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THAT portion of the Allegheny valley included within the limits of Ve- 
nango county is eminently rich in historic interest. No unimportant 
part of the struggle between France and England for empire in America 
was enacted upon its soil. It was here that the military occupation of the 
Ohio valley, perhaps the most comprehensive project of territorial aggran- 
dizement ever attempted upon the American continent, was begun by the 
French, who thus expressed in unmistakable language the extent of their 
claims and the course of their future policy, attracting the attention of the 
English and colonial governments, and precipitating a conflict, the ultimate 
results of which are apparent in all subsequent American history. Here the 
conspiracy of the great Pontiac, almost without a parallel in its organization 
of a savage population for combined action, achieved one of its most atro- 
cious and successful victories; and here was erected the last fortification 
for protection against Indian aggression in the state of Pennsylvania. 
While the county was thus the theater of events of far more than local sig- 
nificance in the period preceding its first settlement, the discovery and de- 
velopment of its rich oil deposits havt? rendered its recent history equally 
interesting and important. 

The physical features of the county— its aboriginal history, and the contest 
for possession of its soil-the gradual progress of its early settlement, with 
the customs and characteristics of pioneer life-its material resources in 
soil and mineral treasures, and industrial activity in the past and present— 
the transportation facilities of river and rail— its civil administration, and 
public eleemosynary institutions-the patriots of the Revolution who settled 
upon its soil-the part taken by its citizens in the war of 1812, the Mexican 
war, and the civil war— the educational and religious interests of the com- 
munity, with biographical mention of many of its citizens, are included m 
the plan of this work, and have been treated with such fairness as its com- 
prehensive character would permit. 

The opening chapters of the work, commencing with the aborigines and 
extending through the French and British occupation of the Allegheny 
valley down to the period of its permanent settlement, are from the pen of 
the late Reverend S. J. M. Eaton, D. D.. who also wrote the chapter on 


the early history of Franklin. Doctor Eaton's long residence in the county, 
his earnest researches into the stirring events of the pre-American period, 
and extensive experience in educational, literary, and historic work are 
ample guaranty of its thorough execution. 

The petroleum development has been treated by Walter R. Johns, of 
Oil City, a gentleman of extended acquaintance with this subject, both as 
journalist and author, who has presented in graphic and concise terms the 
salient features of a story, which, though hackneyed by frequent repetition, 
will never cease to possess local interest. 

Herbert C. Bell, of Leitersbnrg, Maryland, is the author of the re- 
maining portions of the general history, excepting the chapter on Oil City, 
which was compiled principally by Burton A. Konkle. The editorial super- 
vision of the work was intrusted to Mr. Bell, whose thoroughness and accu- 
racy in historical research and narration have been acquired by a varied 
experience in this department of literary effort. In this responsible posi- 
tion he received the assistance of the publishers, whose long connection 
with the business has made them familiar with all the details of local his- 
torical work. 

An important feature of the publication is its several chapters of per- 
sonal and family biography, the data for which were obtained from those to 
whom they relate or their descendants; and in order to insure accuracy, the 
matter was afterward submitted to them for correction. 

It would be impossible to mention here every one who has rendered val- 
uable aid in the preparation of this volume. Appropriate acknowledg- 
ments, however, are due and gladly tendered to the public press of the 
county for access to newspaper files, and words of encouragement; to 
county, city, and borough officials for courtesies shown; to the descendants' 
of the pioneers in every locality for information furnished; to attorneys, 
physicians, and other professional men; to the pastors of churches; to the 
leading spirits in various societies; to the owners and managers of maau- 
facturing and other business establishments; to those enterprising citizens 
who gave us their patronage, and without whose support we could not have 
succeeded; and in general to every one who has contributed in any manner 
to the success of the work. 

Neither time nor money nor labor has been spared to make this volume 
an authentic and reliable source of information concerning the early his- 
tory and material development of the county, and the various commercial, 
social, and religious activities of its people. We take pride in the knowl- 
edge that we have redeemed our promises, and furnished our patrons a 
work which every intelligent citizen can justly appreciate. 

Brown, Runk & Co. 




Introductory— The Place of Veiian^:o County in History— Surface— Productions— Timber 
—Scenery— Foliage— Geology— Latent Resources— Allegheny River— French Creelv— 
Smaller Streams and General Drainage 17-22 



Traces of a Mysterious Race— Prehistoric Remains at Franklin and Oil Creek— History 
Re-enacted— Indian Occupation of this County at the Time of the French Possession 
— Tribal Connections— Custaloga—Guyasutha—Cornplanter— Traditions— Indian God 
Rock ^^-^.j.^ 



Tlie Jesuit and Franciscan Missionaries- Extent of the French Claims— Celeron's Expe- 
dition—Route and Progress— Burial of the Leaden Plates— Translation— The Return 
to Canada— Bonnecamp's Map— Actual Occupation Begun— Military Posts Estal)- 
lished— John Frazier 36-42 



The Local Interest That Attaches to Washington's Visit— His Interviews with Joncaire 
and St. Pierre— Route Traversed on the Journey aud Return— His Commission, In- 
structions, and Passport— Influence of This Mission on his Subsequent Career 4.3-47 



Construction Begun— Sources of Information— The Shippen Map— Its Description and 
Probable Origin— Statements of Pouchot, Long, Johnson, Chauvignerie, Post, and 
Mercer— Military Preparations at Fort Machault in 1759— CcJncentration of French 
Forces for an Attack on Fort Pitt— This Project Relinquished and the Fort Evacuated 
—Its Destruction— Retreat of the French— Traditions aud Memorials of the French 
Occupation 47-57 



English Occui)ation — Fort Venango— Its Location and Appointments — Pontiac's Con- 
spiracy — Destruction of Fort Venango and Massacre of the Garrison — Sacrifice of 
Historic Remains to the Utilitarian Spirit Deprecated 57-60 




Furt Fraiikliu Erected— Indian Depredations — Ransom's Deposition— Ellicott's Letter 
— Adlum's Testimony — McDowell's Statement — Cornplauter's Attitude — Location of 
Fort Franklin— The "Old Garrison" — Suggestive Reflections 61-G~ 



Acquisitions of Indian T. itory under Proprietary Auspices — The Purchase of 1784 — 
Donation Lands — Reservations — The Act of 1793 — Land Companies — The Astley and 
Bingham Lands — Dickinson College Tracts — Settlement and Improvement Tenure 
— Resume 08-82 



First Permanent Settlement in Northwestern Pennsylvania, at Meadville — George Power 
and his Early Contemporaries at Franklin — Pioneers of Scrubgrass — Clinton — Irwin 
— French Creek — Sandy Creek, Victory and Mineral — Sugar Creek — Canal — Jackson 
—Oakland — Cornplanter — Allegheny — Oil Creek — Cherry Tree — Plum — President — 
Richland — Rockland— Cranberrj^ — Pinegrove — Taxahles in 180.5 in Allegheny, Irwin, 
and Sugar Creek — Population of the County by Decades 83-98 



Character of the People Who Formed the Early Population of This County — Household 
Furniture — Social Customs — Game — Domestic Manufactures — Pioneer Architecture 
— Convivial Habits — Educational Facilities — Early Schools, Teachers, and Text Books 
—The Postal Service— Financial Methods 98-104 



Sunday in a Pioneer Coninnnrity — Early Religion* Literature — Activity of the Clergy — 
Interest of the Peo])le in Attending Worship— .ittTnier of Traveling — Architecture of 
the First Churches — The Mi'thodist "Circuit Rider" — General Religious Tendencies 
—Revivals— The "Falling Exercise"— E:.."l' '^ linalional Orc-anization 107-112 



Erection and Boundaries — Early Civil Administration — Internal Subdivision — Pu))lic Build- 
ings — Inauguration of the Public School System — Congressional and Legislative Rep- 
resentation — Roster of County Officers — Early Townshi]) Officers , 112-152 



First Courts — Court Week During Pioneer Days — .John Morrison, The Old Crier — Record 
of the First Sessions — First Juries and Cases Tried — Prominent Early Lawyers — The 
Bench — Brief Biographies of the Successive President Judges— Special District 
Court— Associate Judges— The Bar of the Past and Present 1.53-189 




LTninvitin..- Cbaiacter of Venango County as a Field for the Labors of Professional Physi- 
cian^ at an Early Date-Pioneer Doctors at Franklin and Throu-liout the County- 
Medical Societies-Roster of the Medical Profession 190-^20 < 



Relative Importance of Agriculture -Pioneer Farming -Development of Luprovcd 
Methods and Machinery-Introduction of Domestic Animals and ot the Cereals int.. 
America -Pioneer Stoclc-Prospect Hill Stock Farm-Oakvvood Farm and Garden 
Company, Limited-Agricultural Societies-The Grange-Harvest H«me ^^socrn^^^^^^^ 


Relation of HighAvays of Travel to Civilization-Roads-Turnpikes and Plank R.nids- 
Water Hio-hways-The First Steaml. oat-French Creek and Oil Creek-Railroads- 
Venano-o Railroad-New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio-Western New lork and 
PenSvania-Jamestown and Franklin-Allegheny Valley-Postal Facihties. . . .222^ 


First Newspapers in Western Pennsylvania-Journalism in Franklin-Emlenton P^'Pers- 

The Press of Oil City— Papers at Pithole City, Pleasantville, etc ^4^~-t), 


Venango County in the Revolution-The War of 1812-Defenseless Condition of Erie- 
Mititia Oro-anization of Western Pennsylvania-General Mead Calls out the Mihtia to 
Repel Threatened Invasion at Erie-The One Hundred and Thirty-Second Regiment 
"io-ain Called out in lS14-Roster of the Regiment-The Old Militia-Roster of the 
Venano-o Guards-The Mexican War-Sketches of Generals Alexander Hays and 

" „ 262-378 

Jesse L. Reno 



State of Public Sentiment at the Outbreak of tlie War-Public Meetings-Regimental 
Sketches - Thirty -Ninth - Fifty-Seventh - Sixty-Third - Sixty-Fourth - Sixty-Fifth 

-One Hundred and Third-One Hundred and Fifth-One Hundred and Twenty- 
First-One Hundred and Forty-Second-One Hundred and Sixty-First-Lamberton ^ 
Qiiards- Relief Association— Soldiers' Monument 2(8-30. 



The Drake Well— Earlv Methods of Drilling and Transporlation-The Third Sand-First 

Flowinii- Wells-Railroads and Pipe Lines-Heavy or Lubricating Oil Belt-Oil 

Towns— Petroleum Transportation— Nitro-Glyceriue-Natural Gas— The Producer— 

Petroleum and (ias Fields-Statistics 30S-338 




Survey and Sale of the Town Plat — Settlement and Growth — Early Surveyors — The Old 
Merchants — Early Mechanics — Hotels — The Press — "The Nursery of Great Men " — 
Early Physicians and Lawyers — Some Old Ministers — The First Sunday School — 
Incidents and Landmarks — The Old Way of Traveling — Ancient Roads — The Old 
Cemetery — Water, Light, and Scenery 341-373 


CITY OF FRANKLIN (Coxcluded). 

General Progress of the Town — Franklin in 1823 — Municipal Government — The Post- 
office — Bridges, Railroads, etc. — Manufactures— The Oil Industry — General Business 
Interests — Telegraph, Express, and Telephone Facilities — Secret and Other Societies 
— Educational — Religious Organizations — The Franklin Cemetery— Resume 37-1^32 



Sites and Sales— Early Business, Physicians, and Lawyers— Plats and Organization — 
Public Buildings, Grading, and Drainage — Departments of Fire and Police — Water 
Works, Gas, and Electricity — Fires and Floods, etc. — Facilities of Travel and Trans- 
l)ortation — Internal Revenue Service — Post, Telegraph, and Telephone Offices — 
Banks and Building Associations — Newspapers — Hotels and Halls — Manufactures — 
Oil Operations — Secret, Social, and Professional Societies — Schools — Religious 
Organizations — Cemeteries 433-510 



Early History — The First Merchants — Hotels — Local Bridge and Railroad Enterprises — 
Manufactures — The Borough Organization — Secret and Other Societies — Schools — 
Churches .511-.52'4 



Erection and Population — Pioneers — Taverns — Mills — Villages — Schools — Cemetery — 

Churches .52.5-53.5 



Erection and Boundaries — Pioneers — Early Industries— Schools — Churches and Ceme- 
teries 535-541 


Organization — Boundaries — Pioneers — Villages — Cliurches — Schools .542-.548 



Organization — Early Land Entries — Pioneer Settlements — Industries and Resources — 
Villages— Schools— Churches .548-560 




Ercflion—Bouudarie^— Topography— Indians— Pioneers— Mills and Factories— Borough 
of Utica Its Early Settlement, Growth, Business Interests, and Official Record— Bor- 
ouo-h of Polk, Its Past and Present—Churches— Cemeteries— Schools 561-581 



Organization and Population- Pioneers- Early Industries— Villages — Churches- 



Organization— Streams— Population— Pioneers— Early Industries— Villages— The First 
"oil Well— The Benninghoff Robbery— Schools— Churches— Cemeteries 58T-5'.»7 



Extent and Population— Pioneers— Borough of Sunville— ChapmanTille— Wallaceville— 
Diamond— Bradleytown— Churches— Schools 597-604 



Boundaries and Erection— Pioneers — Industries and Resources — Village Growth— 
Churches— Schools ^ 605-615 



Organization— Early Laud Ownership— Settlement— Mills— Villag-es-Coal, Oil, and Gas 
"-Churches- Sciiools 615-020 


Boundaries— Population— Organization— Pioneers— Industries of the Past and Present- 
Village Growth— Schools— Churches 620-6;S4 



Erection and Boundaries— Physical Features— Timber— Watercourses— Early Settlement 
—List of Pioneers —Industries — Hanuaville— Educational— Cemeteries— Religious 



Material Wealth and Historic Associations— Pioneers— Industries— Organization— Plumcr 
— Pithole City— Petroleum Ceuter—Rouseville— Borough of Siverly— Smaller Towns 
—Churches— Schools 644^674 




Erection and Population — Pioneers — Taxable Inhabitants of 1S36 — Schools — Churches 



Boundaries — Organization — Pioneers — Dempseytown — Schools — Churches 680-68i^ 



Organization and Extent — Pioneers — Borough of Cooperstown — Inhabitants in 1837 — 
Industries — Oil Developments — Secret and Other Societies — Municipal Government 
—Population— Schools— Churches 689-702 



Topography — Erection and Population — Settlement — Economic Resources — Villages — 

Churches- Schools 702-706 



Topographical Features— Pioneers — Township Organization — The Bullion Oil District — 
Borough of Clintonville — Village Growth of the Past and Present — Schools — 
Churches 706-723 



Organization — Pioneers — Early Mills — Pleasantville — Settlement — Growth — Banking In- i 
stitutions — Secret and Other Societies — Municipal Organization — Shamburg — 
Churches — Schools — Pleasantville Cemetery ._ 723-734 



Organization and Topography — Settlement — Raymilton — Churches — Schools 734-739 


Organization— Pioneers — The Old Furnaces — Springville — Schools — Churches 740-744 


Biographies of Franklin 744-837 


Biographies of Oil City 838-929 




Biographies of Emleuton 030-953 



Biographies of Irwin 953-966 I Biographies of Clinton 979-10U6 

Biographies of Scrubgrass 966-979 1 



Biographies of French Creek 1007-1025 I Biographies of Mineral 1030-1037 

Biographies of Sandy Creek 1026-1030 | Biographies of Victory 1037-1040 




Biographies of Sugar Creek 1041-1046 

Biographies of Cherry Tree 1046-1052 

Biographies of Plum 1053-1059 

Biographies of Canal 1059-1067 

Biographies of Oakland 1067-1070 

Biographies of Jackson 1070-1077 



Biographies of Allegheny 1077-1082 I Biographies of President 1099-1103 

Biographies of Cornplanter 10S2-1099 | Biographies of Oil Creek 1104-1111 



Biographies of Richland 1111-1119 I Biographies of Pinegrove 1128-1135 

Biographies of Rockland 1119-1128 1 Biographies of Cranberry 1135-1154 







Adams, John 573 

Anderson, James 555 

Beringer, George facing 1004 

Bleakley, James 349 

Bredin, James M facing 803 

Clapp, Ralpli 105 

Clapp, E. E facing 1100 

Clapp, J. M 447 

Crawford, D. M 969 

Cross, Robert 717 

Dale, Samuel 69 

Dale, Samuel F 87 

Eaton, S. J. M 16 

Espy, George P 645 

Fassett, L. H 439 

Fleming, S. L 735 

Foster, James facing 1036 

Frazier, Alexander facing 1008 

Galbraitb, U. C 835 

Geary, Micbael 465 

Giltillan, C. W 789 

Hatcb, Pbilip M facing 1084 

Hays, Samuel 267 

Henderson, J. B facing 1116 

Hetzler, Joliu 609 

Hovis, David 951 

James, H. F facing 1053 

Lamli, John 537 

Lamberton, Robert 51 

Leach, James 879 

Mackey, C. W 375 

Mackey, Charles W 771 

Milton, John 313 

Mitchell, F. W 393 

Mitchell, John L 331 

Myers, James S 177 

McCalmont, John 33 

McClellan J. P facing 1030 

McKee, Thomas 133 

Osmer, J. H . 


Park, Myron 339 

Phipps, Porter 987 

Phipps, R.J 303 

Phipps, Samuel 141 

Plumer, Arnold 753 

Raymond, Aaron W 331 

Raymond, William 357 

Ritchey, J. A 483 

Ross, Joseph 501 

Sayers, H.J 681 

Sloan, Leslie 519 

Smithman, John B 897 

Snowden, S. Gustine 195 

Speechley, Samuel facing 1133 

Standley, John facing 1148 

Stewart, S. W ; 915 

Strong, O. H 637 

Taylor, Charles E .• 385 

Taylor, F. H 861 

Trunkey, John 159 

Vandergrift, J.J 843 

Wallace, John 663 

Weber, Adam 699 

Weller, Joseph 933 

Whann, Walter Lowrie 411 

Will)ert, Henry 591 


Carte d'un Voyage Fait dans la Belle 

Reviere en la Nouvelle France 40 

Drake's Pioneer Oil W ell 311 

Fac Simile of Leaden Plate 38 

Fort Machault, 1754^59 48 

Fort Venango, 1760-63 58 

Franklin in 1840 377 

Indian God Rock 33 

Inscription on Indian God Rock 33 

Map of Venango County v-vi 

f i^<^ 



Introductory— The Place of Venango County in History— Surface- 
Productions— Timber— Scenery— Foliage — Geology — Latent 
Resources- Allegheny Eiver— French Creek— Sim aller 
Streams and General Drainage. 

THE history of Venango county has many points of special interest. 
It is not extensive in its geographical boundaries, and lies distant 
from the seaboard, yet from the earliest period it has been the scene of in- 
teresting and historic events. On its hills and its valleys there still linger 
the dim foot-prints of a people whose origin and history and decadence are 
alike enshrouded in mystery. 

Its history is touched by that remarkable period in European history 
known as ' ' the Hundred Years' war. ' ' Although no battles were fought on 
its soil, yet the great proportion of the struggle between France and Eng- 
land is one of its exciting features in colonial history. It has had no less 
than four military fortifications for its defense, which, although not equal 
to the fortresses of the Middle Ages, have yet answered the purposes of 
the times. 

And in modern times Venango was for years the theater of the won- 
drous development of wealth known as the oil production, the history and 
progress of which are given in another chapter. 

Beneath her soil, too, mineral wealth has slumbered, all unknown to the 
Indian and the Frenchman and the earlier citizen, that has in later days 
been a blessing and a joy to the people. Her coal and iron mines, whilst 
not at all equal to those of other regions, have been an element of comfort 
and even wealth, when other sources of business prosperity seemed to fail. 

And her fountains* of water have been a source of health and enjoyment, 
as they gush from the hillside, or find their way from the mountain tops. 


and seamed so as to be entirely worthless. Perhaps in the stratum under- 
lying this there are fine flag stones, bearing still on their faces the ripple 
marked rain pats of the primeval ages, when these rocks were but beds of 
sand. In other places the underlying rock seems to have been kneaded and 
pressed together when in a plastic form, until it is almost impossible to 
penetrate or quarry it, giving evidence of the action of great heat. 

Iron ore is fovind in many parts of the county, not of such richness as is 
found in other states, but that will yield a good j)er centum of metal. 

An.d as the earliest inhabitants of this region passed over its soil and 
pursued their game, or cultivated their favored spots in corn, there was a 
wealth all unseen or undreamed of beneath their feet that was to come forth 
in the latter days when civilization and refinement should require its aid. 
Great seas of oil and stores of gas were awaiting the time of need when 
wood should become scarce, and when the great industries of life should re- 
quire the aid of something more potent than the simple arrangements of 
savage life. In all these matters, Venango county has been highly favored. 

The Allegheny river has had several names. The Shawnese Indians 
called it Palawa-Thoriki; the Delawares named it Alligawi Sipu, after a 
race of Indians which they believed had once dwelt upon the stream. This 
tribe were called Alleghansby Golden in the London edition of his work, and 
Lewis Evans, on his map published in 1755, calls the river the Alleghan. 
The Senecas called it Ho-he-u, which name the French adopted, con- 
necting it with the Ohio as the same stream. In French documents it is 
called La Belle Riviere, Oheo or Ohio, meaning the beautiful river. It must 
have been a beautiful and majestic stream in the days when the whole coun- 
try was covered with forests, and when there was consequently a calm regu- 
lar flow during the entire season without droughts or unusual overflows. It 
has a winding current, and whilst in this county its general course is south- 
erly, such is the devious course it runs amid the hills that in some parts of 
its progress it runs toward every point of the compass. 

The hills on either side of the river rise up rather precipitously, perhaps 
to the height of five hundred feet. But they are never rugged or bare when 
in a state of nature. The greatest variety and luxuriance of vegetation are 
found everywhere. Lofty trees, both deciduous and evergreen, rise from 
the base to the lofty summit that is the general level of the country. So 
this great river is like a mighty rending furrow that has been cut through 
the primeval soil and rock, making a pathway for the waters and a compar- 
atively level thoroughfare for the exigencies of trade and travel. 

French creek, the stream that winds its way through the county seat, is 
in these last days but an insignificant creek, without interest or attraction of 
any kind; yet when we trace its history backward one hundred and forty 
years we find it crowded with interest and full of romantic adventure. It 
has played no unimportant part in the struggle for empire, in which th& 


denizens of the forest, the crowns of France and England, as well as the 
people of the United States, have been engaged. 

Taking its way through portions of but three counties, it has yet been 
the scene of active interest in the contest between England and France, 
between England and the Indians, and between England and the United 
States. It has been defended by more military works than any other stream 
of equal length in the United States. But in these later times it has sub- 
sided to quietness and peace, 

" Like ;i warrior taking his rest, 
With his martial cloak around him." 

It takes its origin in Chautauqua county, New York, passes into Erie 
county, thence into Crawford, impinges on Mercer, and through Venango 
enters the Allegheny river. George Washington describes it as being " a 
crooked stream, but passing through much good land, embracing many rich 
meadows. ' ' The French used the strean as their highway to the Ohio, bring- 
ing their matei'ial of war down its channel. 

It has had various names. The French called it Riviere aux Boeufs. 
This was the name C^loron gave it in 1749. In Coffin's narrative in 1754 
it is called Le Boeuff. meaning Buffalo or Beef river. It was also called 
Venango river. But Washington, in his practical way, called it French 
creek, the name it stilF continues to bear. 

In later days it was used by the settlers for boating purposes. In 1813 
all the naval stores needed for the construction of Perry's fleet were brought 
from Pittsburgh to Franklin, and then up the creek to Waterford, and then 
by land to Erie. It was a source of wonder to the English where these 
stores came from, as they had possession of the lakes, and did not know of 
this internal system of navigation. Still later it was used to carry lumber 
and farm productions to the Pittsburgh and southern markets. 

It is likely that when W^ashington navigated its waters in 1753, it was a 
broad, deep stream, keeping up its navigable qualities throughout the year. 
The whole country was covered with forests. The swamps kept up a con- 
stant supply by holding the rains in reserve. But the time of navigation 
has gone by, and its greatness is but a memory and a feature of its history. 
Yet the important part it played in the history of the country's struggles 
will always form an interesting page in the great volume that is to be made 
up in recounting the story of the past. 

Oil creek had few elements of greatness until a comparatively late day. 
It comes into the county from Crawford and winds its way among the hills, 
with here and there a stretch of valley that in time afforded farms for the 
early settlers. The hills on either side are somewhat precipitous, increasing 
in altitude as they approach the banks of the Allegheny, into which they at 
length merge themselves. But this creek was to have a history that should 
be world-wide when the proper time should come. 


Sugar creek is a tributary of French creek, joining it about two miles 
above its mouth. It runs through a beautiful region of country with level 
ground and a good soil, and with delightful springs entering it from the 
neighboring hills. Some of the flats adjoining it must have been the favor- 
ite resorts of the Indians, as the evidence of their presence would indicate. 

Farther up is Mill creek, coming in from the opposite side of French 
creek, and above this Deer creek. Then below French creek, on either side 
of the Allegheny, are the Sandy creeks. So popular was this name that it 
has been repeated no less than four times within the limit of a few miles. 
There are Big Sandy, Little Sandy, South Sandy and East Sandy. Still 
farther south are Scrubgrass and Little Scrubgrass. Above Oil creek are 
Horse creek and Hemlock creek, flowing into the Allegheny from the south, 
and Pithole creek on the north, while in every section of the county are 
small runs that materially assist in the drainage of its lands. 


Traces of a Mysterious Race— Pkeiiistoric Remains at Franklin and 
Oil Creek— History Re-enacted— Indian Occupation of this 
County at the Time of the French Possession— Tribal 
Connections — Custaloga — Guyasutha— Cornplant- 
er— Traditions— Indian God Rock. 

WE can not go very far back in the history of Venango county. The 
sands of time have gathered upon the pathway of the past and ob- 
literated the foot-prints of the passing multitude. That this continent is 
ancient as any portion of the globe is evident from the geological records. 
There is some evidence that it was the first land to emerge from the chaotic 
mass of water. But of its earliest inhabitants we have no knowledge save 
from a few foot-prints that are well nigh obliterated. One or two such foot- 
prints of a mysterious race that once possessed this country we have very 
near to us. 

Up on the bluff that overlooks Franklin was to be seen, up to a few 
years ago, an arrangement that had the appearance of an outlook over the 
river and creek. Its site is so located that it covers at a single glance the 
entire plot of the town, and at the same time the river nearly up to Oil City 
and as far down as the Cochran farm. Then there is in full view French 
creek from its mouth many miles up stream. 


The appearance of the point was peculiar. There was first a pit in form 
like an inverted cone, or like the den of the ant lion. It was regularly 
formed, some eight feet in diameter, and six to eight feet in depth, and 
lined with stones neatly laid, and forming a symmetrical wall. These stones 
were brought from a distance, and wore nearly uniform in size. The point 
could not have been better chosen for an outlook on the river or creek. 

By whom was this simple yet substantial work prepared 't Certainly not 
by the Indians. They never went to the trouble of doing any such work. 
A tree or a fallen log or rock afforded them sufficient shelter, without think- 
ing of anything more elaborate. It was perhaps the remains of a prehis- 
toric fortification, utilized by the French as a point of observation. 

Again, the ancient oil pits reach far back of the historic period. They 
are found on Oil creek. These pits are very numerous and bear the mark 
of antiquity. They are generally oblong in form, about four by six feet, and 
from four to six feet in depth, notwithstanding the wear and tear of centuries 
and the accumulation of extraneous matter. The deeper and larger ones have 
been cribbed with timber at the sides to preserve their form. This crib- 
bing was roughly done; the logs were split in halves, stripped of their bark, 
and safely adjusted at the corners. The walls seem to have been so thoi- 
oughly saturated with oil as to be preserved almost entire to this day. 

These pits are on the west side of Oil creek, about two miles below Titus- 
ville, and in this county. They cover perhaps five hundred acres of land, 
and there may be in all two thousand pits. In some cases larg^ trees grow 
in the pits and on the septa that divide them, showing their antiquity. 

Not far from the mouth of Oil creek there was another ancient discovery. 
In digging the tail-race for a saw mill there was brought to light what had 
evidently been a deepshaft with its sides lined with timbers set in endwise 
that still preserved the clear outlines of the shaft. All had been buried up 
in the mud and soil that had accumulated over it and where its presence 
might have remained unknown to the end of time, had it not been distiirbed 
by the movements of business and American enterprise. 

Again the question arises, By whom were these ancient works built? 
Certainly not by the Indians. They had no means of collecting oil on so 
large a scale. They never labored for any purpose, save on the hunt or the 
warpath. They could give no account of the work. Neither was it by the 
French. There is no mention of the business of collecting oil in any of 
their letters or journals. Besides, there is a growth of timber in these pits, 
and on the septa that divide them that shows that they antedate the era of 
the French, if not even the coming of Columbus. 

Undoubtedly there was a people on this continent that have left their 
foot- prints from New Mexico to the great lakes, of whom we are wholly 
ignorant. For want of a better name we call them "Mound Builders." 
Although we have but dim traces of the existence of those early settlers of 


America in Venango county, what we have are but cumulative evidences of 
their presence and power in the land, and when added to still stronger evi- 
dences in the West and in Central America, they leave no doubt of their 
existence at some remote period of time. 

It is no objection to the facts of history written all over the continent, 
that they must have been overcome and destroyed by the Indians, an inferior 
and savage race. The same thing has occurred again and again in recorded 
history. Two thousand years ago Greece fell from the very summit of civil- 
ization and art and letters, before an inferior people. Kome, while con- 
sidered the ' ' Mistress of the World, " and powerful above any nation that 
had ever risen in the history of time, in the arts of war and of peace, fell 
before the barbarous Goths and Vandals and Huns, and even to-day much 
of her glory lies buried in the dust of the ages. 

So with these early settlers on American soil. We call them "Mound 
Builders," but their structures of stone in towns and cities show that they 
had cultivation and art and skill far in advance of the Indians who succeeded 
them; yet, in some remarkable way, they were overcome and supplanted in 
their possessions, and so utterly ruined that not even their name or the 
manner of their fate has come down to our day— an impressive lesson of the 
vanity of earthly fame and the uncertainty of human glory. 

At the time the Indians became known to us through the French, they 
were numerous and powerful. There were certain favorite localities where 
they settled down in nomadic style, yet always ready to remove and seek 
new locations as the exigencies of the seasons or the encroachment of other 
tribes might demand. They had their hunting grounds and their corn fields, 
the former where the men spent their time, and the latter where the women 
sought to eke out a scanty or a full living, as circumstances might determine. 

There is reason to think that Franklin was a favorite resort. Indeed, it 
was an old Indian town when the French first took possession. An early 
writer says that there was an old Indian town called Weningo, on the Ohio 
(Allegheny), before the French came to erect their fottifications. It was fav- 
orable to their modes of life. The land was level and the soil rich and 
adapted to their meager kind of cultivation. In many parts of what is now 
the city of Franklin quantities of bones have been disinterred in excavating 
for cellars; the common stone arrowhead and tomahawks of the same ma- 
terial have been found in abundance, denoting the age before association 
with white men; while quantities of rude glass beads have shown that it 
was their home after the days of presents and barter had commenced with 
civilized men. Its proximity to the river and creek made this a desirable 
point for fishing, and for passing easily from place to place in their bark 

Two Mile run, above Franklin, was also a great resort; there temporary 
homes were erected and the rich flats cultivated in corn. This is true also of 


nnany other points along the river as level portions of land were developed, 
and the ground subdued to the mode of cultivation that was common among 

But while the Senecas or Six Nations held such iron sway in this region, 
they were not by any means independent of other tribes. Indeed, there 
was at times, if not always, a confederation that bound all these tribes 
together for the common pui-poses of defense against enemies from without. 
This is clearly shown in the great struggle with the English, after the French 
had withdrawn from the country, in the days of the great Pontiac. 

When the French appeared upon the scene, there were first the Jesuit 
and Franciscan priests, bearing the olive branch of peace and good-will, 
preaching the gospel to the Indians, and exploring the country with great 
assiduity and perseverance. Then came the mission of Gallissoni^re, under 
the leadership of Celoron, soon followed by the expedition that was to build 
forts for the defense of the country, both as against the Indians and the 
English. But all this was with the largest professions of friendship to the 
best interests of the Indians. They promised to build trading houses and 
establish places of exchange that would be to the mutual advantage of both 

The English government made no such pretensions, but, while not un- 
willing to trade with the Indians, always acted on the characteristic pre- 
sumption that the country belonged to them. It is not strange, then, that 
during all the strife between the French and English the Indians were on 
the side of the former, and fought with them in the strife that commenced 
on the river below. 

These people made a brave defense for what they called their homes, yet 
is there more of sentiment than reason in the notion that they were driven 
from them and deprived of their rights by the invading white population. 
No doubt many cases of wrong and injustice and inexcusable violence 
occurred in the struggle between barbarism and civilization, between heath- 
enism and Christianity; but "manifest destiny" was proclaiming that this 
continent was not designed as a hunting ground for a few painted savages, 
but the home of a great nation that was to subdue it and exert an influence 
for good upon all the nations of the earth. And so the Indians gave way 
and moved westward, and lands were cultivated; towns and cities were 
builded; the worship of the living God was permanently established; Chris- 
tian churches pointed their spires heavenward; the arts and sciences were 
cultivated, and prosperity everywhere abounded. 

Where were those Indians from ? Who were they ? How did they gain 
possession of this great continent ? The whole question is one involved in 
mystery that we have not the light to solve. We have but the fact of their 
existence and meager traces of their history. 

At the first this region was peopled by the Cat Indians, or Eries, a mild, 


peaceable race of people that extended from Lake Ontario along the south- 
ern shore of Lake Erie. Tradition states this tribe was, at one time, ruled 
by a queen named, Ya-go-wan-rea, who, like the queen of Palmyra, after 
ruling with dignity and justice, at length fell a victim to the jealously and 
intolerance of the surrounding tribes. 

Schoolcraft relates that the Eries being pressed by their enemies, grad- 
ually moved toward the Ohio (Allegheny) river, where their council tires 
were soon after put out, and they ceased to be known as a tribe. The date 
of this extinction is 1653. 

That terrible confederacy of the Indian tribes, known tirst as the Five, 
and afterward as the Six Nations, was formed and extended its sway far 
and wide. From the Mohawk river, they extended their conquests west- 
ward like the ocean tide, sweeping everything from their pathway until 
they reached the Mississippi, kindling their council fires throughout the 
whole northern portion of the Allegheny valley. The Eries, as a nation, 
were exterminated in this -path of conquest, and their broken fragments 
absorbed by these ' ' Romans of America. ' ' 

At the beginning of the historic period the Six Nations, or Iroquois, 
were in possession of the country, and with them we have to deal in the 
early history of the county. They were first with the French, then with 
the English, seeking what seemed to be their own interests and guided by 
that principle alone. 

There were probably heroic souls among these Indians from the first. 
But they had no historians to hand down their deeds to posterity. In the 
many terrible wars that were .sometimes waged almost to extermination,there 
must have been leaders equal in many respects to any of those found in the 
historic nations. Savage life and savage virtues did not quench the tires of 
genius, or bring all men down to a common level. Without the knowledge 
of civilized men there were Indian chiefs that were the peers of the heroes 
of ancient Rome. Pontiac was a great man in his day, though overpow- 
ered by the scientific warfare of his civilized foes. 

As among other people, there were men of influence and authority among 
the Indians. They rose by natural talent, assisted by circumstances and 
confirmed by actual experience. There were men among these people who 
would have figured grandly in ancient Rome by far-seeing power, by the art 
of combination, by their magnetic influence over men, and by their magnifi- 
cent bravery on the field of strife. Sometirnes their great chiefs wielded 
power over special tribes and sometimes they were the acknowledged leaders 
over many tribes combined. It seems fitting, then, to sketch a few of the 
mighty chiefs who were associated with Venango county, and whose ashes 
rest near to us, in the common sleep of savage and civilized men. 

Custaloga was a famous man in his day. He was the chief of the Dela- 
wares in this part of the country. Although the territory belonged to 


the Senecas, with their permission he had a town on French creek, some 
twelve miles above its mouth and near the mouth of Deer creek, that was 
known as Custaloga's Town. Custaloga is spoken of by Washington in his 
journal. A friend and ally of the French, he was at the battle of Great 
Meadows and at Braddock's defeat in 1755. He was a man of great ability, 
and seemed endowed with a greater foresight than most of tlie Indian chiefs; 
perceiving the coming downfall of the French, he was one of the first to 
form an alliance with the English. In the peace treaties that followed in 
subsequent years, we find him an ardent fi-iend to peace with the white 
people. We do not know when or where he died, but the natural suppo- 
sition is that in his old age he would seek the quiet of his own village 
on French creek. There were several prominent Indian graves at this place, 
the remains of which are seen to this day, and we may well conclude that in 
one of these grass-grown mounds the old chief sleeps his last sleep. 

Guyasutha was one of the most prominent of all the Indian sachems on 
the Allegheny. He was a man of great ability and good judgment, an im- 
placable enemy, and a firm friend. In his youth he accompanied Wash- 
ington in his trip to Venango, and is probably known in his journal as " the 
Hunter." We find him on all occasions and in all places, in times of 
peace, and in times of war. He was equally at home in pursuing the red 
deer in the forest, and on the warpath with his paint and feathers. Neville 
B. Craig, of " The Olden Time," had seen him and speaks of him as an 
ubiquitous character, who long acted a conspicuous part near the Ohio. 
He had been the great leader in the burning of Hannastown, and in other 
operations at that time. 

Guyasutha (or Kiashuta) was one of the most trusted lieutenants of 
Pontiac in that great conspiracy that was designed in its effects to extermi- 
nate the white people all along the border, and he appears to have had 
charge of operations in western Pennsylvania. After the Revolution, al- 
though he had been on the side of Great Britain, he soon saw that his in- 
terests and those of his people were with the United States. 

Mr. Craig in " The Olden Time," Volume I, pages 337-338, has located 
the place of Guyasutha' s sepulture in Allegheny county, but there is very 
strong evidence that he died, and was buried at Custaloga' s Town. There 
has been a uniform and consistent tradition to that effect in the neighbor- 
hood of Custaloga' s Town time whereof the memory of the oldest resident 
runs not to the contrary, and during the same time a slight depression in 
the ground, occasioned by the settling of the earth, has been pointed out as 
" Guyasutha' s grave " by people who had no possible motive for misrepre- 
sentation. Many residents of that part of the county heard the story of his 
death and burial circumstantially from the lips of John Martin, Jr., one of 
the first settlers in the valley of French creek, the greater ^art of whose 
life was spent on the farm immediately east of Custaloga' s Town, where 


he died at a great age iu 1862. Iq respect to the location of Custaloga's 
Town, and the burial there of Guyasutha, the late Charles H. Heydrick, a 
few years before his death, wrote as follows: 

My farm is one of a number of tracts purchased soon after the close of the Revo- 
hitionar}' war by mj' grandfather from soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line, to whom 
they had been granted by the commonwealth in consideration of militar}- services, and 
in pursuance of the act of March 1'3, 1783. Early in the present centur3% ray father, 
the late Doctor Heydrick, made a tour of inspection of these lands and found evidences 
of occupation by the Indians, some portions of the alluvial, "bottom" land — the best 
on the creek, or, indeed, anywhere in the whole region — having been cultivated for 
many years, and other vestiges of the Indian village of Custaloga's Town being still 
visible. At that time there was living upon an adjoining tract a settler named Martin, 
who had settled there soon after the remnant of land north and west of tlie rivers Ohio 
and Allegheny and Conewango creek, not appropriated to Revolutionary soldiers, or 
in satisfaction of depreciation certificates, had been thrown open to settlement by the 
act of April 8, 1792 — certainly as early as 1798. One of Martin's sons, called John, 
Jr., was a bright, and for the time and under the circumstances an intelligent young 
man, and claimed to have been intimate with the Indians, and spoke their language. 

In 1819 I first visited the place, and stopped at Martin's house. While there I 
found many vestiges of the Indian village, and made many inquiries about it and its 
people. In answer to my inquiries John Martin, Jr., told me, among other things, 
that he had assisted in the burial of three Indians on ray farm, an idiot boy, "Chet's" 
squaw, and achief whose name he pronounced " Guy-a-soo-ter." He said that he made 
the coflSn for " Guyasooter," and after it was finished the Indians asked him to cut a hole 
in it in order that he ("Guyasooter") might "see out." He farther said that "they 
buried all his wealth with him; his tomahawk, gun and brass kettle." Martin pointed 
out to me the grave of the chief, and the spot was always recognized as such by the 
other pioneers of the neighborhood, though I do not remember that any of them 
except Martin professed to have witnessed the burial. After I came to reside on this 
farm, on one occasion Martin repeated his statement about the burial of " Guyasooter's" 
gun, tomahawk and kettle, in the presence of another pioneer who felt unkindly 
toward him, and the latter made a remark aside, which, while unfavorable to Martin, 
impliedly corroborated his statement. * * * From all the evidence I had on the 
subject, much of which has doubtless escaped my recollection, and some of which was 
probably derived from other sources than Martin, I was so well satisfied that the chief 
named and others were buried at the place designated by Martin that I have to this 
day preserved a grove about the reputed graves, and have had it in mind to mark the 
spot by some permanent memorial. 

James M. Daily, a pioneer of French Creek township, Mercer county, 
whose farm adjoined those of Heydrick and Martin and who was a resident 
of that locality from 1804 until his death, made the following statement 
regarding the burial of Guyasutha under date of June 15, 1878: 

John Martin, Jr., who could converse in the Indian tongue, informed me that he 
made the coflin and assisted in burying a chief. They placed in the coffin his camp 
kettle, filled with soup; his rifle, tomahawk, knife, trinkets, and trophies. I think 
they called him " Guyasooter." 

Some tobacco plants were found growing near these graves by the early 
settlers, that seemed to be connected with this Indian retreat. Thousands 
of these plants have been carefully preserved and the plants perpettiated in 
memory of the quiet sleepers who rest beneath. 


Cornplanter might almost be called our second great man. Although 
he never had his home in this county, he was often here, and was quite an 
object of interest in the early days of our history. He was not as renowned 
a chief as Pontiac, nor did his influence extend as far, yet he was a great 
chief amongst the Senecas. Like Logan, the Mingo, he was the friend of 
the white man and often stood between him and harm. 

He was generally known as Cornplanter, l)ut he had an Indian name 
that has been spelled in different ways. On his monument at Jennesadaga, 
it is spelled Gy-ant-wa-chia. He had still another name to which his moiety 
of white blood entitled him. This was John O'Bail, or Abeel. Cornplanter 
was but a half-breed, his father being a Dutch trader on the Mohawk. It 
is probable, too, that his mother was of gentle blood, being a dusky Indian 
maiden and the daughter of a chief. 

We do not know much of his early history. But evidently quite early 
in life he was trained to the life of a hunter and a warrior. He always 
alleged that he was born the same year with George Washington — 1782. 
He was at Braddock's defeat in 1755, and fought on the side of the French. 
Like Washington, he was then quite a young man. We lind him, after this, 
active among the chiefs of the Senecas, and, later, making the upper Alle- 
gheny his home. At the time of the threatened outbreak in 1794 he noti- 
fied the surveyors in this region to leave the woods, as after a certain date 
they might expect to be attacked. He was the friend of George Power, 
Colonel McDowell, and Colonel Dale, of Franklin, and often came here to 
consult with them. On the promise of a certain amount of land secured to 
him, he became quite friendly to the white people. These lands consisted 
of a tract at the mouth of Oil creek, and a reservation on the Allegheny 
north of Warren. On the latter he made his home, and settled down to a 
quiet life. 

During the war of 1812, when a regiment was forming in Crawford and 
Venango counties to go to the defense of Erie, he was anxious to join the 
expedition. Colonel Dale, father of the late S. F. Dale, was lieutenant col- 
onel of this regiment, and the old chief came down to see him and proposed 
to bring two hundred braves to join him. The colonel, having no authority 
to receive them, told him that the war would not amount to much, and they 
would not be needed. "Well," the old chieftain replied, "the white men 
have been kind to me, and our corn is planted, and the young men want to 
go." He was then told that if wanted the colonel would send him word, 
and he returned to his home. 

He never could understand the propriety of paying taxes to the white 
government. Colonel Dale said to him on this question: "We have bad 
white men who require attention and we must have courts and prisons, and 
this requires money." "But," the chief replied, "there are bad Indians 
too, but we attend to them and do not trouble vou with them." Taxes were 


levied, but not paid. A sherifP and j^osse went to levy on the property. 
They found any quantity of loaded rifles stacked up near the chief's cabin, 
and the old man seated in the midst, calm and dignified as a Roman senator. 
Occasionally the outline of a dusky form was seen in the bush, and on the 
whole the sheriff thought the circumstances not favorable for making a levy. 
He returned with his aides without the service. Soon after the legislature 
passed an act exempting the reservation from taxation, and so it continues 
to this day. 

This grant of land was made in 1796, and his town is called Jen-ne-sa- 
da-ga, in the instrument. 

Cornplanter died at his old home February 18, 1836. If his account of 
his birth is correct, he was about one hundred and four years of age. 

The legislature of Pennsylvania erected a fine monument to his memory 
at his old home. This was put up under the direction of S. P. Johnson 
and an address delivered at its dedication October 18, 1866, by J. Ross 
Snowden. This monument can be seen from the railroad running from 
Warren to Olean. 

As to his personal appearance, he was tall, over six feet, and lithe and 
active when in his prime. As one of our old citizens saw him here in old 
age, he was bent with years, blind of an eye, with a wounded hand, yet 
showing by that single eye much of the fire of an Indian warrior. His 
general appearance indicated, too, that in his earlier years his life had been 
a stormy one. Cornplanter was a grand man in his day, honest, temperate, 
and upright in all his dealings. 

Venango county like other places has its traditions of wealth and secret 
mines that were known to the Indians. One of these is located near Oil 
City. It is from an old Indian chief of the Moncey tribe named Ross. The 
old brave always asserted that there were silver mines along the Allegheny. 
At one time he proposed pointing out one of these mines to an old citizen, 
then of Franklin. It was said to be situated in a ravine between Franklin 
and Oil City. After leading the white man up this ravine, where umbrage- 
ous trees and moss covered rocks made a gloomy and fearful shade, they 
came to a second ravine, cutting the first upon the right, where ragged 
rocks and irregular banks suggested the work of an earthquake; passing up 
the second for a short distance the chief suddenly paused, and with solemn 
emphasis, said: "I dare not go farther. The mine is within five rods of 
you; find it for yourself." 

There were traditions also of valuable mines of silver and lead run- 
ning under Sugar creek, near Cooperstown, with which the Indians were 
familiar. But however poetical these traditions may be, there was no 
foundation for them in fact. 

There is also a beautiful tradition relating to the Oil creek valley. The 
tradition is, that many moons ago — long before the recollection of the most 


aged cbieftaiuH of tboir tribes — one of tbeir bravest cbiefs was allllicted witb 
a paiuful disease tbat was rapidly preparing bim for tbo bappy buuting 
grounds of tbe spirit land. For tbe good of tbe tribe be longed to live, 
and fasted and prayed to tbe Great Spirit to spare bim until bis tribe 
sbonld be delivered from tbeir diflticulties. Tbe neigbboring tribes were 
on tbe warpatb, and be feared tbat bis people would fall before tbem and 
be scattered like tbe sere leaves of tbe forest. 

Tbe Great Spirit was propitious, and answered bim kindly — 

"Spake to him with voice majestic, 
As the sound oi" far olT waters 
Falling into deep abysses," 

telling bim tbat in tbe valley tbat sbould be pointed out to bim be would 
find a great medicine, bubbling up tbrougb tbe ground and minglino- witb 
tbe waters, tbat sbould beal bim of bis maladies and give bim strengb to 
smite bis enemies and overcome tbem. Tbe voice of tbe Great Spirit, more- 
over, assured bim tbat tbis medicine fountain would continue to yield its 
supply until bis tribe sbould cease following tbe wilderness and tbe war- 
patb. and be all gatbered into tbe bappy bunting grounds of tbeir fathers; 
and tbat it sbould tben be given to a tribe of strangers, witb pale faces, 
Avbo sbould come over tbe big waters, and be by tbem desecrated to com- 
mon and base uses. 

The chieftain rose from the ground, and, although faint witb fasting 
and weakened by disease, set out in quest of the medicine spring. The 
su.n was setting, and the curtains of darkness were gathering around, but 
there was a light that glowed in the red chieftain's heart. From his lake- 
side home, he turned bis back upon tbe North star, and faint and weary, 
he at last reached the place pointed out by the Great Spirit, just as the sun 
was rising in the East. The medicine was bubbling up with tbe water; tbe 
chief recognized the gift, and found healing and life in its powers. Tbe 
fountain has continued to yi«ld its supply. It is still tbe gift of tbe Great 
Spirit, and its supplies should be received with gratitude. 

The Indian God rock has been an important land-mark no doubt for 
centuries, and attracted Celoron as a fitting place to locate one of his monu- 
ments. It is an immense bowlder that seems to have been riven asunder by 
some mighty force and presents a smooth, level face, inclined to the horizon 
at an angle of some fifty degrees. Its smooth face attracted the notice of 
the Indian chronicler as a fit place on which to inscribe his annals. Its 
location is about nine miles below the mouth of French creek, and on tbe 
eastern bank of the river. At low water it does not touch the river, but at 
ordinary stage the lower end is in the water and at high flood it is entirely 

We are indebted for a very faithful drawing of tbis rock to Captain 
Eastman of the United States army, who came here some sixty years ago to 




make a sketch of it for Sclioolcraft's great work on the Indians. It was 
sketched l)y Captain Eastman while standing in the water up to his waist in 
order to get the best possible view. 

The face of the rock is about twenty-two feet in length and fourteen in 
breadth. As to the inscription and interpretation we cannot do better than 
to (piote from Schoolcraft's work on the Indian tribes, Volume IV, page 173. 


The uiscription itself appears distinctly to record iu symbols the triumphs of 
hunting and war. The heut bow and arrow are twice distiuctlj' repeated. Tiie arrow 


by itself is repeated several times, which denotes a dale before the introduction of 
firearms. The animals captured, to whicli attention is called by tlie Indian picto- 
graphist, are not deer or common game, but objects of higher triumph. There are 
two large panthers or cougars, variously depicted; the lower one in the inscription de- 
noting the influence, agreeably to pictographs heretofore published, of medical 
magic. The figure of a female denotes without doubt a captive; various circles repre- 
senting human heads denote deaths. One of the subordinate figures depicts by his 
gorgets a chief. The symbolic sign of a raised hand, drawn before a person, repre- 
sented with a bird's head, denotes apparently the name of an individual or tribe. 

At the foot of the large rock there is a smaller one with a single 

Indian God is the name given by the boatmen of the early days, and 
will doubtless possess popular significance for all coming time. The great 
rock is there still, gazing up through the sunshine and the storm, speaking 
in an unknown language of the past, and appearing to recount the great- 
ness of some famous chieftain in the mysterious hieroglyphics of his time. 
But the message is largely lost to us, and is but a dim echo of a voice that 
may have been both potent and significant at the time it was uttered. Like 
all other work of man, this monument is fading and perishing. In times 
of high water the great masses of ice dash over it; the driftwood infringes 
on it; and the action of frost has nearly obliterated its inscription. 




The Jesuit and Franciscan Missionaries — Extent of the French Claims 
— Celoron's Expedition — IIoute and Progress— Burial of the 
Leaden Plates— Translation— The Eeturn to Canada— 
BoNNECAMP's Map— Actual Occupation Begun — Mil- 
itary Posts Established— .John Frazier. 

IN the meantime stirring events were transpiring on the European conti- 
nent. A new world had been opened up ; the old world was struggling 
for power, and the path of enterprise led across the ocean. The Jesuit 
and Franciscan missionaries of France were specially active, and many of 
them were soon buried in the wilderness of the great West. Under the 
peaceful guise of religion they passed among the savage tribes, until they 
had explored the continent from Lake Erie to the Rocky mountains, and 
south to the gulf of Mexico, preaching the gospel and establishing missions 
among the Indians, and everywhere taking possession of the country in the 
name of God and the king of France. Almost every stream and lake had 
been navigated and almost every prairie crossed, and the Cross planted and 
the land taken in possession for a Christian empire in the days to come. 
Prominent leaders of these intrepid men were Jogues, La Salle, Marquette, 
and Hennepin. 

The time arrived at last for action. An expedition was organized by the 
French government in 1749 to go on the ground, make surveys, and in the 
line on which they proposed to claim the territory westward to lay down 
certain monuments that would prove that they had taken actual possession. 
The line that they now proposed to defend was that of the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi rivers, meaning by the Ohio the Allegheny as well as the Ohio proper. 

The expedition was fitted out in Canada by the Marquis de la Gallis- 
soniere, the governor. It was commanded by Captain Pierre Joseph C^loron, 
Sieur de Blainville,* a fearless and energetic officer, with eight subalterns, 
six cadets, an armorer, twenty soldiers, one hundred and eighty Canadians, 
thirty Iroquois and twenty-five Abenikas. A prominent member of the 

♦Several reputable historians have heretofore given this officer's name incorrectly. All accepted 
Canadian authorities and the parish register of Montreal, unanimously call him Pierre Joseph Celoron, 
Sieur de Blainville. He was born at Montreal on the 29th of December, 1693, and played an important Tole 
during the last years of the French regime in Canada. 


party was Reverend Joseph Peter de Bonnecamp, who styles himself ' ' Jesu- 
itte Mathematicieu." He was the chaplain, journalist, scientist, and geog- 
rapher of the expedition. 

Their rovate after entering Lake Erie was by boats of a light construc- 
tion to a point opposite Chautauqua lake, near where the village of Bar- 
celona, New York, now stands. The distance between Lakes Erie and Chau- 
tauqua is about eight miles, with an ascent of about one thousand feet to 
the water-shed that divides the lakes. Up this precipitous portage they car- 
ried their boats and all the impedimenta of the journey, and embarked on 
Chautauqua lake. 

They had with them a number of leaden plates, about eleven inches long, 
seven and one-half inches wide, and one-eighth of an inch thick, with the 
name of the artist, Paul de Brosse, stamped on the back. They were all 
alike, leaving blanks to insert the dates and names of places where they 
should be deposited. They were to be buried at certain points along the 
line, to be referred to as evidences of possession if that fact should be called 
in question. The inscription was as follows: 

In the year 1749, in the reign of Louis XV, King of France, we, Celoron, com- 
mander of a detachment sent by Monsieur the Marquis de la Gallissonifere, Governor 
General of New France, to re-establish tranquility in some Indian villages of these 
cantons, have buried this plate of lead at the confluence of the Ohio and Chautauqua, 
this 29th day of July, near the river Ohio, otherwise Beautiful river, as a monument 
of the renewal of the possession we have taken of the said river Ohio, aad of all those 
which empty into it, and of all the lands on both sides as far as the sources of the 
said rivers, as enjoyed or ought to have been enjoyed by the Kings of France pre- 
ceding, and as they have there maintained themselves b3'^ arms and by treaties, es- 
pecially those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix la Chapelle. 

From Chautauqua lake they found their way into Conewango creek, 
and so entered the Allegheny at Warren, Pennsylvania, where the first 
plate was buried. Thence they floated down the river, passing Riviere aux 
Boeufs (French creek), and debarked at the Indian God rock, nine miles 
below Franklin. Here the second plate was buried with great pomp 
and ceremony, a^ described by Father Bonnecamp. All the men and officers 
were drawn up in battle array ; Celoron proclaimed with a loud voice, ' ' Vive 
le Roi," and that possession was now taken of the place in the name of the 
King. Then a proces verbal was drawn up and signed by the officers wit- 
nessing the fact. 

CiJloron's record of the burying of the plates at the Indian God rock is 
as follows: 

August 3, 1749. buried a leaden plate on the south bank of the Ohio river, four 
leagues below the River Le Boeuf, opposite a bald mountain, and near a large rock 
on which are many figures rudely engraved. 

The visitor to-day may see the whole scene reproduced in nature. 
There is the great rock, with its rude engraving, that has kept solemn 

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watch all the years. Across the river are the lofty hills, nmniag in places 
into peaks, all covered with the grand forest trees, with the one exception — 
" a bald mountain" — that is to-day covered with rocks to the exclusion of 
all veo-etation. It, too, has been the watcher of the bnried plate all the 
years. These monuments have fixed the place of burial for all time. 

After the discovery of Father Bonnecamp's map locating one of his leaden 
plates at its base, a party was formed at Franklin consisting of Doctor S. J. 
M. Eaton, Judge John Trunkey, E. L. Cochran, C. Heydrick, and others, to 
go down and make an effort to recover the plate. This was in August, 1878. 
But after diligent search and much excavation, no traces of the plate could 
be found. The rock bathes its feet in the river at an ordinary stage of 
water, which at high water rushes around its rim, and the very strong prob- 
abilities are that perhaps an hundred years ago the superincumbent earth 
was washed away and the plate swept into the river, or discovered by some 
Indian to whom its metal would be a most desirable prize. There is evi- 
dence, too, that since the sketch was made by Captain Eastman, the rock 
has settled down on its base so that it does not present the same angle to 
the horizon that it did sixty years ago, 'and the monument will probably 
never be recovered. 

The expedition then moved onward down the Allegheny and Ohio rivers 
to the mouth of the Great Miami, depositing leaden plates at several places. 
Ascending the Miami and crossing a portage to the head waters of the 
Maumee, ^it descended that stream to Lake Erie, and thence^ returned to 
Canada, arriving at Montreal, November 10, 1749. 

One of the most interesting documents extant relating to French explor- 
ation in the Ohio valley is the "Map of a Voyage made on the Beautiful 
River in New France, 1749; by the Reverend Father Bonnecamp, Jesuit 
Mathematician," which is given on the following page. Longitude occi- 
dentale (west longitude), reckoned from the meridian of Paris, is indicated 
upon the exterior margin at the top and bottom, and north latitude in a 
similar manner at the sides; the figures upon the inside margin at the top 
and bottom denote minutes of longitude, each interval including fifteen 
minutes, the fourth part of a degree; the figures upon the inside margin at 
the sides represent leagues in the scale of twenty to a degree, each interval 
including five leagues or fifteen miles. This mark (J) indicates where lati- 
tude and longitude were observed; and this (jj) where the leaden plates were 
buried. The following list of French names as given on this map, with the 
corresponding American designations, will make it easily understood: 
R. aux Pommes. Chautauqua Creek. 

Lac Tjadikoin. Lake Chautauqua. 

R. Kananougon. Conewango Creek. 

La Paille Couple. Broken Straw Creek. 

Village de Loups. ' Village of Loup Indians. 



K. aux Boeiifs. 

R. au Fiel. 

R. au Vermillion. 


Ancien Village de Chaouauons. 

Village de Loups (b). 

Village de Chiningue. 

R. Kanououara. 

R. Yenanguakonan. 

R. Chinodaichta. 

R. de Sinliiota. 

R. Blanche. 

R. de la Roche. 

La Demoiselle. 

Portage de la Demoiselle. 

Fort des Miamis. 

Isles aux Serpentes. 

R. aux Raisins. 

R. aux Cignes. 

R. aux Cedi-es. 

Pointe Pellee. 

Pointe aux Pins. 

Lac Erie. 

French Creek. 

Clarion River. 

Mahoning Creek. 


Ancient Village of Shawanese. 

Site of Pittsburgh. 


Wheeling Creek. 

Muskingum River. 

Great Kanawha River. 

Scioto River. 

White River. 

Great Miami River. 

Site of Fort Laramie. 

Portage from the Miami to the Maumee. 

Site of Fort Wayne. 

Sister Islands. 

Raisin River. 

Huron River. 

Cedar River. 

Point Pellee. 

Point aux Pins. 

Lake Erie. 


The English translation of Toute cette part de lac-ci est inconue is 
this part of the lake is unknown. ' ' 

The exploration of this territory was soon followed by preparations to 
maintain possession of it by building forts at the most convenient and eligi- 
ble locations. Abandoning the Chautauqua lake route they came up to 
Erie, called by them Presque Isle, thence across the country to French 
creek, and so down to the Allegheny. The first and second forts were con- 
structed in 1758, and called respectively Presque Isle and Le Boeuf. The 
former was at what is now the city of Erie, the latter at Waterford. In the 
fall of 1753 a small force under the command of Captain Chabert de Jon- 
caire was sent doAvn French creek to what is noAV Franklin, to erect a third 
fort. This was called Machault after Monsieur Machault, who was minister of 
finance of the home government. Joncaire was a half-breed with the smooth 
polish of a Frenchman and the fiery eloquence of an Iroquois warrior. 
When he arrived at the mouth of French creek he found a deserted cabin, 
previously occupied by John Frazier, an Indian trader; of this he at once 
took possession and made it his headquarters, with the French flag flying 
from the ridge pole. 

John Frazier was undoubtedly the first white man who settled in this 
county. The spirit of trade and traffic was developed quite early in this 


region. The Indians were comparatively independent, yet there was occa- 
sion for trade amongst them. They could furnish their own subsistence, 
and the trophies of the chase furnished skins for clothing. But they could 
manufacture neither arms nor ammunition. These must be furnished by 
the pale faces. And thus in the capacity of mechanic and trader, Frazier 
took up his residence at the site of Franklin. He was a Scotchman; how 
long from "the land o' cakes" we do not know. But that he was a man of 
courage and energy and enterprise we believe. Without these traits he 
would never have ventured alone into the wilderness. 

He was a resident of Lancaster county in 1750, as evidenced by a depo- 
sition of two of his employers in that year. As early as 1748 he had been 
licensed by the state authorities as an Indian trader, and it is fair to pre- 
sume that his operations in the western part of the state were begun about 
that time. As he was the most advanced of the English traders on the 
northwestern frontier he was informed of the movements of the French 
earlier than others similarly engaged; and in the spring of 1753 he 
wrote a letter from Venango addressed to " all the traders" informing them 
that the French were making military preparations at Le Boeuf, and late 
in the month of May this was followed by another stating that some French- 
men had come down the river with a considerable present from the governor 
of Canada. In the following summer he removed to the mouth of Turtle 
creek on the Monongahela river at the present site of Braddock. A letter 
written from that point describes the escape of one of his men from the 
French at Venango, stating also that ' ' he had only sold eight bucks' worth 
of goods, which Custaloga took from him, and all his corn when he was es- 
caping in the night." In 1754 he became a lieutenant in the British service, 
and from that time was engaged in the various movements on the frontier, 
probably until the close of Pontiac's war, and was frequently intrusted with 
important missions. Nothing is definitely known regarding the date, place, 
or manner of his death. 

He had come here all alone, so far as civilized society was concerned, and 
had ])uilt a log cabin of some pretensions, for it was sufficiently capacious 
and comfortable to satisfy Joncaire when he came to build his fort. It 
would not be difficult to find the very location of that house. It was prob- 
ably about where Elk street now is, and just below the little runlet that is 
passed in going as far as Sixth street. It would necessarily be built by the 
side of the run and near the river. And in that house Washington had his 
interview with the French captain. 

Washington's mission. 43 


The Local Interest That Attaches to Washington's Visit— His Inter- 
views WITH Joncaire and St. Pierre— Route Traversed on the 
•Journey and Return— His Commission, Instructions, 
AND Passport— Influence of This Mis- 
sion ON HIS Subsequent Career. 

JUST at this point in the progress of French operations, the episode of 
Washington's visit to Venango county occurred. Many towns and 
cities can boast the presence of the nurses of George Washington, more 
than even claimed the birthplace of Homer, but not many west of the 
Allegheny mountains can boast the presence of the hero himself. This 
' ' Nursery of Great Men ' ' can commence its enumeration with the great 
Washingtion, and feel proud that its soil was once pressed by his footsteps. 

It was a tangled web the French were weaving, and it behooved the 
English authorities to be on the alert if they did not wish a French empire 
to be formed in the West. Reports had gone abroad that military works 
were building on Lake Erie and the Ohio, and that forces were assembling 
to hold armed possession of the territory. Vigorous efforts were making 
by the French, and the English were comparatively quiet and unresisting. 
Governor Dinwiddle, of Virginia, at length took the alarm and resolved to 
send an agent to see what the French were doing and hear their intentions 
from their own mouths. But the embassy was a delicate if not a dangerous 
one. Who would be willing to go ? Who had the necessary qualifications 
to undertake the journey through a wilderness swarming with Indians? 

The choice fell upon George Washington, a surveyor of Virginia, who 
had had considerable experience in woodcraft, and who was reported to be a 
man of exceeding good sense, judgment, and prudence. But he had only 
passed his twenty-first year. He was a very young man to intrust with 
such a mission, and at such a time. But he was the man selected. With 
his commission and his instructions, the young man started for the West. 
At Logstown, on the Ohio, not far from Beaver, he made up his party. A 
few white men, scouts, and Indian traders, had been picked up on the way, 
and a few Indians, some of them of importance among their own people. 


formed the party, and in due time they reached Weningo, or as we call it 
now, Franklin. 

They found Joncaire snugly sheltered in John Frazier's cabin with the 
French colors floating over it. Washington was kindly received, but soon 
discovered that Joncaire was not of sufficient importance to enter into nego- 
tiation with, as his superior officer was in command at Le Boeuf. But he 
spent a few days at Venango, and an evening with the French captain, who 
kindly provided him with an escort to Le Bceuf. 

He went up French creek on horseback, held his interview with Legar- 
deur de St. Pierre, and then returned by boat to this place; thence across 
the country to Fort Pitt, and then home to render his account of his mission 
to the governor. This episode of our first great man is not to be forgotten 
as we recount our heroes and our prominent men in all coming time. 

It was a stormy passage for the young messenger from the first. They 
were on horseback; the snow was falling; the streams were overflowing, and 
the way full of dangers. Although the French would not do bodily harm 
to an English embassador, they exerted themselves to the utmost to win 
from him by diplomacy the allegiance of the Indians. 

We can, without much exercise of the imagination, see the scene of his 
labors at Weningo. Joncaire had his quarters near where he was building 
a fort, on what is now Elk street, or between Seventh and Eighth streets. 
His route up the creek would be along what is now Liberty street and 
across West park to the bank of the creek a litttle below West Park street, 
and across the creek, then up its channel, and the journey was commenced. 
But it was winter and the streams were full; how did they cross the river 
and creek? Washington does not tell us in his journal that is still extant. 
But it is evident that neither dangers nor exposures were permitted to turn 
them from the work upon which they had entered. Coming down French 
creek their canoes were upset and for two hours they were in the water, 
trying to save their baggage and canoes, and then in wet garments pursuing 
their voyage. Their horses gave out, and at Venango Washington resolved 
to leave his party and with Christopher Gist pursue his journey to Fort 
Pitt alone. He had attained the object of his mission and was anxious to 
report to Governor Dinwiddle. Joncaire had told him that they had come 
to hold the country, and would do so at all hazards. At Le Boeuf he learned 
the same thing, not, indeed, in such positive terms, but in the courtly man- 
ner of Monsieur Legardeur de St. Pierre, the commandant. 

In the meantime his escort, under his direction, had made a census of 
the men, as nearly as possible, counted the boats that lay in the creek, and 
learned all the facts that could be obtained as they lay around the fort, and 
gathered the situation from the surroundings with scarcely a paper that 
would embarrass him if captured, and he was ready for the return journey. 

The question may arise why Washington was commissioned by Governor 

Washington's mission. 45 

Dinwiddie, of Virginia. The matter of colonial lines had not then been 
definitely settled. The governor of Virginia supposed that his colony ex- 
tended as far north as the scene of action, and so felt called upon to look 
after all his interests there, particularly as the Ohio Com]>any, as it was 
called, had already sent emigrants into the disputed territory, who were 
preparing for settlement. 

It is not easy to trace the pathway of Washington's party from Logs- 
town to Venango, as Washington has given us such a meager account of 
the points passed. His guide was no doubt familiar with the way, and the 
probabilities are that it was mainly on the old Venango path. This was 
tolerably well marked out, as one of the Montours speaks of bringing his 
mother, who was blind, over it on horseback. This would bring them in a 
somewhat angling direction over what are now Butler and Venango coun- 
ties. Four important streams were to be crossed on the journey: Conno- 
quenessing, Muddy creek. Slippery Rock, and Sandy creek. The question 
is all unsettled by which approach he entered the Venango valley. There 
were two, what are now known as the Bully Hill and the Pittsburgh roads; 
probably the former was his route, as that is nearer the river, and in case 
he came by that way, he would at once come upon Joncaire and his unfin- 
ished fort. 

On the return the direction is not so easy to determine. Washington 
says little about it, but it seems to have been different from the first journey. 
He sent Jacob Van Braam with the horses and baggage" by the road by 
which they had come, and with Christopher Gist set off through the forest. 
He passed a place he calls Murdering Town, believed now to be in Forward 
township, Butler county, where he was tired on by an Indian. From this 
point he took a southeasterly direction, intending to strike the Allegheny at 
Shannopin's Town. This point is now included in Pittsburgh. Then he 
hastened on to Virginia. 

In this connection it is well to introduce the commission and instructions 
of Washington as they were received from Governor Dinwiddie, and at the 
same time notice how fully and minutely these instructions were carried out. 
The commission was as follows: 

To George Washington, Esquire, one of the adjutants general of the troops and forces in 

the colony of Virginia: 

I, reposing especial trust and confidence in the ability, conduct, and fidelity of you, 
the said George Washington, liave appointed you my express messenger; and you are 
hereby authorized and empowered to proceed hence, with all convenient and possible 
dispatch, to that place on Ihe River Ohio, where the French have lately erected a fort 
or forts, or where the commandant of the French forces resides, in order to deliver my 
letter and message to him. and after waiting not exceeding one week for an answer, 
you are to take your leave and return immediately back. 

To this communication I have set my hand, and caused the great seal of this 
Dominion to be aflixed, at the city of Williamsburgh, the seat of my government, this 


30th day of October, in the twenty-seveuth year of the reigu of his Majesty, George 
the Second, King of Great Britain, etc., etc. 

Annoque Domini, 1753. Robekt Dinwiddie. 

The following is the text of his instructions: 

Whereas, I have received information of a body of French forces being assem- 
bled in a hostile manner on the River Ohio, intending by force of arms to erect certain 
forts on the said river within this territory, and contrary to the dignity and peace of 
our sovereign tlie King of Great Britain: 

These are, therefore, to require and direct you, the said George Washington, forth- 
vfith to repair to Logstown, on the said River Ohio, and having there informed your- 
self where the said French forces have posted themselves, thereupon to proceed to such 
place; and being there arrived, to present your credentials, together with my letter, 
to the chief commanding officer, and in the name of his Britannic Majesty to demand 
an answer thereto. 

On your arrival at Logstown you are to address yourself to the Half King, to Mon- 
acatoicha, aqd the other sachems of the Six Nations, acquainting them with your or- 
ders to visit and deliver my letter to the French commanding officer, and desiring the 
said chiefs to appoint you a sufficient number of their warriors to be your safeguard, 
as near the French as you may desire, and to wait your further directions. 

You are diligently to inquire into the number and force of the French on the Ohio, 
and the adjacent country; how they are likely to be assisted from Canada; and what 
are the difficulties and conveniences of that communication and the time required 
for it. 

You are to take care to be truly informed what forts the French have erected, and 
where; how they are garrisoned and appointed, and what is their distance from each 
other, and from Logstown; and from the best intelligence you can procure you are to 
learn what gave occasion to this expedition of the French, how they are likely to be 
supported, and what their pretensions are. 

When the French commandant has given you the required and necessary dis- 
patches, you are to desire of him a proper guard to protect you so far on your return 
as you may judge for your safety against any straggling Indians or hunters that may 
be ignorant of your character and molest you. 

Wishing you good success in your negotiation, and a safe and speedy return, I 
am, etc., Robert Dinwiddie. 

Williamsburgh, October 30, 1753. 

His passport was as follows: 

To all to whom these jjresents may come or concern, greeting: 

Whereas, I have appointed George Washington, Esquire, bj' commission under 
the great seal, my express messenger to tlie commandant of tlie French forces on the 
River Ohio, and as he is charged with business of great importance to his majesty 
and the Dominion: I do hereby command all his majesty's subjects, and particularly 
require all in alliance and amity with the crown of Great Britain, and all others to 
whom this passport may come, agreeably to the law of nations, to be aiding and 
assisting, as a safe guard to the said George Washington, and his attendants, in his 
present passage to and from the River Ohio, as aforesaid. 

Robert Dinwiddie. 

In this mission of Washington to the French posts we have the opening 
chapter in a history that has been the admiration and astonishment of the 
civilized world. He was but a youth, just past his majority, intrusted with 


tlie command of a company of w/)odsmen and Indians, and with a commis- 
sion of the most delicate and dangerous natui*e, yet the whole business was 
carried through in the most admirable manner. There was a calmness, a 
prudence, a reticence in the pursuit of his mission that are most admirable. 
He knew when to speak and when to keep silence; when to be at ease and 
when to be on the alert. The mission was crowned with success. 

It was the beginning of the rounding up of a character that bore him 
grandly through all his life scenes until he laid him down to sleep on the 
banks of the Potomac. And as the years roll by that character comes out 
more and more perfect in its manhood and more and more illustrious in 
its balance and grandeur, until he stands among the greatest of uninspired 
men, the anointed prince of all the ages. 


Construction Begun— Sources of Information— The Shippen Map— Its 
Description and Probable Origin— Statements of Pouchot, Long, 
Johnson, Chauvignerie, Post, and Mercer— Military Prep- 
arations AT Fort Machault in 1759— Concentration 
or French Forces for an Attack on Fort Pitt— 
This Project Relinquished and the Fort 
Evacuated— Its Destruction— IIetre at 
OF THE French — Traditions and 
Memorials of the French 

IN the meantime the work on Fort Machault proceeded. A saw mill had 
been erected on the little runlet just above it near the site where Fort 
Venango was afterward erected by the English. The machinery of this 
mill was brought from Canada with great labor and enterprise and the oak 
and chestnut trees that adjoined were cut down and sawn into timber to 
erect quarters for the soldiers. About 1882, in repairing the street, the 
foundation timbers of the dam of this mill were found, strong and sound as 
though they had not been slumbering for nearly one hundred and thirty 
years. If further undisturbed they may remain until the end of time. As 
a proof of this, piles that were driven by Csesar in the entrance to the har- 
bor of Brundisium, in Italy, in order to detain the fleet of Pompey, have 
been brought to light in late years, as sound as they were when driven, 
more than two thousand years ago. The work was finished in April, 1754, 



wlien John Frazier's house was vacated and Joncaire entered into more 
lordly quarters. 

We are now as well acquainted with the fort and its surroundings as 
with any of the forts in western Pennsylvania. We know its exact location, 
its dimensions, and all its ai)pointments. This knowledge has come to us 
through a map and plan of the fort and its environs that has been brought 
to light within comparatively a late date. Whether this map is of French, 
English, or composite origin cannot now be said, but circumstances prove 
beyond all contradiction that it is a genuine document. 

This light was long coming. The boys and girls knew of small mounds 
of sand and ashes and fire-stained stones, where they could go and gather 
strange looking beads and bits of glass. Evidently some kind of works had 
formerly existed there, but it was uncertain what kind of works these had 
been. There was a dim tradition that it was the remains of the French 
fort, yet public opinion generally held that the upper site, now known as 
the English Fort Venango, was the real French fort. 

It was known, too, by a few persons, that a plan of the French fort was 
in the xDOssession of William Reynolds, of Meadville. But it was not until 
1875 that a copy of this plan or map, as it proved to be, was procured here. 
The result was that the plan and exact site of Fort Machault were located 
beyond a doubt. 

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war ft reel hi^h- 

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Fr»«A ^^n«u , 

FORT MACffADI/r, 1754.-59. 


This map shows the plan of the fort and its surroundings, and a ripple 
and fording in the river opposite to it that are now seen at low water at the 
present day. It has a drawing of the hills on the west, with two prominent 
peaks; the bearing of the compass to these peaks, and the distance to them 
by measurement. It also shows little runlets that are seen at the present, 
and a marshy piece of ground that can yet be traced. Any one can test 
the accuracy of the description of this fort by placing a theodolite on the 
site indicated and comparing observations with the map. 

What is the history of this old map? No mortal man can tell. It is as 
mysterious as that of the Sibyl's books at Rome. We can trace it to the 
Shippen family, but not clearly beyond. So far as we have accurate know- 
ledge, it is this: In 1825 Henry Shippen was appointed judge of this judi- 
cial district, and located at Meadville. He came from Philadelphia, brini>-- 
ing with him a large number of papers, that were placed in the attic of his 
house and not opened until after his death. Some time after this event 
they were opened by the late J. C. G. Kennedy, when the map was brought 
to light after its long oblivion. 

This map, or plan, for it is both, thus describes the fort: 

Venango fort is situated on a rising piece of ground on a rich bottom, abounding 
with clover, sixty yards west of the Ohio. The north and south polygon is forty-five 
yards, and the east and west polygon thirty-seven yards. The bastions are buih of 
saplings, eight inches thick, and thirteen feet in length, set stockade fashion. Part of 
the curtains are of hewed timber, laid lengthwise upon one another, 'which also make 
one side of the barracks. 

The body of the work was in the form of a parallelogram, in size about 
seventy- five by one hundred and five feet, with bastions in the form of 
polygons at the four angles. The gate fronted the river. In the interior 
were the magazine, fifteen feet by eighteen feet, protected by a thickness 
of three feet of earth, and several buildings for officers' barracks. Two of 
these were eighteen by fifty feet, with three others that were smaller. The 
barracks were two stories high and furnished with stone chimneys. A door 
in the northeastern bastion led to a large cellar. The soldiers' barracks 
consisted of forty- four separate buildings, disposed around the fort, chiefly 
on the north and east sides. 

At the saw mill before spoken of, was prepared the lumber used for liar- 
racks, and perhaps for boats and barges to be used in conveying supplies 
for the camp and transportation down the river. Along the northern flank 
of the fort, and within fifty feet of it, there was a small stream of water 
that flowed from the neighboring hills and supplied the camp Avith water. 
On the present plan of the city of Franklin, Elk street passes through the 
site of the fort, whilst its southern side reaches nearly to Sixth street. 

This old map places beyond question the location and character of the 
fort. Yet there are difficulties we cannot explain. The annotations are in 
the English language. The name Machault does not occur on it. The 


road leading westward is marked "Road to Pittsburg;" yet Pittsburgh was 
not laid out until 1760, when the fort was in ruins; still Colonel Mercer 
dates a letter at Pittsburgh in 1759. The smaller stream is called French 
creek, a name it never bore among the French ; but Washington calls it 
French creek in 1753. The larger stream is called the Ohio; that is evi- 
dence of its antiquity, as is also the annotation, "Road to Le Bceuf." 
That it was not hastily done is evident from the paper. Every small 
detail is laid down; the bridges across the ravines, the islands in the river, 
the ridge of hills across the Ohio; and even the two scales, one by which to 
measure the fort and the other the surrounding country, are drawn to a 
nicety. All these items not only show the genuineness of the map, but the 
deliberate character of the work. 

The most plausible solution of the mystery is this: It may have been 
copied from a French map, now lost, by an English officer, translating the 
French annotations, and marking the road that leads westward as the road to 
Pittsburgh. And as the actual name of the fort was not generally known to 
the English it is called on the map " Venango Fort," from the location. 
Indeed the name as found in the English papers of the time is almost al- 
ways ' ' The fort at Venango. ' ' 

Further in regard to the history of the map: It was foimd among the 
papers of the Shippen family, brought to western Pennsylvania in 1825, 
This was an influential family in eastern Pennsylvania at the time of the 
French difficulties. It is a well known fact that Edward Shippen, grand- 
father of the judge among whose papers the map was found, was actively 
engaged in public affairs at the time of the French occupation. It is nat- 
ural, therefore, to trace the map back to him. At that time he was prothon- 
otary of Lancaster county and correspondent and confidential agent of 
James Hamilton, governor of Pennsylvania. He was very closely identified 
with the French troubles on the Ohio. He had correspondence with John 
Frazier, the old gunsmith whose house at Venango was occupied by the 
French officer, Joncaire, when he came to build the fort. No doubt he had 
Frazier and others picking up information for him that might be of use to 
the government. 

We find him actually in possession of the map of one of the French forts 
through Mr. Frazier. In a letter to Governor Hamilton under date of Sep- 
tember 9, 1753, he incloses a letter from Frazier to Mr. Young, of which 
the following is an extract: " Here is enclosed a draught of the fort the 
French built a little the other side of Sugar creek, not far from Weningo, 
where they have eight cannon." 

This aUusion mast be to the plan of Fort Le Boeuf; it corresponds 
nearly in its armament to the account given by Washington at the time of 
his visit there, and there was no other work near to Venango; and Fort 
Machault was not built at that date. 



Captain Poucliot, chief engineer of the forces in Canada, speaks of Fort 
Machault rather contemptuously. He says: "At the mouth of River Le 
BcEuf, called in English Venango, the French have a very poor, mean fort, 
called Fort Machault, which is also an entrepot for that which is going down 
to Fort Duquesne. ' ' 

We have light on the history of the fort in the Colonial Records and 
Pennsylvania Archives. It was at first not a strong fortification, but it was 
sufficient for the purpose, as it was not then in danger of being immediately 
threatened. The arms of the French were so surprisingly successful in the 
vicinity of Fort Duquesne as to preclude any demonstrations by the English 
against Machault. But it was contemplated by the French to strengthen 
it or to build a stronger fort in view of future operations. According to the 
statement of one John Adarn Long, an escaped prisoner from the French, 
the garrison at Machault was employed during the winter of 1755 and sum- 
mer of 1756 in collecting materials and making preparations to build 
stronger works. Long said he was taken from Fort Duquesne about the 
last of April, 1756, to Venango, "where resided an officer in a small stock- 
ade fort with a command of forty men," and that a number of square logs, 
had been ' ' got together at that place sufficient to build a large fort on a 
pretty, rising ground in the forks of Ohio and French creek. ' ' 

This was corroborated by William Johnson in November, 1756. He 
stated that he had within two years been frequently at Venango, "where 
the French have a small fort made of logs and stockades, mounted with 
nine cannon of a pretty large bore, and generally garrisoned with a company 
of sixty soldiers, besides Indians, who to the number of about two hundred 
are lodged in cabins that have been built for them near the fort. ' ' He 
added further that the garrison had been "for some time employed in col- 
lecting and preparing materials for building a strong fort there next spring, 
and being apprehensive, having been informed by two deserters from Sha- 
mokin, that the Pennsylvanians had come to a resolution to march against 
them as soon as a body of men could be raised for that purpose." 

In the deposition of Michael La Chauvignerie, a French prisoner, made 
October 26, 1757, we find the following corroborative information: "Fort 
Machault is a fort of wood, filled up with earth. It has bastions, and six 
wall pieces or swivel guns, and the whole works take up about two acres of 
ground." He also said his father was "a lieutenant of marines and com- 
mandant at Fort Machault, built lately at Venango and now finishing," 
and that there were ' ' about fifty regulars and forty laborers at said fort. ' ' 

Frederic Post, in 1758, related that an Indian told him that the foi-t 
had but "one officer and twenty-five men, and is much distressed for pro- 
visions, as are the two upper forts. An Indian spy found at Machault, in 
1758, two officers and forty men, with De Lignerie in command. The fol- 
lowing May, Colonel Hugh Mercer writes of further intelligence through a 


spy: "There are about one hundred soldiers at Venango, and several offi- 
cers, besides what are gone upon party with Indians. They are fitting up 
platforms and lining their stockade. * * * They expect we will pro- 
ceed up the river, and De Lignerie is determined, as he says, to fight us in 
the woods. They have eleven bateaux at Venango, and one great gun of 
the size of a quart pot, which they fire off by a train of powder." 

We hear from the fort again on the 17th of July, 1759, in a letter from 
Colonel Mercer, dated at Pittsburgh. The report is from two Indians who 
had been sent up the river as spies. He says: "They found at Venano-o 
seven hundred French and four hundred Indians; the commanding officer 
told them he expected six hundred more Indians; that as soon as they 
arrived, he would come down and drive us from this place." Further they 
learned that in the following three days six hundred more Indians had 
arrived. They were fitting out for the expedition to set out in the night, 
having three pieces of cannon brought from Le Boeuf and others expected 
every hour, with a great many bateaux loaded with provisions. 

Fort Machault now began to assume an importance it had not before 
possessed. It was to be the point at which men and materials of war should 
be gathered to make a desperate attempt to retake Fort Duquesne, that 
had fallen into the hands of the English. Canoes and pirogues were sent 
down French creek to assist in the attack; men were called from the upper 
forts as they could be spared. A draft was even made for men and pro- 
visions from Kaskaskia and the Mississippi. This was a wonderfully bold 
and laborious enterprise. We find it thus described in the Western Annals: 

And to that all the French in the valley had contributed. M. de Aubry, command- 
ant at the Illinois, brought to join the enterprise four hundred men and two hundred 
thousand pounds of flour, from Kaskaskia to Venango. Cut ofE by the abandonment 
of Fort Duquesne, from the route of the Ohio, he proceeded with his force down the 
Mississippi, and up the Ohio to the Wabash, thence up that river to the portage at 
Fort Miami, or Fort Wayne, and carried his stores over to the Maumee, passed down 
that river, and along tlie shore of Lake Erie to Presque Isle, and carried again his 
stores over the portage, to Le Boeuf; thence descended French creek to Venango.* 

At this time there were assembled at Venango nearly one thousand 
Frenchmen and the same number of Indians, with a sufficient force of boats 
to convey the whole expedition down the river. We form some opinion of 
the number of boats from the statement that at Fort Le Boeuf (Waterford) 
all the trees of sufficient size to make boats had been cut down, and the 
project advanced of making pirogues of sawn timber, such as they had seen 
the English use. These boats were probably "dug-outs," run either singly 
or bound together after the style of the catamaran. 

But the end was drawing near; while all were full of hope and just 
ready to embark on the downward trip to Fort Pitt, the shock came. A 
messenger arrived from Niagara with orders to abandon the Fort Pitt expe- 

*Western Annals p. 157. 


dition and bring all their forces at once lo the rescue of Fort Niagara, whose 
safety was very seriously imperiled. This order applied to all the forts in 
western Pennsylvania. 

This was in July, 1759. The order was to evacuate and destroy the fort 
and all the supplies that they could not carry with them. The creek was 
low and boating too slow and nothing but personal baggage could be re- 
moved. All was consternation in the camp. The prize that seemed just 
within their reach vanished from their dreams. But the order was impera- 
tive. Great liberality was shown to the Indians. A mine of wealth was 
opened to them at once. Dusky warriors were tricked out in laced coats 
and cocked hats; swarthy maidens were made happy with presents of French 
calico and red blankets; strings of beads were thrown lavishly around the 
necks of papooses, all guileless of them before; flour brought by that pain- 
ful journey from Kaskaskia, borne wearily on men's shoulders over long 
portages, was distributed in lavish rations, and other stores were passed 
freely around. The other property was all collected within the fort and the 
whole set on fire. The barracks, without as well as within, were involved in 
one common ruin. The boats and bateaux, by which the assault was to have 
been made on Fort Pitt, were also consigned to the flames without mercy. 
The swivel guns, or wall pieces as they called them, were first disabled, then 
buried in the earth, and everything of value removed from sight. This de- 
struction was in accordance with instructions from the French government. 
Governor Vaudreuil, of Canada, in anticipation of a dangerous assault from 
the English forces, had instr^^cted De Lignerie, to " fall b^ck successively 
upon Forts Le Bceuf and Presque Isle, and so completely destroy the 
works as to leave nothing behind that would be available to the enemy." 
The entire party took leave of their Indian allies, telling them that although 
they found it necessary to leave them now, that they would return in a year 
and stay with them permanently. Then they took their way up the creek, 
with feelings less buoyant than when they came to plant themselves upon 
the soil. 

Fort Machault had fallen to rise no more. A great hope had faded as 
many a brilliant prospect had done before. Empire, dominion, wealth, in- 
fluence in the great world in gorgeous vision had been before the inspira- 
tion, but all had vanished forever. The French creek valley was left to 
silence and to savages. 

There is no tangible evidence now remaining of the former existence of 
the French work. When Franklin was settled there were some little mounds 
covered with brier bushes that were a visible token of the site, but all have 
now disappeared and we have but the points of the compass and the peaks 
of the hills to point out the location. There were foiind here by the first 
settlers several grape vines, of varieties not indigenous to this region. There 
was a black grape, very sweet and of a poAverful aroma, that was propa- 


gated for many years, also a white variety tbat was fair to the eye and pleas- 
ant to the taste and at that time a very desirable grape. But the trans 
planting and want of care as well as the crowding in of new varieties of na- 
tive origin have taken their places and both these species are now extinct. 
No doubt they were brought here by the French, and originally from 
France, as they could not be indigenous to Canada. 

In regard to the region of the old forts there has been no lack of tra- 
ditions and dreams in respect to gold buried that awaits only the digging 
of some fortunate searcher to be gathered up in profusion. It is generally 
supposed to be French gold, treasure buried by the French when they 
abandoned the fort. Tradition also records that this gold was thrown into 
a well and buried, to await removal at some fortunate time, when peace and 
quiet should come to the country. There was an old story current many 
years ago, that an old Frenchman had appeared here, who said he had 
been one of the garrison; that a large amount' of gold and many cannon 
had been thrown into the well in the fort and covered with stones to con- 
ceal the treasure from the Indians. It was proposed to go the next day 
and disentomb the money. But fortunately for the tradition, the French- 
man died that night, and his secret died with him. 

The fact is, the idea of finding treasure in the wake of either French 
or English, in this valley, is " baseless as the fabric of a vision." That 
they had money is altogether likely. But it is just as unlikely that they 
had a large amount, much less a sum they could not carry away with them. 
Besides, there is no evidence that there ever was a well in the French fort. 
There is no mention of it in the plan we now have, nor was there any men- 
tion of it in any description extant. There was a well in the English fort, 
Venango, but there is not the slightest probability that anything was 
secreted in it, as the fort was taken by assault, following stratagem, and 
there was neither time nor opportunity to secrete anything. So that all 
hopes or dreams of finding gold or jewels in this valley may as well be 
abandoned. An occasional coin may be picked up that was lost by officers 
or men. This is natural enough. An English penny was found in Venan- 
go, and some coins near Machault, but this does not indicate that there may 
be a large amount of money yet secured by dreaming and digging. 

There were several cannon abandoned by the French when they demol- 
ished their fort, but they were not thrown in a well. They had the trun- 
nions knocked ofP them, were spiked, and then buried. One of these can- 
non has been found. It was unearthed by the wearing away of the river, 
and was in the condition described above. This gun was brought into use 
by removing the rusty spike and shrinking an iron band around it, contain- 
ing new trunnions. It was mounted on a small carriage and used for 
patriotic purposes on the Fourth of July, until it was finally blown to 
pieces by an overcharge of powder. Other guns are still buried and may 


some day be discovered, but no greater treasure will ever be found on this 
ground. There were the wall pieces, as the French called them, and a few 
cannon brought from Le Boeuf, and pi'obably the gun described as very 
nearly as large as a quart pot, that must be slumbering somewhere in that 
region, and may yet be brought to light. 


English Occupation— Fort Venango— Its Location and Appointments— 
PoNTiAC's Conspiracy— Destruction of Fort Venango and 
Massacre of the Garrison— Sacrifice of His- 
toric Remains to the Utilitarian 
Spirit Deprecated. 

FORT MACHAULT fell in 1759, and the English lost no time in the 
matter of taking possession. It is not likely they feared the return of 
the French. Their defeat and banishment was total, but some defense was 
needed against the Indians who would now be more troubksome than ever. 
They were more hostile to the English than to the French. Their visions 
of trading houses to be built by the the latter had vanished, and they had a 
poorer opinion of the white man than ever. 

It was, perhaps, impossible to rebuild the old French fort; a new location 
was selected and the work arranged with very great care and with immense 
toil and sacrifice. It was really a wonderful enterprise for the time and cir- 
cumstances under which it was built. The country was an unbroken forest; 
Pittsburgh was not yet laid out; the entire region of French creek was a wil- 
derness. All the men, stores, implements for work, must have been brought 
down French creek. Yet a work that to-day, with all our modern appliances 
of plows, scrai)ers, teams, etc., would be considered immense, and require a 
long period of time for its completion, was finished in good and substantial 
order. It shows a high degree of knowledge in military engineering, and a 
perseverance under difficulties that is at this day surprising. We have none 
of the details, but we have the fact before us that the work was really done 
and would have been permanent, under favorable circumstances. 

The new fort was built the year after the abandonment by the French, 
by what officer or engineer we are not informed. It was a much better and 
more pretentious work than Machault. It was in the form of a quadi-angle, 



with bastions on the four sides. It had heavy earth works, with a ditch 
surrounding it, and a magazine and soldiers' quarters in the interior. It 
had also a covered way leading down to the stream of water on the southern 
side. The main work was eighty-eight feet square. Outside of this was a 
ditch twenty-four feet wide, and outside of this an embankment. The out- 
look covered the mouth of French creek, as well as the Allegheny river. 



FORT VENANGO, 1760-63. 

This fort was named Venango and was situated about forty rods above the 
site of Fort Machault. Elk street runs through the middle of its site, while 
its northern bastions just touched Eighth street. M. W. Sage's house is 
in the eastern ditch and B. W. Bredin's is on the opposite side. It was 
built in 1760, but was short-lived and of little advantage to any one. Being 
manned by but few men, it easily fell a prey to the Indians. While friendly 
to the French, the savages were hostile to the English, and neglected no 
opportunity of annoying and taking vengeance on them. 


At this time the mighty chieftain, Pontiac, was meditating the destruc- 
tion of all the forts in the country. Strings of wampum had been sent to 
all the tribes, and the plan laid to make an attack all along the lino on the 
same day. The plan was carried out, but not with the success that had been 
hoped. The first idea of Pontiac, who was a man of great shrewdness, but 
ignorant as a child of the great world, was to play the French against the 
English, and thus create a diversion from the real conquest of the country. 
He was on the side of the French as being the weaker party. But when the 
French gave up the conflict and left the country, he felt obliged to be the 
principal party against the English. And he saw that he could accomplish 
nothing without exterminating the enemy throughout all his borders. The 
entire border was to be assaulted on the same day, from Detroit to Niagara 
and southward to Fort Pitt. The break in this plan is said to be due to the 
interference of a squaw, who had been intrusted with the plan, but who 
from some womanly instinct had resolved to frustrate it. And this was the 
device: Bundles of small sticks had been sent to all the tribes, each contain- 
ing the same number of sticks, from which one was to be taken on each suc- 
cessive morning. When the last stick was reached that would designate the 
day of the assault. But this squaw secretly withdrew a stick or two from 
some of the bundles and so the simultaneous assault failed. But it was car- 
ried out in all the line of French creek valley and Presque Isle to the entire 
destruction of the works. 

Fort Venango was garrisoned by a small force under command of Lieut- 
tenant Gordon. On the same day in 1763 Fort Presque Isle^ at Erie, and Le 
Boeuf, at Waterford, were taken by assault, and Fort Venango by stratagem. 
The Indians feigned to be at peace and to be thinking only of sport. They 
commenced a game of ball, and occasionally had knocked the ball inside the 
inclosure of the fort. Asking permission to go in through the gate after 
the ball, several of them entered in with concealed weapons and massacred 
the garrison and tortured Lieutenant Gordon over a slow fire for several 
days, until he was relieved by death. The fort was then set on fire and all 
its perishable matter destroyed. It is said that a single prisoner was taken, 
a woman, who was carried to Buffalo, and afterward related the tragic 
incidents of the massacre. 

One of the sad expressions of life is: "It might have been." It 
gathers sentiment about it. We apply it in very many senses. But per- 
haps it always has a tinge of melancholy. There is something of this feel- 
ing as we speak of the antiquities of the county, and of the utilitarian 
spirit that was manifested in laying it out originally. These antiquities are 
a part of our history. They live now only in tradition and story and brief 
pages of written history. But the old landmarks that would have told to 
the eye the story of French enterprise and French determination — de- 
termination foiled and brought to naught — have all passed away. And all 


monuments that would have told of English ambition and English care for 
her colonies have followed in their wake. We have spoken of Fort Machault, 
the French work, of Fort Venango, the English work of defense. Of the 
former there is not much that wou.ld have been tangible at the present day. 
Bat of Venango there were massive earthworks that would have stood to the 
end of time, if properly protected. Both these works might have been cared 
for, if the idea had entered the minds and found a lodgment in the hearts 
of the state agents, who were sent here to lay out the town. But they were 
practical men. Perhaps they thought the place would, never amount to 
much, and full of the idea of utility ran their leveling instruments through 
these precious relics as though they were masses of common earth. 

We have seen that Elk street runs directly through both forts, thus con- 
signing them to destruction. It was not that land was scarce, or that a 
pressure was on them to utilize every foot of ground to the purposes of the 
town. A large amount of land was set aside, very wisely, for what are now 
our public parks. Another portion of ground was set apart for United 
States purposes, down on the flat, just below Tenth street, where the "Old 
Garrison" stood. The whole error resulted, possibly, in want of thought 
and taste. We can now very easily see how these fortifications might have 
been made places of beauty and pleasure, had they been reserved as public 
ground by the agents of the state. If each one had had a little square 
reserved around it, with the street parting and running around it, and the 
ground kept in order, they would be to-day points of great interest and 
pleasure. Particularly would this have been the case with Fort Venango. 
The earthworks were several feet in height, the ditch firm and distinct, and 
the inclosed space neatly arranged. It might have been fitted up as a 
beautiful resort for j^icnics and other social purposes. In this way it would 
have perpetuated the memory of an important era in our history and at the 
same time assisted in beautifying and adorning the town. 

In the old day of militia musters, it was the custom to march down 
there and then march around on top of the earthwork. This earthwork 
presented a broad esplanade, suitable for the purpose, and was a common 
resort at such times. But it has all passed away. The northern bastion 
was carted away to make the approach to the Allegheny bridge, and gradu- 
ally the other works were removed to fill up the ravines and form a smooth 
and even course for the street. We can but lament the loss of this old 
work and regret that there were not more taste and enterprise amongst the 
early settlers. The remains of the earthworks were visible until within the 
last twenty years, when the last vestige was swept away. It seems like the 
work of vandals, but the age in which we live is a utilitarian age, and every- 
thing must give way to the march of improvement. 



Tort Franklin Erected— Indian Depredations— Ransom's Deposition— 

Ellicott's Letter— Adlum's Testimony— McDowell's Statement 

— Cornplanter's Attitude— Location of Fort Franklin— 

The "Old Garrison"— Suggestive Reflections. 

THE country had been abandoned by civilization for years, and the Indian 
hunted at his own sweet will; but a change had come over the coun- 
try. The Revolutionary war had left the country in the hands of the Amer- 
icans, and the government would encourage emigration and settlement; 
for this purpose protection must be extended to settlers. So in the spring 
of 1787, Captain Jonathan Hart, with a company of United States soldiers, 
was sent up the river from Pittsburgh to erect a third fort, for the protec- 
tion of possible settlers. This work was simply a stockade as a defense 
against Indians. 

A new site was selected, passing by both the French and English posi- 
tions. Singularly enough, this time the ground chosen was on the south 
bank of French creek, just above the upper bridge. It was on the face of 
the bluff. Elbow street runs through it, and it is nearer Thirteenth than 

This was Fort Franklin, that afterward gave the name to the town. It 
was not a very formidable work, being about one hundred feet square, with 
the invariable bastjons at the angles and surrounded by pickets set in the 
ground, some sixteen feet high. Inside of this was a ditch. A ditch was 
also run along the line of the bluff overlooking the creek, that was designed 
to serve the purpose of the modern rifle pit. 

An interesting account of the fort is found in the "Military Journal" 
of Major Ebenezer Denny. Under date of April 10, 1787, the following 
entry appears: 

Fort Harmar, mouth of Muskingum river Captain Hart ordered to proceed 

with his company to a place called Venango on the Allegheny river, about one hun- 
dred and fifty miles above Pittsburgh, there to erect a suitable work. 

In the spring of 1788 General Harmar made a tour of inspection of the 
western posts, arriving at Venango on the 3rd of May. Of this visit the 
journal gives the following particulars : 


3rd. About eight o'clock this morning, after pa.ssing one island, we entered the 
mouth of French creek. The fort stands half a mile up. Several miles below we were 
discovered by some Indians, who cut across and gave notice to Captain Hart of our 
approach. The arrival of General Harmar was announced with seven rounds of a six- 
pounder from the fort. Very kindly received by the captain and Lieutenant Frothing- 
ham, at the head of their command. The company reviewed and dismissed. Spent the 
day in examining Captain Hart's work, viewing the adjacent country and the old for- 
tifications of the French and British. There is a fine tlat of good land here, altogether 
on the lower side of French creek, but sufficient for several farms, the only flat land 
from Mahoning or Mogulbughtiton up. . . .Captain Hart's fort, or Fort Franklin as it is 
called, is built precisely after the plan of the one which had been erected by the Brit- 
ish, called Venango. It is a square redoubt, with a blockhouse three stories high in 
the center; stands better than half a mile up French creek, upon very good ground, but 
the situation, in my opinion, is by no means so eligible as that of old Venango, built 
by the Euglish. The last work stood upon a commanding ground pretty close to the 
bank of the Allegheny, half a mile below French creek and a mile from Fort Frank- 
lin. The cellar wall and huge stack of chimneys of the blockhouse are of stone and 
are yet quite entire. The parapet and some other parts remain perfect, and the whole 
worlv might have been rebuilt with half the labor and expense of that built by Hart. 
The only reason the captain could offer for taking new ground was the convenience of 

It pi'obably served its purpose, and w^as a place where the earliest set- 
tlers could resort, in case of attack from the Indians. In fact, in 1791, 
when trouble seemed imminent, the people of Meadville sent their women 
and children to Fort Franklin for shelter and protection. 

Among those who fled from Mead's settlement to Fort Franklin at that 
time was Darius Mead, father of General David Mead, the founder of 
Meadville. He engaged in cultivating a piece of bottom land not far from 
the fort, and while one day plowing in his field he was taken prisoner by Cap- 
tain Bull, a Delaware chief, and a companion, who professed to be friendly In- 
dians, and hurried ofP through the forest. The following day his body, and 
also Bull's, were found near Shenango creek, in Mercer county, by Conew- 
yando, a friendly Seneca, who sent his daughter to Fort Franklin to notify 
Mead' s family. The officer in command sent two soldiers to bury the body. 
They found Mead and Bull close together, and from appearances it was 
believed that during the night Mead got possession of Bull's knife and 
killed him, and after a fierce struggle was in turn killed by the chief's 

There is reason to think that in the year 1794 a plan was concocted to 
destroy all the white settlers in Venango county. But there was then no 
mighty genius like Pontiac. Cornplanter was the great man, but he hesi- 
tated to inaugurate such a scheme, and was even opposed to it, in all proba- 
bility. His people, however, were hostile and jealous of the increasing 
power of the whites. Major Denny writes that "he had no doubt but that 
a plan was formed to destroy all the posts and settlements in this quarter. ' ' 

In a deposition of Daniel Ransom, dated June 11, 1794, he states "that 
the Standing Stone, a chief of the Onondagas, also informed him at Fort 


Franklin that he thought the times would soon ])e bad, and pressed him 
very much to leave Fort Franklin, and assist him in packing up his goods, 
etc., that from what he had seen and heard from other Indians, he has 
every reason to believe the account to be true; that seven white men came 
down the Allegheny a few days ago to Fort Franklin, who informed him 
that the Indiajis appeared very surly, and had not planted any corn on the 
river at their towns. ' ' 

On June 29th, Andrew Ellicott writes in regard to Fort Franklin: 

On my arrival, the place appeared to be iu sueli a defenseless condition, tliat, with 
the concurrence of Captain Denny, and the officer * commanding at the fort, we re- 
mained there some time, and employed the trooi)s in rendering it more tenable. It 
may now be considered as defensible, provided the number of men is increased. The 
garrison, at present, consists of twenty-five men, one-half of whom are unfit for duty, 
and it is my opinion that double that number would not be more than sufficient, con- 
sidering the importance of the safety of the settlement on French creek. 

It is probable that outside Indians in western New York were trying to 
force this issue upon Cornplanter, but he resisted and ultimately became 
the friend and ally of the white people. Only about one hundred men were 
stationed here at any time, and it is not strange that fears were felt, not 
only for the people of the country, but for the safety of the fort itself. 
Eighty-seven soldiers had been the original number sent up from Fort Pitt, 
and there were over a dozen who came in the position of laborers, or ad- 
venturers in general. These soldiers brought their sustenance with them, 
yet there must have been some communication by the river, as supplies 
must be renewed from time to time. Yet there is no evidence that this 
communication was at any time cut off, or the movements of the camp inter- 
fered with by the Indians. 

And yet withal it is evident from all the accounts we have that the year 
1794 was considered a year of great danger. Nor is it clear that Corn- 
planter was not at that time involved in the plan for the forcing of the 
issues of war on the white settlers. We have a letter from John Adlum to 
Governor Mifflin, dated' Fort Franklin, August 31, 1794, from which we 
make these extracts :f 

He [Cornplanter] laughs at the idea of our keeping the posts, either at Le Bieuf 
or the mouth of French creek, should there be a war; for, he says, it is not possible 
for us to supply them with provisions, as they will constantly have parties along the 
river and path to cut off all supplies, and that we soon would be obliged to run away 
from them. 

I don't know how far it may operate in our favor should General Wa^^ne be suc- 
cessful to the westward; but it appears to me that war is inevitable, and, I think, 
Captain Brandt has a very great hand in it, and his policy is to get the whole of the 
Six Nations on the north side of the lakes, as it will make him the more consequen- 
tial, for, at present, there is but a small number of them there. 

* Captain Heath. 

t Second Series, Pennsylvania Archives, pages 76.'j-767. 


The Cornplanter desired me to give notice that it was unnecessary to send any 
more provisions to Le Boeuf, as they would soon have to leave it. 

The son of the Black Chief at the Cornplanter'sTown made me a present of a hog 
while I was there, and the morning before I came away, Half Town informed me he 
had dreamed that I made a feast, and dance with it; and as it is a general custom to 
give the Indians what they dream for (provided they are not too extravagant), and I 
wish for an opportunity to get the sentiments of the Indians generally, I told him he 
must have it, and superintend the feast, and that I would buy another, that the whole 
town might partake. 

It is the custom of the Indians, at such times, to set up a post and strike it, and 
brag of the feats they have done, or those they. intend. Some of the old chiefs were 
very delicate, and only told of their feats against the Cherokees, as they said they 
might injure my feelings if they mentioned anything concerning the whites; others 
wished General Washington would not grant their request, that thej' might have one 
more opportunity of showing their bravery and expertness in war against us. 

The Cornplanter bragged often, and appeared to speak as if war was certain. In 
one of his brags he gave me a pair of moccasins, saying, as he addressed himself to me: 
"It is probable we shall have war very soon. I wish every person to do their duty to 
their country, and expect you will act your part as becomes a man; and I see your 
moccasins are nearly worn out. I give you this pair to put on when you come to fight 
us." I took them and tliauked him, and said I would reserve them for that purpose. 
Du Quania, who headed the party of Indians from the north side of the lakes, in one 
of his brags said, that he was always an enemy to the Americans; that he served the 
king last war, and when peace was concluded he moved over the lakes, which some 
said was through fear. " But," says he, "you see it is not so, for I still love the king 
and hate the Americans, and now that there is like to be danger, you see me here to 
face it." The Indians in general seemed to wish me to suppose that the British had 
no hand in the present business, but from several things they related to me, it appeared 
plain that they are at the bottom of it. 

In the deposition of Colonel Alexander McDowell, taken by the Holland 
Land Company, we find strong confirmation of Adhim' s statement. He says : 

In June, 1793, I was appointed deputy surveyor of district No. 7, west of the Ohio 
and Alleghenj^ rivers and Conewango creek in Allegheny county. 

In Jul}', 1794, I set out from Fraukstown, where I then resided — prepared to exe- 
cute all warrants that were entered with me, and went the length of Colonel Charles 
Campbell's on Black, where I met with a Mr. Jones, who had been emploj'ed by John 
Adlura to purchase and forward provisions for his use. 

Mr. Jones informed me that the Indians, about three daj^s before, had attacked a 
boat or boats, going down the Kiskaminitas, and had killed one man, and wounded 
two other persons. Also, that the Indians had killed two men about twenty miles south 
of Fort Franklin, on the road leading from Franklin to Pittsburgh, and that he thought 
it unsafe to go any farther. I then returned to Frankstown and staid until August, 
where Mr. John Adlum called on me to go out to the district to survey. I accordingly 
went out to Fort Franklin, met Mr. Adlum, and after remaining there a few days, I 
set out to the district to survey. During the time I was in the woods I was informed 
that the Indians had fired on a man (James Dickson) near Cassawago, now Meadville. 
Also that they killed a soldier belonging to Captain Heath's company, who com- 
manded at Fort Franklin. 

