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1History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 38 -- Worth Township

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



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XXXVIII

p. 356a-- John C. and Mrs. McNees
p. 356a-- John C. McNees Bio



[pg. 353]


This township came into existence twenty-eight years ago. Up to the time of its organization, the greater portion of it belonged to Muddy Creek, and a small fractional part to Slippery Rock. It was named as a tribute of respect to the gallant Gen. WORTH, who distinguished himself in the Mexican war. The southern half of Worth is comparatively hilly, and is underlaid with heavy veins of coal and limestone, but for agricultural purposes the northern part of the township is the most productive, the soil being more fertile, and the surface of the land gently undulating or rolling. Like the southern portion, it is also underlaid with rich deposits of coal and limestone. Throughout the whole township, there are numerous excellent springs of water, the best being along Slippery Rock. The agricultural products are principally wheat, oats and corn, but special attention is given to the production of wheat. It is estimated that this township raises twice as much of this cereal as any other in the county, and it is asserted also by good farmers that it is of a superior quality. The only village in this township is Mechanicsburg. It contains probably over a dozen houses, among which are a general store, post office, two smith shops, tannery, town hall, wagon shop and a woolen mill. This woolen mill was at one time -- many years since -- an extensive enterprise. It was established by one Charles COULTER soon after 1812, and was operated by him for many years. John BALPH purchased it from him and conducted the business in all its branches until his death. The building is still standing in a dilapidated condition. The village received its name from the fact that a cluster of mechanics located there about the same time. The tannery formerly owned by Alexander BALPH, now a resident of Newcastle, and now owned and conducted by James MAXWELL, still does a good business.

The first marriage which occurred within the bounds of this township was that of David STUDEBAKER and Catharine MICHAELS.

The first frame house built in this township was erected by a minister -- Rev. William WOODS -- who preached just across the line in Lawrence County, but resided in this township. It was raised on the farm settled by John PISOR, son of Jacob PISOR, one of the early explorers of this portion of the county.

William JACK built the first brick house in 1827. The bricks were burned on the farm now owned by George C. DRAKE. Benjamin JACK planted the first orchard in this township in 1798. Some of the trees are yet standing and bear fruit.

Alexander MCBRIDE is credited with having erected the first flouring-mill in this section in the year 1827. It was a frame structure, and had two run of common stone. It is authoritatively stated that this mill did a flourishing business for twenty-five years before it was abandoned.

The first road laid out through this township was the Pittsburgh, leading from the pike near North Liberty, and intersecting the Mercer road at Portersville. A later road was opened up, leading from Newcastle to the mouth of Scrubgrass, and passing through the northern part of the township. The Newcastle & Great Western road passes through the central part of the township.

When Worth became a township, her first important duty was to put into operation legislative provisions, with reference to the establishment of schools and their successful operation, and election of officers for the maintenance of good government.

To this end an election was held at the house of William HUMPHREY, which was a central location. The officers elected were: William MOORE and Isaac DOUBLE for Justices of the Peace; School Directors, John TEBAY, B. F. ELLIOTT, John WIMER, John C. MCNEES, George BOOK and William HUMPHREY. The present officers are S. H. MOORE and John HUMPHREY, [pg. 354]Justices; School Directors, W. P. ELLIOTT, James MOORE, Milo ELDER, James PISOR, Vancourt VOSLER, and John REICHERT; Constable and Assessor, James MCCLYMONDS; Road Commissioners, Thomas CLARK, Zebulon COOPER and John S. BROWN; Township Auditors, James MAXWELL and Joseph BARRON; Overseers of the Poor, David STUDEBAKER and J. N. GLENN.

The class of people who first penetrated the wilds of this section of the county, and settled within the present boundaries of this township, were men of robust constitution, principally of Scotch-Irish extraction, and nearly all hailed either from the eastern part of the State, or what is now Westmoreland County. We have authentic data showing that certain individuals explored the territory comprised within the limits of this township, and made settlement, or rather "squatted," on lands as early 1790.

Those persons who came in nearly at the same time and made settlements soon after the country west of the Alleghanies [sic] was thrown open for settlement, were Benjamin JACK, James, John and William MCNEES, brothers; Thomas HUMPHREY, Charles MARTIN and Charles COULTER. Some few came in a few years previous. The Cornplanter Indians (a band of Delawares) occupied this territory, and besides gratifying their proclivities for hunting and fishing, they cultivated large fields of corn. This is evident from the fact that when the first settlers came in, they were amazed to find something like twenty acres of land cleared, and the corn rows were plainly discernible. This field borders on Slippery Rock, and now forms a part of B. F. ELLIOTT's farm. It is to this day call the "Indian field."

Arrow-heads, darts and steel tomahawks were found in great abundance, and presenting the appearance of having been used only a short time prior to their discovery. These tomahawks are represented to have been hatchet-shaped -- very similar to hatchets of the present day, with the exception of the blade being narrower. Contiguous to the field referred to, and originally belonging to the same tract of land, is another field in the possession of William PISOR, which, from time immemorial, has been known as the Indian graveyard. It is believed that here the red men buried their dead, and there is very strong evidence to support this theory. There are trees in close proximity to this field of a great age, which bear the same peculiar marks, and some of the oldest descendants of early settlers say that their ancestors frequently alluded to the fact of trees, which led to this place from all directions, being blazed in a significant manner, and that they observed this field marked in various places with piles of stone in the shape of mounds. In later years excavations have been made and bones found.

