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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 23 -- Cranberry Township

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Transcribed by Glenda Nothnagle. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XXIII

p. 226a William and Jane Goehring
p. 226b Res. of J.P. Goehring
p. 230a Duncan's and F.A. Edmonds
Samuel Duncan Bio
William Goehring Bio



[p. 226]

CRANBERRY is one of the thirteen original townships, and no doubt derived its name from the fact that there are in the southern portion of the township extensive marshes covered with cranberry bushes.

In 1796, Benjamin JOHNSTON, a native of Cumberland County, emigrated to this township and settled on a farm in the southern portion. His wife, Martha KENNEDY, was a native of South Carolina, but was reared in Cumberland County, Penn. Of their family of fifteen children, seven are now living. William JOHNSTON, one of the sons, is a resident of the township. His farm was formerly owned by his father-in-law, Francis PEARCE.

In the same year, Alexander RAMSEY, a native of Ireland, left his native heath for this country. He first located in Cumberland County, where he remained but a short time. From thence he moved to Westmoreland, and from that county to Cranberry Township, where he became one of the important characters in its history. His wife, Grace SMITH, who was [p. 227] born in Chester County, was the daughter of a Revolutionary patriot, who lost his life in that sanguinary struggle. They reared a family of ten children. Joseph ROBINSON, who lived a few miles east of Butler, on the Freeport pike, married one of the daughters (Hannah). Isaac YOUNG, who is still living at an advanced age, was another son-in-law of this venerable pioneer. He married Polly.

The following is a verbatim copy of the agreement by which Mr. RAMSEY acquired the title to his lands; the original document is still in possession of John RAMSEY:

"Articles of agreement made and concluded between Thomas REES and William HARRISON, of Philadelphia, of the one part, and Alexander RAMSEY, of Westmoreland County, State of Pennsylvania, of the other part witnesseth: First, the said Thomas REES and William HARRISON, for the considerations hereinafter mentioned and expressed, doth consent, promise and agree to and with the said Alexander RAMSEY, his executors, administrators and assigns: that he, the said Alexander RAMSEY, shall on or before the 22d instant, settle and improve a certain tract of land situated on the west side of the Allegheny river, in Allegheny County, on the waters of Breakneck, and on the Venango Path adjoining Nicholson District, and continue his said settlement and improvement on the said tract of land for five years from thence next following: building on the same a house fit for the habitation of man, and clearing and fencing ten acres fit for cultivation. In consideration of which, and the covenants hereinafter expressed, to be performed on the part of the aid Thomas REES and William HARRISON, and as an encouragement to the said Alexander RAMSEY to be faithful and diligent in the undertaking aforesaid, he, the said Thomas REES and William HARRISON, doth hereby bind themselves, their heirs, executors and assigns, covenant, promise and agree to and with the said Alexander RAMSEY, his executors, administrators or assigns, well and truly to convey or cause to be conveyed to the said Alexander RAMSEY, his executors, administrators or assigns, one hundred and fifty acres of said tract of four hundred acres of land, to be divided as fairly as possible, according to quantity and quality, reserving, nevertheless, to A. RAMSEY, all improvements he may have made on the land and for the said quantity of land, the said Thomas REES and William HARRISON, their executors, administrators and assigns shall, at the termination of the aforesaid period of five years, give a deed for the same, free from all encumbrances, and shall warrant and defend the same to the said Alexander RAMSEY, his heirs, executors, administrators of assigns.

"And for the true performance of all and every the covenants aforesaid, each of the said parties binds himself, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns unto the other of them, his heirs, executors and assigns, in a penal sum of one thousand dollars. In witness whereof, the parties above named have hereunto set their hands and seal the twenty-first day of June, 1796.

                "David McNAIR &
                "James A. RIPPEY, per
                "Thomas REES, [Seal].
                "Alexander RAMSEY, [Seal].
"Witness present, JOHN CUMMINS."

