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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 48 -- Marion Township

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Transcribed by Pat Collins. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XLVIII

p.436-- William Black Bio
p.436-- Joseph Porter Bio
p.437-- William Seaton Bio



[p. 429]

Lying upon the northern border of the county, its contiguous civil divisions being Venango Township on the east, Cherry Township on the south, Mercer Township on the west, and Venango County on the north, is the township of Marion. Organized in 1854, it was named doubtless, in honor of Gen. Francis MARION, a gallant American officer who distinguished himself in the Carolinas during the war of 1775-83.

The general surface is hilly, and drained by Slippery Rock Creek and its branches. The original forests were composed largely of oak, hickory, chestnut and a considerable portion of the township's area is still covered with a heavy growth of these varieties of trees. The residents of Marion are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, the farm products comparing favorably with other sections of the county, while the Shenango & Allegheny Railroad (which was completed in 1876), by crossing the southeast corner of the township, affords quite ample facilities for the shipment of freights, etc., etc. Iron ore, cannel coal, as well as the ordinary quality of bituminous coal, are also found in considerable quantities and at one time, not far remote, an iron furnace* was in blast within the limits of Marion.
*James KERR and Robert BRADEN built the "Marion Furnace" about the year 1850, and it was kept in blast for some ten or twelve years, using ore obtained in this and adjoining townships. Its capacity was small, however, and it produced but about three tons of metal per twenty-four hours. Charcoal alone was used for smelting.


Among the first settlers of the region now known as Marion Township were Messrs. DANIELS, Samuel McMURRAY, Robert ATWELL, Robert SEATON, John BLACK, Robert WADDLE, the PORTERS, COOKS, VANDYKES, DUNLAPS, VINCENTS, WARDS, VANDERLINS, LEES, MURRINS and others whose names (many of them) will be mentioned in succeeding pages; yet so many years have passed by since the pioneer's ax first woke the echoes of the primeval forests, that it is extrememly difficult, we might add impossible, at this time, to determine who the very first settlers were, or the exact date of their settlement. It appears, however, that with the exception of DANIELS (who, it is related, came here before the Indians had altogether ceased to be hostile, built a small cabin and cultivated a small plot of ground known to the early residents as "DANIELS' garden"*), no white people came to this locality with the intention of remaining permanently until about the year 1800. Who some of those pioneers were, from whence they came, and the names of the members of their respective families, the reader will now ascertain by perusing the following history.
*Daniel's garden and cabin were located upon lands now owned by Robert VANDULIN. Frightened by some demonstration on the part of the Indians, he deserted his scant possessions long before the coming of any civilized neighbors.

Samuel McMURRY, Sr., was born in County Down, Ireland. Early in life he enlisted in the British Army, but after obtaining what was then considered a handsome bounty, a soldier's life became distateful to him, it seems, for he deserted the king's service and returned to his home. The English officials then, as now, punished those guilty of infractions of military rules with great severity; death, indeed, being frequently meted out to those accused of desertion, and it behooved the friends and relations of McMURRY to smuggle him off to America as speedily as possible. A marriage with the maiden who had already won his affections was secretly consummated, [p.430] and the young wife (a Miss KELLY) at once began her preparations for an ocean voyage. When she boarded an emigrant vessel at Belfast bound for America, there was rolled on board, as part of her luggage, a large cask or barrel, which, it is to be presumed, never escaped her eyesight - or thoughts, at least - until well out to sea; for, when far from land, and at the proper moment, the hoops of the cask were loosened and out stepped Mr. McMURRY, smiling, and ready to assume his duties as husband and protector.

About the year 1800, he and his wife finally settled on Slippery Rock Creek, in the present township of Marion, where he prospered, became the owner of a vast landed estate, built grist mills,* distilleries, etc., dealt largely in live stock, and was widely known, in his time, as one of the most prosperous and prominent men in Butler County. He also built an oil-mill (for the manufacture of linseed oil) and a carding and fulling mill on McMURRY's Run, in the northwest quarter of Cherry Township.
*The aged Joseph PORTER believes that McMURRY's grist mill and distillery were built about 1810, and the oil mill and woolen works on McMURRY's Run, about 1830. He (Mr. PORTER) adds, however, that the earliest grist mill in this vicinity was known as RAY's Mill, and that it was built as early as 1800, by Gen CAMPBELL, well-known to early settlers, as a veteran of the war of the Revolution, and a great land-jobber.

His children by his first wife were Alexander, John, Nancy, who married Thomas SEATON, and Betsey, who never married. Of the sons, John walked away one day, and was never heard from afterward; while Alexander, after serving with the Pennsylvania troops on the Canandian border during the war of 1812, lived out his life in this neighborhood, where many still remember him.

