The following history of Forest County is transcribed from
"History of the Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania"
This book was published by J. H. Beers & Co. Publishers, Chicago, 1890.
INDIANS AND PIONEERS.
INTRODUCTORY - INDIAN HISTORY A CENTURY AGO -- DAVID ZEISBERGER -- INDIAN LEGEND -- INDIAN WARFARE -- THE PIONEERS -- SAMUEL D. IRWIN'S ACCOUNT OF THEM -- SOME FIRST THINGS -- CYRUS BLOOD AND OTHERS -- EARLY COAL MINES, MILLS, ETC. -- DANIEL HARRINGTON AND HIS EXPERIENCES -- REMINISCENCES OF ABNER PHELPS -- GERMAN SETTLEMENT -- OTHER PIONEERS -- HUNTING ADVENTURES AND CASUALTIES, ETC..
THE historic period of this section of Pennsylvania dates back to 1749. On July 29, of that year, the French Capt. Celeron, deposited a leaden plate at Venango, to stand as evidence of his country's claim on the territory. Doubtless other plates were buried at the camping places of the little command, along the Allegheny, which have not yet been unearthed. In November, 1758, the French evacuated Fort Pitt, and proceeded to Venango. In July of that year this post was evacuated, and the troops proceeded to Niagara. In 1787 Fort Venango was occupied by Capt. Hart of the United States service.
Eighteen years after the French relinquished control of the Allegheny Indians the Moravian missionaries came among the Monseys here, the date being placed in the year 1767. Zeisberger then established a preaching and supply station at Goshgoshunk, near the mouth of the Tionesta, and subsequently at Hickory town. In 1770 the mission and station were moved to Friedenstadt. On April 17, 1770, this migration took place, Lawunnakannock was left to the god of famine and want, who ruled here in 1770. After the famine (in 1792) Senecas or Cornplanters came hither. In October, 1806, Dr. Allison alleges the Cornplanters assembled at East Hickory for their annual squaw dance. The dance continued through the night until a war-whoop alarmed the revelers before the dawn and soon a party of Indians joined in the dance and introduced the whisky which they brought with them. A little later the singer, Locke, lay drunk near the fire. On him John Ross, the jealous half-breed, looked savagely for a while, then advanced and called upon the brute to rise and sing, but not receiving a reply, he seized Locke, and leaning his head on a log, chopped it off.
Samuel D. Irwin, who in 1869 contributed many valuable historical sketches to the Press, and in 1876 wrote the centennial history of this country speaks of Zeisberger as follows:
Beyond doubt, the earliest incidents connected with the history of our little county of Forest, are those recorded in the plain and truthful annals of the Moravian missionaries; true, this carries us beyond the century a little, but we have a very well defined and plainly marked history by a truthful and vigorous writer. The records contained in the life of David Zeisberger and in Loskiel's history, are of too extraordinary a complexion to be passed over in silence, and, while it sometimes reads like a romance, it has truth for its foundation, well defined.
Zeisberger was an Austrian, and the best linguist of all his people. He understood five or six Indian languages, which gave him great power with the savages of our land. That admirable book, his life by Bishop Scheintz, consists of over 700 pages, and his notes show the endurance and energy of the man. Fortunately for history, Zeisberger kept full notes. This extraordinary man determined, it appears, in the summer of 1767, to make an exploratory trip to the Indians of the Allegheny river, and took with him a companion, whom he called Anthony. His friends tried to dissuade him from going into the howling wilderness. He struck the Allegheny river in Butler county, it is supposed. The Seneca Indians there tried to dissuade him from going farther, depicting the danger of his route. But the good man proceeds, although told that the Indians at Goshgoshunk were very ugly, full of witchcraft, and would murder him; that they were of the Monsey tribe, who were especially hostile. But he proceeds, and arrives at Goshgoshunk on the 16th of October, 1767, which, in point of fact, consisted of three towns near the mouth of Tionesta creek. Zeisberger and his friends stopped at the place now known as Holeman's Flats, from the description given. Although he had traveled among Indians before, he found himself, according to his own recorded testimony, among the worst lot he had ever seen. They resembled demons, and to a congregation of murderers and Indian roughs he preached the first sermon they had ever heard. He understood their language to perfection; was known and called by an Indian name, and so got the blind side of these desperadoes; got their attention and laid down to them the truth in its purity. He writes in his journal, "Never yet did I see so clearly depicted in the faces of Indians the blackness of hell and the power of the Gospel." A fine painting was made of this by Mr. Schussele, a Philadelphian artist, for Mr. John Jordan, Jr., which is in the art collection at the Centennial Exhibition. John Sartain, the celebrated engraver, struck some engravings from it, a proof copy of which was presented to John Thompson, Eli Berlin and James K. Clark, commissioners of Forest county, by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, as well as an original copy of Zeisberger's own handwriting, being a receipt for going express for the governor to the enemy Indians, ending with their characteristic words.
Forest county also has a copy of his life, presented by the same society. The history tells of the pow-wows and rookeries the Indians got up; of the struggles of this good man with one Wangomen, who opposed his messages. How Wangomen was "flaxed out" in debate in the end, and was a conquered man. Yet still the false Indian were of old; yet the majority requested the missionary to remain among them and teach them Christianity and civilization. He left for a short time in 1768, came back, and by this time found a few bad traders in the camp; how the Indians, early in 1769 destroyed more than 2,000 deer on the Allegheny river; how it was determined, on account of fresh outbreaks of the Pagans at Goshgoshunk, to remove to La-wun-ak-hanck (East Hickory), as the word is translated, "meeting waters," (Beaver and Hickory) and how a mission was established there, on the eastern bank of the river, and a few miles above the first mission were Senseman and the civilized Indians removed in April, 1769. How they remained there until April, 1770, when this mission was broken up, and in canoes all started down the river and were joined at Goshgoshunk by a few of the Christian Indians there, as they all floated down the river to Fort Pitt, where they arrived May 1.
An Indian legend, from the pen of Daniel Harrington connects this county with the days of border warfare. He says:
Perhaps as early as 1769 an Indian trail or footpath was used by the first white settlers in crossing from the river, at the mouth of East Hickory creek to Tionesta creek, striking the latter stream about ten miles from its mouth. At the time the story which I am about to tell begins, this path was used more by Indians than by whites, for the red men then were the more numerous. A little over two miles from Tionesta, and directly on this path, there is a large, strong spring of pure water, known as the Belisle spring. It took its name from a man who had a hunter's camp at the spot. The spring is the source of Jughandle run, said to have been named by Kingsley and Paul Wolcott, under the following circumstances: These two were ascending the creek in a canoe, and stopped at the run to quench their thirst. In passing the jug from one to the other the handle came off, and Kingsley called the little stream Jughandle, the name it bears to this day. Belisle, whose name was given to the big spring, was a tall, athletic man and a sure shot. His long black rifle, when held to his shoulder, seemed like part of the man, so steady was it in his grasp, and so sure the eye that directed its aim. Between Belisle and the red men there was a deadly hatred, and the former never failed to execute his vengeance on an Indian when an opportunity was presented. If we go back ten years in the life of this Tionesta hunter, we find him living on Lycoming creek with his wife and child. One day, on returning from the woods, where he had been in pursuit of game, he found his house a smoking ruin, and his wife and child gone, he knew not where. After a careful search he could find no remains of those that were dear to him, and he knew that they had been carried away into captivity. He made his preparations to follow th trail of the murderous savages and started alone, with his trusty rifle, buoyed up by the hope that he would be able to rescue his wife and child from their clutches. The Indians who had committed the outrage were four in number, and their trail led due west, toward the mountains, which fact led him to believe that they belonged to one of the tribes west of the Allegheny river. On the second day he came to a spot where his enemies had camped the night before, and during the day he found a remnant of a dress hanging on a bush. He carefully followed the trail up the mountain, closely scanning every tree, rock and thicket large enough to conceal a redskin. At night he was afraid to build a fire lest it should reveal his whereabouts, satisfying his hunger with parched corn and dried venison, and sheltering himself as he best could. At the close of the third day, while crossing a high but thinly timbered ridge, he discovered in the valley below him a dim light, which he had no doubt was the campfire of the Indians he was pursuing. Creeping up to a rise of ground that overlooked the camp he discovered the savages. Three of them were lying with their feet to the fire, and one was keeping guard over the slumbers of his companions. Belisle determined to watch until they would all fall asleep. He saw where their guns were stacked against a tree, and concluded to get between them and their arms, so as to lessen the chances against him. The captive woman was seated, with her babe in her arms, resting her back against a tree, while the waking Indian guarded her. Watching till the after part of the night, when he perceived the guard nodding, Belisle crept up on his hands and knees and brained the unsuspecting Indian with one blow of his tomahawk. Quick as the lightning's flash he shot two of the sleeping Indians, one with his own gun, and the other with a gun that belonged to the party. The fourth Indian made his escape. The joyful meeting of Belisle and his rescued wife and child, no pen can describe. On the next morning they began their weary journey homeward, arriving footsore and weary. Their little cabin was soon rebuilt, only to be again destroyed some two years later by another incursion of savages. This time the wife fell victim to their barbarity. Two little children, one born since the rescue we have described, were also ruthlessly slaughtered. Belisle was terribly affected by this last blow. He became a wanderer. It seemed as if he were constantly trying to get away from himself, and was always looking to and fro in the woods. He sought death in vain, and was always looking out for new adventures. On the path leading up Prather's run from the Allegheny river, is a spot called Devil's Pass. The path is hemmed in by high rocks, with barely room enough for men to pass in single file. Belisle, with two companions this time, again followed the trail of the murderers of his family. The pursuit led in the same direction as before. The trail crossed the mountains, and as near as could be ascertained the murderous party consisted of six warriors, who were making for the Allegheny at Hickory. Our three avengers followed them like sleuth hounds. After consultation it was determined Belisle and his comrades should separate, one following the trail, while the other two should head off the Indians and ambuscade them at the Devil's Pass. Belisle and Traverse left their comrade and started for the pass. On the fourth day the trailer halted at night in sight of the enemy's camp fire. Belisle and his companion steadily followed their course, and on the sixth day crossed the ridge between the waters of the Tionesta and the Allegheny, and in the evening began descending the little run in which the pass is situated. They selected a rock which effectually concealed them from view, about sixty yards from the pass, where their guns would rake the narrow passage from end to end. They had been in position about an hour when the Indians hove in sight, traveling in single file. By arrangement Traverse fired first, and two Indians fell. Belisle's shot followed in quick succession, and two more dropped. The remaining two wheeled to retreat, but were met by him who was following the trail, and one of them killed. The last attempted to pass over the dead bodies of his companions, but Belisle and Traverse, having reloaded their guns, he also fell dead with two bullets in his body. Prather's run empties into East Hickory, not more than a mile from the river, and runs through the farm formerly belonging to T. H. Prather. After his death his heirs sold the land to an oil company. The run is about three miles long. Prather had a small grist-mill on it for the purpose of grinding corn. When I first came to Tionesta, in 1828, Belisle's old camp was standing at the spring. What became of the proprietor is not known; but how should he have died except on the warpath, in pursuit of those he had sworn to hunt down -- the murderers of his wife and little ones?
