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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 26 -- Clinton Township

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Transcribed by Lynn Beatty. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XXVI

p.248a-- Capt. William Walker
Jonathan Walker

p.248a-- Walker Family Bio
p.250a-- William & Mrs. Harvey
p.250a-- William Harvey Bio
p.252a-- Henry Kirkpatrick
p.252a-- Flour Mill of Rinholt
& Alwine (below Kirkpatrick)

p.253 -- Henry Kirkpatrick Bio



[p. 247]

Both the surface and the soil of this township are somewhat variable. The northern half of the township is comparatively level, and in the northeastern corner there is quite an extensive tract which is like a plain in its evenness. Some portions of this land are low and moist; generally, however, the drainage is good and the soil susceptible of easy cultivation. The southern part of Clinton is cut by the valleys of several small streams, tributaries or headwaters of Bull Creek; consequently, the surface presents either a broken or rolling appearance. There is nothing wild or remarkably picturesque, but with a quiet, pleasing beauty, one green, grassy slope succeeds another; a forest adorns one ravine, while another has become a fertile field, cultivated even to the water's edge; and far away to the southward stretch the hills of Allegheny County. In the soil clay, sand and gravel are found in varying proportions, according to locality.

Coal abounds, to all appearances, in valuable quantities. As yet the coal resources are comparatively undeveloped, though coal has long been mined here for home consumption. Oil has not yet been found in paying quantities, though the supply of natural gas seems almost limitless. There are five gas wells now in operation in this township. Three others were sunk, but are now exhausted. The first of these wells was put down on the HARVEY farm in 1874. The others were sunk in 1875-76. The depth of these wells is quite variable. The first well on the HARVEY farm is 1,145 feet, and the second on the same farm 1,772 feet. These wells are owned by the Natural Gas Company, and their product is carried [p.248] in pipes to the Etna Iron Works of SPANG & CHALFONT.

The chief resources of the township, however, are agricultural. Farming is the principal occupation of the citizens, and in skillful hands it is easily made a good and profitable business. Clinton contains no villages, but is a quiet, orderly, rural community, peopled by men of thrift and intelligence. No public house or licensed drinking saloon has ever been maintained within the bounds of the township; all the temptations and allurements to vice and crime are at a distance from this prosperous locality, and safe in Christian homes, with examples of pure and useful lives constantly before them the youth of to-day are growing to the estate of manhood and womanhood, educated and fitted to fill the places of those who soon must pass away to sleep where rest their forefathers whose life work of generous toil long since was ended.

Clinton is on the southern line of Butler County, adjoining Buffalo on the east, Middlesex on the west and Jefferson on the north. It was formed in 1854 from portions of Buffalo and Middlesex.


One noticeable feature in the history of this township is the permanency of its population. Most of those who came here to settle came to stay, and did stay until death removed them. The present population of the township largely consists of the descendants of the original settlers, representing far more early families than are generally to be found in one township.

The history of Patrick HARVEY, the first settler, is given in full elsewhere.

George PLANTS came to the township about 1796. He moved away after a few years, when John BURTNER settled upon the place. It is now known as the CRUMPY farm.

About the same time, George STINCHCOMB made the first improvement on the Philip SNYDER farm. Barnett STEPP occupied the farm afterward, and died there. Thomas STEWART also settled on the farm adjoining the CUNNINGHAM place. His son William lived here after him. All of the family are now gone from the township.

Samuel A. RIPPY, Isaac VORSE and Robert MCGINNIS were in the township in 1799, and perhaps earlier. The stay of the two former was brief.

Thomas WATSON, a Revolutionary soldier under WASHINGTON, was born in County Down, Ireland. At the battle of Brandywine, he was taken prisoner by the enemy, but at length made his escape and found his way to a settlement known as Conococheague, where he settled, learned the cooper's trade and married. In 1797, he came to the woods of Western Pennsylvania, and settled within the present territory of Clinton Township, with Indians, bears, panthers and wolves and a very few white people for his neighbors. He lived to be eighty-seven and reared two children -- James and Rebecca. The latter married Joseph MOORE and lived in Allegheny County. James was a volunteer soldier in the war of 1812. He died upon the old homestead. He was the father of thirteen children, of whom eight attained to mature years. Three are still living, viz., Mary Ann (SMITH), Clinton Township; Maria (ANDERSON), Allegheny County; and Thomas, Winfield Township.

Robert and Hugh RIDDLE, brothers, came from Westmoreland County and settled in this township about the year 1798. Their descendants still remain here. Robert, who was about a year and a half older than Hugh, died in 1853. He was the father of six children, all of whom are dead. His son William lived upon the homestead farm. Hugh and Mary (GORDON) RIDDLE had eleven children, of whom three are still living -- Betsey (ELLIOTT), Buffalo Township; Robert and Polly, on the old farm. Hugh RIDDLE died in 1851, in his eighty-first year.

James BYRNE, a Revolutionary soldier and a native of Ireland, came to this county in 1800 and located where Edward BYRNE now lives. His brother Edward came to the farm later. Both died here. Their nephew, James, came here from Ireland about 1818, and afterward married Isabella MCGEE. They reared seven children -- Mary Ann and Rosanna, dead; James M. and Catharine (CHANTLER), Clinton Township; Edward, Clinton; Eliza (MCGONIGLE), dead, and Alice (MCNEAL), Allegheny County.

