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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 35 -- Franklin Township

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Transcribed by Ed McClelland ( For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XXXII

p.328a-- John Martincourt
p.328a -- John Martincourt Bio




Franklin Township, as at first organized, was formed from Muddy Creek Township. The territory now known as Franklin was taken from Franklin and Centre Townships, with the exception of a small portion lying south of Muddy Creek stream, which has been added to Franklin from Brady since the re-division of 1854. The township contains excellent land, and the farms are generally well improved and highly productive.

The borough of Prospect and the village of Mount Chestnut are situated in Franklin. The township was named from the Franklin road, which passes through it from south to north.


The earliest settlers of whom we have any account came in 1796. They were generally from the older portions of the State, some of the number being originally from Ireland.

Stephen CRAWFORD was one of the earliest settlers. He took up and improved a farm in the southeastern part of the township. He worked at blacksmithing some years. His sons Stephen and Christopher lived with him, but afterward moved away.

Jesse NASH was living in the southwestern part of the township in 1796. He moved away early. A Bowers family lived on the land which afterward became the JONES farm, near Prospect, at about the same time. Peter SALTSMAN lived on a farm adjoining NASH a few years. John DICK, James MCGREW, John or "Jackey" JONES, Edward WHITE and his sons John and Joseph, Eliakim ANDERSON, William DODDS, Aaron and David MOORE, and doubtless others whose names are now forgotten, were among the early settlers.

Abner COATES was one of the first settlers, and lived on the farm which afterward belonged to Charles GALLAGHER. Eliakim ANDERSON lived on the RIDDLE farm. He was a man of some prominence, and was once Sheriff of Butler County. Both he and COATES went to the State of Indiana. Aaron and David MOORE lived near Mount Chestnut. Aaron died on the farm, and David moved to Indiana.

William DODDS, Esq., the father of Judge W.W. DODDS, of Prospect, settled on the Rev. CLARK farm about 1796, coming from Westmoreland County. His brother Thomas was an early settler in Connoquenessing Township. At first they lived principally by hunting. On one occasion, as Thomas DODDS was going to his brother's place, he saw a bear killing a hog. But when the bear saw the man, he turned his attention from the hog, came at Mr. DODDS and drove him up a tree. There he remained until his shouts attracted the attention of his brother, who armed himself, and came to his relief. William DODDS planted the seed for one of the first orchards in the settlement--now on the MCCULLOUGH place. He came to this country with a family of three children, which subsequently increased to eight. He was a soldier of 1812. He died in 1818, and was buried in the Nebo Churchyard. Names of his children: John, James, Samuel, Thomas, Jesse, Susan (SPEAR), William W. and Margaret (MARTIN). The only survivors are Susan (SPEAR) and Judge W.W. DODDS. Judge DODDS remembers going to KIRKPATRICK's store when a boy with some wheat to sell, and hearing the merchant grumble at giving a pound of coffee (37 cents) for a bushel of wheat!

John MCCANDLESS and Aaron MOORE were among the first settlers of what is now Franklin Township--and located here, says J.M. MCCANDLESS, their grandson--as early as 1795, before any surveying had been done west of the Allegheny River.

John THOMPSON, from Lancaster County, came to the eastern part of this township in 1796, with a yoke of oxen and a cart, bringing his wife and one child. A few years later, his brothers, Mathew and James, came, and settled in the same neighborhood. Each resided here and reared families. John's children were named James, John, Isabella, Samuel, William, David and N.S. The three last mentioned are still living. Matthew's children are all gone from the neighborhood. James settled in Center Township.

Nathaniel STEVENSON, of Irish birth, moved from Westmoreland County to the eastern part of this township in 1798. He had previously been here on foot to select land. The children of Nathaniel and Mary (ALLEN) STEVENSON numbered eight, two of whom were born here--Jane (THOMPSON), George, Betsey (BALPH), Hugh, Mary (ROSE), Nathaniel, Sarah (BRYSON) and James. Except George and Betsey, all lived to be old. Hugh was in the war of 1812; he died recently at the age of eighty-seven. Nathaniel, James, Mary and Sarah are still living. Nathaniel was born in Westmoreland County, in 1796, and has been acquainted with Butler County from its earliest existence as a county.

Henry MONTOOTH lived in the eastern part of the township, and died here. He came from Delaware County. The name is now entirely gone from the county, the last of the family having emigrated to Ohio some years ago. The names of this family were--Mary, Henry, Nancy, Sarah, Elizabeth, Margaret and William.

Andrew MCGOWEN settled within the present lim- [p.329] its of Prospect in 1798. He was born in Maryland, but came here from Westmoreland County, bringing with him a wife and three children. Andrew MCGOWEN died in 1835, aged seventy-seven. Mrs. Catharine MCGOWEN (nee CRANER) died about the year 1820. Their children--Mary (STRAIN), Nancy, George, Eliza (NEVIL), Rebecca (WALTON), Catharine (GROSSMAN), Dorcas (SULLIVAN), James and Cynthia (BROWN)--all lived to have families except George, who died at the age of thirty-three. Four daughters are still living, viz., Rebecca, Catharine, Dorcas and Cynthia. Mrs. SULLIVAN, born in 1807, still resides upon the land which her own labor helped to convert into a home.