The second wife of Samuel McMURRY, Sr., was Mrs. Isabella HARTLEY, nee MOREHEAD, by whom he had one son - Samuel, Jr. The latter finally came into the possession of the property on McMURRY's Run, in the present township of Cherry, and there about 1843, added to the mill property before described a saw mill. The children of Samuel McMURRY Jr., were, Samuel, Andrew, Jane (who married Hervey S. BROWN), Robert (who died in 1874), and a daughter who died in infancy. Before taking leave of the McMURRY family, we will add that the coming of Samuel McMURRY, Sr., to this part of Butler County, and the prosperity which attended him, induced many other Irish families (who had heard of his wonderful good fortune) to leave County Down and locate near him.

John BLACK, the father of the family which has ever been prominent in this portion of Butler County, was born in Ireland, as was also his wife,* though they were married, probably, in Lancaster County, Penn., where Mr. BLACK resided for some time after his arrival in America. About the year 1800, accompanied by his wife and, perhaps, one or two small children, he came to this locality, and settled upon a wild, unimproved tract (adjoining the possessions of Samuel McMURRY), or the premises now owned by his grandson, Robert BLACK. The children of John and Jane BLACK (a majority of whom were born here) were Martha, who married Robert BRADEN; Mathew, who lived out his life in this township; Jane, who married John KERR; Robert C., who died as a resident of this immediate region; John, who now resides in the town of butler, Penn.; James, who raised a family of ten sons and one daughter in this township, and is a present resident of the State of California; William, who is now, and has been all his lifetime, a resident of this township; Alexander M., deceased; Rebecca, who married David VANCE; and Julia A., who married John PORTER. About 1825, John BLACK, Sr., built a saw mill, and soon after a grist mill, on Slipper Rock Creek, near the southern border of the present township, and for many years thereafter BLACK's Mills were landmarks in a wide section of country.
*His wife's maiden name was Miss Jane Criswell, or Creswell.

Of his sons, John, Jr., served as a Justice of the Peace for twenty years; James was a most prominent and esteemed citizen, and for many years a leading member of the Unity United Presbyterian Church; while William has now served fifteen years as Justice of the Peace. During the great war of the rebellion, thirteen grandsons of John BLACK, Sr., sons of his sons, served in various armies of the United States, and four of them gave up their lives for the maintenance of free institutions and the starry banner under which they rallied.

As an officer of an Illinois regiment during the late war, it was the fortune of the writer to become well and most intimately acquainted with two of the grandsons here referred to, viz.: Capt. Robert M. BLACK, of the Seventy-eighth Illinois Infantry, and Fife Maj. Isaiah BLACK, of the Sixteenth Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry. He can testify to their uniform bravery and efficiency during those terrible days. It is in the highest degree a pleasurable duty to insert the following facts, which have been furnished through the courtesy of Newton BLACK, Esq., of Butler, Penn.

John A. BLACK, son of Robert C., enlisted September 25, 1861, for three years, in Company B, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry. After passing through the various grades of Sergeant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain and Major, he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of his regiment March 16, 1865 and was finally mustered out with his regiment July 1, 1865. He was seriously wounded at the battle of North Anna River, Va., May 21, 1864.

[p. 431]
Ephraim BLACK, another son of Robert C., enlisted August 4, 1862, in Company F, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, and was discharged, by reason of disability, February 14, 1863.

Uriah J. BLACK, son of Matthew enlisted June 10, 1861, in Company C, Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves. He died of disease at Washington, D.C. December 26, 1862, and was buried in the National Cemetery at Arlington, Va.

George A. BLACK, son of John, enlisted in Company C, Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves, June 10, 1861. He was promoted Sergeant, and served in all the campaigns in which his regiment participated. At the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862, he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was finally mustered out with his company June 13, 1864.

William H. BLACK, son of John, enlisted October 12, 1861, in Company H, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry. He passed through the battles of Stone River, Tenn., Chickamauga, Ga., Mission Ridge, the Atlanta campaign, and all the engagements in which the regiment took part, and was mustered out, with his company, November 4, 1864.

William M. BLACK, son of James, enlisted in Company K, Seventeenth Indiana Infantry, June 12, 1861. He became First Sergeant of his company, and with his regiment participated in the battles of Pittsburg Landing, Iuka, Corinth, Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, and the score of engagements fought during the Atlanta campaign. He re-enlisted as a veteran in December, 1864, and was mustered out with the regiment August 8, 1865. It is related that after the battle of Chickamauga he found eleven holes in his clothing, made by the passage of musket balls.

James H. BLACK, son of James, enlisted May 28, 1861, in Company H, of the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry. He participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, siege of Corinth, and others, and was honorably discharged, by reason of disability, March 10, 1863.