Daniel PUGH was an early settler in the neighborhood now known as Pughtown, in the southwestern part of this township. He owned quite a large tract of land, on which his sons John, Michael and Peter lived. A coal bank has been operated by the PUGHs for some years.

Henry SEFTON came from Ireland, settled in Butler County, and married Jennie QUINN, all in the same year -- 1801. He was out in the 1812 war a short time. He died in 1840, aged sixty-one. His sons John and Henry are among the oldest residents of the township. The former was born in 1806. The children of Henry and Jennie SEFTON numbered five sons and two daughters. [1] The two sons above mentioned and one of the daughters -- Mrs. BICKET -- are the only survivors. The youngest girl and the youngest son died unmarried. The others all settled in this county and reared families. Following are the names of all: Edward, James, John, Henry and William; Jane (BICKET), Mary Ann, Catharine and Ellen.

Mr. SEFTON was offered the farm adjoining his for his rifle, but he refused the offer, considering the [p.249] weapon of the most value. The family had their full share of pioneer hardships. Wolves, especially, gave them great annoyance. One night they killed twenty-four sheep. Only one of the flock escaped. That one crept into a log-heap, out of the way of the savage brutes. John SEFTON, son of Henry SEFTON, Sr., married Isabel BRYSON. His children are John B., William H. and Robert. Henry SEFTON married Isabel PURVIS, daughter of William PURVIS, of Middlesex Township. Their children are as follows: Emily; Henry P., deceased; William O., deceased; Obed, deceased; Tirzah Ann, Nathaniel, Isabella, Lavina J., deceased. William and Obed died from the effects of disease contracted while in the army.

Francis ANDERSON was one of the first Justices of the Peace in Butler County. He was born in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, came to the western part of this State, married Jane MCGARY, in Westmoreland County, and, in 1802, settled upon the place now occupied by his son Samuel. This farm had been taken up by Robert MCGINNIS in 1799, and he continued to reside here some years after ANDERSON came. The property was transferred to ANDERSON by MCGINNIS in 1809. Squire ANDERSON was in the war of 1812 as a member of the militia. He was a great hunter, found of the sport and usually very successful in his expeditions. If he did not kill from three to five deer in a day, he thought his "luck" had been very poor. The children of Francis and Jane ANDERSON were as follows: Mary, died when about nineteen years of age; John, lived in this township, and died at the age of seventy-eight; Jane (MURRAY), died in Westmoreland County; William, died near New Orleans; Francis, settled and died in Clinton; Robert, was a physician, and died at Prospect, Washington County; Elizabeth (COCHRAN), is living in Westmoreland County; Shepley H., died near Natchez, Miss.; James, died in the army at Louisville, Ky., in 1863; Samuel, resides upon the old homestead. Francis ANDERSON was elected County Commissioner in 1807. He died in 1839, aged sixty-five. Mrs. ANDERSON died in 1850, aged seventy-three.

Very primitive methods of marketing necessarily prevailed in early times. Hogs were frequently carried to market on horseback -- there was no other way. The legs of two hogs were tied together by a hickory withe and the load balanced thus upon the pack-saddle, a hog on each side of the horse. Plows were made after the most ancient pattern, mostly of wood. John BURTNER, after his settlement, used to make them for the whole neighborhood. They were very rude affairs and so light as to require the greatest patience and dexterity from the operator. Thomas LARDIN had one of the first metal plows. It was called the "patent plow," and when it had been tested and found to work well, other settlers soon purchased plows like it. Harrows were made entirely of wood, including the teeth. Horse collars were made of husks or oat-straw, and sewed together with a tow-string. Traces were made of hickory withes.

The sickle was long used in harvesting. The first scythes that were introduced were short and broad, of untempered steel. They were known as "Dutch scythes." Instead of grinding, they were sharpened by pounding them upon an anvil. Mush, rye-bread, johnny-cake, and flour-bread formed the principal articles of food. It was wholesome food, and people enjoyed good health. For many years, a man's daily wages in the harvest field were 50 cents, and he worked from sunrise to sunset.

About 1803, Thomas LARDIN, a native of Ireland, came to this township, bringing his wife and three children. He settled near where his son William now lives. He died in 1833, aged eighty-six. His wife Christiana died about two years before. Their children were as follows: Catharine, deceased; Mary (MONTGOMERY), died in Clinton Township; Thomas, died in Ohio; Jane, died in Allegheny County' John, went to Maryland, and is supposed to be dead; Daniel, lived in Allegheny County; James, died in Freeport; William, resides in Clinton; Robert, in Armstrong County; Joseph and Margaret (twins); Joseph lives in Cambria County, and Margaret (FULTON) in Richland County, Ohio.

Lardintown, or Lardinville, is a small hamlet containing six houses, a grist-mill, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and a small store. It was named for the LARDINs, who owned the land. The first grist-mill here was erected by Daniel LARDIN, in 1849-50. It was run by steam. William LARDIN owned it later. It burned down, and the present mill was erected by KIER & EKAS. The LARDIN mill was the first ever built in the township, and the mill now standing is the only one in the township.

