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The above books are now available for purchase. Compiled by Paul E. Kifer and Pamela Myers-Grewell. Books can be ordered from Paul by emailing kifer@cableone.net.  Price is roughly $23 + S&H for 1869-1884 and $36 + S&H for 1885-1893. Included are obituaries from the Clarion Democrat, Clarion Republican Gazette, East Brady Review, New Bethlehem Vindicator, etc. Not all papers covered all years. When a death/obituary notice was not located, supplemental information from estates, etc. were included that may help you narrow down the time of an ancestor’s passing. Please contact Paul with queries/purchases. More years to follow as we get them completed.

 

George Washington is reputed to have been through this section in 1753 and remarked that the county north of Kittanning would never be fit for human habitation.  The 1877 History describes Sligo as: “Sligo is among the towns recently laid out. Its location is near the noted Sligo Furnace, on Licking Creek, in the southern part of Piney Township, where, until recently, large quantities of iron have been manufactured.  It is the terminus of the Sligo Branch Railroad at the present time, with a prospect of its extension to Edenburg, by the way of Callensburg, and a point where large amounts of oil are shipped by the Atlantic Pipe Company.  It is surrounded by a fine undulating country.

 

Early settlers:

 

1790's (early): John and Henry Benn, brothers, came from Northumberland County to the Curllsville vicinity, and built the first hewn log house in Clarion County. Many town lots were laid out from the Benn farm.

 

1798: John Laughlin settled in what is now Piney Twp., the warrant for his tract issued October 19, 1803. Louis Switzer settled and built a house.

 

1802-1804  Abram Stanford, Henry Benn, William Monks, William Binkee, John and Isaac Stanford, Abram Coursin, William Wilson, Thomas Watson, John Anderson, Samuel and William Austin, John McKee, Samuel Nelson settled the vicinity of Curllsville.

1804-1805: Christian Smathers, Nicholas Polliard, Michael Harriger and the Delp family arrived. Valentine Myers came west of the Allegheny Mountains and settled in the woods on the west bank of little Licking Creek which runs almost parallel with Sligo Railroad (1946).

 

1812: The first store was kept at Curllsville by a man named James Pinks. People from a great distance went there to make purchases.

 

1815 John Bole, Sr., settled near Curllsville

 

1816 John McKee settled near John Bole in Curllsville.

 

1817 the Craig and Reynolds settled where Sligo now is. Thomas Berrean (landscaper for the John Patton Lyon family) built the first house which stood near the railroad station.

 

1818: Philip Kaster brought his family here. He built the first stone house which was later torn down.

1820: John & Elizabeth (Collins) Myers— near Sligo.

 

1824: Hon. William Curll, at the age of 14, came to America, from County Antrim, Ireland. He built a log house, using it for a home and store. Later he built, for his son William D., the farmhouse occupied by C. V. Curll. By appointment, Mr. Curll was post-master, March 18, 1842; Justice of the Peace, February, 1825; Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Clarion County November 10, 1851.

1859: Harry Clay Craig, at the age of three (who was one of a family of thirteen) came to Curllsville to make his home with his grandfather, Major George Means. He was the son of Lt. David Ramsey Craig and Nancy Jane Means, who moved westward to Brainerd, Crow Ring Co., Minnesota where they passed.

The militia held their reviews at Abram Stanford's near Curllsville, twice a year and a gay time it was, with plenty of whisky and gingerbread.  The uniforms were not all UNIFORM, neither were the arms all ARMS as some marched with one kind of clothing on and some with another, and while some had guns, others marched with sticks or cornstalks or anything that looked like guns at a distance.  The field officers were well uniformed and looked well such as brigade inspectors, generals, colonels, etc.  The free circulation of the above named whiskey caused any amount of black eyes and bloody noses for there were men then as now, we are sorry to say who only needed some whiskey to stir up all the evil that was within them.

Among important early businesses in Sligo was clay and surface mining.