*Toward the close of August, 1796, a large body of Indians appeared at the frontier settlements of Westmoreland county, but the settlers fled, leaving their homes as prey. After destroying the cabins, the Indians returned to Tionesta. On their trail followed ninety armed residents of Westmoreland, who, on the third day out, arrived at the mouth of Tionesta creek, and on the morning of the fourth day discovered the Indian camp a short distance up the river, on the western bank, to which the savages were crossing in canoes. The riflemen fell back to Tionesta, crossed the river, and by a rapid march, flanked the Indian camp, where they saw plainly that the red men were preparing for another expedition. After watching a short time, the riflemen closed their line, and, creeping down the hill within range, lay there until the morning of the fifth day. Arrangements were then made to select a center for attack, and open the battle by making an Indian a special mark for a bullet. The first volley left few of the savages living, a few fled into the river, but were shot while crossing, two only reaching the eastern bank, one of whom, shot in the hip, was subsequently found and killed; the other running to the Indian town, on East Hickory, to give the alarm. The riflemen proceeded up to the village, where they found an old woman, whom they spared. They burned this village, destroyed the cornfields, and made such an impression that hte Indians of the Tionesta never again engaged in plunder and rapine.
* Jeremiah Bonner's interview with David Walters, 1851.
The Pioneers.-- From 1868 to 1882 the work of writing the history of the pioneers of Forest was not overlooked. In the first named year Samuel D. Irwin began writing the valuable sketches which won for him an honorary membership in the State Historical Society, while later, the pioneer, Daniel Harrington, contributed his valuable reminiscences to the pages of the Spectator and other journals. From the files of the Press (through the courtesy of Editor Wenk and S. H. Haslet), the following sketches of pioneer days, from the pen of Mr. Irwin, have been obtained:
Eighteen years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, or in April, 1794, came the surveyors, with their chains and the old Rittenhouse compasses, to survey the lands taken up by the old Holland Land Company, which were afterward patented, and titles perfected, to a large portion, by the Hollanders. This Holland Land Company, I find, by examining the old surveys, consisted of Wilhelm Willink, Nicholas Van Stophurst, Christian Van Eighen, Hendrick Vollenhoven, and Rutger Jan Schemmelphennick, names which sound similar to those of the Knickerbocker times at New Amsterdam. At that time the lands were classified in Districts No. 5 and 6, of the purchase from the Indians of 1784. The tracts to the east of us were laid out after leaving the river, usually in 1000-acre lots. Other prominent early warrantees were Jonathan Mifflin, Gen. Harmer, George Meade (ancestor of Gen. Meade) and others; while west of the river, some of the tracts were patented by Pierce Butler, who was a man of note in early times. The farms of George S. Williams and Isaac Siggins, near West Hickory, were on the Butler warrants. This whole territory was then embraced within the limits of Northumberland county, which seems almost incomprehensible, considering that the county now known by that name lies about 200 miles toward the rising sun.
The history of early settlers, coming through first hands almost, is consequently reliable, or nearly so, and from its nature is biographical rather than traditionary in most instances. The first settlers, upon the authority of Judge John A. Dale, were the Valentine family, who settled on what is now known as the Jamison Flats, in an unbroken wilderness, some three years before Eli Holeman came, or 1797. Mrs. Valentine was a superstitious woman, believing in witches, etc. She brought with her to the country George Tubbs, a son by a former husband, who lived just below the run. Mr. Valentine cleared up a piece of land and planted out a large orchard of apple trees. This homestead, Valentine and his wife dying, became vested by will of Mrs. Valentine in Mrs. Barbara McGee, and her husband, John McGee. John, after living there five or six years, became dissatisfied with the country, and to use his own words, "dislocated himself to Columbiana county," having in the meantime sold the old Valentine property to John, son of William Middleton. The latter settled on the Allegheny, and built the "Red House," so called. His settlement is dated 1802. He was the first school teacher in our borders. To the late Dr. William F. Hunter, I am indebted for the following humorous sketch of the "Red House:" It was the largest house in this section; it was built by Middleton, on the Jamison Flats, with an eye to a private house and church together, one room being set apart for the church. About the time it was dedicated as a church, a pioneer (who combined, like the house, more than one qualification, being a surveyor, justice of the peace and preacher) came and preached. The subject of the text was the meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, but the original manner in which the text was handled, with the attending circumstances, called forth some humor on the part of the pioneer audience. The speaker, enraged, changed his tactics, and charged on the people, threatening them with the terrors of the law, and the general judgment, in hoc modo. "You may laugh now, you brats of Babel, but methinks I see a dreadful time approaching; yes, see it a-coming, there will be a terrible time. Volcanoes will burst forth hither and yon, and waves of liquid fire will flow higher than these hills, and rocks and great trees-ah will sweep howling by in empty space-ah, borne by a tempest of fire-ah! And I tell you, brothers and sisters, about that time it will not be very safe to be out, neither!" This church did not break up as the Moravian missions had done before it in 1770. No steeple adorned it, but while Middleton remained in it he initiated St. Paul at Rome, "In his own house receiving all who came unto him." Spending half his time in church, he literally lived by the altar.
Eli Holeman, father of Alexander Holeman, lately deceased, settled at Holeman's Ferry in the spring of 1800, and he continued there until his death, in 1825. He established a ferry, which bears his name to this day, on his farm, at that point where the State road that led from Milesburg, on Bald Eagle Creek, to Waterford, crossed the Allegheny. Most of the early settlers crossed at this pace. Eli was born in Chester county, in 1755. In the Pennsylvania Militia he participated in the battle of Brandywine, Germantown and other conflicts for independence. When he removed to Forest county his nearest neighbors were Moses Hicks, who lived where David G. Hunter now lives, and Patrick McCrea, an Irishman, who settled at what is now known as Eagle Rock. Hicks moved down the Ohio about 1805. Holeman was familiar with the noted chief, Cornplanter, otherwise called Capt. O'Bail, who often stopped at his cabin. His headquarters were in the neighborhood of Warren. Alexander Holeman, * the son of Eli, was born in Lycoming county in 1790. He died honored and respected in this county, about one year ago. Before his vision passed the long train of emigration that crossed his father's ferry on that old Bald Eagle road. But few of those emigrants now remain in the land. He witnessed the dawn of civilization here, and stood a witness of its progress. He saw the wigwam of the savage deserted, "and the white man's cabin rise beneath the trees." Thus passed before him, as it were a picture--a moving panorama of life, such as will not be the fate of any reader of this sketch to witness. In brief, whether we view him as county auditor, commissioner, justice of the peace, associate judge, or member of the legislature, be filled every office with honor to himself and profit to the people; and, beyond and above all, he impressed people as one of nature's noblemen. What more can be said?
The first settlers east of the Allegheny, within the limits of what is now Forest county (said Judge Holeman to the writer), was John Range, Sr. He settled at Tionesta, on the bank of the Allegheny river, a few rods above where the bridge now stands. He came about 1815. From the late Jacob Shriver, of Tionesta, I obtained the following particulars of John Range, Sr. + He was born in the eastern part of the State in 1746. He died in Tionesta in 1826, aged eighty years. He was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war, and in 1785 he obtained a land warrant for his services, which was taken out in the name of Tehollas Range, his eldest son. He examined the country in 1808, in company with other soldiers, and afterward located at Tionesta in 1816, with his family. The lottery warrant, No. 511, dated May 17, 1785, includes 252 acres, taking in a large scope of bottom land extending from Tubbs run, to include the flats on which George W. Dithridge now lives. This whole tract was called by the name of "Sa-qua-lin-get," which is, by interpretation, "place of council." Council run takes its name from the fact that near its mouth Indian councils were formerly held. One work of his skill still remains, that is his "canal," as he was pleased to call it, which, although filled up in places, can be plainly traced by the eye to this day. It was a large drain beginning at the swamp just back of Col. Thomas' residence, and ending at Jacob Wenk's lot, on the back channel of the Allegheny river. To-day it teaches us a lesson on industry. No engineer could have laid out with his levels a better grade or devised a scheme to effect the object any better.
Mr. Range used to relate concerning a party of about 100 settlers who pursued Indians from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties into these parts. This party found the Indians they were after, in the woods up the Allegheny; the scouts all hid behind trees, each man selecting his victim. All the Indians who were not killed by the first fire were pursued and shot while crossing the river. This corrobates (sp) the statements related by David Walters, Jr., in which the whole circumstances are given in detail, as they were related to Jeremiah Bonner, who kindly furnished the writer with a statement from the venerable William Walters himself, to him, Bonner, in the year 1851.
*In 1872 he moved into Tionesta. At the period of his settlement the only white family between the location and Franklin, or Titusville, were the McCreas (Irish immigrants), at Eagle Rock. The Indians were still residents. In the war of 1812 he served three months. In 1841 he represented Venango.
+Nancy Range was at one time the only white woman who resided within what is now Tionesta. David Hunter's grist-mill stood on the west bank of the Allegheny opposite Range's cabin, and Paul Wolcott and another white man resided at Tionesta. Nancy was a celebrated huntress. Cornplanter, Bob Curry, John and Henry Doxtator and other Indians admired her skill. H. M. Range, of Millvillage, Erie county, who visited this county in March, 1885, besides being the identical individual, who for more than twenty years refused to cut his hair until a Democratic president was elected, is well acquainted with the early history of Tionesta. He was born in a cabin on the banks of the Allegheny, near the river bridge, sixty years ago; his parents were buried in a small lot, reserved for that purpose, in the rear of the Forest House: his brother was the first person buried in the cemetery, adjoining the Methodist Episcopal Church, which now is full. Another brother met his death some years later, by being shot through the breast with a rifle ball, while walking along Dithridge Flats. The shot was accidental, having been fired by a neighbor who was shooting at ducks on the creek, when the ball glanced, striking him.
George Tubbs settled in 1800. He girdled Middleton's apple trees excepting two, which can be pointed out to this day. The Valentines have all removed from this section. Poland Hunter came from Westmoreland county and settled at Tionesta in 1805. He had a large family. He died in 1840, at a good old age, in the midst of his kindred. Of his children, William Hunter is the only survivor. His first settlement was on the island known by his name. He afterward removed to the west side of the river, opposed the island. Although not a man of education, he was a man of strong mind. Asa Dodge came in 1815, and settled on the Daniel Stowe place. He lived alone, and followed basket making for a business. Judge John A. Dale tells me he has known of his making an entire set of harness out of oak splints. After living in various places within the limits of this county, he froze his feet, and becoming discouraged, returned to Genesee county, N.Y.
In 1800 the first township officers were elected (said Judge Holeman), when the territory now embraced in the western half of the county was all included in the township of Allegheny. It was about this time the first taxes were assessed. Col. Samuel Dale was the deputy surveyor. Dale was succeeded by John Irwin, who carried on the surveys from 1802. Ebenezer Kingsley (after whom Kingsley township was named) was one of the pioneer settlers on Tionesta creek. He had wandered from Genesee county, N.Y., came down the river on a raft, and was not slow in perceiving that all kinds of game abounded. He first settled at Oldtown, but soon removed to what is now called Newtown. He was a man about six feet in height, and well proportioned, possessing good judgement, yet lacking education. His kindness and hospitality are well remembered by the early settlers on Tionesta creek. He gave most of the names to the streams in the vicinity of his settlement. As for instance "Jughandle," because he broke the handle of his jug there. "Jake's run," from the name of a man who built a shanty on its banks. "Bear creek," so named because he killed a bear near its water. "Salmon creek," because he shot a salmon near its mouth. "Lamentation run." because the pioneer heard doleful cries of animals near its mouth, etc. Kingsley wanted no neighbors, two or three settling within a mile of him. He sold out his lands to Hamilton Stowe, who was a man of great energy of character, and correct business habits. He was joined by Wheeler & Dusenbury, who turned the resources of the forest to account, as they lumbered on a scale that had not been known before their time.