About the year 1790, a party of twelve persons, buoyant with life and exhuberant [sic] health, left Westmoreland County, in the neighborhood of Greensburg, on a hunting expedition, and for the purpose of exploring the extreme western part of the county (for Westmoreland at that time extended as far as Erie.) When they arrived at LOGAN's ferry, which was between Freeport and Pittsburgh, they were advised of the hostilities of the Indians against pale-faced invaders in the northern sections of the county, and great depredations which it was alleged they were committing, and they at once became terrified, and all of the party, with two exceptions, refused to proceed further. Of course the story was a canard, for at that time no white men had ventured into their midst, and at this particular epoch in their history they were quiet and disposed to be peaceable. David STUDEBAKER and Abraham SCHNEIDER - for these were the two exceptions - came on and passed through where Butler now stands. It was almost dark when they arrived at what is known as the "old fair ground," about one mile west of town. There they built a fire, cooked some venison which they procured on the way, and after partaking of their frugal meal, they wrapped about them their blankets and laid down to sleep. The following morning they pushed on through the bewildering forests, until they finally reached the territory included within the bounds of this township. They had walked that day a distance of twenty miles, and when they reached the banks of Slippery Rock it was again almost night, and they found themselves completely exhausted from hunger and travel. They were not dissatisfied, however, with what their companions thought a perilous undertaking, but they concluded they had reached a country plentifully supplied with game, and were highly elated over their successful adventure. They could see wolves prowling around at not a great distance, and could hear the distant bark of others. As for bears and deer, the forests were alive with them. They began at once to make preparations for supper, simple as it might be, for their stock of provisions, very limited at first, was already about exhausted. Hardly had they kindled their fire, when a company of redskins came suddenly upon them. They had been out upon the chase, and were returning to their wigwam with their spoils. They expressed their surprise at seeing these pale-faced adventurers, by indiscribable [sic] sounds. Dropping their game, which was deer dissected into quarters, they at once entered into conversation with the hunters, asking them various questions as to where they came from and what their business was. When they were informed by SCHNEIDER and STUDEBAKER, that their mission was simply to see the country and to shoot the deer and bear, they [pg. 355]became very social and friendly towards them, inviting them to go with them to their encampment which was just one mile and a half north of what is now Mechanicsburg. They accepted the hospitality and repaired to their wigwams, where they met at least a dozen more of their race. It need scarcely be observed, that they, too, were greatly surprised to see white men. At first, they imagined they were captives, but when it was explained by one who seemed to be a recognized leader, that the white men were hunters, and friendly to them, they seemed pleased, and shook hands with them. The squaws prepared them a supper, which consisted of baked corn-meal, venison and wild honey. Soon after their supper was ended, the Indian who seemed to be the spokesman, took them to another wigwam near by, and pointed them to a place where they could retire to sleep. SCHNEIDER was fearful that something might befall them while they slept, but young STUDEBAKER felt assured by their kindly disposition and treatment that all was right. Moreover, he knew something of the nature of the Indians, from his father who had been a captive for nine years. The simple record of his experience is this: He with his sister -a young lady - was captured by Indians in Cumberland County in 1755, when eleven years of age. They both were with them for nine years, roving around over Western Pennsylvania and the eastern part of Ohio. Miss STUDEBAKER became quite a favorite with them, and was treated with all the courtesy and civility possible. She was said to be a fine looking young woman, and by her gentle deportment won the high regard of the entire tribe. She, in turn, grew to like her manner of life, and after a time, began to like this primitive mode of life and the society of the aborigines. Shortly before her brother's release, when riding through the woods upon her Indian pony, she was thrown suddenly from him, and striking her head against a log, she was killed instantly. Her brother was liberated at a place called by the Indians Moosh-king-oong, which in our vernacular is Muskingum, a river in the southeastern part of Ohio. This liberation took place in 1764. When thirty-four years of age, he did valiant service as a soldier in the Revolutionary war. It is said by him -- and truthfully, we believe -- that he not only frequently conversed with Washington, but was an intimate friend of his. He knew nothing of the death of his little sister until he obtained his liberation, and his sorrow for her early demise was no ordinary grief.

David, his son, with his companion, SCHNEIDER, built a cabin where George ARMSTRONG now lives, on the very spot which serves as his garden. They spent all of their time from September to Christmas with the Indians, hunting and exploring the country. They then went back to Greensburg to meet their kindred, and relate to them their interesting encounters and adventures. Three years later, David STUDEBAKER returned to this place, bringing with him a little sister to keep house. They at once sought out the cabin which he and his friend SCHNEIDER had erected and there they took up their abode. David liked the country, and determined to make his future home here, but his little sister became very much dissatisfied with her position -- lonely indeed it must have been -- and was constantly in fear of the Indians, for the first stories related to her were about their treachery and cold-blooded murders. No wonder, then, in this mental condition, she pleaded to be taken to her home. Her brother cheerfully yielded to her request, and brought back with him an older sister. They squatted upon the land referred to, and proceeded at once to level the forests and cultivate the soil. Thirty years after his first visit to this part of the country, when he was fifty years of age, David STUDEBAKER came to his son David's place, and settled with him. Here he spent the remainder of his life. David married Catherine MICHAELS, of Harlansburg; Joseph died in 1815, aged seventy years. Henry STUDEBAKER, son of David and grandson of Joseph, is still living in this township with his son John, who was born here.

William ELLIOTT, another very early pioneer, was a surveyor. He came from what is now Wilkensburg, in the year 1793, to take up land. With him came John DENNISON, John ELLIOTT and one or two others.

In order to secure a large amount of land, Mr. ELLIOTT laid off tracts of 400 acres, and located parties upon them to hold possession for him, giving them in due course of time a certain number of acres according to agreement. Before the county was organized, William ELLIOTT was the owner of 1,400 acres of land in this township. He held the office of Justice of Peace, in 1798, when this county still belonged to Allegheny. Mr. ELLIOTT's wife was Agnes PERRY. They were married in 1799. Of six children, there are three living, viz., James P.; B. F. ELLIOTT, residing in this township; and Cyrus, who resides at Great Belt.

William ELLIOTT assisted David DOUGAL, who died a few years ago, in laying off Butler Borough.