In 1860: 
TREE PLANTATION STARTED IN 1860HARRISBURG - One of the oldest forest tree plantations in Western Pennsylvania is located near Sligo, in Clarion county, according to a statement made today by State Forester, Joseph S. Illick. In 1860 Mr. William Maclay Lyon, of Pittsburgh, obtained some small larch and spruce trees which had been imported from Europe and sent them to his brother, John Patton Lyon, who had established a charcoal iron furnace at Sligo, Clarion county. These trees were carefully planted near Sligo. The love of trees must have been one of the fundamental elements in the character of the early iron masters of Pennsylvania, for many of them were greatly interested in beautifying their properties by the planting of trees. The Norway spruce trees were not planted in any pre-arranged order, but were obtained for hedge and windbreak purposes. The larch were planted with a more definite plan, for there are two small tracts which may be called forest tree plantations. These trees have now reached a height of 50-60 feet and are from fifteen to twenty inches in diameter. They show clearly, Illick said, what can be expected of Norway spruce and larch in plantations.  Indiana Evening Gazette, Indiana, PA 20 Feb 1929. Transcribed by Pamela Myers-Grewell

 

 

About 1880, while Jacob Hodil was keeping store in Sligo, Curllsville had a Western Union Telegraph office. In 1891, David H. Neil was serving as Sligo’s sheriff. Curllsville remained part of Piney Township until the mid 1900’s, at which point it became a portion of Monroe Twp. For the historical purposes of this website, early Curllsville history will be included with Piney Township, Clarion County.

At the heydey of Curllsville, there was no Sligo, it just being an iron furnace with homes for employees. Their mail was delivered by a special messenger sent by them to the Curllsville post office, a major stagecoach stop. Curllsville had three licensed hotels owned by Con Dwyer, Dan Hamm (Sheridan House). The SHERIDAN HOUSE served stagecoach passengers between Kittanning and Brookville. Locally referred to as "the Red Onion," the red brick hotel stood for a century as a monument to busier times in the sleepy village.  With so much liquor in one town, a lockup was necessary. A daily line of stage coaches. known as the "Rockaway," drawn by four horses, traveled between Clarion and Kittanning. This trip was made once each day, changing horses at the Sheridan house barn. After the oil excitement at Parker, a daily line was established to that place. This necessitated a blacksmith shop, which was built and operated by Simpson, John, and Sam Jones. John Grier had a tinshop; Glenn Courson, a shoe shop.

Sligo had its beginning about the time of the formation of Clarion County (1840), and became a thriving community during the Iron Era (1845 to 1873). The first settlers of whom we have record were the Craig and the Reynolds families. At this time, furnaces for the manufacture of pig iron, were being built at various points in the county. William Lyon, Colonel J. P. Lyon and Anthony Shorb built the Sligo furnace in 1845. The name was taken from the Furnace Company's iron works near Pittsburgh, which had in turn received its name from a county in Ireland. The town at that time consisted chiefly of the homes of the Lyons families and their employees, which houses the Millers now occupy.

As the population was steadily increasing, the Furnace Company in 1871, laid plans for a new section. Thomas Berrean Sr. (landscaper for the Lyons families), built the first house which still stands near the railroad station. The Furnace Company constructed the brick building now known as Hodil's store. Two years later the Sligo Hotel was erected. In the same year, the Sligo Branch Railroad was built. A row of houses stood along the railroad tracks and another on Irish Hill. The Methodist and the Presbyterian churches were built in 1873-74, and a two-room
public school building was completed in 1875. In 1878, the borough was organized.

With the decay of the
furnace, Sligo began seeking new enterprises. About this time it became apparent that the old county Jail would have to be replaced and a strong attempt was made to have the county seat moved to Sligo. A bill was introduced in the Senate Committee, but failed to pass. Several wells were drilled at the time of the oil excitement in the county. No oil was found but the wells produced some gas. At one time the Atlantic Pipe Line Company shipped oil at this point. Near the railroad, Jacob B. Miller operated a firebrick plant. In later years the inhabitants depended upon the mining of coal and private business for sustenance.

Two schools were in the vicinity around 1871. The one in now Methodist Hall. The other was located on the Ben Miller farm. In 1875 a two-room school was built to which additions were made until in 1924, a four year high school course was offered. As the school progressed, need was felt for a more modern building, which was erected in 1927. More recently the Logue Memorial Auditorium was added.

