History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895

Concord Township, Chapter 49

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

Surnames in this chapter are:

ADAMS, AGGAS, ALLEN, ALTER, ANDREANDREWS, BACKUS, BARLETT, BARNHART, BARTHOLD, BATEMAN, BEATTY, BLACK, BLY, BOLE, BOOK, BRAWLEY, BROWN, BULLMAN, CAMPBELL, CHRISTIE, CHRISTY, COCHRAN, COLLINS, CONN, CONWAY, COULTER, CRAIG, CROWELL, CUMMINGS, DAVIS, DELO, DILLO, DENNY, DICKEY, DOUGHERTY, EIDENBERG, EMERY, ENSINGER, FOSTER, FRASER, FROST, GLENN, GORDON, GRAHAM, GRIFFIN, GROOVER, HAMBLY, HACKETT, HAMILTON, HARE, HARPER, HIBBARD, HINES, HURLBURT, HUSELTON, HUTCHISON, JAMISON, JESSUP, KAMERER, KAUFFMAN, KEARNS, KERNICK, KUHN, LEVENGSTON, LEVY, LUSINGER, MARKWELL, MARKS, MARSHALL, McCLELLAND, McCONNELL, McELVAINE, McFALL, McGARVEY, McGLAUGHLIN, McKAY, McPHERRIN, MENDENHALL, MILLER, MONNIE, MORRISON, NEYMAN, O'BRIEN, OVERMAN, PATTON, PISOR, QUIGLEY, RALSTON, RAMSEY, RANKIN, REDICK, RIDER, RIPLEY, ROBB, ROBERTS, RUSSELL, RYAN, SEIDERLY, SHRYOCK, SIBBALS, SINGER, SMITH, STARKS, STARR, STAUFFER, STEADMAN, STEWART, TREAMER, SUTTON, TADDER, THOMPSON, TIMBLIN, TOWNSEND, TROUTMAN, WASSON, WATSON, WHITE, WHITMIRE, WICK,WILES, WILSON, WOODS, WRIGHT, YOUNG


CHAPTER 49

Concord Township

[p. 562]
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS -- EARLY OIL WELLS -- PIONEERS -- SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES -- CHURCHES -- VILLAGES --

In Concord township, near Middletown, one may see the branches of the Allegheny and the Beaver, under the names of Bear and Buffalo creeks, flowing northeast and southeast toward the Allegheny, and the Connoquenessing, Muddy creek and SlipperyRock creek flowing toward the Beaver river. The elevation at Middletown above ocean level is fully 1,400 feet, but at a point north, it is 1,450, gradually increasing until at North Washington it is 1,500 feet above ocean level. The coal deposits on the JAMISON farm at Greece City and on the RIDER lands, one mile west of that old oil town, as well as at the older banks in Middletown, leave no doubts regarding the quality of Concord coals. The beds are generally shallow and the coal is wanting in that hardness and lustre which distinguish good from inferior coals.

As an oil field Concord was renowned. Here the productive Fourth sand was struck in Augustt, 1872, at from thirty to fifty feet below the Third sand, and oildom was electrified. The history of this field is related in a previous chapter, where mention is made of many of her great wells. S.S. JAMISON is said to have there first drilled to the Fourth sand, though not aware of that important fact at the time. The old wells of the Concord field were the "Modoc," "Hope," Numbers 1 and 2, "High Flyer," "Dead Beat," "Mohawk," "Forest City" and "Smith," on the TROUTMAN farm, the elevation of the mouths being from 1,227 to 1, 277 feet above ocean level, On the J. SUTTON farm were the "Hooker Jim," "Sutton," "Darrar," "Lady Sutton," and two of the Columbia Oil Company's wells, the elevations being from 1,240 to 1,288 feet. The wells on the D.C. RANKIN farm were "Down [p. 563] East," Numbers 1 and 2 and the two DOUGHERTY wells, the elevations ranging from 1,219 to 1,246 feet. "Maggie" and "Frank," on the RALSTON farm, and "Hare," "Osceola," "Maud Jack" and Brawley & Overman's well on the J. STARR farm, had elevations varying from 1,219 to 1,249 feet; while "Gordon," Number 19, Miller Oil Co's. Number 1, "Lady McClelland," "Glade," "Hoover" and "McClelland" Number 1 on the S. McCLELLAND farm, were commenced at points from 1,200 to 1,281 feet above ocean level. The "Preston," on the W. BROWN farm, "Maggie" Number 1, on the G. BARNHART farm, Denny, Gordon, Roberts and the Collins brothers' wells on the G.R. CAMPBELL farm, Woods & Ripley's wells on the D. BARNHART farm, "Big Medicine," on the old J.C. BROWN farm, the "Olive," "Sadie," "Mary Ann," "Roberts & Constable" Number 1 on the JAMISON farm, the "Huselton," on the HUSELTON farm, the "Morrison" Numbers 1 and 2, the "Karns," "Red Cross" and "Invincible," on the MORRISON farm, were all below 1,185 feet above ocean level.