Mr. MCGOWEN was the first settler within the bounds of the borough Prospect. His dwelling was, in contrast with the beautiful homelike structures now so common, a very primitive one. The floor was of split logs, and the roof of clapboards. In 1815, he raised a two-story log house, built a stone chimney, and put glass windows in. To haul the stone, he made a wagon, cutting off the end of a log two blocks for wheels. This wagon was used many a year on the farm in place of a sled, which was the usual method of conveying loads in those days. Soon after coming here, Mr. MCGOWEN lost his horse, the animal getting "swamped" in the low ground, and, having to go to mill, he took the grist upon the back of an ox. The first day he reached the mill, which was twenty miles distant, on the Big Beaver. He remained with the miller over night, and the next day returned as far as Zelienople, where he encamped for the night, turning the ox loose to feed. The third day he arrived home, and was eagerly welcomed by his wife and little children who had been alone during his absence.

William HUNTER settled north of the MCGOWEN farm at an early date. He died, and was buried on the place. His wife lived over one hundred years. Two of their daughters, Peggy and Jennie, married MCCULLOUGHs (Matthew and John), and the father willed the property to them. The MCCULLOUGHs were Irish.

Leonard SHANNON was born while his parents were crossing the Atlantic ocean coming from Ireland. He passed his early life in Philadelphia, and moved here from Cumberland County with his family about the year 1798. When he came out to settle the place, he built a little shanty of puncheons in which he lived alone for three months. Salt was at times a very scarce article. Old Thomas MEANS, one of the neighbors, brought a quart from Westmoreland County at a period of great scarcity, and divided it among several families. SHANNON packed salt from Westmoreland County, when that article was worth $10 a bushel. He also had to take his plow-points to Westmoreland to have them sharpened. His son David afterward learned the blacksmith's trade in Pittsburgh, and returning home, worked for the settlers. Wolves and bears gave this family much annoyance. Mr. SHANNON built a stout log pen to preserve his sheep. The wolves would come at night and howl around, frequently digging under the logs in an effort to get the sheep. He built wolf traps of logs, and so captured many wolves and bears. The family had a hand mill for grinding corn. It consisted of two stones upon a bench, one fitted with an arrangement for turning it, and required two persons to operate it, one turning and the other dropping in the kernels with the hand.

There was much hunting at this date; deer, panthers, bears, wolves, turkeys and wild bees, were all abundant. Jefferson's Rock, on the SHANNON farm, is so called from a hunter named JEFFERSON, who, with the assistance of Leonard SHANNON, killed a bear over 400 pounds in weight, having first driven him into a hole under the rock. Rattlesnakes were so numerous that, while the men were mowing upon the farm, they sometimes killed as many as a hundred in one day. Their scythes became so full of poison that handling them made the men sick. Leonard SHANNON and his wife lived and died upon the farm now owned by their son, Samuel W. SHANNON, Esq., who furnished the foregoing particulars. Three of their children were born before the family removed to this county. The names of this family were David (once editor of the Butler Repository), Rachel, Sarah, Joseph, John, Mary (GIBSON), Jane (BERGER), Samuel W., Betsey and Hannah (MCGINNIS); Mary, Jane, S.W. and Hannah are still living. Leonard SHANNON was once Sheriff of Cumberland County. He was a man of great physical strength. It is said that he could pick up a barrel of whisky, hold it and drink from the bung as easily as most men can drink from a jug.

Thomas MEANS lived in the swamp, on the farm now owned by George C. MCCANDLESS. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and came from Westmoreland County. He moved West. William and John MCCANDLESS were among the early settlers in the northern part of the township. William was a tailor, and was known as "Tailor Billy" in distinction from another William CANDLESS. The latter lived in Centre Township, ran a distillery, and was known as "Stiller Billy."

The most friendly social feeling prevailed among the settlers. An old resident says all were like brothers. They worked hard and consumed a great deal of whisky. But they had their amusements, and occasionally some boisterous fun. One election day, two young men were returning home at evening, after [p.330] having imbibed some of the "ardent," when they took it into their heads to indulge in a coon hunt. It was moonlight, and a fine night for hunting. Near Leonard SHANNON's they treed some coons in a large oak, which stood beside a tall steep rock. It was proposed to climb the tree and secure the game. One could not climb, and the other had Mr. DICK's wedding pants on, which he had borrowed for the day and feared to soil them. Finally the other agreed to lend the climber his own pantaloons, and so a change was made. One ascended the tree--the other stood on the rock pantless. By some accident, he lost his balance, and fell from the rock, bruising his flesh severely and tearing considerable of the skin from his back. They allowed the coons to remain undisturbed, went to SHANNON's and called up the family to dress the wounds of the sufferer.

John DICK, a native of York County, moved from Westmoreland County with his parents, William and Nancy DICK, and settled on the farm where William DICK now lives, in 1798. At an early day there was preaching at his house by Rev. Mungo DICK, father of Dr. John N. DICK, of Westmoreland County. After coming here, John DICK married Margaret MCGINNIS, who bore seven children, three of whom are still living, viz., William, Margaret (STEVENSON) and Jane (BLACK).