As the Indians appeared ill-natured and much dissatisfied, on the 7th or 8th day 
of September, 1794, John Adlum (who had been at Cornplanter Town to find out how 
the Indians were disposed), sent out a man of the name of Smith and an Indian to 
inform me that Cornplanter and his Indians were determined to go to war, and that 


Coruplanter requested him to seud word to all the surveyors who were in the woods to 
quit surveying before the 18tli of September, or they might expect to be attacked. 
Finding it impossible to attempt surveying any more, owing to the hostile disposition 
of the Indians, I accordingly left the woods and returned to Fort Franklin, where I 
found Captain Heath, the commanding officer, expected to be attacked, and the few 
inhabitants who resided in that place much alarmed. 

On the 20th of September we left Fort Franklin. In June, 1795,1 returned to 
the fort in order to resume surveying. "When I got opposite the mouth of French 
creek, on the east side of the Allegheny river, and not more than one mile from Fort 
Franklin, I met a number of people who were in canoes, and appeared to be hastening 
down the Allegheny river. I inquired of them the cause of their going. They informed 
me they were going to Pittsburgh, alleging at the same time as their reason for so doing 
that they did not think it safe for them to remain in that country, as the hostile In- 
dians had killed two men (James Findlayand Barnabas McCormick)in the neighl)or- 
liood of Cassawago, now Meadville, and that the whole country was alarmed, which 
information I found to be true on my arrival at Fort Franklin, the people there being 
much alarmed notwithstanding there was a garrison kept at that place. 

Finding it unsafe to set out to the woods I remained at Fort Franklin for some 
time until Messrs. Irvine and EUicott, who were appointed to lay out the reserved 
towns of Franklin, Waterford, Erie, and Warren, would come forward, knowing that 
they had fifty men with them to guard them while executing their appointment, ex- 
pecting that when they would come forward it would have some effect to quiet the 
Indians, and in the same time I employed Nicholas Rosegrant (who understood the In- 
dian language) to go to Cornplanter's Town to inform Cornplanter that I was author- 
ized by the governor of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to survey the several 
tracts of land granted him by act of assembly. Cornplanter on hearing this informa- 
tion met me near Fort Franklin, and returned with me up the Allegheny river until I 
made all his surveys. 

All the correspondence of that period shows that there -v^s the greatest 
danger of precipitating a war in which the Six Nations would join in order 
to secure what they considered their right. But better counsels prevailed. 
The time passed by without any open attacks and matters began to assume 
a peaceful attitude. 

Neither does it appear that any communication by land proved to be 
dangerous. The danger was more of a threatening character than from any 
real outbreak. If there was any determination to attack the settlement, it 
was probably by detached portions of the Indians here and there, without 
any qualified leader to direct the movement and give it effect. 

' Cornplanter evidently was not satisfied, yet he was too well acquainted 
with the numbers and resources of the white man to think of any organized 
resistance. His knowledge of the feelings of his people induced him to give 
the whites a word of warning at times, but there is no evidence that he med- 
itated an attack upon the fort, or on the people. 

The location of Fort Franklin was somewhat remarkable. It was not 
even in sight of the river, and was distant from the mouth of French creek. 
Its location was such that it could only cover the creek and at the same 
time overlook the path that led from Fort Pitt to Le Boeuf. This path 
crossed the creek a few rods below the fort, where there was good fording 


and an easy ascent of the opposite bank. The fort was occupied for nine 
years, or until 1796, when a new and more sensible selection was made and 
a new fortification, subsequently called the " Old Garrison," was erected 
near the mouth of the creek. 

In the meantime arrangements were being made for the settlement of the 
country. General William Irvine and Andrew EUicott, with an escort of fifty 
men, were sent up from Pittsburgh in the summer of 1795 to protect survey- 
ors and at the same time lay out a town at the junction of French creek 
and the Allegheny river. 

Changes had likewise taken place in the situation of affairs arising from 
treaties with the Indians in the Northwest. Dangers there might be from 
Indians, but it would be from predatory parties and not by any organized 

The old fort was dismantled as the new one was occupied, and in time 
its pickets fell, its ditch filled up, and the citizens of the new town took the 
stone of the large chimneys to assist in the construction of their dwellings. 
Time and the spirit of improvement have now swept away the last vestige of 
old Fort Franklin. Its position can only be learned from the map and the 
recorded history of the times. 

The "Old Garrison" was the fourth fortress that was erected for de- 
fense, ^he site was changed again and to a more sensible locality. This 
was just at the mouth of French creek where there would be a view of both 
creek and river. It was built in 1796. The location was down in the bot- 
tom near the foot of Tenth street, near the creek. The site is now covered 
with water, with no landmarks to locate it, and will soon be referred to only 
by tradition. The building had no high-sounding name, but was always 
known as the "Old Garrison." It was a strong wooden building without 
ditch or bastions or embrasure. In plain language, it was a log house, 
strongly built, and well fortified. It was a story and a half high and thirty 
by thirty-six feet square. Outside it had the invariable line of pickets to 
avoid being surprised by the Indians. These pickets were simply small, 
round logs set in the ground close together and from ten to fifteen feet in 
length. In this the government kept troops stationed from the time of its 
erection until 1799, when all apprehension of trouble with the Indians hav- 
ing subsided, they were withdrawn, and the infant town was left to its own 
resources for defense against the savages, who were now on friendly terms 
and desirous only of trade and traffic. 

But the "Old Garrison" was not dismantled or left to fall into decay 
for many years. If there were no longer enemies among the red men, 
there were among civilized men. There were in the new settlement men 
who needed to be restrained and punished. So it was resolved to utilize the 
"Old Garrison" for jail purposes. It was well fitted for that use after 
strong iron bars had been fixed to the windows and other arrangements 


made for the security of the inmates. Before, the object had been to keep 
people out and at a safe distance; now it was to keep them within until 
wanted elsewhere. The county was organized in 1805. At that date a jail 
was needed, and the " Old Garrison " was brought into requisition for this 
purpose. It was so used until 1819, when the jail was built on the South 
park. During a part of this time it was occupied by Captain George Fow- 
ler, an Englishman, who had cast in his lot with this country after the Revolu- 
tionary war. He had been a good soldier of Britain, but after the strife 
was ended became a good citizen of the United States. At this time he was 
acting as a justice of the peace, trying causes as they came before him, and 
probalily performing the duties of jailor when there were prisoners in limbo. 
After this the work of dilapidation commenced. The small boy held his 
revels there; the elements beat upon it; the high waters of the creek en- 
croached on its foundations, and it was overthrown and buried in ruin. Like 
all sublunary things, it lost its usefulness and fell out in the rapid march of 
time, as the thickly coming events demanded better service and improve- 

These old military works are but memories now and will soon be but dim 
traditions. But they tell of growth and progress. They remind us of the 
dangers and perils through which the country passed from the wilderness 
to the civilized land. They suggest to us the stern, enterprising fiber of 
the men of those early times, who pushed their way out into the forest in 
the face of privation and sacrifice and prepared to do stern battle with the 
savage in maintaining their rights. They remind us of the struggle 
between ancient foes, England and France, that began here, and ultimately 
shook all Europe; and how, for one hundred years great principles were 
discussed on the field of battle by the stern arbitrament of the sword, 
finally resulting in a better government and a higher type of society. 




Acquisitions of Indian Territory under Proprietary Auspices— The 

Purchase of 1784— DonxVtion Lands— Reservations— The Act of 

1792 — Land Companies— The Astley and Bingham 

Lands — Dickinson College Tracts — 

Settlement and Improvement 

Tenure— Resume. 

ALTHOUGH vested by the terms of bis charter with absolute owner- 
ship of the territory comprised within the province of Pennsylvania, 
and not bound by the ethics of European national polity to recognize the 
rights of those to whom God and nature had given its soil, a purer morality 
and sounder policy inspired William Penn and his successors to perfect their 
title by amicable purchase rather than force of arms. The deed of July 15, 
1682, by which Markham secured a tract of relatively small extent in the 
extreme southeastern part of the state, was the first purchase of this nature; 
the next of any i|aportance occurred in 1718, and by this the Indians relin- 
quished all the territory east of the Susquehanna and south of the Lehigh 
hills. This was confirmed by a second and more inclusive deed in 1736, 
and by the " Walking Purchase " of 1737. In 1749 the proprietaries ex- 
tended their jurisdiction to the Kittatinny mountains, east and west of the 
Susquehanna river. By the treaty of Albany in 1754 the Indian title to all 
that part of the state north and west of the Kittatinny range was nominally 
extinguished; but four years later, owing to hostilities that immediately en- 
sued in consequence of the unreasonable extent of this purchase, the Alle- 
gheny mountains were declared to be its western boundary and a line ex- 
tending nearly due west from the forks of the Susquehanna its northern 
limit. The last purchase under the auspices of the Penns and the largest 
acquisition of territory during their administration occurred at Fort Stanwix 
November 5, 1768; by this treaty a line beginning where the Susquehanna 
river enters the state and continuing a circuitous course to the Allegheny 
river at Kittanning, thence down that river and the Ohio to the western line 
of the state, was made the west and northwest boundary of their possessions. 


It was reserved for the commouwealth to obtain the title to that lar;4-e 
and important section of the state in which Venango county is situated. On 
the 23rd of October, 1784, commissioners for the state of Pennsylvania 
concluded a treaty with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix by which all the 
remainino- Indian lands in the state were purchased. The boundaries of 
this purchase were as follows: 

Beginning on the south side of the River Ohio where the western boundary of the 
state of Pennsylvania crosses the said river near Shingo's Old Town at tlu- mouth of 
Beaver creek, and thence by a due north line to the end of the forty-second and be- 
ginning of fortj'-third degrees of north latitude; thence by a due east line separating 
the forty-second and forty-third degrees of north latitude to the east side of tlie east 
branch of the River Susquehanna; thence by tlie bounds of the late purchase niiule at 
Fort Stanwix, the 5th day of November, Anno Domini 1768, as follows: "Down the 
East Branch of the Susquehanna on the east side thereof till it .comes opposite tlie 
mouth of a creek called by the Indians Awandac. and across the river and up said 
creek on the south side thereof along the range of hills called Burnett's hills by the 

English and by the Indians ■ ■ ; on the north side of them to the head of a 

creek which runs into the West Branch of the Susquehanna, which creek is by the In- 
dians called Tyadaghtou but by Pennsylvanians Pine creek, and down said creek on 
the south side thereof to the said West Branch of the Susquehanna; then crossing the 
said river and running up the course on the south side thereof the several courses 
thereof to the fork of the same river which lies nearest to a place on the River Ohio 
(Allegheny) called Kittanning, and from the fork by a straight line to Kittanning 
aforesaid; and then down said river by the several courses thereof to where tlie west- 
ern boundary of the said state of Pennsylvania crosses the same river," at the place 
of beginning. 

The commissioners by whom these negotiations were Conducted were 
Samuel J. Atlee, William Maclay, and Francis Johnston. In January, 
1785, they met the Wyandot and Delaware Indians at Fort Mcintosh, 
(Beaver), and concluded an agreement by which the claims of the latter to 
the region in question were relinquished. 

Obligations assumed b}' the state antecedent to the acquisition of this 
territory governed its disposition. Among the evils entailed by the long 
continuance of the Revolutionary war was a depreciated currency, affording 
merely nominal remuneration for the services of soldiers and officers in the 
Continental army. In order to encourage enlistment to the credit of the 
quota of the state, the legislature passed a resolution on the 7th of March, 
1780, declaring its intention to provide adequate compensation for the 
officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line and citizens of the state 
in other departments of the government service, who should serve until 
the close of the war or die in furthering the interests of the American cause. 
The faith of the commonwealth was pledged to effect a settlement on the 
basis of a sound currency, and also to supplement this pecuniary compen- 
sation by donations in land. The depreciation in the value of the "bills of 
credit " issued by congress and the state had been gradual; and in order that 
an equitable discharge of its obligations might be facilitated, an act was 



passed in April, 1781, fixing a scale of depreciation varying from one and 
one-half to seventy-five per cent. , varying for each month from January, 
1777, to March, 1781. The pay of ofiicers and soldiers was adjusted in 
conformity with this scale; the state acknowledged its indebtedness by issu- 
ing depreciation certificates, for the redemption of which apart of the lands 
west of the Allegheny river was appropriated in 1783, the year before the 
cession of that territory by the Indians. The depreciation lands were 
included within the following boundaries: 

BejTinning where the western boundary of this state crosses the Ohio river; thence 
np the said river to Fort Pitt; thence up the Allegheny river to the mouth of Mogul- 
bughtiton creek; thence by a west line to the western boundary of the state; thence 
south by the said boundary to the place of beginning. 

Mogulbughtiton creek is sometimes identifed with Pine creek and some- 
times with Mahoning; but however this may be, the northern line of the 
depreciation lands, which was surveyed by Alexander McClean and acquired 
a wide popular significance, coincides with the northern line of Beaver 
county. The fifth section of the same act (March 12, 1783) designated the 
donation lands with boundaries as follows: 

Beginning at the mouth of Mogulbughtiton creek; thence up the Allegheny river to 
the mouth of the Cognawagna (Conewaugo) creek; thence due north to the northern 
boundary of this state; thence west bv the said boundary to the northwest corner of 
the state; thence south by the western boundary of the state to the northwest corner of 
lands appropriated by this act for discharging the certificates herein mentioned, and 
thence by the same lauds east to the place of beginning. 

This included all that part of the state north of McClean' s line and west 
of the Allegheny river and Conewango creek. (The Erie Triangle was 
not acquired until 1792.) It is thus seen that the state appropriated a very 
considerable part of her domain in the effort to deal justly with her de- 
fenders, and with great propriety the donation and depreciation lands have 
been called ' ' The twin progeny of patriotism and necessity. ' ' 

It is with the donation lands that these pages are more particularly con- 
cerned. The first legislation of a comprehensive nature affecting this sub- 
ject was the act of March 24, 1785, referring to the resolution of March 7, 
1780, and the act of March 12, 1783, and directing a mode of distribution 
at once elaborate and complicated. The comptroller general was directed 
to compile a complete list of all persons who were entitled to become bene- 
ficiaries under the act, and from this data the quantity of land necessary was 
computed, allowing two thousand acres to a major general; one thousand 
five hundred acres to a brigadier general; one thousand acres to a colonel; 
seven hundred and fifty acres to a lieutenant colonel ; six hundred acres to a 
surgeon, chaplain, and major; five hundred acres to a captain; four hun- 
dred acres to a lieutenant; three hundred acres to an ensign and surgeon's 
mate; two hundred and fifty acres to a quartermaster sergeant, sergeant 
major, and sergeant; and two hundred acres to a corporal, private, drum- 


mer, and lifer. The lots were to be of four descriptions, comprising, re- 
spectively, five hundred, three hundi-ed, two hundred and fifty, and two 
hundred acres. The surveyor general was authorized to appoint deputies, 
who were required to make oath to perform their duties with fidelity and 

On the 3rd of May, 1785, the comptroller general made a report to the 
supreme executive council embodying the names of all who were entitled to 
receive lands. The surveyor general was directed to proceed with the sur- 
vey, and two days later nominated as deputy surveyors AVilliam Alexander, 
Benjamin Lodge, James Christie, Ephraim Douglass, Griffith Evans, James 
Dickinson, John Henderson, William Power, Jr., Peter Light, Andrew 
Henderson, James Dickinson, James Hoge, David AVatt, and Alexander 
McDowell, whose appointment was forthwith confirmed. The territory in 
question was divided into ten districts, numbered in regular order from the 
depreciation lands to the northern boundary of the state and extendino- 
westward latitudinally from the Allegheny river and Conewango creek. 
Their relative locations are best indicated by reference to county lines. 
The line of Crawford and Erie counties coincides with the northern line of 
the eighth; the line of Venango and Crawford, with the northern line of 
the sixth; the line of Mercer and Crawford, with the northern line of the 
fifth; and within this county the line of the fifth and sixth districts was the 
mutual boundary of Plum and Sugar Creek townships until the formation 
of Oakland and Jackson. It thus appears that the sixth, fifth, and fourth 
districts were situated in this county to the extent of their entire width and 
the third also in part. The respective deputies appointed for these districts 
were James Christie, for the sixth; Benjamin Lodge, for the fifth; Andrew 
Henderson, for the fourth; and Griffith Evans, for the third. 

As the north and west boundaries of the state had not yet been estab- 
lished, the surveyors were instructed to begin their work as far in the 
interior as possible. Specific directions were given for marking the number 
of the lot at the northwest corner, which thus became the "ear-mark" of 
the tract, the legal and origfnal index to its location, and in many instances 
the only method of identifying the lot indicated on the " General Draft " 
with the actual ground to which it referred. A broad flat surface was cut 
on the tree, and in this the figures forming the number were sunk with a 
die. The impression thus made is said to have been distinguishable half a 
century later; a slight discoloration of the bark, perceptible only to an accom- 
plished woodsman, indicated the place on the tree where the mark had been 
made, and by removing the supervening growth it was plainly visible. The 
usual procedure with the surveyors was to run the southern line of the dis- 
trict as a base line; the north and south lines were then run at such intervals 
as the size of the tracts might require, and at regular distances determined 
in the same manner, the numbers of the lots were marked; at every corner, 


instead of running the east and west lines through, it was customary merely 
to blaze the trees several rods in either direction, and as a consequence, 
owing to the character of the topography and the carelessness of chain car- 
riers, east and west corners were not on an east and west line and the lots, 
instead of being rectangular parallelograms, assumed a variety of irregular 
shapes. In adjusting the legal complications that subsequently resulted 
from this the courts decided that a straight line to be run from corner to 
corner was the legal line. When a sufficient extent of territory had been 
platted a connected draft was required to be tiled with the master of the 
rolls; and in 1818, many of the original land-marks having become oblit- 
erated, the legislature declared these drafts sufficient evidence of the loca- 
tion of a lot. 

The act of March 24, 1785, provided for the appointment of an agent to 
examine the donation lands and report iipon their general condition, indi- 
cating especially such as were unfit for cultivation. General William Irvine 
was assigned to this duty, and in August, 1785, reported unfavorably as to 
the value of the lands in the eastern part of the second district, which were 
accordingly withdrawn. This territory thus acquired the name of the 
*' Struck District." 

A provision of the law of 1783 directed that the officers and privates 
entitled to land should make application within two years after the close of 
the war, with an extension of one year for executors and heirs. The distri- 
bution was effected by lottery and conducted by a committee of three mem- 
bers of the executive council, in whose custody the wheel was kept. Many 
having failed to apply within the period specified, the time was extended by 
various laws, and in 1792 the officers of the land office were directed to draw 
lots for such persons as were entitled to them according to the list furnished 
by the comptroller general. The final legislation on this subject was the 
act of March 26, 1813, by which the land office was closed against all appli 
cations after October 1st, of that year. While thus extended over a term of 
years for the benefit of exceptional cases the great body of donation lands 
had been located and patented within a few years after the passage of the 
act of 1785. The surveys were principally made in 1786 and 1787. 

The propriety of reserving certain tracts advantageously situated in the 
western frontier for such purposes as future developments might determine 
was first suggested to the executive council by Andrew Ellicott and recom- 
mended to the assembly in 1788. In the following year that body author- 
ized the survey of reservations at Fort Venango, and at the mouth of the 
Conewango on the Allegheny river, at Fort Le Bceuf, at the head of navi- 
gation on French creek, and at Erie. These surveys were made by John 
Adlum and reported to the council in September, 1789. It was stipulated 
that none of these reservations should exceed three thousand acres in extent. 
That at Fort Venango included the site of the town of Franklin; it was situ- 


atod on both sides of French creek, and the principal objects to which the 
proceeds of its sale were applied were the building of the first court house 
of the county and the Venango academy. A tract of several hundred acres 
north of French creek remained unsold for many years, and was commonly 
known as the ' ' Academy Reserve. ' ' 

The Cornplanter reservation at the mouth of Oil creek comprised the 
principal part of the site of Oil City. It was surveyed by Alexander 
McDowell, and contained a little more than three hundred acres. The pat- 
ent was issued March 16, 1796. It remained in possession of Cornplanter 
until 1818. 

The benevolent intentions of the state having been subserved, a method 
of promoting settlement in the northwestern part of its territory was the 
next subject for legislative consideration. The frontier was constantly 
menaced by Indian depredations, and very few of the owners of donation 
lands ever removed to them. There still remained thousands of acres that 
had not been applied to the redemption of depreciation certificates or 
drawn in the apportionment of donation lands; and, with the idea of bring- 
ing these lands into market as a source of revenue to the state, as well as 
to encourage immigration and thus place a barrier between the hostile 
Indians on the west and the incipient settlements in the western interior 
portions of the state, an act was passed on the 3rd of April, 1792, for the 
general disposition of all vacant lands within the purchases of 1768 and 
1784. This was the first legislation relative to lands in that part of the 
county east and south of the Allegheny river. That part ©f the purchase 
of 1784 was oflPered for sale at five pounds per hundred acres; northwest 
of the Ohio and Allegheny and Conewango creek, the price was fixed at seven 
pounds, ten shillings per hundred acres. No condition of settlement was 
attached to the former; but the latter were offered only " to persons who will 
cultivate, improve, and settle the same, or cause the same to be cultivated, 
improved, or settled." Provision was made for two methods of acquiring 
title — either to purchase a warrant at the land office for a tract of land to 
be surveyed, paying the purchase money and fees into the state treasury, 
and completing the title by settlement and improvement within the speci- 
fied period of two years; or to effect the settlement and improvement in 
the first place and make payment afterward. The former was the method 
of the land jobber; the latter, of the actual settler. The lands were 
remote from previously settled localities, and even if an Indian war had 
not effectually prevented immigration, the advantage was largely with the 
purchasing class as opposed to the class who would be obliged to make a 
settlement first and depend upon the results of their labor for the means 
to discharge their obligations to the state. While the prospective settler 
was waiting for the long deferred tranquillity that would permit a residence 
on the frontier, the capitalist proceeded at once to procure warrants and 


lodge them with the deputy surveyors for execution. A duplex system of 
this nature naturally resulted in legal complications affecting the validity of 
land titles throughout the period of early settlement, retarding the growth 
and development of the country to an incalculable extent. 

The favorable opportunity for investment offered by the terms of sale 
as proposed by the state in the act of 1792, led to the organization of vari- 
ous corporations for the purchase, improvement, and sale of lands. Of 
these the Holland Land Company was most largely interested in this county. 
It was composed of capitalists in the United Netherlands, who had advanced 
large sums to Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, to aid in the 
prosecution of that struggle; and at its close, either form choice or neces- 
sity, received payment in lands in western New York, and later extended 
their acquisitions into Pennsylvania. The company was composed of Will- 
iam Willink and eleven associates, among whom were Nicholas Van Stap- 
horst, Peter Stadnitski, Christian Van Eeghen, Hendrick Vollenhoven, and 
Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck of the city of Amsterdam. The first lauds 
acquired in Pennsylvania consisted of a number of one thousand acre tracts 
east of the Allegheny river, in the purchase of 1784, some of which are sit- 
uated in Pinegrove township, this county, while many others were located 
in that part of the county since attached to Forest. 

One of the largest transactions in the history of Pennsylvania land titles 
was a purchase aggregating half a million acres, negotiated for this com- 
pany in 1793 by its agents at New York, Herman Leroy and William Bay- 
ard, from James Wilson of Philadelphia, a judge of the United States 
supreme court. The land in question consisted of nine hundred and twelve 
tracts of four hundred and thirty acres each, situated between French creek 
and the Allegheny river, which John Adlum had agreed to secure for Judge 
Wilson by a contract, bearing date April 26, 1793; and two hundred and 
fifty tracts of four hundred and thirty acres each, to be taken from lands 
entered for Judge Wilson by James Chapman, convenient to the lands first 
named in point of location, the Holland Company reserving the privilege of 
substituting other lands east of French creek if not satisfied with the latter 
tracts, the whole amount being four hundred and ninety-nine thousand, six 
hundred and sixty acres, not including the allowance of six per cent, for 
roads. The consideration was thirty-four thousand, eight hundred and 
sixty pounds in specie, of which the company retained four thousand and 
sixty-seven pounds for fees and expenses of surveying; three thousand, eight 
hundred and ninety-two pounds, fourteen shillings, for fees in patenting the 
tra'cts; two thousand, six hundred and fourteen pounds, ten shillings, with 
which to pay the receiver general of the land ofiice for the excess of thirty 
acres in each warrant; and nine hundi-ed and seventy-eight pounds for in- 
terest on the purchase money since the date of application. A very large 
proportion of the lands in Venango county north of French creek and the 


Allegheny river, and particularly that part of this territory east of Oil creek, 
was included in this extensive purchase, which was consummated on the 21st 
of August, 1793. 

The management of the affairs of the company was intrusted to a general 
agent with his office at Philadelphia. Theophilus Cazenove filled this posi- 
tion from the organization of the company until 1791), when he was suc- 
ceeded by Paul Busti; he served until July 23, 1824, and was followed by 
John J. Vanderkemp, the incumbent of the office until 1(S30. The local 
agent for the counties of Crawford, Erie, Warren, and Venango had his 
headquarters at Meadville. Samuel B. and Alexander Foster, jointly, were 
stationed there in 1796-97-98 and part of 1799; Major Roger Alden was 
appointed in 1799 and served until the 1st of January, 1805, when H. J. 
Huidekoper assumed charge, continuing in that capacity until December 
31, 1836, when he purchased from the company its remaining lands in the 
counties for which he had been agent with smaller interests in Otsego and 
Chenango counties, New York, and Berkshire county, Massachusetts, for 
the sum of one hundred and seventy-eight thousand, four hundred dollars. 
The final conveyance was executed December 23, 1839. 

The policy of the company, although directed in the main toward the 
enhancement of its property, was characterized by an enterprising and 
liberal spirit. A large store was established at Meadville in 1795 and dis- 
bursements exceeding five thousand dollars had been made up to that date- 
Supply depots of implements, utensils, and provisions were established in 
the following year, settlers were invited to locate on the lands, and funds 
for bringing families into the country liberally advanced. Settlers who 
became residents upon its lands were required to erect a house within one 
year and to improve ten acres within two years of the date of settlement. 
Improvement and settlement in compliance with the law of 1792 secured 
one hundred acres without compensation, with the privilege of purchasing 
the remainder of the four hundred acre tract at one dollar and a half per 
acre. This gratuity was continued until 1805. Twenty-two thousand dol- 
lars were expended in 1796 and sixty thousand dollars in 1797 on roads and 
in assisting settlers in various ways. In 1798 mills were erected, one of 
which, on a branch of Oil creek quite near the county line, is referred to in 
a description of the boundaries of Allegheny township in 1800. The ^ex- 
penditures of that year amounted to thirty thousand dollars; and in 1799 
forty thousand dollars were expended upon roads, mills, etc. Purchasers 
of lands were given long terms of credit, iisually eight years with a frequent 
extension to sixteen or twenty; the interest was expected to be paid promptly 
but in periods of exceptional stringency the agent accepted cattle at the 
local prices, driving them across the mountains to the markets of Philadel- 
phia and other eastern cities. The extent of the expenditures of the com 
pany was thus summarized by Judge Yeates: 


The Holland Land Company have paid to the state the consideration money of one 
thousand, one hundred and sixty-two warrants, and the surveying fees on one thou- 
sand and forty-eight tracts of land (generallj- four hundred acres each) besides making 
very considerable expenditures by their exertions, honorable to themselves and use- 
ful to the community, in order to effect settlements. Computing the sums advanced, 
the lost tracts by prior improvements and interferences, and the quantity of one hun- 
dred acres granted to each individual for making an actual settlement on their lands, 
it is said that, averaging the whole, between two hundred and thirty and two hundred 
and forty dollars have been expended by the company on each tract. 

The general opinion regarding land companies has not been uniforinly 
favorable thronghotit western Pennsylvania. Their interests and those of 
the settlers freqiaently came in collision, and although legislation subsequent 
to the act of 1792 was almost invariable in favor of the settler, the decisions 
of the courts were not infrequently favorable to the companies. O. Turner 
in his History of the Holland Company in the State of New York, after an 
exhaustive treatment of the subject, expresses his estimate of its general 
character in the following terms: 

Few enterprises have ever been conducted on more honorable principles than was 
that which embraced the purchase, sale and settlement of the Holland purchase. In 
all the instructions of the general to the local agents the interest of the settlers and 
the prosperity of the country were made secondary in but a slight degree to their se- 
curing to their principals a fair and reasonable return for their investments. In the 
entire history of settlement and improvement of our widely extended country large 
tracts of the wilderness have nowhere fallen into the hands of individuals and become 
subject to private or associate cupidity wiien the aggregate result has been more 
favorable or advantageous to the settlers. 

And Alfred Huiciekoper, in a lecture delivered at Meadville in 1876, 
reviewing the policy of the company and the attitude of public opinion 
toward it, says: 

The history of the company is but a repetition, perhaps, of a common experience 
in life. It was encouraged at first to purchase a wilderness and put its money into 
the state treasury; this was an acceptable thing to do; when it sought reimbursement 
out of the property so acquired, it incurred both professional and popular opposition, 
as large associations are apt to do. Keeping the even tenor of its way with fairness of 
purpose and integrity of action, it can safely entrust its record to the hands of the his- 

The lands of the Holland Company east of the Allegheny river in this 
county were sold to an affiliated corporation, the Lancaster Land Com- 
pany, early in the century; and after a brief period of associate ownership, 
the latter effected an amicable apportionment of its holdings among the 
different stockholders in proportion to their respective interests, the lands 
in this county passing in this manner to Henry Shippen, Samuel Miller, and 
others. These lands are situated principally in Pinegrove township. 

The North American Land Company was another of the extensive cor- 
porate warrantees of public lands in Pennsylvania. Nearly the whole of 
Mineral township and the northwestern part of Irwin comprised the interests 


• of this company in Yeuaugo county. Its orii^inal orcrjuiizatiou has not been 
ascertained; but in 1810 the surviving trustees were Henry Pratt, John 
Ashley, and James Greenleaf, and the board of managers was composed of 
John Vaughan, John Miller, Jr., llobert Porter, Henry Pratt, and John 
Ashley. Their holdings at that date in the counties of Beaver, Butler, 
Mercer, Crawford, Erie, Warren, and Venango aggregated six hundred and 
twenty-five tracts of the usual area of four hundred acres; which, by deed 
of June 1, 1816, were transferred to Henry Baldwin of Pittsburgh and 
Stephen Barlow of Fairfield, Connecticut, for the sum of ninety thousand 
dollars. It was from Barlow and Baldwin that pixrchasers derived title. 

The acquisition of extensive individual holdings in that part of the 
county east and south of the Allegheny river was greatly facilitated under 
the act of IIQ'I by the fact that title could be perfected within that region 
without any restrictions as to settlement and improvement. There were 
two such holdings in this county, known respectively as the Astley and Bing- 
ham lands. The former comprised twenty contiguous tracts in district No. 
6, containing twenty thousand acres and the usual allowance of six per cent. 
for highways; the surveys were made in the month of July, 1708, in pur- 
suance of twenty warrants granted to John Nicholson bearing date April 20, 
1792. and numbered respectively 1124 to 1149 inclusive, with the exception 
of 1129, 1183, and 1141-1144. By deed of July 18, 1795, a transfer was 
made to Henry Phillips, John Travis, William Crammond, and James Cram- 
mond, to whom the patents were issued November 5, 1799. William Cram- 
mond, the surviving member of this copartnership, sold the lands in ques- 
tion at public auction September 1, 1808, at the Merchants' coffee house in 
Philadelphia to Matthew McConnell, representing Thomas Astley and James 
Gibson, to whom a deed was made May 26, 1804. Crammond, Astley, and 
Gibson were all connected with the Pennsylvania Population Company, to 
which Nicholson transferred the great majority of his warrants, but it does 
not appear that the title to what are popularly referred to as the Astley 
lands was ever vested in that corporation. Astley and Gibson, beside the 
twenty thousand acres in Venango county, were also joint owners of thirty- 
seven thousand acres in Wayne, eighty-five thousand in Luzerne, thirty 
thousand in Erie and Crawford, fifteen thousand in Berks, twelve thousand 
in Lycoming, seven thousand in Allegheny and Butler, and three thousand 
in Northampton; and in 1815, by deed of May 24th, Gibson transferred a 
moiety in all this vast domain to Astley, who thus became individual owner 
and so continued until his death. The lands in this county are situated in 
the central and western part of Cranberry township. The tracts were orig- 
inally surveyed with north and south, east and west lines, but after the 
opening of the Susquehanna and Waterford turnpike a resurvey was made 
by William Connely with the line of that highway as a base line. It was 
not until after this that sales were made to actual settlers to any extent. 


and for a time Alexander McCalmont was attorney in fact for Astley. At 
the death of the latter the property was inherited by his daughter and only 
child, Mrs. Sophia Kirkpatrick, wife of Littleton Kirkpatrick, of New Jersey, 
who sold it in 1840 to Henry Crammond. Nearly all of it had passed out 
of his possession before the discovery of oil. 

The Bingham lands comprised nearly the whole of Rockland township. 
They were surveyed upon warrants granted to William Bingham, principally 
in December, 1792. He was a man of prominence in state affairs, repre- 
sented Pennsylvania in the Continental congress of 1787-88, and in the 
United States senate from 1795 to 1801, serving as president pro tempore of 
that body in 1797. He was born in 1729, and died in 1808, probably before 
any of his lands in this county had been sold. The deeds are usually exe- 
cuted by Thomas Mayne Willing and Charles Willing Hare, of Philadelphia; 
Alexander Baring (Lord Ashburton), and Henry Baring, of London, and 
Robert Gilmor, of Baltimore, devisees in trust for the estate. The first res- 
ident agent and attorney in fact was probably John Jolly, who was succeeded 
in 1834 by Elil^u Chadwick. Tracts of varying area were sold, the only 
requirement as to form and extent being that all boundaries should be 
cardinal lines and all angles right angles. In consequence many of the 
tracts are exceedingly irregular in shape. They were numbered in the order 
of their sale. It was the policy of the trustees to permit the larger part of 
the purchase money, secured by mortgage, to remain unpaid for a number of 
years if the interest was promptly remitted. After the great body of the 
land had been sold, the remainder, consisting of a number of detached 
tracts, was purchased by Mr. Chadwick. He was the father of J. D. Chad- 
wick, of Franklin. 

The Dickinson College lands are the only holdings of any consideralile 
extent that remain to be noticed. Certain lands granted to that institution 
(situated at Carlisle, Cumberland county) were located in this county in 
tracts of a thousand acres, principally in Pinegrove and Richland townships. 
Subsequently, in consideration of an appropriation in money, they were sur- 
rendered to the state, and the legislature conferred upon the commissioners 
of the respective counties where they were located authority to dispose of 
them and give deeds, as in the case of tax sales. Several other colleges also 
received grants of land in this part of the state. 

From a casual estimate of the amount of land in this county acquired in 
large tracts under corporate or i'udividual auspices it is readily apparent 
that but a comparatively small part of its area remained for improvement 
and settlement. The principal body of land secured under tenure of this 
nature, as provided in the act of 1792, is situated in the townships of Scrub- 
grass, Clinton, Sandy Creek, Victory, Irwin, and French Creek. This 
region was neglected by speculators, not from a generous consideration 
for the class of people who afterward acquired it, but because General 


Irvine's report upon the donation lands in 1785 called attention to it as "a 
continued chain of high barren mountains except small breaches for creeks 
and rivulets to disembogue themselves into the river." While the land job- 
ber was not as a general thing fastidious in his requirements he did not buy 
"high barren mountains" while lands of which the topography had not 
been so specifically described were to be obtained, and hence the southwest- 
ern part of the county remained to be taken up by bona fide settlers. It was 
in this section of country that the surveying of Samuel Dale on warrants 
issued by virtue of settlement and improvement was principally done. The 
vacant lands in that part of the county north of French creek and the Alle- 
gheny river were principally in Oakland township, and east of the Allegheny 
river, in Richland. Between the Astley and Bingham warrants on the west 
and the Holland warrants on the east, north of three Dickinson College 
tracts in Cranberry township, and south of the same through Rockland into 
Richland there was a strip of land averaging two-thirds of a mile in width, 
referred to in old deeds as " The Vacancy." The western part of President 
township was patented on improvement warrants at a comparatively recent 
period; and bends in the Allegheny river south and east of its coarse at 
various points have also been patented in the same manner, not having been 
included in the regular tracts adjoining on the interior. 

The fidelity and accuracy of surveys have had much to do in determining 
title. Fortunately for this county its early surveyors were men of excep- 
tional proficiency and accuracy, and litigation from careless surveying has 
been comparatively rare. The first deputy surveyor for tliis county was 
Colonel Samuel Dale; the early improvement claims were principally located 
by him, and he also subdivided the Lancaster Land Company's lands, 
aggregating one hundred and seventy thousand acres. The following with 
reference to the general character of his work and the manner in which this 
commission from the Lancaster Land Company was executed is from the pen 
of Judge Samuel Porter Johnson, of Warren: 

This big job of surveying Mr. Dale performed in tlie summer and season of 1814, 
finishing his surveys and making a connected map of his work in 1815. He divided 
that laud into seven hundred lots or tracts and numbered them, ran and marked every 
line, and carved the number of every tract on a tree at one of its corners. Then he 
made a connected draft of the whole, showing the number of each and kind of tree 
marked. That was one of the best jobs of surveying ever done in Pennsylvania. I 
speak advisedly. My long professional life and practice has made me familiar with 
most of the original land surveys in every part of the state. The lines and corners 
run and marked by Colonel Dale can be traced and found to-day as fast as a man can 
walk through the woods. While we have had a great deal of litigation about other 
surveys, no dispute has ever come into court to my knowledge about any line or corner 
established by Colonel Dale for the Lancaster Land Company. 

By his contract he was to make a map of all his surveys for the Lancaster Land 
Company. In the course of time it became important in Warren county to find that 
map. It should have been on record in Venango county, where all the records for 


Warreu were kept prior to its organization. It was not there. We hunted among the 
records of Jefferson and McKean counties, among Judge Shippen's papers at Lancas- 
ter and elsewhere, and found it not. Then I concluded to interview Mrs. Samuel F. 
Dale, of Franklin, supposing her husband might have fallen heir to his father's papers. 
There the contract and field notes of Colonel Dale were found, from which I had a 
surveyor make a connected map of all the seven hundred tracts. Afterward I found 
the long hunted map hid away for about sixty years in the fire-proof vaults of the Huide- 
koper land office at Meadville. 

Colonel Dale had a remarkable tenacit^^of recollection, owing doubtless to the care 
and correctness with which he did his business. Many years ago, during his lifetime, 
I was concerned in a lawsuit about a tract of land in Scrubgrass township, which he 
had surveyed more than tbirly-five years before. I sent a commission to Lancaster 
and took his deposition, and was surprised at the accuracy with which he told all about 
the minutest details connected with that survey. 

Tax sales have entered largely into the question of land tenure. A large 
part of the county remained practically undeveloped until the discovery of 
oil, w^ith but little prospect that real estate consisting in lands unfit for cul- 
tivation would materially appreciate in value. With no returns whatever 
from property constantly subject to taxation, the holders frequently allowed 
their lands to go by default and competent authorities agree in estimating 
that fully one-half the area of the county has been sold in this manner at 
one time or another. It is also to be observed that the large associate and 
individual holdings had been almost entirely disposed of before oil develop- 
ments conferred upon this territory an enormous increase in value; .so that, 
whether the litigation incident to conflicting claims that placed land com- 
panies and individual settlers at variance be referred to obscure, intricate, 
and defective legislation or to an ultimate pernicious principle underlying 
the whole system of land ownership, the course of events seems to have ad- 
justed inequalities of this nature most effectually so far as Venango county 
is concerned. 




First Permanknt Settlement in Northwestern Pennsylvania, at 
Meadville — George Power and his Early Contemporaries at Frank- 
lin— Pionp:ers OF Scrubgrass — Clinton— Irwin— French Creek— 
Sandy' Creek, Victory and Mineral— Sugar Creek— (Janal— 
Jackson — Oakland — Cornplanter — Allegheny — Oil 
Creek— Cherry Tree— Plum— President — Highland 
— PiOCKLAND— Cranberry^- PiNEGROVE— Taxables 
in 1805 IN Allegheny, Irwin and Sugar Creek 
—Population of the County by Decades. 

THE termination of Indian hostilities on the western frontier was im- 
mediately followed by a movement of population from the eastern and 
central counties of Pennsylvania to the wild and uninhabited territory re- 
cently acquired by that commonwealth on the northwest. The settlement of 
this region by American citizens was first attempted during the period of 
comparative quiet that followed the close of the Revolutionary struggle. In 
the summer of 1787 David and John Mead, of Northumberland county, vis- 
ited the valley of French creek on a journey of exploration and returned in 
May of the following year with seven others, most of whom located in the near 
vicinity of Meadville. This was the first permanent settlement in north- 
western Pennsylvania. There was a spirit of adventure abroad in the land 
which was manifested in the willingness with which jieople seemed ready 
to make the long and arduous journey to their prospective homes and face 
the inevitable hardships incident to frontier life. It is true that the Imild- 
ing of Fort Franklin by the United States government was a great induce- 
ment to possible settlers, not only to the town commenced near it but also to 
the surrounding country, as a place of refuge in times of extreme danger, 
but this could not add to the amenities of life in the wilderness or serve to 
minimize its material discomforts and disadvantages. 

The state had taken the initiative in the settlement of Venango county 
by laying out the town of Franklin on ground reserved for that purpose at 
the mouth of French creek. As in the case of Pittsburgh, the site had 
been selected before the formal survey was determined upon. " Manifest 
destiny " had pointed out the junction of French creek with the Allegheny 


river as the location of a town that should l^e the nucleus of subsequent 
growth throughout the county. 

The site of the city of Franklin must have been a pleasant and inviting 
spot to the enterprising man looking for a home in the new country. Nest- 
ling amid towering hills, the valley was sheltered and pleasant. The ground 
was level and thickly wooded with oaks, chestnuts, walnuts, and hemlocks. 
The soil was dry and sandy and would afford signs of great fertility. In 
those early days men were anxiously looking for promising location in which 
to settle. 

The lirst man who came here to make his home was George Power. 
He had come with the soldiers to erect Fort Franklin in 1787. He had an 
official connection with the army, being commissary. After the completion 
of the fort he remained but a short time. From here he went to Fort 
Washington, now Cincinnati, then to Vincennes, Indiana. In 1790 he re- 
turned to Franklin and made his home here for the remainder of his life. 

George Power was a man for the times. He was one of those hardy, 
earnest souls, that a new and wild country always develops, that are ready 
for any emergency, and prepared to face any hardships and confront any 
dangers that may arise. He was born in the state of Maryland on the 
10th of April, 1762. He was consequently about twenty-four years of age 
when he first set foot in this valley, and twenty- eight when he came as a 
settler. He had associated much with backwoodsmen and Indians, and was 
well acquainted with their habits. At his coming he took up the trade 
that John Frazier had abandoned when driven out by the French. Know- 
ing the capabilities of the place and the promise of the town that had 
now been laid out, he prepared himself for trade with the Indians as well 
as with the incoming settlers. He soon acquired the language of the In- 
dians, and could speak the Seneca language with facility. 

A lot was selected on the bank of French creek, a little below Fort 
Franklin, and a log house erected and stocked with such goods as might be 
called for. These were traded to the Indians in exchange for skins and 
furs. Ammunition and blankets were always in demand, and peltry was 
always in market down at Pittsburgh, so that a thriving trade was soon 
built up. 

At Mr. Power's coming he was unmarried, but December 30, 1800, he 
married Margaret Bowman, a sister of the late Andrew Bowman. Near the 
site of his first log cabin he built his stone house, that was long the orna- 
ment and pride of the town. This was on the corner of Elk and Elbow 
streets, now the location of the dwelling formerly occupied by Judge 
Trunkey. This house was kept for a time as a hotel, and generous hos- 
pitality was dealt out to the sojourner within its walls. 

The account books of Mr. Power kept in those early days, show his trade 
with the Indians. Often he dealt with them, giving them credit, and sel- 


dom found tbem delinquent in keeping their word. These books will l)e 
great curiosities in days to come, as they are full of Indian names. 

Mr. Power died at his residence on the 2nd of April, 1845, ia the eighty - 
third year of his age, honored and respected by his fellow citizens. His 
descendents are numerous in Venango county at the present time. 

For some years Mr. Power was the only civilian resident of the nominal 
town of Franklin. There was a garrison at the fort, and it is probable the 
locality was visited frequently by military officers, surveyors, and others, so 
that life was not without incident and variety. Colonel Alexander McDowell 
arrived in 1794. He was deputy surveyor of district No. 7, west of the 
Alleo-heny river and Conewango creek, and located many of the warrants of 
the Holland Land Company in this and adjoining counties. In 1790 he was 
commissioned justice of the peace, and was the first to discharge the func- 
tions of a magistrate in Venango county. He was also the first postmaster 
at Franklin, and was commissioned to that office January 1, 1801. He died 
January 4, 1816, at the age of fifty-three. His wife, Mrs. Sarah McDowell, 
died September 25, 1865, at the remarkable age of one hundred and three 
years. Their son, Thomas Skelley McDowell, born April 26, 1803, was the 
first white child born in the town. 

The name of Captain James G. Heron appears on the books of George 
Power as early as 1795, but although a soldier of the Revolution, he had no 
connection with the military at this point. His family arrived in 1800. 
He was a member of the first board of county commissioners, one of the 
first associate judges, and the second postmaster of Franklin* He died De- 
cember 30, 1809 ; the inventory of his estate reveals the fact that he brought 
several slaves to this county, this being the first introduction of property of 
that description. 

Edward Hale came from Fayette county in 1798 and established himself 
in business as a trader. He died in 1806 in the thirtieth year of his age. 
When the troops evacuated the "Old Garrison " in 1799 it was occupied by 
Captain George Fowler, an officer in the British service who had remained 
in this country and came to Venango coimty in 1797. He was a justice of 
the peace. It is not definitely known when Marcus Hulings came to Frank- 
lin, but he was the earliest medium of communication between that com- 
munity and the outside world. He made periodic voyages to Pittsburgh by 
flat boat, his cargo consisting mainly of peltries on the voyage down and of 
merchandise for the local traders on his return. The earliest inscription on 
a tombstone in the old Franklin cemetery records the fact that Michael Hu- 
lings died August 9, 1797, aged twenty-seven years, which would clearly 
indicate that the family was here at that early date. Hulings' name also ap- 
pears on George Power's and Edward Hale's journals in 1797. 

The families of George Power, Alexander McDowell, James G. Heron, 
Edward Hale, George Fowler, and Marcus Hulings, five in number, consti- 


tilted the entire population of the embryo county seat in 1800. Colonel' 
Samuel Dale, John Broadfoot, Samuel Hays, William Moore, George and 
Hugh McClelland, William Connely, Nathaniel Cary, David Irvine, Abra- 
ham Selders, Andrew Bowman, Alexander McCalmont, and William and 
James Kinnear were also among the early and prominent residents of the 

While the county capital was thus assuming the proportions of an in- 
cipient village there was an infius of population to other parts of the 
county and almost simultaneously the region of Scrubgrass, the valleys of 
French creek and Sugar creek, of Oil creek and Pithole, gave evidence of 
the presence of the aggressive and ubiquitous pioneer. In 1793-94: two 
scouts from the settlements on the Kiskeminitas made an exploration of 
the country west of the Allegheny river; their report of the Scrubgrass re- 
gion was particularly favorable and in the year 1795 James Scott, one of the 
scouts, returned to that locality, accompanied by a party of his neio-hbors 
thus inaugurating the emigration from Westmoreland county that contributed 
so largely to the settlement of the southern tier of townships. Samuel 
Jolly, David Say, James Craig, and James Fearis were among those who 
came to Scrubgrass township in this manner in 1795. They were followed 
before the close of the century by William Crawford, Thomas Milford, 
Moses Perry, and others. Reverend Robert Johnson, pastor of Scrubgrass 
Presbyterian church, who preached in the first building erected in the 
county for religious worship, resided near the church from 1803 to 1811, 
when he removed to Meadville. He died at New Castle, May 20, 1861. 

The first permanent settlement in the adjoining township of Clinton 
was effected in 1796. That year marks the arrival of Thomas McKee, a 
native of AVestmoreland county and a surveyor by occupation, in which 
capacity he assisted in locating many of the first land claims in this part of 
the state; Matthew Riddle, a veteran of the Revolution, who had visited the 
valley of Scrubgrass creek in 1795 with the party of settlers led by Scott 
and returned the next year with his family ; Archibald and Patrick Davidson, 
from the eastern part of the state; Thomas Baird, one of the early justices: 
Robert Calvert, from the Ligonier valley, Westmoreland county, who had 
accompanied Riddle in the previous year; John Vogus, and Patrick Mc- 
Dowell. Major Philip Ghost, whose military title had been acquired by 
service in the Revolution, arrived in the same year and was one of the few 
German settlers in the southern part of the county. John Phipps, the 
progenitor in this county of a family that was prominently identified with 
its early political and industrial history; and Patrick Coulter, father of 
John Coulter, an early physician in the southern part of the county, became 
residents of the township in 1797. John Witherup, first sheriff of Venango 
county and contractor for the erection of the first court house, arrived in 
1800 and was probably the only native of England among the pioneers. 


James Hoffman, Alexander Porter, John Hovis, and Benjamin Williams 
Avere also among the very early residents in the valley of Scrubgrass creek. 

In Irwin township there is no authentic record of settlement prior to 
1796, when Adam Dinsmore and Henry CruU located near the old Pitts- 
burgh road. Isaac and George McMurdy, father and son, settled near the 
line of Butler county in 1797; they were from Huntingdon county. Richard 
Monjar, the tirst shoemaker of the township, also came in 1 797, f lom the 
state of Maryland. Thomas Bullion, an eccentric character, was one of the 
tirst settlers and proprietor of the first distillery. William Davidson, one 
of the early constables, who lost his life in the discharge of his duty ; James 
McClaran, one of the trustees of Venango county appointed in 1800 by the 
act providing for its erection; and Jonathan Morris, a native of Limcaster 
county, arrived in 1798. Through the representations of Adam Dinsmore, 
William and Hugh McManigal, David Martin, and John Grain, formerly from 
the North of Ireland, removed from Mifflin county to this township in 1799. 
Hugh McManigal led a company to the defense of Erie in 1813; Edward 
McFaddencame from Luzerne county prior to 1800; William Adams became 
a settler in 1800, Moses Bonnell, Robert Jones, and Robert Burns in 1802, 
and John Bullion in 1803. 

Contemporaneous with the settlement of the southern townships there 
was an equally important movement of population into the valley of French 
creek. The tirst to settle in the township of that name was John Martin; 
he arrived in. 1796 from Maryland and located three miles above Utica, 
where he kept a ferry for some years and was on terms of friendship with 
the Indians. John Chapman arrived about the same time, but being a man 
of migratory habits his stay was brief. Others who arrived prior to 180O 
were John Gordon and John Cooper, 1797 or 1798; William Duffield. a na- 
tive of Ireland, who came here from Centre county in 17V)8; John Lindsay, 
said to have built the tirst mill on French creek in this county; Welden 
Adams, a man of prominence in local and county matters; Thomas and Al- 
exander Russell, from Huntingdon county, father and son; James and Rob- 
ert Greenlee, Peter Patterson, William Patterson, and William Yogan, 
Hugh and John L. Hasson, from eastern Pennsylvania, came in 1800; Ja- 
cob Runninger, in 1801; JohnHanna. in 1802; and James Gilliland, in 1804; 
John Temple, Seth Jewel, William Evans, and James Gibson were also 
early settlers. 

The first settlements in Sandy Creek and Victory townships were made 
along the line of the old Pittsburgh road. Prior to 1796 Samuel Patterson, 
a young unmarried man, selected a tract of land on the south side of Sandy 
creek and having built a cabin thereon eked out a precarious subsistance by 
hunting and fishing. In 1796 he transferred his rights to John Dewoody, 
a native of Ireland, who emigrated at the age of twenty-one and after a 
brief residence in Lancaster county went to Pittsbui-gh, whence he came to- 



this locality. Patrick Manson, a native of Ireland and a veteran of the 
Eevolution, settled within the present limits of Sandy Creek township in 
17i>7. It is probable that James Stevens, who built the first mill on Sandy 
creek at the crossing of the Pittsburgh road, came there in 1798. In the 
vicinity of Franklin the first permanent settlers were James Martin, tii-st 
clerk to the county commissioners, who came from Maryland in 1796 and 
planted one of the first orchards of the county; Thomas Brandon from Cum- 
berland county, who removed to Cranberry at an early date; and William 
Dewoody, a native of Ireland, who also came in 1796. After John Dewoody 
the earliest settlers in Victory were Robert Hyner, Daniel McMillin, John 
Lyons, Isaac Bennett, and James Major. Greorge McClelland settled near 
the village of Springville in 1803; within a few years he removed to Frank- 
lin and is better remembered in connection with the early history of that 

In that part of Mineral township which was formerly part of Sandy 
Creek the first settlers were Samuel Gildersleeve and William Whann; the 
former was from New Jersey and located on the Mercer road, the latter was 
from Northumberland county and settled on South Sandy, whence he re- 
moved to Ohio. Both arrived in 1797. Archibald Henderson from Alle- 
gheny county, Shadrach Simcox from Maryland, Andrew Smith from 
Washington county, Daniel Crain from New Jersey, and Jacob Rice were 
also pioneers of Mineral. 

The foregoing account of settlement in the French creek \alley was con- 
fined to the township of that name. North of that stream within the pres- 
ent limits of Sugar Creek the pioneers were Mr. Bowman, father of Andrew 
Bowman of Franklin, who came from Northampton county in 1795; Eben- 
ezer Roberts, who improved the poorhouse farm in 1796; Angus McKinzie, 
a native of Scotland, who came here from Pittsburgh; William Cousins, one 
of the soldiers who remained in this county when the garrison at Fort Frank- 
lin was disbanded; John Rogers and Luther Thomas, who came in 1796; 
and John McCalmont, from the Nittany valley, Centre county, who came 
with his sons — Thomas, Robert, James, Alexander, John, and Joseph in 
1803. Robert visited this region in the previous year, while another son, 
Henry, did not come till 1817. 

In Canal township the earliest authenticated settlement was that of 
Hugh and Alexander Johnston, father and son, natives of the North of Ire- 
land, who came here prior to 1797, locating in the vicinity of Utica. John 
and James Foster, Jacob Whitman, Thomas Logue, and Thomas Smiley; 
William Brown, a veteran of the Revolution from New York, who kept a 
well known hostelry at Hannaville many years; James McCune, whose settle- 
ment was made prior to 1805; John Hastings, John Duffield, Samuel and 
Alexander Ray, Jacob Lupher, John Cooper, William and John Boughner, 
W. P. Clough, William and David Gilmore, and John Mawhinney were also 
among the earliest permanent settlers. 


Jackson township embraces a considerable part of the valley of Sugar 
creek and was settled quite as early as Canal. Robert Beatty, who located 
on "the prairie," at the extreme southern border of the township, was the 
first settler in the valley of that stream between its month and the Crawford 
county line. William Cooper, a soldier of the Revolution, located at Coop- 
erstown in 1797. Samuel Plumer, from Allegheny county and the son of 
Nathaniel Plumer, who settled at Mt. Washington, Pittsburgh, in 1789, 
removed to this township in 1800, remaining until 1810, when he returned 
to Allegheny county. He will be better remembered as the father of Arnold 
Plumer, who was born in this township. James McCurdy, also a Revolu- 
tionary veteran; Samuel Small, from Bucks county; James Alexander, John 
McFadden, Robert Mason, William Mcintosh, John Bleakley, and John Gib- 
bon may also be mentioned as pioneers. 

Although an interior subdivision of this county and remote from the 
great water highway by which it was ordinarily reached, Oakland town- 
ship was settled quite as early as the adjoining territory. Lawrence Demp- 
sey, a native of Ireland, father of David Dempsey, who represented this 
county in the legislature in 1814, and of Peter Dempsey, founder of Demp- 
seytown, located near that village in 1797, removing thither from Centre 
county. There were three arrivals in 1798: Robert McElhaney, from West- 
moreland county, William McClain, and James Gordon; and quite a number 
of accessions in 1800, prominent among whom were Jonah Reynolds from the 
state of New York; Charles Stevenson, a Revolutionary soldier; William 
Moorehead, who removed to Cincinnati within a few years; Edward Patchel, 
from whom Patchel' s run derives its name; and James Mason, from North- 
umberland county. Francis Carter, also a Revolutionary soldier; George 
Kean, who visited this locality in 1798, accompanied by his brother Will- 
iam; Alexander McCormick, and Alexander Fowler became residents in 1802. 
William Hays and William Reed arrived in 1803; Philip Kees, another Rev- 
olutionary veteran, and Philip Walls, in 1804; and John Fetterman, in 1805. 

The earliest settlement in the valley of Oil creek occurred in 1795, when 
James Ricketts from Huntingdon county, a professional hunter who had an 
extensive aquaintance with the western frontier, established himself in bache- 
lor style at a temporary cabin on Cherry run, but the brief stay evidently 
intended at first ultimately lengthened into a life-long residence. The first 
settlers on Oil creek in Cornplanter township in order from the Allegheny 
river were Francis Halyday, Hamilton McClintock, Francis Culbertson, 
Ambrose Rynd, Francis Buchanan, James and Robert Story, and Francis 
McClintock. The McClintocks were from Lancaster county. Ambrose 
Rynd emigrated from Ireland in 1799, and after spending a year in West- 
moreland county, came to Venango in 1800, accompanied by his son John, 
a well known and useful citizen; Francis Halyday settled at the site of Oil 
City (Third ward) in 1803. The Allender family, Avho gave their name j;o a 


small stream in the northeastern part of the township; Thomas Prather from 
Franklin county, the McFates, Lambs, Morrisons, and Shaws were among 
the first to settle in the central and eastern part of Cornplanter. 

The Pithole settlement was among the earliest in the county. In 1796 
Alexander McElhaney came here and remained a few months, but Indian 
troubles having become alarmingly probable, he returned to Centre county. 
The Dawson family, who were proliably the earliest adherents of Methodism 
in the county; Hugh and Michael McGerald, who sustain a similar relation to 
the local history of the Catholic church, and Isaac Connely, father of George 
W, Connely, prothonotary of the county, were among the first permanent 
settlers on the headwaters of Pithole creek, in Allegheny township. Aspen- 
wall Cornwell arrived in 1819; David Dunham, in 1821; Ebenezer Byles, 
in 1825; John Tennent, in 1826. and John Lamb, in 1827. 

The Flemings were the earliest settlers in Oil Creek township. Andrew 
and Daniel Fleming visited this locality from Fayette county in 1795, and 
returned to remain permanently in the following year. Jacob Richards 
and Abraham Sowers were there at a date several years later, but neither 
remained very long. James Shreve, from Fayette county; John Lytle, a 
native of Ireland; William Poor, originally from Massachusetts, and James 
Miller, iipon whose land the town of Miller Farm was built, were early res- 
idents in various parts of the township. Abraham Lovell located at the 
site of Pleasantville in 1820, and Aaron Benedict in 1821. 

On the opposite side of Oil creek William Reynolds appears as the first 
settler in Cherry Tree in 1797. He was a native of England, and located 
at Cherry Tree village. There were two arrivals in 1798, James Tuthill 
and John Strawbridge, the former from eastern Pennsylvania and the latter 
fro^ii the Susquehanna valley. Four Irwin brothers settled in Cherry Tree 
at the beginning of the century: Samuel, the first postmaster of the town- 
ship and father of Judge Richard Irwin; John, associate judge of Venango 
county from 1805 to 1838; James, and Ninian, a member of the first board 
of county commissioners. They came here from Union county. Thomas 
Hamilton and four sons, James, father of John Hamilton, second sheriff of 
the county, Thomas, Hugh, and Archibald, arrived in 1801, and in the same 
year Elial Farr came from New England, and Henry Prather from the east- 
ern part of Pennsylvania. There were several German families, those of 
George Tarr, Andrew Coover, and Jacob Casper being the most prominent. 
Elisha Archer came to the township in 1801; Elijah Stewart, in 1802; Manus 
McFadden and Edward Griffin, in 1803 and 1802 respectively — they were 
the only Irish Catholics among the early population; John Stiver, William 
Wilson, Arthur Robison, Charles Ingram, David Kidd, Robert W. Grangei', 
Robert Curry, and Alexander Davidson, prior to 1805; James Alcorn, in 
1811, and Joseph Breed, in 1818. 

In the extreme northwestern part of the county Benjamin August was 


probably the first settler. He was a native llussian, the only representative 
of that nationality known to have been among the pioneers, and settled in 
Plum townshij) about the year 1798. Jaool> Jennings, a l)lacksmith by 
occupation, located at the site of Bradley town in 1800, and Samuel Proper 
arrived fro^ Scoharie county. New York, in 1801. 

Patrick McCrea, who came to the site of the village of Eagle Hock in 
President township in 1797, was the first settler on the Allegheny river 
between Franklin and Warren, and the first Catholic in Venango county. 
He was born and reared in Ireland, held a commission in the British army, 
and was a man of education. John Henry, also a Catholic and a native of 
Ireland, came to the county in 1798, and settled at the point afterward 
known as Henry's Bend in 1802. Here he resided until his death March 
16, 1858, aged eighty-seven. Samuel Khoads arrived prior to 1805, taking 
land at the locality known as, Henry's Bend in the same township. In 
1813-14 he sold to Francis Culbertson. Robert Elliott settled at the 
mouth of Hemlock creek upon a tract embracing the site of the village of 
President at a later date. 

That part of the county east and south of the Allegheny river was 
almost uninhabited nearly a decade after other portions«»of its territory had 
received a considerable population. The commissioners of Crawford county 
formed a number of justices' districts in Venango in 1803, embodying as part 
of their report to the court of quarter sessions the statement that there was 
not to their knowledge on this extensive region (Clarion river was then the 
southern boundary of the county and the line of Jefferson its limit on the 
east) a single taxable inhabitant. It is probable, however, that James 
Ritchey settled at the mouth of Ritchey's run in 1796 on the Clarion 
county side of that stream. In Richland township, Venango county, the 
early settlers were Moses and Andrew Porter, Johnson McGinnis, Samuel 
Stewart, and John Kerr, within a distance of several miles from the river; 
James Say, John Donaldson, John Bell, William Nickle, William Adams, 
Daniel O'Neill, Samuel Huston, Alexander Sullinger, James Downing, 
John and James Levier, John McDonald, Henry Mays, Andrew Weaver, 
George Myers, Robert Criswell, Abraham Persing, and several members 
of the Karns family. 

It is a matter of current tradition that John Watt was the first settler in 
Rockland, that he came from Butler county in 1809, and that Andrew Mait- 
land arrived from the same locality in the same year. John Sullinger from 
Westmoreland county, a Revolutionary soldier, visited this township in 1805 
and secured a tract of land, to which he brought his family in 1813. James 
Crawford first improved the tract on which Davis' Corners is situated. John 
Donaldson followed Watt and Maitland from Butler county in 1815. Mat- 
thias and John Stover, Peter Lovell, Enoch Battin, John Hetzler, John and 
David Jolly were the pioneers in the vicinity of Freedom; William Mc- 


Clatchey. William Craig, the Graham family, Abraham Witherup, Daniel Mc- 
Millin, and William Hill, at different points on the Allegheny river; David 
and Daniel Smith, William, Samuel, and Joseph Ross, in the neighborhood 
of Davis' Corners; John Haggerty, John Prior, Silas Brovpn, and John 
McDonald, in the eastern part of the township. 

There is no authentic record of settlement in Cranberry prior to 1807, 
when Joel Sage located on the stream that bears his name. The first inhab- 
itants of this (extensive township lived along the river, and, beginning at the 
mouth of East Sandy, in the following order: Samuel Lindsay, — Thomas, 
John Seidels, Andrew Downing, Isaac Smith, Samuel Howe, and Joel Sage. 
The Brandons — John, William, James, and Elliott, from Cumberland coun- 
ty; William Dickson, from Centre county; Alexander Strain, Ephraim 
Turk, and Samuel Culbertson, from Butler county, and Zelotus Jewel from 
New York state were the pioneers in the vicinity of Salina; James Crawford 
from Rockland township, Joseph Kennedy from Cumberland county, James 
Thompson, James Moorhead, John McCool, and Cornelius Houser, at " The 
Meadows" ; James Eaton. Michael White. Michael Frawley, Matthew Gibbon, 
and Joseph Gillman, on the state road within a few miles of Fi-anklin; John 
MeCurry, Nicholas Lake, Silas Tibbitts, William Stewart, William Craig, 
Constantine Daugherty, AVilliam Allison, Samuel McKinney, John McBride, 
and Hutchinson Borland, in the neighborhood of Salem City; and Jacob 
Zeigler, William Prior, Peter Smith, and Owen Boyle, on the Susquehanna 
and Waterford turnpike near East Sandy. 

John Hicks and Ebenezer Kingsley appear among the taxable inhabitants 
of Allegheny township in 1805, and although it may be questioned whether 
they were living within the present limits of Pinegrove at that time tradi- 
tion ascribes to them the honor of its first settlement. H. G. Spofford 
appeared in 1817, and erected the first substantial improvements. The first 
permanent settler was Samuel Powell, who arrived July 19, 1818, from 
Albany, New York. The Stover family, originally from Maryland, were the 
first residents at Centerville, and Marvin Perry, a county commissioner at an 
early date,«was a pioneer in the southwestern part of the township. Among 
others worthy of mention in this connection were the Gilsons, Hales, Whit- 
neys, Dimonds, Gayettys, and Schwabs. 

As evidenced by the assessment books of 1805, the year in which the 
county was separately organized, the taxables of the respective townships at 
that date were as follows: 

Allegheny Township. — Alexander Allender, John Anderson, Thomas 
Anderson, John Blood, Henry Boner, John Boner, John Buck, Thomas 
Boyd, Felix Campbell, William Chappie, John Conoway, W' illiam Cooper, 
Francis Culbertson, James Davidson, Thomas Davidson, James Dawson,. 
Thomas Dawson, Daniel Dougherty, Andrew Fleming, James Fleming, John 
Fleming, Sarah Fleming, Samuel Fleming, Henry Gates, Charles Gordon, 


Michael Graham, James Green, Joel Green, Samuel Gregg, Daniel Guinii, 
John Hamilton. Richard Hamilton, John Hardy, John Henry, John Hicks, 
Moses Hicks, John Hinds, Alexander Holeman, Charles Holeman, Eli Hole- 
man, Tabitha Holeman, Benjamin Huffman, Joseph Huff, Koland Hunter, 
John Kerr, Andrew Kinnear, David Kinnear, William Kinnear, Ebenezer 
Kingsley, James Lamb, John Lytle, William Lytle, CornelivTs Mellon, Will- 
iam Middleton, William Miles, Andrew Miller, Thomas McCaman, Daniel 
McCaslin, James McCaslin, Joseph McCaslin, James McConnell, John 
McConneir, Michael McCrea, Patrick McCrea, Alexander McElhaney, Rob- 
ert McFate, Barney McGentry, Hugh McGerald, Michael McGerald, Mar- 
garet McGrady, W'illiam Neill, John Nelson, Thomas Nelson, Henry 
O'Bril, Samuel Patterson, Abraham Prather, Thomas Prather, Thomas H. 
Prather, Arthur Reihard, Samuel Rhoads, James Riley, Jacob Richards, 
James Ricketts, John Ryan, Jesse Sage, Noah Sage, George Sampson, John 
Sio-o-ins, AVilliam Siggins, George Simonton, Robert Simonton, Thomas 
Simonton, James Shreve, Abraham Sowers, Chauncey Stanley, John Stewart, 
Walter Stewart, John Storm, Alexander Thompson, John Thompson, Lewis 
Thompson, William Tripp, George Tubbs, Barbara Valentine, William Val- 
entine, John Watson, Robert Watson, James W'alker, John Wilkins, Thomas 

Ii'win Towiishij). — James Adams, Welden Adams, William Adams. Ja- 
cob Allen, Philip Allen, Andrew Allison, John Applegate, George Arm- 
strong, Samuel Atkinson, Robert Atwell, Aaron Austin, Moses Austin, Er- 
nest Baker, John Baker, William Baker, Thomas Baird, John Barron, 
George Bartlett, Isaac Bennett, John Black. Thomas Black, Robert Blaine, 
David Blair, John Blair, Matthew Blair, John Bonner, John Bradford, 
Thomas Brandon, Timothy Breece, David Brown, John Bullion, Thomas 
Bullion, Moses Bonnell, William Burns, Robert Calvert, Daniel Camp, 
William Carter, George Carson, Peter Cole, Daniel Cooper, Elias Cooper, 
Samuel Cooper, William Cooper, Patrick Coulter, William Courtney, Caleb 
Crane, Martin Crigher, Robert Crawford, William Crawford, James Craig, 
Henry Crull, Alexander Culbertson, John Culbertson, James Darraugh, 
William Darraugh, Archibald Davidson, James Davidson, Patrick David- 
son, William Davidson, Benjamin Davis, William Davis, Hugh Derumi>le, 
George Dewoody, John Dewoody, William Dewoody, Adam Diusmore, Will- 
iam Dixon, John Donaldson, Robert Donaldson, Thomas Donaldson, John 
Duffield, William Duffield, John Eakin, William Eakin, Samuel Eakin, Will- 
iam Evans, James Fearis, John Ferron, William Flatcher, James Fleming, 
Matthew Fleming, James Foster, George Fowler, John Fritz, Martin Fritz. 
Craft Ghost, Philip Ghost, Samuel Gildersleeve, Brice Gilmore, David Gil- 
more, James Glenn, John Gordon, Alexander Graham, James Graham, 
Robert Graham, Thomas Graham, William Graham, James Greenlee. Rob- 
ert Greenlee, Samuel Grimes, Edward Hale, James Hall, Thomas Hamilton.. 


Ebenezer Hanna, John Haona, Hugh Hasson, Samuel Hathaway, Simeon 
Hathaway, John Hays, Samuel Hays, William Hays, James G. Heron, Will- 
iam Hill, Adam Hoffman, James Hoffman, Michael Hoffman, Philip Hoff- 
man, William Hood, Marcus Hnlings, John Irwin, Patrick Jack, Thomas 
Jacob, Robert Jamison, Solomon Jennings, Seth Jewel, Robert Johnson, 
Samuel Jolly, Thomas Jones, William Jones, Robert Jones, John Ireland, 
William Irwin, John Karns, R. Thomas Kennedy, George Kring, William 
Larrimer, James Leslie, Samuel Lindsay, John Lindsay, Jonathan Luce, 
James Lynn, William Lynn, William Lyons, David Martin, James Martin, 
John Martin, William Martin, Patrick Means, Thomas Milford, William 
Milford, William Minter, James Mitchell, Robert Mitchell, Richard Mon- 
jar, Samuel Monjar, John Morrison, Patrick McAvey, James McClaran, 
John McClaran, Thomas McClaran, George McClelland, David McCon- 
naughy, Thomas McCormick, Hugh McCutcheon, Alexander McDowell, James 
McDowell, Nathan McDowell, Patrick McDowell, Miles McEib, Edward 
McFadden, Philip McKay, Thomas McKee, William McKee, Hugh McMani- 
gal, Alexander McMichael, Daniel McMillin, John McMillin, Isaac McMurdy, 
Alexander McQuiston, John McQuiston, Sarah McTeer, John Nelson, James 
Nicholson, Edward Patchel, James Patchel, Moses Perry, John Phipps, Na- 
than Phipps, Richard Pope, Alexander Porter, Hugh Porter, George 
Power, Dennis Pursel, Daniel Rankin, John Ray, James Ray, Samuel Ray, 
Joseph Reddick, Jacob Rice, Matthew Riddle, Jonathan Riggs, Isaac Rob- 
ertson, William Robertson, Samuel Robb, Jacob Runninger, Margaret Rus- 
sell, Thomas Russell, William Russell, David Say, Adam Scott, James 
Scott, Robert Scott, William Scott, Abraham Selders, Robert Selders, Will- 
iam Shannon, Augustus Shaw, Anthony Shirkley, John Sidell, Shadrach 
Simcox, John Sloan, William Sloan, Andrew Smith, Joseph Smith, Will- 
iam Smith, John Stephens, William Stoops, Michael Stufflet, Samuel Stuff"- 
let, Philip Surrenna, Reuben Sutton, Richard Sutton, Stephen Sutton, 
Aaron Taylor, Adam Taylor, James Taylor, Frances Tracy, Israel Tuthill, 
Jacob Vaughn, William Valentine, Simon Vanosdale, John Van Siebel, Salis- 
bury Vincent, John Walter, Peter Walter, Daniel Wasson, John Whann, 
William Whann, James White, John Wilson, Benjamin Williams, Jesse 
Williams, Levi Williams, John Witherup, Andrew Woodruff, John D. ^\'ood, 
John Wooderson, Lewis Wright, Samuel Wylie. 

Sugar Greek Township. — Joseph Allen, Samuel Allen, John Andrews, 
Elisha Archer, John Archer, John Armstrong, James Arthur, Robert Arthur, 
Benjamin August, Robert Beatty, James Boal, Francis Boal, Andrew Bow- 
man, James Bowman, John Bowman, Joseph Bowman, W^illiam Brandon, 
George Brison, John Brookmire, Francis Buchanan, Nathaniel Cary, An- 
drew Campbell, John Carter, Francis Carter, Jacob Casper, W^illiam Christy, 
Hugh Clifford, Frederick Coffman, Henry Coffman, Isaac Connely, William 
Connely, Andrew Coover, Jacob Coover, Samuel Cousins, "^homas Cousins, 


William Cousins, William Grain, Philip (Jutcliall, John Cully, Samuel Dale, 
Joshua Davis, Alexander Davidson, Yost Deets, Simon Deacon, Peter 
Dempsey, William Derman, Michael Divon, Robert Dickson. William Droffs, 
Robert Elliott, Elial Farr, Daniel Fleming, Ross Foster, Alexander Fowler, 
James Gordon, Patrick Gordon, John Gregg, Samuel Gregg, Edward Grif- 
fin, Barnabas Grifiin, Edward Hale, Archibald Hamilton, Hugh Hamilton, 
Jamos Hamilton, Thomas Hamilton, John Hays, William Havs, James 
Henry, Francis Halyday, James Hulings, Marcus Hulings. Samuel Hulings. 
Robert Huston, George Ingram, James Irwin, John Irwin, Ninian Irwin, 
Samuel Irwin, Jacob Jennings, Alexander Johnston, Hugh Johnston, Rol)- 
ert Johnston, William Johnston, George Kean, John Kelly, Thomas Kelly, 
Robert Kelso, Philip King, Robert Martin, David Martin, James Mason, 
Joseph Mercer, James Miller, William Moorhead, John Murphy, John Mc- 
Clain, William McClain, Francis McClintock, Mary McCullom, Daniel 
McCombs, John McCombs, William McCombs, James McCormick, Mary 
McCormick, Alexander McDowell, Robert McElhaney, Manns McFadden, 
Neal McFadden, David McGeehan, John Nelson, Y. Nicholas, Isaac Paine, 
William Pastoris, Edw^ard Patchel, James Patchel, Samuel Plumer. Henry 
Prather, Joseph Propei-, Samuel Proper, Dennis Pursel, John Ray, Samuel 
Ray, William Reed, John Reynolds, Lydia Reynolds, Jonah Reynolds, 
William Reynolds, Jacob Rice, Susannah Ridgway, Ebenezer Roberts, John 
Rodgers, James Ross, Richard Ross, James Russell, Ambrose Rynd, John 
Rynd, Noah Sage, Robert Semple, James Shaw, Hugh Shaw, Robert Shaw, 
Charles Stevenson, Andrew Stewart, Elijah Stewart,>.John Stewart, John 
Stiver, James Story, Robert Story, Christian Sutley, George Sutley, Robert 
Sutley, George Tarr, Luther Thomas, John Todd, Elizabeth Tuthill, James 
Tuthill, John Tuthill, William Tuthill, Isaac Walls, Jacob Whitman, John 
Wilson, Peter Wilson, Thomas Wilson, William Valentine. 

There were two circumstances that for many years retarded the settle- 
ment of Venango countv. The first was the fact that large bodies of land 
were owned by land companies, and although in the market and open to settle- 
ment, these lands were so burdened with restrictions that few cared to locate 
upon them. The other unfavorable circumstance was, that several of the 
donation districts were partly situated in the county; they were free from 
taxation as long as the soldier retained possession, and hence the owners 
were often well content to allow their value to appreciate. Much of this 
land was not open to settlement for many years. After the war of 1812, the 
tide of population swept in with great force. Lands were in demand, busi- 
ness had received a quickened impulse, and everything indicated prosperity. 
The soldiers' claims, many of which were in the hands of strangers and many 
wholly fictitious, were beginning to be extinguished, and were no longer a 
barrier to the improvement and growth of the country. 

The population (^f the county in 1800 was one thousand, one hundred 


and thirty; in 1810, three thousand and sixty; in 1820, four thousand, nine 
hundred and fifteen; in 1830, nine thousand, four hundred and seventy; in 
1840, seventeen thousand, nine hundred; in 1850, eighteen thousand, three 
hundred and three; in 1860, twenty-five thousand and forty-fotir; in 1870, 
forty-seven thousand, nine hundred and thirty-five; and in 1880, forty- 
three thousand, six hundred and seventy. 



Chakacter of the People Who Formed the Early Population of This 
County— Household Furniture— Social Customs— Game— Domes- 
tic Manufactures — Pioneer Architecture — Convivial 
Habits— Educational Facilities— Early Schools. 
Teachers, and Text Books— The Postal 
Servicp:— Financial Methods. 

NO better class of people ever settled up a new country than those of 
the early days of Venango county. They were largely from the 
eastern portion of the state, and descendants of Irish emigrants, who came 
across the sea for conscience sake, in the days of persecution, though many 
of them were natives of the "Sea-girt Isle." They brought with them 
their morality, their religion, their love of liberty and hatred of tyranny. 
They came here to hew out homes from the mighty forest, and did not for- 
get the God of their fathers. There were also Germans and the descendants 
of Germans, who had been good citizens in the home land and brought the 
points of their early training to their new forest homes, and the settlements 
soon became homogeneous in their association. 

The people who settled in this county when it was a wilderness are 
worthy of all honor and kind remembrance. A late writer has said : ' ' A 
more intelligent, virtuous, and resolute class of men never settled any country 
than the first settlers of western Pennsylvania; and the women who shared 
their sacrifices were no less worthy." They came here, many of them, in 
poverty. They found the land covered with timber. There were for many 
years neither mills nor factories. With their own strong arms they must 
cut down the forest and fence the fields and build log cabins. Some of the 
first settlers lived on potatoes chiefly the first year of their coming. 

An old veteran out to the west of us, who came here about the beginning 
of the century, thus relates his experience: "Me and the woman came out 


on foot, driving one little cow, and canyin<; all onr effects on our backs. 
The first year we eat potatoes and slept on good clean leaves gathered up in 
the woods. The first wheat I raised, I took a bushel on my back, walked 
to Pittsburgh, got it ground and carried back the dour. ' ' And this was no 
uncommon experience. Sometimes they pounded their corn in mortars cut 
out of stumps. 

Some of our first settlers on French creek took their wheat and corn in 
canoes and skiffs up to Meadville to be ground. They were obliged to live 
within themselves. Clothing was made at home. Shoes and hats were 
manufactured in the household. Out on Sugar creek, Andrew Bowman com- 
menced tanning for himself and neighbors by laying down his hides in 
troughs cut from chestnut trees. This was about eighty years ago . 

The furniture was of the most primitive kind. At first the bed was a 
kind of bunk made against the wall of the cabin; then a home-made 
arrangement of timber, with elm bark cordage, and the bedstead was sup- 
plied. The first chairs were made at home. A rude frame work was con- 
structed and the seat made of splints, obtained by pounding strips of black 
ash until the growths separated, and with a little dressing were ready for the 
purpose. Then gradually mechanics came in and the arts of civilization 
ministered to the comfort and convenience of the people. 

The early settlers were eminently social in their habits. Necessity and 
self- protection helped to make them so. They not only assembled to build 
each others' houses, but they had "frolics," as they termed them, to chop 
down trees; they had loggings, and flax-pullings, and^cutchings, and husk- 
ings. The women had their frolics; their quiltings, their spinnings, their 
hatchelings, and other devices of handicraft. 

In those days they did not aspire to carpets. Rag sewing, in which 
ladies have delighted in modern times, was unknown. But in other species 
of feminine industry they excelled. Flax was made into linen for men's 
wear and for women's wear. It was the choice and only covering for the 
table; it was the material for sheets, for toweling, and was bleached white 
as the snow of winter. 

These frolics brought the people together. They cultivated sociability. 
They promoted good feeling, and in the absence of machinery were often 
the only means of carrying on the operations of life. They were the prac- 
tical exemplification of the maxim: " In union there is strength.'" These 
social occasions brought the people together from great distances, for the 
settlements were at first scattering. But many of the guests tarried over 
night, and were made welcome while they remained. Yet these primitive 
houses as a rule had but one or at most two rooms, and great ingenuity was 
displayed in arranging all things according to the rites of hospitality. The 
general rule was to cover a space of the floor clear across the cabin, with 
deer and bear skins and other kinds of mats, and place the quilts and cover- 


lets over these. This made a generous and comfortable bed. Then the 
man and his wife lay down in the center of the bed, and on the wife's side 
all the women of the party were arranged in a row toward the wall, whilst 
the men occupied the place on the other side, so that all things were con- 
ducted with propriety and modesty. 

Sometimes their fi'olics related at the same time to external and inter- 
nal affairs. The men would assemble to log, as they termed it, that is to 
gather the logs in a clearing and roll them into heaps for burning, the 
women would meet at the same time and place to quilt or to make up the 
family clothing. At such times a table would be spread iinder the shade 
of a neighboring tree and both parties, without regard to toilet preparations, 
would meet at supper and have a genuinely good time in social conversa- 
tion, in jest and in song, often prolonged into the long hours of the night. 

But their social meetings did good. They broke up what had else de- 
generated into monotony and selfishness. The people were brought to- 
gether. They were held together. They were made sensible of common 
wants and common obligations. 

There was a generous sujjply of game in the woods of the county. Red 
deer, bear, with an occasional wolf and other smaller game, were to be found 
in almost any direction. The deer and bear were sought .for food; the 
wolves were hunted without mercy on account of their proclivity to the 
sheep fold. Andrew Bowman tells of his Sugar creek life, what joy it 
brought to the household when he succeeded in shooting a bear from a 
chestnut tree. Its flesh was choice meat for the table, its fat afforded the 
desirable quality for short-cake and doughnuts, to say nothing of its desira- 
bleness for the female toilet, and the skin for floor mats. One man tells us 
that in the course of a single season he killed forty bears. They had a great 
weakness for juvenile pigs, and where these were found, bears were under 
strong temptation to make these forays. Deer were sought as food, and 
the skins served various valuable purposes in the family economy. Some- 
times they were tanned as buckskins for breeches, and for moccasins, and 
in each instance served a very good purpose. To the experienced hunter 
they were not difficult to take. Hunted in the winter, their haunts were 
easily learned, and no sport was so exhilarating as pursuing and bringing 
down the noble buck. 

Another settler relates that hunting in a thin crust of snow, where the 
deer easily broke through, he succeeded in capturing twenty in a single 
day. But this was hardly orthodox hunting, but taking advantage of cir- 
cumstances that rendered the deer helpless. 

Venison was prepared in various ways for the comfort of the home. 
When fresh it was always in order, but it could be prepared so as to be use- 
ful all the year round. The hams of the deer were salted, then smoked 
and dried, so as to become a great luxury. Then there was the article 


called "jerked venison." In this preparation nearly the entire tiosh' 
could be utilized. It was cut off in a sheet or web, about half an inch thick, 
and spread on the tops of pegs driven into the ground, whilst underneath a 
fire was kindled, fed with sweet chips of sassafras and other odi)rous and 
sweet woods, that gradually dried it. Occasionally the web of flesh was 
taken off the pegs, rolled up in a roll for a little time and then replaced on 
the pegs Tintil dried and ready to be laid away for future use. Jerked ven- 
ison was meat, drink, and lodging to hunters and travelers. 

The families did their own manufacturing. They raised sheep that })ro- 
duced wool, and flax that was wrought into thread and linen by the women 
of the household. Each formerly had a pair of cards that prepared the 
wool and flax for spinning. Then the "big wheel" was used for spinning 
the wool, and the "little wheel " for spinning the flax and tow. Gradually 
in every neighborhood there was a loom in which the yarn was woven, and 
for flannel, butternut bark was brought from the woods, that dyed the finest 
brown, and when fulled by kicking was ready for clothing, that was also 
made up at home. The linen and tow cloth were bleached on the green 
and made shirts and trousers for the men, and such clothing as women 
required. All this was in anticipation of the days of luxury that were sure 
to come. 

The building of houses was not a matter of much time or expense. A 
building was usually put up and completed in a day. There was no expense 
but that of labor connected with it. A house was to be builded. The neigh- 
bors were invited; some brought their oxen; trees wei;^ cut down, and made 
into sections of proper length and drawn to the place of building. Strong 
arms rolled them into place; the corners were notched as they were 'laid up. 
In the meantime other men were cutting straight red oak into sections and 
sawing them into clapboards for the roof, and puncheons for the floor, others 
still were cutting spaces for doors and windows, and casing them with pieces 
of split timber. Perhaps others were preparing sticks for the chimney and 
mud for the chinking, and by sundown the house was completed in all its 
appointments, without a nail or bit of iron in all its construction, yet in the 
eye of the early settler all was complete. Many a house like this was en- 
tered by a young couple, and in that simple habitation, with but a single 
room as kitchen, dining room, parlor, and dormitory, the rites of home, of 
neighborly kindness and hospitality were carried forward successfully, until 
the family had grown into a half-dozen, and some of them had gone out ta 
erect home altars and establish families for themselves. 

And although that manner of social life is not the most wholesome or 
the best, yet the circumstances and necessities of the time rendered it 
imperative, and in their early days many a strong man and many an earnest 
woman went forth from such scenes to take u]) the burdens of life and to 
act well their part in its affairs, better prepared for the work than though 
they had been nurtured in the scenes of modern ease and luxury. 


They drank some whiskey in those days. The valley of the Mononga- 
hela was famous for this fluid. It found its way into the keel boats at 
Pittsburgh and was never thrown overboard on its way up. It was a great 
item in the traffic with the Indians as appears from the books of George 
Power and Edward Hale. The people themselves drank whiskey occa- 
sionally. In process of time a distillery was erected by James Anderson in 
Scrubgrass. The savor of that Scrubgrass whiskey lingers in some old 
palates even to this day. An old settler called it ' ' beautiful whiskey, ' ' and 
said it was considered too good for any one but a white man to drink. 
There is some reason to think that the early fathers were at times even gay 
and festive as a consequence of partaking too freely of either Monongahela 
or Scrubgrass on the Sabbath. It is related that on one occasion a borough 
law was enacted in Franklin, that any person found intoxicated on the Sab- 
bath should be compelled to dig out a stump from the diamond. On another 
occasion it was enacted that any one found in a similar dilemma should be 
placed in jail. As a consequence of this stringent law on the next Sabbath 
evening there were not found men enough to make any respectable show on 
the men's side at prayer meeting. 

The progressive citizen always carries with him the idea of the home, 
the school, and the church. There was no exception in the case of the peo- 
ple of Venango. There was first the home, then religious worship, then 
the school. The early schools were no doubt primitive, probably crude and 
managed at times by very incompetent persons. The old fashioned school- 
master had not at that time been wholly abolished. He generally ruled with 
a rod of iron. 

Said an old gentleman, once well known in this region, "I met a few 
years ago in a distant county, an old school teacher under whom I had suf- 
fered in my boyhood days. I enjoyed hospitality at his house. In the 
course of the evening, sitting with the old pedagogue and his wife, I said 
to him, ' Twenty years ago I suffered long under the infliction of your rod, 
and I then made a vow that if I should ever meet you after I had grown to 
manhood I would then and there inflict the just punishment of your cruelty. ' 
Said his wife, who was sitting by, ' I jusfc hope you will take him out and 
give him a most thorough thrashing, for he used to whip you boys until it 
almost broke my heart. ' But the years had mollified my feelings and all 
thought of revenge had passed away. And I speak of it here as illustrating 
the spirit of the olden time. ' ' 

As soon as the families were settled, they began to establish schools. 
They had not the perqiiisites of the present schools. The books were few 
and imperfect, and the teachers not well qualified at all times for their work. 
But they made a beginning, and the first school that was established was the 
germ of the present well equipped and ably taught high school of to-day. 
And the progress made, though gradual, was constant and permanent. 


Mrs. Irvine says that James Mason was the first teacher who opened a 
school in Franklin. This was in 1801. The school house was erected on 
the public square, opposite the United States hotel, of unhewn logs, and 
floored with puncheons, or huge planks made by splitting straight- grained 
logs, and then roughly removing the inequalities. For windows, there was 
not the large square opening of a later day, but instead, a log cut out the 
leno-th of the room, and the space filled with oiled paper. For writing desks, 
a laro-e board was placed edgeways against the wall, but somewhat inclined 
to D-ive the right slant, and the writers sat facing the wall. The pens were 
good, honest goose quills, and James Mason no doubt often heard the cry, 
"Please mend my pen," and "Please set me a copy." The ink was of do- 
mestic manufacture, made by boiling the bark of maple and alder, and add- 
ing a little copperas. Still it was, for the times, a good school and gave the 
boys and girls a start in the matter of education. Mr. Mason's salary was 
probably somewhat small, but he practiced the old orthodox plan of board - 
ing around with the parents of the scholars, and it was a pleasure to have 
"the master," as he was called, occasionally in the house and at the same 
time reduce the expense of tiiition. 

Alexander McCalmont, afterwards Judge McCalmont, is the next teacher 
of whom we hear. He was employed in 1809. A strict article of agree- 
ment was drawn up, binding to faithful service both parties. The teacher 
was to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, the old-fashioned three K's. 
Grammar and Geography were not dreamed of then. The probabilities are 
that spelling was considered a part of reading. On the other side the em- 
ployers bound themselves to furnish a suitable house for the school and wood 
to keep it warm. They were also to pay two dollars a scholar for every 
three months. There were also to be thirty scholars guaranteed. This 
would secure the teacher twenty dollars per month. The supposition was 
that he did not board with his employers. The school had for its patrons 
such familiar names as McDowell, Power, Connely, Broadfoot, Plumer, 
Ridgway, Selders, and Dewoody. This school was no doubt in advance 
of James Mason's, and found greater encouragement both to teacher and 

At the laying out of the town, lands were reserved for school purposes, 
and in time were sold, to procure funds for building an academy. In this 
matter the entire county was interested. The first academy building was 
erected in 1815. It stood on Buffalo street, on the lot now occupied by the 
Evangelical church. John Kelly taught in this building some eight 
years. Robert Ayres, John Sutton, and John Gamble were also teachers. 
It was simply a common school with a classical name. Some time after- 
ward a small frame was erected on the site of the Presbyterian parsonage, 
afterward sold to the common schools. A new academy building, of brick, 
was erected in 1854 and occupied as a high school. This was afterward 
sold to the Evangelical church, and is now occupied by them as a place of 


worship, and the matter of education was relegated to the common school' 

This was no doubt the> case alJ over the county. At lirst the simplest 
log cabin, without glazed windows, then as society improved, better houses 
were erected, still log, but hewn and with clap-board roofs, then the frame 
house with brick chimneys, until both taste and utility were combined tO' 
render the school house attractive. 

The books were of the old school: Webster's Spelling-book, then the 
New Testament for reading followed by Murray's English Eeader, and for 
arithmetics, possibly Pike, but more likely Daboll, with the use of the slate. 
Grammar was little thought of, and as for Geography, it had not yet been 
invented. But the Multiplication Table was taught faithfully and well. 
Arithmetic was not taught in classes as now, but each one worked on his 
own account, wrestling with the problems, or "sums," as they were called, 
as for his very life, and if unsuccessful, calling in the aid of the master. 
Still those early schools did a good work, and if the "big boys" did on 
Christmas sometimes bar out the master, it was taken in good part, and the 
school resumed work. 

For a time the county was without post-routes. The first United States 
mail that came into the county was in 1802. It was carried on horseback 
in saddle-bags, and came once in three weeks, and even then brought but 
a few letters. The route was from Erie to Pittsburgh. The mail carrier 
was Mr. Ash, who was always punctual, unless detained by high waters or 
deep snows. It is likely that the music of his tin horn, as he annotined his 
coming, was sweeter music to the early settlers along the route than the 
shriek of the locomotive that now boasts a cart load of mail bags, and as he 
passed many a log cabin on the road the people came out to ask him to 
carry letters to the nearest postoffice to be put in the mail. Mr. Ash car- 
ried the mail from Meadville to Franklin. Afterward Mr. Hoiiser carried 
the mail on horseback to Warren and back. 

There were no banks in those days. The ordinary citizen had no great 
occasion to use them, but the merchant labored at a great disadvantage for 
want of them. There was no way of transmitting funds. Occasionally 
money was intrusted to the mails, but the work was done very cautiously. 
If one hundred dollars was to be sent a hundred dollar bill was procured, 
if possible, cut in halves, and the first half inclosed and the remainder 
detained until the first half was acknowledged. Then the second half was 
forwarded, and the person receiving the sections pasted them together in as 
good style as possible. There were no banks in the county prior to 1860. 
The early merchants, when going for goods, packed up their Spanish dol- 
lars in saddle-bags, mounted their horses and rode to Philadelphia. Long 
after this they still packed their money in their trunks, and in the stage 
crossed the mountains, with all their funds with them. Yet withal, rob- 
beries were rare, and this personal care of baggage comparatively safe. 

i:y^. ^^A 



Sunday in a Pioneer Community— Early Religious Liter at l:ui>- Ac- 
tivity OF THE Clergy— Interest op' the People in Attending 
Worship— Manner of Travelling— Architecture ok the 
First Churches— The Methodist "Circuit Kider"— 
General Religious Tendencies— Revivals— 
The "Falling Exercise" — Early 
Denominational Organization. 

LIKE Abraham of old these early settlers builded their altars wherever 
they pitched their tent. They brought their religious customs with 
them and immediately began to put them in practice. There is an account 
of a settlement just outside the limits of this county. It was a colony from 
Washington county, Pennsylvania, neighbors there and neighbors on the- 
new location. They came in their wagons, and reached the proposed point 
on Saturday evening. On Sabbath morning they breakfasted, called the 
children together, catechised them after the manner of the modern Sabbath 
school; then they had a sermon read, had prayer meeting and so made the 
day a religious day after the manner of their fathers. And that prayer 
meeting commenced under the spreading maples has been kept up regularly 
to this day. It has become a permanent institution. 

These people had not many books, yet they had a few. The Bible, the 
catechism, the prayer book, or the psalm book, all had, and an odd volume 
of Bunyan or Flavel or Edwards, or other religous books, according to the 
faith of the owner, would be passed around the neighborhood until very well 
thumbed and well remembered. 

The old volumes of minutes of presbyteries and synods and conferences 
that are stiP extant tell us of the diligence of the chiu-ches in the older set- 
tlements in sending the gospel to the new. As far as the Presbyterians 
were concerned we have an item from a Methodist minister, written from 
Meadville in 1801, in which he states that the Presbyterian Synod of Penn- 
sylvania had sent out ministers who had laid out all, or most all of the set- 
tlements into congregational districts, and wherever they could gather a 
sufficient number of members, organized churches, and ordained elders, so 
that they seemed to have taken possession of the entire county. 



The records of the Presbytery of Erie in 1802 speak of supplications, as 
they called them, for supplies of preaching from different points of the 
county, from Franklin, from Pithole, fromMcGurl's, from Oil Creek, and 
from Scrubgrass. To all these' points and to others not mentioned the mis- 
sionary took his way, generally on horseback, often following a blind path 
through the woods, sometimes sleeping under the green trees, and finding 
his way out in the morning. On one occasion the minister after losing his 
way on Saturday night found his path in the morning, with the house where 
he was to preach on the other side of a stream of water full to the banks; 
swam his horse across, preached in his dripping garments, and returned in 
the evening to another appointment. Sometimes these missionaries trav- 
eled two and two and held a series of meetings, at first in the woods, after- 
ward in such rude habitations as could be procured. 

And the old fathers tell us what diligence was used to attend these preach- 
ings in the forest. When word came that there would be preaching on a 
certain Sabbath, men would make it their business to go far and near to no- 
tify their neighbors. When a minister. Reverend James Satterfield, announ- 
ced his coming to a neighboring township it 1801, a few men made it their 
business to notify every family in the township. 

And they came from great distances. They traveled on horseback and 
on foot. On special occasions of sacraments or camp-meetings, they came 
five, ten, and even twenty miles. They were not particular about their 
dress. Clean linen, even though it was of coarse texture, was thought to 
be becoming and proper. Men came without their coats in summer, or 
carried them on their arms. The young women would walk and carry 
their shoes and stockings until within sight of the meeting place, when they 
would sit down on a log and put them on, and so present a decorous appear- 
ance at the preaching. 

On communion occasions the people came from neighboring congrega- 
tions, when convenient, on horseback, perhaps a family of five or sis on two 
horses; if not convenient they came on foot, often remaining for two or 
three days. 

On one occasion, it is recorded, the people came a distance of thirty 
miles. It was in the woods, with a tent for the minister and round logs as 
seats for the people. The Sabbath solemnities had passed, and the meet- 
ing appointed at ten o' clock on Monday. During the night snow fell to the 
depth of several inches, covering the seats completely. But the snow was 
swept from the logs, the people sat down and gladly and patiently heard the 
Word to the close of the discourse. 

Later on houses of worship were erected of rough logs, with little 
attempt at either taste or comfort, but simply shelter from the storm. Some 
of these early sanctuaries were builded without a nail or bit of iron or even 
sawed lumber, yet were comfortable and enjoyable. 


No arrangement was made for lire in tlie winter. The people assembled 
in the midst of the snow and frost, listened to two sermons and then re- 
paired to their homes, as though all this was a matter of privilege and relig- 
ions enjoyment alone. 

The Methodist " circuit rider," as he was termed, was an early visitant 
in this county. We hear of him first in the upper end of the county, then 
at Franklin, and then wherever people could be found to wait upon his 
message. The first authentic account of Methodist preaching at Franklin 
fixes this date 1804. The Baltimore Conference, in April, 1804, appointed 
Thornton Fleming presiding elder of the Monongahela district, and An- 
drew Hemphill preacher, in charge of the Erie circuit, which included 
Franklin. That year Mr. Hemphill organized a class at Gregg's, on Oil 
creek, of which John Gregg, Hannah Gregg, and Sally Stephenson were 
members; and also one at " Pithole settlement," composed of the Dawsons, 
Siggins, Kinnears, Hendersons, Alcorns, etc. Sometime in the fall of 1804, 
Mr. Hemphill, with William Connely as a guide, travelled from where 
Titusville on Oil creek now stands to Franklin, along a blind path. On 
arriving there, where he had an appointment to preach, he was refused the 
privilege of occupying the school house, and consequently took his stand 
under a tree on the common, where he sang, prayed, and then preached to 
a small congregation, some sitting and others standing on the green grass. 
"This was supposed," says Gregg, "to be the first Methodist sermon 
preached in that village, since so famous for Methodism." Whether there 
were at that time (1804) any Methodists in Franklin vWe are not informed. 
It is probable there were none. The early residents, connected with the 
fort in one capacity or another, were followers of the English or Episcopal 
church, and at that time a few of Presbyterian inclination had come to set- 
tle among them. 

Still the "Pithole region" is mentioned in connection with the preach- 
ing of the gospel of both denominations, until both settled down to life 
work throughout the county. Amid all the years of rushing excitement in 
business and in politics, religion has been kept abreast with the times. If 
we inquire into the philosophy of this, there are some interesting points for 
our consideration, connected with the close of the eighteenth and the dawn 
of the nineteenth centuries. The religious influence at this time was most 
blessed and happy. The terrible scourge of skepticism and infidelity that 
seemed as though it would sweep over the entire country, after the Avar of 
the Revolution, was rapidly abating. The stamp of infidelity that at one 
time seemed fixing itself upon the institutions of the country was vanishing, 
and Christianity was fast assuming its place. Added to this, the spirit of 
revival was making itself felt with wondi-ous power and efficacy, among the 
older churches of the West, and the infant churches recently planted in the 
new territory had also been largely blessed. These revivals had commenced 


in 1778, in Vance's Fort, into which the settlement had been driven by the 
incursions of savages. "From 1781 to 1787, a most extensive work of 
grace was experienced in the churches of Cross Creek, Upper Buffalo, Char- 
tiers, Pigeon Creek, Bethel, Lebanon, Ten Mile, Cross Roads, and Mill 
Creek, during which more than a thousand persons were brought into the 
kingdom of Christ." "From 1795 to 1799, another series of gracious vis- 
itations were enjoyed by the churches generally throughout western Penn- 
sylvania, extending to the new settlements north of Pittsburgh." 

These gracious visitations continued into the beginning of the new 
century, tilling the minds of many with the conviction that the very dawn 
of the millennium had come. Even in the midst of the labors and watching 
peculiar to the founding of new settlements, and sometimes without the 
labors of the stated ministry, this spirit of revival was present, stimulating 
the hearts of the settlers with hope and courage, and inviting others who 
were looking for some new place of settlement to cast in their lot with them. 

The religious influence of the close of the eighteenth century was most 
blessed and happy on the new counties that were then forming and filling 
up. There was in the lower part of Venango a full exhibition of that very 
remarkable work called "the falling exercise." It was common in Wash- 
ington and Westmoreland and a part of Allegheny counties and has been fully 
described by the writers and ministers of that day. In this county it was 
in Scrubgrass township and church under the ministration of Reverend 
Robert Johnson, in 1803. Mr. Johnson has given a full account of his 
Scrubgrass experience in a manuscript volume and in letters, from which 
the following extracts are made: 

While a solemn awe was visible in every face, five or six appeared to be awakened 
to a sense of their undone condition, among whom were two of the most unlikely per 
sons in the house. One of them was the largest man in the assembly and full of self- 
importance; the other a file-leader in the devil's camp, who attempted to escape by 
flight, got entangled in the bushes, and was forced to come back for a light to find his 
path, and who, the moment he set his foot inside the door, fell prostrate on the floor, 
under a sense of self-condemnation. The effects of this work on the body were truly 
wonderful, and so various that no physical cause could be assigned for their produi- 
tion. I have seen men and women sitting in solemn attitude, pondering the solemn 
truths that were presented, and in a moment fall from their seats, or off their feet, if 
they happened to be standing, as helpless as though they had been shot, and lie four- 
teen or fifteen or twenty minutes, and sometimes as long as half an hour, as motionless 
as a person in a sound sleep. At other times the whole frame would be thrown into a 
state of agitation so violent as seemingly to endanger the safety of the subject; and 
yet in a moment this agitation would cease, and the persons arise in the possession of 
all their bodily powers, and take their seats composed and solemn, without the least 
sensation of pain or uneasiness. 

This state of feeling and action was not encouraged by the ministers. 
It was something they could not understand, and they took circumstances 
as they found them. Mr. Johnson states that at the beginning of the 
revival in his congregation, he cautioned his people against any outcries, or 


bursts of feeling. This seemed to have had a good effect, for although the 
work was very powerful, this bodily exercise was no interru])tion to the 
meeting. "I have preached," he says, " to a crowded assembly, when 
more than one-half of the people wei-e lying helpless before me during the 
greater portion of divine service, without the least noise or disturbance of 
any kind to divert or interrupt the attention of any individual from the 
word spoken." 

In those days the Methodist circuit riders had a very large field to trav 
erse. In 1820 the old Erie circuit embraced part of Mercer, Crawford. Erie, 
Venango, and Butler counties. It was four hundred miles round and had 
forty-four appointments to fill in four weeks. Alfred Brunson was on this 
circuit and tells of his adventures in finding the sheep in the -vvilderness. 
The names of Brunson, Tackett, Swayze, Mack, and Ayres are frequently 
found. Their beat was specially in the up]>er part of the county. They 
were faithful men and the fruits of their labors remain to this day. The 
Presbyterians and the Methodists were the chief religious agencies at this 
time in Venango county. 

Lower Sandy (now Utica) was the first Presbyterian church organized 
in the county. It was about the year 1800. Its location was near the 
present town of Utica. The first pastor was Reverend William Wylie, who 
was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1776. He re- 
mained in this county but two years and died in his eighty-second year. 
He was succeeded by Reverend Cyrus Riggs until 1812, and by Reverend 
Robert Glenn from 1831 to 1857. Mr. Glenn was b^rn in Mercer county, 
Pennsylvania, March 2, 1802, and a graduate of Jefferson College. He 
jireached at Mill Creek twenty-six years and died at his home near Utica, 
September 6, 1857. 

Scrubgrass was the next in date of organization. It was organized in 
1802 or 1803. The first elders were John Lowrie, father of Walter Lowrie, 
senior secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions, John Crawford, and 
another whose name is illegible on the manuscript. The first pastor was 
Reverend Robert Johnson. He was ordained and installed by the Pres- 
bytery of Erie, October 19, 1803. His charge was Scrubgrass and Bear 
Creek. This was a most successful pastorate. A wonderful work of divine 
grace attended Mr. Johnson's labors. He was released from his pastoral 
charge January 2, 1811. Sugar Creek was organized in 1813 or 1814. 
The first pastor was Reverend Ira Condit, who continued as pastor about 
eleven years, succeeded by Reverend Thomas Anderson from 1826 to 1837. 
He was succeeded by Reverend Cyrus Dickson, D. D., from 1840 to 1848. 

Methodist classes were formed as early as 1810. This was the date of 
one in Franklin, consisting of five members. The Presbyterians and 
Methodists wer% in the majority for many years, and consequently organ- 
ized the first churches in the county. 


Among the first settlers, however, were quite a number of Catholic fami- 
lies, also Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Baptists. These were occasionally 
visited by missionaries of their own faith, and in due time were organized 
into congregations. Other denominations came in until at present nearly 
all the leading churches are represented in the county. And they live 
together in peace and harmony, apparently provoking one another only to 
love and good works. 


Erection and Boundaries — Early Civil Administration — Internal 
Subdivision— Public Buildings— Inauguration of the Public 
School System— Congressional and Legislative Repre- 
sentation—Roster OF County Officers— Early 
Township Officers. 

THE Indian title to northwestern Pennsylvania was formally extin- 
guished by a treaty with the Six Nations, consummated at Fort Stan- 
wix, October 22, 1784, and ratified at Fort Mcintosh by representatives of 
the Ohio tribes in January of the following year. The state legislature was 
prompt in providing facilities of civil administration for this territory, and 
on the 8th of April, 1785, extended the jurisdiction of Northumberland and 
Westmoreland counties to those portions of the purchase east and west, re- 
spectively, of the Allegheny river and Conewango creek. Westmoreland was 
erected February 26, 1773, from Bedford, which was formed two years 
earlier and nominally included all the southwestern part of the state, while 
Northumberland, erected March 21, 1772, sustained a similar relation to 
the northwest. That part of the purchase of 1784 which was attached to 
Westmoreland in 1785 became a part of Allegheny upon its erection, Sep- 
tember 24, 1788, and the adjoining region ou the east was placed within the 
limits of Lycoming, April 13, 1795. This arrangement continued until 
March 12, 1800, when the legislature passed an act erecting the counties 
of Beaver, Butler, Mercer, Crawford, Erie, Warren, Venango, and Arm- 
strong. The seventh section of this act relates to Venango and reads as fol- 

That so much of the counties of Allegheny and Lycoming, as«shall be included 
within the following boundaries, viz. : Beginning at the northeast corner of Mercer 
county; thence on the first line or course of Crawford county, until it shall intersect 


the north line of the sixth Monation district, being the same as tlie first line of the 
said county of Crawford; thence eastwardly upon the said line of the sixth donation 
'district, along the boundary of the counties of Crawford and Warren and crossing the 
river Alleo-heny to the line dividing Wood's and Hamilton's districts, in the counly of 
Lycoming; thence southerly along the said line to Toby's creek; thence down the said 
creek to the river Allegheny; thence across the said river, and upon the line of Arm- 
strono- county hereinafter described, to the northeast corner of the county of Butler; 
thence vpestwardly by the north line of said county to the corner of Mercer county; 
thence northerly along the line of Mercer county to the place of beginning, be, and 
the same is hereby erected into a separate county, to be henceforth called Venango 
county; and the place of holding the courts of justice in and for the said county, 
shall be at the town of Franklin, in the said county. And the governor shall, and lie 
is hereby empowered to appoint three commissioners, any Xrwo of vfhich shall run and 
ascertain and plainly mark the boundary lines of the said county of Venango, and 
shall receive as a full compensation for their services therein, the sum of two dollars 
for every mile so run and marked, to be paid out of the moneys which shall be raised 
for the county uses, withi.n the county of Venango. 

