History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895

Cranberry Township, Chapter 31

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Transcribed by: Dolores Carlson. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
Link to a sketch of Cranberry Township from the Atlas of Butler County, G.M. Hopkins & Co., 1874.

Surnames in this chapter are:

ALCORN, ALLEN, ALWARD, ANDREWS, BAKER, BLINN, BOGGS, BOLANDER, BOWMAN, BOYLE, BRACKEN, COATS, COOKSON, COOPER, COVERT, COWAN, CRAWFORD, CREA, CRIDER, CRISWELL, CRITCHLOW, CROFT, DAMBACH, DAVIS, DOUTHETT, DUNBAR, DUNCAN, EASTON, EMERICK, EMMELL, EMMETT, ENGLISH, EVANS, FERGUSON, FRANTZ, FREEMAN, GAEBE, GARDNER, GARVIN, GILL, GILLESPIE, GOEHRING, GRAHAM, HAINE, HALL, HAMILTON, HARPER, HARTZELL, HAZEN, HEADLAND, HENDERSON, HENRY, HERMAN, HETRICK, HILLMAN, HOEHN, HOFFMAN, HUTCHISON, JACKSON, JEFFERS, JOHNSON, JOHNSTON, JUNKIN, KERR, KESHLER, KIBLER, KIRSCHLER, KNAUFF, KREBS, LAFAYETTE, LAMBERT, LAWRENCE, LEISE, LONG, LONSDALE, LOUIS, MARSHALL, MARTIN, McABOY, McCLELLAND, McCURDY, McGREGOR, McKALLIP, McLEAN, McMAHAN, McMILLAN, McNEES, MEDLEY, MILLER, MINTON, MOORE, MULLIGAN, MURRAY, NESBITT, PARKS, PEARCE, POLLOCK, POTTER, PURVIANCE, RAMSEY, REA, READER, RICHARDSON, RIDER, RISHER, ROBINSON, ROHNER, ROLL, ROWAN, SAMPLE, SCOTT, SEMPLE, SHAFFER, SHANNON, SHERAR, SIMPSON, SNYDER, STAPLES, STEVENSON, STEWART, STOOLFIRE, STOUT, SUTTON, SWANN, THOMPSON, TRIMBLE, VANDIVORT, WALLACE, WEAVER, WEST, WHITE, WILLIAMS, WILSON, WRIGHT, YATES, YOUNG, ZIEGLER.


CHAPTER XXXI

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP

[p. 434]
ORGANIZATION - REDUCTION OF AREA - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS - COAL DEPOSITS - OIL PRODUCTION -- THE PIONEERS -- EARLY INDUSTRIES -- POPULATION AND STATISTICS -- SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES -- INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION -- CHURCHES -- VILLAGES -- ASSOCIATIONS

CRANBERRY township was organized in 1804, and was one of the thirteen townships into which the county was divided in that year. Its area, approximating eighty-one square miles, was retained until 1854, when, in the general sub-division of the county, it was reduced to its present limits. This township is situated in the southwestern corner of the county. Its surface is well watered by Brush creek and its branches, and by the principal feeders of Breakneck creek. It is one of the best agricultural townships of the county, and abounds in well tilled and productive farms and in thrify[sic] and prosperous farmers. The township also appears to be rich in coal and oil. Freeport coal, in a seam [p. 435] five feet thick, is found in the bed of Brush creek, near the northwestern corner of the township, not far from GRAHAM's mill, where it has been mined for many years. Three miles farther up the stream a smaller coal has been worked, such as that found in the HAINE and the EMERICK banks. It is slatey at the top and bottom, but in the center contains a seam of very good coal, about fifteen or sixteen inches thick. Across the creek the old VANDIVORT and the KREBS banks were operated, while on Coal run, one mile away, the HARTZELL bank, and, farther up, the ROWAN bank were opened years ago. The HENDERSON, GARVIN and DUNCAN oil fields, as well as the Brush creek oil fields, have returned liberal profits to those who have put their labor and money in them.