David ARMSTRONG, with his son, George, and daughter, Rebecca, came here about 1794 from Westmoreland County. They accomplished their journey on horseback, bringing with them in this way as many household implements as was possible. It was impossible to travel with wagons, for at that time there were no roads -- the only avenues were bridle-paths. They lived for a short time in a tent or sort of [pg. 356]wigwam until they had constructed a cabin. In the fall of that year, David ARMSTRONG and his daughter returned to Westmoreland County after the remainder of the family, consisting of the mother and five children, whose names were Archibald, Thomas, Roland, Polly and David. Anna, Samuel and Elizabeth were born here. Elizabeth, or as she is more familiarly known as "Aunt Betsey," is the only one of this family now living. Her age is seventy-seven years. George, the oldest of the family, settled near Centreville, and died there. His wife's maiden name was Elizabeth MCCUNE. Archibald resided for many years in what is now Slippery Rock Township. He subsequently moved into Lawrence County, where, in 1869, he died, aged eighty-four years. Thomas lived and died on the farm where his father built his cabin. Roland learned the tanning business with his uncle, Roland HARRIS, in Path Valley. He and James MCCUNE established a tannery in Lawrence County, and he subsequently sold his interest to MCCUNE and went to Ohio, where he pursued his occupation only a short time. He finally located permanently in Pittsburgh, at which place he died soon after the war of the rebellion. The major portion of his family were reared in Pittsburgh. Polly was the wife of Alexander MCBRIDE, who was favorably known by not a few persons throughout the county. David and Samuel were both stone-masons. The former died near Mechanicsburg, and the latter in Mahoning County, Ohio. All these boys, in their youth, particularly George, mingled a great deal with the Indians, entering the chase with them, and becoming much attached to their customs and manner of life. George ARMSTRONG, who resides at the ancestral home where the red man was a constant visitor, is a son of Thomas and grandson of David ARMSTRONG. Thomas MCCUNE came from Lawrence County, in 1868, and now resides with him.

In the fall of the year 1795, Jacob and John PISOR, with Henry STINETORF, came from what is now Fayette County, formerly Westmoreland, and settled each a tract of 400 acres of land surveyed by William ELLIOTT, to whom we have already referred. They immediately built cabin, cleared off a small portion of their land for wheat, sowed it and then returned to their former homes to complete arrangements for bringing back with them their families, which they did in the spring of 1796. In the same year, the parents and two brothers and a sister of Jacob and John PISOR followed them to their new homes. Jacob had settled in what is now the northern part of the township, and John in the western part. Frederick, the father of these children, was wakened from his sleep one night shortly after his arrival by the squealing of their young pigs which he had brought with him on horseback, and which they had confined in a log pen near the house. He hastily rose, went out to the pen with his dog, and discovered a large bear in the pen, chewing at one of the pigs' ears. The bear turned on him, and after a short combat hied himself away to the woods. Occurrences such as this, however, were numerous. The farm on which Adam PISOR now resides was the home of his grandfather, Frederick PISOR. Frederick PISOR's children were John, Jacob, George, Adam, and Nancy. John PISOR, the son of Jacob, was the first white child born on the banks of Slippery Rock . Thomas CROSS, with his father, Samuel, and two brothers, David and William, emigrated to this township from Adams County in 1795. They settled along Wolf Creek, on a 400-acre tract. Thomas was a Revolutionary soldier, and was in the battle of Lexington. A few years after locating here, Thomas married Margaret PORTER. He died in 1850. The other brothers also married and resided on the original settlement until their deaths, which transpired soon after the close of the war. Samuel CROSS, son of Thomas, and grandson of Samuel, was born here in 1809, and is living on the old settlement with his son, M. A. CROSS.

William MCCONNELL resided at Dennistown previous to the year 1796. In that year, he and his parents located in this township, bringing their goods on horseback from the place before mentioned. They settled a large tract of land, and met with greater success in pioneer life than they had anticipated. The father of William MCCONNELL died in 1830, and his mother three years later. William married Eleanor KELLY, from east of the mountains. Of their three children, Daniel is the only one living. He occupies the pioneer home. His father died in 1871.

Jonathan KELLY came from Path Valley, east of the mountains, and settled near the center of the township on a tract of land of the usual number of acres in 1796. His outfit for aggressive and progressive work was an ax, a gun and a bushel of corn meal. Without delay, he reared a cabin, cleared a potato patch, and then went to Fort Pitt to work at his trade, blacksmithing during the winter. When he returned in the spring, he found his cabin occupied by Benjamin JACK. Of course, he immediately proceeded to convince Mr. JACK that he was occupying his mansion. His argument did not at once carry with it the force of conviction, and it was some time before Mr. JACK was willing to believe that this unexpected claimant was the rightful owner, and held a pre-emptory claim. But finally, everything, was adjusted amicably. Jonathan KELLEY married Nancy TAYLO [sic], in this county. Their children, Jonathan, John, Silas, Rebecca (TAYLOR), Hiram, Eliza (STILLWAGON) and Amaziah. Rebecca, Eliza and Amaziah [pg. 357] are living. John lived on a part of the tract settled by his father. He was the father of six children, all now living. Amaziah occupies the old homestead. His father was an 1812 soldier.

Charles COULTER, a soldier of 1812, was an early settler in Worth Township. He came from Westmoreland County at the age of twenty-one, and lived to be eighty-nine. From this township he moved to Slippery Rock; his children were George Washington, Mary (CHRISTIE), Isaac, Charles, John W., William, Eliza (COULTER), Hannah (ATKINSON) and Margaret ELLIOTT. [sic-no parentheses] Four are living -- Mary, William, Eliza and Hannah. Washington kept the brick hotel in Centreville a number of years; then went to Clarion county, where he was a merchant, and afterward a hotel- keeper; Isaac died in Centreville.

