungard, Elaine Holter, Dale Kleckner, June
McGhee, Laurine Myers, Vivian Walker, Walter Winslow.
Occupations and Professions
Of the fourteen men who were engaged in tailoring in our township in
the first half of the nineteenth century at least three were in our im-
mediate area. They were John and Nicholas Quigley, likely father and
son and John Omer, Jr. Orner's father, a stone mason, had settled at
the eastern end of our township some time before 1810. Tailors in the
latter half of the 1800's included Joseph Brownlee, William Thompson,
Benjamin Bierly and Warren Walz, a son of John G. Walz, the saddler,
who is mentioned elsewhere. During the early 1920's I. W. Buck moved
his tailoring shop from Blanchard to the old Berryhill building on West
Main Street, long known as the "Seven Kitchens." Mr. Buck remained
in this building until it was razed in 1923 by James Reish of the Fair-
point area. The present highway passes over the spot, at the end of
Harrison Street, where the building stood. Mr. Buck and his former
neighbor, Peg Rupert, then occupied, together, the old Nestlerode
house, directly across the creek from the opposite end of Harrison
Street. When this house burned Peg moved to the old fish house,
. farther upstream, and "I. W." left for Philadelphia to live with
It appears that very few, if any, of the owners of the Beech Creek grist
mill during its long existence were millers themselves. Actual millers in
our then broad township during the early 1800's included John Antes,
Isaac Harvey, John Packer, John Elder, Hugh Baker, Andrew Yeager,
Valentine Confer, John Harvey, and William Carson. It seems
reasonable to believe that some of these worked at our mill, yet none of
them owned it. Joseph Morrison DeHaas, son of John P. and Hannah
(Morrison) DeHaas was the local miller from before 1850 to some time
after 1860. Mr. DeHaas, his first wife, Sarah (Heckman) DeHaas and
their family lived very close to the mill at that time. Mr. DeHaas later
performed milling chores in various parts of Centre County before
finally settling in Liberty Township. It appears that his replacement at
the local mill was William Peirson, who also lived close to the mill.
Later local millers included: William B. Foresman, a son of John
Foresman and his second wife, Maria; William Strunk, a son of Ben-
jamin and Mary (Pecht) Strunk; Hayes Strunk, son of William, above,
and his wife, Anna (Grove) Strunk; and I. J. Rohrbaugh, a distant
relative of the earlier Rorabaughs of our area, but with a slightly dif-
ferent spelling of the name.
Tanners were not plentiful in our area. In the early 1800's we had
Michael Kirk. During the 1830's, and later, Asher Packer, son of Moses
and Hannah (Packer) Packer, was employed at this trade. In the 1860's
Miller L. McKean, a tanner in the Zion area, moved to Beech Creek
and established a large tannery. More is said of Mr. McKean in the in-
dustrial section of this history.
Thomas Armstrong Smith, the son of Revolutionary War soldier, Gi-
deon Draper Smith and his wife Sarah (Frederick) Smith, maintained
a saddlery shop in our township from about 1820 to about 1840. Many
area residents descend from Thomas Armstrong Smith Rogers,
namesake of Mr. Smith. Other early saddlers were Henry Crook, John
Allen and David Clark, all of whom were active in the 1830's. Some
time between 1860 and 1870 John Walz, who had followed the trade in
Howard during the 1850's and 1860's, opened a saddlery shop in Beech
Creek. A more recent saddler was Frank Berry, who is mentioned in
Shoemaking was very popular in the early days, and most of the
shoemakers were real craftsmen, being able to make a complete pair of
shoes according to the style and size desired. We read in historical
books that Jeremiah Rockwell opened a shoe shop in 1826, and was fol-
lowed three years later by Simon Lingle, brother of John Lingle, the
weaver. Neither continued at the trade very long, but it is interesting to
note that shortly thereafter each took a Liberty Township girl for his
bride. Jeremiah married Susanna Bitner, daughter of John and Susan-
na (Nestlerode) Bitner, while Simon married Susanna Kunes, daughter
of Daniel and Hannah (Rorabaugh) Kunes. Despite historical mention,
neither, as has already been pointed out, contributed much to local
shoemaking. Furthermore neither contributed much to later develop-
ment. After several years Mr, Rockwell established himself elsewhere,
finally settling, it has been reported, in the Towanda area, from which
he had come. Mr. Lingle, who had taken his younger brother, Joseph,
into the business, dissolved the partnership on November 1, 1836 and
moved to Blanchard, where he was instrumental in the development of
that town. Younger brother, Joseph, became Centre County sheriff
fourteen years later and moved to Bellefonte, where he spent the rest of
Before the time of Rockwell and Lingle our broad township, exclusive
of the Nittany Valley portion, had at least twenty-six shoemakers, in-
cluding James David, one of the sons of Revolutionary War veteran
Daniel David. Of these twenty-six, seven continued at the trade for
only one year; three lasted two years, and three lasted three years. Two
reasons have been advanced for this high turnover: (1) many entrants
soon realized that they would never become true successes, and (2)
some were floaters always looking for a greener area.
Shoemakers who entered the trade between 1826 and 1850 presented
a similar situation, but with a somewhat better record of endurance.
During this period we find John T. Packer, D. William Counsil, a son of
John and Rhoda (David) Counsil, William Masden, son of Justus and
Elizabeth Masden and David Lingle, brother of Joseph and Simon.
After 1850 conditions within this trade were much more stable. At
about that time William Trexler became a very permanent shoemaker
in Beech Creek. Mr. Trexler and his wife, Elmira (White) Trexler, had
a son, Fleming, who also learned the trade. After dabbling in several
other fields of work, Fleming, some time before his father's death,
returned in earnest to the shoemaking trade. Thus the Trexler shoe
repair shop was continued for a period approaching seventy years.
Henry H. Berry, son of William and Anne (Omer) Berry, spent many
years at shoemaking before he began devoting the majority of his time
to civic pursuits and elective offices including tax collector. Mr. Berry
is remembered as being a real tax collector as opposed to the "tax
receivers" of today. George Wensel, who was born in Germany, learned
the shoemaking trade under Mr. Counsil. He maintained a shop for
many years in the upper Water Street home that was later remodeled
extensively by Frank Hunter, son of James and Clara (Nestlerode)
Hunter. John McGhee and his brother-in-law, Nelson Caldwell,
operated shoe shops for a period of about twenty years. During the
1860's Samuel Furl embarked on a shoemaking career of apparent short
William Franklin Berry, who had learned shoemaking under his
father, Henry, switched his leather working talents to harness making
when he established a saddlery shop during the 1880's. In 1912 Mr. Ber-
ry sold his Main Street property to Conrad Glock and moved to his new
brick building farther up the street. His new building, designed for both
a residence and a shop, is now occupied by the family of Merwin
Johnson, a grand nephew of Mr. Berry. Mr. Glock, who lived with his
uncle, Casper Peter after his arrival from Germany, later married Fan-
nie Miller, a daughter of John and Nancy (Nestlerode) Miller. Also
during the 1880's William L. McKean discontinued his planing mill
business to work at the shoemaking trade. A later switch took Mr.
McKean into barbering. -
It was during the career of the younger Mr. Trexler that factory-
made shoes replaced the old hand-made variety. It was also during his
career that most of the real shoemakers became just cobblers or shoe
repairmen. However, in the 1930's our area gained the services of a
craftsman, who, given the task, was capable of constructing a shoe from
the sole up. He was Richard Fako'ury, now retired and living in Lock
Haven. On the last day of December in 1976 the old Trexler shop, a
solidly constructed building, was moved east over the old New York
Central Railroad bed from its original location on Grant Street to a
point in Beech Creek Township to await further planning regarding its
The number of persons employed as coopers (barrel makers) grew
gradually during the period from 1800 to 1820. However, during the
next decade there was a very noticeable increase, especially when com-
pared with the increase in the population or the increase in the number
of distillers. It seems logical that the apple trees planted by early set-
tlers were now bearing large quantities of fruit, which produced cider
for apple butter making and for vinegar to be used for pickling and
preserving purposes. The cooper with the longest record was Joseph
Morrison, who lived in our general area. The Clarks, namely William,
Samuel, Benjamin, John, Stephen and William, Jr., more or less
monopolized the trade. A gradual, but definite, decline of this industry
was evident after 1830. After 1850 we find only the names of Daniel
Rush and John Miller, in addition to Samuel Clark, who was still ac-
It does not require close inspection of the older houses in our area to
recognize the skill, handicraft and diligence that went into their con-
struction. Apparently there was a lot of pride in a job well done.
However, the one trade that is most difficult to accurately, fairly and
completely cover is that of carpenter. Some carpenters, it appears,
worked only part time at the trade and were officially listed as farmers,
or otherwise. The 1850 census, first to show occupations, listed the fol-
lowing full-time carpenters: Vickers Amos Packer and his brother,
Hayes Coates Packer, the cabinet maker who is mentioned elsewhere;
James Linn, son of Andrew and Martha (Polk) Linn; George Q. Wil-
liams, son of George and Susan (Quiggle) Williams; John Wilson and
By 1860 James McGhee, son of John and Elizabeth (Linn) McGhee
and husband of Fannie Gunsallus, the daughter of James and Rachel
(or Sarah) Masden Gunsallus, had become a journeyman carpenter.
Note: After the death of Rachel (Masden) Gunsallus, widower James
Gunsallus married Rachel's younger sister, Sarah. James McGhee's
son Oscar also learned the construction trade before he began fanning
on the old Saul Haagen farm, where his wife, Jemima had been raised.
Other carpenters of that period were: John Bickel, whose first wife,
Sarah, died in 1863; Thomas Martin, a leader in the construction of the
present Church of Christ building at Blanchard; Henry Hanley and
McCormick Graham, who finished his career at the railroad shops in
Renovo, at which place his wife Mary Ann (Bollinger) Graham died in
1893. Mary Ann was a daughter of Christian and Eliza (Kirk) Bol-
linger. In his latter years Mr. Graham did part-time ministerial work.
Later nineteenth century carpenters included Roland Gunsallus,
Joseph Bowes and John Kunes, each of whom had come from Centre
County, and their backgrounds are well known to the authors.
Strange as it may seem, since 1900 Beech Creek has had very few
carpenters who learned the trade at an early age and remained in it for
a full and complete lifetime occupation. An exception was Horace Hub-
bard, son of Joseph Hubbard and his first wife, Harriet (Weaver) Hub-
bard. Another was Oscar Kunes, son of John Kunes, listed above, and
husband of Alma (Swartz) Kunes, the daughter of Henry and Mary
(Confer) Swartz. B. Frank Bowers, an all-round handyman divided
most of his time between carpentry and painting, later adding electric
wiring to his skills. Much of the area carpentry during this period was
done by tradesmen living nearby in Liberty Township. Two craftsmen
who fit into this latter category were Charles White, son of John and
Martha (Confer) White, and Charles's brother-in-law, Marion Swartz,
a son of Joseph and Sarah (Swartz) Swartz. Another was William
Bitner, son of John W. and Elizabeth (Berry) Bitner. William's first
wife was Martha Winslow, a daughter of Joseph and Laura (Johnston)
Winslow; the second was Margaret (Bowes) DeLong, daughter of
George and Sarah (Hoover) Bowes, and widow of Jacob DeLong, son of
Jonathan and Frances (Bumgardner) DeLong.
"mS*-— » show that John Baler •^**-j»*2
tt • a+,„a»+ in -\mP> True enough, John was a oeecn oreeK
SLSST bu' t wa oniy^; of maU and according to official
blacksmitn m» o j Furthermore, Mr. Baker was
whom worked at the trade for at least a short period It seems
tablet believe that at least several * *«™^^ ™
soecific area, possibly right in town.and with longer records than dm.
Baker's eight years. To sight some examples, 1^^™™™*
bltksmi hhig from 1801 to 1815; James Clark and Wnham Wto,
blacksmitmng ir ^ ^ lgU; John Wllson>
Z o rti-This /ea'th around ^w^*
Catharine was overseer of his estate; James Caldwell, from 181 *
ahn.it 1830- and William Courter from 1831 to 1836. Mucn Dewer
records - i established by David Rorabaugh and William Smith, both
haXg set up shops in 1820. Mr. Rorabaugh, a grandson of early
S Township settlers, Simon and Eve (Reed) Rorabaugh, con-
tinental his d'eath just before 1850. ^^ZJiStS^.
n«vid were working at the trade around the middle ot the century.
Ano ner successful blacksmith of that period was Samuel Knepley
whote career sp ann ed the period from the 1820's into the 1850's. During
STISTlSE Grove, a Revolutionary War veteran was doing
blacksmithing in some part of our township.
Other early blacksmiths, most of whom are definitely known to hm
been in our specific area, were Jacob Runner, who later moved to
liberty Township, James McCloskey, William Hays, James Hays
Washington Heverly, James Heverly and Joshua Roan ^<> mgrod
Ann DeHaas, daughter of Lt. John P. and Ann ^ippm) DeHaas
Around 1839 came David Miller, a brother of Fulton and Carpenter
Miller, the plasterers. David, who had a long and busy career was he
fa her of Carpenter X. Miller and the grandfather of George B. Miller
the telegraphoperator. Postmaster Clair Johnson was a great grandson
of Futm Milk, Beginning in the 1840's Washington Hever^ began
concentrating his metal-working ability exclusively to the manufacture
of « His descendants include Mildred (Heverly) Scanthn, Louise
?Bitaer) Allen, Harold Heverly and Clifford Heverly of Lock Haven.
During his long career David Miller saw many blacksmiths come and
go Induded were John Gilmore, Lucius Carpenter, **£»^£
John Dalton. However, there were several, whose records may have
evS surpassed Mr. Miller's. Lemuel Shearer began pounding the anvil
Tefore W50 and continued to do so until around the time of his death in
An early horseless carriage.
This house, built around 1792 by Lieutenant James Hays (1740-1817) on
land granted for war service, was later converted for the storage of hay.
It was located just off the road leading to Bald Eagle Creek. The 1912 pic-
ture shows Caroline Cook (1856-1927), great granddaughter of Mr. Hays.
1901. Shortly after 1850 William Bullock and his wife Margaretta
(McKinley) Bullock came here from the Milesburg area. William set
up a blacksmithing dynasty that was to last for almost a hundred years.
This was possible because William's sons, Willis Park Bullock and
Charles Ellsworth "Dix" Bullock continued at this trade until they
reached rather advanced ages. During the major portion of their careers
Dix limited his work almost .exclusively to farriery while Willis did
general metal working and little or no horseshoeing. Dix, once
described as of muscle and bone, maintained this physique throughout
his long career. In fact Dix's life and labors paralleled very closely those
of Henry Longfellow's "Village Blacksmith." Only one thing was
noticeably missing — the "Spreading Chestnut Tree."
Blacksmiths who set up shop during the decade of the 1860's were
John Curns, David Martin, Irvin Hanscomb and Irvine Keyes, another
son of Stillman and Eliza, whose wife was Frances Clark, daughter of
James and Rebecca. The 1870's brought John T. Hunter, a Civil War
veteran and ancestor of our area Hunters, who had come from Mill Hall
and later moved to Liberty Township. Another blacksmith with a long
record of quality work was Edward Martz, whose shop was directly
across the highway from the Haagen School. Mr. Martz taught the
trade to his son, Charles, a current resident of the township, who fol-
lowed metal working all his life, with his first outside occupation being
with the Beech Creek Truck and Auto Company. The last blacksmith
shop in the township was operated by Christ Heaton at the same loca-
tion where William Bullock closed his career. Leslie Heaton, brother of
Christ, had operated a shop in the borough in a building erected by
William Smith, son of J. Edwin and Ida (Aley) Smith, for automobile
It is hard to conceive the popularity of the weaving trade in the early
days. Although some remained at the occupation for only several years,
a total of twenty-two practiced their skills between 1803 and 1839. The
weaver with the longest period of activity was Abraham Harleman, who
lived at the opposite end of our township in the Fairpoint area. The sec-
ond best record was established by Benjamin Johnson. It is difficult to
pinpoint the exact location of twenty additional weavers. However,
there is one exception. He was John Lingle, son of Paul and Mary
(Spohn) Lingle, who was occupied at the trade in Beech Creek from
1824 to 1828, during which time he married a local girl, Sarah Miller,
and later moved to Ohio.
Our earliest cabinet makers were Hayes Coates Packer, a son of
Moses and Hannah (Packer) Packer, and also James Packer, likely a
close relative of Coates. The wife of Coates Packer was Ann Eliza Wil-
liams, daughter of George and Susan (Quiggle) Williams. Shortly
before 1850 Vincent S. Smith, who had earlier come from New York
state and married Mary Jane Lingle, only daughter of Simon Lingle,
opened a cabinet making shop. Mr. Smith, whose cabinet work includ-
ed the making of coffins, served two terms as local postmaster. In the
early 1800's Isaac Chambers and Joseph Burd directed their wood
working talents toward the making of chairs. Harold Packer of Beech
Creek is a great, great grandson of Coates Packer, and Jean (Gardner)
Laubscher of Lock Haven is a great granddaughter of Vincent Smith.
The coming of canal boat transportation, which started in the 1830's,
brought a number of new occupations to the area. Boat captains in-
cluded the three Lingle brothers, whose careers were sketched in the
October, 1971 publication of the Centre County Historical Society.
After the closing of the canal, George, the youngest of the three
brothers took up farming at Beech Creek, where he was born in 1823.
Incidentally he lived until 1923. His brother James began farming in
Boggs Township, Centre County, and Alexander went west to continue
canal boat work. Area boatmen with shorter careers included: John
Winslow, son of Charles and Margaret Winslow, natives of Ireland;
John Cook, who later served in the Civil War and married Elizabeth
Winslow, sister of John; Thomas Winslow, a brother of John and father
of two young canal boatmen of later times — Thomas and Charles;
Joseph Quay, who after his marriage to Jemima Miller, daughter of
Samuel and Eliza Miller, took up full-time farming; Henry Myers and
Joseph Lucas, the latter having come from Centre County; and Robert
Grater, who later moved to Liberty Township.
Before the days of the canal heavy cargo was floated .downstream
from this area on arks. William Strickland, a former ark builder and
repairman of grounded arks for the Howardville Furnace Company at
the present town of Howard, became a local canal boat builder later in
Justices of the Peace
Although justice of the peace was just a part-time or side-line oc-
cupation, it, nevertheless was one of importance. In early years a fairly
large percentage of marriages was performed by these officers. Follow-
ing is the best available account of our justices over the years: Hugh
McFadden, William Quay, John McGhee, George W. Sterling, James
Clark, James David, James R. Quay, Joseph W. Merrey, John Ligget,
George C. McGhee, Jesse S. Hall, Clarence R. Rossman, George F.
Hess, Sheldon C. McKean, Pauline (Hawkins) Gundlach, Twyla
(Lingle) Yearick and Albert Hamm, in this general order. Early records
reveal that in the 1830's Michael Quigley served as justice of the peace
in addition to his postmaster duties. His handwritten certificate for the
marriage of Asher Packer, son of Moses and Hannah (Packer) Packer,
to Nancy Hall, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth (Johnson) Hall, on
May 26, 1836, is being preserved by Jessie (Packer) Vaught of Lock
Haven, a granddaughter.
The excellent work of our early stone masons is still evident in our
older homes and especially in the lock of the old canal in Liberty
Township between Bald Eagle Creek and the railroad tracks. This, the
Beech Creek lock, was built about 1833, and still stands in a very firm
condition. Our area did not have as many stone masons as neighboring
Liberty Township. One of our first was John Bitner, son of John and
Susanna (Nestlerode) Bitner, who married Susan Orner, a daughter of
John and Elizabeth (Paul) Orner. Others were John and Jesse
Harleman and William Wilson.
There is no evidence of any pottery plants in our immediate area.
However, during the 1840's Philip Berry was making pottery at the
eastern end of our then large township of Bald Eagle. Some years later
Mr. Berry and his wife, Leah, moved to Mt. Eagle, where he joined
John Bitner Leathers in his pottery manufacturing enterprise. Leathers
pottery, much of which reached the Beech Creek area, has become a
collectors' item. A booklet on Pennsylvania pottery, published by the
Union County Historical Society in cooperation with Bucknell Univer-
sity, mentions Leathers pottery and credits the authors of this story
with providing information.
Because of the less refined methods of very early construction, it is
not surprising to find that no plasterers were located in the township
before 1836, at which time Isaac Ditsworth and Thomas Harleman, a
son of Abraham and Nancy Harleman, began the trade. Harleman Hol-
low in Beech Creek Township was named for these Harleman families.
By 1838 George Fulton Miller, son of James Miller, had become a
qualified plasterer. Mr. Miller, who lived in the house diagonally across
from the Methodist Church, later returned to the farm and did plaster-
ing only during his spare time. Carpenter Miller, a brother of Fulton,
also did some plastering.
The earliest wagon maker on record was Richard Berryhill, son of
Andrew and Mary (Homier) Berryhill, who came from Jersey Shore
and married a local girl, Mary Snyder, whose parents William and
Margaret (Marshall) Snyder, later moved from Beech Creek to
Blanchard. Mr. Berryhill, owner of the lengthy apartment house on
Main Street, known as the Seven Kitchens, doubled as an innkeeper
during a portion of his career. A later wagon maker was William
Rupert, who was born in Liberty Township to Barnard and Elizabeth
(Hannon) Rupert, later returning to that township following a brief
residence at the old Moon farm beyond the Beech Creek reservoir in
Marion Township. Candace, wife of William, was a daughter of Rev.
William A. Ridge, who had served as pastor of both Blanchard
During the 1870's Charles Keyes, son of Stillman and Eliza (Strong)
Keyes, established himself as a tinner. Mr. Keyes was followed by Wil-
liam R. Linn, who worked at this trade until about the time of his death
in 1924. Mr. Linn, a son of James and Mary (Morrison) Linn,
sometimes, for no apparent good reason, spelled his name "Lynn."
Our first commercial butcher was Daniel "Dance" Kunes, a son of
Daniel and Mary (Bechdel) Kunes of Blanchard. Daniel came to Beech
Creek Township before 1850, married Mary Mapes, a daughter of
James Mapes, in 1869, and established his business at about the same
time. The next meat market, started by James Bitner, a son of Chris-
tian and Isabella (Sterling) Bitner, was located in a portion of the house
now occupied by Russell and Gladys McKinney. In 1905 Mr. Bitner
sold his business to Sumner Riddle of Howard, and moved to the
Thomas Furl property in the township. Later Mr. Bitner opened
another butcher shop in that part of the Ligget Triangle on Locust
Street that later served as the ice cream parlor of Nellie Smith,
daughter of Thomas and Martha Elizabeth (Nestlerode) Smith. Other
butchers of that period included George Whamond, son of David and
Christena Whamond, and Cline Q. Confer, a son of James and
Catharine (Trexler) Confer. A little later a meat market was opened on
Vesper Street by Torrence Hunter, a son of John and Frederica
(Smith) Hunter. Mr. Hunter was succeeded by his nephew, John H.
Hunter, son of James and Clara (Nestlerode) Hunter, who conducted
the business for many, many years. When Mr. Hunter closed his
business it marked the end of an era where both the butchering and
marketing were done by the same individual.
The first full-time barber was James Allison Williams, son of Wil-
liam Williams and his second wife, Ann (Lingle) Williams. Barber Al,
as he was familiarly known to distinguish him from his cousin, C. Al-
lison "Al" Williams, the Blanchard merchant, began his career in the
1860's."With no full-time professional barbers prior to that time there
may have been some excuse for an occasional shaggy-appearing male.
Barber Al's shop on Main Street was destroyed in the big fire of 1903,
after which he located on the second floor of the building at the point of
the Ligget Triangle. He died in 1906 at the home of another cousin,
Henry Williams. Our second barber was William L. McKean, who, as
noted elsewhere, first established a planing mill, and later a shoemaker
shop. Mr. McKean's three sons, William, Sheldon and Lyle, learned
the barber trade and worked locally at various times. In 1914 H.
Edward Cox converted the former Ambrose B. Brady store building
into a barber shop. Mr. Cox was followed at the trade by his son,
Arthur, who has continued the business to this day. Around 1918
William Bolopue, a former Blanchard barber, opened shop in a small
building next to the Beech Creek Hotel. Mr. Bolopue soon afterward
closed his business and the building was skidded to the Corman farm
in Beech Creek Township. In more modern times Walter E. Miller, son
of J. Orrie and Virginia (Barger) Miller, conducted barber shops at
several different locations in town.
Farming, an occupation that was learned from the time of childhood
by most of our early settlers, is treated in the chapter of this story that
deals with industry.
The occupation of telegraph operator came and went with the rise
and decline of rail service in our valley. During the 1909-1910 period
thirteen operators lived in Beech Creek. They were: H. Clair Berry, son
of W. Frank and Jennie (DeLong) Berry; D. Roy Bitner, son of William
N. Bitner and his second wife, Mary Caroline (Lucas) Bitner, who had
been the widow of Franklin Pierce Bitner; Michael Flynn, who married
Cora, a daughter of Charles and Annie (McGhee) Heverly; Eugene
Johnson, son of Joseph and Edith (Berry) Johnson; Simeon Maines,
whose tragic death is mentioned elsewhere; Charles W., Irvin and
Morrissey Miller, sons of Michael and Sara Clementine (Aikey) Miller;
Harry W. Packer, son of George and Maria (Burd) Packer; Fred and
Harry Salisbury, sons of Henry and Deborah (Whitefield) Salisbury;
Ellis Sundin, who had been transferred here; and Dean Swartz, a son of
Joseph Swartz and his wife Alice (Stager) Swartz, who had been the
widow of Joseph's older brother, Nathan J. M. Swartz. Others who
entered the occupation at about that time or later were George and Ray
Bullock, sons of Willis and Annie (Lingle) Bullock; George B. Miller, a
grandson of David Miller, the blacksmith; and Stewart Winslow, son of
Edward and Annie (Counsil) Winslow.
Miscellaneous and Diverse Occupations
There is evidence that in the 1820's several windmill makers were
located in our township. An early cigar maker was Cline Quigley, a son
of Cline and Agnes (Thompson) Quigley. Later came George C.
McGhee, son of John and Julian (Harleman) McGhee. As a boy, the
male coauthor of this story sampled one of the McGhee cigars, which
had been stored for many years in the attic of the old McGhee home
now occupied by Dorothy Hunter. During the late 1800's Frank Stahl
and his two brothers made cigars in the building that now houses the
Linger Inn. During the 1870's, Joseph Linn, son of James and Mary
(Morrison) Linn, fashioned axe handles in his shop in the western part
of town. Dorothy (Linn) Heverly is a granddaughter of Joseph. -
Early sawyers included John Romig, who had come to the area with
the William Snyder family and later married Jane Swartz, daughter of
Michael and Frances (Bartholomew) Swartz. Another was William
Waite, son of Samuel and Polly (Oswalt) Waite. The Waites and
Romigs lived near each other on the road leading to Maidsville. For
many years Mary and Sarah Romig, daughters of John and Jane, were
self-employed milliners. Lee Waite is a grandson of William Waite.
