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History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895

Harrisville Borough, Chapter 63

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Transcribed by: Lyn Magill-Hoch. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
Link to a sketch of Harrisville Borough from the Atlas of Butler County, G.M. Hopkins & Co., 1874.

Surnames in this chapter are:

AGNEW, ALLEN, ATWELL, AYRES, BARBER, BARNES, BEATTY, BILLINGSLY, BINGHAM, BLACK, BLAYNEY, BOOTZ, BOVARD, BOYD, BRADY, BRAHAM, BROWN, BRUMBAUGH, BUCHANAN, CAMPBELL, CARL, COCHRAN, COKAINE, CRAIG, CROSS, CROWL, CUBBISON, CUMMINS, CURRY, DONAGHY, DOUGHERTY, ELRICK, EVANS, FORKER, FULTON, GEORGE, GILFILLAN, GILL, GILMER, GILMORE, GOODWIN, HAMILTON, HARDY, HARRIS, HARTLEY, HEATER, HENDERSON, HOWARD, HUMPHREY, JENKINS, JOHNSTON, JONES, KERR, KING, KIRKPATRICK, KNOWLTON, KYLE, LAGHER, LAVERTY, LEE, LOCKE, LONG, MAGEE, MATTHEWS, MAXWELL, McCLINTOCK, McCONNELL, McCORMICK, McCOY, McELREE, McGILL, McKEE, McMILLAN, McQUILLEN, McSPARRIN, MEAD, MOON, MOORE, MORRISON, MORROW, NEYMAN, ORR, PARKER, PATTON, PEW, POLLOCK, PORCH, QUILLEN, REED, RIGGS, ROBERTS, ROSE, SATTERFIELD, SEATON, SEIDLE, SHAFFER, SHAW, SHULL, SNYDER, STEEN, STRUTHERS, SUTTON, TAIT, THOMAS, VAWN, VINCENT, WALKER, WHITE, WICK, WILLIAMS, WILLIAMSON, YOUNG


CHAPTER LXIII

HARRISVILLE BOROUGH

[p. 636]
FOUNDING OF THE TOWN - COL. ROBERT REED'S ADDITION -- EARLY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES -- SCHOOLS --- HARRISVILLE IN 1865 - HOTELS, MILLS, AND MERCHANTS -- BOROUGH OFFICIALS - BURGESSES AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE -- CHURCHES -- SECRET SOCIETIES

Harrisville was surveyed in 1825 for Ephraim HARRIS, who began the sale of lots April 11 of that year. He was the first postmaster in the village, and was succeeded, in 1826, by his son, Samuel E. HARRIS. In 1833 the southern addition was surveyed, on Col. Robert REED's farm, and named Reedsville, so that two towns form the foundation of the borough. Ezekeil BRADY, the blacksmith, built a cabin, in 1800, on a tract of twenty-four acres of land which he entered that year. This tract was north of the village center, but on it the first business house was erected, and "Old Zeke" carried on his trade there from 1800 forward. James HARTLEY made the first improvements on the HARRIS farm [p. 637] in 1798, while Colonel REED established his home and tavern on his farm in 1797. The tavern keeper, farmer and blacksmith were, therefore, the first invaders of the "prairie tract," or great Indian cornfield. In 1804 the Ephraim HARRIS store was opened; in 1807 Henry EVANS, the distiller, began tavern keeping and carried on the house for fourteen or fifteen years, when HARRIS purchased the old log building. Two years after the survey of the town site, Maj. John R. HARRIS, son of Ephraim, established himself here as a merchant, built a carding mill, opened a tavern and continued in trade here until his death in 1874.

Two years before John R. HARRIS began business, James LEE erected a little frame building in which he opened a stock of goods, and remained in trade until 1830, when he sold his interest to Jonathan McMILLAN. At that time William H. McGILL carried on a blacksmith's shop; Thomas McELREE was a cabinet maker; James and William FORKER were hatters; Samuel E. HARRIS and Washinton PARKER had their little stores in operation; James KERR was clerk in the newly opened McMILLAN store, and John R. HARRIS kept tavern on the site of the modern KERR House. Three years after John McCOY and Washington PARKER erected their dwellings, and a little later William P. BROWN established his cabinet shop, where he erected a second building in 1851.