Another of the early settlers was Henry Gates, who came to this county and settled near Oldtown about the year 1806. That year was a very cold one throughout. The settlers were obliged to dig up their seed potatoes to subsist on. He came with his son, John, and his son-in-law, Anthony Coussin, and for many years after, in conjunction with Holeman and Hunter, supplied the surrounding country with corn, and gave the Tionesta creek settlement the name of "Egypt." He died and was buried on the mountain side near Oldtown.
About the year 1816 John A. Dale and his brother, Joseph G. Dale, now an associate judge of Forest county, and grandsons of Henry Gates, came to the county from Centre county, and they attended the first school on Tionesta creek. Mark Noble and his family strayed into this region shortly after Gates came, and, with his family, settled near the mouth of Tionesta creek. Maj. James Hulings* came here from Allegheny county. He took an early and active part in the settlement of this section. At Tionesta, he built the first hotel in 1824. He is well remembered by our oldest inhabitants. He died at Tionesta in 1860, at the advanced age of seventy-three. Contemporary with Maj. Hulings came Rev. Hezekiah May, who settled first near Oldtown, which was the site of an Indian village. He brought with him all the energy peculiar to New England: clearing a farm at Oldtown, he left it with a couple of sons and moved to Tionesta village and purchased the James Range farm. Before coming hither he preached at Franklin for a year, and wrote the description of the burnt woods of Maine for Morse's geography. This, when it is considered that he was said to be a graduate of Yale college, is not surprising. He died July 4, 1843, aged seventy years. His widow, Margaret White, a descendant of Peregrine White, died July 4, 1868. Three sons and one daughter of Hezekiah May are yet living. Benjamin May and Selden T. May removed to Norristown, Penn., where they now live. Huntington H. May and Mrs. Thomas, his sister, still live at Tionesta.
Cyrus Blood+, the founder of Forest county, was born in New Hampshire, in March, 1775, and in 1797 was a teacher in Chambersburg Academy. In 1833 he moved into this wilderness to seek health as well as a wider field for money-making, and established Blood's settlement, named in later years Marienville, after his daughter who married John D. Hunt. The pioneer died here January 12, 1860, after twenty-seven years devoted to building up the interests of this section. He was a scholar, farmer, surveyor, commissioner and associate judge. Col. Hunt accompanied him into this settlement, hewing a road thereto through the woods. Within a few years came James Eldridge, Jacob Mercelliott, John F. Gaul, S. F. Rohrer and Aaron Brockway--all often referred to in this volume.
*S. S. Hulings, son of Maj. James Hulings (who died April 21, 1860), was born at Tionesta, October 27, 1832, and resided there until his death, November 27, 1868. In 1865 he married Miss Lizzie A. Waizor of Philadelphia. In politics he was a strong Democrat, and to him many of the ante-bellum victories of his party in this county are credited. His political and business character won him many friends and honors.
+John D. Hunt, born in Vermont, in 1811, came to Marienville in 1833, with Cyrus Blood; died September 18, 1887. He married Marien Blood in 1843.
Major Goodman and Alex. Henage were soldiers of the Mexican war, serving under Taylor and Scott, and doubtless in the desperate battles under Shields. The former was in Garland's regiment, and the latter in the Fourth United States Infantry....Quintain Jamison came in early years, and settled on the Middleton land. Gilbert, his son, lived there in 1876, among the apple trees planted by Middleton, which escaped the vengeful hand of Tubbs.... George Siggins* came from County Sligo, Ireland, in 1793, and in 1800 married Jane Young of Centre county. In 1801 he settled at Stewart's run, but, finding that his farm was on lands claimed by the Holland Land Company, moved to West Hickory. During the war of 1812, at its close, he marched to the frontier; returning, he cleared the flats at the mouth of West Hickory, where he resided until his death in 1865.
The first coal mine in the county actually worked, was that at Balltown. In 1875 William Heath opened the second on his farm, and Peter Youngk a third on Coon creek....The first mills were built by Middleton in 1800, just below the Jesse Dale farm. In 1803 George Siggins built one at the mouth of West Hickory.
Daniel Harrington came to this section in 1828, and same year visited the Tionesta valley, ten miles to the saw-mills (then just completed by Kinnear, Stockberger & Noyes), where in 1868 stood the Green & Gordon mills. AT that time there was no such thing as a wagon road--the canoe or bridle path meeting all the requirements of travel. At Oldtown a preacher named Hezekiah May resided; Hyner's cabin, or reach, was just above, occupied by the hermit--old Doge. John Elder's cabin was just below the mouth of Ross run (named after the half-breed, John Ross), and Ebenezer Kingsley's cabin at Newtown, later known as Stowe Flats. The Dodge cabin was on land owned by Henry Bottsford, and the latter, finding him there, evicted him so summarily as to win from the hermit the following description. "Bottsford talked like vengeance, kicked me out of doors and took peaceable possession." Writing in 1881, this pioneer says: "My first experience on Tionesta creek, fifty-three years ago, was at Pearson's mills, four miles below Sheffield. Henry and William Pearson had built a double saw-mill, ten miles above Balltown, and I went there to superintend that lumbering establishment, and was there until they sold the property to Mead. I remember the fine sport I had in those days catching trout below the dam. I could catch them as fast as I could thrown in my line and pull it out. The main creek was full of them--the largest trout I ever saw. Then a man could catch ten pounds in half an hour, and when you were tired of trout you could go to a lick and kill a deer at any time you wanted venison. The woods were full of deer and other game. While sitting there i have seen trout trying to swim up or over the dam, where the water fell at least three feet perpendicularly. They would sometimes have to make three or four attempts before they could succeed. The trout is the most active fish that swims. Our best deer licks were on Blue Jay, two miles from the mills. That was long before oil was thought of. Blue Jay is about twice the size of Two-Mile run, above Franklin. That is my recollection of the stream, though I have not seen it for forty years, and my memory may be at fault."
*Isaac Siggins, who died at West Hickory in 1883, was there in 1812.
In the fall of 1889 the old gentleman moved away. His celebrated old rifle--five feet two inches in length--was presented to S. H. Haslet. This lengthy instrument of destruction was built by Henry Elwell as a flint-lock, but the date is not inscribed.
Mr. Harrington further says in his interesting narrative: "James Hulings was an old keel-boatman, who, with his brother Samuel, boated the munitions of war for Perry's fleet from Pittsburgh to Waterford, by way of Allegheny river and French creek. James built the first hotel in Tionesta, and kept it a number of years. Samuel kept a hotel in Pittsburgh, and also about ten miles up the Allegheny for several years. Both died of inflammatory rheumatism, produced by exposure. The next of the keel-boatmen were John and Joseph Kelly. They lived at Kelly Station, below Kittanning on the Allegheny Valley Railroad. James Hulings was an eccentric man. At one time, when the common price of a drink of whisky was three cents, a man who was in the habit of getting the worth of his money called for a drink. Hulings set down the bottle, and the man poured out a tumbler-full and swallowed it. 'How much is it?' asked the customer. 'Two cents,' said Hulings. 'How is that?' said the man; 'I thought you sold it at three cents.' 'So I do,' said Hulings, 'but I can afford to sell it a little cheaper at wholesale.'
"Poland Hunter was the father of the late William and David Hunter. His residence was on Hunter's Island at the mouth of Tionesta creek. He was a pretty rough specimen of Irish humanity. He would sometimes take on board more tanglefoot than he could walk straight under, and staggering against a stump would say, 'H--l agin a stump and Poland agin that.' Hunter's Island was once a fine piece of land and very productive, but he wash of the river has destroyed it. Poland Hunter shot a man by the name of Kinnear, who had a warrant for his arrest. Hunter peppered him with shot about the legs. The wound was not mortal. Hunter said that shooting him had made him a storekeeper, and, if he would let him shoot him again, he would make a wholesale merchant out of him. William Hunter was a chip of the old block. Whenever he took too much crooked whisky his temper got the better of him, and everybody was in his way. He and a man by the name of Groff always fought when they met. Groff was small, but full of grit. In one of their fights Hunter bit Groff's finger. The next day Groff was crossing the river to Hunter's grist-mill. He halloed to Hunter when half-way over the river, 'I'm bringing you another grist of finger nails to grind.' During the war of 1812, William Hunter, Green Elder and others were called out to resist the landing of the British at Erie, and had it not been for the capture of the British fleet on the lake, the bravery of those pioneers would have been tested.
"Ebenezer Kingsley* was another old settler, hunter and trapper. He camped at the Big Meadows, on the head waters of Horse creek. When I came to Tionesta, in 1828, he was living on Newtown Flats, which he held by virtue of squatter sovereignty. Kingsley was a very eccentric man. Nature had done her full duty by him. Had he been educated, his destiny would have been different. An incident between Kingsley and John Siverly caused some fun at the time. Judge Moore, president of the court at Franklin, had been up at Kingsley's and staid all night. Of course he partook of Kingsley's hospitality, which consisted of unlimited bear's meat and venison. A short time afterward, Kingsley and Siverly were going to Franklin to attend court. On the way down Kingsley made a bet with Siverly that Judge Moore would recognize him, and come down from the bench to shake hands with him. The wager was a hat. After court was called, Kingsley placed himself in such a position that he thought the Judge would surely see him, but the Judge was so deep in official business that he did not see Kingsley. Siverly said he thought he had won that hat. 'Yes,' said Kingsley, 'he has forgotten when he was into my bear's grease up to his elbows.'
*Ebenezer Kingsley, said to be the pioneer hunter of Tionesta creek, settled at Newtown; but so soon as other pioneers came into that vicinity he sold his clearing and moved twelve miles north to Blue Jay (now Foxburg, where he resided until the sale of his farm to Fox, and his removal to Missouri. Of his two sons, Elijah caught a young panther, which he carried home and sold to a fur dealer, who in turn sold him to the owner of a menagerie. In after years this Elijah visited Waterford, and there saw the panther, which he caught two years before, a circus captive. Another son named Pil (Perry) accompanied his father to the hunting shanty, when twelve or thirteen years old. On one occasion the father did not return until after dark, when he missed the boy. The old hunter concluded that the youth had left for home seventeen miles distant, and set out to overtake him. The boy seeing himself pursued, and, forgetting or thinking it impossible that his father could be the pursuer redoubled his gait, but after a chase of nine miles was overtaken. At Broken Trap Eddy he came within a few feet of the boy and called to him, but this had only the effect of hastening the frightened youth's steps. Even after being caught, some time ensued before he could realize that his father was the pursuer. As a memorial of this chase the creek is called "Pil's Run."
"William and Henry Pearson built a double saw-mill at Mead's Island, twelve miles above Balltown, and six miles below the forks of Tionesta. I superintended the mills until they sold them to David Mead. At that time there were no wagons nor roads to run a wagon on. The only mode of conveyance was a canoe, and supplies were carried in canoes from Franklin to Tionesta, and up the creek to the mills. Johnson Smith and J. L. Williamson were once pushing a loaded canoe up to the mills, and staid all night at Kingsley's, the usual stopping place. It was warm weather, and each of them had a new pair of buckskin moccasins, made of skins not very well tanned, and little better than raw hide, when wet. They left their moccasins in the canoe over night, and the dogs ate them. On discovering their loss in the morning they said, 'whether they be easy to digest, or not, it is the dogs' lookout not ours.'