A brief explanation may assist in forming an idea of the extent of territory 
comprehended within these limits. "The line dividing AVood's and Hamil- 
ton's districts" coincides with that of Jefferson and Clarion counties, and 
Toby's creek is now known as Clarion river. Warren and Crawford, Crawford 
and Mercer, and Butler and Armstrong were the adjoining counties on the 
north, west, and south, respectively, as at present; the line separating Clarion 
and Jefferson, extended north to the Warren line, constituted the eastern 
boundary. East of this the adjoining territory formed jiart of Lycoming 
until 1804, when Jefferson was erected, and in 1848 Forest was formed from 
the northern part of Jefferson. From a comparisoo of the present and 
former boundaries of the county on the south and east it is no exaggeration 
to state that Venango has been deprived of nearly half its original area. 

The county was named after the Indian town that had long existed at 
the mouth of French creek, with such changes of orthography as often occur 
in the spelling of Indian names. At first it was called Weningo. In Ed- 
ward Shippen's letter to Governor Hamilton it is called Wenango, then 
Vinango, and finally, in "Washington's Journal," Venango, as spelled 
at present. The name has been popular in this part of the state. It is 
borne by a town in Crawford county, a township in Erie county, and was 
given to one of the towns that now constitute Oil City. 

" The first line or course of Crawford county " extended north forty-five 
degrees east from the northeast corner of Mercer county to the north line of 
the sixth donation district. This was long a source of dissatisfaction to the 
inhabitants of both counties, and in 1827 a petition was presented to the 
legislature representing that they suffered "great inconvenience in their 
assessments in consequence of the division line of said counties running 
diagonally from southwest to northeast through the sixth donation district, 
thence running east dividing a range of warranted lands, thereby dividing 
the donation and warranted lands so that the number of acres in said sub- 


divisions cannot be correctly ascertained without considerable expense.' 
In compliance with this petition an act was passed February 28, 1828, pro- 
viding for a. survey of the line in question, and no further change has since 
been found necessary. 

The line of Jefferson was revised about the same time. A survey made 
in May, 1827, is preserved among the archives of the county in the com- 
missioners' office. In September, 1830, under authority of both the counties 
interested, Richard Irwin prepared a draft of the disputed boundary which 
received legislative sanction February 7, 1832. 

The first legislation materially effecting the territorial limits of the 
county was the act of March 11, 1839, erecting Clarion county with the fol- 
lowing boundaries: 

Beginning at the junction of Redbank creek with the Allegheny river, thence up 
said creek to the line dividing Jefferson and Armstrong counties, thence along said 
line to the line dividing Toby and Saratoga townships in Venango county, thence 
along said line to the corner of Farniington township in Venango county, thence a 
straight line to the mouth of Shull's run an the Allegheny river, thence down said 
river to the place of beginning. 

On the 16th of April, 1840, at the following session of the legislature, 
that part of this act which directs a straight line from the corner of Farm- 
ington township to the mouth of Shull's run was repealed; it was made 
obligatory upon the commissioners of Clarion county to have a line sur- 
veyed with the mouth of Ritchey's run as its terminus at the Allegheny 
river, and this line is the present southeastern boundary of the county. 

Although considerably reduced in area, Venango was still the largest 
county in the northwestern part of the state, with possibly a single excep- 
tion. With an extreme length of forty miles from east to west, it is mat- 
ter of surprise that the eastern part of this extensive territory was not 
incorporated in the county of Forest upon its erection in 1848. That this 
was delayed a score of years is perhaps best explained by reference to the 
fact that the region in question was comparatively uninhabited. As popu- 
lation increased the advantages of a location nearer the county seat became 
more apparent, and by an act approved October 31, 1866, the legislature 
transferred to Forest county the territory east and north of the following 
described line: 

Beginning on the Venango and "Warren county line, at the southeast corner of 
Southwest township, in the county of Warren; thence by a line southward to a point 
in Pinegrove township, in Venango county, opposite to the middle northwest corner 
of Washington township, Clarion county; thence in a straight line east to said corner; 
thence east along the Clarion county line to a point where said line diverges in a north- 
erly course; thence north along said line to the upper northwest corner of the said 
county of Clarion; thence east along said line to the Forest county line. 

The survey in this case was made under the direction of C. Fulkerson of 
Venango county, James A. Leach of Mercer county, and Jacob Zeigler of 


Butler county. Four entire townships — Harmony, Hickory, Kingsley, and 
Tionesta, and parts of three others — AHegheny, President, and Pinegrove, 
were attached to Forest. The boundaries of the county have remained 
undisturbed since that date. The present area is six hundred and fifty- 
eight square miles or four hundred and twenty-one thousand, one hundred 
and twenty acres. 


The act of March 12, 1800, erecting the northwestern counties of the 
state, contained certain administrative features strangely incompatible with 
its executive provisions, at least in phraseology. Armstrong was provisionally 
attached to Westmoreland; Butler and Beaver were placed under the juris- 
diction of Allegheny; and the counties of Crawford, Mercer, Venango, 
Warren, and Erie were to form " one county " under the name of Crawford 
county. It thus appears that the county sustained a merely nominal exist- 
ence until such time as the population had sufficently increased to warrant 
separate organization. In the meantime three trustees, George Fowler, 
Alexander McDowell, and James McClaran, were vested " with full authority 
for them or a majority of them to purchase or take and receive by grant, bar- 
gain, or otherwise and such assurances for the payment of money and 
grants of land or other property that may be ofFered to them or the survivors 
or survivor of them in trust for the use and benefits of said county; and to 
sell and convey such part thereof, either in town lots or otherwise, as to 
them or a majority of them shall appear advantageous and proper; and to 
vest one moiety of the net proceeds thereof in some productive property, to 
be a fund for the support of an academy or public school at the county town 
in the said county, and to apply the other moiety thereof in aid of the county 
rates and levies for the purpose of erecting the public buildings." . It does 
not appear that their duties were onerous, and the only record of their pro- 
ceedings that has been preserved is a lease of a part of the public square of 
Franklin to Edward Hale for the sum of one dollar a year. 

On the 1st of April, 1805, the legislature passed an act conferring upon 
the inhabitants of Venango county "all and singular the jurisdictions, pow- 
ers, and privileges " enjoyed by the people of other counties, from and after 
the lirst day of September following. The county was made a part of the sixth 
judicial district; the second Tuesday in October was fixed as the date of the 
first election, in which the electors of Warren were also to participate, the 
latter county having been provisionally annexed. This election resulted in 
the choice of Ninian Irwin, Caleb Crane, and James G. Heron as commis- 
sioners; John Witherup, sheriff; William Moore, prothonotary, and Marcus 
Hulino's, coroner. A dedimus potest atem was issued July 15, 1805, to John 
Irwin and William Moore, who administered the oath to the respective in- 
cumbents of the several offices. 


The county commissioners held their first meeting October 23, 1805, at 
the house of Edward Hale. The minutes of this and the two following 
meetings read as follows: 

This day the commissioners ofVenango county met and formed a board,— Irwin, 
Crane, and Heron. Appointed James Martin clerk, at one dollar, thirty cents; Alex- 
ander McDowell, treasurer. Irwin going home. Wrote three advertisements for wood 
for county use. James G. Heron and Caleb Crane appointed to settle the account with 
Crawford county. Adjourned until Monday, the fourth day of November (ensuing 
the date above). 

Met according to adjournment on Monday, the fourth day of November, at twelve 
o'clock, and determined that the county commissioners' and prothonotary's office shall 
be held at the house of Samuel Hays. Made an agreement to supply the court house 
ind gaol. Adjourned until tomorrow morning at nine o'clock. 

November 5th.— Met according to adjournment. Received of James Hamilton 
his certificate of the oath of office as assessor for Sugar Creek township, also the ])ond 
of the treasurer with his sureties for the true performance of his duties as treasurer. 
Adjourned until tomorrow at nine o'clock. 

The first order on the treasurer was drawn in favor of Andrew Allison, 
November 2, 1805, and the amount was eight dollars, the bounty prescribed 
for the killing of a wolf. On the same day Caleb Crane, as collector of 
Irwin township, paid sixty dollars and five cents into the treasury, this being 
the taxes received by the coanty. The second order issued was in favor 
of George Fowler, for services rendered at the general election; the amount 
was one dollar and fifty cents. The first assessors of the county after its 
formation were: Caleb Crane, Irwin township; James Hamilton, Sugar 
Creek; David Kinnear. Allegheny, and Hugh Marsh, Brokenstraw. Their 
first precepts were issued Tuesday, December 3, 1805. The duplicates for 
1805, upon which the first county tax was collected, were transcribed from 
the records at Meadville by Samuel Dale, for which he was paid twelve d(jl- 
lars by the commissioners. It was customary at this period for the com- 
missioners and assessors to meet together immediately after the organization 
of the board and arrange a uniform system of taxation. The triennial as- 
sessment of 1817, the fourth in the county, is the earliest of which partic- 
ulars of this nature are extant. The assessed valuation of improved lands 
■ ranged from twelve and one-half cents to six dollars; of unseated inlots in 
the town of Franklin, from five to one hundred and fifty dollars; of houses 
and lots, from one hundred to twenty-five hundred dollars; of improved out- 
lots, from fifty to two thousand dollars; of saw mills, from one hundred to 
three thousand dollars; of fulling mills, from one hundred to twenty- five 
hundred dollars; of carding machines, from three hundred to eight hundred 
dollars; of grist mills, from one hundred to fifteen hundred dollars; of dis- 
tilleries, from fifty to two hundred dollars; of tan yards, from fifty to one 
thousand dollars; of horses, from five to one hundred dollars; of oxen, from 
twenty-five to one hundred dollars. The various occupations were assessed 
as follows: Associate judge, seventy-five dollars; prothonotary and treas- 


nrer, three buntlred dollars; commissioners and clerk, two hundred dollars; 
sheriff, seventy-five dollars; attorneys, two hundred dollars. Tavern keep- 
ers and merchants were assessed in three classes, ran^^ing, respectively, from 
fifty to one thousand dollars, and from one hundred to lifteen hundred dol- 
lars. Upon this basis the duplicate of Allegheny township aggregated one 
hundred and sixty-four dollars, thirty-three cents; of Cherry Tree, one 
hundred and thirty-three dollars, twenty-one cents; of French Creek, three 
hundred and thirty dollars, twenty-three cents; of Irwin, one hundred and 
eleven dollars, seventy cents; of Richland, two hundred and twenty-seven 
dollars, twenty-five cents; of Scriibgrass, one hundred and eighty-four dol- 
lars, fifty-six cents; of Sugar Creek, two hiindred and forty-nine dollars, 
one cent. 

Section fifth of the act of April 1, 1805, conferring separate political 
autonomy upon Venango county, authorized the commissioners "to call on 
the commissioners of Crawford county for the purpose of examining, liquid- 
ating, and reserving such balances as may be due to Venango county. " March 
30, 1806, according to the minutes of the board, " James G. Heron and 
Samuel Hays set off to Meadville in order to bring about a settlement 
with Crawford county, but through backwardness of the commissioners oi 
Crawford county, could only transcribe from their books the accounts of 
Venango and Warren counties from the year 1800 to the end of the year 
1805. No paper to be purchased in Meadville, or would have taken off the 
amounts of Mercer, Erie, and Crawford counties. Returned on Saturday, 
the 5th of April. N. Irwin was to have attended >at Meadville, but was 
prevented by indisposition." The adjustment of the account did not prove 
so easy as was at first anticipated. Failing to effect an amicable settlement, 
the Venango commissioners took legal measures to secure the amount of 
their claim, and for many years the litigation on this subject was a source 
of expense to the county. 

Similar difficulties were experienced in adjusting the accounts of War- 
ren county upon its separate organization in 1819, but in this case Venango 
was the defendant instead of the plaintiff. The matter in dispute was re- 
ferred to the courts for adjudication and ultimately became a subject of 
legislative interposition. April 11, 1827, an act was passed directing the 
judges of the court of quarter sessions to appoint three commissioners from 
either of the counties of Crawford, Mercer, Butler, or Armstrong, who 
should have full power to investigate and determine all matters in dispute, 
and whose decision should be final. One-third of the amount awarded was 
made payable February 1, 1828, and the remainder in two equal annual 
installments. The amount of the award was two thousand, two hundred and 
seventy-four dollars and forty-five cents, of which the last installment was 
paid March 10, 1830. 



All that part of Venango county included in Allegheny prior to 1800 
was embraced in Irwin township, which comprised an extensive territory 
with indefinite limits on the north and west. The county was divided into 
three townships during the period that it was attached to Crawford — Alle- 
gheny, Sugar Creek, and Irwin, formally erected October 6, 1800, with the 
following boundaries: 

Beginning at the mouth of Oil creek, thence up the Allegheny river by the differ- 
ent windings thereof to where the line dividing the counties of Venango and Warren 
strikes said river, thence west along the line dividing the counties of Venango and 
Warren to where the Holland Company's mill stands on Oil creek, thence down said 
creek by the various courses thereof to the mouth, the place of the beginning; to be 
called Allegheny township. 

Also one other township: Beginning at the mouth of French creek, thence up the 
Allegheny river by the different windings thereof to the mouth of Oil creek, thence up 
said creek by the branch thereof that leads to the ffolland Company's mill to where 
the line dividing the counties of Crawford and Venango to where the same crosses 
French creek, thence down said creek by the different windings thereof to the mouth, 
the place of beginning; and to be called Sugar Creek. 

Also one other township: Beginning at the mouth of French creek, thence down 
the Allegheny river by the different windings thereof to where the northeast corner of 
the county of Butler comes on said river, thence west along the line dividing the coun- 
ties of Venango and [Butler to the southwest corner of Venango county, thence north 
along the line dividing the counties of Venango and] Mercer to where the same strikes 
French creek, thence down French creek by the different windings thereof to the 
mouth, the place of beginning; to be called Irwin. 

No provision was made for the territory south and east of the Allegheny 
river, which, in 1803, contained no taxable inhabitants to the knowledge of 
the Crawford county commissioners. 

After the organization of the county the policy of the court of quarter 
sessions in the formation of townships was analogous in many respects to 
that of the legislature in dividing northwestern Pennsylvania into counties. 
In both instances the respective political divisions were created in advance 
of any immediate necessity, and, until such time as the influx of population 
should render individual organization necessary, united in groups under one 
administration. There was, however, a practical advantage to be gained 
by the early formation of townships. At that period the county commis- 
sioners appointed assessors and collectors of taxes, and divided the county 
into districts for the appointment of justices of the peace. March 7, 1806, the 
board drew up a petition, " setting forth that great inconveniences are at pres- 
ent experienced by the inhabitants of Venango and Warren counties from 
the too great extent of the resj)ective townships, not only in attending their 
respective township meetings, but also in assessing and collecting taxes;" 
and as it was desirable that the district and township lines should coincide, 
as far as possible, the latter ought to be permanently established. The 
coiart appointed Samuel Dale, John Andrews, and Thomas Baird to inquire 


into the propriety of acceding to this petition. They prepared a volumin- 
ous report providing for the erection of twenty- six townships, two of which 
were in Warren county and fifteen within the present limits of Venango. 
The respective boundaries of the latter were as follows: 

First. — Beginning at French creek on the western boundary of said county, 
thence by the same south to the north line of survey made in the name of John Met- 
ier, thence by the same and Jacob Hetler eastwardlj^ to the northeast corner of tlie 
latter, thence by the same southwardly to Sandy creek, thence by said creek to the 
mouth thereof, thence by the Allegheny river to the mouth of French creek, tlience 
up the same to the place of beginning; to be called French Creek township. 

Second. — Beginning at the southwest corner of French Creek townshii), thence l)y 
the county line southwardly to the south line of a survey made on warrant in the name 
of James Adams, thence eastwardly in a direction that will run tiie south boundary of 
tract surveyed on warrant in the name of Hugh Sterling, and to continue that direc- 
tion to the Allegheny river, thence up the same to the mouth of Sandy, thence by the 
line of French Creek township to the place of beginning; to be called ^andy Creek 

Third.— Beginning at the southwest corner of Sandy Creek township, thence by 
the county line, south to the line of Butler county, thence by the same east, to the dis- 
tance that a line running north will run the east boundary of the tract on which Philip 
Ghost lives, and continue thence till it intersects the south boundary of Sandy Creek 
township, thence by the same west to the place of beginning; to be called Irwin 

Fourth.— Beginning at the southeast corner of Irwin township, thence by the 
county line east to the Allegheny river, thence up the same to the south boundary of 
Sandy Creek township, thence by the same westwardly to the northeast corner of 
Irwin township, thence by the same south to the place of beginning: to l)e called 
Scrubgrass township. x 

Fifth.— Beginning at the Allegheny river and north boundary of Venango county, 
thence by said boundary west to the west boundary of a tract surveyed on warrant in 
the name of Nimrod Ent, thence south to the said river, thence up the same to the 
place of beginning; to be called Allegheny township. 

Sixth.— Beginning at the southeast corner of a survey made on warrrant in the 
name of Samuel Will, thence west to Oil creek, thence up the same and the east branch 
thereof to the county line, thence by the same east to Allegheny township, thence by 
the same south to the place of beginning; to be called Branch township. 

Seventh.— Beginning at the southeast corner of Branch township, thence by the 
same west to Oil creek, thence by the same to the mouth thereof, thence up the Alle- 
gheny river to the line of Allegheny township, thence by the same north to tho place 
of beginning; to be called Musk township. 

Eighth.— Beginning at the southwest corner of Branch township, thence west to 
the line dividing McDowell's and Power's districts, thence by the same north to the 
county line, thence by the same east to the northwest corner of Branch township 
adjoining, thence by the same southwardly to the place of beginning; to be called 
Cherry township. 

Ninth.— Beginning where the line dividing McDowell's and Power's districts 
crosses the south boundary of the surveys made in the sixth donation district, thence 
by the same south, seventy degrees west, to intersect the north boundary of the fifth 
donation district, thence by the same westwardly to Sugar creek, thence up the same 
and the lake branch thereof to the county line, thence by the same northeastwardly to 
the northwest corner of Cherry township, thence by the same soutii to the place of 
beginning; to be called Plum township. 


Tenth. — Begiuuing at the southeast coruer of Cherry township, thence by the same 
west to Plum township, thence by the same south and southwestwardly to the distance 
that a line running south, four degrees east, will run the west boundary of a tract of 
laud surveyed on warrant in the name of Peter Cress, and continue to French creek, 
thence down the same to the Allegheny river, thence up the same to Oil creek, thence 
up the same to the place of beginning; to be called Oil Creek township. 

Eleventh. — Beginning at the northwest coruer of Plum township, thence by the 
western boundaries of the same and Oil Creek township to French creek, thence up 
the same to the county line, thence by the north and northeast to the place of begin- 
ning; to be called Sugar Creek township. 

Twelfth. — Beginning at the Allegheny river near the mouth of the Six Mile run, 
thence on the line between the lands granted to John Nicholson, Esq., and William 
Bingham, east to the western boundary of a tract of land surveyed on warrant No. 2529 
granted to William Willink and others, thence by the same north to the north boun- 
dary of said tract, thence by the same east to the northeast corner, thence north to the 
said river; to be called Fairfield township. 

Thirteenth. — Beginning at the southeast corner of Fairfield township, thence south 
to the southeast corner of a tract of land warranted to William Willink and others. 
No. 2503, thence by the same west to the east boundary of tract No. 3513 granted to 
William Bingham, thence southwestwardly by the southeast boundary of the contigu- 
ous tracts granted to said Bingham to the Allegheny river, thence up the same to the 
south boundary of Fairfield township, thence by the same to the place of beginning; 
to be called Rock township. 

Fourteenth.— Beginning at the south corner of Rock township on the Allegheny 
river, thence by the southeast boundary to the southeast corner thereof, thence south 
to Toby's creek, thence down the same to the said river, thence up the same to the 
place of beginning; to be called Union township. 

Fifteenth. — Beginning at the north corner of Fairfield township on the Allegheny 
river, thence up the same to the west boundary of tract No. 2844 granted to William 
Willink and others, thence south to the southwest corner thereof, thence east to the 
northeast corner of tract No. 2826 granted to William Willink and others, thence south 
to the southeast corner of tract No. 2801 granted to William Willink and others, thence 
west to the east boundary of tract No. 2539 granted as above, thence south to the cor- 
ner thereof, thence west to the southeast corner of Fairfield township, thence by the 
same north to the place of beginning; to be called Pinegrove township. 

They ftirtLer recommended that Irwin and Scrubgrass each form one 
township; that French Creek, Sandy Creek, Fairfield, Pinegrove, Deer, and 
Toby's compose one township, to be called French Creek; that Sugar Creek 
and Oil Creek be united under the name of Sugar Creek; that Cherry and 
Plitm form one township to be known as Cherry; that the seven townships 
between Oil creek and the eastern line of the county form one with the 
name of Allegheny, and that five others in the southern part of the county 
east of the Allegheny river be similarly united and called Union township. 
The report was accepted and confirmed, but many of the names were 
changed. Branch became East Branch; Miisk, Windrock; Cherry, Cherry 
Tree; Fairfield, Cranberry; Rock, Rockland; Union, Richland, etc., etc. 

It thus appears that although twenty- four townships were nominally 
created in Venango county, only seven were actually organized. Irwin, 
Scrubgrass, and Richland occupied the same relative positions as at present, 


but the latter extended to Clarion river on the southeast, including nearly 
all of Clarion county that was taken from Venango in 1839. French creek 
extended latitudinally across the county, bounded on the north by the creek 
of that name and Allegheny river, and varying in M'idth from seven to fif- 
teen or eighteen miles. Sugar Creek included Canal in addition to its pres- 
ent area, and also that part of Cornplauter west of Oil creek with the south- 
ern part of Oakland and Jackson. The remaining territory west of Oil 
creek was embraced in Cherry Tree. Allegheny Avas situated east of Oil 
creek and north of the Allegheny river, and comprised nearly the whole of 
that part of Venango which was annexed to Forest county in 1866. 

More than a decade elapsed before any change was made in the map of 
the county. Plum was separately organized in 1817 and Kockland in that 
or the following year. French Creek lost a large part of its generous area 
in August, 1824, by the erection of Pinegrove, to which Farmington (Clarion 
county) was provisionally attached. Cranberry acquired individual autono- 
my in 1830 with "Six Mile run " (East Sandy creek) as its southern bound- 
ary, instead of the line between the Astley and Bingham lands, as originally 
provided. A similar departure was made in the organization of Sandy 
Creek, November 29, 1834, when the Mercer road was substituted for Big 
Sandy creek as part of the line of division with French Creek. Tionesta was 
formed from the eastern part of Allegheny in 1827, and the territory of the 
latter was further reduced by the erection of Cornplanter, November 28, 
1833. Part of Cornplanter was taken from Sugar Creek, from which Canal 
was also formed, November 28, 1833. Plum, Cornplajiter, and Sugar Creek 
contributed to the territory of Oakland in 1841. Since the erection of Jack- 
son in 1845 the geography of this part of the county has remained un- 
changed. President was formed by act of the legislatui'e April 3, 1850, and 
Oil Creek was erected from the western part of Allegheny in 1866. The 
contiguous portions of Irwin and Scrubgrass were united by the formation 
of Clinton in April, 1855. The erection of Mineral, October 24, 1870, and 
Victory, September 6, 1876, completes the record of township formation. 

The boroughs of the county have been formed in the following order: 
Franklin, April 14, 1828; Pleasantvillle, March 22, 1850; Cooperstown, 
November 25, 1858; Emlenton, January 27, 1859; Oil City, April 29, 1862; 
Utica, November, 1863; Pithole City, November 30, 1865; Venango City, 
December 1, 1865; Siverly, August 27, 1874; Clintonville, January 28, 1878; 
Sunville, January 27, 1879; and Polk, August 23, 1886. Franklin was in- 
corporated as a city April 4, 1868, and Oil City, April 11, 1871. The char 
ter of the borough of Pithole City was annulled in August, 1877. 


The iirst official business after the organization of the county was trans- 
acted bv the commissioners at the house of Edward Hale, which stood on 


the site of the Snook block. November 4, 1805, permanent offices for the 
commissioners and prothonotary were secured at a quarterly rental of fif- 
teen dollars in a log building on the lot immediately above the United States 
hotel on Liberty street. The first courts were also held here. This build- 
ing was owned by Samuel Hays and John McDonald. It was removed in 

The commissioners were prompt in taking measures for the erection of 
county buildings, a duty specially enjoined ui)on them by the act providing 
for the organization of the county, in which the public square in the town 
of Franklin was designated as their location. At a meeting of the board 
December 4, 1806, the probable expense of building a court house was esti- 
mated and various plans taken into consideration. December 19th the eon- 
tract for digging the cellar and constructing the walls was awarded to John 
AVitherup, the first sheriif of the county and incumbent of the ofiice at that 
time. A plan for the building was matured January 9, 1807, and a site 
was staked off July 9th following. But it was not until the 1 1th of Novem- 
ber that the board "Agreed upon the permanent seat of the court house; 
which it is agreed by the commissioners is to stand on the corner of the 
diamond where Liberty street and High street cross, and on the west side 
of High street; to front toward Liberty street." The following minute 
appears under date of August 10, 1808: "This day George Fowler, ap- 
l)ointed on behalf of the commissioners, and John Philip Houser, ap- 
pointed on behalf of the contractors for building the court house to ascer- 
tain the quality of the brick burned for the same, made rei)ort that the 
same were unfit for the public buildings." This would seem to indicate 
that it was originally intended to erect a brick building. September 21, 1809, 
it was "Agreed by the commissioners that two flights of stairs which are to 
pass over the judge's bench are to be omitted, and one flight of stairs is to 
serve in place of the three mentioned in the original contract, to run up in 
such part of the house as will be found most convenient. ' ' 

The records are not prolific in details regarding the progress of coDstruc- 
tion. Christian and John Sutley were contractors for certain portions of the 
work, and John Broadfoot was employed as carpenter. Payments were 
made in annual installments; the amount received in 1809 by Witherup and 
the Sutleys was five hundred dollars. Material assistance was received from 
the legislature. The other county seats in this part of the state were lo- 
cated on lands owned by individuals, from whom subsidies amounting to 
several thousand dollars were usually received for the purpose of erecting 
public buildings. But the seat of justice for Venango had been located 
upon the property of the commonwealth, which had a tendency to enhance 
its value; and as it was but just and reasonable that the county should de- 
rive the same advantage as if it had been fixed on the lands of a private citi- 
zen, one thousand, five hundred dollars were appropriated March 28, 1806, 


"to be paid out of the moneys arisinor from the sales of the town and ont- 
lots belonging to the commonwealth in and adjoining the town of Franklin." 

This building was situated in West park aligned with Liberty street, but 
close to High. It was two stories in height. The first floor was entered 
from Liberty street and occupied as a court room; an inclosed space at the 
side opposite the entrance was reserved for the court, attorneys, and jurors. 
A stairway in the southwest corner led to a landing above, communicatirio- 
with four rooms, two of which were occupied as offices by the protlionotary 
and commissioners, Avhile the others served as jury rooms. This was a 
square stone building, in appearance substantial rather than imposing, but 
withal a credit to the county at the time when it was built. A cupola and 
bell w^ere afterward added. The date of its completion is usually given as 
1811; and while this may be correct, it was not until some years later that 
the contractors were formally released. October 1, 1816. RoI)ert Mitchell,. 
Alexander McCalmont, and John Wilson, comprising the board of county 
commissioners, ' ' completed their investigation of the court house with the 
contractors for building the same, and agreed to enter satisfaction on the 
judgments entered against them and their sureties, and that their contract 
had been complied with." Extensive repairs were made in 1831: the 
chimneys were rebuilt, the walls plastered, and a partition constructed to 
separate the stairway and entrance from the court room., A small plat of 
ground around the building was enclosed by a fence in 1834, adding some- 
what to the attractiveness of the place. 

This venerable structure at length succumbed to t^ie influence of time. 
The materials used in its construction were principally the loose stones of 
the surrounding hills, and hence not w^ell adapted for walls of such a height. 
In 1845 the' building had become unsafe for occupancy, and it was decided 
to brace the walls with props in order to prevent a complete collapse. This 
rendered the erection of a new court house a matter of immediate and im- 
perative necessity. 

On the 29th of May, 1846, the commissioners — Nathaniel Gary, Pat- 
rick Culbertson, and David Adams — determined "to adopt immediate 
measures to effect the building of a new court house by the ensuing year 
1847; and also that it would be expedient for the whole board to go to Mead- 
ville to examine courthouse of said place."' June 5th and 6th Messrs. 
Cary and Adams went to Meadville and employed a Mr. Tucker of that 
place to furnish a draft and specifications, which, as prepared by him, were 
adopted on the 23rd of June. On the following day it was decided by the 
board " that the new court house shall be located on the public square or 
diamond, and that the site shall be southwest of the jail, so as to front 
against the east side of Liberty street, as it comes into the diamond from the 
west.'' The proposals of foiu'teen different individuals or firms were con- 
sidered July 27th, and the contract awarded to William Bell and I. B. 



Rowe at their bid of seven thousand and fifty dollars. Two days later a 
formal contract was entered into, in which Messrs. Bell and Kowe agreed to 
complete the building by November 1, 1847. August 28, 1846, the commis- 
sioners were engaged in staking off the ground, and immediately thereafter 
the work of construction was begun. In consequence of a depression in 
the surface at the site selected it was fouiad necessary to make the founda- 
tion deeper and to add two and one-half feet to the height of the wall above 
the ground. Other changes were made as the work progressed, without, 
however, materially increasing the cost. This was a brick building, ob- 
long in shape, fronting on Liberty street, situated in front and quite near 
the site of the present court house. The offices of the prothonotary and 
commissioners were on the lower floor, the former on the north, the latter 
on the south, with a short hall between through which the court room was 
entered. The second floor was divided into several apartments, used as 
jury rooms, and a cupola containing a bell surmounted the roof. Septem- 
ber 11th and 12th, 1847, the records were removed to the new building, 
which was thenceforth their repository more than a score of years. 

The third and present court house is a brick building of ample and sym- 
metrical proportions, situated in South park and fronting the intersection of 
Liberty and Twelfth streets. The large volume of legal proceedings inci- 
dent to the great increase of population and wealth caused by the develop- 
ment of the oil industry demanded better facilities for the transaction 
of official business and greater security for the safe keeping of the county 
records. May 9, 1867, the junior member of the firm of Sloan & Hutton, 
architects, of Philadelphia, made an examination of the court house in order 
to determine whether it could be rendered tire proof. His decision was not 
favorable; and on the 18th of July the commissioners decided to build a new 
court house, in compliance with the recommendation of the grand jury. 
Sloan & Hutton were employed as architects; J[,. L. Hanna and Smith & 
Hill furnished the brick and William Hayes and James Black the stone for 
the walls. J. W. Brady was employed as superintendent of construction 
August 14, 1867, and the work of excavating the cellar was immediately be- 
gun. Operations were suspended late in the autumn and resumed in the 
following spring. The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies 
Ju^ly 15, 1868, by Venango Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 
James S. Myers and John S. McOalmont were the orators of the occasion. 
The building was finally completed in the summer of 1869. 

A wide hall on the first floor extends through the building in the direc- 
tion of its greatest length, communicating with the offices of the commis- 
sioner, treasurer, and sheriff* on the west, and those of the register and re- 
corder and prothonotary on the east. Two stairways in front and one in 
the rear ascend to the second story, which is mainly occupied by the court 
room, a spacious apartment with seating capacity of one thousand. Three 


jury rooms, the judge's chambers, aud the office of the county superintend- 
ent of public schools complete the internal arrangement. Although com- 
pleted twenty years ago, this building is superior to many of its class in the 
other counties of the state, and will doubtless enjoy a longer period of use- 
fulness than any of its predecessors. 

The Jail is the inevitable accompaniment of the courthouse, and, in the 
case of Venango county, may be said to have preceded it. Commitments 
were occasionally necessary in the administration of the law by the local 
justices, and in such cases the '' Old Garrison " was brought into requisition. 
When it passed under the jurisdiction of the county commissioners they 
employed John Broadfoot, Samuel Atkinson, and Jacob Whitman to make 
such repairs as would insure the security of the prisoners confined therein. 
Even then it was not particularly well adapted to its purpose, and as soon 
as the court house had been completed aud })aid for, public attention naturally 
reverted to the erection of a building more suitable for the comfort and safe 
keeping of its inmates. 

March 19, 1818, the county commissioners — John Wilson, Abraham Seld- 
ers, and William Kinnear — "were engaged in fixing the site for a pul)lic 
prison." Contracts were made with Joel Sage for lumber and Thomas 
Hulings for stone. John Lupher agreed to furnish five tons of bar iron. 
June 1, 1818, proposals for erecting the building were received from George 
McClelland, John Lupher, Charles Ridgway, Abraham Clark, Thomas 
Hulings, Samuel Hays, McCalmont & McClelland, and Matthias Stockbarger. 
The contract was awarded Mr. Stockbarger at his bid of two thousand, nine 
hundred and ninety-five dollars, and the contract was executed June 4, 1819. 
The work of construction was pushed with energy. In November, 1819, 
Alexander McCalmont, William Connely, and Charles Holeman were 
ai^pointed by the commissioners to measure the stone work, in order to facil- 
itate an accounting for materials furnished for this part of the building. 
The walls were practically completed in May, 1820, when Stockbarger pur- 
chased the lumber that remained unused. In March, 1822, Andrew 
Dewoody was employed "to collect the loose stones lying about the walls," 
and fill up the sand holes on the diamond therewith. 

Doctor Eaton gives the following description of this, the first prison 
erected by the county: 

The jail was something of a curiosity. It was designed to be both a prison and 
a house for the sheriff, although rather diminutive to serve both purposes. It was two 
stones high, although the upper story was quite low. The windows of the portion 
assigned to prisoners were strongly barred. The architect seemed to have had some 
misgivings as to the strength of the wall, for the prison rooms were lined with lieavy 
oak planks six inches in thickness, and so secured that they could not well be wrenched 
from their position. They were fastened to great beams with long spikes, and were 
supposed to form a strong barrier against liberty on the part of the prisoners. 

So far as is known, no attempt was ever made to storm this very strong fortress, 
but one. On this occasion, a plan was matured to break through the wall. The idea 


formed was to burn a way throu.t^b these planks bj" heating the iron poker in the stove 
and piercing the phinks in detail. But in a few minutes the smoke tilled the jail, pen- 
etrating into the sheriff's apartments and creating such an alarm that the family and 
neighbors alike came to the rescue. The plan failed, and was uever attempted again. 

This building could not have been more than thirty or thirty-five feet square, but it 
had an annex that was supposed at the time to be an admirable invention. It was a 
yard communicating with the prison apartments. The design was merciful and 
humane, affording the prisoners an opportunity of going out, in a limited way, to 
breathe the free air of heaven, and when in contemplative mood to look up at the stars. 
This yard was some twenty feet square, surrounded by a stone wall perhaps twelve or 
fifteen feet in height. Sometimes the j^risoners might be seen lying pi one on top of 
the wall, enjoying the warm sunshine. Often the circus tents were pitched within 
twenty rods of the jail, and from the top of the wall curious prisoners might obtain 
glimpses of what was going on on the sawdust in the tent. There was a well in this 
yard and often the lady of the castle utilized convict labor in having water drawn 
and carried in for household purposes. A bearing peach tree was also growing in this 
same yard during the last years of its occupation. 

Occasionally there were jail deliveries there without authority from the court. It 
was not hard to get over the wall if ennui oppressed the man; nor was it very difficult 
at times to evade the vigilance of the sheriff's wife, who often had sole charge, and get 
out by the front door. 

But the county awoke to the fact that a new jail was needed, and this classic old 
building was vacated, and eventually torn down, when all its secrets were exposed to 
the curiosity of the small boy. The stones were of little importance and soon removed, 
the well was filled up, and the site is but a memory. 

The location of this building was in South park, in the rear of the present 
court house, near the corner of Twelfth and Elk streets. It was occupied 
as a jail about thirty years, and finally sold by the commissioners to Josiah 
Adams, August 27, 1853, for the sum of one hundred and fifty-two dollars. 

The present county jail is situated on Elk street near Twelfth. It was 
origiaally erected in 1852-53 by John Byrnes, under contract, for nine 
thousand, five hundred dollars. As early as December, 1850, the commis- 
sioners had purchased stone in the lock opposite Franklin, paying therefor 
two hundred and eighty-six dollars, but it was not until a year later that the 
contract with Mr. Byrnes was entered into. A brick building, three stories 
high, fronting the street, constitutes the warden's residence; the jail proper 
is attached and in the rear. As rebuilt in 1868, this comprises twenty 
cells, arranged iu two tiers around an open court. One judicial execution 
has occurred within these walls, that of Thomas McCartey, for the murder 
of Barry in French Creek township. This took place at 12:30 P. M. , 
October 28, .1808. 

The County Alms House. — The indigent classes of the county were cared 
for by the difPerent townships until a comparatively recent date. April 13, 
1870, the legislature passed an act conferring upon the county commissioners 
the powers and duties of directors of the poor,- with authority to erect and 
sustain a county alms house. Roland Hughes, Francis Merrick, John P. 
Crawford, M. C Beebe, Charles H. Slieppard, R. S. McCormick, Samuel 
Plumer, and James McCutcheon were named as commissioners to select a 


suitable location. The Roberts and Hays farms, coiujirising two bundred 
and seventy-five acres in Sugar Creek township, were chosen and purchased 
for the sum of twenty thousand dollars. Immediate measures were taken 
for the erection of the building. J. M. Blackburn was employed as architect, 
and in September, 1870, the contract was awarded Dewees & Simmons of 
Tionesta at their bid of sixty-seven thousand, eight hundred and fifty six 
dollars. They also purchased the old court house for two thousand dollars. 
November 14, 1871, the contractors having confessed their inability to pro- 
ceed with the work, the county commissioners decided to do so and placed 
J. M. Shoemaker in charge as building superintendent. The building was 
completed November 9, 1872, and opened for the reception of paupers on 
the 26th of December. The first death among this community occurred 
January 9, 1873. 

The building is constructed of brick, three stories in height, with sand- 
stone basement partly above ground; length, two hundred and ninety feet; 
central projection, one hundred and ninety feet in depth, with tower in front. 
The several stories are eleven feet, fourteen feet, and twelve feet high; cor- 
ridors, sixteen feet wide; transverse corridors, ten feet wide. The sexes are 
efPectually separated. On the first floor are the steward's apartments, direct- 
ors' room, physician's oflice, dining and sitting rooms. The kitchen, bake- 
room, and laundry are in the west end of the central projection. Fire escapes 
are provided. The establishment has a system of water works ample for its 

The local management is intrusted to a steward, appointed by the county 
commissioners. This position has been filled by Samuel McAlevy, appointed 
November 13, 1872; John Lockard, appointed January 2, 1876; Oliver Mc- 
Kissick, appointed September 12, 1876; Solomon Thorn, appointed January 
2, 1882; and Henry A. Gulp, appointed August 13, 1883. 


The act of 1834 inaugurated in Pennsylvania what is distinctively known 
as the public school system. Popular education had been a subject of legis- 
lative action since the founding of the colony. It was stipulated in the con- 
stitution of 1790 that the legislature should "provide by law for the 
establishment of schools throughout the state in such manner that the poor 
may be taught gratis. ' ' In 1802 an act was passed to provide for the main- 
tenance of schools where elementary instruction might be received by all 
children. Those of the well-to-do were required to pay a small sum, but 
when the returns of the assessors showed that the parents were unable to 
bear this expense the county commissioners were authorized to do so. It 
does not appear that popular education in Yenango county was materially 
advanced by the operation of this law. Here the neighborhood school was 
the earliest result of educational effort. As a measure of convenience cer- 


tain communities established schools in which their children might receive 
a rudimentary education. The teacher derived his support from his patrons 
and the affairs of the school were intrusted by common consent to the more 
energetic members of the community, who were usually men of intelligence. 
The law of 1802 was variously amended at different times, without, however, 
accomplishing its purpose. In 1827 a society for the promotion of education 
in the state was formed at Philadelphia, and through a corresponding com- 
mittee the opinions of leading men in every county were ascertained, and a 
union of the most progressive sentiment effected. The powerful influence 
thus generated resulted in'lhe act of 1834. In this the former distinction 
between pay and pauper schools was abrogated; all property was made tax- 
able for the support of the schools, and their local management in each district 
placed in charge of a board of six directors. Some two hundred acts of the 
legislature had preceded that of 1834; but the latter, although amended in 
1836, is substantially unimpaired, and the growing efficiency of the system 
fully attests the wisdom of those who framed it. 

The following is a list of the first boards of school directors elected in 
the respective townships in the year 1834: 

Allegheny. — Hiram Goodrich. David Henderson, Thomas Davison, Aaron 
Benedict, William T. Neill, William Poor. 

Canal. — David Crouch, James Kingsley, John Gibbons, John Foster, 
Jr., William Whitman, Elanson Lindsay. 

Cherry Tree. — John Alcorn, Richard Hamilton, Robert Curry, John 
Breed, William Hamilton, Isaac Archer. 

Cranberry. — F. S. Beck, Daniel Wilhelm, AVilliam Thompson, Alexan- 
der Shannon, James Eaton, William Allison. 

CoJ'wpZaH^er.— John Henry, Patrick McCrea, Henry McCalmont, Samuel 
Lamb, John Neill, Joseph McFate. 

French Creek. — Aaron McKissick, Henry Strickland, Isaac Bunn(41, 
John W. Walker, Jr., John Adams, A. Grace. 

Irwin. — Robert Mitchell, James Perry, William McKee, George Mc- 
Murdy, Christian Dumars, William Hovis. 

Pinegrove. — Samuel Powell, Samuel Zink, J. B. McCalmont, Jacob 
Hinch, John Stover, C. Heylen. 

Plum. — William Mcintosh, Robert Mason, Edward Sweeny, John G. 
Bradley, William Cowan, Jared Welsh. 

Richland. — Henry Neely, Alexander Ritchey, James Burns, Benjamin 
Junkin, John Donaldson, John AUebaugh. 

Scnibgrass. — William Perry, John Coulter, Samuel Mitchell, David 
Phipps, Archibald Henderson, Alexander Scott. 

Sugar Creek. — James Haslet, John Mason, Alexander Bowman, John 
Morrison, M. Stockbarger, Robert McCalmont. 

Franklin Borough. — Lewis T. Reno, John Evans, John W. Howe, 
Andrew Bowman, William Raymond. Benjamin Alexander. 


The first conventioa of delegates under this act. aud in all probability 
the first public educational meeting in the county, was held at the court 
house in Franklin November 4, 1834. Canal township was represented l)y 
Elanson Lindsay; Plum, by William Cowan; Cherry Tree, by Richard 
Hamilton; Allegheny, by Hiram Goodrich; Pinegrove, by Samuel Powell; 
Kockland, by Matthias Domer; Scrubgrass, by John Coulter; Sugar Creek, 
by Alexander Bowman; Franklin Borough, by John W. Howe; Cranberry, 
by Alexander Shannon; Cornplanter, by Henry McCalmont; Kichland, })y 
Benjamin Junkin; Irwin, by Eobert Mitchell; Farmington, by David Rvncr; 
Beaver, by David Allebach; Elk, by Jacob Dahl; Tionesta, by James Wal- 
liston, aud Paint, by Daniel Brenneman'. An organization was effected 
with Samuel Powell as president and David Ryner, secretary. Important 
action was taken relative to a school fund. On motion of Messrs. Howe and 
Goodrich it was determined, with but two dissenting votes, to levy a tax of 
six mills for school purposes. At subsequent meetings in May, 1835, and 
in the following years, annual meetings in the different townships were 
arranged for the consideration of educational matters, and as a result of 
this agitation the system gradually gained in popular support and practical 

County Superintendent of Public Schools. — This office was created in 
1854. Its incumbents, elected by the school directors of the county, have 
been as follows: Manley C. Beebe, 1854-57; William Burgwin, 1857-00; 
Charles H. Dale, 1860-72; William C. McClure, 1872-75; Silas H. Prather, 
1875-84; George B. Lord, 1884. 


Members of Congress. — 1800, Albert Gallatin, Democrat, Washington 
county; 1801, William Hoge, Democrat, W^ashington county; 1803, John 
Hoge, Democrat, Washington county; 1804, John B. C. Lucas, Democrat, 
Beaver county; 1805, Samuel Smith, Democrat, Erie county; 1810 (re- 
elected), Abner Lacock, Democrat, Beaver county; 1813 (re-elected), 
Thomas Wilson, Democrat, Erie county; 1816 (re-elected), Robert Moore, 
Democrat, Beaver county; 1820 (re-elected), Patrick Farrelly, Democrat, 
Crawford county; 1826, Thomas H. Sill, Federalist, Erie county (vice Pat- 
rick Farrelly, deceased); 1826, Stephen Barlow, Democrat, Crawford county ; 
1828, Thomas H. Sill, Federalist, Erie county; 1830, John Banks, Anti- 
Mason, Mercer county; 1832 (re-elected), John Galbraith, Democrat, 
Venango county; 1836, Arnold Plumer, Democrat, Venango county: 1838, 
John Galbraith, Democrat, Erie county; 1840, Arnold Plumer, Democrat, 
Venango county; 1842, Samuel Hays, Democrat, Venango county; 1844, 
William S. Garvin, Democrat, Mercer county; 1846, John W. Farrelly^ 
Whig, Crawford county; 1848 (reelected), John W. Howe, Free-Soil, Ve- 
nango county; 1852, C. B. Curtis, Democrat, AVarren county; 1854, David 


Barclay, Democrat, Jefferson county; 1856, James L. Gillis, Democrat, Elk 
county; 1858, Chapin Hall, Republican, AVarren county; 1860, John Pat- 
ton, Republican, Clearfield county; 1862, Amos Myers, Republican, Clarion 
county; 1864, C. V. Culver, Republican, Venango county, 1866, Darwin 
A. Finney, Republican, Crawford county; 1868, S. Newton Pettis, Repub- 
lican, Crawford county (vice Darwin A. Finney, deceased); 1868, Calvin 
W. Gilfillan, Republican, Venango county; 1870, Samuel Griffith, Demo- 
crat, Mercer county; 1872, Hiram L. Richmond, Republican, Crawford 
county; 1874, Albert G. Egbert, Democrat, Venango county; 1876, Lewis 
F. Watson, Republican, Warren county; 1878, John H. Osmer, Republican, 
Venango county; 1880, Lewis F. Watson, Republican, Warren county; 
1882, Samuel M. Brainerd, Republican, Erie county; 1884 (re-elected), 
William L. Scott, Democrat, Erie county; 1888, Lewis F. Watson, Repub- 
lican. Warren county. 

Stale Senators. — 1800, John Hamilton, Democrat, Washington county — 
district: Allegheny, Washington, and Greene; 1801, William McArthur, 
Democrat, Crawford county — district: Erie, Crawford, Venango, Mercer, 
and Warren; 1809, Wilson Smith, Democrat, Erie county, the same dis- 
trict; 1812, Joseph Shannon, Democrat, the same district; 1816, Henry 
Hurst, Democrat, Crawford county, the same district; 1821, Jacob Herring- 
ton, Mercer county, the same district; 1822, Samuel Hays, Democrat, Ve- 
nango county — district: Venango, Warren, Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson, 
and Cambria; 1827, Eben S. Kelly, the same district; 1835, M. Kelley, 
the same district; 1839, Samuel Hays, Democrat, Venango county — dis- 
trict: Jefferson, McKean, P.ot.ter, Tioga, Venango, and Warren, to which 
Clarion was added in 1842,^.^ 2, William P. Wilcox, Democrat, the same 
district; 1845, James P. Hoover, Democrat, Venango county — district: 
Crawford and Venango; 1848. J. Porter Brawley, Democrat, Crawford 
coianty, the same district; 1851, John Hoge, Democrat, Mercer county — 
district: Mercer, Venango, and Warren; 1854, Thomas Hoge, Democrat, 
Venango county, the same district; 1857, Glenni W. Scofield, Republican, 
Warren county, the same district; 1859, William M. Francis, Republican, 
Lawrence county — district: Lawrence, Mercer, and Venango; 1860, James 
H. Robinson, Republican, Mercer county, the same district; 1863, Thomas 
Hoge, Republican, Venango county, the same district; 1866, James C. 
Brown, Republican, Mercer county, the same district; 1869, Harrison Allen, 
Republican, Warren county — district: Mercer, Venango, and Warren; 1872, 
Samuel McKinley, Republican, Lawrence county — district: Lawrence, Mer- 
cer, and Venango; 1874, \\\ S. McMullen, Republican, Venango county — 
district: Venango and Warren; 1876, Charles W. Stone, Republican, Warren 
county, the same district; 1878 (re-elected), J. W. Lee, Republican, Ve- 
nango county, the same district; 1886, O. C. Allen, Republican, Warren 
county, the same district. 


State Representatives. — At the first session of tlio Xlth House, which met 
November 5, 1800, Samuel Ewalt and Thomas Morton represented the dis- 
trict indicated on the journal as composed of the counties of " Allefheny. 
Crawford, etc." At the first session of the Xllth House, which convened 
December 1, 1801, Alexander Buchanan represented the district composed 
of the counties of Crawford, Venango, Warren, Erie, and Mercer. The fol- 
lowing are Buchanan's successors: 1802, John Lytle, Jr. (re-elected in 1803 
and 1804); 1805, Wilson Smith (re-elected in 1800 and 1807); 1808, Samuel 
Dale and Bevan Pearson — district: Venango and Mercer; 1809, Samuel Dale 
and James Montgomery (re-elected in 1810, 1811, and 1812), the same dis- 
trict; 1813, Samuel Hays and Jacob Herrington, the same district; 1814, 
David Dempsey and Jacob Herrington, the same district; 1815, James Wes- 
ton, Ralph- Marlin, and Jacob Herrington — district: Mercer, Erie, Craw- 
ford. Warren, and Venango; 1818, Samuel Hays, Ralph Marlin, and Jacob 
Herrington, the same district; 1817, Thomas Wilson, Ralph Marlin, and 
Samuel Hays, the same district; 1818, Jacob Herrington, James Cochran, 
and Joseph Hackney, the same district; 1819, Wilson Smith, James Cochran, 
and William Connely, the same district; 1820, Jacob Herrington, William 
Smith, and William Connely, the same district; 1821, David Brown, James 
Cochran, and George Moore, the same district; 1822, James Cochran — dis- 
trict: Venango and Crawford; 1823 (re-elected), Samuel Hays, the same dis- 
trict; 1825, William Foster, the same district; 1826, Thomas Atkinson, the 
same district; 1827, George R. Espy, the same district; 1828, John Galbraith, 
the same district; 1829, John Galbraith (re-elected in 1830 and 1831) — dis- 
trict: Venango and Warren; 1832, James Thompson (re-elected in 1833 and 
1834), the same district; 1835, Hugh McCk^nd, the same district; 1836 
(re-elected), George R. Espy — district: Veu ^o; 1838 (re elected), James 
Ross Snowden, the same district; 1840, Alexander Holeman, the same dis- 
trict; 1841, James Ross Snowden, the same district; 1842, David B. Long. 
From 1843 to 1850 Venango, JefPerson, and Clarion constituted a district 
and elected two representatives. James Ross Snowden, Robert Mitchell, 
and William Perry were elected from Venango county during this period. 
In 1850 Morris Leech, Glenni W. Scofield, and John W. Shu.gert were elected 
from the district composed of Mercer, Warren, and Venango; 1851, John 
W. Shugert, Joseph Y. James, and L. N. McGranahan, the same district; 
1852, L. N. McGranahan, John J. Kilgore, and Carter V. Kinnear, the 
same district; 1853, John J. Kilgore, L. T. Parmlee, and Robert M. De- 
France, the same district; 1854, S. P. McCalmont, Ralph Clapp, and Dan- 
iel Lott, the same district; 1855, S. P. McCalmont, Daniel Lott, and 
Samuel Kerr, the same district; 1850, S. P. McCalmont, Samuel Kerr, and 
Thomas Struthers, the same district; 1857, Thomas Struthers, William G. 
Rose, and C. P. Ramsdell, the same district; 1858, William G. Rose and C. P. 
Ramsdell — district: Mercer and Venango; 1859 (re-elected), George D. Hotius 
and Elisha W. Davis, the same district; 1861 (re-elected), M. C. Beebe and 


James C. Brown, the same district; 1863 (re-elected), William Burgwin aud 
Charles Koooce, the same district. In 1865 Venango was united with War- 
ren in one district, and during the continuance of this arrangement the 
representatives elected from this county were W. L. Whann, A. P. Duncan, 
J. D. McJunkin, and R. D. McCreary. Since 187-1 Venango has composed 
a district and elected representatives in the following order: 1874, John M. 
Dickey, J. P. Park, and William Hasson; 1876, John M. Dickey, William 
Gates, and George E. Mapes; 1878, George E. Mapes, Samuel B. Myers, 
and J. L. Dewoody; 1880, Samuel B. Myers, George E. Mapes, and Willis 
J. Hulings; 1882, Willis J. Hulings, William Hasson,' and James S. Gates: 
1884, Willis J. Hulings, George S. Criswell, and Frank Riddle; 1886, 
George S. Criswell, Robert F. Glenn, and O. P. Morrow; 1888, O. P. Mor- 
row and F. W. Hays. 


President Judges, under the constitution of 1790, were appointed by the 
governor and enjoyed a life tenure. Under the constitution of 1837-38 the 
term of service was made ten years, and in 1851 the office became elective. 
Alexander Addison was commissioned August 17, 1791; Jesse Moore, April 
5, 1803; Henry Shippen, January 24, 1825; Nathaniel B. Eldred, March 
23, 1839; Gaylord Church, April 3, 1843; Alexander McCalmont, 1839 (for 
the eighteenth judicial district to which Venango county was attached in 
1849); Joseph Buffington, 1849. John C. Knox was elected in October, 
1851. John S. McCalmont, appointed in May, 1853, was elected in the 
following autumn, and resigned in 1861, when Glenni W. Scofield was 
appointed; James Campbell was elected October 11, 1861. In 1866 Isaac 
G. Gordon was appointed to the twenty-eighth judicial district, to which 
John Trunkey was elected in October of the same year and re-elected in 
1876. Upon his resignation in December, 1877, Charles E. Taylor was ap- 
pointed; he was elected November 5, 1878, and re-elected November 6, 1888. 

District Judge. — James Thompson of Venango county was appointed 
special law judge for Erie, Crawford, Venango, and Mercer counties May 
18, 1839, and served until May, 1845. 

Associate Judges were originally appointed for life or during good be- 
havior, but by the constitution of 1837-38 the term of service was reduced 
to five years, and in 1850 the office was made elective. John Irwin and 
Thomas McKee were commissioned July 4, 1805, and took the oath of office 
on the 17th of October following. James G. Heron was commissioned De- 
cember 3, 1805, and inducted into office January 27, 1806. He was county 
commissioner at the time and does not appear to have officiated as judge 
until March session, 1808. He died in 1809, but Judges Irwin and McKee 
continued to serve many years. Richard Irwin's incumbency as associate 
judge began in December, 1838; that of Robert Mitchell, in 1840; Benja- 
min A. Plumer, in 1843; James Kinnear, in 1845; Alexander Holeman, in 
1850; Robert Cross, in 1851; John H. Smiley, in 1856; Samuel Hays, in 1856; 
David Phipps, in 1856; W. W. Davison, in 1857; Joshua Davis, in 1861. 


William Connelly, in 1862; Robert Lamberton, in 1862; R. S. McCormicky 
in 1866; James L. Connely, in 1867. Venango county was made a judi- 
cial district (the twenty-eighth) individually in 1877, and thus, by a pro- 
vision in the constitution of 1874, the office of associate judge was abol- 

Prothonotaries. — Appointments to this office were originally made by 
the governor for the term of three years, but the office become elective under 
the constitution of 1837-88. Since 1857 one person has been elected pro- 
thonotary, clerk of the court of quarter sessions, of oyer and terminer, and 
general jail delivery, and another person recorder of deeds, register of wills, 
and clerk of the orphans' court; prior to that date the duties of all these 
offices had been performed by one incumbent. William Moore took the 
oath of office as prothonotary, etc., September 2, 1805; Alexander INIcCal- 
mont, April 27, 1818; Andrew Bowman, April 21, 1824; Arnold Plumer. 
February 27, 1830; Alexander McDowell, February 27, 1836; James P. 
Hoover, December 31, 1840; George W. Connely, December 3, 1842: 
Alexander Cochran, December 4, 1848; William Elliott, December 4, 1854; 
John A. Dale, vice William Elliott, deceased, appointed August 3, 1857; 
R. L. Cochran, December 3, 1857 ;C. E. Lytle, December 4, 1860; J. H. 
Smith, December 3, 1866; E. G. Crawford, December 1, 1869; Isaac Reine- 
man, January 3, 1876; Philip Engelskirger, January 2, 1882; John H. 
Evans, January 2, 1888, present incumbent. 

Register and Recorder. — Nathaniel D. Suowden took the oath of office 
as register and recorder and clerk of the. orphans' court't December 3, 1857; 
H. B. Gordon, December 4, 1860; Alexander McDowell, May 30, 1866, ap- 
pointed, vice H. B. Gordon, deceased; James W. Shaw, December 1, 1866; 
John P. Barr, January 3, 1876; Carlisle J. Crawford, January 5, 1885, 
present incumbent. 

County Commissioners were elected annually for the term of three years 
until the adoption of the constitution of 1873, which provided for the trien- 
nial election of the entire board of three members. Ninian Irwin, Caleb 
Crane, and James G. Heron constituted the first board. James G. Heron 
served from October, 1805, to October, 1806; Caleb Crane, October, 1805, 
to October, 1807; Ninian Irwin, October 1805, to October, 1808; James 
McClaran, October, 1806, to August, 1808; Samuel Ray, Jr., October 1807; 
to October, 1810; John Shaw, appointed, vice James McClaran, resigned, 
August, 1808, to October, 1808; John Nelson, October, 1808, to February, 
1810; George McClelland, October, 1808, to November, 1812; David Brown, 
appointed, vice John Nelson, resigned, February, 1810, to October. 1810; 
John Wilson, October, 1810, to October, 1813; James McClaran, October, 
1810, to October, 1814; John Hamilton, November, 1812, to August, 1814, 
Robert Mitchell, October, 1813, to October, 1816; John McCalmont. Jr., 
appointed, vice John Hamilton, resigned, August, 1814, to October, 1814; 


Alexander McCalmont, November, 1814, '.to October, 1817; John AVilson, 
October, 1814, to October, 1818; Abraham Selders, October, 1816, to Octo- 
ber, 1819; William Kinnear, October, 1817, to October, 1820; Kobert 
Mitchell, October, 1818, to October, 1821; Craft Ghost, October, 1819, to 
October, 1822; Welden Adams, October, 1820, to October, 1828; James 
Kinnear, October, 1821, to October, 1824; Barnhart Martin, October, 1822, 
to October, 1825: John Witherup, October, 1823, to October, 1826; John 
Broadfoot, October, 1824, to October, 1827; Alexander Holeman, October, 
1825, to October, 1828; James Martin, October, 1826, to October, 1829; 
James Mason, Jr., October, 1827, to October, 1830; Richard Irwin, October, 
1828, to October, 1831; William Elliott, October, 1829, to October, 1832; 
Joshua Davis, October, 1830, to October, 1833; Marvin Perry, October, 
1831, to October, 1834; James Hamilton, Jr., October, 1832, to October, 
1835; George Kribbs, October, 1833, to October, 1836; James Adams, Oc- 
tober, 1834, to October, 1837; Lewis T. Reno, October, 1835, to October, 
1838; James Hasson, October, 1836, to October, 1839; Robert Bradley, Oc- 
tober, 1837, to October, 1840; William Perry, October, 1838, to October, 
1841; John Shannon, October, 1839, to October, 1842: William Hamilton, 
October, 1840, to October, 1843; Patrick Davidson, October, 1841, to Oc- 
tober, 1844; John D. McWilliams, October, 1842, to October, 1845; Na- 
thaniel Gary, October, 1843, to October, 1846; Patrick Culbertson, Octo- 
ber, 1844, to October, 1847; David Adams, October, 1845, to October, 
1848; R. A. Brashear, October, 1846, to October, 1849; Robert Archer, October, 
1847, to October, 1850; J. J. Kilgore, October, 1848, to October, 1851; 
William Siggins, October, 1849, to March, 1851; M. B. Shannon, Octo- 
ber, 1850, to October, 1853; Putnam McKissick, appointed, vice William 
Siggins, resigned, March, 1851, to October, 1852; John Boughner, 
November, 1851, to November, 1854; Robert Dickson, November, 1852, 
to November, 1855; William Cowan, November, 1853, to November, 
1856; James McCutcheon, November, 1854, to November, 1857; James 
Duffield. November, 1855, to October, 1858; John Willings, Novem- 
ber. 1856. to October, 1859; James Ritchie, Sr., November, 1857, to 
October, 1860; Isaac Tallman, October, 1858, to November 1861; Joseph 
A. Allen, October, 1859. to October, 1862; Robert Martin, October, 
1860, to October, 1863; Willuim Smith, November, 1861, to November, 
1864; R. H. McFate, October, 1862, to October, 1865; Thonjas Holmden, 
October, 1863, to August, 1865; B. F. Mark, November, 1864, to October, 
1867; William Smith, appointed, vice Thomas Holmden, resigned, August, 
1865, to October, 1865; James Duncan, October. 1865, to October, 1869; D. 
H. Cassidy, October, 1865, to October, 1868; Wilson Davis, October, 1867, 
to October, 1870; John Davidson, November, 1868, to October, 1871; James 
Y. Siggins, October, 1869, to November, 1872; Henry Dubbs, October, 
1870, to November, 1873; James P. Riddle, October, 1871, to December, 


1874; A. M. Turner, November, 1872, to Januarv, ISTC); C. E. Lytle, 
November, 1873, to January, 1876; Thomas MeKee, December, 1874, to 
January, 1870; W. L. Armstrong, James Vanderlin, Thomas McKee, Jan- 
uary, 1876, to January, 1879; Albert Tyrrell, Hugh Craig, T. K. Homan, 
January, 1879, to January, 1882; Kobert M. Sterritt, Hugh Craig, Thomas 
J. Eakin, January, 1882, to January, 1885; Thomas J. Eakin, L. C. Heas- 
ley, January, 1885, to January, 1888; A. W. Cox, January, 1885, to July, 
1886; Samuel A. McAlevy, appointed, vice A. W. Cox, deceased, .fulv, 
1880, to January, 1888: William A. Maitland, J. D. Patterson, and S H. 
McKinney, January, 1888. present incumbents. 

County 'Treasurers were appointed by the commissioners until 1841, 
when the office became elective. Alexander McDowell was treasurer in 
1805-7; Samuel Hays, 1808; John Broadfoot, 1809-10; George McClel- 
land, 1813-15; John McCalmont, Jr., 1810-18; James Kinnear, 1819; 
George McClelland, 1820-21; John Lupher, 1822-23; George McClelland, 
1824; George Power, 1825; John Evaus, 1820; Hugh McClelland, 1827-28; 
Myron Park, 1829-30; Samuel Huston, 1831-32; AVilliam llaymoud, 1833- 
34; George R. Espy, 1885 and 1830 to November, when he resigned; Ben- 
jatQin A. Plumer, November, 1830, to Janiiary, 1839; John Haslet, 1839- 
40; William M. Smiley, 1842-43; William Elliott, 1844-45; Thomas H. 
Martin, 1840-47; Jacob Mays, 1848-49; Jacob G. Keefer, 1850-51; James 
Bleakley, 1852-53; James Griffin, 1854-55; Miles W. Sage, 1850-57; John 
P. McKinley, 1858-59; George W. Brigham, 1800-01; R. J. Canan, 1802- 
03; Henry Dubbs, 1804-05; James Allison, 1800-07; Thomas A. Morrison, 
1808-09; J. R. Grant, 1870-71; N. B. Riddle, 1872-73; Isaac M. Sowers, 
1874-75; James F. Mackey, 1870-78; I. H. Davison, 1879-81; W. C. Cross, 
1882-84; I. H. Davison, 1885-87; Charles E. Shoup, 1888, present in- ' 

County Auditors. — Three auditors are elected triennially. Prior to 
the adoption of the constitution of 1790 the accounts of the commissioners 
and treasurer were submitted to the grand jury. The first legislation intro- 
ducing the present system was an act passed March 30, 1791, providing 
for the appointment of auditors annually by the county court. The office 
was made elective by the act of March 6, 1809, in which, however, the court 
of quarter sessions was authorized to fill any vacancies that might occur. 
On the 7th of February, 1814, an act was passed extending the term of office 
to three years; the person receiving the largest number of votes at that elec- 
tion was to serve the maximum period; the person receiving the next highest 
number, two years; and the person receiving the next highest number, one 
year, while one member was to be elected annually thereafter. This arrange- 
ment continued until the present system was adopted under the constitution 
of 1873. 

Nothing is known concerning the board in 1800 beyond the fact that 


Patrick Jack was one of its members. Samuel Dale, Joseph Allen, and John 
Snow were appointed for 1807; Alexander McDowell, John Andrews, and 
Elial Farr, for 1808. Isaac Connely, William Moore, and Alexander Mc- 
Calmont were elected in 1809; Alexander McCalmont, John McClaran, and 
John Hamilton, in 1810; Isaac Connely, John McClaran, and John Hamil- 
ton, in 1811; Robert Mitchell, John Broadfoot, and Samuel Dale, in 1812; 
John Broadfoot, Andrew Bowman, and Charles Holeman, in 1813. In 1814 
Charles Holeman was elected for three years and served from January, 1815, 
to January, 1818; William Crawford was elected for two years and served 
from January, 1815, to January, 1817; Ninian Irwin was elected for one 
year and served from January, 1815, to January, 1810. John Gordon 
served from January, 1816, to January, 1819; Ninian Irwin, from January, 
1817, to January, 1820; Thomas Baird, from January, 1818, to January, 
1821; George McClelland, January, 1819, to January, 1821; William Neill, 
January, 1820, to January, 1823; James Martin, January, 1821, to January, 
1824; Ninian Irwin, January, 1821, to January, 1822; Alexander Holeman, 
January, 1822, to January, 1825; John Martin, Jr., January, 1823, to Jan- 
uary, 1826; James Mason, January, 1824, to January, 1827; James Hulings, 
January, 1825, to January, 1828; James Hamilton, January, 1826, to Jan- 
uary, 1829; William Crary, January, 1827, to January, 1830; John Little, 
January, 1828, to January, 1831; Thomas Baird, January, 1829, to January, 
1832: Samuel Huston, January, 1830, to January, 1831; Robert J. Neill, 
January, 1831, to January, 1833; Hugh Henry, January, 1831, to Jan- 
uary, 1834; Alexander Holeman, January, 1832, to January, 1835; Alex- 
ander McDowell, January, 1833, to January, 1836; John Coulter, Jan- 
uary, 1834, to January, 1837; Robert Mitchell, January, 1835, to January, 
1838; William Parker, January, 1836, to January, 1839; Daniel Delo, Jan- 
uary, 1821, to January, 1840; William Neill, January, 1838, to January, 
1841; Patrick Culbertson, January, 1839, to January, 1842; James Duffield, 
January, 1840, to January, 1843; Isaac Griffin, January 1841, to January, 
1844; Robert Dixon, January, 1842, to January, 1845; Charles H. Heydrick, 
January, 1843, to January, 1846; William C. Frazier, January, 1844, to Jan- 
uary, 1847; Jacob G. Keefer, January, 1845, to January, 1848; Philip Ghost, 
January, 1846, to January, 1849; John G. Bradley, January, 1847, to Jan- 
uary, 1850; William Allison, January, 1848, to January, 1851; Alexander 
Culbertson, January, 1849, to January, 1852; J. P. Gilliland, January, 1850, 
to January, 1852; George W. Parker, January, 1851, to January, 1853; R. 
H. McFate, January, 1852, to January, 1854; Robert J. Neill, January, 1852, 
to January, 1855; D. D. Dickey, January, 1854, to January, 1856; Samuel 
McAlevy, January, 1855, to January, 1858; John Hetzler, January, 1856, to 
January, 1859; John Guist, January, 1857, to January, 1860; William Fos- 
ter, January, 1858, to January, 1861 ; J. A. Dreibelbiss, January, 1859, to 
January, 1862; William M. Richardson, January, 1860, to Januarys 1863; 


Samuel Foster, January, 1861, to January, 1804; J. R. Stranford, January, 
1862, to January, 1865; Thomas Singleton, January, lHCu\, to January. 1S6<); 
Daniel Persing, January, 1864, to January, 1867; P. L. Pryor, January. 
1865, to January, 1868; A. Bowman, January, 1866, to January, 1869; Pliilo 
Williams, January, 1867, to January, 1870; James H. McCombs, Janiiary. 
1868, to January, 1871; James Lee, January, 1869, to Jaiuiary,1872; Alonzu 
Poor, January, 1870, to January, 1878; John Glass, January, 1871, to Jan- 
uary, 1874; William K. Gilliland, Janiiary, 1872, to Janiiary, 1875; William 
H. Hughes, January, 1878, to January, 1876; I. B. Myers, January, 1874, to 
January, 1876; John Ricketts, January, 1875, to January, 1876; AV. H. Web- 
ber, Henry Clulow, January, 1876, to January, 1879; John Kean, January, 
1876. to January, 1878; W. M. Epley, January, 1878, to January, 1879; J. 
D. Zeigler, E. Hughes, A. Gilmer, January, 1879, to January, 1882; George 
Chambers, January, 1882, to January, 1885; Henry D. Gulp, Daniel Shaner, 
January, 1882, to January, 1884; William K. Gilliland, January, 1884, to 
January, 1888; C. W. Shaner, January, 1884, to January, 1885; John A. 
Robinson, E. A. Hughes, January, 1885, to January, 1888; A. S. Mawhinney, 
H. McClintock, L. J. Bowen, elected in 1887, constitute the present board. 

Sheriffs. — John Witherup took the oath of office as sheriff of the county 
December 4, 1805; Samuel Hays, November 24, 1808; Alexander McCal- 
mont, December 21, 1811; John Hamilton, November 12, 1814; Andrew 
Bowman, November 28, 1817, Samuel Hays, November 8, 1820; Arnold 
Plumer, November 24, 1823; Arthur Robison, December 2, 1826; Samuel 
Hays, November, 1829; Andrew McCaslin, November 30, 1832; Samuel 
Hays, December, 1835; John Evans, November 6, 1838; John W. Shugert, 
November 25, 1841; Samuel Phipps, November 26, 1844; John A. Dale, 
November 26, 1847; John Adams, November 29, 1850; Thomas H. Martin, 
December 3, 1853; Putnam McKissick, November 29, 1856; Samuel Mc- 
Alevy, December 2, 1859; Samuel A. Thomas, November 29, 1862; P. R, 
Gray, December 2, 1865; Henry H. Herpst, November 27, 1868; Cyrus S. 
Marks, December 4, 1871; L. T. Lamberton, January 4, 1875; C. M. 
Hoover, January 7, 1878; Cyrus S. Marks, January 3, 1881; J. S. Shearer, 
January 7, 1884; William R. Crawford, January 3, 1887; L. L. Ray, Janu- 
ary 6, 1890, present incumbent. 

Coro7iers. —Marcus Hulings took the oath of office as coroner December 
4, 1805; John McDonald, November 23, 1808; Charles Ridgway, December 
21, 1811; George Power, November 12, 1814; Samuel Hulings, November 
. 28, 1817; Robert McCalmont, November 9, 1820; Abraham Clark, Novem- 
ber 9, 1824; Thomas S. McDowell, November 14, 1826; James Foster, 
November, 1829; William Parker, February 16, 1833; Charles L. Cochran, 
December, 1835; Aaron McKissick, November 11, 1838; Armstrong Duffield, 
December 7, 1841; Nathaniel D. Snowden, 1844; James A. Donaldson, 
November 22, 1847; Robert Crawford, April, 1850; Charles W. Mackey, Jan- 


nary 9, 1853; J. W. Kiddle, July 15. 1857; William F. Hunter, January 3, 
1861; E. C. Westlake, December 22, 1865; Thomas B. Larue, November, 
1868; Joseph Hooton, 1871; S. Gustine Snowden, January 7, 1874; A. W. 
Cox, January 17, 1877; E. W. Moore, January 5, 1886; J. B. Reynolds, 
January 7, 1889, present incumbent. 

County Surveyors. — The title of this office was deputy surveyor and its 
incumbents were appointed by the governor until 1850, when the office be- 
came elective and the name was changed to its present style. Samuel Dale 
was the first deputy surveyor, and arrived at Franklin in August, 1800. 
Alexander McCalmont was commissioned as his successor May 1, 1812. and 
the subsequent incumbents of the office assumed its duties in the following 
order: William Connely, February 2, 1817; John Irwin, May, 1818; Rich- 
ard Irwin, July 7, 1824; Thomas Hamilton, 1839; William Connely. July 4, 
1840; Charles H. Heydrick, February 10, 1845; Matthew Riddle, February 
27, 1851; Charles H. Heydrick, November 29, 1853; William Hilamls, 1862; 
George M. Bowman, December 16, 1868; William Hilaods, 1871, and has 
filled the office continuously up to the present. 

District Attornejjs. — From 1800 to 1850 this office was known by the 
title of deputy attorney general, and the incumbents were appointed by the 
attorney general of the state. The office was made elective in 1850, and 
the name changed to its present style. Matthew Riddle was elected in 1850; 
Thompson Allison, in 1853 and 1856; Charles E. Taylor, in 1859, resigned 
in 1861; C. W. Gilfillan, appointed in 1861, and elected in 1862; Samuel 
B. Myers, in 1865 and 1868; James H. Smith, in 1871; W. H. James, in 
1874; William Francis, in 1876; Thomas McGough, in 1879. 1882. and 1885, 
and F. L. Kahle, in 1888. 

Jury Coniviissioners. — This office was created in 1867 and made elective, 
two persons being chosen for the term of three years. Each voter is entitled 
to cast a ballot for one candidate only, thus insuring representation to both 
the leading parties. Robert MofFett and John P. McKinley were elected 
in 1867; Samuel McAlevy and Davidson McElphatrick, in 1870; Walter 
Braden and James E. Muse, in 1873; F. I. Nolen and Harvey Evans, in 
1876; William Hasson and J. R. Neely, in 1879; John Mason and A. J. 
Keenan, in 1882; James Dille and John Willings, in 1885; George E. Mc- 
Intire and W. C. Davidson, in 1888. 


In the general system of government in this state the township is the 
unit. The administration of local affairs is usually intrusted to men of some 
prominence and influence in their respective neighborhoods, and a list of 
township officers includes therefore the names of many citizens whose con- 
nection with public life would otherwise be forgotten, and whose services, 
although circumscribed by narrow limits, are none the less essential to the 

4<^>-3^>i,-C^ ^^^^^^2^' 


community at large. The following list of early township officer. i> ... 
comj)lete as existing records permit. 

The First JufitU'es were commissioned for their respective districts in 
the following order: 

Irwin, Alexander McDowell, May 11, 17U6; Abraham Selders May IT 
1801 ; Patrick Jack, July 4, 1806. 

Allegheny, Joel Green, January 1, 1808. 

Cherry Tree and Plum, Elial Farr, Octol)er 24, 1807. 

Richland, James Allison. October 24, 1807. 

Scrubgrass, John Witherup, November 5, 1808. 

Sugar Creek, Andrew Bowman, 1812. 

Sandy Creek, William Whann, February 24. 1812. 


Allegheny.— Constable, Median Garwood; supervisors: John McCombs, 
Samuel Patterson; overseers of the pour: Peter Titus, James Tuthill. 

Irivin. — Constable, Richard Sutton; supervisors: Edward Hale, Will- 
iam Hays; overseers: George Power, Marcus Hulings; fence viewers: 
James Martin, Sr. , James Beaumont. 

1802. . 
Allegheny. —Constable, John Rain; supervisors: James Miller, Samuel 
Patterson; overseers: Benjamin Huff, Eli Holeman. 

Irivin. — Constable, Thomas Carter; supervisors: John Martin, William 
Logan; overseers: Patrick Davidson, Brice Gilmore; appraisers of dam- 
ages: James Martin, John McClaran. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, John Sherman; supervisors: James Tuttle, 
Robert Elliott; overseers: Thomas Hamilton, John Rodgers; appraisers: 
Henry Preston, Samuel Plumer. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Moses Hicks; supervisors: Samuel Patterson, 
Samuel Rhoads; overseers: John Ryan, John Anderson. 

Irwin. — Constable, Richard Sutton; supervisors: John Witherup, Pat- 
rick Davidson; overseers: John McClaran, James Martin. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, John AVhitman; supervisors: William Crouse, 
John Stiver; overseeers: Hugh Johnston, Thomas Hamilton; appraisers: 
George Sutley, Hugh Hamilton. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Andrew Fleming; supervisors: Samuel Rhoads, 
Moses Hicks, Jr. 

Irivin. — Constable, Richard Sutton; supervisors: John Witherup, John 
Vincicle; overseers: James Martin, John McClaran; appraisers: John Mc- 
Quiston, George King. 



Sugar Creek. — Constable, Elial Farr; supervisors: James Hamilton 
Robert Beatty; overseers: John Todd, George Sutley; appraisers: Robert 
Curry, Hugh Johnston. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Thomas Boyd; supervisors: James McCasland, 
John Henry; overseers: Benjamin Huff, Eli Holeman; appraisers: David 
Kinnear, Alexander Thompson. 

Iririn. — Constable, Adam Dinsmore; supervisors: John Ray, Edward 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Richard Sutton; supervisors: Robert Beatty, 
Ninian Irwin. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Samuel Rhoads; supervisors: John Henry, Ben- 
jamin Huff; overseer, James Irwin. 

Irivin. — Constable, Adam Dinsmore; supervisors: Samuel Hays, James 
Scott; overseer, James Martin. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, John Stiver; supervisors: Robert Shaw, Sam- 
uel Irwin; overseer, Patrick Davidson. 

Constables. — Irwin, Jonathan Murray; Scrubgrass, Matthew Riddle;. 
French Creek, James Nicholson; Cherry Tree, Henry Kinnear; Allegheny, 
Patrick McCrea; Richland, Heniy Best. 

Constables. — Irwin, Jonathan Morris; Scrubgrass, Samuel Doty; French 
Creek, William Irwin; Allegheny, John Watson; Sugar Creek, Francis Hal- 
yday; Cherry Tree, James Hamilton; Richland, Jacob Harrold. 

Constables. — Irwin, Jonathan Morris; Scrubgrass, James Graham; 
French Creek, James Martiti; Sugar Creek, Francis Halyday; Cherry Tree, 
George Farr; Allegheny, Thomas H. Prather; Richland, Alexander Ritchey. 

Constables. — Allegheny, James Dawson, Sr. ; Cherry Tree, Samuel 
Proper; French Creek, James Adams; Irwin, Thomas Baird; Richland, AVill- 
iam Downing; Scrubgrass, James Craig; Sugar Creek, Francis Halyday. 

Constables. — Allegheny, James Allender; Cherry Tree, Samuel Proper; 
Irwin, John McClaran; Scrubgrass, John Phipps; Sitgar Creek, James 
McCune; Richland, Henry Neely. 

Constables. — Allegheny, James Alexander; Cherry Tree, William Pas- 



tores; French Creek, John Gordon; Irwin, Craft Ghost; KichhiuJ, Nathan 
Phipps; Scrubgrass, Thomas Jones; Sugar Creek, Alexander Johnston. 

Constables. — Allegheny, James Lamb; Cherry Tree, John LaiulxTton; 
Irwin, Isaac Robison; French Creek, John Atkinson; liichland, Jacob 
Keefer; Scrubgrass, David Say; Sugar Creek, Hamilton McClintock. 

Constables. — Allegheny, William Neill; Cherry Tree, Benjamin August; 
French Creek, Charles Ridgway; Irwin, James McMurdy; Richland, Adam 
Sheerer; Scrubgrass, Robert Calvert; Sugar Creek, James Gordon. 

Constables. — Allegheny, "William Broadfoot; Cherry Tree, Francis Ham- 
ilton; French Creek, John Ridgway; Irwin, Patrick Davidson; Scrubgrass, 
James Leslie; Sugar Creek, Francis McClintock. 

Constables. — Allegheny, William Neill; Cherry Tree, William McGinnis; 
French Creek, William Dewoody; Irwin, Stephen Sutton; Plum, Patrick 
Gordon; Richland, Henry Schwabb; Rockland, John Jolly; Scrubo-rass, 
James Leslie; Sugar Creek, Henry Herring. 


Allegheny. — Constable, William Neill. 

Cherry Tree.- — Constable, William McGinnis. 

French Creek. — Constable, John P. Houser; auditors: John Broadfoot, 
James Martin, James Gilliland, John Hamilton; supervisors: Armstrong 
Duffield, Jonah Reynolds; fence viewers: Robert Kinnear, Samuel Lind- 
say; overseers: James Adams, John Dewoody. 

Irivin. — Constable, William Davidson. 

Plum. — Constable, Patrick Gordon; auditors: John Fetterman, John 
Daugherty, Robert Bradley, James Gordon; supervisors: John Bradley, 
Jacob Grove; overseers: John Bradley, Jacob Grove; fence viewers, George 
Franks, Robert Longwell. 

Richland. — Constable, James Ritchey. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, James Leslie. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Henry Herring; auditors: John Kelly, John 
Mason, Isaac Walls, Peter Dompsey; supervisors: Francis Carter, Luther 
Thomas; overseers: William Hays, John Wilson. 


Allegheny. — Constable, William Neill. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, David Farrell; auditors: John Gordon. G. 


McClelland, John Hamilton, James Martin; supervisors: R. Hamilton, 
Robert Curry; overseers: R. Hamilton, Robert Curry; appraisers: M. 
Stockbarger, Isaac McMurdy. 

French Creek. — Constable, John Dewoody; auditors: Robert Mitchell, 
John McClaran, William Davidson, Adam Dinsmore; supervisors: A. Duf- 
field, I. Reynolds; overseers: Andrew Bowman, Isaac Smith; appraisers: 
Jacob Switzer, I. Addleberger. 

Iririn. — Constable, John Henderson; auditors: James Ritchey, G. 
Richardson, Thomas Thompson, Baruhart Martin; supervisors: Alexander 
Porter, Joseph Allen; overseers: Patrick Davidson, John Hoffman; apprais- 
ers: G. Snyder, John Shannon. 

Plum. — Constable, I. Proper; auditors: John Mason, John Whitman; 
supervisors: John Carter, John Daugherty; overseers: John Daugherty, 
John Carter. 

i?w7; /a?i<i. —Constable, R. Armstrong; auditors: John Shannon, John 
McDonald, John Parker, David Smith; supervisors: C. Hummel, Henry 
Neely; overseers: Henry Neely, Peter Kister; appraisers: Samuel Small, 
Lewis Herring. 

Rockland. — Constable, John Porterfield; auditors: John Fetterman, 
William Cooper, Daniel Proper, Daniel Herring; supervisors: James Moor- 
head, John Watt; overseers: D. Smith, John Evans; apj^raisers: James 
Foster, James Shaw. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, William Sloan; auditors: Thomas Jones, 
Thomas Kerr, James Pollock, William Dickson; «upervisors: James Craig, 
Samuel Eakin; overseers: John Phipps, William Crawford. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Christian Sutley; auditors: Peter Dempsey, 
John Keely; supervisors: Francis Carter, John Duffield; overseers: Thomas 
Carter, I. McFadden. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Robert McFate; auditors: John Dawson, Pat- 
rick McCrea, Isaac Connely, Alexander Thompson; supervisors: James 
Dawson, David Henderson; overseers: William Broadfoot, James Dawson; 
appraiser, James Dawson. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, Lumen Prindle; supervisors: Daniel Flem- 
ing, Lumen Prindle. 

French Creek. — Constable, James Kinnear; anditoi's: John Galbraith, 
Jfimes Gilliland, John Hamilton, Arthur Robison; supervisors: John De- 
woody, Jacob Runninger; overseers: Andrew Bowman, William Dewoody; 
appraisers: George McClelland, John Martin, Jr. 

Irwin. — Constable, I. Allen; auditors: Philip Surrenna. Reuben Sut- 
ton, Thomas Baird, Patrick Davidson; supervisors: Samuel Osborn, Archi- 
bald Davidson; overseers: William Standley, Reuben Sutton; appraisers: 
Samuel Barnes, Joseph Osborne. 


Plum. — Constable, John Dangherty; auditors: Juliu Lumljorton, Kul)»>rt 
Bradley, Jacob Grove, Daniel Proper; supervisors: Benjamin August, Ja- 
cob Jennings; overseers: Jacob Jennings, Benjamin August; appraisers: 
Samuel Small, Samuel Proper. 

Richland. — Constable, Moses Porter; auditors: Levi Black, B. INIartin, 
Samuel Stewart, Thomas Thom])soii; supervisors: Jacob Keefer, Jose|)h 
Porter; overseers: William Rupert, Henry Neely. 

Rockland. — Constable, Daniel Smith; auditors: D. Smith, J. Ford. -Jo 
seph Young, Thomas Thompson; supervisors: Thomas AV. Mays, W'illiiiiu 
Craig; assessors: John Jolly, John Stroup; appraisers: James P. Smith. 
John Mitchell. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, James Scott; auditors: John Witherup. William 
Crawford, James Anderson, M. Graham; supervisors: Samuel Eakin, James 
Craig; overseers: James Hughes, James Say. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Christian Sutloy; auditors: James Foster, 
Elijah McFadden, Isaac Walls, Robert McCalmont; supervisors: James 
Mason, John Duffield; overseers: Samuel Rhoads, James Shaw; appraisers: 
Robert Beatty, John McFadden. 


Allegheny. — Constable, Joseph McCasland; supervisors: William Neill. 
Patrick McCrea; overseers: Robert Hunter, James Dawson. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, William McGinnis: supervisors: T. Yantas- 
sel, Richard Ross. « 

French Creek. — Constable, John Lupher; auditors: James Kiunear, 
James Gilliland, John Martin, James Martin; supervisors: John Dewoody, 
Jacob Runninger; overseers: George McClelland, George Sutley; apprais- 
ers : Thomas Hulings, Charles Holeman. 

Irwin. — Constable, ' Stephen W\ Beach; auditors: Alexander Porter, 
Philip Sarrenna, A. Dinsmore, Robert Mitchell; supervisors: John Walter, 
Thomas Dupuy; overseers: J. Henderson, A. Huey; appraisers: Jonathan 
Mows, Samuel Grimes. 

Plum. — Constable, Samuel Seely; supervisors: William Cooper. John 

Richland. — Constable, William McGinnis; supervisors: Joseph Porter. 
Christian Hummel; overseers: Henry Neely, James McGinnis; auditors: 
William McGinnis, John Mays, Samuel Stewart, Benjamin Gardner. 

Rockland.— GonsiKhle, John McDonald; auditors: Joseph Campbell. 
Charles Ridgeway, James Hall, James Crawford; supervisors: John Porter- 
field, John Shannon; overseers: Joseph Ross, John Forker; appraisers: 
Thomas Piatt, Peter Downing. 

,Scnt6gm.s-s. —Constable, Daniel Wasson; auditors: John Witherui). W. 
Crawford, David Phipps, J. Mclntire; supervisors: John McDonald, Robert 


Calvert; overseers: John McDonald, Robert Calvert; appraisers: James 
Scott, John Phipps. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, William Hays; supervisors: John Foster, 
Robert McCalmont; overseers: Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Wilson. 


Allegheny. — Constable, John Lytle; clerk, John Lytle; auditors: Samuel 
Fleming, H. McCalmont, Robert Elliott, James Miller; supervisors: Isaac 
Connely, Abraham Lovell; overseers: William Broadfoot, Daniel Richey; 
appraisers: William Neill, Patrick McCrea. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, William McGinnis; supervisors: Edward 
Fleming, James Alcorn. 

French Creek. — Constable, Thomas Seaton; auditors: A. McCalmont, 
James Adams, Hugh McClelland, William Gibson; supervisors: Aaron Mc- 
Kissick, Jacob Runniuger; overseers: A. McCalmont, John Broadfoot; ap- 
praisers: James Cannon, Robert Kinnear. 

Irivin. — Constable, John Bonner; auditors: William Davidson, John 
McClaran, Joseph Allen, Reuben Sutton; supervisors: Samuel Grimes, Rob- 
ert Sutton; overseers: Samuel Barnes, John Hoffman; appraisers: S. W. 
Beach, Patrick Davidson. 

Plum. — Constable, Benjamin August; auditors: Alexander Gordon, Sam- 
uel Seely, Samuel Small, John Carter; supervisors: Joseph Proper, John 

Richland. — Constable, Thomas Piatt; auditors: Samuel Stewart, James 
Piatt, William McGinnis; supervisors: James McGinnis, James Ritchey; 
overseers: Henry Neely, Samuel Stewart. 

Rockland. — Constable, W'illiam Dawson; auditors: Joseph Campbell, 
John Smith, Joseph Kennedy, Joseph Ross; supervisor, James Battin; 
overseer, David Smith; appraiser, James Hall. 

Scriibgrass. — Constable, William Dickson; auditors: Samuel Eakin, 
Robert Riddle, J. Mclntire, Thomas Kerr; supervisors: Samuel Eakin, 
John Sloan; appraisers: John Riddle, Joseph Parks. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Isaac Walls; auditors: John McFadden, Fran- 
cis Carter, William Parker, M. Stockbarger; supervisors: John Foster, 
George Farr; overseers: Thomas Carter, David Bowman; appraisers: Samuel 
Rhoads, Jacob Lupher. 


Allegheny. — Constable, O. Copeland; supervisors: G. Siggins, William 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, Samuel Irwin; auditors: James Dawson, A. 
Holeman, W. Broadfoot, Samuel Fleming; supervisors: B. Griffin, Isaac 
Archer; overseers: James Miller, Andrew Fleming. 

French Creek. — Constable, Robert Henry; clerk, F. G. Crary; auditors: 


James Kinnear, Hugh McClelland, A. Duffield, J. Gillilaud; supervisors: 
Aaron McKissick, William Duffield; overseers: J. Gillilaud, John Martin; 
appraisers: A. Dewoody, James Bennett. 

Iricin. — Constable, William Davidson; clerk, John IMcClaraii; auditors: 
R. Mitchell, J. Matthews, John McClaran, Craft Ghost; supervisors: Adam 
Huey, James McClaran; appraisers; Joseph Osborn, J. Porter. 

Plum. — Constable, John Daugherty; clerk, J. G. Bradley; auditors: E. 
McFadden, Francis Carter, John McCurdy, J. Whitman. 

Richland. — Constable, James Piatt; auditors: Samuel Stewart, James 
W'atson, John L. Porter, John Cochran; supervisors: James Ritchey, 
James McGinnis: overseers: A. Porter, Samuel Stewart; appraisers: I. 
Downey, John Russell. 

Kockland. — Constable, Joseph Campbell; supervisors: Daniel Smith, 
John Prior; overseers: John Sloan, Joseph Ross. 

Scrubgrass.— Constable, Marvin Perry; clerk, Thomas P. Kerr; auditors: 
John Witherup, James Scott, John D. Wood, Thomas Kerr; supervisors: 
Samuel Eakin, Reuben Irwin; overseers: L. Sloan, William Eakiu; ap- 
praisers: John Phipps, Jonathan Kerr. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Alexander Bowman; clerk, William Cousins; 
auditors: E. McFadden, Francis Carter, John McCurdy, J. Whitman; 
supervisors: William Whitman, William Hays; overseers: I. McCalmout, 
A. Selders; appraisers: M. Sutley, John McFadden. 


Allegheny.— Constable, John Siggins; clerk, ^A. Fleming; supervisors: 
James Allender, Samuel Fleming; overseers: A. Fleming, James Miller. 

Cherry Tree. —Constable, William Wilson; clerk, N. Irwin; auditors: 
J. Ross, N. Irwin, James Hamilton, James Hamilton, Jr.; supervisors: 
John Tarr, A. L. Hancock; overseers: A. Davidson, William Reynolds; 
fence viewers: J. Alcorn, J. Morrison. 

French CreeA;.— Constable, Robert Huey; clerk, G. W. Connely; audi- 
tors: J. Gillilaud, A. Duffield, A. McCalmont, G. McClelland; super- 
visors- Aaron McKissick, William Duffield; overseers: James Kinnear, A. 


Irivin.— Constable, John Phipps; auditors: Craft Ghost, William David- 
son, William McManigal, John McClaran; supervisors: C. Hamilton, Peter 
Walter; overseers: Alexander Porter, Thomas Baird; fence viewer, A. Huey. 

Pmegroue.— Constable, John Sigworth; clerk, D. Renyon; overseers: J. 
Johnston, L. Zink; fence viewers: H. Schwabb, Adam Yale. 

Plum.— Constable, Lewis Herring: clerk, Samuel Small; auditors: J. 
Fetterman, James Gordon, J. Foster, John Grove; supervisors: R. Bradley, 
D. Proper; fence viewers: J. Lamberton, James Bradley. 

Richland.— Constable, James Watson; auditors: J. Cochran, J. Piatt, 
H. Neely, J. Ashbaugh. 


Rockland. — Constable, James Hall; auditors: John Shannon, John Ken- 
nedy, Alexander Lemon, Jacob Yonng; supervisors: D. Smith, David 
Jolly; overseers, J. Campbell, William Craig; fence viewers: John Miller, 
J. Stroup. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, John Phillips; clerk, John Anderson; auditors: 
J. D. Wood, William Dickson, James Scott, Thomas Kerr; supervisors: 
Samuel Eakin, R. Irwin; overseers, William Jones, John Sloan; fence 
viewers: James Scott, David Say. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, J. Rodgers; clerk, Stephen McFadden; aud- 
itors: James Foster, John McCurdy, Elijah McFadden, R. Mason; super- 
visors: William Hays, Alexander Bowman; overseers: James Mason, J. 
McCurdy; fence viewers: Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Watson. 


Allegheny. — Constable, James Ricketts; clerk, A. West; auditors: Thomas 
Anderson, A. Benedict, J. Walliston, James Dawson; supervisors: John 
Griffin, William Haworth; overseers: A. Fleming, William Neill. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, Elijah Stewart; clerk, J. Hamilton; auditors: 
T. Hamilton, James Morrison, J. Breed, James Irwin; supervisors: Reuben 
Irwin, ^Villiam Perry; overseers: J. Strawbridge, Hugh Hamilton; fence 
viewers: James Alcorn, Thomas Neill. 

French Creek. — Constable, James Hanna; clerk, William Crary; audi- 
tors: James Gilliland, John Little, Thomas McDowell, Levi Dodd; super- 
visors: Isaac Smith, William Duffield; overseers: William Connely, Samuel 
Hays; fence viewers: A. Dewoody, James Bennett. 

Irwin. — Constable, Philip Surrenna. 

Pinegrore. — Constable, Samuel Powell; supervisors: D. Reyner, George 

Plum. — Constable, Lewis Herring; clerk, James Foster; auditors: John 
Cooper, E. Sweeny, John Fetterman, James Gordon; supervisors: John 
Lamberton, Lewis Herring; fence viewers : John Lamberton, Lewis Herring. 

i?/c/iZand. —Constable, D. Rumberger; clerk, W. A. Stroble; auditors: 
L. Houston, James Houston, J. Ashbaugh, James Piatt; supervisors: John 
Bell, Jacob Ashbaugh; overseers: H. Neely, James McGinnis; fence 
viewers: J. ShafPer. J. Ashbaugh. 

Rockland. — Constable, David Smith; clerk, J. Smith; auditors: Jacob 
Young, Andrew Maitland, William Craig, John Jolly; supervisors: John 
Ford, William Ross; overseers: John Stroup, Jacob Miller. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, Thomas Kerr; clerk, John Anderson; auditors: 
James Scott, M. Perry, James Anderson, John Anderson; supervisors: R. 
Irwin, William Perry; overseers: J. D. W^ood, John Coulter; fence viewers: 
John Witherup, William Crawford. 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, Jacob Lupher; clerk, James Linn; auditors: 


John McCalmont, L. McFadden, Francis Carter, William Carter; super- 
visors: Alexander Bowman, Joel Sage; overseers: James Haslet, James 
McCune; fence viewers: R. McCalmont, T. Wilson. 


Allegheny. — Constable, William Haworth; supervisors: A. Benedict, J. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, B. Griffin; clerk, J. Hamilton; auditors: J. 
Hamilton, E. Fleming, T. Hamilton, R. Irwin; supervisors: J. Breed, 
L. Pringle; overseers: James Alcorn, James Ross; fence viewers: Alex- 
ander Davidson, Isaac Meason. 

French Creek. — Constable, John Morrison; clerk, S. Sutton; auditois: 
T. S. McDowell, Levi Poor, J. Gilliland, J. R. Sage; supervisors: Isaac 
Smith, James Major; overseers: J. Evans, Aaron McKissick; fence viewers: 
Andrew Dewoody, George McClelland. 

Irwin. — Constable, P. Surrenna; clerk, J. Hamilton; auditors: R. Sut- 
ton, A. Porter, J. McKinley, William Hovis; supervisors: Thomas Baird, 
M. Griffin; overseers: T. Boylan, J. McMurdy; fence viewers: J. Hardman, 
J. Osborn. 

Pinegrove. — Constable, C. Henlen; clerk, H. Schwabb; auditors: G. Mol 
ter, J. McNeaghton, A. Yale, John Moore; supervisors: D. Reiner, L. Ziuk. 

Plum. — Constable, G. W. Smith; supervisors: John Grove, William 

Richland. — Constable, R. McGinnis; clerk, William Piatt; auditors: 
J. Agnew, H. Neely, B. Junkin, James Houston; supervisors: J. Snyder, 
James Piatt; overseers: J. Donaldson, JohnShafPer; fence viewers: J. Piatt, 
H. Neely. 

Rockland. — Constable, John Shannon; clerk, J. Smith; auditors: J. 
Young, H. Reed, David Smith, Enoch Battin; supervisors: Adam Kerns, 
David Smith; overseers: Peter Stroup, Samuel Borland; fence viewers: 
Robert Neill, John Gray. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, John Phipps; clerk, John Anderson; auditors: 
James Scott, James Craig, Thomas Milford, William Dickson; supervisors: 
Samuel Eakin, Reuben Irwin; overseers: J. Crawford, James Eakin. 

Sugar Creek.— Clerk, J. McFadden; auditors: L. McFadden, John Mea- 
son, William Parker, James Thompson; supervisors: J. Roberts, Joel Sage; 
overseers: T. Wilson, Alexander Bowman; fence viewers: J. Lupher, 

James Foster. 


Allegheny.— Constable, T. Morrison; supervisors: William Neill. H. 

Cherry Tree. — Constable, Jacob Grove; clerk, John Hamilton; auditors: 
E. Fleming, J. Archer, T. Hamilton, J. Irwin; supervisors: A. Robison, 


William Reynolds; overseers: M. McFaddeD, J. Archer; fence viewers: E. 
Stewart, A. S. Hancock. 

French Creek. — Constable, James Adams; clerk, R. N. Ayres; auditors: 
James Adams, A. DuflSeld, D. Brown, William Black; supervisors: James 
Adams, William Connely; overseers: Aaron McKissick, J. Evans; fence 
viewers: William Raymond, Andi-ew Dewoody. 

Irwin. — Constable, Peter Walter; clerk, R. Mitchell; auditors: John 
Boner, J. Walter, P. Surrenna, R. Mitchell; supervisors: Thomas Baird, 
J. McMurdy; overseers: J. McMurdy, H. Stephenson; fence viewers: H. 
Cochran, J. Vaughan. 

Pinegrove. — Constable, D.Walter; supervisors: D. Reyner, Samuel Zink. 

Phan. — Constable, Adam Zener; auditors: Benjamin August, J. G-. 
Bradley, M. Jennings, Samuel Small; supervisors: J. G. Bradley, T. Fet- 

Richland. — Constable, John Donaldson; supervisors: William Kerns, H. 
Neely; overseers: D. O'Neill, A. Ritchey. 

Rockland. — Constable, J. C. Evans; auditors: J. Shannon, J. Jolly, H. 
Reed, Enoch Battin; supervisors: Peter Lovell, John Stroup; overseers: 
D. Smith, J. Smith; fence viewers: Daniel Smith, J. Moorhead. 

Scrubgrass. — Constable, J. Phipps; clerk, J. Craig; auditors: J. Craig, 
M. Perry, William Dickson, T. Kerr; supervisors: S. Eakin, R. Sutton; 
overseers: D. Wasson, James Leslie; fence viewers: David Say, John An- 

Sugar Creek. — Constable, John Linn; auditors: John Mason, James 
Thompson, J. Whitman, Elijah McFadden; supervisors: James Linn, 
James Haslet; overseers: W. Brown, J. Foster; fence viewers: S. Rhoads, 
J. Lamberton. 



First Courts — Court Week During Pioneer Days— John ^Morrison, the 
Old Crier— Record of the First Sessions— First Juries and Cases 
Tried — Prominent Early Lawyers— The Bench- Brief 
Biographies of the Successive President Judges- 
Special District Court— Associate Judges— 
The Bar of the Past and Present. 

THE act of March 12, 1800, dividing western Pennsylvania into conn- 
ties, provided that the counties of Venango, Mercer, Erie, and "Warren 
should be temporarily attached to Crawford, with the seat of justice at 
Meadville. The courts of common pleas for these counties were, therefore, 
held at that town until their separate and distinct organization. The act 
organizing Erie and Mercer was passed April 2, 1808, and for Venango, 
April 1, 1805. It will thus be seen that the judicial affairs of this county 
were transacted at Meadville during the five yeai^ intervening between its 
erection and organization. 

On the l(3th of December, 1805, a general court of quarter sessions was 
held in Franklin, Jesse Moore presiding, assisted by John Irwin and Thomas 
McKee, associate judges. This court convened in a log house on Liberty 
street, on the lot above what is now the United States hotel, long occupied 
as a dwelling and drug store. It was torn down in 1863, and its successor 
is now occupied by a grocery store. The late Doctor Eaton gives the fol- 
lowing graphic description of court week during pioneer days: 

Court week was a grand occasion to the ancient burghers of Franklin and the 
entire county. All other business seemed to be suspended, and all interest centered in 
the matter of the court and its proceedings. The people came in from the country, 
not only those who might have business in court, but others from curiosity and a laud- 
able desire to know how justice was administered. Hotels and boarding houses were 
crow^led, and the streets thronged. Especially was this the case during the first two 
or three days after court opened. Then the interest seemed to moderate, and the peo- 
ple dropped off one after another until the town resumed, by Saturday, its quiet and 
dignified manner. 

There was no bell on the old court house on its first erection. The court was 
called by a long tin horn, purchased perhaps at the county's expense. Its peals were 
poured out loud and long by the old court crier when the judge, lawyers, jurymen, 
witnesses, and people in general filed into the building and took their seats. The judge 


then called out, "Crier, open court," when old John Morrison, who opened the first 
courts in Mercer, Crawford, and Warren counties, arose with all the dignity of a 
ivuight of old and commenced that wonderful speech that has come down through so 
many years to our own day. It commenced "O yez! O yez!" and concluded with a 
kind of prayer "God save the commonwealth and the honorable court." Colonel 
Samuel Dale taught this speech to the old crier, and his successors have picked it up 
as well as they could. Whether it impressed the multitude or not, it is certain that it 
impressed the crier. A legal gentleman, whose boyhood days were spent here, relates 
his recollection of court week. " Before the advent of the court house bell it was the 
duty of the crier to summon the people to the temple of justice by blowing a large 
tin horn which was kept in a closet under the court house stairs for that purpose. He 
would take his position at the court house door, and pointing the horn toward Kih- 
ntar's tavern, where the judge stopped, would throw his head back, his long hair 
streaming out behind him, and give out such blasts as showed incontestably that old 
as he was his lungs were still in good condition." 

The record of the first session of court ever held in Venango county 
reads as follows: "At a court of general quarter sessions of the peace 
began on Monday, the 16th day of December, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand, eight hundred and five, before the Honorable Jesse Moore, esquire, 
president, John Irwin and Thomas McKee, associate justices, and held at 
Franklin for the county of Venango." There were present at the court 
beside the above named ofiicials John Witherup, sheriff, and William Moore, 
prothonotary, both of whom assisted in the organization. The first official 
business transacted by this tribunal was the recommendation to the gov- 
ernor of George McClelland as a suitable person to keep a piiblic house of 
entertainment in Irwin township, and the reception of a petition signed by 
sundry inhabitants, setting forth that "they labored under great inconven- 
ience from the want of a road or cartway from the town of Franklin to the 
north side of Robert Anderson's, adjoining the line of Mercer county, to 
intersect a road opened from the town of Mercer." Viewers were appointed 
to examine the proposed route and report at a subsequent session, and after 
the appointment of the following constables, to wit, Samuel Jones, AVilliam 
Simms, and John Stiver, for the townships of Allegheny, Brokenstraw, and 
Sugar Creek, respectively, the first court of Venango county adjourned. 

The second session was held on Monday, the 17th day of March, 1806, 
at which time, after the transaction of necessary preliminary business, the 
sheriff "returned the precept to him directed, by which it appears that the 
following persons were summoned and returned to inquire for the common- 
wealth and for the body of Venango county. * * *: John Culbertson, 
Daniel Wasson, Thomas Milford, Patrick Jack, Caleb Crane, Sr. , John 
Cooper, Thomas Baird, Welden Adams, Robert Johnston, John McClaran, 
David Nickerson, Jesse "Williams, John Hays, Benjamin Williams. Reuben 
Sutton, Patrick Davidson, Jr., Philip Hoffman, Joseph Riggs, William Da- 
vidson, Thomas Black, James Davidson, Aaron Austin, Robert Calvert, and 
Anthony Sharkey. At this session was returned the first indictment against 
one Andrew Miller, a justice of the peace, for " misdemeanor in office," to 


■which charge he plead non cul. et de hoc ponit se super x>atriam : deputy 
attorney general, similiter. At June session, 1806, he Avas tried l)y a jury 
of his countrymen, namely: John Martin, Sr., John Wilson, James Les- 
lie, Matthew Riddle, Daniel Crain, James Fearis, Shadrach Simcox. 
Hamilton McClintock, Patrick Coulter, John Black, William Dewoody, and 
Seth Jewel, ' ' twelve good men who being duly ballotted for, elected, and 
sworn, on their oaths respectfully do say they lind the defendant guilty in 
manner and form as he stands indicted. ' ' 

The second case, "Bes publica vs. Hugh Clifford," charged with assault 
and battery, was tried the same day by the following jury: Patrick Coulter, 
William Brandon, Peter Walter, Andrew Allison, Shadrach Simcox, Hamil- 
ton McClintock, Daniel Crain, Seth Jewel, James Leslie, Robert Crawford, 
John Black, and John Martin, who, after mature deliberation, returned a 
verdict of not guilty. 

For the June session, 180(3, the following grand jury of inquest was 
returned: Joseph Allen, Brice Gilmore, Simeon Van Arsdale, Henry Crull, 
Jacob Vaughan, James McClaran, James Foster, John Stephens, John Nel- 
son, Archibald Davidson, James Craig, John McQuiston, John Sloan, John 
Broadfoot, Robert Beatty, Samuel Plumer, William Cousins, and William 
Russell. The business of this session was devoted principally to hearing 
cases appealed from justices' courts, appointing viewers on roadways, and 
exercising a general supervision over the internal improvements of the 
county. A number of indictments were found by this and subsequent grand 
juries for larceny, assault and battery, forgery, riot, etc., which fairly dem- 
onstrate that the pioneer fathers were not lax in meting out justice to of- 

Diiring the first few years after the organization of the county, the rec- 
ords show that the majority of cases tried in her coiirts were those in which 
physical prowess predominated. This is apt to be the case in any newly 
settled country, and goes to prove that the strong arm of the law is a very 
necessary appendage in the progress and evolutionary process of civilization. 
Man as a rule does not respect the rights of others from an innate desire to 
be just, but because he knows that unless he stands within the bounds of 
the law he will l)e liable to piinishment: and therefore it is the fear of 
the law more than a love of justice that controls the rougher element 
of every community. It is true that with the progress of centuries the 
coarser nature in man has been gradually toned down by religious influences, 
and in every age thousands of men have acted justly and honestly irre 
spective of human laws. 