Isaiah BLACK, son of James, in response to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, enlisted April 25, 1861, as musician of the Hancock County (Ill.) Guards. This company, but a few days later, was designated Company D, of the Sixteenth Regiment, Illinois Infantry, and May 9, following, was mustered into the service of the State for a period of thirty days. On the 24th of May, 1861, however, the regiment was mustered into the United State service for three years, being the first volunteer organization mustered for three years in the United States, and when it left its camp of instruction at Quincy, Ill., June 12, 1861, and began its campaigns in Northern Missouri, it was the first regiment to leave the limits of the State. Upon the organization of the regiment, Mr. BLACK became one of its principal musicians, i.e., Fife Major; and from that time until February 16, 1865, the date of his discharge, he was known as the best fifer in all the armies operating in the West and Southwest. He re-enlisted as a veteran December 23, 1863, and was present at all the battles in which the regiment was engaged, to the time of his discharge, viz.: New Madrid, Island No 10, siege of Corinth, Farmington, Stone River, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Rome, Dallas, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie River, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesboro and many others, during the Atlanta and preceding campaigns.

Newton BLACK, son of James, enlisted March 29, 1864, in Company I, One Hundred and Twelfth Pennsylvania Infantry. He participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, and Fort Harrison, where, on the 29th day of September, 1864, he was severely wounded. He afterward became an inmate of the United States Hospital at Portsmouth grove, Rhode Island, from whence he was discharged May 19, 1865.

Josiah B. BLACK, the fifth son of James to serve during the late war, enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Militia at the time of John MORGAN's Ohio raid, in 1863, and served during the time the militia was in service. On the 25th of February, 1864, however, he enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Sixteenth Pennsylvania Infantry. He passed through the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and the final campaign which resulted in Lee's surrender, and was mustered out with his regiment July 14, 1865.

Robert M. BLACK, son of William, was mustered into the service of the United States, as Captain of Company D, Seventy-eighth Illinois Infantry, July 15, 1862. He was engaged in the battles of Stone River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Rocky Faced Ridge, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, and the score of more of other battles fought during the Atlanta campaign, and was killed at Jonesboro, Ga., September 1, 1864, while gallantly leading his regiment (of which he was then in command) in a charge upon the enemy's works. His regiment formed part of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

Hiram BLACK, son of William, enlisted June 10, 1861 in Company C, Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves. He was in many sanguinary engagements. At the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862, he was wounded, and fell into the hands of the [p.432] enemy, and finally died of his wounds while in Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., December 18, 1862.

William A. BLACK, son of William, enlisted in Company I, One Hundred and Twelfth Pennsylvania Volunteers, March 29, 1864. He participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, South Anna, Cold Harbor, and on the 17th of June, 1864, was killed in an assault upon the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, Va. His comrades speak of him as a gallant soldier who died nobly battling for the rights of his country.

Robert SEATON, accompanied by his wife and three children, came from Huntingdon County in 1800, the family traveling in a wagon hauled by a yoke of oxen. Mr. SEATON was a millwright by trade, and built a number of mills in this part of the State. Previous to his settlement, he had been in this part of the country, and erected the grist mill on Wolf Creek, in Mercer County, since known as Cunningham's Mill.

About 1815, he erected, on one of the sources of Slippery Rock Creek, a fulling mill, which was in operation many years. Robert SEATON died in 1852, aged about eighty-three years. The children of Robert and Mary (DAVIS) SEATON were Polly (SHAW), Eliza (VANDERLIN), Ann (HUTCHISON), Margaret, Alexander, Thomas, William, James, Robert and John. Three members of this family are still living - Alexander, William and Eliza.

Robert ATWELL was born in Ireland, and, during the latter part of the last century, took passage on board an emigrant vessel bound for America. Off the Delaware Capes, the ship was wrecked, and all on board were swept into the sea. Of those saved was ATWELL, who, with a few others, were washed ashore apparently lifeless, but resuscitated through the efforts of those living near by. Not long after his rescue from the deep, he became a resident of Pittsburgh, where he married a Miss WALLACE. About 1800, he purchased a tract of land in the present township of Marion (now owned by his grandchildren), viz.: Robert W., John E., William H. and Nancy M. ATWELL and, leaving his wife at Pittsburgh, came here in the wilderness, built a small cabin, cleared several acres of land, raised some potatoes and other vegetables, which crops, at the close of the growing season, he gathered and placed under the puncheon floor of his habitation. He then returned to Pittsburgh, and the following spring, accompanied by his fmaily, came back to his forest home. But during the winter, Indians, or unscrupulous white hunters, had occupied his cabin and as a result of such occupancy, the little structure had been burned. He then built another log dwelling (near where his descendants now live), on the south side of the hill, and resided there for many years, until his death.

The children of Robert ATWELL were Wallace, John, Hannah (DUNLAP), Polly (GILCHRIST) and Nancy (DUGAN). John ATWELL removed to Jefferson County, Penn., while Wallace remained here. The latter married Miss Mary GILCHRIST, and their children were Rachel, William H., Mary J., Nancy M., Robert W. and John E.

In 1800, Robert WADDLE, with his family, removed from Westmoreland County to the southwest corner of this township. His wife's maiden name was Miss Bethia ORBISON, and their children were Thomas, William, James, Robert, Jr., John, Elizabeth (who married Richard VANDKYE),[sic, prob. VANDYKE] Sarah (who married Samuel GIBSON), Jane (who married a Mr. MOORE), and Mary, who married John CRAIG.

