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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 40 -- Fairview Township

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Transcribed by Dottie Laird. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XL

p. 386a-- Thomas & Mrs. Hays
p. 386b-- Thomas Hays Residence
p. 370a-- A.L. Campbell
p. 376a-- Res. R.W. Barnhart
p. 376b-- The Barnharts
p. 376c-- Res. A.A. Kelty & R.J. McCullough
Bio Thomas Hays
Bio Barnhart Family
Bio A.L. Campbell
Bio McCullough Family



[p. 368]

FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP was originally a part of Donegal. Both townships were much reduced in size by the division of 1854. Fairview was settled early, but its population was sparse and the work of improvement slow. The early settlers of the north-eastern part of Butler County labored under great disadvantages. Remote from any long established settlement, they were obliged to make long journeys through the wilderness, either on foot or on horseback, as often as they found it necessary to visit mills, stores or blacksmiths' shops. There was no market for the scanty produce of their land, and as the pioneers were generally but scantily supplied with money, the men were frequently obliged to return to the neighborhoods from which they had emigrated, in order to find work that would earn the means of keeping want from their families. Neighbors shared in the prosperity of one another, and willingly lent helping hands in adversity. They almost universally lived in strict obedience to the Scriptural command--"Bear ye one another's burdens." No nobler sentiment than disinterested generosity ever found place in the human breast, and the consciousness of this truth seems to have been ever present in the minds of the pioneers. If some of the selfishness of the present day could be replaced by the open-hearted generous principles that animated our forefathers, the world would certainly be better for the change.

Perhaps the first settler in this part of the county was Samuel WALLACE. About the year 1795, he crossed the Allegheny River, and made his way through the woods to a point on Bear Creek, a short distance above the spot where Karns City now stands. Here he made a small clearing and erected a rude cabin. This cabin became the headquarters of the pioneers, who, within the next few years, came to effect settlements in its vicinity. Many of them came alone, carrying an ax and a rifle. After selecting a spot for a farm, they erected a cabin, then returned to the older settlements for their families, and brought [p. 369] their wives and children and small possessions hither on pack-horses.

One of the first to enjoy the hospitality of the WALLACE cabin was Joseph SMITH. He came from Westmoreland County in 1796, and selected land. The following year he cleared a small piece and erected a cabin a short distance west of the site of Fairview. In 1798, he moved his family to their new home. The same year a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. SMITH, and was named John. He became a local preacher of the Methodist denomination, and was widely known for his earnest labors in behalf of the church in this part of the country.

The Bear Creek neighborhood was settled quite rapidly. Among the pioneers were John CRAIG, William WILSON, William RAY, Paul MCDERMOTT, John CAMPBELL and Alexander STOREY, the most of whom located within the territory now comprised in Fairview Township.

Of John CRAIG, the following anecdote is related: He remained away from church one Sabbath, and the preacher--Mr. JOHNSON--meeting him afterward, inquired the reason. Mr. CRAIG explained that he had to watch the cattle, to keep them from his grain. "But," asked Mr. JOHNSON, "Could you not trust the matter to Providence?" "What!" exclaimed CRAIG in astonishment, "would you have me make a cow-herd of Providence?" In plowing, CRAIG used a cow and a horse hitched side by side.

John CRAIG lived south of the present site of Karns City. He was a large man physically, and his sons were all men of great size. One of them---George---was very tall and though not fleshy, weighed 250 pounds.

About 1796, Adam HEMPHILL, of Scotch-Irish descent, and his brothers--John and James--and his sister---Elizabeth (FLETCHER)--came and settled in this township. All married here and reared families. Adam's wife was Christina SANDERSON, and their children were Samuel, John, Jacob, Henry, David, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Ann, Rachel, Margaret and Lydia. Jacob, Elizabeth, Rachel and Lydia are still living.

Paul MCDERMOTT settled on the BANKS farm in 1796. His children were Edward, Polly, Robert, James and Paul. Two are living---James in Butler County, and Paul in Armstrong County.

The WILSON family is one of the few old families now remaining in Fairview Township. In 1798, William WILSON moved from Lancaster County, and built his first cabin near where William GIBSON'S house now is. A settler had been on the place previously and made a small clearing. Mr. WILSON bought out the settler and entered upon the work of making a farm. He made frequent trips to Chambersburg with pack-horses, to procure salt and groceries. Each trip required two weeks. Wolves were numerous in the creek bottom, and bears so plenty that the stream was named Bear Creek. Stock was in constant danger, and had to be carefully guarded to prevent it being destroyed by wild beasts. Mr. James WILSON relates, that the wolves sometimes chased his father's cattle, and bit the tails from some of the animals. Turkeys were often seen in flocks of from thirty to forty, and the boys caught many in traps of rails. Having built a small pen, with strongly built sides, and the top covered over, they scattered corn along in front and underneath the rails where an open space had been left of sufficient size to admit the birds. The turkeys readily walked into the trap: but once inside, they elevated their heads and sought vainly to get out, never appearing to notice the way by which they had entered. Rabbits were also plenty, and these the boys hunted in winter, often securing fifteen or twenty dozen skins in a single season. Their father took the skins East and sold them to hatters for a "fippenny-bit" each.

Samuel HALL, the CAMPBELLS, Paul MCDERMOTT, Matthew SMITH, the REEPS and Samuel ERWIN, were the neighbors of the WILSONS, and were almost the only settlers near them for some years. William WILSON died in 1839, at the age of eighty-six. His wife, Eleanor Jane, died 1837; they came here with a family of six children, and two were born afterward. Names of the family: (Robert, Nancy (wife of Edward MCDERMOTT), William, James, Jane (wife of Robert MCDERMOTT), John, Armstrong and Thomas. Robert, William and Thomas went to Ohio; Nancy died in 1882, at the age of ninety-one years. Armstrong was killed at a raising at Mr. CAMPBELL's. Robert served in the war of 1812; two of the family are still living--John in Beaver County, and James in Fairview Township. The latter is the oldest resident of the township; he was born in 1798, and was brought here when an infant. In 1829, he married Sarah HUTCHISON, who is still living; they reared five children--Margaret W. (JAMISON), William, Eleanor J. (GRAHAM), Martha (GIBSON) and James Armstrong, the youngest of whom was born in 1839, and death has never yet entered the family. Few men now living have had more experience in pioneer life than Mr. WILSON. The town of Petrolia now marks the site of the old WILSON farm.

About 1798, James BOVARD, afterward Associate Judge, came to this county; he was a native of Ireland, and was married in Westmoreland County to Jane CHAMBERS; the farm on which he located was situated near Karns City; he sold it about 1825, and moved to Cherry Township where he died in 1853, at the age of seventy-four. His children were Will-[p. 370] iam, John, James, Johnston, Hutchison, Charles, George, Washington, Jane (FLOYD) and Fanny. Four of the sons, James, Hutchison, George and Washington are still living. William married Sarah CROSS; he died in 1872; children--James J., Samuel C. and Sarah E.--all living.

Alexander STOREY,a native of Ireland, moved from Eastern Pennsylvania to Westmoreland County, and thence to Butler County. He bought out a settler's right to a small clearing on the farm where his grandson, M. S. STOREY, now lives. He came a little better prepared to encounter pioneer hardships than most early settlers, having some means and some stock which he brought with him; he moved his family here in a wagon with a team of five horses. For years he was obliged to pack provisions from the older settlements. The children of Alexander STOREY were Robert, James, William, Betsey (SLOAN), Nancy (STEELE) and Ann (MOORE). All of the sons were in the service in the war of 1812, and James died during the war; William lived upon the old homestead and died in 1863, in his eighty-sixth year. His wife Mary (SMITH), died at the age of seventy-three.