PIONEERS

The pioneers visited this township in 1795, but did not attempt a settlement until 1796, when the widow Thankful AGGAS and her two boys rested in the wilderness and made their home here. Edward Graham, Sr., visited the township in 1795, and early in 1796 brought his family hither. He believed that William DICKEY, mentioned in other pages, was his nearest neighbor that spring, though Mrs. AGGAS was in the township. The same year John CAMPBELL, Sr., and his sons located lands here. In 1797 the sons drew lots for the division of their entries, and to Robert CAMPBELL fell a tract in Concord. He settled here in 1797. William and Andrew CHRISTY were here in 1797, but did not locate permanently until 1800, when Andrew selected a farm on the site of Greece City, and William at the head of the Connoquenessing. Andrew built a grist mill in 1801. Hugh CONWAY, Sr., had one hundred acres of land in 1803; William CONWAY, 400 acres; John CONWAY, a single man, had 400, and Hugh CONWAY, Jr., 200 acres - all of whom located in this township in 1799 or 1800. Samuel CAMPBELL came from New Jersey in 1800, and in 1802 or 1803, Big James RUSSELL moved in from Clay township. John TIMBLIN, who died in 1843, was one of the pioneers, and Joseph and George TIMBLIN were here when the county was established.

In 1800 Jeremiah SUTTON arrived, and in 1801 Platt SUTTON settled here. John SHRYOCK and William and John THOMPSON were early settlers in the southern part of Concord. In 1819 Joseph SUTTON came, and in 1821 John STARR and family settled on what is now the R.P. BLACK farm, but moved to Penn township some years later, where John STARR died in 1876. Rev. John COULTER came in 1823, and William T. JAMISON located at what is now Greece City in 1826. A reference to the Pioneer chapter will point out the dangers and troubles of the pioneer period, and fix definitely the names and property qualifications of the men who had established their homes here in 1803. When the township was organized in 1854, a few of the pioneers, many of their children and at least one hundred natives or old settlers of adjoining townships, found a home in Concord.

The mill erected in 1801 by Andrew CHRISTY, was the third grist mill in the [p. 564] county giving credit to NEYMAN's mill, at the mouth of Bonny Brook as the second. HARPER operated it for some years after CHRISTY retired, and in 1836 W.T. JAMISON became owner. The old mill was burned long before Greece City was thought of, and on its site the present JAMISON mill was erected. Alexanded CAMPBELL erected a second grist mill in the vicinity of the JAMESON mill, which was operated as a steam mill down to February, 1867, when fire destroyed it.

The population in 1860 was 855; in 1870, 926; in 1880, 1654, and in 1890 1,138. From 1873 to 1878 the population varied, sometimes increasing to 5,000 and then falling back to the thousand mark. In June, 1893, there were 177 male and 153 female children of school age reported. The assessed value of property January 1, 1894, was $288,419, the county tax $1,153.68, and the State tax $43.63. The total revenue for school purposes reported in June, 1893, was $3,235,27, includung $1,281.81, the sum of the State appropriation.

SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES

The first schoolhouse was near Concod church-a house of round logs, such as the people erected in Sweden and Norway centuries before, but superior to the cabins of the ancient Britons. Among the teachers in that old school were Dr. STEADMAN, as early as 1822; Robert McELVAINE, who had charge of an older school near West Sunbury; John WICK, David BEATTY, John CHRISTY and William WICK. When the common school law of 1834 was adopted here in 1835, the subscription school waned, and after a time the old log house was supplanted by abetter building. There are now eight school houses in this township, which are open eight months every year.

