Search billions of records on

History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 50 -- Allegheny Township

<<Previous Chapter | GO TO TABLE OF CONTENTS | Next Chapter>>

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





[p. 445]

ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP was formed in 1854, from portions of Venango and Parker. It was for many years but sparsely populated, and consequently the progress of improvements was slow. The discovery of oil in recent years has enlarged the population, and improvement has been very rapid. Though much of the surface is uneven, and not well adapted to farming, the township contains some excellent farms, and many tasty residences. On the whole, the people are well situated and prosperous.

The courageous pioneers invaded this part of the county in 1796. It was then an unattractive wilderness, peopled only by the wild denizens of the primitive forest. One of the first settlers was John LOWRIE, a Scotch Presbyterian who took up a tract adjacent to the Allegheny River. At Poplar Bottom, a point which is on the land formerly owned by him, are now the corners of four counties. John LOWRIE led the pure and simple life of men of his class, and after many years' residence here, died at the home of his daughter, on Slippery Rock, aged and respected. He had three sons--Walter, Matthew B. and John. There were also several daughters who married here and reared families. Their descendants are still living in the neighborhood, and are numerous and respectable. Walter LOWRIE, like so many men of humble origin, after passing his boyhood after the manner of pioneers' sons, became a distinguished and honorable citizen. He was elected to the Legislature, and from that position he rose to the office of United States Senator, and afterward served as Secretary of the Senate. Later, he became Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church and held that position until his death. During his early life here, he operated a saw mill on the small stream known as Lowrie Run. Matthew B. LOWRIE went to Pittsburgh where he became a prominent citizen, and held the office of Alderman. He was the father of Hon. Walter LOWRIE, of Meadville, late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who always claimed that the old farm in Butler County was his birthplace. John LOWRIE was a farmer, and died in the neighborhood. Hon. Walter LOWRIE acted as land agent for disposing of the FIELDS lands in this neighborhood until 1838, when he was succeeded by Hon. [p.446] Samuel A. PURVIANCE, who closed up the business, assisted by Dr. A. W. CRAWFORD. The Lowrie farm remained in possession of the LOWRIE family until 1845, when it was purchased by Dr. CRAWFORD, the present owner.

John LOWRIE, Sr., opened the first store in the northern part of Butler County. He was keeping store on his farm in 1814, and probably established the business some years before that date.

In 1797, John CRAWFORD, from Greene County, settled on a tract adjacent to the Lowries. John CRAWFORD and John LOWRIE were two of the first Ruling Elders of the Scrub Grass Presbyterian Church. John CRAWFORD was the father of a large family. Most of his sons settled in Venango County and in Ohio; and only two, James and Samuel, in this county. William T., son of Samuel, lives upon the old farm. His father died in 1878. James CRAWFORD died in 1802, leaving one son, James CRAWFORD, born in 1800, who is now the oldest native resident of this township. He has spent his days in this township and in Armstrong County, and is well known as an active and useful citizen. The widow of James CRAWFORD, Sr. (nee Abigail COULTER), married Gideon GIBSON, and reared the following children: William, Polly (MECHLING), Thomas, George, Margaret (MARTIN), Abigail (MOORE), and John.

Dr. A. W. CRAWFORD, a grandson of John CRAWFORD, is a son of Dr. Alexander CRAWFORD, of Washington County. He came to this township to reside, in 1846, since which time he has taken a prominent part in the affairs of the county. He was elected a member of the Legislature in 1856, and served three terms. In 1861, he was appointed by President Lincoln to be United States Consul at Antwerp, and held that position until 1866.

James ANDERSON, the father of John ANDERSON, Esq., and Samuel, was an early settler, and lived on the farm now owned by T. A. CRAWFORD. Both John and Samuel lived and died in this township. R. P. ANDERSON, son of John, is one of the old and respected citizens. Samuel ANDERSON died in 1869. His widow, Elizabeth (LOW), is still living. His sons S. A. and H. C. and a daughter, Mrs. SUTTON, live upon the homestead farm. Three of the sons were soldiers in the late war.