THE PIONEERS

The pioneers appeared in the Brush creek neighborhood as early as 1796, when Benjamin JOHNSON and family, Matthew and William GRAHAM, John HENRY, Alexander RAMSEY, Paul VANDIVORT and Samuel DUNCAN arrived. The mother of the GRAHAM brothers, then Mrs. LONG, came in 1797. Benjamin DAVIS, a single man, and George STOOLFIRE came about the same year. In 1800 came David GARVIN and family, including his eldest son, Alexander and family, who established a tavern,--the only one between Pittsburg and Franklin--which in 1811 passed into the possession of his grandson, David GARVIN, by whom it was afterwards conducted. The Indian raftsmen used to make it their stopping place on their way to Erie after their season's work on the river. In 1801 also, William Henry GOEHRING arrived in the township, bringing with him his wife and family. He died here in 1831. James COOPER, a native of Ireland, came in 1807. Jacob STOUT and his father arrived from Northumberland county in 1811.

In 1813 Matthew GRAHAM established the Black Bear tavern on the Pittsburg and Mercer road. Prior to that year, however, he carried on the business in a desultory way, and was well known to teamsters over the old trail, for the road was then little more than the old Indian trail from Pittsburg to Erie. James ROWAN came from Delaware county, Pennsylvania, in 1825. John HALL settled here soon after Mr. ROWAN. Isaac COOKSON located here in 1831; John L. ROLL, N. ALLEN and William CROFT, in 1832; Jacob DAMBACH in 1835, and Hartman KNAUFF in 1836.

Among the early industries of the township may be mentioned Samuel DUNCAN's saw mill, which was erected prior to 1803. He also ran a little distillery in the early days, which obtained a wide reputation for the fine quality of the whisky turned out. The Brush creek saw mill was erected by Matthew GRAHAM in 1831. Two years later he built the first grist mill on the creek, it being also the first in the township.

The population of the township in 1810 was 543; in 1820, 765; in 1830, 1,046; in 1840, 1,822; in 1850, 2,236; in 1860, 931; in 1870, 945; in 1880, 983, and in 1890, 909. The assessed value of real and personal property in 1894, was $338,493; the county tax levy being $1,353.97, and the State tax $107.24.
[p. 436]

SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES

The early schools in the township were conducted on the subscription plan, the pioneer teachers being Job STAPLES, Andrew DODDS, of Connoquenessing township, and Rev. Reid BRACKEN. The common school system was introduced in 1835, the early teachers under it being Matthew WRIGHT, Silas MILLER and John and Robert COWAN, all of whom were teachers under the old system. A convention, or rather a combined exhibit of the Cranberry township schools, was held in the Plains church on the 25th and in the Union Church, Evans City, on the 26th of February, 1852. It was the first exhibit of the kind made by the common schools of Butler county. The number of children of school age in the township in 1894 was 124 males and 106 females. The revenue for school purposes included a county tax of $1,119.30 and a State appropriation of $953.58.

The justices of the peace elected by the people of this township, since 1840, are as follows: Joshua STOOLFIRE, 1840; John HENRY, 1840; Samuel MARSHALL, 1845; Thomas WILSON, 1845-50; Thomas W. BOGGS, 1850; David GARVIN, 1854; Thomas STEWART, 1854; Joseph C. DOUTHETT, 1855; Ross BOYLE, 1859; James SEMPLE 1859; Thomas ROBINSON, 1864; Alex. GILLESPIE, 1867; John ROWAN, 1869; John ROHNER, 1872-79; N. ALLEN, 1874; D. B. WILSON, 1877; Fleming WEST, 1882; Cyrus HARPER, 1884; Isaac M. WRIGHT, 1887; Fleming WEST, 1889; Cyrus HARPER, 1890; Isaac N. WRIGHT, 1892.

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION

The July celebration of 1825 in Cranberry township was carried out by the "Connoquenessing Republicans," commanded by Capt. Reese EVANS, at the house of Alexander MARTIN. Joseph ALWARD was elected president of the day, P.E. PURVIANCE, vice-president, and John GILLESPIE, secretary. The military company had a drill after the fashion of "SCOTT's Infantry Tactics," and then like all good militiamen joined the crowd in the race for the banquet tables in MARTIN's house. This material part of the celebration was succeeded by oratory, music and drinking. The Declaration of Independence was read by Joseph ALWARD, and the "Connoquenessing Republicans" fired several rounds in its honor. There were thirteen regular toasts offered, followed by twenty-one volunteer toasts. To the regular toasts, however, special attention was given. The program called for a certain number of cheers, according to the importance which the master of ceremonies attached to each toast. Thus "The Day We Celebrate," was given three cheers; "The Constitution of the United States," four cheers; "The Governor of Pennsylvania," six cheers; "Andrew JACKSON--our next President," ten cheers; "Our Representatives in Congress," received six cheers, while "The Memory of the Revolutionary Heroes," and "General LAFAYETTE, the early and distinguished champion of freedom," received three cheers each.