About the year 1799, Henry SHAFFER, a native of Germany, came to this county from Westmoreland. He moved to Pennsylvania from the State of New Jersey. He settled upon the farm now occupied by Israel SHAFFER. Mr. SHAFFER brought apple-seeds with him, and planted an orchard. His family consisted of eight children--Jacob. Peter, John, William, Mary (LAFFER), Betsey (CARTER), Ann (FORRESTER) and Margaret (HOCKENBERRY). John, William, Margaret and Ann all lived and reared families in this county. John was a Captain in the war of 1812. He married Catharine ELLIOT, and reared four children--Henry, William (deceased), Mary (BARROW) and Jemima (WHITE). William, son of Henry, Sr., lived on the old homestead. He married Mary MACKINSON, and had a family of six children, four of whom are now living--Henry and John, Iowa; and Catharine A. and Israel, on the old place. Henry SHAFFER, of Prospect, lives on the old HUNTER farm, through which the Indian trail to Franklin passed. He remembers seeing LAFAYETTE, and recalls other events of a long time ago. When he was about fifteen years of age he went hunting one day, armed with an old flint-lock gun and a butcher-knife. The young hunter had not penetrated far into the woods before he saw a large buck. Here was a good chance; he fired and the animal fell. Thinking him dead, the boy rushed upon him, drawing his knife. The buck drew up his hind feet and kicked the boy off. One hoof hit the arm that held the knife, and the weapon flew from him and was never found. The boy stepped back, and reloaded his gun; the buck, meanwhile, had risen to his feet. Henry crept up close to him and fired; this time the game was killed.

John KENNEDY cleared the farm on which his son Robert lives.

William JEWELL, one of the first settlers, lived on Muddy Creek. He moved here from New York State. His children, who came here with him, were Sarah (BAKER) and Euphemia (GRAHAM). Cadwallader BAKER, also from New York, settled near the creek. He was a firm supporter of the Baptist Church, and the house was erected on his land. His children were J. Jewell, William R., James, Hiram, Maria (ALBERT) and Matilda (GALLAGHER). J.J., Hiram and the daughters are living.

Samuel MCCALL and William DAVIS were early settlers south of the creek, in the northeastern part of the township.

Jacob HAYS was an early settler north of Prospect. He lived here some years, then went to Allegheny County, but finally returned, and died upon the farm in Franklin. His son, John K., recently deceased, bought the property after his father's death, and resided here from 1875 until his death, in 1882.

William FORRESTER died in 1845, at the age of seventy-seven. He was born in Scotland, and came to this county from Pittsburgh. He settled near Portersville at a date some years prior to 1800. In 1808, he bought land of Andrew MCGOWEN, and settled on the farm where his grandchildren now live. The children of William and Elizabeth (MCFERN) FORRESTER were William, Thomas, Joseph, Sarah (GALLAGHER) and Elizabeth (JONES). All lived and died in Butler County. William was in the war of 1812. He was a school-teacher and surveyor. He never married. Joseph FORRESTER occupied the old homestead. He married Elizabeth SHARP, who still survives. She was born in this county in 1807. Her children living in the county are James N., S.S., D. Watson, Rev. John B., Tirzah J. (BALPH) and Amanda (SHANOR). Mrs. Forrester says that when she married, she determined that no whisky should be used about her home. She met with great opposition, especially when her husband informed the neighbors that he was going to raise a log-barn without whisky. But the point was carried, and thereafter no whisky was used upon the farm.

It is evident that an old Indian camping ground must have been located upon the FORRESTER farm; or, possibly, an Indian village. Spear heads and arrow heads have been found here in large quantities.

Samuel RIDDLE, a native of Chester County, settled [p.331] in Butler about 1800. Some years later, he moved to this township and settled where James CRATTY now lives. Of his children--James, Martha (SPEAR), John, Matilda (BRINKER), Eliza (FOLTZ), Hannah (GALLAGHER) and Julia (HARVEY)--none are now living. James, the oldest, married first Sarah POTTS, and second, Eliza POTTS, and reared a large family.

The SULLIVAN family, well known in this county, are descended from Peter O'SULLIVAN, who settled in Northumberland County, Va., about the year 1700. Charles, a son of Peter, married Jemima REEVE in 1757. The children of this union were John, Charles, Elizabeth, James and Anna, all born in Northumberland County. John and Charles were in the Revolutionary war at Valley Forge. Charles married Susannah JOHNSTON in Chester County, Penn., in 1785. Their children were Moses, Aaron, Thomas, John, James, Margaret (these born in Allegheny County); Jemimah (born in Franklin Township, Butler County, in 1800), Elizabeth, William, Charles Craven. Charles C., died in Butler County on the old homestead in 1813. His son, Charles C., died in Butler in 1860. John died in Butler in 185-; Moses died in 1839; James died ---; William died in New Albany, Ind.; Aaron in Pittsburgh. There were five generations of Charles C. SULLIVANS. The daughters of Charles SULLIVAN, Sr., after they married became respectively Margaret (STEWART), Jemima (MCCANDLESS), Elizabeth (WHITE), and Susan (BRADSHAW.) All are now dead.

In 1800, William SPEAR, a Revolutionary soldier, settled in this township. Edward, William, Andrew and Matthew were his sons; Jane (DODDS) and Eliza (KINCAID) his daughters. Andrew and Matthew were well-known physicians and school teachers.

Adam ALBERT, a native of Virginia, moved from Virginia to Muddy Creek Township, and settled near Portersville in 1806. About seven years later, he moved to the farm in Franklin on which his descendants now live, purchasing from George SHANNON. He reared a large family--Daniel, Adam, Mary (DUNN), George, William, John, Peter, Henry, Andrew, Elizabeth (HENSHEW), Margaret (MILLER) and Nancy (PEARCE). All are now living except Daniel, Adam and Elizabeth. In 1833, George ALBERT settled where he now lives. A four-hundred-acre tract, purchased by the ALBERTS from Mrs. COLLINS, was then a wilderness, but is now beautiful, well-cultivated land.