Sheriff John POLLOCK, of Irish descent, was an early settler and a prominent man. He was three years Sheriff of the county, and was Major of militia. He owned the land which is now the SLOAN, MCKEE, CHAMBERS and MORGAN farms. He had some brothers, whose descendants still live in the county.

Alexander GRANT, a Scotchman, was one of the first settlers. He settled the tract which is still known as the Grant farm. His sons, Robert, Alexander, James and William, and his daughters, Susan (HUTCHINSON), Matilda (SAY), Elizabeth (ANDERSON) and Jeanette (CRAWFORD), all lived in this immediate vicinity. All are now dead. James, married Miss SLOAN; Alexander, Miss SAY; Robert, Miss JOHNSON; and William, Miss MEAGER. James' children are A. B., Elizabeth (EAKIN), W. P., residents of Allegheny Township; James, Washington Township; Sarah (LAUGHNER), Clarion County; R. S., Allegheny Township; Margaret (CORNELIUS), Mercer County; and L. D., Oil City.

In 1879, a well was drilled on the farm of W. P. GRANT, by Mr. GRANT and his sons, which produces a quantity of gas sufficient to furnish fuel for running the engines of the pumping stations at Hilliard, Crawford Station and Donley Station. In 1882, a second gas well, on the A. B. GRANT farm, was drilled, and connected by a pipe with the main leading from the well before mentioned.

John REDICK came from Westmoreland County in 1799, and settled on the farm now owned by John ALLEN. John REDICK, his son, having been accidentally wounded while on a hunting expedition, and consequently unfitted for farm labor, was educated for the Presbyterian ministry, and was pastor of Slate Lick and Union Congregations, Armstrong County, from 1815 to 1848. He died in 1850. His wife was Betsey COULTER, a sister of Rev. John COULTER. The other children of John REDICK, Sr., were Hamilton, William, James, George, Esther (MEANATH), Hannah (LESLIE), and Elizabeth. The latter married John ALLEN, who was born in 1799, in this county, and is now deceased. Of his family, only one member survives--John ALLEN, of this township.

William PORTERFIELD, whose wife was a daughter of John LOWRIE, settled on a farm joining the Lowrie place. His son, P. F. PORTERFIELD, Esq., now resides upon the old homestead.

Samuel COULTER was an early settler. He was a brother of Rev. John COULTER, for many years pastor of Concord Church. Samuel moved to Erie, Ohio, where he died. He sold his farm to Benjamin LOW, and from him Adam BRITTAN and others purchased.

John and Samuel JACK settled a four-hundred-acre tract, on part of which is now the village of Byrom Centre. Samuel HALDERMAN bought John JACK's farm, and afterward sold to E. ROBINSON. Samuel JACK sold to H. KOHLMEYER, Esq., in 1836. Two years later, Mr. KOHLMEYER moved here from Centre County. He is one of the successful and progressive farmers of the township.

George PARKER, a cousin of Judge PARKER, was the first settler at Six Points. The farm was afterward occupied by James MCMAHAN. J. P. CRAWFORD is its present owner. [p. 447]

John TURNER was an early settler in the northern part of the township. Part of the farm is now owned by his son William.

Levi GIBSON and his wife, Sidney (ABERCROMBIE), settled on Scrubgrass, in Allegheny Township, about 1799, coming from the Eastern part of this State. Their children, John, Alexander, James, Samuel, Levi, Hugh, William, Betsey (SLOAN), Jane (REDICK), and Esther (DUTCHESS), all lived to rear families except Alexander and William, who died single. Nearly all resided in this county. James settled in Parker Township. His wife was Rebecca KNOX. Their children numbered eleven--Betsey, Sidney, Levi, George, Esther, Samuel, John, Rebecca, James, Houston and Eleanor.