CHURCHES

The Presbyterian Church of Cranberry township dates back to the settlement of the COVERTs and GARVINs in this corner of the county. The late James GARVIN is given by John ROWAN as authority for the statement that the first minister of this [p. 437] denomination to visit the settlement was Rev. Reid BRACKEN, who came in 1806, and in 1808 organized the church now known as the "Old Plains." The late Josiah COVERT, son of Morris COVERT, a pioneer of Jackson township, was equally positive that the organization was effected in 1806. The exact date is therefore in doubt. Among the original members are Benjamin COVERT and Morris COVERT, who were elders about 1812; Matthew and William GRAHAM, and Robert BOGGS, and the elders, James McCLELLAND, John CRAWFORD, William CRITCHLOW and John EMMETT, and, in still later years, Mary ROWAN, who settled near what is known as Ogle.

Mention is made in a "supplication" to the Presbytery at Erie, at its first meeting April 13, 1802, for preaching at Breakneck, which is thought to be the settlement around the present Plains church. It is mentioned and referred to under its present name in the minutes of the Erie Presbytery of 1807, in conjunction with Mt. Nebo, as vacant. On April 20, 1808, Rev. Reid BRACKEN was installed first pastor, and served until November 7, 1819. For a number of years the congregation appears to have worshipped in a tent. Between 1820 and 1824, however, a log building was erected on a lot donated by Benjamin DAVIS. It occupied the site of the present church. After Mr. BRACKEN left, the church appears to have been without a regular pastor for some years. It was visited, however, from time to time by Rev. John ANDREWS, who organized the Fairmount church, in 1822, and other ministers, and services held with some regularity. From 1828 to 1831, Rev. John MOORE was supply and pastor. As time passed, the visits of ministers became less frequent, the pulpit being so seldom filled that the old church may be said to have passed out of existence, although Dr. Aaron WILLIAMS, who was a teacher at Zelienople, preached in and around that village, and also in the vicinity of the Plains church. The members were New Light Covenanters, Associate Reformed Presbyterians, and of other beliefs, until the union on January 1, 1838, with the Cross Roads church in Allegheny county, and the calling of Rev. L. R. McABOY as pastor, who took charge in September, following.

At this time the following members of the "Plains" congregation became members of the re-organized church: William GRAHAM, Sr., William GRAHAM, Jr., Elizabeth, David, Hannah, Matthew and Mary GRAHAM, Jane SIMPSON, Jane WALLACE, Margaret BOWMAN, Eleanor WILSON, Rebecca COOPER, James and Nancy GARVIN, Ann, John and Morgan COVERT, Robert BOGGS, Sr., Margaret, Samuel, Jane, Andrew and Mary Ann BOGGS, Ann McGREGOR, Margaret DUNBAR, Job and Susanna STAPLES, Joseph and Margaret RICHARDSON, Mary COATS, Rebecca BOLANDER and Mary ROWAN. Among the new members admitted in the fall were William, Nancy and Phoebe VANDIVORT, Mary and Jane HUTCHISON, Martha GOEHRING, Nancy BOGGS, Eliza and Susanna VANDIVORT, Philip and Esther COVERT, Thomas HAMILTON, Alexander and Margaret PARKS, William and Emma NESBITT, Mary CROFT and Sheldon COATS. Early in 1839, four elders were chosen to assist the pioneer elder--Morris COVERT. They were William GRAHAM, Sr., Andrew BOGGS, James W. GARVIN, and William VANDIVORT. In June, 1839, there were admitted Jane McCLELLAND, Margaret EVANS, Andrew WILSON, John and Hester VANDIVORT, Christian GOEHRING and Samuel and Anna COVERT. Shortly after, [p. 438] Morris COVERT died. In 1839 a brick house was erected close beside the old log church, by Matthew GRAHAM, John REA and other old members. The brick was made on John GOEHRING's farm and Thomas EVANS was the contractor.