Millwrights were likely employed on somewhat of a free-lance basis set-
ting up and repairing machinery in sawmills, grist mills, tanneries, dis-
tilleries, etc. Those who followed this trade included Peter C. Gould,
who had married Mary Ann Wagner, daughter of George and Susan
(Rorabaugh) Wagner. Another was James Quay, who later married
Sarah McClure and devoted his full time to farming. George Ruple,
who came from New Jersey and married Zylphia (Winslow) Miller,
widow of the first Michael Miller, was also a qualified millwright.
Michael Miller was the father of Michael Miller (1856-1946) and four
other children including Eli, killed in the Civil War and Catharine, who
married James Quigley. George and Zylphia had two sons, George Mc-
Clellan "Clell" Ruple and William Ruple.
In earlier days a number of our men were employed as woodsmen,
working mostly out of lumber camps, some located at distant points.
Although not a highly skilled occupation the woodsman, nevertheless,
had to be a rugged individual. As coal and clay mines opened in this
area and west of us a gradually greater number of miners was needed.
In 1909, for example, a year in which Wynn's clay mine was in full
operation, a total of twenty-one men living in the borough were
employed as miners. Without doubt our township was contributing a
number of men to the mining industry at that same time.
Postmasters and Rural Mail Carriers
Postmasters from the time of the first post office in 1828 to the year
1885 were: Michael Quigley, whose ancestor, then spelled Quickie,
reached America in October, 1736; Dr. David W. Roberts, trie first of
four consecutive postmasters to be employed during the years 1839 to
1846, when Beech Creek patrons were served by the Eagleville (now
Blanchard) post office; Joseph Bumgardner, a long-time justice of the
peace in Liberty Township; John Brickley, an early storekeeper in
Blanchard; John T. Clark, who engaged in blacksmithing for more than
forty years; Austin Leonard, an early fanning mill maker in Beech
Creek; George Furst, the merchant; John Brownlee, whose residence in
our area was of apparent short duration; Cline Quigley, a merchant and
son of Michael and Mary (Clark) Quigley; Christian Bollinger, a farmer
and carpenter who lived in both Liberty and Beech Creek townships;
Vincent S. Smith, a cabinet maker, who had come from New York state
and received two separate postmaster appointments, the first being at
a time when Blanchard was served by our post office; and Charles R.
Keyes, the tinner.
Postmasters since 1885 have been: Marshall Packer, whose wife,
Mary, was from the Johnson families that had come from England; Mr.
Smith, serving his second term; Enoch H. Hastings, who had come
from Centre County; Fleming P. Trexler, whose shoemaking skills are
mentioned elsewhere; Henry C. B. Williams, son of George Q. and
Elizabeth (Bollinger) Williams; Harry Bollinger Clark, son of James
and Rebecca (Quigley) Clark; Harry H. Fearon, son of John T. and An-
nie (Johnson) Fearon; Morrissey C. Miller, former telegraph operator;
Israel J. Rohrbaugh, who had come to Beech Creek as a grist miller;
Clair E. Johnson, son of Eugene and Daisy (Miller) Johnson; and
Everett Cox of State College, who by virtue of changes in postal
regulations, became the first non-resident to hold this office.
In 1902 a rural delivery route was established at our post office. The
first rural carrier was Sidney Fearon, another son of John T. and Annie.
Mr. Fearon was followed by Morton C. DeHaas, son of Joseph Morrison
DeHaas and his second wife, Susan (Shirk) DeHaas. Mr. DeHaas car-
ried the mail from 1910 to 1924 by horse and buggy, and by automobile
from 1924 to the time of his retirement in 1942. Mr. DeHaas's last sub-
stitute, Berton J. Confer, son of Cline Q. Confer and his first wife, Mary
Frances (Loomis) Confer, took over in 1942 and served until 1944, when
Frank A Johnson, son of Joseph and Edith (Berry) Johnson was ap-
pointed regular carrier. Mr. Johnson was succeeded in 1948 by his son,
Joseph, who is the present carrier. An earlier long-time substitute for
Mr. DeHaas was William Myers, son of L. Melvin and Susan Pauline
(Bitner) Myers. A number of letters, written between 1858 and 1863
and bearing the Beech Creek and Eagleville postmarks, have been
preserved and are presently in the hands of the authors of this story.
Harry J. Haines is the present substitute rural carrier.
During much of the last half of the nineteenth century James Clark
did surveying and map making in addition to operating his store. Mr.
Clark's wife, Rebecca Ann, was a daughter of Nicholas Quigley, the
tailor. James David, who served at least one term as county commis-
sioner, did full-time surveying in his latter years. Additional local sur-
veyors and civil engineers included William Montgomery, who married
Jane Lucas, a daughter of Nathan H. and Nancy (Gardner) Lucas of
Liberty Township, and settled in Beech Creek; John W. Crays, whose
' career was cut short by his death on May 26, 1876; Thompson Snyder,
who as a young boy came from Snyder County with his parents, Wil-
liam and Margaret (Marshall) Snyder, and later married Harriet
Brady, daughter of James and Mary (Locke) Brady; and William "Bil-
ly" Mitchell, who was born to Rev. Nathan J. and Sarah (Packer)
Mitchell after the family moved from Beech Creek to Howard. At
Howard they occupied the house, where Sarah and her brother, Wil-
liam F. Packer, who later became our governor, had been born. Billy
Mitchell married Susan Rothrock, daughter of Dr. Rothrock of Beech
Creek. In 1899, during the midst of his career, the Mitchells moved
from here to Lock Haven. They are buried at Hays-Fearon cemetery.
In 1939 Claude H. Bechdel, son of Edgar and Maud (Heberling)
Bechdel, who had previously been associated with the family undertak-
ing business in Blanchard, left his farm in our township to establish the
Bechdel Funeral Home in the former Dr. J. E. Tibbins property on
Main Street. After Claude's death in 1963 the business was continued
by his widow, Dorothy, and son, Bruce, a previously licensed mortician.
Brace's accidental death in 1980 may have marked the end of a very
successful, long-standing, family enterprise.
In the early years of the nineteenth century Dr. Alexander Lindsey,
likely a son of Revolutionary War solider, Mungo Lindsey, was practic-
ing medicine in the opposite end of our township. During the years 1806
to 1808 Dr. Joseph Andrews was practicing somewhere in our township.
Later for a period of about six years, Mill Hall, then a part of our
township, had the services of Dr. Frederick Noah Essick. During the
years 1823 and 1824 one part of our township was provided medical ser-
vice by Dr. Warren Hopkins. Then came Dr. Samuel H. Wallace, who,
after about seven years moved his practice to Jersey Shore. The next
doctor to display his medical knowledge in the township was Benjamin
Berry. During the years from 1836 to 1838 Dr. William Hiborne was
providing medical services. In the 1860's and 1870's Isaac Strong, a
brother of Solomon Strong, was a patent medicine manufacturer.
When Mr. Strong died at Castanea in 1895 he was identified as Dr.
Isaac Strong. Whether or not he was already licensed as a doctor while
living here is not known. His obituary said that he was buried at Beech
Creek. There is no cemetery marker for him or his wife Phoebe.
In 1838 Dr. David W. Roberts established an office in Beech Creek.
He later practiced in Eagleville, now Blanchard, where he served as the
first postmaster. Next came Dr. William P. Rothrock, who lived at the
corner of Harrison and Water Streets in the house later occupied by Dr.
W. D. Home, a chemist. Rothrock's wife, Jane, was a daughter of
Robert and Frances (Quigley) Stewart and a sister of George Furst's
wife, Eliza. Dr. Rothrock, who moved to Kansas in the 1870's was fol-
lowed by Doctors Joseph E. Tibbins and Henry H. Mothersbaugh, and
by Dr. John M. Bright who left during the next decade.
Joseph E. Tibbins was born to Samuel and Elizabeth (Garbrick)
Tibbins in Centre County on November 18, 1847. During the Civil War
he was hired to substitute for a draftee, a common and legal practice at
that time. The money he received went a long way toward paying for
his medical training. Dr. Tibbin's first wife, Emma (Hoy) Tibbins, died
January 23, 1872 at age 21, leaving a young son, George Hoy Tibbens.
On June 24, 1873 Dr. Tibbens took for his second wife, Emma Mc-
Dowell, to which marriage was born a son named Perry McDowell Tib-
bens. Dr. Mothersbaugh, who lived and kept office in the large house
next to the former Presbyterian Church building, moved to Altoona at
about the same time that the two sons of Dr. Tibbins entered medical
careers. The youngest son, Dr. McDowell, as he was familiarly known,
died in 1939, before ending his medical career. Dr. George died in 1945
During the middle 1940'a Dr. William Dreibelbis came to town, but
stayed only a short period before returning to Snow Shoe. Next came
Doctors Ronald and Mary (Moss) Price, a husband and wife medical
team. The Prices left later to establish a medical clinic in a western
state. In 1948 the community gained the services of a physician who
was to establish himself permanently. In March of that year Dr. Robert
E. Drewery, who had just completed a tour of military duty, following
graduation from medical school, came to town, occupying the former
Dr. George H. Tibbins home and office. The female co-author of this
story recalls that her then five-month old son, David, was one of Dr.
Drewery's first patients. The "office call" for David turned out to be a
"livingroom call," because Dr. Drewery's office was not yet completed
and David was examined in the Drewery living quarters. Most impor-
tantly, the diagnosis and treatment brought speedy recovery.
In 1865 Dr. Van Valin opened an office in Beech Creek for the prac-
tice of dentistry. Records indicate that he was still here in 1882, but ap-
parently left shortly thereafter.
Development of Industry
In the early 1800's acres and acres of virgin, soft wood trees (white
pine, yellow pine and hemlock) were waiting to be cut and milled.
Many outsiders were attracted to our area by the logging and lumber-
ing industry. Among others the names of James Boyd, Henry James,
Samuel Pletcher and Edward Huff appear as Bald Eagle Township
sawmill operators during the period from 1801 to 1811. Mr. Boyd's mill
was described on the 1808 township assessment list as "at Beech
Creek." Mr. Pletcher was of the early Pletcher families of the Howard
area. Pletcher family histories show that he lived a short distance
below town. Mr. James, who is mentioned elsewhere in this story, lived
here until his early death in the 1840's. His widow, Joanna (Fredericks)
James, maintained a home for her young children, Elizabeth (later
Linn), Clinton and Susannah (later Heverly) until their marriages. In
1880, at age 87, Joanna was living with Levi and Lydia (Linn) Rupert.
It appears that Lydia was a granddaughter, but her parents are not
positively identified. Prior to the construction of the local canal our ex-
ports, which consisted mostly of lumber, had to be hauled by wagon or
floated downstream on arks. On March 9, 1771 Bald Eagle Creek had
been declared a public highway for arks as far up as Spring Creek. On
March 4, 1815 Beech Creek stream was declared a public highway from
its mouth up to Eddy Lick. Ark shipments had to be made when the
streams were at the proper level. Records show that arks occasionally
were snagged and the entire cargo lost.
About the year 1814 Hugh McFadden and Michael Quigley, both of
whom marrried local girls, joined in partnership to build a grist mill at
Beech Creek. This has generally been considered as the move that spur-
red the early development of the town. The McFadden-Quigley venture
included the construction of a dam on the creek plus the enlargement
and extension of a ditch to form a mill race for water power. In 1815,
before the mill was ready, they took advantage of the mill pool's poten-
tial by building a carding and fulling mill on the island, just behind the
mill. By late 1815 their entire project wa9 completed, the mill was
grinding grain, and was placed on the assessment list for the 1816 tax-
able year. Prior to that time grain had to be hauled long distances for
milling. Quigley later purchased McFadden's interest and became sole
owner. Many previous accounts of this enterprise have given full credit
to Quigley alone. As this paragraph is being written, the original mill
building, which had been remodeled several times over the years, still
stands, but in a deplorable condition. It is in the middle of town on the
south side of Main Street. It may well have reached the point where
restoration for historical purposes would not be practicable. In the
1950's, without any prior consultation with local people and apparent
owners, our State Department of Forests and Waters bulldozed the old
dam in Beech Creek stream from its anchorage. The heavy timbers and
planks were allowed to go afloat, possibly creating more liability
downstream than the dam was causing here.
By 1832 Joseph M. Smith, who had come from the Philadelphia area,
was sending rafts of logs downstream to destinations in the lower Sus-
quehanna Valley. Some of Mr. Smith's logs were used in the construc-
tion of a bridge across the Susquehanna at Harrisburg. Mr. Smith mar-
ried Janetta "Jane" David, a daughter of Isaac David of the pioneering
David families. Jane was a granddaughter of Revolutionary War
soldier, Daniel David, who died here on April 17, 1832. Mr. Smith died
on October 11, 1870 at age 59. On March 25, 1874 his widow, Jane, mar-
ried John Miller, whose wife, Nancy (Nestlerode) Miller, had died on
May 3, 1869. This marriage had problems and by 1880 they were living
separately. Jane and her two youngest daughters, Alice and Mattie,
were on Water Street in the house later occupied by the Dix Bullock
family, and John, with his youngest son, Alfred, were on their farm. To
show that these two highly respected families remained on very friendly
terms it should be noted that shortly thereafter John Miller's nephew,
John B. Miller, married Jane's daughter, Alice. Furthermore Irvin
Smith, a grandson of Jane, later married Laura Miller, a grand-
daughter of John,
Sawmill operators during the period from 1820 to 1850 included
George Carr, Daniel Crouse, William Parsons, George Furst, L. G.
Andrews, Samuel A. Cook, Housel and Miller, Samuel Saylor, Cline
Quigley, Andrew White and Samuel and Johnson Hall. It was during
this era that the circular saw replaced the old English-type, gate-mill
single saw. During this same period the Nestlerodes were busily
engaged in lumbering operations on the other side of the creek in
Liberty Township. The name of Samuel Saylor, above, is a reminder
that it was he, who, in 1883, undertook the construction of a railroad up
Beech Creek valley on the opposite side of the creek. Mr. Saylor's par-
tially completed roadbed and a stone bridgeway are still in evidence at
the foot of Big Hill. A more complete account of Mr. Saylor's venture
may be found in the Liberty Township Bicentennial book published in
By 1882 only one of the twelve sawmills that had been on the Beech
Creek side of the creek was still in operation. This mill, then owned by
Saylor, Day and Morey, stood behind the present home of the Guy Lit-
tle family at the southern edge of the borough, and was the last of the
large mills in the area. The vast supply of valuable timber, much of it
"hogged over" and wasted, was coming to an end. Mill operators of a
later period included Alpine White, usually referred to as "Piney."
George D. Hess, a brother-in-law of Mr. Saylor, and Alvin D. Knecht
came together from the Easton area to develop lumbering interests,
and each later married local girls. Another lumberman of that period
was John C. DeLong, son of Jonathan and Fannie (Bumgardner)
DeLong of Liberty Township. John's wife, Temperance, was a daughter
of G. Washington Heverly and his second wife, Susannah (James)
Heverly, Another was Samuel Gardner, a son of Samuel and Elizabeth
(Lucas) Gardner. The younger Samuel's daughter, Maggie, became the
wife of David M. Packer.
In 1820 at the opposite end of our township, close to or within the pre-
sent area of Mill Hall, a young English immigrant, who had married
about two years earlier, established a fulling and dyeing operation. In
1826, or shortly thereafter, he moved his textile enterprise to the
Chatham Run area. Over the years this establishment grew and grew
until it became the Woolrich Woolen Mills that we know today. The
young English immigrant, as you have likely already guessed, was John
The Bald Eagle and Spring Creek Navigation Company was
organized in 1832 to extend a branch of the West Branch Canal from
Lock Haven to Bellefonte. In spite of the hand digging involved this
boatway, which passed through the southern edge of our township, was
completed to Beech Creek and ready for service in relatively short time.
However, the section to Bellefonte was not completed until 1847. The
delay was caused by the necessity of constructing twenty-two locks
between here and Bellefonte. When finished the canal fully replaced
the arks, which carried downstream heavy consignments, such as iron
from the furnace at the eastern edge of Howard, then known as
Howardville. The canal also replaced much of the horsepack and wagon
shipments in the valley. However the bulk of the canal shipments was
lumber. A heavy storm in 1865 washed out many of the locks west or
Beech Creek. They were never replaced, likely because the Lock Haven
and Tyrone Railroad was already providing competition. Incidentally,
Canal Lock 24, directly south of Beech Creek, between Bald Eagle
THE "BEECH CREEK"
Four Wheel Drive and Four Wheel Steer Truck
GIVES 12 MONTHS SERVICE EVERY YEAR
frl-FTER ipending five year> in telle and uiveitigalion of the problem, lo bo met in mod™ truck craniporta-
5-1 [ion, a truck hat been produced which .«li the dem.nd. made by bmine.. men. Even with the advent
of Iho ordinary rear drivo truck, it wa» a recognized fact that the ideal condition to be met. m lo drive the
machine from all four wheeli. Add to this the principle of (leering wilh all four wheel,, and you obtain the
pinnacle of convenience in moving and handling a load. The ihorteoming. of the ordinary rear-drive machine
•re only too well known, for if from any cauie you lo.e the tractive power from one wheel, the load !• .tailed
until that condition it removed.
Creek and the Bald Eagle Valley Railroad was known as the Beech
Creek Lock. The walls of this particular lock, in spite of 100-year old
trees rooted in their banks, are standing as erect as when built in the
The Lock Haven and Tyrone Railroad Company was organized in
1853 to provide a direct route between these two towns. Later known as
the Bald Eagle Valley Railroad, it passed through the southern portion
of Beech Creek Township. This line was acquired by the Pennsylvania
Railroad Company in 1908. Being a part of the bankrupt Penn-Central
system it is now operated by Conrail, a government subsidized
enterprise. The local division of this railroad began operations in 1862.
The section between Bellefonte and Tyrone was opened in 1863.
In 1838 Solomon Strong began the manufacture of fanning mills in
a building on Main Street, opposite the present Community Center,
formerly the Presbyterian Church. During the 1840's and 1850's Austin
Leonard was in the business of making fanning mills. Whether he was
operating Mr. Strong's business or had started one of his own is not
known. However, a short time later Stillman Keyes, a brother-in-law of
Mr. Strong, was the owner and operator of the original Strong factory.
Hall's planing mill stood next to the fanning mill building. In those ear-
ly days grains were hand flailed. Fanning mills separated the chaff
from the grains, likely by an air blowing process.
The old covered bridge connecting Beech Creek and Liberty
Townships, just south of Beech Creek borough, was built around 1832
as a part of the early Bald Eagle Valley highway. In 1895 a new pier was
placed at the center to support a sagging bridge. In 1907 a concrete
masonry pier was built to replace the wooden pier, which had been
washed out by ice floods. By the 1920's the bridge was sagging on both
sides of the middle pier, and was showing the effects of continual
failure to replace the roof shingles. In late June, 1927 the bridge col-
lapsed, marking the end of a long period of faithful service.
About the middle of the last century coal deposits were discovered in
the area around the northern edge of our township. This event at-
tracted mining developers from England and other immigrants eager to
do mining work. Among the families that settled in these mining areas
we find the Reavilles, Berges, Whamonds, Llewellyns and Strecks.
Railroad facilities for the removal of both coal and lumber were later
built into this region from the main tracks on the Susquehanna River.
Deposits of iron ore in the same area led to the construction of a furnace
near the south fork of Scootac Creek. The lumbering and mining opera-
tions in that section were responsible for the development of a number
of small communities including Reveltown, Bear Swamp, Peacock and
The Miller L. McKean tannery, which was located on the Kessinger
lot on Main Street, started operations in 1869. Mr. McKean, a son of
Thomas and Julia (Miller) McKean, died suddenly at age 39 on Oc-
tober 4, 1876, just three years after the death of his younger brother,
Mark, also a tanner. He left a widow, Ella, and a little daughter,
Mabel. It appears that the tannery ceased operations after the death of
Thomas McKean in 1879. An artist's sketch of the tannery building,
preserved for many years by the late William F. Kessinger, indicated
that this was a large operation. Newspaper accounts indicate that the
McKean home, now occupied by the family of Clair McKivison, was
purchased in 1905 by Barnard' Rupert for $560.
In the 1870's Daniel Lose erected an iron foundry along the old mill
race directly south of the Presbyterian Church building. He was later
joined by John Bickel, who became a partner in this enterprise. Henry
Lose, a son of Daniel and his wife, Susan, married Eliza Heverly, a
daughter of Washington and Susanna (James) Heverly. Another son,
John, married Ann Quigley, a daughter of James and Catharine (Mil-
The P.R.R. station with Maybelle DeHaas and Simeon Maines on the
The Beech Creek, Clearfield and Southwestern Railroad, generally
known as the Beech Creek Railroad, was built up Beech Creek Valley in
the early 1880's. It was financed chiefly by the Vanderbilts and others
of New York City. The primary purpose of this road was to transport
coal from midwestern parts of the state for locomotive use and to in-
dustrial centers farther east. The first train reached Beech Creek on
May 15, 1884. Passenger service between Jersey Shore and Beech Creek
was inaugurated on July 1 of that year. On that same date the first coal
train came from farther west and was weighed, one car at a time, on the
Beech Creek scales, then located on the main track. The scales were
soon, thereafter, removed to a side track east of town, and later moved
to the Jersey Shore area. On February 1, 1885 passenger service was ex-
tended to Philipsburg, and by 1886 the tracks were completed to Clear-
field. However, it was not until 1893 that the lines reached Mahaffey
and Cherry Tree in Cambria County. For the benefit of key employees
the company built and maintained two family residences in Beech
Creek and one at Mapes Station, a "flag stop" for passenger service.
Track maintenance crews were established at Beech Creek and Mapes.
By 1895 the railroad was hauling considerable lumber and was soon
to be conveying large quantities of clay and fire bricks. Westbound
trains carried farm products, processed foods and merchandise. On
November 21, 1895 the Clinton Democrat reported that 6451 cars had
yVfc£i£ 'M° t &&2& 1
The N.Y.C. station with, left to right, Irvin Miller, John Clark, Morris
Miller, Burns Pollock and Jim DeHaas.
passed over the tracks during the week ending on November 16, a
typical week. Of this total 3108 loaded cars had been hauled eastward,
while 60 loaded cars and 3283 empties were taken westward.
In 1899 the Beech Creek Railroad was leased for a period of 999 years
to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company and
became the Beech Creek Division of that system. At that time F. E.
Herriman, a former station agent at Beech Creek, who was then located
in the Philadelphia headquarters, was placed in charge of all Penn-
sylvania operations of the New York Central. During the early 1920's,
particularly for weighing cars received from, and dispatched to, close-
by points, a new set of scales was installed east of town. At about the
same time a "Y" was built nearby to allow "pushers" to turn around
preparatory to assisting in the pulling of trains up the inclines west of
us. Traffic over the major portion of the railroad was discontinued in
1966, when on April 23 of that year the local freight train made its last
trip, with its whistle blowing continually as it moved through town. By
April of the following year the tracks had been removed all the way
from Snow Shoe to Bald Eagle Junction near Mill Hall.
The Beech Creek Railroad Company continued as an entity even
beyond the New York Central-Pennsylvania merger, and the later
bankruptcy of the resulting Penn Central in June, 1970. However, a
Federal judge's ruling in October, 1978, specifying the amount to be
paid the Beech Creek shareholders was the official end of the Beech
Some time before 1890 George Thomas Furst, son of George and
Elizabeth (Stewart) Furst, developed Furst's Climax Healer, common-
ly called "Tommy Furst's slave." His preparation was kept on hand in
almost every area household, especially for its effectiveness in the
treatment of boils and other skin eruptions. Mr. Furst, a nephew of Dr.
Rothrock, may have had some professional help in developing his
product. George S. Furst, son of Thomas and wife, Annie (Fearon)
Furst, continued the manufacture and distribution long after his
In 1892 James Riley DeHaas, a son of Edward and Ann (Connor)
DeHaas, set up a plant in Beech Creek for the processing of sorghum
syrup. No records can be found regarding the success of this venture.
Mr. DeHaas's first wife, Mary, was a daughter of Jacob C. and Isabella
In 1893 the wooden bridge (likely a covered bridge) over Beech Creek
stream at the western edge of town was replaced by a new iron bridge.
This iron bridge was replaced by a larger steel and concrete structure
during 1935 and 1936, at which time the highway was rerouted slightly
starting at the Beech Creek Hotel. This rerouting placed the new road
over a portion of the land once occupied by the "Seven Kitchens."
A newspaper story in 1899 said "there is agitation to replace the old
covered bridge at Hubbards." The article referred to the span joining
Beech Creek and Liberty Townships on the present Route 364, about
three miles upstream from town. However, it was not until September,
1907 that the replacement, a steel structure, which still stands, was
completed and inspected by the commissioners of Clinton and Centre
The Beech Creek, news items in an 1899 issue of the Clinton
Republican stated that the rumors of Beech Creek getting a fire brick
plant were thus far unconfirmed. Nevertheless, at that very time John
P. Wynn, a son of James R. and Mary (Bitner) Wynn, already familiar
with all phases of fire brick making, was visioning the possibility of
mining clay in the nearby mountains, transporting it by dinkey train to
Beech Creek, where it would be processed. Thus was born the Penn-
sylvania Fire Brick Company, which was to be the community's major
and only large employer for the next fifty years. By 1909 sixty families
living within Beech Creek were being supported by this plant including
its mines and narrow-gage railroad. When one considers the total work
force and the impact on the local economy, he can clearly see what one
man's idea meant to our area. This plant which later became a divison
of General Refractories Company, maintained a work force of about
200 most of the time, and was one of the last of the fire brick plants in
this general area to close down. At the time of his death in 1919 the
operation was in charge of Warren R. "Dick" and Thomas Wynn, sons
of the founder, and later J. Fred Wynn, son of Dick and his wife, Mable
The small residence on the south side of Main Street, next to the old
grist mill, was originally built to house a milk processing operation. It
was later used for offices and then converted into living quarters. The
porch on the east side was moved to that location from the front of the
building when the highway was widened in 1934.
On May 15, 1915 the Beech Creek Truck and Auto Company filed ap-
plication with the Commonwealth for a charter. This company, which
was capitalized at $100,000 through the sale of common stock, mostly
locally, was organized to manufacture four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-
steer, heavy-duty trucks. Within a reasonable period the first truck was
completed in their new building on Main Street, now occupied by
Spotts' store. Demonstrations of its power, traction and maneu-
verability included ascending the steps of the court house in Lock
Haven. At least one additional truck was fully completed, and several
others were partially completed before the concern went into bank-
ruptcy. W. Harter Vonada, formerly of Blanchard and now of Belle-
fonte, has made a very interesting collection of pictures, stock cer-
tificates, correspondence and other data related to the company. An ac-
count of the entire venture including material and pictures provided by
Mr. Vonada, was presented by the Lock Haven Express on November
22, 1966. This followed a less detailed report in the same newspaper on
September 28, 1961 from the memory of David M. Packer, then age 94.