John ROSENBERRY, from the eastern part of the State, was one of the earliest of the pioneers. He came into the wilderness alone, and lived in a small cabin one summer before returning to the East for his wife. Bears and wolves were his neighbors on all sides, and he frequently received visits from strolling Indians, who were glad to exchange deer-meat, etc., for small qualtities of salt. ROSENBERRY carried his provisions from Freeport, either on foot or on horseback, following an Indian trail. He put in his first wheat by the aid of a team composed of a three-years old bull and an old horse harnessed together. He brought out a bed-tick with him, and made a bed by filling it with leaves. After his summer's work was completed, he returned home, married and came back to his lonely cabin in the woods. The leaves of his bed were lying on the floor, but the tick had disappeared, and very likely the Indians had it. Mr. ROSENBERRY was twice married. James, Henry, Oliver and two daughters who died young were the children by his first wife. The second wife bore John, Levi, David, Joseph, Cyrus, William and Polly (DOW). Three of the family--John, Joseph and Polly--are living. John was born in 1807, and now lives on the old homestead. A hand-mill was used by this family for grinding corn, and the stones of it are still lying on the old farm. When Mr. ROSENBERRY first located here, for some years he was greatly annoyed by bears, which killed his hogs, calves and sheep. One day he found a bear killing a hog. Having no gun at hand, he sharpened a pole, and with this weapon attacked the bear so roughly that he was glad to escape.

Samuel GRAHAM, from Cumberland County, settled in this township in 1798. His father was an officer on Washington's staff during the Revolution. Samuel died in 1813, while in the service of his country, in the second war with Great Britain. His sons, John, James, Andrew and Bailey, all lived in this county. All are dead except Andrew, who resides in Concord Township. Mary, residing in Fairview Township, is the only surviving daughter of Samuel GRAHAM. Three other daughters--Rebecca, Nancy (PARKER) and Betsey (BRANDON)--all lived in this county except Mrs. BRANDON, who resided in Venango County.

East of the ROSENBERRY farm, a man named BROWN was an early settler. The land was afterward owned by Mr. ALLEN. The land known as the Widow GOE farm was a part of the Brown tract. Samuel TURNER was an early occupant of this farm. He died here, and left his property to his daughter, Mrs. GOE. J. M. HAYS, from Armstrong County, has owned a part of this farm since 1870.

The sons and daughters of the early settlers were generally strong, healthy and overflowing with animal spirits and good nature. At Halloween, there was always a great deal of fun and mischief practiced; and at huskings, raisings and other similar gatherings, these young people usually had very lively and enjoyable times. There was no restraint, no conforming to established rules of "proper" conduct in society, which in these days often cause young people to appear at a disadvantage; but genuine good fellowship and a desire to get the most enjoyment possible from each passing moment seemed to prevail. The log cabins and the log barns often echoed to the joyous sound of youthful laughter; and, though in the woods and without the advantages now near every farmer's son and daughter, the youth of that day enjoyed contentment and happiness.

George FOWLER is one of the oldest residents of the township, and his father was an early settler here.

Samuel SLOAN was an early settler to whom reference is made in the chapter devoted to Venango Township. Two of his sons, William and David, lived in this township, and were comparatively early settlers. William lived near the Venango County line, on the farm now occupied by his children. His wife was Jane LESLIE; they had ten children, of whom four sons and four daughters are still living. He died in 1871, aged seventy-four. One of his sons, John N., has several coal banks, yielding some 1,500 bushels of coal per month, averaging by the year.

David SLOAN settled in Venango County, but removed to this township about forty-eight years ago. His wife was Rachel MCLAUGHLIN, who bore him twelve children, nine of whom are now living--Matthew, the oldest son, on an adjacent farm, and John on the old homestead. Matthew bought his farm thirty-four years ago, and a year later cut the first stick of timber upon it. He now has good buildings and an excellent farm as a reward of his industry.

Henry JAMISON, a son of John JAMISON, an early [p.448] settler of Venango Township, settled in 1839 on the farm he now occupies. By untiring industry and strict economy, he has literally hewed a good farm out of the forest. He married Isabella CRAWFORD (now deceased), and is the father of ten children, eight of whom are living. The Jamison farm was among the first attacked by the oil producers in this township.