The society was incorporated November 16, 1849, the trustees being David GARVIN, James W. GARVIN and James SAMPLE. In April, 1858, Rev. Newton BRACKEN succeeded Mr. McABOY as pastor. Thomas W. BOGGS, John GRAHAM, Josiah COVERT and John ROWAN were elected elders. Of all these men, who guided the church in 1859 and for many years after, John ROWAN is the only one living. Early in 1860 Rev. Mr. BRACKEN left the church, and the old pastor, Rev. McABOY, Rev. Milton McMILLAN and others preached here at intervals, until 1863, when Rev. John W. POTTER was called as pastor. He died June 10, 1866. At that time this society united with that at Fairmount in a call to Mr. POTTER, and the "Plains" church was transferred from the Allegheny Presbytery, now Butler, to the Allegheny City Presbytery.

From June, 1866, to 1868, the churches were without a pastor. In the last named year, Rev. Samuel R. KERR received a call from the two churches, was installed pastor and served until July 1, 1869. Rev. Levi RISHER came here in November, 1869, but was not installed pastor until June 27, 1870. In 1876 seventy-six members were admitted on examination and three on certificates, the total membership being 215. Rev. A. G. BAKER, an evangelist from Nauvoo, Illinois, aided Mr. RISHER in the revival services which drew so many new members into the society. Mr. RISHER was released as pastor October 31, 1876. In November, 1876, Rev. Mr. McLEAN supplied the pulpit. In December Rev. William WILSON was supply and preached here several Sabbaths. Rev. R. J. CRISWELL came in April, 1877; was called as pastor, June 4, that year, and installed June 20. In September, 1877, Andrew BOGGS, Josiah COVERT, John ROWAN, James SUTTON, R. A. WHITE, Thomas W. BOGGS and James THOMPSON are named as elders. In January, 1878, services were authorized to be held in the Baptist church at Evansburg. In March of that year the question of building a new church was discussed and finance and building committees were appointed. James SUTTON, Samuel McCLELLAND, J. M. COVERT, James THOMPSON and Samuel GRAHAM formed the first, and Thomas GRAHAM, R. A. WHITE, B. F. WHITE, William CROFT, John STAPLES, Nicoll ALLEN and John ROWAN, the second. The old church was torn down in May, 1878, and the new church was dedicated November 3, 1879, Rev. W. H. JEFFERS preaching the dedicatory sermon. On March 31, 1878, there were 231 communicants reported and 160 attendants at Sunday school.

From January to June, 1880, Rev. George SCOTT filled the pulpit, while Dr. YOUNG, E. P. LOUIS, A. W. LAWRENCE, G. W. STEWART and G. W. SHAFFER visited the church from June to October, 1880. Revs. SHAFFER, JUNKIN, MINTON, POLLOCK, McMAHON and several others came to fill the pulpit until December, 1881, when Rev. G. M. POTTER began his labors as stated supply. The organization of the church at Evans City was considered February 18, 1883, and thirty-nine members were dismissed from the old church to form the new one. Rev. R. C. YATES was moderator in June, 1885, and continued to preside until June, 1888. On October 5, that year, Rev. G. M. POTTER's name re-occurs as moderator, and on October 8, Mr. YATES was elected pastor; but the minority being forty-four in a total [p. 439] vote of ninety-four, the choice was not pressed. John ROWAN, Josiah COVERT, James THOMPSON, J. M. COVERT, Matthew GRAHAM, John GOEHRING and O. P. GRAHAM were the elders at that time. At the close of 1889 Rev. J. P. WHITE was moderator. The statistical report of April, 1890, is signed by J. K. McKALLIP, moderator; but in May of that year Mr. WHITE's name re-appears. In June, 1890, John ROWAN was elected moderator, J. M. COVERT, who was elected clerk of session in 1888, signing the record. Rev. G. M. POTTER presided October 25, 1890, John ROWAN in April, 1892, Rev. J. P. WHITE in May, 1892, Rev. McNEES in October, 1892, and Rev. A. J. HETRICK in May, 1893. The number of communicants in 1894 was about 135.

St. John's German United Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, formerly called "St. Daniel's church," in Cranberry township, adopted a constitution, June 7, 1869, at a meeting of members, presided over by Christoph KIRSCHLER, of which John G. HOFFMAN was secretary and Andrew KIRSCHLER treasurer--these three being the trustees. In the article providing for the government of the burial ground, it is written, "as long as a member remains in connection with this congregation, that is from June 7, 1869, and has signed his name on the church book, he has, for himself and his children the right of burial in our graveyard, but for the daughters only as long as they go by the name of their parents."