Andrew DOUGLAS and his brothers Edward and James came to this county in 1798. Andrew married Mary KELLEY, daughter of Joseph KELLEY, an early settler in the eastern part of Worth Township, where he died in 1852. Names of his children -- Thomas, Joseph, Andrew and Samuel, Elsa (HUMPHREY), Margaret (ALLISON), Mary (MORROW), Ellen (DOUGLAS) and Rebecca (DOUBLE). Still living -- Joseph, Andrew, Samuel and Ellen.

Thomas CLARK, Sr., was a Revolutionary soldier; he enlisted in 1777, and remained in service until the close of the war. He came to Butler County in 1797, with his two sons; he purchased lands in this township from the Trustees of the Western Academy, who owned quite an extensive tract in the same neighborhood. Here he built a cabin, and began the erection of a permanent home; his wife was Esther JOHNSON, of Westmoreland County. They obtained their provisions in Allegheny County, and meat was gotten from the woods. Mr. CLARK often remarked that the lean part of the deer and turkey was bread, and the fat part meat. He died at the forks of the Youghiougheny in 1842, in his ninety-fifth year, and was interred in the McKeesport Cemetery with military honors. Often during his life, he related to his children pleasing converasations which he had had with George WASHINGTON, then commander-in-chief of the American forces. For some years previous, there was only one Revolutionary soldier besides him living in Allegheny County; these two old veterans met once a year for many years, in Pittsburgh, to receive their pensions. Mrs. CLARK died in the year 1819. Their family consisted of ten children. Unity Baptist Church of Harlansburg was organized at their residence in September 17, 1808. Andrew, the oldest son of Mr. CLARK, was born in 1786, came to this township with him; he studied for the ministry and was ordained in 1813; was installed in Providence Church, Beaver County, in 1814, and his death occurred in 1825. He was twice married, and his oldest child is still living in Trumbull county, Ohio, aged seventy-five years. The youngest daughter, Rebecca JACKSON, is living in Westmoreland County, at Mount Pleasant; of Thomas, the yougest [sic] son, the Baptist Encyclopaedia, says: "Thomas Clark assisted in the organization of the McKeesport Church, Allegheny County, Penn. He was the pioneer Baptist in Iowa, where his house was a meeting place of an infant church, and was also the pioneer Baptist in Eastern California, settling near Bishop's Creek in 1864, where he opened his house for public worship. He died in 1878, November 4.

Thomas CLARK, grandson of Thomas CLARK of Revolutionary fame, lives in this township. We append the following, from the Citizen, of Butler, Penn., as being pertinent to the subject at hand: "A number of friends and acquaintances met at the residence of M. Thomas CLARK, Worth Township, this county, on November 17, 1881. The occasion of this social gathering was in honor of a great-grandson of Mr. CLARK, who is the fifth generation living. There were present the five generations -- a very unusual gathering. Mr. And Mrs. CLARK have a grand-daughter married to W. J. MOORE, whose first-born son has living all four grandparents, six great-grandparents, and one great-great-grandmother. At this social gathering there were present the parents, all the grandparents, two great-grandparents and the great-great-grandmother, together with a number of other relatives and friends."

As nearly as can be ascertained, Christopher WIMER came into the present boundaries of this township in the year 1798. His settlement was made in the northern portion of Worth. He was the father of seven children -- Samuel, John, Peter, Jonathan, William, Isaac and Rebecca, who became the wife of Thomas KELLY, one of the pioneers of the township. John married Nancy COULTER, of Venango County. He located in the southwestern part of the township. He had seven children, viz., Mary S. (who died when eighteen years old); Isaac F., who resides in Brady Township; Jonathan, living in this township; Nancy (who died when eleven or twelve years of age); Nancy R., who became the wife of Cyrus ALBEN, and died in 1865; John and Samuel, who reside here on the same farm. Jefferson WIMER, living in close proximity to John and Samuel, and a cousin of theirs, is the son of Jonathan WIMER, who died in 1881.

In 1801, Isaac M. CORNELIUS came from Chester County, and settled on Hog-back Ridge. He moved his family here with a cart drawn by a yoke of oxen and one horse. The family of twelve children all reached mature years -- John, James, Jesse, Isaac, Samuel, Sarah (MOORE), Catharine (ADAMS), Jane [pg. 358] (MCCLYMONDS), Elizabeth (COULTER), Mary (COVERT), Margaret (DANIELS) and Nancy (MCCLYMONDS). All are now dead. James was in the war of 1812. Jesse, the longest survivor, died in 1881, aged eighty-three.

Joseph KELLY emigrated from Perry County in 1798, and located on a large tract of land which had been taken up for settlement by his brother Jonathan one year previous. Joseph's special purpose in coming into this part of the country was to hold his brother's claim, while he pursued his occupation as a blacksmith. There was great demand for work in his line for miles around. His chief work was sharpening mattocks and coulters for plows. His brother received half his interest in the 400 acres of land, for helping to improve it. Their first crop was potatoes and turnips. Their provisions they obtained in Pittsburgh. Joseph KELLY died in 1828. His wife was a New Jersey lady named Else LACEY. They had a family of ten children -- seven boys and three girls -- Joseph, Thomas, Aaron and Abner lived in this county. The other boys were somewhat of a roving disposition. They all lived, however, to be quite old. Thomas, the father of Thomas L., who resides on the old homestead, died in 1863, aged seventy-six years. Thomas L. KELLY married Sarah HOGUE.

Samuel WIMER lived in Lancaster previous to 1798, but in that year he and his father started on horseback for this county. They located on a farm in this township purchased from William ELLIOTT, a surveyor and land agent. The place is now occupied by the widow of John PISOR. The father of Samuel WIMER worked at blacksmithing. Samuel married Elizabeth HINES. Their children were Samuel (who was killed by the falling of a heavy rail from a fence upon him), Samuel, Mary Jane (now Mrs. Dr. ABERNETHY, of Mechanicsburg), Abner, and George (who reside near the Mercer and Lawrence County lines). Their father was a soldier in the war of 1812. His wife is still living, at the age of ninety-three years.