Robert DUFF emigrated from Ireland and settled early within the present limits of Clinton Township. He reared several sons, most of whom went West. One of the sons, Thomas, spent most of his life in Butler County, and died in Winfield Township, where he settled in 1851. His only surviving son, Samuel, now lived in Winfield.

William LOVE, a native of Ireland, emigrated from the State of Delaware in 1806, with his family, and settled on the HARVEY farm. After remaining there about twelve years he took up a farm among the glades in the northern part of the township, and built his house near the spot on which the residence of his son William now stands. The glades were all covered with small sprouting saplings, while the ground was thickly strewn with fallen logs. Mr. LOVE paid $2.50 [p.250] per acre for his land. He died, in 1847, aged eighty-three. The children of William and Martha LOVE were seven in number. Rachel married George KERNAHAN, and lived in Allegheny County. Samuel married Elizabeth HALSTEAD, and lived in Indiana County. James died when about twenty-one. Robert married Sarah HALSTEAD, and resided in this township. William married Mary THOMPSON. Both he and wife are still living on the old homestead. Elizabeth married Samuel TRIMBELL, and lived in Middlesex Township. Martha married James KERR; she is still living, and her home is in Jasper County, Iowa.

Robert LOVE settled, in 1829, on the place where he died in 1882, in the eighty-second year of his age. His widow still resides there. They had eight children, six of whom are living -- Martha, Jane, James H. (deceased), Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, John, Rebecca, Rachel and Thomas L. (deceased). [sic -- nine listed]

John DAVIS was one of the earliest settlers in the northern part of Clinton Township. He came here from Lawrence County. His son Joseph lived upon the farm, and died there in 1880.

A paper, now in the possession of J. B. CUNNINGHAM, states that a survey of the CUNNINGHAM farm was made for "James MCKEE, by virtue of an improvement", in March, 1794. The improvement must have been so slight that it was not noticed by subsequent arrivals, for later, James COPELAND settled the farm and an affidavit made by him September 22, 1804, before Henry EVANS, Justice of the Peace of Middlesex Township, declares that he "raised a cabin on said tract in March, 1797, and in May following moved his family" hither. Then he goes on to state somewhat obscurely ""that it was not improved before by himself or any other person under whom he claims that he hath now cleared at least fifteen acres of land, fenced and cultivated the same, and that he hath raised several crops of wheat, rye, corn, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, turnips and flax on the same, and that he, Samuel COPELAND, is now actually settled and resides on the aforesaid tract."

About the year 1805, John CUNNINGHAM, a native of Ireland, came from near Greencastle, Franklin County, and settled on the farm above mentioned. The children of John CUNNINGHAM and Margaret, his wife, were Robert, Joseph B., Margaret, Mary and John. Robert and John never married. Robert was among the earliest school teachers in the county. Margaret became Mrs. GLASGOW, and resided in Allegheny County. Mary was Mrs. AIKEN. All the children, except Margaret, lived and died in Butler County. Joseph B., the second son, married Margaret BLACK, and lived on the home farm; he died in 1847; his widow still survives; four of their six children are living -- Margaret A. (MAY), Iowa; Martha J. (MILLER), Allegheny County; John B. and Elizabeth, Clinton Township.

Stephen BREWER, who had served in the Indian war under WAYNE, was an early settler near the center of the township. His sons John and Stephen live on the farm. William, Samuel and Joseph died in the township.

Absalom MONKS, an early settler in the western part of Clinton, was a soldier of 1812. His sons Absalom and John Wesley still reside upon the farm.

Garrett MOORE served in the war of 1812, and subsequent to its close moved from Deer Creek to the MOORE farm, in the southern part of this township, His step-father, Thomas DAVIS, had previously bought the place, and it was a little improved before MOORE settled. John R., the only son of Garrett MOORE, died on the farm in 1866. There were five daughters in the family, three of whom survive -- Sarah (SMITH) and Rhoda (HUDDLE), deceased; Mary (ANDERSON), Jane (BROWN) and Rachel (JONES) reside in Allegheny City.

John BURTNER came from Burks [sic -- Berks?] County, and was an early settler on the CRUMPY farm. His sons were Jacob, Philip, William, Daniel and Andrew. Of these, one survives -- Andrew, in Missouri. His daughters were Barbara, Betsey, Catharine, Polly and Christiana. The latter died young. Barbara (HAWES) died in Ohio in 1882. Betsey (RYAN) died in Freeport. Catharine (EMRICK) lives in Penn Township. Polly (EKAS) resides in Clinton. Philip BURTNER was in the war of 1812. He died in 1828. His wife was Ellen GALLAHER. They raised four children to mature years, all of whom are now living -- Peter, Cincinnati; Philip, Saxonburg; William, Clinton, and Fannie (HAZLETT), Butler.

James LOVE emigrated from Ireland in 1816 or 1817, and settled in this county. He was married before coming to this country, but his wife and his father, Samuel LOVE, came some two years later. James first located on the farm now owned by George MAIZLAND, where he made considerable improvements; planted an orchard, etc. He afterward bought the farm which John SNYDER and John HECKART had somewhat improved. James LOVE was a genial, social man, and contributed much to the pleasure and enjoyment of the early settlers. He had a fiddle which he played, but indifferently; but it was a rare thing in those days, and its music delighted both old and young. He died in 1857, aged sixty-seven years. The children of James and Nancy (HUTCHINSON) LOVE were James, Samuel, John, George, William, Obadiah, Mary Ann (HACKART), Robert and Sarah Jane (ARMSTRONG). The survivors are James, Obadiah, John and George, Clinton; Robert, Westmoreland County, and Mrs. ARMSTRONG, Allegheny City.