Matthew SMITH was a native of Ireland; he settled east of Petrolia. His children were Martha Polly (STOREY), Margaret (MCGARVEY), Elizabeth (MCCLEARY), Ann (RAY), Jane (MILLEN), Nancy (STOREY), John and Robert. Mrs. STOREY is still living in Missouri. Robert was killed by a falling tree; John was thrown from a wagon when well advanced in years, and lay helpless many years before his death.

John SNOW and Samuel ERWIN were early settlers in the SMITH neighborhood.

Squire KINCAID, a prominent figure among the pioneers, lived and died on a farm adjacent to the RIDDLE farm. His son James occupied the old homestead until his death; his widow and children moved West after the oil excitement commenced.

George EMRICK and his brother John were early settlers near Fairview. John had no family; George kept tavern in Fairview Village several years; his sons, William, Lewis and George were residents of this township, but none of them now remain.

Andrew CAMPBELL, son of John, who settled in Concord Township in 1708, settled in 1803 on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Hon. A. L. CAMPBELL; he died in 1864 at the age of seventy-nine. His wife Jane (LEWIS) died in 1861. Their children were Robert, John, Mary, Ann (GIBSON), Betsey (TURNER), Jane (GIBSON), Nancy (RAY) and Andrew. Still living---Robert Betsey and Andrew; John was killed at the raising of William FLEMING's log barn in 1832, now owned by Dickson BARTLEY near Martinsburg; Robert was born in 1805, in Clarion County, where his father had removed temporarily, and came to the farm where he now lives four years later. His son A. L., is an ex-member of the Legislature.

William CAMPBELL and his wife Jane (BEATTY) settled early on the farm now owned by Washington CAMPBELL; William CAMPBELL died in 1841; his widow survived until 1878, and died at the age of eighty-four. The names of their children who lived to mature years, were as follows: Jane, William, Ann, John B., Juliet (STOREY), Washington, Nancy (CRAIG), Robert, Joseph, Margaret J. (RAY), Shepard R. and James G. Of these, six are dead.

John CUMBERLAND settled near the spot now occupied by Karns City.

Mr. Robert CAMPBELL relates the following bear story of early times: One morning, after a heavy fall of snow had covered the earth to a depth of six or eight inches, bear tracks were discovered near his father's house. And presently several hunters came along in pursuit of the game. They wished to get Mr. CAMPBELL's bear dog, but the dog would not follow them. One of the boys put on the old man's hunting-shirt, hoping to deceive the dog and make him follow. But the dog was not deceived. So Andrew CAMPBELL was obliged to join the hunting party. They followed the bear a long time and finally treed him near the Allegheny River. After some skirmishing and much excitement, the animal was killed and found to weigh over 400 pounds.

The first saw mill in the township was built by John HAROLD where the town of Petrolia now is. Harold bought the property of WILSON, but was unable to pay for it.

Michael SHEAKLEY, a Pennsylvania German, was an early settler in the eastern part of the township. His son Henry is now one of the old residents.

William RAY and family emigrated from Ireland and settled about one and a half miles southwest of Fairview. They had five children--John, William, George, Elizabeth (CAMPBELL) and Jane (JACKSON). Two survive--George and Elizabeth. Mrs JACKSON lived on the old homestead. John, the father of M. S. RAY, Esq., of Fairview, lived and died in this township.

Andrew MOORE settled on the farm where his son William now lives. He began in the woods in a primitive way, but lived to see a great transformation wrought. He died in 1872, at the age of eight-two. His wife was Anna STOREY. Their children--James, John, Andrew, William, Rankin and Betsey (KINCAID)---are all living, except the two first mentioned.

Peter THORN and his wife Elizabeth (BYERS) settled in 1871 on the farm where John THORN now lives. Mr. THORN was a son of John THORN, who settled near Greece City quite early. He was born [p. 371] in Westmoreland County and was thirteen years of age when his parents came to this county. Peter THORN died in 1855, aged sixty-three. He was the father of five sons and three daughters; four sons and two daughters are still living.

At the time this family settled here, most of the land was unimproved and settlers were few. Thomas JACKSON lived where Buena Vista now is; John THOMPSON lived on an adjoining farm and Paddy MCFERRIN lived on the James SWARTZLANDER farm. Charles SWARTZLANDER also occupies a part of the MCFERRIN Tract, having settled upon it in 1850.

In 1882, one of the most severe storms ever known passed over the southern part of this township. It swept from the south to the northeast, tearing down trees, fences and everything else in its way. John THORN's barn was torn down and his house partially destroyed. Clapboards were carried a mile. Not a fence was left standing on the farm. The next day the neighbors gathered and helped Mr. THORN to repair the damage.

Adam, John and James HEMPHILL all settled early in the southern part of the township.

Rudolph, Philip and Daniel BARNHART and their cousins Jacob, Peter and Andrew came from Westmoreland County and all settled in the same neighborhood early.

Daniel and Catharine BARNHART settled in 1812 . Their children were Elizabeth (DAUBENSPECK), Mary, Catharine, Christina (KEPPLE), Susannah, William, David, John and Daniel. Elizabeth, Christina, David and John are living.

William MCGARVEY, an aged citizen of this township, is a native of Ireland. In 1840, he moved from Armstrong County and settled about a mile from Petrolia. He has seen the township grow from a very thinly-peopled territory to its present prosperous condition.

D.L. KAMERER, who was born just over the line in Armstrong County, came to this township and settled on his present farm in 1856.

Jonathan KEPPEL, a native of this State, where he was born in 1824, settled in Fairview Township in 1850: he is a farmer by occupation and during the late war was one of the "brave boys in blue."

The development of the oil resources of this township began in 1871, and in the five or six succeeding years great social and financial changes were wrought. During the excitement, many of the old residents disposed of their farms and removed to other parts of the country. Others remained, and reaped great financial gains, thus laying the foundations of future prosperity; while not a few embarked upon the treacherous sea of speculation, and lost the earnings of long years of constant toil.


Fairview Township*-1846, John SCOTT; 1850, John MCKISSON; 1851, John SCOTT, 1854, Thomas CRAIG 1856 Matthew S. RAY; 1857, Robert CAMPBELL; 1861, Matthew S. RAY, 1862 R.C. CAMPBELL; 1866, William C. ADAMS; 1868, Alex STORY; 1869, R.S. RAY; 1872 A.L. CAMPBELL; 1873 Alex STORY; 1873, William MCCULLOUGH; 1874, T.P. BROWN; 1875, Daniel UPDEGRAFF; 1876, William STOREY; 1878, S. W. MCCULLOUGH; 1880, Robert MCCLUNG.
*Justices prior to 1840 are given in the general history.


The first school of which we have any account was taught in a house which stood in the hollow west of Petrolia. Probably as early as 1800, Master Ben FLETCHER taught here a term or two. The early schoolhouses were all constructed after about the same pattern, and have been so often described in this work that a repetition of the description is unnecessary.