Mr. Packer had been associated with the company. The Antique
Automobile Magazine, in its November-December 1977 issue,
presented a very complete story and pictures of the Beech Creek truck.
In addition to Mr. Packer, the following men had served on the board of
directors: I. J. Rohrbaugh, George F. Hess, Lester H. Stephens, Henry
H. Salisbury and Dr. P. McDowell Tibbins.
The Beech Creek Bottling Works, started about 1920 by William P.
Morrissey and his son-in-law, Allen W. Gundlach, became a very suc-
cessful business, with "Whistle," a national brand of orange drink be-
ing the prime product. This enterprise was succeeded by the wholesale
beverage business of Mr. Gundlach, which is still in operation at an
During the 1920's a branch of the Howard shirt factory was es-
tablished in a part of the building of the former Beech Creek Truck and
Auto Company on Main Street, commonly referred to then as the old
auto factory. After several years this division was consolidated with the
main plant at Howard.
Local bus service to Bellefonte and Lock Haven was started in the
early 1920' s. The franchise for this route was later acquired by the Tices
Our Armstrong plant.
of Howard, who concentrated on the Howard to Lock Haven portion.
The franchise was later acquired by the Johnson Motor Bus Company
of Woolrich, which later became a division of the Lakes-to-Sea system,
now the Continental Trailways. Longer distance service was provided
for a number of years by the Golden Arrow lines, which operated
between Cumberland, Maryland and Binghampton, New York.
The Reed Candy Factory opened by Edwin R. Reed and family in the
1920's, near to the present post office building, appeared very success-
ful. However, a disastrous fire, mentioned elsewhere, destroyed the
business, and rebuilding efforts never materialized beyond the con-
struction of a new masonry foundation, which still stands.
In 1926 our main highway, which then traversed Maple Avenue, was
hard surfaced from the western edge of town to Mill Hall, and became a
part of State Route 64. This improvement brought a large increase in
through traffic, especially because it provided a shortcut for traffic on
U.S. Route 220, which then passed through Bellefonte in its course
between Milesburg and Mill Hall. Later Route 220 was moved to our
valley. East- West Interstate Highway 80, generally known as 1-80 or the
Shortway, was completed about 1970. This cross-country road runs
south of us beyond the Bald Eagle Mountain range. Our approaches are
at Milesburg for west-bound driving and south of Mill Hall for eastern
destinations. Beginning in 1978 Route 220 traffic between Milesburg
and Avis was officially rerouted via a portion of the shortway and a new
connector road. This change to divert traffic from our part of the valley
Champion Parts Rebuilders, Inc.
has not been as successful as anticipated. Drivers familiar with the two
routes prefer our shorter, more level highway, which is now designated
as State Route 150.
The Beech Creek Municipal Water System, designed to serve the
Beech Creek-Blanchard area, was completed in the late, middle 1930's.
Thomas F. Kessinger was primarily responsible for the undertaking.
For this project Mr. Kessinger and two other civic-minded citizens,
George F. Hess and Dr. P. McDowell Tibbins, appointed by council to
become the Water Committee, steered the project to completion. In
1966 with recommendations from the local Planning Commission on
file and having awaited for the opportune time, our council made the
move to install a sanitary sewage disposal system, another vitally
needed project. After more than ten years of above-average rainfall we
had become rather complacent, and did not fully prepare for the in-
evitable. The greater number of users, an increased demand in
Blanchard due to a recently installed sewer system, plus additional
needs for new and expanding industries were bound to be factors in the
early stages of a drought. Fortunately for us, when the 1980 water
shortage arrived, a larger pump, placed at the well on Maple Avenue,
has so far proved adequate to serve both towns.
The period covered by the late 1960's and early 1970's brought two
industries that are flourishing at this time. They are the Armstrong
Cork Company and Haven Homes, both located just east of town. Our
Armstrong division later completed an expansion program that was ac-
companied by an increase in the work force. Haven Homes builds
On June 9, 1978 Northeast Rebuilders, a division of Champion Parts
Rebuilders, announced plans to consolidate its two Mill Hall units into
a new facility to be built adjacent to the Armstrong plant. It was ex-
plained that the projected move was primarily contingent upon finan-
cial aid from the government. In December, 1978 it was announced that
financing had been assured, and groundbreaking was to be scheduled,
with completion expected in 1980. As contemplated earlier, the new,
modem building for this facility was completed in 1980, and production
began about mid-year.
The one industry that should have special recognition is that of farm-
ing. Our early settlers, after first providing shelter for their families,
began clearing land so as to provide food for the table and feed for the
livestock. Among our first settlers who carried the farming tradition
from generation to generation were the Fearons, Hayses, Davids,
Packers, Williamses, DeHaases, Millers, McCloskeys and Crispens.
Shortly thereafter, in about this order, came the Bitners, Linns, Huffs,
Winslows, Wagners, Glossners, Masdens, Liggets, Berrys, Quays,
Manns, Reeds, Haagens, Halls, Eyers, Earons, Gummos and Bradya.
Following closely were the Mapeses, Lehrs, Myerses, Dickeys, Ruperts,
Harlemans, Rowes, Muthlers, Swartzes, Metzgers, Mantles, Kalere,
Heimers, Peters, Bickels, Whitefields, and Smiths. From the early days
until the present time the workday of a farmer often starts before
daylight and ends after darkness comes. What other group of workers
displays such industriousness!
Stores were scarce in our valley as late as the 1831-33 period, at
which time a trading post was operating near Howard, then called
Howardville. Beech Creek area residents whose names are found in that
store's preserved account books include David Rorabaugh, William
Hays, Simon Lingle, Michael Quigley, William Fearon, Henry James,
Joseph Fearon and Hugh McFadden. John Rich, the founder of
Woolrich Woolen Mills, then representing the firm of Rich and McCor-
mick located at the other end of our township, was also listed as a
trader. Customers made a wide variety of purchases, including calico,
muslin, woven cashmere, silk by the skein, thread, sugar, coffee, alum,
cinnamon, indigo by the ounce, castile soap, tobacco by the pound and
whiskey at twenty-five cents per half gallon. Hardware items were sled
soles, plow shares, razor strops, lumber and nails. In 1832 Paul Lingle
delivered to the trading post 498 pounds of beef at 3 Vi cents per pound
and 225 pounds of pork at 5 cents per pound. In 1833 Daniel Nestlerode
of Liberty Township bought one German calendar for 12 VS cents. Dur-
ing the period of the early 1830's the Howardville Furnace Company,
operators of the trading post, was shipping its iron ore down Bald Eagle
Creek by arks. Incoming goods came by horsepack and wagon trains.
Christopher Heverly, the first Heverly to settle in this general area, had
come here as an operator of the overland transportation system.
Christopher, a son of S. Henry Everly, was the only one of seven
children to affix an "H" to his name.
The mercantile partnership of Landcake and Baker, sometimes
listed as Longcake and Baker, began operating in Beech Creek in 1833,
shortly after the canal had been opened this far. This firm was still do-
ing business in 1839 and perhaps later, and appears to be of absentee
ownership. Whether this firm conducted a general trading post such as
the Howardville unit, or dealt in just one commodity such as lumber or
grain, has not been ascertained. "Buck" Claflin, mentioned elsewhere
as an early schoolteacher, was likely our first real storekeeper. He was
succeeded by George Furst, Henry Gast, Cline Quigley and Andrew
White, in this order. The location was the house on White Island, just
south of the grist mill. White Island, named for Mr. White, was
previously called Nestlerode Island. White was a son-in-law of Michael
Quigley. Mr. Furst later constructed a large two-story brick store
building on Main Street. Some time later Mr. Furst's son-in-law,
George D. Hess, became a partner in the business, and afterwards full
owner. Mr. Hess was succeeded by his son, George F. Hess, whose
death in 1959 brought an end to this long-standing family enterprise.
The building still stands and is in fairly good condition for its age.
Other merchants in the middle to late 1800's were: Silas Hess and
Salathial Mobley, each of whom was married to a daughter of Michael
Quigley, Silas to Frances, and Salathial to Mary; Henry Berry, whose
store building contained his shoe repair shop; and brothers, Charles
and Erastus Cade, Civil War veterans who had come from Haines
Township in Centre County and married local girls. Charles married
Mary Elizabeth Hall, a daughter of- Joseph and Temperance (Sterling)
Hall, and Erastus married Harriet Bitner, a daughter of Abraham and
Mary (Leathers) Bitner. It is interesting to note that William E.
Beschler, a great grandson of Joseph and Temperance Hall, became a
twentieth century storekeeper. Additional merchants prior to 1900 in-
cluded: John McGhee and the Ligget Brothers, who had come from
Liberty Township; Jesse S. Hall,, son of Samuel and Sarah (Mc-
Closkey) Hall; George W. Williams, the son of George Q. and Elizabeth
(Bollinger) Williams and the husband of Kate Hubbard, a daughter of
Joseph Hubbard and his first wife, Harriet (Weaver) Hubbard; Edward
Mobley, the son of Salathial, and the husband of Jesse Hall's sister,
Sarah. Others were: James Clark, a son of William and Sarah (Hays)
Clark, whose store building on the high creek bank on upper Water
Street is now a family residence; and Edward K. Parsons, who married
Virginia, a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (James) Linn, and later
moved to Lock Haven. The Cade brothers also left town with Erastus
finally settling at Damascus in Wayne County.
The Ligget store building had been erected at the corner of Main and
Grant Streets. This building later housed many commercial enterprises
before being converted to serve as the first home of the Beech Creek
National Bank. Recent conversion by William B. Kessinger turned this
structure into an apartment house. The Williams store building on
Locust Street was later used as a store by brothers-in-law, Lester
Stephens and William Smith, followed by Mr. Stephens and another
brother-in-law, Mr. Horton, and still later by Mr. Stephens alone, who
continued the business for many years. During these same years the
south side of this same building was used for various types of business
by Alec Shoemaker, James Pollock, Eugene and Frank Johnson,
The bank's first home.
Timothy McCarthy and his daughter, Bertha, Charles W. Miller, An-
nabels McKean and others. It was later used as living quarters. Mr.
Stephens had come from New York state and married Annie Smith, a
daughter of Temple and Eliza J. (Gardner) Smith; William Smith was
a brother of Annie. Mr. McCarthy, the father-in-law of Mr. Miller, was
the son of Isaiah and Julia (Hurley) McCarthy.
After being burned out on Main Street the general store of Enoch
IN THE BANKING BUSINESS SINCE 1921
The Beech Creek National Bank.
Hastings was located at the point of the Ligget Triangle at the end of
Grant Street. This small two-story building had been moved to that
location in 1899 to make room for a house being built on Main Street by
James Metzger. The store of John W. Waite in part of his home on
Main Street was continued for many years, after which his son, John
Raymond "Onnie" Waite, opened a small restaurant and confectionery
store. A later conversion of this building by Harold Packer led to the
pizza shop that exists today. For a short period starting in April, 1905
Mr. Waite leased his store to Curtis Bechdel and moved temporarily to
A drug store was opened by Mrs. Clara (Kelly) Tibbins, a licensed
pharmacist and wife of Dr. George H. Tibbins, in the section of the Lig-
get cluster that still stands. It was moved to the Ligget building on
Main Street before being closed.
Jerry Shearer once conducted a small store on Vesper Street in the
former home of his wife's parents, George and Isabelle (Leonard)
Shearer. This building is now occupied by the Harris Rupert family.
Isabelle Shearer was a daughter of Austin Leonard, an early local post-
master, and his first wife, Julia Ann (Packer) Leonard. Jerry Shearer
was one of two children of Thomas and Margaret Shearer. The other
was Franklin, familiarly known as "Sheriff Shearer. An 1899 news-
paper story told that Albert Bergner was closing his Beech Creek store
and opening a boarding house and store at Monument Run, where
timber operations were still flourishing, but more importantly, a new
fire brick plant was already under construction at that place. In 1870,
at age 10, Mr. Bergner had been living with the David and Isabella
(Reed) Mapes family in Beech Creek Township. He later married An-
nie E ., a daughter of Casper and Philomena (Eckert) Peters .
After being burned out by the disastrous Main Street fire of 1903,
Edward Sykes opened a store on Locust Street in the present tavern
building. He was followed at this location by his brother, Frank, who
was later succeeded by his nephew, Milton, oldest son of Edward.
Meantime another Frank Sykes, a cousin of Edward and Frank, con-
ducted for several years a general store in the brick building at the cor-
ner of Main and Grant Streets. Other merchants of that period were
Adam Grenninger, who occupied several different locations, and B.
Frank Thompson, whose son, Guy, married Ada Packer, daughter of
George and Maria (Burd) Packer. In the early 1920's Shetler's Cash
Grocery was opened in the building directly across from the present
post office building. This business was continued by Beschler and Mil-
ler, Mr. Beschler alone, Robert E. Murray and Ted Hunter, in this
The present Spotts IGA market, an outgrowth of the former Dunlap
farm supply and hardware center in the former auto factory building on
Main Street, is flourishing as a modern, self-service, grocery and
hardware outlet. Recently this firm added a line of major electrical ap-
pliances. The Beech Creek Egg Barn, started originally in the old brick
plant building as an industrial-agricultural venture in the production
and wholesale of poultry, later specialized in producing and marketing
eggs. Managed by Bruce Miller this commercial enterprise is now
devoted particularly to the retail of fresh eggs. A nearby meat market is
operated by Charles "Mike" Kitchen. In addition to those already
mentioned retail or eating places have been conducted by J. W. Mer-
rey, Thomas Burke, The Morrissey family, the McKean family, Wil-
liam Fudge, Maud (Rupert) Smith, Anna (Dickey) Mann, Genevieve
(Lytle) Bitner O'Donnell, Fred and Beatrice Sherman, William and Vi-
vian Kunes, Edward Scantlin and likely many others.
Around 1890 a large roller skating rink was built on east Main Street.
When the building was later dismantled the lumber was reused by Dr.
J. E. Tibbins in the construction of three houses in a row on the front of
the same lot. Projecting from the roof of each house was a steeple-
shaped dormer, which not only gave additional space and light to the
attic area, but also provided a unique symmetrical appearance. One of
these houses became the home and office of Dr. George H. Tibbins and
presently serves the same purposes for Dr. Robert E. Drewery.
Efforts to learn when and by whom the Beech Creek Hotel was built
have been unsuccessful. Proprietors in the years prior to its acquisition
by W. P. Morrissey around 1919 have been given as: Cline Quigley, who
sold to Peter Gould in 1895; John P. DeHaas, a son of John P. and
Susan (Bechdel) DeHaas, who took over in 1905; and Jacob Basinger,
who left when the prohibition law took effect. After coal became an im-
portant fuel for house-heating, a coal tipple, accessible from the
railroad, was built along the tracks just west of Locust Street by Harry
W. Packer. Later another tipple was erected by George D. Hess and Son
at a point east of Locust Street. Local deliveries were made by horse
and wagon. The exact date of the inauguration of telephone service in
our area has not been verified. However, by 1909 we were being served
by both the Bell and the Commercial companies. This double service
continued until the 1920's, when Bell withdrew from the area. At about
that same time the Commerical lines became the Bald Eagle
Telephone Company, and later the United Telephone Company.
In 1921, recognizing the need for such an institution, Dr. P. Mc-
Dowell Tibbins took steps to establish the Beech Creek State Bank,
now the Beech Creek National Bank. Mr. Tibbins became the first
president and his fellow directors were: Dr. George H. Tibbins, a
brother; William P. Morrissey, who, some years earlier, had married a
local girl; John H. Hunter, son of James and Clara (Nestlerode)
Hunter; Elmer Peters, son of Casper and Phoebe (Eckert) Peters;
Shuman S. Williams, son of Isaac Williams and his second wife,
Catharine (Holter) Williams; J. Irvin Wagner, son of George and Susan
(Rorabaugh) Wagner; Albert Bergner, whose wife was a sister of Elmer
Peters; and Stewart Williams, a Clearfield County native and the mine
superintendent at Monument. The first cashier was David G. Meek,
who had come from Juniata. Subsequent cashiers were Louden
Brungard, whose first wife was Matilda Metzger, daughter of James
and Ella (Martin) Metzger, and J. Aaron Haugh, a Mill Hall native
who had married Olive Peters of Beech Creek. The present cashier is D.
William Selfe, who was raised in. the Lock Haven area. The modern
bank building on East Main Street, which includes a drive-in facility,
has undergone two major expansions since it was constructed in 1967.
The first garage and service station was opened by Thomas F. Kes-
singer, a son of William F. and Martha (Lucas) Kessinger. Later
operators of auto repair services included Clyde Lewis, who stayed only
several years; William B. Cook, son of Charles and Dora (Bechdel)
Cook; George Bitner, son of George and Elizabeth (DeLong) Bitner;
Robert Dunlap, son of Thomas P. and Eva (Askey) Dunlap; and Fred
Sherman, whose combination of garage, restaurant and trailer court
was purchased and further developed by Edward W. Scantlin, the
present owner. Other current garage operators are Malcolm and
Thomas Myers, sons of Hiram and Tacie (Scantlin) Myers and Fred
Gundlach, son of Allen W. and Ruth (Morrissey) Gundlach.
According to a newspaper account in 1898 Beech Creek Council
placed two new street lamps, increasing the total to 15. One was placed
near the railroad station with the other placed on Mill Street (now
Maple Avenue) in front of the residence of Johnson Gardner, now the
home of William Kunes. Nothing was said of the twice-daily task of
caring for each lamp. In 1920 State Center Electric Company extended
their lines from Milesburg to our community. When the current was
turned on in early December F. I Thompson, with the aid of B. Frank
Bowers, local jack-of-all-trades, had many of the homes wired and
ready. The street lights were lighted for the first time on Saturday
night, November 17, 1921. Our producer later became Keystone Power
Company, and still later West Penn Power Company. During those ear-
ly years power interruptions were so frequent that kerosene lamps and
candles had to be kept in readiness. In fact the company was dubbed by
some as "The Sunshine Power Company." They joked, "We have light
while the sun shines." At that time the minimum monthly billing was
one dollar even though a family may have used less than the maximum
of ten KWH's allowed for the minimum charge. Today most families
use more than that in a half day.
The electrical appliance and bottled gas business of William B. Kes-
singer was first established in a new storeroom adjacent to the site of
the present bank building. This business was later moved to its present
location in the former, masonry-constructed, Kessinger garage building
in the heart of town. An electrical appliance store was conducted for a
number of years by Blaine W. Kunes in a part of his building on Locust
Street. The local television cable system was installed by a developer
living in Williamsport. Financial troubles forced the sale of the local
network, which was purchased by Mr. Kunes. Improvements and ex-
tensions made by Mr. Kunes and his son, Blaine F. Kunes, the present
manager, turned this undertaking into a viable enterprise.
At one time at least eight local stores had show cases fully stocked
with penny candy, some pieces weighing an ounce or more. The
youngster with a penny to spend had the choice of a tootsie roll, a
peanut bolster, a jaw breaker, a lolly pop, or any one of about twenty
additional varieties. If shopping at Waite's store he could slip his penny
into the slot of an uncommon-type machine, pull the lever, and receive
a heaping handful of Spanish peanuts or, if his appetite called for it, he
could spend his penny for a dried herring, commonly called a "blind
robin." If so inclined one could insert the penny in the Zeno chewing
gum machine at Stephens's store and perchance get a stick of gum with
a red wrapper. This particular wrapper entitled the lucky person to a
free pack of gum. If after store hours, the penny could be used at the
outdoor gum vending machine at the McKean pool room on Main
Our first beauty parlor was opened by Jane Linn, a daughter of
Edward and Minnie (Furl) Linn, and now the wife of Sydney Tressler.
Other beauticians of an earlier day included Ann (Minier) Bamer, wife
of Russell Barner, the insurance agent, and Ann Yeager, a former
schoolteacher and the wife of Franklin "Sonny" Yeager. The following
opened shops in more recent years: Catharine (Ponte) Johnson, wife of
Joseph Johnson, the rural mail carrier; Eileen (Hovan) Gardner Mace,
a daughter of John and Olive (Gardner) Hovan; and Trenelva (Confer)
Peters, the daughter of Clyde and Mildred (Woodring) Confer, and wife
of McDowell Peters.
During the November, 1818 term of Centre County court James
Monks, a native of Potter Township, and a son of William Monks, was
tried for the murder of Reuben Guild, which had occurred on
November 16 of the previous year. On Saturday, January 23, 1819 he
was hanged in the yard of our county jail at Bellefonte while William
Armor," a fifer in the War of 1812, played "Mary's Dream" beneath the
gallows. Monks, himself, had requested this particular tune rather than
the customary "Dead March." Even though the murder occurred on
Marsh Creek in that part of Howard Township that later became
Liberty Township, the story of this murder has always been associated
with local history, because Monks had been employed here at the
Henry James sawmill. It should be noted that previous local accounts
had erroneously listed Guild as Giles. Mr. Monks had set out on foot for
a visit in Clearfield County. When he returned on Sunday evening he
was riding a horse equipped with attractive saddle and bridle, and he
was sporting a new watch. When the murder of Guild was reported all
suspicion fell on Monks. On a dark, rainy night Sheriff William Alex-
ander came to Marsh Creek, arrested Monks, and, with no assistance
took his prisoner to Bellefonte each riding a horse. Jurors for the trial
included Absalom Ligget and Frederick Schenck, and witnesses were
Mr. James, William Gardner, John Ligget, John Confer, Michael
Meese, John Wantz, Samuel Gardner and Ephraim Green Gardner, all
from this general area.
Following the guilty verdict Monks confessed and explained in some
detail his cowardly act of shooting Guild in the back after they had met
on a lonely road. Upon completing a brief conversation each had
started toward his destination when Monks, seized by what he, himself,
described as an uncontrollable impulse, suddenly grabbed his gun,
wheeled around, pointed at Guild and pulled the trigger. When the
1820 census was taken, Mary Monks, widow of the murderer, and her
two daughters, both under age 10, were still living in Liberty Township.
Incidentally some of our present-day James, Heverly and Linn families
descend from Mr. James, the sawmill operator. While awaiting his ex-
ecution, the first in Centre County following its incorporation nineteen
years earlier, Monks is credited with writing a thirteen-verse poem.
The poem describes events that led to the murder, the actual murder
and his later actions and feelings. He also absolves Andrew Allison,
who was still accused of the murder, by some, even after Monks was
convicted. A copy of the poem is in possession of the authors.
The following story, the authenticity of which cannot now be
verified, has been related many times by descendants of Michael and
Zylphia (Winslow) Miller. They, with their six children, four boys and
two girls, lived on a farm northeast of town at the location of the pres-
ent home of William Karch. About the year 1859 Mr. Miller became ill
and a Beech Creek doctor, who lived on upper Water Street was sum-
moned. The doctor thoroughly examined the patient and left a supply
of medicine. About an hour later the doctor came rushing back^ his
horse and buggy moving at top speed. He hurriedly announced, "Do
not give that medicine; I made a mistake." The family immediately
responded, "We already gave it to him, and he's dead!" The widow
Miller later married George Ruple, a native of New Jersey. In 1863 the
Ruples had a son, whom they named for Civil War general, George B.
McClellan. Zylphia got another shock from the announcement that her
son, Eli, was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. The birth in June 1877
of her son, William, when she was fifty-five, featured another major
event in the life of Mrs. Ruple.
Our area was not immune to the smallpox epidemic that occurred
during the Winter of 1862-63. A well-preserved letter written on March
1, 1863 by a local woman to her son who was serving in the Civil War,
said in part, "Mrs. Mason, old Mr. Mason's woman, had smallpox
about four weeks ago, and Dr. Rothrock was away. They sent for Mr.
Leonard, who pronounced it smallpox. Then some of the neighbors got
it, and also Mr. and Mrs. John Kunes and Mrs. Huff. Mrs. John
Bridgens has been exposed to it." Mrs. Bridgens, mentioned here, was
Mary Emma, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kunes. If she contracted the
disease, she most certainly recovered, because she lived until 1926.
However, Mr. Kunes died in August of that year, likely from the effects
of the disease, and Mr. Bridgens's younger brother, Marcus, and a
niece, Lena Mae Bonsell, died at that time.
In a letter dated March 29 the above mother wrote, "If you come
home I advise you not to stop at Milton or Williamsport on account of
smallpox." Earlier, on January 6, this same mother had written, "The
smallpox is in Eagleville again so I don't like to go to church." Records
show that two weeks afterward John and Hannah (Longshore) Ligget
lost their only son, John R., age four; the following week they lost their
only daughter, Laura, age two. Smallpox was likely the cause. The Lig-
gets had built and lived for many years in the house on Water Street
next to Dr. Rothrock. This house is presently occupied by Pauline
(Shuttleworth) Masden, widow of LeRoy. Mr. Ligget, who was a long-
time local justice of the peace, built the cluster of buildings that stood
in the triangle across from the present post office. The squire, a native
of Liberty Township, died in ,1914, three years after the death of his
wife, a native of Nashville, Ohio. He willed the triangle properties to
his favorite lodge, The Improved Order of Red Men. His death brought
an end in this area of a name that had been very popular ever since the
first Liggets came from Virginia many years earlier, accompanied by
some of their slaves. It should be mentioned that at least one Ligget,
Fisher, volunteered and fought to free all slaves.
Records reveal that some sort of epidemic may have plagued our area
a few years earlier. In 1855 Richard and Agnes (Nancarrow) Gummo,
natives of England, lost four children, ages four to ten, within a span of
two weeks. These deaths followed the loss of a child two years earlier.
The Gummo farm was on the dividing line between Beech Creek and
Bald Eagle Townships, with the house being in one township and the
barn in the other. The boundary actually passed through the center of
their spring, permitting one to obtain a good cold drink from whichever
township he chose.
Rebecca (Clark) Winslow died at age 40 on November 2, 1877, and
was buried at the Blanchard Church of Christ cemetery beside her hus-
band John, who had died more than two years earlier. On December 7,
1877 the Democratic Watchman, a Bellefonte newspaper, carried an
account written at Beech Creek, regarding the raising of the body of
Mrs. Winslow. An autopsy had been ordered by Clinton County of-
ficials because of the suspicion that an illegal operation may have
caused her death. The re-digging was under the supervision of county
officials, who, late in the morning, retired to the Eagleville Hotel to
mark time and have lunch while the grave diggers were completing
their task. Around noon time the diggers surfaced the body and left for
their homes, leaving the coffin unattended. When the officials returned
to claim the body they discovered that several curious boys had come
upon the scene and made their own inspection. A later edition of the
same newspaper carried an account of a guilty verdict against an area
doctor for an illegal operation. The verdict was being appealed by the
doctor, who seemed to have the support of a large number of citizens.