From 1830 to 1847 signal progress was made here. Within a radius of three miles were ten distilleries and in the village four taverns. Whisky sold at twenty-five cents a gallon, and Josiah HARDY, John DOUGHERTY, John KERR and John R. HARRIS, the tavern keepers, enjoyed a large and decent trade; for seldom did the villagers or visiting neighbors drink to excess. Even the Slippery Rock Light Infantry found the liquor pleasant to the taste, and knew better than abuse its use on training day; but Josiah HARDY, a thorough going Methodist, thought it required a good deal of grace to attend to business and religion without robbing God or Caesar. Thompson KYLE came in 1845, and gave his attention to the development of the coal deposits.

In the sketch of Mercer township mention is made of the pioneer teachers and the statistics of the borough schools given. The first school established in Harrisville was in a frame building erected in 1830, and the first teacher was Samuel E. HARRIS. In 1833 Judge James KERR was the teacher, and Chauncey HAMILTON also taught several years. In April, 1856, a high school or academy was established here by W. THOMAS, of West Sunbury Academy. The town has had for several years a good school building and a well conducted graded school.

Harrisville, in 1865, was made up of four stores, including T. W. MORROW's, a foundry purchased that year by BINGHAM, of Centreville, three blacksmith shops, G. W. MAGEE's carriage shop, one tannery, one pottery, one cabinet shop, three saddle and harness shops, three shoe shops, two temperance hotels, one grocery and one saloon. The professions were represented by three physicians, two common school teachers and one select school teacher, together with the pastors of the three churches in the village and of the United Presbyterian church one mile west of the village. The foundry previously mentioned was established in 1845 by GILMER & SHAFFER. The fire of June 6, 1872, destroyed Samuel KERR's hotel and William KIRKPATRICK's dwelling on the east side of the street, and threatened the whole town.

[p. 638] The KING House was known as the KERR House down to October 17, 1893, when E. A. KING purchased the property from the Widow KERR. It was carried on by Samuel KERR for forty years prior to his death. The Central Hotel and other houses of entertainment have existed here until recent years.

The KERR & WALKER flouring mill at Harrisville was built in 1882 as a buhr mill, and opened by SEATON & SUTTON, who operated it up to the spring of 1884, when E. A. KING leased the concern. A brick smokestack was erected during KING's lease. STRUTHERS & WALKER were the next lessees. The roller system was then introduced, and Samuel PORCH became lessee, continuing until R. R. WALKER purchased Judge KERR's interests and leased it to S. R. WALKER, who carried it on until 1894, when it was purchased by Samuel B. BINGHAM, the present proprietor.

The business interests in 1894 were represented by H. C. BLACK & Son, Robert BLACK, J. E. CURRY, D. W. HUMPHREY & Company, L. R. CUMMINS, W. L. MORRISON, E. S. BEATTY, SAMUEL B. BINGHAM, R. L. BROWN, A. G. STEEN and J. M. ELRICK; while the J. G. LAGHER general store is near Harrisville, and may be included as a local business house.

BOROUGH OFFICIALS

The first election for the borough of Harrisville took place September 11, 1846, when Lyman HOWARD was chosen burgess; Robert LONG, Samuel BROWN, Washington P. ALLEN, John HEATER and W. A. GILMORE, councilmen; P. D. BRUMBAUGH and R. K. WICK overseers of the poor; Robert DONAGHY, constable and assessor; John R. HARRIS and Hugh McCOY, street commissioners, and R. R. WALKER, clerk.

The office of burgess has been filled from 1847 to 1894, inclusive, by R. R. WALKER, in 1847; James KERR, 1848; John R. HARRIS, 1849; P. D. BRUMBAUGH, 1850, (refused to serve); J. T. BILLINGSLY, 1850; Hugh GILMORE, 1851; Hugh McCOY, 1852; T. KYLE, 1853; John HEATER, 1854; W. A. GILMORE, 1855; William BLACK, 1856, I. W. JONES, 1857; Solomon SNYDER, 1858; Joseph S. PEW, 1859; W. H. MORRISON, 1860; W. P. BROWN, 1861; A. J. McMILLAN, 1862; Joseph HAMILTON, 1863; J. N. CUBBISON, 1864; Dr. J. M. McMILLAN, 1864; William GOODWIN, 1865; W. B. HENDERSON, 1866, George W. MAGEE, 1867; William GOODWIN, 1868; W. H. MORRISON, 1869; C. M. BROWN, 1870; H. S. BINGHAM, 1871-72; James McGILL, 1873; James H. MORRISON, 1874-75; H. A. AYRES, 1876; J. H. MORRISON, Sr., 1877, 1878, 1880, 1886, 1889; R. L. BROWN, 1879 and 1881; H. A. AYRES, 1882; Lamont STEEN, 1883, 1887 and 1888; J. R. H. MORROW, 1884; John F. CROWL, 1885; Henry BOOTZ, 1890: William COCHRAN, 1891; J. H. MORRISON, 1892-93, and George S. MOON, 1894.