Samuel DUNCAN, a native of Carlisle, Penn., made a permanent settlement in this township in 1796. He was a young man of twenty-seven years, at the time of his emigration, and for several years previous to his settlement had been engaged in trafficking with the Indians. He purchased quite an extensive tract of land. The farm which for many years was the home of his son, Samuel, was purchased from Gen. WILKINS, of Philadelphia. He married, in 1793, Miss Nancy daughter of James BOGGS, who in the early days kept the ferry across the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh. They had six children -- William, Matilda, David, Samuel, James and Robert. Mr. DUNCAN died in the year 1829. William married Jane COMPTON, and had three children. He died in 1821. Of these three children, Mary Ann CLEEAND [sic] is still living in Illinois. Matilda married William SMITH, from the State of New York. Mrs. SMITH died in 1831, her husband surviving her a few years only. David married Sarah HAMIL, of Allegheny County. They had nine children, viz.: William, Samuel, Catherine, Matilda, Margaret, Sarah, Mary A. and Nancy E. Samuel Married Elizabeth CALDWELL, daughter of David CALDWELL, of Allegheny County.

In 1797, Mathew GRAHAM, with his mother, brother and stepfather, settled on a tract of land he had preempted the year previous (1796) and began the arduous task of clearing up a farm. His father (also named Mathew) was a native of Scotland; he died when Mathew, Jr., was but six years of age. The year following his decease, the family, consisting of the widowed mother and the two sons, Mathew and William, settled on a tract of 200 acres, on the Monongalia River, where McKeesport now stands. They remained in possession of the lands until 1795, when they were dispossessed by a defective title by a Mr. MCKEE, the man after whom McKeesport was named. In 1801, Mathew was married to Mary FREEMAN. They reared a family of nine children -- Hetty, who afterward became Mrs. John VANDEVORT; Ann, who married John KELLY; William, who married Elizabeth SHEARER in 1843, and later to Maria [p. 228] PEARCE; William died in 1878; Harvey died in infancy; Mary, who married John LOVE in 1837, and after his death married W. M. MEREDITH. James H. GRAHAM, who married Elizabeth OAKLEY in 1845; Mathew, who married Esther DILLEN in 1849; Samuel, who married Matilda DUNCAN in the year 1856. These children all had portions of their father's estate. Those who died in full possession of their property bequeathed it to their offspring. Those living remain on the homes thus acquired, with the exception of Mrs. Mary MEREDITH, who resides in Allegheny City. Mathew GRAHAM died in November, 1858, in his seventy-ninth year. Mary GRAHAM died June 10, 1866, in her eighty-third year. In 1813, Mathew GRAHAM erected the tavern known as the "Black Bear," on the Pittsburgh and Mercer road, which ran through his farm. This hostelry was the general stopping place of all who traveled from Pittsburgh to Merver for thirty years, and is still standing but unoccupied.

The early settlers in this section of the State were frequently gathered around the great fireplace of the "Black Bear," and there related stories of their struggles with poverty, of a desperate encounter with Indians and wild beasts, and talked of the time when their great tasks would be completed, and they in possession of comfortable homes, surrounded by their children and the comforts and luxuries of civilization.

After the erection of the "Black Bear," he purchased a tract of 200 acres a short distance south of his original purchase. He also purchased 170 acres from Hansen CASTLETTE, on Brush Creek; 206 acres of Sabina, widow of H. H. BRACKENRIDGE, on Brush Creek, and 170 acres of George SPYER, along the same stream. In 1831, he and his son-in-law, J. VANDEVORT built the first sawmill erected in the township, and on Bear Creek. In 1833, he built the first gristmill on Brush Creek. Mathew GRAHAM was a man who seemed to have more than his portion of reverses during his pioneer life, but through them all he was said to be very courageous, resolute and trustful, a man of good common sense, generous-hearted, and a firm believer in that "Divinity which shapes our ends rough hew them how we may."