The Justices of the peace elected since the organization of this township are: Joseph C. CAMPBELL, 1854-59-64; William M. GRAHAM, 1854-59-64-69-74-79; Cahrles COCHRAN, 1869-74-79-94; Peter KRAMERER, 1882-84-89; D.D. QUIGLEY, 1884-89, and A.F. COCHRAN, 1894.

CHURCHES

Concord Presbyterian Church had its inception in the summer of 1799, when Rev. John McPHERRIN, of West Moreland county, visited this section of the State and preached to the pioneers beneath the spreading branches of a large oak tree near the site of the present church building. He then named the gathering congregation "Concord," which title it has since borne. In 1803 he came again and took charge of the Butler, Concord and Muddy Creek congregations. He completed the organization of Concord in the autumn of 1804, in which year he accepted a call and was installed pastor. Mr. McPHERRIN continued in this capacity until his death, February 10, 1822. The pulpit was vacant until Rev. John COULTER was called to the pastorate in 1823. He had charge of this church until the spring of 1864, a period of over forty years. On October 23, 1865, Rev. James H. MARSHALL was installed, and served until his death in 1889. In May, 1891, Rev. James H. WRIGHT succeeded Mr. MARSHALL, but since his death in January, 1892, the pulpit was vacant until the installation of Rev. R.L. ALTER in the fall of 1894. The first elders were Jeremiah SUTTON,Sr., Hugh CONWAY,Sr., and William and John CHRISTY. Succeeding them were John SHRYOCK, Robert [p. 565] HAMILTON, William McELVAINE, James RUSSELL, William ROBB, Samuel GLENN, Joseph GLENN, Thomas CAMPBELL, Joseph C. CAMPBELL, William H. CHRISTIE, John H. CHRISTIE, Richard ALLEN, David J. RUSSELL, Samuel RUSSELL, Thomas E. COULTER, Peter KAMERER, Robert EMERY, John S. CAMPBELL and Harvey CAMPBELL, the last named being clerk of sesion. The first house of worship was a small log cabin, with earthen floor, split-log seats and old-fashioned fireplace. This was succeeded by a log building thirty feet square, to which an addition of thirty feet was subsequently made. In 1838 a brick building, on heavy stone foundation, was erected, which has served the congregation for over half a century.

The Covenanter Church was one of the early societies of this township, meetings being held in a tent near Hugh WASSON's house. In one or other of the consolidations of the Presbyterian bodies, the Covenanters of Concord lost identity.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1858 by Rev. John DELO, who came here in 1857. The first members were John STARR,Sr., Elisha STARR, Jacob PISOR, Daniel PISOR, Samuel JAMISON, Andrew BULLMAN, Stephen TROUTMAN, Robert S. HARPER, James K. CHRISTY, James KAUFFMAN, George CAMPBELL, J.L. WICK and William WICK, with their families. In 1858 a church building, begun in 1857, was completed at a cost of $800. This is a small house, thirty by forty feet, which has been repeatedly repaired, and within the last few years subjected to a thorough refitting, re-roofing and papering. The pastors of Zion's congregation in the order of service were: Revs. John DELO, 1857-59; Jacob SINGER, 1859-65; A.S. MILLER, 1865-72; S. STAUFFER, 1873-74; David TOWNSEND, 1875-77; Charles L. STREAMER, 1878-83 and Thomas HINES, 1883-85. In 1886 Rev. R.B. STARKS, the present pastor, took charge of this church. The congregation to-day numbers sixty members. An active Sunday-school and Ladies' Missionary Society are among the evidences of Mr. STARKS' effective work.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Jamison's Mill or Greece City, was organized by Rev. John SMITH in the fall of 1870, with R.W. JAMISON and wife, Isaiah BROWN and wife, Mrs. Maria REDICK and Jacob GROOVER members. Prior to that time, however, Joseph K. MENDENHALL, then pastor in charge at North Washington, prepared the way and held one or more protracted meetings at Hazel Dell school-house. The transient oil men attended in great numbers, but the gospel made very little impression on them, so far as making them members of this new church was concerned. Immediately after organization, application was made to the Erie conference for a pastor, and a new circuit, including West Monterey, Miller's Eddy, Fairview and Hazel Dell School-house was formed. In 1871 Rev. E.M. KERNICK, of Fairview circuit, was appointed to this charge, with R.H. HURLBURT presiding elder. In 1872 the present church building was erected at a cost of $3,000, David MORRISON giving $1,000 in cash and his wife a half-acre building lot. Greece City was created a separate station in 1873, with Rev. B.F. DILLO in charge, but since 1874 it has been a part of the North Washington circuit. In 1883 the church building was moved from the hill to its present site.