[p. 251]

Thomas WALKER, from Cumberland County, moved to this county in 1823, from Washington County, where they had resided a short time. They purchased 1,000 acres in one tract of land at $2.50 per acre. A few years before the same tract had been offered to Patrick HARVEY for $2, by Mr. LOWRY, its owner; but HARVEY said he would not take it as a gift and pay taxes on it. The land lies in Buffalo and Clinton Townships, and upon it are now some most excellent farms, smooth, fertile and beautiful. The WALKER brothers lived in a wagon until they could erect a cabin. Both came here single and for a year they kept bachelor's hall, lived on mush principally. Their bread they procured from the BURTNER family. After a year of this life their sister Jane came and kept house for them. Their brother William, who held an interest in the land with them, came later. Jonathan WALKER died in 1879, in his eighty-third year. He married Rebecca MEEKS, of Allegheny County. His son Jonathan lives upon the old farm. Thomas never married.

William WALKER, widely known in this county as Squire WALKER, died in 1855, aged seventy-two. He served in the United States Navy five years, and was in the war of 1812. He had studied law when young, and after removing from Cumberland County to Pittsburgh, was Clerk of Courts in Allegheny County several years. After settling here he was Justice of the Peace for many successive years.

William HAY moved from Franklin County about 1825, and settled upon the farm, where his son James now lives. His brother James, who, with William, had purchased 200 acres, had settled here several years earlier. The land was in the CUNNINGHAM District, so called, and was conveyed by deed from Philip MOWRY and wife to James and William HAY, April 6, 1803. William HAY raised six children: the oldest, named William, died in the army; James resides in Clinton; John in Armstrong County; Jane (CRUIKSHANK), in Winfield Township; Ruth (BARTLEY), in Michigan, and Martha (CUNNINGHAM), in Jefferson Township.

Robert THOMPSON, son of William THOMPSON, an early settler of Middlesex, was a soldier from this county in the war of 1812. In 1828, he settled in Clinton Township, on the farm now occupied by his son William M. He married, for his first wife, Margaret COULTER, and for his second, Mary BROWN. The children of the first marriage were Ellen (BROWN), Clinton, and James, deceased. By the second marriage, John, Kansas City; Margaret (BREWER) and William M., Clinton; Robert, Bradford, Penn.; Mary Ann (HENRY) and Catharine (MONTGOMERY), Allegheny County. Robert THOMPSON died in 1880, in his eighty-ninth year.

John GIBSON, in 1828, settled upon the farm now owned by his son George M., moving here from Allegheny County. For his first purchase, he paid $2.50 per acre. The land was then entirely unimproved. John GIBSON was a soldier from Washington County in the war of 1812, and served under Gen. HARRISON. He was the father of ten children; eight are still living, viz., Andrew (deceased), Nancy (MCCANNAUGHEY), Beaver County; George M., Clinton; Eliza (MORGAN), Jefferson County; John, deceased; James, Clinton; Sarah Belle (LARDIN), Allegheny County; Evan S., Kansas; Robert, Penn Township; Thomas, Missouri.

James CRISWELL and his wife, Jane (BROWNLOW), came into this township from Washington County in 1831, and settled near the Allegheny County line. Mr. CRISWELL died in 1870, at the age of eighty-two years. He was the father of a large family, of whom all are living but one -- Eliza (NORRIS). William is in Allegheny City; James in Sharpsburg; Lititia (MARSHALL) in Kansas; Thomas in McKeesport. Joseph has been for the past twelve years a resident of Butler Township. John is in Sharpsburg; Ross in Richburg, and Susan (BURTNER) in West Virginia.

The farm now occupied by Thomas WESTERMAN was bought by him and his brother James in 1832. It consisted, originally, of about 500 acres, and cost $800. Soon after the purchase of the farm, John PENNANT, Mr. WESTERMAN's father-in-law, came upon it and remained until his death. Mrs. PENNANT died in 1882, aged ninety years. In 1843, this farm was purchased by a society styled the Belvidere Community of Practical Christians, of which one William HICK was the leader and moving spirit. He was essentially an unmitigated rascal, and his "community" soon learned to know it. The society did not thrive, and Mr. WESTERMAN got the farm back into his possession after troublesome litigation.

Thomas WESTERMAN is a native of England, and emigrated to this country in 1829. For some years, he was employed as foreman in the machine shops of the cotton mills at Pittsburgh, where he distinguished himself as a very expert workman. He continued working at his trade until 1864, and since that time has resided upon his farm. He moved his family to this township in 1843.

Matthew BICKET settled on the farm where he now lives in 1835. His only son, Harvey, lives upon the place with him. Mr. BICKET came from Ireland to America in 1823, with his father, Matthew BICKET, his brother Thomas and his sisters, Henrietta and Margaret. The family first settled in Winfield Township, where Thomas resides. One sister is living -- Margaret (CARUTHERS), in Iowa.