John ANDERSON emigrated from Ireland and settled near Prospect in 1833. He died in 1867, at the age of seventy-nine. He was the father of two sons and four daughters. James D. resides in Penn Township, where he has lived since 1865. He has a son, R.M., also a resident of Penn. Samuel, the second son of John ANDERSON died in Franklin Township in 1874. Three of the daughters are living; Eliza (MCCULLOUGH), Muddy Creek Township; Jane (MCCULLOUGH), deceased; Mary (ROBINSON), Iowa; Margaret (MARTIN), Penn Township.

Robert S. MCCANDLESS emigrated from Ireland when a young man, and about 1819 settled in Franklin Township. He brought up a family of six daughters and two sons, whose names are as follows; William T., Penn Township; Mary (DICKSON), dead; Nancy (MCCANDLESS), dead; Jane (BLACK), Butler County; Eliza (HARBISON), dead; Peggy (HILLIARD), Franklin Township; Nelson, died in the army; Lavina (CRESS), Connoquenessing Township.

William BRANNAN, an Englishman, came from Washington County to the northeastern part of Lawrence County in 1803, thence he removed to farm in Worth Township, and in 1845 his son Thomas settled in the northern part of this township, on a farm which William CARTER had been occupying for some years. Thomas BRANNAN married, in this county, first, Mary BURROWS, and second, Mary Ann REED. Names of children--Susan, Jane, William, Mary Elizabeth, Rebecca, Thomas D., Margaret E., Alzira and Isaac R. Mary, Elizabeth, William and Thomas D. are dead.

Francis CURRIE, a native of Scotland, came to this county in 1840. He lived in Slippery Rock and Worth Townships; then moved to the northern part of Franklin, where he died in 1850. He was married after coming here, to Jane BRANNAN. Of his family, only one survives--W.B. CURRIE.

James FINLAY, bought and settled upon the farm he now owns in 1861. He came from Pittsburgh to this county in 1849.

A. WEBBER moved from Venango County to his farm in 1865.

J.S. FISHER came from Lawrence County and settled where he now lives in 1865.


Franklin Township.--1842, Cadwallander BAKER; 1845, David MARSHALL; 1847, William SPEAR; 1847, Isaac DOUBLE; 1852, William SPEAR; 1852, William SHAFFER; 1856, Samuel W. SHANNON; 1859, James STEVENSON; 1861, Samuel W. SHANNON; 1866, Samuel W. SHANNON; 1867, John STEVENSON; 1871, S.W. SHANNON; 1872, William DICK; 1877, Samuel DAVIS; 1879, John M. DUNN; 1882, W.B. CURRY.


About 1803, a log building on the STEVENSON farm was converted into a schoolhouse of the primitive style of pioneer days. John THOMPSON was the first teacher, and was a good instructor. The school was next taught by Charles SULLIVAN. Later, Samuel COOK taught summer and winter. [p.332]

A short distance east of Prospect stood a log cabin, which was used as a schoolhouse about the year 1811. Master FLETCHER, who had formerly taught in Allegheny County, was the teacher. Afterward Andrew SPEAR (Dr. SPEAR) taught the school, and was systematic and thorough in his methods.


Rev. Henry SPEAR was the first Baptist minister who preached in this place. Later, Rev. Nathaniel TIBBET assisted him. Having gathered a small band of believers, these two organized a church of seventeen members on the 19th of October, 1819. Rev. Nathaniel TIBBET was the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. Samuel STOUGHTON, who was licensed to preach in 1822, and ordained November 28, 1823. He remained in charge of this church until about 1862--a period of forty years--during which time he labored faithfully and zealously for the upbuilding of Zion.

This church has never suffered from dissensions. Its house of worship is a brick structure, erected in 1844, and situated about three miles north of Prospect. Since Mr. STOUGHTON concluded his labors here, the church has been ministered to by Revs. D.L. CLOUSE, Enos WOODRUFF, M.L. BROWSER and W.H. MCKINNEY, the present pastor.

The Deacons of this church have been Jacob ROSE, John SHAFFER, Robert HAMPSON, C. BAKER, William SHAFFER, Andrew STOUGHTON, Daniel SMITH,, Oliver PEISER, Robert MCGINNIS, Simon STICKLE, Leonard SHANNON, James CRATTY.

The number of members is over one hundred and fifty. The average attendance of the Sabbath school during 1881 was sixty. The first person buried in the graveyard of this church was Cadwallander BAKER, son of J.J. BAKER. The second was William JEWELL.


This borough contains about 400 inhabitants, and is pleasantly situated in the midst of a delightful country. The town bears few of the marks of neglect usually so apparent in small villages. Everything is tidy, and the buildings are tasteful and in good repair. Prospect has four churches and two physicians, one grist mill, one tannery, one bank, four general stores, one drug store, one confectionery store, two shoe-makers' shops, one tin shop, four blacksmith's shops, two wagon shops, one furniture and undertaking establishment, one marble cutting shop, two tailor shops, two saddlery and harness shops, two hotels, one job printing office, etc.