William MCNEES with his family -- James, John and William, all grown to manhood -- became residents of this township in 1798. They came from what was known as Black Lick, Westmoreland County. His wife was the first person interred in the Plain Grove Cemetery. Mrs. A. A. MCNEES, living on a farm in the northwestern part of the township, is the widow of William MCNEES, who is the grandson of this venerable pioneer.


In 1810, Robert GLENN with his family of five boys and three girls, came from Spruce Creek Valley, Center County. John, Mary, Andrew, Robert, Catharine, William, Margaret and Archie constituted the family. Their means of travel were four horses and wagon. After their arrival they located on a farm purchased from a man named HOCKENBERRY, or rather it was a settler's right to 150 acres. Of their children, Archie is the only one living, John married Elleanor NEWELL, both are dead, Mrs. NEWELL died in 1839, and her husband in 1864. Their children are John N. GLENN and Martha, now Mrs. John MCCLYMONDS, living in Muddy Creek Township. John resides on a farm in the eastern part of the township. Mary became the wife of John GILFILLAN, and resided in Lawrence County until her death. Andrew married Annie AIKEN, of Lawrence County. John A. Glenn is living on the old homestead of his grandfather. His wife was Elizabeth MCDEVITT. Robert's death occurred in 1875. Catharine became Mrs. James HUMPHREY; she died about 1820. William learned the trade of cabinet- making in Mercer, and for several years worked in Lawrence County. He afterward moved into this township, his wife was Elleanor CHRISTY. Margaret became the wife of Mr. John CHRISTY; both are long since dead. John CHRISTY was a farmer for a few years near Portersville; tiring of this, he established a general store at North Liberty. He prosecuted the mercantile business at the latter place for a few years; he died in Newcastle. Archie moved to Lawrence County after his marriage to Susan CHRISTY.

Alexander MCBRIDE was a native of the Emerald Isle. He emigrated when eighteen years old, in 1820. He located along Slippery Rock Creek, and for many years he devoted his time to school teaching. He bore the appellation of the "Irish Schoolmaster." The first grist mill erected and operated within the present limits of this township was erected and run by Mr. MCBRIDE. Soon after he got the grist mill in operation, he attached a saw mill, and in connection with the mill operated it for years -- until 1850. He was a prominent man in the township in educational matters and in business enterprises. He filled the office of Justice of the Peace for several terms. He died in 1879 leaving a family of eight children, viz.: Rebecca J., who is Mrs. Amaziah KELLY of this township; Alexander, a resident of Harlansburg; Thomas, living in Newcastle; Mrs. Samuel GILL, of Muddy Creek; William, of this place; Robert, a citizen of Lawrence County; and Samuel J., of the same place; George D., of Gallipolis, Ohio. William MCBRIDE, before mentioned, enlisted as a soldier in Company "I," One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served during the entire war. His wife was Elizabeth TAYLOR, daughter of George TAYLOR, who became a resident of this township in 1830.

James MCLURE located near Mechanicsburg in 1830, having purchased land from James MCNEESE. [pg. 359] He came from Westmoreland County with his wife and four children -- Hiram, Martha, Cyrus and Catharine. Five more children were added to this family after living here. H. W. MCLURE, one of the sons, resides on a farm in the southern part of the township, which was formerly owned by George VOGEN. John HUMPHREY was born and raised on the farm he now occupies and owns. The place is part of the old homestead which was settled by his grandfather, HUMPHREY, who emigrated from County Tyrone, Ireland. It was devised to William HUMPHREY, father of John HUMPHREY, in 1839. At his death, which occurred in 1864, it was willed to John. Very indifferent buildings were on it at that time, but only a short time elapsed when the "old tenements" gave place to the present elegant residence and large and substantial barn. As a rule, Mr. HUMPHREY's occupation has been that of a farmer, although he learned the trade of a carpenter when quite a young man, and worked at it for a few years. In 1856, he married Miss Lydia STUDEBAKER, daughter of Henry STUDEBAKER of this township. His wife died 1879.

Mr. John HUMPHREY has been a very prominent man in both education and politics since he reached his majority. Has been an acting Justice of the Peace for fourteen consecutive years. Has been connected with the schools, both as teacher and Director, for several years, at different periods. In 1879, he filled the office of Deputy Sheriff of this county, during the time William HOFFMAN was High Sheriff, and recently he has been engaged in the banking business in Portersville. Hon. James HUMPHREY, brother of John, resides in this township.

Jacob FISHER, who died in September, 1880, at the age of eighty years, had resided on a farm in the southern part of the township, on which he located in 1832. George W. FISHER, with his mother, resides in this township.

John G. REICHART was a tailor. In 1834, he came from Beaver County, and found his way into Worth Township, where he located permanently. He did tailoring for the whole country around, within a radius of six miles. In 1838, he married Mary Ann MCNEESE, daughter of William MCNEESE, a pioneer of this township. He purchased the farm he still resides upon from his benefactor -- William JACK. Their family numbered seven children. Jacob was their firstborn. William S. belonged to the One Hundred and Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was killed at Cold Harbor, June 3 1864, and his record tells the story of patriotism and bravery. Catherine became the wife of George W. GIBBONS.

Nicholas KAUFMAN came to this township from Germany, and settled on the farm where he now resides in 1845. He has three sons and one daughter living in this county.

John DOMBART was a native of Germany. When he emigrated to this country, he first located in Adams Township in 1847. He was a member of Company "E," Seventy- eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. After the close of the war, he lived a short time in Jackson Township, then moved to this township.