James HEMPHILL was born in Ireland, and came to America when nine years old. In 1835, he came [p.252] from Allegheny County and settled upon the farm he now occupies. A shanty had been erected upon the place and a small clearing of about three acres made by Thomas DUFF.

About 1836, James WOOD moved from Allegheny County to this township, and lived upon the MAIZLAND farm. He afterward sold and removed to Tarentum. His son William settled upon the farm he now occupies in 1858. In place of a slightly improved farm, with only log buildings upon it, he now has over 370 acres of land, mostly highly cultivated, and most beautiful buildings.

William NORRIS moved from Allegheny County to his present farm in 1837. A few improvements had previously been made by Alexander DUFF. One hundred acres were purchased by Mr. NORRIS' father, Robert NORRIS, for $150. Mr. NORRIS has reared a family of twelve children, all of whom are living, five sons and seven daughters. All reside in this county, except one son, who lives in Allegheny County.

James NORRIS, a native of Ireland, moved from Allegheny County to this township in 1837, and, in 1838, settled upon the farm on which his son James H. now resides. His first purchase of 100 acres was from Michael STEPP, and the price paid was about $7 per acre. James NORRIS died in 1870; he was the father of eight children, five now living, viz., John C., James H., and Melissa E. (MARSHALL), Clinton Township. Two of his sons were in the army -- Harrison all through the war. William Henry died in the service.

Henry KIRKPATRICK , a native of Indiana County, purchased the farm on which he now lives, in 1828, and settled upon it in 1843. He learned the blacksmith's trade and worked at it a number of years in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

In 1851, Presley KATZ moved from Allegheny County and settled on the farm where his son Alvin B. now lives.

George and John MAIZLAND moved to this township, from Allegheny County, in 1858. George is now deceased, and his farm is occupied by his sons, George and James. John MAIZLAND still resides upon the farm.

John WOOD, another Allegheny County settler, located on the farm now occupied by himself and his sons in 1858.


In the early years of the settlement as Patrick HARVEY was on his way to SARVER's Mill one day, he tracked a bear, and following up the trace, ran the brute into a den of rocks some distance above SARVER's. Returning home, he told his neighbors, and readily obtained their promise to join him in his efforts to capture the bear. So, with PLANTS, STINCHCOMB and two or three others, he returned to the spot with dogs, guns and other paraphernalia of the chase. The dogs worried the bear so that several times he issued forth, and each time was fired upon. Finally, he was quiet in his den, and neither sending the dogs in nor discharging the guns into the cavern served to move him, but his growls could be heard occasionally. The party saw no way of getting at him and were about giving up, defeated. HARVEY said, "Hold on, I'll go in and try him;" and having caused a rope to be tied to his leg, so that he could be drawn out in case of attack, he took his gun in his hand and crawled into the dark cave. Presently he saw two large angry eyes, glaring like balls of fire. Bringing his weapon to his shoulder, he aimed directly between them, fired, and soon the bear was dead. Then, taking the rope from his own leg, he tied it to the bear and slowly backed out through the narrow space by which he had entered. When he was outside his companions speedily drew the dead bear out. He was a huge fellow, and his hindquarters dressed over a hundred pounds each.


Every person has delightful recollections of his school days, and the old residents of this county are no exception. We have never mentioned early schools to them that it did not cause a smile to overspread their faces; and usually with a hearty laugh, they relate the ludicrous features of their school life. Certainly, if one of the pioneer schoolhouses were in existence to-day, with its stick chimney, it [sic] paper windows, its log walls, puncheon benches and rude writing desk, it might well afford us pleasure to contrast it with the comfortable houses of the present, rejoicing that such houses are no longer in use.

An early schoolhouse was situated on the DAVIS farm, in the western part of the township. The school was taught by Michael HERRAN, Robert CUNNINGHAM and others.

On the RIDDLE farm was one of the earliest schoolhouses in the settlement. Later, schoolhouses were built in various localities until the free school system established them with some regularity.

James JACK, Robert CUNNINGHAM, Edward MCCORKLE, James LOVE, Thomas WATSON, William MCGARY and others were early teachers. MCGARY was rather fond of whiskey, and frequently it got the mastery over him. One day he fell asleep in his seat, and was snoring away loudly, his hand outstretched and his attitude very unschoolmaster-like. One of the scholars came up and dropped a hot fire coal in his hand. Quick as lightning the teacher was on his feet, rubbing his hands together briskly. "Who did that?" he shouted. No answer. "I'll find out," he [unnumbered page, portrait of Henry KIRKPATRICK, sketch of flour mill of RINHOLT & ALWINE, & residence of Francis ALWINE] [p.253] roared, and then proceeded to whip every scholar in school. Of course, his services as an educator were then at an end. "Barring out" was universally practiced, and sometimes the schoolmaster was very roughly treated. WATSON was once barred out and attempted to climb into the house through the window, when he was assaulted with hickory withes by boys who had remained outside. Waiting until all were in the schoolhouse, he climbed upon the roof, covered the chimney with sticks and smoked out the whole school.

The number of school districts in Clinton Township is six, and each contains a good brick schoolhouse.