Andrew MCGOWEN was the first settler within the present limits of the village. He caused the town to be laid out about the year 1825, on his land and the land of John JONES and James MCCULLOUGH. The first survey was made by Thomas M. FORRESTER. A second survey was made in 1838 by James DUNLAP. The name Prospect was given the village by George A. KIRKPATRICK, May 25, 1825, and is so recorded on the town plat. It is related that he was coming toward the town one evening, and as he came to the broad stretch of level land lying between this place and Whitestown, he mentally exclaimed "What a beautiful prospect!" and then and there decided that Prospect should be the name of the village. KIRKPATRICK was the first store-keeper in the place, and proved a very enterprising and useful citizen. His place of business was in the second log cabin built in Prospect; it stood on the northeast corner of the cross-roads. KIRKPATRICK was a young Irishman who was influenced to come here by Mr. MCGOWEN. John CAHEY, of Pittsburgh, started here in business. He lived in his little hut and kept store five years. He had so little room to spare that his sister, who kept house for him, was obliged to go to MCGOWEN's to sleep. He next bought a piece of land and erected the house in which Dr. RICHARDSON now lives, where he kept store for twenty-five or thirty years, doing a very thrifty business for those days.

The second store was Robert ALLEN's, established in 1836. The building he occupied was the first frame house erected in the place. It was built by Lewis EVANS soon after the town was laid out, and stood on the northeast corner, where KIRKPATRICK's log store (also built by EVANS) had formerly stood. Robert ALLEN came from Pittsburgh in 1836 and started store in Prospect in partnership with G.W. MCCASKEY, of Allegheny City. Mr. ALLEN was next in partnership with William ALLEN, then alone, and finally with John MARTINCOURT for a time. Mr. ALLEN was in business in Prospect for about eighteen years. During this time he erected the building which is now C.C. SULLIVAN's store, and in 1845 the brick building now the Prospect House. He also had an interest in a tan-yard and a stage line during his residence here. William ALLEN came to Prospect in 1845. He had formerly been in a wholesale house in Pittsburgh. He acted as a merchant in Prospect until 1857, when he removed to ALLEN's Mill, Connoquenessing Township, where he died in 1879.

Soon after ALLEN's store was opened, William ALEXANDER kept a small store for a short time on the lot where David MARSHALL now lives.

Jonathan HAYS kept the first tavern, soon after the town was laid out, in a little two-story log building which stood on the lot now owned by William RIDDLE. He was hatter and worked at his trade. William WILSON kept tavern in the same house a few years later, and Samuel DOBBS kept public house where WHITE's Hotel now stands.

[p.333] Abraham BEAM dug the first well--that now opposite C.C. SULLIVAN's. He was the first blacksmith in Prospect. A man named BRADY had worked at the business, however, on the northwest corner of the cross roads years before the village sprang into being. The first shoe-maker was a young man named Isaac WEDGER.

Some of the first settlers of the town were Abraham BROWER and his sons Peter, Joshua and Daniel, John and Thomas DODDS, William ALEXANDER, Samuel DODDS, David DAVIS, Thomas SULLIVAN, Lewis and Benjamin ROTH.

Benjamin ROTH, locksmith, came here in 1834 and erected a log house. Lewis ROTH came in 1836, put up a blacksmith shop of hewed logs and followed his trade fifteen years. He then removed to a farm, but came back to the town later and still resides here. Mr. ROTH has done many good things for the place, besides having brought up four sons who are now in professional life--three of them clergymen and one of them an attorney.

One of the early residents of Prospect was an eccentric character, named Henry THOMAS, who lived in a shanty, in the hollow south of where RIDDLE's store now stands. He was a man of small size and queer looks. The oddity of his appearance was increased by a cap, which he always wore, which was made from pieces of tanned skin from half a dozen animals of different kinds. THOMAS made powder on a small scale and dried it in a kettle. Once his entire stock of explosives "went off" suddenly with a great deal of flashing and fizzling just as one of the neighbors had dropped in to get a drink of whiskey--an article which THOMAS usually kept on hand. It is said that the thirsty neighbor was the most terrified man ever seen in Prospect.

Prospect presented a very lively appearance in the days of stages. The Franklin road was then the main thoroughfare from Pittsburgh to the lake.

The growth of the town was rather slow, but in 1846 it had sufficient population, so that it was deemed advisable to incorporate it. Therefore the village was made a borough, and Lewis ROTH elected the first Burgess. In 1852, the limits of the borough were considerably extended.

It is doubtful whether any part of the county in proportion to its population has furnished more public men and office-holders than Prospect. From this town there have been three Representatives to the State Legislature--Dr. D.H.B. BROWER, W.W. DODDS and Henry PILLOW; five ministers of the Gospel--H.W. ROTH, D.L. ROTH, Theophilus ROTH, G.W. CRITCHLOW and William SHANOR; two County Superintendents of schools--Isaac BLACK and Rev. A.H. WATERS; one Clerk of Courts--James S. KENNEDY; one County Sheriff--Harvey THOMPSON; one County Commissioner--W.W. DODDS; one County Auditor--Thomas M. FORRESTER; one Associate Judge--W.W. DODDS; four lawyers--J.Q.A. SULLIVAN, John M. ROTH, Enos SHANOR and James A. REED. Isaac BLACK, the first County Superintendent of Schools, worked with faithfulness and zeal for the improvement of the common schools. For a salary of $300, supplemented by his love for the work, he visited all the schools in the county and accomplished a great work in improving their condition. He is now in Michigan, where he went as a missionary among the Indians.