John MILFORD, for years one of the most active farmers of the township, died in 1881, at the age of seventy-five. He came to the farm now owned by his son, J. P. MILFORD, in 1846. He reared a family of seven sons and one daughter, and was so successful in business that he was able to purchase, at different times, over 1,500 acres of land, which he divided among them.

Patrick LAYTON, whose father was an early settler in Venango County, settled in the northern part of the township, on the farm first improved by the COULTERS. His son, Thomas J., lived and died upon the place which is now occupied by his widow.

M. S. ADAMS, Esq., came to this county from Brady's Bend, in 1844, and located at Fairview, where, in company with Col. J. A. GIBSON, he started the first foundry in the place. He was also in the mercantile business in Fairview. About 1858, he sold the foundry to ARNOLD & CRAWFORD. He purchased his property in this township in 1854, and owns over seven hundred acres of land lying in one body. Mr. ADAMS has been engaged in the mercantile line, in the furnace industry, etc., and is a successful business man.

S. P. EAKIN came from Venango County to Butler County in 1861, and in 1865 settled on his present farm. He has kept store several years, and is now in the same business, having recommenced in 1879.


1854, James BLACK; 1855, John ALLEN; 1855, James BLACK; 1861, Henry KOHLMEYER; 1865, Robert JAMISON; 1866, Simon SNYDER; 1868, M. S. ADAMS; 1872, P. F. PORTERFIELD; 1877, P. F. PORTERFIELD; 1880, M. S. ADAMS; 1882, James S. CRAIG.


On Bear Creek, where the ADAMS mill now stands, a man named TRUBY erected a small log mill, probably about 1805. A man named ROGERS built a saw mill in the same neighborhood. TRUBY sold out to DUMARS, and from him the property passed into the hands of PIERCE and BLACK who erected the mill now standing in 1846. Walter LOWRIE had an early saw mill in the northern part of the township.

The mill now known as the SEDWICK Mill, was built by Samuel ANDERSON in 1834.

Maple Furnace was built by George and James BOVARD in 1844. It was a stone stack, charcoal furnace, at first "cold blast," but afterward run by a steam-engine. From the BOVARDS, it passed into the hands of Henry GRAFT, of Pittsburgh, about 1847; he ran the furnace until 1854, doing a very successful business. M. S. ADAMS then purchased it, and conducted the business quite successfully until the fall of 1865, when the scarcity of ore became so great that the works were abandoned. From thirty to forty tons of iron per week were manufactured, and from thirty to forty men employed upon an average. A store was started by the furnace company and run by Mr. ADAMS after he came until 1868.

Kensington furnace, a charcoal furnace similar to the one above mentioned, was built by CHURCH, CARUTHERS and CRAWFORD in 1846, and operated by them for about five years. Four to five tons of iron per day was the product. The lack of a sufficient supply of good ore caused the business to cease.

On Dr. CRAWFORD's land a stave mill is operated by J. W. FIELD, and is doing a large business.

Some of the best coal in the county is found in the Bear Creek Valley in the southern part of this township. Local mining has been carried on here for many years. There is now a prospect of a railroad from Parker to Hilliard, which if built, will doubtless cause extensive mining operations to be undertaken in this valley. There are five coal veins found in this section; three of mining coal, two of which are at least four feet in thickness and the other three feet. The other veins are thirty and eighteen inches respectively. The first four foot vein is near the surface and very easily mined; the second is one hundred and twenty-five feet beneath the surface. There are also important coal beds in the northern part of the township.

Oil production near Sandy Point and Byrom Centre commenced in 1877, and since that time two small villages bearing these names have sprung up. Sandy Point was built in 1878, on the Adam BRITTAN farm. But little of the "town" now remains. Byrom Centre has a hotel, and several stores and shops of various kinds. The village was built in 1879, and stands upon the farm of H. KOHLMEYER, Esq.