"Isaac Ball, Luther Barnes and William Manross, were manufacturing lumber at Balltown. Manross, while drawing up a log one night caught his hand between the bull rope and the shaft. His arm was drawn into the shoulder, and how many times he went over the shaft before he could make them hear him at the house, he never knew. His arm was useless afterward, except as an ornament. It used to be said that hte usual supply of the necessaries of life at Balltown was one barrel of flour and two barrels of whisky. Deer, bears and wild turkeys were very plenty. I was watching Blue Jay licks one evening and a flock of turkeys at least a hundred in number, passed close by me. They looked so pretty that I did not shoot among them at all. Stockberger and Noyes used to make boards at a mill at Bear creek, since owned by Green & Gordon. Noyes used to say that it was his business to get what he wanted, and it was the people's business to get their pay for it.
"John Elder came from the east of the mountains at an early day. He first settled in Warren county, near what is now Thompson Station. In 1813 he, with others, was called out and marched to Erie to resist the landing of the British, but Perry's victory on the 10th of September enabled the defenders to return to their families. John Elder taught the first school in Deerfield township, Warren county. In 1823 or 1824 Elder moved to Tionesta township, on Tionesta creek, near the mouth of Ross run. This run was named after an Indian. Elder bought a small improvement of Jacob Gates, which Gates held by virtue of squatter sovereignty; Gates went to Rockland township, Venango county. He was a good woodsman, and was frequently employed by land owners to help them to find their land. He would sometimes lead them over very rough places---over some rocky knob or through a laurel thicket---on purpose, to make them abandon the land, thinking it was worthless, which the most of it was for any other purpose than to hold the world together. I may mention, as I go along, that no water ever ran out of the earth equal to that which flows from these hemlock side hills. In 1840 John Elder went west in search of better soil or sunset. He settled in Iowa, and killed himself trying to become acclimated.
"Asa Dodge was one of the old settlers of Tionesta township. In 1828 he lived at the foot of Hyner's Reach, in a small log-house. He had no family with him. He was an old man then---somewhere about sixty-five or seventy--- and his physical strength was impaired, as well as his mental capacity. Dodge had the foolish idea that his feet would be warmer without stockings than with them, and to test his theory undertook to walk from Tionesta home one cold day, without stockings, and froze his feet so badly that he lost his toes.
"Robert Hyner, who came into possession of the Dodge improvement, lived on it for a number of years, and then traded it for a house and lot in Tionesta village. Before the oil excitement he traded his Tionesta property for a farm on Pithole creek. This Pithole property he sold for a big figure---$75,000. Mr. Hyner went west, but came back. The last that I heard of him, he was living in Vineland, N. J. He was one of those that money did not make a fool of. Thomas McCalmont had a little log gristmill at the mouth of Stewart's run, five miles below Tionesta. Many times have 'I been to mill' there. Mill and miller are both gone, but whether the dust of the old gentleman's coat was a cure for sore eyes or not I don't know, but I never heard of him making the mistake of giving a customer the toll instead of the grist. The run is there yet. James Dawson had a mill where the Tionesta road crosses Stewart's run, five miles above McCalmont's mill. That mill and miller are also gone. Mr. Dawson was one of the early settlers, and a very sociable man. He could tell some of the richest of hunting stories. He must have settled on that old farm as early as the beginning of the century. The woods were then alive with all kinds of game. He was also among the patriotic band that went to Erie. His house was always open to the tired traveler; the latch-string was never pulled in . Always in a good humor, nothing ever seemed to roughen his temper. He died about 1844. Just above the mouth of Stewart's run, on the side hill, was a big deer-lick, within gun-shot of the road. I have sat there in the night, when it would seem as if that lick was full of deer.
"Robert Elliott lived where President village now is. He was one of the early settlers of the county. He had a grist-mill seven miles below Tionesta, and a good farm on the river bottom. William Elliott, son of Robert, was in business in Franklin in company with Hugh Henry, and afterward in the foundry business, as Elliott & Eply. He was a prothonotary of Venango county and a good man. The grist-mill was a water-power at the mouth of Hemlock creek. The property now belongs to E. E. Clapp. Mr. Clapp has expended considerable money in making roads, and in the erection of a large hotel on the river bank. I should have mentioned that Mr. Ralph Clapp, the father of the present owner, had a furnace on the property, and manufactured pig-iron for a number of years. He sometimes preached the gospel to his neighbors, and was an able and eloquent man.
"The next settler on the river was Edgar McCrea. McCrea was a great hunter, but unfortunate with a gun. He mistook his brother-in-law for a bear, and shot him. A short time afterward, while drawing his gun out of a canoe, with the muzzle toward him, the hammer caught on something, raising it high enough to explode the cap, and the charge entered his thigh. The wound was terrible, but careful nursing brought him through safely. The hills along the Allegheny and its tributaries no longer echo the report of the rifles of the early hunters. They, with few exceptions, sleep the sleep that knows no waking. Hugh and John McCrea occupy the old farm at McKee's Rocks. The farm was sold for oil purposes, but as very little oil was found on it, they repurchased it.
"At Henry's Bend lived John Henry. His was the first house above Pithole riffle, and a good place of entertainment. John's son Hugh I have already mentioned as a partner of William Elliott in mercantile business at Franklin. William, another son, was in partnership with Mr. Pickersgill, in the shoe business, in Pittsburgh. I think he is now in Philadelphia. Michael, another son, died at Tionesta, a few years ago. There was one brother in the Henry family that was an invalid and never walked. His head and shoulders were those of a full-grown man, while his legs, from the hips down, were those of a boy. The cause of his helplessness, I think, was rheumatism. He always seemed cheerful, and he was certainly intelligent. He was well-educated, and spent the most of his time reading. The Henrys were a good family of men---sociable and intelligent. William Henry was somewhat of a hunter while he lived at the river. There was plenty of deer in the woods. Wild turkeys were plentiful, also, up to 1840, when the deep snow of that year exterminated them. The wolves were starved out that winter. On the last day of December I went to Balltown on business. The creek in some places was frozen clear across, and in other places there was only a little ice along the shore. The snow on the ground was about knee deep. I took my rifle, thinking I might get a shot at a wolf. I saw one on my way but too far away to shoot. That night I staid at Balltown, and it snowed twenty-two inches, making four feet of 'the beautiful' for me to wade through ten miles to get home. But I was young then, and not easily discouraged. When there was ice on the creek the snow had turned into slush, and did not come over my boot tops; where there was no ice I had to take the shore, and then it was wallowing rather than walking. About a mile below Panther Rock there was a house. There the woman of the cabin got dinner for me, and I thought it was the best meal I ever ate. I reached Newtown, three miles from home, the next day about noon. My wife was not much frightened about me. She said she thought I would get home. And during that winter and in that snow the wolves and the wild turkey all perished.
"Erastus Gibson was one of the old settlers of Tionesta. He lived, with his family, one mile above Balltown, on the south side of the creek. A man named Shephard and myself had been rafting over an old piece of lumber that had lain in the water all summer. We had worked hard, but darkness came on us before we got to Gibson's, and we could not see to navigate through a windfall that was in our way. We halloed to Gibson, and he pushed up to us in a canoe and took us down to his house, where we staid all night. Some time after that I was at a certain boarding-house in Tionesta, and Gibson was there also, with a number of others. It was said that the landlady was not quite as tidy about her cooking as some other housewives. We had buck-wheat cakes for dinner, and Gibson was what a sailor would call 'three sheets in the wind.' He took a cake on his plate and was picking it all to pieces. Some one asked him what he was doing. Said he, 'I'm trying to see what this d--d pancake is made of.' Gibson emigrated to the west, in search of the place where the sun sets.
"William White* was an old settler on Tionesta. He owned some land on the creek, and sold it when the people were crazy about oil, for $10,000. The company put down a well on it, but did not get enough oil to grease a gimlet. But White got the money, and he was one of the few that money did not make a fool of. He invested his cash in bonds, and emigrated to Kansas. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence. He used to say there were three classes of professional men that he wanted no dealings with -- lawyers, doctors and preachers. I once heard a joke that occurred between him and John A. Dale. Dale met White in company, and said: 'White, when I first saw you I thought you were a fool, but when I became acquainted with you, I changed my opinion.' White replied: 'When I first saw you I thought you were a fool, and when I got acquainted, I did not alter my opinion a bit.'
*Wm. White, who died at Delphos, Kas., October 26, 1878, came to Forest county in 1837, and with John Hunter took a raft down Hunter's run. The following spring he took a raft from the Tionesta to Pittsburgh in safety. In 1838, when Hamilton Stowe commenced lumbering at Newtown, White rafted and jobbed for him, and afterward for Wheeler and Dusenbury. In 1871-72 this pioneer raftsman moved to Kansas.
"Thomas Nugent lives in the woods, ten miles south of Balltown and five miles north of Marienville. He is now about seventy years old, and has been in the wilderness upward of thirty years. He says he is half German and half Irish. He was born on the Alleghany Mountains, and came to Forest county with his parents when he was only five years old. Their mode of travel was on pack-horses, over a bridle-path through the woods. He remembers that he rode on an old mare that had a mischievous colt that amused itself on the way by catching in its teeth the clothing on which he sat, and trying to pull it from under him. In one year he killed forty deer, and thirty-six the next. After that, as game became scarcer, his quantity was reduced. Perhaps the deer became better acquainted with his skill, and kept themselves at more respectful distance. Several old bucks that he wounded tried to use their horns on him, but he was never seriously injured. Once he caught a bear in a trap, or rather the bear caught the trap and walked off with it. Nugent followed him for eight days. He came in sight of him once but was unable to get a shot. The old gentleman thinks that bear may yet be carrying that trap around the country. One day he caught a bear in a pen, and when he discovered him he killed him with his knife, for, like the Dutchman's anchor, his gun was at home. These bear pens were built of solid logs, with a log floor. Without the log floor a bear could dig out as fast as a man with a grubbing hoe. Sometimes bruin will eat his way out of a pen built of good-sized logs, if he has enough time before he is interviewed by the trapper. Mr. Nugent was out one day and started a buck, which ran across a hollow and stopped one hundred and fifty yards away. He shot at him and dropped him. Then, instead of reloading his rifle, which a hunter should never forget to do, he ran up to the buck to cut the throat. But, when he reached the spot, the buck had so far recovered as to get upon his fore feet. Mr. Nugent stuck his knife into his game, and the handle catching in the skin, the deer was in a fair way to take it from him. The buck kept getting better and better, and was soon able to run as fast as Nugent. At length they came to a high log, on top of which was a fallen birch. In jumping the log, the buck's horns became tangled in the brush, and Nugent succeeded in stabbing him to the heart. He was almost entirely out of breath, and thought he would never regain it. At another time Mr. Nugent was hunting with a comrade named Sam Kirkpatrick, on Spring creek. Sam had slightly wounded a buck, and sent a young dog after him. The dog was slowly following the trail, just ahead of Sam. Coming to a fallen tree, the dog put his fore feet on the trunk to look over. The buck was lying on the other side, but little the worse for Sam's shot. He jumped up and ran after the dog, and the dog ran after Sam. It was a race for life, with the chances in favor of the buck. Sam used his legs to good advantage, expecting every moment to feel how sharp that buck's horns were. The buck ran past the dog and turned his whole attention to Sam, as the larger object of the two. At last the dog, recovering courage, caught the buck by a hind leg, and drew his attention from Sam. This enabled Sam to put a tree between him and the buck, when he loaded his gun and ended the difficulty.