Benjamin GARVIN was native of Rockingham, Va., and came to this township with his family of ten children. His wife was a Miss MCFARLAND, of the same State. Mr. and Mrs. GARVIN had many trials and privations, but with a firm conviction that, as the constant dropping of water will wear away the hardest rock, so health and constant labor will overcome all things. Ten children were born to them, viz., Elizabeth, Alexander, John, Nancy, David, James, William, Benjamin, Jefferson and Margaret. Elizabeth married James MINNIS, of Pittsburgh, who for many years was the proprietor of the Minnis Foundry in Birmingham, Penn. Nancy married Joshua STOOLFIER, and lived in this township until their death. The father of Joshua STOOLFIER was a native of Germany, and after serving seven years in the army the Government released him, having no further claims upon him as a soldier. He emigrated to America, settling near the forks of the Youghiogheny River, in Westmoreland County. A short period after his location here, he married a Miss Mary MARTIN, daughter of Presbyterian minister. Their offspring consisted of eight children -- Charles, Joshua M., Sarah, David, Jacob, Mary, Elizabeth and George. A few years previous to the organization of Butler County, the entire family removed to what is now Cranberry Township, locating on a farm of 400 acres, purchased from Thomas LANGLEY in the year 1800. Soon after settling upon this tract, he returned to Westmoreland County, and brought to his rude cabin his father's family. Without money, he was profoundly distressed as to how he would pay for this large tract of land, and he at once set his wits to work to devise some plan. He had in his possession a very valuable gun, which he highly prized, and which had dealt out destruction to many a tenant of the wood. This he offered Mr. LANGLEY in part payment, but he, having no conceivable use for the weapon, declined the offer, saying he preferred something having a greater measure of value. Mr. STOOLFIER then hit upon this happy plan of trading his gun for a two-year-old colt, which the Government agent gladly accepted as part of the consideration money. He paid for the residue according to the covenants and conditions of the article of agreement.

Nancy GARVIN and husband, Joshua STOOLFIER (son of Joshua M. STOOLFIER), were the parents of ten children, five of whom reached maturity. Those living are Irene, Nancy, Lavina, Eliza and Minerva. Alexander GARVIN married Anna MALLISON, and removed to Missouri. John also went to Missouri when a young man, and he there married Mary Love. David kept hotel, or tavern as it was termed in those days, on what is now Newton GARVIN'S farm, in 1811. He married a Miss Permelia MALLISON. Benjamin GARVIN, the grandfather of David kept the same hotel in 1800 -- the only public house then between Pittsburgh and Franklin. He continued in the business until 1811, when, as we have already stated, the nephew, David, took charge of it. He raised a family of nine children, namely, Eliza, Emiline, Annie, Permelia, Benjamin, Joshua, Newton, David and Milton, who was killed in the war of the rebellion.

The Cornplanter and other Indian bands made this hotel their stopping place on their way to and from Erie.

[p. 229]
Their business principally was running rafts on the Allegheny, and their demeanor and manner was quiet, when not under the influence of "fire-water." "The Indian trail" leading then from a point beyond Pittsburgh to Erie and Franklin can today be plainly pointed out as passing through the farms of CLEVIDENCE, LAWHEAD, GRENEY and what is know as the GLOVER farm. It is a common accurrent for farmers today, when plowing, to find the peculiar shaped flints they used on their arrows during the era when they roamed the forests and held complete and undisputed domination over them.

James GARVIN was twice married. His first wife was Nancy WILSON, who was reared in this township. The fruits of this union were: William WILSON, Margaret, Benjamin, Eliza, Nancy and Henderson. His wife died in 1843, when he married Mrs. Isabella WILSON, daughter of John WALDRON, and sister of William WALDRON, of Jackson Township -- near Evansburg. The issue of this alliance was two children -- Belle and Boyd.

James GARVIN was an enterprising farmer, a good citizen and always favorable to the interests of the common schools, believing them to be valued factors in the progress of civilization.

William, the brother of James, also married twice, Martha ROWAN, of Bridgewater, Beaver County, a very excellent lady amiable in disposition and with a beautiful Christian character, was his first wife. She was the mother of eight children.