When the settlements Avere new and isolated, legal science flourished 
with a vigor unusual in rude societies, and the bench and bar of western 
Pennsylvania contained many men of eloquence and learning. The collision 
of such opposite characters, together with the unsettled state of the country. 


produced a mass of curious incidents, many of which are still preserved, and' 
circulate at the bar in the hours of forensic leisure. In those days the prac- 
tice differed materially from what it is now. The coiintry was thinly set- 
tled, the people poor, and fees were correspondingly small. The lawyers 
were obliged to practice in a number of counties in order to make a liveli- 
hood and some of them were away from their homes and offices the greater 
part of the time. They traveled from one county seat to another on horse- 
back, with their legal papers and a few books in a sack across the saddle. 
A number of lawyers usually rode the circuit together, and had their ap- 
pointed stopping places where they were expected. On their arrival, the 
chickens, dried apples, maple sugar, corn dodgers, and old whiskey suffered, 
while the best story tellers regaled the company with their fund of humor 
and anecdote. 

Among the most prominent pioneer lawyers who practiced here during 
the early years of the county's history, were the following: David Irvine, 
David La Fever, John Galbraith, Alexander McCalmont, John J. Pearson, 
James Thompson, John W. Howe, James Ross Snowden, Samuel Porter 
Johnson, Thomas S. Espy, William Stewart, Jonathan Ayres, and James 
S. Myers, of Franklin; John W. Hunter, Alexander W. Foster, John B. 
Wallace, Edward Work, Ralph Marlin, J. Stuart Riddle, George Selden, 
Richard Bean, Patrick Farrelly, Henry Baldwin, Gaylord Church, and Da- 
vid Derickson, of Meadville; Samuel B. Foster and John Banks, of Mercer; 
General William Ayres, Charles Sullivan, George W. Smith, and Judge 
John Bredin, of Butler, and James Ross and Thomas Collins, of Pittsburgh. 
Some of the Franklin lawyers changed their residences at a later day, but 
in subsequent years were often engaged on important cases at this bar. 


As already stated Venango county was for tive years connected with 
Crawford for judicial purposes, with the seat of justice at Meadville, Alex- 
ander Addison being the tirst presiding judge of the district. Addison was 
a learned and highly accomplished Scotchman, who began the practice of the 
legal profession at Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1797. Prepared for the 
ministry, in which he labored for a time in Washington, he was thoroughly 
trained in the principles of justice and equity, and early became known 
throughout the counties of western Pennsylvania as an eminently just and 
upright lawyer and patriotic aud public spirited citizen. " Judge Addison," 
says Mr. Hall, of Pittsburgh, "possessed a tine mind and great attain- 
ments. He was an accomplished scholar, deeply versed in every branch of 
classical learning. In law and theology he was great; but although he ex- 
plored the depths of science with unwearied assiduity, he could sport in the 
sunbeams of literature and cull with nice discrimination the gems of poetry." 

Fearless and impartial, he did his duty as he understood it, and his 


bold and conscientious course in siipporting the general' governruent during 
the whiskey insurrection of 1794 secured for him many personal enemies. 
He was impeached and removed from the bench in 1802 on account of his 
absolute refusal to allow one of the associate judges to charge the jurv after 
his own charge had been delivered. No judicial body would or could have 
convicted him, and, failing in the courts, his persecutors sought the aid of the 
legislature. The house ordered his impeachment and the senate convicted 
him, the sentence being his removal as president judge of the fifth judicial 
district, and perpetual disqualification to any judicial office in the state. 
This trial, which took place in 1802, resulted in dejwsing one of the al)lest 
judges that ever sat on the bench in Pennsylvania and crushed the spirit of 
an upright and honorable man. He continued, however, to practice in the 
different courts until his death, which occurred in Pittsburgh on the 27th of 
November, 1807. 

Jesse Moore, the second judge of the district, presided at the first court 
ever held in Venango county. He was a native of Montgomery county, 
Pennsylvania, and while practicing law at Sunbury was appointed president 
judge of the sixth judicial district, his commission bearing date April 5, 
1803. Venango county, organized in 1805, was a part of this district. 
Immediately after his appointment, Judge Moore removed to Meadville 
and assumed the duties of his position, which he held without interruption 
until his death, December 21, 1824, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He 
is said to have been well educated, a diligent student, and good lawyer, dis- 
creet, upright, and impartial in his judicial opinions and decisions. He 
sustained with becoming grace the honor and dignity of his profession and 
is said to have made an imposing appearance while presiding over the courts. 
The late Willliam S. Garvin of Mercer, gives the following description of 
the personal appearance of Judge Moore: 

"The writer of this, who as a little boy occasionally droi)])ed into the 
court house along between 1812 and 1820, was indelibly impressed with the 
grand dignity of the president judge. He Avas a heavy, solemn looking 
man, and retained the dress of the old style gentleman — small clothes, 
shoe buckles, knee buckles, bald headed, but hair long behind and done up 
in a queue, and head and hair and collar of the black coat covered with a 
white powder sprinkled thereon. He has since seen the supreme court of 
the United States in session; their black gowns and comparative quietness 
enforced certainly give to it a very dignified aspect, but still there was lack- 
ing the grand old powdered head and queue that gave Judge Moore the ad- 
vantage in imposing dignity." 

The immediate successor of Judge Moore was Henry Shippeu, who 
came to the bench in 1825. He was born in Lancaster county, Penrhsyl- 
vania, December 28, 1788, graduated from Dickinson College in 1808, and 
read law in the office of Judge Hopkins of Lancaster. In due time he was 


admitted to the bar and soon won a conspicuous place among the successful 
jurists of his part of the state. During the war of 1812 he was captain of 
a company from Lancaster which numbered as one of its privates James 
Buchanan, subsequently president of the United States. After his service 
in the war closed he diligently prosecuted his profession at Lancaster, where 
he l)uilt up a large and lucrative practice. He finally removed to Hunting- 
don county, from which place he was appointed president judge of the judi- 
cial district embracing the counties of Venango, Crawford, Erie, and Mercer. 
He presided over the courts of this district until his death, March 2, 1839. 
Judge Shippen is reputed to have been a man of good mind and strong 
common sense. While on the bench he displayed those legal qualities 
which distinguish the able lawyer and thorough jurist, his charges and 
decisions being characterized with dignity and uprightness. In the dis- 
charge of his judicial functions he frequently displayed a quickness of tem- 
per, but was uniformly courteous in his treatment of attorneys and litigants. 

The next in order of succession was Nathaniel B. Eldred, of Warren, 
Pennsylvania, who presided over the courts of Venango county from 1839 
until 1843, at which time he resigned the judgeship to accept the position of 
naval appraiser at Philadelphia. Previous to his appointment to the bench 
he had served in the state legislature and was a politician of considei'able 
influence in his native county. Subsequently he became judge of the Dau- 
phin and Lebanon district. Judge Eldred received his professional training 
in Wayne county. He is remembered as a man of keen intellect, a finished 
scholar, an able lawyer, a painstaking and impartial public servant. In his 
intercourse with members of the bar he was free but courteous, and although 
a witty and brilliant conversationalist and a capital story teller, he endeav- 
ored at all times to maintain the dignity of his position. His written opin- 
ions and charges to juries were models of legal composition, and as a lawyer 
his versatile talents and thorough reading made him successful in all branches 
of the profession. In his personal appearance Judge Eldred was of medium 
height, possessing a strong, well knit figure, and at the time of his appoint- 
ment to this district was in the prime of his physical and mental powers. 

Gaylord Church, who succeeded Judge Eldred, was a native of Oswego, 
New York, born August 11, 1811. He removed with his parents to Mercer 
county, Pennsylvania, in 1816, received his educational training in the Mer- 
cer Academy, and read law in the office of John J. Pearson, of Mercer, 
whose sister he afterward married. He was admitted to the bar in 1834, 
and the same year removed to Meadville, Crawford county, where his rec- 
ognized ability soon won him a very lucrative business. In 1837 he was 
appointed deputy attorney general for Crawford county, and in 1840 was 
elected to the legislature, in which he served two consecutive terms. In 
1843 he was appointed president judge of the sixth judicial district and 
served as such until 1849, when the district was changed, and Venango be- 





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came a part of the eighteenth district. Judge Church possesBed a well 
balanced judicial mind, was thoroughly versed in the law, and while not as 
popular with members of the bar as some of his successors, was nevertheless 
a dignified and efficient jvidge. After the expiration of his official term he 
practiced in the courts of Crawford, Venango, and other counties. He stu- 
diously applied himself to the prosecution of his profession until October 
22, 1858, when he was appointed to till a vacancy on the supreme bench of 
the commonwealth, which he occupied only a short time. He died in Mead- 
ville September 29, 1869, leaving a wife and seven children, the eldest of 
whom, Pearson Church, was elected president judge of the thirtieth judi- 
cial district in 1877, and served on the bench ten years. 

Alexander McCalmont, one of the pioneer lawyers of Franklin, was 
born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, October 23, 1785, and was a son of 
John and Elizabeth (Conard) McCalmont, early settlers of Sugar Creek 
township, where they removed from Centre county, in 1803. Soon after 
the family came to Venango county Alexander engaged in teaching school 
and conducted one of the first schools in Franklin^ whither he had removed. 
He afterward became a prominent merchant and iron manufacturer, and 
also took an active interest in public affairs. In 1811 he was elected sheriff, 
in 1814 commissioner, and in 1818 prothonotary, and served as deputy sur- 
veyor from 1812 to 1817. In the meantime he began the study of law in 
the office of David Irvine, and was admitted to the bar about 1820. He 
was then engaged in active practice until 1839, when he was appointed 
president judge of the eighteenth judicial district and served on the bench 
ten years. Judge McCalmont' s district did not include Venango county 
until shortly before the expiration of his term, when this county Avas taken 
from the sixth and thrown into the eighteenth district. 

As an official, lawyer, and business man, Judge McCalmont became well 
and favorably known throughout the counties of northwestern Pennsylvania 
and possessed the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens. Begin- 
ing the practice of the legal profession in middle life, he made amends for 
the loss of earlier opportunities by close study and application, and in time 
came to be recognized as one of the substantial lawyers of the Venango bar. 
As a judge he displayed those legal qualities which made him popular alike 
with attorneys and litigants, and against the honor and integrity of his judi- 
cial record no word of suspicion has ever been uttered. Ho was a Demo- 
crat, and as such took an active interest in local and general political move- 
ments. Though of Presbyterian lineage, about 1820 he identified himself 
with the Methodist Episcopal church, in which communion he continued un- 
til his death, on the 10th day of August, 1857. 

Judge McCalmont was twice married, first to Margaret Broadfoot, 
daughter of John Broadfoot, a pioneer of Franklin. She died in 1817, 
leaving no children. The following year he was united in marriage with 



Eliza Hart Conaely, daughter of Judge William Connely, Avho moved from 
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, to the vicinity of Titusville in 1803, and three 
years afterward located in Franklin. Mrs. McCalmont was born in Belle- 
fonte. Pennsylvania, in the year 1801, became a resident of Franklin in 1806, 
and departed this life in November, 1874. Of the four children born to 
Judge and Mrs. McCalmont, namely: William, John S. , Alfred B. , and 
Elizabeth, who married Edwin C. Wilson, but one is now living, John S. , 
of Washington city. 

Josej^h Buffiugton came to the bench in 1849, and served until 1851, 
when under the constitution the office became elective. He was a native of 
Armstrong county, and prepared himself for the legal profession under the 
instruction of General William Ayres, of Butler. As an attorney and jurist 
Judge Buffington early took rank with his associates, and as a judge he 
compared well, both in natural and professional abilities, with his predeces- 
sors of the bench. Socially he was a man of pleasant and affable manners, 
well liked by all with whom he came in contact, and politically was an 
earnest supporter of the old Whig party. Always zealous and conscientious 
in the discharge of his professional duties, his earnestness at times was 
such as to subject him to criticism by members of the bar, who charged that 
in sustaining or overruling objections he appeared to argue their cases. ■ He 
reached conclusions rapidly, could give a much better verbal than written 
charge or opinion, and excelled in that department of the law pertaining to 
civil practice. Judge Buffington was a member of congress for two terms, 
and also served as judge of the tenth judicial district. 

John C. Knox was elected judge of the eighteenth district in October, 
1851, and is remembered as an official who had a faculty' of disposing of 
court business with remarkable efficiency and dispatch. He was an excel- 
lent common pleas judge, arrived at conclusions with but little apparent 
deliberation, and possessed a quick, discerning intellect, which enabled him 
to solve readily difficult and technical legal points. He was of fine personal 
appearance, slightly above the ordinary height, eminently sociable in his 
nature, and in the discharge of his judicial functions became popular with 
members of the bar and all who had business to transact in his court. In 
political matters he achieved considerable prominence, and was elected on 
the Democratic ticket to the state legislature from Tioga county. In May, 
1853, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the supreme bench caused by 
the death of Judge Gibson, and the same year was nominated by the Dem- 
ocratic party and elected as his own successor. He served five years, and 
then resigned to accept the attorney generalship of Pennsylvania, the duties 
of which office he discharged until 1861, when he was appointed to a posi- 
tion in the department of justice at Washington. In the meantime he had 
withdrawn from the Democratic party, during the slavery agitation growing 
out of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and became a Republican. 


Retiring from official life be resumed the practice of his profession at Phila- 
delphia, and it was while arguing an important case in the court of that city 
that he was stricken with a malady which finally impaired liis reason and 
from the effects of which he never recovered. He died in the city of Har 

John S. McCalmont, second son of Judge Alexander and Eliza Hart 
(Connely) McCalmont, is a native of Venango county, Peimsylvauia, horn 
on the 28th day of April, 1822. He was reared in his native town, in the 
schools of which he received his early educational training, and subsequently 
pursued his literary studies for two years in Allegheny College, Meadville. 
In April, 1838, he entered the United States military academy at ^^'est 
Point, in which he completed the prescribed course, graduating on the 1st 
day of July, 1812. He was breveted second lieutenant in the Third infantry 
the same year, and in the following October was promoted second lieutenant 
in the Eighth regiment. Having a taste for civil pursuits, and tiring of the 
inactivities of army life in time of peace, after one year's experience he re- 
signed his commission, and returning to Franklin, devoted himself to the prac- 
tice of law% which he had studied at intervals during his military life. He 
was admitted to the Venango bar on the 25th of November, 1844, and after 
practicing a short time in Franklin went to Clarion where he was actively 
engaged in the prosecution of his profession until 1856. He served as district 
attorney in Clarion county fi-om 1845 to 1846, and in 1848 was elected to 
the legislature and re-elected in the following year, during which term he 
was speaker of the house. 

In 1852 he was the choice of Clarion county for congress, and the same 
year was chosen presidential elector on the Pierce ticket. In May, 1853, he 
was appointed by Governor Bigler president judge of the eighteenth judi- 
cial district, to which he was duly elected by the people for the full term 
the following autumn. Judge McCalmont discharged the duties of the 
position in an able and impartial manner, was a dignified and popular ofticial, 
and but few of his decisions met with reversal at the hands of the supreme 
court. He continued in the discharge of his official functions until the 
breaking out of the rebellion, when he tendered his services to Governor 
Curtin, by whom he was commissioned colonel of the Tenth Reserves, and 
subsequently resigned the judgeship. Upon the organization of the division, 
Colonel McCalmont was assigned to the command of the Third brigade, the 
duties of which he exercised until superseded by General E. O. C. Ord. He 
commanded his regiment in the bloody battle of Drainesville, fought on the 
20th of December, 1861, in which he displayed the qualities of the gallant 
soldier and skillful commander. Warned by failing health that he would be 
unable to stand the rugged duties of a protracted military service. Colonel 
McCalmont resigned his command in May, 1862, and returning to Franklin, 
resumed the practice of his profession and carried on a successful legal Imsi- 


ness until 1885. April 1st of that year he was appointed by President 
Cleveland commissioner of customs at Washington city, which position he 
held until March, 1889, when he resigned, although he continued to dis- 
charge his official duties until June following. 

Politically Judge McCalmont voted with the Democratic party until 1872, 
in which year he supported General Grant for the presidency, and in 1876 
cast his vote for Hayes and Wheeler. Since 1880 he has? acted with the 
Democi-acy. Judge McCalmont became a member of the Methodist Epis- 
copal church in 1856, since which time he has taken an active interest in the 
local body of that denomination. In 1872 he was chosen lay representative 
of the Erie conference to the general conference held at Brooklyn, New 
York. Professionally and socially he is held in high esteem by the citizens 
of Venango county, and is deservedly classed among her representative men. 
He is at this time a resident of the national capital, where he is engaged in 
the duties of his profession. He was married on the 22nd of March, 1848, 
to Elizabeth P. Stehley, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and has a family of 
six living children. 

Glenni W. Scofield was appointed by Governor Curtin to till the vacancy 
caused by the resignation of Judge McCalmont, and served imtil the elec- 
tion of his successor the following autumn. He is a native of Chautauqua 
county, New York, and was a resident of Warren, Pennsylvania, at the time 
of his appointment. Judge Scotield was one of the most popular and able 
lawyers in the district. He, however, refused the use of his name as a 
candidate at the election or he might have been his own successor. He 
was a versatile and ingenious political leader, and was elected to the legis- 
lature in 1851, and to the state senate in 1857, and subsequently repre- 
sented his district in congress. He also served in the treasury depart- 
ment at Washington, where he is now a judge of the court of claims. 

James Campbell, of Clarion county, succeeded Judge Scofield, having 
been elected on the 11th of October, 1861. He is a native of Mifflin county, 
Pennsylvania, but removed to Clarion, and in due time became one of 
the leading members of its bar. He read law in Centre county, and soon 
after locating at Clarion was recognized as a lawyer of ability and strict 
integrity. His election to the bench was brought about through the dissatis- 
faction existing in a section of the Republican party with their own nominee, 
William Stewart of Mercer. As a result there was a demand all over the 
district for an independent candidate, and Mr. Campbell's high personal 
character, eminent legal acquirements, and moderation as a politician, com- 
mended him to a "people's convention," which, without his knowledge, 
placed him in the field, and the Democrats making no nomination he was 
elected by a large majority. Judge Campbell's administration realized the 
most sanguine expectations of his friends. 

Politically Judge Campbell is an earnest supporter of the Republican 


party. As a lawyer he is endowed with abilities of no common order, pos- 
sesses a cool, calculating mind, and unerring judgment. As a judge he was 
more profound than brilliant, and sustained well the dignity and high rep- 
utation for which the bench in this district has ever been noted. He was 
popular with members of the bar, commanded the resyiect of the public, and 
in his long and successful practice, has earned the reputation of a safe law- 
yer and reliable counsellor. He came to the bench fortified with a thor- 
ough knowledge of the profession, is a diligent student of legal literature 
and history, and in point of natural abilities and scholarly attainments ranks 
with the most gifted of his predecessors. 

In 1860 the legislature created a new district out of Venango and Mercer 
counties, the twenty-eighth, and Isaac G. Gordon was appointed by the 
governor to the judgeship. He held the position until the autumn of that 
year, at which time his successor was duly elected by the people. Judge 
Gordon was a resident of Brookville, Jefferson county, and a lawyer of 
acknowledged ability. His judicial career was, in the main, satisfactory, 
and the soundness of his decisions was seldom questioned. He was a man 
of positive convictions, strong in his attachments to friends, and was recog- 
nized by the bar of this county as a judge who aimed to discharge his whole 
duty. In October, 1873, he was commissioned a justice of the supreme 
court, became chief justice July 14, 1887, and retired from the bench in 

John Trunkey, late justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, suc- 
ceeded Judge Gordon. On the paternal side Judge Trunkey was of French 
descent, dating back to the Revolution, his ancestor being one of the soldiers 
who came over with La Fayette to take part in the struggle for freedom. 
The name was originally "Tronquet." John Trunkey was born October 
26, 1828, in Trumbull county, Ohio, very near the Pennsylvania line. His 
father's farm was partly in Pennsylvania and partly in Ohio. He grew up 
a quiet, silent young man, not giving himself much to social pleasures, but 
intent on doing his duty in the home and in the community. Feeling within 
himself that there was some larger duty for him than cultivating the soil, 
honorable and dignitied though that employment may be, he sought and 
obtained what preparation was within his reach for professional life. 

In the year 1 849 he entered the office of Samuel Griffith, of Mercer, and 
commenced the study of law. Here the same quietness characterized him 
as in the home. He did not mingle much in society, but gave diligent 
attention to study, striving to master the principles of law and make himself 
familiar with the rules of practice. He was admitted to the bar in 1851, 
and became associated with Mr. Griffith, his preceptor, in practice. But his 
reading and study continued. He was very careful in the preparation of 
cases. No matter what the case was, before a justice of the peace or the 
court of common pleas, whether there was involved the matter of a few dol- 


lars or thousands, or the liberty and life of his client, every case was most 
carefully and conscientiously prepared. On the 29th of September, 1853, 
he was united in marriage to Miss Agnes, daughter of the late William S. 
Garvin, who was ever the light of his dwelling, and his adviser and com- 
forter in the days that followed. Three children were born to them while 
they resided in Mercer, William G. Trunkey, a member of the bar of War- 
ren county, admitted at Franklin, August 26, 1881, being the only survivor. 
In 1866 Mr. Trunkey was elected to the office of president judge of the 
twenty-eighth judicial district, then composed of the counties of Venango 
and Mercer. In 1876 he was re-elected to the same office. Venango 
county, to which he had in the meantime removed, then, and since 1874, 
constituted the twenty-eighth district. On the common pleas bench Judge 
Trunkey was most patient and generous, listening to the tedious details of 
business, hearing the arguments of counsel, giving every possible oppor- 
tunity to the parties in controversy, and saturating his own mind with the 
spirit of the case, and striving to deal truly and impartially with all parties 
involved. At the time of his elevation to the bench business had greatly in- 
creased in the courts, growing out of the great impetus given trade by the 
oil discoveries. The number of cases entered on the appearance docket at 
the August term, 1866, was more than ten times greater than the number 
entered at the corresponding term in 1889, and the business of the criminal 
courts was correspondingly larger. The result of this increase of business 
was the accumulation of cases awaiting trial when the new judge came upon 
the bench. A Herculean task was before him, for the statute required that 
all actions should be reached and have a fair opportunity of trial at least 
within one year after they had been commenced. But the judge girded 
himself for work, opening the courts at eight o'clock in the morning and 
sitting until six in the evening, and often holding night sessions. The 
amount of work performed was therefore prodigious. 

With all this press of business there was no undue haste. Every man 
who had business with the courts felt that he was fully heard and his cause 
carefully considered. Such was the confidence of the bar and of the people 
in both his disposition and ability to mete out exact justice, that but few 
writs of error were taken to his judgments, and such was the correctness of 
his rulings in the main, that notwithstanding the great number of novel 
and difficult questions which grew out of the mining industries in the earlier 
years of his service in the common pleas, but eight of his judgments were 
reversed during the eleven years that he sat in that court. 

In the autumn of 1877 he was elected to the supreme bench of the state, 
and in December resigned the president judgeship to enter upon the duties 
of his new position. As a justice of the supreme court, Judge Trunkey 
manifested the same patient care and industry that had characterized his 
work in the court below, listening to arguments of counsel, making himself 


familiar with the entire case, reading the "paper books," and then care- 
fully, thoughtfully, and conscientiously preparing the opinions assigned him 
in good terse English that will be a monument of his judicial acumen in 
days to come. He did not so much seek rhetorical ornament, or strive to 
embellish his style by tropes and figures, as to set forth the truth and get at 
the gist of the matter in hand. He loved justice, truth, and righteousness, 
and brought them to bear in all his official work. But the last two or three 
years of his labor on the bench were years of suffering and ailliction. An in- 
sidious disease was sapping the foundations of life and health, and causing 
the strong man to feel the burden of his daily toil. He worked on, yet never 
complained, and not a murmur ever escaped his lips. On the bench hear- 
ing arguments, or in his study preparing opinions, there seemed to be the 
same close mental application, although physical suffering was wearing out 
his life's energy. In the month of June, 1887, by the advice of his medical 
counsel, he went to London to be treated by a medical expert. The time 
spent in London was a period of great suffering, yet he was patient, resigned, 
and trustful, feeling that he was in the hands of a kind Providence and that 
all would be well. But the time came when he felt and knew that the end 
was near. He did not fear the change and passed quietly out of life on the 
24th day of June, 1888. 

As a religious man Judge Trunkey was eminently careful and conscien- 
tious. Religion was an active principle in his life and all he said or did 
was influenced by it. After his removal to Franklin he was elected a ruling 
elder in the Presbyterian church and at once entered upon the active duties 
of that office. He also was a director of Princeton Theological Seminary 
several years. He delighted in visiting the poor and afflicted, and was gen- 
erous almost to a fault in alleviating the wants of the destitute. In person 
Judge Trunkey was about six feet tall, slender, erect in his carriage, and de- 
liberate yet quick in his movements. In manner he was always courteous and 
approachable. Fond of innocent amusements and a capital story teller, he 
entered into such pleasures with youthful vivacity, and was always a wel- 
come guest at the social gatherings of his neighbors. No words of bitter- 
ness or quick censure ever escaped his lips, but on the contrary he always 
had an apology for the evil words and deeds of those around him. There 
is this crowning fact in his career. From his boyhood until he laid him 
down to die in a strange land, he led a singularly honorable and pure life. 
With all the high positions to which he had attained and adorned, there 
were, in the judgment of his friends, still greater possibilities in store for 
him, but these were not to be realized in this life. The memory of Judge 
Trunkey is deeply revered by the people of Venango county, for there has 
never been a name associated with her history that will go down to posterity 
with a brighter or purer record. 

Charles E. Taylor h«s been president judge of the twenty-eighth judicial 


district since the resignation of Judge Trunkey, in December, 1877. He 
was born in Hampshire county, Massachusetts, September 4, 1826, son of 
Edmund and Theodosia (Clark) Taylor, the former a Kevolutionary soldier 
from that state. In childhood he removed with his parents to Cleveland, 
Ohio, where he lived i;ntil his father's death, when his mother located in 
Mercer county, Pennsylvania. Our subject learned the painter's trade, and 
followed that vocation for many years. In 1846 he married Miss Jane, 
daughter of John McWilliams, a pioneer family of Harbor Creek township, 
Erie county, Pennsylvania. She survived her marriage only about a year, 
and at her death left one son, John. In 1850 Mr. Taylor came to Frank- 
lin, where he continued to work at his trade, and subsequently worked at 
Clarion, Pennsylvania. Returning to Franklin he married Miss Susan J., 
daughter of Charles W. Mackey, an early resident of that place. 

In 1856 he commenced reading law under McCormick & Kerr, of Frank- 
lin. His evenings were spent in the acquirement of legal knowledge, while 
supporting his family by working at his trade during the daytime. Thus 
under discouraging difficulties he obtained his first knowledge of the law. 
His early education consisted of only a few years during his boyhood in 
the common schools, and this was a great drawback to him while pursuing 
his legal studies. Yet with dogged tenacity he remained firm in his resolve 
to become a lawyer, and on the 27th of April, 1858, he was admitted to the 
bar. He immediately hung out his shingle, and in due time grew into a 
fair practice. In the fall of 1859 he was elected on the Democratic ticket 
as district attorney, and was still filling that position when the civil war 

In the summer of 1861 he commenced raising a company for the Fourth 
Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was mustered into that regiment as captain of 
Company I the following October. He participated in the Seven Days' 
campaign before Richmond, and while on a reconnaissance from Harrison's 
Landing was wounded. After the evacuation of that base of operations, 
Captain Taylor was sent to the hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland, where 
he was honorably discharged from the service, October 4, 1862, because of 
disability to perform further military duty. This fact was attested by the 
attending surgeon and every officer of his regiment. 

On his return to Franklin he formed a partnership with Calvin W. Gil- 
fillan, which continued about five years. During this period the firm of 
Taylor & Giltillan did a very extensive legal business, and was recognized as 
one of the prominent firms at this bar. In the meantime Captain Taylor's 
brother-in-law, Charles W. Mackey, had been admitted as a member of the 
firm, and when Mr. Gilfillan retired Taylor & Mackey continued the large 
practice that had been built up through the passing years. 

When the civil war broke out Judge Taylor was an ardent unionist, and 
was one of the thirty-four Democratic delegates o* Pennsylvania who at- 


tended the peace congress at Washington during that exciting period in 
our national history. The efforts of this congress to prevent war proved 
a failure, and he subsequently cast his political fortunes with the Republican 
party, and has ever since been an unswerving supporter of its candidates, 
its measures, and its principles. 

In 1866 he was the nominee of the Venango Republicans for the judge- 
ship. But the Republicans of Mercer county also had a candidate in the 
field that year, and both were beaten by John Trunkey, the Democratic 
nominee. In 1876 he and Judge Trunkey were the respective candidates 
of their parties for the judgeship, and he was again defeated. In December, 
1877, he was appointed to till the vacancy on the bench caused by the 
resignation of Judge Trunkey, and November 5, 1878, he was elected to the 
same position, and was re-elected as his own successor, November 6, 1888, 
by the largest majority ever given in Venango county. 

Before his appointment to the bench Judgo Taylor was recognized as a 
bright, able lawyer, particularly so in the celerity which he exhibited in 
discovering the leading features involved, and the clearness and determined 
^persistence with which he presented and prosecuted his plea. He lays no 
claim to being a dignified, great, or brilliant jurist, but he possesses a 
naturally quick intuition that seldom fails to grasp the most intricate points 
of the case at issue, and, being a hard student, he is always able to support 
his views and decisions with recognized precedents and authorities. A man 
of positive views and convictions, and never afraid to express them, it 
would indeed be strange if he had no enemies; put the large majorities 
by which he has been placed upon the bench in two successive elections are 
incontrovertible evidence of his popularity among the people of Venango 
county. Judge Taylor is a charter member of Mays Post, G. A. R. , and 
one of the oldest living members of the Masonic lodge of Franklin. 

Special District Court. —The courts of common pleas in this district were 
held by the president judge, aided by two associates, pntil May, 1839, when 
a special district court was created for the purpose of disposing of the accu- 
mulated business in Venango, Crawford, Erie, and Mercer counties. James 
Thompson, of Franklin, was appointed to the district judgeship, and tilled 
the position until May, 1845. The term originally was for five years, hnt it 
was extended one year by request of the bar. Judge Thompson was one of 
the most distinguished jurists of Pennsylvania, and a man of more than 
state reputation. He was born in Butler coimty, this state, in 1805, and m 
early life learned the printer's trade and later prepared himself for the legal 
profession, and was admitted to the bar at Franklin, February 23, 1829. 
In 1832 he was elected to the state legislatiu-e, and twice re-elected, and in 
1834 was chosen speaker of the house. He subsequently served in the 
congress of the United States, and in 1857 was elected judge of the supreme 
court, in which capacity he served fifteen years, the last five of whicb he 


was chief justice of the state. Judge Thompson moved from Franklin to 
Erie in 1842, and shortly after his election to the supreme bench removed to 
Philadelphia. He married a daughter of Reverend N. R. Snowden, of 
Franklin, and had a family of six children, five living: J. Ross, attorney, 
of Erie; Mrs. Sarah Robb; Clara; Samuel G., attorney, of Philadelphia, and 
William E. Judge Thompson was one of the prominent Democrats of the 
state. He was a man of great brain power, and as an orator ranked among 
the most eloquent men of the country. As a lawyer he was thorough, prac- 
tical and brilliant, and in his official capacity both on the district and 
supreme bench his name will always be mentioned among the most learned 
and eminent jurists of the state. 

Associate Judges. — Two associate judges assisted the president judge, 
from the organization of the county until the office was abolished by the con- 
stitution of 1873 in all counties constituting a separate district, though the 
judges then in office served out their full terras. The associate judges were 
always fixtures of the counties where they served. They were not neces- 
sarily lawyers, but were supposed to have a better knowledge of the county 
than the president judge, if he were a non-resident, and had a better under- 
standing of the roads, bridges and needs of the people in regard to license 
to sell intoxicants. 

The first associate judges of Venango county were John Irwin and 
Thomas McKee, whose names appear upon the records of the first court 
ever held in Franklin in 1805. John Irwin was from Northumberland 
county, Pennsylvania, and came to Venango in 1800. He was born in 
Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1767, and died in December, 1838, hold- 
ing the office of judge for thirty-three years. He was an uncle to Richard 
Irwin, and a surveyor, making his home in the upper end of the county. 
Thomas McKee was one of the early settlers of Clinton township, where his 
family and descendants remain to this day. 

James G. Heron was the third associate judge. He was not a lawyer by 
education or profession, but simply bore the office of associate judge. He 
seems to have come to Franklin at a very early day in its history. His name 
is not connected with the military here, although he was an officer in the 
Revolutionary army, and must have arrived very soon after the town was 
laid out, as his name appears in the books of George Power in 1795. He is 
represented as having been a man of sterling worth, a useful member of 
society, a safe and judicious counsellor. It is probable that his judicial 
duties were not burdensome nor his responsibilities great, yet he stood his 
lot and aided in moulding public opinion when in a formative state. His 
death occurred on the 30th day of December, 1809. 

Richard Irwin was chosen associate judge in 1838, and is remembered 
as one of the early settlers and leading politicians of Venango county. He 
was for many years county surveyor, and was a man of intelligence and 


sound judgment. His son, H. May Irwin, is editor of the Evening News, 
of Franklin. 

Robert Mitchell, one of the pioneers of French Creek township, became 
associate judge in 1840. He was a farmer by occupation, a substantial 
citizen of the commianity in which he resided, and at one time represented 
Venango county in the state legislature. 

Benjamin A. Phuner, whose official term began in 1843, was a l)rother 
of Arnold Plumer, and a leading merchant of Franklin. He was a man of 
good intellect and sound judgment, and made an honorable record as asso- 
ciate justice. 

James Kinnear, one of the best known citizens of Franklin, was elected 
to the judgeship in 1845. He is well remembered as the proprietor of the 
leading tavern in the county seat for many years, and was a gentleman of 
some local prominence. 

The successors of the foregoing were Alexander Holeman, Robert Cross, 
John H. Smiley, Samuel Hays, David Phipps, W. W. Davison, Joshua 
Davis, William Connely, Robert Lamberton, R. S. McCormick, and James 
L. Connely, all of whom have tilled an honorable place in the history of 
Venango county. 


One of the tirst attorneys admitted to practice at the Venango county 
bar and the first resident lawyer of Franklin was David Irvine, who locat- 
ed at the seat of justice in 1806, and was then a young man of considerable 
talent and well read in his profession. He soon si\cceeded in building up a 
lucrative practice, and is remembered as having been connected with many 
of the cases in the early litigation of Venango and neighboring counties. 
As a lawyer he appears to have been painstaking and methodical, honest 
in his intercourse with litigants, and popular with the public generally. In 
due time he married Mary Ann Heron, daughter of Judge James G. Heron, 
reared a family of several children, and died at Franklin about the year 
1827. His widow survived him a number of years, living to a good old age, 
and died at Erie, Pennsylvania, whither she removed many years ago. 

David La Fever came to the county a few years later than the foregoing, 
and from reasonably well founded supposition appears to have been the sec- 
ond resident lawyer of Franklin. Of his personal and professional history 
but little is remembered, save that he resided in the county for a limited 
period and followed the usual practice of itinerating or riding the circuit 
of the different county seats. He left Franklin many years ago— going no 
one knows whither. 

Prominent among the well known and successful lawyers of the Ven- 
ango bar in an early day was John Galbraith, who moved from Butler, 
Pennsylvania, and was admitted to the practice of his profession at Frank- 
lin, February 23, 1819. He was descended from an old and well known 


Irish family of the same name, prominent in the early history of the com- 
monwealth, and was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, August 2, 
1794, the son of John Galbraith, who served with distinction in the war of 
American independence. His father moved to Butler county about the be- 
ginning of the present century where the son grew to early manhood on a 
farm. Long before he was of age he was in charge of a school and in due 
time served an apprenticeship to the printing business in the same office 
in Butler where James Thompson, afterward chief justice, was employed. 
Tiring of the printing business he turned his attention to the law, and after 
a course of study in the office of General William Ayres, of Butler, was ad- 
mitted to the bar when about twenty-four years of age. Soon afterward 
he married Miss Amy Ayres, daughter of Reverend Robert Ayres, an Epis- 
copal minister and brother of General Ayres. Early in 1819 he became a 
resident of Franklin, where his fine legal attainments soon won him a con- 
spicuous place among the leading attorneys of the Venango bar. Possessing 
the elements of the successful politician he rose rapidly in popular esteem, 
and in 1828 was elected a member of the state legislature and re-elected 
thx-ee times in succession. In 1832 he was elected on the Democratic ticket 
to the congress of the United States and re-elected in 1834, in the delib- 
erations of which body he took an active part both as member of important 
committees and on the floor as a speaker. In 1837 he moved to Erie, and 
the following year was again elected to congress from this district. In No- 
vember. 3851, he was elected president judge of the district embracing Erie, 
Crawford, and Mercer counties, running as a Democratic candidate in a dis- 
trict which usually gave about one thousand one hundred Whig majority. 
His death occurred on the 15th day of June, 1860, before the expiration of 
his term. 

As a lawyer Judge Galbraith possessed tine legal attainments, was 
thoroughly versed in the principles of jurisprudence, and early took rank 
among the successful jurists of western Pennsylvania. Cai'eful in the prep- 
aration of all legal papers, clear headed in the management of cases, in his 
statements of propositions, and addresses to juries, he was inclined to be 
somewhat lengthy but always explicit. He was one of the foremost men in 
promoting the various public enterprises that gave the first strong impulse 
to Erie county, the pioneer in building a railroad from Erie to the Ohio line, 
besides being a leading spirit in various other important internal improve- 
ments in the western part of the state. His son, William Ayres Galbraith, 
who was born in Franklin, May 9, 1823, is one of the leading lawyers of 
Erie, and has served as president judge of the Erie district. 

Alexander McCalmont comes next in the order of time. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar about 1820, and practiced his profession until his ap- 
pointment to the bench in 1839. As we have previoiisly given a sketch of 
Judge McCalmont in this chapter, the reader is referred thereto for a brief 
summary of his career. 


The name of John J. Pearson, late judge of the Dauphin and Lebanon 
county court, stands conspicuous among the leading lawyers who practiced 
at the Venango bar in pioneer days. Judge Pearson was a native of Dela- 
ware county, Pennsylvania, born October 25, 1800, the son of Bevan and 
Anna (Warner) Pearson. AVhen live years of age he was taken by his par- 
ents to Mercer county, in the schools of which he received his early educa- 
tional training. Having early determined to make the legal profession a life 
work, he began the study of the same in the office of John Banks of Mercer, 
was admitted to the bar in Aiigust, 1822, and the following year located in 
Franklin, where he soon built up a large and lucrative practice. In the 
Venango Herald, bearing date June 10, 1828, appears his business card, aa 
follows : 


Attorney at Law, 

Has established himself in Franklin, and intends 

practicing in the different courts of Venango, Mercer, and 

Warren counties. 

"Mr. Pearson," says Doctor Eaton, "was one of our best citizens and 
ablest attorneys. He married Ellen, a daughter of General Samuel Hays, 
and after some years removed to Mercer, thence subsequently to Harrisburg, 
where he died." In 1849 he was appointed by Governor Johnson to the 
office of president judge of the twelfth judicial district, composed of the- 
counties of Dauphin and Lebanon, the duties of which he discharged con- 
tinuously for a period of thirty-three years, having been frequently re-elected 
without opposition. During his residence in Mercer he was twice elected to 
office, first to the congress of the United States, and afterward to the senate 
of Pennsylvania for the counties of Mercer and Beaver, three years of which 
term were spent as chairman of the judiciary committee. Judge Pearson' s 
second marriage was solemnized with Miss Mary H., daughter of Joseph 
and Caroline Briggs, of Harrisburg. Politically he was for many years an 
ardent Whig, and later, in 185G, he joined the ranks of the newly formed 
Republican party, with which he remained identified until his death in the 
spring of 1888. 

James Thompson was one of the pioneer lawyers of Franklin, where h& 
was admitted to practice in February, 1829. He soon won a foremost rank 
among the legal lights of northwestern Pennsylvania, and in 1 839 was ap- 
pointed judge of a special court created for this district to dispose of a large 
amount of accumulated business. A brief sketch of him will be found in 
this chapter following the list of president judges who have graced the 
" woolsack " in the Venango district. 

The name of John W. Howe appears on the old records in connection 
with much of the early litigation of Venango county. Mr. Howe was l)orn 
in the state of Maine in the year 1801, became a resident of Smethport, 


Pennsylvania, when quite yonng, and moved from that town to Franklin in 
1830. He was then a young man seeking a field for practice, and as legal 
business was not large he supj)lemented his profession with the duties of 
justice of the peace, to which lie was commissioned by Governor Wolfe. He 
soon became well known throughout the county as a fearless and upright 
magistrate. Subsequently he directed his whole attention to legal practice 
and formed a partnership with James S. Myers, which continued during his 
residence in Franklin. For twenty years he was a leading man at the bar, 
not only in Venango, but in other counties of western Pennsylvania where 
he practiced quite extensively. He was a man of high character, an able 
and reliable attorney, and an eminently successful practitioner. His ad- 
dresses to juries were characterized by vigorous declamation, good humor, 
and keen sarcasm, and his wonderful self-possession under all circumstances 
often gave him decided advantage over opposing counsel in difficult cases. 

In 1848 he was elected by the Whig party to the congress of the United 
States, and re-elected two years later, during the excitement of the fugitive 
slave law. He was among the earliest advocates in this part of the state 
of the anti-slavery movement, and weakened his standing in the Whig party 
by his unswerving course as a " Free-Soiler. " He subsequently became a 
Republican, and throughovit the civil war his firm patriotism was outspoken 
in support of the Union. 

Mr. Howe was married in Smethport to Miss Sally Bailey ere his com- 
ing to Franklin. She survived him until April, 1880, and died without issue 
at the home of her adopted daughter in Franklin. Soon after Mr. Howe 
located in Franklin he united with the Presbyterian church, under the first 
pastor, Reverend Thomas Anderson, and up to his death continued an active 
member thereof. He was a religious man, and an old-time observer of the 
Sabbath, while his everyday life was characterized by strict conformity to 
the teachings of his church. In 1852 he removed to Meadville, and after- 
ward to Rochester, New York, where he died in 1873. His adopted daugh- 
ter, widow of Doctor Eaton, is a resident of Franklin. 

James Ross Snowden, LL. D. , was one of the early attorneys of Ve- 
nango county. He was descended from one of the oldest families of Penn- 
sylvania, his great ancestor, John Snowden, being the owner of land within 
the state as far back as 1678. Branches of the family settled about the 
same time in Virginia and Maryland. Mr. Snowden was the youngest son 
of Reverend Nathaniel R. Snowden, D. D., who was the first Presbyterian 
preacher at Harrisburg, to which place he removed from Philadelphia when 
the present state capital was a mere hamlet. His four brothers were lead- 
ing physicians and his only sister was married to the late James Thompson, 
chief justice of Pennsylvania. Mr. Snowden was educated at Dickinson 
College under the tuition of his father, who for many years had charge of 
that institution. On leaving college he studied law and was admitted to the 


bar at the early age of nineteen, having removed in the meantime to Frank- 
lin, Venango county, where he was shortly afterward appointed de])uty 
attorney general. He subsequently entered public life and for several 
years represented the Venango district in the state legislature, and was 
speaker of the house in the years 1842 and 1844. 

In 1845 he came within one vote of being nominated for the United 
States senate by the Democratic party, although at the time he was under 
thirty-six years of age. The same year he was elected state treasurer and 
re-elected the following year. His incorruptible integrity at once com- 
manded the confidence of all parties, and his wise, temperate, but firm pol- 
icy earned him the reputation of an able and trusted official. In 1840 
President Polk tendered him the position of treasurer of the mint, with the 
assistant treasurership of the United States at Philadelphia, which position 
he accepted. In 1850 he returned to the practice of the legal profession 
and was appointed solicitor of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which 
position he subsequently resigned to accept the directorship of the United 
States mint, tendered him by President Pierce. He filled the position with 
satisfaction to the government until 1861, when he was appointed prothon- 
otary of the supreme court of Pennsylvania. In 1873 Mr. Snowden 
resumed the practice of his profession in Philadelphia. 

During his many active public duties he was connected with various sci- 
entific, literary, and historical societies, and as an elder in the Presbyterian 
church took an active part in the general assemblies of that denomination. 
He was also a writer of considerable ability. Amorfg his publications may 
be mentioned the following: "Medals of Washington and National Med- 
als;" " Biographies of Directors of the Mint, from 1792 to 1861;" " Coins 
and Money Terms of the Bible," and " Cornplanter, a Memorial Sketch of 
the Six Nations." At diflPerent times he published pamphlets on currency, 
the national coinage, history, and other subjects. In 1872 AV'ashington and 
Jefferson College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of 
Laws. In all the various responsible positions which he filled, he displayed 
the best qualities of the honest official, and at all timeS commanded public 
esteem and confidence. Respected by those who enjoyed his intimate 
acquaintance, his life was of service as an example and incentive. He died 
in Philadelphia on the 21st of March, 1878. 

Samuel Porter Johnson, of AVarreu, Pennsylvania, a native of Venango 
county, and son of Reverend Robert Johnson, was born in Scrubgrass 
township, Venango county, January 13, 1809. He graduated at Jeffer.-^on 
College in the class of 1830, and assumed charge of an academy at Dan- 
ville, Montour county (then Columbia), where ho studied law under the 
direction of Robert C. Grier, afterward justice of the United States supreme 
court. November 3, 1833, he was admitted to the bar at Sunbury, North- 
umberland county. In January, 1834, he located at Franklin, removing to 


Warren in September following. He is a good lawyer, shrewd in the roan- 
agement of cases, strong and forcible in his appeals to a jury, though not 
an eloquent speaker. His manners at times have been considered harsh 
and severe, and opposing counsel have always found him a formidable antag- 
onist, one who watches carefully every advantage, but without resorting to 
anything savoring of disreputable practices. His legal career is eminently 
honorable and successful; during his residence in Franklin, and since his 
removal, he has been the trusted attorney in many leading and complicated 
cases. Judge Johnson was elected to the bench in 1860, and served one 
term. He is still in the vigorous prosecution of the law at Warren. 

Thomas S. Espy came to Franklin from Crawford county early in the thir- 
ties, and is remembered as one of the prominent lawyers of the county. 
He was a strong, vigorous thinker, possessed excellent judgment in all mat- 
ters pertaining to his profession, and as an advocate was logical and forcible, 
but lacked somewhat the faculty of illustration. He was retained as coun- 
sel in many of the most important cases in the district, and in his relations 
with other members of the legal fraternity was kind and courteous, and at 
all times endeavored to sustain the honor and dignity of his calling. He 
abandoned a large and lucrative practice in 18-14, and emigrated to Iowa, 
where he now resides. 

William Stewart was born in Mercer, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, on 
the 10th day of September, 1810. He had an academic education, and 
having read law with Judge Banks, was admitted to the bar in 1832. He 
first opened a law office in Brookville, Jefferson county, where he remained 
but a short time, removing thence to Franklin, Venango county, where he 
remained for two years, and thence to Mercer, where he formed a partner- 
ship with the late John J. Pearson. During his long, brilliant, and active 
public career he filled the office of state senator, and represented the district 
composed of Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver, and Butler counties in the thirty - 
fourth and thirty-fifth congresses of the United States. As an attorney 
and jurist Mr. Stewart ranked high among his associates, and his native 
ability, comprehensive mind, and active temperament, supplemented by his 
courteous and dignified bearing toward the court and his brethren of the 
bar, soon placed him at the head of his profession. Always zealous of his 
honor and conscientious in the discharge of his professional duties, his 
promise once pledged to his opponent was regarded sacred. As a citizen he 
was public spirited and benevolent, earnestly patriotic and uncompromisingly 
devoted to the perpetuity and unity of his country. He died in Mercer on 
the 17th day of October, 187(3. 

Jonathan Ayres, who was admitted to the Venango bar prior to the year 
1840, was first known in Franklin as a journalist, having published the Dem- 
ocrat some time before engaging in the legal business. He read law while 
editing the paper, and after his admission to the bar succeeded in building up 


a fairly lucrative practice, althoiigli be never becaiue distinguished in any 
particular branch of the profession. Quiet and unobtrusive in manners, he 
was nevertheless very decided in his opinions, a fact which sometimes inter- 
fered very materially with his success as a practitioner. Ho left Franklin 
early in the forties, moving to New Castle, where he continued the ])ractice 
for some years. 

James Stroble Myers, one of the ablest jurists of western Pennsylvania, 
and familiarly known as Colonel Myers, was a descendant of Frederick 
Myers, who fled from his native country. Saxony, during the religious per- 
secution of the seventeenth century and settled in Switzerland. George 
Myers, son of Frederick, came to America in 1745 and settled on Gunpow- 
der river, in Maryland, about thirty miles from the city of Baltimore. 
August 20, 1754, in York county, Pennsylvania, he married Elizabeth 
Singery, who bore him two children, one of whom, Henry Myers, father of 
James S., was born in Maryland in the month of August, 1761. Henry 
Myers served in the war for American independence, and was married on 
the 25th day of March, 1783, to Miss Mary Stroble, whose birth occurred 
December 10th, 1766. About the year 1806 Mr. Myers moved to the west- 
ern part of Pennsylvania, and settled in Richland township, Venango (now 
a part of Clarion) county, where he engaged in the milling business, which 
he carried on for a numbej of years. He was also a civil engineer, and was 
employed at dijferent times in an early day in surveying lands in Venango 
and neighboring counties. His death occurred on the 24th of June, 1849. 
Mrs. Myers preceded her husband to the grave, d^'ing December 29, 1885. 

James S. Myers, the youngest of a family of thirteen children, was born 
on the 9th day of June, 1813. He remained with his parents until January 
12, 1828, at which time he came to Franklin, his father having indentured 
him to Nathaniel Cary to learn the tailor's trade. After becoming proti- 
cient in that calling, he worked three years as a journeyman tailor at 
Brownsville, Blairsville, and other places in the western part of the state, 
and in 1832 located in Franklin, opening a shop on Thirteenth street, near 
Liberty, where he carried on a successful business for some years. On the 
8th of April, 1834, he married Miss Emily Bunnell, daughter of Samuel 
and Elizabeth (Davis) Bunnell. It was at this period that Mr. Myers devel- 
oped those qualities of energy, application, and systematic endeavor which 
were the foundation of his subsequent success in life. Owing to the lack of 
educational facilities at that time he had been obliged to start out in the 
world with a limited knowledge of books, and with no capital save a stout 
heart and strong physical constitution, and the mother-wit and common 
sense inherited from his parentage. AVhile attending the demands of his 
shop he laid out a course for his future which seemed hedged wath difficul- 
ties, but which he resolutely carried out. Although carrying on his shop and 
already married, with a growing family, he decided to l)ecome a lawyer. 



To this end be divided his time, giving eight hours each day to work in the 
shop, eight hours to study, and eight hours to rest. In order to acquire the 
requisite knowledge of Latin, he continued to take lessons in that language, 
reciting to the principal of the old Franklin Academy. 

In 1838 the workman-student found himself sufficiently equipped with 
solid acquirements to relinquish his business and enter as a regular student 
in the law office of James Thompson, then the leading lawyer of this place, 
and afterward chief justice of the state. Applying himself closely to his 
task, often studying fourteen hours a day, Mr. Myers passed examination 
and was duly admitted to the bar on the 21st day of November, 1840, and 
on the 22nd of September, 1845, was admitted to practice in the supreme 
court of Pennsylvania. 

Previous to his admission to the Venango bar, from 1836 to 1839, he 
had been collector for the French Creek canal, a position ol^tained through 
the interposition of Thaddeus Stevens, between whom and Mr. Myers a 
friendly and political sympathy always existed. 

The year of his admission Mr. Myers entered into a partnership with his 
preceptor, John W. Howe, which lasted until 1849, when Mr. Howe retired 
from the firm, having been elected the previous year to represent the Ve- 
nango district in congress. In 1850 the late F. D. Kinnear became a part- 
ner and until the dissolution of the partnership in 1868, this firm was prom- 
inent in the law business in this part of the state. Mr. Myers continued 
the successful practice of his profession until about 1873, when he retired 
from court business, though he frequently gave counsel and assistance in 
difficult cases for several years later. 

Few members of the Venango bar possessed in so marked a degree all 
the elements of the successful jurist as Mr. Myers. A strong, vigorous, and 
naturally tine legal mind, strengthened by a profound knowledge of Black- 
stone, and well versed in the principles of his profession, made him an author- 
ity on all intricate and technical points of law; and, recognized as such, he 
was frequently consulted, not only by members of the bar but by judges on 
the bench as well. His written opinions were couched in the most vigorous 
Eno-lish with no useless verbiage, and as an advocate he was clear, forcible, 
and logical rather than ornate and eloquent. Slow in arriving at couclu- 
sions and careful in probing to the bottom all questions and cases submitted 
to his consideration, his opinions were always well fortified with proper au- 
thorities, tenaciously adhered to, and seldom relinquished. Mr. Myers had 
positive political convictions, and for many years was a leading anti-slavery 
Whig, and later a firm adherent of the Kepublican party. He took an 
active part in the campaigns of 1849 and 1850, spoke for Scott in 1852, and 
in 1856 he was the Republican candidate for congress in what was known 
as the " wild cat district," making the race against a hopelessly large Dem- 
ocratic majority, which he succeeded in greatly reducing. 


As a citizen Mr. Myers was public spirited and progi-essivc, always alive 
to the interests of the city, with whose welfare his thirty-eif^ht years of pro- 
fessional life was so closely identified. In his religious convictions he ad- 
hered to the creed of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was a meml)er of 
that denomination until his death, which occurred in Franklin on the 20th 
day of October, 1885. His wife is still living, having reached the ripe old 
age of seventy-three years. The following are the names of the children 
born to Mr. and Mrs. Myers, viz. : Samuel B., attorney, of Franklin; James 
P. (deceased); Emily, deceased wife of John H. Lee; Frank (deceased); 
Lauretta, wife of J. D. Chadwick, attorney, of Franklin; Ella (deceased); 
James B. , in the auditor general's office at Harrisburg; Wilbur F., physi- 
cian at Edenburg, Clarion county, and Charles A., a lawyer of Franklin. 

Edwin C. Wilson, of Steubenville, Ohio, came to Venango county in 
1840 and was admitted to the bar November 25th of the same year. He read 
law in his native state and had practiced for some years before his removal 
to Franklin. Soon after his admission to the Venango bar he effected a co- 
partnership with Judge John S. McCalmont, with whom he practiced some 
time, and later moved to Erie, thence to Philadelphia, in which city his 
death occurred. Mr. Wilson won recognition among the legal gentlemen of 
this county more by his oratory and skill in the examination of witnesses 
than by a profound knowledge of the profession. 

N. R. Bushnell, one of the oldest members of the Venango bar now liv- 
ing, is a native of Trumbull county, Ohio, and^ son of Daniel and Polly 
Bushnell. He was born August 24, 1817, read law in the office of John 
Hutchins, of Warren, Ohio, and was admitted to the practice in Venango 
county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1843. For some years he enjoyed a fairly 
remunerative business, but in 1861 retired from the profession and engaged 
in other pursuits. He is now spending the evening of an honorable life in 
his quiet and retired home in Franklin. 

Judge John S. McCalmont, now of Washington city, where he is still 
prosecuting the duties of his profession, may be classed as one of the early 
attorneys of Franklin, where he studied law and was admitted to practice 
November 25, 1844. As Mr. McCalmont is one of the lawyers who have 
filled the judgeship in this district, a sketch of him will be found in that 

Robert S. McCormick, who, excepting Mr. Bushnell, is the oldest living 
member of the local bar, was born in Franklin on the 14th day of August, 
1822, and is a son of Dominic and Elizabeth (Kinnear) McCormick. He re- 
ceived his literary training in the schools of the town and having early mani- 
fested a decided taste for the legal profession, entered upon a course of 
reading in 1843 under the instruction of Howe & Myers, in whose office he 
remained until his admission to the bar on the 27th day of August, 1845. 
He began the practice of his profession in partnership with James K. Kerr, 


with whom he was associated for some years, and later served as district at- 
torney, the duties of which office he discharged in a manner creditable to 
himself and satisfactory to all concerned. After practicing continuously 
until 1866 Mr. McCormick was elected associate judge of Venango county 
and served as such until 1871, taking an active interest in the meantime in 
the municipal affairs of Franklin. He prepared the city charter, was in- 
strumental in securing its adoption, and since 1881 has been serving as city 
attorney. Mr. McCormick has always been a close observer and careful stu- 
dent. He is a sound lawyer, and though now in his sixty-eighth year is still 
actively engaged in the duties of his profession. He was married in June, 
1846, to Julia A. , daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Dubbs, who has borne 
him three children: Norman H. , Clinton, and W. F., all of whom were 
members of the Venango bar. 

Samuel Riddle was born in Scrubgrass township, Venango county, on 
the 4th^day of August, 1821, read law in Franklin with James R. Snowden, 
and was admitted to the bar some time in the forties. He was a man of 
good mind, well versed in the principles of his profession, and excelled more 
as an office lawyer than an advocate. His practice, contined principally to 
civil business, was fair, and had not his career been terminated by an early 
death, he doubtless would have made an enviable record in the profession. 
He died in Franklin on the 28th day of May, 1853. 

Francis D. Kinnear was a native of Franklin, born December 2, 1821, 
and a son of William Kinnear, a pioneer of Venango county. In August, 
1843, he began his law studies under Thomas S. Espy, and a few months 
after entered the office of Howe & Myers. He was admitted to practice 
August 27, 1845, and continued in the active duties of the profession 
throughout the balance of his life. He was also connected with the early 
banking interests of Franklin, as president of the Venango Bank. Pos- 
sessing a shrewd, well-balanced mind, and being an indefatigable worker, 
his peculiar strength lay in his thorough preparation of all cases intrusted 
to his charge. He was a man of singular ingenuity in the profession, a 
diligent student, and while confining his attention to no particular phrase 
of the law, succeeded best in litigation growing out of land titles, real 
estate, and other business in which technical points were conspicuous feat- 
ures. He died in Franklin, July 4, 1885. 

General Alfred B. McCalmont, for many years a leading lawyer of 
Franklin, was a son of Judge Alexander McCalmont, and was born in 
Venango county on the 28th day of April, 1825. He was for one term a 
student in Allegheny College, later attended Dickinson College, from which 
institution he graduated in 1844, and immediately thereafter began the 
study of law at Franklin, in the office of his father, at that time president 
judge of the eighteenth judicial district. May 25th, 1847, he was admitted 
to the bar, and immediately after located in Pittsburgh, where his brilliant 


oratory soon won for him a fair share of practice. In 1853 he became asso- 
ciated with T. J. Keenan in the newspaper business in that city, and in 
1855 was appointed prothonotary of the supreme court of Pennsylvania. 
He resigned this position in May, 1858, to accept an appointment in the 
oiiice of Jeremiah S. Bhick, who was at the time attorney o-eneral of the 
United States in the cabinet of James Buchanan. Subsequently he was 
appointed assistant attorney general, the duties of which he discharo-ed dur- 
ing the continuance of that administration, and then returned to his home 
in Franklin and resumed the practice of law, in partnership with the late 
James K. Kerr. In 1862 he entered the army, as lieutenant colonel of the 
One Hundred and Forty- Second regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, and in 
the fall of 1864 became colonel of the Two Hundred and Eighth regiment, 
by way of indirect promotion. He served during the remainder of the war, 
commanded a brigade in the assault upon Petersburg, and in recognition 
of his gallantry in this and other bloody engagements, received from the 
secretary of war the brevet rank of brigadier general. On retiring from the 
service he again resumed the practice of his profession in Franklin, and con- 
tinued the same until his death, which occurred on the 7th day of May, 
1874. General McCalmont will always be remembered as one of the brill- 
iant lawyers and gallant soldiers of Venango county. He possessed in a 
marked degree the elements of the orator, and was at his best before the 
jury, where his appeals in behalf of his client were frequently powerful and 
eloquent. i 

He was married April 25, 1853, to Miss Sarah F. Evans, of Pittsburgh. 
Three children were l)orn of this union, viz.: Lydia C, deceased wife of 
Thomas McOough, attorney of Franklin; Sarah L. , wife of W. U. Lewis- 
son, of Boston, and Robert, a lawyer of Franklin. 

General McCalmont can justly be classed among the prominent leaders 
of the Democratic party in this section of the state, and was its choice for 
congress from this district in 1868. In 1872 he was the choice of tlie 
Democracy of western Pennsylvania for the gubernatorial nomination, which, 
however, fell to Charles R. Buckalew. He was a very social gentleman, 
whole-souled and generous to a fault, and was one of the most admired and 
popular lawyers of the Venango bar. 

S. P. McCalmont is one of the oldest lawyers now practicing in the 
courts of Venango county, where he commence * his legal career nearly forty- 
three years ago. He is a native of Sugar Creek township, Venango county, 
born September 12, 1823, and a son of John McCalmont, who came to this 
county with his parents in 1803. His education was limited to the country 
subscription schools of his boyhood days and a few months at college. He 
read law with McCalmont & Wilson, and was admitted to the bar November 
25, 1847. He went to California in April, 1850, and spent three years on 
the Pacific slope. Returning to Franklin he resiimed practice at this bar. 


and has here since steadfastly remained at the post of his professional duties. 
In 1855 he was elected on the Republican ticket to the legislature, and 
twice re-elected. In 1874 he assisted in organizing the Prohibition party 
in Venango county, and is to-day one of the leading Prohibitionists in west- 
ern Pennsylvania. 

Contemporary with General McCalmont was his law partner, Colonel 
James K. Kerr, who studied for his profession under the able instruction of 
David Derickson, of Meadville, and became a member of the Venango bar 
on the 24th of May, 1848. Mr. Kerr was essentially a lawyer, and as such 
early took high rank among the successful attorneys of Venango county, 
and in time became one of the well known jurists in the western part of the 
state. He was a man of linQ presence, charming manners, ready and quick 
at repartee, a capital story teller, and one of the most eloquent and mag- 
netic speakers in western Pennsylvania. His fine social qualities made him 
popular with all classes of people, and his well known abilities in his pro- 
fession made him the trusted attorney in much of the litigation of the 
county during the period of his residence in Franklin. Mr. Kerr was a 
native of Crawford county, born in the city of Titusville. He married in 
Franklin Eliza Jane McCormick, sister of Robert S. McCormick, who died 
at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 6, 1889. In 1861 he entered the 
army as major of the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and after an honorable 
career as a soldier resigned on account of failing health. After a few more 
years' practice at the Venango bar he removed to Pittsburgh, where he died 
February 28, 1876. 

William H. Lamberton, of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, where he 
had prepared himself for the legal profession, became a resident of Franklin 
some time in the forties, and a few years later was elected to the office of 
district attorney. His knowledge of the law, while not profound, was quite 
thorough, and as a practitioner he enjoyed the reputation of being honest, 
reliable, and upright in his dealings with clients — traits which won him a 
fair share of the legal business. He died in Franklin, May 21, 1869, aged 
forty-nine years. 

L. D. Rodgers was admitted to the bar on the 24th day of February, 
1851, and after practicing a short time thereafter, removed to Brookville, but 
subsequently returned to Franklin and resumed practice. Mr. Rodgers was 
a fluent talker, and did a fa^r business during his residence in this county. 

Charles Raymond read law in Franklin, and was admitted to the bar 
February 24, 1851. He practiced to a limited extent in the courts of Ve- 
nango, and afterward located in Minnesota, thence returned to Franklin, 
where his death subsequently occurred. 

Thompson Allison, a fair lawyer and at one time district attorney, was 
also admitted to the bar in February, 1851, and practiced in the courts of 
Venango and other counties until his death several years later. He was a 


man of good mind and excellent character, possessed a fair knowledge of 
the law, and in his practice was looked upon as an impartial lawyer and 
reliable counsellor. 

Samuel Plumer, since 1S09 })resident of the First National Bank of 
Franklin, has been a member of the bar for nearly thirty-eight years. He 
was born in Franklin April 2, 1880, and is the eldest son of the late Arnold 
Plumer. He received his primary education in Franklin, afterward attend- 
ino- the academy at Jamestown, New York, two years, and also two years at 
Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania. He read law with Judge 
Alexander McCalmont, was admitted to the bar July 7, 1852, and imme- 
diately formed a partnership with Edwin C. Wilson. The firm of AVilson 
& Pltimer lasted three years, and in the autumn of 1855 Mr. Plumer went 
to Minnesota, where he continued to practice until the spring of 1857, when 
he was appointed by President Buchanan register of the land oflfice for 
southern Minnesota, and served in that capacity until the accession of Lin- 
coln to the presidency, when he was removed to make place for a supporter 
of the latter administration. Returning to Franklin he became associated 
in the practice of the law with James K. Kerr, and he continued to prose- 
cute the duties of his profession until his father's death in 1809, when he 
was elected president of the First National Bank and has ever since filled 
that position and devoted his whole attention to its affairs. Mr. Plumer 
has been twice married, and has two sons: L. M., a lawyer of Pittsburgh, 
and A. G., connected with the banking house , of Jamison & Company, of 
Philadelphia. Politically Mr. Plumer has always been a stanch supporter 
of the Democratic party and is one of the best known business men of his 
native city. 

Henry W. Lamberton, a brother of William H. Lamberton, was ad- 
mitted to practice November 22, 1852. He enjoyed a fair practice and was 
a careful, painstaking lawyer. After a few years he removed to Minnesota, 
where he now resides. 

Robert Riddle read law with his brother Samuel and was admitted to 
practice January 24, 1853. After a short stay at Franklin he removed to 

Christopher Heydrick, one of the oldest and most prominent members 
of the present bar, was born in French Creek township, Venango county, 
May 19, 1830, the oldest son of Charles H. Heydrick, an early settler 
of French Creek. He was reared upon the old homestead in that town- 
ship, was educated in the public schools, at Grand River Institute, Ohio, 
and at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, and graduated fi-om the 
last mentioned institution in 1852. He read law in Kentucky, was^there 
licensed to practice, and was admitted to the Venango bar on the 2<th of 
January, 1854. Mr. Heydrick immediately commenced practice at Frank- 
lin, and for the past thirty -six years has practiced extensively in the courts 


of Venango, Mercer, Crawford, Warren, McKean, Forest, Clarion, and But- 
ler counties, and in the circuit court of the United States for the western 
district of Pennsylvania, also in the supreme court of the state. 

Of late years his practice has consisted largely of land cases. He has 
been counsel in many of the more important and intricate contests on titles 
and surveys that have come up in this section of Pennsylvania within his 
time at the bar. His naturally careful, mathematical, and logical mind is 
reinforced in this line of his profession by a practical knowledge of land 
surveying, and of the surveyor's method of doing the work on the ground, 
which art he learned from his father. His skill and accuracy as a draughts- 
man is attested by the map of Venango county, issued in 1857, which he 
compiled, and which, through all the subdivisions of original tracts, still 
remains the standard map of the county. Mr. Heydrick's style of speak- 
incr or writing is dignified, deliberate, logical, clear, and concise, yet with 
comprehensive fidelity to all necessary details, while his legal papers are 
models in both style and diction. He is recognized as a safe, conservative, 
and able lawyer, whose long and successful experience in his profession 
justly entitles him to rank among the leading attorneys of northwestern 

As a citizen, Mr. Heydrick has taken an active interest in many of the 
local enterprises, such as in procuring the construction of the Franklin 
branch of the Atlantic and Great Western railroad (now New York, Penn- 
sylvania and Ohio), from Meadville, the Allegheny bridge, the Venango Water 
Works, and the turnpike to Oil City. Though ardently devoted to his pro- 
fession, he has always given his time and talents toward inculcating and 
defending the principles of the Democratic party, and in 1878 he was the 
Democratic nominee of this judicial district for the president judgeship. 

On the 20th of June, 1860, Mr. Heydrick married Frances Helen, eldest 
daughter of the late Judge Richard Irwin of Franklin, who has blessed 
him with five children: Carl I., lawyer of Franklin; Harriet; Frederick P. ; 
Eva (deceased), and Helen. The family are adherents to the Presbyterian 
church, to which denomination the ancestry belonged. 

Theodore Spencer of Enterprise, Warren county, Pennsylvania, was 
admitted to the Venango bar January 18, 1855. As a lawyer he was quiet, 
unpretentious, very acciirate in the preparation of legal papers, and in the 
presentation of cases was remarkably clear and exj:)licit. He subsequently 
returned to Warren, where he continued to practice until defective hearing 
compelled him to abandon the profession. 

John Daily came to Franklin in boyhood. He was a printer by trade, 
biit afterward studied law, was admitted to the bar April 26, 1859. and 
did a small business for several years thereafter. He was also justice of 
the peace many years, and died in Franklin. 

S. C. T. Dodd, one of the ablest lawyers of the Venango bar during his 


connection with it, was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania, February 20, 1830, 
son of Levi Dodd, an early settler of that place. He learned the printing 
trade, graduated at Jefferson College in 1857, studied law with James K. 
Kerr, of Franklin, and was admitted to the bar August 31, 1859. In his 
practice of nearly twenty-two years in the courts of the district and ad- 
joining counties he stood in the front rank of his profession. Possessing 
extensive literary acquirements, a fine analytical mind, and a well grounded 
knowledge of the most important branches of legal science, he soon won a 
conspicuous position among the successful jurists of western Pennsylvania. 
His selection by the Standard Oil Trust as its general solicitor was a 
marked recognition of his superior abilities as a lawyer. Mr. Dodd was 
selected in 1872 as one of the Democratic members at large to servo in the 
constitutional convention, and took quite a prominent part in the delibera- 
tions and work of that body. During his residence in Franklin he Iniilt 
up an extensive legal business, and enjoyed in a large degree the esteem 
and confidence of his professional brethren, as well as of the whole comnuin- 
ity. Politically he is a Democrat, and has always taken an active interest 
in the political battles of the state and nation. He i-emoved to New York 
in January, 1881, and has since filled the prominent and lucrative position 
of general solicitor of the Standard Oil Trust. 

Calvin AV. Oilfillan, though not engaged in active practice for the past 
sixteen years, is one of the older surviving members of this bar. He is a 
native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and a descendant of one of its best 
known pioneer families. He read law with William Stewart, of Mercer, and 
was admitted to the Mercer bar in November, 1859. In the meantime he 
filled the ofiice of superintendent of schools of his native county, and that 
of transcribing clerk in the Pennsylvania house of representatives. Imme- 
diately after his admission he located in Franklin, and soon built up a good 
practice. In 1862 he formed a partnership with Charles E. Taylor, which 
existed five years. The firm of Taylor & Gilfillan was recognized as one of 
the ablest legal firms in the county. In 1801 Mr. Oiltillan was apjiointed 
district attorney, and elected to the same ofiice in 1802. In 1808 he was 
the choice of the Republican party for congress, and was elected by a hand- 
some majority. From 1807 to 1873 he continued in practice alone, and in 
the latter year gave up the active duties of his profession to accept the pres- 
idency of the Lamberton Savings Bank, which position be has ever since oc- 

The great oil excitement extending over the principal part of the decade 
ending in 1870 brought to this county a large number of lawyers of whom 
only a brief mention can be attempted. Some of them located at Franklin, 
others at Oil City and the various towns that flourished in this region at 
that period. Among this number were George E. Snowden, a native of the 
county, admitted to practice April 30, 1862, now a resident of Philadelphia 


and brigadier general of the National Guard of Pennsylvania; David Ster- 
ritt, from Mifflin county, was admitted in November, 1864; William J. Gal- 
breath, admitted November 28, 1864, located at Oil City; Major James M. 
Bredin, of Butler county, also admitted November 28, 1864, practiced in 
Franklin until his death; William H. James, of Philadelphia, admitted in 
1865, was subsequently elected district attorney; J. D. McJunkin, admitted in 
January, 1865, was afterward a member of the legislature from this county 
and is now a resident of Butler; James H» Smith came from New York in 
February, 1865, and was elected district attorney in 1871; C. W. Smith came 
from Pittsburgh in April, 1865; John M. Bonham, from York county, admitted 
to the l)ar of this county in July. 1865, is now a resident of Washington city, 
and widely known as the author of " Industrial Liberty;" E. L. Keenan was 
admitted in January, 1866; William Carroll came to Franklin in March, 1866: 
Roger Sherman, from Erie, was admitted to this bar in February, 1867, and 
practiced at Pithole and Pleasantville; M. C. Beebe, of Pleasantville, was 
admitted to practice in March, 1868, and successively county superintendent 
of public schools, member of the legislature, and of the constitutional con- 
vention of 1873; N. B. Smiley, a native of Franklin, a printer by trade, and 
editor of the Citizen from 1864 to 1867, was admitted to the bar in April, 
1869, but removed to Bradford several years later, and at the time of his 
death was regarded as one of the leading members of the McKean county bar. 

The following are the names of the attorneys in active practice at Frank- 
lin at the present time, with the respective dates of admission to the bar of 
this county: Robert S. McCormick, August 27, 1845; S. P. McCalmont, No- 
vember 25, 1847; C. Heydrick, January 27, 1854; Charles E. Taylor, April 
27, 1858; Samuel B. Myers, April 26, 1859: J. D. Hancock, January 24, 
1865; W. C. Rheem, April 24, 1865; J. H. Osmer, August 28, 1865; Charles 
W. Mackey, August 28. 1865; T. J. McKean, April 27, 1866; J. D. Chad- 
wick, April 8, 1867; James W. Lee, April 26, 1869; R. W. Dunn, June 7, 
1869; D. A. Hays, June 2, 1873; George S. Criswell, September 80, 1875: 
Thomas McGough, July 11, 1876; C. A. Myers, August 27, 1877; Robert 
F. Glenn, May 13, 1878; E. H. Lamberton, April 21, 1879; J. S. Carmichael, 
April 28, 1881; Edward Trainor, May 9, 1881; B. H. Osborn, August 26, 
1881; Robert McCalmont, December 5. 1881; William H. Forbes, April 
23, 1883; William J. Breene, December 10, 1883; E. E. Hughes. April 26, 
1886; F. L. Kahle, August 23, 1886; Carl I. Heydrick, August 23, 1886: 
J. O. McCalmont, April 25, 1887; John K. Crawford, March 29, 1888: 
Lawrence P. Hancock, F. A. Sayers, and W. D. Doyle, August 26, 1889. 

The following residents of Franklin, admitted to the bar at the dates 
indicated, are not now engaged in the active duties of the profession: N. R. 
Bushnell, 1843; Samuel Plumer, July 7, 1852; Calvin W. Giltillan, Novem- 
ber 30, 1859; R. L. Cochran, November 25, ^862, and R. G. Lamberton, 
.September 12, 1870. 


The attorneys residing at Oil City are Isaac Ash, admitted to the bar of 
Venango coxanty, November 28, 1864; H. C. Graham, December 1, 1864; 
J. B. McAllister, April 24, 1865; William McNair, April 24, 1865; F. AV. 
Hays, October 10, 1870; Luman Stephens, November 28, 1870; H. D. Haii- 
cock, March 29, 1872; Henry McSweendy, April 24, 1876; W. J. Hnlings, 
March 8, 1877; Martin Carey, August 27, 1883; H. W. Fisher, August 27, 
1883; J. L. Dorworth, August 25, 1884; T, F. Kitchey, October 17, 1887; 
J. L. Mattox, R. M. Speer, and Joseph McSweeney, August 26, 1889. 

In addition to those mentioned, the following attorneys were members of 
the Venango bar, and some of them practiced in this county several years 
before their death or removal therefrom: T. R. Ridgway, admitted in Feb- 
ruary, 1847; Sidney McGuire, March, 1848; James Knox, August, 1853; 
T. B. Hoover, December, 1859; Charles F. Hasson (Oil City), August, 1861 ; 
E. Ferero, Oil City, April, 1864; Archibald Bleakley, August, 1864; S. P. 
Irwin, November, 1864; F. E. Felton, December, 1864; H. P. Montgom- 
ery, December, 1864; Isaac Myers, Jr., January, 1865; W. S. Crawford, 
January, 1865; H. C. Johns (Pithole), January, 1865; W. T. Bell, Janu- 
ary, 1865; Henry G. Smith, April, 1865; A. G. Rice, April, 1865; Mal- 
colm Hay, afterward assistant postmaster general, April, 1865; James Flynn 
(Rouseville), April, 1865; William Bleakley, August, 1865; George S. 
Daugherty, August, 1865; William R. Dickerson, August, 1865; W. V. 
Perrine, August, 1865; T. S. Zuver (Oil City), August, 1865; C. S. An- 
drews, September, 1865; J. G. Elliott (Petroleum, Center), November, 1865; 
T. C. Spencer, January, 1865; G. W. Andrews, January, 1866; C. O. 
Bowman, January, 1866; H. T. Beardsley, November, 1866; F. W. Hast- 
ings, December, 1866; Jacob A. Vroman, Samuel D. Irwin, January, 1867; 
H. B. Plumer, April, 1867; Henry A. Miller, April, 1867; John P. Park, 
March, 1868; W. T. Graham, April, 1868; Frederick L. Seely, April, 1868; 
R. Mackwood, Aj^ril, 1868; John McKissick, September, 1868; John McC. 
Miller, December, 1868; G. B. McCalmont, January, 1869; M. D. Christy 
(Oil City), March, 1869; S. P. Newell, April, 1869; William A. Given 
(Rouseville), April, 1869; N. H. McCormick, March, 1870; James H. Donly, 
May, 1870; A. W. Covell, October, 1870; J. H. Bowman, January, 1871; 
J. C. Boyce (Oil City), April, 1872; Henry A. Strong, December, 1872; 
Samuel P. Brigham, April, 1873; S. S. Avery, May, 1873; W. N. Miles, 
March, 1874; W^illiam M. Francis, March, 1874; J. W. Osborn, April, 1874; 
William A. Selby, April, 1875; John T. Selby, May, 1875; T. A. Morrison, 
November, 1875; Heber Donaldson, John K. Wilson, July, 1876; Jacob 
O'Dell, James W. Shaw, August, 1876; C. L. Poor, September, 1876; N. 
P. Bryden, March, 1877; W. W. Dale, August, 1877; E. L. Davis, Novem- 
ber, 1877; E. S. McCalmont, August, 1880; L. R. Freeman, September 27, 
1880; Wilmot Heard, August 27, 1883; C. W. Benedict, August 25, 1884; 
E. E. Smith, December 8, 18^4. 



Uninviting Ciiakacter of Venango County as a Field for the Labors 

OF Professional Physicians at an Early Date — Pioneer 

Doctors at Franklin and Throughout the 

County— Medical Societies— Roster 

OF the Medical Profession. 

VENANGO COUNTY does not seem to have been an encouraging field 
for the labors of professional physicians during the first decade of its 
history. A hardy race of people, inured to exposure and privation, and 
entirely unacquainted vpith the luxuries which foster a large proportion of 
the diseases incident to the usual manner of living in older and more 
wealthy communities, composed its early population. In the long category 
of human ills, there are very few likely to afflict a people with whom the 
principal articles of food were wheat flour, corn meal, and wild meats, who 
were generally engaged in manual labor of the severest kind, and enjoyed 
the added advantage of living in an exceptionally healthful locality. Trifling 
aihnents and even serious illness were treated with prescrij)tions from the 
domestic pharmacopia; the promj^t application of such remedies, guided by 
experience, common sense, and self-reliance, generally succeeded very well. 
Much as "grandmothers' remedies" — nauseous decoctions of herbs that 
were cultivated in the garden for the purpose, and whose virtues were a 
traditional heritage from mother to daughter; preparations compounded 
from the bark and roots of trees, or from drugs that could be obtained at 
the country store — have been ridiculed, their efficiency on many occasions 
can not be questioned. Professional physicians were not the less desirable, 
however, and the first demand for the services of a knight of the lancet and 
pill bag met with a prompt response. 

The following interesting particulars regarding the practitioners who 
"blazed the way" for the succession of gentlemen who have since graced 
the ranks of the profession is given in the language of Doctor Eaton: 

The first to han.c,- out his sign was T. G. Symonds. Whence he came no one now 
knows, and what was the character of his work is equally obscure. He located here 
about the close of the last century, and probably did not remain long. There must 
have been an interregnum after his departure, as Mrs. Irvine testifies that when any 
one was sick, very sick, after she arrived, which was in 1800, a physician was called 
from Meadville. This meant a long, weary ride over a rough road, on horseback, and 
a return in the same way. 


The next doctor was Tliomas Sniitli. He is said to have been a sldllful pliysician 
but an eccentric man. He was slow of speech, and somewhat credulous, to ins own 
injury at times. On one occasion a young man had captured a porcupine and brou'-ht 
it to Doctor Smith as a present. The doctor was deligiited with the pet and proposed 
to keep it as a curiosity, and shut it up in his office over night, until he could arrange 
suitable (juarters for it. 

In those days every doctor kept a minature drug store, so as to be able to furnish 
the medicine his patients might require. On coming to his office in the morning the 
naturalist was greatly horrified at finding that his porcupine had climbed upon the 
shelves and knocked down almost every jar and bottle and tumbled them on the lloor, 
in one general scene of ruin. Drugs that agreed and disagreed with each other were 
mingled together. Solids and fluids were combined, as no doctor lias ever combined 
them. Probably the porcupine smiled to see the ruin he had wrought, but the smile 
was premature. The doctor was excited to very great wrath, and indulged in indis- 
creet language, and finished by shooting the cause of his trouble. 

Peter Faulkner came to Franklin in 1820, but moved to Woodstock, 
Crawford county, within a brief period. The scope of his professional 
labors still embraced the northern part of the county, however, and his ap- 
pearance on horseback with the stout leather saddle-bags and old fashioned 
riding accoutrements of that day was familiar throughout the northwestern 
counties. He was quite successful, both as surgeon and practitioner. He 
died at Erie January 13, 1876, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. 

George R. Espy also located at Franklin in 1820. He was born Feb- 
ruary 21, 1796. His academic education was obtained at Bedford, Penn- 
sylvania, and his professional training under the tutorship of Doctor Peter 
Allen, of Knisman, Ohio. He bore an excellent reputation as a physician 
and enjoyed great personal popularity. In 1827 he was elected to the legis- 
lature from the counties of Crawford and Venango, and from that date was 
a prominent factor in the political affairs of the county, rising to the posi- 
tion of auditor general of the state under Governor Porter. In 1881 he re- 
tired from practice; in the winter of 1815-46 he removed to Fort Madison, 
Iowa, where he was engaged in milling and merchandising until his death, 
February 21, 1849. 

Several physicians located at Franklin temporarily at a comparatively 
early period, amon^- whom were Doctors Gilfillan, J. Dowling, John D. 
Wood, and J. Bascom. Doctor Wood was popular as a physician and fairly 
successful in his practice. After his departure from this })lace ho went 
down the Mississippi, and nothing regarding his future career is known. 
Doctor Bascom succeeded to Doctor Espy's practice in 1831. He came 
with high recommendations from the medical societies of New York and 
Ohio and remained several years. 

Nathaniel Duffield Snowden began his professional career in this county 
in 1828 at Emlenton; two years later he removed to the county seat, thence- 
forth his residence to the close of his life. He was born at Harrisburg No- 
vember 28, 1803, son of Reverend Nathaniel Randolph and Sarah (Gustine) 


Snowden, the former descended from a family that settled at Barnstable, 
Massachusetts, in 1630, the latter a daughter of Doctor Lemuel Gustine, a 
surgeon in the American army during the Revolution. He acquired a 
classical education at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, during the 
incumbency of his father as president of that institution, and after a course 
of preliminary study with his brother. Doctor Isaac Snov^den of Thompson- 
town, Pennsylvania, attended the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. 
From the time that his practice began until failing health compelled him to 
relinquish its active duties he was assiduous and untiring in his devotion to 
its pursuit. Equally skilled as a physician and a surgeon there were few 
emergencies to which he was not equal. Gentle in manners and by na- 
ture tender and sympathetic, few men more readily gained the confidence of 
the afflicted. In those days the practitioner drove or rode long distances in 
the country and was frequently asked in consultation to undertake a jour- 
ney of twenty or thirty miles. With conscientious devotion to his calling 
and unfeigned sympathy for sorrow or distress in every form he cheerfu.lly 
responded to demands for his services, often answering a summons when 
he was more in need of rest and medical attention than his patient. A 
man of studious habits, he was familiar with the literature of his profession 
and well informed as to its progress. 

Long before an apothecary was located at Franklin he was obliged at 
times to prepare his own drugs, and often gave both medicine and advice 
to the needy and destitute. Liberally educated himself he was active in 
promoting all local educational interests, serving frequently as trustee of the 
academy and school director. Repeatedly honored by his fellow citizens 
by election to places of trust, he was coroner of the county from 1844 to 
1847, and register and recorder from 1857 to 1860. He was married on 
the 27th of April, 1833, to Jane, daughter of George McClelland; their 
children were Samuel Gustine, who succeeded to the practice of his father; 
George Randolph, of Philadelphia, brigadier general of the First brigade. 
National Guard of Pennsylvania, who served in the civil war as captain in 
the One Hundred and Forty-Second Pennsylvania Volunteers; and Jane 
Bredin, deceased wife of James Woodburn, of Franklin. Doctor Snowden 
died September 30, 1864, in the sixty-first year of his age, and in full com- 
munion with the Presbyterian church. 

Buckland Gillett was born in Schoharie county. New York, September 
18, 1807. His parents were natives of Connecticut, who emigrated to 
Schoharie county, and thence to Fredonia, Chautauqua county, New York. 
He received a good education at the Fredonia Academy, and in 1824 began 
his medical studies with Doctor S. White. After a four years' course he was 
admitted to an examination by the censors of the Chautauqua County Medi- 
cal Society, and licensed to practice medicine and surgery in conformity 
with the law then in force in the state of New York. In 1829 he began 


practice at TitiTsvillo. but in May, 1834, moved to Franldin, where he made 
his home and continued in the active practice of his profession nearly half 
a century. In 1847 he matriculated and attended lectures at Harvard Uni- 
versity, and subsequently the honorary degree of M. D. was conferred upon 
him by the University of AVooster at Cleveland, Ohio. He assisted in the 
organization of the Venango County Medical Society, of which he was the first 
president. He was also a member of the State Medical Society and one of 
its vice presidents; a member of the American Medical Association, and an 
honorary member of the California State Medical Society. April 30. 1832, 
he married Sarah, daughter of Ebeuezer Byles of Allegheny township; she 
is still living (1889) at the age of seventy-seven. They had one child, 
Annette, wife of R. L. Cochran. Doctor Gillett died October 19, 1881. 
In noting his death the Venango Spectator pays the following just tribute 
to his memory: 

His iiame was familiar lo our whole people. To the ability of a skilled physi- 
cian, he added the soothing care and kindness of a friend. In his medical career he 
was eminently successful, and perhaps no man in his profession ever gained to a 
greater extent the love and gratitude of those to whose ailments he was a healing 
messenger. Educated in the strictly orthodox school of medical science, he was a 
student throughout his long life, and neglected nothing necessary to keep himself 
abreast of the improvements and discoveries that time had made in his art. He was a 
man of sterling knowledge outside of his profession and would have made his mark in 
lines entirely distinct from his calling. But it was as the gentle, kind, and skillful 
physician that ou-- people best knew him, and as such he 'will long be remembered in 
many a household. No man had more or truer friends, amino man better deserved 

George W. Connely read medicine with Doctor Espy, and practiced at 
Franklin several years. He was born in Allegheny township September 3, 
1804. son of Isaac Connely, a pioneer in that part of the county. He had a 
collegiate education, was a member of the Methodist church, and a Demo- 
crat. He retired from the profession to become clerk to the county com- 
missioners, a position which he held many years. He was elected prothono- 
tary in 1842 and served until 1848. September 14, 1826, he was married 
to Margaret Lowry, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, to whom three sons and 
one daughter were born: James L., of Philadelphia; Espy, of Franklin; 
Isaac, of PJeasantville, and Mrs. B. AY. Bredin, of Franklin. His death 
occtirred January 13, 1851. 

Samuel Gustine Snowden, eldest son of Doctor Nathaniel Duffield Snow- 
den, was born at Franklin, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1837. He obtained 
his early education at the public and private schools of that place, and sub- 
sequently took a three years' course of study under the Reverend William 
"White, D. D., LL.D., rector of the Episcopal church of Butler and princi- 
pal of the Butler Academy. This included in addition to the usual academic 
studies a full collegiate course in Greek and Latin. Doctor Snowden came 


of a family of physicians. His father and three of his father's brothers were 
physicians, as also were his great-grandfather, Samuel Gustine, and his 
great-groat-grandfather, William Hooker Smith, the two last mentioned well 
known among the Wyoming patriots and sufPerers in the early history of 
Pennsylvania. In boyhood he had chosen his profession, and spent many 
hours in his father's office, under his supervision, studying the elementary 
principles of medical science at an age when most boys spend their leisure 
time upon the playground. After returning from Butler he read medicine 
reo-ularly with his father, and before he was twenty years of age assisted 
him in his large practice. 

In October, 1857, he matriculated at the Philadelphia College of Medi- 
cine, an excellent institution numbering among its professors at that time 
D. Hays Agnew and Henry Hartshorne. But the withdrawal of southern 
patronage during the late war so reduced its numbers that it was finally 
merged in the University of Pennsylvania, thus leaving the doctor without 
an alma mater. He graduated March 3. 1859, receiving his diploma soon 
after his twenty-first birthday. He established himself permanently at 
Franklin and continued in the active duties of an extensive practice until 
1883, when failing health compelled him to relinquish professional work. 
Early in that year he spent several months in Philadelphia, hoping that rest 
mio-ht restore him to health. In June he returned to Franklin no better, 
and the rest of the summer was spent at Waterfoi-d, the early home of his 
wife. On Christmas day. accompanied by her, he bade adieu to Franklin 
and went to Asheville, North Carolina, hoping against his better judgment 
that the bracing mountain air of that place might prove beneficial; but it 
was of no avail, and on the 22nd of August, 1884. in the i)resence of his 
wife and only brother, he passed quietly away. His remains were brought 
to Franklin and interred in the cemetery there. 

Death found him in the full vigor of his intellectual growth, and while 
still a comparatively young man, cut short a career that had already won 
him an enviable reputation as a physician and an honorable standing among 
men. Perhaps no one in this community was ever more generally or sin- 
cerely mourned. Fond of research and fortunate in possessing a retentive 
memory, he was fully abreast of the times in the progress of medical science 
and in all the current matters and literature of the day, waa conversant 
with that branch of law known as medical jurisprudence, and in the iiidst 
of a large practice he yet found time to master the German language so as 
to translate it with ease, and in the days of waning health found recreation 
in reading the works of Goitbe, Schiller, Heine, Auerbach, Spielhagen, and 
other German authors, and toward the last read Luther's version of the New 
Testament and Book of Psalms. He was often called to give testimony in 
the courts as an expert, and his statements were always so concise, techni- 
cal and clear, that the court, the bar, and the jury listened to him as one 
s})eaking with authority. 



His reputation as a skillful surgeon, and especially as a physician pos- 
sessing in an unusual degree the faculty of unerring diagnosis (that rare 
gift which more than any other indicates true professional genius), was 
wide-spread, and he was often called beyond the limits of his own county 
and state in consultation. He regarded his profession a high and sacred 
calling, and always practiced in strict accordance with the "code of ethics," 
which he called the '"code of honor among physicians." He was a mem- 
ber of the county and state medical societies, also of the American Medi- 
cal Association, and in 1876 was a delegate to the international convention 
of physicians at Philadelphia. He enjoyed to an exceptional degree the 
confidence and esteem of his professional contemporaries. The soul of 
honor, frank, outspoken, and independent, a stanch friend and loyal to old 
friends, he had a rare faculty of winning new ones. Beneath a somewhat 
brusque mannei he carried a very sensitive nature and a sympathetic heart. 
Although not devoted to society he was very fond of informal social inter- 
course, and was a fluent, racy, and entertaining conversationalist. In poli- 
tics he was a life-long Democrat. 

Upon religious subjects Doctor Snowden was a liberal thinker. Though 
never a church member he admired the observances of the Episcopal church, 
and requested that when his time should come its solemn burial service 
should be used and its clergyman officiate. Upon being asked a few days 
before his death if he wished the counsel or intercession of any of the 
clergymen of the town, he answered in the negative, saying: "God under- 
stands me. My faith is fixed and I need no mediator. This" (producing a 
little piece that he had clipped from some paper), "expresses the substance 
of my faith." It contained the last words and prayer of Judge Jeremiah 
S. Black. "How can I fear to cross the dark river when my father waits 
for me on the other shore i* Would I were as comfortable about all I leave 
behind unfinished in this world! Oh, Thou most beloved and merciful 
heavenly Father, from whom I have had my being and in whom I have 
ever trusted, if it is Thy will, grant that my suffering may end, and that 
I may be called home to Thee, and Oh, bless and comfort Thee my Mary." 

On the 12th of September, 1867, Doctor Snowden was united in mar- 
riage by the Keverend J. F. Spaulding (now Episcopal bishop of Colorado), 
to Mary Judson, daughter of Doctor William Judson of Waterford. Erie 
county, Pennsylvania, who still survives him. 

Walter Lowrie Whann, son of Kobert S. and Elizabeth (Lowrie) Whann, 
was born and reared to adult age in Mineral township, Venango county. 
In the summer of 1841 he entered New Hagertown Academy, Carroll county, 
Ohio, and in the following year became a stiident at the Franklin College, 
New Athens, Ohio, completing a literary course in June, 1847, after which 
he immediately began the study of medicine. In 1849-50 he attended a 
coui-se of lectures at Starling Medical College, Columbus, Ohio, and in 1850 
1 1 


began the practice of medicine at Clintonville. He attended a second 
course of lectures at Starling Medical College in 1855-56. During the civil 
war he was appointed surgical director for the district in which this county 
is situated. In 1867-08 he took a special course at Jefferson Medical Col- 
lege, Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1868. He located at 
Franklin the same year, and has been engaged in the active duties of his 
profession in this county longer than any other of the physicians of that 
city. He is a member of the county, state, and national medical associa- 
tions, and has an abiding confidence in the regular system of medicine, be- 
lieving that all outside of that school tends to retard the progress of medi- 
cal science. In 1865 he married Miss Frances Emerett Jones, of Randolph, 
New York, and they are the parents of one child, Elizabeth E. The doctor 
is a Republican in politics, and represented this county in the legislature 
in 1866-67. 

The present practicing physicians of Franklin are Doctors \V. L. Whann, 
J. R. Borland, Isaac St. Clair, E. W. Moore, D. C. Galbraith, W. A. 
Nicholson, E. P. Wilmot, Stephen Bredin, J*. W. Leadenham, G. B. Still- 
man, J. B. Glenn, T. A. Irwin, and John M. Douds. 

Doctor Borland commenced practice at Harlansburg, Pennsylvania, in 
1851, and located at Franklin in 1865, graduating at the Philadelphia 
University of Medicine and Surgery in 1865 and at the Georgia Eclectic 
Medical College in 1880. Doctor St. Clair is also an Eclectic practitioner 
and came to Franklin in 1868. Doctor Moore graduated at the University 
of Wooster, Cleveland, in 1869, and came to Franklin in 1871. Doctor 
Galbraith began his practice in this county at Polk in 1862, whence he 
came to Franklin in 1871. He graduated at the Ohio Medical College in 
1865. Doctor I^icholson graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical Col- 
lege, New York, in 1876. Doctor Wilmot graduated from the Homoeopathic 
Hospital College of Cleveland in 1882, and soon after located in Franklin. 
Doctor Bredin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1856, his 
professional work since that date having been principally done at Butler, 
whence he removed to Franklin in 1883. Doctor Leadenham came to Franklin 
from Edenburg, Clarion county, in 1883; he is a graduate of Bellevue 
Hospital Medical College. Dr. Stillman, after graduating from the Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore in 1880, commenced practice 
at North East, Erie county, subsequently removing to Amite City, Louisiana, 
Atlanta, Georgia, and to Franklin in 1885. Doctor Glenn came to Franklin 
in 1887, but had practiced at Polk and Freedom in this county for some 
years previously. He graduated at Jefferson Medical College in 1872. 
Doctor Irwin graduated at the College of Homoeopathy, Chicago, in 1888, 
and has been j^racticing at Franklin since that date. Doctor Douds came 
to Franklin from Mercer in 1889. 

The first physician at Emlenton was Dr. Snowden, and after his depart- 


lire in 1830, he was succeeded after an interim of several years by James 
Gow, whose daughter was the first child born at that borough. After a 
residence of about six years he removed to Callensburg and shortly after- 
ward, having sustained severe injuries by being thrown from a horse, he 
relinquished the profession, removing to Clarion, where he was prothon- 
otary. Subsequently he wont to Meadville and became a minister in the 
Methodist church. The next practitioner was William E. Bishop, who, 
though not regularly educated for the profession, met with fair success. 
The succession of medical gentlemen at this borough includes the names of 

Doctors John Fowler, John Beatty, Adair, Josiah McMichael, Robert 

Colbert, T. W. Sampson, B. F. Hamilton, J. E. Moore, J. E. Hall, C. S. 
Kerr, E. A. Kuhns, and others. 

Samuel Bates, the pioneer physician of Cooperstown, located at that 
borough in 1830. He was from western New York, and removed in 1836 
to Titusville, where he was associated with Doctor Shugert, and remained 
for some time. J. M. Dille, who was born in Lake county, Ohio, in 1822, 
graduated at Starling Medical college in 1845, and located at Cooperstown 
in 183G, where he practiced his profession until his death. 

Eobert Crawford, of Cooperstown, has been a resident of the county 
longer than any other of its physicians. Born in County Tyrone, Ireland, 
May 14, 1817, he came to America with his parents in 1821. He was 
reared in the vicinity of Pittsburgh and acquired an academic education at 
the schools of that city. His medical preceptor was Doctor Wilson, of 
Allegheny county. After pursuing a course of study at the Cleveland Med- 
ical College he graduated from that institution in 1845, and in 1860 also 
obtained the degree of M. D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He 
entered upon the practice of medicine at Cooperstown in 1837, and from 
that date has been prominently identified with the profession in this county. 
He has been one of the censors of Cleveland Medical College many years, 
and is a member of the county, state, and national associations. 

The earliest physicians of the Scrubgrass region were Doctors John 
Coulter and John D. Wood. The former lived on a farm in Clinton town- 
ship, and his rides extended over all the southwestern part of the county 
and into the adjoining portions of Butler and Mercer. He never kept any 
accounts, and consequently the full remuneration for his services depended 
very much upon the memory and honesty of the patient. Doctor Wood 
lived at the summit of an elevated declivity overlooking the river and within 
hearing from a similar bluff on the opposite bank, which enabled persons in 
Rockland or Richland to secure his services without crossing. His practice 
was largely in that direction. He is known to have resided there as late 
as 1826, and probably removed to Franklin soon after that date. Doctor 
Coulter lived in that locality until his death. 

Andrew J. McMillan was the first physician of Clintonville. He was a 


native of Mercer county, and read medicine with James Magoffin, of Mer- 
cer, after having completed a classical course at Allegheny college, Mead- 
ville. He began his practice at Sandy Lake in partnership with John 
Pethbath, but removed to Clintonville in 1840. His labors extended over 
the territory included within a radius of ten miles. After his departure 
from this county he removed to Williamsburg, Franklin county, Kansas, 
where he died in 188(). 

Among others who have represented the profession at Clintonville are 
J. B. McMillan, brother to Andrew J., who located there in 1842; W. L. 
Whann, now of Franklin, who began his practice here in 1850; James 
Foster, afterward a minister of the Methodist church: A. G. Egbert, of 
Franklin; K. M. Hofl'man; J. E. Gillespie, who came to the borough in 
April, 1866, and left in June, 1868, to enter the navy; Doctors Oliver 
Ormsby, Homer Jackson, George Carr, C. P. Godfrey, and W. A. Nicholson. 

The first practitioner at Utica was M. M. Byles, a native of Allegheny 
township. He read medicine with Doctor Gillett and began practice in 
1837, continuing until his death in 1847. His earliest successor was J. A. 

Doctors John Wilson and Thomas B. Shugert were the earliest physi- 
cians in the northeastern part of the county. Doctor Wilson was born in 
Jackson township in 1820, studied medicine with Samuel Axtell, of Mercer 
county, and graduated • from Cleveland Medical College in 1843, locating at 
Neillsburg, whence he removed to Pleasantville some years ago. Doctor 
Shugert was born in Centre county in 1820. He received an academic edu- 
cation at Lewistown and acquired his professional training at Cleveland Med- 
ical College. His practice was begun at Enterprise, Warren coiinty, but 
in 1849 he removed to Pleasantville, thenceforth his residence until death, 
September 7, 1886. 

James Petit was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, October 8, 1818. 
He read medicine with Doctor Tracy Bronson, of Newton Falls, Trumbull 
county, Ohio. He was married in Meigs county, Ohio, and resided there 
for a time, but in 1848 located in Victory township on the Pittsburgh road, 
where he practiced medicine until his death, April 17, 1882. He was well 
known throughout that part of the county. He served as justice of the peace 
four terms, and was active in promoting local educational and religious 

G. AV. Cary, of East Sandy, was born at Franklin, April 17, 1824, son 
of Nathaniel Cary, a pioneer of the county. His professional training was 
obtained at Cleveland Medical College, from which he graduated in 1847. 
He located at East Sandy in 1849, and has enjoyed an extensive practice. 
Mrs. Cary is a daughter of John W. Shngert. 

The first resident physician at the site of Oil City was John Nevins. who 
came to that locality in 1850 for the pui-pose of regaining his health, but was 


constrained to remain. After the place began to assume the proportions of a 
town the first physicians were Doctors M. L. Portertield, S. S. Christy, J. 

R. Arter, Seys, and M. M. Hvilings. The present practicing physicians 

are Jonathan Whitely, Homoeopathist, who came to Oil City in 1801; C. D. 
Thompson, one of the first Eclectic physicians in the county, who located 
here in 1862; F. F. Davis, a graduate of the University of Michigan in 1801, 
a surgeon and medical officer through the war, and since its c-lose a resident 
of Oil City; J. M. Harding, who came here in 1807; J. A. Ritchey, a grad- 
uate of Jefferson Medical College in 1871, who at once began practice here; 
W. H. H. Jackson, whose professional work at Oil City began in 1872; A. 
F. Coope, who has been identified with the profession in this county since 
1877; T. C. McCulloch, who graduated at Jefferson Medical College in 
1847, and located at Oil City in 1877; William Forster, who practiced at 
Pioneer from 1865 to 1882, when he removed to Oil City; S. W. Sellew, 
who came here in 1882; Doctors J. D. Arters, J. M. McFarland, C. W. 
Coulter, and W. F. Connors. T. W. Egbert, deceased, who graduated at 
the Ohio Medical College in 1863, began his professional career at Oil City 
within a short time thereafter, and was recognized as an able physician. 
He was officially connected with the county medical society at various times. 


The Venango County Medical Society, auxiliary to the American Medi- 
cal Association and the Medical Society of tire State of Pennsylvania, was 
organized on the 8th of May, 1867, at Franklin, with the following constit- 
uent members: Doctors Buckland Gillett, S. G. Snowden, W. S. ^Velsh, S. 
S. Porter, J. R. Arter, D. C. Galbraith, and Robert Crawford. The pur- 
poses of this organization are thus set forth in its constitution : ' ' The 
object of this society shall be the advancement of knowledge upon all sub- 
jects connected with the healing art; the organization of the profession in 
connection with the State Medical Society and the American Medical Asso- 
ciation; the elevation of the character and the protection of the proper 
rights and interests of those engaged in the practice of medicine, and the 
means calculated to render the medical profession most useful to the public 
and subservient to the great interests of humanity." The qualifications for 
membership were thus set forth: "To entitle a person to membership in 
this society he must be a citizen of the county of Venango, also a practi- 
tioner in the county one year, a graduate of a respectable medical school, a 
licentiate of some approved medical institution, or a regular practitioner of 
at least fifteen years' standing and of good moral and professional reputa- 
tion. ' ' In the present constitution these provisions have been so changed 
as to harmonize with recent statutory enactments. The latter instrument, 
prepared by a committee consisting of Robert Crawford, S. G. Snowden. and 
J. A. Ritchey, was adopted October 21, 188-1:. 


The officers of the society are a president, vice-president, recording secre- 
tary, assistant secretary, corresponding secretary, treasurer, and a board of 
censors composed of three members, one of whom is elected annually for 
the term of three years. The president is ineligible for two consecutive 
terms. The first election resulted in the choice of Buckland Gillett as pres- 
ident; S. G. Snowden, vice-president; W. S. Welsh, secretary; S. S. Porter, 
treasurer, and S. G. Snowden, J. R. Arter, and D. C. Galbraith, censors, 
who probably served in their respective capacities until 1S69. The succes- 
sion from that date is as follows: 

1869. — President, J. R. Arter; vice-president, W. W. Powell; secre- 
tary, AV. S. Welsh; treasurer, Buckland Gillett. 

1870. — President, Robert Crawford; vice-president. T. W. Egbert, sec- 
retary, AV. S. Welsh; treasurer, Buckland Gillett; censor, AVilliam Forster. 

1871.— President, T. W. Egbert; vice-president. D. C. Galbraith, sec- 
retary, F. F. Davis; treasurer, W. S. Welsh; censor, L. H. Christie. 

1872. — President, S. G. Snowden; vice-president, W. S. Welsh; secre- 
tary, F. F. Davis; treasurer, W. L. Whann; censor, K. M. HofPman. 

1873. — President, F. F. Davis; vice-president, B. F. Hamilton; secx*e- 
tary, J. A. Ritchey; treasurer, E. W. Moore; censor, J. R. Arter. 

1874. — President, W. S. Welsh; vice-president, J. A. Ritchey; secre- 
tary and treasurer, E. W. Moore; censor, J. A. Ritchey. 

1875. — President, W. L. Whann; vice-president and secretary, E. W. 
Moore; treasurer, L. H. Christie; censor, W. S. Welsh. 

1870. — President, L. H. Christie; vice-president, S. H. Benton; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, L. H. Christie; censor, S. H. Benton. 

1877. — President, J. A. Ritchey; vice-president, B. F. Hamilton; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, L. H. Christie; censor, B. F. Hamilton. 

1878. — President, B. F. Hamilton; vice-president, G. W. Dille; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, L. H. Christie; censor, T. W. Egbert. 

1879. — President, S. H. Benton; vice-president, J. E. Blaine; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, L. H. Christie; censor, W. L. Whann. 

1880. — President, J. K. Crawford; vice-pl-esident, A. F. Coope; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer and censor, T. W. Egbert. 

1881. — President, G. W. Dille; vice-president, E. W. Moore; secretary, 
A. F. Coope; treasurer, T. W. Egbert; censor, F. F. Davis. 

1882. — President, E. W. Moore; vice-president, J. E. Blaine; secretary, 
A. F. Coope; treasurer, T. W. Egbert; censor, G. W. Dille. 

1883. — President, A. F. Coope; vice-president, S. G. Snowden; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, T. W. Egbert; censor, S. G. Snowden. 

1884.— President, T. C. McCullough; vice-president, J. W. Morrow; 
secretary, E. AV. Moore; treasurer, A. F. Coope; censor, J. K. Crawford. 

1885. — President, William Forster; vice-president, J. W. Morrow; sec- 
retary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, J. A. Ritchey; censor, Robert Crawford. 


1886. — President, J. W. Morrow; vice president, W. A. Nicholson; sec- 
retary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, J. A. llitchey; censor, T. C. McCullough. 

1887. — President, W. A. Nicholson; vice-president. J. D. Arters; secre- 
tary, E. W. Moore; treasurer, J. A. llitchey; censor. W. S. AVelsh. 

1888. — President, J. D. Arters; vice-president, S. Bredin; secretary, 
E. W. Moore; treasurer, J. A. Ritchey; censor, C. S. Kerr. 

1889. — President, S. Bredin; vice-president, G. B. Stillman; secretary. 
E. W. Moore; treasurer, J. A. Ritchey; censor, F. F. Davis. 

The following is a list of the members at present, with residence and 
date of election to membership: Robert Crawford, Cooperstown, May 8, 
1867; F. F. Davis, Oil City, July 24, 1867; AV. L. Whann, Franklin, July 
24, 1867; J. K. Crawford, Cooperstown, July, 1870; J. A. Ritchey, Oil 
City, October 17, 1871; E. W. Moore, Franklin, October 17, 1871; B. F. 
Hamilton, Emlenton, 1871; G. W. Dille, Cooperstown, January 21, 1873; 
W. A. Nicholson. Franklin, October 19, 1875; A. F. Coope, Oil City, April 
16, 1878; T. C. McCullough, Oil City, July 15, 1879; J. W. Morrow, Tio- 
nesta, Forest county, October 17, 1882; W. F. Conners, Oil City, July 17, 
1883; William Forster, Oil City, July 17, 1888; J. D. Arters, Oil City, 
April 15, 1884; Stephen Bredin, Franklin, October 21, 1884; C. S. Kerr. 
Emlenton, July 19, 1886; C. N. Van Sickle, Wallaceville, October 19, 1886; 
G. B. Stillman, Franklin, January 18, 1887; W. L. McKinley, Polk, Jan- 
uary 17, 1888; J. B. Glenn, Franklin, April 15, 1889; A. H. Bowser, Pitts- 
ville, January 15, 1889; G. W. Barr, Titusville, Crawford county, April 15, 
1889; F. M. McClelland, Utica, July 16, 1889; C. W. Coulter, Oil City, 
July 16, 1889. 