John MARTINCOURT came from Pittsburgh to Prospect in 1844, and was in partnership with William ALLEN, in the mercantile business, and afterward with Robert ALLEN in a store and the stage business. He next went to Clarion County, where he managed furnaces; then returned and bought a farm west of Prospect, from which he removed to Pittsburgh for a short time. In 1869, he returned, bought the old ALLEN property, refitted and refurnished it and converted it into the now popular Prospect Hotel. He died in 1881. He was born in France in 1807. Mr. MARTINCOURT held several positions of trust and importance while he was a citizen of Prospect.

Prospect Post Office was established about 1833. Postmasters: Dr. M.W. SPEAR, David MARSHALL, Lewis ROTH, J.K. KENNEDY, C.C. SULLIVAN, A.W. MCCULLOUGH and S.S. FORRESTER.

William MORROW, tanner, came to Prospect in 1860; learned his trade of Andrew DOUGLASS and has since worked at it most of the time in this place.

S.S. FORRESTER, merchant, began business in Prospect in 1865, in partnership with William RIDDLE. In 1867 he engaged in the same business in Portersville with R. SHANOR, and continued there until 1869, when he returned to Prospect and resumed business with Mr. RIDDLE. Since 1871, he has been running a store alone.

C.C. SULLIVAN, merchant, commenced business in 1867, the firm then being KENNEDY & SULLIVAN, afterward changed to RIDDLE & SULLIVAN. Since 1878, he has been conducting the business alone.

A. BOWERS, proprietor of the marble works, came to Prospect in 1869, and worked for G.W. REED, whom he succeeded in business about eight years ago.

The first drug store in Prospect was started in 1874, by J.H. MCLURE.

Henry YOUNG, manufacturer and dealer in furniture and undertaking goods, bought out RIDDLE & SULLIVAN in 1877, and moved here from Evansburg, where he had followed the same business five years. Since coming here, he has erected a new store and shop, and made extensive improvements.

[p.334] William F. HENSHAW, blacksmith, carriagesmith and wagon-maker, engaged in business here in 1875.

A steam grist mill and a steam saw mill were built by MARTIN & ROTH in 1872, and subsequently owned by EDMUNDSON & HALLER, then by MARTIN & EDMUNDSON. These mills were burned in October, 1880. The present steam-flouring mill of William RALSTON was erected in 1881-82.


From an old Butler paper we learn that there was a Fourth of July celebration held at Prospect, July 4, 1828. The Butler Hornets met at the house of Jonathan HAYS, and after going through sundry military evolutions, partook of a sumptuous dinner prepared for the occasion. Edward WHITE was President of the Day, and Alexander GRAHAM was Vice President; Thomas FORRESTER was Secretary, and read the Declaration of Independence. George A. KIRKPATRICK delivered a short oration; the usual toasts were offered, and among others, this one:

"Charles CARROL--The last survivor of the Declaration of Independence--calm and serene be his pathway to the grave."


This institution was organized May 1, 1874, with David MARSHALL, President, and J.M. LIEGHNER, Cashier. The following were the directors: David MARSHALL, George BEAM, John ENSLEN, William DICK, William B. RIDDLE, John MARTINCOURT and Joseph ALLEN. The directors are now David MARSHALL, William DICK and W.R. RIDDLE; the President and the Cashier are the same as at first. The bank is doing a steady, prosperous business.


This is the oldest religious organization in Prospect. The first preaching by a minister of the Associate Reformed Church was in 1823-24, by Rev. FERGUSON. At first, meetings were held in the grove. In 1825, a log church was erected. Rev. GREER preached, 1827-33, and during succeeding years Revs. STURGEON, STARK, CONNOR and others acted as supplies. In 1835, a church was organized and communion held under the ministration of Rev. Dr. John T. PRESSLEY. The members of the session were James HALL, Benjamin MCCORMACK, Hugh STEVENSON, Joseph DODDS, and George MATTHEWS. In May, 1837, Dr. PRESSLEY and Rev. MCCONNELL held communion. Rev. William FINDLEY was called to pastorate in 1836, and installed in 1837. In 1838, a brick church was erected, which continued to be the place of worship until the present house was built in 1867-68. Rev. William FINDLEY continued as pastor a long time. After the close of his labors, there was a vacancy of two years, and in 1858 the present pastor, Rev. James A. CLARK, was installed. The present membership is 145. Before the war, the church numbered 175 members.


Rev. Gottlieb BASSLER came to this place and preached in the Associate Reformed Church December 4, 1842. The following day, a meeting was held at the house of Benjamin C. ROTH, at which time it was resolved to form an English Lutheran Church. A committee was appointed to draft a constitution. The constitution being duly drawn up, it was accepted January 2, 1843, and signed by the following: David ROTH, President; Robert SCOTT, Secretary; Lewis ROTH, J.J. SHANOR, BENJAMIN C. ROTH and David BARKLEY.

The first meeting of the council was held February 27, 1843; Thomas GARVEY, President; Rev. G. BASSLER, Secretary; Adam ALBERT, Jr., Treasurer; C.D. ROTH, Robert SCOTT and B.C. ROTH, members of the council.

During 1843, services were held in the schoolhouse and in the Associate Reformed Church. May 21, 1843, the first communion services were held, and thirty-four members partook of the Lord's Supper. A building was purchased of G.P. ROBINSON for $300, and fitted up for a place of public worship. The German Lutheran and Reformed Congregation paid one half of the expenses. In 1846, it was resolved to build a church. Work was commenced the following year, and the building was finished in 1849. It is a good and substantial brick edifice; the house was dedicated March 9, 1849. Sermon by Rev. ZIEGLER. On that day, money was raised sufficient to pay off the remaining indebtedness.