"Daniel Fleming was one of the old settlers of Tionesta township, Venango county. He made the improvements on Fleming's Bottom, and lost his labor by a defective title. He also had the misfortune to lose a leg at Miller's Eddy, by getting caught in a raft line. He owned a farm situated about half a mile from West Hickory, on Fleming hill; so he was not a tramp. Who would be a one-legged tramp? John K., Andrew, William and Daniel were sons of Daniel Fleming, Sr. They were all good, steady men-- not a black sheep in the flock. Andrew Fleming had a good education, backed by good sense, and he became a first-class pilot on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers--following that for an occupation. In the latter part of his life he had poor health and became a dyspeptic, dying about two years ago in Crawford county. The next in order is the Siggins family. George Siggins, Sr., emigrated from Ireland and settled on the west side of the Allegheny river in an early day, and the farm on which he settled showed his good sense in choice. No better body of land lies on the river between Irwin's farm, at the mouth of the Brokenstraw, and Kittanning. It is so high that it is not subject to overflow by the river, and raft freshets do not destroy the fences or wash off the soil from the plowed fields. James and Isaac are the only two living.
"Thomas Hicks Prather, who owned a farm on the Allegheny river at the mouth of East Hickory creek, was a noted man in his day. The farm is known far and near as the Prather homestead. Hicks Prather (as he was always called) had acquired it by inheritance from his father, who was, perhaps, the original settler. At least two generations of the Prather family lie buried on the place. Hicks Prather lost his first wife, and married a second. By that marriage he got a woman several years younger than himself. It was a very fortunate venture for him, for when he broke down physically and became superannuated, she took his place at the plow and elsewhere, where work and oversight were needed. She managed the farm better than it had ever been managed under his own superintendence, and proved by practical demonstration that she knew something about farming. She made a good living for the family, and he, appreciating her worth, left the farm to her when he died. Hicks Prather was an eccentric character. He could not do too much for a man he liked, and he could not do too much to injure a man that he disliked. He had an ungovernable temper, that he could not control. That temper often got him into trouble. Hicks Prather died about twenty years ago. That old homestead was sold for oil territory, but its only production in that line was dry holes.
"Robert Guiton, an old trapper and hunter, now living in Green township, has killed more deer and bears than any other living white man. He thinks he has averaged fifty a year. I should think he exaggerates a little, for since deer have become comparatively scarce, an average of fifty is more than I should want on my conscience. Guiton is about sixty years old, and there is yet greyhound enough about him to run down a deer.
"Samuel Felton, with his young wife, Catharine Felton, came to Tionesta about 1833 or 1834. He became an expert hunter and trapper. A deer had to look sharp if Sam did not get a shot at it, and a shot from Sam generally counted. He had a long, heavy rifle, made somewhere in Kentucky. It carried a heavy charge of powder and when I heard the report I could tell it from any other gun. Felton and myself once went on a hunting tour, to be gone from home over night. It was some twenty-eight years ago, when game was plenty. In the evening Felton killed a buck. It was pleasant weather in October, and we camped under a busy hemlock, and roasted a part of the buck for supper, after which we lay down, hunter fashion with our feet to the fire. In the night Felton awakened me, saying, 'Hear the wolves!' There appeared to be two gangs of them by their howling--a pack on each side of us. They came so close that we could hear them walking on the leaves. We kept the fire burning brightly, which kept them off. Had they attacked us they might have got into trouble. When it became light enough to see objects, we took our guns and got in behind a fallen tree top with the leaves on, between the two packs, and while lying there could hear them walking around at the butt of the tree. But the leaves were so thick that we could not see them, and we did not get a shot. Wolves were plenty in those days. I remember killed one with a club that I cut with my jack knife. I had run a raft to Pittsburgh, and on my way home thought I would look at a trap that I had set some time before. The trap was about a mile off my direct route home. When I got to the spot I found that some animal had taken the trap away, and I had trouble in following it. The chain attached to the trap was only about eighteen inches long, with a clog run through a ring at the end of the chain. At last I found where my game had been fast, and discovered some gray hairs. Then I knew that I had business with a wolf. I did not follow far until I started him. The trap bothered him so that I could easily outrun him and he was the largest gray wolf I ever saw. He jumped over an old hemlock log, and one of the springs of the trap caught on a knot and held him. I cut a witch hazel about five feet long, and went over the log to get a rap at him. The wolf jumped back over the log and got loose. We had another race, and I ran him into Little Coon creek. The stream was frozen over, but not hard enough to carry him, and he broke through the ice. I walked out on a log, and knocked him on the head. I took his twelve-dollar top-knot and left the rest of the carcass in the creek. The wolf and the lamb did lie down together that night.
"Evan Roberts was a native of one of the eastern counties of the State. He was master of the German and French languages, and could tell as good a Dutch story as a Dutchman himself. The early settlers were not particular about boundary lines. Eli Kingsley thought that Roberts & Hendricks were cutting timber on a lot that he held by virtue of squatter sovereignty. Kingsley called on Roberts, and said: 'Mr. Roberts, where does your line run?' Mr. Roberts replied: 'Wherever there is good timber.' 'Dod! I thought so,' said Kingsley, and that was all the trouble there was about it--no sheriff's fees, no court charges nor lawyers to pay. A few words between the two men, in good humor, settled it all.
"During the winter of 1824-25, Sheriff Robison, of Venango, and Sheriff Littlefield, of Warren, visited Kinglsey's cabin, while surveying the State road from Tionesta to Sheffield. The owner recited for them the following story: 'Soon after I came to the flats [meaning the low ground where he then resided], I had an adventure that I shall never forget. About four years ago I started out one morning for a hunt, taking provisions for a two days' stay. The first day out, just in the evening I killed a four-pronged buck, which I dressed and hung up out of the reach of wild animals. I then built a fire close to the spot where I hung the deer, and, after eating a hearty supper, rolled myself up in my blanket, with my feet to the fire, and was soon asleep. In the middle of the night I was awakened by a great noise, and on turning over discovered a large bear, trying to pull the dead buck out of the tree where I had hung it. I grasped my rifle, and taking as careful aim as I could, in the dim light, I fired at the bear, who went off with a growl. In the morning I saw stains of blood on the ground, and started on the track. After following the trail some distance I came to the mouth of a cave among some rocks. There I saw a pool of blood, and had no doubt of my game being in the cave. I procured a pine knot, out of which I made a torch, and after the manner of Gen. Putnam proceeded to enter the opening. The entrance was small, and I was obliged to crawl in on my hands and knees, but as I advanced the cavity grew larger, until finally I could stand erect. I was feeling my way along cautiously, when I heard a growl, and before I could use my rifle the bear sprang upon me from behind a projection in the rock, knocking me down and severely wounding me on the left shoulder with her claws. The torch that I carried was extinguished by the shock, and I was left to fight for my life in the dark. I succeeded in getting out my hunting knife, and made several vigorous thrusts in her neck and sides. The blood from the bear's wounds spurted in my face and nearly blinded me. The bear finally relaxed her hold and made for the opening of the den. I followed, but in the darkness could not find my gun. At the mouth of the cave we had another close encounter, that lasted, as near as I could judge, about fifteen minutes. After the bear had stripped me of all my clothing, except a pair of buckskin breeches, I succeeded in killing her. I then hunted another pine-knot, made another torch, and went into the cave again to get my rifle. I found it in the far end of the cavern, and also found two little cubs, about two weeks old. The floor of the cave was pretty well covered with bones. I was unable to hunt for three or four weeks after this rough experience, and was never in my life so near handing in my checks.'
"John White, who also lived in Tionesta in those days was a native of Ireland. He was an excellent mechanic, and could make almost anything that was to be made of wood. He was at work at the mills during the above-mentioned fight. Many old settlers will still remember Johnny White, as he was familiarly called, and his eccentricities. He, too, was fond of a 'drop.' as he termed it, and when he took one, that drop became very lonesome and required company, and before Johnny knew it, he was half-seas over, not to the old country, but to the tipplers' paradise. There was a young man at East Hickory, named Sylvester Bailey, who had practiced so successfully in mimicking White that Johnny used to say: 'Be jabers! Bailey can talk more like Johnny White than Johnny White can talk like himself.'
"John White owned property on West Hickory creek--a saw-mill and some land. During the oil fever he sold it for $20,000, and emigrated to Canada. That windfall enabled him to live very fast while he did live, which was not long.
"William Armstrong, who settled at Clarington in 1828, was the true founder of that village, and one of the great lumbermen of sixty years ago. On the point, one mile above Horse creek, on the north bank of the Allegheny river, lived James Downing, in a log-house sixteen feet square, more or less. In this humble cabin Mr. and Mrs. Downing made raftmen welcome to the best they had, generally got up in good shape, and plenty of it. The lodging was not what would be termed first-class in this age of the world. Instead of spring bedsteads, mattresses and feather-beds, it was two deep on the floor. But, to make things balance, there was no charge for beds. Raftmen, as a rule, never complained about the lodging. If they could get enough to eat they were always satisfied. They would build a fire on the shore, if they had no shanty on the raft, and sit around it all night, or lie down, hunter-fashion with their feet to the fire. Mr. Downing sometimes kept a jug of something--which we would now suppose was hop bitters--for raising the spirits when a man had the blues. Sometimes he would take a dose of his own medicine, and then he would be full of good humor. Liquor never made him cross, but he would get as independent as the boy who didn't care whether school kept or not. The little log-cabin and its owner are both gone, and, like the Mound Builders, they have left no history behind them.
"William Connelly came to Franklin in 1804, and was among the earliest settlers. In 1819 and 1820 he represented the district in the legislature, served as a justice of the peace for many years, and was appointed by Gov. Curtin an associate judge. My first recollection of him dates back to 1824 or 1825 (I will not be positive as to the exact date), when I heard him preach to a little congregation at Tubbs Run Flats, about a mile above Tionesta, on the west side of the Allegheny river. He possessed two of the requisites of a public speaker -- self-reliance and cheek. I do not use this last word in its offensive sense. For every preacher that I have heard deliver a better Methodist sermon than he preached that day, I have heard a dozen that did not acquit themselves as well. He seemed to possess the entire confidence of his hearers, particularly, the female portion of them. He was an admirable judge of human nature, and knew that it was good strategy to secure the good-will of the ladies.
"Paul, William and Joseph Wolcott were three brothers among the earliest settlers. Paul lived at the mouth of Fork run, on Tionesta creek. He was quite a hunter and trapper. All are now gone. Paul was a very intelligent man, and his conversational powers were excellent. In 1828 the Mays were building a saw-mill at Panther Rock. On my way up Tionesta I staid there one night, and saw H. H. May for the first time. He looked as though he had performed a hard day's work. He was a tall, slim boy, and very bashful; he sat back, like a bound boy at a husking, and had nothing to say. Panther Rock is a large rock, about ten feet out of water, in the middle of the creek, and has a rafting channel on either side. Uncle Sam has a post-office there, and the mail arrives and departs twice a week. Panther run comes in on the south side of Tionesta creek, not far above the rock. It is said that Elijah Kingsley, son of Ebenezer Kingsley, caught a panther on that run, tied it and kept it for a pet for his wife and children. It was only a kitten, but it is natural to suppose that it would grown to be an old cat.
"Some time previous to 1828 Col. Williamson and his brother, John L. Williamson, came from Mercer county to Pearson's Mills, on the Tionesta. They were both active and intelligent men. They cut logs, canoed the creek, and ran rafts when there was enough water. I worked with them, and we all shantied together and slept in the same bed, made of hemlock boughs. Sometimes we drank tea made of the same material as our bed, and I liked it, probably because it was a home production. We were all single then, with no wives or children crying after us. There was no home sickness, for the woods were our home. Our nearest neighbors were at Balltown, ten miles away, or at Sheffield, six miles distant. Strange as it may seem, one of us could sleep in Jefferson county and another in Warren county, and both be in the same bed. The shanty was exactly on the line between the two counties. It was a capital place to dodge constables, if there had been any such officials to dodge. Each of us had his gun and ammunition, and when we ran short of meat the deer might expect us. We didn't have to go far in those days to see a deer. I remember that I counted twenty deer at a time, one day. I came to the head of a hollow, and got upon a high rock. In the valley below me I saw at first a buck and a doe. Soon I saw more, and counted twenty in all, some feeding and some lying down. I killed the doe and wounded the buck.