Eclectic Medical Association of Pennsylvania. — Preliminary measures 
for the organization of this body were taken at a meeting of the Eclectic 
physicians of northwestern Pennsylvania at Oil City, on the 21st of January, 
1873, in which Doctors J. R. Borland, C. D. Thompson, and J. M. Hard- 
ing, of this county, were active participants. The formal organization oc- 
curred at Titusville, April 15, 1873, with the following officers: President, 
Alexander Thompson, of Meadville; vice-president, H. B. White, of Har- 
lansburg; recording secretary, J. M. Harding, of Oil City; corresponding 
secretary, C. D. Thompson, of Oil City; treasurer, J. R. Borland, of Frank- 
lin. A charter of incorporation was granted by the court of Venango county, 
September 20, 1875. The members from this connty at that date were 
J. M. Harding, C. D. Thompson, J. R. Borland, L. W. Ranney, and I. 
St. Clair. 

The Eclectic Medical Society of Western Pennsylvania was organized at 
Corry, August 10, 1875, with fourteen members, of whom J. A. Salisbury, 
of Corry, was elected president; C. J. Philips, of Sugar Grove, Warren 
county, vice-president; J. R. Borland, of Franklin, secretary; and Alexan- 
der Thompson, of Meadville, treasurer. Its territorial limits originally em- 


braced only the counties of Venango, Erie, Crawford, and Mercer, and 
"Northwestern" appeared in the title instead of " Western," which was 
substituted in 1888, when the limits were so extended as to include all the 
western counties of the state. The meetings of this society have frequently 
been held at Franklin. It is auxiliary to the state association and compre- 
hended under the charter of the latter. Although these societies are not 
local organizations, strictly speaking, their inception and incorporation oc- 
curred here and are properly a part of the medical record of the county. 

The Liberal Association of NortMvestern Pennsylvania, organized at 
Oil City, January 21, 1873, was also composed principally of medical prac- 
titioners in Venango county. The first officers were J. M. Harding, of Oil 
City, president; Mrs. C. T. Canfield, of Titusville, vice-president; J. R. 
Borland, of Franklin, recording secretary; C. D. Thompson, of Oil City, 
corresponding secretary; J. S. Hill, of Franklin, treasurer; Alexander 
Thojnpson, of Meadville, W. H. H. Jackson, of Oil City, and I. St. Clair, 
of Franklin, censors. The membership included representatives of various 
schools, the object having been to promote ' ' mutual professional recogni- 
tion and intercourse," as indicated by the title. While this design may have 
been rather impracticable under the present status of professional ethics, 
the association enjoyed a harmonious existence of three years, when it dis- 
banded in consequence of the withdrawal of a large part of its membership 
to unite with the organizations of their distinctive schools. 


The law of Pennsylvania requires that every person engaged in the reg- 
ular practice of medicine or surgery shall be a graduate of a legally char- 
tered medical college, and have his diploma registered in the prothonotary's 
office in the county where he resides. Exception is made in the case of phy- 
sicians who have been in continuous practice in the state since 1871. The 
following is an alphabetical list of physicians who registered in compliance 
with the requirements of the law from June 1881, to October, 1889, 
showing the institution from which each graduated, and the year of gradu- 
ation or length of time engaged in regular practice in the state, as the case 
may be, and residence at the time of registration: 

J. D. Arters, Oil City; University of Buffalo, 1882. 

W. A. Baker, Rockland township; continuous practice in the state since 

S. H. Benton, Oil City; University of Buffalo, 1870; Bellevue Hospital 
Medical College, New York, 1879. 

J. M. Blaine, Emlenton; Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1881. 

J. E. Blaine, Pleasantville; Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New 
York, 1872. 

J. J. Boal, Wallaceville; Detroit Medical College, 1877. 



J. R. Borland, Franklin; University of Medicine, Philadelphia, 1855; 
Eclectic Medical College, Atlanta, 1880. 

J. K. Bowers, Pleasantville; Philadelphia America Tniversity, 1873. 

A. H. Bowser, Salina; Western Reserve University, Cleveland, 1885. 

B. L. Brigham, Clinton township; College of Physicians and Surgeons, 
Baltimore, 1880. 

D. L. Brown, Utica; Western Reserve University, Cleveland, 1884. 

J. A. Burgeon, Reynoldsville, <:!larion county, continuous practice in the 
state since 18G6. 

G. W. Cary, East Sandy; continuous practice in Venango county 

thirty- foiir years. 

J. W. Cary, Pinegrove township; Cleveland Medical College, 1879. 
W. F. Conners, Oil City; University of New York City, 1880. 
A. F. Coope, Oil City; University of Michigan, 1870. 

C. W. Coulter, Oil City; Western Pennsylvania Medical College, 1888. 
J. K. Crawford, Cooperstown ; University of Pennsylvania, 1808. 
Robert Crawford, Cooperstown; University of Pennsylvania, 1860. 

F. F. Davis, Oil City; University of Michigan, 1867. 

G. W. Dille, Cooperstown; Cleveland Medical College, 1872. 

J. M. Dille, Cooperstown; continuous practice at that place from 1848 
to his death. 

A. H. Diven, Salem City; continuous practice in the county since 1865. 
T. W. Egbert, Oil City; Ohio Medical Coltege, 1863. 

E. S. Franks, Titusville; American University of Pennsylvania, 1868. 

D. C. Galbraith, Franklin; Ohio Medical College, 1865. 

J. B. Glenn, Franklin; JeflFerson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1872. 
S. P. Goudy, Rouseville; Columbus Medical College, 1881. 

A. D. L. Griffith, Oil City; continuous practice at that place since 1871. 

B. F. Hamilton, Emlenton; University of Wooster, Cleveland, 1872. 
J. M. Harding, Oil City; Albany University of New York State. 

S. B. Hartman, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Jefferson Medical College, 
Philadelphia, 1857. 

J. H. Hazen, Dempseytown; Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, 


R. A. Hudson, Franklin; Homoeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland, 


T. A. Irwin, Franklin; College of Homoeopathy, Chicago, 1888. 

W. H. H. Jackson, Oil City; Western Reserve College, Cleveland, 1878. 

F. M. Johnson, Philadelphia; continuous practice in the state since 

F. H. Johnston, Utica; Cleveland Medical College, 1867. 
W. T. Jones, Franklin; Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, 


E. A. Kuhns, Emlenton; Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1884. 

J. W. Leadenham, Franklin; Long Island Hospital, New York, 1876. 

Joshua Lippiucott, Chapmanville; Eclectic Medical College of Cincin- 
nati, 1881. 

J. J. Looney, Utica; continuous practice in the state since 1869. 

J. M. Lupher, Pleasantville; E. M. College of Philadeldhia, 1871. 

James MacFarland, Oil City; University of Edinburgh, 1885. 

G. W. Magee, Salem City; Western Pennsylvania Medical College, 

J. H. Martin, Utica; Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, 1879. 

Manuel Matthews, Barkeyville; continuous practice in Lawrence county, 
Pennsylvania, from 1851 to 1880. 

Milton Miles, Westfield township, Crawford county; continuous practice 
since 1870. 

L. C. Millspaugh, Oil City; University of the City of New York, 1884. 

E. W. Moore, Franklin; University of Wooster, Cleveland, 1809. 

S. P. McCalmont, Jr., Franklin; University of the City of New York, 

F. M. McClelland, Utica; Western Reserve University. 

E. M. McConnell, Polk; Western Reserve University, Cleveland, 1888. 

T. C. McCul lough. Oil City; JefPerson Medical College, Philadelphia, 

W. L. McKinley, Victory township; College of Medicine and Surgery 
of Keokuk, Iowa, 1882. 

J. B. McMillan, Clintonville; thirty years' continuous practice in the 

W. A. Nason, Pleasantville; Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, 

W. A. Nicholson, Franklin; Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New 
York, 1876. 

G. W. Parr, Clintonville; Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New 
York, 1876. 

S. M. Patton, Cochranton, Crawford county; University of Cleveland, 

J. M. Peebles, Hammonton, New Jersey; University of Pennsylvania. 

John Petit, Victory township; more than thirty years' Continuous 
practice (deceased). ' 

R. W. Play ford, Petroleiam Center; University of New York, 1855. 

W. J. Proper, Pleasantville; Starling Medical College of Ohio, 1883. 

A. J. Pyle, New Galilee, Beaver county, Pennsylvania ; forty years' con- 
tinuous practice in the state. 

T. S. Pyle, Franklin; E. M. College of Philadelphia, 1868. 

L. W. Ranney, Cooperstown; continuous practice in the county since 


Griffin lleno, Oil City; Albany Medical College, 1862. 

J. A. Rifcchey, Oil City; Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1871. 

Thomas B. Shvagert, Pleasant ville; deceased. 

M. C. Smith, Pleasantville; College of Physicians and Surgeons, Bal- 

S. Gustine Snowden, Franklin; Philadelphia College of Medicine, 1859 

Augustus Soper, Franklin; College of Physicians, Ontario, 1888. 

I. St. Clair, Franklin; University of Medicine and Surgery, Philadel- 
phia, 1869. 

G. B. Stillman, Franklin; College of Physicians and Surgeons, Balti- 
more, 1880. 

R. M. Strauss, Chapmanville; University of AVooster, Cleveland, 1878. 

E. W. Taylor, French Creek township; University of Wooster, Cleve- 
land, 1871. 

C. D. Thompson, Oil City; continuous practice in Venango county 
since 1862 (except 1866-69). 

W. C. Tyler, Rouseville; University of Philadelphia, 1870. 

R. E. Van Naten, Cooperstown; Eclectic Medical College of Philadelphia, 

C. N. Van Sickle, Wallaceville; University of Buffalo, 1882. 

J. H. West, Louisville, Kentucky; Kentucky College of Medicine, 1875. 

W. L. Whann, Franklin; Jefferson Medical College, 1868. 

Jonathan Whitely, Oil City ; Homoeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland, 

E. P. Wilmot, Franklin; Homoeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland, 

C. M. Wilson, Irwin township; Cincinnati College of Medicine and Sur- 
gery, 1876. 

B. B. Williams, Meadville; Eclectic Medical Institute, 1860. 



Relative Importance of Agriculture— Pioneer Farming— Development 
OF Improved Methods and Machinery— Introduction of Domestic 
Animals and of the Cereals into America— Pioneer Stock 
—Prospect Hill Stock F arm— Oakwood Farm and 
Garden Company, Limited — Agricult- 
ural Societies— The Grange— Har- 
vest HoBiE Associations. 

\ XTHETHER the aggregate of capital invested, the amount of labor 
^ ^ employed, or the value of its products be considered, agriculture is 
unquestionably a most important industry; and, from the period when its 
pursuit was practically universal to the present, it has sustained to every 
community the relation of a primary and ultimate source of wealth. The 
dignity of the calling has been recognized in all ages; its quiet amenities 
have been celebrated by the poet and artist since the dawn of literature and 
art; men of ability and eminence in the cabinet or on the field, at the bar 
or in the pulpit, and in every department of human activity have been drawn 
from its ranks. And yet the history of agriculture, although marked by a 
gradual and certain progress, is singularly deficient in brilliant passages. 

Pioneer farming involved as a necessary preliminary the removal of the 
forest. This was principally the accomplishment of physical force. The 
trees were felled together in double windroAvs and after being exposed to the 
sun and wind several months became so dry that a fire applied at one end 
would be driven by a proper breeze with incredible rapidity, consuming the 
interlaced branches and leaving nothing but charred and blackened trunks. 
These were usually brought together in great heajjs and submitted to the 
burning process until scarcely a vestige remained. Another method was to 
fell the trees and after loj^ping ofP the branches for firewood, drag the logs 
together and pile them in huge pyramids, in which condition they were con- 
signed to the flames. Where the growth of timber was not particularly 
dense much of the labor was obviated by removing the underbrush and 
"girdling" the larger trees. The bark was cut from the trunk of the tree 
in a section about a foot wide, thus depriving the limbs and leaves of sap 
entirely, and as a result the tree was dead within a brief period. The bark 


and smaller branches fell to the ground, affording a valuable fertilizer, but 
the trunk, white and ghastly by exposure to the weather, was allowed to re- 
main for years in many instances, until wood had acquired some commercial 
value or the farmer was moved by a desire to improve his land. Farming 
operations in a field where the trees had been girdled were sometimes at- 
tended with distressing fatalities; rotten branches were lial)le to fall at any 
time, and the close proximity of the plowman and his team could not arrest 
the action of the force of gravitation. 

But if the work of clearing the land was protracted and laborious, the 
virgin soil responded to the first effort at cultivation with a prof usion and 
liberality that compensated largely. The methods of cultivation in vogue 
at that day were crude in the extreme. The principal implement used in 
preparing the ground was a "drag" or triangular harrow formed of two 
pieces of timber united in the form of the letter V; each piece had a number 
of wooden teeth intended to grub up the soil so as to afford a lodging place 
for the grain, but stones and stumps occurred with such frequency that this 
purpose was only accomplished to a very limited extent. The first crops 
consisted of corn, oats, wheat, and potatoes. Corn was planted in hills and 
potatoes in rows, while wheat and oats were sown broadcast and covered by 
dragging a tree-top over the field. Of the different cereals corn was most 
readily prepared for consumjitioa or sale and received a corresponding de- 
gree of attention. Husking was sometimes done in the field but more fre- 
quently at the barn, and the combined energies -of the community were often 
brought to bear upon this work. Grain was cut with a sickle. Harvest 
time was a season of severe and protracted laljor, and it would have been con- 
sidered impossible to withstand its requirements without resorting to a 
neighboring distillery for assistance. The threshing and cleaning of wheat 
involved an amount of labor utterly incommensurate with its marketable 
value. Sheaves of grain were placed in order on a floor of puncheon or 
hard clay where the grain was tramped out by horses or threshed with a 
flail. This was but one part of the work, however; it still remained to sep- 
arate the wheat from the chaff, and with no machinery save a riddle or sieve 
of home construction, this was an almost endless task. Threshing fre- 
quently required the'farmer's time nearly the whole winter. 

As already remarked, the transition to present methods was gradual. It 
would be impossible to indicate definitely the time when the sickle was re- 
placed by the grainTcradle, or when the latter was superseded by the reap- 
ing machine and binder. The plow, originally a ponderous instrument re- 
quiring great strength in its manipulation and constructed almost entirely 
of wood, received in succession an iron point, coulter, and mould-board, the 
first stage in the evolution of the latter being a sheet iron sheath for the 
wooden mould-board. The windmill was the first innovation for winnowing 
wheat; the next was a revolving cylinder to take the place of the flail and 


afPorded an opportunity to utilize horse power. TL'b combination of these 
two machines with such modifications as experience has suggested and in- 
genuity devised has resulted in the modern threshing machine. The grain 
drill, at first clumsily provided with an apparatus to regulate the amount of 
seed sown, was introduced almost as soon as the general condition of the 
land would permit its use. The mowing machine has taken the place of the 
scythe, while the hay-rake and tedder and hay-fork relegate much of the 
hardest labor in connection with this department of farm work to the past. 
The application of manure as a measure of restoring and sustaining the 
fertility of the soil has been continued, but commercial fertilizers have come 
into general use as a means of further accomplishing this purpose. Rotation 
of crops, scientific methods of drainage, and other departures of a similar 
nature have followed as the natural result of careful and intelligent experi- 
ment, placing the farming community of Venango county in a position to 
compare favorably with that of any other in this section of the state. 

Brief mention of the various domestic animals may not be uninteresting 
in this connection. The first specimens were introduced by Columbus in 
1493 on his second voyage, when he brought with him a horse, a bull, and sev- 
eral cows. The first introductioD of horses into the United States occurred 
in 1527 when Cabeca de Vaca brought forty-two to Florida. In 1539 De 
Soto brought to that region a number of horses and swine. Several hundred 
swine, a horse, and six mares, domestic fowls to the number of five hundred, 
with a few sheep and goats were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609; 
a few animals had been introduced there two years previously. 

Of the cereals corn alone is indigenous to America and was cultivated in 
a crude way by the Indians. It was first raised successfully by the English 
at Jamestown in 1608. In 1602 Gosnold sowed wheat and oats on the Eliz- 
abethan islands near the Massachusetts coast and barley at Martha's Vine- 
yard. It is to him that the honor of introducing these grains is due. 
Wheat was sown in Virginia in 1611 and introduced into the Mississippi 
valley in 1718. Oats was cultivated in Newfoundland in 1622 and in Vir- 
ginia prior to 1618. Buckwheat, which is thought to be indigenous to Cen- 
tral Asia, was among the productions of Pennsylvania as early as 1702. 
Rye was found in Nova Scotia in 1622 and in Virginia in 1648. Barley 
was cultivated in Virginia in 1611. The potato, like maize, is indigenous 
to America, but never acquired any importance as an article of food until 
after its introduction into Europe. The sweet potato is a native of the East 
Indies and was introduced into the southern colonies early in the seven- 
teenth century. 

Horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs were Ijrought into the county by the first 
settlers; they were usually of an ordinary breed and very little was done 
toward the improvement of stock for many years after the organization of 
the county. The swine of that early date, compared with the breed at 


present, present a very wide contrast; for whatever the breed may have 
been called, the special characteristics were soon lost in the mongrel swine 
of the country. They were long and slim, long- snouted and long-legged, 
with an arched back and bristles erect from the head to the tail, slab-sided, 
active, and healthy. The " sapling splitter " or "razor-back," as he was 
called, was ever in search of food and quick to take alarm. He was capable 
of making a heavy hog but required two or three years to mature, and until 
a short time before butchering or marketing was suffered to run at large, 
subsisting as a forager and fattening mainly upon the mast of the forest. 
In no stock of the farm has there been greater improvement. The long- 
legged, long-snouted, slab-sided, roach-backed, tall, active, wild, fierce, 
and muscular specimen would scarcely be recognized as belonging to the 
same species as the improved breeds of to-day. Similar advances have 
been made with every variety of farm animals, largely through the instru- 
mentality of agricultural societies and also as the result of private enter- 
prise. Within recent years special features of this nature and also of a 
horticultural character have been developed, the importance of which is not 
bounded 'by local environment but may fairly be said to entitle them to 
national prominence in their respective fields. 

Prospect Hill Stock Farm, * of which Messrs. Charles Miller and J. C. 
Sibley of Franklin, Pennsylvania, are the proprietors, is to-day undoubtedly 
the best equipped and one of the largest and most widely and favorably 
known of any breeding establishment in the world. There are, in reality, 
adjacent to Franklin, three separate farms owned by the firm. The first, 
generally known as the Fair Ground farm, adjoining the Third ward of the 
city, lies on the east side of the Meadville pike and extends from the foot 
to the top of the hill. It comprises about one hundi-ed and ninety acres, 
and contains the principal buildings. This is the farm referred to in this 
article, unless otherwise stated. The Galena farm, lying principally on the 
west side of the Pittsburgh pike, between Franklin and Uniontown, con- 
tains about three hundred and twenty-five acres, and is at present used 
mostly for pasturage. The Prospect Hill farm, located in Sandy Creek 
township, six miles southeast of Franklin, consists of nearly two hundred 
acres, and is now used chiefly for growing crops. It has barn capacity for 
about ninety animals. On this farm is the first silo built west of the Alle- 
gheny mountains. Its capacity is two hundred and forty tons. The firm 
began their career as breeders after they had achieved such success in other 
lines that they had sufficient means to enable them to obtain for foundation 
stock the most desirable animals regardless of cost. The first purchase 
which called general attention to the rising firm was that of the Jersey bull 
Pedro 3187, whose dam at that time (1881), had the highest yearly butter 
record of any cow in the world. Breeders were present at the auction from 

* By E. H. Sibley. 


all parts of the covantry and competition was lively, but the firm tinally se- 
cured the prize for two thousand live hundred dollars, which was considered 
an unreasonable sum to pay by those who did not fully appreciate the im- 
portance of having the best qualities possible in a sire. However, as is gen- 
erally true, the best proved in this case to be the cheapest, and in addition 
to an immense amount of free advertising, and to getting back considerably 
more than first cost in the increased price at which they sold his calves, the 
firm at length disposed of this bull for the highest price up to that time re- 
alized for any animal of this breed, namely: ten thousand dollars in cash, 
and other considerations valued at three thousand dollars. Shortly after- 
ward the firm purchased from A. B. Darling, proprietor of the Fifth Avenue 
hotel, New York city, Michael Angelo 10116. a better bred son of Eurotas, 
paying for him, when a calf only six weeks old, twelve thousand, five hun- 
dred dollars cash, which price still remains the highest bona fide cash price 
ever paid for an individual of the Jersey breed. 

At one time in Jersey history great attention was paid to mere beauty; 
the ideal being a gazelle-like creature, which was more ornamental in the lawn 
than profitable in the dairy. The firm realized from the first that the true 
standard of value of the breed, and hence the standard that must ultimately 
prevail, was excellence for milk and butter, and hence selected all animals 
on this practical basis. As the general public had not yet come around to 
their standard they were able to buy for one hundred and thirty dollars one of 
the best dairy Inills that ever lived, Stoke Pogis 5th, 5987, for which after- 
ward fifteen thousand dollars was offered and refused. Several bull calves 
by this bull were sold by the firm at from one thousand to one thousand 
five hundred dollars each. 

While on a visit to Canada Mr. Sibley saw a cow, then dry, which other 
breeders had also looked at, but had paid no particular attention to, which 
he concluded was one of the best he had ever seen. He advised the fellow 
breeder, who had an option on her for two thousand dollars, to take her by 
all means', and he himself went immediately and bought for the firm her bull 
calf, Ida's Rioter of St. L., 13656, for one thousand five hundred dollars. 
Within a year from that time the full brother of this bull was sold for five 
thousand dollars, and his dam Ida of St. Lambert was purchased jointly by 
V. E. Fuller of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and Miller & Sibley for six 
thousand dollars cash. Mr. Fuller eventually disposed of his interest in 
this cow to Messrs. Miller & Sibley. She made, before a committee ap- 
pointed by the American Jersey Cattle Club, a seven days' test of thirty 
pounds twenty- one and a half ounces of butter, which was nearly three 
pounds higher than any previous yield. She gave sixty- seven pounds of 
milk per day, four hundred and fifty- five and one- half pounds in seven days, 
and eighteen hundred and eighty-eight pounds in thirty-one days, these 
amounts constituting and still remaining the best milk r^^cords for those 
periods of any cow in the Jersey breed. 


A COW that bad be«m bought for four hundred aud thirty dolhirs, aud 
that was retained in spite of the advice tc sell hq^- by a chief exi)Ounder of 
the escutcheon theory, who declared that she would be an uuprohtable cow 
in the dairy, gave, when two or three years older, in twelve consecutive 
months sixteen thousand one hundred and fifty-three aud three fourth 
pounds of milk, which, from tests in several difPerent months, was conserv- 
atively estimated to have yielded fully nine hundred and lilty pounds of 
butter. This animal, Matilda 4th, 12816, her owners claim to be the best 
cow of any breed for a yearly production of milk and butter combined. It 
might be interesting to speak in detail of La Petite Mere 2nd 12810, Fawn 
of St. Lambert 27942, and many others well known throughout Jersey dom, 
but the limits of this sketch forbid. The firm have literally sold their 
Jerseys from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, and from Canada to the gulf of 
Mexico. Two bulls were sent to the Pacific slope this summer (1889), one 
going to Oregon and the other to California. 

The cattle barn on the Fair Ground farm is a three-story, sixteen-sided 
polygon, lighted by electricity, heated in winter by steam, and having 
capacity for one hundred and fifteen animals. The thermometer is not 
allowed to go over 45° and not under 40° Fahrenheit, the aim being to main- 
tain a temperature a little above freezing point. The basement is devoted 
mainly to milking cows. The gutters behind the stalls are covered with 
iron grating extending to a sewer, which leads one hundred rods from the 
stable. The number of pounds of milk that each cow gives is immediately 
set down on the record sheet. By this means and by tests at intervals of 
each cow's milk for richness, the value of every cow in the dairy for milk 
and butter can be closely determined. On the floor above are box stalls 
for service bulls and cows soon to calve, and in one room with the eno-ine is 
a De Laval cream separator, for separating the cream from the milk as 
soon as milked. This was the first one of these machines to be set up in 
Pennsylvania and the second one in America. The top floor is used 
mainly for storage for feed. A railway suspended from the roof and 
power supplied by a team of horses outside the barn makes it an easy mat- 
ter to raise from the inside or outside of the barn, and place wherever 
desired, straw, hay, fodder and other kinds of feed. The power cutter on 
this floor cuts one ton of corn fodder into one-third inch length in twenty- 
five minutes. 

At the present time the entire Jersey herd numbers about one hundred 
head. The firm also own (purchased for the firm principally by Mr. Mil- 
ler) a Holstein bull; four head of Black Polled Angus cattle; about seventy- 
five head of Shetland, Welsh, and Burmese ponies; two hundred head of 
pure and grade Angora goats, and twenty head of coach horses, the last 
mentioned headed by Incroyable, a prize-winning stallion by one of the 
French government stallions. W. K. Vanderbilt imported Incroyable, and 



is said to have paid more money for him than was paid for any other horse 
■of this breed that ever left France. For several years the firm owned, and 
had in the stud, Prince Buccleugh, an imported, registered Clydesdale stal- 
lion of famous prize- winning ancestry. 

In 1886 J. C. Sibley purchased, as an individual venture, from ex-Gov- 
enor Stanford of California, for ten thousand dollars, the four-year-old 
trotting stallion St. Bel 5336, record 2:24^. This horse has been repeatedly 
timed quarter miles in thirty-two seconds. Electioneer, his sire, has more 
of his get in the 2:20 list than any other stallion that ever lived, and 
promises soon to lead all others in the number of his 2:30 trotters. Beau- 
tiful Bells, the dam of St. Bel, already first among the famous brood mares 
in the averao-e speed of her foals, also promises within a few years to sur- 
pass all others in the number of her foals to trot in 2:30 or better. 

The mares purchased were carefully selected regardless of cost, for 
their blood lines and individual excellence. They were chiefly daughters of 
such noted sires as Dictator, Almont, Nutwood, Volunteer, Harold, Elec- 
tioneer, Happy Medium, Princeps, Nephew, Belmont, and Mambrino King, 
and the aim was, as far as possible, that the dams of these mares should be 
equally as well bred as their sires. ^ 

A horse barn was constructed nine hiindred feet in circumference, the 
laro-est of the kind in the United States, elliptical in form, containing a 
tan bark track under cover one- seventh of a mile in length, on which horses 
can be exercised in the winter and at other times when the weather will not 
permit of their being taken outside. A half-mile track, said to be one 
of the best in the United States, was also built at a heavy expense. 

In the summer of 1888 Major Charles Miller, who, through his promi- 
nent connection with the Baptist denomination, had previously refrained 
from joining the trotting horse enterprise, purchased a one-half interest, 
wisely concluding that this business, honestly and honorably conducted as 
it was, was as legitimate and creditable as any of the many others in which 
he and Mr. Sibley had invested money together. 

Additions and improvements to the farm have been constantly going on, 
among which may be mentioned a fire-proof brick stable for stallions, a 
stable containing twenty box stalls for horses in training, a two and one- 
half story barn for colts, residences for superintendent and trainer, black- 
smith shop, etc., etc. 

The total amount of money invested by the proprietors up to Novemlier 
1, 1889. was three hundred and fifty-one thousand, three hundred and three 
dollars, twenty-six cents; number of men employed, sixty- eight, and total 
yearly expense of fifty thousand dollars, of which twenty thousand dollars 
was for labor. 

No efPort has been made to sell the St. Bel colts, the plan being to de- 
velop them and sell them for what they can show. One colt, however, was 


sold as a suckling out of a dam that bad no record, and none of ber get yft 
in the thirty list, for twenty-live hundred dollars. An offer of fifty thousand 
dollars for St. Bel has been refused. His younger brother, Bell Boy, sold 
at auction for fifty-one thousand dollars. St. Bel's service fee is five hun- 
dred dollai-s, and bis book for 1890 was filled in five days' time. Only two 
or three other stallions in the United States command so high a fee. Mil- 
ler & Sibley also own St. Bel's full sister, Palo Alto Belle, and full brother, 
Electric Bell. For the filly they paid eight thousand dollars as a two-year 
old. For the colt they paid twelve thousand five hundred dollars cash 
when less than one year old. This is the highest price yet paid for a colt 
of this age. Two other highly-bred and valuable stallions owned by this 
firm are Clay Wilkes 1840, by George Wilkes, dam by American Clay, 
second dam by Cassius M. Clay, Jr., and Sulwood by Sultan," dam by Nut- 
wood. The stallions Elector and May King, both by Electioneer, were sold 
during the past year for seven thousand five hundred dollars each. The 
whole number of trotting animals now owned by the firm is about one hun- 

J. C. Sibley still continues the active management of the trotting horse 
department and the general oversight of the entire business, but turned it 
over, in 1885, to his younger brother, E. H. Sibley, who is given the title of 
manager, the purchase of supplies and handling of funds, the settlement 
of accounts and the sales department of Jerse^^s, ponies, etc. The other 
ofiicials at the present time are: George B. Jobson, veterinarian and super- 
intendent of herds and flocks; R. F. Patterson, superintendent of horse 
department; R. C. Stinson, trainer, and O. L. Rew, superintendent of 
farms . 

Oakwood Farm and Garden Company, Limited, was incorporated in 
1887, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars. O. H. Strong is 
chairman, and H. B. Beatty. secretary and treasurer. During bis residence 
at Jamestown, New York, and Rouseville, Pennsylvania, Mr. Strong had 
made a study of rose culture in an amateur way, and in 1885 decided to 
embark in the propagation of roses as a business. Having purchased a 
tract of six hundred acres in Cranberry township presenting the requisite 
characteristics in altitude, drainage, and exposure, be began the erection of 
suitable buildings and in the spring of 1886 the business was fairly estab- 
lished. Eight green-houses, three bundi-ed feet long and twenty-one feet 
wide, were built in 1886, and one, one hundred feet long by seventy in 
width, in 1885; two, with the dimensions of three hundred by fifteen feet, 
were added in 1887, and three others of the same proportions in 1888, an 
aggregate of twenty-two thousand, three hundred square feet devoted to 
the immediate purposes of propagation and growth. The twelve varieties 
that now receive attention are the Perle Desjardins, Niphetos, Bride, Will- 
iam Francis Bennett, Pappa Gontier, Bon Silene, American Beauty, Catha- 


rine Mennet, La France, Souvenir De Wootton, Sunset, and Madame 
Cusin. They are grown for cut-tiower purposes exclusively; the company 
enjoys a large local trade, but the bulk of its products finds a market in the 
principal cities of the country as far west as Colorado. The largest ship- 
ments of cut flowers into Chicago are made from this rosery. The difPer- 
ent departments of the establishment and of the dairy connected with it 
employ twenty-live men. About a dozen dwelling houses have been 
erected by the company, giving to the place the appearance and character 
of a small village. It ranks with the most extensive horticultural estab- 
lishments in the United States. 


The earliest efPort to organize an agricultural society was made in the 
year 1838. A meeting was held at the court house by those favorable to 
the movement at the February term of court, B. Junkiu, presiding, with 
Myron Park, secretary. Henry Shippen made an address; resolutions 
favorable to the permanent organization of a society were adopted; James 
Thompson, C. Henlen, Aaron McKissick, Doctor G. A. Meeker, and Alex- 
ander McCalmont were constituted a committee to draft a constitution; 
Joshua T. Leech, Myron Park, and Hugh McClelland were appointed to 
prepare subscription papers to be circulated in the difPerent townships, and 
for the latter service a committee of two was appointed for each township, as 
follows: Allegheny: Ebenezer Byles, William T. Neill; Beaver: George 
Kribbs, Doctor G. A. Meeker; Canal: J. A. Gilliland, Samuel Black; 
Cherry Tree: Richard Irwin, Isaac Archer; Cornplanter: John Rynd, 
Thomas Anderson; Cranberry: James Eaton, Alexander McCaman; Elk: 
James Hasson, Joseph Kucher; Franklin: Andrew Bowman. Myron Park; 
French Creek: Aaron McKissick, A. W. Raymond; Farmington: Joshua T. 
Leech, James Hiland; Irwin: Thomas Beard, John Hovis; Paint: John 
Brenneman, Christian Myers; Pinegrove: Christian Henlen, Samuel Powell; 
Plum: James Cooper, John G. Bradley; Richland: B. Junkin, Joseph M. 
Fox; Rockland: John S. McKean, Daniel Smith; Sandy Creek: John Sin- 
gleton, Isaac Bunnell; Scrubgrass, John Craig, David Phipps; Sugar Creek: 
Charles G. Grain, James Reed; Tionesta: Reverend Hezekiah May, Alexan- 
der Holeman. Arrangements were made for effecting a permanent organi- 
zation at the following term of court, but it does not appear that anything 
of this nature ever occurred. At all events no fair was ever held. 

The Venango County Agricultural Society. — On the evening of Mon- 
day, August 25, 1851, a meeting of the friends of agricultural improvement 
was held at the court house in Franklin. David Phipps was called to the 
chair; William T. Neill, John Brown, and W\ W. Shaw were appointed 
vice presidents, Matthew Riddle and C. H. Heydrick, secretaries. John S. 
McCalmont delivered an address. As the result of the interest thus aroused 


a permanent organization was effected on the fourth Monday in November 
with the following officers: 

President, David Phipps, of Scrubgrass. 

Vice-presidents: Robert lliddle, of Scrubgrass; William Shorts, of Sandy 
Creek; Isaac B. Rowe, of Franklin; James Hughes, Sr., of Cranberry; 
Joshua Davis, of Rockland; Joseph Porterheld, of Richland; William 
Wright, of Canal; John Boozer, of Sugar Creek; Oliver McKissick, of 
French Creek; W. W. Shaw, of Jackson; David Reynolds, of Oakland; 
William Cowan, of Plum; James Strawbridge, of Cherry Tree; William T. 
Neill, of Allegheny; P. H. Siverly, of Cornplanter; Robert P. Elliott, of 
President; Ashbel Holeman, of Tionesta'; David Elliott, of Pinegrove. 

Corresponding secretary, E. S. Durban, of Franklin; recording sec- 
retary, C. P. Ramsdell, of Franklin; treasurer, R. A. Brashear, of 
Franklin; librarian, Samuel F. Dale, of Franklin. 

The preliminaries were thus arranged, but too late for the holding of a 
fair in 1851. The first exhibition occurred on the 5th and Gth of October, 
1852, in the Third ward of Franklin, then Sugar Creek township, at the 
terminus of the bridge over French creek. The exhibit included horses, 
cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry, farm, garden, and orchard products, 
agricultural implements, articles of domestic manufacture, etc. From a 
comparison of the best evidence it appears that only one fair was held at 
this place, a plat of ground on Buffalo street, where the Union school 
building stands, having been secured in 185St Annual exhibitions were 
held there until October, 1861, when the oil excitement diverted public 
attention. The minutes having disappeared, it is impossible to give the 
officers throughout its continuance. The society doubtless subserved a 
useful purpose, and was, considering the condition of the county at that 
time, highly creditable to the management and to the agricultural com- 
munity at large. 

Emlenton Union Agricultural Society, the only association of this 
nature in the county outside of the county seat, was organized March 
27, 1858. The first election of officers resulted as follows: 

President, Henry Kohlmire, of Allegheny township, Butler county. 

Vice-Presidents: J. F. Layton, Allegheny township, Butler county; 
John Macklin, Washington township, Butler county; John Murrin, Ve- 
nango township, Bntler county; George Parker, Parker township, Butler 
county; Elias Widle, Emlenton, Venango county: Joshua Davis, Richland 
township, Venango county; Daniel Smith, Rockland township, Venango 
coimty; J. Craig, Scrubgrass township, Venango county; W'illiam Christy, 
Clinton township, Venango county; John J. Kilgore, IrAvin township, Ve- 
nango county; Samuel Fox, Richland township. Clarion county; John 
Showers, Ashland township, Clarion county; P. Kribbs, Salem township, 
Clarion county; George Kribbs, Beaver township, Clarion county; John 


Logue, Perry township, Clarion county; Benjamin Gardner, Licking town- 
ship, Clarion county; S. Kiefer, Callensburg, Clarion county; Mr. Robison, 
Perry township, Armstrong county. 

Recording secretary, W. W. Patton, Emlenton; corresponding secre- 
tary, Doctor J. McMichael, Emlenton; treasurer, A. B. Crawford, Em- 
lenton; librarian, H. Gormley, Emlenton. 

The first fair was held in the autumn of 1858. It was largely at- 
tended and generally regarded as a success; but the outbreak of the re- 
bellion and the discovery of oil monopolized the attention of the public 
to such an extent that interest in the matter subsided and the exhibitions 
were discontinued. 

The Venango County Agricultural Association was incorporated August 
22, 1872. Grounds were leased in the Third ward of Franklin and suit- 
able buildings erected thereon at a cost of eight thousand dollars. It might 
have been called a driving park association with more propriety, as trials 
of speed constituted the leading features of the exhibitions. Financially 
it was not a success; the lease, privileges, etc., were sold at sheriff's sale 
and purchased by a comparatively small number of the citizens of Franklin. 
At a meeting of representative citizens of the different townships and 
boroughs of the county, February 18, 1874, they offered to surrender all 
the franchises of the association to an agricultural society for the sum of 
two thousand dollars cash and the payment annually of half the rent, re- 
serving the right to use the driving course when the grounds were not 
occupied for exhibitions. This proposition was favorably considered and 
measures taken for the formation of the proj)osed new association. A 
second meeting occurred April 15, 1874, Alexander Frazier, of Canal town- 
ship, presiding, when a variety of matters connected with county fairs were 
considered and discussed. The agitation was continued throughout the 
following summer and in January, 1875, at a public meeting in the court 
house, a permanent organization was effected with the following o£6icers : 

President, Alexander Frazier. 

Vice-president, Justus Egbert. 

Secretary, R. L. Cochran. 

Directors: S. M. Lupher, H. Clulow, John Bell, "\V. C. Barber, Thomas 
McKee, R. S. Bonnett, Calvin Ritchey. 

Auditors: J. P. Byers, T. W. Smiley, G. A. McKinley. Two fairs were 
held under the auspices of this association, in the autumn of 1875 and 1876, 
respectively, and both were regarded as fairly successful. 

The Venango County Agricultural Society. — After a brief peried of des- 
uetude the agriciiltural fair idea was again resuscitated. An organization 
was formed at Hanna's hall, January 6, 1880. The responsibilities of the 
project were distributed among the following officers: 

President, A. G. Egbert, of Franklin. 


Vice-president, William Bean, of Canal. 

Secretary, Henry H. Ware, of Franklin. 

Assistant secretary, C. A. McClintock, of Dempsoytown. 

Treasurer, J. L. Hanna, of Franklin. 

Directors: James Anderson, of Scrubgrass; James Kussell, of French 
Creek; G. W. Mays, of Rockland; W. R. Crawford, of Franklin; E. E. 
Clapp, of President; William Foster, of Canal, and Henry F. James, of 
Sugar Creek. w 

The president of the society purchased a tract of ground in Sugar Creek 
township, adjacent to the Third ward of Franklin, ample in extent and eli- 
gibly located; this he adapted to the purposes of the society and erected suit- 
able buildings thereon, at an expense of some thousands of dollars, to which 
the society contributed one thousand dollars, paying live hundred dollars 
rental annually and leasing the grounds for a period of ten years. From 
the first the exhibitions were largely attended and were conducted on a high 
moral plane. A novel feature in 1882 was the educational display, under 
the joint management of committees appointed by the society and the teach- 
ers' institute of the county. It was with the latter that the movement orig- 
inated. J. J. McClaurin, J. C. Boyce, and R. L. Cochran composed the 
committee on behalf of the society. Pupils in the public schools through- 
out the county to the number of five thousand marched in procession from 
the parks to the fair ground, where addresses were delivered by Reverend 
E. E. Higbee, D. D. , state superintendent of public instruction, and Rever- 
end J. C. Kettler, D. D. , president of Grove City College. Prizes aggre- 
gating in value more than a thousand dollars were awarded for special pro- 
ficiency in the various departments of school work. Another feature of im- 
portance was the organization of auxiliary farmers' clubs throughout the 
county. In 1881 a conference of the officers of similar associations in ad- 
joining counties was held at Franklin under the auspices of this society to 
devise measures for the promotion of mutual interests, the first efPort of this 
nature in northwestern Pennsylvania. The society never compromised its 
premiums on a j)ro rata basis but always paid the full amount advertised. 
In various other ways its management was in advance of the times. Nine 
exhibitions were held, the last in 1888. In the meantime, the ownership of 
the grounds having passed from A. G. Egbert to Miller & Sibley, obliga- 
tions of the society aggregating about five thousand dollars were liquidated 
by the latter and the lease, which would not have expired until 1889, was 
cancelled. No fair was held this year (1889), but the organization is still 

The society was incorporated April 20, 1882. Doctor Egbert retired 
from the presidency in 1882, and was succeeded by James Anderson, 
who was followed in 1880 by Charles Miller, the present incumbent. 
James Miller was elected secretary in 1881, J. J. McClaurin in 1885, and 


James Miller again in 1886. J. L. Hanna served as treasurer until 1885, 
when E. W. Echols was elected, and has been continued in that position to 
the present. 

The Grcuige or Patrons of Husbandry had a number of flourishing aux- 
iliary organizations in the county. Cooperstown Grange, No. 185, insti- 
tuted March 30, 1874, was the first, and the movement rapidly advanced to 
every part of the county. The interest subsided within a few years from a 
variety of causes, and none of the societies are any longer sustained. 

Harvest Home Associations have been incorporated at Utica, Dempsey- 
town. and other points throughout the county. Annual picnics are held, 
usually in the months of August and September, and the attendance of 
thousands of people attests the popularity of these occasions. In the oppor- 
tunities for friendly social intercourse and interchange of courtesies thus 
presented, they exert a most important and beneficial influence. 



Relation of Highways of Tuavkl to Civilization — Roads— Tui:npikes 
AND Plank Roads— Water Highavays— The First Steamboat- 
French Creek and Oil Creek— Railroads — Venango Rail- 
road—New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio— West- 
ern New York and Pennsylvania — James- 
town AND Franklin — Allegheny 
Valley — Postal Facilities. 

THE relation that highways of travel sustain to material and intellectual 
progress has been frequently discussed in learned dissertations upon 
the philosophy of civilization. It has been shown that maritime nations were 
first to advance in the arts; that every great river is a highway by which 
civilizing influences penetrate to the interior of continents, and that national 
isolation, as illustrated in the case of certain Oriental peoples, invariably 
results in a condition of utter stagnation. The various agencies by which 
intercommunication is usually facilitated in an inland community — public 
roads, navigable rivers, canals, and railroads — the result no less than the 
cause of internal development and progress, are properly comprehended 
within the generalization that appears at the head of this chapter. 


The first overland highway through Venango county was the Le Boeuf 


road, constructed by the French to facilitate the transportation of military 
stores to the mouth of French creek and the movements of troops between 
Lake Erie and Fort Machanlt. There is no special record of the fact, but 
it was probably opened in 1754. The following passage occurs in the re- 
port of Thomas Bull, an Indian spy sent by the colonial authorities to as- 
certain the extent of the French forces, as transcribed by Colonel Hugh 
Mercer under date of March 17, 175U: '-The road is trod and good from 
Venango to Le Boeuf, and from thence to Presque Isle, about half a day's 
journey, is very low and swampy and bridged almost all the way." This 
clearly proves that the French opened the road in the first instance, or fol- 
lowed an Indian tr^il, and the route followed was the shortest between the 
two forts, the distance being much less than the meanderings of French 
creek. Striking the north line of Crawford county in the northeast corner 
of Rockdale township, its course passed through the eastern part of Athens, 
Steuben, and Troy townships, entering Plum township in the northwestern 
part of Venango county and passing through the western part of Oakland 
and the central part of Sugar Creek to Franklin. The villages of Chap- 
manville and Sunville in Plum township are situated upon its course, which 
was revised within a few years after the settlement of the county and has 
been changed in many places. 

The ' ' Path leading to French creek ' ' from Pittsburgh, referred to 
in General Irvine's report upon the donation lands in 1785, coincided 
with the general course of the state road aftt^Tward opened between these 
two points and popularly known in this part of the country as the Pitts- 
burgh road. In later years this name has l)een applied to two principal 
roads that converge at Springville in Victory township, one of which passes 
through Mechanicsville, in Irwin township, and the other through Clinton- 
ville. in Clinton township. 

At the first term of t]ie court of quarter sessions, December 16, 1805. a 
petition was presented setting forth the necessity of a public road from 
Franklin to the Mercer county line near Robert Henderson's, to intersect a 
road opened in that direction from the town of Mercer. This was the first 
road petition considered by the court after the organization of the county for 
judicial purposes. Samuel Dale. Alexander McDowell, John Lindsay, Caleb 
Crane, Sr. , George Power, and Robert Henderson, were appointed for its con 
sideration and reported favorably at June sessions, 1806, whereupon the 
supervisors were directed to open the road agreeably to the courses and dis- 
tances established. The survey was made by Colonel Dale. This is the 
Franklin and Mercer road, one of the most important highways of the county. 

The road from Franklin to Titusville, known at an early date as the Oil 
Creek road, was probably laid out under the auspices of the Crawford county 
court. It passed through the village of Cherry Tree and several miles south- 
east of Dempseytown. The original course has been materially changed. 


The road from "John Kerr's landing on the Allegheny river" (Emlen- 
ton), to intersect " the great road leading from Scrubgrass meetinghouse 
to Franklin" at Moses Perry's field (Lisbon), was laid out by Thomas 
Baird, James Scott, Robert Blair, Moses Perry, William Crawford, and Sam- 
uel Jolly, and confirmed at September term, 1806. 

A road from Robert Mitchell's tract on the line of Butler county to in- 
tersect the Franklin road at William Lyon's was laid out by Samuel Dale, 
David Martin, William Milford. and Patrick Jack, and confirmed in Decem- 
ber, 1800. 

A road from White Oak Springs, Butler county, to the Franklin road at 
the crossing of Sandy creek near John De woody' s, laid out by James Mar- 
tin, Jr., Samuel Plumer, Caleb Crane, and James Martin, Sr., was confirmed 
at December term, 1806. 

A road from John Lindsay's mill on Mill creek to Franklin intersecting 
a road from James Adams' mill to that town, laid out by Alexander John- 
ston, James Martin, Jr., James McClaran, David Blair, George King, and 
James Martin, Sr. , was confirmed in March. 1807. 

A state road from Milesburg, Centre county, to Waterf ord, Erie county, 
was provided for by the legislature prior to 1800, but no sufficient appro- 
priation was made for opening the western part of its course until 1810. 
The disposition of this sum was placed in the hands of the county commis- 
sioners. Similar provision was made for the state road from Butler to 
Meadville, and the manner in which the appropriation was expended is 
shown by the following extract from the commissioners' minutes of Sep- 
tember 18, 1811: 

Agreeably to an act of assembly entitled "An act making appropriations for 
certain internal improvements," the commissioners, after having viewed the following 
roads in Venango county, viz., the state road leading from Butler to Meadville and 
the state road leading from Milesburg to Waterf ord, or such parts of the same as lie in 
said county, have made agreement with the following persons to do and perform cer- 
tain pieces of work thereon, viz., 

On the Butler road leading to Meadville, John Boner agrees to dig a certain space 
of said road at the rate of sixteen dollars. 

James Davidson agrees to dig and bridge a certain distance of said Butler road for 
the sum of forty-one dollars and fifty cents, at the run called Bullion's run. 

Archibald Davidson agrees to l)ridge a certain part of said road between Scrub- 
grass and Samuel Grimes' at twelve dollars. 

Adam Taylor agrees to cut, open, and bridge a certain part of the said road near 
Irwin township line at seventeen dollars. 

William Dewoody agrees to dig a certain part of the said road on the south side 
of Sandy creek hill at sixty-nine cents per perch. 

John Dewoody agrees to dig a certain part of the said road adjoining the above 
at seventy-eight cents per perch. 

Luther Thomas agrees to cut and open a part of the said road near Crawford county 
line at one dollar; also four perches of bridging at one dollar and twenty-five cents 
per perch; also, a piece of digging at one dollar, and a piece of digging, etc., two hills, 
at three dollars. 


Ou the road leading from Milesburg to Waterford Charles lloletnan agrees to dig 
sixteen perches on the river hill at seventy-five cents per perch. 

William Hays agrees to dig a part of said road on the north side of Three Mile 
run at forty cents per perch. 

Isaac Connely agrees to dig a part of said road on the north side of Hemlock creek 
at fifty cents per perch. 

William Hays agrees to dig and open a part of said road on the south side of Hem- 
lock creek at forty cents per perch. 

Samuel McHattan and Alexander agree to open and bridge a part of the said road 
near Hicks' cabin at eight dollars. 

Charles Holeman agrees to open and dig a part of said road at sixty-six cents per 
perch for digging and a reasonable price for any part which may be opened. 

Samuel McHattan and Alexander agree to open and dig a part of said road at tifty- 
seveu cents per perch on the north side of Little Toby's creek. 

Alexander McElhaney agrees to bridge a part of said road supposed to be twenty- 
six rods at ninety-nine cents per perch, and to open and repair at a reasonable price. 

Samuel McHattan and Alexander agree to dig and open a part of said road ou To- 
by's creek hill at twenty-four and a half cents a perch. 

The road from Milesburg to Waterford crossed the Allegheny river at 
Alexander Holeman' s, as originally laid out. Its course through this county 
has been vacated to such an extent that it would be difficult to indicate it by 
present land marks. It was an important and much traveled thoroughfare. 
The road leading from Franklin through the villages of Salem City and Ten 
Mile Bottom, in Cranberry township, and thence on through Pinegrove to 
Fryburg, was the only other highway of importance opened through the 
county at an early date under state atis2:)ices. 

The road from Franklin to the moiith of Oil creek, laid out by William 
Martin, George King, James Martin, Sr. , and John Snow, was confirmed at 
December term of the court of quarter sessions, 1807. The old Warren road 
crossed Oil creek at Rynd Farm, and thence pursued a meandering course 
through Cornplanter and Allegheny townships. Frequent revision ulti- 
mately rendered this a direct route between Franklin and Warren so far as 
the topography would admit. 

The Susquehanna and Waterford turnpike was the first internal improve- 
ment under corporate auspices constructed through this county. The com- 
pany was incorporated by act of the legislature, February 22, 1812; com- 
missioners at various places were authorized to receive subscriptions in stock, 
those for Venango county being William Moore and George Power, and the 
amount of stock apportioned to this county was three hundred shares at a 
par value of twenty-five dollars. The governor was authorized to subscribe 
one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars to the project, one htindred 
thousand dollars for that part of the line between the Allegheny and Susque 
hanna rivers, and the remainder for the distance between Franklin and 
Waterford, the expense of constructing a section five miles in length east and 
west of the Allegheny river to be the basis of apportionment. The route led 
"from Waterford, through Meadville and Franklin to the river Susque- 


hanna at the mouth of Anderson's creek, in Clearfield county." The pre- 
scribed width was sixty feet, and of the portion to be artificially constructed, 
twenty feet. The company was authorized to collect tolls upon sections five 
miles in length as they should be completed and approved. 

The state appropriation was conditioned upon a subscription of two 
thousand shares by private individuals within three years; but the war of 
1812 so depressed business of every kind in this part of the state that the 
charter would have been forfeited but for a further extension of three years 
from the expiration of the first period. Even with this liberal allowance of 
time the projectors experienced great difficulty in securing the necessary 
support. It is related that at a meeting in Meadville, August 19, 1815, 
resort was had to the novel expedient of inducing an impecunious tailor, pos- 
sessing neither money nor credit, to become the nominal owner of seven 
hundred and fifty shai'es, by which the progress of the work was materially 
accelerated. The requisite subscriptions had been received in January, 
1816, but actual operations were not begun until two years later. The sur- 
vey was completed in October, 1818; contracts for several sections were let 
in November of that year, and in 1820 the entire line was opened to travel. 
The course through this county is through the 'townships of Rockland, Cran- 
berry, Sugar Creek, and Canal; East Sandy creek is crossed at the hamlet 
of that name, the Allegheny river and French creek at Franklin, and Sugar 
creek some distanee from its mouth. From the summit of the river hill 
below Franklin to Salina in Cranberry township, a distance of four or five 
miles, the course of the pike is upon a straight line and practically level, 
the longest distance between the termirial points without a deflection in its 
course. The Erie md AV^aterford turnpike had been constructed in 1809, 
and by 1824 this great internal thoroughfare had been continued to Phila- 
delphia. It was a toll road for many years, but finally proved unprofitable 
to the stockholders and was relinquished to the different townships through 
which it passes. 

The imperative necessity of improved roads for the tranportation of oil 
resulted in the construction of several lines of turnpike and plank-roads 
during the decade beginning with 1860. The first of these was the/ Frank- 
lin and Oil creek turnpike, projected to afford a means of hauling oil to 
Franklin during the time that it was the terminus of the Atlantic and Great 
Western railway. The act of incorporation was passed February 19, 1862, 
and names Thomas H. Martin, Arnold Plumer, W. M. Epley, Thomas 
Hoge, James Bleakley, Richard Irwin, S. P. McCalmont, George H. Bis- 
sell, J. L. Hanna, C. Heydrick, William Hilands, Joseph Shafer, P. Mc- 
Gough, James Wilson, C. C. Waldo, M. W. Kelsey, William Hasson, Sam. 
Q. Brown, and Robert Lamberton as the corporators. The superintendent 
of construction was Miles W. Sage, and work was begun May 19, 1862. 
During the few years that this was contiriued as a toll road its receipts 


were enormous. Two men were constantly nMj[aired to collect the tolls. 
The succession of teams was almost unbroken sometimes for a distance of 
several miles. Although constructed at a time when such operations were 
very expensive and abandoned after a few years, it proved to be a remuner- 
ative investment for the stockholders. 

The Titusville and Pithole plank-road was constructed in the summer 
of 1865 by Sam. Q. Brown, William H. Abbott, F. W. Ames, and Oliver 
Keese; the company was incorporated March 2, 18(36. In this case the 
usual order of procedure was reversed; the road was first constructed and 
the charter obtained afterward. The opportunities of the times were too 
great and the necessity too urgent to wait for legislative authority. The 
course of this road led from Titusville to Pithole City through Pleasantville, 
affording a means of travel to the Pithole region at the time when it was 
attracting thousands of people from all parts of the country. A double 
track was laid and at considerable expense, notwithstanding which the 
venture was eminently successful. A similar road was constructed from 
Miller Farm to Pithole City, passing through the Shamburg region. This 
has been entirely abandoned. The Titusville and Pithole road between 
Pleasantville and Pithole has also been abandoned, but is still continued as 
a toll road between Titusville and Pleasantville. 

The Salina and Laytonia Turnpike Company was incorporated March 
25, 1864, the projectors being Thomas M. Parker, William Gates, Henry 
Mays, William L. Lay, C. B. McKinney, James S. Johnston, W. H. Stef- 
fee, and William CartVright. A macadamized road was constructed between 
the designated termini and is still continued as a toll road. This is the 
only turnpike in the county, as the plank-road from Titusville to Pleasant- 
ville is the only one of that description. 


The navigation of the Allegheny river may be said to begin with the 
expedition of. Celoron in 1749. French creek was also frequently utilized 
in the military operations and movements of the French. Celoron em- 
barked at Chautauqua lake and passed through Conewango creek to the 
Allegheny, but with this exception the usual route of the French was across 
from Lake Erie to Waterford, at the head of navigation on French creek, 
and thence down that stream to the river. With the transition to English 
rule military purposes continued to be the principal end subserved by the 
navigation of these streams, and it was not until American authority had 
been established that they acquired commercial importance. As early as 
1790 an appropriation of four hundred dollars was made for the improve- 
ment of Le Bceuf and French creeks. The principal exports from this 
region were peltries and grain or its products, flour and whisky, which were 
loaded on flat-boats and thus taken to Pittsburgh and other river points. 


The transportation of salt was an important industry. The supply was ob- 
tained at Salina, New York, hauled in wagons to BuflPalo, brought in vessels 
to Erie, transported by ox-teams to Waterford by way of the old French 
road, and transferred at that point to fiat-boats for shipment down French 
creek, the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. In the Crawford Weekly Messenger 
of December 12, 1805, it is stated that "eleven flat-bottomed and sis keel- 
boats passed this place [Meadville] during the last freshet in French creek — 
the former carrying on the average one hundred and seventy and the latter 
sixty barrels of salt each, making in the whole two thousand two hundred 
and thirty barrels." In the issue of January 1, 1807, the statement was 
made that during the last rise in French creek twenty-two Kentucky boats 
or arks passed Meadville loaded with salt and carrying an aggregate of four 
or five thousand barrels. Under date of November 23, 1809, it is said that 
" there are at present at Waterford upward of fourteen thousand barrels of 
salt, containing five bushels each, or seventy thousand bushels, waiting for 
the rise of the waters in order to descend to Pittsburgh, AVheeling, and 
Marietta. This traffic was continued until about the year 1819, when salt 
wells on the Kiskeminitas and Kanawha had been developed sufficiently to 
supply the demand for the article in this territory. 

During the war of 1812 the naval stores and munitions used in the con- 
struction of Perry's Lake Erie fleet were transported from Pittsburgh by 
way of the river and French creek. At a later date and until the open- 
ing of railroads through this part of the state, farm produce of every 
description and lumber in large quantities were shipped from Erie, Craw- 
ford, Mercer, and Venango counties, and rafts were not unusual on French 
creek as late as 1860, while crafts of various kinds continued to navigate 
the river until the completion of the Allegheny Valley railroad. 

The first successful steam navigation of the Allegheny river occurred in 
1828, and marks the beginning of a new era in economic development and 
internal communication in western Pennsylvania. The following account 
of the first steamboat appeared in the Venango Democrat of March 4, 1828: 


On Sunday evening the 24tli of February, the citizens of this place were some- 
what alarmed by the discharge of a field-piece down the Allegheny river — another 
report soon followed — then the cry of a steamboat resounding in all directions, and 
the citizens, great and small, were seen flocking to the river to welcome her arrival. 
She proved to be the William. D. Duncan, of one hundred and ten tons. Captain 
Crooks. She left Pittsburgh on Friday at three o'clock P. M., arrived at Kittanning, 
a distance of forty-five miles, the same evening — left Kittanning at ten A. M.. and ar- 
rived at this place on Sunday at five P. M., after stopping at Lawrenceburg and other 
places. The actual time occupied in running the whole distance, one hundred and forty 
miles, was twenty-eight hours, averaging five miles an hour. We understand she could 
have made the trip in much less time, but it being the first, her engineer was afraid of ap- 
plying her full power to the current. She had on board several tons of freight, and 
about one hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen from Pittsburgh, Freeport, Kittan- 


niug, aud Lawrenceburi!; came passengers. On Monday niornin,!^ a party was got up in 
town who took an excursion of eight miles up the river to Oil Creek furnace, for the 
double purpose of the pleasure of the trip and as a remuneration to the enterprising 
owners for the visit. Slic steamed the current at the rate of between five and six miles 
an hour, and came down in twenty-one minutes. The day was fine, the trip pleasant, all 
were highly gratified; and the accommodation was excellent. On Tuesday morning 
she took her departure for Pittsburgh, where, we understand, she arrived next morning, 
without meeting with a single accident to mar the pleasure of their experiment. We 
learn that two other boats are making preparations for ascending the Allegheny, and 
that one of them may be expected here on Friday or Saturday next. It is expected they 
will ascend the river as far as Warren, for which place we understand they have been 
chartered. This, it is expected, will put an end to the controversy between the citi- 
zens of Pittsburgh and Wheeling who is located at the head of steamboat navigation. 

Stern-wheel steamboats were introduced upon the western waters in 
1830. This innovation in nautical construction was the invention of a Mr. 
Blanchard. Robert L. Potter and David Dick, of Meadville, became 
interested in it, and through their efforts the Allegheny was built on the 
new principle at Pittsburgh. The trial trip was made in April, 1830; 
Franklin was i-eached on the 18th of that month, whence the voyage was 
continued to Warren. Seven trips were made during the year, on one of 
which the river was ascended as far as Olean, New York. The stern-wheel 
boat was found to be well adapted to a stream of such rapid current and 
winding channel as the Allegheny. It was only during three or four months 
of the year, however, that navigation was possible. River traffic reached its 
largest proportions during the years of the oil industry immediately prior to 
the opening of the Allegheny Valley railroad. 

The construction of an artificial waterway to connect the waters of Lake 
Erie with the Ohio river was suggested by AVashington as early as 1788. 
The project was one of vital interest to the people of western Pennsylvania, 
and its agitation entered largely into the consideration of political measures. 
The Beaver and Shenango rivers appear to have been regarded as the most 
practical route until the success of steam navigation on the Allegheny 
attracted public attention to the feasibility of a slack-water improvement in 
French creek, with such expenditures upon the channel of the river as 
would render it possible for boats to continue running during the whole or 
a large part of the year. It is needless to observe that this was regarded 
with great favor in Venango county. Internal improvements were the 
order of the day, and the policy of the state in projecting an elaborate 
system of internal communication was everywhere sustained by public sen- 
timent. It was the great concern of every community, and a duty specially 
enjoined upon members of the legislature, to see that their constituents 
were not neglected in the framing of the appropriation bill. In 18213 Doc 
tor George R. Espy, representative in the general assembly from this county, 
was charged with voting contrary to the wishes of his constituents; but at 
a public meeting, held at Franklin in August of that year, a committee, 


composed of J. J. Pearson, James Kinnear, John Evans, George Power, 
Andrew Bowman, Doctor John D. Wood, Alexander McCahnont, William 
Raymond, and Geox-ge McClelland, to whom the matter was referred, fully 
exonerated him from the charges in question. This may serve to illustrate 
the jealous care with which the people sought to guard their interests. 

The desired result was finally obtained; a slack-water navigation was 
established between the mouth of French creek and Meadville by the con- 
struction of dams at necessary intervals and of an artificial channel at sev- 
eral points, involving the expenditure of a million and a quarter dollars. 
As a work of engineering the improvement doubtless possessed decided 
merit; the masonry was substantially constructed and withstood for years 
the force of the current and of successive floods. But the calculations of 
the projectors had been based upon insufficient data regarding the volume 
of the stream at various seasons, as observed since the settlement of the 
country, resulting in deficient provision for navigation during the summer 
months, which deprived the work of all practical utility. Only two boats 
ever passed through from Franklin to Meadville, the first of which arrived 
at Meadville June 6, 1834, and the second, the French Creek Pioneer, 
November 14, 1834. 

The work had scarcely been completed before alterations and repairs 
became necessary. But the Beaver and Shenango route had been deter- 
mined upon for the water communication between Lake Erie and the Ohio 
river, and the prosecution of that enterprise was deemed sutficient for the 
northwestern part of the state. Appeals to the legislature were unavailing; 
the feelings of the people, as they contemplated the decay of public works 
from which so much had been expected, were naturally indignant and found 
expression in the formal action of mass meetings at various times. A 
meeting of this nature was held at the court house in Franklin, on the eve- 
ning of December 3, 1842; T. S. McDowell presided, with James S. Myers 
and Myron Park vice-presidents, James Bleakley and Alexander Cochran, 
secretaries. The condition of the canal was taken into consideration and 
the sense of the meeting was expressed in a a series of resolutions reported 
by James Ross Snowden from a committee composed of John W. Howe, 
Richard Irwin, Samuel Hays, Samiiel F. Dale, and James Ross Snowden, 
several of which resolutions, with the preamble, are herewith subjoined: 

Whereas, Various appropriations have been made bythe commonwealth since the 
year 1826 to her public improvements, among which is the French Creek division of 
the Pennsylvania canal, which is composed of the Franklin line and the French Creek 
feeder; and whereas the said work for want of suflBcient repairs has become in a great 
measure dilapidated; and not only the commercial advantages sought to be secured by 
the construction of the same have not been attained, but it is now causing an actual 
injury to the navigation of the stream by rendering it more difficult and tedious than 
the natural navigation. And whereas, should the Erie extension be completed and this 
line kept in good repair, the interests and property of the country bordering on the 


Allcj^heii}- and Fn>ncli creek and tlieir tributaries would be subserved and encouraged 
and the general interests of the commonwealth protected; and it is believed that 
further appropriations from the state treasury in its present state of embarrassment 
cannot reasonably be expected. And \vherea«, the importance of this work impera- 
tively demands its preservation and protection, and it would ])e unjust, unwise, and 
impolitic to suffer it further to decay, and thus, instead of subserving the interesis of 
the county b}-- promoting its commerce and navigation, be(;ome an absolute evil by 
producing stagnant pools and obstructing the natural navigation; therefore. 

Resolved, That the restoration and repair of the French Creek division of the 
Pennsylvania canal is of the deepest importance to an extensive region of country, 
thereby affording an outlet to market to the citizens residing thereon for their various 
productions, as well as opening up an important channel to the commerce of the state. 
Hut we would especially refer to the market it would afford to the iron, which is now 
manufactured in large quantities in the counties of Armstrong, Clarion, and Venango, 
and which may be enlarged to an almost unlimited extent. 

Resolved. That we view with alarm and surprise the startling fact tliat the water of 
French creek, a large and navigable stream to which God and nature liave given us an 
indefeasible title, is about to be diverted from its natural channel and carried down the 
Shenango and Beaver creeks, through the partial policy of these who have been en- 
gaged in conducting the public works, whilst the French creek division, although 
actually completed, has been suffered to go out of repair and become an absolute ob- 
struction, rendering the navigation greatly inferior to what it was in its natural state: 
that if this policy and course are passively submitted to and further pursued the water 
of this large stream during the season of the year when most recpiired for navigation 
will be entirely diverted from its natural channel, and thus also its water power for 
mills and other works be entirely destroyed. 

Resolved, That should this project be consummated and the French Creek divi 
sion be thus destroyed, it would be an act of the most g*oss injustice and a direct vio- 
lation of all equitable and just principles, not only to the citizens generally who reside 
in this section of country, but especially to those who reside on the borders of the 
stream and who have paid for those rights which are now sought to be taken away. 

It was further charged that previous boards of canal commissioners 
were responsible for the decayed state of the line, having withheld its just 
proportion of the repair fund; and especially, that the board had solemnly 
assured the representatives from this district in the session of 1840 that the 
line should be put in repair, in violation of which they had refused anv 
amount whatever when the appropnation bill became a law. It was urged 
that the Shenango route had never been authorized except with the under- 
standing that improved navigation should be simultaneously constructed to 
the mouth of French creek as a substitute for its natural navigation and as 
-^n equivalent for the water to supply the Erie extension. Any other ar- 
rangement, it was declared, would be an act of flagrant injustice on the part 
of the commonwealth, depriving a large number of citizens of the benefits 
of natural navigation, and bestowing upon another section of the state ad- 
vantages which it had no right to enjoy. As the improvement of the French 
creek canal was a matter of urgent necessity and the embarrassed condition 
of the public treasury would not warrant any appropriation from that source, 
it was suggested as the most feasible means of effecting that object that a 


company should be incorporated for the purpose of completing the work 
already done and making such repairs as would be found advisable. James 
Ross Snowden, Samuel Hays, William Elliott, Thomas S. Espy, and John 
W. Howe were selected as a committee to memorialize the legislature at its 
approaching session and prepare a suitable address to that body. 

"Without discussing the successive phases of the agitation it may be 
stated that neither public appropriation nor private enterprise ever attempted 
the rehabilitation of the property in the manner proposed. The stream was 
kept open for descending navigation for some years; the dams and locks 
were occasionally repaired, but the former were ultimately regarded as ob- 
structions and accordingly demolished, the " big dam " a mile above Frank- 
lin being the last that was destroyed. Nothing remains of this once elabo- 
rate artificial system of navigation except the dam and outlet lock at Frank- 
lin, from which the power of the Venango mills is derived. It is doubtful 
whether the whole history of internal improvements in this country presents 
another instance in which the returns were so utterly disproportionate to the 
amount of capital invested. 

Oil creek hrst attained the dignity of a navigable stream as the first link 
in the system of water commvmication by which petroleum was shipped to 
Pittsburgh and other southern markets. In order to facilitate and acceler- 
ate shipments, the producers resorted to artiticial methods of increasing the 
volume of the current, known as pond freshets, which originated with lum- 
bermen and were here conducted in a more extensive and systematic inan- 
ner than ever before. A main dam was constructed across the creek a short 
distance below Titusville: the co-operation of mill owners on the various 
branches of Oil creek above that point was secured, and at an appointed 
time the water in their dams was discharged; when the volume of water col- 
lected at the main dam was deemed sufficient it was discharged into the 
creek, creating an artificial current of depth enough to float an oil barge over 
the rapids under skillful management. The expense incident to these prep- 
arations was distributed pro rata among the different shippers. Pond 
freshets were not discontinued until the construction of railroads introduced 
a different method of oil transportation. 


The slack-water navigation having proved a failure, authority was con- 
ferred upon the Franklin Canal Company by the legislature to construct 
a railroad from Franklin to Lake Erie and on the 5th of November, 1849, 
William Millar, engineer for the board of directors, began the work of locat- 
ing the line between Franklin and Meadville, in which he was assisted by 
C. H. Heydrick, of this county. Beginning at a point on the turnpike be- 
tween Elk street and the Allegheny bridge and crossing French creek, the 
line proposed crossed Sugar creek four and one- third miles from Franklin 


and two huadred and forty feet north of the tow-path bridge, passing the 
villages of Utica and Cochranton, with a total length of twenty-one miles, 
eleven hundred and twenty feet from the Allegheny bridge to the first lock 
at the outlet of the French creek feeder. It does not appear that the proj- 
ect ever passed beyond this stage. 

The charter of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad Company authorized the 
building of a line from Warren to Beaver, by way of Franklin, Mercer, and 
New Castle; this, or an extension of the line to connect with the New York 
and Erie railroad, was next regarded as the most practicable route for the 
construction of a road through Venango county. A public meeting was 
held at the court house in Franklin by the friends of the project on the 20th 
of February, 1851; and at an adjourned meeting on the 5th of March, at 
which Arnold Plumer presided, after addresses by Alfred B. McCalmont 
and James Ross Snowden, a number of citizens were appointed as delegates 
to a railroad convention to be held at Warren in the following summer. It 
was accordingly held on the 5th of -June; in the permanent organization the 
county was represented by E. C. Wilson, vice-president, and Myron Park, 
secretary. Action was taken favoral)le to the construction of a line from 
Pittsburgh to connect with the New York and Erie railroad, the length of 
which would be two hundred and fifteen miles. Althoiigh not productive 
of immediate results the agitation doubtless had its influence in determining 
future developments. 

The Venango Railroad was the first projected through this county that 
promised definite actualization. It had its inception in the year 1852, and 
was largely a local enterprise. The corporators were Arnold Plumer, A. P. 
Whitaker, E. C. Wilson, Robert Crawford, John Hoge, Thompson Graham, 
John Forker, Hugh Brawley, George Merriam, Alexander Powers, William 
McDiel, William F. Clark, and C. V. Kinnear, and the charter was granted 
by act of the legislature on the 30th of March, 1853. An organization was 
effected on the 25th of June with Arnold Plumer, president; J: Porter Braw- 
ley, John Hoge, Joel White, and Samuel F. Dale, directors. The roiite pro- 
posed was described as follows: "Beginning at or near the borough of 
Franklin in the county of Venango or at the mouth of Big Sugar creek; 
thence by the best and most practicable route so as to intersect the Sunbury 
and Erie railroad at any point they may think most advisable and from any 
point on the said railroad or route; thence by the best and most practicable 
route to the coal field near Sandy lake, Mercer county." The directors 
were also authorized to extend their road to any point on the Allegheny Val- 
ley railroad that might be deemed most advisable. The capital stock was 
fixed at three hundred thousand dollars, subject to increase by action of the 
board of directors. The terms of the charter in defining the route were ex- 
ceedingly vague; there was, in fact, but one point definitely located, the 
borough of Franklin or the mouth of Sugar creek, leaving the terminus in 


either direction entirely with the directory of the company. At first it 
seems to have been regarded as a merely local road, designed as a connect- 
ing link between the Sunbury and Erie and Allegheny Valley railroads; but 
as the extraordinary discretionary powers conferred upon the management 
became better understood, it was apparent that the projectors contemplated 
nothing less than a link in an inter-state line between the east and west, in 
which both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, whose interests were considered of 
paramount importance in all railroad legislation, were utterly ignored. This 
discovery produced a furore of indignation in those cities; and at the follow- 
ing session of the legislature a committee was requested to ascertain by what 
chicanery and fraud such a monstrous combination of ingeniously con- 
structed sentences had acquired the authority of law. No irregularities 
were discovered, however, and the legality of the charter placed the privi- 
leges it conferred beyond recall. 

In July, 1853, the location of the line was begun by two corps of engi- 
neers under the direction of a Mr. Appleton, of Boston. The route finally 
determined upon extended from Ridgway. Elk county, to Warren, Ohio, by 
way of Franklin, connecting at either termini with other roads and forming 
part of a through line from New York to Council BhxfFs, Iowa; Easton, 
Pennsylvania; Tiffin, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, were prominent 
points, and indicate the general course of the proposed line. At a meeting 
of presidents of the various affiliated lines at Fort Wayne in December, 

1855, Arnold Plumer presiding, a consolidation was definitely arranged 
under the name of the American Central Railway Company. 

The enterprise received enthusiastic local support. Public meetings 
were held throughout the county, and there was scarcely a community that 
was not represented by subscriptions to the stock. On the 29th of January, 

1856, at a meeting of citizens at the court house in Franklin, it was decided 
to seek authority from the legislature for a subscription in stock on the part 
of the county, but it does not appear that this design was executed. The 
first installment was paid to the treasurer of the company, and a contract 
for the construction of the entire line was let upon advantageous terms. The 
project seemed on a fair way to realization when certain questionable trans- 
actions in .Vermont in which the contractors had been interested were 
exposed, resulting in the withdrawal of the contract and ultimate collapse 
of the enterprise. 

The Neiv York, Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad had its inception in 
1852. Prominent citizens of Meadville had made ineffectual efforts to obtain 
a charter for a connecting line between the states of New York and Ohio 
through that city. Under the branching privileges of its charter the Pitts- 
burgh and Erie Railroad Company had authority to construct the proposed 
line, and in the summer of 1852 it was proposed to join interests, resulting 
in a survey of the line in the following autumn. Ground was broken south 


of Meadville on the east bank of French creek August 19, 1853. Work was 
suspended in 1854 and not resumed until 1857, when the franchise was 
vested in a new corporation, the Meadville Railroad Company. Negotia- 
tions were opened with European capitalists, by whom T. \\ . Keunard, a 
civil engineer, was sent out in- 1858 to report from personal observation. 
March 10, 1859, the name of the Meadville railroad was changed to the 
Atlantic and Great Western railroad of Pennsylvania, which was opened to 
Meadville October 22, 1862. The charter provided for an "Eastern Coal- 
field Branch and Extension," and a liberal construction of this clause 
enabled the management to project a line to the oil regions of Venano-o 
county, then just beginning to attract attention as the possible source of a 
large railroad traffic. 

It was evident that whatever town became the terminus of the line thus 
opened would acquire a great impetus in its business interests; and that the 
long deferred opportunity might not be allowed to pass or to be improved at the 
advantage of some other town, the people of Franklin deputed a committee 
to confer with Mr. Kennard, who had his headquarters at Meadville, and 
exercised a general supervision as representative of the English investors in 
the Atlantic and Great Western, and urge the feasibility of constructing a line 
to Franklin by the valley of French creek. This committee was composed 
of Arnold Plumer, Samuel F. Dale, C. Heydrick. and George H. Bissell. An 
arrangement was effected by which Mr. Kennard agreed to open the pro- 
posed line within six months upon condition- that the committee or their 
constituents would secure the right of way, executing a bond to indemnify 
the railroad company against all claims that might be presented on that ac- 
count, and also that a turnpike road should be constructed from Franklin to 
the mouth of Oil creek. The agreement was entered into; the right of way 
was promptly secured for about two-thirds of the distance without any con- 
siderable expenditure of money, and a general subscription was made in 
Franklin to reimburse the committee. The work of construction was also 
begun and pushed with vigor almost to completion, when the workmen were 
suddenly withdrawn and transferred to the Oil Creek railroad, of which the 
Atlantic and Great Western had become lessee, and which was secured with the 
evident purpose of controlling every available approach to the oil regions 
from the north and west. As a result of this the Franklin branch was not 
completed within the specified period, thus releasing Messrs Plumer, Dale, 
Heydrick, and Bissell from any obligation regarding the right of way not 
yet released, while at the same time it made them individually responsible 
for the money already paid out, as the people at large were not disposed to 
contribute anything for a railroad of which the completion had been delayed 
in flagrant violation of obligations assumed by its projectors. The work was 
at length resumed, however; May 30, 1863, the track was laid to Fi-anklin, 
and on the following Monday, June 1st, the road was formally opened by a 


special train carrying the directors and numerous prominent citizens of 
Meadville. It was extended to Oil City in March, 1866. The entire Atlan- 
tic and Great Western system was sold at judicial sale January 6, 1880, and 
reorganized as the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio railroad. In March, 
188;}, it was leased to the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway Com- 
pany for a period of ninety-nine years and has since been operated by that 

Western New York and Pennsylvania Lines. — The Oil Creek Railroad 
Company was chartered April 2, 1860, John W. Howe, Andrew L. Smith, 
W. C. Hunt, H. R. Rouse, and Thomas Struthers being among the incor- 
porators, for the construction of a road from Garland station on the Phila- 
delphia and Erie railroad to Titusville, Crawford county. Largely through 
the efforts of Thomas Struthers andW. S. Streator it was completed in 1862 
under the auspices of the Atlantic and Great Western. Miller Farm, Shaf- 
fer Farm, Boyd Farm, and Petroleum Center were successively the southern 
terminal point, the extension to the last named place having been made in 
1866. In 1865 a majority of the stock was purchased in the city of Erie by 
Dean Richmond and Thomas A. Scott, the former representing the New 
York Central and Lake Shore companies, the latter the Pennsylvania rail- 
road, and placed in the hands of Samuel J. Tilden of New York as trustee 
for the three corporations. 

A railroad was constructed from Pithole City to the mouth of Pithole 
creek in 1865-66 by the Clarion Land and Improvement Company. The 
work was begun in November, 1865, and pushed with energy. Location 
and construction went on simultaneously. Before the end of the first month 
more than six hundred laborers, many of whom had been brought a distance 
of a thousand miles, were at work. The engineering staff were busy day 
and night and their utmost exertions were required to keep ahead of the la- 
borers. It was important that a means of communication should be com- 
pleted between Pithole City and the river before the close of navigation in 
order that fuel, provisions, and other necessaries of life might be within 
reach of that populous bixt ill -provided community. The energies of the 
company were therefore concentrated upon that portion of the line between 
Pithole City and the river. Within ninety days from the commencement 
of the work it was completed a distance of six miles and a half; thirteen 
substantial pier bridges had been thrown across the creek, beside a large 
amount of trestle work; three miles of track had been laid, and a locomotive 
was moving thereon. When construction was begun between Oil City and 
Pithole creek it was immediately followed by interference on the part of the 
Warren and Franklin Railroad Company and on one occasion a collision be- 
tween the employes of the rival companies almost approached the propor- 
tions of a riot. A temporary compromise was effected, however, and the 
first through train from Pithole City to Oil City passed over the line March 
10, 1866. 


The Warren and Tidioute Railroad Company was incorporated April 
18, 18(51, nniiabering among its projectors Glonni W. Scotield, Orris Hall. 
S. P. Johnson, J. Y. James, \V. D. Brown, and Jacol) Henrici. The route 
proposed began at Tidionte and continued to an intersection with the Phila- 
delphia and Erie, with the privilege of extending to Franklin. INTarch 31, 
1864. a change of name was authorized, and on the 23rd of May, by a reso- 
lution of the directors, the name of Warren and Franklin was adopted. 
On the '25th of May, 1866, an injunction was granted by the supreme court 
restraining the Clarion Land and Impi-ovement Company" from operating 
that part of their line in the river valley; its entire property was purchased 
and during the same year a line was completed from Irvineton on the Phila- 
delphia and Erie to Oil City. An extension of the Pithole branch was 
partially constructed as far as Pleasantville, but with the decline of that oil 
district the line to Pithole City was abandoned and dismantled. 

The Farmers' Railroad Company of Venango County was incorporated 
April 10, 1862. Joshua Rhoads, William Bagaley, Sam. Q. Brown, Joua 
than Watson, Thomas Hoge, James S. Myers, S. P. McCalmout, John L. 
Mitchell, and P. H. Siverly were among those to whom the charter was 
granted. The contemplated line extended from the mouth of Oil creek by 
the course of that stream to the county line and by the Allegheny river to 
Franklin. There was a provision that no locomotive should be run without 
the consent of all the owners of oil wells within two hiindred feet of the 
track, but this clause was repealed August 10, 1864. The road was con- 
structed to Petroleum Center, the terminus of the Oil Creek railroad, in the 
summer of 1866,, and opened for travel on the 27th of August in that year. 

A consolidation of the Warren and Franklin, Oil Creek, and Farmers' 
railroads was formed in 1867-68 under the name of the Oil Creek and Al- 
legheny River Railway Company, and received legislative sanction April 3, 
1868. In 1876 the property was sold at judicial sale under a decree from 
the United States court and reorganized under the name of the Pittsburgh, 
Titusville and Buffalo railroad, connecting with the Crosscut railroad of 
New York. In 1881 the Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Western railroad was con- 
structed from Buffalo to Brocton, New York, also the Salamanca and Alle- 
gheny River railroad, from Salamanca to Irvineton, and the Genesee Val- 
ley Canal Company's railroad, from Rochester to Olean. The Olean and 
Salamanca railroad was built in 1882, when all these various lines were 
consolidated with the Pittsburgh, Titusville and Buffalo, which was merged 
into the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia Railway Company in the same 
year. The entire system was sold under foreclosure in 1887, and reorgan- 
ized under its present name, the Western New York and Pennsylvania 
Railway Company. 

A line from Stoneboro, Mercer county, to New Castle. Lawrence county, 
is also operated. The tracks of the Lake Shore were used between Stone- 


boro and Oil City until November, 1889, and the discontinuance of that 
arrangement will probably result in the construction of an independent 
line between those points. This is the latest railway jn-oject in the county. 

The Jamestoivn and Franklin Railroad, operated by the Lake Shore 
and Michigan Southern Kailway Company, enters the county at Eaymiltou, 
in Mineral township, follows the course of Sandy creek to Polk, where it 
crosses to French creek; that stream is crossed at its mouth by the finest 
railroad bridge in the county, and from that point the northern bank of the 
Allegheny river is followed to Oil City. The charter was granted April 5. 
1862. to William Gibson, John P. Vincent, George A. Bittenbender, AV. L. 
Scott, Henry C. Hickok, A. W. Raymond, and David Hadley, by whom the 
Jamestown and Franklin Railroad Company was organized at Sheakleyville 
with William Gibson, of Jamestown, president; A. W. Raymond, of Frank- 
lin, secretary; Thomas Hoge, James S. Myers, A. W. Raymond, S. A. Pot- 
ter, T. H. Fulton, and David Hadley, directors. Jamestown is a station on 
the Erie and Pittsburgh railroad, and it was with the design of providing a 
western outlet from the oil regions, as well as developing the intervening 
country, that the road was projected. It was completed for freight pur- 
poses as far as Stoneboro in 1865, and for passenger traffic the following 
year. The extension to Franklin was opened in the summer of 1867; the 
bridge over French creek was completed in January, 1870, and the tirst 
train entered Oil City over this line on the 24th of May, in that year. In 
August, 1872, a road was constructed from Jamestown to Ashtabula, con- 
necting with the main artery of the Lake Shore system. 

The Allegheny Valley Railroad Company was chartered April 4, 1837, 
as the Pittsburgh, Kittanning and Warren, and under its present name, 
April 14, 1852. Construction was begun March 17, 1853, when Mayor Riddle, 
of Pittsburgh, broke ground for the first time at the Allegheny arsenal. The 
line was opened to Kittanning, January 30, 1856; to Mahoning, May 12, 
1866; to Brady's Bend, June 27, 1867, and to Oil City, February 2, i870. 
It was opened to Franklin and Soutli Oil City in 1867, but the present 
terminal facilities at Oil City were not acquired until two years later. The 
distance fi-om Pittsburgh to Oil City is one hundred and thirty-two miles, of 
which about one- third is in this county. 

Several dismantled railroads remain to be noticed, beside the Pithole 
branch previously described. In 1867 a road was constructed from the 
mouth of Sage run on the Allegheny river immediately above South Oil 
City to the mines of a coal company situated three or four miles inland. It 
was operated several years. 

The Reno, Oil Creek and Pithole Railroad, projected from Reno to Pit- 
hole City, was completed and opened to Rouseville January 31, 1866. and 
extended through Plumer to a point one mile from Pithole City. It was 
never operated farther than Plumer, and was abandoned within a year after 
its completion to that place. 


The Emlenton and Shippenville Railroad, afterward known as the Emlen- 
ton, Shippenville and Clarion railroad, was constructed from Emlenton to 
Turkey City, a distance of seven miles, in the summer of 1870; it was extended 
to Edenburg in the autumn of that year, and to Clarion, thirty miles from 
Emlenton, in 1877. The original organization of the company occurred 
June 17, 1875, with James Bennett, president; J. W. Rowland, secretary, 
and R. W. Porterlield, treasurer. It was principally an Emlenton enter- 
prise, and had more of the character of a local railroad undertaking than any 
other of equal magnitude in the county. Financially it was a success, and 
reflected credit on the projectors. But another line, since consolidated with 
the Pittsburgh and Western, was contemplated from Foxburg through 
Clarion, and having been given an opportunity to dispose of their property 
advantageously, the owners allowed it to be absorbed by the rival company, 
by which that part of the line between Emlenton and Clarion Junction was 
shortly afterward dismantled. 

The Allegheny, Kennerdell and Clintonville Railroad was projected 
with the idea of constructing a line from Kennerdell station, on the Alle- 
gheny Valley, to some point on the Pittsburgh, Shenango and Lake Erie, 
by way of the valley of Scrubgrass creek, Kennerdell, and Clintonville, a dis- 
tance of eighteen or twenty miles, traversing the Bullion oil district and 
deriving its principal traffic from that region. A substantial bridge over the 
Allegheny river was constructed, and some two or three miles of road; the 
rolling stock was furnished by the Allegheny Valley, and thus equipped the 
road was operated about two years. Then, the Bullion district having had its 
day, the track was taken up and the bridge was changed into a wagon 
bridge. It was afterward carried away in a flood, so that nothing now 
remains of this road save the abandoned embankment. Richard Kennerdell 
was president of the company. Local capital was invested almost exclusively. 


A weekly mail route was established in 1801 between Pittsburgh and Erie 
by way of Butler, Franklin, Meadville, and Waterford. Within the next 
two years it had been reduced to a semi-monthly route, but the first schedule 
was again adopted soon afterward. Horseback was the mode of transporta- 
tion for some years; at first the pouch was carried on the same horse with 
the driver, but as the amount of mail increased a second horse became nec- 
essary. Robert Clark, of Clark's Ferry, established the first stage route 
over the Susquehanna and Waterford turnpike, presumably the first in the 
county, in 1820, the first coach arriving at Franklin in November of that 
year. The first stage line to Pittsburgh was established by Samuel F. Dale. 
Postal facilities have been improved with the successive introduction of the 
steamboat and the railroad, and at the present time thei'e is scarcely a ham- 
let in the county that does not have a daily mail. 


The first postoffice in the county was established at Franklin in 1801, 
and the commission of Alexander McDowell as first postmaster bears date 
January 1, 1801. Among his early successors were James G. Heron, com- 
missioned October 1, 1802, and John Broadfoot, commissioned March 31, 
1809. The earliest postoffices throughout the county were Big Bend, in 
Scrubgrass township; Rockland, Cranberry, Canal, Plum, Cherry Tree, and 
Ccrnplanter, in the respective townships of those names; Cooperstown, 
Pleasantville, Utica, Emlenton. Clintonville, and Dempseytown; Lamb's, in 
Allegheny township, Rynd's, in Cornplanter, and Plumer. 



FiK(>T Newspapers in Western Pe.\nsylvania — Journalism in Franklin 
—Emlenton Papers— The Press of Oil City — Papers at 
Pitiiole City, Pleasantville, Etc. 

THE first newspaper west of the Allegheny mountains was the Pittsburgh 
Gazette, established by John Scull July 29, 1786, two years before there 
was a postoffice at that place. Although he was an enterprising publisher 
and distributed his paper by special courier to the distant quarters of its 
extensive territory, it is not probable that the Gazette or its contemporaries at 
Pittsburgh during the score of years that followed circulated in Venango 
county to any extent. In the northwestern part of the state the earliest 
venture was the Crawford Weekly Messenger, established at Meadville in 
1805 by Thomas Atkinson. It was through this medium that sheriff" s sales 
and other legal notices from this county were first advertised. This was 
followed in 1808 by the Mirror at Erie, and in 1811 by the Western Press 
at Mercer; the former was started by George Wyeth, and enjoyed but a 
brief existence; the latter, founded by Jacob Herrington, is still continued 
and is one of the leading newspapers of that county. 

journalism in franklin. 
The Venango Herald was the first newspaper published in the county. 



Tlie twenty-second number of the tirst volume appeared February 21, 
1821, so that if the paper was published regularly it was tirst issued in 
September, 1820. A description of its appearance at a somewhat later 
date states that the sheet was a three-column (juarto, each column lifteen 
inches long and three inches wide, with a liberal margin; the type was 
large but not clear, which is perhaps attributable to the quality of the 
paper rather than a lack of skill on the part of the printer. The subscrip- 
tion price was two dollars per year, "invariably in advalice," but it is 
problematical whether this rule was rigidly enforced. The office of publica- 
tion was a diminutive log building at the site of the Plumer block, corner 
of Twelfth and Liberty streets. 

John Evans, by whom the Herald was established, was born in Wash- 
ington county, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1798, son of Evan and Frances 
(Colvin) Evans; his parents removed to Crawford county, where they were 
among the pioneers of Meadville, and there he was brought up, receiving a 
very limited education. At an early age he was apprenticed to learn the 
trade of printer, probably to the proprietor of a small paper published in 
opposition to the Messenger from 1809 to 1811; at all events when the ma- 
terials of that office were removed to Mercer in 1811 by Jacob Herringtonhe 
accompanied him and completed his apprenticeship upon the Western Press. 
When his term of service had expired he set out with a brother apprentice, 
Robert Burchfield, upon a tramp as journeyman printer, but both returned 
after a brief absence. Evans assumed charge of the mechanical depart- 
ment of the Press office and remained in that position till 1820. Among 
those who received their instruction from him was W. S. Garvin, afterward 
its editor for many years. It cannot be definitely stated how long Mr. Evans 
was connected with the Herald, but he entered public life after a brief res- 
idence in Franklin, and continued to reside there until his death. He was 
commissioned postmaster of Franklin, January 12, 1822, continuing in 
that office until 1831. He served as coimty treasurer in 1826 and as sheriff 
from 1838 to 1841. In 1839 he was commissioned colonel of militia by 
Governor Porter. In 1825 he engaged in the hotel business at the site of 
Martin & Epley's drug store on Liberty street and also conducted a well- 
known hostelry at the site of the Exchange hotel. He married Ptachel 
Hemphill, daughter of William Connely, February 16, 1822, and reared 
twelve children. He was well known throughout the county, and took an 
active part in politics. His death occurred November 30, 1871. 

The Venango Democrat was the second journalistic venture. The date 
of the thirty-sixth number of Volume I was November 2, 1824, and if 
issued regularly the initial appearance . occurred in March previously. 
George McClelland & Company were the publishers; the senior member 
of the firm was county treasurer at that time, and probably found his paper 
a convenient medium for the advertising connected with that office; the 


junior member was John Little, to whom the mechanical department and 
general management were intrusted. Although the Herald was also Demo- 
cratic, the Democrat seems to have been recognized as the party organ in 
this county; it was continued u.nder that name, and finally merged into the 
Spectator in 1849. 

The Democratic Republican, notwithstanding its ambiguous title, was 
the organ of the opposition, the first in this county. The following is a 
description of "thfe issue of February 6, 1830: "The Republican is about 
two inches larger each way than the Herald, and printed on paper some- 
what lighter in color, but not at all white. The texture is coarser than that 
of the cheapest wall paper now made. The Republican also calls itself 
the Anti-Masonic Examiner. There is not a line of editorial in the number, 
and nothing to indicate its j^olitics but its title of ' Anti-Masonic ' and a 
call for a meeting to elect delegates to the approaching Anti -Masonic state 
convention. The publishers were Little and Tucker." In the twelfth 
number of Volume II, under date of February 15, 1831, "Farmers' and 
Mechanics' Register" is substituted for "Anti-Masonic Examiner " in the 
caption. The paper was started in the autumn of 1829. 

No complete file of any of these early newspapers is extant, and even 
single copies are rare. Their subsequent history is therefore involved in 
obscurity. Alexander McCalmont, brother-in-law to Evans, became finan- 
cially interested in the Herald in 1822; it is said that John Little was also 
associated with Evans at one time, but this cannot l)e positively stated. 
William Connely, Jr. , also a brother-in-law to Evans, learned the printing 
trade under him and seems to have published the paper, or at least con- 
ducted it, immediately prior to its final suspension. He was a young man 
of versatile accomplishments, but found life in the quiet country town irk- 
some and left to embark on a whaling voyage. Subsequently he published 
a paper at Cape Colony, South Africa, and was residing there at the time 
of his death. 

John Little, who has been mentioned in connection with the Democrat 
and Republican, also had a slightly erratic career. Newspajier work at 
such a place as Franklin in those days was not of a character to satisfy 
either the literary aml)itions or the pecuniary requirements of an aspiring 
young man; and so, with the evident purpose of seeking a more apprecia- 
tive constituency. Little quietly took his departure, leaving his paper, 
with all the assets, liabilities, and hereditaments appertaining thereto. It 
was no uncommon thing for an issue to be delayed or omitted, but when 
neither the paper nor the ])rinter put in an aj^j^earance public attention was 
aroused and inquiry developed the fact that Little had taken a walk down 
to the river, hailed a passing raft, and taken passage for parts unknown, 
even to himself in all probability, without the formalities editors usually ob- 
serve on such occasions. He was next heard from at Butler, where he was 


connected with different papers, and died at Pittshurirh, one of the oldest 
printers in the state at the time of his death. Amontf his apprentices here 
was John Coxsou, the painter, afterward a Methodist preacher at Pimxsu- 

The Democrat, although marked by greater permanency than its con- 
temporaries, experienced, frequent changes in ownership and manacrement. 
It was not issued, with any degree of regularity until 1828, when a new 
series was begun. About that time it was acquired by John Galbraith aad 
published in his interest by different persons, eventually absorbing the 
Herald and reaching a condition of comparative prosperity. Mr. Galbraith 
was born at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, in 1794, and reared on a farm near 
Butler, when he learned the trade of printer in the same office with James 
Thompson, afterward chief justice. He was admitted to the bar at about 
the age of twenty-four, and early in 1819 removed to Franklin, where he 
rose rapidly in his profession and in popular esteem. He was elected to 
the legislature in 1828 and thrice re-elected; in 1882, 1834, and 1838 he 
was elected to congress. He removed to Erie in 1837, and practiced law 
until 1851, when he was elected president judge, and was acting in that 
capacity at the time of his death, June 15, 1860. 

Among those who published the Democrat in the interest of Mr. Gal- 
braith were Sylvester W. Randall, John Warden Hunter, and Jonathan 
Ayres. Randall lived near the outlet lock, and boarded the apprentices in 
his office, among whom were John S. McCalmoiTt, of Washington city, 
afterward president judge of this county, and William A. Galbraith, after 
ward president judge of Erie county. Hunter was a young man from 
Mercer county; he succeeded Randall in 1835 and was followed in 1836 by 
Ayres, a connection of Galbraith' s from Butler, who afterward practiced 
law at Franklin a short time and then removed to New Castle. Randall 
was also a lawyer, and located at Joliet, Illinois, after relinquishing the 
printing business. There he rose rapidly in his profession and became 

In view of the contemplated removal of Galbraith from Franklin, a 
number of leading Democrats, prominent among whom was Doctor George 
R. Espy, consummated the purchase of the paper in the summer of 1836. 

The next change of proprietorship introduces an interesting personality 
upon the field of local journalism — John W. Shugert. The manner in 
which he was induced to come here, and the circumstances under which his 
work was done for several years, are thus described in his own words: " In 
the fall of 1836 I met Doctor George R. Espy in Harrisburg, who gave me 
the most flattering accounts respecting the prospects for a printer in Ve- 
nango county, and was strongly solicited by him to abandon a situation I 
then had engaged in one of the northeastern counties, and remove to this 
place [Franklin]. He informed me that himself and some others had pur- 


chased the Venango Democrat from Mr. Galbraitb, and that I should have 
it for the same amount that they had paid for it, and my own time to do it 
in. With these assurances I came to FrankHn and agreed to take the old 
establishment of the Democrat at four hundred and fifty dollars (it was not 
worth fifty). I then returned to Lewistown, at which place I had prev- 
iously resided, and brought from thence my printing apparatus. The old 
press was thrown into the street and permitted to rot down. With the new 
one I proceeded to publish the Venaago Democrat four years through oppo- 
sition of the fiercest kind from the enemies of the Democratic party, and 
encountered difficulties in a pecuniary way which none but those who are 
determined to succeed in defiance of every obstacle can withstand." 

Upon his election as sheriff in 1841 Shugert leased the Democrat to 
John E. Lapsley, who afterward purchased an interest. His death on the 
15th of January, 1842. left the ownership of the paper in dispute, Shugert 
claiming that the terms of the purchase had not been complied with, and 
that he was still the rightful possessor of the establishment. John Haslet, 
as administrator, had become the publisher, however; he continued the 
paper until June. 1845, when it was sold to certain leading Democrats, Ar- 
nold Plumer and Doctor George W. Connely being most largely interested. 

The Democratic Arch, of which the first number was issued July 11, 
1842. by James Bleakley and John W. Shugert, became at once the organ 
of Doctor Espy's political opponents and of the personal animosity of Shu- 
gert toward the publisher of the Democrat and his supporters. The Arch 
was a six-column folio, not burdened with local news, but read with an avid- 
ity and interest that only an editor with the ability, aggressiveness, and sar- 
casm of John W. Shugert could have created. Its platform seems to have 
embraced but two propositions — national and state supremacy for the Demo- 
cratic party, and the utter annihilation of the opposing faction of that party 
in Venano-o county. Column after column was devoted to the most merci- 
less polemics journalism in this county or in this part of the state has ever 
known. Bleakley retired in 1843 or 1844; the paper was continued by 
Shugert individually until 1846, when it was acquired by Doctor George W. 
Connely, Morrow" B. Lowry, and others. The Democrat was absorbed and 
Georo-e F. Humes became editor and publisher. He was a well known char- 
acter, popular with a certain class of people, but not calculated to restore 
the Democratic party organ to that respect and influence it had previously 
enjoyed. After leaving this place Mr. Humes went to Harrisburg. He 
died in Indiana. 

John W. Shugert was born near Muncy, Pennsylvania, February 14, 
1804. His educational advantages were exceedingly limited and at an early 
age he was apprenticed to learn the trade of printer. While engaged in 
the printing business at Lewistown, Pennsylvania, he became interested in 
the authorship and publication of the "Narrative of Charley Ball, a Black 


Man,"' a noted anti-slavery book which created ahnost as much interest as 
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" at a later date. It was from Lowistown that he came 
to Franklin, and at the latter place the journalistic and political work of his 
life was principally done. He was elected sheriff of the county in 1841 : in 
184(3 he went to Uniontown, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and becajne 
editor of the Genius of Liberty, one of the oldest papers in that part of the 
state. During the Mexican war he was commissary to a Pennsylvania regi- 
ment and at its close returned to Venango county, from which he was 
elected to the legislature in 1851 and 1852. For a time he was associated 
with R. L. Cochran in the publication of the Spectator, from which he re- 
tired in December, 1854, to accept a position in the office of the commis- 
sioner of patents at Washington, continuing in the government service with 
the exception of a brief period during Lincoln's first term until his death, 
April 23, 1871. In many respects he was a typical editor of the period in 
which his first connection with the press of this county began. A man of 
strong personality, utterly destitute of physical fear, keen of perception and 
safe in intuition, he plunged into political or personal controversy with an 
ardor, courage, and relentlessness unrestrained by any considerations of fu- 
ture consequences. Skillful in the use of epithet and innuendo and a man 
of vast vituperative resources, his denunciations of men or measures were 
characterized by a satire and sarcasm to which few opponents were able to 
reply. As a writer his style was concise, clear, and incisive. Although a 
man of strong antagonisms and keen in his resentaients when pitted against 
power, he was equally strong in friendship and unswerving in adherence to 
the party he supported. In politics he was a trusted lieutenant of the 
Cameron, interest, and in his case Cameron sustained his reputation of never 
repudiating an early friend. At the time of his death his liberality and 
charity had outlived his resentments by many years, and late in life he united 
with the Methodist church. 

The Venango Spectator is the direct successor of the various Democratic 
newspapers previously published from the time of the HeralcV s first appear- 
ance, and during a period of more than forty years has been the only organ 
of that party at the county seat. The founder and present proprietor, A. P. 
Whitaker, is a native of Troy, New York. He was educated at Marion Col 
lege, Missouri, and came to this county in 1838 to take a business position 
with A. W. Raymond, who was then extensively engaged in merchandising 
and in manufacturing iron. His initiative in journalism was an experience 
of two years, 1842-44, as publisher of the Meadville Democratic Republican 
in partnership with Samuel W. Magill. Having purchased from Doctor 
Connely and others the materials of the Democratic Arch he established the 
Spectator, of which the first number was issued January 10, 1849. James 
Bleakley became associated in the publication January 30, 1851 ; his interest 
was acquired by R. L. Cochran January 1, 1853, who, on the 1st of Decern- 


ber in that year became owner and continued the publication until May 16, 
1800, John W. Shugert being connected as editor for a brief space during 
this time. Mr. Whitaker, with C. C. Cochran as partner, resumed his former 
position May 16, 1800, and by the retirement of Mr. Cochran February 20, 
18<)0, became individual proprietor. June 29, 1864. R. L. and C. C. Coch- 
ran became the publishers; the latter again retired November 7, 1865, and 
on the 20th of April, 1806, E. L. Cochran sold the paper to A. P. and J. H. 
Whitaker. October 28, 1870, J. H. Whitaker became individual owner by 
the withdrawal of his father, but the latter again became connected with the 
publication in his former capacity as editor August 24, 1876, and on the 13th 
of October in the following year assumed the sole proprietorship; he has 
continued the publication from that date. The Spectator has been frequently 
increased in size and is now a large eight column folio. Since its first in- 
ception it has been a pronounced exponent and defender of Democratic 
principles and enjoys to an exceptional degree the confidence of the party. 
Mr. Whitaker is an editor of recognized ability, and in point of service is the 
senior member of his profession in this part of the state. His style is char- 
acterized by strength, terseness, and perspicuity ; the Spectator has usually 
sustained well its position in political or other matters of controversy. 

The Franklin Intelligencer, the first successful organ of the opposition 
at the time when the dominant party in the county was the Democratic, 
was established in July, 1834, by J. P. Cochran, a connection of the Coch- 
rane of Cochranton. He was an able editor and successfully conducted his 
paper in a community overwhelmingly of the opposite party until 1842, 
when he relinquished an unequal struggle that promised neither fame nor 
fortune to acquire a half interest in the Erie Gazette. The Intelligencer 
was regarded as a reliable journal and fair exponent of the principles of 
the Whig party. 

The Franklin Gazette was the next Whig paper, and 1843 was probably 
the year in which it was started— immediately after J. P. Cochran left for 
Erie. A number of Whigs, prominent among whom were Richard Irwin 
and John W. Howe, furnished the necessary capital, while John W. Snow 
was the editor and publisher. The issue of July 15, 1846, the eleventh 
number of Volume III, is a six column folio, apparently well printed and 
edited for those days. The paper suspended not long afterward. Snow 
removed to the West and subsequently published a paper in Illinois. 

The Advocate and Journal (Temperance Advocate and Agricultural Jouf- 
nal) was published from 1847 to 1854 by E. S. Durban. Although devoted 
mainly to the topics indicated in the title, the editor was an ardent Whig 
and occasionally expressed his views upon political questions. A personal 
letter from Mr. Durban gives the following interesting particulars regard- 
ino- the manner in which the ''art preservative " was acquired in those days 
and the difficulties under which his paper was established: 



I learned the |)rintiiig trade in the office of the Detnocrdtic Union and Zanesville 
AdTertizev, at Zanesville, Ohio, bei^-innini;; in the spring of 1835. My age then was 
thirteen j'ears. I was regularly apprenticed for five years, and received for my serv- 
ices four dollars per month, without board. My employer sold out before my time 
expired and I finished with Hiram Robinson, who had been a "jour" in the office and 
had started the Muskingum Valley at McConnellsville, between Zanesville and Mar- 
ietta on the Muskingum river. I afterward worked as a journeyman printer at various 
places, of which xtiy most distinct recollection is Lancaster, Zanesville, Cincinnati, 
Coshocton, and Marietta, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York. While at the latter place an 
application came from John W. Shugert, who was then sheriff of Venango county and 
owner of the Democratie Arch, for a printer capable of taking charge of tlie mechan- 
ical department of the paper and doing some editorial work. I responded and took 
the position, which I held for a considerable time. A consolidation of two Demo- 
cratic papers threw me out for a while; but afterward I did some work for Jolin lias- 
let and George F. Humes. I was working for Haslet when I man led Miss Amelia 
T. Dodd, oldest daughter of Levi Dodd, now deceased. Afterward Humes got the 
office, and as he could not afford to pay the enormous sum of six dollars a week, I was 
out of work again, poor and very much discouraged. Finally I determined to start a 
paper on my own account. But how to do it? I believed in hard work and persever- 
ance. So I laid in enough provisions to last my little family a week, and started on a 
Monday morning without a cent in my pocket on foot to canvass the county for sub- 
scribers, so that I should have enough prospect to warrant somebody who believed in 
me in lending me enough money to make some kind of a start. It was a hard winter 
and I tramped the county through snow and mud the entire season, coming home ver}^ 
tired Saturday evenings — on one occasion so fatigued that the only way I could get 
into my own door was to lift one foot on the step with both hands and then get the 
other up by taking hold of both sides of the door frame. In this way I put in the 

In the spring I had,. by hard work, secured about three hundred subscribers, none 
of whom paid in advance, so that I still had no money. The next thing was to secure 
means to buy something with. I had spoken of that to some during the winter. One 
very particular friend had said: " O, you go ahead; a man who works as hard as you 
do will find plenty of friends to furnish funds. 1 have money! " I knew he had, and 
was much encouraged by his words. Another friend, who was not a moneyed man, 
but a true friend, when I spoke to him about the probability of borrowing money, 
said: "Well, Durban, I have been thinking of that and saving what I could; I have 
twenty dollars, and I wish it were five hundred. But you are welcome to it." This 
was entirely unexpected, and the exhibition of genuine friendship affected me deeply. 
Another came to me, unsolicited, with eleven dollars, all he had. Then there were 
fifty dollars in the hands of some one as academy funds which they wished to loan. 
Doctor N. D. Snowden went security for that and I got it. Some other small sums 
were secured, and still my liberal friend, who had so kindly informed me that he "had 
money," had not been called on; I was saving him for a grand dash on the home 
stretch. At last I went to him and was blandly informed that all he could possibly 
do was to lend me five dollars in county warrants (then worth about seventy-five cents 
on the dollar), and take a judgment note for five dollars with interest. 

I secured one hundred and six dollars, all told, and all borrowed. I did not con- 
sider it my money, to pay expenses with, so I made an arrangement with steamboat 
captain Hanna to take me to Pittsburgh and back, and I would pay for it in advertis- 
ing.his boat after the paper started. In Pittsburgh I bought some second-hand type 
and rules and a small font of wood type for a head for the paper. 