Prior to the building of the Methodist and the Presbyterian churches (1872-73), services were held in the one room school building. At one time the Catholics met on the fourth floor of the brick store. The Nazarene and the Church of God were since established.

In 1902, “Mad Dog” scare hit the vicinity sourced in the New Bethlehem Vindicator Oct. 31, 1902.
HYDROPHOBIA/MAD DOG SCARE IN CURLLSVILLE — The mad dog scare in the vicinity of Curllsville was revived a few days ago.   A dog on the Knappenberger farm suddenly began to show symptoms of hydrophobia and created quite an excitement.   It was promptly killed as was another dog and several cats belonging to the farm.   John Pence, whose farm is adjacent, also killed his dogs, fearing that they were also affected.   This is the vicinity in which the little boy lived who died of hydrophobia a few weeks.  Transcription courtesy of Heidi LaDow.

The Leatherwood Phone Company served the area from Curllsville from 1905-1906 (before relocating to Sligo about 1940). Curllsville also had an Anti-Horsethief Association, which reimbursed members whose horses had been stolen. It disbanded about 1915, with the remaining funds in treasury donated to build better roads.

The bank was organized in 1907. At first a Grange Bank, it later became the Sligo National Bank.

Alexander Stewart operated the Sligo Hotel early on, and John Mooney (Mohney) was operating a hotel at Sligo in 1918. There was a photography gallery owned by Calvin Autner, Craig’s grist mill, crock pottery, a brick mill, and physicians. Curllsville's population dwindled with the erection of the railroad branch in Sligo.


Sources:
Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion Co., Pennsylvania, Published by J. A. Caldwell, 1877
Clarion County History by Peter Clover, 1877: Clarion Co, PA
Clarion County Centennial, 1840-1940: August 26 to September 2, Clarion County Centennial Assoc., 1940. Mrs. George Heeter.
History of Curllsville Borough By Mrs. D. B. Rhea
In This Village: Curllsville—Leader-Vindicator publication, Oct. 5, 2005
Todd Curll, Curllsville, Pa.
The New Bethlehem Vindicator, Oct., 31, 1902
Indiana Evening Gazette, Indiana, PA 20 Feb 1929
Adventures of Detective Jack Cribbs—Clarion County Detective (pub 1911-1912)
Personal research of Pamela Myers Grewell.

 

More local reading of interest

NEWS: October 2008—Our Sligo area to be featured on Sligo Today - Sligo, Ireland’s online news source.

 

NEWS: October 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the Sligo Nazarene church. Various photos displayed and celebration of their centennial mark during the entire month.

 

10/3/1970 Derrick - Looking Back - 10 Years Ago - Jack S. Allison walked the 73 mile distance to Pittsburgh to pay off a bet to a friend, Ed Dunkle of Sligo, that the Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn't win the National League pendant.

 

Clarion County Home is restored and converted into Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat

 

 

Miscellaneous News Articles
Huey, Edmond Burke (Fackender/McKee) ancestryBiography of Edward Burke Huey, Edmond was a teacher of psychology and author of two books, "The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading" and "Backward and Feebleminded Children," first book was published in 1908

 

Clarion County: A Beary Good Place —  The art project, called Clarion County: A Beary Good Place, began in the summer of 2005, when Clarion County’s coolest, friendliest, and most fun bears began to wake up and come out of  Clarion's Beary Good Bears hibernation and join the fun in our communities. Dozens of life-size fiber glass whimsical bear statues are being installed around the county, as part of a Clarion County tourism promotion project. The bears will serve as "unofficial family-travel ambassadors" and will portray though illustration and creative art that Clarion County is a great place to live and visit. And best of all the county’s newest tourist attraction is free to everyone, every day, all day. Source: Northwest Pennsylvania's Great Outdoors (Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, & Jefferson Counties)

 

 

Special thanks to:

 

Clayton Harriger, Thelma Kifer, Paul Kifer, Ed & Cheryl Myers, Chrissy Strohm, Margaret Phillips, Linda Walls, Reenie Mason, Linda Jemmett, Pam Valdez, Pegi Nelson, Patrick Henry, Lisa McClaine, Dave Craig, Butch George, John Whitehouse, Todd Curll, and everyone else who has visited and contributed old photos and history. Without you, this site wouldn’t be possible.

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