Alexander MCCOY came in 1848. He emigrated from county of Down, Ireland, and soon after arriving in this country he purchased an improved farm from Judge WILKINS, of Pittsburgh. Previous to his settling here, he resided in Allegheny County. All of his family except one were born in that county. He died in 1869. His two sons -- W. W. and Hugh MCCOY, and his daughter Mary, reside on the farm. W. W. McCOY served as County Auditor from 1875 to 1878.

James MCGOWAN was born in this county in 1817, within the bounds of Muddy Creek Township. He located in this township in 1850. He purchased his land from the BOOKs -- George and William -- and a quantity also from Samuel RIDDLE. James MCGOWAN married Annie WILSON, of Lawrence County. They have eight children grown to maturity, viz.: Mrs. James WIMER, Burton, Alexander, Hadessa, widow of Joseph BOYD; Mrs. Samuel PARKER, Wilmina, Levi and Martha.

About 1820, George TAYLOR, at the age of twenty-one, came to this township from Ireland. He was married in this county to Rebecca KELLY, who is still living. Mr. TAYLOR died in 1862. Names of children: Thomas (deceased), William, Eliza (MCBRIDE), Angeline (deceased), Silas (deceased), Margaret (KIESTER), deceased, Sarah (KIESTER), Thomas and George.

Horatio D. PAYNE became a resident of this township the year it was organized, 1854. His former home was in Vermont. Immediately after coming to Worth, he resided with his father and mother in Lawrence County. The farm he now owns was purchased from John BOOK.

Mr. James MAXWELL also came to this township when it was yet in its infancy. In 1851, he married Susan DODDS. She died in 1857. He subsequently married Mary BALPH, daughter of John BALPH, who at one time owned and operated the woolen mill of this place. They have five living children. John MAXWELL, who practices medicine in Scioto, Ohio, and Mrs. GALL, living in Adams County, Ohio, are children of Mr. MAXWELL's first wife. Maud, Adda, Bell and Anna Flora, are the children of the present wife. Mr. MAXWELL, with others, answered his [pg. 360] country's call for men, and in 1862 enlisted in company "F," commanded by Capt. BRECKENRIDGE, and served for one year. In 1864, he re-enlisted in Company "B," and remained in service until the close of the war. He was in the battles of Antietam and Chancellorsville.

Mr. S. H. MOORE was reared and married in Muddy Creek, but located in this township in 1856, on a farm purchased from Michael STIENTORF.

Archibald DICKEY located on a farm in 1854, purchased from the heirs of Daniel CROSS. Mrs. DICKEY, whose maiden name was Jane CROSS, was born and died on this farm. The parents of Mr. DICKEY are both dead.

Two years after the organization of this township John PISOR purchased a farm in its northwestern part from John HAYS, and moved on it. He was married twice. His first wife, who died in 1858, was Jane COOPER. Mr. PISOR died in 1876. His widow, formerly Mary Jane EMERY, resides on the farm with her son, J. B. PISOR. Five children of this family died within fifteen months from the first death.

Mr. Cyrus ALBEN resided in Prospect until the year 1855, when he moved here and located on a farm formerly owned by Alexander WILSON, and from whom he purchased it. He has made several improvements upon his place since he assumed charged of it. He was a carpenter by trade, and gave his entire attention to this branch of industry before he came to this township. His son, John and Isaac, are both farmers, one in Brady and the other in this township.

The farm owned by Jacob MCCRACKEN was probably among the earliest settled in the township. He purchased it from John STEWART, in 1855. Previous to this he resided in Lawrence County, not more than eighty rods from his present site. His wife's maiden name was Huldah SHAFFER.

Zebulon COOPER purchased a farm from John T. MCNEESE, of 160 acres, and settled upon it in the year 1857.

Andrew DRAWBAUGH came from Perry County in 1866. The farm he resides on was formerly owned by Hampson DEAN.

Mr. W. P. ELLIOTT was born in this township. Mr. PERRY is a grandson of William ELLIOTT, one of the first settlers in this township. Mr. ELLIOTT was united in marriage to Clarissa KELLY, sister of Mrs. Benjamin JACK, of Butler.

Mr. James C. MCCLYMONDS is a son of John MCCLYMONDS, of Muddy Creek Township, whose history appears in that township. Mr. James MCCLYMONDS is living on a farm formerly owned by James CLEELAND. He located upon it in 1870.

William H. GALLAHER commenced the business of farming for himself, in 1870, on a farm given to him by his father shortly before his death. A little later he added thirty acres more to his farm, which he purchased from his mother, it being part of the old homestead. Mr. GALLAHER married Ellen MCCULLOUGH, daughter of Thomas MCCULLOUGH, of Muddy Creek Township.

Robert H. Young came from Lawrence County and located upon a farm purchased from William HOGUE, in 1870. He married Mary A. MCELWAIN.

Joseph P. HOCKENBERRY was born in this township, in 1852, andwhen about twenty years of age, or in 1872, his father presented him with the fine farm he now owns and cultivates. His father, Joseph, was quite an early settler.

Joseph GRAHAM, with his brother James, came to this township from Brady, in 1881. The farm they are located upon was purchased by them from Eleanor HINES.

James M. MARSHALL came into this township in 1873, and for several years followed the honorable occupation of teaching school, and during vacations pursued farming. Previous to locating here, he lived in Prospect where he was engaged in the mercantile business. He was at one time elected County Superintendent of Schools of this county, but on account of some technicality was superseded by David MCKEE shortly after his election. He was regarded, however, as a good teacher, and remained in this profession for ten years. He abandoned his profession to engage in the banking business at Portersville, which business he is at present engaged in. His wife is a daughter of John RIDDLE, of Portersville.