His second wife was Hannah SPENCER. They had one child -- Samuel Church GARVIN.

Benjamin died unmarried. Jefferson was united to Rebecca ROWAN, and moved into Beaver County.

William HALL, of Pittsburgh, became the husband of Margaret.

Benjamin, the son of William and grandson of Benjamin GARVIN, is residing on the ancestral home purchased from his father. The farm consists of 120 acres. The wife of Benjamin GARVIN was Ellen P. WILSON; who was born in Westmoreland County. The names of their children are: Emily A., who married Archie BRYON; William H., Elmer Lynn, Martha Jane and Elizabeth A.

Joshua M. STOOLFIER, who married Nancy GARVIN, has already been mentioned as a descendant of one of the earliest and most prominent settlers of this township. But as his career was an interesting one, and his family among the first in rank and intelligence, he demands more than a passing notice. He was a man of inflexible character, and the soul of honor and honesty, He ever took great pride in identifying himself with the growing interests of education, and he was the especial friend of the poor. Generous in heart and of excellent judgment, he was often appealed to in matters of justice between his fellowmen. His immediate lineal descendants were Irene, Nancy, Lavina, Eliza and Minerva.

William BRICKLE was the husband of Lavina. Of their eight children three are living today.

In the year of 1839, Nancy became the wife of William RAY. Mr. RAY met with a terrible accident, the loss of one limb in a reaping machine, which proved fatal, terminating his life five days after its occurrence.

Mrs. RAY is now living with her son-in-law, John STAPLES, in Adams Township.

Minerva was united in marriage to Capt. Alexander GILLESPIE, on Christmas Day, in the year 1842. They lived happily together for thirty-seven years, and prospered in the accumulation of this world's goods.

The result of their marriage was the birth of four children, two only of whom are living -- Nancy C. and Joshua M. The former became the wife of John C. KELLY, who resided near Butler for many years and died there.

Joshua married Maggie DUNLAP, of Allegheny County, in the year 1870.

Capt. GILLESPIE, the father of these children, was a gallant soldier in the war of the rebellion during the years of 1861 and 1865. He was among the first to respond to his country's call, and enlisted in 1861, in Gen. John N. PURVIANCE'S Company of "nine months' men." At the expiration of the stipulated time, he reenlisted and continued in the army until his failing health gave him an honorable discharge, which was in June, 1865. He died of consumption in 1879, induced by exposure at Nashville, Tenn., while in the barracks. His age was fifty-nine years.


After the first settlers began to make inroads on the noble forests and to cultivate the soil in rather a limited way the first few years of their pioneer life, other sturdy and energetic men came in and lent a helping hand.

Jacob STOUT was a native of North Cumberland County, and came to this township with his father, who emigrated from Germany in 1811. They located upon a tract of land purchased from Minerva CATLETT, being the moiety of a tract situated in this township and marked in the plan of "Alexander's District," No. 69.

Jacob and his father were both energetic and industrious, and seemed to be actuated by the one great purpose of acquiring a home for themselves in the land of freedom, where they could attain property and happiness for themselves, and which would also be an inheritance for their offspring. There were no [p. 230] prominent events in their lives to refer to. They were honest, industrious and persevering, bending all their energies to the cultivation of their lands.

Jacob STOUT, JR., married Annie DEEMER, in the year 1832, and there were born to them twelve children; seven only are now living, vis., John, Lizzie, Henry, Daniel, Fannie, Lavina and George W.

Daniel, the fourth one of those living, married Margaret REEDER, of Beaver County, in December, 1871. Henry is unmarried, and resides with his brother and sister-in-law on the farm bequeathed to them by their father, who died in 1869.

John BARR located in 1820, on a tract of land purchased from William ROSEBOROUGH. He was a native of Ireland, County Down. One year after his settlement he married Jane DICKEY, of Allegheny County, and reared a large family.

Mary Jane became the wife of Jacob STOUP, of Adams Township, where they reside.