"James Green was a resident of Tionesta township, and owned the farm at the mouth of West Hickory creek, on the Allegheny river. The farm contains some sixty or seventy acres of river flat, and was valuable property. It adjoins the Siggins farm, and is, perhaps, only second to it in value and importance. Green lived on that farm in 1812-14, and was one of the ablebodied yeomen that was called out to defend the country, and responded by marching to Erie to prevent the British from landing there and making kindling-wood of that little hamlet, as they did at Buffalo. Commodore Perry's victory over the British fleet slightly changed the programme. James Green, John Elder, William Hunter, James Dawson and many other equally good and true patriots, left their young families to fight their country's foes. Had the enemy succeeded in conquering this country in 1812, instead of the Fourth of July being our great national holiday, we might to-day be playing second fiddle to the British House of Lords; or, so far as liberty is concerned, we might be enjoying our share of it with poor Ireland. Then what does the present population not owe to those early patriots who shouldered their old flint-locks and marched to the northern border, the post of danger? I wish that I could write their names in letters of gold. But to return to the history of James Green: He was an old man when I was a young man. He was one of those unfortunates that acquired an appetite for strong drink, which he could not resist. Yet he was the father of the late James Green, of East Hickory; Of Thomas, Robert and Joseph Green, all good and steady men. The end of James Green, Sr., was a sad one. He was found dead by the side of the road that leads from Tionesta to Hickory, about half a mile above the mouth of Tubbs run. If the end of this old man was bad, it must be acknowledged by an impartial community that in his life there was much that was good.
"Ezekiel Green came to Tionesta from Allegany county, N.Y. It was said that he immigrated to this country with a woman whom another man had a mortgage on. As they are both gone we will let that story go with them. When I came to Tionesta, in 1828, Green was living on what was called the Dodge place. He had an impediment in his speech, and like many other old settlers was fond of old Monongahela. When he found himself outside of a pint or so of the fluid, he never could get a word out without emphasizing it by slapping his thigh. Another of his peculiarities was that he could never take a drink of whisky without sneezing in the glass. The smell of the stuff or the taste had the same effect on him that snuff has on a snuff-taker. Green owned a farm just below Minister creek, that empties into the Tionesta fifteen miles from the mouth. About four or five years before his death he had accumulated about $300 in paper money, which he always carried with him in an old wallet, stowed in his breeches pocket. That pocket was his safe, and I think I can convince you that it was burglar-proof. One night two men broke into his shanty and tried to rob him, but Green made such an outcry that they left without the wallet, although one of the robbers had hold of it and tried to capture it. But Ezekiel's grip was like the grip of a vise, and the thieves could not get his money. They did not want it bad enough to murder him, and that was the only way they could have got that wallet. In his old age Green became very miserly. He had a daughter living with him. I have seen her driving a yoke of oxen, hauling saw-logs. Her dress, which had been a bright calico pattern, was about the color of the soil. I don't think it had ever been introduced to water. The girl may have been baptized, but the dress never was. At Green's death he left what the robbers failed to get to his daughter, but the trustee was unfaithful and applied the money to his own use. The poor girl had to do the best she could without it. She always had to work for her living, and I think she was about as well off as the man who robbed her of her patrimony. Mrs. Green died some years before her husband. She was a very smart woman. She could out-talk any person that I ever knew. When her tongue was fairly started it was the next thing to perpetual motion, for it never ran down and never wanted to be wound up. It stopped only when the owner fell asleep.
"Joseph Green was in every sense of the term a self-made man. He acquired a good common education, commenced lumbering in a small way, and by industry and economy accumulated half a million dollars. No worthy man ever got into a tight place and called on Joseph Green for assistance without getting it. His helping hand was always ready. I will relate one instance that I knew: A poor darky wanted to get a cow and pay for it in work. He had a wife and two little children. Green bought a cow for him from me, paying me $25 in cash for the same. That same fall Mr. Green was lost by the collision of two steamboats on the Ohio river. The boat on which he was a passenger was on her way down and ran into a boat coming up, near Rising Sun, Ohio. One of the boats had a lot of refined oil in barrels on board. The oil caught fire, and the boat was a sheet of flame in a moment. The passengers were either burned to death or forced to jump into the icy cold water, where they perished. Mr. Green's body was never found.
"I was once hunting at the head of the Branch (Salmon creek) with two companions. I went east from the camp by myself, and soon got on a bear track. I followed till I came to the site of an improvement. It was where William Patterson* lived. As it was raining and I was wet, I staid there all night. Mr. Patterson was an old soldier of the war of 1812, and had fought at the battle of Baltimore. I had one of Colt's navy revolvers with me, and showed it to the old man. It was the first revolver he had ever seen. I explained its working to him, and as an offset he showed me a butcher knife, which he said was made to drive the British out of Baltimore. He was then a very old man, over ninety, and age had begun to tell on him. He lived in that lone spot, a considerable distance from any neighbor. The ground at the mouth of Hazelton run on Tionesta creek is of ancient memory. Philip Siverly lived there fifty years ago. He was one of the family that gave the name to the village of Siverly, near Oil City. On the point, below Crooked Chute, lived John Siverly. These two brothers were among the first lumbermen on the Tionesta. John built the first saw-mill at Newton mills. He sold it to H. Stowe & Co., and emigrated to the West....Hamilton Stowe came to Tionesta about 1844. He was the first man that got a wagon road made from the mouth of the creek to Newtown, twelve miles from the mouth, where he had his mills. About the same year Mr. Stowe established the first school, and, if I am not mistaken, Miss Mary Fleming was the first teacher. I think she taught two terms before her health gave way, and consumption claimed her as its victim. Her death caused regret to all who knew her. Mr. Stowe was a very energetic man. He could tell to the fifteenth part of a cent what a job of work would cost, and if there was any money in it he generally made it. He was not parsimonious, but gave liberally to all who deserved assistance.
*William Patterson settled in 1834 in Howe township. The house of cherry timber, with a puncheon floor of the same wood, was his home until his death in 1879.
"Robert McBride came to Tionesta in 1837 and built the Tionesta House, which he kept as a hotel for a number of years. He was a hunter and trapper, and made those brances of forest industry his occupation. The history of those who have made large fortunes invariably tells us that they made them in some other way than by hunting, trapping or fishing. Mrs. McBride was a very industrious women, always doing something that would advance the comfort and welfare of the family. Some twenty years ago she was rendered entirely helpless by rheumatism, and it has been at least that length of time since she has stood on her feet....Paul Berlin came to Kingsley township about the same time as Mr. Beck. They both came from Clarion county to Forest. Berlin, like Beck, was of German descent. He bought land on Hazelton run about one mile and a half from Tionesta creek. The farm was once covered with heavy pine timber, and the stumps now tell where the trees stood. Mr. Berlin died four years ago.... Chauncey Stanley was at Tionesta when I first came there, in 1828. His birthplace was in one of the Eastern States. Stanley passed his life in single-blessedness. It was said of him that he was afraid to look a woman in the face. He lived in a shanty, all alone. It was the report that he was not only his own cook and housekeeper, but his own tailor as well. Certainly his garments looked as if they might have been of home production. When he had occasion to build himself a pair of trowsers he would spread the cloth upon the floor, sit down on it, and with a piece of chalk mark around that part of his anatomy which the projected garment was to enclose. There was one advantage in his system of cutting -- he was always sure to have the pattern with him and would never go off in a hurry and leave it lying around home. Does a man in that condition of life fill the position which the Creator intended him to fill? Yet Stanley was a virtuous man, if he was odd, and he passed to the other shore with clean hands and a pure heart.
"George Hamblin came from Warren county. When I enumerate the amount of work he performed in Venango and Forest counties, I think you will agree with me that his name deserves a place in these sketches. Mr. Hamblin built the saw-mill in Balltown; he built the mill for H. Stowe & Co., at Newtown. In 1852 he built the mill for Green & Gordon on Bear creek, and shortly after another mill on the same stream for the Lacys. He put up a saw-mill and grist-mill for Hull & Lacy on Big Coon creek, at what is now called Nebraska. No better mechanical head than his ever adorned any man's shoulders. How many mills on Conewango and Brokenstraw owned his handiwork, I cannot say. I only know what he did in Venango and Forest....One of the earliest settlers of Forest (then Venango), George W. Dean, deserves a place in this record. He was man of great industry. In opening farms and cutting logs he performed enough work in his day to clear a township. He had his share of life's disasters by having his dwelling burned with all his earthly possessions. Mr. Dean died last fall, but little better off after all his labors."
In 1886 the reminiscences of Abner Phelps were published. At that time he was a resident of Nebraska, in this county, and on June 14, of that year he was eighty years of age, being born in Delaware county, N. Y., in 1806. He moved with his father to West Hickory (then Venango county) about the year 1818. After living there a few years they moved to Tionesta creek, on what was afterward known as the Harrington place. His father, himself and brother camped and hunted at the mouth of what is called Phelps run, on the south side of Tionesta creek, a little below Balltown. The Kingsley's camped about a mile below them on what is now called Kingsley run. Game was very plentiful in those days; trout abundant in all the streams. No person need want for venison or trout. The Phelpses and Kinsleys were real woodsmen. When they struck the trail of a bear, elk or panther, there was no let-up until they captured the animal. They followed a large panther, about the year 1822, up to the head waters of Big Coon creek, before getting it, a journey of two days without food of any kind. Their hunger was satisfied by roasting on the end of a stick, and eating part of one of the hams of the panther, which to them tasted good. When a boy he was blamed for putting fire into the woods opposite Tionesta, and was prosecuted by Poland Hunter, but to compromise the matter he cleared four acres of ground for Hunter, on the hill side opposite the village where Tionesta now stands. He walks from Nebraska to Tionesta, a distance of six miles, and back in a day, and does it easily. He always used liquor moderately, was intoxicated but once in his life; says he never to his knowledge cheated, stole, meddled with other men's families, or belonged to a church. He married Susan Kennedy in the year 1831, and reared a family of eight children, five of whom are now living. There was no saw-mill on the creek when they moved to it. The Balltown mill was built by Ball, Barnes, Manross & Gilson, in the year 1823. The Bear Creek mill was built by Kinnear, Witherup & Co., soon after. Beautiful pine timber, which could have been purchased for a song, stood in abundance along the creek at that time.
The German settlement of this county was begun in April, 1842, when Herman Blume, of Hesse Cassel, came to Tionesta. He learned the American language here, and in 1848 was independent enough to take his family out. In 1846 he was joined by Jacob Wenk and John Shellhouse, and they, with Adam and Henry Zuendel and Bernard Busch, who came in 1840 to Tionesta, formed the pioneers of the German colony with H. Eichenburg, an immigrant of 1844; Nicholas Mater, Henry Glassner and George Babendorf, of 1846, and Deitrich Weyant, Sebastain Blume, Adam Frank and Chris Sewer.