About 1806, a school house was erected where Karns City now stands, and John BROWN served as schoolmaster. A little later, Morris BREDIN was the teacher. The next schoolhouse was built on the SHAKELY farm. James REED was the teacher. William GIBSON taught school in a house on the MORTIMER farm about 1812, and Thomas MCCLEARY a year or two later. From all accounts, MCCLEARY (afterward well known as Squire MCCLEARY) was a schoolmaster of unusual severity of manner, without that suavity of appearance which has been regarded as necessary to members of his profession. He was accustomed to keep at hand a "cat o'nine tails" made of buckskin, and when ever a scholar was caught offending, this formidable weapon was thrown at him, accompanied by the command, "Bring that here, sir." The trembling culprit obeyed, and the reader can imagine the next act of the performance.

"Dominie" COOK, a Roman Catholic, was another teacher in the same place. He was an odd old fellow, with a somewhat exalted opinion of his own importance. On one occasion, after a great freshet, COOK was on his way to the schoolhouse, and came to a swollen run which he did not dare to cross. Seeing two of his pupils, Thomas WILSON and Robert CAMPBELL, approaching, he called them to his assistance. There was a log across the stream, and upon this the old man attempted to cross, one of the boys on each side, leading him, and walking in the water, which was fully waist deep. The boys did not enjoy this cold bath, and thought it but right that the schoolmaster should be wet as well as themselves. Therefore, when they had reached the middle of the stream, Robert gave Thomas a wink, both staggered and [p. 372] somehow Dominie COOK was drawn into the water. The boys ran back to Mr. WILSONs house and were drying themselves by the fire when the schoolmaster appeared, wet and wrathful. He wanted to whip them, but Mr. WILSON threatened to treat him the same way if he did, and there the matter ended.

It was customary to bar the master out the day after Christmas, and, if possible, get his signature to an agreement to furnish a treat of apples and whisky before admitting him. Apples were very scarce, and KNOX's orchard, in Armstrong County usually furnished the supply, it being the only orchard of any importance in the neighborhood.

A schoolhouse, erected a short distance east of where the Fairview Presbyterian Church now stands, was Fairview's first school building. It was built about 1825, and had glass, instead of paper, for window lights.


This pretty country village, sober, quiet and unpretentious, dates its foundation as far back as the year 1826, when James MCELWEE started a small grocery at the cross-roads. He sold whisky; the whisky produced fights, as it invariably does, and made business for the Squire. In 1830, Thomas MCCLEARY, Esq., and William HAWK caused town lots to be laid off on portions of their farms, and soon a small but prosperous village sprang into existence.

Among the early settlers of the town were Robert PATTON, James ADAMS, William MCCAFFERTY, James MOORE, George WARD, John EMRICK, Peter BEIGHLE, John SMITH and others.

William MCCAFFERTY came to Fairview soon after the town was laid out, and worked at cabinet-making. He kept the first tavern. When he engaged in this business, he had not much to start with, not even a glass for his customers to drink out of. When a man called for a drink of whisky, a flask was handed to him, and he gauged the drink according to his own liking.

Robert PATTON was one of the early merchants, James ADAMS began keeping store in a part of John SMITH's house, in 1839. He afterward built a log store, and his son W.C. ADAMS, afterward Maj. ADAMS, clerked for him. Major ADAMS also kept store on his own account some years later, and became one of the leading business men of the place. In 1872, he erected the large three-story hotel now known as the ADAMS House. He died in 1881.

George WARD was the first blacksmith in the place. James MOORE also worked at the same trade. WARD acted as mail-carrier after the post office was established, and walked to Butler once a week to carry the mail.

The post office was established soon after the town was laid out. Peter BEIGHLE was the first Postmaster and his share of the receipts of the office for the first quarter was 90 cents. Robert PATTON was Postmaster in 1836. James MCELWAIN was mail contractor, and Robert T. MAXWELL, then a lad of twelve years, carried the mail through the woods on horseback from Butler to Lawrenceburg.

William ALEXANDER, the oldest resident of the borough, came to Fairview in 1840. He states that at that date all the buildings in the place, including houses, shops, stores and outbuildings, numbered only seventeen.

Ten years later, the village had grown considerably. In 1850, there were three stores kept by Robert PATTON, Shields ADAMS and Maj. ADAMS William MCCAFFERTY and George EMRICK each kept hotel at this date. There were several shops where different trades were carried on, and altogether, Fairview was a good business point. C. SCOTT came in 1850, and engaged in the saddlery and harness business. In 1862, he began keeping a general store, which he still continues, being now the oldest merchant in the place. John SCOTT, his brother, commenced the harness business before 1850, and remained there till elected Sheriff.

In 1844 Col. James A. GIBSON and M. S. ADAMS started a foundry. ADAMS sold the foundry to ARNOLD & CRAWFORD in 1858. J. J. MAXWELL ran it from 1858 until 1872, when he quit the business. The foundry has not been in operation since.

Fairview grew but slowly until 1872, when the oil developments began to lend impetus to its prosperity. Previous to the date mentioned, probably the population of the village was at no time over 200; in 1876, it was estimated that there were 1,000 people living in the town. During the oil period, there was great business activity and commendable progress in all directions. Many business houses appeared, and a large number of tasty and elegant residences were erected. Nearly all of the old buildings of the town disappeared and were replaced by new ones of better kind.

In 1872, the borough of Fairview was organized, and John POLLOCK elected the first Burgess. In 1875, a public school building was erected at a cost of about $3,000, and the school graded. For building the house about $500 was raised by the citizens in personal subscriptions. A festival was held with a lottery as a feature of the entertainment, to raise funds for furnishing the schoolhouse. The receipts from this festival--the most successful ever held in Butler-netted about $1,800, which sum was turned over to the school fund. The schools have been under good instructors, and are in a prosperous condition. R. W. MCKEE, himself an old teacher in Fairview in 1872, and has taken commendable in- [p. 373] terest in the schools. He was the leading spirit in organizing the festival above mentioned. Mr. MCKEE is the inventor of a new system of school rewards, know as the "National Bank of Knowledge," which is meeting with great favor among leading educators everywhere.

A number of destructive fires have visited the town of recent years, destroying two hotels and other buildings. January 28, 1877, occurred a shocking casualty which deserves more than passing mention. At that time the town was supplied with gas from the Indian Spring gas well. A leak in the main on the opposite side of the street from Mr Robert PATTON's house allowed the gas to escape and make its way beneath the ice in the street into Mr. PATTON's cellar, which was filled completely without the knowledge of the inmates of the house. Rev. D. DECKER, who was boarding with the PATTON family at the time, brought his lamp down stairs for Mrs. PATTON to fill. She took it and set it, still burning, in the cellar way at the head of the stairs. The next thing was a terrific explosion, which almost completely destroyed the house. Mr. And Mrs. PATTON and Rev. DECKER sustained severe injuries. Mrs. PATTON died three days after. Mr. PATTON and Rev. DECKER lay for a long time, and their recovery was doubtful; but after about two months, they were able to be about.

The Fairview Deposit and Savings Bank was established August 15, 1872. It was a private bank managed by RALSTON, MCQUAIDE & Co.; D. A. RALSTON, President, and R. W. MCKEE, Cashier. This bank closed March 15, 1882; liabilities about $225,000, and assets very small. This was the most damaging blow ever received by Fairview.

The situation of Fairview, away from railroads, and the springing up of towns near by, and the decline of the oil business, have all contributed to diminish the prosperity of the town. In 1 82,[sic] the borough contains an estimated population of 400, four churches, one physician, one hotel two large general stores, two drug stores, one grocery, one hardware store, one harness shop, one shoe-maker's shop, one meat market, two blacksmiths' shops, two wagon shops, one bakery, one furniture store, three livery stables, two millinery shops, etc.