No effort was made by the authors of this history to determine if the
two incidents had any connection.
Daniel B. Malone, a grandson of Revolutionary War soldier, Richard
Malone, and, himself, a Civil War veteran, lived with his third wife,
Ruth (Yarnell) Zimmerman Malone, just south of the old crossroads in
the house now occupied by the Frank Meskell family. One day in late
October, 1898 Joseph W. Merrey, who lived on Maple Avenue, hitched
his team to the family carriage and was about to climb inside when the
horses became very frightened, possibly by a passing NYC train. They
suddenly took off down the road at high speed leaving Mr. Merrey
behind. When reaching the crossroads they turned toward Bald Eagle
Creek, and were immediately spied by Mr. Malone, who immediately
sensed what had happened and decided to do something. While run-
ning through the garden area at the south side of his house to reach the
road and stop or head off the horses, Mr. Malone fell to the ground, and
consequently the horses kept running. After crossing the bridge the
team and a PRR train reached the crossing at exactly the same time.
Both horses were killed and the carriage was destroyed. However, the
most unfortunate part of the whole episode is the fact that Mr. Malone
had suffered a heart attack and died on the spot where he fell.
Census records for the year 1810 indicate that Mathias Richards had
died about the year 1807 and his widow, Elizabeth, was in charge of
their combined farm and distillery operation. Assessment records of
that period reveal additional and interesting information. In 1804 Mr.
Richards had one slave. At the time of his death he had three slaves. By
1811 Mrs. Richards had reduced the slave holdings to one female
valued at forty dollars, which required a tax payment of twenty cents.
Previously printed historical accounts tell that in 1820 the wife of
Thomas Holland (Hollen) disappeared from their farm home near the
head of Masden Hollow, and that she was never heard from again.
Records show that Nancy, a later wife of Mr. Holland, died in 1845 at
age fifty-six, and there may have been at least one subsequent wife.
As stated elsewhere Rebecca Clark, wife of James Clark, was a
daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Moore) Quigley. Careful research
indicates that Rebecca had a sister, Margaret,' the wife of William
Counsil, who was bom locally to John and Rhoda (David) Counsil on
September 30, 1815. Other children of Nicholas Quigley were Ellen
Eliza, who married George Wensel and James Quigley, who married
Catharine Miller, and later Hannah Rutland, who still later became
the third wife of Levi Rupert. On May 18, 1861 James Clark and Wil-
liam Counsil were hunting in the mountains north of town. Mr. Clark's
gun was accidentally discharged killing Counsil instantly. In addition
to his wife, Margaret, Mr. Counsil was survived by sons, Martin,
Stewart, Irvin Q. and George. At that particular time Mr. Clark's own
family was complete except for his son, James Monroe Clark, born July
29 of that same year.
In the Fall of 1912 James Scott DeHaas, son of Charles Jacob and
Mary (Gardner) DeHaas, was enjoying his first year of big game
hunting at Beech Creek. Mistaken for a bear the fourteen-year-old boy
was shot and killed at Jose Valley, north of town. James Scott, a
grandson of James Riley DeHaas and his first wife, Mary (Bechdel)
DeHaas, and of Scott and Lydia (Graham) Gardner, carried the names
of both his grandfathers. A near-parallel of this accident in 1917 took
the life of Edward Johnson, age 43, son of William and Emily (Mapes)
Johnson. Grandparents were Nathan Johnson and his first wife, Rebec-
ca (Reeder) Johnson, and Edward and Eliza (Locke) Mapes. Funeral
services for young DeHaas and Mr. Johnson, both then out-of-town
residents, were held locally and each was buried at Hays-Fearon
cemetery among earlier ancestors.
As late as 1863 our ancestors were still living by rather primitive
methods. A letter written from a local farm home that year said in part,
"I am finishing this letter by candlelight." This, of course, did not im-
ply that the electricity had been shut off, or even that the kerosene sup-
ply had been exhausted. It simply meant that darkness had overtaken
the writer and she was finishing the letter by their most common
method of illumination.
The Evan and Phoebe Ashton family left Beech Creek very hurriedly
in March, 1863. One report said, "they disappeared like a skift of snow
at harvest time with a large sum of money, possibly twelve to fifteen
thousand dollars, that belonged to Mr. Ashton's employer, Buckley,
Saylor and Company."
A fire that destroyed Keyes Fanning Mill factory and Halls Planing
Mill in 1885 may have been our worst ever. A pumper had been hurried-
ly sent from Lock Haven on a railroad flat car. In descending a ramp at
the local station the pumper went out of control, killing one man and
critically injuring two others. Whether the two injured men survived
was not known when the story was published in the Philadelphia Times
on April 29 of that year.
A Main Street fire in 1889 burned the post office and Albert
Bergner's store. A fire in January, 1899 burned Henry Berry's shoe shop
and Richard BerryhnTs storeroom. At 2 a.m. on January 4, 1903 a fire
broke out in the Edward Sykes store on Main Street. In addition to the
Sykes store, a former Keyes building, it bumed the barber shop of Al
Williams, the Williams store building, the McKean building and John
McGhee's store and tenant house. Mr. Sykes, who then established his
store on Vesper Street was followed at that location by his brother,
Frank, and later his son, Milton, whose business was destroyed by fire
At about ten o'clock on an Autumn morning in 1925 the female
members of the Edwin R. Reed family, living at the corner on Main and
Grant Streets, came running into their front yard, wringing their hands
and screaming for help. Clouds of smoke were pouring from the Reed
Candy Factory at the rear of their lot. Within about twenty minutes the
Mill Hall fire truck rolled into town and was flagged-down at Grant
Street by William Fudge waving his handkerchief. The hose was drop-
ped and the pumper proceeded to the grist mill bridge and went into
action. However, it was too late to save any part of the building or its
contents, which included two trucks. Nevertheless, the barns on the ad-
joining properties of Lyle McKean and John Earon were saved.
One person died and seventeen were left homeless as the result of an
early morning fire at the eastern edge of town on December 10, 1937. A.
Dale Baney succumbed to bums caused by the blaze, which destroyed
the Baney and Ben Bitner homes. These houses were the inner two of a
row of four houses, familiarly known in an earlier day as the Joe
Over the years there has been a noticable change in the method of
selecting names for babies. At one time it was not uncommon to assign
the newborn the exact same name of a deceased older brother or sister.
There were two instances of this in the family of Joseph M. and Janetta
(David) Smith. Many girls received the same name as their mother. In
contrast to today our forerunners selected more names from among
ancestors and relatives, more from the Bible, more from U.S. presi-
dents and army generals, and more from ministers of the gospel. Girls
often received such names as Love, Charity, Gladness, True, Silence,
and Temperance. In one noticable case a girl was named Alabama.
Two children were found with the name Orange. A daughter born to
James and Ellen (Baird) David on July 4, 1850 was named
Independence Virginia. Another very appropriate name was that of
Centennial Haagen, born to John and Fayetta (Brungard) Haagen in
the year 1876. We must remember that in those days there were no
movie and TV personalities, and very few sports stars and glamour
magazines to provide a source of names.
In 1889 John Mapes, a son of Edward and Eliza (Locke) Mapes, his
wife, Mary J. (Clark) Mapes, the daughter of John T. and Mary
(Boone) Clark, and their children boarded their houseboat for a new
home elsewhere. The boat, which had been in readiness awaiting high
water, carried their necessary belongings, including a cow. Witnesses to
the boat as it moved past Beech Creek always retained a memory of the
cow peering through the stable door at the rear. The Mapes family
floated to the Chesapeake Bay and eventually settled in North
In January, 1905 Samuel Bitner, young son of Oliver and Cora (Mor-
timer) Bitner, had both legs cut off near the hips by an NYC freight
train. Sammy was "cuffing" a ride when his footing slipped, landing
him on the track beneath the wheels. In March of that year Sammy was
returned to his home from the Lock Haven Hospital.
An incident that took place in a deep well at the Samuel Gardner
residence on upper Water Street on Monday, July 10, 1911 brought a
Carnegie Medal to a Beech Creek man. The life of a Blanchard well dig-
ger, Lemuel Clark, was saved by the heroism of Frank A. Kunes, a son
of Samuel H. and Clarissa (Masden) Kunes, who lived nearby. Mr.
Kunes, after being alerted by his neighbor, Mrs. Mae (McCarthy) Mil-
ler, hurried to the scene and succeeded in doing what several others had
attempted, but failed. He quickly descended into the well, fastened a
rope around the unconscious body of Mr. Clark, and taking advantage
of his own robust physique, hoisted Clark to the surface. The task of
Mr. Kunes was compounded by the fact that he, too, was somewhat
overcome by the lack of oxygen deep in the well. Immediate treatment
by a doctor and another medically trained man standing by led to the
complete recovery of Mr. Clark. In 1933, at age 74, and still in apparent
good Health, Mr. Kunes lost his own life after being struck by an
automobile on the main street in Lock Haven. He had just come from
Avis where he had witnessed another win by his hometown baseball
In 1890 James R. Walz, a local bridge worker, lost his life when a
passing train caused supporting timbers to be dislodged. James was a
son of John G. Walz, a local saddler and a brother of Warren Walz, a
local tailor. He left a widow and two young children. In a bridge acci-
dent in 1906 James A. Hunter, age 46, a highly-skilled structural steel
worker who lived nearby in Liberty Township, lost his life. He was sur-
vived by his widow, Clara (Nestlerode) Hunter and a young family. A
son of John and Frederica (Smith) Hunter, he had grown up in our
Beech Creek area.
In August, 1920 Everett Hall Packer, a son of Asher and Nancy
(Hall) Packer, lost his life in a fall from the Beech Creek school
building. Mr. Packer, who was doing work on the steeple, lost his
footing and landed on the stone walk below. A short time before his fall
Packer had agreed with a niece living closeby that it was a dangerous
place for a seventy-four-year-old man to be working. He explained,
however, that he needed the money. Everett and his wife, Esther, a
daughter of Jesse Gladfelter and his second wife, Esther (Keister)
Gladfelter, are buried at the Church of Christ cemetery in unmarked
On May 26, 1916 a tragic accident occurred at the Pennsylvania
Railroad crossing adjacent to the Beech Creek station. Simeon Maines,
the station agent, was driving his 1910 model Maxwell touring car and
had reached the crossing just ahead of the fast moving flyer, but his car
stalled on the track. The car was completely demolished and Maines
was instantly killed. Charles A. Hayes of Howard, who was riding with
Mr. Maines, jumped clear of the vehicle in time to escape injury. Mr.
Maines, who was born June 27, 1882 in Clearfield County, left a widow,
the former Clara Batschelet, and six children counting one that was
born several months later. For many years afterward the mangled
automobile lay in public view at the old auto factory on Main Street.
Mr. Hayes later married Lola Bitner, daughter of George and Elizabeth
(DeLong) Bitner, and lived here. In early 1923 Hayes had another very
narrow escape. While lending his assistance at a burning double house
on Maple Avenue a brick fell from a chimney and struck him on the
forehead. Fortunately it was a glancing blow, but it left a scar that Mr.
Hayes carried the rest of his life. This particular house was the home of
the families of Harry and Mary (Smith) Masden and Luther and Mabel
On an afternoon in September, 1913 Leonard James McGhee, a son
of Oscar and Jemima (Haagen) McGhee, was killed by a train. Young
McGhee had walked up the railroad track from his farm home and
crossed the "iron bridge" over Bald Eagle Creek. His mission was to as-
Head-on collision of P.R.R. trains at McGhee's farm in 1916. Two were
sist his younger sister, Sarah, a pupil at Haagen School, in crossing the
bridge, a twice-daily chore of the sixteen-year-old boy. While sitting in
waiting near the track, Leonard apparently fell asleep. When aroused
by the oncoming "Chemung," a special private passenger train, he
raised his head, which was struck. Incidentally, in 1978 the previously
abandoned iron bridge was purchased by Howard McGhee, son of
Leonard's brother Chester, and the present occupant of the McGhee
An early drowning was that of Peter Uhl, age 29, who drowned in
Beech Creek on June 13, 1864. He was a son of Peter Uhl of Marsh
Creek. Another drowning in 1864 took the life of four-year-old George
Boyd Quigley. He was the son of James and Catharine (Miller)
Quigley. It was his grandfather, Michael Miller, who had died five
years before from having been given the wrong medicine by his doctor.
Little Boyd had been named for his uncle George Boyd Quigley, who,
with his wife, Matilda, later lived at the location of the Wesleyan
Church, parsonage. Incidentally, the elder Boyd, who should have been
mentioned in an earlier paragraph as an additional son of Nicholas and
Eliza, had another nephew as a namesake. He was George Boyd
Wensel, son of George and Ellen Eliza (Quigley) Wensel. The Wensel
boy died at age thirteen in 1863, likely of smallpox. This particular dis-
ease is suggested because our area had a serious epidemic of the pox at
that time. Furthermore, the Wensels were close neighbors of the Lig-
gets who had lost two children several weeks earlier.
In August, 1902 Floyd Swartz, five-year-old son of Marion and Laura
Ann (Jonas) Swartz, drowned in Beech Creek stream near his home. In
the Summer of 1936 Billy Trept of Shamokin, young grandson of Mrs.
Clara (Knarr) Hevner, drowned at the old swimming hole near the
mouth of Beech Creek. On August 27, 1963 a double drowning near the
Beech Creek bridge took the lives of two young boys; they were Billy
Merrill, age 9, son of Rev. and Mrs. William R. Merrill, and Billy's
cousin, Dale Horton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Horton of Sayre.
James "Peg" Rupert, son of Theodore and Elizabeth (Rine) Rupert,
had survived several encounters with freight trains before being killed
by an automobile. The results of Peg's dealings with trains ranged from
slight injuries to loss of a leg. Leonard Counsil, son of Warren and Alice
(James) Counsil, was much less fortunate, having been killed in his
first encounter with a train, Leonard, generally known at "Yardley,"
had almost reached his destination when struck. In 1919 Jesse Rupert,
age 18, son of Harry and Susan (Nestl erode) Rupert, was killed when he
attempted a freight train ride from Mill Hall. In 1935 Clarence "Miley"
Coffey was killed by a freight train. Mr. Coffey left a widow, Amanda
(Casher) Coffey and a young family.
On April 15, 1939, just two days short of his forty-seventh birthday,
Walter Glock lost his life when his truck was struck by a train at Mill
Hall. Walter, a son of Conrad and Fannie (Miller) Glock, left a widow,
the former Ellen DeLong and a young son, Clair. On November 25, 1944
Eva (Streck) Renninger, a daughter of John and Sarah (Llewellyn)
Streck, was killed while walking along the track near her home. Eva's
husband, Robert, while a locomotive engineer, had lost a leg in a train
wreck. In 1901 David Miller, a railroad employee, and the son of
Carpenter and Nancy Jane (Bowmaster) Miller, was killed while on
duty. At about that same time Percy Smith, also a railroad employee,
and a son of Charles and Caroline Rebecca (Graham) Smith, lost his
life in a fall from the top of a box- car. Another accidental death on the
railroad was that of Harry Heverly, son of Joseph and Susan (Bow-
master) Heverly in 1905.
An industrial accident took the life of Alvan Streck in 1906. He was a
son of John and Sarah (Llewellyn) Streck. In 1914 Elliot Gardner, a son
of Joseph and Amanda (Bickel) Gardner, was killed in a mine accident.
Elliot left a widow, Ethel (DeLong) Gardner (later Stevenson) and four
small children. James Swartz, son of Henry and Mary (Confer) Swartz,
was likewise killed by a mine cave-in in 1922. James's accident occur-
red only a short time after his marriage to widow Susan (McKean)
Fudge. Records show that Sudie's first husband died out of town in
1907, possibly in an accident.
In 1924 a head-on collision between a New York Central train and a
motor car carrying the Mapes station track maintenance crew resulted
in one death. When the men on the car suddenly realized that a crash
was imminent each of them, except William Bartley was able to jump
to safety. The impact threw Mr. Bartley to the top of the locomotive,
killing him instantly. On March 2, 1952 Arnold Killinger, accompanied
by his young son, was driving over Hubbard's crossing, about one
hundred yards from the Killinger home. The car was struck by a train
killing little Kenneth, age five.
In the early 1930's a wreck on the NYCRR at Mapes Station left two
dead and others injured. Two boys from a Hahn family, living at the
old Brady farmhouse nearby, not realizing the seriousness of such an
act, threw the switch leading to Mapes siding. By the time the engineer
on a fast-moving westbound freight train realized he was being side-
tracked, it was too late and the locomotive crashed into a string of
freight cars loaded with steel rails. The fireman and brakeman were
killed and the engineer was seriously injured.
Deaths caused by miscellaneous accidents include those of William
Shearer, son of Lemuel and Catharine (Wensel) Shearer, in 1907; Terry
Glossner, son of Frederick and Mary Delinda (Bitner) Glossner, in
1915; Dean Ellery Peters, son of Ellery and Blanche (Phillips) Peters,
in 1939; Harry Heverly, the son of Wesley and Sarah (Kunes) Heverly,
and the husband of Jeannette (Lindsey) Heverly, in 1955; and Elmer
Peters, the son of Elmer and Emma (Scantlin) Peters, and the husband
of Marie (Mann) Peters, in 1974.
After suffering for a number of years from a broken back received in a
fall from a scaffold, Carl Heimer died in 1971. He was a son of Charles
and Minnie (Whitehouse) Heimer, and the husband of Ethel (Phillips)
Heimer. On June 24, 1941, while building a porch and front
entranceway to the second floor apartment of the McKean building on
Main Street, William Eaton of Blanchard fell to his death. Mr. Eaton,
who was working with his father, George Eaton, lost his footing and
landed on his head on the concrete floor below. Mr. Eaton's wife, Mae,
a daugher of J. Irvin and Mabel (Hoffman) DeLong, was raised at
In April, 1944 Doris Rowe, ten-year-old daughter of Charles and
Hannah (Gum mo) Rowe, was killed by a car while crossing the main
highway at Haagen School, where she was a pupil. In 1946 Russell Mc-
Closkey, son of Alvin and Effie (Packer) McCloskey, and his wife, Zella
(Jodun) McCloskey, were both killed in an automobile accident just
east of town. Another instance of double deaths occurred farther east
on the same highway in 1960. D. Ross Bitner, son of David and Julia
(Rupert) Bitner, and Richard Conway, son of Ellsworth and Rhoda
(Fye) Conway, were killed when their automobile hit the side of a
bridge. Additional highway deaths include: Glenn Miller, the son of
Owen and Irene (Scantlin) Miller, and the husband of Dorothy (Bitner)
Miller; Floyd Haines, the son of Fount and Mary (Temons) Haines,
and the husband of Doris (Confer) Haines; William Dunlap, young son
of Raymond and Bessie (Hunter) Dunlap; Paul Bowers, son of Paul and
Evelyn (Kline) Bowers; and more recently, Vaughn Phillips, the son of
Amos and Edwina (Scantlin) Phillips, and the husband of Helen
A tragedy that occurred on a dark, rainy night in September, 1971
will not be soon forgotten. Richard Etters, son of Stanley and Edna
(Bechdel) Etters, had arranged to pick up two young football hopefuls
after their practice session at Bald Eagle-Nittany High School. The
boys were Billy Aurand, age 12, the son of William and Kathryn Ann
(Bechdel) Aurand, and Rickey Rupert, age 13, the son of Claude and
Genevieve (Geise) Rupert. All three were killed when, because of poor
visibility and slippery roads the Etters car and another vehicle collided
on a hill east of town. Mr. Etters left a widow, the former Carol Stiver,
now Bliler, and two young daughters.
We have had a number of military casualties in addition to those
mentioned in another chapter. Benjamin Franklin Ligget, son of Ben-
jamin and Sarah (Adams) Ligget, was killed in the Spanish-American
War and is likely buried in an unmarked grave in David cemetery. Kill-
ed in action in World War II were the following: Paul Rupert, son of
Fred and Ella (Mann) Rupert; Clarence Coffey, son of Clarence and
Amanda (Casher) Coffey, and the husband of Pauline (Eaton) Coffey,
now Leathers; and William Shearer, son of Frank and Lizzie (Robin-
son) Shearer. Two World War I soldiers, although not killed in action,
died before returning home. They were C. Rudolph Shilling, son of
Thomas and Mary (Wolfe) Shilling, and Edward Zerbe, the son of
Henry and Lydia Zerbe, and the husband of Ellen (Batschelet) Zerbe,
On June 8, 1892 an unusual type of accident took the life of fifty -six-
year-old Sarah (Brungard) Haagen, the wife of Saul Haagen. Sarah
and her daughter, Minerva, one of eleven children, were traveling the
mountain road from Mill Hall to their farm home in a horse-drawn car-
riage. The horses suddenly became frightened and broke into a fast gal-
lop. They pulled the carriage over a pile of rocks, throwing Mrs. Haagen
from the carriage and causing her death. Mr. Haagen died on
November, 19, 1899 while visiting his oldest son, John, in Washington
In late 1919 undertaker Edgar Thompson Bechdel purchased his first
motor-driven hearse. It was brought from Cincinnati by his son,
Claude. According to newspaper accounts at that time, it was driven
the entire distance of 550 miles without a mishap. The new vehicle was
then in readiness for the upcoming funerals of William DeHaas, Joseph
Brady, Mrs. Charles (Florence) White and Jonathan From, in this
order. However, the old horse-drawn carriage was kept in reserve for
days when bad roads precluded the use of the new conveyance.
When just a boy, age about twelve, Donald Rupert, son of Joseph G.
and Tillie (Heimer) Rupert, received, endorsed and cashed his first
check. The check, from New York Central Railroad, was an award for
reporting a defective rail joint. Shortly thereafter Don, accompanied by
his grandmother, made a trip to Lock Haven, where he spent the
money for his first long-pants suit.
A confrontation between a local physician and a local German-born
merchant at Cox's barber shop in June, 1917 was reported in area news-
papers at the time. According to accounts patriotism was running high
in the community and Dr. George H. Tibbins, along with eight other
locals, had just volunteered for World War I service. The doctor was so
enraged by remarks made by the merchant that he sprang from the
chair where he was being shaved, and in rapid succession, placed
punches to the nose of the German sympathizer. Following the incident
local people placed American flags on the store of the German with
threats that any attempt to remove them would lead to serious trouble
Three months before the national census was taken in 1870 a son was
born to Casper and Philomena "Phoebe" (Eckert) Peter in Beech Creek
Township. In 1949 this son, William C, was named "National Father
of the Year." This honor gave him nationwide publicity. Mr. Peter and
his first wife, Emma (Gummo) Peter, a daughter of John E. and
Elizabeth (Stephen) Gummo, had seven children; Mr. Peter and his
second wife, Mary Mae (Walker) Myers Peter, a daughter of Cyrus Jef-
frey and Mary J. (McCloskey) Walker, had twelve children. Eighteen
of these nineteen grew to adulthood, and most of them had large
families of their own. Since this country has had many large families,
especially in Mr. Peter's day, it seems appropriate to conclude that the
size of his family was only one factor in this citation. His was a family
where industriousness and thrift were conveyed from the parents to the
children. Each learned that self reliance was best for the individual and
best for the country. In short, Mr. Peter and his wives provided a
wholesome and inspiring family background. Mr. Peter died on
December 12, 1955 at age 85. Fortunately our area, like many other
farming areas of Pennsylvania, was settled by hardworking people of
the type of Mr. Peter, mostly of German descent.
In addition to the sources previously outlined there was also a
tendency to name newborns for the doctor who brought them into the
world. Because of the general popularity of such names as William,
Henry and Joseph there is no way to determine how many babies may
have been named for Doctors William P. Rothrock, Henry H. Mothers-
baugh or Joseph E. Tibbins. Yet there is one certainty — Joseph Tib-
bins Gunsallus, son of David and Lydia (Robb) Gunsallus. Tibbins, as
he was always known, married Edith Williams, daughter of Henry C.
B. Williams and his first wife, Albina (Brickley) Williams. A very glar-
ing example is the name, Saylor, given to many baby boys in honor of
Dr. Saylor J. McGhee, who incidentally, had been named for Samuel
Saylor, an industrialist who came to our area in the middle 1800's.
Another popular given name was that of McDowell, which likewise
needs little explanation. Those of us who did not know Dr. P. McDowell
Tibbins, have, no doubt, heard of him.
The name of Tibbins Gunsallus in the above paragraph is a reminder
of the general mispronunciation and incorrect spelling of some of our
family names over the years. The Gunsallus name has been pronounced
as though spelled "Kunsawl." The late Ira Gunsallus of Liberty
Township was a son of James and Sarah (Masden) Gunsallus, and an
uncle of Tibbins Gunsallus. When Ira and Abigail Lucas of Unionville,
Centre County were married on January 14, 1868 his name was listed in
the Centre County newspapers as "Console." In 1870 Robert and
Nancy Gunsallus, children of John and Martha (Linn) Gunsallus, were
staying temporarily with their uncle and aunt, Edward and Elizabeth
(Linn) DeHaas in Beech Creek. Their names were listed by the census
taker as "Consol." In 1860 John and Sarah (Llewellyn) Streck were liv-
ing in the mining settlement of Rock Cabin north of Beech Creek. Their
home was very close to the home of John Reville, for whom the later
community of Reveltown was named. Also living close by were Sarah's
parents, John and Catharine Llewellyn. The census taker listed the
Streck name as "Striker." In 1870 the census enumerator listed the
name as "Strick." To this day it is not uncommon for members of this
clan to be referred to as "Strikes." The Heverly name was long
pronounced as though there was no "H." Our first Heverly, who had
settled in this area before 1820 had actually changed his name from
Everly to Heverly prior to his coming here. That the prior spelling was a
factor in the mispronunciation seems questionable.
Casper Peter came from Germany some time before 1860. To agree
with the pronunciation and spelling of the name generally applied by
the public many of Casper's descendants have added "s" to the end of
the name. Incidentally a Casper Peters came from Germany before
1820 and settled in Boggs Township, Centre County. Whether this
Casper had added an "s" after arriving here is not known. Records
reveal that as early as the 1830's, and likely earlier, our Quigley
families were referred to as "Quiggle," a spelling and pronunciation
that had been adopted by some of their cousins elsewhere. Our census
taker in 1900, Robert Clark, himself a Quigley descendant, gave com-
fort to those who misspelled and mispronounced the name. Mr. Clark
listed both his uncle James Quigley and his aunt Matilda Quigley,
widow of Boyd, as "Quigle." However, judging by his spelling of the
names of the others it may have been merely a case of poor spelling.