The justices of the peace for the borough of Harrisville, from 1847 to 1894, inclusive, are named as follows: William A. GILMORE, 1847-58; Robert LONG, 1850-57; James KERR, 1852; George B. WILLIAMSON, 1855; Robert R. WALKER, 1859-64; Z. C. QUILLEN, 1859 Thompson KYLE, 1860; John BLACK, 1865-70; J. R. SNYDER, 1869-74; James McGILL, 1875-1880; C. M. BROWN, 1876-77-85-92; W. H. ORR, 1880; J. M. ELRICK, 1882-87; W. J. McGILL, 1886, and E. S. BEATTY, 1890.
[p. 639]

CHURCHES

The United Presbyterian Church of Harmony may be said to date back to 1800, though not until November 10, 1802, did this society, then known as the Boiling Spring Church, with Scrubgrass and Cool Spring societies, unite in a call for a pastor. In December following, a call was extended to Rev. Thomas McCLINTOCK, a native of Ireland, and was accepted by him April 7, 1803. Thomas MATTHEWS, William GILL, John ATWELL and Alexander WHITE were the first elders, and the predecessors of Thomas McELREE, Samuel CROSS, John MATTHEWS, Samuel G. WHITE, David BEATTY and their successors. William BUCHANAN, Ebenezer BEATTY and John MATTHEWS were the first trustees. The sale of land on Swamp creek, to the members of the Harmony congregation - a branch of the Associate Synod of North America - was made September 5, 1807. On that date, Thomas McCOY deeded to Rev. Thomas McCLINTOCK, pastor of the congregation, four acres - part of the original entry made by Duncan McSPARRIN, July 15, 1807. The price paid was twelve dollars, and the conditions of sale were that the ground be used for a meeting-house and burial ground and be held in trust for the congregation. A log cabin was erected on the land for winter use, but being too small a larger log cabin was erected, which was used down to 1836, when a frame church 50x60 feet was built. In that structure services were held down to September 4, 1889, when the present stone and brick building, costing $11,000, was dedicated. Mr. McCLINTOCK died March 10, 1832, after a pastorate of thirty years. On May 27, 1835, Rev. William C. POLLOCK was ordained pastor and served until May 4, 1852. In December, of that year, Rev. Samuel KERR, the present pastor, was ordained, to give his whole time to this church. In 1835, Ebenezer BEATTY, Joseph CROSS and William GEORGE were elected elders, and in 1840, Paden CRAIG, Edward McELREE and W. S. McCLINTOCK were chosen. Later, the names of nearly all the elders appear, with trustees, James VINCENT, David McKEE, Robert SHAW and William BOVARD, of whom McKEE and VINCENT, with George B. CROSS, were chosen elders in 1853. In 1859 Joseph BROWN, Gibson VINCENT, R. G. GILFILLAN and W. J. VAWN were elected; in 1860, Alexander BROWN; in 1863, George CUBBISON; in 1869, Hugh BRAHAM, Alexander McCORMICK, W. P. BUCHANAN, and James B. BARNES, and in 1876, A. M. BARBER, - William BLACK being the treasurer then as for many years before. In Rev. Samuel KERR's minutes the church is credited with 280 members, and is in a very prosperous condition.

The Presbyterian Church of Harrisville was first organized in 1807 under the name of "Unity" - sometimes called "West Unity." The first meeting place was a tent at Rocky Springs, in which Revs. Samuel TAIT and Robert LEE preached prior to 1812. It is related that during the War of 1812, while the soldiers were on their way to Erie, Mr. TAIT preached to them, the people from fifteen miles around coming to hear him.