Andrew married Nancy, daughter of Judge MARSHALL (deceased). They had born to them nine children, six of whom died quite young. The remaining children are Emma Jane, John Chalmers and Martin Andrew.

The farm owned by Andrew BARR, the father of these children, was part of a tract owned by Robert MCKEE in the early history of this county, and embraced hundreds of acres. For many years he has been an Elder of the United Presbyterian Church, and his exemplary habits, sincere but social life, has gained for himself the high esteem of every one.

William VANDEVORT was born in 1803, in Butler County. In 1828, he chose for his life companion Miss Nancy CAIN. They located on a farm purchased from Mrs. Dr. CATLETT, consisting of 120 acres. By frugality, incessant toil, self-denial and perseverance, they cleared the forests, cultivated the soil and at the same time reared a family of eleven children, all of whom are now dead.

William VANDEVORT, the father, died April 16, A. D. 1867. His wife still lives, aged seventy-two years.

The farm now owned by Mrs. Jane GOEHRING, daughter of Judge Marshall (deceased), is where John GOEHRING was born in 1811. His wife was Catherine HUSSELBAUGH, who was born in Harrisburg, Penn. Eight children were the result of this union -- William, who married Fannie LANDIS; David, who married Phebe VANDEVORT, and after her death, which occurred in 1868, married Louisa ROMACH; Annie, who married Andrew ENGLISH; Ida, who married Charlie GRAHAM, and Maggie, who married John BUNZO.

Frederick CROFT is a farmer of some prominence. His farm and that of his brother, on the old Franklin road, and just a quarter of a mile apart, give evidence of skillful management. The CROFTS are of English origin, their parents having been born in England. In 1832, Frederick and his brother William with their mother located as before mentioned. At the age of twenty-eight, Frederick married a lady named Chestina BARKS, of this county. She bore him ten children, six of whom are now living -- William, John, Harriet, David, Thomas and Mary. William, the eldest of the children, married Abigail GOEHRING, and removed to Allegheny City. John, Harriet and David also married. Miss Malinda GRAHAM, daughter of Mathew GRAHAM, became John's wife. Harriet became the partner of George COVERT, of this township, and is a farmer. David selected Miss Nancy WILSON for his better part, and are living in Allegheny City.

The uncle of these children, William CROFT, married Sarah Jane DAVIDSON in 1848. The farm he is living on with his family and already alluded to was bequeathed to him by his mother. He has nine children living, three of whom are married. Mary Jane and her husband, John BARTS, are living in this township. Estella married William ROBINSON.

Another of the enterprising farmers of Cranberry Township is James ROWAN, who came here with his wife from Delaware County, Penn., in 1824. He is living with his family of six children on a farm purchased from James GRAHAM, of Philadelphia, in the eastern part of the township. Mrs. ROWAN'S maiden name was Mary BOYD, reared in Wilmington, Penn. Of their children, John married Margaret DICKSON, daughter of Esquire DICKSON of Penn Township; Mathew married Nancy MILLER, of Freedom, Beaver County; William T. moved to the State of Illinois some twenty-five years ago, where he married Maggie SMITH, of that State. John is among the most prominent citizens of Cranberry Township, and his worth as a man has frequently been recognized by his being elected to offices of trust by the people of the township. He has a family of four children; Mary E. married Alfred SHANKS, of Allegheny County. The others are William, Belle and James.

John ROHNER was a native of Bavaria, Germany, and emigrated to this country when thirteen years old. He resided with Judge MARSHALL, deceased, in Adams Townships, until he arrived at the age of twenty-four years. He then married Miss Margaret L. DUNCAN, but remained on the farm with the Judge seven years longer, at the end of which time, in 1864, he purchased the farm upon which he is now living. Mr. ROHNER, or Esquire ROHNER, by which title he is better known, was a very destitute boy when he landed on the shores of America, and was entirely destitute of money and friends, and is deserv[p. 231] ing of great commendation for the manner in which he raised himself from poverty to independence and honorable position in society. Esquire ROHNER always manifested an earnest interest in the welfare of schools, spending time and money often for their advancement. For twelve years he was Director of the schools, and has been a Justice of the Peace for eight years.