There are various instances of early families acceding to a change in the
spelling of their names to agree with spellings given by employers, as-
sessors, tax collectors, census takers, store keepers, etc. For reasons un-
known several families who descended from Andrew and Martha Linn,
both buried at Hays-Fearon cemetery, changed their name to "Lynn."
In more recent years some of the descendants of John and Susanna
(Nestlerode) Bitner, both buried in the Nestlerode cemetery in Liberty
Township, have added an extra "t." Might this be in respect to their
early ancestor, Hans Gorg Boettner, who had migrated from Germany
either prior to or after his marriage to Elizabeth Hershbarger!
The burning of the Beech Creek railroad station of the Pennsylvania
Railroad Company on August 1, 1924 was generally viewed as a case of
arson. The company immediately set up improvised quarters in an old
box car. However, local benefits were thereafter reduced to passenger
and mail service only. A new, full-size, manned depot was then built at
the Eagleville stop, and some years later local service was discon-
In 1965 Guy A. Stull, a son of Frank and Grace (Hoffman) Stull and
the husband of Hilda (Myers) Stull, lost his life while at work. When a
crane broke he was crushed beneath a load of steel at the Jersey Shore
Steel Company. In that same year Guy's nephew, Gerry, son of Bernice
(Stull) Hedges, was killed in an automobile accident, and his brother,
Clifford, died suddenly. The death of the mother one year earlier, the
death of the father one year later and the death of their aunt, Eva
(Marr) Stull, in that same year made the mid-1960's stand out as a
tragic period for the Stull family. In September, 1944 Harold H. Miller,
a cousin of the Stull brothers, became a World War II casualty while
serving with the U. S. Paratroopers. Harold was a son of Omar Miller,
who now lives at Beech Creek, and the late Mae (Stull) Miller. The
Millers were former residents of Blanchard.
Edward Scantlin and his wife, Ellen Susan, a daughter of G. Fulton
and Emeline (Bitner) Miller, operated a farm on the ridges north of
town. In May, 1895 Mr. Scantlin was killed when kicked by a horse. He
was survived by his widow, seven daughters, including Edwinna, only
one day old, and one son, Loren, age two. Newspaper accounts later
Traffic was maintained on the old bridge while the present bridge at the
edge of town was being constructed.
that year told of the voluntary assemblage of neighboring farmers to
perform the harvesting chores. Silas Bitner, son of Abraham and Mary
(Leathers) Bitner, was a former occupant of this same farm. In May,
1877 Mr. Bitner, age thirty-eight, the husband of the former Lavina
Leonard, died from poison which entered his system while applying
toxic spray. Three of the Bitners' seven children had died in the five
years preceding Mr. Bitner's death and two more died in the seven
Frank Furl, son of J. Thomas and R. Jane "Jennie" (Ammerman)
Furl, a locomotive fireman, died at age 24 on April 29, 1902 from burns
he received from a steam pipe explosion.
In July, 1971 Carl Mann, young son of Walter J. and Shirley
(Spangler) Mann, was killed when he ran into the path of an
automobile just east of the borough.
Our community received a tremendous shock on Wednesday, July 2,
1980. Around noontime on that day Bruce A. Bechdel, age 44, son of
Dorothy (Bechdel) Bechdel and the late Claude H. Bechdel, was struck
and killed by a truck. Bruce, who had operated the Bechdel Funeral
Home following the death of his father in 1963, was hit while standing
along the main highway east of town near an old farm home he was
restoring. At the time of his death Bruce was leading a very busy and
useful life. In addition to his undertaking duties he was a full-time high
school teacher. His extra activities were directed chiefly toward his in-
terests in history and antiques. He was president of the Clinton County
Historical Society and was serving a number of other organizations in
various capacities. In addition to his mother and wife, the former Helen
Fontana, he was survived by two sons and one daughter. Just two days
prior to his death Bruce had made plans with the authors of this history
for a visit to the old, dilapidated Nestlerode Cemetery in Liberty
Township. Having just learned of the existence of this cemetery he
wanted to view the old markers. This alone is enough to confirm his in-
terest in area history.
At noontime on September 19, 1929, when cashier J. A. Haugh was
alone at the Beech Creek Bank, three men, already familiar with the
layout, descended upon the bank in a daring daylight robbery. Mr.
Haugh was held at gunpoint while the robbers scooped up the money;
then he was locked inside the vault while they made their getaway.
Mr. Haugh soon escaped from the vault by manipulating the controls
from the inside. Suspecting that the trio was heading westward, he im-
mediately alerted the Howard bank. Dr. George H. Tibbins, a member
of our bank's first board, and a brother of its founder and president, Dr.
P. McDowell Tibbins, was at the Howard bank when the call came in.
Mr. Tibbins, being unsuccessful in stopping the robbers as they sped
through Howard, immediately solicited the aid of Frank Williams, a
brother of Beech Creek's bank director, Shuman S. Williams. Surmis-
ing the route they might take, Tibbins and Williams took a short cut to
a point on the highway leading from Bald Eagle Valley to Snow Shoe.
As the robbers passed their hiding place they fired a shot to disable
their vehicle. Either from damages inflicted upon a tire or the steering
mechanism, or merely from the unsuspected gunshot itself, the driver
lost control. The car crashed into the side of a concrete bridge. The
driver (Delaney) was fatally injured. The other two (Shope and Kline)
were forced to flee on foot. Concealed in Delaney's pockets and clothing
was found $12,000. The remaining $270 of their loot was recovered that
evening when Shope and Kline were found hiding in a railway boxcar at
Milesburg. Delaney died at Bellefonte hospital that same evening.
The late Joseph Allen, a highly-respected army major, who lived last
in Prince George County, Virginia, often recalled being questioned
regarding the Beech Creek Bank robbery. On that particular day Mr.
Allen was hitchhiking through our valley on his way from Fort Sam
Houston, Texas to his home in New York State. The police, in their
search for the two men who had fled, were not overlooking any leads,
and Mr. Allen, strolling along the highway, became a suspect. After
routine questioning he was released. Mr. Allen, a friend of Frederick
and Doris (Bechdel) McDermott, died in early February, 1978.
The bridge over Bald Eagle Creek at the mouth of Beech Creek, a
huge wooden structure without cover, was washed out in 1876. It has
been reported that in that same flood most of the lumber at the local
saw mills was washed away, several houses were destoyed and a child
was drowned. In 1877 a steel bridge was built to replace the bridge that
was destroyed the previous year. In February, 1975 this steel bridge fell
in during a period of high water. The collapse was the result of an un-
dermining of the first pier caused by the onrushing waters of the fast-
flowing Beech Creek stream. Prior to the construction of Foster Joseph
Sayers Dam a higher level of water in Bald Eagle had slowed the flow of
Beech Creek's waters long before reaching the pier. The disappearance
in recent years of the build-up, or delta in the middle of the stream at
its mouth was a clear indication of the increased velocity at that point.
However, it appears that nobody was aware of the erosion beneath the
On a bright Saturday morning in the Spring of 1978 the home of
John and Helen (Streck) Miller on east Main Street was the scene of
benevolence in action. Shortly after daybreak a group of men, about
half of whom were sons and grandsons of James and Olive (Ellenberger)
McKivison, had assembled at this residence. Their purpose was to
place new roof shingles, an undertaking that Mr. Miller, then suffering
an illness from which he never did recover, had been deeply concerned.
In spite of his condition, the sound of steady hammering was sweet
music to Mr. Miller, who was very pateful for what was taking place.
The entire job was completed by noontime and each of about twenty-
two men should have had the feeling of providing more beneficence in
a half day than many of us bestow in a year.
In many ways our area benefits from the advances in technology and
science and the planning that have been made in the last half century.
Today we watch happenings around the world from our livingroom
chair. We cook our meals on stoves that need no smoke stack. We
refrigerate our foodstuffs without the need for an ice man. We use the
old privy as a storage building if, perchance, it is still standing. We
need to go only short distances to reach super highways and airports.
However, conditions may have deteriorated in some respects. Fifty
years ago the Philadelphia daily newspaper regularly reached town by
railway express at 8:45 A. M. each day, Monday through Saturday, in-
cluding all holidays. At that time a letter mailed to Mill Hall at 9:30 A.
M. reached its destination one and one-half hours later. Even well after
that time a house could be left unlocked day and night and even during
brief absences with no fear of an intruder or robber. The tramp, on his
endless journey, was served a meal on the doorstep, if not at the family
table, with little or no apprehension on the part of anyone. Today
anyone with the appearance and movement resembling a tramp must
be viewed with suspicion. TIMES HAVE CHANGED FOR BETTER
AND FOR WORSE.
Success Cases Among
In addition to those named elsewhere in this story, a number of our
people have achieved success in one way or another. Henry C. Bol-
linger, son of Christian and Eliza (Kirk) Bollinger reached the rank of
colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. Bollinger and his wife,
Mary, a daughter of Joseph M. and Janetta (David) Smith, spent their
latter years at Gettysburg, South Dakota. Dr. Britton Samuel Hall
(1857-1894), son of Samuel and Sarah (McCloskey) Hall, became a
highly regarded physician in the Lock Haven area before his untimely
death. He is buried at Hays-Fearon Cemetery. Dr. Saylor J. McGhee,
son of John and Julia (Harleman) McGhee, took a leading part in many
Lock Haven civic, church and business activities, in addition to his
busy medical practice. Saylor's nephew, Dr. Harrison J. McGhee
(1888-1968), son of George C. and Minnie (Brady) McGhee, had a very
similar career in Kane. The accomplishments of Dr. P. McDowell Tib-
bins and his dedication to the community where he was born and
reared, are extolled in other chapters of this story. The medical careers
of Dr. Tibbins, his brother, Dr. George H. Tibbins, and their father, Dr.
J. E. Tibbins are highlighted in chapter four.
George F. Hess (1876-1959), son of George D. and Anna Frances
(Furst) Hess, very ably served our community in more ways than this
space can list. In 1898, following his graduation from Lafayette College,
Mr. Hess assumed the position of local correspondent for the Lock
Haven Express, relieving his father, who had performed the chore since
1882. A collection of the Hess semi-weekly news items could very well
serve, in itself, as a history of our area. During his time George F. Hess
became the "Mr. Beech Creek," and a replacement for him has not yet
come along. Jesse L. Brady (1862-1952) and Clarence A. Brady (1871-
1947), sons of Joseph and Sarah (Bitner) Brady, became ministers of
the Christian Church, with Jesse eventually settling in California and
Clarence in Michigan. Nevin McCloskey (1894-1954), son of Harry L.
and Clara (Gephart) McCloskey, served many years in various loca-
tions as Methodist minister. Ira McCloskey, uncle of Nevin, and son of
Abner and Abigail (Mason) McCloskey, made his mark in the
educational field. In the 1890's Ira left his teaching position in Liberty
Township to become the first principal of the Howard High School. He
later became principal of Flemington High School, and still later began
a long tenure as superintendent of Clinton County Schools.
In 1895 Graffius Hubbard, son of Joseph Hubbard and his first wife,
Harriet (Weaver) Hubbard, resigned his teaching position at Snow
Shoe to become principal of the Patton, Pa. High School. While in the
field of education Mr. Hubbard became a proficient orator and later
served for many years as orator for the Clinton County Pomona Grange.
Charlotte Hubbard, a daughter of Joseph and his second wife, Sarah
(Packer) Hubbard, taking advantage of her musical talent became a
highly-regarded piano instructor, first at Beech Creek and later at
Jersey Shore. Sarah Hubbard was a daughter of Joseph and Margaret
(Robb) Packer. Malcolm Johnson (1896-1976), son of G. Mack and
Sadie (Miller) Johnson, became superintendent of mines for Harbison
Walker Refractories at Monument. Following retirement he returned to
farming in the Beech Creek area. The senior Mr. Johnson, a son of
Nathan Johnson and his second wife, Mary Jane (DeHaas) Johnson,
had been named for Civil War General George B. McClellan, but later
shortened his name.
In professional baseball Blaine W. Kunes, son of Frank and Carrie
(Woodward) Kunes, was a long-time player in the St. Louis Cardinal
organization, and later managed several minor league teams. Perry M.
Mann (1914-1971), son of Frank and Anna (Dickey) Mann, was officer
in charge of the Chambersburg barracks at the time of his retirement
from the Pennsylvania State Police. Elwood L. Rohrbaugh, son of I. J.
and Grace (Keiler) Rohrbaugh, recently retired as superintendent of
Clearfield schools. Berwyn L. Miller, son of Charles W. and Mae (Mc-
Carthy) Miller, held a number of important government positions prior
to and following a brief tenure as controller in the Pennsylvania
Department of Commerce. G. David Hess, son of George F. and Mary
(Quigley) Hess has written and published several books of poems, some
of which depict former residents, while others describe objects of in-
terest within the community. In his 1979 book, "Woven Nights and
Days," Mr. Hess dedicated the following poem to the authors of this
Beech Creek's Four-Wheel-Drive and Four-Wheel-Steer Truck
Eleven days before I got to Earth
Upon May twenty-sixth, nineteen-fifteen,
The Beech Creek Truck and Auto Company —
Through stock sale for one hundred thousand grand,
Financed to make the heavy-duty trucks
Upon the space that Spotts's store takes up —
Had one truck climb Lock Haven's courthouse steps
To demonstrate its ruggedness and power,
Photographed for a calendar to show.
At least one other truck was done, a third,
Perhaps, but never cars assembled, ere
Bankruptcy hit the proud investment five
Years later, from no sales yet bills — so Dave
Packer recalled the early enterprise
• Stockholders dreamed would make some of them rich
From four-wheel-drive and four-wheel-steer design.
Dr. Howard Peters, son of Elmer and Marie (Mann) Peters, and Dr.
Malcolm Heimer, son of Carl and Ethel (Phillips) Heimer, have dis-
tinguished themselves in the field of science. Mr. Peters recently com-
pleted the requirements for an additional doctorate, this in the field of
law. He is now specializing in patent law. Wayne Miller, son of Robert
and Eleanor (Bechdel) Miller, has been promoted to high management
positions in the F. W. Woolworth chain. Barry Lingle, son of Harry A.
and Vera (Thompson) Lingle, is west coast manager of Mobil's
company-operated service stations. Clair J. Glock, son of Walter and
Ellen (DeLong) Glock, was a civil engineer with the New York Central
Railroad at the time of his death in 1967. Joseph D. Clark, son of W.
Harold and Lula (Bechdel) Clark, followed his father's footsteps into
the firebrick industry, and is presently in an important management
position with General Refractories Co. Allan W. Lingle, son of Richard
and Mabel (Brady) Lingle, has served in a number of high government
positions in Alaska, including one term as state director of banking,
finance and insurance. The latter three, Glock, Clark and Lingle, grew
up together, each served in WWII, and each graduated from Penn State
University, after which Mr. Lingle went on to receive a degree in law at
Many of the herein named persons, who have been singled out as suc-
ceeding in their particular endeavors, were products of our rural
schools. The authors of this story were never convinced that the "Little
Red Schoolhouse" was not providing a quality background for higher
education. Their classmates in high school and beyond were from both
rural and graded schools, with the rural-trained students equally or
better prepared for advance training. In spite of the lack of indoor
toilets and piped drinking water rural schools had one big advantage.
The lower grade pupils, especially those who were inclined toward
learning, could gain much from the teachings and recitations in the
higher grades. During the 1950's, when the reformers reached a peak in
Two World War I soldiers, Doctors P. McDowell Tibbins and George H.
Tibbins, flank their father, Dr. J.E. Tibbins, who is wearing his Civil
closing and consolidating schools, two products of our one-room, un-
graded schools, both already named, were destined to be the top stu-
dents in their high school graduating class. One of our rural-school-
trained pupils, then living in a foster home, is currently a successful
physician in the Philadelphia area, and many others became very suc-
cessful in such fields as nursing and teaching.
Following a period of duty as an MP in the Marine Corps, Gary
Kunes, son of William and Vivian (Fravel) Kunes, entered police work
in Washington, D. C. He has since served as officer and detective in the
State College borough police force, and is now deputy sheriff of Centre
County. It is widely predicted that Gary will rise still further in the
field of law enforcement. Following his graduation from Bucknell
University in 1931 Harold A. Robb, son of Leonard and Edith (Gloss-
ner) Robb, was elected principal of the local high school, a position he
held for about ten years.
James A. Wensel (1857-1918), son of George and Ellen Eliza
(Quigley) Wensel, a former schoolteacher, became deputy
prothonotary of Clinton County. He later became deputy county
treasurer, and still later a prominent figure in the banking business at
Avis. Kenneth R. Brungard, who was born to Louden D. Brungard and
his second wife, Minnie (Breining) Brungard, at Beech Creek in 1923,
followed his father's footsteps in the banking business. Kenneth began
his banking career at Hughesville, later served as officer-in-charge and
president of the Citizens Bank of Muncy, and currently is a vice presi-
dent of Fidelity National, a large chain of banks with headquarters in
William Fearon, who was born in Beech Creek Township on
December 16, 1815, followed civil engineering for the four years prior to
1840, at which time he took up farming near Salona. In 1843 he was
elected Clinton County prothonotary and register and recorder, a com-
bination position at that time. In 1854 he was elected to the first of two
terms in our State legislature. In 1876 he was appointed to complete the
term of Lock Haven alderman, G. W. Bachelder, lately deceased, and
in 1877 was elected to a full term in that position.
James David (1828-1892), a local native, and Joseph Hubbard (1825-
1906), who had come here from Bald Eagle Township, both served as
county commissioners in the late 1800's. John McGhee, a son of John
and Elizabeth (Linn) McGhee, served as a Clinton County auditor
from 1890 to 1893. Robert Clark, son of James and Rebecca (Quigley)
Clark, was a county sealer of weights and measures in the early 1900's.
Robert W. Bullock, son of C. E. "Dix" Bullock and his first wife, Mary
(Mann) Bullock, was a long-time Clinton County Register and
Recorder. Sheldon Bitner, son of Christie and Catharine (Barthol-
omew) Bitner, was county veterans representative for a number of
years. Joseph Berry, son of H. Clair and Mabel (DeHaas) Berry, was
Clinton County highway superintendent during most of the 1970's. In
1979 Frederick D. Lingle, son of Harry A. and Vera (Thompson) Lingle,
and a Lock Haven attorney, was elected by a large majority vote to the
position of Clinton County's district attorney.
It is observed that in addition to our natives who "made good" a
number of persons who had come here from elsewhere established
themselves as first-class citizens. A perfect example is Joseph W. Mer-
rey, a- native of England, who came to this country at age twenty. After
engaging in a number of business enterprises elsewhere in our county,
and after his marriage to widow, Eliza (Magnus) Bailey, he settled in
Beech Creek. Here he served as justice of the peace, school director and
borough councilman. During the early 1880's he served briefly in the
state legislature. In 1888 he was a delegate to the Democratic National
Convention that renominated President Grover Cleveland, who later
lost the election to Benjamin Harrison. It seems reasonable to assume
that Mr. Merrey was responsible for the planting of maple trees on Mill
Street, all the way from Main Street to its southern end. Some time
after the planting of these trees, most of which are still standing, the
name of the street was officially and very appropriately changed to
Maple Avenue. Mill Street was originally named for the large sawmill
near the end of the street. This street was laid out to start at the
borough line near the old covered bridge, continue in a generally
northern direction, cross Main Street and end at the location of the
present railroad bed.
As mentioned elsewhere, Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull -Martin
became a presidential candidate on the Women's Rights ticket in 1872.
If not born here, Victoria was born just before her family moved to
Beech Creek, or very shortly after they moved from here. When Belle -
fonte Academy was established by an act of the State Legislature in
1805, three men from our township were named to the board. They were
John Fearon, Matthew Allison and James Boyd.
Following a very successful career as a high school and college
teacher and athletic coach, W. Max Bossert turned to government.
Max served several terms as county commissioner prior to his tenure in
the State House of Representatives. Max and his wife, Edith (Hoy)
Bossert, an accomplished artist, live on the old Fearon farm, in the area
where our first permanent settlers located. Dr. George H. Messerly
(1911-1981) was born here to Conrad and Estelle (McCloskey) Messer-
ly. He graduated from Lock Haven High School, earned his doctorate
at Pennsylvania State University, and had a distinguished career in
fields of science.
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William and LaFrances (Strong) Parsons were early residents of our
town. When their third son was born here on August 10, 1844 he was
given the same name as his father. Following graduation from Yale in
1868 young William entered law school, and received his degree the fol-
lowing year. Shortly thereafter he was admitted to the Clinton County
bar, and later, following an appointment as district attorney, was
elected to that same position.
James Chatham was born on April 24, 1814 in what is now Wayne
Township in our county. Prior to and following his marriage to Henriet-
ta DeHaas, a daughter of John P., Ill, and Hannah (Morrison) DeHaas,
he distinguished himself both locally and county wide. While still a
young man, according to historical accounts, he was a leader in local
church work. Following one term as our county sheriff he operated a
local store for two years. At age forty this ambitious gentleman decided
to enter the field of law, and two years later began full practice. In 1861
he was elected a member of the Pennsylvania House of Represen-
tatives. The local chapter of the DAR was named for his grandfather.
Giles-W. Halenbake came to our area from New York state and mar-
ried Frances "Fannie" Johnson, a daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah
(Willis) Johnson, early area settlers. In 1850 Mr. Halenbake was
elected to a three year term as a county auditor. The Ross Library in
Lock Haven was named for Anna (Halenbake) Ross, a daughter of the
Halenbakes. Another county auditor was Jacob Bitner, who was
elected to the position after moving from our area to Nittany Valley. He
was a son of Christian and Nancy (Dice) Bitner. His wife Nancy was a
daughter of Samuel and Sarah (McCloskey) Hall.
John McGhee of Liberty Township married Julia Harleman, a
daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth (Stams) Harleman of our township,
and settled here. In 1890 John was elected to a full term as a county
auditor. As is indicated elsewhere, John, an outstanding, public
spirited citizen, held numerous township and borough offices prior to
and following his tenure as auditor. The McGhees' house, built on
Main Street in 1854, is currently occupied by Dorothy Hunter, a
daughter of John H. and Etta (Mann) Hunter. It may be the oldest
house in town.
Old newspaper accounts plus information provided by a great
grandson, James Bobb of Hershey, reveal that Cline Quigiey, son of
Michael and Mary (Clark) Quigiey, served at least one term as a
Clinton County associate judge. Cline is best remembered as a success-
ful lumberman and as a proprietor of the local hotel. As noted
elsewhere he served as postmaster during the administration of James
Buchanan. His nephew, Henry Quigiey, later became judge of Centre
Lodges, Organizations and
Over the years many of our organizations were joint efforts with
Liberty Township, Beech Creek Township and Beech Creek Borough
participating. An excellent example is the Grand Army of the Republic
(GAR) Post 302, which was organized in Blanchard by Civil War
veterans following that war. The post was named for a Beech Creek
Township soldier who was killed in battle. He was George Harleman,
son of Jesse and Elizabeth (Starns) Harleman. Following World War I
Beech Creek Post 623 of the American Legion was organized and
named for two Liberty Township soldiers who had likewise lost their
lives in battle. They were Howard W. Bitner, son of Howard and Sarah
Frances (Johnson) Bitner and Joseph R. Bechdel, son of Jacob C. and
Lydia (DeHaas) Bechdel. Howard W. Bitner's father, also named
Howard, had died the same year that young Howard was born.
However, the boy later gained a step-father, Alfred Ferguson Bitner, a
cousin of his father. Our churches were organized on an
intercommunity basis and on several occasions in earlier years our com-
munities were served by one post office.
A Beech Creek chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
(IOOF) was chartered in 1850. However, this group and their sister
lodge of Good Templars both disbanded after a fire destroyed their
meeting place in 1855. Around 1874 the Patriotic Order Sons of
America (POS of A) established a local camp. At a later date a
companion organization, the Patriotic Order of America (PO of A) was
formed for women. In November, 1874 the Grange of Patrons of
Husbandry was organized. At that time the store of James Clark on
Water Street became affiliated with the lodge, catering particularly to
grange members. The local grange is still an active group. Also around
1874 the Washingtonians, a national group opposed to the sale of intox-
icating beverages, developed a strong organization in Beech Creek.
The Lewanee Tribe, local lodge of the Improved Order of Red Men
(IORM), was started at an early date and retained its charter until just
several years ago, when the remaining members became members of
the State lodge. Scouting for both boys and girls has been a "come-and-
go" situation ever since the first troops were organized about eleven
years after the scouting movement of England was introduced in
America in 1910. Donald Glossner, a local school teacher and son of
Albert and Ida Blanche (Miller) Glossner, was the local promoter and
first scout master.
In the 1930's Thomas F. Kesainger and David M. Packer, aided
principally by Russell J. Spangler and William H. Vonada of
Blanchard, aroused enough interest to form the Beech Creek-
Blanchard Volunteer Fire Company. Robert E. Murray was elected
president of the organization. In March, 1939 Fire Chief Kessinger and
Mr. Packer drove to Muncy to purchase a used truck, which, after
conversion, became our first fire truck. In reality it was just a hose
truck equipped with ladders and additional fire-fighting equipment.
However, with the very high pressure in the local water lines, we were
capable of throwing a stream to match many pumpers of that day. In
the latter 1940's a renewed local effort resulted in the construction of
the two-story masonry building that we know today. Subsequently a
very active ambulance association was organized as an adjunct to the
fire company. The original building, to which an annex was completed
in the early 1970's, now houses two pumpers, a water truck and two
ambulances. During 1979, a typical year, the local fire company
responded to 40 calls. 8 were within Beech Creek Borough; 10 were in
Beech Creek Township; 15 were in Liberty Township; 4 were in Curtin
Township; and 3 were beyond the area.
A very worthwhile organization that went the way of many
organizations, good or otherwise, was the Beech Creek-Blanchard
Community Service Organization. During its life it sponsored many
commendable projects, including a community Christmas tree,
lighting contests, street markers in both towns, scouting programs and
the annual Christmas Sing, which has continued ever since. The Senior
Cheer Club, an inter-community group of senior citizens who are
staying young while growing old, meets once a month most of the year
for a friendly get-together, to enjoy a planned program and to make
plans for future events, sight-seeing tours, shopping trips, etc.
The Beech Creek-Blanchard Memorial Day Parade, organized
shortly after the Civil War, has changed considerably in appearance
and routes over the years, but the tradition remains. In recounting
early parades our predecessors usually mentioned the names of Uriah
Kitchen, Peter Hoffman and Campbell McCloskey. If, at early morning
during the late 1800's, these three gentlemen were observed walking to
town in full Civil War regalia, it had to be Decoration Day. At that time
it was customary for the parade to form in Blanchard. Following a full
coverage of that town the paraders would sit down to a bountiful meal
at Quigley's Hall, which had been converted to serve especially as a
meeting place for the GAR. In the afternoon the parade would re-form
in Beech Creek and cover all the local streets. Even in advanced years
of age Kitchen, Hoffman and McCloskey and most of their comrades
were eager and ready for this day of marching. In those days the parade
was usually led by the local fife and drum corps, with all fraternal
organizations of both towns in the line of march. After its organization
the Blanchard Cornet Band took its place in this annual event. The
IORM (Red Men) were in full Indian attire and other lodge members
wore attractive, identifying" shoulder epaulets. The local American
Legion post, after its inception, assumed responsibility for the parade
and made provision for the transportation of the few remaining "Old
Soldiers", all then in advanced years of age.