After returning I offered a stock company, who owned the plant of the Gazette, to 
take care of their type if they would let me use tlie press. They accepted; I luid the 



use of a double-pull wooden Ramage press with a stone bed, and started up. My office 
force, tj'pe-setters, pressman, and editorial staff, consisted of one small boy and myself. 
I worked eighteen hours a day, and did editorial du-ty at the case, setting up my edi- 
torials without writing. 

Finding the labor of working the old screw press very hard and slow, I got my 
father-in-law to make a wooden platen, full size, to take off half the work. It did 
reasonably well while warm weather lasted; but when winter came it was almost 
impossible to make a good impression, and many numbers were sent out thfit could 
not be read at all. 

This was disastrous. When April came again everybody who came in to pay 
ordered the paper stopped. At last a week came when nearly every one who came in 
was a subscriber who wanted to pay up and stop. More than one hundred stopped 
that week and there were less than one hundred names left on the list. Saturday night 
I locked the door and felt a relief in the fact that one day intervened before any more 
could get away. I told no one, not even my wife, of the calamity. I went to cliurch 
the next day but didn't hear the sermon. Knowing I was broken up, I debated with 
myself whether to try to go on or not. About the time the doxology was sung I had 
determined to " die game." At the rate they had been going, there were not enough 
to last one week; but till they were all gone I would be there. I went to the office as 
usual before six o'clock Monday morning, looking as cheerful as I could. About nine 
I sat down to the table, and soon heard a step coming toward the door. I listened, 
and sure enough the latch clicked, and some one came in. I did not look round, but 
said: "Well sir, what's your name?" He told me. " What postofflce?" He told me. 
I looked. " Why sir, there is no such name on my list at that office! " '• I know it," 
said the man, " I have called to have it put on." 

This was a new sensation. I looked at the man. He seemed to be sane, so I put 
his name on and actually took his money. The weather was warmer and the paper 
had become readable. That week not a man discontinued and thirteen new names 
were added to the list by voluntary subscription. The calamity had culminated. In 
fact, it was not a calamity. People in those days never paid cash for their papers 
unless they wanted to "stop." I had charged every man two dollars, because it was 
not paid in advance. The result was that I had money enough to buy a first class 
iron hand press, which I did, changing defeat into victory. I also bought more 
second-hand type and enlarged the paper. From that time on the Advocate and Jour- 
nal prospered. 

In 1855 the paper was sold by Mr. Durban, who pnrchased the A»(f'r/can 
Farmer at New Castle, Pennsylvania, and founded the New Castle Courant 
in the following year. It is still controled by him and is a stanch Repub- 
lican organ, one of the most influential county papers in western Pennsyl- 

The Whig Banner, after a spasmodic existence of six months, was i^sued 
for the last time February 16, 1853. The publisher was R. Lyle White, who 
afterward established papers at Conneautville and Meadville. He is best re- 
membered in connection with journalism in this part of the state as the 
founder of the Meadville Republican. The Banner is represented as hav- 
ino- been more modern in appearance than any of its predecessors at Frank- 

The American Citizen was established in February, 1855, and has been 
in this county the recognized newspaper of the Republican party since its 


organization. The projector was Charles Pitt Ramsdell, originally from 
Chautauqua county, New York, who came to this county in 1845 and en- 
gaged in teaching school in Rockland township, where the postoffice of Pitls- 
ville is named in his honor. He was elected to the legislature in 185iS and 
retired from the Citizen in 1859, removing to the state of Delaware in 1804. 
Five years later he purchased a plantation in Virginia, between Peterslmro- 
and llichmond, and became prominently connected with the Republican 
j)arty in the " Old Dominion.-" He was appointed United States marshal for 
the eastern district of that state by President Grant and was the incumbent 
of that position until removed by the Cleveland administration. He was 
nominated for lieutenant governor with Cameron, but experienced defeat in 
common with the other parties to the Republican state ticket, and several 
years later died from injuries inflicted by an infuriated bull on his planta- 
tion. He was a man of fine qualifications for political organization and 
wielded a large influence in the Republican party in this county during its 
formative period. His brother, Hiram ,T. Ramsdell, was a practical printer 
and possessed considerable talent as a journalist. His signature, " H. J. R. ,' ' 
was long familiar to the readers of the New York Tribune. His commis- 
sion as recorder of deeds for the district of Columbia was the last signed 
by President Garfield on the fatal morning of his assassination. He had 
charge of the mechanical department of the paper for a time. 

The Citizen was purchased in 1859 by William Burgwin and Floyd C. 
Ramsdell; the latter sold his interest to J. H. Siiaith in 1861, and in 1864 
the paper was acquired by N. B. Smiley, by whom the name was changed 
to Venango Citizen. Alexander McDowell accjuired an interest in the prop- 
erty in 1865; N. B. Smiley retired in 1867, and on the 1st of January, 
1869, J. W. H. Reisinger became individual owner. He was succeeded on 
the 1st of April, 1870, by E. W. Smiley, who associated with him H. S. 
and F. D. Smiley, and has continued the publication until the present time. 
On the 1st of January, 1884, the Independent Press was consolidated with 
the Citizen, and from that date it has been issued under the name of the 
Citizen- Press. It is a six-column quarto and has a large circulation. 

The Independent Press, founded in January, 1876, was at that time the 
only Prohibition party paper in the state, and is the only organ of that party 
that has ever been published in this county. It was established by S. P. 
McCalmont and successively edited during the period of his ownership by J. 
R. Patterson, Miss Sue Beatty, and W. H. Whitaker. It circulated extensively 
in all the northwestern counties of the state and to its influence the growth 
of a strong sentiment in this region favorable to Prohibition is largely attrib- 
uted. Mr. McCalmont was the principal contributor to the editorial columns 
while the Press remained a Prohibition paper; but in 1878, failing health 
obliged him to relinquish the project, and the paper was transferred to the 
Independent Press Association, Limited, of which W. R. Crawford was chair- 


man, B. W. Bretlin, secretary, and E. W. Echols, treasurer. Under the new 
regime the editors were J. J. McClaurin and H. May Irwin. The paper be- 
came Rejjublican in politics, and was continued under the avispices of this 
association until merged into the Citizen-Press in 1884. 

The Franklin Herald, a Greenback organ, printed at Corry, under the 
editorial management of Frank S. Heath and W. A. Moore, with S. E. 
Phipps as local manager, made its final appearance on Thursday, January 
13, 1881, after an existence of several months. 

Pencil and Shears, a six-column quarto, published by the Pencil and 
Shears Printing and Publishing Company, is the latest journalistic venture. 
The first numljer appeared September 14, 1889. 

The Daily Citizen, the pioneer daily of the county, expired on Tues- 
day, December 31, 1862, after a brief career of ten days. 

The Evening News was issued for the first time on the 18th of February, 
1878, by James B. Borland. It was then a two-column folio about the size 
of an ordinary hand- bill and was regarded as a merely amateur effort. Evi- 
dences of permanency early developed, however; James B. Muse, now of the 
Vindicator, Tionesta, became associated in the publication, retiring in 1880 
in favor of H. May Irwin, who disposed of his interest in 1887, but is still 
retained on the editorial staff'. The News has been several times enlarged 
and reached the proportions of a six- column folio, its present size, in the 
summer of 1880. It was a one cent paper until October 17, 1887, when the 
price became two cents. The circulation is practically coextensive with the 
local field, while public enterprise is manifested in a liberal advertising 
patronage. It is independent in politics, energetic in the advocacy of local 
improvement, replete with home news, clean, readable, humorous, and pop- 

Every Evening was published from July 9, 1878, to March 1, 1879. 
Frank W. Truesdell, now publisher of the Tiius\il\e Sunday World; E. E. 
Barackman, and A. G. McElhaney were the projectors. A two-thirds 
interest was acquired, September 1, 1878, by W. H. Whitaker, Truesdell 
and Barackman retiring, and under his management the paper attained a 
fair degree of prosperity. 

The Morning Star was published several months in the year 1880 by H. 
B. Kantner, and enjoys whatever distinction attaches to the fact of having 
been the only morning paper ever published in Franklin. 

The Penny Press was published by Samuel P. Brigham from the spring 
of 1886 to the summer of 1887. It advocated the principles of the Green- 
back party. 

There are few points of resemblance in the newspaper of to-day and 
its prototype of fifty or sixty years ago. Early numbers of the Democrat 
and Herald are small in size and unattractive in appearance; the texture of 
the paper is coarse and its color could scarcely be considered white. 


Mechanical apparatus for printing did not permit the typographical excel- 
lence since attained; the screw-press was still in use and the Kamage press 
with its toggle-joint was regarded as a great improvement. The editor 
usually combined the functions of that position with work at the case; he 
was of necessity a practical printer, sometimes a journeyman who had 
reached the town depleted in purse and thankful for the opportunity to 
recuperate. He brought with him a fund of anecdotes acquired at offices 
visited in the course of his pilgrimage, and a certain facility of association 
that rendered his popularity almost assured. Sometimes he was convivial 
in his habits, but this did not detract materially from his standing in the 
community, and was almost regarded as a social virtue. He was not ex- 
pected to get rich. At intervals of three months he was paid by the county 
commissioners for advertising election notices, tax sales, etc., and this 
enabled him to order paper until similarly renumerated at the expiration of 
a corresponding period. It was from this source, in fact, that the " sinews 
of war" were principally derived, which accounts for the difficulties en- 
countered by the opposition paper in sustaining an existence. Receipts 
from subscription were exceedingly vague and indefinite. The circulat- 
ing medium was scarce and payment was frequently made in farm or garden 
produce. Business advertising was limited to the more enterprising of the 
few local stores, the county printing alluded to, and the perennial patent 
medicine notice. Professional cards generally appeared from all the 
doctors and lawyers in the county. The newspaper, regarded as a mechan- 
ical product, its financial administration, and the personnel of the editorial 
profession have greatly changed. 

It was not unusual for the paper to be issued irregularly. Various causes 
were assigned in explanation — failure to receive a consignment of paper, in- 
sufficient office help, etc., Occasionally the editor took a vacation or relin- 
guished his duties to seek a more congenial field. An instance of this kind 
occurred in May, 1839, when John W. Shugert transferred the publication 
of the Democrat to Doctor Connely and went to Pittsburgh with the idea of 
improving his fortunes. The first side of the paper was printed and dated 
May 7th and the inside May 21st, after his return, the temporary publisher 
having been unable to procure compositors. The following characteristic 
note appeared in explanation of his return: 

I have just happily escaped from the smoke, dust, and aristocracy of the city and 
now resume the publication of the Venango Democrat. I discovered (not quite soon 
enough, by the by), that Venango county, with its pure air, pure streams, and pure 
principles was best adapted to the constitution of my mind and habits. * * " 
I never could abide this thing of being hemmed and jammed in— nor of being smoked 
to death— nor of having one's mouth and nose filled with coal dust— those fond of such 
amusement are welcome to its enjoyment. I shall make Venango my abiding place- 
here I have my full complement of elbow room, and, what is better, here potatoes thrive 
and Democracy flourisheth. I am at home again. John W. Siiugert. 


The newspaper has changed in the character of its contents no less than 
in its appearance. There was practically no local matter in the Democrat 
or Intelligencer of lifty years ago, the body of the paper consisting of legis- 
lative and congressional rejDorts, reprints of speeches by prominent public men, 
editorial discussions of constitutional questions, original and selected, and 
foj-eign news obtained from metropolitan exchanges, usually printed a month 
after their occurrence. When public meetings were held their proceedings 
were reported for publication by the secretaries and not by a rej^resentative 
of the newspaper. Local happenings were almost absolutely ignored. Con- 
troversy afforded the only criterion of editorial efficiency, it was the editor 
who was most accomplished in the use of sarcasm and invective, whose eru- 
dition enabled him to marshal history and poetry, science and fiction, Latin 
phrases and English polysyllables, in defense of his position, who was re- 
garded with most favor in popular estimation. And hence the motive that 
inspired the editorial utterances of the press in this county at an early date 
seems to have been a blending of hatred, prejudice, and personal animosity, 
attributable largely to the general feeling that existed between the great pol- 
itical parties of the country. There was, however, one point lapon which 
there was practical unanimity — the canal question; and even in this case it 
was only a transfer of vituperation and condemnation to the state administra- 
tion rather than a cessation of hostilities between the local editors. Whether 
Whig or Democratic, no' paper j^ublished in this county while the French Creek 
canal was a subject of discussion took any other ground than that the state 
had violated an important, public trust in its abandonment of that work. 

Through all this period of controversy nothing is more noticeable than 
the utter absence of anything even remotely humorous. Perhaps the first 
scintilla of pleasantry occurs in an advertisement of the sale of Van Buren 
furnace by John W. Howe. Beginning with the alliteration, "Van, Van, 
Van, is a used up man," from a campaign song then popular, the author 
proceeded to expatiate upon the advantages of the furnace tract, enumer- 
ating the huckleberry bush among its varieties of timber and the rattle- 
snake among its productions; after stating the quantity of land, he added 
that there was considerably more, as much of it stood edgewise; and closed 
with the request that persons wishing further information should call on his 
agent, who would use all reasonable diligence to drive a sharp bargain. 
The humorous features of the county press are among its most attractive, 
and have given to several of its journals a wide reputation; the prominence 
given to this at present affords a wide contrast with the paper in which it 
was necessary to search the advertising columns for something amusing. 

A 'local department first appeared in the Spectator December 18, 186L 
In the great interest centered upon the progress of pretroleum develop- 
ments the dissemination of local news became from that date an important 
function of the county press, and in this respect its newspapers rank with 
the best in the state. 

THE PllESS. 257 


Peter O. Conver, the pioneer journalist of Emlenton, came to Franklin in 
1849 and served an apprenticeship in the office of the Advocate and Journal. 
Three years later he went to Kansas, and bein^ an ardent and enthusiastic 
Anti Slavery advocate, readily secured the means necessary to establish a 
paper in the support of the principles of that party at Topeka. At that 
time the state was in the first stages of a political agitation which it was 
not the part of a man with Conver' s temperament to allay. Within a short 
time he was compelled to suspend; and after making several ventures with 
no better success at various other points in the territory he returned to 
Venango county. In the active, growing village of Emlenton, almost equi- 
distant from the seats of justice of four counties, he saw a favorable open- 
ino- for journalistic enterprise. Having received a sufficient amount of local 
encouragement he secured the materials for an office, and in October, 1858, 
published the first number of the Allegheny Valley Echo. Though small 
in size the typographical appearance was creditable and the local advertis- 
ing patronage large. Occasionally a week would pass by without any issue, 
which was usually explained by the sudden disappearance of the "jour." 
the non- arrival of paper, or some other unexpected mishap. But the editor 
was known to be convivial in his habits, which may perhaps have accounted 
in part for such irregularities. The editorial and local columns were some- 
times graced by witticisms of rare sparkle and originality, in which, how- 
ever, the ordinary requirements of propriety were not always rigidly ob- 
served. The paper had entered upon its third volume and was giving prom- 
ise of permanency when the civil war broke out, and Conver promptly en- 
listed in the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, serving through the war. In 
1867 he established the Forest Press at Tionesta, of which he was owner and 
editor at the time of his death, March 11), 1878. 

R. F. Blair purchased the Echo in 1861. In 1863 the materials were 
secured by J. W. Smullin and removed to Oil City. 

The Rising Sun, by Walter L. Porter; The Emlenton Register, edited 
by W. R. Johns; the Neivs, by P. McDowell; the Telegraph, by Samuel 
Young, and the Times, by M. Hulings and D. D. Moriarty, were the local 
papers that followed, but journalism does not seem to have been a profit- 
able avocation during the period that they were published. 

*0n the 23d of March, 1877, Needle & Crowley issued the initial number 
of the Register. AVithin a few months they were succeeded by Wands & 
Hulings. The paper passed successively to Samson, Kittell & Dean and 
A. A. Hulings; in 1881, the publication having been suspended, T. W. 
AVest, formerly of the Clarion Jacksonian, purchased the materials and es- 
tablished the Edenbiirg National. 

The Emlenton Critic, a semi- weekly published by M. Gouchler & 
Brother, was the next local paper. It suspended in July, 1887. 


The Home News, a two column folio with a page_ nine inches long and 
six inches wide, made its first appearance May 14, 1885. E. H. Cubbison 
is editor and piiblisber. It was enlarged June 18th and July 27th, of the 
same year, and early gave evidence of being more than an amateur efPort. 
With the close of the first vohime the name was changed to its present 
style, the Emlenton News. For a time it was issued semi- weekly but in 
May, 1889, became a weekly and has so continued. The News is a valu- 
able exponent of local interests, in every way creditable to its constituency 
and to the enterprising publisher. 


The initial number of the Weekly Register, the first newspaper of Oil 
City, was issued by W. R. Johns, January 14, 1862, at a temporary frame 
building in the Third ward near the location of the Lake Shore depot. The 
printing outfit was obtained at Monongahela City, forwarded by boat to 
Pittsburgh, by rail to Kittanning, and by wagon to the final destination, where 
it arrived in December, 1861. The paper was an eight-column folio, credit- 
able in typography and general appearance, and replete with matters of in- 
terest in relation to the progress of oil developments. It was the first news- 
paper devoted especially and exclusively to the oil regions and while under 
Mr. Johns' control was active and efficient in its advocacy of the interests 
of the oil industry. Upon the retirement of Mr. Johns, in 1866, he was 
succeeded by Henry A. Dow & Company, with whom the Daily Register, the 
first daily of the city, originated. 

In June, 1863, J. W. Smullin began the publication of the Monitor at 
the city hall, corner of Center and Seneca streets. Mr. Smullin had en- 
tered the ofiice of the Clarion De/uocra^ in 1848; he was a compositor on the 
Register, and purchased the materials of a paper at Emlenton in the spring 
of 1863. This outfit was moved to Oil City by fiat- boat several months 

later. O. H. Jackson, Watkins, and C. P. Ramsdell were associated 

in the ownership of the Monitor at various times. Mr. Ramsdell became 
sole proprietor in November, 1864, and at a later date was followed by 
Jacob Weyand. The plant was finally absorbed by the Venango Republican. 

The later years of the decade ending 1870 were prolific in journalistic 
ventures. The Petroleum Monthly appears to have been published with the 
idea of treating the oil industry in a scientific manner and of presenting 
statistical, biographical, and miscellaneous matter not properly within the 
scope of the daily or weekly press. W. H. Bowman originated this publi- 
cation and was the principal contributor to its columns. In striking con- 
trast with its dignified character were the Sand Pump and Bulletin which 
enjoyed an ej^hemeral existence under the proprietorship of O. H. Jackson. 
Mr. Johns re-established the Register and added a daily edition, the Evening 
Register. He also published the Semi- Weekly Petrolian. The Venango 

<* THE PRESS. 259 

Republican, the first newspaper of pronounced political views in Oil City, 
also made its appearance during this period. 

In December. 18C7, the plant of the Register, Petrolian, Republican, 
and defunct Monitor were purchased by Andrew Cone and F. F. Davis and 
consolidated under the name of the Republican, which was published by 
Cone & Davis several years; it was ably edited, received a liberal patronage, 
and yielded large returns. They were succeeded by a stock company, in 
which H. H. Herpst and George V. Forman were largely interested; the 

name was changed to the Times and Metcalf of Meadville placed in 

charge as editor. The management was not characterized by remarkable 
efficiency; the plant sustained serious damage from fire, and having sub- 
served the political purposes which determined its inception, the daily edi- 
tion was suspended. The weekly was continued by Mr. Herpst, who had 
secured a controlling interest and finally became individual owner. 

The collapse of the Daily Times may be said to mark the termination of 
experimental journalism at Oil City. A gradual but permanent change — 
material, financial, and social — is noticeable about this time. The organiza- 
tion of an oil exchange in 1869 had tended to localize and concentrate trans- 
actions in that commodity at this point. The incorporation of the borough 
and surrounding suburbs under a city charter two years later conferred an 
autonomy no less desirable than necessary. Increased railroad facilities in- 
sured a continuance of its prestige as the commercial center of a populous 
territory. The town itself had passed the experimental stage and was re- 
garded as a permanent factor in the development of the Pennsylvania oil 
field and the distribution of its products. A newspaper of metropolitan 
scope devoted to the special industry of this region, was the natural out- 
growth of these conditions. 

The Oil City Derrick was issued for the first time on the 11th of Sep- 
tember, 1871, from a frame building at No. 28 Seneca street, by Bishop & 
Longwell, with whom H. H. Herpst afterward became associated. \V. H. 
Longwell had previously published the Pithole and Petroleum Center Rec- 
ord and assumed the business management, and C. E. Bishop, formerly 
editor of the Journal, Jamestown, New York, continued in that capacity 
with the Derrick. His style was characterized by force and originality, and 
rapidly gained for the new venture the respect of its contemporaries. The 
business management displayed conspicuous ability, and within a compara- 
tively brief period the paper was the recognized "organ of oil," with a cir- 
culation and advertising patronage coextensive with the great industry to 
which it sustains such an important relation. Associated press reports were 
secured, thus placing the general news of the day before its readers hours in 
advance of the city dailies. The system of correspondence from every part 
of the oil regions, inaugurated by J. J. McClaurin and continued by H. Mc- 
Clintock, has done much to increase its interest and extend its usefulness. 


Its monthly reports of operations and production are invaluable to all con- 
cerned in the petroleum trade. 

Mr. Bishop retired from the editorship of the Derrick in 1873, and was 
followed by Frank H. Taylor, who was succeeded in 1877 by R. W. Cris- 
well. A prominent feature of the paper during his connection with it was a 
humorous department, quoted all over the world. On the 3rd of April, 1882, 
the proprietorship of the Derrick passed from W. H. Longwell & Company 
to the Derrick Publishing Company, with Edward Stuck as editor and man- 
ager. In the following December he retired in favor of William H. Siviter. 
P. C. Boyle became lessee and publisher, August 11, 1885, bringing to the 
enterprise a somewhat extended experience in oil country journalism. R. 
W. Criswell became associated in the publication February 11, 1887, and 
from that date until June, 1889, the paper was published by the firm of 
Boyle & Criswell. Mr. Criswell is now on the staff of the New York World 
and Mr. Boyle continues the publication individually. Charles H. Harrison 
of Pittsburgh had editorial management for a brief period after Mr. Cris- 
well' s retirement. Robert Simpson, the present incumbent of that position, 
assumed charge August 1, 1889. J. N. Perrine has been business manager 
since August, 1885. The paper was enlarged from an eight-column folio to 
a six-column quarto, its present form, September 16, 1886. 

The Oil City Sunday Call made its first appearance on the 8th of April, 
1877, and was published until the autumn of the following year by Frank 
H. Taylor & Company, and Mr. Taylor individually. Local corresj^ondence 
from the different localities throughout the oil regions and a humorous de- 
partment under the head of " Puts and Calls " were its leading features. For 
a time a special train was run between Oil City and Parker for its distribu- 
tion. The Call was deservedly popular and enjoyed a large circulation. 

The Oil City Blizzard was founded by three young men from the Derrick 
staff whose confidence in the siTCcess of an evening paper led them to issue 
their first number on the 22nd of May, 1882. F. W. Bowen, whose humor- 
ous pen had long found exercise on the "Stray Sand" column in the Der- 
rick, was editor-in-chief; H. O. McKnight had charge of the mechanical 
part, and B. F. Gates was intrusted with the job department as it afterward 
developed in 1885. Notwithstanding the incubus of a small capital and 
other obstacles, the paper was enlarged from a five to a six-column folio 
about a year later and a six-column quarto weekly edition was started on the 
1st of January, 1885. Mr. Gates withdrew in November, 1886, and the pub- 
lication has since been in the hands of Bowen & McKnight. Special humor- 
ous and local features render the Blizzard popular and valuable. Robert 
Simpson, editor of the Derrick: A. R. Crum, of the Pittsbiirgh Post: E. A. 
Bradshaw, editor of the Jamestown, New York, Journal: E. C. Bell, of 
Titusville. and F. F. Murray, of Oil City, have been employed on the staff 
of the Blizzard at various times. 


The Critic, published in South Oil City, issued its tirst number, a two 
column folio, July 22, 1886. The editor and proprietor, Will H. Harris, 
conceived the idea of building up a general family paper to be issued every 
Thursday, and that he has succeeded is amply proved by it present propor- 
tions as a six- column quarto with a circulation throughout Venango and sur- 
rounding counties, and far beyond. April 2, 1887, it became a Saturday 
paper and is so continued. 

The Venango Democrat, B. F. Gates, editor and proprietor, made its 
debut June 8, 1887, but suspended after the issue of the fourth number. 


The Pithole Daily Record, the pioneer successful daily of the county, 
was issued for the first time on Monday, September 25, 1865, by Morton, 
Spare & Company. Lee M. Morton was editor. The paper was a five- 
column folio, and found an extensive patronage at the modest price of thirty 
cents per week. The contents were largely made up of advertisements and 
the revenue from this source was evidently considerable. The local columns 
were occasionally rendered more than ordinarily interesting by communi- 
cations from " Crocus," in which the ludicrous side of oil country life was 
described in felicitous style. The Record seems to have had strong faith 
in the future of Pithole City; it was active in advocating measures of local 
irdprovement and in supporting the municipal authorities. The important 
happenings of the surrounding territory were I'riefly chronicled, thus ren 
dering the paper a valuable epitome of contemporary history during an 
eventful period. W. H. Longwell became associated in the publication in 
May, 1866, when the style of the firm became Morton, Longwell & Company. 
Charles H. Vickers and W. C. Plummer were also interested at a subsequent 
period, but Mr. Longwell ultimately acquired the controlling interest and 
was connected with the paper until its final discontinuance. In May, 1868, 
the place of publication was changed to Petroleum Center and the name of 
that place substituted for Pithole in the caption. The city in the valley of 
Oil creek was then at the height of its prosperity, and the change conferred 
upon the Record a new lease of life. It was published there for some 

The Reno Times, a paper established in the interest of that town, was 
published in 1865 and 1866. It suspended in May of the latter year. Its 
editorial management evinced considerable ability. 

The first newspaper at Pleasantville was the Evening Netcs, a daily es- 
tablished in January, 1869, by Dodd & Colegrove. Its career was brief and 
uneventful. The next venture was the Gas Light, also a daily, of which O. 
H. Jackson was proprietor. He seems to have had a perambulating print- 
ing outfit, but never stayed at one place long enough to become permanently 
established. The Gas Light was no exception. 


The Commercial Record, B. Corwin, proprietor, H. C. Mapes, editor and 
publisher, is a five-cohtmn quarto and appears semi-monthly. The first 
number was issued February 1, 1887. It was originally designed as a local 
advertising medium and is well supported by the business men of the town. 
The typographical appearance is creditable, and the local columns are well 

The Rouseville Evening Bulletin, a daily, was started by O. H. Jackson 
in October, 1870, and continued until December 24, 1871. August 10, 1872, 
James Tyson issiied the first number of the Pennsylvanian, a well edited 
weekly, which was continued for some time, but finally expired with the wan- 
ing prestige of the town. 

The Cooperstown News was published at that borough in 1879 and 1880 
by J. Lloyd Rohr, now of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is described as a fairly 
readable paper considering the territory to which its circulation was neces- 
sarily limited. 



Venango County in the Revolution — The AVar of 1812— Defenseless 
Condition of Erie— Militia Organization of "Western Pennsyl- 
vania—General Mead Calls out the Militia to Repel Threat- 
ened Invasion at Erie— The One Hundred and Thirty-Sec- 
ond REGniENT Again Called Out in 1814— Roster 
OF THE Regiment— The Old Militia— Roster 
of the Venango Guards— The Mexican 
War— Sketches of Generals Alexan- 
der Hays and Jesse L. Reno. 

WHILE the history of a community so circumstanced as Venango 
county is largely a record of progress and development within it- 
self, the relation it has sustained to the larger movements of the state 
and nation is a most important and interesting subject for consideration. 
These movements are of two kinds, political and military. In the former 
the activities of the people of a whole state are so blended, that it would be 
impossible to indicate the part taken by a single county; in the latter, from 
the nature of a military organization, this can be done with comparative 
fullness and facility. And it is eminently appropriate that the services of the 
soldier, whether mustered in the struggle for American independence, or to 


repel invasion in 1813; whether called to defend the honor of the flag at 
Vera Cruz and Mexico, or to maintain for that flag a united nation, should 
be thus recounted and perpetuated. 

The American Revolution had been brought to a successful termination 
before the appearance of a single white settler in the county, and its repre- 
sentation in that struggle was therefore composed of subsequent immigrants 
to its territory. After a protracted experience of the hardships of war 
they came to this western country to subdue the wilds of nature, an under- 
taking scarcely less difficult and equally honorable to their memories. They 
were among the very early settlers, and the information that is attainable 
concerning their individual history is correspondingly meager. The fol- 
lowing is a list of the Revolutionary veterans who are known to have lived 
in this county, with such facts of a personal nature as could be collated: 

Joseph Breed, from Stonington, Connecticut, settled in Cherry Tree 
township in 1818. His family gave the name to the locality known as 
Breedtown. He died January 23, 1839, aged eighty-two years, and is 
buried in the family graveyard. 

William Brown, from the state of New York, came to this county in 
1813 and settled in French Creek township, whence he moved to Sugar 
Creek, and in 1820 to Canal, where he kept a well known hostelry at Han- 
naville and died in 1846. 

Francis Carter, a native of Ireland, was in the military service at Pitts- 
burgh, Franklin, and Erie. He settled on Sugaj" creek below Cooperstown 
in 1797, and removed to the site of Dempseytown in 1803. There he built 
one of the first houses of the village and died at an advanced age. 

William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown, came to that locality from 
eastern Pennsylvania in 1 797 and built the first mill on Sugar creek. He 
died February 1, 1813, in his sixty-sixth year, and is buried in the grave- 
yard of the old Methodist church in that borough. 

Aspenwall Cornwell came to Allegheny township from New York city, 
arriving at his destination in August, 1819, and was a resident of that 
part of the county the remainder of his life. 

David Dunham, from Fabius, Onondaga county, New York, purchased 
a tract of land in Allegheny township near Pleasantville in 1819, and re- 
moved thereon in 1821. 

Philip Ghost located in Clinton township in 1796. He bore the title of 
major and had filled that rank in the Continental army. His residence 
immediately prior to coming here was Westmoreland county. He was a 
native of Germany. 

Michael Hare, who taught a school in Oakland township in 1807 and 
lived in that locality for a time, subsequently removed to Erie county and 
died at Waterford, May 3, 1843, at the remarkable age of one hundred and 
fifteen years, eight months, and twenty-three days. He was born in Ire- 
land, June 10, 1727. 


Hugh Hasson removed from New London, Chester county, to Canal 
township in 1799, where he resided until his death in 1815. 

James G. Heron came to Franklin prior to 1800 and was one of the 
opulent citizens of that village in its early years. He was a member of 
the first board of county commissioners and one of the first associate judges. 
He was originally from New Jersey, and upon the formation of Colonel 
Moses Hazen's regiment, known as Congress' Own, because not attached to 
the quota of any particular state, he became a lieutenant and was subse- 
quently promoted to a captaincy. He was taken prisoner August 23, 1777, 
and exchanged, after which it is probable that he served to the end of the 
war. His death occurred December 30, 1809. 

John Philip Houser, the first settler at the mouth of Sandy creek, was 
a German by birth, and came here from Lancaster county. Afterward he 
was ferryman at Franklin. 

Seth Jewel first improved the site of the borough of Polk. He settled 
there about the beginning of the present century. 

Philip Kees, a native German, came to Oakland township in 1805. Sub- 
sequently he removed to a point on the Monongahela river, twenty miles 
above Pittsburgh, where he died. 

Samuel Lindsay was the first settler at the mouth of East Sandy creek 
in Cranberry township. He afterward crossed the river into Victory, and 
at a later date removed to Meigs county, Ohio. He was a man of immense 
physical strength. 

Samuel Lovett resided for a time in Cherry Tree at an early date, but 
removed to Crawford county before his death. 

Patrick Manson, a native of Ireland, settled in Sandy Creek township in 
1797. He lived to a ripe old age, and was buried with the honors of war by 
the local militia in the old Franklin cemetery. 

John McCalmont, born in County Armagh, Ireland, January 11, 1750, 
came to America in 1766 and served through the war. In 1803 he settled 
in Sugar Creek township. He died August 3, 1832, and is buried in the 
United Presbyterian graveyard at Plumer. 

James McCurdy was an early settler in the vicinity of Sugar Creek 
Memorial church, Jackson township. 

Henry Myers was a pioneer of Richland, and built several of the first 
mills in that part of the county. 

George Power was a commissary in the United States army, if not during 
the period of hostilities in the east, certainly throughout the military move- 
ments in the west by which the British posts were occupied by American 
forces. He served in this capacity at Fort Franklin, Fort Washington (Cin- 
cinnati), Vincennes, and other points. He is best remembered, however, as 
the first permanent settler at Franklin. Mr. Power was born in Maryland 
April 10, 1762, and died April 2, 1845. 


Samuel Proper, probably the second settler iu Plum township, removed 
to that locality from Schoharie county, New York, in 1801. He was the 
progenitor of a numerous family, and a German by birth. 

Matthew Riddle, a native of Ireland, came to Venango county from 
Westmoreland as chain bearer to Thomas McKee, surveyor, in 1796, and 
settled in Clinton township. 

David Russell removed from Westmoreland county in 17D9 to S(;rnl)- 
grass township, this county. 

Charles Stevenson, a native Scotchman, settled in Oakland township in 
1800; he had lived in Mifflin county immediately prior to that date. Sub- 
sequently he moved into Cherry Tree township. He died in Adams county, 

John Sullinger purchased land in Rockland in 1805 and settled thereon 
in 1813. He died about the year 1845 at Warren, Ohio, at the advanced 
age of ninety-one. 

THE WAR OF 1812. 

The formal declaration of war with Great Britain occurred on the 18th 
of June, 1812. Early in the progress of hostilities it became apparent that 
an invasion of American territory from Canada was highly probable, and 
such a contingency was matter of vital concern to the people of northwest- 
ern Pennsylvania. Erie at that time was a mere hamlet, but from its posi- 
tion midway between the eastern and western extremities of the lake, and 
the excellence of its harbor, was regarded as one of the most important of 
the western military posts. There was n6 village of any size on the east 
nearer than BufPalo, while the only settlements on the west along the lake 
were those around the posts at Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo, and Detroit. 
The intervening territory in both directions was but sparsely populated. 
There were no fortifications at Erie other than an old blockhouse erected on 
the eastern part of the Peninsula in 1795; it was without a garrison, a guur 
or a pound of ammunition. On the other hand, the Canadian frontier was 
defended by a series of military posts from Niagara to Sault Ste. ]\Iarie, 
well equipped and garrisoned, and provided with the valuable adjunct, a 
provincial navy, which gave them the mastery of the lakes. The population 
was composed largely of "United Empire tories," who had left the United 
States as voluntary exiles at the close of the Revolution, and were not averse 
to the prospect of returning again as invaders. The Indians had been won 
to British interests and their cooperation was artfully retained throughout 
the war. Without a regular army or navy and no preparation for defense 
except a poorly organized militia almost destitute of suitable equipments, 
the exposed frontier of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio certainly presented 
a favorable opportunity for invasion. 

In anticipation of the conflict Governor Snyder had organized the state 


militia into two divisions, one for the east and one for the west. The west- 
ei'u division was commanded by Major General Adamson Tannehill, of Pitts- 
burgh. Subsequently the state was divided into military divisions. .The 
sixteenth division included the counties of Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, 
Mercer, Venango and Warren, and was commanded by Major General David 
Mead. The First brigade of this division embraced the One Hundred and 
Thirty -Second regiment, from Venango county, and commanded by Colonel 
Samuel Dale; John Kelso was brigadier general and William Clark brigade 
inspector. Meadville was made the rendezvous for the division, and a con- 
siderable force was collected there in the autumn of 1812 for the contem- 
plated invasion of Canada, but it does not appear that the One Hundred and 
Thirty-Second regiment had any part in the movements of that year. 

The necessity of a fleet on Lake Erie, large enough to cope successfully 
with the British squadron in those waters, was brought to the attention of 
the war department in the summer of 1812 by Captain James Dobbins, who 
had been sent to Washington by General Mead as the bearer of imi)ortant 
dispatches conveying the intelligence of the loss of Detroit and Mackinaw. 
Dobbins was immediately tendered a sailing master's commission and 
instructed to begin the construction of gunboats at Erie, which he did in 
October of that year. Lieutenant Oliver Hazard Perry was assigned to the 
command on Lake Erie, and arrived at Erie on the 27th of March, 1813. 
It is diificult to conceive of the difficulties that Dobbins and Perry encount- 
ered in their work. There were very few ship carpenters in the country and 
the work had to be done by house carpenters and mechanics. Timber was 
obtained at the forests that lineVl the lake shore. Iron was procured with 
difficulty, and naval stores could only be obtained after a long delay from 
the east. A considerable quantity of metal and stores was transported from 
Pittsburgh by flat-boat, and passed up the Allegheny river and French creek 
through this county. Among the local river men who assisted in this work 
were several members of the Hulings family — Marcus, Samuel, Jonathan, 
James, and Thomas; John Hastings, Jonathan Whitman, Peter Myers, John 
Roberts, and William Hood. It is worthy of mention that the river and 
creek continued at a good boating stage until August, an unusual occurrence; 
had the water become low at the ordinary time, it would have been impos- 
sible to rig the fleet in season to meet the enemy under favorable circum- 
stances. Even under these conditions transportation was exceedingly slow, 
laborious, and difficult. 

To add to the embarassment under which Perry's operations were con- 
ducted, Erie was constantly menaced by an attack from the British fleet. 
The latter anchored in the roadstead several times and would have entered 
the bay but for the shallow water on the bar. There was imminent danger 
of an attack on the town, however, as the enemy were believed to have troops 
on l)oard, and a messenger was dispatched to Meadville urgently soliciting 


from General Mead a re-enforcement of militia for its defense. The follow 
ing stirring appeal was at once issued: 


Your State is invaded. Tlie enemy has arrived at Erie, threatening to destroj' our 
nav}' and the town. His course, liitherto marked with rapine and lire wherever he 
touched our shore, must be arrested. The cries of infants and women, of the aged and 
infirm, the devoted victims of the enemy and his savage allies, call on you for defense 
and protection. Your honor, your property, your all, require you to march imme- 
diately to the scene of action. Arms and ammunition will be furnished to those who 
have none at the place of rendezvous near to Erie, and every exertion will be made 
for your subsistence and accommodation. Your service, to be useful, must be rendered 
immediately. The delay of an hour may be fatal to your country, in securing the 
enemy in his plunder and favoring his escape. 

David Mead, Major General Sixteenth D. P. M 

There was an almost unanimous response to this appeal from every town- 
ship in northwestern Pennsylvania. Colonel Dale, who had but recently re- 
turned from a session of the legislature at Lancaster, set out with the One 
Hundred and Thirty-Second regiment on the 27th of July and joined his 
brigade at Meadville, whence they proceeded at once to Erie. Before leaving 
he had received a visit from Cornplanter,- who, after the cause of the war 
had been explained to him, insisted on accompanying the regiment with two 
hundred of his braves. He was finally induced to remain with the assur- 
ance that he would be called upon if his services became really necessary. 
The vessels were about completed and on the ''4th of the following month 
the Laivrence was successfully jfloated over the bar. Within a few days the 
entire American fleet was safely anchored in the roadstead and the British 
squadron having sailed westward, thus relieving the immediate danger of in- 
vasion, the presence of the militia was no longer necessary. Colonel Dale's 
regiment was discharged on the 9th of August. The farmers had been in 
the midst of harvest when the summons came, but responded with a unani- 
mity and alacrity indicative of the highest order of patriotism. Although 
not called into active service, this was not, as the sequel shows, without re- 
sults. The issue of the great naval battle of September 10th was thus stated 
in the modest and memorable letter from Perry to General Harrison: "We 
have met the enemy and they are ours: two ships, two brigs, one schooner, 
and one sloop." And in the following month he addressed the subjoined 
communication to General Mead: 

Erie, Oclober 2L\ 1818. 

Dear Sir: It may be some satisfaction to you and your deserving corps to be in- 
formed that you did not leave your harvest fields in August last for the defense of this 
place without cause. Since the capture of General Proctor's baggage by General Har- 
rison it is ascertained beyond doubt that an attack was at that time meditated on Erie; 
and the design was frustrated by the failure of General Vincent to furnisli the number 
of troops promised and deemed necessary. I have the honor to be, dear sir, your 
obedient servant, q jj Pekry 

Major General David Mead, Meadville. 

I 5 


On the 30tb day of December, 1813, intelligence was received at Erie 
that an army of British and Indians had landed at Black Rock, burned 
Buffalo and the shipping in the harbor at that place, and were advancing 
in the direction of Erie. The numbers of the enemy were placed at three 
thousand, while the troops stationed there for its defense numbered but two 
thousand. The first brigade of General Mead's division was ordered into 
service and mustered hurriedly, increasing the American force to four thou- 
sand men. Colonel Dale received marching orders on the Oth of January, 
and his regiment was not discharged until the 10th of the following month. 
The alarm proved delusive, however, and as in the previous instance the 
local militia returned home without experiencing anything more serious than 
the "pomp and pageantry of war" and the discomforts of a brief campaign 
in the dead of winter. There was fortunately no necessity for their service 
during the subsequent progress of the war. A treaty of peace was signed 
at Ghent, Belgium, December 24, 181-4, and the news reached this locality 
in February of the following year. Detachments of troops had passed 
through the county by the old Pittsburgh and Erie road at various times 
and their return in the spring was a welcome assurance that hostilities had 
indeed terminated. 

The following roster of the One Hundred and Thirty-Second regiment, 
Pennsylvania militia, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Dale, was 
obtained from the secretary of the United States treasury by Lewis F. 
Watson of Warren, Pennsylvania, member of congress from this district. 
All oiir previous efforts to get this roster had proven fruitless, and we had 
almost given up hope of being able to obtain the names of these patriotic 
pioneers of Venango county who responded to their country's call in the 
hour of danger. Benjamin W. Bredin of Franklin finally became inter- 
ested and wrote Mr. Watson on the subject. That gentleman readily 
promised his assistance, and the result is that we are enabled to present to 
our readers this valuable record of the soldiers who served for a short 
period under Colonel Dale at Erie in 1813 and 1814 during the war of 
1812. In this roster, however, will be found the names of some who did 
not live in Venango county, but it would be unwise to leave them out, and 
therefore we give the complete roster of each company as it appears in the 
government records, believing they will prove a valuable addition to the 
history of the county: 

Field and Staff Officers. — -Lieutenant colonel, Samuel Dale. 

First major, James Foster. 

Quartermaster, Andrew Bowman. 

Sergeant majors: Elial Farr, John Wilson. 

Quartermaster sergeant, George Sutley. 

First Company. — Captain, Henry Neely. 

Lieutenant, James Thompson. 


Ensign, Jacob Small. 

Sergeants: Gideon Richardson, Nicholas Neely, Jacob Hale. 

Privates: Robert Armstrong, Andrew Ashbaugh, Michael Best, William 
Crow, George Delo, James Downing, Samuel Fry, Joseph Goucher, Jacob 
Herrold, Henry Hummel, George Keefer, Jacob Keefer, James Mays. John 
Mays, Barnhart Martin, Robert Philips, Nathan Phipps, John Potts, Adam 
Shearer, Jacob Sweitzer, John Sweitzer, John Thummen. 

Second Company. — Captain, Andrew Porter. 

Lieutenant, James Ritchey. 

Sergeants: Joseph Porter, Alexander Ritchey. 

Corporal, John Jolly. 

Privates: Daniel Ashbaugh, William Crist, William Davis, Jacob Keely, 
Thomas Kennedy, Adam Kerns, William Kerns, Thomas Kerr, Washington 
Mays, John McDonald, James McGinnis, Robert McMillin, James Piatt, 
John Piatt, Thomas Piatt, Alexander Porter, Matthew Porter, Ross Porter, 
John Shoup, John Snyder, Jacob Wensel, John Wensel. 

Third Company. — Captain, Daniel McCombs. 

Lieutenant, Richard Ross. 

Ensign, Edward Fleming. 

Sergeants: John Hamilton, William McCombs, Benjamin August, 
Charles Ingram. 

Corporals: James Hamilton, Columbus Halyday, James Cary, Alexan- 
der Cerreb. 

Privates: Samuel Beers, John Carter, Miles Coover, David Dempsey, 
Daniel Fleming, Jr., Barney Griflfin, Jobn Hamilton, John Hays, Henry 
Kinnear, James Kinnear, Neal McFadden, Henry Prather, Andrew Proper, 
Barnard Proper, Samuel Proper, William Reed, James Reynolds, Joshua 
Reynolds, John Rynd, William Rynd, Samuel Small, John Sodorus, Will- 
iam Story, Elijah Stewart, John Tarr, Matthias Tarr. 

Fourth Company.— Captain, John Fetterman. 

Lieutenant, William Thompson. 

Ensign, Joseph Bowman. 

Sergeants: John Brown, John McFadden, Francis Carter, John Mason. 

Corporals: Jonathan Whitman, John Brookmire, Charles Gordon. 

Privates: James Alexander, Robert Beatty, Henry Bowman, Samuel 
Cooper, William Cooper, George Crain, John Deets, Joseph Deets, Daniel 
Herrington, Alexander Holeman, John Kelly, Darius Mead, Elijah McFad- 
den, James McFadden, John McFate, William McMasters, John Roberts, 
James Shaw, Thomas Smiley, Henry Sutley, 'Michael Sutley, Luther 
Thomas, John Whitman. 

Fifth Company. — Captain, Hugh McManigal. 

Lieutenant, William Patterson. 

Ensign, John Boner. 


Sergeants: James Allen, John Craig, Thomas Dinsmore. 

Corporals: John Scott, William Baker. 

Drummer, Ernest Hovis. 

Privates: Thomas Baird, Charles Bigley, Patrick Davidson, William 
Davidson, James Donaldson, William Graham, John Hoffman, John Hovis, 
John Love, John Lyons, James Martin, Robert Mitchell, William McCon- 
nell, Hugh McDowell, John McManigal, Daniel McMillin, Archibald Mc- 
Sparren, Joseph Porter, George Shunk, Daniel Smith, Samuel Van, Will- 
iam Van, John W^ alters, Francis Whann, Robert S. Whann, Eli Williams. 

Sixth Company. — Lieutenant, John Martin. 

Ensign, Armstrong Duffield. 

Sergeants: James Martin, William Dewoody, John Ford. 

Corporals: Patrick Manson, John Hays. 

Privates: Samuel Adams, Samuel Atkinson, William Carter, Samuel 
Cousins, John Clyde, Robert Dewoody, Robert Dewoody (substitute for 
Andrew Dewoody), John Duffield, William Felton, John Foster, John Gil- 
more, Samuel Graham, William Greenlee, John L. Hasson, John Hays, 
James Hulings, Marcus Hulings, Thomas Hulings, Francis Irwin, Jared 
Lee, Jr., James Martin, John Martin, Thomas Martin, William Martin, 
William McElhaney, John McQuaid, John McQuaid (substitute for A^^illiam 
Duffield), John Ramsey, David Runninger, Jacob Runninger, Gustavus 
Shaw, George Shoemaker, Alexander Siggins, Samuel Simmons, William 
Stoops, Robert Temple. 

Seventh Company. — Captain, Abraham Witherup. 

Lieutenant, Robert Crawford. 

Sergeants: Levi Williams, Joseph Ross, Robert Riddle, James Calvert. 

Privates: David Boyd, William Campbell, Isaac Carter, James Craig, 
James Fearis, Martin Fritz, James Hall, Michael Hoffman, Philip Hoffman, 
John Jolly, William Jolly, Morgan Jones, Stephen Jones, Thomas Jones, 
Thomas Kerr, Joseph Lay ton, Patrick Lay ton, Thomas Lyons, Thomas Mil- 
ford, James McDowell, Abner McMahon. Alexander McQuiston, Joseph Parks, 
William Perry, William Russell, Robert Selders, John Shannon, John 
Stover, Samuel Stover, John Tracy, Francis Vogus, Jacob Wise. 

Eighth Company. — Lieutenant, Isaac Connely. 

Sergeant, William Siggins. 

Privates: James Allender, William Broadfoot, James Dawson, John 
Dawson, Thomas Dawson, Ezekiel Fleming, John Hamilton, Samuel Hen- 
derson, Joseph Huff, Andrew Hunter, David Hunter, Ebenezer Kingsley, 
Jesse Miller (substitute), Samuel McGee, George Peebles, Thomas H. 
Prather, John Siggins, James Shreve, Alexander Thompson, Francis Tut- 
liill, Robert Watson, Samuel Wilson. 

Besides the foregoing there were also quite a number of others whose 
names do not appear in this roster, and whose descendants claim they went 


into the war of 1812 from Venango county. Not knowing in what com- 
mand they served we append their names as a tribute to their memory: 

James McCalmont, Robert McCalmont, James Major, John McMillin, 
AVilliam Hovis, John Dewoody, Shadrach Simcox, William Brandon, Robert 
Curry, John Strawbridge, Samuel Bean, Daniel Keoly, Thomas W. Mays, 
Enoch Battin, James Brown, Samuel Mason, James Mason, William Whit- 
man, Hugh ClifPord, Robert Riddle, Daniel Proper, AVilliam Mcintosh, 
Christian Sutley, and Daniel Reynolds. 

The following served a "tour of duty" under General Harrison: Will- 
iam Martin, John Martin, Jacob Runninger, Robert Dewoody, Samuel 
Simmons, Marcus Hulings, Thomas Martin, Alexander Siggins, Gustavus 
Shaw, John Foster, Jared Lee, Jr., John McQuaid, John McQuaid, John 

The following served a " tour of duty " at Erie in the autumn of 1812: 
Joseph Layton, William Russell. 

The following volunteered on board Perry's fleet: Abraham Witherup, 
John Ramsey, Samuel Atkinson, Samuel Graham, Jacob Wise, John 
Stover, Thomas H. Prather, Ezekiel Fleming. 

The principal officers in the One Hundred and Thirty-Second regiment are 
worthy of more than incidental mention in this connection. Colonel Sam- 
uel Dale was born in West Fallowlield township, Chester county, Pennsyl- 
vania, July 15, 1773. His parents removed to White Deer township, 
Northumberland (now Union) county, in the following spring, but were 
obliged to return in 1777 on account of Indian troubles. In 1781 they 
took up their residence in Dauphin county, and in 1781: returned to White 
Deer township. In 1797 the future colonel, then a young man of twenty- 
three, went to Philadelphia to learn the mercantile business, but finding 
yellow fever very prevalent he returned home and two years later made 
a journey to the state of Ohio. He was on the point of returning 
thither when Samuel Cochran, surveyor general of the state, appointed him 
deputy surveyor for Venango county. He proceeded thither the same 
year, although it was not until 1801 that he came to reside at Franklin. 
In 1802 he was elected colonel of the One Hundred and Thirty- Second regi- 
ment of the First brigade and Fourteenth division (subsequently the Six- 
teenth). He was elected as the representative of Venango and Mercer 
counties in the legislature in 1807 and successively re-elected until 1813. 
The commission under which he led his regiment in the war of 1812 was 
given l)y Governor Simon Snyder under date of August 3, 1811. After the 
close of the war he resided at Lancaster the remainder of his life. He 
served as alderman, notary public, president of the school board, and judge 
of the court of common pleas, and filled various other positions of trust 
with credit and fidelity. He died in that city at the age of sixty nine. 

Major James Foster was a prominent citizen of Canal township and an 


active member of the Sugar Creek Presbyterian church. A sketch of An- 
drew Bowman, the quartermaster, appears in the chapter on the early history 
of Franklin. Elial Farr, sergeant major, resided in Cherry Tree. Cap- 
tain Henry Neely, of the First company, probably resided in that part of 
Venango county now included in Clarion; Andrew Porter, of the Second, 
in Richland; John Fetterman, of the Fourth, in Plum; Hugh McManigal, 
of the Fifth, in Irwin; John Martin,' of the Sixth, was a pioneer of French 
Creek, and Isaac Connely, of the Eighth, of Allegheny. 

Captain Abraham Witherup was the son of John Witherup, the first 
sherifP of the county, who settled at the mouth of Scrubgrass creek, in Clin- 
ton township, in 1800. He was a native of Pennsylvania. For some 
reason his company was delayed and did not reach Erie on time, which sug- 
gested a hint from some one that cowardice was the cause. Stung to the 
quick he went into the fight with reckless spirit, won the admiration of Com- 
modore Perry, and after the conflict was over, an invitation to dine with him, 
an honor as surprising to the captain as to his comrades. He is described as 
a man of dignified appearance, tall, erect, finely proportioned, and hand- 
some. He was a life-long Democrat, and esteemed it a proud day, when, 
accompanied to the polls by his eight sons, they all cast their votes' for James 
Buchanan for the presidency. 


The military spirit received its first impetus in the exposed condition of 
the frontier during the period immediately preceding the early settlement 
of the county, while the experiences of the war of 1812 demonstrated most 
forcibly the advantage of a well organized and thoroughly equipped militia. 
The different counties were organized under the auspices of the state and 
the respective ofi&cers received their commissions from the governor. Com- 
panies met for drill at the call of their officers once or twice a year, and 
these occasions, known as battalion days, were usually attended by the pop- 
ulace en masse. Thus encouraged by the state and sustained by public sen- 
timent the militia organization attained a fair degree of efficiency. The 
roster of the Venango Guards for the year 1823, the earliest extant, and 
therefore invested with a degree of historic interest, is as follows: 

Captain, John Lupher. 

First lieutenant, James Bennett; second lieutenant, John Ingram. 

Sergeants: Abram Clai-k. Aaron McKissick, George Dewoody, Nathan- 
iel Cary. • 

Corporals: John Ridgway, Solomon Martin, Hugh McClelland, John 

Drummer, Jacob Cline. 

Fifer, James Brown. 

Privates : (The age is indicated by the number after each name. ) David 
Adams, 20; James Adams, 20; James Adams, 25; Samuel Bailey, 27; Will- 


iam Black, 22; James Bowman, 23; Elliott Brandon, 38; James Brandon, 
22; John Broadfoot, 34; George Brighaui. 33; Daniel Brown, 23; Stephen 
Backlin, 22; Isaac Bunnell, 20; Samuel Bunnell, 42; James Cary, 29; 
Alexander Carroll, 30; Ebenezer Campbell, 34; Charles L. Cochran, 23; 
Jeremiah Clancy, 25; John Cooper, 39; Frederick G. Crary, 20; John 
Crary, 20; William Crary, 22; George Cummings, 26; Moses Davidson, 31; 
William Davidson, 25; Everton Davis; George Dewoody, 21; George De- 
woody (hill), 18; Thomas Dinsmore, 27; Levi Dodd, 24; Armstrong Duf- 
field, 37; Thomas Folwell, 18; Benjamin Ford, 27; John Ford, 30; Solomon 
Ford, 26; John Foster; Jacob Frick; John Galbraith; Walter Gibson. 23; 
William Gibson, 36; David Gilmore, 25; John Gilmore, 27; Samuel Gordon, 
31; Nimrod Grace, 23; Robert Graham, 25; Samuel Graham, 29; Samuel 
Grant, 32; William Greenlee, 27; John Gurney, 36; Edward Hall, 25; 
George Hammond, 30; John Hanna, 19; James Hanna, 30; Stewart Hanna, 
23; Avis Harris, 30; John Hasson, 31; Alexander S. Hays; John Hays, 25; 
Archibald Henderson, 30; Charles Henderson, 38; Derrick Hodge; Charles 
Holeman; Thomas Hood, 24; Robert Huey, 26; Thomas Hulings, 39; George 
Hill, 23; William Hill, 25; James Holiis, 32; Peter Houser, 23; Andrew 
Howe, 22; Eliakim Jewel, 32; Israel Jewel, 32; Jonathan Jewel, 25; 
Anthony Johnston, 25; William Johnson, 22; David King, 29; David Kin- 
near, 22; James Kinnear, 18; Henry Kinnear, 28; William Kinnear, 40; 
James Leonard, 24; John Lindsay, 22; Stepheu Lindsay, 21; Jacob Lyons, 
32; John Lewis, 26; Samuel Lyons, 24; William Lyons, 18; John Lindsay, 
22; Stephen Lindsay, 21; Robert Manson; James Mason, 23; William Major, 
18; James Martin; Hugh Marshall, 20; Dennis Mead, 33; John Morrison, 
27; Joseph Morrison, 19; Alexander McCalmont, 37; Joseph McCalmont; 
Robert McCalmont, 40; William McClaran, 22; George McClelland, 45; 
James McClintock, 22; Hugh McClintock, 25; Thomas McDowell, 19; John 
McKallip, 43; John McKee, 23; Franklin McCIain, 19; John Noacre, 23; 
James Nicholson, 24; Samuel Nickerson, 31; John McElhaney; James 
Paden; Jonathan Paden; John J. Pearson, 21; Thomas Power, 20; Moses 
Pratt, 20; William Ray, 24; Hiram Reynolds, 19; Joel Reynolds, 19; John 
Roberts, 28; Arthur Robison, 18; Joseph Ridgway, 30; Samuel Ridgway, 
35; Conrad Rice, 27; David Runninger, 27; Jacob Runninger, 30; David 
Russell, 35; John Russell, 21; Samuel Russell, 21; Thomas Russell, 28; 
William Russell, 18; E. Sage; Jonathan Sage, 21; Noah Sage, 19; John 
Scott, 23; Thomas Seaton, 35; George Selders, 25; John Simcox, 22; Will- 
iam Simcox, 27; Henry Small, 19; Thomas Smiley, 38; G. W. Smith. 32; 
John Smith, 19; Isaac Smith; James Spencer. 23; John Singleton, 33; 
James Steward, 20; Henry Stricklin, 23; Stephen Sutton; Robert Temple, 
28; Howell Thomas; John Trimmer, 24; Abraham Vantine, 18; Thomas 
Vantine; John Vincent, 21; Wilkes Walter, 24; Francis Whann, 33; Robert 
Whann, 44; James Wheeler; W^illiam Whitman, 21; Job Wilcox, 22; John 
Wood; Peter Yelver, 38. 

276 HISTORY or venango county. 

Amoug the volunteer companies at a later date were the Venango Troop, 
'Franklin Guards, Sugar Creek Blues, Washington Guards, Serubgrass 
Riflemen, and, within recent years, the Cooperstown Guards and Franklin 
Grays. Some idea of the personnel of the old militia nearly fifty years ago, 
and of the manner in which the commanding officer communicated with the 
rank and file may be gained from the following: 


The enrolled militia composing the Seventy-Eighth regiment, Pennsylvania militia, 
will meet for inspection and drill as follows, to wit: 

The Ninth company, commanded by Captain S. P. McFaddeu; the Tenth, com- 
manded by Captain John Boughuer; the Eleventh, commanded by Captain John Richie, 
and the Twelfth, commanded by Captain J. R. McClintock, all will meet at Coopers- 
town on Monday, the 8th of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

The First company, commanded by Captain Jacob Hoffman; the Second, com- 
manded by Captain David Hovis; tlie Third, commanded by James P. Riddle; the 
Fifth, commanded by Captain John M. McKinuey; the Sixth, commanded by Captain 
William McElhaney, and the Seventh, commanded by Captain H. Gould, and the 
Serubgrass Blues will meet at the house of John Bonner, in Irwin township, on Tues- 
day, the 9th day of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

The Nineteenth company, commanded by Captain William Davis; the Twentieth, 
by Captain Jacob Truby, and the Twenty-First, by Captain Henry Miller, will meet 
at the house of Benjamin Junkin, in Richland township, on Wednesday, the 10th day 
of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

The Twenty-Second company, commanded by Captain John Ohler; the Twenty - 
Third, by Captain W. Whitehill; the Twenty-Fourth, by Captain John Walter, and the 
Twenty-Fifth, by Captain John B. McCalmont, will meet at the house of David Wal- 
ter in Farmington township on Friday, the 12th day of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

The Seventeenth company, commanded by Captain John Shannon, and the Twelfth, 
commanded by Captain James Hughes, will meet at the house of James Brandon in 
Cranberry township on Saturday, the 13th day of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

The Thirteenth company, commanded by Captain Richard S. Irwin; the Fourteenth, 
by Captain Robert P. Elliott; the Fifteenth, by Captain Daniel McCasland, and the 
Sixteenth, by Captain James Sauley, will meet at the house of John Lamb in Alle- 
gheny township on Friday, the 26th day of May next, at ten o'clock, a. m. 

William Shorts, Colonel Comamnclinq . 
April 27, 1843. 


Owing to the great distance of the scene of hostilities and the uni- 
form success of the American arms no great excitement was occasioned in 
this state by the Mexican war. The Democratic party had an overwhelming 
predominance throughout the county, and the action of the national ad- 
ministration in declaring war was heartily indorsed. Although no distinct 
organization from Venango county participated in the various campaigns 
that finally culminated in Scott's victorious entry into Mexico, and only a 
very small number of her citizens are known to have been members of the 
regiment formed in the western part of the state, the county was represented 
by military leaders who afterward achieved national distinction — Alexan- 
der Hays and Jesse L. Reno. 


Alexander Hays was born at Franklin July 8. 1819, son of General 
Samuel Hays, of whom an accoiant appears in a subsequent chapter of this 
work. His literary education was obtained at Allegheny College, Mead- 
villo. In 1840 he entered the military academy at ^^'est Point, where he 
was a fellow student of General Grant for a time, and graduated in 1844. 
He was assigned to the Fourth infantry, with the rank of brevet second 
lieutenant. His regiment constituted part of the Army of Observation in 
Louisiana and was among the first to advance into Mexican territory after 
the declaration of war. His first active service was in the battles of Palo 
Alto and Reseca de la Palma; at the latter engagement he sustained a severe 
wound and was detailed for recruiting service. Upon his return he was 
appointed assistant adjutant general to General Lane's command and con- 
tributed materially to the success of the campaign. At the close of the 
war he engaged in the iron business at Pittsburgh, and was subsequently 
occupied as civil engineer in various states. At the outbreak of the re- 
bellion he enlisted in a regiment formed at Pittsburgh, in which he was suc- 
cessively captain and major. He then recruited the Sixty-Third regiment, 
Pennsylvania volunteers, which was attached to Kearney's corps and was 
highly complimented by that general for gallant service at Fair Oaks and 
Charles City Cross Roads. Colonel Hays rendered valuable service at the 
second battle of Bull Run, and in recognition of his ability was promoted 
to brigadier general of volunteers. In 1863 he Tyas transferred to Heintzel- 
man's corps, and placed in command of the Third brigade, Casey's division, 
which sustained severe loss at the battle of Gettysburg, but came out of 
that engagement with a record of daring and successful execution rarely 
equaled. General Hays was killed at the battle of the Wilderness, May 
5, 1864. He was buried at Pittsburgh with ceremonies appropriate to his 
rank as an officer and character as a man. 

Jesse L. Reno, who rose to a higher rank than any other of the thousands 
of brave men from Venango county who have been engaged at various times 
in the military service of their country, also obtained his first experience of 
actual military operations in the war with Mexico. Born in Virginia in 
1823, his father, Lewis T. Reno, came to Franklin in 1832, and there his 
son passed the following ten years of his life, obtaining such education as 
the academy and select schools of the place afforded. In June, 1842, he 
was appointed a cadet at West Point, and graduated at that institution in 
1846, in the same class with Generals George B. McClellan and Thomas J. 
(Stonewall) Jackson. In a class of fifty-nine he stood eighth in general 
merit. He was appointed brevet second lieutenant of ordnance July 1, 
1846, and second lieutenant March 3, 1847, and served throughout Scott's 
campaigns, from the siege of Vera Cruz to the entrance into Mexico. After 
the close of the war he was successively assistant professor of mathematics 
at West Point, secretary of the board for preparing a system of instruction 


for heavy artillery, and engaged in engineering work in various departments 
of the government service. At the breaking out of the rebellion he was in 
command of Mount Union arsenal, Alabama. He was appointed brigadier 
general of volunteers November 12, 1861, and commanded a brigade of 
Burnside's army in the expedition into North Carolina. He was promoted 
to the rank of major general of volunteers July 18, 1862, and participated 
in the battles that occurred during Pope's retreat to Washington in the fol- 
lowing month. He commanded the Ninth corps of the Army of the Potomac 
at the battle of South Mountain, and was killed in that engagement Septem- 
ber 14, 1862. A monument has been erected to his memory on that battle- 
field, and his name is honored by every patriotic heart in western Pennsyl- 


State of Public Sentiment at the Outbreak of the War— Public Meet- 
ings— REcniENTAL Sketches — TiiiRTY-XiNTii — Fifty-Seventh — 
Sixty-third — Sixty-Fourth — Sixty-Fifth— One Hundred 
AND Third— One Hundred and Fifth— One Hundred 
AND Twenty-First— One Hundred and Forty- 
Second— One Hundred and Sixty-First — 
Lamberton Guards— Relief Associ- 
ation—Soldiers' Monument. 

rr^HE interval that elapsed between the national election in the autumn of 
-L I860 and President Lincoln's inauguration was a period of the most in- 
tense suspense throughout the North. The cotton states had successively se- 
ceded, a Southern Confederacy was formed, and its leaders displayed an 
energy of purpose in marked contrast with the pusillanimous inactivity of the 
retiring national administration. A momentous transference of power had 
occurred in national politics ; for the first time in its history the Republican, 
party had elected a president, while a similar result in the gubernatorial 
election of Pennsylvania gave to the people of that state an added interest in 
the final issue of the rapidly changing current of events. The sense of an 
impending national crisis pervaded every community. The bombardment of 
Fort Sumter, although it indicated conclusively that a protracted and san- 
guinary war was about to begin, relieved the tension of the public mind and 
startled the North into immediate preparation for the " irrepressible con- 

THE CIVIL WAll. 279 

flict." Every latent instinct of patriotism was stirred to action and public 
sentiment crystalized into a united determination to maintain the honor of 
the flag and the integrity of the government. 

The first public meeting in Venango county to consider the situation 
was held at Franklin on the 2Uth of January, 1861. James P. Hoover 
presided; D. D. Goodwin, Levi Dodd, and John McCrea were elected vice- 
presidents, W. T. Neill and D. W. S. Cook, secretaries. Able addresses 
were delivered by John S. McCalmont, James K. Kerr, and C. Heydrick. 
The following resolutions, temperate in tone, but unequivocal in meaning, 
may be regarded as a fairly accurate expression of public sentiment in the 
county at that date : 

Resolved, That if compromise be available to save any of the southern states of 
this Union from seceding therefrom, that we are willing so to compromise if thereby 
we do not yield any of the sacred rights of freedom for which this government was 

Resolved, That we believe that no great party in the North wishes to see the im- 
mediate emancipation of the slaves of the South; nor is Pennsylvania at present will- 
ing to assume, either her share of the purchase of Southern slaves, or to provide for 
them if emancipated without cost. 

It was impossible as yet to believe that war was imminent. The horrors of 
civil strife lent probability to the many possible ways by which an appeal to 
arms might have been averted, and in this respect the fluctuating uncertainty 
of national affairs affected the people of Venaggo county no less than the 
country at large. But the events of the next few months demonstrated 
conclusively that all hopes for an honorable compromise were chimerical. 
Hostilities were precipitated by the bombardment of Fort Sumter, April 12, 
1861, and three days later the president issued his proclamation calling out 
the militia of the loyal states to the number of seventy-five thousand men. 
The period of suspense had terminated, and the citizens of the county were 
prompt in giving expression to their unwavering adherence to the national 
executive in the policy thus inaugurated. 

A second mass meeting was held at Franklin on the evening of Monday, 
April 22, 1861. It was the largest concourse of people that had ever as- 
sembled in the history of the county. It was intended to have been held in 
the court house, but as that building would*have accommodated only a 
small portion of the crowds in attendance, the park was occupied. Robert 
Lamberton was chosen chairman, and James Bleakley and Doctor W. C. 
Evans, vice-presidents. C. W. Gilfillan and G. W. Brigham were appointed 
secretaries. Adresses were made by James K. Kerr, C. H. Heydrick, James 
S. Myers, S. P. McCalmont, H. C. Hickok, and others. A series of resolu- 
tions was adopted, the preamble of which embodied the language of Jeffer- 
son in his first inaugural: "The preservation of the general government in 
its full constitutional vigor as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and 
safety abroad, and absolute submission to the will of the majority, are car- 


dinal principles upon wbich this Union was established by the patriots of 
the Revolution," both of which, it was declared, had been set at defiance 
by the seceding states. The efforts of the border states to preserve an armed 
neutrality was pronounced to be effectual only in strengthening the states 
in rebellion; the secession of Virginia was deprecated; the government 
was urged to defend the national capital to the last extremity; the states 
that had remained true to the Union were counseled never to falter until 
the outrage upon the flag had been atoned, and submission or destruc- 
tion was declared to be the only alternative that ought to be offered the 
traitors who had assailed it. The following action was taken regarding 
the immediate duty of the people: 

Besolrcd, That it is incumbeut ou the people of this county at once to arise in their 
might and to be prepared by steady and active exercise in military dut}^ for the sup- 
port of the national government, as well as for the defense of our homes, and that it be 
recommended to the people at once to prepare with judgment, coolness, and delibera- 
tion, to form military companies, and to drill them daily so as to be ready when called 
into active service; and that it be recommended to form companies full to the war com- 
plement of seventy seven, one at each of the following places; Franklin, Coopers- 
town, Utica, Pleasantville, Oil City, Tionesta, Salina, Rockland, Emlenton, Clinton- 
ville, Meclianicsville, and Waterloo, to be formed into a Venango regiment when 
required; that the president of this meeting appoint a committee of safety, consisting 
of twenty persons, who shall have the power to organize a home guard to preserve 
order as the general guidance of affairs in the present crisis may direct. 

The recommendation regarding the formation of a distinctively Venango 
regiment was found impracticable, and no emergency occurred to require 
the organization of a " home guard, ' ' but the action of the meeting shows 
that the citizens were thoroughly aroused to the importance of taking prompt 
and decisive measures. Party distinctions were for the time obliterated in 
the consciousness of a common danger. The meeting had an influence 
in stimulating loyalty and concentrating public attention to the one issue at 
stake which could scarcely have been accomplished through any other 


The Tenth regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corj^s was organized 
in the western part of the state, and rendezvoused at Camp Wilkins, near 
Pittsburgh, where an organization was effected in June, 1861, by the election 
of John S. McCalmont, of Venango county, a West Point graduate and 
regular army officer, as colonel; James T. Kirk, lieutenant colonel, and 
Harrison Allen, major. The regiment was mustered into the United States 
service July 21, 1861, and for a brief period encamped near Washington, 
after which it was assigned to the Third brigade, at first commanded by 
Colonel McCalmont, but afterward by General E. O. C. Ord. Its first actual 
fighting was at the battle of Drainesville, in December, 1861. In June, 1862, 
it was transferred to McClellan's army operating against Richmond, and 


participated at Mechaaicsville June 26th. Gaines' Mills on the 27th and 30th, 
capturing on the latter date sixty prisoners. The loss in the series of battles 
which commenced at Mechanicsville was over two hundred. From the Pen- 
insula the regiment passed to the army of General Pope, and participated 
at the second battle of Bull Run, at South Mountain and Antietam, and 
Fredericksburg. It shared in the memorable campaign that culminated at 
Gettysbiirg in July, 1863, and in the campaign against Richmond in 1864. 
On the 11th of June, 1864, the remnant of this brave and once strong 
body of men, which had fought in nearly every battle in which the Army of 
the Potomac was engaged, was mustered out of service at Pittsburgh. 

Company C was recruited at Franklin. Nearly a thousand dollars were 
contributed for its equipment; the uniforms were of local manufacture, 
made by the ladies of the town fi'om cloth obtained at the Kennerdell mills 
in Clinton township. The company was known as the "Venango Grays." 
They left by keel-boat for Pittsburgh, June 6, 1861, arriving at Camp 
Wilkins Saturday, the 8th of that month. The following is a roster of the 
company : 

Captains: C. Miller Over, Charles C. Cochran. 
First Lieutenants: Charles W. Mackey, William M. Patton. 
Sergeants: Samuel McKinzie, Jesse L. Pryor, Milton S. Singleton, 
John C. Kirkpatrick, Preston M. Hill, Lewis W. McQuaid, James L. Mc 
Cullough, Walter B. Fogus, Noble F. Leslie, Gillis C. Keener, William C. 
McElwain, Elihu G. Neighbor, William Dougherty, George G. McLain, 
Thomas W. Agnew, George W. Peters, Samuel Moyer, James M. Covert. 
Corporals: Robert D. Sutton, F. T. Alexander, James B. White, Ben- 
jamin P. Addleman, Myers Eckenberger, John M. Wimer, W. H. Kirk- 

Musician, Emory A. Sadler. 

Privates: Hiram Brown, Joseph M. Bowman, Lyman Brown, Freeling 
Brown, Christopher Cramer, Aaron T. Cross, Benjamin F. Camp, George 
Crispan, Robert Coulter, John H. Crawford, George W\ Conver, Ephraim 
Dempsey, David Dorland, George Elliott, R. H. Fitzsimmons, Smith Ful- 
kerson, William J. Grable, Andrew Griffin, James B. Galbraith, John 
Griffin, Frederick Heigle, William A. Horton, Thomas J. Jones, John Jour- 
don, Hiester Keith, William 'Kreckle, Marcus Lockrout, Samuel Leslie, 
David Lovell, William Loose, Gilbert Morgan, George McCool, John S. 
May, Thomas M. McFadden, John H. McQuaid, Annis Moore, Alexander 
McCurdy, William McKinzie, Daniel B. McMillan, David P. Morrison, 
Samuel McChesney, George Meager, Robert B. Nellis, Isaiah Nellis, James 
Nickleson, James Oldridge, Thomas H. Pollock, William B. Powell, 
Thomas J. Ross, Joseph D. Ross, William Remley, Samuel B. Ross, Ab- 
salom Smith, Samuel Stewart, Anthony Showers. George S. Shattuck, 
George W. Scott, John Seibert, Daniel K. Sheffler, Alexander F. Sawhill, 


Alexander Sallinger, Samuel M. Skeel, James D. Shaw, Thomai=i H. Tem- 
pleton, Ezekiel N. Tracy, Robert Taylor, William A. Varner, William P. 
White, John H. AVilhelm, William J. Welsh, Bradford Wilson, Henry J. 
Widle, Edward Wallace, William Winkleman. John Wilson, John Wolf- 
kill, James S. Wonzer, John Walters, John Yingling. 


This regiment was principally recruited in the counties of Mercer, Craw- 
ford, and Venango. It was organized at Camp Curtin with the election 
of William Maxwell, of Mercer county, colonel; Elhannan W. Woods, of 
Mercer county, lieutenant colonel, and Jeremiah Culp, of Bradford county, 
major. It was subsequently commanded by Colonels Charles T. Campbell, 
Peter Sides, and George Zinn; Thomas S. Strohecker, who was promoted 
to a lieutenant colonelcy March 12, 1863, was the only field officer from this 
county. The regiment was ordered into line with the Army of the Potomac 
in February, 1862, and assigned to Jameson's brigade of Heintzleman's 
division. At the operations against Yorktown it was engaged in the trenches 
under conditions exceedingly deleterious to health, and io consequence of 
this and subsequent exposure it became necessary to discharge quite a num- 
ber of the men on account of sickness. It was engaged at Fair Oaks May 
31, 1862, at Charles City Cross Roads on the 30th of June, at Malvern Hill 
on the 1 st of July, at the second battle of Bull Run on the 29th and 30th 
of August, at Chantilly on the 1st of September, and at Fredericksburg on 
the 13th of December. The principal engagements in which it participated 
in the following year were Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, sustaining severe 
losses on both occasions. In January, 1864, the regiment was dismissed on 
veteran furlough and after an absence of forty-nine days returned to camp. 
On the 4th of May it was engaged at close range with a detachment of the 
enemy near Chancellorsville, losing one hundred and forty-three men in 
killed, wounded, and missing. In January, 1865, having been greatly 
reduced in numbers, the regiment was consolidated into a battalion of six 
companies, and later, by a union with the Eighty- Fourth, restored to its 
former strength. On the 25th of March it was engaged in the demonstra- 
tions about Fort Steadman which inaugurated the movement resulting in 
the capture of Petersburg. It was mustered out of service in June at 

Company I was recruited in Venango and Mercer counties. The roster 
was as follows : 

Captains: Thomas S. Strohecker. Lorenzo D. Bumpus, James D. Moore, 
John R. Ross. 

First lieutenants: George Supplee, John Bowers, Thomas E. Merchant. 

Second lieutenants: Jesse R. Williams, Edward S. Benedict, John F. 
Cox, Henry M. Adams, Cyrus P. Slaven. James M. Lewis. 


Sergeants: George W. Lower, William C. Stewart, O. D. Waterman, 
William Curtis, Alfred Aurandt, Henry M. Snare, William Bone. Orsemus 
K. White, James W. Cnmmings, James L. Wykoff. 

Corporals: Joseph Enders, Lartis Campbell, Jacob W. Miller, John C. 
Shinefelt, Amon Houck, James Colbert, Elijah Gorsuch. Samuel L. Hare, 
David A. Stewart, James A. Davis, Virgil Brigham, Elijah Estep, James 
Zahniser, L. N. Herring, C. G. Barker, A. C. Hanna, Levi McFadden, 
Albert Reynolds. 

Musician, Jeremiah Black. 

Privates: James B. Armstrong, Jacob Ashton, Howard D. Avery, John 
Bradley, Anson M. Bidwell, K. H. Bassett, Edwin E. Brown, David Bell, 
Jacob Blake, Oscar A. Bailey, Oren D. Brigham, Eliphalet Bush, Peter Ben - 
ner, William B. Brinner, William Barret, James J. Bruner, Demetrius 
Barnhart, George Cassell, J. J. Clevenger, John Charles, Wayne Campbell, 
Robert Collins, John C. Cathumas, Francis Chilson, Jacob Cramer, Thomas 
Dugan, Judson Davy, Frank Duanehaffer, John Drake, James Ellerson, 
Henry C. Estep, Joseph D. Everhart, Samiiel Eddleman, David Estep, A. 
Eichman, James Evans, Henry Ford, Henry Felber, George A. Flannigan, 
James Gallagher, George Garner, Warner Hurley, Henry Heverly, Austin 
Hoban, Robert Hartley, John Herman, Isaac D. Harris, Henry Hale, Will- 
iam Hurley, William A. Houck, Samuel Hale, Isaac Hollenbaugh, Caleb 
Higbee, Michael Haggerty, William Ishman, William M. Johnson, John 
Kilgore, Hugh Kearnan, Levi Kessler, Daniel Kiag, Richard Lanely, Sam- 
uel Lessick, James M. Lias, Frank Lewis, George R. Mountain, AVilliam 
A. Maxwell, Charles Monroe, Simeon Middeaugh, James Miller, Levi 
Metzker, Andrew J. Mosher, Jacob S. Miller, Andrew J. Marks, C. Muxum, 
Henry McLaughlin, Samuel McDonald, Julius C. McGonnigle, Edwin 
North, Adam Nash, Samuel Nunamaker, William Newhoiise, Daniel Oberly, 
Levi Ostrander, George W. Parks, George Patton, James Rue, Charles W. 
Richards, Henry Smith, Henry Schwab, William Scott, Henry Snyder, Jacob 
Shaffer, Bradley Sherwood, John Taylor, Joseph Tetweiler, John E. Ullery, 
Loomis Vargason, Jesse D. Vargason, Julius Veit, David S. Walters, 
Moses Wood, David H. Weaver, John C. Wilson, E. Wayland, August 
Wagoner, Thomas C. Wykoff, Henry B. Wood, William Wanrick. James 
A. Yingling. 


The Sixty-Third was recruited in Allegheny county and the valley of 
the Allegheny river, with one company from Beaver, and a comparatively 
small number of men fi*om Venango. The field officers were Alexander 
Hays, a native of this county, colonel; A. S. M. Morgan, lieutenant colonel, 
and Maurice Wallace, major, at the time of its organization, in 1861. It 
was assigned to the Third brigade of Heintzelman's division, and did gal- 


lant service at Fair Oaks, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, the sec- 
ond battle of Bull Run, and Chantilly; General Kearny having been killed 
in the latter engagement the division was ordered to the defenses of Wash- 
ington, but after the battle of Antietam rejoined the army and participated 
at Fredericksburg. The regiment also took part in the Chancellorsville and 
Gettysburg campaigns, and in the movements of 1864 in Virginia. 

Company G, recruited in Allegheny, Venango, and Armstrong counties, 
was composed as follows: 

Captains: Charles W. McHenry, Isaac Moorhead. 

First lieutenants: S. Hays Cochran, James S. Williams. 

Second lieutenants: Robert Houston, William R. Nicholson. 

Sergeants: Aaron W. Gilmore, John Cessna, John M. Thomas, John 
C. Brookbank, William B. Peiffer, Robert W. Martin. 

Corporals: John Pickel. James N. Coulter, George A. Cook, William M. 
Smith, Alfred B. Lupher, Frank H. Johnston, Edward Wacksmith, Milton 
J. Adams, Benjamin H. Smith, Matthew A. Rankin, Simon StefFy, William 
J. Graham, Thomas Q. Martin. 

Musicians: John Hassinger, Philip Hassinger. 

Privates: Wales D. Ashton, Peter Armberger, Robert M. Brown, George 
Blystone, William Blystone, John Bleakney, Samuel D. Barnett, Peter 
Boyer, Simon Blystone, C. G. Cooper, Jesse Cole, John R. Cos, W. L. Cal- 
houn, William Cooper, David W. Coursin, Robert H. Daily, Robert David- 
son, Asa O. Douglass, James D. Douglass, Samuel C. Dewoody, Christian 
Deim, Joseph H. Fulton, Robert A. Fulton, Henry Frailey, John A. Frai- 
ley, Charles France, William Frailey, Thomas Frue, Curtis C. Gritfin, 
Daniel M. Gardner, Joseph Gardner, W. F. Green, James Gates, David R. 
George, Jacob Gardner, Henry R. Gress, W. C. Hoover, John Henderson, 
Andrew Henderson, Josiah M. Hays, Cornelius Hoffman, B. W. Hull, Ral- 
ston Hoover, Samuel S. Hays, John F. Jones, Samuel Jack, Wilder Jack- 
son, James Johnston, John Kelly, Henry Klugh, William R. Keppel, Sylois 
Leasure, James Lindsay, Robert C. Law, David C. Martin, Charles Moore, 
George W. Martin, Samuel Mulbei-ger, Samuel G. Moorehead, James Mar- 
kle, Thomas L. Martin, David K. Mitchell, Cyrus J. Moore, Andrew J. 
Moore, Jacob Miller, James S. Myers, William Magee, John T. McCoy, 
Robert B. McCoy, Hugh McConnell, Clark Near, Philip O' Sullivan. Itha- 
mar Porter, Noah W. Porter, Joseph P. Rankin, John A. Robinson, Robert 
Rogers, Isaac L. Rearick, John Ritchey, Lobin Russell, Samuel A. Rhodes, 
Joseph Rudler, Alexander Rupert, William H. H. Sloan, Edson E. Shep- 
herd, Jacob Saddler, John A. Sell, William C. Smith, George Schick, Harri- 
son C. Stoph, M. Schemerhorn, Wilson M. Stills, John Salada, John St. 
Clair, Adam F. Smith, Thomas Smith, John Silliberg, David F. Sheets^ 
Simon Shall, David Shiery, Andrew J. Smeltzer, John Sitts, Samuel Sharp, 
George W. Taylor, AVilliam Thomas, David J. Thomas, Hampton Thomp- 

THE CIVIL WAll. 287 

son, Solomon Vensel, A. A. G. AVilhelm, George Wolfkill, W. S. Whitman, 
Charles D. Warner, A. W. Wilhelm. 


Venango county had a larger representation in this regiment than in any 
other. There was one company from Northampton county, three from Alle- 
gheny, two from Westmoreland and Indiana, four from Venango, one from 
Lebanon, and one from Luzerne, which rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, but 
were soon afterward transferred to Washington, where they were mustered 
into service and organized into three battalions under the following field offi- 
cers: David Campbell, of Pittsburgh, colonel; James H. Childs, of Pitts- 
burgh, lieutenant colonel; James K. Kerr, of Venango, first major; Will- 
iam E. Doster, of Northampton, second major; James H. Trimble, of West- 
moreland, third major. Upon the resignation of Colonel Campbell, in 
March, 18G2, Lieutenant Colonel Childs was promoted to succeed him; Ma- 
jor Kerr was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy and Captain George H. 
Covode to a majority. In the following May the regiment was assigned to 
McCall's division, Pennsylvania Reserves. In June a battalion under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Kerr was ordered to Yorktown, where it remained during the 
Peninsula campaign. On the 26th of June a squadron led by Captain Her- 
ron, while .scouting beyond the lines, met the Confederate advance and fired 
the first shot on the Union side in the ensuing Sev^n Days' battles, in which, 
however, the regiment was not conspicuously engaged. From Harrison's 
Landing it marched to Yorktown, and thence to Washington, and rejoined 
McClellan's army in the movement into Maryland, having been assigned to 
General Averell's brigade. Owing to the illness of the latter the command 
devolved upon Colonel Childs, and Lieutenant Colonel Kerr led the regi- 
ment. At the battle of Antietam Colonel Childs was killed, resulting in the 
promotion of Lieutenant Colonel Kerr to the colonelcy. In the autumn of 
1862 the regiment was stationed near Hancock, Maryland; it was with Pleas- 
anton in bis pursuit of Stuart, and during the battle of Fredericksburg was 
stationed on the north side of the Rappahannock. In the movement upon 
Chancellorsville, in the Gettysburg campaign, and particularly in the pur- 
suit of Lee's retreating army, the Fourth was actively engaged. On the 
12th of October, 1863, the regiment, already reduced to three hundred and 
seventy- five men, sustained a loss of two hundred. When the time for vet- 
eran re-enlistment arrived more than two-thirds of the men enrolled for a 
second term. During the Wilderness campaign the cavalry frequently dis- 
mounted to form skirmish line. The Fourth accompanied Sheridan in his 
raid upon Richmond, and in his second raid, of which the objective point 
was Lynchburg. It was in a number of skirmishes during the summer and 
autumn of 1864, the most important being the second advance upon the 
Weldon railroad. After Lee's surrender it was assigned to permanent duty 


at Lynchburg, where it was Diustered out of service on the 1st of July, 1865. 

Four companies of this regiment were from this county. They mustered 
at Franklin, October 14, 1861, and left at six P. M. for Pittsburgh by the 
steamboat Venango, arriving at that place at half-past two the following 
day. On the next day, at four A. M. , they started for Harrisburg; at 
Camp Curtin they were uniformed, and thence proceeded to Washington. 
The rosters of the respective companies were as follows: 

ComiKiny H. — Captains: James H. Pennell, Robert J. Phipijs, George 
^\. Wilson. 

First lieutenants: A. A. Plumer, John R. Dodge, Thomas J. Robinson, 
Josiah J. Watkins, Adelbert M. Beatty. 

Second lieutenants: Abraham Edwards, James M. Gayetty, David P. 

Sergeants: Albert Benedict, Jacob Lyons, Andrew Brown, James R. 
Downing, James "Wilkins, James McFadden, Reese Clark, James Galbraith, 
John Crain, Alexander G. Wilkins, Charles Albaugh. 

Corporals: David Ray, William H. Gayetty, John R. Stover, Alfred L. 
Comb, H. F. Bowman, Joseph G. Hall, Charles W. McEiray, John Jackson, 
Samuel Hatch, Russell Lincoln, Wilson Cathcart, Ethan Stone. 

Buglers: Edgar Nyle, Daniel Hurstine. 

Blacksmith, Lewis Mitchell. 

Farrier, A. Bumgardner. 

Privates: John A. Adams, Samuel S. Adams, John Anderson, Joseph 
Bates, William F. Brown, John J. Black, Smith Byers, Andrew H. Bush, 
John Brown, Joseph Breing, Francis Bull, George N. Crodle, Hiram Con- 
ner, Matthew B. Conner, John Q. A. Conner, Hiram A. Conner, David Cole- 
man, William Calaghan, Henry Carner, Adam Crider, James Collar, Asa M. 
Clark, Robert P. Clark, Parcus Copeland, Charles Castle, Daniel Dunmire, 
William Davis, George Davis, John E. Davis, John M. Dunn, Zenis N. 
Durrin, John S. Dick, Josiah Duffield, William Duflfriel, George Dewoody, 
Asa Eastman, C. H. Fahnestock, W. M. Graham, George W. Gates, James 
Gormly, Samuel M. Gardner, Thomas S. Gibson, John F. Grace, Caleb 
Gray, Freeman D. Grace, Jackson P. Huey, William G. Hall, Patrick 
Hughes, John Harris, Joseph Hibbs, Cristopher Hyser, A. H. Hunsinger, 
Samuel Hewett, Robert W. N. Henry, Reese E. Harris, Hiram J. Hamilton, 
William A. Johnson, George W. Lindly, David L. Miller, Cyrus Michael, 
Charles Miller, Thomas H. Megogany, Hiram Milford, Amos H. Monroe, 
Isaac Maloney, John F. Meader, John McGinley, Milton M. McCully, John 
McCallister, John McMillan, P. H. McArdle, Jacob Riser, Walter C. Parker, 
James A. Powell, Sylvester Parker, Richard Quinlin, John AV. Riddle, Hor- 
atio Randall, Anthony Robertson, Charles H. Ruff, George H. Ridgely, 
FrankStephens,Alexander Scott, John J. Snodgrass, N. N. Stevenson, Harvey 
V. Stoops, George H. Smith, Andrew Sanford, Charles S. Sanford, Thomas 


Stevenson, George Tliropp, Charles Tripp, John Upton, Wesley H. Varner, 
John Williams, Alexander Williams, John W^inters, Andrew Whisner, John 
Whiteel, Peter Woodley, James Wood, James Walshaw. 

Company L, — Captains: Charles E. Taylor, Robert L. Coltart, Francis 
M. Ervay, Andrew Nellis. 

First lieutenants: Mile A. Plumer, Robert Coltart. 

Second lieutenants: Alexander Frazier, Joshua C. Bealle, Albert J. 
Servey, William H. Cowan. 

Sero-eants: Paul Neely, John B. Hogue, William H. Thompson, Daniel 
W. Servey, Henry Bender, Robert King, Isaac Burris, A\'illiam S. Keller, 
John T. Ewens, Cyrus S. Mark, Daniel E. Wise. 

Corporals: Parker Lupher, Harvey V\. Jones, James Callen, James M. 
Bethune, Homer C. Brown, William Strite, J. Keas, Lewis McFadden. 

Bugler, Robert P. Shaw. 

Blacksmith, Artemus Kinnear. 

Farrier, William B. Keener. 

Privates: William Amon, Loyal Adams, Joseph A. Alter, Jacob Aly, 
Cortlandt Brown, Crawford Belig, Jacob H. Bethune, Richard Barkly, 
Daniel J. Brown, William C. Bryant, Joseph Bronnette, Terence C. Byers, 
Lewis Byrns, John Bethune, George Baney, Isaac Baney, George Bromley, 
George Culber, William Criswell, Thomas Colburn, Benjamin F. Crain, 
John Clark, Ephraim F. Cisco, James Carnahan, Silas Davis, William H. 
Dill, James R. Davidson, Joseph E. Davis, Benjamin Dougherty, William 
H. Durning, Daniel Eagan, Thomas M. Elder, Henry Freeby, John E. 
Freeman, William S. Fleming, John Flager, Samuel R. Foulk, George 
Ghearing, Lewis Gross, Ira B. Gilmore, Willabed Gneedig, Isaac Gormly, 
George W. Gates, Jacob Grinnells, James Hoover, Horace Haller, Thomas 
B. Hoffman, Thomas L. Hays, Marvin S. Hasson, Robert Hilands, George 
B. Haines, William Harrison, Wiley H. Hunter, Levi E. Hart, Melvin A. 
Johnson, Milton James, William T. Johnson, Jeremiah C. Jennings, Sam- 
uel James, Alexander James, Andrew P. Jones, Peter D. Kelly, George 
Kinnear, Charles Kelly, Truman J. King, Robert Kirtley, James F. Lam- 
berton, Gilbert Lupher, Barnett Lupher, James Legg, Paul Messner, Will- 
iam Miller, Daniel Miller, Daniel Murray, James Marshall, William 
Mooney, Lewis Miles, John L. McCalmont, Robert G. McClelland, Marcus 
McCurdy, James McMillen, William McCutcheon, Jacob Nellis, James 
Posey, Richard Place, John W. Porterfield, John W. Patterson, William 
Reagle, John Reagle, John Roberts, Josiah Randal, Thomas J. Robertson, 
Albert Reagle, William J. Reynolds, Rufus P. Seely, Alfred M. Shaw, 
Josiah Scott, Thomas O. Scott, Charles J. Smith, Michael Smith, Jerry B. 
Smith, Frank Showalter, Israel Stroup, Edward Stroup, Jacob Smith, Mark 
Smale, Porter Thompson, Miller M. Thomas, William Thomas, Isaac Taylor, 
W. D. Taylor, William Thompson, John Vorans, Samuel AVallace, John 


Werrell, Andrew P. Watt, Thomas T. AVatt, Francis M. Wilson, George 

Company K. — Captains: William W. Shorts, Henry M. Hughes, James 
R. Grant. 

First lieutenant, George W. Wise. 

Second lieutenants: Robert J. Atwell, John A. Welton. 

Sergeants: Joseph W. Russell, William C. Bigler, Solomon Funk, James 
McGarvey, Richard M. Hoffman, John W. Baker, Samuel B. Foster, James 

F. Billingsley, Levi Porter, James E. McClaskey, S. M. Lockard, Freeland 

Corporals: David R. P. Gates, John H. McKelvey, William D. Downing, 
Jacob Harlan, William C. Eakin, John T. Couse, Wesley B. Foster, Daniel 
Krister, William C. Yard, Donaldson Graham, John F. Brown, Charles A. 
Tibbins, Hezekiah Baker, Nathaniel S. Boals. 

Bugler, Warren M. Lockard. 

Blacksmith, Robert Shaw. 

Farrier, Thomas Davis. 

Saddlers: John A. Goucher, Daniel Shuler. 

Privates: Perry S. Atwell, Joseph Bleakley, William Bleakley, James 
Bleakley, Frederick S. Boals, Martin Bigler, Oliver P. Barnes, James T. 
Biirr, Alva W. Bigley, Alonzo S. Baker, James I. Burns, William Cramer, 
W. W. Crawford, John M. Cornelius, Gotleib Coonradt, Thomas L. Curry, 
Walter Cassidy, Craft Coast, Eri Cary, Andrew J. Donaldson, Thomas 
Duffey, John R. Dodds, Thomas Dewoody, Reese Evans, Martin B. Foster, 
Ross C. Foster, Irwin C. Fether, William J. Graham, Brice Gilmore, 
Henry Highfield, Weslej^ Hightield, William J. Hickman, Caleb G. Hovis, 

G. W. Hovis, R. M. Hovis, Jacob Henderson, William Hackett, Charles 
Huberman, John Highfield, Emanuel Harman, Henry Harlem, H. A. Har- 
man, James Irwin, David E. Irwin, Albert M. Jones, William H. Jeffries, 
J. B. W. Johnson, B. W. James, John L. Jackson, George "W. Koonce, 
George W. Kim, Isaac Latchaw, David Latchaw, Sidney Lambert, James 
Little, Robert Lytle, T. I. Montgomery, J. H. Monjar, D. Montgomery, 
Harrison Moyer, Alexander Martin, Thomas Michael, Frederick Moyer, 
Jonathan McKain, John C. McCamant, Perry McFadden, Charles McFad- 
den, John A. McCoy, William McKelvey, Sullivan K. McKain, D. A. Mc- 
Williams, John P. Nogler, Peter Nogler, John Ogelsby, Samuel R. Osborn, 
John L. Perry, Andrew J. Phipps, Harrison Pope. Wellington W. Pope, 
George C. Richards, Thomas Rock, Samuel R. Russell, David H. Rysor, 
Washington Richards, Patterson Sankey, Absalom Shuler, Benjamin Stover, 
Robert Shorts, John G. Sutton, William C. Sutton, Abram W. Shorts, M. 
Strawhacker, Jesse Sarver, Robert S. Sarver, John P. Say, Wilson Swetzer, 
Jackson Shipps, Alexander Thompson, James Thompson. Lafayette B. 
Varner, David H. Varner, John Varner, Richard M. Walter, John S. Wil- 


son, Clark White, Samuel R. Weston, Eli Williams, Alexander Witlierup, 
John Withernp, David A. Witlierup, Thomas Witherup, Henry H. Wilson, 
Sharpless C. Wise, John B. Woodling, Albert V. Weed, Peter Walters, 
Israel S. Yard. 

Company L. — Captains: Alender S. Duncan, William B. Mays, John 
P. Barr. 

First lieutenant, Henry S. Bickel. 

Second lieutenants: John B. Maitland, George W. Wilson, Abner 
J. Pryer. 

Sergeants: Henry H. Lusher, Andi-ew J. Sollinger, James D. Troutner, 
John Donaldson, Jonathan S. Roberts, Sylvester Brandon, Samuel F. 
Karns, William Gr. Sheppard, John B. Snyder, Sylvester Porter, John 
Hughes, Augustus F. Loles. 

Corporals: Charles E. Nugent, Francis ^V. Bowen, Peter J. Richey, 
Richard Conway, George H. Porter, Robert B. Crawford, Harvey Christy. 
Andrew J. Davis, Jonathan Gloss, John Huston, William A. Seaton, Earl 
B. French, Samuel N. King, James G. Hamilton, John M. Hilbert, Solo 
mon C. Heckathorn, Alpheus Mays. 

Buglers: Thomas J. Henderson, William J. Gibbons. 

Blacksmiths: Daniel Sullinger, Dominick Scott. 

Farriers: Andrew J. Turk, Jackson Hanly. 

Privates: Joseph A. Alters, John W. And&rson, Stephen Burgwin, 
Edward Burgwin, Thomas Brandon, James Bryer, Bernard Burns, Isaac 
Bears, Samuel Bickel, AVilliam G. Bishop. Daniel J. Brown, Frank W\ 
Beatie, Charles H. Bates, Thomas Burns, Robert Cain, Albertus Coons, 
William J. Calighan, George W. Carney, Thomas M. Christy, Clinton Col- 
lingwood, Charles Coop, Peter O. Conver, Andrew J. Caroer, Eli Carner, 
Thomas L. Curry, Alexander Curtis, William Campbell, David AV. David- 
son, Andrew H. Downing, Thomas Davis, John Drach, AVilliam H. Dill, 
Jacob Eckelbarger, James Estes, Liberty Estes, John Eckelbarger, James 
H. Fulton, Franklin Flowers, Daniel Ferdan, Anthony Frankhauser, 
Robert Fowler, Barney Fogle, M. M. Freeborn, John B. Gailey, Cyrus 
Gardner, John W.. Gilger, Garrett Griffin, James Gates, David Howell, 
Simon P. Hughs, John Hagan, Frederick Hoover, James Hyndman, Sam- 
uel E. Holdridge, R. A. Hutchinson, Allen S. Jolly, James Jones, John 
Johnson, John Kellerman, John Kerr, Charles S. King, Michael Kelly, J. 
H. Louderbough, Jacob G. Lusher, John P. Maitland, George W. Moore, 
Philander Mays, John Montgomery, John S. Mossman, John Miller, Thomas 
Morgan. AVilliam Manson, Larimer Mays, AVilliams H. Moore, James 
Myers, John McCormick, James McMillen, John McTiernan, Thomas Mc- 
Kain, John McKelvey, Joseph McMullen, Marcus McCurdy, Andrew Mc- 
Millen, George AV. McCoy, Henry Neely, AVilliam Nowlder, Henry Ochs, 
John Oldham, Samuel Payne, Samuel AV. Pryer, John F. Pryer, AVilliam 


C. Pryer, Thomas A. Parker, John W. Pryer, Robert R. Pike, Octavius A. 
Russell, John P. Rollins, John W. Roberts, Joseph Roberts, Edward Rice, 
John W. Reno, John T. Ritter, William Ruhe, Patrick Ryan, Samuel C. 
Reynolds, John Roberts, William C. Sullinger, James C. Sullinger, Adam 
Stroup, Michael Sowers, Eliel C. Spencer, John M. Snyder, Jacob Stein- 
bright, John Snyder, John S. Smith, John Stump, Jacob Sipe, Edward 
Stroup, George Sheffer, Israel A. Straub, John Seibert, George Tenant, 
Abraham S. Taylor, James Thorp, Joseph Vosler, Jeremiah D. Went- 
worth, Samuel R. Walker, P. Zimmerman, F. Zimmerman. 


The Fifth Cavalry was at first known as the Cameron Dragoons and was 
among the first of the three-years' regiments raised. There were ten com- 
panies from Philadelphia and two from the western part of the state, one 
of which was partially recruited in Venango county. The following were 
the field officers: Colonel, Max Friedman; lieutenant colonel, Philip Becker; 
majors: J. L. Moss, Stephen E. Smith, and E. M. Boteler. During the 
year 1862 the Fifth was principally engaged in scouting in the rear of 
the army during the Peninsula campaign, and on the north side of York 
river. In January, 1S()3, it was transported from Yorktown to West 
Point and marched in the direction of Indiantown, intercepting and captur- 
ing a valuable baggage train of the enemy. After a comparatively quiet 
summer, during which a large number of the men were in hospitals, a bat- 
talion composed of five companies was sent to the Dismal swamp region in 
September, part of which advanced into North Carolina. In 1864 the regi- 
ment participated in the raid upon the Weldon and Richmond and Danville 
railroads; in the summer, having joined General Butler's forces, it was en- 
gaged in an assault upon the defenses of Petersburg, and after the union of 
the cavalry divisions of Generals Kautz and Wilson, started upon what is 
familiarly known as Wilson's raid, sustaining a loss of three hundred men, 
half its effective force, in an engagement with General Longstreet on the 
28th of July. A similar depletion in its ranks occurred on the 7th of Oc- 
tober when the division, led by General Kautz, was eng.^ged with a greatly 
superior force under Longstreet and Pickett. On the 10th of December 
Longstreet' s corps was again the aggressor at Charles City Road, and was 
repulsed with loss. The regiment continued on picket duty at that place 
until March 25, 1865; it took part in the maneuvers immediately prior to 
Lee's surrender and was finally mustered out, three hundred and thirty-one 
officers and men, on the 19th of May, and the remainder on the 7th of 

Compmiy ill, composed of the following officers and privates, was re- 
cruited in Venango and Allegheny counties: 

Captains: Anderson Faith, John P. Wenzel, G. S. L. Ward. 


First lieutenants: George J. Kerr, Thomas Little, Frank C. Grugan. 

Second lieutenants: Walter H. Fitten, Wilson E. Davis, Calvin D. 

Sergeants: William McGinnis, William Bothwell, Edward Bailey, James 
Bennett, James B. Jennings, Hugh McClory, Patrick Ford, llobert Russell, 
Patrick Carlin, John L. Burrows, William Mendenhall, Martin Maher, 
Joseph McClellan, Uriah Patterson, William J. Andre, Silas C. Hough. 

Corporals: George Latch, Francis McCaffrey, Joseph Devlin, David 
Phillips, Charles Denight, Joseph Martin, John O'Neill, David W. Parker, 
John Fisher, Herman Hagemiller, Henry Bohder, Henry Steltz, Edward 
Hoffman, George Levis, John Winkleman, F. Huldenwrenter, George M. 
Koons, R. H. Anderson. 

Bugler, Harvey M. Reno. 

Artificer, Cyrus E. Reagle. 

Blacksmith, Dennis Dorris. 

Farrier, James Hickey. 

Privates: Leonard C. Adams, Josiah Abbott, Stephen C. Albright. Jere- 
miah Albert, Joseph Arker, Hiram Abbott, Samuel Albei't, Thomas Bailey, 
John Barnes, John W. Baker, Daniel W. Bohanan, Frederick Bush, Thomas 
Broomall, John A. Boyd, David H. Bronson, George H. Bartle, Jacob Bickle, 
Zephaniah Benz, Ferdinand Benz, Milton Brame, Adam Brinker, Joseph 
Bowers, Edward Brady. Dennis Boyce, James M. Brady, Charles Beeser,. 
William Berlin, Christian L. Beck, Alexander Cameron, William H. Coates,. 
George C. Croffutt. Peter F. Campbell, Joseph Coughlin, Daniel Culver,. 
John Connor, James Curry, George Clift, Samuel Caldwell, Morris Collins, 
Edward Coyle, Patrick Cassiday, Henry Crist, James J. Cooper, John Day. 
James Doody, Alexander Dailey, William Davis, John Donahue, Joshua 
Davis, Josei:)h Donovan, Albert Denver, George M. Dever, Andrew David- 
son, Daniel Dull, Charles W. Dreibelbis, Matthew Dolan, Henry M. Ellis, 
Henry J. Eckenrod, John Evans, Charles Egenchyller, William Fessler, 
Samuel H. Fenton, John Funk, Alexander Flynn, David S. Foreman, Har- 
rison Fiedler, August Fraca, Patrick Gorman, Michael Gainer, Miles Gross, 
John Gallagher, William Green, George Harrison, Louis Hendervine, Will- 
iam Hook, David C. Henk, John D. Hetsler, Morris Helmes, Michael Hunt, 
Lewis Howard, William Hoffman, George W. Hemphill, George Hunter, H. 
Humelbaugh, John Johnson, Edwin Johnston, Samuel Kennedy, Stephen 
Kearney, James F. Keating, William Kirkwood, Gottlieb Kafer, John Knap- 
ler, John Keblinger, Rudolph Kelker, John Lehry, William Leyrer, Samuel 
Levy, Francis S. Long, Alexander Lutz, Charles Leip, Samuel Lever, Fred- 
erick Lenegan, James S. Moore, Henry M. Money, John Monaghan, ^^'ill- 
iam Magee, Thomas C. Mason, Archibald Murphy, John Martin, John More- 
head, Jonas Mull, Matthew Manees, Adam Miller, John Marks, A\'illiam 
Moore, William Marker, Henry Magee, Andrew C. Mott, Bartholomew Maier> 


Andrew McGinnis, Patrick McHugh, James McAvoy, John McNeill, Philip 
McCue, Michael McKenna, Peter McGue, Alexander McGhee, John B. Mc- 
Cormick, Bernard McBride, Philip M. Norbeck, F. Nonnamaker, Charles 
Newkirk, William Openshaw, John Orr, Dennis O'Donnel, James A. Price, 
Richard Peel, Samuel Pinkerton, John Porter. James R. Porterfield, Michael 
Quinn, Larissa Romeo, George Reed, S. J. Reno, Josiah Rndderow, John 
S. Reichard, Andrew Reid, Robert Rankin, James Ross, George Reicht, 
James M. Shoop, William H. SufPern, Albert R. Sipe. Joseph Salm, Charles 
Sterling, John Smith, James Skiffington, William Showalter, Charles Seip, 
Heni-y Stork, Owen Smith, Isaac Shaffer, Francis M. Showers, Henry Seip, 
A. H. Sullinger, James AV. Showers, Thomas Shinkle, W. J. Stewart, Charles 
W. Shaner, J. S. Showalter, Lawrence Stafford, James B. Sample, William 
Shaffer, Charles Shaffer, Washington Shaffer, Richard Schultz, William 
Shirk, George Thompson, Thomas Tobin, William Tomlinson, Robert Tay- 
lor, Amandus Voight, Andrew Weidle, David H. Williams, Charles Weiss, 
James Williams, George AVood, Joseph Wunder, Charles G. Woodruff, Frank 
AVhite, David AVhitmoyer, John AVhite. Robert Wilson, John AVeaver, 
Charles AA^allace, Charles AVolston, James AValker, Amos AValker, Frederick 
AVetteran, Joseph Zeigler. 


This regiment was recruited in the western part of the state, and organ- 
ized at Harrisburg by the choice of the following officers: Theodore F. Leh- 
mann, colonel; AA^ilson C. Maxwell, lieutenant colonel; Audley AV. Gazzam, 
major. Its first military service occurred in the month of April, 18(32, at 
the siege of Yorktown. At the battle of Fair Oaks its loss was eighty-four 
killed and wounded; it was not engaged to any extent in the Seven Days' 
battles, but at the close of the Peninsula campaign had lost, by casualities 
and sickness, nearly half its original strengh. It was separated from the 
Army of the Potomac at that time and transported to Norfolk, whence, in 
December, it proceeded to Newbern, North Carolina, and joined General 
Foster's expedition into the interior. At its conclusion the regiment went 
into barracks on the Neuse river, and for a brief period enjoyed the pleasant 
features of military life, the prelude, unfortunately, of the worst horrors of 
war. AA'essells' brigade, to which the One Hundred and Third was attached, 
was .ordered to Plymouth, at which place General Wessells established his 
headquarters as commander of the district of the Albemarle. Fortifications 
were erected, but almost before their completion the place was invested by a 
force of fifteen thousand men under General Hoke, while the ram Albemarle 
wrought havoc among the Union shipping. On the 20th of April, 1804, the 
Union forces surrendered. This regiment numbered at the time about four 
hundred, rank and file; the wounded were left at Plymouth in charge of the 
enemy; the officers were sent to Macon, Georgia, and the privates to Ander- 


soiivillo, where one hundred and thirty-two died whik^ in confinement. One 
com])any had been on Roanoke ishmd at the time of tlie surrender, which, 
with a few men who were absent at the time, was still known as the One 
Hundred and Tliird regiment. The command was linally mustered out of 
service at Newbern June 25, 1805, bat eighty -one of the original men being 
then pi'esent. 