During the war of 1812-15, Thomas, James, Robert, Jr., and John WADDLE all went forth to the Canadian frontier with the Pennsylvania militia from this section. Thomas never returned, for he died in service at Buffalo, N.Y., of what was termed the "Black Rock fever." James WADDLE (son of Robert, Sr.) married Isabella, daughter of William BAILEY. Their children were William (who, born in 1816, married Mary VENSEL for his first wife and Catharine STIREWALT for his second), Calvin, Lewis (who served, in an Indiana regiment during the war of the rebellion, and now resides in the State of Arkansas), Bethia and Narcissa. At this time William and Lewis are the only members of the family living.

Robert, son of Robert WADDLE, Sr., married Lydia WATERS, a school teacher and a native of Massachusetts, and their children were Asa (who married Mary CONN, and now resides near his cousin, William WADDLE) and Louisa, now the survivor of two husbands, viz., James MOORE and John SHRYOCK.

Among the early teachers who taught in this neighborhood were Nancy BRECKENRIDGE and Lydia WATERS. John WELCH was also an early teacher at SEATON's Mills.

In 1796, James HARTLEY came from Westmoreland County, and located on a four-hundred acre tract lying just north of the locality now known as Harrisville, and there he died in 1802. His wife was a Miss MOREHEAD, and their children were John (who served with the Pennsylvania troops in the war of 1812, and removed to Livermore, Penn., where he died), James, Margaret (WHITE), Martha (BELL), Sarah (DOTY) and Jane (McMURRY). Some time after the death of James HARTLEY, Sr., his widow became the second wife of Samuel McMURRY, Sr.

James HARTLEY, Jr., was born May 25, 1800. He married Isabella VANDYKE, and finally became the owner of a portion of the WADDLE tract, where he resided until his death, August 7, 1880. His children were Sarah, who married Robert L. BLACK; John, a [p.433] resident of Australia since 1853; James, deceased; Samuel, deceased; Mary, who married Josiah ADAMS; Eliza J., deceased; and Robinson A., who now occupies the homestead in Marion Township. His mother is still living.

During the year 1816, James DUGAN and his family (consisting of his wife, and his children named William, James, Jr., Robert, Eliza J., who married Robert BAILEY) emigrated from County Down, Ireland, and landed at Philadelphia. They were residents of Lancaster County, Penn., for one year, of Pittsburgh two years, and, in 1819, came to Butler County, and located permanently upon the premises in Marion Township now owned by Mrs. Alexander M. and James DUGAN. After coming to Butler County, another son, Alexander M., was born. Of the sons of James DUGAN, Sr., James, Jr., removed to the State of Illinois about 1851. Robert still resides in this township, Alexander M. died in 1866, while William, the oldest, married, as his first wife, Eliza J. MCMURRY, by whom he had three children, viz., Mary, James and Eliza J. (who married David BILLINGSLEY). By a second marriage, with Nancy ATWELL, another son (Robert A.) was born, who died when twenty-two years. of age. The DUGAN homestead comprises the land-jobbers' portion of the ATWELL tract.

William CARSON was a native of Ireland, but, coming to America prior to the beginning of the war of the Revolution, he espoused the cause of the Colonists, and served with them as a soldier in the struggle for nationality and independence. After peace was declared, he married Miss Rachel WILSON, of the State of Delaware, and located in Virginia, where he remained until 1800, when he settled within the limits of the present county of Lawrence, Penn. His children, of whom the youngest was born in Lawrence (then Beaver) County, in 1801, were Joseph, Polly, Rachel, Jenny, William, Jr., Ann, Rebecca, John, Nancy, Rebecca and James. These children all reached maturity except the first, Rebecca, who died at sixteen years of age, and of those who survived, all married and became heads of families, except James, who died in the State of Delaware. William, the second son of William CARSON, Sr., married Ester ELDER, of Lawrence County, and their children were, John E., now a Presbyterian minister in Peoria County, Ill.; William, who married Prudence CALVIN, and lived on the homestead in Lawrence County, Penn., until 1865, when he removed to his present place of residence in Marion Township; Joseph, who died at twelve years of age; James, who died in 1878; Carlon, who died in 1881; Belinda A., and David C., who died in Logan County, Ohio, in 1874.

James McDERMOTT, son of Paul, and a resident of Marion for more than thirty years, was born in Fairview Township in 1804.

The BYERS, of Marion, are descendants of a family originally from Germany, and early settlers in Westmoreland County, Penn. Frederick BYERS, their immediate progenitor, was born in Westmoreland County. Early in life he located in Armstrong County, where he married Miss Elizabeth SOURS. Their children who became men and women were William, Mary, Margaret, Phoebe Elizabeth, Frederick, Jr., Catharine, and John. In 1840, the father and all his family came to the locality now known as Annandale Station, on the Shenango & Allegheny Railroad, purchasing the premises first occupied and improved by Philip STOOPS, who built the Stone House about 1830, and who is mentioned in the history of Washington Township.