John A. CHRISTIE kept stationery and furnishing goods in connection with the post office in 1872-77. In 1877, C.C. ALEXANDER bought the store and engaged in the drug business. H. W. JAMESON began keeping a livery stable in 1880.

Hon. George K. GRAHAM, of Fairview, is a grandson of Samuel GRAHAM, an early settler in Alegheny Township. John GRAHAM, son of Samuel, resided some years in Venango County , and there the subject of this notice was born. Mr. GRAHAM came to Butler County in 1845, and lived in Parker Township, near Martinsburg. In 1862, he removed to Fairview Township, his present home. Mr. GRAHAM was in the service during the late war as a member of Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment. Enlisting as a private, he became Regimental Quartermaster, and subsequently was on the staff of Gen. Paul as Brigade Quartermaster. Mr. GRAHAM has been engaged in the oil business for several years, also in surveying and civil engineering. He was a teacher for several years, and Principal of Sunbury Academy from 1867 to 1870. In 8178, he was elected a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Butler County, and discharged the duties of this position with much credit to himself and the district which he represented. His wife is Eleanor J., daughter of James WILSON, the oldest resident of this township.


Borough of Fairview-1873, A.G. MAHAFFY; 1874, M. S. RAY; 1876, William C. ADAMS; 1879 M. S. RAY; 1881, J. D. BURTON.


This was the earliest religious organization in the northeastern part of the county. A congregation was formed near the close of the last century. The first place of worship was a tent, known as the Deer Lick Tent, and stood in the old graveyard, midway between Fairview and Karns City. About 1800, Samuel KINCAID, Joseph SMITH, John CRAIG and other Presbyterians of the neighborhood undertook and completed the work of erecting a log church, a mile northeast of Fairview. Its site was in the present Lower Bear Creek Cemetery. William WILSON gave two acres of ground for a church lot. The building was small, unplastered, and could be used only in the summer.
*For this article, and other items of history, the thanks of the editor are due Rev. D. Decker, of Fairview.

In December, 1800, Rev. William MOORHEAD received a call to become pastor, but did not accept.

The first pastor, Rev. Robert JOHNSTON, began his labors in 1803, and preached for the Bear Creek and Scrubgrass congregations. In 1807, he withdrew and devoted all of his time to the Scrubgrass Church. Rev. Robert LEE, one of the five original members of the Erie Presbytery, supplied Bear Creek Church a few years. At the opening of the war of 1812, the church was without a pastor, and during several subsequent years, there were occasional supplies, and communions at stated times, conducted by the order of the Presbytery. A Sabbath society was held, and the exercises generally led by Elder KINCAID. For [p. 374] some time previous to 1820, Rev Cyrus RIGGS, stationed at West Unity, preached frequently at Bear Creek. In June, 1821, Rev. Alexander COOK was installed pastor of this church and of Ebenezer (now Parker City). In 1822 or 1823, he secured the erection of a larger church, of logs. The logs were hewed and the building plastered. Its site was the Upper Bear Creek Cemetery. In June, 1827, Mr. COOK was released from this charge. He died in Ohio the following year. In 1830, the Allegheny Presbytery granted the request of the Bear Creek Church for the services of Rev. Joseph JOHNSON, a stranger, who claimed that his credentials were in Ireland. He failed to produce his credentials, for which reason, among others, sanction to his further labors was refused by the Presbytery. His people took issue with the Presbytery, sustaining the pastor, who was very popular. The bitterness increased, until at length, in 1834 all the congregation, excepting five families and one Elder, withdrew from the control of the Presbytery and were received into the Associate Reformed Congregation soon after. Mr. JOHNSON returned to Ireland, leaving in his place Rev. James GREEN, who continued to preach at Bear Creek and West Unity. From that time the history of the Bear Creek Church is the history of the U.P. Church at Fairview.


The United Presbyterian Congregation of Fairview had its origin in the Bear Creek Presbyterian congregation. The pastors, while the church was at Bear Creek, were Revs. Joseph JOHNSTON, James GREEN, Robert W. OLIVER, RIDDLE, James H. FIFE and John A. CAMPBELL. In 1857, the organization changed its place of meeting from Bear Creek to Fairview and became the Fairview Associate Reformed Church, and subsequently the Fairview U.P. Church. Rev. William P. BRADIN was then the pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. David DODDS, and in 1878 by Rev. A.B.C. MCFARLAND, the present pastor. The congregation is large and flourishing. During the year 1882, a large and elegant church edifice was erected. It is of brick, two stories, and of a very tasteful style of architecture, making it one of the best and most beautiful churches in Butler County.


The first efforts to organize a Presbyterian congregation were made in 1872. Rev. VAN EMAN conducted services for a time at Fairview and Karns. A subscription of over $1,000 was raised for the purpose of erecting a church, and a committee was appointed by the Presbytery to form a congregation. Through some means, the work did not succeed. In 1874, interest in the matter again revived. Rev THORNE preached during the winter and spring of 1874. T. S. NEGLEY, a Princeton student, preached during the summer of 1875. August 12, of that year, he organized a congregation, consisting of twelve members. R. W. MCKEE and Thomas HAYS were elected Elders and were ordained by Rev. J. H. MARSHALL. August 22, communion was administered, and eleven members were added to the congregation, Rev. D. DECKER began his labors at Fairview and Karns, as a licentiate, November 7, 1875. Services were held during the winter and spring in the German Reformed Church and in the schoolhouse, and thirty-eight new members were received. A house was built at Karns during the summer of 1876 at a cost of $3,000, and dedicated on the 6th of August by Rev. W. H. GILL, of Allegheny City. The same season the Fairview people erected a house of worship at a cost of over $5,000. The building was completed in December and dedicated by Rev. GILL on the 17th of the month. It was found that the congregation owed no debt, but had a balance in the treasury.

November 1, 1876, Rev. DECKER was installed pastor of the united congregations, but at the same time was authorized to effect a separate organization at Karns. This organization was effected November 15; C. S. LESLIE and W.W. RANDOLPH were appointed Elders.

In January, 1877, the Karns church agreed to dispense with the services of Rev. DECKER, who, after recovering from serious injuries received in a gas explosion, continued his labors at Fairview. Karns in the meantime received the services of Rev. John RUTHERFORD and Rev. W. D. PATTON. October 12, Rev. DECKER received and accepted a call for one half of his time at Karns, and was installed pastor on the 30th, since which time both churches have been under his care.


The first German church in this vicinity was White or Sugar Creek German Reformed and Luther congregation which met at a log meeting house in the southeaster part of Fairview Township. The first record is of a donation of a lot of land to the congregation in 1813. As far as can be learned, Rev. Henry KOCH (Reformed) was the first minister. The Sugar Creek congregation now worships in Armstrong County, the third church building on the lot where the graveyard is having been torn down and removed in 1869. The Sugar Creek Church is the parent of the St. Peter's Reformed Church, Fairview, and of St. John's in the southern part of this township, near Miller town. At the latter place, a brick church was erected in 1869. Rev. KOCH was pastor of the Sugar Creek Church twenty-five years.