Company B was recruited in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, and Venango 
counties. The roster was as follows: 

Captains: George W. Gillespie, Joseph Kodgers, Daniel L. Coe. 

First lieutenant, Solomon Barnhart. 

Second lieutenant, George W. Stoke. 

Sergeants: William T. Bair, Thomas Hart, C. M. Rumbaugh, Daniel L. 
Rankin, S. M. Criswell, Cyrus K. McKee, Robert M. Crawford. 

Corporals: George Waterson, Isaac Shakely, John S. McElhaney, Sam- 
uel J. Gibson, Isaac Schwartzlander, James H. Crawford, James M. Carson, 
William Harrison, Thomas Hayes. 

Musicians: Andrew Rogers, Harrison W. Coe. 

Privates: Abram Adams, Augustus Abel, Robert Barr, James Brenne- 
man, Henry L. Benninger, John B. Bish, Reuben Burford, Matthias C. 
Beamer, Owen Boyle, L. A. Brenneman, Isaac Barnhart, William Burford, 
Alfred Campbell, John A. Crawford, Benjamin F. Coe, Alexander Craig, 
James Cumberland, Joshua A. Campbell, James T. Day, David Dovenspeck, 
Thomas J. Devenny, Alexander Dunlap, Barnt?;^' Deany, John P. Erwin, 
Michael C. Eminger, Lorenzo W. Frantz, John Foster, Gideon W. Gibson, 
Samuel Granville, John A. Gibson, Stewart Gilchrist, Hezekiah Hayes, 
Peter Hilliard, J ackson Hilliard, Robert Harper, Ephraim Hankey, John B. 
Hankey, Robert Hayes, Simon Hile, John M. Hayes, John L. Hile, David 
W^ Jordan, Alexander C. Jackson, John M. Jones, Andrew Judson, William 
Kennedy, Richard Kelley, William D. Keefer, Aaron Lang, H. Montgom- 
ery, Matthew J. McCay, Joseph McCay, Harvey B. McClure, Thomas L. 
McClure, Robert McCleary, Wesley McCool, Joseph Neuton, Conrad Pet- 
zinger, William Penburthy, Orrin Payne, William G. Pierce, Samuel Pool, 
Joseph Rumbaugh, James Rankin, Nehemiah Reeser, Benjamin Rankin, 
William Reese, Jacob Reese, Alexander Regus, Henry Regus. Hamilton 
Robb, James Ritchey, David Ross, S. G. Rosansteel, John Sweet, John 
Sowers, Joseph Sowers, Uriah Sloan, Abram Snyder, Albert W. Smith, 
Abram W^. Smith, George W. Shakely, James Sweet, Henry C. Shakely, 
Nicholas Snow, S. S. Sanderson, Matthew Sherlock, Daniel K. Shakely, 
James Shields, Presley Sloan, William Sowers. John Scharem, Charles M. 
Truby, Michael White, William D. Woodruff, David Walley, James W'olft, 
Peter W^illiams. 



The field officers of this regiment chosen at its organization were Amor 
A. McKnight, colonel; W. W. Corbett, lieutenant colonel; M. M. Dick, 
major. It was on fatigue and picket duty at the siege of Yorktown and 
throughout the Peninsula campaign, and so frequently and severely engaged 
and suffered so much from sickness that upon its arrival at Harrison's 
Landing it scarcely numbered one hundred, rank and tile. At the close of 
Pope's campaign, in which it received special commendatory mention from 
General Kearny in his report of the battle of Bull Kun, the division to 
which it was attached was ordered into the defenses of Washington, where 
it remained until after the battle of Antietam. It suffered some loss at 
Fredericksburg; at Chancellorsville out of twenty-seven officers and three 
hundred and twenty men who went into action, seventy-seven were killed, 
wounded or missing; the similar aggregate at the battle of Gettysburg was 
one hundred and sixty-eight, and at the Wilderness in May, 1864, one hun- 
dred and seventy. In the summer and autumn of that year it participated 
in the operations against Petersburg and in the raid upon the Weldon rail- 
road, continuing in active service during the spring of 1865. It marched 
in the grand review at Washington on the 23rd of June and was mustered 
out on the 11th of July. 

Company F was recuited in Clearfield, Indiana, and Venango counties. 
The roster was as follows: 

C;iptains: Robert Kirk, John Daugherty, William Kimple. 
First lieutenants : James B. Geggie, Henry P. McKillip . 
Second lieutenants: David Ratcliff, Ezra B. Baird. Ogg Niel. 
Sergeants: William T. Stewart, Jacob L. Smith, Lewis Findley, Will- 
iam W. Hazlett, John M. Brewer, Samuel H. Pound, Robert Doty, John 
W. Smith, Samuel Harrison, John Hendricks, Elijah Pantall, Jonathan 

Corporals: Luke Loomis, Jr., Andrew Douglass, Joshua Pearce, Joseph 
Taylor, William H. Hazlett. John N. Means, Charles B. Gill, John W. 
Lynn, Lewis D. Ensinger, Ira F. Mott, George R. Hall, George W. Mc- 
Fadden, Thomas Niel, Irwin R. Nicodemus, James Randolph, George W. 
Randolph, John N. Vanhorn, Peter Wheelan, George W. Campbell. 

Privates: William H. H. Anthony, Jonathan Ayres, James D. Anthony. 
Thomas S. Anderson, James Aul, William W. Brillhart, John W. Bryant, 
John H. Bush, Jacob L. Bee, John W. Brooks, Charles Berry, James 
Buher, James Crock. James Crawford, John Carr, Samuel Cochran, John 
Cupler, William A. Chambers, Perry C. Cupler, Michael Dolan, William W. 
Dixon, Peter Depp, Henry H. Depp, Peter Dalton, Thomas Dailey, Patrick 
Delany, Philip B. Depp, John P. Drum, James Dunn, Jonathan Doty, 
Samuel Edwards, ChaunceyA. Ellis, John M. Fleming, Albert Foltz, Will- 



iaru Fitzgerald, Samuel Fry, John F. Fuliuer, Samuel D. Fulmer, Stephen 
Gleeson, George Gossor, James Gallagher, Joseph Graham, Anthony A. 
Gallagher, Thomas S. Guiles, Henry A. L. Girts, Jonathan Himes, William 
S. Hendricks, Isaac Hendricks, Joseph Hill, Alonzo Hemstreat, George W. 
Hoover, Benjamin B. Hall, John Hare, James Hopkins, Thomas Hombs, 
H. H. Hollowell, Simon D. Hugus, John C. Hollowell, Thomas M.*Hauck, 
Edward Hogan, George W. Hollowell, Samuel Hannah, George K. Hoover, 
JohnD. Jewell, Jackson Jones, Daniel Johnson, James A. Johnston, Robert 
J. Jewett, James Jenkins, Amos S. Knauer, Harrison Kelty, Charles Klef- 
fer, John Kelly, John Kelly, Jacob Kurtz, Thomas Kennan, Robert S. 
Laughry, Levi S. Lust, Nicholas Lutcher, Charles Lyle, John Myer, Edward 
Mingus, George R. Moyer, Garret P. Mattis, Peter Morgan, William Maun, 
Scott Mitchell, William C. Martin, George W. Maynard, George Moore, 
John Miller, James A. Minish, James McCarty, Robert McMannes, Michael 
McDonnell, Thomas McFadden, John McKean, Samuel A. McGhee, William 
T. Niel, Thomas Orr, William O' Brian, Matthew O'Donnell, Charles W. 
O'Niel, James O'Brien, Thomas O'Brickle, Charles Parry, David R. Porter, 
James R. Pounds, Jackson Piper, Adam Ritz, Enos Ratzel, Amos Redky, 
Jacob Reel, John Riley, Peter Rourke, Irwin Robinson, James W. Shafer, 
Isaac Smith, George Shields, John Schmidt, Asher A. Sellers, John Serv- 
ice, David Simpson, Charles Smouse, David L. Simpson, Samuel Steven- 
son, Lewis Stern, James S. Smith, David Sullivan, Andrew J. Smith, 
Henry Shaffer, Peter C. Spencer, John Stewart^ David C. Simpson, Daniel 
Tallman, Sterling M. Thomas, Peter Vanoligan, John Vorece, Samuel W. 
Walker, Isaac Wray, Newton Wilson, Moses White, Conrad Wolf, Henry 
Wimmer, John Williams, William H. Wilson, Albert C. Wheeler, David 
Willard, John P. Williamson, Joseph White, Ferdinand Wagner, David K. 
Williams, George W. Young. 


The regimental organization of the One Hundred and Twenty-First was 
effected at the camp of rendezvous near Chestnut Hill, Philadel})hia, with 
the following field officers: Colonel, Chapman Biddle of Philadelphia; lieu- 
tenant colonel, Elisha W. Davis of Venango county; major, Alexander Biddle 
of Philadelphia. This was in September, 1862; in the following month the 
regiment joined General Meade's division, which moved southward through 
Virginia, but had no experience in fighting until it entered upon the Fred- 
ericksburg campaign, with the exception of slight skirmishing. The loss, 
chiefly sustained in the action at Fredericksburg, was one hundred and 
eighty, and at its close the regiment went into winter quarters at Belle Plain. 
The spring of 1863 oj^ened with the march to Chancellorsville, and although 
much worn by fatiguing duty during this campaign, it suffered but slight 
loss. On the first day of the battle of Gettysburg it marched at the head of 


its brigade, and was engaged in the severe fighting with which that conflict 
began, sustaining a loss of one hundred and seventy- nine out of a total of 
two hundred and sixty-three who entered the engagement, more than sixty- 
five per cent. After the battle the army returned to Virginia. This regi- 
ment did not participate in any movement of importance until May, 18(34, 
when the Wilderness campaign occurred, in which it met the enemy in force 
on several occasions and performed a variety of difficult and hazardous ma- 
neuvers. In the autumn of that year it bore an important part in a raid upon 
the Weldon railroad; on the 1st of October it was attacked at Peeble's Farm 
by an overwhelming force of the enemy and nearly half its nr.mbers were 
captured. But four commissioned officers and eighty-five enlisted men re- 
ported for duty the following day. The winter of 1804-65 was spent in camp 
with the brigade, which engaged in another expedition for the destruction of 
the Weldon railroad in December, and in February advanced to Hatcher's 
Run. It was at the front in the final movements upon the enemy's position, 
and after the surrender of Lee performed guard duty at Appomattox Court 
House while the Confederate troops were being paroled. It was mustered 
out of service at Arlington Heights on the 2nd of June, 1865. 

There were two companies anct part of a third from this county, with the 
following rosters: 

Company A. — Captains: George E. Ridgway, James S. Warner, Henry 
H. Herpst. 

First lieutenants: George W. Brickley, Philander R. Gray, John M. 

Sergeants: William H. Potter. William Beck, Julius A. Dunham, Eman- 
uel Widle, Charles G. Connely, Dennis D. Moriarty, Alexander McDowell, 
William G. Dickey, Francis H. Hilliard. 

Corporals: Jonathan W. Brink, Samuel Fair, Henry Aten, John B. 
Allender, Jacob Allebach, John Burns, Henry A. Cornwell, Aaron H. Har- 
rison, Solomon S. Engle. 

Privates: John Aten, Moore Bridges, Benjamin F. Baldwin, James 
D. Black, Warren J. Brink, George W. Barnes, James B. Brown, William 
J. Bingham, James Bailey, Nathaniel Brink, Orin S. Babcock, Calvin D. 
Bingham, Abraham L. Cosway, Samuel G. Crawford, William J. Connely, 
John R. Donnelly, James F. Dawson, Philip H. Dillin, Garrett De Mill, 
William M. Dewoody, William R. Dawson, Sylvester L. Dunham, Thomas W. 
Eaton, Thomas Fair, Augustus M. Funk, Moses Funk, Andrew J. Gibbons, 
Jacob Gibbons, Francis Gray, W. W. Gilliland, Levi Grimm, Henry E. Ginter, 
George Hesler, Joseph B. Hart, Daniel Hoxworth, John F. Hughes, Sid- 
ney Heckert, Solomon D. Hughes, James W. Ingham, Ebenezer H. James, 
Joseph Kellerman, William H. Kelly, John E. Lapsley, Owen Lyons, 
Chambers Lawrence. Henry H. Mull, Jesse M. Manson, George R. Morris, 
Thomas A. Morrison, John B. Manson, James P. Manson, Alexander Mc- 


Kinley, Prior McMurray, William A. McKenzie, AVilliam McKenzie, John 
McCool, Israel T. Phelps, Almiron Parker, David E. Perry, Newton B. 
Eiddle, A. Khodabarger, Kobort B. Bodgers, Frauklin F. Sands, William 
M. Stover, George Shawgo, George Shingledecker, John B. Shaner, W. A. 
Shingled ecker, Henry D. Shaner, George Savage, Al})heiis W. Scott, 
John H. Stroop, T. C. Shelmadine, Nicholas Thompson, David W. Tripp, 
David O. Tyrrell, Joel C. Usher, Jonathan Wygant, John Wygant, James 
Withneck, Henry D. Weaver, William C. Waits. 

Company E. — The following men from Venango county were in this 

First lieutenant, George W. Plnmer. 

Sergeants: Eichard A. Dempsey, Daniel H. Weikal, John Stevenson. 

Corporal, K. A. Lebentaler. 

Musician, Merrick Davidson. 

Privates: James Adams, William K. Curtis, Robert J. Green, James 
McClintock, William Naylor, John W. Tyrrell, Elias Shaffer, John Shaffer, 
Jr., Abraham Sahm, Washington Tarr, Alonzo Smith, Oscar Fisher. 

Company F. — Captains: John M. Clai:)p, Nathaniel Lang. 

First lieutenants: Joseph K. Byers, Daniel B. Levier. 

Second lieutenant, Charles H. Raymond. 

Sergeants: James Davison, Henry Wise, John Elliott, Samuel T. Bor- 
land, Solomon Rugh, Nathaniel Kahl, Thomas Service. 

Corporals: Alfred Kech, Augustus I. Glass, Charles Nunemaker, John 
W. Smiley, Abraham Heckathorn, Blair C. Hood, James Karns, Jeremiah 
Johnson, Jr., John Phipps, Jacob Shawkey, Joseph Weaver. 

Musicians: Elias Harman, Alvey C. Amon. 

Privates: John W. Adams, Henry B. Anderson, W. S. Anderson, Solo- 
mon Albaugh, John B. Bell, Henry Borts, William Bell, Dallas Baily, James 
R. Bell, Daniel Bly, Jr., Abraham Carbaugh, George W. Confer, James A. 
Clark, John S. Culbertson, David Cribbs, William Douglass. James J. Doug- 
lass, Jacob G. Downey, George Douglass, Edward M. Dowling, Samuel J. 
Dodd, Hiram M. Dale, Henry Frain, Isaac W. Fry, Samuel W. Farmer, 
Ernest E. Fichte, David W. Farmer, Frederick Glass, Charles Heckathorn, 
William A. Hopkins, Quimby C. Hall, James H. Heckathorn, Adam Har- 
man, Samuel M. Hays, William P. Hays, William Hawn, Henry Karns, 
Henry Keely, Amos C. King, Jacob M. Keifer, William Kennedy, Cyrus 
R. Levier, Peter W. Mohney, John Meyers, Daniel Moran, Solomon Mc- 
Bride, T. B. H. McPherson, William Nellis, Daniel Persing, John W. Ray, 
Robert Reese, B. D. Robinson, James R. Ray, John Sager, Samuel Stewart, 
John H. Stoke, John Stone, Alfred Say, Daniel Swaney, William H. Slon- 
aker, Reuben Swab, Simon P. Swab, Leslie L. Say, John Saulsgiver, Oba- 
diah Simpson, George A. Showens, John F. Tucker, Wesley Q. Tucker, 
Chester W. Tallman, John S. Wilson, Samuel P. W^eaver. 



The organization of this regiment occurred at Camp Curtin, September 
1, 1862, resulting in the choice of Robert P. Cummins of Somerset county, 
colonel: Alfred B. McCalmont, of Venango county, lieutenant colonel; John 
Bradley, of Luzerne county, major. On the following day it was ordered 
to Washington, where it was employed in the construction of Fort Stevens; 
in October it was assigned by General Meade to the Second brigade and 
Third division of the First corps. On the 13th of December, 1862, two hun- 
dred and fifty men were killed within the space of one hour at Fredericks- 
burg, out of five hundred and fifty who had entered that engagement. In 
February, 1863, the Reserves were transferred to the defenses of Washing- 
ton where they remained until Ai)ril 27th, when the One Hundred and Forty- 
Second moved from camp with a corps that had been ordered to make a 
diversion in favor of Hooker. It was thus not actively engaged at the battle 
of Chancellorsville. At Gettysburg, where its hardest fighting was done on 
the first day of the battle, the aggregate loss was two hundred and twenty- 
five. Within a month the two armies were facing each other on opi^osite 
banks of the Rappahannock; but nothing of importance in which this regi- 
ment was concerned occurred until May of the following year, when the Wil- 
derness campaign engaged its energies. It also bore a part in the operations 
against Petersburg and in the destruction of the Weldon railroad, in the 
summer and autumn of 1864. Its last severe fighting occurred at Five 
Forks, April 1, 1865. After an uneventful period of two months it was 
mustered out of service May 29, 1865, near Washington. 

Company I, originally known as the Petroleum Guards, was recruited 
chiefly at Oil City, and was the only distinct organization that left that 
place during the war. The original officers were Alfred B. McCalmont, 
captain; William H. Hasson, first lieutenant, and Charles E. Houston, sec- 
ond lieutenant. The citizens of Oil City gave the company a reception on 
the 25th of August, 1862; swords were presented Captain McCalmont and 
Lieutenant Hasson, and a copy of the Bible to each member of the company. 
Dinner was served on the South Side. The next day they were transported 
in wagons to Franklin, where similar hospitalities were extended, and pro- 
ceeded in that manner to Enon station, whence they departed for Harris- 
burg, arriving at Camp Curtin on the 27th of August. The following is a 
roster of the company: 

Captains: William Hasson, George R. Snowden, Cyrus H. Culver. 

First lieutenant, William H. Rhodes. 

Second lieutenant, Charles E. Huston. 

Sergeants: Oliver P. Young, Abram S. Prather, Thomas Hoge, Conrad 
Heasley, James K. Elliott, Loren M. Fulton, Johnson W. Carr, Wilson 
Camp, William Reynolds. 


Corporals: Jesse B. Mooro, George M. Winger, Charles Holbrook, 
Joshua Foster, John A. Wilcox, William Gorman, David S. Keep, Artemus 
Hollis. Daniel Weaver. 

Musician, John G. McLane. 

Privates: George_Best, Henry H. Bogue, Samuel Brown, Martin Bookster, 
Phillip Bartlebaugh, William Bower, Wesley H. Burgwin, Eli Beatty, James 
Bower, Israel B. Brown, Fiobert Craig, George W. Corbin, David Coldrew, 
Frank W. Chesley, Joseph H. Coburn, Samuel J. Colburn, Peter Demsey, 
Kichard Davis, John Ducket, Jacob Dilmore, Daniel Downing, Eli Egal, 
William K. Findley, Daniel H. Finch, Herman Gunderman, Simon Gross- 
man, John Gibbons, Philip M. Hatch, James Hill, John W. Hogue, John 
E. Hogue, David James, W. W. Jennings, Samuel Kelly, Wilson Kennedy, 
Charles E. Keep. Jacob F. Little, William Laney, James F. Lamb, David 
Lee, George R. Lockwood, Henry Mellin, Patrick Moran, G. W. Matthews, 
Samuel Morrison, Adrian G. Manville, Boint McCray, Andrew McCray, 
James McLane, H. R. McCalmont, Daniel McNaughton, J. G. L. Nyman, 
L. F. Nicklin, Samuel Ray, John Robinson, Henry Strohman, John Shiffer, 
John Stiner, Hugh Shaw, J(iseph B. Shirley, Owen Slamon, Joseph Small, 
William J. SherifiF, John W. Sharpnack, James W. Shaw, Jacob A. Shirley, 
Adam Siverline, W. W. Shelmadine, A. V. Turner, William West, Marcus 
Wesner, Jeremiah Walden, W. G. Wadsworth, George P. Webber, Josiah 
Wilcox, William B. Wesner, Jacob Yockey. 


The Sixteenth Cavalry organized with the following field officers: Colo- 
nel, John Irwin Gregg; lieutenant colonel, Lorenzo D. Rodgers, of Ve- 
nango county; majors: William A. West, William H. Fry, and John Stroup. 
This occurred November 18, 1862, and during the following winter it was 
encamped at Bladensburg, Maryland, until January 3, 1803, when it pro- 
ceeded to the front and was assigned to guard duty at the right flank of the 
army on the left bank of the Rappahannock. At Gettysburg Gregg' s brig- 
ade, to which the Sixteenth had been assigned, was in position on the ex- 
treme right of the Union army ; it was partially engaged during the day and 
evening of July 2nd and during the whole of the 3rd, sustaining a loss of 
two killed and a few wounded. The cavalry was put in pursuit of the re- 
treating army on the 5th and frequent encounters occurred. The scene of 
action changed to Virginia again and throughout the autumn the regiment 
was frequently engaged in skirmishes with the enemy. In December it 
formed part of an expedition for the destruction of factories and munitions 
of war at Luray in the Shenandoah valley. The principal events of the 
spring campaign of 1864 were the encounters of May 6th to 12th and the 
engagment of June 25th; the former occurred about and within the outer 
defenses of Richmond, and the latter, in which Gregg's division successfully 
withstood prolonged attack from a largely superior force, was especially 


importaDt as he had a convoy of eight hundred wagons in charge Later 
in the same year the regiment took part in several raids for the destruction 
of the Weldon raih'oad. It broke camp at Hancock's station February 6, 
1865, and was engaged in the final movements about Five Points and Din- 
widdle Court House. After Lee's surrender it returned to Petersburg, but 
was soon afterward led to the North Carolina border to the support of 
Sherman. After the close of hostilities it was stationed at Lynchburg for a 
time and at length mustered out of service at Richmond on the 7th of 
August, 1865. 

Venango county was represented in two companies of this regiment, of 
which the rosters were as follows : 

Company A. — Captains: Seth T. Kennedy, Joshua M. Carey, Robert 
W. McDowell. 

First lieutenants: Robert H. Atkinson, Charles H. Kiiox, Irving W. 
Billings, Edmund Dunn. 

Second lieutenants: William T. Kennedy, Brewer D. Polley, George D. 
Beecher. , 

Sergeants: Adolphus R. Baker, William Rogsell, Daniel Stauffer, Lyman 
H. Lewis, James L. Smith, Simon F. Barr, George C. Menning, Samuel L. 
Brown, Cyrus C. Marsh, John W. Lewis, George W. Annie, Henry M. Gard- 
ner, Nicholas Dick, Marvin B. Lyman, Michael Ziester, William M. Frear, 
Austin Turck. 

Corporals: Jacob F. Mauk, Robert Foster, David S. Barr, John W. 
Barr, W. H. H. Morton, John Stoops, William Ley, Thomas Bowel, John 
Colvin, J. D. Lancaster, Henry Holliday, Sylvester M. Benn, Cornelius Ryan, 
Maxwell E. Fulton, John Rossman, William N. Decker, William A. Wright, 
John Seamans, "Whitney Briggs, Josiah M. Demand, Martin V. Townsend. 

Buglers: Philip A. Carr, Samviel Shaffer, Edward S. Albee. 

Blacksmiths: Benjamin Davis, Robert Enis, Judson A. Aumick, Henry 

Saddlers: Samuel G. Fulmer, Richard A. Charles. 

Privates: Lewis Andrews, Thomas J. Archer, John Anderson, Alfred 
Auton, Harman L. Adams, Harvey A. Aumick, Silas W. Aumick, Joseph 
H. Brooks, James Brown, John Bundorf, Theron S. Burgess, Freeman 
Barkman, James Brewer, Alpheus Barnes, William Burns, Casper Buf- 
flapp, Jared A. Bennett, John Busher, Leander Buttermore, Russell Burt, 
James Burns; Charles Burns, Charles Baker, Thomas Baker, Thomas W. 
Barr, Marvin Bates, George Buck, James Briscoe, Ellis Bedford, Caleb 
Britton, Nelson E. Coates, John W. Chapins, George B. Craft, James L. 
Cook, Charles G. Campbell, Benjamin L. Cook, William W. Cook, Edward 
Claffrey, William Clark, Osborne Cooley, Henry Davis, Alonzo Day, Ben- 
jamin Dick, Jeremiah Duff, Ira E. Davis, Henry W. Decker, James P. 
Dymond, John Eutsey, Jacob Eutsey, Amos Edick, Andrew Eldercan, 


William Everts, Gotleib Foss, James Fleming, Joliu Fulton, Isaac P. 
Foster, George M. Forrer, Harry H. Faulkner, Homer B. Ferry, MHthew 
Flanagan, Henry Grimm, John L. Griffin, James Gil)son. John K. Grim, 
Joseph Grim, Harry V. Greenlee, George Galbreath, C. Hendricks, S. 
Higgenbotham, Francis M. Hickson, S. Hendricks, T. E. Houser, William 
Honser, John H. Hubler, John Hurley, Charles B. Hickox, G. W. Hunter, 
Thomas C. Hodnot, Moses Irely. Benjamin F. Johnston, Henry Johnston, E. 
Johnston, William Kelley, J. Knickerbocker, Jacob Kessler, V. L. Keltz, 
John W. Kelley, Samuel Kieffer, David P. Kelley, Newton Kuhns, Joseph 
P. Love, George W. Lengel, David Levy, Eobert Lytle, Lafayette Leeland, 
Joseph Laughrey, William S. Lane, Samuel Myers, William H. Maroney, 
W. H. Merkle, Michael Mease, Samuel Moore, Franklin Moore, Frederick 
Martin, John Martin, James May, Henry Munsloe, William Moore, William 
J. Miles, Lewis A. Mulnie, Francis Murry, Michael Madden, John McMannis, 
Joseph McMannis, L. J. McClintock, Charles Nelson, Frank W. Orcutt, 
Henry M. Osborne, Levi Paddock, H. C. Pinkerton, Charles Phillippi, S. S. 
Porter, Alfred N. Patterson, Jacob B. Plumley, John F. Phillips, Otis 
Phelps, William R. Pillow, E. Pickering, George W. Parks, Richard P. 
Page, Jacob Richter, George Reed, David Rader, William Robertson, Henry 
D. Reece, James H. Ramsey, Samuel Rhodabarger, Alonzo Randolph, Robert 
C. Riggin, Daniel Riser, J. S. Ramsey, Philip D. Reynolds, Thomas Reed, 
Richard J. Reese, Samuel W. Swartz, Alfred M. Saylor, Leonard D. Shaffer, 
John W. Stauffer, Cyrus S. Stauffer, Smith Stau'ffer, Robert Shields, Pat- 
rick Sullivan, Lewis C. Shartel, Dexter Spalding, William Sheets, George 
A. Shulei-, Joseph L. Shrives, Christian Swartz, Jacob C. Smith, George 
Seighman, John Shou.p, Samuel Shoup, Nelson Shufelt, Amzi Stauffer, 
Joseph B. Saylor, Thomas Sullivan, Ashbel Smith, U. C. Sheets, Thomas 
Sales, Charles H. Shippey, George Smith, Stephen Squire, Elijah S. Squire, 
John W. Steele, William N. Squire, John Shook, Ruben Smith, Timothy 
R. Stutton, H. W. Templin, George W. Townsend, Giles Townsend, Isaac 
Tiffany, Lyman H. Vaughn, George Winner, Milton Williams, Frank Welsh, 
H. E. Wadsworth, Nathan Wagoner, Robert Williams, Isaac Wimer, Joseph 
Wallace, W. H. Wier, W. M. Wood, Thomas S. Waters, W. \Y. Wills, John 
J. Wright, W. H. Wright, George W. Warner, Robert B. Wheeler, James 
H. Ward, William Zuver. 

Company E. — Captains: Loronzo D. Rodgers, Augustus H. Rush, Daniel 
C. Swank, Enoch H. Moore. 

First lieutenants: Lewis B. Brown, Russell R. Pealer, David W. Davis. 

Second lieutenant, I. F. Chamberlain. 

Sergeants: William B. Harlan, Benjamin Jeffries, George D. Jacoby, 
Nelson Craig, George John, John S. Kelly, John L. Lee, John McClernan, 
Joseph F. Hicks, Henry W. Seibert, John B. Atwell, Morris O. Conner, 
Benjamin F. Carnahan, John M. Lane, Marshall Wasson. 



Corporals: Adam Benner, John Morley, John Spence, Patrick Byron, 
William H. Bailey, Wesley Callahan. Daniel Kohler, Alfred Bowman, Rob- 
ert W. Davison, John W. Henderson, William C. Phipps, George W. Web- 
ber, Henry W. Bowman. Robert A. Thompson, Lyman H. Fowler, Samuel 
Chamberlin, Aaron Andreas, Daniel Wasson. 

Buo-lers: George L. Patterson, Robert Tipping. 

Blacksmiths: John S. Hoagland, William R. Hoover. 

Farrier, John D. Cromer. 

Saddlers: Richard Tobin, W^esley J. Cooper. 

Privates: George D. Applegarth, John R. Atwell, Peter S. Ashelman, 
AVilliam F. Andrews, Thomas Burns, John F. Brothers, John C. Baker, Eli 
Baney, Isaiah Barr, Alva Beemis, W. J. Black, R. A. Biddle, Patrick Camp- 
bell, Elijah Clifford, John L. Chambers, Cyrus R. Coulter, W. P. Crain, 
John G. Crain, Alfred T. Creveling, Jesse B. Coleman, John Campbell, F. 
W. Creveling, Andrew Crawford, G. Dannanhower, Isaiah Delivers, Joseph 
Depue, James F. Davison, James Duncan, Joel M. Dailey, George Derlin, 
Georo-e A. Dull, Matthias Daniels, Thomas J. Eakin, Henry Erwin, William 
W. Evland, A. W. Evland, Albert Fisher, Darius Fleming, John Furry, 
John Flowers, Gideon Fry, Joseph Fleckenstine, Edward George, Patrick 
Gilligan, David Grisinger, Joseph Gifford, W. O. Gibb, John Herring, 
AVilliam Hickey, Thomas Hainey, William Holland, AVilliam Hayes, Michael 
Harmon, Louis M. Haines, Michael Houser, Noah Higgins, George C. Hall, 
John F. Hoffman, William C. Hull, Jeremiah Horton, Daniel H. Hetler, 
Samuel A. Hoover, Samuel Irwin, John A. Jobson, Albert Jones, Thomas 
Jolly, James E. Jones, Jacob F. Knechel, Charles Kreamer, Charles Keyser, 
W. Ivee, J. E. Kepler, John Keicher, Jonathan Knittle, Daniel King, P. P. 
Kimball, Silas R. Kissner, Enoch B. Karnes, W. B. Keene, George W. 
Love, Samuel Lee, Samuel Lewis, Simeon L. Lockarde, James B. Logue, 
Alex Lindsey, James Looney, Benjamin F. Looney, Elias G. Lemmons, 
George W. Matthews, Dallas Myers, Laurence Marks, John Mullen, Jonas 
Miller, William H. Matthews, Henry Mowrey, Thomas McGettigen, Charles 
McFadden, Frank McGovern, John McCammon, William McElhaney. Francis 
A. Osborn, Joseph G. Piatt, Porter Phipps, William Phifer, Robert C. Pol- 
lock, James L. Porter, William Pearson, George W. Peoples, Buress Rolls, 
Martin Richards, Isaiah Reaver, Joseph Ryan, W. D. Ryan, D. R. Reiden- 
auer, Crispin Roberts, William Rhodes, James Rusk, William Roberts, 
James H. Roberts, Adam Sampson, Abner Smith. Charles H. Stinger, Dan- 
iel R. Snyder, Henry Snider, Adam Sides, John A. Sanna, William H. Say, 
William Say, Lyman Stewart, John Shrefiler, Daniel Smith, Amos Shoutz, 
Joseph G. Swank, Le Grant Spomberg, G. G. Scott, Riley Stainbrook, Philip 
Snider, John Staub, William Stringman, Patrick Tooley, John Taylor, Charles 
W. Vanover, Henry Vanhorn, Jr., Alvin Varner, Job Walford, George 
Williams, William Whartenby, Henry Whipple, Andrew Weitzer, Abram 
Witherup, George Warden, Hiram Witmoir, John H. Yaple. 


■ The foregoing regimental sketches and company rosters have been com- 
piled from Bates' History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, a voluminous 
work and recognized authority. The histories of the different regiments 
have necessarily been greatly abbreviated, but rosters have been given of all 
the companies in which Venango county was represented to any extent. 
There were also a number of other regiments to which the county contrib- 
uted, and while details on this subject might be multiplied, it is believed 
that the essential particulars regarding the part taken by the county have 
been given. 

The Lamberton Guards was an organization formed in 1862 when Lee 
invaded Maryland and threatened Pennsylvania. The officers were William 
M. Epley, captain; Pinkerton, first lieutenant; and James Adams, sec- 
ond lieutenant. They proceeded to Harrisburg, but returned after the 
battle of Antietam without experiencing any actual military service. 

The activities of the people on behalf of the prosecution of the war were 
not limited to the contribution of troops. There were a number of Soldiers' 
Aid Societies throughout the county, and the contributions of money, hos- 
pital supplies, and other comforts and necessaries through these agencies 
represented in the aggregate a large expenditure of energy and effort. 
There was a Home Relief Association and a Soldiers' Aid Dime Societv at 
Franklin; the Soldiers' Aid Society of Plum township was organized in the 
autumn of 1861 and a similar association in Sugar Creek was formed in 
September, 1862. August 11, 1862, a public meeting was held at the court 
house for the purpose of raising a bounty fund for volunteers from this 
county, James Bleakley presiding. After addresses by Arnold Plumer, 
Elisha W. Davis, and others, a committee was appointed to request from the 
county commissioners an appropriation of fifty dollars to each volunteer. 
Throughout the war the commissioners contributed regularly toward the 
support of the families of absent soldiers; and while organized assistance 
was thus rendered, public benefactions were augmented by many acts of 
private charity. 

The Soldiers' Monument, erected immediately after the close of the war, 
expresses in enduring and appropriate form the appreciation of the county 
at large for the patriotic services and sacrifices of the citizens who fell * ' on 
the field of battle, in hospitals, and at home; who died of wounds received in 
battle, of sickness incurred in camp, of starvation in the hands of the 
enemy." The dedication occurred September 10, 1866; the survivors of 
the war from this county marched in a body to the park, and it is estimated 
that ten thousand people witnessed the ceremonies. Reverends S. J. M. 
Eaton, D.D., M. A. Tolman, and J. B. Lyon conducted the religious exer- 
cises; addresses were delivered by Doctor Eaton, Galusha A. Grow, and 
John S. McCalmout. The monument is situated in South park. It is 
inscribed with the names of four hundred soldiers, " Venango's contribu- 
tion to the death-roll of patriotism." 




The Dkake Well— Eakly Methods of Drilling and Transportation— 
The Third Sand— First Flowing Wells— Railroads and Pipe 
Lines — Heavy or Lubricating Oil Belt— Oil Towns — 
Petroleum Transportation — Mitro-Glycerine- 
Natural Gas— The Producer— Petroleum 
AND Gas Fields — Statistics. 

TO give, in brief yet comprehensive form, leading features of the Penn- 
sylvania petroleum development from the drilling of the first well, to- 
gether with such incidents of the early years of the same as may be con- 
sidered of historic or general interest, is the object of these sketches. 

With the questions involving the antiquity, chemistry, and geology of 
petroleum no extended comment is necessary. Earliest history establishes 
the first, practical demonstration the second, and supplemented by science 
the oil miner's drill proves the third over the large extent of territory now 
being operated, and this last will be a reliable guide in all the oil fields and 
years to come. As to the duration of the supply of both the oil and gas 
fields the present and the next few coming generations have no cause to 
worry. Wherever petroleum has existed, and this can be traced back at 
least three thousand years, it exists to-day in practically the same form. 
The fountain of Is, near Babylon, in Asia, described by Herodotus, that 
excited the wonder of Alexander the Great, and from which the bitumen 
that cemented the brick of the walls of the ancient Babylon was supplied, 
still exists and is a notable case. The oil springs on the shores of the Cas- 
pian sea, from which the present supply of Russia is obtained, have been 
known for centuries. It is reasonable to suppose from the evidence thus 
presented that American petroleum will show as great a comparative degree 
of longevity. But it is specially with the modern development of this 
wonderful product that our duty is concerned. 

Earliest American history makes mention of the petroleum or rock oil 
found in the portion of Pennsylvania bordering on the Allegheny river, and 
it was known and made use of by the native Indians from their earliest tra- 
ditions. It served to mix their paint to make them hideous to their foes, 
as a panacea for their wounds, and a medicine for their ailments. The re- 


mains of timbered i)its familiar to the Indians and early settlers, found in 
various localities along Oil creek valley, clearly indicated an oil develop- 
ment by a race whose traditions are lost. 

The greasy globules floating upon the surface of the waters of the 
springs, pools, and streams of Oil creek valley, the Allegheny, and other 
streams in this section, was nature's unerring guide to the treasures stored 
in rocky caverns in long forgotten ages for the use of the human race. And 
for years the Indians and settlers gathered it, and used it as a medicine. 
The circumstances that led to the modern petroleum development by the 
drilling of Drake's artesian well in 1859 we shall briefly relate. 

Public attention was first directed to the utilization of petroleum as an 
illuminator as early as the years 1849 and 1850 by Mr. Samuel W. Kier. of 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who in the latter year built a small refinery, and 
commenced to convert it into an illuminator. The supply of crude oil was 
obtained from the salt well fields of Mr. Kier and others at Tarentum, Alle- 
gheny county, a short distance from Pittsburgh, on the Allegheny river, where 
it had been 'previously found. The manufacture was limited owing to the 
scant supply. There being no oil wells as yet drilled, the oil was pumped 
out of the salt wells at the usual depth from which salt water was obtained. 
The discovery of so important a use created an active demand, and led to 
efPorts to increase the supply of the crude article. Pits were sunk in various 
localities, and the oil taken from these at stated seasons. The lamp for 
burning the new illuminant is stated to have been invented in Austria, and 
this was secured l^y Mr. Kier and manufactured by him at Pittsburgh. 

The best authorities agree in awarding the honor of being the originator 
of the present petroleum development to George H. Bissell. In 1853 Mr. 
Bissell, then a resident of New Orleans, his health being impaired, took up 
his residence in the North. In the summer of that year he visited Hanover, 
New Hampshire, the seat of Dartmouth Collegei where he had graduated in 
1845. While there Professor Dixie Crosby, of Dartmouth College, showed 
to Mr. Bissell a bottle of crude petroleum, which he stated had been gath- 
ered on the lands of his nephew, Doctor B. F. Brewer, on Oil creek, near Ti- 
tusville, Pennsylvania. Mr. Bissell became interested in the (to him) new 
mineral product, and conceived the idea that it could be utilized. Being ac- 
quainted with Doctor Brewer he wrote to him, requesting all the information 
possible. He afterward sent a young man to the locality where the oil had 
been obtained to make a personal investigation. The report being favor- 
able, he interested a Mr. Eveleth, whom he had known in New Orleans, 
with him, and in 1854 they visited Titusville. 

While there they obtained from Brewer, Watson & Company, all their lands 
on Oil creek considered fit for oil purposes, on a lease for ninety-nine years, 
free of royalty, for the sum of five thousand dollars; this being the fiz'st pur- 
chase of land for oil development made in Venango county, or in fact, in the 


United States, that any mention is made of. They hired a man named 
Angier to trench the lands and pump the surface oil and water into vats. 
The pumping apparatus was attached to the working-gear of a saw mill near 
by. Being placed in the vats, such water as had been gathered with it 
settled to the bottom and was drawn off, leaving the oil in its pure state. 
The tirst three barrels of oil obtained by this method was sent on to New 
Haven, Connecticiit, and Professor B. Silliman, Jr. employed to make an 
analysis of the same. In the fall of 1855 Bissell & Eveleth published the 
elaborate report made by Professor Silliman, and gave it a wide circulation. 
The report attracted the favorable attention of capitalists in New Haven, 
which led to the purchase from Bissell & Eveleth of their lands and the 
placing of the same in an incorporation known as the Pennsylvania Rock 
Oil Company, of which Professor B. Silliman, Jr., was elected president, 
Bissell & Eveleth retaining one-third of the capital stock. 

The work of trenching and gathering the oil went on with indifferent 
success ujitil 1857. Then some members of the company agreed to sink an 
artesian well, and pay to the rest of the stockholders a royalty of twelve 
cents a gallon on all oil obtained for the term of forty-five years. The 
offer was accepted, and E. L. Drake, a conductor on the New Haven rail- 
road, was employed to come out to Pennsylvania and take charge of the 
w^ork. Mr. Drake owned one forty-eighth part of the stock of the company. 

On arriving at the field of his subsequent labors Mr. Drake, who was a 
gentleman of intelligence and varied experience, lost no time in informing 
himself of the details. To do this he made several trips to the salt region 
of Tarentum, where he became conversant with the mode of sinking the salt 
wells. Through S. W. Kier he procured the services of William Smith, a* 
blacksmith and an experienced driller of salt wells, and his two sons. 

The first appliances and methods were crude, and caused delay and ex- 
pense. Drake first thought to dig the well and curb it to the rock. After 
the labor of months this was found impracticable. It then occurred to him 
to drive iron pipe from the surface to the rock and then drill through this 
until the oil was reached. Heavy cast-iron pipe was finally obtained and 
.successfully driven to a depth of thirty-six feet, where the rock was reached. 
The small engine used to drive the pipe was then used for drilling through 
the rock. The drive-pipe was ready for the drill about the middle of 
August, 1859, and on Saturday, the 28th day of the same month, and over 
a year from the time of commencement, a vein of oil was struck at the depth 
of sixty-nine and one-half feet, in the first sandrock, this being the depth of 
the entire well. On the Monday following a pump was rigged and placed 
in the well, and for a short time it produced at the rate of twenty barrels 
per day. By March, 1860, this production had decreased to four barrels 
per day. 

After unremitting labor for over a vear, beset with obstacles that not 



unfrequently caused him to despair of success, Drake bad persevered, aud 
reached an accomplishment surpassing his wiklest dreams. He established 
the fact of the existence of reservoirs of oil beneath the siirface of the earth 
in amount siifficient for all practical uses, and such an achievement was 
fitting recompense for all the weary toil he had gone through. His name 
and fame will last as long as the product itself. In this connection it can 
be stated that the Drake well was afterward drilled deeper and continued 
to produce oil for many years. It is not creditable to those who have realized 
so largely from Drake's discovery that the site of this oil well, the first ever 
drilled, remains unmarked by a suitable monument, and that Drake himself 
died in comparative poverty. 


The following extracts are taken from a letter kindly furnished the 
writer by William H. Abbott, one of the first oil operators aud best known 
residents of Titusville: 

' ' Drake at first tried to dig to the rock and curb his well, but after a 
time gave up the plan. He then procured heavy iron pipe and after a vast 
amount of hard work and expense succeeded in reaching the rock at a depth 
of sixty-nine and one-half feet. To Drake belongs the credit of being the 
first to use iron di'ive-pipe. * * * * They employed a small engine 
and boiler in drilling and pumping this well. Myself and many others used 
the spring-pole, with three stirrups and three men for our motive power in 
drilling wells during the entire year of 1860. * * * ^Ve used pole- 
tools, and a small bit, the size as well as I can remember being three and 
three-quarter inches, and the poles were similar to the sucker-rods after- 
ward used, the joints being about ten feet long. * * * j j^ad the op- 
portunity of buying some of the first carbon oil refined by S. W. Kier, and 


paid one dollar and twenty-five cents per gallon for the oil, and one dollar 
and fifty cents for the barrel. This was truly a great Inxiiry, being superior 
to sperm oil at two dollars per gallon. I was at this time doing business in 
northern Ohio." 

The birth of this greatest of modern mineral developments was ushered 
in amid the mutterings of the civil strife that was so soon to convulse the 
country. But the class who had flocked to California a few years previous 
were still numerous and gave no heed to the discouraging premonitions. 
The oil first ol)tained from the Drake well sold at one dollar per gallon, and 
during September, October, November, and December, of the year 1859, the 
ruling figure was twenty dollars per barrel. 

So promising a mine of wealth had never before been presented, and the 
oil fever soon pervaded all classes of people. No wonder they made all 
speed for the locality that held forth such inducements. Wells multiplied 
fast on the flats surrounding the Drake well, and developments were com- 
menced at various points from Oil City along the valley of Oil creek, at 
Franklin, and along the Allegheny river. The obstacles presented in the 
new field only seemed to increase the energy of the operators. Lands were 
bought and leased in every direction, and singly and in groups the early 
derricks became visible on the beaten tracks and in out-of-the-way places. 

The territory at first considered available for oil purposes was frequently 
located in the most rugged and inaccessible localities. The country was 
hilly and generally heavily timbered. The cleared lands or farms upon 
which the residents rnanaged to subsist were few and far between, the only 
town of importance in Venango county being Franklin, the county seat. 
Lumbering was the principal industry, the few iron furnaces that had been 
in operation having suspended. The only means of transportation for heavy 
articles was the Allegheny river, and by means of wagons from the nearest 
railj-oads points. Garland and Union, some thirty miles distant from the 
Drake well or Titusville. 

The drilling of the wells was a new and novel experience to even the 
most practical. No previous mining development afforded any reliable 
guide for the new operations. New methods and machinery had to be 
devised, tested, and then put in practice. The resources of the new oil 
country afforded but inadequate relief. Wood, coal, and oil were in abun- 
dance, but machinery and supplies of all kinds needed were only to be had 
from distant commercial and manufacturing centers. These had to be 
hauled in wagons over mud roads that were nearly impassable a great por- 
tion of the year for the class of freight needed. 

From this may be conjectured some of the inconveniences of drilling a 
well a few hundred feet deep. In the absence of machinery and lack of 
funds to pay for better, all kinds of primitive methods were adopted. The 
most common was that of the spring-pole, a description of which by Eaton 



in his admirable history is worthy of being recordod. This was the method 
of sinking a well that had been devised by the salt-well miners. The salt 
wells were generally of shallow depth, and hence this plan of drilling could 
be practiced to better advantage than in oil wells where the depth and pen- 
etration of the rock was greater. After selecting the site for the well a hole 
was dug to drill through as deep as possible, and this curbed with boards 
or plank or a bored log. Then a stout sapling or pole of necessary length, 
about forty feet, was taken from the woods, selected in regard to its elas- 
ticity. The larger end or butt of this was securely fastened in the ground. 
At a distance to secure best results was planted a firm post for a fulcrum 
over which it was secured with the smaller end coming directly over and 
some ten or twelve feet above the drill-hole. The boring tools were fast- 
ened to the pole and the power adjusted to its smaller extremity. This 
power was applied by the weight of two or more men bearing down on the 
pole. Again a small stage, four feet square, was hinged by one side to the 
derrick and the other side suspended to the pole. In this case two men 
stood upon the stage and brought down the pole by throwing their weight 
on the side attached to it, and permitted it to rise by throwing their weight 
on the side next to the derrick. In either case the spring of the pole 
brought up the drilling apparatus, and the downward motion of the pole 
gave the stroke. 

Another mode is described as in vogne in the earlier stage of the busi- 
ness in which a chain was used. From its horrTd din and associations this 
was called the "chain-gang" method. Another method in which human 
muscle was used was called the ' ' kicking pony " or " jigging ' ' system. An 
elastic ash pole ten or fifteen feet in length was arranged over the drill hole, 
working over a fulcrum, to which was attached stirrups in which two or 
three men each placed a foot, and by a kind of kicking process brought 
down the pole and produced the necessary motion to work the bit. The 
strokes by this method were rapid but it was only adapted to shallow wells. 
In either of the methods the labor was severe and exhausting. The steady 
tramp on a treadmill or ascending a ladder was mild recreation in compar- 
ison. Horse and water power were brought into use. But all the above 
described methods were only used in cases where the financial ability of the 
operator could not afford steam power. 

The first engines brought to the oil country for drilling oil wells were 
portable ones fi-om four to six horse-power, from the manufactory of A. N. 
Wood & Company, Eaton, Madison county. New York. The stationary 
engine of greater power soon followed. 

"Sy the close of 1860 a number of wells had been drilled and the field 
of operations extended along the Allegheny from Tidioute to Franklin. 
Along the valley of Oil creek fi'om Oil City to Titusville were a large num- 
ber of wells being drilled and producing. From the Barnsdall. Mead, 


Rouse & Company's well, near Titusville, was sold between Febrnary 1st 
and June 1st, 1860, fifty-six thousand o-allons of oil for sixteen thousand 
eight hundred dollars, the cost of drilling the well being about three thou- 
sand dollars. In Ajiril of the same year William Phillips sold fifty barrels 
of oil from his well on Oil creek to S. W. Kier, delivered at Pittsburgh for 
sixty cents a gallon. About the same time Graff & Company sold seventy- 
five barrels of oil in Pittsburgh for one thousand three hundred dollars In 
December, 1860, oil was quoted at the wells at two dollars and seventy-five 
cents per barrel. This low figure was due to the lack of transportation and 
manufacturing facilities that prevailed during the first year. 

In only rare cases did individuals incur the total expense of drilling a 
well. The usual way was to form associations of any number of parties 
from half a dozen to fifty, each subscribing the amount of stock they 
elected; the expense of the venture was assessed pro rata, and the profits 
divided in the same manner. Though called companies these associations 
were not incorporated, but were mostly formed for the usual transaction of 
business. From best recollection chances of success in striking oil in pay- 
ing quantities were no greater in the beginning than in the succeeding 
years. The reason is obviously lack of both skill and facilities, and of the 
benefit that has been gained from the aggregation of the ventures of others. 

Where lands for oil purposes were leased the royalty ranged from 
an eighth to one-quarter of all the oil produced free of cost to the land- 
owner. In favored localities one-half royalty and a bonus were given. 
During the different years this royalty not unfrequently amounted to five 
hundred to one thousand or even more a day to the landowner, giving them 
a wealth that made them fairly dizzy. In other cases farms that before the 
discovery of oil were only valued at a few dollars an acre sold for large 
sums. P. H. Siverly sold his farm in 1863 (now the site of Siverly) 
for one hundred thousand dollars; Phillips & Vanausdall, a farm, sold for 
seventy-five thousand; the Blood farm, less than five hundred acres, sold for 
five hundred and fifty thovxsand dollars. In June of the same year the land 
interest (one-half the oil) in five acres on the Blood farm sold for two hundred 
and twenty thousand dollars; a working interest in the H. O. Filkins well 
on the Blood farm sold for one hundred thousand dollars, and Hoover & 
Plumer sold one-third interest in Hoover island, near Franklin, for one 
hundred thousand dollars. These are only given to show how rapidly 
lands indicating oil production appreciated in value. The values given are 
not extreme, for many farms and interests were sold then, and have been in 
all the succeeding years, far larger sums. Per contra, some of the best 
producing lands of to-day cost the owners but slightly more than the value 
of good farming lands. During the reign of ten dollar oil Mr. Bishop, of 
New York, offered the Central Petroleum Company, of which he was a 
heavy stockholder, in addition to one-half royalty, a bonus of ten thousand 


dollars each for ten one acre leases on their property, and this ofTer was not 
accepted. About the same time Graft". Hasson & Company sold to the 
Petroleum Farms Association three hundred and twenty acres from their 
tract of about twelve hundred acres, for the sum of seven hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. But a few years previous (Tratf. Hasson & Company 
paid seven thousand for the entire twelve hundred acre tract. The purchase 
by the Petroleum Farms Association comprised Cottage Hill and that por- 
tion of Oil City now included in the First and Second wards. It is rea- 
sonable to suppose that the company have done proportionally as well as 
Graff. Hasson & Company, and both parties still have some valuable lauds 

During 1860 the attention of shippers was turned to providing facilities 
to get their oil to the markets in the eastern cities and to Pittsburgh. In 
the uncertain state of permanent production railroads were slow to give 
assurance of building branches into the oil country from their main lines. 
In the way of water transportation the Pittsburgh river men showed the 
greatest activity. A number of warehouses and oil yards soon occupied 
the river front in the Third ward, Oil City. Each of the warehouses trans- 
acted a regular warehouse and commission business, and each had a steam- 
boat landing. Both passenger and tow-boat steamers were employed, and 
kept busy during such stages of water as permitted, and through these a 
greater portion of the oil-well machinery and other supplies were obtained. 
The supplies for the upper portion of the valley 5f Oil creek wei-e hauled by 
wagons from the nearest railroad points. Boats for both river and creek 
use were brought to' Oil City and Franklin, and by the close of 1860 were 
in considerable number and capacity. The farmers of this and adjoining 
states also found ample employment for all the teams and wagons they 
could spare. 

A number of small refineries were erected in 1860. The throng of peo- 
ple from all parts of the country was steady during that year, but of these 
more came to prospect than to locate permanently. The work of the drill 
was notably active. Lack of even the most ordinary accommodations was a 
serious drawback, but still greater was the difficulty of getting machinery to 
the places where it was needed to drill the wells. The wells drilled were 
shallow, most of them being in the first and second sand, at a depth of two 
hundred to three hundred feet, and were small producers. The daily pro- 
duction in June of this year, 1860, was estimated at two hundred l)arrels. 
By the close of the same this production was largely increased. In fact, 
the year was one of preparation. The real work of development commenced 
in the close of 1860 and spring of 1861. By that time the use of steam 
power had come into more general use. 

The guides of the first operator were few and unreliable. Surface indi- 
cations, such as the appearance of oil on the streams or springs, was al)0ut 


all be could judge from, and he located his well as near these as he could 
get. Some even built cribs in the streams, upon which their derricks were 
erected and wells drilled, bnt these proved no more successful than wells 
drilled on the stream banks. The safest plan was to locate in the neighbor- 
hood of a producing well, when such could be found. It was all " wild-cat- 
ting" in those days, and field operations averaged about the same as they 
do at present date. Best signs failed and the only reliable results were 
then as now furnished by the research of the miner's drill. Great prog- 
ress was being made in machinery and tools used in oil operations. En- 
gines and boilers of the class suited for the work were being made and sup- 
plied to the different points, and the development greatly advanced in every 
way. For fuel wood and coal were plenty, tlie last named being in general 
use. Board shanties on the leases accommodated owners and employes, 
and here they remained until success made their stay permanent or lack of 
it caused them to remove to another location. 

From the beginning the 1)elief was general among operators of the ex- 
istence of larger veins of oil at greater depths, arguing upon the gen- 
eral nature or practice of artesian wells that if greater depths were pene- 
trated the force obtained would be sufficient to force the oil to the surface 
and the slow and expensive process of pumping could be dispensed with. 
Few doubted the main supply of oil was held in a third sand rock, and 
when this was reached the fountain would be tapped. 

The result was not only successful, but disastrous to prices as well. A 
number of flowing wells were struck on the Clapp farm and at other points 
along the creek, and on the Allegheny river, in the third sand at a depth of 
four hundred to five hundred feet. In May, 1861, the number of producing 
wells was one hundred and thirty-live, with a daily production of one 
thousand, two hundred and eighty-eight barrels. One flowing well on the 
Clapp farm, the Cornplanter, filled a one hundred barrel tank and a pond 
twenty-five square rods in extent in its first sixteen hours. In July, large 
sales of oil were made at tanks on Oil creek at ten cents per gallon. In Au 
gust the Titusville Gazette placed the number of wells in Oil creek valley at 
eight hundred, seven of these flowing, and an eight hundred barrel well was 
struck by R. R. Bradley in the third sand at a depth of five hundred feet. 
In September came the big strikes of the Phillips No. 2, on the Tarr farm, 
its first day's production being four thousand barrels; the Empire well, flow- 
ing two thousand five hundred barrels, the Buckeye well, eight hundred 
barrels. Other flowing wells were struck, and by October the flood of oil 
was so great that it could not be taken care of and thousands of barrels 
flowed into the creek and river. It was feared that at this rate the supply 
would soon become exhausted unless some means could be devised to pre- 
vent the waste. In December the Woodford well, on the Tarr farm, came 
in with a daily production of three thousand barrels, and the Elephant. No. 


1, with eight hundred. The total productiou of 1859 is given at eighty-two 
thousand barrels; 1860, live hundred thousand, and 1861, two million one 
hundred and thirteen thousand six hundred barrels. This shows conclu- 
sively the progress of the development. 

The first mode of storing the oil was in circular wooden tanks, built of 
jointed staves of pine planks, tightly caulked with oakum. These ranged 
in capacity from fifty to fifteen hundred barrels. Tank building became a 
leading and profitable industry and continu.ed until displaced by the iron 
tanks of the present date. Barrels were used for shipment. The supply 
of these throughout the country became exhausted early in the development. 
To meet the demand barrel factories were established on the upper waters 
of the Allegheny and they were made into rafts and floated down the river 
to Oil City, from whence they were sent to all parts of the oil fields. A 
look through the piles of barrels in the different yards gave a fair exhibition 
of every class of package or cask used in every part of the country, even to 
those that had been in use on whaling vessels. The price of oil barrels 
ranged from three dollars fifty cents to four dollars and sales of these were 
made at four dollars fifty cents each. 

The growth of Oil City, Franklin, and Titusville in 1861 was marked. 
Every class of business house was being established, as well as blacksmith 
and machine shops. The valley of Oil creek from Oil City to Titusville 
began to assume the appearance of an almost continuous town of clusters 
of shanties and derricks. The towns of McClinlockville, Rouseville, Tarr 
Farm, and Petroleum Center began to come into existence, and from this 
time on their growth was rapid. The drones in this busy time of indus- 
try were few and their stay brief. All were engaged earnestly in the race 
for wealth, and from this aggregate of energy came the grand results of the 
years that succeeded. 

The class of men constituting the pioneers of the oil country are deserv- 
ing of more than a passing notice. They came from the commercial cities, 
the towns, and the hamlets of the country. Among them were civil and 
mining engineers of both old as well as new world experience, mechanics, 
and business men of all classes. A high tone of business integrity was 
characteristic. A verbal agreement was as binding as a bond, and daily 
transactions of many thousands of dollars were made involving nothing 
more than the making of a mere memorandum. Through these and suc- 
ceeding years each community was noted for its maintenance of law and 
order. In 1865 thieves made their appearance from other places, but they 
soon found the oil country an unsafe place for their business and had but 
a brief stay. 

During the fall and winter of 1861-62 the production decreased and 
prices became better. The spring of 1862 opened with good promise, though 
prices ruled very low at the beginning. In March oil was sold at the wells 


at forty to fifty cents per barrel. In December of same year ruling prices 
at wells, live dollars and fifty cents to six dollars; at Oil City, barrels in- 
cluded, ten dollars per barrel. Freights ruled high. Cost of sending one 
barrel of oil to New York, seven dollars and fifty cents; by steamboat from 
Oil City to Pittsburgb. two dollars per barrel; hauling from Oil creek to 
Meadville, two dollars and twenty-five cents per barrel. 

Congress about this time proposed to levy a war tax of ten cents per gal- 
lon on refined and five cents per gallon on crude oil. To this producers 
objected, suggesting that refined only be taxed, with a drawback on all ex- 
ported to foreign countries. 

The Oil City Register of June 1, 1862, published the following tal)le in 
relation to the oil business on Oil creek: 

No. of wells flowing To 

" formerly flowed and pumped 02 

'■ commenced ^58 

Total 495 

Amount of oil shipped to date 1,000,000 bbls 

on hand to date 92,450 " 

Present daily production 5.717 " 

Average value of oil at SI per bbl $1,092,450 

Average cost of wells at $1,000 each 495,000 

Machinery, buildings, etc., from |500 to S7,000 each . . . 500,000 
Total number of refineries 25 

On the 9th of December, 186'2. some three hundred and fifty boats 
loaded with oil at Oil City, containing about sixty thousand barrels of oil, 
were wrecked by an ice gorge from Oil creek coming against them. Thirty 
thousand barrels of oil and one hundred and fifty boats Avere lost, footing up 
a total loss of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. During the year 
destructive fires occurred among the fleets of oil boats along the river fi'ont 
at Oil City, entailing a loss estimated at seventy-five thousand to one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars. One of the burning boats floated down and 
destroyed the Franklin bridge, valued at seventy-five thousand dollars. 

The notable events of the year with those stated were a large extension 
of the field, a production too large to be handled with advantage, and a vast 
amount of experience for those who chose to profit by it. 

An important event of 1868 was the completion of the Franklin branch 
of the Atlantic and Great Western railway from Meadville to Franklin. 
This was completed in successive stages to Oil City, reaching that point in 
the fall or early part of the winter of 1864-65. 

In this connection it is due to mention the fact that closely following the 
striking of the Drake well was the commencement of developments at Frank- 
lin. James Evans, a blacksmith, assisted by his two sons, drilled a well in 
the vicinitv of Twelfth and Otter streets in Franklin early in 1860. and at 


the depth of seventy-two feet struck a vein of oil. Upon being pumped a 
daily production of fifteen barrels was obtained. Other operations Avere had 
in the vicinity of the place, and a number of producing wells resulted. 
Hoover's island, the Hoover, Alexander Cochran, and other farms in the 
locality were afterward tested, and evidence given of a productive hold on 
all sides of the town. The result of the research thus begun was the devel- 
opment in what is known as the old Franklin district of a vein of heavy oil, 
which has since been utilized as the best lubricating oil known. In the 
crude state it has a natural cold test of twenty degrees below zero, with a 
specific gravity of thirty-one degrees. This district is narrow in extent, 
and the wells though small have proved of wonderful longevity. The value 
of this oil is from three to four dollars per barrel at present time. In the 
whole district there are now eleven hundred wells being pumped, with a 
monthly production of five thousand barrels. 

The Franklin branch of the Atlantic and Great Western railroad was the 
first railroad to make its way into the oil country. About the same time the 
Oil Creek road was completed to Titusville, afterward extended to Petro- 
leum Center, and there connected with the Farmers' railroad built from Oil 
City. Next in order was the Allegheny Eiver railroad, completed in 1865 
from Oil City to Oleopolis, with a branch from thence to Pithole. Various 
other lines were projected, but these were the only ones built. The Alle- 
gheny Valley railroad from Kittaning to Oil City was completed in 1867, 
and the Jamestown and Franklin railway, operated by the Lake Shore and 
Michigan Southern, was completed to Oil City a few years later. 

The Noble & Delamater well, Farrel farm. Oil creek, was struck in 
January, 1863, and started off with a production of three thousand barrels 
per day. The Caldwell well, on the same tract, was struck about the same 
time, and interfered with the Noble & Delamater. It was bought by these 
parties for one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars and plugged. To 
date of August 3, 1863, Noble & Delamater sold from their well one hun- 
dred and eighteen thousand barrels of oil for the sum of three hundred and 
fifty-four thousand dollars. The well continued a good producer for about 
twenty-two months, and the sum realized from the sale of the oil by its own- 
ers was variously estimated at from three to four million dollars. This was 
doubtless the best paying well struck in the oil country. It is no wonder 
that such successes in operating, the high prices that ranged from time 
to time in the oil country, and the demonstration so satisfactorily made of 
its inexhaustible supply, should excite the wildest cupidity of man through- 
out the country. 

Among other things the petroleum development evolved at an early 
date was a type of the " Colonel Sellers " stripe, whose equal has never be- 
fore or since been surpassed. He looked over the petroleum field, saw there 
"was millions in it,"' and at obce proceeded to realize. To use the current 


phrase of to-day: " There was no flies on him." A few hundred or a few 
thousand dollars sufficed to get an option for sixty days or more on a farm, 
oil wells, or leases. Price with him was no object, esjiecially if he could o-et 
the owner to take a part of the purchase money in the shape of stock. The 
time given was used to good advantage. The names of leading men in the 
cities or towns where the company was formed were obtained, a charter of 
incorporation was had from the state department under the provisions of the 
general mining and manufacturing law of this or other states, a stock com- 
pany was formed, a flaming prospectus and certificates of stock made by 
the bank-note companies in the best style of the art, were issued, and both 
placed where they would be read and disposed of to the best advantage, and 
the thing was accomplished. They argued that the general public were the 
only suckers who bit at a bare hook. In this respect their judgment was 
correct. The public bit voraciously at this gilded bait. The ' ' Colonel ' ' 
and his few partners always went in on the ' ' ground floor. " " Wind ' ' was 
their principal investment. It only required a short time to sell enough of 
the stock to pay the purchase money and to provide a fund to prosecute the 
work of development, and this was designated the " working interest." It 
was rightly named, for it kept the stockholders busy working to pay their 
assessments for weary months or years afterward. As a general thing the 
only profit realized from the sale of the stock was by the long-headed crowd 
on the ' ' ground floor. ' ' They always managed to keep the control and 
large blocks of stock in their own hands; it cost them little or nothing, and 
its sale at any j^rice was so much clear gain. There were different grades 
of this "Colonel Sellers" tribe, but the result in the end was the same — 
the stockholder was the man who didn't realize to any material extent upon 
his investment. There were many honorable exceptions among the oil stock 
companies formed, at the time spoken of, and these, under capable manage- 
ment, were generally successful. 

The craze for oil stock companies that commenced in 1862 swept over 
the country like a wave. Their number soon became legion. In this state 
alone the writer could enumerate at one time over six hundred. Their 
alleged capital stocks, ranging from twenty-five thousand to ten million 
dollars, footed up nearly a billion of money. New York came scarcely 
second in number, while the town or country cross-roads not represented 
by an oil company with high sounding titles and an array of leading local 
bankers, doctors, ministers, and business men, was considered "too dead 
too skin." 

The first duty of the management of the new company was to appoint a 
superintendent to take charge of the work and make as favorable reports as 
possible of the progress to the stockholders. Armed with this authority 
and the fund, or a portion of it devoted for the purpose, this gentleman 
hastened to Oil City, and from thence to the possessions of his company. 




Ho contracted for tbo bnikliug of the derrick, bought an engine, boiler and 
the other necessary implements, employed the drillers, and set to work to 
realize the fond hopes of the stockboldei's. If he met with success the 
duration of his term and salary was prolonged, for any rise in the price of 
the stock caused the knowing ones to sell and those otherwise to hold on to 
their stock and be willing to be bled while there was a smell of oil or gas. 
The end was sure to come. Some fine morning the working-beam of the 
well was still, the drilling tools or sucker-rods hung idly in the well, the 
derrick was deserted and " Ichabod " written plainly enough on the engine 
house and office. The iron safe, for this was considered indispensable by 
every well regulated superintendent, and the well machinery were the only 
visible assets left, except the superintendent, who had packed his grip at the 
proper time and hied him away to other fields. 

As a class these superintendents were gentlemanly, whole-souled meu, 
whom it was a pleasure to meet, and many a pleasant time has the writer 
had with them. It was through no fault of theirs that failure was due, 
save in few cases, to accomplish the impossible tasks delegated to them. 
Men of varied attainments to whom the term cosmopolitan well applied, 
.they rendered good service to the oil country by extending its development 
in a few years to a greater" extent than would have otherwise been possible 
in a quarter of a century. 

The stock companies kept up a steady boom^in the oil country until the 
close of the war in 1865. During this time lands were sold for almost fab- 
ulous prices. In fact it proved to the oil country like the flow of the fabled 
Midas stream. Others have since reaped the rich fruits of the harvest 
thus sown. 

The close of the civil war in the spring of 1865, and the consequent re- 
sumption of real values, caused the downfall of the oil stock companies, at 
least those that were founded on a speculative basis, and these were in the 
large majority. They came down "like a pile of bricks." Before the 
close of 18,65 scores of deserted wells and engine houses only were left to 
mark the spot that shortly before had been the scene of busy operations. 
Then came the tax gatherer and sheriflp to render the last rites to departed 
hopes. Engines and boilers, the original cost of which had been from fif- 
teen hundred to twenty-five hundred dollars were sold under the hammer 
for fifty dollars, and other machinery and tools for junk prices. Finally 
the lease or land vanished at the succeeding tax sales. 

In the meantime a highly enterprising lot of thieves had been developed. 
To these gentry the removal of an engine and boiler, tubing, drill ro])e, 
tools, bull-wheel, sampson-post, and derrick was the work of a single night. 
A well authenticated story is related where a pumper on a working well who 
had occasion to visit a neighboring boiler house, almost in sight, and ab- 
sent but for a short time, rubbed his eyes in amazement on his return when 


he found that his engine and boiler had vanished. Following the wagon 
trail to the nearest railroad point he found his property loaded snugly on a 
flat-car, duly ticketed, and ready for shipment. The collapse of the oil 
companies was followed by a season of business depression throughout the 
oil country that had its effect during the years that followed. 

The mode of transportation of the oil in any quantity by the tirst petro- 
leum gatherers was doubtless by the canoe or dug-out, by means of which 
he skimmed along the surface of Oil creek and the Allegheny to the nearest 
trading point where he coiild dispose of it. Drake, who followed, found 
barrels necessary to store it in, and wagons to haul these to the nearest 
shipping points. This continued for the first years, until the production 
increased, and then flat-bottomed boats were used upon Oil creek and these 
were freighted with the oil, both in barrels and in bulk. As the necessity 
for facilities for more rapid shipment increased, in order to get the oil to 
Oil City so that it could be shipped to Pittsburgh, artificial freshets or rises 
of water in Oil creek were resorted to. These were called pond freshets. 

It had long been the method adopted by lumbermen in order to get their 
logs to the main boom or pond of their mills, and the manufactured 
lumber from thence to the main streams, to dam up at stated times all the 
tributary branches. These dams, and there was a succession of them, had 
a sluice-way to let the logs and lumber through. When a rise of water 
was desired this sluice-way was closed by a board gate called a "splash." 
When the dam thus formed was filled with water and logs, or lumber rafts, 
the splash-gate was cut loose and the logs and lumber were thus conducted 
until the main stream was reached, when they had the benefit of the addi- 
tional water to float them on their journey. 

A similar plan, only on a larger scale and with more system, was requi- 
site. The early oil shippers systematized the pond freshet by the appoint- 
ment of a superintendent, and a minister of the gospel at that, Reverend 
A. L. Dubbs, who had full charge of all the arrangements. The shippers, 
by a pro rata assessment, paid for the use of the water. Certain dates 
were fixed for these freshets. The superintendent then arranged with the 
mill owners on the upper waters of Oil creek for the use of their water. 
Previous to the day of the pond freshet the boats were towed by horses to 
the shore opposite the tanks of the different wells. The water had in mean- 
time been brought by the process described to the main dam, which was 
located at a point opposite the present acid woi-ks, just below Titusville. 
At the time fixed on, the splash of the sluice-way was cut and the water 
flowed into the creek. The volume of this body of water was generally suf- 
ficient to make a rise of from two to three feet over the ripples or shallow 

The boatmen stood by their lines, ready to cast loose their loaded boats, 
when the time to do so arrived; and here is where sound judgment was 


reqixired. The loaded boat would outspeed the running water. To cast 
loose too soon on the first rush would be to run the risk of grounding the 
boat on the first shallow place, where it would be battered to kindling wood 
by those coming after it. Such accidents often occurred, and not unfre- 
queutly resulted in a general jam of boats in which the boatmen lost their 
trips and boats, and the shippers their oil. As the average rate of boat 
freights from the wells was seventy-five cents to one dollar per barrel, and 
the value of the boat from one hundred dollars to five hundred dollars, this 
was a serious loss. 

An active pond freshet was a sight worth seeing. When the flood had 
reached the lowest shipping points on the creek, the boats commenced to 
cast loose upon the surging stream, directing their course by means of the 
broad sweeps or oars on the bow and stern of the boats. The noise of the 
rush of waters, the flash of oar blades, the babel of loud voices more in pro- 
fanity than blessing, the boats gliding swiftly along, those laden in bulk 
flashing back in rainbow hues the sun's rays, presented features that would 
set an artist wild with rapture. 

Going swiftly on, if no untoward Avreck of stranded craft or jam was met 
with, the short journey of about ten miles for the most distant points, past 
banks lined with derricks and spectators, by head-lands, islands, and sh&rp 
curved bends, it was only a journey of a few hours to the mouth of Oil 
creek. Making anchorage along the river front, the oil was transferred 
from the smaller creek boats to the larger ones used for river transport. 

To the creek resident pond freshet days were ^ boon. In his best 
clothes, if he chose to take the chances of a wreck, or in working garb, if he 
did not, he jumped gaily on a passing boat and came down to Oil City to have 
a few hours of such recreation as the busy city then afforded, and his usual 
place of resort was the warehouses or steamboat landings, the old Petroleum 
house and other hotels. 

Wrecks involving serious loss to both oil and boats were of not unfre- 
quent occurrence. Indeed, it was rare to have a pond fi-eshet without loss. 
The amount of oil brought down on a pond freshet averaged generally from 
twenty to thirty thousand barrels. When they could be had this was the 
cheapest mode as well as the most reliable of getting oil from the wells to 
Oil City. The cost of the water for a pond freshet was from three to five 
hundred dollars each. 

The oil fleet of river and creek boats in the best days of this trade, as 
near as can be estimated, was fully two thousand, comprising all the known 
varieties of river craft, from the large metal or compartment boat with a 
freight capacity of twelve to fifteen hundred barrels, to the diminutive 
' ' guiper ' ' of fifty barrels capacity. The empty boats were towed back 
from Pittsburgh by the steam tow-boats or by horses. 

To supplement this was the wagon train of the oil country. In the best 


season this numbered from four to six thousand two-horse teams and wagons. 
No such transport service was ever seen outside of an army on a march. 
They were drawn from all portions of this and of the adjoining states. lu 
the palmy days of Pithole General Avery, a cavalry commander of renown 
during the war, organized a regular army train and found it a source of 

In the days mentioned the traveler in the oil country was seldom out of 
sight of these seemingly endless trains of wagons bearing to the nearest 
shipping points their greasy freight. Five to seven barrels constituted a 
load, and in view of the general condition of the roads this taxed the 
strength of the best team. The rate of wagon freights ranged from one 
dollar and fifty cents to four dollars per barrel, or even more, according to 
distance. From this it can be seen how slow and unreliable a mode of 
transportation it proved, and how utterly inadequate to meet the require- 
ments. When a wagon broke down the teamster dumped the oil on the 
roadside and there it generally remained to await his leisure. The removal 
of even a thousand barrels of oil from the wells to the shipping points not 
unfrequently consumed so much time that the shipper in rapid fluctuations 
of the market failed to realize more than enough to pay the wagon freight. 

The following tables of transportation rates per barrel for oil from Pit- 
hole to New York in the years 1865 and 1866, when the modes had been 
greatly improved, will give the reader some idea of the improvement that 
has followed. In December, 1865 — 

Transportation from Pithole to Miller Farm, per barrel $1 00 

Barreling, shipping, etc., at Miller Farm, per barrel 25 

Freight to Corry via Oil Creek railroad 80 

Freight from Corry to New York 3 50 

Total |5 55 

In January, 1866, the cost of getting a barrel of oil from Pithole to 
New York, was as follows: 

Government tax $ 1 00 

Barrels, each 3 25 

Teaming from Pithole to Titusville 1 25 

Freight from Titusville to New York 3 65 

Cooperage and platform expenses 1 00 

Leakage 35 

Total $10 40 

In 1862 the first experiment of a new and which has since proved the 
best and cheapest mode for oil transportation was had. A two-inch iron 
pipe was laid over the hill from the Tarr farm to the Humboldt refinery on 
Cherry run, then just completed, a distance of three to four miles. A 
small rotary pump was used to force the oil through the pipe. The result 
was a success, though the best engineers and scientists had pronounced 



the plan aa impossibility on account of the friction to be overcome in 
such grades as would have to be adopted. The cost and difficulty of 
obtaining the iron pipe delayed the introduction of the new scheme of 
transportation for a time. Still later George Van Syckle laid a pipe line 
from Miller Farm, which connected with the Oil Creek railroad at Titus- 
ville. A line was then constructed to Pithole, via Shamburg, and still 
other lines from Pithole to Titusvjllo via Pleasantville. Lines were also 
laid from Pithole to Oleopolis, along Pithole creek, at Franklin, and other 
points. Cast iron pipe was at first used in the larger linos. The rotary 
pumps used being of light forcing capacity, relay stations had to be placed 
at short intervals. The pipe made was unequal to a high pressure and 
the knowledge of making reliable joints had yet to be learned. But the 
new method was the best yet devised. It was not only cheaper, but the 
shipper was insured against loss, the pipe line taking the risk between the 
points of destination. 

It was soon found that distance and grade could be overcome by the 
force of the pumps — it was only a question of power. At first oil was 
hauled from the well tanks to the stations, or "dumps," as they were 
called, of the pipe lines. In the course of time pipe connections were 
made with the tanks and then direct with the wells. The subsequent 
growth of the pipe line system, with its network of thousands of miles of 
pipe connecting with each of the producing wells in the various fields in 
different states, and the hundreds of miles of six and eight-inch pipe lines 
from the oil fields to the seaboard and to the great cities, with its perfect 
system of construction and its telephone and telegraph systems, taxing 
large factories to the utmost to meet the demand for the wrought iron pipe, 
which is now wholly used, is so familiar to the present reader as to need no 
comment. To show the perfection this branch of the oil business has 
reached it may be mentioned that only one pump is now used to force the 
oil through the eight-inch pipe laid from Lima, Ohio, to Chicago, a dis- 
tance of over two hundred miles. The capacity is ten thousand barrels per 
day, and it requires sixty-five thousand barrels of oil to fill the pipe for the 
entire distance. The pump used weighs one hundred tons, and was made 
at the National Transit shops at Oil City. The wrought iron pipe now in 
use is tested at the factory by pressure gauge to two thousand pounds to 
the square inch, and when in use is subjected to a pressure of eight hun- 
dred to twelve hundred pounds. The pipe stands this pressure, and the 
cases of its proving defective are more rare than one would conjecture. 
The average velocity at which the oil is forced through the pipe is about 
three miles an hour. The weakest points are at the joints where the'pipe 
is coupled together. The limit of perfection has about been reached by 
the coupling now in use. 

Shprtlv after the advent of railroads into the oil country new methods of 


transporting the oil were devised. The lirst method was to load the oil on 
box cars in barrels. A car used for this soon became unfitted for any other 
purpose. To remedy this at first a couple of forty- barrel wooden tanks 
were securely fastened on a flat car, and these were loaded by means of pipe 
racks on the side of the tracks direct from the pipes laid to tanks. Iron 
tanks were next substituted of the same capacity, and then boiler tanks 
made of boiler iron, reaching the full, length of the flat car constructed 
especially for the purpose, were the last and best improvement. The railroad 
and pipe lines superseded the boat and wagon modes of transportation, 
and the perfection of the pipe lines has later rendered the transportation of 
oil independent of railroads and all other known modes of transport. 

In the earlier days of petroleum development the oil veins or crevice 
had a tendency to become clogged up with a substance resembling paraffine 
(which it was in fact), which materially interfered with the production. 
Concentrated lye and the most powerful alkalies failed to efPectually cut or 
dissolve this stubborn grease. Then benzine was tried with good effect. 
This proved for a time a boon to the refiners, as there had been no special 
use for that article, and it was a drug on their hands. But their joy was 
of only brief duration. The benzine was sold to the producer for about one 
dollar per barrel. He administered it to his wells in liberal allopathic 
measure. Twenty to thirty barrels was an ordinary dose for a well. This 
became so frequently mixed with the oil pumped from the well that the 
refiner stumbled on the fact the benzine he sold to the producer for one 
dollar he was buying back and paying therefor the market rate for oil, from 
three to four dollars a barrel. The refiner being only human, reasonably 
objected to a deal so much to his disadvantage, and the mode and doctored 
oil became unpopular. 

During this time parties had been experimenting with explosives that it 
was thought would more effectually accomplish the desired result. The 
principal of these was the then newly discovered substance known as nitro- 

In explosive force this substance, composed of proportionate parts of 
pure glycerine, nitric and sulphuric acids, is the most powerful known. It 
was theorized that if a sufficient amount of this could be placed at the bot- 
tom of the well and be there exploded, the clogged veins in the rock would 
be so loosened up by the fracture thus made, that the supply of oil would be 
materially increased. After a great amount of experimenting a trial was 
made and the result surpassed expectation. Several parties claim the dis- 
covery, but the first to bring the new explosive into general use was the 
late E. A. L. Roberts, of Titusville, Pennsylvania, who had his discovery 
duly patented. This gentleman organized a company known as the Roberts 
Torpedo Company, and commenced the manufacture of glycerine and tor- 
pedoes and established agencies and magazines all over the oil country. 



For years this company had a complete monopoly and realized millions of 
dollars from it. Through his agents the wells were torpedoed, and the use 
of these became general in all the oil fields. 

The mode of operation is simple as well as eifective. A tin cylinder or 
shell as it is called, holding from ten to one hundred quarts of the explosive 
is filled, tightly fastened at the top and weighted at the bottom, is lowered 
into the well, which has been properly prepared by means of a stout wire 
attached to a reel to the proper depth, where by an ingenious contrivance it 
is fastened. Upon the top of the shell is fixed a cap of fulminate that con- 
nects with the glycerine. When all is ready the operator drops in the well 
an iron weight known as the " go-devil." This explodes the cap and gly- 
cerine when it strikes. The result is a dull sound of explosion followed by a 
column of oil, water, and spray that shoots up to the height of the derrick. 
After the water and oil have settled back the tubing and other machinery 
is replaced and if the well does not liow the work of pumping is resumed. 
In only rare cases have the wells thus treated failed to respond with an in- 
creased production, not infrequently in amount to more than pay the ex- 
pense in a day or even in a few hours. 

So large were the profits of the nitroglycerine Inisiness and so .simple its 
manufacture that Roberts found as much difficulty in restraining others 
from infringing on his patent as "Uncle Sam" does to protect his revenue 
from the illicit distillers of "moonshine" whiskey. A class of reckless men, 
known as "moonlighters," manufactured the glycerine and torpedoed the 
wells at cheaper rates than those of the monopoly, and for a few years these 
operators transacted a profitable business. Their operations were made at 
night, hence their name. In his light buckboard, to which was attached a 
pair of fleet horses, the ' ' moonlighter' ' would visit a well over rough roads, 
his cans of nitro- glycerine fastened to his vehicle, to most inaccessible 
places, torpedo a well, and before daylight be safe from pursuit. It was a 
dangerous business, yet strange to say but few if any of those engaged in it 
met with any accident. To show the utter recklessness of this class the 
following is an illustration: At St. Petersburg the Roberts Company agent 
had a large cast iron safe made for the safe keeping of his nitro-glycerine. 
The "moonlighters" broke into this with sledge hammers and carried off 
the entire contents. This disregard of fatal consequences can be the more 
readily realized when it is known that the substance is exploded by a very 
slight concussion. The breaking up of the "moonlighting" system was 
only brought about after long and costly litigation. 

This explosive substance is one of the most dangerous and subtle known. 
After being made it is stored in a cool place where it is congealed or frozen, 
and so kept until wanted for use. It is placed in cans after being thawed 
out, taken to the well, and there placed in the shells. Though every pre- 
caution has been used, yet the accidents, always fatal, from its premature 


explosion, number a long roll of victims. The result of these accidental 
explosions was novel as well as sad. All that was visible was a large hole in 
the ground, and of the victims, whether men or horses, some fragments of 
clothing and flesh on the surrounding trees or bushes. As to the exact causes 
leading to such explosions only conjecture could be formed, the witnesses 
being blown into minute fragments. The accidents generally happened 
when the unfortunate victims visited the magazines to get their supply of 
nitroglycerine. The only notice given of the disaster was the sound of the 
explosion, often heard for miles, and creating havoc in the immediate lo- 
cality. And this was all that was ever really known of it. 

One of the most noted in the many cases was that of ' ' Doc. ' ' Haggerty, 
a teamster, near Pleasantville, in December, 1888. Haggerty was employed 
to haul nitro- glycerine to the magazine. His wagon was loaded with one 
thousand four hundred pounds of glycerine when the explosion occurred. 
He was seen at the magazine, sitting on his wagon, about twenty minutes 
before the accident. The wagon and team were blown to atoms; of Hag- 
gerty not the slighest trace could be found. The unfortunate man held a 
five thousand dollar life policy. The insurance company refused payment 
on the ground that no remains of the alleged dead Haggerty could be pro- 
duced, taking the view that he is still alive, a consummation that no doubt 
would be pleasant to the deceased. But there is no doubt that Haggerty is 
very, very dead. The only plausible theory of annihilation in this case was 
that the heat generated by the exi)losion was sufficiently powerful to insure 
instantaneous combustion of the body. 

The latest explosive, known as "Americanite," is claimed to be equally 
as powerful, and absolutely safe. 

Natural petroleum gas, or as it is generally termed, natural gas. was 
found from the beginning in all the oil wells in more or less quantity or 
volume. It was the motive power that forced the oil to the surface in the 
flowing wells, and assisted the pumping ones. To the mind of the writer it 
is to the oil as the blood is to the human system, the life principle, and with- 
out it the oil, as blood in the body, would become an inert and useless sub- 
stance. Although in existence coeval with the oil, it was known for years 
before it became practically utilized. Its utilization in the past few years 
has revolutionized the fuel system of the local field, and it is now one of the 
commercial wonders of the age. 

Natural gas came into general use as a fuel and illuminant in 1873. It 
was found at a considerable depth below the usual oil sands, though in 
a somewhat similar sandrock, in a pure state, immixed with any appreciable 
amount of oil. Since the date mentioned it has come into general use as 
fuel for manufactories and for heating dwellings. The existence of vast 
fields of it throughout the Pennsylvania oil fields, in Ohio, Indiana, and 
other states has been satisfactorily determined. In Pittsburgh its most 


extensive utilization has l)Pen made. In the inimeiliate vicinity of that city 
it has been found in vast and seemingl} inexhaustible supply. In February, 
1888, it is stated that more than tweuty-seven thousand three hundred miles 
of mains were used in pipinor natural gas. In Pittsburgh alone at that date 
five hundred miles supplied forty-two thousand six hundred and forty-five 
private houses, forty iron mills, thirty- seven glass houses, seventy-three 
foundries and machine shops, and four hundred and twenty- two industrial 
establishments. At present date it is safe to infer fully double the above 

It can be piped long distances by the pressure direct from the wells. 
This is about three hundred pounds at the starting point, and this pressure 
is the only force that has yet been used. Wherever had, its use is greater, 
and it is of more value than the oil. As to its duration, who knows? The 
pressure diminishes in a well, and a new one has to be drilled, just as the 
petroleum supply has had to be kept up, yet after thirty years of constant 
development, and perforating the earth with over sixty thousand oil wells, 
the supply of oil is found to be enough for export to all parts of the world, 
for home consumption, and some millions of barrels of a surplus that is 
being steadily increased. 

For heating houses natural gas is the greatest luxury ever bestowed on 
the race. It has all the advantages of a wood hre, is free from ashes or 
dirt, is safe, and can be started by the turning of a stop-cock and the appli- 
cation of a lighted match. In the manufacture of iron and glass it has 
been proven better than any other fuel, beside being cheaper. For illu- 
mination it is nature's lamp and burns without a wick. There will be no 
need to return to coal for fuel for years to come in such centers as have been 
developed. The vast oil deposits of Ohio and other states, the value of 
which for fuel has been so well established, in case of the failure of natural 
gas, are on hand to take its place and may prove to be even better. The 
capitalization of the gas stock companies of Pittsburgh at this time foots 
up fully thirty million dollars. 

Mention has been made of extensions of the oil field closely following 
the striking of the Drake well. These were for a short time confined to 
the valley of Oil creek, a few of its tributaries and hill farms adjoining, 
also on the Allegheny river from Tidioute to Franklin. With the advent of 
the oil companies, the pioneer "wild catters, " the development took a wider 
range, extending not only to various portions of Venango but to adjoining 
counties. Oil was struck in West Virginia very soon after Drake's find, 
but no general development occurred in that state in the first years. 

Among the earliest divergencies from the favored valley of Oil creek was 
the development of Cherry run, near Rouseville, on Oil creek. From this 
resulted the famous Reed & Criswell well, and the no less noted Smith farm, 
owned by Beers & Corners. Then came Shamburg and adjoining localities. 


January 8, 1865, the striking of the Frazier well, on the lands of the 
United States Oil Company, resulted in the development of the Pithole 
field, of world-wide renowu. Following close^ after were the oil discoveries 
on the Alexander Cochran and Hoover farms below Franklin. Further 
extension of this line was soon made to Foster farm. Bully Hill, Bullion, 
Scrubgrass, Emlenton, Foxburg, and at Grass Flats, on the Clarion river. 
Then the Butler and Armstrong fields, the first of which proved prolific to 
an unprecedented degree, and is still in a thrifty state. The Clarion belt 
was also operated with good results. St. Petersburg, Turkey City, Beaver, 
Edenburg, Elk City, and Shipj^enville, and within the past few years the 
Clarion borough fields have been productive localities. Then came in the 
Bradford field of McKean county and a portion of Allegany county, New 
York slate. With the still later additions of Washington, Allegheny, and 
Greene counties, the oil producing fields of the present date in Pennsylva- 
nia, present and prospective, comprise a territory of several hundred square 
miles. That of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and AVest Virginia, Montana, 
Wyoming, and Colorado, will add to this indefinitely. 

Improved facilities in machinery for drilling the oil wells and in the 
methods of transportation of the oil by railroads and pipe lines kept pace 
with the extension of the oil fields and the increase of the production. 
Large pools were struck at Troutman and adjoining farms, in Butler county, 
and at Cherry Grove and Richburg, Allegany county, New York. At the 
beginning of 1880 the daily production was estimated at fully seventy-six 
thousand barrels. In June, 1882, the highest daily record was given at 
one hundred and ten thousand barrels. 

From what has already been given of the earlier modes of transporta- 
tion, some idea can be formed of the magnitude of the task of handling, 
providing means of storage, the refining and finding a market for so great 
a daily production. 

By the early enactment of a free pipe bill any who had the means and 
will could build a pipe line. A number of these were constructed leading 
from the various fields to nearest railroad points and thence to the seaboard 
citfes, the points from which the product was exported; the railroads formed 
the only means of transport. The questions that vex the Inter-State Com- 
merce Commission of to-day existed in even greater extent during all those 
years. No effective concert of action could be decided on by the different 
pipe line companies. The desire for combination was as prevalent then as 
now. The only difference was that each pipe line incorporation wanted to 
be the combination, and the producer entertained something of the same 
idea for the conservation of his interests. The necessity of providing 
storage for the product of the wells was the factor that for all this time in- 
terested all classes engaged in the biisiness. 

With George V. Forman and J. J. Vanderofrift orisfinated the idea of 


consolidating the pipe lines under one general head. Having extensive pipe 
lines of their own these gentlemen went to work earnestly to effect this 
object, and the result was the tinal absorption of the different lines into the 
incorp6ration known as the United Pipe Lines, and still later as the National 
Transit. The details of their operations would make an interesting history 
of itself.. 

Once formed and in successful operation the new corporation made con- 
nections with every producing well in the oil country, erected hundreds of 
large iron storage tanks of thirty-five thousand barrel capacity, and took 
charge of the transportation and storage of the entire production. Seaboard 
pipe lines were constructed, a negotiable oil certificate was devised which 
is to-day for all commercial purposes as reliable as the government bonds or 
currency, a general average insurance against losses by fire or otherwise, and 
a uniform rate of transportation of twenty cents per barrel for oil from all 
points, were established. That has never been changed. The accomplishment 
of such results necessitated an investment of cash and of talent and skill far 
beyond individual possibility. The conception and execution of this plan 
solved the problem of oil transportation for that and all time to come. For 
this, if for no other reason, its projectors and their able successors are to 
be commended. 

The various towns and cities of this and other days deserve at least a 
passing notice. In the different years of the development these sprang up 
in each succeeding oil field like unto Jonah's gourd, and in the large majority 
of cases proved nearly as transient in duration. The names of many of 
these were suggested by the locality, while others were the happy and appro- 
priate conception of the first residents. As a general thing these places 
wore the appendage of "city," something after the manner of the curl in 
the pig's tail, more for ornament than any visible practical use. 

Of the score or two towns of this class few had but a brief term of life. 
Their growth culminated with the height of oil production surrounding 
them, and then before they had scarcely reached the ' ' teething ' ' age their 
decadence began. The rows or blocks of wooden buildings that escaped 
the ravages of fire were deserted as soon as the oil productions of the wells 
surrounding were reduced to small pumpers, and their former occupants 
migrated to a newly discovered field. The amount of money and energy 
devoted to the building up of these oil towns would foot up a large amount. 
And this branch of business only ceased, at least in a great measure, as the 
boundaries of the oil territory became defined. But the oil town, in its 
typical sense, still lives, and will be seen as long as new oil fields are dis- 

Whether of longer or shorter duration each of the many towns had its 
history, and all of it goes to make the pages of the future chronicle inter- 
esting. In the matter of nomenclature that of the oil country has been both 


fitting and original, and this has been displayed in the naming of the towns 
as well as in other things. Space is lacking to enumerate the different 
names and their origin. Notable among the oil towns that in former years 
attained a world-wide reputation were Pithole and Petroleum Center. The 
first named in the first few years of its brief life attained a population as 
estimated of from twelve to fifteen thousand. Its postoflice was rated 
as second-class. A daily paper, palatial hotels, opera houses, gorgeous 
saloons, business blocks, palaces of sin, aliounded and flourished. Churches 
and schools marked the moral sentiment. To these the contributions were 
liberal to a degree equaled by but few sections or communities. Pipe lines 
were laid to this city of promise. The Oil City and Pithole and the Reno, 
Oil Creek and Pithole railroads were iDrojected and built. The first named 
reached Pithole and reaped a fair harvest, but before the completion of the 
second the glory of Pithole had begun to wane with its declining produc- 

At no one point in the history of the oil business did the tide of specula- 
tion rise so high as at Pithole. At no place did the ebb of the speculative 
tide show so great an amount of financial wreckage. Ruin was carried to 
thousands of homes by the unfortunate ventures of this noted oil field. To 
illustrate briefly: AVhen the Frazier or United States well was struck oil 
was selling at eight dollars per barrel. Four thousand dollars bonus (and 
royalty of one half the oil obtained) was paid for leases. The Rooker farm 
was bought by J. W. Bonta and James A. Bates for the sum of two hundred 
and eighty thousand dollars; in less than two months these parties sold 
ninety leases at an average price of three thousand five hundred dollars, 
some of the leases selling as high as seven thousand dollars; three acres of 
it, with wells, were afterward sold for eighty-two thousand five hundred dol- 
lars. Other farms in the same field averaged still better than this. The 
profit and loss account of Pithole represented many millions. At date 
scarcely a trace of the city whose fame in a brief time extended to the ends 
of the earth now remain, though afterward some good wells were had, and 
at present a brisk development is in progress in some portions of the ter- 

Petroleum Center, on Oil creek, was scarcely less noted when at the 
height of prosjoerity than Pithole, and nearly equaled it in size and impor- 
tance and possibly in wickedness. A few brief years of great prosperity 
were followed by the failure of oil production in its immediate vicinity, 
resulting in its almndonment, and now a store, a few dwellings, church 
building, school house, and a railroad station are all that remain to mark the 
site of the once noted city. 

Oil City, Franklin, Titusville, and Bradford are the marked types of the 
survival of the fittest. The growth of these in all that goes to mark the 
best elements of this enlightened and progressive age is an honor to each 


and all of their respective communities. This was not achieved without the 
struggles incident to all other places. Each had s(>asons of depression that 
left au impress at the time, from the beginning to the date of the systema- 
tizing of the oil business upon a legitimate basis. 

Oil City's experience has been most notable. In March, 1865, a flood 
swept away the business portion of the city. Scarcely had the destructive 
element commenced to recede ere its energetic people proceeded to rebuild 
again. In May, 1800, tire swept away the main portion of the city that had 
been rebuilt. The propei'ty loss by the flood of 1805 was estimated at five 
million dollars. Fot months business was practically suspended, and this 
was to be added. The loss by the tire footed up over a million of dollars. 
One item in the loss by the flood was five hundred thousand barrels of oil 
in boats and oil yards along the river and creek fronts. In this city as well 
as in other sections of the petroleum territory, tire, flood, business and 
financial reverses have during the different years taxed its residents to what 
has seemed the full measure of human endurance. These were met and 
overcome with the energetic spirit that everywhere and under all circum- 
stances has characterized the American people. The results are so apparent 
as to need no special comment here, the subject being given in detail else- 

To do justice to the oil operators, or as they are generally termed, oil 
men, whose energy, labor, and capital made the possibilities that have pro- 
duced the almost phenomenal results of the vast petroleum development, a 
large chapter would be required. He was the man ttat prospected the ter- 
ritory and drilled the wells. Ever in the front he bore the heat and burden 
of the struggle, taking the chances, at all times uncertain, and whether suc- 
cessful or otherwise, never losing faith or hope in himself. The writer 
knows him well, and it is ever a pleasant task to bear testimony to the 
merits of the type of enterprising, public spirited men who have made a 
lasting mark on the most extensive and successful mineral development of 
this busy age. No obstacle has yet proved too great for him to overcome. 
Drake and his associates were the first prospectors, or "wild catters, " and 
the hundreds that have followed, improving in method, have made the work 
that formerly required months of unremitting toil a mere matter of days. It 
required over a year to drill the Drake well to a depth of sixty-nine and a 
half feet. Drake's entire drilling outfit weighed about one hundred and 
twenty-five pounds. The drilling outfit of to-day weighs from two thousand 
to two thousand five hundred pounds, and in cases is even heavier. The 
average depths in the different fields is from one thousand two hundred to 
to one thousand five hundred feet, while the depth in the Washington and 
lower fields is from two thousand to two thousand five hundred feet for oil 
wells, and the gas veins are struck about nine hundred feet below the aver- 
age oil measures or rock. Ten days are only a fair record for drilling on 


the ordinary fields, though the average, except in case of unusual obstruc- 
tions or accidents, is from fifteen to twenty days for a well. And the cost 
has been lessened, notwithstanding the increased depth, from one-half to 
two-thirds. To enumerate the diiJerent appliances devised by the operator 
to penetrate the earth to any desired depth and overcome all obstacles met 
with is not requisite. The work of drilling an oil well at present date has 
to be witnessed to be fully comprehended. All other oil well machinery has 
kept pace with the drilling apparatus. 

Thus equipped the operator goes forth to conquer every obstacle that 
intervenes between earth's surface and its hidden treasures of oil or gas, 
and he does so. He traced his belts or forty- five degree lines in the former 
years, on the natural trend of mineral deposits, northeast to southwest, 
and opened up many fields. Now he places his faith upon the kind of 
sandrock he meets. The science of geology plays an important part. In a 
clearing, hill- side, hill-top, cultivated farm, or in the forest the operator 
builds his derrick, sinks his well, and if fortune favors him finds himself in 
the midst of a productive oil field, of greater or less extent. This last is 
determined by the many who follow and seek to profit by his venture. Pipe 
lines and settlement follow, towns spring up. and during the excitement 
flourish and have more or less prosperity. In every direction and in the 
different states extending from the productive fields of Pennsylvania and 
Ohio to the far off prospective fields of Wyoming, Colorado, and on the 
shores of the Pacific, the restless "wild catter" has pushed his way and 
like Alexander of old, is constantly longing and seeking for new fields to 


From the beginning he has been the pioneer of the business. Those 
who followed reaped a more permanent harvest. He has ever been on the 
skirmish line, cleared the way, and left to others the work of details. As 
the business is a distinctive one, so is the oil operator among all other of 
the men who are making the material business history of the great western 
hemisphere. To him is the success that has resulted due, and upon his 
constant ventures and apparently inexhaustible energy depend its extension 
and permanence. As a class the oil operator is a gentleman who should be re- 
ceived with grateful impulses, for prosperity is sure to follow in every locality 
in which he makes a successful strike. The benefits of increased wealth 
that he gains for himself are but a small part of that which assures to so 
many others, creating towns and cities and making prosperous and wealthy 
what had before his advent been comparatively waste places. He needs no 
fulsome eulogy. His achievements are a fitting and honored monument to 
skill, industry, intelligent and unremitting effort. 

The petroleum mining and business history is not dissimilar in general 
respects to that of other mineral developments. If those who bore the 
burden in the beginning failed to reap the harvest they had planted, it is 


mainly due to the cold fact that in the decrees of fate it has been denied 
to individuals, save in exceptional cases, to realize more than a limited 
share of earth's wealth. In the beginning all were equal in this favored 
field, and each and all had their innings. 

As previously stated the intention of these sketches is to give an outline 
of the frame work upon which the petroleum, the greatest of the modern 
business structures of the American nation, has l)een built, to date; slso 
the leading features of the different years. To compress twenty-seven 
years of such history, any one of which would make a volume the size of 
this work, into a single, brief chapter, has not been an easy nor an enviable 
task. No feeling of partiality toward class or locality has actuated the 
writer. While the omissions are doiibtless many, the reader may attribute 
these more to the limited space allotted to this one feature in what is in- 
tended to be a general history, than to any desire on the part of the writer. 
The history of the petroleum development has yet to be written. Its prog- 
ress is too rapid to admit of more than a record of the passing events 
which will furnish the historian of the future with such brief data as can be 
noted in the busy whirl of its ever changing and rapid progress. 

Without claim to prophetic vision the writer can see a future for the petro- 
leum business and those engaged in its various branches, in comparison with 
which the results of the past are insignificant. The extension of the oil and 
gas fields to present view appears to be without practical limit. It will only 
require a few brief years to develop a succession of these from Pennsylvania 
to the Pacific. Prosperity and all that it entails have^ver followed close on 
the wake of this latest and most wonderful of the developments of nature's 
resources, stored for ages for the benefit of this, the most favored if not en- 
lightened, age of progress. Towns and cities will be built along the line 
marked out, and the settlement along this will exceed in a few years, wherever 
oil or gas is developed, that which a century of previous effort has failed to 
accomplish. Heat, light, and power is the motto of petroleum, and all these 
its products provide in practically inexhaustible measure. Its mission is 
to light cities, supply heat, and whirl the wheels of every industry, prove 
indispensable in art, science, and manufactures, sharing its benefits for the 
best good, in cottage and palace, wherever it reaches. The present cities 
and those that are to follow from its discovery will become busy centers of 
manufactures and commerce, and their people reap the reward that has re- 
sulted in the past in far greater volume. An industry- that in little over a 
decade has taken rank as third in the list of exports from this vast conti- 
nent, and is as yet in the almost incipient state of its development, has 
possibilities beyond ordinary comprehension. We can only deal with the 
past and present of the petroleum industry. That we are now only in the 
beginning goes without saying. In a few years present methods will be so 
far superseded as to seem to the observer much as the first locomotive com- 



pared with the elal>orate structure of the present one. The pipe line will 
be a familiar sight to the traveler as he journeys from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, and Venango county, where the petroleum development had its 
birth, will be found in history for all time to come. 

The following table will furnish the reader an approximate basis of the 
growth, value and extent of the petroleum development in Venango county 
from 1859 to 1888: 


Xo. Wells. 

Bbls. Produced. 

Av'ge Price. 
























■ 2,889 




























































































3, 12;. 837 



















28,31 (<:'282 



^ -""«S^x^\ 



Survey and Sale of the Town Plat — Settlement and Gkowth — 
Eauly Surveyors— The Old Merchants— Early Mechanics— Hotels 
—The Press — "The Nursery of Great Men"— Early" Physi- 
cians AND Lawyers— Some Old Ministers— The First Sun- 
day" School — Incidents and Landmarks— The Old 
Way" of Traveling— Ancient Roads — The Old 
Cemetery"- Water, Light, and Scenery. 

BOTH nature and the governments of iliis country destined this point to 
be the county seat. It was at the conHuence of two large streams, 
anciently of more importance than now. France built her fort here as in a 
commanding position; England did the same, and so did the United States. 
All things then combined to make this meeting of the waters an important 

The state reserved from general sales positions fpr four towns that were 
laid out under direction of her engineers and called, respectively: Erie, 
Waterford, Warren, and Franklin. By act of March 24, 1789, the general 
assembly declared that not exceeding three thousand acres should be sur- 
veyed at the fort of Venango, for the use of the commonwealth. By act of 
April 18, 1795, commissioners were appointed to survey one thousand acres 
of the reservation and lay out therein the town of Franklin. The name 
first applied to the site by Coffen in 1753 is Ganagarahare. This name is 
used biit once. Then it is Weningo, then Wenango, Vinango, and finally 

This engineering work was done by General William Irvine and Andrew 
Ellicott. They arrived at Fort Franklin in the summer of 1795, accom- 
panied by a corps of surveyors and escorted by a company of state troops 
under the command of Captain John Grubb, who subsequently settled in 
Erie county, where he served for many years as justice of the peace and 
associate judge. 

After walking over the ground a plan was digested to suit the general 
features of the landscape, and work commenced by running a street one hun- 
dred feet wide down the creek, then making an angle down the river. Other 
streets were run parallel with Liberty until the flat was exhausted, when the 



proper number of cross streets were made and the whole laid out in lots. In 
the center of the town where Twelfth street crosses Liberty a largo plat of 
ijround was reserved for a public park. 

So far the o;ood taste of the engineers was manifest, but when the nam- 
ing of the streets was undertaken, it would seem as though the ouly book of 
reference at hand must have been the catalogue of some zoological garden, 
as thev adopted the names of beasts and birds and fishes and creeping 
things of (he earth. When tlie town became of sut^cieut importance to 
speak of streets by names, the disgusted citizens repudiated these names and 
a new svstem of nomenclature was adopted. 

The siTrveys of the four towns mentioned having been completed, Irvine. 
Ellicott. and George Wilson were appointed state agents for the sale of lots, 
and in 179(» had the following advertisement inserted in the eastern news- 
papers : 

Asrreeably to instructious from his excelleucy. Thomas Mitlliu. Governor of this 
Commonwealth, we shall olfer for sale the following town and outlets of Erie, Watev'- 
ford. Franklin, and Warren, at the time and places hereafter specitied, viz. : The sale of 
that portion of town and outlots of the several towns to be disposed of in the city of 
Philadelphia will commence on Moudtty, the 05th day of July next: that portion of the 
town and outlots of the several towns to be disposed of at Carlisle will commence at 
that borouffh on Wednesday, the 3rd of August next: and the sale of that portion of 
the town and outlots of the said towns to bo disposed of at Pittsburgh will commence 
at that borough on Monday, the loth day of August next. 

^YILT.lA^I Ikvixe, 
Andrew Ellicott, 
George Wilson, 


A partial transcrijit of the original sales of lots at the places named 
in this advertisement shows that the prices of inlots ranged from five dollars 
rrpward. while outlots sold " for a song."' Nevertheless purchasers were 
very scarce even at the extremely low figures paid for the most desirable 
lots in the embryo borough of Franklin. The manner in which payments 
were recei]ited is shown by the following ancient document: 

Philadelphia, December 6. 179(i. 

Received of Anthony Beelen the sum of thirty-four fo'o dollars, being the tirst pay- 
ment of one-half the purchase money for lot Number 561 in the town of Franklin, pur- 
chased by him at public auction at Pittsburgh on the 17th of August last. 


Beceivt-r for the Common icealth. 
Many persons who purchased these lots soon lost interest in them, failed 
to pay taxes, and thus left them to be sold for taxes. This accounts for the 
threat number of treasurers' deeds that are connected with the history of 
Franklin. This state of affairs inured greatly to the advantage of the early 
settlers of the town. 


Georo-e i'ower naturallv commenced his house near Fort Franklin and 


just below the present upper bridge. It answered for house and trading 
shop, as he was then a bachelor. In 1803 he built on the corner of Otter 
and Elbow streets, a stone l)uilding for a house. It was pulled down in 1 872. 
A more extended account of Mr. Power is given in Chapter IX. 

James G. Heron was probably one of the first to arrive after Power. 
He was sometimes called Captain Heron. He was not a lawyer by educa- 
tion or profession, but filled the office of associate judge. He seems to 
have come to Franklin at a very early day in its history. His name is not 
connected with the military here, although he was an officer in the Kevolu- 
tionary army, and he must have arrived very soon after the town was laid 
out, as his name appears on the books of George Power the same vear 
1795. In 1797 his name appears frequently on the books of Edward Hale, 
where various goods are charged to him. This indicates that he was in some 
kind of business, as his family had not yet arrived. 