Springdale Evangelical Lutheran Church was formally organized in 1875,[p. 566] the members being dismissed from Rider's church, in Centre township, and from the Bethesda church, of West Sunbury, to form this new society, including, besides those named in the history of the older church at West Sunbury, Christopher RIDER, Jacob RIDER, James WILSON, George WILSON, Sylvanus AGGAS, Peter WHITMIRE, Jacob WHITMIRE, John WHITMIRE, Solomon WHITMIRE, William WHITMIRE and their wives, with Mrs. ANDRE and her children from Rider's church, in all about seventy-five members. This membership increased to 104 in 1878, and decreased to ninety-eight at the close of 1893. The same pastors named in the history of Zion church preached here, Rev. Mr. STARKS coming in 1886. The actual organization or consolidation took place November 12, 1876, and, the same month, the present church was dedicated. In 1891 the building was repainted and restored.

The Church of God in Concord was organized some years ago, and is to-day a factor in the religious life of that township. Rev. J.W. DAVIS, of Butler, and other preachers of the denomination, attend here at intervals.

VILLAGES

Middletown was founded by David PATTON about the year 1846, when Porter McCONNELL opened a store on the hill. Andrew BULLMAN and John McGLAUGHLIN, the latter a cabnet maker, were here in 1853, when John G. CHRISTY established his blacksmith shop. The old store of CONWAY & KUHN, one of the best store buildings ever erected in the township, was built in 1854. In April, 1893, the store was closed owing, it is said, to a paragraph in the will of Mr. KUHN. In 1862 A.D. KUHN was appointed postmaster and held the office until succeeded by Maggie CAMPBELL, who, in turn, was succeeded by Jane ADAMS, the present incumbent. The hotel is carried on by Mr. CHRISTY. Just west of the hamlet is old Concord church, and within its boundaries a Lutheran church, while other denominations meet here at intervals. Concord Grange, Number 570, was organized here June 24, 1875, and carried on for several years.

Greece City was incorporated as a borough November 11, 1873, on petition presented June 11, of that year. James L. CONN and James S. CRAIG were elected justices of the peace immediately after incorporation, and served as such during the active life of the borough. The record of municipal elections gives only the following councils; 1877-James S. CRAIG, burgess; S.W. BARTLETT, assistant burgess; W.R. CONN, J.C. CROWELL, A. FROST, Robert WOODS, John WATSON and J.E. RUSSELL. 1878-Frank MARKWELL, burgess; D. MORRISON, A.FROST, W.R. CONN, A. ENSINGER, John SIBBALS and M. LEVINGSTON. 1879-W.W. CHRISTY, burgess; A. LUSINGER D. MORRISON, J.C. CROWELL, George BROWN, W.W. CHRISTY and R.W. JAMISON.

From 1801, when Andrew CHRISTY erected the second grist mill in Butler county, to 1878, the location was simply known as "Christy's Mill," "Harper's Mill" and "Jamison's Mill," the last name prevailing from 1836 to 1873. When it was opened as an oil field, the driller, pumper, oil operator, editor, merchant, evangelist and others flocked to the place and within a few days it was a full fledged oil town. The postoffice was established in 1873, with Miss HARE in charge. Robert YOUNG was the next postmaster, serving until 1888, when [p. 567] Frank MARKWELL was appointed. The Methodist church, one or more bank buildings and many houses were erected and business was flourishing when fire came to disturb the busy little city.