1854, Cyrus E. ANDERSON; 1855, William HARVEY; 1860, Samuel B. MCNEAL, William HARVEY; 1865, Samuel ANDERSON, James CRISWELL; 1870, James CRISWELL, Samuel ANDERSON; 1875, William HARVEY, William A. WALKER; 1880, John B. DAVIS, William HARVEY; 1881, William HARVEY.


Rev. Abraham BOYD began preaching in this neighborhood early. In 1835, he organized the Westminster church, with nineteen members. The first Elders were James BOYD and William MCGEARY. Mr. BOYD became pastor of the church and continued his labors until 1847. Rev. E. OGDEN was pastor from 1848 to 1858, and was succeeded by Rev. John V. MILLER, 1858 to 1863; Rev. J. MCPHERSON, 1865 to 1872; Rev. J. T. PATTERSON, 1874 to 1879. In 1880, the present pastor, Rev. John S. ATKINSON, began his labors.

The first public meetings were held in a tent. About 1845, a log church was erected. The present church edifice (brick, 44x60) was built in 1852, and cost $1,600.


The Associate Reformed Church had an organization very early. A sketch was promised the historian, but on account of its non-arrival, only the following account can be given:

The first house of worship was a small log building, 22x25 feet in its dimensions, erected about 1844. The seats were made of planks hewed from split logs. Later, high pews of boards were constructed. The present church, a substantial building, was erected in 1854, at a cost of about $1,600.


The congregation of Oak Grove U. P. [United Presbyterian] Church was organized August 27, 1878 by a committee of the Allegheny Presbytery, consisting of Rev. N. E. WADE, David WILLIAMS and John CARNAHAN. The number of members was twenty-five. The present membership is eighty-seven. The first Elders elected were James HEMPHILL and Stephen BREWER; the first Trustees, J. B. CUNNINGHAM, J. C. NORRIS and Thompson LOVE. A house of worship, 36x50 feet, was erected in 1878, at a cost of $1,300, and dedicated March 28, 1879.


Francis ANDERSON built the first saw-mill in the township, on the RIDDLE farm. He also owned one of the first wagons ever brought to the settlement.

The first and only grist-mill was the LARDIN Mill.

David WALTER build the first frame house about the year 1840. Probably the second was built by Adam EKAS. John WILEY had the first brick house in the township.

The first store was started by James WOOD, about forty-five years ago.

About 1848, Arthur KIRK built a carding-mill and woolen-mill, in the northern part of the township, which continued in operation until the time of the war.

RIDDLE's Cross Roads is the only post office in the township. The date of its establishment could not be ascertained.

A number of blacksmiths find work in the township. Perhaps a shop that does as much business as any is the blacksmith and wagon shop of John B. DAVIS, in the northwestern part of the township. Mr. DAVIS commenced business here in 1869.



Henry KIRKPATRICK, the only surviving son of Samuel and Rebecca KIRKPATRICK, was born in Indiana County, Penn., January 8, 1801. His parents had eight children: Jane, who died in infancy; Margaret, the wife of William MARTIN, resides in Lawrence City, Kan.; Nancy, married William DUNMORE, and resides in Indiana County. The other members of the family were Bebecca[sic], James, Thomas, Henry and John. John served in the war with Mexico, and was killed in battle. Henry is the only one now living. The father was seven years a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He entered a tract of land in Indiana County, upon which he resided until his death. He died on the 11th of September, 1816, at the age of sixty-nine. His wife survived until January, 1852, and died at the ripe old age of eighty-six. He resided with Henry. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church.

[p. 254]

Henry KIRKPATRICK came to Butler County in 1828, and purchased the farm on which he now resides. He did not settle here, however, until 1843, but worked at the blacksmith's trade in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio and Pennsylvania for twenty years. Two of his brothers settled in the neighborhood, and resided here until their decease. Thomas, who located in 1831, on a tract adjoining Henry on the east, and James, who settled upon a farm west of Henry, in 1837.

Mr. KIRKPATRICK was married, June 1, 1843, to Miss Mary Ann PATTON, of Armstrong County, and is the father of six children -- John P., Rebecca J., Mary C., Samuel, James and Margaret E. Mary C. died May 1, 1850, aged about fifteen months. James died August 17, 1863, at the age of ten years. The other children are living, and all reside at home, except Samuel, who is a practicing physician in New Bedford, Lawrence County. The oldest son, John P., was in the service one year during the late war as a member of Company A, One Hundred and Twelfth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers (Sixth Heavy Artillery).

Mrs. KIRKPATRICK died January 23, 1873, at the age of sixty-three. She was a true and faithful wife and mother and a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. KIRKPATRICK, although eighty-two years of age, is still hale and vigorous, and lives in quiet enjoyment of the fruits of many years of earnest toil. When he came to his farm it was all in timber, and it required the exercise of constant and unwearied effort to render it suitable for cultivation. He erected a log house and a log stable in 1843, and began life after the manner of all pioneers. In 1859, the log house gave place to a good frame dwelling, and in 1868, a substantial barn was erected. The farm is underdrained by 800 rods of well-built stone drains, and has many other noticeable improvements.