In the spring of 1843, Samuel LAUGHLIN, his wife and two children, viz., Jane and Robert, started from County Down, Ireland, via Belfast, for America. The summer of that year was passed in New York City, and the following autumn found them domiciled within the limits of Butler County, where many other County Down people had preceded them. For some years Mr. Laughlin was employed at Clinton and other iron furnaces. He located where he is now to be found in April, 1854, on the premises first improved by Mathew CURRY, who removed to Hancock County, Ill., at about the date last mentioned. The children of Samuel LAUGHLIN, born in Butler County were William, Hugh, Mary and Martha. His wife, formerly Miss Martha MARTIN, died in March, 1881.

Joseph BLAKENY came from Ireland, and, at an early day in the history of this locality, settled in the northern part of the present township of Marion. The title to his land (365 acres) was acquired in December, 1838. Among his children were William, Hugh, Joseph, Jr., James, Daniel, Walter, Betsy (who married Thomas MARTIN) and Rosana. During the war of the rebellion, Joseph and William BLAKENY, grandsons of Joseph, Sr., served two and one-half years in the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

The Gilchrists, were also early settlers in this township, but as they are mentioned at some length in the history of Cherry, the reader is referred (for information of that family) to those pages.

John McFADDEN, who was born in Lawrence County, Penn., in 1799, with his father's family, became a resident of Irwin Township, Venango Co., Penn., in 1803. He was a millwright and carpenter. He married Barbara HUFFMAN, and to them were born twelve children. Of these was Carlisle McFADDEN, who, born April 10, 1841, married Elizabeth FARREN in 1870. The latter gentleman is a farmer, and [p.434] resides upon part of the COOK tract. This tract, by the way, was first improved by Andrew COOK, who, born in Scotland, located upon this tract in 1799, and occupied it until his death in 1824, being then seventy-eight years old.

William FARREN, the father of Mrs. Elizabeth McFADDEN, was born in Butler County in 1807. He was a carpenter, blacksmith, stone-mason and farmer. His farm of 174 acres was situated partly in Butler and partly in Venango County. He married Jane ORLTON in 1830, and their family consisted of four sons and two daughters. Of these sons, William H. served during the late war in the One Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania Infantry. At the battle of Fair Oaks, Va., he was severely wounded, and finally was discharged at New Haven, Conn. He afterward died (1868) of disease contracted in Kansas.

Jacob KELLERMAN came from Huntingdon County with teams, bringing his family, and settled, in 1818, on the farm where he lived and died. His death was in 1869. The children of Jacob and Mary Kellerman were John, Sarah (KELLY), Hugh, Elizabeth (SCHULTER), Mary (KELLY), Joseph (deceased), David, William and James.


The township of Marion, as now formed was laid out in 1854, but the first separate assessment was not made until 1855. By scanning the returns for the year last mentioned, it is found that the taxable inhabitants were as follows, the figures indicating the number of acres of land assessed to them:

Mary ATWELL, 164 acres; Margaret ATWELL, 100; Dickson ATWELL 100; Samuel ATWELL, 50; Robert ATWELL, 79; George ATWELL, 70; Joshua ADAMS, 42; David BAILEY, 48; Samuel BAILEY, 50; Robert BAILEY, 30; Joseph BAILEY, 25, also a merchant; James BAILEY, 93; David BAILEY, Jr., 50; John BAILEY, Jr., 50; John BAILEY, Sr., 23; John BLACK, Esq., 150; also owned grist and saw mill; Mathew BLACK's heirs, 110; James BLACK, 145; Alexander BLACK's heirs, 100; William BLACK, 100; Robert BLACK's heirs, 175; Hunter Buchanan, 96; John BUCHANAN, 47; Frederick BYERS; Frederick BYERS, Jr., 250; William BYERS 100; William BIGLEY, 105; Mary BLAKENY, 60; Walter BLAKENY; Daniel BLAKENY; Eliza BLAKENY; Joseph BLAKENY, 62; David BRAINARD; Johnston BOVARD, 28; Silas CHRISTY; Joseph CUMMINGS, ESQ., 76; Samuel V. CAMPBELL, 50; Peter COOK; Andrew COOK, 110; William CURRY; Daniel DUFFY, 200; Daniel DUFFY, Jr.; Edward DUFFY, 50; William DUFFY; Thomas DONALDSON; William DONALDSON's heirs; Alexander DONALDSON's heirs, 227; William DUGAN, 115; Alexander DUGAN, 151; Robert DUGAN, 53; M. DUNLAP; J. Mc C. DUNLAP, 124; Daniel EMERY, 42; William EVANS, 40, besides a saw mill, store, iron furnace, etc., which property was sold to LIDDELL, KEPLER & CO., in 1856; William FARRIN, 100; Bernard GARDNER, 35; John GARDNER, 35; William GARDNER; Gideon GRUBB, 119; Simon GROSSMAN, 53; John GROSSMAN; Simon GROSSMAN, Jr.; James GRAHAM; John GILGHRIST, 101; Robert GILGHRIST, 100; Patrick GALLAGHER, 100; Neal GORMLEY, 230; Cornelius GORMLEY; Hugh GILMORE; Joseph GILMORE, 125; John GILMORE, 125; Thomas GILMORE, 75; William GILMORE's heirs, 75; James HARTLEY, 100; Philip HOCKENBERRY; George HOGG; George HEATER, 100; William HUTCHISON; William IRWIN; Alexander JOHNSON, 130; William JACK; John JACK, 27; Joseph JOHNSON, 140; John KERR, Jr.; James KERR; Alexander Kerr, 47; John KERR, 220; Joseph KERR, 20; Joseph KELLERMAN; J.F. Kirkpatrick, 100; Jacob KELLERMAN, 100; James KIMES, 83; Thomas KIMES 58; John KIMES, 27; Samuel LAUGHLIN, 90; Dennis LOGUE, 100; Charles LOGUE, 100; Elias LEE, 106; Michael McLAUGHLIN; James McDERMOTT, 100; Samuel McMURRY, 186; Robert McDOWELL, 57; John McENALLEN, 73; Thomas McGIRK; Jacob McENALLEN, 139; James McENALLEN, 60; Thomas McLAUGHLIN, 150; Thomas J. McCOY; Isaac MILES: William McCRIN; Alexander MCMURRY, 405; Joseph MARSHALL, 58; James MILFORD, 100; Samuel MILFORD, 60 John McFATE; John McMURRY, of Alexander; Samuel McMURRY, Jr., 90; William McGIRK; John McGIRK; Michael McLAFFERTY, 100; Hugh MURRIN, 100; William MURRIN, 100; John MURRIN, Esq., 100; Hugh McENALLEN, John MORTLAND; James MORTLAND, 200; Elias MORTLAND; James MORTLAND, Jr.; William MORTLAND, 200; Patrick McBRIDE; William MARTIN, 80; William McLatcha, 136; John R. McMURRY 50; Robert McMurry, 50; Jefferson McMILLEN; Samuel McCONNELL, 100; James McFADDEN, 50; James MILLER, 100; Daniel McMILLEN, 80; Thomas R. McMILLEN, 154; J.M. McMILLEN; Samuel NEALY, 100; Jacob S. NEALY; James ORTON, 200; John PORTER, 100; Margaret PARKS, 33; Herman POLEMAN, 100; James PORTER, Esq., 260, and saw mill; James C. PORTER, 100; Sarah ROOK; David RUSSELL, 95; George RAY, 502; Robert SEATON, Sr., 350; R. Foster SEATON, 47; Alexander SEATON; Robert SEATON, Jr., 100; Thomas SEATON, 100; John SEATON; Robert M. SEATON, 200; Peter SHROYER; W.G. SMITH; Robert Spear, 130; Bernard SHULTE; William SARENA, 180; James STAMAT, 156; Thomas THOMPSON; Robert THOMPSON; Thomas VANDYKE, 126; Robert VANDYKE, 100; John VANDYKE's heirs, 100; Richard VANDYKE, 100; John VANDYKE, of John, 103; Richard VANDYKE, Jr., 91; James VINCENT, 106; John VINCENT, 125; Gibson VINCENT, 194; Robert WADDLE, 85; Asa WADDLE; Lewis WADDLE, 100; John WADDLE's heirs; William WADDLE; Craft WADDLE, 50; John WINEY; James WRIGHT, 80; Alexander [p.435] WRIGHT; John WILSON; Mary WARD; James WHITE, 50.

We thus find that, at the time the township was ushered into existence, it contained 189 taxable inhabitants, an iron furnace, one grist mill, three saw mills and two stores for the sale of dry goods, etc., etc. That the real and personal estate was valued at $58,422, upon which was levied a county tax of $350.76, and a State tax of $179.52. In comparison with the foregoing, it is learned by scrutinizing the County Commissioners' report, that, in 1880 the township had 289 taxable inhabitants, 241 horses and mules over four years of age, 371 head of cattle over four years of age, and that the aggregate value of all property taxable for county purposes amounted to $237,579; upon which was assessed a county tax of $1,187.89, and a State tax of $1.80, being the least, in the latter respect, of any township in the county.


1854, John BLACK; 1855, Joseph CUMMINS; 1859, William BLACK; 1860, Joseph CUMMINS; 1864, John KERR; 1865, Dickson ATWELL; 1869, William BLACK; 1870, John KERR; 1873, William CARSON; 1874, Thomas GILMORE; 1878, J.K. VINCENT; 1878, William BLACK.