At Six Points E. S. PARKS keeps a hotel, store and post office. M. S. CRAWFORD has recently opened a hotel in the same place.


The typical log schoolhouse, with puncheon floor, huge fire-place, greased paper windows, and wooden benches, was the place in which the pioneers' children received their educational training. On James ALSWORTH's farm in Parker Township was an early school, [p.449] attended by many scholars from this township. The early teachers were Miss Jane PORTER, Robert J. CRAWFORD and others. An early schoolhouse on the Owen THOMAS farm in Parker Township was also largely attended. Master ELDER, Robert CUNNINGHAM, David C. CUNNINGHAM and John ALLEN were some of the early teachers of this township.


Although this church is situated in the edge of Venango County, its history is of special interest to the people of Butler County, as it was for years the only Presbyterian Church at which the residents of the northern part of the county worshiped.

The organization took place in 1802 or 1803. The first Elders were John LOWRIE, John CRAWFORD and -------.[sic] The pastors have been: Rev. Robert JOHNSTON, 1803-11; Rev. Cyrus RIGGS, 1814-34; Rev. John R. AGNEW, 1838-45; Rev. Ebenezer HENRY, 1847-56; Rev. J. R. COULTER, 1857- --.[sic]

From this church a number of well-known ministers have gone forth to preach the Gospel. Among them were John REDICK, John COULTER, C. C. RIGGS, D.D., T. W. KERR, T. S. LEASON, W. B. STEWART, Samuel MCANDERSON, D.D., Samuel WILLIAMS, T. C. ANDERSON and M. L. ANDERSON.

The first meeting-house was of logs; the second, a frame building; the third (now occupied), is of stone.


The organization of this church was effected at the Grant Schoolhouse in this township, in May, 1876, with fifty members. Rev. James COULTER, who was mainly instrumental in forming the church, became its first pastor and preached four years, when he resigned on account of age. The present pastor, Rev. S. A. HUGHES, succeeded him. He devotes one-half of his time to the charge. The church now consists of about sixty members. A neat and comfortable building was erected immediately after the congregation was organized. The first elders were S. P. EAKIN, John R. ALLEN, A. R. CARNAHAN and Charles COOPER. Two Elders have since been elected--W. T. BEEBE and J. P. MILFORD.

Allegheny Cemetery was incorporated in 1876. The ground consists of six and three-fourths acres, including the church site. The citizens have shown commendable enterprise in purchasing and fitting up this cemetery. It is a beautiful spot, and improvements are constantly being made. The first cost for ground, etcl, was $455.37. The dedication exercises of this cemetery took place November 25, 1876, and were conducted by Revs. MCCASLIN, James COULTER and J. R. COULTER.


This church had its origin in Venango Township, where the Lutherans had an organization and built a church (now no longer standing) several years ago. Mount Olive Church was organized by Rev. A. S. MILLER, March 20, 1869, and then consisted of eleven of the former members of Pisgah Church, in Venango Township. The first officers were W. P. GRANT and Samuel HOLDERMAN, Elders; and George KOHLMEYER and Samuel MERKEL, Deacons. The church has much diminished in numbers on account of removals. It now has about twenty members. The church is of brick, and was erected in 1870 at a cost of $3,000. The pastors have been Rev. A. S. MILLER, Rev. Isaiah DELO, Rev. REESE, Rev. M. L. SMITH and Rev. John ZIMMER, the present pastor.


Being unable to find any records of the Methodist Churches of this township, the historian is able to say but little about them. Maple Furnace Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in 1854, through the exertions of M. S. ADAMS and others. It consisted of a small class which met at private houses some years, until it increased in numbers and built a church. The building was dedicated by Rev. ENSLEY, of the Pittsburgh Conference. It is now a small society, several of its members having withdrawn to join the Grant Church. The Grant Methodist Episcopal Church was organized under the Rev. PETERS, about six years ago. A good church building has been erected, and the society, thought small, is flourishing.

[End of Chapter 50--Allegheny 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 49--Washington Township
Chapter 51--Venango Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 09 Nov 1999, 11:37