It is always a pleasure to trace back the history of early schools in a township or county, and to record their gradual progress, and make honorable mention of those who were the warm friends and hearty supporters of education. For we firmly believe that those who make provision for the development of the intellectual and moral faculties of the rising generation, and those who devote their lives to the honorable occupation of training the youth of our country for lives of future usefulness, are alike public benefactors, and deserve more applause than the victorious General fresh from the slaughter of uncounted hosts, though upon him the greater meed of praise is generally bestowed. The early history of the schools of this township is not enveloped in that quiet obscurity which invests the ancient records of many other townships, but we have sufficient data to trace it from its very inception to the present time. The early settlers had broad and generous views with reference to the education of their offspring, and, therefore, the church and the schoolhouse -- rude [pg. 361] though they were -- were built almost simultaneous with their cabins, or as soon thereafter as practicable. Previous to the war of 1812, a rude log house was erected by the voluntary contribution of settlers, in the western part of the township, on what is known as the PISOR farm. This house (if house it might be called) had an earthen floor, a thatched roof, and was minus a chimney. It was built of round logs, and the interstices between them were closed with mud and leaves mixed. The windows were paper. The teacher of this school was Robert MARCUS, a young unmarried man, from Mercer, Penn. He was of delicate constitution, and died before his term of one year was finished. His school consisted of twenty-five pupils, whom he taxed $6 apiece for the term. He was said to be a good man and a successful teacher. He was succeeded by John MITCHELL, a Mercer County man, who was quite a prodigy in arithmetic. It is related that on a certain occasion, some engineers who were locating a canal between Pittsburgh and Erie, became terribly puzzled in a calculation pertaining to their work. They were informed of the "schoolmaster's" natural ability and genius for figures and advised to go and see him. They smiled at the idea of a pedagogue enlightening them in the profound mysteries of their abstruse calculations, but they finally were persuaded to go and see him. They found him in a clearing, burning brush. Informing him of their arithmetical perplexity, they awaited, with some curiosity and no little incredulity, an answer. He took their paper upon which they had been figuring, examined it scrupulously, and at once pointed out to them their wrong premises and finally, with seeming ease, worked the question for them much to their astonishment. In other branches, however, Mr. MITCHELL was rather deficient. About the same time this school was opened, another was taught on the MCNEES farm. These schools remained in operation for several years, when better buildings were constructed and more of them throughout the township, or within the territory now forming the township of Worth. Itinerant teachers, and generally good ones, too, taught in these schools till the common-school system came into operation, which was in 1836.

The law establishing free schools did not at the beginning meet with much encouragement among the masses, but rather with general disapproval and with violent opposition from not a few. This was not because they did not appreciate educational advantages, but because it was something new, in the first place, and secondly , because the thought of paying by taxation for the education of other children besides their own did not seem to be palatable. The opposition, however, continued for a few years; the good and permanent effect of the common-school law was soon felt and recognized as a blessing. The improvement in the schools was so great that those who formerly opposed to the law became its ardent friends.

There are at present eight schools in the township, and all of the buildings are entirely new excepting three, and are all well furnished. The majority of the houses built in 1854 cost $300 apiece, but the later buildings which displaced them were erected at a cost of $750.

The first public schoolhouses were built by SHANOR and John A. MOORE; and the first public teachers were David EMORY, William E. TAYLOR, William P. MCCOY, John HUMPHREY and Robert PEEBLES. At present, in attendance there are about 425 pupils. The people of Worth Township generally are very warm friends of popular education, and cheerfully foster and encourage every measure looking toward its advancement.


Worth Township -- 1854, Michael STINETORF; 1855, William MOORE; 1856, Isaac DOUBLE; 1860, William MOORE; 1861. Archibald MURPHY; 1865, John MURPHY; 1866, Isaac DOUBLE; 1870, B. F. ELLLOTT [sic -- ELLIOTT]; 1871, James HUMPHREY; 1875, B. F. ELLIOT; 1876, James HUMPHREY; 1879, John HUMPHREY; 1880, Samuel H. MOORE.


This company was organized in 1879, by Amiziah KELLY, Abraham SICKLE, William MCBRIDE and others -- charter members. The charter originally covered four township -- Worth, Muddy Creek, Brady and Franklin. It was afterward extended to cover Slippery Rock, Mercer, Marion, Cherry, Clay, Centre, Connoquenessing and Lancaster. About $700,000 worth of property is insured by this company at the present time. The officers of this company are: President, John HUMPHREY; vice, John BOOK; Treasurer, W. J. KENNEDY; Secretary, W. E. TAYLOR; Directors, John HUMPHREY, Thomas CLARK, Amos HALL, William RENNICK, Matthias MAYER, S. W. MOORE, William DICK, George DUISHALL, J. W. GLENN, W. P. SMITH, James CLELAND and J. L. SHANNON.


Among the first Baptists here were Robert HAMPSON and his wife Mary; they, in union with a few others, commenced a meeting of prayer, and says one: In these meetings, John ORLTON united in the spirit of Jacob, when he said to the angel, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Thomas DANIELS and his son, Daniel DANIELS, were the first ministers who preached here. The church was constituted November the 15th, 1841, by Rees DAVIS, Thomas DANIELS and Daniel DANIELS; in number there were seven. [pg. 362] At this meeting, thirteen were baptized, making twenty in all. Daniel DANIELS was elected their first pastor in 1841, continuing until 1843. Samuel FURMAN in 1844, continuing until 1848. G. T. DINSMORE supply six months; Samuel STOUGHTON in 1850, remained until 1852; David PHILIPS in 1853, remained until 1854; John TREVITT in 1856. He is the present pastor.

In 1842, William COOPER received license to preach, and in the same year Daniel DANIELS was ordained. The Deacons were William EMERY, Robert HAMPSON, Samuel PENCE, Harlan VOGAN and Thomas CLARK.