Dutillh Methodist Episcopal Church, in Cranberry township, originally a class of the Plains church of Allegheny county, dates its distinct organization from 1879, when the present church was erected under the direction of William LONSDALE, Sr., Dr. Elder CRAWFORD, Thomas CREA, Jacob CRIDER and Thomas ROBINSON. The heads of families at that time were Mary A. DOUTHETT, Daniel and Ruth EMERICK, Eli and Eliza EASTON, Mary EMMELL, John ENGLISH and his wife, Albert and Savila GRAHAM, Maud GRAHAM, Austin and Amanda GRAHAM, G. B. and Elizabeth GILL, Eliza HEADLAND, Jacob and Libbie HEADLAND, Charles HEADLAND, John and Sadie HEADLAND, Eli HEADLAND, Michael HEADLAND, Lewis and Jennie HOFFMAN, William and Hannah HILLMAN, Amelia HOEHN, Edward HARPER, Blanche HARPER, Ida KIBLER, John and Elizabeth KESHLER, William and Jane LONSDALE, William F. and Jennie LONSDALE, Sarah LAMBERT, Jennie MULLIGAN, Mary A. MURRAY, Harriet PEARCE, Thomas and Mary Ann ROBINSON, William and Estella ROBINSON, Anna ROBINSON, A. N. and Julia RICHARDSON, Lone SHERAR and Mary SHERAR, Lizzie SHANNON, Robert and Nannie TRIMBLE, Josephine VANDIVORT and family, Sadie WILSON, Dr. Elder and Martha CRAWFORD, Thomas and Dora CREA, Jacob and Mary CRIDER. The stewards in 1879 were Dr. CRAWFORD, Thomas CREA, and William LONSDALE. Thomas CREA was class leader and Thomas ROBINSON was superintendent of Sunday school. Jacob CRIDER succeeded LONSDALE as steward; William F. LONSDALE succeeded CREA, and Isaac WRIGHT succeeded William LONSDALE, Sr. The pastors of this church since 1879 are Rev. Mr. SWANN, followed by Revs. W. C. T. WEAVER, STEVENSON, FREEMAN, McCURDY, J. J. DAVIS and William MEDLEY, who was serving in 1894. The churches attached are Salem, in Allegheny county, and Mars in Adams township.
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VILLAGES

Ogle is the local postoffice and village. For some time Thomas ROBINSON, who was postmaster, had the office at his home; but, when William GARVIN was appointed, the office was moved to the hamlet, since known as Ogle, where he was the first merchant. John FRANTZ succeeded Mr. GARVIN in 1885, and he carried on the office in his store until 1889, when Mr. GARVIN was re-appointed. In July, 1894, Mr. FRANTZ was again appointed postmaster at Ogle. The stores are conducted by William GARVIN, J. A. BOGGS, John FRANTZ and H. M. JOHNSTON.

Hendersonville, the old postoffice of the township, was superseded by Mars, in Adams township, whither many of the inhabitants went after the railroad was completed to that point.

The Brush Creek Protective Association was organized in 1878 with fifty-eight members. The officers or directors, in March, 1879, were John ZIEGLER, S. M. HAZEN, Charles HERMAN, Thomas FERGUSON, John SNYDER, James ALCORN, Henry KNAUFF, Milo E. RIDER, Jacob GAEBE, Henry GARDNER, Henry BLINN and Charles GOEHRING. The total risks at that time amounted to about $70,000. In January, 1892, Thomas FERGUSON was elected president and Milo E. READER, secretary.

The Patrons of Husbandry in Cranberry boast of one active grange. To every organization, whether local or general, promising benefits to agriculturalists, her citizens have been always friendly. The Farmers' Alliance has a membership here; and Grange, Number 908, has now no less than thirty-four members. The first to join January 21, 1890, were Fleming WEST, Jacob EMMELL, John LEISE, O. P. GRAHAM, W. H. RAMSEY, A. J. WEST, Edwin RAMSEY and Nicol ALLEN, the first officers in order of grange rank, with Madams WEST, EMMELL, LEISE and GRAHAM. The grange hall is on the LEISE farm.

[End of Chapter 31 - Cranberry Township: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]

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13 Nov 2000, 14:01