This family, which has played a conspicuous part in the affairs of the State and Nation, originated in Cumberland County. John WALKER, the progenitor of the Butler County WALKERs, was born in Cumberland County and was largely identified with its business interests, having owned, at one time, nearly all of the iron works there. Through his natural benevolent impulses, he gave bail to irresponsible parties, and lost his entire property. While residing in Cumberland County, he was commissioned a Major of militia, and his commission, dated May 1, 1787, is still in possession of his descendants. He married Isabella MCCORMICK. The family moved to Washington County, where he died.

John WALKER was a man of remarkable physical stature, standing six feet and seven inches in his stockings. His sons were all over six feet, one of them (Jonathan) standing six feet five inches, and his brother, William, six feet and one and one-half inches.

John WALKER had six sons -- William, who was a lawyer and naval officer; Thomas and Jonathan, who were farmers; James, John H. and David O. James died young. John H. was a lawyer in Erie, Penn., and President of the Constitutional Convention which framed the Constitution of the State. David O. practiced law in Erie and afterward in Butler. He died in Missouri. These brother were full cousins to Hon. Robert J. WALKER, the National Secretary of State under PIERCE and afterward Governor of Kansas. Attorney General BREWSTER is married to a daughter of Hon. R. J. WALKER. Capt. William WALKER was a representative of this family well known to Butler County people. He was a man of a refined and vigorous intellect, and his many excellent traits of character won him hosts of friends. He served as Justice of the Peace in this county for many successive years, and the name "Squire WALKER" was a synonym for honesty, fairness and integrity of principle. He was born in Cumberland County and educated at Carlisle College. He studied law; then entered the United States Navy, in which he served five years with DECATUR, in the fleet with BAINBRIDGE and others. During the war with Tropoli [sic] and Algiers, the fleet was stationed in the Mediterranean for a considerable time. Capt. WALKER was a Past Midshipman when the noted authors, J. Fenimore COOPER and J. K. PAULDING, were in the service. In an article written long ago by PAULDING for "GODEY's Ladies' Book", the author speaks of his old shipmates, and wonders what has become of William WALKER. Capt. WALKER had command of one of JEFFERSON's gunboats, and was so exact in all his methods that his fellow-officers called him "Commodore." It has been stated by those who knew him well that his exemplary conduct would have won for him the position of Commodore had he remained in the service. But he and several of his fellow-seamen -- COOPER and PAULDING among the rest -- became dissatisfied with the management of the gunboats and left. He was in the war of 1812, and at Lake Erie. After the war, Capt. WALKER acted as a Captain of steamboats on the river for a number of years. His father's brother, Jonathan H. WALKER, who had been a lawyer in Bedford, removed to Pittsburgh, where he was made Judge. He appointed William Clerk of Courts of Allegheny County, a position which the latter held several years, but finally resigned, from natural magnanimity, to give place to one whom he considered a needy and deserving applicant. He then retired to Butler County, where he had invested in a large tract of land, in partnership with two of his brothers, and spent the remaining years of his life in quiet and seclusion. He died, greatly beloved and respected in 1855, at the age of seventy-two. Capt. WALKER married Isabella BLAINE, daughter of Alexander BLAINE, of Cumberland County. James BLAINE, a brother of Alexander, married first Jane HOGE and second Margaret LYON. Their son, Ephraim, married Maria GILLESPIE, whose son is Hon. James G. BLAINE. Capt. WALKER was the father of two children -- Mrs. Mary Isabella KAY, now a resident of Clinton Township, and Grizella, who died young.

Jonathan WALKER, as has already been stated, was a farmer. He came to this county in 1823, having purchased, with his brothers, William and Thomas, a tract of over one thousand acres of land near the village of Saxonburg. The brothers, Jonathan and Thomas, settled upon this tract, and made sheep-raising their business. William, on account of an accident in which he had his breast-bone broken, was incapacitated for physical labor, and turned his attention to other duties. Thomas died in 1839. Jonathan carried on farming most successfully, and was a prominent and influential citizen. He was honest and honorable in all his intercourse with the world, and looked with disdain upon everything which showed the least resemblance to hypocrisy or dishonesty. He lived a pure and upright life, and died, honored and respected, in 1879, in the eighty-third year of his age. He married Rebecca MEEKS, of Allegheny County, and was the father of twelve children -- John H., now residing in Iowa; Grizella McCormick, now the wife of M. N. GREER, the present Prothonotary of Butler County; Thomas McCormick, formerly a resident of Iowa, now deceased; Rebecca, deceased; Oliver J., Tarentum, Allegheny County; William H., Butler; Isabella McCormick (1st), deceased; Isabella McCormick (2d), the wife of J. B. MILLER, Kansas; Jane, now Mrs. R. D. MAHAN, Kansas; Jonathan, a farmer on the old homestead; Henrietta Rebecca, the wife of Augustus WALTERS, residing on part of the old farm; Margaret Elizabeth, the wife of R.D. WILEY, of Washington County.


To Patrick HARVEY belongs the credit of having made the first permanent settlement within the present township of Clinton, as well as the first in old Buffalo Township. He was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1766. In 1787, he emigrated to America. After remaining one winter in the eastern part of the State, he came to Westmoreland County, where he remained until he began pioneer life in Butler County. In Westmoreland, he married Jane BURNS, a native of this county, of Scottish descent. In 1792, Patrick HARVEY crossed the Alegheny [sic] River, and under the guidance of John HARBISON, who was then doing duty as an Indian scout or spy about the block-house at Freeport, with several others seeking lands, came within the present territory of Butler County, selected a farm, marked its boundaries by blazing trees around it, then returned to Westmoreland. The next year he again crossed the river into the wilds, and in what is now Sugar Creek Township, Armstrong County, selected a farm on which his cousin, John PATTON, afterward settled, lived and died.