Uriah Kitchen, who had also served in the Mexican War, was
selected to unveil the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Lock Haven
when it was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1909. Harry Kitchen,
youngest son of Uriah, married Josephine Watkins, a sister of Rachel
McCloskey, the wife of Harry's uncle, Campbell McCloskey. The
Watkins sisters were daughters of Samuel Morrison and Nancy Jane
Watkins. Ellen, another sister of the Watkins girls, married Leslie
Cottle, whose family had come from Maine when he was still a boy.
Campbell McCloskey, a son of Joseph and Agnes McCloskey, was a
great, great grandson of the widely-known Revolutionary War soldier,
Members of the Beech Creek Military Fife and Drum Corps with their tal-
lyho in background.
Cleary Campbell, who had married Ann Gamble at St. James Church
in Lancaster on February 23, 1761. Sarah (McCloskey) Kitchen, wife of
Uriah, was a great, great granddaughter.
Since the closing of the Presbyterian Church the building on Main
Street has been utilized to promote youth activities. The sponsoring
group, which includes people from Liberty Township, established the
Friendship Community Center. In late 1978 a committee was formed to
affect the establishment of a library. After considerable effort the
Friendship Community Library, an outpost of the Ross Library of Lock
Haven, opened in 1980 in a portion of the Community Building.
One organization that has endured is the local parent-teacher group
established in the 1920's as the Parent-Teacher Association. Some
years later this group, after voting against affiliation with a national
group of the same name, was called an "outlaw group" by a national
organizer. Our association, which escaped the outlaw term by later
changing its name to Parent-Teacher Organization, is a close second to
the American Legion as the oldest continuously-active organization in
the community. Unless the same groups that are proposing more stu-
dent busing, even during today's fuel shortage, are successful in moving
our school elsewhere, the local PTO should continue active and produc-
An early outstanding baseball team: John Hunter, Bob Bullock, Ray Bul-
lock, scorekeeper George F. Hess, Clair Heverly, Charles Lindsey, George
Brenize, Dix Bullock, Manager Henry C.B. Williams and Joseph Shut-
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Baseball has been our most popular sport since it was first
inaugurated some time before the 1870's. However, modern-day teams
have been hard pressed to match the superiority of those of the past.
The account of a game between Beech Creek and Blanchard at
Blanchard in 1871 is recorded in the Liberty Township Bicentennial
book published in 1976. The Beech Creek aggregation of 1871 appears
very interesting when related to the early settlers of our area. George G,
Hastings, the catcher, a Bellefonte area native, was the son of Daniel
and Mary (Hartsock) Hastings. He and his older brother, Enoch, a
Civil War veteran, who later operated a store in Beech Creek, had come
here several years earlier. George married a local girl, Lauretta Rogers,
the daughter of T. A. Smith and Agnes (Miller) Rogers. Mr. Rogers had
been named for Thomas Armstrong Smith, a local saddler in the early
1800's. George and Lauretta later moved to Centre County. The
Hastings families of the Avis area are descendants.
William Rothrock, the pitcher, and his brother James, the second
baseman, were sons of Dr. W. P. Rothrock. The doctor and his family,
excepting his two oldest daughters, Susan and Harriet, later moved to a
western state. Susan married William Mitchell, a surveyor and a son of
the evangelist. Harriet married Jacob Cook, a son of Robert and Mary
(Quinn) Cook of Howard, several years before her death in 1872. The
doctor, one of a number of Central Pennsylvania doctors named
Rothrock, later lived in Bellefonte and purchased land in Benner
Township from Daniel and Louise (Alexander) Leyden, who then
occupied the former Rothrock home on Water Street. The Rothrock
baseball players were grandsons of Robert and Fannie (Quigley)
At shortstop was Frank Quigley, a son of Cline and Agnes
(Thompson) Quigley, and a grandson of Michael Quigley, our first
postmaster. Frank later married Sadie Bailey, a step-daughter of Hon.
Joseph W. Merrey, who was identified with mining, lumbering and
manufacturing enterprises in our county. Merrey is best remembered
locally for the development of the southern end of Maple. Avenue.
Henry Clay Bollinger Williams, a son of George Q. and Elizabeth
(Bollinger) Williams, was at first base. His brother, Christian Allison
Williams, a later Blanchard merchant, was in right field. The Williams
brothers were grandsons of George and Susan (Quiggle) Williams and
of Christian and Eliza (Kirk) Bollinger, early area families. Henry C.
B. Williams is best remembered as the manager of some very successful
baseball teams during the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Everett Packer, a son of Asher and Nancy (Hall) Packer, was playing
third base. Everett's paternal grandparents were Moses and Hannah
(Packer) Packer. Moses was the son of Eli and Elizabeth (Vickers)
Packer, and Hannah was the daughter of Job and Hannah (Lamborn)
Packer. Everett's mother, Nancy, was a daughter of Jesse Hall, born
about 1781 in New Jersey and died in 1877 in Kendal County, Illinois,
and his wife, Elizabeth (Johnson) Hall, who was born in England. The
Halls came to this area during the early 1800's.
William Quigley "Quig" Clark, oldest son of James and Rebecca
(Quigley) Clark, was playing center field. Mr. Clark's grandparents,
William and Sarah (Hays) Clark, are listed among our earliest settlers.
His grandfather, Nicholas Quigley, was an early Beech Creek tailor. In
left field was William Kessinger, who had been borrowed from
Blanchard for that particular game. His brother, Henry Franklin
Kessinger, was pitching for Blanchard, whose extremely large margin
of victory (74 to 24) that day is explainable. In those days the home
team, even though already the winner, took its tum at bat in the ninth
inning. The Kessinger boys were sons of Jefferson and Fannie
(Nestlerode) Kessinger, and great grandsons of Christian Nestlerode
and his first wife, Anna Margaret (Bott) Nestlerode, ancestors of many,
many current residents. It is noted that five of our nine players were
Quigley descendants. Only one Quigley descendant lives here today.
A July, 1877 issue of the Bellefonte Democratic Watchman
newspaper reported that the Beech Creek baseball team had played a
game at Howard and gave the home team a sound beating. The players
were not named. During the first thirty years of this century local
baseball teams gave a very good account of themselves, both as
members of the old Clinton-Centre (C-C) League and as independents.
In 1931 Beech Creek entered the Central League, won five straight
championships, then moved to the Centre County League for two
seasons. Returning to the Central League in 1938 our teams won several
more championships before the end of that decade. Subsequent League
representations have not been' so outstanding, yet our teams have
usually been close to the top if not on top.
Through the efforts, particularly of Delmas McCloskey, Little
League baseball came to Beech Creek within several years after its
inception. Delmas became the first manager. He was a son of Harry O.
and Lula M. (Boone) McCloskey. Several years later, when Little
League headquarters in Williamsport announced the Junior League
program for boys just beyond Little League age, a team in this category
was organized locally. Bob Miller, a son of Walter and Thelma (Burke)
Miller and the husband of Claire Bitner, was chosen to be the manager.
These early teams, members of the Intercommunity Leagues, made
good showings. Some years later, because of the pressure of higher and
higher fees and added regulations, our Intercommunity Leagues
withdrew from the international organization. This move permitted a
greater number of boys to participate.
As mentioned previously the annual Memorial Day parade was led,
for many years, by the Beech Creek Military Fife and Drum Corps.
This marching group, sometimes called the Linn Fife and Drum Corps
because of the preponderance of Linn members, was organized some
time after the Civil War. A standout performer was E. B. Roberts, who
had been a military drummer in the war. A former local resident, Hugh
Linn of Williamsport, a son of the late Chatham and Agnes (Quigley)
Linn, declares that he has never seen the equals of drummer Roberts.
Our early settlers, using many Indian techniques, did considerable
hunting and fishing in order to provide enough food for their families.
Over the years these activities have become more of an organized sport
than a necessity. The Great Ring Hunt, which took place in this area, is
fully described in Linn's History, published in 1882. On November 5,
1902 the old Philadelphia North American, a daily newspaper, carried
a picture of Richard Berryhill, our foremost hunter, about to leave his
camp for a day's hunting. Later pictures showed Mr. Berryhill, his
long-time hunting companion, Jonathan Abbott of Blanchard, and
their entire hunting crew. When good fishing weather arrived Berryhill
and his fishing companion, Sammy Bowmaster, would be seen
traveling by horse and buggy to their favorite spots. For many years
after his death the talents of Mr. Berryhill, familiarly known as "Uncle
Dick," as a hunter, fisherman and recognized prognosticator were
periodically mentioned by George F. Hess in his bi-weekly news
More Fully Identified
As indicated previously our area was at one time a part of a very large
township. For this reason it is difficult to establish exact locations of
residents. Furthermore, the first census, taken in 1790, lists the
families alphabetically with no clues as to their neighbors or respective
area of residence. It is very evident, however, that the following settlers
and their families were our neighbors, living just west of us in that part
of our then large township that was to later become Liberty Township:
John Masden (then usually spelled Marsden), John Gardner, Christian
Bechdel, John Bitner, Daniel Kunes, Christian Nestlerode, the Liggets
and Simon Rorabaugh, who had previously taken up residence in Pine
Pre- 1800 settlers, who had chosen our particular area for at least
semi-permanent residence, included the families of Major James and
Nancy (Brown) Boyd, Lieutenant James and Sarah Hays, William and
Beulah Templeton, William and Ann (Templeton) Fearon, John
Fearon, Joseph Fearon, Richard "Dicky" and Anna Hays, Matthew
Leitch, Patrick Linn, Joseph McCloskey, James McCLoskey and Amos
Williams. Other pre-1800 settlers, who chose our area or a nearby loca-
tion in our valley, include Cleary and Ann (Gamble) Campbell, Mungo
Lindsey, William Montgomery, Jacob Packer, John Spangler, Peter
Spangler, George Wantz, Ellis Williams and Job and Hannah (Lam-
In constructing a place for the family to live, providing firewood,
clearing land and planting and harvesting crops, our early settlers were
busy from daylight to dark. The family's first shelter, usually a log
cabin, was often enlarged or replaced as the family grew. Local taxing
procedures after 1800 were discussed in Chapter I. Prior to 1800 some
assessment records indicated the type and size of each home and the
number of lights (windows). With very few exceptions the houses were
described as log-type, and values ranged upward from twenty-eight
A very noticeable increase in the population of our township occurred
between 1800 and 1810. Familiar names among the settlers of this
period were: Matthew Allison, a Revolutionary War soldier, who lived
in the Nittany Valley portion of our township, arid who later served as a
Centre County Commissioner; Allen and William Campbell and
Jonathan and John DeLong, sons and sons-in-law of Cleary Campbell;
Lemuel Farwell, whose given name was carried through many genera-
tions of Farwells; Amos, Amos, Jr., Edward and William Williams;
Michael and John Kirk, who had lumbering and tanning interests;
Patrick and Philip Mullen, the latter having later married Elizabeth
Masden, widow of Justus "Yost" Masden; Lieutenant John Philip and
Ann (Shippin) DeHaas and the Daniel Davids. Lieutenant DeHaas,
son of Brigadier General John Philip and Eleanor (Bingham) DeHaas,
came from Philadelphia and settled on a portion of the land holdings
acquired by him for military service or else purchased from fellow of-
ficers. Daniel David, also a Revolutionary soldier, brought along at
least four of his sons, namely Isaac, James, Carpenter and Alexander.
Other settlers of the 1800-1810 period included: William, Samuel and
Henry "Pletcher, who later joined their kin in the Howard area; Joseph
Morrison, who, for many years after the death of his wife, Elizabeth,
lived with his son-in-law, James Linn; William, Jacob, William, Jr.
and David Reed, the latter two still unmarried in 1810; William and
Sarah Miller; Caleb, William, Jr., Robert and Conrad Miller; and
James and Nancy (Cryder) Miller, the ancestors of most of our Millers
of the present day.
Current local family names that have existed continuously since an
ancestor settled here in the early 1800's are surprisingly few. Those that
can be identified and the year in which residence began are as follows:
Packer (before 1800), Miller (1803), DeHaas (1806), Clark (1813),
Lingle (1822), Haagen (1829), Bitner (1830), Linn (1834), Masden
(1836), and Johnson (1841). It may be remembered that the Bitner,
Linn and Masden settlers referred to here all came from Liberty
Township. Several Masdens had crossed over to our area shortly after
1800, but they left no descendants who live here today. The first
Johnsons came from England via Farrandsville and the first Lingles
came from Linglestown via Mifflin County. Rises and declines over the
years in the prevalence of family names is in very clear evidence. In
1880 we had eight Linn families; today we have one. In 1880 we had no
Bechdel families in our specific area. In fact as late as 1910 we still had
none, except that Lizzie Bechdel, daughter of Jacob and Isabella
(Confer) Bechdel, was living with her sister, Dora, wife of Charles
Cook. Today we have at least ten Bechdel families. In 1840 we had six
Fearon families. Today we have none. In 1860 we had seven Hall
families. Today we have none. In 1880 we had one Peter (Peters) fami-
ly. Today we have more than twenty. Among the once popular names
that do not exist locally today we find Hays, Quigley and Ligget.
In early days almost every family was engaged in farming, at least
part time. However, there were some full-time, non-agricultural, oc-
cupations usually performed by self-employed persons. These jobs in-
cluded blacksmith, miller, tanner, weaver, sawyer, distiller, cooper,
tailor, shoemaker, carpenter, and stone mason. Persons engaged in
these occupations were assessed accordingly. Taxes were also levied
against such items as land, buildings, horses, cows, sawmills, yokes of
oxen, gristmills, stills, workshops, etc. At various times taxes were
levied against gold watches, money at interest and collateral in-
heritances. Assessors who served our township from 1801 to 1810 were
James Boyd, Casper Richards, ' William Moore and John Heslet.
County commissioners during the same period were John Hall, David
Barr, Matthew Allison, Christopher Henney, James Green, lac
Hosterman, John Barron, John Kryder, John Snyder and F. McEwen.
Mr. Allison was from our township.
Additional Families 1800 to 1810
William Beaty and family, Michael and Mary (Helman) Brickley —
moved to the present Liberty Township area before 1810, Allen
Campbell and family, William and Elizabeth (Parsons) Campbell,
Samuel and Mary (McGhee) Clark, John and Rhoda (David) Counsil,
David Courter and family, John and Mary Donnell — he died around
1813, Jesse and Elizabeth (Johnson) Hall — left area — returned dur-
ing 1840's, Samuel Hall and family, Jacob Hess and family, Thomas
Holland and first wife, James and Susanna Huff, William and Sarah
Miller, Alexander Morrison and family, Joseph and Elizabeth Mor-
rison, Michael Myers and family, Moses and Hannah (Packer) Packer,
John and Elizabeth Quay, Jacob and Magdalene Runner — later
moved to Liberty Township, Samuel Saxton and family, Edward Wil-
liams and family, William and Elizabeth Williams and Mathias and
Additional Familes 1810 to 1820
Samuel and Lettie (McKibben) Askey, James Boyd, Jr. and family,
Thomas Boyd and family, Benjamin Clark and family, John Clark and
family, William, Sr. and Elizabeth Clark, William, Jr. and Sarah
(Hays) Clark, Jonas and Nancy (Gunsallus) Confer, Nicholas Crispen
and family, Jonathan and Elizabeth (Orner) Daughenbaugh, Alex-
ander and Mary David, Carpenter David and family, John P. and Han-
nah (Morrison) DeHaas, Edward, Sr. and Ann (Connor) DeHaas, Wil-
liam and Mary "Polly" (Connor) DeHaas, James DeLong and family,
Gilbert Hays and family, Samuel and Susan (Smith) Hays — she died
in 1848 — and second wife, Deborah (Reeder) McDonald Hays — mar-
ried May 26, 1857, Henry and Joanna (Fredericks) James, Abner Mc-
Closkey and family, Nathan McCloskey and family, Hugh and Isabell
(Hays) McFadden, John Montgomery and family, Daniel and
Margaret (Frey) Nestlerode, Levi Packer and family, John Quigley and
family, William T. and Elizabeth Reed, Michael and Susan (Smith)
Rogers, David and Mary Rorabaugh — came from Liberty Township,
Michael and Mary (Clark) Quigley, Henry Snyder and family and
Enoch Williams and family.
Additional Families 1820 to 1830
Christian and Nancy (Dice) Bitner, Hugh Caldwell — ran away and
married in 1823, Samuel and Mary (Leitch) Clark, Stephen Clark and
family, Buckman Claflin and family, Abraham and Nancy (Rogers)
Courter — married October 12, 1824 and later moved to Liberty
Township, Campbell and Elizabeth (Kunes) DeLong — later returned
to Liberty Township, Joseph and Nancy Galbraith — later moved to
Liberty Township, George and Mary (Barger) Haagen, Jesse and
Elizabeth (Starns) Harleman, John Harleman and family, Isaac
Harvey and family, Robert and Letitia (Packer) Hays, James Hays and
family, William and Ann (Barner) Huff, Thomas and V. Holcomb,
Samuel and Rebecca (Courter) Knepley, Daniel Krouse and family,
Paul and Mary (Spohn) Lingle, John and Sarah (Miller) Lingle and
Simon and Susanna (Kunes) Lingle.
Also Andrew, Jr. and Barbara (Leathers) Linn — this family, ex-
cepting two oldest daughters, later moved to Bristol, 111., Thomas and
Rachel Linn, Joseph and Agnes McCloskey, Jacob Miller's widow,
Ann, and family, Eli and Ann (Thomas) Packer, John and Sarah
(Confer) Packer, Reuben Packer and family, John Reed and family,
Jeremiah and Susanna (Bitner) Rockwell, Jeremiah Shearer and fami-
ly, Andrew and Mary (Orner) Smith, Thomas and Eleanor (DeHaas)
Stevenson, Peter and Mary Sullenberger — moved to Liberty
Township in 1827 and John and Elizabeth Wagner.
Additional Families 1830 to 1840
Abraham and Mary (Leathers) Bitner, John and Susan (Orner)
Bitner, Christian and Eliza Fawcett (Kirk) Bollinger — married July
17, 1821, Samuel and Mahala Brickley — later moved to Howard area,
James and Eliza Britton, James Chatham — later married Henrietta
DeHaas, David and Eliza Clark — later lived at Mill Hall, Valentine
Confer and family, William Courter and family, John and Martha
(Linn) Crispen, Thomas and Hannah (Morrison) Crispen — married
March 22, 1832 — second wife was Fayette, James and Ellen (Baird)
David, James Fearon and family, Robert and Sarah (Hays) Fearon,
William and Elizabeth (Bechdel) Fearon, Elisha and Lydia (Berry)
Graham — married August 18, 1831 — moved to Liberty Township in
1836, James Graham and family and Samuel Graham and family.
Also Widower Daniel Hendricks and family, G. Washington and
Susanna (James) Heverly — first wife was Eliza Waddle, John and
Catharine Hubbard, Francis Huff and family, Clinton and Maria
(Gunsallus) James, Adam Kessinger and his second wife, Elizabeth,
and family, Charles Kitchen and family, Elias and Elizabeth Kitchen,
David and Mary Krouse, Henry and Julia Ann Kunes, Austin and Julia
Ann (Packer) Leonard — married September 14, 1831 — Austin and
second wife, Eliza Ann (Knepley) Packer, married March 27, 1864,
James Lindsey and family, John and Susanna (Neff) Ligget, David
Lingle and family — moved west in 1840's, Joseph and Elizabeth
(Harvey) Lingle — Joseph elected Centre County sheriff in 1850, James
and Elizabeth (Morrison) Linn, Roland and Phoebe Lucas — later
lived in Liberty Township, William and Mary (Fredericks) Sterling
McGhee — married October 26, 1831, James and Eve R. Mann, James
and Margaret (Yost) and Margaret (McClure) Masden, William and
Annetta Masden, David and Jane Miller, Levi, Sr. and Susan (Bur-
kett) Miller, Samuel and Eliza (Bridgens) Miller and William
Montgomery and family.
Also tailor John Orner and family, Amos and Elizabeth (Lingle)
Packer, Asher and Nancy (Hall) Packer, Hays Coates and Ann Eliza
(Williams) Packer, James Packer and family, John T. and Sarah
(Confer) Packer, William and Mary Quay, Nicholas and Elizabeth
(Moore) Quigley, William and Elizabeth Reed, John and Elizabeth
Rupert — came from Liberty Township, James and Elizabeth
(Rorabaugh) Shearer, Jacob Shirk — later returned to Boggs
Township, where he died in 1845, Joseph M. and Janetta (David)
Smith — married July 5, 1832, William Smith and family, Solomon
Strong and family, George and Susan (Rorabaugh) Wagner, Levi
Wagner and family, Robert and Lydia Wagner, John B. and Lavina
Welsh, Andrew and Eliza (Quigley) White, Hugh White, Jr. and fami-
ly, George and Elizabeth (Bollinger) Williams, William and Hannah
(Packer) Williams — second wife was Ann Lingle, Charles and
Margaret Winslow — both born in Ireland and John and Sarah Yost.
Additional Familes 1840 to 1850
Richard and Mary (Snyder) Berryhill — married February 1, 1847,
Christian and Isabella (Sterling) Bitner, widow Catharine Bolopue —
born in Switzerland and her young son, Charles, born in New Jersey,
Joseph and Maria Bullock, James and Rebecca (Quigley) Clark, Wil-
liam and Margaret (Quigley) Counsil, Horatio and Sophia DeHaas,
John and Eve C. (Myers) Earon, John and Elizabeth (Wise) Eyer, John
and Sarah Fearon, Arthur and Eliza Foresman — later moved to
Liberty Township, George and Eliza (Stewart) Furst, Dolan and Mary
Ann and Esther (Miller) Gardner, McCormick and Mary (Bollinger)
Graham, John and Elizabeth Gummo — both born in England, Giles
W. and Frances (Johnson) Halenback, John and Frances Hall, Joseph
and Temperance (Sterling) Hall, Samuel and Sarah (McCloskey) Hall,
Robert and Letitia (Packer) Hays and John and Mary Johnson or
Also Nathan and Rebecca (Reeder) and Mary Jane (DeHaas)
Johnson, Charles and Martha (Bitner) Johnston — later moved to
Liberty Township, Samuel and Rebecca (Courter) Knepley, widower
Absalom Ligget — came from Liberty Township, George Fulton and
Emeline (Bitner) Miller, John and Nancy (Nestlerode) and later Janet-
ta (David) Smith Miller, William and Eliza Miller, Israel and Caroline
Nestlerode — she died in 1860 — he died in Missouri in 1899, Levi and
Mary Orner — later lived in Iowa, Moses, Jr. and Mary Packer, Vickers
Amos and Eliza Ann (Knepley) Packer — her second husband was
Austin Leonard, William and Frances (Strong) Parsons, James and
Sarah (McClure) Quay and Cline and Agnes (Thompson) Quigley.
Also John and Rebecca Reeder, Richard and Susanna Riter, T. A.
Smith and Agnes Ann (Miller) Rogers, Dr. William P. and Jane
(Stewart) Rothrock, David, Jr. and Ruth Ann and Sarah D.
Rorabaugh, Vincent S. and Mary Jane (Lingle) Smith, William and
Margaret (Marshall) Snyder — came from Snyder County — later
moved to Liberty Township, John and Anna Eliza and Hannah
(Reeder) Dalton Stams, John and Wilmina Watkins, Joseph and Ellen
(Reeder) Whitefield, George W. and Catharine Williams, James and
Esther or Hester Williams and John and Sarah M. (Smith) Wilson.
Additional Families 1850 to 1860
Evan and Phoebe Ashton, Eliza (Beck) Beaty, widow of John, and
her family, Henry and Elizabeth (Wensel) Berry, John and Catharine
(Crispen) Berry, John and Sarah and Elizabeth (DeLong) Bickel —
Sarah died in 1863, Abraham and Martha (Trexler) Bitner — married
March 15, 1856, John W. and Elizabeth (Berry) Bitner — married
December 12, 1850, James and Caroline Bodle, James and Mary
(Locke) Brady — married May 10, 1832, John and Ruhama (Hall)
Bridgens, Thomas and Elizabeth (Bodle) Brown, William and
Margaretta (McKinley) Bullock, Nelson and Elizabeth (McGhee)
Caldwell, William and Mahala (Kunes) Clark — later settled in
Liberty Township, James and Catharine (Trexler) Confer — her second
husband was William Williams, John and Jane (Hays) Cook, D. W.
and Nancy (Counsil) Counsil, John and Lavina (Rorabaugh) Counsil,
W. H. and Catharine Counsil, John and Phoebe Cramer, John and
Hannah (Reeder) Dalton — married February 9, 1850 — her second
husband was John Starns, James and Sarah Darrah and Alexander and
Sarah (Johnson) DeHaas.
Also Edward, Jr. and Elizabeth (Linn) DeHaas, Nelson and Lydia
(Starns) Devling, John T. and Annie (Johnson) Fearon, Samuel F. and
Mary Fearon — likely brother and sister, Daniel and Mary Fredericks,
Johnson and Emily (Gunsallus) Gardner, Jacob and Elizabeth (Kaler)
Glossner, Dobbin and Nancy (Confer) Gunsallus, George, Jr. and
Catharine (Eyer) Haagen, Saul and Sarah (Brungard) Haagen, Everett
and Eliza (Ross) Hall, Saul and Julia Hall, Josiah and Abigail Hans-
come, Silas and Frances (Quigley) Hess, Edmond and Rachel Huff,
Richard and Jane (Gilmore?) Lannen, Philip and Elizabeth Lehr,
George W. and Jane Ellen (Johnson) Lingle, David and Margaret Long,
Joseph and Nancy E. Lucas, Abner and Abigail (Mason) McCloskey,
James William and Mariah McCloskey, Joseph and Rebecca McCor-
mick, John and Deborah (Reeder) McDonald, James and Frances
(Gunsallus) McGhee, John and Julian (Harleman) McGhee and Wil-
liam and Elizabeth McKissick.