In 1832, a log meeting-house, the first church in [p. 375] Fairview, was erected. It was built by the Lutherans, but afterward became a union church, and was occupied by the Lutherans and the Reformed, Rev. SCHWEITZERBARTH and other ministers officiated here. In 1845, Rev. Samuel MILLER was pastor of the Sugar Creek congregation, and under his ministry the Fairview Reformed congregation was organized. The present house of worship was built during Rev. Abner DALE's pastorate, and dedicated May 31, 1857. Fairview formed a part of the Sugar Creek charge until 1872, when it was made a separate appointment. In 1879, Fairview and Millerstown were made to constitute one charge and Sugar Creek another. The pastors have been as follows: Rev. Samuel MILLER, 1845-49; L. D. LEBERMAN, 1849-50; Samuel MILLER, 1850-52; H. F. HARTMAN, 1852-56; Abner DALE, 1856-60; David O. SHOEMAKER, 1860-62; J. S. SHADE, 1865-69; Abner DALE, 1869-75; Joseph HANNABERRY, 1875-79. Rev. J.W. ALSPACH, the present pastor, was installed in June, 1879. During Rev. DALE's first ministry services ceased to be conducted in German, except occasionally; and now for some years the preaching has been wholly in English. The number of communicants in September, 1882, was one hundred and fifty-two.


This is an old organization, but diligent research has failed to reveal its history. There are no early records of the class to be found. The house of worship was erected in 1847, since which time the church has enjoyed various periods of prosperity and adversity. The church now numbers about sixty members, and is a part of the Karns City Circuit.


Knights of Honor.--Liberty Lodge, No. 965, K. Of H., was chartered March 19, 1878, with thirty-one charter members. The present membership is about sixty.

Equitable Aid Union.--Baldwin Union, No. 467, E. A. U., was instituted in July, 1882, with about twenty members.

United Workmen.--McNair Lodge, No. 107, A.O.U.W., was instituted April 5, 1877, with twenty three charter members. The present number of members is about thirty-five. At one time the lodge numbered sixty-five.


Petroleum built Petrolia. The town is only ten years old, yet it has passed through vicissitudes such as any but an oil town would scarcely experience in half a century. In November, 1871, F. M. CAMPBELL built the first house in Argyle--excepting farm houses. A few months later, Argyle presented the appearance of a very lively village, with stores, machine shops, etc. but the cross roads farther to the south seemed a more desirable site for the future "city," and about this point buildings began to spring up as if by magic. The first house in Petrolia was erected by W.E. CLARK, in February, 1872. It is still standing, having been converted into a meat shop, and is at present occupied by Frank RIEF. John PAINTER, of Brady's Bend established the first grocery and saloon, on the corner of Main and Jameson streets. This was quickly followed by a store, 12x18 feet, built by R. W. CRAM, and used as a news room and office of the Penny Post. The oil excitement was at a high pitch, and in a few weeks Petrolia had grown into a flourishing town, with stores, machine shops, hotels, saloons and shanties, all hastily contrived. George H. GRAHAM made the first survey of lots, and, in an incredibly short time, the GRAHAM farm (then owned by the RENO Real Estate Company), and the farms of John B. JAMESON, James CAMPBELL and James BLANEY had been partially absorbed in the fast-growing town.

The morals of the new settlement were characteristic of oildom. Fully three thousand people had their homes here, and among the population were many roughs, and men and women of shameless character. Drunkenness, prostitution and other forms of vice became so prevalent that the leading citizens deemed it advisable to secure the corporation of the town, in order that these evils might be checked. During the summer of 1872, measures were taken to form a borough government, and in December of the same year the organization was effected, and George H. DIMICK elected burgess. The borough was fully incorporated according to law, February 1, 1873. Mr. DIMICK proved a very efficient officer, and aided by a strong police force, soon was able to maintain comparatively good order and establish justice.

Among the first business place opened were ROBERTSON's machine shop, built by W. E. CLARK; MCBRIDE's drug store, the Central Hotel, by Peter CHRISTIE & Co. a man named Ben HOGAN erected a large building which he styled the Opera House. Under his management the house gained very unenviable notoriety, but after it passed into different hands it came to be well patronized, and many men of national reputation came hither in the role of lecturers.

COURTNEY built one of the first machine shops. In 1874, IRELAND and Mr. CAUGHTRY bought it. In 1878, the building was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in the fall of the same year. Mr. L. N. IRELAND, now in partnership with James E. HUGHES, has been connected with the management of the shop since 1874. In 1875-76, from eighteen to twenty-eight men were employed in these works.

[p. 376] Petrolia soon came to be regarded as the very center of the lower oil region, and some of the largest operators accordingly made it their headquarters. It was found that a bank was indispensable, and the result was the establishment of the Argyle Savings Bank, August 22, 1872, with H. L TAYLOR, President. This bank still continues to do a solid business. H. L TAYLOR is still President, and E. A. TAYLOR is the present cashier.

R. W. CRAM was the first Postmaster. The office was established in 1873. Mr. CRAM was succeeded in 1882 by William GIBSON, the present Postmaster. At one time, the office was a large distributing office. In 1877, it was estimated that at least 5,000 adults received their mail through Petrolia Post Office. It became a third-class office in 1877, and paid a larger salary than any other office in the county.

The population of towns in the oil region is always an unstable quantity. Petrolia in its most prosperous days was probably the home of at least 6,000 people. The years 1875-6-7 were by far the best in the history of the town. The rapid rise in the price of oil, in 1876, stimulated the industrial growth of the place to the utmost. In 1879, business activity declined, and there was a consequent exodus of population. The census of 1880 showed over 1,100 inhabitants in the borough, but the number is now considerably diminished. Still, Petrolia remains, as it has been for several years, the most important oil town in the lower oil region.

Petrolia has a very efficient fire department, consisting of two hose companies with a membership of about fifty each. The United Hose Company No. 1 was organized by A.C. BEESON, in 1873, and consisted solely of employes [sic] of the United Pipe Line Company. This was followed by a citizens' company called the Petrolia Hose, which, while it continued, was a large and well-managed company. The Protective Hose Company was organized in 1874, by citizens of the borough, and still continues a most efficient organization. Both it and the United Hose Company are now incorporated.

For the protection of the borough against losses from fire, an ordinance was enacted April 7, 1874, granting to A.C. BEESON and Murant COMPTON the full and exclusive right to construct water works. The right was transferred to E. O'DONNELL and Frank L. MASSON, who at once proceeded to construct works as a private enterprise. In June, 1880, the property was divided into a capital stock of $1,200, and mostly sold to citizens of the borough. The company organized with the following board of managers: Guerdon WILLIAMS, Chairman; D. C. BACKUS, T.T. MAPES, D. A. CYPHER; F. L. MASSON, Superintendent; S. W. HARLEY, Secretary; and E. A. TAYLOR, Treasurer. Mr. MASSON has been Superintendent from the beginning. The works consist of one water pump of twenty-horse power, to supply the town with water; a stationary pump of forty-horse power for use in case of fire; and about five miles of hose.

Petrolia has four good hotels, and is well supplied with shops and stores of all kinds. The principal industries are now represented as follows: The machine-shop of IRELAND & HUGHES; the boiler works of J. C. LYONS, and of Frank QUINN & Co.; the cup and valve manufactory of A. W. ROOT; and the machine-shop of A. C. PRICE. The United Pipe Line Company formerly had large machine-shops and an extensive foundry in Petrolia. These works were removed in 1880.


D.C. BACKUS was engaged in the hardware business, in connection with machine repairing, for several years. He began business at Arglye, in 1871, his store being one of the first business houses erected. In 1872, the store was removed to Petrolia. At one time the firm of which he was a member ware doing a business of $30,000 per month. Mr. BACKUS closed out his business and removed to Jamestown, N.Y.