In the spring of 1794, Patrick HARVEY returned to the spot he had settled for his home, built a log cabin, and during his stay cleared and fenced ten acres. His land was heavily timbered, as was generally the case with the lands of the southern half of this township. While engaged in this work, he was entirely alone in the wilderness, his nearest neighbors being at Freeport. About the 1st of May, 1795, he came from Westmoreland with his family -- then consisting of his wife and two children -- bringing them and his goods on packhorses. That year he planted wheat and corn, and thenceforth he resided here, continuing his work of clearing and improving. The wheat and corn which he raised during his first and second year he was obliged to take thirty miles to Dennissonstown, Westmoreland County, in order to have it ground, fording the river with his horses.

In 1796, this family began to have a few neighbors. These settlers had to bring salt, iron and other articles from east of the mountains. It was customary for one volunteer from a neighborhood to go about once a year, taking along five or six horses, with such products as the settlers had to sell, and bring back a supply of salt, and other necessary articles for himself and neighbors. This custom continued several years until salt works were established in Westmoreland County. These early settlers all manufactured their own clothes, and occasionally had some surplus linen to sell. Some cloth that was made by his family, Mr. HARVEY took to Harrisburg to sell, and with the proceeds he purchased material for a silk dress and three silk umbrellas. His son, Mr. William HARVEY, says he remembers this well, as these were the first articles of the kind that he ever saw.

In 1798, Mr. HARVEY raised a log barn, 26 x 60 feet in its dimensions. It was a simple structure, consisting of round logs with a clapboard roof; but help was so scarce that the raising required seven days' labor -- and we might add, considerable quantities of whiskey. Settlers from Freeport came to the raising, some of whom remained until the building was finished. Some time later, Frank KARNS, Sheriff of Westmoreland county, saw the barn and pronounced it the best in Butler county.

Patrick HARVEY was a man of medium size, but of a strong constitution, capable of a great deal of hard work. It was his custom to keep two teams of horses, and while plowing, to have his meals brought to him in the field, and changing the horses for fresh ones at meal time, he himself, kept at work from early morning until night. He was a true type of earnest, courageous pioneer; industrious and frugal by nature, and honest, frank and sincere in his intercourse with men.

A daughter, Martha, born to Mr. And Mrs. HARVEY in the year 1796, was, very probably, the first white child in this part of the county. Mr. HARVEY died in 1849, Mrs. HARVEY in 1831. They had ten children, all of whom reached mature years excepting one son. There are only two survivors, James and William, who live upon the homestead farm. The names of the children were as follows: Margaret (KIRKPATRICK), Mary (PATTON), Martha (remained single), Anna (FORCEYTHE), Jane (FULTON), Catharine (KIRKPATRICK), James, William and John, and Nancy (POTTS). John died at the age of six. James, born in 1806, married first Mary Ann NORRIS, and second Margaret Ann FULTON. He is the father of four children, all of whom are living.

William HARVEY, born in 1808, has resided continually on the farm. He was married, January 10, 1833 to Bettie Ann POTTS, daughter of James POTTS, an early settler of Middlesex Township. She was born in this county in 1808. In January, 1883, Mr. And Mrs. HARVEY will celebrate their golden wedding. To them have been born twelve children, eight of whom are still living. The first, a son, died in infancy. John resides in Clinton Township; Hannah Ann (CRISWELL) in Sharpsburg; James died in 1881, aged forty-three; William Harrison resides in Clinton; Patrick Newton, in South Pittsburg [sic], Allegheny County; Jane (LOVE), Clinton; George Potts, Clinton; Alexander died at the age of three years; Isaiah Niblock resides in Clinton; Alexander, in McKean County; Alfred Milton died at the age of three. All of the children now living are married, excepting George, who is a widower. The grandchildren of Mr. And Mrs. HARVEY number fifty-three, forty-seven of whom are living. Mr. HARVEY and four of his sons were in the army, as will be seen from the military record in this volume. He enlisted when fifty-four years of age, and served as First Lieutenant in Company D, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. His sons, James, Harrison, George and Newton, were in the service. James was also a First Lieutenant.

William HARVEY now holds his sixth commission as Justice of the Peace, and during the long term he has held the office, never has a case from his docket gone to court. This is a most unusual record. Mr. HARVEY has a most vivid recollection of pioneer days, and is now passing the evening of his life on the place whose changes and improvements he has helped to make, and which he has seen transformed from a wilderness to a beautiful and pleasant home.


[1] According to Julia Sefton, Henry and Jennie (QUINN) SEFTON had 10 children instead of "5 sons and 2 daughters." They were:

Sources: BICKETT Family Bible, cemetery headstones, wills. Please correspond with Julia Sefton for details about the particular source for any of the above information.

Go to:
Chapter 25--Middlesex Township
Chapter 27--Buffalo Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 30 Nov 1999, 10:16