Also John and Louise (Huff) Mann, Thomas H. and Margaret
(Quigg) Martin, John and Martha (Linn) Mason, Carpenter and
Louise (Wetzler) Miller, Michael and Zylphia (Winslow) Miller — her
second husband was George Ruple, Samuel and Eliza (Bridgens) Mil-
ler, Samuel and Margaret (Linn) and Sarah Catharine (Sproul) Mor-
timer, David and Lydia Myers, John and Elizabeth Myers, Marshall
and Mary (Johnson) Packer, William and Clementine Pierson, George
and Matilda Preston, Joseph and Jemima (Miller) Quay — married
January 1, 1857, James and Catharine J. (Miller) Quigley — married
August 12, 1858 — second wife, Hannah^utland, later became third
wife of Levi Rupert, William and Sarah Frances (Brown) Quigley —
married September 2, 1851, John and Harriet (Gardner) Reed — mar-
ried August 19, 1858, Andrew and Mary (Linn) Reeder, Charles and
Elizabeth Reeder, John and Anna J. (Swartz) Romig and Barnard and
Elizabeth (Hannon) Rupert.
Also George and Zylphia (Winslow) Miller Ruple, John and Emily
(Williams) Shaw — later settled in Liberty Township, David and
Rosanna Shearer, Jeremiah and Abigail Shearer, Michael and
Catharine Smith, Roland and Margaret (Snyder) Smith — later settled
in Washington State, George W. and Anna C. Sterling, George and
Elizabeth (McCloskey) Stevenson, William and Elizabeth Stone,
Henry and Mary (Confer) Swartz, John S. and Amelia (Crispen)
Toner, William and Elmira (White) Trexler, Joseph and Mary Van At-
ta, Jackson and Elizabeth Watson, George and Ellen Eliza (Quigley)
Wensel — married October 16, 1856, Adam and Caroline (Gronnet)
Winklebleck and John and Rebecca (Clark) Winslow.
Additional Families 1860 to 1870
Jacob and Rosanna (McDowell) Aikey, Jonathan and Susan
(DeLong) Abbott — her first husband was George Winslow, William
and Sarah Bartley, C. Foster and Beulah (Clark) Beaty, Adam and
Martha Best, Joseph and Delinda (Miller) Bitner — married June 11,
1866, Silas and Lavina (Leonard) Bitner — her second husband was
John Harleman Berry, Jacob and Elizabeth (Bridgens) Bonsell, Wil-
liam and Anna Boob, Joseph L. and Sarah (Hendricks) Bowes, Joel
and Eliza Bowman, Joseph and Sarah (Bitner) Brady — married
December 20, 1863, Jesse H. and Catharine Jane (Bollinger) Bridgens
— married December 22, 1864, William and Sarah (Mapes) Bridgens
— married July 4, 1867 and Frank and Amanda Brown.
Also Charles and Mary Elizabeth (Hall) Cade, William and Ella
Calderwood, S. and Mary Campbell, Isaac and Mary Carson, Uriah
and Mary A. Clark, Edward and Ellen Cline, Jacob and Harriet
(Rothrock) Cook — married February 23, 1865, Albert and Abigail (Ab-
bott) Cottle, Martin and Mary (Stewart) Counsil, William Stewart and
Clarissa (Beck) Counsil, Frank and Elma Cox, John W. and Elizabeth
(Packer) Crays, John and Clara Curns, James Riley and Mary
(Bechdel) DeHaas — second wife was Eliza, Hugh and Adaline
(Bechdel) DeLong — later settled in Curtin Township, Jonathan C.
and Temperance (Heverly) DeLong, Augustus and Ann Driver, J. D.
and Ann Engles, William J. and Judonna (Lose) Eyer, James and
Sarah (Mann) Falls, Lemuel T. and Emma R. (Robinson) Fearon, John
and M. J. Felmlee, William B. and Lizzie Foresman, Samuel and Ann
(Winslow) Gardner — married February, 1863, John H. and Julia
(Snavely) Gensle, Jesse and Hannah (Keister) Gladfelter — his second
wife was Esther Keister, John and Agnes Jane (Gardner) Gladfelter —
married April 9, 1867 — her second husband was John Kunes, Peter C.
and Mary Ann (Wagner) Gould, William and Mary J. Griffey, John E.
and Elizabeth (Stephen) Gummo, John and Fayetta (Brungard)
Haagen, Irvin and Margaret Hanscom, Warren and Mary Hanscom,
John S. and Elizabeth Jane (Johnston) Harleman, Enoch and Kate
Hastings, George D. and Anna Frances (Furst) Hess — married
December 5, 1867 and Hiram and Mary Hoover.
Also Joseph W. and Harriet (Weaver) Hubbard — second wife was
Jennie E. Packer, John T. and Frederica (Smith) Hunter — later
moved to Liberty Township, Henry and Margaret Jane (Vance) Kaler,
Stillman C. and Eliza (Strong) Keyes, Irvine and Frances (Clark)
Keyes, Solomon and Martha Matilda (Sollars) Knarr, Alvin H. and
Fannie L. (Keyes) Knecht — married June 10, 1869, Daniel and Mary
D. (Mapes) Kunes — married March 28, 1869, John and Eliza Kunes,
John and Hannah (Longshore) Ligget, Francis Mills and Frances
(Kunes) Linn, Daniel and Susan (Eyer) Lose — married October 24,
1858, George and Mary Jane (Confer) Lucas, Roland and Mary Lucas,
George and Mary M. McDonald, Miller L. and Elizabeth McKean,
William L. and Mary J. (McGhee) McKean — second wife was Jennie
— third wife was Lizzie Kline, Alfred and Susan (Mantle) Mantle,
Frederick and Margaret (Reeder) Mantle, Hope and Sarah (Allison)
Mantle, David and Isabella (Reed) Mapes — married July 26, 1868 —
second wife was Demaris Quay, John S. and Elizabeth (Cop-
perthwaite) Masden, Carpenter Miller and second wife, Nancy Jane
(Bowmaster) Miller, Harrison and Sarah Amanda (Linn) Miller, Levi
and Hattie Miller, Nelson and Clarinda (Rogers) Miller, Robert and
Anna Miller, C. William and Jane (Lucas) Montgomery and James G.
and Sophia Morris. .
Also Joseph and Catharine (Lehr) Muthler, George and Maria
(Burd) Packer, William and Margaret Peck, Casper and Philomena
"Phoebe" (Eckert) Peter, Boyd and Matilda Quigley, William and
Emily Rine, Rufus and Rebecca (Whitefield?) Riter, Joseph and Sarah
(Confer) Rorabaugh — married April 24, 1866, William and Jane
(Shields) Rossman, John and Hannah (Eyer) Rowe, Frank and
Amanda Russell, Samuel and Mary (Hess) Saylor, John S. and Amelia
(Reed) Shaffer — married February 19, 1867 in a double ceremony,
Thompson and Harriet (Brady) Snyder, John and Sarah Stevenson,
John and Sarah (Llewellyn) Streck, Dr. Isaac and Phoebe Strong,
Fleming and Clara (Burchard) Trexler — married to second wife,
Josephine Stout on July 4, 1870, J. W. and Martha Wagner, William
and Sarah (Berry) Waite — married at Hublersburg in 1858, Michael
and Rachel Wantz, James and H. Rebecca (Betz) Whitefield, Ann
(Lingle) Williams, widow of William, and son, Edward and Susanna
(Strayer) Williams, William and Catharine (Trexler) Williams — her
first husband was James Confer, William and Barbara (Myers ?)
Wilson and Jacob and Mary (Walizer) Workman.
Additional Families 1870 to 1880
Christian H. and Charlotte (Hall) Beschler — her second husband
was John Winklebleck, W. Frank and Mary J. "Jennie" (DeLong) Ber-
ry, William and Mary (McKibben) Bickel, Benjamin and Annie Bierly,
George W. and Elizabeth (DeLong) Bitner, Howard and Sarah Frances
(Johnson) Bitner, Nathan and Emma (Metzger) Bitner, Rev. Matthew
S. and Emma Blair, Dr. John M. Bright, Clyde and Alice (Berry)
Brown, Willis P. and Annie (Lingle) Bullock, Erastus and Harriet
(Bitner) Cade — married July 9, 1871, widow Mary E. Casselberry and
family, George and Lizzie Clark, Thomas J. and Elvira (Cottle) Confer,
John F. and Elizabeth (Winslow) Cook, Thomas and Elizabeth (Lan-
nen) Cox, Frank and Mary E. Crispen, Levi and Joanna (Linn) Darrah
— Joanna died in 1877, William and Catharine (Shearer) DeHaas,
David and Jesse (Mantle) Downs, widow Julia (Carver) Dunkle and
family, John B. and Annie (Quay) Earon, John and Susan (Stoler)
Eaton and David H. and Ella J. (Whiting ?) Eyer.
Also Rev. Theodore and Martha (Williams) Faus — married August
19, 1879, Thomas and Mary Jane (Ammerman) Furl, J. Irvin and
Catharine (Rose) Gardner, Frederick C. and M. Delinda (Bitner)
Glossner — married December 26, 1878, H. Kirk and Charity (Miller)
Graham — later lived briefly in Liberty Township, William and Mary
(Nestlerode) Haagen, Jesse S. and Blanche (Owens) Hall, H. D. and
Amelia Hanscom, James and Susan J. (Dickey) Harleman, George and
Loretta (Rogers) Hastings — married September 26, 1871, Charles and
Phoebe Heimer — both bom in Germany, Philip and Mary (Lentz)
Heimer, Charles and Annie (McGhee) Heverly, Peter and Julia
(Batschelet) Hoffman, Joseph and Edith (Berry) Johnson, William N.
and Emily (Mapes) Johnson, Charles W. and Lydia (DeLong) Jones —
her first husband was Robert Mann, Charles and Rebecca Keyes, Uriah
and Sarah (McCloskey) Kitchen, Samuel "Long Division" and Ellen
(Overton) Kunes, Daniel and Louise (Alexander) Leyden and Hezekiah
and Mary (Bullock) Lindsey.
Also Joseph Britten and Mary E. (Williams) Linn — married May 7,
1876, Thomas W. and Mary C. (Kane) Linn, William R. and Mary C.
(McBride) Linn, John and Susan (Smith) Longshore, Henry F. and
Eliza (Heverly) Lose, Timothy and Mary E. (Steiner) McCarthy,
Campbell and Rachel (Watkins) McCloskey, Ira and Elizabeth (Pot-
ter) McCloskey, Joseph and Mary (Martin) Masden, Winfield Scott
and Mary L. (Ammerman) Meredith, James and Ella (Martin)
Metzger — married February 10, 1876, widower John Miller and his
second wife, Janetta (David) Smith Miller — married March 25, 1874,
Matthew and Amanda (McCloskey) Miller, Robert and Margaret Ann
Miller, William B. and Elizabeth Miller, Salathial and Emily
(Quigley) Mobley — married January 11, 1853, James and Sarah Jane
(Counsil?) Moore, Dr. Henry H. and Susan (Hartswick) Mothers-
baugh, Andrew and Mary (Cook) Myers, Christian and Mary J.
(Earon) Myers, John and Mary Myers and William G. and Elizabeth
Also Charles W. and Alice (Walz) Packer — married April 4, 1878,
Frederick and Alice (Heltman) Robb, Barnard and Sarah (McCloskey)
Rupert, Levi and Lydia (Linn) Rupert — second wife was Lydia
(Bechdel) Bumgardner — third wife was Hannah (Rutland) Quigley,
Theodore and Elizabeth (Rhine) Rupert, William and Candace (Ridge)
Rupert — later in Marion and Liberty Townships, Elijah and Susan
(Williams) Searle, James E. and Mary (Lucas) Shearer — previously in
Liberty, later in Lamar Township, Frank L. and Jennie W. Smith,
Joseph and Ella (Packer) Smith, widow Margaret Strawcutter and
family, William F. and Annie (Grove) Strunk, Dr. Joseph E. and
Emma "(McDowell) Tibbins — married in June, 1873 — first wife was
Emma Hoy, John G. and Julia Walz, Warren and Lizzie A. Walz,
widower Hugh White and family, C. Allison and Elizabeth (Kunes)
Williams, George W. and Kate (Hubbard) Williams, Henry C. B. and
Albina (Brickley) Williams — second wife was Mary Fredericy, Wilson
and Laura K. (Martin) Williams, Charles C. and Emma (Holloway)
Winslow and John and Sophia (Hanscomb) Yaudes.
Additional Families 1880 to 1900
(1890 census records destroyed by fire)
Charles and Sarah H. Baker, Frank and Elizabeth Barner, John and
Elnora Batschelet, Samuel and Laura (Martin) Batschelet, Harry E.
and Florence A. Beaver, Ernest and Annie (Waite) Berry, Thomas and
Henrietta (Glossner) Berry, William and Florence G. Berry, Oliver and
Cora A. (Mortimer) Bitner, Ambrose and Carrie (Clark) Brady,
Charles E. "Dix" and Mary (Mann) and Susan (Kitchen) Bullock,
George A. and Mary Bush, Mr. and Elsie (Hastings) Chambers, George
A. and Annie E. Clark, Harry B. and Josephine (Merrey) Clark, W.
Edgar and Kate Clark, Cline Quigley and Mary Frances (Loomis) and
Lula (Linn) Confer, Edward and Elva K. (Strunk) and Tacie (Allen)
Spangler DeHaas, John P. and Emma Clara (McGhee) DeHaas,
George and Emma L. (Summers) Deise, Stephen and Cynthia (Trex-
ler) Deise, J. Irvin and Mabel B. (Hoffman) DeLong, Adam and
Elizabeth (Muthler) Earon, Wilson and Cora (Neff) Forcey, Frank and
Matilda Furl, G. Thomas and Annie (Fearon) Furst, Napoleon and El-
len (David) Gangnon and John and Annie (Haagen) Glossner.
Also Samuel and Amanda (Haagen) and Mary Emily (Mapes) Gloss-
ner, Joseph Tibbins and Edith (Williams) Gunsallus, Alpheus and
Maud (Packer) Hall — married October 27, 1885, Thomas and Annie
R. Heberling, Charles and Catharine Heimer — her second husband
was widower David Smith, Bradley and Grace (Stahl) Herr, Edward
and Myrtle (Williams) Heverly, Harry and Annie M. Heverly, John
and Margaret C. Huff, John and Caroline Hunter, G. B. McClellan
"Mack" and Sarah E. (Miller) Johnson, Lewis and Annie G. Johnson,
George and Mary Keagle, Harry and Josephine (Watkins) Kitchen,
Oscar and Alma M. (Swartz) Kunes, William and Sarah P. Lamkin,
Albert and Mary E. Laubach, Chatham and Agnes (Quigley) Linn,
Harry and Clara (Gephart) McCloskey, Mr. and Edith McCloskey,
George C. and Minnie M. (Brady) McGhee, Oscar and Jemima
(Haagen) McGhee, Robert and Hattie (Haagen) McGhee, Harvey and
Clara (McCloskey) Mann, James A. and Elizabeth (Burd) Mann, Wil-
liam and Susan (Wilson) Mann, William and Lydia (Breon) Marr,
Alexander and Mary J. Martin, Edward and Bertha (Wren) Martz and
Joseph and Eliza (Magnus) Bailey Merrey.
Also Jerome and Ada (Gunsallus) Miller — married February 26,
1890, John B. and Alice (Smith) Miller, John J. and Annie S. Miller,
Lewis and Maud (Galbraith) Miller, W. Rothrock and Eliza (Sollars)
and Emma (Sollars) Miller, Edwin and Sarah A. (Hall) Mobley,
Frederick and Susan (Earon) Muthler, Frank P. and Mary (Falls)
Myers — second wife was Mary Mayes, John and Josie Nelson, David
and Margaret (Gardner) Packer, Harry and Lydia (Singer) Packer,
Elmer and Emma V. (Scantlin) Peters, George and Theda (Masden)
Peters, John and Alta (Bitner) Peter, William C. and Emma (Gummo)
and Mary (Walker) Myers Peter, Charles and Adaline (McCloskey)
Quay, Edwin R. and Elizabeth (Gould) Reed, Joseph Riter, Charles
and Ella Mae Rothrock, Daniel and Clarissa "Clara" (Smith) Rowe, B.
Frank and Sarah Jane (Rhine) Rupert, George and Ella (McCarthy)
Rupert, Harry and Susan (Nestlerode) Rupert, Peter and Ella (John-
son) Rupert, G. B. McClellan "Clell" and Ida (Lingenfelter) Ruple,
Henry and Deborah (Whitefield) Salisbury, Charles and Annie (Huff)
Salmon, Edward and Ellen (Miller) Scantlin, Charles and Eva M.
Shafer and William and Sadie A. Shafer.
Also George and Isabella (Leonard) Shearer, William and Amanda
Shearer, Alexander and Hannah Shoemaker, Charles and Mary
(Bitner) Slocum, Edwin and Mary Ida (Aley) Smith, Temple C. and
Eliza Jane (Gardner) Smith, George M. and Amanda E. (Myers ?)
Snyder, Charles and Sarah J. (Boyer) Streck, Ellis and Hilda
(Anderson) Sundin, John and Ida (Furl) Swartz, Nathan Mitchell and
Alice (Stager) Swartz — her second husband was Joseph Swartz, B.
Frank and Mary E. Thompson, Percy and Jennie (Gardner) Trexler,
Harvey and Annie (Knarr) Wagner, John W. and Sarah A. (DeLong)
Waite — second wife was Fannie Lyons, James and Minnie M. (Har-
ris) Wensel, David and Sarah Virginia (Gunsallus) Whamond, Frank
and Sallie M. Williams, George and Rachel J. (Baney) Williams, John
and Charlotte "Lottie" (Hall) Beschler Winklebleck, Charles and Car-
rie Emma (Strunk) Winslow and Edward and Annie (Counsil)
In the year 1900, according to census records, our area had a popula-
tion of 972, with 525 in our township and 447 in our borough. Of that
total only twenty -three are known to be still living. Of these just four
reside here now. They are: Laura Confer, daughter of David and
Demaris (Quay) Mapes; Bertha Hepler, daughter of Timothy and
Mary (Steiner) McCarthy; Charles Martz, son of Edward and Bertha
(Wren) Martz, and Myra Peters, daughter of George and Theda
(Masden) Peters. The following still live in our broad general area: Nel-
lie Cole, daughter of Lewis and Maud (Galbraith) Miller; Bertha
Cryder, daughter of Chatham and Agnes (Quigley) Linn; Lester
DeLong, son of J. Irvin and Mabel (Hoffman) DeLong; Orpha Ever,
daughter of William and Mary (McKibben) Bickel; Elma Glossner,
daughter of John and Alta (Bitner) Peters; Hugh Linn, son of Chatham
and Agnes, above; Florence and Chester McGhee, daughter and son of
Oscar and Jemima (Haagen) McGhee; Harry Peters, son of William
and Emma (Gummo) Peters; Ruth and Victor Peters, daughter and son
of John and Alta, above; Pearl Putman Randals, daughter of George
and Mollie "Maud" (Rorabaugh) Linn, and Olga Sundin, daughter of
Ellis and Hilda (Anderson) Sundin. Residing at more distant points,
are: Jesse W. Bridgens, son of William and Sarah (Mapes) Bridgens;
Jesse V. Glossner, son of Frederick and Mary Delinda (Bitner) Gloss-
ner; Ruthel Lasher, daughter of Percy and Jennie (Gardner) Trexler;
Marie Leeuwerick, daughter of John W. and Sarah (DeLong) Waite,
and George B. "Rabbit" Miller, son of W. Rothrock and Emma (Sol-
The development of Furst's Climax Healer, generally known as Tom-
my Furst's salve, was described earlier. Now it has been learned that
several households still possess a quantity of this product. Mentioned
occasionally in local conversations, even to this day, is Spruce Beer, a
popular soft drink concoction that was processed and bottled by
Richard Berryhill. Local advertising signs proclaimed his thirst
quencher as, "The National Drink." After Mr. Berryhill's death a
number of area people, including some of his close relatives, tried to
duplicate his recipe. Their failures caused these people to proclaim that
he took the real recipe with him. Another local product, very popular in
its day and still talked about, was John Hunter's bologna. Made of
coarsely -ground beef with crushed crackers added as a filler, it was the
forerunner of the dry bologna being marketed today. There were,
however, several other factors that made Mr. Hunter's product superior
to many that are available at this time. He kept continuous control of
the temperature of the kettle water, in which the stuffed product was
submerged, and the timing was very important. The coils of bologna
were then exposed to hickory smoke of the proper density for exactly
the right length of time.
Kolon Kleener, an effective laxative with cathartic qualities, was
prepared and distributed in the 1920's by the McKean brothers,
Sheldon and Lyle, who are listed elsewhere as barbers. Their product
had the appearance of powdered sugar, but the taste was quite dif-
ferent. It was boxed in the old-style, round, half-pint ice cream boxes.
^The label listed Federal Laboratories of Beech Creek as the manufac-
turer. More importantly, however, was the fact that the label claimed
the recommendation of Dr. George H. Tibbins. The McKean brothers
were never pressed to reveal their formula. However, it was generally
conjectured that the main ingredient was pure epsom salts with
something added to make the taste more appealing. Not a bad idea!
William and Flora (Heichel) DeWitt and their three children lived on
Vesper Street in the house now occupied by the Lee Waite family. Mr.
DeWitt, a carpenter and handyman, is best remembered for his
development of a hair tonic. Prior to putting his discovery on the
market, it is reported, he decided to try it on himself and lost all his
hair. Many heavy-bearded, hard-to-shave men later remarked that
they'd like to have some of his product for their faces.
As was likely the case throughout the country during prohibition, a
number of area residents attempted to produce a better quality of
home-brewed beer. For some it was a case of trying to increase the de-
mand for their illegally-sold brew. For most it was merely trying to
improve the taste of a product used strictly for home consumption. One
local resident, who did not imbibe in alcoholic drinks, but upon hearing
so much talk about the making of home brew, decided to "set an old
hen," a common term for the home brewing process. He never men-
tioned how well his experiment turned out or how he disposed of it.
Equally interesting in those days was the various types of additives
that went into a barrel of sweet cider to produce a tastier, peppier hard
cider that would not turn to vinegar.
The stone masonry Kessinger building on Main Street stands as a
monument to the late William F. Kessinger (1875-1947), a son of H.
Franklin and Anna (Nestlerode) Kessinger. Having been born and
lived at Eagleville Station, Billy was, therefore, not a local resident.
Nevertheless, he was a part of us during many years of the building's
construction. Then, too, he had many, many local cousins, some being
double cousins. Except for the placement of structural steel, the
electrical wiring and other modem day features, Billy, aided first by
Barney Rupert, and later by Hallie Slaterbeck, performed all the
masonry and carpentry chores. At the outset of construction Billy had
detailed the project to several onlookers, including George C. McGhee.
Their seemingly appropriate response was, "You'll never get it
finished." After the building was completed Billy enjoyed recounting
this conversation. He is buried at the local Hays-Fearon cemetery.
Prior to the construction of his garage on Main Street, Thomas F.
Kessinger maintained his automobile repair shop in a part of the old
Sykes garage, a two story structure on Locust Street. This same
building was later used for auto repairs by Harry and Clarence DeLong,
sons of Irvin and Mabel (Hoffman) DeLong, by Clyde Lewis, and by
Edwin Williams, a son of John and Belle (Winters) Williams. Mr. Wil-
liams later moved his shop to the Cook building at the intersection on
Main and Water Streets, where William B. Cook, a son of Charles and
Dora (Bechdel) Cook, later conducted his automobile dealership. Some
time afterward Paul Bechdel, a son of Claude and Dorothy (Bechdel)
Bechdel, remodeled the Cook building to include a show room for
Kaiser-Frazier automobiles. This same building now serves as Borough
headquarters. The Sykes garage building was originally constructed by
Edward Sykes for his Overland automobile agency. The present-day
auto repair business of Fred Berry, son of Joseph and Pauline (Mc-
Closkey) Berry, is located in our township near the house where Fred's
grandparents, Clair and Mabel (DeHaas) Berry raised a large family.
It was pointed out in a previous chapter that families quite often
gave a new-born baby the same name as an older, deceased sibling.
Mentioned was the family of Joseph M. and Janetta (David) Smith.
Their second son, Charles P., who was born July 2, 1834, died October
15, 1835. On August 22, 1837 another son was bom into this family. He
was likewise named Charles P. In 1845 the Smith family was blessed
with their third daughter, who was named Emily. Emily died on Oc-
tober 3, 1850. Three years later another daughter, who was destined to
receive the name Emily, came into the world. This Emily, the
fourteenth of fifteen children, was followed by Alice, who grew up to
marry John B. Miller. Doris Miller is a granddaughter. Back on
January 1, 1809 a son, to be named Christian, was born to Christian
and Mary (Leathers) Bechdel, the great, great grandparents of Lula
Clark, Dorothy Bechdel and Frank Bechdel of our town. This child died
six weeks later. When the next son was born on October 14, 1812, he
was also given the name Christian. This Christian married Lydia
Bechdel, his full cousin. The marrying of first cousins was not uncom-
mon in those days. Harold and Joseph Packer are descendants of Chris-
tian and Lydia. Close by in neighboring Liberty Township on February
2, 1878 James W. Gunsallus and his second wife, Margaret J. (Wensel)
Gunsallus, lost their son, James, age three. A son born to this couple on
February 19, 1879 was thereupon given the name James, but usually
called "Frankie" because of his middle name. This lad died at age nine
and is buried as James F. alongside his older brother, James. Fisher D.
Ligget, a son of John and Susannah (Neff) Ligget, was born about i840.
However, he was not the first Fisher Ligget in this family. His older
brother, Fisher, had died just shortly before his own birth. On March 5,
1867 Fisher married Harriet "Hattie" Mobley, a daughter of Salathial
and Mary (Quigley) Mobley. Fisher and Hattie later moved to Ohio,
the state where her father was bom, and settled in Canton. In the
listing of Civil War soldiers in Linn's History Fisher Ligget is er-
roneously listed as Fisher Lingle. John and Susannah Ligget are
buried at Hays-Fearon cemetery.
The male co-author of this history was brought into this world by Dr.
P. McDowell Tibbins, a neighbor of the Lingles and a close friend of
Clinton County Judge Harry Alvan Hall. When Dr. Tibbins became
aware that the parents of the new-born had not decided on a name, and
possibly in fear that the ugly little fellow might become his own
namesake, he suggested the name Harry Alvan. His suggestion was ac-
cepted. Several years later, seeing little Harry Alvan sitting along the
sidewalk, Mrs. Mary (Saylor) Fearon asked the boy his name even
though she already knew it. His answer was, "Harry Alvan Lingle
Hall." Mrs. Fearon always enjoyed telling others how the lad had given
his name. It might be added that to Dr. Tibbins this particular person
was always Harry Alvan, not just Harry. This same Harry Alvan, while
attending the Grange Fair at Centre Hall in August, 1980, was ap-
proached by a man who had grown up in the Beech Creek area. "Do you
remember," he asked, "when you cut my hair?" The answer was "Yes."