The first permanent pastor, Rev. Cyrus RIGGS, was installed April 6, 1814, and continued to serve the congregation for twenty years. After his release, April 2, 1834, a division took place over the question of employing Rev. Joseph JOHNSTON, a native of the north of Ireland, who came to Butler county from New Brunswick, Canada, and who, in 1832, was given a permit to preach in the Free- [p. 640] port neighborhood. As the result of an effort on his part to "unionize" the church, a division took place, and an Associate Reformed congregation was formed under the name of West Unity Associate Reformed Church.

In June, 1834, Rev. Loyal YOUNG was sent to preach to that portion of the congregation adhering to the Presbytery. In 1837 the location of the church was fixed at Harrisville, and a new church building, now the Armory hall, erected. An old, hewn log church, said to have been erected by the Seceder congregation, stood in the present cemetery as late as 1847, when David REED purchased the building and moved it to his farm.

The next pastor, Rev. John R. AGNEW, was installed April 3, 1838, and served until October 21, 1845 or 1846. He was succeeded by the following pastors: Revs. John MOORE, June 22, 1847, to November 13, 1849; Mead SATTERFIELD, son of Rev. James SATTERFIELD, one of the original members of the Presbytery, and a grandson of Gen. David MEAD, founder of Meadville, from February 12, 1851 to his death, May 11, 1855; J. F. BOYD, June 22, 1856, to June, 1866; William D. PATTON, December 26, 1866, to June 27, 1877, when a vacancy of four years occurred; John W. FULTON, September 13, 1881, to June 7, 1882. In November, 1885, Rev. Mr. LAVERTY came and served one year. Rev. James ROSE came in April, 1887, and remained until October of the same year. The present pastor is Rev. Henry G. BLAYNEY, who has a congregation of 114 members.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1834 by Rev. William CARL, who, in that and the following year, established classes in this and neighboring townships, such as the Christly class, in Cherry. Among the early members were John McCONNELL, Josiah HARDY, Robert WALKER, Robert KNOWLTON, Abner GILL and William H. McGILL and their wives. The first public school house was tendered to the society for religious services. In 1842 a meeting house was erected, and ten years after the society boasted of 200 members. In 1869 seventy members moved westward and, with the exception of the periods of church revivals, the membership has seldom reached one-third of that number. It is in the Centreville charge.

SECRET SOCIETIES

Harrisville Lodge, Number 2397, K. of H., was organized May 21, 1881. Lamont STEEN, the present reporter, states, that of the seventy members enrolled, since the institution of the lodge, only four have died. There are now twenty-six members.

Z. C. McQUILLEN Post, Number 246, G. A. R., was mustered in May 12, 1882, with the following named veterans: C. M. BROWN, A. J. McCOY, Lemuel McGILL, L. R. CUMMINS, W. A. ROBERTS, W. COCHRAN, W. J. NEYMAN, N. J. MAXWELL, J. W. CAMPBELL, L. G. JENKINS, David JENKINS, D. W. LOCKE, W. B. HENDERSON and Alexander WILLIAMS. The past-commanders are: W. COCHRAN, L. R. CUMMINS, W. A. SEATON, W. J. NEYMAN and A. J. McCOY, Samuel SEATON and J. W. SHULL. The last named is the present commander, with L. R. CUMMINS, adjutant. The strength of the post is twenty-eight.

Harrisville Council, number 427, Jr. O. U. A. M., was instituted April 7, 1890. Of the first officers four were members of the lodge in February, [p. 641] 1894. The councillors elected since, are James McMILLAN, Robert COCHRAN, William GILMORE, J. C. CAMPBELL, E. A. KING, James McMILLAN and H. P. CUMMINS. There were in February, 1894, about thirty members.

Harrisville Tent, Number 187, K. O. T. M., was chartered July 22, 1898, with twenty-five members. E. A. KING has been record keeper since the organization of the tent. Thomas J. COKAINE was the first past commander and E.E. McCONNELL second, the present commander being D. W. HUMPHREY. Dr. SEIDLE is physician. There are twenty-five members, who meet in the K. of H. hall.

[End of Chapter 63 - Harrisville Borough: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]

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28 Jan 2000, 23:28