The township has two small villages, viz., Annandale Station (BOYER's Post Office), situated in the southeast quarter, on the Shenango & Allegheny Railroad, and Murrinsville, in the eastern part. The former has sprung up since the completion of this railroad in 1876, and now contains ten dwelling-houses, R. BYERS' Hotel (erected in 1876, was the first building built in the village), two stores for the sale of general merchandise, a steam grist mill (built in 1878, having four run of stones), and a blacksmith's shop. William G. SMITH is the Postmaster, William MABOLD and A. McCANDLESS the merchants, H. SPROWL & Co. proprietors of the flour mill, E.A. KING the miller, J.B. KEEFER, station agent, and H. BALDWIN, blacksmith.

Murrinsville, a hamlet of but little importance, derived its name from the MURRIN family, who settled in its immediate locality. It is noted, however, as the site of St. Alphonsus' (Roman Catholic) Church, and can also boast of a blacksmith's shop, store, and post office. The town plat was laid out about 1827, by John Murrin.


During the first decade of the present century, a Presbyterian Church (known as "Unity Church") was organized in what is now Marion Township, and its members met for public worship in a log building which stood near the present United Presbyterian Church edifice. About 1825, though, it was determined to build a new and more suitable structure, and, as a result of this determination, the church standing to-day was erected and inclosed, under the supervision of a competent builder - Orrin WATERS.

Its interior arrangements were not completed for some years after, however, roughly made, movable benches being the only sittings afforded those who attended. During those early years, Rev. Mr. RIGGS seems to have been the principal minister in charge.

Meanwhile, many of the those who then attended this church, and listened to the preachings of Mr. RIGGS, claimed to be Seceders, Covenanters, or members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Hence, the question whether hymns or psalms should be sung during public worship gave rise to many heated arguments, and, if we may believe the stories told by various old residents, the meetings held during the latter part of Mr. RIGGS' pastorate were not, in the slightest degree, harmonious.

It is currently reported that, about 1832, when this controversy among the members of this congregation was at its height, it had been mutually agreed upon, by all parties, that Mr. RIGGS should do the preaching, but psalms must be sung in the morning and hymns in the evening. With the arrival of the next Sabbath morning, and a full house in attendance, Mr. RIGGS arose, and, through inadvertence or otherwise, began reading a hymn. Henry THOMPSON, a devout and active member of the denomination now known as the United Presbyterians, quickly detected what he deemed an infraction of the compact on the part of the reverend gentleman, and springing to his feet, thundered in the ears of the clerical gentleman occupying the pulpit words about as follows: "Quit that, or I'll tak' ye oot o' there by the nake!" During the confusion arising from this unseemly interruption, an Elder of the church approached Mr. THOMPSON, and besought him to remain quiet, and not again interfere with the services. Without replying, however, the latter seized his hat, and, striding from the house, never again sat down under the ministration of Mr. RIGGS, or we believe, of any other Presbyterian divine.

The successor of Mr. RIGGS, in a charge which consisted of Presbyterian congregations at Unity, Bear Creek, North Washington, Lawrenceburg, and, perhaps, other localities, was a Rev. Mr. JOHNSON, then but recently from Ireland. He proved to be a disturber in the Presbyterian ranks, however, for, becoming incensed with some rulings or acts of the Presbytery, he deserted that body, joined the United Presbyterians, and carried a goodly portion of each of his congregations with him. Very soon after, or about the autumn of 1835, the United Presbyterian [p.436] congregation of Unity Church was organized, while those formerly members of the old Unity Presbyterian Church, joined, or assisted to form, the Presbyterian Church at Harrisville.

Returning to the perusal of some early church records, we find that in the fall of 1835, Hugh LEE, James BOVARD and James WADDLE were elected and ordained as the first Elders of the Unity United Presbyterian Church; and in the fall of 1838, the list of Elders was still further increased by the ordination of James BLACK, Charles COUGHRIN and Alexander BUCHANAN. Meanwhile, the interior of the church edifice had been made more inviting, sittings constructed, etc., etc., and in May, 1837, thirty-two pews were sold for one year, at prices ranging from $10 to $20 each. Those who purchased are mentioned in the records as follows:

James BOVARD; John McCUEN and James BARRON; Jane BLACK; B. BLACK and J. PORTER; David CHRISTY; Hugh LEE; Elias LEE and Joseph CUMMINS; James WADDLE and Samuel MONTGOMERY; William McCOY and Polly McCOY; William BLACK and John KERR; Peter COOK and William BIGLEY, Thomas KIMES and Samuel MORRISON; John BLACK; John and James BAILEY; William and A.C. DONALDSON, and James MILFORD; John McGREGOR and Guy HILLIARD; Robert and Robert, Jr., BAILEY; Wallace ATWELL and James and William DUGAN; James STEVENSON and David BAILEY; Francis RAMSEY and Humphrey GRIMES; William and Robert GILGHRIST and David McKEE; Alexander BUCHANAN; Robert HOGG; James BROWN and sons; Charles COUGHRIN and David JOHNSTON; Jacob SOWASH and Joseph NEELY; Robert and Mathew BLACK; Alexander SEATON; Andrew PORTER and George McLOY; James BLACK and William RUSSELL; Mary WARD and Mary GILMORE; and Henry THOMPSON.