Rev. BASSLER continued as pastor until 1855. The pastors have since been as follows: Rev. A.H. WATERS, 1855-66; Rev. Lewis HIPPEE, 1866-73; Rev. S.H. SWINGLE, 1874-79; Rev. G.W. CRITCHLOW, 1879, now in charge. The membership is 153. The house is now owned by the English Lutherans and the German congregation.


This is a German Organization, formed in 1844 by Rev. John ISSENSE of the Lutheran denomination. Daniel HECK, Peter KLINGER and Christian WEST were the first Elders. The original number of members was twenty-eight. The ministers have been Rev. Herman MANTZ, a well beloved pastor who died here, Rev. William BRECHT; Rev. LACHENMEYER; Rev. J.J. WALTBERGER, and Rev. I.W. DECHANT. Rev. C.A. LIMBERG (1865) is the present pastor.


This church was organized by Rev. Samuel CROUSE in 1844. There had been Methodist preaching at various private houses for some years previous to this date. George A. KIRKPATRICK was the leader previous to the organization. Alexander BRYSON was class-leader in 1844. Meetings were held in the Cumberland Presbyterian house, at the schoolhouse and elsewhere. In 1861, under the ministration of Rev. BAKER, the present house of worship was erected. It was dedicated with sermon by Rev. S. CROUSE. The building cost $1,600. The church now numbers fifty members--about the same as at the organization. Under Rev. CROUSE, and later, under Revs. MANSUR and ORBEN, there were interesting revivals. The circuit is composed of Harmony, Prospect and Petersville.


This organization is quite an old one, having been in existence some years prior to the erection of the house of worship in 1850. Rev. Joseph BOWMAN was the first pastor. He preached until 1863, then went to the army. After his return, he continued his labors here a short time, and was followed by Revs. GALLAGHER, WALL, NORRIS, MORRIS, and others. Rev. Samuel BOWMAN, who died in 1880, preached several years. The last minister here was Rev. F.W. SILVIUS. The congregation has always been small.

Thomas CRITCHLOW erected the church building. It has been twice repaired--in 1868 and 1881.


Rustic Lodge, No. 882, I.O.O.F., Prospect, Penn., was instituted July 22, 1874, with the following charter members: Levi BEIGHLE, John H. MCLURE, John B. STEVENSON, Henry GARWIG, Adam WEBBER, Allen DUNN, H.P. STEVENSON, Joseph W. SHEERER, John S. MOORE, Josiah M. STEVENSON, Isaac MCNEES, Henry BRIGHT, James PORTER, R.M. MARTIN, Caleb EDMUNDSON, John GROSSMAN, Joseph M. WHITE, I.N. BEIGHLE, Greer MCCANDLESS, James STEVENSON, William BURNS, G. BROTCHIE, G.W. BEIGHLE.

The first officers were Greer MCCANDLESS, N.G.; H.P. STEVENSON, V.G.; I.N. BEIGHLE, Sec.; William BURNS, Asst. Sec.; A. WEBBER, Treas. The list of Noble Grands since the organization is as follows: Greer MCCANDLESS, H.P. STEVENSON, R.M. MARTIN, J.W. DODDS, C.W. BENTRIM, A. BOWERS, L.H. EDMUNDSON, A.F. SHANOR, N.S. GROSSMAN, T.B. STEVENSON, Lewis BOLTON, Henry GARWIG, C.P. JOHNSON. Sixty-seven members have been admitted since the lodge was formed. Forty is the present membership; $563.50 have been paid in sick and funeral benefits since the organization. The value of the property of the lodge, as per last statement, is $505.62.


Resolute Lodge, No. 84, A.O.U.W., Prospect, Penn., was organized November 10, 1874. D.C. ROTH, S.S. ROTH, J.C. HEATER, Charles WARREN, George W. FISHER, Samuel BOWMAN, J.S. WILSON, F.S. RIDDLE, W.N. CLARK, Jonathan CLUTTON, John W. FORRESTER, H.H. DICK, W.C. DOUGLASS, Syl. CAMPBELL, John MCLURE, A. BOWERS, S.W. HAYS, D.K. MELVIN, Reuben SHANOR were the charter members. The first officers elected were: Reuben SHANOR, P.M.W.; Jonathan CLUTTON, M.W.; John W. FORRESTER, Foreman; F.S. RIDDLE, Overseer; D.C. ROTH, Guide; H.H. DICK, Recorder; W.N. CLARK, Receiver; James HEATER, Watchman. The Master Workmen since the organization have been: J. CLUTTON, R. SHANOR, W.N. CLARK, S. BOWMAN, S.W. HAYS, Samuel BOLTON, Martin HEYL, J.W. HEYL, J.M. LIEGHNER, A. BOWERS, C.P. JOHNSON, Lewis BOLTON, G.W. CRITCHLOW, J.O. DODDS, A. WEBBER, John MCLURE. Forty-one have been admitted to membership since the lodge was organized. The number of members is now thirty-two. There have been three deaths, as follows: Charles P. WARREN, Rev. Samuel BOWMAN and William S. RINKER, upon each of whom the Grand Lodge paid the policy of $2,000.