Joseph Allender, who came to Forest county with his parents in 1805, died June 25, 1878; in 1822 he joined the Methodist church here. T. W. Allender, of West Hickory, and his brother, now of Cleveland and a soldier in 1861 - 65, are the only sons known to be living....Joshua Davis, born in Maine in 1795, served in the war of 1812, came to Tionesta shortly after the war, and died at Frankford, Del., in 1886 ...Mrs. Mary Hunter, who died June 5, 1872, married Joseph Dale in 1807. He dying in 1815 or 1816, she moved with her father, that year, to Oldtown Flats, two miles up Tionesta creek, and in 1831 married David Hunter, and moved to the farm on which Hunter's station is....John A. Dale died June 25, 1877. He came to Oldtown Flats with his mother in February, 1816, where Henry Gates, her father, had hitherto resided. In 1825 Judge Dale taught a school in Clearfield county, and in 1827 studied medicine under Dr. Marvin Webster, who settled at Tionesta soon after. In 1847 he was sheriff of Venango county, and later prothonotary. Subsequently he took the several parts credited to him in the political chapter.
Mrs. Jane Eliza (Dale) Clark, who died May 14, 1877, was born in this county in 1821, and married Samuel Clark in 1841. She was a daughter of Jesse Dale....Caroline (Dale) Hood, born in Tionesta township, in 1826, died in October, 1882....Mrs. Agnes (Lamb) Reed, was born near Neilltown, in Clarion county....Amaza Purdy, a settler of 1825, died in 1883....Vanleer Watson, born near Newtown Mills in 1822, died November 11, 1877.
Ira Copeland, who, with his father, traveled on foot from Vermont to Pennsylvania, and settled on Stewart's run in 1819, died in Venango county, August 28, 1879. In 1832 he married Lydia Thompson (she died in March, 1888), by whom eleven children were born. The only neighbors in 1819 were John Jones, Joseph Allender, Joseph H. Dawson and Robert Green, the latter being the only survivor in 1880.
Andrew Ditz, who died in June, 1888, came to the Fryburg neighborhood from Baden, Germany, in 1825, with his father and five brothers and sisters. His wife, to whom he was married in 1840, was the daughter of Bertchner, another pioneer; she died in 1884.....The pioneer Allio and his wife (both now deceased), natives of France, located nine miles southeast of Tionesta in 1835, and were residents there in 1870, when a note of their ages was made --- one one hundred and six, and the other one hundred and four, years of age.
John Cobb, born in Vermont in 1815, came to Lower Sheffield in 1841, moved to Ridgway in 1842, entered the lumber business there, and died in August, 1888. He and his sons were the pioneers of modern lumbering methods in Forest county, the location being at Lacy's mills ....Samuel Dempsey died in November, 1887. From 1835 to 1847 he worked in the furnace at Rockland, and afterward in the furnace on Little Hickory for William Cross. After taking ore from the neighboring hills for some years, he opened a farm in Hickory, which he occupied until his removal to Iowa in 1865. He returned a few years before his death....Thomas Selders, the river pilot, born in the French Creek settlement in 1808, moved to Tionesta in 1850, and died in July, 1880.
Frederic Hyren, the prophet, said to have been an exiled Russian baron, resided at Tionesta for some time, preaching a new dispensation throughout this section, fasting twenty-one days in a cabin, which stood where the Haslet scales now are. He moved to Venango county, where he died in the county poorhouse....Edward Lyman, who came in 1833, died in June, 1888.
The petition of February, 1817, for the establishment of a branch of the United States Bank of Pittsburgh, was signed by the Gateses, Sigginses, Dawsons and Allenders, then residing within what is now Forest county. A copy of this petition is in possession of Mr. Dale.
Among the pioneers of the southern townships of old Forest were the Agnews, Armstrongs, Cooks, Reynoldses, John Wynkoop, James Irwin, the Coons, Noltons, Munns and others referred to in this work, and Ferdinand Smearbaugh, of 1847; John Weyant, M. Holebine, Henry Sipple, N. Mater, Jr., and Henry Klinestiver, the blacksmith, of 1848. In 1849 Henry Kiser arrived, in 1852 Ernest Behrns and Rudolph Kaman, Hanoverians, and Edward Walker, settled north of the Zuendel location, and the Koops lived at the old Tubbs run settlement. In November, 1868, Fred W. Blume arrived from Hesse Cassel. In the "fifties" Bartholomew Church was erected on the hill, but up to 1869 the members of the Reformed Church contested its ownership with the Lutherans. At this time other troubles came among the two peoples -- a spook or ghost being said to inhabit the building.
Daniel Harrington, referring to Herman Blume, says: "Mr. Bloom was one of the most courteous German gentlemen that I ever met. He owned a house and lot in the village, and worked at his trade as a tailor. The clothing he made for his customers was always honestly put together; the wind never blew the buttons off that he sewed on. I was at Franklin when he made application for his naturalization papers. He would sometimes take a little hop bitters, or a substitute therefor, and get a jolly good humor. I remember one time he said to me, "Mr. Harrington, oh put I do feel goot.' He resigned his earthly commission in December, 1879, at nearly ninety years of age. A number of his grandsons are citizens of Dutch Hill."
Recently a citizen of this county learning of a treasury certificate issued to one of his ancestors in 1793, brought the matter before the old historian of Forest, who addressed the following letter to the department:
DEAR SIR: My attention was called by J. H. Nourse, of this county, to a paragraph in a newspaper, stating that an unpaid warrant on the treasury has been presented to you, dated February 14, 1793, for $17.45, bearing 6 per cent interest, in favor of Jos. Nourse, and that there was something for claimants. Mr. Nourse has brought the family records, showing that he is a direct descendant from Rebecca Nourse or Nurse, who was condemned and executed as a witch at Salem, Mass., July 19, 1690, and among her descendants are Jos. Nourse, from whom J. H. Nourse and his brother, Orsenius Nourse, are descended, according to family history. Will it be too much trouble to send me a copy of said warrant for investigation?
Samuel D. Irwin.
Hunting Adventures and Casualties.* -- As early as 1820 two hunters were encamped on the Tionesta, near the spot now occupied by Newton Mills. The men had come less for the purpose of hunting than to see the country, to examine the streams, to search for pine timber and ascertain what facilities there were for getting it to market. The only settler in that region then, above Oldtown, was Kingsley. Hezekiah May lived at Oldtown, three miles above the mouth of the Tionesta. It was at or near Kingsley's shanty where these men had their camp. One bright moonlight night, one of the hunters, a young man of twenty-three years, concluded to have a little pastime on skates, of which exercise he was very fond. A severe cold snap had made three or four inches of smooth, solid ice, and Smith, the young explorer in question, had not forgotten his skates among his other traps. On this bright December night he calculated to have a little sport all by himself. After a few preliminary flourishes in front of his camp to see that his skates were securely fastened, he started for a run of a few miles up the creek. In telling his own story, as I heard it shortly after the occurrence, he said: "I had gone perhaps two miles up the large stream. The night was almost as light as day and very calm. I could hear the echo of the ring of my steel skates on the shore as I passed swiftly along. Coming to the mouth of a smaller stream on my right, I concluded to explore it a short distance. It was very crooked. In going up it some three-quarters of a mile, I think, I must have traveled fully two miles. Its average width was about sixty feet. Both banks of the stream were heavily timbered, principally with hemlock, and the branches interlocked, forming a complete canopy over my head, making it quite dark in comparison with the broad creek I had just left. How long I might have enjoyed the delight of the exercise and the beautiful scenery of htis little stream I can not tell. I was unpleasantly interrupted by a strange sound which I supposed at first was the hooting of an owl. As I listened the conclusion came to me that the noises came from wolves, and boded me no good. Keeping my presence of mind, I started on the back track fro the mouth of the creek. I had not gone far before I heard the howls unpleasantly near. In my race for safety I had to follow the course of the windings of the stream, while my pursuers traveled not more than half the distance that I was forced to get over. It was a race on my part for life, and for supper on the part of the wolves. To make a meal for a gang of those savage animals is not a pleasant prospect. At about forty yards from the mouth of the little creek they tried to head me off from the big stream. The bank was quite a bluff, and I could see them on shore ready to spring upon me as I passed. I bent my head and brought every nerve in play in the effort to pass this point of danger. As I passed under full headway they jumped at me, but miscalculating my speed they struck the ice quite a distance behind. I glided out on the broad Tionesta, and felt relieved, but the race was not over. They followed me on down the stream. I was perfectly at home on skates, but all my fleetness and skill were necessary to enable me to escape their fangs. When they came so near that I could hear their pattering on the ice I would wheel to the right or left and gain upon them, for they could not turn as short as I could, but were compelled to keep on for several rods before they could change their course. By this manoeuvre of frequent tacking I kept out of their reach until our camp was in sight. We had two dogs chained up in the shanty, and when they began to bark and raise an uproar the wolves turned back, and I was safe. How long the race lasted I do not know. IT seemed an age, but was probably not more than an hour -- perhaps not so long as that. Had one of my skates got loose or had I tripped on a stick, this story would have never been told by me." From Smith's description of the little stream and its zigzag course near its mouth, he undoubtedly went up Salmon creek. It empties into the Tionesta fourteen miles from its mouth and two miles above Newtown.
* D. Harrington.
In the winter of 1836-37 a woman by the name of Appleton, some fifty-five years old, started from her home on what was known as the Hoffman place, at the foot of Oldtown bottom, one mile and a half above the mouth of the Tionesta. She wished to visit some friends in Washington township (now Clarion county) and by going through the woods a mile and a half she could save about three miles' travel. So she crossed the creek on the ice at the big eddy. There had been a thaw, and the surface of the snow had frozen hard enough to bear her weight. She therefore left no trail by which she could be followed. In two weeks after her departure her husband received information that she had not reached her destination. Search was immediately made for the missing woman, but the search was in vain. At that time the woods were full of ravenous wolves and other wild animals. Did they devour her, or did she perish by the lingering death of starvation? She perhaps crept into some hollow long or into some crevice in the rocks, but where or how she died remains a mystery to this day. The contemplation of being devoured by hungry wolves is not pleasant. They would not wait for their victim to lose consciousness, but would tear him from limb to limb. Facts are sometimes stranger than fiction, and this is a case in which it is not necessary to draw on the imagination to make the reality more horrible. None but the All-seeing Eye can explain the mystery of this poor woman's disappearance -- a disappearance so complete that not a vestige of her clothing has ever been found. It is said murder can not be concealed; that it will not stay buried, but will some day rise to confront the perpetrator of the deed. But this was not a murder, it was one of those casualties for which nobody to blame, and in which no law of the land was violated.
The second casualty was the death of Ernest Quartier, a young Frenchman whose home was in Philadelphia. He had been visiting friends in Youngstown, Ohio, and came with a party of hunters to the head waters of Salmon creek. On the 23d of November, 1857, he started out with the party to hunt, and parted company with one of them at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He had not returned to headquarters at dark, and the usual signal guns were fired to guide him if he should be within hearing distance. His companions supposed he had gone to Mr. Blood's house, as he had been told, if he got lost or bewildered, to follow the creek down to Blood's. The next day he was still absent. Search was made for him by all hands, but with no result. The following day the whole neighborhood was aroused and turned out to find his trail. He was found, frozen stiff, about half a mile from Brockway's clearing. He had apparently become exhausted, sat down to rest, and fallen backward, never to rise again. His gun, a six-shooter, was lying across his neck with four loads discharged. His revolver, fully loaded, and his watch and compass were outside of his pocket, hanging by the guard. Mr. Quartier was quite young, not twenty years old, and unaccustomed to the woods. Knowing his inexperience, the usual particulars of the locality and directions had been given him by his companions, better versed in wood-craft. He had been urged to come in early in the day, but refused to do so. There had been a heavy rain, followed by a hard freeze. It is supposed that he became bewildered, which in any wilderness is the beginning of danger. His tracks showed that he had time and again in his wanderings been close to the road which would have lead him to safety. He was supplied with matches, and was fully equipped. An experienced woodsman would have been able to build a fire and take care of himself in such a position, but poor Ernest Quartier lost his life through his inexperience, and his neglect to follow the advice that had been given him. His case was one of the saddest incidents that ever occurred in Forest county. For the particulars of the above history I am indebted to the courtesy of Hon. S. F. Rohrer and his wife. Mrs. Rohrer is a daughter of the late Judge Blood.