Israel COOKSON has been a resident of this township since 1831. He was reared in Beaver County, but purchased the farm he is now living on from one GRIFFITH, of Philadelphia, when only twenty years of age. For the 106 acres he paid $3 per acre. When eighteen years old, he married Charlotte GOEHRING. The fruits of their marriage were six children, five boys and one girl -- William C., Edward J., Mary M., John A., Henry M. and Alfred T. Mary died in April, 1881, aged forty-six years. William formed a matrimonial alliance with Sarah KIRK. Edward married Hannah J. BLAKELY, sister of A. BLAKELY, Esq., of Allegheny City. John A. was united to Alice SAVAGE, of Allegheny City, and is living on a farm in this township, which he purchased from Robert DUNCAN, being a portion of the old Duncan farm. Henry married twice. His first wife was Margaret MCNORTEN, who died in 1867. Subsequently, he married Amanda OTTERSON, daughter of John OTTERSON, of Allegheny City, an officer in the Western Penitentiary for many years. In 1880, Alfred married Malinda GOEHRING, and is living with his father, cultivating the farm. The son of Edward J. COOKSON, Thomas, a remarkably bright young man of seventeen years, died in 1882.

Joseph WEST was a late settler, coming in 1864. Such men as he, however, are welcomed in every district at any time. His home with its surroundings is beautiful. It was purchased from Judge Daniel FIELDER, and the farm contains 212 acres. Mr. WEST was reared near Zelienople, and married Maria POWELL, of Beaver County.

Freeman VANDEVORT was born in this township in 1832, and consequently has lived in it fifty years.

In 1857, he entered into the bonds of wedlock with Margaret DEEMER, and at once moved upon a farm purchased from James ROWAN. In 1864, twenty-three acres more were added to it, purchased from Ambrose DUNBAR. Their family consisted of ten children, six only of whom are now living -- John C., Alfred E., Fannie E., Annie J., William FREEMAN and Clyde DEEMER.

James SAMPLE settled in 1840. Previous to his locating here, he lived in Allegheny City for thirteen years; served an apprenticeship of four years at tanning and currying with Thomas SAMPLE, the second Mayor of Allegheny City, and also the third white child born northwest of the Allegheny River. Mr. SAMPLE purchased a tract of land from R.E. GRIFFITH, of Philadelphia, through his agent, T. B. DALLIS, paying for it $3.50 per acre. He has five children living. All of his boys served in the late war. James K. POLK belonged to the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was killed at Malvern Hill July 28, 1864. John was wounded in action at Hatcher's Run, while guarding the Weldon road, near Petersburg, Va., leaving him a cripple in his upper limbs.

Mr. SAMPLE has always been noted for his physical strength. He is seventy-three years old. He served in the capacity of Justice of the Peace when BIGLER was Governor.

Tobias MEEDEN sold his farm in Summit Township and came into Cranberry in 1876, having purchased from Jacob DUMBACH. Caroline GARWICK was his wife's maiden name.


Before the inauguration of the present school system, private schools were taught by the following teachers: Job STAPLES, Andrew DODDS, William DOUTHETT and others. The first teachers under the present system were Matthew WRIGHT, Samuel HOOD, John and Robert COWAN and Silas MILLER. The inhabitants of the township take a lively interest in educational matters, and in each district is a commodious and comfortable schoolhouse, and nearly all are well supplied with the appurtenances usually found in well-conducted schools. The school property is valued at $5,000.