The Odd Fellows and the Workmen both meet in the hall over White's Hotel, the former Saturday evening and the latter Monday evening of each week.*
*Contributed by A. BOWERS.


Prospect Grange, No. 126, was organized March 4, 1874, with thirteen charter members, namely: David MARSHALL, James FINDLAY, Thomas GALLOWAY, Isaac GALLOWAY, George BEIGHLE, V.S. GROSSMAN, Adam WEBBER, Henry HEYL, D.W. FORRESTER, Mrs. B. LINNEUS, Mrs. SEIGFRIED, Miss Lida WEBBER and Miss Kate GRINE. The first officers were Thomas GALLOWAY, Master, and D.W. FORRESTER, Secretary. Since its organization, forty-seven have been admitted to membership in the Grange. The present number of members is ten.


Borough of Prospect.--1846, Samuel PIPER; 1850, Jacob PHIPPS; 1851, Enos MCLURE; 1852, John GREER; 1852, William W. DODDS; 1857, Henry PILLON; 1957, John GREER; 1862, John GREER; 1862, Henry PILLON; 1867, Joseph ALLEN; 1867, Samuel RIDDLE; 1872, Samuel RIDDLE; 1873, Abraham SHANOR; 1874, John MARTINCOURT; 1877, Samuel RIDDLE; 1879, John MARTINCOURT; 1882, John HEYL; 1882, Samuel RIDDLE.


This village was laid out by John NEGLEY, Sr., on his land, in 1850. James D. ANDERSON was the [p.336] pioneer settler of the village. He began in the woods, built a house and opened a store. The building which he erected has been the residence of J.J. STEVENSON since 1855. Jesse DUTTER built the second house in the place, opposite ANDERSON's, and engaged in shoe-making.

The first blacksmith was J.J. STEVENSON. Joseph DUFFORD, gunsmith, was one of the first settlers of the village, and followed his trade here several years. At present Mount Chestnut contains one general store, one shoe store, one hotel, one blacksmith shop and one church.

For a time there were two stores here. The present merchant, William WATSON, began business in 1876.

A post office established by Mr. ANDERSON was discontinued after he sold out. In 1862, it was reestablished, J.J. STEVENSON, Postmaster. Mr. STEVENSON was succeeded in the office by William WATSON in January, 1880.


Rev. William BRANDON was appointed by the Presbytery to form a congregation here. The organization was effected at a meeting held in Joseph BALPH's barn, in the summer of 1857. Hugh and James STEVENSON, from the Prospect Church, were the first Elders. Subsequently, John MILLER and John M. DUNN were elected to the office.

The barn was the place of worship during two summers. In the winter, meetings were held in the schoolhouse. In 1858, a brick house, 40x45 feet, was erected. In 1879, it was renovated and improved, and is now well-furnished. The congregation is small. Rev. James A. CLARK (1858-1876) was the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. T.W. YOUNG, who is now in charge.


John MARTINCOURT, well and favorably known as an active and influential citizen of Prospect, died at his home on the 25th of December, 1881. He was born in the city of Nancy, France, in June, 1807, and there received his education. At the age of twenty-one, he emigrated to America, and some time afterward settled at Gallipolis, Ohio. He came to Butler County forty years ago and engaged in the mercantile business at Prospect in partnership with William ALLEN. He afterward continued the business with Robert ALLEN. The partnership resulted disastrously to Mr. MARTINCOURT, and he was left with only a large business experience. Having no capital, he went to Clarion County, where he acted as book-keeper and manager of certain iron furnaces. By this means he gained enough to purchase a farm west of Prospect, to which he removed, and there remained several years. He then went to Pittsburgh for a short time, then returning to Prospect he purchased the ALLEN property, renovated the house and opened it to the public as the Prospect Hotel. He was a most popular landlord, genial, affable and polite, and his house soon gained an enviable reputation. His character was above reproach, and his circle of friends large. A published obituary says of Mr. MARTINCOURT: "During his sojourn in Prospect he was called upon to fill every position of trust and importance. In all these he did his work admirably, especially in the office of Justice of the Peace, which he filled for many years. Litigant parties ever found his decisions equitable, nor were they ever, on the same testimony, reversed by a higher court. His life was a busy one. His vigorous constitution enabled him to withstand the encroachments of disease for many years. But, finally, the increase of years and the complication of disorders prevailing, his body gave way, his mind continuing unimpaired to the end. As sinks the full orbed sun in the West, so departed his soul." He died of asthma, a disease from which he had suffered forty years.

Mr. MARTINCOURT was a strong Republican and a useful citizen. He was twice married, first, April 2, 1846, to Nancy ALLEN, who died January 28, 1859, at the age of thirty-five. May 1, 1861, he married Elizabeth MCMILLEN, who is still living. By the first marriage, six children were born--Charles Thomas (now with C. Aultman & Co., Canton, Ohio; Letitia J. (who married Isaac N. BEIGHLEY, and died in Prospect February 12, 1879, aged thirty years); John N. (now engaged in mining business in Georgetown, Colo.); Samuel A. (now in New Mexico, Christina (the wife of Joseph EDMUNDSON, Prospect), and William F. (who died in Pittsburgh in 1861, aged three years. The only child of the second marriage, S. Burt MARTINCOURT, resides in Prospect, and conducts the hotel started by his father.

[End of Chapter 35--Franklin 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 34--Oakland Township
Chapter 36--Centre Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
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Edited 17 Apr 2000, 09:51