About the year 1848 a German, named Henry Klinestiver, settled on Balltown road, at Klinestiver hill, where the road commences its descent to Ross run. The road was made in an early day, when it was thought that the shortest way over a hill was over the highest pinnacle. No man or woman, a little short of breath, who ever traveled up and down that hill, would fail to remember it after the discovery was made that the distance around the base of a hill was no greater that that over the top. The old road was evacuated and a new one was made of easier grade. Klinestiver was by trade a blacksmith. He farmed and did custom work for his neighbors when custom case. During the oil craze he sold his farm, and with his wife went to live with his son George, who had purchased a farm on Whig hill. At about this time Mrs. Klinestiver's mind began to fail, and she soon became insane and unable to take care of herself. One morning in October, the old gentleman arose about 4 o'clock and went to the cellar to get some potatoes for breakfast, leaving the old lady in bed. When he returned to the room she was gone. Eli Berlin, Esq., says that he had commenced the day before to move a building, and had got it into the middle of the highway, when the news came of Mrs. Klinestiver's disappearance, and the call for men to form a searching party. As soon as he got the building clear of the road, Squire Berlin and all the neighbors round joined in the hunt for the lost woman. They searched for a week or more, and people came far and near to join them. It is estimated that on some days over five hundred persons were searching the woods for the lost woman. Tracks were found leading from Whig hill to the watering trough between the two branches of Ross run, and about a mile and a half distant from the house. But beyond that all trace was lost. From Whig hill to Bob's creek, with two exceptions, the whole way was woods -- a primeval wilderness. The search was thorough, but all in vain. Squire Berlin rode on horseback down Tionesta creek to its mouth, searching every bend and deep hole where a body might be concealed, but no sign could be discovered. The fate of poor old Mrs. Klinestiver is as much of a mystery to-day as the Everhart murders. There are ledges of rocks, with fissures, into one of which she may have crept, and where her bones would remain undiscovered till the sea gives up its dead.
One of the pioneers, when firing at a duck, killed young Range, who was standing at his door....Two sad events occurred in the early days of the settlement. One was the death of a man named Shoup. Shoup and a man named Taylor came homeward together from Clarington, and parted company at the corners or cross-roads, Taylor going toward Blood's and Shoup to his own home. Taylor met a neighbor, and while the two stood talking they heard the report of a gun. Soon after Mr. Blood's family was startled by Taylor, a man named Parker and others, running into the house. Parker exclaimed, "Oh! I have shot Shoup! Oh! dear, I have shot Shoup." "No, you have not," said Mr. Blood, "for I saw him at the creek to-day." Parker insisted that he had shot Shoup; Mr. Blood, Mr. Hunt and all the men around there took lanterns -- it was a dark, rainy night -- and went up the road to investigate the matter. Shoup was found sitting against a tree, with a bullet-hole in his breast, and his dog lying by him. They raised him up, and he said, "Let me die here." Mr. Blood asked him if he blamed Parker for shooting him. Shoup replied, "I forgive him as I hope God will forgive me. Be kind to my wife and children." Mr. Blood and Mr. Hunt went back to the house for a mattress and stretcher, abut before they returned the poor fellow was dead. The explanation of the affair is this: Shoup was very superstitious. Some months before he had declared that he heard mysterious noises, and persons talking at the particular spot where he was killed. As Parker came up the road it is supposed that Shoup heard him, and being afraid, he crouched down by a tree, holding the dog under his arm. It was quite dark, and as Parker approached the dog growled. Parker said he thought it was a wolf, and he fired. The bullet cut through the hair on the dog's back and passed into Shoup's breast. Had Shoup got behind the tree, instead of at the side, he would have been safe.
About fifty years ago a stranger was drowned from a raft floating on the Tionesta, between Fox's mills and Balltown. A man named William Sutley was running the raft. The stranger was knocked overboard by being struck by an oar stem. The raft floated away from him, and it was impossible to save him. The men on the raft said that they saw him standing on his feet before they got out of sight. None of them knew who the man was or where he came from. The body was found on Dead Man's Island -- which took its name from this occurrence. The island is situated at the mouth of Minister creek, a mile and half above Balltown. I saw the grave often while passing the spot, when it was quite new. Elijah Kingsley found the body and buried it. Of course he was coroner, coroner's jury and undertaker, all combined. Yet no doubt the unfortunate stranger sleeps as peacefully in that lonely grave as he would in the most thickly populated cemetery. William Sutley, the pilot of the raft from which the unfortunate man was drowned was a son of George Sutley, who lived on a farm on French creek, just below the mouth of Sugar creek. William Sutley died of consumption some thirty years ago... Daniel Burkett, an old resident of Kingsley township, was found frozen to death on Newtown hill, November 29, 1876, by George Hindman.
In 1857 an accident happened near East Hickory, on the Allegheny river. Mr. Partridge, of Jamestown, N. Y., was running a flatboat, loaded with furniture and farming implements, which he sold along the river on his way down stream. At the bow of the boat there was only one plank on top of the end gunwale, to make it convenient to step over in going on or off the boat. The boat was fastened by a line to a tree that leaned over the river, with her bow up stream. Early in the morning the tree turned out of root and fell upon the plank at the bow, breaking it to pieces and sinking the boat. The tree also crushed in the roof, right over where Mr. and Mrs. Partridge had been sleeping a few minutes before it fell. They made a narrow escape. The furniture and agricultural implements floated out of the sunken craft, and were scattered all over the river. Some pieces were found as far down as Pittsburgh.
.....In 1857 or 1858, Ben Chilson perished in the woods. He was a hunter and had a camp on the Beaver valley, a branch of East Hickory creek. He was returning from a hunt, on his way to his camp, when he suddenly became ill and unable to walk. He sat down and leaned back against a tree. There was a slight snow on the ground -- not over three or four inches. He was evidently not lost, for he crawled some distance on his hands and knees toward his camp. He was found dead the next day. He had no doubt been attacked by heart disease. He was a single man. His remains were brought to Tionesta and buried.
McCollum, one of the pioneers, might have been called a chronic litigant, for he frequently had lawsuits with his neighbors, and seldom lost a case. He could prove almost anything he wanted to prove. It seemed as if he had his witnesses hired by the month, to be always in readiness, and that his cases were prepared a year before they came on, so ready was he to prove every point necessary to his success. I once witnessed a first-class fight between McCollum and another man. Like many great wars, the fight was about a woman. The battle took place at the mills belonging to Kinnear, Stockberger & Noyes, on Bear creek. The two combatants were under a shed that had been put up to protect the millwrights from the sun while repairing the mills, and the weapons used were the tools lying around, which they threw at each other. Hammers, handsaws, adzes, planes, everything they could seize, were flying through the air. Each appeared to be too much afraid of the other to come to close quarters. At last Mose succeeded in landing a goodly sized stone on the other man's head, which knocked him senseless. Mose jumped onto his prostrate foe, but before he could strike, Mr. Noyes interfered by telling him to "never strike a man when he's down," and Mose desisted. While the man was lying senseless, Mr. Noyse volunteered the remark that it was a pity that Mose hadn't knocked out his brains. As soon as the man recovered -- which was several minutes -- he repeated the friendly remark of Mr. Noyes, which showed that, although motionless, he was conscious of what was said around him.
In 1857 occurred what is known to old settlers as the Shreve and Hilands fight. John Shreve had married Mary, a daughter of James Hilands. Mr. Hilands was an aristocratic man, who thought that the Hilands blood was a little better than common, and that Mary had married beneath her station, althought Shreve was a well-doing and industrious man. He (Shreve) owned the farm below the mouth of Tionesta, now occupied by Dithridge, and had just built the best dwelling house in Tionesta upon it. Shreve blamed Jacob Hilands, brother of Mary for making trouble between him and his wife. One day, on going home, Shreve looked through the house for his wife, and could not find her. The child told him that she had gone down to "The Rocks." It occurred to Shreve that she had gone there to destroy herself. He immediately sent to the village for men to come over and look for her. Some four or five answered the call, and went down to "The Rocks." They found Mrs. Shreve sitting there, and prevailed on her to go home. Then Shreve shouldered his rifle, and went to the hotel kept by John Hilands. Jacob Hilands was expecting Shreve, and had armed himself with a double-barreled shot-gun, one barrel of which was loaded with ball, and the other with small shot. As Shreve was passing the door Jacob came out. Shreve jerked his gun to his face, and Hilands jumped behind the door. Shreve fired and missed him. Then it was Hilands turn, and he emptied his barrel, loaded with shot, into Shreve's legs. Shreve then jumped over the river bank, six or seven feet high, but Hilands followed him up and fired the rifle barrel at him. Shreve turned to face Hilands, and seeing him about to shoot, held his empty gun in front of him. Hilands' ball struck the barrel of Shreve's rifle, glanced off, and saved Shreve's life. As it was, however, two or three of Shreve's fingers were cut off by the ball from Hiland's gun. In a conversation with Shreve after the fight, he told me that the shot from Hiland's gun smelled just like hot lead poured out of a ladle into a bullet-mold.
One would naturally suppose that both parties would have been satisfied with the fight I have described, but they were not. The next encounter took place in the court at Franklin. Hilands, no doubt, expected that Shreve would go to the penitentiary, but instead of that result, the court sentenced him to pay a small fine and to confinement in the county jail for six months. Hilands thought it would be just as healthy for him in the West as it would be in this country. He went westward, and has never returned. It seems that a higher power than man has been working against human prosperity on the Shreve farm. In a hard break-up of the ice, Shreve's fine house was shoved from its foundation and twisted out of shape. He moved it back to its place, replastered it, and during the oil excitement, sold it. In the spring of 1867, it was burned to the ground. It was on that farm that John Range was shot; it was on that farm that the Shreve family was broken up; it was on that farm that the steam saw-mill of G. W. Dithridge, costing $70,000, was erected and destroyed by fire.
In closing these reminiscences of the pioneer Harrington, his description of a young lady of sixty years ago is appropriate. Writing to the Vindicator a few years since he says: "While in Tionesta recently I called on a lady friend, Mrs. Helen Thomas. She is perhaps about my own age. She is one of those congenial ladies that never grows old. She is a daughter of the late Hezekiah May, and sister of the late Huntingdon H. May. There are only two of the family left -- Benjamin May, of Norristown, Penn., and Mrs. Thomas, of Tionesta. Mrs. Thomas appears to possess an inexhaustible source of vitality time itself cannot eradicate. She was as full of fun as an eggshell was of meat, and in her girlhood she was an accomplished skater, not on roller skates but on runners, when a skating rink, extended all the way from Tionesta to Panther Rock -- sixteen miles. Well, Miss Helen May, often ran up there in the forenoon and back home in the afternoon. I might be accused of exaggeration if I were to say that she made the trip before breakfast, in the morning -- so to keep the truth on my side I will say that it was a common practice to take breakfast at Tionesta and dinner at Panther Rock. This took place long before the present Tionesta and Panther Rock mail route was established. It was at a time when the skates carried -- not the mail -- but the female. I never heard that Miss Helen had any races with the wolves, but as the woods were at that day full of these animals, I have no doubt that she often heard their howls.
This page was last updated on -12/30/2012