The fire of December, 1873, originated in Marks & Levy's store. There were twenty buildings destroyed, among them being Backus, Morrison & Company's hardware store, Russell & Tadder's billiard hall, Hibbard's restaurant, Fraser's Hotel, C. Barthold's clothing store, Oil Exchange Hotel, Dr. Books drug store, Eidenberg & Company's tobacco store, A.P. Stewart's grocery, MaFall & Hambly's drug store, F.N. Hare's building, Waugh & Meyler's building, Producers' Bank office, the Corry House, the Shamberg House, Cleveland & Lorimer's boarding house, the blacksmith shops of Cleveland and of Smith & Monroe, Cooban's barber shop, Armstrong & Collum's well and tanks, Steel's livery stable and several dwelling houses. This fire occured across the creek from the present village. Prior to December a smaller fire occured where the village of to-day stands, destroying about twelve buildings, extending north from the present ZILLIFRO residence, but left uninjured the houses south of MARKWELL's dwelling.

The first bank at Greece City was established in December, 1872, by Theodore HUSELTON, under the title "Greece City Bank." Woods Bank was a contemporary of the HUSELTON Bank, and had an office on or about where the Methodist church now stands.

The Concord Savings Bank was carried on by Captain TIMBLIN until it colsed its doors. The captain moved to the Black Hills and was register of a mining camp there until killed by some angry prospectors.

The old office of the National Transit Company was restored in 1893 and is now the residence of Coulter ROBB. Opposite the present Methodist church was YOUNG's store in which the postoffice was located until the building was destroyed by fire, The "Brawley House," now occupied by the Misses Hutchisons, is the only one of the original buildings standing, while S. MARKWELL's general store, is the only merchantile establishment.

The Geeece City riots of 1873 were simply faction fights between the Ku-Klux and Modoc tribes of the race of oil men. On June 7, 1873, 500 men went voluntarily into the fray, the casualties numbering fourteen.

Modoc City is another shadow of a busy oil town. The derricks stand like sentinels over a wild past. Producing wealth, its site was dedicated to all kinds of vice, and virtue, although present, was hidden. Modoc had its fires, like its sister cities. It died quickly, just as it rose, and is now scarcely a memory. The fire of March 19, 1874, destroyed twenty-five buildings, at Modoc, within two hours. The principal losers were STARR, RAMSEY & Company. E. BLY, SEIDERLY & Company, A.R. JAMISON, J. O'BRIEN, Live Oak restaurant, BATEMAN Hotel, New York House, CAMPBELL's laundry, ARTHUR's livery, MONNIE's grocery and the properties of Henry BOLE, J. FOSTER, Thomas HACKETT, C.B. WRIGHT, Andrew RYAN, P. GRIFFIN, L. ANDREWS, WILES & JESSUP, M. BEATTY. S.D. KEARNS and J.S. McKAY. The total loss was estimated at $100.000. It is said that lightning struck one of the oil tanks and caused the fire which almost wiped out the town.

[p. 568]
Troutman never had the pretensions of Greece City, yet it was a busy village and a greaat oil producer. Little of it now remains. During the electric storm of April 19, 1877, the fluid struck a 28,000-barrel tank belonging to Vandergrift & Foreman, on the TROUTMAN farm. The burning oil flowed toward the two 24,000-barrel tanks of Gailey & Hasson, and soon the creek was a blzing river. The buildings burned included McGARVEY's, The Troutman Hotel, White's hardware store, Robert's grocery, Cummings' livery stable and dwelling, Christy's barn and dwelling, the United office, the Union pump-house and pumps, Union station, Number 34, and Fitch's hardware store and house. In addition to these, the derricks and machinery at the two wells of the Hope Oil Company, at the Avery well (where three tanks were also destroyed), at the Modoc well, the Osceola, the Frank and Aggie, the Fairmount, Lynch, Dougherty, and at the two wells known as Down East, were destroyed. That fire wiped out Troutman.

Magic is the new postal name of an old settlement. Balziger & Badger's store and a few houses make up the little hamlet

[End of Chapter 49 - Concord Township: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]

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07 Jan 2000, 12:05