The records also give the information that, early in 1837, John McCUEN, David CHRISTY and Hugh LEE were elected as the first Board of Trustees, and the duty of "finishing the church, presenting the call, and attending to the collection of the first year's salary" was imposed upon them. In October, 1837, Rev. James GREEN (the successor of Rev. Mr. JOHNSON) was duly installed, and he received from this congregation, for two or three years, a salary of $133.33 per year. James BOVARD, James BLACK and Alexander BUCHANAN were the trustees elected in 1838, and for the year ending June 1, 1840, the trustees were Charles COUGHRIN, Thomas KIMES and Robert HOGG.

Following are the names of pastors since the departure of Mr. GREEN, which occurred about 1840: Rev. Robert W. OLIVER, 1842 to 1846; J.K. RIDDLE, 1846 to 1848; J.H. FIFE, 1848 to 1855; J. A. CAMPBELL, 1858 to 1859; W.A. BLACK, 1860 to 1873; J.E. DODDS, 1874 to 1877; R.A. GILFILLAN, September, 1879 to April, 1882.



This well-known gentleman, whose family is alluded to at considerable length in the history of Marion Township, was born in that township in September, 1810.

When about nine years of age, he first attended school, which was taught by David C. Cunningham, in the old Unity Church. After availing himself still further of such limited educational advantages as the schools of that day afforded, he attained to manhood's years, and married, as his first wife, Miss Isabella Mitchell. To them were born eight children who reached mature years, viz.: John M., who died in Arizona; Robert M., killed in battle; Hiram, killed in battle; Margaret J.; William A., killed in battle; Julia A.; Samuel J. and Isabella. His first wife dying when all of these children were quite young, he married, as his second and present wife, Miss Margaret M. CROSS, whose parents were among the most prominent of the early settlers of Slippery Rock Township. The children living, as a result of this marriage, are Mary E. and Washington Ellsworth.

For much concerning the history of this remarkable family, the reader is referred to the township annals; yet, we will here add, in conclusion, that William BLACK, Esq., has ever been a consistent and prominent member of Unity United Presbyterian Church. Until 1861, he was a Democrat, and supported John C. BRECKENRIDGE for the Presidency; but at the commencement of the war of the rebellion he identified himself with the Republican party. He has been three times elected as a Republican Justice of the Peace in a Democratic stronghold.


This venerable gentleman, the oldest child of Alexander PORTER, was born in Washington County, Penn., in the year 1792, and, consequently, is now over ninety years of age. He represents a family noted for longevity, his great-grandfather having died in Ireland at the great age of one hundred and twenty years.

In 1798, Alexander PORTER, Sr. (who, born in Lancaster County, was one of the first settlers of Washington County, where he married Margaret BRADEN), removed, with his entire family, from Washington County to the present township of Clinton, in Venango County, where he remained until his death, which [p.437] occurred when eighty-two years of age. His wife, also, attained about the same number of years before her decease. They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom eleven attained mature years. Those now living are Joseph (our subject), James Alexander, Mrs. Ann KERR and Mrs. Margaret YARD.

During the war of 1812-14, as a soldier, Joseph PORTER visited the Northern, or Canadian, frontier twice, i.e., in August, 1813, and again in the winter of 1813-14; hence, his name now appears on the United States pension rolls. In 1817, he married Miss Martha VANDYKE, of Venango County, and the following year purchased and settled upon a farm in Butler County, on the line now dividing Cherry and Marion Townships, where he has resided continuously to the present time. His children, eight in all, were Lucy, who married Robert M. SEATON, who died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Ga.; John, who married Martha C., daughter of James and Mary TURNER; Isabella, who died as the wife of Cyrus KERR in 1857; Mary A., the present wife of Abner McCALLEN; Braden, who married Mary McCALLEN; Alexander, who married Mary DUNLAP; Martha, who died as the wife of David DUNN, in 1878; and Sarah, who is the wife of Robert SANKEY.

Joseph PORTER has ever been known as a most worthy citizen. Quiet and unostentatious, strictly honorable in all that the word implies, it is said, to his credit, that he never was sued or instigated a suit during his long and eventful life.


William A. SEATON was born June 21, 1831. He was reared on a farm, and attained an academical education. He acquired the trade of a blacksmith, which vocation he followed for five years, when he went to California, where he remained six years engaged in mining. In 1861, he returned, and in the same year enlisted in the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and served three years. On his return, he went to Mercer County, where he followed his trade until 1876, when he bought the farm in Marion Township, where he now resides. In 1864, he was married to Miss Ann Eliza, daughter of Robert and Ann HUTCHINSON, of Butler County, Penn. Mr. SEATON is one of the prosperous farmers of his locality, and is in every way worthy of the reputation he has acquired for probity and general uprightness.


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Chapter 47--Cherry Township
Chapter 49--Washington Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
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Edited 27 Nov 1999, 22:43