The Lingle barber shop was an improvised area in the Lingle barn,
where an old dentist chair with a crank-up seat served a very useful
purpose. The crank for the seat did double duty. It was borrowed from
the grind stone, located in another part of the barn. The patrons were
mostly boys and a number of old-timers of that day, including Harvey
Mann, George Peters, Sr., Bob Renninger, Charles Hunter, James
Bitner and others. One young client, who had been receiving his cut-
rate hair cut regularly, decided he could save even more by doing the
job himself. On his next visit to the Lingle shop he had one clipper-
width swath up the right side of his head and another swath in the
back. When he left he was very happy, not just because his botchery
was corrected for just ten cents, but also because the barber bought his
clippers for exactly the same amount he had paid for them. The clipper
deal provided that the patron would accept payment in terms of future
hair cuts rather than outright cash.
Census records reveal that in earlier days many girls, particularly
teenagers, did live-in house work and were classified as servants. In
1880, for example, Isabelle and Annie Bowes, daughters of James and
Sarah (Bechdel) Bowes of Liberty Township, were living in Beech
Creek with the families of Stillman Keyes and Charles Keyes, respec-
tively. Isabelle, who was born in 1860, before the National Census was
taken, and not in 1861 as she had always believed, later married J.
Alfred Miller, youngest son of John and Nancy (Nestlerode) Miller of
Beech Creek Township. Annie married John Wallace. Just three doors
from the Charles Keyes home, Virginia DeHaas, oldest daughter of J.
Biley DeHaas and his first wife, Mary (Bechdel) DeHaas, was doing
domestic work in the William and Elmira (White) Trexler home.
Virginia later married William Kintzing. Sometimes these young
domestics were enumerated both in their own homes and also in the
households where they worked, as was the case of Virginia DeHaas.
But, just as often they were not listed anywhere, each family believing
that she would be counted in the other household. Live-ins in those
days very often included parents of one or both of the householders,
young men doing farm work, and grandchildren, or others, who were
orphaned particularly by the loss of their mothers.
In early days many females, who, at birth, received the middle name,
Jane, were known throughout most of their lives as Jane with
their first name used as the middle name, or dropped entirely.
In some instances the middle name, Jane, was substituted for the
actual first name before the child was old enough to realize she had
a name. In other cases the child may have grown to womanhood
before her middle name was completely adopted as her given name. In
either instance she was usually called "Jennie," the common
nickname, for Jane. To check in later years the exact full name as-
signed at birth was difficult. Baptismal records were seldom preserved.
Family bible records, if any, provided the best help, especially if they
had been completed on a timely basis. However, in most cases no bible
entries were made until and unless the one person who was recognized
as the best hand writer in the area was engaged — for a fee. At one time
Irvin DeLong, son of J. I. DeLong and his first wife, Ellen (Gardner)
DeLong, while still a young man, did much of this writing. Irvin's
sister, Mary Jane, who married W. Frank Berry, a local leather worker,
presents a perfect example of what this paragraph set out to show.
Census records listed her as Mary Jane during the first thirty -five years
of her life. But, by 1900 she was Jennie M., the name by which she was
known the remainder of her life, and by which she is buried at Hays-
Many of the items in this story, and especially in this chapter, were
prepared in answer to questions that arise in present-day conversa-
tions. This particular paragraph is a typical example. With the recent
closing of the Gundlach Garage on Main Street, which had been
originally opened by Robert Dunlap, we now have just two gasoline
retailers, the Myers Garage and the Scantlin Garage. Gasoline dis-
pensers of the past included the Kessinger Garage, the Beech Creek
Hotel, Dave Bitner's Place and the service station owned by the late
Clair Johnson, all on Main Street. On Maple Avenue gasoline was sold
at the residence of I. J. Rohrbaugh and at the Beech Haven, operated
by Jack DeSau. On Locust Street it was sold at the Sykes store and
later at the garage of Clyde Lewis. On Route 364 gasoline could be ob-
tained at the farm home of Charles and Margaret Rupert and son, Tor-
rence, now the home of William and Marilyn Bitner. Our first gasoline
dispensing pumps required one full course of the crank for each gallon.
Then the crank had to be turned back to its original position. Each gal-
lon was registered by the hand of a clock-like dial. This style pump was
later replaced by a type that required hand pumping the desired
A section of the Haven Homes manufacturing complex.
number of gallons, up to five, into a large glass cylinder at the top of the
pump. When released the fluid flowed by gravity through the hose.
Joseph C. Earon (1883-1957), son of John and Anna (Quay) Earon,
did farming during his first thirty-five working years. At the same time
he mastered the blacksmithing trade, including the shoeing of horses.
When Joe retired from farming and moved to town he fired up his forge
and kept busy throughout his remaining years. It has been suggested
that Joe should have been included in the listing of blacksmiths in
Chapter IV. The authors agree.
For the 1869-1870 period there was published a directory of the
business and professional people and the skilled craftsmen in a number
of towns in central Pennsylvania. Lock Haven, Beech Creek, Howard
and Mt. Eagle of this general area were included. This particular
publication reveals that our own David Mapes was then serving as one
of our three county auditors. This information had not come to light in
any previous research. This hard bound book is filled with advertise-
ments and may have been published specifically for the income from
them. The name of the printer could not be found. The Beech Creek
listings failed to include Fleming Trexler among the shoemakers. He
had already mastered the trade. Missing from their carpenter listings
were John I. Kunes and James McGhee. Irvin Hanscome was not in-
cluded with the blacksmiths, while John W. Crays and Charles W.
Montgomery did not show up in their profession as engineers. Their
listings showed seven storekeepers, but failed to include George Furst,
our leading merchant at that time, and Enoch Hastings, who had
opened his store several years earlier. They named six persons engaged
in the production or sale of lumber, two of whom were manufacturing
shingles, but they failed to include John A. Cook. John, shortly
thereafter, left our area, but is buried at Hays-Fearon cemetery
alongside his wife, a Hays descendant. Two prominent grist millers,
Joseph M. DeHaas and William B. Foresman were not named. Also
missing were Daniel Kunes, the local butcher, and John Harleman, a
stone mason. During the years covered by this book and for many years
after, Rachel Huff, the widow of Edmond Huff, was supporting her
young family by doing weaving in her own home. She should have been
recognized. Richard Gundlach of our town has a copy of the book refer-
red to herein.
In the chapter dealing with industry mention was made of the milk
processing plant on Main Street in a small building that now serves as
a family residence. This plant, then known as a skimming plant, was a
division of the Bellefonte Creamery. In April, 1902 the operation was
discontinued and the equipment was moved to Howard by Boyd N.
Wilson, then living at Howard. Mr. Wilson, a native of our area was a
son of William J. and Barbara (Myers) Wilson. Boyd's wife, Gertrude,
also an area native, was a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Kane) Linn.
Incidentally, Harry Wilson, who operated a clothing store in Lock
Haven for many years, was a brother of Boyd. Their sister, Mary, mar-
ried Sherman Holter, whose mother, Mary (Miller) Holter, was raised
in our township.
The Lock Haven Evening Express reported on April 26, 1902 that
Mr. L. Richardson, proprietor of the drug store in Beech Creek, was
visiting Costello, Pa. Efforts to learn the exact location of his place of
business were not successful.
For the school year of 1891-1892 the Beech Creek Borough school
pupils having perfect attendance were listed in the local news column
of the Lock Haven weekly newspaper. The following were named:
Frank and Charles Pollock, Robert and Trenna Bullock, Ellery and
Thomas Winslow, Frank and Mamie Snyder, Clarence Williams,
George Searle, Taylor Slacker, George Heverly, George Miller, Ada and
Mattie Packer, Pansy and Jennie Casselberry, Ida and Altie Slacker,
Frances Harvey, Edith and Vivian Berry, Ellen and Florence Blair,
Ethel McGhee, Laura Smith, Josie Burlingame, Roy Mobley, Willie
Lamkin, Harry Confer, John Miller, Damie and Ira Lingle, Walter Mil-
ler, Haven and Lemmie Farwell, Ralph Hall, Charles Miller, Jesse and
Sherman Heverly, Willie Merrey, Lula McKean, Mae McCarthy, Ella
Miller, Mabel Shearer, Bertha Keagle, Cora Snyder, Blanche Bridgens,
Alva Linn, Elida Lorrah, John W. Johnson and Jennie Deise. The
teachers were Cora Chatham and Dora Bechdel (later Cook), the
mother of William B. Cook, now of Lock Haven. It is interesting to note
that of the thirty-three family names represented by the pupils only
nine families of the same names live here today. Of these nine at least
four are from entirely different family lines.
Ira E. Cowling, teacher at the Hubbard School in Beech Creek
Township, presented a printed souvenir card to each of his 1898-1899
school term pupils. The card, which included the pupils' names, in-
dicates a school term of 120 days. The pupils were Gertrude Batschelet,
Mabel Brady, Floyd Furl, John Furl, Lottie Gunsallus, May Gunsallus,
Myra Gunsallus, Charles Heimer, Jacob Heimer, Tillie Heimer, John
Herr, Samuel Herr, Charlotte Hubbard, Morris Hubbard, Frank Kuhn,
Florence "Floy" Linn, Fountain Linn, Kelsey Linn, Roy Linn, George
Miller, John Miller, Percy Miller, Augustus Smith, Janet Smith and
Annabelle Whamond. Of the twenty-five pupils only seven remained
here and raised families.
Back in the days when the Beech Creek Railroad was a very busy line
Bert Hill of Jersey Shore, a railroad employee, wrote a poem entitled,
"Old Timers on the Beech Creek." The poem of Mr. Hill, who had mar-
ried a Beech Creek girl, depicted the duties of a number of his fellow
workers. His poem was published in the Lock Haven Express in the late
1970's. Familiar names mentioned were George Keagle, John Winslow,
Ed Leyden, Wilson Forcey, William Bartley, William Ruple, Oscar
DeLong, Gray Hastings, Thomas Winslow, John Bowes, George Bul-
lock, James Harvey, Joe and Fred Roffe, Harry Packer, Charles Bitner,
Charles Long, Clair Berry, Joe McCloskey, Pat McLaughlin and Phil
Frederick, who, many years later, closed out his career at the Beech
Creek station. The accidental death of Mr. Bartley, while employed on
the track, was reported in an earlier chapter.
Our own Dr. George H. Tibbins, then practicing' in Wyoming
County, is credited as being the first person to drive an automobile into
Clinton County. This year was about 1898 and the doctor was driving to
Beech Creek to visit his father, Dr. J. E. Tibbins. Several years earlier
the Hi Henry Circus had brought an automobile to Clinton County.
However, Dr. Tibbins held the distinction of driving the first car into
our county and our town. At that very time Dr. George may have been
contemplating moving his practice to Beech Creek, which he did
several years later.
Deeper research reveals that the "Seven Kitchens" on Main Street
became a reality only after Dick Berryhill's inn and his wagon repair
shop had been been joined to form a single unit. A close look at the pic-
ture of his building, which is displayed in this book, shows the exact
place where the two structures had been attached, Also showing in the
picture is a tiny corner of the roof of Silas Hess store building, which
was next door, to the East. An 1862 map, which identifies the three
separate buildings, is in possession of William Tyson of our town.
George D. Hess later built a garage on the site of the Silas Hess store
building. If any family relationship existed between Silas Hess and
George D. Hess, it has not been established. However, their wives were
Much has been written regarding Buckman "Buck" Claflin and his
daughter, Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull-Martin, the Equal Rights
party's candidate for U. S. president in 1872. Some accounts claim that
the Claflin family lived here two, and possibly three, times. If so, each
stay was short. Official assessment records reveal that "Buck" was
taxed as a storekeeper in 1829. For the 1830 taxable year he was marked
"Gone." There is no record of his being assessed at any time as a school
teacher, the occupation generally associated with his residence here.
The Claflin family is not listed in any of the decennial census records of
Most of the credit for the construction of the Wesleyan Church
building on Main Street should go to the late B. Frank Bowers. Mr.
Bowers, in earlier years, had come from the Flat Rock, now Rote, area
of Lamar Township and married Annie Shilling, a daughter of Thomas
and Mary (Wolfe) Shilling. Frank, an all-round handyman, did the
planning, supervising and all the skilled chores throughout the
building's complete construction. A unique feature was the extension of
the foundation wall sufficiently beyond the framework to provide a
base for brick veneering, if ever added. This gives the building a
somewhat unusual, yet attractive, appearance.
In 1980 a project to provide public housing for the elderly was an-
nounced for Beech Creek Borough. Plans are to locate the structures
just off East Main Street, to the South. At about the same time plans
were developed to determine the feasibility of producing, by water
power at Sayers Dam, electricity to be sold to West Penn Power Com-
pany for distribution in this part of Lower Bald Eagle Valley. It is as-
sumed that in these days of fuel conservation the power company
would welcome an additional supply of current if, of course, it can be
In 1892 the Beech Creek Normal School was organized by J. E.
Wilson and Dr. Rolla B. Fore, who later married Carrie DeLong and
Three generations of
Lingle stilt walkers in
1980 — Harry, David
lived in Blanchard. The first ten -week term started on April 11 of that
year. Courses were offered in elocution, composition, rhetoric, logic,
literature, mathematics and at least fifteen additional fields. No infor-
mation is available to show how long this school was continued.
For a number of years the McKean brothers, Sheldon and Lyle,
operated a combination pool hall and barber shop on Main Street.
Sheldon took full charge of the pool room, while Lyle limited his work
almost entirely to barbering. On one particular evening when
Sheldon's assistant was running the pool room, and Lyle, too, was ab-
sent, George Montgomery "Mont" Gunsallus, son of Ira and Abigail
(Lucas) Gunsallus, stopped in for a shave. Soon after "Monte" had
seated himself in the barber chair Walter E. "Beechie" Miller, who was
among those present, was at his side. To the complete amazement of all
the bystanders "Beechie" forthrightly proceeded to administer the
shave. Mr. Gunsallus, quite appreciative of his free shave, was soon on
his way. A short time later "Beechie," the son of J. Orrie and Virginia
(Campman) Miller, possibly buoyed by this successful experience,
entered barber school, where he learned a trade that he followed for the
next fifty-one years.
In 1900 John Rothrock of Beech Creek Township was hailed by various
newspapers as the youngest telegraph operator in the state. John was a
son of Charles and Mary Ella (Haagen) Rothrock. He was a grandson of
Dr. Thomas Rothrock of Eagleville, who died that very same year, and
of John and Fayetta (Brungard) Haagen of our township. At the time of
the citation John was. substituting for his ill father, one of two brothers,
who had become telegraph operators on the Bald Eagle Valley
Railroad. His family was living at the southern end of what is now
Wynn Avenue. When one is reminded that this young man was sending
telegraph messages and directing train crews, he or she will be very sur-
prised to learn that John was then just twelve years of age. He died un-
married in 1961, and is buried at Hays-Fearon cemetery beside his
mother, who died three years earlier at age eighty-nine.
The mentioning of the Haagen name in the paragraph above is a
reminder of Bill Haagen's grain threshing outfit. Starting in late Sum-
mer each year Mr. Haagen moved from farm to farm. His powerful
steam engine had the general appearance of a dinkey locomotive. When
followed by the water tank wagon, the thresher and the baler, one was
apt to think that a train had come off the track and onto the highway.
Mr. Haagen, a son of John and Fayetta, raised a family of fifteen in our
Historical publications of 1890 state that William Clark, father of
James Clark, the Water Street merchant, settled here in 1792. William
was actually only eight years of age in 1792. Perhaps the reference is to
James Clark's grandfather, also named William, and the first of a
number of area coopers of the Clark name. Even so, the 1792 date
seems incorrect since the senior William was not assessed until 1815,
and was not listed on local census records until 1820. In 1819 the
younger William, who had likewise learned the cooper trade, was as-
sessed for the first time, appearing on the "Single Man" list. In 1820
the younger William was marked "Married," his wife being Sarah
Hays, a daughter of Dickie and Anna Hays. William and Sarah were
not about to let the name "William" die. Their son of that same name
married Charlotte Hall on March 6, 1855. Charlotte was a daughter of
Jesse and Elizabeth (Johnson) Hall.
In 1870 William Rupert was officially listed as a carpenter. By 1875
he became sufficiently interested in the field of cabinet making to enter
the coffin manufacturing business. In a historical publication of 1875
he was listed as the local undertaker. However by 1880 he had
redirected his woodworking talents toward wagon making as noted in
an earlier chapter of this story. Our early undertakers, it should be
pointed out, were primarily cabinet makers who specialized in coffins.
Prior to Mr. Rupert's brief stint in undertaking, and for the sixty-five
following years, we were without a local undertaker.
In an earlier chapter mention was made of the already high number
of men employed by the local brick plant at the time of its eighth year
of operation in 1909. These figures were obtained from an unofficial sur-
vey of our town prepared, perhaps, by a telephone company. At that
time two telephone companies, Bell and Commercial, were competing
for local subscribers. The Commercial company, which established a
local exchange, was already in the lead, and eventually won out, but
not until the 1920's. During the intervening years some local sub-
scribers had both Bell and Commercial connections. In 1909 twelve
local men, each of whom is identified in a previous chapter, were
employed by our two railroads as telegraph operators. Such a high
number leads one to assume that a number of these operators were
employed at towers and stations at other points. Then, too, some may
have been trainees. The one noticeable statistic in the 1909 survey in-
dicates the decline that was taking place in the number of persons
employed in lumber production. When the official census records for
the 1910 enumeration are eventually released they should closely con-
form to the data contained herein.
Fleming P. Trexler, long-time local shoemaker and outstanding
citizen, was known for his tenor singing voice. He was often called upon
to sing a particular song, that was not only his favorite but also the
favorite of audiences — Tenting on the Old Camp Ground. Flem was
still a young boy when his family came here from Jersey Shore. Some
time after he closed his cobbler shop Michael Salvia of Lock Haven
opened a shoe repair shop in the small building on Main Street, where
Clarence Rossman had maintained an office for insurance sales and
local tax collection. Mr. Salvia arrived daily on the morning train, car-
rying a basket that contained enough food for two meals. He departed
each evening on the night train.
As previously stated the National census records for the year 1890
were destroyed by fire. However, in that same year a special census of
Civil War veterans, or their surviving spouses, was completed. This
enumeration revealed each soldier's rank, branch of service, regiment
and company, and included the enlistment and discharge dates. The
following from our area were listed: Joseph Bitner, Joseph Brady, Wil-
liam A. Bridgens, William T. Buck, Margaret Bullock (widow of Wil-
liam C), Nelson Caldwell, John Cook, James Riley DeHaas, John C.
DeLong, William J. Eyer, James A. Falls, John E. Gummo, James
Harleman, John S. Harleman, Enoch W. Hastings, Joseph Heverly,
Peter Hoffman, Uriah Kitchen, Daniel Leyden, Francis Mills Linn,
James A. Linn, Joseph M. Linn, John D. Lyons, Campbell McCloskey,
John C. McGhee, Carpenter Miller, William Montgomery, James B.
Moore, Samuel Mortimer, John Myers, Joseph Myers, Michael Myers,
George W. Packer, George W. Searle, John A. Smith, Michael G. Stahl,
Mary E. Swartz (widow of Henry E.), Joseph E. Tibbins, Fleming P.
Trexler, William Waite, Edward Williams and William J. Wilson.
Several of these men served more than one enlistment. Not included, of
course, were our soldiers who did not return. They are named in an
earlier chapter of this story. Records indicate that the following local
This house on Main Street was built by John McGhee in 1854.
men also served in the Union Army, but were not living here in 1890:
Henry Bollinger, Samuel Bowman, Sylvester Brady, William
Calderwood, William Crispen, Henry Kirk Graham, Thomas
Harleman, William Huff, William C. Miller, Andrew Myers, Emanuel
Nestlerode, James Nestlerode and James A. Quigley.
It has been mentioned that, in addition to long standing family
names and bible names, many newborns received the names of local
doctors, ministers, etc. Daniel Dobbins Gunsallus, born around 1822,
and generally known as Dobbin, was one of a number of babies named
for Dr. Daniel Dobbins of Bellefonte. Mr. Gunsallus, the son of Wesley
and the grandson of Revolutionary War soldier, Richard Gunsallus,
lived in our township for a period following his marriage to Nancy
Confer. The Daniel Dobbin name became quite popular among
Nancy's Confer kin for at least the next one hundred years. It is
remembered that the late Daniel Dobbin Confer was severely injured
during the sneaky Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His wife, Betty,
the daughter of Lloyd and Mary (Uhl) Bechdel, was born here. Another
doctor to whom many area residents owed their name was Dr. Ira D.
Canfield, who had begun his very successful career at Jacksonville.
This doctor later moved his practice to Clinton County, where on
September 3, 1867, at age 63, he was drowned in the Susquehanna
At one time it was quite customary to clip and preserve a lock of hair
from a deceased loved-one. In those days preparation for burial fell
upon the deceased person's relatives and friends. However, assistance
was often obtained from the one or more persons in the neighborhood
familiar with the task. This procedure easily allowed for the clipping of
a favorite lock. Saved over the years and currently in possession of the
authors of this story are three such locks. They are sealed in envelopes
and identified as being from the following: Girard Bitner, son of
Abraham and Mary (Leathers) Bitner, who died in 1852 at age twenty;
James Leathers, son of John and Barbara (Bitner) Leathers, who died
in 1860 at age twenty -three; and Andrew Brady, son of James and Mary
(Locke) Brady, who died in 1859 at age twenty-two. The ages of these
three may be an indication that the custom prevailed particularly when
someone died prematurely. James Leathers was a younger brother of
John Bitner Leathers, the Mt, Eagle potter, whose crocks have become
a highly-priced collectors' item.
In the late 1920's Griffith's 5 and 10 cent store in Lock Haven, an-
nounced that it was discontinuing business. Sheldon C. "Shed"
McKean, thereupon, purchased the entire stock of that store. Following
a quick renovation of the vacant room adjoining his pool hall, and the
purchase of supplemental merchandise, Mr. McKean opened
McKean's Variety Store which employed two sales girls. The grand
opening featured background music provided by a phonograph. An out-
door sign advertised "Notions, Novelties and Necessities" in a price
range of 5 cents to 25 cents. Today's residents are hard pressed to recall
just how long this store was continued.
For a number of years Fairview Street in our town was nicknamed
"Laudenum" Street. The nickname became so popular that it was as-
sumed by many younger people to be the real name. This name had
been applied because a certain widow (name withheld) in that part of
town was known for her constant use of the laudenum drug.
On the evening of November 8, 1980 the home of Robert and Yvonne
( Wohlfert) Boob on Harrison Street was gutted by fire of unknown
origin. This house is located on the inside of the sharp turn where Har-
rison Street leads to Water Street. Early maps show that in 1862 this
was the location of George W. Sterling's residence and tailor shop. Mr.
Boob is a grandson of Elmer Young, a long-time resident of our
township, who lived to age ninety-seven. The interior and roof of the
home of William T. Kessinger on Main Street were very extensively
damaged by fire on the evening of December 16, 1980. This house, built
in the 1870's by Jesse S. and Blanche (Owens) Hall, was occupied for
more than fifty years by the Hall family.
In December 1980 considerable newspaper publicity was given to
"Onward Victoria," a current Broadway musical depicting the life of
Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull, whose family is mentioned in an earlier
chapter of this story as having lived in Beech Creek. It was stated that
Victoria was bom in Home, Ohio in 1838. Her birth year is a clear in-
dication that she was not born here as had been thought by some. Hav-
ing left here about 1830 her family was likely one of a number of
families that moved from here to Ohio around that time. William B.
Collins, the Philadelphia Inquirer's theater critic, not quite satisfied
with the Broadway production, wrote that Victoria was "A promising
subject for a musical of walloping impact, which 'Onward Victoria' is
An automobile repair business, specializing in body work, was
recently opened by John Gundlach, a son of Jack and Pauline
(Hawkins) Gundlach. The shop is located just beyond the entrance of
the mountain road that leads to Renovo. This portion of the road, along
the side of the mountain, was originally built to serve as a roadbed for
the dinkey train that hauled clay from Wynn's mine to the local brick
plant. It had been closed and fenced off for many years with only a path
for pedestrians. In the 1930' s it was widened and graded by Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) members of the Salt Lick camp beyond
Many of the early histories of Central Pennsylvania areas mention
David Lewis, who was a notorious, although a Robin Hood type, rob-
ber. It is not known if Lewis, who was aided by his partner, Connelly,
committed any of his acts within our area. However, it is known that he
was a son of Lewis Lewis, a highly regarded surveyor, who had worked
here with Charles Lukens as early as 1775. After the death of Lewis
Lewis his widow, Jane (Dill) Lewis, became the second wife of
Frederick Leathers, the great, great, great, great grandfather of the
authors of this story. Following Frederick's death in the Mt. Eagle area
in 1796, his will (Mifflin County Will Book I, p. 105) was contested by
his seven children. Jane was accused of tampering. After eluding many
a posse David Lewis and Connelly were finally captured amidst gunfire
near Sinnemahoning in late June, 1820. While being transported to
Bellefonte Connelly, who had been critically wounded, died at Great
Island (Lock Haven), and was buried there. Lewis, who refused am-
putation of a badly wounded arm, died of gangrene in the Bellefonte
jail several weeks later, and was buried at Milesburg. The many stories
regarding Lewis usually noted that his brothers and sisters were highly
respected citizens of Centre County. The Lower Paxton Township
bicentennial book of 1967 lists some of the activities of Lewis in
Dauphin County, and stresses that he robbed the rich and divided his
plunder with the poor. Later in 1820 Lewis was posthumously pardoned
of his crimes by Governor Findlay.
Late in 1980 J. Filmore Miller, who, with his wife Catherine, lives
east of town at the crest of Bickel's Hill, received some deserving
publicity. Mr. Miller, a retiree of the local Armstrong plant and more
QWho was the first woman to ran
for president of the United States?
A Victoria Claflin Woodhull was ~ ; •-;;:„ ,i
** nominated for the presidency by the
National Woman's Suffrage Association in
1872. Her platform supported free love,
abolition of the death penalty, excess-
profits taxes, better public housing, birth
control and easier divorce laws. The first
woman member of the House of Represen-
tatives, Jeanette Rankin of Wyoming, was
elected in 1916, four years before the en- '
actment of nationwide women's suffrage.
In 1932, Hattie Caraway of Arkansas
became the first woman elected to the j
Senate, though 10 years earlier a woman, <
Rebecca Latimer Felto'n of Georgia, had '
been appointed a senator. VICTORIA WOODHULL- Free tovw tost
Victoria's family lived in Beech Creek in the 1820's.
recently an employee of Spotts store, makes wooden toys for free dis-
tribution to needy children at Christmas time. Working through the
Salvation Army "Fil" is always assured that each toy reaches a very ap-
The authors take this opportunity to thank all those persons who
provided pictures and material for this book. The efforts of Joseph M.
DeHaas in this regard were especially gratifying. Tribute is paid to the
late Mae (McCarthy) Miller for the memories she shared in her latter