Christians of this denomination worshipped in the FOWLER Schoolhouse, on Brush Creek, from 1847 to 1850, Rev. Thomas C. GUTHRIE ministering at irregular periods to them. Rev. GUTHRIE was then pastor of the united charge of Union and Pine Creek congregations. This charge and the adherents at Fowler Schoolhouse were of the New Light Covenanter persuasion, and continued so until the union. The first church edifice was erected in 1850 on an acre lot given for that purpose by Joshua STOOLFIER, Esq., which is now the present location of the church building. This congregation connected with Union and presented a united call to their first pastor, Rev. Andrew WALKER, in 1850, who was ordained by the Allegheny Presbytery at Union. The cost of the first church edifice was $600 in money, exclusive of work done. The size of the building was 42x32 feet. The first members of session were John REYNOLDS, Robert FOWLER; William MCMARLAN and Andrew BARR. Rev. Andrew WALKER resigned this charge in 1853. The union then between Mount Pleasant and Union con[p. 232] gregations was dissolved in 1854, when Mount Pleasant presented a call to Thomas GUTHRIE, D. D., for two-thirds of his time. He then resided at Bakerstown. Under Dr. GUTHRIE'S pastorate, the present house of worship was built in 1860 upon the site of the former one. Its size is 60x40 feet, and its cost was $1,200.

The session was supplemented June 22, 1862, by the election and ordination of William ANDERSON, William JOHNSTON and James G. MARSHALL. Rev. GUTHRIE resigned his charge in 1864, when Mount Pleasant and Evansburg congregations united in one pastoral charge, and presented a call in 1866 to Rev. J. F. MARTIN. He was ordained and installed in the same year. At the end of four years he resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. J. S. BRANDON, who was ordained and installed June 10, 1873. In the same year session received the additions of Speaker GRAHAM and G. H. MCCOW. Rev. BRANDON labored with great zeal and profit for five years, when his health began to fail. He resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. J. M. DIGHT, the present pastor, who was ordained in 1880. Under his pastorate the session was again supplemented by the ordination of Samuel DEAN, T. W. KENNEDY and Prestly DUNCAN.

The congregation is today in a flourishing condition.


There was no Methodist society in this township until 1879. Persons of that persuasion, however, attended divine service in Allegheny County for many years, meeting regularly. The Trustees of that congregation, living principally in this place, concluded to build an edifice in Cranberry, and in the year above mentioned they were constituted a building committee. The Trustees who formed this committee were Dr. CRAWFORD, Jacob CRIDER and Thomas ROBINSON. The church was built on farm No. 91, belonging to Charles DUTILL, of Philadelphia, but who donated one acre and one-fourth for church purposes. In 1879, the church was ready for occupancy, and on November 30 of same year it was dedicated, the dedicatory sermon being preached by Elder CHAPMAN, assisted by Rev. J. M. SWAN and the minister in charge, Rev. WEAVER. The cost of the building was $2,000. The congregation numbers eighty members. Its first minister was Rev. SWAN, and, as has before been mentioned, Rev. WEAVER is the present pastor. Being out of debt, the congregation is on a fair way to prosper.


There are three general stores in this township, two on the Franklin road, about one mile apart, and one on the plank road. A. G. HENDRICKSON and D. B. WILSON are the respective proprietors of the first two mentioned, and William GARVIN owns the latter. Three blacksmith shops find employment enough to keep them running the greater part of the year. The people get their mail at Ogle Post Office, the only one in the township. Dr. CRAWFORD, son of Thomas CRAWFORD, of Washington County, is the physician of the place, and is regarded as a skillful man.


1840, Joshua STOOLFIER; 1840, John HENRY; 1845, Samuel MARSHALL; 1845, Thomas WILSON; 1850, Thomas W. BOGGS; 1850, Thomas WILSON; 1854, David GARVIN; 1854, Thomas STEWART; 1855, Joseph C. DOUTHETT; 1859, Ross BOYLE; 1859, James SAMPLE, 1860, William C. ANDERSON; 1863, David GARVIN; 1864, Thomas ROBINSON; 1867, Alexander GILLESPIE; 1869, John ROWAN; 1872, John ROHNER; 1874, Nichol ALLEN; 1877, David B. WILSON; 1879, John ROHNER; 1882, Flemming WEST.