During the pastorate of Daniel DANIELS, a very large and substantial brick church was erected; it is situated in a beautiful forest grove three miles south of east from Harlansburg, and four miles from Portersville. Their present number is 165 members. In 1863, Rev. John TREVITT resigned his pastorate, and Rev. D. L. CLOUSE accepted the charge, and was installed the same year. His ministry covered a period of seven years. Rev. HOUSTON, the present minister, was settled in 1860. In 1881, $1,100 were expended in renovating and repairing the church -- both inside and out. A good Sabbath school is connected with the church, the Superintendant of which is William STUDEBAKER.


*History furnished by Rev. N. BROWN.
The first Associate Presbyterian sermon preached in this neighborhood was in the year 1807, by Rev. John ANDERSON, under an oak tree, on the banks of Slippery Rock Creek, not far from the present bridge. The text was from Rev., iii, 2 - "Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain." Preaching for several years was in the house of Mr. John MOORE, whose grandchildren are still members of the congregation. During the summer, on pleasant days, preaching was in the woods, and on unpleasant days in the house of Mr. MOORE. After some years, a large tent was prepared for summer services. The congregation was organized in 1808 or 1809, and it was denominated at first "Mouth of Wolf Creek Church," but was changed a short time after to its present name, at least the minutes of Synod of 1842 give it the name of Slippery Rock Church.

The first Elders were Messrs. John MOORE, David CROSS, John CORNELIUS and William BRANDON. A call was made out for Alexander MURRAY in 1810. He was installed by the Presbytery of Chartiers, which then embraced all the seceder churches west of the Alleghany [sic] Mountains. Mr. MURRAY at the same time accepted calls from Eight Tracts (now Mountville), Neshanock and Newcastle. This congregation erected their first house of worship in 1811. It stood nearly in front of the schoolhouse. It was built of hewed logs, and seated with benches. For heating purposes, they scooped out a hole in the ground, in which they burned charcoal. The house soon became too small, and it was enlarged by taking out the west end and attaching a frame. It was accidently [sic] burned while workmen were engaged getting out lumber for the present building. The present house was built in the fall of 1838. Rev. MURRAY retained charge of this congregation and Mountville until the time of his death, which occurred in June, 1846, at the age of seventy-three. He had been pastor of these congregations thirty-six years. During this time he was but twice incapacitated for filling his appointments. His remains lie in Mountville Cemetery. Rev. J. D. WOLF accepted a call and ministered to this people until 1854 -- six years. In 1857, Rev. RANKIN was installed pastor, and was released by Presbytery in 1861. Rev. ATKINS then acted as stated supply for six months.

Rev. Newton BROWN, the present pastor, was ordained and installed in June, 1866. There have, therefore, been but four pastors of this congregation during its existence of seventy-four years. The present membership of this congregation is eighty-four.



John C. MCNEES was born in Worth Township, Butler Co., Penn., January 23, 1813. He was the fourth child of a family of five children, two of whom, Thomas, in Ohio, and Mary J. (MCCUNE), of Lawrence County, are living. His parents were John and Mary (TAYLOR) MCNEES, who came from Westmoreland to Butler County among the first settlers. John C. was brought up on a farm, and received a common school education. He resided until his death on the land cleared and improved by his father and himself, and transformed, by their labor, from a wilderness to a beautiful and pleasant home.

Mr. MCNEES was married three times. February 24, 1842, he wedded Elizabeth VOGAN, of this county. Mrs. MCNEES died February 22, 1843. His second marriage was November 12, 1845, with Eleanor J. BEATTY, of Beaver County. She died May 18, 1854. Of this union, two children were born -- Margaret M., now the wife of Hugh MOORE, of Lawrence County, and Eliza J., who died March 20, 1849, at the age of eleven months.

November 6, 1855, Mr. MCNEES married Susannah ARMSTRONG, who is still living, and the mother of six children -- Elizabeth E., Robert W., Addison A., Rose E., Fannie V. and Mary F. All are living and at home, except Robert Walker, who died October 4, 1873, aged 15 years. He was a lad of bright promise, and greatly beloved.

John C. MCNEES died November 25, 1873, in the sixty-first year of his age. He was of pious connection -- his grandfather, William MCNEES, having been one of the first Elders of the Plain Grove Presbyterian Church. Mr. MCNEES was himself a member of the same church for more than thirty years, and an Elder about twenty-two years. As husband, father, friend, neighbor and citizen, he was much beloved and respected. He was kind, affectionate and gentle, and led a pure, blameless, Christian life. All of his family are Presbyterians. His widow and surviving children reside upon the homestead, which is part of the farm formerly belonging to his father.

Mrs. MCNEES is the daughter of Thomas ARMSTRONG, who was a member of one of the oldest families in Butler County, and spent all his days in this county. He was married, November 18, 1825, to Frances DRAKE, a native of Washington County. Mr. ARMSTRONG died April 3, 1860, at the age of seventy-three; Mrs. ARMSTRONG died October 3, 1875, aged seventy-five years. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church. They reared a family of twelve children, seven of whom are living -- David H., Mercer County; Samuel, Kansas; James, deceased; Susannah (MCNEES), Worth Township; Sarah A., deceased; George W., Worth Township, on the old farm; Rebecca (MCCUNE), Lawrence County; Archibald, deceased; Thomas, deceased; Alexander W., deceased; Francis J. (QUAKENBUSH), Kansas, and Mary A. (WIBLE), Kansas.

Thomas ARMSTRONG, Jr., served three years in the army, in Company F, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Pennsylvania Regiment, and was killed at the battle of the Wilderness May 12, 1864. Alexander W. was also in the army, in the nine months' service. He died March 28, 1865, from the effects of disease contracted in the service.

[End of Chapter 38--Worth 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 37--Muddy Creek Township
Chapter 39--Brady Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 30 Nov 1999, 15:58