It is not known where Captain Heron came from, but most probably 
from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. In 1800 he brought his family and 
made his home here. The history of that migration of the Heron family 
was a very romantic one, though it probably did not difPer much from that 
of other early families. All their effects in the way of housekeeping came 
up the river, in a keel-boat, and were three weeks on the passage. The 
family came by land, of course on horseback, and through an unbroken for- 
est, and by a blind trail, and most probably camping out by night. 

One of Judge Heron's daughters married David Irvine, the first lawyer 
who settled in the town. Mrs. Irvine was well knoyn here in modern davs, 
as she was a frequent visitor as late as twelve or fifteen years ao-o. Her 
last years were spent in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she died but a few years 
ago. During her visits here it was her delight to talk of the town as she 
knew it in the ancient times. 

A curious fact is revealed by the inventory and appraisement of his per- 
sonal estate on file in the register's office. This contains the following 
among other items, showing that Judge Heron brought slaves with him to 
Franklin: "One negro girl named Nancy, to serve five years; one negro 
girl, about three years to serve, named Patt, said to be in bad health." 

Judge Heron's death occurred at Franklin on the 30th of Decem- 
ber, 1809. We have the date and fact from the fragment, yet in existence, 
of a newspaper called the Mirror, published at Erie, Pennsylvania, in the 
following words: 

Thursday, Januar}- 4tb. 
Died: In the town of Franklin, Venango county, of a severe attack of the palsy, 
on Saturday last, Captain James G. Heron, an associate judge of that county. Pa- 
triotism, benevolence, and charity were the ruling passions of his soul. The'former 
he invariably evinced by a warm attachment to, and disinterested service of his coun- 
try during the contest which achieved our independence. His social virtues were 
such as highly endeared him to a numerous circle of relations and friends. 


The date of the year is torn off, yet circumstances combiue to show that 
the paper was published on Thursday. January 4, 1810, which would tix 
the death of Judge Heron on the 30th of December, 1809. 

Judge Heron is represented as a man of sterling worth, a useful mem- 
ber of society, and a judicious counselor. It is probable that his judicial 
duties were not burdensome, nor his responsibilities great, yet he aided in 
molding public opinion, when in a formative state. His widow lived to an 
advanced age, and has a daughter, Mrs. Cutts, living now in Philadelphia. 

In a letter written by Mrs. Mary Ann Irvine to Doctor Eaton, we have 
these facts in regard to the early settlement of the town. The letter was 
dated January 26, 1876, when the writer was in her ninety-third year. 
She has since been called to her rest. 

Dear Sir: I sit down to give you a few items of my recollections of Franklin at 
an early day. I have a notice of my father's death which I will send you. He was an 
officer of the Revolution and was called Captain Heron until he was appointed asso- 
ciate judge. Then some people called him judge, and some captain. He came to 
Franklin in 1800, with a large family. The family came by land. The servants, five 
in number, and the furniture came by water from Pittsburgh, in a keel-boat, and 
were three weeks on the voyage. 

There w^re five families in Franklin (summer of 1800) when we arrived. Captain 
George Fowler was in the fort, but no troops, as the Indians were friendly. The pick- 
ets were still standing, and the quarters of both oflicers and soldiers were in good 
order. The fort was at the junction of French creek and the Allegheny river. Colonel 
Alexander McDowell lived a little farther up the creek, in a log house without win- 
dows or doors. There was no carpenter in Franklin at that time. The settlers were 
obliged to put up blankets where the doors and windows should have been. 

There were a great many Indians about, who were very noisy when drunk. They 
often encamped on the opposite side of the creek, at the Point, and would whoop and 
yell half the night. I never heard Mrs. McDowell say she was afraid of them. 

Colonel McDowell came to Franklin in 1794. I do not know the month. He was dep- 
uty surveyor and an agent of the Holland Land Company, under Major Roger Alden, 
of Meadville. Mr. H. J. Huidekoper had not come to this country at that time. Col- 
onel McDowell was also a magistrate. He built a log house on the hill, a short dis- 
tance from the creek, where he and his family lived after it was weather-boarded. 
There was no carpenter nearer than the mouth of Oil creek, to which place he sent 
for Mr. Broadfoot, who came and brought his son, John, then about sixteen years of 
age. They finished the house in 1803. 

Mrs. McDowell spoke of everything being scarce, as is usually the case in new 
countries. Owing to the scarcity of garden seeds and chickens she was obliged to per- 
form a curious surgical operation. She had been fortunate enough to raise a few mel- 
ons, and was very careful of the seed. She washed them and put them in the sun to 
dry. Not long afterward, in looking out, she saw a hen eating them. As she could not 
afford to loose either the seeds or the hen, she sent a man to catch it, and taking a pair 
of scissors she cut open the craw and squeezed out the precious contents. She then 
sewed up the wound with a needle and thread, and set the hen down, who ran away to 
join her two companions and began scratching as though nothing had happened. Mrs. 
McDowell was a lively, energetic woman, a kind neighbor, and one that I liked 
very much. 

My friend George Power was not married when we came to Franklin. His mother, 
a nice old lady, kept house for him. He was married to Margaret Bowman, Decem- 


ber 30, 1800.* He was a incrchant, an excellent, honest man, amiable, kind, and liked 
by all. 

Next were our neighbors, Mr. ar:d Mrs. Edward Hale, very clever people, and the 
parents of Mrs. Andrew Bowman and Mrs. James Kinnear. 

Marcus Hulings lived on the bank of French creek. He had a large family of 
children. He ran a keel boat from Franklin to Pittsburgh. I do not know what year 
he came to Franklin. 

Abraham Selders also lived in Franklin. He was a son-in-law of daddy and 
mammy Huliugs, as they were always called. 

I do not think we had any preaching till 1801. Then a clergyman came, who- 
preached in our house. I do not know what denomination he belonged to, but I think 
he was a Presbyterian. After that there was a small log cabin put up, with a clap- 
board roof. This building was used for a school house, and I had the honor of being 
a scholar. Our first teacher was James Mason from Sugar Creek, who boarded around 
with^he scholars. 

The Heron family came in 1800. There were then but five families in 
the place: George Power, Edward Hale, Marcus Hulings, Abraham Sel- 
ders, and George Fowler. Mr. Power lived on Elbow street, near Otter; 
Mr. Hale, on what is now West Park street, at the corner of Liberty; Mr. 
Hulings, at the foot of Twelfth street on the bank of Frenck creek, and Mr. 
Fowler, in the "Old Garrison." 

Mrs. Fowler ruled her household with discretion and was a kind of 
supreme court to her husband's justice's court. An incident in the life of 
Samuel Hays illustrates this. He was driving a yoke of oxen cptietly along 
the street, like Horace's friend, musing on unimportant things, when a 
neighbor began to chaff him for going barefoot through the streets. Mr. 
Hays made no reply, but with his great ox whip proceeded to chastise the 
impertinent fellow then and there. 

The man went at once to Captain Fowler's office to get a warrant for 
Mr. Hays' arrest. The squire, as they called him, was writing the war- 
rant, when Mother Fowler appeared on the scene and inquired: 

" And what are you doing now, daddy?" 

" Why, I am writing a warrant." 

" And who is the warrant for? " 

"For Sam Hays." 

" And who has the impudence to sue Sam Hays?" 

"Why, this man here, Mr. Thompson." 

" And what has Sam Hays done? '" 

"He says he threshed him with his ox whip." 

" And served him right, too, I warrant. Get out of my house with you^ 
Thompson. I'll have nobody here suing Sam Hays." 

Having cleared the house of the presuming neighbor, she took the half- 
prepared warrant, tore it to pieces, and threw the fragments into the fire. 
This original way of entering a nolle prosequi was no doubt judicious and 
the best thing that could have been done in the case. 

on* ^*^*'°'^'"^ ^^ ^^^ record in the old family bible. George Power married Margaret Bowman Decem- 
lonn !t.i. ' ^** ^°^- ^'^ stated by Mrs. Irvine, unmarried when the Heron family came to Franklin in. 

laoo. Ihe year of his marriage is also incorrectly given by Doctor Eaton as 1800 on page 84. See biography 
on page 7J4. ., .. i o b t- j 


Mrs. McDowell used to relate some of her adventures with the Indians. 
They were in the habit of encamping on the point across the mouth of 
French creek. Sometimes they were quiet; at others, when the " fire water " 
got amongst them, they were noisy and prolonged their orgies far into the 
night, sometimes to the alarm of the quiet citizens. On one occasion an 
Indian came to Mrs. McDowell's house to trade. He had nothing to trade, 
but said " Me catch fish, very much fish. Me give white woman fish, get 
moneys, Indian like moneys." "Well," said the lady, "bring me a nice 
fish, and I will give you a silver shilling." "Well, Indian bring fish, but 
maybe white woman lie." On the assurance that there would be honest 
dealing, the fish was brought, and the contract completed to the satisfaction 
of all parties. 

Colonel Alexander McDowell, like most of the others, came alone at first, 
to break the way and make preparation for his family. The McDowell 
family are Pennsylvanians throughout. They are found in Philadelphia 
and in Franklin and in other counties east of the mountains, and are numer- 
ous to this day and occupy prominent positions in society. 

Colonel McDowell first came here in 1794 as deputy surveyor and 
agent of the Holland Land Company. After the exigencies of the time 
required it, he was commissioned as a justice of the peace, and attended to 
adjusting difficiilties between man and man. In the year 1797 he brought 
his family, having provided a log house, just below the present dam. After- 
ward, in 1802, he built a new house of greater pretensions for their accom- 
modation. It stood on what was then called the edge of the bluflP, over- 
looking the creek. As we speak of localities now it was on Elk street be- 
low Eleventh, and just above Mrs. Bry den's house. In this new building 
there were neither windows nor door at first, but it was a house and had 
o-oodly promise of being a luxurious abode some time in the future. 
Blankets and sheets served to till the places of doors and windows. The 
latter came in due time. The carpenter who put the finishing touches to 
the house was John Broadfoot, who, after this work, became a prominent 
citizen. The house was weather boarded, and stood until within a few 
years as one of the ancient landmarks of the town. In this same house wall 
paper was made to adorn the walls. It was the first wall paper ever seen in 
Franklin. It was in sheets, thick and strong, and lasted until the house 
was demolished in 1874. The paper was made with a light ground, and 
pictures of boys and dogs in blue made it very attractive to the early 

Colonel McDowell was well acquainted with Cornplanter and made him 
his friend by his kindness and consideration in surveying his land and in 
assisting him in settling on a home of his own. He did not live to be old, 
dying January 4, 1816, when but fifty-three years of age. Mrs. Sarah 
McDowell survived her husband nearly half a century, dying in September. 
1865, and being, according to the inscription on her tomb, one hundred and 


three years of age. She was undoubtedly the oldest person who ever lived 
in Franklin. 

There are portraits of these old pioneers still extant, that are quite 
worth a journey to see. Judging from these, Colonel McDowell was a 
gentleman of the old school, sedate, dignified, well accustomed to the 
amenities of life, and well trained to the usages of society. Mrs. McDowell 
was a small woman, graceful in form, beautiful in feature and countenance, 
and in her early days miTst have possessed unusual attractions. These por- 
traits are nearly one hundred years old, and show the skill of the artist in 
drawing and coloring, as well as the di-ess and style of that ancient day. 

Thomas Skelley McDowell was born April 26, 1803, son of Colonel Mc- 
Dowell. He lived here all his life and died within ten rods of the ancient 
house just described, February 8, 1876. A large family followed, sons and 
daughters, but they have all passed away from the scenes of time. Their 
grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren are 
amongst us at the present day, so that the name is not lost and it will be 
long ere the memories of these pioneers are forgotten. 

Edward Hale was the father-in-law of Andrew Bowman. Both were 
among the early settlers. Edward Hale came from Fayette county, bring- 
ing his family with him on horseback, in 1798, and was a trader with the 
Indians, and dealt in merchandise with the citizens. He was a man of 
much enterprise, and bid fair to be one of the most prosperous citizens of 
the town. He owned a large amount of property that in after years proved 
to be valuable. In 1801 he leased a portion of the present park for agri- 
cultural purposes. 

We find the following curious document among the papers left by Mr. 


We, the trustees for the county of Venango, agree to lease to Edward Hale all 
that part of the public square in the town of Franklin, which the said Edward Hale 
has now under fence, at the rate of one dollar a year, until the ground which the said 
Hale has now in cultivation is wanted for public use for the use of said county. 

James McClaran, 
Alexander McDowell, 
June 10, 1801. Trustees. 

Attest: John Johnston. 

Mr. Hale was the father of Mrs. Sarah Bowman and Mrs. Jane Kinnear. 
He was one of the first merchants of Franklin. Mr. Hale died young, 
when he had just begun to develop his enterprise and capacity for business. 
His death occurred in 1806, in the thirtieth year of his age. Mrs. Hale 
afterwards married William Parker, father of the late George W. Parker, 
of Sugar Creek, and took up her residence at Bear creek, on the river 
below. The younger daughter, Jane H. , married Colonel James Kinnear, 
and lived among us until her death, March 31, 1870. 

Later on appeared Samuel Hays, an Irishman, who was destined to 


make bis mark in the history of the county, in its business and in its polit- 
ical affairs. He had largely the elements of popularity, and easily won bis 
way to distinction among his neighbors. Mr. Hays was a man of ability, 
but owed his advancement moi'e to a regular balance of judgment and cau- 
tion, and kindness and forbearance, and the ability to watch and wait, all 
combined, than to any one quality or characteristic. And with this charac- 
ter of mind his life was a fortunate and prosperous one, from the popular 
standpoint. He was a man who always had friends who would stand by 
him in any emergency, and were always ready to assist in carrying out his 
enterprises. He was a business man, and also a politician. He would give 
attention to business and also keep in view his desires and prospects relat- 
ing to the political world. 

Samuel Hays was born in Ireland, and came early to America to make 
his home. Having his full share of enterprise, he soon sought out this new 
town as his home and came to seek his fortune in 1803. 

The probabilities are that he had very little in the way of capital to 
begin with. But he had that Irish trait of looking to the main chance and 
with industry, economy, and perseverance he was soon looked upon as one 
of the rising men of Franklin, and not only of the town, but of the county 
of Venango. And during the course of a rather long life he was called to 
occupy nearly every office in the gift of the people. He was a Democrat of 
the Democrats, yet he owed his political popularity rather to personal traits 
already alluded to, than to mere political party. 

Mr. Hays probably held a greater number of offices than any other man 
in the history of Venango county. He was four times elected sheriff, viz. : 
in 1808, 1820, 1829, and 1835. He was elected to the state assembly four 
times, in 1813, 1816, 1823, and 1825; to the state senate twice, in 1822 and 
1839; to the congress of the United States once, 1842. He was also mar- 
shal of the western district, and associate judge of the county in 1856. In 
all these offices he acquitted himself well, and gave entire satisfaction to his 
constituents. These offices also brought him into a general acquaintance 
with public men at large, so that his influence was largely sought by his 
neighbors and friends in political life. 

In business Mr. Hays was largely engaged in the manufacture of iron. 
Blast furnaces were at one time common in the county, and in these he was 
engaged. Pig iron was almost the currency of the country, and in this bus- 
iness he was generally as successful as his neighbors. He also built a forge 
on French creek about a mile above town, that manufactured iron until the 
site was wanted for a pool in the slackwater of the creek. 

The title of general was popularly given to Mr. Hays, but no one 
remembers to have seen his commission. He was married first to Agnes, a 
daughter of John Broadfoot, who died in 1839, and second to Mrs. McCon- 
nell, who yet survives. General Hays died in this city on the 1st of July, 


1868, in tbe eighty sixth year of his ago, having lived here sixty-five years, 
and noticed the growth of the pLice from a few cabins in the woods to a 
flourishing city. 

The first settlers came slowly, but they gradually gave consistence to 
the town. The trees were cut dow'n in the public square, as they called 
it. The bushes began to disappear along the creek, and paths were worn 
up and down the river. Better houses began to appear. Old John Broad- 
foot's hands were full of work, and other hands than those of regular car- 
penters were extemporized that places of shelter might be provided for new 

George Fowler has been mentioned. He had come over as an English 
soldier at the time of the Revolution, and was won by the promise of the 
new country to remain. He lived with good dame Fowler in the " Old Gar- 
rison," afterward on Elk street near Ninth, and as justice of the peace used 
his pen when called ujjon for help by the new burghers, in preparing papers 
of legal import. 

Marcus Hulings lived just down at the foot of Twelfth street. His log 
house might have been seen a quarter of a century ago, looking out on the 
creek. Mr. Hulings was a boatman, and ran a keel-boat between here and 
Pittsburgh. The navigation was rather slow, yet tolerably safe. Sometimes 
it required a voyage of three weeks to come from Pittsburgh to Franklin, but 
the voyage down the stream was rapid. Besides, things did not move so 
rapidly in those days as at the present, and dispatch was not expected. 

John Broadfoot came from Oil creek. He was a Scotchman, one of the 
genuine, honest, God fearing men that are produced in the land of oat meal, 
amid the mountains and lakes of old Scotia. He came first to build Colonel 
McDowell's house, then settled down himself as a citizen, and never lacked 
employment as a carpenter. He became one of the first elders in the Pres- 
byterian church. His family consisted of one son, John, and four daugh- 
ters. Of these, one was married to General Hays, one to Robert and one to 
Alexander McCalmont. The fourth, Betsey, remained unmarried, and died 
May 11, 1857. The remains of the Broadfoot property yet linger on Buf- 
falo street. 

Abraham Selders was the son-in-law of Mr. Hulings. He was appointed 
justice of the peace in 1801, and elected commissioner in 1816. He was 
much on the river, and was fond of hunting and proved himself a good citi- 
zen. Some of his descendants are still in the country. 

Ezra McCall came early. He was a blacksmith and did the work in his 
line for the town, bringing his iron in the keel -boat from Pittsburgh, and 
burning his own charcoal as he needed it, on the bank of the creek. 

Nathaniel Caiy was one of the enterprising men of the early day. He 
had a farm up on Oil creek, with oil springs on it. Here he collected the 
oil by the blanket process and sold it in small quantities as medicine. He 


is said to have carried the first cargo of Seneca oil, as it was then called, to 
market. But it was not in large measure. The cargo was contained in two 
kegs put in a bag and carried aci'oss the saddle of the horse on which he 
rode. Whether the market was overstocked or not we are not informed. 

William Connely came here in 180G. He was surveyor, })olitician, mer- 
chant, preacher, and in all used diligence and was an important man in his 
day. He was county surveyor in 1817 and again in 1840-45. He repre- 
sented the county in the legislature from 1819 to 1821, and was appointed 
associate judge in 1862. Mr. Connely died in this city May 23, 1871, in the 
ninety-fourth year of his age. 

The Kinnears, William and James, were brothers and were well known 
citizens half a century ago. Some of William Kinnear's family are liv- 
ing here at the present time, in the fulness of age and honor. James 
Kinnear kept a hotel on the corner of Liberty street and West Park. It was 
a famous hostelry in its day. With all his peculiarities the colonel was a 
genial, kind-hearted man, and always made his guests comfortable. He was 
county treasurer in 1819, and associate judge in 1845 and onward. His man 
George was quite as much of a character as his patron, and had a very high 
opinion of the character and dignity of the hotel. 

The McCalmonts and Plumers and Moores came early to the town, and 
many of the families have occupied places of prominence in society. Alex- 
ander McCalmont was sheriff in 1811, surveyor in 1812, prothonotary from 
1818 to 1824, and appointed president judge in 1839. Arnold Plumer was 
elected sheriff in 1823 and appointed prothonotary in 1830. He was also 
member of congress four years and canal commissioner. William Moore, 
grandfather of Doctor E. W. Moore, was the first prothonotary, being ap- 
pointed in 1805, and served until 1818. Then there were the Smiths, John 
and Isaac, river men, whose delight was in piloting boats and rafts down the 
river; and James Brown, whose wonderful exploits in drumming he was fond 
of relating. He, too, was a famous pilot in his day, and was in demand at 
every " rafting flood " and " Jtine fresh," as they were then called. 

There were also the McClellands, George and Hugh, from Ireland, but 
making Franklin their subsequent home and entering into business. 

Andrew Bowman was born in Northampton county, and with his father' s 
family came to this county in 1795, settling in Sugar Creek township. He 
commenced the tanning and shoemaking business there, and in 1813 came 
to Franklin and carried on the same business at the old homestead, corner 
of Elk and West Park streets. He was a man of great enterprise and in- 
dustry, and lived comfortably and prosperously until broken by age and in- 
firmity. He died November 18, 1859. Mr. Bowman was intrusted by his 
fellow citizens with some of the best offices in their gift. He was success- 
ively sheriff, a member of the legislature, and prothonotary, discharging his 
duties to the satisfaction of his constituents. The old homestead on the cor- 


ner of Elk and West Park streets was a graml house. in its day. It was 
a landmark until a few years ago, when it was pulled down and its place 
left vacant. In that house a large and generous hospitality was dealt to the 
friends and acquaintances of the family, and to all comers from town and 

Mrs. Bowman was the eldest daughter of Edward Hale, and lived to an 
advanced age. Her death occurred in July, 1871. Few women of the early 
days of Franklin passed through as varied experience, or lived to relate as 
great changes in the town as she. Her experience with Indians and wild 
beasts on Bear creek was exciting. In the town itself, she could relate her 
exploits in washing clothes in the ravine just in front of Mrs. Myers' house, 
building her fire of the brushwood, and dipping the water from the brook 
that then ran through that locality. The remembrance of her kindness and 
quiet grace still lingers in the memories of many yet living among us, and 
her quiet faith and godly life are a rich legacy to her children who yet sur- 

Levi Dodd belongs to a long line of worthy ancestors, dating back more 
than two hundred and fifty years. They settled in Connecticut, in New 
Jersey, and in western Pennsylvania. Levi Dodd was the son of Ithiel and 
Hannah (Lindley) Dodd, and was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, 
February 28, 1799, and in his early infancy was carried to Mercer county, 
where his parents had located on a farm. Here he grew up, and as a boy 
assisted in cultivating the paternal acres until the age of eighteen, when he 
went to Plaingrove, Lawrence county, to learn the tr^de of a cabinetmaker. 
After acquiring a knowledge of his trade he was united in marriage to Julia 
Ann Parker, of Mercer. Soon after this he removed to Cooperstown, Penn- 
sylvania, and in 1824 came to Franklin to make his home. Mrs. Dodd died 
September 10, 1857. Mr. Dodd was again united in marriage to Mrs. Isa- 
bella Brown, of Sunville, Pennsylvania. He was a most efficient elder in 
the church and a valuable laborer in the Sabbath school, and long stood al- 
most alone as an active, praying man in the church. He died May 10, 1881. 

The population of the town in 1824 was about two hundred and fifty. 
There were prominent amongst the families, the Parks, Plumers, McClel- 
lands, McCormicks, Kinnears, McCalmonts, Connelys, Ridgways, Morri- 
sons, Martins, Clarks. Gildasleeves, Sages, Dewoodys, Hulings, Crarys, 
Blacks, Smiths, Mays, Seatons, Brighams, Smileys, Baileys, Kings, Gur- 
neya, Kelloggs, Graces, McDowells, Hays, Dodds, Broadfoots, William 
Raymond, Doctor Espy, John Galbraith, John J. Pearson, and Stephen 

After these came the Barclays, Hannas, Mackeys, Alexanders, Irwins, 
Snowdens, Adamses, Thompsons, Renos, Woods, Andersons, Hoovers, Lam- 
bertons, Cochrans, Dubbs, and others, until the time would fail to enxamer- 
ate them all. The persons named above have nearly all passed away, but 
many of their descendants are among the citizens of to-day. 



The lands must be surveyed. The boundaries must be marked, the 
stakes set to distinguish between one man's possessions and another's. The 
surveyor was an important man. It was important to have a competent 
agent to do the work, if future trouble was to be avoided. It is quite likely 
that the art of surveying was not as well understood in those primitive days. 
It is quite certain, too, that surveyors were not as well provided with cor- 
rect instruments then, as now. The needle pointed to the magnetic pole 
then, as now, but there was not the nicely adjusted instrument to take ad- 
vantage of the law of nature in this regard. And the wonder now is, not 
that mistakes were made at times, but that more and greater errors did not 
characterize the work of the early surveyors. 

Alexander McDowell was the first surveyor. He was most likely a com- 
petent workman. Still, he was not here in an official capacity as surveyor. 
He was rather agent for the Holland Land Company. 

The first deputy county surveyor was Samuel Dale. He came on the 
ground from east of the mountains soon after the erection of the county, 
and immediately set to work. There were men wanting to have their land 
run off by the surveyors, and so enter intelligently upon the work of clear- 
ing up their farms. He came in August, 1800, accompanied by John Irwin 
as a deputy surveyor. Their first work was to survey the land of Peter 
Dempsey, on which the town of Dempseytown now stands. From that 
time onward their hands were full of work. And the work was well done. 
In the books still extant are samples of his work that are models of neat- 
ness and correctness. He was a friend to Cornplanter and did much toward 
reconciling the old sagamore to the settlement of the white people. 

Mr. Dale represented the county in the legislature from 1808 to 1813. 
In 183 2, when the war with Great Britian occupied the attention of the 
county, a regiment was raised in Crawford and Venango counties to pro- 
tect Erie from a threatened attack of the British and Indians, of which he 
was lieutenant colonel. He was thenceforward known as Colonel Dale. 
He acquired property here that required his presence often after making his 
home in Lancaster, and in process of time his son, Samuel F. , came here 
to make his home. The family of the latter are here now, as well as his 
brother, Charles H. Dale. 

In 1812 Colonel Dale was succeeded by Alexander McCalmont, whose 
versatile work in various directions we have already noticed. Mr. McCal- 
mont held the office for five years, and was succeeded by his father-in-law, 
William Connely. This was in 1817, and Mr. Connely discharged the duties 
but a single year, when John Irwin, who had had ample experience with 
Colonel Dale, took the compass and Jacob staff. He was a very correct 
man, and his work shows him to have been careful and painstaking. 


He gave way in 1824 to Richard Irwin, his ne])hew, who hold the office 
for fifteen years. He was perhaps the most careful, methodical, and correct 
surveyor the county has ever had. Beyond a doubt he was the most useful 
man, in cases of land litigation, that the courts have found, as his memorj' 
of surveys, locations, lines, and even corners of tracts seemed never to fail 
him. Richard Irwin was born in Buffalo Valley, Northumberland county, 
not far from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, May 6, 1798. He came with bis 
parents to Venango county in May. 1802. He had the advantages of some 
school privileges — none of the best, however. But instead, he was carefully 
instructed by his uncle, John Irwin, the surveyor. His first practical train- 
ing was in the laying out of the Susqiiehanna and Waterford turnpike. 

He became deputy surveyor when twenty-six years of age, doing his 
first work on the Porter farm, below Franklin. His work shows for itself 
and manifests his patience, skill, and neatness in detail. He always wrote 
with a quill pen, and was careful in his manuscript, so that it could be read 
like printed matter. He was in great demand in the courts in land trials, 
and his judgment was generally accepted as final. He was an associate 
judge from 1838 to 18-1:3. In 1848 he was a presidential elector, casting 
his vote for Taylor and Fillmore. On the 5th of March, 1834, he was 
united in marriage to Hannah White, daughter of Reverend Hezekiah May. 
After the death of his first wife, he was married again in February, 1855, 
to Mary A. Lamberton, of Erie, who survived him until July, 1887. 

Judge Irwin was a most estimable man. His judgment was sound, his 
intuitions clear, and his conclusions just. Whilst sj^ow to act, his mind was 
logical and his conscience active. He was one of the most valuable of our 
citizens, and his advice and counsel much missed when he was called away. 
He died at a ripe old age, in November, 1882. 


One of the first necessities of a civilized town is the general store. It 
comes with the earliest inhabitants. The first at Franklin was that of George 
Power. Very soon after him was Edward Hale, as is evident from some of 
the account books still in existence. Then in 1801 came John Wilkins, prob- 
ably from Pittsburgh. Archibald Tanner was one of the early dealers. He 
married a daughter of Alexander McDowell, and afterward moved to Warren, 
where he was one of the prominent citizens until his death. He was long 
an elder in the Presbyterian church. James Harriott was also a merchant. 
William Connely, already noticed as versatile in his tastes and employ- 
ments, was also for a time a merchant, as were also his sons-in-law, Arthur 
Robison and Alexander McCalmont. The latter advertises his wares in the 
Herald in 1822. To afford an idea of the kind of stores then in vogue, some 
of his articles are summarized: "Groceries, books, stationery, blankets, 
saddles, bridles, powder, lead, flints, steel, snuff, indigo, madder, copperas, 
alum, turpentine, shoes, weavers' reeds, almanacs, etc." 


He advertises that all kinds of produce will be taken in payment, from 
wheat to beeswax and from butter to whiskey. Mr. McCalmout was also 
sheriff and surveyor, prothonotary and clerk, lawyer and judge. 

Other merchants were: William Kinnear, Charles R. Barclay, James 
Bennett, F. G. Crary, Arnold Plumer, Hugh McClelland, William Ray- 
mond. Myron Park, Jacob Dubbs, Robert Lamberton, William Henry, and 

Of these, Mr. Barclay moved to Punxsutawney. Arnold Plumer was 
one of the most prominent citizens already referred to, born in 1801 and 
died April 28, 1869. Mr. Crary carried on business largely at the mouth 
of Oil creek, now Oil City. Hugh McClelland was an Irishman and a 
bachelor, born in 1798, and died in 1810. 

William Kinnear was from the Emerald isle, born in 1773, and came to 
this country in 1785. He first came to "'Pithole Settlement" about 1800, 
and moved to Franklin in 1811. He had a store on the corner of Liberty 
and Twelfth streets. His first place of business, however, was in his dwell- 
ing, corner of Elk and Tenth streets, where he resided from 1812 to his 
death, September 30, 1844. The lot was afterward occupied by his son, 
Francis D. Kinnear. Mr. Kinnear was also a justice of the peace and com- 
missioner, a good citizen, and a prominent member of the Methodist church. 
His daughters, Mrs. Bailey, Mrs. Raymond, Mrs. Smiley, and Mrs. Bush- 
nell, as well as bis son, F. D., all settled in Franklin. The two younger 
daiTghters still survive. 

William Raymond is the oldest of the early merchants yet living. He 
was born in Wilton, Connecticut, in 1799, and came here in 1823. His 
store was opened on Liberty street on the site of the building now owned by 
Mr. Dodd. All the years from 1823 to about 1861 he occupied that point 
as a store. He was county treasurer in 1833-34. He was married to Nancy 
Kinnear, daughter of William Kinnear, and still lives to enjoy life and the 
society of old friends. 

Myron Park was another New Englander. He was born in Sheffield, 
Massachu .setts, July 8, 1797, and came to Franklin in 1824. His first home 
here was the house built by himself, on the corner of Elk and South Park 
streets, recently torn down. His store was on Liberty street. As a merchant 
he had good taste and sound judgment and conducted his business fairly 
and judiciously. One who knew him in his New England home said he was 
one of the handsomest young men who had ever left his native town. He 
was a gentleman in every sense of the word, modest, thoughtful, and kind 
to all with whom he caine in contact. He died suddenly in Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania, February 16, 1863. He served as county treasurer in 1829-30. 

Robert Lamberton was one of the most successful merchants of Frank- 
lin. He was born in the neighborhood of Londonderry, Ireland, March 20, 
1809, and came to Franklin in 1830. Soon afterward he commenced a little 


store, that gradually increased until it embraced as many articles as are enum- 
erated by Alexander McCalmont in his advertisement. After some years he 
was in the iron business, and from 1860 to 1872 he condiicted a bank. He 
was associate judge of the courts of Venango county from 1862 to 1866; also, 
long an elder in the Presbyterian church. Mr. Lamberton married Maro-aret 
Seaton. His death took place on the 7th of August, 1885. 

There were two Engiishmen, Samuel Bailey and George Brigham, who 
came here to settle as young men. Samuel Bailey was born in Eno-land, 
April 10, 1795, came to Venango county in 1817, and soon after settled in 
Franklin. He married Mary, eldest daughter of William Kinnear, Novem- 
ber 4, 1819, and died September 14, 1855. George Brigham was born in 
Hull, Yorkshire, England, Jiine 7, 1788, and came to Franklin in 1817. 
December 2, 1819, he married Catharine, eldest daughter of George Power, 
and died October 19, 1846, in his fifty-ninth year. 

James Bleakley was another merchant who was in business forty vears 
ago. He was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, September 13. 1820. He 
learned the printing trade, purchased a paper, became a merchant and 
broker, and carried on a banking business. He was married to Elizabeth 
Dubbs, and died but a few years ago. 

There was often a brisk trade kept up with the Indians. They had no 
money, but in favorable seasons had peltries and furs and venison and bear 
meat. These they brought in for exchange. But they did not always bring 
these articles when they wished to purchase. They asked and obtained 
credit. It is astonishing to look over the books of George Power and Edward 
Hale and see the amount of credit that was given these wild men, and the 
supposition is that they were generally honest and paid their debts. All 
manner of ridiculous and absurd names are found on these books as the re- 
cipients of credit. But the purchases were largely whiskey at probably 
good prices, though they sometimes bought trinkets, blankets, and an unmen- 
tionable article that all Indians at that day wore. The women asked credit 
as well as the men. They bought chiefly beads, red blankets, and handker- 

Mr. Power had the following experience with his Indian customers. 
One bright morning several of the "red-browed forest rangers," as the poet 
calls them, came in, one of them with a remarkably fine fox skin. It was 
of the silver-gray variety and valuable. It was thrown upon the loft where 
he kept his peltry. The said loft was but half a story in height, with a 
window on the gable overlooking the creek. In the course of two hours 
another Indian came in with a silver gray that was likewise bought and 
thrown up on the loft, in the haste of trade. Twice more in the course of 
the afternoon the same variety of fox was brought and purchased. Mr. 
Power began to think it was a very good day for silver foxes and congratu- 


lated himself on the success of the day's business, and concluded to look 
at his fox skins. An examination showed that there was but a single skin 
of that persuasion on the loft. But the open window and the log cabin 
induced him to think that the red brother had outwitted him, and that he 
had bought the same skin three times too often. So the trade was set down 
to profit and loss. 


Mechanics came as they were needed and were more valued then than 
now, as there was little or no machinery. Abraham Selders was the first 
stone mason, and builded as good walls in his day as could be expected with 
cobble stones and spawls. With the grand stones on which the hills rest, 
begging to be quarried, it was only in later days that they were used for 
building purposes. The early walls were all built of stones that could be 
gathered up without quarrying. 

Boat building became an important branch of industry, as the trade up 
and down the river and creek must be attended to. The Ridgways, Noah 
and John, who came in 1801, gave attention to this and had places along 
the river where they turned their boats, as they termed the process of get- 
ting them into the water. Noah Eidgway's name occurs quite early among 
the patrons of George Power's store. 

The first hatter was Edward Patchel, who came here fi-om Pittsburgh. 
His name is handed down to all time by having been given to the run 
that meandered through his possessions — Patchel' s run. He made good 
substantial hats. He was never ashamed to meet a man wearing his hats, 
unless from the superfiuity of fur that adorned it. He made one famous hat 
whose history has come down to us. He had a poor, uncared for colt that 
had never experienced the tender mercies of the curry comb in its life. As 
a result, the hair had grown long and thickly matted during the winter. 
Nature had cared for its unprotected condition by giving it a very thick mat 
of hair. When the spring came, this mat of hair came off in a body, and 
the hatter was seized by an idea. Such material should not be wasted. 
Accordingly the fleece of hair was gathered up and felted into a hat, the 
first of its kind ever manufactured. The subsequent history of that hat is 
not known. If Mr. Patchel had descendants, it may be in use to this day. 

Andrew Dewoody was a pupil of Mr. Patchel, and learned the trade 
well and truly, for his hats were durable as those of his master. They 
were really wonderful hats. They had stiff, heavy bodies, and were most 
luxuriantly covered with fur. They were not the bald, barren looking 
att'airs of the present day, rounded off" on the crown like a cone that had 
failed to reach its proper terminus, and without fur to pi'otect it, but good, 
honest, generous hats that would last a lifetime. 

Some of the old citizens well remember Mr. Dewoody' s sign, first on 
Liberty street and then on Elk, near the old homestead. It was painted by 


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"■^ - -'^-^'C i^rnCi^Vd^ C 

^^ ^^-^-^I'-^^yy^ 


one of the early artists of the town, and had the pictiire of a beaver on it, 
with the name of the hatter underneath. Mr. Dewoody kept up his shop to 
the last, but the world moved too fast for his fur hats, and he did not aspire 
to silk. The smooth, flabby hat was adopted, and he furnished his cus- 
tomers with the most substantial variety. But one of those old fur hats 
would be a curiosity in these days not to be undervaliTed. Mr. Dewoody 
lived to be an old man. and was respected by the neighbors as a good citizen. 
He died March 11, "1862, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, leaving numer- 
ous descendants. 

John Broadfoot was the first carpeutei', and did his work in good, ortho- 
dox style, not building for all time, but yet substantially and well. 

After the lapse of years John Singleton began to make brick, and ere 
long some of the people aspired to brick houses, albeit in 1848 there were 
but four brick houses in the town, and very little stone work under them. 

John Witherup was the contractor for the building of the first jail and 
court house, and did the work as well as could be expected in those days. 
He was not an explorer in the hills, seeking large blocks of stone, but was 
content to gather up the loose stones of the valley and w^ork them into his 

Mr. Service was the first saddler, and made good, honest work. His 
place was fronting West park, between Elk and Liberty streets. For the 
building of the first Presbyterian church he subscribed five dollars in sad- 
dlery, and thereby showed his good will to the work and assisted in keeping 
the current of trade moving. 

As we find Tubal Cain soon appearing in the antediluvian society, to 
work in metals and help his fellow men in the great struggle for life, so we 
find a follower of his in the early Franklin community. He was the first of 
those who wrought in iron. In other words, Ezra McCall was the first 
blacksmith. There were not many horses to shoe, but there was plenty of 
work of other kinds. He could forge axes in his humble smithy, and do all 
other work that was called for, and make himself useful. 

After him came John Lupher. He had his shop near where the Ex- 
change hotel now stands. He was a military man, too, in his time, beinc 
captain of the militia. He was a Pennsylvania German, and still retained 
a little of the accent that pertains to that people. On the first day of the 
muster he overheard a neighbor say, " I wonder if the Dutchman will ex- 
pect us to mind him when he gives orders." This little speech gave him 
the courage of Napoleon, and when the company was drawn up the captain 
elevated himself to the full extent of his inches, and with stentorian voice 
cried out, "The first man that refuses to obey orders will be placed under 
guard and kept until sundown. " The old captain said "the Dutchman" 
had no further trouble after that. Mr. Lupher moved to a farm after a 
while and lived to an advanced age. 



Later was George Grieshaber, a noted man in bis day here. He was a 
German, and bad served as blacksmitb and cavalryman in tbe Austrian 
army. He was a good workman, but bad a queer way of doing bis work. 
He never took tbe borse's foot in bis bands wbile sboeing. Some one must 
bold tbe foot diiring tbe operation. If Ferdinand, bis belper, was not 
tbere, and tbis was of frequent ocRurrence, tben tbe owner of tbe borse 
must bold tbe foot wbilst George bammered and rasped. He was a talka- 
tive little man, very funny and fussy, and quite dramatic in bis way of talk- 
ing. He would gesticulate and go tbrougb all tbe motions in tbe act be was 
describing. His code of etbics bad not been learned in tbis country, but 
bad been picked up in tbe region of tbe Danube, and would not pass as or- 
tbodox in tbese days. Still, be tried to be an American, but altbougb be 
never succeeded be sbowed bis good will by trying. 

On one occasion two neigbbors bad a lawsuit before a justice. Tbe suit 
did not amount to mucb, and tbe witnesses kindly agreed to forego tbeir 
claim for costs. Meeting one of tbese witnesses tbe blacksmitb accosted 
bim : "I say, Cbeem, did you forgive your costs, too ? " * ' Yes. " " Well, 
you' re a fool ! " " Wby do you tbink so ? " " ' Cause, I say any man is a fool 
as will scbwear bis soul away for twenty-live cents and tben forgive tbe 

Jobn Paden made cbairs bere in 1826. He, too. subscribed of bis wares 
to tbe building of tbe new cburcb, and at tbe same time exbibited specimens 
of bis work. 

Tbe Alexanders, fatber and son, worked at tbe cabinet making business, 
and specimens of tbeir work still linger in tbe old bouses of tbe town. 

Jeremiab Clancy made sboes, and at times kept botel on Tbirteentb 
street. He came in 1819 and died in 1873. He was a native of Ireland and 
a Catbolic — one of tbe first in Franklin. 

In tbose early days tbey bad no butcbers. Families provided for tbem- 
selves in tbe autumn by salting down botb beef and pork and depending on 
tbese supplies for subsistence. It is only witbin tbe memory of persons now 
keeping bouse tbat meat could be purcbased as needed tbrougb tbe summer. 
Tbere were some bunters, bowever, wbo provided game in season and wbo 
gave tbemselves wbolly to tbe cbase, not for sport, but as a means of liveli- 
bood. Doubtless tbe taste for woods life bad very mucb to do witb tbe em- 
ployment, and so business and pleasure were combined. 

James Adams bad a pottery down in tbe neigbborbood of tbe old forts. 
Tbe ware was probably more useful tban ornamental, but it answered a good 
purpose. He was followed in tbis line by Abrabam Kennedy. Natbaniel 
Gary, Jr. , was in later days tbe tailor. Elibu Butler repaired tbe watcbes, 
and at times practiced dentistry. J. R. Sage was tbe bouse builder. Jobn 
Ridgway was tbe boat builder. And so every man found bis mission, and 
tbere was plenty of work for all wbo wisbed to be employed. 



In 1824 there were three hotels in the town. George Power, the old 
pioneer, had a hotel on Otter street, in the old stone building that was torn 
down several years ago. George McClelland had one on the site now occu- 
pied by the United States, and Colonel James Kinnear was occupvino- the 
old brick that stood on the corner of Liberty and A¥est Park. The Kin- 
near house was a famous hotel in its day. Travelers throughout the country 
considered it a luxxiry to stop there. The colonel was so genial and kind, 
his table so home-like and qiiiet, that it seemed more like visitino- at the 
house than receiving public entertainment. But withal, the house was 
somewhat exclusive. There was a majesty and a precision, with all its 
neatness and kindness, that showed there was a choice in the guests. Old 
George, the hostler, perhaps illustrated the idea in a conversation with one 
of the traveling guests : ''If a man comes along with a buggy and sleek 
horse, with a silk hat and gloves, he can stop, sir. But, if he comes with 
a wagon, or on foot, with a straw hat and coat off, he can't stop, sir; he 
must go on farther, sir. ' ' 

Lewis T. Reno, father of General Reno, kept a ^ hotel afterward, on the 
corner of Otter and Thirteenth streets. Jeremiah Clancy accommodated 
the public on the corner of Elk and Thirteenth. Edward Pearce had a 
hotel on the west side of the lower French creek bridge. Luke Turner was 
a prominent hotel man at a later date, as was also Lucius Pike. There was 
a famous hotel too, on Liberty street, on the site of Martin & Epley's 
drug store. Thomas Hulings, John Evans, and ArthuiuRobison kept there. 
But few of these landmarks now remain. They have yielded to the press- 
ure of time. 


The history of the newspaper press, given in a previous chapter, 
forms an interesting study. For years it had a constant struggle, but at 
last it is well patronized. The first newspaper was called the Venango 
Herald, established in 1820. After this were the Venango Democrat, in 
1824; the Democrat ic Republican; the Franklin Intelligencer, in 1834; the 
Democratic Arch, in 1842, and the Franklin Gazette, in 1844. 

There are some copies of these papers yet extant, and they relate a per- 
sonal history, as well as throw light upon the history of the county. They 
tell of poverty and self-denial. The early papers Avere small. The ma- 
terial of the office did not not admit of good work, and the poverty of the 
people did not admit of good patronage. It was not easy to make a good 
paper in those days. Mails came once a week, and then the news was slow 
in finding its way. A fragment of a paper of the date of April 22, 1820, 
has, as one of its news items, an account of the duel between Commodore 
Decatur and Commodore Barron, near AVashington, that occurred just one 


month before. The papers of the county now are equal to the best in the 


''the nursery of great men." 

The public has not been slow to recognize merit in our public men. 
And the record of these public men has been uniformly good. It will com- 
pare favorably with the record of any set of men in any period of the coun- 
try's history. And there has been the opportunity of judging. Old Ve- 
nango has always had her share of the public offices, and her county seat is 
well entitled to be called "The Nursery of Great Men." 

As an evidence of this, John Galbraith was congressman; Arnold Plumer 
was congressman, marshal of the western district, state treasurer, and canal 
commissioner; Samuel Hays was congressman and marshall of the western 
district; Doctor George R. Espy was auditor general ; James Ross Snowden 
was state treasurer, director of the mint at Philadelphia, and prothonotary 
of the supreme court; James Thompson, John C. Knox, and John Trunkey 
were judges of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, and Generals Jesse L. 
Reno, Alexander Hays, and Alfred B. McCalmont won distinction in de- 
fense of their country's flag. 


The early fathers did not seem to feel the necessity of physicians for 
trifling diseases as we do in modern times. There were plenty of herbs and 
plants in the fields and on the hillsides. These were gathered in their sea- 
son and hung up in the chimney corner to dry. Hemlock boughs could be 
obtained at any time. Many a careful mother could treat measles and 
whooping cough equal to a professor, and when there were no medical men 
at hand, self-reliance, experience, and common sense were all called into 
requisition and generally succeeded very well. Still, professional physicians 
were desirable, and judging from the testimony of the old people, this town 
has been favored with very skillful medical men. 

The first to hang out his sign was T. G. Symonds, who located here 
about the close of the last century, and probably remained but a short time. 
The next was Thomas Smith, said to have been a skillful physician, but an 
eccentric man. Doctor George R. Espy appears upon the scene in 1820. 
He disposed of his practice in 1831 to J. Bascom. Another popular physi- 
cian of this period was John D. Wood, while Doctors Peter Faulkner, J. 
Dowling, and Gilfillan were equally well known. Doctors N. D. Snowden 
and B. Gillett did nearly their entire professional life-work here, and were 
alike beloved and trusted. The former had a large country practice; the 
labor and exposure incident thereto wore him out prematurely. Doctor Gil- 
lett had a taste for surgery, and his operations were charactei-ized by a deft- 
ness and precision rarely equaled. 

Lawyers also came early. This region was newly settled, and they 


probably thought to grow np with the country. The pioneer in this profes- 
sion was David Irvine, then a young man of consideral)le talent, who came 
in 1806. The next was David La Fever, and the third was John Galbraith. 
who removed here from Butler in 1811), thence to Erie in 1837. Alexander 
McCalmont was admitted to practice about 1820, and John J. Pearson came to 
Franklin from Mercer in 1823, but after a few years went back to that town. 
Then follow in succession James Thompson, subsequently chief justice of 
the state; John W. Howe, and James Eoss Snowden, both of whom held 
high official positions; Samuel Porter Johnson, Thomas S. Espy, William 
Stewart, Jonathan Ayres. and James S. Myers. These were the most prom- 
inent members of the early bar. The legal profession had something of an 
itinerant character in those days. The attorneys followed the judge on his 
periodic visits to the different county seats, thus acquiring a wide acquaint- 
ance in the counties comprising the district. All of the foregoing attorneys 
are spoken of in the chapter on the bench and bar of the county. 


Very early in the history of the town came the ministers of the gospel. 
The first sermon was in 1801, by a Presbyterian minister, no doubt one of 
the missionaries sent by the Synod of Pittsburgh or Presbytery of Ohio. 
The services were held in David Irvine's house. After this a log house 
was built for public purposes, and used as a school house, and for 
preaching by any missionary who might come to our place. This was not 
very often for the first few years, but gradually, as'the town improved, 
these ministrations became more frequent. Ordinarily the missionaries took 
long trips, commencing at Pittsburgh and stopping at each settlement as 
they passed, reaching Franklin, and so on up the river to the Pithole set- 
tlement, as it was called, to Warren, and then across to Erie, and back, by 
the way of Meadville, home. They rode on horseback, and depended on 
the hospitality of the people, who were always glad to receive them and 
entertain them. 

One of these missionaries relates that on one of his tours he carried 
with him a small paper of tea, as the families usually made tea of hem- 
lock boughs. Feeling greatly fatigued with the ride, he asked the woman 
in whose house he had stopi^ed to make him some tea, giving her his pack- 
age of tea. Greatly to his surprise, when invited to sit down at the table, 
he found that the entire package had been boiled at once on the supposi- 
tion that it was designed for greens. 

After some years had passed a prayer meeting was commenced, led by 
Mr. Bowman and Mr. Dodd, assisted by others. It met first in one of the 
jury rooms in the old court house, and was kept up until a church was 
regularly organized, and the ministrations of the gospel procured. Who 
shall tell the influence of these early religious meetings in forming and 
crystallizing public opinion in the town ? 


Franklin has not been a " Saint's Rest. " Yet several of the old ministers 
of the country have had their dwellings here. One of the first was Reverend 
Hezekiah May. He was of old Puritan stock, and was born at Haddam, 
Connecticut, on Christmas day, 1773. His early opportunities were good, 
and he so improved them that he was able to take his degree at Yale Col- 
lege about the time he was of age. It is probable that according to custom 
in those days he studied theology privately and was licensed and ordained 
in the Congregational church. The Penobscot Indians were then numerous 
in New England, and Mr, May embarked in missionary work among them 
under the care of -' The New England Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in Maine." Here he remained, in the neighborhood of Bangor, 
several years, visiting the Indians, studying their habits, and endeavoring 
to minister to their spiritual comfort. 

In 1816 he removed to Binghamton, New York, then to Oswego, and 
then to Painted Post, preaching as opportunity offered, and making himself 
generally useful. He came to Franklin in 1830, preaching and caring for 
the interests of the Bible society. Next we find him in the neighborhood of 
Tionesta, and after awhile settled in the village of Tionesta. Here he spent 
the remainder of his days. He died July 4, 1843. In his mature days he 
was a fine, portly looking man, with great native dignity. He had a vein 
of wit that afforded great amusement to his friends at times. On one oc- 
casion, a neighbor was lamenting that he had no family coat of arms. "I 
can suggest one," said Parson May. "I will be greatly obliged to you if you 
will." Said Mr. May: "Two stiff-standers, one cross-beamer, one down- 
hanger with a noose at the end." The neighbor might have replied in dis- 
gust that he would be hanged if he would accept such a coat of arms. Mr. 
May was married early in life to Margaret White of Boston. 

Reverend Robert Ayres was one of the early ministers. He came from 
Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He made his advent on horseback with his 
family, and was long a prominent figure in society here. He was an Epis- 
copal minister, but gave his attention chiefly to teaching, being one of the 
teachers in the old academy. He was a very precise man, and always main- 
tained himself with great dignity. His home was down on the corner of 
Liberty and Eleventh streets. One of his daughters was married to Thomas 
S. McDowell, one to John Galbraith, and a third to Mr. Brashear. Mr. 
Ayres was born in 1761, and died in Franklin, October 5, 1845. 

Reverend Nathaniel Ranclolph Snowden was another of the ancient min- 
isters. He came from east of the mountains, and was a man of good educa- 
tion and culture. In 1793 he was pastor of the Presbyterian churches of 
Paxton and Derry, near Harrisburg. In 1805 he was pastor of the Second 
Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh ; in 1824 he was at Millersburg, Pennsyl- 
vania. Whilst here, he, too, taught in the old academy. He was the 
father of Doctor N. D. Snowden, J. Ross Snowden, and Mrs. Judge Thomp- 
son, all of whom resided hei'e. 


Another of the teachers was Reverend Thomas F. Magill, a Presby- 
terian. He was born in Washington connty, Penns^'lvania, November 16, 
1811, and was here about 1833. He afterward preached at Wollsville, 
Ohio; also at Urbaua, whore he died September 20, 1852, of typhoid fever. 
He was a good and nsefnl man, and stood in his lot until his work was 


Sunday schools are a very important feature of religious work in Frank- 
lin at the present time. It will be interesting to look to the beginning of 
the Avork, and see some of the people who were engaged in it. A very few 
of them linger among us still. And the influence of this first school was 
most blessed on the town and community. It was the nucleus of other 
schools and churches, as the years rolled by. 

The first Sunday school was founded in 1824 through the direct influ- 
ence of Reverend Timothy Alden, president of Allegheny College of Mead- 
ville, . Pennsylvania. He was a Presbyterian minister, but the school was 
undenominational, the whole town joining in the work. The real founders 
were John Lupher and John Martin, who were Methodists, and Andrew 
Bowman and Levi Dodd, Presbyterians. These men acted as superintend- 
ents during the first year, and some of them for many years. The school 
was opened in the academy, and its novelty drew many of the people to en- 
gage in its duties, or to look on and see how the others were employed. 
From S. C. T. Dodd's history of the school, we leaj-n that the first teachers 
were John Lupher, John Martin, Andrew Bowman, Levi Dodd, William 
Parker, William Raymond, Nathaniel G. Crary, Robert McCalmont, Mrs. 
D. Irvine, Miss Nancy Kinnear (afterward Mrs. William Raymond), Miss 
Sarah Parker (afterward Mrs. Sage), Miss Mary Anderson, Miss Margaret 
McClelland (afterward Mrs. Arnold Plumer), Miss Jane McClelland (after- 
ward Mrs. N. D. Snowden). Mrs. N. R. Bushnell, Mrs. Jacob Mayes, Mrs. 
S. F. Dale, and G. C. McClelland were at first scholars and afterward teach- 
ers. Of these teachers, all have gone except William Raymond, Mrs. 
Bushnell, Mrs. Mayes, and Mrs. Dale. 

Daring the second year of the existence of the school, it met in one of 
the jury rooms in the first court house. The school was small, not averag- 
ing more than twenty scholars, and for many years lived only through the 
persistent labors of Mr. Bowman and Mr. Dodd. In the year 1829. it met 
in Mr. Bowman's shoe shop on the corner of Elk and.West Park streets. 
Gradually as the town increased, and regular churches were organized, the 
school crystallized in a Presbyterian Sunday school, and a Methodist school 
was organized in 1832. Both schools prospered and did a good work, and 
as other churches were organized, other schools Avere established and 
equipped for work. A small library from the American Sunday School 


Union was procured at the first start of the school. Tiiis has been supple- 
mented again and again, as the need required, to the present time. 

The mode of instruction at the first was to take a portion of the Script- 
ure and read it in turn by the scholars. Then questions were asked and 
difficulties explained, according to the taste and ability of the teacher. After- 
ward the Union Question Book, jiublished by the American Sunday School 
Union, was procured for many years. At one time, commencing in 1850, 
the school commenced with the first chapter of Genesis and went regularly 
through as far as Hebrews, when the present international lessons were 
adopted. This work required twenty- one years to accomplish. This little 
school, so humble in its origin, no doubt accomplished great good through 
all the years of the past. Many persons have testified that they there got 
the direction that made their lives a success, and that was leading them to 
a better life beyond. 


The old people who have passed away related a tragic incident connected 
with Indian life and Indian law. It was a case of trial followed by imme- 
diate execution, and was witnessed by Mrs. Bowman in her early childhood. 
The victim was an ancient squaw, and the charge was witchcraft. Just 
how the charge was substantiated, and how the witchcraft was practiced has 
not come down to us, but we know the place and the circumstances con- 
nected with it. 

The scene was on the bank of the little stream that then crossed West Park 
street,near the front of the Presbyterian church. It was a point half-way from 
West Park to Thirteenth street. A council had been called. They sat in sol- 
emn silence for a time, with the victim in the midst. After pow-wowing for 
a while the charge seemed to be sustained^ the poor squaw in the meantime 
sitting silent and unmoved. Another moment of silence, when a warrior 
arose, approached the woman with his knife, raised her left arm, and 
plunged the blade into her heart. As it occurred among the Indians, and 
was in accordance with the unwritten law of the savage, the white people 
took no notice of it. But the child that was an unwilling witness to the 
deed was almost distracted, and fled to one of the neighboring houses. 

Another early tragedy was the murder of George Power's brother on his 
way to Pittsburgh, by the way of what is now Harrisville. The murder 
was the act of an Indian, and occurred about twelve or thirteen miles from 
Franklin. It had been premeditated, and the object was robbery. It was 
cowardly, too, as the savage had cut a tree so it would fall across the road, 
lodging upon another on the opposite side. In this ambush the Indian lay 
until his victim came by, when he fired upon him and compassed his death. 
The Indian was afterward seen with Mr. Power's gun, but no punishment 


The old diamond well was an ancient landmark. It is no lono-er visible, 
but the older citizens well remember it. It was located just by the side of 
the walk leading from Snook's block to the court house, perhaps a hundred 
feet from the corner of Snook's block. The well seems to have been the 
joint contribution of several public-spirited individuals for the welfare and 
comfort of the neighborhood. There is an ancient document that tells just 
how deep it was, and who were responsible for the work and the payment 
for the same. It runs on this wise: 

We, the subscribers appointed to measure and ascertain the depth of a well dug 
by John Witherup for Edward Hale, Samuel Plumer, and Samuel Hays, do allow that 
the wall of said well is good, aud the depth of said well, according to our judgment 
and measurement, is forty-four feet, eleven and a half inches. 
Witness our hands this 2ud day of October, 1808, 

Welden Adams, 
John Whitman, 
Richard Griffith. 
From this old well two generations drew water. A few years ago a 
large stone was placed over its mouth, and this covered up so that the very 
location will be unknown to the younger generation. But there is many a 
man here now who, when hot and thirsty, longs for a drink from that old 
diamond well as he remembers 

" The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket. 
The moss-covered bucket that hung in the well." 

The old chestnut tree on the diamond was another landmark. It stood 
nearly in front of Judge Eichard Irwin's house, and was perhaps the only 
member of the primeval forest that was left standing. The first Methodist 
sermon was preached under its spreading branches. The small boy resorted 
to it in summer to gather chestnuts from its spreading boughs. The cattle 
and sheep were thankful for its cool shade, and gathered around it at noon, 
and with the tinkling of their bells kept the neighbors from dozing. But 
the old chestnut tree has passed away. Violent hands were laid upon it. 
and in its old age it was the victim of those who had climbed into its 
boughs and gathered its fruit. 

We have a dim view of the parks, as they are now called, in 1801. The 
engineer, Andrew Ellicott, "builded better than he knew" when he left 
that ground vacant. He probably thought that the small boys might play 
ball there in the summer, or hunt chipmunks, or rob birds' nests, perhaps 
not dreaming that they would become the joy and the crown of Franklin in 
days yet to come. At the date referred to South park or the public square, 
as they called it, was full of stumps; briers and brambles grew where the 
large trees had been subdued, with here and there a bush or sapling. Both 
men and women assembled at times on moonlight nights to grub stumps 
and gather brush and make log heaps in order, if possible, to clear off the 
ground and get it ready for useful purposes. These purposes for many 


years consisted of sheep and pig and cow and horse pastures, for which 
the gronnd was thought admirable. They were just as anxious three quar- 
ters of a century ago to cut down and root out and destroy every tree and 
sapling and bush that nature had planted on the public domain, as they are 
now to j)lant and shelter and protect them. , They wished to get away from 
nature then; we are anxious to return to nature. 

It was even whispered here, before the good pioneers had passed away, 
that there were ranks in the aristocracy of that day. The down-towners 
were envious of the up-towners, and lost no opportunity of showing that 
they could grub stumps as well as they, and that they also could uproot 
saplings and get out into the sunshine. And between the two factions, the 
streets were soon opened and the forest trees destroyed. 

The upper or West park had been cleai^ed and brought under cultivation 
and was really leased annually for that purpose. But the northern side 
was cut by a deep ravine, through which a brisk run took its way down to 
French creek, near the brush factory. This was the stream that now reaches 
the Allegheny near the site of the French fort. Leaving its present bed on 
Buffalo street below Fourteenth it crossed over to Liberty street a little 
above the Exchange hotel, then diagonally across to Elk street above J. G. 
Lamberton's store and the Clancy corner into the lots between Elk and 
Otter, and down to the front end of the present Presbyterian church into 
Elk street running parallel to the houses on Elk street to Twelfth, when it 
sought the creek and was merged in its waters. AVhat is now a beautiful 
street was then a deep, dark ravine, full of bushes and water plants, and even 
frequented by wild animals. The women of the neighborhood sought to 
utilize it by building their fires and doing their washing at its waters. At 
that day it was no doubt a large stream and in places the water was clear 
and pleasant. The Indians frequently made their temporary camps by its 


Washington came on foot. The first traders came in small boats. After 
the town began to crystallize, traveling on horseback became common. Then 
flat boats were pushed up the river and creek. But it was very laborious 
business. As roads were cut through the woods travel gradually became 
easier, but the roads never did become good. The stones never wore out. 
The hills never decreased in altitude. The miles were always long and 
wearisome. The mail was carried on horseback about once a week, and the 
time did not seem long because the people did not expect much when it did 

But at last a stage was started. It came from Meadville, and went on 
to Butler and Pittsburgh and after a while to the east, by way of where 
Clarion now is. It was a grand thing when the first stage came to Frank- 


lin, although it had but two horses, and came but thrice in a week. But it 
brought the mail, and a passenger now and then came, and the people here 
could get out into the great world without going on horseback. Some 
time after this we had a four-horse coach; it did not continue long, but was 
reduced to two again. 

Many now here remember the "Huckleberry stage" that ran to Pitts- 
burgh and back. The route was by way of Harrisville, Stone House, and 
Prospect. There were two horses, with a wretched conveyance called a hack. 
It had very stiff springs that pitched the passenger wildly about as it went 
over the rocks and down the steep hills. In cold weather the ragged cur- 
tains flapped in and out, and greatly added to the discomfort of traveling. 
Ladies were not expected to walk and work their passage, but gentlemen 
were expected to walk up the hills, and if need be, carry rails to pry the 
wheels out of the "sock holes," as the drivers called them. This trip to 
Pittsburgh and back always involved a ride all night, both going and com- 
ing. But the Huckleberry stage was better than nothing. 

Then we had a steamboat on the river at last. The first boat was the 
Duncan. It came up in 1828. Its advent caused great rejoicing. After- 
ward there was a succession of "Belles" that came regularly during high 
water. Sometimes they went uj) as far as Warren. In a single instance a 
steamer, the Allegheny, went up to Olean in 1830. These boats afforded a 
fine opportunity of going down to Pittsburgh and returning, at certain sea- 
sons. But there were certain difficulties in the way, as the river began to 
fall. The getting down was all beautiful, but the coming back was not 
always so romantic. Good Captain Hanna would say: "The Belle will do 
her best, but she cannot run on a dry channel. I think we can at least get 
above 'Charley's Oven,' possibly all the way." But generally the boat 
would come to a dead stop at Emlenton, some twenty- two miles below. 
Then some farmer was persuaded to take his farm wagon, without springs, 
and bring the Franklin passengers over the hills, amid the rocks, jolting 
and rattling as he went over the Cranberry road, glad to see the old town 
from some bend in the hill road. But we knew no better way then, and 
were content with the best that could be done. 


There were Indian paths that led in several directions. The old Venango 
trail or path led down until it struck the Ohio at Logstown, not very far 
from Beaver. Another path led northward or northeast reaching the lakes. 
Then when the French had possession here, there was a road leading up to 
Waterford through Sugar Creek township, called the French road. Traces 
of it remain to the present day. When the white people began to settle 
here roads became a necessity. Meadville was the nearest neighbor. Then 
the next was Warren, then Pittsburgh. At first they were merely paths, and 


as the emergencies of trade and travel required, tbey were enlarged and 

In 1812 the first attem])t was made in the way of increasing the facilities 
of travel. This was the Waterford and Susquehanna turnpike. An act of 
legislature had directed the survey of the route. General Mead was the 
engineer. It was considered rather a delusion and a snare, and was called 
by some " General Mead's war trail, " and seemed as though it would die of 
neglect. But it did not wholly die. It was re-surveyed in 1818 and was 
completed from Erie to Bellefonte in 1820 and thence to Philadelphia in 
1824. This road was guarded by toll gates, and for a time seemed to instill 
new life into the towns along its line. 

These roads were an improvement on the old country roads. They 
were made by clearing the ground of the trees and stumps, then cutting 
ditches on either side and throwing up the earth in the center. The theory 
was good, but like many a good theory, it did not always work well in 
practice. In the fall and spring the roads would become very deep and 
muddy, and many a lawless man after paying his toll, was sorely tempted 
to tear down the gates. But this was only one of the incidents connected 
with the settlement of a new country. The road passing through Franklin 
east and west kept up the gates until a few years ago. 

The ferries were the first means of crossing the streams. The ferry 
across the Allegheny was located about half a mile below the upper bridge. 
The house still standing on the opposite side of the river was called the 
ferry house. 

French creek had two ferries, one at the end of South Park street and 
one at the end of West Park street. The upper ferry was probably the 
point where George Washington crossed the creek on his way to Le Boeuf. 

The lower ferry was kept by a stout Dutchman who was just and honest 
in all his dealings. On one occasion a preacher was crossing with him, and 
by way of letting him know the nature of his cloth, and probably as a gen- 
tle hint of generous dealings, inquired, "•■How much do you charge preach- 
ers y ' ' The reply was, ' ' Veil, we do not charge ' em any more as we do 
other fellers. We don't take no advantage of de breacher any more as we 
do of de farmer." The toll was paid, and the justice of the functionary 
acknowledged. For years the ferry was the only mode of crossing the 
streams both in summer and winter. 


We are always reminded of our mortality; Avherever the dwelling is 
erected for the comfort of the living, we prepare also the cemetery, where 
the departed may slumber in peace. And as the years roll by more atten- 
tion is paid and more taste displayed in the arrangement Of the great cem- 
etery. We have gotten away from the idea of the churchyard, surrounded 


by the scenes of the living, and choose a place apart from the active duties 
of life, where flowers may bloom and the sun may shine sweetly and breezes 
may blow gently upon the tombs of those we love. We do not wish to make 
the places gloomy or sad or repulsive, but rather cheerful and attractive 
even to the casual visitor. And wo make the place sacred and holy for our 
friends who sleep, feeling that we too will soon soon be laid to rest near 

It removes much of the gloom from the idea of death to look upon its 
surroundings and find them tasteful and pleasant and cheerful. And since 
"life and immortality are brought to light in the gospel," a beautiful light 
has fallen amid the flowers, that tells us that there shall be life after death, 
even the blessed life of Christ in the land that is away beyond the stars; 
and that at the last day, a day brighter and sweeter and holier than has yet 
ever dawned upon earth, the trtimp of the great angel of the Apocalypse 
will be heard accompanied by the voice of the Lord that shall awake every 
slumberer in the tomb and every sleeper in the sea, and that then "death 
shall be swallowed up in victory." These thoughts come to us as we think 
of the slumberers in the cemeter}^ and of the resurrection of Him who was 
the first fruits of them that slept. 

When the state authorities laid out the town of Franklin, they reserved 
a small plot of ground for a cemetery. It was at the upper end of Otter 
street and above Fifteenth street. It was a very small piece of land but 
answered the purpose in the early years. Every family selected the place 
for the graves of friends and there was no order or assignment about it. 
Names are sculptured upon rude stones with dates Xhat reach back to the 
very origin of the town. Many names are there that were prominent in its 
history, and very many graves, unmarked by stones, have sunk down to the 
common level of the grovtnd and are lost to view. Many, too, have been 
neglected until the stones have fallen and lie prone on the ground. There 
is need for some ' ' Old Mortality ' ' to appear and rechisel the tombs of the 

When the ground began to be too strait for the purpose, Myron Park 
presented a strip of laud on the southern side of the old reservation. This 
was a part of outlot No. 45, which was sold by the county treasurer for 
taxes in December, 1828, and purchased by Mr. Park. In November, 1835, 
the latter sold said lot to Benjamin Alexander, reserving in the deed a por- 
tion thereof, fifty feet in width by one hundred and sixty feet in length, 
running parallel with French creek, "for the use of the inhabitants of the 
town for a burying ground." It would thus seem that this part of the old 
ground can be legally used only for cemetery purposes. Mr. Alexander 
ifterward laid out lots on a piece of land adjoining this and extending to 
Elk street. 

These were the arrangements made by the fathers in the early day for 


the sepulture of the dead. And to this rest the coffined sleeper was borne 
on the shoulders of men from all parts of the town. No other, arrangements 
were provided until a comparatively late day. The minister and physician 
walked at the head of the procession, then the bier carried by the pall bear- 
ers, the mourners, and then friends and neighbors generally. But the times 
are changed, and we live under a new order of things, much to our comfort 
and satisfaction. 


The water supply at the beginning of the history of the town was sup- 
posed then to be very good. There was the stream of water running through 
West park that was copious in its supply. There were several little streams 
down at the lower end of town that were utilized for household pur- 
poses. But the main dependence was in wells sunk down to the level of 
the bottom of the creek and river. About the parks this required a well 
about forty feet deep. This was done by a shaft sunk in the earth to that 
depth and walled up with stone. Then a curb was built around the 
wall, a windlass attached, and to this the bucket by means of a rope or 
chain. Then a crank was fixed to one end of the windlass. The bucket 
was let down by the help of a brake and drawn up full of bright, sparkling 
water. But it was a laborious process, and little water was drawn that was 
not absolutely necessary. 

The light of other days was the light of the early householders— the 
tallow candle and before this the lard lamp, sometimes a simple wick float- 
ing in a dish of melted lard. A tallow candle if properly snuffed was sup- 
posed to be a very good light. For fuel, wood was the only dependence, 
and all this with coal and oil and gas just waiting to be pressed into service. 
But they all came at last and were used as a matter of course. 

We know how grand the scenery around Franklin is in modern times 
and how beautiful the site of the town is, but we can well imagine the sur- 
roundings of the place were more beautiful three-quarters of a century ago 
than now. These grand hills had not been marred by the hand of man. 
All the picture was as God made it; from the magnificent outlook up the 
river to the lower bluffs there was in summer time the beautiful crown of 
verdure, the rich bloom of flowers, and the smooth outline of hill and 
ravine, of the rich contrast of deciduous trees and the darker colored ever- 
green. The beauty of Damascus is in its rich verdure and blooms of fruit 
and ornamental trees surrounding it on the same level; the beauty and glory 
of Franklin is in its everlasting hills, planted by the hand of the Almighty 
and decked by his taste, that surround it and look down upon it with ever- 
during smiles. 

The Avater scenery around the town was formerly very beautiful. Both 
river and creek were interspersed with islands that were covered with trees 


and verdure. Some remains of these islands abide to the present, but they 
are shorn of their beauty and glory. An old map, more than one hundred 
years old, locates a large island in the Allegheny down at the bend and mid- 
way between the two bridges. Above the mouth of French creek were laro-e 
groups of islands extending nearly ujj to the Two Mile run. Some of these 
islands contained several hundred acres of land and must have been great 
resorts for the Indians. But two of these islands now remain, and they are 
worn and narrowed down and stripped of vegetation until little of their 
original beauty I'emains. 

On French creek near where the upper bridge is located were clusters 
of islands that must have been very beautiful as late as the days when 
George Washington crossed amongst them. Just below the bridge were at 
least two islands, and above the bridge for the distance of a mile, were 
numerous islands, some of them of considerable extent, covered with large 
trees and shrubbery that made a scene of beauty not often seen. In the 
early history of Franklin, some of these islands were used for picnic pur- 
poses, the guests passing over in boats or on temporary bridges. On the 
grassy turf and under the shadows of the large trees many a Fourth of July 
excursion enjoyed to the full the scenes of the day. 

But time, the mighty leveler, has wrought great changes in the water 
scenery. The trees have many of them been felled and their roots no longer 
hold the soil, and many of the islands on both river and creek have disap- 
peared forever. French creek has lost its beauty as the trees have fallen 
from the islands, and the islands themselves crumbled and washed down 
with the tide. 

Many of the old citizens can recall the beauty of the scenery as it pre- 
sented itself from the French creek bridge as the sun was approaching its 
setting, and the eye could wander fi'om island to island, each tree and shrub 
gilded with its setting rays, and all lighted up with a subdued and sweet 



CITY OF FRANKLIN (Concluded). 

General Progress of the Town— Franklin in 1823— Municipal Gov- 
ernment—The PosTOFFicE— Bridges, Railroads, etc.— Manufact- 
ures— The Oil Industry — General Business Interests- 
Telegraph, Express, and Telephone Facilities- 
Secret AND Other Societies — Education- 
al— Religious Organizations — The 
Franklin Cemetery — Resume. 

THE community described iii the preceding chapter, although assisted 
l)y the f osteriDg attention of the state, and founded upon a soil rich in 
historic associations, expanded but slowly and without any of the incidents 
of rapid growth. The population was two hundred and fifty in 1825; in 
1850, at the end of another period of twenty-five years from the beginning 
of the century, it had increased to nine hundred and thirty-three. With 
the discovery of petroleum a new era began — an era of business activity, of 
increasing population, and local improvement. The gradiial transition that 
had long been in progress received a quickened impulse, and within a few 
years the country town became an ambitious aspirant of metropolitan 
honors. This was accompanied by what may be termed the development 
of special activities — religious, social, and commercial. The union Sun- 
day school and prayer meeting were relinquished in favor of special denom- 
inational work, and the school building used in common by all as a place of 
worship was relegated to its original educational function as the different 
churches were successively erected; the people no longer turn out en masse 
in the interest of street improvement, but delegate the important consider- 
ations of public comfort and safety to an organized local government; the 
large general store with its heterogeneous assortment of merchandise has 
been succeeded by a half dozen different establishments each devoted to 
some special branch of business; the small shops have been replaced by nu- 
merous factories; while a number of banking institutions aid in facilitating 
commercial transactions. It is with organized interests of this nature that 
this chapter is principally concerned. 

franklin in 1823. 
The number of residences, stores, and shops at Franklin in 1823 was 




between sixty aiul seventy; the following with regard to their location and 
appearance is given as the reminiscences of Alexander Cochran: 

Buffalo Street was open from Eighth to Thirteenth. Samuel Hays 
lived in a two-story frame house still standing on the south* side above 
Twelfth, and William Connely, justice of the peace, was his neighbor on 
the corner above Twelfth. Between the two there was a small two-story 
frame building owned by Hays and occupied by John Service as a saddler 
shop. John Broadfoot's carpenter shop and office as justice of the peace 
was opposite Hay's house and above the alley, and in the same vicinity was 
a frame building owned by Alexander McCalmont, afterward occupied by 
Myron Park. The academy building was on the south side between Elev- 
enth and Twelfth. John Atkinson's old tannery and house stood on the 
same side below Ninth, where the location of the vats is still discernible. 
Alexander Cochran now owns and occupies this property. 


Liberty Street was the business thoroughfare of the town. John Lu- 
pher's blacksmith shop and William Bennett's hotel were on the site of the 
Exchange hotel. Continuing on the same side of the street the improve- 
ments were as follows: A two-story log house on the same ground as 
the Exchange Bank, owned by Alexander McCalmont and occupied by Will- 
iam Black; a frame house one and one-half stories high on an adjoinino- lot 
partly incorporated in a building on the same site; a two-story frame house, 
owned by George McClelland and occupied by Thomas Seaton, saddler; a 
two-story frame house, the residence of John Galbraith; a two-story log 
house, occupied by Charles Holeman and afterward sold to William Ray- 
mond; the store room of Samuel Hays, a frame building one and one- half 
stories high; a frame house and store building owned by John McDonald 
and occupied bv William Moore, late prothonotary; George McClelland' s 
public house, a frame building erected by Samuel Plumer in 1806 and suc- 

*A8 the street does not trend due east and west, this is not geograpuicallv ex.ict. but is undprstood to 
mean the side of the street farthest from the creek or liver. 


cessively enlarged but never removed, now known as the United States 
liotel; Arnold Plumer's store and residence, the latter occupied by Arthur 
Robison; a one-story frame building at the corner above Twelfth, the 
office of the Venango Herald, John Evans, editor and publisher; a two- 
story frame house on the opposite corner, where Samuel Bailey, carpenter, 
lived; a one-story log house at the site of the Baptist church, owned by 
William Kiunear; a log house built by Martin Gregor and occupied by his 
widow, just below the Catholic church; John Ridgway's two-story log 
house on the corner below Ninth, since weather-boarded and still a substan- 
tial residence, one of the oldest in the city. 

On the north side of Liberty street on the corner above Thirteenth lived 
Georo-e Brigham, carpenter, in a two-story frame house. The site of the 
Lamberton block was occupied by a two- story frame structure owned by 
James Adams of Utica, in which Frederick Crary lived and conducted a 
large general store. Thomas Huling's frame hotel building stood at the 
present location of Martin & Epley's drug store. James Kinnear's hotel, a- 
loo- building, stood at the corner of West Park street. The court house 
was in West park at the corner of Twelfth, and the jail stood in South 
park in the rear of the present court house. Robert Kinnear was jailor 
and his daughter, Mrs. Dominick McCormick and family, lived with him. 

Elk Street. — On the south side at the corner above Fourteenth was the 
frame house of Thomas Seaton, one of the substantial residences of that 
date. A log building owned by James Adams stood on the site of Hanna's 
block. About midway between Thirteenth and West Park Thomas Minnis, 
who remained but a short time, lived in a two-story frame house. Andrew 
Bowman's tannery adjoined his residence, a log building at the corner of 
West Park soon afterward replaced by a frame house which was foi- some 
years one of the most pretentious in the town. At Hulin's lumber yard, 
corner of Eleventh, there stood a dismantled hotel previously kept by Welden 
Adams. David Irvine, lawyer and clerk to the county commissioners, lived 
at the corner of Tenth in a two-story log house owned by Charles Ridgvvay. 

Improvements had been made on the north side of Elk street in the fol 
lowino- order: On the corner of Thirteenth, a large two-story frame house 
afterward known as Jeremiah Clancy's hotel — Clancy at that time carried 
on shoe making in an adjoining room; about the middle of the block 
between Thirteenth and West Park, a two- story log house recently burned, 
then the residence of John Singleton, brick maker; on the corner above 
Eleventh, the house and shoj) of Jonathan Sage; on the opposite corner, the 
house of William Kinnear, farmer and ju.stice of the peace, who also owned 
two other houses on Eleventh street, one of which was occupied by Joseph 
Ridgway; midway between Tenth and Eleventh, the large* two-story frame 
house, with stone addition, of Mrs. Sarah McDowell, widow of Colonel 
Alexander McDowell, one of the residences pointed out to admiring strangers; 


between Elk and the river and south of Eighth, James Hollis' small 
log house; near the river bank between Third and Fourth, a small loo- house, 
the property of James Brown, riverman, while David Snaith owned and op- 
erated the ferry still farther down the river. 

O^er Street. — There were but four houses on the north side of Otter: 
Andrew Dewoody's hotel at the corner above Thirteenth; the laro-e stone 
residence of George Power, on the corner below ElboAv; a two-story frame 
house, yet standing on the corner of West Park, owned by Henry Hurst of 
Meadville and occupied by the mother of Alex Cochran, and a two story 
log house between West Park and Twelfth where James Hulings lived. On 
the south side nearly opposite Power lived Nimrod Grace, carpenter, by 
whom some of the early houses were built. A two-story frame dwellino- at 
the corner above Twelfth was the residence of James Martin, school teacher, 
and John Martin lived between South Park and Eleventh. Levi Dodd's two- 
story frame residence was on the corner above Eleventh. Farther down 
near Tenth street Aaron McKissick lived in a rented house. The ' ' Old 
Garrison " was on the bank of French creek between Ninth and Tenth, and 
in this vicinity Peter Houser, waterman, lived on the bank of the river. 

Elboiu Street. — There were three houses on this street, a frame buildinw 
between Thirteenth and Fourteenth, owned by General Samuel Hays, and 
the hatter shop and residence of George Dewoody, who lived with his 
mother. Thomas Smiley, riverman, lived on the bank of the creek in a 
log house owned by John Irwin, and below the lower bridge there was a 
dilapidated building used at a previous date as a warehouse. 

The Third Ward was then part of Sugar Creek Township. There were 
four houses here and their respective occupants were David King, lailor; 
Abram Clark, millwright (son-in-law of Mrs. Ridgway) ; Jonathan Whitman, 
and Matthias Stockbarger. Abraham Selders, stone-mason, lived just out- 
side the limits of this ward in Sugar Creek township. 

John Kelly, school teacher, and family dwelt in one of the buildings 
spoken of; while John J. Pearson, attorney. Doctor George R. Espy. Will- 
iam Raymond, and several others, unmarried men, boarded at the taverns or 
with friends in the village. 

The foregoing may serve as a brief summary of the settlement and im- 
provement narrated in detail in the preceding chapter, and an appropriate 
introduction to this. The original town plat proved ample for subsequent 
growth and the additions are comparatively recent and unimportant, the 
principal being Plumer's and Benjamin Alexander's additions in the Second 
ward, Myer's and Sprogle's in the First. The Third was laid out by R. S. 
McCormick, J. L. Hanna, and Howard & Smith. It will be observed that 
in 1823 there were scarcely any improvements below Ninth street; and in 
fact the cross streets in the lower part of the town had not been opened at 
that time. There was a gradual extension of the village in this direction. 


and in 1828 the size and population were thought sufficient to warrant 
its incorporation as a borough. 


The borough of Franklin was erected by act of the legislatiire April 14, 
1828, and originally comprised all that part of the town plot south and 
west of French creek and the Allegheny river. By the provisions of this 
act taxation was limited to five mills on the dollar of assessed valuations; 
the borough was to constitute a separate election district; and the first 
election was to occur at the court house on the second Tuesday in May be- 
tween the hours of twelve m. and six p. m. , when a burgess and council of 
five members were to be elected. In January, 1832, the town was created 
a township, thus adding justices of the peace, constables, etc., to the num- 
ber of local officers. 

Unfortunately for this history the borough records have been lost or 
destroyed, thus rendering it impossible to give any particulars as to the offi- 
cial acts of the early town fathers. A single instance may. however, serve 
as an illustration. May 31, 1849, an ordinance was passed prohibiting the 
ladino- or discharge of freight from boats on Sunday; also prohibiting 
horses and hogs from running at large on the diamond. How the latter 
was first enforced is thus described in the Spectator of June 13, 1849: 

Niue unfortnuate individuals of the ajenus porker, either from inability to read 
or a total disregard of the act in their case "made and provided," were pm-suing the 
ordinary avocations of pigs iipon the diamond. About the hour that poets have 
assigned for the falling of " twilight dews" and "vesper breezes," the proper officers, 
armed with the authority of the commonwealth, made a descent upon the swinish 
multitude. After sundry evolutions, which seemed like a mi.xture of light horse and 
infantry tactics, they succeeded in forming a line of marcli for the " pound." When 
the drove had accomplished half the distance to the place of durance, symptoms of a 
refractory nature made their appearance among the prisoners. A few dogs, doubtless 
with the best of intentions, rushed to the assistance of the authorities. The pigs became 
desperate and the scene highly exciting. Some half dozen of swine made their escape 
and three, better calculated for bacon than a foot race, went to the pound. 

In the absence of any records no complete list of borough officers could 
be compiled; the following fragmentary data have been obtained from vari- 
oiTs sources: 

1828. — Burgess, John Broadfoot; constable, Robert Kinnear; council: 
John Singleton, J. R. Sage, Alexander McCalmont, John Galbraith, Myron 
Park, William Bennett. 

1829. — Burgess, George McClelland; second burgess, Myron Park; con- 
stable, Robert Kinnear; council: John Galbraith, Alexander McCalmont, J. 
W. Wood, William Raymond, John Singleton, J. R. Sage, Arnold Plumer. 
1849. — Burgess, F. W. Hunter; clerk, James K. Kerr. 
1852. — Burgess, A. P. \Yhitaker; council: Luke Turner, Miles W. Sage, 
Thomas H. Martin, George W. Brigham, Leonard Bunce. 


1853. — Burgess, A. P. Wbitaker; council: Luke Turner, Miles W. 
Sage, Thomas H. Martin, George W. Brigbam, Leonard Bunce. 

1855. — Burgess, A. Plumer; council: S. H. Marshall, J. Bleakley, J. 
Mayes, J. Bryden, T. H. Martin. 

1856. — Burgess, Samuel Hays; council: J. Bleakley, II. A. Brashear, 
Thomas Moore, Simeon H. Marshall, Myron Park. 

1857. — Burgess, W. P. Walker; council: W. C. Evans, C. M. Hoover, 
T. H. Martin, David Smith. 

1800. — Burgess, James Bleakley; council: T. Hoge, M. W. Sage, D. C. 
Plumer, W. P. Walker, F. D. Kinnear. 

1861. — Burgess, S. T. Kennedy; council: Hugh Hunter, Harvey Evans, 
C. M. Hoover, S. F. Bailey, C. H. Raymond. 

1862. — Burgess, G. E. Ridgway; council: R. S. McCormick, William 
Campbell, Charles Bowman, D. G. Dewoody, G. W. Brigbam. 

1867. — Burgess, P. W. Raymond; council: Henry Dubbs, G. W. Brig- 
ham, F. W. Mitchell, R. S. McCormick, G. E. Ridgway. 

An act incorporating the city of Franklin passed the house March 24, 
1868, and received executive sanction April Ith following. The act was 
prepared by R. S. McCormick and presented by the representative from this 
district. The three wards of the city were established with their present 
boundaries ; the First and Second wards comprise that part of the city south 
of French creek, with Twelfth (High) street as a mutual boundary, the 
former to the east and the latter to the west of that street, while the terri- 
tory north of French creek forms the Third ward. JThis had been annexed 
to the borough with portions of French Creek and Sandy Creek townships 
in 1860. The executive powers of the city were vested in a mayor, whose 
term of office is one year; the city council was to consist of three members 
respectively from the First and Second wards, and two from the Third, but 
by an amendment to the charter in 1872 each ward became entitled to one 
additional member. For election purposes the city is divided into two dis- 
tricts. The annual election occurs on the first Tuesday in May. In 1888, 
under the operation of a general act classifying the cities of the state, two 
councils, common and select, were elected. Before the close of the year 
this was declared unconstitutional; but the councils so elected constituted a 
de facto government until the next election, when the old order of things 
was resumed. 

Local legislation, though not specially prolific, embraces a large number 
and variety of subjects. The prohibition of the selling and exploding of fire 
crackers; of bathing in the creek or river within certain hours; of storing 
nitroglycerine or other explosive matter within the city limits; of selling 
tainted meat, or of depositing ashes and garbage in the streets, form the 
subject matter of some of the first ordinances. July 11, 1870, the name of 
Meadow street was changed to Third; Chub street became Fourth; Bass 


street. Fifth; Pike street, Sixth; Perch street, Seventh; Catfish street, 
Eighth; Union street. Ninth; Fisher street, Tenth; Martin street. Eleventh; 
Turtle street. South Park; High street. Twelfth; Turkey street, West Park; 
Doe street, Thirteenth; Buck street. Fourteenth; Fox street. Fifteenth. 

Whether cattle should be permitted to run at large was long an issue in 
local politics; this was finally decided in the negative March 22, 1880. Re- 
strictive measures of a similar nature regarding geese were adopted April 
24, 1883. In a spirit of liberality toward vested interests it was at first 
proposed to limit their operation to the First and Second wards; but a mem- 
ber from the Third, who regarded this as a covert design to make his dis- 
trict a pasture ground for the geese of the whole city, objected, and in 
deference to his protest the application of the ordinance was made general. 
The organization of a fire department was first agitated in 1866. Feb- 
ruary 1st of that year occurred the most destructive fire in the history of the 
city. It originated on Liberty street near the corner of Thirteenth, swept 
down Thirteenth to Elk and down Liberty to Centre block, involving a loss 
of a quarter of a million dollars. Perhaps the most serious fire prior to 
this was the destruction of the postoifice building, March 4, 1852, while 
Adam Webber was postmaster. Stamps and currency to the value of sev- 
eral hundred dollars were lost. The Mansion house at the northern end of 
the upper bridge burned April 2, 1868; and on the following day a similar 
calamity involved the Atlantic and Great Western depot, with a large quan- 
tity of oil awaiting shipment. The Exchange hotel burned May 13, 1870, 
and the city hall, a large wooden stntcture fitted up with stage and scenery 
for theatrical representations, July 5, 1876. Hanna's block, on Thirteenth 
street, between Liberty and Elk, burned January 28, 1886. Fire limits 
were first established in 1873, and included the territory bounded by Otter 
and Back, Eleventh and Fourteenth streets. February 6, 1883, this was so 
changed as to embrace only Liberty street between Twelfth and Thirteenth, 
and Thirteenth between Elbow street and the Lake Shore depot. August 
10, 1874, provision was made for the election annually of a chief engineer 
by council and of two assistants by the fire department, which thus secured 
better organization than it had ever before enjoyed. This department is 
entirely of the volunteer character; the several engine and hose companies 
are well equipped, and have demonstrated their efficiency on the occasions 
referred to and many others of lesser note. 

It does not apjjear that the parks received much attention' under the 
borough dispensation. In 1860 a number of public-spirited citizens trans- 
planted trees to the public square, as it was then called; but during the 
building of the Franklin branch of the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio 
railroad and in the first years of the oil excitement teams crossed the grounds 
constantly, injuring and destroying the trees and neutralizing all previous 
attempts at grading. At the next session of the legislature the borough au- 


thorities were empowered to inclose the parks, which was finally accom- 
plished after much procrastination in 1805. It was thought that private 
enterprise should complete the work, but the improvement under this plan was 
very limited. The fence was removed after five or six years, and under the 
care of the city government the appearance of things gradually improved. 
At length, September 4, 1882, a park commission was established, to consist 
of the mayor and four citizens appointed by him with the approval of coun- 
cil. K. S. McCormick, A. A. Plumer, Casper Frank, C. W. Mackey, and 
A. G. Egbert constituted the first commission, of which one member is ap- 
pointed annually for a term of five years. This arrangement has given 
eminent satisfaction; its practical results are seen in the beautiful domain 
that forms so essential an element in the attractiveness of the city. 

The most recent action of special importance by the city council was the 
passage of an ordinance, June 19, 1889, establishing a board of health. It 
is provided that five members, two of whom are physicians, shall constitute 
this board, of which a new member is appointed annually for a period of 
five years. The appointment of a city health officer originates with this 
body, which has jurisdiction in all matters pertaining to public sanitation. 
The first board, composed of the following: Reverend E. F. Crane, B. E. 
Swan, J. W. Leadenham, M. D., E. W. Moore, M. D., and J. D. Chadwick, 
was appointed June 19, 1889. 

The initial movement in the erection of the city building was taken De- 
cember 4, 1882, when a committee was appointed to confer with F. W. 
Mitchell regarding a location. February 6, 1883, th^, bid of W. L. Corrin 
was accepted, and the mayor was instructed to negotiate a loan of fourteen 
thousand dollars. The corner-stone was laid May 30, 1883, when C. W. 
Mackey delivered an address, and the building was completed in the autumn 
of that year. 

Since Franklin came under city government its officers have been as 

1868.— T. A. Dodd, mayor; R. S. McCormick, J. T. P. Watson, T. J. 
McKean, L. C. Heasley, S. J. McAninch, Josiah Adams, Charles Bowman, 
and J. D. Myers, council. 

1869.— Henry Dubbs, mayor; R. L. Cochran, T. J. McKean, A. A. 
Plumer, W. J. Lamberton, L. C. Heasley, W. R. Crawford, R. S. McCor- 
mick. and S. J. McAninch, council. 

1870.— C. M. Hoover, mayor; W. J. Lamberton, L. D. Davis, C. W. 
Mackey, W. M. Epley, William Painter, A. A. Plumer, L. C. Heasley, and 
T. J. McKean, council. 

1871.— C. M. Hoover, mayor; J. L. Mitchell, R. S. McCormick, J. W. 
Lee, L. D. Davis, T. A. Dodd, W. M. Epley, C. W. Mackey, William 
Painter, council. 

1872.— C. W. Mackey, mayor; G. E. Ridgway, I. E. Howard, T. A. 


Dodd, W. S. Carroll, D. W. Morgan, J. L. Mitchell, L. D. Davis, and K. 
S. McCormick, council. 

1873. — Samuel B. Myers, mayor; J. W. Rowland, G. AV. Brigham, J. 
M. Bredin, S. W. Neely, W. A. Horton, Levi Foster. R. S. McCormick, 
and N. B. Smiley, council. 

1874.— Thomas Hoge, mayor; N. B. Smiley. J. R. Grant, S. W. 
Neely, D. S. Smith, Robert Lamberton, T. H. Martin, James Smith, and 
I. E. Howard, council. 

1875. — J. W. Lee, mayor; N. B. Smiley, R. A. Brashear, N. S. Ridgway, 
William Campbell, Robert Lamberton, J. A. Humphreys, William J. De- 
Woody, James Bleakley, I. E. Howard, William Painter, and John Coefield, 

1876.— W. S. Welsh, mayor; John O'Neil, James Bleakley, H. D. Hu- 
lin, E. W. Echols, W. D. Rider, Hiram Brown, Daniel Grimm, W. J. De- 
Woody, R. A. Brashear, J. A. Humphreys, and William Painter, council. 

1877. — W. R. Crawford, mayor; H. W. Bostwick, R. L. Cochran, 
Alexander Cochran, Thomas M. George, R. S. McCormick, John O'Neil, 
R. Richardson, M. O. Taylor, R. H. Woodburn, J. A. Wilson, and G. H. 
White, council. 

1878. — W. R. Crawford, mayor; Alexander Cochran, D. Grimm, J. D. 
Myers, John O'Neil, B. E. Swan, Jacob Sheasley, G. H. White, R. S. Mc- 
Cormick, M. O. Taylor, T. M. George, and H. W. Bostwick, council. 

1879.— J. C. Sibley, mayor; J. N. Craft, G. Cowgill, W. C. Hawkins, 
R. G. Lamberton, George Maloney, Charles Mapes, R. S. McCormick, 
John O'Neil, N. H. Payn, Joseph Powley, and N. S. Ridgway, council. 

1880.— W\ R. Crawford, mayor; J. N. Craft, John Coefield, N. H. 
Payn. H. H. Martin, H. J. Raymond, John Coon, W. C. Hawkins, C. 
T. Mapes, R. S. McCormick, N. S. Ridgway, and R. Richardson, council. 

1881. — George Maloney, mayor; J. N. Craft, John Coefield, W. J. De- 
Woody, Casper Frank, P. R. Gray, D. C. Galbraith, H. W. Lamberton, D. 
W. Morgan, John O'Neil, J. R. Snow, and M. A. Seanor, council. 

1882. — George Allen, mayor; Casper Frank, P. R. Gray, George S. 
Criswell, W. N. Emery, D. W. Morgan, B. W. Bredin, J. R. Snow, J. D. 
Myers, H. W. Lamberton, John O'Neill, and John Coefield, council. 

1883. — George Allen, mayor; Casper Frank, Noah Ridgway, W. J. 
Bleakley, W. J. Mattern, B. W. Bredin, J. D. Myers, Perry De Woody, 
W. N. Emery, George Applegarth, John O'Neil, and T. M. Foley, council. 

1884. — George Maloney, mayor; Casper Frank, Noah Ridgway, W. J. 
Bleakley, W. J. Mattern, B. W. Bredin, N. B. Myers, Perry DeWoody, 
Charles Miller, George Applegarth, John O'Neil, and T. M. Foley, council. 

1885.— Charles Miller, mayor; B. E. Swan, J. H. Cratty, W. J. Bleak- 
ley, Floyd Griffin, Perry DeWoody, S. T. Karns, J. P. Frazier, N. B. 
Myers, T. M. Foley, Hugh Carr, and John O'Neil, council. 


1S86.— Chanes Miller, mayor; F. W. Officer, E. Law, James Smith, 
N. B. Myers, John O'Neil, W. J. Bleakley, Isaac St. Clair, Hugh Carr, 
Perry DeAVoody, T. M. Foley, and B. E. Swan, council. 

1887. —William J. Bleakley, mayor; J. K. Bryden, Perry DeWoody, T. 
M. Foley, J. R. Grant, S. T. Graham, D. W. Morgan, A. H. McDowell, 
D. I. McVay, John O'Neil, C. J. Smith, and A. J. Sibley, council. 

1888.— S. C. Lewis, mayor; C. D. Elliott, J. R. Grant, P. Brown, 
Perry DeWoody, A. Leach, A. J. Sibley, and John O'Neil, common coun- 
cil; R. W. Dunn, W. J. Mattern, Harry Lamberton, E. Jeunett, and 
I. E. Howai'd. select council. 

1889.— William J. Bleakley, mayor; S. B. Myers, B. W. Bredin, G. R. 
Sheasley, C. M. Hulin. George Maloney, George Allen, Augiist Leach, I. 
H. Borland, T. M. Foley, John O'Neil, and J. K. Elliott, council. 


The Franklin postoffice was the first in the county. Postmasters have 
been appointed in the following order: Alexander McDowell, January 1, 
1801; James G. Heron, October 1, 1802; John Broadfoot, March 31, 1809; 
William Connely, March 25, 1819; Henry McCalmont, November 17, 1819; 
Alexander S. Hays, September 15, 1821; Arthur Robison, May 6, 1821; 
John Evans, January 12, 1822; Samuel F. Plumer, October 10, 1831; Ben- 
jamin A. Plumer, May 9, 1832; William Raymond, July 10, 1841; Benja- 
min A. Plumer, October 29, 1842; Joseph McClelland, February 20, 1843; 
John H. Shannon, March 7, 1844: Adam Webber, November 8, 1849; 
Sarah Webber, April 23, 1860; Robert Brigham, March 11, 1865; Robert 
J. Canan, April 8, 1869; David D. Grant, February 24, 1875; John E. 
Adams, March 31, 1883, 


The first franchise for the building of a bridge over French creek was 
granted by the legislature in 1802 to Marcus Hulings, who was granted an 
extension of time in 1805, but does not appear to^have accomplished any- 
thing individually. Some years later a company was formed and in 1820 a 
bridge was built under contract by James Lowry. James Kinnear was 
treasurer of this company in 1823, George Sutley was secretary, and Alex- 
ander McCalmont was authorized to receive the annual siibscriptions in lieu 
of toll. In the spring of 1832 the bridge sustained serious damages from a 
freshet; assistance from the legislature was invoked, and the governor was 
authorized^,to subscribe for one hundred shares of stock at twenty dollars 
per share. There is reason to think that the appearance of this structure 
did not improve as time passed. In 1857, one span having fallen down, 
the company abandoned the property, and the necessary repairs were made 
by private enterprise; and when, on Sunday morning, March 8, 1868, the 


middle span parted company with the shore ends of the venerable pile, the 
general feeling seems to have been one of gratification at the prospect of a 
new l^ridge. An effort was made to preserve the remaining parts of the 
original striictiire; baton the 14th of April the upright timbers temporarily 
erected for this purpose were struck by a boat heavily laden with lumber 
and shingles, resulting in further damage. The contract for the building 
of a new bridge was awarded to W. W. Breckenridge of North Liberty, 
Mercer county; it was completed in December, 186S. The formal transfer 
of this property to the county commissioners occurred in 1859. 

The Franklin and Allegheny Bridge Company was incor^iorated by act of 
the legislature, April 3, 1837. The corporators were Alexander McCalmont, 
John Galbraith, Arnold Plumer, John Evans, L. T. Reno, James Kinnear, 
John W. Howe, Hugh McClelland, James Ross Snowden, and Jacob Dubbs. 
of Franklin, with a number of others at Bellefonte, Meadville, and Titias- 
ville, and in Erie and Clearfield counties. A wooden bridge was bviilt at a 
cost of forty-five thousand dollars: it was seven hundred and twenty feet 
long and covered. May 13, 1863, at six a. m. — the morning after the great oil 
fire at Oil City — a large oil barge, wrapped in flame and smoke, was seen 
floating down the river; every efi'ort was made to bring it to the shore, but 
without success. As it passed under the bridge the flames shot upward to 
the comb of the roof, and within half an hour nothing remained of the en- 
tire structure except the piers. A suspension bridge was at once erected on 
the original piers at a cost of twenty -six thousand dollars. This also was 
destined to destruction. Friday morning, December 31, 1870, a fire broke 
out in a building known as the Marshall house at the steamboat landing on 
the lower side of the bridge, whence it was communicated to the toll house. 
The suspension wires were anchored beyond these houses and passed over 
them to the towers of the bridge. While the crowd that had collected were 
engaged in saving the furniture in the toll house, one of the wires snapped 
from the effect of the heat. The structure swayed perceptibly; several other 
of the wires broke until the whole support of the lower side of the bridge 
was gone. The first span sank to an angle of forty-five degrees, precipi- 
tating some of the persons thereon to the ice below, and in another moment 
it was hanging like a pendulum. The remaining supports broke and fell 
with a crash, burying several victims in the ruins. The entire structure 
was completely wrecked, and with the loss of life involved this constitutes 
one of the most fatal casualties in the history of the city. The present iron 
structure was erected in the following year. 

The lower French creek bridge, originally a wooden structure, was built 
by the county in 1857. March 17, 1865, in one of the most disastrous floods 
this valley has ever experienced, the bridge was raised from the piers and 
floated to that mysterit)us bourne from whence no bridges ever return. It was 
replaced by a wood and iron structure. On Saturday, January 13, 1877> 


at eight P. M., the western span collapsed from its own weight. The sub- 
stantial iron bridge at this site was built the same year. 

The Big Rock bridge, a mile below Franklin, on the Allegheny river, 
was completed in 1879. 

While bridges over the river and creek rendered the county seat easy of 
access from the adjoining portions of the county, it was still dependent for 
communication with the outside world upon that rather primitive convey- 
ance, the stage coach. The facilities of this nature in 1851, as given in the 
mail schedule, were as follows: Curwensville to Meadville, via Franklin, 
one hundred aud six miles — six times a week; Franklin to Brownington, 
thirty miles — tri- weekly; Franklin to Butler, via Clintonville, forty-two 
miles — once a week; Franklin to Warren, fifty-three miles^tri-weekly; 
Franklin to Waterford, via Cooperstown, Dempseytown. and Sunville, fifty- 
six miles — once a week; Franklin to Warren, Ohio, fifty-four miles — tri- 
weekly; Franklin to Hartford, forty- six miles — once a week. Fehl & John- 
son were proprietors of a through line to Pittsburgh, and the fare, including 
boarding, was two dollars and fifty cents. This was subject, in a measure, 
to steamboat competition. 

The first steamboat to ascend the Allegheny river as far as Franklin was 
the William D. Duncan, of one hundred and ten tons, Captain Crooks, 
which arrived on the evening of Sunday, February 24, 1828. It was only 
in the spring and fall that there was a stage of water sufficient for naviga- 
tion, but this was a period of great business activity in the river towns. 
Steamboats continued to ply between Franklin and -Pittsburgh until the 
completion of the Allegheny Valley railroad. 

The first railroad opened to Franklin was the Atlantic and Great ^Vest- 
ern; the track to this point was completed Saturday, May 30, 1863, and on 
the Monday following a special train from Meadville, the first to enter the 
town, arrived with the directors of the company and a number of citizens, 
among whom was John Reynolds, a merchant at Franklin in 1814. The 
Jamestown and Franklin railroad was opened to this point in the summer 
of 1867, and the Allegheny Valley the same year. The city enjoys the 
advantage of being in direct connection with the principal trunk lines of the 
country, and with the lakes — advantages which exert a favorable influence 
upon her prospects as a manufacturing point. 


The map of Fort Machault indicates the location of a saw mill a1:)Out 
seventy yards from the Allegheny river, on a small stream flowing into it 
about the same distance below the mouth of French creek. The machinery 
was brought from Canada, perhaps from France. This establishment was 
in operation during the construction of the fort anPl barracks, and was, 
without doubt, the first manufacturing enterprise upon the site of Franklin. 


Chestnut timbers, forming part of the dam, were discovered on Elk street, 
about ten rods below Benjamin W. Bredin's house, in a good state of pres- 
ervation, some years since. 

The next attempt to establish domestic industries was not made until 
nearly seventy-five years later. In the first settlement of this region supplies 
of iron were obtained, at great expense, from Pittsburgh, or points eaf-t of 
the mountains. To meet this demand Samuel Hays built a forge on French 
creek, a mile from its mouth, about the year 1825. The process of mnnu- 
facture was exceedingly primitive. Bog ore, obtained at various localities 
in the immediate vicinity, was used exclusively, and charcoal was utilized as 
fuel. The ore was melted in what was conventionally called a '"ell-fire;" 
the slag was drawn off by the admixture of lime, and the metal, known at 
this stage as hoop-iron, was successively hammered and heated until the 
desired consistency was obtained. A wing-dam in the creek furnished 
water power for the blast and hammers. The operatives lived in houses 
about the forge, giving to the place the appearance of a small village. A. 
M. Lewis was iron-master. The construction of the French creek slack- 
water navigation rendered the location undesirable, and the works were 
abandoned early in the thirties. 

In the meantime, about 1828, Alexander McCalmont erected a similar 
establishment on the north bank of the creek, a quarter of a mile above the 
upper bridge. His dam consisted merely of a bank of loose stones, sufii- 
ciently high to deflect water enough into the race to furnish power for the 
hammers and blast. In 1832-33 the forge was replaced by a quarter-stack 
blast furnace, twenty feet high, with a bosh diameter of six or seven feet. 
Bog ore was used almost exclusively. This establishment employed twenty 
men. Late in 1834 it was purchased by Samuel F. Dale, and continued 
in operation several years. During this time it constituted about the only 
' industrial feature of the town. 

The Franklin Iron Works, Nock, Dangerfield & Company, proprietors, 
were placed in operation in 1842. The original members of the firm were 
Edward Nock, James Dangerfield, and Edward Pratt, all of whom had 
previously been connected with the Great Western Iron Works at Pitts- 
burgh, of which Edward Nock was general manager. Their advent at 
Franklin occurred June 2, 1842, and was attended with some eclat. The 
Great Western band, composed of Mr. Nock's former employes, accompanied 
him on the steamer Ida, and furnished music for the occasion. The pro- 
prietors brought about a score of skilled workmen with them, and at once 
began the construction of suitable buildings. The site secured was that 
occupied by McCalmont' s furnace, which was still standing, but had not 
been in use for several years. A frame building, about one hundred feet 
square, was erected. There were two well constructed wing-dams, with the 
necessary appliances for communicating power. The plant consisted of 


four puddling and two heating furnaces, eleven nail machines, and one set, 
respectively, of muck, bar, sheet, and finishing rolls. Pig iron was obtained 
at furnaces in this and adjoining counties. Singleton's coal bank, in Sandy 
Creek township, furnished the fuel. The works went into operation with 
Edward Nock, general superintendent; William Nock, foreman of the heat- 
ing furnaces; James Dangertield and Thomas Cooper, foremen of the rolling 
department, and sixty operatives. Six dollars a ton were paid for puddling ; 
rollers received two and a half or three dollars per day. The product 
was sold at Pittsburgh and Erie. The works were operated to their full 
capacity, bat a lack of harmony among the members of the firm prevented 
the business from being profitable. H. Coulter & Company at length became 
proprietors. Then the workmen formed a co-operative company, to which 
Coulter was to furnish raw material, and for which he was to act as agent 
for the sale of their product; half their wages was to be applied to the 
purchase of the property, which would have been entirely accomplished in 
three years, but Coulter became insolvent, and the co-operative company did 
not long survive his failure. The workmen dispersed to different places. 
The works experienced various changes in ownership, and were finally dis- 
mantled several years before the war. The machinery was moved to Pitts- 
burgh, and all that now remains to mark the site of this once prosperous 
industry is a portion of the foundation walls. 

In 1847 Edmund Evans built a foundry on the bank of the creek near 
the outlet lock. In 1849 this was purchased by William Elliott and W. M. 
Epley, who continued the business until 1856, when they were succeeded 
by Dempsey. Hunter & McKenzie, and within a few' years after this the 
business was finally discontinued. Stoves, plows, and plow points, mill 
castings, and general repairing were among the objects that received atten- 
tion here. Adjoining the foundry was a barrel factory owned by Judge 
Drain of Meadville and managed by George Ramsdale. This also is among 
Franklin's "lost arts." 

The mills may also be mentioned in this connection. As in many other 
matters relating to Franklin, George Power is entitled to priority here. He 
brought with him a small cast iron grinding machine, upon which his 
neighbors and himself ground the flour and meal for their families. Alex- 
ander McDowell's mill on the Allegheny river is referred to in early county 
records, but its precise location is unknown. John Hulings built the first 
mill on the creek. It was nearly opposite West Park street, and by the 
action of the current the site is now in the channel of the stream. Abraham 
Selders, a brother-in-law of Hulings, built the second mill, on the south 
side of