Samuel DUNCAN, one of the oldest and most respected citizens of the southwestern part of the county, was born in Cranberry township, on the same tract of land on which he now resides, on the 22d of August, 1808. His father, Samuel DUNCAN, of whom a sketch appears on another page, was one of the pioneers of 1796, and encountered during his life all the difficulties and hardships which beset the early settlers. Samuel was brought up to hard work, and received only such education as the limited school privileges of early days afforded. His life has been marked by industrious toil and wise economy, and he is the possessor of a comfortable property as the reward of his labors. The beautiful fields now surrounding his home were covered with primitive forest when he came into possession of the farm, and have been brought to their present state by the work of his own hands. He labored under all the disadvantages of a lack of good farming implements, but perseverance, industry and economy rendered his labors successful. Mr. DUNCAN is a man of intelligence, helpful in all good works, and is held in high esteem by all who know him.

He was married, April 19, 1831, to Elizabeth, oldest daughter of David and Mary CALDWELL, early settlers of Allegheny County. Their long period of happy wedded life has been blessed by a large family of children -- Matilda S. is the wife of Samuel GRAHAM, Cranberry Township; Mary Ann, single, resides in Pittsburgh; Elizabeth, the wife of Charles TAYLOR, [p. 233] resides in Wheeling, W. Va.; Lewis F. follows carpentry in Allegheny City; Emeline is the wife of James MCMARLAND, Adams Township; John died April 1, 1865, in the twenty-third year of his age. He enlisted as a private in the nine-months service, and was mustered into the army August 11, 1862, as a private in Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. Reenlisting, he served as a Corporal of Company G, Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Cavalry. He was wounded in the spine at Dinwiddy Court House, Va., March 29, 1865, and died forty-eight hours after receiving the wound. He was gallant soldier, and when he received the fatal shot he was attempting to capture a rebel flag. He passed safely through eleven battles, but the twelfth terminated his noble career. The next member of the family Alfred G., is a merchant in Pittsburgh; Sarah J. died in infancy, December 31, 1847; Nelson B. is a farmer on the old homestead.

Mr. DUNCAN is a Republican in politics. He became a member of the Presbyterian Church about 1841, and has lived an earnest Christian life. Mrs. DUNCAN has also been a faithful member of the same organization since her youth.


[p. 226a]
Among the most enterprising and industrious early settlers was Adam GOEHRING, a native of Germany, who settled in Cranberry Township, and was the progenitor of a family which is still largely represented in the county. William GOEHRING, the tenth of eleven children born to Adam and Magdalena GOEHRING, was born December 25, 1821. But three members of the large family to which he belonged are now living--Christian, John and Sarah (FEAZEL).

William GOEHRING was reared a farmer, and always pursued that occupation, never moving from the farm on which he was born. He was diligent and successful in business; a man of good intelligence, honest and upright in all his dealings; much respected and honored by his fellow-citizens. Mr. GOEHRING was a Republican in politics. He never aspired to hold office. In religion, he was a life-long member of the English Lutheran Church. He died March 25, 1864. His widow and two sons survive him.

William GOEHRING was married November 16, 1854, to Jane MARSHALL, daughter of Samuel and Mary MARSHALL. Her friends were early settlers, and the family is a very prominent one. Mrs. GOEHRING was born in Butler County, and is the third of a family of ten children, seven of them still living. The children of William and Jane GOEHRING are Mary M., Walter H., William Alfred, Thomas Winfield and Samuel Marshall. Mary died at the age of twenty-one; Walter and Winfield died young. William Alfred is engaged in grain buying at Zelienople. He is also the owner of a farm on Break-neck Creek, given him by his father. Samuel Marshall is at home, and is to have the homestead on becoming of age.

[End of Chapter 23--Cranberry Township: History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Waterman, Watkins, & Co., Chicago, 1883.]

Chapter 20--Jackson Township
Chapter 24--Forward Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 21 Feb 2000, 18:25