S. W. HARLEY came to Petrolia in March, 1872, and for several years followed the business of contractor and operator in oil. August 1, 1877, he was appointed agent of the Standard Oil Company in the purchase of crude oil, and given charge of the Petrolia office. He still holds the same position with the Standard Company's successors, H. LEWIS & Co.

James L. CLARK, proprietor of Hotel Brunswick, came to Petrolia during the first excitement, and was quite largely engaged in the oil business for some years. In 1878, he bought the property, formerly a restaurant, which has since been known as the Hotel Brunswick.

The principal dry goods stores in Petrolia are those of J. BENEDICT & Sons and E. P. CHESEBRO. BENEDICT & Sons established their business in 1876: they have two large stores and carry a valuable stock of goods. E. P. CHESEBRO came to Petrolia in 1876, and engaged as clerk for T. B. BROWN. In 1879, he bought out the store and began business for himself.

The first clothing store in Petrolia was established in 1873, by Ellis GOODMAN He was succeeded by GOODMAN & MARKS, and in 1879 by FREEMAN & MARKS.

N. C. GIFFORD came to Butler County in 1872, and was among the first to engage in developing the oil territory in the vicinity of Millerstown; he is now Superintendent of the Union Oil Company, a position which he has held two years in Millerstown, and two in Petrolia.

A. A. ANDERSON, dentist, is a native of Butler, and learned dentistry in that town with LEFEVERE & MOORE. [p. 377] He began practice at Harrisville in 1873, and settled at Petrolia in 1881.

L. P. CROSS, photographer, has been engaged in his business in Fairview and Petrolia, for about ten years.


Petrolia Borough--1873, A. L. CAMPBELL; 1873, J. A. THOMPSON; 1874, J. H. LEWIS; 1874, B. F. WESSON; 1875, B. F. WESSON; 1879, James BUZZARD; 1880, James BUZZARD; 1881, Francis F. HERR; 1882, Robert J. BOTTNER.


On Saturday July 26, 1879, Petrolia was visited by one of the heaviest storms ever known in this region. About 11:00 A. M., so much rain had fallen that Bear Creek was converted into a rushing river, and soon after, in the vicinity of Karns City, fences, small buildings and all other object in the way were swept away and carried down stream. The railroad bridge above Petrolia stayed the onward rush of the debris for a time, but suddenly giving way without warning, Bear Creek and its heavy burden of floating timber was precipitated upon the town. Jameson Creek had previously broken through buildings on the east side of the railroad track, and when the dam at the railroad bridge broke, it became evident that the business portion of the town was doomed to destruction; the coliseum, a large building sixty by one hundred and seventy feet erected by the pedestrian association at a cost of $1,400, was washed from its foundations, and floated upon the water like a toy. This huge bulk was driven against other buildings, and they in turn gave way, until along the entire course of the stream, the town was bereft of buildings. Some fifty buildings were destroyed, and about the same number inundated. The wildest excitement prevailed, but fortunately there were no serious accidents.

Some very amusing incidents occurred, among others, the following: during the morning, a walking match was in progress at the Coliseum, and the champions were still contending when the flood struck the town. One athlete, in his walking suit, and with spectacles upon his nose, was seen on top of the Coliseum as it moved down the stream. When the building came in contact with the hose house, he leaped from the roof to the top of the latter building, and rode onward until his novel conveyance stopped, and he was enabled to land in safety.

The buildings destroyed were generally of little value, and probably would not average over $200 each. But the value of goods and furniture lost was very great. The Record, in its next issue, estimated the entire loss in Karns and Petrolia at $75,000. Karns was but slightly damaged. Among the largest losses in Petrolia, according to the Record's estimates, were the following: C. BARTHOLD, clothing store, $8,000; R. J BOTTNER, jewelry store, $5,500: FOOTE & WEEKS, drug store, $6,000; M. N. MILES, law office, $1,100; M. C. BENEDICT, law office, $1,384. Damaged United Pipe Line, buildings, etc., $5,000; Central drug Store, $1,000. An entire solid block of buildings, standing over the creek on Railroad street, were completely destroyed.


Petrolia M. E. Church was organized in 1874, on the 1st of September by Rev. George J. SQUIRE. The house was erected the same year, at a cost of about $2,000. William ALVERSON was the first class leader. The number of members at the first was fifteen. The present membership is about 200.

St. James' Roman Catholic Church was erected in 1874, under the pastorate of Father TIERNEY. The cost of the house was about $4,000. The membership of this church, once very large, has fallen off greatly.

In 1882, a building was purchased and fitted up as a mission chapel of the Episcopal Church. Rev. Edwin BURKE, of Butler, began preaching in the opera house in 1881, and still continued his labors till the fall of 1882. The number of communicants is twenty-nine.


Argyle Lodge, No. 540, F. & A. M., of Petrolia, was formed July 15, 1875, with thirty-eight charter members. The membership in September, 1882, was eighty.

Petrolia City Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 903, was in existence several years, but is now extinct.

The Clipper Lodge, No. 59, A. O. U. W., was chartered September 3, 1875, with the following first officers: H. C. PORTERFIELD, P. M. W.; C. E. RYDER, M. W.; James HARVEY, G. F.; William MCCLUPPER, O.; S. J. ADAMS, Recorder; J. M. HARRISON, Financier; W. G. HARSHAW, Receiver; William GREENWOOD, G; James DAILEY, I. W.; W. G. WALTER, O. W.

We learn that Virgil Council, No. 170, R. A., was formed in September, 1878. The first officers were as follows: M. N. MILES, Regent; C. M. ZINCK, Vice Regent; J. R. BARD, Orator; J. A. LINDSEY, Past Regent; F. C. CLUXTON, Secretary; J. F. CAMPBELL, Treasurer; S. P. MILES, Chaplain; J. E. SAMMEL, Guide; J. N. WEIR, Warden; F. E. HINMAN, Sentry.

The James Guthrie Campbell, Post No. 107, G. A. R., was organized October 14, 1878, with thirteen charter members. The Post has prospered well, and at present has a membership of about fifty.

The Equitable Aid Union is a new fraternal [p. 378] order, incorporated March 22, 1879, intended as a beneficial aid union. All white persons of either sex who are physically and socially acceptable, are admissible to membership between the ages of sixteen and sixty-five. Florence Union, No. 435, Petrolia, was organized April 12, 1882, with thirty-seven charter members.


Karns City was laid out in 1872, by John H. HAINES and Samuel DUNCAN, on the farms of Samuel L. RIDDLE and Hugh P. MCCLYMONDS. In a very brief space of time a flourishing oil town sprang up and was doing a brisk business in almost every line of trade. In 1876, the population had become nearly 2,000; in 1882, it is less that 400 and is fast diminishing. The causes of this rapid decline and fall are to be found in the same source to which the town owes its existence, namely, the oil business, and need not be detailed here.

Karns City was incorporated as a borough January 4, 1875. The limits of the borough were extended July 1, 1875, so that now the MCCLYMONDS farm of 214 acres, and the fourteen acres of the RIDDLE farm, are included. L. D. AKIN was the first Burgess elected.

Previous to the organization of a borough government, the usual lawlessness of new oil towns prevailed. At one time there were twenty-nine places where liquor were sold, and drunkenness and fighting were things of ever-day occurrence; Sundays, especially, the roughs that infested the town carried their revels to a shameless extent. But all this soon passed away, and in its place law and order were established.

The dilapidated appearance of the town at present would not indicate that Karns City was wealthy and prosperous but two or three years ago. A glance at the books of the borough, however, reveals that fact that the sum of $2,913.22 was received in taxes for the year ending June, 1878, showing that the property of the town at that time was no inconsiderable amount.

Karns City has water works, of the kind peculiar to oil towns, and fire department which was formerly very efficient. The latter consists of the Union Hose Company, organized in 1876.

The town has suffered three very destructive fires; the first occurred on the 2d of December, 1874, and destroyed the heart of the town; the losses were very large, and few business men were so fortunate as not to have their property damaged. Sixty-four buildings were destroyed; a second fire, in 1876, and a third, in 1879, were also very destructive.

On the 5th of March, 1877, there was a fire which resulted in the loss of eight lives. Early morning, on the day mentioned, the Bateman House, a hotel and boarding-house which stood near the depot, was discovered to be on fire; efforts were made to rescue the sleeping inmates from the burning house, but they were unsuccessful. Mrs. BATEMAN and three of her children perished in the flames, and a gentleman who was boarding at the house suffered the same horrible death. The proprietor of the house, F. E. BATEMAN, his son, and a male boarder, were so badly burned that they died after ta few hours of terrible agony.

Karns City Post Office was established in 1874. A penny post from Petrolia was established in 1873; the Postmasters have been E. S. HARVEY, A. N. HAMOR and Miss M. B. MORSE.

Ralston, McQuaide & Co., carried on the banking business in this place from 1872 to 1880.

Karns City still has a number of stores and hotels which are doing a good business, but all present indications are that the town has seen its best days.

W. H. HOFFMAN, a native Monroe County, N. Y., came to Butler County in 1870; he had followed the oil excitement, beginning at Pithole in 1865. He became a large and successful producer of oil in this county, and had one of the largest producing wells--one at Karns City which yielded twenty hundred barrels per day. Mr. HOFFMAN was elected Sheriff of Butler County in 1878, and served three years. He was nominated by the Democrats for Assembly in 1882.


1875, T. P. BROWN; 1875, David J. STEWART; 1878, Robert DUNN; 1879, James H. LEWIS; 1879, Robert DUNN; 1880, D. J. STEWART.


Karns City has two churches--Presbyterian and Methodist. The history of the former is treated in connection with the Fairview Presbyterian Church. The Karns City Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. G. J. SQUIRE in 1874. The church edifice and parsonage were erected in 1876. The Karns city Circuit is composed of Karns City and Fairview.


Karns City Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 931, was chartered February 28, 1876. The following were the first officers: P. R. BURKE, NE. G. ; A. S. MESSIMER, V. G.; J. L HENRY, Sec.; S. H PETTIGREW, Asst. Sec.; J. L PHILLIPS, Treas.

The Karns City Lodge, No. 106, A. O. U. W., was chartered March 31, 1877. First officers: A. D. MEAD, P. M. W.; J. MOORHEAD, M. W.; A. T. MEAD, G. F.; A. J. RHEINHART, O.; F. J. PAINTER, [p. 379] Recorder; J.L. HENRY, Financier; F.S. HOUGHTON, Receiver; J.M. MCCANDLESS, G.; J. WILCOX, I.W.; W.H. PHILLIPS, O.W.

Derrick Lodge, No. 456, Knights of Pythias, was chartered May 1, 1877, with eleven charter members. In September 1882, the membership was one hundred and forty-five.

Gold Lining Union, No. 463, Equitable Aid Union, was instituted July 7, 1882, with forty charter members.

The hall in which the various lodges meet is owned by the Odd Fellows. It is tastily and well furnished.


This village was laid out about 1847, by John McKISSON upon land which he bought from Michael ANDREW. Thomas JACKSON, an Irishman, was the first settler on the land where the village now is, and Mr. ANDREW, the subsequent owner of the property.

McKISSON started a store and a tavern which he kept for some years. Mr. Isaac KEPPLE, who has resided in Buena Vista since 1851, says that when he came, the "town" consisted of five or six houses, a store, tavern and a blacksmith shop.

N. PONTIUS came to Buena Vista in 1863, and engaged in the mercantile business. His store remained the only one in the place until 1872, when the effects of the oil excitement soon converted Buena Vista into a lively and flourishing town. Mr. PONTIUS still resides in the place, but discontinued his mercantile business four years ago. There are now two general stores, kept by Paul TROUTMAN and Enos ELLENBERGER. J.J. SUTTON keeps a grocery and the post office. The latter was established in 1872, with Mr. SUTTON Postmaster. The office is known as Peachville.

Buena Vista was formerly quite an important oil town, and contained six stores, two drug stores, machine shops, hotels, etc., all of which have disappeared. A large hotel, erected by Alexander STOREY soon after the oil excitement commenced, was destroyed by fire in August, 1875. At the same time thirty-seven buildings were destroyed, including four stores and the heart of the business portion of the place. Numerous buildings have since been torn down and removed, so that now but little remains to tell what the village once was.


This little village, on the farm of Thomas HAYS, was built by the oil developments in its vicinity. At one time the place consisted of fifty or more houses, two hotels, stores, shops, machine shops, etc.

The first store in the place was conducted on a small scale by John McCORKLE. W.G. HAYS is at present the only merchant in the place. He began business in 1875.

N.W. KROUSE's machine shop and store for oilwell supplies is the most important business establishment in the place. Mr. KROUSE came to Haysville in 1876. The village was then at its best. Since 1879, it has declined considerably, though there is still considerable business transacted here.


The house of worship of this congregation was built in 1869. It is situated near Millerstown. The congregation was organized June 26, 1870, with seventy-four members. The pastors have been Rev. A. DALE and Rev. J.W. ALSPACH. At present this church has a membership of 110.


Thalia Grange, No. 636, P. of H., Fairview Township, was organized December 20, 1865, with sixteen charter members. Present membership, twenty.



Rudolph BARNHART, of German descent, came from Westmoreland County about the year 1797, and located upon the farm now occupied by his descendants. There were then no settlers in the neighborhood, excepting the HEMPHILLs and a man named SPANGLER. After commencing work upon his land, Mr. BARNHART returned to Westmoreland County for his wife. Her maiden name was Christina RICE. She was the mother of eleven children, all of whom were born in Butler County: William, Philip, Susanna (wife of Jonathan ANDRE), Christina (wife of Joseph VENSIL), Frederick, Elizabeth (married John ANDRE), Rudolph, Simon, Andrew, Mary (wife of Nicholas KING), and Catharine (wife of John EBERHART). Of this family the following are still living: Simon and Mrs. EBERHART, Fairview Township; Mrs. VENSIL, Donegal Township; Mrs. Elizabeth ANDRE and Mrs. KING, Concord Township.

Philip BARNHART was born on the old homestead in 1801. He was brought up to hard work and lived the life of a sober, upright and industrious farmer. In 1825, he married Mary WILES, a native of this county and a daughter of Frederick WILES, who emigrated from Eastern Pennsylvania to this county and settled in Donegal Township about the year 1799. Mrs. BARNHART is still living. Mr. BARNHART died in 1872. He was a member of the Reformed Church, to which denomination all of his family adhere. Of his family of eleven children, six are living. The names of the children are Susan, William, Samuel, Christina, Elizabeth, Magdalena, Catherine, Eli R.[p.380 ] Webster, Sarah A. and Nancy C. The survivors are Samuel and Webster, each of whom lives upon portions of the old homestead; Susan, wife of David SHAKELY, Armstrong County; Catharine, wife of John S. MURTLAND, Concord Township; Sarah A., wife of William A. SMITH, Parker Township; and Nancy C., wife of William F. MURTLAND, Concord Township.

R.W. BARNHART, who is well known as a prominent and influential citizen of this township, was born in 1844 and has lived upon the farm, devoting himself to agriculture, and of late years paying considerable attention to oil production. His farm has proved quite prolific oil territory. Since 1873, nine wells have been drilled, three of which are still producing. Mr. BARNHART has now exempted his farm from leases, so that the product of future wells will be entirely his own. Mr. BARNHART is a Republican in politics. He has never aspired to office, but in his capacity of private citizen he is recognized a man of liberality—public spirited and ready to encourage every good work.

He was married in 1865 to Mary A. SHAKELY, daughter of Henry SHAKELY, of Fairview township. They have three children--Presly A., Eda A. and Maria S.


One of the earliest pioneers of Butler County was John CAMPBELL, who moved from Polk Run, Westmoreland County, in 1798. While in Westmoreland County, Indians were so numerous and troublesome that the minister, Rev. PORTER, was accustomed to keep his gun by his side in the pulpit. John CAMPBELL was the father of eight sons and one daughter, all of whom are dead—Robert, John, Andrew, James, William, Joseph, Jane, Thomas and Samuel. In 1808, Andrew CAMPBELL, son of John, Sr., moved from Clarion County to the farm that is now A.L. CAMPBELL's. His wife was Jane LEWIS. Their son Robert, born in 1805, is still living in good health. At his home are living the representatives of four generations—Robert, A.L., F.M. and Charles L. CAMPBELL.

Andrew Lewis CAMPBELL, the son of Robert and Elizabeth (GIBSON) CAMPBELL, was born March 9, 1827, on the farm where he now resides. August 3, 1848, he married Nancy Jane KNOX. Eight children of this union are living, viz., Findley M., Salina J. (BOYD), Asa J.S., John H.F., Stella F. (BYERS), Robert S.G., Mary Anne and William Washington. Mr. CAMPBELL received such education as the common schools afforded, and became a teacher when a young man, engaging in this employment winters and farming during the summers, for nine years. On the 19th of September, 1864, he enlisted in Company L, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was discharged in June, 1865. In 1872, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and in 1873, he received an election to the General Assembly of the State, from the counties of Butler, Beaver and Washington. In 1874, he was re-elected a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Butler County, and served during 1875-76, discharging his duties faithfully, and winning the esteem and confidence of his constituents.

Mr. CAMPBELL has been largely interested in oil production, and at one time held an interest as producer in seventy-two wells, among them the following: Two Argyle wells, one Duke of Argyle, two Bly and Rowley, two Ivanhoe, three Goodenough, two Replenisher, one Waverly (SCOTT farm), five Emery, one Orchard, one Peach Orchard, one Waverly (SCOTT farm), one Lupher (ditto), one Scudder, three Bronson & Perrin, two McEleer, one Reed, one Morehead & Fletcher, two Parsonage, one Hiawatha, one Osceola, One Old Settler, one Old Mortality, one Armstrong, and three Argyle Wells. Eight of the above wells were owned and controlled by Mr. CAMPBELL. On his farm (formerly the Robert CAMPBELL farm) was drilled the first well that called attention to Butler County as an important oil field. The town of Argyle, which became incorporated in Petrolia Borough in 1873, was built upon this farm.


Capt. John McCULLOUGH, a native of Scotland, was one of the pioneer settlers of Fairview Township, and located on the farm now occupied by his grandson, R.J. McCULLOUGH. He was a soldier of 1812. After his sons were large enough to attend to the management of the farm, he went to Butler, where he engaged in the manufacture of pottery. He afterward lived in Millerstown and died there. His children were David, William, John, James, Phebe (DEETS), Sarah (WICK), Susan (TRUXEL), Polly CRIDLER), Elizabeth (CRAWFORD), and Catharine (MILLER). Seven members of this family are living—John, in Butler; James and Phebe, Fairview Township; Sarah and Elizabeth, Concord Township; and Susan and Catharine, Butler.

David McCULLOUGH was born in 1811, and went to Butler with his parents. He returned to the farm when twenty-six years of age, and resided upon it until his death. He was a man of industry and integrity, straightforward and honest. He was successful in business and acquired a good property. He was a member of the English Lutheran Church; in politics, a Whig, then a Republican. He died December 12, 1880, in his seventieth year. His wife was Mary M. KING, daughter of George KING, of Armstrong County. She died July 22, 1863, in her [p. 381] fifty-first year. Mr. and Mrs. MCCULLOUGH reared seven children, five of whom are living. Their names are Richard J., John C., William H., Sarah A. (PONTIOUS), Mary (deceased), Phoebe D. (deceased), and Maggie M. (YEAGER). William H. is a physician, and resides in Tarentum. The others all live in this county.

R. J. MCCULLOUGH was born on the farm he now occupies, in 1837. He was married in 1858 to Elizabeth KAMERER, daughter of Daniel KAMERER, of Fairview Township. They have had two children, Alvin A., and Elmer S. Alvin died in 1861 at the age of six months. Elmer resides at home with his parents. Mr. MCCULLOUGH is a Republican. He and his family belong to the English Lutheran Church. Mr. MCCULLOUGH devotes himself to farming and stock-raising. He is a quiet, prosperous and worthy citizen. He home is a beautiful one, pleasantly situated.

[p. 368a]


The Hays family are of Irish extraction. George HAYS, grandfather of the subject of this biography, was born in Ireland, and came to this country about 1820. He settled in Armstrong County, on the farm where Thomas was born. He died shortly after he came to this country. Robert HAYS, son of George HAYS, married Deborah J. McKEE, and reared a family of seven sons and two daughters. He resided on the old farm in Armstrong County until 1874, when he came to Butler County, where he died three years later. He was a successful farmer, and acquired a comfortable competency. His wife is still living.

Thomas HAYS, the subject of this biography, was born January 19, 1840; spent his boyhood days on the farm with his father. He acquired a good common school education, and at the age of twenty-one enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was engaged in all the battles during the Peninsula campaign—siege of Suffolk, Cold Harbor, Richmond and Petersburg, and by reason of expiration of term of service was discharged; re-enlisted in Company L, Fourth United States Artillery, and served in the army of the Potomac. At the close of the war, he returned to his home. In 1865, he was married to Miss Kesia J., daughter of Christopher A. FOSTER, of Middlesex, Armstrong County. She was born in Sugar Creek Township March 27, 1841. The Foster family are also of Irish descent. Christopher A. was a thrifty farmer. After some years in that occupation, he engaged in the mercantile business. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. HAYS—Jennie L., Christopher F., Robert N., Maud B., Thomas H., Charles F.W. HAYS. In the year of 1867, Mr. HAYS bought a farm in Fairview Township, now known as the Haysville Farm. Since that time, he has bought other pieces of land, so that at the present time he is the owner of five or six hundred acres of land. He is one of the successful farmers of Butler County, and is engaged at the present time in the oil producing business. He is an ardent Republican, and has served acceptably positions of trust and responsibility, at all times using his influence for the cause of education, and protection to American industry, and is a great lover of his country, and believes that it is a Nation, and should be spelled with a large N. He is slow to resent a wrong, but never forgets one who befriends him.

[End of Chapter 40--Fairview 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 39--Brady Township
Chapter 41--Concord Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 07 Mar 2000, 13:46